Do you have a name for your motorcycle?

There is nothing more assuring than discussing your motorcycle and your motorcycle issues with fellow enthusiasts. And when it comes to troubleshooting, I find the most comforting and experienced resource is other riders of the same make/model as your bike. That is one of many reasons I am a constant reader and contributor at the Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle forum. In fact, it is my homepage!

An interesting topic popped up the other day that I found interesting and humorous, and I thought it would be interesting to hear from Rubber on the Road readers – Do you have a name for your motorcycle? When you get attached to something or someone it is not uncommon for people to give it an affectionate name. Sometimes the name is only used in private, sometimes you have a special name for it when it is not running or causing problems – regardless, I am curious!

My current Kawasaki Vulcan 800 I haven’t named, but my past bikes all had names – “Six Shooter” for my 83 Kawi LTD 440, “Red Molly” for my red 85 Honda Magna 750, “Lady Triumph” for my 03 Triumph America 800.


Uneasy Rider

I just read a great article in the January 12th edition of the Wall Street Journal, that can be found here, about a man, Ivan Pisarenko, who has spent the last 5 years on the approximately 17,000 mile motorcycle ride from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego at the tip of South America.

It’s a really interesting piece that details some of the adventures he’s had along the way, explaining how a tentatively 9 month long trip has turned into a more than 5 year odyssey. It seems he’s been through everything from get a drink bought for him by Mexican highway robbers to his motorcycle being confiscated by customs in his home country of Argentina.

Apparently, the trip has gotten more popular in recent years to the point where nearly 2,000 people a year attempt the journey. This story seemed to fit in well with Brent’s recent post about the Dumb Way Round. Enthusiasm for epic trips like these are really catching people’s attention, and with good reason too in my opinion. It kind of reminds of the Appalachian Trail that runs from Maine to Georgia in the U.S. There are thousands of people a year that attempt the AT, the longest, continuous, marked footpath in the world, where only 10-20% of the people are actually able to complete a full thru-hike. This Alaska-Chile trip seems to be gaining some momentum of its own, and, judging from Mr. Pisarenko’s stories, with new and exciting surprises of its own. Who knows, maybe Brent and I will have to give it a shot sometime!

Check out Ivan Pisarenko’s website where you can follow his trip, see pictures, and even offer up lodging to him! it’s called “America en Dos Ruedas,” which means, “America on Two Wheels” in Spanish. And to Ivan, just remember to keep the rubber on the road!

Dumb Way Round

I just read this great article about two self-professed “Idiot Norwegians” cruising the world on 73 year old antique bikes designed for military use. Their website is hilarious: “We going out there again, putting McGregor and Boorman to shame, those girlie-men who did such a rough trip driving from London to New York on new BMW GS bikes and with massive support. Unlike McGregor and Boorman we ride our usual two 1937 Nimbuses with sidecars, and there’s minimal support along the way. We also ride twice their distance, don’t call it quits when reaching The Big Apple, but continue all the way around The World.”

And this line from the “The Journey” page: “The reason we will circle The Earth going eastwards is that thereby we will slow Earth’s rotation – a bit – with the power of our motorcycles.”

Have to respect these guys, attempting such an arduous trip with such a humorous approach! You can follow them via GPS here and make a donation to them here.

What are some of your favorite motorcycles?

There was an article in The Toronto Star’s “Wheels” section today written by Steve Bond (he won the 2010 MAX award for motorcycle journalism). In it Steve discussed some of his favourite motorcycles, and began the article by saying:

I get a lot of emails similar to this: “Hey Steve, I sold my Yamaha Virago 10 years ago but I want to get back on two wheels. I’ve signed up for a refresher training course but haven’t really kept tabs on new motorcycles. Can I run a few things by you?”

He winds up the article with his “Top five motorcycles of the last decade” list.

1. Suzuki 650 V-Strom: Introduced in 2004, the “Wee Strom” is all-day comfortable, economical, easy to handle and bulletproof. It might even be the best do-it-all bike ever built. With a 2009 list of $9,499 including ABS, it’s still a bargain.

2. Triumph Bonneville: The 865cc Bonneville has classic Britbike styling but modern mechanicals for under 10 grand. The Bonnie works well as a commuter, daily rider or, with optional bags and screen, a touring bike.

3. BMW F800 twins, the GS, ST, R and 650 GS: Great motor, just pick the pajamas that fit you best.

4. Triumph 675 Street Triple: If it had wind protection, it’d knock the V-Strom from top spot.

5. Harley-Davidson XR1200: Gorgeous bike that’s fun to ride.

But what are some of your favorite bikes? Is there a certain one that you’ve ridden since you began to ride? Is there one you’ve ridden once and yearned to ride again? I’d like to know …