Trans-America Trail

The Trans-America Trail is a west bound ride across America. The Trail starts in Southeastern Tennessee, and ends at the Pacific Ocean in southwestern Oregon. Some 4,800 miles of mostly off-pavement riding. This trail was the mastermind of Sam Correro, who for years pursued his goal of charting a coast-to-coast, off-pavement motorcycle adventure. He studied countless maps and surveyed thousands of miles to create one great trip. This Trail is not a single-track tight woods ride. It is a route using dirt roads, gravel roads, jeep roads, forest roads and farm roads. Dropping down into dried-up creek beds, and riding atop abandoned railroad grades. There are sections of mud, sand, snow and rocks. It’s all of the above, but it’s for the Dual-Sport Rider. Check out their website by clicking on the following

Trans-America Trail

American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association

 

 

 

 

 

The American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association Ltd. is a not-for-profit       organization dedicated to restoring and competing on classic motorcycles. With about 5,000 members, AHRMA is the largest vintage racing group in North America and one of the biggest in the world. The association has grown steadily over the years, reflecting the increasing interest in classic bikes.

 

AHRMA traces its roots to efforts to organize vintage road racing during the late 1970′s in the Northeast. In the early 80′s, other group’s began emerging around the nation, adding scrambles, observed trials, dirt track and concourse events to the competition options available for vintage riders. Among these organizations were the California Vintage Racing Group and, in the Southeast, the Historic Motorcycle Racing Association. By 1986, it was clear that a national organization would be necessary to administer this burgeoning sport. AHRMA was originally formed as a privately held business corporation. Other groups were brought together under one banner and one set of rules, and in 1989 AHRMA was reorganized into the member-owned association of today.

 

AHRMA offers vintage national and regional road racing, motocross, dirt track, observed trials and cross country competition. The machines active in AHRMA these events span a full 50 years, from the 1920s to the mid-’70s.  The national-championship schedule typical includes 15-20 rounds apiece in road racing, motocross, dirt track and trials. AHRMA nationals take place at some of the finest and most historic venues: Daytona, Road-America, Willow Springs, Miller Motorsports Park, Barber and Peoria, to name but a few.

 

Realizing that the definition of “classic” varies from one generation of enthusiasts to the next, AHRMA began adding classes for long-travel motocross machines from the late 1970s to early ’80s and for roadracers from early in the AMA Superbike period (up to the 1980 model year). These Post-Vintage motocross classes have been incorporated in many of AHRMA’s regional series and also have their own national circuit. The three Vintage Superbike classes have been added to AHRMA’s normal roadrace program.

 

In an effort to bring single-cylinder roadracing to the U.S. and to rejuvenate twins racing, AHRMA in 1993 began offering Sound of Singles®and Battle of Twins®classes, with a full national series in 1994. Bolstered by the presence of world-class riders on machines such as the exotic Britten V1000, AHRMA’s Daytona SOS/BOT events have attracted worldwide attention. Since 1995 the organization has been offering the almost-anything-goes Sound of Thunder® for singles, twins and triples, with Daytona as the opening round of the world Sound of Thunder series for several years. Including these innovative modern bikes with the vintage program has met with widespread acceptance and allows AHRMA to host its own events instead being the guest of another racing

 

The organization occasionally sponsors concours d’elegance, swap meets and banquets featuring world renowned speakers.  One of the organization’s best-known activities began in 1992 when AHRMA and BMW of North America began promoting the BMW Battle of Legends®, extremely popular events pitting motorcycling’s legends against one another on identically prepared BMW motorcycles.  Tens of thousands of fans enjoy the Legends races during Classics Days each year during Daytona’s Bike Week.  Legends and non-racing Legends Emeritus have included David Aldana, Hugh Anderson, Mark Brelsford, Don Castro, Yvon Duhamel, Chris Draayer, Don Emde, Walt Fulton III, Dick Klamfoth, Kurt Liebmann, Dick Mann, Bart Markel, Eddie Mulder, Jody Nicholas, Gary Nixon, Reg Pridmore, Phil Read, Roger Rieman, George Roeder, Jay Springsteen, John Surtees MBE, Don Vesco, Walter Villa and Walter Zeller.  Races have been held at Daytona Beach, Florida; Loudon, New Hampshire; Sears Point, California; and Lexington, Ohio. The BMW Battle of the Legends Grand Finale took place in March 1997 at Daytona International Speedway.

 

AHRMA members enjoy a professionally edited monthly journal “Vintage Views”; an annual racing rulebook/handbook; access to a site on the World Wide Web (www.ahrma.org);  a variety of AHRMA logo products. The association maintains a Benevolent Fund to aid riders who are injured or otherwise in need.

http://www.ahrma.org

Motorcycle Manufacturers’ End Of Year Sales & Incentives

Most motorcycle manufacturers have announced and begun shipping their new 2013 models. To make room in dealers’ showrooms many are offering year end sales incentives. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of special offers, including financing deals, cash back and others. We’ve arranged the list by the expiration dates of the offers. Several manufacturers have multiple deals available with different end dates, so be sure to scroll through the entire list, especially if you’re interested in a particular brand.

As with most financing offers, there’s a good deal of fine print, so we summarize those details for you on each offer. Shop around, compare rates you may be eligible for from your own bank or credit union to those offered by the manufacturers. Your credit score and the amount you put down or the value of any trade-in you may have will affect what you actually wind up paying. Be sure to check with your local dealership for any additional offers they may have on in-stock bikes.

It’s a great time to buy, even if you live in an area where the winter months limit your opportunities to ride. So have a look at our list. You may find the deal you’ve been waiting for.

Offers Ending 11/30/12

Suzuki: 0 percent APR for 5 Years on RM-Z Models

Suzuki 0% APR for 5 Years

The 2011 and 2012 Suzuki RM-Z450 were both named “Best Motocrosser” by Cycle World. Suzuki gave the bike a redesign for 2013 and now they’re offering special financing on both the RM-Z450 and RM-Z250. You can get an APR of 0% for up to 60 months on either model, 2013 and prior model years.

The Fine Print: The offer expires on 11/30/12. Minimum financed amount is $1,500 with a maximum of $50,000, which would buy you five of the RM-Z450s. If you financed $7,500 your estimated monthly payments would be $125. As with any of the special financing rates listed here you have to have excellent credit to qualify. Other rates may be available depending on your credit score.

Triumph: Fantastic Fall Financing

The British manufacturer is offering two options on all in-stock 2013 and prior year models; $0 down and 3.99% APR for up to 60 months, or $0 down and 5.49% APR for up to 72 months.

The Fine Print: The offer expires on 11/30/12. You must have what Triumph refers to as Tier 1 credit, which means excellent, to qualify for either of these offers. Other (read higher) rates may be available and a down payment may be required depending on your credit score.

Offers Ending 12/26/12

Yamaha: They offer three different incentives with a version of each for their Yamaha branded sport and off road models and Star branded cruisers.

