Need My Bike? ’Sno Problem!

Written By

9 Mar 2011

Editor’s Note: The following blog entry was authored by Mustang Vice President, Mike Panasci.

As you might recall from our Feb. 2 blog post, we just completed work on our new heated motorcycle seat for the late model FL Touring models 2008 and up (see Mustang Puts on the Heat for Harley FL Seats). Our next step was to design a heated seat that would fit the 1997 to 2007 FL models, and the idea was to use my personal 2001 Road King — a bike that’s been the guinea pig in the design of many of Mustang’s seats and accessories.

Mike "'Sno Problem' Panasci

The problem however was climatology more than logistics. I needed to get my bike to Gary Kendrick, our VP of production and head of our design department. Of course, it was January and Connecticut had just been dealt a cold hand. In fact, the state had just experienced a record snowfall unsurpassed in the past 100 years. What to do?

One option was to load my bike on a truck, but that would be tricky, given the icy condition of my driveway. And riding the bike to the shop wasn’t even a consideration. But the extended forecast was looking better (in New England, that means temps above freezing) and I’ve always been one of those ‘weird’ riders who actually enjoy cold-weather riding.

In fact, when I was a kid (and we’re talking more than 40 years ago) I used to ride my Honda S90 year round with full knobby tires. Back then, I couldn’t wait for the first snowfall. All winter long, I’d do donuts in the snow. And after the snowmobiles packed down a solid path through the woods, my friends and I would tear through the snowy trails, catching air whenever possible. As I think back on it now, I’m pretty sure it was a case of having more testosterone than brains.

As soon as I turned 17, I made the unlikely transition from the S90 to a ’67 Sportster (long story – perhaps another blog). I bought the Sporty in the late fall, so I naturally continued to ride year-round — but only on the streets!

As the years passedbetween the ritual teardowns and the eventual acknowledgement of my mortality — I opted for the more comfortable four-wheel mode of winter transportation. These days I’ll ride my bike through late fall with temps dipping to the high 30s, and I’ll get back on the road as early as I can in the late winter or early spring. I still enjoy beating the elements in full Gortex gear, and I find that I’m usually the only motorcycle on the road.

But I didn’t need Gortex to transport my bike this time since the temps were in the balmy high 40s and the roads were relatively clean. In fact, the only thing that would have made the ride better was the very seat that was going to be tested on my bike — our new heated model.

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