2010 Kawasaki Concours

There’s no denying the impact Kawasaki made on the sport-touring world when they introduced the new Concours 14 just two short years ago. Ballistically fast, thanks to the lightly revised 1352cc ZX 14 power plant lurking under its’ slick, stylish skin, the new Concours took the performance envelope in this class and ripped it up. With it’s superb handling and braking abilities, allied to an all-day comfortable touring package, it was a quantum leap forward from the Concours 1000 that had been with us since 1986. But near perfect as it came out of the gate, Kawasaki felt they could improve it and set about interviewing owners of the new bike to see what they were thinking. By listening to what was being said, and coming up with a bunch of fresh ideas themselves, Kawasaki has taken the Concours 14 to an all-new level. Not only is the bike just as fast and responsive, possible a little more due to new tire technology and revised suspension settings, it is now a whole lot more sophisticated. Packed to the brim with a host of new electronic rider aids, as well as some extra wind protection and heat dispersing changes to the body work, the new Concours has got every base covered, and then some. Heading out of Palm Springs, California on a crystal clear fall day, where the lack of clouds made the sky appear as if it went on forever behind the ridge of mountains we needed to climb, I couldn’t help being impressed with Kawasaki’s interactive and progressive approach.

Swinging through the first set of challenging bends, I settled in behind the adjustable fairing. Bigger this year to the tune of 2.75 inches taller and a tad wider, I set it on its lowest position to allow the cool, morning breeze to find it’s way into my helmet. Later, as we gained elevation, I would raise it back up to the highest position and switch on the heated grips as the temperatures hovered around the low ‘40s, but for now the crisp air felt good. Coming this year with a program that defaults the screen to the pre-set position the rider chooses, it also moves up and down at the touch of a button in step-less fashion. If you feel you need it, the smaller screen on last year’s model it is available as an accessory at your dealer, but in my motorcycle mind, down means hot, up means cold, and I can see no reason for change. While we are talking step-less adjustment, it would be a good time to note the standard fitment heated handlebar grips use this system also. This makes it fantastic for fine-tuning when the temperatures drop, as there is nothing worse than being stuck with set positions that either bake your digits or allow them to stay cold.

Making the long and steady climb up to Idlewild, with a couple of photo stops in between, gave us a great opportunity to revisit the handling characteristics that make the Concours 14 so competent when you use the sport side of it’s intended equation. I have heard minor complaints about the previous models handling, but for a bike weighing around 670 pounds built to take you and your missus cross country in style, I think it does an incredible job. Sure it takes a little more thought than an open class sport bike to ride fast, but would you expect any different?

Not to rest on their laurels though, Kawasaki fitted new Bridgestone BT021U tires. With thicker rubber they are said to last longer, a situation that should maintain consistent handling for longer. There is also a little more oil in the front fork and between the two changes the overall consensus of opinion during the launch was better handling. It still takes a fair amount of body language to initiate faster, or tighter, turns, but the big Concours can be a lot of fun on tight, twisting roads as we found out after lunch. Diving off the mountain, and out onto someflatter more open country, we put the new bike to the test. Handling the high-speed chase with aplomb it systematically annihilated the long straights we found at the foot of the mountains.

One of the major concerns listed by Concours owners was the amount of heat coming from under the bodywork. Using detailed computer drawings to show us how the rider gets affected, they then showed us how the new model dissipates the heat to keep the rider a much cooler. Using restyled bodywork, there is improved venting in the front panels and a new seal between the engine and the fairing. This latter change is aimed at keeping heat away from the rider while at traffic lights, or at low speeds.  Riding in a mixture of warm to cold weather we were never stuck in traffic to really see for ourselves, but with all the work that’s been put into improving things I have no doubt it’ll be a lot better.

With so many changes and improvements being found on the new bike, the most important area in my mind is the new electronics package. The bike still uses Kawasaki’s Kipass ignition key system, but this year there is a second fob you can hide on the bike that doesn’t activate the ignition until it is a few centimeters away. I’m not a big fan of the system that requires you take the fob with you in your clothes, and personally would prefer to see a regular ignition key that doesn’t require batteries. But it’s back for 2010 so it mustn’t be too unpopular.

