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June 2011 Vol 11-1 PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 23 May 2011 18:57
Article Index
June 2011 Vol 11-1
Motorcycle Diaries: Hop & Malt (part one)
Tech Talk: Proud or Loud?
Globalizer: Wheels go for Wings in Brazil
Pic of the Month: Lover-boy, beware
All Pages



Editor’s Letter: Things we remember


Hello everyone.

It’s been quite a while since we met on the pages of Star Cruiser. Personal matters, new job with even more responsibilities kept me away from my duties with the SC. It would be sort of perky to expect you’ve missed me, but I can tell you I’ve missed you.


Well, the good part is that I’m back with a bunch of tales and stories to share. I’ve done a lot of travelling over the past several months, both on bikes and commercial airplanes, on business or desperately trying to get away from any business. But regardless of the purpose or way of travelling, all those trips left me with mostly good memories. You know just as I do, that trips are never completely flawless. There’s cold, heat or rain, accidents and may other problems we face on our way. But when the journey is over, we see that everything was just the way it was supposed to be. Is this just a peculiar twist of mind? Or is it the way we humans are made? And I wonder if it feels the same when your life comes to its final destination. Some riders say that a trip, especially a solo bike trip, is a life in miniature. If they are right, we all have a hope to see our lives from the right spot someday: a beautiful intricate pattern rather than meaningless routine zigzags we are used to…


Have a good and safe trip!

Sincerely yours,




Motorcycle Diaries: Hop & Malt (part one)

One rider + one bike + 20 days = 10 countries and 6,000+ miles


I started off from home on July 15, 2010 with a firm intention to do some glorious business. I decided to visit two bike fests, to take part in a rally and to visit the Isle of Islay (where my favorite whiskey comes from) and, finally, to complete the SaddleSore 1000 Iron Butt run. MaBP, a member of Star Riders Russia, acted as a witness for the start of my ride. This is the first day of my ride.


No bike trip from Moscow to Europe comes without a traditional photo near this bison figure in Belarus


The road is smooth and the weather is fine, so it took me just 12 hours to cover 1100 kms from Moscow to the border of Poland. Then things became worse: narrow roads, lots of trucks and severe speed limits. So the next 600 kms lasted for 13 hours! It was a 2,200-km-long way from Moscow to Evendorf, where Star Riders Germany celebrated their 10-year anniversary. On the way there I found witnesses for the end of my IronButt ride. I told about those great and helpful riders in the previous issue of Star Cruiser. Without them my SS1000 ride would not have been completed. Then I thought there was no reason to stop, so I went all the way to Evendorf. 2,200 kms in 30 hours non-stop – that is my personal record for the moment. By the end of this trip I thought I was not really sane after all J. In Evendorf I was met by my old buddies from Star Riders Estonia. Guess I was a pretty sorry sight, because the guys nicknamed me Ghost Rider the moment they saw me. Immediately after that they handed me some beer to cheer me up. Halleluiah! The hardest part of the trip was over.


Several hundred bikes attending a fest in Evendorf, Germany


Representatives of all 14 Star clubs that attended the meeting


On Sunday morning I said goodbye to my friends and took off for my next destination – the United Kingdom. I crossed Germany, part of Belgium and Netherlands and by dusk arrived to Calais, a port in Northern France. Here I boarded a train to cross the English Channel in a mere 35 minutes.


Travelers say train is the best way to cross the Channel. Ferries take much more time and hassle


I had some experience with “left-side” traffic in India: it is the same as is Britain. But when I first saw a big truck approaching me on the “wrong” lane in the dark… I have to admit I was close to soiling my pants! And it took me almost the whole next day to get used to the new rules. But finally I was fine and could even spare some attention on sightseeing.


The famous chalk cliffs near Dover, South-East England


LeedsCastle in Maidstone, Kent


After spending some time with my friends in Bristol, I went towards Glasgow. As I rode further north, the weather got worse and worse. The next morning I rushed to Kennacraig to catch a ferry (it was a real last-minute boarding) for Islay. It was a cold and rainy day. But when the emerald shores of Islay came out of the ocean mist, I just knew it was worth it…


Islay: the first encounter…


Islayis the island of whiskey breweries. Typical Islay scotch has a very strong taste of peat: the water used in the process flows across peat bogs and the malt is roasted with peat used as fuel. I stayed at the Old Excise House, a cute B&B on the shore near the two famous breweries: Lagavulin and Laphroaig. I would like to thank Ron and Emma, the house owners and keepers for their hospitality and help. Guys, you made my stay at Islay one of the best vacations ever…


Thank you, Ron and Emma! www.theoldexcisehouse.com


Next day the weather was beautiful again, so I went to visit the holy site, where my favorite Laphroaig whiskey is brewed.




Blessed place, huh? J


There’s a tradition for Laphroaig lovers to leave little flags of their home countries of the field near the brewery. Alas, there was no Russian flag at hand, but I had the flag of Star Riders Russia:



Then I had some more time (although too little) to enjoy the beauty of Islay…


…A place where fields are green…


…Where churches are so close to heaven…


…And where the ocean breathes like a sleeping giant.


To be continued in the next issue of the Star Cruiser!



Tech Talk: Proud or Loud?

