I’D LIKE TO SAY THANK YOU TO THE ALmost 500 Cycle World readers who took the time to respond to my call for letters in May’s Up Front. In that column, titled “What's wrong?” I asked you to identify what you saw as motorcycling’s problems and then offer solutions.
THE SCENE WAS ONE ANY RIDER would recognize: Around a motorcycle shipping crate, a group of people waited in obvious anticipation while the cardboard shell was removed. When it at last came free and the bike inside was revealed, the cries of delight and appreciation were as familiar as the obvious urge the people felt to get on the thing and ride.
IN THE OPENING SCENE OF THE MOVIE we find ourselves looking down on a motorcycle parked in front of a garage or shed, on a paved driveway. The motorcycle has a chrome-plated tank, in the old English fashion, and is bristling with rods and levers and interesting hardware.
Congratulations on the great Jay Leno, Vincent Black Shadow cover of the May issue: A pair of classics. The article was interesting, too. Motorcycling sure has its share of fascinating characters. What a pleasant change it was to pick up a magazine that didn’t have on its cover a trick, day-glo bike seemingly bent out of shape, while its rider did strange things, in strange clothes, in the process of getting around a simple bend.
This New York-based firm’s catalog lists more than 1000 titles, including history, racing, technical and vintage books, as well as videos, signs, pins and posters. But more than that, it includes such priceless gems as “The Original Road Kill Cookbook,” “Tattooed Women,” and “The Verse by the Side of the Road,” a collection of Burma-Shave signs. The catalog costs $1, and it’s available from Hosking Book Works, RFD #1, Box 136, Accord, NY 12404; (914) 626-4231.
Hosking Book Works
No matter how you cut it, comfort is a really good thing, and the folks at Corbin know it. That’s why the Master’s Saddle exists, to provide the ultimate in comfort for Honda GL1500 owners. This color-coordinated seat has more features than most La-Z-Boy recliners. Call toll-free (800) 538-7035. California residents can call (800) 662-6296, and in Canada the number is (604) 434-4949.
Hosking Book Works
If the relationship between you and your Harley has lost its spark, relationship counseling might not be necessary. You may just need replacement coils from KV Products. KV offers Dyna Coils for Harley-Davidson’s Big Twins and Sportsters. Dyna Coils are guaranteed against defects in materials and workmanship. If the relationship is worth saving, you or your bike should write KV Products, 1060 East Cypress St. Covina, CA 91724; (818) 967-3786.
Hosking Book Works
Willie & Max fringed classic saddlebag
Some things will never be dated. A thousand years from now. Marx Brothers movies will still be funny, 1959 Corvettes will still sound great, and fringed saddlebags will still look right on some motorcycles. Willie & Max have captured the look of the classic fringed saddlebag and combined that with convenience features. Suggested retail price is $119.95 from most dealerships or from Pinsley Manufacturing, Inc., 322 1/2 N. Seymour Ave., Mundelein, IL 60060; (312) 949-1225.
Hosking Book Works
Blendzall 4-stroke racing castor oil
Cher, Liz Taylor, Calvin Klein and the other scent mavens have it all wrong. If one of them could only come up with a perfume that smells like Blendzall’s castor oil, that person would have the world by the nose. Of course, the perfume wouldn’t eliminate heat-and friction-related engine problems, as Blendzall claims its oil does. And at $6.80 a quart, Blendzall’s a lot cheaper, too. For a free sample, contact Aervoe-Pacific Co., P.O. Box 485, Gardnerville, NV 89410.
Hosking Book Works
Avon is looking for a few people who know how to play dirty. The new AM24 Gripster is designed particularly for motorcycles and riders who aren't particular; who will ride just about anywhere. With an entire new class of motorcycles developing in the Paris-Dakar mold, a new class of motorcycle tires is called for, say the folks at Avon. For information, contact Avon, 407 Howell Way, Edmonds, WA 98020; (800) 624-7470.
This New York-based firm’s catalog lists more than 1000 titles, including history, racing, technical and vintage books, as well as videos, signs, pins and posters. But more than that, it includes such priceless gems as “The Original Road Kill Cookbook,” “Tattooed Women,” and “The Verse by the Side of the Road,” a collection of Burma-Shave signs.
IN A SCENARIO WORTHY OF THE best British spy novelists, a high-tech British firm is working hard to keep its secret from a news-hungry public and a prying press. The company is Triumph Motorcycles Coventry Limited and its secret concerns a fresh, new Triumph motorcycle.
NEW-BIKE SALES MAY BE FLAGging elsewhere, but the Japanese home market appears immune. As one official put it, the Big Four’s domestic market seems “incredibly buoyant.” For proof, just take a look at the Japanese 250cc category. In the U.S., this displacement class receives scarce attention, but in Japan, 250s account for 43 percent of over-50cc sales.
A DESCRIPTION OF THE GlLERA Saturno 500 sounds like a scrambled message from a broken FAX machine. Let’s see, it says here the bike is a four-valve, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder streetbike, conceived in Japan and executed in Italy on a formula that was taken from the British motorcycle industry.
I MET TWO-TIME GRAND NAtional Champion Dick Mann for the first time three years ago at Daytona. He joined a few of us for breakfast, slipping into the conversation now and again, but for the most part he seemed to enjoy simply sitting in a sunlit room abuzz with motorcycle conversations.
WHEN THIS MAGAZINE GETS A hot new test bike in, we start making excuses to head to the Lookout Roadhouse. Naturally, the Lookout has all the necessary ingredients to recommend it: good food and drink, friendly people and a great view; in this case, of Lake Elsinore.