Time To Ride Sales Event

Yamaha Time to Ride Sales Event

On Yamaha branded bikes the offer includes an APR of 3.99% for up to 36 months and up to $1,000 customer cash. On Star branded models the offer includes an APR of 3.99% for up to 36 months and up to $1,500 customer cash.

The Fine Print: The offer expires on 12/26/12. For Yamaha branded motorcycles the minimum finance length is 24 months. On either Yamaha or Star branded bikes the minimum financed amount is $5,000. To qualify for 3.99% APR you must have excellent credit, higher rates are available depending on your credit score. Monthly payments work out to $29.52 per $1,000 financed. So by financing the minimum $5,000 and getting the best rate, 3.99% APR, your monthly payment would be $147.60. These finance rates are available on new 2013 and prior models. Customer Cash is available only on new 2012 and prior Star models and select 2013 and prior Yamaha models. The amount of customer cash is determined by the model and model year. On Yamaha branded motorcycles the maximum is $1,000 on 2012 and prior YZ250F models. On Star models the maximum is $1,500 on 2011 and prior Stratoliner, Roadliner and Road Star Warrior models. None of these offers are available in Hawaii.

Customer Cash

This is the same as the Customer Cash portion of the Time To Ride Sales Event mentioned above, but does not include the special financing rates. See description above for the fine print on the Customer Cash special. This offer expires on 12/26/12.

Low Monthly Payments On Select Models

Yamaha has selected six models for this offer of low monthly payments. You can get payments as low as $109 per month on a new FZ6R, $149 per month on a YXF-R6 or $199 per month on a YZF-R1. Star models included in the offer are the V Star Custom at $99 per month, the V Star 950 at $119 per month and the Stryker at $139 per month.

The Fine Print:  The offer expires 12/26/12. Interest rates vary depending on your credit score and range from a low of 2.99% APR on Yamaha models and 3.49% APR on Star models. The listed monthly payments are based on you putting down 10% and examples like financing $6,831for 72 months at 4.25% on a 2012 FZ6R to get the $109 per month payment or financing $6,201 for 72 months at 3.49% APR on a 2011 V Star 650. Again, your credit score will determine the rate you’re eligible for. The offer is not valid in Hawaii.

Offers Ending 12/31/12

Ducati: The Italian manufacturer has singled out four 2012 models for special year end incentives.

2012 1199 Panigale 1.99% APR for 60 Months

Part of Ducati’s Superbike lineup, the 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale and Panigale S without ABS are both eligible for this offer.

The Fine Print: The offer expires on 12/31/12. To qualify for the listed finance rate you must have Tier 1 credit. Best rates vary depending on length of finance contract. Ducati is offering 1.49% APR for 36 months, 1.74% APR for 48 months or 1.99% APR for 60 months. All rates require a 10% down payment.

2012 848EVO $0 Down & Ducati Makes First 6 Months Of Payments

Another of Ducati’s Superbikes, both the 848EVO and 848EVO Corse Special Edition are eligible for this offer.

The Fine Print: The offer expires on 12/31/12. Your credit must be excellent, Tier 1, to qualify for this offer. Ducati will pay up to $198 per month for the first six months of the term on 848EVO models and up to $212 per month for the first six months of the term on 848EVO Corse Special Edition models. After the first six months the APR is 4.99%. Your actual monthly payments after the first six months will be $197.73 on an 848EVO with a purchase price of $13,995 and an APR of 4.99% financed over 84 months. On an 848EVO Corse Special Edition they’ll be $211.86 with a purchase price o f$14,995 and an APR of 4.99% financed over 84 months. Higher rates are available for less than stellar credit scores, though some of them may require a down payment.

2012 Multistrada 1200 S Touring 0.99% APR Financing For 60 Months Or $1,200 In-Store Credit

You get a choice of deals on the 2012 Multistrada 1200 S Touring model. You can finance it for up to 60 months at an APR of 0.99% or take $1,200 of in-store credit with your purchase.

The Fine Print: The offer expires on 12/31/12. You can actually get a better rate if you choose a shorter finance period, but you’ll need a Tier 1 credit rating to qualify. All rates require a 10% down payment. Rates are 0.49% APR for up to 36 months, 0.74% for up to 48 months or 0.99% for up to 60 months. Higher rates may be available depending on your credit score and to get stated or higher rates may be required to have a higher down payment. If you opt for the $1,200 of in-store credit it must be used on Ducati apparel or performance accessories at the time of purchase.

2012 Streetfighter 848 2.99% APR Financing For 60 Months

Ducati’s sole Streetfighter model for the 2012 model year is eligible for a special finance rate of 2.99% APR for up to 60 months.

The Fine Print: The offer expires 12/31/12. As with the Multistrada 1200 S Touring offer, you may qualify for a lower rate if you choose a shorter finance term. Available rates for customers with Tier 1 credit are 2.49% APR for up to 36 months, 2.74% APR for up to 48 months or 2.99% APR for up to 60 months. All offered rates require a 10% down payment. Higher rates may be available, and may require a higher down payment depending on your credit score.

Honda: The biggest motorcycle manufacturer has a number of special year end offers available. Some of them have different expiration dates, so be sure to scroll down to see all of the available Honda offers.

Bonus Bucks

Honda Bonus Bucks

Honda offers a special that’s not dependent on your credit score. You can receive up to $1,000 in Honda Bonus Bucks depending on the model you buy. The offer is good on select new models from 2013 back through 2010.

The Fine Print: The offer expires on 12/31/12. Honda Bonus Bucks must be used towards the purchase of parts, accessories, gear or other purchases at the dealership at the time of purchase of select new Honda motorcycles. Bonus Bucks value depends on model and not all models are eligible. Value ranges from $200 on the CRF230M to $1,000 on Gold Wings and the CRF450X.

Husqvarna: Elect To Ride More Sales Event

Part of the BMW family since 2007, Husqvarna is offering a compound deal on select new 2012 models that includes cash incentives of up $1,500, $0 down and finance rates as low as 5.99% APR for up to 60 months.

The Fine Print: The offer ends 12/31/12. Your credit score will determine your finance rate and whether or not you’ll need to put any money down. Buyers with approved credit may finance up to 130% of the purchase price of a select new model. Models include in-stock 2012 TE, WR, TXC, TC or CR models.

Triumph: New Rider Training Incentive Program

Get up $225 towards a rider training program when you buy a new Triumph motorcycle.

The Fine Print: The offer expires 12/31/12. You must submit proof of successful completion of a Motorcycle Safety Foundation or National Motorcycle Training Institute on-road new rider program within 30 days of purchasing a new Triumph motorcycle. Triumph will give you a gift card for the value of the course, up to $225.

Victory: Full Throttle Salute

Victory Full Throttle Salute

For members and veterans of the U.S. or Canadian military Victory is providing $1,000 off the purchase price of any new Victory motorcycle.

The Fine Print: The offer expires on 12/31/12. It’s available to all active, reserve, National Guard and retired military personnel of the U.S. or Canadian military. Victory will send a coupon that can be redeemed for credit on your Victory parts account. Military ID is required.

