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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sunday ride on a Ninja 1000

Had a good ride this past Sunday with a group of friends.  Kawasaki lent me a Ninja 1000 and I have to say the bike suits me perfectly.  A little more upright than a full on sportbikes, taller bars and a mini windshield and a motor with a huge power band.

Understand, I am not a fast rider on fast self preservation mode kicks in when I try to do really high speed cornering on the street.  But, get me on a really tight road, in this case Latigo Canyon, and I am really happy going fast on a slow road.  The Ninja suits my brake hard before the tight turns and dig deep into the throttle through the turn and especially out of the turn.  I had a blast railing over bumps, chattering the chassis through irregular surfaces in the corners and generally using too much throttle.

Finding your roads makes the ride that much better....can't wait to go back to Malibu Canyon!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Do your own basic maintenance....

Just got back in from the garage.  One of the bikes was due for an oil change, took all of about 45 minutes, but I learned another thing about the bike by investing the time.  The whole basic maintenance thing is really therapeutic, I put the bike right in the middle of he third garage space, near the tools, click Pandora onto the Swing Radio channel (what can I say, it's got a good beat and doesn't really require paying attention to the lyrics), plop a cup of coffee on he workbench and crack open the manual.
Refresh my brain on where everything is and grab the tools.  For those 45 minutes there are no thoughts about work, relationships, friends, enemies, financial challenges, new cars or bikes that I want, just doing a solid job and not making a mess...I hate cleaning up oil spills.
Anyway, in this instance I learned that my DL 1000 has a slight leak coming from somewhere other than the drain plug or oil filter, so for the next week or two I will be crawling around the bottom of the bike trying to identify where it is coming from.  No offense to a dealer, but the odds of them recognizing the leak and wanting to investigate?   Probably zero.  They are doing an oil change and that's what you would have paid for. Me, on the other hand, I went crazy with brake clean...well in California it's called parts cleaner and it barely cuts oil residue ( damn tree huggers)...and i know everything under the engine is immaculate so finding the source of te leak should be pretty easy.
Do your own maintenance when you can. It's a cheap mental vacation and good for your bikes longevity.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sorry--I have been busy

Started a new job in July...its had me jumping.  i will start updating the blog again soon.

Friday, June 29, 2012

i can't even express how many things are wrong with this

seriously...what would happen if they had a flat tire, a car swerved, a drunk driver caused them to run off the road?

i cannot get over how wrong people can be at times....

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My first "motorcycle"...

Was a 1970 Honda CT70H.  Fold  down handlebars, gas tank under the seat, four speed--all down and a real, honest to goodness clutch.
saw this one at a local shop the other day--a flood of memories...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My friend Bubba Blackwell

get out and see one of his shows...he rules.  crappy video but vrod wheelies are hard to do

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ladies ladies ladies...think before you get on the back of a bike

Face it, riding a motorcycle, or riding on the back, is a thrill. Exciting. Raw. Dangerous. Pretty much sensory overload, as all of them seem to be part of the ride. But, before you hop on the back of a guys bike, think about the dangers involved. Did the guy who offered you a ride on his brand new chopper, bagger, sport bike or whatever it is, check to see if you were dressed properly? And by properly I don't mean shorts, high heels and a bikini top...I mean all the right safety gear, proper fitting helmet, etc? Why worry about that? You are totally at his mercy on the back of the bike. If he does wheelies, runs into corners too fast, gets too close to cars, you life is at stake (as well as his) and you have no control. Actually, if a guy asks you to get on his bike and tells you not to worry about protective gear, don't get on the bike because what value is he placing on your safety? Now I am guilty , very guilty, of showing off on a bike with a passenger, really really guilty. But, at least, my passenger is always dressed for the worst, not hoping for the best. When I took my wife Marcia for her first ride when we were dating, a pretty good fight broke out as we debated what she would wear for the ride....I won, by the way. She was dressed properly...and nothing happened. Each time we ride, she wears the right gear...and feels better because of it...even when it is stupidly hot outside. Here is another thought. Is a guy at a bar offering you a ride? Take an extra second or two to figure out how much he has had to drink. Your safety is completely tied to his ability to properly function on his bike. Speaking of the bike, does the bike you are being asked to ride on have a real passenger seat? Foot pegs? Grab rail? Backrest/sissy bar? Invest a second or two in making sure you are going to be safe and comfortable before you trust your life to someone. I am pretty sure a large portion of the male riding public will hate that I wrote this, but, oh well. All too often I see pictures of passengers dressed to look good in a club, only to find out later that day they had an accident and now have scars and scrapes all over the place. Riding a motorcycle is a risk, you can minimize the risk with he right gear, and look good doing it. So the next time a guy offers you a ride, ask if he cares what you wear on the bike. If he says nope, you should say the same thing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

mentor a new rider

right now, for me personally, there are three new riders i know of that i am helping.  One has about a year of riding under his belt and two just went through the riding school.  I am thrilled to talk motorcycles, gear, safety and how to with them.  they need to learn so much and anything i can share that saves them a hard knock lesson, thrills me.
You have experience, you have knowledge and you can share it...if you want to.  I used to write about this in the magazine every year.  be nice to a new rider, invite them into the garage, teach them a little bit and encourage them to do things right.  help build the future of motorcycling, by being a mentor

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

But what if....

You crash? What if a car turns left in front of your motorcycle? What if you get a flat at 60 mph? What if your engine blows up at 40 mph in a turn? There are so many what ifs when you ride, the dangers is overwhelming. While you can't eliminate risk from your ride, ou can minimize it...with the right gear and training. Think about it.... Gloves: you need them. When you fall down the stairs, trip over the dog or stagger out of a bar, as you head for the ground, you instinctually put your hands out to shield your body from the impending impact on the ground. Wouldn't a nice, double stitched pair of leather gloves help out with that? Not mechanics gloves, real heavy duty gloves designed for the job will help a lot in a crash. Over the ankle boots: sure Vans are cool, so are tennis shoes. However, should you and your motorcycle go seperate ways, your ankle will be sticking out well past your leg. A nice pair of boots that cover that protruding bone may leave you walking a lot better the next day. Don't even let me get started on flip flops and sandals when you ride...... Jacket: honestly, because it is 80 degrees, the ground doesn't get softer. That brand new t-shirt has very little abrasion resistance, much like your skin. A nice, perforated mesh style jacket with body armor will let you stay cool and be protected on those hot days....and a wind breaker, shop jacket or hoodie are not actually riding jackets. Ever wonder why a real mc jacket has adjustable wrist closures? To keep the jacket from sliding up your arm in a it takes the brunt of he impact, not your forearm..... Pants: pants are defined as long enough to reach your boots. So shorts are out. At a minimum jeans...good solid jeans, not ripped designer jeans. Not dickies either. Same idea as the jacket wrist closures, dickies are typically baggy and can slide up. Most of the time I wear a textile over pant with body armor. Slips on and off in like 20 seconds, huge skin saver when it is needed Helmet: um, your skull and concrete or asphalt...not a good mix. Long time riders know the expression 10$ helmet, 10$ head.....just get a good helmet. I see people putting a bandana over their mouth, another over their forehead and then a tiny helmet on their head. Why not just get a good modular helmet that you can flip up at a stop and click back down for the ride? Safer and easier Last, invest in some rider training. All of us can learn a little in a riding school or racetrack school Yeah, I know it's all about freedom and being in the wind. But people crash. Then your family and friends have to visit you in the hospital...minimize the time you need to be there.....

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Safety rant.....

Ok people, warm weather is here. Want to guess what that means? Yup that is right, the cement and asphalt are just as hard and abrasive as they were in the winter...just warmer. So, get riding gear that lets you be comfortable in the heat, but keeps you safe if you fall. See, the gear only matters if you fall. Now if you are a rider blessed with the gift of knowing you will never fall...well enjoy those shorts, tank top and sandals. For the rest of the riding population, please dress for the can happen and you can minimize the damage by doing so. I promise you will look cool on your bike...even in a summer jacket ......really. Dress for the fall people....please?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Are you a rider or an owner?