UP: To Robbie Knievel, not only for successfully jumping the fountains at Caesars Palace, but for making a show out of the stunt, as only a Knievel could. Showtime Entertainment Television aired the jump on a pay-per-view basis as part of a 90-minute show, and was “delighted" with the results, according to company exec Susan Couch.
BMW’s new K1 flagship launched for a fall invasion
CAMRON E. BUSSARD
JUST WHEN I WAS BEGINNING TO GET A FEEL FOR THE K1, an innocent little decreasing-radius, down-hill corner seduced me. I went in a bit too hot, leaned over too far. The centerstand began grinding, the right footpeg folded back, the rear tire stepped out of line and, though I was able to recover, the bike's fairing smacked the asphalt with all the gentleness of 10 sharpened fingernails screeching down a schoolroom blackboard.
BMW'S FIRST ACROSS-THE-FRAME-MOUNTED, 500CC, side-valve, flat-Twin produced a then-remarkable 8.5 horsepower at 3300 rpm. This engine’s radial-finned cylinder heads were cast into each cylinder as a single part, with removable valve caps.
Q The K1 will be very expensive in America. Do you see difficulties because of the price? A Not really. This is a very exclusive motorcycle. Only 2400 of them will be built, and 1400 of those will remain in Germany. You have to remember, we wanted a special motorcycle, one that was a BMW and more.
For restorer Dale Lehnert, old bikes are the best bikes
JON F. THOMPSON
ENTHUSIASTS DEEPLY ENmeshed in the BMW tradition sometimes are fairly intense, but with his casual manner and ponytail, Dale Lehnert hardly fits the mold. Lehnert is pretty relaxed, except maybe about the need for perfection when restoring a BMW Boxer.
"I LOVE TO WORK AND NOT be interrupted,” says BMW restorer Dale Lehnert, who admits he’s a very independent soul who doesn’t like being told what to do. He is so independent, in fact, that his love of things BMW does not extend to the K-series line; he’s a Boxer man through-and-through.
MOTORCYCLE HELMETS HAVE COME A long way from the first leather caps borrowed from barn-storming aviators. Today, helmets are made of space-age materials and come in a myriad of color-and-graphics packages. Ah, but what if the rugged individualist in you wants a unique-looking helmet?
If Carroll Shelby built cool bikes instead of hot cars, this would be it
CAMRON E. BUSSARD
FOR OUR MONEY, IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE A motorcycle too good. In fact, almost anyone can find ways to make a streetbike better, no matter how technologically sound it may be from the factory. Touring riders add plush seats, beefed-up suspensions, high-mileage tires and so many lights that their bikes sometimes look like scale models of Las Vegas casinos.
Your next motorcycle could be just a phone call away
PRICE: $100 BIKE: 1971 HONDASL125
PRICE: $250 BIKE: 1982 YAMAHA 400
PRICE: $500 BIKE: 1969 BSAVICTOR 441
PRICE: $750 BIKE: 1981 YAMAHA 850
PRICE: $1000 BIKE: 1981 HONDACB750
Jon F. Thompson
Camron E. Bussard
NO MECHANICAL DEVICE ENTICES QUITE LIKE A JUST-minted, fresh-from-the-factory motorcycle, with the promise of thousands of miles of rousing, in-the-wind motoring yet to come. But fewer and fewer people are experiencing that thrill as the market-wide decline in new-bike sales continues.
For those who can’t afford not to have a motorcycle
Jon F. Thompson
IT WOULD BE CRAZY TO DISPUTE THAT THE COST OF motorcycling has risen. The cost of everything worth doing, and of a lot of things not worth doing, has risen. Nevertheless, inquiring minds want to know: Just how much more expensive has motorcycling become over the past 10 years?
The case of Colin Ryan versus the San Diego Supercross
WOULD YOU RIDE YOUR MOTORCYCLE OUT A window on the third floor?" The question was put to Colin Ryan by his friend Brad Fay as both men stood on the infield of a supercross track and looked up—way up—at the finish-line jump. Ryan just laughed. The jump was spectacular.
1. Suspension: Forget everything you thought you knew.
2. Glide Plate: Supercross anti-dive.
Just what is a supercross bike, anyway?
3. The Engine: Handling starts here.
4. The Frame: Sum of the parts.
BLAME IT ON MIKE GOODWIN.A LONG TIME AGO, motocross was motocross. It wasn’t sophisticated, clean or easy; it was just tough. Then Goodwin dumped some dirt on the floor of the Los Angeles Coliseum, ran a race on it and called it supercross.
A roadrace, from the people who brought you the Foreign Legion and escargot
AS I BOUNCED AND SLID ALONG the asphalt on my back, I had only one thing on my mind: survival. First and foremost, I needed to survive the one-bike crash I was right smack in the middle of. It was a totally unnecessary get-off that happened a few turns after a pit stop when I tried to get back up to race speeds before my new rear slick was warm enough.
Thunderstorms and controversy marred the running of the Italian 500 Grand Prix held on the Misano circuit. The fifth GP of the 1989 season started with a full field, but when the skies darkened and a spring downpour wetted the infamously slippery Misano track, the top GP riders refused to join the race’s restart, citing safety reasons.
In the spring of 1972, I bought a beautiful new Suzuki Sierra TS185. Six months and 447 miles later, I stored the bike in my garage where it still sits in mint condition. I now want to re-enter motorcycling. Is my 185 Sierra a possible collectors bike now?
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 853 W. 17th Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92627. To be returned, the photographs must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope.