Between The Lines

Star On Steroids
Metric-bike manipulator to the masses Scott Britt may have been lying low lately, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been busy. His Custom Metrix division-a subset of Britt Motorsports, the North Carolina dealership that has also morphed into a custom cruiser builder-has been hard at work bending the metal in the machine shop. Its latest creation defies the onlooker to identify the gorgeously twisted lump of steel as a Yamaha Road Star. For more info, call (888) 428-4428 or see www.brittmotorsports.com.

How Big should a cruiser engine be?**

That was the question we asked visitors to www.MotorcycleCruiser.com, more than half of whom said that 1800cc or under was big enough, with another 15 percent ready to stop at 2000cc. Of course, a fifth of voters clicked, "There is no such thing as too big."

To answer our latest poll or check out the most in-depth information on metric cruisers on the Internet visit www.motorcyclecruiser.com.

Getaways**
Cold Spring Tavern Just Down The Creek From ParadiseLooking for a taste of the Wild West in California's prime motorcycling country?

Trek up to the Cold Spring Tavern. Located just 10 miles up U.S. Highway 154 from coastal Santa Barbara, its aromatic log walls reek of California lore. In 1886, the Cold Spring Relay Station, as it was known, was a stagecoach stop along the San Marcos Pass. While the mud wagons' horse teams were changed for fresher ponies, passengers rested and had a bite to eat.

But that's ancient history.

On a sunny weekend afternoon, bikes line narrow, twisty Stagecoach Road and overflow the unpaved parking lot. Riders of all ilk, assorted locals and hip tourists listen to the sounds of local blues, bluegrass and rock 'n' roll bands while enjoying a beverage and the scrumptious barbecue outside the 1200-square-foot bar.

Inside the rustic, 1500-square-foot restaurant, you'll find a cozy down-home vibe among the stone fireplace and country-style dcor. There are two rooms nestled among the oak trees with a view of the creek below. Chef Moises Bernau continues Cold Spring's tradition of big- and small-game selections and prides himself on making everything from scratch. Leg of lion was once on the menu, but vocal locals put a stop to that right quick. Huevos rancheros with wild-game chili is a specialty, but a familiar selection of breakfast dishes is also available. Daytime sandwiches include a choice of venison: either a sausage burger or a steak sandwich. Baby-back ribs, pork chops and an array of burgers are also served up at lunchtime. At night, things get interesting. Wild bear tenderloin is on the menu, as is stuffed pheasant breast, sauted medallions of rabbit and more pedestrian dishes such as filet mignon, ribs, pasta and seafood.

Interesting vittles, great atmosphere, awesome roads and the lure of the Wild West make the Cold Spring Tavern a prime day-ride destination from Central or Southern California.

Cold Spring Tavern: 5995 Stagecoach Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93105, (805) 967-0066. Find it off Highway 154. Take Camino Cielo, make a quick right on Stagecoach Road and enjoy the sweepers until you see it.-Eric Putter

New Lid On The Block**
In the U.S. market, your choice of top-rated, top-shelf helmets has been few and far between, but no more. There's a new lid in town.

Fresh out of Grosetto, Italy, comes a premium collection of high-performance street and off-road helmets from Vemar. While Vemar's a new name in the U.S., the Italian manufacturer has been churning out high-end lids since 1981, and is now the largest producer of composite helmets in Europe. It brings 30 years of experience to bear with new designs for the U.S. market (check out the sleek, limited-edition VSR Carbon) now available through an exclusive agreement with Intersport Fashions West.

The composite lids are notable for their unusually light weight, high-tech-material design (many sport carbon-fiber shells, antifog coatings and frontal impact technology) and adherence to DOT and ECE-22.05 helmet safety certifications-a European standard internationally acknowledged as a premium benchmark by many racing organizations. Other benefits include cutting-edge aerodynamics, adjustable ventilation systems and a variety of shell sizes to better fit your cranium.

Call (888) 313-2510 or check www.vemar-usa.com for the whole product line and specifications.

Mad For Maintenance**
Are you all thumbs when it comes to wrenching? Wish you could keep your cruiser cranking and fix it when it fails? Fear not-your burning questions will now be answered (or at least addressed) by this new reference guide from our own technical editor, Mark Zimmerman. The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance shows you how to perform basic and essential maintenance tasks with more than 500 color photos and illustrations.

Veteran mechanic and author Zimmerman seems to make potentially complex situations manageable with this detailed look at bike system mechanics-he covers what maintenance is required, what tools you'll need and how to get started. The guide refers to all brands and styles of bikes, and includes hundreds of helpful tips for changing oil, brake pads and tires; adjusting your suspension; and lots more.

So whether you want to spin the wrenches yourself or just become a better-informed customer at your motorcycle service department, this 256-page user-friendly reference is sure to get you there with thumbs intact. The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance is published by White Horse Press and sells for approximately $30. More details are available at www.WhiteHorsePress.com.

The Pulse**
Last December, a South Dakota jury convicted Representative Bill Janklow of second-degree manslaughter, reckless driving, running a stop sign and speeding. Janklow's actions caused the death of Randy Scott, 55, a Harley-Davidson rider from Minnesota, in August 2003, when Janklow's speeding car collided with the motorcyclist at an intersection in eastern South Dakota after failing to stop. Janklow submitted a resignation letter indicating he would step down after his sentencing hearing.

