brent

Mechanical Engineer, Restorer of Motorcycles, and Brewer of Beer

My first bike was a 1983 Kawasaki 440 LTD, and I fell in love. I've been lucky to ride a variety of bikes over the years (including a Kawi 440 & 750 LTD, Honda Magna, Triumph America, Kawi Vulcan, Harley Sportster, and a 1959 AJS Model 16 350cc). Combining my love for motorcycles with my love for travel was inevitable, and I was fortunate to find a kindred spirit with Buck. From our shared passion and interests we started this as a small blog, but it quickly blossomed into this website. Although we find ourselves in different parts of the world, we always find time to contribute to the site, concoct crazy motorcycle trips, and hunt out obscure scenic routes. Of late I've found a real love for vintage motorcycles, and am currently working on restoring my 1959 AJS Model 16. If you would like to contact me regarding some of my previous motorcycle experiences, technical questions about motorcycles, or just want to share some of your own stories, please don't hesitate to email me at [email protected]

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How A Clutch Works

For many of us, how the components of our motorcycle operate are somewhat of a mystery. I’m sure you know what your clutch is and what it does, but how many know and understand how it actually operates? I came across this 8 minute video that I found extremely informative. While it focuses on cars, the function and principle is the same but the design is completely different when it comes to motorcycles.   How A Clutch Works
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The Smidsy

A few weeks ago I witnessed a motorcycle accident. I have been in an accident in the past (hit from behind on my Triumph America), but this was the first serious motorcycle accident I witnessed as a bystander. Needless to say, it was quite upsetting. I was heading east along a 4 lane road (2 lanes east, 2 lanes west) and there was a Harley Electra Glide driving alone in the oncoming direction. At the same time, a lady was pulling out of a shopping complex on the north side of the street. She looked both ways, and then shot out to get in to the eastbound lane, crossing the westbound lane in the process. Unfortunate for the Electra Glide rider, she pulled out right in front of him. He tried to swerve to avoid but hit the back end of her car, was thrown off the motorcycle and tumbled
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Product Review: Magid Mechanix Gloves

I recently received a pair of Magid Mechanics Gloves to review. While many jobs require the use of your bare hands, whenever it is not necessary I prefer to wear gloves. The clean up afterwards is minimal and any heat from the engine is greatly diminished. The issue I face most frequently when using a pair of mechanics gloves is fit (they are either too tight and the inner seams interfere, or just too big) and sensitivity (you’ve got to be able to feel what you are doing). The gloves Magid sent to me are the ProGrade Plus MECH106 Road Gloves, which feature high visibility yellow spandex back, reflective stripes on fingertips and trim, synthetic leather palms, and abrasion-resistant pads and knuckles. There is a great range of movement thanks to the flexible neoprene, they fit quite well, and they slip on and off nice and easy. I’ve used the Magid gloves
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AJS Oil system and Wiring

A long 8 months of school and working nights have kept me away from my AJS (and RoR). But with everything wrapping up this week I’ll have plenty of time over the summer to get the AJS in tip top shape, get out for some great trips on two wheels, and share more and more with the RoR community. Yesterday I continued my work on the AJS. My initial plan of attack was to get at the wiring, which needs a lot of attention, but I ended up getting a little sidetracked with the oil system. As I mentioned in a previous post the oil delivery system is different than anything I am used to, so I was careful to do a lot of research before actually getting started. The oil is stored in a reservoir mounted on the right side of the bike just below the seat. There is a fill line
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Is the Era of the Motorcycle Over?

I recently read this opinion article in the NYTimes. The premise of the article is that the recession has driven motorcycle sales down sharply but other things that are also deemed luxury items, like iPhones, have grown. At first I almost dismissed the article – what the hell do Apple products have to do with Motorcycle sales? But it stuck in my mind for a few days until I realized, after much self-debate, that Motorcycles have become (like it or not) a fashion industry and a consumer durables industry (in most cases). They compete for a share of consumers’ disposable income just like clothes, other mechanised toys, computers and, yes, fancy electronic devices. While there are many committed motorcyclists (like Buck and I) the fact that you can find 10 and 20 year-old bikes being offered for sale with such low mileage suggests that a lot of owners/riders are not, shall
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RIP Marco Simoncelli

“Marco was flamboyant on and off the track. When someone dies, everyone always says they loved life. But he had a very vibrant personality. He already had a huge fanbase around the world, partly down to aggressive riding – but also because he was just a cool guy. He didn’t take himself too seriously and would have been a big star for next year.” ~Matt Roberts, BBC MotoGP presenter  
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Motorcycle Tunes

Well, I’m just not sure what to say about this one! Truly must be seen to be believed!
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Through the car window all you see is just more tv

Lately I’ve been immersed in motorcycle literature. I went out one day and spent my pay cheque on several paperbacks: “Shop Class as Soulcraft“, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance“, “Jupiter’s Travels” and “Dreams of Jupiter“. One of the recurring messages of these books is the connection between rider and the environment around them. Robert Pirsig put it well: You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is
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Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Well, if you’re ever Alabama, you must add the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum to your destination list. You may want to get a tissue before continuing – prepare to salivate! Home to the world’s best motorcycle collection, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum has over 1200 vintage and modern motorcycles – the largest of its kind in the world, ranging from 1902 to current year production. AND, it boasts a 2.38 mile track. Twenty one motorcycles were selected for the famed Art of the Motorcycle exhibit at the Guggenheim’s New York and Bilbao, Spain location as well as the Field Museum in Chicago. Well, not quite sure where to begin. Here is a link to their gallery, and here is a link to a visitors gallery, but the following are some of my favs: I could go on …
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“For such a quiet, unassuming lad he’s an amazing bike racer!”

