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Hot Rod

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About Hot Rod

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    Youngstown, OH

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  1. I thought of that after my post as well. Most harley dealers have a rider training course several times a year. It was an all day course and used to (maybe still does) cost about $250, and you end the day with all the paperwork to go down to the bmv and get your complete unrestricted motorcycle endorsement. And the best part is they supply the motorcycles, so you get to mess up and drop their bike and not scratch up yours. Any you WILL drop it one or twice. Any old biker that tells you they never dropped their bike is simply a liar. Any rider of any skill lever can benefit from a beginner or advanced skills course. I also heartily agree, go out and pick up an old used Honda or Yamaha cruiser for under $2000, learn on it, drop it a few times, figure out what you like and don't like about riding and how and where you like to ride, and THEN go spend the big money on your dream bike or trike. You can always get your money back out of that cheap bike for the next guy to learn on.
  2. I happen to be one of the aforementioned gray haired old bikers. Ours does get ridden plenty though. No TT (tavern to tavern) riders here. Couple hundred miles is about right for an nice ride out to lunch and back. Anyway.... you wouldn't catch these particular gray haired old bikers on anything but a Harley, but in all fairness the quality and reliability factor on any new machine is going to be good. Sure, might get a lemon, but by and large you can expect about zero issues on a new machine that you maintain properly. Any of your choices have the size and weight to fit on the deck of an hdt or in a toy hauler with no problem, so no worries there. You are looking at some apples, and some oranges, and somebody threw a banana in the bowl there as well. The Polaris Slingshot is NOT a motorcycle. It has a steering wheel and seat belts, and may be a fun little convertible to drive, but it is NOT a motorcycle, and please don't bring them to Sturgis, but I digress. You are really looking at two apples (the Harley and the Honda) which feel kinda sorta like a motorcycle with the single front wheel, and one orange (the Can Am) which really doesn't feel like a motorcycle with the wider front end, despite being able to throw a leg over it and having handle bars. Nothing against a Can Am, lots of folks like them, but they just don't feel like you are on a motorcycle. Particularly if it is an automatic. And of course as others have mentioned, an actual two wheeled motorcycle is a whole different riding experience. So I guess my question in helping guide your decision, may come down to "why a trike"? Again, nothing against a trike, I know lots of folks who ride and love them, but for YOU, why a trike? Are you new to riding and unsure about a motorcycle and think you will be more able to handle a trike? Maybe a physical limitation that prevents riding a two wheeler? Planning on pulling a trailer with it? Think it is safer than a motorcycle? Just don't want to put your feet down? Worried about having a reverse gear? So what is your reasoning on a trike, and just as importantly, how do you intend to ride it? TT rider? Running errands around town? Long day trips? Cross country road trips? Pulling a little pop up? If you plan on riding with a regular group often, what are they riding? Bringing in the dog?
  3. Sure, I'll jump in, why not. China build does not automatically equal low quality. The Chinese manufacturers build their products to the specs required by their customers here in the U.S. If I as a U.S. based distributor want to source the absolute cheapest piece of junk that will technically meet dot standards so I can sell them as cheaply as possible, China will happily build those for me. If I want to source the absolute best quality product in the industry and I and my customers are willing to pay for that, China will happily build those for me. China is not just about cheap junk, (at least in modern times) they build exactly the products spec'd buy the buyers here in the U.S. Don't like that cheap piece of Chinese made junk you bought at your local hardware store that we all like to stereotypically complain about? Don't bitch about China, bitch about your local hardware store that went out to find that cheap piece of junk to sell you. They could just as easily purchase top quality products built anywhere in the world, but they make that decision based on what they think you the customer will be willing to pay, and what level of quality you are willing to pay for. It is NOT China's fault. Maybe in the old days when China first got into manufacturing on a world scale, but certainly not now. I speak to this with a little experience, in our business of custom aluminum wheels we have sold both USA and China wheels. We started with the one (the only one) US manufacturer of custom wheels, American Eagle wheels. Sold their product exclusively for many years. We just assumed that poor quality control was what existed in the wheel business. We literally had to open and inspect each and every wheel before we sold it to the customer to avoid returns for scratches, poor polishing, chips, paint issues, chrome peeling, you name it. I kept polishing material and a power buffer in the shipping department to fix the issues we could, and returned things we could not like paint flaws. Dealt with a regular number of pinhole leaks (under warranty) in the wheels. AND THEN we tried another brand, made in China. Eagle kept having supply issues, being out of important part numbers when we needed them, so it was either sell some China wheels or have nothing to sell at all at times. Funny thing was, no more quality control issues. No more pinholes. Almost zero chrome warranty issues. Supply issues went away. We sold both for many years, being kinda loyal to that one US manufacturer, and the China stuff was consistently much better. Eventually American Eagle went out of business. I think mainly due to third generation ownership running it into the ground, quality and supply being just the most obvious problems, but the point is in my personal experience was the quality on the US made product was just not there. And my wheel customers are still moaning that there are no US made wheels to buy, they are all China. And they generally don't believe me that the China stuff was better, they think I'm just being a salesman. Tires are exactly the same. When we talk about "china bombs" remember that the vast majority of campers go to the lake and back twice a year, never get any significant miles on them, and likely never replace the tires in the life of the camper. They just sit in the driveway and dry rot. So the trailer manufacturers put on the cheapest piece of junk tire they can get their hands on, all they generally do is hold the camper off the ground for the next 20 years. And besides, what normal buyer will make the decision to buy/not buy a given camper based on the tires? Much more likely it is because the wife takes a shine to the nice floral print towel holder in the kitchen and nobody even bends over to look at the tires. So why should they put expensive tires on them? Those of us on this forum are FAR from the average camper with the miles we put on and the weight of the rigs. And most replacement tire buyers are the same way, "we have the Goodyear for $130 each, or the Tow Queen 2000 for $59, which would you like?". And knowing they only go to the lake twice a year, they buy the Tow Queen 2000's. I, and most on the forum are a little different. We tow a lot of miles with heavy loads and know the value of buying the best tires we can find. I am shopping for a new (cargo) trailer right now, and I know before I even buy the trailer that I will also be buying five (with a spare) new wheels and top quality tires with a higher load rating. And the brand new wheels and tires off the trailer will go straight to the swap meet to sell to some happy fool that goes to the lake twice a year. I have blown out more than my fair share of Goodyear Marathons over the years, admittedly running right at the edge of the load rating. The new Endurance tire seems to be better, at least I haven't had any blow out yet. And certainly the G614's if your trailer is heavy enough for that is the way to go. But the main point is, I'm so tired of the whole "China Bomb" arguments from people that go out of their way to buy the cheapest possible tire when quality (expensive) tires exist. If you buy the cheapest possible product you can find, no matter what kind of product, the results are predictable.
