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2020 pandemic left indelible mark on motorcycle world

By General Posts

by Bud Wilkinson from

It’s stating the obvious to say that 2020 was quite a year. While the number of miles covered on two wheels may not have changed appreciably from previous years for many motorcyclists, the places traveled probably did due to the cancellation of so many motorcycle shows and other events because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In venturing out, the wise and respectful among us always carried face masks, kept group size small and kept physically distant at all times. Others acted irresponsibly and selfishly, placing themselves and everyone they came in contact with at risk.

It was while out gathering a “My Ride” classic car feature for the newspaper back in early fall that I came across a coronavirus skeptic. As I walked up the owner’s driveway, my camera bag slung over my shoulder and a mask covering my mouth and nose, he appeared out of his garage maskless. Coming to within inches of my face, he scowled and declared of COVID-19, “It’s a hoax. It’ll be gone Nov. 4,” a reference to the day after the presidential election.

Stepping back, I responded that I wasn’t there to discuss the pandemic and asked if he would please keep at least six feet away; debating in my head whether I should just turn around, walk back to the truck and drive off. I stayed and did the story.

Here it is just after Christmas, and people are still dying at a considerable rate because of coronavirus. The death toll in the U.S. is now close to 325,000. Some hoax. So many people have succumbed that we’ve become inured to the toll.

COVID-19 certainly took a toll this year on the motorcycle industry, which wasn’t exactly in sterling shape before the pandemic. Here in Connecticut, the Stamford-based “American Iron” magazine suspended publication in July, sparking outrage among readers who failed to get refunds on their subscriptions.

In Falls Village, the popular riding destination Toymakers Cafe pulled the plug in early September, leaving its many regulars bereft and clueless as to what to do and where to ride on Sunday mornings.

The pandemic has impacted the industry in other ways, too.

The promoter of the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows tour announced in late September it was moving outside – scrapping the long-running indoor tour slate in winter in favor of outside venues in warmer weather. Since the last Ride-CT column, the newly branded IMS Outdoors tour has announced its 2021 itinerary, including a visit to Brooklyn over Labor Day weekend.

Getting into mid-town Manhattan for the indoor show every December at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center was a sufficient chore. The prediction here is that Brooklyn will be a bridge too far for many riders who regularly attended the indoor show. The specific site in the borough hasn’t been announced.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has prompted Harley-Davidson to delay the unveiling of its 2021 model-year motorcycles until mid-January, and then do the reveal in an online event.

Having gotten a new CEO earlier this year in Jochen Zeitz and faced with plummeting sales, Harley-Davidson is engaged in a sizable shakeup. The number of models that the company offers is being significantly reduced and the dealership lineup is being culled.

During 2020, Hudson Valley Harley-Davidson in Nanuet, N.Y., Southampton Harley-Davidson in Southampton, Mass., Wilkins Harley-Davidson in Essex Junction, Vt., and Heritage Harley-Davidson in Concord, N.H., were among the brand’s stores in the Northeast that closed.

Consolidation continued, too, with Chad Clark and Bryan Castor buying Gengras Harley-Davidson in East Hartford and renaming it Hartford Harley-Davidson. They already owned Old School Harley-Davidson in Ellington, Conn., Spitzie’s Harley-Davidson of Albany in New York, and Sheldon’s Harley-Davidson in Auburn, Mass.

Watching Harley-Davidson’s maneuvering and speculating on its future fortunes has become something of a sport in recent years, and that will continue in 2021. While it’s hard to predict just how 2021 will play out, there already are a couple of signs representing optimism.

A new dealership selling KTM models, Colonial Power and Sport, is opening in New Milford. Another dealer in our area is planning to add more brands to its showroom next month, but can’t make an announcement until the incoming brands receive confirmation of the store’s credit line from the bank.

With vaccines for COVID-19 now being rolled out, maybe 2021 will be an improvement over the year now ending. Maybe by late summer we’ll be able to attend motorcycle shows again, be able to gather with more friends, and be able to roam wherever without quarantine or testing requirements.

