Heat. I was on my way home from a business meeting and the schedule had me crossing the desert at mid-day. A summer day, so when I say heat, I mean the heat that bubbles asphalt and makes you look down every ten miles because you can’t believe the inferno blasting your legs isn’t the engine in flames.
Simply put, Heartfelt Highways was beautiful. The South is really little changed from what it was a few years ago. The people are slowly getting more cosmopolitan, but it is still mostly the same. I was raised in California but left there some 25 years ago.
Constant readers will notice something different here. Book reviews always have pictures of the book, yet here instead of a picture is an illustration, and by Bill Neale, who does our contents page illustrations and very nicely, too. What gives?
Gottlieb Daimler had the world’s first motorcycle finished for about a week before he wondered how he could carry anything on it. Unfortunately for Gottlieb in 1885, the motorcycle soft luggage industry had yet to be invented. Daimler solved his problem by forsaking motorcycles for cars, but present day motorcyclists have other alternatives.
These hand-laid fiberglass fairings come in several styles and sizes. The HP (shown) goes well with machines that have angular lines. Its windscreen is a little taller than most. It has a rolled top edge to route the wind over the rider’s head. All Greer fairings come in a choice of colors and with mounting hardware. They are available with round or square headlight openings for $199.95. For more information contact Greer and Associates, 1945 Placentia Ave., Bldg. D, Costa Mesa, Calif. 92627.
Greer and Associates
Bell’s latest, the Moto-4, features a ventilation system that takes air in on each side of the nose piece. Channels direct air across the top of the wearer’s head, between the foam padding and through a new open-cell foam lining. The foam lining is covered with a high-wick fabric that absorbs perspiration quickly and moves it into the open-cell foam. The air is then channeled to side vents in low pressure areas to help pull the stale air from inside. The interior lining is quickly removable for washing or replacement or airing between motos. Compared with the Moto-III, the nose piece is taller and vented. The eyeport opening is larger and its sides extend farther back, making goggles easier to get on, and the sides fit tighter to the rider's face. An integral visor is adjustable for angle and a gasket keeps mud and water from entering at its top. The Moto-4 is Snell '80 approved yet lighter than Bell’s Moto III. They are available in red, blue, white or yellow for $184.95 at Bell dealers.
Greer and Associates
This fork spring kit comes with several springs that allow the rider to change the spring rate to suit different tracks and conditions. The kit also includes recommended fork damper modifications. It is available for all 39, 40, 42, 43 and 33mm forks. It costs $49.95. For information contact A.T.K. Leitner Corp., 2650-C Walnut Ave., Tustin, Calif. 92680. Phone (714) 731-5114.
Greer and Associates
Spondon aluminum frames
Performance Research Organization imports Spondon aluminum alloy frames for TZ250H, J and I models. The Spondon frames are 8.0 lb. lighter than stock Yamaha frames and have a choice of steering head angle. Stock Yamaha tank, swing arm, forks, seat etc. bolt on the Spondon frame, which sells for $1100. Also available are aluminum alloy frames for TZ350s and TZ750s, and steel Formula One frames for Hondas, Kawasakis and Suzukis. From Performance Research Organization, RD #1, Dreahook Rd., Lebanon, N.J. 08833, (201) 236-6947.
Greer and Associates
Simons' Honda link
S.W. Simons has an aluminum link for Honda’s CR Pro-Link rear suspensions that alters the lever ratio. The longer link makes the rear suspension more progressive. Simons claim all of Honda’s support riders are using this product, (the '84 CRs have a link that is very similar.) It costs $99. For more information contact S.W. Simons, 2625 Miller Ave., Mountain View, Calif. 94040. Phone (415) 948-3470.
Greer and Associates
This acrylic double-wall sleeve can be worn as a turtleneck, ear warmer or from nose-to-neck in really cold weather. It’s machine washable and available in black or navy blue from Beach’s Motorcycle Adventures, Box 36, 2763 West River Pkwy., Grand Island, N.Y. 14072. Phone (716) 773-4960.
Greer and Associates
These machined aluminum rear-set foot peg/shifter/brake pedal sets feature adjustability and ground clearance. The right peg can be adjusted fore and aft, and the shift/brake linkage arms have double holes to adjust leverage ratios. They are available for most Japanese Fours. Price is $199.95 from local dealers. For more information contact Racer’s World, 90 Glen Way #15, Belmont, Calif. 94002. Phone (415) 593-9925.
To borrow a phrase—at least the latter part of it— from Charles Dickens, it was the worst of times. The year 1983 will not be remembered for its kindness to motorcycle manufacturers. All year, there were rumors after rumors about the imminent demise of one company or another: American, European, even a couple of Japan’s Big Four.
Race series added to Great American Motorcycle Shows
Honda captures majority share of U.S. market
EML racing sidecars come to America
Aftermarket report indicates riders keeping bikes
Cyclist tries to topple double-nickel limit
What’s a Magni?
