MOST OF US STILL BLAME IT ALL ON Marlon Brando. Ever since his memorable performance in The Wild One back in 1953, motorcycle riders have been typecast as the Peck’s Bad Boys of motorized transportation, familiar symbols of lawlessness and disorder to be avoided by “decent” people everywhere.
AS THE BRITISH AIRWAYS BOEING climbed out from Munich airport headed for London, I looked down on the tidy German countryside and wondered about the trip just past. Sometimes a motorcycle ride is just a ride, not a transcendental experience, and sometimes the bike is just a machine.
When reading the editor's comments about his heroes (December 1987 Editorial), something struck me negatively: He includes Kenny Roberts on the list of those who don’t qualify for heroes. If the editor is looking for courage and conviction outside of actually racing a motorcycle, how can he ignore Kenny's incredibly gutsy stand against the FIM? What Kenny did was nothing less than to force the powers-that-be to make racing a more humane, dignified and professional sport, to remove from GP racing inexcusably dangerous tracks and pathetic purses.
THE OCCASION: AN ATV OUTING AT LORETTA LYNN'S DUDE Ranch in Hurricane, Tennessee. The host: U.S. Suzuki Motor Company. The participants: journalists representing magazines outside of the motorcycle/ATV industry, including Penthouse, People, Outdoor Life, Popular Mechanics, Guns & Ammo, Hunting, Georgia Farm Bureau and Farm Equipment.
Gilera Saturno Bialbero—that’s a mouthful of a name. But the story behind this Italian-made Single is even longer than that title. It began in Japan, with a young enthusiast named Hagiwara. Fascinated by classical roadracing four-stroke Singles.
For the last ten years, about the only way to get a new Norton was to be on a police force in Great Britain. Now, Norton has launched the limited edition Rotary Classic, its first civilian model in more than a decade. It’s also the first Wankel-engined Norton ever offered for sale to the public.
MOTORCYCLISTS GATHER on Sunday mornings at spots all around the world, but few places have the heritage of Germany’s Mahdentalrennstrecke, an abandoned Gran Prix circuit that has been converted into a public road. Located near Schloss Solitude, one of King Ludwig’s many castles, the Mahdental is a short ride from Stuttgart in southern Germany.
SUZUKI’S GSX-RS HAVE RESHAPED MOTORCYCLING IN the last few years. First, they created an outer-limits definition of the term “sportbike”: According to the GSX-R dictionary, a sportbike is simply a racebike, lightweight, spartan and fast, fitted with lights.
A day in Kevin Schwantz's 140-horsepower business office
I WAS A LITTLE BIT. UM-LET'S SEE, HOW CAN I SAY THIS without sounding too blasé or egotistical—I was a little disappointed. I had been hammering through Willow Springs’ nine turns faster than I ever had before, my knee-skids literally smoking from dragging so hard and long on the asphalt.
Pulling the trigger on Team Lockhart’s national championship endurance racer
GODDAMN. THIS IS HARD WORK! MY RIGHT KNEE IS skimming over the asphalt at 100 miles an hour, charged with the responsibilty of supporting Team Lockhart’s Suzuki GSX-R1100 endurance racer as it rails around Willow Spring's long, uphill Turn Two.
Bringing Superbike technology (and speed) to the street
TORNADO 750 AND 1100
THERE IS NO HORIZON; INSTEAD, THE WORLD IS A WALL of asphalt, bending up and away out of sight. Centrifugal force shoves you down against the tank, and every bump hammers you and the bike. Filling your peripheral vision is an ugly white guard rail, rushing by at 80 yards a second, only feet from your leg.
We ride Scott Gray's unlimited-class GSX-R1100 and discover why roadracing has rules
FORMULA USA 1100
IMAGINE WHAT ROADRACING WOULD BE LIKE IF IT HAD no limits. Imagine the kinds of bikes that would roll onto the starting grid if there were no rules restricting displacement, horsepower, weight or mechanical equipment. Such a class of racing would give rise to bikes that were incredibly exotic, astonishingly powerful and, most of all, outrageously fast.
Because it’s there—and because the first time, stock wasn’t enough
Ballistic Banshee and Killa Quadzilla take one more shot at glory
CAMRON E. BUSSARD
FOUR MONTHS AGO, WE WENT LOOKING FOR A HILL. Actually, what we needed was more like a mountain, a serious grade that would test the power of Yamaha’s Banshee and Suzuki’s Quadracer 500, the most powerful production ATVs ever made. Ultimately, the hill we found turned out to be more than we had bargained for, and it immediately humiliated both machines (see “Banshee vs.
THE SCENE IS A DRY lake bed in the Southern California desert, with heat waves rising even in the early morning, a prelude to another sun-bleached day. I nod at Camron, idling beside me on his hotted-up Quadracer 500. We both peg the throttles and the drag race is on.
A SIDE FROM BEING humiliating, our first assault on the hill taught us an important lesson: that if the Quad were to make a serious attempt to get anywhere near the top, it needed vastly improved suspension and more horsepower. On the other hand, we didn't want to end up with a hillclimb-only ATV, either.
THE FORD ENGINE BELLOWED DOWN THE STRAIGHTaway, the whine of its supercharger singing clear above the bass beat of its exhaust. A haze of sweet castor oil and eye-burning methanol trailed the open-wheeled race car; its driver, Soichiro Honda, was flushed with speed and the concentration of racing.
The return of the Boxer pays homage to BMW's past. And points towards the future.
SO, YOU THOUGHT THE OLD BOXER TWIN WAS SIX feet under and pushing up daisies, eh, replaced by some upstart of a wasser-cooled Wunderkind? Well, look again. Because if BMW's 1988 new-model catalog is any indication, there’s some life left in the old gal yet.
IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. THE LIQuid-cooled 1987 Husky 510 four-stroke Cross Country was the production bike of my dreams; a powerful, lightweight, four-stroke Single wedged into a racing chassis. So, when the bike first rolled into our shop over a year ago, I immediately proclaimed it as my own personal long-range test vehicle.
WHEN IT COMES TO PURITY OF PURpose, Harley’s Sportster takes no guff from any other motorcycle around. Sportsters are hard-nosed boulevard brawlers, with no apologies asked—or quarter given—for their relative lack of comfort. And to the Harley faithful, that same triple-distilled sense of purpose is what makes other cruisers seem like mere pretenders.
It's called desire. And Bubba Shobert knows what it is, where to get it and how to keep it
WHEN BUBBA SHOBERT FINished second at the Springfield Stroh’s Mile back in 1984, it marked perhaps the most important loss of his life. Coming into the race, Shobert trailed Honda teammate Ricky Graham by 15 points for the championship.
Question; What do Kevin Hines and former enduro champion Jack McLane not have in common? Answer; Husqvarna. Hines just became the first nonHusqvarna rider in 17 years to win the national enduro championship. The KTM-riding Hines mathematically clinched the title with a second place behind Larry Roeseler at the Bad Mountain Enduro in California, while Dave Bertram, Husqvarna's last hope for 1987, finished fourth.
I am a bike messenger who has just switched from bicycle to motorcycle (1987 Honda XL250R) for messenger work here in New York City. My Honda is a nice bike and can take anything the streets can dish out, and it handles well. The only problem is how long it takes to start when the engine gets hot (five to 10 minutes!).
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.