Still Wandering in Indiana

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by radianrider, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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    Is a sign of an aging audience...or bikes that cost too much relative to earnings in the middle class?
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  2. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    radianrider said "...or bikes that cost too much relative to earnings in the middle class?"

    I do not disagree that there is an aging audience/demographic but the second part of your question is probably the biggest factor. As RD350 noted there are no lines or buyers for their high-end customs. Most showrooms are stocked with all models and all colors. With prices through the roof on American built iron new buyers are turning elsewhere and again, as in the early 70's, the Japanese offerings are reasonably priced and of equal or better quality and performance. But it should also be noted that the sport or life-style reached its zenith almost a decade ago. There has been a downward curve of new people coming into the marketplace(covering all types of motorcycling) for several years now. I think the demand is shrinking from both ends.
  3. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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    Just harder for kids to find places to ride. Same with team sports--baseball, b-ball, etc.. I remember playing pickup games with the neighborhood kids in any open field. Now you rarely see that. Parents and kids seem to think they need to be part of an organized league in order to have fun.

    We had an open field behind our house in Caribou, Maine and the kid that lived behind us had a mini-bike. That was the start for me, Then he upgraded to a Yamaha 80 (woot! real transmission) and that cemented my love for riding. Try that now (we lived in the middle of town) and the neighbors would call the police.

    Excuse me, have to go kick kids off my lawn. :lol3
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  4. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    Next time you’re in Hartford-tucky I’ll show you the same field in my old backyard. We played ball, rode bicycles, shot .22’s and learned to ride motorcycles. Sadly the industrial complex has engulfed most of that land and what isn’t developed is marked “NO TRESPASSING”. The times, they are changing. Now we’re the old guys chasing kids off our lawn! :thumb
  5. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    For those under age 24: I don't think it's the price of the Harleys. They have a broad portfolio of new bikes beginning as low as $8k and used ones below that. The difference is that you and I didn't have a smartphone when we were kids that consumed the first portion of our teenage and early adult income. We used bikes to physically get to our friends - they use smartphones to virtually access their friends. I don't think we would choose differently if we were in their shoes.

    As for the middle-age adults: I don't know how one argues a $22-30k HD touring bike is outrageously priced when a Goldwing is $28k and a BMW GS is $24k. And it's not a matter of price-to-value. The middle-class has decided that having a $45-65k SUV/pickup truck that gets 15mpg and cost $500-$1000 per year in registration fees/taxes is within their budget (... but somehow an economy car to use for commuting to extend the life of the expensive asset is not).

    [For reference: My RK was $16k but it gets 44mpg and costs $10/yr for registration. I'm confident the insurance is far less than a pickup too - but my two tires are definitely not cheap.]

    Personally, I understand that motorcycling isn't for everyone but this obsession with $50k+ SUVs & pick-up trucks, $20k side-by-sides, and $40k boats has far more to do with the decline of motorcycle sales than anything the motorcycle manufacturers or industry has done or not done. Middle-class Americans simply have more options for their discretionary income and they are spending it mostly on things that cost more than motorcycles, have higher cost of ownership, and feed their egos on a much larger scale. :hide

    Harley makes impeccably good bikes these days. I've said it before: my RK is designed and built better than my John Deere garden tractor. Neither were cheap and both will last beyond my lifespan. That's part of the price of a Goldwing or a Harley - they are not disposable items. You can readily find twenty year old units still on the road. [I know Triumphs also have long lifespans, but from what I observe, people tend not to ride them so much after about ten years - I don't know if nostalgia sets in early or what it is, but there is no shortage of Bonnevilles.]

    As much as I like a Honda CB500F and a lot of economy bikes, the simple fact is they have about a seven year lifespan before wearout and maintenance starts becoming an issue and after that you start running into parts availability issues (reference Honda Ascot, PCH, PanAm, etc...). I admit there is a certain attraction to a short term riding commitment the cheaper bikes offer, but I'm past the point in my life where I want to spend my free time wrenching on something that was not designed by the engineers to ever be wrenched on. [I'm so not into wrenching anymore that sometimes I have difficulty getting through a Motorcycles & Misfits podcast segment on them bitching about something they did in the garage that day. I've been there. I've done it. There is no romance left in that relationship.]

