Confrontation Between Biker and Motorist Turns Out Bad for The Biker

Russians record everything, especially in traffic. So, with that said, if you’re going to get in an altercation with a fellow motorists, there’s a better than even chance that if you get your ass beat, someone will post it to YouTube.

From the way it appears in this video, the guy on the big dresser, (a Goldwing perhaps) is riding the center lane beside another vehicle and tries to cut in front, or split the lane and gets into a verbal altercation with the auto driver, who jams the biker into the opposite lane, causing him to drop his bike. Once it escalates to this point, the biker does a little dance on the hood of the Toyota, resulting in a few punches being thrown. We say a few, because this fight was shorter than the 90 second knockout bout between Mike Tyson and Michael Spinks.

But at least the biker has his club brother there to help him… oh wait.. sorry bro.. I have a bad back.. I can’t get involved..

Long Strange Trip for Indian

Editor Scott Cochran –  It occurs to me what a long, strange trip its been.


Harley and Indian enjoy a level of devotion unrivaled in the motorcycle industry.

But, at least I’m still riding.

Ok…I stole that first line from the Grateful Dead’s song, “Truckin.” Written by the band and released in 1970, that song defined a generation and the psychedelic culture of the 70’s.

“Truckin” reached #37 in 1971 and was the only chart success the Dead achieved until “Touch of Grey” was released in 1987 and eventually broke into the top ten.

The story of the Grateful Dead and their music, does have some direct correlation to motorcycling. The leader, Jerry Garcia was a Harley rider as well as Ron “Pig Pen “ McKernan. Their first manager, G.H. “Hank” Harrison was also a motorcycle rider.

In the beginning (1965) the band even used the name “The Warlocks” which was also adopted by a motorcycle club that founded in 1967. The Dead eventually changed their name, not because of the MC, but because of another band in the area was also using the name Warlocks.

The Grateful Dead played over 2,000 concerts (Guinness Record) during their career, and by many estimates played to more than 25 million people, (600,000 at one show!) more than any other band.

But, by the measure of commercial / popular music, radio play the band never sold enough records to be considered wildly successful.

But its fans, The Dead Heads, were the reason for the band’s longevity and the money making machine it eventually became.

A hard-core group of fans, who will stick with you through thick and thin are worth their weight in LSD, (not that I would know what LSD is worth…)

And that’s where I’m going with this months ramble…. Fans.

Harley-Davidson, like it or not, has enjoyed (through the years) the loyalty of a group of customers unequaled by any other motorcycle manufacturer.

The reason, I believe, is not based in the machines, anymore than the Grateful Dead’s rabid fan base was because of the music.

The reason thousands of people followed the Dead around the country and tens of thousands of people inked the Bar and Shield onto their skin is…The Culture.

It’s what the brand said about them. Who the customer wanted to be and who the customer wanted to be identified with.

Whenever you see a “Dead Head sticker on a Cadillac” even though that vehicle is the symbol of the Right-wing upper-middle-class American bourgeoisie (Don Henley’s words) you can be sure the owner is someone who wants to be associated with the 70’s counter-culture movement. Someone who sees themselves as a “hippie” stuck in a white collar world.

The same (sort of) thing when you see a Harley-Davidson bumper stickers on a Honda Prius.

Until recently, Harley-Davidson could lay claim to being the only motorcycle brand with enough heritage to satisfy the owner who wanted something more than just a motorcycle. Today Harley-Davidson’s dominance in that space is being challenged by a revived Indian Motorcycle.

Looking back to 2008, it would have made more sense for HD to buy the intellectual property rights to their old nemesis Indian, instead of spending $109 million dollars on MV Agusta.

I’m guessing it would have been a better investment than the Italian motorcycle maker turned out to be. (not to manufacture Indian motorcycles but to keep anyone else from doing it) But, you can’t prove a negative so speculation is useless.

The common belief is that healthy competition is good for everyone involved.

Competition breeds innovation and prevents companies from becoming stagnant by relying on outdated manufacturing processes and market assumptions.

Indian is certainly bringing new ideas to the heavyweight cruiser market. Their five (5) year bumper to bumper warranty is the first (I know of) in the industry and has convinced many tire kickers to take the plunge, even though there may not be a dealer near them.

