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110-PostereditedSlicing open champagne bottles with a giant sword is an unlikely refinement that we’ll see during the 110th Anniversary.  That is unless you have a need for a new-motorcycle christening and want to get your hard-partying samurai going.

We’re about 50 days out from the big celebration where the Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary team (marketing, general merchandising, communication, legal, etc.) have been negotiating rights to feed photos and sound to television stations for broadcast.  Not to mention all the work in venue agreements, performance contracts, vendor contracts, photographic rights, recording issues, publishing deals, leases and the list goes on and on.  Add to that the trademark team that’s traveled around to make sure the H-D marks are properly used and not infringed, and that when folks like me arrive (“customers”) we’re not buying counterfeit merchandise thinking H-D is selling inferior gear!  Yeah, there will be some tired H-D employees who will be looking forward to taking some time off after Labor Day!

I want to thank the H-D employees in advance.

110th Anniversary Commemorative Ticket + Museum Pass

110th Anniversary Commemorative Ticket, “Koochie” + Museum Pass

I received the 110th Anniversary tickets over the weekend.  I opted for the higher priced commemorative package thinking what was coming was gift-worthy or an elegant picture stand.  The package was small enough and arrived via the mailbox.

Unfortunately, the Harley-Davidson Anniversary team neglected to take a page from Apple and pay close attention to the unboxing experience.  When it arrived did it make me smile?  Sure.  Did it create a long-lasting positive experience?  No.  Hey, why sweat the small stuff, right… it was only $118!  And the aroma discharge from that “Koochie” thing is like having a set of motorcycle tires stored in your living room.  Nothing says your awesome like the smell of tire rubber in the house!

110th Anniversary Celebration Schedule Guide

110th Anniversary Celebration Schedule Guide

I’m not sure who from Harley-Davidson sat in a conference room, doing the most mundane task of simply opening an Anniversary sample package to see what the emotional response would be by customers.  But, I’ve digressed.

The 110th “ride home” is just around the corner and starting feel real.  Earlier this week Harley-Davidson announced a NEW two-day party ($79) pass.  It gets you into the Summerfest Grounds any two of the 3-days.  The music headliners (Aerosmith, Toby Keith, Kid Rock (each sold separately)) are an incremental $24.50 purchase.  There is a $95 three day pass and the upsell commemorative package.  I’ve also seen a Chrome Ticket Package online at $522.15 which must pay for a lake-front rental given that unobtanium price.  To be candid, I’m a little overwhelmed with all these pricing options being tossed around on the web, but it does eliminate potential negative feedback for not having enough pricing options.

And how about that “official” Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary Mobile App (HERE).  Yeah, I’ve allowed H-D to use some memory space on the iPhone to buzz and blink me with updates over the next 50+ days.  Even if you’re not attending the anniversary event, I suggest downloading the app because H-D will be talking to your phone (via the app) and you can enjoy the festivity updates from the couch and avoid “social envy” while tweeting about all the $$ you’ve saved.

Ever wonder what’s it like when motorcyclists take over a town?   Noisy!

Poster photo courtesy of H-D and colorized by author.  Photos taken by author.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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motorcycle fashion historyNo one can deny the huge impact that the American motorcycle and biker sub-culture has had on the fashion industry.

Motorcyclists spend a great deal of money and effort to find protective gear that looks fashionably good, but there is a small minority who tarnish the sport.  You know the type…  stick-on bunny ears on the helmet or the camouflage trousers and the faux Mohawk that should’ve stayed with the 90’s punk bands.

I’ve been on a clothing hiatus for a while, but back in 2009, I blogged at length about motorcycle fashions with… Limited Edition Clothing; Motorcycle Style; Dressed For Summer and the FXRG Jacket Road Test.  For all the hype fashion gets, it’s truly irrelevant and a way for the untalented to stand out.  Because if you’re talented, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right?!

This week my friends over at Bennetts provided me an interesting visual graphic on the Evolution of Motorcycle Fashion & Clothing.  Check it out HERE and take a tour through motorcycle clothing history.  Who knows, it might even help you distinguish between clothing features that are pure fashion and those that have some genuine protective merit.

If however, you wake up in the morning with the desire to stick on a Mohawk or those bunny ears then it’s probably best that you hand over your motorcycle keys because you are about to make a motorcycle fashion faux pas.

