MOTORCYCLES, THE MACHINES, ARE held together with simple nuts and bolts, but motorcycling, the sport, is bound together by something as complex as the human spirit. Just why certain people are drawn to machines so illogical that they’ll fall over without some manner of prop stand is a mystery, but as the poet Matthew Arnold—who would have gone on to ride an Earles-fork BMW.
IT WAS THEODORE VANNEMAN CRUM II, I think, who first opened my eyes about Suzukis. In 1966, TVC2 was with me at UC Berkeley, a certified moto-loonie and car crazy, a member of GONAD (the Griffiths Organization of Navigators and Drivers), my dorm’s rally team, and erstwhile tuner of, well, just about anything.
AS A SCOUTING PARTY FOR NEW MOtorcycle acquisitions, we were an unlikely team. I was behind the wheel of a Ford Explorer, following a faded yellow 1969 MGB down Minnesota's portion of Highway 61, the famous Mississippi River Road. The old MGB had just been purchased near St. Paul by my friend Chris Beebe, and I was tagging along, just to make sure he got home okay.
I was delighted to see your article “Return of the Rockers,” (CW, November, 1990) on the Vintage Rockers Cycle Club, as there is a similar scene thriving here in Minneapolis. The spectrum of our machinery may be a bit broader, however, including café racers from the late Sixties, stripped-down FZs and Interceptors, as well as the European bikes.
Muzzy ZX-6/ZX-7 exhaust systems Super-tuner Rob Muzzy knows how to build fast Kawasaki racebikes, just ask Doug Chandler or Scott Russell. If you can’t afford Muzzy as your personal tuner, don’t despair. At least some of Muzzy’s power secrets are relatively inexpensivesive. For $349, Muzzy will sell you an exhaust system for your ZX-6 or ZX-7. These handbuilt pipes are identical in design to those used by Chandler and Russell, according to Muzzy. Riders looking for something more exotic can ask about Muzzy’s stainless-steel or titanium exhaust systems, but you’ll want to be sitting before being told the prices. Contact your local dealer or Muzzy R&D, 7090 Santa Fe Street East, Hesperia, CA 92345; 619/949-5131.
Griffin RZ helmet
Griffin RZ helmet In a world filled with $200-$400 helmets, it’s nice to find one that offers full coverage, DOT certification and numerous features for under a hundred bucks. Griffin’s RZ has a suggested retail price of $70, yet it boasts a deluxe interior, 8-position ratchet shield system, adjustable venting, modern graphics and a choice of black, red, gray or white color schemes. The Griffin RZ carries a one-year warranty and it’s available from motorcycle and accessory dealers.
New Continental tires
New Continental tires Continental Tire-North America (1200 Wall Street West, Lynhurst, NJ 07071;201/460-0200) has announced a new line of bias-belted street tires for sportbikes. Claimed advantages of the Conti Sport 2000 include a Z speed rating, lower price than similar-use radiais, quick warm-up and special rubber compounds that vary depending on the size of the tire and its intended model application. Also new is a low-cost line of tires called Gemini, designed to fit older bikes and intended for riders who don’t need an ultra-high-performance tire. See your local dealer for sizes and prices.
Tierney Hollen Honda V-Four oil kit
Tierney Hollen Honda V-Four oil kit If your old-style Honda V-Four engine seems to eat rocker arms and camshafts, you may want to contact Tierney Hollen Engineering (573 Hampshire Rd., Unit 233, Westlake Village, CA 91361;815/497-2679), makers of an adapter kit claimed to double the amount of oil flow to the engine’s cams and rocker arms. The $249.95 kit is applicable to 1982-87 Honda 700cc-and-larger V-Fours.
IF YOUR MIND'S EYE PICTURES motorcycling in Europe as hip Euro-riders blasting autostradi and strafing Alpine corners on the very latest racer-replicas, you’re only part right. Sportbikes are big in Europe, but what’s even bigger, still fed by feverish interest in the Paris-Dakar ultra-rally, are heavyweight dual-purpose bikes.
