THANKFULLY. IT WASN’T THE KIND OF phone call I get very often. The voice on the other end of the line belonged to the representative of a well-known high-performance aftermarket company. The company was deciding where to spend its advertising dollars, he informed me.
HEAVING THEIR GLEAMING BLACKand-white behemoths through lock-to-lock turns in almost perfect unison, the two motorcycle cops concentrated on their task with the intensity of GP racers. Because of their dark sunglasses, I couldn't see their eyes as they snaked through the maze of cones.
LAST SUMMER, WHILE WANDERING around the pits at Blackhawk Farms during a WERA race weekend, I had one of those rare watershed moments of actual life-change cognition. I was standing there, gazing fondly upon a TZ250 Yamaha and thinking about how I'd always wanted to try racing a 250 GP bike but never had.
In response to February's “SportTour Shootout” between the BMW K100RS, Honda STI 100, Kawasaki Concours and Suzuki Katana 1100, I think you did a disservice to the motorcycle riding/buying public. I take exception to your thrashing of the BMW.
It’s pretty much routine procedure when race-prepping a new bike to replace the stock fork oil with a high performance aftermarket blend. Maxima Racing Oil (10969 Wheatlands Ave., Suite A, Santee, CA 92071; 619/449-5000) offers its Racing Fork Fluid for use in all standard or cartridge-style forks. Available in 5-, 7-, 10and 15weights, the oil includes the very latest in anti-friction additives. Other features include a high viscosity index, shear-stable polymers, low-temperature anti-wear performance and an anti-foaming formula that also prevents seal hardening. Racing Fork Fluid, priced at $9.39 for a 32-ounce bottle, is available from your local dealer.
Maxima Racing Oil
Answer Sneaker spark arrester
Making noise and causing fires is not what responsible trail riding is all about. Answer Products (27460 Avenue Scott, Valencia, CA 91355; 800/423-0273 or 805/257-4411) offers the all-new Sneaker spark arrester (priced from $139.95) for popular late-model MX, enduro and ATV machines. The Sneaker uses a redesigned internal plenum chamber that kills sound, not flow, claims Answer. It bolts on using stock mounting points and hardware, is fully rebuildable/repackable and carries a lifetime, clog-free guarantee.
Maxima Racing Oil
Stealth Series Harley levers
Decrease the radar signature of your 1982-90 Harley-Davidson with the addition of a set of Stealth Series clutch and brake levers. Actually, these chrome levers won't lessen your chances of getting tickets, but they do come with anti-rattle pivot bushings and are designed to complement the appearance of Stealth Series mirrors. Available for $29.95 a pair from your local Drag Specialties dealer or contact Drag Specialties directly (P.O. Box 9336, Minneapolis, MN 55440; 800/369-1000).
Maxima Racing Oil
Motoport Corsa and Cavour jackets
Two all-leather jackets from Motoport, the Corsa and Cavour, feature a high-fashion style that looks good on or off a bike. The Cavour (on the left) is styled after the classic bomber jacket. It has large front pockets, a hidden front zipper and is fully satin-lined. The Corsa is a lightweight, soft-napa, blouson-style jacket, with deep side pockets, a pencil pocket on the shoulder and a printed satin lining. Each jacket comes in a rich brown color, is available in men's and women’s sizes, and retails for $279. To order, contact Motoport USA (7720-B El Camino Real. Suite 504, Rancho LaCosta, CA 92009; 800/ 777-6499).
Maxima Racing Oil
Targa Half Tank Covers
If you’ve ever experienced the heartache of noticing all too late that your belt buckle or button-fly 501’s have left their mark in your tank’s paint, then you may be interested in the new line of Targa Half Tank Covers for sportbikes. Custom tailored to properly fit each model, the covers are constructed of durable, automotive-grade, textured black vinyl, with a soft, non-scratching cotton/flannel backing and felt edge binding to protect the tank's painted surface. Priced from $29.95, the covers are available for Honda CBRs, VFRs and STs, Suzuki GSXRs and Katanas, and Kawasaki EX500s, Ninjas and ZXs. For further information, contact Targa Accessories Inc. (23601-A Ridge Route Dr., Laguna Hills, CA 92653; 714/472-1022 or 800/521-7945).
