SOMETIMES YOU CAN’T SEE THE FORest for the trees. And sometimes getting to the forest just seems like too darned much work. For evidence, I offer myself and my good friend Charles Davis. Charles called me from Phoenix a couple of weeks ago to say that his wife and two young daughters had conscripted him to chauffeur them out to the coast for a visit to Disney-land, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios, et al.
MOTORCYCLES AS SEDUCTIVELY styled as the Honda GB500 “Tourist Trophy” are hard to resist. It begs to be taken to the road-dance. Yet few of us have taken it dancing. The word on the Britbike-styled GB500 very quickly got out after the bike’s debut in America's showrooms, and the word was, “Flop.”
WHEN ELVIS WAS BACK IN HIS WILD, pre-Army days, an interviewer once asked the secret of his unusual looseness and rhythm on stage. Elvis is reported to have said, “Well, sir, without muh left leg ah'd be dead.” Watching old films now, you can see what he meant.
The “Editors’ Notes” comment by David Edwards on Harley’s new Fat Boy in the January issue (“It still has a silly name.”) was the most impudent and ludicrous I’ve heard. I’m tired of you making a mockery of the greatest motorcycle company in the world.
NEWS FROM THE LAVERDA factory in northern Italy indicates that the rescue plan for the bankrupt company is a lot more serious than most people had thought. Serving notice that Laverda intends to resurface with a bang, not a fizzle, are a number of interesting projects, including new models shown recently at the Milan Show (see Roundup, CW, February, 1990).
SWISS MOTORCYCLE CHASSIS whiz Fritz Egli has commenced production of his BMW K100 frame kit, launched last year. The beautifully made chrome-moly backbone frame employs Egli's own 38mm fork and a White Power shock, though it retains a standard BMW swingarm.
Bio Design: Luigi Colani’s View of Future Motorcycling
THE WORLD IS FULL OF DEsigners with clever ideas on how to create this or shape that. But few have the flair, the charm and the color of Luigi Colani, a Swiss who has spent his life not only designing what he sees as the products of the future, but talking about these designs to anyone who will listen. “Straight lines do not exist in nature,” declared Colani during a recent seminar at California’s Pasadena Art Center of Design.
FOR THE MOST PART, ENTRY-level motorcycles of years past have been pretty dull. But Honda's new tiddler, the NS50F, is anything but boring. Trust us on this: Having one of these things in your garage is like having a bantam RC30. That’s because the little 50 has an eager, if slightly pipey, engine and a versatile chassis that is as content being flicked into a corner as it is just motoring down the road.
ATTENTIVE READERS WILL REcall that Cycle World's credo, "Too much horsepower is just about enough," has been a part of the magazine’s philosophy since its inception. And they’ll recall that an important corollary to that philosophy is that a stock motorcycle always needs at least a little development.
A SETTLEMENT OF LESS THAN two dozen inhabitants, Luckenbach is tucked around a small clearing next to a creek in the Texas Hill Country north of San Antonio. A few houses are nestled under giant oaks; landmarks are an old barn and a weather-worn wooden building that was a U.S.
UP: To actor Gary Busey, for sufficiently recovering from his near-fatal motorcycle accident to rethink his active opposition to helmet use. Busey, who suffered a severe head injury in a low-speed, helmetless, get-off in December, 1988, continued to support helmetless riding for some time following his accident, but, during an appearance on “The Arsenio Hall Show” a year later, said, “Next time you're going 45 miles an hour, look at the curb and think about slam-dancing with it.
CERTAIN RULES SHOULD NEVER BE BROKEN. IF YOU'RE A heavyweight boxer, you don't mention Mike Tyson's lisp. If you're a home-run slugger, you don't joke that Nolan Ryan is over the hill. And now, if you ride a 750cc or larger sportbike, and a Kawasaki ZX-6 pulls up beside you at a stoplight, you don't say, "That's a nice little bike you've got there." Two or three heartbeats later, the ZX will smoke away from the line, and you'll never again think of a 600 as a "little bike."
