Our guest on Episode 50 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast is Dave Scott, who completed a solo journey on the TransAmerica Trail. This is Part 3 of a three-part interview. We spoke to Scott in Episodes 46 and 48, where he told us about the challenges of riding the TAT during the Covid-19 pandemic, dealing with hurricanes and Mississippi mud, and then crashing on Imogene Pass in Colorado, where he broke his leg. Scott spent the winter and spring healing up, and in the summer of 2021, he returned to the TransAmerica Trail. After conquering Imogene Pass, he rode through Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon, where he finally made it to the end of the trail and dipped his tires in the Pacific Ocean. This is another unfiltered, uncensored conversation about the trials and tribulations of riding solo across America on a dirtbike. Look for Part 1 of Scott’s story in the adventure-themed November 2022 issue of Rider and on our website here, with Part 2 coming soon in 2023.
The 2022 Holiday Buyers Guide and Winter Supplement is in! Pull on your favorite ugly sweater, pour a cup of eggnog, and cozy up with these inspiring photos, travel stories, gear reviews, and pro tips, brought to you by the editors of Rider and American Rider.
While you’re at it, get out a pen and paper and start making your holiday wish list with the Holiday Buyers Guide, covering everything from parts, apparel, gear, and more. Check out the full list of product showcases below.
Through compelling stories and images, the editors and contributors at Rider and American Rider work hard to bring you “Motorcycling at its Best.” We’re supported by you – our loyal readers – and by our advertisers.
The companies that manufacture and sell the products in this Holiday Buyers Guide – and in every issue of Rider and American Rider – make it possible for us to produce the motorcycle content you know and love. Please pay it forward by supporting these companies with your business. They’ll appreciate it, and so will we.
Thank you, and keep the rubber side down,
Greg Drevenstedt, Editor-in-Chief, Rider
Kevin Duke, Editor-in-Chief, American Rider
D.I.D. ZVM-X Series Chain
The ZVM-X Series drive chain from D.I.D is stronger than the VX Series and designed for heavyweight motorcycles that make lots of torque and horsepower. The twisting action of the X-ring increases sealing performance, and the chain’s four contact points minimize power loss. The ZVM-X’s direct energy transfer, born from D.I.D’s experience in MotoGP, means greater stretch resistance under load. Available for a range of engine displacements in Natural, Silver, Gold, and Black starting at $202.17.
The Hair Glove prevents knotting and tangling while keeping your hair protected from dirt, dust, and other damaging elements, and it provides a sleek and stylish look with its cylindrical design. Snap buttons running the length of the Hair Glove help keep your hair in place, and the built-in Flex-Hook attaches to an elastic band to keep it from sliding out even at high speeds. Simply hook it, wrap it, snap it, and go. Available in a variety of lengths and designs starting at $18.99.
HJC RPHA 91 Modular Helmet
The new HJC RPHA 91 modular helmet features a Premium Integrated Matrix EVO shell, a distortion-free faceshield with increased peripheral view, and a drop-down sunshield. The chinbar has a hidden closure point for smooth contact and less pressure in the cheek area, and the 3D-engineered interior reduces wind noise. The RPHA 91 is compatible with the second-gen Smart HJC Bluetooth system and available in sizes XS-2XL in solids ($549.99), matte colors ($559.99), and the Combust graphic ($629.99).
Nelson-Rigg Defender Extreme Motorcycle Covers
The Nelson-Rigg Defender Extreme covers are made of waterproof, UV-resistant UltraMax fabric and feature electronically taped seams, perma-venting, windshield liners, and elastic hems. Reflective side and back strips offer enhanced visibility, and heat-resistant panels provide protection from exhaust pipes. A compression sack is included. The Defender Extreme covers come in M-2XL to fit anything from scooters up to 4-seat UTVs and even 3-wheeled machines. Prices range from $109.95-$124.95.
SW-Motech Legend Gear Magnetic Tank Bag
The Legend Gear Tank Bag by SW-Motech is made from synthetic Napalon leather and waxed canvas with a splashproof inner lining. Strong magnets give the LT1 tankbag a solid hold, while the base plate design allows the bag to be released from the tank without much effort, and it can be easily transported using the carrying handle. A waterproof rain cover with a clear PVC window provides additional weather protection. The bag is available in Black/Brown for $114.95 or in Black for $121.95.
Zerofit Heatrub Ultimate Baselayer
Zerofit’s Heatrub Ultimate Baselayer provides warmth and comfort during cold-weather riding by using heat threads that are activated through movement. The threads gently brush against the skin to generate warmth. This baselayer has scored a heat retention rating of 0.78, making it five times warmer in temps as low as 14 F. Since the Heatrub Baselayer doesn’t need to be tight to work, it is also more comfortable. Available in Red, Black, Gray, Navy, Cream, and Green in sizes XS-3XL for $99.
Wolverine Hustin Waterproof Riding Boots
The Hustin Waterproof Boot by Wolverine features waterproof full-grain leather and a breathable Hydro-Guard waterproof membrane lining. The boots also have oil-resistant rubber outsoles and Goodyear welt construction, a highly durable method for bonding the sole to the boot. The shaft is 11 inches tall, and the heel is 1.5 inches. Now a member of the Harley-Davidson line of products, these boots have a subtle Harley emblem on the side of the heel. Available in Black in U.S. sizes 7-12.5 for $223.
Barnett may be best known for its clutches and cables, but it also has a selection of quality apparel to choose from, including T-shirts, socks, and hoodies. And now the Barnett Cap joins the line. The cap is one-size-fits-most and features a hook-and-loop adjustable enclosure. It’s black with a pop of red on the bill trim. The “Barnett Equipped” logo is embroidered on the front, with the American flag embroidered on the side. It’s available for $19.54.
Wild Ass Classic Motorcycle Cushion
Made with medical-grade neoprene rubber, the Wild Ass Classic is a comfortable and natural-feeling motorcycle seat cushion designed for long-distance riders who want extra comfort and less fatigue. The neoprene rubber reduces pain at pressure points and promotes blood flow. The cushion also reduces shock and vibration, keeping riders comfortable over longer distances. The Classic cushion is 15.5 x 14 inches and comes with straps and a patch kit. Available in Black for $249.99.
SW-Motech Drybag 80
The SW-Motech Drybag 80 is durable, waterproof, and UV-resistant. Made from 500D polyester with a double-sided coating, the bag is designed for motorcycle travelers who expose their luggage to extreme stress. The versatile Drybag 80 can be used as a tailbag, a tankbag, a shoulder bag, or on the crash bar, and the 3-point lashing strap fastening ensures it stays in place even during rough riding. Additional reflective details provide higher visibility. Available in Grey/Black for $88.95.
JIMS tappet covers for Milwaukee-Eight engines are 0.5 inch lower than stock, making pushrod adjustments easier. Made from 6061 billet aluminum, these covers are designed to be installed with Twin Cam pushrod covers. They have JIMS DNA embedded in their design and work with both stock and aftermarket alignment guides. The tappet cover kits are available in Black or Chrome from $251-$321, while the tappet cover with pushrod cover kits are available in Black or Chrome for $656-$795.
