Friday, March 23, 2007

Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish is Back! (Sort of)

OK, I'll admit it: I like to keep my motorcycles clean. Hey, everyone has to have at least one bad habit! For those who suffer from a similar disorder, you'll be happy about this news. I just returned from a local dealer where I was buying some Repsol oil, and happened to run into a distributor for Motorcycle Stuff products, which includes Repsol products and "Motorcycle Stuff ® Spray Cleaner & Polish". Sound kinda familiar? The rep told me (I have no way of knowing it its true) that when the EPA forced Honda to stop selling its "Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish", the manufacturer and Honda couldn't come to business terms on selling a reformulated version. Motorcycle Stuff could, however, and is now selling it under its name. I'm told the only noticeable difference is the odor, the original scent is patented by Honda. For those of us who swear by this stuff, this is very good news indeed...provided of course it works as well as the original. I bought a 16 oz. can and hope to do a comparison test v. the Honda product soon and post the results; I still have a couple of cans left 'cuz I began hoarding cans last year when I heard Honda wouldn't restock the product.

Addendum: When I got home from work, I compared cans of the two sprays. Honda's larger can is 14oz; the new stuff is 16oz. The product claims and instructions for use on the back of the Motorcycle Stuff can matches the Honda can nearly 100%. I sprayed a bit of each on separate, clean terry cloth towels. First, the sniff test: the Honda product has a distinctive smell -- the M/C Stuff product is nearly odorless (your nose may vary). I then used each product to clean a section of plastic bodywork on my ZR-7S. Each product went on and "worked" the same. I detected no discernible difference in the cleanliness or shine of the two sections. It may be my imagination, but the Honda product seems to have slightly better anti-static properties. Without a more scientific test, which I'm not about to do, I can't pronounce the M/C Stuff product is in fact less anti-static, but perhaps with experience the answer will come. I'm confident that Motorcycle Stuff Spray Cleaner & Polish is essentially the same product as the old Honda
Spray Cleaner & Polish. Clean Bike Syndrome sufferers rejoice!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring Is Here!(?)

Though the calendar says its Spring, the photo I shot at left (click to enlarge) during my ride in to work early this morning is evidence to the contrary. The 29F temp kept me in Winter Mode, i.e. geared-up for sub-freezing temps and and occasional icy patches convinced me to stay away from some of the more narrow and twisty country lanes I would otherwise take. Limited site lines, low light conditions and ice patches don't mix well -- throw in deer and the potential for excitement is a bit too much for me...particularly before my first cup of coffee. I've already had a few "moments" involving ice this Winter that I was fortunate to manage (more due to luck than skill I'm afraid) so I'm not pressing now that warmer temps are nearly here. C'mon "Real" Spring!!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

'75 BMW R90S - An Early Sport-Tourer

At the time, I believe the 1975 BMW R90S was marketed as a "Superbike", i.e. a large displacement road-burner. However, in retrospect it may have been one of the earliest incarnations of what would later be known as a "sport touring" bike: a machine designed to cover long distances quickly and in relative comfort, particularly if the route between Point A and B was as twisty as possible. Here is a good summary of the R90S' specifications. I shot the pic at right (click to enlarge) at the AMA Museum in Pickerington, Ohio last Summer.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Americade Rally

A couple of days ago I registered for my favorite motorcycle rally, Americade, centered on Lake George, New York. Thomas Jefferson described Lake George as the "Queen of American lakes". Americade is the largest "touring rally" (i.e. a centrally-organized event; not a "Bike Week" type of "happening") in the world, with 50,000+ registered attendees the last few years. Unregistered thousands more will also show up. This will be my 7th Americade in the last 9 years. It's great fun with tons to do, including seminars by noted moto-journalists and travelers, skills shows, demo rides, bike judging, field events, guided and unguided tours, and charity Poker Runs. It also features a giant motorcycle trade show, TourExpo. Now all that's great, but I tend to spend most of my time just riding all those twisty roads and mountain gaps in the Adirondack National Park (the largest in the continental US!) and nearby Vermont. I usually find time to meet up with various Americade friends (most of which I only see during Americade) for a couple of breakfasts and dinners at times and locations that have become traditional over the years.

I shot the pic above in 2005 from Prospect Mountain, overlooking Lake George. (Click to enlarge)