Sunday, August 12, 2012

New Leather Chaps

It's Sturgis this week and as you know the ole Captain does attend Sturgis from time to time.  Not so much during the rally because I like to drive more than 10 MPH in the Black Hills, but I still see those attending the Sturgis rally as they are enroute to it and drive through my little town.

In the past I've made some observations about the Sturgis Rally, notably economic.  1.  Sturgis will die in about 20 years as a)  Harley motorcycles are priced out of the range of any youth and b) this recession, combined with student debt, will more or less spell the future demise of Harley Davidson.  2.  Sturgis is not really for badass or real bikers any more.  Like last year this time I saw a record number of brand-spanking new trikes being driven by aging baby boomers in their mid-life crisis (remember what I said about 10MPH?).  It's worse this year.

Regardless, this year I shall make some additional observations about the rally so as to benefit those of you kicking around attending and those of you who do attend, but really shouldn't.

"$25,000 and 25 miles don't make you a biker"

I saw an older, rough, gruff gentleman wearing the above quote on his this shirt.  I wanted to go up to him and say, "that is the most kick ass shirt i have ever seen."

but I didn't.

Want to know why?

Because I was dressed in khakis and a polo shirt at the time and didn't want to look like a moron.  This guy was old school and could crush me in half a second.  If I had my motorcycle gear on or just plain ole jeans, I would have complimented him.  But I know enough that he would dismiss me, if not punch me for daring to make it look like I was being cool.

Regardless, his shirt says it all.

For those of you who think you're part of the Sturgis Rally (or Beartooth or Dragon's Tail or Daytona, etc.) and you just spent $25,000 and HAULED your bike in a trailer to Sturgis, you did not officially "do Sturgis" in my or most other real bikers' opinion.  You're a hazard.  You don't have enough experience riding.  YOu're probably causing a disproportionate number of accidents on the road because you are not only driving too slow, but you really don't know what you're doing.

In short, me driving my piddlely Ninja 250 to Sturgis twice, tightening the chain up every 80 miles, is more manly and real than you dropping $40,000 on a 1200 cc cruiser that you haul in a pretty little trailer, drive in Spearfish Canyon in pristine conditions, only to haul it back to  Winnekta or Edina.

You want to really do "Sturgis," then drive your ass out there on your bike.  Don't haul it.

Lot's of New Leather Chaps

For those of you who decide you're going to do Sturgis at the last moment, rush job your way to a motorcycle license, and buy whatever Harley you can get, can you do me a favor and at least rough up your leathers first?

The reason I request this is the glare off of your BRAND NEW leather jacket and BRAND NEW leather chaps tends to blind me.  How about instead you take your chaps and jacket and roll around on a gravel road for a couple minutes to give it that worn look, and then put a big sign on your bike that says, "Noob," that way I don't have to suffer the glare but still know you can't drive a bike.

Trikes and CanAm Spiders

If you are old and a veteran rider of motorcycles who happened to end up liking trikes, then this critique is not for you.

If you are the idiot who couldn't pass the motorcycle riding course and decided it was easier to get a trike or a CanAm spider, listen up.

You aren't a biker.

You're lazy and unskilled.  You either couldn't or you wouldn't spend the time it took to learn to ride a real bike.  And since you don't need a motorcycle endorsement on your license with a three wheeled vehicle, we all now get to suffer you thinking you're part of Sturgis or any other kind of motorcycle rally as you have that dopey in awe look on your face when you pull into town on your Playskool tricycle.

But that's alright, with "Ma" and "Pa" stenciled into your matching helmets as you drive 9 MPH with a traffic jam 4 miles long behind you as "Ma" films the ride with her smart phone, we can all easily identify you, avoid you on the road, and maybe fetch you some Metamucil to go with your white wine.

Police and Crotch-Rocketeers

Dear Police.  There are a handful of us crotch-rocketeers that like to attend these rallies.  If could could please note the following items, we'd appreciate it.

1.  We're not going faster, we just look like we are.  Additionally, most everybody else is really going about 10 MPH under the speed limit.
2.  We're usually the ones wearing helmets, so please don't lecture us about how many people you've seen die on crotch rockets.
3.  On a related note, when you pull us over for passing "Pruny Boobs Ma" and "Alzheimers Depends Pa" in a passing lane and you give us the line "I've seen a lot better drivers than you die on these bikes" (I've received this twice now), you have no idea how tempting it is to say to you "Well then how come they're dead and I'm still alive?"
4.  Do you like all that overtime?  Then STFU and lay off the crotch rocketeers.  We're the only ones that are going to be around when "Ma" and "Pa" die in 10 years and nobody else can afford replacement Harley's.  Instead of Jack Daniels sponsoring Harley's in Sturgis, it may just be Sapporo sponsoring Suzuki's and KAwasaki's.
5.  Crotch Rocketeers, just smile and obey what the nice officer says.  I never received a ticket.  Just a lecturing about safety while I am wearing my pads, jacket, armor, helmet, gloves...while 50 60 year olds without helmets, pads, gloves and armor, tanked up on booze and driving dangerously slow drive past the safety-concerned officer.

Enjoy Sturgis!


Eric S. Mueller said...

How do you like the Ninja 250? I've heard a lot of good things about them. Most of my friends claim I'd find it too underpowered, but I've met some Ninja 250 riders who claim nobody has to know it's a 250 unless you tell them, and it performs just fine.

Aurini said...

Around here we call them "Credit card bikers".

Anonymous said...

I had no idea you could spend $25K on a bike. That's crazy! In fact that's more money than I want to spend on a car...

Captain Capitalism said...

The 250 is underpowered if you run into some serious wind or are going over 75MPH. At those speeds you then need to draft off of a car or a truck in front of you.

For going around town, even at 65 MPH it's great. 60+ MPG. Also VERY easy to work on.

