DEAR WILLIE, AT THE RISK OF BEING the guy who pointed out that the emperor had no clothes, I’d like to offer a few suggestions about improving Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Yeah, I know you’ve been doing pretty well over there at the Motor Company the past few years without my help.
A FEW MONTHS BACK, I WROTE A COLumn about Italian motorcycles, suggesting that their owners might also be vulnerable to the charms of Italian bicycles, and, in fact, have them hanging on their apartment walls. Amazingly, I got half a dozen letters from readers who accused me of window-peeping and said, in effect, “How did you know I had a Colnago 14-speed hanging over the fireplace?"
LIQUID FUEL SPRAYS FROM THE CARBUretor’s needle jet, shooting upward at right angles to the intake air flow, moving at hundreds of feet per second towards the intake valves. The spray is a mixture of streaming fuel and droplets of all sizes.
September’s “Memories of Mike the Bike" by Pete Lyons was great. I hope to see more like it. I've been reading about Mike Hailwood for years, but never knew the details. Also, the lead illustration by Hector Luis Bergandi is one of the nicest I have seen in any motorcycle magazine.
WITH HINTS THAT THE best is yet to come, Kawasaki has announced its early-release 1993 motorcycles. Leading the minimally changed models is the big, black ZX-11, voted Best Open Streetbike in Cycle World’s 1992 Ten Best Bikes balloting, priced at $8499.
Best color for a motorcycle? Red. It wins hands-down. But white? Now, white might just he a close second. And that's the color Honda has cloaked the U.S.-market VFR750 in for 1993. You all remember the VFR, Cycle World's favorite 750-class bike and winner of three Best Bikes of the Year medallions.
IT SEEMS THAT YAMAHA IS poised to break ground with two new motorcycles, both likely to be shown at the IFMA Motorcycle Show in Cologne, Germany. The first is the OW02, the company’s long-awaited reentry into the 750cc sportbike market.
NOW THAT LAVERDA IS cranking out its 650 sportbike Twin (see Cycle World, October, 1992), Laverda has turned its attention to building 50-count 'em 50-replicas of its famed 1979 V-Six endurance racer. So far, 20 of the hand-crafted machines have been spoken for, with heavy deposits against the purchase price of about $70,000 doing the talking.
For the average motorcyclist considering the purchase of a used machine, finding information on a particular model can be a hassle. Ian Smith Information (P.O. Box 5893, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413; 818/771-5459) knows this, and is offering its Used Bike Buyer’s Guides to help the discerning buyer make an informed decision about the purchase of any bike manufactured since 1985.
SOMETIMES THERE'S just no accounting for the wacky crazes that sweep across Europe. This one, however, might just make a little sense. It’s called Mini-Moto, and it involves tiny, 38cc, motorcycle-like rocketships painted to look like World Superbike or 500cc GP contenders.
Honda chose this year's running of the British Grand Prix at Donington Park as the opportunity to introduce its 1993 RS250R production racer. According to Honda, the new RS250R is a replica of the works NSR250 that this year carried Luca Cadalora to his second successive 250cc world championship.
Tests of two new motorcycles, interesting for their diversity were featured in this edition of Cycle World. The bikes were the Triumph 650 Saint and Bultaco's Metralla Mk2. The Saint was being introduced to the U.S. market as a new model—although the bike had been around for a number of years serving primarily as a police bike in other countries.
LAST YEAR WAS A WONDERful year for Husqvarna. So good, in fact, that '92 Husky dirtbikes were snapped up by eager buyers soon after they arrived on these shores, leaving Husky dealers with empty showrooms and lots of potential buyers wanting.
HONDA’S CB1000 SUPER Four, otherwise known as Project Big One, made a surprise appearance at the Suzuka 8-Hour roadrace in Japan, where several were used by track marshals. As reported previously in Cycle World, the standard-style Super Four is powered by a liquid-cooled, dohc, 16-valve inline-Four sourced from the CBR1000F, though this probably is detuned from that sportbike's claimed 130 horsepower.
BACK IN THE GOOD OLDE Days, former Triumph engineer and drag-racer Norman Hyde used a Triumph Trident as the basis for a hotrod he called the Hyde Harrier. And now that Triumph's Trident has been reborn as a modern motorcycle, so has the Hyde hot-rod.
DOWN: To Connecticut State Trooper Arthur V. Limouze, for allegedly shooting at two unarmed motorcyclists. According to a report published in the New York Times, the 49-year-old Limouze, upset by the noise generated by the motorcycles, fired several rifle shots at the men, wounding one in the leg.
