Hard to believe 2019 is drawing to a close. The past 365 days are a blur. Guess it’s true, time does fly by when you’re working hard and having fun!

And we have been working hard since officially launching Countersteer March 25. We pinned the throttle since inception and haven’t let off the gas since! Seems like as soon as one bike is off the lift, another takes its place. We customized a Harley Street Rod and Indian Scout for the Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s Moto Stampede Giveaway, then tricked-out a Harley Road King for The Chip’s Legends Ride for good measure. We also put the custom treatment to Sick Boy Motorcycle’s Sportster and showed how to turn a Sportster into both a café racer and tracker on a budget. Then there's the installs we did, like the Milwaukee-Eight S&S Cycle Cam Install for Harley Tourers, along with plenty of how to videos. The fun never stops in the shop.

We like to do things a little bit different around here so instead of posting a hastily written ride review of the new Indian FTR1200, we took it on a 3,000-mile journey to Baja Mexico for the El Diablo Run. We’re proud to have been among the first publications to review the FTR and have built upon that momentum with reviews of the Honda Africa Twin, BMW F 850 GS, Honda CB1000R, Harley CVO Street Glide and Suzuki SV650X as well. Can’t wait to see what motorcycles we get our hands on this year! In addition to wrenching and riding, we’ve raced in plenty of hooligan flat track races, held our first-ever hill climb in Sturgis, sponsored bike shows and events, produced tons of videos, and have worked hard to be a fresh voice in the industry and make our presence known.

Another big headline in 2019 was the 40th anniversary of our parent company, J&P Cycles. Who knew that 40 years after John and Jill Parham began selling parts out of a van at swap meets and local events the company would be celebrating such a milestone! The Parhams proved that if you have a vision and work hard toward your goals, anything is possible. Over the summer, Jill was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame, rightfully joining her husband John. J&P Cycles takes great pride in the fact that it’s still a family-run business and treating customers like family is still a core value that drives its success. Zach Parham helms the J&P Cycles’ ship with the same vision and passion as his parents, which is a big reason the business continues to thrive. Part of that vision was the new, more modern and user-friendly website J&P Cycles launched this year. While celebrating our 40th was fun, we’ve got our sights set on the 50th and beyond.

It’s no big secret we love racing around here, flat track racing in particular. It’s the most grass roots form of motorcycle racing and was founded here in the good ol’ US of A. Our man Patrick Garvin has banged plenty of bars himself this last year, from Flat Out Friday in Milwaukee to Born Free’s X Games Qualifier to the Hooligan Dirt Dash in Las Vegas. Our love of going fast and turning left is a big reason J&P Cycles sponsored Indian Motorcycle Racing’s factory flat track team. It was a hoot watching the Bauman brothers give reigning champion Jared Mees hell this year. Briar’s effort at the Minnesota Mile to win the championship was the stuff legends are made of. To help crown Briar Bauman as the new AFT Twins champion is undoubtedly a feather in the cap we’re truly proud of.

But Briar wasn’t the only champion we were happy to crown. J&P Cycles sponsored the Amateur Hooligan Class in the 2019 RSD Super Hooligan National Championship series. The amateur class truly represents the hooligan spirit, riders who wrench on their own bikes and work hard all week so they can let it all hang out on the weekend. It was super cool when the AMA stepped up and sanctioned the amateur class so that the name of the 2019 AMA Amateur National Champion would forever be enshrined in the record books. We were stoked when Rich Silva, one of the nicest guys in the pits who puts his heart into every race, deservedly won the Amateur Hooligan Class championship and wrote his name in AMA racing history.

We were also proud to call Tim Dixon the 2019 J&P Cycles Ultimate Custom Builder Champion. The Ultimate Builder shows are held at each Progressive International Motorcycle Show as it travels around the country. Last year the IMS visited seven cities and hundreds of custom bikes battled for the title in the various shows. At the grand finale in Chicago, Dixon’s “Game Changer,” a Shovelhead chopper with a VL-style springer front end, a rigid wishbone frame, and homemade wheels beat out some of the baddest bikes and most talented builders around to win the heralded Freestyle class. Along with the prestige of winning, Dixon of Gax Axe Chop Shop also took home a generous $10,000 grand prize. With two rounds of this year’s Ultimate Builder competition in the books, we’ve already seen some incredible custom motorcycles and can’t wait to see who rides away with the championship this year.

Another thing that got us excited this year was the new crop of bikes that hit the market. Indian followed up the release of the FTR1200 with the launch of its liquid-cooled bagger with a frame-mounted fairing, the Indian Challenger. The new Challenger came with a new engine as well, the Powerplus 108. Harley-Davidson made headlines when it became the first major manufacturer to bring an electric motorcycle to market. Harley-Davidson – who’d-a-thunk? But lo-and-behold, The Motor Company beat all the other OEMs to market with one, and while we haven’t ridden one yet, we’ve heard nothing but high praise for the performance of Harley’s LiveWire. As a whole, electric motorcycles continue to rise in popularity, with Zero leading the charge, and it won’t be long before other manufacturers follow Harley’s lead as BMW announced it will soon have its own electric motorcycle to market.

Not to be outdone by its rival, Harley-Davidson also has some new engines in the works, a liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-Twin in 975cc and 1275cc versions called the Revolution Max. Harley’s got some exciting new models powered by the platform in the works, including their first-ever ADV bike called the Pan America. Both Patrick and I got bitten by the adventure-touring bug this year and we can’t wait for a chance to flog one (hint, hint!). There are plenty more promising motorcycles on the 2020 horizon that make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, from small displacement ADV bikes to 200 hp streetfighters.

The Harley Pan America is one of the motorcycles we're really looking forward to in 2020! 

And while 2019 has been filled with incredible highs, it invariably came with lows as well when we lost friends and irreplaceable icons in the industry. Arlen Ness was one of the most talented custom builders around. A true visionary, Arlen remained humble despite the many accolades his work was awarded, endearing himself even more to the industry. Jessi Combs was just as beloved, and a collective pall was cast over the industry the day she died. The loss of Carlin Dunne also hit home when a crash at Pikes Peak ushered his spirit away. If solace is to be found, it’s in the fact that Combs and Dunne both perished doing something they loved, Combs pushing the limits in a land speed racer, Dunne racing up the fabled Colorado mountain at a record-pace.

Those who have passed would want us to embrace the new year with open arms, to ride and race hard, and to take pride in wrenching on your ride. Don't be afraid to do something out of your comfort zone. I believe they'd also want us to take an extra moment and tell those dear to us how much we love them. Hard to believe we've only been doing this crazy Countersteer thing for nine months. That said, can't wait to see what we can achieve in 2020 given a full year to stir things up. Here’s to the new year and the promises it brings. Ride on, ride strong!