Jun 26, 2012

Apparently, this video is reminding lots of people of . . . me. I can not imagine why.

Jun 25, 2012

Music to Ride By

Now I'm on a roll. Listening to Heartbreaker, I'm reminded of all of the rock and roll songs I used to crank up in my head to get motivated before a race. I occasionally get asked why I don't listen to music while I ride, especially on long distances. First, I don't want to be deaf. Second, I have a lifetime of music on-line everywhere I go. I have a head full of rock and roll, blues, jazz, and classical music. The audio quality is dramatically better than any crap MP3 player and cheesy helmet headphone rig. I don't have to worry about batteries (although I need to recharge with breakfast and lunch). The selection is practically endless and I don't have to fumble with the player's tiny controls when some tune I hate accidentally slips into the cue. So, in some particular order, I've decided to list some of my favorite racing and riding head-tunes:

  • Heartbreaker - Rolling Stones (The Stones' best song from their best album.)
  • Frankenstein - Edgar Winter (My moto gate go-to song from 1973 on. Synthesizers should have been abandoned as musical instruments after Edgar put this tune on tape. They've done nothing new or better since.)
  • Medicated Goo - Traffic (Pretty much anything quick from Stevie Winwood and/or Traffic will do when the road is twisty, rough, or missing altogether. I've been a fan since he was "Little Stevie Winwood" with Spencer Ward.)
  • Hocus Pocus - Focus (The band Van Halen wishes it could be if Eddie had the chops and Roth had a sense of humor and  Van Halen had a rhythm section.)
  • Scatterbrain - Jeff Beck (Actually, all things Jeff Beck are worthy of riding and racing. All other guitar players are just cheap imitations. Get the real thing, listen to Jeff. Once, I thought I could play guitar but Jeff reminded me that I just own guitars.) 
  • Give It Everything You Got - Edgar Winter's White Trash (I freakin' love this song. The closest I ever came to winning a moto was when I had this going hard in my skull. The Rickman caught nothing but neutrals in a big sweeper and down I went.)
  • Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo - Johnny Winter  (Rick Zerringer wrote this one for Johnny. It didn't hit, so Zerringer renamed himself "Derringer" and did it again.)
  • Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who (I used to drag out the synth intro in my head until the gate dropped, then . . . not much. I could never ride as fast as Pete can windmill. It is a good covering-miles-tune. A solid block pass motivated by a Townshend power chord is hard to forget, though.)
  • Living in America - James Brown (I can ride for days on this song. It should be the 21st Century's national anthem. It isn't because we're a nation of pussies and other sorts of gutless conservatives. On my way back from Canada, I have to get this tune going or I might immigrate.)
  • Ballroom Blitz - Sweet (Racing is semi-organized war. What better music than a bar fight tune?)
  • Whammer Jammer - J. Geils Band with Magic Dick (One of the great, rarely heard rock motorcycling tunes. When Hancock started with this jam, I knew I was gonna like that movie. I did, thank you for asking.)
  • 1812 Overture - Tchaikovsky (Not a race tune, but a wonderful thing to be able to replay on long, boring cross-country trips. You wouldn't believe how loud the cannons are in my version.)
  • A Night In Tunisia - Dizzy Gillespie (Dizzy's music got me into music. I hear this song a half-dozen ways; from his New York 5-piece combo  to this big band which I was blessed to hear in the 70's.)
  • Traveling Lady - Manfred Mann Chapter Three (Traveling music, not racing music. There are a few songs from this album that I get going on a great day: Snakeskin Garter, Mister You're A Better Man than I, and Time. I recently converted my LP to digital audio and have been re-enjoying this music a lot lately. I need a trip to somewhere a long ways away.)
  • High Falls and One Way Out - Allman Brothers (I think I did the entire Alaska and British Columbia mountain section with High Falls in my head. I saw this band -- the High Falls band -- in '73 and have never forgotten how great a rock and roll band can sound. The best day on the road almost always coincides with my being able to pull up the entire Live at the Filmore East album from memory; lead parts included.)
And my "new" (post-racing) travel-pump favorites:
I'm not even close to running out, but I am getting bored. I think I'll go for a ride and listen to music. See 'ya.

