Sturgis Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2014

- The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the 2014 inductees into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame and the Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame. The Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame is designed to recognize individuals or groups who have made a long term positive impact on the motorcycle community.  The Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame recognizes the commitment and sacrifices individuals across the nation and world have made to protect the rights of motorcyclists.  For 2014, the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame will honor one Freedom Fighter and induct six into the Sturgis Hall of Fame.

Deb “Tiger” Chandler Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame – Deb “Tiger” Chandler has been an active part of the motorcycling community for over 40 years.  In partnership with the Colorado Confederation of Clubs (CCOC), she assumed the role of Colorado Commander of the Coalition of Independent Riders – a registration of independent riders.  Tiger has worked tirelessly through the state legislature to address issues of importance to motorcyclists in Colorado including funding for beginning rider training and alcohol interlocking devices for motorcycles.  She has also been instrumental in implementing a Biker Day at the Capital in Colorado as a means of opening dialog between bikers and legislators.

Clyde Fessler – During his 25 year career at the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Clyde Fessler played an integral role in the turnaround of the company.  He served in multiple marketing positions including,  Director of Marketing, Vice President of General Merchandise, Vice President of Motor Accessories,  and Vice President of Business Development.  He was responsible for many innovative programs, policies, products, and marketing strategies that made Harley-Davidson one of the most recognized brands in the world.  Since his retirement in 2002, Fessler has remained active in motorcycling as a member of the Hamsters Motorcycle Club.  He recently wrote a book, “Rebuilding the Brand” and now travels extensively as a Keynote Speaker.

Jesse Jurrens – Legend Suspensions began in 1998 when Jesse Jurrens recognized the benefits an air spring could have on motorcycles and sought to develop the technology for Harley-Davidson Softail Chassis. Eventually being convinced, Gates™ Rubber Company, the leader in air spring technology, agreed to lend their patented Kevlar impregnated rubber air spring technology to the fledgling South Dakota start-up.  Since that time, Jesse has continued to develop innovative suspension systems.  Today, Sturgis South Dakota based Legend Suspensions manufactures Aero Air Suspension systems and Revo coil suspension systems for all Harley-Davidson models and Off-road UTVs.  Legend Suspensions are available world-wide providing a smoother ride with “on the go” adjustability, increased vehicle capability and versatility.  The Offroad systems are used by the U.S. Military and countless fire and rescue operations.  Legend has become known for its innovative quality products, Lifetime Warranty, and outstanding customer service.  The company is a recognized leader in suspension technology.

 Jay “Lightnin’” Bentley – From the time he was a teenager, Jay Lightning rode in a motordrome owned by Pappy Boudreaux – first part-time and later full-time.  Early on, Jay rode Harley Hummers as a straight rider, but soon graduated to trick riding on the wall on Indian 101 Scouts.  By 1998, Jay took out a loan against his home to purchase wood and equipment to begin building what would become the American Motor Drome Wall of Death.  Completed in 2000, it was the first of its kind to be built in over 50 years.  For the past 14 years, the American Motor Drome has toured the country full-time.  Besides keeping the drome running, Jay collects classic motorcycles and wall bikes that he displays as part of the traveling show.

Keith Terry – An avid motorcyclist since he was 15, Keith Terry’s career actually started in the automotive industry, after which he operated a company that promoted bicycle motocross races.  In 1994 Keith built his first custom motorcycle, and he’s been building them ever since.  Keith and his wife Fran have owned Terry Components, the largest supplier of motorcycle starter motors and battery cables in the industry for 20 years.  More recently, Keith – along with Chris Malo – started Baggster LLC, a company that manufactures custom conversion kits for Harley-Davidson applications. For the last three years, Keith has been in charge of the Buffalo Chip Challenge working with Sturgis Brown High School students to build a custom bagger that is auctioned at the Legends Ride each year.