Maxima Racing Oil
Bartels' Sportster rearset kit
There was a time when a relocation of the footpegs on a Harley-Davidson could mean only one thing: moving them out by the front axle. But Bartels' Performance Products (8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232; 213/838-3003) offers a rearset kit for the Sportster rider who wants to go roadracing. The rearsets offer more sporting ergonomics and increased ground clearance, though the shifter’s new location means that the shift pattern is reversed. The $349 kit includes machined-aluminum shift and brake levers, mounting brackets that are designed to bolt to existing holes in the engine's side covers and all necessary mounting hardware.
The Italian-Japanese-British-Swiss-Kiwi Connection
V-Six Superbike: With Gilera, a classic name in Italian motorcycles, now under the corporate umbrella of Piaggio, plans are afoot to return the old-line firm to the status of a world player in the motorcycle field. Step one, recently announced, will be the development of new models.
THE 199l MODEL YEAR WILL bring something truly different for Moto Guzzi lovers. Not only will there be three Guzzis not seen before in America, but they will be brought here by an all-new firm. The name of the new U.S. distribution company is Guzzi America, and it is headquartered in Lillington, North Carolina.
IN ITALY, WHEN A MOTORCYCLE BEcomes a fashion accessory, its manufacturer has to catch the wave and ride it to the end, kicking out before wipeout stage. And nobody has proved more adept at forecasting, and even creating, the next set of rollers in two-wheeled chic than Aprilia, whose climb to numbers supremacy among Italian manufacturers has been attained almost entirely through domination of the 125cc market.
TWO-STROKE SINGLES WERE beginning to show their superiority on Europe's scrambles courses by l966, but BSA was fighting the two-stroke charge with a new 44lcc four-stroke reviewed in this edition of Cycle World. Claimed to be a replica of two-time World 500 MX Champion Jeff Smith's racebike, BSA's new 441 Victor lacked the trick, lightweight, alloy parts and serious suspension that graced the racer, but then Smith's bike wasn't street-legal.
IF IN YOUR MIND'S EYE, THE HIGHways of The Empire State resemble those potholed war zones of New York City, forget it; the rest of the state has some real riders' roads, some of them not all that far from the city. One of the best is State Highway 97, a sweeping, swooping stretch of asphalt that follows the twists and turns of the Delaware River from Port Jervis, about 75 miles northwest of New York City, to Hancock, another 60 miles to the northwest.
UP: To California’s Central Coast Motorcycle Association, which will feed USGP-hound fans for $10 a head, and use its profits to benefit the Save The Children project. The group will set up its operations from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 19 and from 8 a.m.
WHOEVER SAID YOU SHOULDN’T MESS WITH A good thing obviously wasn't speaking to Yamaha. Introduced in 1987 and the recipient of a serious upgrade in 1989, Yamaha’s FZR1000 has reigned as the king of big-bore repli-racers, thanks to its combination of linear power delivery and damn-near-unflappable handling.
PROGRESS IS A WONDERFUL thing, but it is not without its victims. The general-purpose motorcycle is just such a casualty. Today, you or I can buy a streetbike that is faster, more stable and better handling than any purpose-built, four-stroke racer of a decade ago.
HAPPINESS, FOR BRUCE Enderle, is being an employee at Yamaha Motors Corp., U.S.A. with access to a parts bin stocked so full of goodies it rivals a fridge on Thanksgiving day. For Enderle, a 42-year-old technical specialist, purchasing a written-off wreck of a 1982 Yamaha Turbo 650 Seca from an insurance company set into motion a project that would see the bike once again on the road, but not without first receiving donations from 15 different Yamana models.
IF THERE'S ANYTHING BETTER than owning a good motorcycle, it’s owning a good motorcycle that doesn’t cost much money. The used-bike market is chock full of such machines, shining examples of yesterday’s technology just waiting to be snapped up, many for less than $1000.
IT’S HARD TO BEAT THE ALL-AROUND VERSATILITY OF A 750cc standard-style motorcycle. One of the bikes of choice through the early 1980s, the mid-displacement, air-cooled, inline-Four standard is returning in the ’90s by way of Honda’s Nighthawk 750 and now Kawasaki’s Zephyr 750.
