Friday, April 12, 2024

Baxter Cycle creates the Shotgun 350

Baxter Cycle custom Shotgun 350.
Here's a Royal Enfield you've never seen before.

 Baxter Custom Works, the "dreams fulfilled" side of Baxter Cycle in far-off Marne, Iowa, has done it again. This time they've created a Royal Enfield Shotgun 350, a motorcycle that otherwise doesn't exist. 

Oh, you could just buy a Shotgun 650 at Baxter Cycle. 

But 20 years from now a stock Shotgun 650 is not going to cause any arguments in the roadhouse parking lot. 

Leave that to this Shotgun 350. 

"We added some wide tracker bars, 17-inch wheels off a Hunter, a Classic 350 black exhaust with that killer old-school muffler, YSS black aluminum rear shocks, Diablo fork gaiters, a Royal Enfield tinted fly screen, some Royal Enfield bar-end mirrors and gave it a solo seat," Baxter explains.

Unspoken is that Baxter started with a used 2021 Meteor 350 (only 700 miles, with its first valve service already done). Asking price is $3,999 before taxes and etc. In contrast, Baxter's price for a new Shotgun 650 is $6,899 before taxes and etc.

Stock Royal Enfield Shotgun 650.
The 2024 Shotgun 650 twin.

Of course, if you wait long enough, Royal Enfield itself probably will build something like Baxter's creation.

It has occurred to everyone by now that the company is seemingly out to build each of its motorcycle platforms with custom colors, accessories and styles and then multiply those iterations by inserting into each its various twin and single-cylinder motors.

I'm personally anxious to see the (coming soon) Classic 350 combined with the sweet 650 twin of the Interceptor. It's only a matter of time, I'm sure.

Impatient? Go ahead: build your own. Royal Enfield invites you to do it. In fact, Royal Enfield suggests you use the Shotgun 650 as your inspiration.

"A Century of pure motorcycling DNA collided with the anarchic spirit of custom culture and a shapeshifting mutant was born: Shotgun 650. Inspired by Custom. For Custom," its website says

"The Shotgun 650 "draws from the culture of customization, offering a canvas for self-expression for builders and beginners."

Baxter Customs apparently took that to heart.

Baxter Cycle custom Shotgun 350.
But wait... it is... isn't it? Did they ever make one...?

Friday, April 5, 2024

Riders: NO, we don't enjoy your music

 I have always referred to this blog as offering "cheerful news about Royal Enfield motorcycles."

But, sometimes, I just have to get something uncheerful off my chest.

I am about to dump on motorcyclists (never on Royal Enfields) who blast loud music through handlebar speakers as they rumble through cities.

It's often just the edge of bearable that these bikes also feature loud exhausts. Nonriders are at least used to loud pipes. Some like them, some don't. Some accept the argument that they're a safety feature and put up with their sound.

Exhaust noise is an element of internal combustion motorcycling. It has to be controlled to some extent, and that extent is partly a matter of taste, partly a matter of law.

If you're in a situation where you feel you need loud music to warn pedestrians that you are coming, well, then, go ahead, dial it up. Use it as you would a siren: if it's called for.

To carelessly and needlessly foist one's own personal taste in music, at high volume, on pedestrians, is just unkind. Inconsiderate. And unnecessary.

Is that the way your mother raised you?

The chances that anyone wants to enjoy a snippet of your favorite tune at the noise level of a leaf blower are zero.

Frankly, and even I hesitate to say this: blasting unwelcome "music" at others is something the driver of an automobile would do. Yes, it's that despicable.

Let me ask you this question: Honestly. Is there ANY OTHER WAY than this to effectively make motorcycles less welcome in the city? I can't think of one. (Maybe riding on the sidewalks?)

To be reasonable, yes, it's only music.

Music is not a jack hammer, an urban sound we accept with a shrug. It is not the back-up beeper of a garbage truck, a noise that is intentionally irritating.

So what's the big deal? Motorcycling is not, to say the least, intrinsically about being polite. It is a legal activity that is pleasing to the rider on many levels and, hopefully, only mildly intolerable to everyone else.

Motorcycling includes being seen and being heard. Even the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride is fundamentally a chance to show off, albeit for a good cause.

On the other hand, listeners know that your sound system comes with a handy volume control. 

Jackhammers do not.

You could easily be considerate, with a poke of your finger. It's the fact that you instead choose to impose that irritates.

You not only impose on our patience, you revel in doing so. If our situation was reversed, and I was instead subjecting you without cause to, say, my childish attempt to learn to play the French horn, you'd be annoyed, I guarantee it.

That's all it is: an uncalled for annoyance.

So why would you do it?

Partly for the pleasure of hearing your favorite music. Rolling along, it sounds to you like your theme song. There are great driving songs.

I realize that earphones are not the answer, and are not even legal in many states (here is a great state-by-state guide by the Motorcycle Legal Foundation).

The only answer is to be considerate. In the city turn off the music, or moderate it if you can still enjoy it at reduced volume.

Know that I do not hate you. I don't even dislike YOU. It's the experience I dislike.

I am not going to suggest that riders who blare music in the city be ticketed for noise pollution. The choice is up to you.

But be reasonable. You have a nice bike, an expensive bike. You're wearing good gear, and  you look like you know how to ride.

Don't turn yourself into a cheap boombox.

Follow royalenfields on Twitter