Photo courtesy of www.bennetts.co.uk

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The times they are a changin’… certainly in the way people get their news.  This is especially true for the youth demographic who live and breathe by their cell phones.

As a result, I’ve been noodling about how to get this blog content onto iPhones given all the web-based tools that allow developers to build an iPhone App.   It seems logical that a blogger would want to create an app for the millions of iPhone users, right?  Sure it’s easy enough to call up a blog site on the Safari browser by typing in the URL, but wouldn’t it be much easier to push an icon button on the iPhone app screen and the like magic the blog content is there on your mobile device?  Complete with rich media.  And while we’re at it how about having the ability to jump to the Flickr photos and then over to Vodpod/YouTube to watch recent video posts?

Well…drum roll please….that day is here.  I’ve developed an application and placed it on the blog (under the calendar, right side).  There are a couple methods to get this application.  With your iPhone browser go to NWHOG and click on the app icon under the calendar.  Or go directly HERE.  Once the page loads for the first time, you’ll see a pop-up that instructs you to tap the ‘+’ sign, then tap the ‘Add to Home Screen’ selection, and finally tap the ‘Add’ button, which will add your app icon to your iPhone app screen.  Tapping the icon will start the webapp.  

Some might ask, “What are you trying to accomplish with this, Mac?”  My answer is simple.  I don’t know.  Other than to make it a little easier for mobile users to get to the blog content.  Plus I needed a little science project to fill those rainy evenings — it serves no other real purpose.  But, that could define much of the internet these days…

I do believe this Harley iPhone/blog application is a first.  Who knows if this will take off.  But, I thought it was worth a post and it serves as a reminder to Harley-Davidson corporate that they really should be doing more in the area of application development to promote or connect their customer base.  Try it out and let me know how it works for you.

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MAD Maps Inc.

Harley-Davidson marketing experts have consumption maps.

Basically it tracks how customers perceive the value of their products and they “map” out benefit-vs.-price along with a number of other purchasing criteria and behaviour dimensions when customers evaluate H-D products against competitors.

I’m not referring to this type tool.  Rather it’s the visual representation of what’s called a navigational map.

As motorcyclists we know firsthand about the value in a two-dimensional road map.  Especially if you’re directionally challenged like me!  Sure there are paper and digital versions and debating the merits of each has no value since they both serve a purpose.  Although some may argue that going on a road trip with a map is no way to roll.

Personally I like to have a paper map with me when I’m on a road trip.  In addition I have an iPhone and its navigation and weather applications have proved quite handy dodging rain storms.  But, now there is an iPhone app designed especially for Harley-Davidson riders by MAD Maps Inc.

In collaboration (read officially licensed product they paid $$ for!) with Harley-Davidson and tech partner Abalta Technologies, MAD Maps lets motorcyclists download electronic versions of scenic loops right to your iPhone. Users can purchase rides from a library of more than 1000 routes in the continental U.S. and rides are searchable by current location, city or state. These aren’t ordinary road maps. The company developed its maps with the help of local feet-on-the-street scouts who know the back roads.  This enables the maps to highlight the best roads, roadhouses, roadside attractions, and more which is oriented toward the motorcycle enthusiast.  Because it’s built with Harley riders in mind, the app lets you of course find the nearest H-D dealership – in case you need another black t-shirt – and the app also provides you the location of the nearest Best Western, where H-D riders get special 10% discount on overnight stays.

I down loaded the application (cost $0.99) and within moments was looking at a number of rides in and around the Oregon/Washington state area.  My first route was a Mount St. Helens ride.  You’ll be ask to set up an email/account to registered on the MAD Map servers, but it’s easy enough.  Being able to do all this from an iPhone is super convenient.  I can download a map on a moment’s notice, without having to plan ahead.  It’s important to note that with the purchase of this app it includes your choice of only five rides anywhere in the country. All additional trips/maps are $0.99 cents each.  Some of the reviews stated there are very few rides in their area.  I’m most satisfied with the rides in the northwest and see the value.

So whether you’re looking for a new adventure in your backyard or Sturgis bound and looking for a new Vanocker canyon ride, this app will have you covered.

Photo courtesy of Apple iTunes and Mad Maps Inc.

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Canada & Glacier Road Test Route

Canada & Glacier Road Test Route

Previously I provided an in depth review of the Harley-Davidson FXRG® Perforated Leather Jacket HERE.

