THE TV WEATHER GUY HAD LIED. THE night before, he'd called for scattered showers. But what I was slogging through on CW's test Honda CBR 1000 was, in actuality, scattered sunshine. Very scattered. Contrary to myth, popular song and broadcasts of the Rose Bowl Parade, it does rain in Southern California.
THE CENTRAL VALLEY OF CALIFORnia is about as close as the state comes to being Kansas. It's mostly pancake-flat, rivaling the black-dirt Midwest states in agricultural production, and beating all of them combined in bug production. Since I spent my high-school years near enough to the Central Valley to have to cross it to get to the mountains or the sea, I became all too familiar with the valley.
HANGING AROUND CHINO AIRPORT last week, I was watching some guys hook up test equipment to a beautiful old P-51 Mustang. One of the mechanics picked up a roll of duct tape, ripped off a small piece and taped one of the test wires to the fuselage, just to keep things tidy.
Richard Taylor’s economic analysis as quoted in David Edwards’ February editorial “Men of Letters" is spot-on insofar as relative price changes among motorcycles and accessories are concerned. But he fails to acknowledge that the hidden costs of technology have to be factored into the costs of a modern machine.
PLANNING ON REPLACING THE tires on your bike with Michelins? Better hurry. Michelin Tire Corp. announced in late December that it will depart the U.S. motorcycle aftermarket-and racing-tire business. Michelin Product Information Manager Tom Vaughan said the company, which builds its motorcycle tires overseas, does not have the production capacity available to continue building tires to send here.
PEOPLE HAVE BEEN PROPHESYing the end of the telescopic fork in motorcycle suspension and chassis design for many years. but forks have remained the norm. Until, perhaps. now. White Power, of Holland, quietly has been working on a revolutionary new front-suspension design it calls the MonoArm.
ARTURO MAGNI. ARCHITECT of world championship roadrace titles for MV Agusta during his 25-year reign as that team's manager and chief mechanic, has carved out a niche as builder of what is generally accepted to be the finest aftermarket chassis kit available for the Moto Guzzi V-Twin motor.
WITH ALL OF THAT DISplacement the engine simply won't take 'no' for an answer. Turn up the wick and you get action.” What motorcycle were the editors of Cycle World talking about in their April, 1965, issue? It was, of course, the ZX-11 of the time: a Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH. The Harley’s performance numbers backed up that kind of praise, too.
IF YOU LIKE HORSEPOWER, SPEED. maneuverability and things mechanical, you like motorcycles. And if you give the matter some thought, you'll probably find that you like airplanes, too. For the closet fighter pilot in all of us, a visit to the Chino Airport's Planes of Fame aircraft collection in Southern California is a rewarding venture.
UP: To Brian Loughrey, of Westfield, New Jersey, for being the first reader to correctly identify the mystery rider in CW's February “Ups and Downs” section as the late, great rocker Roy Orbison. Loughrey was so obsessed with winning the contest’s prize, a Team CW T-shirt, that he sent his guess to us by UPS Next Day Mail, beating even the earliest of the other 177 correct entries here by at least three days.
BACK IN 1947. CHUCK YEAGER WENT MACH 1.07 IN the Bell X-1. at the time the fastest. most-sophisticated aircraft ever made. The breaking of the sound barrier was a milestone in the history of speed, and it marked Yeager as the fastest man alive.
THE LOOKOUT ROADHOUSE ON ORTEGA HIGHWAY IS not a very popular place this morning. Cold, intermittent showers have kept most riders away from this usually bustling hangout. But the hardy show up. Of the five riders who have stopped to fill up on coffee and commiseration, four have been astride BMWs: These Beemer guys take their motorcycling very seriously.
PROOF THAT HONDA IS BACK IN THE SPORTBIKE BUSINESS
IT'S NICE TO BE RIGHT. LAST YEAR. AFTER FLYING TO ENGland to tryout Honda's CBR1000, we enthused, "America, you need this bike," touting the all-around capabilities of the for-Europe-only sportbike. And like perennial Chicago Cubs fans, we told you to just wait 'til next year.
