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August 8, 2011

You may kiss the bride!

Every bride needs something old, something new, something blue … and something Yamaha, HA! While going through fan photos on Facebook, I was overwhelmed by how many owners include a Yamaha into their Big Day.

Below are some of our favourite wedding shots featuring Yamaha. (If you have one to share, please upload to our Facebook page – Facebook.com/YamahaMotorCanada – or email to horizons@yamaha-motor.ca.)

Brad Smith and Cassandra Richardson. Port Stanley, ON

Clayton and Penny Edwards. Duncan, BC

Dianne Lawson. Kelowna, BC

Marcy & Jamie. Kelowna, BC

Jeff and Grejanka Kamlah. Gull Lake, AB

Natalie Bergeron Ottawa, ON

Gerald Nadon and his son, Martin, on their way to Martin’s wedding. Quebec.

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July 11, 2011

Lunacy on a 50cc scooter

The Mad Bastard Scooter Rally

Let’s go back in time for a moment…. Just over 2 years ago, friend and work colleague Chris Anderson entered a rally in Gatneau, PQ on his BWs scooter. It was the first time I had heard of the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally (MBSR) and suddenly another friend, Percy, asked if I could help him locate a scooter to ride in the same rally. I just so happened that I was in the process of destroying a pre-production C3 scooter, so I delayed the job long enough for it to get “one last ride.”

Both guys competed and had a “really fun time” as Chris said to me after. He asked if I would consider riding in the next rally and I replied that if he was going, then I would be there too.

A few weeks later, Chris became a victim in a motorcycle accident and was lost to this world. But I remembered the promise to him, and along with Percy’s encouragement, registered for the 2011 rally. Back to the future and here we are, June 2011.

Before we go any further, an explanation of the MBSR might be required.

Consider a bunch of scooter riders, all dressed in silly costumes, riding more than 700 kilometres (the kind of distance that would make the average touring bike rider think twice about doing in a day), and collecting clues and photos in the hope that they get the most “mad points” and get back to the starting point within a time allowance. Of course, do it all for charity and then you have the basis of the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally.

The map of madness.

With the well wishes and sponsorship of many people from Yamaha, along with the use of a new 2012 BWs 50 scooter, Percy (aka Scooterman) and I, the Dragon Slayer (such testosterone-filled titles) started on the journey on a cold, wet Saturday at just before 4:30 am. Yes, that’s right, early in the morning. The lightly modified BWs sprang to life and along with Scooterman’s C3, we left the hotel start line as team “Chris’ Caped Crusaders.”

The 2 little scoots have similar performance, so we raced along with throttles wide open, drafting each other and generally trying to outdo the other for speed whenever possible. Every so often, a stop to check the directions we had been given before the start, then back to racing.

The route wound east out of Barrie (a city 90 minutes north of Toronto) and eventually took us on some beautiful back roads of southern Ontario. On a 50cc scooter, there is plenty of time to see the scenery – I counted all 37 cows in one field as we zoomed past.

Stopping for fuel at the compulsory stops became part of the competition between Scooterman and I. We both vied for putting in the most fuel but in most cases there was no difference – he put in 2.72 litres and I put in 2.73 at the first stop after 138km. It was like that each time. We laughed that we could probably complete the whole rally on a fuel budget of 10 bucks each!

(The 2011 MBSR Slideshow … not for the faint of heart!)

The roads wound north from Gooderham up into Bracebridge and Huntsville before swinging South West to Collingwood and into the party beach town of Wasaga.

Here, after a total of 13 hours riding, we had a choice to make: bonus route or not? Keep in mind it is only 30 minutes back to the hotel and the call of the lounge, or some really serious mad points for riding another 5 hours. But we were going for the win, so West we went, up and over the Blue Mountains. The directions mentioned the hills were steep and we were a little concerned, but those four-stroke engines wouldn’t quit and up we went, no problem.