    If Mrs. RD didn't ride pillion, I'd probably be on a different bike... but it would probably still be a Harley... or maybe an Indian. Mrs. RD was immediately attracted to the new HD Bronx at the IMS and I took a gander at the Pan American. I also sat on every 250cc dual sport made by Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. (I absentmindedly skipped Yamaha). Every one of them felt like there was a 2x4 shoved up my ass. Yea, I'd probably learn to live with it and stand up a lot but, you know, I don't need to be uncomfortable anymore to prove anything in life. The truth is there is nothing I'm going to do and nowhere I'm going to go on one of those 250's that I wouldn't do on my RK - so why not be comfortable doing it.

    Now I need to get off this soapbox before the altitude sickness gets any worse and I start railing against Americans throwing their hard earned money away on the lottery and at casinos. :pope

    For the record: I don't chase kids off my lawn and I don't complain when snowboarders smoke pot around me on the mountain. :bubba
  6. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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    Ha! Nice rant!

    Now breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth!:lol3

    I hadn't considered some of your points about how and where discretionary money is being spent, but there is some sense in what you say.

    I don't own any of those things and have managed to enjoy life anyway--so there is that.

    I only sold my SV after five years because I had the chance to do a one-time purchase of a new bike that I always wanted. So I did. I figure I'll be riding it a long time and I don't regret the decision, but I could have been happy on the SV too. Great bike.

    Still want a 250 dual-sport, plank or no plank!
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  7. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Did you do the valve clearance maintenance on the SV while you owned it? It's fairly difficult to do the front cylinder on the VStrom but the rear cylinder is relatively easy.

    This is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sometimes I think it leaves out the realm of the clueless.

    I've gotten by without a pickup truck and SUV. Maybe the Jeep Wrangler jiggled the desire for either completely out of me. The four door Wrangler at the mall is the equivalent of a GS at a Starbucks and even more prevalent.

    I question whether Americans take roads for granted now. The interstate highway system was new in our parent's generation. They knew what it was like trying to get anywhere before 1965. Tires back then were shite so that was an element of adventure all on its own. Our generation experienced part of that newness and adventure as the family roadtrip became an annual ritual before fast food restaurants dominated the landscape.

    Now, thanks to Civil Engineers, there's a f_cking road everywhere and many where there shouldn't be. Almost every town looks the same and has the same restaurants, hotels, and retail stores. Who would want to travel in such a depressing environment - oh look, there's a Chuck'E'Cheese just like the one at home in Avon! Unless you are going to a National Park with a unique geographic feature or a location of significant historical significance - why would you pile into the car for an entire day just to see the same stuff you can see at home? And if you wouldn't do it in a car - you certainly aren't going to do it on a motorcycle.

    This is why the American West is a popular destination: it's empty and it's different. Empty and different enough that people will not only pile in the car for a roadtrip but also pack up a Harley and head to Monument Valley where there is absolutely nothing but emptiness, rock formations, and that place where Forrest Gump stopped walking.

    Perhaps it is inevitable that as our population increases and our cities densify and sprall that there's just less interest in exploring locally - something a motorcycle is really good for - and the impulse to get on a jet plane and go someplace really remote or different is magnified. I don't think there's a whole lot of native people in India or southeast Asia vacationing locally but Americans will go there to escape our sterile lives because it's cheap, dirty, and different.

    Now see what you did there with that well intention-ed advice! Guess I need to go stick that 2x4 up my a$$ to get me to shut up. :dhorse

    Check out this video:



    Now how do I go about making my next work trip to India coincide with a clear blue sky day at Everest Base Camp? I told my son that if I could be guaranteed that - I'd jump at the chance to ride there. But I sure as h#ll aint spending 24 hours on a plane each way to go to 18,000 feet and get crushing altitude sickness headache and nausea to see a cloud obscured Everest.
  8. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    >>> “The best roads are the ones no one travels unless they live on them. (Holding apart another rare category — roads that no one even lives on.)"

    Neil Peart from his news blog

    I must really be old. :fpalm I remember the interstates being built. More notably I-69 but also parts of I-70 through Missouri and west of there. Neil's quote reminds me of why I like remoteness so very much and why my asphalt travel is slowly and surely returning to the dirt from which I started. The bucking, plank-board seat of a single cylinder, 250cc dirt-bike looks like a comfortable spot to view places where no one lives. I must go there!

    BTW RD, have you read Desert Solitaire yet? Your last post is very Abbey-ish. :thumb
  9. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    I have developed an Edward Abbey streak over the last decade or so as I've seen my favorite places around the country changed forever. I'm not anti-development - I am pro smart development. Joel probably tires of hearing me say that the way Avon developed was a disaster and it will forever be a disaster. Imagine what US36 is going to look like in 20 years - just like Bridgeport and West Washington Street. Chandler AZ still looks fairly reasonable - some reasonable planning & zoning and master planned development going on there. The area I commute through every day on the westside of Minneapolis is booming with development. Fortunately, there are some really wealthy people (think with net worths in the $50M and up category) who live between my house and that growth who will be a barrier to development spralling out to where I live in Mayberry.

