Questions And Comments Regarding Buells, Black Bike Week, And More - MC Mail

Now With Extra Badonkadonk!

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Lotsa Ifs, Ands and ButtsThe "Icon" spread on Eddie Lawson in your October issue sent chills down my spin. I thought to myself, "Motorcyclist is the greatest bike magazine in the world!" Then I arrived at the "No Ifs, Ands or Butts" article about Black Bike Week on page 68: a dude posing with his $275 ticket for breaking the law; a group of riders with no helmets or riding gear; a tattooed babe in a bikini wearing sandals on the back of a sportbike... I will admit there were plenty of awesome bikes in the article, and I'm sure it's a great event, but do you really need an eight-page story in the "greatest bike magazine in the world" to make your point? Steady Eddie only got two pages!Jay DavidsonLee, NH

What can I say? It takes all kinds to make up the rich tapestry that is motorcycling, and Motorcyclist is one of the few magazines that covers it all. -Ed.

Thanks for highlighting Black Bike Week in the positive manner that you did. As an avid African-American motorcyclist, I have often wondered why the bike-manufacturing and fashion communities have continued to ignore this incredibly lucrative market and event. Some 300,000 bikers rolling through Atlantic Beach means a lot of people looking for a good party that have cash to spend and needs to fulfill.

I did notice in your article that there appears to be a significant double-standard when it comes to the emphasis on the amount of "flesh" exposed at the event. The level of raunchiness and debauchery displayed at Black Bike Week is no worse than that at Daytona or Sturgis. White bikers love to see T&A; just as much as black bikers do, and there is plenty of flesh-though perhaps a lot less badonkadonk-exposed at these rallies as well.Mike KeglerAtlanta, GA

The only thing I find cooler than women who ride sportbikes is the developing diversity of the people who ride them. Motorcycling is one of the few pleasures that so many can agree on and connect over. But my response to many of the pictures depicting hot, mostly naked bods on very fast bikes falls, pardon the pun, somewhere between ogling and disturbing visions of long hospital stays combined with months of painful skin grafts. If hot, naked women on Harleys at Sturgis is a potential emergency-room nightmare, hot, naked women on sportbikes is that times 10. And this includes males on bikes in shorts sans shirts and helmets.

Thumbs up for a diverse motorcycle culture. Thumbs down for greatly irresponsible riding practices.Damon HeimSan Rafael, CA

The October "Me & My Bike" feature is the perfect example of the Bling Bike culture:Shannon has custom paint, chrome wheels, a polished frame...and a front tire that was shot two seasons ago! All I can hope is that I see her around Cincinnati and can point this out to her.Tracy Doyle Cincinnati, OH

Uh-oh, here comes the hate-mail from the "cancel-my-subscription" crowd. Butts on pages 69, 71 and 76; bikinis on 72 and 74! In the Icon ad on page 14, the girl's pants are unbuttoned! Then, a bare-naked lady on page 32! Oh, the pornography! What is this world coming to? Keep it coming.Joseph SansoucieVia e-mail

10 4 $10KI am truly disappointed in your article "10 4 $10K." It left out what is unfortunately the best-kept secret in two-wheeled fun: the Suzuki SV1000S. A track tool it is not, but with a few mods made with the money you saved buying it, you can turn it into anything you desire. A great long-distance sport-tourer it isn't either, but with enough bolt-on goodies I'm sure it would be up to the task.RickSomewhere in Michigan

Why, oh why, would you pick the Harley-Davidson 1200N over the 1200R to put in the "10 4 $10K" piece? The Roadster may not make you an instant cul de sac badass but it's far more motorcycle than the Nightster, with realistic ride height, ground clearance, comfort and so on. It's a whole bunch of motorcycle for under 10 grand. And the 1200R is priced almost a grand cheaper than the 1200N.E.L. TurnerSpokane, WA

Kudos to your inclusion of the Kawasaki Z1000 in the "10 4 $10K" feature. The Z1000 is great fun to ride on the twisty backroads I favor. Powerful, flickable and comfortable. Too often I see it compared to exotic Euro bikes that cost $30,000, and of course it doesn't match up-not fair! Jim Harris Via e-mail