Something I am in complete favor if is the all new for 2010 KRTC traction control system. An all-new system for Kawasaki, it is not only highly sophisticated, but it works really well. In fact, Kawasaki are so confident in its abilities they let us loose on a temporary skid pad on a bike equipped with outriggers. This made for an interesting ride as I basically pinned the throttle as soon as I rolled onto the slippery surface and moments later rolled safely off it at the other end, with just a few wiggles through the bars. The bike tracked smoothly forward and no amount of abuse on the throttle would change it. Trying the same move without the system engaged produced some hilarious results. I had the bike pretty hacked out sideways before it plopped onto the outriggers, but one enthusiastic journo actually got the bike to spin through 180 degrees.

With the sensors that read rear wheel spin also being used for the ABS, thesystem adds no weight to the Concours. As soon as the ECU senses the rear wheel spinning faster than the front it cuts the ignition time, the fuel delivery and the airflow through the secondary butterfly valves. Where other systems rely on two methods of control, Kawasaki’s Jeff Herzog told me using three makes things a lot smoother. Having only experienced this type of traction control on BMW’s big touring bikes, he’s not wrong, as it is definitely smoother than Kawasaki’s Bavarian counterparts. Another positive to the system is the ability to turn it on or off on the fly. There is a large button on the bottom of the left hand switchgear marked “KTRC,” imagine that, and a quick press lets you make your choice. One thing to note here is this is not a full traction control system, so don’t go cranking on the throttle when leaned way over expecting to do a Casey Stoner style drive off the corner. It also prevents wheelies.

Making things safer when it comes time to slow down or stop, the Concours comes with an updated, linked ABS for 2010. Listed in the press blurb as 20% smaller and 30% lighter, unlike the traction control it can’t be switched on or off. You do have a choice at purchase time to buy the Concours without ABS and KTRC though, but for just $700 over the base model’s purchase price of $14,599 I can’t see too many people not opting to have this option. Coming this year with a choice of two settings, it is accessed by an orange button on the left hand switchgear marked K-ACT. In standard mode the amount of front braking is less than in high mode when you operate the rear brake pedal. There is no change in the ratio front to rear when you operate the front brake, and the new system allows you more control for the type of riding you want to do. For sportier duties the choice will be standard, and during touring duties it can be changed back to high.  When you do use the brakes hard enough to activate the system, the amount of pulsing is very minimal and like the traction control we got to put it to the test on the skid pad.         Coming quickly safely and smoothly to a halt, it certainly earns its keep.

Forcing the ABS into action, the Concours uses the same radial mount front calipers as last year, worked on by a multi-adjustable lever operating a direct action master cylinder. Squeezing the pads against 310mm wave rotors, the system is extremely powerful, but don’t worry about it being touchy or difficult to modulate. Immediately giving you feedback as you start to pull on the lever, it just keeps getting stronger either activating the ABS or giving you the stopping power you were asking for. No surprises from the single disc rear set up, with plenty of lever travel and control before a light pulsing tells you the rear tire would be smoking if you didn’t have ABS.

Style wise the changes to the Concours are fairly minimal, with the wider fairing lowers being changed for heat dissipation in mind. The exhaust canister has been shortened 40mm and gets some trendy looking end caps to give it the appearance of being more compact and that’s about it. Always a looker, the deep gloss paint is stunning, and the bike is available in Candy Neptune Blue only for some reason. It certainly gives the bike a sophisticated look to go with its new technological advancements, but it seems like it would be nice to have a color choice.

I doubt there was much complaint on the subject of comfort on the previous model, and with the adjustable fairing it can only be improved this year. The foot peg to handlebar relation is certainly on the sporty side of the touring equation, but it doesn’t put any stress on knees or shoulders. View from the flight deck once underway is impressive. Two practical looking analogue gauges with black faces and white numbers keep the pilot informed of ground speed and engine behavior. The onboard computer’s LCD screen sits top and center and is flanked by the usual neutral light, turn signal and oil lights etc, to the side. There is a plethora of information available from the digital screen, from average mph to average mpg, so planning fuel stops and destinations is going to be slick and easy whilst in motion.

