IT’S NOT A DISCOVERY THAT RANKS UP there with unearthing King Tut’s burial chamber or finding the R.M.S. Titanic's final resting spot, but while researching his stories for this issue’s special Harley section, freelance writer David Johnson came across some Harley-Davidsons that even the most rabid H-D fanatic probably doesn’t know about.
IN DAYTONA THIS YEAR I SAW TWO interesting T-shirts, both bearing messages that left me scratching my head and pondering. The first one said, “Live every day as if it were the last day of your life.” Now there’s a bad piece of advice if I ever saw one.
EVERYTHING IS FLEXIBLE. WHEN A FLY lands on the end of a steel beam, the steel deflects. No structure is perfectly rigid. As a small boy, riding in my parents' car, I wondered at the rapid “wubba-wubba” vibration that always followed a wheel's hitting a sharp bump.
Thank you for the “RD Days” article in the July issue. I was one of those “street-squid” pocket-rocket fanatics and still enjoy pleasant memories of my RD350, complete with rejetted carbs, K&N air filters and expansion chambers.
Suzuki has teamed up with Shoei helmets and Vanson leathers to produce full-face helmets and leather jackets color-matched to all 1993 Suzuki GSX-Rs. Snelland DOT-approved, the Shoei RSV helmets are fully vented and retail for $430. Produced exclusively for Suzuki, Vanson’s drum-dyed leather jackets are manufactured from top-quality U.S. leather in four multi-color combinations. They retail for $500. The GSXR color-matched Shoei helmets and Vanson jackets are only available from Suzuki dealers.
BIOCHEM BIO T HAND CLEANER
Grease, oil, tar and other stubborn substances don’t stand a chance with BioChem Bio T with Pumice hand cleaner. Petroleum-free, Bio T is environmentally friendly, waterless, pH-balanced, all-natural, bio-degradable and won’t irritate the user’s skin, says BioChem. Bio T comes in a portable, self-dispensing 22-ounce tube and costs $6. For a free brochure, contact BioChem Systems (14452 West 44th Avenue, Golden, CO 80403; 800/777-7870).
HYPERTEK DOMINATOR AIRWEIGHT WHEELS
Computer-designed for maximum strength and light weight, Dominator Airweight wheels from Hypertek (1463 Acadia, Simi Valley, CA 93063; 805/583-2447) are CNC milled to exacting tolerances for a perfect fit and a stylish appearance. Claimed to be the lightest and most versatile wheels available, the Airweight wheels use stock spacers, discs, sprockets and hardware. The Hypertek Dominator Airweight wheels cost $752 for the front and $843 for the rear directly from the manufacturer.
HJC CHATTERBOX INTERCOM
The HJC Chatterbox intercom from Helmet House (2360 Townsgate Road, Westlake Village, CA 91361; 805/373-6868) allows hands-free vehicle-to-vehicle communication. According to the manufacturer, the Chatterbox is easy to install, light-weight, compact and simple to use. A full line of accessories is also available. Suggested retail for the HJC Chatterbox intercom is $160 and includes a one-year warranty.
TORCO GP-7 TWO-STROKE OIL
Developed for high-rpm airand water-cooled two-stroke engines, Torco’s GP-7 racing oil features special additives to reduce friction and wear. To help maintain compression and prevent power loss, the smokeless formula’s clean combustion properties keep pistons, cylinder heads, rings and spark plugs free of oily residue, says Torco. One quart is $6.95. For more information, see your local dealer or contact Torco (9916 Pioneer Blvd., Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670; 310/942-8480).
DECHELLIS GSX-R CLUTCH SPACER KIT
Interested in hot-rodding your Suzuki GSX-R1100? Try a clutch-spacer kit from Dechellis Machine (1725 Monrovia, Unit B4, Costa Mesa, CA 92627; 714/631-5361). Installation of the billet-aluminum spacer allows replacement of the stock hydralic clutch with a cable-actuated unit, and will provide better clutch feel, improve performance and decrease weight, says Dechellis. Clutch parts from an ’86-’88 GSX-R1100 and a clutch cover and cable from a ’93 GSX-R600/750 are required and not included in the kit. Also available for ’86-’92 GSX-R1100s, the Dechellis Machine aluminum clutch-spacer kit retails for $175 from the manufacturer.
BMW HASN’T OFFERED A single-cylinder motorcycle since the lethargic but reliable R27 went out of production in 1967. That situation is about to change, thanks to the BMW F650, set to go on sale as a 1994 model following its introduction at the Frankfurt Show this month.
