5 Spring Riding Safety Tips

When spring weather arrives in New England, motorcycle riders can barely contain their excitement. After months of snow and ice keeping us off the roads, the temperature is rising and the pavement is drying – it’s time to ride!

Before you head out, be sure to keep the following safety tips in mind for spring.

Perform Routine Maintenance

riding a motorcycle in the rainFor your own safety and the safety of others sharing the road, never assume your motorcycle is ready to ride. If your bike has been in storage all winter, it likely needs some work. Be sure to check the following components before rolling out:

  • Test the brakes in your driveway or take a quick spin around the neighborhood.
  • Refill the gas tank and change the oil. Also have the fluids flushed and replenished.
  • Check the tires for proper inflation. Months in storage can lead to air loss.

Review Insurance & Registration

Before planning your first motorcycle trip, make sure your license and registration are up-to-date. You should also contact your insurance carrier to make sure you’re sufficiently covered in the event of an accident. Motorcyclists who are caught on the road with an expired registration or no insurance policy can be fined and have their bikes towed.

Update Your Gear

Although the weather is getting warmer, it’s important to keep your body protected in the event of a spill. Durable riding boots, gloves, a helmet and leather jacket are recommended to prevent damage to your body. Riders should never hit the road wearing sneakers, a t-shirt or shorts – even on the hottest of days – or they risk road rash. This occurs when skin makes contact with the pavement after a spill off a moving motorcycle.

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Indian Chieftain Elite vs. Harley-Davidson Street Glide CVO

On March 1st, Indian released their 2018 Chieftain Elite bagger motorcycle. Following its release, some enthusiasts began comparing this motorcycle to Harley-Davidson’s Street Glide CVO. Just how similar are the two touring bikes?

Legendary Motorcycles

Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycles are two of the oldest motorcycle manufacturers in the world. As America’s first motorcycle company and oldest continually running manufacturer respectively, many riders can identify these brands on sight. Longtime enthusiasts know they can expect solid bikes from both Harley-Davidson and Indian, which is why we’re taking a closer look at how these two new models stack up to each other.

Chieftain Elite Specs

Touring bikes have extensive storage for luggage, making them a great asset for longer trips. The Indian Chieftain Elite has many modern features that riders new and old can appreciate, including:

  • Thunderstroke 111 49 V-twin engine
  • 6-speed transmission
  • Surround sound audio
  • Bluetooth® connectivity
  • Customizable touchscreen split display
  • Pathfinder LED lights

Bagger bikes can be very heavy – the Chieftain Elite is 827 pounds without gas in the tank! Also, weight increases when riders add their belongings to the saddlebags. The extra pounds can make this model more challenging to handle, especially for newbies.

In 2013, Indian released their all new Thunderstroke 111 V-twin engine. This high-quality air-cooled engine is 111 cubic inches (1811 cc) and produces 161 Nm of peak torque. Indian was challenged to combine their classic engine features with modern technology, without disappointing their brand-loyal bikers. Still recognizable as an Indian engine, the Thunderstroke 111 has improved power and better piston durability.

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New Triumph Speed Triple Motorcycles

Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. was established in 1983 by English businessman John Bloor. Formally Triumph Engineering from 1902 – 1983, this motorcycle manufacturer has since grown to be the largest in England. Triumph is known for stylish and functional cruisers, supersports and touring motorcycles. Their first bike in the Speed Triple series was unveiled in 1994; the details of two new models have been released in February 2018.

Speeding into Action

riding on a sunny dayThe two new Speed Triple motorcycles are the most powerful and responsive bikes in the series. The manufacturer has updated the engine, handling and technology to accommodate needs of the modern rider.

Stronger Than Before

The Speed Triple will be available in S (standard) and RS models, with 105 new engine parts for a better performance. Riders will experience a faster spin up and engine rev than previous models. Another improvement is the 117 NM torque – an increase of four percent – for a smooth curve across the range. The Speed Triple S has four riding modes: Rain, Road, Sport and Rider-configurable. In addition to these four, the RS model also has a Track mode.

Improved Rider Experience

As new motorcycle models are released each month, advanced technology seems to be a big factor of modern design. The Triumph Speed Triple is no different, boasting a full-color, 5-inch TFT (thin-film-transistor) instrument display with six different screen styles. Riders will be able to change contrast settings and adjust the position too. The RS model also features a keyless ignition, which can activate the engine through a transmitting signal.
 
