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OCC is Back?! Well, Sort of.

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Those eager to watch some fresh episodes of the Teutul’s building motorcycles will have something to rejoice about come February 20. A&E will premiere the “Orange County Choppers: American Made” series at 4 pm ET which brings Paul Sr., Mikey, and the OCC gang back with a new friend… Rusty Coones from “Sons of Anarchy.”

The series is promising to provide an “intimate glimpse into the adrenaline fueled lifestyle” of Paul Sr. and Rusty. I’m not sure what they’re up to but I’m skeptical about the notion that Paul Sr. has been spending his time outside of his legal battles in any activities that could be described as “adrenaline fueled.”

OCC American Made Shoot - Paul Teutul

It’s not clear if it originally was to be called “OCC: American Xtreme” as it is branded as such on the OCC official youtube video or if several sources have simply gotten it wrong in reporting the name. A&E as well as the official facebook page for the series both list it as “American Made”, so we’ll go with that.

It was originally slated to be released in late August of 2015, but was pushed back to February 20 of 2016 for unknown reasons.

I suppose the real question is why the name change so early in shooting and the eventual reschedule (according to many sources) of the show to February. A&E’s updated press release has the latest information. Let’s hope they can pull it together and keep us entertained with some more wild bike builds and the signature Teutul antics that these projects invariably spawn.

Best Time to Buy Used (or New) Motorcycles

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Since the season is upon us, I decided to write up a quick piece on the best time of year to buy used motorcyclesand a few things to consider before and during making this decision. As you might have guessed from the title, this time of year happens to be the best to buy new. Check out the tips for some popular websites below and you’ll have a better chance at finding a “motivated” seller when it comes time to negotiate a price.

When buying new, anytime around November or December is best. The new models will start coming out and dealers are anxious to clear space for incoming inventory. This is when you’ll find the best deals on last year’s model and the holiday season will likely have some added extras (like helmets, gear, accessories discounts, etc).

When buying used, wait until the colder months, depending on your local climate. In areas like California, Florida, Arizona, and Texas, there are some regions where we never dip into temperatures that discourage most from riding. The trick to getting a good deal on used motorcycles is planning ahead and applying a strategy (I’ll discuss this below). Set a budget, decide on colors, and don’t compromise. Patience will pay off.

Search Tools and Tactics

The largest websites for finding these deals in your area are Craigslist (I know, but there ARE some good deals here if you know how to weed out the nonsense) and Cycletrader. Ebay will have several listings, but it’s going to be a bit more commercialized in the sense that the sellers are usually guys that fix used motorcycles up and then resell them at a profit from sources like auctions. Taking that into consideration, we’re going to focus on Craigslist and Cycletrader.

Craigslist

When using Craigslist, take advantage of targeted search. When you select “motorcycles” from the “for sale” section, select “by-owner only.” Above the listing photos. You’ll see a search input field and you can use keywords to better help find motivated sellers (pictured below). Type in things like “moving”, “baby”, “new job”, “deployment”, or any other factor that might influence a decision to sale. By doing this, you can get to the good stuff without spending lots of time browsing pages. This will only return those results that have the specified keywords in the search box and fall within the other criteria you chose (such as by-owner only), so be sure to try several searches with different keywords.

Craigslist Search Box Example

 

Cycletrader

The same search focus tips apply to Cycletrader as well, but you’ll need to select the “advanced search” link and fill in the various fields. It’s a little more complicated than the craigslist interface, but it shouldn’t be a problem as long as you remember to select the “+ update” after you fill out each field (pictured below). Not clicking the “+ update” after entering the options for each field will not apply them and you’ll get the same results you would without having the targeted approach.

Craigslist Search Box Example

Just remember that because these listings are the ones most motivated to turn their bikes into cash doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be the ones priced appropriately or that they’ll accept an insultingly low offer. You’re not looking for a “mark” to rip-off; you’re just looking for a new bike at the best time of year when sellers are motivated.

Service Interval Considerations

It’s important to be aware of the service intervals for various drive systems and makes of motorcycles. This really applies to buying used vehicles of any kind, but we’ll go over a few that are specific to used motorcycles and talk about some things to look for if you’re handy with a wrench (and wanting to save a few bucks) or if you’re wishing to avoid a trip to a dealership for an interval maintenance right after tossing down the cash on your new purchase.

