Daytona Beach Motorcyclist killed by gator on I-77 in Northern Ohio!

Well..that is what the headline could have easily said. More on that one in a moment.

Two weeks ago a Honda NC700X entered the Talking Motorcycles garage.

NC700Xgarage

It resides alongside two Piaggio BV500 touring scooters, an 09 KLR 650, a BMW F650GS Single and the required two up touring machine, the Harley-Davidson FLHTC Electra Glide Classic. The NC is powered by exactly half of a Honda Fit automobile engine. With an emphasis on touring and commuting the NC is a fuel economy wonder. Regardless of how I have ridden it, the fuel economy is always within the 65 to 75 mpg range. In two weeks I have recorded about 3,000 miles on the NC and it is a mechanical wonder. It’s 270 degree crank gives the bike a Ducatiesque feel when you are running up through the 6 speed gearbox and sound much like a crossplane crankshaft R1 Yamaha but in a smaller parallel twin. The little twin that could is all torque with a 6500 rpm rev limiter that you will never need. Life is good in the 2,000 to 4,000 rpm range. It easily tours on the Interstate at 70 to 80 miles per hour with ample torque and horsepower on hand for passing and merging in a very relaxed style. 70mpg at 70mph makes the NC more fuel efficient than the Piaggio BV500’s!

The first move was to add the amazing Clearwater Lights Erica driving lamps. These are state of the art leaders in aftermarket lighting producing 6,000 lumens with a low draw on the charging system. They are completely dimmable and will go full bright with a flick of the motorcycles high beam switch. They conspicuety they provide is absolutely amazing and everything in front of the motorcycle is imbued with full daylight quality lighting on high beam. Being seen is our responsibility and we need every advantage in today’s traffic environment. Al Ludington at V8R Performance performed the install. He is meticulous and takes the required time to engineer the electric wiring and mounting to race quality standards of durability and that works well with the high quality components provided by Clearwater. Al has been in the motorcycle road racing industry for most of his life and spent many years with the Factory Honda team as crew chief for Migel DuHamel. His attention to detail is very impressive.

V8R

To give you a sample of the brightness of the Clearwater Erica lamps I offer this picture taken on the road in full sunlight at a rest stop.

Clearwater Erica's

Back to the topic of our story…I’m riding along I-77 about 60 miles South of Cleveland nearing the end of a 950 mile ride to announce the AMA Vintage National Dirt Track Championship event tonight at Ashland, Ohio. This is a fabulous event with a very large crowd of enthusiastic vintage loving folks in the stands and a paddock full of motorcycles from nearly every decade including tank shifts, rigids, and just about every other motorcycle ever raced in America. I was easing along at about 70 mph and was approaching an 18 wheeler just ahead. I’ve seen many close calls with semi trucks in just over a million miles of touring. I am an advocate of eliminating recap tires from semi trucks altogether. The next time you are on the Interstate just take a look at the side of the road at the rubber debri from these tires. It is truly amazing how many of those tires come apart. In the motorcycling world, we call those 6 foot long two foot wide hunks of flying rubber “gators”. In very hot weather at higher speeds the tire virtually explodes and sends the tread flying intact and is fully capable of killing a motorcyclist with ease. In this case there is little warning as the tire explodes. Yesterday was a little different story. I was about 50 feet behind the truck and was making my lane change to move around the big rig. I was crossing the center line into the fast lane as a 6″ x 8″ piece of rubber came out from behind the truck and missed me by a few feet. I knew that was the beginning of the delamination and took evasive action. Throttling up briskly and moving to the far left of the fast lane and the tire exploded sending the gator about 10 feet in the air but well off to my right. I’m relating this story as a reminder to all of us of something we already know. We must give those semi trucks lots of room. Following one too closely has many hazards in addition to the tire carcasses. One of those is a semi may split a rather large pice of debri and if we are too close it suddenly appears from the center of the rear of the truck between the wheels and we do not have time to react. The exploding tire is one of the most serious hazards in Interstate travel for us all. Let’s give them lots of room and make the pass with alacrity using lots of throttle and establishing a nice space cushion to avoid the flying missle. Safe travels everyone!

semi

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