Amazing video of Ryuichi Kiyonari qualifying in his CBR1000RR on a wet track. Man, I’ve got to get to a track … Ryuichi Kiyonari at Donington
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Restoration of a 1959 AJS Model 16

Work commences on my 1959 AJS Model 16 – starting with a carb clean up!
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Classic British Motorcycle Restoration

I’m beginning to restore my AJS, and I’ve found an excellent Ontario shop for ALL your classic British Motorcycle needs …
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Embarrassing moments in Engineering

Embarrassing moments in Engineering – and what they taught us.
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An alternate way to lift up your bike after you drop it …

An alternate way to lift up a dropped motorcycle.
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How my first motorcycle died; or, how to walk your motorcycle across 5 lanes of highway traffic …

How my first motorcycle died; or, how to walk your motorcycle across 5 lanes of highway traffic …
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The weirdest, most unique motorcycles I’ve come across …

A collection of some of the most uniquely designed motorcycles out there …
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Photos of Robert Pirsig’s 1968 trip that inspired ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’

Some photos from Robert Pirsigs 1968 motorcycle trip that inspired his spectacular book, ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’.
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Quest for the Tail of the Dragon

My quest for the Tail of the Dragon, by Bruce Lessard
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So what the hell happened to my Kawasaki Vulcan?

What happened to my Kawasaki Vulcan during our trip to New Orleans…
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Friday the 13th – Port Dover

Bruce Lessard recounts his trip to Friday the 13th at Port Dover on his Harley Davidson Sportster 1200.
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Toronto to New Orleans and Back – Route Planned!

The planned route to New Orleans from Toronto and New York City is locked in!
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New camera mount for motorcycle

Thanks to the guys at Radioworld in Toronto I got a new camera mount for my motorcycle!
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Derringer Cycles – Beautiful Vintage Mopeds

I love vintage motorcycles. And this is why I love vintage mopeds. Derringer Cycles is an impressive line of mopeds inspired by motorcycles from the 1920’s.
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Twyn Rivers Drive

Video of an awesome, if short, ride through the Rouge Valley in Pickering.
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How to improve on the Megola

In 1935, five German engineers attempted to design a more streamlined and modified version of the Megola. After three years, the Killinger and Freund was the result. Only one was ever made, and they say it is still out there somewhere …
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The stunning 1922 Megola Sport

The stunning 1922 Megola Sport – a five cylinder, 640cc radial engine with no gears and no clutch. Oh yeah, and the engine was mounted within the front wheel.
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Shinya Kimura, custom motorcycle builder

Shinya Kimura, a talented motorcycle builder who makes those with TV shows look like unoriginal imbeciles.
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Toronto Police Services test BMW for active duty

Toronto Police Services test BMW motorcycles for active duty
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Rolling Thunder

A great story shared by William “CryoVac” Perley about his experience at this years Rolling Thunder.
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Manitoulin Island to Toronto via Chi-Cheemaun Ferry

Catching the Chi-Cheemaun ferry from Manitoulin Island to Tobermory on the May 2-4 weekend.
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Finally named my Kawasaki Vulcan Classic …

I finally named my bike …
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Check your helmet!

“Beware of “Carbon Fiber” helmets made in China or India” is the warning on the website for Advanced Carbon Composites helmets. But this company’s American-made helmets have been recalled so many times by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the agency has demanded the company never make another motorcycle helmet.
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GoPro Hero Cam – North Oshawa Circuit

Video highlights of a cruise through rural Ontario, just north of Oshawa.
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GoPro Hero Cam – Airport Rd at Dusk

Motorcycle mounted video camera shots of one of our favorite routes, dubbed the ‘Airport Road Ride’!
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The Airport Road ride

A fantastic ride for motorcycles, just north of Toronto.
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DIY Tank Bag

A DIY Tank Bag project on the cheap!
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A BMW S1000 RR pulling the oldest trick in the world …

Have a great and safe 2010 riding season!
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What tools do you carry on your motorcycle?

Different drivers and different bikes require different tools.

What tools find themselves in your service kit?
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How do you respond to non-riders who say “motorcycles are dangerous”?

It’s difficult to explain the mental clarity and focus that comes with responsible riding to those that haven’t tried it. After some close calls, you begin berating yourself for lapses in attention or judgment. Then you start to realize that driving a car is also very serious business. Or at least it should be.
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Do you have a name for your motorcycle?

Do you have a name for your motorcycle?
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Dumb Way Round

Self-professed “Idiot Norwegians” cruising around the world on 73 year old antique bikes designed for military use.
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What are some of your favorite motorcycles?

Steve Bond writes about some of his favorite motorcycles of the past decade. But what are some of your favorite motorcycles?
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First look at the 2010 Triumph Thruxton SE

First look at the 2010 Triumph Thruxton SE in Crystal White with Red frame and Black engine casing!
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Dave Geertsen’s Steampunk Motorcycle

A beautiful custom Steampunk Motorcycle fabricated by Dave Geertsen!
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Winter Storage

Tips on storing your motorcycle throughout the winter.
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Google Street View now in Toronto and surrounding area …

Found myself on Google Street View in Whitby!
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92% of drivers will obey Ontario’s Impending Cell Phone Ban

A CBC story reports that 92% of drivers will obey the ban on hand held devices in Ontario.
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Nice circuit just North of Oshawa

A nice circuit through rural Ontario just north of Oshawa.
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First Video Tutorial: Changing Oil and Oil Filter

Rubber on the Road’s first video tutorial: changing the oil and oil filter on your motorcycle! Also, where to properly dispose of used motor oil anywhere in North America!
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Old Quebec City to Oshawa

11 hour drive from Old Quebec City back to Oshawa.
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