Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who Else Wonders How Big Of A Motorcycle Is Big Enough?

*Yamaha Stratoliner = 1854cc
*Triumph Rocket III = 2294cc
*Honda VTX 1800 = 1795cc
*Honda Goldwing = 1832cc
*Suzuki M109 = 1783cc
*Harley-Davidson (Big Twins) = 1584cc
*Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 = 2053cc

How big is big is big enough? In these times of high fuel prices, a dwindling and fragile oil supply and concerns over global warming, does it make sense that the motorcycle industry just keeps upping the ante? Shouldn't motorcycles get significantly better gas mileage than cars do? Many motorcycles don't.

Obviously the demand is there or they wouldn't be making bike engines bigger which means burning more gas. I would advocate for the demand to change. I would rather see manufacturers start thinking about fuel economy and pollution control rather than sheer power, speed and bragging rights.

I have a 1200cc Harley and not too long ago it would have been considered a monster, now its mid size. True, fuel injection has improved gas mileage on motorcycles but not near enough.

Scooters are thankfully making a modest comeback but even they don't get the gas mileage I would expect from the smaller engine size.

If I ever decide to replace my Sportster I'm likely to downsize rather than go bigger unless improvements are made by the manufacturers. I'm 50 and maybe it's my age showing, I don't know, but I have moved past the desire to have a cruiser that has an over sized engine and am not inspired to be riding a race engineered sport bike. Lots of us baby boomers out there, I predict, may start seeing things the same way. And as more commuters come into the picture, the demand for what we want out of our bikes will change. There is a lot of purchasing power considering the sheer number of us, and money talks.

I'll be looking for practical rather than bling. And I will be looking for performance up to a point. I don't need to go 200mph. Instead I want good fuel economy, adequate power and excellent reliability. Especially since I'm a commuter and not just a weekend warrior.

OK, I know some of you that have read this far are thinking I should just go out and get a Honda Rebel 250cc or the like. I am a cruiser enthusiast because I like the looks, the riding position, the rumble and implied power of the V-Twin engine. I want that, but I also want the improvements I mentioned. Don't think for one second the manufacturers can't do that. Of course they can.

Let your favorite motorcycle or scooter maker know what you expect out of the bike you will be purchasing in the future. The companies will listen if the demand is strong enough.

Will there be a solar and hydrogen powered chopper in your garage anytime soon? Probably not, but we should expect much greater efficiency in our bikes. Who knows what bikers will have in the more distant future to impress the ladies with. I'm sure there will always be a place for shock and awe vehicles. Human nature being what it is and all.
Motorcycle and Scooter Talk at Kano's eCoffee House

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More On The Best Biker Poetry Sites

There's been a lot of interest here at Kano's eCoffee House in my previous post on the best motorcycle biker poetry sites. So I thought I'd give you all an update on what my favorite biker poet "Uglicoyote" is up to now.

Bill Uglicoyote Davis of Hard Ride and Songs of the Open Road has an excellent article published over at titled "Some Thoughts on Bikerpoetry." The article also will be appearing in The Connecticut Cruise News newspaper.

Uglicoyote knows his stuff too. When he's not riding his Harley, writing poetry or blogging he's teaching high school English in Pocatello, Idaho.

In the article Uglicoyote writes an introduction to the genre of biker poetry. Then he goes on to feature some good examples by "Wild Bill" Rogers of Alaska, Chopperkate, and Sorez.

Uglicoyote compares the similarities between bikers and biker poetry and cowboys and cowboy poetry. The article poetically illustrates his point and concludes with one of his own "The Cowboy and the Biker." The poem was inspired by a real event on the road to Sturgis.

Geocaching, A Treasure Hunting Sport on Your Motorcycle

Have you been trying to convince the wife why you need to get a GPS device for your motorcycle or scooter? If you're running short on excuses here's another good reason: It's a sport, hobby and treasure hunt game all rolled into one, it's Geocaching. Imagine the fun that could be had! Read on to find out more.