HeliBars Tour Performance Handlebar Riser for 2023 Triumph Tiger 1200
HeliBars offers replacement handlebars and bar risers for improved ergonomic comfort on a wide variety of motorcycles. The new Tour Performance Handlebar Riser for the 2023 Triumph Tiger 1200 GT, GT Pro, and Rally Pro models raises the stock handlebar by 1 inch and brings the grips 1.26 inches closer to the rider. The riser reduces handlebar/riser flex and retains the stock handlebar, cables, and hydraulic lines for a simple 10-minute installation. Made in the USA and priced at $149.
Highway 21 Gasser Jacket
The Gasser has the look of a vintage jacket but is built with modern technology. Made of genuine premium leather, the Gasser features a weatherproof Hydraguard removable liner. CE Level 1 removable shoulder/elbow armor and reflective panels provide additional safety. A nine-point ventilation system makes this jacket breathable and comfortable. The Gasser also features a concealed carry pocket, an internal pocket, and snap waist adjusters. Available in Black and Vintage Brown for $349.95.
Zerofit Heatrub Move Baselayer
Perfect for temperatures from 23 F to 53 F, the Heatrub Move Baselayer is twice as warm as typical baselayers. Adaptable Warmth technology reacts to conditions to provide the perfect amount of heat to keep you comfortable. The Move’s polypropylene construction and hollow polyester shell work together to regulate body temperature. The construction evaporates perspiration quickly as well, preventing cold sweat from forming. Available in Black, Titanium, and White in sizes XS-2XL for $76.
Motorrad Reisen offers a variety of tours in southern Spain with cruiser and touring bikes from Indian Motorcycle. There are three routes around Málaga to choose from (Sevilla, Córdoba, and Granada), each with six days of riding and covering more than 800 miles. Six shorter themed trips are also offered. Andalusian tours include beautiful landscapes, ancient villages, historic cities, mountains, and coasts. Contact Motorrad Reisen for dates, prices, and bike availability.
Barnett Scorpion Low-Profile Lock-Up Clutches
Barnett’s Scorpion Lock-up Clutches feature a low-profile billet aluminum lock-up pressure plate designed to fit under the stock primary cover. The clutch surface area and capacity are greatly increased compared to stock. Three sets of six coil springs provide a variety of pressure options. All Scorpion clutches are designed to fit into the stock basket, and hydraulic versions are available. Available for 1941-84 Big Twins, 1990-2022 Big Twins, and 1991-2003 Sportsters for $995.
DMC Patriot Sidecar
DMC’s customizable Patriot Sidecar, reminiscent of the Harley sidecars of the 1930s, has a large seating area made with high-density foam and ample cargo space. A side door and foldable windshield make it easy to get in and out. The trunk opens and locks from the outside, so grabbing your gear doesn’t require removing the seat. Full swingarm suspension and electric trim adjustment is mounted internally, allowing for a narrower track width. The body is mounted on vibration isolators. Available for $14,995.
SW-Motech Pro Enduro WP Tank Bag
Suitable for a wide variety of motorcycle tanks, the Pro Enduro WP Tank Bag is waterproof and weatherproof and has 11 liters of storage. The top of the bag is made of laminated EVA, and the welded body is made of TPU without seams. An overlapping magnetic lid keeps water out, and an attachment at the top allows riders to store accessories like a phone or wallet for easy access. The Pro Enduro WP Tank Bag will keep your devices and belongings safe from the elements. Available for $268.95.
Barnett Scorpion Series Clear Derby Covers
The Barnett Scorpion Series clear derby covers are designed to fit OEM primary covers on 1990-2016 H-D Big Twins, 2018-22 Softails, and 2015-22 FLs with a “narrow” primary. The quarter-inch thick, polycarbonate window is scratch- and discoloration-resistant and firmly secured and sealed with an O-ring gasket. The outer cover area is CNC-machined from billet aluminum with a powdercoat finish. The derby cover gasket is included. Available in Chrome for $274 and Black for $223.
Zerofit Heatrub Ultimate Leggings
Featuring the same material and fabric construction as the award-winning Ultimate Baselayer, the unisex Heatrub Ultimate Leggings will keep riders warm in temperatures as low as 14 F. While moving, heat threads inside the leggings brush against the skin to generate heat. Offering comfort as well as warmth, the Heatrub Ultimate Leggings are made of a material that has been independently tested and proven to be five times warmer than a typical baselayer. Available in Black in sizes XS-2XL for $99.
Wolverine Brake Light Riding Boots
The Wolverine Brake Light Riding Boot merges function with biker fashion. Designed for hardcore Harley riders, these boots are made of full-grain leather with oil-resistant rubber outsoles. The mesh lining keeps feet and ankles comfortable, and Goodyear welt construction ensures a highly secure bond between sole and boot. The boots also include YKK dual locking metal zippers. These riding boots have a shaft height of 6.25 inches and are available in Black in U.S. sizes 6-17.5 for $183.
Nelson-Rigg Solo Storm Jacket and Pants
Nelson-Rigg’s fully lined Storm Jacket is made of polyester oxford with dual stitching. To keep the elements out, seams are electronically taped, and the full-length zipper features a self-fastening storm flap. Adjustable side buckles and an elastic waist provide a comfortable fit. Nelson-Rigg also offers matching Storm Pants. The jacket is available in S-4XL in Black, Hi-Viz Yellow, and Hi-Viz Orange for $79.95. The pants are available in S-4XL in Black for $49.95.
Wild Ass Air Gel Cushion
The Wild Ass Air Gel Cushion is made of three layers of polyurethane, making it extremely durable. Gel pads inserted inside each individual air cell provide additional cushioning, shock absorption, and vibration dampening. This cushion can also be used without air when riders want to feel closer to the bike but still need some additional cushioning. Designed to be used for a variety of needs and types of riding, this cushion is versatile and affordable. Available in Black for $194.99.
SW-Motech Legend Gear Tail Bag
A practical combination of tailbag and full-fledged backpack, the Legend Gear Tail Bag LR1 is a versatile companion for every tour. With a universal fit for seat and tail rack, this bag has a 4-point strap-mounting system for a secure hold. When used as a backpack, the bag has padded, adjustable carrying straps for a comfortable fit. The Legend Gear Tail Bag also features a roll-top closure, a padded laptop holder, and a waterproof rain cover made of 210D polyamide. Available in Brown for $163.95.
Riding into History, the annual vintage motorcycle show held in St. Augustine, Florida, has named Mary McGee the Grand Marshal for the 2023 event with the theme “Get Your Heart Racing – Competition Motorcycles.”
McGee is no stranger to competition herself, having raced her way through the ’60s and ’70s and into the AMA Hall of Fame, the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, and the Trailblazer’s Hall of Fame.
McGee started racing motorcycles in 1960 to help with her sportscar racing skills. People were hesitant to let a woman race, but eventually she was allowed to try out for her FIM license. Once she passed the tryout, there was no going back.
She became the first woman to have an FIM license in the U.S., the first woman to finish the Baja 1000, and the first woman to compete in road races and motocross in the U.S., among other accomplishments.
Since then, McGee has been an ambassador for the sport, encouraging others, especially young women, to give motorcycles and competitive riding a try. Through speaking at events and being active on her Facebook page, McGee continues to uplift others and shine a light on the sport.