Now keep in mind this is a 2000 Ninja I was driving. A newer generation came out since and I'm sure it is different. But if you want something more powerful than a scooter (and therefore much faster than what the average 60 year old is driving in Sturgis) I'd go with it.

If you want a passenger and you plan on going on lengthier rides, you'll probably need a 500 cc engine at least.

Anonymous said...

I was a "biker" in my wayward youth around thirty years ago. From being 18 yo to 25 yo it was my summer transport. Never went to Sturgis but I did do a couple of awesome trips where we would sleep anywhere we could find off the highway and ride for two weeks at a go. The difference is back then we drove bikes because they were cheap. Some of my friends didn't even have cars and they pushed the season to dangerous extremes in the spring and fall - this is in Canada. It all changed - here at least in the mid 80's when super powerful sport bikes like Ninjas and Hurricanes started killing herds of teenagers. The price of insurance went through the roof and they stopped being a cheap form of transport. It was at this time that the average rider changed from a kid looking for adventure who couldn't afford a car, to yuppies (who are now the retiring boomers I suppose) with 25k to drop on a bike. I paid 400$ for my Suzuki GS400 and 500$ for my Honda Shadow and as I recall insurance was about 200 dollars a year. It's probably 25 plus years since I rode a bike and I have no interest in getting a new one even though I could afford to drop 25k on a Harley if I wanted to. - minuteman

The Great and Powerful Oz said...

I miss my bike, I was averaging 15K miles/year on it. It was just too hard to get work done on it and I have little desire to become a Harley wrench.

I learned my lesson: never buy a motorcycle made by a t-shirt company.

Captain Capitalism said...

Anon 618

PFA!!! $25,000 is like a "nice" Harley. You can EASILY spend more than $40,000 if you want to.

I'm NOT joking when I say Harley has priced their future out of competition. I would never buy a Harley. Not only because they're insanely complicated to work on, but they're too damn expensive.


Unknown said...

Well, Cap, you're the statistics whiz. Are there any numbers about relative accident rates among crotch rocket riders vs. the slow old fogies you denigrate?

Numbers, please, numbers. Eschew anecdotes and opinions.

tspoon said...

well, it may not fit here...

I've done 93,000 kilometers since 2004. on my pushbike. I reckon I'm a biker...

Anonymous said...

No apology necessary, Captain, I forgive you your youthful ignorance.

I don't bother with rallies, Captain. I have ridden all my life, from the little buzzers like yours, all the way up to the dreadnoughts. I have been rained on and hailed on and I may slow down for it but I seldom stop. I don't count the miles anymore. I don't care if some idiot thinks I am appropriately dressed. As for the old farts on the trikes - I will fall in behind and give them escort to the nearest coffee shop and share a brew. I will help load and unload their machines. Real riders (and real men) take care of their elderly and they are as much my kin as you are. I value their goodwill on the road as much as I value yours. It makes me feel good to see our elders out on the road enjoying the riding experience for as long as they can. One day you and I will be in their shoes too.

Likewise, next time you are blasting past an middle aged fart on his bagger, spare a thought for how he moves over to let you pass. If you have a break down I will gladly stop because I have damn near enough tools to see any job through. I will give you a lift into town if you need it.

It's a big long road out there and we only get to go down it once. I will take my friends where I can find them.

Ride safe, you lot.

heresolong said...

Nice observations Cap. I've "done" Sturgis five times but only once was it my actual destination. The other times I was headed through at about the right time so figured I might as well stop.

You can get a good, brand new Harley for a hell of a lot less than $25k. That is top end unless you go special edition like the SE bikes, plus they hold their value a lot better than most Japanese bikes.

One reason I wore my leather jacket for years after it really needed replacing was because I didn't want to ride around in a shiny new jacket. Broke down this year but figure I'll get it broken in before I replace the chaps so I don't look like a noob.

I agree with you on the "biker's" rally. It was and now it isn't. I'll be there next year though. It's still a good place to meet up with friends from around the country I haven't seen in a while.

Joe bar said...

"Anonymous" asked about statistics. I do not know of any studies brioken down by motorcycle type, but the last study I saw pointed to a spike in middle aged (over 40) riders. These riders, in my experience are attracted more to crusier style motorcycles than to racier styles, or even standard, upright adventure style bikes or dual sports. I am in the business, and I note these things.

I really try not to disparage other motorcyclists based on their choice of ride. I've owned just about one of everything over the past 43 years, and the large cruisers have their uses, and I understand the appeal.

However, what has always escaped me was the appeal of the "rally". I go to races to watch contests of speed or skill (trials) or to participate as a contestant. Having a massive party just to drink with a bunch of other seems self defeating.

Then again, the "instant identity" does sell bikes!

BTW, my latest purchase is a Honda VTR250 (not CBR250). It's a 90 degree V-twin sportbike. I've ridden a few Ninja 250s, and this one is supposed to be stronger, even though it's 20+ years old.

Joe Bar said...

Oops. That wasn't "Anonymous". It was "Unknown" that asked.

Captain Capitalism said...


You want me to pull stats on who gets into more accidents/injured more between crotch rocketeers who wear helmets and protective gear with 30,000+ miles riding experience vs. Ma and Pa noobs who don't wear protective gear???

I'm busy today, but by all means you can pull the data yourself.

Joe Bar said...

GODDAMIT. My $60 VTR did not fire after a new CDI and battery. Well. Carb surgery it is. Wish me luck. I'm going in!

Rachel & Robert said...

Harley Sportsters are where it's at, mine's a 2005. $8,000 new, nobody makes a cheaper bike of the same displacement. You can get a slightly used one for $4,000. You are right about the other models, the higher price tag exists just to maintain an exclusive clientele, but there is no real reason to buy the others either.