IT IS THE AUTUMN OF 1964. JOHNNY Carson has been host of “The Tonight Show” for two years. The fall TV season sees the debut of several new series, including “The Munsters,” “Daniel Boone,” “Gilligan’s Island” and “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” President Lyndon Johnson is faced with civilrights unrest at home and a growing military involvement in Southeast Asia.
JUST BEFORE WE MOVED FROM CALIfornia back to rural Wisconsin a few years ago, Mayflower sent a woman over to the house to estimate our moving costs. “The heaviest things you own,” she said, “are all these books and magazines. We charge 40 cents a pound to move them, so you might want to get rid of things you’ll never read again.”
ALTHOUGH THE PHENOMENON OF ENgine knock was identified and described as long ago as 1918, there is still confusion about it. Normal combustion is not an explosion; it is a smooth, steady process of burning in which a flame front expands from the sparkplug at a combustion velocity of tens of feet per second, until the entire charge has been burned.
In his June article on the Suzuki Goose 350, Alan Cathcart says that a bigger version using Suzuki's 780cc DR Big Single would be "overkill." Well, I've waited 20 years for a big street Single to come along, and to me, big is 1000cc. It would vibrate a little.
When the weather turns foul, no single piece of riding gear is as valuable as a good rainsuit. Firstgear by Hein Gericke has a new rainsuit called the Tetra that should go a long way toward increasing the pleasure of a rainy-day ride. Made of .20mm nylon that’s PVC coated, this suit features heat-welded seams, a triple-fold velcro storm flap, a tall corduroy collar, an elastic waist belt and three waterproof cargo pockets. Nighttime safety was a consideration in this two-piece suit’s design, too: Reflective graphics and a bright international-orange-and-blue color scheme should keep you from disappearing into the gloom of a stormy night. Firstgear doesn’t set retail prices, but dealers in our area are asking $125. For more information on the Tetra, contact Intersport Fashions West, 333 S. Anita Dr., Suite 1025, Orange, CA 92668; 714/978-7718.
Progressive Suspension spanner wrench
Progressive Suspension’s $20 spanner wrench adjusts to fit any size single shock, thus easing the task of adjusting spring preload, according to the manufacturer. Available at dealers or by contacting Progressive Suspension, 11129 G Avenue, Hesperia, CA 92345; 619/948-4307, this wrench is compact enough to carry in a fanny pack or work pouch.
Hypertek Dominator wheels
Computer-designed for strength and light weight, these trick magnesium wheels weigh as little as 17.5 pounds a pair. Standard models are polished and clear-coated, with colors of your choice as an option. Prices start at $1250 a set. Interested? Contact Hypertek, 1463 Acadia St., Simi Valley, CA 93063; 805/583-2447.
Bates Fastlane gloves
Bate’s new Fastlane deerskin gloves are designed for street riding and roadracing. Deerskin is soft, durable, strong and extremely comfortable to wear, according to the manufacturer. These gloves feature double-layer palms; a long, zippered gauntlet; precurved finger construction; Kevlar inserts; a plastic palm pad; elastic wristbands and velcro wrist closures. Fastlane gloves are available in all normal sizes, and in black, white, white/red and white/blue color schemes for $80 from dealers or directly from Bates Industries Inc., PO. Box 2668, Long Beach, CA 90801; 310/435-6551.
Hallmark Bike Pack System
Adifferent type of motorcycle luggage system, the Hallmark from Advance Cycling Concepts, Inc. (551 Guadalupe Dr., Allen, TX 75002; 214/727-9684) comes with its own mounting rack. Designed to fit 300 models of Japanese and European motorcycles (not currently available for Harley-Davidsons) the Hallmark is available in 35and 63.5-liter sizes. The packs are constructed of nylon-red, blue, navy or black in color-and designed to fit snugly over Hallmark’s custom-designed silveror black-chromed steel carrier racks. This system eliminates load shifting, and numerous individual compartments provide a place for everything, according to the manufacturer. Prices start at $199 directly from the maker.
