I’m pretty sure tax return season is the happiest time of the year for the tuning market as all the little tuners scurry to their mailboxes to see what new part Uncle Sam is going to help them buy. Sure some of you will save the money, others will use it to pay off bills, but let’s be honest here…most people are going to run out and buy something they’ve wanted for a while, but couldn’t justify spending the money on.
(Jet pack. Can’t justify it…totally want it)
Everyone’s favorite bearded Mediocre editor just came into one of the most comically large tax returns he’s ever seen. In fact, I’m pretty sure the mailman won’t actually be able to get the check into a mailbox because it won’t physically fit. No, this year Uncle Sam and Mr. Obama have wonderfully agreed to send me one of those huge cardboard checks (cheques?) that you see on TV when people win contests or receive huge donations to their charitable whatever fund.
(Exact replica of what Steve looks like when he shaves…)
The question I now pose to you, my humble Mediocre friends, is that of your opinions…what should Steve spend his oversize cardboard check on? It’s easy for the mind to run wild and let the sane part of your noggin’ forget that you have bills and obligations to care for, but at the same time, huge tax returns demand wonderful purchases and I prefer to think of it as my own personal economic recovery investment. You can call it whatever you’d like of course, but mine is copywritten, so you can’t call it that.
Should I go all out and buy pretty much every part that I could ever want for the tC? Should I save a pile of money and only buy a few side parts to get me past some of the big investment hurdles? Should I pick up the motorcycle I’ve been salivating over for the past few years in order to have a second (technically third) vehicle for when the tC is down? What oh what should I do, Mediocre? What should I do!?
– Publisher’s Steve-ing house
Most of my posts are pretty firmly rooted in the “car” category and I’ve been quite neglecting my motorcycling fetish as of late. It’s pretty easy to forget about your bike when it’s parked at your girlfriend’s house and it’s rainy and cold pretty much every day of the winter here in Seattle, but I have been seeing more and more bikes on the road recently and my spark has been reignited.
As some of you other riders out there might know one of my favorite bike companies just closed its doors in a tear jerking farewell to the only American sport bike company. Buell Motorcycles was an awesome and ahead-of-its-time bike manufacturer that was entirely focused on 2-wheeled motorsports and absolutely insane engineering. Having just come away with their first ever victory in the AMA championship (did I mention it was their first because it was the first year they had tried?), they were sitting pretty and obviously very happy.
(Danny Eslick sitting atop his AMA winning Buell)
Harley-Davidson, Buell’s parent company, then decided that they were fucking retarded and then told Erik Buell (Buell’s founder and a totally rad motorcycle racer/engineer in his own right) that they were shutting him down. In probably the most tear-jerking address I’ve ever seen from a CEO, Erik Buell spoke into the camera letting Buell fans across the world know that Buell had to shut the doors. I’m not kidding, I can’t watch this video without getting teary eyed and feeling horrible about the closure. This was Erik Buell’s life, his dream, and his heart. All three torn asunder by the knuckleheads at HD who do nothing but produce the same bike over and over and over again ad infinatum and rake in the cash from the idiots who keep buying them. (Aside: I actually like a couple of Harley bikes, but I’m not sure I’ll ever buy from them after what they did to Buell.)
(See what happens when HD destroys a soul. Get some tissues…no, I’m not kidding)
As a Buell owner (even if it is just their 500cc entry bike) I am legitimately upset. The Buell closure was a while ago, the last bike was produced before 2010, and I’ve had time to heal from the wound. The thing that burns me the most is that the cool and innovative brawler bikes from Buell will forever be forgotten and under appreciated, lost to history.
(Buell Lightning XB12scg… the bike I lust after)
What’s the point of this post? I don’t know really. It’s hard to not be cynical in the face of such a loss and I really don’t want to just be filled with anger about this. I guess I’m just venting, I don’t really know how else to put it. I’m frustrated and sad that HD closed down Buell. The world lost an innovative and exciting bike company and racing lost a huge challenger and dedicated competitor. I suppose it won’t really matter, you’re just gonna go out and get on your Japanese sport bike or your American cruiser and totally forget that there ever was an American Sport bike that could wrestle, fight, and win with the best of ’em.
