Aug 13, 2012
Oakfield resident Rich Ohlson brought his Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle for “dyno” tests at Saturday’s biker rally in downtown Batavia.
The motorcycle dynamometer was a popular draws at the three-day WNY Round-Up Rally 2012. It allows a bike to throttle up while it stays stationary and is used by mechanics as a diagnostic tool.
Ohlson, donned in a full leather riding outfit and wearing red-tinted glasses, watched as his sleek black machine was hooked to the dyno by Corfu resident Dan Thayer.
Thayer awarded trophies to the Harley and sport bikes that generated the most power and speed. The motorcycle mechanic was asked if he had a favorite bike.
“I’m always happy with the one I’m riding,” Thayer said.
Hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts brought their machines to Jackson Street during the three-day rally.
At one point an estimated 150 to 200 bikes were parked nose out, in a row on Main Street. The line stretched a full block from Court Street to Jackson Street; most of machines were American-made Harley-Davidsons.
The loud, unique sound of accelerating Harley-Davidsons — the company once tried to patent it — was heard throughout the weekend.
Ohlson’s Suzuki passed the dyno power and speed checks with impressive numbers.
The Hayabusa is one of the fastest street motorcycles on the market. Thayer revved it up to 140 mph and 149 horsepower, with the six-speed bike still in fourth gear.
“They say they go about 224 (mph) with 184 horsepower,” Ohlson said.
Factory models have a governor attached to them so the machine cannot reach maximum velocity, he said.
The Hayabusa accelerates from zero to 100 mph in 5 seconds and hits 90 mph in first gear. The Suzuki test on the dyno machine, blowing black exhaust, drew dozens of onlookers, curious to see how it would perform.
Spectators plugged their ears as the roar of the bike increased.
Asked why he would want a motorcycle that performs at such high speeds, Ohlson grinned.
“Why not?” he said.
Ohlson, 44, a bakery supervisor, said he did a lot of motorcycle riding when he was a young man, “back when I was stupid.”
He gave it up after he had children. He returned to bikes several years ago and now leads a religious group, Ride to Recovery Ministry.
Several Christian biker ministries had vendor booths at the rally, as did makers of equipment, leathers and novelty items. Food stands were set up on Court Street and there was live music each day in Jackson Square.
There was also a non-denominational religious service on Sunday.
This year’s rally was the second annual WNY Round-Up. Attendance was steady, with crowds ebbing when it rained and flowing when the sun burst through cloud cover.
Organizer and Le Roy resident Dave Kasinski said he was pleased with the turnout.
“Doing good, lot of people. Good weather,” Kasinski, who planned the round-up with his son, Sam, said.
Ron Sears of Brockport had his Bourget bike hooked to the dyno Saturday. His machine topped out at 95 mph, the same as it did when tested at the 2011 round-up.
Thayer said the Bourget’s fuel mixture was too rich. That reduced its power by 5 to 10 percent, he said.
Sears, 48, a computer systems administrator, was hoping for 119 mph.
“It’s more of a collector’s bike,” he said.
Dave Wickman of Holley was at Saturday’s round-up with Tim Horn of Caledonia.
“It’s nice to have it in town,” Wickman said.
The 2011 rally took place at the Clarion Inn on Park Road.
Wickman, 50, a construction worker and Horn, 44, an engineer, rode in on Harley street bikes.
Horn, wearing wraparound sunglasses and a bandana over his ponytail, said most bike enthusiasts at round-ups such as Batavia’s have professional careers.
The attraction of the rally is “the camaraderie, the people, the bands. Generally, watch the bands, check out the vendors and have a couple of pops,” Horn said.
Wickman motioned over his shoulder to several young women who were hired to promote a local restaurant.
“New people. Nice scenery,” he said.
Vendor Kevin Adams ran a Reaction Racing contest at the rally. A pair of competitors sit in seats outfitted with motorcycle handlebars and an accelerator lever.
The goal is to watch a series of blinking yellow and red lights, set up like the start of a drag race, and when the light turns green, be the first one to release the throttle. Qualifiers with the lowest times measured in tenths of a second return to compete for a trophy.
“What you’re trying to do is get the hole shot without getting a red light,” Adams, of East Tennessee, said.
“We travel all over the country. It’s all fun,” he said.
Downtown restaurants and bars that participated in the event did steady business Friday and Saturday evenings. Bikers could purchase a mug that was good for food and beverage discounts.
Saturday’s dice run drew 114 bikers. The competition involved collecting points for stops at businesses throughout the county.
The 2011 dice run was done in pouring rain and had 25 diehards sign up.
Kasinski said money raised from the dice run was donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. Collections from Sunday’s biker church will be used to the help cancer patient Don Carroll pay his medical bills.
Carroll, a Batavia resident, organizes the annual Donald Carroll Race/Fun Walk and has raised tens of thousands of dollars to send children to summer camp and buy them Christmas presents. He was diagnosed with cancer in April.