Touring Essentials Blog: Car tires on a street bike? The dark side beckons...

Every rider knows they should not leave home without some duct tape. Like The Force in the Star Wars galaxy, duct tape has a light side and a dark side and appears to hold our universe together.

For a number of years now a subset of contemporary motorcycle riders have been putting tires intended for automobiles onto their motorcycles. These riders call themselves Darksiders. They aren’t particularly evil, but they have chosen a different path to follow.

In the last couple of years two of my riding buddies have gone to The Dark Side. Mostly, they feel it costs too much for motorcycle tires and that the tires don’t last as long as they would like. On a 700-plus lb. sport touring motorcycle, I can’t say I disagree. However, tire life is getting better than it was a few years ago. Using the dual-compound tires and making sure I buy the GT versions (for heavier bikes), I have put over 30,000 km on a front tire and more than 22,000 km on a rear. I think this is pretty good distance out of a high-speed, Z-rated M/C tire, but I have paid the shop roughly the same to install two tires on my motorcycle as I have paid for four tires on my Honda Civic. And the car tires have a 130,000 km warranty.

I’m not convinced that going to The Dark Side is something I want to do in order to save some money. What I have done is bought a lift table, tire changer, and static balancer. Now I can change my tires easily whenever I want and even save them to put back on in the future if I haven’t run them right down. The lift table also makes it far easier to change oil and do other work on the bike, so this aging body of mine appreciates it.

But back to the car tires. How do they perform? I’ve ridden street bikes with big, fat tires on and they have been a bitch to get leaned over and to keep them leaned over while riding. Surprisingly, the same can’t be said for car tires on a bike. Both my buddies say the worst is slow speed parking lot-type manoeuvres. There it takes a bit of effort to turn the bike. Anything above that and they say they have no issues. I’m not sure what stance the insurance industry would take on this practice if, say, a rider were to lose control in a corner and crash.

I’ve ridden behind both of my buddies on some seriously twisty roads and they handle corners just fine; both slowly and at speed. It is very interesting to watch the rear tire lift and lean and flex on the contact patch. They have confidence in the tires and expect nearly 50,000 km out of a rear. Kind of tempting for those big epic rides on the interstates.

But just the same, I think I’ll keep my inner Sith Lord in check and stick with the traditional donuts.

Ride responsibly and enjoy your travels.

R. Bruce Thomas


Friday, 27 November 2015 16:27

Indian Motorcycle to sponsor 'RSD Super Hooligan' race at Superprestigio of the Americas

@indianmotocycle • @RolandSands • Indian Motorcycle®, America’s first motorcycle company, today announced it has stepped up as the title sponsor for the upcoming “RSD Super Hooligan” flat track race in Las Vegas. The street-bike based race takes place indoors on a short track at the Orleans Hotel & Casino the evening of November 21, and is presented in partnership with Roland Sands Design and AMA Pro Flat Track in conjunction with the “Superprestigio of the Americas” race.    The winner of the Super Hooligan race will receive a new 2016 Indian Scout – making the Super Hooligan race a bit more competitive than the average weekend amateur event.

Hooligan racing is traced back to the 1930s, at a time when legendary Indian Motorcycle dealer Clarence “Pappy” Hoel began organizing regional hill climb and flat track motorcycle races in and around Sturgis, SD. Hoel was a founding members of the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club, and he and the Gypsies are credited with starting the now world famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in 1938. Indian Motorcycle’s rich history in racing dates back to its inception with records in every racing category, including land speed, dirt track, transcontinental racing and venues like Daytona and the Isle of Man. In 1911 the Federation of American Motorcyclists published the records for 126 different categories of racing and different distances, and of those 126 racing records, Indian owned all 126.

Hooligan racing is a throwback to a post-war era where riders took virtually any available motorcycle to race in the spirit of seeking adrenaline and enjoying the comradery. Today the flat track Hooligan racing category is rapidly gaining in popularity with riders of all ages and experience levels because it brings the fun back into a less structured environment where any rider can race virtually any motorcycle. “Framers” or custom race chassis machines are not allowed in the class. It’s designed to allow racers to lightly modify an existing street chassis for racing action, a familiar situation for the world famous Indian Scout.

The company also announced it has partnered with Roland Sands Design to build and race five custom Hooligan racers based on the Indian Scout. The custom Hooligan Scouts will race in the RSD Super Hooligan event in Las Vegas, with a world-class team of riders that includes Roland Sands himself, Red Bull/KTM stunt rider Aaron Colton, plus some surprise guest riders. These new custom motorcycles will be revealed to the media on Friday, November 20 during the International Motorcycle Shows press event in Long Beach, CA.

“The Scout is a great machine upon which to base a custom bike with modern rider friendly performance. The engine and chassis are rock solid and don’t need a lot of work, so DIY customizers can focus on the aesthetic modifications,” said Roland Sands.  “It has been a blast designing and building these custom Indian Scout Hooligan bikes and after a quick test run at the local flat track I feel we have a competitive bike that will rip on the track.”

“It is an honor for Indian Motorcycle to sponsor the Super Hooligan event in partnership with Roland Sands Design and the folks at the Superprestigio of the Americas,” said Steve Menneto, President of Motorcycles at Polaris Industries. “Given the incredible racing heritage of the Indian Scout in our DNA, it’s really exciting to have five amazing Roland Sands custom Indian Scouts racing. It’s going to be a great event.”

For more information on the Superprestigio of the Americas visit   Fans can enjoy live streaming of the event on

To join the IMS Press Day on Nov 20, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 12:52

Inside Motorcycles veteran columnist Warren Thaxter to be Honoured by the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame this weekend

Inside Motorcycles is proud to share the news that Warren Thaxter, who has been a member of the IM team since the very first issue in 1998, is being inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 7. All of us at IM would like to congratulate Warren on a tremendous and well-deserved achievement!

Courtesy of the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame:

The Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the first member of the class of 2015. Warren Thaxter will be honoured at the Tenth Annual Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Reunion, which takes place on November 7, 2015 at the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel, 801 Dixon Road in Toronto, Ontario.

Very few men have had such a profound effect in growing the sport of off road motorcycling in Canada as Warren Thaxter. His influence runs deep touching almost every type of off road, trail and adventure riding currently happening in Ontario. Warren was constantly introducing ideas and concepts that were way ahead of their time and are only now being recognized as best practice.

His biggest contribution to the sport is as a builder. After 33 years in the automotive industry, Warren retired to become completely immersed in the motorcycle world. He envisioned a future of organized, paid trail rides in Ontario starting in 1987 with OCMC’s Algonquin 2-Day.

As the concept of organized trail riding caught on, Warren saw the need for a provincial organization to represent off road riders’ rights and along with several others, founded the Ontario Federation of Trail Riders (OFTR) in 1992. The OFTR Trail Ride Series was established and the OFTR continues to ensure off-road riders have access to some of the best riding areas in the world.

Warren was also was a founder of Offroad Ontario, a competition organization and he hosts a yearly cross country race in that series. He has been a regular columnist for Inside Motorcycles magazine since its inception. His writing has influenced countless Canadians who were either involved in the sport or riders who were considering it.

He has also served on the boards of the CMA, MCC, CMHOF and numerous clubs.

Tickets for the Tenth Annual Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Reunion are now available at here.

The Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Reunion is the annual signature event of this non-profit association with charitable status. It is governed by an independent board of volunteer directors located from coast to coast and is sponsored in part by the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada (MCC). Founded by Bar and Hedy Hodgson in 1999, the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame preserves and promotes Canadian motorcycle history for the benefit of the motorcycling community and the public. Since the first induction banquet in Toronto in 2006, over 100 distinguished motorcyclists and organizations have been inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

For information about past inductees, historic motorcycle collections, membership, event sponsorship, and tax-deductible donations, please browse our website at


Thursday, 05 November 2015 13:08

BMW Motorrad Canada sponsors 10th Annual Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Reunion

Toronto ON – October 2nd, 2015 – The Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame is proud to announce BMW Motorrad Canada as a sponsor for the 10th Annual Induction Banquet and Reunion which takes place November 7th, 2015 at the Sheraton Airport Conference Centre in Toronto, Ontario.

“BMW Motorrad Canada is a very proud sponsor of the CMHF. It is important to recognize our Canadian motorcycle heritage as it has a long history of milestones and successes,” said director Norm Wells of BMW Canada. “We congratulate all the 2015 inductees and look forward to many more years of partnership with the CMHF and the outstanding team that makes it happen every year.

“The board of the Hall of Fame is extremely pleased to welcome back BMW Motorrad Canada to this event,” said Mike Harwood, Chair of the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame. “We have deeply appreciated their support over the past ten years.”

Tickets for our 10th anniversary event are available, with a complete schedule of the activities taking place on November 7th at

11 legends and champions will be honoured at the Tenth Annual Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Reunion.

