July/August 2008
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Touring and Travel Articles

Shamrock Tour® - Gainesville, Florida

Shamrock Tour® - Gainesville, Florida

It's a long, slow process squaring off a touring motorcycle's tire. As the wheels rotate, asphalt constantly gnaws at the radial's vulnerable contact patch. Like legions of amoebic strip miners, this aggregation of incisors attacks my ebony hoops - digging, grinding, and belching away a microscopic vapor of polymer that settles unseen upon the grasses swayed by the passing Triumph.
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Southwest Oklahoma

Southwest Oklahoma

Karen and I can hardly wait to begin this tour on our Honda ST 1300. The land to cross is part of the vast Great Plains that stretch from North Dakota through Texas. And because we have lived on the east coast for years, many of the stops planned along our route represent the first time either of us has returned since the carefree days of our youth. Our five-day, 610-mile tour begins and ends in our hometown of Oklahoma City.
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Grand Canyon Suite

Grand Canyon Suite

We leave the North Rim of Grand Canyon around five o'clock, hesitating for a moment about missing the sunset on the Painted Desert, but realizing that would put us on the road after dark. As we turn northeast at Jacob Lake, we're delighted by the twisty, curvy trail through the rocks. Christa picks up the pace, and I float down the mountain, the Ninja staying on the Concours' heels at every turn.
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The Catskills

The Catskills

Angry clouds unleash a summer storm worthy of the evening news, toppling power lines and causing flash floods. I'm on an Aprilia Tuono (Italian for thunder, ironically), protected by a gas station canopy in Masonville, New York. I'm not alone though, as other riders have sought shelter here in the only dry place for miles. I set off when the storm subsides, and two bolts of lightning strike in the direction I'm heading. It's going to one of those trips…
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British Columbia

British Columbia

In the late 1800s a gold rush engulfed the interior of southwestern Canada. However, to be worth the assayers' valuations, the precious metal and other mined commodities had to reach the Pacific coast. Great mountain ranges and deep river gorges stood in the way, and at that time, building the Kettle Valley line proved to be the most difficult and cost-intensive construction of a railway ever. It took 20 years to complete, and the first train ran in 1915.
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From Mongolia to China

From Mongolia to China

A broad band of tracks lines the sand of the vast valley, but soon the ruts converge until only two of them are left. I am traveling on my BMW F 650 GS/PD in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia. A barely discernible path leads over the highest pass here, the Buraatyn Davaa, which is the sole route from west to east in southern Mongolia.
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Motorcycle Reviews

2008 Buell Ulysses XB12XT

2008 Buell Ulysses XB12XT

The introduction of the Ulysses XB12X in 2006 marked an obvious departure from the Buell Motorcycle Company's high-performance, track-bred roots. They put aside their knee pucks, toe sliders, and pristine pavement for dual-sport boots, hand guards, and the oft-graveled (or worse) road less traveled. For 2008, the departure theme has struck again for this Wisconsin wanderer and this time, it's a return to the hard road in the form of the new Ulysses XB12XT.
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2008 BMW R 1200 RT vs. 2008 Moto Guzzi Norge

2008 BMW R 1200 RT vs. 2008 Moto Guzzi Norge

Each of these machines is powered by a twin-cylinder engine of similar displacement, and a quick perusal of the spec sheets indicates how very similar these sport-tourers are in other respects too. Both machines are built in the shadow of the Alps: Munich to the east and Mandello del Lario to the south. And both were built with the same task in mind - to transport a rider and passenger rapidly and sportingly, yet with long-distance comfort and capabilities assured.
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The 2008 Triumph Urban Sport Models

The 2008 Triumph Urban Sport Models

It's not often that motorcycle manufacturers choose to debut their latest models on the east coast. So when Triumph asked if we'd be interested in joining the coming-out party for their latest Urban Sports models in the Great Smoky Mountains, our response was immediately affirmative.
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2008 Suzuki Boulevard C109/C109RT

2008 Suzuki Boulevard C109/C109RT

On March 9, 1862, the first "modern" naval battle took place off Sewell's Point, Virginia, between the ironclads USS Merrimack and CSS Virginia. On the previous day, the Virginia had pummeled the wooden-hulled ships of the Union fleet until the Merrimack arrived to defend them. The confrontation eventually proved inconclusive because neither ship's guns could penetrate the other's iron-plated wooden hull. The Merrimack and Virginia were two of the first in a class of warships that were to become known as "cruisers."
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2008 Honda FSC600A Silver Wing

2008 Honda FSC600A Silver Wing

As I rattled over the fir-plank bridge to Westham Island, a vast flock of snow geese swept overhead, darkening the sky and filling the air with surround-sound honking. In the filtered sunlight, their feathers took on a lustrous gray color, almost silvered. Silver Wing. What a great name for a scooter, I thought.
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Also in this issue ...

  • The Production of An Aluminum Case [Read]
  • Ride Like a Pro [Read]
  • The Centenary Isle of Man TT [Read]
  • Gettin Started in Motorcycling [Read]