Wire Plus Introduces New Custom Fit EFI System

Winfield, KS- Wire Plus Powersports Electronics is proud to introduce their new, Custom Fit EFI System for all motors equipped with EFI systems…both stock and aftermarket units. Wire Plus offers several simple ways to handle the electronics on these new EFI equipped projects you may be thinking about. These harnesses are available for use with stock or aftermarket ignition modules and will connect to all the sensors that your motor needs to run efficiently.

These harnesses provide wiring for the ignition and motor only and can be used with any type of main wiring system. The new custom fit EFI system will work with all model bikes that come equipped with electronic fuel injection units as well for all aftermarket units.Suggested MSRP: $392.00.

Wire Plus manufactures a complete line of self-diagnostic wiring systems to fit any stock or custom bike application. Some of the advantages that you get with products from Wire Plus include SolidState breaker technology (the breakers never have to be replaced) and a replaceable start relay that can be purchased at any auto parts store. Their power modules are submersible waterproof and very compact in size with harnesses that are engineered to be smaller than any other on the market.

Ride a new Kawasaki at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to announce that Kawasaki will have a full complement of sportbikes and cruisers on hand for attendees to test ride at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days this July 9-11 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

The fleet includes a wide range of Kawasaki motorcycles, including many of the company’s most popular models, such as the all-new Z1000, the Concours™ 14 ABS, the ultimate touring machine; the Vulcan® 1700 Voyager®, plus many more.

“Kawasaki is bringing our entire streetbike demo fleet to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days in support of our local customers, dealers, guests and the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame,” said Manager, Corporate Events, Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA Sherry Drzewicki. “This is your chance to take a demo ride on any of our highly acclaimed 2010 Kawasaki streetbikes.”

Held at the world-class Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days features vintage and post-vintage national championship competition in motocross, trials, hare scrambles, roadracing and dirt track. In addition to demo rides of current production bikes, the event includes North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet, educational seminars, bike shows, the Federal Companies/Allied Used Bike Corral, motorcycling seminars, the new product Manufacturers’ Midway, and club corrals featuring marque and regional clubs. For 2010, Husqvarna is the event’s Marque of the Year, while off-road racing legend Malcolm Smith is serving as grand marshal.

Proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. The goal of the Hall of Fame, located on the campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio, is to honor the distinguished men and women whose competitive spirit, passion, vision and entrepreneurship have played a vital role in shaping the sport, lifestyle and business of motorcycling. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Hall of Fame’s website at MotorcycleMuseum.org.

For tickets to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, see MidOhio.com. For more information about the event, visit AMAVintageMotorcycleDays.com.

About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.

Public service displays join lineup at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to welcome non-profit organizations to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days July 9-11 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, a fundraiser for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, is the biggest celebration of motorcycling’s heritage in the United States.

The charitable organizations that will be on hand at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days include the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, the Cycle Conservation Club (CCC) of Michigan, the Malcolm Smith Motorsports Foundation, Riders Helping Riders, ABATE of Ohio and the Christian Motorcyclists Association.

“Motorcyclists are known for their ability to assemble for a good cause, and we are happy to have several of these groups join us at one of the biggest events on the AMA calendar,” said AMA Special Events Manager Tigra Tsujikawa.

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation will be making riders aware of the Ride for Kids® event on July 24 in nearby Marysville, Ohio. Ride for Kids events (www.rideforkids.org) benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, which raises money to find the cause and cure for childhood brain cancer.

“At a Ride for Kids event, these children get to forget all the chemo, doctors and hospitals and just be a kid,” said Robert Trigueros, Ride for Kids national manager. “Come ride with our kids and you’ll be helping to save their lives. The AMA has been a huge supporter of Ride for Kids, so we’re happy to take the opportunity at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days to strengthen that bond with AMA members and urge them all to share the passion of motorcycling with our kids.”