Street motorcycles across the United States will be required to meet new strict emissions standards starting with '06 models, under rules recently released by the Environmental Protection Agency. The first tier of the national regulations will go into effect in '06 and a second tier will be implemented in '10. The new rules give small-volume manufacturers some leeway-those who build fewer than 3000 motorcycles a year and have fewer than 500 employees don't need to meet the first tier until '08.

Seattle-based Motion Research said it would soon begin selling an inexpensive information display system that could be attached to a motorcycle helmet. Recreational motorcyclists will be able to view data without taking their eyes off the road with the Sportvue display. A global positioning satellite receiver attached to the helmet gathers speed, rpm and gear data and uses a lens, mirror and liquid crystal display to give the illusion that info shown in the periphery of one eye is projected in the distance.

Motor Cycle News, Britain's leading motorcycle publication, has crowned the Harley-Davidson V-Rod "Cruiser of the Year" for the third year running. The still-futuristic V-Rod beat stiff competition from European and Japanese manufacturers to earn the coveted title. According to editor Adam Duckworth, cruiser builders' biggest goal is to knock out the sire of them all-Harley-Davidson. "Style, performance...the V-Rod has a winning combination in this category."

Movin' On Up**
Need to get your bike to an event, but aren't keen on the whole trailering thing? Just bought a new vehicle on eBay and need to have it shipped? Federal Motorcycle Transport might just be the answer.

Federal claims to have devised a safe, solid method of securing bikes and ATVs onto specially designed pallets. The strap-down system is said to provide better total protection for your pride and joy without encasing it in a dodgy crate-thereby saving you a buck or two in the process as well.

Here's how it works: Call the company or visit them online at www.funtransport.com. Federal will get back to you with shipping costs, insurance and transit-times information; storage is also available. The quote you'll receive will be based on the size of your bike, your originating zip code and your destination zip code. Inventory forms are then drawn up with the shipping request, and customers receive complete documentation.

Once you've scheduled a pickup time, drain your bike of all fluids (gas, oil) and empty your saddlebags and luggage. Federal asks that you get the levels as low as possible (using any type of siphoning device) in order to lighten the bike for shipping. Unlock your forks and make sure the bike's in neutral. Then it's time to load 'er up.

Loading ramps can be a risky way of transferring a bulky cruiser, so Federal uses lift gates that allow the cargo to stay completely still when moving from the ground to the truck. Once your bike is inside, it's loaded onto a specially designed pallet and strapped down solidly to several attachment points. What's more, your precious cargo is stowed in so-called "air ride trailers" that have extra suspension to absorb road vibration.

Federal Companies, along with Allied Worldwide Special Products Division, has developed this innovative and comprehensive uncrated transportation service especially for motorcycles and ATVs, and it's delivered more than 60,000 bikes in the last dozen years to points all over the country with it. Hmm. Might be just the thing next time we go to Alaska. Call (800) 747-4100 x217 or go to www.funtransport.com for more information.

Cobra Calendar**
March**
Daytona Beach Bike Week
February 27-March 7, 2004
Daytona Beach, FL

Yep, it's that time of the year again, when all things two-wheeled descend on a sleepy little beach town in Florida for 10 days of rolling thunder-in every form. The race schedule's changed a bit for 2004, so log on to www.bikeweek.com for all the updates.

International Motorcycle Show**
March 2-6, 2004
Daytona Beach, FL

This traveling roundup of the latest motorcycle products on the market runs in conjunction with Bike Week every year, so be sure to stop by for a quick look in between poker runs. More information and schedules can be had at www.motorcycleshows.com

Arizona Bike Week**
March 26-April 4, 2004
Scottsdale, AZ

Daytona's smaller West Coast cousin is guaranteed to please any hard-core rally rat. Bask in the dragraces, bike shows and nonstop parties going down under a warm desert sun. View a week's worth of details at www.azbikeweek.com

Donnie Smith Invitational Bike Show**
March 27-28, 2004
St. Paul, MN

A bike bonanza featuring more than 40 classes of custom, high performance and special interest motorcycles. You'll also find door prizes and a huge vendor's row full of major manufacturers, parts and accessories. For details, vendor and display information contact American Thunder Promotions at (952) 226-1180.

April**
Wyoming Motorcycle Show & Swap
April 3, 2004
Casper, WY

This regional antique and custom bike show and swap meet is also known as Chrome on the Range because it features vintage show bikes and vendors from across the Rockies and Great Plains. Surf over to www.chromeontherange.com for more details.

Laughlin River Run**
April 21-25, 2004
Laughlin, NV

We're always surprised at the desert heat, even in April, but don't let that stop you from taking in one of the West's biggest bike bashes. See www.laughlinriverrun.com for the inside scoop on the many scheduled events, or just call (800) 357-8223.
May
Myrtle Beach Spring Bike Week
May 7-16, 2004
Myrtle Beach, FL

Although this event has invited some controversy in past years, it's still one of the biggest biker events in the country. Visit www.myrtlebeachharley.com or call (843)369-5555 for more info.