AT FIRST GLANCE, I DECIDE, IT LOOKS more like an ancient Schwinn than a motorcycle, this 1913 Excelsior Auto-Cycle that I'm about to ride. I,m not far wrong. It was, in fact, manufactured by Mr. Ignaz Schwinn of bicycle-building fame. When it rolled out of the Excelsior Motor Mfg.
LIKE MOST BMW STORES, THIS ONE was well-appointed and populated with friendly people talking about their mutual passions. I strolled over to a dazzling red R 100GS. The store manager introduced himself and asked me the usual questions, establishing that I was not a buyer that day.
OKAY OKAY OKAY OKAY! People have been telling me for 15 years that I should try an electric vest for touring and riding in cold weather. "Yeah, I suppose I should,” I've always said, while privately rejecting the whole idea. I don't know what it is I haven’t liked about the idea of electric clothing on motorcycles.
It was refreshing to see Brian Catterson's article "Scooters from Hell" in the May issue of Cycle World. Too often we scooterists are regarded by motorcyclists as aliens. After all, we are on two wheels and also move by a twist of the wrist (even if we shift gears with the other one).
NORTON, THAT MOST TENACIOUS of British motorcycle manufacturers, once looked as though its rotary-powered comeback attempt would succeed. Now, the chances of that happening are growing thin, and the diversified company may attempt to keep itself alive by selling off the most valuable jewel in its corporate crown—its motorcycle division.
NEVER MIND THE NEW TRIUMPH, nothing more than a generically styled machine aimed at mass production. If you really need exclusivity in a British motorcycle, and the $20,400 Norton F1 rotary fails to appeal, perhaps what you need is that two-wheeled Rolls-Royce equivalent, the Hesketh.
A FAIR NUMBER OF TOURING RIDers march to the beat of the Honda Gold Wing. But there also are those riders who prefer a different cadence. Yamaha's Venture Royale should appeal to those who step to that different drum. As its $10,999 1ist price suggests, the Venture doesn't lack much in the way of touring amenities.
BAD NEWS GREETED READERS IN this issue. Cycle World's Isle of Man TT effort, which would have been the first modern U.S. roadracing team to go to Europe, had to be scrubbed. A strike by British seamen meant that ferries to the island weren't operating and the 1966 TT had to be cancelled.
THE ROMAN STATESMAN AND ORator Cicero said, "One should eat to live, not live to eat." That's probably because he didn't have a good cook, wasn’t a touring rider and had never been to Yesterday's Calf-A in Dell, Montana. Located off I-15 on Monida Pass, which crosses the Montana-Idaho border, the Calf-A offers much more than home-cooked family-style meals at l960s prices.
UP: To Burroughs Wellcome Company, the maker of Sudafed-brand nasal decongestant, for recognizing the errors of its ways. In reference to the firm’s television commercial portraying a motorcyclist and a car driver in a near collision, spokesperson Sharon Haggerty commented, via a letter to Cycle World, “It was never the intent of Burroughs Wellcome to suggest that one group of motorists is less cautious than another.
THE EVIDENCE WAS IRREFUTABLE. As SOON AS WE SAW the telltale black stripes in the parking lot, as soon as we saw the dark streak Whoosh past our windows, we knew. It was back. The ZX-11. That jet without wings that transforms everyone who climbs aboard it into Jay Gleason.
CREATING A RADICAL NEW MOTORCYCLE LIKE the Yamaha TDM850 demands courage, the kind of bravado that costs millions of dollars in design efforts, carefully monitored surveys and extensive advertising campaigns. And there's never any guarantee of success.
Yamaha’s new TZR250R commemorates John Kocinski’s 1990 250cc World Championship. The counterbalanced, 90-degree, V-Twin two-stroke features a computerized engine-management system that monitors throttle position and engine revs to provide ideal ignition timing and fuel/air ratio.
"I DON'T KNOW IF THERE'S ANYONE AT HONDA screaming for this bike, but I can tell you, there are four or five of us here who have been screaming for it." The words come from an employee of Yamaha Motor Corp. USA, and the bike he’s talking about is shown here for the first time in an artist’s conception.
WITH MY FEET PROPPED up on a white wicker chair and my tired body slumped in another, I was enjoying a quiet evening on the lawn of a vintage hotel in the heart of a tropical paradise. Marco Polo called it “the finest island to sail on any sea,” and, hundreds of years before him, the Chinese had named it “the land without sorrow.“ Today, we call the 41,000-square-mile island, populated by 14 million souls and located off the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka.
PROTECTION FROM THE SUN IS important for any touring rider, but in Sri Lanka, or anywhere else in the tropics, it is essential. Noses are particularly vulnerable to sun damage, and without benefit of a helmet visor, a rider’s nose soon resembles medium-rare sirloin.
ATK Cross Country VS. Husqvarna WXE VS. Kawasaki KDX VS. KTM E/XC VS. Suzuki RMX VS. Yamaha WR
250 CROSS COUNTRY
FOR A GROWING NUMBER OF RIDERS, enduro bikes, with their rough 'n ready, go-anywhere-over-anything character, have become the off-road bikes of choice. And why not? Generally softer-edged than motocrossers, enduro bikes offer enough nimbleness, sturdiness and horsepower to endear themselves to legions of dirt riders.
HELMET WIND NOISE IS A PROBLEM FOR most riders. One solution is as simple as using a set of earplugs. But not everyone is comfortable with foam plugs jammed into their aural canals. Another solution—one that's more comfortable and still allows pertinent road noises to filter through—is the Quiet Rider helmet closure from Noj Inc. (Dept. CWP, 402 S. Morgan, Minneapolis, MN 55405; 800456-0485).