The CCC of Michigan is one of the most active AMA-chartered clubs when it comes to promoting responsible off-road riding. The organization runs the 26th Annual Michael R. Burlingham Memorial Six Days of Michigan, which includes a trail ride, a dual-sport ride, a road ride and a kids ride. The event is July 24-31 this year. The CCC of Michigan was formed in 1968 to create off-road opportunities in Michigan and was instrumental in establishing the state’s current trail system. CCC of Michigan members currently maintain about 1,500 miles of trail in the state.

“We’ll be at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days to promote our membership, participate in one of the largest events in the area, and support the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame,” said Lewis Shuler, executive director of the CCC of Michigan. “We know that there will be a lot of off-road riders there, and I personally have not been there before, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Supported by 2010 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Grand Marshal Malcolm Smith, the Malcolm Smith Motorsports Foundation raises funds to help youth in Mexico. The charity’s efforts include, but are not limited to, scholarships, computers, playgrounds, school operating funds and agricultural support. More information about the Malcolm Smith Motorsports Foundation can be found at Malcolmsmithmotorsportsfoundation.org.

Also on hand will be Riders Helping Riders, which will distribute free CD-ROM programs focused on teaching bikers how to recognize the signs of intoxication in a friend and keep them from riding their motorcycle under the influence.

ABATE of Ohio Inc., is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the rights, improving the image, and promoting safe operating practices of Ohio Motorcyclists. At AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, members will help educate the motorcycle community about the organization’s legislative agenda in this session of the Ohio Legislature and recruit new members to be motorcycle activists.

The Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA), interdenominational and evangelistic in nature, adopts the vision of “changing the world, one heart at a time.” The CMA will be on hand promoting that vision, as well as providing Sunday morning services.

Held at the world-class Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days features vintage and post-vintage competition in motocross, trials, hare scrambles, roadracing and dirt track. In addition to demo rides of current production bikes, the event includes North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet, educational seminars, bike shows, the Federal Companies/Allied Used Bike Corral, motorcycling seminars, the new product Manufacturers’ Midway, and club corrals featuring marque and regional clubs.

For 2010, Husqvarna is the event’s Marque of the Year, while off-road racing legend Malcolm Smith is serving as grand marshal.

Proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. The goal of the Hall of Fame, located on the campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio, is to honor the distinguished men and women whose competitive spirit, passion, vision and entrepreneurship have played a vital role in shaping the sport, lifestyle and business of motorcycling. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Hall of Fame’s website at MotorcycleMuseum.org.

Big Dog Continues To Sink


In another round of layoffs, Big Dog Motorcycles inches closer to complete shutdown.

According to information on Cyril Huze blog, several key employees have been let go.  John Brock (since 2003 Vice President Of Operations), Anne Dixon (Customer Service Manager) and Wayne Hanson (since 2006 Customer Support Manager.)

The June 26th factory Open House was cancelled with no future date set and as of June 28th, the factory has not confirmed its vending spot at the upcoming 70th Sturgis Rally and Races this August.

Since mid 2009,  Big Dog owner Coleman Sheldon has been actively seeking an investing partner or a complete buyout.

Several other prominent factory custom brands are said to be having difficulties and are behind on reimbursing their dealers for advertising co-op money.

The Ride Across America Part 1

Hey, scooter trash, it’s time to saddle up! Summer is coming at us fast and it’s time to start thinking about a long sweet ride. I have a great story to tell you about a journey from South Carolina to the great Wild West that lasted 21 days! It all started way back in 2004, when I finally decided that it was time to take a real ride, not just a two or three day shot, but a serious ride to see the great outdoors and explore the wide open American west. Some of you have been riding a while, but I’ve been riding a Harley D for 31 years. So far, I have made the trek I am writing about three times! So, sit back, pay attention, think about it and plan your own trip.

Just for those disbelievers out there, I made the trip out west again in 2008 and 2009. You’re next thought is probably, “Who can afford a trip like this?” I can already hear some of you making excuses like, “I don’t have the time!” Well you can afford it if you slightly tighten up the belt and quit throwing away money like it grows on a tree.