As Grand Marshal of Riding into History, McGee will participate in the Grand Marshal Tour and Grand Marshal Banquet, where attendees can hear her speak about racing as a woman in a male-dominated sport and hear her stories. She will also participate in the Concours D’Elegance, where attendees can meet and talk to her.
Riding into History 2023 will take place at the World Golf Village near St. Augustine, Florida, April 14-15. The event attracts hundreds of antique and vintage motorcycles to be displayed around the lake at the center of the World Golf Village. Riding into History is a nonprofit, and proceeds go to K9s for Warriors to provide service dogs for disabled veterans. Spectator admission is $15 per person, and there is no charge for show entrants.
“You realize that we’re moving to mandatory evacuation,” the park ranger told me as I pulled up to the campground kiosk to check in. It was August 2020, and Hurricane Isaias was bearing down on the East Coast just as I was about to start my “Adventure of a Lifetime.” The storm was expected to make landfall right where we were standing at North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
A month earlier, my KTM 500 EXC-F had been loaded on a truck in Louisiana, bound for Outer Banks Harley-Davidson. I had flown into Norfolk, Virginia, with plans to pick up my bike and spend a week at the beach with friends before starting my solo journey on the TransAmerica Trail.
Now I was doing battle with cars and RVs trying to outrun a hurricane. My KTM was overloaded with an expedition’s worth of gear plus a now-pointless beach towel, umbrella, mask, and fins, making it as unwieldy as the rattletrap jalopy of the Joad family in The Grapes of Wrath. I made my way north along the Outer Banks and felt lucky to snag a room at an overpriced roach motel in the ominous-sounding village of Kill Devil Hills.
I had heard that the pavement ended just north of Corolla and from there you could ride on the beach into Virginia, so I got an early start and baptized my knobbies in the Atlantic brine. The plan was to ride west to the Great Dismal Swamp and drop down to Sam Correro’s TransAmerica Trail from there (see “TAT? Which TAT?” sidebar at end of story). It was a gorgeous day in one of America’s most beautiful places – the calm before the storm – and as soon as I was off the beaten track, I thought to myself: I’m doing it. I’m actually riding coast-to-coast on a dirtbike!
I rode west across the causeway to mainland North Carolina where it got really hot, really fast. My riding gear became a soggy wetsuit. I pulled into a state park to re-sort my gear and camp for the night. Just as I entered the parking lot, my bike skidded, and I almost toppled over. My heavy load had pushed the rear fender into the exhaust, melting a strap, which had rolled up into my sprocket, as well as one of the turnsignals and the license plate mount. The state park was closed because of Covid, so after re-shuffling my gear, I was back on tarmac. It was still hot, and black clouds trailed behind me.
Suddenly a bird hit my thigh, bounced into my chest, and flew over my shoulder. Wait, that wasn’t a bird, it was my phone! After a tedious half hour of tacking back and forth down the road, I spotted it – functional but with a cracked screen. When I climbed off the KTM to retrieve it, I felt woozy and was no longer sweating. I held onto a telephone pole to keep from fainting and succumbed to a bout of rib-wracking dry heaves. I was on the verge of a full-on heat stroke. Nearby I saw a kudzu-covered shack that turned out to be a juke joint-cum-country store where I sucked down three Gatorades and laid down over the top of the old-school ice box. Had I not dropped my phone, I wouldn’t have stopped riding and might have died.
Hurricane Isaias caught up with me near Appomattox, Virginia, and I ducked into a gas station overhang to put on my raingear for the first time. It fit rather snuggly over all my off-road gear, and when I tried to swing my leg over the enormous pile of kit on the KTM, I fell over, my legs splayed akimbo with the bike and bags toppling on top of me.
I hadn’t even put a wheel on the TAT yet. Was I in over my head?
A Decision is Made
If I bailed out, I’d still have to get my KTM back home to Louisiana. Shipping it home would be expensive and take a month. The 500 EXC-F is an enduro, the last thing you’d want to ride on the freeway, so I’d have to take little secondary roads back down south. That pretty much sounded like the TAT.
I decided I was unlikely to make it all the way to Oregon as planned. The TAT dipped into central Mississippi, and from there it was only about three hours to my house. The revised plan was to put Oregon out of my mind and just focus on getting home.
Removing the pressure to complete the entire TAT lifted a heavy weight from my shoulders. The storm had passed, and it was a beautiful day with blue skies and cooler temperatures. Virginia is lush and green, and the rain brought out flowers and butterflies. Narrow lanes and gravel roads weaved between red barns and fields of mowed pasture, eventually climbing into cool, dark forests. I could sense the temperature and humidity changes around each dip and turn. I could smell little creeks, pines, and vegetation, the very earth itself.
I veered off the TAT to have a hearty lunch at the Devils Backbone Basecamp Brewpub. With the views, live music, and great weather, I could have spent the day there, but instead I mounted up and crossed the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway. I stopped briefly at the farm where Cyrus McCormick invented the mechanical reaper that led the United States to feed the world. In the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, I camped in a clearing next to the trail, just me and the bike and a million stars.
Soft Mud Makes a Hard Slog on the TransAmerica Trail
By the time I blazed my way through Virginia, North Carolina, corners of Georgia and Alabama, and into Tennessee, I had perfected my packing and loading system, felt at home behind the bars of my KTM, fought less with my GPS, and really began to enjoy myself.
Tennessee was a turning point. Some dear friends rode their Harley down to Lynchburg to join me for dinner and offer encouragement. Just off the trail in Counce, I had breakfast at the home of TAT founder Sam Correro, and he personally adorned my bike with one of his TAT stickers on my front fender. And a buddy in St. Louis contacted me and said he’d meet me in Arkansas so we could ride together for a few days. It was settled: I was back on the TransAmerica Trail to Oregon!
But it wasn’t easy. For many, the hardest part of the TAT east of the Mississippi is the myriad of water crossings in Tennessee. The two worst ones – which you see most often in YouTube videos of TAT-ending epic fails – occur the first 10 miles after you enter the Volunteer State, one right after the other. The gracious host of the motorcycle-friendly Lodge at Tellico lessened my anxiety by sharing some strategies on how to manage them. “Worse comes to worst,” he said, “it’s not too far to hike back here, and I can get ya out.”
In Mississippi, the remnants of Hurricane Marco darkened the skies, and rain turned the TAT into retreat-from-Stalingrad, diaper-full-of-diarrhea sludge. I found refuge in the college town of Oxford, where I checked into a hotel, ordered a steak for dinner, and enjoyed a rest day waiting for things to dry out. But I couldn’t dally because yet another hurricane threatened to make a bad situation worse.
The thing about being in way over your head is that you usually don’t realize it until you’re actually in way over your head. At the southernmost part of the TAT in central Mississippi, I turned down a damp red-dirt road and headed east. The red clay grew more viscous as I followed the ruts others before me had made. In places the muddy track grew wide where folks attempted workarounds to what looked like permanent sludge holes. There came a series of undulating rises through a canopy forest tunnel with the road getting increasingly soupier. I thought about turning back, but it would have been a long detour well off the TAT.
Well, this is where the ‘adventure part’ begins, I thought. Slowly and surely wins the race. Take it easy, stay focused, and we’ll get through this.