Not content with the grocery list of improvements and innovations, Kawasaki has also added a fuel saving device to the mix. Called the “ECO” it is activated by the mode switch on the left handlebar when you want to switch the Concours to a leaner mapping circuit. Once activated it works at less than 30% throttle or under 6,000rpm. The system will also let you know when you are being conservative on the throttle by displaying the ECP symbol on LED screen. I’m sure we have all had to ride like this after misjudging a fuel stop out in the middle of nowhere at some point in our riding careers, and now you can purposefully ride like this to conserve gas if that’s your aim and the light will let you know you are doing it right.

With revised storage compartments that lock themselves once you are traveling over 2mph, lockable hard bags and plenty of room for attaching luggage to the rack on the rear, the new Kawasaki Concours 1400 has quite simply got all your touring needs covered, and then some. As a bike that seriously impressed me the first time around, it has evolved into an even more sophisticated and highly competent motorcycle. All it needs is a built in tea maker and it will be perfect.

Aerostitch Cotton Shorties

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These comfy 100% cotton shorts are great for wearing under a riding suit or for relaxing with friends after a long ride. Made of a mid-weight comfy brushed cotton twill that gets more comfy with each laundering. An elastic waistband and adjustable front belt ensure a comfy fit. Two side pockets hold stuff. Go commando. Ride comfy. Black or Green. We make these ourselves, right alongside the Roadcrafters. M (32-34), L (34-36), XL (36-38), XXL (38-40), XXXL (40-42) Specify 9″ inseam (pictured) or the risqué 6″ inseam.

#2859 $37.00


Cycle Sounds® Introduces Series 3 – 3 Inch Premium Sound System

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Lee’s Summit, MO- Cycle Sounds, has recently introduced their Series 3 audio system specifically designed and engineered for the V-Twin market. Each Series 3 Premium Sound System comes complete with your choice of 3 inch bullet speakers (black or chrome), high-powered mini amplifier with wiring harness and mount, handlebar MP3 mount, speaker mounts and all necessary connectors and wires to complete installation. These speaker systems are designed with a patented multiple shim mounting system that easily attaches to 7/8”, 1” and 1¼” bars without any additional mounting hardware. These lightweight bullet speakers produce clean crisp sound, with minimum distortion… even over engine and road noise. Systems work with iPod, iPhone, mp3, Satellite Radio or any device that uses a 3.5mm earphone jack. The Series 3 Premium Sound System works perfect on any style motorcycle.

Ed Files, President of Cycle Sounds has over a dozen patents regarding their audio products and has recently introduced some revolutionary new products by which all others will be judged, including the new water-resistant Bagger AudioTM lids. Ed stated, “We developed this premium sound system because not everyone rides a bagger, but most everyone enjoys music. Now you can listen to music any time and anywhere you ride.” All Cycle Sounds motorcycle sound systems are thoroughly tested under true riding conditions…ensuring you the highest quality audio in the motorcycle industry.

Cycle Sounds, LLC also produces a wide variety of audio components, not just for the V-Twin market, but also for sportbikes, metric cruisers, ATV, UTV, scooters and more. For dealers, OEM’s or distributors that are interested in adding Cycle Sounds products to their parts line up, please call (866) 427-2346 or email them at sales@cyclesounds.com. Check out their website at www.cyclesounds.com.


Rush Short Systems are Long on Features

RUSH has introduced short over and under exhaust systems that give  a new reason to long for short pipes. Bikers like the looks and sound of short pipes. The sound exits close to the rider so the full effect of the big twin rumble is heard and felt. RUSH heavy-duty 16-gauge steel delivers a deep throaty sound by eliminating the high-pitched noise.

Heat shields are also heavy-duty steel. Polishers work the thicker steel to a smooth surface for the best chrome of any pipe manufacturer. If black is your choice, RUSH has you covered with a special high temp coating.

Following months of product development and testing, only RUSH pipes are treated inside and out with ceramic coating. Ceramic is durable, tough and helps dissipate excess heat. Exhaust flow is also improved therefore adding performance. Chrome pipes have silver ceramic pipes that will never discolor. Black systems come with black ceramic head pipes and not industrial chrome like other exhaust companies.

Mounting is easy and hardware and instructions are included. Suggested retail is $300.95 for Chrome and $314.95 in Black.   Specific fitment, pictures and more information can be found at www.rushracingproducts.com or by visiting your local RUSH dealer.

