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False Neutral #13: Manx Dreams

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This week we focus first on visionary motorcycle designer and racer Michael Czysz, who passed away earlier this month. We then move on to discuss the legendary Manx TT. Many of Czysz’s achievements came on the island’s Snaefell Mountain Course on the Isle of Man. The 37.75 mile road course is home to the world’s oldest motorcycle race, dating back to 1907, and quite possibly the world’s most dangerous. Just weeks away from this year’s event, we delve into the Tourist Trophy’s storied history and unique stature, share a bit of Manx history, and discuss the effect of racing there over the years.

We don’t have bike photos for you this week, but here are few links related to this week’s conversation:


False Neutral – Manx Dreams

Classic Captions – 1962 Chevy Impala Wagon Edition

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After occupying this timeslot in the Hooniverse Monday morning schedule for nearly the past two years, Encyclopedia Hoonatica is being put on indefinite hiatus. Instead, I am resurrecting the much-loved Classic Captions series that was previously presented by former Hooniverse contributor Jim Brennan (aka UDMan). When our migration to the Disqus comment engine led to the Great Comment Massacre of ’15, Jim abruptly chose to retire the series after 164 fun-filled posts. Well, enough time has passed that I’ve decided to pick up the Classic Captions mantle and start anew. Encyclopedia Hoonatica may return as a regularly-scheduled feature at some point in the future. Or, it may not. (We’re here to cater to your motortainment needs and wants, so feel free to share your opinion on this change below.)

If you don’t know how the Hooniverse Classic Caption Contest works, each week I will feature an image that was once used in automotive print advertising, dealer displays, or brochures. It is your job to provide a humorous caption in the comments section that is some how tied in with the image. The following week, I will declare a winning comment, based on comment upvote totals — or perhaps my own totally inexplicable disregard for public opinion, if I should feel particularly arbitrary and dictatorial on a given week.

Since many of you are new to this, and even the long-time regulars are probably feeling a bit rusty, this week I’ve chosen an illustration of a 1962 Chevrolet Impala station wagon parked on a snow-covered shore and surrounded by SCUBA-equipped divers. It’s a slightly absurd choice for a car ad, and such an unusual scenario that some clever reactions should quickly come to mind.

False Neutral #12: Best Bikes For Your Buck, Part 2

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In this continuation of last week’s sesson, we talk about what good (and not so good) values are to be found at the high end of the motorcycle market, both new and used. Our picks encompass standard street bikes, adventure (and faux adventure) bikes, sport tourers and even three-wheelers, somewhat unexpectedly nominated not by Spyder owner Pete but by Garrett.


False Neutral – The Best Bikes For Your Buck, Part 2

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The Suzuki Kizashi One Year On: Still Honeymooning

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One year ago today, I took delivery of my 2011 Suzuki Kizashi GTS Sport 6-speed. It was a somewhat obscure and esoteric choice, especially since Suzuki had stopped importing automobiles to the United States. I did have a tiny bit of trepidation about what ownership would entail, but I also felt strongly that this was the right car for me. Fortunately, our first year together has been nothing but enjoyable. Nope, it’s not perfect. No car is, however, and this one is damn good — good enough to still put a smile on my face every time climb in and start the engine.

Okay, let’s be realistic. Nobody is going to go from a V12 Vantage to the Kizashi and be impressed. Likewise, if you’re used to Porsches or even Acuras, Suzuki’s flagship will seem exceedingly ordinary. But consider that I purchased my rare-as-unicorn-poop 6MT in damn-near showroom condition with less than 28,000 miles on the clock for under $12,000 OTD. When you consider the other options for a reliable daily driver available in that price range, the bang for the buck makes this car impressive.

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Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Faux Asymmetric Wheels

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One of the fancier options common on upmarket car models are asymmetric or “directional” wheels. These usually have some sort of angled “vane” or “turbine” spokes that ostensibly function to extract hot air from around the brake rotor. (Whether they are functionally effective in practice is an unending topic of forum flame wars lively debate.) TRUE asymmetric/directional wheels have mirror-image castings for the right and left, because the wheels on one side of the car rotate opposite the other.

This trick, however, causes some hassles. Not only is there the added cost of two castings, there is the logistical hurdle of two different part numbers in the pipeline, and extra maintenance attention when replacing a damaged rim, installing new tires, or simply rotating tires.

For all those reasons, OEM’s are sometimes tempted to take the quick-and-dirty step of simply using one interchangeable casting for all four wheels, allowing one side of the car to drive on “backwards” wheels. Some folks never notice it, and others go into an OCD rage over it. And thanks to a great suggestion by Sjalabais, that’s your Hoonatian topic for today.

