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Archive for January, 2009

January 13, 2009

A Tale of Two Dirt Bikes

At first glance, I far from resemble an individual that spends much time in the dirt or riding motorcycles … never mind both at the same time!  This is exactly why I was so excited to learn I would be having my very first riding experience on a dirt bike. As a fairly new addition to the office at Yamaha, part of my ‘education,’ was to get my feet dirty and try my hand at riding. 

While my excitement and anticipation outweighed my nerves, I have to admit that as the day drew near I feared for the overall well-being of my body.  Bring on the bruises and the dirt but I had never had a broken bone and didn’t want to start that day! My fears were quickly put to rest when a friend of mine, Matt, (another beginner) and I arrived at CMTS (Canadian n1638686909_78195_6121.jpgMotorcycle Training Services) Horseshoe Riding Adventures; a training facility sponsored by Yamaha.  

The incredibly fun, friendly and patient staff assured me that I would learn at my own pace and that they had a nearly perfect track record in the broken bone department. After getting suited up, we stepped out into the rain and began our training.  Before I knew it I was circling the track; my adrenaline pumping and completely amazed that I was actually able to do this!  Within no time I felt confident to leave the practice track and head out into the woods.  n1638686909_78192_5520.jpg

While Matt and I had our problems; I couldn’t stop looking down at the ground and he had a hard time finding first gear, we had an amazing time practicing what we had learned and becoming comfortable and confident on our new rides. But no virgin riding adventure would be complete without a spill or two.  Matt and I both earned our badges and bruises with a couple of pretty spectacular wipe-outs! 

Although I incurred only mild injuries, I was immediately discouraged and hesitant to get back on the bike.  It would have been very easy to give into my bruised and swollen knee but my instructor assured me that we could take it slow and build my confidence again.  It was the best decision to get back on; my horse and I rode well into the sunset.

While at first glance I still don’t look like someone who spends much time in the dirt or riding motorcycles, if you spend some time talking with me I’ll inevitably find a way to tell you about the muddy hours I spent learning how to get down and dirty on my Yamaha! I had a blast!

Sarah M

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January 2, 2009

Performance Anxiety

to tune or not to tune…

By Chris Anderson


c1.jpgMore often than not, when the Scooteratti (scooter people) get together, the subject of increased scooter performance will come up. People always want more, it’s just human nature. So when you have a similar machine that some tuner guy (or gal) has squeezed more power or speed out of, you naturally think “hey, I could do that too!” Right?

Beware! Scooter tuning is a double edged sword, and both sides can cut you.

It seems that top speed is directly proportional to the thickness of your purse or wallet.

Most machines have been designed to give a balance between longevity (read reliability and durability) and performance (fuel economy and exhaust noise and quality). Performance issues usually show themselves in the 50 to 100cc class. It’s basically a top speed thing. 65 kph is fine on most urban streets, but stray onto a parkway or road with an 80 kph limit and suddenly the objects in your rear view mirrors get REALLY big, REALLY fast.


I was always a believer in “sensible mods”. Things that you can do to help your engine breathe easier, make your drive system more efficient, and your suspension and brakes more responsive.

The sharp edge of the sword comes when you venture into the “high performance” areas. Bigger pistons put more stress on other engine parts, and require other mods, like bigger carb jets, or even more expensive…. bigger carbs! Then you need a performance exhaust pipe, new crankshaft, new air filter, new clutch weights and springs, etc.etc. All of which costs money.

Now that you’ve blown your savings, not only are you faster, but the Police seem to notice you more too. (FYI, a green plate in Ontario means you’re not allowed to exceed 70 kph, that’s why they call it “restricted”)

c2.jpgWhat has really happened here is a $3000 scooter now costs over $4500 and you could have just bought a bigger or better scooter for that price. There are lots of people that are happy with their stock 50cc scooters, and their scooters do exactly what they need them to, in and around the city. If you ride in 80 kph zones, get a bigger scoot.

Want to ride on the highway at 100 kph? Get a bigger scoot.

 Since I moved out of the city, most of the roads around me now are 80 kph or more. Plus, the locals think 80 is just a suggestion, so it looks like I’ll need something faster

The BWs125 can more than keep up, now if only I can talk my wife into selling her Vespa….


Life is short, either get what you want, or be happy with what you have. 

You can always trade-up (or down) if you want.

Keep on scootering !!


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