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Year End Review– Things, places, gear….

January 25, 2013




I rode more and less in 2012.  What does “more or less” mean?  Well, I rode my motorcycles MORE but traveled to fewer adventuresome destinations.   So, MORE and LESS… get it?

I’m still enjoying Continental Road Attack tires on my Aprilia Caponord.  Plenty of front and rear tread and the rear tire is only now getting worn in the center.  I’d guess I have something in the range of 6000 miles thus far. 

On my Aprilia Futura, I’m running a pair of Michelin Pilot Power 2CT tires that were installed in Phoenix Arizona.  The rear tire is (not surprisingly) just about gone.  But then again, I can’t complain.  The tires have been ridden hard and the rear went through an entire day of dyno testing at AF1 Racing in New Braunfels, TX.  When I change rubber in the spring, I plan on replacing BOTH bikes with Michelin’s amazing Pilot Road III tires.  The trail version for the Caponord and the regular two compound tire for the Futura.

By far, the coolest thing that happened as a result of writing this blog was the handful of support donations I received from readers!  THAT REALLY MADE MY YEAR!  IF YOU DONATED, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! 

contact-bannerdonateIf you are feeling generous and want to donate any amount – click on the PayPal button.  Rest assured your donations are being used for Slurpee’s, gas for the bikes, or saving up for a much needed FIRE EXTINGUISHER! (See my brush with disaster article here).

Let’s get to it!

2012 – Motorcycle of the Year:

Ducati Multistrada 1200


Until Kawasaki releases the allegedly supercharged ZX-15 Ninja, I’m still absolutely amazed by the Ducati.  It’s three bikes in one.  Mostly this is an upright sport bike with a rip snorting 150bhp and shed loads of torque.  An absolutely brilliant motorcycle.  For 2013 the Multistrada has been updated with twin spark, more torque, and a semi-active suspension.  Trust me – RUN to your dealer and demo one.  The only thing keeping this thing from being perfect is the complete and utter lack of an electronic cruise control.  HEY DUCATI! – GIVE US A FRIGGING CRUISE CONTROL!!!!!! 

2012 – Meal of the Year:

Assateague Island, Maryland – by the campfire with my brother Mark and his wife Kelley.  Mark and I wanted to eat in a restaurant and Kelley wanted to eat fireside.  We rode into town and found a grocery store.  It was raining when we arrived at the campsite and lightly misting now.  I was absolutely certain dinner would be a disaster.  But, Mark and Kelley are, to put it mildly, well traveled and experts at outdoor living.  So I shut my yap and went with the flow.  A short time later I was eating BBQ Shrimp and kabobs fireside. 

2012 – Gear of the Year:

1st Place:

I changed from my stock air filter to the excellent DNA brand air filter. (Info here)  Bench tests show significant improvement from stock and better flow than with a K&N.  Also, the filter can be cleaned and re-used. 


2nd Place:

Magnecor Spark Plug Wires – Talk about quality!  I’d heard for years about Magnecor from Land Rover owners.  Magnecor was an excellent upgrade to the Caponord.  The only issue I had was fitting the spark plug boot over the new replacement coils (the fault of the coil design, not the plug wires.  If I were to order a duplicate set, I would call Magnecor and have a custom boot end installed). Also, Magnecor are American made, manufactured in Farmington Hills, Michigan.


3rd Place:

Gerbings Heated Clothing – A few years ago, I planned a ride to escape the northern winter cold and head for Florida for the winter. I bought a motorcycle and outfitted myself with a Gerbings. I started the ride in 20 degree December temperatures, and ended up in Key Largo where it was 80 and sunny.  The Gerbings heated jacket liner kept me toasty warm the entire way down to Florida. 

This jacket has saved me (and passengers) more times than I can count.  From an early spring blizzard at 10,000 feet over the Beartooth Pass to rainy Oregon coastal rides, Gerbings is my go to product whenever I’m freezing. 

Originally I was on the fence about heated gear.  It was too complicated, too wussy, and too expensive (especially considering that the controller costs an additional $65.00).  I bought my Gerbings at a Delaware motorcycle shop that specialized in aftermarket Harley parts.  The woman who sold me the gear insisted that I go for the dual controller.  I balked at the extra price.  Considering I was already north of $300.00 on gear I was not sure I actually wanted.  Long story short – she was absolutely right – I should have purchased the dual controller as Gerbings heated gloves are on my short list of products to purchase. 