WHY THE MANUFACTURERS ARE LOOKING AHEAD BY LOOKING BACK
IF, AS THE TONGUE-IN-CHEEK SAYing goes, “on the eighth day, God created motorcycles,” without doubt the motorcycles He created were, in their form and in their function, standards. Of course. Motorcycles of any type are capable of providing great joy, but standards are the most versatile, most useful of them all, capable of being whatever their riders want them to be.
SPORTBIKES. SPORT-TOURERS. Dual-Sports. With all the names given to streetbikes these days that include the word “sport,” one has to wonder if motorcycles were ever really used just for transportation. And, short of freeway shootings, how simple commuting could ever be considered a sport ....
CHANGE HASN’T COME QUICKLY TO HONDA’S XR600. Created in 1985 by increasing the XR500’s bore and stroke, the 600 has survived year after year with minor updates. It’s always been a pleasant, reliable dirtbike, and modified versions have done well in competition, especially in Baja off-road races, but the question has remained: When is Honda going to get serious with the XR?
IF THERE'S ANYTHING THE HEARTS and minds—and therefore the wallets—of most enthusiasts respond to, it’s technology. But that response sometimes overlooks a number of interesting pieces that the latest in technology has marched right past, and the result is that some of those pieces verge on becoming two-wheeled wallflowers, in spite of their very reasonable performance and price tags.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR VERSATILITY IN A MOTORCYCLE, belly up to Kawasaki's bar and order a straight shot of EX500. A hit since its 1987 introduction, the affordable, easy-revving EX functions equally well as an economical commuter, a respectably quick sportbike, an excellent solo sport-tourer and a fine Twins-class roadracer.
I KNOW WHAT KILLED COLONEL THOMAS EDWARD Lawrence. You remember enigmatic T.E. Lawrence, the famed desert raider who led the Bedouins to spectacular victory against the Turks in 1917, the title subject of the epic, Oscar-winning 1962 motion picture Lawrence of Arabia, the long-time motorcyclist who died in 1935 after crashing his beloved Brough Superior on an English country road.
FINDING THE FIVE MOST VALUABLE, MOST DESIRable, most collectible motorcycles in the world ought to be easy. But it isn’t. Ask a collector, any collector, to name his Fab Five, and the response you get will be colored not by some clearly defined, purely distilled understanding of what’s hot and what’s not, but by that collector’s own tastes, memories, realities, and preferences—and more likely than not, by what he’s got out back in the garage.
SURE, THE MARCH OF TECHNICAL progress over the past few years has wrought significant change in motorcycle performance, but for the most part, we riders are still wearing what Geoff Duke wore in the l940s and '50s: Leather. Though it has touched nearly every other aspect of our lives, technology, it seems, has sidestepped riding apparel.
EDDIE LAWSON ON A CAGIVA? Doug Chandler on a Yamaha? Doug Polen on a Ducati? Yes, these scenarios and more have been played out during what will surely go down as an epic off-season, as Silly Season 199091 got underway. True to form, much of the gossip has centered around Eddie Lawson.
Team Honda's Jeff Stanton began his quest to equal Bob Hannah's record of three consecutive supercross titles in fine fashion by winning the opening round of the AMA Camel Supercross Series at Orlando, Florida’s Citrus Bowl. The two-time and reigning champ came from a mid-pack start to pass early leaders Ronnie Tichenor and Damon Bradshaw, then held off his charging French teammate Jean-Michel Bayle to take the win.
CALL THE CONSUMER-AFFAIRS PEOPLE, we thought; just wait ’til the truth-in-advertising folks get a hold of this one. Honda’s new cleaner-polish comes in a 14-ounce spray can that’s plastered with claims of the product’s ability to quickly clean, polish and protect an entire motorcycle, from paint to plastic to chrome.
I am having a problem with my 1500-mile, 1989 FZR 1000. After I brought the bike in for its 600-mile tuneup, I noticed it was a little sluggish. I checked everything and found that the oil level was about a half-quart too high. I changed the oil and put in the recommended 3 quarts.
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.