The Caveats (there are always caveats):

  • Original equipment only. No aftermarket wheels, please.
  • Concept cars, prototypes, limited editions, homologation specials, and race cars are fair game as long as they were produced by a major manufacturer or a widely known automotive design house/coachbuilder.
  • Trucks, both light and heavy-duty, are allowed, as long as they are road-legal. No construction machinery, mining equipment, snowmobiles, tractors or lawn mowers.
  • Motorcycles—how would that work?
  • Airplanes and boats: Alright, sure. If you can successfully go there today, I’ll be damned impressed.

Difficulty: Two tokens (unless you’ve purchased the ride-all-day wristband).

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates! Bonus points for adding photos.

False Neutral #11: Best Bikes For Your Buck, Part 1

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We’ve previously talked about the bikes we like most, but not every good bike is attractively priced in comparison to its worth or the competition. Everybody wants to get a deal, so this week we explore which bikes are the best value (and which ones aren’t). This week in Part One, we concentrate on the low-end of the market, around $8,000 or less, whether buying new or used.


False Neutral – The Best Bang For Your Buck, Part 1

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Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Motor Vehicle Manufacturers with Aviation Connections

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In the responses to last Friday’s Hooniverse Asks, several of you brought up aircraft or aircraft engines built by automotive manufacturers. Today, I’d like to start our week by exploring this connection further. Let’s list all the automotive-aviation connections we can.

The Caveats (there are always caveats):

  • Engines, airframes, avionics, and all other airborne products and components are all good, but they must all be from a manufacturer that is/was a producer of complete automobiles, trucks or motorcycles in-house, rather than the other way around (i.e., an aircraft manufacturer who made components of some sort for cars).
  • Concept cars, prototypes and race cars are are acceptable, but not third-party customs.
  • Trucks, both light and heavy-duty, are allowed, as long as they are road-legal. No construction machinery, mining equipment, snowmobiles, tractors or lawn mowers.

Difficulty: 1080 micro-farads per feet per second per point of contact.

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates! Bonus points for adding photos.

Image Sources: airlinereporter.com & wikipedia.org.

False Neutral #10: Gettin’ Dirty

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After Garrett gives us some MotoGP and Sportster Roadster news, dirt bikes and off-road riding is our topic this week. We discuss our dirt bike riding experiences (of which Garrett has many; Eric and I not so much), two-strokes v. four-strokes, motocross v. trail riding, dirt experiences for everyone from novices to trials wizards, having fun on mini-bikes (including drifting a pair 60cc four-wheel ATVs on concrete), where to ride, and off-road adventure tours.

The video I was trying to think of was KTM factory rider Jonny Walker riding The Red Bull Romaniacs Prologue. The Bultaco Pursang desert ride video I mention is here.

CORRECTION: At one point I incorrectly refer to legendary trials rider and author Don Smith as “Mick Walker.” This is an understandable mistake because those names are not at all similar and Mr. Walker had no connection to observed trials that I know of.


False Neutral – Gettin’ Dirty

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Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Center-Mounted Headlights

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Mounting a headlight along the center-line of the vehicle is one of those recurrent ideas that seem offer plausible advantages with a minimum of technical difficulty, but for some reason simply don’t become popular, either with the public or with designers. But there have been a number of production cars that have tried it, and they are subject of our encyclopedia entry for today. We want your help compiling a list of all the cars with a center-mounted headlight.

The Caveats (there are always caveats):

  • Single-headlight cyclopes or third-eye overachievers are both allowable.
  • “Headlight” means “headlight.” It can be auxiliary in nature, but it must be something intended primarily to provide forward illumination, not just a marker/position light or glowing hood ornament.
  • Likewise, it needs to be conspicuously in the center of the vehicle: in other words, lighty-uppy stuff that’s only vaguely centralized and multiple element light bars that uniformly traverse the whole front of the vehicle don’t count, even if there is technically a point of illumination along the center-line.
  • Production cars only. No concept cars, one-offs, customs or race cars.
  • Original equipment only. No aftermarket accessories.
  • Trucks, both light and heavy-duty, are allowed, as long as they are road-legal. No construction machinery, mining equipment, or lawn mowers.
  • As far as motorcycles go, you know that chuckle-then-slap animated GIF? It’s just waiting for YOU, pal.

Difficulty: Medium Rare. For some of you, the low-hanging fruit on this one is already out of reach.

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates! Bonus points for adding photos.

Image Sources: wikipedia.org & bbc.com.

False Neutral #9: Bikes We Love, Part 2

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In this two-episode discussion of the bikes we love, we challenge each other to name our favorite bikes in a number of categories. In Part Two, Our conversation continues as each of us names the bike we most dearly love despite not wanting to own personally, and then talk about what we think are the best bikes to come on the market in the last couple of years.

Leave us a question or note telling us what you like or don’t like about the podcast, and please rate and review us on iTunes.


False Neutral – The Bikes We Love, Part 2

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