Before You Enter the World of Motorcycles

2 the Harley 72 in green

Are you born to be wild? Does the winding, twisting asphalt call your name? Are you anxious to get to your mid-life crisis so you can finally have an excuse to buy that motorcycle you’ve always wanted? I’ve got good news for you. There is no need to wait for a crisis, mid-life or otherwise, before you get your hands on the ride of your dreams. You can buy one right now and feel good about it. Every time you choose to ride a motorcycle instead of an SUV, you conserve resources and reduce traffic congestion. Not to mention, they are a heck of a lot of fun to ride.

Ever notice how we drive cars, but ride motorcycles?

Before you head off to your nearest crotch-rocket dealer, there are a few things you need to know. First you have to make sure you get properly licensed to ride. All states have their own requirements for motorcycle licensing. You might want to start you journey by checking out There, you will find the specific licensing information for the state where you live. There are often two levels of licensing that distinguish between powered bicycles and full on motorcycles. Scooters are a grey area that could go either way. Check your state ordinances for clarification.

You also need to know your risks. states that there are over 4,000 fatal, motorcycle related, accidents annually. If you are not concerned about risk, or if “risk” is your middle name, then you are a fool, and your should change you name. Those young enough to treat life so cavalierly are the ones most likely to have an accident. See for yourself:

• The highest death and injury rates were among 20-24 year-olds, followed by 25-29 year-olds.
• More than half of all nonfatal injuries treated in EDs were to the leg/foot (30%) or head/neck (22%).
• Motorcyclist death rates increased 55% from 2001 to 2008 (1.12 per 100,000 persons in 2001 to 1.74 per 100,000 persons in 2008).
• The number of nonfatal motorcyclist injuries that were treated in EDs also increased, from nearly 120,000 injuries in 2001 to about 175,000 in 2008.

You might even find that some states are home to more motorcycle accidents than others. A little research into the matter might just give you a better idea of what your in for in your particular area. Being aware of the pitfalls up ahead goes a long ways towards helping you to avoid them.

With the risks in mind, naturally, you are going to want some insurance with that helmet. In fact, whether you want it or not, you are going to have to have it before you hit the ground running. You will need to check with your insurance company to see if they provide motorcycle insurance. They will also be aware of the current regulations regarding what type of insurance you need. If the added cost of motorcycle insurance is a problem for you, perhaps you should consider taking up bicycling.

Part of the insurance conversation should be about finding a good accident attorney. In the event of a accident, you don’t want to have to start frantically paging through the phone book for the first attorney who took out a full-page ad. Even if the accident is not your fault, there is something of a bias against motorcyclists in American society. The assumption is that the cyclist was doing something wrong. If the cyclist wasn’t already a convention-defying rebel, he would have been driving an SUV like the person who hit him. There are many attorneys who specialize in motorcycle related issues. Make sure you get to know one before you happen to need one.

Finally, one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents can be avoided altogether just by making yourself more visible. Car drivers hit motorcycle drivers most often because they just didn’t see them. Consider bright, perhaps even garish colors when choosing your ride and accessories. Use hand gestures when you can. Even if the driver does not know the gesture, it might be enough to catch his eye. Just making yourself visible is often enough to ensure you safely get from point A to point B.

But who are we kidding. Riding is not about getting from point A to point B. That’s what the SUV is for. Riding is its own reward. Just make sure the journey is always rewarding. And for the times when it is not, make sure you are properly prepared.


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The 5 Best Motorcycle Movies of All Time

For some initial, subjective, thoughts… What makes a great motorcycle movie?

First and foremost, it’s the writing. A motorcycle movie can go from cool to camp if the script isn’t any good. There were a number of motorcycle gang movies made in the 1960s and each one is campier than the last, which is why none of them made this list.

Acting is another important element. Talented actors are what make a good movie great. 1977’s “Viva Knevel” could have been a great motorcycle movie, if it didn’t star Evel Knevel. Knevel’s acting was laughable at the best moments, but oftentimes so outrageously bad it was hard to stomach the scene.

Also, a great motorcycle movie has to have cool bikes. Who can forget Wyatt and Billy’s retro Harley Davidson Hydraglides? The motorcycles in a motorcycle film should be special, unique, or otherwise crave-worthy.

FYI– It’s unfortunate, but they don’t make the Hydraglide anymore – not since the 1950s. Many people have replicated the motorcycles from Easy Rider. This number of these done has made it possible to purchase a similar bike, but you’ll need to find a good source of motorcycles that are for sale by owner, as you can’t currently purchase a replica directly from Harley Davidson. American Listed is a good option here in Texas but you may need do your own homework depending on your area.