Can't Help Myself

I don't know why, but this song has been stuck in my head all day and I had to hear it. It's off of an album, Goat's Head Soup, that some consider to be the end of the Stone's productive period and the beginning of their rock star decay. I must be decadent because I am no Stones fan, but I loved this record. I like everything about Heartbreaker, especially the horn arrangement.

All There Is to Say about This Subject

Thanks Sheldon.

 Ok, just one more thing: http://brewsteruniversity.com/2010/10/04/decibels-penis-size-inversely-proportional/.

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again.

Jun 23, 2012

Ragheads on Wheels

A while back, one of the local MSF coaches told me I should check out the Parts Unlimited catalog for do-rags. More recently, Paul Young pointed me at Iron Horse Helmets (a mis-named website if there ever was one) to look at the neoprene face masks. Considering that the children who wear this crap are about as rabid anti-helmeters as douchebags get, you have to wonder why they want to cover their ugly faces and bald heads with napkins and wet-suit material. I've worn a wet suit in the ocean, but I can't imagine the up-side to wearing one on my face on a hot summer day. 

However, having looked at images like the one at left, I get it. This is a "truth in advertising" thing. A clown mask for a clown. Makes perfect sense. We all know what's under the mask and this is clearly an improvement. If Lady Bird Johnson were alive, she'd call this "highway beautification." If you click on the clown mask, you can see the whole collection, all 182 of them, of Iron Horse's neoprene face bags. Maybe you can find one that is just right for your next convenience store hold-up. In fact, I'd sort of like to know why cops don't fire a few warning shots into these things just to get the morons' attention? Seems like a reasonable response to someone wearing a mask in public. 

The napkin craze is totally over the top. There are at least eight pages of these girlyman things in the Parts Unlimited catalog (click the the nancyboy's picture at right and feast your eyes on the douchebaggery). Amazing. You'd think the napkin pages would be followed by a selection of pancake premixes and griddles. If I'm gonna look like a fool, I at least want to be cooking something edible while I do it. (Damn that kid has a lame "biker stare." He looks about as badass as Bill Clinton after a two day intern-boinking binge.)

Crap! I bet I know what the next non-helmet biker hat craze will be: a chef's hat. Everything the dochebags love is wrapped up on one stupid looking hat: uselessness, clownish appearance, a way to hide a bald head, and head wear that makes a Harley look like it's moving faster than a crawl. Freakin' awesome. Right now, the typical chef's hat costs about $3. We should corner the market and wait for the biker clowns to catch up to us, then sell hats for $10 each (the going price for biker napkins). Tell me that the fruitcake on the left doesn't look like he belongs on a Harley. 

