THE FIRST MOTORCYCLE MAGAZINE I ever bought was the April, 1971, edition of Cycle World. I was 15 years old, at hormonal redline and drop-dead in love with the woman in the Norton ad on the inside cover. If you're too young to remember Norton Commandos or the provocatively posed ladies featured in the Company's advertisements.
THE FRONT WHEEL STOPPED DEAD, the bike rotated over its axle and I was spit off the thing like a bug flicked off a finger. Various cartoon noises ensued. Pow. Whang. Ooof. I sat in the trail-side rock pile, folded into a position that 43-year-olds are not supposed to explore outside a yoga class.
WHEN I FIRST CAME TO WORK AT Cycle World in 1980, the Managing Editor was a guy named Steve Kimball. I quickly discovered that Steve and I had a common personality quirk. Actually, Kimball had a lot of quirks, but our space here is limited and I won't catalog them.
FOUR O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING, AND suddenly I'm awake. Where is this? I must be somewhere. I slowly understand that I'm not at home—the windows are wrong, and this isn't my bed. Yes, I'm in a hotel at Laguna Seca. Reality reconstructs itself, and I again know what's happening.
I'm writing to say thanks for the Moto Guzzi articles in your August issue. It seems lately that all the major bike magazines think it’s necessary to run a 600cc showdown or superbike shootout every month. I'm quite sure that the FZRs and ZX-11s et al are excellent motorcycles,but the world of motorcycling is so much broader.
SOME PEOPLE ARE VERY PLEASED to be able to carry passengers on their bikes. But some aren't. Erik Buell, proprietor of the Buell Motor Company, in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, became aware of this penchant for privacy. “We have some people who just really like single-seat motorcycles.
FEEL THE ITCH TO GO VINTAGE roadracing, but lack the time or mechanical skills to restore a suitable mount for yourself? Well, now there's a way to scratch that itch. Just get in touch with West Coast British Racing (6398 Dougherty Road #34, Dublin, CA 94568: 415/829-0494) and ask about WCBR's "just add gas and go" Ducati vintage roadracers.
CALL IT RETROGRADE. CALL IT oddball, but for a small, vocal minority, riding enjoyment goes up as the number of cylinders goes down. So if a Four is good, a Twin is better, and, it logically follows, a Single is better still. That's the sort of thinking at least partly responsible for the current commercial success of Ducati’s V-Twin lineup, and it's led to the inevitable—the Ducati 502, a Single based on half the 851 V-Twin.
MOST PEOPLE BUY AND RIDE motorcycles simply because of their very high fun factor. But every so often we hear from those of an entirely pragmatic bent, asking, "Why are bikes so thirsty? Why are they so expensive? Why are they so costly to insure?
RACING WAS THE FEATURED SUBject in this edition of Cycle World, with reports on the International Six Days Trial, Isle of Man TT and Bonneville Speed Week. Packed in with the race reports were tests of Bultaco's TSS roadracers and the Matchless G85CS Scrambler, along with riding impressions of the Garelli Rex and the Cimatti lineup.
"FOUR SCORE AND SEVEN YEARS ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty..." The words ring as powerfully today as they did on November 19, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic Gettysburg Address.
DOWN: To TV station KELO, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for misrepresenting motorcyclists. In a recent television news broadcast, reporter Steve Irvin took several potshots at sportbike enthusiasts, using only smart-mouthed, irresponsible riders as his subjects.
DIVERSION. THERE'S A PLEASant name for a motorcycle. A moniker suggesting days spent away from the office. Relaxing. Clearing the cobwebs. So why did Yamaha choose to call its new 600cc no-frills sportbike— based on the domestic-model 400cc Diversion —the Seca II? Call it continuity.
THOUGH ITS OFFICIAL UNVEILing is likely a month away, more information has surfaced about the Honda CBR900RR, which promises to be the most exciting new Honda model since the CB750 Four of 1969. Cycle World first published the possibility of such a bike with exclusive illustrations in our July 1991 issue.
SUZUKI'S LONG-AWAITED GSX-R600 is finally a reality, giving the company a supersport 600 to go up against Yamaha's FZR600 and Honda's CBR600F2 in motorcycling's most competitive class. Unfortunately, most of the bike’s specifications are still a mystery.
