"WELL DOES THIS MEAN YOU'RE GOing to stop playing around with those dangerous motorbikes?" I long ago lost count of how many times I've been asked that question in one form or another. Invariably, it's been posed by someone of the medical persuasion, a doctor or nurse or physical therapist who was doing his or her part to glue me back together after a motorcycle get-off.
WALKING OUT OF THE THEATER AFTER seeing Tom Cruise decimate the bad guys as Top Gun, I turned to young Andrew and asked if the movie made him want to fly an F-14. "Nah," he said, "it makes me want to ride a Ninja." I could see his point. Not everybody struggles through the program to become an F-14 jock, but just about anybody with the desire, the cash and the driver's license can become a Ninja rider.
Ron Lawson's piece on the Honda S90 (April, 1987) brought back a lot of great memories. In 1970 my best friend had a Suzuki 120 Twin, and I had to get a "real" motorcycle if I wanted to ride with him. Well, several weekend jobs and $75 later I found myself the proud owner of a '66 S90.
If your sportbike's windscreen is failing Wind Management 101, National Cycle has the next best thing to the answers for the final. The firm claims its tinted acrylic windshield creates a larger still-air pocket than the stock screens, yet retains its appearance. Retail price is $59, and they're available for Honda 500, 700 and 750 Interceptors, Kawasaki 900 and 1000 Ninjas, and Yamaha's FZ600, FJ1100 and FJ1200. For more information, contact National Cycle Inc., RO. Box 158, Maywood, IL 60153-0158; (312) 343-0400.
National Cycle Inc.
Doc Savage, hero of the Forties' pulp novels, used a Hidalgo Supply Co. as a front for his crime-fighting activities. This Hidalgo Supply Co., though, purveys prescription and non-prescription sunglasses by mail, with specs from Ray-Ban, Vuarnet, Serengeti, Bolle, Porsche and others. Hidalgo's catalog also features a remarkably comprehensive consumer's guide, which should shed some light on most any question you might have about sunglasses. To get a free copy of the catalog, write Hidalgo Supply Company Inc., P.O. Box 1390, Wimberly, TX 78676.
National Cycle Inc.
Consider Sears' new top-of-the-line Craftsman hand tools: the wrenches and ratchets are thinner than other Craftsman designs, and they're made of stainless steel for corrosion resistance, with a rubberlike grip insert for comfort. Moreover, the sockets feature ridged, black-plastic collars for better gripping, with sizes shown in white for quick identification. Sockets and wrenches come in American or metric sizes, and the ratchets are available in 1/4-, 3/8and 1/2-inch drives. For more information, see your local Sears.
National Cycle Inc.
What do you think of when you hear "Singing in the Rain," Gene Kelly or a ride through nature's worst? No matter. With Hondaline's new one-piece, PVC-backed-nylon rainsuit, you can be crooning in the precipitation to your heart's content. And to keep you dry while you're doing so, the suit features taped and heat-welded seams, along with a stretch panel and a vent in back, and reflective striping. They're available in red-white-and-blue in sizes XSXXL for $79.95 from your local Honda dealer.
National Cycle Inc.
Krause GTS computer analysis
Quick computations of overall ratios and speeds in gear require a calculator, a stout index finger and a fondness for number crunching. Now, though, you can rest your weary digit and let Krause Racing's GTS (Gearing, Tires, Speed) computer program do the work. The firm claims its program can analyze any combination of tire and finaldrive gearing on any vehicle driven by a chain and sprockets, with printouts showing speeds in each gear at a variety of engine rpm. The printout retails for $5, but if you buy one of Krause's Sidewinder drive systems, it's free. To find out more, contact Krause Racing Corp., Sidewinder GTS Dept., 111 Fairbanks, Addison, IL 60101;(312)543-6697.
National Cycle Inc.
Five Banshee exhaust
If your Yamaha Banshee seems more like a beldam these days, consider letting Phase Five Racing make it scream again with Competition Series exhaust pipes. Phase Five claims the stamped-steel pipes bolt on in minutes, and provide a potent mid-range punch, along with more power at the bottom of the rev-range, and on top, too. The exhausts are available with steel or aluminum silencers, and prices start at $199.95 per pipe. For more information, contact Phase Five Racing, 4760 E. Bryson, Anaheim, CA 92807;(714) 779-5342.
National Cycle Sport Bike Windshield Hidalgo Supply Co. catalog Sears' Best tools Hondaline rainsuit Krause GTS computer analysis Phase Five Banshee exhaust
MOTHER NATURE'S A REAL CARD, with the soul of a practical joker. If you don't believe it, just ask some touring riders; they'll know. They spend a lot of time in her company, and make handy targets for her flights of whimsy. And one of her favorite pranks is to bounce temperatures up and down like a super ball, so that frigid mornings give way to furnace-like days, which then turn to teeth-chattering nights.
IF YOU'RE LIKE US, YOU'RE SICK OF HEARING ABOUT THE endless succession of problems facing the motorcycle industry these days. But while the serious issues can't be altogether ignored, it's not all gloom and doom out there; matter of fact, there are some fun, exciting developments on the horizon.
In Japan, one of the hottest classes in all of roadracing is the Sound of Singles class. It's hot in terms of the competition, and in the kinds of machines the riders build. So it's not surprising that the single-cylinder racing scene has provided some interesting—if not oddball-machines, usually based on Yamaha SR500 or SRX600 engines.
Kawasaki is about to make its long-awaited return to World Championship-level roadracing in Europe this year in the class which gave the company its last four-stroke world title: endurance racing. Moreover, Kawasaki is to do it with the men who were responsible for that world crown in 1982: Frenchmen Georges Godier and Alain Genoud.
