I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE, AND I’M NO so sure about it.As you can read in this issue, we’ve just put a Bimota Tesi 1D through our standard test procedures. The Tesi is the first-ever production motorcycle—albeit limited production — to employ front-swingarm suspension and center-hub steering.
THEY WERE OBVIOUSLY FATHER AND son. He was maybe 40, his son a teenager, and the stamp of shared genes showed in their faces and their mannerisms. They poked around the piles of the rare and the rubbish like any of the rest of us at the old-bike show and swap meet.
Among the dozen or so motorcycles I have owned in the last 20 years, were three British Twins—two BSAs and a Triumph Trophy. I loved them all. I also enjoyed your Triumph article (“A Bike Called Bonneville”) in the March issue, except for one small omission.
EVER WONDER IF THE ENgineers and stylists who dream up new motorcycle designs for the Japanese manufacturers will ever run out of energy and ideas? No need to be concerned about this, there are plenty of ideas waiting to emerge from Japan’s great motorcycle hatchery, and as proof, here are some samples, new models for 1991.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON’S SMOOTH sail through the business world temporarily hit rough seas last February when more than 1400 members of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers employed at Harley’s York. Pennsylvania, assembly plant voted in favor of a strike that closed Harley's only final-assembly facility for two weeks before it was settled.
THERE ARE THOSE WHO PREdicted that the rebirth of Norton, arguably the most vaunted of the classic British motorcycle marques, seemed too good to be true, and recent problems for the reborn manufacturer seem to lend weight to suggestions of impending doom.
HONDA’S REBEL 250, WHICH made its appearance on American roads nearly a decade ago, was a motorcycle with a difference. It did not leave other bikes behind at stoplights. It did not outbrake or rip past other bikes on mountain roads. Nor did it carry two people and their luggage from coast to coast in royal luxury.
"SPECIAL MOTORCYCLE Clothing Issue," read the coverline for this issue, and examining the items displayed therein underlines the progress made by apparel manufacturers over the past 25 years. Leather garments were as popular then as now, but suede was far more common, as were nylon and even (eek!) flannel.
FURNACE CREEK DOESN'T have to be hot enough to roast you, and Death Valley doesn't necessarily have to cause your demise. We visited the area in January and found prevailing day-time temperatures a comfortable 60 degrees, less then half of what they are during summer.
DOWN: To Mike Pottage, city editor of the Sacramento Union, for his printed contention that motorcycles are more dangerous than Magnum pistols. Firearms are safer than bikes. Pottage contends, because guns are perceived as threats while motorcycles are perceived as toys.
TWO ITALIAN FLASHBIKES. ONE IS OBSCENELY EXPENSIVE; THE OTHER COSTS $13,000 MORE.
THE SIMPLE ANSWER IS NO,NEITHER of these handcrafted Italian exotics is worth its stratospheric asking price. But, then, things are rarely simple. What we have here are the two most expensive street-licensed motorcycles in the world, each a product of the specialty firm Bimota, a small operation home-based on Italy’s sunny Adriatic coast in the vacation town of Rimini.
IN BENCH-RACING CIRCLES. A HOT topic for debate, as of late, is the issue of just what was the best bike/rider combination in Superbike racing last year? Was it World Superbike Champion Raymond Roche riding his factory Ducati 888? Or could it have been U.S. Superbike Champion Doug Chandler on the Muzzy Kawasaki ZX-7?
IN THE BATTLE OF THE MONSTERBIKES, WHICH ONE IS THE MOST FUN TO RIDE?
THERE ARE FEW THINGS MORE fun than comfortable bikes with willing chassis and monster motors. Two of our favorites—and judging from sales figures, yours, too—are Yamaha’s FJ 1200 and Honda’s CBR 1000. These are two of the most likeable, easy-to-get-along-with bikes in the motorcycling world.
SPLITTING HAIRS WITH THE STREET-GOING 750CC SUPERBIKES
"MAN, THAT DUCATI 851 Is so trick. I'd love to have one,” said the teenage movie theater usher thumbing through a recent issue of Cycle World. “I just wish I could afford one.” If you’ve found yourself similarly lamenting your lot in life (which, we pray, is not as hopeless as that of our minimum-wage-earning acquaintance), you’re not alone:
OFF-ROAD RIDERS IN LOVE WITH big four-stroke Singles have very good year in store. KTM, Honda and Husaberg have improved their Thumpers for ’91. The Italian-made Husqvarna 510 has been completely reworked and its engine has grown from 503cc to 577cc, leading to its new, not-so-logical 610 model designation.
IN AMERICA, DUCATI MAY BE THE quintessential Italian marque, but in Europe, there exists plenty of competition for that honor, especially in the small-bore classes so beloved by Euro-riders. One such competitor is Gilera, which since its founding in 1909, has developed not only a rich and varied racing heritage (see “The Glory of Gilera,” page 65), but a clear vision for the future.
The rebirth of a firm that’s been in business since 1909
Jon F. Thompson
THE BUSINESS OF BUILDING motorcycles and selling them is not an easy one. If you don’t believe it, just solicit testimony from the ghosts of those who have tried over the past century. Companies that have survived have done so as a result of more than mere luck.
Two secret projects from the Harley-Davidson Skunk Works
FROM THE OUTSIDE, HARLEYDavidson has thrived and survived by doing what it's always done—namely, sticking with the classic, four-stroke, overhead-valve V-Twins and letting the other chaps rise and/or fail with experiments and radical departures.
The riders of the American Scooter Racing Association prove that Mods rock!
AS THE LEAD PACK rounded the final turn, you could see the riders’ eyes right through their helmet visors, the strain of concentration written plainly on their faces as they struggled to gain an advantage, knees planted firmly on the tarmac, grounded footpegs showering their pursuers with sparks.
RIDING THE RACE SCOOTERS Huh? Change gears with a twist of the wrist?
"DAMN IT TO HELL," I CHAStised myself as I slid and tumbled off the pavement into the dirt lining the edge of the Amago kart track. This wasn’t the first time I’ve exited a race course in spectacular fashion, but this time the machine sliding along next to me was a Vespa motorscooter, of all things.
IMAGINE A DEVICE YOU COULD CARRY in your fanny pack that would contain sufficient air to reinflate a flat tire. Got it? Well, unfortunately, the Insta-Pump isn’t it. Good idea, but it’s just a bit wide of the mark. The Insta-Pump ($13.95 from Moto-Vated Products, 3193 Wayside Plaza, Suite 13, Walnut Creek, CA 94596) is made of hard plastic and has two main components.
I own a 1974 Honda CB750 with 7000 miles showing on the odometer. It is in mint condition and I am very fond of the bike, but it is plagued with a front brake that squeals horribly. The disc is not galled and the pads are new Honda metallics. What is the cause and how can I prevent the noise?
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.