Offers Ending 01/02/13

Honda: Honda has two year end deals that run through the day after New Year’s.

2.9% Fixed APR On All Off-Road And On-Road Models

All new Honda motorcycles are eligible for this financing promotion.

The Fine Print: The offer expires on 01/02/13. To qualify for 2.99% fixed APR your credit rating has to be in the super preferred credit tier. Maximum finance period is 36 months, Monthly payments will $29.08 for every $1,000 financed. Higher rates may be available for buyers with lower credit ratings.

Gold Wing End Of Year Bonus

Honda gives you a choice of two deals on the purchase of a new 2012 or prior Gold Wing GL1800. The first is $1,000 in Honda Bonus Bucks which we explained above. The Bonus Bucks offer expires on 12/31/12. You can also choose to finance your Gold Wing at 1.00% fixed APR.

The Fine Print: The 1.00% fixed APR offer expires on 01/02/13.  To qualify you must fall into Honda’s super preferred, preferred or standard credit tier. Maximum finance period is 60 months. Monthly payments will be $17.09 for every $1,000 financed. Higher rates may be available for customers with lower credit ratings.

What To Watch For

Not all dealers may be participating in all of the deals listed here. Be sure to check with your dealer. And always read the fine print carefully for yourself. For example, some finance contracts will allow to pay off the balance on your bike early without a penalty, be others may not. And some of the deals mentioned here don’t take into account extra charges like registration, taxes and other dealer-related fees.

A Look At The 2013 Honda Ridgeline

The 2013 model year for the Honda Ridgeline does not add much to the 2012 design. While industry insiders had initial reservations about the Ridgeline being a one-year wonder, the Honda Ridgeline is back for the 2013 sales year. In fact, this year’s model has very few things, if anything, to note regarding improvements, additions, etc. In fact, most automotive industry commentators believe that if you can get your hands on the 2012 model you are doing yourself a favor because you’ll save yourself a decent chunk of change for virtually the same vehicle. The one notable change for the 2013 model is that all models feature a standard backup camera.

2013 Honda Ridgeline Exterior

When it comes to styling, there are some slight differences with the 2013 model year. The styling between the 2012 and 2013 year models have virtually identical body styles. Specifically, it has a grille without the weird looking orthodontia as well as the 2012’s plainer horizontal rib design. Sport models will similarly have the standard black honeycomb insert. However, it has the most noticeable and depending on your perspective, an awkwardly designed body. It still has a unibody design with no seam connecting the cab and bead. The bed walls are weirdly tall compared to its competitors. Some people believe Honda’s stylists have to go back to aesthetics school in order to correct this design faux pas. The five-passenger and four-door design is different from its competitors because its unibody design enables it to give occupants more cargo storage space and interior room along with the standard top-notch responsive handling.

There are many options for the 2013 Ridgeline trim levels. There are five trim level options available for the 2013 model year:  RT, Sport, RTS, RTL and the RTL with Navigation system. When it comes to the Sport trim, industry insiders believe four-wheel-drive enthusiasts will really appreciate it because it has black 18-inch wheels, available in black and aluminum construction. Additional features to mention for the Sport trim include black taillight and headlight housings along with top-notch fog lights for the lowest visibility conditions. 17-inch wheels are also available, along with a power moonroof and quad cargo area lights. The cargo bed is 5 feet long and has eight locations to professionally secure whatever you are transporting. The tailgate is very versatile when it comes to its ability to be opened; it is able to be opened from the top down and from left to right. However you open the tailgate, you will have access to 8-and-a-half cubic feet of the truck’s bed.

2013 Honda Ridgeline Bed

With the five trim levels from the 2012 model year, there are some similarities and differences within 2013’s different trims. For example, the RT trim for the current year’s model will most likely have dark body trim and 17-inch wheels constructed from steel. The Sport trim model will still feature the same 18-inch alloy wheels with black finish, smoky color taillamps and headlamps and the black honeycomb grille. Other trim models will feature the same type of monotone body color like 2012 models and the RTS with have 17-inch alloys and the RTL will have 18-inch polished alloys.

Looking inside, the interior is quite luxurious and will certainly make the driver and occupants feel right at home. Reviewers who have already test drove this vehicle remark that it is more like a full-size pickup even though it is a midsize pickup truck. The center console is very large and features hidden storage areas for work or personal valuables and has a tray for drinks. Whether you are using it for work or pleasure, Honda has made special holders for your cell phone, CDs, bottles, maps, and much more. Seats fold down in the back which enables you to have more storage space for cargo. Specific features include a specially designed seat for both comfort and ergonomics. The Sport trim model has its steering wheel enveloped in leather and has audio controls built right into it.

2013 Honda Ridgeline Interior

When it comes to the powertrain, nothing has changed. The 2013 Ridgeline still has its six-cylinder 3.5-liter engine producing 247 lb-ft of torque and 250 horsepower through its variable valve timing system. Drivers don’t have to worry about premium gas as it uses normal 87 octane gas. It has a five-speed automatic transmission and features a Variable Torque Management 4WD powertrain that minds both towing and traction extremely well. It also has a 1,500 lb payload capacity and can tow trailers up to 5,000 pounds.

2013 Honda Ridgeline Engine

When it comes to safety, nothing is lacking on the 2013 Ridgeline. No matter what trim model you get, every vehicle comes with head-cushioning side curtain airbags that protect occupants of the front and rear rows. These curtain side airbags are also engineered to deploy during a side collision or when the truck senses a rollover. Other safety items include antilock brakes, a passive electronic stability system that automatically senses the road conditions and passively adjusts. Front seat side-impact airbags and active head restraints for the front seats are also standard on each and every Ridgeline.

There are both standard and luxury features for all trim levels and specific trim levels. Standard features include a trip computer, a fuel economy gauge, cruise control, keyless entry, rear seats that split 60/40, power windows with locks, air conditioning and much more. Trim levels such as the RTL feature heated front seats, a power moonroof, a navigation system, Bluetooth and a backup camera. The RT trim level will receive features previously exclusive to the RTS models. These upgrades to the RT include independent zone climate control in the front, tinted windows, year-round floor mats, a 6-disc CD change, USB jacks and much, much more!

The 2013 Honda Ridgeline’s prices vary quite extensively. Depending on the trim, options and your location, prices vary from $30,500 to $38,500. Based on the following trims, RT, Sport, RTS, RTL and the RTL with Navigation have respective prices as follows:  $30,500, $31,300, $33,200, $36,100, and $38,500. As you can see, the 2013 Honda Ridgeline does have some modest improvements, but by and large there are not noticeable changes that are earth shattering.

5 Things You Should Know Before You Ride

Maybe you’ve been thinking about riding a motorcycle for a while. Perhaps you rode years ago, before the kids came along and now that they’re about grown you’re thinking of going back to two wheels. In my own experience as a rider I have only one regret, that I didn’t start doing it 20 years earlier. It is one of the most pleasurable experiences you can have.