Driven to Consume

All Rights Reserved © 2011 Thomas W. Day

In early 2011, when Apple released yet another useless and over-priced piece of consumer electronics, I found myself talking to a young friend about why he would be compelled to buy this thing before he knew what it could do. Unfortunately (as after hearing the explanation of most consumer motivations), a year later I remain clueless. The young man provided a series of scenarios that included the world "need" which had to be translated into "want" and several descriptions of silly apps/diversions that a couple of good hobbies could cure. Along with two million other consumers, he ran out and bought one of these silly toys the first week Apple released it. Six months later, he still hadn't found a useful application for the thing, but it wasn't because he didn't try. For two weeks, he practically let his whole life slide while he loaded apps, modified the iPad's preferences, and tried to find a practical justification for his new $1,000 toy (after adding the Apple-recommended accessories, but not including the $30/month charge for 3G service that almost makes the toy usable). After this extended experiment, he demonstrated how indispensable the Apple toy had become by showing me how it--and his desktop computer, laptop computer, and cell phone--combined to bring him all the power of a tiny television set, a mediocre laptop computer, a poor quality telephone, a low-res still and video camera, and a few pieces of paper.
Yeah, I know. I don't get it. He can ask his friends "wht r u doin" any time, any place without giving the syntax or the purpose of that idiot question a second thought.
I can't. I won't.
I have absolutely no reason to care what my friends are doing unless we're hanging out together and I can see what they are doing. I don't need a $1000 device with which to watch micro-movies, wherever I might be. Of course, I prefer to watch movies at home in my entertainment room or in a theater where the sound system is property aligned, the screen is large enough to make the experience entertaining, and where nobody is able to ask me "what r u doing" because I'm not taking a telephone into a movie theater.
Lucky for us, Apple doesn't make motorcycles. What passes for "design" in Appleworld wouldn't impress most Harley owners. In 2010, a New York kid pulled in $100k making white covers for the new black iPhone, because Apple fans couldn't wait for the official white version. Some people have infinitely more money than brains, even if they don't have much money.
There are some Apple-like approaches being taken to motorcycling, though. Harley and the designer 50's cruiser crowd made a stab at that lifestyle marketing tactic for a successful 20 years. Boys and girls bought expensive bikes they wouldn't ride and clothing they rarely wore, just to be one of the cool-kids'. Particularly BMW, but also Honda, Ducati, and the rest of the pack are coming out with bikes that have all sorts of doo-hickies that the average rider needs at least as much as an iPad. Traction control, automatic transmissions, adaptive headlights, rider-selectable control/throttle map modes, linked ABS brakes, air bags, electronic keys, electronically adjustable suspensions, iPod, MP3, USB, Bluetooth and satellite radios, sophisticated screens that rival home entertainment systems, and features that I can't even imagine are getting tacked on to motorcycles that are becoming more complicated than NASA space vehicles.
All these attractions are intended to make you and me think we're getting lost in the technology race; falling behind, not keeping up with the neighbors, or something equally depressing. An upside to being old is that I know I'm not keeping up with anybody these days. I'm still running WinXP on my laptop and my Mac is permanently stuck at OS 10.4 because it's not an Intel machine. My cell phone is a minimally-featured, dirt cheap Nokia that can probably text but I haven't bothered to investigate that feature. I use the phone about 100 minutes a year and only turn it on when I want to call someone. So, I'm on a 500 minute, $50/year pay-as-you-go plan and, when I remember to do it in time, I recycle about 400 minutes a year. I usually forget about the annual cell phone bill and, when I do want to make a call, discover it's been disconnected for a couple of months.
My main motorcycle is a 2008 WR250X Yamaha and with only 10k on the odometer, it's barely broken in. My back-up long-haul bike is a 2004 Suzuki 650 V-Strom . My back-up carbureted 2000 Kawasaki Super Sherpa hasn't been ridden for a year because of its refusal to start when the mercury drops below 30F. Fuel injection is my idea of technology worth chasing. Style is for kids. About 30 years ago, I discovered that--if I keep wearing jeans, long-sleeved t-shirts, denim and plaid work shirts, hiking boots and running shoes, and cheap watches--I'll be back in style every half-dozen years. That's good enough for me. 

Jun 18, 2012

RIP, Sooner or Later

In early June, an attractive, young (22) woman crashed her motorcycle and died. This Minnesota story made the news in a lot of places: England, television, more televisionthe press, and pretty much every motorcycle blog in the country. She was not wearing a helmet or any other motorcycle gear) and died of head injuries.  She was a new motorcyclist and a new motorcycle owner. Now, her mother is on a campaign to make helmets mandatory in Minnesota. I say "good luck" to her. Our legislature is too gutless to take on ABATE in good times. Without our Republican majority state house, courage is out the window and the sight of a few dozen stringy-haired Village People on Harleys would be enough to stampede the state House into full flight. They might try to figure out where the Wisconsin Democrats hid during the Walker anti-union debacle and hide there until doomsday. (According to Fox News, that will be pretty damn soon.)

Too much of the motorcyclists' response has been hysterical and irrational. Characters like Todd Riba, legislative ABATE's director; are claiming "It's a freedom issue." They don't have a problem with the Patriot Act's raid on the Constitution, but putting on a hat really bothers them. I know, it's a big deal having the wind blow your hair (as in the one hair left on their bald heads) around and they plod through the countryside trying to see where they are going through the wind-inspired tears. The stupid crap so-called motorcyclists are saying in the comments sections of the articles is embarrassing for all of us. 

Paul Hoffer's response to the discussion was, "I just cover what I don't want to lose." I've been using that phrase in a lot of my MSF classes lately. It pretty much sums up the whole story. It appears that a fair number of motorcyclists don't need to worry about losing their heads. It's not a vital organ.

California, the Exception?

One of the silly arguments I get often during lane-splitting and lane-sharing discussions is "Californians are different. They're used to it." A recent CalTrans survey beat that horse to death this spring. The Office of Traffic Safety sent out a short-form version of the 733 participant survey, in case statistics aren't your deal.

