Vote for Electric Motorcycle Club in the Verisign Internet Official Contest

internet official

I have some great news for all the readers and fans of Adam’s Auto Advice.  I am finalist in the Verisign Internet Official contest for the domain name Electric Motorcycle Club.

Being a finalist in the Internet Official contest means we receive money just for registering the domain name and we are competing for the grand prize of $30,000 dollars.  You can vote here for Electric Motorcycle Club or by clicking the link below.

The idea behind the contest is to celebrate the 30th anniversary of .COM , which made it’s debut all the way back in 1985.  It is sponsored by Verisign, the backend registry for the .COM and .NET domain extensions. This means they handle the operation of the technical backend servers and wholesale pricing for both of these globally recognized domain extensions.  Verisign gets money for every .COM and .NET domain registered, which is a pretty good business model if you ask me.

Verisign wanted to show the world that even though there are millions of .COM domains registered, roughly 118 million at the time of this writing, you can still go register a great domain for your business, service, or web project. Finding a great domain that fits your needs does not have to be a challenge.  The registration of ElectricMotorcycleClub.com shows that Verisign is right about that and accomplished the goal of the contest. :)

To better understand, here is a nice video from Verisign about the contest.

Make Your .COM Internet Official

I’d obviously really appreciate the support of all my readers over the years who I’ve corresponded with and gotten to know.  In case you are wondering what the money would be used for if I won the grand prize, it will mostly go into education expenses I have coming up which are always a burden. I wish I could say it would be used for something flashy but likely it won’t.  I’ll obviously use some of it for developing and launching the Electric Motorcycle Club and website so that it’s great resource for those interested in electric motorcycles.

I’ll definitely be donating a portion of the winnings to all the local animal shelters and rescue groups in the area.  If you know me, you know I am a big dog and animal lover.  I feel blessed to have been a finalist.  Even when you recieve money and could use it for many things I believe it is always good to share, be generous, and remember those that need help. If we win the Grand Prize of $30,000 I’ll be do the exact same thing.

Anway, voting is open from June 12th through June 27th.  Just so everyone is aware you can vote 1 time each day.  So please remember to vote for us each day.

>> Vote for Electric Motorcycle Club <<

The voting is to part of the process to help the judges determine the Grand Prize winner for the best domain name in the contest.  It’s clear Electric Motorcycle Club is the best website, right? :) Check the other websites and you will see that no content is up by the way.

Now let me ask you something… if you won money in a contest, what would you do with it? Pay off debt and loans? Go on a great vacation? Save it for a rainy day? Splurge on something you really want to buy? I’d love to know so leave comments below.

Why don’t more People ride Bikes? Simple, Prices are Ridiculous!

why are bikes so expensive

Some of the most common questions I get asked as an auto writer and discussion I get into with people are actually not about cars but in fact ways someone could not use or own a car.  This includes topics like ride sharing and car sharing services.  You know companies like RelayRides, Lift, or say using public transportation, riding a bike (bicycle), etc.  One discussion I have fairly often with people is, “Why don’t more people use bikes?”  The benefits are pretty clear;

  • It’s good exercise
  • Gets you there faster than Walking or Running
  • Reduces dealing with traffic
  • You save on gas
  • Less wear and tear on your car
  • Less air pollution
  • It can be fun (if there are not too many big hills)

There probably are some more advantages I’m missing. If you feel I’m been left out anything leave a comment below.

So if the benefits are clear and most people know how ride a Bike (I think) and we all know riding a bike is great exercise, why don’t more people do it?  Simple answer, road bikes are too damn expensive.

While this is an automotive website I thought it would be interesting to share my experiences with looking into a buying a bicycle recently.

Getting into Cycling

Since I’ve gained a good bit of “muscle” around my mid section during the winter I’ve been trying to figure out various physical activities to keep this muscle on. :)  Like most Americans I thought, “Hey, why don’t I get a bike? It’s great exercise.”  It makes sense since around here they’ve added a bunch of designated bike lanes on the roads to try to make bike commuting easier.  So why not get into cycling?

Before embarking on the journey of actually looking into a bicycle I decided to whip out my old Trek.  This Trek is a pretty good mountain bike that still shifts ok and the tires and brakes work fine. I started riding around trails and roads a little bit realized those knobby tires were slowing me down and it would be more ideal to get a road bike for more serious riding in the city.  The mountain bike would still works ok if I wanted to ride trails though, so I’d keep it for that.

