Motorcycles in Paris - Featured

Picture Intermission – Motorcycles in Paris

While I was in Paris, it was impossible for me not to get distracted by the sheer amount of scooters and motorcycles around. So I made sure to keep my camera with me and try to snap pictures of any interesting motorcycles I could see, much to the chagrin of anyone that was walking with me at the time. I thought you might be interested in seeing some, so here are a few of my favorites. Continue reading

Suzuki TL1000S - Right Side

1997 Suzuki TL1000S

Back in the 70s, the Kawasaki H2 developed the reputation of a ‘widowmaker’ due to its’ incredible power and complete lack of handling. The Suzuki TL1000S also earned such a reputation when it was released in 1997, for slightly different reasons. This bike was introduced with a very unique rotary rear damping system, which seemed to perform just fine in pre-production models. Once bikes were sold in the United Kingdom, however, it became clear that the damping had some serious issues. Tank-slappers became a too-common occurrence, and after several high-profile accidents (and one fatality), Suzuki initiated a worldwide recall to install a steering damper. You might think that this would have killed consumer demand for the bike, but motorcyclists are an odd breed. If anything, the Suzuki TL1000S became an instant cult classic with the mystique of a difficult-to-tame beast. Continue reading

To the Top of Alaska, Day 8 - Featured

To The Top of Alaska, Day 8

Day 8 – June 11th, 2014 – Juneau, AK – 0 road miles

As I said before, the primary reason for our inconvenient detour through Juneau was to see Mendenhall Glacier – today was finally the day.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a bad habit of planning for the best and then improvising when things inevitably fall apart. But I still wasn’t excited to wake up the next morning to a voicemail and email from the Alaska Ferry System saying that our ferry out of Juneau the next day had been cancelled. Seeing as you can’t ride out of Juneau, we’d be stuck for another day, meaning we had one less day to make it to Anchorage to get Vy back to the airport.

Though I had enough service to pick up the voicemail at night, that morning I didn’t have any, so I explored the ship to see if I could use a phone. Found this cool internal one, but it wouldn’t really help me with my needs.
Bike-urious Alaska

Turns out that a ferry had broken down in Bellingham, Washington and so the system was scrambling to make up for it. We didn’t have any other options besides waiting a day – so why fret about it? We got housing through the University of Fairbanks – apparently there weren’t many spaces left, but the guy who runs summer housing is an ex-motorcyclist who went out of his way to help us out.
Bike-urious Alaska

Time to enjoy the glacier. Seeing as I had no idea what I was doing, I hired Above & Beyond Alaska for a private guided hike for the 3 of us up to Mendenhall. Short story? I highly, highly recommend them and would be glad to answer any questions you might have about them. Here’s our incredible guide, Annie. We were huge fans.
Bike-urious Alaska

I took way too many pictures of the hike, so I’ll try my best to keep it short here. First you hike through forest, on well-maintained paths.
Bike-urious Alaska

Every once in a while you get something steeper, but it’s pretty basic for about 90 minutes.
Bike-urious Alaska

Our first peek at the glacier.
Bike-urious Alaska

The hardest part is a little rock scramble…
Bike-urious Alaska

that gets you to some great views.
Bike-urious Alaska

Can’t say I remember the exact amount of time, but I’m guessing about 2.5-3 hours in, you start getting close to the glacier. Annie said that Mendenhall’s about a mile wide, which I didn’t believe.
Bike-urious Alaska

But then when I zoomed in 16x, I saw a group of people. Considering how tiny they were, one mile wide didn’t seem unrealistic anymore.
Bike-urious Alaska

Apparently this bird was a tasty snack for some animal.
Bike-urious Alaska

Get used to Baby Jack photos – there’ll be a lot of him. Here he displays his ice climbing prowess. Once you get to the glacier, Above & Beyond provides cold weather gear, pickaxes, and crampons that strap on to your boots.
Bike-urious Alaska

Bui utilizes that gear to scale a steep hill.
Bike-urious Alaska

I get a little excited with the axe in my attempt to send some ice flying.
Bike-urious Alaska

A different perspective of the glacier.
Bike-urious Alaska

Our guide set up an ice screw so that we could lean into a large hole,
Bike-urious Alaska

which led to a view like this.
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Just a few moments later, we got to the good stuff: the opening of the ice cave.
Bike-urious Alaska

And we’re in. Here’s a few shots of the inside of the Mendehall Ice Cave.
Bike-urious Alaska

Bike-urious Alaska

The glacier was apparently about 3 times longer just 10 years ago, and some people believe that the cave will be gone in just 5-10 years. The entire glacier has been melting at an alarming rate, and from a tourism perspective, companies are hoping that the melting will at least open up another cave as the current one disappears.
Bike-urious Alaska

