I present to you…

magna4… Erik Johnson’s 1999 Honda Magna (4th or 5th generation, depending on whether you count the V30 and V45 as different generations). Why am I featuring this bike in this post today? Well, because he paid me $300 to do so*, and because I really, really enjoy these bikes. Back in 2004 (to early 2005,?) I had a 1995 Magna in that beautiful yellow, and to date it remains one of the bikes that look back upon, wistfully and longingly. I put maybe 10,000 miles on mine.

magna1That generation of Magna was powered by the about-to-be-replaced VFR750 engine. The bike developed between 75 and 85 horsepower, and between 46 and 51 foot pounds of torque. Numbers vary as I suppose there were minor tuning variations between the years, and Honda has always been notoriously protective of engine performance specifications. Perhaps some values are measured at the wheel and some at the crank. Who knows… at any rate, the bike got down the road just fine. I won’t say I won any races with mine, but it gave me quite a thrill riding it.

Erik’s bike looks like a very, very clean and well-kept example of what I consider one of the more understated and under appreciated machines on the road. While I typically prefer a solid-color paint scheme on most bikes, I like what Honda did with the graphics on the Magna… I guess it’s meant to be a stylized flame or speed-induced striations. In any case, I like it.

magna3The bike is pretty basic in appointments… drum rear brake, single disc front brake, very simple instrument cluster and a modicum of rider and pillion room. It’s a fairly small frame bike, and at a little over 525 pounds wet and ready to ride, it’s on the lighter side for something considered a cruiser. In typical cruiser fashion, the rider’s legs are out front, but nothing I’d consider extreme. Not quite as far back as the Sportster’s mid control configuration, but nothing stretched out like a Soft Tail or V-Rod, either. Call it “relaxed forward controls”, if you have to call it something.

I remember the handle bars being in a pretty neutral position, and honestly the only comfort and ergonomic modifications I made to mine were to install a very small shield and replace the stock seat. I had plans to take it on a solo cross-country trip… those plans never materialized during those years, but I felt the bike was fine for the job. I installed a set of Willie & Max synthetic leather saddle bags on a custom made aluminum rack I made, and had plans to install a Givi trunk on it… In fact, I still have the Givi E45 top case I bought shortly before selling the Magna.

The VFR’s engine was dressed with a bit of chrome, including chrome airbox covers, and the rest of the bike is decorated with enough functional chrome to stand out as nice looking without being gaudy. Erik keeps his looking much better than many I’ve seen; my wheels were never that clean.

magna2I’m having some pretty serious knee issues these days, and keeping them tucked on the sportier bikes for any more than a half hour or so is all but impossible. I’m currently riding a VStrom by Suzuki, but if and when I decide to move to something that’s more ergonomically friendly for my busted old bones, the Magna is on the short list.

This generation of bike was built from 1993 (though marketed as an early ’94) up through 2003 and remained unchanged, mechanically, through its life. The Magna was available in a variety of paint and graphic combinations throughout its run, including yellow, black, blue, red, purple


*No, Erik didn’t really pay me $300 to feature his bike, but if he does, I’ll be sure to let you know.

The Helmet Hook by eXtuff

If you’re like me, when you just need to walk away from the bike for a few minutes you might often find yourself putting your helmet on your handle bar and checking it for stability 8 or 10 times before walking away, fearing the whole time that it will fall off and burst into a million pieces the second someone sneezes anywhere in the parking lot.

Because of this, I usually just carry my helmet with me. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a stable and trusted way of just hanging the helmet on the bike somewhere for a few minutes while you fuel up, get an ice cream cone or make a phone call? Well, now you can. Enter, the Helmet Hook.

The Helmet Hook is, as the name might imply, a hook for your helmet. The hook is designed to bolt onto the handle bar end, between the bar and the bar-end weight. Most bikes these days have some sort of damping weight on the ends of the handle bars, so the number of bikes on which this *won’t* work should be small and fleeting.

hooks2To install the hook, you simply unscrew or unbolt your existing weight, slide the screw or bolt through the hook and reinstall the weight. The weight has a sizing washer in the center to help accommodate various mounting options across the plethora bikes and manufacturers.