Vintage introduces all-new 2020 Tracker Classic E-bike

By General Posts


New 2020 Tracker Classic Blends Performance and Comfort While Maintaining Classic Cruiser Aesthetics and Best-in-Class EV Technology

Vintage is well known for blending bygone era aesthetics with modern technology to provide riders an EV experience that is both thrilling and comfortable. In pursuit of continuing innovative designs and perfecting comfortability, Vintage is proud to announce the release of their ultimate boulevard cruiser, the 2020 Tracker Classic. With inspiration coming from the early 1920’s Indian and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Vintage designed the Tracker Classic to feature retro-styled cruiser handlebars to allow riders a more comfortable, upright experience at high speeds. Vintage also exchanged the original rear Tracker fenders for full-length fenders that complete the Tracker Classic’s timeless design.

“With the pandemic keeping more people inside with limited options for safe, socially distanced activities, our goal was to create a bike that is more comfortable than ever before to keep our customers out on their open road adventures longer,” comments Vintage Founder Andrew Davidge. “The 2020 Tracker Classic is the perfect Winter bike for customers to get out and about during a time of the year that is not always desirable for adventuring. Our upgraded full-length fender helps protect riders against the elements, while the new handlebar design improves the rider’s posture and allows for a more comfortable long-distance ride.”

The 2020 Tracker Classic’s crown jewel is the elegant retro-styled cruiser handlebars inspired by timeless cruisers of years past. In comparison to the original Tracker model, the 2020 handlebars optimize all-around ease and riding comfort while keeping distinct original details such as the leather ring grip which subtly highlights Vintage’s timeless design. Incorporating these retro-styled cruiser handlebars allows riders to sit upright with ergonomic controls at the tip of their fingers. The Tracker Classic’s unique handlebars give riders the ability to choose between a more relaxed cruising speed or hit full throttle for a powerful experience unlike any other.

Another innovative addition to the 2020 Tracker Classic includes the full-length rear fender that allows for an ideal riding experience at any time of year. During the cold weather seasons, this full-length fender is an essential upgrade for riders to enjoy their commute while protecting themselves from any rain, mud, or slush. These elegant fenders further reduce the amount of grit that sprays onto the chains, bearings, rims, brake calipers and cables that could otherwise prematurely wear the bike out. The 2020 Tracker Classic enhances the protection for riders against outdoor elements while embodying the 1920’s motorcycle spirit to preserve the classic design aesthetic that all Vintage electric bikes exhibit.

The 2020 Tracker Classic maintains several elements from the original Tracker model, starting with the swooping hydroformed aluminum frame that maximizes performance and comfort. In addition, Vintage keeps all of the fan-favorite specifications such as the 36mph race mode option, pedal-assist capabilities, and a 720-watt hour battery with a powerful range of up to 50 miles on a full charge. With the Classic’s fresh design and exhilarating performance making it a truly one-of-a-kind machine, Vintage’s 2020 Tracker Classic has executed a timeless feel with optimal comfort included.

Vintage’s new 2020 Tracker Classic is available dressed in the iconic Indy Red or timeless Graphite Blue paint scheme at a starting price of $5,245.00. Upgrades are available depending on customer preference.

For more information on the brand-new Tracker Classic bike or other Vintage models, please visit or call (408) 969-0836.

Sturgis Hall of Fame Breakfast 2020

By General Posts

Well when I found out that my sister by another mother Vicki Sanfelipo was getting inducted that changed everything
Photos and text by ROGUE, Senior Editor,

Like many people, I gave some serious thought to not attending Sturgis this year. The pandemic was a serious concern, with all the noise about it being spread when large groups get together.

Well, when I found out that my sister by another mother Vicki Sanfelipo was getting inducted, that changed everything.

The 20th Annual Induction Breakfast was held on August 12, 2020 at The Lodge At Deadwood. Seating was limited to about 500 and sold out. You needed to be wearing face covering to enter and safety precautions were in place as best it could be for a function of this type.


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Ride to Sturgis 2020

By General Posts

Things Do Not Always Go As Planned
by Rogue

As in past years getting ready for the ride to Sturgis included fully servicing my 2009 FLHTC motorcycle, cleaning cameras, making sure all paperwork for events was handled like insurance, bike registrations, location registrations, bills paid and just all the myriad of stuff involved with the ritual. This year was no different.


