Tag Archives: Indian Motorcycle

Chasing Gene and Washie: An Indian Tale

Chasing Gene and Washie
Eric Trow and Ron Washabaugh face off on the same clay their grandfathers raced on more than 70 years earlier (below). Contemporary photos by Hal Deily, archival photos courtesy of the author.
Chasing Gene and Washie

At a time when American riders were fighting the Harley and Indian wars, Gene Townsend and Floyd “Washie” Washabaugh were unflinchingly Indian men. It was rumored their blood flowed a bit more maroon than the rest of us, having the distinct deep shade of the brand’s signature Indian Red color.

Over the years, the two men defended the Indian brand on dirt tracks across Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Gene, my grandfather, born in 1908, spent most of his racing years on an Indian 101 Scout sporting the #9 plate. He was a top regional amateur racer from the mid-1920s on into the war years, only to retire when a brush with a #6 bike sent them both through a fence.

Chasing Gene and Washie
Gene Townsend before a race on his highly tuned Indian 101 Scout.

The radio announcer covering the event mistook the upside down #6 machine as the #9 and mistakenly reported that Gene Townsend had been rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. My grandmother and her young daughter (my mother) were beside themselves when they heard the broadcast. Gene promised to never worry them again and quit racing on the spot. Washie, five years his junior, competed successfully on Indian Sport Scouts through the mid-1950s, and even had a short stint as a professional racer with Gene’s backing.

Chasing Gene and Washie
Parker, Eric, and Ron leaf through a period racing program along the road to Winchester.

By 1948, Gene had owned his southwestern Pennsylvania Indian agency (what dealerships were called back then) for about 20 years. He had built his reputation as an exceptional rider and racer as well as an expert tuner. If Indian riders wanted the hot setup, Gene was the guy to see. Washie was granddad’s close friend, a fellow racer, and a fixture at the old shop. They shared a passion for three things: Indian motorcycles, racing, and storytelling.

Chasing Gene and Washie
Floyd “Washie” Washabaugh aboard his #64U Indian Sport Scout racer in 1948.

I only knew Washie as an older man who rode his flashy old Indian Chief to my granddad’s shop. But I envisioned him and Gene as the vibrant and courageous young dirt-track racers in the old, dog-eared photographs taken in their racing days. The deep connection I developed with these older men was something I thought only my brother and I knew. Then I heard about Washie’s grandson, Ron.

We may have met at some point at the shop when we were kids, but Ron Washabaugh and I didn’t know each other. About three years ago, we met while attending the American Flat Track races at Williams Grove near Harrisburg. We immediately hit it off and began swapping stories of that magical old motorcycle shop and the deep appreciation and fondness we had for our grandfathers.

Chasing Gene and Washie
Some sections of the old National Pike haven’t changed much since Gene and Washie rode them.

The most powerful memories for Ron and me were the racing tales told so passionately by old Gene and Washie. Through their words they painted vivid pictures of handlebar-to-handlebar racing adventures aboard their Indians on myriad local dirt tracks, as well as more distant venues such as Cumberland, Maryland, and Winchester, Virginia. They would either stuff a bike into the back of a sedan or ride their Indian Scouts to a track, remove the headlights and fenders to race, and then reassemble everything for the ride back home afterward. If they weren’t racing, they were organizing rides to watch others compete, like legendary AMA Hall of Famer “Iron Man” Ed Kretz at the Langhorne, Pennsylvania, track where he dominated the mile oval.

Chasing Gene and Washie
Stepping away from the digital GPS and iPhones, a vintage paper roadmap is used to chart the path the way their grandfathers (and great-grandfathers) would have done (below). It was a bit easier for the two older guys in the group.
Chasing Gene and Washie

Ron and I decided to retrace Gene and Washie’s path to one of the legendary tracks they rode to back in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Ron and his son, Steven, and me and my son, Parker, conspired to chase Gene and Washie into the past on a journey to the old Winchester Speedway. As grandsons and great-grandsons, we would emulate the experience the two elders had back in the day. We would ride the National Road (U.S. Route 40) and other two-lane roads, stop where they might have stopped, eat at family-owned diners along the way, and find classic roadside motor lodges where they might have stayed. At every opportunity, we would celebrate their story and, at the same time, get to know each other and forge another generation of bonding around a common passion for motorcycles.

Chasing Gene and Washie
After a sprint up the mountain, the overlook atop Summit Mountain on Route 40 was a popular stop for the old boys.

Ron and I both have vintage Indians, but for this excursion Ron was aboard his modern Indian Roadmaster, and I piloted my Indian FTR 1200 S Race Replica. Stephen rode his new FTR 1200 as well, complete with a number plate bearing his great-grandfather’s racing number, #64U. Parker rode a 2018 Harley, just for a little tension in the spirit of that old brand rivalry. (The H-D Heritage 114 is mine, and so is the kid; both are terrific, and any ribbing was in good-spirited fun.)

Chasing Gene and Washie
Eric shows the kids proper tuck technique for flat track.

Last October, the Washabaugh boys met my son and me at a diner not far from the old shop. We ordered breakfast and gobbled up the vintage photo albums Ron brought with him. Although the food and conversation were delicious, we needed to get our planned adventure rolling. There would be more time to talk along the road, so we paid the tab and headed to the old Townsend cycle shop. The unexceptional building still stands (barely) just off the National Road, three miles east of Brownsville, Pennsylvania.

Chasing Gene and Washie
Washie straddles a sidecar-mounted drum of fuel used as a rolling gas station.

The modest shop was a hub of activity in its day, a gathering place where riders regularly came and went. Some visited to see what new machines and accessories had arrived. Others stopped by for a set of points, a condenser, and maybe a pair of spark plugs on their way through town. Most wheeled in for the conversation and the stories.

It was also the headquarters and ride origination point for members of Gene’s Scouts Motorcycle Club, an AMA-sanctioned club that served as the local riders’ social group and the sponsoring organization for motorcycle competitions. Washie raced as an AMA pro for one year under the Gene’s Scouts M.C. banner. Unfortunately, after just one season, the cost proved to be too steep, and he returned to amateur racing. Some things never change for aspiring racers.

Chasing Gene and Washie
Racing at Winchester included flat track and this TT race with hills and a jump.

Soon, the engines of our Indians (and Harley) fired to life in front of the old shop, echoing the hundreds of Indians that had gone before from that same spot.

We rolled out of the parking lot and onto Route 40. The first planned stop was just up the road at LaFayette Memorial Park, where we paid our respects at Gene’s and Washie’s family plots. We thanked them for the tremendous influence they had on our lives, saluted their adventures, and invited them to ride along with us inspirit as we retraced the path they took seven decades earlier.

Chasing Gene and Washie
Gene’s Indian agency in the early 1940s.

Back on the road and heading east on the National Road, we approached Uniontown. I thought of the story Gene told me about a board-track motordrome speedway that was built there for motorcycle racing in the late teens of the last century. As a boy, he would climb a tall tree outside the grounds just to catch a glimpse of the racers flying by on the large, steeply banked wood-plank track.

Chasing Gene and Washie
Indians gather once again in front of the old Indian shop (apologies to the author’s son on the Harley).

Although the multilane highway now bypasses the towns, we took the old route that Gene and Washie would have followed through downtown Uniontown and Hopwood. We rejoined the highway on the other side where the pavement abruptly angled skyward, ascending Summit Mountain. Back in the day, this was a narrow two-lane ribbon that wound tightly up the steep hill – a rider’s dream. This stretch was the subject of many of the old timers’ stories as they recounted how they raced each other up the steep, twisting curves to the crest of the hill. They heeled their Scouts and Chiefs over so far into these corners that the frames would drag, levering the rear wheels off the ground momentarily. The trick, they said, was to hold the throttle open and let the bike reestablish traction without upsetting the chassis. Easier said than done!

Chasing Gene and Washie
Members of Gene’s Scouts M.C. at a gas stop during one of their organized rides.

Today, the road is a four-lane divided highway tracing the original circuitous path. Ron, me, and our boys turned up the wick on our machines as we ascended the hill. It was a hoot to drop down a gear and put ourselves, at least mentally, alongside our grandfathers and great-grandfathers on a spirited sprint up the mountain.

Chasing Gene and Washie
The old crew would have likely crossed this stone arched bridge along Route 40 on their way to Winchester.

As we approached the summit, I signaled and the four of us wheeled off I-40 into the lookout at the peak of Summit Mountain. This was a spot where Gene, Washie, and the rest of their crowd regrouped countless times over the years. Summit Mountain was not just a road they took on the way to somewhere else, it was their local destination for sport riding. It’s where the guys tested their latest tuning and hop-up tricks. It’s where local Indian and Harley riders found out whose machine had the “soup” to capture the king-of-the-hill title for that week.

Chasing Gene and Washie
A typical overnight stay for the boys back in the day.

Ron and I used this pull-off to tell our sons stories we’d heard about this road and their great-grandfathers’ motorcycling adventures. We took turns contributing our own recollections, helping each other connect the dots where there had been gaps in our individual knowledge. Parker and Stephen stood by, soaking it all in.

Chasing Gene and Washie
Surely Gene and Washie would have stopped for the overlook at Town Hill.

