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Month: August 2022

Decisions, Decisions

The Wild Rose Squad’s annual motorcycle pilgrimage to Nelson, BC is sacred.  Nothing keeps us from Nelson, except however, border guards.  I found that one out the hard way last year, but that is a story for another time.  If I do somehow manage this year to not be asked very politely to make an immediate u-turn and Leave Canada Right Now Sir, my next conundrum is which bike to take.  I have three compelling choices with reasons for and against.  Help me decide.

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Scram 411 Coming To America

Ever since we enjoyed the opportunity to throttle around on Royal Enfield’s Himalayan a couple of years ago, we believed they had a winner in the diminutive but highly capable and supremely affordable ADV bike. Turns out we were right, as the Himi has been a runaway best seller for the legendary motorcycle brand the world over these past few years. So its not surprising the world’s oldest continually-in-production motorbike company would begin to offer variations on the venerable Himalayan platform, now evidenced in the sporty looking Scram 411 coming this fall.

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Dynamite In Small Packages

I’m hard on the throttle exiting the wide sweeping curve known as “The Bowl”, trying to click up through the gears as fast as possible before the brake/downshift zone and the left hairpin that is turn 1. As I drift wide so as to dive deep into turn 1’s apex, an 11-year old named Cooper undercuts me on the inside, passing me on a 110cc Ohvale like I’m standing still. “That kid’s good,” I muse to myself as he rockets away down the back straight.

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Legendary Bikes: The Flying Merkel

The first time I ever beheld a Flying Merkel up close was at the Barber Museum in Birmingham, Alabama during the annual Vintage Festival they host every October. In a large side room where a Bonham’s auction would soon be staged, the bright orange machine arrested my attention, and I stood transfixed by this beautiful 100+ year old motorcycle. I’ve no idea what the bike later fetched on the auction block, but I’ve read they can go for well over $100K in good or restored condition. It’s easy to understand why, when the history of the brand is explored.

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Motorcycle Gear: OneX USA Pro Race Gloves

The human hand is an extraordinary engineering marvel. A complex structure of three types of bones (phalanges in the fingers, metacarpals in the palms, carpals in the wrists), and a plethora of nerves, tendons, ligaments, and joints wrapped in several variations of skin, our hands grant us the ability to quite literally shape our world and our lives. Yet we’ve seen so many motorcycle riders neglect their most important tactile riding appendages with cheap gloves, fingerless gloves, or no gloves at all. We should always be wearing solid protective gear, and our “grippers” deserve no less.

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On Track with Yamaha’s 2022 XSR900

Exiting turn 7 at the top of the track some racers call “the North Georgia rollercoaster”, I’m hard on the throttle as the XSR900 uprights, and clicking up through the gears as I rocket down the long, undulating back straight of this famous course, the Yamaha triple howling down the hill. Road Atlanta is legendary for its highly challenging layout, which winds up and down a hillside that could easily have been a ski slope in colder climates of the country. From the tight twisty “Esses” after climbing turn 1, to turns 6-7 at the pinnacle, down the long back stretch to the 45 degree pairings of 10A and 10B, then floating the front up under the bridge before the free fall to turn 12 and the front straight, Road Atlanta is a wild ride of technical curves and elevation changes.
And here we were putting the 2022 Yamaha XSR900 through its paces.

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The Old Bike and the Sea

Give me the Pacific Ocean.  You can have the rest of the country, just hand me her blue waters.  Take Beartooth Pass, Tail Of The Dragon, Going To The Sun Road and Million Dollar Highway. I’ve done them all, just leave me the Pacific, a road that runs alongside her and an old motorcycle beneath me.  Sailors know the Pacific’s pull, her captivating blue rollers have a way of getting under your skin like a seaman recruit’s poorly chosen tattoo.  Ride her shore once and you understand.

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Through The Lens- Rob North’s Brit Triples

Camaraderie is contagious, so we stopped for a chat and to ask some questions about their entries. Geoff had noticed the “letterbox” style fairing on the nose of one of the bikes and upon further inspection he noticed that the 750cc four-stroke road racing bike had three cylinders. He complimented the group on what he assumed were beautiful replicas of a Rob North BSA Rocket 3 and a Triumph Trident. We knew that Rob North had motorcycles in the Barber Museum. That was when he was corrected by Chantelle who replied, “Those are the real thing and my dad, Rob North, is right there!”

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