I see Comrade Burns has taken another page from John’s Little Red Book to hold forth yet again on his notion of making the United States a communal roadside bangles and holistic herbal healing stand. From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs or something. In the last episode, we discovered the reason kids aren’t buying bikes is because we don’t live in a worker’s paradise. Well I’d like to take a moment and interrupt John’s embryonic five-year plan to simply say, “Piffle.”

Essentially what John is claiming in his two-part Burnsafesto is that Millennials need more money and more free time to spend it in. He’s channeling Bernie Sanders, and if I didn’t know better, I’d swear he was grooming himself for a 2020 run at the big top on Pennsylvania Avenue. He then goes on to say some complimentary things about slackers in general, and Italy and France specifically. John Burns, Making America France Again in 2020!

Left unchecked he can go on ad nauseum about all manner of utopian nonsense, if it’s not gun laws, it’s helmet laws or the value ascribed to labor and the history of the Protestant work ethic, with emphasis on Max Weber’s contribution to our misery. Next he’ll be advocating free love and wind-powered motorcycles. Cripes, remember when Ratio Rites took care of all the complicated stuff? Those were the days.

There was never a time in this country where people had both time and money. You might have time, you might have money, but you never had both unless you were a Rockefeller. My dad busted his ass, his dad busted his ass, all dads bust ass, or they had plenty of time and no money, and hopped trains to hobo camps. Ask John Steinbeck. It was a Thomas Hobbes world of nasty, mean, brutish and short but for the Baby Boomers who lived through the greatest increase of global wealth in world history, also known as a historical anomaly, and who came to expect this Big Rock Candy Mountain to last forever.

Primer gray! The custom paint job of lumpenproles the world over! Broke racers of the world, unite! Builds character!

That would be John and my generation, and out of those millions of people there were a select few, an almost imperceptible few, who lived a life few can imagine, they were motojournalists for California-based motorcycle magazines. That would be John… And they had the world by the gonads!

… Right up until the world of print media went straight to hell in a handbasket. Thanks Al Gore…

So now, John, who glimpsed the good life at the pinnacle of western civilization’s beneficence, is disenchanted because the music stopped, and he has obtained an associate membership in the International Workers of the World (IWW), hums Woody Guthrie tunes to himself, and wants us all to use sustainable energy and become social democrats.

Cry me a river, Emma Goldman. Adam Smith’s invisible hand is making unmentionable gestures.

The fact is Millennials have plenty of money, it’s just not theirs, so what? This country is cash poor and we pre-order aircraft carriers. Why should Millennials be any different? Besides they have something better! I have one word for you, Benji: CREDIT! Kids today can’t walk through a college bookstore without having some company jam a credit card in their hot little freshman hands. They are nearly giving money away today, back in the halcyon days of the Carter administration you’d be paying double-digit interest rates on somebody else’s money. And what is all this griping about not having time?

Not having time is fighting WWII. Not having time is standing in bread lines during the Great Depression. Camping out at the local Apple store for the release of the iPhone X is not “not having time.” So, let’s just dispense with that wrongheaded notion right now.

I’ll tell you where things started to go wrong; the advent of electronic ignition and fuel injection. Much like the supplanting of Zippo lighters for Bics, and kids not routinely having a toolbox anymore to keep their crappy rides running, things got too easy, or disposable, or both. If you trace back the beginning of the end, you can date it back to the advent of smokeless powder. It used to be if you wanted to start a war and kill millions, you really had to work at it. Today? A handful of jokers can do it by turning a couple keys and pushing buttons.

Whaaa, I have no time to ride! Nonsense, if these guys can make time in the middle of a world war, you have time to ride.

Cripes, you can crash the world economy by selling bundles of Jack’s Magic Beans on the world exchanges until they find out there’s no beanstalk. It has gotten entirely too easy and consequence-free to be catastrophically stupid and unmotivated. If you know what a set of Carb-Stix are, you are made of the stuff that settled the West, if you have actually used them you are part of motorcycling’s Greatest Generation!

Time was if you wanted to ride, you had to know how to set points and do it. This meant you had to have a tool bag filled with tools you knew how to use. And you couldn’t be distracted by sexting with your prom date or playing Wonk Daddy III on your Palm Thing. You could sit there for hours on end reading Life magazine and go slowly insane or you could fix your ride. So you learned how to go outside and do shit! Like mix oil and gas together and twist the nuts off an ill-handling two-stroke. Back when the tires were chiseled from granite and gas was cheap, you pulled your fun up by its bootstraps.

The Russians reportedly undermined our electoral process with bots that promoted societal divisiveness, like advocating Texas secession and the return of open-class two-stroke MX bikes. And now Johnbot – a Franco-Italian slacker bot of all things – is advocating more leisure time and tripling everyone’s pay. I just want to say I’m all in, I’ll take one of those new Z1 lookalike retro-rides, and if it’s not too much to ask, maybe a lunch date with Katy Tur. (Note to wife: Just kidding honey.)

Here is the problem in a nutshell: The population has roughly doubled since I was born, while the corresponding surface infrastructure to support their annoying road-clogging travel has not. More traffic, less fun. And then consider today’s kids, the onerous rules they have had to grow up with: more people, more rules, less fun. And there are a LOT more alternative activities that require considerably less investment in both time, money, and talent, than in the days of yor when the Earth’s crust was still cooling and John and I were fresh-faced youths. Couple this with John’s no-money-no time, “don’t start the revolution without me,” quasi-reality and you get what we got.

So here’s what I say: Defy convention, young people, and get a bike. Declare your independence from societal mediocrity and ride the wheels off the thing. Stand up on your hind paws and dare to be different. Go out on a date or something, strip a clutch basket bolt, bleed some brakes, embrace all life offers you!

Oh, and one last thing, ride hard, check your tire pressures, and look where you want to go.

  • George

    Gee, and I thought you would conclude with “so get an electric bike, you zeros!”

  • DickRuble

    the reason kids aren’t buying bikes is THAT we don’t live.. Example: The reason some aren’t proficient at writing is THAT they received a substandard, capitalist education.

    • Born to Ride

      I found his ramblings to be reasonably coherent. Just an old school dude blowing off some vitriol about these damned kids and their luminescent rectangles, ruining the fabric of American values.

      • Chris Kallfelz

        Ruble is bucking for Dean of Boys at the Reeducation Camp they’ll undoubtedly send me to…

        • John B.

          “These ramblings are absolutely garbage, by the way. In content and in form.”

          It’s not clear whether Dick is referring to your article, these comments, or his statement in the paragraph above the quoted sentence. Ironically, that may prove his point about substandard capitalist education.

          Eventually, I learned we cannot control other people’s thoughts, but we can control our intentions.

          • DickRuble

            “Today, big firm’s cover 90% of the employee’s..” — big firms.. there’s no possessive there.

          • John B.

            Touché Dick! Yes, editing is the essence of good writing. I’ll edit my comment when I get to a computer.

          • JMDGT

            It needs to be said Dick that correcting someone’s grammar out of a genuine concern for the individual is one thing but when it is done to belittle or demean it is quite another. If your inability to participate in the debate limits your response to that of a grammar snob what value do you add? It is petty and childish. Just like you constant negativity negates anything positive or correct you may say elsewhere. I can’t say I expect better from you. I can’t say it because I don’t. I wish you well.

          • DickRuble

            Disqus allows you to block me altogether. You don’t have to see my posts. Unlike many here, I don’t peddle gratuitous compliments for the sake of getting upvotes from the staff. Sayonara.

          • JMDGT

            Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. I do not comment for upvotes. My statement to you was said to reflect my dissapointment in seeing another example of your pettiness. Like I said I wish you well.

          • DickRuble

            Psychology is crock and I have no use for it. If you have something from science, logic, or philosophy, shoot.

          • JMDGT

            Your hiding behind correcting someone else’s grammar is weak and says all we need to know about your lack of acumen. You’ve got nothing to offer other than your bluster and negativity.

          • DickRuble

            I only pointed a fact, a demonstrable one. You keep calling me all sorts of things and projecting psychobabble at me. It’s sort of amusing. Say, do you think John B needs your defense?

          • JMDGT

            Dick, first let me say I have always enjoyed your commentary. I also would like to point out that I have not called you anything and I have not said anything about your comments that is not true. My comment wasn’t meant to defend John B. For all you know the auto fill utility on his smart phone made the mistake not him. I know it is possible you were trying to help John out by pointing out the error. Possible but highly improbable. Take the constructive criticism for what it is worth. Or not. Like I said I wish you well.

          • John B.

            FYI – By necessity, I spent years studying grammar and punctuation, and developed a solid grasp of those concepts. I’m dyslexic, however, and deciphering symbols remains difficult for me. In addition, I am still using an iPhone 5 just to prove to my three (3) children it’s possible to keep a mobile phone for several years. (I am not succeeding on this account).

            All this to say, to get a written document perfect (grammar, usage, spelling, etc.) is very difficult for me, but I have developed techniques that work for me including having a couple crackerjack co-workers to catch my errors. In general, I do much better editing a document printed on paper than I do editing on a screen.

            Every so often I call out Dick, but I really should not. As you said, it’s one thing to point out errors as a means to help someone, and another to do so to criticize him/her.