Save some cash! Put your change in a jar every night! If I can do it, then you can do it too. Besides I don’t have to tell you that there is nothing better than jumping on your scooter with just what you need and hitting the blacktop to see what America has to offer. Ok, maybe time is short, so plan a ride for next year or make it a two-week journey instead of three weeks and quit thinking of excuses not to go. Remember, you only live once!

Three weeks will give you some serious riding and the opportunity to see some of the best and most beautiful scenery that our great country has to offer. I will tell you about the first 5 days of the 2008 ride this issue so you can see that it IS possible and let you know just what you are missing out on.

On the morning of July 5th 2004, my bro Big Dave and I took off from Longs, South Carolina, and rolled South to New Orleans, the Big Easy, for the first leg of our journey. We decided to take the big Route 20 to get some miles under our belt and miss all the Atlanta traffic.

When traffic slowed us to a crawl, we dropped down Route 83 and picked up a beautiful two lane stretch of road that took us through the Oconee National Forest off Hwy #16. My cares soon began to fall off like leaves, as we cruised through forgotten little towns. Eventually, we made our back to Route 85. On a funny side note, as we rode around the center of a town called Griffin, I yelled over to Big Dave, “We should stop and have a long neck.” I was feeling a little dusty and wanted to partake in my favorite sport of lifting cold 16 oz thirst busters. He pulled up next to me at a light and said, “You don’t want to stop here, these boys are true southerners and, if they hear my Yankee accent, it could spell trouble.”

So we continued onward and upward. I would have tested the waters in that little town for a cold brew and tried my luck, but calmer heads prevailed. So, instead, we headed for our target city in LaGrange, Georgia, which gave us about 450 miles & 8 hours in the saddle. We decided to call it a day, find a cheap place to soak up the dirt and relax for a night.

Day 2 started out early, taking us straight to our destination via Route 85 past Montgomery and on through Mobile, Alabama. About 410 miles later, we rolled into the Big Easy, where we hooked up with my friend Kathy to stay for a couple of nights and three days. There are a lot of things to do in the Big Easy without spending the big dollars and we had a couple of days to see what we could get into. For example, we took a ride around the city on the old fashioned trolley system.

These ancient feeling machines take you all around the city and give you an opportunity to see how those folks in Louisiana live. An absolute MUST see is the National World War II Museum. For a few bucks and a couple hours of your time, this is well worth it – it will give you a pretty good idea what our military men and women had to go through to protect our freedoms around the globe in a time before most of us were born. I even got to take a pic of my favorite General, George Patton. Of course, a visit here would not be complete without checking out Bourbon Street.

During our time, we dropped in on a slew of great bands and just had to sample the local hooch to make sure it was up to snuff, which it was. I assure you that whatever trips your trigger, you won’t be disappointed in that town. It is a little known fact, but Bourbon Street is as busy any night of the week, as it is during Mardi Gras! If you can’t have a great time here, you’ve got issues.

Of course, my friend Kathy took us to some of the local non-tourist joints as well, like the Bulldog! This is a great spot to meet some of the true locals and find out what the Big Easy is all about at her heart. If you like great looking bartenders, The Den is a special wow zone for you!

Their female bartenders are spectacular looking and this one was wearing a sort of Stevie Nix type black dress. Just to give us a goose, she gladly lifted her dress, so we could sample her wares. Those thongs can get you really excited! I’ll take two please… Beers I mean.

If you love the Blues, you can catch them from any corner in the Big Easy. One of the best stops we made was the Funky Pirate located at 727 Bourbon Street. The band on tap that night was Big Al Carson. He does not disappoint! In fact he was so good that I bought three of his CD’s and played them on the scoot when we left town. Of course, you have got to try the local cuisine. Asking Kathy where to go, she directed us to what she referred to as one of the most famous eateries in New Orleans – Mother’s! Established in 1938, located at 401 Poydras St at Tchoupitoulas, this place is hopping with hungry folks. You need to get in line early here, ‘cause this is one secret that everyone knows – You has gots to eat heres.

Right inside the front door, some dude was standing there, singing loudly and claiming to be Elvis. I took a look at Big Dave and laughed in wonderment, while we pushed our way in to order. I immediately jumped into a Crawfish Etoufee Omelet. Yeah, it was spectacular! You get so much food there that you can barely stuff it in. Ok enough. When we got back to the pad, our bellies were so full that I don’t remember my head hitting the cool side of the pillow. The next couple of days took us across Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, before we crossed into land known as California, but that is another story for the next issue.

Ok, the Judge says this trip sounds pretty damned good so far, huh? Well make plans now and borrow the money, take out a loan or tell your parents you need emergency open-heart surgery, but find the money, the will and the time. You won’t regret it. Oh yeah and take your old lady with you. She will be very grateful for a long time to come and she is well worth it. Safe riding, watch the cages, and check the tire pressure! We’ll have a sit down next issue and discuss the finer points of getting crawdads out of your leathers and crossing the Western Deserts without becoming buzzard bait.

Da Judge Dave Carlson

Until then… I am Dave “The Judge” Carlson.

17th Annual Sacramento Law Enforcement Memorial Run.


JUNE 27, 2010


This year thousands of anticipated riders will ride from the Police and Sheriff Memorial, riding along the river to the City of Isleton. This event continues to grow as the third largest ride in Northern California, with thousands of riders coming from as far away as Arizona, Nevada, and Washington.

The Run has become the primary fundraising event to enable Law Enforcement Chaplaincy-Sacramento to respond and serve our law enforcement families and community members. Support from the business community is vital in keeping our chaplains available to respond 24-7-365 when anyone has experienced a crisis or tragedy. Additional recipients of this year’s Ride proceeds are; California Peace Officers Memorial, Police & Sheriff Memorial Foundation, and some new programs to help our law enforcement departments and communities: sacramento4KIDS-teaching our children how to be safe, and Courage To Be You (C2BU)-stopping child sex trafficking.

Our Ride this year will begin at the Police & Sheriff Memorial, 500 Arden Way at 8:00AM Registration on Saturday, July 31st. After a brief Memorial Ceremony, remembering our fallen officers, we will begin the beautiful Ride down to the little historic delta town of Isleton. Isleton will be welcoming and hosting thousands of riders and family members with good food, good music and good fun, Classic Car Show, Live Auction, Fun for the whole family! Raffle Grand Prize of a 2010 FLHX Motorcycle! Tickets only $10. The Isleton Merchants Association (12 strong) will be holding a Silent Auction during the riders stay in Isleton. Your contribution of coupons, prizes, and gifts to the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy-Sacramento for the silent Auction will help cover the costs.

The evening before, Friday, July 30th will be the preregistration party from 5pm-8pm at Sac Harley, 1000 Arden Way, Harlee and the Sugardaddies Band, Food and Fun.

Please consider becoming a sponsor for the 17th Annual Sacramento Law Enforcement Memorial Run.

Together, we can and we will make a difference

Law Enforcement Chaplaincy-Sacramento
1331 Garden Highway, Sacramento CA 95833

Hoka Hey Ends with Two Wrecks and One Fatality

According to the organizers of this event, the words “Hoka Hey” were used by the Lakota warriors as a  battle cry that means “good day to die,”

Unfortunately for one competitor, Charles C. Lynn, 44, of Sorrento, Florida, the ancient battle cry proved all too real as police in Wyoming say Lynn apparently fell asleep on his motorcycle Saturday and was killed in the subsequent crash.

July 4th is the official completion date of the Challenge, but already the first riders have arrived to claim the half million dollars in prize money.  Frank Kelly of Prosperity, South Carolina and Will Barclay of Highland, Florida rode their Harley-Davidson’s into Homer Alaska at 4:20 a.m. Monday morning. The pair rode 8,482 miles from Key West, Florida to Homer, Alaska in 190 hours to complete the Hoka-Hey Motorcycle Challenge.

According to The Homer News‘ the duo said the last leg was the hardest and that they were so tired, they stopped every 5 miles. Reportedly, the pair agreed in Fairbanks that they would cross the finish line in Homer at the same time and ride together.

According to the rules the two will have to undergo drug testing and have their logbooks inspected to ensure that no contest rules were violated.  Organizers had hoped to lure 1000 riders with a guaranteed purse of $500,000.  500 riders paid $1000 to enter the challenge, and four dropped out due to an accident at the start of the event and another 50 surrendered to heat and other difficulties.

Barclay and Kelly finished the Key West to Homer Alaska competition  in 190 hours.

Airbag In a Jacket


(Baltimore, Maryland)  – A recent report revealed that nearly 4,800 motorcyclists died in crashes last year in the United States alone. Further,  the number of fatalities involving motorcycles has increased annually for  the past 11 years in a row. But now a uniquely designed safety product  called the Armored Air Jacket is aimed at decreasing those numbers dramatically.

The Armored Air Jacket is an effective airbag system integrated into specially designed jackets. The Armored Air Jackets come equipped with a small Co2 air cartridge attached to a ripcord that is tethered to the motorcycle. Riders simply connect the ripcord lanyard to the anchoring cable as they mount the motorcycle, much like a throttle kill ripcord on snowmobiles and jet skis. When the ripcord is activated during an accident,  the integrated airbag system automatically inflates within the jacket,  filling the internal airbag bladder in just one-half second. The inflated airbag provides an armor-like layer of extra protection to the most vulnerable areas of the body, including the neck, chest, back, ribs and  spine, thereby reducing injury as the cyclist impacts with another object or the roadway.

Tested and certified by a leading automotive airbag deployment system testing firm, the Armored Air Jacket has already been credited with saving the lives of cyclists around the nation.

In one accident in Baltimore, a  cyclist was cut off by a motorist and ejected 100 feet, hitting the ground  at 70 mph.  The rider was wearing an Armored Air Jacket and suffered only an injured hand, soreness, scrapes and bruises – but it could have been much worse.

The jacket and vest, available in a fashionable collection, can be used  repeatedly and are even washable. The Armored Air Jacket and Vest retail for approximately $595 and $250 respectively and can be ordered online:  www.armoredairjackets.com

2010 Star Stratoliner Deluxe

It doesn’t seem possible that five years have passed since I rolled out of the working class city of Portland, Oregon, in the saddle of the new Star Roadliner. Riding a Yamaha that wasn’t a Yamaha, well not by name anyway, and riding a cruiser with real performance, handling and braking, it was anexciting day. More importantly, it was a new direction for the company we typically associate with winning motorcycle championships at the highest level on both dirt and asphalt. By taking this passion, enthusiasm and dedication to excellence and infusing it into the new Star brand of cruisers, it hasn’t taken long for the company to make it to the number two position in the class. The giant from Milwaukee being the only brand to outsell them in this class.

Striking out in their own direction with the art deco inspired Roadliner, Star has taken some valuable clues from Harley’s success, using this initial Roadliner platform to spawn the touring focused Stratoliner and the more custom styled Raider. Working from this initial Roadliner platform, they were able to create three unique motorcycles without undertaking a major redesign each time. Continuing on this practical path, I recently sampled the fourth model in this line up, the Stratoliner Deluxe, over a full day of riding around the Yamaha headquarters in California.

Designated a “Bagger,” the concept for this style of motorcycle is fairly simple. Take a cruiser and make it more focused for traveling, without turning it into a full-on touring bike. Add a good-sized front fairing, some nice integrated saddlebags for carrying your gear, on board musics, a set of spacious footboards, and voila! One bagger to go. It’s certainly a trend that seems to have risen from the ashes of the chopper fad, with riders looking for more practicality and comfort from their ride, without losing the ability to customize and personalize their bike.

