With the beautiful weather we are having in the San Francisco Bay Area, motorcycle riding season has begun. If you’re looking for a partner to ride with or an entire group of people to hit the road with, there are two great motorcycle clubs that you should check out.
The first is the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) Delta chapter. The majority of the group owns either a standard Honda Gold wing or a Gold wing trike. They have chapter meetings the 2nd Saturday of each month at Hometown Buffet in Concord. During the riding season they go on at least one ride per month with some overnight rides during the year. They are always looking for new Gold Wing riders so feel free to contact them if you own a Wing or trike.
Another great group is the Star Touring and Riding Association (Contra Costa Chapter). The members of this active group have all different kinds of motorcycles (Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Victory, etc). While the group is sponsored by Yamaha, and many members own Yamaha’s, it is not required that you own a Yamaha. The group meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month at Fudruckers in Concord. They have several rides throughout the riding season in addition to a standing ride the 2nd Saturday of each month. The chapter is sponsoring a cool mileage contest this year that just started. Some people refer to it as an “Iron Butt” contest. Basically each member of the chapter tracks their mileage throught the year on STAR rides and there are several prizes based on high mileage, low mileage, etc at the end of the year. It sounds like a totally fun contest and those interested are encouraged to contact the chapter.
Over the last 6 or 7 years, there have been literally hundreds of chinese, taiwanese and other asian country brands flooding the US market with inferior scooters and other powersport products. These scooters can sell for up to 50% of the japanese competitor but there is a reason. They typically use inferior metals and other components which allow them to be manufactured at a lower price and thus sold at a lower price.
We have investigated several of these brands and have decided that we cannot, in good faith, sell them to our customers. These inferior products are typically sold over the internet, out of someones garage or from a retail business that also sells other products. There is a lot of information on the internet regarding problems with Chinese scooters such as this one from a Dealer in Cleveland.
Unfortunately we have had several of these scooters show up at our service department in need or repair, some being only 30 or 60 days old. Consumers are being told by these companys that they are just like Honda’s or that Honda replacement parts can be used. This is not correct.
The profit on these off-brand scooters is substantially more than we make on the Japanese couter parts so if they were a good product, we would definitely be selling them. We just don’t feel they are a good deal for our customers.
If you have never ridden a Honda motorcycle, or it’s been many years since you last took out a Suzuki motorcycle, a motorcycle safety class may be just what you need. Whether you’re looking to buy a used motorcycle or a new motorcycle, a training class is recommended. The main governing body for motorcycle training in the US, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), offers classes for both street motorcycles and dirt bikes..
For street bikes, there are two MSF classes in the vicinity of the Honda motorcycle dealer Contra Costa Powersports: Cycle Lloyd’s located in Oakley CA and Bay Area Motorcycle School in Benicia, CA. Both classes offer classroom instruction, live training on motorcycles and certified instructors. They provide the motorcycles, all you have to bring is some basic riding gear.
If you are new to dirt bike riding, or just puchased a Honda CRF250r and need some help clearing the triples, MSF offers a dirt bike riding school also. The dirt bike school is a fun, one day hands on training session open to anyone 6 years or older. Fortunately, there is an MSF dirt bike training class with 45 minutes of Concord Ca at the Carnegie State Vehicle Riding Area. The class if offered most weekends and during the week by appointment.
Kids Just Want to Ride Act to be Introduced!
The Kids Just Want to Ride Act is set to be introduced next week by Representative Denny Rehberg (MT) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) strongly supports the Kids Just Want to Ride Act and is urging everyone to call their Representative to become an original cosponsor.
The Act is a legislative exemption for youth-model motorcycles (Honda CRF50, CRF70, etc) and ATVs (Suzuki LTZ50, LTZ90, etc) from the lead provisions in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), known as the Lead Law. The CPSIA effectively banned the sale of small displacement recreational vehicles due to overly restrictive lead content standards.
Rehberg recently circulated a “Dear Colleague” encouraging other representatives to become original cosponsors. The AMA needs you and everyone you know that is concerned with the future of youth riding to call your Representative and ask them to cosponsor the Kids Just Want to Ride Act.
To call your Representative, click on “Take Action” to insert your zip code in the “Call Action” box to get your Representative’s phone number. Or, you can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121 and ask for your Representative by name.
Call your Representative now and let them know you would like to see them cosponsor the Kids Just Want to Ride Act.
With gas prices on the rise, commuters once again are looking at motorcycles and scooters as a money saving alternative to the automobile. Observers predict gas will hit $4 by spring 2011 with it potentially reaching $5 by 2012 (Some Cities in Europe already pay over $6 per gallon).
Contributors to this run up in price could include: growing demand in developing countries such as India and China, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and our countries continuing love of the SUV.
Gas-guzzlers are already feeling the pinch. Prices are hovering in the mid-three-dollar range right now, the most expensive they’ve been in a December for several years. Usually, gas gets cheaper in the winter months, but prices have been rising since September of this year.
Last time gas approached $4 a gallon, consumers flocked to scooters and small displacement motorcycles in droves. The Honda Rebel and the Suzuki GZ250 (both 250cc street legal motorcycles) are lightweight with a low seat height which makes them very easy to drive. At over 80 mpg, they are sure to decrease your monthly commute expense.
If you’re looking for even better gas mileage, or you don’t like the idea of shifting gears. a scooter may be just the ticket. At over 100 mpg, the Honda Metropolitan and Honda Ruckus are one of the best values around and they start at just over $2,000. If a long range commuter that you can ride two up down the freeway is your calling, then you might want to check out the Suzuki Burgman, available in both 400cc and 650cc models. The Suzuki Burgman offers a very respectable 38 mpg. Besides the ease of operation and great gas mileage, scooters are a lot of fun to ride.
Normally I’m not in favorite of over governing by our state but in this instance, it may not be a bad idea. All new motorcycle riders in the state under age 21 will be required to take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). The following is an excerpt from the DMV site:
Motorcycle Instruction Permit (AB 1952/Niello) This new law requires a person under 21 years of age to complete an approved motorcycle safety course before being issued an instruction permit with which to practice operating a motorcycle, and requires the permit to be held for six months before being issued a class M motorcycle driver license. There are currently more than 6,000 drivers 19 years and younger who are licensed to ride a motorcycle in California.
MSF classes are offered year round in Antioch and Benicia.