I am about to enter my 43rd year of riding motorcycles. Through that long span of many bikes, I have always maintained I am a motorcycle rider, choosing to ride over almost everything else. Example, I grew up in Philadelphia where winter can cut the riding season to about 8-9 months...longer if you really bundle up, but you see the point I hope. So, I left all my friends and family, took my best friend and went to California so I could ride more. Said best friend died in a motorcycle accident, a whole other story that really sucks, but that is for another time. I had no real plan other than to get a job at a motorcycle magazine and ride even more. In the meantime, I had no real brand loyalty, I just loved motorcycles, all of them and enjoyed being on any bike. It was in CA I came across my first real motorcycle owners, people who were brand snobs, and it was more about telling people what bike they owned, and wearing gear that said they owned that brand, even when they drive their Toyota mini van to the mall....yet another topic I will dig not another time....brand loyalty, patriotism and a foreign car....uh huh.... I started teaching the California Motorcycle Safety Program and encountered even more motorcycle owners, their plan? Get a license, buy a bike and use it once in a while on Sunday to get lunch, but they would be able to tell everyone about it. When I snagged the magazine job I took a lot of flak for owning a Harley, buell and gsxr. Why would I have a variety like that? Wasn't I loyal? Nope. If they took all the Harley's away, I would ride sportbikes. If they took the sportbikes away, I would ride Harley's. I just wanted to ride. A while ago I left ca to try Wisconsin. Nicest people I ever met...longest winter I ever lived. Bd choice for me as a motorcycle rider. So I came back to ca. I ride anywhere from 300-500 miles a week and am pretty darn happy doing so. Even when all I do that week is commute for work and job site visits, I am on a bike, riding. I encourage those of you who are motorcycle owners to consider being a motorcycle rider and using the bike more. Me? I have to wear a shirt and tie to the office each day. So I wake up, dress, head to the garage and pop a Harley Davidson FXRG textile suit or an Aerostich suit on over my clothes, lace up my boots and head to work. I change into shoes at the office and do my corporate duties. End of the day, the tie is loosened, the suit goes on and I ride home....smiling the whole way. Nothing destresses a tough day like plenty of horsepower and the feel of a a scotch and soda any day.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Have I mentioned how much I love riding?

The last four months have been pretty hectic at the Kelly house. From the holidays until now there have been visitors, weekend commitments, home projects and generally more ways to keep me busy than I really would like. But it is part of life as they say. My only real riding has been to and from the office and to various work projects for photography sessions. No canyons, no trips, just grinding out the day to day. Know what? I am still loving being on my bike. The ride to work, identical each morning, is still 35 or so minutes of fun. Coming home, even better. Still to this day, almost 42 years of being on a bike and I get that little tickle of excitement as it warms up in the driveway. It's not about the ride, the destination, how fast you went, did your knee touch ground, was your chrome sony's just about the blending of you and your bike into a single entity....and choosing the bike over the car all the times possible.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Best ride home from far

Left the office yesterday and hopped on the freeway. Normal traffic, normal speeds in the car pool lane. I was cruising behind a guy on a BMW 1200 when I noticed another bike coming up quickly. Seeing he was moving much faster I made a lane position shift to allow him to pass me easily. Turns out it was a CHP guy, also on a BMW. He gave a nice wave and blew by me. A mile or so later the freeway started showing some congestion and he ended up about four cars ahead of me. The BMW rider lane split up behind the CHP officer as did a Gold Wing rider. When another CHP officer on a Harley joined in, I picked up the pace and followed. Traffic suddenly cleared and we rode in a pack down the carpool lane at 80-85 mph. With the two CHP officers in he front, no one jumped the painted lines and cut in front of us. When the freeway backed up and the lane splitting started again, that was nice as cars seemed to want to move over to let us by.... It probably will never happen like that again, but it sure was a nice ride home.....

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dear car drivers in orange county

I get it, I really do, there is a lot of traffic in orange county. But couldn't you leave he house 5-10 minutes earlier instead of driving like a bunch of a-holes? Here I am on my motorcycle, no loud exhaust, wearing appropriate riding gear and basically being a respectable rider and then there you are. Coffee, phone, hair brush, printed directions on your steering wheel (really! A German is like 129 bucks), makeup,'s called driving because you are operating a motor vehicle with the ability to murder included. To the little Honda civic driver on 5 south Tuesday, when you exit the car pool lane try a turn signal, and here is and idea, go out all the way once your car crosses a part of the dotted white line, your freaking ass went in and out three time before you stuck with it. I hit my brakes hard enough the second time to chirp my front tire...a bad thing on a motorcycle at 60mph. You, yeah you the a-hat in the commuter van in the carpool knew very well I was there and getting ready to pass you just before the 5at 57 went from two lanes to one in the car pool lane. What did you gain swerving out at me? Nothing, I passed you anyway. Too bad I didn't have a one inch ball bearing in my pocket, because your windshield would have had it in it. At 60-70mph I bet it leave s a mark And finally, the absolute asshat in the Toyota corolla tailgating me...with your kid in a car seat....what would you have done if I hit the brakes hard and you had a choice of running me over or hitting the cement divider? Really folks, five minutes earlier and you can drive a little less stressed. 10 minutes earlier and it's a whole new world. A motorcycle instead of your that would really change your day. So orange county freeway drivers, I want to live. Can we all just get along and you leave a few minutes earlier?

Friday, February 10, 2012

i could have bought a few of these...and passed them all up....idiot!

