Full circle.

After all my lusting for various bikes, everything from a dual sport DR650 to a stripped down 883 EVO, I've found myself back where I started.

Sleeping in my garage is none other than my first real bike, the 1993 XJ600 I sold back in 2012.  It's a bit odd to move backwards, technologically speaking, from a big 1200cc, fuel injected bike but I'm glad to be back on two-wheels. 

I'm working on adding a Pelican case for waterproof and lockable storage, along with some smaller saddlebags.  There is a laundry list of things I want to upgrade and or replace, such as a full LED conversion, new bars and a DIY steering stabilizer.  

My riding time will be mainly restricted to commuting and the occasional getaway but right now is time to focus on Family.  Plenty of moto related adventures are in my future.  I think it's finally time add a Ural Gear Up to the garage.  By the time I have the money saved up, I might actually have the garage cleaned out.  


Irrational lust.

Even though I won't be bike shopping until spring 2015, that doesn't stop me from browsing and burning up brain cells thinking about what I want out of a bike.

My budget will be limited to the $2000 or below range and there are plenty of great bikes that tend to sell in that price range.  However, there are only a few that pique my interest.  Mainly, the KLR650, DR650, Honda Hawk GT and the lowly little Buell Blast.  Ultimately, it's the Blast that I keep obsessing over.  Even with all it's supposed flaws and shortcomings, the idea of a shaky thumper that you can toss around like a bicycle is very appealing.  (Plus you add, great brakes, almost zero maintenance and +60mpg and that's pretty sweet.)

Thinking about all the negatives does nothing to change my mind.  It did however, make me realize that as much as I want to be rational and choose the reliable and trouble free bike, I most likely won't.

I want soul.  I want a  more visceral experience.

Maybe I've been brainwashed into the Cult of Buell because if I had the money, I'd be all over another Ulysses.


Indiana's 'Dead Red' Law

Indiana House Bill 1080 (Adjourned Sine Die)

  • Proceeding through intersection at red light.
  • Authorizes the operator of a
  • (1) motorcycle
  • (2) motorized bicycle
  • (3) motor scooter
  • (4) bicycle; 
  • Approaching an intersection that is controlled by a traffic control signal to proceed through the intersection on a steady red signal under certain circumstances. 
  • Makes corresponding amendments.
  • Completed Legislative Action 
  • Status: Passed on March 27 2014 - 100% progress
  • Action: 2014-03-27 - Signed by the Governor

**Takes Effect in July 1st, 2014**

The 'Dead Red' law as stated written, is attached in PDF form so you can have a copy in writing for yourself and hopefully not the officer who just stopped you for running a red light.  'Dead Red' Law PDF

I know it's time to hit the road and put some miles on the motorcycle. Have you ever been stuck at a red light just waiting for a car or truck to pull up behind to so they can trigger the light? Now Indiana has joined 15 other states (Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Virginia) have ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) also supports this legislation that they say will help operators of motorcycles, motorized bicycles and motor scooters when trying to proceed at a stoplight with no traffic signal detection. I read a statement by Jay Jackson the Executive Director of ABATE Indiana he said "In the past these people had to sit there indefinitely or violate the law."
passed in their own variations the 'dead red' law. Some include bicyclists, some don’t. Some require the motorcyclist to wait one minute, some two minutes and some just a reasonable amount of time.
“In the past these people had to sit there indefinitely or violate the law,” said Jay Jackson, executive director of ABATE Indiana, an advocacy group for Hoosier motorcyclists.
Read more at http://fox59.com/2014/05/01/state-launches-new-motorcycle-safety-campaign-ahead-of-new-red-light-law/#fAQyCoc2Kf6U4MDa.99
“In the past these people had to sit there indefinitely or violate the law,” said Jay Jackson, executive director of ABATE Indiana, an advocacy group for Hoosier motorcyclists.
Read more at http://fox59.com/2014/05/01/state-launches-new-motorcycle-safety-campaign-ahead-of-new-red-light-law/#fAQyCoc2Kf6U4MDa.99

We do have to be very careful the people who are in those metal cages (cars) are probably not going to understand why we can go through and they cannot. I have been reading a lot of comments from the public on the law. Some of the comments I liked were "So when a motorcyclist thinks its clear and guns it and gets smacked and tossed off his bike and the car had the green light, whose fault
is it? With this new law, why is it I see the fatality rate of bikers, mopeds going up!! SMDH", "This is the most stupid thing i have saw in a long time does the law apply for car and trucks also does it also mean if they blow through a red light it automatically there fault for a accident", "If they can do it why can't cars? I've sat at red lights at five thirty in the morning with no traffic coming or going an I have to sit and wait for five minutes but a bike doesn't have to", and "I guess our new lesson is to teach lack of patience on the road for motorcyclist. Isn't that discriminatory for other vehicles". 

Personally, I am a big fan of this law being passed. I have a couple of lights out by my house that never get triggered unless by a car or truck. I even have one light that doesn't get triggered by a car when in a turn lane unless another car is turning in the opposite direction. While on the motorcycle I have tried every position on the road to trigger the sensor with no luck. I have even tried the traffic light triggers for motorcycles, again with no luck. Hopefully this will not cause more problems than good and people don't abuse the new law.



Upcoming Events:

Just a reminder that Indy does have some motorcycle events that happen quite regularly. I'm sure I forgot some, but these are the ones I try to attend.