One little hill had me spinning my wheel in a red rooster tail of muck going up, then sliding sideways out of control to the bottom, my tires coated like frosting on a Krispy Kreme donut. Now I really had to stick with the trail because there was absolutely no way in hell I could make it back up the slime track I just slid down. I lasted only about a minute more before my KTM became completely stuck up to the rear sprocket. When I dismounted, there was no need for a kickstand because the bike was cemented in place. I walked down the road to scout ahead. Slipping and sliding in my moto boots, each one weighted down by pounds of Mississippi clay, I peered over the rise and saw … more muddy hills, an endless procession of them to the horizon and beyond.
The hot, humid air was thick, and I felt nauseous. I took off my helmet, gloves, jacket, boots, and even my pants and sat down on the side of the road. A black butterfly landed on my bike, then flew over and sat on my knee. We looked at each other for what seemed like an hour. I just sat there, hot and numb. I did not know what to do. Another storm would come that evening – maybe that afternoon – and no way was another vehicle coming down this road. Not today. Maybe not ever.
Thoughts of living the rest of my life in the woods like Grizzly Adams soon dissipated along with my stock of water. Scrolling around on my Garmin, I saw a little spur a few miles back that looked like it might lead to pavement. I stripped the bike of all the gear and scraped off as much clay as I could. With no other choice, I backtracked, dragging the machine sideways over the hills and making multiple trips to retrieve my gear.
Back on blacktop, I stopped at a store and downed a water, a Gatorade, and a Mountain Dew. I was in Bobby Gentry country, and the lyric “Seems like nothin’ ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge” played in my head as I thought that maybe what Billy Joe tossed off the Tallahatchie Bridge was a mud-encrusted KTM.
That night the hotel’s fire alarm went off just as I began a relaxing soak in a hot bath. Guests were summoned to the lobby because the hurricane was kicking up tornadoes in the area.
Was I cursed? Had my karmic debt finally come due?
I took a day to visit Graham KTM, a dealership in Senatobia, and the great guys there changed the oil, adjusted the brakes, and installed a trick tail piece that better supported the weight of my luggage. While they were power-washing pounds of clay off my bike, I asked the shop fellows what strategy locals used to ride those gooey roads. “Man, we never ride in that shit.”
Beyond Big Muddy
Arkansas is a special place. Its mountains are not part of any other continental ridgeline, and the culture – equal parts Southern, Southwestern, and Midwestern – is unique. Ozark people know the TAT, and hospitality and homemade signs of encouragement prevailed along the trail.
In addition to the beautiful vistas and bountiful barbecue, Arkansas highlights included a gentleman who serves TAT riders iced tea from his back porch while photographing the different motorcycles and recording them in his ledger, the little TAT Shak that’s open and free to anyone who wants to stop, and spending a few days riding with Rick Koch, an old college buddy who had come down from St. Louis.
I had no preconceived expectations about Oklahoma, yet it provided some of the best memories of the trip. Intermittent rain and challenging mud made for slow going, and I slid from town to town to take shelter through countryside that I otherwise probably would have blasted though.
I met some of the nicest people of the whole trip, and I visited the little town of Beaver during the World Championship Cow Chip Throwing Contest.
The Way-out West
New Mexico and most of Colorado passed by too quickly. I set back the clock another hour and entered the Pacific watershed after crossing the Great Divide. It was weird to see patches of snow after almost passing out from heat stroke earlier in the trip.
In a little bunkbed bungalow in Sargents, Colorado – a haven for hunters and off-road enthusiasts where I feasted on elk meatloaf – I awoke to shrill whistles and shouts of “yip, yip yip!” Local cowboys were rounding up the herd outside my cabin’s back window.
After weeks of temperatures in the 80s and 90s, it was 30 degrees outside, and I scraped frost off the map pocket of my tankbag. The dip in temperature tripped the aspen trees, and just like that, almost all of them went from pale green to vibrant yellow.
Riding high in the Rockies, I went over Black Sage Pass (9,725 ft), Tomichi Pass (11,962 ft), Los Pinos Pass (10,509 ft), and Slumgullion Pass (11,529 ft) and then zig-zagged down switchbacks into Lake City, said to be the most isolated town in Colorado.
Continuing west to Ouray meant going over Engineer Pass (12,800 ft), which is surrounded by barren tundra that reminded me of the Karakoram Mountains along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
It was freezing cold and extremely windy at the summit, and it was a struggle to keep my loaded bike from falling over as I took off my gloves for a quick selfie. Snow started blowing sideways, and soon it was a complete whiteout. Fog on my goggles turned to frost, and the grade was so steep I was reluctant to move my hands from the handlebars to wipe them. Slinking down the precipice was all the more unnerving because I had to contend with Jeeps and side-by-sides coming the other way. A strip of mud and trickling water on the inside track became gravel-covered ice, forcing me to move closer to the outside ledge.
I never felt comfortable on those steep switchbacks. My bodyweight kept trying to put me over the handlebars, and I couldn’t scoot back because of my loaded luggage. I washed out my front tire on one gravelly switchback, and a passing motorcyclist going up the hill stopped and helped me right things.
After arriving in Ouray, a long soak in the warm mineral waters of the public hot springs was just what I needed to close out an incredible day that featured sunshine, gale-force winds, a blizzard, freezing rain, and more than a few pucker moments.
My Dear Imogene
From Ouray, there were several options. Sam Correro’s route would send me south on the Million Dollar Highway, one of the most beautiful roads in America. Instead, I opted for the more adventurous Yankee Boy Basin route over Imogene Pass (13,114 ft) to Telluride.
The weather the next day was probably the single most beautiful day of the trip. I was in top TAT shape, the bike was running great, and my gear was dialed. The autumn leaves were vibrant, and there were many natural and historic things to see along the way. At one overlook, I met a young guy from California in a new Jeep who had stopped to let some air out of his tires. He was on his honeymoon, and the couple had planned for more than a year to drive this road, which is a bucket-list destination for many off-roaders.
Even though it was a Tuesday in late September, there were a lot of vehicles on the road, especially side-by-sides, not all of which yielded the right of way. One of the trickiest technical bits – a staircase of rock and shale that plummeted down to a precipice below – required a careful study of the approach. The trail devolved into a giant rockface about 100 feet wide that had shale-like “stairs” of varying widths and heights. You must go up the stairs diagonally, pick a shelf to straighten out on, and then go back down diagonally again. On two wheels, this is a feat that requires just the right mix of momentum, balance, skill, and luck to avoid falling off the cliff.
Just as I decided on a route up and hit the gas, two side-by-sides came across from the other direction, forcing me to scramble up the stairs higher than planned. They squeezed by without mishap, tooting and waving as they passed, but I was stuck at the top of the staircase, holding myself to the cliff with just my right leg and about two knobs’ worth of tire. I perched like that for some time, a few Jeeps passing by closely without acknowledgement. When my knees began to shake and I wasn’t sure I could hold on any longer, I launched myself down, kicked off the ledge, and skipped down the stairs, just catching the lip of the trail.
Shaken, I knew backtracking was no longer an option. I was committed to summitting, come hell or high water.
Next I came to a deep, narrow stream filled with softball- to bowling ball-sized rocks. I was at the top of a waterfall that poured into the canyon below. With a cliff on one side and a house-sized boulder on the other, there was no workaround. Before fear got the better of me, I gunned it, and my front wheel skimmed the top of the water toward the far bank. The strong current and slippery, unstable rocks caused me to slip sideways, and I started to fall over, but somehow my boot caught a rock and I bounced back upright as I gassed it over the finish line.
