Redline America

Blog written by, Cliff Adams

-----1. “It is more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than a fast bike slow”

2. “Twins are fun”

3. “A Tale of Two Motorcycle Shows”

4. “My Green Yamaha RD400”

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© 2011 Cliff Adams

“It is more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than a fast bike slow”

Hello Everyone, I was told that to generate traffic to Redline America’s web site I would have to start a blog.

We’ll, here goes the first one:

I will start with the question I have most received from people who have watched Redline America.

Why did I not take a Harley Davidson for the trip?

Thirty years ago my best friend Keith had a Kawasaki KZ750. He named her Lena. One night he somehow managed to get a date with a beautiful young woman, but needed a car because the date would not ride at night. So he got my car and I rode his bike that night. I also gave him the keys to my apartment and I promised I would not come home until my car was gone. The night went on, it got late, I had been ridding hard most of the night and did something stupid and crashed his bike. I felt horrible. I went home, to an empty driveway, and put Lena to bed…

The next morning the doorbell woke me up. It was Keith, he felt horrible, seems he crashed my car. Never made it to my place. Worst date ever. We walked outside to look at my car and I showed him the damage Lena picked up the night before.

He asked how it happened (weird wreck , only the top front of the bike hit the ground!?)

We called it even. I bought him new handlebars. The three of us moved on.

Lena had been down and back to Florida with nary a hick up and she WAS the best looking motorcycle I had ever ridden. I had fallin’ in Love with Lena too.

But I like smaller bikes. Race bikes. Two strokes. And then the 600 class exploded!

I saw the ad one day before work: “1986 Ninja 600R. Just bought new Lincoln Continental must sell motorcycle before first rain. $2,500.00.”

I called my boss and told him I was going to be late.

When the seller opened the garage door I looked past the absolutely beautiful red white and blue Ninja. That could not be the bike for sale. And I certainly cannot afford something like THAT anyway

But, that was the bike. Would I like to take a test ride?

Around the corner, I twist the grip hard for the first time, and the bike comes up and whacks me in the face!

Love at first ride!

The woman I was dating at the time had a friend who came up to visit. He asked what type of bike he should have and I told him that in my opinion, a motorcycle is very much like a woman. You should love her at first site and when you ride her she should make you remember her.

He bought a Virago off the street in D.C. somehow got it running and called me to say: “Lets take a motorcycle trip.”

“OK, where?” I asked.

He said, “Nova Scotia.”

I said, “Where is that?”

He said, “Canada”.

We left on Saturday. I always loved motorcycle riding, not just the thrill, but also the freedom it instills. That two-week trip had me hooked. I must ride long trips, keeps me sane.

My 600R is fast, smooth, dependable, fast, gets 40 mpg, has a long range, is quiet, stops hard, is brutally fast and I think she looks great. I am now in my second decade of ownership, she will be the last possession I ever own, we are very happy together.

At the Rider Rally in Lancaster Pennsylvania I got to ride a ZX1100. Black.

I thought: “Maybe I could trade up.”

Now a trick I learned on those supervised group rides is to start at the back of the pack, stall the bike at a stop sign (before a long straight) everyone laughs as they pass you and then you wait and let her rip.

I already had been on this section on a Moto-Guzzi and my own Ninja so I twisted the throttle hard and when I went to lean the bike over, she only leaned a little I rolled off the throttle cause the left hand sweeper was coming up WAY TO FAST. The speedo said, “What!?” I heard the tinkling of stones I was sliding into the shoulder, but somehow she stayed gripped to the pavement. I waited for my leg to stop shaking while I pulled up behind the group.

This is where I learned: “It is more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than a fast bike slow”

And my little 600 is not slow. But I can man handle her around when I need to.

So I take a 1986 Kawasaki Ninja on my trips. And although, parts are getting harder to come by, at least there is e-bay to keep her going.

I had Gen Mar do handle bar risers and also added two inches to the seat height. I added Progressive fork springs and stainless steel brake lines and I adjusted the horn to make it really loud! I have installed a 110-watt high beam bulb, radar detector and Metzler tires, which are awesome in the rain. I over grease my bearings and clean/lube/adjust the bike every night during a trip.

My last vacation was not taken with my bike but instead with girlfriend and car.

But I did ride a Harley Davidson Rocker C and a Can Am Spyder. I went to the Americade rally in Lake George NY. It was fun. We went up at the start of the event and did not have to wait in lines for the demo rides. Later in the week it was packed and we went hiking and horseback riding to avoid the crowds. I took the car because I had brought promotion stuff for Redline America but never got to use it. Having the bike would have made getting around easier.

However, I did get to ride. First, I took a test ride on a manual transmission Can-Am Spyder with a louder pipe. I think when my vision goes and my reflexes are to slow to ride a two-wheeler, I would buy one of these Can Am’s. They told me you cannot disconnect all the safety gizmos which limits the Spyder from getting all squirrelly, which limits the fun one could have on a rainy day sliding it around?!

This really could be Batman’s bike, very stealthy.

The trunk holds a lot. NICE SEAT!

