Best of the Rest: Sept. 4

Welcome to Best of the Rest, an idea we’re trying out at CMG.

We’re not shifting towards becoming content curators; the plan is to still provide original content from the worlds of racing, adventure riding and general motorcycling news, like we always have. We just figured our readers might enjoy reading the same stories we enjoy reading, so we’re experimenting with the idea of a once-a-week collection of stories from other publications, with the sole aim of sharing the fun.

Check out the links, read the articles, and let us know if this format works, or could be tweaked. – 1980s Turbo Bikes

The Plastic Maggot was actually a beautiful butterfly by the end of its production run ... almost.
The Plastic Maggot was actually a beautiful butterfly by the end of its production run … almost.

From a mainstream manufacturer’s perspective, the technology was basically ignored for decades until the introduction of last year’s Kawasaki H2R. But for a short time in the early 1980s, the turbocharger ruled the streets — or at least, the imagination of those who hoped to rule the streets.

While all of the Big Four made a turbo bike in the 1980s, only two of the bikes from Japan could be considered to be successful. In this piece, Jeff Ware rides them all (except the unreliable X85, which breaks down before the test), and picks a favourite. It’s not the usual kind of shootout you see in a motorcycle magazine, but it works — and for some readers, it’s a lot more relevant. Not that you will ever likely have to choose between buying any of these bikes.

Motorcycle-USA – Backmarker: K&N’s Norm McDonald

knHe wasn’t the focus of a film like On Any Sunday, but Norm McDonald helped Malcolm Smith get to the point where he starred in that movie. He wasn’t around for the multi-million dollar sale of K&N Engineering, but with his partner he helped lay the company’s foundations. He might not have been a roadracing star, but he sure helped a lot of riders kickstart their career on track.

If you’re interested in North American motorcycle history, it’s well worth reading this story by Mark Gardiner. Guys like McDonald were around for some of the most important moments in motorcycle history — he helped run the first Yamaha dealership in the US — but they aren’t going to be around forever. Learn their stories while you can.

KHTS – Santa Clarita Teen Uses Robotic Exoskeleton After Being Paralyzed In Motorcycle Crash

The ReWalk exoskeleton.
The ReWalk exoskeleton.

Motorcycle crashes can cause life-changing injuries. Here’s a story about one teen from the US who is walking again, after being paralyzed in a crash during a motocross race. Justin Covarrubias had two broken vertebra in his back after the crash, and was left with no feeling below his waist.

While modern technology can’t always solve problems  like this, it’s come a long way. Now, despite his injury, Covarrubias is learning to walk again, thanks to a robotic exoskeleton. It’s really cool technology, and surprisingly low-priced. The exoskeleton costs around $77,000 US, which is a lot of money, but remember that even 20 years ago, this stuff would have been something you’d see in a Terminator movie, not available at a hospital.

Read the whole story on Covarrubias and his recovery process here.

Worst of the Rest

Forbes – Why Do So Many Men Buy Motorcycles They Can’t Afford After Divorce?

Is the Boss Hoss an appropriate post-divorce bike?
Is the Boss Hoss an appropriate post-divorce bike?

If there was ever a non-story in Forbes, this piece by Emma Johnson would qualify. Why pick on men? Why pick on motorcycles? Surely dumb post-divorce spending is hardly limited to either gender, or to motorcycles?

And maybe if more people in general bought motorcycles, there would be less divorces? After all, you can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a motorcycle, and it works as a short-term substitute at least.


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