          • JMDGT

            I am not dyslexic but find it necessary to edit almost all of my commentary many times before it is reasonably readable and correct. Even the best writers use a proofreader if they can. I usually ignore stuff like that but the grammar police rub me the wrong way and Dick’s comments about possessive grammar punctuation finally irritated me to the point of having to say something about it. My tolerance level was met. Like I said I enjoy his commentary and genuinely wish him well. I have read your commentary and believe me when I say you don’t need me to defend anything you have written. This is a forum to express opinions and have a friendly debate on any disagreements or issues if it comes to that. I view everyone that comments here as part of the brotherhood of the bike. We are all riders. I allow for opinion other than my own and try to understand the bike and feature preferences of other riders. I find it interesting. It really is true that in most things all you need to know is what you like. Just in case anyone reading this is confused bout wealth disparity or taxes it is pretty simple. Relegate government to the enumerated responsibilties given it by the people only. If the federal government insists on taxing income make it a flat tax. I say 10% is fair. Anyone that generates an income pays no exceptions. Get rid of Social Security and Medicare. Let the people keep more of the money they earn. They can decide how to spend it best. As far as wealth disparity goes we live in a country that allows the creative and industrious to accumulate wealth. Good. That possibility is available to all of us here in modern cultures of the west. Not so much in other parts of the world. We live in the best of times. Especially when it comes to motorcycles. Ride safe.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            No, he is a lawyer.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Psychology is a science too. Logic and philosophy can get you in a lot of trouble. The only good use of logic is in computers. Not a lot of successful philosophers that I know of. Facts and truth are the only things that count.

          • DickRuble

            You contradict yourself in a single paragraph. Review the definition of logic, then read your statement again. Do you see the contradiction?

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Logic: reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity. And that’s why people get into trouble. It is like going through a dark night with a narrow beam flashlight. They can’t see the pitfalls on both sides. And that’s why God gave us both a left and a right brain. We should be thankful. And that’s why I say leave the logic to the computers and keep human beings in control.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Good point!

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          “… to which I shall undoubtedly be sent.”

    • JMDGT

      By capitalist do you mean government education?

      • DickRuble

        Both.. Just an example of a grammatically correct sentence that Burns could have written.

        • JMDGT

          The educational system we are burdened with is a far cry from a capitalist one. It is socialistic in nature and offers no choice unless of course one can afford to pay both the cost of private education along with the punitive taxes needed to support the government schools. Government schools are all about control and indoctrination. If someone wants to have children they should be responsible for securing their education. It is not the responsibility of the state.

          • DickRuble

            That used to be the case before “education” providers smartened up and realized that they can charge whatever they want because without a diploma the kids have no chance of making it. Same for healthcare. You want hep C treatment? $600,000 please. You don’t have it? You won’t make it.

          • JMDGT

            The idea that you must have a college degree to be successful is BS. I know plenty of folks that don’t and are extremely successful. If a person wants a college education they don’t have to go into the poor house to get one. Healthcare and Heath insurance are two different things. If the people were permitted to buy catastrophic health insurance instead of being required to by health care it would dramatically reduce the costs. It is not the responsibility of the state to provide education or health care. It is the responsibility of the individual to acquire it for themselves. When the state becomes involved the costs always without exception increase.

          • Rocky Stonepebble
          • Born to Ride

            Man you are on point today. Quelling the Ruble is usually my life’s work but I needed the day off. Good Job.

          • JMDGT

            I usually ignore it but for some reason my tolerance level for pedantic diatribe has been non existent today.

  • Born to Ride

    Chris, Chris, Chris… there is still plenty of shit to fix on your modern motorcycle. Last week I had to repair a stupidly routed fuel line that was rubbing up against a stupidly routed hydraulic preload adjuster line. 38000 miles or so of constant contact had resulted in fuel spraying all over my shock. Lets not mention valve adjustments and tuneups, brakes and fluid changes. Sure I don’t need to file my points and adjust my jets on the side of the road halfway up Palomar mountain, but there is still plenty to do.

    On the topic of my generation. Millenials need more money because phones are now 1000$ and need to be replaced every two years, and we need more time off because we need to express ourselves in contemporary mediums for all to see. I can’t imagine having to work for a living, have you seen how dirty my dad’s hands are after he gets home from busting his ass all day? No no, I can live off my FAFSA far at least another 6 years provided I can keep my old room.

  • Sayyed Bashir

    It is up to parents to get kids interested in motorcycling. Parents who ride get their kids riding from 4 years on, both boys and girls. And some of those kids ride better than adults. I went to Overland Expo near Flagstaff AZ in 2015 where RawHyde was holding free Adventure riding classes. We were trying to cross a huge pile of sand and falling over. After we were done, these tiny tots came out and started riding everywhere as if it was nothing. If millennials are not riding today, it is the fault of the baby boomers for not bringing them up correctly.

    • major tom

      I beg to differ. My parents were dead set against bikes. What’s funny is my mom was later in a Honda add, the nicest people, and she was given her second Cub after putting 65,000 miles on her first one and more on her second.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        I find it hard to believe that she would be dead set against motorcycling, except maybe she wanted you to ride the Cub, not a Harley.

        • Jason

          Both of my parents rode motorcycles, in fact they went on a motorcycle trip for their honeymoon. They each had a street bike and a dirt bike. My mother rode while pregnant with me up to about 6 months but when I came along the bikes were sold. When I became interested in motorcycles, the mantra was “Not while you live under my roof”. I never rode so much as a minibike until I was almost 18 and brought home an old KZ400 I found for sale on the side of the road for $200.

          Funny how having kids can change someone’s mindset (My grandmother was dead set against my mother having a motorcycle too)

  • John B.

    Twenty eight years ago, when I started my first job at a large law firm, health insurance for my wife and I, and our newborn daughter, cost me zero dollars per month. Oh, and we had a $500.00 annual family deductible. Today, big firm’s cover 90% of the employee’s health insurance premium, and the employee pays for her/his family. Individual deductibles are around $6,000 per individual and $18,000 per family. That is to say, health insurance costs alone for a young family could easily exceed $1,500 per month, which could pay for a pretty sweet motorcycle.

    Today, family mobile phone bills can easily top $300 a month; i.e., another motorcycle not in the garage. I borrowed about $18,000 to get three (3) degrees, including two degrees from private universities. Many of my friends worked their way through college without student loans or family assistance. My last year of law school at a private university tuition cost $10,000, which we viewed as outrageously high. Today, tuition at my alma mater costs over $55,000 a year. In sum, health insurance costs, student loans, and mobile phone bills could pay for a fleet of new motorcycles.

    John and you both make good points, but neither adequately explains why young people are not buying motorcycles. No one seems able to explain adequately that phenomenon.

    I rode over 700 miles this past weekend in beautiful Texas weather, and I have no idea why more people, young and old, don’t ride motorcycles.

    Great article Chris.

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    • DickRuble

      “I rode over 700 miles this past weekend in beautiful Texas weather, and I have no idea why more people, young and old, don’t ride motorcycles.” — They’re either busy keeping their heads above the water or trying to get ahead. Or maybe they prefer reading the classics..

      • John B.

        Forgive me for being gauche. Many people I live and work with can afford several motorcycles, among other luxuries. Yet, few people in this group ride a motorcycle. As such, I doubt money issues fully explain suboptimal ridership.

        I gather the most brilliant minds in motorcycling are trying to figure out how to get more people to ride. Very likely, there’s no simple solution to this problem. That is to say, sometimes simple solutions do not solve complex problems. Nevertheless, I have found simple minds are invariably drawn to simple solutions. Though I have thought about the issue, I do not know how to get more people to ride motorcycles.

        • Rocky Stonepebble
        • DickRuble

          Maybe riding a motorcycle for the sake of riding is not a rational thing to do and maybe very few or proportionally fewer people of means are irrational. Make it rational and they’ll ride. For example putting cars out of their financial reach. It’s not unlike riding horses these days. A lot less popular than 150 years ago.

          • Martin Buck

            Ha! When I was growing up back in the Stone Age (courtesy of my brother and his insalubrious friends) motorcycles were cheap and cars were expensive. Nowadays in New Zealand we import used cars from Japan that are safe and reliable, and much cheaper than even a commuter bike. Aircon and heat versus frost, snow and rain don’t quite equate for the daily commute. I just ditched my “smartphone” because of the data costs. I can fund my “dumb” phone for a year compared to previous monthly payments. Who’s dumb now? We have huge annual registration fees due to a criminal politician, and that is our biggest barrier to riding some of the world’s best motorcycling roads.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            KTM has the best Adventure Rally in New Zealand in December. I was tempted to go but have other responsibilities. Maybe next year.

