Author: Rob Brooks

Harley-Davidson Freewheeler Trike

I must admit, I had never ridden a true trike before, as in single wheel up front, dual wheels/dual axle in the rear. I’ve taken Can-Am Spiders for a spin, we’ve reviewed the Polaris Slingshot before, but my first time on Mike’s trike was an education. Lena, Mike’s wife, recently let me borrow their trike for a couple of weeks, so I spent my first day familiarizing myself with the handling and maneuvering characteristics.
Riding a trike is wholly different than riding a bike.

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Music and Motorcycling

Music and motorcycling just fit together, “like peas and carrots” as Forrest Gump once uttered. It seems like I’ve accumulated memory banks full of songs that hearken back to a certain ride, and vice versa. I’m not sure what dynamic is taking place, but nearly every road trip I’ve taken, sometimes even while local or regional riding, a song becomes the soundtrack that takes me back to that place, that bike, that traveling companion, that experience, every time I hear it. Here’s a few more of my favorites from the road.

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Riding The Dark Side: Car Tires On Motorcycles

We’ve done a fair amount of tire testing in the last couple of years, with Ted Edwards and Dave Wensveen logging thousands of miles across the western states. One unconventional option that we’ve never tried but still fuels debate in some circles is using automotive tires on motorcycles. While motorcycle tires are specifically designed for the unique demands of two-wheeled vehicles, some riders still think it’s worth exploring the possibility of installing car tires on their bikes. Most of us respond with, “Are you nuts?!” Yet we still occasionally meet riders who swear by them. So, let’s take a deep dive into the pros and cons of using automotive tires on motorcycles, and see where we can park this debate.

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For The Love Of Heat

New Year’s morning saw me up fairly early, gearing up to go on an annual New Year’s Day ride with a local CMA chapter. Temperature was hovering around 42°, and as I was pulling on layer upon layer of warm clothes, I questioned myself, “What the heck am I doing? I’ve got to be out of my mind.” To those of you in colder climates, I’m sure that’s not a big deal. But that’s a bit chilly for us here in the Deep South, and this southern boy’s blood runs cold easy. I was not looking forward to freezing behind the handlebars.

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2024 Polaris Slingshot Preview

Polaris developed and debuted the Slingshot in late 2014, and immediately the “autocycle” as they dub it, created a swirl of publicity, both positive and negative. Motorcycle purists panned the machine, claiming (rightly so) that it’s not a true motorcycle. Three wheels, a steering wheel, a cockpit that you sit down in, seat belts strapping you in, and options like airbags and roll cages, even lock-on roofs, pretty much scream “not a motorcycle.” Yet the Slingshot has garnered much praise as well, adding a different sort of entrance and flavor in the powersports world. They’ve since gained a sizable cult following here in the States, and can be seen on the roads in about every location imaginable across the country.
And they are proudly made in America. Huntsville, Alabama to be exact.

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Riding the Royal Enfield Scram 411

I was in Birmingham, Alabama for the Barber Vintage Fest weekend with Mike Boyd, and Saturday afternoon I found myself wandering through one of the fan zones near the track. I came upon the Royal Enfield North America tent and display, and struck up a conversation with Nathan, their PR lead. Talking about the bikes we’ve had the opportunity to ride of theirs over the past few years, Nathan asked me, “Have you guys had a chance to ride the Scram yet?“ I told him that we had not, to which he replied, “We’re hosting a Scram demo weekend in Suches, Georgia next month. You should come join us! In fact, if you’ll bring a truck and trailer, we’ll let you take one home for a month or two.” To which I replied, “Let me think about it… heck yeah!”

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Eulogy For A Road Brother

The news shocked me, as I awoke to the text from his wife Lena that simply stated, “Mike has passed away”. The message had arrived just after 5am EST, and I sat on the edge of the bed, stunned and momentarily unable to move. “This can’t be,” I wondered aloud, as Lisa woke up to the news as well. “I was just over there the other day, visiting with Mike while Lena ran out to do some shopping. He seemed to feel pretty good, was in good spirits. I’m shocked.” I honestly thought Mike would make it through the holidays, and into early 2024, January or February. But now he was gone, in an overnight. The tears began to flow.

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A Brief History of the Bobber

Over motorcycling’s lifespan, there have developed a plethora of customizing genres. From the café racer to the chopper, from brat to rat, the goal of the custom is to recreate a stock motorcycle into a true one-off machine birthed in the imagination of the builder and rider. Motorcycle brands even try to duplicate the styles with what are called “factory customs”, which employ styling cues from various customizing genres. Of all the many and varied styles of customized motorcycles, none is as old and enduring as the Bobber.

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Long Term Review: 2024 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+

A salesman at a motorcycle dealership once confided in me, “To really familiarize yourself with a motorcycle, really get to know it, you need to live with it for a while. Take it home with you, ride it all day, wake up to it the next morning and ride it some more. A short 2-3 mile test ride really isn’t enough to get a true feel for a bike.” I’ve come to agree with him. Whenever we get a motorcycle to review, we try to keep it for at least a month for that very reason. The better we come to know the bike, the better we can communicate it to you.

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