PAUL McCOY, 40, IS AN INteresting fellow. He owns a motorcycle, a well-burnished Nighthawk 650. He's a past national judo champion. He's set two powerlifting world records already this year. He has a master's degree in political campaign management.
It's the year of the V-Twin, and these are the stars
THESE ARE MOTORCYCLES THE way motorcycles are supposed to be. We call them cruisers, other people call them customs or specials; but no matter what name you give them, they are America's bikes. Fully 60 percent of all motorcycles sold in this country during 1987 will be cruisers.
The cruiser that isn't QUESTION: WHEN IS A CRUISER not a cruiser? Answer: When it's a Harley-Davidson FXR SLow Rider Sport. Amazingly, this bike from HarleyDavidson, the archetypal cruiser company, is the most conventional motorcycle in this comparison.
IF DENNIS HOPPER WERE TO REmake Easy Rider today. the bike he'd gun across the silver screen would be a Harley-Davidson Softail Custom. Like Hopper, the Softail is a little more close-cropped and refined than the raked-out chopper his character rode into counterculture immortality back in 1969.
CRUISER STYLING LESSON Number One: Do anything, so long as it's not conservative. Honda was guilty of violating that edict with its earlier Shadow 1l00s. Introduced in 1985, the Shadow was a likeable enough motorcycle that failed to excite visually.
THE OTHER MOTORCYCLES IN this comparison are big V-Twins; Kawasaki's new Vul can 88 is a dreadnought of a V-Twin. Fourteen hundred and seventy cubic centimeters worth of torqueladen V-Twin just won't be denied, pulling hard off idle and asking only that the four-speed gearbox be shortshifted before the pistons run out of steam at 4500 rpm.
SOMEONE PLEASE NOMINATE this motorcycle for inclusion in the Museum of Modern Art's industrial design collection. It's that beautiful. Suzuki's Intruder 1400 is blessed with that all-of-one appearance that so few mechanical things possess.
YOU REMEMBER THE STORY about David and Goliath. Well, meet the David of the V-Twin set. At 1063cc, the Yamaha Virago 1100 has the smallest-displacement engine of the six big V-Twin cruisers. And unlike its fellow cruisers from Japan, the Virago is merely aircooled and breathes through but one intake valve and one exhaust valve per cylinder.
The best cruiser in America. And the ones we would buy
Doug Toland Testing Consultant
Dean Koga Assistant Art Director
Steve Anderson Technical Editor
Camron E. Bussard Associate Editor
David Edwards Feature Editor
Ron Griewe Senior Editor
IT WAS UNANIMOUS. A CLEAN sweep. No dissenters. End of discussion. When asked to choose the best big V-Twin cruiser, all six riders involved in this comparison had but one answer: the Harley-Davidson Softail. At almost $10,000, it is outrageously expensive.
HIGH ABOVE THE DESERT FLOOR in the low mountains, midway between Phoenix and Flagstaff_on Arizona Route 87, the road makes a gentle bend as it sweeps through the tiny town of Strawberry. There is found the rustic Strawberry Lodge, tucked into the tall pines at the back of a dirt parking lot.
HARLEY'S LATEST BEG TWIN has a history that stretches back into motorcycling antiquity. While most every part on the current Evolution engine has been redesigned in the not-too-distant past, the overall engine layout is a remnant of the 1930s.
In pursuing his dream, John Taylor forever altered the off-road riding habits of an entire nation
LACONIA, 1965. IT WAS MIDNIGHT, AND WE WERE DOGtired. John Taylor was driving, and I was thinking about the motel bed waiting for me just down the road. For the past 16 hours, we had been running the Bultaco booth at the motorcycle show. Then a state trooper flagged us down.
MOTOCROSS BIKES ARE DESIGNED TO DO JUST ONE thing: win motocross races. But in recent years, Kawasaki has been building very competitive 250-class motocrossers that have also made decent trail bikes. So when we learned that the '87 KX250 would have a longer-stroke engine, we were anxious to try one.
IF...IF IT HAD BEEN ELIGIBLE FOR THE DAYTONA 200, IT would have qualified sixth, behind Honda's Bubba Shobert but ahead of Yamaha's Jimmy Filice. If it had been in the Superbike class, its trap speed of 165.44 mph would have made it Daytona's seventh-fastest Superbike, as fast as the Yoshimura GSX-R750 of eventual second-place finisher Satoshi Tsujimoto, and only six mph down on Wayne Rainey's winning VFR750.
THE WIND WAS PICKING UP AS Freddie Spencer walked purposefully toward his Honda VFR750, which was awaiting him on the Daytona grid. He didn't have go out for the second timed practice session on Wednesday; he'd already posted the fastest lap of the day.
THERE WAS NO DOUBT ABOUT it. All you had to do was look around the stands, walk through the infield or try to escape the traffic jams; this year's Daytona Cycle Week drew crowds that were as large and enthusiastic as ever, even despite truly terrible weather.
Flyin' Ryan Ryan isn't such a hard name to pronounce. But when Ricky Ryan won the mud-caked Daytona Supercross, the race announcer kept pronouncing his name Johnson. That's understandable, though, because everyone expected Ricky Johnson to win, while few had even heard of the other Ricky.
I own a beautiful Yamaha Seca 550 with a K&N Stage 3 intake kit and Kerkers. If I change the size of my drive chain will it extend chain life? My bike accepts a 530 O-ring chain. Would if be wise to put on a 630? If so, how could I go about getting the right sprockets?
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.