Back on the road, we imagined the roadside stops the men might have made along their way. We proposed where they may have paused to stretch their legs, consult a map, check chain tension, or maybe add a quart of oil. Then we’d stop too. We took advantage of those roadside breaks to look through collections of old racing photos, racing publications, and pictures our grandfathers and their pals had taken along the road to different racing venues.

Chasing Gene and Washie
The Clarysville Motel in Frostburg, Maryland, has been operating for 100 years.

On occasion, we saw a turnoff to Old Route 40, most often a short spur of narrow two-lane that soon rejoined the newer main road. It was fun to ride a few of these old sections to capture the ride experience Gene and Washie had, but it was impractical to take each little detour. Other times we saw sections of Old Route 40 that were no longer accessible, including an area where an old stone arched bridge was once the path of the old National Pike. Gene and Washie probably traveled that same old stone bridge on their way to Winchester. We could only view it from the main road.

We paused at the old Clarysville Motel that looked like it might have been there when our grandfathers rode through. As it turns out, the place has been serving travelers for nearly 100 years. Other than the modern vehicles in the parking lot, it would be hard to distinguish 2021 from 1948 or earlier. Certainly, Gene and Washie rode by here many times, and may have even stayed on occasion when daylight expired.

Chasing Gene and Washie
The inn at Town Hill, Maryland, would have likely looked the same for the Gene’s Scouts crew in the 1940s.

In Maryland, the old highway began to rise, fall, and twist dramatically. This was the kind of road on which the boys surely had the old Indians dancing. They would have been intimately familiar with this fun section of road, knowing what lay ahead and anticipating it well in advance. After navigating a particularly enjoyable stretch, we crested a hill to discover the historic Town Hill Inn and overlook. This was a likely rest stop for Gene and Washie along their ride. It was a natural place to take a breather, check over the bikes, and enjoy the spectacular view across the wide valley below.

Chasing Gene and Washie
When not on the track, Gene’s Scouts were in the stands to watch their buddies race.

In Hancock, Maryland, we picked up Route 522 south and rode through quaint, historic Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, and on south into Virginia to our destination of Winchester.

Once in downtown Winchester, Ron led us to an iconic spot for a hot dog. Whether Gene and Washie ever stopped at this historic stand for a dog when they were in town, we’ll never know. But just in case, we thought we’d better have one since we were trying to capture the experience.

Chasing Gene and Washie
Grandsons and great-grandsons pause at the Winchester track to reflect on two diehard old racers.

Since the Winchester Speedway is sometimes referred to as the old airport speedway, we meandered through the town following directional signs for the airport. After working our way along narrow roads that wound around the airport property, we came to the end of the road and were unexpectedly at the back side of the racetrack. No big sign. No grand entrance. As a lot of these rural speedways were, it was simply a venue where people gathered. The raceway was probably not much different than it was when Gene and Washie were last here together, except now the old wooden grandstands are gone, replaced with concrete and metal.

Chasing Gene and Washie
Gene carves up the clay on an Indian Scout.

The beauty of these local facilities is how approachable the track personnel can be. We arrived midweek in the middle of the day and told our story. Hoping to have a picture taken outside the track at the speedway sign, our plan was thwarted when we realized there was no such sign and no suitable backdrop. Fortunately, the track folks invited us to bring the bikes onto the track and position them in front of the wall on the back straight where “Winchester Speedway” was painted in bold lettering. It was perfect. Ron couldn’t resist the temptation to ride around the dirt track just to run tires on the same clay that his grandfather once tore up on the #64U Indian Sport Scout.

Chasing Gene and Washie
A lineage of Indian men chased their ancestors Gene and Washie to Winchester Speedway to rev up their legacy for another generation.

We were all having a great time and didn’t want the adventure to end, but the autumn sun was already sinking low in the sky. With our mission completed and an abundance of pictures taken to commemorate our expedition, it was time to say our goodbyes. Ron and Stephen had about a two-hour ride east to get back home. Parker and I needed a bit longer for our westward trek on modern interstate highways back toward Pittsburgh.

On the way home through the darkness, I replayed the ride over again. In my mind, I overlayed images of Gene and Washie from 70 years ago on today’s images of Ron, Stephen, Parker, and me riding the same roads to Winchester. It felt good to ride with other descendants. It felt even better to be together, chasing Gene and Washie.

Chasing Gene and Washie
The ride began with a visit to the resting places of Gene and Washie. They were then invited to ride along in spirit.

POSTSCRIPT

As much as the Indian boys would love to hear that the Harley broke down so often that we were forced to abandon our plans (or abandon Parker), the Heritage 114 did just fine. While it’s fun for us to see the old Harley and Indian wars heating up once again in this modern era (we can hear Gene and Washie piping in from the great beyond), the real benefit of that rivalry has been the development of better motorcycles from both brands. A little competition is a good thing, though Gene and Washie would still give Indian a slight edge. After all, it’s in their blood.

The post Chasing Gene and Washie: An Indian Tale first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Indian release race-inspired FTR 1200

Indian Motorcycles has released a limited edition of its FTR1200 to celebrate five years of victories in the US flat track championships.

The range starts in Australia at $A20,995 and the new Championship Edition is based on the flagship Carbon model at $25,995 with carbonfibre fenders, tank, airbox cover, headlight and tail cowls, but not wheels, plus titanium Akrapovic exhaust.

For an extra $1000, the Championship Edition has a race paint scheme and badging, and 19″/18″ wheel set up like their race replica model.

Price could be more than that as you can personalise the bike with your own accessories.

Only 400 will be available globally and it appears you have to order online here and submit it to your local dealer who will contact you to confirm details and availability.

The FTR Family is powered by a V-twin with 120Nm of torque and 92kW of power.

Other features include a 4.3-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity; fully adjustable forks and piggyback rear shock; Sport, Standard, and Rain modes with different throttle maps and traction control levels; lean-angle stability control; ABS with cornering pre-control; and wheelie control with rear lift mitigation.



Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Indian Motorcycle’s FTR Championship Edition

Indian Motorcycle FTR Championship Edition

Indian Motorcycle, America’s First Motorcycle Company, today celebrates its flat track racing legacy with the launch of the FTR Championship Edition. With only 400 available globally, the limited-edition FTR allows race fans from around the world to join the Indian Wrecking Crew in celebration of the team’s five-consecutive American Flat Track championships.

Inspired by the sport’s preeminent flat track race machine, the FTR750, the FTR Championship Edition touts an authentic race paint scheme and a commemorative Indian Motorcycle Racing bezel with each championship season on display. But more than a show piece, the limited-edition FTR features premium components, including a titanium Akrapovič Exhaust and fully adjustable front forks and piggyback shock. Carbon fiber parts, including a seat cowl, front fender, airbox covers and headlight nacelle, complete the bike’s premium design.

Indian Motorcycle FTR Championship Edition

“Since the FTR’s debut in 2019, riders around the world have expressed their passion and enthusiasm for the FTR’s flat track-inspired design,” said Aaron Jax, Indian Motorcycle Vice President. “While the 2022 FTR lineup optimizes the FTR’s on-road performance, the FTR Championship Edition reignites our flat track racing legacy and celebrates the Wrecking Crew’s historic success. Although this limited-edition bike is a commemorative show piece, it’s also an on-road ripper that performs in the twisties as well as turns heads on city streets.”

Adding to its flat track-inspired design are a host of premium features and ride-enhancing technologies, including three ride modes, wheelie control with rear lift mitigation, stability control, traction control, and cornering ABS. The FTR Championship Edition also touts a 4.3-inch digital touchscreen display and a 1,203cc liquid-cooled V-Twin engine that produces 120 horsepower and 87 lb-ft of torque. The limited-edition FTR is equipped with a race-inspired wheel combination of a 19-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel – wrapped in Dunlop street tires with flat track-inspired tread. Radially mounted dual front disc Brembo brakes offer exceptional control and stopping power, while ProTaper flat tracker aluminum handlebars complete the race bike look.

Indian Motorcycle FTR Championship Edition

Indian Motorcycle Racing, the winner of the last five Manufacturer’s Championships, returned to professional flat track racing in 2017. Since the debut of the FTR750, an Indian Motorcycle Racing factory rider has won the championship every year in the sport’s premiere class. The 2022 Indian Wrecking Crew, consisting of 2021 SuperTwins Champion Jared Mees, two-time champion Briar Bauman, and the team’s newest member, the winningest rider in American Flat Track Singles history, Shayna Texter-Bauman, will look to defend its title at the season opener on March 10 at the Volusia Half-Mile.

MSRP is $16,499. The FTR Championship LE will begin shipping to Indian Motorcycle dealers around the world starting in April. Riders can learn more at their local Indian Motorcycle dealership, by visiting IndianMotorcycle.com, or by following along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The post Indian Motorcycle’s FTR Championship Edition first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Indian FTR AMA by Workhorse Speed Shop

Custom FTR AMA Indian Martini

Indian Motorcycle and Workhorse Speed Shop have unveiled the FTR AMA, the first of two long-anticipated Indian FTR builds by Brice Hennebert. Well known for his unique creations and with two iterations of Appaloosa, the Indian Scout-based sprint racer, already under his belt, Brice was commissioned to create two very special FTRs for two brothers, Black Swan and the FTR AMA.

While Black Swan is yet to be revealed, it was the commissioner of Black Swan who asked Brice to design a second build for his brother. The result is the FTR AMA, a bright and imposing motorcycle with a hardcore, 1980s edge.

