Dale Franks

I write stuff. A lot of it is about cars and motorcycles.

Buffaloed

VikingCycle Skeid Jacket

So, here’s the usual thing with gear and apparel reviews, when you write for a web site like this one: someone sends you an item to review for free, and which you get to keep. In return, you are obligated to write a review of it. Most of the time, it’s no big deal. They send you a mid-range bit of riding gear, you write a review with mid-range approval, because they almost invariably send you an item that does the job it’s supposed to do, at a reasonable price. I mean, nobody sends you a piece of suck, expecting you write about it glowingly. If you care about your credibility, you don’t want to give something a glowing if it isn’t, and you don’t want to come off sounding like a company fan-boy shill. But, what happens if you get sent an item you really, really like?

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Triumphant

2015 Triumph Trophy SE

BMW Motorrad has long had two boxer-engined motorcycles that were considered the top of their class: The R1200GS adventure bike and the R1200RT touring bike. Apparently, the Brits at Triumph Motorcycles found this enraging. Over the last century, the Brits have often found the Germans enraging, of course. Anyway, Triumph produced two bikes to compete directly with BMW’s offerings, the Tiger 1200 for the adventure crowd, and the Trophy for the touring rider.

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The Future That Never Was

Concept cars have been pretty boring in recent years. There are occasionally some interesting stylistic exercises, or some showcases of new technology, but for the most part, recent concept cars have been pretty dull. It wasn’t always that way, though. There was a time when concept cars were…insane.

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Pony Express

2015 Ford Mustang GT

Several months ago, I drove the 2014 Ford Mustang GT. It was…OK. The interior was cramped, and it didn’t feel as powerful to drive as you might expect from the paper specs. My knee also kept banging against the edge of the center console, which was painful and, eventually, enraging.

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The “Almost” Problem

2015 Acura TLX 3.5L

Soichiro Honda (1906-1991) was an automotive genius. In 1958, he created the Honda Supercub, about the least motorcycle you can buy, but which is still produced in many countries. There have been over 60 million Supercubs produced, making it the best-selling vehicle ever produced.  His Honda Civic and Accord led the Japanese charge in the 1970s to overturn the Big Four’s control of the American auto market. The company he created, Honda Motor Co. Ltd., is the world’s number one producer of internal combustion engines. In 1986, it became the first Japanese automaker to create it’s own luxury brand in Acura. Which brings us to the big push Honda is currently making for the all-new 2015 Acura TLX.

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Time Travel

2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS

Suzuki is best known for two motorcycles: the Hyabusa, long known as the fastest production motorcycle in the world, and the GSX-R750, a bike that provides nearly suberbike performance at the weight of a 650cc supersport. But, alongside those two motorcycles is a third model that holds a special place in many people’s hearts: the V-Strom.

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