Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Crossing Sands Track Reopened



The Crossing Sands Track Is Back

Finding a fun place to ride isn't a challenge as there are still quite a few on the grid.  There aren't as many as there once were, however.  News of changes at Crossing Sands has reverberated in the SL motorcycle community.  Not only did we lose a builder, we thought we also lost a great place to ride.  Yes, that is very self serving...GIVE US A PLACE TO RIDE PLEASE!   We are an annoying and demanding bunch which is probably not a good attribute to our character.


LittleUnicorn Meredith announced today she has rebuilt and reopened the Crossing Sands sky tracks.  The tracks will be familiar to many of you who ride frequently and serve to be a fun place to ride.  My hat is off to Little in her effort to keep Crossing Sands the great motorcycle community it is. 

Like the previous Crossing Sands track, this one has a lot of places to stop and chill, look around and cut it up with friends.  At the top, she has built a gaming area with the game for bikers, Greedy!


 
Crossing Sands - Little's New Biker Sim Track 1

I'm hoping in time, Little will continue to build out her network of tracks.  Even if she doesn't, we're happy she is keeping Crossing Sands as one of our favorite destinations to ride and hang.    Be sure to grab your bike because cars aren't allowed and we'll see you at Crossing Sands!


Find me on Facebook

You can get updates and new reviews through my Facebook group "Things that Moves in SL".   I review bikes, boats, cars and aircraft.  If you would like me to review something that moves, send me a message.   Also watch for Lizzy and me on Showtimemagazine.net.

Robby

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Use of Brand Names On Products: A Discussion


I'm not an attorney though I know many of them.  Some of whom are very close friends.  Those are "catch all" statements we say when we don't want to delegitimize ourselves, right?  Recently, I've had a couple of conversations about intellectual property and use of trademarked materials in SL creations.  There has been suggestion that one vendor was recently pulled off the grid because of violating Linden Labs' policies protecting real world trademarks.

What I'm going to show is a lot of ignorance to this issue and I do invite others to comment about their understanding.

First, it isn't okay or allowed to use trademarked names, brands or logos on in-world products set for sale.  We get that.  If you've attempted to upload mesh in-world, you were required to take a test so you fully understand what is allowed or not.  To my understanding, if you are selling something, it can't reference the same RL product or brand.  Correct?

Linden Labs Intellectual Property
Linden Labs DMCA Policy

Secondly, there has been debate among builders over ripped mesh, downloaded mesh and original mesh.  I can't imagine how well LL can police the issues of using ripped mesh in in-world creations.  Still, the debate persists.  I referenced the debate in this post.  It is the art of the complaint.


So with those two issues in mind (use of trademarks and "unoriginal" mesh), how are builders being mindful and careful in adhering with the TOS?  Some download mesh from free sites, some create from kits and others create from scratch.  The risk is in the name of what you're building and selling.  Some will take something that looks very much like a sportster and call it an odd and ambiguous name. 

This seems like it is the tolerable solution: A rose by any other name is no longer a rose. Bring in a Ford Motor Company Crown Victoria Police Interceptor Package sedan (saloon for you UK folks) and call it the Bundle of Junk, does that not make the visual features no longer a Ford? The answer would be yes, it is NOT a Ford.  Correct?

What I don't want to see is SL builders being forced off the grid because of accusations they have violated a term of service. If the builder should have known better, then so be it. I do respect competition among builders if that competition forces advancement and improvement with products made for sale.  It would be a sad state of affairs to have competitors filing DMCA complaints on behalf of real world companies in order to create an edge on market share.  However, if you look at the history of business, that is a legitimate way to get ahead even if it is smarmy. 

I also don't want to see more clarifications to the TOS as that stymies development in-world.  If the bolts were completely tightened, would we all revert to prim and sculpted stuff we used to think was cool? For me, I would like to ride a bike that looks like a BMW R1200RT or drive a car that looks like a 911 and I can right now.  The point here is what is reasonable, ethical and allowable? 

Having worked for an organization with two floors of staff attorneys, they spent a lot of time sending Cease and Desist letters to businesses illegally using my employer's trademark.  I suspect LL is very sensitive to this risk of its community members exposing LL to legal liability.  We don't want to hurt Linden Labs no matter how they do things that cause us to scratch our heads.  We still love the grid they give us.


On a final note, when I write my blog I do make associations to real life brands.  I might say one bike looks like a Harley Electra Glide or a plane looks like a Piper.  Harley Davidson and Piper are both active brands owned by very large companies.  Should I be more careful in making those associations so as to not point a spotlight on someone who may be violating the SL TOS? 

