As is well known by anybody who ever wrote a letter to this magazine, I am terribly slow, always behind in my correspondence, a character flaw mentioned here because I am thinking about something inspired by letters inspired by material that appeared in this magazine so long ago that the reader may have forgotten.
In March of this year I again began looking over the market offerings. After considering several different bikes in various size, price and color categories I chose 1978 Yamaha SR500E. Light, agile and full of torque made it very enjoyable.
Feeding the appetite for nostalgia comes a renewed interest in pre-war or immediately postwar bikes whose parent companies went t*ts-up as times inevitably changed. This trend is grist for Bruce Main-Smith's mill and he has produced yet another useful handbook pour les amateurs de pur-sang, to wit one of his Service Series for all years of Velocette Viper/Venom/Thruxton 350 and 500cc Singles.
"Barstow to Vegas." said one of the guys riding with us and not with the Phantom Duck. "Gosh. I've wanted to do this ever since I saw 'On Any Sunday.' " He isn't alone. What Marlon Brando did for the image of motorcycles in the mind of the general public, Bruce Brown did for motorcycles in the minds of enthusiasts.
In the BMW R65 test in the December issue, we exceeded our poetic license. Quoting the test, we said Beemers "cost, in some cases, twice as much as Japanese machines of comparable size." BMW has called us on that, and correctly. Although that may have been true awhile back, BMW has worked hard at holding the price line and the yen-dollar exchange rates have forced the Japanese to increase their prices.
A year ago, give or take, the gummint incarnated as the EPA proposed motorcycle noise regulations which have since been reported on at length. Now the EPA has published a summary of comments about the proposal and the most obvious conclusion to be drawn from the summary is that most of the people who felt strongly enough about the matter to write don't like the proposal.
Wet weather motorcyclists learn to cope with many discomforts and cope with many discomforts and inconveniences, not the least of which is the decrease of braking ability on motorcycles equipped with disc brakes. Many solutions to the problem have been proposed and adopted by the world's motorcycle manufacturers but the latest motorcycles, for the most part, still lose some of their braking ability when the brakes are wet.
A new reader wondered at our remarks on helmets, particularly when we're commenting on Joan Claybrook, the Department of Transportation and various safety studies and claims. Surprising, we thought, as throughout this magazine's life we have always taken the same stand.
There are still some Hodakas available to the public, but don't count on finding one at your local dealer. Pabatco (Pacific Basin Trading Company) has imported Hodakas to this country since the mid sixties but now is out of the Hodaka business.
A little more than a year from now, May 18-23, 1980, experts in motorcycle safety will gather at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, D.C. for what will be the largest international motorcycle safety conference yet conducted. The conference was first proposed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation nearly a year ago.
At Last. A Big Bore Four-Stroke Dirt Bike That Lives Up To Its Promise
Cleverness tends to tangle, so to describe Honda's XR500 as a Great Big Dirt Bike is to play with words and risk some confusion. Big is no problem, as any off-road machine with 498cc. 36 bhp and a ready-to-ride weight of 288 lb. is, well, big. Great? That's gonna take some explaining.
Suzuki's First Shaft Drive Mixes the Suspension of the GS1000 With an Enlarged 750 Motor and Ends Up an Excellent Touring Machine
Having learned with the two-strokes and rotary that people will only beat a path to the dealers' door if the better mousetrap is what people want, Suzuki has developed the successful GS street bikes. First there was the powerful GS750 dohc Four, followed by the GS550 Four, GS400 Twin and then the lithe GS1000 Superbike.
You know the sort of people who hang around bike shops. And you know what circus folks are like. What if they got together?
When we talk about the old days we usually think of tough guys: fifty-mission-crush hats with winged wheels. And some of the riders back then were tough. But in my memory, a mechanic's viewpoint, motorcycling was a strange and wonderful amalgam.
Harley's KR750, and Why You Shouldn't Change It When It Works
Henry N. Manney III
Old racing bikes tend to stir different emotions in the eyes or minds of the beholder, even if he may never have seen that particular machine in action. Modern man, used to die-cast aluminum multi-cylinders, probably will react with indifference to a brakeless Cyclone board-tracker, remark Cor look at all those external pipes to the storied 120 deg.
