Two Wheels and a Motor is Still a Motorcycle

I am rather fond of lower-displacement motorcycles. Yes, yes, larger bikes are wonderful… “you’ll want one eventually!”

I’ve ridden, currently own, and have owned bikes of various sizes over the years — all kinds: Yamaha V-Star, Kawasaki Ninja, Harley-Davidson Road King, Honda Gold Wing, even a few 50cc-class city scooters.

And, yet, I find smaller bikes somewhat intriguing. did a comparison of two of Honda’s lightweight auto/semi-auto bikes.

Strangely, these two offerings from Honda are rather high in my interest list. No, one wouldn’t ride them year-round here, but they can absolutely fill the needs for transportation six or nine months out of the year.

When the opportunity presents itself, I’m still quite happy with my V-Star… perhaps I’ll make some space in the stable for another when finances change.

The “Next” Ride…

Yeah, I know, it’s a big unknown in the world and society has taken a hit. Still, you gotta have goals — or a vision… or at least a vague direction. Until something else catches my eye and narrows my focus, the list of contenders is:

Honda Super Cub, PCX150 or even the Trail 125.

Super Cub C125 ABS
2020 Honda Super Cub.

What can I say? I do like scooters. Any motorcycle, really. But I can certainly see the benefit of scooters for regular usage in some scenarios.

I’m not a fan of the classic Vespa/Piaggio-style scooters. But the Super Cub has a style that Daisy likes because it looks like her old People 50. Which is a bit apropos… the People 50 was based upon the original Super Cub.

Speaking of Hondas — they also have the 2020 PCX150. Currently available and reasonably priced. Sure, the ADV150 has an adjustable windshield — more of variable wind deflector — but the PCX150 is a bit less expensive and honestly, a bit more appealing to my eye.

Honda 2020 PCX150

And even the newly-announced Trail 125!

That’s a winner right there.

It’s probable that a few Hondas will find their way into my garage. Or, minimally, the Trail 125.

Oh, and on the topic of Honda scooters, we must also consider the Honda Gold Wing. It’s just as much a scooter just as a scooter is a motorcycle.

Change my mind.

Yamaha XMax — 300.

For a slightly higher-displacement in the fully-automatic scooter design, there’s the Yamaha XMax.

2020 Yamaha XMAX - Studio Grey
2020 Yamaha XMAX

My current touring-class bike is a Yamaha. I’ve enjoyed the quality of Yamaha for many years. I’m quite happy with it and I’m not at all opposed to adding another Yamaha to the stable.

2005 Wee Star — still ridden regularly

I’ve ridden the hell out of her.

Ran her across country more than a few times. It’ll do about 90MPH even with that big wind-dam (windshield) which offers no aerodynamics to the bike, but it’s just not comfortable beyond 65MPH. And, let’s be honest, if I’m in that much of a hurry to be somewhere, then an airplane is more effective.

I left her neglected and unridden/unmaintained for nearly two years during the primary recovery from the TBI. After I rebuilt her carbs (again) she still runs fine.

I will never sell her.

Kawasaki Vaquero.

2020 Kawasaki Vaquero

Okay, now we’re back into the manual transmission world of touring-class motorcycles. I’ve owned a Kawasaki previously. If you’ve ever fiddled around with a persnickety transmission to find neutral, the Kawi’s PNF is a godsend. And still having some mild proprioception issues in my feet, that’s a win.

I’m not a fan of this year’s color for the Vaquero, but I’m also rather disinclined to have a bike painted. Sure, I could repaint it, but the effort is considerable.


Donned my riding apparel and took a quick spin through the city. Well, more like a relaxed ride through the city.

Stopped by Felts Field. Just because.

Clearly, it’s branded “Spokane Airport”.

This is a TLDR. Have a read over the wiki page containing a more complete history of KSFF.

Originally established in 1913 on the south shore of the Spokane River, just East of the City of Spokane. It was named Parkwater Airstrip.

In 1920, it was listed by the Spokane Chamber of Commerce as a municipal flying field.