Go to and look up a treasure coordinate in the zip code you want to ride. Then program your GPS and you're set. Enjoy the ride; see some new scenery along the way. When you arrive at the coordinates, check around inside a hollowed out log or under a trash can for example. When you find the treasure someone left for you, leave something behind for the next treasure hunter. That's it, sounds like fun huh?

My brother in-law found a pretty nice mini mag flashlight, who knows what you'll find. Maybe the wife will lighten up a little if you take her with you! Yep, I can definitely see a GPS device in my future. Now if I could just convince her that it would be romantic if...
Motorcycle and Scooter Talk at Kano's eCoffee House

Amazon Links: Geocaching: Hike and Seek with Your GPS

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Geocaching (The Complete Idiot's Guide)

Geocaching For Dummies (For Dummies (Sports & Hobbies))

The Essential Guide To Geocaching: Tracking Treasure With Your GPS

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What's The Best Way to Warm-Up Your Motorcycle Engine?

With the cool weather upon us already, talk around the coffee house has turned to what's the best way to warm-up the carbureted motorcycle. Larry "The Lizard" says "let er idle 5 to 10 minutes until you can push the choke in without the engine dying." Alex says "pull the choke all the way out, start it up and take off." Josh with a fuel injected Yamaha sport bike just laughed at us. I say I've had enough of this argument and I'm going to get this thing resolved once and for all!

I got busy checking with those who know more than us knuckleheads. Joe Minton in an American Rider magazine article (June 2006 issue) says to warm the bike's engine while riding, keeping the rpm not over halfway to redline. To let it warm-up while idling quickly destroys the engine oil's protective features.

A article says to use your choke "the minimum time possible" and to "never forget the choke on and take off."

The motovike article seems to contradict Joe Minton and advocate for idling the engine until the choke is not needed before taking off. Hmm, what to do?

"When in doubt read the instruction book" my Dad used to say. So I dug my Sportster Owners Manual out from the bottom of a drawer and took a peek at what Harley-Davidson says. After all, they should know best, right?

Here's what they say for a cool engine with outside temperature less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit:
1. Turn the fuel valve to the on position.
3. Pull enricher (choke) knob to full-out position.
4. Turn the ignition/headlamp key switch ON and press starter switch to operate the
electric starter.
5. Raise jiffy stand.
6. After initial 15-30 second warm-up, ride for 3 minutes or 2 miles with enricher
in full-out position.
7. After 3 minutes or 2 miles push the enricher knob in to the 1/2 way position.
Ride 2 minutes or 2 miles.
8. After 2 minutes or 2 miles push the enricher knob fully-in.

For a cool engine with an outside temperature of more than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the procedure is the same except the time and distances are less.

So there you have it, Joe Minton and Harley-Davidson both contradict the Motovike article and the more extreme advice of The Lizard here at the coffee house. I told the guys what I found out and The Lizard predictably said "That's a bunch of BS coming from pencil necked GEEKS!"
©2007 N.(Kano)Miles, Kano's Coffee House

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Honda Trail 90 Dream Realized Update

Some of you have been hanging around the coffee house long enough to remember a post I wrote back in June titled: Honda Trail 90 A Dream Realized. The post was about how I saw a Honda Trail 90 when I was a kid and decided then and there that I had to have one. This summer, some 40 years later I acquired it, a 1968, probably the same year as the one I saw as a kid. The message of the story was don't give up on your dreams, sometimes they just take a little longer than expected. Yesterday I sold that dream.

Back in June I bought the bike and then the dust thrown into the air by the whirlwind of my excitement had settled. Things returned to normal around my house. The bike sat out in the carport chained to a post. A future project waiting to get fixed and running again. I lacked the mechanical skills to do it myself, so the old Honda waited until I could afford to take it to a shop.

The kids needed school clothes and that was that. I put an ad in the paper and before I knew it, she was sold. My dream realized was passed on to the next dreamer. I'm happy to report that the buyer had plans to fix it up; he was an older guy like me and had the know how and parts to do the job. My Wife who has good intuition said that the bike went to the right guy and I agree, I'm glad he's the one who got it.