THREE LIQUID-COOLED GSX-Rs AND A REWORKED RM250 LEAD THE WAY
HOT ON THE HEELS OF WHAT SUZUKI CALLS a "successful and profitable" year in 1992, the company rolls into '93 with redesigned sportbikes and an updated dirtbike line. Headlining Suzuki’s ’93 lineup are a pair of all-new liquid-cooled sportbikes-the GSX-R750 (see test, Cycle World, September, 1992) and GSX-R1100.
EXCUSE US, BUT WE'RE CONFUSED. When Suzuki introduced its Bandit 400 two years ago, it captured our hearts. We said that the lovable little screamer looked “like a cross between an MV Agusta and a Ducati," and explained its stylishness by saying, tongue-in-cheek, that "an Italian designer was let loose in the Suzuki factory."
JUST HOW GOOD IS THE NEW LIQUID-cooled Suzuki GSX-R750? To answer that question, we flew to Shannonville Raceway Park, located in Ontario, Canada-the venue of our recent test of a Canadian-spec liquid-cooled GSX-R750 (see Cycle World, September, 1992).
THE HYMN OF THE HARLEY IS A tough one to miss. The score calls for four-part harmony, and its text praises Harley Style, Harley Tradition and Harley Reliability. That, at least, seems to be the popular view, and actually spending time aboard a Harley-Davidson-one like this FLHTCU Anniversary model, for instance-does little to diminish those expectations.
MOTORCYCLING IN THE 1990S can be expensive, no getting around it. Today’s sportbikes, with their high levels of technology and refinement, are especially prone to stratospheric pricing, a fact that leaves many potential customers-most of them between 18 and 25 years of age-out in the cold.
GARY NIXON NEVER RETIRED, AND HE'S NOT FADING AWAY
I TURNED THE CORNER AT THE END OF THE GARAGE AND there was Gary Nixon, in a lawnchair as always, surrounded by bikes and activity. Nixon is 51 years old and looks entirely himself-no thicker or thinner than in his factory racer days, his hair and deeply creased face as distinctive as ever.
RIDING THREE AMERICAN CRUISE MISSILES THROUGH THE MOTHER LODE
FXLR LOW RIDER CUSTOM
THE IDEA SEEMED SIMPLE ENOUGH: CRUISE A KAWASAKI VULCAN 88, A Honda Shadow 1100 and a Harley-Davidson Low Rider through the historic Mother Lode, the golden countryside that gave the Golden State its nickname. Use the trip to find the bike that best fills the sometimes-subtle needs that are so specific to cruising.
IT'S TEMPTING TO turn up your nose at cruisers, to dismiss them as more style than substance, as baubles for riders who care more about presence than performance. Don't do it. There's something happening here that makes these bikes a surprising force in today's motorcycle marketplace.
BIGGER IS NOT NECESSARily better. Especially when the subject under discussion is the displacement of single-cylinder two-stroke dirtbike engines. An expert-ranked desert rider racing in the Open class, for example, might feel that a 500cc two-stroke Single is the ultimate off-road weapon, but a rider of average ability trying to maneuver through mud, over rocks and between trees is likely to go a lot faster-and have more fun in the process-aboard an Open two-stroke that doesn’t crank out 60 horsepower.
AUSTRALIANS WIN, AMERICANS SHOW SPEED AT JAPAN'S GREATEST ROADRACE
500cc GP turnaround for Rainey
U.S. roadracing roundup
Camel Pro Series tightens
Stanton bags 250cc national title
BACK IN 1985, KING KENNY Roberts came out of retirement to contest the Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race. Less than 30 minutes from the end of that marathon event, the Yamaha FZR750 ridden by Roberts and Japanese teammate Tadahiko Taira expired, effectively handing the win to a determined young Aussie named Wayne Gardner.
THERE IS, HIDDEN AWAY IN THE ANNALS of comic-strip history, a “Peanuts” in which Snoopy, masquerading as Joe Motocross, extols the virtues of new riding gear. “You seem very confident. Is it because you have a new bike or is it something else?” asks Charlie Brown.
I own a 1988 Honda Magna with 10,500 miles on it. I am considering upgrading the front suspension (new springs, heavier oil and longer preload spacers) and the front brake (better pads, steel lines, maybe even another disc). What products have you had good luck with in these upgrades?