COLD FINGERS CAN TURN AN OTHERwise enjoyable motorcycle ride into pure pain. There are lots of insulated gloves available to help ward off the chill, but when the outside air gets really brisk, nothing beats a good pair of electrically heated gloves.
WE CAN HEAR THE ACCUSAtions already. In all of motorcycling, there's probably no one group that has made more noise about wanting standard-style motorcycles than the staff of Cycle World, and then the first couple of standards we got our hands on we promptly turned into sportbikes.
WHILE MANAGING EDITOR Brian Catterson looked at the Nighthawk 750 and saw a sportbike lurking inside, I saw a great all-arounder that could be made even better. Dealing with the bike's suspension woes was my first priority. Progressive Suspension supplied a set of rebound-adjustable dual shocks, and also installed a set of progressive-rate fork springs to upgrade the front suspension.
IT'S 6:30 SATURDAY EVENING, AND the distinctive cadence of a V-Twin's exhaust note reverberates through the tunnel connecting Santa Monica, California, with the real world. The ride to this point—a half-hour’s jaunt on the San Diego Freeway, followed by the five westernmost miles of Interstate 10—has passed by in a blur of illuminating brakelights, but now, on legendary Highway I, with the vastness of the Pacific Ocean to my left and the cliffs towering overhead to my right, the ride has begun in earnest.
A retro-bike and a sport-tourer mark a fresh start for Moto Guzzi
ON PAGE 22 OF THE MOTO GUZZI 1000 SPIII's OWNer's manual, you are cautioned to "Remember that components need several thousand kilometers before they are properly bedded-in; care taken in this period will ensure prolonged vehicle life."
Maybe you can't ride as well as your favorite GP hero, but that doesn't mean you can't look like him. Bieffe has introduced new KeiBi:8 Hans Spaan and Wilco Zeelenberg replicas that feature Kevlar-mix shells, scalp and chinbar ventilation, anti-scratch/anti-fog shields, moisture-absorbent interiors and quick-fastening buckles. According to Bieffe, these helmets meet or exceed Snell and DOT requirements and retail for $204.95 at motorcycle dealers.
Tired of trying to change oil or tires using a wimpy, knock-over-prone sidestand? For ZX-7, GSX-R or OW01 owners, there is hope. With the Quickjack, SPF claims to have engineered a safe and easy way to lift and support your dream machine. Manufactured from 6061 T-6 aluminum, the stand incorporates precision ball-bearing urethane wheels for ease of movement. Priced at $189.95, the Quickjack is available from SPF Designs (1205 N. Melrose, Unit M, Vista, CA 92083; 714/631-8716).
Bunkhouse portable tent
For those rugged individuals who prefer to sleep under the stars rather than pop for an expensive hotel, the Bunkhouse portable tent, complete with its king-size bed, is now available. Weighing-in at a scant 240 pounds, complete with independent swingarm suspension, high-profile tires and nine-lamp lighting system, the Bunkhouse can be set up in less than 30 seconds. The tent itself is made of water-repellent polyester that folds neatly beneath a Naugahyde travel cover. For more information, contact B&F Specialties (P.O. Box 1313, Des Plaines, IL 60017; 708/803-9898).
High cornering speeds generated on racetracks require maximum lean angles. With improved ground clearance in mind. Vance & Hines (14010 Marquardt Ave., Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670; 213/92 1-7461) developed its new FZR600 rearset adapters to relocate the bike's stock foot pegs up and back for maximum clearance. Machined from billet aluminum for strength and light weight, the adapters utilize stock hardware and control linkages. Both AMA/CCS and WERA approved, the adapters retail for $56.95.
Stealth Pilot riding suit
Style and protection are two objectives that clothing manufacturers have tried for years to meet, firstgear has recently introduced its Stealth Pilot jacket and pants designed for sportbike riders. Both items feature competition-weight, drum-dyed, top-grain leather construction, along with a host of features. Dual-density armor and a zipper-controlled ventilation system head the list, complemented by a snap-out Thermoliner for coldweather comfort. Both items can be purchased separately in black only through Intersport Fashions West (333 S. Anita Dr., Suite 1025, Orange, CA 92668; 714/978-7718).
Whether you challenge the Baja badlands or dual-sport to your favorite riding spot, a quality headlight is a good thing. Acerbis has developed the Vision, a headlight that is equipped with a halogen bulb and a retractable door that can be lowered for protection from flying stones. Priced at $79.95, the Vision headlight is available from Acerbis Plastica USA (10911-H Wheatlands Ave., Santee, CA 92071; 619/562-1440).
HE'S ONE OF RACING'S MOST POPUlar figures, loved as much for his willingness to entertain fans with long, lurid wheelies as for his devotion to the improvement of the lives of poor children in underdeveloped countries. He’s a rider with heart and guts, a four-time runner-up in the 500cc world championship.
LaRocco, Bradshaw, Stanton all win, but nobody can stop Bayle
The 500cc world roadracing championship aspirations of Michael Doohan got two shots in the arm at the Spanish and Italian Grands Prix, as the Australian rode his Rothmans Honda NSR500 to victory in both races. With these two wins—the second and third of his GP career—added to his runner-up placings in the first three races of the season in Japan.
My 1978 Suzuki GS550E, with 23,000 miles on the clock, is starting to have an oil-consumption problem and I decided that a re-ring is in order, along with clutch replacement and a valve job. Two problems have cropped up, however. I don't know a good breakin procedure, and the finish on the engine cases is pitted and worn away in spots.
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.