Penhall graces Ride Straight posters
Snell issues helmet warning
Now, someone to put you on the rider’s seat
Four-cylinder, 150+ mph Laverda under development
Available in walnut, maple or mahogany
The schedule for the consumer shows is: Nov. 18— 20, Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, Texas; Dec. 8—11, Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, California; Jan. 6—8, Tarrant County Convention Center, Fort Worth, Texas; Jan. 13—15, Atlanta Civic Center, Atlanta, Georgia; Jan. 25—29, Madison Square Garden, New York City; Jan. 27—29, Cow Palace, San Francisco, California; Feb. 3— 5, Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, Missouri; Feb. 10—12, Tacoma Dome, Seattle, Washington; Feb. 16—19, O’Hare Exposition Center, Chicago, Illinois; Feb. 24—26, Philadelphia Civic Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and March 23—25, Denver Coliseum, Denver, Colorado.
This is not as easy as it looks. At about this time every year, we pause, sit back and reflect upon the 60-or-so bikes we’ve ridden and wrenched and tested (and, sometimes, crashed and broken) to bring you the preceding 12 issues of Cycle World.
After riding Brad Lackey’s world-beating RN500 motocrosser (Cycle World, December, 1982) we had great hopes for the ’83 RM500. Brad’s RN500 had gobs of low-speed torque, a wide ratio four-speed transmission and super handling. The RN’s exceptional power and wide ratio gearing eliminated the need for more than four gears.
Rifle Fairing does good work. Because it's a small company with lots of energy and few outmoded traditions, Rifle has been able to offer alternatives to fairings from the factories and the larger accessory makers. First was the Rifle Sport, a handlebar mount fairing that was larger than the bar jobs standard on sport bikes, smaller than touring models.
AMERICA'S ONLY MOTORCYCLE COMPANY PUTS ITS MONEY ON EVOLUTIONARY CHANGES.
Centerpiece in Harley-Davidson’s 1984 model line is a new, aluminum-alloy top end for the company’s venerable 45°, 80 c.i. V-Twins. The re-designed engine, which Harley-Davidson alternately calls the V-2 Evolution Engine and the Blockhead, makes 10 percent more power and 15 percent more torque and weighs 20 lb. less than the iron-barrel Shovelhead.
Behold the Blockhead, fourth generation of the big V-Twin
It was a blistering-hot summer night, and the streets of L.A. were aswarm. The gleaming, burgundy-and-rose Harley FLHTC was parked on Hollywood Boulevard, a couple of blocks down from Vine and just over from the Chinese Theater. Even in Tinsel Town, the Harley drew a lot of attention.
"Want a good enduro bike, one that doesn't cost a fortune, one with gobs of torque and low-speed pulling power, great steering and handling?” asked the salesman. “This green KDX250 over here is the best you can get, and we’ll deal on it.” “Sure,” the shopper mumbled, “had a Kawasaki once a long time back. Handled like a dump truck with a flat front tire.”
A HARLEY-DAVIDSON XR750 FOR THE STREET. NOT AUTHENTIC, NOT QUITE PRACTICAL, BUT THE ONLY WAY TO GET ONE IF YOU WANT ONE.
Several years ago a collector came to Daytona with, he said, the Triumph on which Gary Nixon won the 200 in 1967. Nixon was at the track so I walked over and asked if he’d like to see his partner in victory. Nixon grinned his patented Nixon grin and declined, adding that by his count the latest arrival brought the total of winning 1967 Triumphs to three, each and every one authentic.
Disc brakes, new engines and exhaust systems trained to A.T.A.C.
Honda's first news for 1984 comes from a 1983 success story. The motocross CR line had a wonderful season. Dealers sold out. So the factory cranked up the production lines early and ordered extra boats, and the bikes you see here will be in the dealerships by late October or early November.
One benefit of the current almost-silent motorcycles is that now motorcyclists can listen to other things. You can listen to the sounds of the other cars, trucks and busses on the highway. You can listen to the panicked screams of your passenger when those cars, trucks and busses get too close.
Brilliant red, racer styled with handlebar-mounted cafe fairing; integrated, swoopy tank/seat/tailsection lines; black-painted engine; black chrome exhaust system; cast aluminum alloy wheels; single rear shock. If that sounds familiar, it is: this is a look we've seen before.
In 1983's final National Motocross held in Minnesota, David Bailey rode his factory RC250 Honda to second place in the 250cc class and won the first Wrangler Super Series Championship. The championship combines points from both the indoor Supercross Series and outdoor Nationals to crown one overall American motocross champion.
As the owner of a new 1982 KZ1000, I have a question regarding engine finish. How do you keep that nice, new, black engine looking nice, new, and black? Also, to occasionally clean off road grime and insects, is it acceptable to use commercial engine cleaners such as Gunk, or will they harm the finish?