A required stop in Orangeville with the dark closing in on us and we headed back north to Barrie. We rolled into the hotel lot and the finish tent just after 10:30pm for a grand total of 18 hours “in the saddle.”

Scooterman wins the 2011 MBSR!

Result? Scooterman got the overall win (thanks to my direction reading and clue deciphering) and together we took the Team to 1st prize. Scooterman won the grand prize of a new Kymco 125 scooter, but we had already considered the prize ahead of time and agreed to ask it be raffled and the proceeds donated to the charity (Kids Help Phone).

The team prize? A case of Tankhouse beer! We decided to keep that and toasted the memory of our lost friend Chris, who no doubt had a helping hand with the win.

Cheers and see you at the 2013 rally.

Dave Shepherd, aka ‘The Dragon Slayer’

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May 30, 2011

Tappin’ out to Tap in

Building a custom motorcycle takes creativity, skill and A LOT of patience.  In celebration of UFC coming to Toronto, for the first time ever, Yamaha Motor Canada and Flat Out Industries partnered to create a special, one-of-a-kind TapOut Edition YZF-R1. The idea came from Flat Out’s Sean Mance, and we’re glad he shared it with us.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, ultimate fighting is the sport right now—and Toronto can’t get enough of it (the event had a record sellout of 55,000 tickets, nearly doubling the prior record, held by Montreal’s Bell Centre). We knew it would be a great opportunity to expose our brand to new eyeballs and play a part, even a small one, in the sport’s history.

Where to start … first we had to get TapOut and Authentic Brands Group’s approval (ABG bought TapOut and thus has a major say in promotional partnerships). We needed permission to use their logos and also to display the bike inside TapOut’s booth at Toronto’s UFC Fan Expo. After getting the greenlight, Sean and I started discussing bike design and what this “street fighter” was going to look like. It wasn’t easy, as both of us, and many others, had different opinions. With a little compromising, we settled on a theme: a race replica supersport with a touch of bling!

The BodyWorks in Guelph, ON helped to “dress” the TapOut bike.

We ordered a brand new R1 and a box of performance parts. Yamaha P&A Specialist and sportbike enthusiast, Richard Irwin, secured us front and back BRAKING wave rotors, steel braided brake lines,  GYTR chain and sprockets, ASV levers, Harris Rear Sets, and a trick set of Italian Marchesini Wheels. Because this bike is a “show piece” we didn’t feel the need to alter anything internally (and hey, let’s be honest, does the R1 really NEED anymore jam?).

Once the bike arrived, Yamaha tech Matt Helmer stripped the bike down to its barebones and began installing the new parts. Meanwhile, Sean picked up the body panels, Marchesini Wheels and swingarm and delivered them to The Bodyworks in Guelph, ON for painting. It’s a small, humble operation, but the BodyWorks trio is full of talent and hilarious to work with. Unfortunately, due to lack of communication—and an actual rendering of the proposed bike—we had Bodyworks paint the swingarm twice. I’ll admit it, I’m a rookie…

We used TapOut’s NASCAR design as inspiration for …

… the TapOut Edition YZF-R1

To avoid this from happening again, we put the project on hold until we had a concept in our hands. After some debate, Yamaha’s graphic designer Nick Sang and I tossed around ideas and came up with a visual. Considering TapOut’s dark and gritty look, we used a lot of black, with red and white as our secondary colours. Sean made a good call on adding a big, white stripe down the centre of the fairing, tank cover, gas tank, and rear fender. It definitely improved the look and really grabbed your eye, even from a distance.

With only three weeks before the Fan Expo, I was getting nervous. Our big debut was almost here and there was still a lot of work to be done, not to mention marketing and promotional materials had to be created to support the initiative.

A custom engine protector, designed and machined by Sean Mance. Watch the TapOut Bike Build Process.

