FISH OUT OF WATER? HECK, I WAS AS out of place as a trout flopping on the sands of the Sahara. I was wedged into the saddle of Wayne Rainey’s 1989 Yamaha YZR500 grand prix racer, looking very un-Raniey-like, I'm sure, and negotiating Laguna Seca’s 2.2 miles of winding asphalt at very un-GP-like velocities.
MRS. LA VILLE LOGAN, A 49-YEAR-old second-grade teacher at Westmore Oaks Elementary School in West Sacramento, California, sat on my sofa, sipped coffee, and soberly discussed the problems facing teachers today. Illiteracy as a national disgrace.
WISTFUL, I SUPPOSE, IS THE BEST word to describe our mood in packing for the weekend trip to the USGP at Laguna Seca. This would be our last real ride in California. At least for a while. It seems my wife Barbara and I just signed the papers and bought ourselves a small farm in southern Wisconsin.
I read with great interest your recent article about Glen Curtiss’ 1907 V-Eight-powered motorcycle (“Superbike Number One,” CW, April, 1990). The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum of Local History, where I am Assistant Director-Curator, was fortunate enough to have this famous motorcycle on exhibit from 1975 to 1988, when it was returned to the National Air and Space Museum.
IF THIS BIKE LOOKS FAMILIAR, WELL, that’s because you’ve seen it before. The photos show Honda’s newest bike, the 1991 750 Four, and, yes, it does bear a strong resemblance to mid-1980s Honda Nighthawk 650s. For that fact, thank yourselves, or people like you.
A SHAKE-UP IN THE TOP management of BMW’s motorcycle division has given impetus to rumors about plans for new models from the venerable German manufacturer. Eberhard Seifert, boss of BMW's motorcycle division since 1979, was replaced in the top job by Hans Glas, former director of the BMW motorcycle factory in Berlin’s Spandau neighborhood, provoking a series of other promotions further down the executive ladder.
KAWASAKI'S SMALLEST CRUISER, the 454 LTD, has a new stablemate this year: the Vulcan 500. But don’t be surprised if you can’t tell the difference between the two from a distance; they look very alike. That’s because the Vulcan 500 is actually a development of the 454 LTD and retains many of that bike’s components.
Cycle World's SECOND-ANNUAL motorcycle show was the cover subject in July, 1965. Every production motorcycle that was available in the U.S. at the time was shown at this elaborate exhibition, held in Los Angeles. But that wasn’t all.
IMAGINE AN EXHAUSTING DAY OF riding that ends with your aching body soothed by hot mineral water being circulated in a whirlpool bath. Your treatment continues as attendants wrap you in towels, elevating your body’s natural heat as you lie in a darkened room relaxing.
UP: To the off-highway-vehicle users in Colorado, for putting up a heck of a fight. When U.S. Senator Tim Wirth of Colorado wrote a bill that would declare 650,000 additional acres of state land as wilderness areas (added to the more than 2.6 million existing wilderness acres that are off-limits to motorcyclists), the state’s motorcycle enthusiasts started doing homework.
SPORTBIKES TOO RACY? TOURING BIKES TOO BIG? DUAL-PURPOSE BIKES TOO DIRTY? THEN STEP RIGHT UP, YOUR BIKES ARE HERE.
WE'VE SPENT WHAT SEEMS like weeks climbing on and off what has to be the most-disparate collection of motorcycles ever assembled, and now we’re at dinner and Mr. Editor Edwards wants to know, is the “standard” motorcycle still out there, ready and waiting?
THE GENTLEMAN APPEARED TO be about 50, and clearly he was infatuated with the K75. “Gee, what a beautiful machine," he said to the dismounting rider. “I wanted one back in the '60s, but never got around to it. BMWs, they were always the best." Besides the fact that it is unfaired, has two wheels and carries blue-and-white, spinning-propeller emblems, the K75 has little in common the old Boxer Twins that the viewer so fondly remembered, yet this new-for-1990 Beemer carries itself with the air of dignity that all BMWs seem to possess.
THERE WAS A TIME, THANKS TO Hollywood, when anyone riding a Harley was considered an outlaw. Thankfully, times have changed. Harley-Davidson riders are no longer bad guys. During our time with this test 883 Sportster, people at traffic signals—and even an elderly woman in a shopping-center parking lot—commented on “that nice Harley” and asked about its price and how it compared to Japanese motorcycles.
