Monday, 20 June 2011 15:36
Written by Kelly Parker
Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.Freedom from all of those winter layers, and long days of sunshine and summer breezes. For many, that means hitting the road on two wheels. Winnipeg Men touched based with reps from a few prominent motorcycle dealers in town to bring you up to speed on a few of the most exciting bikes on the road.
Headingley Sport Shop, 5160 Portage Ave.
“The newest and probably most exciting model would be Kawasaki’s Vulcan 1700 Vaquero. They’ve tuned the engine to deliver peak power in the passing range between about 50 and 75 mph. Designers were taking their cues from 60’s-era muscle cars, so it’s got these muscular lines that flow very nicely. The fonts used in the digital dash and on the dashboard is all kind of inspired by that era and that look.
Despite its retro-modern look, it certainly isn’t without the modern amenities–fuel injection, cruise control, electronic throttle-value actuation, a high-spec audio system with iPod compatibility and two-way communication compatibility. With this segment, people are looking to hit the open road, but they don’t necessarily want a big, full-on touring bike, nor a stripped down machine with only some soft saddle bags, either, which is kind of why this segment developed.”
How to Join a Riding Club
Some prefer the solitude of the open road. Others like to congregate with others of their species. If the social side of the sport is as important to you as rubber and road, join a club. “There are so many different types of riding clubs”, explains Keni Harvey. “Some are exclusive to factories, like our HOGs (Harley Owner Group) although we do have open rides after our meetings.” The ownership groups are affiliated with the manufacturers, and information about group benefits and registration is available at their respective websites.
There are several other options for two-wheeled fellowship. Amoung them:
Canadian Motorcycle Cruisers: Founded in 2006 in Guelph, ON. CMC now has 82 chapters with over 5,000 members across Canada. Any make/model of motorcycle is welcome and passengers, partners/spouses and family are welcome. Membership is free. (www.cmc023.ca)
Antique Motorcycle Club of Manitoba: Its stated mission is to encourage the ownership, use, preservation, restoration and maintenance of classic and antique motorcycles. Meetings are held on the last Tuesday of every month at Harley-Davidson Winnipeg, 1377 Niakwa Rd. E. (www.classicbritish.ca)Coalition of MB Motorcycle Groups: Motto: It’s not what you ride; it’s because you ride. A non-profit organization promoting the safety of Manitoba’s motorcyclists by encouraging education, promoting legislative reform, and disseminating information to aid in “the continued safe enjoyment of two-wheeled motorized transportation”. Individual memberships are $25, with a family membership available for $35. (www.cmmg.org)
Reborn Renegades [Winnipeg Chapter of Christian Motorcyclists Assoc.]: Founded in the spring of 1998 by an informational meeting of seven interested Christian bikers to combine a love of riding and spreading the gospel. Membership is granted through an interview process, and a patch much be purchased upon admission.
Lonestar Harley-Davidson, 231 Oak Point Hwy.
“If I had to pick just one, it would be the Electra Glide Ultra Limited. It’s got a lot of extra features that a regular Ultra does not have; the 28-spoke wheels are chromed up beautifully, and awesome decaling and paint, but it also has heated handgrips, which are great for Winnipeg Fall and Spring riding. It has a beautifully decorated control panel, extra power in the back end of the bike with a 12-volt recharge outlet in the tour pack. They’ve got a really high fuel capacity. The air-cooled twin-cam just works very well, especially with the overdrive six-speed transmission, which really stretches out those kms. The seats on this bike have been re-designed from previous years, and they’re a very comfortable riding saddle. With the way the backrest and everything holds the passenger in, many fall asleep on the backs of these bikes–we call them ‘the couch’; they’re that comfortable.”
Sharing the Road
It’s kind of like the old conversation about encountering a bear in the woods; they are far more afraid of you than you are of them, but there are things you need to do to stay safe. The basic issue is this: you are protected in a large vehicle, while the motorcycle rider is unprotected and vulnerable on a relatively small machine.
According to Brian Smiley, Media Relations Officer at Manitoba Public Insurance, between 2005 and 2009, there were 1,700 motorcycle-related collisions. Of those, roughly half were the fault of the motorist, and most–if not all–happened because the motorist simply didn’t see the motorcyclist. “Driver’s are not shoulder checking, and they are changing lanes and cutting motorcyclists off”, says Smiley. “A motorcycle is not a large object,” he adds, “and in many situations, they are in the motorist’s blind spot. The motorist might signal, but they don’t shoulder-check, and they’ll just move right over and cut that motorcyclist off.”
Another leading cause of these accidents occurs when the motorist doesn’t see the motorcyclist when entering into traffic from a side street, and the motorist just pulls right in front of the motorcyclist, cutting them off. “I’m not sure if they just don’t see the motorcyclist or whether they feel that the motorcyclist should just stop”, says Smiley.
Therefore, there is only one tip to be offered: At all times, do everything you were taught in Driver’s Ed about knowing what is on the road with you, and where it is. That means shoulder checking before a lane change, and confirming that there is no oncoming traffic–including harder-to-see motorcycles–before entering the flow.
Ronds Marine, 1350 Dugald Rd.
“It’s called a Victory High-Ball. It’s basically a 2012 model, but it has already come out. What’s unique about it is that it’s a throwback style; a bobber with the ape hanger handlebars, and spoked wheels with big whitewall tires. It’s painted in flat black, and it’s just a stripped down, bare-bones, throwback kind of motorcycle – very 50’s retro-looking with all of the modern technology built into it. It hasn’t got many bells and whistles, but has this very cool, old school styling, and it’s a bike that the motorcycling community has really been very excited to see come onto the market – and it’s priced very well.”