Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pink-ify Your Gear for Breast Cancer Awareness Month



Many of us have known someone - a friend, a wife, a sister, or a mother - with breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, over 192,000 new cases are expected to be diagnosed this year alone. The motorcycle community has come out strong, with hundreds of events sponsored by clubs and dealerships throughout the year.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we found our favorite pink accessories and bikes to support the 2.5 million survivors nationwide.

Icon Women's Hella Street Angel Chaps - Part sweet and part sassy, these adjustable white chaps with a pink stripe are specifically designed for women.

3/4-Sleeve Hot Pink Arctic Cat Tee - Match this 100% cotton, pink t-shirt with jeans on the weekends. The screen-printed Arctic Cat logo even makes it look like a vintage baseball tee.

Airframe Street Angel Helmet - The Airframe Street Angel Helmet is pretty sweet-looking. The airbrushed design is a piece of art, but it's outfitted with some great features too. With a fully-removable HydraDry(TM) interior, you can wash and dry your helmet lining to avoid that locker-room smell.

Altimate Wild Cat Series Women's Boot - Looking for a more subtle way to rock pink? Check out this pair of black women's boots with pink stitching and laces. Standing 9" tall with fur lining and Thermolite(TM) insulation, the boots help keep your ankles and shins safe and toasty.

2010 Limited-Edition Pink Vespa LX 150 - Buck's Motorsports in Akron, NY is selling a limited-edition, cotton-candy pink Vespa. What better way to show your support than with an all-pink scooter?

2009 Yamaha FZ6R - I like the pairing of hot-pink with the flat-black finish. Road, Track and Trail will even ship this motorcycle anywhere in the Continental U.S.

We tip our hats (and helmets) to all of you who support the search for a cure.

by Nedie Recel, CycleTrader.com Marketing Director

Uncover the True Cost of Ownership

By Kevin Domino, author of The Perfect Motorcycle and CycleTrader.com contributing blogger

So maybe you found a great deal on a motorcycle, but your perfect motorcycle is perfect only if you can afford it.

Once all the costs to own a motorcycle are examined, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is different than most people expect—both higher and lower—even to veteran riders. For example, you can save as much, or more, shopping for financing and insurance as you can on the purchase price of the motorcycle.

One-time costs are ones that you pay once regardless of whether or not you ride use the bike. These costs include the cost of the motorcycle, riding gear, tools, financing charges, sales tax, and depreciation. Ongoing costs include the recurring costs like insurance and vehicle license, and the variable ones that change based on how much you ride, such as fuel costs, new tires, and maintenance costs.

The free downloadable worksheets further categorize the expenses into two sections for your convenience. The first, named “Motorcycle Rider Dependent Costs,” covers costs of things you’ll need regardless of your motorcycle choice, like riding gear, resources, tools and ongoing rider training. The second is named “Motorcycle-Dependent Costs” and covers the bike-related expenses.

As you will find when you complete the worksheets, the cost of the motorcycle and its fuel mileage are important factors, but they play only a part in how much you will spend on your riding activities. A motorcycle that has a higher purchase price than the one you’re considering can actually cost you less to own in the long run, especially when considering resale value. For example, something as seemingly innocuous as the recommended service intervals for valve adjustments, and even the type of valve train in the engine, can make a big difference in your overall operating expenses. Valve adjustment on some bikes is an easy do-it-yourself project for the mechanically inclined. Some motorcycle valve trains are Space Shuttle-complex and really difficult to get at. That’s where some research and completion of the following worksheets help shine a light on the cost of various aspects of motorcycle ownership.

Feel free to play with all the variable amounts, especially the amount of miles ridden and the number of years owned, to see how those values affect the total cost of ownership. A factor you might not consider fully is your tires. Tires on motorcycles do more, work harder and wear out faster than those on cars. Therefore, tire expense per mile is typically higher on a bike than a car. Depending on the type of motorcycle and type of riding you do, the amount you spend on tires is around what you spend on gasoline. But, because those air-filled rubber donuts around your motorcycle’s wheels do so much and are critical to the safe operation of your bike, don’t be tempted to cheap-out. Always use premium tires.