Certainly, I'm within my rights to say anything in this blog as they are my words and being a citizen of the United States, I have certain rights to effectively say anything no matter how damaging as long as those words don't constitute a crime or threat.  Still I want to be responsible to those builders I'm reviewing and I do not want them hurt from my words.

Let me know what you think. 

Find me on Facebook

You can get updates and new reviews through my Facebook group "Things that Moves in SL".   I review bikes, boats, cars and aircraft.  If you would like me to review something that moves, send me a message.   Also watch for Lizzy and me on Showtimemagazine.net.

Robby



Sunday, March 27, 2016

Q's Customs is Closing


Q's Customs Is Closing

Many of you may have received the same message from the Q's Customs Group about Q shutting down his operation.  As one of the most prolific bike builders in SL and frankly, one of my absolute favorites, this is sad news.  I won't speculate on the reasons why, beyond those stated in the notecard but I will say, we will be missing out on some great bikes.

Two of the Crossing Sands sims (Voltai Mountains and Lighthouse Oasis) will be closed as well. 

[EDIT] I believe this change also eliminates a popular section of tracks (Crossing Sands) used by motorcyclists.  When there are fewer tracks available for people to ride, the end result is a threat to the motorcycle industry in SL.  SL isn't free.  Someone is paying the bill for our enjoyment and entertainment. 




Find me on Facebook

You can get updates and new reviews through my Facebook group "Things that Moves in SL".   I review bikes, boats, cars and aircraft.  If you would like me to review something that moves, send me a message.   Also watch for Lizzy and me on Showtimemagazine.net.

Robby

Saturday, March 26, 2016

BCC Hardcore "Ferrari" V1 Mod


B.C.C. Hardcore "Ferrari"

What is it with Ferrari?  Even the name holds an allure.  Even the color holds an allure.  Look at one and you say, "It's a Ferrari."  Such a simple statement which also speaks volumes in complexity, performance and...style! 


B.C.C. brought some Ferrari style to its Hardcore chopper.  This bike isn't the obscenely raked chopper reminiscent of Easy Rider.  Instead, it is very tastefully elegant.  Can you paint anything Ferrari red and expect it to perform like a Maranello or a Barchetta?  Simply put, no.  Look at this bike though, it is screaming elegance as it pays homage to Pinanfarina.


While I'm more of a Porsche guy when given a choice and I do love German vehicles, it is hard to ignore a Ferrari and seeing how Brummie so tastefully connected the dots between sports car excellence and two wheeled growl makes a powerful statement.  Aesthetics do matter and unlike the usual street slayers that come across as spawn from the darker side, the B.C.C. Ferrari provides the rider with a bike suitable for a ride around Monaco to your favorite road side café for a little espresso.



So what makes this bike special?  It's a B.C.C. and you can rip around any track in SL with incredible ease for any experience level.  It is also exquisite in its form and design.  The bike looks downright plush as it also looks like a performer. 



We've been fans of Brummie for a long time and as I've said before, we take new riders to B.C.C. because his bikes are so stable and reliable.  You can look good, sound good and ride like a maniac without fear the bike will go shooting off a corner. 

Buy them here:B.C.C. MarketPlace

B.C.C. In-world

Find me on Facebook

You can get updates and new reviews through my Facebook group "Things that Moves in SL".   I review bikes, boats, cars and aircraft.  If you would like me to review something that moves, send me a message.   Also watch for Lizzy and me on Showtimemagazine.net.

Robby

DSA PT-17 Boeing Stearman


DSA PT-17 Boeing Stearman

Perhaps I make aviation an overly romantic experience.  Certainly it isn't romantic in terms of two people sharing their hearts though there is a romanticism that comes from the history of aviation, the innovation that often came from armed conflicts, those brave pilots who pioneered flight and those who still fly for the $100 Hamburger.  Then there are the aircraft who carry our dreams.  Even as they adhere to the concept of "form follows function", the function found in many aircraft creates a form that is the sculpture of flight.


DSA's PT-17 marries the history of flight in this venerable primary trainer used to teach military and civilian pilots how to take to the air.  The fact that many Stearmans still fly for fun and work is a testament to Boeing's design team.  Stearmans aren't for the business pilot who hops from city to city to score deals but it still works spraying fields, barnstorming at air shows and though not necessary work, it delights tail dragger pilots as an almost pinnacle of flight.  Many of the vintage warbird pilots cut their teeth in a Stearman before they advance to bigger, faster and more complex aircraft such as the AT6/SNJ or the few remaining Corsairs and Mustangs.