IT'S A REAL SHAME HONDA CHOSE THIS year to bring the CBR to America. It's a real shame it didn't come out before there was any such thing as a Kawasaki ZX-11. And it's a real shame I didn't ride the Honda by itself, without first having ridden the Kawasaki.
ONE MILLION YEARS FROM NOW, WHEN ISOLATED tribes of human beings are scattered over the globe and all the history books have long since been lost, they'll still remember 1990. That was the year, they'll discuss in reverent tones, of the Open-class sportbike.
HISTORY IS FULL OF PRODUCTS SO SIMple that it seemed they just couldn't be improved upon. But the horsedrawn cart gave way to the car, the abacus gave way to the calculator, and even the pencil gave way to the word processor. Now take a look at the bungee cord.
EVERY MOTORCYCLE RIDER SOON learns to appreciate a bandana. Though not designed specifically for motorcycle use, the ubiquitous bandana is one of the cheapest and most-useful riding accessories. Folded into a triangle shape and then knotted behind the rider's neck, a bandana pads the neck from jacket abrasion and wards off drafts.
THIS MOTORCYCLE IS WORTHY of your respect. And so is Glenn H. Curtiss. the man who built it and rode it. In their time, they were the fastest man and machine on Earth. While others were struggling to reach 70 miles per hour, Curtiss saddled up on this machine and cranked off a run of 136.4 miles per hour.
THE PLIGHT OF SUZUKI'S Katana 750 has been well-documented in the pages of this journal. Perhaps the best all-around streetbike available today. with a balance of performance. handling and comfort that made it an easy winner in Cycle World's Best 750 of 1989 balloting, it nonetheless has drawn flak for being.
"I'VE ALWAYS BEEN A perfectionist. Having something that everybody else has just doesn't interest me." So says Jerry Lamb, owner of the tricked-out, 1986 Yamaha FZ750 you see here, a bike that does indeed appear to be flawless. An auto detailer by trade, 28-year-old Lamb, from Huntington Beach, California, readily admits that his 18-month quest for two-wheeled perfection has had its down-sides.
Riding Larry Roeseler's Baja 1000-winning KX500 and ISDE 80
WINNING BAJA AIN'T EASY. For proof, just ask the 110 car and bike teams that were left stranded along the course during SCORE’S last Ensenada-to-La Paz running. For motorcycle racers, getting to the finish line first requires competent pit crews who’ll provide fuel, spare parts and encouragement every 50 to 60 miles along the race route.
LARRY ROESELER IS ONE OF America's most-versatile off-road riders. And although he's best known for his Baja wins, he's also one of our best enduro racers. Roeseler has proven competitive on every size of enduro bike, having won on 500, 250, 200, 125 and 100cc two-strokes, as well as on 500cc four-strokes.
IT'S A COLD, HARD FACT: RUSSIAN racers have dominated the sport of world championship ice racing for the past 30 years. When it comes to racing in sub-freezing weather aboard speedway motorcycles with steel spikes on their tires, the Soviets are the masters.
IT WAS A CONTRADICTION OF logic. During intermission, Scott Ormiston and Rob Walker pushed their Kawasaki KZ 1000-powered sidecar onto the ice at the Tucson Convention Center arena for a few exhibition laps. The 120-horsepower rig looked as out of place on the ice as a cowboy in sneakers.
Write this down: 1990 is the year factory Superbike racing returned to Daytona. For the first time in recent memory, all four Japanese companies will field racing teams at the season’s AMA opener in Daytona. Of course, not one of the teams is an official factory effort, because the current trend is for the manufacturers to supply a “team” with bikes and parts, then the team goes racing.
In your January issue, you had tests on both the Suzuki GSX-R750 and the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. Your listings of the braking distances for each bike claimed that from 60 miles per hour, the 493-pound GSX-R stopped in 133 feet and the 660-pound Harley stopped in only 126 feet.