Finally, a great motorcycle movie has to be memorable. If it’s forgettable, it didn’t make this list. We sought to add recognizable titles that have been universally enjoyed since its initial box office success.

Although all movie lists are debatable, we believe the following 5 films truly stand-out and fit the criteria outline above.

1. “The Wild Angels” (1966)

Actor Peter Fonda plays “Heavenly Blues,” a motorcycle gang leader from Venice, California. In the film, Blues and his gang consorts party hard. This film went on to become the 16th highest grossing film of 1966. The first of its kind, Wild Angels set the tone for more progressive films, such as “The Trip” and “Easy Rider.”

2. “Easy Rider” (1969)

Easy Rider has its boring moments, but who can deny its impact? This film inspired multiple generations to climb on their motorcycles and hit the open road to experience America’s rough-and-tumble countryside in a whole new way. Written by Jack Nicholson and staring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, “Easy Rider” was an easy choice for our number two spot.

3. “Mad Max” (1979)

Futuristic motorcycles? Check! Mad Max made crotch-rockets look cool, and since its box office success it has inspired more than a few speed-demons to pick up their own Kawasaki K-1000 (the same bike that was used in the film). Overall, Mad Max has it all – incredibly stunning cinematography, quality acting, motorcycle stunts, and it’s one of the most memorable films on this list.

4. “The Motorcycle Diaries” (2004)

Before he was “Che” Guevara, he was simply Ernesto, or Fuser to his friends. “The Motorcycle Diaries” is about the 8,000 km motorcycle trip taken by Guevara and Alberto Grandado. Its inspiring true events unfold as both men become brow-beaten and poverty-stricken by the journey, and yet they persevere, and the watershed journey helps shape the futures of both men.

5. “The Wild One” (1953)

Shot entirely in black and white, this classic film stars Marlon Brando. Brando plays Johnny Strabler, the deadly leader of a vicious motorcycle gang. This is the movie that launched Brando’s career and also spurned countless other movies with “rebel” types as the lead characters – see anything staring James Dean.


Making Men’s Hobbies Affordable

Triumph Thruxton-4

Listen, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from – as a man, you have interests and hobbies, and those are going to cost you money no matter which way you swing it. Men’s lifestyle choices can be costly, even if you are on a budget. Still, let’s have a look a some of these things that lots of guys love to do, and determine how you can ensure these hobbies don’t impact your good financial standing.

Car and Motorcycle Collections

If you are a guy who likes fast cars and bikes, then it’s a hobby that is naturally expensive. After all, you’ve got to purchase the vehicle, put fuel in it, put cash out for routine maintenance, and buy lots of fun things to keep it looking pretty. Not to mention the cost of insurance, and you’re sure to go all out and not pinch pennies here when you’re talking about a vehicle that is your baby.

Whether you’re driving your car or motorcycle on the road, on the track, or working on it in your garage, ensure that you stick to a budget in all areas. Routine maintenance may be necessary, but if it pushes your budget, then you don’t need to break the bank to put in a new sound system, or replace the tires when the ones you have on are doing just fine. And, for those things that you do need, you can shop around for better deals.

Sporting Activities

Who doesn’t like to hit the gym, get on the football field for some good old-fashioned downtime, or even just make some informed brackets for March Madness? While these activities may keep you and your boys active and well-socialized (especially when there are drinks available to be had as part of the package), the costs of these activities add up. Take advantage of free activities! Click here for a free March Madness competition that could get you to the Final Four.

If golf is your activity of choice, then you’ve got to pay for your tee time, every single time you hit the course, or you’ve got to invest in a membership. If you’re playing with an organized sports team, then you have a cost of registration.

Then, on top of the basic costs to play, you’ve got all the gear. While men might give women trouble for their love of shopping at the malls, we all know guys enjoy spending cash in other areas – getting the best equipment for hobbies and sports. Of course, the equipment falls in the “necessity” category, so don’t worry, we have your backs there. But, you’ve still got to watch so you don’t go overboard.

When it comes to golfing, look for special deals or offers at courses during the less busy season or less popular times. Or, look for course trying to recruit new members for special introductory prices to play.

