New 2010 Hondas


Honda has announced four motorcycles–two of them completely new for the US market–for the 2010 model year.  The other two are the 2010 updates for the Fireblade and CBR600.  But it’s the new bikes that should grab some attention.

2010 Honda Shadow Phantom.
2010 Honda Shadow Phantom.

First up is the Shadow Phantom.  Just as the Fury gives Honda a factory chopper, the new Phantom is a factory “dark custom” bobber.  Powered by a 754cc V-Twin with Honda’s new sophisticated Programmed Fuel Injection under the hood, the exterior is all old-school, down to the black wire wheels, and fat front tire.

Most of the engine and body work is blacked out, leaving some chrome on the forks, pipes and rear brackets for a nice accent.  I’ve always thought the Honda air cleaner looked like a chrome tumor on their bikes, but this blacked out version is far more acceptable.

I’m not generally a big fan of Honda cruisers, but this new dark custom is not a bad-looking bike at all.  I guess with Harley-Davidson making a mint on the whole dark custom look, Honda decided to get in on the act, too.  They’ve done a great job with this bike in doing it.

Oh, I guess I’d quibble a bit about doing it on a 750cc bike instead of one of the big twins, but other than that, I give this one a thumbs up.

2010 Honda NT700V
2010 Honda NT700V

The next bike is another sub-1000cc bike aimed for the commuter and light-tourer.  The NT700V is the little brother of the big ST1300 touring bike.  Everything on the NT700V is cut down in size from it’s big brother..but it still has the tip-over wings that the ST guys love so much.

Unlike the ST, the NT has an interesting feature to its saddlebags:  There’s a pass-through space between them, which allows you to put some fairly large items inside the luggage area.  That’s kind of a neat idea.

This is not, by the way, actually a new motorcycle, it’s just new to the US market.  European riders have had access to the NT for a decade now, but Honda has decided to bring the bike to this side of the pond.

It’s powered by a 680cc V-Twin, so it might be a little anemic for two-up riding, but it would probably make a great light tourer for a single rider.  And, coming in at just under$ 10k for the base model, the price is pretty good, too.  ABS brakes are available for another grand.

2010 Honda CBR1000RR
2010 Honda CBR1000RR

The remaining two bikes are updates of Honda’s CBR-series sportbikes.  New for 2010 is a black and orange paint scheme for the Fireblade.  It’s also got the Honda Electronic Steering Damper that increases damping as speed and acceleration increases.  It’s also available with Honda’s racing ABS braking system as well.

The CBR100RR is a top-flight sport-bike, and Honda is carrying on the Fireblade’s venerable tradition in the 2010 model year.

2010 Honda CBR600RR
2010 Honda CBR600RR

The CBR600RR also gets a bit of a facelift for 2010, with some of the Fireblade’s color schemes also available for the 600cc model.

Like the CBR1000RR, the 600 also has an available option for Honda’s racing ABS system.

The pricing and availability for the two CBR models has not yet been announced by Honda.

Dealers Fined

Here in California, there are a few state agencies you really don’t want to cross if you’re a business.  One of them is the State Board of Equalization, the agency that handles sales taxation.  But perhaps even more dreadful is the California Air Resources Board.  Two motorcycle dealerships here in San Diego are learning that the hard way.

GP Motorcycles of San Diego and Moto Forza will each pay $90,000 in fines, according to CARB.

ARB investigators following up on a tip received in 2006 confirmed that GP Motorcycles and Moto Forza were selling Husqvarna off-road motorcycles illegally converted to street-legal models.

According to the ARB, many of the bikes were outfitted with so-called “street legal” kits, which are illegal in California.

California has its own, special environmental requirements that are different from the other 49 states.  That’s the reason why the Versys was initially unavailable in California, and it took an extra year or two get it certified here.  In any event, the penalties don’t just extend to the dealers.  The purchasers have to toe the line as well.

The CARB revoked the registrations for the motorcycles. The owners were told to turn in their license plates and get off-road stickers and plates.

So, they bought what they thought were street legal dual-sports, and now they have to license them for off-road use only.  I suspect that they will be asking for some recompense from GP and Moto Forza.

Interestingly, the dealers are the two local dealers for Italian bikes.

More Free WordPress Themes


I‘ve whipped up more free Motorcycle themes for WordPress. They’re free for anyone who wants them.  To download the theme, just click the screenshot.

