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SHIFTING GEARS by Buzz Kanter

SHIFTING GEARS by Buzz Kanter

SHIFTING GEARS by Buzz Kanter, Publisher

I have just returned from Daytona Bike Week as I write this column. I was so thankful to be in the warm sunshine and on two wheels — a wonderful break from the terrible ice and frigid weather we’ve endured over this past winter.

On my first day in Daytona Beach, I learned about the new Harley Low Rider and hard bag “mini tourer” Sportster SuperLow. While I didn’t have the opportunity to ride either, the Low Rider caught my eye, and I look forward to some saddle time on it.

A few days later I picked up a new Indian Chief Vintage and put a few hundred enjoyable miles on it. Some of our staff tested the new Victory Gunner and came back impressed. And I saw (but was not able to ride) the new EBR (Erik Buell Racing) streetbike on display at the Speedway. Quite an assortment of two-wheeled American iron.

This got me to thinking about how wide a range of new American motorcycle models are being unveiled for 2014. Harley has the Low Rider, SuperLow 1200T, and the 750 and 500 Street (see Dain Gingerelli’s review on page 80). Indian launched three versions of its all-new Chief. Victory showcased its new Gunner, and EBR has the 1190RX, a world-class sportbike. All made in America by Americans. Nice.

Speaking of made in America by Americans, did you know that, in addition to American Iron Magazine, we publish other motorcycle magazines? While some print publishers are retrenching, we’re working hard to offer you more. You already know what AIM covers, but did you know we also publish Motorcycle Bagger for those of you who want more baggers and info. We’re relaunching our all-tech American Iron Garage with two issues this year: the first goes on sale June 3.

And earlier this year, we created Motorcycle magazine, our unusual, in-depth, all-brands magazine with its Rides and Culture subtitle. I’m proud of what our teams create and would like to encourage you to check out each our magazines for yourself. And (shameless plug here) a subscription to any or all of our magazines makes a great year-long gift to you or your buddies. Call toll free at 877/693-3572.

If you love to ride classic motorcycles but are more sensible than I am (see below), we hope to see you on our Kickstart Classic ride July 24-26. This two-day ride from Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, to Cyclemos in Tennessee is open to riders of all years, makes, and models of motorcycles. We have to limit it to the first 100 people to register. For more info, go to AIMag.com or call Rosemary at 203/425-8777 ext: 114. Entry is $100 per person, and you get an event shirt and stickers, food, and on-road support.

Back in the 1970s, thinking I was pretty hot stuff, I thrashed various motorcycles around racetracks up and down the East Coast for a couple of years. After a serious on-track accident, I hung up my race leathers. But the competition itch never goes away. So now, some 35 pounds and 35 years later, I’m ready to try it again. But with an older and slower machine than I raced back in the day. Last year, I had the opportunity to buy my old friend Butch Baer’s 1937 Indian Sport Scout racer at a bargain-basement price, so I did. I need to complete a United States Classic Race Association (USCRA) motorcycle road race track school as it won’t honor my 1979 AAMRR race license. Then I need to gear up and race prep my little 45″ flathead Indian to compete in the pre-1950s or Handshift class with seasoned race pros like “Doc” Batsleer, Steve Coe, and Art Farley. I hope to share some of my experiences, on and off the track, in the future. Until then, wish me luck.

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.

Buzz

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This column originally appeared in issue #310 of American Iron Magazine

To order back issues, visit Greaserag.com.

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