Soaking wet and hyperventilating, it took me awhile to regain my composure. I rode around the big boulder only to find that the little stream I crashed through was but a small tributary of a larger stream that now roared before me. The trail required me to ride up a 6-foot-high steep, mossy waterfall and then hang a sharp left up a switchback. Um…
Remember when I said that you don’t really know you’re in over your head until you’re in over your head? I was stuck between two streams I could not cross. I shut off the bike, took off my helmet, and sat for a long while, feeling demoralized. It was getting dark in the crevasse I was tucked into, and I had to make a decision. It wasn’t like I could establish residency in the shelf between the streams and have my mail forwarded there.
So I put my helmet on and gave it a shot. I closed my eyes and let out a scream as I popped the clutch, laying on a fistful of throttle. The weirdest thing is, I have no further memory of the incident. Suddenly I was on a wide, flat bit of dirt road farther up the summit, out of earshot of the water, but I don’t recall how I got there. It’s like God’s hand reached down and delivered me. One moment I’m crashing into a waterfall, and the next I’m back in my body, calm and relaxed and tootling down the trail, none the worse for wear.
My idyll didn’t last long. In full view of the barren summit, I now faced the final stretch and what for many is the hardest obstacle of the trail. Blocking the final approach to the summit was a large boulder. There looked to be a little ramp around it on dirt, so I took that route, but near the top of the boulder, just around the corner out of view, there appeared a 4-foot ledge. I came to a sudden stop, sliding up on the tank. In trying to turn around on the steep slope, I lost my balance and fell over.
I was above 10,000 feet, short of breath, and my arms felt like wet spaghetti noodles. I was too weak to lift my bike, so I started unloading my gear. Just then, California Honeymoon Jeep Guy came up the trail and said, “Hey, Louisiana KTM Dude!” He put my bags in the back of his Jeep and promised to drop them off at the summit. We then pushed and pulled my bike over the ledge, and I served as spotter for his careful crawl up the face of the boulder.
Near the summit, several vehicles were stacked up at the base of the steepest incline I had ever seen. After Jeep Guy left, I faced another 3-foot stepup to continue on the trail. I was exhausted and again unsure of what to do. The only other bike I had seen was a mangled BMW in the back of a pickup truck.
Just then a side-by-side pulled up next to me, driven by a tour guide. “You look stuck,” he said. “Are you alright?” He told me he was a KTM man himself and that he often enjoyed this trail with his enduro friends. The ledge looked vertical but actually had some angle to it, he said, so the trick was to hit it head on with enough speed to make the next righthand switchback and up the shale slope.
“Don’t worry what line you take or how sloppy it gets,” he said. “Just stay on the gas. Don’t let up. You can do this!”
His enthusiasm was encouraging, and being relieved of my luggage was liberating. After a few false starts, I recommitted and used my “waterfall” technique, screaming as I accelerated into the ledge. When my front tire hit, it lifted straight up into the air. The impact knocked my body back, but I held on with vice grips of adrenaline and gassed it. After going aerial, somehow I touched down where I needed to be.
Maintaining momentum, I threaded around some other vehicles, made a sharp right at speed, and went up into the scree, fishtailing sideways and throwing rocks everywhere, clawing my way up the steep slope. My engine howled wonderfully like I’d never heard before. “Woohoo!” I heard from below, and I thought, I’m doing this! Up and up I went. Just as my front wheel lurched onto flat ground, with my spinning back tire not far behind, the KTM died.
WTF?! How? What? Why?!
My forward movement stopped, and for a moment I was in suspended animation, half on and half off the slope – like Wile E. Coyote when he first runs off the cliff, and then looks down…
Pulling in the clutch, the KTM restarted first pop. But I felt the sickening feeling of going backward. Squeezing the front brake lever just caused the front tire to skid. Locked up and sliding backward, I became disoriented.
Instinctively, I put my right foot down to arrest my slide, but the incline was steeper on that side, and my boot touched nothing. My body shifted to the right, causing me to whiskey-throttle into a sideways wheelie that knocked me backward at an awkward angle. As I landed hard, I felt a crunch below my right knee – what turned out to be a tibial plateau fracture – and I heard my coach shout, “Oh no!” from below.
Within sight of people taking selfies at the Imogene Pass summit sign, the KTM and I tumbled to a halt on the slope, bringing my TransAmerica Trail journey to an end – for now.
TransAmerica Trail Sidebar: TAT? Which TAT
In the mid-1980s, dual-sport enthusiast Sam Correro began scouting and mapping a mostly off-road trail from Tennessee to Oregon, which he called the TransAmerica Trail. Correro’s TAT now includes a main trail that runs west from West Virginia to Utah, north to Idaho, and then east to Wisconsin. Spurs extend the TAT to the Atlantic, the Pacific, and along the Rockies.
Correro continues to ride the TAT and updates it regularly. At TransAmTrail.com, he sells maps, rolls charts, and GPS tracks. He also provides his phone number and email address to those who order his maps. While on the TAT, I texted Correro to let him know how much fun I was having, and he invited me for breakfast at his home, which is just off the trail in Tennessee.
Another resource is gpsKevinAdventureRides.com, which offers digitized TAT maps as well as GPS tracks. Much of gpsKevin’s main TAT follows the same route as Correro’s, but he offers alternate spurs from Tennessee to New York and from Moab, Utah, to Los Angeles.
Whereas the TAT runs mostly east-to-west, Backcountry Discovery Routes (RideBDR.com) run south-to-north in individual states, and some parts of BDRs in western states overlap with the TAT.
For my trip, I bought maps and GPS tracks from Correro, gpsKevin, and BDR and put together my own trip, mostly following Correro’s route. Since I’m a history buff, I incorporated some of America’s original routes: the Trail of Tears, the Cimarron and Santa Fe Trail, the Mormon Trail, and Lewis and Clark’s Route of Discovery. And as a fan of American culture, I included parts of music trails through the Appalachians and Ozarks and sought out the best local barbecue and regional cuisine.
There are many planning resources available online. Do your homework, prepare yourself and your bike, and go for it! – DS
Following in the steps of other popular customization projects of the BMW R 18, seven BMW Motorrad sales partners in Poland took their own swing at a new look for the premium cruiser – from an R 18 inspired by a popular American cartoon character to one modeled after the Japanese style of bobber-style motorbikes (and a famous painting from that same country) and everything in between. For more information, read the press release from BMW Motorrad below.
Following similar endeavors in Canada, Italy, and Japan, impressive customizing projects based on the BMW R 18 have now also been created in Poland. BMW Motorrad Poland has unveiled seven equally spectacular and individual creations using the “Big Boxer.”
Black as night, from crown to sole, the R 18 Black Jack is presented by BMW Motorrad sales partner ZK Motors in Kielce. The customizers not only used black lacquer but also applied black chrome extensively, which gives the R 18 Black Jack a very special high-grade appeal.
The list of galvanically treated components includes the headlight ring, speedometer surround, engine housing cover, handlebar weights, cylinder head covers, pushrod tubes, intake manifold trims, intake grille, air filter cover, handlebar clamps, wider beach bar handlebars, fuel filler cap, fuel filler trim element, and the hanging rear view mirrors.
