A MAGAZINE IS A FUNNY THING. PUT IN the base, bottom-line terms of business, it is a consumer product, something manufactured for sale to the general public. But a magazine’s building blocks are not nuts and bolts, or mortar and bricks. Each month blank, lifeless pages are filled with the thoughts, opinions, conjectures and criticisms of the people who put out the magazine.
YOU'D THINK WE'D HAVE THIS STUFF figured out by now. Only days before we left for Daytona, my friends Bruce Finlayson and Chris Beebe and I were still trying to decide on the best way to get our bikes down there from Wisconsin. Hard-core types, of course, had suggested we ride to Daytona.
IT IS ONE OF THE FINER IRONIES OF OUR sport’s history that while it was Honda that consciously went after the Gold Credit Card set in the late ’80s, it is Harley-Davidson that won the prize. The Harley-Davidson motorcycle is now one of the most sought-after of fashion accessories, which is why so many of that brand’s riders seen at Daytona in recent years are clad entirely in new designer clothing, with sharply-pressed creases.
David Edwards, in his April Up Front editorial, lambastes Vice President Al Gore mercilessly, comparing him to a "posy-sniffing eco-weenie padlocked to a giant Sequoia." This choice of invectives and symbologies is quite inflammatory, but to what end?
Other than wrapping yourself in a snowmobile suit, use of electric clothing is really the only sure way to stay warm and comfortable when riding in frigid weather. Eclipse (3771 E. Ellsworth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48108; 313/971-5552) has produced electric riding gear for years, and has updated its electric vest this year by adding extra Thinsulate insulation in the collar, fitting each vest with a heavier-duty cord and switch, and extending the limited warranty from one year to five. The revised vest carries a suggested retail price of $130. Eclipse also offers electric chaps, which retail for $110.
Got a Harley-Davidson and want an even lower seat? Check out Saddlemen’s new Lo-Boy saddle, a splitcushion, one-piece seat designed to fit most Harley-Davidson models. The Lo-Boy uses high-density polyurethane foam for maximum comfort, while chrome accents on the seat’s base give it a custom look. Saddlemen also offers optional matching sissybar pads. The Lo-Boy retails for $189 and is available through Saddlemen, a division of Travelcade (6325 Alondra Blvd., Paramount, CA 90723; 800/ 397-7709).
pins, signs, clocks, posters and videos
Got a serious hankering for motorcycles? Then send a dollar to Hosking Book Works (136 Hosking Lane, Accord, NY 12404; 914/626-4231) and request one of its 1993 catalogs. The all-new catalog contains over 1000 titles, which range from the history of Ariel motorcycles to a parts book for Zundapp Super Sabres. The catalog also features an enlarged gift section that offers pins, signs, clocks, posters and videos.
CR250/500 wideratio gearsets
With the proper modifications, Honda’s CR250R and CR500R motocrossers can also be great off-road, desert or trail mounts. One of the most effective mods is the installation of a wide-ratio transmission set. IMS Products, Inc. (909/781-5849 or 800/237-9906) offers machined-from-billet gearsets for 1985-1993 Honda CR250 and CR500s for $450 and $500, respectively.
Designed specifically for Evolution-engined Harleys, the Ceriani-Storz 43mm cartridge fork assembly comes complete with CNC-machined billet aluminum triple clamps, a steering stem and axle, and also features air caps for preload adjustability. The fork, available in what Storz (239 South Olive St., Ventura, CA 93001; 805/ 641-9540) calls “mid-Glide” and “wide-Glide” widths, is designed to use stock Harley front-end componentry, including wheel, fender, brake disc, caliper, headlight and handlebar. Storz says the fork is five pounds lighter than the stock unit and offers improved handling and better ride quality. The Ceriani-Storz fork retails for $1360 ($1551 for the wide-Glide model) and is available through Storz Performance.
Owners of vintage streetbikes, roadracers and motocrossers can get Ferodo brake linings in a variety of compounds thanks to Vintage Brakes (176 Bluefield Ave., Newbury Park, CA 91320; 805/498-5527). Vintage Brakes will inspect and rebuild your brake shoes, utilizing Ferodo linings, with prices starting at $50.