  4. I am absolutely sure you consented. It is somewhere in that mile and a half of fine print on the 37 forms you signed that nobody reads when you bought the truck.
  5. No question you have to stay in the Keys to get the experience. No matter how long you stay, you will not want to leave. The first time we went for a week and stayed two. The next year we went for two weeks and stayed three. The next year we stayed a month. The year after that we stretched it so six weeks. You get the idea. You end up on "Keys time" and are just not in a hurry any more. And after a bunch of years we have still not made it to all the little off the beaten path spots there are to find and enjoy. Allow some time for bridge fishing and take a kayak. We were used to mainland piles of rules and such for boat launches and what not, so we asked a local where to find a boat launch where we would be allowed to put in our kayak, and he just gave us a truly perplexed look and said "it's the keys, just toss it in anywhere". There's way too much to see to day trip from the mainland, you won't make it past Key Largo, which is kind of like Miami south with better seafood. You need to get to the lower Keys. The ONLY reasonably priced campgrounds in the Keys are the state parks. They are all very nice, recently updated and clean nice sites. We have stayed at Long Key, John Pennekamp in Key Largo, and Curry Hammock near Marathon. The sites at Long Key almost all back directly onto the water. Curry Hammock is semi dry camping without full hookups but quiet and nice views and a good beach. Key Largo is the place to be for snorkeling but you can't see the water from the campsites. All have great kayaking as well. Visited but not stayed at Bahia Honda which is the most beautiful of the bunch, but I know it suffered a lot of hurricane damage. We have not been there since the hurricane so check ahead. All the state parks can be reserved online. The catch is reservations open at midnight one year in advance of your first day of your stay and for a prime spot on a prime date for a decent length stay you need to be on the computer to reserve. BUT if you are flexible on dates and are willing to stay only a few days at a time dates stay open up to a few months before. ALSO lots of cancellations happen since there is no penalty for cancellation, so check back often on your dates. I know we had nice spots open up as late as a month or only a few days before we wanted to stay so we shuffled around our plans to enjoy some nice spots. I know on one trip the mainland state park we were staying was happy to refund and let us duck out several days earlier when some spots opened up on Long Key so we got into the the Keys a few days early that year. Getting to the Keys. We hate big cities, so we hate Miami as much as the rest of them. So we don't like to stay there. Our favorite plan is to stay at Jonathon Dickinson State Park near Jupiter Inlet. Nice new campground, quiet with big sites and new restrooms and near lots of stuff to do. Best part is it is the perfect distance to cast off first thing in the morning, get through Miami, and be comfortably set up on your site in the Keys before dark. Alternate plan is the Miccosukee Casino west of Miami right on the edge of the everglades. They let you dry camp overnite in the parking lot, just register with security. You can miss most of Miami on the way in if you route it right, then just a quick skip to Homestead in the morning and US 1 into the Keys. Our favorite campground was Knights Key where we used to spend the month of December for several years, but the rat bastard developers bought it up and built condos. Truly a loss to the old fashioned Keys experience. But I digress... Our next favorite would be Geiger Key Fishcamp and Marina. About 9 miles out of Key West and off the beaten path, they have beautiful waterfront sites with a seawall and boat dockage for the traveling campers. There is a contingent of permies, but their spaces are off to the side and are a good bunch of friendly characters that fit in well and are not annoying like their mainland ilk. People in the Keys are just not the same as anywhere else. Great restaurant onsite that you absolutely have to visit regardless of if you stay there. Sunshine Key is just south of the 7 mile bridge, kind of in the middle of nowhere, but not too far to commute into Marathon for supplies, or into Key West for fun. Big spaces and a marina, but it is kind of a big gravel lot. Same for the nearby KOA. That is the trade off in the keys to not be stacked in on top of each other. We toured but did not stay in Fiesta Key near Islamorada. Watch the reservations as some parts of the park have nice big spots, and some parts they literally have to park so the slides miss each other like tetris. Also a nice restaurant and marina on site, and half way between Marathon and Key Largo. I'd stay away from any of the "campgrounds" left in Marathon, they are all very very very cramped, or completely a trailer park with only a few transient sites. Nothing against a trailer park, it's just not where I want to vacation. Others have mentioned Boyds. We have toured but not stayed there. Very nice and quite pricey, but as they say: location, location, location as the closest place to Key West. Blue water is the cream of the crop if you can afford it. I do have to admit my info is just a couple of years out of date, the wife's health has kept us from getting very far from home here in Ohio since 2016, but it has brought back good memories to hopefully pass a little on to those of you who can go and enjoy "our Keys".
  6. Picky picky. I do carry a lot of bug meat, but no chrome or fringe. But I should have said it was outfitted like an Ultra Classic, with fairing lowers, tour pack, and extra audio, whose weight is 917# wet. So my memory was a little off. Add in helmets, leather jackets, chaps for me and the boss and general crap that rides in the saddle bags it's pushing 1000#. Before we strap on luggage for a long trip...
  7. Dry weight on my Street Glide is 950, then add the tour pack, saddle bags full of crap, and my fat ass, and my rational motorcyle is heavier than that Spyder. But to the questions, zero worries on hitch or stabilzers in place or not, the trailer will not even notice you riding in. Just go at a reasonably quick speed and let the momentum do the work. The only way you get in trouble is if you chicken out and try to stop halfway up and back it down. Not good. Keep it rolling and trust your skills.
  8. True story, I once passed a Ram 1500 shortbed pulling a fifth wheel and a PONTOON boat. Going 45 down the interstate with the nose pointed at the sky.
  9. I am sure that is the government reasoning for you. Every commercial truck needs an ifta sticker, whether or not you actually purchase any fuel is irrelevant...
  10. Hot Rod

