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Theme Week: New Cars Week--2013 / 2014 Honda CBR600RR (Race Replica)

600RR frontI've mentioned here before that this bike is a motorcycle masterpiece.

And to quote Honda, "And for 2013 the best just got a whole lot better. We’ve given the CBR600RR some major updates, including new 12-spoke wheels, revised ECU settings, and a fine-tuned ram-air system to increase torque. Best of all, the CBR600RR gets a new “Big Piston” fork and retuned rear shock.

And it’s all wrapped up in some sharp new bodywork. There’s even a version with Honda’s revolutionary Electronic Combined Anti-Lock Braking System (C-ABS), the first ever on a production Supersport motorcycle."

All of this is carried over for 2014, of course. And since there's absolutely no difference between a 2013 and a 2014 model, we'll just call them the same, if that's OK.

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The Way We Were - Big Chris

While I haven't had a list of tremedous vehicles I've driven, what I lack in quality I make up for in quantity.

My first two cars were Toyota Corollas.  I started with a 1979 in white with 4 doors and a 5-speed manual.  We got this from some relatives and my parents drove it for a year or so before I was old enough to drive.  Unfortunately, I don't own photos of most of my vehicles (or most of my childhood).  We didn't own a camera most of my life (crazy huh?) and it just was never a concern of mine to document these sorts of things.  The '79 was a great learner car.  It was a stick, and it was slow.  So I got good experience but was limited in how quickly I could do stupid things.  Eventually the clutch cable broke, and the car wasn't worth fixing with some of the other issues that began to crop up with it.

The second Corolla was a dirt brown 1978 2-door with the automatic transmission (was previously my grandparent's car).  The only option it had was a rear window defroster.  Both Corollas were glorified beer cans with wheels.  I give thanks I was never in an accident in them.  The only claim to fame for the brown car was that we sold it with nearly 300K on it for something like $500.  The body was shot, everything mechanical worked, but barely.  Suspension was laughable.  But 4 years later the same guy who bought it was driving it around town still.  You just couldn't kill it.  A cockroach of cars.

The next car I got was a 1984 VW Rabbit.  4 doors, tan everywhere, and epically slow.  My first front wheel drive car and my first hatchback.  It was as uninspiring as a car could get, but it served me well until the distributor broke off in the motor.  I regularly ferried about a half ton of offensive linemen home after football practice in this little car.  Rear bumper just barely above rubbing pavement.  Imagine three linemen in the back seat of a VW Rabbit.  Yeah.

Bob

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The Way We Were: Chuck Lynch, aka That Car Guy

Chuck Lynch (That Car Guy)

Well Anthony, you asked for it, you got it. First off, here's a picture of me in 1972 standing beside my first street legal motor vehicle, a 1972 Harley-Davidson 125cc Rapido. That's me, second from left, under the arrow. The late Mr. Bill Abernathy, who sponsored the event, is to the left; David and Kevin are to the right. Dave owned a 1966 GMC Value Van about three years after this picture was taken:

DSC_0163

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Preview: A New American Motorcycle called Motus

Motus 1Motus Motorcycles is coming, and I think that's a good thing. And they will very soon join America's major motorcycle manufacturer names beside Harley-Davidson, Indian, and others.

All of their bikes will be assembled in Birmingham, Alabama, not far from the Mercedes-Benz plant in nearby Vance. I say "assembled" because the engines are cast and completed in East Texas, then shipped to the Yellowhammer State.

The bike will be offered in what's called a sport-touring model, and in two versions, the MST and the MST-R (shown here, with the fancy red valve covers). Each bike weighs around 500 pounds, which is a featherweight in this class.

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July 8 Weekly Open Thread: Bike Mods

Motorcycle windshieldIn the "Motorcycle Accessories" Department, I think this falls somewhere between "Egad!" and "Gadzooks!" I guess somebody wanted a windshield for their bike, and they certainly have one now. I've never seen one like this before, so I wonder if it's store-bought or custom made.

The extra orange rear storage compartment is a nice touch as well.

Hats... er, helmets off to whomever came up with this modification. Looks like they did a great job of matching the color of their "addition" to their bike.

I just ordered some "el wire" for my bike, mainly to outline the gauge cluster and mark the handlebar switches. Maybe the results will get posted here if they turn out all right.

