It seems to me ironic that your September ’70 column of Scene should have as its topic the superiority of American helmets, yet still use as its head the photograph of a racer wearing a “porridge bowl” helmet. This contradiction of picture and text is not what is meant by mixed media.
In the year in which that photo was taken, decent helmets simply were not available. It is lucky that /van Wagar, pictured from his old racing days, didn't get on his head too hard while wearing that helmet, or he would have had more thati “mixed media. Ed.
I would like to compliment you on your fine work in the September issue of your magazine. I had been waiting for three months for a cycle magazine to come out with information on the Honda SL100. I have owned a Honda SL100 for a month and a half now, and I really do like it. It runs wonderfully on both the trail and the street, and for anyone starting out on a cycle, 1 strongly suggest the Honda SI. 100.
JOHN GATES Wichita, Kan.
AND THE TAILTIGHT,TOO
I like the article in the September CYCLE’ WORLD about the Honda ('L100 and SL100. The illustrations are very good. I like the facts about the weight, bhp, rpm, clearance, tire size, and hike handling that CYC LE WORLD puts in its articles. The detailing is fantastic; they find out why the mufflers are painted black and why the taillight is rubber-mounted, too.
UM ROBERTS Port land, Ore.
DIGS OUR SC I-El
1 am writing this letter in regard to your excellent science fiction articles. I enjoy these very much and find them most interesting. Keep up the good work on your fine magazine; I think it’s the best going.
DAVID McC’LURL Portland, Ore.
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In your August ’70 issue on page 41, second to last paragraph, you quote Murray as saying, “l feel I have more control of the bike if my feet are on the pegs. My balance is better. And I have better control of body english, etc.” Would you be so kind as to elucidate what you (or Murray) means by “body english?” Perhaps it’s because 1 am not a student of American grammar that these two words leave me somewhat baffled, as many uninitiated friends who read your first-rate magazine have also asked, “What the Dickens do they mean?”
Your publication par excellence has really epic road tests. There just isn’t any other motorcycle magazine to come near CYCLE WORLD for tests— tliis is not flannel, but fact.
DAVID PLACE National Sprint Assoc.
Plymouth, England “Body english” is a slang term to describe the leverage, motion or twisting of the body to create a reaction in the motorcycle. For example, if a bike leans too far to the left, you can straighten it by moving your upper body to the left, which causes the motorcycle to move to the right. — Ed.
AMA NUMBERS GAME
During the past five years in which 1 have been reading CYCLE WORLD there has been one question which I have never been able to answer for myself. That is, how, exactly, are the numbers for the top 1 ÜÜ expert riders in AMA competition allocated? 1 realize that the rider who amasses the greatest number of points in national championship events gets the No. 1 plate, but how about the rest? For instance, Gary Nixon held the national No. 1 plate for two years. When he lost No. 1 he became No. 9 again, although he wasn’t ninth in the point standings for that year.
Another example: in my home area there is a quarter-mile flat track where races are held regularly (Graham, Wash.) during the summer. There are two national numbers who race there regularly: No. 80. Emil Ahola, and No. 83, Dan McCleod. This confuses me because I saw one of BSA’s ( Aldana) riders using that number. How can this be?
AIC GARY STRIL Goodfellow, AEB, Texas
We can understand your eon fusion. In the past, the top 99 AMA numbers, the “national numbers, ” have been allotted on a haphazard basis. Only No. I meant anything. The rest were given to
active riders, who held them indefinitely, until they became inactive.
In 1971, that will all change. A rider will receive a number according to his ranking the previous year in AMA national competition. So Gene Romero will have No. 1. Jim Rice, who was 2nd place, will have No. 2. Dave Aldana, No. 3. Dick Mann, who has long been known for his No. 2, placed 4th and so will have No. 4. Then it goes: Don Castro, No. 5: Mert Lawwill, No. 6; Chuck Palmgren, No. 7: 'Tom Rockwood, No. 8; Mark Breisford, No. 9; Gary Nixon, No. 10, and so on.
While this will be less confusing to the publie by and large, it will make things a bit confusing for those of us who have become sentimentally attached to the old system. Tor instance, who is Neil Keen without his No. 10, or Emil Ahola without his familiar No. 80? And how about No. 4: what’s that without Bart Market? Ah well, all must change. Riders lose their numbers in time. And some times the numbers lose their riders. So now it ’s annual.
The new system will not preclude confusion likely to arise at road races, where special numbers are allotted to simplify tap checking. This is how Aldana ended up with No. 83 at one such event. And then, you’ll still have the regional number system to contend with: the numbers followed by a letter, which denotes regional origin of a rider carrying a non-national number. -Ed.
AN UNCANNY CAN
Regarding your excellent article on Loudon in the September issue, I would like to make a correction about the Kawasaki “fastest gas can in motorcycle racing.” It is not as fast as the gas can that Norm Lee and I built for the Triumph Corp. 1'he Triumph can fills the Trident 6-gal. tank in 3.5 seconds. No mistake: 3.5 seconds.
PETE BROWN Long Beach, Calif.
FUEL S TUB
I noticed a point of interest in your article on the Loudon National Road Races in the September 1970 issue of CYCLE WORLD. The thing that caught my eye was Kawasaki’s 30-gal. “Supercan.” According to a principle of fluid mechanics, it’s the height of the can above the bike and not the volume of that can that determines how fast the bike is refueled. Therefore, a 5-gal. can held 10 ft. above the bike will refuel faster than a 50-gal. can heid 2 ft. above the bike.
BILL CASEY Dayton. Ohio Okay, you find a 3-gal. can and we ’ll find a giraffe with a pit pass. It should be a marvelous combination.-Ed.