-Steve is gonna take a ride tonight to pay homage to Buell, rain be damned
Seattle was in the middle of a pretty legendary (for them) heatwave recently and it was a relatively miserable week for all of us here. I mean, I’m from Boston and we get some pretty powerful summers, winters, and springs…and…well, all year round Boston gets some pretty distinct weather so I’m pretty used to extreme weather changes. After living in Seattle for about 2.5 years though there are really only two types of weather that I really experience: 50 degrees and cloudy/rainy for 9 months straight, and then a healthy 80-mid 90’s for three glorious months. Needless to say I’ve gotten used to the very mild weather out here and 5-6 days of high humidy + high 90’s to low 100’s weather was NOT something I was expecting.
During this surprising heatwave Jon Picariello (AKA, Pic), a good friend of Mediocre Motoring‘s, informed me that he had somehow let the battery go dead on his motorcycle and he could use a hand getting it started. A little background here, Pic and I ride the same kind of bike (see below) and he obviously knows I’m a car nut so he assumed I would A.) know how to jump a bike, and B.) have all the necessary tools to jumpstart a bike going motorcycle to motorcycle. Well, I do know how to jump start a bike and I am a car guy…but I don’t actually have cables. Shame on me, I suppose I should look into getting a set.
(Not Pic’s exact bike, but looks very similar. 500cc Single Cylinder Buell Blast)
Anyway, I inform Pic that we don’t need cables and that we can just bump start the bike and that should get it running again. “Uh…bump start?” I get as his reply. I sigh heavily and get him to look around on YouTube while I ride over to his apartment to help him.
(I just searched YouTube now and found the below video, just in case you don’t know what bump starting is and are too lazy to go look it up yourself)
I finally get to his house (already sweating to death in my jacket and helmet) and we proceed to give the bike a couple of runs across his apartment’s garage with him on the bike trying to get the thing to turn over. No dice. A couple of coughs and sputters from her and a little flicker of the lights, but no signs of life…just a gallon or two of sweat from me pushing him back and forth. Take a little break, towel off a little and we give it another go with me on the bike and him pushing.
First try in round 2 and she pops sputters and chokes into life; a very very cranky motorcycle now rumbles unhappily beneath me. We decide to let her sit for a few minutes so the carb and plug can clean out and hopefully give the battery enough charge to not be a useless 25 lb weight in the frame. One thing we kind of forgot to consider (I blame the heatstroke and dehydration on my part) is that Buell Blasts are aircooled bikes and after about 5 minutes of letting the bike idle in his already scaldingly hot garage the poor girl overheats and dies quietly. Still not enough charge in the battery to spin the starter….great, more bump starting ahead.
Alright, I’m getting bored of typing so I’ll just give you the accelerated finale of the story. We get her fired up again and after three attempts to get her to move under her own power we get the bike out into the now empty-ish streets of downtown Seattle. We drive it around a little hoping to get a little charge into the battery and to work out the kinks, but the bike doesn’t want to rev past 3,000 rpms. (I’m guessing here because Blasts don’t have tachometers, just sounds like 3k rpm…) Once you push up past 3k the bike starts to cough and then cough and then choke. Pull the clutch, let the revs fall back into a happy number and you can move under your own power again. The bike is still bucking like a girl you’ve just called the wrong name during passionate sex, but technically it’s moving under its own power.
We get the bike back to his garage, park it, and determine that he’ll just call the Harley dealership and let them deal with it. It’s 2am and I’ve got no liquids left in my body, I’m going home, screw you, Pic. All that pushing, and sweating, and cursing your mother’s name for nothing.
– Steve Sweat is better than Keith Sweat