“The brief was pretty open, something colourful and as sharp as a war tank. The only restriction was that the paint be inspired by the Martini Racing livery. After some research and brainstorming with myself, I based the look around AMA SBK racers from the 80s and the Rally cars from the same era. The main influences were the Lancia Delta HF mixed with Bol d’Or 750s and some muscle bike DNA,” said Brice.

Custom FTR AMA Indian Martini

Starting work in early February 2021, Brice’s first decision was to retain an upright riding position, something close to the original FTR and using the original handlebars. From there, a lot of changes were about to happen.

“While Black Swan was a clay shaped build, I decided to go in another direction in terms of design process with this bike. I used direct CAD design based on a 3D scan of the FTR chassis. Then, all the body parts were 3D printed and reinforced with carbon fibre.”

The 3D-printed front plate houses a PiAA race light and supports the Setrab oil cooler beneath. Nestled behind the front plate sits the OEM dash from the new Indian Chief, a design more in keeping with the retro racing mood, but with all the options of a modern machine, such as phone connection and charging.

The printed module that incorporates the seat pan and taillight is also the battery holder, the battery having been moved into the rear as a nod to endurance bikes. With the saddle upholstered in a smooth brushed leather by long-time collaborator, Jeroen from Silver Machine, the tail section is complemented by an old school taillight adapted to take LEDs.

Custom FTR AMA Indian Martini taillights

To accommodate the DNA performance air filters, the intake was redesigned and 3D printed, while two aluminium fuel cells were fabricated to fit the new bodywork, one under the tank cover and the other hung under the seat unit. Connected by AN10 connectors, the capacity matches the 14 litres of the original bike.

The chassis plates were redesigned for a more race-like look and machined from Brice’s CAD designs by Vinco Racing in Holland. Vinco Racing undertook all the machining on the project including the swingarm components, braking brackets, yokes, fuel cell components, the front brackets for oil cooler and more.

“Vinco Racing spent a lot of time on the machining which saved me a lot of time to focus on other areas.”

The fork yokes are replicas of Bol d’Or 750cc yokes adapted to the 43mm Öhlins forks. And at the rear the tail section was modified to use twin piggyback Öhlins shocks mated to a bespoke swingarm built from 7020 aluminium Tubes. The swingarm design was inspired by the same era and is 40mm longer compared to the original with a 3D printed chain slider protecting the tubing.

“The wheel set is a total eye catcher. I collaborated with Fabio from JoNich Wheels in Italy, the design is based on his Rush wheels, machined from billet aluminium, but without the carbon flanges. The design makes me think about the turbo fans wheels used on the racing Lancia. So that was a perfect choice for me. They are completed by a Dunlop GP tyre set with this mad 200 rear tyre.”

Custom FTR AMA Indian Martini wheels

Clearance for the braking system was a concern with these wheels, so Brice called on another long-time collaborator, Etienne at Beringer Brakes.

“I called Etienne to get their 4D braking system, the same system I used on Appaloosa. Etienne is always motivated for technical challenges. So, we played with different colours on the components to work with the AMA mood. And then, because I removed the ABS module, I had to find another way to get the speed signal on the bike and the solution was a Motogadget Moto Scope Mini.”

To create the swoop of the exhaust, it was fabricated from stainless steel pie cuts and beautifully welded together, capped off by a couple of modified slip-on S&S Cycle Grand National mufflers.

“The amazing paint job designed by Axecent in Japan has been applied by my friend Fabian who’s near to my workshop. This build is aggressive, massive and a real pleasure to ride. I had a lot of fun testing this ride.”

The post Indian FTR AMA by Workhorse Speed Shop first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

5 Motorcycle Brands to Watch in 2022

As summer winds down and I see the clear signs from the weather gods that it is time to winterize the motorbikes, I begin to think ahead to next year. Announcements begin hitting my newsfeeds, and buzz of what’s coming after New Year’s grows daily.

2021 was chock-full of very important new motorcycle models, and here I will highlight what I currently see as exciting announcements from some big-name manufacturers presenting all-new models for 2022.

Ducati

There is plenty of exciting new product coming from the legendary Ducati factory in Bologna, Italy. In order to keep the hype strong, Ducati is introducing the new models by releasing videos from Sept 30 thru Dec 9th.

So far, what is known for sure is that there will be an all-new Multistrada V2,  and speculation from the title of one video alludes to possibly seeing a Streetfighter V2. There is clearly something to come about the DesertX, and there seems to be a lot to discover within the Scrambler range. Let’s look at what we already know—Ducati is a brand to watch.

The Ducati Multistrada V2 And V2S

2022 Ducati Multistrada V2S in black

Via Ducati.

This is an updated edition of the Multistrada 950, with the primary focus on ergonomics, weight reduction, engine updates, and a series of upgrades that follow the philosophy of “continuous improvement”.

Shedding 5 kg compared to the Multistrada 950, the Ducati Skyhook Suspension EVO semi-active suspension system (standard on the S version) is available, along with fresh rider selectable electronics.

The Ducati Scramblers

2022 Ducati 1100 Tribute Pro on dirt road in forest

Via Ducati.

Two new Scrambler Models round out the family. The 1100 Tribute PRO celebrates the history of the Borgo Panigale company through the choice of a fascinating “Giallo Ocra” livery. The new Scrambler 1100 Tribute PRO is equipped with black spoked wheels, 18’’ at the front and 17’’ at the rear, and a Ride by Wire electronic management system. It has three Riding Modes, Ducati Traction Control (DTC), and Cornering ABS.

2022 Ducati Urban Motard Scrambler on city road near factory

Via Ducati.

The new Urban Motard Scrambler has a unique style with 17’’ spoked wheels and red and white graffiti graphics. The new Scrambler Urban Motard features a red high front mudguard and side number plates—a clear reference to the Motard world.

Ducati DesertX

Ducati DesertX concept on dirt road at night

Via Ducati.

First shown as a Concept bike in 2019, the DesertX is slated to be Ducati’s new Adventure machine. It comes with an all-new chassis, and confirmation that the water-cooled 937cc Testastretta L-Twin engine from the Multistrada 950 will power this new machine. It is safe to say this should be a very exciting announcement on December 9th.

MV Agusta

Plenty of interesting things are happening at the boutique Italian brand MV Agusta, including an all-new bike and some very special editions.

The MV Agusta F3 RR

2022 MV Agusta F3 RR parked in empty lot at night

Via MV Agusta.

With 147hp from the MV Agusta 800cc triple tucked under new bodywork with carbon panels and small winglets, the 2022 F3 RR should tear up the track with gusto. The revised chassis is very compact and race-oriented, with a Marzocchi and Sachs suspension with full adjustability (naturally).

The full Brembo braking system with twin 320mm rotors will easily shed the rapid speeds this 381 lb machine is capable of. Not enough? MV offers a rather attractive, road-legal racing kit that boosts the power to 155 horses at 13,250 rpm. The kit includes an Akrapovič titanium/carbon exhaust system that also helps lower the bike’s dry weight from 381 pounds to 364 pounds.

The MV Agusta Superveloce Ago

Giacomo Agostini sitting in saddle of 2022 MV Agusta Superveloce Ago

Via MV Agusta.

This special edition model is meant to honor the MV Agusta’s legendary former factory racer, Giacomo Agostini. To create it, MV Agusta took the Superveloce and added sophisticated components, including a premium suspension, a new steering damper, and a triple clamp.

In honor of his 311 individual Grand Prix victories, only 311 units will be built. The first 15 of these special edition bikes are dedicated to the 15 world titles, and each bike will come with an exclusive plaque, with unique graphics bearing both the trophy and the year of the world title won by Agostini.

MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Nürburgring Edition

2022 MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Nürburgring Edition

Via MV Agusta.

Named after the iconic German circuit, MV Agusta has created a special edition of the already insane Brutale 1000 called the Nürburgring Edition. Only 150 units will be produced, and the goal was reducing weight so basically everything that can be made from carbon fiber is—including carbon fiber wheels from BST.

A full titanium Arrow exhaust system is also fitted on this model, and the ECU receives fresh programming to adjust for the new kit.

Indian

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Chief, America’s First Motorcycle Company is introducing 6 newly reimagined Chief models. Have a look.

The Indian Chief, Chief Bobber, and Super Chief

2022 Indian Chief tank in red

Via Indian.

Powered by Indian Motorcycles’ Thunderstroke 111 powertrain with 108 ft-lbs of torque, each of these models features an analog gauge, chrome, and matte black finishes, and is available with or without ABS.

The Indian Chief Dark Horse, Chief Bobber Dark Horse, and Super Chief Limited

2022 Indian Chief Bobber Dark Horse

Via Indian.

Powering all premium Chief models is Indian Motorcycles’ Thunderstroke 116 engine with 120 ft-lbs of torque. ABS is standard, while premium finishes set these bikes apart and further showcase the craftsmanship and attention to detail. Each Chief and Chief Bobber Dark Horse model packs further attitude with premium gloss black finishes, while the Super Chief Limited touts premium chrome finishes.

Triumph

Many exciting things are happening at the famous UK bike brand, including 2 new applications of the 1160cc Triple and an all-new Tiger.

The Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR

2022 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR in red and white

Via Triumph.

