Back when I was a political reporter the newspaper where I worked was always engaged in some sort of political campaign. One day I mentioned to my boss that we were going to get whipped in the struggle of the moment, for reasons not connected to the issue, and that I didn’t like it.
A few months ago I spent quite a bit of money rebuilding my 1969 T120 Bonneville. I really love that good handling, light, old British Twin. I have a 2-into-1 exhaust, mega-cycle 1080 cams, 750 Routt kit, and a new 5-speed with the ability to pull taller gearing with a decent getaway.
There was a time, we're told, when there were no dirt and Street bikes. Just motorcycles. Most roads being unpaved at that time, any motorcycle, whether it was a BSA, a Husqvarna, a Moto Guzzi or a Harley, had to be able to handle all kinds of roads.
Compared to the 1100cc monsterbikes, Yamaha's Seca 550 is a small, light motorcycle. It weighs 424 1b., has a 55.3-in. wheelbase and displaces 528cc. It also happens to work so well, feel so right, and be such fun to ride that it actually made some riders pause and wonder.
Several months after our longterm Honda CB750F went into service, the man to whom the bike is assigned made a tough decision. He traded in the stock seat for an E-Z Berg seat, a touring bucket also known as a tractor or frying pan seat. The sort of seat one sees on Harleys, old ones, and seldom sees on sports bikes like the 750F. His reasons were basic.
Yamaha's 1980 YZ465G set new standards for horsepower and brakes. But best of all, the rest of the package, things like controls, wheels, and frame, let the 465 racer take full advantage of the power and brakes. A strong running 450 Maico was about the only bike capable of giving competition to the 465.
Sometimes we are so overwhelmed by a test bike we can't stand to give it back. The Yamaha YZ465G was that kind of bike. Our hardest dirt riding editor decided he simply couldn't get along without it. Yamaha agreed to a longrange test and the YZ started on its year of torture.
Not Just for the Power Mad Racers, the GS1100 has the Torque and Control to do Nearly Anything.
Once again it's time to get out your pencil, put a line through the last name in the Fastest Bike list and write a new name. It's a name that you had just put a line through a month or two ago When the Kawasaki GPz surpassed the 1980 Suzuki GS1100 as the fastest accelrating motorcycle.
Byron Hines' Idea of a Street Machine has Nothing to do With Cruising.
"If he had this motor in his bike, we'd all be in trouble," said Byron Hines, glancing from his street bike to a competitor's dragbike. Hines built the GS1100 Terry Vance used to win the IDBA and NMRA Pro Stock Championships in 1980. The man who had just driven into the dragstrip parking lot regularly ran against Vance in the Pro Stock class.
The happy little word "sunbeam" brings to our minds various felicitous images, especially if we live in a part of the world that is not afflicted with the Pitiless Desert Sun all day every day. Those sitting out a wet Spring are encouraged by a random shaft of yellow, those paying top whack at a foggy beach resort are encouraged to see if the bathing costume is dry yet, and campers in the mountains, wondering how the Beemer is going to react to 6.3 in.
Maico's '81 line consists of some minor and major refining of last year's components, and two new engines. Well, at least the top ends are new. The new 250 engine has reed induction at last. The system looks much like those used by Honda and Yamaha, with the reed block placed between the carburetor and cylinder, in the intake track.
A 443cc Kit Makes It Run.....Now, If We Had A Kit For The Other Problems
We were highly disappointed with our '81 Kawasaki KX420. Several things didn't seem up to open class standards. But by far the most disturbing thing about the KX was the lack of horsepower. We complained to Kawasaki and they offered us a Kawasaki-approved kit that makes the 420 into a 443.
For quite some time now Jeff Clew and Bob Burgess' definitive history of the Velocette has been unobtainable, partially at least because the rather small and typically English publishing company that originally printed it couldn't quite justify another run.
Here we have a nice black and gold book about an even nicer black and gold motorcycle that is something of a cult in England, at least the models built before BSA got its commercial little hands on the name. Would you believe a gutless twin-cylinder shaftie that stripped its ring and pinion?
The owner's manual of one of my early motorcycles, an old pushrod Single, recommended setting valve clearances as follows: Adjust the exhaust rocker so a small but discernable click could be felt while lifting the rocker up and down, and set the intake valve so the rocker could be slid freely from side to side but not clicked.
Six Hours on the Racetrack is a Long, Hard Time for High-Performance Products.
WHEELS AND TIRES
Testing high-performance products in endurance road races compresses a lot of abusive use into a short time span. Hours spent at maximum rpm are harder on a machine or product than thousands of normal street miles. That's one reason why we like to test products in endurance races.
Judging by reactions from the dealer audience when Suzuki rolled out its 1981 model line, there's going to be lots of action in the sports and motocross business. The dealers clapped when they saw the new range of 650s, they cheered when pictures of the Katana showbike were flashed on the screen and they whooped, hollered and gave a standing ovation to the water-cooled, solo-shock RM 125.
The Winston Pro Series Had 15 Winners, But The Title Was Decided In The Last Race...And By The Narrowest of Margins
WINSTON PRO SERIES FINAL STANDINGS:
Gary Van Voorhis
There can only be one Number One. Randy Goss and Hank Scott both knew that when the Winston Pro Series rolled into Gardena, California's Ascot Park for the final race of the season. Only four points—in Goss' favor—separated the pair. The AMA Grand National Championship had been compressed into one race after criss-crossing the U.S. four times from Houston to Sacramento to Louisville and Loudon and then back again to Ascot, Indianapolis, Syracuse and San Jose.
