PIECES OF ADVICE ARE A LOT LIKE cops: In times of need, there never seems to be a good one around. For day-to-day advice, I favor the novelist Nelson Algren, who wrote, “Never eat at a place called Mom's; never play poker with a man called Doc; and never sleep with a woman who has more problems than you have.” Now, while that pearl of wisdom will see you through a lot of life’s little situations, it does diddley if you’re seeking counsel on the black art of being the Editor of a motorcycle magazine, the title now embossed on my Cycle World business cards.
ONLY A FEW WEEKS AGO I INTROduced myself to a new neighbor on the block, a guy named Bill Dunlap. I have to confess that the main reason I walked up and talked to Bill was that he happened to have a 1974 Norton 850 Commando parked in front of his house.
PHYSICIANS ARE NOT KNOWN TO BE the staunchest supporters of motorcycling. There are exceptions. Mac Archer, for instance. Shreve McLaren “Mac” Archer, M.D., aged 40, of Carmel, California, is hardly your typical biker-hating pediatrician.
For years, my mother, wife and non-riding friends have required me to rationalize the expense of my assorted motorcycles. Then I read Peter Egan's column, “The buck-a-day, 25-year habit." in the December issue. Why I didn't think of breaking the expenses down before, I don’t know.
YOU CAN READ ABOUT Yamaha’s 1989 sportbikes elsewhere in this issue, but here’s one you can’t buy at the local dealership. The FZR750R—to be sold in Europe, Australia and Canada—is fully street-legal, but no one really expects its mirrors and turnsignals to stay on for too long.
THE LAST WEEK IN OCTOBER was particularly good time for Suzuki. First the company announced its new RMX250 enduro bike to an enthusiastic crowd at its dealer show, and then Randy Hawkins clinched the national enduro championship on a prototype of that very machine.
PARIS-TO-DAKAR REPLICA Motorcycles are among the most popular bikes in Europe, but haven't yet caught on in the U.S. So even though Yamaha's new XTZ750 Super Ténéré, powered by a new-design, parallel-Twin, is grabbing headlines on the Continent, there’s little chance we will see the bike here.
BEFORE YOU DISMISS THE futuristic-looking creation on this page as just another avant-garde design made by some starry-eyed dreamer, know this: The Nico Bakker QCS is on sale now, and, after riding it, I can tell you that it performs like no other streetbike that has come before it.
UP: To television sports network ESPN for its 1988 coverage of the 250 and 500cc World Roadracing GPs, and of the World Superbike Championship. One highlight was the Brazilian GP. where Cagiva-mounted Randy Mamola was shown throwing tremendous powerslides coming out of nearly every turn.
LYNDON JOHNSON WAS IN THE White House and America was still grieving JFK's death when Cycle World ran its cover story about a beautifully restored l914 BSA. The bike was the property of then-BSA President T.A. Hodgdon, who claimed that the bike was a World War I dispatch rider’s machine.
Prescott, Arizona THERE’S MORE TO THE GRAND Canyon State than the Grand Canyon, as any motorcyclist who’s traveled Arizona Highway 89A can tell you. Less than 100 miles in length, 89A runs from Flagstaff to just north of Prescott, and is blessed relief from Interstate 40.
A new year and a new mission: Building commitment to sportbikes
IN 1988, YAMAHA MADE SOME FANTASTIC MOTORCYCLES. There was the fabulous V-Max, still setting the industry on fire three years after its introduction. There was the phenomenal FZR400, a landmark in small sport-bikes. And there were others like the popular YSR50 and the ground-breaking TW200.
IT’S TOO BAD THAT EVERY AMERICAN DOESN’T HAVE A racetrack in his back yard. It’s a shame that you just can’t step off your patio and into a paddock; that every motorcyclist can’t take a few hot laps between supper and bedtime. As it is, most riders will never know what a remarkable motorcycle the new Yamaha FZR 1000 really is.
INITIALLY, IT’S THE NUMBERS THAT TANTALIZE: THE FIRST clues that the new Yamaha FZR600 may be a very special motorcycle. Horsepower: The claimed number is 91. If true, that makes the FZR the first 600 to break the 90-bhp barrier, and the most powerful of the middleweight sportbikes by some 7 horsepower.
