Archive | March, 2012

Capital City Rockers vs. Mods

31 Mar

My personal experience is that most of the motorcycle community tends to look down on scooters.  

So when I heard that a group of motorcyclists were encouraging all types of scooters to join them for the First Annual Capital City Rockers vs. Mods rally here in Austin, I didn’t know what to expect.   I decided to give it a try and am so glad I did!

All types of motorcycles and scooters were warmly welcomed.  There was something for everyone — classic, modern, cafe racer type motorcycles and both vintage and modern scooters.   I’ve always thought the coolest bike ever is the Triumph Bonneville, so you know I appreciated the look of the cafe bikes and the riders’ laid-back attitudes.  It was a perfect venue for the easy-going scooter crowd.

This next picture is an example of the wide variety of bikes at the rally.

If the seat on this old Yammie looks uncomfortable, that’s because it’s a skateboard!

The Mods were all about style, and Charles totally dressed the part. 

It took a few tries to get the video cameras set up properly on my new Sym scooter, but worked it out by Sunday’s ride.  Here is a short video/slide show of a few highlights from the rally.  As always, cutting the weekend down to a few minutes was difficult.  

This beautiful 1964 Vespa GS160 belongs to Martin, a friend of mine from the Austin Scooter Club.  If that scooter looks authentic, it’s because Martin actually was a Mod from 1959 until 1965, when he married and settled down.  As a Mod, he rode a 1958 Douglas Vespa 150 Clubman. 

Most of you have probably heard about the Rockers and the Mods subcultures and how they supposedly engaged in fights and started riots and created moral panic, blah, blah, during the sixties in England.  Turns out none of that’s true, but was hype manufactured and perpetuated by the news media.  Martin graciously agreed to let me record a short video about the background and real story about what went on — rather, did not go on during that time.

All the Mod hooligans and Rocker louts had a great time meeting each other, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s rally!

Peace on the Road!

This is Why I Ride

19 Mar

Several years ago I began searching for the magical words that capture the essence of what it’s like to ride on two wheels.  There are descriptions that hint at it, descriptions that sort of but not quite get it, and descriptions that come close — but until now no description has nailed it.

Jeffrey Rumminger, a rider but not a professional writer, ended my search with an article published in the April Guest Column of the  American Motorcyclist.  He got it right in “Together in Motion.”

After reading his article, I was so impressed that I immediately sent Colonel Rumminger a request for permission to reprint “Together in Motion” in Biketrash Holiday.  He gave his permission as soon as he received the letter, and the American Motorcycle Association promptly gave its permission.

I gotta tell you, Colonel Rumminger is a nice, humble, and generous guy.  We’ve e-mailed back and forth a few times, and in those brief exchanges I feel like I’ve made a friend.  Doesn’t it seem like the riders who love the two-wheeled experience for the pure joy of the ride, no strings attached, will always respond to a sister or brother rider?  They don’t care how you dress, what type or brand you ride.  Without hesitation, they step forward when asked. 

Come to think of it, for me personally, that’s the foundation of my two-wheeled experience.   Riding brings forth the experience, but it rests upon the certain knowledge that we, as riders, have hundreds of unknown friends who are willing to lend a hand.

Biketrash Holiday is honored to share. . . .

Understanding the Ego of the Motorcyclist
By Jeffrey Rumminger

My motorcycle idles high as it warms up, and my riding gear is coming on.  As the engine speed decreases, I begin to feel anticipation of the ride.  My eyes trace the shapes of metallic art that are part of my machine.  I feel a slight warming near my leg as the engine heat radiates.

I check zippers and snaps — secure.  My helmet is on and cinched.  The gloves come on and I once again appreciate that comforting feeling of those perfectly shaped and worn-in gloves.  My leg swings over the bike, and I feel a tingle of joy that slowly makes its way through my body.

I throttle up and ease out the clutch.  That first moment of motion overtakes me with a soothing rush.  That moment — that same moment every time — is both mysterious and familiar.  It is in that moment that all non-riding things fall away and I recapture the freedom to focus again.  It is in that moment, that very real moment of motion, I am connected.

As most motorcyclists do, I often get the question, “Why do you ride a motorcycle?”  For me, first and foremost, riding is the absence of all non-riding thought and in that absence a connection to motion is formed.  No other motorized machine designed to transport a human being provides that same connection.  Planes can’t.  Trains can’t.  Automobiles can’t.  Boats can’t.

Continue Reading “Together in Motion”. . . .

So did he nail it or what?  The first moment and the connection to motion — That’s it!

Peace on the Road!


*Reprinted with permission from the American Motorcyclist Association, American Motorcyclist, April 2012, Volume 66, Number 4, “Together in Motion” by Jeffrey Rumminger.

EFM Auto Clutch — One Year Later

12 Mar

It’s been a little over a year since the EFM Auto Clutch was installed on my V-Star 1300. 

Since then I’ve tried to objectively share my impressions and what I’ve learned in three previous reviews.  Those three reviews are:

EFM Auto Clutch — First Impressions
EFM Auto Clutch — Almost-But-Not-Quite-Final Impressions
EFM Auto Clutch — Final Review

More people than I ever imagined have shown an interest in the reviews, so I want to continue writing about my experiences with the EFM — good, bad, or neutral — in the hope that others will find it useful.  This article talks about some symptoms that developed with my clutch assembly and the solution to that problem.

Last July I left off by saying in Final Review that the EFM Auto Clutch occasionally made a loud rattle/grating and gronking sound on take-off and that sometimes I couldn’t shift from second to first without pulling in the clutch lever.   Over the next several months, both of those issues became increasingly more frequent.  

Later on, the forward pull described in Almost-But-Not-Quite-Final Impressions suddenly seemed to take on a life of its own, and I experienced a few scary butt-pucker moments while stopping the bike.  In fact, in those butt-pucker moments, the clutch pull was so strong I was afraid I might not be able to reign her in.

With the “runaway” clutch pull, I took the bike to Jennifer at Austin City Powersports.  After inspecting and measuring the clutch plates and clearances, she tried varying the spacing washers within the recommended range of clearance and also varied the amount of spring washers.  Garry, from EFM Auto Clutch, suggested making some more adjustments with the spring washers.  Any and all small adjustments were either too much or not enough, and it was impossible to fine tune the adjustment so it worked properly.  None of that worked to her satisfaction.
Even though the friction plates still measured within Yamaha specs, they were glazed.  Jennifer replaced the old friction plates and then had to start over with correct clearances and spring washer adjustments.  That solved everything.  I consider myself lucky to have a mechanic who stuck with it long enough to find a fix.
So, to make a long story short, last week I picked up my bike, went on a nice, long ride, and can confidently say that riding with the EFM Auto Clutch is back to normal.  In the future, if any of these annoying symptoms show up again, I won’t put up with them for long!
Central Texas has had some rain, bluebonnets are blooming, and it’s time to get out and ride!
Peace on the Road!

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