Take a look and send George a note if you like the product. The Helmet Hook product can be ordered directly from eXtuff’s website and the price includes shipping. Paypal is accepted and should make for a very easy purchasing experience.

Great listener question

We received this feedback from listener Randy Lovegreen, and I thought I’d take a moment and post the question and the feedback I sent Randy directly.

Hey Guys,
I have been listening to the show for quite a while now and I really enjoy it. I was just wondering how you guys monetize the podcast? It must take a ton of time to prep, record and edit the show each week. Surely it would be helpful if you could make a few bones in the process? If nothing else it could feed the gear habit…

I listen to quite a few podcasts, and many of them have actual sponsors. However, several simply become Amazon.com affiliates and put a link on their page. Then, if folks shop at Amazon, as long as they click through your page you get a small piece of the deal.

I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon, and would be happy to click through your site to do so if it would support the show.

It’s not that I love commercials, but I realize how much time and effort goes into a weekly production. I figure if it’s worth your time, you will keep making shows. You keep making shows, I keep enjoying shows. See?

Keep up the good work!

Randy Lovegreen
Bakersfield, CA


I wanted to take a few minutes and answer this letter directly.

First off, thank you so much for the kind words. It’s great to know after all these years, we’re still reaching people and still resonating with at least a few.

The regular Q&A feedback is awesome, and it’s one of the favorite things James and I really enjoy about doing the show. But getting email that is less about the bikes and not about the show’s content – just an opportunity to talk – is something I know I especially enjoy. So thank you for taking the time.

As for how we monetize it, the short – well, the ONLY – answer is… we don’t. It’s always been a labor of love, and a way to enjoy our love of bikes; it’s become something of a hobby in its own right. But that’s not to say we don’t want to. We definitely have looked into it, and we’ve taken a purposely conservative approach to trying to make it happen. Personally, I don’t mind an interstitial commercial or two in the ‘casts I listen to, as long as they’re topical and make sense for me – as an audience member – to hear them. I suppose a good example is the TWiT network; all their commercials are pretty well targeted to the audience and make sense in the context of the various shows. Kevin Smith has “The Fleshlight” as a sponsor on his ‘casts; again it probably makes sense for the target audience.

If/when we do commercials, we’ll take a similar, very targeted approach. We’ll try to always ensure the motorsport or motorcycle enthusiast is the targeted audience of any commercials we do, even if we’re selling time for some sort of ancillary product or service. We will not be pimping the Fleshlight

We’ve toyed with ideas of a donation link, affiliate links, KickStarter projects, subscriptions, etc… We haven’t made any firm decisions yet, but do rest assured one of the things James and I both want to do is to keep the show going. We want to branch out on some of the things we discuss/cover, and to try to get even more community involvement. We do need to do something to get at least some offset money coming in at some point; neither of us expects to quit our day jobs and podcast full time, but it sure would be great to recoup a little and have some money available for gear reviews, events, swag, etc.

Stay tuned… things are happening.

Again, I just wanted to take the time to respond, and to thank you for taking an interest. Obviously this isn’t the kind of thing we’ll get into too much during show feedback discussion

Thanks again!
— Chris

What price, your life?

Long time listener and frequent show feedback contributor Jamie McVey sent us this great open letter regarding riding and gear. Grab a cup of coffee, get comfy and give it a read.

Thanks, Jamie!

Having recently returned to Western Australia after living in the UK for a number of years I have noted a large increase in the the number of local riders riding motorcycles wearing little or no protective riding gear.

I mean I’ve barely seen a jacket let alone gloves,boots or pants! Why is this so i was wondering?
Now the UK has a different riding culture altogether – you see guys in full leathers that match their bike colours and designs in all types of weathers. The adventure crowd dress with the relevant ‘adventure’ type gear – much from the likes of Rukka and companies who make on behalf of BMW etc. Riding gear is marketed in all types of motorcycle publications, stands abound at all types of race meets up and down the country and the online market is forever on the increase. So why are locals here at home willing to put their lives on the line more-so with a lack of protective clothing?
I’m the first to admit that weather conditions here in Perth (capital city of Western Australia) are vastly different to the UK – much warmer and a lot of sunny days compared to weather that varies from thick fog, freezing rain and even snow. Even still is it worth the damage to body and mind let alone wallet for not wearing the right gear? Let’s make no mistake the road does not discriminate as to the type of rider who may come into contact with it! There are plenty of sleeveless tops, singlets, shorts and anything from laced sport shoes to thongs being worn onboard anything from little scooters to much larger and heavy motorcycles.


