Short shift: Quick review of the 2015 Kawasaki Ninja 1000

As a daily agenda goes, this one was pretty good. The Southern California morning was still young and I had use of a new 2015 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 and just two loose objectives: get a feel for this bike, which I’ve been interested in for some time but hadn’t yet been able to ride, and meet up later in the day to talk shop with an old business friend I hadn’t seen in years.

apple pie in Julian

The caramel-topped apple pie at the Julian Pie Company comes deliciously close to being too much.

To facilitate the first objective, I set for myself another totally arbitrary but pleasant goal: Get a slice of apple pie at the Julian Pie Company in Julian, Calif. That would give me the chance the ride the Ninja on everything from traffic-clogged I-5 to the twisty curves and hairpins just east of Julian on Route 78. With just one day to spend with the Ninja, I wanted to make the most of it.

So what’s the verdict? Well, the caramel-topped apple pie is a little over the top but great, just the same. But if you’re here, you’re no doubt more interested in the motorcycle review than the pie review. That’s not such a short story, even though I didn’t have enough time with the bike to write what I would consider a full review. The Ninja 1000, it turns out, was just what I hoped it would be, in some ways, and not what I expected in others.
Continue reading Short shift: Quick review of the 2015 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 →

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Under the helmet, we are one

This video is full of cliches. It’s a promotional video, predictable and sappy.

I love it anyway.

I recently wrote a satirical piece for RevZilla that made a point about the way we motorcyclists divide ourselves into warring tribes over the smallest things, like the color of our leather or the rake angle of our motorcycle’s fork. This video makes the same point in an entirely different way. A visually striking way.

Bajo el casco, todos somos uno.

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The tweet says it all: #summerisgone Part 2

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Nicky Hayden to World Superbikes — two years too late?

Nicky Hayden at Indianapolis

Nicky Hayden signs an autograph for a young fan at the 2015 Indianapolis Red Bull Grand Prix, which turned out to be the last MotoGP race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hayden’s last MotoGP race in the United States.

Nicky Hayden is leaving MotoGP and going to the Superbike World Championship for 2016 and sounds about as happy about it as a little kid sent to his early bed time while his older siblings get to stay up late and continue the birthday party. Continue reading Nicky Hayden to World Superbikes — two years too late? →

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The tweet says it all: #summerisgone

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Lunch ride to the old warehouse down by the big ditch

The Warehouse restaurant

The Warehouse in Roscoe Village.

One of my favorite lunch rides, especially this time of year, is to the old warehouse down by the big ditch.

Really, it’s a lot better than that description sounds.

The Warehouse Steak N’ Stein gets its name honest. The 1830 building really was a warehouse in its early days, and the Steak N’ Stein part of the name it inherited from another roadhouse restaurant the owners ran for years outside of Zanesville, Ohio. Today, the building offers a cozy and casual atmosphere, in addition to the burgers, chicken baskets, salads, flatbread pizzas and other menu items, including the signature onion rings that made the move from the old Steak N’ Stein.

Aside from good food, two other key elements make The Warehouse worthy of a lunch ride: Fun motorcycling roads lead there, and it’s part of an interesting, picturesque and even educational destination.  Continue reading Lunch ride to the old warehouse down by the big ditch →

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The Versys finally lets me down

As I wrote in my post Four years on a Kawasaki Versys (and the previous Two years on a Kawasaki Versys), this inexpensive bike has been a reliable ride.

I guess it had to end sooner or later. There’s one common problem I know of with this model of motorcycle, and it finally bit me, a little over five years and 53,450 miles into the journey.  Continue reading The Versys finally lets me down →

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The Indian Scout is a Sportster killer

When I first saw the Indian Scout on paper, I expected it would be a Sportster killer.

Indian Scout

The Indian Scout brings some modern performance to the classic looks of an American-made cruiser.

After riding it for an afternoon in a variety of conditions, I still believe it will be a Sportster killer. I also found out that it has the potential to kill my lower back and butt, if I were to ride it the way I ride, which includes long days on the road. There’s a lot to like about the Scout, and a few things not to like. I almost feel like the weak points aren’t really the bike’s fault, but rather compromises the engineers had to make to fit the conformist and rigid styling demands of the cruiser world. So let’s take a look at this important new model for Indian, which is now under Polaris ownership, and sort out the good and bad. Continue reading The Indian Scout is a Sportster killer →

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