THERE’S A SIMPLE PHILOSOPHY I BElieve in that has served me well over the years: “Don’t let your mouth write a check your ass can’t cash.” Pardon my PG-rated language, but that’s exactly how that little nugget of advice was told to me years ago by a wise friend.
YOU CAN LEARN A LOT FROM TEE shirts. There is, of course, the message itself, which sometimes is worthy of contemplation (“He who dies with the most toys wins the game”), sometimes of amusement (“If you don’t ride a [fill in the name of your favorite bike], you ain’t [fill in the appropriate biological waste product]”), and sometimes only of puzzlement.
A few years back, Harley-Davidson ran a full-page advertisement which showed a wooden crate with the Harley-Davidson logo on the side. Above the crate in bold letters was written, “O.K. Japan, your next prototype custom is ready.” From the appearance of the Intruder, it seems that Suzuki was the first and only to arrive at the dockyard.
IT IS NO ACCIDENT THAT FOR SEVERAL years now, large touring bikes have come equipped with radios and tape players. A lot of people want to ride to the sounds of their favorite music, and the manufacturers have been only too glad to provide those riders with that option.
With the Tokyo Motor Show opening in October, all the motorcycle makers are busy coming out with new models. More important is that information on new models rumored within the industry have suddenly taken on concrete form. The main new models announced in August were the Honda CBR400F “New Life Up” and the XL600R Pharaoh.
Austria’s KTM factory is riding the crest of a sales and MX competition wave. With Heinz Kinigadner clinching the 1985 250cc World MX title for the second year in a row, and Danny “Magoo’’ Chandler teaming with Britain’s Kurt Nicoll to form the only consistent European challenge in the 500 MX class to the Japanese factories, KTM has become a giant-killer.
Removing 6mm main jets is easier using the Jets It, an aluminum tool with a knurled head that easily reaches the main jet through the carburetor float-bowl drain plug. Sized to fit hex-head Mikuni and Keihin main jets, the Jets It is available at motorcycle dealers.
If the cost of motocross boots sounds more like the national debt, check out these Italian-made leather boots with all of the latest features. Priced at $ 119.95, the bottoms of the soles have directional wedges that offer traction for walking or pushing, but glide over the ground for riding. The ankles are padded, there’s a steel toe guard, the seams are triple-stitched at stress points, and speed laces and Velcro buckles keep them tight on your feet. Super Pros are available in sizes 5 through 14 in white/black, white/red or white/blue color combinations. See them at your local motorcycle dealer or contact Nelson-Rigg USA Inc., 5082 Bolsa Ave., Unit 109, Huntington Beach, CA 92649; (714) 891-8111.
This new smaller set of goggles from Smith should be just the ticket for junior or anyone who wears a small helmet. Available premounted with Roll Offs for $39.95 or without for $21.95 at local dealers.
An add-on electronic device that flashes your motorcycle’s brake light from normal intensity to extrabright three times a second when the rear brake is applied. This eliminates the need to pump the rear brake to get extra attention from the rear. Approved by the NHTSA, the Attention Getter costs $21.95 from Delta Radio Co., PO. Box 531, Spring Valley, NY 10977.
These slip-on mufflers are contructed of aluminum, and weigh up to 15 pounds less than standard, steel mufflers. The Fl R mufflers incorporate reverse megaphones and are claimed to increase power and provide the bike with a deep, superbike snarl. Price is $199 at local dealers or directly from F l, 4760 E. Bryson, Anaheim, CA 92807; (714) 779-5318.
If you like leather pants but don’t like the inconvenience of putting them on or taking them off, Langlitz has the answer. The Westerns leather pants have a 30-inch zipper in each outer seam so the pants can be put on over regular pants without removing your boots. Made of topgrain, silicone-treated steerhide, the pants are claimed to have long life and maxium waterproofing. The Westerns are fully lined with snagresistant twill lining for comfort. Four jeans-style pockets are standard, and hipand knee-padding is offered as an option. Price is $235, custom-fit to your measurements from Langlitz Leathers, 2443 S.E. Division, Portland, OR 97202.
Removing 6mm main jets is easier using the Jets It, an aluminum tool with a knurled head that easily reaches the main jet through the carburetor float-bowl drain plug. Sized to fit hex-head Mikuni and Keihin main jets, the Jets It is available at motorcycle dealers. Super Pro <p moved="true">MX boots</p> If the cost of motocross boots sounds more like the national debt, check out these Italian-made leather boots with all of the latest features.
Cycle World takes eight riders and two Suzuki GSX-Rs to Texas—and comes back with 12 world speed records
IT'D BE GREAT FUN. WE THOUGHT. We’d get a couple of fast bikes, assemble a team of riders from the Cycle World staff, find a big, banked track somewhere, and go set a new 24-hour world speed record. It seemed like a perfectly wonderful idea. Two months later, in Laredo.
NO PROBLEM." THEY SAID. “IT’LL BE A PIECE OF CAKE. boring, even. It’ll be easy, just like going in a straight line. Really.” If it were going to be so easy, I wondered, why did they make me, the new guy, go first? I thought that each time I went out on the track I would be standing at death’s door ringing the bell, but this wasn’t the case.
I WAS JUST A LITTLE HURT WHEN THE RIDING TEAM FOR Cycle World's record attempt was announced and my name was not on the list. I guess Editor Dean reckoned that my rather, er, generous frontal area would be detrimental to the top speed of the GSX-Rs.
CALENDARS ARE RELATIVELY SIMPLE DEVICES. You’d think a college-graduate, magazine-editor type would know how to use one properly. But somehow it totally escaped me that the 24 Hours West, the 24-hour endurance roadrace at Willow Springs that I had planned for and thought about for nearly three months, was separated from Cycle World's world-record attempt by just one day.
Yamaha greets the new year with subtle changes, but still has a few tricks to show
The Fazer 700, a spin-off of the VMax, is a motorcycle that Yamaha hopes will be perceived as a Corvette on two wheels. The engine and frame are from the FZ750 with slight modifications: The former is tuned for more mid-range power, and the latter has tucked-in frame rails that show off more of the engine. Chrome-covered, upsidedown shocks look like mini-forks, but are conventional in operation.
This is Yamaha’s interpretation of what a 1980’s basic motorcycle should be. Called the Radian, this 600 is targeted at young, economically oriented buyers who want a sporty cruiser. Using the melting-pot approach, Yamaha took an FJ600 engine, tuned it for more torque, and, using a rubber-mounting system, bolted it into a frame patterned after the Seca 550’s. The whole affair was then surrounded by a blend of cruiser and standard-style hardware. The Radian’s most appealing feature, though, may be its price: under $2300.
Yamaha officials claim they were pleasantly shocked by the FJ1100’s U.S. sales performance. They expected the FJ to be a smash hit in Europe, but were surprised by the way Americans took the bike to heart as a sport-touring machine. Thus, the ’86 model, called the FJ1200, displaces 1188cc thanks to a bigger cylinder bore that helps improve low-end and mid-range power. The fairing was redesigned to improve wind protection and lower the bike’s drag coefficient, and all the changes are aimed at keeping the FJ the dading of the tank-bagand-soft-saddlebag set.
The meaty V-Twin continues. The Virago 1000 was Yamaha’s most popular bike last year, so the 1986 version’s most drastic change is on the spec sheet: The engine has been stroked to 1063cc for more of that torquey, V-Twin throb. Also helping in that department are flywheels with 20 percent more mass. Other engine changes include a diaphram-spring clutch, new pistons and rings, more efficient combustion chambers and restyled cylinder fins. The 1100’s outward appearance gets a spiffing-up with a new two-tone fogged paint job, different tank emblems and a new seatcover.
Good news for California riders: The FZ750—plumbed with the requisite, pollution-quelling charcoal canisters— will be available to them in 1986. Riders in other states will have to soldier on without the canisters, but can still enjoy the new red-white-and-blue paint scheme, dual headlights and fashionable chin fairing.
Changes to the V-Max? Hardly any, unless you count the slightly redone sidecovers and new rear wheel. And contrary to popular rumor, the '86 V-Max does not use FZ750-style, five-valve heads. Speed freaks in need of more power will have to be content with rumors of a one-off VMax Yamaha has built that makes 170 horsepower with changes to the intake and exhaust systems alone.