Dunlop's new K190 tires offer good traction, strong sidewalls and reasonable price. The rear ones are easily recognized as they have a square dimple in the middle of each knob. 3.00-21 $29.05 4.50-18 $41.56 3.25-21 $32.07 5.10-17 $41.00
Bell's newest offering is designed to eliminate most of the complaints voiced about the regular Moto Star. It is lighter, built closer to the head to stop the rocking effect, has more room for large noses, taller nose piece to deflect rocks, and has foam filtered vents to keep the wearer cool. Priced at $104.95
MAGNUM FOLDING SHIFT LEVERS
These folding end shift levers are fabricated from chrome-moly steel and employ a strong return spring. Available for Maico, Husqvarna, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda, KTM, and most other makes. $21.95
Castre gloves are pre-curved to eliminate blisters caused by bunching. They are curved the length of the hand as well as across the knuckles. Palms are foam padded and extra leather reinforcing is used along the index finger/thumb seam to protect against torn seams. Foam padding also is used to protect the back of the wearer's hand. Leather is cowhide and blended-thread, double-stitched seams are used throughout. $21.95
Two finger clutch and three finger front brake levers that are made from a filled plastic are the latest motocross craze. They are used and endorsed by Roger Decoster and Bob Hannah. Available in yellow or black for Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki, red or black for Hondas. $9 a pair.
Hand Handler is a product designed to eliminate sore and blistered hands. The packet contains enough material for five different outings. Pre-cut pieces are glued to the palm of each hand and two square pads are for custom fitting on trouble spots like thumbs and fingers. $3.95
The long awaited Scott Boots are finally available. They are constructed from 100 percent man-made materials that are unaffected by water and mud. A unique ankle pivot completely duplicates a human's ankle movements—even the side ones. All parts are replaceable individually so complete replacement should never be necessary. Around $180.00
MINI AIR PUMP
Fits into a tool bag or enduro jacket with ease. Can completely inflate a 3.00-21 front tire in less than 2 minutes. $6.95
DG's tank decals do more than beautify the old scoot. They are made from thick, long lasting plastic that protects the tank from scratches, abrasions and rubbed off paint. $6 a pair.
Malcolm's back pack boasts dual compartments, heavy duty zippers, nylon and leather construction, a belly strap, and nicely padded shoulder straps. $26.50
HIGH PERFORMANCE 17-INCH TIRE
Metzeler says 24-hour endurance road races have proven the new Trophy Speed 4.50-17 V-rated tire to be the most stable 17-incher at high speeds. Features include minimal sidewall flex to avoid handling problems; fast tire warm-up to increase mileage; large side grooves to avoid aquaplaning on wet pavement. From Moto Race, under $60 for 4.50-17; matching 3.50-19 under $50.
The racetrack-tested Apollo 5 quarter-fairing for the CBX is made of hand-laminated fiberglass with a smooth gel coat. As shown with custom paint and clear shield, $160. Standard black or white with clear shield, $99. Smoke shields $6 extra. From Camber Fairings.
PRO STOCK CHAMPIONSHIP
In the four years since 1974, tuner Byron Hines and rider Terry Vance have won the Pro Stock Championship four times—three times with Kawasaki, once with Suzuki. You can buy the record for a mere $250,000. That money purchases the undivided racing attention of Vance and Hines during the ninemonth drag-racing season; all R&D work on the machine of your choice; parts and maintenance; transportation and support; and everything else needed to take the title, plus your name or slogan on Vance's leathers. There are a few catches. No applications will be accepted prior to 1980, since Suzuki bought the whole outfit for 1979; the "machine of your choice" must be one Vance and Hines deem potentially competitive; and all glory must be shared with R.C. Engineering, employer of Vance and Hines. Vance piloted the Suzuki GS1000 shown here to the 1978 IDBA Pro Stock Championship and established a new record of 9.00 sec. @ 147.05 mph. The engine displaces 1176cc with 76mm bore and a stock stroke of 64.8mm. Four 34mm Amal carburetors and extensive head work help the bike reach a sustained power output of 165 horsepower on the R.C. dyno. With Vance aboard, the bike weighs 587 lbs.
Per-Lux electronic ignition uses Hall cell triggers, is accurate within ¼ degree, will fire from zero to 30,000 rpm, and improves gas mileage and performance when compared to stock points. About $100, available for most popular models.