          • Noel Johnson

            Very true. Financially bad, safety bad, ongoing expense…bad. It’s emotional.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          I think there are too many other things to do, such as watching football, baseball or golf and drinking beer with friends in your man cave or garage, or playing golf, bicycle riding, running, going to the gym or shopping. If people don’t use a bike for commuting (very few do) then there is not much opportunity for riding. For married-with-children couples, there are hundreds of chores to do around the house and taking kids to school or soccer or dance classes. There is a very thin slice of the population that is interested in motorcycles – children grown, discretionary income, free time on weekends. If you have a spouse or significant other who is not into motorcycles, you have to allocate time to spend with them, doing things with them. Even reading motorcycle articles and responding to comments takes time. Some of us are fortunate that we get to ride as much as we do. As many have said, smartphones (facebook, twitter, instagram, angry birds) have become the biggest detriment to an active outdoor life. As Chris said, it is far more comfortable and safer lounging in a heated or air-conditioned home watching TV or playing video games than being out in the cold and rain on slippery roads on a motorcycle in the dark. A spirit of adventure is required which is not in plentiful supply in the new generation.

          • Noel Johnson

            This, times 1000. Kids grow up today with an unprecedented amount of free, ever-available entertainment..and a huge variety at that. Getting out of the house isn’t even a thought, much less a priority.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            And parents think their kids are safer at home than adventuring or getting involved with the wrong people. In fact they are doing them a disservice. Kids have to learn how to deal with real life and other people and become self-sufficient at some point in their life. Otherwise they will end up back home with their parents.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Thats why my parents sent me to “HongKong Triad Knife and Chainsaw Fighting School.”

    • SerSamsquamsh

      My theory:

      People learn a pattern of behavior early in life. If you fought the Nazis in B-17s then riding a cheap surplus bike along the new interstates seems safe and easy in comparison. I like biking because it’s like flying in a dream: arms outstretched, wind in your face.

      Motorcycling offers to fulfill your dreams of personnel liberty (to purloin HD’s marketing material). Video games promise the same thing, are far cheaper and you don’t die permanently if you fall off a cliff. Are the two experiences equivalent? Not really, but both evoke powerful brain chemistry.

      It’s a lot easier to ride a couch than a bike.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        But, is it safer?

        • SerSamsquamsh

          As an activity, yes. As a lifestyle, I don’t think so.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            So, Coke®, Cheetos™ and chesterfield is statistically safer?

            😉

          • SerSamsquamsh

            I suppose the worst outcome of a ‘Cheetos accident’ is the same as the riding off a cliff but i doubt anyone ever got on the news choking on chip crumbs so the ‘reward’ is lower too! It’s harder to hit a patch of ice surfing a Chesterfield but if you really tried no doubt it could be done:)

      • John B.

        “People learn a pattern of behavior early in life.”

        Your statement is undeniably true. I became a motorcyclist at age 50, and I didn’t fight in any war. Bottom line, the joy in motorcycling is that it forces the rider into the present moment, which is the only place any of us can live.

        I have a hypothesis: Activities that promote high quality relationships and interactions with other people are better than activities that do not. Thus, social media bad, and motorcycling is good.

        • SerSamsquamsh

          Social media is submitting to voluntary surveillance and only superficially resembles personal contact. But here we are!

          It’s to early to tell if this whole sentience thing is good for long term survival of the species 🙂

  • Johnny Blue

    Oh… I want to become a real man and a perfect rider. I’ll go buy an old carbureted bike, if possible with points instead of electronics. And I’ll fit wooden wheels to it. No suspension. That’s for wusses. Then I’m going to spend half my free time tinkering with the thing just to keep it sputtering. Hm.. on a second thought I find it more challenging to work on a fuel injected bike. It requires more knowledge. A laptop is in my toolbox… the times are changing. Even 2Ts are getting fuel injection these days. Get with the beat Mr. Kallfelz. He who wants to ride finds the time. Who wants to ride with me?

    • Chris Kallfelz

      Well, three spoke Dy-Mags and a Cal-Fab swingarm maybe…

  • schizuki

    Preach it!

  • schizuki

    Here’s how to get back that postwar prosperity –

    Rubble Europe and Japan.

    • DickRuble

      I like your thinking, though I would offer different targets. Regardless, prosperity in postwar USA was experienced by different generations. Meaning your kids may benefit from it, but for that you and those of your generation will have to pay through the war.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        Contrary to popular opinion, history doesn’t repeat itself.

  • Starmag

    This may have something to do with disinterest in motorcycling:

    Smartphone Obsession Grows with 25% of Millennials Spending More Than 5 Hours Per Day on the Phone

    One quarter of Millennials look at their phone more than 100+ times a day versus less than one tenth of Baby Boomers.

    https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2017/05/18/987607/0/en/Smartphone-Obsession-Grows-with-25-of-Millennials-Spending-More-Than-5-Hours-Per-Day-on-the-Phone.html

    I don’t have one so I’m really sure it’s possible to do without the ironically-named smartphone.

    • DickRuble

      Do you think the less frequent use of the smartphone by Baby boomers correlates with and may have something to do with the rapidly decline in gray cells in an aging population?

      • Starmag

        Boomers/big on motorcycles/not so much on smartphones

        Millenials/big on smartphones/not so much on motorcycles

        To answer your question directly, no I don’t think lower smartphone use by Boomers is making them age/become dumber faster. LOL. Smartphones have been around all of 10 years, the rest of the people from all recorded history have all been fast aging dumbasses? You could provide a link to set me straight if you like.

        I do think this might be something to look out for though:
        https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/19/phone-addiction-depression_n_6712882.html

      • Sayyed Bashir

        I don’t think it is the decline in gray cells as much as the decline in eyesight. Those small screens are hard to read. Might as well go motorcycle riding where all you have to look at is the speedometer and gas gauge and the scenery. And studies have shown that motorcycling keeps your gray cells healthy throughout the rest of your life.

        • DickRuble

          Throughout the rest of your life.. makes sense given the life is likely to end sooner.

    • GreggJ

      I agree with your point. I have ridden my motorcycle onto a college campus on a more than a few occasions. What struck me each time was how not one student, and I mean not one bothered to look up from their phones to check it out, or if not on their phones, to even look at it (it is a pretty flashy looking and sounding Triumph). Very different than when I was an undergrad.

  • major tom

    My goodness I come here for my morning M/C fix and now it’s Real Clear Politics too with a perfect rebuttal to Burns. And it’s still fun, nobody really getting in anyone’s face and no safe spaces necessary. More please!

  • kenneth_moore

    While its true that my Dad busted his ass (he worked full time, got his Doctorate degree at night, and built a 21′ sloop in the garage), the outcome of his work was different from today.

    My Dad paid off two mortgages. He paid for 1/2 my college without going into debt. He bought furniture and major appliances with cash. He even paid off his vehicle loans because they were 24 to 36 months (vs. 60 to 72 today). He did all that first as a school teacher and later as a college professor.

    I don’t know anyone in his income bracket today who can accomplish the same.

    • DickRuble

      I met a family of three, who came to this country in the mid 70’s, as two adults and a teenager. I asked them how was life different then from now. The parents got minimum wage jobs in New York city. With that, they were able to pay the rent and live relatively comfortably. The (not subsidized) rent and house expenses were about 1/4 of their income. They saved some of the money and were able to purchase their own housing. I asked them if they think a clone of their then family could do it again these days. They didn’t think so. Your father may not be able to accomplish the same feats today.

      • Born to Ride

        So… don’t live in New York City? That just plays into the argument that crowding in metropolitan areas has driven living expenses through the roof. There are still places where two adults making 10$ an hour will pay their rent with 1/4 of their income. I’m not advocating that people can or should live off of minimum wage happily(I certainly don’t), but living in one of the most expensive locales in the country and then not being able to afford it with unskilled labor wages does not amount to societal malady in my book.

        • DickRuble

          Care to tell us where those places are? Since you are from CA, please use it as an example and show us how a family of two adults and a teenager can look confidently into the future with two minimum wage salaries.

          • Born to Ride

            Sigh, I’m going to give you anecdotal evidence, then you’re going to point out the logical fallacy inherent in relying on anecdotal evidence, then I’m going to try and appeal to logistics, and you’re gonna demand that I find you hard data and take a picture of it with my left boot in the frame for proof. We can do the dance if you want to, I’m just a little weary today. It’s not you it’s me.

          • DickRuble

            Chicken..

          • Born to Ride

            Lol, who do you think I am? Marty McFly? I promise I’ll play with you next time.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            In any state there are places you can live which are not as expensive as metropolitan areas but the amenities are also going to be minimal. As someone else said, everything has become a lot more expensive while wages have not kept up. To give a poor example, my 1986 Softail Custom was $9,300 whereas the 2007 Softail Custom was $18,900, more than double. The brand new three bedroom house I had in Texas in 1981 was $53,000. The cheapest homes in NorCal are $250,000 to $350,000, six times as much. Housing is only a dream for many people In CA.

          • Noel Johnson

            And yet those houses sell…to someone. Almost like it’s market-driven. Damn Gubmint. Their fault.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            They do sell, but with $2000 to $3000 a month house payments, with both parents working, there is not much money left for anything else. That’s $36,000 a year just in house payments for the next 30 years. Talk about bondage (slavery or involuntary servitude).

          • Born to Ride

            3 grand a month pays your mortgage, taxes, pmi, and insurance on a 500,000$ home with like a 4.5% 30-year fixed. That’s a lot of money and honestly it doesn’t buy all that much if you want to live in a clean, safe, and nice suburban area these days. Housing prices in SoCal have risen as much as 50% in the last 3-5 years. If you weren’t financially dead at the height of the recession it was a wonderful time to buy a house.

