YOU REMEMBER THE SCENE FROM THE movie The Wild One, the scene where Marlon Brando, playing the cocksure outlaw biker Johnny, is asked by a virginal Mary Murphy just what it is he’s rebelling against. “Whatta ya got,” comes the glacially smooth reply from the man in the black leather jacket.
BMW's K-BIKES HAVE BEEN CONTROversial since they were launched five years ago. Universally lauded for their innovative engineering, the K100s ran into a fair amount of flak after they reached the hands of the public, their laurels offset by darts for mid-range engine vibration, unsporting handling and uncomfortable ergonomics for American roads.
WHILE READING A RECENT ISSUE OF this magazine, I learned that the original Honda CB750 Four is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. I can’t say I was surprised—I've now grown used to the numbing succession of anniversaries designed to remind me that I’m not exactly in high school any more—but 20 years is still a long time ago.
If there is one problem with our beloved sport, it’s got to be the high price of everything to do with it. Premium tires, $150; helmets, $300, sky-high insurance rates and the prices of the machines themselves. Six-cylinder Gold Wings for almost $11,000, the latest FZR1000 for $7700, and can you believe $5000 for a 600 Hurricane?
After a long, hard day of racking up miles, it's nice to retire to the bunkhouse for a night's rest. B&F Specialties' Bunkhouse, that is, which features a polyester water-repellent tent over a king-size foam mattress; B&F claims you can set up camp in less than 30 seconds. The Bunkhouse also includes a separate cargo bay, independent suspension and a 9-lamp lighting system. The claimed 240-pound trailer retails for $1749, and you can find out more from B&F Specialties, P.O. Box 1313, Des Plaines, IL; (312) 803-9898.
Inside this magnetic-mount tank-bag, there's a Jensen' AM/FM radio with stereo cassette player and two 4½-inch speakers, which the manufacturer says provide excellent sound quality even at touring speeds. And with one of these on your gas tank, such road songs as "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" and Leo Kottke's "I Swear at Traffic" can be at your ear tips, though L.A. freeway riders might better relate to the "1812 Overture." Suggested price is $369.95, and you can get more information from Tank Tunes, P.O. Box 68426, Schaumberg, IL 60186.
It’s said that carburetor is a French word for. “Don't mess with it.” Sudco doesn't subscribe to that notion, though, and offers this parts and tuning manual as proof. The 90-page guide provides a complete description of all aftermarket Mikuni carbs, how they work and how to tune them for street, dirt, watercraft or snowmobile applications. For your copy, send $6 plus $2 postage and handling to Sudco Mikuni Tuning Manual, Sudco International, 1824 E. 22nd St., Los Angeles, CA 90058.
Dayton Classic boots
You say traditional roadrace boots are too effete for your sensibilities? Well, perhaps these engineer-style boots from Dayton will be more your cup of tea. These 13-inch-tall brogans feature nailed construction, dual top straps and an instep strap, and a neoprene sole with a steel shank in the arch. They're available in black only, for $225, and you can get more information from the Dayton Shoe Co. Ltd., Dept. CW, 866 E. Douglas, Bellingham, WA 98226.
Dual Tread Compound
Bridgestone’s too proud to be poker-faced about its Dual Tread Compound (DTC) sport, sport-touring and touring tires. They’re three of a kind, each with a pair of rubber compounds in the tread, with the shoulders formulated for grip and the center for resistance to wear. The DTC series tires are available in a range of sizes, with prices from $63 to $126. And it’s a sure bet you can find out more from Bridgestone (USA) Inc., P.O. Box 140991, Nashville, TN 37214-0991.
You could spend a lifetime training, riding and racing, trying to get a berth on the Lucky Strike Roberts team. Or, you could take a far shorter, simpler route, by just ordering up the Lucky Strike Roberts decal kit from DPL, and merely looking the part. Of course, you’ll need a Yamaha YSR50 to put them on, but that’s a pretty small sacrifice by comparison. The kits retail for $60 from DPL Eurostyle Inc., 4237 S. Market Court #B, Sacramento, CA 95834.
After a long, hard day of racking up miles, it's nice to retire to the bunkhouse for a night's rest. B&F Specialties' Bunkhouse, that is, which features a polyester water-repellent tent over a king-size foam mattress; B&F claims you can set up camp in less than 30 seconds.
STATE FARM INSURANCE, BEsieged by letters from its policy holders and acting on information supplied by the American Motorcyclist Association, has dropped a controversial "black-list" of high-performance motorcycles, primarily sportbikes that had been deemed uninsurable.
NO, WE'RE NOT TALKING BURlesque here, and neither is Harley going into the business of making rag-top automobiles. Instead, the company has introduced its latest motorcycle, the FXRS Low Rider Convertible. Based on the sport-edition Low Rider, the Convertible earns its name by way of a quick-detach windshield and easy-on, easy-off “semi-soft” saddlebags, which allow a rider to “convert” the bike from a sport-tourer to a cruiser in minutes.
AFTER YEARS OF DORMANCY, the Italian company Moto Morini—best known to Americans for its quirky, 350cc, twin-cylinder sportbike named the 3½—is working on a new engine to be used in a sport-touring motorcycle. The engine and bike were made possible when Cagiva purchased the foundering Moto Morini concern last year.
SUZUKI GS500 Everything that's old becomes new again
"HAVEN’T I SEEN YOU SOMEwhere before?” That most overused of barroom pickup lines also happens to apply to Suzuki’s newest motorcycle, the GS500. Because, despite its single-shock suspension, its beam-type frame, its wide, cast wheels and its oversized front disc brake, the GS reminds of a time before Japanese motorcycles became so specialized, before we had raucous repli-racers and toocool cruisers and titanic touring bikes.
I'D HAVE RATHER BEEN WHERE Cycle World was for its May, 1964, issue than where I was. The end of my junior year. A dormitory student. La Sierra College, now a part of Loma Linda University in Southern California. My bike, a Puch 250, was miles away and under lock and key.
QUITE FRANKLY, IOWA IS BETter known for corn and soybeans than for exciting motorcycling opportunities. The same undulating hills and glacially bulldozed plains that encourage bin-busting agricultural production can't compete with the scenic vistas of the Appalachians or the Rockies.
UP: To actor Patrick Swayze of Dirty Dancing fame, for taking a rational stand on the helmet issue. During a recent guest appearance on the Johnny Carson show, Swayze—a longtime motorcyclist—was asked by Carson if he had given up motorcycles.
Jokes? He's got a million of 'em. Motorcycles? He's working on it.
CAMRON E. BUSSARD
A HOLLYWOOD SCREENWRITER COULDN'T HAVE scripted Jay Leno’s life story any better. By almost any standards he has it all: a loving wife, a considerable salary, a spacious house nestled in the hills above Los Angeles, and, to top it off, two garages filled with some of the most wonderful sports cars and motorcycles ever made.
Actors, producers, directors? Forget 'em. The most important man in Tinsel Town is a Harley-Davidson mechanic working to keep Hollywood rolling on two wheels.
CAMRON E. BUSSARD
Dan Aykroyd shops there. Sylvester Stallone has a bike in the window. Arnold Schwarzenegger has purchased motorcycles there since 1980. Rock singer Billy Idol drops in. as do Gary Busey and James Caan. Actor Mickey Rourke stops by whenever he's in town.
You meet the strangest people in Rabbit Hash, Kentucky
"HOW YOU DOIN'?" I just nodded and smiled, picking through the wrenches I had rolled out on the seat of my Yamaha. “This sure is some stretch of road. Been followin’ that river all the way from Memphis, and it had my Harley all twisted up and confused.
Where only custom will do, where price is no object
JON F. THOMPSON
A YEAR AND A HALF AGO, LOS ANGELES CLOTHING designer Carl Jones was occupied solely with the task of whipping beach-oriented sportswear out of his Surf Fetish factory and into the hands of eager buyers; he had forgotten his last ride on a motorcycle.
