IT WAS AN AMBUSH OF PEARL HARBOR proportions. Throughout the '60s, '70s and early '80s, the motorcycle industry in America went from success to success, selling an ever-increasing number of bikes to an eager buying public. By 1984, $2 billion a year was being rung up through the sales of some 680,000 new motorcycles.
THOSE READERS WITH BALANCED DIETS and a tendency toward good clean living who haven’t killed off too many of their memory cells with a better brand of dark single-malt Scotch, such as Laphroaig or Lagavulin, may recall a column I wrote two years ago about my old BMW R100RS. No?
YEARS AGO, IT WAS CONSIDERED ESSENtial in any performance modification to rip off the airbox, filter(s) and intake-silencing gear, and then run either the bare carburetors or carbs adorned with “sock-type” individual filters. There was some basis for this prejudice, in that certain models were truly strangled by their airbox systems.
Your recent criticism of Britain’s Performance Bikes magazine in the “UPS & DOWNS” column of the December issue was unfair. It appears that in your opinion, motorcycle magazines should not display irresponsible behavior such as that shown by PB's kilt-clad, helmetless rider.
Barnett’s Dirt Digger clutch kits are now available for most MX and off-road bikes. Claimed to eliminate clutch drag and chatter, the $75 Dirt Digger kits include Kevlar friction plates, steel drive plates and new compression springs. Barnett (9920 Freeman Ave., Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670; 310/941-1284) can provide additional information, or see your local motorcycle dealer.
Most riders never even consider setting the camshaft timing on their motorcycle unless they are installing a different camshaft. And that’s too bad, because there could be a few more horses available with the cam timing spot-on. Dale Walker’s Holeshot Performance Products (311 Chestnut St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060; 408/427-3625) has a kit that takes the mystery out of setting camshaft timing. The kit includes a 1-inch dial indicator, an extension, a magnetic base, a degree wheel and three sizes of positive stops. A video shows every step of the procedure for those who are inexperienced. Packaged in a foam-lined, hard-plastic storage case, the kit sells for $239 at dealers or directly from Holeshot Performance Products.
For owners of Harley Dyna Glidechassied bikes who want more glide in their ride, Progressive Suspension makes its new 4000 Series gascharged shock absorbers. These $220 shocks feature chromed springs and covers, velocity sensitive, six-stage automatic valving and a custom appearance, in standard or 1-inch-shorter lengths. Progressive shocks are available at local dealers or contact Progressive Suspension, 11129 G. Avenue, Hesperia, CA 92345; 619/948-4012.
Making repairs, whether roadside or trailside, is much easier with an organized set of tools. Rev-Pack (P.O. Box 175, New Cuyama, CA 93254; 805/766-2454) can’t supply the tools, but can help with organization. Rev-Pack’s $20 Tool Pack features one large, deep pocket designed to hold a shop rag or owner’s manual; eight narrow pockets for holding wrenches, a socket set, screwdrivers, etc.; and four shallow pockets that are perfect for sparkplugs and other small items. The Tool Pack is available in an assortment of colors directly from Rev-Pack.
Customizing your helmet without breaking the bank is simple, as long as you like flames. Corbin’s Outlaw Graphics vinyl-tape helmet kit will adequately flame-cover a full-face helmet in any of eight color choices. The $20 Outlaw Graphics kits are available directly from Corbin (11445 Commercial Parkway, Castroville, CA 95012; 800/538-7035) or from dealerships and accessory shops that carry Corbin products.
Pro Option Needle Jetting Kit
Mikuni's TMS-38 two-stroke carburetor is a simple design that eliminates the need for a pilot jet. But it can be simpler yet. Installing the Pro Option Needle Jetting Kit eliminates the need for a main jet. Five needles are supplied in the kit. More precise fuel metering, quicker throttle response and easier engine tuning are the claimed results. The kit sells for $30 at motorcycle and accessory dealers. For more information, contact Mikuni American Corporation, 8910 Mikuni Avenue, Northridge, CA 91324-3496
TRIUMPH CELEBRATED THE third anniversary of its rebirth in appropriate fashion. It chose the Birmingham Motorcycle Show to debut its new 147-horsepower Daytona 1200 sportbike. The machine, billed as Triumph’s “ultimate expression of road sports,” is based on the same tubular/backbone frame as the rest of the line, and on the same modular engine design.
