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Spring is here. The sun is slowly warming the earth and the snow is melting fast. It’s time to get your ride out of storage, tuned up and on the road, and grab some refresher lessons. Great riders never stop learning. But maybe you don’t have your license yet, and you’re not sure if this is the year you take the plunge. Maybe you’re content to sit on the sidelines and watch your friends head out on their bikes for heaps of adventure and thrill seeking, always putting it off until next season because…what’s the point? You can’t get your license and go on the epic trips with them in one season anyway – or can you?
Maybe this is the year you finally jump in. Because, the truth is, you can learn to ride and join your friends on those epic road trips all in the space of one season. With the proper training, some easy day trips, and maybe even a day or two on the dirt trails, you could even attempt an epic, multi-day road trip – all in the space of one short season.
Tires are, arguably, the most significant factor affecting your safety on a motorcycle. We trust both our shiny, expensive machinery and our lives to what, when you really consider it, are two impossibly small contact patches with the pavement. Modern tire performance in wet or cold or dirty or hot conditions with rapidly changing forces (acceleration, deceleration, cornering, braking, and bump absorption) is nothing short of amazing. While much of the moto-press’ attentions are focused on increased engine output or the expanding role electronics are playing in riding, the unsung advances in motorcycle tires over the past decade have been astounding. There are sport touring tires with performance that was once reserved for racing rubber. Wet weather riding need not be the worrying task it was in the past. Heavy touring bikes and cruisers achieve mileage out of a set of tires that is hard to fathom.
What do you want? There are a million greasy spoon biker hangouts in North America and it’s my job to come up with the Ten Best. The chances of me getting this right are roughly equivalent to W. Bush making new friends at an ISIS bar mitzvah, of me winning the Czech GP on a Vespa, of Mitch McConnell posting selfies from a Crossfit gym. Mine not to reason why…
I can personally vouch for the California entries, but for most of the rest of them I solicited input from friends scattered around this great continent of ours, so graciously stocked for our dining pleasure with the tastiest flora and fauna in the galaxy. Let’s start out in Malibu and work our way around roughly clockwise… (I wonder why there is no place there called 'Malibu Barbie-que'?)