    • Noel Johnson

      I wonder if your dad had a cell phone plan for the whole family, and premium cable, and two newish cars with AC, an internet connection, ate at restaurants five times a week or more, and…whatever? People have high expectations compared to what our dads had, and that costs money. Lots of it, every month/week/whatever. Great bargains even exist for college educations, and yet those schools sometimes don’t grow…but high-$$$ ones, proven to yield similar career results, do.

  • James Stewart

    Chris, if you think Burns’ Stalinist-Leninist manifesto is bad on Motorcycle.com, you should read the crap he writes on the Orange County Register. He’s in hand-to-hand combat with the OC blue hairs/Trumpsters daily. I say necessity is the Mother of Invention, ie you figure out a cheaper way to make it happen. High school kids need cars – go shopping for cheap projects at the CoPart Auction (2003 BMW525 for $1500) and cheap bikes in your friend’s garage (2000 SV650 for $1000). Did both require hours of troubleshooting/assembly/parts replacement? Yep – and the kid learned to turn a wrench along with me. Can he rebuild a two stroke top end like I could at 15? Nope. But at least I got him off the internet for a couple of hours. Do-what-you-can-do… Oh – and those credit cards they sign you up for at the Bookstore? They DO come with Jimmy Carter interest rates ! (I just need to find my Gerald Ford “Whip Inflation Now (WIN)” button…)

    • DickRuble

      There’s no future for the monkey wrench wielding types in today’s or tomorrow’s economy. The hours a kid spends in the garage are hours he doesn’t spend reading on his advanced calculus and molecular biology. Fixing bikes will get him a gas station attendant position down the road. HS teenagers’ (of the achieving type) schedules include barely enough time for sleep these days.

      • James Stewart

        Dick, I suggest you goggle “Formula SAE” to see what the kids are up to these days. Gearheads with Solidworks CAD and engine mapping SW on their laptops. (And 85HP motorcycle engines in their hand built cars). Designing anything without hands-on experience is a recipe for disaster.

        • Born to Ride

          Try 120hp. I wanted to join the club given the amount of automotive experience I have, but you have to hang around and sweep the shop for months before they let you touch anything on the car. Time investment is HUGE and it’s almost zilch chance you’re gonna get to drive it. Awesome program, but I just didn’t have time to waste.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          I deal with Formula SAE teams (making electric cars) all over the world, being in the EV business.

      • Born to Ride

        A master machinist makes more money than I will for the first 10 years of my career. All my studies of calculus and stress analysis will not give me that much more comfortable of a lifestyle than a skilled tradesman. Welders can make wonderful livings as well. Not every kid needs to go to college, and that myth has driven education into the “for-profit” territory complete with government subsidies. Where there are sheep, the wolves will prey.

        God dammit you sucked me in anyways. That’s your bone, chew on it till the next divisive article comes around.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          You forget plumbers, electricians, appliance repairmen and mechanics. My significant other paid nearly $2000 today for a tune-up and brakes for her SUV. If you are in a trade union, you are in hog heaven. They make more money than the engineers.

          • Born to Ride

            That sounds pretty damn high, you should send your person(not assuming anything) to my shop. We’ll take way better of them than that.

            Our tech’s make 25-35$ an hour, but our Shop labor rate is only 85$ an hour compared to like 140$ at the dealership.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Spark plugs on a Mercury Mountaineer are a pain – takes 3-4 hours (they can seize and break off, must be soaked, some are inaccessible without removing other things). Also new brake rotors & pads, new radiator, oil & filter change, topping up fluids, washing and cleaning inside and out. Two & a half days in the shop. It runs like brand new.

          • Born to Ride

            Does it have the 5.4? Because yeah that’s like a 5-600$ tune up. And usually an extra half hour labor for every plug shaft that snaps. I recant my previous statement from obscenely high to just overpriced.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Yes, you are right. We were happy we didn’t have to pay more. But my point was that mechanics, or at least the shop owner (who is a young guy who has owned the shop for 5 years) make good money without going to college.

      • SerSamsquamsh

        It’s harder to outsource trades to India etc. Around here you pay trades a mint, if you can actually get one that is. I ended up learning some skills because no one wants to work.

  • Vrooom

    Turn the friggin TV off for once in your life and you’ll have plenty of time to ride. I work 55 hours a week or so, and commute daily in Oregon (yes it’s wet and cold) and take 2 eek long trips a year, plus every weekend has some moto in it. I can’t say I get the article.

    • DickRuble

      He’s saying in a long, meandering and tangent-rife way what you just said.

  • Matt O

    I am a millennial, or so they tell me, and the I could afford the payments on a new bike if I really wanted to. However I simply refuse to pay the insane insurance premiums that come with full coverage on a new sporty bike. I will gladly continue to ride great machines from the early 2000’s for $175/year

    • Born to Ride

      Motorcycling is a relatively cheap pursuit. Like just about everything, there is an affordable way to do it and a stupid way to do it. Buying a $17k literbike and paying 200$ a month minimum for insurance is the stupid way.

      • Matt O

        I agree, but that doesn’t lessen my lust for a new bike. Luckily my stinginess hold my wallet in check.

        • Born to Ride

          Lust is a powerful beast indeed

      • Jeff S. Wiebe

        Respectfully, its stupidity may be in inverse proportion to the discretionary spending an individual is responsibly capable of. I’m not one of those with anything near such means. But I have a good number of friends who could easily spend what are to me dramatic sums for a hobby, and only a few of them choose motorcycles.

        • Born to Ride

          Well of course there are people that can afford it. I was speaking in the context of the topic that young people don’t ride because they can’t afford it

  • Jeff

    Did anyone every mention insurance? Costs me 2k a year for full coverage on a sport bike at 26. The cost of a new bike is negligible in comparison. Millennials are also reluctant to buy bikes because they are intimidated by them. Taking a license class, walking into a dealership, securing financing, learning to ride the thing, that is too much work for many 20 somethings. Then you have maintenance (valves, brakes, oil) compare that to making redundant and superfluous comments on the internet and for many people that is easier than actually going through the process of riding a bike.

    • JMDGT

      When I turned sixteen and started riding and driving on public roads my father taught me the cost of ownership dynamic that included insurance. I could buy any motorcycle or car I wanted as long as I paid for it myself. Having to add the cost of insurance to the cost of the bike put a whole different spin on things. Financing anything was never part of that equation. If I had to finance a purchase it was not worth it to me. I saved up until I could pay cash. It takes a degree of passion to want to ride and own a motorcycle. Something that seems to be missing from a lot of young people today. Ride safe young man.

    • DreadPhysicist

      Insurance isn’t universally terrible. When I was 15, the insurance on my 250 Rebel was ~$75 a year. A rebel’s an extreme example, but you can find a lot of bikes the insurance companies don’t consider too danger prone. God help you if you like a bike with Ninja in the name, though.

    • Born to Ride

      While I agree with you, the simple solution is to not buy a sport bike. I bought my sv650 at 17, I paid 240$ a year for liability and comprehensive. I think collision would have bumped it up to 700$ or something like that but the bike was only worth 3 grand so I skipped it. Most people my age I see are riding early 2000s sports bikes, new/newer standards, and ADVs. Then you have hipsters with whatever flavor of the day is cool.

    • Keith T Robinson

      didn’t have to have insurance even on a car when i started. thats one major rip off right there

    • Jason

      Wow, that’s cheap. When I was 25 (back in 2003) I bought a used 1996 Kawasaki ZX-7rr for $6000. The cheapest insurance I could find was $2500 per year. I kept the Ninja for a year, sold it for what I paid, and bought a BMW R1150R for $10,000 (new). Insurance on the BMW was $400 a year.

  • schizuki

    What three things have gotten astronomically more expensive in the past forty or so years? Housing, college tuition, health care.

    What three things has the government gotten heavily involved in to make more affordable for the past forty or so years? Ditto.

    • DickRuble

      I agree with the first paragraph. What’s the point of the second? Are you implying 2) —> 1) ? Do you really think everything got more expensive because the government tried to make things more affordable? I got news for you, the government’s feeble (and phony) attempts are in response to the populace’s outcry to the inflation. The government’s only goal was and is to make the party last even longer for those profiting from housing, college, and healthcare while giving the illusion of providing support to those paying. Hence 401K instead of pensions (do you know who profits the most from 401K’s?), easy access to loans (loans are not grants, they are not free), and tax free medical accounts (you’ll feel less pain at the dentist). In other words, the only help the government has provided has been to encourage spending.

      • JMDGT

        Another benefit of fiat currency.

        • SerSamsquamsh

          The government can print money and spend it at current value before its value erodes due to the inevitable inflation such printing causes. it’s good to be king init?

          • JMDGT

            I am being facetious of course when I say fiat currency carries any benefit. If you haven’t read The Creature From Jekyll Island I highly recommend it. It tells us everything we need to know about the history of the Fed. The market is rigged. Fractional reserve banking and no cost debt are evils that will be the end of us if we don’t change things.

          • SerSamsquamsh

            Historically fiat currency hasn’t worked out too well for the little people. It’s handy if your a king with delusions of grandeur or have a monopoly on force and can confiscate everyone’s property when you like.

