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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #102: Why would you care what these men have to say about motorcycles? | Hagerty Media

I'll get straight to the point: Starting about now, Hagerty Media is expanding our scope of coverage to include new motorcycles. No, our partners at Hagerty Insurance do not insure new motorcycles-very few of them, in any event, they won't touch my ZX-14R or even my wife's R3-but we are going to write about them and test them.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/avoidable-contact/avoidable-contact-102-why-would-you-care-wha...
49 REPLIES 49
zach11johnson
New Driver

Let's see someone on a Harley Hummer. I am not a motorcycle person, but would probably give something like a Hummer a shot being that it is basically a moped (but cooler looking).
Kyle
Moderator

I'll have to do some calling around and see if I can locate the right bike and collector. I am sure they are out there, and would much enjoy taking a Hummer for a spin. Those bikes are an interesting point in the Harley Davidson story. 

-Nate
Detailer

Hummers are _not_ Mo-Peds, they're Tiddlers .

I'm always interested in learning more about older bikes .

-Nate
Mr_Wiz
Pit Crew

This is outstanding news. I’m eagerly looking forward to reading what’s to come given the high quality of Hagerty media.

Since you’re soliciting feedback:

On the R1250GS, I’d love to read some detailed discussion of the electronic rider aides. Specifically, how well does the traction control work and has the anti-wheelie become less intrusive and abrupt on the current incarnation of the big bimmer? On my 2014 1200GS, the power cuts out rather harshly as soon as the front wheel begins to lift under a hard launch or the rear tire begins to slip. How well does the electronic suspension handle a 200+ pound American with a full load out of panniers and gear?

For specific bikes I’d love to see reviewed:

BMW S1000RR: How good is this bike on the street and is it livable day to day with commuting duty? Is the M package worth the extra scratch and will the carbon fiber wheels hold up to potholes on the street?

Harley Davidson Pan America 1250: How does Harley’s first stab at the adventure segment stack up to the Euro and Japanese manufacturers that have been dominating this segment for years?

KTM 500/350 EXC-F: Are these really the ultimate dual sport bikes from power to weight fun factor perspective? Does one really need to “de-smog” the bike and spend $600+ on a new ECU off the showroom floor to richen the fuel mixture enough to make the bike usable and ensure long term reliability?

Big picture questions:

What do euro 5 emission standards entail and what does it mean for US consumers?

I’d be really interested in reading any data driven reporting comparing long term reliability and build quality of the various manufacturers.
Kyle
Moderator

I'll admit I've got a close eye on how Euro 5 could affect the motorcycle market. AS for the bikes you listed, we will keep them in mind as we move forward!
JeepCJ5
Intermediate Driver

Looking forward to it. I'm 37, had dozens of antiques and beaters, but never a motorcycle. My son's Coleman minibike is so much fun that it has us interested in getting into a motorcycle, but I'd have to do it the cheap way which means, well, cheap. I recently missed out on a late 90s Honda Magna 750 that looked good, good tires, just had been sitting up for a year and needed carb work for $500! All that to say, I would most enjoy a budget friendly test. Maybe what to look for in common inexpensive bikes. Or one of those shootouts where each person has a certain low budget to go buy and repair/upgrade and put them through some tests. But no matter what you write about it'll be enjoyable to follow along.
Sunshine1868
Pit Crew

Please Test The:
Royal Enfield 650's (both the Continental GT and the Interceptor)
Royal Enfield Meteor 350
Eric
Hagerty Employee
Rick2
Detailer

I almost bought a 650 Interceptor but just couldn't do it after owning a 2008? Bullet Sixty-Five. I bought it new and it took three years to get it sorted out but by that time I did not trust it. I said don't leave home without your cell phone. But it was fun and unique when it ran.
Sluicehotbox
Pit Crew

I'd like to see a shootout and capability testing comparing the different sizes of adventure bikes: for example ktm 500/crf450l to tenere 700 to larger KTMs/BMWs/african twin. Also always include where the bike is made. KTMs made in India don't have the same QC as the ones made in Austria and I feel like a publication should disclose it. A running list of 0-60, 1/4 mile, and roll-on times would be cool.
Kyle
Moderator

A couple of those bikes are certainly on our short list, and we will add the others!
OLDERbastard1
Detailer