It turns out that only 53% of California's cagers know that lane splitting is legal (with younger drivers being more clueless than older) and 86.8% of them have experienced lane splitting, 87% of the state's motorcyclists lane split, 5.3% have had their vehicle hit by a lane-splitting motorcyclist and 34.6% say they were "nearly hit," 19.1% claim to have seen a motorcycle hit a car while splitting, and 7% of the cagers admit to having attempted to prevent lane splitting. Most important, 63.1% disapprove of motorcycle lane-splitting. Not surprisingly, more women disapprove than men.

In an Orange County Register article on the subject and the results of the survey, a police officer said, "It's legal to split lanes but you can't do it if it's going to be in violation of speed limits or if you're going to be going at a speed that's significantly faster than the traffic through which you're trying to move." That's an accurate summary of the law as it was explained to my by a CHIPs officer in a 1984 California Traffic School. If you watch YouTube videos of idiots splitting lanes at high speed, it's no wonder that most people think this behavior is illegal; it is.

Jun 16, 2012

The Depressing Horn Test

Back in 2007, Pat Hahn and I tested the "effectiveness" of motorcycle horns. I, finally, got the test posted to my own website after the MN state website decided to purge all of the Hi-Viz history. The results were somewhere between startling and depressing.

Click on the picture of the webpage and a link will take you to the test results.

Jun 6, 2012

Simple Concept, Complicated Execution

I had a sniper school dropout in my BRC this past weekend. When we were talking about emergency brake use, he said the sniper mantra is "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast." I've been fooling with that phrase for a MMM column since Sunday. It is actually clear and brief enough to use as a constant reminder while riding. Apparently, it's even becoming something computer programmers think about (although not where I work).

I suspect, I've heard this phrase before. Now that I'm on to it, I discovered there are more than 1,000,000 Google hits to the complete phrase. A movie, Shooterused the line and Stephen Hunter's original novel, which I read, was the source for the screenplay's reference. This is another of those things that everybody else gets but that takes me most of my lifetime to notice. There are some disadvantages to being clueless, as my wife keeps pointing out to me.

To those of us who practice these skills at a remedial level, it is obvious that this tactic is not easy to implement. In fact, it is an act of overcoming ever panic reaction we humans possess. Every time I ride, I practice smooth, controlled, quick stops at every stop sign and any stop light where I don't have to worry about freaking out drowsy cagers. On dirt roads, I practice front wheel skids, trying to haul the front wheel to a complete stop while keeping the bike going straight ahead. When I was young, flexible, brave, and less fragile I was a lot better at this skill than I am today. When I watch the close-ups of Rossi's hands on Faster, I am always impressed by how deliberate his throttle and braking movements are. He is a target to shoot for and a role model to emulate.

Jun 4, 2012

Pick A Grudge

A while back, I wrote about my bias/grudge/allergy to a couple of motorcycle brands (Call Me "Doubting Thomas"). A while back, in a conversation with a group of college students about customer service, consumer awareness, and who has leverage and when, I was reminded of that bias/grudge/allergy. During that conversation, I realized that I have a few more things to say about this issue. More to the point, I discovered that a lot of people have taken strong biases toward brands and people and it appears that more intelligent people seem to hang on to these positions a lot longer than do . . . let's say "less complicated people."