Carbon Tech silencers
Carbon fiber is the newest wonder material in the motorcycle industry. And there are good reasons for all of the attention. Carbon fiber is strong, lightweight and trick-looking. Carbon Tech offers silencers made of this space-age material combined with machined aluminum end caps and perforated stainless-steel cores. Racing silencers are available to fit a variety of header sizes, and slip-on street silencers are listed for select Yamahas, Suzukis, Hondas and Ducatis. Prices start at $259 from Carbon Tech, 61 Capay Circle, S. San Francisco, CA 94080; 800/776-4089.
Yamaha wanted its new flagship to be a true sporttouring successor.
YAMAHA’S LONG-AWAITED replacement for the aging FJ1200 is just around the corner. The completely new FJR1000 is set to debut this fall and will reportedly feature RADD-designed hub-center steering and a fuelinjected, 120-horsepower FZR1000 engine, and be fitted with hard luggage and a catalytic converter.
CAN A HAND-BUILT, ONEoff motorcycle overcome the might of one of the world’s most successful factory racing departments? John Britten’s outrageously styled and stunningly effective Britten Daytona V-l100 nearly did just that last March, when it came within a miswired electrical connection of stealing the Daytona SuperTwins event from Pascal Picotte’s Fast by Ferracci Ducati.
Treasure comes in all shapes and forms, but one of the most soughtafter treasures, at least to lovers of old bikes, consists of new old stock (NOS) parts. Find a batch of NOS parts, especially when those parts are for machines no longer being built, and you earn the thanks of legions of enthusiasts.
IS THE MOTORCYCLE PICtured here the prototype for a future, productionbased dirt-track racing class? Could be, if the results of a recent track test session are any indication. Pro racers Chris Carr and Mike Hale were invited by the AMA last April to help evaluate the performance of a pair of Harley-Davidson Sportster-based dirt-trackers.
THE ULTIMATE MOTORCYcle engine? That would have to be the V-Eight. So far, the best known and most successful of them has been the fabled Moto Guzzi 500cc GP racer of the mid 1950s. But if Giancarlo Morbidelli has his way, there soon will be another V-Eight-powered motorcycle, one with his own name on the gas tank.
The most interesting new Ducati of all is a bike known around the factory as The Monster.
ALL THE ACTIVITY IN Ducati’s development department for the past few years will bear fruit at this year’s IFMA Motorcycle Show in Cologne, Germany, when the company shows not one, but four new motorcycles. At the top of the list will be the 916, a development of the 851 line.
Motorcycles from the fourth-annual Cycle World Show highlighted this issue’s cover. Inside, a photo essay portrayed some of the 500 bikes on display at what was once the U.S.’s largest motorcycle show. More than 90,000 people attended the three-day event.
HARLEY FLHTC SIDECAR Entertainment on three wheels
FIRST THINGS FIRST: THIS IS not a motorcycle. An alternate form of transportation, yes. A delightful anachronism, perhaps. A threewheeled excuse to party, definitely. But it is not a motorcycle, which, as it turns out, is perfectly okay.
UP: To tennis ace Gabriela Sabatini, for her adventures off the court. Earlier this year, Sabatini, who is currently ranked third in the world, purchased a black-and-hot-pink 1992 Honda CBR600F2. Not only does the 21-year-old enjoy late-night cruises, she recently rode her CBR to Florida after winning a tournament in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
TWINS. YA GOTTA LOVE ’EM. IN MOTORCYCLING, AS IN LIFE, TWINS ARE SOMETHING SPECIAL. With their characteristic, offbeat exhaust note and visual symmetry, two-cylinder motorcycles have drawn legions of followers to their ranks. Witness Harley-Davidson, which now enjoys the largest share of the U.S.
LOOKING FOR A SPORTING V-TWIN that can run wheel to wheel with inline-Four repli-racers? One that doesn’t have to apologize for its lack of cylinders? One that doesn’t suffer from a lack of horsepower? Step right up to Ducati’s 851 Sport. As the basis for Ducati’s worldchampionship-winning Superbikes, the 851 shares many of its components with Doug Polen’s racer, but differs in its tuning and its employment of lights, mirrors and other street-legal amenities.
IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE IN EUROPE in search of two-wheeled exotica, it won’t take long to figure out that one great place to find it is at a Supermotard race. Supermotard is the European version of the late, lamented Superbikers TV competition, in which racers hurl oddball mounts around a course composed in more-or-less equal parts of roadrace pavement and motocross dirt.
LOOKING FOR PROOF THAT IT’s difficult to overestimate the enthusiasm in Italy for sexy, exotic motorcycles that run like rifle shots? Look no farther than the Yamaha TDR Lightburner. The Lightburner is the result of a ménage á trois between Yamaha, Italian Yamaha importer Belgarda and Motori Minarelli.
DOES THE GILERA NORDWEST look to you like the best thing to come along since horsepower was invented? Bummed that you can’t buy it here in the U.S.? Well, never fear. There is an alternative. Its name is the Yamaha TDM850, and it is a motorcycle as closely related to the Nordwest as you’re going to find in America.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE FOUR MODEL YEARS make, at least if the subject is Yamaha’s offroad WR250, based on the successful YZ250 motocrosser. There are no secrets involved in converting a motocross racer into a cross-country/enduro mount, but this rather simple feat required several attempts before Yamaha’s engineers got it right with the WR250.
THE INVITATION READ innocently enough: “Please come to Nevada as a guest of the Western States Racing Association,” wrote club member Edd Price, “and participate in the 22nd annual Virginia City Grand Prix. It would be a great way to test a bike.”
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OFTEN ARE Misleading. A case in point is the new Firstgear Ranger jacket. Though the Ranger looks well-worn and possibly even crash-tested, it is, in fact, a new garment. Through a process called “dry milling,” the Ranger’s top-grain cowhide leather has intentionally been made to appear used.
I ALWAYS WANTED TO GO ROADRACING, but I never had any money. For some reason, I just assumed that, at minimum, you needed a hopped-up four-cylinder Something-or-Other and a fresh pair of $300 slicks for every race. I figured I had about as much chance of going racing as I did of being drafted by the Dodgers.
EPILOGUE: THE THRILL OF GLORY, THE SMELL OF LINIMENT
REMEMBER THE PART ABOUT THE LACK OF “CRASH-HAPPY maniacs” in Singles racing? As it turns out, there was one crash-happy maniac on the track when I returned for another round of glorious racing, and he was me. For some reason, the really fast Singles guys failed to materialize that weekend, resulting in the wide-eyed spectacle of my humble SRX running right behind the leader as we entered Turn Two after the start.
DRILLS, CHILLS, SPILLS AND THRILLS WITH THE VICTOR McLAGLEN MOTOR CORPS
EVEN WITH A WHITE-KNUCKLE GRIP AND STEADY PULL AGAINST THE safety rope, I barely maintain my balance, rocking forward as the two motorcycles supporting our six-man pyramid come to a complete stop. I sway for a moment, like the top of a tall pine in the wind, before regaining both balance and breath.
OF ALL THE FINE SOLUTIONS TO THE problem of how to haul your wallet, tire-puncture kit and other essentials when you’re aboard a streetbike, one of our favorites involves the fanny pack. We’ve used a bunch of them, and this one, the $80 Bruiser from Chase Harper (224 S. Milpas, Santa Barbara, CA 93103; 805/965-7977) is one of the best we’ve seen.
IT WAS NOT AN ESPECIALLY IMPRESsive start to a rally career. American Danny LaPorte, the 1982 250cc World Motocross Champion, crashed heavily early in the running of last year’s Paris-to-Dakar Rally, and had to be airlifted back to France with heart and lung contusions.
Okay, enough already. What’s this Australian trying to do, run away with the thing? Well, after the first four rounds of this year’s 500cc world roadracing championship, it appears that Mick Doohan is doing exactly that. The 26-year-old Rothmans Honda pilot has been undefeated so far this season, and, as of this writing, enjoys a huge lead over defending champion Wayne Rainey in the series point standings, 80 to 45.
I recently purchased a 1978 Kawasaki KZ650, and it runs so rich that it needs new sparkplugs about every 50 miles. It has air-screw type carbs fitted with what seem to be original main and idle jets. I’ve lowered the needles to the fourth of five positions, ensured that all fuel and air circuits are unclogged, and that all four cold-start enriching valves are sealing properly.