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Mana in the Springtime

File this one under: Cool Motorcycles Americans Won’t Buy

A couple of years ago I took a spin on a motorcycle called an Aprilia Mana. It’s an 850cc V-twin that looks like a spiffy sort of bike- no fairings or leather tassels. Just a sit-upright standard with tons of storage and a comfortable seat.

I enjoyed the heck out of it. Brad even wrote a very favorable ride review of the Aprilia Mana. But– there’s a very big but…

It doesn’t have a shifter.

Omigod! That’s right. The Mana uses a constantly variable transmission (CVT) which in layman’s terms means “automatic.” And there’s no quicker way to emasculate the average motorcycle riding dude than to suggest he ride a motorcycle with an automatic. So this perfectly capable bike, dare I say versatile, sits in dealer showrooms across this country unwanted.

So the Mana will join the ranks of fine motorcycles, like the Honda Transalp and the Yamaha TDM 850, that have landed on our shores and promptly flopped.

But the good news is if you’re looking for a deal on a brand new motorcycle with a full warranty, you’re in luck.  Aprilia is offering 2009 Manas for damn near half the original sticker. For details visit our local Aprilia dealer: Brookside Motorcycle Company.

 

Buy a brand new motorcycle for nearly half price.

Common Threads: What’s in it for me?

Sometimes nothing can be a very real something.

Patagonia is a well known maker of outdoor gear and clothing. They’re also renowned for their commitment to making products from sustainable materials and keeping the cast-offs out of landfills. To further the latter goal company executives recently launched a new section of their website devoted to used clothing. The storefront is connected to eBay auctions and displays Patgonia items posted by individual sellers.

Used gear is displayed alongside their own online store. Yet they derive no revenue from customers who opt for a pre-owned hoodie instead of a new one.

So what’s in it for Patagonia?

Not a thing. Well, not money anyway.

The program is part of Common Threads- a campaign that encourages customers to respect their Patagonia products, repair them if possible and recycle the old ones instead of just tossing them out. Conventional wisdom would dictate such antics would cannibalize sales. For Patagonia the effort is an exercise in building brand loyalty.

So far it appears to be working. In the first 3 months after rolling out the eBay portal for used clothing over 25,000 visitors had signed up for the Common Threads campaign.

Used Patgonia Gear powered by eBay

 

Save Sixty Years

As you enter Oklahoma on I-44 in the northeastern corner of our state you pass a sign. It’s an official highways sign, but it’s really an advertisement. It’s an advertisement for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority touting the benefits of traveling the Will Rogers Turnpike. It shows an I-44 marker and says something like “save two hours, follow this sign.”

Follow this sign, save sixty years.
Why not "advertise" our culture instead of our turnpikes?

Many years ago I imagined a similar sign that should be posted along that same stretch of highway. I sketched it on a long-forgotten paper device known as a “sketchbook.” I recently created the digital version you see here.

I was prompted to share this after reading a Tulsa World article about a new task force dedicated to helping Tulsa promote its Route 66 history. I wrote a short article about the topic for our Two Wheel Oklahoma blog:

Task Force Promotes Route 66 in Tulsa

Oklahoma has more miles of Route 66 than any other state and Tulsa has lagged in her efforts to market this rich history. I hope this endeavor gains traction.