As much fun as it is though, it does require a good deal of thought before you jump into it. Like any new endeavor there’s a learning curve. So before you throw a leg over that shiny new ride and motor off for adventure allow me to share a few things you should know before you ride.

Get Licensed

If you plan on riding your motorcycle on public roads then you need to be licensed. All states require a special motorcycle license or endorsement to operate a bike on public roadways. To get your license you’ll need to pass (in most cases) a two-part test, written and driving, just like you had to do to get your automobile driver’s license.

Oregon State Motorcycle Booklet

Most states will issue a motorcycle learner’s permit after you pass the written test. The permit will allow you to ride your motorcycle with certain restrictions, like no riding after dark, no Interstate travel, and no transporting a passenger.

You may ask, “Why go to the trouble and expense of getting licensed, isn’t my regular driver’s license good enough?” No. There are a number of reasons to get your motorcycle license before you venture out on two wheels. The first is that it’s the law. If you get pulled over driving a motorcycle without a license you run the danger of not only a ticket but in some states jail. And many states have passed laws authorizing police to have your bike towed and impounded on the spot if you’re caught riding without a license.

Chances are that if you’re not licensed you’re also not insured. After all, most insurance companies require proof that you’re a licensed rider before they’ll issue a policy. And since most states require that you be licensed and carry insurance to ride on public roads, if you’re pulled over without a license and without insurance you’re looking at even steeper fines.

Now imagine you get into an accident without a license or insurance. If you’re at fault you’ll be liable for all the damages. “Well, I’ll just be extra careful so I don’t get pulled over or have an accident,” you might be saying. That brings us to what may be the best argument for getting your motorcycle license, to minimize your risk. Unlicensed riders are significantly more likely to be involved in an accident. According to some studies they are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident than those riders who are licensed.

Does that little piece of laminated paper with your picture on it make you a better, safer rider? Well, not exactly, not in and of itself anyway. But the fact that you have to demonstrate some basic knowledge and mastery of rudimentary skills to get the license does mean that those riders who are licensed tend to be better trained, more experienced and better skilled than those without a license.

Get Trained

There is a way you can get a head start on the skills you’ll need, get your license and save some money all at the same time. Take a state-approved training course. Most states have some sort of program that is directly related to, or makes extensive use of the training materials and philosophy of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). Depending on where you live and where you take it, the course will take place over a weekend or several weeknights. It includes some classroom time and supervised on-bike time.

Motorcycle Training Course

States that offer the program usually waive all or part of the license testing, so if you pass the class you’ll get your license without waiting in line at the DMV. An added benefit is that many insurance companies will give you a discount for successfully completing an approved training course.

Taking a training course will also give you an opportunity to decide if motorcycling is really something you want to do without going to the expense of buying a motorcycle only to discover that you don’t care for it. These courses provide the motorcycles that you’ll be learning on. And taking and passing the course will give you a sense of confidence when you finally get your own bike.

 

You’ll Need A Whole New Skill Set

Riding a motorcycle is a little like a lot of things and a lot like nothing else you’ll ever do. Have you ever ridden a bicycle? It’s a little like that. Driven a manual transmission car, ridden in a convertible or flown a jet? Yeah, it’s a little like all of those things too. Only way different.

Motorcycle Controls

Piloting your bike takes hand-eye-foot coordination, balance, and the ability to think three steps ahead. It’s extremely physical while requiring your total concentration.

The basic controls are standard on all motorcycles, but the placement of others vary depending on the make or type of bike. Brakes, throttle, clutch, shifter and starter are all going to be in the same place on all bikes, unless you happen to have a restored classic.

Stop and go controls, the brakes and throttle, are all on the right side of the motorcycle. Your right hand controls the throttle (accelerator) and the front brake lever. Your right foot controls the rear brake pedal. Yes, on a motorcycle you have a separate control for the brake of each wheel. Some bikes do have a unified or linked braking system that apply some pressure on both brakes when you engage either of them, but those systems are not the norm.

On the left side of the bike you’ll find the clutch lever and the shifter pedal. On a motorcycle you clutch with your hand and shift with your foot, the opposite of a manual transmission car. One of the toughest things for new riders to learn is how to start out smoothly, applying enough but not too much throttle while letting out or engaging the clutch smoothly but not too slowly. It helps to think of the clutch more like the slide on a dimmer light than an on-off switch. You squeeze the clutch all the way in (or disengage it) before starting the motorcycle and then slowly let it out (engage it) until you hit the friction zone. The friction zone is where the clutch begins to send power to the rear wheel. Once you get into the friction zone you need to slowly apply the throttle as you fully engage the clutch. Don’t worry. Very few riders get this on their first try, and many take weeks to fully master it. You’re going to stall your bike at stop signs and traffic lights, on inclines and pulling out of the driveway. But you’ll get the hang of it.

Other controls with a standard location are the starter and kill switch, which are both mounted on the right handlebar. The kill switch is usually a red rocker switch that must be in the “on” or lower position in order for the bike to start. The starter is a  button, usually directly below the kill switch. Simply push it to start the bike. Newer street legal motorcycles no longer require you to “kick start” them.

But before the bike will start you’ll need to put the key in the “ignition” position. The key slot is going to be in different places depending on your motorcycle. Other controls you’ll need to access on a regular basis include your turn signals, horn and high beams, all of which are usually on the left handlebar. If your bike is equipped with a carburetor and/or a reserve fuel tank these controls will often be under the fuel tank on the left hand side.

Steering, or perhaps more accurately, guiding your motorcycle has been the subject of a great deal of discussion. Many refer to it as “counter steering.” I think this term is a little misleading as it’s often explained as pushing on the handlebars in the opposite direction of the way you want to turn. To get your bike to turn, or lean, to the right you simply apply downward pressure to the right handlebar. To turn left, push down on the left handlebar. The bike will lean in the direction of the turn as long as you apply pressure. The sharper you want to turn the harder you push. To allow the bike to right itself and resume traveling in a straight line you simply let up on the pressure. The gyro effect of the tires will bring the motorcycle upright.

Budget For More Than The Motorcycle

Once you’ve decided that motorcycling is something you really want to do, and you’ve gotten your license and taken a training course you’re ready to purchase your first motorcycle. We’ve provided some tips on buying a motorcycle in the article “What To Look For When Buying A New Motorcycle”. You can spend anywhere from a few thousand dollars to more than $25,000 on a new ride. While the motorcycle itself will be the most expensive part of your new passion, it won’t be the only expenditure you’ll need to budget for. There are things you absolutely have to buy, things you should buy and things you’ll want to buy to go along with that shiny new set of two wheels.

As I mentioned earlier, if you plan on riding on public roads you’re going to need insurance. If you’ve financed your motorcycle the lien holder may require that you carry a certain amount or type of insurance and may even dictate the maximum deductible you can choose. Shop around for insurance. Some companies specialize in motorcycle insurance. The company you have your auto and/or home owner’s policies with probably also offers motorcycle insurance and may offer a discount if you have one or more policies with them already. And be sure to ask about a discount for that training course you’ve taken.