Outside of the obvious and impossible to accurately prove (receipts only show a purchase date… The items purchased, such as oil, could have gone into anything), brake rotors, brake pads, tires, and cables should be the very first things you use to judge the life of a used motorcycle. Rust on the cable connectors and dry rotted tires can hint that the bike has spent its life outside, so be wary if it’s advertised as being “garage kept” when you see these things.

The big intervals for used Harley Davidsons (and most metrics) are:

  • 10,000 miles – When the primary needs the lubricant changed.
  • 20,000 miles – When fuel filters inside the tank need to be changed.
  • 50,000 miles – When the drive belt needs to be changed… Even if it looks “good” cosmetically.

Manufacturer recommended service intervals can be found at any of their websites, accessed for free, and will be the most accurate and up-to-date information available.

Don’t be Afraid of a Little Work

So I mentioned being handy with a wrench earlier when talking about things to look for. Being mechanically inclined has led to some really good deals over the years when I’ve bought motorcycles and ATV’s.

Most motorcycles that you will find for sale will be at or near a major service interval. These owners do not wish to pay the high prices at the dealer to replace a belt or switch out an in-tank fuel filter, so they opt to sell rather than get completely shafted on a trade-in price. This is good for those that have a friend or themselves possess the tools and knowledge to perform this maintenance safely (that last bit is important). If this is the case, you can target motorcycles that need regular maintenance or a little TLC to get them into top form.

It’s a great place to begin negotiations by mentioning these things to the seller if the price is a little high or if it needs adjustment to justify the necessary work to make it safe for riding. These will be your best deals if you have the resources to take on the project.

Do Biketoberfest Like a Pro

Friday, November 4th, 2016

With Biketoberfest right around the corner, we decided to do a follow-up to an article that received lots of praise several years back for the headache it saved rookies and veterans alike.

In the spirit of fun, because that’s what these events are supposed to be, I’ll point out some helpful tips on how to avoid traffic, activities for the family (G-Rated), the best restaurants, good hotels, and some of the events that will be happening around Daytona.

Avoiding Traffic

The first thing to remember when riding around Daytona during this event would be to travel East to West when possible. For whatever reason, traffic patterns here always seem to slow when heading toward the beach rather than away from it. Planning your route ahead of time can save the misery of cooking yourself with an air cooled engine and make arriving at the destination much more pleasurable.

A few travel rules to keep in mind:

  • International Speedway BLVD is bad. It’s always congested and you should opt for the alternate route your GPS suggests (namely LPGA Blvd or HWY 92 to U.S. 1).
  • Always enter Main Street from the ocean side. You’ll get to the heart of the activities in a fraction of the time.
  • Avoid A1A if at all possible. Halifax Ave runs North and South parallel to A1A on the beach side. You may see some “local traffic only” signs posted here, so be considerate of the residents and keep the pipes quiet (most police will be too busy with everyone else to bother with a few people trying to avoid the traffic jam).
  • U.S. 1 is a safe bet. Nova Road and Clyde Morris Blvd are alternative North/South routes that will have less tourist traffic if things get backed up on 1.

Family Time With The Kids

Generally speaking, daytime hours on Main Street or Beach Street are G-Rated. Almost everywhere changes after dark into an alcohol fueled party environment, which is to be expected of any bike rally. Keeping this in mind, plan the family activities for the daylight hours and enjoy the array of putt-putt, go-kart, and seasonal Halloween events in the area.

Good Restaurants

For “stand-up” type dining, the Iron Horse Saloon on Ridgewood Ave. is a favorite. Just remember to park at the quickie mart next door and NOT under the decks… You’ll have beer all over your bike when you get ready to leave.

For great Bar-B-Que in Daytona, Hog Heaven beside the Ocean Center on A1A is a worthwhile stop. Great service, decent wait times, and good sweet tea. If you like bbq, this is one of the spots you’ll want to hit.

Seafood (because that’s what going to the beach usually involves) is going to depend on the price range and atmosphere desired. Check out some of the seafood places around the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse for a relaxing dining destination.

Good Hotels, Good Prices

Prices change quite a bit during these motorcycle events in Daytona. It’s always more affordable toward the Ormond Beach area or back toward 95. I guess the real question to ask is what sort of drive do you want to make each day to participate in the activities… Keeping in mind that the further you are from the heart of Daytona, the more likely you are to actually get some sleep. A list of some affordable options with several reviews can be found here.