The team kept it pinned and Matt and I traveled down to Mance family’s machine shop in Guelph for two very late nights of work. As Sean programmed and machined custom engine and chassis components (which were then sent to RealChrome for chrome plating) and Bodyworks completed paintwork, Matt made sure everything was tight on the R1. (Matt’s a major R1/road racing fanatic, so he took great pride in this project, making sure this bike was ready to hit the track, if need be.)

Mechanic Matt was a huge help, and I’m so thankful he stayed in the fight, no matter how much we stretched his patience.

Tuesday April 26th … our last day of work before the Fan Expo … or so we think. Matt and I met with Sean in Guelph, hoping to finish the deal. Our goal was to finish up around 8pm, conduct a photo shoot and then head back to Toronto with the finished piece (move-in for the Expo took place Thursday April 28 from 12-5pm. Show opened at 9am the next day).

Like everything I touch, things didn’t go quite as planned and we didn’t finish the bike until midnight. Not a huge deal to the three of us, as we all hold great passion for motorcycles and rather enjoy tinkering on them. Sadly, I can’t say the same for the photographer or Sean’s models … I don’t think they were too thrilled to be up past their bedtime.

Matt, Sean and I show off the fruits of our labour … I wonder who would in a fight?

All of the late nights were worth it though. Once we had everything bolted on and polished up, the three of us stood back and smiled. This bike was, as a fight fan would say, “Badass!” But what about TapOut? And what about the fans? Would they share the same opinion?

Keeping things consistent, we once again scrambed to move the bike into the Direct Energy Centre (DEC) on Thursday afternoon. We arrived at the DEC moments before the doors closed. The stress of it all floated away, fortunately, as we rolled the bike into the building and everyone who walked by complimented the machine or ran up and shot a pic with their cell phone…

The bike attracted a lot of attention at the UFC Fan Expo …

… especially when the ladies joined in!

The next morning, Yamaha’s motorcycle tech specialist, Nick DiCristofaro, and I showed up at TapOut’s booth, ready to mingle with fight fans. It was quite overwhelming, really. I knew UFC was big, but I couldn’t believe how many people jammed into the Expo. Over the two day event, more than 40k fans walked through the DEC! It helped that we were located right at the entrance, inside TapOut’s booth, and parked beside TapOut’s autograph line. Punkass and Skrape signed autographs and took photos with fans over the two day event, along with their fighters, including Jake Shields, who would be fighting Canada’s own George St- Pierre that evening.

The bike was a hit, especially when a beautiful young lady (or two or three) climbed aboard. We had posters printed up of the bike and TO’s Punkass and SkySkrape were kind enough to sign them and give away to fans. Both guys loved the bike, but what’s better, is the fact that both of them ride (as did their late, former leader, Charles Lewis, aka “Mask”).  Punkass rides street, while Skrape has a garage full of WRs, YZs, and TT-Rs, and this funky R1/Hayabusa hybrid.

TapOut founders SkySkrape (fro) and Punkass (shades) weren’t so happy that their sponsored fighter, Jake Shields,  lost to GSP in Toronto’s Main Event, but they liked the bike!

The goal of the project was to partner with a cool, hip brand, like TapOut, and get in front of new potential riders. The crowd was alive, young and showed great interest in our “Ultimate 2-Wheel Sreet Fighter.” Considering that, and the positive response from TapOut and their crew, I think it’s safe to say we met our objective.

If you wish to see this bike in person, tune into Yamaha ‘s Facebook page to see where it will be next. It will be on display at many dealers across the GTA, as well the Blocko 8 sportbike rally, corporate bike shows, and many other events during 2011.


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December 21, 2010

Pete’s Pics

By Danny Brault

If there’s one thing you can count on at a Yamaha event, I mean any event, like we could be promoting new brake levers or grip donuts, it’s that Peter Swanton will be there and he’ll be taking pictures. Jokes aside, Swanton, Yamaha’s National Motorsports Sales Manager, is one passionate motorcycle man and does everything he can to help the company.