Small 16-inch wheels with big-sized tires give the R 18 Black Jack an elongated, low, and masculine appearance. The thoroughly black look is further enhanced by a matte black sidepipe-style exhaust system and high-grade milled elements. The cylinder head covers and the engine casing cover feature milling trim from Roland Sands Design, and the “Black Jack” emblem on the engine has also been milled from aluminum.
Other black parts such as hand levers, the front indicator lights, and the indicator and rear lights recessed into the holder of the rear fender round off the harmonious design. The quilted single seat, tinted headlight lens, and the license plate holder on the left also blend in with style. Two Black Jack cards on the rear fender are the icing on the cake.
BMW Dobrzanski Team Customs – BMW R 18 Isle of Man
The famous Isle of Man, where the Tourist Trophy has been held since 1907 and where Georg “Schorsch” Meier won the Senior TT for BMW in 1939, inspired BMW Motorrad sales partner Dobrzanski Team Customs in Kraków to create the sporty BMW R 18 Isle of Man.
The design of the BMW R 18 Isle of Man evolved from the heritage of Georg Meier’s victorious BMW factory racing machine, the BMW RS 255 Kompressor. Adorned with “Schorsch” Meier’s starting number 49, this motorcycle ties in with the tradition of road racing and represents the history of the Isle of Man as a special place for motorcyclists and for the history of BMW Motorrad.
The “Isle of Man green metallic” paint finish, familiar from the BMW M4, defines the bike’s dynamic look and emphasizes the love of speed and the affiliation to the world of exceptional BMW vehicles.
Liberty Motors Piaseczno – BMW R 18 Liberty
Nine Hills Motorcycles in Chełmno is a renowned tradition-steeped Polish company, led by a true enthusiast: Paweł Stachura. His designs are recognized all over the world, and the motorbikes have already triumphed on the world’s best custom stages. As a partner of Liberty Motors Piaseczno, this commissioned project based on the BMW R 18 called Liberty includes handmade body components designed from scratch, such as the fuel tank, front and rear fenders, the seat bench, lamp trim with small LED headlight, and the handlebar.
Special features include the round instrumentation integrated into the tank center tunnel, tank filler necks that are flush with the tank surface and can be opened under pressure, and exclusive leather components that are also handmade, including the seat upholstery and side pocket. The chassis has a lowered and fully adjustable rear suspension, a slightly lowered fork, and three-piece wheels from Rick’s Motorcycles, sized 8 x 18 inches at the rear and 3.5 x 21 inches at the front with 240/40-18 and 130/60-21 tires respectively.
Numerous CNC-milled parts such as cylinder head covers or the specially designed oil cooler, as well as brake calipers and footrests from Beringer, tastefully complement the R 18 Liberty, which is elaborately painted featuring airbrush work. A short black FCR exhaust system rounds off the stylish look.
BMW and MINI sales partner Inchcape Wrocêaw in Wroclaw took its inspiration for designing the BMW R 18 Roadster entirely from 1920s and 1930s automotive engineering. The focus was on clear and straightforward lines and, together with a dash of Art Deco, ultimately led to a very clean and equally unique look for the R 18 Roadster.
A completely newly developed hump seat bench with additional fuel tank and “Monza Cap” filler neck helps give the rear end of the R 18 Roadster a very sporty appearance, which is complemented at the front by matching cockpit trim and special handlebars.
The longitudinal beading in the hump seat bench and fairing are style-defining design elements of this bike. This design language is taken up in the openwork trim elements on the sides of the tank and on the aerodynamically designed front fender, the front of which features the legendary BMW kidney grille hearkening back to BMW automotive construction.
BMW Smorawiński – BMW R 18 Roar
BMW sales partner Smorawiński in Poznań had the 2019 R 18 Concept study entirely in mind when creating his R 18 Roar.
In particular, the Smorawiński team focused on a very light-looking rear section. Harmoniously designed details such as the short rear fender and the swinging saddle with two coil springs make the bike look particularly light. The extremely short, “silencerless” exhaust system in sidepipe style not only generates great sound but also adds to the light look of the rear section.
Together with wire-spoke wheels and chrome brake calipers, the result is a very purist R 18 that conveys a purist motorcycle feel. Roar!
BMW Inchcape Poznań – BMW R 18 Speedy Gonzales
BMW sales partner Inchcape in Swadzim chose the fastest mouse in Mexico as the namesake for its BMW R 18 customizing creation. Voilà, the BMW R 18 Speedy Gonzales. You can well imagine this customized BMW R 18 on the highway in the northern Mexican desert, riding past huge cacti and nothing but a seemingly endless ribbon of asphalt ahead – similar to the adventures of the TV cartoon mouse.
Indeed, the BMW R 18 Speedy Gonzales with an apehanger handlebar and comfortable single seat seems made for riding along never-ending asphalt roads. Inspired by automobile construction of the 1920s and 1930s, the front and rear fenders are powerful and curved. This design feature, together with the tank, side covers, headlamp cover, instrument housing, and long fishtail rear silencers, give the bike great presence. Not to mention its extraordinary paint finish – executed in blue-black with elaborate airbrush technique and filigree lines.
This bike is characterized by absolutely perfect craftsmanship and is a real eye-catcher and feast for the eyes!
BMW Team Długołęka – BMW R 18 The Great Wave
Together with UNIKAT Motorworks, BMW sales partner Team Długołęka initiated the BMW R 18 The Great Wave. The leitmotif here was to modify the BMW R 18 taking inspiration from Japanese art painting and the Japanese style of bobber-style motorbikes.
The bike’s patinized paintwork makes you think that the R 18 The Great Wave has been around for decades and has just been found in a barn. This special paintwork technique was entrusted to the best artist in Poland: Łukasz Elbalenko. The theme of the Great Wave in Kanagawa was chosen because it is one of the most famous works of art from Japan by Hokusia, created around 1831.
The Japanese bobber style features details such as the rear ducktail fender and the shortened frame rear section with a single seat covered in natural brown leather. Sonorous sound is generated by short, handmade silencers with slotted copper-colored end pieces and hexagonal cross-section. You will also find the exclusive copper coating on the shaft drive, brake calipers and cylinder head covers.
Finally, classic Shinko tires with a very large cross-section and grooved tread give the R 18 The Great Wave a particularly masculine look. A flat drag bar handlebar with genuine leather grips and personalized emblems on the engine round out the well-balanced look of the R 18 The Great Wave.
Our guest on Episode 49 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast is Gina “Brooklyn” Neumann, a member of the Leather and Lace MC, an international women’s motorcycle club founded in 1983. Although Leather and Lace MC is a patch club, it is by no means an outlaw club. It’s a family-oriented MC whose mission is to promote sisterhood among its members, to ride together, and to work as a club to raise funds for charitable organizations that support children and families. Neumann is a member of Leather and Lace MC’s Midway Crue, which includes members in Virginia and Maryland. In October, the Midway Crue hosted a poker run, and the proceeds went to Bethany House of Northern Virginia, which provides a safe haven for victims of domestic violence.