I wondered if ‘lifestyle’ was also a contributing factor? Perth has a rather cruisy way of life and is made for getting out on the bike. It has long straight roads and you don’t need to go too far to get into more technical riding roads if that is what you’re looking for. However, a lot of the people I do see on bikes in my local area inparticular, their journey would be ten kms or less in most cases. I’m not sure if this means that a short journey means protective gear does not need to be worn as ‘suiting’ up may in some cases take longer than the journey? Or do you think that ‘it would not happen to you’? To make matters worse for me I picked up a free publication from one of the local dealers and there was a full page spread for a manufacturer of motorcycles. In all three pictures of the bike models, the rider was wearing NO gloves and either a t-shirt or sleevless top!
I’m sure this may optimise cool but how ‘cool’ would you look sprawled on the road or worse! I know I have people in my life who would not want that scenario at all. Also take into consideration the other aspects of your life ie: work and day to day functioning! The roads are getting harder to negotiate with more vehicles, more aggression, distracted drivers of all types and most importantly, vehicles wanting YOUR SPACE!
I asked some bike friends their opinion and responses varied from it being ‘too hot’ for jackets and gloves to a simple shrug of the shoulders and the line of ‘I should wear my gear but…..’
It does give me the impression that again ‘it’ll never happen’. Maybe some hard hitting education is needed to help both riders and other vehicle users about the fragility of riders in different accident scenarios. I mean the type of injury can vary greatly. Even at a slow speed just the weight of a bike falling on you can cause all sorts of grief.


It is hard to change habits but, show you care for yourself and others important to you. There are plenty of options in riding gear out there and not all of it breaks the bank. Do some homework – get gear that fits right and is above all practical for your use. Hopefully you will never need to use riding gear in a way it is designed to be used but, just that extra few moments before your journey could be just the difference between coming up trumps and having scars you will never be allowed to forget.


Ride safe and stay the sunny side up.

RD350 restoration project by Motorcycle Girl

Celeste, aka the Motorcycle Girl has been restoring an RD350 street bike. Below you can find some text and pictures about her restoration. Give it a look. Celeste can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/celeste.atkinson.5.

I have not taken any recent pictures but enclosed is a link to the facebook album where I have posted some of them.  I bought it in several boxes and have been doing the ground up restoration over the last couple of winters.  The pic of the entire bike in the album is one that I found online so it is not my actual bike.  Tank and plastic parts are out getting painted as we speak and I hope to get the engine in the bike in the next couple of weeks. This model was never available in the US, only Canada so parts are more difficult to source locally.  Many of my parts have had to come from the UK where there is a cult following for this bike.  Interesting too is that Paul Manson(another listener) has one of these bikes too!

Pictures available at http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.412275535659.214893.692950659&type=3&l=26447bfedd

The Pace Motorcycle Podcast’s 2012 riding trip

Batten down the hatches and unfurl the sails… though, if your bike has hatches and sails, we want pics… and make way for the mountains. Nautical talk in the mountains, you say? On a motorcycle? What madness is this? The Adirondacks, son… and Lake Placid. Is Lake Placid even big enough for sailing ships? Who cares; we’ll go, we’ll ride, we’ll party.

That’s right, the 2012 Pace Motorcycle Podcast’s riding trip has been decided. We’re doing the ‘Dacks. Plan on a long weekend in and around lovely Lake Placid, New York, home of the 1980 Winter Olympics. The Adirondacks offer some wonderful scenery, some great riding, and a plethora of places to unwind after a day in the saddle.