For tourers who admire more-substantial hardware, Yamaha’s Venture Royale has been improved for 1986. After three years of complaints about the Venture’s luggage, Yamaha has replaced the bike’s small, detachable saddlebags with non-removable replacements that have 50-percent more capacity. Already the performance king among two-wheeled land yachts, the Venture gets a little V-Max transfusion with a displacement nudge from 1200 to 1300cc. Taking a cue from Suzuki, Yamaha has plushed-up the Venture’s passenger accommodations with remote audio controls, an adjustable backrest and a more thickly padded seat. And just to show that sportbikes don’t get all the techno-gadgetry, the Venture now has an electrically activated anti-dive front suspension. Yamaha claims that the 1986 YZ250 motocrosser is even faster than Ricky Johnson’s 1985 factory racer. The jury is still out on that one, but the new bike certainly looks the part. Like the YZ125 we previewed two months ago, the 250 has a revised rear-suspension linkage system connected to an Ohlins shock. Claimed dry weight is 213 pounds. Yamaha’s big off-road bruiser is still the YZ490, which also gets the new suspension system and a fivespeed gearbox.
IF IT WORKS. DON’T CHANGE IT—AT least not much,” could very well be Yamaha’s motto for 1986. After a few shaky years, Yamaha’s profit-and-loss sheet for 1985 offered some good news, in the form of showrooms swept clean of gold-tinted Virago cruisers and emptied of red-and-white FJ1100 sportbikes.
IT ISN'T BIGGER-AND-BETTER OR new-and-improved. It doesn't have a 16-inch front wheel or single-shock rear suspension. And it's not powered by a razzle-dazzle, hypertech engine. Yamaha’s new, single-cylinder SRX600 roadster has none of the trappings we’ve come to expect from Japanese motorcycles; but Yamaha is gambling that U.S.
Honda’s championship-winning works trials bike of 1976 meets its 1985 production-line descendant
THE RIDER STARED AT THE brand-new motorcycle that sat glistening in his driveway, then turned his attention to the rusted, chipped, faded-nine-year-old bike parked beside it. “Do you really think that the new bike is going to be any better than this," he asked.
A RUSSIAN PROVERB SAYS THAT if you dwell on the past you lose an eye, but if you forget the past you lose both eyes. Someone at Harley-Davidson could just as well have written those words of wisdom. As one of the oldest motorcycle manufacturers still in business, Harley has a powerful lot of history and tradition behind it—so much so that the company has been forced to choose between regularly changing its motorcycles to attract new buyers, and leaving them unchanged so as not to offend the loyalists who prefer the bikes just the way they are.
Stuffing a four-stroke engine into a two-stroke chassis makes for a fully serious half-breed...
BUILDING A SUPER-SERIOUS, middle-displacement fourstroke dirt bike, one that is light and really handles, shouldn’t be a major engineering problem. But it apparently is, judging by the fact that the 350-to-400cc four-strokes turned out by the factories generally are heavy and don’t handle all that well.
A couple sees America through English eyes on the U.S. leg of a world-wide honeymoon
January 28 th
A REAL SCORCHER OF A DAY. "A hundred and ten degrees,” perspiring people have been muttering to us during our frequent roadside stops for iced tea and to let the Triumph cool down a little. We are in the Columbia Gorge, on the Washington-Oregon border, and hot desert winds are pursuing us as we snake our way down Route 14 toward Portland and the Pacific coast.
THIS IS NOT A DIRT BIKE. Repeat: The 1986 Cagiva Elefant 650 is not a dirt bike, not if Huskys or Honda XRs or Yamaha YZs define the category. Expect the Elefant to rival these purist devices—or even smaller dual-purpose machines—in off-road situations, and you will be sorely disappointed.
BMW’S CONCEPT FOR ITS NEW K75 is nothing if not audacious: Take a successful four-cylinder motorcycle, chop one cylinder from its engine, and then stuff the resulting smallerdisplacement Triple back into the Four’s chassis. In this way, the new K75 expands the BMW range, but can it be taken seriously?
AT DARLINGTON RACEWAY LAST LAbor Day weekend, stock-car wonder Bill Elliott was awarded one million dollars for his hard work in a NASCAR Thunderbird. But those of us who measure racing by yardsticks other than money wouldn’t have traded even a finish-line seat at that Darlington race for the thrill of watching Kenny Roberts compete that same holiday afternoon on a dirt track at the Illinois State Fair-grounds.
Help! I own a 1983 Suzuki GR650 Tempter. This is one of the best bikes I've owned in the last 10 years, but no one seems to make any pipes that will fit it. I'm looking for a 2-into-2 or 2-into-1 that's more authoritative than the stock pipes. Any suggestions?
We need your photos for Slipstream. We’re looking for photos that make us smile because they say something about motorcycling. Submissions should be made to Slipstream, Cycle World, 1499 Monrovia, Newport Beach, Calif. 92663. Only black and white prints, 8 by 10 in., should be sent.