Bonnie Truett Ask anyone in the drag racing world about who’s had a broad impact on the sport and Bonnie Truett’s name will likely come up.  Bonnie started racing in the 1960s, and was constantly working to get more out of his drag bikes.  He started by changing the flywheels in his own Sportster, but eventually he and his partner Paul Osborn started to create and manufacture their own flywheels, frames, cams, cylinders and rods.  Bonnie continued to race until 1984, and he and Paul continued to run Truett and Osborn together until his retirement in 1997.  Following his retirement from racing, Bonnie helped his son Scott who is a four time champion in Pro Drag class in AHDRA. Bonnie is well known to everyone in the drag racing world as a friend, mentor and all around good guy.

Paul Yaffe – For over 20 years, Paul Yaffe has created custom motorcycles, working on as many as 12 commissioned bikes in any given year.  Many a Paul Yaffe Original has graced the pages of motorcycle magazines in the U.S. and abroad.  As part of his creative process, Paul often engineers new and exciting parts for one of his custom creations.  Often those parts are in demand from others in the custom-bike building world.  So, Paul created his Bagger Nation brand of custom parts and accessories for touring motorcycles.  Paul’s contributions do not end with the motorcycle industry, though.  He’s well-known as an advocate and fundraiser for children’s charities both in Phoenix and in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Breakfast is scheduled for Wednesday, August 6 at 9:00 a.m. at The Lodge at Deadwood in Deadwood, SD.

Breakfast tickets are available for a $35.00 donation, tables of eight for $300.00.  Tickets can be purchased by calling the Museum at 605.347.2001 or they can be purchased online at http://www.sturgismuseum.com/shop/hall-fame-breakfast.

Suzuki GW 250; Great Beginner Bike

by: Walt Lumpkin

The Suzuki GW 250 is a ideal beginner bike or "refresher" for the returning motorcycle rider

The Suzuki GW 250 is a ideal beginner bike or “refresher” for the returning motorcycle rider

The newest bike in the Suzuki line is the GW 250 and it gives them a low cost niche in the starter motorcycle lineup. This lightweight bike is 248cc’s of two wheel fun directed primarily toward the first time rider. With an MSRP of $3999 it is affordable for most wallets and is a good choice for those who have no interest in purchasing a used bike and dealing with the pitfalls that usually come with such a purchase while perfecting the intricacies of learning to ride on two wheels.

The GW250 boasts a side by side liquid cooled twin cylinder engine delivering enough horsepower to the ground to satisfy most beginners. While twenty four horses may not seem to be adequate to those of us who have been riding for years  think back to the first time you straddled a  large displacement bike.  Now think about how daunting it’s power and weight can be to a novice rider.

This bike is not intended to be an long touring interstate highway cruiser but is plenty of motorcycle for those who need practice and transportation on surface streets and rural highways with double nickel speed limits. During our media test rides speeds of eighty plus miles per hour were obtained on I-4. Although the bike is not really in its element at those speeds it is good to know you have the capability if needed.

The GW250 seat height of just over thirty inches and narrow seat makes it ideal for the new female rider and male riders that are vertically challenged. The ability to place both feet flat on the pavement when stopped is one thing that builds confidence in new riders. The stylish GW250 also makes for a great bike for the college set that just needs affordable and fuel efficient transportation around campus. It is easier to park too.

Highway speed is easily accessible via the smooth shifting six speed constant mesh transmission and the hybrid ergonomic seating makes the ride comfortable for most riders. The positioning is somewhere between sport bike and normal mid controls. The seat and suspension is fairly comfortable even for a six foot two hundred thirty pound guy like me. Overall Suzuki engineers have hit the middle ground by focusing on the best of sport bike and cruiser ergonomics.

The chain driven GW250 weighs in at a very light four hundred and three pounds. It is equipped with front and rear discs brakes that are more than adequate to stop this lightweight chain driven looker. The dash contains both analog and digital gauges along with flashy indicator lights. The electric starter brings the 250 to life with an effortless press of the starter button.

The GW250 gives Suzuki an entry level bike that should appeal to a wide range of consumers and the twelve month unlimited warranty should give buyers the confidence in Suzuki to take care of their new offering to the US market.

What do you think?  Take the survey after the photographs

BJN47596 BJN47641 BJN47659

Motorcycle Enthusiasts Unite for Bike Week at WyoTech Daytona

larry mcbrideTop Fuel Motorcycle World Champion to Judge Bike Engine Build-Off

DAYTONA, Fla. (Feb. 24, 2014) – Hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts, two wheel speed junkies and vendors are expected to turn out and turn up the throttle, showing off their skills and horsepower, during Daytona Bike Week at the WyoTech Daytona campus. The event takes place March 11 to 14, with top billings going to the 24th Annual Brute Horsepower Shootout and 2nd Annual Bike Engine Build-Off Challenge. Attendees will also have the opportunity to enjoy meeting some of the industry’s top manufacturers, as well as campus tours and free dyno runs all week.
As one of Bike Week’s premier and longest running events, the Brute Horsepower Shootout brings together contestants from across the country to compete on the WyoTech Dyno’s to determine whose bike can produce the most horsepower. The 24th annual Shootout raises the bar with $5,000 in cash prizes, trophies and bragging rights to winners in the unlimited classes. Thousands of dollars in industry-sponsored prizes will also be awarded in Domestic V-Twin and Import classes. In addition to the Shootout, WyoTech students will be putting their education to the test as they do battle in the 2nd Annual Bike Engine Build-Off. Trophies will be awarded to students who can tear down and rebuild engines in the quickest time.
Larry “Spiderman” McBride, the Daytona Bike Week master of ceremonies and 10-time Top Fuel AMA Motorcycle Drag Bike champion, will also judge the Engine Build-Off.
Bike Week highlights include:
March 11, 2014
  • Day 1 qualifying runs for Brute Horsepower Shootout
  • Day 1 for Import Engine Build-Off and Domestic Engine Build-Off
March 12, 2014
  • Day 2 qualifying runs for Brute Horsepower Shootout
  • Day 2 for Import Engine Build-Off and Domestic Engine Build-Off
March 13, 2014
  • Day 3 for Brute Horsepower Shootout
  • 2nd annual Bike Engine Build-Off Awards Presentation
March 14, 2014
  • Brute Horsepower Shootout Final Rounds and Awards Presentation
For complete Bike Week schedules, rules and class sponsors please visit www.wyotechbikeweek.com. For more information on WyoTech and its campuses, visit www.WyoTech.edu.
About WyoTech
WyoTech is a division of Corinthian Colleges, Inc., one of the largest post-secondary education companies in North America. With five campuses located throughout the United States, WyoTech offers degree and diploma programs in the fields of automotive, diesel, collision/refinishing, motorcycle, marine and construction trades. In addition, WyoTech offers advanced training programs in applied service management; advanced diesel; light duty diesel; advanced automotive diagnostics; street rod and custom fabrication; motorsports chassis fabrication; high performance power trains; and trim and upholstery technology. For more information about WyoTech, go to www.wyotech.edu. For more information about graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit WyoTech’s website at www.wyotech.edu/disclosures.

Pennsylvania Limits Motorcycle Learners Permits

1motorcyclesafetyRep. Seth Grove introduced HB 892 in this session of the Pennsylvania State Legislature in an effort to curb the practice of “serial permitting” by novice riders in the state.  The bill was just signed by the Governor and becomes effective immediately.

The new law restricts the number of times someone can reapply for a motorcycle learners permit to three times in a 5 year period.  Prior to this law, there was no restriction on the number of times an individual could reapply for a learners permit and thereby skirting the need to take the full motorcycle license written and riding test.