My experience in the initial post was primarily from short trips around town and I was looking forward to a longer road test of the jacket.   I planned to wear the jacket on an 8-day trip through the Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park in Montana which you can read about HERE.  More important to the jacket road test was the trip saw temperatures from 47F to 107F degrees and allowed for an extended trail while fleshing out it’s features across a broad spectrum of weather conditions.   View this post is a follow up to the original review.

First off I got a chuckle whenever handing the jacket to people and watching them nearly topple over when they try and lift it. It’s not just a leather jacket – it’s riding gear and a bit heavy because of it. The nice thing is that all that thickness and weight will be between you and the road should you ever go down.  And as the saying goes, ride wearing what you want to crash wearing.

FXRG Perforated Leather Jacket - Road Test

FXRG Perforated Leather Jacket - Road Test

The temperature sweet spot, at least for my body type was 65F to 85F degrees.  There was plenty of ventilation to help me stay cool during the hotter parts of the day and during the lower temps I would wear the removable windproof liner that features the Gore-Tex® Windstopper® technology.   In fact, after a long day of riding I wore that liner out to dinner which saved space having to lug yet another fleece or light jacket on the Road King.

However, any extended riding with temperatures below 60F degrees and you experience a ‘wind chill’ effect.  I found myself searching for a rain jacket to provide extra wind block from the cold.   For example, our morning departure out of Banff, Alberta was 47F degrees and wet.  I had a long sleeve t-shirt, windproof liner, perforated jacket and windproof rain coat.  Everything was zipped high and tight.  I was cool during the ride, but not too cold to function properly.  This cold weather was not anticipated, but you never know what you’ll ride into.

FXRG Jacket - Under Rain Coat - Glacier Nat. Park

FXRG Jacket - Under Rain Coat - Glacier Nat. Park

On the hot side of the temperature gauge spectrum… Perforated Leather is only “uncomfortable” when you’re not moving so my suggestion is never stop!  With temperatures up in the mid-90F’s I was actually pleased that the jacket provided significant ventilation and helped me stay cool.   Anything above 97F degrees and I don’t care how many deflecting diamond plate patterns supposedly deflect sun or how much “CoolMax” “breathable liner” you have on — it’s too damn much!  I had to remove the jacket.  When the temps top 100F, you experience this ‘convection oven’ effect. You really notice it riding at 107F which was the temperature in Wenatchee, WA on the day of our arrival.  And the faster you ride, the hotter it feels. So, I stripped down to a t-shirt.  It would not offer much protection going down, but I didn’t need to ride all day with that high of temperature.  Had I needed too I would have worn long sleeve t-shirts and a leather vest.

All the zippers on the jacket from the front, sleeves and pockets worked flawlessly.  I especially liked the quick access to cell phone and sunglass interior pockets.  The jacket was very durable and held up well to abrasion as it was tossed about on the bike at fuel stops or in motel rooms.

In summary, the FXRG Perforated Leather jacket is a very solid jacket.  It looks tough but at the same time is smooth and streamlined.  It’s heavy enough for cold weather riding and has built-in blow-through venting for hot summer riding. The protective armor along the spine, shoulders, and elbows gives you added physical security if not some extra peace of mind.

Harley-Davidson is known for quality bike clothing and their new FXRG Perforated Leather Jacket delivers.   The one negative that I can offer for this product is that the Mandarin collar, YKK® Finguard® front zipper takes some getting used to.   When riding and with the jacket partially unzipped, the collar (does have a soft lining) had a tendency to rub or interfere with the bottom of my helmet or chin strap.  I learned to fold it a bit which relieved the issue.

Lastly I want to provide a shout out to H-D and Laura for providing the testing opportunity.  Thanks!

Photo courtesy of H-D and Google maps.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Hwy 97 near Shaniko, OR

Hwy 97 near Shaniko, OR

Like most riders, I’ve tried on every type of jacket I could get my hands on over the years. Deciding what to wear is a combination of the riders personality, fashion, who they ride with and for some it’s also about motorcycle safety.

My primary riding jacket is a Harley-Davidson “Rocker” classic with a fold back-collar, a snap-removable thermal insulation lining along with an assortment of pockets and zippered sleeves.  The style was made famous before my time in the “Brando” days of The Wild One, and more currently with the Ramones who played a lot of clubs.  That H-D Rocker jacket is one of the best I’ve ever owned.  It is exceptionally comfortable and has endured more than a decade of serious road use proving to be most reliable.

FXRG Perforated Leather Jacket - Front

FXRG Perforated Leather Jacket - Front

Harley-Davidson is known for quality bike clothing and recently I had an opportunity (thanks Laura!) to evaluate one of their new FXRG® Perforated Leather Jackets.  I’ve been thinking about a lighter weight (2-season) riding jacket and I thought how timely!   Historically I’ve shied away from the Motocross or Motorad style jackets which are popular in sport bike circles, but now I would have a chance to try one out.  When it comes to motorcycle garments I’ve defaulted toward the old-school functional vs. new technology.  That isn’t to say I’m so arrogant as to think there is nothing over leather or there are no other reputable manufactures who can build quality jackets.   There are many options, but for me it’s difficult to find an “off the rack” quality leather garment which can accommodate both a fit that’s right for riding and walking around vendor booths on a cool autumn day.

FXRG Perforated Leather Jacket - Back

FXRG Perforated Leather Jacket - Back

The Marketing Stats: the FXRG® Perforated Leather Jacket is designed to enhance comfort and rider performance. It has a heat and sunlight deflecting diamond plate pattern that supposedly deflects up to 80% of sunlight allowing the rider to stay cooler longer. The jacket has a reinforced Cordura® mesh backing for additional durability and abrasion resistance.  It also includes a fixed CoolMax® lining and a removable, windproof liner that features Gore-Tex® Windstopper® technology.  It also has removable, CE-approved lightweight body armor at the elbows, shoulders, and back. The jacket has a Mandarin collar, YKK® Finguard® front zipper with a newly designed zipper pull and a removable kidney belt. It has pre-curved sleeves with zipper cuffs, two zipper hand-warmer pockets and an assortment of interior pockets.  For added safety there is the 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material piping and the jacket comes with a 5-year warranty.

FXRG - Mandarin Collar

FXRG - Mandarin Collar

My Initial Reaction: FXRG® stands for “Functional Riding Gear” and the jacket certainly fulfills that promise.  The logo branding is understated by design which likely broadens the appeal beyond H-D loyalists.  My reaction in removing it from the shipping box was the weight — its heavier than I anticipated for a summer jacket, but once I removed a couple of optional items it was less of an issue.  The jacket has a semi-tailored fit.  It’s not tight, but not baggy or does it have a restrictive feel.  I was impressed by the quality of the leather as it is softer than my Rocker.  The jacket comes with a combination of linings designed to be windproof and to stabilize temperatures across a range of riding conditions.  According to H-D the lining has “membranes” or pores which open as the level of body moisture rises.  The wicking properties of the lining help keep the body cool in the summer months and during cold weather the membrane condenses to retain the heat.  The northwest has been under a heat advisory for several days and “comfort” is relative when the temperature is in the 90’s!  It was a bit of a mental challenge to put on a jacket being a t-shirt and vest person.  I can say that my pools of sweat were kept to a minimum after reaching 35-40 mph.  The large perforated panels or mesh design allowed the air to freely flow through the jacket and cool me down.

FXRG - Understated Branding

FXRG - Understated Branding

In addition I found the jacket packed with cool and useful features. The Kidney Belt provided additional back support and I liked that it could be easily removed.  The interior pocket system included two zipper pockets, a cargo pocket, Velcro-closure cell-phone pocket, and my fav was the eyewear pocket with lens wipe.  Sweet!  My iPhone was a snug fit with the rubber protective cover, and the Velcro-closure headphone cable “routing tab” was a nice touch.   An indicator of the attention to detail that was taken in the design of the jacket.  The Mandarin collar may take time getting use too.  It is short and does not fold over.  When riding with the jacket partially unzipped, the collar (does have a soft lining) had a tendency to rub or interfere with the bottom of my helmet or chin strap.  Not a deal breaker, but it was noticeable compared to a collar style jacket.  I’m planning to wear this jacket during an upcoming Canadian Rockies trip and will have a chance to evaluate it across a broader spectrum of weather conditions.  I’ll update the post with findings later in August.

As a crusty cynic I was impressed with the comfort and functionality of this jacket.  Before you conclude that I’ve been somehow anesthetized by H-D Kool-Aid, I suggest you take the time and ride down to your local dealer and try one on for yourself.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

More jacket information HERE.  Product Code: 98521-09VM — MSRP: $625-$645 depending on size — Typical internet pricing: $499.95

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