After an event, Pete normally organizes a PowerPoint presentation full of interesting pictures and notes and then sends it through to colleagues. With snow falling across Canada, Pete is now swamped selling snowmobiles and he didn’t have time to put together a report from the Toronto Motorcycle Show on December 10-12. But rather than let his flawless photos fall to the wayside, I thought I’d share some with you. I hope I make ya proud, Pete!

For those of you who are passionate about Yamaha, motorcycle technology or adventure touring, you’ll understand why the 2012 Super Ténéré garnered so much attention in TO. Although the bike isn’t available in Canada until June 2011, you can order one now (and receive some bonus incentives). It has many impressive features, like a unified braking system, ABS, D-Mode, adjustable suspension, double-T style rims, and much much more. Long story short, it’s a really cool bike.

To give fans a better view, our service department stripped down a ST (the one that endured this off, on and everything in between road trip) and offered a more intimate look into the machine.

Women riders are becoming a much more common sight on the road these days, and we think that’s great. Friday night was ‘Ladies Night’ at the TO show and that meant free admission for them. The new Stryker (above) with its low seat height and cozy ergonomics was favoured by many ladies… does that mean we can’t say it delivers “badboy” attitude any longer? “Badperson” just doesn’t have the same ring to it…

Mr. Tough Guy: You’re going to laugh, but I’ll be honest: performance and handling aside, riding the Raider makes me feel like the toughest, baddest rebel on the road. Seriously–this bike oozes appeal. What’s also funny is the time I brought a Raider home for a weekend. I was at a Tim Horton’s (the unofficial hangout of MCists everywhere) and two Harley dudes came outside to check it out. They were impressed, but after asking what it was and I said “Yamaha,” they turned their backs and walked away….

People are always asking “Can I buy anything?” when visiting our corporate booth. Unfortunately, we normally have to tell them to keep their money. Not this year! Kelly’s Cycle Centre stepped up with their booth, and retailed a boatload of quality Yamaha leathers and casual wear at heavily discounted prices. Way to go, team.

The new Stratoliner Deluxe is making friends everywhere. It’s amazing the difference, visually, simple bolt-ons, like a shorty fairing with windshield and hard saddlebags, can make.

Start’em young! The Yamaha Riding Academy (YRA) has become a mainstay at Motorcycle Shows across Canada. It’s no wonder, as Clinton Smout and his band of riding professors have a very methodical and practical approach to teaching not only kids, but anyone how ride. In an attempt to offer better visibility and “cleaner” conditions, the YRA setup was moved into the main showroom. By all accounts (except for a minor smoke alarm sounding) it was a success.

The kids are outfitted with the latest gear and protection and mini-bikes from Yamaha. There are a few thrills and spills, but most every kid leaves with a big smile on their face. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

2010 was another big year for Yamaha on the motocross front. For the third year in a row, we captured the MX1 Canadian National title with Dusty Klatt, and Tyler Medaglia won his first MX2 crown. Even though the MX crowd is the minority at the TO show, we still had to display our racing honours. To help, we had Blackfoot Motorsports ship us Klatt and Medaglia’s championship winning Yamaha’s. Pictured here is Klatt’s one-of-a-kind ’94 YZ inspired 450F. Kudos to his mechanic, Andrew McClean, for the creativity!

You know what’s really cool about Blackfoot’s factory race bikes? You can buy them! Yep, that’s right. Each fall BF sells off their riders’ practice and race bikes (at a pretty good price, IMO). View them all here.

Scary fast: That cliche rings true when looking at the new 2011 YZF-R1. The world champion inspired, crossplane turning crankshaft, sweet sounding supersport is now available in this ghosty red styling that has to be seen to truly appreciate. Speaking of scary and cool, if certain things come together, you may see a very unique “UFC” inspired R1 in the near future….

Like father, like son.