Choose from jet black and crystal white to fit your personal style. Pricing and further details will be released by Triumph on Monday, February 26th, 2018. What do you think of these new bikes?

Harley-Davidson Recall for Brake Failure

On February 7th, 2018, it was reported that Harley-Davidson is recalling 251,000 motorcycles worldwide for potential brake failure. Of this number, nearly 175,000 belong to riders on U.S. roadways. The cost to Harley-Davidson is $29.4 million dollars. If you own a Harley-Davidson CVO Touring or VSRC motorcycle from 2008 – 2011, read on for further details.

What Caused the Recall?

motorcycle shock absorberAccording to official documents, there is a module within Harley-Davidson’s anti-lock brake system that can cause these models to fail without warning. When the oil is contaminated by moisture, the brake valves and module can corrode, causing a system shutdown. Either the front or back brakes could fail, but there is a chance of both systems malfunctioning.

When Did the Investigation Begin?

Unfortunately, it took three reported crashes and two injuries to spark an investigation into the potential dangers associated with CVO Touring and VSRC bikes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began examining problems with the anti-lock brake system in July 2016, after 43 total complaints were filed against the Milwaukee motorcycle manufacturer.

Harley-Davidson’s Response

The issue is linked to the motorcycle’s brake fluid, which should be replaced every two years by the bike owner.

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4 Winter Activities for Riders

When winter arrives in New England, it can be a depressing time for many people. After the holiday season passes, the cold temperatures and darker commutes home until late March can be tough. Don’t get us wrong, freshly fallen snow can be mesmerizing, but riders have a distaste for winter for another reason: Their motorcycles go into storage. If you’re already missing your bike, what can you do to ease the separation anxiety?

We offer 4 winter activities to try instead.

Sledding or Snowtubing

skiingThere is no feeling quite like riding a motorcycle on a warm day, but sledding down a steep hill can be another exhilarating adventure. Maybe you haven’t broken out the sled or snow tube since you were a kid; winter is your opportunity to relive those old memories and have fun while off your bike.

Skiing or Snowboarding

Riding a motorcycle requires more skill than driving a car, much like skiing or snowboarding is more complex than walking. If you like a challenge, learn one of these two sports this winter! Skiing is easier for most people to learn, so you could pick it up early in the season. Snowboarding for the first time can be more difficult, but daredevils will get a kick out of learning some of the cool moves they see watching the X Games.

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Harley-Davidson To Expand “Riding Academy”

Among motorcyclists, it is no secret that Harley-Davidson – one of the most popular and influential brands in the motorcycle industry – has been struggling in recent years. Less people are riding and less people are shopping for bikes. In addition, the perception of Harley-Davidson is that it’s for older generations. As sales continue to drop, the company has made several attempts to get business booming again, while restoring their image for younger generations.

Harley’s most recent solution? Expanding their 17-year-old “Riding Academy”.

What Is Harley Riding Academy?

motorcycle safety training courseIn 2000, Harley-Davidson launched a program of three to four-day motorcycle courses offered at dealerships around the country. Approximately 245 dealerships offer this training, but about 25 percent of them have only been for the past three years. Clyde Fessler, who started the “Riding Academy” program, says it is about “getting people comfortable on a motorcycle and getting them to feel safe and confident.”

Why Younger Generations Don’t Ride

Intimidation is a big reason why more millennials are not riding motorcycles. Yet, there is another factor keeping this generation off two wheels. Many young people – especially recent college graduates – have to put off major purchases due to overwhelming student loan debt and low entry-level salaries.

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New 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Model Unveiled

In 2018, Harley-Davidson will celebrate its 115th year in the motorcycle industry. Ahead of this milestone, the company has rolled out a plan to revamp its image and attract a younger generation of riders. As part of their plan, Harley-Davidson is renovating their Softail lineup of cruiser bikes. In late August, eight new models were announced. On November 7th, news broke of a ninth motorcycle.

What do we know about the Softail Sport Glide?

A City Cruiser with Touring Style

riding motorcycle on a sunny dayThe Sport Glide is being described as a cross between the Sportster – a stripped down cruiser- and the Electra Guide – a bulked up touring motorcycle. Harley-Davidson hopes this new bike will be attractive to up and coming riders who are intimidated by touring models.