Once Indian has established dealers in most major metropolitan areas, the turf wars will really heat up, and it will be interesting to watch the brands as they compete for one another’s customers.

Or….maybe they’ll be able to increase the pie for both brands and sell more motorcycles overall than either would have been able to do alone.

I hope that’s the case.

It’s been a long strange trip for the brand that started in 1901 as Hendee Mfg Co. in Springfield Massachusetts.

And I’m not alone in thinking that Polaris is the last company who has any chance to revive the brand to its glory days.

But if the resurrection is to be successful, Indian will have to find a way to connect with enthusiast who values the intangibles as much as a reliable motorcycle.

The dealers will have a lot of that responsibility on them. They must work hard to foster a “community” of owners and realize their mission is more than just moving units out the door. Their mission must be to establish and nurture the “culture” of Indian motorcycle ownership.

If they do that, and Polaris commits to staying in for the long haul, then maybe, just maybe the pie will increase and we’ll introduce the Zen of motorcycling to a whole new generation.

Until next month, ride safe, and always take the road less traveled.


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Biker Survives Being Struck by Lightning

Michael LaDue was on the I-5 interstate near Chehalis Washington Thursday Sept 5th when he was hit by a bolt from out of the sky, literally.    Police reports say around 9:30 am,  LaDue riding in a heavy rain when he was struck in the helmet by lightning.  A couple who was driving behind him when they heard a boom and saw Ladue’s helmet “light up” and thought at first their eyes fooled them, until they saw him slump over and move onto the shoulder of the freeway.  That’s whey they pulled up to help.  They reported LaDue asked, “Why am I stopped here?”

helmet lightning strike

Photo from KIRO TV.

They told the 59-year-old he’d been struck by lightning and offered to help.  Ladue decided to ride to the next exit to a gas station where he pulled off his helmet and discovered the hair on one side of his head singed off and his ears burnt around the edges.   The clerk at the gas station, Brandi Abrego,  reported LaDue said he was “really hot” and “when he grabbed my hand, he was really, really hot to the touch.”

The padding inside  LaDue’s helmet was scorched and the outside showed a mark where the lightning struck and his bike shows burn marks near the antenna.

LaDue was taken to Harborview Medical Center where he was treated and released.

Top 5 Best Selling Motorcycle Gifts

Home5.  Sons of Anarchy T-Shirt.   Chances are you, or someone you know is a fan of the FX drama, Sons of Anarchy.  OK.. we hear you..we  don’t watch “those” fake biker shows either.  But, the truth is, somebody out there is watching…and a whole lot of somebody.  According to Entertainment Weekly, in the second month of last season,  4.6 million viewers tuned in and the showw was up 14 percent from last week and ranking as the fifth season’s best rating since last month’s premiere.  So click the link, buy the shirt and gift it to that hard to buy for biker in your family.

4.  St. Christopher Ride With Me Pendant. $29.00 (on sale was $50)  We’re not superstitious, but we also believe that having a good luck talisman never hurt anyone, wether it’s ride bells or an image of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers.  It’s one of the best “neutral” gifts you can give the motorcycle rider in your family.  It’s the right size and color, and you don’t have to remember which brand they ride.

3. Home DIY Neon Lights:  While we believe the best looking neon lights are the ones installed by the professionals, this do-it-yourself kit for $60 is a great way for the gear head on a budget to light up his or her ride.  Again, this gift is “brand neutral” and will work equally well on Harley-Davidsons Road Kings or Yamaha sport bikes.  Comes with two 5 Inch, Two 6 Inch, and Two 12 Inch Flexible, Waterproof Strips, 1 Year Limited Warranty and Free Lifetime Technical Support

2. Battery Tender I know we’re harping on this “brand” neutral theme, but frankly, it seems the best selling Christmas gifts for bikers are the ones that can be used by all riders.  The Battery Tender is a gift that will be appreciated by gear heads of all types.  Whether he or she owns a motorcycle, boat, RV or ATV, anything that tends to sit idle for long periods of time will fall victim to a dead battery if it isn’t “tended.”   At $34.00, this gift will be appreciated for years to come.