After I sold the bike and before the new owner picked it up, I sat for awhile out in the carport enjoying the late summer evening breeze. I looked over at the old Honda and contemplated my experience with her. Why did I buy it in the first place? Was it really the fulfillment of a youthful promise to myself, or was it an attempt to reclaim my past? With a longer road behind me than in front, is that what I was doing? Is this why some old guys have train sets, dye their hair or drive sporty cars? Was it a desperate attempt to stop time and even return to a brighter day? Nostalgia.

I suppose so. Despite our best efforts, the hair dye, train sets, sporty cars and yes even Honda Trail 90s, there is no going back, only forward. Always forward.

I will put the Honda Trail 90 experience behind me. I can imagine the new owner happily tinkering in his garage, working the magic to bring her back to life. I have more room to maneuver my Sportster around in the carport, my kids have new school clothes, and it's all good.
©2007 N.(Kano)Miles, Kano's eCoffee House

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

What Is The Ultimate Motorcycle Journey?

I am one who tends to live in the moment as much as possible. It's difficult and even painful sometimes to look into my future. Many of you may find yourself in the same fix, a ride unrealized. Imagine if you could ride anywhere, what would your ultimate motorcycle journey be?

I'm almost 51 and still raising young children, 2 girls and a boy. The last one won't graduate from High School until I'm about 61. Even though I'm somewhat old to have such young kids. I wouldn't change a thing. I love them and my wife beyond measure. However, it's a stretch right now for me to imagine a wonderful future. Following a failed attempt at self-employment and subsequent under employment, I have no retirement to look forward to. I have no savings, and am just eking out an existence with the job I now have.

There is a ray of hope, I have discovered Blogging. Blogging is something I have found that I immensely enjoy. It's a way that I can provide what I hope to be a valuable service to my readers. Blogging is also a step in the direction towards my life long dream of working as a writer. I have taken an important step, from dream to intention.

Many of my fantasy rides at this point however are just that, a fantasy. If today doesn't change, tomorrow will be the same. Presently I have neither the time nor funds to go on some of the rides I had been dreaming of, rides that I want to take in my lifetime. Still it doesn't hurt to dream, but dreaming or wishing isn't enough to make a fantasy reality. What makes reality is a goal, an intention, action.

There are plenty of self-help gurus out there that claim you get what you expect and what you can perceive you can achieve. That making a goal, hard work, and even using positive affirmations, creative visualization and meditation will get you the results you want. I am here to tell you those things and other techniques and practices certainly increase the chances of your success.

Nothing is a certainty however, there are no fool proof secrets. There is an unknown factor, a mystery to life, if you don't succeed at some endeavor or the the other it's not always your fault. Thinking that it is, can lead to lots of problems like low self-esteem, guilt, resentment and disappointment.

Just drifting with the current, landing where one lands is fine if you're living a very simple life with no pretensions and no responsibilities. However if you live in modern society, you need to pay the rent and eat and possibly provide for others. Living in modern times takes money and lots of it.

To best increase (remember no sure fire guarantees) our chances of being able to do so is to have a goal and work at it. One needs to keep that goal in the forefront of their consciousness so as not to get off the path. However it is equally important to be open to the possibility of a change in plans. Many a missed opportunity for something even better happens when one becomes too focused on the goal. Like the horse wearing blinders, it's easy to fail to see other even better possibilities. It's also the road we are on that really matters the most, not the destination.

So here are my motorcycle ride fantasies that I want to achieve in my lifetime: I would like to take a U.S. coast to coast ride from Pacific to Atlantic and back.
I would also like to see Europe again. This time on a bike. Back in the early 1980s I was stationed at Stuttgart, Germany while in the Army. I was fortunate to have a chance to see some of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and England. I want to see more and I want to re-visit some of the best places.

I want to be able to do more exploring by motorcycle in my own backyard. Oregon is vast and diverse, I have only scratched the surface of all there is to see right here in my home state. I am fortunate to live in Salem, conveniently located roughly 50 miles to the Pacific Coast, 50 miles to Portland, 50 miles to the Cascade Mountains and the High Desert beyond. All are an easy day trip away. I don't do enough of those.

