AS THE YOUNG MAN STARED AT THE glistening new motorcycle, a Honda Hawk GT, he seemed genuinely bewildered. “It really looks great,” he said, “but what’s it supposed to do?” With that question, I suddenly became the confused one. What did he think it was supposed to do, make coffee?
THE TT MOUNTAIN COURSE AT THE Isle of Man is many things, among them a timeless testing lab. All racetracks are this to some extent, of course, providing they remain unaltered long enough. By comparing lap times, corner speeds, top speeds and the nuances of “feel,” the lab can document technical evolution.
"WHAT HAVE YOU GOT THERE?” MY wife Barbara asked as I walked in the front door. I was carrying a small rectangular box, holding it slightly away from my body, the way you hold a dead skunk or a small dog who’s just been swimming in the pond behind the toxic waste dump.
I'm not trying to be intentionally rude, but I'm beginning to wonder if all your test riders have the endurance of a 90-year-old woman. All I ever hear about the Yamaha FZR1000 (“Superbike Shootout,” CW, Sept. 88) is how uncomfortable it is.
WHAT NEW MOTORCYCLE COULD I POSSIBLY BUY?” ASKED our columnist-about-town, Peter Egan. “It’s important to me that a motorcycle be comfortable two-up,” said the man who rarely takes a long bike trip without his wife Barb, “and other than BMWs and big touring bikes, that simply hasn’t been a consideration on modern bikes.” Barb, who has an opportunity to try the passenger accommodations of a fair number of Cycle World test bikes, shares that concern.
Single-cylinder road-racing is catching on all over the world, with some pretty unusual bikes being built to contest the various national title series. But not all of them are based on Honda or Yamaha trail Singles. One of the best-looking, most innovative Euro-Singles to appear lately is Swedish engineer Marc Bezzina’s ESW Husqvarna.
IF YOU LIVE IN THEMIDwest, and if you have any interest at all in dirt-track racing, grab your 1989 calendar and block out the third weekend in August. That’s when next year’s Peoria TT should be run. Take our word for it: Peoria is something special.
What do you get when you stuff a hopped-up 1100 engine in a 750 chassis? A marriage made in heaven and a bike that goes like hell.
INQUIRING MINDS WANTED TO KNOW: WHERE'S THE 1100? We started asking that question almost a year ago, dating back to our first ride on an '88 GSX-R750 at Laguna Seca Raceway in November of 1987. The moment we got a taste of the phenomenal handling and 13,000rpm power of Suzuki’s re-engineered racer-replica, we knew we had just ridden the best pure sportbike in the 750 class.
Team Cycle World goes endurance racing and comes up three hours short
IT BEGAN WITH ALL THE INNOCENCE OF ONE OF THOSE 1940s movies where Mickey Rooney turns to a doeeyed Judy Garland and gushes, "Hey, let's put on a show." Except in this case the "show" was a 24-hour endurance roadrace to be run on a hybrid, 160-mph Suzuki GSX-R. Doug Toland was the one who came up with the idea.
MODERN MOTORCYCLES DISPLAY A myriad of approaches to two-wheeled transportation. Advances in aerodynamics, engine design and suspension technology have brought the sport to new highs in terms of overall performance. But these improvements didn’t appear out of a vacuum.
IT'S OVER. PEACE TALKS HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL, TREAties have been signed, and at long last, a truce has been called. The Open-class horsepower war has come to an end. Manufacturers no longer will battle to see who can get the most horsepower out of a 500cc powerplant.
A QUICK LOOK THROUGH Honda's new-bike lineup for 1989 makes you wonder who just got married. Because in that 25-model selection of motorcycles and scooters you’ll find something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
KAWASAKI DOESN'T WANT ANYone stepping in on its performance image. That's the message sent by the new 750cc ZX-7. The company that brought the world performance milestones like the Z-1 and the Ninja 900 has introduced its latest and fastest 750 at Germany’s Cologne motorcycle show, and as predicted here earlier, it will be more than a little bit at home on the racetrack.
FOR 1989, SUZUKI HAS brought back its 1988 lineup with three important new additions. As other companies have done recently, Suzuki has turned to parts-book engineering to create these new models, which is the easiest way to extend a range without prices rocketing out of sight.
WHILE THE "P-WORD" HAS been stricken from at least one motorcycle manufacturer's vocabulary, other companies are shouting it. Yamaha, for one, is offering no excuses for the performance bikes in its 1989 lineup. They include an all-new and more powerful FZR1000, a new FZR600 that should set middleweight standards at a competitive price, and a welcome return and updating of the gentleman’s superbike, the FJ1200.
WHEN THE JAPANESE COMPAnies announced their price increases for 1989, the people at KTM must have looked at each other and agreed: Now's our chance. Because for the first time ever, European dirt bikes are cost-competitive with Japanese ones.
WHILE THREE OF THE JAPAnese manufacturers chose to release their latest high-performance models at this year’s Cologne motorcycle show, they played second fiddle to the natives. At Cologne, BMW officially announced the K1, the long-anticipated 16-valve version of the K100.
THE JAPANESE HAVE A NEW word you need to pencil into your ATV vocabulary: caution. Over the past few years, the manufacturers have been trying to broaden the ATV market by steadily stepping up the number and types of models offered in their respective lineups.
For sale: three-story tankbag; will build to suit; immediate occupancy; no pets
MOST TANKBAGS’ ARCHITECTURE IS as rigidly fixed as that of the Empire State Building. Sure, some of them might expand a bit, but for the most part they’re overly specialized. A day-trip bag, for instance, simply can’t accommodate a week’s cargo, and using a behemoth bag for a weekend jaunt is like having the Trump Tower as a single-family dwelling.
What's part motorcycle, part sailplane and costs $42,000?
IF YOU HAVE JUST TURNED THE PAGE AND GOTTEN your very first look at the ... the thing pictured here, you probably have asked yourself that eternally profound question, "What the hell is that?" In which case, you’ve done nothing more than have a perfectly typical reaction to the sight of an Oemil.
Before Supercross was born, dirt-trackers flew high. At Peoria, they still do.
BUBBA SHOBERT'S DAY ALMOST ended in his heat race. Flying over the jump at 80 mph ahead of the pack, his Honda Single got slightly out of shape. Upon landing, its front tire kicked sideways, full lock, then violently started slapping back-and-forth.
Team Marlboro/Yamaha and Californian Eddie Lawson wrapped up their third 500 GP championship a little earlier than even they expected, and without so much as starting a motorcycle. That’s because the GP scheduled in Argentina was canceled, making it impossible for Honda’s Australian star, Wayne Gardner, to catch up in the point standings, even after Gardner won the second-to-last round in Czechoslovakia.
THERE PROBABLY WAS A HOTTER place to be last summer than in a leather jacket, atop a liquid-cooled motorcycle, but we don’t want to know about it. That combination had riders from coast to coast panting like Airedales in the record-breaking heat.
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.