Posts Tagged ‘cruiser’

Hell’s Angels ‘Invade’ Minnesota

August 1, 2009

“They rode with a fine unwashed arrogance, secure in their reputation as the rottenest motorcycle gang in the whole history of Christendom.” – Hunter S. Thompson, Hell’s Angels

The Hell’s Angels made a small town in Minnesota the spot to amass before heading out to Sturgis for the annual motorcycle rally, and while local and national law enforcement have been on high alert, locals have proved less concerned.

hellsangels02The bikers of “unwashed arrogance” are largely a thing of the past. No longer ex-military and out for a post-war good time, the ranks have been largely replaced by the miscreant too dumb to conform to societal norms. They are the suited and tied, the employed white collar and blue collar, mixing with ner-do-wells to form a slutty fraternity of kindred spirit.

But nevermind the description, the bikers started rolling into Carlton County, Minn., on Sunday, July 26. By Thursday, July 29, more than 300 of the patched riders were in attendance. Some estimates suggest an equal number of law enforcement agents in the area.

The Hell’s Angels made their base roughly 100 miles from the Twin Cities, at the Black Bear Casino Resort on I-35 and the Lost Isle Bar on Hwy. 210. Both locations were barricaded for maximum privacy.

Although the Hell’s Angels are classified by the FBI as a gang known for crimes ranging from drugs to prostitution to money-laundering to gun-running, residents say the bikers have been polite, respectful folks.

“What I imagined were constant bikes going back and forth,” Don Rostollan told Minnesota’s StarTribune newspaper. Rostollan owns Spirits Restaurant and Bar and a convenience store across from the temporary Hell’s Angels headquarters at the Lost Isle Bar on Hwy. 210. “I’m kind of surprised you don’t see more.”

One biker reportedly asked Cozy Cafe waitress Tracy Burns where he could buy some wild rice. One ordered a double shot espresso at a coffee shop. “Good guys,” Burns told the StarTribune of the handful that have stopped by the cafe. “Good tippers.”

However, past deadly outbursts with the Outlaws (currently holding court in a nearby town in western Wisconsin) has stoked concern about the potential for violence.

Yet Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake told the StarTribune there had been no major incidents involving the Hell’s Angels. Authorities ticketed 24 of the member bikers for speeding and 71 non-members for minor traffic violations between Tuesday and Thursday. One Angel, a 43-year-old New York member, was arrested for driving under the influence after he refused to take a field sobriety test and was found to be riding a motorcycle reported stolen in New Jersey.

Rider Impressions: The Victory Hammer S

July 15, 2009

In June I picked up a 2009 Victory Hammer S from Polaris headquarters in Medina, Minn. Now, after one month and nearly 1,000 miles, it’s time I return the bike.

As a fan of all things with two-wheels, I would’ve enjoyed keeping this head-turner in my garage alongside the SV1000S, Tomos Golden Bullet moped and forthcoming two-stroke Stella scooter. Having a muscle cruiser like the Hammer helped satisfy my different moods – whereas I enjoy long, quick-paced rides on the Suzuki, I equally enjoyed implementing the Victory for shorter, inter-city jaunts. If the SV1S, in triple black livery, is my B2 stealth bomber, the Hammer S, available only in a vibrant blue with white rally stripes, was my attention-grabbing Blue Angels C-130T Hercules “Fat Albert” – heavy, but powerful and impressively agile for its size.
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The bike attracted attention and garnered questions wherever I went, whether at the filling station, neighborhood grocery store or local bike night. “Go ahead and park it right out front on the sidewalk,” the owner of my favorite restaurant, Eli’s in Minneapolis, said after grilling me on the bike’s specs and my impression of the ride.VictoryHammerOverdrive

“Nice Hammer!” a guy in a pickup truck shouted to me while we were stopped at a red light. “I just bought one! I love it!”

The Hammer S represented the fourth Victory extended ride the folks at Polaris have granted me. The first bike, the V92TC, was a bit unkempt; the first year Vegas was better, but still not tuned quite right (needed more breathing, found through the parts catalog); and the Vision I rode for a few months last summer was hugely impressive in handling and performance for its size.
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What’d I like about the Hammer S? I had a list of highlights I quoted to everyone who asked: The 97hp, 113 ft. lbs. of torque offers a healthy dose of acceleration, the bike’s outfitted with a smooth running carbon fiber belt, the sixth gear “overdrive” transmits a fuel-saving engine speed of 2,400 rpm at 70mph, it maneuvers surprisingly well with the big 18-incher up front and 250/40R18 Dunlop rear, and braking was impressive (stainless steel lines, front dual 300mm floating rotors with 4-piston caliper and rear single 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper).VictoryHammerBelt

The list of things I didn’t like is much shorter: To garner the hardtail look, engineers placed the rear shock a bit too far forward, directly under the seat. It’s preload adjustable, but nevertheless transmitted some kidney-jarring bumps when traversing roadway irregularities.
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Victory Lays Down the Hammer … S

June 15, 2009

I picked up a 2009 Victory Hammer S from Polaris HQ today, June 15. I’ve noticed this particular bike is about Victory performance, and that my sportbike has tire envy.

2009 Victory Hammer S

2009 Victory Hammer S

After rolling 200 miles during the first few hours after pick-up, I do have a few qualms about riding position (see future posts). Of course, I’m traditionally more of a sportbike rider, so anything I ride foot-first seems a bit odd.

Still, this is the best of the four Victory I’ve ridden for an extended period of time. It accelerates impressively (for (more…)

Honda Shows Its Fury

January 16, 2009

Honda unveiled its long-awaited 2010 Fury cruiser today at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in New York.

The Fury is arguably the first modern Honda to offer a true custom look: long, low and simple. Powered by a 1312cc V-twin, the shaft-drive bike offers the longest wheelbase ever in a production Honda motorcycle, 71.24 inches; low 26.7-inch seat height; a hidden single-shock rear suspension offering a “hard tail” look; a fat 200-series rear tire and slim 21-inch front tire.

Check out a complete report at Dealernews.com
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