Guide

Here Are Your Options For The Next NYC Taxi

Posted in Automotive Event, Cars, Ford, Guide, New Cars, Newsworthy, Nissan by Kurt Ernst | November 17th, 2010 | 7 Responses |

Sadly, the Checker isn't an option.

New York City taxis have generally been front engine, rear drive sedans with ample trunk space and passenger room. The number one criteria for a successful cab platform is its ability to withstand years of abuse, rack up millions of miles with a minimal amount of service and share parts with thousands of other cabs across the city. Attempts to introduce front wheel drive minivans have met with failure, since they simply don’t hold up to the abuse cabbies dish out on a regular basis. If you’ve ever taken a cab up, down or across town, you’ll understand perfectly well what I’m talking about. New York city cabbies are generally recent immigrants (usually from countries who’d love to the see the US turned into a smoking pit in the ground), and they hold the same regard for human life as do serial killers. Never, under any circumstances, tell a New York City cabbie to “step on it”, unless you’re willing to face the consequences.

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Five Reasons Bikes Are Better Than Cars

Posted in Guide, Motorcycle, Scooters, Tips by Kurt Ernst | November 1st, 2010 | 15 Responses |

Another reason? Hot women pose for photos like this.

While the majority of the country prepares for winter, we here in Florida are preparing for the best riding season of the year. The temperature is down, reducing the likelihood of spontaneous human combustion at a traffic light. Most of the bugs are bedding down for the winter, which means you can actually complete a ride without burning through a hundred tear-offs. Finally, the snow birds are returning to their winter homes, which adds an element of challenge to your daily ride. Rolling chicane, anyone?

Sure, cars have an advantage over bikes in a lot of areas. Cars keep you dry when it rains, they keep you warm in the cold, they keep you from roasting alive in the summer time, but they also eat a little bit of your soul each and every time you get behind the wheel. Here are five reasons why bikes are better than cars:

Smaller Radar Profile

I was out for an morning ride last weekend, somewhere north of the speed limit, when a Florida State Trooped stepped out of the shadows, pointed at the car behind me, and waved him down. A second trooper motioned to me to slow down, but didn’t wave me over. It was, perhaps, divine intervention, or karmic payback for some past good deed. More likely it was the fact that a bike has a very small radar profile and a car has a very large one. Whatever the reason, the net result was this: in a car, I’d have been waved to the side of the road while the nice officer wrote me up for fifteen over in a construction zone. On a bike, they waved me off with a clear and understood warning to slow down. Motorcycle FTW.

Economy Car Price, Sports Car Performance

Used Cadavalier or nearly new SV650S; which would you rather have?

Bikes are amazingly affordable, and even the cheapest bikes accelerate, stop and (generally speaking) turn far better than the ordinary car. It was this very economic justification that got me into bikes in the first place. For the price of a ten year old Plymouth Champ, I bought a low mileage Suzuki GS750, which went like stink, attacked canyons with relative competence and didn’t break the bank on insurance.

Bikes Sip Gas

Okay, not ALL motorcycles sip gas...

You can look at this from two different perspectives: either bikes are good for the planet because they use less gas than cars, or bikes are good for your bank account because they use less gas than a car. My BMW K1200RS gets around 40 MPG without really trying, but it also makes about 130 horsepower at the crank and gets from zero to sixty in less than three seconds. Every time I whack open the throttle, I feel like I’m doing my part to save the spotted owl or the polar bear, and it makes me feel all fuzzy inside. Or maybe that’s just the thrill of acceleration.

You’re Part Of The Environment, Not Isolated From It

Ever wonder what a sunset smells like?

When I lived outside of Boulder, Colorado, there was a hill I needed to cross on the ride home. Cool, dense air settled at the foot of the hill, and the air would warm up and dry out as I climbed the hill. After a long day at work, it was one sign that I was close to home, close to cracking a beer and close to calling it a day. You see things on a bike, smell things on a bike and sense things on a bike that you miss entirely in a car. If life is a journey, isn’t it better to take that journey with your eyes open?

