THEY WERE UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIences, one and all. My first encounter with the powerful FJ1100 Yamaha, so civilized, yet one of the fastest vehicles on the planet: the fierce GS1100/1150 Suzukis, motorcycles that could accelerate with more sheer force at low rpm than most other bikes could at any engine speed; the way a 900 Ninja delivered the feel and the sound of a big-bore roadrace machine, its Cosworth-inspired engine barely changing pitch as the tach nudged redline in all six close-ratio gears; the soul-stirring thunder of a V-Max lunging down the road at light-speed as its engine pounded out power like two banks of howitzers firing in quick-time.
WELL, YES, VACATIONS ARE PRETTY nice. Sometimes. But sometimes they’re worse than the work you took the vacation to escape. You know the feeling: After all the hassle of planning and scheming and saving money, when it comes time to roll out the bike and head off, it all seems a trifle .
As a Beemer rider, and therefore out of the motorcycling mainstream anyway, I was fascinated by your test of the Brazilian Amazonas. Far from being laughable, the big beast is a triumph of the best of Third World engineering principles: Make it out of materials at hand, make it simple, make it to last.
If you’ve been searching for an un-usual color in your motocross clothing, try Hallman's new outfit—black from boots to helmet. For prices of the individual pieces or a catalog, contact Hallman USA, 315 W. Bradley, El Cajon, CA 92020-1273; (619) 442-0431.
Gold Wing switch panel
Adding electronic gadgets to an '80 through '83 Gold Wing Interstate or Aspencade is made easier with this chrome-plated panel. Four lighted rocker switches, a cigarette lighter and mounting screws are included for $34.95. The unit mounts into the lower right of Hondaline fairings with minimal hassle, and can be adapted to other fairings as well. The Drag Specialties Switch Panel is available at local dealers.
Honda XL rack
This M/C Enterprises rack fits most late model Honda XL models. Finished in an epoxy paint, the rack looks nice loaded or empty. Price is $49.95 from most dealers.
Vanson race leathers
Vanson race leathers are custom-fit to the buyer’s measurements for a truly custom fit. Double patches are sewn on the inside of the the suit at the shoulders, elbows and knees for built-in protection. Additionally, each suit has a nylon stretch material lining, an elasticized expander back, a windflap and an ID card holder. Multi-color suits are made without extra cost as long as the design follows the standard seam separations; otherwise there's an extra cost. Over 120 options and color combinations are available. Get more information from Vanson Leathers, 58 Thver St., Boston, MA 02118; (617) 426-3907.
Aspen rain jacket
Atlantic Rainwear's English-made rain jacket is guaranteed 100 percent waterproof. Made of a material that boasts a metallic look, the jacket features a front storm flap, zippered sleeves, an insulated liner, an elastic waistband, two watertight exterior pockets and a corduroy-lined collar. Price is $59.95 from Atlantic Rain-wear. 5082 Bolsa Ave., No. 109, Huntington Beach, CA 92649; (714) 891-8111.
Eclipse Tail Pack
Carrying a spare helmet or other necessities is easy with the Tail Pack, which is designed to mount quickly and securely to a motorcycle seat or rack with adjustable straps. Plastic side liners prevent sharp objects from puncturing the bag and help it retain its shape when empty. Pockets in the sides and on the front expand to carry small items, and a handle makes the Pack easy to carry when you're not riding a motorcycle. The price is $79 in red/black, black/blue or black/gray color combinations. To order, contact Eclipse, Inc., PO. Box 3701, Ann Arbor, MI 48106; (313) 761-1170.
BUSINESSES THAT TRAFFIC IN the forbidden have been around for millenia. They’re called the “black market,” and what keeps them in business is the desire of many people to possess practically anything that is illegal. But there also is a “gray market,” an element of commerce that specializes in selling exotic goods in places where those items aren’t exactly illegal, but aren't quite legal, either.
With the super-high-performance GSX-R1100 stealing headlines all over the world, it’s easy to forget that Suzuki has another sportbike that is only slightly less potent: the RG500 Gamma. If you haven’t seen much of this racer-replica it’s because, as a two-stroke, it won’t pass U.S.
Normally, the Swiss are not subject to flights of design fancy, preferring to concentrate on the more sound but less flashy looking motorcycles. Every now and then there’s an exception to the rule, though, and motorcycle dealer Ernst Strahm from Hutwil, a small farm town set in the rolling pastures of central Switzerland, is just that.
AS FAR AS YAMAHA IS CONcerned, enough is enough. Enough, in fact, may even have become too much. It’s Yamaha’s belief that although the phenomenal advances motorcycles have made in the last decade have been exciting, it’s time for a more-rational approach to the development of new models.
NOWHERE IN YAMAHA'S LINEUP is the company’s new philosophy more evident than in the FZ600, the bike that will replace the FJ600 in 1986. As a sportbike. the FZ600 seems at least as deadly serious as any street machine Yamaha has ever built; but upon close inspection, it is nothing more than existing major components bolted together for the first time.
IF YOU BELIEVE THAT THE TOTAL can not be greater than the sum of the parts, take a ride on Yamaha’s YX600S Radian; it’ll blow your theory all to hell. The new-for-’86 Radian is one of the most exciting and competent all-around bikes in its class, despite being made up of components that are remarkably, er, unremarkable.
IF YOU LIKE THE FJ1100, YOU'RE going to love the FJ1200; if you already loved the 1100, you’re going to be utterly bewitched by the 1200. Because for 1986, Yamaha has taken the most beloved of the FJ1100's characteristics and enhanced them.
ON A SCALE OF ONE TO 10, THE, FXZ700S Fazer has a shock value of about 25. Everything about this new Yamaha seems designed to leave you dumbstruck. The Fazer certainly is shocking from a styling standpoint, particularly in its patch-panel paint and unusual use of chrome.
You’ve wanted. And you’ve waited. But are you ready?
PATIENCE DOES HAVE ITS REwards. And for those who have been patiently awaiting Suzuki’s GSX-R750 in America after that revolutionary sportbike was introduced in other countries earlier this year, the reward is handsome—and twofold.
AT FIRST GLANCE, THIS MOTORcycle (if indeed it is a motorcycle) seems to be an abandoned artifact from the 21st century, something that tumbled from a visiting time machine. If not that, perhaps a prop stolen from the set of the next Star Wars movie, a missing papermâché product of Industrial Light and Magic.
FRANCE MIGHT SEEM LIKE A funny place to launch a bike that could have a profound impact on the American motorcycle scene, but that’s just what Kawasaki did when it announced the 1000GTR at the recent Paris show. Half sportbike, half tourer, the GTR may be just the ticket for those riders who like to mix a little peg-scraping with their touring, but can’t afford the $7500 admission fee for a BMW K100RT. Estimates put the new Kawasaki’s U.S.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU were Kawasaki? The company’s catalog still contained the Ninja 900, only the best big sportbike ever to come from Japan but a model that was two years old. And while that hardly makes it a dottering artifact, the 900 was getting a trifle long of tooth, especially in view of the current bike-of-the-month mentality.
THERE’S NO QUESTIONING THE facts: Kawasaki’s new Ninja 1000 is faster, more powerful and downright meaner-looking than the Ninja 900. But there is some question as to whether speed, power and mean looks are ingredients for a better sportbike.
FAR MORE OPEN-CLASS SPORTbikes wear the badges of sport-touring (a tank bag and soft saddlepacks) than the numberplates of club racing; so it’s no surprise that the 1000 Ninja was not designed to mimick its predecessor, the hard-edged 900 Ninja sport racer.
WHEN HARLEY-DAVIDSON bought TriHawk Vehicles, Inc., some people interpreted that acquisition to mean that mass-produced three-wheelers were right around the corner. Why, even Honda and Yamaha were rumored to be working on three-wheeled street machines.
SCREEEEE . . .! WITH THE AWKwardness of its foot throttle and the absence of the usual weight-transfer of a motorcycle, the FireAreo squeals its way off the dragstrip starting line, painting a 50-foot-long by six-inch-wide black rectangle.
YOU DON'T RESORT TO BRAIN surgery when aspirin will do the job. And in 1985, Honda’s CR500R needed nothing more than a mild prescription to cure a few suspension headaches. That’s why the big news about this year’s CR500R motocrosser isn’t how much it has changed; it’s how little it has changed.
IN THE CAREER OF A MOTOCROSS rider, 25 races isn’t much. But for a motocross bike, it can be a lifetime. Particularly in the hands of a Pro or Intermediate, a motocross bike that has survived 25 races—the equivalent of about six months of racing—can become more worn-out than a seven-year-old streetbike.
A MAN’S PASSION FOR A PARTICular motorcycle is never easy to understand, especially if you don’t happen to share the passion. Consider, for example, the BMW Rennsport, the famous overhead-cam racebike of the Forties and Fifties.
IF ONE PICTURE IS TRULY WORTH A thousand words, then a picture that moves and talks ought to be worth at least a thousand pictures that don't. That seems to be the thinking behind a video cassette entitled “Building A High Performance Engine," which is being sold by Vance & Hines Racing (14010 Marquardt Ave., Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670;  921-7461).
Winning one world title is tough; two nearly impossible. Freddie Spencer made it look easy.
NINETEEN EIGHTY-FIVE WAS the year of the complete grand prix professional, both on the track and off. It was a year in which Freddie Spencer made history, and created an enigma. It was the year of the big-spending sponsor. And perhaps it was the year in which motorcycle racing began to grow up.
SITTING ON THE TAILGATE OF A Honda factory team van, buckling up his white racing boots and surveying the pits through California-flash reflecto-shades, newly-crowned Grand National Champion Bubba Shobert looks like a hot property.
I have an RZ350 and it seems to have lost its zip after 15,000 fast miles. Barring any emission regulations to stop me, what modifications can I make to bring my RZ up to, say, 75 bhp and 150 mph? If this isn't possible, how close can I come to it?
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.