There’s also some must have and should have gear. Many states have laws that require that you wear a helmet. Even if you live in state without a helmet law you want to buy a good DOT-approved helmet. And wear it every time you ride. I happen to subscribe to the ATGATT theory. That stands for All The Gear All The Time. What it means is that you wear protective gear every time you ride. That would include motorcycle-specific jacket with armor, boots, gloves, sturdy pants and hearing protection. Yes, you read that right, hearing protection. It’s not the noise coming from your engine or exhaust that’s going to cause you problems. It’s the wind noise. Prolonged exposure to the sound of the wind whipping past your ears is going to cause hearing loss. Wearing simple foam earplugs will greatly reduce that noise while still allowing you to hear the lower pitched sounds coming from your engine and other traffic.

Motorcycle Safety Gear

After you’ve bought insurance and picked up all of the safety gear you’ll still have lots of things you want to buy. Rain gear, saddlebags, backrests, custom seats, custom pipes, windshield, GPS, bike-to-bike and/or rider-to-passenger intercom system, the list is almost endless. Choose the accessories you’ll most likely need or use most often first, like saddlebags if you plan on using your bike for commuting or running to the store or doing multi-day trips. Rain gear is another item I’d put at or near the top of the list. Once you’ve been caught on the bike in a downpour you’ll understand why.

You don’t have to buy everything right away. Ride for a few months with the barest of necessities to get a better feel for what you really need or want. It may turn out that the seat your bike came with is more than adequate for the length of your normal rides and what you really need is a windshield. Or maybe you went with a half helmet and after being pelted with gnats and road debris on your nose and chin you decide to go back to the dealership for a full-face model. Part of the joy of owning and riding a motorcycle is shopping for, buying and trying out new gear.

You Have A New Superpower, Invisibility

In the vast majority of accidents between a motorcycle and another type of vehicle one of the first things the driver of the other vehicle says is, “I didn’t see him.” The short, narrow profile of your motorcycle makes you hard to see. Add to that the number of people who drive cars while distracted, whether they’re on a cell phone, eating, texting or just not paying attention and it can seem like other motorists are out to get you.

This is a fact that you must be aware of whenever you’re on your bike. Ride defensively. Make sure to keep as large a cushion of space around you as possible. Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. The MSF recommends the two-second follow rule. When you’re behind another vehicle wait for it to pass a stationary object, like a telephone pole. As the rear end of the car passes the pole begin counting. One-thousand-one, one-thousand-two. If you pass the pole before you’ve counted to two, you’re following too closely.

Bright colored clothing can help you be more conspicuous, so keep that in mind when you’re buying new gear. But you can’t count on other drivers seeing you, so you have to be aware of where they are and anticipate what they’re going to do. Areas that demand extra caution include intersections and the entrances-exits of parking lots and driveways.

Go Ride

We’ve covered just a few basic ideas here, some of the things you should know before start riding a motorcycle. But the most important thing I can tell you is that you’re going to have a blast cruising around on a motorcycle. So get your license, take a course, practice your skills, buy some gear, be careful and have a great time chewing up the miles.

 

New Models Added – October 18, 2012

- Motorcycle / Scooter

- 2013 BMW C 600 Sport

- 2013 BMW C 650 GT

- 2013 BMW F 800 GS

- 2013 BMW HP4 Base

- 2013 Can-Am™ Spyder RS

- 2013 Can-Am™ Spyder RS-S

- 2013 Can-Am™ Spyder RT

- 2013 Can-Am™ Spyder RT-Limited

- 2013 Can-Am™ Spyder RT-S

- 2013 Can-Am™ Spyder ST

- 2013 Can-Am™ Spyder ST-Limited

- 2013 Can-Am™ Spyder ST-S

- 2013 Husqvarna TR 650 Strada

- 2013 Husqvarna TR 650 Terra

- 2013 Kawasaki Concours™ 14 ABS

- 2013 Kawasaki Ninja® 1000

- 2013 Kawasaki Ninja® 1000 ABS

- 2013 Kawasaki Ninja® 300

- 2013 Kawasaki Ninja® 300 ABS

- 2013 Kawasaki Ninja® ZX™-14

- 2013 Kawasaki Ninja® ZX™-14 ABS

- 2013 Kawasaki Ninja® ZX™-6R

- 2013 Kawasaki Ninja® ZX™-6R ABS

- 2013 Kawasaki Versys® Base

- 2013 Kawasaki Z 1000

- 2013 MV Agusta Brutale 675

- 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C50

- 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C50T

- 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M90

- 2013 Suzuki Boulevard S40

- 2013 Suzuki Burgman 400 ABS

- 2013 Suzuki DR 200SE

- 2013 Suzuki DR 650SE

- 2013 Suzuki DR-Z 125

- 2013 Suzuki DR-Z 125L

- 2013 Suzuki DR-Z 400S Base

- 2013 Suzuki DR-Z 400SM Base

- 2013 Suzuki SFV 650

- 2013 Suzuki TU 250X

- ATV

- 2013 Suzuki KingQuad 400 ASi Camo

- 2013 Suzuki KingQuad 400 FSi Camo

- 2013 Suzuki QuadSport® Z400

- Watercraft

- 2013 Kawasaki Jet Ski® STX™ -15F

- 2013 Kawasaki Jet Ski® Ultra® 300LX

- 2013 Kawasaki Jet Ski® Ultra® 300X

- 2013 Kawasaki Jet Ski® Ultra® LX

- 2013 Sea-Doo GTI™ 130

- 2013 Sea-Doo GTI™ Limited 155

- 2013 Sea-Doo GTI™ SE 130

- 2013 Sea-Doo GTI™ SE 155

- 2013 Sea-Doo GTR 215

- 2013 Sea-Doo GTS™ 130

- 2013 Sea-Doo GTX 155

- 2013 Sea-Doo GTX 215

- 2013 Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 260

- 2013 Sea-Doo GTX S 155

- 2013 Sea-Doo RXP™ -X 260

- 2013 Sea-Doo RXT™ -X 260

- 2013 Sea-Doo RXT™ -X aS 260

- 2013 Sea-Doo RXT™ 260

- 2013 Sea-Doo Wake™ 155

- 2013 Sea-Doo Wake™ Pro 215

- Utility Vehicle

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® 800 Black / White Lightning LE

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® 800 EFI

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® 800 EPS

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® 800 EPS Black / White Lightning LE

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® 800 EPS Sunset Red LE

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® 800 Sunset Red LE

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® Mid-Size 800

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® Mid-Size 800 Nuclear Sunset LE

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® XP® 900

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® XP® 900 Bronze Mist LE

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® XP® 900 EPS

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® XP® 900 EPS Browning® LE

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® XP® 900 EPS Orange Madness LE

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® XP® 900 EPS Sunset Red LE

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® XP® 900 Orange Madness LE

- 2013 Polaris Ranger® XP® 900 Sunset Red LE

Riding a Motorcycle in Winter

Shorter days and cooler temperatures signal the beginning of the end of the riding season for many bikers. But it doesn’t have to. As long as you allow yourself a little more time to gear up and get where you’re going, and you know what winter hazards you’re likely to face, you can ride pretty much year round.