            I’ve read a few books on this fascinating subject and I’ll check out your suggestion.

          • Jason

            I wonder how many people say out of the market because they believe it is rigged? I made a lot of stupid financial mistakes early on but the one smart thing I did was start faithfully investing 15% of my income in my 401K from the start. That “rigged” market has worked out very well for me. (Invested in boring index funds)

            The market is “rigged” to work for those that are invested and stay invested in the market.

          • JMDGT

            I hear you. I have also benefitted from the market. At one time the value of a company’s stock was based predominately on its profitability. That value dynamic is not necessarily true in this modern age. There is definitely manipulation going on behind the scenes. I still have a percentage of my investments in the market but will eventually divest myself of any monies that are higher risk. Nothing is as liquid as cash. Hopefully the dollar will be worth something going forward. Good luck.

          • Jason

            Yes, some company valuations have nothing to do with their profitability but periodically the market self-corrects. Today the S&P 500 is at a Price to Earnings ratios of 25, higher than average but we are also 8 years into a bull market. A correction is overdue.

            However with a S&P 500 index fund the questions is this: Do you believe in X numbers of years the largest 500 US companies (at that future time) will be worth more than the 500 largest US companies today. I’m willing to say “yes”, and take that bet.

            Cash is liquid. Some cash is important as ATMs and cards don’t work during natural disasters and power failures. However, cash is almost guaranteed to lose value every year.

      • Keith T Robinson

        the government gets into things so their connected comrades can skim off the people. when did a government program ever lower prices?

      • schizuki

        Yep, if you want to make something ruinously expensive, start a gummint program to make it “affordable.”

    • Keith T Robinson

      right. thats the burns type manifesto. the government involvement always runs up the price.

  • Paragon Lost

    Heh! Fun read! Btw I noted a typo at the tail end of the article Chris.

    “than in the days of yor when the Earth’s crust was still cooling ”

    “yor” should be “yore”.

  • JSTNCOL

    Old bikes were (or are) less complicated to work on with a simple tool box. New, modern bikes… not so much. BOOM. And speaking of Boom…ers, they pretty much screwed it up for the generations that followed. And it doesn’t get pointed out often enough. Because they are our parents and aunts and uncles.

    • DreadPhysicist

      Eh, the world economy sucks, but I don’t think even most economists saw the crash coming. IMHO the boomers just got lucky, living in a time of prosperity. Gen Y is coming out a bit poorer, but that’s the ebb and flow of a chaotic world. At least we have computers so we can drool over 100’s of pics of the beautiful bikes we can’t afford.

      • JSTNCOL

        I’m not talking about the crash, I’m talking about the 1960s and 70s. That’s when the decisions and actions (or lack there of) took place that have been dragging down the middle class since. Basically, Boomers, you screwed your kids, and their kids…

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          Well, it was the (late) 70’s, actually. Thatcher, Reagan, Laffer and Kemp brewed up some voodoo economics, and the rest, they say, is poverty!

    • JMDGT

      It isn’t the boomers that screwed things up. It is the leftist progressives that have. They believe in a caustic and destructive ideology. One that has no problem taking the fruits of one persons labor and giving it to another. We are not all equal. We are not all the same.

      • JSTNCOL

        There’s plenty of blame to spread amongst all the ideologies. Now go fuck yourself.

        • JMDGT

          A typical response from a low IQ individual. Have you always been a pussy or is it a recent development? Tu stultus es. Look it up. For someone like you it’s a compliment.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          GFY. I like that. Very Canadian. “Hey buddy! GFY, eh!”
          Do you play hockey?

          • JSTNCOL

            Well, damn if I didn’t learn something new today! GFY, thank you very much! Or perhaps GFM 🙂

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            LOL!

      • GreggJ

        Taking the fruits of one person’s labor and giving to another is called capitalism.

        • JMDGT

          No Greggy it’s not. It’s called theft.

  • Prakasit

    This, a worthy read.

  • JMDGT

    How refreshing to see the delicate sensibilities of the socialists among us offended with such clarity. Well done Mr. Kallfelz.

  • Don Silvernail

    Hey, that was a great rant/read. I loved it!

    • Mike Simmons

      He nailed Burns, didn’t he? I thought I was the only one who detected a commie in the wood pile!

      • Mr. Burns is a U.S. Army Veteran and a mostly-great citizen of these United States. To mistake his care for his fellow citizens is to do a great disservice to the very ideals of this nation.

        • Mike Simmons

          Sean, I’m not questioning his care for his fellow citizens. He is a gifted writer and I enjoy his work when he confines it to motorcycles. When he takes off on a left wing tangent is where I draw the line.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          Burns was a gentleman. And what’s more he knew how to treat a female impersonator.

  • Emptybee

    What a wonderful rant! Thanks for making my week. Ride on… Oh wait, it’s only going to be 20 degrees tomorrow. With a chance of snow.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Sorry! In the 60s here and partly cloudy. Perfect for motorcycling.

      • Ah yea the ’60s, perfect for motorcycling and cultural revolutions 🙂

  • Industrial Workers of the World, Comrade. The people who built things. The rest of the essay lost me a bit. Do we have more time?

  • Great article!

  • Sayyed Bashir

    Wow Chris! You hit a home run with this one. My comment makes it a even 100.

  • Mahatma

    Nice of you to have a Hawk pictured 🙂

    • Chris Kallfelz

      Po’ man’s Duc…

      • Mahatma

        lom.Or you could say the original 😉

  • john burns

    Wow. Simply pointing out that wealth distribution is highly out of whack still gets you labelled a Commie after all these years. Not sure I even mentioned it in the column that got your pantalones in a twist, Chris old chum, but I’m pretty certain a big reason why most of us work longer and harder for the same $$, is because our tax code shifts so much wealth upward. Like I’ve said before, I have no real problem with the six heirs to the Walmart fortune having more wealth than the lower 42% of the rest of the US population since they came by it honestly, but I think it’d be better for us if the tax code were (re)adjusted to even things up just a bit. I don’t think they should be exiled to the gulag. Extreme wealth inequality, which was last at the current level in the Roaring `20s, doesn’t usually lead to happy results for anybody concerned.

    • Chris Kallfelz

      Mmmyeah…

      Kids still won’t ride, John…

      Wanna know why?

      They don’t want to…

      Being broke never stopped anybody from riding or racing.

      Look at that primer gray Hawk in the back of that thrashed Toyota?

      I lived in a one room unheated shack that housed chickens once upon a time and walked 30 yards to the shitter. If I wanted a shower I walked about 70 yards…

      But ya know what?

      I had a 750 Honda with a Kerker on it…

      Gotta wanna…

      • john burns

        I lived in a pig sty as a child with nothing for warmth except suckling next to my 7 siblings. We lived on slops, and yet I had a Rupp minibike which I rode like crazy, within the limits set by an Australian shepherd.

        • Chris Kallfelz

          BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…I love you, Comrade…Come ‘ere ya big lug…

          • john burns

            Also you need to get with it and embrace the Russians like our glorious leader has done. Capitalism won! Unfortunately “Communism” is in the process of being replaced by something that might wind up being even nastier for the likes of us here and in the former USSR. Plutocracy. Rinse. Repeat.

          • Chris Kallfelz

            Buddy roe? Neither one of these parties have my interest in mind. But that’s a whole ‘nother bag of guts.

          • john burns

            I agree. Some happy medium would be better for everybody. Unfortunately, anybody who mentions the possibility winds up being pilloried with a big picture of Lenin to describe their middle-road position.

          • Chris Kallfelz

            You know that was tongue in cheek, Juan…

            And SCOTUS is going to have a case before them addressing politically motivated gerrymandering, should they dismantle that it would go a long way to stop rewarding the extremes in the primaries, and we might see some improvement…

            I can say loudly and boldly on this Veterans day, I have met communists, I have breathed into the ear of a grumpy Chi-Com general, and John Burns is no communist. Californian maybe, but no communist.

          • john burns

            The Commenters on MO give me hope for the future and make me proud that we can have excellent discussions like this one. But for every commenter there are probably 100 people who see the lead image, read one paragraph with little comprehension, and take away, “that Burns is a F*&$^#g Commie I knew it!” It’s what sunk Bernie and why we keep fighting for table scraps in the wealthiest country the world’s ever seen. No wait, that’s Dubai or someplace.

          • Chris Kallfelz

            With a title like that? I’d hope they’d have the good sense to know parody when they see it…What does this look like? Foreign Policy magazine or something? Communal roadside bangles? Man the ramparts!

          • john burns

            once upon a time, I thought everybody understood sarcasm and irony. Half the population as it turns out, are literally literalists. Thank God you and me appeal to the other half. Mostly.

          • Chris Kallfelz

            Hey, John, I’m thinking we ought to check out what lusmm niha’s Mom’s gig is all about.

          • Douglas

            I’ve always liked your scooter posts (well, Gabe’s too). Riding along with your schidteatin’ grin, if that doesn’t convince readers that scooters are the way to go for the urbanite, nothing will….and your subtle reviews tinged w/humor certainly help.