RUSH Racing Products manufactures high quality motorcycle exhaust systems and mufflers for American and Metric Cruiser V-Twins. The company has been involved in high performance exhaust manufacturing since the early 1990’s.  RUSH is a family owned company with Midwest values, focused on exceptional products and outstanding customer service. All RUSH products are proudly Made in America at their state of the art facilities in Merrillville, Indiana.

New Air Wing Detachable Rack For Harley Touring Models

Chrome Rack Goes On and Off the Bike Quickly, Available Light Adds Visibility

The new Air Wing Detachable Two-Up Luggage Rack (P/N 54283-09, $229.95) from Harley-Davidson® Genuine Motor Accessories® features low-profile, aerodynamic styling. The die-cast wing and lightweight steel tubing incorporate high-quality welded joints, and the rack is hand-polished and chrome-plated. The engraved Harley-Davidson script adds a signature finish. Designed to work with or without Detachable Passenger Backrests, this rack can be installed or removed from the Docking Hardware in seconds. The kit includes all necessary mounting hardware, but requires the separate purchase of a Four-Point Docking Hardware Kit. Fits 2009-later Road King®, FLHX Street Glide®, Electra Glide® Standard, Road Glide®, Road Glide® Custom, CVO™ Street Glide® and CVO™ Road Glide® models.

For added visibility, add the available Air Wing Rack Light Kit (P/N 68065-10 smoked or 68219-10 red, $54.95), a fast-acting LED that fits within the cast wing and operates as a supplemental rear running light and brake light. Wiring is concealed inside the rack tubes for a clean installation. Available with red or smoked lens.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson’s Web site at www.harley-davidson.com.

American, Always” The latest painting from Eric Herrmann.

Eric Hermann, American Always

If you’re in my age group you probably saw the movie ‘Easy Rider” when it first appeared. Very turbulent times indeed. The war in Vietnam, long hair not allowed, drugs, and choppers. Well times have changed, or have they?

“American, Always” depicts a modern day version of one of the most famous motorcycles ever made. Of the two original “Captain America” motorcycles made for the movie, one was destroyed, one was stolen. Billy and Wyatt died from a Duck Hunters Shotgun. Placed in a graveyard setting, just as in the movie, the bike still shines, the flag stands tall, and we are all still riding. Times sure have changed, or have they.

Very turbulent times these days. It’s not like we haven’t seen this before.

“I’ve been riding since before the movie ‘Easy Rider” appeared and I still am.

I still get Goosebumps when I hear the national anthem at a NASCAR Race.

I am an ‘American, Always'”  Eric Herrmann

16 x 21           Edition of 300 / Gallery Wrapped              $400.00

24 x 32           Edition of 300 / Gallery Wrapped              $800.00

32 x 42           Edition of 50 / Custom Framed               $2500.00


Down at the Crossroads, A review of the new Victory Touring bike

Settling into the sculpted and surprisingly comfortable stock seat on the Victory Crossroads,  I crack the throttle and the 106-cubic-inch (1731cc) 50 degree V-twin motor responds with immediate power and the bike almost jumps forward.  Quick and nimble is not quite what you expect from such a big touring cruiser like the Crossroads but satisfying nonetheless.