In 1926, the US Department of Commerce recognized Parkwater as one of the earliest airports in the West.

It was renamed to Felts Field (KSFF) in 1927 in honor of James Felts of the Washington Air National Guard, who was killed in a crash in May, 1927.

Commercial traffic shifted from Felts/Parkwater over to Geiger Field (KGEG), about 10 miles to the West from Felts. Geiger is now called Spokane International Airport.

Today, Felts Field is still used for general aviation and hosts active education and training facilities.

On Driving

Never draw attention to your dash cam. And never make absurd feigned threats about “this is being recorded!”. Ignore it. Also, saying so only demonstrates that you’re an arsehole. And, as I’ve said before, your dash cam is as much a witness of you as it is of someone else.

Use the brakes. Seriously. There is no situation where adding more energy is going to be better or safer.

Never swerve. Also, see above on brakes. When you swerve, you actually take your focus off of where you’re going. You can absolutely swerve into another vehicle. Also, when you swerve, you take away traction from braking. I know what you’re saying, “but what about the car behind me?!? he’s not going to stop!” Uh-huh… it’s not your responsibility to control the vehicle behind you… that’s its driver’s responsibility. Because…

Remember, it’s a minimum of “two-second following distance”. It’s not “two car-lengths” nor “one car length for every ten miles an hour”. It’s not any length of cars — Smart car? Ford LTD? What length of car?

It’s two seconds.

Why? Because that’s how long it will take to recognize and react while maintaining control of your own vehicle.

On dry roads, not in a curve, it’s two seconds.

And if you’ve “better reflexes than everyone else” — you haven’t.

It’s still two seconds.

It takes about half a second (½) to recognize and react to something; then it takes another half to a full second for the application of the brakes. It’ll also require about another half to a full second for the vehicle mass to shift forward (yes, really) and for the suspension to compress to then apply maximum braking.

If you’re doing the math, that’s 1½ to 2½ seconds. Call it about two seconds. And that two seconds passes much faster than you think. The old adage about counting “One-thousand one, one-thousand two” Still pretty effective at judging following distance.

If you’re guesstimating the distance to the car ahead of you (which you’re guessing wrong) you will still need two full seconds to respond to the unexpected.

Wet roads? Add another second.

Poor visibility? Another second.

Snow? Add another two seconds.

The accelerator can never get you out of trouble. See above on the topic of brakes. More energy doesn’t equal more safer.

A roundabout is not a race track or a competition. Driver-Ed and the testing process badly needs to incorporate roundabouts into their methods and expose people to them. The first time many new drivers encounter them is in the real world only after they’ve earned a license.

The horn is to alert other drivers, it’s not to be used a signaling device or, worse, to blast every road user and pedestrian within 500ft for ten effing seconds after the real or perceived threat has passed.

Also, the throttle on a motorcycle is not a signaling device. Great, you can twist a throttle and bounce the motor off of its rev-limiter. Engine noise is ubiquitous and quite easily ignored — we hear it all the time. If only there was something that had a unique sound that could draw attention to a threat?

Oh! I know! We could use a horn! And make it readily accessible within hands reach to the vehicle operator!

Never pull over to the inside (left) shoulder. Work your way over to the outside (right) shoulder. Obviously, opposite in lefthand drive countries. Move to the outside lane.

If you’ve been hit or bumped, do not get out and immediately inspect the damage. Show some compassion. Check first on the driver and passengers of the other car to see if they’re injured.

Never run to an accident. I can’t stress this enough. Look around for risks. Yes, move with intent and purpose. But never run. While you’re busy running across a three-lane interstate, other vehicles who didn’t see the incident are most certainly not expecting to see a person darting into traffic.

If there’s snow or ice visible on the road, slow down.

Never chase down somebody who ran from a collision. You have a dash cam — yes, I know they’re not ideal for capturing license plates at night — but only follow enough to improve the odds that the camera is going to capture sufficient video of the incident. Put another way, unless you are a police officer, do not chase down an offender. You’ve captured the video on camera. Stop and notify law enforcement and your insurance company and give them a completely unedited copy of the video.