AFTERMARKET EXHAUST SYSTEMS are extremely popular, and with good reason. Combining a throatier exhaust note, lighter weight, attractive looks and an affordable price with the potential for improved performance always is appealing.Recently, Super Trapp (3910 Seaport Blvd., West Sacramento, CA 95691;916/372-5000) introduced its internal-disc silencer, a design that incorporates the company’s trademark diffuser-disc tunability with an attractive, canister-style muffler.
RIDING IMPRESSIONS OF THE 1992 HUSQVARNAS, HONDA CRS AND SUZUKI RM250
CAGIVA, PARENT COMPANY OF Husqvarna, was at a crossroads when it came time to develop the 1992 Husky off-road bikes. The bikes had to be lightened and modernized, or the decision to halt production of dirtbikes made. Repeated requests that European component suppliers upgrade their products didn’t get results.
HIDE THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN, MOTORCYCLING'S TWO BADDEST OUTLAWS ARE IN TOWN
JON F. THOMPSON
THE WORLD HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY SINCE THE very first motorcyclist, old Herr Daimler, clattered around Cannstatt, Germany, on his wooden reitwagen in 1885, a scant 20 years after the end of our Civil War. Yet the problem of coaxing more speed from a motorcycle remains exactly the same now as then, elegant in its simplicity and maddening in its complexity: How best to convert a certain quantity of volatile liquid into velocity?
JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS COVER. WE'RE told, can be a bad thing, and judging a riding jacket by its color can be equally as erroneous. At least when that jacket is the Kawasaki Blue Max. Looking for all the world like a stylish, stone-washed, denim jacket, the Blue Max —made for Kawasaki by Hein Gericke—is actually a functional, all-leather riding jacket.
How the U.S. Army is discovering today's motorcycling
JON F. THOMPSON
"IT'S NOT JUST A JOB. IT'S AN ADVENTURE." AND YOU might figure, "Well, hell, if it involves getting paid to roost around on motorcycles, maybe I oughta join up." Oh yes, the U.S. Army does employ motorcycles. Or at least, says it plans to. And not for any El Wimpo job like hauling orders and scouting reports from Post A to Post B, either, which is the way motorcycles mostly were used in World Wars I and II, a.k.a.
"JUST PRETEND YOU'RE A KID AGAIN PLAYING Army," came my orders from General Edwards of CW High Command. "You did play Army as a kid, didn't you?" "Well, um, sure. I played Army, and lived to tell about it. But motorcycles?" I mumble. My childhood commando missions were filled with imaginary Tiger tanks, pillbox machine-gun nests and plenty of dummy hand-grenade chuckin'.
SOICHIRO HONDA HAS DIED AT age 84 after a remarkable life. His name is known everywhere today as that of a man who created in 25 years a manufacturing empire as powerful as any in the world. It is correct to say that he Was rude, unconventional, difficult and an extremely original thinker.
CRUISE DOWN FAIR AVENUE IN Costa Mesa, California, on any Friday night and you can't help but notice the sound. It's like someone's doing touch-and-goes in a Cessna, a rumbling drone lasting 60 seconds or so punctuated by a couple minutes of silence.
SILLY ME. I ALWAYS THOUGHT speedway races were four laps long because spectators have short attention spans. But now, after having spent a day going in circles on an old two-valve Jawa, I know better: It's because that's as long as it's possible to hold your breath.
Fellow Australians and Rothmans Honda teammates Wayne Gardner and Michael Doohan survived typhoon rains and a relentless attack from Doug Chandler and Kevin Magee to win the 14th running of the Suzuka 8-Hour. The works Honda RVF7 50-riding duo traded the lead with the works Yamaha YZF750 of eventual second-place finishers Chandler and Magee until the sixth hour, when Magee crashed, costing the team a couple of laps.
I have 1979 and 1981 Honda CBX Sixes. I'd like to get as long a life as possible out of these bikes, but I'm concerned about them running too hot, especially down here in Texas. I've heard CBXs are famous for running hot. Could you tell me what the proper oil and cylinder-head temperatures are for maximum engine life?
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, 1499 Monrovia Avenue, Newport Beach, CA 92663 To be returned, the photographs must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope.