THE TWO SPORTBIKES. A GENERATION apart in design, were in their element, as happy as pigs in poop. Up ahead was a new Kawasaki ZX-7 ridden by Camron Bussard. I was losing ground, careful not to overextend my borrowed mount, Peter Egan's justpurchased 1977 Ducati 900SS. The venue was Ortega Highway, one of Southern California's hallowed, bend-saturated backroads, but it could have been anywhere, as long as the asphalt there was blessed with as many dips and curves as a Phil Niekro knuckler, and endowed with as many crooks as Geraldo Rivera’s nose.
LIKE MANY PILOTS. HE WAS DRAWN TO motorcycles. A half-century ago, he discovered some of the joy of flying in the freedom of riding. And in the way young men did then and do now find themselves in a certain marque, the pilot became an Indian man.
"I DIDN’T KNOW THERE WERE THIS many dual-purpose bikes in the whole world,” I said to the table at large. We were sitting at a booth at the Howard Johnson’s in Barstow, California, having the dollar ninety-nine breakfast special, soaking up free coffee refills like a five-man sponge and looking out the front window.
Your story on the ’88 GSX-R750/ 1100 endurance racer (CW, December, 1988) is one of the best writeups I have ever read. Geoff Clark Northville, Michigan I love to open Cycle World and see the different racing bikes and modifications that would work on my bike.
Avon tyres Pondering how Surtees and Hailwood might have performed on modern rubber involves the same mental jiggery-pokery as wondering what if Spartacus had had a Piper Cub. Now, though, vintage-bike enthusiasts can get an answer—of sorts—to the first question, because Avon has brought back its Roadrunner R2, Speedmaster and G.P. tires, but in modern sport-racing rubber compounds. They’re available in a range of sizes for $75 to $95, and you can find out more from West Coast British, 6398 Dougherty Road #34, Dublin, CA 94568; (415) 829-6091.
White Bros. H-D Lowering kit
White Bros. H-D Lowering kit If Joe Isuzu were doing the talking, he might tell you a White Bros, kit will lower your H-D FXST or FXWG so much that you’ll have to look up to see out of a freeway rain groove. He’s not, though, and it won’t. White Bros, kit will, however, shorten fork travel by 1 1/4 or 2 inches (your choice), and includes stiffer springs, as well as information on how to modify the Softail shock to reduce ride height. The kit retails for $69.95, and you can get down by contacting White Bros., 14241 Commerce Dr., Garden Grove, CA 92643; (714) 554-9442.
Cagiva Paso bras Is your Paso too shy to go naked out in public? Well, then, do the right thing and cover up the poor, blushing dear with these vinyl fairing and tank bras from Cagiva. They’re available in red for $149.95 and black for $139.95. Be a gentleman; call your Cagiva dealer today.
Langlitz Cascade jacket
Langlitz Cascade jacket Portland’s rainy season usually lasts from January 1 to December 31, and that means the people at Langlitz Leathers have plenty of time to stay inside and do what they do best: make custom leather garments. One example is the Cascade, available in black or brown cowhide for $275 (other colors are $40 extra), or most any color of goat skin for $315. Send your measurements— in a waterproof envelope—to Langlitz Leathers, Dept. CW, 2443 SE Division St., Portland, OR 97202.
Automatic Neet Seet
Automatic Neet Seet You’re at the races, and there’s no place to sit but on the—shudderground. Rather than soil your gabardines, you whip out your aluminum-frame Neet Seet, park yourself in the Cordura seat and watch the proceedings in relative comfort. At 24 ounces, it should be easy to carry, yet substantial enough to lay about the head and shoulders of anyone with the temerity to block your view. Suggested retail price is $30, from Automatic Equipment, One Mill St., Industrial Park, Pender NE 68047.
Answer Alumilite SR-IV handlebars
Answer Alumilite SR-IV handlebars When Answer Products claims it’s got bars of the stars, that doesn’t mean the firm has a chain of watering holes in Hollywood. Instead, the company’s referring to its line of aircraft-quality 7075 aluminum handlebars, with bends designed by Micky Dymond, Bob Hannah, Broc Glover and Johnny O’Mara. Each one is $49.95, and they’re available from Answer Products Inc., 27967 Beale Court, Valencia, CA 91355.
ONCE FIRMLY ON THE LIST OF endangered species. the standard motorcycle is making a comeback. The latest version is the Honda VT250 Spada, which, like the similarly styled Hawk GT and CB-l (tested in this issue), is looked upon by Honda as a “new-age” standard, a bike for riders who don’t want a repli-racer sportbike or a repli-Harley cruiser.
THIS MOTORCYCLE MAY BE THE ultimate two-wheeled name-dropper: not only is it a Mike Hailwood Replica but its engine covers are engraved with the signature of Fabio Taglioni, the man known to every red-blooded Ducati lover as the visionary father of desmodromic valve gear.
FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, Dale Walker has conducted his Hole Shot Performance drag-racing school at the Bayland’s dragstrip in Fremont, California. But on November 25, 1988, Baylands became one more victim to urban and commercial expansion, and was closed to the public.
PUTTING THE KATANA 1100 through its paces on the mountain road, one thing was immediately apparent: Thanks to suspension changes for 1989, Suzuki’s biggest sport-tourer is now more at home in the corners. That couldn’t be said for last year’s bike, which had suspension rates far too soft for aggressive riding and was hampered by wallowing in fast corners.
BACK IN 1964, MOST OF VS CUR rently at Cycle World had to be content with riding a Schwinn with a card in the spokes. Motorcycles weren't quite in the picture yet. But one event in the motorcycle world had just taken place that would effect all of our lives, 25 years later.