Yamaha heaps major improvements on its racer-replicas— whether they needed them or not
APPARENTLY, YAMAHA IS NOT ENROLLED IN THE “if it ain't broke, don’t fix it’’ school of motorcycle design. Or so the latest FZR 1000 would lead you to believe. Because even though last year’s liter-class FZR was considered the best pure sportbike of its size by many people (including us, as detailed in our September, 1988, Superbike comparison), Yamaha gave the bike a stem-to-stern redesign for ’89.
Talking with a Yamaha product planner, one of the men behind the FZRs and the FJ1200.
With the new FZRs and the re-introduction of the FJ1200, Yamaha has greatly strengthened its sportbike lineup in the U.S. Why the emphasis on sportbikes? Well, motorcycling is a sport. Certainly, engine performance alone is important, but that's only one part of motorcyling.
The FJ is back and it’s better. But is better good enough?
IT’S BEEN SAID THAT YOU CANNOT STEP TWICE INTO THE same river because other waters are continually flowing in, making the river a different place. But in the case of Yamaha’s re-introduction of the FJ1200 to the American market, that maxim may no longer be true.
ONE LOOK AT THE REDESIGNED AND IMPROVED 1989 CBR 1000 and American buyers are going to feel cheated. That’s because the bike will not be coming to the U.S., forcing buyers who want an Open-class sportbike from Honda to settle for an unsold 1988 Hurricane, if they can find a dealer who happens to have one in stock.
ALTHOUGH FOR WILDLY DIFFERENT reasons, a motorcyclist has to choose his clothing just as carefully as a Dallas debutante picks a dress for her coming-out ball. And that’s especially true if the weather’s a gizzard-chilling combination of rain and cold.
AT LEAST THE ROAD WAS ON THE MAP. BUT THAT STILL didn't help much. The problem with maps is that they simply tell you that a road exists, where it starts and where it goes, and that's all. Fine, if you're trying to get from point A to point B in a hurry, but maps don't tell you anything that really matters about a road.
The perfect bike for around town. Or around the world.
HONDA DESCRIBES ITS NEW TRANSALP 600 AS A “NEW-concept touring bike,” and for once there’s more truth than hype to that PR-department statement. Actually, the Transalp is a superb do-it-all motorcycle, a perfect choice for the rider who likes diversity in his riding.
QUESTION: What happens when two editors and a roadracer try Baja the easy way? ANSWER: They discover there is no easy way Time: 6:00 a.m. Rider: Doug Toland Section: Start to Nuevo Junction It began with a call from David Edwards asking if I would ride for Team Cycle World in the SCORE Baja 1000.
AL BAKER KNOWS A THING OR TWO ABOUT BAJA. He’s raced there 20 times and come away with his share of trophies, including four outright wins. Al Baker knows a thing or two about four-strokes. As a teenager he scorched the California countryside on a 650 Triumph “desert sled," and later helped Honda develop its XR series of off-road bikes.
IN A DAY AND AGE WHEN EVERYTHING IS BECOMING MORE sophisticated, higher-tech and—for some of us—more difficult to understand, Harley-Davidson’s design philosophy is for its motorcycles to continue on a relatively low-tech path. When you look at a Harley, you understand what it is and how it works; all without needing an engineering degree from MIT. Now, with the Softail Springer, Harley has taken that design philosophy one step further—or one step back, depending on your point of view.
After five years, Scott Parker brings the Grand National Championship home to Milwaukee
CAMRON E. BUSSARD
SCOTT PARKER HAD FELT PRESsure before; you don't race professionally for nine years without it. But he had never felt pressure like this. Uncertainty haunted Parker going into the penultimate dirt-track national at Ascot because neither he, nor anyone else, was sure of the point standings.
News flash, Osaka, Japan: Ricky Johnson, Ron Lechien and Jeff Ward are not unbeatable. This much was proven at the Osaka Supercross by Yamaha’s 16-year-old recruit Damon Bradshaw. Bradshaw took the main event after a dramatic 15-lap battle with Ricky Johnson.
I own two Kawasaki KZ305 motorcycles, one with 1400 miles on it, the other one a tad over 2000 miles. Both have chronic carburetor problems: Sometimes they will only run on one cylinder, at other times they leak mass quantities of fuel from the overflow tubes.
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.