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Common Tread

New Year's resolutions for 2019

Dec 31, 2018

Time to start with a clean calendar full of possibilities. As we do each year, we asked the Common Tread regulars, our contributors, friends of ZLA and a few others around the motorcycle industry what they resolved to do in 2019.

They’ve yet to build a motorcycle I can’t crash. • First day of riding the new @royalenfield #himalayan has been a blast, tomorrow we start filming. • The whole crew is down here in Texas for this one and @royalenfield_na has been kind enough to give us complete access to @texplexpark to have some fun ripping around on this bike. With over a thousand acres of dirt trails and tracks at our disposal, this should be a hoot. • Video by @brandon_lajoie • #madeitthefirsttime #gotcockythesecondtime #alwaysinfrontofthecamera #royalenfieldnorthamerica #comingtotheusa #comingtoamerica #adventuretime #adventuremotorcycle #adventuremototouring #adventuremoto #adventuremotorcycling #advrider #revzilla #ironandair #dualsport #dualsportlife #advlife #advlifestyle #dualsportadv #dualsportwomen #dualsportadventure @klimgear @klimmotorcycle @alpinestars @alpinestarsus @ride100percent @100percent_moto @scorpionexo

A post shared by Spurgeon Dunbar (@thefixxer) on

Spurgeon Dunbar, Common Tread's most versatile and most crash-prone test rider: I made a slew of resolutions last year, probably too many if I’m being honest. I then kicked off 2018 with a busted leg that kept me off a bike and hobbling around for nearly four months. So for 2019 I vow to make it through without breaking anything. And to that end I want to fill it with all of the riding and adventures I missed out on during those four months I lost in 2018. Let’s all raise our glass to a killer 2019.

Having built a monster minibike in 2018, Lemmy plans to work on his wheelies in 2019. Photo by Roy Kim.

Lemmy, Common Tread's self-proclaimed "moto moron": I'm on the hunt for a bicycle right now. (I've got a line on an OM Flyer.) I am going to improve at wheelies this year, and I'd like to start on a bicycle, because I never mastered that as a kid. I've been wearing out the clutch in a Grom, so hopefully 2019 is the year of High Noon. I'm also going to do my best to leave you all in the cold — stories may suffer because I had such a good time on my trips this year that I'm going to try to weasel more time off to take a few really high-mileage tours.

Roland Sands
Roland Sands. Photo by Lorenz Richard.
Roland Sands, national champion racer, custom builder, maker of cool gear, etc., etc.: This year, I vow to spend as much time as possible with my kids and lead by example. I’m gonna have them put down the phone and show them how to create with their minds and hands. I want to engage the electric bike segment in a meaningful way that touches the new generation, grow my relationship with our creator, and honor and appreciate the planet while conserving resources. I also am going to walk without a limp.

Mark Gardiner, Common Tread's only Isle of Man TT alumnus: I would love this to be the year that I finally buy a trials bike and learn how to ride it, or the year I tackle the Trans-America Trail, but given the expenses involved, I may have to switch those from my "bucket list" to my "fuck it list." Better to resolve something that has a hope of recovering its initial investment, so... I will finally write my book about the escape of the British Army team, who rode their motorcycles from Nazi-controlled Austria to the safety of neutral Switzerland when WWII broke out during the 1939 ISDT. I've written articles about it, based a screenplay on it, and compiled notes since the mid-1990s. Watch for "The Trophy" to finally be released in book form on the 80th anniversary of the event, this coming September.

Julia LaPalme
Julia LaPalme testing the Royal Enfield Interceptor. Royal Enfield photo.

Julia LaPalme, Common Tread contributing writer and photographer: I'm not usually one for making New Year's resolutions, but here are a few things I would like to do over the coming year: I would like to actually get out and ride for fun more often, not just work-related. I especially want to improve my off-road riding skills, which means I need to get my own dual-sport, and I want to do more moto camping trips. It's the best combination of two of my favorite activities; the main downside is not being able to bring my dog, Lucy. I have a few ideas for solving that, which may include some extra dog training and/or a sidecar. Either way, it's going to be an adventure!

Mike Lafferty, eight-time AMA national enduro champion: My 2019 goals are simple. I look forward to continue rocking the KTM Ride Orange Off-road and Street demos to create even more opportunities to get folks on our bikes. I expect to see a lot of interest in the 790 Adventure when it hits my fleet by early summer. I'm also starting the planning stage of putting on my own adventure ride in south Jersey around the end of April. So I guess my real resolution is to do whatever I can to get more people out and riding, especially off-road, which is my favorite way to ride.