Seems like I finally found a compromise between the two


“Ride proud, not loud”, “Loud pipes save lives”… Every motorcycle rider is familiar with these sayings. And at some point every rider has to choose which side he or she belongs to. As for me, I’ve always been somewhere between – and in doubt. Each V-Star 1100 owner knows that stock pipes are virtually silent. When a stock V-Star passes by, all you can hear is a sound of a sewing machine, right? But when you are on the bike, you hear all sorts of sounds: ticking, clicking, whining or even roaring at high revs. This cacophony was not exactly what I expected from a cruiser bike. So one of the first things I bought for my scoot was a set of Cobra Speedster Long pipes. If you have ever seen and heard them, you know it’s a beauty and a beast – all in one. It looks like a beauty, but it’s a nasty beast when in comes to sound. The good part of it is power gain. It looks like a two-in-two system, but works like a two-in-one. So, being paired with a MaxAir Predator Pro kit it increased the maximum power of my bike from 39 hp to 62 hp*! Another good part was that car drivers heard me coming and I didn’t hear the noise of the engine anymore. But the bad part was that after a 700-mile trip I couldn’t hear anything at all for a day or two. Something had to be done. So I set down to surf the Net looking for a solution.


What I found was a set of 24” Cobra Quiet Core Baffles for about $30 each. Unlike the regular straight-through baffles, which come with Cobra pipes, these new baffles have three internal sections. Also, I got a set of 2.25” Hard Kore Quiet Baffles for another $70. They are inserted in the pipes from the rear and are basically restrictors, reducing the diameter of the pipe’s exhaust ports by about 40% (that’s my estimate, not an exact figure). Cobra Quiet Core Baffles came in first, reducing the sound just marginally, but eating up about 5 hp of power. I wasn’t happy with that, so there came the Hard Kore Quiet Baffles too. Peak power dropped to a mere 49 hp (but still 10 hp over stock), but the sound – Bingo! – was just what I wanted. That was a real cruiser-style low-frequency rumble. I know you can never have too much power, but I am a traveler rather than a drag racer. So I never really regretted loosing those 13 hp. The engine’s response is now smoother and I can rev up to 100 mph and still have some reserve on the throttle. The sound is still louder than stock, enough for car drivers to notice me. But the ear-splitting roar is now gone. By now I rode over 60,000 miles on my V-Star, most of them long-haul trips, using the exhaust setup I just described. Well, I can still enjoy music and I talk to people without asking them “what did you say” all the time. So I guess I found a compromise between proud, loud and life-saving tone of my pipes.


* All power measurements mentioned herein are courtesy of Multipass Moto workshop in Moscow, Russia. All power measurements were made at the rear wheel using a DynoJet dynamometer.



Globalizer: Wheels go for Wings in Brazil

Domingo Aéreo in Pirassununga – August 1, 2010

By Tiago Feliziani,

President, São Paulo Star Riders of the ISRA

ISRA #31178


Those who like motorcycles also enjoy freedom, beautiful days, nice weather and blue skies – as well as those who love airplanes. Therefore, the Constellation São Paulo Star Riders of the ISRA, in the company of friends in DOGs and TRAVELLERS, was to confer the greatest show on the air in Brazil: the Air on Sunday in AFA - Air Force Academy in Pirassununga, a town 180 km from São Paulo. This great event is tradition and attracts thousands of spectators who, even under a blazing sun, spend the day seeing the amazing attractions of Sunday Airline, as fighters, vintage aircrafts, Smoke Squadron with crazy stunts and more.


We left São Paulo on Saturday, July 31, heading inside to meet friends on the road.



There were several stops before arriving in Araras, a town just 40 km from Pirassununga. On the evening of Saturday, we went to a fellowship with the TRAVELLERS, dear friends of the road.



At night, back to the hotel because we had to wake up very early on Sunday to follow up Pirassununga.



Sunday morning: time to meet friends, and together our trip to Air Sunday. There were over 100 bikes on the road together, with support from the police as an escort.




The big event:




We even have a video, filmed, edited and directed by and starring L. Benini Gustavo "Maceió", escaping the air strike. Check out:




Check out some more pictures from Sunday on Air Pirassununga.









Motorcycles and airplanes, a single passion: freedom…



Pic of the Month: Lover-boy, beware

Why it is wise not to economize on rubber


Everyone knows riding a motorcycle can be unsafe. But sometimes and in some places it is unsafe in more ways than you would normally expect. Like most emerging countries, Uganda has thousands of motorcycle taxis. A 125-cm3 bike, like the one in this picture, can be a decent source of income, especially in bigger cities. But it also can be a source of risk to it’s driver’s health. HIV has been one of the country’s biggest problems. It already claimed about 1 million lives in Uganda, about 90,000 each year. Another 1 million people (out of the total 34-million population) are infected with the deadly disease. I got these stunning figures during an interview with Dr. Alex Coutinho, executive director of Kampala-based Infectious Disease Institute. The most obvious high-risk group is sex workers, with about 35% of them infected with HIV. The surprising thing for me was that motorcycle taxi drivers along with fishermen, have an even higher infection rate – 40%! Dr. Coutinho explained that the highest risk is typical for professions with relatively high income combined with high mobility. On-the-go lifestyle keeps motorcycle taxi drivers and fishermen away from their homes and spouses for long periods of time. Being away from home and having some money jingling in their pockets, these people are perfect clients for sex industry – and perfect victims for HIV. There’s an old joke saying that a real biker should be generous when it comes to rubber, be it tires or condoms. After my visit to Uganda last autumn, this joke doesn’t sound funny to me anymore.


A playfully decorated Bajaj bike in Ikanga District, Uganda


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