The Review Garage

Rating the best and worst in cars, SUVs, trucks, motorcycles, tools and accessories.



Motorcycles and Music

By Jason Fogelson

I listen while I ride.

Purist bikers often brag that they never listen to music, podcasts or radio while they ride. The roar of the wind, the song of the engine — that’s their music.

I like to create my own soundtrack for my ride. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I often sing along while I cruise down the road. I don’t need to know the words. I don’t worry about being on key. I just sing my heart out, and I sound great inside my helmet.

I’ve even experimented with Tuvan Throat Singing and I think I can actually do a little bit of Polyphonic Overtone Singing. You can’t practice this anywhere else other than inside your motorcycle helmet, because you’ll drive everyone around you insane. Trust me on this one.

I wrote about Motorcycles and Music for Best Western’s travel blog. Take a look, and you’ll find my list of top 25 motorcycle riding tunes.



Sturgis and Home Again

by Jason Fogelson

So, I finally did make it to Sturgis. I’ve had it on my wish list for almost two decades, and one thing or another has always kept me from getting there.

In case you don’t know, “Sturgis” is what motorcyclists call the Black Hills Motorcycle Rally, which just happened for the 76th time in and around Sturgis, South Dakota. Every August, bikers converge on the tiny town for a week of riding, drinking, eating, shopping and hanging out. 2015 marked the 75th annual gathering. It was the largest to date, with an estimated attendance of over 739,000. This year’s event was substantially smaller – probably in the 400,000 range.

Harley-Davidson has been a major sponsor of Sturgis for decades, and the vast majority of the motorcycles on hand are Harleys of assorted vintage. Still, wander the streets of Sturgis, and you’ll see bikes of every brand and style parked along Main Street. Many brands have formal displays and demo fleets in town, including such unlikely candidates as Moto Guzzi, Ducati, Royal Enfield and Can Am.

IndianRideCommand-2Indian Motorcycle has made a substantial push to increase its visibility at Sturgis, having scheduled most of its public and press debuts at the Rally over the past three years. The company puts up a big display and experience center on Lazelle Street in downtown Sturgis, and was the motorcycle sponsor at the Buffalo Chip, Sturgis’ 400-acre campground and event center.

Indian’s push into Sturgis is bold and audacious, and makes a whole lot of sense. Indian wants to take a chunk of Harley’s business, and this is where the customer base comes to live the motorcycle lifestyle. I saw a surprising number of Indian motorcycles on the streets – many more than the brand’s modest sales figures led me to expect. Despite Harley-Davidson’s dominant market position and loyal customer base, Indian is starting to gain a foothold.

My Sturgis experience was a positive one, I’m glad to report. I spent a lot of time riding, and got to see some of the major area attractions like Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer, Deadwood and Hill City. I rode in the big procession of the Legends Ride, and I saw the final heat of the Hooligan Races at the Buffalo Chip.

Mostly, I got to have the experience of being in the majority on the roads as a motorcyclist, a very rare opportunity for those of us on two wheels. At first, it was a little disconcerting. I’m used to seeing occasional bikes on my rides in different parts of the country. Even when I attend motorcycle events, the concentration of bikes thins out quickly away from the venue. But during the Black Hills Rally, there are bikes everywhere. Every parking lot is full of motorcycles. Eighty percent of the vehicles on the road are motorcycles. A few days in, and I felt the empowerment of being part of this group, and I realized that I fit in by virtue of my passion for traveling on two wheels. Even if I didn’t share many of the political views I saw advertised (Guns! Trump!), I started to see the great range of individuals at the Rally as my people.

I don’t know if I ever need to go back to the Rally, but I will definitely return to the Black Hills during the off-season. It’s a beautiful part of the country, with fantastic roads and beautiful natural settings. The Old West atmosphere is for real, and I want to explore it without the crowds.

You can read my article about Indian Motorcycle’s 2017 Lineup at

Photos (c) Jason Fogelson

Are you going to Sturgis?

by Jason Fogelson

Every year, I make plans to go to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and it has never worked out.  Well, this year, it might actually happen, thanks to Indian Motorcycle. They’ve invited me to cover the event, where they may be revealing new trim levels and talking about other interesting news.

I wrote a quick preview of the 76th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for Best Western’s

I have to admit, big motorcycle events really aren’t my thing. I’ve been to a bunch over the  years. While there’s a lot of entertainment to be had at a rally, from bike shows to live music to people-watching, the overwhelming number of bikes, people and sounds tend to turn me off after a few hours. I’ve seen some really dangerous riding at rallies and it sets my teeth on edge. I don’t mind the drinking and carousing and adult behavior — but it rarely makes me proud to be a motorcyclist when I see it in concentrated form.

So, why am I going? Well, it’s work, for one thing. And I really am curious about what Indian is going to have to say this year. They’ve been making a lot of big moves, and I want to hear about them first hand.

Stay tuned for a full report.

2016 Indian Springfield Test Ride and Review

by Jason Fogelson

Indian Motorcycle is on a roll, and I am lucky to get to ride a variety of their new bikes. My favorite one so far is the new 2016 Indian Springfield. It’s a bagger with a removable windshield and lockable hard saddle bags — a direct competitor for the Harley-Davidson Road King.

Read my 2016 Indian Springfield Test Ride And Review at

Photo (c) Brian J. Nelson for Indian Motorcycle

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