Canadian Biker – Sept/Oct 2017

The September / October 2017 issue of Canadian Biker has been mailed to our subscribers and will soon be available on select newsstands across Canada.

2018 harley-davidson fot bob

On the cover is what may be the most striking example of the new direction at Harley-Davidson. The hard charging Fat Bob along with the new Fat Boy exemplify the consolidation of the the Dyna and Softail platforms into a single branch of machinery from The Motor Company amid the 2018 Harley-Davidson models. Our contributor Bertrand Gahel was one of the first to ride the new machines at a behind the fences preview event on a racetrack in Wisconsin. These rides took place before the new bikes were unveiled to the public and much of the impetus of the track event (beyond keeping curious eyes away) was to showcase the perform capabilities of the new platform. Bert being Bert and having been deposited on a racetrack couldn’t help but scrape a few pegs and lean hard into more than a couple of corners. A substantial weight loss, a new engine and a stiffer frame all contribute to a better riding experience. Some will lament the passing of the the Dyna line into history and with it the connection to the FX history going back into the seventies but progress comes in many shapes and rationales. Bert looks at the new bikes and considers why the changes were made to these and other new 2018 Harley-Davidson models.

harley-davidson sportglide

As we started on a 2018 Harley-Davidson note we look at two other machinations of the company’s platform – although based on previous year bikes. The first is the Sportglide. What you ask is a “sportglide”? It is what you get when you start with a Sportster Forty-Eight and transform it into a very close facsimile of a Street Glide of indeterminate generation. Now why one would do this is a question that raised a few eyebrows but one man wanted what he wanted and took great pains to turn his 2015 Sportster into a faired and hard bagged touring machine. It looks great, it wasn’t easy but it was just what he wanted.

From the Sportglide we move on to a machine that started life as an Electra Glide and became a high end and highly detailed, big wheeled bagger. Very little was left unchanged as the Electra Glide – first envisioned as a computer representation – moved from pixels to the pavement and from showroom touring to custom showcase. While some of the parts were supplied by the big names in customization including Arlen Nests and Paul Yaffee, much of the work including the paint were completed by craftsmen in the Vancouver area illustrating Canadian builders’ ability to create custom bikes that can stand with the best in the world. And the colour? It’s Kandy Tangerine.

suzuki gsx250r

And now for something completely different….. Even though the company was represented by machines like the TU250, Suzuki entered the small displacement sportbike market in Canada somewhat later than the other players with its 2018 GSX250R. However, the little Suzuki proves that a little can go a long way (and it this case that is a literal long way as Suzuki claims a theoretical 485 kms to a tank – albeit that would likley be under optimal riding conditions with a very gentle throttle hand). But beyond the range, the GSX250R proves that a small sportbike isn’t necessarily just for new riders as it can provide even the experienced motorcyclist with a viable budget option for a bike that can handle more than just around town commuting. The only problem is that the Suzuki comes in at a displacement disadvantage to the other players in the segment. Is it a disadvantage that can be made up with good styling, a throaty exhaust note and a serious fun factor? Hmmmm, that is going to be a very close decision.

Elsewhere in the issue we have a tour of New Brunswick which is a province our frequent contributor Frank Simon considers only just this side of paradise and possibly, in very special motorcycle moments, paradise itself. Another of our frequent travel writers recounts his misgivings about putting his trustworthy, dependable and dare we say stalwart companion, the well traveled KLR650, on the for sale block. It is tough to say goodbye. There is also a piece on a week-long ice lake tour if you are looking to do another kind of winter travel this year (who needs sun and palm trees?). We visit a workshop tucked in the woods of Vancouver Island run by a couple of enthusiasts – she does custom leather work and he builds and wrenches on the bikes. Vintage Hall is a little known Italian scooter, a Moto Rumi, this go around.

All that and a little more. Enjoy.