In this episode, we discuss the history of Leather and Lace MC, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2023, and we talk about the stigma that faces patch clubs, the profiling of motorcyclists, and the importance of sharing knowledge about protective gear, riding etiquette, and safety to new riders.
Who wouldn’t appreciate a 2022 Husqvarna Norden 901 with $12,000-worth of upgrades? Backcountry Discovery Routes, an adventure motorcycling non-profit organization, is giving one away for its annual Motorcycle Sweepstakes Fundraiser, taking place now until January 20, 2023. The entry fee is $25.
“We’ve worked with our industry partners to turn this bike into the ultimate adventure machine,” says Inna Thorn, BDR Executive Director. “It’s set up specifically for tackling any or all of the Backcountry Discovery Routes. This is by far the most well-equipped sweepstake bike that BDR has ever offered, and we hope the community will be just as excited to participate in this year’s sweepstakes as we are to offer it.”
The aftermarket accessories on the Norden 901 include:
Full WP suspension XPLOR PRO upgrade
Special BDR Edition graphics
Protection and luggage systems from Touratech
Yoshimura slip-on exhaust
Garmin Zumo XT with locking mount
Scotts steering stabilizer with TripleClamp Moto mount kit
LED lights by Cyclops
Complete set of 11 BDR Butler Motorcycle Maps
Backcountry Discovery Routes is a non-profit that works to create and preserve off-highway riding opportunities for dual-sport and adventure motorcyclists. All proceeds from the sweepstakes will go toward helping BDR with these goals.
BDR’s work includes “promoting rider education and safety campaigns, driving economic relief to rural communities, and encouraging responsible motorcycle travel in the backcountry.”
Anyone can enter to win the 2022 Norden 901. International entries are welcome with the understanding that the prize will be collected in Seattle, Washington, and may be subject to tax or importation limitations.
What techniques do some of the best riders in the world use to stay safe while going so fast? The Yamaha Champions Riding School, led by racer and author Nick Ienatsch, aims to imbue this wisdom on participants at its numerous events. Along these lines, the partial 2023 ChampSchool schedule has been released, with events from coast to coast and several points in between – and promises of more to come. Read the press release below from the Yamaha Champions Riding School for more information
GARYSBURG, N.C. —Yamaha Champions Riding School, the premier riding school in North America, is proud to announce the partial 2023 schedule featuring events in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington state. This is a partial schedule release with several more dates to be added in the next few weeks. In all, the 2023 ChampSchool schedule will consist of more than 30 events including 2-Day ChampSchool, ChampStreet, ChampGrad, and Racer Only curriculums. Significant “early bird” discounts are available for all schools up to 60 days before the events, and most schools sell out weeks in advance.
“We pushed hard to get our 2023 partial schedule out because of incredible demand,” CEO Nick Ienatsch explains. “We keep our classes small because we feel that riding must be taught specifically and individually, but we filled all of our classes in 2022 with incredibly long wait lists! We have added several new events, changed up some programs, and we include our new Champ U online curriculum with every in-person school purchase. Thanks to all riders for their interest; see what events fit your schedule and let’s ride together in 2023.”
The first event of the year might be the best event of the year! Yamaha Champions Riding School is going to Homestead Miami Speedway for what has turned into our annual four-day moto-vacation extravaganza! ChampSchool has partnered with N2 Track Days for four days of fun in the sun. Thursday and Friday, Jan. 19-20, will feature our 2-Day ChampSchool, and ChampStreet programs.
N2 Track Days will be holding a track day event on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 21-22. Track prepared rental bikes will be available from Bike Pass Motorsports, Track Bike Rentals, and BobbleHeadMoto. Street based rentals will be available from ChampSchool and our new partners at Eagle Rider. 2-Day ChampSchool students will also have the opportunity to get “third-day” private coaching from Kyle Wyman, Ben Walters, Chris Peris, Eziah Davis, Stefano Mesa, Robertino Pretri, and others at the N2 Event. Call the boss and take vacation time now. This event will sell out.
ChampSchool’s traditional winter home is Inde Motorsports Ranch in Willcox, Arizona. Inde is a gearhead’s dream with 75,000 sq-ft of beautiful facilities, a 5-acre skid pad, and an amazing, freshly-repaved, 21-turn road course. We will be holding traditional 2-Day ChampSchool events at Inde on Feb. 20-21 as well as adding ChampStreet to the program.
On March 20-21, we will hold our “Racer Only” school. This event will not include our normal 2-Day curriculum but will focus specifically on racing, race craft, training, nutrition, sponsorship, and racing as a business…taught by a who’s-who of American roadracing.
We will be back at Inde for a “Graduate Only” event on May 9-10, open to any ChampSchool grad regardless of speed or riding venue.
The next ChampSchool at Inde will be on Oct. 9-10 followed by Grad schools on Nov. 28-29. Inde is the perfect destination to improve your skills while your friends are shoveling snow. Private “third-day” coaching is available from Chris Peris at most Inde Motorsports Ranch events. Yamaha motorcycles are available to rent at all Inde events for a true “arrive and ride” experience.
ChampSchool loves California, and California loves ChampSchool. How do we know? Simple: Every event in California sells out! YCRS is returning to California for up to six events in 2022. We can only tease a few at this time though. We can confirm events at the repaved Streets of Willow on March 31 to April 1, as well as Nov. 13-14. Don’t worry California, we have plenty more to announce in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
The Great State of Texas: Pre-MotoGP
We have had years of requests to come to Texas, and we finally made it happen last year. The event sold out, and all we heard about was more events in Texas, so we will be back with two events in 2023. We will roll in to Cresson Motorsports Ranch just outside of Dallas/Ft. Worth for a 2-Day ChampSchool program on April 11-12 . This is the Tuesday/Wednesday prior to MotoGP at COTA. Come ride with us at this very fun track and then take the 3.5 hr trip to COTA to watch the best in the world. We will return to Cresson on Sept. 5-6.
Big news! We will be bringing our ChampStreet program to both events in Texas.
Illinois: Mid-West Sunshine
We have a massive mid-west following who have traveled all over the country to ride with us, and now we are finally coming to them. On Aug. 7-8, we will be holding a 2-Day ChampSchool program at beautiful Autobahn Country Club just outside of Chicago. New for 2023 will be the addition of our ChampStreet program. This is an amazing facility at the perfect time of year.
Big news! We have moved the ChampSchool East Coast home base to Garysburg, North Carolina, to the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research (NCBike)! We are celebrating by holding a six-day event for our housewarming party.
Our first event of the year will be a big one. We will kick things off with 2-Day ChampSchool on Thursday and Friday April 27-28. We are partnering with N2 for private lessons and Grad programs on April 29-30. After all that fun, we will hold our first East Coast Racers Only school on Monday and Tuesday, May 1-2. It’s going to be a blast, national #1s will be coaching
We will return to NCBike for an almost identical program Thursday and Friday Oct. 19-20, followed by an N2 Track Day with private lessons on Oct. 21-22, then a Grad Only event on Monday and Tuesday Oct. 23-24. Stay tuned for at least one more Southeast date in 2023.