Founded by Bar and Hedy Hodgson in 1999, the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame preserves and promotes Canadian motorcycle history for the benefit of the motorcycling community and public. Sponsored in part by the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada (MCC), the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame is a non-profit association with charitable status. It is governed by an independent board of volunteer directors representing every region of the country. Since the first induction banquet in Toronto in 2006, over 100 distinguished motorcyclists and organizations have been inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame.


For information about past inductees, historic motorcycle collections, event sponsorship, silent auction and tax-deductible donations, visit

Friday, 30 October 2015 09:56

Open letter from FIM President Vito Ippolito on the Rossi/Marquez incident

MI ES, 29 October - Open letter from FIM President Vito Ippolito:

The recent events arising in connection with the competition for the 2015 FIM MotoGP world title have had a damaging effect on the staging of our competitions and poisoned the atmosphere around the sport. We are moving away from the tradition of pride in sportsmanship that is part of the heritage of motorcycling.

Everyone has the right to express his or her own ideas. But words and actions always have consequences. Every individual has to take responsibility for those consequences. The riders, first of all, must be aware of this. Each one of them has thousands of fans who follow their exploits on the track and listen to what they say off the track. For that reason, we look to them, not just in this Championship but in all our disciplines, to set the best example of what our sport should and aspires to be.

This responsibility is also shared by the people who form their entourage, beginning with their teams and sponsors. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the matter, if some of those people unnecessarily fuel polemics about events or decisions in a wrongheaded way, they are doing a great disservice to the sport, to the detriment of our entire community and all the good things it offers to everyone.

Riders, teams, manufacturers and sponsors should not only respect the rules but they should accept the decisions of the officials, whatever they may be. Otherwise, they are contributing to anarchy and undermining the future development of our sport.

On behalf of the FIM and all those who are doing their best to bring about a happy conclusion to this Championship, I express the hope that at the next and final round in Valencia the riders will fight it out on the track and in a way that fully respects the spirit of fair play.

Vito Ippolito

FIM President

Thursday, 29 October 2015 13:40

Dan Kruger's blog: Recovering from a major crash - what most people don't see, Part II

The long road to recovery: endless doctor appointments, scans, tests, and readjusting life to allow for as much recovery as quickly as possible. With a head injury, the recovery time varies and it is near impossible to predict how long you will be unfit to ride. I spent days and days inside a hyperbaric chamber to increase the oxygen flow in my body and speed up recovery.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015 12:27

New CBR500R highlights 2016 Honda CBR lineup

MARKHAM, ON (Oct. 15, 2015) – Honda is pleased to announce its 2016 CBR lineup, with the aggressive new styling of the CBR500R leading the way. Almost 25 years after the introduction of the CBR900RR, Honda’s modern sport bikes have always placed performance hand in hand with reliability.

“Since the introduction of both of the CBR500 and CBR300 models, we’ve seen a continuous increase in their popularity. The updated 2016 CBR500R is a striking new take on the larger of the two models. Both draw from the successful racing DNA of the CBR family but in entry level packages that have large appeal,” said Derek Verheyen, National Sales Manager, Motorcycle Division.

With all-new styling that offers a sharper, more aggressive look and refinements like LED headlights and taillights, the new CBR500RA adds great curb appeal to legendary performance and reliability. Other updates include a new muffler design, an adjustable front brake lever, optimized gear change feel, a hinged fuel cap on a larger fuel tank and better suspension. For increased security, the CBR500RA now uses a wave ignition key. The inline twin 500cc engine offers accessible power output that smoothly revs up to redline, while emphasizing low to mid-range torque for real world usability.

Genuine accessories are also available for the new CBR500RA. Those include heated grips, a U-lock, seat bag, hugger-type chain case, rear seat cowl, tank pad, AC socket and a carbon-look front fender. Also available in non-ABS
version (CBR500R).

• Colours:
CBR500RA: Matte Gunpowder Black Metallic, Millennium Red, Pearl Metalloid White
CBR500R: Millennium Red

Long heralded for its excellent handling and stellar realworld performance, Honda’s legendary CBR100RR is back for 2016 with a 999cc liquid-cooled, inline four-cylinder engine, assisted slipper clutch and twin-spar aluminum chassis. It’s offered in standard and ABS configurations. The SP version with stand-out premium features for track-day enthusiasts, including fully adjustable Öhlins suspension, Brembo front brakes, Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SC tires, a special lightweight subframe and solo seat cowl.

• Colours:
CBR1000RA: Matte Black Metallic
CBR1000RR SP: Repsol Special

Returning to Honda’s 2016 lineup in a new Black/Ross White colour is the versatile CBR600RR, comprising an impressive package of handling, power, compact size and overall performance. Whether customers are looking to tear up the track, carve through the canyons, or commute to work, this versatile middleweight sport bike can handle it all. The popular and race-proven CBR600RR is available with Honda’s revolutionary Combined Anti-Lock Braking System (C-ABS), offering added confidence under less-than-ideal conditions.

