Test rides are rare when it comes to motorcycles, so when I found out Ducati was giving free test rides nearby I jumped at the chance. I test rode the original Hypermotard several years ago and have been eager to test the newer and better 2017 version. Continue reading “Ducati Hypermotard 939: Fun, Tall, and NOT a Beginner Bike”
One of the joys of motorcycling is riding to a friendly biker hangout, getting some greasy food, meeting other riders and checking out the other bikes. This can be a little intimidating though, especially if you don’t know anything about the place and what kind of people hang out there. Here are some tips for making it happen. Continue reading “How to visit the local biker hangout”
Hearing protection is one of the most overlooked safety precautions when it comes to motorcycle riding. It’s not uncommon to meet older bikers who have tinnitus or have suffered some sort of hearing loss due to the constant wind noise while riding. Ear plugs have two distinct benefits for beginner riders:
1. The noise reduction is very calming while learning. It wasn’t until my 2nd week of riding that I tried them out, and they made the learning process much less stressful. I didn’t realize how much the wind noise was bothering me.
2. It’s a good habit to start using them early, and they will save your hearing in the long run.
I prefer the long mushroom shaped plugs; they’re easier to remove from your ears. The brand I buy has a 33 decibel noise reduction rating, which I equate to riding inside of a newer car with the windows rolled up. You can still hear sirens, your own bike, other vehicles around you, etc.
With winter officially behind us, it’s time to dust off your motorcycle again and start enjoying the dead bugs on your helmet. Just a few reminders for those of you new to riding:
- Check your tires if you haven’t ridden in a while! Check air pressure and make sure the rubber isn’t too old or cracking.
- Take it easy – you’ve got all spring, summer and fall to get in some great rides.
- Be careful if you’re riding the canyons or mountain roads; if it’s been raining a lot in your area, the roads may still be dirty.
It’s time to list the best beginner sportbikes for 2017, the best model year we’ve ever seen for aspiring sportbike riders to pick a new motorcycle. Let’s get started.
If there’s one place where you can sit on all of the motorcycles you want to check out without a salesperson breathing down your neck, it’s the International Motorcycle Show. More manufacturers have brought their bikes to the show than ever, so it’s definitely worth the trip if you can make it. It’s a beginner’s dream, as bikes like the Yamaha R3, Kawasaki Ninja 300 and KTM RC390 are all there waiting for you to throw a leg over the seat.
I’m starting to see more and more of the Yamaha YZF-R3 out in the wild, whether it’s on the road or at track days. I’m not exactly sure why I’m seeing more of them than the Kawasaki Ninja 300, but I suspect it has to do with its very sharp looks and 25cc engine size advantage over the Ninja. It’s definitely hard to tell it apart from a 600cc supersport, and I came away impressed from a test ride late last year. If you’re an aspiring sportbike rider looking for your first motorcycle, the R3 is a really good choice.
Anytime I take my motorcycle out for a ride, I’m hitting a back road in the southern California countryside. Fortunately it’s not that far of a ride before I’m away from the city and in some beautiful area that makes me forget I live in a huge metropolis. If you want to ride some nice back roads yourself, here are a few tips before you head out to unfamiliar territory. Continue reading “Riding the Back Roads on your Motorcycle”
For those of us in normally sunny California, El Niño is about to bring a messy winter. The last time we saw a really rainy winter here was 2004 – 2005, which happened to be my first year of motorcycle riding. Here are some tips for getting through the rainy season if you’re new to riding motorcycles. Continue reading “Rainy Season Riding Tips”
I nearly crashed at my last track day. I was leaned hard in a turn, slid the bike, scraped a foot peg, sh** my pants and wondered how I didn’t go down. After a few more laps I brought myself in and realized I didn’t need to try so hard – it’s just a track day. Continue reading “The Joy of Just Riding a Motorcycle”