Abhi Eswarappa, owner of Bike-urious and occasional enabler of Spurgeon's bad decisions: I have three. One, as usual, travel more on motorcycles, starting in Costa Rica as my girlfriend and I celebrate New Years with a BMW R 1200 GS from Elephant Moto. Two, restore a 1978 Kawasaki KZ650 I inherited from an old boss who helped get me into motorcycles. It's been sitting for the last decade and a half and as my close friends will attest, I'm not mechanically savvy. Bringing it back to life will not go well, but that's part of the fun, right? Third, bring back the Beater Olympics. Three years ago, with the help of several friends, I put on a goofy motorcycle event (see the video below). The idea was simple — show up with a bike that cost $500 or less and run it through a series of challenges: a slow race where competitors can throw Nerf balls at you, motorcycle limbo, a variant on the video game get the idea. Participants kept asking me when we could do it again but I just haven't had the time or resources to pull it off. Maybe 2019?

Lewis Kaplan, Common Tread's doc in residence: Learning how to do any wrenching on my bike without needing Lemmy to hold my hand while I do it (or do it for me)!

Joe Zito
Having done just about everything you can do on a motorcycle on his 1972 Triumph, Joe Zito bought a modern off-road bike for 2019. Photo by Brittany Thomas.

Joe Zito, ZLA man behind the scenes: First, after riding and racing my 1972 Triumph TR6 off-road for four years, I finally caved and bought a “real” dirt bike. I plan to ride my new KTM 250 XC-W in at least a couple of modern hare scrambles later in the riding season to see how my skills stack up against other racers. Second, I also plan on completing another Backcountry Discovery Route this year on my Tiger 800XC after successful completion of the MABDR this past summer. Third, a stretch goal is to build another 1960s Triumph chopper in “show and go” fashion. I have been collecting a ton of parts over the years and I have too much shit now. Time to build one more bike and off-load the piles of spares.

Andy Greaser, Common Tread's junior member and owner of some "gently used" motorcycles: 2019 is my year to focus on suspension. Looking around the garage, I’m realizing some springs ’n’ things are in need of a little TLC, and I’m guilty of putting off an upgrade or three because, well, it’s not like you need performance fork internals or a rebuilt rear shock to ride a motorcycle. But refreshing those components never fails to make a difference! By the end of 2019, I'd like to see even my junkiest junk bike get the suspension attention it deserves. If you haven't come up with a resolution other than “ride more,” consider setting your sights on a better riding experience.

Dylan Code
Dylan Code has lots of plans for 2019. California Superbike School photo.

Dylan Code, California Superbike School: For 2019 I plan to spend more time developing our "Confidence Builder" training program targeted at new riders who already know how to ride, but are not experienced enough to feel comfortable on the road and in traffic. Internationally, I aim to revamp our school's technical delivery in the other countries we visit by addressing foreign language translation challenges to elevate the learning experience. At home in the USA, I'll do my part assisting the United States Motorcycle Coaching Association with its goal of elevating rider training standards. For youth racing, I'll be lending any support I can to help get a spec mini roadracing class for kids created and eventually attached to some MotoAmerica rounds to help develop and expose talent at a young age. Finally, to ride the BMW HP4R as much as I can at the track before we have to return it!

Mitch Harvat
Ready to race. Photo provided by Mitch Harvat.
Mitch Harvat, American Flat Track Twins racer: This year I’m gonna be getting podium finishes and putting down more consistent laps. I’ll be attending more championship-based races and challenging myself to a be a better rider off-road and off the track.

Evan Yarnall, owner of Solid Performance KTM and suspension guru: Finally pick a KTM I can call my own personal bike. After seeing my trusty 2017 KTM 350 EXC pass to a worthy second owner, RevZilla facilities guru Jeff Kiniery, the myriad of bike choices has me stuck in the paralysis of analysis. Two-stoke versus four-stroke? Adventure versus EXC? Sure, it’s great to borrow a shop demo bike for any type of riding I want, but something is always missing for me when I can’t tweak it for my own likes and needs. I’ve crunched the data in my brain long enough, time to get a new personal steed. Then, ride more, whether street, track, enduro or around the backyard with my 2-year-old on an XR70. I’m ready for 2019 to be the year of the “Monkey Butt.”

Suzuki GN125
The GN125 in happier times. Photo by Lance Oliver.

And finally, Lance Oliver, yours truly: Sitting forlornly in a dark shed precisely 99 miles from my home garage is a Suzuki GN125. Monetarily, it's worth next to nothing. The battery has been dead beyond recovery for ages. The tiny carb is gummed up. The speedometer doesn't even bother guessing any more. I'm not sure how badly the front tire (the older one) is dry rotted. It was my mother's bike, and it gave her a lot of joy, but she had to give up riding it about five years ago. Late this year, I lost my father. All of that makes me feel like it's time to do something that feels positive, so I'm going to give the family inheritance new life and a new home in 2019. Get it back on the road, if only as my local runabout. I'm sure it will more than pay me back, in the form of 80 miles per gallon and its cheerful tiddler exhaust note, for whatever I may have to put into it to resurrect it.

From everyone at Common Tread and all of RevZilla, best wishes for a moto-spectacular 2019.