IF YOU’RE A BIG FAN OF THE INTERNAL-combustion engine, the words land like a Riddick Bowe body punch. The author proclaims that the automobile's "cumulative impact on the global environment is posing a mortal threat to the security of every nation that is more deadly than that of any military enemy we are ever again likely to confront." The statement was penned not by some posy-sniffing eco-weenie padlocked to a giant Sequoia, but by none other than Albert Gore Jr., recently sworn in as the 45th vice president of these United States, the man who is but a massive coronary away from being the most powerful individual in the world.
BOB DYLAN SEEMS TO HAVE WRITTEN A song for every nuance of emotion at one time or another in his long career, and the one I borrowed for the title of this column always seems fitting for the winter non-riding season. Great opening verse: Clouds so swift/Rain won't lift/Gate won’t close/Railings froze/Get your mind off wintertime/You ain’t goin’ nowhere.
MOTORCYCLE ENGINES, HAPPILY, ARE in a constant state of evolution. Take the lowly valve spring, for example. Early camshaft designers asked metal to do things it was incapable of, as "square" lift profiles impacted against tappets at steel-shattering rates of acceleration.
I am writing in regards to your February article on the Yamaha GTS-1000. First of all, let’s consider the person who wrote the article, Tom Isitt. This man writes books on Harley-Davidsons and 17th-century English medicine, and suddenly he is an authority on high-technology motorcycles?
In need of a custom-painted helmet? Gerard Design can help. It carries a complete line of AGV, Arai, Shoei, Simpson and Bell helmets priced comparably to those from mail-order houses. Gerard (7103 Owensmouth, unit-B, Canoga Park, CA 91303; 818/703-6589) can paint the helmet to your specifications, or you can choose to let one of the company’s artists use his imagination. Gerard also repaints used helmets, if you don’t want to part with your old skidlid. Painting prices start at $150.
Sport 2000 radial tires
Continental’s radial performance tire, the Sport 2000, is Z-rated and claims to offer precise steering and excellent feedback. Initial availability will be limited, says Continental (41 Strong Street, Wellington, NJ 07057; 201/471-8890), to three front and three rear sizes for popular high-performance sportbikes. For additional information and prices, contact your local motorcycle dealer.
Adjustable Shock System
Works Performance’s Adjustable Shock System—two custom-made shocks and a remote hydraulic adjuster—allows owners of late-model Harley Softails to easily and quickly alter their motorcycle’s ride height by as much as 2 inches with a twist of the remote adjuster’s knob. American-made of aircraft-quality materials, the rebuildable system retails for $700 from motorcycle dealers or directly from Works Performance (8730 Shirley Avenue, Northridge, CA 91324; 818/701-1010).
Cycle World reprints
Reprints of original Cycle World road tests are available from Whitehorse Press. Each softbound, 80-page book includes all of the articles written about a particular marque during a specific period. Motorcycles covered in the series include BMW, BSA, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Norton, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha. The price for each guide is $11 plus shipping, from Whitehorse Press, 154 West Brookline Street, Boston, MA 02118, or phone 800/531-1133.
Alpha road-racing suit
The flagship of Fieldsheer (485 E. 17th, Suite 400, Costa Mesa, CA 92627; 800/726-2065), the Alpha roadrace suit is made of top-grade leather and features Kevlar Keprotec, a combination of Kevlar, cordura nylon and elastic, inside the arms, thighs and behind the knees for improved comfort and strength. Leathertaped, three-way stitching is used throughout, and foam faced with plastic armor is fitted at the shoulders, elbows, forearms, hips, knees and shins. The Alpha suit is available from motorcycle dealers in all sizes and in four color combinations for $1000.
Designer Tank and Seat Skins
If it’s time to make your sportbike look a bit different from your buddies’ bikes, give Second Look (P.O. Box 661721, Sacramento, CA 95866; 916/920-8113) a call. The company makes multi-colored naugahide seat covers and fleece-backed vinyl tank covers that compliment stock colors and designs. The price for either a seat cover or a tank cover is $70.
SPORTBIKES NEARLY have become passé in Japan. Now, everything is coming up standards, with three of the Big Four motorcycle manufacturers offering such equipment. And now Yamaha is set to enter the burgeoning retro-standard class with a motorcycle called the XJR400R, producing it in a chassis size that should make it easy to upgrade the bike into a 600- or 750-class machine.
Bimota continues to make progress with its revolutionary grand-prix-style Tesi 500, which will use Bimota-developed fuel injection to feed a two-stroke engine that burns straight gasoline and relies on traditional four-stroke-style bottom-end lubrication.
AMERICAN RIDERS HAVE been denied the pleasure of two-stroke streetbikes for nearly a decade, but in Japan, small-bore two-strokes are hot stuff. And one of the hottest of them is Suzuki’s RG125 Wolf. Aimed at entry-level enthusiasts, this little cutie uses a steel perimeter chassis and box-section swingarm, and is fitted with a conventional fork, link-type rear suspension, clip-on bars and disc brakes.
