Say What?

January 1 2008

Glenn and Gwen,

Enclosed is my renewal of Motorcycle Mojo for two years. You will recall one of your first issues, you ran a picture of my wife and two children on my police bike taken in 1964 and another of my new Police Officer Special in 2003 before we headed for a coast-to-coast (US and Canada) trip. Five weeks of fun.

I now enclose a picture of the same bike that was converted to a trike in winter of 2006 by one of your advertisers, Jim O’Rourke at Classic Trailers and Trikes in Stayner. Beautiful job! A couple of friends have since had their metric bikes converted and they also love theirs. It it wasn’t for the conversion, I would not be riding at all, due to a medical condition. Thanks Jim and thanks Glenn for me to be able to see the advertisement in Mojo.

I have a question that maybe one of your readers might be able to answer. The problem is on the highway at normal speed sometimes the motorcycle will quit. All electrical will go out, radio, all gauges, everything. We coast to the side of the road, turn off the ignition and sit for 2 or 3 minutes, turn on the ignition – all electrics come back on. It will start and run very badly for a minute or so until the computer resets. Then off we go. It has happened maybe 10 times a year since new in 2003. The only answer so far is the main 50 amp breaker but it has been changed 5 times and it still keeps happening. Any motorheads out there that might know the answer to the problem – please advise.

Thanks again for a good magazine.

G. Carman Greer


 

About our Pesky Renewal Letters and our new size.

Hi Glenn and Gwen,

This is not a PESKY NOTICE. I love your new magazine. I liked the old format but the new one is WOW! Hope to see you in Moncton in Feb 2008.

P. Melanson

P.S. Thanks for the sticker.


 

Your mag was small and one of a kind, now you have changed I have not. I’ll buy from you no more.

D. Codd

Well it’s true…you can’t please everyone, but we try. It’s something we felt we had to do. This new size enables us to bring you more great articles…with larger type and bigger and better photos. Maybe down the road you might try us again, we really haven’t changed that much! Gwen


 

Hi Glenn,

I am not sure when my subscription expires and do not want to miss any issues so I am renewing for 3 years to ensure continuity.

Congratulations on having the #1 Bike Mag on the market.

I like the larger mag and the great articles. I especially enjoy the tours and trips, having ridden my V-Star 1100 Classic from Yorkton, Saskatchewan to Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico in September and returning in late May to celebrate my 65th year of life in this great world we live in.

I live in P.V. and do walking tours for first time tourists and will offer a 10% discount to any motorcyclist who may be interested.

Keep up the good work.

Thank you, Allan Prout

allanjalmex@hotmail.com


 

Motorcycle Mojo:

Re: Reliving the past

I was present at the Nurburgring when M. Duff took victory in the 350 ccm and 500 ccm class. WHAT A GREAT RACER!

I enjoyed the story about the classic racing, small error: The 1954 Sportmax would have a more distinct gas tank – the fairings would be different and the exhaust would be on the clutch side. The picture shows an Italian Mondial, (you actually can see their logo on the fairing) possibly 125 ccm, the 250 was more rare.

All the best for a great magazine.

Herbertjohn@telus.net

 

Hello Herbert

Sure enough after a closer look at the photo in question, it appears you are correct. Both fairing are very similar and Mondials in private hands are rare, while NSU Sportmaxes are quite common.

Thanks for your response.

Michelle Duff


 

Hi Glenn,

Re: Dumb-Ass Inquiry

I read with great interest your description of your journey into the West. It made me think that you are probably the best candidate to shed some light on an issue that I have. Even though this is my first year riding a motorcycle, I am about fifty seven thousand years old. (Never marry a nurse if ya wanna be a biker.) Fox TV would probably tell my story as “When Mid-life Crises Go Terribly Wrong”. Anyway, because I am so short on experience in the sport, but so long on the earth, I have much to do in a short time. One of those things is to ride to the west coast. However, one of my principal concerns with this venture is the whole roadside breakdown-maintenance issue.

Most of the articles I read on the topic of motorcycle touring seem to imply that you should transport most of a mechanics toolbox with you, and be prepared to use it at the drop of a wheel-gas tank-electrical system etc etc.

My only involvement with maintenance on any of my road going products is regular visits to my local garage. Thus, (a) I don’t have any tools and (b) I wouldn’t know how to use them if I did have them and (c) I have no real desire to learn at this stage. I would hope that a cell phone and the CAA roadside assistance program would be adequate. Ever since I have been driving Japanese cars (about 15 years), I have not had the need to call CAA for emergency rescue.

My bike is a 2007 Suzuki 650 V-Strom. Fans of the bike have told me that they are as bulletproof as most Japanese cars, so I should be able to travel any distance I want with no fear of breakdown. In fact, the general implication is that MY motor and MY systems will break down long before my bike’s will. That is probably true, but most of them hadn’t traveled much further than the local Tim’s, so I am not totally confident in their recom-mendations.

So, having read your article, and not seeing any reference to emergency repairs, I thought I would ask your opinion. If you were a mechanical dimwit with a new Japanese bike, would you feel comfortable heading for either coast from the Trawna area armed with only a cell phone and your CAA membership card.

Any thoughts or comments you may have will be greatly appreciated. Regards, Frank, Brampton, Ont.

PS. I think the new magazine format is excellent. It it makes it seem more like the professional product that it is, legitimately competing with the other pro mags.

 

Hi Frank

First off let me say thank you for your kind comment at the end of your email. We feel really good about the new size and have had lots of comments reflecting the general approval. I don’t know why we didn’t do it earlier, oh wait, yes I do. For years at every bike show across the country our readers said they like the digest size better than a full size so we kept it for them. We may loose some readers but that is doubtful since its the same content. To date, we’ve only had two complaints about the new size.

Now on with your question. There is no such thing as a ‘Dumb-Ass Inquiry’, especially with a new rider. It is a very valid question but I think one that is unwarranted on a new, or even relatively new, properly maintained bike.

All major manufacturers make a quality product these days and from a bike testers point of view, it is sometimes hard to find a fault with bikes of today other than sometimes riding position which is purely personal.

I have been riding 30 years on the street and have been broken down once on my first street bike in the very early eighties. Bikes from the seventies and especially the sixties and prior, I would say yes, some, or lots of, mechanical experience would be very helpful but not these days. Besides, modern motorcycles are like modern cars. If they breakdown, there isn’t much you can do to fix them. Computers, fuel injection etc is not serviceable on the side of the road.

As for tools, you are right. The most important tool to have is a cell phone (as long as you have reception) and secondly, some kind of roadside assistance. I don’t think you have to worry with your V-Strom. I would recommend taking it in to the shop for the mechanic to check over and service, fluid changes, make sure fasteners are tight etc if needed, be sure to tell him what your intentions are.

Also make sure your tires are in good condition or be prepared to replace rubber somewhere along the trip. It’s a long way to the west and the flat roads will take their toll on the tread because of the lack of curves.

Keeping an eye on the weather channel is a good idea and pay attention to what you might be riding into. It doesn’t matter what the weather is going to be like where you are, it matters what its like where you are heading to.

Tire punctures are a real concern regardless of any vehicle and are totally unpredictable. I believe your V-Strom has tubeless tires. Fixing a tubeless tire is easy to do on the road with the proper kit. I had a flat waaaayyy off the beaten path in Cape Breton Island a few years ago. Even if I had cell reception, I don’t know if I could have described to a tow truck driver how to find me. Luckily I had tubeless tires and a repair kit. One maker of such kits advertises in the magazine – Stop N Go on page 106 of the Nov/Dec issue. It was a Stop N Go kit I had in Cape Breton. The kit comes with everything you need to get back on the road including compressed air tubes. You don’t even need to take the wheel off the bike. Your local shop would be able to get you one of the kits from their suppliers. Don’t leave home without it.

Take warm clothes including decent rain gear. Hours in the wind can take its toll. Various parts of the country have quite different weather patterns. The area around Lake Superior, as beautiful as it is, I believe must have its own weather unlike anywhere else. I have ridden in every province and I think my time around Superior was the most unpredictable weather-wise (but I can’t wait to go back). As I mentioned in my article, I just missed some very nasty weather in the prairies but did ride on one particularly cold, windy day and I was glad I had warmer gloves and an extra sweater. Even if its not raining, rain gear blocks the wind and keeps your body heat in. Better to be too warm than cold, you can always undo a zipper to cool down.

Don’t push your personal limits. Ride the amount of hours you can safely do without fatigue.

I’m sure there are a few minor tips I’m missing here but these are the most important I think. I hope they help.

Ask around to some of your friends or if you see a license plate from another Province or State, I’m sure they have tips for long distance travel as well. Take care and have a great trip Frank

Sincerely Glenn Roberts

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