Since touring bikes are designed for long trips, they need to fully dressed and have a large frame. Such features can translate to more difficult handling, which is why these bikes can be daunting to many beginners.

The Sport Glide comes with lockable saddle bags, cast aluminum wheels and forward-mounted foot controls. It’s new fairing is designed for ultimate wind resistance, keeping gusts away from the rider’s chest. Sporting a 107-cubic-inch V-twin engine, the Sport Glide bike is powered with the same “Milwaukee Eight” engine of the other 2018 Softail models.

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Triumph Unveils 2018 Bonneville Speedmaster

Triumph Motorcycles, the largest British bike manufacturer, has revealed their 2018 Bonneville Speedmaster. The first model of its kind was produced in 2002. Minimal changes have been made since, aside from minor engine and fuel injection updates.

During Triumph’s 115-year history, the company has provided bikes to the U.S. military, the Hollywood movie industry and everyday riders like us. Known for their modern take on classic motorcycle design, the new Bonneville Speedmaster is a more versatile version of the 2017 Bonneville Bobber.

Let’s take a closer look at the 2018 bike.

Speedmaster vs. Bonneville Bobber

closeup of chrome motorcycle engineTriumph’s latest motorcycle borrows a few features from the Bonneville Bobber. Namely, the frame, suspension and twin-cylinder, six-speed 1200cc High Torque engine. Both bikes have a retro look with modern features, but the Speedmaster has a more casual riding style.

The 2018 model also has separate riding modes for rain and rain, a 5-inch LED headlight and standard cruise control for a safer and more environmentally-friendly ride. However, it’s important to note that LED headlights are not yet regulated in the United States.

Where the two bikes differ most is the smaller front wheel and fixed fender at the rear of the Speedmaster to hold a passenger cushion. The newer bike’s seat is only 28 inches high and features a wide handlebar for cruising. Also, the Speedmaster contrasts chrome, aluminum and gold accents with white seat piping versus the Bobber’s darker tones.

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5 Winter Motorcycle Storage Mistakes to Avoid

In New England, the start of winter marks the end of motorcycle season for many riders. When there is snow and ice on the ground, commuting on two wheels can become even more dangerous. While most motorcyclists are reluctant to store their bikes away for the season, it’s important to take the necessary steps for proper storage.

We list five winter motorcycle storage mistakes to avoid.

1. Storing the Bike Dirty

storage garage Throughout the motorcycle season, our bikes see a lot of wear and tear. Sometimes you cannot avoid hitting that pile of mud and, before you know it, your motorcycle could use a good wash. When winter rolls around, it’s especially important to clean all debris from your bike prior to storing it away to prevent paint corrosion and rust.

2. Neglecting to Change the Oil

You may not think about it, but what happens to your bike’s oil when it’s not in use? The oil becomes stagnant – unmoving – and can cause problems when you rev the engine come springtime. To keep it from deteriorating over several months in storage, drain the old oil and add fuel stabilizer to the new.

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Tips for Riding a Motorcycle in Traffic

When you do not speed, drink and ride, or go to the left into oncoming traffic, your chances of being in a fatal motorcycle accident are greatly reduced. Following the rules of the road is also a good rule of thumb to stay safe, but this can be more difficult for motorcyclists – especially in traffic. There are many blind spots with vehicles and its far more dangerous for riders when a truck is involved. Not only can we be less visible to drivers, but stop and go traffic can make the bike harder to handle. 

We offer 4 tips to ride safely in traffic. 

Watch Other Drivers

motorcycle driving through trafficIf surrounding motorists fail to see you, it becomes your responsibility to keep an eye on them. Watching their mirrors and head movements can help you anticipate a sudden maneuver that could knock you down. Especially in congested traffic, a motorcycle can get lost in a car’s blind spot. Keep your head on a swivel to help prevent a tragic accident.

Pick a Side

When traffic slows during rush hour, never position your bike directly behind a vehicle. Many motorists are guilty of speeding up at the first sign of open road, only to slam on the brakes when cars get backed up again. If you stay to the left or right of the vehicle in front of you, there is room to get around if the driver stops short. Rather than slamming into their bumper and risking being thrown from the bike, choose a side to lean towards.

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