NOBODY HAS BEEN BEATING MY DOOR down to hear me ask, but: —Why has it suddenly become so difficult to design sportbikes with rear-view mirrors that provide a rear view? I don’t need to see my shoulders and armpits; I need to see the Peterbilt or the patrol car or the run-away Audi that’s bearing down on me from behind.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT A WRECKED motorcycle, what do you see? Most of us just see a mess. Twisted pipes, broken levers, bent pegs, tweaked handlebars, bashed tanks, ragged fiberglass. So much junk whose only story is one of misfortune. Not so Jim Adams, 34-year-old former flat-track racer, motocrosser and trials rider from Webster, Pennsylvania.
We here in New Hamster sure appreciate Bubba and Wade’s article on the Ruski sled (“The Dnepr Papers,” July, 1987). But we feel obliged to point out that the accessory artillery shown in your lead pic is a Kraut MG-34; any self-respektin’ Commie would be sporting a Dhsk.
THERE WAS A TIME, NOT SO VERY LONG AGO, WHEN CRUISers ruled the sales charts among all the Japanese motorcycles sold in this country. Even as recently as 1985, cruisers outsold the next most popular category of motorcycles—sportbikes—by almost two to one.
Here in Japan, as in the rest of the world, the battle between the motorcycle manufacturers is no longer fought in quest of the biggest production numbers. In the face of steadily decreasing sales, the market has instead evolved into a new type of war, a battle to see who can do the best job of designing unique new models and inventing novelty categories to attract that jingle in the buyer’s pocket.
Next to Cagiva, Aprilia is perhaps the most exciting motorcycle company to watch in Italy, if not in the world. But while there is much to rejoice over at the small Italian factory—it now leads the key 350cc category, for example, in overall sales with its single-cylinder, Rotax-powered Tuareg trail bike—there are some problems.
Imagine a vaction spot where you can ride up to the hotel’s front office on a dirt bike, check in, then spend the rest of the day riding on tree-lined trails within a few miles of your room. Imagine having a convenient restaurant and lodge where you can relax at the end of the ride, and imagine that this dream location is in one of the most beautiful settings in the world.
A LONG THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COASTLINE, THE weather can easily surprise. On the inland hills, the evening sun burns bright against the pines, the air desert-hot and fire-warning dry. Five hundred feet lower, the air is a cool slap in the face, and the coastal fog hangs in a luminous layer above the dips and twists of Highway 1.
TWO MOTORCYCLES COULD HARDLY BE MORE alike than Harley's FLTC Tour Glide and FLHT Electra Glide. Since 1985, the motorcycle that bears the Electra Glide name has simply been a very slightly modified Tour Glide. The rubber-mounted engine, chassis design and luggage are the same as on the Tour Glide; only the FLHT’s handlebar-mounted fairing—and the bike’s name—can be traced to the original Electra Glide, Harley’s ageless tourer that dates back to the middle Sixties.
DAVID EDWARDS SLAMMED HIS fist down on the table, the impact almost tipping his glass of champagne. "We just can't afford to ignore the Kawasaki KLR650. Someone is always out on our test bike. You’ve got to make an appointment just to ride it.”
IF OUR TEN BEST BIKES Awards were a person, that individual would now be just about old enough to get serious about winning a minibike national championship. Because in addition to marking CYCLE WORLD’S 25th anniversary, 1987 puts the Ten Best Awards at the start of their 12th year.
FOG, DRIZZLE OR LIGHT RAIN CAN coat a rider’s faceshield like batter, until he’s almost as blind as justice, and neither white canes nor seeing-eye canines can help. Wiping away the moisture with a gloved finger might make matters worse; gloves inevitably pick up road grit, which mixes with water to form a wonderfully abrasive, shield-scratching paste.
WHEN MORE THAN A YEAR PASSES BETWEEN THE APpetizer and the main course, you can build up a powerful appetite. And when the appetizer is a motorcycle as promising and as tantalizing as the pre-production Ducati Paso we rode for our September, 1986 issue, the production-bike main course had better be damned good.
Last year, LIFE magazine and the American Automobile Association tag-teamed Nevada's Highway 50. LIFE called it the "loneliest highway in America." The AAA said "There are no points of interest." We say bull.
THE AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION DOESN'T STOP AT whorehouses, otherwise it would have met Boom-Boom. A lady of good cheer at the Salt Wells Bordello, Boom-Boom had a couple of points of interest that just wouldn’t quit. I should have asked Boom-Boom if she had read the LIFE magazine article about U.S.
AS THE NEW HUSKY MOTOcrosser barrelled out of the tight turn, its front wheel in the air and its rear knobby showering a roost of dirt on the bike and rider following it, almost everyone in the pits stopped whatever they were doing to watch. “It's hard to believe that’s a 250 Husky," one witness commented.
IF KAWASAKI COULD TRANSform ATVs into pickup trucks, the 1988 Bayou 220 would be a perfect subject. It’s a hard-working, blue-collar ATV, a no-nonsense four-wheeler that will do virtually anything, go nearly anywhere without a lot of fuss—and without costing six months’ pay.
AS THE YAMAHA BANSHEE ripped past, little more than a red-and-white blur, David Edwards slammed it into fifth. He must have been doing 60 miles per when he hit the bottom of the hill. A few seconds later, amid a flurry of downshifts, he had stopped in a cloud of white dust, a mere speck on the side of an immense hill so steep it was difficult for him to stand upright after dismounting.
RICH ORLANDO LOOKED bushed. And in truth, after finishing third behind Tom Stevens and winner Doug Polen in the Supersport race at Laguna Seca, Orlando was beat. After the race, Orlando, who normally earns a living riding 140-horsepower Superbikes, took a hefty swig of water and sighed.
When Alan Carter signed up to compete in the AMA Castrol 250 Series with Bob MacLean's team this year, he wasn’t sure what he was getting into. The 22-year-old Englishman had never been to America, so he asked his father, who had visited this side of The Pond numerous times, what the Land of the Free was like.
I like to do a lot of drag racing, which goes fine until I have to shift. Then all hell breaks loose—I just can’t seem to shift quickly enough. Someone into drag racing recommended that I use an air shifter or an electric shifter, so I wouldn’t have to use the clutch except for taking off.
head, more is to come, we motorcyclists are going to see the snake, too. There are forces at work here that think that Americans enjoy too much feedom. They’ll laugh me off as a crackpot, but fight with the cloak of silence to see that views such as mine are never disseminated, while all the time dreaming up safety laws “for your own good.
Additionally, 15 other U.S. riders will go on club and manufacturer teams. This year’s event will be held in Jelenia Gora, Poland, and is considered America’s best chance for an overall win in years. Team Roberts/Lucky Strike has some of the best-dressed tires in roadracing this year.
I like to do a lot of drag racing, which goes fine until I have to shift. Then all hell breaks loose—I just can't seem to shift quickly enough. Someone into drag racing recommended that I use an air shifter or an electric shifter, so I wouldn't have to use the clutch except for taking off.
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.