Weekly Roundup: The League Of Ordinary Gentlemen Edition

I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the readers and friends who contributed to my participation in today’s Distinguished Gentlemen Ride. I appreciate your belief in the DGR’s mission and your personal support. It means a lot to me and it is humbling in ways that are difficult to convey in this format. I’ll be putting up photos from the ride as I get them, but for now you are invited to take a moment to mourn my Zegna Trofeo jacket which suffered serious and possibly terminal damage from being run at 90 miles per hour around Interstate 270 this morning. I’ll keep you posted on Trofeo’s convalescence and recuperation.

Seriously, however, the ride was a blast and it put me back in touch with a local fellow who builds some wicked vintage Triumphs. I’ll be visiting his secret stash and sharing it with you in the near future. For now, check out the contributions that Bark and I managed to get out the door last week.

The nice crew at Road&Track web put my Great Escape twin test up and also were kind enough to let me tell you all about a secret sleeper engine that powers a lot of great choices for young driving enthusiasts.

Brother Bark told the readers at TTAC how to make America great again with a Mexican car.

I answered a reader question about American exceptionalism and asked the readers tell me how they define speed.

Below you’ll see a few random shots I took from the DGR. More to come as I get them.

20 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: The League Of Ordinary Gentlemen Edition”

  1. AvatarJoe

    American exceptionalism=Americans being able to buy anything they damn well please, domestic or foreign, while up until a month ago, everything in my driveway was American built for the most part(all domestic marques), the wife wanted a Saturn Sky/Pontiac Solstice, we went and drove a few, I did not like how the tops operate. Took a Mazda MX-5(nc1) for a ride, much nicer cockpit dynamics(top down), better driving dynamics and a hell of a lot more support for the Mazda all point to the Mazda being the smarter choice.
    As for what’s fastest, my white Ford F-150 is much faster than my c-5, it flies under the radar!, I would consider no big horsepower 1/2 ton pickup truck as slow,3.5 eco boost or the 6.2 in JB’s truck are quite powerful and torquey.
    There was an issue of Grass roots Motor sports magazine titled something like soccer moms revenge where they pitted some old Jaguar and an old Porsche against a Honda minivan, the minivan about annihilated the sports cars that were admittedly some twenty five to thirty years older, your mileage may vary.

  2. Avatar-Nate

    Sweet ! .

    I used to go on local (So. Cal.) “Gentlemen Rides”, a wild variety of people and Motos ensured every time out was a blast .

    No one ever wore a suit though .


  3. AvatarFelis Concolor

    Yay, photographs!

    It feels odd to recognize several of those areas in the Alps from the now defunct Mindset project photo shoot. I can only assume it’s a very popular spot to photograph an automobile.

    Having moved on from but still loving the Buick Roadmaster wagon and its wonderful powertrain, I give a smile and knowing nod to the marque’s L67 equipped descendants. You won’t ever engage in the occasional stoplight “Corvette motor?” “Yeah, Corvette motor” conversations, but ever since the GNX left the scene the brand has enjoyed sleeper status for offering surprisingly capable sedans disguised as boulevard cruisers.

    I’d offer my shop’s services for your coat the next time you’re passing through, but I fear I would be limited to directing you to the cleaners a few blocks to the southeast.

    Having started driving several years before the US market was flooded with hot hatches in the 1st great minisport scrum of the 80s, I have a particular fondness for the type and their combination of sensible practicality and howl-at-the-moon performance when you get on the loud pedal. Bark’s right: the USA needs these vehicles, regardless of how irrelevant the buying public has made the entire segment.

    I’ll still occasionally harp on you to visit the folks at Zu Audio out in Ogden; I think their combination of lifestyle activity and some seriously fanatical devotion to their craft will dovetail well with your Made in America series.

  4. AvatarTomko

    Is it possible that your front tire was installed rotating in the wrong direction?

    The sipes seem to be drawing water into the tire and not away.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      That’s what I thought as well but Avon specifies the Roadrider to face reverse when it’s up front. I’m as confused as you are.

      • AvatarDr Ribs Revere

        Supposedly the “Reverse” Rotation is actually marked as being the correct direction. Supposedly this has to do with how braking forces interact with the tire, being the opposite of how accelerative forces impact the rear tire. Still looks strange and catches me off guard.

        • AvatarFelis Concolor

          I recall that orientation being recommended in the early days of the mountain bike aftermarket: Specialized’s then-new TriCross tires featured a triangular lug pattern which was oriented in opposition from front to rear, the better to provide driving traction in the back and greater braking control up front.

      • AvatarDeadWeight

        Jack, you need to call a technical specialist (as in a real technician) or engineer at Avon, stat.

