ONE OF THE MOST exciting projects I have been involved with becomes reality this month with the opening of Saddleback Park. Saddleback Park is in Orange County, Southern California, and eventually will be the largest and most complete motorcycle/dune buggy playground in the world.
Here in Laos, where I am currently serving with the State Department, there is much two-wheel activity of the smaller Japanese variety, with an occasional AJS, Gold Star Clubman, or Villiers among the Nipponese offerings. This, of course, brings much nostalgia to one who remembers with reverence Catalina, Big Bear, and the streets and byways of Southern California some years ago.
I own a Honda 450 and I have had and am still having problems with it. I bought the first one my dealer could get, and ever since I have been riding it — about 29,000 miles now — it has never idled at the recommended 1200 rpm. I have tried, and the best I have been able to do is 500 rpm on one cylinder or 2000 to 3000 rpm on two, while one is trying to set the idle rpm.
ROMANCE! If nothing else, the big, red, 650-cc BSA Lightning exudes romance! There are many Americans, now running a bit to thinning hair and greater girth, who recall the halcyon days, too nearly 20 years ago, when they first heard the exciting sounds of those magnificent engines from across the Atlantic, the British alloy vertical Twins.
THE ALL-ROUND off-the-road motorcycle — the every-man’s bike — is a machine particularly peculiar to the United States, at present the world’s most lucrative market. There are many good reasons for Americans’ somewhat strange taste in dirt motorcycles; vast areas of woods, trails or desert are available for sport, and most of the people who buy motorcycles for non-paved travel are just ordinary folk, not the least interested in serious racing, who simply wish to escape the everyday hustle and bustle.
I note with interest all of the editorials and legislation that has come up on motorcycles in various places, which is getting stronger each day. I agree that some legislation is needed. Some that has been proposed is okay in some respects, and some is rather drastic.
A recent meeting in San Francisco seemed to sum up everything that is, and has been, wrong with the motorcyclist approach to safety legislation. An organization, the International Sport Cycle Foundation, issued invitations for “major members of the motorcycle industry” to meet California Assemblyman John Foran, author of a proposed motorcycle safety bill (AB 978) that died in committee at the close of the 1966 session of the California State Legislature.
EXACTLY HOW MANY motorcyclists have lost control of their machines and crashed at high speed because of aquaplaning will never be known; but in the light of recent research, it would seem very likely that many such accidents — often vaguely attributed to misadventures or lack of riding experience — were, in fact, due to the aquaplaning phenomenon, something which can take even seasoned riders by surprise while riding in the rain, especially in heavy rain on a road surface with poor drainage.
WITH THAT ONE HEADLIGHT on your bike, could you swerve just in time to miss a brick lying in the road? Maybe not. Have you compared your headlight recently with lights on cars and on other bikes? Some older machines would be safer with a two-cell flashlight taped to the handlebars.
THE NEW BREED of ultra-lightweight, 100cc cross-country bikes has introduced a completely fresh section of the motorcycling public to competition riding. Riders who would have been more than faintly chicken at the thought of hustling 300 lb. of 650-cc Triumph across the desert have no qualms whatsoever at the thought of cross-country racing on a bike so light that they could practically pick it up and run with it.
OIL IS CRITICAL to the life and success of the two-stroke racing machine. The owners, builders, and mechanics of competition two-stroke machines need to have more information about two-cycle racing oils. Even with the many brands and types available (and more coming), many a racing specialist does not know that the oil he is using, the improper preparation of the fuel/oil mixture, and/or the incorrect fuel/oil ratio may be the cause of poor top-end performance, constant plug fouling or bridging, or short engine life.
"IT'S SOMETHING I had to do.” And do it he did. From Eureka, California — on a brand new bike, with only a week’s road experience — 24-year-old Merrill Palmer had two-wheeled it 1600 miles northward to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada.
AN ENDURO is, briefly, an endurance run over a measured course in which the rider tries to maintain an average speed (often 24 mph, or 2 miles every 5 min). Riders start (sometimes in pairs or in fours) at 1-min. intervals. Their times are taken at secret checkpoints, which usually are about 10 miles apart.
IT’S NOT OFTEN that motorcycle journalists get a chance to go desert riding with three of the biggest names in European motocross. Conversely, European racers don't often get into the California desert, so a recent CYCLE WORLD expedition with the CZ team into the wild country east of Willow Springs raceway was something of an occasion for both parties.
Of interest to sport cyclists is a new product from Safemaster Inc., Dept. CW-2, 314 Sixth Ave., McKeesport, PA 15132. That product is Fitrite saftey glasses. A test lab report shows the lenses resist fracture from a 14.83-oz.
Gary Nixon, last year’s National Champion, will line up with other AMA aces such as Cal Rayborn, Mert Lawwill and Fred Nix, in the Houston Astrodrome, Texas, on Feb. 10 for the largest indoor meet ever held — the first AMA indoor National Championships.
THOUGH EXPORTS to the U.S. are down, motorcycle production remains a valued part of Japanese industry. Importance of motorcycle manufacture to the nation is evidenced by the recent tour of Honda facilities by Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako.
TARQUINIO PROVINI is always expanding his model business. He makes the popular CYCLE WORLD models, and has just turned out the Norton “Manx" and the Yamaha aircooled GP twin 250 with his usual attention to detail and good finish. He lately has been investigating the MV Three and the Yamaha watercooled 250 Four, so expect these models shortly.
MORE THAN 2500 ENTRIES, and perhaps a total of 5000 motorcycles, appeared for the 14th Annual Death Valley Motorcycle Tour, the yearly gathering of the clan in California’s below-sea level desert National Monument. Starting at 9 a.m., Oct. 28, riders were logged into the fabulous federal park area through four check points — north, south, east, and west.
LAST WINTER Britons were presented a television motocross series that was exclusive to the British Broadcasting Corporation’s channel. Many people felt this was unfair, as independent companies were unable to screen the sports.
MANY CYCLE WORLD READERS must face the problem I have just solved: How to safely transport a motorcycle when a move or vacation is upcoming. Owners of large motorcycles, who also have automobiles, must either buy commercial motorcycle trailers for over $200 each, or rent utility trailers with unsuitable tie-downs.
ENGLISH MOTORCYCLE JOURNALIST Graham Forsdyke has done a good job in explaining bike maintenance to the less experienced rider. Too many technical writers are fond of impressing their knowledge on the reader by means of lengthy words and involved calculations, but Forsdyke has avoided this.