Awesome, very happy to hear this great news. Can't wait to read what you print. Maybe, if this Pandemic ever ends & Kyle travels, I could let him take some vintage stuff ('70's Kawi Z's & early '80's GS's) for a rip!
Kyle
Moderator

You sound like a man I need to talk to. Send me an email if you have a minute: Klsmith@hagerty.com. I'd love to chat and see what we can do.
MajorTomB
Intermediate Driver

I think this is a welcome addition to the Hagerty Media Family! Good luck!
spdfreak
Pit Crew

I have a few bikes for Kyle to play with... If he hasn't ever ridden a Yamaha RZ350, it is an iconic cult bike for a reason. I restore bikes for several clients and they have some pretty awesome stuff, too- Duc 750 GT's, Moto Guzzi V7's, Bultaco Metralla's, etc.
Rick2
Detailer

I really like my V7III Special
Kyle
Moderator

Just saw this comment-- Would love to chat with you about what you are proposing. Shoot me an email at klsmith@hagerty.com when you find a minute. Look forward to hearing from you.
bhankinsonn
Intermediate Driver

A great new addition to Haggerty. I am a retired motorcyclist now, my last crash and hitting 75 years of age in the same year provided the incentive to not swing a leg over a bike again. That gave me 63 years of biking pleasure starting with a 50cc NSU and ending with a BMW K1200LT and various rides in the intrevel. Still interested in whats happening in motorcycling and look forward to the new feature.
-Nate
Detailer

Consider coming full circle and trying another lightweight Moto....

I'm all broken up from two major crashes and am on the fence about keeping or selling on my full size bikes, the Tiddlers are great, I can go anywhere (freeway !) on them .

There are plenty of light weight tins and multies to choose from too .

-Nate
930Flachbau
Intermediate Driver

I used to own a Ducati 916 when I lived in New Hampshire. When I took the bike out for the weekend, I had to travel a bit to some of my favorite areas to test my skills on the "twisty's". This involved about an hour of driving through villages at low speed, interstate travel and finally two lane travel on state and county roads. Now, anyone versed in the early 916, 998 bikes, know these bikes were designed to be ridden at higher than city speeds. The "trip" as part of the journey was excruciating at times, with me doing stretching exercises to get back in my 'attack mode' mentality once I got to my destination. What I'm interested in is the experiences your drivers have in the sport bikes getting to their desired curvy destinations. I'd like to hear the driver's perspective on these super bikes getting to their fun destination. The Ducati V4 Panigale, BMW S1000's, Kawasaki H2's, Aprilia RSV4, Honda CBR's, Yamaha YZF-R's, etc. come to mind.
ndounias
Pit Crew

Kyle, I know a guy with a bunch of vintage Indian Motorcycles you might try, but he is in California!
Kyle
Moderator

I owe you a visit! Would love to take one of your hand-shift bikes for a spin.
topside
Detailer

I like "bikes" quite a bit, but frankly am so disconnected from that market nowadays that I merely recall with fondness my SR500 Yamahas and Kawi Z1R. But keeping the reporting flame alive in light of the killing off of print media is noble. I'm sure some of the former CW staffers would appreciate a piece of the action, and thanks for the Egan reference; he's a national treasure.
SteveNL
Intermediate Driver

When it comes to the topic of cars, there is very little made after 1995 that is of any interest to me. Until recently, you couldn't interest me in new motorcycles, either. But in fact, there appear to be some really cool new motorcycles on the market.

Because I'm old, my days of riding 100 HP motorcycles are in the past. As eye sight and reactions begin to fail, it becomes time to slow down. And at a certain point of life, your friends start to die and mortality is no longer an abstraction. But that's no reason to stop riding. So I will stick with stuff under 75 HP. Every rider should ask why s/he would want a bike over 100 HP, anyway. It seems that there are still a lot of old men like me who are still out on the road.

Out where I live wild life in the road is the major cause of accidents. Two of my three riding friends have hit deer and it ended their riding. I've had all sorts of animals jump out in front of me while on a bike, including deer, bobcat, coyote, a black bear and even an ostrich. So count me in that group of riders who value safety and restraint over thrills.

For those who are like me, some of the new naked bikes look very interesting. Those include the Triumph Bonneville, Moto Guzzi V7 and possibly even the Royal Enfield 650 twins.

Finally, most motorcycle tests give not a thought to ease of service and repair. My old R75 and K75s BMWs are a joy to work on. But almost every new bike that I see looks much more challenging for the home mechanic. A good bike review might include giving the test bike an oil, fork oil and gear lube change. If it isn't reasonable to work on, I wouldn't want it.

Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

The manufacturers are not going to be too keen on letting us service the bikes, but let me see what I can make happen.
drhino
Instructor

“His current collection includes a creamsicle-colored BMW R90S.” Daytona orange, to be exact. After the Reg Pridmore race bike.
flynfink
New Driver

good to hear. good luck.. Two Duc's in my garage.
drhino
Instructor

I understand Don Canet may be available...
GSM
Pit Crew

Kind of surprised the first group of bikes didn't include a Harley. Don't get me wrong, I love Japanese and European offerings but it's the principle of the thing.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

That was Harley's choice, not ours: they're busy giving long-term bikes to Jalopnik. I'm working on that.
joemair
Pit Crew

Look, I love motorcycles and I'm excited to see Hagerty helping to support the industry as other journalism outlets close down. However, open question - four writers but why not a single woman rider? Second question - how many of the Smiths are white guys? As a white guy who works in the moto industry, I think we've done a disservice by not representing some other viewpoints. So, I'm excited to see what happens next, but I hope you guys hire some non-white folks and/or women to help you curate, ride and write these stories.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Thanks for your comments. My wife rides a Yamaha R3, and I spent a decade riding with the urban stunt crowd, so I'm aware that motorcycling has an audience besides the Boomers-on-baggers cliche. Two of our Smiths are "White guys", I guess?

My opinion on the matter, which perhaps is not in line with the current orthodoxy, is that people of all genders, colors, and lived experiences want the same basic things from a motorcycle. My wife didn't have any female-specific requirements for her R3; the Black bikers I know don't have a different opinion on powerband, equipment, or pricing just because of their skin color. I would be embarrassed to ask someone, "Do you want this bike to be slower/faster based on your lived identity as an AAPI?"

Now, with all that said, you can expect to hear from two of Hagerty's Black writers on the subject of motorcycling in the near future. Ethan Gaines has an Aspencade, and Douglas Madden is a long-time owner of a 750 Nighthawk who will be attending some events for us. In both cases, however, their race was incidental to the choice.

Again, thank you for your comments and I'm sorry if my response was too long and/or involved.

joemair
Pit Crew

Jack, first I really do appreciate the reply. Second, long and thoughtful responses are the ones I prefer. No apologies necessary.

While it might be true that folks of all genders and colors might want the same basic things from a motorcycle, we can't be sure until we know! After having conversations with women riders and riders of color, another important part is seeing and hearing from someone who looks like you or might have had experiences like you. Female rider coworkers that I have spoken with in the past have often lamented not seeing opinions from one of their own when it comes to bikes and seat height alone.

As a white guy, I rarely have to think about if I belong in a club; chances are there are dozens of guys that look like me. Having Ethan Gaines and Douglas Madden share their stories will perhaps let other Black riders feel like they belong and I have a feeling they will have a different perspective as a result. Regardless, I'm very appreciative of your time and replies!
-Nate
Detailer

+ 1,000 .

There used to be a Woman's ride day in Los Angeles, I went and it was fun
-Nate
ConfuciusRacing
Detailer

Sadly, You have overlooked THE motorcycle publication that still delivers in paper, and other formats, a very technically brilliant view on bikes, racing and the genesis of design as well as insight to the people behind the sport. The Editor In Chief has raised more than a few eyebrows in his career but what he HAS done is basically kick the former AMA in the a** and get air fence installed at Pro 2 Wheeled events. There's a great track day directory in each issue...

As a former racer myself, the mag is legit and the son of the owner one John Ulrich, Chris does great reviews of new stuff and has the bona fides to get the truth out of a bike, Yes he is invited to Spain for the newest Ducat XXX etc.

Look up Roadracing World and Motorcycle technology...
mf41user
New Driver

Thre is Motorcycle Classics (an American motorcycle magazine) and BIKE magazine (a British motorcycle magazine). Excellent articles and real road tests that Cycle World and Motorcyclist were no longer allowed to do by the manufactures. Buy these two print mags and keep the light lit.
SantaFeTrailer
New Driver

Oh man, you've got to get Jenny Smith on board too - perfect symmetry!
ConfuciusRacing
Detailer

Let's see...Seems like you guys have missed the most interesting and well rounded motorcycle magazine STILL IN PRINT.
The Editor has raised more than a few eye brows in his days, but his greatest action was to basically push the AMA out of the way by raising money for Air Fence, his son tells it like it is when he is invited to Spain to ride the latest Ducati XXX, as a former racer he knows what bikes do well, and what they could do better.