I decided I’d like something that I could commute around town with, add a bike rack and possibly fenders in the future, and maybe do a triathlon If I’m really ambitious.  I started Googling for information and to see what bicycles were available in my price range.

Bike Prices at your Local Bike Shop

Lurking around on various bicycling forums and seeing what people suggested most recommend going to a local bike shop to see what’s available because of the service and knowledge.  For those reading this that haven’t look around at buying a beginner road bike in awhile you might be… well… floored by the cost.  There are some entry level road bikes but honestly I didn’t see much besides hybrid bikes at my local bike shop in my price range.  Still I went into the bike store to see what they had.

“We have some around $1,200″ is what the salesman told me when I asked about what road bikes they had in available at one bike store.  This obviously was way above my budget and what I felt like spending on my first road bike.  He assured me though of all the “technology!” on these bikes.  My eyes kind of rolled when I heard this. “Technology? What technology? It’s a bicycle!”

Still I test rode a Sirrus Specialized equipped with hydraulic disc brakes.  Technically this is what is considered a hybrid bike since it had flat handle bars but skinny tires just like a road bike.  The price for the Sirrus is $700 but I should add the local bike shop includes a 2 year maintenance plan with a fitting session.  Not a bad deal just still slightly out of my budget since ideally I’d like to spend less than that on the actual bicycle and add any bike accessories or upgrades I feel I need.

I stopped at another local bike shop and the energetic salesman showed me a few models they had. He thought a Trek 7.4 hybrid would fit my needs which was $800.  A road bike he showed me was a Trek One series which he thought is ideal for city use and something like a Triathlon.  The Trek Cross Rip was another model priced at $1,000 which he said is extremely popular and hard for them to keep in stock.  They did have some other more expensive bikes on closeout that for $1,300 that he said was comparable to the Cross Rip but offered a lot more value in terms of components.  All were nice bikes, but still this is more than I wanted to spend on a road bike.

Since all the shops knew my budget and didn’t offer any solutions outside of buying expensive starter road bikes, in my opinion, I thought I’d keep looking.

Buying a used Road Bike

With spring moving into summer I, like a lot of people, probably have considered getting buying a bicycle and using my car less.  Still I thought there must be people doing spring cleaning and getting rid of bikes they haven’t used that have just sat around in their basement or garage.

So like a lot of people suggest, if you aren’t sure you can afford what a local bike shop sells beginner bikes for check online local classifieds like Craigslist.  Well… I’ve been looking around on CL for an adequate beginner hybrid or road bike. So far I’ve come up empty and haven’t seen anything that would work. It’s either people that want too much for garbage or trashed bikes, something that might work but the size does not fit me, or pros looking to offload some crazy expensive road bike for thousands of dollars they don’t need anymore. Honestly I feel I’ve wasted more time scouring Craigslist and other places to get a used road bike than was really worth the effort or time.

Why are bikes so expensive?

For the price it costs to get a supposedly “decent” equipped road bike according to some of the cycling snobs it seems you must spend at least $1,500-$2,000 dollars these days. Let’s be serious for that amount of money I don’t feel like riding a bicycle, but I’d rather buy a scooter or used motorcycle.  These have much more components, parts, as well as technology behind them. Are you seriously f$%@ing telling me that there is more research and development behind a bicycle than a motorcycle or scooter with an engine?  No, there isn’t and don’t try to tell me there is.

This is a fairly long video by Martin Horn, an ex-pro racer, that explains that for the recreational cyclist spending a ton of money on a bike doesn’t make sense.  It won’t make go that much faster nor does he believe the components are that much better.

Horn makes a good point that the Ninja motorcycle he bought was $3,000 dollars which has an engine, hydraulic brakes, a transmission with a clutch, and an electrical system.  This is waaay more technology than a road bike no matter how you cut it.

Pretty much to answer the question, “Why are bikes so expensive?” Bicycle manufacturers and companies are charging these prices because they know the can.

Buying a Bike Online

The company that Martin Horn bought the bikes in his videos from is known as BikesDirect.  I have not ordered from them but I’m considering using them or another company like Nashbar, BikeShopWarehouse, or Performance Bike (they have retail locations too).

The most expensive bike he has is the Motobecane Grand Record which cost $650. He also has the Windsor Wellington 2.0 which cost $350 which he believes is an incredible value for the a bike of that price.  Horn has only replaced the wheels and tires and rode the Wellington for tens of thousands of miles.