The heart of the beast remains the same, with two large cylinders housing 100 mm pistons sucking in fuel and air, and spitting out burned gases through a pair of inlet and a pair of outlet valves. Riding on a long 118 mm stroke, the compression ratio is a healthy 9.5:1 and helps the bike to make a claimed 91 hp. Thumping out an equally healthy 117 foot pounds of torque at 5,000 rpm, the Star motor is a thoroughly modern power house that provides a powerful grunt at low rpm or real sporting power as the rpm rise. It’s also a real air-cooled V-twin, not a faux finned water-cooled unit, and the four valves per cylinder are opened and closed by push rods. How old school is that? This allows the stylish engine to have large chrome pushrod tubes to further accentuate the style, and they certainly help make the Star engine look as much like a piece of art work as the rest of the bike.

Faultless fuel injection makes your riding experience a joy in whatever mood you are in from putting round town to carving canyons and twisty roads. This perfect fuel delivery is made possible by a pair of 43mm, twin-bore throttle bodies. These downdraft bodies have throttle position sensors (TPS) that make sure the response is spot on, no matter what you are doing with the throttle, or how fast the engine is spinning. An oxygen sensor in the two-into-one exhaust system makes it a closed loop system by reading the burned gases and adjusting the fuel injection system as necessary. In an interesting move, an EXUP valve, normally found in higher revving sport bikes, is also used to help boost low end power and provide crisper throttle response The system is a meaty looking affair and gives the bike a nice deep rumble on idle. There’s no wheezing when you twist the throttle either, and aftermarket pipes for more window shaking rumble are available from your local Yamaha dealer. Chatting with Dave Pooler, the man in charge of all Star accessories, he was very excited by the range of products available for the Deluxe. Some you will already know and some specific new ones. Furtherattention to the fueling is found with the 12-hole, 2-directional fuel injectors that ensure the cylinders get filled completely, and the twin spark plugs making sure combustion is complete. As with all modern bikes there is an idle control valve in place of the choke, and the bike fires instantly to life, cold or hot at the touch of the starter button.

Power is taken to the rear wheel via belt drive through a five speed gearbox. This belt drive system is clean, quiet and close to maintenance free. The Deluxe comes complete with big cruiser clunking on first gear selection, but shifts very smoothly once on the move. A heel/toe shifter system is employed, and it works as well as it looks. It’s not my system of choice, so I find myself shifting in the conventional manner, but this causes no problems. The floorboards are roomy, and don’t force your feet into one position which is a great benefit on longer rides. And this is a lot of what the Stratoliner Deluxe is going to be all about, packing up and hitting the highway.

The lightweight fork mounted fairing not only looks stylish but also does a reasonable job of fending off the oncoming breeze without making the steering heavy or cumbersome. A fact I appreciated while carving along the Ortega Highway during our test ride.

One of the best parts of the new fairing on the Deluxe though is the watertight MP3 compartment which hooks your device to a pair of five inch speakers with easy to use controls on the left handlebar above the usual switches. These take some familiarizing with to scroll through the various artists, play lists, and sound levels etc, so it’s not a bad idea to get fully familiar before you hit the road.

The Stratoliner Deluxe handles extremely well for a bike with a curb weight of 810 pounds. This is achieved with the combination of a low, sculpture seat and the wide, easy to reach bars. With a comfortable straight up and down seating position, there’s no doubt I could certainly log many pain free miles in the saddle of the new Deluxe.

Thankfully, the Star crew avoided the trend towards packing the largest back wheel possible under the rear fender. The attractive twelve spoke alloy 17 inch wheels gets a sensibly sized 190 series tire, complemented by a 130/70- 18-inch front. While this is hardly cutting edge sport bike sizing, it works perfectly on the big Star, and with the aforementioned wide bars, the steering input is always light and precise, not something you would initially expect from such a big looking bike. The Deluxe is also easy to pull up from the side stand, and is easy to maneuver in tight spaces. With a combination of light controls, easy fueling, and low seat height, you won’t be sweating and straining to get out of congested parking lots.