Check it out: Road Racing World and Motorcycle Technology...
Hueco
Pit Crew

First - you can also invert the opening statements to read "young motorcycle journo's who somehow are now car journo's". A very disturbing trend. Started with an X-6 then a Honda 305 then a leap to an H-1 then an H-2 and kept at it. Glad you are taking this step. A woman who has great chops with cycles and photography is Julia Laplame. Surely someone to talk to. I wish I could affords Smiths Creamcycle (sorry about that). One of the "car guy creates both icon motorcycle and car" stories. The new venture should be excellent.
Tinkerah
Technician

I'd rather you didn't do this. I'm on the last bike I'll ever own so won't be in the market again but I enjoy the writing so much I'll likely read all of it anyway committing even more of my limited time to the screen. Since you're probably going to do it anyway, find a Boss Hoss to test. I owned one for a short time, it was the only machine I couldn't get confident on so traded it away before I ended up in the ICU...or worse.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

I assure you I will look for a Boss Hoss. One of the most fascinating ideas to ever be realized in metal.
-Nate
Detailer

Well ;

As a long time touring and distance rider I'd like to see a bite of balanced reporting, not just the whiz - bang super speedy bikes .

Of course, I will unlikely be buying any more new bikes so my opinions are not worth much .

Rest assured I'll read the articles .

-Nate
spdfreak
Pit Crew

As an "older" ex road racer and Suzuki dealer, I can't leave the bikes alone. But even in the younger crowd, the Groms, Monkeys and repurposed CT70's (with 190 or 212cc engines) are extremely popular and a blast to ride. Lot's of modding going on in this segment. One problem for the bike manufacturers is simply price. The younger crowd just can't afford bigger new bikes that cost as much as their daily driver cars. But, even I find myself walking past my CB750F and VFR750F to the CT70 with 12in wheels, extended swingarm and 190cc kit. The little bikes are just fun in a childish sort of way. If Honda made a 250 Grom and Monkey, they would be the perfect urban/suburban run-around bikes and they are not intimidating- light and super easy to ride.

20190523_165257_HDR.jpg

 

Johnny5
New Driver

Diggin it.

Just bought a 1987 RG500 Gamma, a deadly sin if ever there was....

Reviews are tedious to read without that certain something.
Johnny5
New Driver

669855EA-F055-4F21-98DC-5CD1387F290D.jpeg

Swamibob
Instructor

Good day Jack et al. and congratulations on the new venture!
I'm not a motorcycle rider, but I do enjoy good writing and nearly everything mechanical, so I will be a willing reader. Looking forward to many excellent articles in the future.
For suggestions: I'd love to see a multi-manufacturer test involving monkey's and or mini bikes. 🙂 Because they just bring an instant smile to most peoples faces and I really want to see you and others try to ride them through an autocross (or mini-cross?) course dressed in full leathers and helmet. Or, if you're in a more California or just a 70's vibe maybe in shorts and sandals!
If you're in a slightly larger motor cycle mood; how about a head to head match up of pit bikes.

Either of those would be excellent. Keep up the good work, Jack. I really appreciate a writer who can conceive of and use the word 'ennui' correctly in a sentence. Thank you!
Rider79
Instructor

Good news!
LakeDave
New Driver

Want to review vintage bikes? There is a lot of vintage iron in Greenville SC. I have a 64 Triumph Tiger (just like the one Bob Dylan rode) 99 point bike AMCA.  68 Bonneville, w springer front end... British racing green, it's the 'dangerous bike' but oh so cool,  classic 74 Honda CB750,  2010 Concours.  I have a friend down the street with a big collection of mint condition crotch rockets from the 90's, all stock, all beautiful, tons of material to write about in one garage.  Also buddy near by,  expert in vintage British bikes with a shop, Norton, BSA, Triumph what ever you want.  Let me know if you're interested to drop by.  Dave S.   LakeDave

RA1
New Driver

Peter Egan is the best writer in motorsports. Motorcycles or cars.