Choices; we all have choices to make, whether they are big ones or small ones. I was once told that where I am today is the sum of all of the choices I have ever made. I believe this saying to be true, at least in my case. One day a few years ago, I chose to truly live.
In 2012 I chose to learn how to ride a motorcycle. This decision in and of itself may not be a big deal, but at the time I made this choice, I didn’t know how life altering it would be for me.
Up to that point, I felt I was living in a dream; a very humdrum one. I was a wife and a mother who didn’t fit in with many other “normal” mothers. I had left a cultish religion in which I had grown up in and they in turn shunned me completely with the result that I lost all the people I had considered my family and friends; so much so that til this day my mother who still is in this religion will not speak to me. So I didn’t really have anyone other than the family I had made.
Anyway, I had asked (yes, asked) my then husband if I could get a motorcycle. I’ll never forget the response I received, “If you ever get a motorcycle, we are getting a divorce”. The gauntlet had been thrown! Here was the time to make a decision. Well, I must admit to failing at rising to the challenge. I subsumed my desire to own and ride a motorcycle to the vision of family that he wanted. One day, a few years later, I realized that my life couldn’t continue the same way. So what did I do? I chose to take my life by the handlebars, that’s what.
I got a separate bank account and started to funnel money to it, little by little. I used that money to go to a motorcycle endorsement class. I didn’t have a bike yet, but I figured that would come in time. I can’t remember what I said I was doing for those two days, but I remember that I was scared, exhilarated and tired by the end. I also felt sad I couldn’t share what I had learned with anyone.
After a time, I did get my first bike; it was a little Honda CBR 250 and it was red. I hid this little gem at a storage place along with all of the gear I had bought on Ebay. I was such a noob! My gear was too big and I was so scared to ride the new bike that I would just ride it around the storage facilities parking lot. I dropped the bike once and it took two hours to pick it up and only because the storage lady saw me and came to my rescue. My first bike ride was to Brandon Hospital to see my dad. He was so proud of me! Riding made me so happy and I looked forward to my stolen moments with my new two wheeled love. Being on the motorcycle was what I was meant to do and I still feel that joy til this day.
I kept my bike hidden for four months before Geico gave me away. My dear ex-husband opened my mail and saw that I had a motorcycle. It would be two months before I could bring the bike home, but no divorce! That did come later, after bike number three, hehe.
Some choices we regret and some change us, either in a small or big way. The choice to ride has never been one I’ve regretted. It brought a lot of changes but I would do it all over again. The joy of riding is always with me and I have gained such a big family. If you are on the fence about riding, I’d say hop over and give it a try. You may find it is or isn’t for you, but you won’t be left wondering about it.
Ride on my friends and ride well.
Melissa has been riding street and adventure bikes for 6 years. Her current love is Akira, a 2015 F700 GS. Traveling by motorcycle is her passion.
We are thrilled to announce a whole new feature for Modern Moto, Riders Corner. We want to hear from you. Where do you ride, what gear do you like, do you have awesome photos or video to share? This is your corner of the giant motorcycle web. Selected submissions will be featured here and shared on our social media. You may even be published in an issue of Modern Moto Magazine!
We are ready to celebrate! The first year of Modern Moto Magazine was a success and we want to thank you in person. If you are anywhere near Southern California or West Central Florida in March, ride on over and spend some time with us, nosh on yummy treats and win some awesome prizes!
REV’IT! USA today announced the expansion of its custom motorcycle event sponsorship program in the United States, having signed on as the official apparel sponsor of The One Moto Show, the Mama Tried Show and the OG Moto Show, with future sponsorships pending. The move marks a continued focus on the company’s successful, urban-focused Tailored Technology line and its commitment to bolstering the growing millennial motorcycle demographic.
“REV’IT! has always been a brand driven by design and innovation, which are the very values the One Moto show was built upon,” says Thor Drake, owner and founder of See See Motorcycles and creator of the One Moto show. “There are definite brand synergies, and we are excited for what REV’IT! brings to the table as apparel sponsors of the 2018 show.”
REV’IT! adds the two shows to its existing roster of custom motorcycle events, which currently includes Revival Cycles’ renowned Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in April in Austin, Texas—the only custom show to coincide with a Moto GP event—and the Garage Brewed show, which is kicking off its fourth year this weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“The addition of these new events gives us more breadth geographically and demographically, to raise awareness of the brand and to drive younger customers into our nationwide dealer network,” says Paolo Bacchiarello, Director of Operations for REV’IT! Sport USA. “The new generation identifies with the ‘maker’ culture, and these events speak that language.”