Those fantasy rides are not likely to happen unless I make it my intention. Then, I have a chance. My future could be bright, with the intention to make it so and the action to back it up. A fantasy is weak, a dream is a little stronger and hope a little stronger yet. A goal is strong and an intention even stronger, but none are any good without action.

So there you have it, my ultimate motorcycle journeys in a nutshell. Writing this post has been a good reminder to myself that I need to start making goals again, stay hopeful about the future (because what's the alternative? Depression? Giving up?), be open to change, and expect that my intentions will be realized. At the same time however, keeping in mind that there is an unknown element to life and things don't always work out the way we want or expect them to.

When I was younger I used to think about riding aimlessly around America, ending up wherever I end up. To be alone and free of responsibility and not stay in any particular place for too long. That's all changed now; I have a family and friends to go back to. Maybe that's what the ultimate motorcycle journey is, the ride home.
Copyright 2007 N.(Kano)Miles - Kano's eCoffee House

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J&P Cycles - Parts and Accessories for Motorycles

Friday, September 7, 2007

7 Things Your Motorcycle Passenger Must Know

Having a passenger behind you can add an element of fun to your ride but it also adds some needed extra caution. The extra weight affects your bikes handling characteristics. An increase in distance is also needed for accelerating, slowing down and stopping.

Be sure to check your bikes tire pressure and suspension settings. If you are inexperienced with carrying a passenger, practice in an empty parking lot before heading off into traffic. This is also a good chance to teach your partner how to be a good passenger. Remember, avoid abrupt acceleration, shifting and braking.

7 Things Your Motorcycle Passenger Must Know:

Ensure your passenger wears protective gear.

Caution your passenger about touching hot or moving parts.

Remind your passenger to not climb aboard until after you are on.

Make sure your passenger holds on to your waist or hand-holds.

Tell your passenger to keep their feet on the foot pegs.

Warn your passenger to not make any sudden moves.

Remind your passenger to mimic your moves, especially when cornering.

I don't take my wife with me on rides too often because she just doesn't enjoy sitting on the back of a motorcycle. My kids love it though and I take them for short rides and look forward to taking them on longer ones when they get a little older. Sometimes when I'm riding alone and I see a great view or something interesting to stop and look at I wish I had someone with me to share the experience with. It seems to take the enjoyment of the moment to a higher level.

So if you have someone to share your ride with, great! Enhance the experience by having confidence in your passenger and your passenger in you by following these 7 reminders. Be safe and have a great ride!
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Guide to Motorcycling Excellence: Skills, Knowledge, and Strategies for Riding Right (2nd Edition)

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Owner Satisfaction Survey - Buell Ulysses XB12X

Owner Name/State - Mike/Oregon

Year/Make/Model - 2007 Buell Ulysses (1200cc)

Modifications/Accessories - Taller Windshield, Soft Bags.

How tall are you? - 5'11"

How are the ergonomics, is the bike comfortable? - The bike fits me well. The seat is OK for short touring, the bars and pegs are just right. Wind blast is a bit much at 55+. Obnoxiously loud and continual cooling fan. Power and low end torque are substantial.

What would you say about the handling characteristics? - The bike rides fairly light and it seems to hop around a bit when hitting rough spots and at speed - maybe I need to adjust the suspension a little to soften it up.

What is the bike mostly used for? - Commuting and short touring. The most fun I have is taking short tours (less than 200 miles) off the beaten path, no traffic, no freeways, combined with fly fishing. There is a lot of opportunity to do this during the spring, fall, and summer in the Pacific Northwest.

Has there been any unscheduled maintenance or repairs done? Not yet, 2,200 miles so far.

What is the average gas mileage? - 49mpg when riding easy, 44mpg with spirited riding.

Average miles ridden per week? (summer months) - Usually about 120.

Mileage on the odometer? - 2,200.