1. HomeGo Pro Hero Camera  The best selling, best loved gift of any motorcyclist is the Go Pro Hero camera.  Pair this with the optional wi-fi backpack / remote  combo and you will never miss another “gotcha moment.”  We know riders who mount this camera on their handlebars and shoot video as they ride for use in the unfortunate event some idiot pulls out in front of them and they need evidence to show the road conditions, their speed and the fact that the driver should have easily seen them coming.  Other carry it to Sturgis, and Daytona for “video” reference of their adventures.


Ride for Our Heroes: New England Biker Community Rides to Support Veterans and Families

June 13, 2011 – BOSTON – New England-area motorcycle enthusiasts are kick starting their bikes and riding in the first Ride for Our Heroes on Saturday September 24.  Ride for Our Heroes supports the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program’s services for veterans and families affected by combat stress and traumatic brain injury.  The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program provides clinical care and support services to service members and veterans of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, throughout New England, who are affected by combat stress and traumatic brain injury (TBI) – the “invisible wounds of war.” Home Base also provides counseling for families; education for clinicians and community members; and research in the understanding and treatment of PTSD and TBI.

The Ride for Our Heroes will kick-off at six locations – one in each New England state – with special guest speakers, military leaders, celebrities and an opening ceremony. Riders will finish the trip with a celebratory “Rider Appreciation” party at the Manchester Harley-Davidson dealership in Manchester, New Hampshire which offers a 16-acre site for a complimentary BBQ, family entertainment, live music, and raffle.

“The biker community has a long history of riding to support veterans through its annual Rolling Thunder event which raises awareness of POWs and MIAs and supports veterans’ services.  We hope the Ride for Our Heroes can become another great tradition to honor those who suffer from the “invisible wounds of war”—post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.  We are honored to work with the biker community on this event,” said John Parrish, MD, Director of the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program.

As part of Ride for Our Heroes, the Home Base Program will be raffling off a custom-designed Home Base and baseball-themed Dirico Motorcycle that features an autograph by Aerosmith music legend and co-founder of Dirico Motorcycles, Steven Tyler.

“The Ride for Our Heroes has all the right elements for New England-area bikers; a tremendous cause of serving veterans and families, six starting locations so all bikers in New England can participate, food and fun activities for family members, and a bike raffle.  We are delighted to be part of it,” said Steve Talarico, President of Manchester Harley-Davidson and Dirico Motorcycles.

Riding is not a requirement to support the event.  Supporters who do not wish to ride may attend the post-ride BBQ by purchasing tickets on line.  For those interested in showing their support for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, donations can be made online.

To pre-register for the ride, purchase motorcycle raffle tickets, purchase event BBQ tickets, make a donation or learn more, please

For veterans and family members who want more information about the Red Sox Foundation and Mass General Hospital Home Base Program, or to schedule a confidential appointment, please call 617-724-5202, email or

About the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program
The Home Base Program provides clinical care to New England veterans of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan who experience combat or deployment-related stress and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI); counseling to family members including spouses, parents, children, siblings, partners and other family members facing deployment or re-integration challenges; community education for caregivers throughout New England who serve veterans and families including primary care physicians, social workers, clergy, and first-responders; access to clinical trials and the newest and most effective therapy and treatment for PTSD and traumatic brain injury.  The Home Base Program is a philanthropic partnership between the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital. For information about the Red Sox Foundation and Mass General Hospital Home Base Program, please visit

Judas Was a Biker and Gaga is His Bitch

Blend the musical talents of Micheal Jackson, the “bite my ass” attitude of Madonna and the “watch me piss off a bunch of parents” on stage persona of Marilyn Manson and you get Lady Gaga.

Throw in a few bad ass bikers and spend a vulgar amount of money and you have the music video for Judas.

If you can believe her twitter, Gaga says the video cost $10 million dollars and has more cameos than any music video in history.

What the hell?  Pardon our skepticism , but there’s nobody in our industry that commands a huge appearance fee, at least not anymore.   I’m sure she could’ve gotten almost any custom bike builder to show up for free if she asked nicely.

If the figure is true Judas would top Micheal Jackson’s video “Scream”  which cost 7 million, with  $53,000 of that going to breaking guitars.  Maybe Gaga trashed a few hundred motorcycles in the video.  As for the plot, according to MSNBC. Gaga said “I play Mary Magdalene leading them into the town where we meet Jesus and I will leave the rest for you to see. But it’s meant more to celebrate faith than it is to challenge it.”