In 2012, REV’IT! unveiled its Tailored Technology philosophy, where products were purpose-built to transition seamlessly from the seat of a bike to the city day-to-day, and it established a precedent for a type of protective wear that today is among the fastest growing segment in the motorcycle sphere, particularly with the millenial and Gen X markets. New products from this part of the collection will be displayed at all shows.
The complete REV’IT! custom events program in the United States kicks off this weekend in Ohio with the Garage Brewed Show (Cincinnati, January 27), then continues to The One Moto Show (Portland, February 9-11), the Mama Tried Show (Milwaukee, February 23-25), The OG Moto Show (Los Angeles, March 31) and the Handbuilt Show (Austin, April 20-22). REV’IT! USA will also provide support to a yet-to-be-announced custom build program with its new American partner, Rizoma USA.
First things first, if you want to hear about technical specs, this is not the review you are looking for. Let's be real, numbers and fancy words mean nothing without ease of use or an enjoyment factor. Read on to learn more about how the KawasakiZ900RS performs and feels in the real world.
1970's era Kawasaki Z1
Here’s a brief history of the Z1, the predecessor of the Z900RS: The Kawasaki Z1 debuted in 1973 as the world's first four-cylinder production superbike. Renowned for its massive amount of power, at the time the 903cc engine was the largest an average Josephine had ever had the option of owning. Living up to its nickname, "The King" set 46 speed records. With a slew of Machine of the Year awards from 1973-1976 under its belt, the Z1 left some rather hefty shoes to fill.
Now, 45 years later, Kawasaki has paid tribute to the original superbike in marvelous fashion. Enter the Z900RS.
A fine line exists between function and form, and Kawasaki has walked it beautifully. Not exactly a wolf in sheep's clothing, the Z900RS is a modern sportbike wrapped in a sexy vintage coat. The design process began by taking cues from the iconic teardrop shape of the Z1's gas tank. It was these sleek and simple lines that would dictate the entire refined look of the bike, from nose to duckbill tail. A single round headlight cleverly disguises 6 LEDs for optimal performance with a vintage feel. Flat cast wheels trick the eyes into believing they are gazing at true wire spoke wheels from yesteryear, which is visually pleasing without compromising performance. Combine the classic styling with shiny header pipes (double-walled to prevent discoloration) and a buffed simple exhaust, because a little bling never hurts. You can count on the Z900RS turning heads for all the right reasons.
The bike looks so classic, in fact, that an untrained eye might miss the performance machine hiding underneath. Do not be fooled, it is a powerhouse just waiting to be let loose. Pull back the veil and you will find a true 948cc sportbike in nearly every aspect.
Brittany Morrow's First Ride on the Kawasaki Z900RS.
One of Kawasaki's goals with the Z900RS was a to provide a stress-free riding experience, and several factors allowed them to hit their mark with expert precision. This has certainly been one of the easiest bikes for me to both get familiar with and ride, even after just a few quick miles through city streets. I opted for the genuine OEM low seat which gave me nearly 2 extra inches of reach, thanks to the traditional scoop (see our video on Facebook) and the narrowing of the seat against the tank. I was able to touch the balls of both feet to the ground and push the bike around on a flat surface without issues - hills required a dismount. The weight is distributed lower than an aggressive supersport, so it was easier to move and didn’t feel as though it was on the verge of toppling over when stopped. The handlebar and grip placement was neutral, and only required the slightest bend forward at the waist in order to keep a firm yet relaxed grip, even with my shorter-than-average arms. My feet were directly below my hips, which provided a more-relaxed and less-aggressive sitting position at all speeds. Everything from parking to spirited canyon carving felt comfortable even without any other adjustments from the factory settings.
The assist (think easy-pull) clutch made controlling my RPMs in traffic almost effortless, while the slipper mechanism allowed me to quickly downshift when the curves tightened up without even a hint of hopping the rear end.
The handlebar placement and wider seat made our long day, including an hour in stop-and-go traffic, rather comfortable. The buttery-smooth transmission was a delightful accompaniment to the driving power that wouldn't quit, even in higher gears at lower RPMs. All of this without vibration or bogging. Did I mention the low grumble and perfect exhaust pitch Kawasaki tuned specifically for this model? It’s a siren song that won’t piss off your neighbors, might produce a few giggles, and will surely get all the attention.