          • I’ve got to agree with John on this one. You are giving “they” a bit too much Kredit Komrad Kallfelz. Enough good sense to discern? THEY elected Trump even after 30 years of his public TRUMP! persona being on display as an openly predatory hawk who screws the little guy for a living.

          • John B.

            Respectfully Sean, the discernment in voting for Trump came not from consideration of his dubious record over 30 years as a public figure. Rather, the discernment came in choosing between Trump (massive warts and all) and Hillary Clinton (a malevolent and flawed human being if there ever were one). I know scores of generous, caring, intelligent, rational, and successful women and men who chose Trump over Clinton, and would do so again today. Trump-Clinton did not give voters any great options, but that’s how democracy works sometimes.

            In truth, the several million swing voters who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and voted for Trump in 2016 elected Donald Trump. Those who voted for Reagan, Bush, Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain (Ugh!), Romney (“I have binders of women!”) and Trump (Seriously?) were not the difference makers in the 2016 presidential election. Clinton’s hubris no doubt also played a role.

            Do you not know anyone you respect who voted for Trump over Clinton? If not, California and Texas should become separate countries.

          • Mad4TheCrest

            I went through several stages of comprehension with this: the title made me laugh and expect a satirical send-up; the first paragraph or so made me wonder if there was a real beef between you and Burns, then by the end of the article it was all in the proper perspective. I am not a Trump voter, and I never thought for a moment that anything Burns has ever written was remotely communist, but I did think for a minute you had an axe to grind.

          • Chris Kallfelz

            No, no, no axes to grind, I’m not an axe grinder, and let me emphasize again unequivocally, I have never, not once, by any stretch of the imagination, imagined my friend John to be a Bolshevik, Communist, Maoist, Stalinist, or any other -ist that comes to mind…I have met -ists before, and John is no -ist. I was poking fun, and trying to make a half-baked point, and who knows, maybe a lunch date with Katy Tur.

            A guy can dream…

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Actually, it was Great Britain at the height of The Empire.

          • Noel Johnson

            THAT’S not what sunk Bernie…

          • Starmag
          • Douglas

            Uh, John, do you know who really calls the shots on this here orb we inhabit?

          • john burns

            Jesus?

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            What is it now?

          • Douglas

            Well, I hope you’re being serious about that and not flippant or mocking….you’re right, ultimately. But in the meantime….”the government” is the villain, right? And the political parties, too?

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            The Freemasons?

          • Douglas

            Do you know much about them and all their ancillary offshoots? They have a code(s) and secret this & that….almost boys’ treehouse stuff. But it’s surprising how many in the real power structure are members, isn’t it? Do you suppose that’s for naught?

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            I’ll answer that question after you tell me from where you hale.

          • Douglas

            Well, the answer would be either “yes” or “no” or “a little bit”….the 2nd part would be “yes” or “no”….last part is where you can essay or elaborate or hold forth….or even pontificate.

            But….from where I hale…? You mean like, where I’d try to get a cab? That’d usually be from curbside….

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Let me guess; from one’s lack of skill in English, am I accurately surmising you are American?

          • Douglas

            One what? I speak British…..not by choice, it’s just what’s done here. (And we both erred…..hale is an adjective – tho’ I hope it’s what I am at my age. We meant hail, the verb, n’ cest-pas?)

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            The error was all mine. I initiated. I could provide an excuse, but let’s just stick with “I’m an idiot.”

          • StripleStrom

            upvoted for a good laugh

          • john burns

            yeah happy Veteran’s day to you I think I’m gonna have an early beer and fondle my M1 Garand.

          • Chris Kallfelz

            Wish I was there to pop a few caps with ya, both kinds. That’s a beautiful rifle.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Is that what you call it?
            I call mine: “Mister Friendly”.

            But really, there is no place for that sort of talk here.

          • John A. Stockman

            “This is my rifle, this is my gun…” Love this stuff guys. Look at the number of comments! I grew up watching and learning from my grandpa George, an accomplished motorcyclist like almost every family member. Grandmas, great aunts, uncles, cousins, all rode their own bikes. Cared about their riding skills, I watched them practice every month after I set up the tennis balls cut in half in an empty parking lot early Sunday mornings. I set points on my first street bike, and maintained my first bike, a 1968 Z50 Honda. I knew how to change a tire and patch a tube on the side of the road, how to find the odd electrical issue, on the side of the road. Not to panic when something unexpected happened because I practiced my skill-set and took training courses/track days. Nostalgic, yes, but true. I didn’t buy a new bike until 2008 when I got a Burgman 400. FI, no points, packed the miles on that rig with no issues at all. I loved every minute, no matter the weather, hot, cold, rain, even getting stuck in a snow storm a few times. It all makes a better rider and a better person to endure the challenges we all must. I’d do it all over again, but maybe given in to the lure of a new bike sooner! Good stuff guys, keep it up.

          • Keith T Robinson

            the so called folks in the middle are the establishment rip off artists that got us in this mess. the truth is, riding isn’t for everybody. imho the less jerks out there on two wheels the better. in my experiences folks whom have to wrench junk into usable motorcycles are good people. not all that can flash a credit card are.

          • Chris Kallfelz

            But credit cards keep bike shops open, and open bike shops are a good thing…

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Goggle ‘Toronto motorcycle dealers/shops yadda’.
            Bear in mind, Trawna is the fourth largest city in North America.

            All of the credit cards in the world di not help us.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_American_cities_by_population

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Generalizations will get you nowhere.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            He’s quick to judge. I noticed that about him right away.

          • John A. Stockman

            It’s that “it creates character…” mantra, doing something different than the masses. I worked on my bike in the rain because of a flat tire, or the positive coil wire came off on a mountain road. No shoulder. I was so happy I was doing that and had the capabilities and nerve to do it. Everyone though I was a total moron, wanting to ride a motorcycle again after an insidious condition destroyed all my joint cartilage by the time I was 14. Mt dream was to ride again, yet I had to keep it to myself because doctors that could help me would certainly not. I endured long 7+ hour surgeries and even more challenging physical therapy to get atrophied muscles working well enough so I could actually get my legs apart enough to straddle the seat. When I told my therapist my goal, she quit on me, told me I was “wasting resources and money that could go to someone with a worthy goal.” If I had wanted to play some ball sport or climb a mountain, wow, what a hero overcoming such difficulties with self determination and discipline. It made the achievement so much more satisfying and rewarding. Mine do not make me better or worse, it’s relative to your own experiences and what each has had to overcome. I appreciate all the decisions I made and the chances to do what I love and remain passionate.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Did you hear about the fortune teller that won the lottery?

            She was a happy medium.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          And you try and tell the young people of today that.

        • Rocky Stonepebble
        • Rocky Stonepebble
      • john burns

        what did you pay for health care, communications and your college education? As for education, I think we should reinstate the draft and let Uncle pay for it upon release like you and I did. But I don’t really blame the kids for not wanting to enlist anymore given Iraq, Afghanistan, Niger, ad nauseum.

        • Chris Kallfelz

          Yeah, Uncle and work full time picked up my, our, undergrad tab. And yeah a couple of wars can serve as a serious recruiting impediment, that said I have a bud that has put in way too much time at the five-sided puzzle palace and he was lamenting the fact that 72 percent of today’s youngsters couldn’t even meet the standards for entry; too fat, dumb, or criminal is the way he put it.

          So I guess we have that going for us…

          I’ve picked my brain silly about this subject. Our imaginations were captured early on, we really wanted to go ride. And honestly how to replicate that desire, that capture the imagination thing, it’s harder in a limited attention span world where a thousand marketable wastes of time and money are swirling around chasing the same target audience.

          I swear if a reader of this thread could click a button such that Amazon could deliver a new bike, all the gear, and all the requisite knowledge in a box to be able to climb on the thing, start it, and ride around the block without scaring oneself silly, it would be a start.

          You might see more bikes in more of those high school and college parking lots. But it’s not easy, and that is part of the problem in an increasingly easy world of instant button click gratification.

          • john burns

            When I was in high school, there were 2 motorcycles in the parking lot when it was decent enough to ride and my parental units said No Way. And I still jonesed for one terribly. We’ve always been a tiny minority of the population and always will be. We like it thay way.

          • Chris Kallfelz

            That’s true…There is a lot of truth to that. You start with what is probably a small potential enthusiast audience to begin with, and you throw a few other disincentives in front of them, and the next thing you know we have our current state of affairs…

          • Jeff S. Wiebe

            I think this train of thought (and one earlier post I read here a few minutes back about practicality) nails part of the complex truth about why motorcycles are as uncommon as they are in N. America.
            Some of us tremble with desire for motorcycles/ing, but we are few among the very many to whom this passion is opaque. The understandable desire to get others riding (for many reasons) is just not going to go anywhere from the ‘get them passionate’ approach. They won’t.
            However, I look at Asia and Europe and see how the practicality of 2-wheeled conveyance has created many millions of riders, even though the machines tend to be barely similar to the ones that excite me. Still, their proliferation would increase the likelihood of infrastructure, legal, etc. adjustments society wide, so that would be of benefit.
            Will this kind of growth be of great impact to the manufacturers of my kind of 2 wheelers (very broadly, motorcycles vs. scooters and the like)? Probably not.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Here is the difference between “Asia and Europe and see how the practicality of 2-wheeled conveyance …”, and the cold north of Canada, and most of America.

