Benefits of Taking a Motorcycle Safety Class

Some bikers start riding early. As young teenagers, they are romping through the woods and open fields on dirt bikes and ATVs. Handling an off road vehicle can be quite different from a motorcycle. Riders do not have to deal with the same weight, maneuverability issues, traffic or other obstacles, but by the time these individuals buy their first motorcycle, they have a grasp on riding. Other riders are brand new to the experience and may be getting on a motorcycle for the first time when they make the decision to ride. Either way, taking a professional motorcycle safety class is highly recommended for anyone preparing to ride the highways and back roads of Connecticut.

Learn Safety Tips

closeup of a motorcycle on the road As the old saying goes, it never hurts to be reminded. From lifetime riders to amateurs, a safety course can help refresh or introduce basic safety concepts to make everyone a more careful rider. Some experienced bikers may have missed a few seasons due to work, an injury or lack of a working motorcycle, in which case a refresher course can help get you back in the saddle. For beginners, the lessons taught in a safety course will help in passing a state license test, cover the appropriate gear recommended and the many traffic scenarios one may encounter.

Receive Insurance Discounts

Did you know that some insurance companies offer discounts on motorcycle insurance rates when a rider has successfully completed a safety course? These days, every little bit helps when it comes to saving money and being able to lower your insurance rates. The discount can range from five to 20 percent, depending on the insurance carrier. Before taking a motorcycle safety course, ask your insurance agent if they provide this discount and what is necessary for eligibility.

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Indian Motorcycles Announces 2017 Lineup

If you like your bikes brand new, check out the new 2017 lineup of Indian Motorcycles. The company, a subsidiary of Medina, MN-based Polaris Industries, recently announced the bikes it is ready to roll out in the new year. The collection will feature upgraded models including Scout Sixty, Indian Springfield and Chief Dark Horse with new color choices.

One of the technological improvements being offered is a new touch-screen information and entertainment system that features:

  • A 7” display with turn-by-turn navigation
  • Bluetooth audio
  • USB flash-drive support

New Chieftain models will come with 100 watts of audio and the high-end Indian Roadmaster will pump out 200 watts. Forget smartphones – Indian is looking to create smart-bikes with booming stereo systems to match.

The company says its new system has the largest and brightest touch-screen display in the industry, with the highest resolution and fastest response time. The screen is glove compatible with two-finger touch capabilities. Previous screens would not operate if a biker was wearing gloves, which made the product almost obsolete. Most serious bikers know that high-quality gloves are essential to riding.

Indian is looking to close the gap with Harley-Davidson, the Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer synonymous with legendary bikes, with their new models and innovative technology. Indian was actually founded two years before Harley in 1901, but went out of business in 1953. Harley-Davidson came to dominate the market until Indian was relaunched in 2011 after being acquired by Polaris.

Redesigning the Indian bikes from scratch, Polaris aimed to become a serious rival to Harley-Davison and, though the climb has been tough, it believes its new technology will help propel the brand into the future.

To see the new 2017 Indian Motorcycles, visit http://www.indianmotorcycle.com/en-us/motorcycles

Preparing to Ride your Motorcycle in the Fall

We have good news and bad news. The bad news is that summer is almost over. However, the good news is that extremely bad weather likely won’t arrive until mid-December. So, you and your friends have plenty of time left to enjoy motorcycle road trips before snow and icy wind make riding difficult and dangerous. While you still have time to soak in the sun and enjoy warm summer nights riding, now is a good time to start preparing for fall. With the foliage and Indian summer weather, fall trips in Connecticut and New England are some of the best around.

Motorcycle Maintenance

two men riding their motorcycles in the sunshine Chances are you’ve used your motorcycle quite a bit during the summer. This means it is probably in need of a solid tune-up. Now is a great time to take your ride to a mechanic you trust and get a thorough tune-up that will prepare your ride for fall. Have your brakes checked, as well as the exhaust, engine and tires. Knowing that your bike is in great shape will make fall riding much more fun.

Fall Safety & Riding Tips

Check The Weather & Wear Seasonally Appropriate Gear

While September and October in Connecticut can be fairly warm, you always want to be prepared for that sudden cold front. To ensure you and your body are protected from the cold, start looking for high-quality leather biker jackets, gloves and eye protection that will fend off sudden cold spells and allow you to enjoy the beautiful scenery while riding.

Additionally, wearing the proper gear gives you an important second layer of skin to protect against severe road rash or prevent serious injury in the event of a fall.

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Keanu Reeves Enters the Motorcycle Matrix

Movie stars and motorcycles are no strangers. From Tom Cruise to Mickey Rourke, many of the silver screen elites are also bike enthusiasts. But some go beyond just riding other people’s handiwork. Known for his star-making role in the successful Matrix movie franchise, Keanu Reeves has often pursued interests outside of the Hollywood arena. During the 1990’s the enigmatic actor played bass guitar in a band called Dogstar and today, though he still takes on acting roles, Reeves has returned to one of his early passions, motorcycles.