The Northern Stars Riders’ Assoc. were in the house. If you’re from Western Canada, or looking to plan a motorcycle adventure, we suggest looking into the Stars’ Cruise-In next July in High River, AB.

Hey, that’s not a motorcycle!?! That is correct, however, the new Apex with Power Steering is a must-have at all of our powersport shows. Our techs have re-jigged this unit to allow people to experience the ease-of-steering, sans snow. Ask anyone who has tried it (at the show or on the snow), this ain’t no gimmick!

What, outboards?! Again, with an impressive piece of machinery like Yamaha’s V8 outboard, you gotta show it off. Size matters.

Not sure why this guy is so angry…

…Pete found something to smile about.

If you like what you saw here, then be sure to visit an upcoming Motorcycle Show near you:

2011 Motorcycle Show Schedule
January 7-9: BMO Centre, Stampede Park – Calgary, AB
January 14-16: Edmonton Expo Centre, Northlands – Edmonton, AB
January 20-23: Trade Exhibition Centre, Abbotsford – Vancouver, BC
February 4-6: Centre de Foires – Quebec, QC
February 11-13: Moncton Coliseum – Atlantic Canada
February 25-27: Montreal Convention Centre – Montreal, QC

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November 15, 2010

Labour of Love: Part Deux

“What the heck was I thinking?!”

We rode on to our first stop at the gigantic Manic 5 dam , which is the world’s largest multiple arch and buttress dam. I will admit, talking to the camera is quite unnerving when security feels the need to follow your every move!

As Keith Urban would say, this is “Where the blacktop ends….” The party was about to get started….

Sadly, the party ended about 60km later when I realized that when I moved back on the seat, my butt was no longer hitting the tent I had strapped on behind me. Crikey!

I turned around, looking at the bare, plush passenger seat where my tent had once been. As the dust settled and darkness crept in, Mike and Tyler in the UHAUL made their way closer.

“You guys didn’t pass anything on the road, specifically my tent?” I asked.

“Nope,” they replied.


I rode back for about 10kms, scanning the ditch lines, but … nothing.

This was bad for two reasons: The first being that I no longer had my “free accommodations.” What with all the wild fishers on the loose, sleeping under the stars … in Northern Quebec … in October, seemed a little ambitious. More importantly, this was my wife’s expensive tent that I had already damaged on my God forsaken motorcycle/TV trips the previous year and received a good scorning for.  She was NOT going to be happy now that I had lost it.

Probably the only time Huggy was smiling while traversing the demanding wilderness of Northern Quebec.

Sitting in the middle of nowhere while darkness overtook the valleys was not an option. We pushed on to Relais Gabriel and arrived at the gas pumps with the lights on full blast. We had 317kms under our belts but now came the hard part. Where was I to sleep and what was I to eat? The one thing about riding those long distances is that it gives you time to think, and since I hadn’t ate for about 12 hours, this was my first priority.

I asked Brownie to get the camera and we walked into the restaurant. Approaching the counter with a smile, I gingerly asked the hostess (in what was probably the worst French accent ever), “Je m’appelle Bryan. Tu parlez l’anglais?”  Her response: “Oh Yea! Hi Bryan”

YES! WE’RE MOVIN’ ON UP! Surprisingly, my offer to clean the men’s bathroom for a plate of spaghetti, and the women’s for bacon and eggs in the morning, was warmly received. I would even say that it didn’t require much negotiation. Then again, most people are happy not having to scrub toilets. It wasn’t long before I was twisting my fork, followed closely by my best Cinderella impersonation!

He’s lucky! The guys first stop featured a very generous hostess, who provided Huggy with a bite to eat, but not before he shined the porcelain!

My belly full, and the bathrooms sparkling, I stepped out onto the porch. The next order of business was sleep. I cast my eyes on the UHAUL in all it’s glory (kind of like in cartoons when a dog looks at a chicken and imagines it grilling on a rotisserie) and started looking on the bright side of sleeping in the cargo box. Off the ground, mostly water resistant, fisher-proof … it would do. I spread out my sleeping bag and got comfortable (sort of). For the first time in my life, I sure felt like an old-time Hobo! Now where to put this stick and handkerchief…….