WITH THE PRESS INTROduction of the all-new R259-powered BMW R1100RS set for late January, advertisements showing only the engine of the new bike began showing up in the January editions of the European motorcycle press. But In Moto, an Italian publication in which one of those ads ran, went BMW one better.
CLASS Motorcycle Safety Schools is offering a two-day riding seminar at Austria’s Salzburgring as part of Edelweiss Bike Travel’s upcoming 12-day tour of the Swiss Alps. Price for the trip, which is scheduled for early August, is approximately $4700 per person.
IT WAS A LONG TIME COMing, but KTM’s LC4 600 four-stroke finally gets a major mechanical overhaul for ’93, and a stablemate in the form of the LC4 400. The new 400—like the 600, a four-valve, sohc design—has been competing in prototype form for more than a year, gathering class trophies at numerous European enduro races.
Gilera, once a power to be reckoned with in world markets and on world racetracks, is on the verge of introducing a new line of motorcycles that the Italian company hopes will return it to its former prominence. The new line will be powered by V-Twin engines of about 1000cc, and will include sport, touring and even custom models.
The cover of this magazine gave us an up-close-and-personal look at a new Harley Sportster, which was tested inside. Cover blurbs ballyhooed a test of Bultaco’s new 360cc Bandito two-stroke off-road racer and an interview with car racer and motorcycle enthusiast Dan Gurney.
WHILE HARLEY-Davidson continues to struggle to develop an engine for its long-overdue VR1000 race-bike, a British-Swedish alliance has produced a machine that may be the best-handling Harley of all time. The bike is called the Claymore H-D, and is the product of Claymore Racing, which is based in Upsalla, Sweden.
DO YOU JUST HAPPEN TO have a much loved but considerably frayed old Kawasaki Z-bike stuck away in the back of your garage? Would you get it out and ride it if it just wasn’t so, well, shabby? If your answer to these questions is yes, a British firm called Specials has good news for you.
CHANGE COMES SLOWLY at Harley-Davidson—for good reason. In the past decade, America’s sole remaining motorcycle manufacturer has become a bona fide success story by giving its customers just what they want: meaty, all-metal motorcycles with made-in-the-USA styling, powered by whacking great V-Twin motors.
UP: To Inside Motocross magazine, for its captivating look at motocross racing. The large-format, high-gloss quarterly is edited by journalist/photographer Fran Kuhn and is filled with stunning photography and a variety of entertaining, well-written features.
HONDA CBR1000F vs. KAWASAKI ZX-11 vs. SUZUKI KATANA 1100 vs. YAMAHA FJ1200
WE PRESENT PROOF HERE THAT THE THEORY of Evolution works, at least when applied to motorcycles. If he were around today, old Charlie Darwin, who in 1859 published an abstract suggesting that current life forms evolved from older life forms, could study these Openclass sportbikes and their predecessors, and recognize his theory at work.
SUPERCHARGED, FUEL INJECTED AND IRREPLACEABLE, WITH MORE HORSEPOWER THAN A ZX-11
Jon F. Thompson
SUPERBIKES ARE NOT SUBTLE. THIS ONE certainly is not. It exists because its owner, Fresno, California-based collector Paul Watts, asked a highly skilled and respected German engineer to build, with no regard to cost, the ultimate motorcycle.
BRAKE! YOU GET ON THE BINDERS FOR AN EMERGENCY stop. Fortune favors the experienced rider, who instinctively and from long practice balances his braking effort correctly between front and rear brakes, according to the load each wheel is carrying, and gauged to available traction.
TWENTY YEARS AGO, KAWASAKI DROPPED A BOMB CALLED THE Z-1
Z ONE AND ONLY
THF Z IN ANGER, PART 1
1981 KZ1000 CSR
1982 KZ1000R1 ELR
FALL FROM GRACE
RETURN TO POWER
THE Z IN ANGER, PART 2
ALWAYS A TRETT
1983 SPECTRE 1100
1984 NINJA 900
1985 ELIMINATOR 900
THE ULTIMATE Z-1?
BY NOW, EVERYBODY WHO cares knows that Honda built the first modern Four, and certainly the 1969 CB750 has earned its place in motorcycle history. But Kawasaki’s Z-1, introduced in 1973, was different. Call it the first modern superbike.
MANY ANTI-FOG PRODUCTS offer some relief from faceshield fogging, but none that we’ve tested remain consistently effective for more than a few rides. Modern World Ventures (300 Brannan Street, #502, San Francisco, CA 94107; 415/546-0506) claims that its Fog City Fog Shield will, if properly installed and maintained, prevent fogging in virtually all temperature and humidity conditions, in addition to lasting the normal life of the faceshield.
TUBELESS TIRES HAVE LESSENED THE need for tire repair, but dirtbike riders and owners of older streetbikes can still find themselves with a flat easily enough. Fixing a puncture on the trail or by the side of a road is never easy. But this unpleasant task can be less distasteful if you have a really good set of tire irons along.
ONE OF THE FACTORS THAT lessens a rider’s confidence in his brakes is a soft, mushy-feeling brake lever. Movement of the brake lever activates a hydraulic piston in the bike’s master cylinder to pressurize brake fluid that ultimately pushes the brake pads against the rotors.