        T’is bizarre that they’ve actually, truly specified mounting that tire with the sipes pointed (angled) in the direction that they are as ow mounted for the reasons others have mentioned.

        That’s too much a matter of gravitas to just not confirm is 100% safe/effective.

        Riding a bike with idiots surrounding you in 80mph 2 1/2 ton metal tanks is bad enough; having that tire mounted incorrectly without going the extra mile to confirm proper rotation is inexcusable.

        You have a son and wife, now, FFS


        • AvatarSt1100boy

          Front tires often look like their tread pattern goes the wrong way, but it’s actually correct. Dunlop in particular has had both touring and sport tires, bias and radial, like that. Looks weird, but works fine.

        • AvatarSt1100boy

          Matter of fact, I just checked the Dunlop Roadsmart 2 on my FJR1300. Sure enough, it looks “backwards”, but it’s on right.

        • AvatarKevin Jaeger

          Or he could read the FAQ: http://www.avon-tyres.co.uk/motorcycle/faqs
          “Why does the front tyre appear to be running the wrong way?
          We call this Inverted Front Grooves. We have done a great deal of testing and research on tread patterns and found the front tyre is better run in the opposite direction to the rear. The front tyre has to deal with braking forces and the rear wheel with drive forces, which are basically opposite forces. This may make the front appear to be running the wrong way round but in wet tests, we have found that the footprint is not long enough for water to channel very far through the grooves, it just needs to be expelled sideways quickly. By running the tyre as we do, we significantly reduce irregular tread wear.”

        • AvatarUnknown

          Jack is a proponent of darksiding, what’s he gonna care about which way the tread goes.
          Plus he’s super wheelie man, so front wheel not relevant

  5. AvatarRonnie Schreiber

    Any Nortons on the ride? My dream bike is a JPS Commando.

    When you posted about the DGR, I started checking out vintage Hondas on eBay. You can get a nice rider Dream for $2,000-$3,000.

    Wouldn’t this look cool on the DGR?:

  6. AvatarYamahog

    Bringing a discussion about measuring speed here –

    There’s a few measures I’d like to see –

    A sense of how fast the car is while it’s in gear. Most people report top-gear acceleration but that’s asinine – I’d weakly prefer a car that didn’t have a fast 30-50 in top gear because I want a tall overdrive gear for good mpgs on the freeway.

    Related – a 5ish – 60 mph, in manuals, just floor it while it’s idling in first gear and for automatics just let it start creeping and then floor it. I’d like to get a sense of how this might handle an impromptu stoplight gran prix. I refuse to do a hard launch for a punk in a WRX but I would like to know if I could take him all the same. Also, a massive gap between 0-60 and 5-60 suggests some sort of issue that’s going to be mentally demanding in the car – revs, boost, or konami code launch control sequences.

    Where does the thing start winding out? I’d have to figure out how to quantify this, but my SV650 doesn’t punch through 110 mph the way my FJR1300 does, my FJR1300 does 130 like the SV does 110 mph.

    Does the car make it easy to get through a yellow on a suburban road – does it pick up 15 mph after cruising at a steady speed? A lot of conventional automatics do really poorly on this regard – they cruise in a high gear and then kick down too many gears and accelerate too hard and too late. That’s worthless for making a yellow, I don’t need the car to wind up for a push to 100, I just need to pick up 10-15 mph ASAP. JB’s description of the 2018 Camry suggested that the Camry had this problem. And I’d like it if we could ‘penalize’ manufacturers that map their gas pedals like Toyota.

    On one hand, I like that Toyota makes it so easy to dial in the right amount of torque in most situations, but they demand a lot of pedal travel for it. BMW and Mazda do a good job of getting automatic cars to accelerate at medium torque demands.

  7. AvatarAthos

    All hail the holy 3800!

    My Commodore has the L36. For the engine technology and the car’s weight, the highway fuel economy is VERY good. But around town…

    Here the L67 is an expensive commodity, as they are a bit thin on the ground and it seems to be P-Plater friendly. And there are plenty of mods available to wake it up. But for the fuel penalty, it is better to go V8, just my .02.

    • AvatarBill

      Just bought a 06 Pontiac Grand Prix with the Series III supercharged engine. Low price/speed/features/low price/simplicity/ low price. Overall economy is in the low 20’s but nearly 30 MPG (US) at 75.
      Woulda had the V-8 except they were trashed or twice the price.

  8. AvatarWill

    Apologies in advance – a grammar nit to pick:
    “Most importantly, they are predictable, cheerful understeer machines.”
    Most important (is the fact that) they are predictable… Importantly is not used as an adverb here, nor is it in 99% of the times you see the word used. I only type this as, based on the quality of your writing, you genuinely seem to care about proper usage.


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