Month: June 2021

A Royal Enfield Dominates The Flat Track

Round seven of the 2021 Progressive American Flat Track Championship proved to be a historic moment for Royal Enfield, as Johnny Lewis and the Moto Anatomy X Royal Enfield Team were the beast of the field on Saturday evening at the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio. The win marked the team’s first victory since the Daytona I Short Track, and the first-ever Half-Mile win for Royal Enfield and the Moto Anatomy X Royal Enfield Team.

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5 Questions With Jake Gagne

Jake Gagne has won every race he has finished in the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike championship, in dominating fashion. His string of seven consecutive victories astride his Fresh N Lean Attack Performance Yamaha R1 has him standing firmly atop the Superbike points race. He’s drawing comparisons to five-time MotoAmerica Superbike champ Cameron Beaubier, even as Jake smashes lap records set by his predecessor. Man and machine are truly dialed in with each other, as evidenced by Jake’s mastery so far this season. He’s riding like we’ve never seen him ride before.

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The Kindness of Strangers

Yosemite Valley stranger’s interaction stood out since it was rare, a blip on my travel radar because overwhelmingly I find the American spirit of kindness to strangers permeates every place I visit. I could write stories ad infinitum (kind of my job here at Road Dirt) about total strangers who have waved hello, offered a kind word, given me food, welcomed me into their homes, granted access to their garage to repair my bike, given me shelter in a storm, let me spend the night on their couch, became close friends or even adopted me into their family as their own son. This is the rule. Yosemite Valley man, you are the exception.

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Great Group Riding Tips

Although it’s sometimes thought of as a solo activity, motorcycle riding is far from it. There is a strong sense of community, great camaraderie, and a large contingency of group functions that are built into biker culture. The simplest form of this is going on group rides – if the thrill of the open road is great to enjoy by yourself, sharing and relating the experience of an exhilarating ride is sure to be amplified if you bring your friends along.

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Handling a Heritage

Some 20 years ago a riding buddy asked me, “If you could own any one road bike for trips, around town, day riding, whatever, what would it be?” I gave that some thought, then replied, “I think I’d choose the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic. I just love the American tradition meets modern in that bike.” I found myself on a 1998 Yamaha Royal Star Tour Classic for many years, that brand’s answer to the Heritage, and loved it, but the H-D Heritage was always the original to me. My father later bought one, a 2003 100-Year Anniversary edition in silver/black, and he rode it with my mom all over the Southeast USA until his age and health forced the sale of the bike. I had a garage full at the time, but regretted not buying it from him. Such a beautiful, smooth, cool machine. Motorcycle Americana at its best.

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My Soul Said Go

This is for you, mister random Yosemite Valley stranger who spun on your heels and approached me while I dismounted my bike that sweltering July day, who stopped your walk along God’s Country to ridicule my exhausted frame as I peeled sweaty gear off my back, who halted gazing at El Capitan so you could critique me.  You pulled your focus from where it should have been to where it had no business being, aiming your spiteful arrows at me to offer a cutting remark to this travel weary vagabond.
“Is it worth it?” you inquired rather sarcastically.  Then before I could respond, you turned and walked away.

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The Road by T.E. Lawrence

After we published our story on “Lawrence of Arabia and the Motorcycle Helmet”, a reader sent us the link to a chapter out of Lawrence’s book, “The Mint”, recounting his years of service as an enlisted cadet and airman in the RAF following the First World War. Lawrence entered service under the alias T.E. Ross, due to his world fame, and went to work in the daily grind of the military in post-war England. Yet he developed a love for all things fast and dangerous- namely, airplanes and motorcycles. He became a skilled mechanical engineer, but continued writing, keeping memoirs of his time in the service in his tome entitled “The Mint.” While most of this work is dry journaling, the chapter called “The Road” is stunning, a vivid account of a motorcycle ride at dusk that is both exhilarating and harrowing. It’s one of the most incredible descriptions of the feeling of riding a motorcycle, and the raw sensation of open air speed, that I’ve ever read. The descending dark, the rough roads, the throbbing beast beneath him, no helmet, no eye protection, no armored riding gear, poor suspension, lousy brakes, a side-mounted hand shifter, a near tank-slapper at speed, and an RAF Bristol fighter overhead- see if you don’t visualize and feel the ride yourself as you read Lawrence’s account.

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Gagne Takes Command

Fresh N’ Lean Attack Performance Yamaha’s Gagne won his fifth consecutive HONOS Superbike race Sunday at the famous Road America circuit, the Californian sweeping the two races in Wisconsin after doing the same a few weeks ago at VIRginia International Raceway. To say he is on a roll (pun intended) would be a gross understatement.

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The Zombie Ninja, Pt. 2

Joining our squad of swift, veteran riders was my 16-year old son Matt, who earned his driver’s license and motorcycle endorsement simultaneously little more than a month before.  A motorcycle I nicknamed the Zombie Ninja was his mount, a Kawasaki Ninja 500R that absorbed parts and money like a giant, sucking black hole of bottomless misery until it roared to life just days before departure.  Before us lay the 30 miles of Canada’s 31A, technical tarmac where beauty reigns, crashes are frequent and speed is a punishable commodity.

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