XS11 AND XS750
Specialists II manufactures parts for XS11 and XS750 Yamahas in various stages of tune. The kit shown for the XS11 features 34mm Mikuni carburetors; 11:1 compression ratio bigbore pistons for 1216cc displacement; stage two camshaft with racing valve springs, titanium retainers and adjusting shims located underneath racing valve buckets; heavy-duty clutch with one extra friction plate and stronger springs; and a Specialists II exhaust system which allows use of the centerstand, provides excellent ground clearance and is quiet and tuneable. The XS11 kit makes 150 hp, the similar XS750 912cc kit 120 hp. See what big motors can do? From Specialist 11.
Yoshimura R&D's Suzuki GS1000 won 1978 Superbike Production races at Daytona, Pocono and Laguna Seca. You can buy a race-ready, dyno-tested engine complete with close-ratio transmission, heavy-duty clutch, oil-cooler fittings, racing cam chain with tensioner system, 997cc piston kit, cylinder head modifications, stage II cam, oversize valves, special tappet cups, valve springs, complete CDI, carburetors, handbent exhaust pipe, Kal-Gard gun coating and a maintenance manual. $5000.
Action Four's clutch kit features inorganic friction material of graphite-impregnated asbestos bonded to steel plates and is impervious to heat. The plates don't swell, so the clutch won't fade, can't drag, and always disengages. Makes it easy to find neutral at a stop. Kit includes one more friction plate than stock for more engagement area, an extra metal plate to match, and a set of heavy-duty springs. For most Honda and Kawasaki Fours, $59.95-$65.95.
HIGH-HORSEPOWER STREET CBX
Kazuo Yoshima's 145-horsepower CBX gets its power from an 1130cc 67mm-piston kit, chrome-moly connecting rods, cylinder head porting and polishing, valves lightened and reshaped for flow, and a 6-into-2-into-1 exhaust system with street-legal tail section. Acceleration is, shall we say, brisk. From Ontario Moto Tech Corp., Inc. $1650 for parts and cylinder head modifications; $2000 including assembly.
Not exactly a handlebar-mount fairing, the clear plexiglass Silhouette attaches quickly to the handlebars and forks of nearly any motorcycle and provides excellent protection. Price is $84.95 for the clear model and $89.95 for the tinted.
CRAVEN CLASSIC SADDLEBAGS
Newest additions to the line of Craven touring equipment are the Classic saddlebags. Craven bags are made of fiberglass, probably the thickest and strongest fiberglass used on any saddlebags. Quickly detachable from outside the bags, the Classics cost $325 including the heavy duty carrier.
Honda's latest touring gloves offer something more—built in waterproof covers. Hidden behind a Velcro-closing pocket on the back of the fleece-lined gloves is a nylon protective cover which turns the gloves into rain gloves. $22 at Honda dealers.
HELLA H4 HALOGEN HEADLIGHT
Hella's halogen light puts out twice the light of ordinary motorcycle headlights and is available to replace both 7 in. and 5¾ in. headlights. Replacement is easy and the cost is $25.14.
Stock bun buster a problem? Allyn Air Research offers this inflatable seat cushion in standard or heavy duty models. Cost is $19.95 for the standard 18-gauge vinyl and $24.95 for the 30-gauge vinyl model.
DRAG SPECIALTIES' LEATHER SEAT
This isn't an ordinary custom seat but a genuine leather seat offered by Drag Specialties. A variety of styles are available for most motorcycles, each one fitting with the stock mounting. Available in black or brown, this double bucket Honda Gold Wing model costs $190.
Heavy touring loads are no problem for the latest air shocks from S&W, the Mark Ills. Just add air pressure to adjust spring rate for heavier loads. The new shocks are slimmer to fit better around chain guards.
NATIONAL HYDRON VARISHIELD
A new idea in face shields, the Hydron II coated flip-up face shield from National Hydron is coated to prevent fogging. Other models have coatings which resist scratches. Cost is $11.95 for either model in clear, smoke or yellow.
RACK FACTORY REMOVABLE RACK
Don't want to have a rack on your BMW or CBX but need carrying space? The Rack Factory now offers a quick disconnect rack for both bikes which can be unlocked in seconds. With wood slats the rack costs $125.95, $115.95 with non-skid surface.
The perfect compromise between heavy over-boots and plastic bags, Vetter Totes are available in a variety of sizes, pack into a small bag and are totally waterproof. For only $9.60, a motorcyclist's boots can stay dry on the wettest days.
It's either a way to overcome excessive throttle return spring tension or it's a cruise control. Twist-Assist fits inside the handlebar and clamps onto the right handgrip. A coil spring can be preloaded for the amount of assist the rider wants. Costs $9.95.
