coolcycledude.com | Motorcycle conversation and a whole lot more!
As the website aptly describes itself as “Motorcycle conversation and a whole lot more!”, this gem of a blog by Bill Whitman is all about his thoughts woven around his passion - motorcycles. Having ridden a number of motorcycles around the world in the past 40 years, Cool Cycle Dude is full of his insights about the different aspects of motorcycling.
Life is a series of shit storms, with brief periods of calm in between. SchitStorm is a release valve, just like riding a motorcycle. The world has gone just a bit more crazy than usual. Maybe it’s the media screaming at us 24/7/365, maybe it’s the dark powers of the internet, maybe it’s natural erosion of civilization, who knows. SchitStorm is here to have a little fun with it, cause if you can’t laugh, you might as well be dead.
It started as a joke between my cousin and I several years ago that we decided to run with this year, both as an outlet and a statement that no matter what life throws at us, you just have to push through it and laugh about it after. Think of that time on your bike and you just knew the weather was going to turn against you, and you have no choice but to press through it knowing you’ll have a great story to tell down the road.
The SchitStorm line is a series of t-shirts and hoodies. We only print on very high-quality cotton to make sure it’s one of the shirts you want to wear for comfort alone. There are several moto inspired designs in the line that are just subtle enough, but if you want in-your-face, we have that too.
The world may come to its senses sooner or later, but until then we’ll all be living through a SchitStorm so we might as well just ride it out and have as much fun as we can along the way.
Free Stickers! – Just visit the website, sign-up for our infrequent emails and send us your address to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m no longer indestructible! Technically, I was never indestructible, but I was really proficient at bad judgement. I can remember back in the day when I used to ride my Harley-Davidson Sportster wearing my Van Halen T-shirt, and a pair of shorts, Ray-Ban sunglasses and a pair of gym shoes. Oh, let’s not forget I was wearing headphones connected to my Sony Walkman. A little history lesson here, a Sony Walkman was this gizmo that you put a cassette tape in it. This cassette tape had audible information on it to play through headphones. These were very dark days, way before iTunes showed up.
Back on track. Yup, nothing but safety first back in the day. Nowhere, in my motorcycling outfit collection, was a helmet, a leather coat, a pair of gloves, reinforce jeans or a pair of boots. I’m trying to remember, I think bought a helmet, but never used it. I think it was still in the box when I gave it away.
Of course, now, I’m at a different place in life. I am amazed every day that this biological machinery which enables my consciousness is still operating at my age. They’re very few things in my realm that are as old as I am. For example, we don’t own a sixty-year-old car. The useful life of my toothbrush, computer, motorcycles and so forth are fraction of my current age.
There are times when I look at my hand and move my fingers back and forth. During this little weird exercise. I can stop thinking about all of the biological systems that have been replaced, repaired and whatever else is going on in my body during my time on this planet.
My main goal when riding motorcycle now is to decrease chances of injury. Over the years I have slowly incorporated more and more motorcycle safety gear. 2005 was ground zero for my safety gear enhancement mode. I no longer just looked at the price of the equipment. Nor do I search out one particular brand. I actually spend a lot time research each piece of motorcycle safety equipment.
In 2008, I bought a Honda Goldwing with an air-bag. It made the cost of the motorcycle about $2,500 more, but I figured it added another level of safety. Of course, I caught a lot of shit from my motorcycle tribe for riding around on a motorcycle with an air-bag. My Goldwing is almost ten years old now, so now that air-bag has cost me about $250 per year so far. Except, this year the air-bag was replaced under a massive recall by Honda. Ruh-Roh, more math, a new equation! It’s your turn to figure out the cost per year. Give it hell.
Motorcycling is high risk endeavor. It’s a risk-taking behavior. People who ride motorcycles are engaging in an activity that has the potential to be harmful. You may think you have the ability avoid the dangers through your motorcycle riding prowess. Or you might think, making the exhaust system on your motorcycle as loud as possible will fend off the “cagers.” Well, I say good luck with that! Me, I’m going to pack on the safety gear.
I’ve decided to purchase a radical piece of motorcycle safety gear. The Turtle Airbag Vest is a relativity new product. Here’s a link to their website Helite, you can get all the nuts and bolts stuff from them. Yup, I’m one lazy-ass-blogger, back on track! I’ve been reading about this technology for two years. Read about all of the iterations before it was brought to market place. Collect as much data as I could about the effectiveness of the product. The data can from the manufacturers and not from any governing body.I’d better throw this out there before someone gets the wrong idea or tries to sue me. I do not believe that my safety gear will keep me from getting hurt. But, I do know the outcome will be much better than if I was wearing my long-gone trusty Van Halen T-shirt.
The 2018 Harley Davidson Fat Boy looked pretty damn cool from where I was sitting. But, it’s not the motorcycle for me. Not a fan of solid rims, big front tires, or that satin look where chrome should be. I can take or leave the speedometer. On second thought, I’m going to leave it.
A 114 cubic inch engine! That’s three cubic inches bigger than Indian’s Thunder Stroke 111 engine, for those of you who are good at math. Ruh-roh for Indian. The new 114 Milwaukee-Eight engine has oil circulating around the exhaust valves. Trying to increase rider comfort and improve engine performance. Moto Guzzi has been doing that gig for a while. I predict it will be very warm to hot as hell between the rider’s legs. Nomex underwear will need to be on the H-D dealers’ shelves soon. Don’t worry, they’ll have the bar and shield on them.
Okay, time to talk about the frame and suspension. H-D has hit a home run out of the park baby! The frame has fewer parts and welds needed to assemble it, making it stiffer and lighter. The new engine is now directly bolted to the frame. The rear suspension has been redesigned for better leverage and more travel. The front forks have been modified to compete with the rear suspension. The preload for the rear shock is now accessible for adjustment.
I’m not happy with some of the exposed wiring and cabling on the motorcycle. I think it should have been tucked away somewhere. The oil dipstick/fill is an upgraded design. It appears to be very accessible. The fit and finish is damn close to 90%. There’s one part on the lower back of the frame that looks like I casted it high school. Then I painted it so my teacher wouldn’t see my screw up.
I’m really glad H-D has stepped up with LED lighting. I’ve have two motorcycles with LED lighting and it makes a big difference. I consider LED Lighting a safety feature and not just some new-fangled gizmo. I’m not sure about the new headlight design yet, but it’s growing on me each time I look at it.
I think H-D has scored big time with the changes they’ve made to the Softail frame. They really needed to improve rider comfort on the Softail models. Streamlining the assembly process and improving the overall functionality of the frame will enhance H-D’s ability to compete in the market place. The LED lighting shows a commitment to modernization. There’s definitely some design departures on this Fat Boy that the H-D faithful might not like. But as far as I’m concerned, they’re welcome changes.
I doubt that I will ever ride this motorcycle, just not my gig. But I know someone else will. I hope H-D hits the bullseye with this model.
I am entering my fourth year with my Moto Guzzi. Drumroll, please. Yup, four rotations around the sun. I don’t know how many dog years that is either. Somewhere around 6,500 miles on the digital odometer, or clock as they call it across the pond. On its second set of tires. This motorcycle is probably one of my all-time favorites in my 45+ years of riding motorcycles. I bought this motorcycle in June of 2013. I went to a Moto Guzzi dealer that is about 45 miles northwest from our home.
This motorcycle actually started out as a California 1400 Custom. Moto Guzzi has since dropped the California 1400 Custom from the lineup. The California 1400 Custom was touted as the Italian V-Max. Referring to Yamaha’s V-Max, I owned a red 2010 Yamaha V-Max. The Yamaha V- Max would blow by the California 1400 Custom like hurricane. But it was nice marketing ploy.
In my great wisdom, I decided not to get the touring model. I thought to myself, the touring model is just too damn expensive. No way is Moto Guzzi going to get this kind of money out of me. Plus, I’ve already got a Honda Goldwing if I desired to go on any long trips. Perfect logical, critical thinking that any Vulcan would have been proud of. I bought the Moto Guzzi for short hops, back and forth to wherever.
Day five of ownership, I drove it across the state of Illinois. Roughly 250 miles from our home to Iowa and back. As I pulled in our driveway, I already had a list of changes in my head to make to the motorcycles. One of changes was driven by pain in my shoulders. Top priority, the handlebars have got to go. Hasta la vista, baby! Italians must have longer arms than me. Went right to af1racing.com and I started perusing the Moto Guzzi area for available parts.
As I scrolled through the page, I came across touring handlebars for that model. Click! Next up was the windshield and mounting bracket. Another two clicks! As I further scrolled down the page, hey, this passing light looks cool. Click! Damn, they’re not LEDs like on my Harley Davidson. Unclick! Okay, whatever, they still look way cool. Click! Mounting brackets? Nope. Off to the checkout part of the page. Entered all of my data and hit the checkout button. My iPhone immediately buzzed from a confirmation email. All good now, 10 to 15 days to wait for the delivery of my Moto Guzzi parts.
About a week goes by and I’m back on af1racing.com. More perusing in the Moto Guzzi area for available parts. Hmm, look at all of these parts. Hard saddlebags, brackets, and saddlebag guards. Click! Heated grips? Got them on the Honda and Harley. Click! Engine guards. No brainer. Click! A hard trunk with a very cool Moto Guzzi emblem on the back of it, same color as the saddlebags? Click! Ruh-roh, trunk bracket required. Click! Leather seat? Click! Hit the checkout button, once again, an immediate buzz on the iPhone.
Okay, now it dawns on me that I should have bought the touring model instead. Well, good decisions are sometimes elusive from the human thought process. But, now it’s time for a good decision. I contact the vendor and asked if I could change the shipping address. Good news, nothing had shipped yet. Changed the shipping address to the dealership where I bought it. Sent the dealer an email to forewarn them of the upcoming deliveries of parts and a request to get all of this stuff installed. They were on board with this gig. But they told me I needed to change the brake and clutch lines to accommodate the new handlebars. Yup, more parts. Five weeks from my first click on the vendor’s website, I was riding around on my converted California 1400 Custom.