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No More Motorcycle Gas Pains?

Buzz Kanter Columns

No More Motorcycle Gas Pains?


SHIFTING GEARS by Buzz Kanter, Publisher

SHIFTING GEARS, by Buzz Kanter, Publisher

I was riding streetbikes in the 1970s when the first gas and oil crisis hit America.  If you’re of a certain age, you probably can recall the OPEC embargo and subsequent gas rationing that followed. Our government decided for us that we had to line up for hours at gas stations to fill up our tanks. To handle the high demand for the low volume of available gasoline, our odd- or even-numbered license plates determined what days we could buy gas.

That was the first time I recall the experts predicting a mass migration from huge gas-guzzling American cars to more fuel-efficient motorcycles. From that time on, whenever we experience significant spikes in gas prices we also hear the chorus of experts predicting more motorcycle riders. But the reality is, for whatever reason, something else happens.

So now America is blessed with the opposite situation in terms of available fuel. Gas prices are down — way down — because supply is up. Should we expect the so-called experts to predict fewer motorcycles on the road? Not at all. So what’s going on here?

I’m convinced that most people, at least in North America, do not ride motorcycles for the fuel efficiency, especially when the electric and hybrid cars use less gas and oil than even the most frugal motorcycles. Are electric motorcycles in our future? You bet. They are offering some fast and terrific-looking machines, but I don’t feel their sales will hit critical mass until battery technology improves significantly.

However, I’m convinced that most people buy motor­cycles, especially big traditional American-built bikes with V-twin engines, because they are fun to ride. We all have our own reasons why we ride, but I’d bet my 1948 Panhead that, for many of us, it’s for fun and the feeling of freedom on the road.

Indian-Rally-ad-2015Ride With Us
We like to meet our readers, plus we like to ride, so this is the best of both worlds. Our next event is our Motorcycle Kickstart Classic, which is slated for the last weekend of May in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. It’s open to all makes, models, and age motorcycles, but we insist that electric-start bikes ride at the back of the pack to pick up any parts that fall off the old bikes up front. All riders and passengers must register in advance. Details at AIMag.com.

Then on June 20, we head to Ham Lake, Minnesota, for the Patriot Ride (ThePatriotRide.org), a relatively new, but fast-growing ride and bike show. Our magazines will sponsor the bike shows and, we plan to feature some of the bikes in our pages.

did you know the sturgis rally began in 1938 as a local race put on by Indian Motocycle dealer Pappy Hoel? We will celebrate the 75th Sturgis Rally with a couple of rides and rally highlighting Indian motorcycles — old and new — and hope you can join us in the fun.

My close friend Mike “Kiwi” Tomas will lead a five-day ride from SoCal to Sturgis in memory of his son Ross Tomas. He welcomes everyone to join along regardless of what you ride.

For more info please contact [email protected]. I will be leading another group of classic and modern bikes on a three-day back road ride from the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. The pace and roads will be “old bike friendly.” Latest info at AIMag.com or on our Facebook page. The focus for both rides will be classic and modern Indian motorcycles (in respect to the founders of the Sturgis Rally), but riders of all years and makes of motorcycles are welcome to join us on the road.

In addition, we have created a free event at the Buffalo Chip on Tuesday, August 4th, for all Indian motorcycles (new and old) and other classic American motorcycles. A full-fledged bike show and free field events. You will kick yourself if you miss this, so mark your calendar and plan to be at The Chip during Sturgis’ 75th rally. More details next issue.

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.


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