Posts tagged motorcycles

2014 Zero S Review- Your Range Anxiety is Bullshit

2014 Zero S Malibu

This bike was not only fun to ride, but blew my mind with the range. Sure, it’s got twice the battery capacity of my Zero FX, and weighs a lot more, but wow. I could totally sell the R1 and go all-electric… Full story on Gas2.

Photographed juicing up at my favorite westside lunch spot- Malibu Country Mart.

Zero Motorcycles Press Intro | International Motorcycle Show

Zero FX

The FX may be the perfect city bike, but not with those tires. Those are your Saturday tires, for playing in the dirt. Get some Zero S wheels to run street rubber on this bike for everyday use.

Here’s a recent article I did for Gas2…


Zero had a massive showing again this year, with a central spot on the show floor at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, CA. As press entered the show we were greeted by a pair of ladies handing us Zero brochures and reminding us not to miss their presentation.

Judging by how late most of the paper magazines were to report on these bikes, some even reporting on 2013 models when they’re all sold out, you’d have think they missed it last year. You know we didn’t. Full coverage here. And exclusive video interview with Zero owner Terry Hershner on the completion of his first (of MANY) cross-country trip on the Zero S. Oh how that bike has changed over the year! It was sad that the only Brammo at the event was the wheelie “ride” bike I saw outside near the stunt arena. The show continues in New York this coming weekend. Story continues on Gas2….

Suzuki Girls…

GS450 In August I was asked to cover Suzuki’s 50th Anniversary party at the Indianapolis round of MotoGP. It was a lovely party, especially because I got to see the Suzuki that was my first real motorcycle. They had this nice history wall, with media highlights from all their 50 years of selling bikes in the US. You can read my story on RideApart. Before the GS450 I’d only had scooters and an MZ150, which looked like a motorcycle but ran like a very high-maintenance scooter. The GS450 was the most powerful bike I’d owned. I bought it from my friend Jaxon, who’d been using it as a motorcycle messenger. At the time I was a scooter messenger, delivering letters and packages around San Francisco on a 1965 Lambretta TV175. The Lambretta had been properly rebuilt by Barry at SF Scooter Centre, so it ran like a champ even under the hardest conditions. But I saw the messengers on proper motorcycles getting the higher paying out-of-town runs, and wanted a piece of that. In the early 90’s in San Francisco, all the cool kids rode BMWs and the REALLY cool kids rode Ducatis. I didn’t have the kind of money for either, and needed something practical. So I bought Jaxon’s GS450 when he upgraded to a bigger bike. Continue reading Suzuki Girls…

My R1 Has a Name

My 2009 R1 right after I added a gel seat pad and gave it the custom heart-shaped seat cover I'd also done for my 2004.

My 2009 R1 right after I added a gel seat pad and gave it the custom heart-shaped seat cover I’d also done for my 2004.

I’ve been riding Yamaha R1’s since 2002. Even I find it hard to believe that over a decade has passed since I first discovered that absolute power does indeed corrupt absolutely. I love my big boys, but they’ve never had names. They certainly have more personality than the Honda’s I’ve ridden, but not as much as the Ducati I owned, which almost immediately told me his name was Fred. Making the annual pilgrimage to Laguna Seca, our favorite way to bond, he told me his name, Big Will. What’s interesting is that this didn’t come until after living together just over 3 years, and him tossing me off in December because I made the slightest error on the wrong tires. Lesson learned, I switched back to Pirellis and had him fixed up.

R1 tape


But now he has the scars of a crash, something none of my R1’s have endured. It’s weird to think I haven’t crashed a single R1 in all these years. I’ve crashed other bikes, developing a theory that I only crash bikes I don’t like. I wasn’t thrilled with my 09, I loved my 04 better. But she had 50,000 miles, and when the stator & rotor melted together I decided it was time for something new and shiny. That new & shiny R1 happens to be a lot heavier, and seriously thirsty. Then right after our 3rd anniversary, I abandoned him for Shaq, a Zero FX which is perfect for everyday riding, as I reported here. Big Will sat and collected dust until the time came to get that starting issue sorted before the sabbatical. $1300 later, he was ready to go anywhere, as fast as I dared. Yet I discovered on this year’s ride I just didn’t want to go as fast. It’s really unnerving, and something I hope to work through in Level 4 of California Superbike School sometime soon. Continue reading My R1 Has a Name

The motorcycles I have owned

1985: 1981 Vespa P200E

Greatest Memory? Every ride with Cheri (memorialized here), especially the ones where we snuck out at night and rode to the city 20 miles away.

The first time I went for a ride, on the back of Rob Bond’s Suzuki GS550, I knew I had to have one for myself. Sharing was simply not an option. So I spent the next year (until I was 15 1/2) working my parents over. By the time I was old enough to get my motorcycle permit, they relented. Because people (mistakenly) perceive scooters as being safer than motorcycles (it’s the other way around, actually), my parents let me buy a Vespa. I worked all summer in a paint factory to pay for it, but still only had about 50%. So my super awesome dad came up with the other half. The day I turned 15 1/2 I went straight to the DMV to get my motorcycle permit. I passed the test. Back then, you didn’t have to get a car permit in order to get a motorcycle permit. And I hadn’t heard about the MSF, as it was just starting up in 1985. Too bad, it would’ve saved me launching that 1981 Vespa P200E into the bushes across the street in front of my parents and the guy selling it to me.

Continue reading The motorcycles I have owned

Quit whining about the price of gas

How about instead of whining about the price of gas, you all do something about it? The only way to bring the price down is to reduce demand.
If I’m paying a premium to help American end its dependency on blood oil, I should be allowed to drive/ride as fast as I want.

