IT WAS AS THOUGH I WAS SEEING MYself—not today, but 40 years ago. As I sat at the traffic light waiting to turn left, my motorcycle’s engine burbling happily beneath me, I glanced over to my right and saw a little boy and a little girl, both no more than five or six, staring at me through the back-seat window of a brand-new Toyota.
I take exception to Steve Thompson’s insulting stereotype of a trucker (“I looked into his bloodshot, rodentlike eyes”) in his At Large column of May '87. I am a trucker. I ride a BMW K75S. I wear sandals to work in hot weather. I listen to jazz all day.
ANY ASTRONOMER CAN TELL YOU that the sun is an ordinary, class-G, main-sequence star, about 150 million kilometers from earth. But any motorcyclist can tell you that when the sun is low on the horizon and dead in his path, it feels like it’s inside his helmet.
A peg-dragging backroad frolic can make a rider toe-dance in ways Baryshnikov never dreamed of. To that end, Bates contoured its leather-lined, 13-inch-tall boots to provide better cornering clearance than other footgear. Plus, there are triple layers of leather for the shift pad and the outer part of the foot, and padded ankles, too. For $135, you can dance into a pair, which come in black, black-white-and-red, and red-white-and-blue in men’s half-sizes 7-13 from Bates Industries Inc., P.O. Box 240WP, Long Beach, CA 90801; (213) 435-6551.
Bates Industries Inc.
Ferodo brake pads
$18.73 to $23.48
Ferodo—wasn’t he the hero in Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”? Not hardly; this Ferodo is already well-known for its brake pads in Formula 1 car racing. And now the firm also makes pads for a wide range of dirt and streetbikes, and they’re available in different compounds, with prices ranging from $18.73 to $23.48 a pair. To find out more, stop by your dealer or contact Ferodo U.S.A., P.O. Box 15368, North Hollywood, CA 91615.
Bates Industries Inc.
Vetter BagMan Red-wing saddlebags
The red-wing blackbird is an avian indigenous to North America. BagMan’s Redwing bags, on the other hand, are indigenous to Vetter, with red patches on the flaps of their external pockets. Constructed of urethane-coated, 1000-denier nylon, a pair of the bags offers a claimed capacity of 13 liters; foam stiffeners help them keep their shape when empty. They’re available in black with gray pockets and red, blue or burgundy flaps for $89.99 each. For more information, contact Vetter Products Inc., Rantoul, IL 61866;(217)893-9300.
Bates Industries Inc.
Wiseco piston/rod kit
Wiseco and Carillo are piston and rod makers; your Yamaha FZ or FZR750 shall want. They maketh forged high-silicon-aluminum 69mm pistons with a 13:1 compression ratio to lie in your cylinder barrels; the forged steel rods will leadeth the pistons to righteousness. Yea, though you flog your engine, you should fear no evil: thy rod and thy pistons they comfort you. Wiseco preparest its kit with rings, wristpins and clips, for $939. Your wallet better runneth over. For more information, get the word from Wiseco Piston Inc., 7201 Industrial Park Blvd., Mentor, OH 44060;(216)951-6600.
Bates Industries Inc.
Metzeler ME33 Comp K
There’s a hard wind blowing through the ranks of middleweight production roadracing classes: Honda’s 600 Hurricane. And for riders of that two-wheel storm, Metzeler offers its ME33 Comp K front tire in size 110/80V17. Outwardly, the DOT-approved tire resembles Metzeler’s Laser, but features wider, shallower tread blocks and ungrooved shoulders. Plus, Metzeler says the ME’s rubber compound provides better traction and resistance to heat build-up. Suggested retail price is $112.95, and you can find out more by contacting Metzeler Motorcycle Tire, 4520 107th St., Everett, WA 98204;(206)348-4000.
Bates Industries Inc.
Color Rite OEM paints
Fighting Red, Pearl Cosmic Grey, Space Blue or Urushi Black. No, those aren’t possible titles for the next Husker Du album; they’re names of OEM paints for certain Hondas, Kawasakis, Suzukis and Yamahas. And you can get them— along with more than 80 other hues—from Color Rite Distributing Co., 2210 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403;(213)4512991. They’re available in 1/2-ounce bottles (with brush) for $3.95, 11-ounce aerosol cans for $8.03, and 1-quart cans for $44.
IT STANDS A MERE 25.5 INCHES OFF THE GROUND AND weighs under 200 pounds, but it just might throw the biggest shadow of any motorcycle sold in America this year. It’s Yamaha’s YSR50, a street-legal, 49cc, shetland pony of a motorcycle with a suggested retail price of $999 and a top speed of 49 miles per hour.
Beyond the performance of the 400s and into the price of the 750s
Yamaha has gone and done it. The 400cc sportbikes have long been the hotbed of competition on Japanese streets, racetracks and showroom floors, and now Yamaha has gone beyond just the “standard" 400, and released an extremely hightech competitive street racer that could indeed be the world's fastest 400cc production motorcycle, with a claimed top speed of 143 mph.
More than a decade and a half after the last pushrod Single rolled from the Velocette factory in Hall Green, Birmingham, Ralph Seymour remains one of two British dealers who continue to build new Velos on limited, special order. Seymour, whose machines flew the Hall Green flag high in the Isle of Man TT races for years after the factory stopped racing, builds a Velo-based model in his Buckinghamshire workshops: the Seymour Velocette Metisse.
With Ducati’s Paso breaking all sales records for the Bologna firm in export markets around the world, the shapely 750 V-Twin is also fast becoming a cult motorcycle amongst a very select group of people: the drivers of the Formula 1 Grand Prix car circus.