How Does It Fly?

What I love about DSA aircraft is how well they emulate real life flight, as much as possible within SL's dynamics.  Many SL aircraft are overpowered to be completely unrealistic.  With the DSA planes, line up on the runway, push the throttle full forward and the plane begins a gentle climb from the initial takeoff roll.  This is how planes take off in RL.  Full power, roll, rotate and lift!  Fortunately, I wasn't having to deal with the left turning tendencies of slow flying propeller aircraft by mashing on the right rudder pedal. 


I was able to maintain directional control throughout the flight with incredible ease and even pulled off a loop...albeit very slowly.  This isn't your rocket ship.  The real PT-17 had a cruise speed of 98 mph/83 knots.  DSA's PT-17 simulated the slower nature of vintage aviation. 

Even the sound of the airplane was reminiscent of the real life radial motor.  When you've heard one in RL, you will know it forever.  There is a burble and growl with these motors that speaks to very inefficient fuel burn but again, it is part of the romanticism of early aviation. 


Final Thoughts

There is far more to experience in SL than dance clubs or drama.  When our tolerance level reaches a peak, Lizzy and I will jump on a bike, raise the sails or take to the air.  After a few minutes, we feel better.  DSA is a recommended first visit when selecting an airplane to eliminate stress.  Flying in SL is pretty easy though I do recommend talking with folks about airport etiquette because it does matter in keeping order. 

If you aren't in any hurry to go someplace, I recommend DSA and particularly this PT-17.  If you are in a hurry, teleport because you may not fully understand the fun that can be had flying from airport to airport and finding grass strips along the way.  It is the journey that matters, not so much the destination.


About DSA
 
I highly recommend visiting DSA at their main store on at Hollywood Airport.  You can rez different models and maybe take advantage of in-world pricing.  Very few aircraft builders offer demo rezzers which I can imagine would create mayhem around the airports. More information can be found by visiting the DSA website
 
 
Find me on Facebook

You can get updates and new reviews through my Facebook group "Things that Moves in SL" or on my Google+ page.   I review bikes, boats, cars and aircraft.  If you would like me to review something that moves, send me a message. 

Robby

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Coming Soon - Four bikes: One Rider: Custom Bobbers


Four Bike - One Rider: 
Custom Bobbers
Coming Next Month

Next in our series of Four Bikes/One Rider shootouts, we're moving in the direction of the custom bobber.   From Wiki, here is the definition:
A bobber, originally called a 'bob-job' from the 1930s through 1990s, is a style of custom motorcycle. The typical construction includes stripping excess bodywork from a motorcycle; removing the front fender, and shortening the rear fender, which is "bobbed" (as in bob-tail), and all superfluous parts removed to reduce weight.

Eligibility
 
To participate in this comparison, I want to see the following:
  • Completely Custom Bike: It can be off your showroom floor but we want to showcase your customizing skills. 
  • The bike has to be a bobber in its purest form.  This means it can be a rat rod, bobbed cruiser, custom bobber...really anything low and mean. I'm tempted to include café racers because they kind of fit into the category and there are so few café racers in SL. 
  • It doesn't have to be particularly pretty.  Think of it this way, imagine someone building a bike in his or her garage with sourced parts. 
  • This comparison isn't about stretched and raked choppers, baggers or sport bikes.
  • You can tweak up your scripts to get the bike in its best performance state.  When I get it, I'll mess with the settings so the bike rides well for me.
  • If this doesn't make sense, watch the video.
  • I may use bikes in my own inventory but I will certainly accept submissions for the purpose of this article.  Again, I'm not looking for free stuff, I just think the article will be fun for people to read and perhaps an opportunity for bike builders to show off some.
 
 
Contest?
 
I'm not going to pit the bikes against one another.  This is for the reader to decide, which bike is better.  As I mentioned, this article will be about showcasing your customizing skills around a topic.  I will, however, do some analysis similar to the last comparison and will invite others to ride the bike for their opinions.
 
Spread The Word
 
If you are a rider and not a bike builder, shoot a notecard to your favorite builder and ask them to participate. 
 
 
Find me on Facebook

You can get updates and new reviews through my Facebook group "Things that Moves in SL" or on my Google+ page, friend me, follow me or join the group.   I review bikes, boats, cars and aircraft.  If you would like me to review something that moves, send me a message. 

