OK, maybe not. But close.
I've been trying to figure out how to compare the "carbon footprint" of an old motorcycle to something new and trendy like a Prius. How cool would it be if we could quantify to that self-righteous neighbor in the semi-electric bubble how he is destroying the planet and the old Panhead is really way more green? Not that I really care that much, but it would be more articulate than just giving them the bird.
With gas prices in the US going nuts, what's a responsible citizen supposed to do? Wring our hands and vote green? I say, ride an old motorcycle! Not that we need an excuse, we are going to ride them no matter what, but with gas at $4.00 a gallon, it actually makes sense from a practical perspective. I'm not even entirely sure how you can truthfully gauge a "carbon footprint" but I'm pretty sure the ten year old sporty I'm riding to work nearly every day has a smaller one than some Urban-crossover-SUV™ with "Hybrid" badges on it.
I googled around and found I'm not the only one thinking this way. Seems there are a few enviro-geeks who've figured it out too. Read what they've got to say if you are really interested, but to distill it down, this is what you get:
• It takes a shitload of energy, some of it real bad stuff to produce a new car, especially one that has giant batteries and is only expected to last 100k miles.
• Any old bike is already manufactured. Duh, no new energy expended. In fact, you do more by keeping it running instead of letting it rot.
• On a bike, you only take up as much room as you need. Hell, you don't even need a lane, you split them anyway. Not to mention you are one less person on a cell phone which has to be worth something.
• I discussed this with Chris last week, and he said "You are giving the dinosaurs back their juice every time you park it!" Now, who doesn't want to save the dinosaurs?
• You can use the carpool lane. And the strip in between the carpool lane and the fast lane...
• It justifies that big truck or van that you need, but only drive when you have to pick up a bunch of parts or a broken bike.
• How fun can driving a car like that be? I rented a Prius earlier in the year and it was novel, but basically sucked.
• You can do your own maintenance and modifications and that's gotta be worth something, right?
A couple quotes from some of these more articulate bloggers:
"One last fun fact for you: it takes five years to offset the premium price of a Prius. Meaning, you have to wait 60 months to save any money over a non-hybrid car because of lower gas expenses." -Prius outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage
"But, what would happen if you kept riding that bike long after you could afford not to? How would you fare had you invested that car money rather than spent it?" From Motorcycle Math 101
An ugly motorcycle still better looking than a Prius. Seriously, butt-ugly-chic? It doesn't exist.
From the Great Motorcyle Pizza Tour
Save the planet, ride an old motorcycle
Posted by The Crew at 10:59 PM
Working on some new parts that will hopefully be available later this year. All the designs are coming out great and we are stoked. Then off too lunch with our great friend William for some fish heads and beer.
Posted by The Crew at 4:32 AM
In yesterday's diatribe about underground events I some how forgot about our buddy Dug and the Rogue Run. Sorry dude! Dug is a super down to earth guy that we met on last year's EDR. He'd do anything for anybody and he's throwing this year's RR just for you. Check it out here: Rogue Run.
Posted by The Crew at 2:19 PM
Here at Biltwell we can't afford to go to every event over the summer. Not to mention the majority of the big events don't suit our style or our customer's style anyway.
What we do try and participate in is nearly every grass-roots, ride-based event thrown by people who share the same two-wheeled passion as we do. This is a good way for us to spread the gospel and support people that are geographically out of reach for us.
Our big trip this year is going to be to North Carolina for the Horse Magazine's annual Smoke Out. We've got too many friends, shops and customers back there to miss this massive party.
Even if we can't make it in person, we will always show our support to guys like Mike Camillo who's putting a little shindig on tonight in Cos Cob, CT. Mike will have a fistful of Biltwell gift certificates to raffle off to a few lucky souls this evening.
As a middle finger to the usual contemporary Laconia crowd, Grail over at Knucklebuster is throwing the Greasbag Jamboree in New Hampshire. If he does the event half as well as he handles his websites, you can count on this thing being a banger. First place this year gets a Biltwell helmet with some fine lines by our friend "Rad Shad".
Speaking of back east events, you can't forget the Gypsy Run. We had such a blast riding with these guys last year and half of them again on the EDR a couple months ago. If you are anywhere near these dudes, you need to make it happen. With Walt, Fritz and crew in charge this year, it's going to be a well-oiled party machine.
Another one is Trent at Atomic Custom's Ground Zero Throwdown 3.0 in Albuquerque, NM. Trent's deal was great last year, and this year sounds even more fun, with some off road riding to a lake it sounds perfect.
What do all these events have in common? They're all organized by guys who want to have a good time and enjoy custom motorcycles. No, I'm not going to sing Kumbaya or hold hands and chat about feelings, but I will say this- take inspiration from these folks and quit bitching about how gay the local scene is and try to put something together that kicks ass. If you do, let us know about it and we'll support it one way or another. Any idea how many free helmets we can donate for the cost of one trip to Sturgis?