I’d love to buy a bicycle from the local bike shop but I don’t know, I feel like they are out of touch with recreational cyclists and people just getting started. I’m strongly considering ordering online.

Bike Co-Operatives and Collectives

In some cities you can find bike co-operatives and collectives.  They offer shared workshop spaces for working on bicycles and rebuilding them for those that don’t have a lot of money.  They have training and classes for those looking to learn to repair their own bicycles in addition to parts for those looking to build their own.

While the collectives are a great idea but I think most people prefer to buy a ready to roll bike.  I might buy one online through a company like BikesDirect and then see if someone at the local bike coop here can help me make sure everything is good to go.  These bike co-operatives are a great solution for those who want cheap transportation and are looking to pick-up skills to work on their own bikes. To bad they don’t have these for cars… of course think of the legal issues there. :)

Should the Bike industry rethink their pricing Strategy?

It seems like the industry has freewheeled into thinking they can charge whatever they want for bikes.  To be honest I guess they can as a lot of people pay these ridiculous prices.  Of course a lot of people won’t so they never buy a bicycle or get into cycling.  Is this a positive for our society and bike shops?

Even if we were to look at some of these carbon fiber top-of-the-line bikes… how much material does the bike use? Compared to cars… little.

Talking with a friend about buying a bicycle and how expensive they are, and my experience trying to buy a one he said, “I bought a bike for $50 from Wal-Mart!”  Granted this was for his son and was a few years ago when he was smaller but illustrates the point that Americans generally are not keen on spending a lot for bicycle.

As Martin Horn pointed out in his video those really expensive bikes doesn’t really make you go all that faster, unless you are really good at pedaling.  Most people are not so you’d probably be fine with going with an aluminum frame road bike.

Also keep in mind there are really only a few places that make bicycles frames and components these days and they are all in China and Taiwan.  They can be made with different tolerances, materials, and such but if they are all coming from the same place why do they charge so much?

I’ve noticed the amount of people use bicycles for transportation, at least in this city, still seems to be laughable low.  If the cycling community and manufactures wants to see a serious uptick in the amount of riders using bicycles for transportation or leisure fitness I think they need to take hard look at their pricing model and radically change.

I’d be happy to hear reader thoughts, what do you think of bike prices? Are they justified or completely out-of-whack?  Do you believe that local bike shops are justified charging a grand for a beginner road bike?  Would you get a bike if it was less expensive?

Own a piece of Top Gear history, Richard Hammond’s BMW M3 up for sale [VIDEO]

richard hammond bmw

Do you love Top Gear? If you read Adam’s Auto Advice we are sure you do. Well you have a chance to own a piece of Top Gear history and a nice car too.  The BMW M3 (E36) driven by Richard Hammond on the wildly popular car show is going to be coming up for sale.

The Bimmer was used on the Top Gear segment “Cheap Car Super Saloon Challenge” where the three hosts battled for 4-door supremacy in a Ford Sierra Cosworth, a Mercedes 190E Cosworth and obviously Hammond’s BMW M3 sedan. This Top Gear challenge featured the Stig racing each car around a track, a fuel economy showdown, fitting an entire brass band inside each car.   The best was probably the road safety test which concluded that Hammond’s BMW M3 was the most unroadworthy of the three cars and a bit of a deathtrap.  The inspectors said the BMW M3 had in an accident at some point prior to the car being on Top Gear and the repairs may have not been done professionally. Still, we doubt this will affect the value.

The BMW M3 driven by Richard Hammond on Top Gear will come up for sale next month and will be auctioned by Classic Car Auctions at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, UK on June 6th. The car is expected to be sold for £7500 to £10,500 British pounds, which is $11,500-$15,300 US dollars.

California Automotive Teachers (CAT) Conference

 

cat conference

The semiannual CAT conference was held April 24-25, 2015 at Skyline College in San Bruno, California which is near the San Francisco airport. This two-day event started on Friday morning with tours of local hot rod shops as well as training sessions held at the college.