Robby
 
 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Shoot Out: Four Bikes - One Rider


Since the dawn :-) of SL, people have been trying to ride, drive, fly and sail.  The earliest offerings were a mixed bag of quality. Yet what we had was what we had.  Fortunately even in our acceptance of mediocrity, many people stepped up to build the better proverbial mousetrap.  Today we tested four bikes from four of the best bike builders in SL.  Here is what we learned.


The Shoot Out
Four Bikes - One Rider

There are clear winners from this bike test and we're not talking about national and international politics, we have very clear winners.  When builders create toys for us, competition and the drive to build a better bike elevates what is available to consumers. 

From this test, who really won?  It is us.  We are the people buying bikes and we deserve superior quality when we spend our hard earned lindens.  This test proves, to me as a consumer, these four incredible bikes are very worthy of your purchase decision.  Each one brings distinctive and positive qualities.  Each one is also distinctly different.  I applaud the builders who offered up a bike for this test.  I also applaud the reader for working through this article as it is the longest I've written to date.

Now, can you tell I'm covering my bases and trying to preserve my life?  After all I'm reviewing bikes made by bikers and these folks ARE bikers.  Look at the profile pics of the bike builders.  They look like they chew glass for Christmas dinner.  Honestly, they are nice people to participate even if they are sorta nuts to build all these great bikes. 


Test Standards

To test the bikes, I opted for very specific and consistent criteria.  Instead of perceived fluff and promotion about why these are good bikes to me in my most subjective way, I wanted more of an objective and technical approach to one part of the test and to then get feedback from other riders.  For the purpose of scoring, I'm being very tough.  Scales are set from 1 - 10 but to score a 10, the bike would have to be absolutely flawless.   I have begrudgingly accepted that the world isn't according to me and I respect the preferences and opinions of others which is why I included several other riders to understand their opinions and preferences.

Recognize that when you demo or buy a bike, you do so in its purest state (Out of the Box).  Depending upon the script or menu systems, you can often tweak the bike to your riding preferences.  What causes frustration is when the "out of the box" state makes a bike difficult or frustrating to ride.  Tweaks are easy to make though and you can have the bike you dreamed about with only a few minutes of clicking from a menu.


Introducing Our Test Bikes

We have four gun slingers, three of whom offered bikes directly for the purpose of this test.  My fourth bike for the test came from my inventory.  Within their class, these are four of the best bikes you can find in SL.  Each of the builders was made aware of the criteria used for the testing.  We all agreed the test would cover big baggers. 

I regret not being able to test every builder's bikes but we have time for more of these comprehensive tests in the future and I look forward to doing more of these deep dives into comparative bike performance. 


JJ Cycles (Contributed by Jimmie Jax): CVO Street Glide
B.C.C. (Contributed by Brummie Guyot):  Ultra Fat Boy
Moto Bazzi (Contributed by RoxyCyn): Glide
Q's Customs (from my own inventory): Harley Bagger Arctic
Baseline
Deezul Raceway Challenger Track
To achieve objectivity in the testing, I ran the bikes on the same section of a timed track to find the right gear that resulted in similar speed.  The objective wasn't to determine which bike was fastest because for the purpose of THIS test, top speed is irrelevant.   The baseline's purpose establishes consistency to test bike handling on timed and sky tracks at a gearing producing a similar speed.

I used Q's Customs M1 to establish my high speed baseline for the track.  It's what I could achieve for a clean lap.  The purpose was to show a comparison about how quick the track was (within the limits of my skill).  Also I didn't want to suggest that I was running the test bikes flat out. 

Test location:  Deezul Raceway Challenger Track
Speed Baseline: Q's M1  G9   67.303 seconds
  • JJ Cycles: CVO Street Glide G5  85.725 seconds
  • B.C.C. Ultra Fat Boy  G4  103.73 seconds (G5 = 77.646 seconds)
  • Moto Bazzi Glide  G4 83.923 seconds
  • Q's Customs Harley Bagger Arctic   G8  85.342 seconds
Timed Tracks

What I tested was banking, control (input sensitivity), over steer, under steer, setting up for a turn, transition from turns to another turn/going straight, and rhythm.  Rhythm relates to control sensitivity, banking and transitioning.  If you're going fast on a course, you want to move through the course rhythmically.  If the bike's handling is too tight/loose or if the controls aren't appropriately sensitive, it is harder to establish that rhythm. 

JJ Cycles CVO Street Glide
Total Score: 54.5/70  Average Score: 7.79
What makes the CVO realistic makes it more challenging to get consistency on the timed track in its out of the box state.  The one area that seemed to impact my riding, perhaps this was optical but hear me out, was with the bank angle.  I observed the bike leaning a little too much at higher gear.

