Author: Rob Brooks

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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The Journey of a Thousand Miles

Lyle and I are on a multi-day, multi-state road trip, commemorating (or commiserating?) both turning 60 years old. We try to make a big road trip together with every new decade we reach. We did it when we both turned 40, then a huge one when we both hit the half century, and now here we are rolling into our 60s, out rocking down the highway again. We’ve both been motorcycle riding since our youth, and over the years we’ve made many day trips, weekend hops, and these milestone rides over the years. As I’ve written before, we go way back with each other.

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CB650R- Honda’s Halfpint Hooligan

The first time I ever laid eyes on the newest iteration of Honda’s iconic CB650, I must admit I was instantly smitten by it. I was visiting our friends at Cycle World of Athens, when I saw one sitting on it’s kickstand on display out front. The round headlight, short tail section, and upright handlebars just looked right. Then I noticed the bronzed engine covers, valve covers and rims, and those gorgeous 4-into-1 curvy pipes, and I was knocked out by it. This latest version of the CB650R is just beautiful to me. I’ve been itching to get my hands on one ever since.

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Long-Term Review: 2023 Honda CB500X

I was riding the Honda CB500X back from spending the morning with my daughter and 3-month old grandson, throttling down a sparsely trafficked four lane county road. I glanced at my right mirror and noticed another motorcycle making for me in the right lane. I could tell by the silhouette it was another adventure bike by the wide panniers on either side. I gassed the little twin ADV, making him/her give chase. The stretch of road was undulating but largely empty, so we had some good natured fun diving across our pair of southbound lanes as he/she gradually gained on me. On a long straight the rider finally caught me and coming alongside on my right, I glanced over and saw my companion/competitor was a guy on a BMW 1250 GS. He was pointing at my Honda, pumping his thumb vigorously, clearly thrilled with our little chase through the curves.

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Something Different- Indian/Super 73 eFTR Hooligan

Developed in partnership with Super 73, a pedal-assist e-bike company with vast experience in the space, Indian Motorcycle has managed to carve itself a little niche with the most unique eFTR Hooligan. Looking out across the ever-expanding electric bicycle landscape, there’s clearly nothing else like it, that we’ve found so far. It’s styling screams something different, something in a class by itself. Is it a small electric motorcycle, with pedals? An electric bicycle with old school minibike styling? Is it both? Neither?

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The Tracks of My Father, Part 2

I had the opportunity recently to retrace one of the last motorcycle rides I was ever able to make with my father. Neither of us knew it at the time, but within a year of that special day, he would sell his motorcycle and exit riding altogether for health reasons. Within a couple of years after that, I would say my final farewell to him. So the memory of that day trip with my father has become all the more precious to me in the years since.

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Motorcycle Culture in Indonesia

My wife and I made a 15-day trip to Indonesia a few years back, for a foundation we do some work with. I’ve made the trip several times with 127 Legacy Foundation, an organization that aids and sponsors orphanages, women’s shelters and medical clinics across the equatorial island nation, and I’m always fascinated with the culture of motorcycles over there.

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