It looks for all the world like a machine that could lure the girl next door into nighttime dangers. But there is little chance of that happening, because this BMW is not for sale to the public; it’s actually just a project of a 26-year-old German design student, Hans Joachim Maier.
LORD KNOWS THAT TRAVELing across the country can be time-consuming enough without adding side-trips to the schedule, but Carlsbad Caverns is a must-see. Located near White’s City, 30 miles southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico, the caverns aren't near any of the major east-west routes, although Interstate 20 comes closest.
1 The bike you see here is the NR750, a racing Honda with the most radical engine in all of motorcycling: a 750cc, oval-piston, eight-valve-per-cylinder, four-stroke V-Four. 2 Honda entered the NR750 in the prototype class at the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race in April.
HONDA’S MUCH HERALDED RETURN TO Grand Prix racing is not going well at all. Both of Honda’s NR500s, complex and exotic four-strokes designed around unique oval pistons, are suffering enough teething problems to keep their mechanics busy for the next year, and neither has qualified for today’s French GP. Takeo Fukui, the engineer charged with the NR500 project, decides to send them to pregrid anyway, hoping that they may make the race in a reserve position if qualified machines fail to show.
How do you pet a 155-horsepower pussycat? Carefully, very carefully.
SOMETIMES, DREAMS DO COME TRUE. Easter at the Paul Ricard racetrack in France for a two-day vintage race meet. After an earlymorning practice session, I was just sitting down to a breakfast of croissants and coffee in the Provencal sunshine when the public-address system blasted into life.
"IT’S A GREAT COMMUTER BIKE,” ONE RIDER SAID AS he climbed off the FZR 1000. He then turned and was greeted by the blank expressions of the other riders gathered around the bike at Willow Springs Raceway. “...as long as you live in Turn One and work in Turn Nine.” He had a point.
SHOPPING FOR A 250CC TWO-STROKE ENDURO BIKE CAN be a frustrating experience for riders who prefer Japanese brands. Yamaha and Kawasaki both have decent 200cc enduro models, but it’s been years since any Japanese company offered a two-stroke 250 enduro.
OBJECTIVE: CHANGE A 1987 KAWASAKI KX250 MOTOcross machine into an off-road bike for trail riding in the mountains and desert, and for use in an occasional enduro. After a few not-so-radical engine and chassis modifications, our transformed KX250 became an excellent enduro machine and a blast to ride in just about any off-road situation.
Before you ride for six days you must excel for two
OBJECTIVE: CONVERT A 1987 SUZUKI RM250 MOTOcross bike into a serious ISDE/two-day qualifier machine. Ron Lawson, our Managing Editor, is an excellent motocross and enduro rider who has a hankering to ride an ISDE. And knowing the difficulty of getting into the Six Days, he decided to modify an RM250 motocrosser for the two-day qualifying events, thinking that it could give him a slight edge in the crucial special-test sections.
OBJECTIVE: MODIFY A 1987 HONDA CR250R MOTOcross bike into a highly competent enduro machine. Jon Stillman’s CR250R enduro bike is a very competent woods racer. He modified the motocross gearbox with Honda’s $205.57 wide-ratio transmission kit, which widens the ratio gaps between second and third, third and fourth, and fourth and fifth.
OBJECTIVE: BUILD A COMPETITIVE OFF-ROAD RACER that can win hare scrambles, Grand Prix and desert races, while still being a good all-around playbike. Yamaha’s latest YZ250 has a really nice engine, one with a wide powerband that starts pulling at a low engine speed, continues building power through a healthy mid-range, and then extends into a good top-end.
RIDERS AND THEIR PASSENGERS TEND to get pretty close—on a motorcycle, that is. Not that they have a lot of choice in the matter. But even the cramped confines of some middle-weight sportbikes can’t bring them close enough to hear each other clearly at speed.
JUST A FEW MILES NORTH OF THE GRAND CANyon, one mile over the Utah border, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park spreads itself midway between the eastern edge of Zion National Park and the small town of Kanab. Finding a more spectacular corner of America would be hard enough in itself; finding a more scenic dune setting where you can also ride ATVs would be next to impossible.
THERE'S MORE TO THEM THAN HUGE PILES OF SAND blown hither and yon by the fickle wind; they are whole ecological systems. Not only that, dune systems are as varied from one another as are trees in the torest. Desert dune systems have a took and texture that are qualitatively different than that of sea or lakeside dunes.
Not all of the world’s great music is on records, tapes and compact discs
THE SOUNDS WERE WHAT moved me most of all. They were the sounds of unmuffled racing engines, played in a seemingly endless variety ot exhaust signatures. The machine-gun staccato of big Singles. The raspy snarl of parallel Twins with 1 80-de-gree cranks, and the throaty bark of their 360-degree counterparts.
FEW MOTORCYCLES HAVE MADE such an indelible mark in so little time in so many types of racing, both national and international, as the Matchless G50. In American-style roadracing and dirttrack TT, and in European GP roadracing, the G50 was a force to be reckoned with for a half-dozen years in the early Sixties.
BRITISH ROADRACING ENTHUsiasts had finally found something to cheer about: At the season-opening Japanese Grand Prix, no fewer than five of their lads—Roger Burnett, Ron Haslam, Kenny Irons, Niall Mackenzie and Rob McElnea—saddled up 500cc factory V-Fours, and young Mackenzie, in only his fourth GP start, sat on the pole.
I’d like to know what to do in the event a front tire goes flat on today’s sportbikes while traveling at speed. Today, a rider fell off on the freeway after losing control for that very reason. Fortunately, he only received a broken arm.
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, CA 92663. Only black and white prints, 8 by 10 inches, should be sent.