Riding preferences are so unique.  How you set up your bike to ride is going to be very different to how I'll do it.  My reflexes, hand eye coordination and even my internet connection influence how a bike reacts...or how I react.  The CVO eats tracks like my dog eats steak.  With some very minor tweaks, this beast can be tamed.  It's a little wild out of the box but that didn't impact how I got around the track.

B.C.C. Ultra Fat Boy
Total Score: 56/70  Average Score: 8.00
I tested the bike in 4th gear because the difference between 4th and 5th was about 25 seconds.  In some ways, we're comparing apples to oranges.  The 4th gear produced a happy medium compared to the other bikes.  To get that comparison, the bike was very mild mannered and easily whipped around the track.  Choosing the right lane position to set up for a turn was intuitive and natural as were the entries and exits.  Even at the higher gear (5th), the Ultra Fat Boy handled easily.  So I had to push it and try 6th...it was a more of a crazed beast. 

What was challenging is the bike would lift at the tops of hills.  There were a couple of times when I wasn't paying as much attention to this as I should have and I flew off the track. 

Moto Bazzi Glide
Total Score: 50.5/70  Average Score: 7.21
Where the CVO was more of an untamed beast, the Glide was very tame.  I didn't feel like I was going as fast as I was and ran that track a lot.  Within the range of gear setting chosen for the test, the Glide was the fastest.  Right, speed is not what this is about.  In 4th the bike hummed along sprinting over the pavement. There needed to be a little more banking at higher speed because the riding position was more or less upright which didn't feel natural.   I had a good rhythm going and made some consistent times that were close to the baseline times. 

I did observe a lot of under steer and perhaps some delay in steering response.  There was also comparatively more lift than the BCC offering with similar results of zipping off the track. 

Q's Customs Harley Bagger Arctic
Total Score: 53/70  Average Score: 7.57
If you could take all of the good qualities from the Moto Bazzi Glide, JJ's CVO and B.C.C.'s Ultra, you would get close to the Harley Bagger.  What the Harley Bagger doesn't have in comparison is the mid-range power.  I pushed up to 8th gear to get within the range of the other bikes.  It's the builder's preference about gearing and this is something you can change if you so choose.  Even with that minor point, the bike handled beautifully.  The only area to change would be with the banking at low speed but again, this was more of a high speed test. 

There was  nothing wrong at all with Harley Bagger.  What I change when I get a Q bike is to reduce the banking.  Lizzy refers to this status as the bike is "too floppy".  It is a little floppy and compared to the other bikes, the gearing is set a little low as well.  All of these factors can be changed through the menu.

Sky Tracks

Sky Tracks are what we ride the most.  Some people call them connecting tracks, tracks that connect between levels.  As our test bikes are cruisers and not race bikes, how they perform on the sky tracks will matter most to everyday riders. 

For this test, I tested each bike on the same section of sky tracks and examined how the bikes performed on narrow and wide tracks plus how well the bikes held a straight line, held the road (gravity) and finally what happened when the bikes collided or "rubbed" road barriers (mesh grab). 

JJ Cycles CVO Street Glide
Total Score: 38/50  Average Score:7.60
The thought of taking the CVO onto the sky tracks had me a little concerned.  This is a big bike and it is untamed.  Early JJ Cycles I've ridden were a little twitchy and tight making sky track rides similar to drinking cough syrup.  Okay, maybe not that bad but you get the point.  This bike and newer JJ Cycles ride differently and  more realistically.  Getting to the top of a track was easy.  The steering was set properly and balanced between over/under steer. 

Where the CVO has challenges is with the banking or lean angle. The bike held the line I chose, it held the road without float/flying and I didn't encounter too much mesh grab.  When I did collide with a barrier, the bike released easily enough without editing.

B.C.C. Ultra Fat Boy
Total Score: 34/50  Average Score:6.80
I've made no secret about B.C.C. bikes.  These are the bikes we show to new riders and without fail, the new riders fall in love with B.C.C.  When I consider B.C.C. bikes, I think of them as all-round great rides.  They aren't my first choice for track days because I can't tweak the settings as much as I would prefer.  They are often my first choice for laggy tracks because they can get around old roads and barriers without any trouble at all. 

There are two factors I observed.  One is how the bike lifts or floats at the top of hills.  Surely this is convenient for jumps but not so positive when riding tight tracks.  There were a couple of times I flew the track completely.  The other issues is the mesh grab.  Yes, I should ride the middle of the road but when there is a lag spike, the bike might not bounce off of a barrier.  Instead, I impaled the bike into a barrier and had to edit for a quick escape.   