Bikes Fit Places Cars Don’t

No matter how tight parking may be for an event, I’ve never had a problem finding a spot to put a bike. I can’t fit more than two cars in my garage, but I can easily fit a bike or two, without significantly impacting usable space. Even better: if traffic is jammed up bumper to bumper, bikes give you the ability to navigate through or around traffic that you just don’t have in a car. I rode to my college graduation, with my roommate on the back of my bike, in a cap and gown. Traffic parted to let me through like I was Moses and they were the Red Sea; in a car, I’d have been just another lemming.

I’m not going to start spouting “cagers suck” rhetoric on you, so don’t worry. I’ve still got as big of a car jones as I’ve ever had, and that’s not going away anytime soon. Cars are necessary, cars are good and cars can be entertaining as well. They’re just not bikes.

Car Guy Basics: How To Find A Good Mechanic

Posted in Car Care, DIY, Featured, Funny, Garage, General, Guide, How To, Maintenance, Mechanics by Kurt Ernst | July 20th, 2010 | 2 Responses |

One of the most common questions I get is, “How can I choose a shop to work on my car?” In some cases, you’re options are extremely limited: drive a Ferrari F40, for example, and chances are you’re not going to find a local mechanic willing to turn a wrench on it. The risk is too high, and even at steep hourly rates, the reward is too low.

I’ve been around cars and bikes my entire life, and spent my impressionable years working in the family garage. It’s gone now, a victim of changing times, but it served the local community for over 60 years. We had generations of customers, some who would even drive in from out of state to get their cars serviced. Why? Because it was a small shop that put an emphasis on quality work and customer satisfaction. That type of business is getting harder and harder to find with each passing year.

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Five Reasons Why I Won’t Tell People What Car To Buy

Posted in Car Buying, Car Deals, Car Reviews, Cars, Funny, General, Guide, New Cars, Tips by Kurt Ernst | June 29th, 2010 | 14 Responses |

'Buy the one without the giant sign on it'. Photo: Fail Blog

I’ve always been a car guy, since the time I was old enough to hold a gas pump in my hand and race HO scale slot cars. As I got older, a lot of people would ask me for advice on what car to buy, based on my knowledge and experience. Now that I write about cars for a living, the number of questions I get has only ramped up.

A few years back I made it my policy to not give advice on what car to buy, and below are my reasons. I’ll give you an unbiased opinion of any car I drive, but don’t ask me if you should buy one or not. Here’s why.

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FWD, RWD, AWD and 4WD: What’s The Difference And Why Should I Care?

Posted in 4x4, Car Buying, Car Tech, Cars, driving, General, Guide by Kurt Ernst | June 28th, 2010 | 11 Responses |

Okay, then...

Enthusiasts aside, most people buy cars because of a certain need. Maybe you’ve got a long commute and you want to save as much money on gas as possible, therefore your options come down to a hybrid or a diesel. Maybe you’ve got four sprogs to haul around and you need to keep them pacified on road trips; you’re going to be shopping for a minivan. Maybe you live in hurricane country and are preparing for the zombie apocalypse, like yours truly; in this case, you want an SUV with legitimate off road capabilities.

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2010 Hyundai Tucson Limited PZEV: RideLust Review

Posted in Car Buying, Commuter Cars, Cross Over Vehicle, Design, Economy Cars, Featured, Guide, Hyundai, Import Review, New Cars, RideLust Review by Kurt Ernst | May 14th, 2010 | 2 Responses |
2010 Hyundai Tucson Limited

That's a ... Hyundai?

Thumbs Up: Hyundai quality has come a long, long way.
Thumbs Down: Four cylinder motor could use more low-end torque; steering is overly assisted.
Buy This Car If: You want maximum value in a small crossover with a class-leading warranty.

Prior to driving the 2010 Hyundai Tucson Limited, I hadn’t driven anything from the Korean auto giant since renting a 2007 Sonata. The Sonata was good enough for a rental car, but lacked refinement. The motor and transmission, for example, didn’t communicate well. Floor the accelerator pedal and sometimes the car rocketed ahead with surprising enthusiasm; other times, it tried to decide if it wanted to go at all. It was almost like the ECU spoke Spanish and the transmission spoke Portuguese; sometimes they understood each other, but often they did not.

A lot has changed in three years, and for Hyundai, all of it is good. The brand and the product line have matured, and Hyundai now sells a range of stylish and well built automobiles at prices that reflect maximum value for their segments. Hyundai and Kia have paid attention to the lessons leaned by Japanese automakers in the U.S. market; start by selling on price alone, then up the content and quality to be as good as anything else in the class.