Huggy’s new sleeping quarters after losing his tent. What’s the saying, “He who endures, conquers…”

Stay tuned for Parts 3 & 4.

For more photos please visit: facebook.com/yamahamotorcanada and click on the “photos” tab.

The season premiere of A Motorcycle Experience will be on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 11:30AM EST. All shows are broadcast on TSN.

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November 4, 2010

Labour of Love: Part 1

Bryan Hudgin begins his Trans-Lab road trip

Labrador Labour of Love: Part 1 of 4

Labour of love? Now that’s an understatement. It was 585km of gravel road, trees, lakes and mountains (and not much else) just to get to the Trans-Labrador highway! This road is not for the faint of heart, and that’s why the ‘Labrador Labour of Love’ would be my toughest challenge yet. Let me walk you through this trip from the start…

I met Mike Brown (A Motorcycle Experience’s trusted cameraman) and Tyler Hawley (producer) at the airport with my little Ford Focus rammed to the gills. To their credit, airport security didn’t pull a heavy on me when I unintentionally tried to smuggle a Swiss Army knife and matches in my carry-on luggage, which was a camping tent. Seems I forgot the knife and matches were included in there with the pegs (insert sheepish grin here). I shuddered as I imagined how a similar situation would play out, in a US airport, with an over zealous rent-a-cop.

Why the heck was I taking a tent as a carry-on? Well, ego is a powerful motivator, and I had agreed to another challenge for A Motorcycle Experience.  The host, Dave Hatch, had dared me to complete the same challenge as last year, albeit on the remote and rugged Trans Labrador Highway. So there was no food, no accommodations and no money (except for fuel) from Monday morning until Wednesday night. Just me, my Super Ténéré, some fishing and camping supplies, and 1140km of barren road. This is how the ‘Labrador Labour of Love’ name was coined. The payoff? If I successfully made it to Point B without breaking any of the rules, Hatch would host an entire show with the word ‘Yamaha’ written across his forehead.

The camerman and producer were allowed to eat...

...But Huggy wasn't!

We arrived in Baie Comeau Sunday night after a layover in Montreal. Through a series of hand gestures, broken french and a bit of charades, we 3 Anglos managed to get a cab for transport to the hotel. I settled down to sleep a little later, but not before sharpening my knife and reading up on edible plants.

Monday morning brought some confusion, including a last minute run to Wal-Mart for an SD card, and another cab to get to the UHAUL dealer (which was odd as they were also a competing motorcycle dealer. Seeing as I was dressed in full Yamaha regalia, and after waiting an inordinate amount of time, I was sure to check the brake lines and lug nuts before I left.) Patrick from Baie Comeau Motorsports had “Tenny” perfectly prepped for the long trip. Since we were doing the lion’s share of the ride on gravel road, I had opted for knobby tires instead of the more pavement-friendly versions that are stock on the Super Tenere.

The roads are nothing to write home about, but the landscape sure is!

My tentative agenda had the Labrador Labour of Love crew leaving at 9:30AM to make our way towards our first stop 216km down the road, arriving at the Manic 5 dam at 12:30PM.

At 12:15PM we rolled out of Baie Comeau Motorsports parking lot… Yes, quite a bit behind schedule already. Oh Brother.

The road to Manic 5 dam turned into remote in a hurry. It wasn’t long before a combination scent of freshly cut wood and thick diesel fumes were confusing my olfactory system, “… smells …so…sweet…but…[ahem]…why…is…it….hard…..to….[cough]…breath?”