Drinking Beer

Well, we aren’t here to judge, and we know that some guys simply like to do just about anything that they can do with a beer in their hand. So go for it, as long as you’re drinking responsibly, there’s really no harm (except, maybe to your liver if you engage a little too often). If you want to drink on the cheap, have your beer at home, during happy hours, or even better, find a way to brew it yourself!


Sunday Reading: Father’s Day, Tyrion Lannister and Génesis Rodríguez

Hopefully you’ve realized that this is Father’s Day and you’ve already picked up some cool gifts. If not, check out our guide for some last minute gift ideas, and you can always go with booze, though in some areas you can’t buy it on Sundays.

Looking back on the week, season two of “Game of Thrones” came to an end, and Nate Kreichman took at look back at the highlights of another excellent season. Tyrion Lannister (played by Emmy Award winning actor Peter Dinklage) is probably our favorite character on TV these days, as his approach to life in many ways mirrors that of our staff.

You might remember the lovely Génesis Rodríguez from her season 7 appearances on Entourage, and Bob Westal caught up with her in connection with her role opposite budding Latin American leading man Will Ferrell (pronounced “Wheel Fer-all”) in the over-the-top Spanish language Mexploitation/telenovela spoof, “Casa de mi Padre.” Check out our 5 questions interview with Génesis.

You can also check out our review of the Entourage Season 8 DVD. It wasn’t the best season for that show, so you might want to check out Season 8 of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” instead.

It’s hard to believe that “Dallas” has been revived with Bobby and J.R. Ewing coming back with a new crop of young soap-opera styled actors and actresses. This naturally inspired Will Harris to take a look back at some other famous and not-so-famous TV revivals.

Joe Gustafson has a great piece on the Triumph Bonneville and how it brings 60s cool to the new millennium. You can find stories on more bikes on our new motorcycle channel.

For our car review last week we had the BMW 335i Sedan, which naturally put a smile on our reviewers face. Also, publisher Gerardo Orlando flew out to Salt Lake City this past week to drive the 2013 Mustang Boss on a race track, so check back next week for that story.

Meanwhile, in theaters, “Rock of Ages” is a dud according to David Medsker.


Harlistas in East LA: Harley-Davidson showcases the new Seventy-Two Sportster

American motorcycle legend Harley-Davidson hosted an event for its latest Sportster model, the “Seventy-Two,” and was invited to ground zero of Latino motorcycle culture in East LA for the press launch and cultural immersion. The “72,” with its stylistic nod to hi metal flake custom paint and chrome so popular with the Latino low riders of Wittier Blvd., has made this one of Harley’s most splashy and eye-catching Sportster models to date.

Our first stop was the Harley-Davidson dealership in Glendale on the outskirts of downtown LA for a review of the Harley family of motorcycles for 2012 and our first glimpse of the new Seventy-Two model. This strikingly flashy Sportster is sure to get attention at any stoplight but is also within the most reasonably priced group of Harleys. The “72” boasts a hugely attention-getting hi metal flake red paint job, in Hard Candy Big Red Flake, the Evo 1200 cc V- twin, mini ape handle bars and a peanut gas tank. Forward foot controls and a low 28” seat height give laid back rider comfort, and the high torque output (73 pd-ft) in the low/mid RPMs lends the bike to impressive acceleration on the low end of the spectrum. The MSRP is $10,499 for the standard paint, and if you want the Hard Candy Big Red Flake, it has an MSRP of $11,199.

Tipping the scales at a modest 545lbs, this bike feels even lighter than it is, with a chopper fork rake, aluminum head and cylinders, skinny white wall wheels and narrow frame. The Sportster family has always been my favorite, with its nimble design and attractive low price, and it was always the most fun to drive. This is a bike either sex can easily operate with ease, the low un-sprung weight and laid back low seat height making it fun to buzz around in on a whim.

Soon after the showroom tour we were given an informative presentation of the Latino and Harley cultural marriage here in East LA. For more than 50 years, Latin American Harley riders have been proudly calling themselves Harlistas, and we were about to go on an enlightening tour of Los Angeles, with all things Latin and Harley mixed in!

Latino culture has profoundly shaped California and LA in particular, and the Latino culture loves the concept of Harley as it symbolizes freedom, individually and a sense of family – the Harley family. We visited several cultural highlights of East LA, including the LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, the Chicano murals of Boyle Heights, Candelas Guitars and a stop at Cities Restaurant, complete with authentic Mexican premium tequila tasting, courtesy of paQui Tequila! The food and subsequent tequila shots were delicious, and we boarded the tour bus for the afternoon stops.

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