We're going to be running the show July 19th, so we won't be able to man a booth for Biltwell at the Chop Meet in Wrightwood. Our friend and dedicated dealer Tyler from Lowbrow Customs is coming out and we're going to load him up with inventory so he can hock our goods as well as his own merch. Tyler (in the brown jacket) is a hard-working down to earth dude who is doing his own thing, and we dig it. You will too.
Posted by The Crew at 11:30 PM
Our friend Joel holds the EOTM plaque about ten months out of the year. He doesn't really work for Biltwell. Let me rephrase that, we don't pay him, but he does work his ass off with us, going to events, setting up the dog and pony show, etc. It seems we can always count on him to show up and be totally self-contained and ready to rock. He also knows his way around a machine shop, has a nice collection of old HDs in various states of repair/customization and loves long road trips on any bike from his quiver. He was my wingman on the long way 'round for the EDR this year and I think we're going to ride out to the Smoke Out in NC together here in a couple weeks. Here's a couple pics of his nearly-done pan project. You can see he's running the Solo Seat and Aces bars. Good work Joel, just remind me not to get too close to that damn rear fender!
Posted by The Crew at 5:26 PM
Check out the Biltwell seat pan that Rob Watt from Victoria BC, recently carved up. He drew the art and tooled it all by his lonesome. Nice work, eh? Even more respectable once you hear it is the first time he's tried covering his own seat! Good job, Rob, we look forward to seeing more in the future.
Posted by The Crew at 7:48 PM
Since getting back from Mexico I've been hammering the sporty as much as possible. With gas prices what they are and a bike this fun the team van pretty much stays in the driveway these days. Hey, I've got a low-carbon footprint or whatever Al Gore and the hippies say I need a Prius to do.
Anyway, the bike is loads of fun. A few things I've changed since the initial work; Old tailight mount cracked and the whole assembly folded into the rear tire. Sweet, now the brand new license plate has some patina. A simple repop Sparto was the solution and it looks better than the original anyway. I changed out the Aces bars for some black Friscos. I liked the Aces, but these just felt more comfortable and are great for my lane-splitting commute every day. The pipes are a little short and the lack of back pressure seemed to be affecting performance a little. A cheap set of anti-reversion cones from eBay and the butt dyno says they work. I wondered if they were snake oil or not. I guess in this exact application there are notable improvements. I still might do the washer-welded-to-a-bolt trick just to see if more is better. Added some heat tape too. Not real fond of the look but my leg digs it. I'm making a new seat for it this weekend, because this one is going off to the factory as a prototype.
Other than the short pipes and the tailight falling off the thing is bulletproof so far and has been a blast to ride. I plan on riding from So Cal to the Smoke Out East in North Carolina next month with my friend Joel, so we'll test it's long haul capabilities (and mine!) then.
p.s. Thanks Willis, you little bastard. (For once that's not oil under the 45...) See the post below.
Posted by The Crew at 8:34 PM
These guys are BadAsses! Started in Westbank B.C. about a month ago and rode down to Guatemala and in 4 days will be back home in Canada. This is one of those trips every motorcycle guy has to do in his lifetime. Going to big events like Sturgis and Daytona and all that is something everyone does and should atleast once. Doing a trip like this to Guatemala will give you more culture, and experience than any bike week event could ever do though. Cheers to Ken and Bodie. Dice magazine gave us the quote "Fuck this let's ride" and these guys are doing just that!
Posted by The Crew at 2:30 PM
This new product enters the realm of stickers and t-shirts. What we mean by that is this: we didn't buy enough of them to make it a full-time item in our complete product range. Rather than piss off our customers by failing to have enough gloves in stock, we're just selling these through smaller retailers like Unit 1, Four Aces, Lowbrow Customs, and through Lick's Cycle's consumer-direct online store. Why play favorites with these guys? This is more of a promotional and giveaway item than something worth selling for a profit, but we needed to buy enough of them to make the final $24 MSRP reasonable. Our vendor on this comfortable and well-made glove specified 300-pair minimum, and that number seemed tough to reach for a company our size, so we asked Tyler and Wes and Carrie to give us a little bump by placing a pre-order. Wes and Tyler haven't even received their inventory of Moto gloves yet, but they will by next week, so you can start ordering.
The design and construction of Biltwell Moto Gloves is similar to tried-and-true Mechanic's style gloves. There's a synthetic leather palm with no padding, ventilated backs, and some ingenious flex baffles in the first and second finger to make two-finger brake and tool operation a little more comfortable. If you've got sausage fingers like I do, the Lycra gussets in the fingers will give you some much needed stretch. Moto Gloves come in every biker's favorite color, and the logo is tone-on-tone for pure stealth. Four sizes are available: Small through XL (9 through 12). I'm 5' 9" and a svelte 190 lubs with the aforementioned cocktail wiener fingers, and I wear a 10. If you like your gloves tight, order one size smaller--they stretch.
To contact a company that's selling these jewels, click here.
Posted by The Crew at 3:10 PM