2012 – Trip of the Year:

Assateague Island, Maryland.  You can read about it here:

2012 – Worst product:

TOURMASTER SOLUTION WP 2.0 Boots.  Absolutely awful boots.  Read the review for more:

2012 Retailer of the Year:


This is the one retailer who has consistently emptied my wallet over the years on everything from leather track pants to a variety of riding jackets.  Their closeout specials are addicting and if that wasn’t bad enough, last year they introduced “practically free” deals.  Where you buy something for say $149.00 and get a gift card for $100.00 back!  Amazing. 

image  (racing and riding gear) is also excellent as is (the best place on the internet to purchase tires)

2012 – Likes:

  • My Aprilia motorcycles – Aprilia Futura ETV and Aprilia RST Caponord
  • Triumph Adventure 1200
  • BMW’s new water cooled boxer engine
  • SPIDI anything
  • Ethanol free gas.  Why oh why does the government ram awful fuel down our throat?  It’s bad for engines, fuel tanks, fuel systems, etc., etc., etc.
  • Caffeine and Carburetors in New Canaan, CT
  • D30 and SAS-TEC protective armor
  • Winning best story contest and $100 gift certificate from Twisted Throttle (hey, I have issues, but am grateful for the swag)

2012 – Dislikes:

  • Riding 400 miles round trip for a useless job “interview” with Twisted Throttle.  Thanks guys…………………for nothing, absolutely and completely nothing. 
  • See above………….not returning my calls……
  • See above…………………arrrrgggg………..jerks.
  • Almost burning the Caponord to the ground with starter fluid and stupidity.
  • Finding a mouse condo inside my air box.
  • Finally purchasing the SPIDI Gara jacket and hating it.  Argggggggg. 

What’s next?

I’ve accumulated a pile of parts to install on my Aprilia Caponord.  New floating brake rotors all around, new EBC HH rated brake pads, throttle cables, and other odds and ends.  Just last week I used TuneECU to remap the Caponord’s ECU and the changes were staggering.  Improved throttle response, fueling, ignition mapping, the works.  What an amazing change.  I’m looking forward to getting many miles behind me to see if the fuel economy improves.

It’s January now and the east coast of the USA is experiencing a cold snap.  At my winter playground in Stowe, Vermont it was –26 yesterday.  Brutal.  But the weather will change soon and it will be riding season again.  I’m looking forward to spending at least a week on the road.  This is THE year I’ll get to Deals Gap and ride the Blue Ridge Parkway………….

No matter what bike you ride, consider this.

You don’t need the best gear or the best bike or unlimited funds.  It’s far better to be under prepared and riding than over prepared with the bike sitting in a garage under a dust cover.  Just GO!  Ride there! 

In the photo below my Caponord is parked on the Oregon coast – that’s the Pacific Ocean.

On this ride, the week before, I was standing in the Atlantic Ocean!  Travel like this fundamentally changes you.  Your horizons will be broader, you will be more patient, and your outlook on life will be forever changed.

So, yank off your boots and wade in – metaphorically speaking.  The (insert Desert, Ocean, Key, Mountain, Dirt Road, whatever) waits for you. 

Check back soon for more reports from the garage and the road!  To everyone who reads and supports my blog – THANK YOU!  It’s gong to be a fantastic year!


LIKE what you read?  Enjoy the Gear Reviews, Trip Reports, Photos and general ranting and raving?  Support us with a  donation in the amount of your choice.  Buy me a tank of gas or a slurpee if you like.



3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jack permalink
    January 25, 2013 11:12 am

    I just traded my Caponord and Futura for a 2012 Griso. One of the guys at the shop took possession of the Capo before I even brought it in. Love the Griso. Miss the Capo. I’ll probably be buying that thing back one of these days.

    • January 25, 2013 1:09 pm

      The Griso is an amazing motorcycle. It’s mechanical. It has a singular presence. There are OTHER motorcycles, there are other Moto Guzzi’s but, there is nothing like a Griso.

  2. Frank Gorshin permalink
    January 25, 2013 11:27 am

    Great review.

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