I call the first one “Monochrome”.  It’s done completely in grayscale–no color at all.

Monochrome: A Free WordPress Theme
Monochrome: A Free WordPress Theme

The next one is called “Kneeslider” because of the header image.  It’s all done in Buff and Blue.  I think It’s a classy theme.  At the moment, a variant of this theme is what you’re seeing on the blog now.

Kneeslider: A free WordPress theme
Kneeslider: A free WordPress theme


Well It finally came.  I received a check from CNA insurance for $6,427.08 to pay for the repair of my motorcycle.  I drove over to North County House of Motorcycles with a cashier’s check, and they’ll be ordering the parts for my bike on Monday.

It’s been two and a half months since my accident, but now, in another week or so, I’ll have my motorcycle back, and I can start riding again.

As far as the larger personal injury claim goes, I had to go in this last week and get an MRI.  As it turns out, I did, in fact, break my leg.  They found a non-displaced stress fracture of the tibia, as well as another fracture to something called the patellar plate.  That would, most likely, explain the weeks of crutch and cane I needed to use.

I still have a few weeks of physical therapy left, but after that, we’ll be looking at the claim for injury, lost wages, and what-not.

But for now, I’m just glad to know that Fidget is getting fixed.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

My lawyer has informed me that after two months of stalling, CNA Insurance has finally accepted liability for the driver who ran the stop sign and hit me.  A check for $6,700 is on the way to repair my FJR.  And now that they’ve accepted liability, that means that they’ve accepted that they’re on the hook for my larger personal injury claim for my injuries.

One more week of physical therapy, and I’m done.

Not So Fast…

I was hoping that by now, I could be looking forward to getting my fixed, and start riding again.  But nothing, apparently, is ever easy.

Last week, CNA insurance sent out the adjuster to look at the bike.  When he was done, I dropped a C-note on a towing compnay to take the FJR to North County House of Motorcycles.  They did their estimate, the adjuster agreed, and sent off the estimate to CNA, the insurer for the compnay whose driver ran into me.

So, on Friday, the shop called me and said they needed approval from me and the insurance company to make repairs.  So, I called the guy at CNA who’s handling the claim and asked him what was up.  He said, “We still haven’t decided to accept liability, so we can’t authorize any repairs.”

I started to get steamed “What do you mean you haven’t accepted liability?  How much of a liability question can there be?  I was on a divided four-lane avenue, and your guy came out of a side street, through a stop sign, and hit me from the side. You have the police report that states that your driver was at fault for the accident and was cited for failure to yield at a stop sign.”

He replied, “Did the police see the accident?”

Screw you, insurance boy.  I called my laywer.  Today, she got hold of the liability supervisor at CNA, and had a chat.  She told him that now, two months after the accident, and after authorizing an adjuster to do an estimate, it’s pretty frickin’ late in the game to be dithering over whether they are gonna accept liability or not.  It’s looking like a stall tactic.  So, if we don’t here anything from CNA by COB Friday, we’ll just file a lawsuit next week.  So the CNA guy said if they couldn’t find anything contradicting the police report by Friday, they’d accept the police report as proof of liability.

She also got my insurance company, Geico, on the phone, and gave them a heads up that if CNA didn’t authorize the repairs, we’d be going through my insurance with Geico, and that they could battle with CNA over getting the repair money.

So, I have to wait for the rest of the week now to see if the bike is going to get fixed by CNA.  If not, I have to pay my deductible for my insurance, and wait until Geico gets the money off of CNA to re-imburse me for the deductible.

As far as I can see, though, CNA is deliberately dragging their ass to put off paying for the damage their insured imposed upon me.

I am frickin’ livid.

The Butcher’s Bill

North County House of Motorcycles has presented me–and the insurance adjuster–with the estimate for the repair of my FJR.  $6,500.

At that price, I doubt the insurance company will total it.  But the adjuster said that the payment would be coming quickly, so the repairs can be completed within a week or two.

So, finally, after two months, I’ll have a motorcycle to ride again!


I got the call I’ve been waiting for.  The adjustors for CNA Insurance called me to assign an adjuster to my accident.  Supposedly, the adjustor will call tomorrow to set up an appointment to look at my bike.  I guess he’ll do the initial estimate, then I’ll have it carted off to North County House of Motorcycles to see where the hidden damage is.