Hot on the heels of 2021’s Speed Triple 1200 RS, now Triumph has decided to drop a much more sporty, track-capable RR version. Here is what sets the RR apart from the RS.

  • Sleek bodywork and all LED lighting, with a single round headlight and self-canceling indicators
  • Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3s
  • Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 electronically adjustable semi-active suspension
  • More aggressive riding position with rear sets moved back and higher, plus new clip-on handlebars
  • Carbon fiber accents

The Triumph Tiger 1200

2022 Triumph Tiger 1200 spy shot

Via Triumph.

Confirmed to be coming in 2022 is an all-new Tiger 1200 sharing the 1160cc Triple engine and packing 180hp. Here is a little of what to expect:

  • Triumph boasts about “an astonishing transformation in weight”; expect to see an entirely fresh chassis
  • Spy shots show 2 small radiators as compared to the previous one
  • Possibly moving away from the WP suspension in favor of a Showa setup

The Triumph Tiger 660 Sport

2022 Triumph Tiger 660 Sport

Via Triumph.

A completely new middleweight adventure sports machine, the small displacement Tiger 660 Sport borrows much from the Trident 660.

  • 660cc liquid-cooled DOHC Inline-Triple expected to make 80 hp at 10,250 rpm and 47.0 lb-ft. at 6,250 rpm
  • Showa upside-down forks and remote preload-adjustable mono-shock rear suspension unit
  • Ride-by-wire throttle with switchable traction control
  • 2 riding modes (road and rain)
  • Michelin Road 5 tires hint at a more on road focus

Honda

Many big things are happening with Honda for 2022, from Street bikes to dirt machines—there’s even big news when it comes to their mini-moto products. Here is a breakdown:

The Honda 500 Twins (CBR500R, CB500X, CB500F)

Honda CBR500R and CB500X and CB500F parked in front of building

Via Honda.

There aren’t totally new, but Honda has made significant changes to the family of 500s (the CBR500R, CB500X, CB500F). These three motorcycles are a key part of Honda’s global sales—let me highlight what is new:

  • Revised fueling to improve torque characteristics and feel
  • 41 mm Showa big-piston inverted forks (SSF-PB)
  • New rear shock settings to work with new front forks
  • New Dual 290 mm front disc brakes and Nissin Calipers
  • New lighter 17” wide spoke front wheels, and the X gets a new lighter 19” wheel
  • New lighter and stiffer rear swingarm
  • Revised lightweight radiator

The Honda Mini-Moto 125s (Grom, Monkey, and Super Cub)

2022 Honda Monkey in blue

2022 Honda 125 Cub in black

Via Honda.

  • New Euro 5 compliant 124cc air-cooled engine delivers 9.3 horsepower and 8.1 ft/lb torque
  • New 5-speed gearbox improves cruising speed
  • Revised styling of all three bikes
  • A Super Cub 125X Offroad model coming (maybe)

The Honda CRF250R

2022 Honda CRF250R

Via Honda.

While most of the CRF lineup only see minor changes, the Honda CRF250R race bikes are all new.

  • All-new stiffer and lighter chassis, helping drop overall weight by 8lbs
  • New engine making 20% more power at 6500 rpm
  • Revised Showa suspension

The Honda NT1100

Silver 2022 Honda NT1100

Via Honda.

Following the trend towards mashups of adventure touring and sport touring machines, Honda has transformed the offroad-leaning Africa Twin into an on-road sport tourer.

  • Powered by the Africa Twin’s 101 hp (74kW), 1,084cc parallel-twin engine
  • Windscreen is five-way height-and-angle adjustable electronically
  • Preload adjustable 43mm Showa SFF-BP fork at the front and a Pro-Link rear with a Showa mono-shock
  • A 6.5-inch color TFT display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Available DCT transmission
  • Side cases come as standard with around 65 liters of space combined, and there’s an optional top case

The largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world never rests. Expect to see further announcements as we come closer to 2022.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

A Full Indian Chief Lineup for India

India is about to be inundated with the all-new Indian Chief lineup, including the Chief Dark Horse, Bobber Dark Horse, and Super Chief Limited.

A view of the 2022 Indian Chief Bobber Dark Horse
2022 Indian Chief Bobber Dark Horse

Let’s get into it.

According to a report from ZigWheels, the motorcycle market in India has been relatively bereft of additions from Indian Motorcycle’s showroom.

Mid-weight bikes such as the Honda CB200X and the newest Benelli motorcycles have been growing in popularity, but the classic, big machine monsters haven’t seen quite as much hype.

A view of two 2022 Indian Chiefs, with riders enjoying the dusty landscape.
2022 Indian Chief

The ever-tightening motor regulations, combined with exclusive price points have kept the market less than juicy for these giants of the moto community.

That’s all about to change – and every one of these babies is about to sand down the pavement with 171 Nm of torque at 3000 rpm, courtesy of Indian’s new Thunderstroke 116 motor – a 1133cc Liquid-Cooled V-Twin engine that promises to spank the living daylights out of whatever trip you had planned next. 

A view of two 2022 Indian Chief Dark Horse motorcycles, with riders enjoying the dusty landscape.
2022 Indian Chief Dark Horse

The 2022 Chief Lineup will be arriving in India on August 27, 2021, with prices for the bikes starting in the Rs 20,75,922 range.

a view of the current progression of Mahindra & Mahindra's projection for this year

If you were one of the lucky blokes to learn of the pre-booking deposits back in March, you’re at the front of the line for a mere Rs 3 lakh

A view of two 2022 Indian Super Chief Limited Edition motorcycles, with riders enjoying the dusty landscape.
2022 Indian Super Chief Limited

Stay tuned for the big launch, and as always, make sure to check back at MotorBikeWriter for updates on all things two wheels.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

10 Motorcycles Perfect For Beginners

“A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step,” is quite a famous saying. Considering the appropriate learning curve of a new rider, we say that getting a motorcycle is probably around step 3, after step 1, taking a training course, and step 2, getting all your personal protective equipment. But, you may be asking, what motorcycle should I get?

This is one of the most asked questions in the world of new riders, by a large margin. The short answer is “Whatever you want,” but that leaves out a few very important factors that a new rider should be aware of. A supersport is not a great first bike. A 1,700 cc v-twin muscle cruiser is not a friendly bike to learn on. Even a 900cc motorcycle can be bad to learn on, especially if it’s meant to be a dual-sport adventure bike.

It is for this reason that we have put together a list of the 10 best motorcycles for beginners, broken down by category. All of the bikes listed below are perfect places to start your motorcycling career, with friendly handling characteristics, approachable power, and forgiving frames and suspension so you can learn the ins and outs of daily riding!

Honda Rebel Range (300, 500)

2021 Honda Rebel 500

Not one, but two, sport cruisers! While the 2021 Honda Rebel range welcomed the 1100 this year, the 300 and 500 series of the Rebel are still what would be considered the better beginner bikes. This is because the new 1100 uses the same engine that is in the 2021 Africa Twin, only slightly detuned, but well above what would be considered beginner-friendly power.

What makes the Honda Rebel one of the best bikes to start with if you’re wanting a cruiser is its simplicity. You don’t have 17 different riding modes to fiddle around with, the engine and transmission are proven, strong, reliable units, and the riding position (if you’re 5’11” or shorter) is very comfortable. It will also lean well into corners, has extremely forgiving suspension, and has enough get up and go to be exciting, but not dangerous.

Being a Honda, it is also very wallet-friendly. If you want to buy new, you will come in well under $7,000 for a 500, and buying used, it is fairly common to find either model in excellent condition for $4,000 or less.

Kawasaki Z400 & Z650

2021 Kawasaki Z650

Yes, we smashed together two naked bikes into one post! Both the Kawasaki Z400 and Z650 are considered some of the best nakeds on the market, and despite some pretty fierce looks, are quite easy to ride. Both are powered by bulletproof Kawasaki parallel twins, one with 399cc and 45 HP, the other with 649cc and 67 HP.

The reason these get the nod for the naked sector is that Kawasaki jams as much technology and rideability into the lower end of the Z family. Standard features are dual-zone ABS (something every beginner bike should have, honestly), an assist-and-slipper clutch to help you learn the perfect friction point without tearing your bike to pieces, a linear and controllable power curve, and supportive suspension that talks to you about what the road is doing, without trying to shatter your spine at the same time.

Both bikes are also ridiculously priced, in the best sense of the word. You are getting bikes that are quite able to be sold confidently at $7,000+ and $9,000+ each new, but the 2021 Z400 starts at $5000, and the 2021 Z650 is only $7,800! There is no knocking Kawasaki off the value-for-money throne, and if you buy used, you’ll find them even lower down on the pricing range.

Suzuki SV650A

2021 Suzuki SV650A

Anyone that knows anything about starter bikes, or has read any recommended beginner bike list on pretty much any website, ever, was expecting this one. Ever since emerging in 1999, the Suzuki SV650, including the Gladius years, has been the absolute darling of the new rider segment.

Is it the 645cc v-twin that puts out 75 HP but has a smooth, easy to control, and linear torque curve? Is it the bulletproof transmission that works without issue even if you physically throw it off a cliff? Is it the suspension that from day one was adjusted and engineered by Suzuki’s racing division, to give a supple ride with agility? In a word: Yes.