Moto Bazzi Glide
Total Score: 32/50  Average Score:6.40
I feel confident riding Moto Bazzi bikes and certainly felt that with the Glide.  Riding the sky tracks, I noticed how the bike would need some tweaks in the controls (steering, resistance, banking) and not by much.  Out of the box, the bike displayed the same under steer observed with the time track.  Slowing to a lower gear made the ride more manageable and balanced the under steer.  By no means is this a slow bike. 

There was a little float and fly with the Glide at the tops of hills.  As long as you know it is there, you can easily manage it.  Shift into a higher gear and you can become Evel Knievel.

Q's Customs Harley Bagger Arctic
Total Score: 38/50  Average Score:7.6
Maybe it is a little underpowered, so what.  On narrow and wide sky tracks, the Harley Bagger chews up the twisties with incredible balance between over/under steer.  The bike has a great feel and I almost had this psychic directional control going as I was riding. Where I wanted it go, what line I wanted to take and how I wanted to exit turns, the bike just did it. 

The banking is, as Lizzy puts it, a little floppy.  Beyond that, I was able to handle narrow tracks without much speed reduction or lifting off the throttle. 

Realism

While more subjective than the preceding tests, I wanted to find out how realistic these bikes were.  Realism relates to how the bike leans/banks in low speed versus high speed.  How they transition from a bank to a straight line or to an opposite bank.  I also looked at animations and styling mostly as they relate to how real the bike looks and how we as riders look on the bike.  Finally, I considered how the bikes compared to their real life muses. 

As I previously noted, these are cruisers and heavy bikes.  I wouldn't expect a custom bagger in RL to be as nimble as a sport bike.  The same principle should be true in SL.  This relates to how well the builder has created that real life look and feel. 

JJ Cycles CVO Street Glide
Total Score: 43/60  Average Score: 7.17
When it comes to aesthetics, the CVO might be the best looking of the four.  For a real bike, at low speed, you can drag the foot pegs and the bike will keep going.  I liked that feature in this bike.  As I ran it in 1st or 2nd gear and did some U-turns, the bike behaved as it should in real life.  At higher gears, the CVO's bags clipped into the road surface and I felt like I should have been on a sport bike and needed knee pads.  There weren't riding animations to speak of which didn't contribute to the realism.  The sound set is what I think might be the coolest feature.  At speed, the bike flat out growls which covers up my screams.

B.C.C. Ultra Fat Boy
Total Score: 45.0/60  Average Score: 7.50
I loved the looks of the B.C.C..  You can color change the flame paint to any color you desire.  Of course, Lizzy had to make the flames pink!  Again, this test is the most subjective of them all and for the B.C.C. to behave like a big bike, I would expect some under steer and the illusion of mass when the bike comes into a turn.  How this bike is able to do well on timed and sky tracks for a great SL experience, might make it feel less like a RL big bike.  In a way, it felt like I was riding a lightweight metric cruiser.  The rider animations were realistic and added to the feel along with a healthy sounding motor.

Moto Bazzi Glide
Total Score: 48/60  Average Score: 8.00
The under steer that I observed in the previous tests actually contributes to this bike's realism.  Having ridden a big bike in RL, I had to slow down for the tight corners.  In SL and on the Glide, I had to slow down for the corners.  This gave me the feeling of weight and mass you would expect in a bike of this size.  It does need a little more lean angle/bank at both high and low speeds but I'm not sure how possible it is to vary the lean angle for either situation to add to realism.  Styling could use a bit more flash and splash on the paint but generally it looked like the bike it is modeled after.

Q's Customs Harley Bagger Arctic
Total Score: 42/60  Average Score:7.00
Big bikes should behave like big bikes.  The Harley Bagger is an awesome bike on the sky and timed tracks.  It holds the road and goes where you want it with the least amount of effort but isn't twitchy or overly sensitive.  The lean angle/bank is slightly more extreme than I would prefer, out of the box but where I got a little lost is in the paint.  Most of Q's bikes have incredible paint jobs and are tastefully styled.  This bike doesn't have the depth or luster I would prefer. The white paint looks flat and fuzzy. 

 
 
The Results


This was a tough choice.  Each of our participating builders is going to expect me to choose.  Sighs....first I'll start with the pros and cons.

