Because supermoto stories are always a lot of fun, this week we bring you our pal Gabe’s story on taking his 2006 KTM 950 Supermoto out for a spin in the California Bay Area. If you know Gabe, then you’re familiar with his excellent storytelling. If you don’t, well let this piece introduce you to the wonderful mind of one of MO’s alumni. Of course, a great story deserves a great subject, and the 950 Supermoto was all about hooliganism before that was really even a thing. We’ll let Gabe take it from here.
If you believe the conventional wisdom of our forum moto-trolls, a motorcycle must be full-sized, fast AF, have the range of a WWII Dornier 217 medium bomber and price tag of a 1980 Suzuki GS850 to have any hope of success, much less being a sales leader. Based on that, what model do you think Öhlins suspension, the high-end, race-focused Swedish company, likely sell the most cartridge kits and shocks for? The GSX-R? Ninjas? Ducati Superbikes?
This week, by special request of the Apostle Gabe, a reading by Gabe Ets-Hokin himself from 15 years ago – the 2005 Open Supersport Shootout (our mention of Elena Myers in last week’s Church jarred his memory; see page 3 below). On second thought, says Gabe, this one he co-wrote with King Sean the Alexander when both were gainfully employed MO staff members during the giddy run-up to the Great Recession. In that gilded age of fat ad buys and long-term loan superbikes, free tires and track days were there for the plucking. There was a lake of stew and of whiskey, too; you could paddle all around ’em in a big canoe, in the Big Rock Candy Mountains. Those were the days, my friends. Amen.
Last week, I read a Facebook post from noted moto-journalism gadfly Peter Jones who shared an ancient motorcycle safety film, Uneasy Rider starring Peter Fonda and Evel Knievel, of all people. As a former motorcycle safety instructor, I was intrigued and much impressed by the entertaining and friendly nature of the film (as well as the groovy ’70s dialog, man). In fact, I was so smitten by the film that when the credit for producer/director appeared at the end, I had to Google it to see what other films he had done.
For whatever reason, American motorcyclists have been very slow to adopt electric motorcycles, ironic since the most innovative and interesting e-motos are built here in the USA. Zero and Harley-Davidson are both in the electric motorcycle game, and two start-ups – Brammo and Alta Motors – delivered hundreds of motorcycles to paying customers before succumbing to tough market realities.
One of my favorite leisure activities is to type an old-timey year, like 1980, into the Craigslist “Motorcycles for Sale” search box and see what pops up. Mostly, it’s either a lot of overpriced junk, overpriced “expert restorations,” or overpriced incomplete projects which are likely incomplete for very good reasons. A reliable, running bike at a reasonable price? Needle, meet haystack.
I like electric vehicles. I mean, I really like them. But unlike a lot of journalists who say they like something, I actually went out and spent my hard-earned on an electric car, a 2018 Chevy Bolt; one of my best purchases ever. I bought it because when it was announced, it was the first affordable long-range electric vehicle, and it’s been great. It’s not perfect for everything, but what car is? For cars, EVs aren’t coming; they’re here.
We’ve been force-feeding you an awful lot of electric-motorcycle content lately, but here’s something that’s been tugging at my mind for years. We know E-motos are good at racing, commuting and supermoto fundays, but their range – hovering around the 100-mile mark – is what’s limiting them from being truly all-around products.
This has been an eventful fortnight. It started with the catastrophic death of my old car and ended with me purchasing a new car, having second thoughts, and then third thoughts, and then saying what the hell and keeping it. And then hitting snags with my clutch-slave replacement project on my EBR, which has made me question my whole relationship with possessions. More ups and downs than a pogo-stick tournament. Anyway, I bought a new car, which is always fun for me.
Ah, beige. Like the apocryphal story about Eskimos having 18 different words for snow, so do car companies have many, many words for beige. There’s Stone; Bisque; Ash; Caramel; Camel; Smoke; Champagne; Linen; Almond; Shale; Sepia; Buff; Sorrel; Harvest; Sky Cool Gray and one for the fellas: Alloy. Those are just the interior colors. For the hard candy shell, Lexus sports Truffle Mica, Audi has a Beluga Brown, Porsche offers Cognac Metallic and Toyota, without irony, shows off its Toasted Walnut minivan.