I was on out on the 2 lane country roads getting familiar with the feel of one of Victory’s newest touring cruiser.  The Cross Roads, along with the fully faired Cross Country were released by the Vee late last year for 2010 and according to initial dealer reports are a big hit with consumers.
After 10 minutes in the saddle, I completely agree.  While the bike  has a few knocks which I’ll get to later, the overall first impression is a smooth, powerful and quite comfortable machine set up to haul your gear and your significant other and look pretty darn good doing it.
A few days later I’m heading East on Interstate 16, with my bride of 22 years on the pillion; our destination?  Savannah Georgia, the city that Sherman found too beautiful to burn.
We’d planned this weekend trip around her birthday, and initially the plan was to take the car and enough clothes and shoes for a 2 week stay.  You married men will understand what I mean by that.  Most women to have the innate ability to fill up whatever luggage space is available. Give them 12 cubic inches and they’ll want to take 13.  If the bag expands, they’ll test the limits of the zipper.    My wife’s motto is, “”I can make it fit.”  Truth is, she usually does.
When I’d picked up this press bike at my local Victory dealer, Bellamy Motorsports in Swainsboro Georgia, the passenger backrest and luggage rack was not attached.  Most press bikes are not two up ready because most moto-journalists don’t ride a passenger on press launches.  And, since the Crossroads is so new and dealers are having a hard time keeping them in stock, there wasn’t another one on the showroom floor to steal, er, borrow the needed accessories from.
A quick note to Manny Pandya at Victory got one headed our way but it would not arrive until after our  trip to Savannah.
No luggage rack meant we’d have to pack only what would fit into the two hard saddle bags and the little we could stuff into a Saraceni bag that would strap onto the outside of the windshield.  But what most concerned me was the absence of a passenger backrest.  My wife, to my knowledge, has never ridden any distance without something to support her back and provide a feeling of security.
I was sure she’d be in a foul mood after 90+ miles of worrying about falling off the back.  And you know when mamma’s not happy; she makes sure you’re not happy either!
But first, I’d need to tackle the luggage issue.  Having taken a Victory Vision on an extended road trip in 2008, I’d had some experience with Victory’s saddlebag setup.  The Vision’s saddlebags are deceptively small and I expected the same with the Crossroads.  But once I had time to take a  good look inside, I was surprised by how much storage these bags provided, as compared to the Vision and other bikes in its class.   The specs claim 21 gallons of cargo room.   By comparison the Harley-Davidson Road King offers 16.9 gallons cargo space.
Now, unless you’re planning on emptying a beer keg in the bags, I’m not sure why you’d care how many gallons the saddlebag holds, but that’s one of the quirks common to all the manufacturers.   You’d think it would be simpler to use cubic inches but because most bags are not perfectly shaped and often contour around the bike frame and components, getting a hard measurement would be difficult.
With luggage a non-issue, there was still the backrest situation to deal with.  Short of strapping my bride to me with multiple bungee cords, the only thing to do was promise to be extra careful on the throttle.   I assured her I had no desire to sport one of those “The Bitch Fell Off” t-shirts.
Somewhere halfway to Savannah, my wife’s voice comes through the headset in my helmet with, “The way they’ve set this seat up, and with my legs over the saddlebags I feel ok back here.  This isn’t nearly as bad as I’d thought it would be.”
Ahhh, the sweet sound of marital bliss!  I was mentally checking off the brownie points in my head.
But enough about my marital shenanigans, you’re interested in the Crossroads or you wouldn’t be reading this review.
Having entered their second decade of motorcycle manufacturing, the designs coming out of Medina Minnesota have improved tremendously since their first “cruiser” the V92C in 1999.  In fact one reviewer of that early model called it a “self propelled compressor.”   Even the diehard Victory faithful couldn’t dispute the brand needed a makeover.
With input from custom bike builders and willingness to start from scratch, today’s models are sleek and visually appealing, built with an eye towards giving the brand its own unique look and the bikes a “customized” look right out of the factory.
The Crossroads styling remains true to the brand and shares some of the styling cues found on the Vision, but the  “Jetson” style is toned down quite a bit.   Beginning at the front, the HID (high intensity headlight) is housed in a sculpted chrome cover and dominates the 43mm inverted telescoping front fork.  The wide handlebars frame the aerodynamic but slightly less angular and graceful, sweeping curved backbone and rounded top saddlebags which flow the eye toward  the built-in long tail/brake light combination on the rear fender and LED turn signals.   The sculpted front fender hugs the tire and the drivers seat, as in other Victory models, is scalloped into the tank giving that “customized look” lacking in the competition.
Compared against non-faired touring cruisers, the 106 cubic inch single overhead cam power plant is smaller the Star Stratoliner S, (113 cubic inch) but larger than the Harley-Davidson Road King (TC 96 cubic inch)   and serves as a stressed member of the   two-piece, sand-cast aluminum frame, much like its cousin, the Vision.
Gearheads will understand that the overhead single camshafts and self-adjusting cam chains in the Freedom V-Twin’s  solid-mounted engine are more noticeable than the push-rod technology used by the others in its class, but to the average rider it’s indiscernible.
On paper the Crossroads delivers 92 hp and 109 ft-lbs of torque, which again is ahead of the Harley-Davidson but less than the Yamaha Star Stratoliner.   While I didn’t have the opportunity to run the Crossroads on a dyno, there was a slight lag in throttle response at a very specific lower rpm range.  At first I attributed it to dirty fuel, but it remained after several fill ups; however most owners and riders probably wouldn’t notice it.