In Detail

The B.C.C. Ultra Fat Boy was the fastest of all of the test bikes though this wasn't a speed test, it was an interesting observation.  Because the scripting system is somewhat proprietary, you really can't tweak specific settings on the bike such as you could with the KCP menu system and some might think this limits the capability of the bike.  It is limiting but the bike rides well and I fail to see how expanding performance tweaks would make the bike better, I could still rip this bike around a track. 

There are different riding modes which for the right rider can be a lot of fun.  I stick to the cruise mode.  Styling of this bike is very very nice!  I do love this bike.  What was troublesome is the bike would float and fly at the apex of a hill. 

Q's Customs Harley Bagger Arctic was the slowest of all of the test bikes and again this wasn't a speed test.  What this means to me is the bike is scripted and set up with realism in mind.  Big baggers aren't speed demons and certainly with tweaks in the gearing or added gears, the bike would be a rocket ship but then some tweaks to the handling would be required.  None of that matters to the purity of this test because we weren't testing speed or the bike's ability after altering the "out of the box" state. 

This bike was reliable and handled easily.  In many ways, it felt very realistic and natural to me.  The textures however were muted and not as clear or brilliant as other Q bikes even as this one is white, the "paint" lacked some depth and luster. I chose this bike from my inventory to be fair.   From the point of view of riding and riding animations, there are few bikes as good out of the box.  Banking at low speed was a little more severe than reality would allow. 

JJ Cycles CVO Street Glide is part of a "Nex Gen" series of bikes from Jimmie.  While not relying on the ACS/KCP script alone, Jimmie has been doing development on stabilizer scripts to improve the ride, realism and handling.  His earlier generation bikes were good, the new generation is so much better. 

The CVO gets my vote for best looking bike of the bunch.  We're not just counting looks because even the prom queen can have bad habits.  Out of the box, the CVO has a bank angle set at 10 which is a little too high for me and while at higher speed/gears, it doesn't look quite right.  When I get a new JJ bike, I always dial back the banking to about 5 - 6.5 and I'm happier.  What was pleasantly surprising was how well the new bike handled the timed and sky tracks. 

Moto Bazzi Glide comes from smallest of the workshops in comparison.  It also felt the most realistic in how a big bike's handling would translate to SL's dynamics.  While it could do with a little more lean angle in the turns and maybe a little more weight to iron out the float off of the hills, it belonged in this test competing with three of the bigger bike builders in SL.  From the hands of a RL bike shop owner, this is a great bike.

Having owned the Moto Bazzi Ironhorse (one of my favorite bobbers) and demoed several other MB bikes, all of them are well behaved street slayers.


Shoot Out Best Bike
 
"There can only be one!" So said the Highlander. 
 

Well sorta...  After we took eight riders on the track with our four test bikes and then comparing my scores, there seemed to be more of a referendum between the three KCP scripted bikes and the one proprietary scripted bike.  What we had is almost a focus group. 

When you get a bike out of the box, a fresh purchase, what do you expect as a rider?  A more experienced rider is going to have less frustration with a KCP bike if that same rider knows how and is willing to modify settings for his or her own preferences.  Properly set up, a KCP can be a good beginner's or novice rider's bike.

With that said and after listening to my guest riders, I thought it appropriate to recognize a "Things That Move in SL Consumers' Choice" winner and my "Editor's Choice" winner. 
 
Things That Move in SL
Consumers' Choice Winner

B.C.C. Ultra Fat Boy
The common comment from my guest riders about the B.C.C. Ultra Fat Boy is it is bike you can hop on, go riding and have fun.  B.C.C. produces bikes that are correct for any rider right out of the box. My riders liked that.  From my experience during the testing and by listening to the guest riders, the B.C.C. was the easiest of the four to ride at any gear setting/speed.  They liked the look of the bike too.  What we talked about most though was how the bikes rode and consistently, each of the eight riders showed a preference to the B.C.C.

So how did the other bikes shake out in consumers' challenge?  The guest riders were pretty much all over the map.  Features and performance some loved in one bike, others didn't like as much.  Q's Harley Bagger and JJ Cycles CVO were a close second and third place respectfully followed by the Moto Bazzi Glide.  What's particularly interesting is the deviation in average scoring between 2nd place and 4th place was 1 point.  This means to me, these bikes are very closely matched.

Several times, I've said we take new riders over to B.C.C. when they want to get into riding and this is why.  In general terms, B.C.C. makes great bikes for riders of all skill levels. In 10 minutes, a new rider will be ripping around the track with more experienced riders.