Obligatory Baby Jack photo.
Bike-urious Alaska

I mentioned earlier that Above & Beyond provides some gear, but they don’t provide gloves. I made sure to bring along my Alpinestars Archer X-Trafits, which worked surprisingly well in the snow and ice. Here’s my corny photo to prove I actually brought them into the ice cave. Eventually I’ll write up a formal review on them, but in general I’m a fan.
Bike-urious Alaska

The cave opens up at the end, and Bui got this great photo of a rock eroding its way to the bottom.
Bike-urious Alaska

Making our way back – the trail is well kept and even has ropes for tiny descents like this one.
Bike-urious Alaska

Annie tells one of her trademark silly jokes. This one was along these lines:
“Two whales walk into a bar. The bartender asks them what they want.
The first whale replies: WOOOOOOWWWWWW WOOOOOOOEEEEEEEEEEE WOAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAA WOOOOO (the key is to make it as long, awkward, and semi-’whale sounding’ as possible)
The second whale says: “Go home, Frank. You’re drunk”.
Bike-urious Alaska

There’s some sort of wood joke here that I won’t make.
Bike-urious Alaska

Bike-urious Alaska

Bullshit!
Bike-urious Alaska

After a long day of hiking, I relaxed with some salmon and beer at Twisted Fish, an excellent dining option with plenty of beer options from Alaskan Brewing Co.
Bike-urious Alaska

We got back to our dormitory, where Vy found some paintings of marine life. After having a laugh at this painting of a seal, we called it a night.
Bike-urious Alaska

SWM 440GS - Right Side

1983 SWM 440GS

Ever heard of the motorcycle company SWM? Well, I hadn’t, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce you if you were in the same boat as me. Founded in 1971 by two Italians, the company built several off-roaders around engines from Sachs and Rotax (the latter was utilized after 1977). In fact, one of SWM’s bikes (the XN Tornado) eventually became the Armstrong MT500, which became the Harley-Davidson MT500, after the Italian firm went into liquidation.

SWM actually stands for Speedy Working Motors, and while the name might be absurd, that’s exactly what the bikes were in the early 80s. They were very successful in European enduro championships, and a SWM even won the World Trial Championship in ’81. This specific SWM 440GS is a former ISDT race bike that competed in NETRA enduros back when it was new. It was then stored in a dry barn and has recently been brought back to life. It comes with a non-correct OEM seat, brand new Progressive shocks, and some cosmetic scars from battle. Find this SWM 440GS for sale in Naples, Maine with an opening bid of $2,495

Ducati 900SS - Right Side

1979 Ducati 900SS

The Ducati 900SS was built as a sportier version of the 860GT, it was designed to evoke a similarity to the classic 750SS Desmo. Unfortunately, bikes like the Mike Hailwood Replica were more in demand, relegating the 900SS to commercial mediocrity. As the model evolved, the 900SS moved from street-legal racer to eccentric sport-tourer, gaining comfort and reliability at the expense of appreciation from traditional Ducati fans.
Find this Ducati 900SS for sale in Denver, Colorado with bidding up to $14,660 and the reserve not yet met

Honda NSR400 - Left Side

1986 Honda NS400R

Can you remember back to 1983? If so, you may remember Freddie Spencer winning the World Championship for Honda despite competing on a triple that was outclassed by the competition. Almost immediately, Honda released a 250cc bike to commemorate the win. A couple of years later, they released the Honda NS400R as a claimed ‘race-replica’ of Freddie’s bike, ignoring the 100cc displacement different. Despite that, it’s a small, light, two-stroker that some nostalgic riders go absolutely nuts for. Continue reading

Velocette Venom - Front Right

1961 Velocette Venom

7-21 Update: This Velocette Venom is back up for sale with bidding up to $8,650 and the reserve not yet met

The first production motorcycle to hit an average speed of over 100 miles per hour over 24 hours, the Velocette Venom was the ‘big-brother’ to the Viper and was an evolution from the MSS. Powered by a 499cc four-stroke single, this bike became Velocette’s flagship and is thus highly sought after. As a pre ’62 model, this Venom (VIN: RS15077) would have come with Miller (and not Lucas) electrics, though the seller installed a new 12 volt system. You’ll also get a newly rebuilt (< than 50 miles) motor, clutch assembly, and more. Most paint is original and there are just a few minor cosmetic issues. Find this Velocette Venom for sale in Huntington Beach, California with bidding up to $7,101 and the reserve not yet met