So, for the fun of it, I decided to list a few of my never-do-that-again biases (in no particular order) and see if readers are interested in joining in:
  1. Hyosung -- Not only was the Hyosung GV650-Avitar I reviewed in 2008 a near-perfect pile of crap, but my reward for holding back my real opinion of that poorly assembled bucket of parts was a hysterical temper tantrum from the company's marketing asshole. I probably won't live long enough to forget that experience. I do react poorly to being burned.
  2. Sony -- Way back in the 80's, I owned, my employer owned, and several studios I worked for owned Sony CD players and Sony's inability to build a slide-out drawer that didn't jam up or fall off soured me on all-things-Sony for at least 30 years. Five years ago, I bought a Sony camera on recommendation from a friend. It lasted less than a month before the Mini-DV tape door motor began to fail. I thought the memory stick option would be a backup, but that route only recorded low-res video and is useless. This product models everything I expect from Sony. The company is very good at electronics and absolutely miserable with mechanical devices. This is a really old bias/grudge and I was more than a little surprised to realize that I've hung on to this one so long.The camera experience will extend that bias to the end of my life.
  3. General Motors -- My father was a dedicated GM customer his whole life. From the 70's on, I don't think he had a single vehicle that wouldn't have been classified as a "lemon," and he traded for (and got screwed on) a new one every couple of years. Normally, my father was a conservative person, but mechanically he was a radical liberal. I drove a series of company trucks, all GM, for a decade and they were no better than my father's collection of junk. I was almost ready to change my opinion based on a California friend's experience with a leased EV1, when GM's corporate brain-tumor decided to trash the whole project. I haven't taken GM seriously since. 
  4. McDonalds -- I do not like bullies. I'm not a big fast food fan, but I am not even close to being a food purist. I have not bought or eaten anything from McDonalds since 1997. The company will never see  a dollar of my money again.
  5. Presonus -- Disappointing, really. This company ought to be my kind of people. They make cheap, reasonably well-engineered products that pretty much do what they claim to do. Their engineers are a collection of high-tech wizards who are also true believers. However, Presonus is trying to become the next Peavey and that is a whole 'nother world of customer-hostility. I have been disappointed, repeatedly by their products and their customer service is vicious. Been there, done that, won't go back.
  6. Harley Davidson -- I suffered an Italian Harley-labeled 250 in the 60's, but that didn't make a mark on me. Years of experience with HD's customers did that job. There is something about a Harley that appears to lower the IQ of anyone who owns one. If you think I need more evidence to make an opinion, you might be permanently damaged. Look around you and see how many wizards you find riding Harleys. I've ridden at least a dozen HD products (not counting Buells) and there is nothing there for me. I may be old, but I'm not that old.  I don't play golf, either.
  7. Polaris/Victory Motorcycles -- I hate having this grudge, but it might be one of my most rationally based biases. Several years ago, I bought a Pure Polaris Electric Scooter directly from the company, through one of Polaris' marketing executives. As you can see from the review, I liked this product a lot. As you can tell from the postscript, Polaris' attempt to disavow any knowledge of the Electric Scooter has put them into the grudge category and I've avoided their products since. In fact, when I was asked to do a review of the Polaris Victory Vision, I blew it off until other victims ended up doing the review. There was simply no chance that I would be able to ride one of Victory's hippobikes without being constantly reminded of the beating I'd taken from the company over my little electric scooter. Polaris/Victory is sort of a Minnesota/Wisconsin company and I'd like to like them. But I don't. Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me. 
  8. British Engineering -- This might be my oldest and least rational grudge. I owned an MGA in the 60's and there was nothing competent about that vehicle. It, also, drove me bankrupt the first and only time. Since, I have helped friends overhaul MGs, Triumphs (cars and motorcycles), BSAs, Nortons, and Jags and I have not seen any evidence that it is time for me to change my opinion. In the 1970's, the company I worked for bought a half-million-dollar "high tech, heavy duty gas welding" rig that was controlled by British electronics and was almost by itself the reason the company soon laid off 1200 employees. Everything from Vox to Marshall guitar amps and from Trident to SSL consoles has taught me that the Brits are willing to do anything to stuff electronics into a box and sell it for inflated prices. Finally, I rode some of the way to Alaska with a friend on a Tiger and his problems were familiar sutff. As a side note, I was convinced that Top Gear was a comedy show, until a couple of my students set me straight. A British television show that criticizes automotive engineering? WTF? (Sorry, Paul.) I have not ridden a new Triumph, though. Guess why?
  9. FRAM Filters -- For years, I heard other people complain about FRAM's oil filters but I kept using them until one fell apart and nearly killed my V-Strom a couple of years ago. 
  10. Non-Stick Cookware -- I've had it with this stuff. Talk about a product that breaks your heart. From the cheapest crap to a $90 omelet pan, the non-stick part starts sticking after about 10 uses. It's enough to drive me back to cooking with lard.