 Things That Move in SL
Editor's Choice Winner
JJ Cycles CVO

From the technical scores (timed track and sky track) and the more subjective score of realism the deviation between the CVO and the fourth place bike was .25 points.  I found the bikes to be very closely matched after I spent some time riding all four.  Basically, I could get all four bikes around any kind of track with relative ease and without adjusting any settings.  When it came down to realism, I considered how closely these SL bikes would compare to a RL version of the same.  Even that didn't make it crystal clear to me. 

The average score for the JJ Cycles CVO was 7.45 followed by the B.C.C.'s Ultra Fat Boy at 7.43, the Q Harley Bagger at 7.39 and the Moto Bazzi at 7.20.  Again, four great bikes and one winner.  Three remaining great bikes that are so closely matched yet distinctly different to the point comparison was very difficult.  Enough of the disclaimers!

What I liked the most about the CVO is the styling and how real it felt to me.  This is a heavy bike and it should behave as a heavy bike would in RL.  With just a few minor tweaks, the bike becomes more perfect to me.  We did test in the bikes' out of the box state but it's reasonable to ask, "What can be done to make the bike better?"  Reducing the bank value from 10 to 6.5 tamed the CVO completely. 
 
About the Moto Bazzi Glide and the Q's Customs Harley Bagger


Because the scoring for both the Consumers' Choice and Editor's Choice were SO close across the four bikes, what is to be thought of about the MB and Q bikes?  Both are awesome bikes built by equally awesome bike builders.  

What I love about Moto Bazzi is these are bikes built by a small shop, they look fantastically unique and ride so very well.  You really need to visit the Moto Bazzi shop to try these bikes.   The Glide was clean looking and as quick as it was sedate.  I'd like to see a little more banking in turns but honestly, that's a minor deal.  Great bike!!

Q's bikes and particularly the Harley Bagger are great bikes as well. In the right hands and with very limited time tweaking the settings, the bike will go anywhere and do anything the other three will do.  The Harley Bagger needs a little cosmetic make over but as a rider, it is glued to the road and handles the twisties like a champ.  One guest rider said, "Damn, does all of his bikes ride like this?" The answer is "yes, they all ride very well." 

My Appreciation

I want to extend my deep appreciation to Jimmie Jax, Brummie Guyot, RoxyCyn and Q Anwyl.  Without them, we wouldn't have had this test and further, without them and other builders, we wouldn't have these really cool toys to occupy our time.  At times during this test, we got down in the weeds and were critical about how the bikes performed and looked.  I hope I said this but I'll say it again, these four bikes are incredibly great.  Even as I chose one as "best", the decision wasn't easy because all four bikes were very closely matched. 

This was a fun test and I hope the information collected will help these builders and others continue raising the bar.  Having chatted with each of our builders in this test, I have immense respect for each one.  They're good people!

Quite importantly, I want to thank my guest riders: Bruce, Eli, Kage, Seth, Reven, Cammie, Zachh and Lizzy.  They put my test results into context of what an everyday rider wants, needs and enjoys.  Their observations and contribution of time are highly valued.  It was a lot of fun working with them and listening to their comments.

Final Thoughts

There ya have it, our first ever Things That Move in SL Shoot Out!  In many ways, I was comparing apples to oranges.  Bikes with proprietary scripts or menus often have limits to what you can do to modify performance or handling.  Those with KCP based scripts and menus provide that flexibility but with greater flexibility, there are so many colliding variables to have the bike perform perfectly for you. 

Where new riders get frustrated is when they get a bike that isn't properly set up and they don't know how to improve the settings for their riding style.  For builders, how should they set the settings when they release a bike?  Hopefully this article will help them improve upon their work.

What I learned is how special each of these bikes are.  They are in my inventory and I rotate my bikes for different rides and to keep riding interesting for me.  Each of the bike builders are at the top of their game in bike creation and bike scripting.  In many ways, they are the gold standard.  There are many more bike builders in SL making this particular industry probably one of the most competitive and active.  Compared to other vehicle industries in SL, bike builders have it together.

Today we tested four of my favorite bike builders' creations.  Picking one bike over the other three was probably the hardest thing I've had to do lately.  These bikes are that good and all four bikes should find a home in your inventory. 

So what's next?  I have a lot of individual bikes to review but I'm looking to having another bike shootout.  What do you think?  Let me know in your comments, in-world or via Facebook. 



Find me on Facebook

You can get updates and new reviews through my Facebook group "Things that Moves in SL" or on my Google+ page, friend me, follow me or join the group.   I review bikes, boats, cars and aircraft.  If you would like me to review something that moves, send me a message. 

Robby