Aside from the rare connection with another rider that actually gets it, most of the people I talk to about riding clearly don't. Most of the why questions and don't cautions stem from a combination of the perceived and real risks of riding a motorcycle on public roads. I'm making no effort to 'convert' those that don't get it. This page is mainly focused on the folks that share a passion for motorcycling but there should be a little something for everyone. As you can imagine, my motorcycle skills are refined and improved every season so you can expect to see this page improve season to season. Check back from time to time to what's new.

You'll see sections on equipment, conditions, and ability. All crucial. Think of these terms in the broadest sense. Of course, each of these are connected and depend on each other. You can see how conditions (e.g. cold) set equipment requirements (e.g. layers or heated gear). Ability (e.g. wet experience) is no less important than the conditions (e.g. rain) or equipment (e.g. proper tire tread). The three are important, dynamic, connected, and, to those who ride, fodder for nearly endless debate.

Riding Gear

I'm starting with riding gear not because the right motorcycle is less interesting or important but because it is too often all but forgotten. I've seen riders so smitten with the purchase of their dream bike that they can't seem to be bothered with equipment. In protest to this all too frequent omission, riding gear is pole setter in this section.

One of the realities is that high quality riding gear trades for a high quantity of dollars. It's a shockingly high quantity of dollars the first few visits to the virtual motorcycle gear parts counter. No doubt. At the same time, the high cost doesn't make the right gear any less important. Risking the chance of sounding contradictory, price doesn't always bring quality either - like any other purchase. Fortunately, there seems to be a disproportionaly large number of reputable manufactures.

Anyone that's ridden with me (or worn a 'stitch themselves) won't be surprised to hear that the first brand of the first topic of the first section is Aerostitch. Aerostitch designs custom riding gear that is, in many cases, manufactured in their improbable industrial era warehouse. Their internet store and complementary, complimentary catalog are packed with dangerously tempting gear for safe riding. My highest recommendation goes to the Darian riding suit, Kanetsu electric vest or jacket, and Combat touring boots. All three are well proven selections. There are hundreds of other rider-centric offerings described by people who get it - and have a sense of humor. If you have a chance, stop by the Duluth, MN showroom to try on the gear, get a tour of the on-site manufacturing, and get the 10% ride-in discount.


In my view the motorcycle helmet is, literally, essential. Sure, lots of people ride without a lid (in states without helmet laws) and I'm not going to spend my time arguing the point here to those that disagree. I'll share what I've learned about helmets. If you find it helpful - great. What do I mean by essential? I would not have the same passion for motorcycles if I were not able to wear a helmet while riding. I have to warn you that I'm a little bit of a fanatic here so keep all of this in perspective. Also, for this discussion, helmet means full-faced helmet.

What makes a helmet essential? There is the obvious safety benefit it provides your gray matter in the event of a head impact. Other safety benefits include protection from road rash (a co-worker of mine keeps his well scuffed helmet on display as proof of this for any doubters), protection from flying road debris (e.g. rocks), and a barrier to keep rain and grit out of your eyes to ensure unimpeded vision. To be clear, there is already plenty of benefit to justify a helmet but even if this weren't true for some reason, I'd still wear a helmet for the comfort advantages. A helmet makes the ride quieter at highway speeds, keeps bugs off your face and cheeks, and it keeps you dry in the rain. Wearing a helmet makes me a more relaxed, ready rider and it keeps me safer.

Clearly the most important thing for me when selecting a helmet is comfort. A nice, snug fit with no pressure points is the key. If a helmet isn't comfortable, I won't wear it or I'll wear it and be distracted. Secondly, I'm a fan of light helmets because I think it prevents neck fatigue. Third, I look for a quiet helmet that blocks as much of the wind noise as possible. Fourth, features that help prevent visor fogging. Finally, select a brand that is well enough known that you can get replacement visors if needed.

I wear the EU issue Shoei XR1000. EU ... as in European Union? I purchased my helmet in Austria and while this helmet is neither Snell nor DOT certified (it meets ECE 22-05), I believe that it is safer than pretty much every commercially available helmet offered in the US. I base this on the thorough (likely life-saving) two-part article published by Motorcyclist: Blowing the Lid Off. The short story is that the Snell requirements force manufacturers to make the helmet inner foam sufficiently firm that in almost all (but not quite all) crash conditions where the helmet is actually needed to prevent injury from impact, the inner foam does not deform sufficiently to prevent injury. Yes, I believe the article. One of my motorcycle instructors shared a personal experience from an accident where he suffered a concussion while wearing a Snell certified helmet. After the accident, he sectioned the helmet to see how much the foam deflected. The deflection was so small that it was undetectable. Any helmet that uses foam that is stiff enough to cause a concussion without deforming is too stiff. The EU standards allow the manufacturers to use a softer foam that is far safer when it counts. Based on the research that Motorcyclist published and a first-hand account of one of my motorcycle instructors, I've chosen to side with the EU when it comes to helmet design. Unfortunately, it's more difficult to buy an EU helmet so my suggestion is to buy a non-Snell certified helmet.

To be updated...
To be updated...

Motorcycles in the stable:

Fondly remembered motorcycles:

And the motorcycles on the WANTED list: