IT WAS ONE OF THOSE EASY. RAMBLING conversations, fueled by a bottle of good chardonnay and the familiarity of friends. Allan Girdler, as he often does, posed one of his hypothetical questions. “What if," he said, “His Highness, the Exalted Right Honorable Minister of Transportation, suddenly decreed that for reasons of world ecology, each of us would be limited to just one motorcycle?
LIKE MOST FIRST-SEASON RACERS, I was obsessed by the sport in my Novice year. Everything took back seat to racing-work, school, even love. The discovery of just how fast you can go, and of just how delicious the competitive atmosphere really is, flat blows everything else out of your mind.
"I AM GOING OUT TO THE GARAGE," I told Barb one evening, "to put new tires on the BMW." "How long will you be?" I stopped to calculate. Well, let's see ... I could change a pair of knobbies on the XL500 in Baja in about 20 or 30 minutes, but this was a streetbike, and I'd never taken the tires off it before, so there might be some tricks and complications.
I would like to thank you for possibly upsetting my carefully achieved "cycle/car balance" (CCB) with your test of the Ducati 900SS in the July issue. The CCB is the delicate balance between motorcycle and car ownership achieved by urbanites who have only enough room in their garages for one bike and one car.
NOT CONTENT WITH EARLY domination of the World Superbike series this season, Ducati soon will try to crack the flourishing 600 supersport class. Booming all over the world, the class relies on lightly modified 600cc streetbikes—invariably Japanese inline-Fours—running on street tires.
BELL HELMETS, INC., ONCE THE dominant name in protective headgear in the United States, has concluded a production and distribution deal with Bieffe Helmets of Italy. Tom Doran, president of parent company Bell Sports, Inc., says that because of the deal, all-new Bells will be on sale here by December.
IN WHAT CAN ONLY BE CALLED THE Lazarus Syndrome, a mostly new, mostly better-than-before Hesketh has burst into an unsuspecting world, timed quite nicely to match the reappearance of the revitalized Triumph marque. In fact, we warned you about it in last month's Roundup (“Move over Rolls, Hesketh’s back").
THE FOUR-STROKE SINGLE MAY indeed be the most archaic of all motorcycle engines, but you can’t argue with success. The Single has the look and the sound, and perhaps as a result of its simplicity, it seems to be making a huge comeback in popularity, both in Japan and in Europe.
IF THE COVER OF THIS EDITION didn't spark your enthusiasm, you needed to be cheeked for a pulse. The photograph, a nice panned-action shot, showed an attractive couple at speed on a BMW R69S complete with Earles fork. CW's testing revealed that the Beemer sauntered through the quarter-mile in all of 16.2 seconds.
EXTENDING YOUR RIDING SEASON when the weather turns cool is simple enough to do. Just head for southern Alabama. A good stopping point there is the U.S. Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, nestled between the cities of Dothan, Enterprise and Ozark.
DOWN: To University of Southern California student Chris Blake, for his poorly researched and short-sighted editorial printed in a recent issue of the school's paper, the Daily Trojan. In his editorial, titled "Motorcyclists Should Pull Over For Good," the freshman philosophy major rambles through his experiences involving motorcycles.
MOTORCYCLE ENGINES are remarkable devices. The most powerful have just half the displacement of your average mini-pickup truck, yet produce 50 percent more horsepower. Sort of makes you wonder if you shouldn’t be hauling your truck with your bike, doesn’t it?
SLEEPER: MOVIE BUFFS WOULD EQUATE THE TERM with the Woody Allen film, but gearheads the world over know that what it really refers to is a high-performance vehicle with an unassuming appearance—a wolf in sheep's clothing. Like the Honda CBR600F2 shown here.
FEW NAMES IN MOTORSPORTS CONJURE THE sorts of images that Yoshimura does. Best known in the U.S. for its factory-backed Suzuki Superbikes, the Yoshimura team has served as a springboard for roadracing stars Kevin Schwantz and Doug Polen, among others.