Keanu ReevesAlong with partner Gard Hollinger, Reeves is ramping up production on a motorcycle manufacturing company called Arch Motorcycles. Founded in 2011, the company specializes in custom-made bikes that target the higher end of the motorcycle world. Custom Arch motorcycles start at $78,000 but are well worth the price as each features a combination of elegant design, handcrafted workmanship and superior power and handling.

Reeves recently told CNBC, “For me, riding is a kind of freedom. Just the sound, the feeling of it. The connection to the road, to riding, to the environment, to the journey”.

An avid rider since the age of 22, Reeves, now 51, is well known for riding bikes to the movie set he is working on. However, it was in 2006 when the idea of starting his own motorcycle company started to kick in. Reeves took one of his Harley-Davidson’s to Hollinger, a well-known Los Angeles chopper expert, simply to customize the seat. Instead, Hollinger designed a custom-made bike just for Reeves.

By 2010, the duo had a working prototype and with a little convincing from Reeves, Hollinger agreed to go into business under the title of Arch Motorcycle Company. To date, the company has produced only one model, the KRGT-1, but Reeves expects more models to launch in the near future. But for now, the KRGT-1 is more than enough for most riders.

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Preparing for Summer Traffic

ct ride blogIt’s no secret that traffic greatly increases during the summer. While school buses are off the road, many other motorists are on the back roads and highways for vacations and day trips. Summer is also a time of holidays, outdoor concerts and other events that will add to the number of vehicles on the roads. If you want to avoid the headaches and frustration traffic causes, try following these simple tips.

The first tip is to know what you are getting yourself into. There are plenty of apps on your phone that can inform you of traffic conditions on just about every road. So, if you are planning a ride or long trip, we strongly suggest checking the traffic conditions first. Alerts about accidents, construction work and jams allow you the chance to find alternate routes that will bypass the parking lot forming on the highway.

You will also want to check the weather forecast for the areas you plan on riding through. Summer can stir up sudden storms of heavy rain, lightning and strong wind gusts. This is dangerous enough for cars and trucks, so imagine how you will feel if caught in a what people in Oklahoma call a “sooner” while on your bike! It’s hard to trust meteorologists, but if the sky looks threatening, consider postponing your ride for another time.

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Best Gear for 2017

Every year the biker community gets excited about the new motorcycles that will be rolling off the production lines. From new touring cruisers to rocket bikes, there are plenty of new models to give motorcycle fans something to look forward to. Along with new bikes, there are always new parts and accessories that hit the market to help you look and ride better. Here are our picks for the best summer gear for 2016.

Helmets

ScorpionEXO-GT920Whether your state has a helmet law or not, many bikers like the look of an intimidating helmet. Safety is always the top priority, but being able to sport a Darth Vader or Kylo Ren style is even better. The Scorpion EXO-GT920 is a mean looking helmet that goes well with speed bikes. Available in black, gray or white, the EXO-GT920 modular helmet form a completely redesigned shell, providing a more aerodynamic profile and greater stability. Stocked with all the features required by the modern rider, the EXO-GT920 is equipped with a SpeedView drop-down sun visor, KwilWick II liner and aero-tuned ventilation. The helmet is made from premium polycarbonate shell engineered to be lightweight, strong and maximize impact displacement.

Leather Jackets

REVITAkiraEveryone benefits from that second layer of skin to offer protection, should you spill and find yourself at risk for a little road burn. Even when not riding, you want a jacket that is stylish and casual in any environment. If you have the money, we recommend the REV’IT! Akira Air Vintage Jacket. Available in dark brown, this jacket forgoes the studs and collar for a sleek jacket that reflects modern biker style. Combining MotoGP styling in a fully perforated leather jacket with Tailored Technology through the use of Pull-up cowhide leather, this jacket is as safe as it is stylish. Dual-comp protectors and CE-level 2 rated Seeflex protectors come standard at shoulders and elbows, with the option to upgrade with the CE-level 2 rated Seesoft back protector insert. The outer shell is 88% leather, 11% polyamide and 1% elastane.

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Best Motorcycles for 2017

Not every top manufacturer has pulled back the curtain on their new bikes for 2017, but a few prototypes and beta models have been leaked. If you have chosen 2017 as the year you make a new motorcycle purchase, keep these new bikes in mind.

2017 KTM 390 Duke

A full production of the 2017 KTM 390 Duke was spotted in the Indian factory in Pune where the bikes are manufactured by KTM partner Baja. The bike is still partially covered in press photos, but changes to the front light and side panels can be clearly seen. The new front lights appear to be new LED units that work with the updated side panels for a new and more aggressive look. Updates to the bike were required to make it legal for upcoming Euro4 emissions testing and noise regulation. Other new changes seen include a reshaped fuel tank, updated seat unit and revised rear light. The 373cc single-cylinder motor produces 43bhp.