We first saw the Hannigan STe fairing at Daytona, 1980. Two Canadians had ridden to the races through snow and cold and dark of night. No news there; Canadian bikers are an enthusiastic and sporting lot. But they looked as if the ride hadn't been all that tough and they gave credit to the fairings on their bikes.
Can-Am's 250 Qualifier is Still Competitive a Year Later.
When the 250 Enduro comparison test was finished in time for the August issue the Can-Am 250 Qualifier was kept for long-term evaluation. It's a way of finding out how the bike works after the new wears off and, besides, it was a good bike we enjoyed riding.
Not a Lightweight Street Bike. Surely Not a Heavyweight ISDT Mount. Instead, It's a Bike for Exploring.
Some motorcycle companies offer 50 or more models every year, with engines that are 50 to 1100cc, two-strokes and four, in a selection including mopeds, motocrossers, city scooters, sports racers and fully-equipped touring mounts. Some motorcycle companies specialize and one of the best-known for this has been BMW. For the past generation BMW has offered what amounts to one engine in a variety of sizes and one usage, the high way.
Seldom does life behind handlebars present an opportunity for be-spectacled bikers to feel superior. We don't get to scan the far horizons, not without squinting anyway. On the road, those with normal eyesight can merely pop their helmets over their heads, fasten the straps, snap the shield into place and roar away.
An All-New Engine And 40mm Forks Put Husky Back In The Hunt
Biggest news from Husqvarna for 1981 centers around an all-new open class engine. An 86mm bore and 74mm stroke combine to produce 430cc, but the powerplant is more than a bored and stroked 390. It's new from the magnesium cases to the top of the head.
500cc Singles Allowed in AMA Lightweight Expert; Lawson and Computer Tests Kawasaki Racebikes; Hannah Smokes Off Winter-AMA Series in Florida
INSTRUMENTED LAWSON TESTS KAWASAKI RACEBIKES
HOT WIND COMING
GETTING A FACTORY RIDE
IDBA SPRING NATIONALS DATE CORRECTION
HANNAH RETURNS TO WIN FLORIDA WINTER-AMA MX SERIES
In an effort to spice up the Lightweight Expert (250cc) class at national road races, the American Motorcyclist Assn. (AMA) has decided to allow 500cc four-stroke Singles and 425cc four-stroke Twins to race against the 250cc two-stroke Twins that now constitute the class.
In the Jan., 1981, issue of CW detailed reference was made regarding the 1981 Honda GL500 and GL5001 motorcycles. My only regret with my own CX500 Custom is the small gas tank capacity and uncomfortable seat over long distances. Thus an alternative to relinquishing my otherwise faithful steed and the possible purchase of a replacement comes to mind.
Honda would sell a bunch of the CX500 turbos if they looked like the one in the January 1981 issue. But they are at it again with their little-bit-at-a-time technology. What would really sell is a GPz1100 with fuel injection and a turbo like BMW cars.
Koni's new shocks are designed for street and touring use. They are fitted with progressive rate springs, have three spring preload adjustments as well as adjustable rebound damping. Models fit Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki and BMW. Price is $157.20 from Koni dealers or contact Koni America Inc., CW-4, PO Box 40, Culpeper, Va. 22701. Phone (703) 825-4543.
Koni America Inc.
SIMPSON SPORTS MODEL 61 HELMET
Simpson's newest helmet is made from a combination of fiberglass and Kevlar. The combination makes the model 61 one of the lightest Snell 75 approved helmets around. It features a flush mounted shield, more rakish front for less wind resistance and epoxy finishes in black or silver. Price is $124.16 from Simpson dealers or contact Simpson Sports, CW-4, 22630 S. Normandie Ave., Torrance, Calif. 90502. Phone (213) 320-2204.
Koni America Inc.
TRACK-PRO TYPE II MX PANTS
Rolf Tibblin's new MX pants are made from nylon and cordura. They feature Jofa knee/shin guards, Velcro leg closures, leather reinforcing around the knees, heavy duty belt buckle and front zipper, full lining, inside AMA card pocket and Trac-Pro logos. Sizes run from 28 to 38. Price is $93.95 from dealers or contact Trac-Pro, CW-4, PO Box 937, Escondido, Calif. 92025. Phone (714) 741-6051.
Koni America Inc.
WORKS PERFORMANCE SINGLE SHOCK SYSTEMS
Works Performance has aluminum replacement shocks for '80-'81 Kawasaki Uni-Traks and Honda's new Pro-Link motocrossers and XRs. The shocks feature remote reservoir, finned main body, high pressure braided steel hose, adjustable spring preload, and variable rate damping that adjusts to the terrain automatically. For monoshock owners, a kit that contains new variable rate damping valves is offered. Prices and information are available from Works Performance Products, CW-4, 8730 Shirley Ave., Northridge, Calif. Phone (213) 701-1010.
Writers of the era tell us things were just a little more genteel before WWI; it was the beginning of a new century full of technical progress and harmony. Gentlemen didn't appear in public without coats, ties and hats. Here the 1912-1913 University of Illinois Motorcycle Club gathers in the cool morning light for a Sunday ride.