The SV650 is the kind of bike that is all things to all people. In stock trim, it is a sports naked. If you want to get a bit sportier, there is the SV650X, a cafe-racer styled naked. There is the SV650A, a partially faired sportbike with a small windscreen. Whatever path you choose, the V-twin is invincible with proper maintenance, the bike will last you well beyond your beginner seasons, and it’s also really inexpensive to maintain as well, with an extensive first- and third-party parts network that is nigh-on global in reach.

Kawasaki KLX250/KLX300

2021 Kawasaki KLX300

While 2021 has seen the removal of the venerable KLX250, to be replaced with the KLX300, both are still amazingly competent beginner dual-sport motorcycles. With the newer KLX300 being powered by a  292cc liquid-cooled four-stroke single that thumps out just about 33 HP, it is more than powerful enough to commute on most city roads, yet will also happily tear up a gravel or dirt trail on the weekends.

Unlike its new 2021 KLX300 SuperMoto brother, the KLX300 and the older KLX250 are both tuned to have usable power at almost any revs and to be predictable and controllable in its delivery. While dual-sports are famous for having the ability to lift the front wheel when suddenly fed power, Kawasaki tames that with good torque, but not too much, at lower revs, only really coming into the full powerband once you’re actually moving.

That said, by being so lightweight at just over 300 lbs soaking wet with a cinder block tied to the seat, the bike is excellent for the beginner looking to feel what a bike can do in terms of handling and cornering. This little dual-sport loves to transition from upright to a lean with vigor. As well, if you do mess up riding this little beast, and need to use the shoulder or end up on a grassy bit, as it’s a dual-sport, apply your progressive braking technique while riding upright and you’ll come to a stop without dropping the bike.

Yamaha YZF-R3

2021 Yamaha YZF-R3

Being completely serious for a moment, the Yamaha YZF-R3, much like its similar R brethren over the years, is not a bike to be taken lightly. It is, for all intents and purposes, a mini-supersport, and can demonstrate within seconds of being in the saddle why it’s quite often the bike that many start out their track day careers with. This is not to say it is overly scary, just that it is less forgiving in terms of major mistakes than many of the other bikes on this list.

From a 320cc parallel-twin, Yamaha has managed, somehow, to get it to give up 50 HP, which is almost double what any other bike in the 300cc sports segment produces. Thankfully, the R3, at least in the modern era, comes with full dual-zone ABS. Just be aware that this is a lightweight, agile, and “can get you to illegal speeds” capable bike.

As well, if you are going to pursue riding supersports as your hobby, we highly recommend checking out our Best Full-Face Helmets For Under $500 list (our own sport riders highly recommend the Shoei RF1400 or Arai Regent-X if your budget can stretch) to get an appropriate helmet, and our other gear guides to find sport riding protection to keep you safe!

Suzuki DR-Z400S/DR-Z400SM

2021 Suzuki DR-Z400SM

Suzuki, much like how Kawasaki did with their Z bikes, splits their legendary dual-sport into two important categories. The first, the DR-Z400S, is one of the longest continually produced dual-sports on the market and has earned its status as a starter bike because it is just so damned friendly to ride. If you’re looking for a bit more of a hooligan as your first bike, the DR-Z400SM is the same basic shape as the dual-sport, but the different suspension, engine tuning, and wheels and tires turn it into a supermoto that is as comfortable commuting as it is sliding out its rear tire.

Suzuki’s near-mythical 398cc liquid-cooled four-stroke single thunders out 39 HP for both bikes, but does so across a wide rev range, although there is a mid-range point that can potentially catch riders out, especially those who over-rev and accidentally dump the clutch. However, that exact same mid-range powerpoint is what makes this the perfect beginner bike. What really counts on the commute is the power to pull yourself out of a developing situation, or out of harm’s way.

By giving you a bike with enough civility at low revs to practice around a parking lot, as well as with enough grunt to get you out of dangerous situations, both the dual-sport and supermoto versions of the DR-Z are more than enough to give you years upon years of enjoyment. Many intermediate and advanced riders will hang onto their DR-Z’s because they are just that much fun to ride.

Honda CB500X

2021 Honda CB500X

To be honest, for our adventure touring recommendation, it was so close between the Honda CB500X and the Suzuki V-Strom 650 that it was almost impossible to call. What got the Honda the nod is that it delivers is power just a tiny bit more smoothly, and is more accessible to more riders because of it being a tiny bit shorter in the seat. It also has a bulletproof version of the CB500 engine range of Honda bikes, a 471cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin with 50 HP and 32 lb-ft of torque.

A closeup of the Honda Activated 6G scooter headlight

Some adventure bikes, like those from KTM, are more geared towards getting off the asphalt and onto the dirty stuff for some fun. Others, like the CB500X, are more about being comfortable for long-distance road adventuring, without being cruisers. What makes this bike a great beginner adventure bike is the fact that it has all the get-up and go of a sportbike, the engine-sharing CBR500R, but a dead-set standard riding posture, with comfortable ergonomics and a great feel from all contact points.

The only area that ADV bikes, by their nature, have issues with is putting a foot down a stop. You might have to lean the bike a little to get the ball of your foot down properly for balance, with your right foot holding the rear brake to steady the bike, depending on how long your inseam is. Other than that, you get Honda reliability, a fun bike that can handle dirt roads around your area, and a city adventurer that can also do intercity riding without being pushed too hard.

Indian Scout Sixty

2021 Indian Scout Sixty

Despite the recommendation that American power cruisers are not great starter bikes, there is a segment of the new rider population that will not go with anything but an American cruiser. For those that are able to be mature enough to learn the ins and outs of the bike, the Indian Scout Sixty is not a bad place to start. And although it’s more of an introductory bike to Indian than a true beginner bike, approaching it with a light throttle hand and a big bucket of respect will get you on a “big burly cruiser” that is, once you’ve learned it, actually quite friendly.

While much smaller than its other Scout-model brethren, the Scout Sixty is nothing to be scoffed at. You are put low and back from the big 999cc liquid-cooled 60-degree V-twin that rumbles out the soundtrack of the U.S. of freakin’ A. The v-twin gives you 78 HP and 65 lb-ft of torque, in a middleweight cruiser that weighs just north of 550 lbs.

If that seems like a lot of power, it is. This is why the light throttle hand and respect are needed. If you crank the throttle to full right away, you’ll more than likely break traction on the rear, and either end up flat on your ass, or, if moving, in a death wobble. Respect the throttle, use it progressively, and appreciate the huge torque curve, and you’ll have a motorcycle that will respect you back, giving you hours of comfortable riding.

Harley-Davidson Iron 883

2021 Harley-Davidson Iron 883

Since we have to mention the other American brand, it only seems fitting to include the main American brand, at least according to Americans. The Iron 883 is your gateway to all things Harley-Davidson, by being one of the most pared-down, simplified riding experiences from the Milwaukee brand. You get an introductory level engine in the 883cc v-twin (dubbed the Evolution Engine) that gives you 50 HP and 54 lb-ft of torque.

Harley-Davidson, after many years, realized that all of their bikes were either full-on muscle cruisers, continental cruisers, or Sportsters with too much power for a real beginner to appreciate. This is what brought about the Iron 883, and by making it pretty much an engine with controls, mid-forward pegs, and a fat rear tire, you get all the classic Harley looks, but with an engine that won’t bite your head off.

The dragster-style handlebars and controls are positioned to give you a slightly forward-leaning posture, which gives you more control of the lean and control of the bike with your legs and upper body. It also has a very forgiving transmission, allowing for good, progressive clutch friction without burning out the clutch plates, and the first two gears are long, giving you more of the rev range to build up to cruise speed. And, best of all, if you want to buy one new, it’s pretty much the only Harley model you can get for under $10,000!

Honda CRF250L/CRF300L (and Rally models)

2021 Honda CRF300L

If a dual-sport is too “dirt bike looking,” and an adventure bike is a bit too talk, say hello to the middle ground. The CRF300L Rally, as well as its non-rally counterpart, and the previous generation CRF250L and CRF250L Rally, are all great “adventure-enduro” style dual-sport bikes. These are bikes that are aimed at the fan of the Dakar Rally, who also wants to be able to ride comfortably during the week and go plowing over sand dunes on the weekends.

The CRF300L Rally comes with a new, Euro5 compliant 286cc four-stroke single that gives a decent 27 HP and 19 lb-ft of torque. That may not sound like much, but remember, this bike, even with the big 21-inch front wheel, weighs a sneeze over 300 lbs. You’d be surprised at just how spritely it will get up and go from a stop, sometimes feeling more like a sport-tourer than a dual-sport enduro.

The Rally is the more premium of the CRF300L bikes, as it comes with a decent adventure windshield, handguards, a larger fuel tank than the base model, and rubber inserts for the engine mounts to reduce vibrations while commuting. The biggest difference between the CRF300L Rally and the Kawasaki KLX300 recommended earlier is that the Honda is much more aimed at distance endurance, while the KLX300 is more of a street-going trail bike. Both are excellent choices, but if we were to head out for a day of riding in the desert, we’d take the Honda.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Interview: Patricia Fernandez

I’m just going to come out and say it – the motorcycle community is (mostly) full of lads with a love for bikes and a passion for tweaking things that they broke. 

So what happens when the world’s fastest female racer gets on a Bagger for the track?