On the scale, the Crossroads weighs in at a curb weight of 780 lbs, lighter than both the Road King (812) and the Stratoliner S (802) lbs. Interestingly enough, because it lacks the fairing of its sibling, the Cross Country, the Cross Roads is rated for 20 more pounds of cargo carrying.  (580 vs 560)  That’s including both driver and passenger and their gear.
The week after the Savannah birthday ride, the passenger backrest and luggage rack arrived at the office.  Manny assured me that installation would be quick and simple.
Having been in this business over a decade, I was skeptical, as
but again I was surprised at the simplicity of the design.
The backrest and luggage rack are engineered to work together but while you have to have a passenger backrest to have a luggage rack, you don’t have to add the luggage rack if you don’t need it or want it.  If you do, installation takes 15 minutes, maximum.  8 minutes spent reading the directions, 2 minutes for wondering if it can really be that simple and scanning the instructions again because you’re sure you must have missed something and then 5 minutes of actual installation.
I was impressed at how easily the saddlebags and backrest can be removed for that stripped down bagger look. Less than 2 minutes and you can remove bags and backrest.  5 minutes more and you can remove the windshield.  If you’re concerned about theft, lock the bags and they can’t be removed.
One other issue we found during our test is the top loading bags will open at highway speed if they’re not securely snapped.  Which means you must be careful how much you stuff in the bags, and be sure the latch engages.  A good rule would be to always lock the bags while riding and you won’t lose rain suits or hats.
After installing these accessories, we took the opportunity to test the Crossroads fully loaded on a ride to a family reunion.  We loaded the saddlebags with rain gear, leather jackets and added a Kuryakyn cooler bag to the backrest/luggage rack and stuffed it full of drinks.
Stopping this fully loaded two wheel limousine falls to Victory’s proprietary brake system.  Dual 300mm floating rotors and 4-piston calipers on the front and a single 300mm floating rotor, 2-caliper arrangement on the back.  Unfortunately the brakes are not linked, as is the Vision.  But, to be fair, neither do the Stratoliner S or the Road King, which are its directcompetitors.   In our tests, the front brake is more than adequate, but as you would expect the back locks up easily.
I’m no engineer, but my advice to Victory would be to link the brakes and add an ABS option.  Of course if the National Institute for Highway Safety, funded by the insurance industry, has their way, ABS will be required standard equipment on all new bikes in the future.
It was on this trip where we took most of these photos, which meant plenty of opportunities for low speed turnarounds.  The Crossroads has excellent manners in this department with its lower center of gravity and 26.3 inch seat height. The passenger sits a few inches higher, which accounts for reasoning for the higher than average windshield. Otherwise your passenger would be left with a sore neck having fought the wind the entire ride.
While the highway bars are there to protect the paint in the event of a tip over, happily we didn’t have to depend on them during our test.
The Crossroads features an air adjustable rear shock which is probably another reason my wife fell in love with the bike.  Fully loaded with gear and passenger will most likely require adding air to the rear suspension to keep the suspension from bottoming out on railroad tracks and in spirited leans.
Our fuel mileage varied depending on the load and how it was ridden, as you would expect.  Overall the best mileage we got was 41.8 mpg with the least being 35 mpg.
The addition of a true six speed overdrive is an excellent feature and one that increases the comfort level on long rides.  I personally wouldn’t consider buying a touring bike without a sixth gear overdrive.
The instrument setup is clean and uncluttered with a single windshield mounted speedometer / tach combo gauge.  A finger switch behind the left handlebar grip rotates the multi-function display to indicate total mileage, rpm, fuel gauge, battery charge, time and resettable hour and trip meters.  If the wide handlebars and comfortable driver floorboards seduce you into long extended ride times, there is a light on the easy to read, soothing blue, backlit speedometer gauge to warn you when you reach a gallon of remaining fuel.
Our time on the bike was right at the beginning of spring when South Georgia temperatures can fluctuate as much as 40 degrees in a 12 hour period.
On one test day the temperature started out at 45 degrees when we rolled out of the garage, climbed to 85 during the day and ended back at 52 when we parked it.   Fortunately this provided a nice contrast for testing the comfort levels of different real world temperatures.
The large stock windshield and lower deflectors do a better than average job with the cool wind and pesky bugs.  When things heat up in the summer, comfort would require a change.
The battery is housed in the front, hidden behind a cowling and combine that with the lower wind deflectors and on a 95 degree mid-summer day, the heat produced by the engine will make for an uncomfortable ride.  Removing the lower wind deflectors would probably go a long way towards evacuating the heat buildup under your legs.
My only other complaint is on the clutch lever.  As far as I could tell, there isn’t any way to adjust the clutch as there is on the brake lever.  And on my test mule the clutch lever was  4 inches from the back of the grip.  No problem for the highway as the pull is easy (for a non-hydraulic setup) but it quickly become noticeable in stop and go riding.   For me it was about an inch too far.
It’s no secret the Crossroads and the Harley-Davidson Road King are competing head to head for the same rider.  If you’re using HD as the gold standard for American touring bikes, the Crossroads surpasses the Road King in luggage and horsepower and fuel economy.  If the Star is your gold standard then the Crossroads beats it in luggage capacity, fuel mileage and capacity.
Available in solid black, MSRP $16,000 (CA  $16,249) and midnight cherry $16,599 and $16,849 in California.