Stolen from

The GSX-R750 was built to compete in the various worldwide championships as well as to be used on the street. It is considered as one the very first street-legal racers, there had been a number of sports machines but the GSX-R750 was something else. It was a revolutionary motorcycle with specifications like over 100 hp power output, less than 180 kg dry mass, 55° leaning angle, lightweight alloy double-cradle perimeter frame, 18-inch wheels and streamlined design based on the factory Formula 1 and Endurance racers.

The air/oil-cooled motor had cylinder dimensions of 70,0 x 48,7 mm and had 29 mm flat slide carbs. In a racing trim (there was a tuning kit available for competitive racing) the GSX-R750 engine provided 130 bhp. The new high-tech engine was narrower than earlier inline-fours and materials like magnesium was used to keep the weight down to minimum.

The GSX-R750 was basically a street-legal and detuned version of the works GS1000R racer. The flat slide carburetors gave faster response to the throttle compared to the vacuum carburetors. It also required the rider to be more gently with the throttle. There were no compromises, it was very quick in hands of a skillful rider but could be experienced as nervous and even dangerous.

That is certainly the case in old and abused machines. The components of the bike are all high quality but make sure that the tyres, suspension and bearings are all in good condition or the bike can scare the living daylight out of you! The GSX-R750 engine is considered as reliable but we all know that there is no such thing as bulletproof engines. The frame of the early models is not that rigid and bend easily when dropped.

The GSX-R750 entered the market in March 1985. There's not many bikes out there in mint condition, most of them are ridden very hard and seen their best days. Nevertheless the evolution of modern sports bikes started with the GSX-R750. It's a real classic.

GSX-R 750 1985

Overall Length: 2,130 mm (83.9 in)

Overall Width: 620 mm (24.4 in)

Overall Height: 1,200 mm (47.2 in)

Seat Height: 755 mm (29.7 in)

Wheelbase: 1,425 mm (56.1 in)

Ground Clearance 140 mm (5.5 in)

Dry Weight: 176 kg (388 lbs)

Engine type: Air/oil-cooled 747 cc inline-4, DOHC, 16 valves. 106 hp (77.4 kW)/ 10,500 rpm, 64 Nm/ 8,000 rpm.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What is it about a clean motorcycle

If you search my garage you would think I am preparing for the zombie apocalypse by hoarding motorcycle cleaning materials. I tend to favor Mothers and Meguiars products and have a cabinet full. A normal Saturday morning for me almost always involves an early washing and waxing of my bike...I figure it is payback to it for having to sit outside at the office all week. I have a pretty good system, rinse the bike, heavy suds and rinse off, then I blow dry it with a blower specifically for the job. A coat of wax on everything possible, with everything that can't be waxed treated with plastic/rubber treatment. I can do a pretty thorough job in about an hour...lot that I have done it so many times that I have a pattern or anything, and a super detailing is about 2.5 hours. I never regret investing the time as going over the bike gives me a chance to inspect it for leaks, obvious loose bolts and unusual wear it loos new when I am done. Now, time to slip out for a ride......

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

memorable motorcycle moments....

going way back in time....I was on my way home to my rent controlled Santa Monica apartment.  In retrospect i never should have left that place, huge 2 bedroom, 2-bath at 6th and Ocean Park, with 2 parking places that sucker was just $800 bucks a month.  if you leaned really far out on the balcony you could see the ocean....ahhh a simpler time...anyway, i was riding home from the hallowed Motorcyclist offices on a Ducati 888. 
It was my first day on the bike and the sounds it made were getting me pretty pumped up to do something stupid.  I figured out what on Olympic boulevard.  There is an area where it is fairly open, mostly businesses and fairly straight. I decided to do a wheelie--but this turned out not to be just any wheelie, but one of the best I had ever done.  I just kept going and going and going.  Now remember this was back when doing long wheelies was a talent (not back patting here, just making a point) that you either had or you didn't.  there was none of this stunter set up with huge rear sprockets, no air in the tires and taller bars to help pull the bike up.  This was just pure balance point and throttle control--old school wheelie. 
anyway, i went for what seemed like forever, looking around the fairing and hand grip to see where i was going and i noticed that a traffic light a few blocks down was about to change. so i reeled it in, dropped the wheel back to the ground and stopped at the light.  Inside my Shoei helmet I was giggling like a school girl...the bike was damn near perfect.  Well the day got just a touch better when a pickup truck pulled up next to me.  I had passed the truck on my way down wheelie lane.  the driver and his passenger spoke for a second, she turned to me and flashed an amazing set of boobs at me as he called out, "nice wheelie dude"...i was much too stunned to reply--they were really nice boobs...
That has not happened to me since, probably never will again, but it was a great memory from way back.....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Barnett's bikecraft magazine

I am pretty excited.....a few weeks ago, David Edwards--former cycle world editor for seemingly ever-- asked if I wanted to put something together for Bikecraft, a new magazine he and Mark Barnett are creating. I was stoked as I really have not done any magazine writing for years. I was rusty, it took a number of start overs, but I think I came up with a cool story about the Harley 48.....soon as I know when it will be published I will post it, but for now, I am just pretty pumped about writing again... Thanks David......