HONDA CBR900RR vs. SUZUKI GSX-R1100 vs. YAMAHA FZR1000
HORSEPOWER and handling. They are the cornerstones of sport motorcycling. Take a look at today’s sportbikes and you’ll find plenty of each. The power-packed ZX-11 and the slick-handling 600cc middleweights are perfect examples. But if you’re after the Maximum Sportbike, one that combines big-league horsepower and a high level of handling, you want an Open-class superbike.
SIX YEARS AFTER ITS INTRODUCTION, SUZUKI’S AGED but capable 600 Katana is being retired. Though the Katana will remain in Suzuki’s European lineup in 1993, it will be joined by an all-new 600-class machine, a model designed to eventually replace the Katana as Suzuki’s all-around middleweight sportbike when that popular model is finally laid to rest, probably in 1994.
HANDICAPPED MOTORCYCLISTS FIND A WAY TO KEEP ON RIDING
AT FIRST, SEEING THESE PEOPLE enjoying their motorcycles stretches our credulity. This can’t be right. These people are handicapped—some of them by accident, some of them by the cruelty and caprice of life itself. We may not express sympathy, but we damned sure feel it.
EVERYONE REMEMBERS DAVID BAILEY THE motocross superstar. But almost nobody remembers that day in January of 1987 when a mistake in practice cost him his career. At the time, Bailey was at the top of his game. He had already won every major U.S.
KAWASAKI’S NEW KLX650 is further proof that dual-purpose bikes are headed in the right direction after years of floundering. The KLX, decked out in black paint and wild, colorful graphics, marks an end to Kawasaki's flirtation with street-oriented, rally-style bikes such as the discontinued Tengai model and the current KLR650.
BUILDING A DUAL-PURPOSE motorcycle is a study in the art of compromise. How street-oriented, how dirt capable, do you make it? Until recently, the answer from all the manufacturers was to bias design heavily towards road riding in an attempt to attract buyers to the dwindling dual-purpose segment of the market.
THERE ARE THOSE WHO CONtend that dinosaurs are extinct, but that isn't quite true. Jeff Smith, Don Rickman, Roger DeCoster, John DeSoto and Brad Lackey are alive and well, and still kicking up dirt. These five helped invent motocross racing, which began as a clubby, low-pressure, amateur form of rivalry known as scrambles.
RICK DOUGHTY KNEW HE HAD MADE A MIStake. He’d just spent $3000 for a ratty motor, a broken frame, a swingarm and a rear wheel. To most people this accumulation would look like an expensive pile of junk, and even Doughty, owner of a restoration shop, began to question his own judgment.
THE ATLANTIC OCEAN ISN’T THE ONLY THING THAT SEParates Americans from Europeans. A vast gulf of attitudes, values and philosophies also separate us—not only as peoples, but also as motorcycle enthusiasts. American riders tend to be a practical lot.
A MOTORCYCLING VISIONARY PERSISTS WITH HIS NOTION OF FUTURE BIKE
THERE ISN'T A LOT OF UNITY IN EUROPE THESE days, but one thing most European motorcycle designers agree on is this: There’s a future in alternative front suspensions. That’s certainly the view of Nico Bakker, as evidenced by the QCS Mk.II, fresh from his Dutch workshop.
DOES AN ARTIST’S ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE HIS ARTISTIC vision? Painter Claude Monet, famous for impressionistic views of his garden, probably would say it does. So would Thierry Henriette, proprietor for the last 14 years of the Boxer Bike Evolution workshop in Toulouse, in southwestern France.
IT’S A COLD DAY IN HELL WHEN THE motorcycling press and public are treated to an insight into the conception and gestation of a new model from Japan. You might expect that a new bike is the result of extensive market research, and therefore constitutes a distilled response to the collective call from the world market.
HONDA TAKES THE WRAPS OFF ANOTHER EARLY-RELEASE 1994 MODEL
LIKE MOST MOTORCYCLE MANUFACturers in the late 1980s, Honda floundered in the U.S. market. A host of economic and social factors contributed to the weakening of the company’s once-dominant sales position, though Honda brought some of the problems upon itself by largely turning its back on motorcycling’s core enthusiast group, a destructive move that cost the company a ton of market share, credibility and profit.
World Superbike Champion Doug Polen returns to America to take care of unfinished business
IMAGINE, FOR A MOMENT, THAT YOU’RE A PROFESsional roadracer, and a good one. In fact, you’re one of the world’s best. In the last two seasons, you’ve done what few men in the history of motorcycle racing have accomplished: win back-to-back world roadracing championships.
With spring approaching and the silly season behind us, the Big Four’s motocross teams are set for another championship chase. Reigning supercross and 250cc national champ Jeff Stanton is back with Honda, and, like last year, will contest three classes: supercross, and both the 250cc and 500cc outdoor national series.
In the interest of upgrading my Honda 1100’s braking system, I am looking for a company that drills front-brake rotors. Any suggestions? Tyrone Mondesir Brooklyn, New York Properly done, drilled brake rotors have two advantages: They are a little lighter and they are resistant to galling.
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.