Mile High in Colorado
ChampSchool is coming back to Colorado on Memorial Day weekend at High Plains Raceway! Saturday and Sunday, May 27-28. This event will feature our 1-day ChampStreet program and our full 2-Day ChampSchool. This event will sell out and will have limited rental availability, so prep your bike and come ride with our team that includes six-time MRA #1 plate holder Ryan Burke and class champions like Michael Applehans and Joe Clark
ChampSchool is back with a full program at The Ridge in June. The Ridge is the premier road course facility in Washington state, and ChampSchool is excited about returning for our sixth straight year. The event will be held on the Tuesday and Wednesday after the MotoAmerica weekend: June 27-28. Watch the pros race on the weekend and then learn from the same riders during the week.
Northeast: Pitt and NJMP
The Northeast will have four events in 2023. Pittsburgh International Race Complex is hands down one of the best tracks in the country. Pitt Race will be the epicenter of motorcycle track riding in mid-August with our 2-day event in the center. The N2 National Endurance and WERA Sprint racing will start the week off with ChampSchool next on Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 14-15.
The best riders in the country (and several of your instructors) will be next as MotoAmerica moves in Aug. 18-20.
We have a long history at New Jersey Motorsports Park and will host three events on May 16-17, June 19-20, and Sept. 26-27. With more than 45 million people within a couple hour’s drive of the famous south Jersey track, NJMP is an extremely popular facility and a ton of fun. All three events this year will be on the Thunderbolt course and feature our 2-Day ChampSchool and a pair of 1-day ChampStreet programs.
Stay Tuned for More 2023 ChampSchool Schedule Events
The 2023 Yamaha Champions Riding School schedule will continue to expand with new events being added throughout the rest of the year. Check back often at the ChampSchool website for the latest info.
Nov. 13-14, 2023 – Streets of Willow, Rosamond, CA (ChampSchool and ChampStreet)
Nov. 28-29, 2023 – Inde Motorsports Ranch, Willcox, AZ (Grad)
About Yamaha Champions Riding School
Yamaha Champions Riding School (ChampSchool) is the nation’s premier motorcycle training program. ChampSchool is the evolution of the Freddie Spencer High-Performance Riding School and is led by racer, author, and former right-hand man of Spencer, Nick Ienatsch. ChampSchool uses “Champions Habits” to teach all riders the skills and techniques used by the top riders in the world to go faster safer, while concentrating on the way in which modern motorcycles are designed to be ridden. ChampSchool is dedicated to making all motorcycle riders safer and more in control of their riding, no matter what type of riding they do. For more information visit the ChampSchool website.
Yamaha Champions Riding School is proudly sponsored by: Yamaha Motor Corporation USA, Dunlop Motorcycle Tires, Dainese, Omnediem, Arai Helmets, YamaLube, GYTR, Chatterbox, GB Racing, ModOp, Chickenhawk Tire Warmers, Techspec, Payless Rental Cars, Core Moto and N2 Track Days.
The Indian Honoring Heroes apparel collection allows riders to support active-duty military personnel with military-inspired clothing. This extensive new apparel line will be available until Nov. 30, 2022, and 100% of the profits will go toward Armed Services YMCA and its Operation Ride Home program. Read the press release below for more information.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Indian Motorcycle has unveiled its 2022 Honoring Heroes apparel collection – a military-inspired line that allows riders and fans to proudly display their support for U.S. military service, while also directly supporting active-duty military with their purchases. From now until Nov. 30, 2022, Indian Motorcycle will donate 100% of the collection’s profits to benefit the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) and its Operation Ride Home program, which assists active-duty United States military personnel in traveling home to visit their families.
With 13 new styles, the 2022 Indian Motorcycle Honoring Heroes collection includes a mix of military-inspired khaki, black, and camo casualwear pieces for men and women. The men’s line features a zip-up hoodie, a crewneck sweatshirt, and various shirt styles, including a button-up short-sleeve, standard t-shirt, sleeveless, and long-sleeve options. The women’s line features a zip-up hoodie and three shirt options: V-neck t-shirt, tank top, and three-quarter sleeve. To complete the collection, Indian Motorcycle has also introduced a new Camo Icon Trucker Hat and Black Icon Cap.
“Support for the United States military and the men and women who serve our country has long been a cornerstone of the Indian Motorcycle brand, and we’re always exploring meaningful ways to make a difference for our active and retired military,” said Michael Dougherty, president of Indian Motorcycle. “Last year’s collection garnered positive feedback across the board, and that success motivated us to not only bring it back for 2022, but to turn it into a significant fund-raising engine for our friends at the Armed Services YMCA.”
The ASYMCA is an independent, national nonprofit, specifically dedicated to serving active-duty military service members and their families. The oldest military support organization in the U.S., the ASYMCA was established in 1861 and has long provided care and comfort for military troops through unique and specialized programs for service members, military spouses and military children.
As a gesture of appreciation for their service, Indian Motorcycle employees who are veterans themselves were featured in the official product photography for the Honoring Heroes collection. Learn more about them here.
The Indian Motorcycle Honoring Heroes collection is available now at select Indian Motorcycle dealers around the country. Until Nov. 30, 2022, all profits from purchases made will be donated, up to a total of $100,000, by Indian Motorcycle to benefit the ASYMCA and its Operation Ride Home program.
The Piaggio Group is expanding its footprint in the U.S. South with the opening a new MotoPlex in Atlanta. The retail outlet offers service for Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, and Vespa brands, as well as accessories, merchandising, and entertainment. The MotoPlex concept was launched worldwide in 2014 and hit the milestone of 500 outlets in 2019 with the opening of a MotoPlex in Istanbul, Turkey. For more information about MotoPlex Atlanta, read the press release below from Piaggio Group Americas.
The Piaggio MotoPlex retail environment continues to expand its flagship footprints across North America with the grand opening of MotoPlex Atlanta. The retail concept serves as a premium destination for two-wheeled enthusiasts with an all-Italian showcase of Piaggio Group brands: Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, and Vespa.
Atlanta is a strategic hub for Piaggio Group’s latest addition, which is an expansion of Georgia’s footprint with the existing Piaggio dealer Southeast Motorcycle of Savannah, Georgia. Dealer Principal Adam Gati has been one of the best performing dealers in the U.S. After 15 years with Piaggio Group brands, Gati is expanding his business operations with MotoPlex Atlanta.
Marco d’Acunzo, president and CEO of Piaggio Group Americas, said in a press statement announcing the opening that Atlanta has been one of the fastest growing markets within North America for years, as well as a city that “thrives with a mix of new business and development.”
“With the addition of MotoPlex Atlanta we can offer this unique destination for two-wheeled enthusiasts in this important market,” d’Acunzo said, “while expanding our business relationship with one of our best dealership partners to their second location.”
Gati expressed excitement for the opportunity to better serve Georgia and the Atlanta market with the MotoPlex dealership.
“Our commitment to Piaggio Group goes back to 2007, and having an exclusive showroom like this within the metropolitan hub of Atlanta allows us to expand our business and further share our passion with the Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio and Vespa brands.”
Together under one roof, the MotoPlex retail concept provides service, accessories, merchandising, and entertainment, to give customers a unique global vision of the two-wheeled world.
MotoPlex Atlanta is located at 6401 Spring St., in Douglasville, Georgia, and joins other select Piaggio Group franchises around the world, most recently in North America with Montreal, and alongside hundreds internationally in such markets as Shanghai, Milan, Mexico City, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Dubai, and others.