Winter Motorcycle Riding

Rain, Snow and Ice

If you’ve been riding for longer than a couple of months you’ve been caught on the bike in a sudden downpour. Summertime rain you can pretty easily muscle through. But rain in the winter is another story, it can be deadly. Precipitation of any sort will negatively affect your visibility and the traction available to your tires. Snow is even more dangerous than rain. When it sticks or drifts it has an even worse affect on traction.

Rain and snow not only make it harder for you to see but harder for other motorists to see you. Brightly colored gear; jacket, pants, helmet and gloves, with lots of reflective material will make it easier for you to be seen. Switching to a clear face shield will make it easier for you to see, especially since precipitation is often accompanied by lower natural light conditions. We bikers do sit higher than a driver in the average car, and we do have a less obstructed view of the roadway. But don’t let that give you a sense of false security. Sitting snow or water can disguise road hazards.

You’ll want to increase your normal dry-road conditions follow distance to allow for the longer distance it’ll take you to stop on wet pavement. When conditions allow, meaning no traffic in sight, get a feel for how much traction the road will give you by braking on a straight stretch of road. To avoid the need for sudden braking use your throttle and downshifting to help keep your bike under control.

Metal surfaces, like bridges and railroad tracks, will be even more slippery when covered with water or snow. Painted surfaces too, like the lines between lanes, provide less traction when wet. Take these surfaces even more slowly than you would in ideal conditions.

Riding a Motorcycle in the Snow

Winter precipitation hazards are compounded by cold temperatures. Roads take longer to dry and when the temps get below freezing that water and snow will turn to ice. And ice is a killer. You have zero traction on ice. Another danger is that it’s difficult to spot a patch ice until you’re on top of it. Ice is bad enough if you’re the only vehicle on the road, but how often does that happen? Not even the biggest four-wheel drive vehicles can maintain control on a road covered with ice. Ice is the one road condition that I avoid whenever possible.

Effects Of The Cold

Think of the cold as your enemy. You don’t necessarily need to avoid it, but if you’re going to defeat it you need to understand it and how it can negatively affect you and your ability to remain in control of your motorcycle. Do that and you can not only ride in the winter, but enjoy doing it.

The two most deadly weapons that cold uses are frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is the freezing of part of the body and usually is first seen in the extremities such as the fingers and toes. Early signs of frostbite are loss of feeling, skin that is cold to the touch or shows signs of discoloration like white, gray or blue. When your core body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit you’re suffering from hypothermia. Initial symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, confusion and apathy. Left untreated, the shivering will stop and confusion will turn to delirium. If you start feeling the effects of either frostbite or hypothermia get off the road, get inside and get something hit to drink. Thanks to the many blood vessels in your stomach the heat from that drink will be distributed quickly through your body.

Cold temperatures will suck the heat out of your body and that is not only dangerous, it can be deadly while cruising at 60 mph. We’ve all heard the local weatherman giving the wind chill during a local winter forecast. That same principle works with the combination of your road speed and the air temperature and how cold you feel. A 60 mph ride in 40 degrees feels like 25 degrees. After 30 minutes of those conditions any exposed skin will begin to show signs of frostbite. It doesn’t take much longer than that for hypothermia to become a real threat.

While you may be motoring along at 60 mph, your body is sitting still, for all practical purposes, you’re sedentary. Your body doesn’t generate enough heat under those conditions to replace what the cold is pulling away. Those effects of the cold come on gradually and affect your reasoning so you may not notice them until they’ve progressed to dangerous levels. But there are a number of ways you can not only combat the cold, but beat it.

Dress In Layers

The trick to not only beating the cold but staying comfortable while riding in the winter is to your body warmth in the cold air out. Layering your clothing keeps a warm pocket of air close to your body. Start with a base layer of synthetic long johns and synthetic or wool socks. Synthetics and wool draw moisture away from your body. Cotton, on the other hand, traps moisture, so avoid it, especially as a base layer.

After establishing a good base layer, let the temperature and the length of your ride determine how many more layers to add. A button-down shirt and sweater and heavy jeans along with solid, above-the-ankle riding boots is good next layer for most conditions above freezing temperatures. Top it all off with good, lined riding jacket and lined, leather gloves. A full-faced helmet will help keep your head not only safe, but warm. For colder temperatures or longer rides consider adding a pair of outer riding pants or a one-piece pants and jacket combo. You may also want to add a synthetic balaclava, neck gator or neoprene face mask to keep the cold air away from your head, neck and face. But don’t overdo the head and neck gear or you’ll be keeping the warm air from your breath from escaping your helmet and causing your face shield to fog.

External Heat

If you ride long enough in cold conditions your body is going to lose heat, regardless of how many layers you’re wearing. For those long winter rides you’ll want to add another source of heat. A number of companies make heated motorcycle gear. This stuff will allow you to ride for as long as you want and stay comfortable doing it.

The best heated gear plugs into an accessory plug on your bike or connects directly to the bike’s battery. You can buy everything from gloves to jacket liners and pants liners. Most of them come with thermostats that you can set on high, medium, low or off. One of the benefits of electrically heated gear is that you won’t need to wear as many layers, giving you more flexibility of movement. Two warnings for using electrically heated gear, make sure to unplug it before getting off your bike, and make sure that your motorcycle’s electrical system is up to the challenge of handling the extra load.

Ride Year Long

You don’t have live in Florida or southern California to enjoy a year round riding system. With some planning, and a little investment in proper gear, you can ride whenever you want. You can beat the cold and winter conditions when you know what you’re facing.

Get Ready for the Cold

Getting Your Motorcycle Ready For Winter

We bikers are a pretty hardy bunch. We long for the open road, the wind in our faces and the feeling of being one with our rides. Being closed up inside a four-wheeled, climate-controlled cage? That’s a last ditch choice for those of us who favor the two-wheeled freedom of a motorcycle. And yet for those riders who live where the winters are harsh, snowfall is measured in feet and temperatures can dip well below freezing for weeks at a time it’s often necessary to park the bike for the winter.

Get Ready for Winter

But simply putting your motorcycle in the garage for the winter can mean having a ride that’s hard to start come spring. If it starts at all. It can also lead to an expensive trip to your local dealership if you don’t take a few simple steps to get your bike ready for the winter. By taking a little time to prep your bike for a couple of months of inactivity you can ensure you’re ready to ride when the weather finally breaks.

Pick Your Spot

The best place to store your motorcycle for the winter is a garage or a storage shed. It should be dry with a door that locks. If there are windows in the garage be sure to put the bike in an area that isn’t exposed to direct sunlight. That sunlight will cause the temperature to rise and fall which can lead to condensation and rust forming on your motorcycle. If you don’t have a garage or storage shed or renting a size-appropriate storage area isn’t feasible, consider buying one of those portable motorcycle shelters. These units are sort of like a tent for your bike. If you have no choice but to let your bike spend the winter outside be sure to put a high quality cover over it.