MA NATURE IS NO RESPECTER OF A rider's desire to stay warm. Dress so that you resemble the Michelin Man and it's still possible for her to throw a climatic punch that freezes your fingers and shrivels your pod. As a line of defense against the cold, Tour Master offers its Mid-weight Suit, a single-piece coverall, insulated with 4.5-ounce quilted linen lining, that's designed to be zipped on over street clothing and anything else a rider may wish to insulate himself with.
THE PROBLEM WITH BEING A LEGEND IN YOUR OWN time is that sometimes you just don't feel all that legendary. Just ask Malcolm Smith, ISDT hero. Baja veteran and off-road authority. At E1 Mirage Dry Lake one cold morning, photographer Kinney Jones and I watched as Smith drove a small dune-buggv-like vehicle called a Honda Pilot.
MONUMENTAL WORDS OF INSIGHT SOMETIMES come at odd times and places. In this instance, it was at a filling station in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The speaker was looking at a road map, trying to figure the best way back to Los Angeles without getting lost, then he looked up and a totally unrelated thought struck him.
Too cold to ride? Naw, it's never too cold to ride.
JON F. THOMPSON
IT'S 8 A.M. ON A SUNLESS MICHIGAN SUNDAY MORNING IN late January. The thermometer hovers at 20 degrees and any man with any sense is still in bed, or has at the very least strayed no further from bed than the kitchen table, where he has the newspaper in front of him and his hands wrapped around a mug of coffee.
IT'S CLEAR FROM THE VERY BEGINNING THAT MY PIlot is going to show me no mercy. Absolutely none. We roll down the berm at the outside of Turn Two on this half-mile oval on the grounds of the Gladwin County Ice Carnival and onto the ice. Terry Libera, a machinist from nearby Gladwin and skipper of this Can-Am 500cc ice sidecar rig, gasses it and runs hard through the gears.
MARK BLACKWELL STEPS into a room with the quiet assurance of a priest, wearing the corporate vestment, a dark blue suit. But, even though he is the marketing director of American Suzuki Motor Corporation, Blackwell downplays his role of one of the most powerful men in the American motorcycle community.
Honing the rough edges from Kawasaki's sharpest blade
KAWASAKI’S ZX-10 DIDN’T WIN OUR SUPERBIKE COMParison last September; instead, it was nudged out of first place by Honda's well-rounded Hurricane 1000. But the contest was close, the Kawasaki's second-place finish resulting from a few small faults.
AT SOME POINT A LONG TIME AGO, somebody discovered that rubber grips on motorcycle handlebars were a good idea. It couldn't have been a very difficult thing to figure out— blisters have a way of fostering inventiveness. And bare metal has a way of fostering blisters.
Jean-Michel Bayle learns the savage art of American supercross
IF YOU WERE TO PEEK BEHIND THE fence around the pits of any national supercross in the first part of this year, the scene would have been the same. There would be rows of factory box vans, large crowds and exotic machinery. The biggest throng would be around defending champ Rick Johnson's van, with members of the press asking relentless questions, and just about anyone who had managed to score a pit pass standing outside the banners, peering in.
Enduro riders Kurt and Aaron Hough make their mark
THEY ALMOST ALWAYS COME IN twos. Four-time motocross champ Gary Jones had his equally impressive brother DeWayne. Grand National Champion Gary Scott had his brother Hank. The Tripes, the Pomeroys, the Lojaks, the Athertons; all fast brothers that came in sets of two.
What started out as a budget venue of roadracing is slowly turning into America’s premier form of competition. Supersport racing has caught on in the U.S.—it appeals to racers because it's cheap and it appeals to sponsors because the machinery is so close to what is being sold in dealer showrooms.
My 1986 KX80 was stolen and I never got it back. If I ever get another dirt bike I would like to know if there are any anti-theft items I can get—like a key ignition or something. Justin Macort Ambler, Pennsylvania A keyed ignition would do little to stop the theft of a small, light motorcycle like an 80.