Friday, January 20, 2012

lane splitting...not me but a good video of it

some time ago, i had a very in-depth conversation with a member of the CHP who explained lane spliting (lane sharing).  we had this chat on the side of the 5 freeway and he took plenty of time .
he said...
no more than 10mph faster than the flow of traffic and never over 45mph. i have always listened and gauged my behavior by that.

this is a good video showing what lane splitting is like...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Burnout contest? Against a wall?

There is a trend out there now to like the bikes of the 60s and 70s.  Skinny bikes, minimal sheet metal, a few inches over on the fork tunes, sissy bar, best described as spindly. Cool bikes for the period.  But they are popular now, and showing up all over the place.  There is another trend to take these bikes (and others) and do burnouts against a wall or guard rail in a burn out pit...yawn.

when i had access to the archives of street chopper and hot bike magazines, you never saw shots of guys doing burnouts against a wall.  they either rode their bikes, did wheelies or launched rally hard and spun the tire.  No beating up the driveline against a wall.

In my time doing stuff on motorcycles for pay, i did two burnouts against a wall.  Once in Myrtle Beack on a Titan--15 feet up in the air on a platform that i still loosened the straps and started swaying the bike side to side and at a Hot Bike show where i ran my Buell up into 5th gear sliding side to side and pretty much smoking the crowd out.

i prefer to do burnouts that show control.  standing next to the bike, off the bike and twisting it in a circle.  Once i even stood in front of a Buell x1 and reversed my hands to do a burnout backwards and still in a donut.  control, not just drive line abuse against a wall.

no front brake? that's a topic for a whole other controls.  Show class. i promise, no matter how hot you think your bike engine is, you are not going to push that building your front tire is up against.....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Be careful out there

Once I come off the freeway I have about three miles of surface roads to my office each day. I lane split up to the front of the lights because I don't trust people in cars to know what they are doing...ever. I rolled up on a light and because of the way a truck was half way in the lane I couldn't quite get to the front, so I was next to a guy in a really clean Chrysler 300. He was fascinated with his smart phone and either frantically texting or emailing. Anyway, he saw a flash of movement or his Brian disengaged, but without looking up, he just stepped on the gas and plowed into a Camry in front of him. It wasn't a bumper touch, it was a bumper destroy. The 300 packs a punch with its weight and 5.7 hemi under acceleration. What freaked me out, is as I was approaching the intersection, I could have been in front of the 300 if I didn't lane split. That two ton Detroit monster could have plowed me and my bike to nothing...all the while it's driver focused on his phone. I can't stress it enough that riding is a dangerous thing and there is not really a time you can relax and let your guard down. Especially with the latest greatest phones that do everything but drive a car for people. Pay attention, regard each car as lethal and pray that gas prices get so high that everyone starts to look at motorcycles and scooters as something more than a Sunday morning toy.....and go take a rider training course just to be safer

Friday, January 6, 2012

thinking about some on bike protection

In the last week i have almost been hit by three cars in three seperate incidents.  all of these took place on the freeway where all you have to do is drive in a straight line. Between phones, ipods and whatever else people do in their cars, three people have simply changed lanes and almost run me over.

yesterday was the worst one...on 5 north the carpool lane is two wide leading up to the 5/405 split.  Some jackhole in a Lexus decided he needed to play slalom racer between cars and not even look if anyone NOt in a car was around.  i grabbed a BIg handful of brake at 80mph and watched his bumper slide past my front tire.  My arsenal consisted of me giving him a one finger salute and his wife or girlfriend yelling at him.  But it deserved more.  a lot more. i am thinking paintball gun, with pink pellets. i am also think 3/4' ball bearings that i can toss. 
need to give it some thought but, for now, i am arming myself with even more caution on the roads in California.  Car drivers suck...... 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


when i first moved to California i used to head to the mountains and the beach on Christmas and New Years day.  sort of the marvel of living in CA, see snow and oceans in one day. Now that i live so far south in OC, and seem eternally busy, I modified my ride to hit the mountains close to home and then Laguna Beach.  Stopped off at Aurora's Tacos in Laguna Niguel.  Definitely recommended....