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    • I hadn't been to San Jose BMW in years because this is my ride now:

      Even though it's Russian and like a BMW in some ways, it's what Batman would ride if Batman had kids.

      But SJBMW is a Zero dealer now. Must test ride, obviously! Here's the thing: how can you focus on a plain-looking electric when they make you walk past all the BMW eye candy?

      I didn't know they had moved into a huge glass showroom and become one of the top 2 dealers in the nation. What? They used to be a small shop in a ghetto section of town. Now they have what seems like 100s of bikes, inside and outside:

    • But wait. What are all these racing bike distractions?! Hold my test ride while I indulge my addiction.

      Bill Asquith led me to the back rooms to see some real stuff. Here he is with a '73ish (built from various parts) R75/5 cafe racer that he set a world speed record of 130.2 mph at Bonneville!

      This one went 150-something, I don't remember:

      I could always tell Chris Hodgson, the owner, really loves motorcycling. I don't know where this old vintage BMW came from, but in the upper right of this photo, you can see him in 1975 on a BMW.

    • Oh, right. The Zeros.

      Wait, they have Vespas here? This one was being ridden off the lot brand new by a woman who loved her previous Vespa for years and wanted an upgrade. Her only complaint was the backrest didn't match the seat color. She was totally thrilled with her new purchase.

      When I was in high school I owned a '53 Vespa that was so vintage I was the coolest kid on campus. I love them. When I created a scooter forum on my badass motorcycle forum, Adventure Rider, we had a mini rebellion because scooters weren't cool. They are now, bitches! You can buy them at the most badass BMW dealer around.

    • Oh my god, can we get some details on that last one? Looks kind of like a R1200R, but I'm not sure...regardless, it's gorgeous! I'm jealous! Sounds like you had a pretty sweet time at the dealership :)

    • You know what's cool? Electric Zeros.

      They warned me before my ride that they have so much torque starting at 0 mph, people are crashing in the turns when they goose them. They've had a tech and two customers break collarbones that way.

      So they put it in Eco mode for me, fearful of my impending crash. In solemn tones they cautioned me about sport mode. I'm thinking "as soon as I'm off the lot..."

      I gave it a few blocks because even Eco mode is so much fun. I had to get used to no clutch, no gears. What to do with my left hand? Why, put a cell phone in it and record a few seconds of video, of course:

      I takes about 2 seconds to understand why these bikes are SO MUCH FUN!!!

    • So how do you make the choice between a sexy beast that makes your heart beat faster when you look at it versus an electric that makes your heart beat faster when you think about how much fun it is?

      By wandering the store and admiring more eye candy, of course:

      Btw, sjbmw has had a pretty distinguished record of racing BMWs on the track. This is why I think the dealership has blossomed into what it is: they just love motorcycles. Now if only they had Ducatis and Nortons.

    • That's a good question, Jesse. I thought I might be wearing out my welcome asking about all the bikes, so I didn't ask about that one but I NEED to! I'll take that as a to-do.

    • I'm glad you survived @Chris ! No sin goes unpunished, or so they say! It will work in the back of your mind until.. one day.. poof! The urge will become irresistible.

    • For those who don't know, San Jose BMW is a family business, owned by Chris and Kathleen Hodgson, shown here on the left at Daytona:

      Their son Willie is the general manager:

      I consider Chris a long-time friend. He had sold me two different BMWs which I loved and rode through Mexico and up to Alaska.

      Edit: The Hodgsons were out of town when I visited on Saturday. I'll go again to say hi in a few weeks maybe.

    • Another point 'we's agrees' on is the Vespas. Unlike most of the closed minds on motorcycles I think they are great fun. I'd have one for sure.

      The GT350I with a Gianelli pipe is a reasonably fast (80mph), heavy duty skateboard. I rode around for 2 weeks looking for embankments to do 're-entries' on.