MOTORCYCLES AND AIRPLANES are similar—freedom machines that seemingly defy the laws of physics—and they often attract similar people. This month's issue offers proof: Steve Thompson’s At Large column deals with an old flyer who rediscovers biking, and in “On the Trail of Marco Polo,” you can read about the motorcycle exploits of one of America’s most famous fighter pilots, Robert Lee Scott.
UP: To the Super Bowl halftime show, which included lOl HarleyDavidsons as part of its tribute to rock and roll music. The 12-minute extravaganza, the first-ever live 3-D broadcast, was watched by an estimated 120 million football fans nationwide.
The rounded, flowing surfaces of this concept are based on what Imai calls “The clean, simple organics of German styling.” The upper portion of its body would tilt open from -<the front, clamshell-style, to allow rider access. Once aboard and snapped in by helpers, the rider would arrange himself in a prone riding position, the top of his helmet protruding through the top of the bodywork just aft of the smoked windscreen.
“The question is, will fashion, by the beginning of the 21st century, be accompanied by very high performance, or will it be packaged in a capsule of moremoderate performance? I believe there is an opportunity to spin off concepts that have fashion but that don’t require such a high level of performance, which tends to run the cost up.
A new standard with the soul of a suburbanite and the heart of a tiger
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
WHAT WE HAVE HERE, LADIES AND GENTS, IS A 400cc, 13,500-rpm, snarly-sounding case of déjà vu. With a twist. Honda’s new CB-1 is a reincarnation of the standard motorcycle, an example of the two-wheeled genre that ruled the roads during motorcycling’s boom years, the sort of bike everyone rode before sporting riders went replica-racer crazy.
I LIKE THIS MOTORCYCLE FOR WHAT IT is, a nimble little blaster with the voice of a racer and the manners of a gentleman, but I dislike it intensely for what it isn’t: a bit rangier and a bit more comfortable. Honda can say this is a standard motorcycle as many times as it wants, but saying that doesn’t make it so.
IN WAR MOVIES, WHEN A SQUAD'S out on patrol. the guy on point always seems to get it first. And that, in a manner of speaking, is what happened to Honda’s CB400F. Sent to do battle on these shores in 1975, the 400F was in the vanguard of the café-bike boom of the mid’70s, a trend that eventually produced the hardcore repli-racers of today.
PGA pro David Edwards has won almost a million bucks playing golf, but would rather play around with motorcycles. After riding with MX star Jeff Ward, his golfing days just might be numbered.
CAMRON E. BUSSARD
JEFF WARD WAS STUCK IN THE SAND. IT WAS NOT THE first time in the day, nor would it be the last. You would think that the highly paid racer, a two-time national supercross and two-time AMA outdoor motocross champion, could handle sand better. But then, it would have helped if Ward was on his KX250; instead, all he had was a handful of golf clubs, and they were getting him nowhere fast.
Kawasaki gets serious with a new 750 sportbike that may be the next world-class Superbike
IT'S STRANGE. Out OF THE BIG FOUR. KAWASAKI IS THE factory which has hailed its colors most firmly to the mast of high performance. yet it's the last to market a road-going. 750cc repli-racer. Oh. it had the Ninja 750. as fine an all-around sportbike as there was (and thankfully still available in 1989), hut in bare-knuckled competition with the more-serious sporting hardware, it wasn't quite up to snuff.
SOMETIMES THE SHORTEST TRIPS ARE the hardest to pack for. You can toss your sunglasses, wallet and maps in a tankbag, of course, but even with the smallest of bags it's a little like rent ing a warehouse to store a tooth brush. Or you can stuff it all in your jacket pockets, and ferret through ev ery item while you're hunting for your keys or change.
FIRST THERE WAS JOHN SURTEES AND then the great Mike Hailwood, their places in the pantheon of motorsports heroes assured as much by their shifts into the high-visibility world of Formula One auto racing as by their outstanding success as motorcycle roadracers.
Long before he became a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force, before he flew the first jet fighters and before he became a 25-kill ace for the Flying Tigers, Robert Lee Scott, Jr. was a motorcyclist.
THERE IS AN ARCHAIC REGULATION AT WEST POINT that says a cadet shall not own a horse, a dog, or a moustache. Had the Powers That Be even suspected that I had a motorcycle that spring of 1932, it. too, would undoubtedly have been outlawed by the book of regulations.
SO FAR, THE PERFECT RIDING SUIT doesn’t exist. Many people have tried, but no one has ever figured out how to build a garment that can keep a motorcyclist as cool as a cucumber when the weather is oppressively hot, yet as warm as toast when the mercury is hovering down around freezing.
MOTORCYCLISTS ARE, BY NATURE, A stoic lot. We have to be, mostly because we’re so totally at the mercy of the weather. We endure summer’s furnace-like heat, winter’s icy grip and spring monsoons because it comes with the territory. On a motorcycle, there’s no place to hide.
Talking with racing’s most unmysterious mystery man
YOU MIGHT SAY THAT EDDIE Lawson is a victim of his own skill. That’s what happens when you take an ordinary, perhaps slightly introverted man and thrust him into an extraordinary situation —for example, the 500cc world roadracing championship.
Despite the bad press, papal condemnations and truly frightening reputation generated last year, the 11th annual Paris-to-Dakar Rally happened as scheduled, getting started on Christmas day. This year, no Americans were allowed to participate because the rally passed through Libya.
I have a 1982 Honda V-45 Sabre that performs beautifully with the exception of the speedometer. It has a nasty habit of working only when it feels like it. The only regularity I can establish in its pattern of dormancy is that it will work for brief periods after I press the trip reset button.