And of course, this is also the weekly place to talk about any transportation-related subjects, whether you have bugs in your teeth or not.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credit: PhotoBucket.com.

The Greatest Motorcycle Ever Made

Greatest bike

This isn't The Greatest Motorcycle Ever Made.

 

This is:

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2013 Honda CBR500R: The First Ride

CBR500R Beauty ShotDreams can come true. Some time around last November, I read that Honda was about to build the bike of my dreams. And since I'm quickly reaching the age where the "Sunny Acres Trailer Park" in Retirementville, Florida, is looking more appealing every day, I figured this may be my last motorcycle. So I wanted to go all out and do it right.

On January 16th, 2013, for my birthday (Which I surprisingly share with Top Gear's James May), I put a deposit down on a red, white, and blue CBR500R, like the one pictured here. I knew the bike would not go on sale until sometime in April, which was fine with me. Turns out we had a longer winter than normal, and I was not going to be able to ride it anyway. Plus, waiting for the bike gave me something to look forward to as the dreary winter day pages fell off of the calendar.

I had about three months before the bike was to arrive, so internet shopping, here we come. First, a new all-white helmet was in order. Sounds easy enough, but that was harder to find than first imagined... most of today's helmets look like a custom shop has spent hours airbrushing each one of them. New boots and a riding suit to match the bike soon came in the mail as well.

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$100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge: Big Chris

I added an extra level of requirement to my fantasy garage - I had to be able to find my vehicles within 100 miles, or at least have them delivered here if new.  I did this because we as a family are indeed in the market for two new(er) vehicles.  Without exaggeration I added 2.5 quarts of oil to my wife's '96 Civic last night (yes, it sounded like a tractor prior to this) and have added 6 quarts in the last 6000 miles.  That's on top of what was put in at the oil change.  And my 2001 Dodge Caravan needs all new suspension (yes, all of it), brakes, tires, and has an AC condensor that is going to grenade at any moment leaving me stranded somewhere.

Chris' Subaru2010 Subaru Forester - $15,000 - These are readily available at this price, and I'm kinda in the market for one as we write this. I want something that will get through the Minnesota winters.  Something I can throw junk in the back of.  Something that will house my growing son for some time to come.  Something I'll be able to drive for a long time, and something I won't be completley bored with.  I think this will do all that and then some.  And it gets better gas mileage than my current van.

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$100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge: That Car Guy

Let's see... a hundred grand for garage toys. Where to start?

Jeep Garage ChallengeHow about our brand new vehicle first. For that, I'd get a 2-door Jeep Wrangler Sport, which is their base model. And from their somewhat limited palette, I'd get this color called Commando Green, which looks somewhat military to me.

I built and priced one; they come standard with tilt, cruise, traction control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, fog lamps, a 285-hp V-6, a 6-speed manual, and more. Oh yeah, it also has 4WD standard... a Jeep without 4WD? Heresy!

The only options I'd want are air conditioning and a hard top; soft tops are just way too noisy on the highway. Its Grand Retail Total, minus shipping, is $24,085. Not bad.

Why get a Jeep? Well, I've always liked them, they make great service vehicles, if you get stuck it's your fault, and despite new model year updates, I think we know pretty much what the next one will look like.

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Dear Honda; Here's My Christmas List:

Dear Honda,

CBR500R Beauty ShotYou know, I've been pretty good this year. Haven't been pulled over by the police, and I even brought a pound puppy home for a couple of nights. So since Christmas isn't far away, I thought I'd write and tell you what I want under the tree.

Right as I was preparing to hand you some bank for my dream bike, your NC700X, you came out with something to make an even more perfect union between bike and rider. Oh I still like that bike, but now you are going to make the dang-diddley-darndest thing on two wheels with a motor that I could want... and you're saving me about $1,100 while you're at it.

The bike I want, that you're just now releasing photos of, is your new CBR500R. Unlike the 2012 NC700X, you're offering it in three colors... black, red, and red, white, and blue. I'm churning between the latter and the former, but most likely the patriotic/your team colors will win out. Plus, being mostly white, I hope it will be more visible to everybody else on the road.

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Pictured above: This is a forlorn Chevy Vega photographed by reader Gary Sinar. (Share yours)

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