Riding Canyon Roads Safely

canyon road
One of the endless turns on Angeles Crest Highway

Twisty roads are something many sportbike riders look forward to every weekend, myself included. Here in Los Angeles we have an iconic mountain road right in our backyard called Angeles Crest Highway (aka ACH or The Crest), endless canyon roads in the hills surrounding the Malibu coast and various other excellent mountain roads within an hour’s ride. Perhaps you’ve heard of Deal’s Gap and The Snake, an infamous stretch of curvy forest road in the Smoky Mountains along the North Carolina / Tennessee border. These roads attract motorcycle riders of all kinds; some looking for fresh air and scenery, others looking for the thrill of running turn after turn at speed. These roads can also be dangerous, so it’s important to enjoy them safely by following a few simple guidelines. Continue reading “Riding Canyon Roads Safely”




Motorcycle Suspension: Harder Than It Looks

Ohlins makes excellent but expensive shocks
Ohlins makes excellent but expensive shocks

For beginner motorcycle riders, suspension isn’t usually given too much thought. Considering how much it affects a motorcycle’s performance and riding characteristics though, it should be given a lot of thought. The bikes on my recommended beginner’s list typically have low-tech suspensions with only one adjustable feature, but even understanding just how that one feature affects your riding will make a noticeable difference in how the bike feels. When you’re ready to move onto a true sportbike, their suspension components become more complicated, more expensive and more important to set up correctly.

Continue reading “Motorcycle Suspension: Harder Than It Looks”

Your First Engine: V-Twin vs. Inline 4 vs. Single

Ducati 250

Updated 4/17/17

Ah, the good old engine debate. Ask any motorcycle rider what kind of engine they think is best and you will get some surprisingly heated opinions. Our cruiser riding brethren will of course talk up the virtues of v-twins and their torque, while sportbike riders might be divided between inline fours, v-fours and twins. Single cylinder engines (“thumpers”) are usually reserved for dirt and off-road bikes, but one of the better beginner sportbikes happens to use one – the sharp looking Honda CBR300R. Engine type should not be taken lightly when choosing a first motorcycle and I’ll try to make some sense of the differences here.

Continue reading “Your First Engine: V-Twin vs. Inline 4 vs. Single”

How To Not Look Like a Moto Noob – Part 3

Gloves

Anytime I see someone riding a motorcycle without gloves, I’m about 98% certain they’re a noob. They probably haven’t ridden long enough to experience what happens when road debris hits the hands, or worse, what kind of damage can be done to the hands in a crash. Think about how important your hands are to your everyday life… then get yourself a good pair of gloves to protect them. Sportbike riders should look for full gauntlet-style gloves that have padded palms, extra padding on the outside of the pinky finger and hardened knuckle armor.

Fresh Air, Bugs and Road Therapy

There’s something therapeutic about a good motorcycle ride; it’s hard to explain and really needs to be experienced to be understood. Being out and about in the mountains soaking up some nice curves, the sun, and some awesome pine-scented fresh air is really something special. So are the multitudes of bugs that splatter all over you during spring time rides, but hey, it’s a small price to pay. Just remember the goals are to have fun and get home safely, so take it easy out there, take your time and enjoy the ride.

Wear a Real Helmet… Please

It’s really sad to see something like this accident happen. The passenger was wearing a “novelty helmet” which according to the California Highway Patrol, “…failed in the collision and significantly contributed to her death.” Sometimes called skid lids, novelty helmets are not DOT approved and are technically illegal in California and other states with similar helmet laws. They don’t offer any real impact protection and shouldn’t be worn in lieu of a real helmet.

If you’re new to motorcycling, a good helmet should be your first priority when it comes to safety gear. Make sure to get one that’s DOT and/or Snell M2010 approved because it means the helmet has gone through rigorous standardized testing to ensure the rider has a chance to withstand an impact.

Source article: The Press-Enterprise
http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/hemet/hemet-headlines-index/20120507-san-jacinto-woman-killed-in-hwy-79-crash.ece

When To Ride Angeles Crest Highway

 

Angeles National Forest Sign
At the edge of the Angeles National Forest on Angeles Forest Highway

Angeles Crest Highway has quite the reputation as a dangerous place for motorcyclists and deservedly so. Any canyon road in southern California can be a risky ride simply due to the nature of the roads themselves; they’re narrow, mountain-hugging, twisty, prone to falling debris and full of blind turns. Angeles Crest Highway adds its own unique risks thanks to its popularity; it’s a favorite weekend getaway road for motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists and hikers all looking to enjoy L.A.’s native forest. Put all of those people together on the same snaking asphalt and bad things are going to happen, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be safely enjoyed.

Continue reading “When To Ride Angeles Crest Highway”