The front fork is a beefy conventional 46mm affair with no provision for adjustability. Thankfully the Deluxe comes with what I consider the best braking set up in the cruiser world; a pair of 298mm rotors and R1 styled mono block calipers. Not sprung too softly to collapse the forks under heavy braking, they are not so hard they give a harsh ride. In the rear a single shock is used and there is provision for pre-load adjustment. This is useful when you add a passenger and luggage to keep the bike on an even keel. The single disc out back is actually slightly larger at 320mm and also uses a four-piston mono block caliper. With heavier cruisers, the longer wheel base means you can use a lot more rear brake, and this allows the Deluxe to scrub excess speed quickly and safely when needed. A point to note here is that there is no ABS, which might or might not be a deal breaker for someone looking at a bike in this class. During our ride time it’s not something I felt detracted from the Deluxe, as the brakes have such good feel at the adjustable lever.

One of the more visually stylish elements of the new Star is the saddle bags. Color matched to the bike’s paint scheme, they are more integrated than the smaller ones found on the Stratoliner, and as practical as they are attractive. Capable of holding close to seven gallons of luggage per side, they are nice and easy to open and close. Something that can’t be said about all motorcycle saddlebags.

The controls, gauges and instruments are all the same as previous Star models, and this means high quality. Easy to read analogue gauges are nice touch for us older riders who still struggle with hyperactive digital read outs, and all the usual data is presented in typical format. The level of finish with all the painted and chromed parts is extremely high, with the machine giving off a very custom feel, even in standard trim. As usual, Star custom guru Jeff Palhegy was along for the ride on his own personal Deluxe and it was breathtaking as you might imagine with its beautifully painted fairing lowers and custom parts.

Priced at $17,490, the new Stratoliner Deluxe makes a great addition to the existing Star line up, and a very unique one at that fits with the other offerings in this class. Capable of giving long distance touring comfort and convenience if needed, it’s still a super slick looking ride for posing down the high street and taking short jaunts on your favorite roads. During our test ride, I was able to reconnect with the reasons I’ve always enjoyed the big Star line up. Unique styling, great power, competent handling and braking, wrapped up in a modern package that’s a blast to ride. The Stratoliner Deluxe certainly doesn’t disappoint.

BMW K1200S

While not really an all-new motorcycle, the 2010 K1300 is based on BMWs previous K1200S, the larger engine capacity and multiple upgrades ensure this isn’t just a make over of last year’s model, even if it appears almost identical to the untrained eye. The upper fairing section is slightly narrower; the cockpit trim is new, while the speedometer and tachometer have been redesigned. New side fairings, new LED taillight, and a more compact muffler complete the visual changes, with the big news happening under the vast expanse of bodywork.

Quoting figures of 175 bhp @ 9,250rpm and 103 ft-lbs of torque at 8,250rpm. It’s no surprise that the new K1300S is packing some serious German muscle when you twist the throttle. These figures relate to around a 7 ft-lb increase in torque from as low as two thousand rpm all the way to eight thousand rpm, although without the old bike to compare it wasn’t possible to really notice the difference. Both bikes have enough power to send you to jail in less time than it takes to write this sentence, and with top speeds on the north side of 165mph, these figures are a tad academic when riding on a public road. What this incredible amount of power and torque does though, is make the new K1300S even more effortless to ride at any speed than its predecessor. Want to overtake, go faster, or shoot some adrenaline through your veins? Well, just twist the throttle anytime you like and hang on.

To gain this extra capacity and power the original bike’s 1157cc displacement was increased to 1293cc. Enlarging the pistons by 1mm and lengthening the stroke by 5.3mm achieved this substantial increase, and these new larger, lightweight, high-compression pistons feature an extra short piston skirt and thinner rings. Every thing else inside the compact motor appears the same, and it remains one of the most sophisticated inline fours in production.