Bullish on Buells
I was pretty surprised that Buell put a Rotax engine in the new 1125R. Who is going to work on these? I have a 2000 S3 Thunderbolt with a fuel-injection problem that no dealer can fix. Plus here in northeast Ohio most Harley-Davidson dealers have dropped the Buell line. When I bought my Buell I thought it was going to be my acceptance into the Harley world, only on a motorcycle that could corner, accelerate and brake. As I have found out, all owning a Buell means is that no one likes you, and nobody wants to fix them. "America's Sportbike?" Who's American with an Austrian engine?Greg SigelmierGreen, OH

Nice-looking new Buell, that 1125R. The only thing Erik et al. need to do to enter the 21st century is get their bikes the heck out of Harley dealerships. The Harley dealers in my neighborhood treat Buells like something you scrape off your boots. Erik, get a clue and put your bikes in dealerships where innovation is appreciated and everything does not have to be slathered in chrome.Cliff YankovichVia e-mail

In your report on the new Buell 1125R, you wrote that "The Rotax motor isn't pretty, but we'll put up with exposed plumbing in exchange for nearly 150 bhp at the crank." Hey, what's so ugly about horsepower? Remember, they're called motorcycles for a reason. So what if the motor looks like it came from a hydroelectric plant? Edward DevaultVia e-mail

Please tell Buell I need that new 1125R but with an upright riding position to compete with the Triumph Speed Triple. Hurry up, don't make me wait a year...A.J. MalatestaBrooklyn, NY

As a 40-year motorcycle lover, I rely on Motorcyclist to separate exaggerated manufacturers' claims from reality. I have noticed in the past few years that cycle magazines have joined in and often regurgitate manufacturers' claims. New models probably help to sell more magazines, so I guess you are partners in the sales process. Aaron Frank should quell his enthusiasm until he has actually seen and ridden the new Buell. Otherwise, he is guilty of salesmanship rather that unbiased evaluation.

As a specific example, in the article on the Buell 1125R in the October issue, he wrote, "Formula-1 inspired finger followers ensure quicker valve opening and eliminate valve float." Eliminate is a very strong word and is a complete exaggeration. As long as there are valve springs, there will be the possibility of valve float. Also, finger followers have existed for a long time and just recently became popular in Formula 1.

By the way, I like Buells and Rotax engines and have owned both. I hope this model is successful.Ted HesslerHamburg, NJ

That's why we use the words "claimed" and "measured" in our specs panels, to differentiate between manufacturers' claims and those we measure ourselves. -Ed.

Rite of Passage
Brian Catterson hit the nail on the head in his column "Rite of Passage." The United States Grand Prix experience is about getting there, not just watching the race. I realized a few months ago that 2008 will be 20 years since the first USGP at Laguna Seca, and I was there. That was the first motorcycle race I'd ever seen, and I was immediately and permanently hooked. I decided that I must make the pilgrimage next year, and I must go on a motorcycle. Although I live in Kansas now and am "between bikes," I intend to buy a motor-cycle in California, ride to the race and then home. I could save a bunch of money, not get sunburned, avoid frustrating lines and see better coverage if I watched it on TV, but where's the fun in that? It's about the complete experience: the sights, sounds and smells-although I'll certainly miss the distinctive sound and smell of the two-strokes.Tim GrahamTopeka, KS

So, by way of apologizing for maligning the Midwest in his last Laguna Seca editorial, Catterson maligns the Midwest again? Is there some sort of Kool-Aid Californians drink that realigns Copernican Physics to put the Golden State at the center of the known universe? Good news: The USGP will stay in California. Bad news: There will be another in Indiana.

OK, we get it: California has nice weather and because of the mountains it has twisty roads. You know what I think? I think that makes y'all tedious. Try and remember that most people do not live in the rarified air of California. And they like it that way.Peter SpinaleSt. Paul, MN

Point taken, except what's so rarified about smog? -Ed.

Act Your AgeAs I read Tim Carrithers' column "Act Your Age," the grin on my face grew wider. I'm getting very close to the 60 mark and still love the feeling of tickling the footpegs from time to time. Granted, mileage and gravity have deemed it necessary to find a steed a bit more friendly to the old bones, but with the current list of good sport-touring bikes it's not hard to find something that is comfortable and still can satisfy the need for a bit of fun. My advice is to stay healthy and no matter what, don't listen to those that might advise you to grow up.Calvin LunsfordSouth Beloit, IL

It seems you are getting practical advice from your doc, to whit: Grow up. I have different advice: Never stop playing. Don't give in. I ran across a Timothy Leary quote that seems appropriate: "Beware the lollipop of mediocrity. One lick and you'll suck forever."Nataraj Hauser Madison, WI