“We have been dealing with individuals who continually violate the restrictions of motorcycle permits because they treat permits like actual licenses,” Grove said.

The State ABATE also supported the bill and provides providing free student motorcycle safety training, with an opportunity to obtain a class “M” license upon completion of the course.

For more info, visit www.abatepa.org, the state Department of Transportation’s Live Free Ride Alive website, or call 1-800-845-9533.

You Won’t Believe Which Brand Received The Worst “Reliability” Rating

12-BMW-K1600GTL-0151Consumer Reports surveyed 4680 subscribers who are motorcycle owners about the reliability of their motorcycles.  Out of those who responded to the survey, BMW touring and dual sport owners reported more problems with their motorcycles than owners of other brands.

One in every three BMW owners (33%)  said they’ve had an issue with their motorcycle in the past year.  One in every 4 Harley-Davidson owner (25%) reported an issue with their motorcycle.

Honda CBR, and Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R owners reported the least amount of problems.  The issues that were brought up the most by those who responded to the survey were problems with lights, switches, instrumentation, electrical or fuel systems.

Other brands such as  Kawasaki, Victory, Indian, Suzuki and Triumph were not ranked as the owners did not provide enough information as required by the survey.

You Won’t Believe What This Biker Charity Is Doing With Your Money

 

Founder Danny Perkins lives in a million dollar condo in Miami and oversees a lucrative money making biker funded charity

Founder Danny Perkins lives in a million dollar condo in Miami and oversees a lucrative money making biker funded charity

When Orlando television news reporter Matt Grant started digging around into the finances of Daytona based BADD, (Bikers Against Drunk Drivers) he hit a stone wall, at least when he contacted the organization directly. BADD is a well known motorcycle charity in Central Florida and is known for it’s motorcycle giveaways. According to records filed with the State of Florida in the three years prior to 2014, the organization collected just over $2.6 million dollars. Those same records indicate the charity has returned just $20,300 to victims of drunk drivers, less than 1% of the money it collected. The president of Charity Navigator, one of the largest non-profit charity watch dogs in the United States said the numbers don’t add up and gives BADD a “zero” rating. Records indicate that the charity’s founder Danny Perkins owns a luxury condo on Miami’s South Beach worth almost a million dollars and which records indicate was paid for in cash and a 27 foot pleasure boat which is registered in the charity’s name. When asked how donations are spent, Perkins told WESH in an email “the charity speaks for itself,”claiming BADD has sent out 5 million flyers and used Facebook posts to encourage people not to drink and drive.

 

Read the Story at WESH 2

Thief Steals Harley-Davidson in Less Than 4 Minutes

Security camera footage captures a motorcycle thief stealing a Harley-Davidson Sportster at 4:30 am in less than 4 minutes. Most of that time the thief spent taking off whatever it was he had on the bicycle he rode up on and then disposing of it off camera. Once he gets it hot wired and started he proceeds to break the fork lock by repeatedly slamming the handlebars back and forth. This video shows the necessity for a good cable lock or chain which may have slowed him down enough for police to arrive or just made it too difficult to steal.

Lawmaker Says Motorcycles (or bicycles) don’t belong in his County

Lawmaker says bikes and motorcycles should not be allowed in Suffolk Co New Jersey

Lawmaker says bikes and motorcycles should not be allowed in Suffolk Co New York. (previously incorrectly identified as New Jersey)

Thomas F. Barraga (R-West Islip) says people should ride bikes at all in Suffolk County New York because “Suffolk County is a suburban automobile community — drivers expect to see other drivers on the road, not bicyclists and motorcyclists.”  

The anti-motorcycle/bicycle legislator made those remarks in response to a high school senior who wrote to him as a part of a government class assignment.  The 17 year old, Matthew Cutrone, wrote to Barraga requesting “some sort of bike lane or maybe even warning signs in certain areas of the county” after his mother was hit by the driver of a van turning left in front of her.