Eyes on the prize…

The past week has been such a blur, I can’t even recall if I blogged about this. Don’t think so, and due to the pinheads who control our access to the interwebs, I can’t check right now. But I’m pretty sure my last post was about riding in Texas. Which was awesome, especially when I scoffed at the Tesla guy at the Maker faire. He told me the top speed was a measly 125mph, I scoffed and he asked “when’s the last time you went over 125?” I had trouble remembering what day of the week it had been, and was clearly struggling to recall. So he said “Tuesday?” and I was like “yes, I think it was Tuesday, it must have been since I drove from Marfa, tx to Indio, California on Wednesday.” 😉

So the prize. The prize is a pearl white Ducati 848, because I am no longer a size queen, and am interested in more rational types of motorcycles. Unfortunately, no pix with this one, but I will attempt to give this sexy beast justice with mere words. Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous, with a (termignoni-assisted) voice that rumbles to the very depths of my soul, making me want to do whatever it takes to ensure she’s got a lifetime supply of sweet crude… She’s also tons of fun. I dropped by Ducati Beverly hills to say hi to my friends, and they immediately escorted me out the door onto their demo model. Well. The 848 was ecstatic everywhere, lanesplitting up la cienega, posing on sunset plaza, racing the fancy cars down sunset to Beverly glen, crawling up Beverly glen with rush hour traffic, even sitting at an interminable red light. The heat dissipates almost entirely to the crotch, so it’s a great bike for guys who want to be extra sure they’re not getting any surprise babies. Which is better than the R1, which literally cooks my legs.

The only problem was mulholland, where her excessively stiff factory setup made the endless bumps unbearable. But hey, that’s a $20 fix at the first track day.

So I’m a bit behind here, that was Thursday and since then I’ve driven to San francisco, gone to the maker faire, and am 2 days into the conference that may very well lead to the job that will enable me to run right out and buy this sexy beast. But don’t tell my R1 that. She did a great job getting me here, we had soo much fun. And she’s so good to me, even though I ignored the tow away zone sign and left her on the street in LA. It was bad enough to leave her on the mean streets of downtown LA all night, but then to subject her to the indignity of being schlepped to the pound for my mistake… Poor baby, I left a Ducati for her, and now it’s looking like I’m about to leave her for a Ducati.

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Pythagorian Theorem of Riding

Wow! So I’m catching up on my horoscopes, and this is amazing. I actually followed Brezny’s advice without even realizing it. The dogma was that I am too cool to ride a scooter. I finally relented and rented one (with a nudge from Britt, if she hadn’t suggested it, I might not have done it). And what’s changed about my worldview is that I can actually enjoy getting from point A to point B even though I am the slowest guy out there. While some of you have survived being passengers in a car driven by me, none of you know what goes on inside my helmet at a red light. I filter to the front, thinking nasty thoughts about what a bunch of tools these cagers all are, especially the idiots in North Carolina who honk at me as I neatly cut through the lanes. Losers. And I am appalled beyond belief at just how excrutiatingly slowly people pull away from a light, especially in North Carolina. In Barcelona, of course, people drive the way people should drive the world over. Fast. No dilly-dallying. So I thought I would need to be on my fast bike to enjoy riding here. But I’m on the slowest thing ever, and I’m actually digging it. AND I actually arrive calmer because I’m not freaking out over how slow everyone is the whole way there.

I’m glad that Pythagoras’ dogma was shattered because everyone knows mere numbers can’t provide the ultimate truth about reality. pffft.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras is
known as “the father of numbers.” He taught that mathematics provides
the ultimate truth about reality. His otherwise productive career went
through a rough patch when one of his students found that the square
root of two is an “irrational” number that can’t be expressed as a simple
fraction. “Impossible!” said Pythagoras. His system was built on the axiom
that there are no such numbers. Yet he couldn’t refute the student’s
proof. By some accounts, Pythagoras had the student drowned for his
impunity. The brilliant theorist couldn’t deal with the threat to his dogma.
I bring this to your attention, Aries, because you have an opportunity to
do what Pythagoras couldn’t: accept the evidence that your beliefs about
reality are limited, and incorporate the new data into a revised worldview.

check out my big box

big box, originally uploaded by pinkyracer.

OK, so it’s not mine, but I once had a silver Vespa P200E, just like this one. My first and second scooters, in fact. My very first scooter had probably 5x the horsepower my current rental has. Amazing. But fun. It’s certainly (humbling would be the word, but that’s not how it feels, more like pacifying) being so slow off the line I’m better off just staying behind cars than getting up front with all the other scooters and holding up traffic as I goose the throttle to try and get her up to speed a little quicker. Especially going uphills.

So I bought gas, which was a little overwhelming at first. I didn’t want to do anything inappropriate at the gas station or anything. And it wasn’t really any different than buying gas in the US, except you can’t pay at the pump.

So this box. For those of you who gripe about my sleek 4.6 liter Givi box on the back of my R1, well. Stuff it. My Givi box rocks and dammit. It’s not like it’s some 10 liter diamondplate monolith, got it? ;-P I’m gonna flip that bike over backwards on May 7th, after all this time on Butters. Yeah, my scooter’s name is Butters. As in “I dunno you guys, are you sure this is a good idea?” while Cartman unveils yet another devious scheme involving shaming the boy who knows no shame…

babycar with scooters

babycar with scooters.JPG, originally uploaded by pinkyracer.

it’s so damn cute! don’t you just want to pinch its cute little cheeks? How many cars are shorter than 3 scooters parked side by side??? Adorable. I would still take the scooter over the car, though.