Vintage Bike Night at the Steer-In
  • First Thursday of every month 6-9pm
  • Steer-In 5130 E. 10th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46219
European Bike Night at the Brockway Pub
  • Every Thursday Night 6pm-2am
  • Brockway Public House 12525 Old Meridian St. Carmel, IN 46032

Indy Mile AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National
  • Friday August 8, 2014 Gates Open 2pm
  • Indiana State Fairgrounds - Hoosier Lottery Grandstand 1202 East 38th Street Indianapolis, IN 46205 

Red Bull Indianapolis GP
  • Sunday August 10, 2014
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway 4790 W. 16th St. Indianapolis, IN 46222


Indy Mad Max Run - Sunday April 27, 2014

In a not so distant dystopian future, there will be the Inaugural Mad Max Run around Indy in the Spring of 2014. This is the ToeCutter's Gang ride (motorcycles only),  dress in any way that is reminiscent of the apocalyptic characters of the Mad Max movies. So grab your Mohawks, leathers, chain mail, furs & sports equipment for the craziest ride of the year.There will be awards too for the most apocalyptically dressed.

The ride starts at 11am to different destinations around the industrial wastelands of Indy and eventually end up at one of the breweries for lunch and a beer. The ride is free and at your own risk.


Good Customer Service is hard to find and so are good gloves.

Good fitting gloves are tough for me to find.  Most are too loose or have short fingers.  During the holidays, I spotted some nice looking leather work gloves that looked thick enough for some light motorcycle riding but yet thin enough to actually be useful as work gloves. They're made by a company called Stone Breaker.  I passed them up a few times because I've bought a lot of crappy gloves in the past and didn't want to make that mistake again.

Finally, I decided to pick them up but they were down to one last pair of Mediums.  The index finger on the right glove is twisted counter clockwise but I bought them anyway.  I was browsing around the SB website and found their quality guarantee.  So I sent an email to the customer service team asking if they could be repaired or swapped out for a new pair.  One of the CS Reps emailed me back, apologizing for the issue and wanted to know where to send my new pair of gloves!

Really?   I really didn't expect that response!

I just read that the CS Rep I was corresponding to is actually the owner of the company.  Very cool!

Once the weather breaks and I get back to working in the garage and around the house, I'll post a long term review on the Rancher gloves.


New RIDE for smmwheels


 Due to my disability I have not been riding as much as I would have liked. The weight of the F800GS (472 lbs wet) was just too much for me. I sold it and started my search for a new lighter dual sport. 

My biggest problem with the smaller dual sports was their seat height, lack of power, weight, center of gravity and to be honest STYLE. I had a BMW G650GS (423 lbs wet) ordered with low suspension to allow me to stand flat footed and thought was light enough for me.  When the motorcycle finally arrived at the dealership I could in fact throw a leg over it and stand flat footed with no knee bend. While standing over the G650GS, I could not manage to get it up off the lean of the kickstand and balance under my stance, still too heavy and I think overall tall.

After looking at many motorcycles like the Dual Sport Suzuki's, Yamaha's, Kawasaki's, KTM's and many others that were too tall, too heavy and not balanced. I decided to turn my attention to naked sport bikes that I could convert and ride year round.

I previously owed a 2009 Ducati Monster 1100 that I rode until the two of us went sliding through a corner at 45mph and only one of us survived intact. The 1100 Monster had incredible power to weight ratio and really was comfortable to ride long distanced. My first ride on the 1100 was a 400 mile trip through some the curviest roads of southeastern Indiana along the Ohio River. The 1100 was so well balanced that at times I realized I was cornering on one wheel, probably a little more power than I should have given it while turning. In the year and a half I owned it I managed to put over 10,000 miles on it and it was not at all set up for riding in temperatures below 45.

I noticed my local Ducati dealership had a used Monster 696 (407 lbs wet) @ 80hp within my desired price range. After looking at the 696 I decided to look at something with a little more power like the Monster 796 with full

Termignoni exhaust @ 90hp (I have heard that the full Termi exhaust save 15 lbs, I don't know if I believe that or not).

The 796 ABS Monster, at 414 lbs wet does not sound like a big difference but the low center of gravity compared to the G650GS made a HUGE difference for me. Compared to the F800GS the miles per gallon and horse power are about equal, the big saving is the weight difference of 60 lbs. About the only
thing I am giving up is some MPG on the G650GS compared to the Monster. 
  • I got a good deal on this motorcycle and only need to change a few things. It came with two different tires. The rear tire is the Pirelli Angel ST which has decent ratings for all season use. The front is the Pirelli  Diablo which will need to be replaced if I plan on riding it below 45 degrees. I would like the best of both world as to have tires that are sticky and hold high speed corners in the summer and give me excellent traction in the winter. 
  • Since this is considered a "naked" sport bike there is not much available in the way of luggage capacity. I have always been a big fan of Wolfman luggage and have retro-fitted my Rainier Tank bag to fit the Monster. The rear Wolfman Tail bag I already had will be retro fitted as well. When I need major volume for road trip the medium Rollie bag should just strap on the rear on the motorcycle with no problems.  
  • The only other thing I will probably change is the color of the tank and seat cowl. It came with the front bikini fairing that I took and replaced with the electronics cover it came with. On the Ducati Monsters they designed it so the colors could be customized. Ducati sells painted covers for around $700 in a kit that contains the 2 tank covers, the seat cowl, bikini fairing and front fender. I don't need or want to spend that amount of money. I will just get the 2 tank covers and the seat cowl painted to a color I like and nobody else has. The front fender is carbon fiber, so it can stay the CF color. 
  •  With this new smaller lighter motorcycle I will be riding every chance I get. I miss the old days when I was putting major mileage on my motorcycles. This may not be the best bike for long trips but I will make it work since most of my riding will be local and short trips down to the curvy roads in southern Indiana. Although my dirt days and river crossings may have temporarily come to an end, I will always find an enjoyable ear to ear grin inspiring road around the obstacle.