            Those folk you mentioned ride hammers. Everyone needs a hammer. No one gets excited about a hammer. They are not ‘hammer aficionados’. They just need to get around.

            You. And me. And, I guess the rest here, are dial indicator aficionados. We don’t need dial indicators. A tape measure, or a specialist tradesman may supply that when the few times we need it arise. We are not hammer fans. Our hammers are cars.
            Many can’t afford dial indicators, after getting a hammer.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            The people for whom motorcycling is a necessity probably don’t enjoy it as much as we do. The bikes are small and worn out, roads are terrible (in some places), crowded with bikes, animals, pedestrians, rickshaws, buses, and trucks and are noisy, dusty and dangerous (in some places). They may also have their wife, kids, groceries (and possibly their animals) on the bike. There is no comparison to the first world with first class highways and autobahns and superfast, superpowerful and supersporty motorcycles. There is a huge difference between necessity and luxury. The proliferation of small cheap motorcycles will not help keep the luxury motorcycle industry afloat.

          • fzrider

            My first “motorcycle” was a trapezoid framed, suspensionless, horizontal crank lawnmower engine powered $75.00 mini bike. That bike started my love of riding, which does help keep the luxury motorcycle industry afloat…on second thought it was my first bicycle…never mind.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            As long as the motorcycle companies survive.

          • Mad4TheCrest

            There tiny, and then there’s miniscule. I think the industry needs to aspire to getting back to tiny.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Even if Amazon delivered the bike and all the gear and knowledge in a box, the kids will be too lazy to get up off the sofa and bother to ride it. When my significant other’s grandkids come to visit for a day or two, they spend the whole time in the living room in front of the TV, playing games on their tablets and smartphones. They don’t even bother to feed the horses across the fence on her large property or even go outside.

          • Mad4TheCrest

            I agree that Riding has a lot of requirements for entry, not just money and free time. New, would-be motorcyclists need to learn, which takes effort and long persistence in an instant gratification world. The one antidote to the appeal of virtual ease is group activities held together by peer pleasure. Make riding topical (viral?), get groups of young people doing it together, build a community, and there’s a chance.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          The GI bill was great if you came back alive.

    • Chris Kallfelz

      In otherwords, your economic critique can be sound all day long, but it has little or nothing to do with kids riding or not…

    • Martin Buck

      John, America is screwed because of your corrupt political system. Money doesn’t talk, it screams, and drowns out the moans of the suffering poor. No rich person honestly got anything. You have laws and rules skewing the playing field and giving the wealthy the lion’s share of everything. They use law enforcement as a private security force, and batter any justifiable angry protestors. The problem is that most of these protestors are college kids protesting the unfairness of their trust funds. Real poor people are busy working or starving, in prison or on drugs. Nobody cares. The other horrifying fact I have recently learned is that Donald Trump is actually my cousin. Sob!

      • john burns

        Govt is pretty much going to be corrupt to a greater or lesser degree, but some forms of corruption are better for the middle class than others. All you have to do is look at the tax code. Follow the money. Where does one party want it to go compared to the other one? I give you, for example, the latest GOP proposal. Who does it benefit most? Investigate and get back to me.

        • Starmag

          “Where does one party want it to go compared to the other one?”

          Talk is cheap, you have to watch the actual action.

          https://cdn1.ijr.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/income-gap-obama.jpg?_ga=2.20751803.2028076996.1510360031-1180578050.1510360031

          • john burns

            thanks, Obama.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            That chart is specious. The wage inequality of the Obama years is the result of the policy decisions of the Bush (W.) regime. Likewise, Clinton’s growth may be attributed to Bush (The Elder) and Reagan (The Gip). Fight the power!

            Workers unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Good point Rocky. Thanks for catching that. But more to Burns point, the inequality seems to be increasing, regardless of who is President.

          • Starmag

            “Central banks’ attempts to kick-start advanced economies following the financial crisis have made the gap between the rich and poor wider, suggests the Bank for International Settlements.”

            https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-10/how-central-banks-have-made-wealth-inequality-worse

            Both “sides” of the welfare/warfare uniparty loved “QE”, a euphemism for bank bailouts, that is, socialized losses and privatized gains. You can decide what to call that.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            We didn’t have that whole ‘bank bailout’ thing in Peoples Soviet Constitutional Monarchy of Kanada.

          • Starmag

            You sure?

            The Government is Financing Its Own Indebtedness
            The recipients of the bank bailout are also the creditors of the federal government.
            https://www.globalresearch.ca/canada-s-75-billion-dollar-bank-bailout/12007

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            As a Canadian, am I sure what happened here with our banks, whilst yours were failing? Yeah, I’m sure. Did extra-Canada divisions of Canadian banks fail due to the lack of banking regulations and controls in other countries? Damn straight! Basically, what happened, was our incompetent federal government of the time essentially bailed out foreign financial institutions that had been acquired by Canadian chartered banks. Financial institutions whose value was falsely inflated because of a worldwide fraud committed by banks, lenders and traders headquartered in the U.S. and The City.

          • Starmag

            ” incompetent federal government”. Well then, there’s something we have in common.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Not anymore. We rid ourselves of President Stevie and his unholy army of Reagan accolytes.

          • Starmag

            You federal government went from incompetent to competent by changing one man? Wow, I wish we could get that deal.

          • john burns

            Since we both suddenly agree that Huffpost is a worthy news outlet, this just in:

            WASHINGTON ― The White House and congressional Republicans have sought to portray their tax plan as primarily a middle class tax cut. But lately, some of them have been admitting that big money political donors and wealthy CEOs, two groups that overlap heavily, are the ones who care about it the most.

            “The most excited group out there are big CEOs, about our tax plan,” Gary Cohn, the leading White House economic adviser and former chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs, said in an interview with CNBC on Thursday. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gary-cohn-tax-cut-ceos-donors_us_5a049571e4b0f76b05c4249e?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

          • Starmag

            Huffpost is a joke, I just though you’d find it acceptable. Why do you think they had to eliminate their comments section? Answer: too many people calling out their BS.

            Hillary’s biggest contributor was Goldinmysacks, Trump’s whole finanicial cabinet is Goldinmysacks. They also happen to be one of the 12 member banks of the privately-held “Federal” Reserve. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Republicons OR Democons to save you. There’s no one in congress representing you. What is their approval rating again? I believe it’s less than cockroaches and has been for some time.

            As for Bernie, although Hillary and the DNC screwed him over, He was just promising things that couldn’t be paid for. The U.S. is a very conservative $20T in the hole ($200T with future liabilities), and going backward at about $1T a year no matter who is “Great Leader”. You could tax the rich at 90% and it won’t come close to fixing it. Lets say John Burns is dictator. All Hail! If you cut the military and entitlements both in half, you could get close to breaking even, but certainly not paying off back debt, and you’d then have an insurrection on your hands from the military, corporations, and other entitlement receivers. Why does debt matter? Because our creditors and competitors are buying gold like crazy, setting up their own “World” Bank (AIIB), their own payment transfer systems, etc. I.E., they are getting ready to dump the world’s reserve currency (the U.S. petrodollar)because they can see we have no intention to pay them back and continue to spend like gold-digging wives with unlimited credit cards.

            Our constitution states than money is to be created by Congress and used by the people, no middleman. The privately held “Federal” reserve wormed their way between Congress and ourselves in 1913 and are BORROWING US OUR OWN MONEY and charging us 6% interest! Who exactly can you buy off with 6% of $20 trillion? Answer: anyone you want, especially Congress.

            End The Fed and renounce the onerous debt.

          • john burns

            O, thank God, I’m relieved my Trump tax hike will only be in imaginary dollars. Whew. That was a close one…

          • Starmag

            Let’s just hopey changey that the white hat Democrats get back power soon so that everything can be peachy-keen again because the Trump tax hike is the only thing wrong. /s

            Given that Trump owns a lot of hotels, I wouldn’t think you let him live rent-free in your head. Humans sure are susceptible to cults of personality, both good and bad. Example: “Well sure my candidate eats live kittens on TV, he/she needs the protein to keep up his/her strength for the “War On Terror TM”. Anything becomes acceptable as long as it’s Your Guy. Like Obama ordering, unconstitutionally without Congressional declaration of war, the deaths of about a million brown people in Libya and Syria. Not a peep from the supposedly anti-war Democrats. Don’t tell me, I know, at least he’s not Trump.

          • john burns

            Oh, Starmag… sigh. We need at least one rightwing whacko on here, I’m glad it’s you. I was pretty sure it was W and Evil Henchman Dick Cheney who started all that, what some refer to as the Greatest Military Blunder in American History? Then they followed it up with The Great Recession. But blame the black guy who inherited the mess.

          • Starmag

            Sigh… I expect name calling in comment sections, just not from one of the main editors of a premium website.

            Socrates said “when debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

            I happen to agree that W and Darth Cheney are low life war criminals and misery profiteers, however, they had congressional approval for those “wars” based on lies. That doesn’t make them less culpable to me. Oh well, there goes my “right wing whacko” credentials. Tell me again exactly what that had to do with war criminal Obama’s congressionally unapproved persecution of Lybia and Syria and the accompanying deaths of about a million innocent brown people?