"This has certainly been one of the easiest bikes for me to both get familiar with and ride, even after just a few quick miles through city streets. "
The factory recommended suspension settings were a little bouncy for my taste, but with a few quick clicks and twists, the new settings performed like a dream on the rutted canyon roads of Malibu. Fully adjustable front and rear suspension is essential for a performance machine, so it was exciting to be able to make changes on the fly that produced a noticeable difference. The geometry of the frame and front end, as well as the weight (extremely light) of the rear, make this bike very agile and responsive to steering inputs without feeling unstable or erratic. The throttle is a bit sensitive when you reach higher RPMs, but that was quickly fixed by upshifting slightly early, and the Z900RS handled that adjustment like it was made for throttling out of the corners in higher gears. Also interesting to note, all the technology assists (ABS and Kawasaki TRaction Control) can be turned off. Yes, this baby can wheelie - don’t ask me how I know.
I even purposely overbraked and under revved the engine in a few of the switchbacks to see if I could get the bike to respond negatively. No such luck. ABS never kicked in, and the engine never bogged out. The Z900RS took everything I shoved at it in stride and performed with finesse. The best part? I had a ton of fun doing it! The happiness quotient is strong with this one.
No bike is without its quirks. In traffic, the lower portion of my right leg started to suffer from the radiant heat of the engine, so long sturdy pants are essential for commuting on the Z900RS.
The wider seat, although comfortable for stop and go traffic, was a bit uncomfortable when gripping tightly with my legs in the twisties - especially as the miles added up. The digital display between the analog gauges is small, and rightly so, but the gear indicator takes up about half of that space and feels unnecessary. I would have preferred a speed indicator instead. The only other thing I would be weary of is the lack of aftermarket accessories (like luggage systems) available right out of the gate. Currently, several Kawasaki Genuine Accessories exist but focus mainly on the look and ease of use.
I thought I would for sure like the Metallic Flat Spark Black version better($10,999), but the deep layered “Root Beer” paint (Candytone Brown and Orange) sparkled in the sun beautifully. After seeing photos of myself riding the retro paint scheme, I wouldn’t change a thing about it - vanity is so fickle, and worth the extra $200!
The Z900RS has deep layered “root beer” colored paint that sparkles in the sun beautifully.
As it sits, the Z900RS’s 7/8in handlebars definitely perpetuate the historical nod, but they feel too small for me. I would like to see a 1 1/8in bar to give the bike that extra push towards a streetfighter feel. Last but not least, if the bike were in my stable, I would immediately choose the Ergo Fit Reduced Reach Seat and round out my purchase with a grip heater set - all available as Kawasaki Genuine Accessories.
From the perspective of an 8-year motorcycle safety instructor, I would happily recommend the Z900RS to an experienced rider looking to upgrade to a sportbike or step away from a supersport without losing any get-up-and-go.
The balance of manageability and power is quite unmatched in my book, and the price tag cannot be beat. Even a newer rider would find the Z900RS easy to control in M2 mode, as it is one of the more forgiving (of rider error) in the litre bike realm. It's safe to say the Z900RS might even make you look and feel like a better rider.
"From the perspective of an 8-year motorcycle safety instructor, I would happily recommend the Z900RS"
I would rate the fun factor at a 9/10, in an equally as pretty package. It will certainly keep up with all the big kid toys, while looking fabulous and keeping you comfortable. The Z900RS can turn your everyday commute into the thrill ride you’ve been looking for without breaking the bank or your body. At the price point of $11,199, it’s a ton of bang for your buck - sophisticated bang that will make you seem a bit wiser and perhaps more mature than a 1000cc supersport.
Don’t take my word for it! Head to your local Kawasaki dealer and check it out for yourself. The Z900RS is, in fact, waiting for your visit right now.
As a celebration of its 45th anniversary, Dainese has released a new brand called Dainese Settantadue. To create Settantadue, Dainese Art Director Renato Montagner spent weeks immersed in the company’s archives in Vicenza searching for inspiration from the brand’s stylistic collaborations of the past, from Yohji Yamamoto to Valextra. The resulting collection beautifully represents the brand’s heritage, combining style, beauty, and elegance with a history that is 100% Italian.
At the heart of Settantadue is the leather jacket. The Frecca72 and Chiodo72 are two women’s jackets, which blend technically advanced gear (think removable Pro-Armor protection on the shoulders and elbows, insert pockets for back protection, and premium leather) sans bulk for a style that looks just as good on the bike as it does around town.