AS OF ABOUT SEPTEMBER, there'll be another German motorcycle marque on sale here in the U.S. Ray Campanile, national sales manager of American Jawa, says that September is the tentative start-up date for MuZ Motorcycles, which will sell machines built in Zschopau, Germany, an industrial city in the previously East German state of Saxony, just 60 miles west of Prague, Czechoslovakia.
SUZUKI AND YAMAHA are making separate bids to grab slices of the growing liter-plus retro-bike market currently being harvested by the Kawasaki ZR1100 and the Honda CB1000. The most radical move comes from Suzuki, which is preparing to launch a reborn version of its GS1000S, last seen as a new U.S. model in 1979.
A STUDY OF RECENT patents taken by Honda suggests that the Japanese engineering giant may be on the verge of something big. The Honda patents, some of which date from 1987, cover a variety of inventions that amount to a fundamental redesign of the motorcycle.
Problems with suppliers of special components have caused production of Ducati's M900 "II Monstro" muscle bike, originally slated to commence in early February, to be set back to late March. The company plans to build 3000 M900s, and because the bike uses a variety of components not common to other machines in the Ducati line, is at the mercy of the suppliers of those components.
Recognition is always nice, and the folks at BMW North America know that. They also know that BMW builds sturdy motorcycles that will, with appropriate maintenance, travel many miles. So they’ve decided to expand their recognition of people who put extraordinary mileage on Beemers.
IN THE WAKE OF A HIGHLY critical report by Britain's Department of Trade and Industry, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office has announced its intent to investigate the Norton Group. The long-awaited 240-page report was highly critical of Philippe LeRoux, the former Norton chief executive who resigned his position with the beleaguered company in 1991.
NO QUESTION ABOUT IT, the belt-driven 1907 Harley-Davidson Single for sale was a find—complete, not much faded, and as charming as a codger with a million stories to tell. “Every guy I showed that bike to just oohed and aahed about the originality of the thing,” said auctioneer Russ Moravec, who on January 30 sold the bike for $140,000—which is, according to co-auctioneer Bill Dolan, the highest price ever paid for a motorcycle at auction.
Jawa, owned by the Czechoslovakian state, continues to expand its line of streetbikes. The latest to bow is the Jawa police motorcycle, which also will be available as a sport-touring mount. Powered by the 350cc Type 640 two-stroke Twin, the bike is equipped with a full fairing removable hard bags and appropriate police lighting.
The battle for newsstand-sales supremacy is nothing new. Evidence of this is provided by the cover blurbs on this 25-year-old issue of Cycle World. The familiar tactics are all in place, in type that trumpets, among other things, “First U.S. test of Egli-Vincent.”
THE FUTURE OF LAVERDA, one of Italy's most prestigious marques, is very much in question following the collapse of The Zanini Group, which took over the company’s assets from the workers’ consortium that previously controlled the factory.
As part of a recycling project, Michael Song, a student at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, has developed what he calls an "environmentally friendly” motorcycle. One of 11 student models done as part of a project sponsored by the American Iron and Steel Institute, Song’s curvaceous proposal uses 100-percent recyclable steel.
YAMAHA'S VIRAGO 535 appeared on the cruising scene in 1987, but after three years of production and four years of availability, was discontinued. Now Yamaha, citing increased interest in cruisers, especially in Europe, has reintroduced the Virago 535.
UP: To Inline Classic Motorcycle Cards, for its portrayal of rare and historically significant motorcycles. Each trading card features a different bike, shown in full on the front of the card, with distinguishing information and a detail photo on the back.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON IS SELLing all the motorcycles it can fling together by following a single, basic dictum: Build ’em right, and build ’em different. Building ’em right, something the Motor Company has been doing for a decade now, has meant vanquishing the philosophical and manufacturing demons that nearly brought the proud old company to its knees during its ownership by American Machine and Foundry.
IT'S THE ULTIMATE CHOPPER. IS IT THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS MOTORCYCLE?
JIM LEONARD TELLS THE STORY WITH PRACTICED precision. He has told it many times before. “I was putting gas in the bike at the Monument Valley Gas Station when a big bus full of Germans screeched to a halt. A guy waving his arms ran off the bus. I guess he didn’t speak any English.
