"OH, BOY,” I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, “this is gonna be spec-goddamntacular. If I can keep this guy in sight at least some of the time, I’m really going to learn something.” Well, learn something I certainly did. But not what I had expected. I had hoped to learn how an accomplished roadracer uses his God-given talent and invaluable track experience to ride fast—and I mean really fast, the kind of fast most riders talk about but never see—through the backroad twisties.
THERE ARE PROBABLY LOTS OF VARIAtions on this little domestic scene, but, generally speaking, here’s how it works: A man comes in from the garage wiping his hands on a rag and says to his wife, “You know, Honey, the chain is almost worn out on the motorcycle.
I get a lot of motorcycle magazines. For my money, you guys are the cream of the crop. The best. Keep up the outstanding work. Dana Shay Sturgis, South Dakota I wish to get better value for my money than you now give me. Your writers are immature and out of touch with the real world.
Hey, hey! Looking for a way to make some extra money this summer? Well, just bolt on Bush Hog’s FT48 mower attachment to the front of your four-wheel ATV and do lawn service. An 8-hp motor powers the three blades, which cut a 48-inch-wide swath, so you can mow berms before you make them. Suggested price is $1259 (with mounting kit) from Bush Hog, Dept. FT48-NR, P.O. Box 1039, Salem, AL 36702-1039.
Northwind riding suit
"Jeepers,” whined Ted, “no one told me Oregon was this cold. And wet, too." Maybe Ted should have worn Kawasaki’s Northwind suit from Hein Gericke. Claimed to be waterproof, both one- and two-piece versions feature H-G’s Thermoliner insulation and overlapped, double-stitched, heat-welded seams. Available in white-black-and-red in sizes XS-XXL, the one-piece suit retails for $119.95, and the two-piece for $148.95, from your Kawasaki dealer.
Sound Barrier muffler packing
It’s unlikely that even Chuck Yeager himself, that fountainhead of the Right Stuff, could break this Sound Barrier. Made of stainless steel coils, the Sound Barrier is designed to replace the fiberglass packing in aftermarket exhaust-system silencers, and the manufacturer claims it’ll outlast fiberglass, too. To get yours, send the Right Amount— $17.99—to Jet Systems, 11121 Bending Bough, Austin, TX 78758.
What do the people at Powroll sing while they work? It might sound like this: “100 crankshafts to stroke on the wall, 100 crankshafts to stroke; make no doubt, we’ll stretch it out, 99 crankshafts to stroke on the wall.” Powroll also sings the praises of its stroker cranks, claiming they provide 20 percent more horsepower than an equal-displacement big-bore kit. To make your four-stroke Single hum, contact Powroll, P.O. Box 1206, Bend, OR 97701.
F1S Superbike Mufflers
Let F1 unclog your bike’s stock exhaust plumbing. No, not with Drano, but by laying some fresh pipe, in the form of F1S Superbike Mufflers. The firm claims its reverse-cone megaphone design uncorks a 10-percent power increase on some models, without re-jetting. They're available for most current Japanese sportbikes, and prices start at $149.95. So, put down that Stilson wrench and see your dealer, or contact F1, 4760 E. Bryson St., Anaheim, CA 92807; (714) 779-7798.
Yokohama 003 radials
Superstition has it that good things come in threes. But Kayo Corporation reckons they come in 003s— Yokohama’s 003 Series radial tires, that is. The V-rated, DOT-approved sportbike rubber features nylon/ Kevlar belts, which Kayo says contribute to a larger footprint than with other tires, and good heat dissipation. Appropriately, 003s come in three front and three rear sizes, with prices starting at $140. To find out more, contact the importer, Kayo Corp., 209 Cougar Ct., Somerville, NJ 08876; (201) 526-9206.
CHANCES ARE YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW HOW TO RIDE A motorcycle. We’re not trying to be insulting, but the truth is that very few motorcyclists are aware of many of the control operations they perform when riding. But for the most part, this doesn’t matter; if your body knows how to operate a motorcycle (and if you ride, it certainly does), then a complete understanding of what you are doing on a bike is no more vital to you than a complete understanding of the physics of walking.
Lined up in front of the pits at Italy’s Misano race-track was a row of glistening new Ducatis. But while the selection of hardware included high-tech 851 8-valve Strada and Superbike models, the international group of journalists attending the press launch weren't fighting to ride those machines.