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TELL HIM WHY
Your article on the Vetter BSA Three leads me to ask why every bike has to be hacked into a chopper-like thing with a tiny, narrow, wedge-shaped tank glued upon a bare frame toptube, and forks stretched out and high handlebars.
While the article derides supposed automotive traits of the Rocket Three, the Vetter version has borrowed a page directly from the book of the Detroit Dimwits who build cars that all turn out looking the same, have lots of showy gimmicks but have little consideration for practicality.
1 he Vetter machine's small tank should give an enormous range! To check the oil. first dismount and tear off the seat, and from the pictures it looks as if the whole tank seat/sidepanel unit has to come off just to check the battery (unless it's under the tool kit or a secret door).
Come now. the standard Rocket Three is a neat looking and functional machine with a sensibly sized tank.
It would be a great day if European and Japanese companies stopped producing small fuel tanks for the North American market just because some customizing fanatics want a two-quart unit on every machine imaginable. ( The 650 BSA Firebird has the same tiny wedge tank as their 250 Single!) Instead. they should send all their machines equipped only with the larger tanks usually reserved for their more appreciative domestic markets. Luckily my 500 BSA has one.
U.S. magazines often complain about fuel tanks being too wide or too large (even CW); one magazine calls the Honda 750 tank “too large.” Now really!
To put it simply, the best looking motorcycles are all factory stock with a good-sized fuel tank and a low or flat-type handlebar. (Please, no applause.)
SJOHRD BARKER Ontario, Canada
A VIE W ON TOLL UTION
In reading your May issue, I came across a letter from a man in New Mexico. In his letter he pleaded for researchers in the motorcycle industry to begin developing a way to cut down the exhaust emissions from motorcycles before legislation is passed restricting or even outlawing motorcycling. In your answer to the letter, you didn’t even mention the problem of a smog control device for bikes. It seems that you have chosen to ignore this man’s legitimate gripe. As we have seen in the past few
years, our legislators are not in the least reluctant to pass laws that tend to restrict the sport of cycling. So why are we to think that our lawmakers are going to overlook us on the issue of smog control? Your magazine has written articles imploring motorcyclists to write their congressman and inform him of their wants and needs. And yet when a new and urgent problem is thrust into the open by one concerned individual you make absolutely no move whatsoever. If we, as individuals, can influence the people in power, why can't you. a major bike magazine, do so and with more effectiveness? If the different cycle publications would get behind the people and collectively exercise their influence and power as a backup, then maybe we could get some legislation passed in our favor it's long overdue.
Is it possible that your magazine, as well as others, have become so involved with the money aspect of the ever-expanding motorcycle industry, that you have become afraid of the big money men, your advertisers? If you were to speak out on an issue such as smog control devices, the manufacturers would soon be breathing down your neck for speaking out on an issue that would cost them money in research and development. They might possibly discontinue advertising in your magazine: thus the magazine would lose an important source of revenue. Afflueney tends to make one conservative, for when one is affluent one has more to lose by speaking out. 1 hope you haven't become that affluent. What is so terrible about putting your afflueney to good use by helping the people that your magazine is supposedly dedicated to?
1 doubt that this letter will ever find its way into your “Letters” column. Perhaps 1 have said or implied too much. We, the motorcyclists, need someone who will stand beside us when we make our erys for justice. Think about it. will you?
San Diego. Calif.
MV appreciate your concern, but think you are attacking us with rather more elan than is warranted. You’re right that legislators will hardly overlook motorcyclists on any given problem, or some non-problems, for that matter. However, take pause to consider that the amount of air pollution created by an internal combustion engine is directly related to its displacement. An engine is a ¡rump. The larger the pump, the more air passes through it, and thus the more air polluted. (There are other factors, of course, such as blow-by, valve timing overlap, spark advance, e l c. )
M o t or cycles, being of inherently small displacement, can be seen, therefore, as a minor source oj air pollution,
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particularly when compared to the average automobile, which has from 5 to 15 times the displacement!
Looking at the situation from a somewhat Utopian point of view, the best thing a legislator could do would be to figure out a way to encourage citizens to take their motorcycles to work and leave their automobiles in the garage at home. Of course, politicians rarely work according to Utopian design, or logic, for that matter. Thus, we should be on guard against the approval of any idiotic or precipitous motorcycle anti-smog bill, advanced by a self-seeking politician to further his own career.
As for encouraging the development of a smog control device for motorcycles, we suppose it must be done eventually. But we would be inclined to take up walking if u-r had to accept the up-to-50-lb. weight penalty demanded by the present state of the art . . . particularly when the pollution caused by an average motorcycle without an antipollution device is lower than that of the most effectively safeguarded automobile of the present day. Ld.
SA TIS F I ED HORN BL O WER
I wish to thank A.F. Bissell for the most timely and useful article “An Airhorn for Soft Spoken Machines” carried in the June issue of CYCLE WORLD. It gave me the inspiration to try the same thing as you did to solve a distressing problem of cycle horns that make no audible noise to assist the rider when necessary.
The horns are by Stebel of Italy, cost about $21 and tested out quite fine. My wiring was somewhat different. I grounded to the frame on the aluminum brackets I made. No problem there. Removal of the original Honda beeper was easy and provided a nice spot for the horn relay. The heavy compressor is between the two aluminum brackets. The forward one is braced by a strip of tennis shoe rubber and held tight by two large hose tightening devices. This is clamped on the chrome shell covering the rear spring. The amount of hose is minimal as per your tip. Results: fabulous!
Your piece was extremely well written, concise, accurate, and helped the people who attempted this to avoid some rather costly mistakes. Frankly, I don’t know how you got so much information in so few words.
E. QUENTIN JOHNSON N St. Louis, Mo.