After Barraga’s callous response lit up social media and prompted a ton of angry responses, the legislator said he’s standing by his remarks.  “I’m not going to tell them what they want to hear, a lot of fluff,” he said in an interview. “I tell them the truth.”   Barraga said he advises all his constituents not to take up bicycling because of the risk. “They usually do not listen — 90 percent of these people eventually were hit by an automobile, many like your mother with serious physical injuries,” Barraga wrote in the letter to Cutrone.

His office could not provide the source for the statistics Barraga cited.  The text of the letters are below.

*in an earlier version of this story, Suffolk County is incorrectly identified as being in New Jersey.

 

Matthew Cutrone’s letter to Legis. Thomas Barraga

Letter to Matthew Cutrone

 

Fictional Bikers Say They Saved Harley-Davidson

bobbyHe couldn’t save his fictional club brother Opie  who was killed in season 5, but  Bobby Munson (Mark Boone Jr.) tells the Hollywood Reporter that the hit cable show Sons of Anarchy “basically saved Harley-Davidson.”    Read it here.

Whoa there Bobby…that’s pretty big talk from a fictional patch holder.

It’s true that 7 years ago when the show first started, the motorcycle industry was just starting to swirl around the economic toilet drain, and several high profile manufacturers flushed themselves out,  but to claim that a television show “saved” a major motorcycle manufacturer from bankruptcy is…well…bullshit.

If  the Hollywood Reporter has their facts straight, Harley-Davidson is selling more bikes today than a few years ago and is leading the 18-34 market.  And, while 2012 overall sales increased 6 percent, if you believe that’s what saved the Bar and Shield, then I’ve got oceanfront property in Nebraska that I’ll sell you at $500 an acre.

What saved Harley-Davidson was draconian cuts in operating costs, new deals with it’s union, expansion of overseas markets and a recovering US economy that had nothing to do with the show being popular, any more than Then Came Bronson kept Harley-Davidson alive back in the 70′s.

I’ll bet the cut on my back on that.

When Doing Your Job Costs You Money

trail of tears last shirtLast month I made a long time friend and advertiser angry. I didn’t do it intentionally and while I wish it hadn’t happened the way it did, I’m not sure what I could have done differently.

Many of you follow our Facebook page. As we go to press with this issue, we have over 81,000 likes, and we’re adding close to 500 new followers per day.

On any given week the USRiderNews Facebook posts are seen by 141,000 people.

We see “motorcycle news” as our primary responsibility and entertainment second.

And that’s what got us in trouble with this advertiser.

For the past 5 years or so, the Trail of Tears Remembrance motorcycle ride, founded and headed by Bill Cason has advertised in USRiderNews. In return we’ve provided them free space at our events. We’ve promoted them on Facebook and, when the Board of Directors splintered and ousted Bill Cason over the vision and direction of the ride, we sided with Bill.

Normally any publication that relies on advertising would stay neutral to not to offend either side. We supported Bill Cason because we trusted him to continue to raise awareness of the past wrongs and raise funds for scholarships for Native Americans.

I won’t rehash the politics behind the split in the TOT. If you’re interested, you can Google it and read several stories from both sides. But after the split, there were two groups competing for riders and both claiming to be the “OFFICIAL” Trail of Tears Ride.    Or read it here  and here

On January 10th, Bill Cason sent us an ad that was to run for 3 months. He didn’t say anything to us about its contents, other than “we would be surprised.”

Well, as you can guess, we were surprised. After 20 years, Bill Cason was ending the ride by saying, “we’ve done what we started to do.”  Download End Of Trail Letter 2013[1] pdf.

So we did what any news outlet would do. We wrote a story about it and publicized it on our Facebook page.

In a couple of hours the website story had been viewed over 19,000 times. The Facebook post was seen by over 45,000 people.

That’s when we received a call from Bill who told us he didn’t want us to put that on Facebook because he “wasn’t ready” to make the news public. He explained he didn’t want the story to get out until the magazine was printed and distributed the middle of the month.