Gaga tweeted (correction*  it was rumored) that she has 30,000 motorcyclists appearing in the video.  What?  Did she buy them all a new Sportster?  Maybe she’s becoming the Oprah of the music video world. “Ok everyone guess what?  Just for showing up for my video I’m giving you all a new motorcycle!” Lady Gaga the generous.  That’s a LOL moment if there ever was one.  Somehow I doubt she even shared her stash with the great unwashed nation but we weren’t invited so we can’t really say.

The 25-year-old entertainer directed the video with her creative director,Laurieann Gibson and it’s scheduled to debut tonight on E!  at 7pm and 11pm.




Tech Talk: Winterizing Your Motorcycle; Batteries 101

Winterizing Your Motorcycle

Even before the frost is on the pumpkin, many of us have said goodbye to the riding season for the year.  For the lucky few riders south of the Mason Dixie Line, tolerable riding weather extends well into the holiday season.  As for the lucky few with a 12 month riding season, this is where you get off, as this post has no relevance to your riding at all.

Kick Start vs Electric

Unless you are an old school biker and purist, the process of starting up your motorcycle begins only with the push of a button. All of you bent knee folks out there, I apologize.

On this ’09 Harley Ultra Classic the Motor Company does not make life easy here either. The battery is located UNDER the ECM module. You can see the pigtail attached as is indicated by the arrows in the photo.

To Remove, or Not Remove

Most service manuals from different manufacturers will say to remove your battery from your bike and store it fully charged for the winter. They of course make this statement as though they have been dedicated to making even that simple task easy. As you will see from the accompanying photos, that is decidedly NOT the case.

The seat is off, but where is the battery on this Honda ST1000?

The pressing of that starter button requires a fully charged 12 volt battery. In this article I am not going to delve into the host of physics, electronics or mechanics to make your motorcycle come to life. Suffice it to say that an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure when it comes to batteries.

With the increasing use of electronic gadgets, memory, ECM’s and the like there will always be some parasitic loss of charge from the battery to these circuits with the battery

Hidden under another panel you must remove with a properly sized hex wrench is the battery on the Honda,

installed in your bike. A battery at less than full snuff will create a lot of headaches.

Regardless of make, most current day motorcycles use an AGM or “Absorbed Glass Mat” battery to provide the juice to turn over your engine. Though this is still a lead-acid battery, the internals of the battery and case eliminate the need for checking water levels or even keeping the battery fully upright. AGM batteries are rugged, dependable, reasonably priced and long lasting with proper care. Unlike the old flooded wet cell lead acid battery though these energy storage systems are far less forgiving of letting them run down to a discharge state. In fact, if an AGM battery discharges to the point of you just hearing a click at the starter, you need a whole lot of very expensive charging equipment to

Battery Tenders come in a wide variety of styles and price ranges

resurrect that poor soul so that it will again be dependable when you hit that starter button. Yeah, you might throw a run of the mill charger on the battery and the engine will start. But park it outside for one night and then go hit the starter and “click-click-click”. I have had AGM batteries last me for over 7 years, and I am going to give you the inside scoop on how to make that happen for you as well.

Compounding the problem of battery maintenance is the fact that almost all manufacturers now BURY the battery UNDER a lot of other stuff as though you are never going to have to get to it. Of course with proper maintenance, the battery will be one of your least concerns. To get to many of the batteries on Harley, BMW, Honda, Suzuki, Star, etc. you will likely need a service manual and some tools to even gain

These are the parts that had to be removed and the tools needed to get to the battery on the Honda.

access to the battery.

The Basics

1)      Good Connections: All batteries can produce corrosion at the terminals. AGM’s are no exception; however, this white cancer is far less of a problem than with the old flooded cells. Make sure the positive + and negative terminals of the battery are bright and clean. The negative cable needs to be traced to either the frame or starter motor to be certain that end of the connection is clean and tight too. These contraptions vibrate you know.

2)      Protection: Once the terminals at the battery are clean, invest a couple of bucks in a battery terminal protection spray, available at any auto parts store.