The ride itself reminded me of an MGB or a Triumph Spitfire. For, even though it was wash boarding across the rough pavement in one downhill off camber left hand turn, it managaged to get me through it. Much fun. Perhaps I will own one when I am older, but I’ll always keep my Ninja. If only for my visual pleasure and to remind me of all the trips we had taken together.

So the answer to the questions is not, “Harley or not?” but, “What bike I am married to?”

© 2010 Cliff Adams


“Twins are fun”

Hello Everyone, I would like to continue on my remembrance of Americade. Besides the Can-Am Spyder, I also got to ride a Harley Davidson Rocker C and I was eager to ride it. The people at the Harley Davidson Booth were nice and asked if I wanted to take my girlfriend with me. I said “no”, for I had never ridden a bike like this before and wanted to warm up to it. I scheduled another ride later for the two of us.

Well everyone there knew I was a sport bike rider and some had actually seen my film! We were having a grand old time and then I got called to ride. I was comfortable, but then I find most bikes comfortable. (except ducks) Off idle the twin was smooth running and not annoying at all. And, if a bike can have that new car smell, this one sure did! I eased the clutch lever out and put my feet immediately on the pegs, which were not there! OMG, where are the pegs?! What, They’re up front!? Whew that was weird.

I like the bar placement. Off idle, the motor is very smooth; I can see why people like to cruise on these. The view from the mirrors is crystal clear.

The police officer smiled to wave me on to make the right turn and when I pushed down on the right bar I was still going straight. Directly towards the police officer. He waved more strongly. I pushed harder. No, that did not work either. He stopped waving and was thinking of running, when I pushed down with my right foot and actually “turned” the handlebars to the right. I made the turn. However, now I was on the wrong side of the road with on coming traffic. Another gargantuan correction and after much effort, I am glad to be going straight again. OK that wide rear tire is hard to tip over. Back to the serene cruising mode. With the bright green trees blurring by and the twin thumping along at a nice easy cadence, it felt like I’ve owned her forever, very comfortable.

BTW HD does not make you go out in a group, ‘TIS WAY BETTER!

I am going to deviate from the suggested posted route.  I go to the highway and let her rip. Hammer down and all the bullocks! Top gear came quick and with none of the fear and respect my 600R commands under that type of thrashing.

Nailing the throttle in its last cog was uneventful. So, I decide to take the next exit and go to lean her over and oh-boy the non-leaning thing bites me again. I haul down speed with its brakes, which are very nice. Use the rear more than normal I say!

Back on a two lane and I am fallin’ for her again. The next ride will have Karen on the back.

Now Karen is the best pillion passenger I have ever had on the back of my Ninja. She likes to ride. We ride windy roads.

But, after our test ride, she said: “I was petrified. On the Ninja or your Yamaha I feel a part of the bike. On this I am perched on a little seat high off the bike, very scary.”

Hmmm. I did not expect that response. OK, I think it looks way better without the back seat anyway.

I want one…

My Ninja is virtually invisible at bike meets, but this chopper had people yelling at me, complementing my ride. Even truckers. And chicks. It was kind of fun. This bike makes you meet people. Mine will be blue.

I bought some Deer Skin gloves at the Vendor area. They are very comfortable. The sales girl convinced me to buy a smaller size and I am glad she did, although snug at first they have conformed to my hand very nicely.

We dined on the Kawasaki boat ride, and went to the Natural Stone Bridge & Caves in Pottersville, NY. It was much fun. Very nice walk. They have great fudge.

We left on the second to last day. Americade was mobbed so we went home, un-packed the car and hopped on my RD for a ride. It felt great, like a new bike. Only the smells were old. And it smoked a little. But I like the smell of two-stroke oil, and the banshee like scream of my RD on the boil… well, that’s music to my ears.

Yeah, twins are fun!


“A Tale of Two Motorcycle Shows”

Recently, I got up early and went to a local BIKER show. This was a very small event and hardly anyone was there when it opened. I guess these biker types are late night folks, which is fine by me, no crowd means easy access. Can Am was there with demo rides for their Spyder, there was a Dyno and a wheelie-training device.

The bikes on display were awesome. Hand crafted works of art. One of a kind motorcycles. I appreciate the effort taken.

Another work of art I saw was Michelle Smith; she is even prettier in person then on TV and is just as friendly as the girl next door. Hmm, maybe I could put her in my next film…

Browsing through the vendor area I found this lock.

It is really small and has a built in alarm, which is very loud. The chrome finish is durable; it comes with three keys, an extra battery and a pouch. I believe it will keep the honest people away or at least notify me of movement of the bike, like when I get on it to ride with the lock still on it! Don’t deny it, it has happened to you too.

Pin strippers and saddle makers, tattoo artists and leather thongs, this is not the type of motorcycle show I usually go to! Oh, there were some sport bikes and I do find some comfort there. But even these are sport bikes with tons of chrome and extended swing arms.

Then I spot this chopper. Flat black. All motor.