He also objected to the story we put on our website which briefly touched on the controversy surrounding the ride and the two competing rides. Although we did not state that Bill was ending his ride because of the problems he’s had with permits and such, we did state that ever since the split, he has had more trouble dealing with law enforcement and public officials in Alabama and been forced to change routes and plans. All of which are true and factual.

Here’s what we posted online.

TRAIL OF TEARS CHARITY RIDE ENDS

Trail of Tears Motorcycle Ride founder Bill Cason has called an end to ride. Cason is the original founding member of the charity ride that has originated from downtown Chattanooga for the past 20 years. Cason said, “On behalf of the entire Board of Directors of the Trail of Tears Remembrance Motorcycle Ride, I want to announce that we are at the End of The Trail for our annual charity motorcycle ride. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for 20 great years and your support of our organization.”

Controversy began several years ago when a few Alabama members of the Trail of Tears Board of Directors attempted to illegally remove Cason and several of his close supporters from the Board. The issue was over vendor revenue and political bickering between several of the Alabama cities along the route. Cason said the controversy in the past had nothing to do with the decision to end the ride. “We feel the original goals and mission of the Ride have been achieved.”  In the 20 years of the ride, Cason and his volunteers provided thousands of dollars of scholarship funds to Native American children, and placed Historical Markers in many areas along the Trail. Observers say attendance over the past few years has been dwindling due mainly to the depressed economy and not the two separate competing rides.

After the story broke, we received this from Bill (via e-mail) “Very disappointed in Facebook post. That is not at all the reason the ride is ending. The letter stated the reason. We have completed our mission. We expected you to print only the letter in your magazine. We were not ready for it to go public on Facebook.”

Later we received another e-mail cancelling the ad.

As a publisher who lives and dies by advertising revenue, I’m extremely upset at the news department for doing something that pissed off a paying advertiser, which resulted in a loss of revenue.  As a news reporter, I’m upset that the advertiser didn’t have the good sense to stress to the sales department not the “leak” the story to the news department.

But, as the Social Media manager, I’m proud this incident proved how broad our website and Facebook reach is. When we post something, it reaches more motorcycle riders than any other free motorcycle magazine in the USA.

As  friends of Bill Cason, and long time supporter, we made the decision to run the full page advertisement anyway, thereby costing us more lost revenue by having one less page available as advertising space.

Unfortunately we can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Once the post hit our Facebook page, the story was out. Had Bill told us not to publicize it before the issue was printed, we would have honored that request. In this day and time, I guess the notion that anyone wouldn’t think about Facebook surprised me more than anything.

But the other thing that surprised me is that Bill Cason, or anyone else would be so naive as to believe they can “end” the tradition of a motorcycle ride in September that associates itself with the “Trail of Tears.”

Within hours, supporters or organizers of the “other” ride were posting on our Facebook page that the ride “wasn’t cancelled” and promoting their ride up as the “official” ride.

On that “other” ride’s website, they’re already making plans for the 2014 ride and are claiming they own the 20 year tradition.

The simple truth is there’s too much money involved for the tradition to end. It’s sad that Bill and those who worked so hard for 20 years will no longer be there to make sure that money is used to improve the lives of Native Americans and preserve their heritage. Instead, most of that money will fund tourism efforts and pay expenses and staff to promote the event.

And, another sad, but inevitable truth is as time goes on, fewer and fewer people will remember (or care) who started the Trail of Tears ride, or the original purpose. Once the Trail of Tears Remembrance website goes dark, twenty years of dedication by Bill Cason and his supporters will disappear. Gone and forgotten.

For the record, I’m not against any person or group involved in this. I’m just a motorcycle magazine publisher trying to make a living and report the news.

This is one of those times when staying true to our mission, costs us money and friends.  I guess that’s the price you pay when you stick to your principals.