WOULDN’T IT BE WONDERFUL, I REcently overheard someone say, if the motorcycle business were more like it was 20 years ago? If there were lots of inexpensive little entry-level bikes on the market just like back in the Sixties, this person proposed, more new riders would be attracted to the sport, and motorcycle sales wouldn't be dropping off the way they have been over the past few years.
I read with interest your test of the Honda Helix in the December, 1986, issue. The reactions of your testers confirmed a suspicion of mine: Given the opportunity to ride a modern scooter, even a dedicated motorcyclist may find he enjoys it.
Sometimes, advancing to the front of the pack—or to the rear—is a matter of degree. Vance & Hines, on the other hand, thinks it’s a matter of five degrees; that’s how much the firm’s advancer units increase static ignition timing. The advancers are available for Suzuki’s GSX-R750 and GSX-R1100 and for Kawasaki’s 600 and 900 Ninjas, for $39.95 each. To find out more, send advance notice to Vance & Hines, 14010 Marquardt, Santa Fe Springs, CA; (213) 921-7461.
Vance & Hines
Is this an Imperial Stormtrooper’s glove? Perhaps; it looks the part, and JT Racing claims its Flexon glove’s molded-plastic backing offers Star Wars’ protection—just the thing for cuffing pesky Ewoks or providing roost protection. Plus, the padded, synthetic leather palms should offer equally good grip on a blaster or a handgrip. Available in sizes 8-11, in red/white or blue/white, the gloves retail for $36.95. To find out more, contact a dealer in your galaxy, or JT Racing USA, 515 Otay Valley Road, Chula Vista, CA 92011; (619) 421-2660.
Vance & Hines
K491 Elite G/T
For some time, tire companies have been taking their best shots at Dunlop’s K291T Touring Elite. Now, Dunlop has run up another target, in the form of its K491 Elite G/T touring tires, which feature nylon carcass plies and, for the rear tire, twin fiberglass belts. The G/Ts are available in three front sizes and five rear sizes, in blackwall, whitewall and raised-white-letter styles, with prices starting at $90.61. To lock and load a pair of your own, see your motorcycle dealer, or contact Dunlop Tire Corp., PO. Box 1109, Buffalo, NY 14240.
Vance & Hines
Bisect your Radian; or at least cut its number of mufflers in half with Kerker’s System K exhaust. Kerker claims the 4-into-1 pipe offers a 10-pound weight savings over the stock exhaust, while its aluminum silencer keeps your Radian street-legal. Suggested retail price is $259.50 for all-chrome and $249.50 for a black head-pipe version. To get more information, contact Kerker, Dept. 4247, 7900 Deering Ave., Canoga Park. CA 91304.
Vance & Hines
If Daedalus had used Saeng’s System One Winglets, Icarus might have made it. Then again, Saeng’s 11-inch by 3-inch Winglets are intended more for ground-bound pilots, and adjust both for bow and pitch, allowing a rider to direct air to, or over, his head. They’re available in clear plastic for $27.95, or tinted for $29.95, plus $4 for shipping and handling from Saeng Corp., P.O. Box 1246, Columbus, NE 68601; (402) 563-3444.
Vance & Hines
Bliss fluorescent-color bungee cords
You just know that if the Miami Vice squad traveled on motorcycles instead of in ersatz Ferraris, they’d use Bliss fluorescent-color bungee cords, too. Available in bright yellow, pink and orange, the cords come in 20- and 30-inch lengths, in 5/16- and 3/8-inch diameters. Prices start at $1.99, and you can get more information from Falcon Safety Products Inc., 1065 Bristol Road, Mountainside, NJ 07092; (201) 233-3000.
Will Japan’s cure for a stagnant market work in America?
CAMRON E. BUSSARD
IF JAPAN COULD BE CONSIDERED THE world’s largest county fair, then Tokyo is the midway. And like the arcades and sideshows at a fair, motorcycle stores in Tokyo tempt potential customers with exotic promises lavishly illuminated with colorful neon lights
As we mentioned in November’s Roundup, motorcycle schools provide the opportunity for riders to improve their on-bike skills and perfect techniques. But until now there were no schools where someone could learn how to beat Terry Vance off the line of a dragstrip.
Honda’s entry-level sportbike: destined for America?
Last year, Kawasaki’s 250 Ninja introduced a new class of motorcycles in the U.S.: the 250cc sportbike. Because of that bike’s success, rumors here in Japan indicate that Honda would also love to have a 250cc sportbike for sale in America.
Hot on the heels of the aluminum-beamed YB4 prototype based on the Yamaha FZ750 engine, Bimota has launched yet another Yamaha-powered megabike. This time, Bimota has taken the FJ1200 engine and housed it in a more traditional chrome-moly tubular chassis.