    Smart tires

    Per the "ultimate wheel and tire plus sizing guide" that stays on my desk as the "bible" in the wheel business: The 175/55/15 size is recommended for 5.0" to 6.0" wheels. Out in the real world any tire will certainly squeeze onto a 1/2" narrower wheel, only possible adverse affect is the tire may crown slightly on the narrower wheel and may show minor premature wear in the center of the tread. And I do mean minor, most would never notice the difference in tire mileage with the limited miles most of you are putting on. Should be no clearance issues with the 175/55/15 on the front as that was an oem front size on some models (with a 195/50/15 rear)
  11. That's no joke, and something to take seriously with cargo like that. Up here in the northern Ohio snow belt we tend to throw weight in the backs of the pickup trucks (and car trunks) in the winter for traction weight. Most folks us sandbags from the hardware store, but me being young, foolish, cheap and working for the propane company I grabbed a 24x36x2 concrete slab we used for tanks and tossed it in the back by the tailgate for traction. Then proceeded to get in that front end collision. The thing flew up just missed the top of the bed and hit the cab about 2" below the window and pushed the sheetmetal in 4". 2" higher it would have gone through the window and killed everybody. Lesson learned. So secure that heavy cargo even if it is inside and not going to fall out.
  12. Wow, she had to drive a Miata for 25 years before you ponied up for a new one? Better sell more hitches!
  13. Hot Rod

    Its a marathon

    Sympathies from a fellow landlord. Sadly folks that have never earned and owned anything of value have no respect for anything of theirs or yours. I just spent $25k last year on a house that was completely trashed by what I thought were good tenants. No malicious damage, just complete neglect. I think we replaced everything except the roof and siding. Some of these folks think it is easier to move every year or two and leave the mess for the landlord instead of cleaning up after themselves. But hey, the rest of world think we are rich privileged fat cats since we own a rental or two.
  14. Hot Rod

    OT: Computers

    I can't speak to macs, but if you decide on a windows based machine I can heartily endorse Toshiba. My first Toshiba laptop was off the shelf and got me through 5 years until it started getting slow and battery ready to crap out and I decided time to upgrade. I went with a custom built to order Toshiba in 2010 that was pretty much top of the line at the time with a core i7 processor. I am typing this on the same laptop from 2010 and it is still going strong and trouble free and will still do anything I need it to do. It was about $1000 at the time and a little pricey, but has born out well. I just priced a new top of the line custom built Toshiba with the best core i7 processor and the biggest solid state drive and came in about $1700. I think not bad given 8 years of inflation. I have not pulled the trigger yet because while I would like a new computer, this 8 year old job is still doing well and it is still hard to justify replacing it.
  15. Not exactly hdt, but this is what I picture whenever I see some dumba$$ hauling a fifth wheel with a 1/2 ton shortbed truck: I'm thinking Phil would throw away the key on this one.
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