What do you like most about the bike? - Low end torque and adequate high end power. It is a little hot rod and fun to ride. Can be ridden almost like a sport tourer.

What do you like least about the bike? - Obnoxious fan noise and heat from rear cylinder/pipes. Power at low speeds in first and second is a bit twitchy and you have to be careful using the throttle in first and second. You always have to be ready to fly when you give it the gas - that's OK when you are ready, but watch out if not.

Would you buy another one? - There are too many different bikes to ride, I am already thinking about my next bike. I like the style though and I think the Buell is an excellent bike and value.

If you had a different bike, what would it be? - I have never met a bike I didn't like. There are some bikes that I didn't care for some characteristics. My ideal bike would be: light, quick (but not necessarily high top end), have some character, be able to travel distances comfortably, dependable, able to travel rough roads - not dirt trails - come to think of it, the Buell matches my needs very well.

Overall are you satisfied with your bike? - Definitely, but I am looking for an after market fan that is much quieter.

Would you recommend the bike to others? - ONLY if it fits the riding style of the rider - this bike is not for everybody.

So there you have it, The Buell Ulysses. Thank you Mike for taking the time to do the survey. - Anyone else want their bike on this blog? Just send me an email at Thanks. Kano - Copyright 2007 N.(Kano)Miles Kano's eCoffee House.

Adventure Buell: 1,000 miles in 24 hours.(UNCONVENTIONAL TOURING)(Buell XB12X Ulysses)(Product/service evaluation): An article from: American Rider

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Motorcycle Book Quote

"I felt strange but in some way whole. It was like an extension of my body, and I cradled down in blue steel and leather and chrome and sat that way for a time, perhaps a full minute, and let the bike become part of me."
-Gary Paulsen, from Pilgrimage on a Steel Ride

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Someone Is Stealing My Blog Posts!

Just by sheer luck when I was checking my stats at Technorati, I noticed something strange in the data. I followed a link to a blog page and discovered someone was stealing my posts outright from Kano's eCoffee House and my other blog, Blog Adrift, and re-blogging them as their own.

On this guy's blog I found that he had just started his blog recently and has been posting the same posts multiple times. Probably most or all the posts are stolen. A little research and I found that this is a widespread tactic called "Splogging" and has become a big problem. The motivation of course is to get high in the search rankings and generate income, in this crooks case, from Google's Adsense.

Any of you bloggers out there are vulnerable to these predators. Take action to stop them. They are stealing, and copyright infringement is a crime. Unfortunatly it's a real hassle to pursue these fools through legal channels. These guys usually only use a few posts from each victim, making it not worth the trouble to do anything about it.

However, there are other things that can be done to help put the brakes on a particular sploggers plans.

*Go to the splogger's site and flag the content. With Blogger, the flag button is on the upper toolbar. Just click and that's all there is to it. Tell everyone you know to do the same. A few flags probably won't attract Google's attention, a lot of flags will and hopefully they will see the multiple same post entries and do something about it.

*Go to the advertisers on the sploggers page and complain. If they have adsense, go to and report the splogger's URL.

*Go to the blog host and report as spam. If they use Google's Blogger/Blogspot report the URL to them using their spam report form.

*Send the splogger an email if you can find the address and let them know you are on to them and demand they cease and desist.

*Write a copyright notice at the bottom of your posts and at the bottom of your blog page.

*Put somewhere in your posts a link back to your blog.

*Go to the splogger's site and write comments on the stolen posts. Let them know you are on to them, that they have been flagged, and that they must cease and desist and they must remove the stolen posts. He just may leave your posts alone after that. But like I say, he is most likely only going to use a few of your posts and move on to the next victim. Still, don't let him get away with it, pursue the bastards!

My particular splogger is randyspawn. His blog is called "Simple Motorcycle Blog." Please join me in going over to his blog and flagging him. Thank you.

For more detailed information on how to deal with sploggers and how to find out if you have been the victim of splogging check out this excellent post at Blog Herald.

copyright 2007 N.Kano Miles, Kano's eCoffee House

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