Things Not To Miss

Okay, so we took care of how to get around? Check. What to do with the kids? Check. Where to eat and stay? Check and check. What are we forgetting? Oh yeah, the whole reason we’re talking about this in the first place… Biketoberfest, duh! Seriously, though… With so much happening it’s easy to get lost and find yourself wandering aimlessly throughout a sea of custom bikes, builder events, concerts, races, and parties that you miss something you were looking for entirely. Check out our listings of Biketoberfest events to get an idea of when you should be where to get the most out of the trip.

Full Throttle Fire Leaves ‘Worlds largest Biker Bar’ Future in Question

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Sturgis :  On Sept. 8, the Worlds Largest Biker Bar, The Full Throttle Saloon just outside of Sturgis S.D. was leveled as the 10 million dollar facility burned to the ground. The fire was caused by  a faulty electrical wire, according to owner Michael Ballard.

Officially, federal, state, and local authorities ruled the blaze accidental but failed to pinpoint a cause.

The Full Throttle was made famous by being one of the largest event venue draws during the giant Sturgis Motorcycle Rally every August.  True TV added to the popularity of the Throttle by airing the “Full Throttle Saloon” T.V. show beginning in 2009.

Hundreds of thousands of bikers visit S.D. and Sturgis annually in August as the Grandaddy of all biker events brings this sleepy community to the center of the biker universe.  The Full Throttle, and other campground/concert venues like the famous Buffalo Chip  lures thousands of bikers from around the world to a wild and crazy 10 days of motorcycle chaos.  The Throttle has become the second largest draw for bikers looking for  fun and routy campground and concert activities behind the Chip.  The Throttle is a mainstay for rally attendees looking for concert entertainment, drinking, and a generally wild biker atmosphere while in Sturgis.

Local fire regulations are nearly non-existent as campgrounds have not historically been held to strict standards as water infrastructure in rural areas is rudimentary.  The City of Sturgis has attempted to annex the Full Throttle but failed on the ballot.  Ballard and other campground owners have resisted annexation for years in an effort to avoid furthur regulation and additional expense. The city of Sturgis has talked of plans where utilities including water would be brought out to venues like the Full Throttle to make sprinklers and other fire suppressant systems available.

Ballard is on the record as claiming the saloon facility to be safe, highlighting six roll up doors in the bar that are used for exit points.  He pointed out that his Donkey escaped without injury during the fire.

Local fire officials point out that it is also important to note that the nearest fire hydrant is over a mile away.  Over 100,000 gallons of water was hauled by trucks trying to exstinquish the flames. Fire officals estimated the Full Throttle was fully engulfed in less than 6 min. Fire officials also say, “It is also important to remember that during the rally traffic would make hauling water to “The Throttle” would be impossible”.

Ballard could not be reached for comment as he is not answering the phone while keeping busy with the cleanup efforts.  Sources close to Ballard say that no decision has been made regarding if the Full Throttle will be rebuilt.

LAFD Fire Hogs wounded vets head to Sturgis

Friday, November 4th, 2016

July 29th, 2015

Led by members of the Los Angeles City Fire Department’s own motorcycle club, more than a dozen wounded veterans are hitting the road in the first-ever veterans charity ride to Sturgis, South Dakota — a popular spot for bikers.

They’ll have some fun along the way, but will also deal with some serious issues that concern veterans.

“We’ve got a suicide rate of 22 a day right now and it’s only on the rise. The reality of it is that we, as service members, need to start taking that on as our personal mission to start getting that solved,” wounded warrior Glen Silva said.

“We help each other. We’re there whether you’re in crisis or celebration, this is a camaraderie,” said Virgi Bondi of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.

The participants are getting some help from Hollywood as they reach out to fellow veterans during the ride.

“Most of them are pretty modest and they don’t want to tell you what they did and where they served because they’re just modest people so we just talk to them like regular people,” comedian Jay Leno said.

“We should do everything that we can to support them and this ride is a great vehicle for that,” actress Kristy Swanson said.

“Everybody just kinda pulls together, and I think that so much of what this is about is just being there for each other,” wounded warrior Joshua Ferguson said.

It’s 1776 miles from Sun Valley to Sturgis, but not a problem for first responders who want to thank veterans for their service.

“Patriots that have protected our country, as well as firefighters and police officers, so we have a common bond there as firefighters. Within our Fire Hog Motorcycle Club, at least half of the club are previous veterans so it’s very near and dear to them,” said LAFD Fire Hog Ted Kalnas.

The group is expected to ride into Sturgis this weekend. Veterans say the goal is to reach out to as many veterans as they can and let them know it’s OK to ask for help.