The Friday events included:

  • Pico Scopes, Down and Dirty Basics-Hands-On Workshop
  • Hiller Aviation Museum
  • Diagnosing with Pressure Transducers and the Pico Scope.
  • Roy Brizio Street Rods, Inc., Tour
  • Introduction to the Nissan Leaf
  • Diagnosing with Pressure Transducers and the Pico Scope.
  • Teaching CAN Bus

The events included lunch (BBQ) and dinner (Mexican) for all attendees which Pearson helped to fund. Training classes even extended into the evening after dinner with several training sessions being offered from 7:00 to 9:30 PM.
The conference continued Saturday with a trade show followed by two training sessions in the morning and two in the afternoon.
The Saturday sessions included:

  • 2015 All Electric Golf
  • Electric Vehicle Operation and Driving Strategies
  • Today Featuring the Nissan Leaf
  • Lubrication Fundamentals
  • Automotive Service Consultant
  • Toyota New Technology Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle
  • Diagnosing Vehicle Electronics
  • K & N Engineering
  • Gas Direct Injection
  • Tips and Highlights for Successful Repairs in the Transmission Industry
  • Matching the Learning Materials to the Learners
  • Teaching Lab-Scope Diagnostics
  • Steering Angle Sensors & Advanced Alignment Angles

My session, on Saturday 10:30 to 11:45 AM, titled “Engine Oil Update” was very well attended with standing room only. I heard many compliments about this presentation because I included the many changes coming in late 2016, early 2017 regarding oil specifications driven by emissions and fuel economy mandates. One instructor, Mike Morse, said “Really liked your presentation on motor oil. Information was right on the cutting edge.” I posted this presentation on my website so that instructors can use it in their classes. To download this and other conference Halderman Power Points visit www.jameshalderman.com then click on “Jim’s stuff” at the top and then select “Conference Power Points”.
Attending the CAT conference is a “have to attend” event for me twice a year when CAT offers the fall conference in southern CA and the spring conference in northern CA. I have been attending these conferences now for over ten years and I believe that as a result, my textbooks are much improved due to the suggestions and feedback I receive from automotive instructors. Automotive instructors are not shy when it comes to letting you know what they want and I try to include these ideas and features into all titles and editions. Visit the CAT website for information on future conferences. http://www.calautoteachers.com/

Bottom line:
Great CAT conference, excellent food and fantastic training sessions at a beautiful campus right next to the Pacific Ocean. It does not get much better than that!

Editor’s Note – This article is by James Halderman, a contributor to Adam’s Auto Advice.

Want to be the next Top Gear Host? Jeremy Clarkson dismissal prompts Open Casting Call

top gear

Ever dreamed of working on Top Gear? How about being a host on Top Gear? Well here’s you chance.

Top Gear and BBC producers announced yesterday that they are holding an open casting call for the wildly popular TV show about cars.  After the dismissal of the well known and charismatic Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson earlier this month.  The reason Clarkson was let go from the show seems to be the fact that he threw a punch at one of the Top Gear producers.

Even though Jeremy Clarkson has left Top Gear, the show must go on and the Top Gear production team has decided to run open casting calls. What does that mean? Basically anyone with some automotive media experience and a desire to be the new Top Gear host can apply.  They are inviting people to send in applications for the job via the official Top Gear website.  This is a bit unusual as a position as important as this usually isn’t how producers find a replacement. You would expect the BBC and Top Gear production would reach out to potential hosts to fill Clarkson’s role with the other hosts James May and Richard Hammond.  Inside sources have reported that the producers for the BBC and Top Gear have been scrambling to find a replacement and this statement by Andy Wilman stated on the application page shows why they are doing this;

“Initially we were only holding discussions with a select few we thought would be ideal to replace Jeremy Clarkson. However, due to scheduling or contractual requirements none of these hosts will work for next season’s Top Gear in the short term.”

Once the page went up on the Top Gear website announcing the open casting call, the website was flooded with traffic and applications.  It brought down the server for several hours last night but the Top Gear web hosting and site team seems to have resolved any issues now.  The site and page is back up and running. It’s been reported from several sources that there have been tens of thousands of applications since the open casting announcement.  An update on the page reads;

The Top Gear producers put some requirements here but many seemed to have been ignored by the excitement over this open casting call.

Still the requirements are pretty open considering choosing a new Top Gear host is no easy task.  On the page it says, “The new host should ideally be British but we are open to considering a new host who is not from the United Kingdom.  However, you must be a native English speaker and have grown up in a country where English is a native language.”  I assume this includes the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and some other countries.

Ideally applicants should submit work showing 3+ years of past work within the auto media industry.  This can include written work in online or print publications, radio, TV, or online shows.  Credentials with an auto media organization are also preferred.  Andy Wilman says does say;

We will look at anyone who we think can truly fill Jeremy Clarkson’s shoes.  Experience is preferred but does don’t matter.