2017 Yamaha SCR950. Yamaha photo.

2017 Yamaha SCR950. Yamaha photo.

Yamaha Scrambler

The new 2017 model will be called the SCR950. Based on the XV950, the SCR950 uses the same 942 air-cooled V-twin motor in the same steel double-cradle chassis, with styling that gives it a nod toward the off road world. The main differences from the VX950, known in the States as the Bolt, are in chassis dimensions. The SCR has sharper steering geometry than the cruiser-like XV and sits much taller, with an 830mm seat height against the XV’s low rider 690mm perch.

Harley-Davidson Softail Slim S

Harley’s S Series cruisers are packing more power through Harley’s air-cooled Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engines, formerly reserved for the firm’s Custom Vehicle Operations. That hot-rod Harley motor powers the new Sotail Slim S. Like other Softails’s, it looks like a suspension-less hard-tail, but coil shocks are actually hidden under the six-speed transmission. More obvious is the U.S. Army styling, inspired by Harley’s WLA models of World War II.

Tips on Prepping for a Motorcycle Road Trip

Spring and fall can be ideal for short rides through the countryside, but during summer, many bikers enjoy setting out on longer trips that can last several hours or be part of a weekend trip. The idea of warm weather and open roads lead many bikers to plan for longer trips during the summer months, but the lengthier the trip, the more mindful you need to be.

Here are a few tips to consider before you head out for a ride lasting longer than a few hours.

Know the Roads

Many bikers tell stories of getting lost out on the roads, but this can be dangerous. Before you roll out for an extended trip, be sure to map out your route and bring along a GPS system or smartphone that will ensure you don’t get lost. Connecticut may not be the biggest state, but you can still make a wrong turn that leaves you stranded in the middle of nowhere with no gas.

Top Off the Tank

Always top off the gas tank before a long ride and have some fuel in reserve. Many of Connecticut’s best roads for motorcycle trips are barely populated, which can be good and bad. The plus side is that you won’t encounter much traffic, but the downside is you won’t find many rest areas or gas stations along the way. Plan your trip accordingly to prevent the emergency of an empty tank.

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Best Locations to Ride in Connecticut

Connecticut may not be the biggest state, but it definitely has its fair share of scenic roadways that are perfect for a day of motorcycle riding. Whether it’s late spring, when the landscape comes alive or fall, when the foliage forms a brilliant backdrop, these roads offer riders a great chance to get away from the stress of everyday life and let the wind carry them to a peaceful state of mind.

Northeast CT Country Loop

CorwallBridgeStarting in Ashford, this trip runs east on Route 44 and features a number of small villages and old farms. The loop consists of routes 198 to 171, then 169 to 197 and back to 171. This takes you through out-of- the-way towns, including Quinebaug, Pomfret and Woodstock. In addition to the rolling farmland, you’ll also be treated to scenic forests and old country towns. Parts of the ride touch on Nipmuck State Forest and Natchaug State Forest. The area is sparsely populated, which means traffic is minimal and you can ride for long stretches without hitting a stop sign or traffic light. However, this also means there aren’t many roadside amenities, so plan on eating ahead of your trip. The roads are in good shape and as long as the weather is nice, this trip is great for easing back and enjoying a nice ride.

Northern CT Border Run

Running parallel with the Connecticut and Massachusetts state line, this trip begins at the intersection of Route 169 and 190 in North Woodstock. Head west on Route 197, which will turn into Route 190 roughly 25 miles into the ride. Running through Nipmuck State Forest, there are very few towns on this route, so it is recommended that you fill your gas tank before taking off. However, the lack of civilization is offset by the beautiful forests and widespread farmland of northern Connecticut. Traffic is light and there are few distractions in terms of signs and lights, but there is plenty of wildlife, so keep an eye out for deer and other animals running across the road. Although far removed from towns, the roads are in good condition and provide a few twists and turns to keep the ride exciting. This ride is perfect for a fall foliage trip and a warm October day can’t be beat.

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Best Bikes on a Budget

If you are looking for a motorcycle, but don’t have unlimited money to spend, you will need to be smart in your search. Finding a decent motorcycle between $5,000 and $7,000 actually isn’t impossible and you might be surprised by the level of quality you can find in that price range.

 
Here are a few suggestions for finding the right bike on a budget:

2015 Honda CBR300R ABS

Coming in at $4,899, this starter bike is a steal. With a low seat height, skinny, lightweight, easy clutch and small displacement, the CBR is perfect for a rider’s first bike and will offer plenty of bang for your buck. Featuring a 300cc engine, this bike easily speeds up to 60-70 mph and has a nimble performance, giving new riders the chance to learn on a bike that is both reliable and fun.

KTM 390 Duke

Featuring a 373cc engine pumping out 44 horsepower, the little brother to the 1290 Super Duke R is a mini-Streetfighter and has all the sharp handling characteristics KTM is famous for. At just under $5,000, the KTM 390 is a bargain and a great choice for beginners that want more than just a starter bike. Weighing in at 306 pounds, the KTM is lightweight, easy to maneuver and just plain fun to ride.

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