THERE ARE 8 MILLION STOries in the naked city, and The Original Pantry is one of them. It’s an eatery and L.A. landmark, buried deep in the bowels of downtown, famous for its claim of “64 years—never closed, never without a customer.” In fact, on the day freeway construction forced a move from its original location, The Pantry served lunch at the old address, packed up and then served dinner at the present one, on the corner of 9th and Figueroa Streets.
AMERICA'S MOTORing dreams have always been powered by the same thing: cubic inches. This country maintained a torrid love affair with big-inch V-Eight automobiles right up until the 1970s, when those engines were thwarted by fuel crises and emissions requirements.
They’re the quickest and the fastest. Are they also the best?
ON THE HIGHWAY
ON CITY STREETS
ON FAST AND TWISTY ROADS
THE BOTTOM LINE
TIMES CHANGE. TEN YEARS ago, machines like Honda’s Hurricane 1000, Kawasaki’s ZX-10 or Suzuki’s Katana 1100 would have been considered café racers, out at the extreme edge of the performance world. But today is 1988, and edges have shifted.
For those times when the shortest route between two points is the one to avoid
TOURING, IN THE TRADITIONal American sense, is based on the idea of reaching a destination. You first decide where you want to go, then figure out the quickest way to get there. But sport-touring is an altogether different way of travel, one that has little to do with where you’re going and a lot to do with getting there on the most exciting and challenging roads possible.
Finding the fastest and best-handling motorcycle in the world
YOU WANT TO KNOW WHICH OF the l000cc sportbikes is the fastest? Easy. Get a radar gun. The quickest? Simple. Take them to a dragstrip. The lightest? Break out the scales. The most powerful? Book some time on the nearest dyno. But which one of these motorcycles is the best-handling?
THESE SEVEN OPEN-CLASS MOtorcycles both reward and frustrate. The reward is their general excellence. The frustration is that the focus of the class has so narrowed in recent years. Missing from this comparison, even though we’ve cast our net wide, is anything approaching a “standard” Open-class motorcycle.
UTILITY ATVS ARE LIKE GARDEN IMPLEMENTS: They’re wonderful to have around when there’s work to do, but not much fun when the job is finished. So, don’t get all worked up at the prospect of play-riding on a utility ATV; they’re about as exciting to ride as a John Deere.
THERE ARE TWO GOOD THINGS ABOUT TEAM RACES: One, you’ve got someone else you can blame everything on; and two, you've got someone who will listen to all your lies, someone who has to care about your part of the race. There’s a flip side, too, of course.
RUMOR HAS IT THAT THE DEFENSE DEpartment is squandering millions to develop a stealth fighter. What folly, when they could accomplish the same thing just by putting a motorcyclist in the pilot’s seat. Hey, we all know that we’re practically invisible to automobile drivers, right?
IF KIT CARSON HAD BEEN BORN 150 YEARS LATER, HE surely would have ridden off-road bikes in the vast deserts of America’s West. How else would he have helped satisfy his need to roam freely over wild, unpopulated country. California alone has over 12 million acres of public desert land.
IT’S HARD TO FIND MUCH ORIGINALITY THESE DAYS. If they're not caught up in reruns, repeats and recycles, people are busy remarrying, replanning, rereading and reusing. Nothing seems new anymore. But that’s not necessarily bad. Sometimes, further refining an existing idea is a better formula for success than starting from scratch.
RANDY GREEN WAS AN UNknown face to the speedway fans at Long Beach Veteran’s Stadium. And unfamiliar faces are a rarity in the tightly knit Southern California speedway community. SoCal speedway fans are zealots who follow their sport like a great white shark shadows a wounded albacore tuna.
MOST AMA EXPERT FLAT-trackers agree: San Jose is the toughest Mile. It is, after all,known as The Mile, the race that separates the men from the boys, the winners from the losers. When you roll your bike onto the oily black dirt for the annual May race, you had better have had your act together.
For the last few years, it’s been tough to win a motocross title in America if your name isn't Rick Johnson or Jeff Ward. But for a change of pace this year, the two superstars simply swapped titles. Johnson took away Ward's Supercross championship by winning seven of the 10 AMA races, and Ward took Johnson’s place atop the 250 outdoor national rankings.
BATES ROAD RACE GLOVES seemed like they were cruising for a bruising a while back. You see, a product’s evolution must occur far more rapidly than a life form’s if it hopes to keep from getting beaten straight into bad health in a competitive marketplace.
I have learned the hard way over the last 100,000 miles to do frequent compression checks on my motorcycle engines to look for the early signs of mechanical trouble. I take readings on all the cylinders and compare them to the figures in my shop manuals.