Do An Oil Change

If you’re comfortable doing your own oil change, and saving a few bucks, you should do one before putting your bike up for winter. If you’d rather not bother doing it yourself have one done at your local dealership. When doing your own oil change first start your bike and let it warm up to normal running temperature. This will make the oil drain easier and dry out any internal moisture that might have developed since your last ride. Drain the crankcase and properly dispose of the old oil. Be sure to replace the oil filter while you’re at it. Then fill the crankcase with fresh oil. Do not use any oil additives as most motorcycles use the engine oil to lubricate the clutch as well and those additives can cause the clutch to slip.

Motorcycle Oil Change

Lube The Cylinders

If it will be six weeks or longer that your bike sits idle you’ll want to take out the spark plugs and pour about a teaspoonful of new engine oil into each spark plug hole. Then shift the motorcycle into its highest gear and turn the rear wheel a couple of complete revolutions by hand. This spread the oil so it coats the cylinder walls, piston rings and valve seats, protecting them from moisture. Don’t forget to put the spark plugs back in.

Fill Her Up

If your motorcycle is fuel-injected then on the way home from your final ride of the season stop at the gas station closest to home and fill the tank all the way up. If your motorcycle has carburetors instead of fuel injection you’ll need to loosen the drain bolts on each carburetor and drain the fuel before you fill the tank.  Be sure to tighten the bolts. A full gas tank will prevent moisture and rust from developing inside the tank. It’s also a good idea to add a fuel stabilizer, especially if you have to store the bike for six weeks or longer. Fuel stabilizer will keep the gasoline from getting thick and clogging fuel jets or carburetors.

Wash And Wash

Give the bike a thorough wash and wax, making sure to dry it completely. You can spray a light coating of WD40 on all the chrome to help prevent rusting. Once you’re sure the mufflers are completely cool you can gently push a clean plastic grocery or trash bag into each muffler to keep moisture from collecting there. Cover each muffler with another plastic bag for further protection. Give a shot of WD40 to all cables, the pivot points of the clutch and brake levers, pedals and the side stand.

Prep Your Tires

Fill your tires to the recommended maximum psi. Then place a few half-inch thick squares of cardboard under each tire so that they’re not in direct contact with the floor. By doing this you keep your tires from coming into contact with the potentially freezing temperatures of a concrete garage floor. Those temperatures, over a prolonged period of time can cause the rubber to degrade and crack.

Prep You Battery

If there’s an electrical outlet in your garage that’s close to where you’ve parked the bike you can leave the battery in the motorcycle and hook the battery up to a batter tender or trickle charger. If you don’t have electricity conveniently located or if the temperatures inside the garage will dip below 30 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period you’ll need to take the battery out of the motorcycle and store it somewhere warmer where you can still attach it to a battery tender.

Battery Tender

Cover Up

After you’ve done everything else and the bike is parked, put a cover over it to add one layer of protection from moisture and dust. Be sure to use a cover made specifically for motorcycles. A simple tarp or old sheet will trap moisture on your motorcycle. Covers manufactured expressly for motorcycles are made from porous materials that allow moisture to escape.

Motorcycle Cover

After The Winter

Once the snow has melted, the temperatures have worked their solidly back into 40 degree plus territory and the days start getting longer you’ll be very tempted to rip the cover off the bike, punch the starter and hit the road. Do yourself a favor and take a couple of minutes to do a little prepping. Check tire pressure and inflate as needed. Do a thorough visual inspection. Pull the plastic bags off and out of the mufflers. Then roll the bike out of the garage and start it up. Before you kick it into gear check your brake lights, blinkers, hazard flashers, high beams and horn. Once you’re sure everything is working order you’re good to go for another riding season.

Not A Do-It-Yourselfer

Maybe you don’t have room in your garage or an out-of-the-elements spot to store your motorcycle. Or you may not be comfortable with or have the time to change your own oil. Check with your local dealership. Many of them offer both winter prep and storage services. This will be more expensive than doing it yourself, but much cheaper than what you’ll spend on repairs if you don’t store your bike properly for the winter.

A Sneak Peak of the 2013 Honda FCX Clarity

Some believe that Honda is finally realizing the “green reality” of the evolution of alternative energy powered vehicles. As part of its three year experiment with alternative energy sources, Honda has been testing hydrogen powered cars and the 2013 Honda FCX Clarity is its brainchild. This model is one of many of Honda’s zero emission alternative energy vehicles that use hydrogen power. It is powered by a Vertical Flow (V Flow) cell configuration. Its hydrogen power source is complemented by a lithium-ion battery pack that is charged at home and through passive kinetic energy from braking and decelerations. This design noticed by industry insiders for its innovation and forward thinking, shows Honda’s great commitment to the alternative energy sector in car design.

2013 Honda FCX Clarity Exterior

The exterior of this car is built to look appealing, provide privacy and provide ample storage for the driver and passengers. The front end with a very forward look has a six-sided grille. The only color this car is available in is Star Garnet Metallic. Many auto reviewers had their eyes caught by its looks and your car will certainly do the same. If you are looking for great storage, it has ample under-trunk storage space for a trip to the mall or across country. There are also many places to hide whatever you want from criminals or occupants of the car. In order to help the driver see better when backing up, Honda has installed refractive rear privacy glass. In order to help the car reach optimal fuel efficiency, the fenders, trunk, doors and hood are all made from aluminum.

The 2013 Honda FCX Clarity model spares no interior luxuries in Honda’s latest sport sedan model. In this year’s design, Honda’s engineers have focused on giving consumers the most space possible and an extremely modern look. Its door linings are very inviting, giving the driver and occupants the feeling of four discreet and comfortable spaces during the ride. All of the instrumentation, tastefully and artfully designed on the dashboard, gives the driver a constant pulse on the car’s functioning, even giving the car a next-generation feel. The interior has nature-inspired neutral tones to give drivers a natural feeling. Honda has moved the front pillars forward from where they normally would be on a car. This move maintains ample headroom for virtually everyone and it also gives an illusion of a bigger interior space.

Since this car uses hydrogen as a fuel source and an electric engine to power the car, the components under the hood are different from a conventional internal combustion engine. The powertrain for this car is a V Flow stack motor. There is a hydrogen fuel cell under the hood which feeds the motor and works hand-in-hand with the electric motor. The electric motor, with a corresponding battery pack, is able to harness the energy from the braking and deceleration processes the car goes through during regular driving. There is ample power with both the electric motor and the V Flow fuel cell stack with ratings of 134 horsepower, 189 lb-ft of torque at 3,056 RPM and 100 kW for the electric motor and 100 kW of power for the V Flow fuel cell.

