TECHNOLOGY IS A DAMN FINE THING, no argument here. Without it to improve motorcycles, we'd all be clattering around on Herr Daimler's wooden-wheeled 1885 boneshaker, waiting for some smart so-and-so to invent things like pneumatic tires, telescopic forks and swingarm rear suspensions.
LAST WEEK, MY TRIUMPH-RIDING friend Daniel Swadener called and said he was going to a big weekend party thrown by the British Bike Cooperative, a Midwestern organization dedicated to the preservation, enjoyment and well-deserved worship of bikes from the Scepter'd Isle.
DESCRIPTIONS OF HOW CARBURETORS work tell us that fuel spraying from the needle jet is atomized by the airflow and... Wait. Stop right there. How is it atomized, and why? What makes the atomizing finer or coarser? Let's look into it.
The Kawasaki ZR1100 may indeed be the Best Standard of 1992 as Cycle World states (see "Ten Best Bikes," October, 1992), but at $6999, it is in no way a good deal. For $400 more, I could get a Honda VFR750F, another Ten Best Bikes winner, and a motorcycle CW has called probably the best all-around bike on the market.
Everyone knows that Honda's CBR900RR is a very light motorcycle. But it can be lighter yet. Two Brothers Racing (2890 Via Martens, Anaheim, CA 92806; 714/632-8820) has hand-laid fiberglass bodywork that's claimed to be 8 pounds lighter than stock. A complete three-piece set in a white gelcoat finish costs $699 directly from Two Brothers.
Riding in wet weather can be a miserable experience if you're not pre pared. For those who would rather ride than hide, Harley-Davidson offers these one-size-fits-all Rain Gaitors to help keep legs and boots dry. Meant to slip on over boots and outer clothing layers, the gaitors are made of 200-denier, urethane-coated Cordura nylon, and feature velcro-closed side openings and a utility storage pouch. The Rain Gaitors cost $25 at Harley-Davidson dealers.
If you're looking to personalize your sportbike, Sudco International (1824 E. 22nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90058; 213/747-5173) may have what you are looking for. The company's exhaust systems are dyno-tuned to work well without carburetor rejetting, while significantly increasing power, according to Sudco. Replacing the street silencer with one of Sudco's alloy or carbon-fiber competition silencers further increases power, but requires rejetting. Sudco systems are available for most popular Japanese sportbikes, with prices starting at $350. See your local dealer or contact Sudco International directly.
Helimot European Accessories (1305 Old Oakland Rd., San Jose, CA 95112; 408/298-9608) has developed its Race Brace fork braces to counteract fork flex caused by braking, cornering and road-surface irregularities. The Race Brace is made of 606l-T6 aluminum plate, with the bike's model name machined into the face. The Race Brace is currently available for late-model Japanese sportbikes, at prices ranging from $100 to $110.
Motorcycle postage stamps are not as rare as you may have imagined. M. Fineman has motorcycle stamps from nearly every country in the world. Ten dollars will get you two stamps, along with a complete list of the stamps available. To order, contact M. Fineman, P.O. Box 4323, San Leandro, CA 94579-4323; 510/889-6404.
Allredy Canopies (Box 1536, Newport Beach, CA 92659; 800/2898368) claims its lO-foot-by-lO-foot canopy can be fully set up in two minutes by one person. Features include an aluminum frame, adjustable-length legs and weighted foot pads for stability in windy conditions. The washable, fire-retardant nylon canopy, available in red or blue, has a roof-ventilation system that lets wind gusts out. The price, including leg weights, stakes and carrying bag, is $345, direct from Allredy.
HONDA'S CBR600F2 HAS been a sales and racetrack star, and now, in a bid to cash in on some of that success, Suzuki has unveiled a bike intended to topple the CBR from its throne. This new bike, recently shown in Germany to the gathered European motorcycle press, is called the RF600R and would seem to presage a new generation of Suzuki sports machinery aimed at riders who desire high performance—the RF600R's engine is said to produce 99 horsepower—with a moderate riding position.
PUNDITS EAGERLY AWAITing the all-new Honda RC50, tentatively scheduled for release at this fall's IFMA show in Cologne, were disappointed recently when Honda announced it would not formally launch its all-new RC30 replacement until late next year.
Suzuki's liquid-cooled 1993 GSX-R1100 offers, essentially, more of everything. Most importantly, claimed horsepower for the European version of the bike is a bulging 153. The last GSX-R1100 dyno-tested by CW produced 124 rear-wheel horsepower.
John Britten's V1100 has created an amazing stir of enthusiasm wherever it has been raced—so much so that Britten now is poised to offer examples of the extremely high-performance, carbon-fiber wonder for sale as streetbikes. Britten not only plans to build a batch of 10 customer replicas in his Christchurch, New Zealand, factory, but already has taken steps to get production underway in a new plant he's built just for that purpose.
THE MOST IMPORTANT news in KTN's ninebike 1993 lineup is the introduction of a 400cc mini-Thumper. No photos were available at presstime, but Cycle World has learned that the new bike is based on KTM's liquid-cooled 600 LC4, and shares most of the 600's engine parts, including its 95mm stroke.
Jawa, that fine old name in Czechoslovakian motorcycle manufacturing, has come up with an interesting new model in its continuing effort to survive. This is a sporty looking machine called the White Style, which features a full sport fairing, alloy wheels and power by Jawa's familiar Model 640 two-stroke 350cc Twin.
The world's first road test of Suzuki's all-new 500cc Twin was featured in this issue. According to the CW staff, the Suzuki 500 exploded the myth that said two-strokes had to be limited to no more than 350cc due to excessive heat and vibration.
THE STUNNING, FORKLESS GTS 1000 sport-touring bike (see page 38, this issue) certainly qualifies as Yamaha's big news for the new year, but the company has several other surprises in its '93 lineup. The YZF750SP, the long-rumored replacement for the OW01, has finally reached production, although only 15 of the high-priced bikes will be imported to the U.S.
IT'S NO SECRET THAT WINning roadrace championships will promote the sales of a sportbike. But it's just as certain that if, in winning those championships, a bike becomes too expensive, or too extreme for daily Street duty, potential buyers will tend to steer clear of it.
DOWN: To a McDonald's in Pasadena, California, for its discriminatory drive-through policy. The fast-food restaurant has a sign at the entrance to its drive-through window that reads, "For your safety, no motorcycles through drive-through, please."
"WE KNOW OUR CUSTOMERS," SAID THE Kawasaki rep, "and we know what they want. With sportbikes, it's pretty clear: They want radical styling and they want blazing straight-line performance." If he's right, Kawasaki should do quite nicely in the sportbike market in 1993.
WHAT, YOU MAY BE WONDERING, is Kawasaki's Suzuka 8-Hour racebike doing with a huge hole in the front of its fairing? Well, in effect, that hole is a simple compressor, without moving parts, whose function boosts airbox pressure and, with it, power.
YAMAHA'S SPECTACULAR NEW FRONT-SWINGARM GTS1000 will be sold in the United States next year. At its 1993-model press launch, Yamaha squashed rumors that the stunning sport-tourer would be limited to the European market. "The GTS is a very exclusive motorcycle and its buyers will be experienced riders who consider motorcycles to be very important in their lives," said a Yamaha spokesman.
THIS IS YAMAHA'S ALTERNATIVE front suspension, derived from James Parker's RADD concept and now released to the world on the 1993 GTS1000. A pair of leading arms project forward from the chassis, one above the other. At their forward ends are ball-joints, each connecting to one end of a vertical member called an upright.
WHEN YOU THINK OF THE DEvelopment of fresh suspension designs, the image of Japanese engineers hovering over CAD/CAM screens comes to mind, not that of an unassuming 46-year-old ex-road-racer from Santa Fe, New Mexico. But that latter description paints an accurate portrait of inventor James Parker, president of Rationally Advanced Design Development (RADD) and the man directly responsible for the innovative front suspension on Yamaha's new GTS1000.
MOTORCYCLISTS COME IN ALL shapes and sizes, all with our own preferences when it comes to design, colors and features in a protective riding suit. With this in mind, Z Custom Leathers (15902 Manufacture Ln., Huntington Beach, CA 92649; 714/890-5721) offers customers a multitude of options when ordering a set of leathers.
MOTORCYCLES AND THE PEOPLE RIDING them can be very difficult to see, especially at night. This problem has been addressed by Mulholland Development Company (2136 California Street, Suite 10, San Francisco, CA 94115; 415/563-9143) with the new Halo reflective helmet band.
ERECTING A SHRINE TO THE CLASSIC ITALIAN ROADBURNER
IT'S NOT SO MUCH THAT SOCIALIST layabouts like myself despise the rich as much as we despise the things they choose to do with their wealth: polo ponies, investment Ferraris that never approach redline, unintelligible art, raw fish and the eggs they lay, GQ clothing, French-cut poodles...don't get me started.
BRAKERS ARE EASY TO TAKE FOR GRANTED. We squeeze the lever and push the pedal, and we stop. End of report. But there is a difference in the quality of stopping power, a difference not dependent upon tires or traction—or the cleverness of design of your bike's brake system.
IN THE 17 YEARS THAT Cycle World has published its Ten Best Bikes list, many Ducatis have come close, but only one has made the final cut. With the current 900 Super Sport, the Italians have a winner, a blood-red sportbike that is both relatively affordable and a joy to ride.
MOTO Guzzi's 1987 Le Mans 1000 SE had its share of problems. After testing the flashy red-and-white bike more than four years ago (see CW, January, 1988), we complained about the bike's bob-and-weave fork damping, its abundant engine vibration and its heavy throttle-return springs.
STEVE McQUEEN IS GONE, BUT HIS FAVORITE OLD INDIAN REMAINS
"WE DEAL IN LEAD, FRIEND." IT WAS A line movie legend Steve McQueen delivered to Eli Wallach's bad-guy character in The Magnificent Seven, a classic western that remains one of McQueen's best-remembered films. The line was a summation of McQueen's gunslinger persona in that film.
Wayne Rainey takes his third GP championship in a brutal title chase.
WHEN WAYNE RAINEY won his first 500cc World Championship in 1990, he thanked team boss Kenny Roberts—the man Who'd given Rainey his GP start—with a gold Rolex watch. When he repeated as champ the following year, he showed his gratitude in part by backing Otsuka Electronics Racing, an AMA 250 team designed to vault Roberts' son, Kenny Jr., into roadracing's big time.
Freddie Spencer moved a step closer to completing his grand prix comeback when he tested an HRC Rothmans NSR500 on the GP track in Kyalami, South Africa. It is no secret that Spencer longs to be racing at the GP level once again. He has been competing in the AMA Superbike series on an outpowered Honda RC30, winning the 1991 season-ending race at Miami and the first Texas World round this season.
My 1990 Harley FXRS sat in my father's garage for nearly nine months while I was over in the Middle East. When I returned, I found that the battery wouldn't take a charge and I had to replace it. The problem I have now is that the engine won't run at idle.
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.