WITH A FLICK OF A TOGGLE SWITCH, "BABY Stealth"—as christened by its creators—is armed and ready to deliver a punch that could knock a Scud from the skies over Tel Aviv. When selected to participate in Cycle World's first-ever Built For Speed 600s competition, Vance & Hines Motorcycle Performance Products (14010 Marquardt, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670: 213/921-7461) took on the task with the seriousness of a government weapons contractor.
IF THINGS WERE SIMPLE, DUAL-PURPOSE BIKES WOULD BE A 50/50 proposition, equally at home on the street as in the dirt. Things rarely are simple, though, as the evolution of D-P bikes shows. For the past half-decade, manufacturers, searching to expand the dual-purpose market, gave us bikes with more street features, until most D-P bikes became dirtbike wannabes, with road-oriented suspensions, tires and ergonomics.
THE SENSATIONS ARE FAMILIAR. Blipping the throttle at a standstill, the noise is a blend of gear whine and the muted tone of an inline-Four's exhaust. The 16-valve engine spins smoothly and effortlessly, an instant surge of acceleration available at the flick of a wrist.
THESE NEW TRIUMPHS MAY use a number of Japanese components, but their design has one vital extra that’s as British as steak-and-kidney pie: The format of modular construction that is a cornerstone of the company’s approach. In 1973, BSA-Triumph Chief Engineer Bert Hopwood designed a series of bikes based around multiples of a single cylinder.
THIS BURGUNDY BEAUTY MAY look like a motorcycle, but to the people who first clamped eyes on it when it was introduced back in 1937, it looked more like a new beginning. To Edward Turner, that human bundle of enthusiasm and impatience who was Triumph's managing director and chief designer, it was a fast, smooth Twin that looked like a Single.
WHEN HARLEY INTRODUCED its Big Twin Evolution engine in the mid-Eighties, it was quieter, smoother and more reliable than its predecessor. The Blockhead, as it came to be known, was also 10 to 15 percent more powerful than the venerable Shovelhead it replaced.
ALTHOUGH NO LONGER IN production, the classic British V-Twin is far from forgotten. Prices for Vincents and Brough Superiors have risen to astronomical heights, prohibitive to all but ardent and wealthy enthusiasts. But for those less prosperous individuals who lust after a modern-day V-Twin British-style roadster, there is hope, even if you've got to start with a motorcycle made in Japan.
15,000 miles on a bike that’s got legs and knows how to use them
LIVING WITH A MOTORCYCLE during the typical Cycle World road test always is enlightening. The road test time-frame surely is sufficient to learn what we need to know—and tell you—about a bike. But it isn’t sufficient time to learn all we need to know.
Michael Doohan is more than Australia’s fastest roadracer. He could be the next world champion.
MICK IS A MAN ON A MISsion." The words come from 1987 500cc World Roadracing Champion Wayne Gardner, known the world over as the hottest Australian export this side of Foster's beer and Crocodile Dundee. Who is this “Mick" character Gardner is praising?
Can anyone beat Doug Polen and his Fast By Ferracci Ducati 888? If the U.S. round of the Diesel Jeans Superbike World Championship at Brainerd, Minnesota, was any indication, race organizers may as well give Polen the number-one plate right now.
IF THERE'S A DOWNSIDE TO BEING OUTdoors on a motorcycle, it's that you tend to get dirty. Road grime and suicidal insects accumulate on your faceshield like helmet-law protesters on the state capitol lawn. And don't think for a moment that this phenomenon has gone unnoticed by motorcycling's vast aftermarket; there are a bizillion gizmos designed specifically to combat Deadly Dead-Bug Buildup.
Motorcycle Touring An International Directory— 1991/92
Jon F. Thompson
IF THE THOUGHT OF TOURING WILD, exotic locales sets your blood to coursing, you probably need a copy of Motorcycle Touring, An International Directory—1991/92. Now in its second edition, Motorcycle Touring provides its readers with a listing of international motorcycle tours, tour operators, motorcycle rental agencies, transport facilities, and rides and rallies scheduled for the United States.
I recently bought a crashed 1984 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo. After repairing just about everything, I still have a charging problem with the electrical system. I replaced the original crash-damaged stator with a used unit. The bike started up fine, ran for awhile, but I soon had to resort to push-starting, and then it went dead altogether.
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.