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Buying Or Selling On Craigslist: Let’s Be Careful Out There

Posted in Car Buying, Car Deals, Cars, General, Guide, How To, Motorcycle, Safety by Kurt Ernst | May 8th, 2010 | 5 Responses |

James Sanders had a diamond ring for sale, and he opted to post it on Craigslist. When the phone rang, Sanders thought nothing of giving the caller his home address, and the anxious buyer assured Sanders he’d be right over. When two men and a woman knocked on Sanders’ door, he became apprehensive. The trio didn’t look like the type who’d be shopping for a diamond ring and it was past 9:30 PM, but one of the men flashed a wad of cash. Convinced the buyers were sincere, Sanders let them into his house. A short time later he lay dead, killed protecting his son in a robbery gone bad.

Sites like Craigslist present a low cost, real time opportunity for sellers to connect with buyers. They’re successful because the vast majority of transactions go off without a hitch; still, there are plenty of examples, like the one cited above, of deals gone bad. Want to buy or sell your next car or bike on Craigslist? Here are five tips to keep yourself safe.

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Want To Avoid A Traffic Ticket? Here’s Some Advice

Posted in Crashes, driving, Featured, General, Guide, How To, Legal, Police, Politics, Roads, Safety, Street Racing, Tips, Traffic by Kurt Ernst | March 26th, 2010 | 16 Responses |

We here at RideLust have previously presented video on dealing with police, and I’ve got to tell you that it’s perhaps the worst advice I’ve ever seen given. It’s ACLU bullshit; while technically correct, it’s guaranteed to get you a ticket, an ass kicking or a whole lot of trouble you don’t really need. Consider this: you’re at a traffic light that changes from red to green. You look left, and see a fully loaded dump truck steaming into the intersection at full speed; it’s your legal right to proceed, because it’s his obligation to stop. Would you rather be right, or ground into pavement pizza?

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Washington, DC Auto Show: Two Cool Pocket Rockets.

Posted in Auto Show, Chevrolet, Commuter Cars, Compact Cars, Concept Cars, Guide by MrAngry | January 28th, 2010 | 1 Response |

The compact car market has been in full swing for some time. Cars like the Mini, Smart and Scion have helped pave the way for these new little beasties and help them become solidified as something more than just and automotive trend. While walking through the GM display I noticed two new little guys that I had not seen before. The Chevrolet Aveo RS show car and the GMC Granite were drawing oohs, aahs as well as they occasional WTF, from onlookers.

Up first is the Chevrolet Aveo RS show car. Now keep in mind, this is based off of the standard Chevy Aveo – a car that is by no means a performance oriented compact. For the show car however, Chevy took hold of the little 1.6 liter I-4 Ecotech and slapped a turbo charger on it. This bumped power from 106 hp to a semi-respectable 138 hp that is put down by a 6-speed manual transmission. Granted at 138 hp this is no pavement shredder, but when you consider the car weighs in at just over 2500 lbs. it’s actually not that bad.

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RideLust Quick Tip: How To Feed Your Irrational Lust for Rust

Posted in auto industry, Beater Cars, BMW, Car Auctions, Car Buying, Cars, Collector Cars, Favorite Cars, Guide, Rust or Lust, Volvo by Suzanne Denbow | December 11th, 2009 | 3 Responses |

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If you’re like most consumers in the market for a used car, your needs are probably best served by eBay, AutoTrader, or your local Craigslist. If you are like 99% of automotive enthusiasts, however, your pursuit for that perfect diamond in the rough exists in perpetuity. You can easily squander 5+ hours at work tirelessly refreshing your browser in the vain hope that the pristine Volvo 850R you’ve spent the better part of your adult life pursuing will magically appear for thousands less than its Blue Book value. If such is the case, then the chances are good that you’ve also experienced significant frustration at the hands of Craigslist’s rather limiting search parameters. Although you probably could if you neglected your job, family, and personal hygiene for days on end, it’s realistically impossible to search every Craigslist in every state in every city in the continental U.S. (though you’ve certainly tried). Fortunately, I’ve found a way: searchtempest.com. Not only will SearchTempest.com allow you to expand your search radius to include any location within your current zip code, it also throws in all the relevant eBay listings as a bonus. Read More…