A couple of summary figures are listed at the bottom of the motorcycle worksheet: “yearly total cost of ownership” and “cost per mile.” These totals are also valuable to use to balance your household budget. The calculation “motorcycle sale price as % of yearly TCO” is provided to show how much of an impact the cost of the motorcycle itself has on the total you spend on motorcycling. Remember, sometimes a more expensive motorcycle costs you less to own.

If you currently have a motorcycle that you will be replacing, you can’t count both the value of your current bike and the resale value of your new bike in the calculations to accurately evaluate the cost of ownership—that’s double dipping. Only enter an amount in the section labeled “sale of currently owned bike” if you a buying another bike to replace your current one.

To decide between selling your bike and trading it in, you need to judge if the time you will likely spend selling the bike is worth the difference between the projected selling price and the trade-in value. It’s generally a good idea to sell the bike yourself. That difference is the profit margin a dealer will earn to sell your trade-in (the dealer thinks it’s worth their time).

Remember, you can save as much of more on insurance and financing as you can on the motorcycle itself. Regardless of where you shop for a loan or insurance, do not be afraid to ask questions. You are not afraid to ask questions when you are looking at motorcycles. The same applies here. Loans and insurance are simply other type of products, expensive ones, at that. An excellent resource for shopping for insurance and financing is Cycle Trader’s Research section.

Ask questions like:
• How much will I pay in total in addition to the borrowed amount for the whole term of the loan?
• Can the interest rate change during the loan term?
• What happens if I’m late on a payment or two?
• Are there any penalties for early payoff?

Never skimp on insurance coverage, but be sure to ask each insurance provider before making your decision about potential discounts for:
• Completion of an approved rider-training course
• Using a DOT and/or Snell-certified helmet
• Approved theft-deterrent like alarms or Lo-jack
• Multiple vehicles or other types of insurance (life, homeowners, etc.)
• Membership in the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
• Also, ask the company to be considered for their “top-tier” rates, which are their highest discounted rates.

You can’t know all the possible expenses that will come up, but this will get you started toward making an informed decision. Feel free to modify and add your own categories as you learn more, to form an even clearer picture of your overall riding costs. Armed with the data, you’re well on the way to your perfect motorcycle.

** The preceding is excerpted from the book, The Perfect Motorcycle: How to Choose, Find and Buy the Perfect New or Used Bike. The information provided here will give you a framework to guide your motorcycle inspections and purchases. Space limitations preclude an in-depth discussion of the subject. You can find out about the book at www.theperfectmotorcycle.com. There are also 18 checklists and worksheets available for download at www.theperfectmotorcycle.com/download-worksheets-and-che.html that you can use to supplement the information in the book.

Eden’s Chopper Class Triumphs at the Donnie Smith Chopper Class Challenge

The future of motorcycle building begins with the younger generation and Jaybrake is a proud part of the next era of builders. The 2010-2011 school year marks the fourth year of Jaybrake’s continued support of Eden High School’s Chopper Class.

Photo Credit: Steve Jones, Eden High School
Eden High School students built their first bike in 2007 and the following year the Chopper Class was formed. The class was made possible because of the guidance and vision of Steve Jones, Eden High School Technology teacher.

“In 2004/2005 I had a group of students in my practical engineering class that planted the seed in my mind. I did some research and found that there was a venue, thanks to my buddy and fellow Technology teacher Kevin Baas, to showcase our kid’s talents at the annual Donnie Smith Bike Show out in Minnesota,” recalls Jones.

By the end of the 2005/2006 school year, with the help and support of Jaybrake and other sponsors, the Chopper Club was realized. “Sponsors are our life blood, period. The district does not financially support what we do with the Chopper Class. Therefore, we must be self-sufficient in terms of securing raw material, motorcycle parts, etc.. This program would simply not exist without our sponsor’s direct assistance,” says Jones.