3)      Parasitic loses: Even switched off all motorcycles with an ECM (Electronic Control Module) and

Cheapest corrosion protection insurance you can buy

certainly those with radios and clocks use some current supplied by the battery to keep their memory maintained. Over time this unattended loss will kill all batteries.

4)      Maintain: It is good practice to invest in a multi-stage maintenance charger that keeps the innards of the battery as good as new. Companies like Deltran’s® “Battery Tender” (Jr., Plus, or multibank) or VDC Electronics® Battery Minder Plus have great products for just this application. They can be hooked up indefinitely. They are all the type of charger that AGM batteries love. Now instead of wasting time removing and then reinstalling a battery in your bike, you can just leave it in the bike and via supplied connectors from the aforementioned companies you will have an SAE type pigtail to plug into.

5)      Pigtail: Most Harley’s come from the factory with a 2 prong SAE type connector. See photos. You may have to look a bit because it seems on every model they zip tie it to a different location on the bike. For my ’09 Ultra Classic, I found it attached to a frame member way down near the transmission. Metric bikes usually will require that you install this pigtail onto the battery. There is really a proper engineering term for this pigtail, but for us plain folks, pigtail gets the message across.

6)      Accessorize: Since the pigtail connects directly to the battery and contains its own fuse you can also use this connection to power any number of devices like a GPS, or my favorite, heated clothing. All of the companies will have some adapter to allow you to plug into this Pigtail directly.

7)      Charging System: Without getting too technical, and because all systems are different, you can

Digital Multimeter set to appropriate DC voltage range and sample readout from a fully charged 12 battery. Yes…they should read over 12 volts.

check whether your charging system is actually delivering voltage back to the battery with one simple and inexpensive little tool. A digital multimeter is what I am talking about here. See the photos if you don’t know what this is. Set the dial to DC volts and then follow this process:

a)      Before starting your bike touch the red lead to the positive battery post and the black lead to the negative battery post. Simply make a note of this number on the readout, it will be different for almost every battery. The exact number is not really important for this test.

b)      Start your bike and then do the same thing with the leads of the multimeter, red lead to positive battery post and black lead to negative battery post. Now just rev your engine to about 2000 RPM. The voltage should be higher than your reading you got with the bike engine not running. If the voltage is lower, then your charging system (stator, rotor, connector, regulator, etc) may have some problem and deserves additional attention from a qualified service technician.

c)      Wa-la! You have now done a rudimentary test of your charging system and if you know what the battery voltages should be from your service manual, you even have some degree of confidence about the battery health.

There are volumes that may be written covering all sorts of ills, but these simple steps for 99.9% of riders will assure that when the thumb presses the “start” button, the beast will spring to life.

Engine Oil

If you have not changed your engine oil at this stage of the game, do it now. You do not want a bike that has oil from the riding season sitting inside the engine for extended periods of time. Why? All oils have additives that work to keep the ph level at a certain point. This is called TBN or “Total Base Number”. Acids from combustion build up and are neutralized by this TBN additive. Acids are not good for any part of the inside of a motor. TBN decreases over time. Depending on mileage you could forego the primary and transmission changes at this point for those bikes that have these separate fluids. These areas do not have combustion processes involved.


Also keep your gas tank filled and put in some gasoline stabilizer while filling. This is a good practice even during the riding season. Current ethanol blends of gasoline are horrible. Ethanol is hydroscopic, hygroscopic, that is, it attracts water. The current blend of gasolines also will undergo what is called “phase separation” in as short as 30 days. If these things happen, not one bit of your warranty from any manufacturer will cover the issues caused by this fuel problem, unless you have a very sympathetic and creative mechanic who does the paperwork.

Best Blogs For Sturgis

The calendar says it’s the first full week of August so that must mean the 70th annual Sturgis Rally and Races is in full swing.  If you didn’t save up enough cash or time off then you’re in the same boat as most of us, wishing we were in the Black Hills instead of pounding away at our day jobs.

Not to worry, we’ve compiled a few of the best Sturgis blogs on the net.  If you know of a few more, be sure to leave a comment and a link. –  More than just Sturgis, but good info all around

The Buffalo Chip- Twitter feed from the World’s largest biker campground/party

Rapid City Journal Webcam – Sturgis SD sidewalk web cam that works half the time

American Biker Minute –  Twitter feed from Sturgis