One thing that both journalists and customers complained with the K1200 range was the fueling. I had a long term K on test and had it back at the dealer on more than one occasion to try and smooth things out. It did get a lot better, and I’m happy to announce the new K1300S suffered none of these problems. Some of my peers were experiencing a small fueling issue coming off a closed throttle during our test which I talked about in my K1300GT review, but try as hard as I might, I never really noticed it on my particular unit. This is due to an all-new engine mapping system aimed at improving partial-load situations, and kudos to BMW for both listening to the complaints levied at them, and for fixing them. The bike now uses dual throttle cables, replacing the single one previously used, and revised exhaust valve timing. There is also a new metal idle control valve to replace the previous plastic version, and a re-designed airbox and ram-air ducts all revamped to help improve the fueling situation.

Anti lock brakes have been with us for a long time now, and the BMW system has come a long way. I have very vivid memories of putting the system to the test on an old “flying brick” back in the mid eighties and wondering if I would lose my lunch or a few fillings when it went into it’s manic lurching behavior after I yanked on the lever at 80mph. I’m please to say the new system is nearly flawless, with little annoying pulsing when it’s activated. It is also possible to turn it off if you don’t want to use it. This operation has to be performed at a standstill, and the system is always on unless you turn it off.

Anti-Spin Control (ASC) is used to stop the rear wheel from spinning in a straight line. It also stops the bikes from pulling wheelies, which is probably a good thing with the amount of power the BMW has on tap. Unlike the ABS, the ASC can be turned on or off on the fly and is a safety feature I’m sure all bikes will come with one day. It mustn’t be confused with traction control that we are used to in racing, but think about pulling away from a traffic light and getting in a diesel spill or some stray oil. These situations, or applying too much power leaving a gravel parking lot, can spell disaster on two wheels without ASC.

Finally, with my report card reading a passing grade, we came to the ESA II. This is an electronic suspension adjustment system. While it’s not new to BMW, this is the latest version from the German manufacturer. I should point out that this is an option and doesn’t come standard on the $15,259 base model K1300S. It does come on the premium package that includes the ABS and the ASC that will set you back an additional $2,250. Basically, at the push of a button located on the left handlebar, you can set the suspension to one of three modes: Sport, Normal or Comfort. Each of these positions has a choice of three settings to give nine different pre sets. It’s not a new system, as most of you will be familiar with it from the previous K series, but it has undergone some fine-tuning to make it even better. Now, in sport mode the settings are a little more aggressive, and in comfort mode they are more relaxed. This allows them to be noticeably different from the normal mode that sits in the middle.

The K1300S uses the same frame, but the front Duolever suspension uses a lighter aluminum control arm for more sensitivity. I am a big fan of BMW’s radical front end. The lack of dive under heavy braking is very comforting when coming to a rapid halt from high speed, and I have never had any problems at extreme lean angles. Some people obviously did complain, so the spring weights were firmed and the trail reduced by a fairly substantial eighth of inch. Taking part in the usual Journalist GP out on the deserted Californian roads, both front and rear ends get two thumbs up from the Big Nosed one.

Ever the quirkiest company in the two-wheeled world, BMW also has a racer style quickshift system this year. Allowing clutchless up shifts at full throttle, the way you do on a race bike, it is an option that comes directly from the street/race HP2 Sport. I used it all the time and it works flawlessly from short shifting to running hard through the gears to maximum rpm. Saving you precious time on your up shifts. At the very least it should get you to the coffee shop on Sunday mornings a few seconds ahead of your buddies.

Ultra fast, slick, and comfortable, BMW got it right with the new K1300S. No more niggling fuel injection issues and more of what made the old bike so popular. Wind protection is excellent, and typical BMW options like heated handlebar grips and electric gear hook ups make it as versatile as you could want for extended riding duties. Heck. It even comes with conventionally operating turn signals for the first time. What more could you ask for?