KAWASAKI ZX-6 VS HONDA CBR600 VS SUZUKI KATANA 600 VS YAMAHA FZR600
JUST HOW GOOD IS KAWASAKI'S NEW ZX-6?
ONE OF DOROTHY'S FIRST REACTIONS TO THE LAND OF Oz was that people came and went so quickly there. Well, Dorothy, that was nothing compared to how quickly the rankings shuffle in the 600cc sportbike class. We had barely—and narrowly—anointed the 1989 Yamaha FZR600 as the best 600 of last year, when the 1990 models began to appear.
...or Yamaha or Kawasaki or Suzuki. And he's going to start by building a better Triumph Bonneville.
JON F. THOMPSON
ED LEMCO HAS A PLAN. HE'S GOING TO BUILD A MOtorcycle. Actually, he's going to build 1500 of them. That's 1500 a year, and they'll be so well-received that dealers will sell them all. So successful will this venture be, that even as production of his first motorcycle continues, he'll be able to initiate production of another motorcycle, and yet another.
YOU SAY YOU WOULD HAVE bought a Bimota instead of that turbo Porsche, but you couldn't find one that came with a seat for your sweetie? Well, your troubles are over. Meet the Bimota Bellaria, a bike that's a significant departure for the Italian specialty firm.
HUSQVARNA'S 510 FOUR-STROKE SINGLE, PREVIOUSLY the lightest, best-handling 500cc dirt Thumper around, now has competition. The Swedish-built Husaberg 500, created by three former Husqvarna engineers who helped design the original Husky 510 and who didn't want to make the move to Italy when Cagiva bought the factory a couple of years ago, redesigned the 510 engine and dropped it into an all-new chassis, thereby starting a fledgling motorcycle company.
The Vincent may not be today’s ultimate motorcycle, but it’s all the motorcycle some people need
SIDNEY BIBERMAN IS A VERY LARGE ROMANTIC WHO speaks in rolling sentences—hushed and confidential one moment, rushed to full voice the next. He speaks, in his cultured, Southern voice, with the passion of one whose life has been pervaded by a single instrument.
The complete idiot's guide to Vincent identification
Jon F. Thompson
SO! A VINCENT IS A VINCENT IS A VINCENT, EH? They all look just alike, do they? Well, if you think so, you need therapeutic enrollment in CW's Vincentology 101. We will concentrate on the late, post-war examples, those built after Philip Vincent cast away the Vincent-HRD fuel-tank logo.
NOW'S MY CHANCE: I'M GOING TO RIDE SID Biberman's Black Shadow, the model which most completely sums up the Vincent mystique, the Vincent my buddies and I used to talk about when we were kids. The 1000cc V-Twin lopes at idle in front of Big Sid’s Classic Motorcycles, as I remind myself to brake on the left, shift on the right, and above all, remember that first gear is up.
FEW THINGS ARE AS VERSATILE AS A jacket that works well as riding gear and that also looks great for casual wear when you’re off your bike. Vetter’s Thunderbolt jacket ($366.99 suggested retail from Vetter dealers) is just such a garment.
Once agin, Doug Polen shows there is more than one path to roadracing success
CAMRON E. BUSSARD
DOUG POLEN SHOULD BE EXhausted. Last season, he had a schedule that would have worn out the Harlem Globetrotters. First, he went to Daytona, where he dominated practice, qualifying and the first half of the 200-miler before his bike clinked to a halt.
ITS INSECT-ENCRUSTED NOSE pushed against a chain-link fence, the beat-up 1977 Ford delivery van rested in the pits at the Road Atlanta race course, its balding tires and rusting body panels completing the picture of dilapidation.
I’ve noticed that on some later-model motorcycles, the manufacturers have attached stickers that say “unleaded fuel recommended.” Why is this? Is it because some parts of the engines cannot take the lead? John R. Morgan Northfield, Massachusetts For the most part, the motorcycle manufacturers recommend unleaded fuel because their engines cannot meet federal emissions requirements on fuel that contains lead.
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.