The logging trucks were going by fast and furious and, as such, I increased my speed to stay out of the way. It wasn’t long after that I crested a hill and narrowly missed a plodding porcupine on the other side. Meh, no big deal. About 10kms later I rounded a corner and saw some sort of cat/fox/coyote hybrid. After more thought, I realized it was probably a fisher which was confirmed by almighty Google when I returned home. It was then I realized, ‘Tenny, we’re not in Kansas anymore!’……

The story's not over! Stay tuned for parts 2,3, and 4 to find out if he made it.

For more photos please visit: facebook.com/yamahamotorcanada and visit the photos section.

The season premiere of A Motorcycle Experience will be on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 11:30AM EST. All shows are broadcast on TSN.

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October 28, 2010

How-to: Storing your bike

Yamaha’s Motorcycle Product Manager, John Bayliss, did a great job detailing the steps involved for winterizing your motorcycle. If you missed it last year, or need a refresher, please click here for the full story. If you have some tips of your own, feel free to comment!

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July 28, 2010

What d’ya wanna see Huggy do?

Hey Everyone!

You may recall that last season on A Motorcycle Experience, host David Hatch made a side bet with Yamaha “Scooter Sense” host, Bryan Hudgin.

Dave bet Bryan that he couldn’t ride his Yamaha BWS125 scooter from Montreal to Toronto – with stops in Ottawa and Kingston along the way – using only a $25.00 gas card, tent and sleeping bag for the 3-day trek. Well Bryan not only accepted the challenge but he also completed the journey in record time with gas money to spare. Bryan wisely used “Scooter Sense” t-shirts to barter for food and lodging was provided by the great outdoors. He was able to camp out on viewer Bruce Haskin’s lawn on the first night while sneaking into a provincial park for the second!

In the end, Dave lost the bet and was forced to wear a Yamaha motocross jersey for 7 days straight. Dave has nothing against Yamaha off-road apparel, but he certainly did stand out at a good friend’s wedding!

So, as the fall riding season approaches, Dave and Bryan are at it again. Dave wants Bryan to push the envelope and take on another challenge. Will it be a “Northern Lights” ride from Toronto to James Bay? A “Rocky Mountain High” cruise from Vancouver to Calgary? A “Maritime Mayhem” tour of the East Coast?

Neither man can decide. Instead they are throwing the challenge out to the loyal Motorcycle Experience TV audience….putting you in the saddle! Do YOU have a great idea for his challenge? We’d like to hear it. Post it here on the Yamaha motorcycle blog under the “Leave a Comment” section! Perhaps you’d like to invite Bryan and the Motorcycle Experience crew to explore your home town or favourite local back roads? It’s completely up to you. Just remember, Bryan must remain safe while executing the challenge. Beyond that, the sky’s the limit!

Please send us your suggestions by August 15th. Dave and Bryan will weigh the pros and cons of each submission and decide upon a winner – then they‘ll shake hands and it will be game on!

Stay tuned to the Yamaha motorcycle blog at http://motorcycles.yamahablogs.ca for updates on when and where the challenge will take place. Bryan will also be updating to the blog and Yamaha Facebook page as the challenge plays out. Finally, you can watch the tour in it’s entirety on TSN’s A Motorcycle Experience in the spring of 2011.

Don’t delay! Get your submissions in before August 15th! We may choose yours!

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May 12, 2010

Good Reads

I was reviewing some web stats on Google Analytics recently, and came across two articles that peaked my interest:  “The Story of the VMAX” and “Birth of the XV1900.” Normally I’m not much of a tech guy, but our MC product manager John Bayliss does a wonderful job of taking readers through the stages of developing a bike (it’s not all done in Japan!) start to finish.

I’m trying to talk him into resurrecting these great articles with a new one on the history of the YZF-R1 …maybe you blog readers could help persuade him? Because my knowledge of motorcycles isn’t even comparable to that of a legend like Bayliss, I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking the reigns. However, I wouldn’t be against bringing you the story behind Yamaha’s YZF motocross machines …. if there were enough interest.


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April 8, 2010

Destiny or coincidence?

Needless to say, our customer relations team receives some “interesting” feedback from past, present and  future Yamaha owners. It could be someone looking for general tech support, or someone is upset because the rear tire on their 1973 DT3 is already worn out … it’s never a boring job, that’s for sure.

More recently, one of our agents helped provide some tech specs to a then-and-now Yamaha rider named Lynn. As it turns out, Lynn endured some eerie coincidence on her new bike. (Looking at her pics, she’s also attained some wisdom in regards to proper riding gear :))

Thanks for sending me the detailed tech specs for that DT200.  I am comparing it to what I currently have, the WR250R, which was the bike that replaced the DT200.  I never thought I’d be able to come close to replacing that beloved DT, and to be honest, when I bought the WR and was riding it home, I got goose bumps.  Not because I was on a flashy new bike (well, that was kinda part of it) but because of the day and time I took possession.  It’s REAL creepy.

I bought that old 1986 DT200 brand new in Penticton; I was 19 and had saved up from working a whole winter up at the ski hill in Kelowna.  I absolutely LOVED that little bike.  Roll forward to 11:30 AM, Oct 23, 1988.  I wrote off my poor bike after an old lady failed to yield and decided to cut in between me and the truck in front of me.  Bike was totaled.  All I have left of that memory is a picture of me on it when I was camping at Christina Lake in the Kootenays.

I had always wanted to get another bike like the one I had.  Life took me different places and I never got the chance to get another, even though I kept my eyes open for that year of bike.  Nothing.  I ended up with an old 1977 Honda XL 250 that was a heavy tank of a bike, and didn’t enjoy it near as much (I still have that old bike)…in fact it never even could be compared.  I had numerous street bikes, the last one being a 1995 Suzuki RF600R.  Stupid fast bike.  It was a scream to ride, but every time I’d go past a trail off the road I’d want to explore it.  NOT a good thing on a sportbike.

I then went onto the Yamaha site and saw the WR on there.  I had looked at the WR250 years before, but because it wasn’t street legal I never took a second look.  I read up on the R that others own, and the responses were incredible.  A new bike, basically a dirt bike you can ride on the road right out of the crate.  I immediately thought of my old DT, and HAD to take a ride on one.  I had to wait for a demo day in order for that to happen, but once I rode it, I was hooked.  I felt I had finally found a replacement, even if the damned thing was so high I couldn’t touch the ground.  That was in July, 2008.  A month later I sold the 600.

Roll forward to Oct 23, 2009.  I’ve got the paperwork in my hands, my gear on and anticipating my first ride on my brand new 09 WR250R.  The salesman had managed to get in the very first ’09 in BC, right after the dealer demo that was held in Whistler, just for me.  They hadn’t even been released to the public at that point, but he apparently knew someone and pulled a few strings.  So at 11:30, I am on my new bike and riding down the highway.  It was then that it hit me, and why I felt a cold shiver run the length of my spine.   When I got home, I found the paperwork from the accident on the old DT.  Check this out:

Oct 23, 1988  11:30 AM :  1986 Yamaha DT200S written off
Oct 23, 2008  11:30 AM : 2009 Yamaha WR25R ridden off the showroom floor.
Last 2 numbers on the VIN are 23.

20 years later to the exact date and time, I have replaced something I never thought I ever would.

Sorry if I’ve bored you with this, but what you’ve done really means a lot to me.  I’m going over the spec sheets for both bikes, and besides the difference of the DT being a 2-stroke, the two bikes are very similar in a lot of ways.

Again, I thank you for doing this for me.  I’ve sent along some pics, just for comparison.  One of me when I was on the old DT (well it was maybe 5 months old there), me on the new WR250R, and the WR after I went to work and modified it.

What do you think? Is this all coincidence? Or was Lynn meant to be back on a Yamaha dual sport?

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Posted @ 3:49 pm in Authors,Commuting,Ladies Only,Sport   
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