The trip is planned for a long weekend, July 27th through the 30th. Anyone wanting to join the ride up is welcome. We’ll plan on leaving the Wilmington, Delaware area early on Friday the 27th, and arrive in Lake Placid in time for dinner. We’ll be home-basing at the Econolodge in the town of Lake Placid. As the time draws closer, we’ll be planning day-ride routes, group dinners and hopefully The Pace will be able to set up a few microphones and talk to some attendees.

Please share your route and must-see destination ideas. Tracy Road is already on the list. So let’s hear it – routes, restaurants, day-stops, overlooks, etc. What’s on your list? Let us know at feedback@thepacepodcast.com.

Episode 95: The Gear Chic Interview. With BRAINNNSSSS!

Episode 95 for December 11, 2011
The Gear Chic Interview. With BRAINNNSSSS!

This week we interview Joanne from The Gear Chic website and blog. Joanne is your personal shopper, reviewer and gear expert. She works at a dealership, she rides – a lot – and is also an MSF instructor. When she’s not doing those things, she’s investigating, reviewing, testing and discussing riding gear. Pay attention, folks… She’s got some excellent information and advice.

Stay tuned after the interview for some feedback, and we learn that – like zombies – the C10 just won’t die, or go away. Listener Jason Farley wants some information on riding up to Alaska. Oh, and BRAINNNSSSS!!!

Check out Joanne’s site at http://gearchic.com/about/

You can also find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GearChic, Twitter at http://twitter.com/GearChic or on her new Help Line at 415-857-GEAR.

Opening music No Way, by Kunk

The Nuda 900 at the Perth International Motorcycle Expo

HI Chris and James – Here are the photos I took on the day of the Nuda 900. The bike looks more Hypermotard than tourer to me – seat style is more out of the Huski trail range and I’m sure your bottom would hurt after a while in the saddle! The 900R has a rear Ohlins shock which is a nice piece of add on as the normal 900 model has the Sacs (not too shabby either!). Both have Sacs forks. It’s a parallel twin (tweaked) motor with nice high bars and the rear footrests are in an okay position for two upness. It comes with (after market) accessories for ‘touring’ like a higher windshield and rear panniers. I could really do with a higher screen on the 900 Hornet!! The guy from the importer told me that it comes in at just over 100bhp and about 175kg (386 lbs) in ‘dry’ weight. The bike on show had no electrics and fluids in it so could not even be started or ridden! It was being sent onto the Sydney show and then back to Italy so we were fortunate? We have to wait until March for a test ride and it should retail in Australia for about $16000 (about par with the USD so same possibly for yourselves) I think it would make a great kick ass second bike and I love the design. Not a fan of those plasticy type mirrors and I would’ve liked it to come with the hand protectors. It looks a very clean simple machine – anyway, I enjoy the show, loved the ‘Barber’ trip stuff and the general day to day bike banter you guys do!

Cheers – Jamie McVey

Thanks, Jamie. Really appreciate the pictures and the write up. Much appreciated!

Nuda 900 @ Perth

Nuda 900 @ Perth

Nuda 900 @ Perth

Nuda 900 @ Perth

Nuda 900 @ Perth

Nuda 900 @ Perth

Nuda 900 @ Perth

Nuda 900 @ Perth

Aprilia APRC electronics package description

Listener Chris Harr sent us this great description of the various Aprilia APRC electronics components as originally posted online by AF1 Racing; what they do, how they work, and their benefits for the rider and the overall performance of the motorcycle. Thanks, Chris!


Aprilia Performance Ride Control Explained
All of the APRC systems work together to produce quicker lap times. Aprilia Launch Control gets you off the line faster; Aprilia Quick Shift lets you get up to top speed faster; Aprilia Wheelie Control lowers the front end under hard acceleration and out of bends; Aprilia Traction Control lets you explore cornering limits with 8 levels of sensitivity.

Components: front and rear wheel speed sensors; ride-by-wire with three switchable maps; joystick control; +/- buttons; instrument display; two gyroscopes (one lean, one attitude), two accelerometers (acceleration and turn); ECU; gear position sensor, throttle position sensor, pressure sensor on shift lever.