I’m chewing a bit on the tip of my pencil as I contemplate this. 

Patricia Fernandez is no joke – the 36-year old Oklahoman has been racing professionally since 2012, and has ridden everywhere, on pretty much anything you can think of. 

She’s hopped from superbikes to sidecars, dirt bikes, even competing in the newer racing Bagger classes like the Bagger Racing League(BRL) and King Of The Baggers(KOTB).

Most importantly, she’s done it all in a world where most pro racers (if not all) are guys.

There was so much to ask her, so I decided to go with a little of everything.

Tell us about your inspiration for motorcycles, how that all started.

I always loved motorcycles – can’t remember a time when I didn’t.

Patricia Fernandez working on a motorcycle
Patricia Fernandez working on a motorcycle

When I was younger, I just thought motorcycles were cool, and I always asked for a motorcycle or a dirt bike, and obviously, it was a hard no. 

The first time I recall seeing a girl on a sportbike was in the Matrix movie. Neo’s little girlfriend was on a semi-truck, then got on a Ducati and ended up riding it off on the highway or whatever. 

To me, that was the first time I remember seeing a female on a motorcycle. I thought it was so bad-ass. 

When that scene came in the Matrix, I was like, ‘Oh my God. There’s a bad-ass, hot chick on a bad-ass bike, and she’s riding the wheels off it and stuff’. And I just thought it was so awesome.

Now, Black Widow has just come out – and looking at the difference between my past and the present? Huge difference. Now you see women on bikes everywhere. 

Later down the road, I had left my parent’s house – I wasn’t allowed a motorcycle as long as I was under that roof, so I left – and I signed up with The Motorcycle Safety Foundation Class. 

I went into a big parking lot with a little Rebel 125, and I did the course. 

It was funny because they say that women have a lower center of gravity, and for the sportbikes, we have naturally stronger legs and core, where men have a naturally stronger upper body. 

I didn’t really use my own upper body until I went to the big bike after the course – and then the upper body became an issue, and I started to change training and stuff. 

When I started to get into the world of pro racing, I had problems with my starts, and we went to a drag strip where a multi-time champ was coaching the classes.

He said, ‘Women are actually better at starts because they have better reaction times.’ 

Ha! I knew I was meant to ride, but that little tip was great! 

No one ever really talks about that stuff. 

I’ll tell you this: To any woman that gets on the back with a man – I think you’re braver than someone that rides solo, to be honest. 

Riding on the back like that, you have less control. So I think it’s cool that solo female riders are more common now, that women are perceived as stronger characters and capable of handling a bike.

 

How did you find the world of pro racing?

When I started pro racing, there weren’t very many girls, and it was nasty. Pro Racing was a whole different level of competition. 

It’s interesting – at first, when I got into the world of racing, everyone wanted to help me. I was the only girl on the track; they would offer their aid, I wasn’t a threat to them. 

But then I felt as I progressed and as I became faster, they didn’t want to help me. And then I became their competition – and that’s when it started becoming ugly. 

I remember I first wanted pink rims and all this other stuff, but we had to end up hiding it. 

I got to the point where I had to tuck my hair in my leathers, make the bike black, had to make it super incognito because guys would tell me they’d target or fixate on me, or they’d hit me. 

Patricia Fernandez warming up on a bike for the track
Patricia Fernandez warming up on a bike in anticipation of a day at the track.

I’ve had my own teammates tell me they would take me out before they’d ever let me beat them.

In the last 10 years that I’ve been around, that’s gone downhill a lot more, but I think that’s also because there are more women, and we’re around more. 

I’m also more established now, so I think it’s harder to bully me around versus a newbie that just started. I really took it for a while, though. 

I remember a guy would bump you or push you on the track, kind of intimidate you. And then I got tired of it – I got to the point where someone did that to me, and I pushed him right back. 

The racer came in after the round was over, and he literally said to me, ‘I wanted to push you and thought that you would lean back…and when you pushed right back, I didn’t mess with you.’ 

And it was a light bulb moment to me – that if I stand my ground and don’t let them bully me, then I won’t get bullied.

Funny thing – I have found (in the world of motorcycle racing at least) women aren’t necessarily competitive against men. But I did an all-female race down in Mexico…and let me tell you, that was just about the nastiest race I’ve ever been in. 

We women might not feel like we need to compete against other guys but put 20 girls together at one time in a room…there’s going to be some hair pulling, haha. 

Groups of women competing like that terrify me. 

One thing to note – overseas, I never experienced any of that underhanded competition there. There’s a lot more community, and everyone just likes each other a lot. It’s more so the really competitive sport of racing on a pro-level – that is where I’ve experienced the most of that stupidity.

 

You competed in road racing overseas. Besides the camaraderie, how did you find the differences between racing in the Western and Central hemispheres?

Well…they refer to it as ‘proper road racing’ there… they don’t like when we call it road racing, haha. 

100%, night and day difference. 

They do everything they can to make it as safe as possible, and it’s impressive to see – and when I’d fly out there a couple of weeks early, I’d be impressed at how much maintenance work they do on a daily basis. 

But at the end of the day, you’re on roads – it’s hard to wrap your mind around like, ‘Okay, apex the tree, hit the wall.’ 

Patricia Fernandez competing at the Ulster Grand Prix
Patricia Fernandez competing at the Ulster Grand Prix

There are so many uncontrollable factors. Either you want to do it, or you don’t. Other pro-racers have gone with me, and they’re like, ‘Absolutely not’ because there’s such a tiny margin for error. 

I remember the first couple of times I went to the Ulster Grand Prix, I was like, ‘What’s on the ground?’ It looked almost like markers when you saw them from far away – but they were actually PEOPLE that lay on the ground for a better view. You’re not allowed to be on the road surface, but they’d want to get as close as they could. 

The first few laps out, I had to get stuff like that out of my head – it was so different compared to what I was used to.

There was one incident, maybe 2018, 2017, I can’t remember. I DO remember commenting on it right before it happened, though…people would take selfie sticks, and they’d stand behind the hedges and stick the selfie stick out over the hedge on the road to get a good view or whatever. 

And there was actually an incident where a selfie stick ended up hitting a racer’s shoulder, and it knocked him off the bike and broke his collarbone and stuff…all because some dude stuck his stick outside the hedge to get a better view. 

And so now they have to make announcements about it, warning people off. 

And I’m like, ‘It’s absolutely ridiculous that they even have to do that – that would never happen here,’ haha.

I think the way I approach proper road racing mentally is a lot different as well. 

For proper road racing, my team – my boyfriend Cory West, and everyone else – knows that they can’t bring up anything negative in any way, shape, or form for the whole week.

I’ve been involved with incidents where a rider goes down or does whatever, and you just don’t talk about it. Don’t bring it up because you can’t think about it. It’s just, ‘Have fun.’ You don’t bring up anything that will unbalance you. You can do it on a circuit but not racing on the road with so many uncontrollable variables. 

So literally all my crew, my boyfriend, everyone knows, there’s a big mental thing because it’s hard to go out and race with the realization of some of the things that can go wrong.

What’s the saying, ‘The faster you go’? Haha.

 

As the ‘world’s fastest female racer’, you’re getting some amazing times clocked. Would you say that the promotion of your female presence interferes at all with your career?

When I have to get ready for photoshoots that show my body off, I’m sweating, freaking out. I would rather do a run any day of the week if I could be completely honest. And I hate cardio. It’s the devil.

Funny how the photoshoots came about, actually – when I first started riding and stuff, I was just a short cute girl, and I felt I was really dismissed. No one ever thought I was going to amount the anything. And to be honest, I didn’t intend to be a pro-racer, but I liked riding and stuff, and it took me where it was. 

On the track, there were a few girls that were around, and they had really bad reputations of sleeping around. They weren’t necessarily there to go racing.

I had a really good coach at the time, Jason Pridmore, who’s now an announcer for MotoAmerica. 

And I remember him telling me, ‘I’m not going to help you unless you’re serious about racing. If you are just trying to come to the paddock to meet guys or do whatever, I don’t want to help you.’ 

And I was like, ‘No, I’m 100% serious and dedicated.’

And so, for a very long time, I didn’t post or do a lot of feminine things or anything because I really wanted to be taken seriously as a racer. 

Later, I was working for Motul, and the lady who was in charge of marketing at Motul approached me and was like, ‘Why don’t you ever think about doing some glamorous stuff? You’re a pretty girl.’

And I was like, ‘No, no, no. I’m serious. I want to be taken seriously.’ 

And she goes, ‘Think about your name.’ 

My name tag on social media is Lady_Racer926.

She goes, ‘You’re a lady first, and you’re also a racer. You’re already accredited. You need to market yourself. You have something no one else has.” 

This was after I was already pro and was racing overseas – and it was a light bulb moment to me. Then I was like, man, maybe I should start utilizing that. 

A three-part photo: Patricia Fernandez in a bikini, on a super bike, and in full leathers.
A three-part photo: Patricia Fernandez in a bikini, on a superbike at the Ulster Grand Prix, and sporting full leathers prior to a race.

It worked. 

Now, I’ll have a world record photo of me racing overseas or doing something huge, and social media is like, man, whatever. But if you have a photo of me in a bikini, it’s 10,000 likes.

I’m like, ‘What’s wrong with these people?’, haha. 