It’s only taken six weeks…


It sure has seemed like a long week.  I went back to work Tuesday, and, of course, at work I can’t take any of the percosets I was given by the doctor on Friday.  I’m reduced to Tylenol for pain-killing during the day.

Tylenol is worthless.

Oddly enough, it isn’t the broken toe that gives me trouble, it’s the horribly bruised right shin that’s killing me.  It’s still swollen to about 1/4 larger than its normal size, and the hematoma now spreads all the way down to the sole of my foot.  My ankle bones have disappeared in all the swelling.

If I do any prolonged sitting or prolonged standing, the leg starts to hurt like the blazes again.  So, every hour or so, I’ve got to get up and hobble around on my cane for a few minutes, to get things unsettled and recirculating.  Just sitting or standing, and the fluid from the hematoma and swelling start to migrate with gravity towards my foot.  And that, in turn, irritates my leg as it migrates.

Every day, I gotta just suck it up until I can get home and take a percoset, and dull everything down to a mild throb, so I can get to sleep.

My left knee still has a few twinges and weakness, but it’s getting back to normal.

The toe is still really, really swollen, but I got the big splint off of it, and I’m wearing one of those open-toed orthopedic hard shoes.  The toe doesn’t bother me minute to minute, but about three times a day, i still whack it in to something hard enough to see starts for a few seconds.  The toenail is a total write off.  The swelling is so bad that the toenail is just sitting on top of my toe like the cork in a champaign bottle.

Yesterday, I noticed a little blood was seeping out through my sock again.  I went into the bathroom at work, and while I was manipulating my toe, trying to get a better look at it, I must have popped off the scab at the edge of my toenail, and about a tablespoon of blood and fluid came pouring out of the edge of the toenail.  That was kind of icky.  Once it stopped bleeding, and scabbed over again, the swelling came back full force, though, so the toe now is all boated and round again.

So, that’s been my week.  What a joy.

There was some good news though.  I got a call right at 5:00pm today from the police department, letting me know that my police report was finished.  So, that part of the waiting is over.  Now I can go pick it up, and get a copy to my lawyer, so they can begin the settlement talks with the stop-sign-running idiot’s company insurance carrier.

I also went to the local BMW dealership–I’m fortunate enough to have one right here in town–and looked at a K1200GT.  I’m really kind of interested in the new K1300GT as a replacement for the FJR.  I asked a few questions, but they didn’t really know much about them.  They said they should be getting them in in February.

I still can’t lift my leg enough to actually sit on a bike yet, so all I could do was look, but, man, those BMWs have every bell and whistle imagineable on a touring bike.  WHo knows how long it’ll take to get this insurance claim sorted out, and for me to get back to 100% for riding, so a February delivery of the new K13GT might be just at the right time.

I’m a "Pilot" Now

“Pilot”, apparently, is the term of art for someone who rides a Yamaha FJR1300.

I traded in the Sportster for one tonight. And here it is, a 2007 FJR1300AE. This was a Yamaha corporate motorcycle that was a factory rep bike.

And, surprisingly, I said “screw it” and picked the AE model for $11.1k. I was worried about the automatic clutch deal on the AE model, but oddly, what decided it for me was a very little thing. I had to drive through a lot of heavy stop-and-go traffic on surface streets, and my hand was aching a little.

I was a bit worried about low-speed maneuvering without a clutch to moderate engine inputs to the wheels, but I did about 20 minutes in the parking lot doing U-turns and figure-8s and decreasing radius circles. It wasn’t that bad. Although, I think I need ,something called a “G2 throttle tube” because the throttle is stiff and…surgey (is that a word?). This G2 throttle tube is apparently an aftermarket add-on to reduce the strength needed to twist the throttle, and reduce the attendant throttle surge.

It’s a different riding experience on the street, but I think my achey clutch hand is actually gonna enjoy the rest.

I was only able to put 18 miles on it, mixed freeway/street, and I never got it above 80. But it got to 80 fast!

I don’t think this a bike I’ll ever outgrow. It’s comfy, and I love the electric shield, although I’m probably gonna need a Cal-Sci shield with a few extra inches in height. I can flat-foor it comfortably, and it’s just amazingly well balanced compared to the Sporty.

Oh, I think I’m gonna have fun…