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Sturgis Motorcycle Rally cruises forward

By General Posts

by Barry Amundson from

STURGIS, S.D. — Kristen Kleven, of Wahpeton, N.D., won’t be a no-show at this year’s 80th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Although officials fear the rally could only attract from 200,000 to 225,000 motorcycle enthusiasts this year because of coronavirus concerns, Kleven said she and five of her girlfriends will be hopping on two-wheelers and heading to South Dakota’s Black Hills next week.

The usual turnout is 450,000 people, and this year’s crowd estimate is well below the most recent anniversary event five years ago for the 75th when a near all-time record of about 850,000 people showed up.

Kleven, who works at the Harley-Davidson of Fargo dealership outfitting riders with appropriate clothing and gear, said she thinks there will be a good turnout despite the fears.

“I think the bikers still are going to want to come,” she said about the rally that starts Aug. 7 and runs through Aug. 16.

She has been going for about 10 years on her Harley and will be bartending at the Iron Horse Saloon, which is still planning a full slate of nightly concerts. Six bands so far have canceled their appearances at the saloon’s huge outdoor events center.

“We don’t get a lot of sleep,” Kleven said, “but we have a kind of a family there that gets together every year.”

Christina Steele, the public information officer for the city of Sturgis, said, “It’ll be an interesting year. It’ll be remembered as the COVID year.”

Because of the virus, she said, they are lowering the estimates for the crowd, although she said it’s hard to know exactly what will occur. While many of the camping spots with hookups are filled, she said she has heard of many cancellations in other hotels and facilities.

With the virus rampaging in some states, cancellations are still coming in.

“It’s kind of been a roller coaster,” she said. Some facilities were booked full before a slew of cancellations in April and May, then they were re-booked and again started tapering off in the past few days with the spike in coronavirus cases.

Some visitors who usually make it aren’t coming because of concerns about having to quarantine when they return to their home states, she said.

Kleven said her friends from South Africa who usually make the journey can’t come this year because of travel restrictions. Steele noted that the rally usually attracts a lot of Canadians, but with the border remaining closed they also won’t be there.

“It’s going to be very different this year, but we feel we are making reasonable precautions for those who come,” Steele said.

Among steps being taken are canceling events that usually draw huge crowds, such as the opening ceremonies, parades, contests and live music at the Harley-Davidson Rally Point Plaza.

Steele said other precautions include having hand sanitation stations on each corner downtown, face mask recommendations, requests to vendors to sanitize their stands frequently, the closing of photo towers on Main Street and encouraging reduced occupancy in bars and restaurants.

Despite band cancellations, outdoor concerts are still planned with performances scheduled this year by Colt Ford, Night Ranger, Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, Buckcherry, 38 Special, Quiet Riot and Jackyl.

There will also be drag races, a charity poker tournament and the Mayor’s Charity Ride.

Steele said the hills are exceptionally green this year from abundant rainfall for those wanting to enjoy rides through the Black Hills.

“It’s just gorgeous this year,” she said.

Sturgis 2020, The History Behind the Badlands

By General Posts

Worldwide circumstances have conspired to ensure that this year’s 80th anniversary Sturgis Rally won’t be the stellar celebration once planned

By Marilyn Stemp

That said, once August 7th rolls around, the eight-decade occasion will most certainly be marked, if with less fanfare.

As bike riders, we appreciate the significance of an 80-year milestone in motorcycling, especially one celebrated in western South Dakota where the aura of wild west rebellion and revelry so synergistically dovetails with biking.


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2020 Honda Grom 125 minibike makes global debut

By General Posts

by Abhinand Venugopal from

The 2020MY Honda Grom 125 remains mechanically unchanged from its previous version

Honda Motorcycle has unveiled the 2020 Grom 125 for international markets. Also known as the Honda MSX125 in certain regions, the modern-day minibike (with naked street motorcycle traits) receives minimal changes for the 2020 model year.

The mechanical department remains untouched while Honda has added new colour choices depending on the market. In the US, the 2020MY Honda Grom 125 is available in four colours: Cherry Red, Blue Raspberry, Halloween Orange and Incredible Green. The ABS version comes only in Cherry Red. US prices stand at $3,399 (Rs 2.57 lakh) and $3,599 (Rs 2.73 lakh), respectively.

For the niche minibike market, Honda has got another fun product under its miniMOTO category: Monkey. Available from $3,999 (Rs 3.02 lakh) in the US, the Honda Monkey is so popular that it coined the term “monkey bikes” to minibikes — as Xerox did to photocopy or “fridge” (from Frigidaire) to the refrigerator.

Coming back to the 2020 Honda Grom 125, its 124.9cc air-cooled FI single-cylinder motor makes a humble 9.57bhp and 10.9Nm of torque. Even though these figures look low on paper, the Grom weighs just about 103kg to make the best out of the least. The engine is mated to a 4-speed gearbox.

Despite being smaller than the usuals, the Grom 125’s seat height is decently high at 762mm. Braking duties are carried out by 220mm and 190mm disc brakes at the front and rear, respectively. The minibike rides on 12-inch wheels supported by 31mm USD forks and a rear monoshock. Fuel economy figures are claimed to cross well over 50km/l no matter how much you abuse the engine. The Honda Grom 125 gets a 5.5-litre fuel tank.

Other notable features include full-LED lighting, digital instrument console, ABS (optional), etc. The Grom 125’s construction is as simple as it can get and this is the most fun part of owning a minibike. In a safe and legal environment, minibikes are excellent starter motorcycles for kids and lady riders. Its compact dimensions make it a joy to ride in tight traffic conditions.

For our market, Honda Motorcycle India had tried something similar with the NAVI. However, it ended up being an odd-looking CVT scooter that could not garner enough sales or interest. At one point, it was even offered for free while buying the BS3 Honda CBR250R. The outdated CBR250R was discontinued well ahead of BS6 emission norms as sales fell drastically due to tough competition.

2020 Suzuki GSX-R150 unveiled in Taiwan with new colours

By General Posts

by Abhinand Venugopal from

Suzuki Motorcycle has updated the GSX-R150 single-cylinder faired motorcycle for the Taiwanese market. The 2020MY Suzuki GSX-R150 remains mechanically similar to its previous version but receives new colour schemes. The entry-level sports motorcycle is popular in many South Asian markets. It may never come to India as our market has already got the Suzuki Gixxer and Gixxer SF models as compelling alternatives.

If it were indeed available here, the GSX-R150 would have directly locked horns with Yamaha Motor India’s YZF-R15 V3.0. Its output is slightly higher than that of the Yamaha but if there was a beauty contest, the R15 would surely annihilate the GSX-R150. Either motorcycle is somewhat at the same level when it comes to equipment.

The 2020 Suzuki GSX-R150 continues to have conventional telescopic forks alongside a preload-adjustable monoshock from Showa. It rides on 90/80 (F) and 130/70 (R) section tyres shod on 17-inch wheels. Braking duties are carried out by 290mm front and 187mm rear discs, with dual-channel ABS. The sports motorcycle weighs 136kg and its seat height touches 785mm.

As mentioned before, the changes are limited to colour choices. It gets four new paint schemes: Yellow/Black, Red/Black, Black and Suzuki’s iconic Silver/Triton Blue MotoGP livery. The 147.3cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine makes 18.9bhp @ 10,500rpm and 14Nm @ 9,000rpm.

On the other hand, the Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0 (now in BS6 format) employs a 155.1cc liquid-cooled motor good for 18.3bhp @ 10,000rpm and 14.1Nm @ 8,500rpm. Both motorcycles are mated to a 6-speed transmission but the Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0 boasts of a slipper clutch.

Suzuki Motorcycle India has already updated the Gixxer and Gixxer SF to BS6 specifications at an ex-showroom price of Rs 1.12 lakh and 1.22 lakh, respectively. The motorcycles are powered by a 155cc air-cooled single-cylinder engine that makes 13.4bhp @ 8,000rpm and 13.8Nm @ 6,000rpm. This is mated to a 5-speed transmission. The Suzuki Gixxer SF is more of a sports commuter while the GSX-R150 is a decent starter motorcycle in the sports category.

The Japanese two-wheeler manufacturer has updated most of its products to BS6 norms and is gradually doing the same in the premium segment. As a start, it will be launching the V-Strom 650 XT BS6 adventure tourer on the market soon. India’s automotive industry is not going through the best of times due to COVID-19 and experts predict that buying a vehicle after the ongoing lockdown would be a completely different experience.