Jun 2, 2012

Buying Direct, the Indirect Way

Being the lazy, cheap, often gullible fruitcake I am, I decided to check out the incredibly cheap body armor I found on-line with DXdealextreme. For $54 delivered, they appeared to be selling upper body armor similar to the expensive spread. Since practically everyone in the US is selling the same crap from the same Chinese factories, I "reasoned" going direct to the Chinese distributor might be a pretty quick and efficient way to get my upper body protected. After two weeks of waiting for delivery (which put the gear in my hands exactly two days after I last went dirt riding), I got a tiny package in the mail from DXdealextreme. I ordered XL and they shipped a tiny thing they labeled "medium." I haven't been this "medium" since I was 12 years old.

I fumbled around the DXdealextreme website until I found the customer complaint area and sent them a note describing the problem and asking for a right-sized replacement. The following is what I have received from the company in the last month:

Dear customer,

Sorry to hear that.

Would you please go to our forum and search for related information? Sometimes the issues that customers raised could be resolved by topics in our forum.
Thanks for your assistance.

Best wishes!


  Response from Customer 5/4/2012 5:49:17 AM HKT (UTC+8)

It's hard to imagine a response that could resolve your company having sent the wrong size. Again, I ordered extra large and you sent medium. The problem is unresolvable without a replacement.

Request   (Responded) from annaCustomer Service Staff 5/6/2012 9:48:55 PM HKT (UTC+8)

Sorry but please return thw wrong item to DX.

Please accept our apologies for the defective item.

In a DOA situation a reimbursement for return shipping fees is available. Please return the item(s) using the least expensive shipping method preferably with tracking number to the address below. If you choose to return the item without a tracking number, please keep the shipping receipt. After your shipment, please take a picture of the proof of shipment (shipping receipt, certificate of posting, tracking number stub, etc). We will arrange the replacement and reimbursement for your return postage after the package is received and processed.

1941 Davis Street, Ste. B Unit 31
San Leandro, CA 94577

Please note, an RMA confirmation letter was sent to your email address, please check the mail contents, print out the attached RMA label and affix the label to your returned package. If you cannot print the label, please write down the RMA code number on the outside of the package.

Return shipping fee reimbursement is up to 60% of the item's price to a maximum of $40 USD; we will cover the actual postage (according to the receipt you provided).

IMORTANT: Please use the least expensive method to ship the item(s) back. Courier services such as EMS, UPS, FedEx, TNT, DHL etc are NOT eligible for return shipping cost reimbursements.

IMPORTANT: Please remember to include a note in your package indicating the following items, this note will help us to expedite the processing time for you.

1. Your order number,
2. SKU numbers returned and quantity, and
3. A short description of the problem(s) of the defective unit.

If there are any further inquiries, please feel free to contact us at anytime.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.

* Incorrect usage excluded.
** The order shipment date and order notification are provided to you by email.

  Responsefrom Customer5/28/2012 6:40:02 PM HKT (UTC+8)

The unit was returned and received by the STONE BRIDGE GROUP on 5/21/2012. Has the replacement and refund for shipping charges ($9.13) been sent yet?

Request  (Responded)from annaCustomer Service Staff5/28/2012 7:53:00 PM HKT (UTC+8)

Sorry.After your shipment, please take a picture of the proof of shipment (shipping receipt, certificate of posting, tracking number stub, etc).

  Responsefrom Customer5/28/2012 9:10:07 PM HKT (UTC+8)

FedX 763502915000134

Request  (Responded)from annaCustomer Service Staff5/29/2012 12:58:10 AM HKT (UTC+8)

thanks,would you please show us how much the postage?

  Responsefrom Customer6/2/2012 8:41:41 AM HKT (UTC+8)

This cycle is becoming depressing. I sent the armor, along with the original receipt and shipping receipt, to your US office, Stone Bridge Group. They obviously have it now, but you've chosen to ignore your own shipping instructions and pretend to be ignorant of the whole transaction. A month after ordering the armor, I have nothing but expenses to show for my experience with your company. You haven't even bothered to replace the item with the correct size part.

The only upside from dealing with DX dealextreme, for me, is that I have something to write about in my magazine column and blog. Since the blog gets 100,000 hits a year, that ought to be interesting advertising for your company. When I finish with this note, I'm going to contact my credit card company and begin working on reversing the charges for the product you have failed to deliver.

Thomas Day
Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly Magazine

So, now me and Paypal are going to wrestle with how I get my money back from DXdealextreme. From here out, I am going to save my money and avoid anything that appears to be shipped from China.