Wheel JockeyTM – Chain & Wheel Chores made Easy

Wheel JockeyTM, www.wheeljockey.com,  is a new tool that offers a compact solution to the bothersome task of rotating motorcycle wheels for cleaning and drive chain maintenance.   Once a motorcycle is easily “walked” onto Wheel Jockey, wheels turn on ball bearing rollers and provide easy access to the entire wheel or chain.   And, Wheel Jockey is small enough to stow under the seat or in any motorcycle luggage!

Says Industry veteran and owner, Bill Kniegge, “I was always looking for a better solution to daily chain maintenance while leading motorcycle tours around the mountains of North Carolina.  I guess ‘necessity really is the mother of invention.’ Wheel Jockey came about as a result of needing a very portable way to accomplish wheel and chain work without a helper.”

Constructed of sturdy steel and aluminum, Wheel Jockey measures approximately 4” x 4.5” x 1.5” and can accommodate road bikes up to 750 lbs.   Suggested Retail Price is: $54.00 plus Shipping and Handling


Cycle Sounds Audio System for Victory 8-Ball

Cycle Sounds, LLC,  has recently introduced their Victory Vision® 8-Ball fairing audio system. Kit includes 5.25 inch full range speakers, amplifier, and all necessary wiring and connectors to hook the system up. Wiring harness includes quick disconnect for easy installation and removal of the fairing with the sound system installed. With Cycle Sound’s easy mp3 hookup, there is no need for a CD player or head unit. Just connect the standard 3.5mm earphone jack to any audio source and enjoy the music. Cycle Sounds systems are compatible with most any mp3, GPS, satellite radio, etc.

Cycle Sounds, LLC produces a wide variety of audio components, not just for the Harley or Victory markets, but also for sportbikes, metric cruisers, ATV, UTV, scooters and the new Can Am. These are the only audio systems designed and engineered specifically for the motorcycle market and complete systems start at only $249.95.


Epic Wide and HD Video Cameras

Excellent new helmet mount camera for capturing all ride events. Consider even leaving it on during every ride, like police and patrol car cams. Then, if something goes bad, you’d have indisputable legal evidence. (check your local or state ordinances for legal issues) Think about having proof that will stand up in court. Included with the camera are contoured adhesive mounts, a highly adjustable elbow mount, and a strap mount (standard resolution camera also includes a waterproof shell mount), that allow as many mounting options as there are bad drivers on the roads. Also includes AAA batteries and a 2GB SD card to capture hours of riding exploits right out of the box. Standard Wide camera shoots TV quality640×480 VGA video at 30 fps and HD captures life-like 1280×720 digital video at 30 fps. Upgrade to a 16GB memory card to store up to 26 hours of ride-footage. The 168° wide angle lens will capture a sharp view of not only the road in front of you, but your ride surroundings as well. Camera automatically adjusts for lighting conditions and the built-in microphone captures continuous audio. Standard camera also functions as a solid 5MP camera and HD model as an 8MP camera to capture sharp still photos (…document an accident scene?). Of course itwill immortalize the most epic goofball ride-stunts, too. U won’t even know it’s there…until U need it. 1.3″x2.75″, 2.8 oz.

Standard Wide #3000 $199.00
HD Wide #3100 $299.00