IF ANYONE UNDERSTANDS THE CONCEPT OF SPORT-TOURing, it's the folks at Bavarian Motor Works. After all, BMW practically invented the concept, offering purpose-built sport-touring machinery as far back as 1976, the year it introduced the R100RS Boxer Twin and planted the seeds of a two-wheeled category that has grown steadily since.
PERFORMANCE AND STYLE UNITE IN HONDA'S RACIEST CUSTOM EVER
DESPITE A CITY FULL OF ATTRACTIONS, THE bright-yellow motorcycle was hard to ignore. "Hey, is that a new Shadow?" barked the tourist from the crowded San Francisco cable car. A fair question, considering Honda’s all-new Magna 750 bears some resemblance to the company’s Shadow V-Twin cruiser.
EDDIE LAWSON GOES OUT IN STYLE WITH A STORYBOOK ENDING AT THE DAYTONA 200
LAST YEAR'S SENSATIONAL LASTlap Daytona result seemed impossible to improve upon, but the 1993 race topped it in every way. Had the script been written as fiction, it could not have been more crammed with drama and plot shifts. The story begins with Vance & Hines Yamaha looking for a rider to replace injured Jamie James.
IT HAS NEVER BEEN EASY FOR Jimmy Filice. They said at 5 foot 1 and 115 pounds, he was too small to manhandle a big Harley XR-750 flat-tracker. Yet he was the Camel Pro Rookie of the Year in 1981, and the record books show four national victories next to Filice’s name.
JIMMY ADAMO, A 20-YEAR VETERAN racer and Twins specialist, was killed on lap seven of the Daytona 200. As machines swung left to exit the infield at Turn Six, Adamo’s Ducati was seen to go straight at high speed, striking a line of hay bales and the concrete wall that separates this turn from Turn One.
JEFF SMITH PROBABLY PLANNED THE whole thing. Smith is executive director of AHRMA, the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association. He’s also a retired racer and a former motocross world champion. One of AHRMA’s Daytona projects, along with the usual sort of vintage racing, was the staging of BMW’s Battle of the Legends, a race to be run on stock BMW R100Rs by a select field of famous riders.
ON CHICAGO'S NORTH SIDE, A HAVEN FOR MOTORCYCLE COLLECTORS
JAMES F. QUINN
IF YOUR GARAGE IS TYPICAL, YOUR MOTORCYCLE competes for space with a lawnmower, rusty bicycles, scores of old paint cans and the family car. Your tools may each have a place on a pegboard, but more likely they are tucked into an overstuffed toolbox or hidden away in cramped workbench drawers.
THERE IS NO TOUGHER TASK IN MOTORCYCLING THAN BUILDing a good enduro bike. The very best examples are almost motocross bikes, but with tractable engines, versatile suspensions and full complements of enduro equipment. At any given event, these bikes may be required to run flat-out in top gear, then suddenly drop off in a tight, greasy woods section complete with water crossings and hillclimbs.
YOU HEAR THE MOTORCYCLE well before you see it, its four exhaust pipes emitting a raspy, staccato shriek with each upshift as it heads toward your vantage point just over the crest of the hill that forms Turn One. Seconds later, the machine explodes into view, its front wheel airborne and crossed-up, its spinning rear wheel skewing to one side.
Some of the fiercest action of Daytona Speedweek ’93 took place during supersport competition, with Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s Britt Turkington and Miguel DuHamel of the Muzzy Kawasaki team scoring impressive wins in the 750 and 600cc races.
FOR THOSE MOTORCYCLE ENTHUsiasts who regularly commute on their machines, over-the-shoulder courier bags—like those used by bicycle and motorcycle dispatch riders—are an excellent way to carry personal items. One of the best courier bags we’ve sampled is manufactured by Aerostich (8 South 18th Avenue West, Duluth, MN 55806; 800/222-1994).
My friend and I both own V-Maxes, his an ’86 and mine an ’88. We share a common problem: front-end shake between 35 and 45 mph. If we take one hand off the bars to close a shield or zip up a coat, the handlebar shake really maxes out, if you’ll excuse the pun.
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.
Despite repeated efforts, Ted was unable to get Floor Exercise With Sportster 883 accepted as a demonstration sport for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. We need your photos for Slipstream. We're looking for photos that make us smile because they say something about motorcycling.