            I do my best not to be a giant hypocrite by holding our “Glorious Leader” to the same standard no matter their skin color, sex, or which arm or the welfare/warfare uniparty they are on. That you bring up the fact that he’s black makes it seem like like you want to give him some sort of special break for his skin color. Some people would call that racist. I mentioned the skin color of the innocent dead only because I find highly hypocritcal that the left seemingly doesn’t give a damn about them as long as the one who gave the orders for their deaths was a black man. I support anti-war efforts and protests and have attended many during W’s term, it’s just that there were none during Obama’s term.

          • john burns

            Premium website! That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me. In your case, right wing wacko is a term of endearment even if you’re not one. I think there were lots of peeps out of people who didn’t like Obama carrying on with the drone strikes, but I for one respected his character enough to know there were probably extenuating circumstances beyond his control. I could be wrong.

          • Starmag

            10x more than Shrub. Cut him less slack please. Trump will undoubtedly exceed Obama. Same psychopathy, different face, different “party”, different day. If you care and have the stomach for it, here’s a site that equally guts them all like fish:
            https://www.stpete4peace.org/obama-fact-sheet

            I’m glad we could have this discussion and stay freinds (I think ). 8 7 ) I dig both your (and your son’s) writing, and obviously, your choice of profession.

          • Starmag

            By the way, I almost forgot, Plank #5 is the installation of a central bank in a country.
            http://laissez-fairerepublic.com/tenplanks.html

          • Starmag

            Also, former Goldman COO Gary Cohn who is the White House Economic Council director responsible for the “trump tax hike”, is a registered Democrat.

          • Jason

            The top 1% make the majority of their income on capital gains. When the stock market does well, the top 1% does well (well even better than normal). Clinton and Obama had long periods of stock market gains while Bush II started and ended his terms with a recession. (Not that the stock market is linked to the President in power)

            As long as capital gains are taxed at a reduced rate, the income gaps will continue to soar.

        • John B.

          I agree with you on many points you raise; e.g., all government is corrupt, too much wealth concentration, stagnant middle class wages, unfair tax code, etc., though we differ on the solution.

          I don’t want anyone I care about to depend on government for anything they need except national defense. Our government is far too powerful and we need to bring it to heel.

          Security in this world comes from the breadth and quality of one’s relationships. A person doesn’t become homeless when she spends her last dollar. She becomes homeless when she loses her last relationship.

          The greatest threat to our collective well-being is the dramatic decline in the number and quality of our relationships. As we get older we must never forget this. Perhaps, that’s why we mellow in old age. We cannot afford to lose too many people off.

    • HazardtoMyself

      Ok, not sure where to put this comment, but this great!

      Where else do you find writers who constantly engage their readers and each other so frequently?

      This back and forth is as entertaining as both articles were. Keep it up gentlemen.

      • Born to Ride

        MO at its finest!

    • Sayyed Bashir

      “The Russian Imperial Romanov family (Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei) and all those who chose to accompany them into imprisonment – notably Eugene Botkin, Anna Demidova, Alexei Trupp and Ivan Kharitonov – were shot, bayoneted and clubbed to death in Yekaterinburg on the night of 16-17 July 1918. The Tsar and his family were killed by Bolshevik troops led by Yakov Yurovsky under the orders of the Ural Regional Soviet. Their bodies were then stripped, mutilated, burned and disposed of in a field called Porosenkov Log in the Koptyaki forest.”

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        It was the worst party ever!

    • Xenu Teegeeack

      Damn commies ruin everything by having to talk politics all the time.

      No wonder population is dropping.

      Mr. Burns, please take the advice my grandfather gave to Bolsheviks before leaving Russia: “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” But those Damn commies didn’t listen, and I’m sure you are much smarter.

      So please tell us comrade, how many more millions have to die before you start to see it’s a very bad idea, possibly the worst idea ever invented?

    • lusmm niha
    • Steve

      Yes, I do feel wages are at all time lows for the many, thanks in no small part to the previous administration – and I want no more, none NONE of that.
      That’s why Trump was elected. Now if he helps make it better, great. I am sure he will do a better job than the other candidates offered.
      Time will tell……
      Until then, how about something we can do something about – Let’s ride!

    • StripleStrom

      Wealth redistribution, it’s what made America great, right? Uh, no. How about hard work, motivated by desire to have a better life, and made possible by the opportunity that only a free market provides. The idea of taking what somebody has and giving it to somebody else is, by nature, communist, whether you want to label it that way or not.
      There’s as much greed being perpetuated by people shopping for cheap, foreign made crap at Walmart as the corporation that is providing it with cheap, overseas labor. The idea that everyone needs everything right now is responsible for this wholesale sellout. The entitlement generation has been raised on the drug of instant gratification.
      Redistributing our wealth is the worst possible thing to do with entitled people. When I see those complaining about making ends meet dump their $200 a month cell phone bill, and their $100 TV bill, and stop paying for better food than I eat with their EBT card, (while using a sweaty wad of cash to pay for everything that it doesn’t cover, like their beer and cigarette habit), all while I work my ass off while never having any cash on hand, then we can start to talk about what’s fair.

    • RC

      The top 50% of Federal tax payer pays 97% of Federal taxes. The bottom 50% just pays 2.83% of tax

      “By contrast, taxpayers with incomes below $30,000 filed nearly 44% of all returns but paid just 1.4% of all federal income tax – in fact, two-thirds of the nearly 66 million returns filed by people in that lowest income tier owed no tax at all.”
      http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/10/06/a-closer-look-at-who-does-and-doesnt-pay-u-s-income-tax/

  • Keith T Robinson

    hell yes!!!!!!!!!! this dude calls it right!

  • Lee

    You win the award for “headline that leads to who knows what?” I don’t even know if that’s Stalin or Lenin, pretty sure it’s not Trotsky. Pretty sure m/c magazines don’t usually feature political discussions.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      MO is not a “usual” motorcycle magazine. That’s why we are all here. And that’s Lenin.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        That must have been from after the Beatles broke up.

  • hasone

    that is not “primer gray” it is BATTLESHIP GRAY, get it straight.

  • Rocky Stonepebble

    Okay. We all feel it. Like a thick billowy cloud of mustard gas, the dread of reality looms over all of us. Great debate of every political stripe cannot avert our attention from that elephant in the room. Yet, none here are brave enough to confront it.

    It’s those guys. On the bikes. The ones with the Tommy guns. The guns aren’t loaded, people! No wonder we lost the war!

    And Soylent Green® is still made of people.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      They must have both the throttle and clutch on the left end of the handlebar if they were going to fire the Tommy guns with their right hand.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        These bikes are 1917/18. I believe most of the controls are foot pedals, gearshift levers. Rather car-like. Hands free and all that.

        BTB, did I tell you what I did last night? I deleted all of the German names from my contacts list.

        Now my phone is Hans free.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          I know the gear shift knob could be on the left side of the gas tank (like on old Harleys) and the clutch could be operated by the left foot (a suicide clutch) , but I don’t know if the throttle was also on the left side. It doesn’t look like there are any controls on the right grip. I would hope they don’t hit a bump because there is nothing holding them to the bike on the right side. I think while riding they kept the guns in the scabbard, then stopped and fired. The way the CHP and police do.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Yeah. It was just a wee joke.

  • vastickel@gmail.com

    Yikes, Chris! You may return to your hunter-gatherer caveman roots. Riding around tankshifting and suicide clutching on your leather beltdrive whatever. I,’ d prefer to keep my tubeless tires and ABS, thank you!
    The days before Facebook, however…would be nice.

  • Joe Berk

    I’m not going to read through 200+ comments. I don’t need to. You are making the point I have been making all along: Here’s the problem…all the people who really know how to run the country are out riding around on their motorcycles.

    • Joe Berk

      …or screwing around posting comments on Internet forums.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        Don’t like riding in the dark so I do my night riding on the internet forums. I also don’t know how to run the government.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          Snowed here on Wednesday. Currently -10 (I don’t know what that is in old money – you people should really go metric).
          So, from now ’til March, I’m riding the laptop.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Went riding today with friends, about 300 miles, both on and off road. Was cold up in the mountains at 5000 ft. Snow expected tonight.

  • Ted

    I’m still looking for the f850gs review to see if the twin balancers got vibes under control. But I agree with Chris, burns & bernie should be sent back to France. I think that’s what he said in there someplace. HA! 🙂

  • Steve

    Remember when colleges/Universities existed and put out a quality education without dozens and dozens of staff members making $500,000.00 per year, plus perks? The same applies to hospitals and plenty of other “non-profits”. It’s a scam on the people worthy of research…….

    • Jason

      About 75% of the professors at a University today are adjunct professors. They don’t have tenure nor a permanent job but instead are contract workers get paid a lump sum per class they teach.

      Why is tuition so expensive at a state university today? Today the student pays for it out of pocket in tuition while in the 60’s the bulk of the cost was covered by the state. From the University of Michigan:

      https://publicaffairs.vpcomm.umich.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2015/03/chart3.jpg