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Sunday, 17 August 2014

What Happens When Yamaha Builds a Better Harley????

I received an email from the assistant editor of Canada Moto Guide the other day. Basically Zak said......"A Harley Davidson???? Really? In a joking tone of course because even though Zak is a DR650, small bike lovin' enthusiast, he does appreciate all facets of motorcycles. He did say he enjoyed his cross country trip on a Harley Switchback, all for the CMG readers of course. He even camped in a Walmart parking lot without the camper. He may well just be the first person to tent in a Walmart, that wasn't homeless.

Anyway, before this tangent gets too out of control, Zak said the best Harley 883 Iron built was in fact a Yamaha. Holy shit!!!! The blasphemy, how can a Japanese clone be a better Harley? The HD purists are up in arms, dew rags are being thrown to the ground in disgust. It's not possible.

Well I cannot say yay or nay on this, because I haven't ridden the new and improved 883 Iron by Yamaha. Zak had it as a long term test bike, and could be considered an expert in the field of Yamaha, Harley bobber clones. I only have my short 20min demo ride on the 883 to go by, and I did sit on a this so called clone at Atlantic Motoplex. It was a comfortable bike from what I remember for the 3 mins my arse was on the ultra suede seat. 

This better than Harley clone is of course the new Yamaha Bolt. Introduced this year to the motoring public, and according to Yamaha has now become the best selling metric cruiser. I assume "metric" means non-Harley, since everyone in the world is metric except for the good ol', behind the times, USA. Metric is so easy. Get with it America, and for the love of god go to Celcius, the whole Farenheit thing is confusing as hell. Water freezes at 0, boils at 100. Simple. At least Al Roker isn't giving the weather in degrees Calvin.

Shit, off topic again. Yamaha Bolt, right. So what's better about it. Well according to most reviewers on the bike, the motor, brakes and suspension are better, and some say the bike feels bigger, yet is 50lbs (must be an American reviewer) lighter. The Harley folk complain the seam on the tank is hideous, and its a clone. Not much to complain about.  Oh and the frame doesn't hug the engine as nice as the 883 does. Ugly gaps. Afterall there must be some flaws. Lord knows the Harley's have theirs. Now I'm not bashing Harley, they have been making some nice bikes for a lotta of years. The Sporty's in particular. But really until now there has been no direct competition, and competition is good. I mean would HD have improved the brakes and added an optional ABS on the Sporty's if it wasn't for the Bolt? Who knows. But its a bonus for us the consumer, whether you buy an Yamaha or an HD.

Question is....can I still be an Eddie Vedder, old '90's grunge rocker with a Bolt? According to the Yamaha Bolt video, I can at least be an aging hipster. Break out the flannel shirts honey.

I like motorcycles, all of them, ask my wife who gives me shit for wanting a new bike every year. I guess I just haven't found the right one yet. "It's my last one, I promise" has been said repeatedly in this house. Except when I say that I have my fingers crossed behind my back. Most marriages involve a few white lies or exaggerated truths.

So instead of rushing right out and buying an 883 Iron after a 20min demo ride I decided to take Zak's comment and run with it. Plus my darling wife gave me the look, you know the "its gonna cost you later" look if I trade in my bike now. So I am gonna research the Bolt a little more and see if I can get a demo on one. Plus, my friend Tim Hovey just happened to buy Maclean's Powersport, the local Yamaha and Suzuki dealer. He is in the process of having the name changed and overhauling the place. I think he'll do really well with the dealership and bring it to a whole new level. I'd like to help him out in anyway possible, which means purchasing all my new bikes from him. So we will see where this leads.

Once again this year I'll be attending the AIMExpo in Orlando. A very big bike show. They sent me an email asking me to confirm whether or not I'll be attending again this year. Just so happens my flight training is the week after, so I'll be going down early to partake again. I plan on demoing a Bolt this time. Cruising the flat boring roads under a burning Florida sun. Woohoo.

Next update will be during the Deer Lake 67 ultra marathon, followed by the Fundy Adventure Ride shortly afterwards. If I can still walk, or at least stand on the pegs.


  1. Good to see you taking a "sober second look." You should become a senator!

  2. Senator.........does that mean I can have an Ottawa bike and a Rothesay bike and be able to claim it as an expense. I could get the HD, and the Bolt. I could show up to Senate meetings in assess chaps, that's of course when I wasn't vacationing in Mexico for most of the winter.