Aprilia Traction Control (ATC)
Process: The rider presses the mode button and selects the desired level (1-8, 8 being most intervention) using the + and – buttons. Each level contains a minimum and maximum slip threshold. While riding, the speeds of the front and rear wheel are constantly compared, alongside parameters for the roll angle and longitudinal acceleration. Depending on the TC level selected and upon exceeding the minimum slip threshold for that level, the Traction control system enters a control state. The APRC light flashes rapidly when ATC is limiting torque. The rider is then able to modulate slip up to a maximum threshold, a point which cannot be exceeded. As the bike becomes more upright, a higher degree of longitunal slip is allowed by the system.
The ECU reduces torque accordingly in two different ways – “partializing” throttle valves (gentle) and reducing ignition spark advance at the coils (hard). The ATC system primarily reduces torque through the throttle valves.

Effect: Rather than a severe cut to limit acceleration and reduce rider control, the ATC’s logic allows a significant degree of rider control within specified slip parameters. Even while the system is limiting torque, the rider can effectively work within a range – modulating the throttle for more slide or vice versa. The system is constantly re-evaluating, so if you’re power sliding out of a corner, the more upright the bike becomes the more slip is allowed. Maximum acceleration is achieved with a limited degree of rear tire slip, which enables the rider to more to fully exploit the bike’s performance potential safely.

Aprilia Wheelie Control (AWC)
Process: The Wheelie Control is able to determine when a wheelie begins and ends. Due to the accelerometer, AWC can actually determine when a wheelie is occurring rather than involuntarily reacting to differing wheel speeds. Wheelies are thus controlled much more smoothly. Using the mode button and + /- buttons, the rider selects AWC from one of three levels (3 being the most conservative). Acceleration data from the accelerometer and relative speed between front and rear wheel is compared to determine conditions for a “wheelie.” If a wheelie is detected, traction control is momentarily disabled and the length of the wheelie is controlled by limiting torque via ignition advance and throttle valve aperture, just like ATC. Level 1 allows longer wheelies and level 2 and 3 shorter wheelies. Even with the Wheelie control turned off, the Aprilia traction control is still active as long as the front wheel is in contact with the ground. With the wheelie control turned off, the ATC system allows a wheelie for 30 seconds and inhibits a wheelie if the roll angle exceeds 25 degrees.

Effect: Wheelies become a separate variable from TC in the ECU. This is especially useful while cornering, where front wheel lift could cause the bike to run wide, yet over-harsh correction could limit performance. Instead, the bike holds the front wheel on the ground while permitting maximum possible acceleration.

Aprilia Launch Control (ALC)
Process: Rider selects one of three levels using the mode button and +/- buttons; 1 is the fastest launch level. ATC and AWC are disabled for start, but traction and wheelie control is handled by unique programming when Launch Control is enabled. Rider holds the throttle fully open while the ECU maintains a constant 10,000rpm (levels 1 and 2) or 9,500rpm (level 3).
To launch, rider simply holds throttle open while feeding out clutch. During first phase of launch, wheelies are PREVENTED with ignition advance while a variable rev limit is applied, allowing more revs as speed increases. Once the clutch is fully engaged a limited degree of wheelie is permitted. Once the bike crosses 100mph and a gear higher than 2nd, ALC disengages and AWC and ATC automatically reengage at their previously set level.

Effect: Race starts become accessible to less-experienced riders and predictable for experts. Maximum possible acceleration is achieved thanks to wheelie control in conjunction with the Aprilia Launch Control. The ALC is the only launch control system on a production bike.

Aprilia Quick Shift
Process: Rider holds throttle wide open, doesn’t use clutch. Pressure on the gear selector is detected, triggering the system to evaluate throttle map, throttle position, gear position and acceleration – ultimately determining the speed of the shift. Torque is cut by reducing ignition advance and injection times, enabling the next gear to smoothly engage. Torque is then gradually fed back in to smooth the shift.

Effect: Upshifts are completed without closing the throttle or disengaging the clutch, making them faster and limiting RPM loss. The rider can snap home instantaneous shifts on track or smooth, easy shifts on the road.