Philosophy and Motorcycles

Philosophy and motorcycles are two of my favorite things in life. This blog will be bits of wisdom gleaned from a misspent youth and an adventurous dotage. People who like/love wisdom or motorcycles, classic or modern versions of either, are welcome to visit and comment.

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Location: Wisconsin, United States

I have been married to the same lovely woman for decades. We have one son, two cats, and live in rural Wisconsin, USA. I ride and rebuild motorcycles, and I am semi-retired. Favorite bikes are Yamaha XS650, FJ1200 and Ducati 900SS. My wife is a home care nurse. I am a Myers-Briggs INTP. She is ESFJ. Our son works at the Apple store in downtown SF and is teaching English as a second language in San Francisco, no grandchildren.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


When I was younger there were frequent debates around campus about the sounds of various systems. Are Akai tape decks better than TEAC? Do you really need a Phase Linear amplifier? Are Harmon Kardon better than Marantz receivers? The debate over speakers was most intense. Voice of the Theater were the hot ticket but too large and expensive for most of us. AR speakers of almost any size were considered premium, Altec Lansing also. Endless discussions over coffee.

The same is true about guitars, Fender vs Gibson etc. I don't hear those debates these days. I do, however, hear the occasional discussion of motorcycle sounds. Most people, other than Harley drivers, don't seem too concerned about the sound of a motorcycle. People buy any of a variety of pipes but more often based on performance claims than on sound quality. There does not seem to be any consensus about brand.

Perhaps I am a bit old fashioned but the sound of a motorcycle is important to me. And for my money there is nothing quite like a Bevel Drive Desmodue with Termignoni pipes or a belt drive Desmodue with Microns. Between the sharp bellow of the intake and the dragon breath growl of the exhaust there just isn't another machine that makes that same music. It's the main reason I keep my Ducati 900SS. Mine is tweaked a bit and drilled for safety wire although I have removed the wire. That's a bit too obvious and not needed these days of street only use. But the Microns remain and sound glorious. The Harley crowd doesn't seem impressed and I don't expect that. I like Harleys but I love the Desmo sound. I hope some sympathetic soul has the good sense to put the last gallon of gas into an old Ducati Desmo. When the sun goes down on gasoline burning motorcycles I hope it does so to the tune of a rattling clutch and the bellow of Microns.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Weather and plans

The past few days have been ideal in Wisconsin. Today I took my '72 XS2 to work. It's a casual ride, 35 minutes at legal speeds. In a couple weeks I leave for Mid-Ohio. I have wanted to go there for several years but things have a way of interfering. This year it will likely happen. I have time set aside, vehicles in good fettle, and an excellent traveling companion.
I will take my Moto Guzzi V65 as it is a good bike for both short trips in traffic and on the road. Plus it has saddle bags so I can carry a few items with me during the day. Following the event we plan to go further and ride the dragon before heading for home.

Work on my Ducati 160 Monza Jr. is slow. The frame is painted, shocks painted, fenders straight and in primer. I have hopes of having it done prior to Wildcat in September. Labor Day weekend is the Wildcat Rally for the XS650 and Virago owners (plus whoever else shows up). It's always a good event held near Wildcat Mountain state park in south western Wisconsin.

I just received an advance copy of a book titled Ducati Singles-First Person. It is very well done and I highly recommend it. Look for it on e-bay. LN