THE BOTTOM LINE ABOUT STANdard motorcycles is that they're supposed to be simple beasts, unencumbered by pretentious riding positions, unadorned by fairings, and fun to ride. The FXRS-SP is all of that. Not convinced about the "standardness' of any Harley, least of all this one?
WHEN THE CB-1 USED IN THIS evaluation showed up in the cinder-block shrine that is the Cycle World garage, much coffee-besotted bench racing ensued, with this little blue bolide as its object. The consensus? Mostly that the CB-1 is just about a perfect model of a real motorcycle.
WHEN THE CRY FOR STANdard bikes finally reached Japan, Honda reacted by producing a new motorcycle that combined modified existing parts and newly designed—some would say futuristic—components. Then they named it the Hawk, the third Honda model to carry that name.
PRETEND, FOR A SECOND, THAT you've just ridden a 1990 Kawasaki Zephyr 550 into the time tunnel and gone back to 1979. You proudly wheel the machine onto the floor of a Kawasaki dealership and proclaim it "the standard bike of the future." What kind of reaction would you get?
LOOKING FOR A NEW MOTORCYcle just like those old motorcycles, are you? Then direct your gaze towards the Moto Guzzi Mille, a giant, red, Latin V-Twin anachronism of a motorcycle. If our mail is any indication, some of you out there in Motorcycleland have been pining away for the basic standard motorcycle of yore.
REMEMBER WHEN DAVID MET Goliath? Everyone thought it was a big deal because little David won. The truth was that he couldn’t lose. Or at least, Goliath couldn’t win. It’s like that whenever an overwhelming underdog goes up against the favorite: If the underdog beats the odds, he’s a hero, it he loses, it doesn't really count.
SUZUKI’S VX800 IS PROBABLY the most-specialized motorcycle on the market today. And its specialty, of course, is not having a specialty. Doubletalk, you say? Not at all. Of all the bikes gathered for our 10-way, standard-bike roundup, the Suzuki VX is the only new-for-1990 motorcycle that was designed from the ground up specifically to fall into the standard-bike category.
NEVER HAS ANY MOTORCYCLE changed so much by changing so little. Yamaha’s Radian is the incredible changing standard. Back in 1984, the Yamaha FJ600 was the king of the middleweight sportbikes. It "had the motor and the handling to dominate official box-stock racing as well as any other kind of less-official racing that it might get into.
WE'VE NOW DUMPED 10 MOtorcycles, as many days and as many riders into the blender with the Selector on "puree." And you probably expect us to pour something that resembles a conclusion into a perfectly clear glass. But the issue of standard motorcycles is a particularly muddy one to start with, and because they are jacks-of-all-trades, masters-of-none kinds of bikes, coming up with a neat, no-loose-ends conclusion is a particularly prickly task.
IF YOU AREN'T READY TO FALL HEAD-OVER-HANDLEBARS in love, don't read this test. Don’t gaze at the pictures, either, or study the specifications. Otherwise, you’re liable to be mesmerized by the hypnotic spell that the 1990 VFR750F seems able to cast over virtually everyone.
GLENDALE HARLEY'S 1940s CRUISER: Everything new becomes old again
H-D’S GENUINE ACCESSORY SOFTAIL: Next stop, the '50s
WHITE BROS.LOW BOY: Low, not slow
IT'S AS AMERICAN AS A 'BURGER, fries and frothy milkshake; as red, white and blue as faded jeans and a tight-fitting T-shirt. It’s called cruising, and whether it’s done in a '32 Ford three-window coupe, a boom-box-equipped mini pick-up or a chrome-laced motorcycle like the four gathered here, it's a peculiar art form born in the USA. The ground rules are simple: See and be seen.
Wayne Rainey's USGP win was almost uneventful. It's a good thing he never looked back.
CAMRON E. BUSSARD
WAYNE RAINEY HAS A WAY of keeping his head while everyone around him does not. He didn't win the crash-marred 1990 500cc USGP, held at the Laguna Seca Raceway, in Monterey, California, by default. He simply rode harder and faster than anyone else on the circuit.
In supercross these days, It seems like if you’re not hurt, you’re winning. Yamaha’s teenage fireball Damon Bradshaw hurt his ankle back in the third round. His teammate Doug Dubach also is recovering from an ankle injury. Jeff Ward hurt his elbow in the first outdoor MX of the year, and Rick Johnson broke his hand at the Daytona Supercross.
I own a 1983 Yamaha Seca 900, and I have a few questions about it. The bike’s been garaged for about a year and a half. Before I put it away, I drained the fuel tank and float bowls. I also squirted some engine oil into each cylinder and cranked the engine a few times.