TO SOME. IT IS THE PERFECT MOTORCYcle engine. To others, it’s a dusty, musty relic awaiting the scrap heap. I'm referring to the air-cooled, twin-cylinder powerplant equipped with a solitary intake valve and an equally lonely exhaust valve atop each combustion chamber.
ACCORDING TO THE BOOK EXPLORING Australia, the town of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory might well have been founded when a beer wagon broke down on the Stuart Track and the drivers stayed to drink the cargo. Since I was there with my own broken-down wagon (a Range Rover which had lost its windshield to a now-deceased vulture), this story sounded reasonable.
ALL THROUGH THE COLD AND WINDY spring I’d secretly been priding myself that I hadn’t come down with the flu, while all those around me had caved in. “Must be my iron constitution," says I, “or perhaps good clean living...." Last Monday, of course, it hit me like a runaway freight train.
I very rarely find myself reacting to gender remarks, but your response to “Family Problems,” (Letters, May, 1991) brought me out of my winter lethargy. Maybe if letterwriter Mr. Hildreth was the kind of husband I have, his wife wouldn’t be hiding his helmet when he talks of moving south to get more riding time.
JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS safe once again to wade into the sportbike waters comes word of serious escalations in the sportbike wars, repli-racer division. Maybe. The name of the first escalation is the Honda CBR900RR. supposedly a 1992 model-year sportbike which will bring the spice of ultra-light technology to the table of the streetrider.
The bike from Bologna, a no-firills sporting V-Twin
Cagiva North America
Cagiva North America
DUCATI. THERE'S MAGIC IN THAT NAME. THE MAGIC' of a faraway place where the fine craft of turning out sporting motorcycles is taken very seriously. The magic of racing glories on tracks with names too difficult to pronounce. The magic of valvegear bearing the engineering signature of Ing.
THERE WAS A TIMI. IN POST-WAR ITALY WHEN NATIVE motorcycle makes ruled the land, an age when small, family-run factories battled for top honors in inter-city roadraces. These point-to-point races, which were run on public roads, have since reached nearextinction, and so too has the vast majority of the makes that once filled the starting grids.
In the Seventies, it was the charismatic standard by which other sportbikes were judged. To some, it still is.
WE THREW A BIG PARTY LAST WEEK TO (ELEBRATE THE completion of our new workshop/garage. and invited a bunch of the usual suspects over for an evening of salsa consumption, Guiness drinking and toolbox appreciation. Naturally. I got out the chrome polish and wax and cleaned up my small collection of five unevenly restored elderly bikes, lining them up museum-like at one end of the garage.
GO AHEAD. THROW STONES AT ME FOR getting hung up on something as superficial as looks. Based on an early magazine photo of the new Ducati 900SS, I’d determined it to be an ugly Duck, mainly because of its curious-looking seat. I’ve never cared all that much for the tail styling of the 851 Sport or 888 Superbike, but the SS’s stepped, two-level affair really seemed like a mistake.
SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY CUBIC CENTIMETERS may be the perfect engine size for a sporting motorcycle. Sure, 600s will scurry away in the twisties, and full-liter machines pack the biggest wallops this side of the USS Missouri's 16-inchers, but a 750 provides a wonderful combination of size, performance and affordability.
YAMAHA'S VENERABLE YZ490 WAS OUR LEAST-FAvorite dirtbike. Its engine vibrated strongly enough to mix paint. It pinged like a Corvette with a tankful of Baja gas. It challenged its rider with soft low-end power that transitioned to a mid-range jolt with all the subtlety of a whack from a sledgehammer.
IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WERE MOTORCYCLES. THEY had two wheels and an engine, a place for the rider to sit and something for him to hold onto. Times were good and bikes were simple. We’ve come a long way since then. Over the years, motorcycles have evolved into highly specialized vehicles, their forms dictated largely by their functions.
FROM SUZUKI'S ACCESSORY DIVISION COMES A NEW TOURING STANDARD
ONE THING THAT SUZUKI LEARNED IN ITS REsearch into standard-style motorcycles is that owners like to personalize their bikes. So. when the new GSX1100G was in the planning stages. an extensive range of accessories was designed right along with it.
ALMOST EVERY MOTORCYcle is a project bike: Very few of us leave our machines as-delivered. And while huge pistons. hogged-out cylinder heads and high-lift cams are the stuff of wish lists, most of us are content with minor modifications that make a motorcycle truly ours.
IT'S LIKE A PEBBLE. THROWN INTO A pond. I thought to myself as we dipped in and out of hairpin corners and fog Ofl California's Coast Highway. But here, the waves start at the outer fringes of the pond and radiate inward, concentrating toward the source.
Team Roberts, Team Suzuki dominate WERA season openers
Carr claims Sacramento
Stanton injured, Bayle leads indoors and out
With all the attention focused on the U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, many race fans have overlooked the fact that a pair of Yamaha YZR500s are racing in the U.S. on a regular basis. Team Marlboro Roberts’ Rich Oliverand Robbie Petersen have so far dominated the WERA Interstate Batteries Formula USA Series, with each winning one of the two races to date.
PROTECTION IS THE SINgle most important consideration when buying a riding suit. Obviously. skidding along an abrasive stretch of tarmac isn't the time to wish you had chosen your gear more thoughtfully. De sign and price are a notch below protection in importance.
Our Harley-Davidson Sportster 883/1200 conversion as detailed in last month's "From Sportster to Speedster" story has been more of a success than the stock clutch could handle. We smoked it. Our high-compression engine makes about 20 more horsepower than stock, and continued powershifting through the gears has shown a need to upgrade the clutch.
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.