• Colour: Black/Ross White

Value-oriented riders desiring sporty but user-friendly performance will be pleased with the return of Honda’s popular CBR300RA, the smallest-displacement model in Honda’s sport bike lineup. Known for being an incredible value, the CBR300R impresses with enough versatility that it also appeals to experienced riders. A single-cylinder engine with counterbalance shaft and a wide powerband combines with a narrow cross section to provide a light, nimble motorcycle that boasts excellent fuel economy. Customers can opt for either the ABS or non-ABS version.

• Colours:
CBR300RA: Lemon Ice Yellow/Matte Black, Candy Orange
CBR300R: Millennium Red

Honda Canada Inc. was established in 1969 and is the sole distributor of Honda motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and
side-by-sides in Canada. The Honda Canada Motorcycle Division is responsible for sales, marketing, and operational
activities for these products through authorized Honda dealers. For more information on Honda Canada powersports
products, please visit: (All information subject to change without notice.) Pricing and
availability to be announced through

Friday, 16 October 2015 10:46

Yamaha introduces more affordable S version of the R1!

Cypress, CA - @AIMExpo • @YamahaMotorCA - The 2015 YZF-R1 took the litre-class sportbike world, and the world’s racetracks, by storm, winning accolades and trophies around the globe. For 2016, Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., has upped the ante, giving sportbike riders a third R1 model from which to choose.

The 2016 YZF-R1S offers yet another level of perfomance specifically geared towards budget-conscious sportbike enthusiasts who do most of their riding on the street. Yamaha engineers replaced some of the R1’s higher-spec components like the titanium connecting rods and exhaust headers, magnesium oil pan and wheels, and softer-compound tires with lower-cost components. The result is a litre-class sport bike with a slightly higher curb weight that sacrifices virtually none of its real-world R1 performance-including the legendary “Crossplane Crankshaft Concept” engine; titanium muffler; six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU); electronic traction, slide, lift, and launch controls, and ABS--and delivers it all at a lower suggested retail price.

The 2016 R1S will be available in Matte Gray and Intensity White/Raven/Rapid Red, and will retail for $16,699, a full $2,300 (CAD) less than the base R1! Availability in Canadian dealerships is expected beginning in February.

-- From a press release by Yamaha USA

Thursday, 15 October 2015 12:04

Supermoto trends from the 2015 season

This is the time of year supermoto clubs in Canada bid farewell to 2015 and start planning for 2016. We reflect on some of the best times of the season and those standout moments. Supermoto is about the people and not just the cool bikes/quads.

Friday, 09 October 2015 16:05

Canadian teenager Ortt almost wins KTM RC 390 Cup World Championship!

Alberta teenager Braeden Ortt, who finished third overall in the MotoAmerica KTM RC Cup, came within .008 seconds of claiming the title in the KTM RC Cup World Championship held at Britain’s Silverstone Circuit October 2-4. Featuring 24 riders from 10 different nations, the event would crown a champion based on finishes in two eight-lap races around the 3.7 km course.

Following morning qualifying, Ortt, still struggling with the effects of a broken hand suffered during practice for the final MotoAmerica RC Cup event in New Jersey, found himself starting Saturday’s race from 16th place on the grid. A well-executed race saw the 15 year old finish in third place, less than half a second behind the race winner.  

Starting from 14th place on the grid on Sunday, Ortt and his North America teammate Hayden Shultz took turns leading the race, with Ortt in the lead coming into the last corner where he was overtaken by eventual race winner and 2015 KTM RC Cup World Champion Dijm Ulrich. Ortt’s second place finish, just .008 seconds behind the winner (only .866 of a second separated the top ten finishers), combined with his third place Saturday finish gave him third overall in the KTM RC Cup finale.

“Instincts kicked in and I completely abandoned my plan," said Ortt, who had formulated a plan to execute during the races. "What I didn’t plan for was getting stuffed in the very last corner. I thought I won so I was super pumped. That was a bit of a disappointment, but I can’t complain about two podiums and third overall in the World Championship.”

With his third place overall finish in the 2015 KTM RC Cup World Finals, Braeden will receive a KTM RC 390 for the 2016 race season.

More information on the KTM RC Cup World Finals can be found online at, while race fans can keep up to date with Braeden at

Wednesday, 07 October 2015 10:01

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