Now that the memory of Santa Claus and the monogrammed handkerchief he gave you for Christmas is fading, it's time to prepare for the road/trail/track. The people who produce those enticing trinkets sold at your friendly neighborhood bike shop have been busy the past winter coming up with new products to make your riding more enjoyable/thrilling/fun.
This nice paperback of 75 pp approx has a subhead stating that it is the development history of the Gold Star BSA. The author, who travels under the pseudonym of "A. Golland" apparently was privy to a good deal of this early research and while not really disclosing anything shatteringly new, delves into some minutae that otherwise might have been overlooked such as the material used in valves, for instance.
Last year Maico introduced a completely new Magnum motocrosser while the enduro line remained mostly the same with old style engine cases and frame. For 1979 all that's changed. The E model has a late Magnum frame and small engine cases.
There's a fascinating revolution going on in European motorcycling right now. We're not sure when it started and we're equally unsure ot its outcome. But the Japanese manufacturers like Honda and Yamaha are serving up bikes which they say are designed with Continental tastes in mind.
Did you ever think about the many possible cures for any given problem? Take the loop the throttle cable makes as it leaves the standard twist throttle. All bike riders are aware of the potential hazards if the cable snags a tree limb, another rider's bars, or one of a million other things.
With Roots In The KZ650, The Z500 Is All New, Smaller And Lighter
Kawasaki introduced a new 497cc Four at a press showing in Malta. The new Z500 engine is similar in layout to the existing KZ650 powerplant, but is scaled down. Very few parts are interchangeable. Bore and stroke is 55 × 52.4mm. Double overhead camshafts are used with two valves per cylinder.
The World's Best Large Vertical Twin Remains a Modern Alternative
A lot has been said about tradition, about how the Yamaha XS650 sounds and feels like the British vertical Twins that dominated motorcycling in the 1950s and 1960s. Present-day cynics weaned on multi-cylinder bikes say that the Yamaha vibrates and runs rough.
During the planning stages of my first long-haul ride after a 15-year lay-off I figured that there must be a better way of tying my dunnage on the machine than the leather thongs I'd been using over a decade previous, so I hied myself down to that fountainhead of information, my Friendly Local Dealer.
Last June (1978) we compared four 250cc motocrossers and after three days of switching machines. came to the conclusion the YZ Yamaha was the least liked. All of the testers voiced the same complaints: slow steering, short on power, pipey, and top heavy.
In Which the Fourth Annual Barstow-To-Vegas Unorganized Trail Ride Does Not Take Place
Federal agents are usually efficient so it didn't take long for investigators working for the Bureau of Land Management to trace the Phantom Duck of the Desert. When the agents arrived to serve their papers, though, the Duck wasn't home. He was in municipal court.
Ten Thousand Trouble-Free Miles With The Suzuki GS550
One drawback to working with the English language is its method of origin: because English began as a flock of tough cookies shouting back and forth while stealing each other's women and cattle, praise comes harder than blame. The longterm Suzuki GS550 has done 10,000 miles in less than one year.
Sooner or later it happens to just about all of us, usually when we're 'way the hellan' gone out in the back of nowhere. The bike has been running along beautifully, God's in his heaven, all’s right with the world and then all of a sudden the engine begins cutting out like mad, especially under WFO conditions.
Lackey joins Kawasaki; 1979 MX Teams; New Kawasaki 750 Four for Daytona?
LACKEY DOES IT
NEW FACES DRESSED IN GREEN
HOMOLOGATION AND CLAIMING RULES DISCARDED
RESTRICTED JUNIOR DIRT TRACKERS
MOREHEAD EARNS A HARLEY DAVIDSON
TEAM SUZUKI REORGANIZED
HONDA KNOWS WHO, BUT NOT WHICH
SAME FACES, NEW YEAR
TEAM DG 1979
CECOTTO WINS AT SUGO; ROBERTS RUNS OUT OF TIRES
MX FOX GOES FOR IT
DOYLE DOUBTS NEW GREEN MEANIES
Bad Brad Lackey has signed a two-year contract with Kawasaki to compete in the 500cc World Championship Motocross Grands Prix. Lackey, 26, finished the 1978 season second in World Championship standings. behind only defending champion Heikki Mikkola.
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.
Normal chain lubes can damage the rubber O-rings used in O-ring chain, so PJ1 has developed a chain lube that is safe for those chains. The same ingredient that is used in their fork oil to keep seals plyable, has been added to their regular chain lube, and does the same for the Orings in chain.