While there’s something to be said about the convenience and cost-effectiveness of being able to toss a set of soft luggage on your motorcycle when you need it, the time comes when you realize that what you really need is a set of hard bags. Since they are bolted or locked to your motorcycle, they are significantly more secure from theft. Then there’s the weatherproofness that can’t be matched by soft luggage. If you’ve done any extensive touring on your motorcycle, you’ve most likely encountered the disappointment of opening your soft luggage to find that you didn’t have it securely closed before that last rain storm, and now, you’ve got to find a laundromat to dry all your clothes.
It’s on rainy, cold nights like this one that I’m glad I have a garage. Looking at your motorcycle parked outside as it’s pelted with rain, sleet, hail, mud and other unpleasantness can make you weep with impotent rage. Cover it? Motorcycle covers are a hassle to put on and remove. First, you have to wait until the bike cools to avoid melting the cover to the exhaust. Plus, they can blow off your bike, get shredded and messy-looking, and trap moisture underneath, which can cause rust and mold. Nasty!
Ever since Yamaha took the wraps off its Transcontinental Touring line of motorcycles, the bagger fans here at MO have been chomping at the bit to throw a leg over the 2018 Yamaha Star Eluder. From the ever-popular V-Twin propulsion to the latest in motorcycle electronic technology, the Eluder appears to have just about everything a bagger should. Read on to find out why.
The sad truth about motorcycles is that they need special treatment if they’re going to sit for even just a few weeks. The gas in the tank and the chemicals storing electricity in the battery are the first to suffer, and both of those are important for getting your bike back underway. However, many other things can accelerate the wear on your motorcycle if you don’t take care of them before an extended hibernation. Unfortunately, many riders don’t winterize their bikes for the off season and are greeted with an ugly surprise come springtime.
Riders who have cut their teeth in the urban jungle don’t understand the fear that can grip a traveling rider when the fuel light comes on while deep in the American Southwest. I’ve seen stretches of road with no fuel for over 100 miles, and on the Dalton Highway in Alaska, I undertook a section of road that I knew was too much for either my Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra or the hardy Kawasaki Ninja 600 my companion was riding on the final gravel stretch to Prudhoe Bay. In most instances, a little common sense can go a long way towards making sure you aren’t stranded by simply filling your tank when it gets less than half-full while riding remote, unfamiliar roads.
These days, every tourism board and region under the sun seems to have a route designed for motorcycle riders. That’s a good thing – but do all of them really go the extra mile for the rider? Or are they just taking a shortcut to get motorcyclists to plop down their hard-earned cash at motels, restaurants and gas stations?
I’ve always been a fan of motorcycle tank bags. From within a month of my first bike purchase, I’ve had a tank bag for my bike. In fact, before I became a motojournalist, my tank bag was pretty much part of my motorcycle, only being removed for washing and track days. Twenty-five years ago, all tank bags were strapped on to their respective mounts, making them less convenient for folks who owned more than one bike. Along came magnetic tank bags, and the tank bag was revolutionized. So, naturally, the bike manufacturers countered with fuel cells below the seat and plastic “tanks” containing the airbox.
In a survey of over 600 current scooter owners, Yamaha’s research team discovered that over half of them (55%) said their next two-wheeled purchase would be another scooter. Meanwhile, nearly 70% of those same respondents admitted that the majority of their time spent on their scoots was either for pleasure or commuting to/from work.