Japan's 400 class opens a window to our motorcycling future
TOKYO, 1986. STREETS OF LIGHT, of action, more neon than Las Vegas ever dreamed. The busy surface of Japan’s capital city could be a set from a science-fiction movie, a visual model for Blade Runner. These full streets teem with vehicles not for sale outside of Japan: turbo-blown, 24-valve, fender-flared Toyota Soarers and Nissan Skyline GTs, performance cars too expensive for a world conditioned to associate Japan with economy cars; tiny, 550cc two-stroke mini-cars in pastel hues; stubby, canvas-topped Japanese trucks, the open spaces between their wheels guarded with steel-tube meshes; and, wiggling through the holes in this dense traffic, a swarm of motorcycles, from the merely odd to the truly exotic.
For the right rider, the best-handling streetbike in the world
HARD AS A GEM AND DUCTILE AS A REED, THE Japanese katana, the samurai sword, was for centuries a product that couldn’t be duplicated in the West. No wonder that when Suzuki needed a name for a hard-edged sportbike, it chose Katana. Unfortunately, though, the name may have been used too soon.
IN THE SPRING OF 1986. HONDA UNLEASHED ITS BEST EFfort at a sporting inline-Four: the CBR400R. Now one of the more popular 400s in Japan, the CBR conceals under its aerodynamic bodywork the most advanced of Honda’s engine and chassis technology.
SOFT” DOESN’T OFTEN REFER TO SUZUKI’S GSX-R series motorcycles, but the term applies to the latest GSX-R400. This machine sets performance standards for its class, but every point of contact with its rider is velvet, not steel. Start with its clutch.
In 1966 Honda unleashed a motorcycle so fearsome that even the mighty Mike Hailwood couldn’t master it. This is its story.
IT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE SUCH A BIG deal now; just a crude reminder of a racing era long since past. Like black leather racing suits and pinstriped pudding-bowl helmets, it is now little more than a musty artifact, a museum piece in steel and alloy.
Our man in Europe takes a few laps on the motorcycle that Mike the Bike hated
BOTH OF THE FACTORY RC181 HONDA 500 FOURS built in 1966 still survive. One is in the hands of Honda Japan, the other is a part of the Donington Raceway collection in Great Britian. Now the property of Mike Hailwood’s widow. Pauline, the Donington bike is displayed alongside the Reynolds-framed 500 and an RC173 four-cylinder 350, and has remained idle except for occasional crowd-pleasing parade laps—including a few in 1984 with Freddie Spencer manning the controls.
HORSEPOWER. THAT'S WHAT Open-class motocross bikes are all about:pulse-quickening,arm-stretching,berm-exploding horsepower. Any modern 500cc two-stroke motocross bike will yank its front wheel into the air in any gear at almost any rpm; and it will accelerate with a violence guaranteed to excite anyone, and even frighten some.
Recipe for a good time: Take 24 Harley-Davidson riders; combine with the best roads in Europe; stand back and watch.
THIS IS HOW THESE THINGS ARE done. CYCLE WORLD’S editor-in-chief, Paul Dean called me into his office to discuss a possible feature story. Werner Wachter, you see, had called once again. Wachter is head of Edelweiss Bike Travel, an Austrian company that specializes in motorcycle package tours.
IT'S BEEN ACROSS THE COUNTRY twice. It’s explored Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. It’s been in parades at Gold Wing rallies. It’s survived a Texas blizzard. It’s had its underpinnings dragged around some of California’s most challenging backroads.
NOT SO MANY YEARS AGO, TOURING motorcycles were built, not bought; and one of the first add-ons, the watershed between motorcycle and touring bike, inevitably was a fairing. These days, you simply plunk your money down for a ready-made turnkey tourer; but if you’ve a mind to, you still can steer your bike down the road to long-hauldom with the addition of a fairing.
YAMAHA’S SUCCESS IN RECAPturing the world 500cc road-racing championship in 1986 represents a triumph of evolution over revolution. When Yamaha’s bitter rival, Honda, wrested back this most prestigious title from the tuning-fork company in 1985, Yamaha’s racing engineers must have been tempted to come up with a radical new design in an all-out effort to win back the title in 1986.
When a team is first overall in the SCORE Baja 1000, setting a 57-mph average for the entire race and finishing hours ahead of the next motorcycle, you would think they had a fairly smooth, trouble-free ride. Not so. Bruce Ogilvie and Chuck Miller won this year's race, but their ride was anything but trouble-free.
Modern or current motorcycles are of good quality. However, many good design features have disappeared. Could you explain the following: 1) What ever happened to the quick-detachable rear wheel that could be removed without disturbing the chain or sprocket?
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 Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92663. Only black and white prints, 8 by 10 inches should be sent.