When it comes to jogging my memory, nothing beats an uppercut to the jaw. Especially when delivered by my own knee. Careless, is what I was. I came out of the deli carrying a sack with my lunch (meat loaf, milk, and tapioca pudding. All editors love tapioca pudding) and because I had the sack in my left hand I hauled in the clutch and kicked the XT500 without regard to the compression release or the piston’s place in its sequence.
If you haven’t looked at Japanese technical publications for several years you may be surprised to find they are actually written in English these days, that is, written by people whose mother tongue is English. Gone are the days of a syntax that tells us at once the writer may understand the technical subtleties of the bike but has a long way to go before mastering our language.
A note to convey my appreciation for giving us the fine pen of Herb Gunnison. Those of us who may never get the opportunity to know touring firsthand have been given a chance to taste the mystique of the open road a la motorcycling via the inimitable vantage point of Mr. Gunnison.
Political reports are becoming something of a habit for us, as every month there are new efforts by the government to exert control, or by motorcyclists to resist. Nor is there an end in sight. Not once in recorded history has a government improved itself out of existence.
When the 1978 model year began, we cheerfully proclaimed it was gonna be wonderful. We had seen glimpses of the future and knew there would be new standards for superbikes, touring bikes, motocross machines, all down the line. As the 1978 model year draws to a close, we can look back and see that those optimistic predictions were .
MIDDLEWEIGHT ROADSTER:LAVERDA500 ZETA AND YAMAHA SR500
LIGHTWEIGHT ROADSTER:YAMAHA RD400
125 MOTOCROSS:KAWASAKI KX125
On the basis of incredible technical impact. Honda’s Six is the best. The engine is a feat of skill and of daring. It’s a treat to the eye and ear and gut. However. The rest of the CBX isn’t up to the engine’s standards. We tested a pre-production example and found it lacking in handling and control. Not bad, but not as good as the Six must have. Honda agreed, the CBX never did make it to the showroom for 1978 and we expect the 1979 version will have significant improvements. As they say in baseball, maybe next year.
The good side of BMW continues to improve, as the latest of the big Beemers gets bigger and more powerful and thus more able to haul the payload of today’s long haul rider. What they don't do is get rid of some of the quirks, i.e., the flimsy side stand, artfully concealed dip stick and oil filler. And while the price (no fault of theirs, but a result of dollar-vs-mark fluctuations) goes up, the quality the high prices used to justify becomes more and more average.
What else could it be? After too many bleak years. Triumph is back. The workers have the plant and they are working. The legendary Bonneville is the surefooted roadster of old, you can still tell men from boys by whether they can fire the old device with one kick and the Twin still sounds as if human beings built it. With all that in its favor, we can forgive the 1978 Bonneville for not leaking oil.
You can’t argue with emotion, so an emotional tie can’t be.broken. The 500 roadsters from Laverda and Yamaha are both traditional bikes, each in its own way. The Laverda is pricey and fussy and agile and demanding. A new rider wouldn’t like it, wouldn’t put up with it an‘d could never appreciate the subtle touches only Laverda offers.
We tested the Yamaha IT250E for our April, 1978 issue, and liked it very much, so much that we secured one for a long-term project bike. The bike will remain basically stock, in order to evaluate its long-range reliability and overall demeanor.
It was in that little bar on the Rue des Poux, sitting with one of the Bataclan dancers, when I must have winced a little bit pouring her another glass of Sancerre. How deed you hurt your shouldair? Trowing tings at Dagmar again? Casually adjusting my Bond Street ascot inside my Poirier shirt inside my “Crasher” Mozart jacket, I snapped my fingers at the garcon for more foie gras before diffidently answering O it is just a souvenir of my search for the lost city of Gah in the Brazilian jungle, a very long way up the Amazon.
Harley-Davidson is not one of those factories that rushes headlong into innovation. The FLH 80 is clearly a derivative of the veteran 74 ohv which in its turn (1941 model year) was a derivative of the popular 61 ohv which dates back to 1936.
Can a Desert Rider Find Happiness on a Dresser? Let me say right away that I have changed my thoughts on 1. Fairings, 2. Floorboards, 3. Pegs on the crash bars, 4. Duckbill visors for the street, 5. Touring, and 6. Harleys. And realize at the onset that although I’ve been riding since 1953, my longest trips have always been in the dirt.