THE IDEA OF ANY NEW model from MZ, of what used to be East Germany, seems pretty farfetched. The idea that any new MZ could be a star of an international motorcycle show is even farther fetched, rather like a Fiat outshining a Ferrari. Yet that is precisely what happened at England’s Birmingham Show.
Ducati is having the sort of trouble other manufacturers wish they had: It is unable to match the demand for its machines. The company’s Bologna, Italy, factory is scheduled to build 14,800 machines in 1993. Of that number, 3000 will be M900 “Monstros,” increased from an initial schedule of 1000 because of interest in the VTwin musclebike.
ELEVEN MODELS HIGHLIGHT BMW's 1993 lineup, topped by the K1100RS and the K1100LT, both using enlarged and improved versions of the company’s laydown Four. The K1 sportbike, using the old-style K100 motor, rounds out BMW’s four-cylinder assortment, all of which are equipped with BMW’s Paralever single-sided swingarm and ABS. ABS also is standard on all three K75s this year.
In a surprising turn-around that is bound to have American roadrace fans smiling, officials at California's Laguna Seca Raceway announced that there will be a USGP in 1993. Last year, Laguna Seca was unable to conclude an arrangement with grand prix major domo Bernie Ecclestone, who demanded $1 million from each track the GP circus visited.
JAWA, A NAME THAT ONCE was familiar to American motorcyclists, continues to dig itself out of Eastern Europe’s economic disaster. The Czech company has at last cranked up production of the Jawa 350, a rather ordinary runabout that uses an aircooled, two-stroke Twin from an engine family that has been in production for at least 20 years.
DREAM OF SPENDING some time schussing a motorcycle through the Alps, maybe capped off by catching a GP roadrace? We do too, and we've done something about it. In conjunction with Edelweiss Bike Travel, Cycle World is sponsoring the Alps Grand Prix Tour, scheduled for May 9 through May 17.
This was not the best of years for Americans. Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King both were shot to death: the U.S. Navy’s intelligence ship Pueblo was captured by North Korea and its crew imprisoned: and campuses everywhere reverberated with loud music and the sounds of student unrest.
NORTON, BRITAIN'S OLDest manufacturer of motorcycles, continues to teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, buoyed only by cash injections from the banks who control the company's paper and who are trying to find a way to revitalize the firm.
That a proper sport-touring bike has to have hard saddlebags is a fairly well-established tenet. Yamaha knows that, and plans to offer Germanmade Krauser hard luggage specially refined to work on the new RADD-equipped GTS1000. It will look like this.
UP: To roadracer Nancy Delgado, for doing her part to improve the image of motorcycling. Delgado, who contests the AMA Twin Sports series, was featured in a recent edition of USA Today. "A lot of guys work hard (at racing), but that’s not enough.
OH, YAWN. ANOTHER "new" VFR750, just like last year's, which was just like the one offered the previous year, which was just like the one offered the year before that. Sure, this one is white, last year’s was black, and previous versions were red—with gold wheels one year and white ones another.
IF YOU'RE IN THE MARKET FOR A NEW SPORTBIKE, we've got good news. With surprisingly few exceptions, the level of performance and reliability offered by today's crop of sporting machines is unmatched in motorcycle history. If the sportbike you just gotta have happens to be a 750cc repli-racer, then you’re really in luck, because three manufactures have stacked the deck with all-new or nearly new offerings for 1993.
AS IMPRESSIVE AS YAMAHA'S AMA SUPERBIKE credentials are, the company inexplicably has not offered a street-legal 750 for sale in the U.S. since the FZ750 of 1988, five long model years ago. That could change in 1994 with the anticipated U.S.
PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE IS NOT necessarily an evil thing. Take Kawasaki's ZX-7 series, for instance. Sure, the 1993 model you’ve just read about is a wonderful piece, obviously better than the 1990-’92 versions, but with a few well-chosen upgrades those models are still desirable.