Jaybrake’s participation has gone beyond just donating money and parts to the club, they have also donated their time. Jaybrake’s owner, Karl Horschel, Manager of Sales and Marketing, Keith Horschel and Jay Brainard, Director of Research and Development have gotten their hands dirty with the Eden club, providing lessons on brake assembly. The Jaybrake team also takes the bike on the road with them to motorcycle shows to promote the club.

The Eden Chopper class has done more than just build bikes; they have taken their talents to the “superbowl” of high school building shows, the Donnie Smith Chopper Class Challenge. From the very first year the club entered the Donnie Smith bike show Eden has been fortunate enough to bring home the Overall award twice (2008 and 2010) and the Peoples’ Choice Award (2009).
Photo Credit: Steve Jones, Eden High School
“The very first year we traveled to…compete in the Chopper Class Challenge is the most memorable moment. I can’t describe how proud I was, and still am, of each one of my students,” Jones says of the experience.

The club has elicited welcomed involvement from the community. Local organization, The Rueben Brown Foundation, has gotten involved with the Eden Chopper Club. In 2010, after the build was completed, the Foundation raffled off the completed bike to offset the Chopper Clubs costs for the build.
 
“Not only does the community support what we do in the Chopper Club, they help determine the next direction the Class will move. We operate within and because of the community that our school is located in. The best way to describe it is ownership,” says Jones.

Most recently one of the club’s members won an essay contest through the International Master Bike Builder Association. Alex Bednarz traveled to Sturgis and had the honor to build a custom bike on stage with Vagabond Chopper owners, Athena and Rob Ransom. Alex and two other young ladies, who also participate in similar programs, were all on stage as Athena sparked the bike to life on stage at The Broken Spoke Saloon. 
Photo Credit: Steve Jones, Eden High School
Eden’s Chopper Class begins this year's campaign with a very young and enthusiastic group of new student researchers, designers, and fabricators. The Alumni of the club have set the bar high and established a tradition of hard work and craftsmanship over the last three years. This combination of energy and ownership could be the catalyst for some of the kids to truly push the envelope in the next few years. Only time will tell where each students’ mechanical creativity will take them, but it will certainly be an interesting ride watching them get there.  

- Laura Ferguson, Jaybrake Marketing Assistant and CycleTrader.com Contributing Blogger

Friday, October 08, 2010

It's Not Summer Anymore


This past weekend, after a few days of rain, I was finally able to get back in the saddle and take my motorcycle out for a ride. “Heather,” my 2004 Honda RC51, had been trapped inside the garage and begging to be taken out. I was more than happy to oblige.

As I rode towards the city of Virginia Beach my gas light came on. “Time to take an exit and fill her up,” I thought. As I pulled into the BP gas station, I noticed two fellow riders gassing up and talking. I coasted to a pump beside them and said hello. The response I got kind of took me by surprise.

“Cold out here today, huh?,” one of the two asked me.

I responded with, “Yeah, a little bit, but look at what you’re wearing!”

He was dressed in a thin long-sleeved Virginia Tech shirt, shorts, sneakers, and no gloves.

“You know how it is. I just wanted to get a ride in before the weather changed on us,” was his comeback.

After that little exchange we chatted for a bit and soon they were on their way. After paying for my four gallons of petrol, so was I. As I continued on my way, and during the ride back home, I couldn’t stop thinking about what this guy was wearing. The thought that kept creeping back in my head was, “Come on dude, it’s not summer anymore!”

Most of you know to dress for safety as well as the weather, but this guy was dressed for neither. Shorts and a thin t-shirt are not going to protect you from a fall or the elements. In this type of weather, riding without properly dressing for the occasion is a bad idea for one good reason - IT’S DANGEROUS!

Dressing for a day on the beach while on your bike, with a little chill in the air, is a major distraction that puts you, and the rest of us at risk. You will spend more time concerned about how cold and uncomfortable you are, than about safe riding. It only takes a split second for something horrible to happen.

As my brother told me when I first started riding, “Chad, wear your helmet, jeans, boots, gloves, and jacket or just drive your car!” Sound advice that I think we should all take.

Ride safe.

- Chad Sydnor, CycleTrader.com Sales Consultant, Biker since 2008

Chad's 2004 Honda RC51