From Silent Gray Fellow To Throbbing Great Twin. A Success Story
Henry N. Manney III
HARLEY-DAVIDSON is not a motorcycle; Harley-Davidson is a state of mind. Modern day motorcyclists with their grotesque motocrossers, tartedup café racers, or complicated multis pretending to be transportation bikes simply have lost the point of the whole idea.
In keeping with this issue’s emphasis on Harley and History, and because there’s more and more interest in older bikes, we did some research into where you can get that authentic floorboard and where you can find a parts man who knows between WD and VL. Not just for Harley.
From the beginning Can-Ams have been fast. They have also drawn attention because of their insistence on rotaryvalved power plants. While other manufacturers were producing reed-valve and piston port engines. Can-Am kept on building rotary valved motors that usually out-powered Europe’s and Japan’s best designs.
A shiftless transmission can sometimes take only five minutes to cure.
Ever had your bike’s transmission stick in gear? Or worse yet, tap the shift lever with your toe, only to have the transmission gears shuffle from one to the next? A major engine teardown looms in your head, and with it a giant service bill. Sometimes the culprit isn’t all that big a deal.
Despite the influx of less expensive nylon and vinyl riding wear, leather garments are still the motorcyclist’s best friend. Nothing equals leather when you’re cruising down the turnpike into a brisk wind, or protects your hide better when you take a spill.
Honda Does a Wonderful Job Designing the Gold Wing For the People Who Buy It.
Robert Lipkin is a man who would rather ride his motorcycle than work on it. A strapping 6 ft. 4 in. and 310 1bs., Lipkin’s idea of traveling is heading his full-dress, overloaded machine from California to Florida to Chicago to North Carolina to Texas to Kansas and back to California, covering maybe 12,000 miles.
Many motorcycle riders face a problem, unique to that mode of transportation. Even the largest motorcycle is severely affected by changes in gross vehicle weight which would barely be noticed on the typical automobile. For example, adding a 150-1b.
Bad Brad wins in England, Eklund leads Camel Pro, Aksland wins Loudon, Schreiber takes U.S. and Italian rounds
BAD BRAD WINS IN ENGLAND
THE CHAMPION, THE CHAMPION, THE.. .
BELL TAKES SUPERBOWL
IT’S SPRINGSTEEN, NO, EKLUND, NO, SPRINGSTEEN, NO . . .
SCHREIBER WINS IN U.S., ITALY
AKSLAND WINS LOUDON PENTAX LACONIA CLASSIC
NIXON VICTORIOUS IN 250CC
BETTENCOURT TOPS LOUDON SUPERBIKES
COOLEY AND BALDWIN WIN AT SUZUKA
MOCKETT FIRED BY AMA
Bad Brad Lackey won the ninth round of the World Championship 500cc Motocross series at Farleigh Castle, England. Lackey (Honda) placed second to reigning champion Heikki Mikkola (Yamaha) in the first moto, but won the second moto after Mikkola crashed hard on a downhill.
You Don’t Have to Hug Your Hodaka . . . But it Couldn’t Hurt
Legend has it that certain of Earth’s inhabitants never die, among them old soldiers who just fade away, and burros, sure-footed companion and pack animal of prospectors, which are each marked with a cross and thought to be sacred. You never saw a dead burro, did you?
For many years off-road riders have cussed and discussed standard motorcycle throttles. Three nagging problems continually tormented competition riders. Most annoying, the loop of cable as it exits the throttle at a 90 degree angle and makes a gradual u-turn back toward the carburetor.
We welcome your technical questions and comments, and will publish those we think are of interest to our readers. Because of the volume of mail received, we cannot return any personal replies. Please limit your “Service” letters to technical subjects only, and keep them as brief as possible.
Just as there is no such thing as a stock motorcycle, so does it follow that virtually every owner likes to make changes and experiment. Handlebar grips are one of the easiest experiments open to us. First, it’s fair to say that few of the grips furnished with the bike are very good.
Ohlin (pronounced Oh-lean) Gas Shocks are currently the most widely used suspension components in Grand Prix Motocross. Of the 34 starters at the Spanish round of the 250 GP series. 28 used Ohlin Shocks, including winner Harry Everts!