RUMORS WERE DRIFTING like smoke in the late 1970s, blown by the winds of desire: A street-legal XR-750 flat-tracker was coming from Harley-Davidson. To enthusiasts, the idea seemed a natural. The alloy XR had proven itself in the rigors of racing, and since the tooling and many of the hard parts needed for the conversion already existed, producing a street XR-750 should be just a matter of fabricating enough brackets and running enough wires to accommodate a horn, a headlight, a taillight and other street necessities.
THE POOR RECEPTION OF HARLEY-Davidson's 1983 XR-1000 may have erased the prospect of a factory XR-750 roadbike, but that doesn't mean alternatives aren’t available. Bill Bartels, owner of Bartels’ Harley-Davidson (4141 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey, CA 90292; 310/823-1112), has fashioned his own street-going version of Harley’s championship-winning dirt-track bike, a machine he calls the XLR1200, and he has copies for sale.
I CAN'T PINPOINT THE EXACT MOMENT I fell in love with flat-track racing. Perhaps it was the amateur contests my dad took me to when I was a kid. Perhaps it was devouring the exploits of Nixon, Mann, Romero, et al on the pages of a monthly magazine.
YAMAHA'S FORKLESS WONDER TAKES ON THE KING OF SPORT-TOURING
IS HAVING TUE TECHNOLOGICAL CAPACITY TO DO SOMEthing sufficient reason for doing it? Mostly, the answer is yes. The result is better communication, better transportation, better medical care. Also, more expensive communication, more expensive transportation, more expensive medical care.
A DIRT THUMPER FROM THE SAME FOLKS WHO BROUGHT YOU THE ZX-11
INTEREST IN KAWASAKI'S NEW-FOR-'93 KLX650R, the first big-bore four-stroke dirtbike from Kawasaki, has been enormous. Would it be good enough to challenge Honda's popular XR600, and maybe even go toe-to-toe with the Husqvarna 610 for King of the Thumpers honors?
IF A BIG-BORE OFF-ROAD THUMPER seems out of character for Kawasaki, consider that in 1967, Norton, builder of the ultimate British road-burners, stunned the U.S. market by unleashing a 750cc dirtbike. Called the P11, it was a minimally street-legal Twin developed by Norton’s West Coast distributor, ZDS Motors, for desert racing and trail riding.
ONE OF A COLLECTIBLE motorcycle’s worst enemies is dust, which can work its way into a stored machine’s nooks and crannies and cause havoc when it comes time to polish the thing for a Sunday-morning ride or a classic-bike concours. Steve Storz of Storz Performance (239 S. Olive St., Ventura, CA 93001; 805/641-9540) owns a classic bike or two, and is well aware of the problem.
RIDE LONG ENOUGH AND YOU’LL EVENtually dent an exhaust pipe or muffler. A dented exhaust not only looks bad, it can drastically effect horsepower. Additionally, the cost of replacement exhaust parts can be outrageously high. Not to worry.
Four years after Terry Vance's retirement, Byron Hines rediscovers the thrill of drag racing—from the saddle of an FJ1200 Pro-Stocker.
ON A COOL, FALL EVENING in September, 1992, at the NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals in Topeka, Kansas, a historic—some would say shocking—event took place. After advancing to the final round of Pro-Stock competition, Byron Hines—one-half of motorcycle drag racing’s most successful duo—paddled his racebike to the staging area, heated its Goodyear slick with a violent burnout, inched toward the line and, as the lights flashed yellow, yellow, green, launched himself into the darkness with a howl that could be heard for miles.
Despite reports to the contrary, Freddie Spencer’s deal to ride a Frenchbacked Yamaha during the 1993 500cc grand prix season is 100 percent secure. Reportedly, Fast Freddie’s deal with the Christian Sarron-managed team was contingent upon securing a main sponsor for the season, but a source close to Spencer informs us that the French government has guaranteed the team’s backing for 1993, and that a sponsor—perhaps a French TV network—will be found.
My Honda CBR900RR is a great bike and has plenty of power, but I’d like to change the pipe and maybe the air cleaner to “open 'er up” a little. A friend tells me that I shouldn’t do this because the new pipe will mess up the tuning of the carbs. Is this so?
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.