Another part of the application is submitting a video of yourself hosting and talking, explaining why you should be chosen.  You will need to be good on TV after all and obviously you will have to have good on air chemistry with Richard Hammond and James May.  They are planning on doing screen tests for potential hosts at the end of the summer.

Letting Jeremy Clarkson go has put the BBC in precarious position. Top Gear isn’t just another show for media conglomerate, since it funds lots of TV shows they produce which do not make money.  Top Gear is arguable the crown jewel of the BBC as has hundreds of millions of viewers across the globe and is broadcast in many different countries and varied languages.  Top Gear is a huge cash cow an revenue machine for the BBC.  The production team is worried letting Jeremy Clarkson go and leaving Richard Hammond and James May could potentially not work.  Top Gear USA was cancelled due to a poor ratings and high productions costs. The BBC and Top Gear want to avoid the “Top Gear America disaster and horror” as one producer put it.

It’s hard to know what Top Gear producers are looking for but it seems they are trying to cast a wide net and see what they turn up.  I imagine they will continue to be flooded with applications in the coming weeks.  The window for applying closes at the end of this month, so that should give any potential hosts out there a chance to apply to be the next Top Gear host.

Will you be applying to be the next Top Gear host? What would you do if you replaced Jeremy Clarkson?

Happy April 1st Everyone! :)

Automotive Training Expo

automotive training expo

The Automotive Training Expo (ATE) event was held March 20-22, 2015, at the Doubletree Hotel across the street from the Seattle International Airport. This event was put together by the Automotive Service Association (ASA) Northwest and included two and half days of both technical and management training. This year over 580 attended (compared to 425 two years ago) and this number included over 75 automotive instructors.

Many automotive instructors attended this event because, according to the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF), each instructor is required to attend at least 20 hours of update training each year if they are teaching at a NATEF certified school. With eight hours of training on Friday, eight hours on Saturday, plus four hours on Sunday morning, this expo allows automotive instructors to meet this requirement.

automotive training expo

  • Shop owners attended their choice of management courses over the weekend event choosing from eight classes on Friday, nine classes on Saturday and four classes on Sunday.
  • Service technicians attended their choice of technical training courses over the weekend event choosing from 14 classes on Friday, 14 classes on Saturday and seven classes on Sunday.
  • Meals were included for Friday lunch, with a keynote speaker as well as food was included at the trade show. Saturday meals included breakfast with a keynote speaker, lunch with another keynote speaker and food available as part of the trade show. Sunday morning breakfast with a keynote speaker was followed by technical and management classes ending the expo.

automotive training expo

The expo was well organized and the ASA Midwest staff handled the crowd very well. With so many attending, most classes were filled and the host at each session checked that everyone was where they were supposed to be to help insure that those who signed up received a handout and a seat. Next year’s event will be held March 18-20, 2016. Check their website for additional information http://atetrainingexpo.com/

Editor’s Note – This is article was written by one of our contributors James Halderman.

The Shop Show 2015

the shop show

The Shop Show, formerly the Hotrod & Restoration and Restyling & Truck Accessories trade show, was held at the Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, IN March 13 – 14, 2015. This trade show is exclusively for hot rod, performance, and restyling professionals and is designed to connect shop professionals with industry manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors. Besides the trade show, there was a variety of classes taught in a classroom setting or in an exhibitor’s booth, depending on the topic and nature of the training. All classes were 60 minutes in length followed by a question and answer period. Training on the trade show floor was also occurring during the show offered by select exhibitors throughout the show. Some of the more interesting things I saw and learned included:

  • I attended the Evans waterless coolant session where I learned that this coolant uses several different types of glycols to create a coolant that does not contain water. http://www.evanscooling.com/
  • I also attended a training session presented by Penn Grade High Performance oil on engine oils designed for antique and collector cars, that while they often do not meet the requirements for current engines, their oil is perfect for use in older engines. http://www.penngrade1.com
  • On the trade show was a demonstration of wrapping a car using a Honda Civic as an example. It was cool seeing this procedure in action.
  • I ran into several people I knew, including some automotive instructors and even some former students.

It was a great day. About a 100 mile drive for me and the show itself was free, making this event a very cost effective event. It made me think that spring and car care is just around the corner.

Editor’s Note – This is article is from one of our contributors James Halderman.

shop show shop show shop show shop show