But that’s the way the world works. 

One racer could be a second faster, but if this other racer has 100,000 followers on social media, that guy will most likely get the sponsorship before the other rider.

 

You’ve done sidecar racing. You’ve done dirt biking. You’ve taste-tested so many different, diverse niches of the motorcycle industry. Is all of this a conscious decision to give something a try, or is it just, ‘hop in my sidecar and don’t die’?

So, it’s 100% ‘hop in my sidecar and don’t die’, haha! 

So, with the sidecar, I was at a club race meeting to race my motorcycle, and they called me to the registration office. A guy shows up, and they’re talking about a monkey (I figured out later that the passenger in a sidecar is called a monkey). 

It happened to be a race weekend where they were doing an exhibition thing, and they had the sidecar races. I guess the guy came to the registration office and asked if there was anybody that could be the monkey for his sidecar (his guy didn’t show up). 

And the office was like, ‘We know someone crazy enough to do that.’ 

I told him that I had never done sidecar racing before and asked him if it was hard, and he was like, ‘Oh, we’ll practice in the parking lot.’ 

No joke! We did a couple of laps, and I was like, ‘Ok, let’s do this.’

I always joke around and say I’ll try anything twice. Surprisingly enough, this was also the same thing with the Bagger. 

Patricia Fernandez sitting next to her Indian Racer Bagger at the Bagger Racing League

When they recommended me, when Cory approached me and asked if I’d like to race a Bagger, I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ I’m super short’.

That was my biggest concern. I like to lie and say I’m 5’3′- it rounds up, right?

My whole thing is, I’ll try it. And that’s what I said to Cory. ‘I don’t know if I’ll be good, but I’m willing to try it.’ 

But it’s cool because everything correlates in a certain type of way. When you do the dirt bike stuff, you’re on smaller bikes, but getting control of the rear end breaking loose and learning how to control that, actually makes you a better rider in the rain on the sportbikes. 

And when you’re on a sportbike, and you’re in the rain, and it gets loose, it’s almost the same thing as being on a dirt bike. 

If you just talk about controls and skills, it may look different, but it all relates.

 

How did you find the bagger as a race bike?

It doesn’t matter what you put me on – if I’m riding solo, I’ll just ride around. But put ONE PERSON next to me, and then I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s on. I have to win.’ 

I always joke around and say, ‘I’d race an ostrich, a unicycle, whatever – just let me race.’ 

With the Bagger, I went out, and I was like, ‘Oh, let me try it.’ 

And every lap, I told them not to clock me because I was nervous, but they did anyway.

My first lap was 210. My second lap was 209, 208 – every lap was just dropping. 

And then I came in, and I was like, ‘I think I CAN ride one of these.’ 

And they’re like, ‘Ohh, you’re riding one all right.’ 

They already knew – it’s just about getting comfortable and adapting to something that’s a little different. 

A view of Patricia Fernandez trying out the Indian Bagger for the Bagger Racing League

It is a little difficult because you don’t get a lot of seat time on the Baggers like you do a sportbike. These motors really aren’t made for what we’re doing. So you actually want to keep your seat time down.

I was used to hour-long sessions on the sportbikes. On those, if I run out of gas, I can come in, splash a bit of gas in or change tires and go right back out and ride for an hour straight. You can’t really do that on these baggers. Not at this performance level, considering how fast and hard we’re riding them. 

It was definitely weird hearing, ‘Take a break, don’t ride.’ 

I’m like, ‘I want to ride….’

 

There’s, of course, the King Of The Baggers (where you made your debut), and then there’s the Bagger Racing League. Do you prefer to promote one or the other?

I will promote anything that I do. 

a side profile of the Indian Bagger

So when I race in the Bagger Racing League, I promote the Bagger Racing League. When I race King Of the Baggers, I’m going to promote King Of the Baggers. 

As a racer, I’m not an organizer, and I’m not an owner. 

For me, what’s best is to race. I want to race everywhere. Every day, every week, every chance I get. 

When they first did that Bagger race last year at Laguna Seca, I think everyone thought it was going to be a one-time exhibition thing. And when it got four and a half million views in 10 days (or whatever it was), they were like, ‘Holy cow, this is a big deal.’ 

Now, it’s such a big deal that there’s competition – obviously, whenever something becomes really popular, multiple people want to capitalize on it.

 

Do you see yourself doing anything else, going into any other niches of the motorcycle industry?

 I’ll never NOT ride a motorcycle, but it’s a sport like any other, so usually, the older you get, it does become a little more difficult – and we’re in a sport where age, unfortunately, takes its toll. 

I guess it’s one of those things where the future is kind of bittersweet. As a racer, you know you won’t be able to race as much later on. 

For me, I’ll do anything – race a Bagger, be involved in user test or development, coach, advocate for women or rallies – anything that keeps me close to the world of riding and racing.

Stuff like that, it’s always going to be a part of me. 

The Custom-built Indian Bagger for the Bagger Racing League that Patricia Fernandez rides

I definitely don’t think I have the engineering brain for the designing part of things, though it’s cool to be a part of the customization of my Indian Bagger. I mean, everything we’re doing now is basically testing and development for these motorcycles. The parts that we’re developing now, in a couple of years, people will be able to buy, to build their race Bagger. 

Also…I actually would really like to go back to paramedic school. 

One of the sides of being a motorcycle racer is you meet a lot of really nice paramedics and nurses, haha! Every other race, you’re like, ‘Hey, it’s me again,’ haha. 

It would be cool to maybe be a paramedic at a racetrack once in a while to be able to help out.

I can also see myself at 80 years old with all-gray hair, still on a motorcycle, and going to a rally being all like, ‘I was the first woman to race a Bagger,’ trying to help other girls be a part of it. 

That would be something really neat to do if I stopped racing – maybe marketing or organizing for an event.

Bottom line, as long I can still ride, I’ll be happy.

 

Do you have any parting words that you could offer to any females wanting to start motorcycle riding or racing? Any advice you can give?

Just do it. 

I’m serious, haha, that’s all I got. 

Just. Do. It. 

Patricia Fernandez in transit with her tires for racing

They asked me that question on TV this past weekend, and it was funny – they’re like, ‘What advice do you have?’. 

I’m like, ‘Do it. Go out there, take a class, get your license, buy a motorcycle.’ 

The best thing you can do in this industry is buy a motorcycle and promote it. 

I mean, if you think about it, I wouldn’t have even been allowed to buy a motorcycle however many years ago. Crazy thought, but true. If I came in with cash to a dealership a couple of generations ago, they would refuse to sell me a bike because I was a woman. 

Now, women are racing and doing everything they couldn’t in the past. 

My biggest advice is if you want to do it, do it.

Never let anyone push you beyond your limits – because that’s the biggest risk to feeling safe and comfortable. 

Whatever your speed is, whatever your pace – whatever makes you feel comfortable, you do that. 

Don’t ever let someone make you do something that makes you uncomfortable because that’s when dangerous situations happen, whether it’s on the street or a race track. That’s what I tell ladies. 

This past weekend, I met a lot of ladies that were interested in riding, and I’m like, ‘Well, tell me this, has your husband or your boyfriend ever scared you when you were on the back?’ 

And they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah.’

I’m like, ‘You need to ride then. You need to get your own license – because, at the end of the day, no one can steer you but you. If you want to go 15 miles an hour, you go 15 miles an hour. If you want to go 50, go 50.’ 

But that’s the biggest thing when I try advocating for people – especially women. And even if you try riding and it’s not good for you, you’ll end up a better passenger anyways. 

This is for any ladies that are nervous or scared about the concept of riding: 

Learn it, but learn at your own pace.

Keep riding. 

Above all else, make sure to enjoy it.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Interview: Ola Stenegärd, Director of Product Design for Indian Motorcycles

Last updated:

It was my Dad’s birthday a few days ago. I was on the phone to him from my ‘home office’ (think garage full of bikes, second-hand rugs and music gear) in Sydney’s inner west wishing him all the best. ‘What are you up to?’ he asked. ‘Well, if you really want to know, I’m chatting on Facebook Messenger to the guy who designed my main bike,’ I bragged, looking over at my beloved BMW RnineT in the corner.

Instantly feeling embarrassed and regretting the silly fan boy comment, I changed the subject to something else birthday-related. But I can’t deny, I had done it despite my best intentions. I had just named-dropped to my own father; someone who has never ridden a bike in his life and who would rather discuss tomato-growing tips than talk about motorcycles. The name of the designer that reduced me to a silly, bragging little boy? Meet Ola Stenegärd, Motorcycle Designer, horsepower aficionado and reluctant hero to grown-ass men and women right across the globe.

Ola Stenegard, Design Director for Indian Motorcycles

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Ola Stenegärd and I’m the Director of Design for Indian Motorcycles. I’m currently home officing from our farm in Sweden. Normally, I split my time between our studio in Minneapolis, Switzerland and my home office in Sweden. And weirdly enough, I was just greeting one of our ponies that made a surprise visit in my office. No, I’m not joking. It’s country living galore here.

AN S1000RR BMW motorcycle in blue and white
One of Ola and his team’s smash hits – the BMW S1000R

Can you tell us about your childhood?

