More computer searching turns up an article that was an article written in 2001 about sportbikes titles, Rocket Ride, in which they quote me as a guru of sportbikes.  OK, guru of sportbikes is my terminology :)  Check it out for yourself...  The Augusta Chronicle


Originally created 08/19/01


Rocket ride

By Staff Writer

When Don Holmes of Clearwater pulls into a gas station, or goes to a restaurant, or sometimes when he's just sitting at a traffic light, strangers strike up a conversation.


It's not his winning smile that attracts them. It's his motorcycle - a sleek black Suzuki GSX-R1100 with a 150-horsepower engine. With the twist of the throttle, Mr. Holmes can go from 0 to 100 mph in five seconds.

That's the power of sportbikes - motorcycles that are so sleek and flashy they've earned the nickname "crotch rockets."

"I got this bike for the look, and it has a little more power," Mr. Holmes said. "And it's an attention grabber."

Sport-style motorcycles turn heads with their bright plastic bodies in metallic yellow, lime green and lightning blue. Designed like racing bikes, sportbikes are aerodynamic and typically more powerful than regular cruisers. Their horsepower ranges from 115 to 160. Most cruiser motorcycles are 110 horsepower or less.

"Power-wise, there's just no comparison," said David Heath, general manager of Street & Trail Motorsports in Evans.

Most of the sportbikes seen on the streets of Augusta are Japanese models, such as Suzuki, Kawasaki or Honda.

"You're going to see more of these Japanese bikes because they are less expensive," Mr. Heath said. Prices range from $2,995 to $11,900.

European bikes tend to be more expensive, although some can be had for close to $6,000. Tom Clancy, owner of Augusta Triumph, a European motorcycle dealership, sells models by Triumph and Ducati that range from $6,200 to $32,000.

Why so expensive?

"Most European companies are still small, and their brands are still made by hand to a certain extent," Mr. Clancy said.

In addition to looks, sportbike buyers are satisfying a need for speed.

"Sportbikers are just the performance-oriented guys on two wheels, similar to the muscle-car drivers of the '50s," said Mike DiSabatino, president of the Sportbike Riders' Association, based in Camarillo, Calif.

Sportbikes are the Camaros or Corvettes of the motorcycle world, Mr. DiSabatino said.

Sportbikes are growing in popularity, according to Mr. DiSabatino, who says sales increase 10 percent a year. The growth of his association further illustrates the trend, he says. Founded in 1997, it has more than 10,000 members today.

Members of the Sportbike Association get discounts on parts, accessories and track fees, as well as information about organized runs, charity rides and track rentals.

The average motorist might say a sportbike rider is a young, reckless male, but Mr. DiSabatino said he's finding that older, educated people with high incomes are riding them.

That matches the demographic profile of Georgia motorcycle owners.

Records from the Motorcycle Safety Office in the Georgia Department of Public Safety show that the bulk of licensed motorcycle operators are 35 or older. According to motorcycle-license records for December 2000, the most recent figures available, 39,889 motorcycle drivers are younger than 35, and 118,690 are between 35 and 50.

And that number includes women riders.

Chad Burns, senior training officer at the Motorcycle Safety Office in Atlanta, said that 40 percent to 60 percent of the students in his training classes are women.

"And have been for years," he said.

Vanessa Giesber of Augusta learned how to ride a sportbike last summer. The -year-old plans to take a training class before buying her own bike.

"Part of riding is knowing that you have to be in control," she said. "You have to balance confidence with caution."

Right now she's content to sit on the back of her boyfriend's bike and hang on tight.

"It gets us out of the car and into the fresh air," she said.

Her boyfriend, 21-year-old Micah Hand of Augusta, says riding just brings together people who share a passion for the road.

"It's like a brotherhood," he said.

Whether with longtime friends or new-found riding buddies, Mr. Hand said anytime the weather is good he goes out in search of back roads with few stops and no traffic.

Some weekends, when he craves speed, he takes his Yamaha YZF-R1 to a track. Events called track days are sponsored by sportbike associations or clubs that reserve racetracks for motorcycle riders. The closest tracks to Augusta are in Savannah and Braselton, Ga. The Northeast Sportbike Association sponsors track days all over the eastern United States. For information, visit the Web site www.nesba.com..

Mr. Hand loves speeding around the track at 115 mph.

"I think, 'This is the coolest thing ever,"' he says. "My next thought is, 'Can I make it around this turn faster next time?"'

After a day at the track, Mr. Hand said, he isn't tempted to drive fast in normal traffic. He proudly said he's never had a speeding ticket on his bike.

"The road is anticlimactic," he said.

There are others who don't practice that restraint. Mr. Hand and Ms. Giesber say they try to keep their distance from sportbikers who drive recklessly. They've witnessed bikers engaging in dangerous shenanigans, such as "splitting lanes" - driving on the yellow dividing line between cars.

"I'm good at doing wheelies, but there is a time and a place," Mr. Hand said.

For more information about sportbike rides in this area, contact the following organizations:

Sportbike Riders' Association, (888) 837-2453, www.sportbikes.com

Georgia Sportbike Association, (404) 861-2020, www.georgiasportbike.com

Northeast Sportbike Association, (877) 286-3722, www.nesba.com

Reach Lisa M. Lohr at (706) 823-3332 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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