It just gets better. Finally, DXdealextreme's representative has agreed to send a replacement for the original screwed up order, but . . .

Request   (Responded) from annaCustomer Service Staff 6/4/2012 2:31:01 AM HKT (UTC+8)

Ok, thanks, we will arrange the replacement for you, are you OK with that we keep the postage $9.14 as store credit; you may use the credit immediately to get something else. Or, you can leave the credit and use it later at a time you like.

Please let us know which way works the best for you.

Thank you for your understanding.

Have a nice day

  Response from Customer 6/4/2012 7:04:03 AM HKT (UTC+8)

I would prefer a refund of the return shipping. This experience has been miserable enough that I can't imagine doing business with DX again. And I would warn anyone away from doing business with a company that can't get an order right and, then, throws up a dozen obstacles between the customer and fixing the company's mistake. 
I will spare my gentle readers from the rest of this transaction, no matter how it transpires, but I'm going to consider this a lesson-well-learned and try not to stumble into the Chinese money pit again.

Jun 1, 2012

Thinking Big

I almost got to test ride a Yamaha Super Ténéré this weekend. Short notice, lots of complications, and tiny availability made it impossible. The point in a momentary ride on a $15k 1200cc multi-purpose bike probably evades me, anyway. I'm sure the motivation from Yamaha is to get as shiny and surface a review as possible. The purpose for the magazine is to be able to say we touched it. For me . . . I'm still thinking about it.

The Ténéré is a really cool idea about 10 years too late (for me). Yamaha tried something like this in 1992 with the TDM 850 and that bike is still one of my all-time favorite motorcycles. It would have been much cooler if it had all of the adventure touring stuff the Ténéré sports, but the TDM was also lighter and skinnier. It was also the right bike at the wrong time. Yamaha is smarter now. They know the US economy is trashed and isn't likely to recover in my lifetime and they aren't bringing in a lot of their new bikes; hence, the sparse test ride opportunities. The TDM was oversupplied at every Yamaha dealer from 1992 till Yamaha started dumping the bike in 1994 for pocket change.

I was looking forward to seeing if there is a reason for 1200cc's in an adventure touring bike. For all of my dirt bike racing life, I rode a 125 two-stroke. I never considered the possibility that I needed more motorcycle than a 125. I played with (and sold) 250's, but they were boring. The slightly bigger bike didn't suit my riding style and almost seemed like cheating on most motocross tracks. However, just before I quit racing a mid-Nebraska dealership offered me a ride on a YZ400 and to seal the deal, they cut me loose on the bike in a big field behind the shop for the afternoon. From that day on, my make-a-wish dream has been to be given an open class motocrosser and a couple of hours on a golf course. Man, I shredded that field. You can dig a trench on a YZ400 way faster than with anything Caterpillar makes.  In the end, I passed on the "opportunity" to break myself into dozens of tiny pieces in an open class motocross event and went on my with life.

Still, what could you do with a 1200cc "adventure tourer?" For one thing, you can spend a ton of money on fuel. Yamaha brags the Super Ténéré's 40mpg, but that means the bike has a 240 mile range and that is cutting it close for most adventures I know of; including most of western Canada, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and a few other places where having some serious power might be fun if you could make it between fuel stops. One big reason I went for the 650 V-Strom and didn't consider the liter version was mileage. At $4-9/gallon, 40mpg is unacceptable. I'm still pissed that my WR250 only gets 55mpg (the same as my V-Strom). My Ford Escort is more efficient than the Ténéré considering carrying capacity and ignoring comfort and practicality. This is the wrong world to be hustling a 40mpg motorcycle.

However, I'm not going to find out if the Ténéré delivers the same visceral kick in the ass that I once got from the YZ400. You can forgive a lot of faults when you're tearing up the road and flinging it 40' in the air. I'm probably too old for the Ténéré, anyway.


And the review is back on. I am picking up the SuperT this Saturday (June 16)


 I did get to ride the Super Ten this past weekend (June 16-18). All of my usual bitchiness aside, I liked the bike a lot. I put almost 400 miles on the Super T, with at least 200 of those miles on gravel and wet clay. The bike performs well under all conditions. Stay tuned for the review in September's MMM.