There is nothing lacking for the Honda FCX Clarity when it comes to ensuring the driver’s and occupants’ safety. Whether it is the proprietary Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™) installed by Honda in every vehicle, the reinforced unit-body structure or the 6 airbags that are also standard in this car, everyone in this car will have a much lower chance of sustaining injuries in an accident. You can also rely for your personal and family safety because this car because has been certified extremely safe by both the U. S. federal government and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Through their respective rigorous crash tests, they have proven if your car is involved in a crash, the car will take the majority of the force. For your own safety and that of others, Honda has added its own Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™) to the FCX Clarity for the 2013 model year. This system enables the driver to potential crashes by visually, aurally and increasing the pressure of a seat belt against the driver. If a crash cannot be avoided, the system automatically and gradually tightens up seat belts against occupants. This slows down the car and reduces the impact of the subsequent vehicle accident.

2013 Honda FCX Clarity Exterior

While many people are unsure of its combination hydrogen and battery pack powered electric engine, it surprisingly delivers performance, sometimes better, than is offered by a gasoline powered engine. Since this type of car and its transmission is gearless, the torque and power delivered by its engine are as seamless as ever. In fact, acceleration is much more enjoyable than a traditional internal combustion engine because there is less work for the engine to perform more efficiently. There is zero vibration that is a by-product of reciprocating pistons. Comparing it to a combustion engine, it has the same ignition and acceleration as that of a 2.4-liter gasoline engine of a similar size. The hydrogen engine’s design is much more efficient on a gallon per gallon fuel comparison because it has a 60% energy efficiency rating. Couple the engine’s design with the vehicle’s lowered weight and better aerodynamic design, increases fuel efficiency by as much as 20%. Its hydrogen tank has also been enlarged by almost one-third over past year’s models.

The Honda FCX Clarity is an affordable and relatively cheap car to maintain. Prices start of in the low $20,000s for the base model and the sky is the limit for the different trim levels and how many options are added to the final configured vehicle. If you choose to lease it, the maintenance, insurance and lease cost about $600 per month. Both of these figures are calculated based on a wide variety of samples and the cost you end up paying for your individual costs will certainly vary.

The 2013 Honda Pilot Overview

Back at it again for the 2013 model year, the 2012 Honda Pilot has undergone some noticeable and well deserved improvements. Some notable ones include a more refined appearance, better fuel economy, and more comfort and convenience goodies inside. The 2013 model is already available to the general public and prices start at the mid $29,000s and go higher based on the trim level and added options. Notable standard, and previously optional features, include Bluetooth® options galore – both for its audio and HandsFreeLink® systems. Other features that are not standard include USB capability for charging and data transfer, a crisp 8-inch intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID), independent and passive climate controls and a rearview camera that ensures you can back up your vehicle safely and securely. It also has a new exterior color option – Obsidian Blue Pearl – which is taking the place of the retired Bali Blue Pearl.

2013 Honda Pilot Exterior

There is nothing lacking on the powertrain of the 2013 Honda Pilot. This vehicle has a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine which features Honda’s proprietary Variable Cylinder Management transmission technology. This special type of transmission enables it to perform with the power of a six-cylinder model, but it features the fuel efficiency of a four-cylinder engine. Available in both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive powertrains, it has respectable fuel efficiency ratings as follows:  18/25/21 and 17/24/20 city/highway/combined miles per gallon. In their respective powertrain two-wheel and four-wheel classes, the 2013 Pilot is the most fuel efficient available on the market.

This year’s model, like last year’s model, is still available in four different trim levels LX, EX, EX-L and the Touring model. All four trims are available in either a 2-wheel drive or a four-wheel-drive setup. The following are all standard features for this year’s Pilot: a streamlined center stack, 2 GB of storage for music and other media, a USB connection, passive climate controls, a rearview camera, along with an 8-inch “smart” screen which gives the driver full command and overview of the car, three distinct zones for independent climate control and Bluetooth® Audio and HandsFreeLink® technology.

Looking at the body of the 2013 Pilot, its front mounted fascia and grille have a unique 3-bar side-to-side design. The halogen headlights are reflective from many angles and the integrated turn signals make give this car a great package. This car is more aerodynamic and therefore has greater fuel efficiency with this model compared to last year’s models due to its optimized strakes along with Honda’s top-notch air dams. The EX trim model has an 18-inch wheels with 5-spokes. The Touring trim model has alloy wheels that have a 6-spoke construction featuring a striking sheened surface. The LX models feature 17-inch wheels.

2013 Honda Pilot Exterior

There is some notable information about the chassis for the 2013 model year. The suspension on this year’s Pilot is a completely independent one that has a front MacPherson strut and a rear multi-link with trailing arm designs. This design for the Pilot is credited with its highly responsive attributes for a sport utility vehicle. Its wheelbase measuring just over 109 inches gives it a smooth ride. The 37.9 feet turning diameter gives this vehicle a great ability to park in virtually any parking space, no matter how large or small. This highly advanced chassis design gives it better fuel efficiency through its variable-displacement power steering pump and low-drag front ventilated and rear disc brakes.

Looking inside, the 2013 Honda Pilot is full of comforts, conveniences and great looks. Driver and passenger alike have their choice of 16 different seating options, the middle and rear rows split 60/40 for storage or any other purpose. The EX and LX trim models now have a streamlined center stack that was only available on the EX-L and Touring trim models in previous models. This new feature for the LX and the EX trim models translates into all Pilot models having a crisp, high-resolution 8-inch smart Multi-Information Display (i-MID). More stand interior equipment includes a rearview camera, with the EX-L and Touring models having a multi-angle option. There is also both Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® and Audio. Additional features include a USB option, automatic climate controls. The proprietary navigation system comes with 60 Gigabytes of memory and partitions 15 GB of storage for music, files, etc. and works with three different languages.

2013 Honda Pilot Interior

The comfort is second to none in the 2013 Honda Pilot. While riding this car, industry insiders have noted there is very little noise or unnatural vibration. This is credited to Honda’s foresight because there is extra sealing that covers every single connection point of the body. The expertly designed and tuned suspension mounts also contribute to the near silence in the passenger areas. Measuring the headroom gives occupants and driver of the LX trim model 40 inches of room. The EX-L & Touring models with a moonroof only have 39.3 inches of headroom space. The middle and back rows have headroom measurements of 39.8 and 38.2 inches respectively.  The legroom measures 41.4 inches in the front of the car, with 38.5 and 32.1 inches for the middle and the back row respectively. The LX and the EX trim passenger area’s volume is 153.7 cubic feet. The passenger area volume is 152.7 cubic feet for the Touring & EX-L trim models. The cargo volume for all trim models is 87 cubic feet, with 47.7 cubic feet and 18 cubic feet behind the second and last rows respectively.

The Pilot has safety as its number one priority through its comprehensive listing of safety features. This vehicle comes standard with triple airbags that have a sensor which detects rollovers. There are also side airbags to protect the driver and front passenger, ABS brakes with brake assist and brake distribution technologies. Honda also has its proprietary Vehicle Stability Assist or stability control system in place on every single Pilot produced. Honda has engineered the Pilot’s body to absorb the energy from a collision to enable the driver and occupants to have a better chance of walking away from the crash with minimal or no injuries.