The proportions are beautiful. The welds are invisible. It is so delicate and yet brutal. I strike up a conversation with the builder and find out the he draws out sketches then fabricates from them. No computer anything! I think it is nicest chopper there. True Kinetic art.

Talking to these guys, I find we DO have the common bond of riding. But he says this bike is not much for riding, for a really large turning diameter is needed and I know all about trying to turn a bike with those wide rear tires.

I return to my little RD, which had drawn quite the crowd itself. Sometimes I think everyone has owned one! People always have a million stories to tell me and I love to listen to them. Eventually, I did leave them coughing and laughing in a thick cloud of blue smoke.

At the New York Motorcycle Show I saw my first electric motorcycle the ZERO S.

Electric motors have flat tourque curves, so these bikes really scoot off the line. Top speed is about 50MPH. A four hour charge time provides up to sixty miles of fun. It weighs 225 pounds and has very low maintenance.

There is a $2000 tax credit and most states offer a tax rebate as well, which drives the price tag down to a more reasonable five grand or so. I am glad to report that these bikes are back ordered. I think they are the wave of the future. I love quiet machines for they are stealthy.

Not so stealthy are Victory motorycles which has a contest where they are giving a motorcycle to some lucky winner for a year. A lease, without payments. You have to post something online once a month for the year about a ride. Personally I would have no problem with that.

I must make a correction; I had stated earlier that if Batman had a bike he would own a Can-Am Spyder. Well I was wrong; Batman’s bike was in New York, for it IS Gotham City and I took a picture of it. Again, these builders of custom bikes continue to impress.

In the end I did not get a tattoo, but I suggest you all out there go to a motorcycle event outside your comfort zone. It is fun.

Dirt bikes anyone?

BTW I had to post this image from Americade. I think it sums up the whole event pretty well. I plan on going again.


“My Green Yamaha RD400”

Cliff with 400

Hello Everyone,

I got running and sold my green 1976 Yamaha RD400.

I bought this bike a few years ago to replace parts on an RD400C I already had.

The seller, an eighty-year old gentleman, gave me a warm smile and firm handshake when he answered the door. He had a yard full of motorcycles and when I entered his cape, he had exhaust pipes hanging from the curtain rods, IN THE LIVING ROOM! The dining room table was over burdened with cardboard boxes scribbled with illegible codes and bleach drums and oil trays and egg crates full of screws and bolts and springs. The entire first floor of his home was a sea of parts and pieces of motorcycles, mostly from bikes I did not recognize…but I sure did recognize some: a Benelli and an RZ. A Knuckle Head. A Commando. Maybe 50 bikes total, some stacked on top of each other.

When queried, his wife was not concerned about gaining any additional space from the sale of a motorcycle, and she actually glided through the mass of motorcycles and parts as if they were just furniture in the living room and dining room and kitchen and hallway, and well, that was as far as I could see…

We pushed the green 1976 Yamaha (it was listed as a non-runner) down the porch stairs and onto the street. I was astonished for every part I needed was mint and ready to swap!

Although he thought a few years (decades) ago, he might have replaced the top end, he felt it was not even worth the effort to try and start it. All I wanted was the exhaust, tank and seat and well, it was a very fine looking bike. We agreed there was no need to jump up and down on the kick-starter.

Two years later the red Yamaha, which becomes my ride, is complete and for cash and more room in the garage, the green Yamaha goes for sale.


Listed on EBAY, the little Yamaha generates a lot of interest, and with over 100 people watching it I think this will be an easy sale.

Someone emails me: does it run? I always wondered, so I pull the top end, just to take a look, and wow the piston crowns are shiny with the arrows pointing in the correct direction, perhaps this IS a clean rebuild. (This is where I start doubting my decision to sell her.)

I check the oil injection and it is squirting! But I still put a gallon of gas with a 35 to 1 ratio in her tank and when I try and start her, and, no kidding, after less than a dozen kicks, she is running real strong. I had taken the stock exhaust from her and installed DG Headers. They are much throatier than stock, and for a moment I think of painting her yellow, putting on a solo tail section and spoke wheels and “STOP!” I have to yell to myself. For I have a nicer one right next to me! I must keep it together. I need more space. (I must repeat this mantra.)

I listed it at $1500.00 and it sells for $1775.00. But, the buyer never pulls through. I had to go through some little process and I was reimbursed for my funds paid.

The guy who actually purchased her was the second highest bidder and a local. This buyer was thrilled and thought I should have asked more for the bike. Maybe he was right, but it WAS winter. And the little Yamaha was going to a good home. Besides, I need more space. (Repeating my mantra.) We start it up and he laughs like I do. There is nothing like the sound of a two stroke wailing away, well, if you graduated high school in the 70’s anyway.

However, remember my mantra, I need more space. And why do I need more space? You may ask. The space is to be filled with another motorcycle, an American V-Twin. I have never owned one and I think it is time.

I am concerned about having three motorcycles ready for the road at any one time, for that is a lot of maintenance, but I would like to sample ownership of a big twin. My Ninja and RD are unsure of this arrangement…


© 2011 Cliff Adams