Yamaha's new approach: Buy a bike, get insurance as part of the package
Jon F. Thompson
YAMAHA IS TAKING DIRECT aim at still-lazy new-bike sales by offering an optional insurance package, including liability coverage, to all buyers of its 1991 streetbikes, with the cost of one year’s insurance built into the price of the bike.
THE PROTOTYPE OFF THE CHASsis which will house BMW's new liquid-cooled. eightvalve Boxer engine—originally scheduled to be unveiled at the Cologne Show in September, but now not expected until later this year— recently was spotted while its handling was being sorted out.
YOU CERTAINLY DIDN'T MAKE this very easy for us. Last August, when we invited readers to join us in an experiment called the “Cycle World 100 Readers Group,” we expected some of you to be interested enough to fill out and mail in the postcard provided in that issue.
WHEN THE ORIGINAL HONDA CBR600 Hurricane was in troduced in 1987, it was a revelation, equally at home on the street and the racetrack. Since then, other 600s have surpassed the CBR, but with the introduction of the 1991 CBR600F2, Honda may restake its claim to best-600 honors.
A MILESTONE, FOR CERTAIN. To celebrate, the words "Fourth Anniversary Issue" were boldly printed in the top right-hand corner of this issue. But a picture of a beautiful new Triumph T120/R Bonneville—white tank, stainless-steel fenders and dual, chromed exhausts—was this issue’s real drawing card.
LOOKING FOR HISTORY, GOOD food and great roads? Then head north to Copper Harbor in upper Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Just outside Copper Harbor is the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, with a pleasant dining room and comfortable cabins that make a great base for two-wheeled exploring.
UP: To Dave Despain, for earning his “Motor Mouth" nickname. The hardest-working announcer in motorsports, Despain divvies up his time between NASCAR commentating on CBS, calling the action at selected Camel Pro flat-track races, co-hosting the acclaimed “Motorweek Illustrated" TV show on ESPN, being master of ceremonies at many motorcycle-related functions and contributing (too infrequently) to this magazine.
THIS IS MORE THAN A MOTORCYCLE. IT'S AN adventure. Five years and $100,000 in the making, it is the masterwork of a man who has been crafting custom bikes for more than 20 years, a man described by one observer of the custom scene as simply "a god who works in metal."
It all started with something called a California Bobber
LIKE JAZZ, MARILYN MONROE and chicken-fried steak, custom motorcycles are a peculiarly American art form. No less a literary potentate then Tom Wolfe, he of the recent bestseller The Hon fire of the Vanities. and before that The Right Stuff and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, once turned his writing skills loose on choppers—those raked-out, metal-flake creations with sissy bars and exhaust pipes that reached for the clouds—especially popular in the early 1970s following release of the movie Easy Rider.
THOSE OF YOU WHO CONSIDER YOURSELVES TRADItionalists, relax. Never mind that everywhere you look, people are wearing weird clothes, that you understand little of what these days passes for pop music, that foreigners seem to be purchasing large chunks of the U.S. and that many of the cars in the dealerships of domestic manufacturers are built, well, Elsewhere.
“WHEREVER YOU’RE GOING, YOU’RE going, to need gas,” said Mr. Editor Edwards as I peered into the 1200 Sportster’s fuel filler cap. “That’s too bad, because I was only going to the Union 76 station,” I said, suddenly worried. To some extent, a Sportster is as narrow-focus as the most radical sportbike, designed specifically to fulfill its singular purpose.
AT FIRST, WE WONDERED IF IT WAS JUST A COINcidence. Or if our active imaginations were simply working overtime. We even considered more intriguing possibilities—like that maybe an Italian designer was on the loose at the Suzuki factory in Japan.
OKAY, I KNOW THAT AT 6 FOOT 1 INCH tall and 185 pounds, I’m too big for 125cc motocross bikes. But that doesn’t prevent me from enjoying riding them. I love their light weight, their nimbleness and, above all, I love revving the snot out of ’em. The Suzuki Bandit reminds me of a 125cc MXer.
AFTER A COUPLE OF SLACK years, Husqvarna jumps into 1991 with eight new dirtbikes headed by a 610 four-stroke Single and a 260cc two-stroke enduro bike. Major updates to the firm’s 125cc and 250cc motocross and enduro mounts comes as welcome news, too.
IS THIS KTM STOCK?” AN EDITOR asked, ogling the 1991 250 MX, resplendent in its red frame, white plastic, mint-green seat cover and stylized graphics treatment. He was informed that the bike from the small Austrian firm was indeed stock. “They’re getting a little wild, aren’t they?”
KAWASAKI LAST SOLD A 250cc trail/enduro bike in this country in 1984, so the company's reintroduction of the KDX250 certainly has been a long time coming, considering the success of factory racer Larry Roeseler and other talented enduro and desert riders.
AMERICA'S ONLY OFF-ROAD motorcycle manufacturer, ATK, doesn't have any radical new models for `91. Rather, it has made numerous improvements to its motocross and enduro line of twoand four-stroke Singles. The first change, and the most needed, is a new method of drive-chain adjustment.
EXCLUSIVITY DOESN'T HAVE TO be hard to find, as Buell hopes to prove in 1991 when it increases production of its one-and-only model, the RS1200 Westwind. Rather than gamble on introducing new models, America’s “other" streetbike manufacturer has opted to meet demands for its well-received two-seater sportbike, introduced a year ago.
THE EARLY-MORNING SUN found me parked alongside the road searching the bottom of the saddlebag for my map of Delhi. Half an hour into the first day’s ride, and already I was lost. I had risen before sunrise, eager to make good my escape from the city before the morning rush, and I was confident that the main highway south from Delhi to Agra would be easy to find.
THERE MAY BE, SOMEWHERE, A motorcycle that wouldn't benefit from improved throttle response, better brake-lever feel and improved suspension compliance, but the Ducati 750 Sport isn't it. Don’t get us wrong. The Sport is a terrific machine, full of fun, crammed with character, and when we road-tested it in our December, 1989, issue, we found much about the bike that was worthy of praise.
A simple piece of tuning and a pair of fresh mufflers almost solve a problem, But not quite.
Jon F. Thompson
CURING THE DUCATI 750 Sport's carburetion woes doesn't have to involve an expensive carb swap. Or thus quoth Eraldo Ferracci, wizard Ducati tuner and master wrench behind the Fast By Ferracci (164l Easton Road, Willow Grove, PA 19090; 215/657-1276) roadracing stable.
Race-testing Fast By Ferracci's $10,500 GP2 Replica
YOU SAY YOU WANT TO BUY a roadracing motorcycle. but you're not interested in a Japanese production bike? Have we got a deal for you. Cagiva North America has stepped into the racebike-for-sale biz, teaming with Fast By Ferracci to offer replicas of the Ducati 750 Sport on which Fabian Cortez III won the 1990 AMA Pro-Twins GP2 championship.
IF DIFFERENCES OF OPINION MAKE LIFE interesting, then Saeng’s QS2 fairing should be commended for giving us some lively moments. Actually, just knowing what to call the device proved to be an obstacle. The factory literature refers to it as a fairing; most of us regarded it as a handlebar-mounted windshield.
SCOTT PARKER AND CHRIS Carr may each wear the familiar orange-and-black of Harley-Davidson on the Camel Pro dirt-track circuit, but that doesn't count for much once the green flag drops. The two are intense rivals. In 1990, their intra-team rivalry carried them to the top two positions in the AMA Grand National Championship for the second successive year.
Doug Chandler’s first-ever National Superbike Championship was a veritable cakewalk. After finishing third and second in the first two races of the year, the 25-year-old Muzzy Kawasaki rider from Salinas, California, turned up the flame to win four straight races, then set it on simmer to claim the title with one round remaining in the eight-race series by finishing third at Heartland Park Topeka.
I have a new Yamaha V-Max with 600 miles on it. and it runs great. My owner’s manual says to adjust the valves or check them at 26,000 miles. The local Yamaha dealer says the bike should have its initial tuneup (including a valve-clearance inspection) at 600 miles, and that he will perform the service for $160.
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.