Was dumping the Texas Tornado worth it?

Much of professional motorcycle racing at the world championship level is about advertising and public relations. The sheer quantity of cubic dollars it takes to keep the burners lit on MotoGP bikes and moving the team around the world means that teams are in constant search of sponsorship dollars, and as David Emmett of MotoMatters.com described so well in a recent article, that task is getting harder. It’s not just about slapping a sticker on a fairing. It’s about burnishing a brand, letting a little of the glamor and excitement of MotoGP rub off on your company. It’s about having the opportunity to host important clients or business partners at a big-time (especially outside the United States) sporting event.

That’s why MotoGP sponsorship is about public relations. So when a team does something that will leave a sour taste with many fans and people in the industry, it better have a good reason and have calculated the costs and benefits very well. That’s also why, in the final analysis, I think the decision by Forward Racing to dump Colin Edwards in the middle of his farewell tour has to be categorized as a mistake. Not a disaster, mind you, but surely a mistake. Continue reading Was dumping the Texas Tornado worth it? →


The AMA paid how much for this advice?

The decline of the AMAThe AMA recently tried to capitalize on the ebola scare by issuing a news release, backed by comments AMA President Rob Dingman made on camera at the AIMExpo, saying that the Centers for Disease Control might be doing a better job containing the deadly virus if the agency weren’t wasting time and money worrying about whether motorcyclists were wearing helmets.

So how is this tactic working, in the AMA’s feud with the CDC over helmet laws? Well, considering that two of the most opinionated and widely read columnists in the online motorcycle media have panned the effort, perhaps it’s less than a smashing success.

Continue reading The AMA paid how much for this advice? →


The old Speed Triple, ready for another round

My old Speed Triple, the one motorcycle I’ve ridden more than any other, has seen very light duty in recent years. In large part, that was because of an intermittent electrical problem that made me reluctant to ride it, because I didn’t know if it would start when we needed to get back home.

Speed Triple

Still pulling strong, after all these years.

Continue reading The old Speed Triple, ready for another round →


A humble track-day guy’s Dunlop Q3 review

Daytona 675 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Bike taped, new tires mounted… ready for a day at the track.

Consider it one of those small victories in life that induce happiness: I recently did the best lap time on my local track that I’ve ever done on my Triumph Daytona 675.

No, I didn’t make any modifications to the bike. And since I’m on the high side of 50, and have been riding on the track for many years, it’s unlikely I suddenly found a new burst of speed or acquired long-missing skills. That only leaves one other variable: the new set of Dunlop Q3 tires I put on the Daytona right before I went to the track.

As much as I might want to take personal credit for lowering my lap time, I think I know where the credit needs to go. And even without the numbers on my lap timer, I’d still have the same verdict: I love these tires.

Continue reading A humble track-day guy’s Dunlop Q3 review →


Motorcycle owners: the loyal and the promiscuous

Speed Triple in the park

Enjoying semi-retirement, my 17-year-old Triumph Speed Triple mostly makes short, local runs, like a ride to a nearby park on Labor Day.

A colleague had a couple of bikes for sale, and had recently bought another used one, so I was asking him if this was part of a strategic master plan to realign his fleet of (mostly old) motorcycles, or just typical buying and selling activity for him. It turned out to be the latter, but after I put down the phone, I started counting months and came to a realization not about his buying habits, but about my own. I have not bought or sold a motorcycle for more than four years and three months, and that’s the longest period of time in my motorcycle-owning life that I have not made a change in my lineup.

Some people spend 20 years with the same motorcycle, while others switch more often than an ego-addled hostess at the Grammys changes dresses. Among motorcycle owners, there are the loyal and the promiscuous. I used to be middle of the road. Somehow, I have edged toward the loyal side of the spectrum.

Could it be I’ve finally assembled the perfect combination of motorcycles, the ideal lineup that meets all my needs? Nah, that kind of perfection will never happen.

Continue reading Motorcycle owners: the loyal and the promiscuous →


Let us praise the end of the DMG era in U.S. motorcycle roadracing

I sometimes suspect that when he’s feeling down or beleaguered, AMA President Rob Dingman fires someone to cheer himself up. If true, considering what a tough time he’s had as president, it would explain why he’s fired so many people over the past seven years. Also if true, it might help soften the blow of having to admit that the very centerpiece of his “New Vision for the AMA*,” the transfer of the AMA Superbike series to the Daytona Motorsports Group in 2008, was a big mistake. At least he had the consolation of getting to fire DMG.

Continue reading Let us praise the end of the DMG era in U.S. motorcycle roadracing →


Playing visiting author for a day

Thanks to the Johnson County Public Library system, the Greenwood Public Library and the Edinburgh Wright-Hageman Public Library, all in Johnson County, Indiana, for inviting me over today to kickstart their month-long County-Wide Read program, with a motorcycle and bicycle theme. A small but very engaged audience came out on a rainy afternoon and asked a lot of questions. My favorite kind of group!


Five random thoughts from the 2014 Red Bull Indianapolis GP

Red Bull Indianapolis GP

The haziness of the Indianapolis skyline in the distance shows how humid the day was, but the rain stayed away, miraculously.

Marc Márquez recorded a little piece of history by matching Mick Doohan’s string of 10 straight premier-class victories, Moto3 provided typically great racing, the revamped infield road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway pleased everyone, and the weather stayed good in almost miraculous fashion (we could actually see dark clouds and lightning on the western horizon, but it just sat there, sparing the Speedway). Despite all those positives, the fans filed out of the grandstands in a mood that could best be described as deflated. Why would that be? The answer is in the first of my five random observations from a day of MotoGP. Continue reading Five random thoughts from the 2014 Red Bull Indianapolis GP →