    I am currently reading a book on the Edmund Fitzgerald that my youngest son gave me for XMAS. He was born in '97 and didn't learn about the Big Fitz and Gordon Lightfoot's song until November of 2019. Makes me feel sort of like I failed as a parent. He loves the Beatles and the 70's so I didn't fail completely. The Big Fitz was a milestone in my childhood as my dad liked to vacation at Sault St. Marie and watch the big ships traverse the locks.

    I'm just a paradox of contradictions: I'm a registered Republican who longs for the party wisdom of Eisenhower, I'm cool with the legalization of marijuana even though I'll never toke, and I ride a Harley but don't look good in black leather. What are you gonna do... go west I guess.

    I love this line that Jedi5150 reminded us in his RR of what Robert Penn Warren said in “All The King’s Men”:

    “For West is where we all plan to go someday. It is where you want to go when the land gives out and the old field pines encroach. It is where you go when you get the letter saying: Flee, all is discovered. It is where you go when you look at the blade in your hand and the blood on it. It is where you go when you are told you are a bubble on the tide of empire. It is where you go when you hear that thar's gold in them-thar hills. It is where you go to grow up with the country. It is where you go to spend your old age. Or it is just where you go.”

    After the book on the Edmund Fitzgerald I'm going to read "All the King's Men" for the first time since 1984.
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  10. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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    Ya'll might enjoy Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry.

    The protagonist, musing on the recreational boaters blasting up and down the river--looking neither to the right nor to the left--declared they were having a relaxation emergency.

    Quite a treatise on the pros and cons of "progress."
  11. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Never heard of it. Will look it up when I get the chance.

    Back in 2010 or so my mom paid for my dad and I to got on a jet boat ride on the Wabash in Terre Haute. Thing was powered by an open exhaust small block V8. Damnedest thing I've ever done. Couldn't hear for a week... and I was wearing ear plugs.
  12. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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    Here's a fun way to spend a winter evening. This is only episode one of six.
  13. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Snowstake photo from Loveland Ski area this morning. Fourteen inches overnight. Among other things - this is why I do not live in Summit County. I like it - but not that much. I predict a lot of workers in Denver are going to call in sick today.

    LL.jpg
  14. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    >>> "I don't know about anyone else but i LOVE shows like this.. 1. Friendly competition 2. The SEARCH (bikes, cars etc) 3. The repairs 4. The ride 5. The thrills, spills and chills. 6. The camaraderie among friends 7. The life long stories you all will share for years."

    Joel - Good find! This is one of the comments posted under the video you linked. It pretty much sums up the reason those dirt roads going off into the horizon look so appealing. I had a chance to watch the intro and will find the time to watch the others... if I can find the time. :fpalm

    At any rate, it is an eye opener for your quest to find a cheap, small caliber dirt bike for more serious off-road adventures. I've been bitten by the 250cc bug so bad that I'm already trying to figure out ways to kill weekends locally or within driving range of home-base and I haven't even bought the bike yet. I'm not sure my skills are up to the level of places they went but they're certainly in line with what we could possibly find in southern Indiana or the U.P. of Michigan. Just sayin'. :augie
  15. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    There are probably public roads in southern Indiana that look like that video. :rofl

    Joel: I'm going to up the ante with section 4 of the AZ BDR. I did this with my Jeep Wrangler back in 2000 before the creek washed out the trail completely (you'll see this toward the end of the video when it gets really bad).

  16. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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    Interesting video, but hard to explain just how much I dislike the music. Like watching a bad police drama in the '70's.

    Can't help but think this trail would be as much fun, perhaps even more fun, on a small bike.
  17. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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    I'm working on saving up for the bike! Just have to find a cheap and get the time to go.

    Still haven't forgotten our aborted plans for TN.
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  18. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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    I think pothole season will look a lot like those roads!\
  19. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Bad music spoils otherwise good story.

    Nothing bigger than a 250 for me. No ledges either.

    Never heard of that trail before but it’s WTF out there.

    May re-watch last episode again tomorrow.
  20. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    Hi guys,

    When you have a chance you might take a look at the most recent post on my thread. I didn't want to post all of that in Joel's thread.

    Wandering . . . Indiana (Noob)

    Talk to you again soon.

    Thanks,

    Jay