I was born in 1970 and grew up on a farm with a good garage, angle grinder, and a welder. My older brother was into choppers and hot rods; there were V-twins and V8s all around. Sweden has a very old custom culture and he also played guitar in a rock ‘n’ roll band. Him and his friends were literally my babysitters. I was hanging out with them every evening when they had smokey band practices, and they translated Sabbath lyrics to me. They told me, “If you wanna be into bikes, there are only choppers.” So that was it. I basically grew up in the garage, fed on Zeppelin, Sabbath and Easy Riders. I tried to build up every bicycle, moped and 125 I had to look like some sort of chopper or bobber.

About age six or seven, my dad taught me how to weld; he was fed up having me on his back begging him to weld all the extended forks on my bicycles. So I built several choppers and bobbers up until 1992. I went to many shows like the Norrtalje Custom Bike Show. I even got some awards. Then I decided to get my shit together and enter Preparatory Art School; I had always loved to draw. My mother was also painting and drawing as a hobby. I slowly realized that if I drew the stuff I wanted to build, I didn’t have to rebuild it so many times. And at art school, I was finally introduced to Industrial Design. I was hooked. This is what I wanted to do for a living. Still, becoming a motorcycle designer was as far away as becoming an astronaut, but I figured even if I couldn’t go to the moon, maybe I could work on the rocket.

An Ola Stenegard design sketch of a Indian Dirt Tracker from 2002
An Ola Stenegard design sketch of a Indian Dirt Tracker from 2002

When I was 15, I entered my first big Hot Rod show in Stockholm with a Bay Area-Style moped that I had built. I organized the whole trip myself, including booking ferries and renting a VW pick-up to transport the bike. All so my busy Dad could not stop me from going there. And finally, I actually won first prize. And I kept that little chopper. It’s the only bike I never sold.

What vehicles do you currently have?

Too many! And too many projects; my two sons race motocross and my daughter does horse jumping, so there is a lot of horsepower all around. I think, all in all, there are at least 15 motorcycles in various stages in the garage, motocross bikes included. And a ’71 Plymouth Road Runner, too. We have the luxury of living on an old farm where me and the kids converted the old pig stables into a 300 square metre motorcycle garage with a full machine shop including a mill, lathe, drill press, welder and some personal workspaces.

So it’s a bit of a dream garage, but it took 10 years of hard work to realize since me and the kiddos did most of the work ourselves. But right now what I really long for is getting my hands on one of the new Chiefs! Covid messed up a lot of parts supply in the industry, so we all just have to be very patient. But hey, the new Chiefs are worth waiting for, I can promise that.

The BMW R nineT
My daily ride and another one of BMW’s master stokes under Ola’s reign – the R nineT

What skills do you need in your job?

It’s always a matter of possessing a mature balance between creative vision, keeping your ear to the ground for future trends and sober business discipline. And you gotta ride. You gotta live and breathe the stuff you work on.

Ola Stenegard, Design Director for Indian Motorcycles sits on a new Chief model

Can you talk us through the process to design a production bike?

Ideas can come from different places in a company: some very strategically, some spontaneous. Either way, you have to build a solid case and review it with the leadership team to see if it makes sense. If it does, you go to work in order to prove your concept and build a business case. Mules, early concept sketches and vision models all help.

If you pass through with flying colors, you then move into the real development process which can take two to five years, depending on how big the project is and if it’s a single bike or a whole platform. And here you deploy the traditional design and engineering process which is a mix of old school sculpted clay and high tech CAD, virtual reality, rapid prototyping and several loops of testing and validation before finally going into industrialization.

A design drawing of Indian's new 2021 Chief Motorcycle
The new 2022 Indian Chief, influenced by ’70s and ’80s drag-style performance customs

What projects are you currently working on?

I can tell you, but then I have to kill you! No seriously, we are working on – oops, sorry – the message has self-destructed. Ha!

Who’s your design hero?

My inspiration comes from many moto-places. However, I am not the kind of guy who goes to fine art galleries or finds inspiration in fashion or architecture. All my inspiration is soaked up in the motorcycle scene and from the peeps who make up this moto universe. Motorcycling has so many sides to it and it just never ceases to fascinate me!

Racing, adventure riding, customizing (where my roots are), motorcycle fashion, motorcycle art, clubs, custom culture; it’s a bottomless well to draw inspiration from! When it comes to heroes, it’s hard to single out names just like that. There are so many talents out there, but if I had to say two names today, it would be two equally legendary Johns: Britten and Buttera.

A design drawing of Indian's new 2021 Chief Bobber Motorcycle
The new 2022 Indian Chief Bobber, influenced by mid ‘60’s classic Dave Mann bobbers

What are your thoughts on electric bikes?

This is one of the most inspiring and equally challenging questions of today. The motorcycle world is changing; we’ve gotta adjust and adapt with it. Legislation, markets and customer demand is changing and it’s an amazing time for us at Indian Motorcycle to be part of this moto culture paradigm shift. The bottom line is, two wheels are still the key to the moto experience.

A design drawing of Indian's new 2021 Chief Superchief Motorcycle
The new 2022 Indian Superchief, influenced by ‘early ‘Hollister’ bobbers of the late ’40’s and early ’50’s

Name your fantasy road and bike ride combo.

Oh man! Where do I even start? Well, guess I would have to divide it into different eras. Imagine flying around the Beverly Hills board track in 1921 on a prewar Powerplus while letting Shrimp Burns lead the way. Also, I would give anything to dragrace a bobjob Chief up and down mainstreet in Hollister on the night of the 4th of July riots in 1947. And riding a Britten around the Isle of Man! Odin’s beard, that would totally trip my trigger. ’Nuff said.

 Indian's new 2021 Chief Motorcycle in red
Indian’s new 2022 Chief in red

What would you say to someone looking to follow in your footsteps?

Follow your dreams, don’t ever give up no, matter what anyone tells you. I wasn’t exceptionally gifted or talented or anything. I sucked at math; I could draw and I could weld but nothing really good. However, I was hellbent on working with motorcycles and the right education is important. I sold every motorcycle I owned in order to afford design school. I only had one goal and no plan B. You just gotta commit because you only live once.

Working with motorcycles means you never really have to go to work. And living your life on the “industry side” actually means that you can spend every dang day enriching the lives of all the weird and wonderful people that makes up this amazing fabric of the motorcycle universe.

And that my dear friends, is fucking awesome!

 Indian's new 2021 Chief Bobber Motorcycle in black
Indian’s new 2022 Chief Bobber in gloss black

All photos by Ola Stenegärd and Indian Motorcycles

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Indian Motorcycle Racing Takes Back-To-Back AFT Victories

In an announcement released by Indian Motorcycles yesterday, the American motorcycle company was proud to share of the back-to-back victories taken by Indian Motorcycle Racing.

MINNEAPOLIS (March 16, 2021) – Indian Motorcycle Racing, presented by Progressive Motorcycle Insurance, jumped out to an early lead in the 2021 American Flat Track (AFT) SuperTwins standings, as Indian Motorcycle Privateer Brandon Robinson and Wrecking Crew Rider Jared Mees secure back-to-back wins at the Volusia Half-Mile doubleheader.

Robinson’s season-opener win at Volusia Half-Mile I marked his third straight victory, dating back to the 2020 season finale doubleheader in Daytona. After winning his semi and getting a start on the front row in the Main, Robinson jumped out to an early lead but was battling with the second-place rider throughout the race. In his third season as an Indian Motorcycle privateer, the win marks Robinson’s fifth victory aboard the Indian FTR750.                                                                          

Jared Mees

“Despite being injured for the bulk of the 2020 season, Brandon finished the year with incredible momentum, so it was truly exciting to see him pick up right where he left off and reach the top of the box,” said Gary Gray, Vice President – Racing, Technology & Service for Indian Motorcycle. “Having swept the Volusia Half-Mile doubleheader last year, Jared entered round two with fierce determination to secure the win and garner the all-important points at a track he’s exceptionally comfortable and confident on.”                                                                                                                                 

On Saturday, Mees won his semi and was able to return to the front row for the Main. Though, it was Wrecking Crew teammate and defending SuperTwins Champion Briar Bauman who captured the holeshot. After leading eight laps, Bauman was unable to hold on, as Mees made his pass and gained separation with every lap – ultimately cruising comfortably to his 54th career win. The victory also marked his 34th career win aboard the Indian FTR750, a race bike he won two Grand National Championships within 2017 and 2018.

Jared Mees

Following the doubleheader at Volusia Speedway Park, Mees sits atop the leaderboard with 42 points. Robinson is closely behind with 39 points, while Bauman’s fourth and second-place finishes keep him within striking distance with 35 total points.

Motorcycle paramedics

The 2021 AFT season continues on May 1 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Atlanta Super TT. For more information on Indian Motorcycle Racing and the Indian Wrecking Crew, visit IndianMotorcycle.com or follow along on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

ABOUT INDIAN MOTORCYCLE®

Indian Motorcycle is America’s First Motorcycle Company®. Founded in 1901, Indian Motorcycle has won the hearts of motorcyclists around the world and earned distinction as one of America’s most legendary and iconic brands through unrivaled racing dominance, engineering prowess, and countless innovations and industry firsts. Today that heritage and passion are reignited under new brand stewardship. To learn more, please visit www.indianmotorcycle.com.

indian-motorcycle-racing-logo



Source: MotorbikeWriter.com