Yamaha’s early-release ’94s should be in dealerships as you read this. Among them, the venerable-but-lovable FZR600 carries on unchanged but for fresh paint. The new Seca II gets a bigger fairing for more wind protection, a stiffer rear spring and shock with increased damping, and an anti-theft ignition ring.
ARE LOOKS SOMETIMES deceiving? You bet they are. Honda’s 1994 CR motocrossers may look unchanged except for their new graphics, but each model has been the recipient of at least a little fiddling. Most changed is the CR250, which comes this year with a new frame built of thicker tubing to provide more rigidity.
CONFIRMED: TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES will be sold on the North American continent in the 1994 model year. Richard Jette, vice president of marketing and sales at Eastern Marketing Ltd. in New Brunswick, Canada, told CW in a telephone interview the firm has concluded a distribution deal with Triumph Motorcycles Ltd.
Remember the Ural? Nope, we don’t mean the 1400-mile-long river that empties into the Caspian Sea. We mean the motorcycle produced in Russia that is still, to this very day, not terribly dissimilar from the BMW design victorious Soviet armies spirited into the Soviet Union following what Rooskies call the Great Patriotic War, the one we know as World War II. Several months ago a firm called the Federal Institute of Negotiation announced the availability of Ural motorcycles for sale in the U.S.
CALIFORNIA ROADRACers, take heart, the California Sports Car Club's proposed track at Buttonwillow, located in the southern San Joaquin Valley is a near-certainty. According to project coordinator Steve Madsen, environmental and bureaucratic red tape has been untangled and a grading permit to begin construction has been granted.
One of motorcycling’s most wonderful aspects is its sheer diversity. There would seem to be a corner of motorcycling for every rider, no matter what his taste. These pie charts demonstrate that diversity by reflecting what kinds of bikes are out there, and where they’re used.
What a shock to pull down the bound Cycle World reference volume, open it to the cover of the September issue, and find pictured there the best bike I never owned. It’s a Norton 750 Commando Fastback—the one with the low bars and the funny little hyper-streamlined rear fender that jutted straight out the back, instead of curving down over the contour of the rear tire.
IF YOU'VE BEEN LUSTING after a Goodman HDS since you saw the bike reviewed in these pages (Cycle World, March, 1992), there's good news and bad news. Remember the HDS? It’s the Harley Sportster-powered café racer built around a Norton Featherbed-replica frame by Simon Goodman of Goodman Engineering.
More early-release news from Honda in the form of the 1994 CBR1000F. Winner of CW's big-bike shootout in `93, the link-braked CBR returns with no changes save for a new paint job. Honda had not set the bike's price as of presstime.
BY THE TIME YOU READ this the Honda RC45 will have replaced the much-admired RC30 racebike. Well, probably. The bike-known in the media as the RC50 but renamed to reflect the fact that its 750cc engine capacity translates to 45 cubic inches-was scheduled for introduction July 25 at the Suzuka 8-Hours.
WHILE OTHER JAPANESE manufactures have been scrambling to make the grade in the Open-class dual-purpose wars, Suzuki has been standing pat with its DR650. The DR, new in 1990, has received only minor refinements since it won Cycle World’s dual-purpose comparison in September, 1990.
UP: To Turbo Bike magazine, for its coverage of motorcycle turbocharging. Although it is produced on a shoestring budget, the magazine provides turbo enthusiasts with an abundance of information. In addition to a parts directory and a feature on Mad Mel Mandel’s 280-horsepower turbocharged Suzuki/Honda (see Cycle World, February, 1990), the current issue covers intercooling, low-compression pistons and racing fuel.
DUCATI'S SENSUOUS SUPERMONO, A vision in scarlet paint and carbon fiber, answers the question, what if the great Singles had never died? What if Norton, AJS, Matchless and Velocette had not pulled their Singles out of GP racing at the end of 1954?
"BEAUTIFUL! THE GUYS WHO STYLED THIS BIKE ARE WILLING TO TAKE RISKS. THEY HAVE NERVE."
Jon F. Thompson
OKAY, OKAY, all of us know the Supermono is beautiful. What we don't know is, why? What is it about this particular summation of color, shape and form that has so caught the imagination of enthusiasts everywhere? What's the deal? We want answers, dammit!
OKAY, WHIPPER-SNAPPERS-ALL OF YOU WHO grew up thinking sportbikes started with Kawasaki's first GPz55O and finally came to maturity with Suzuki's GSX-R750. You probably think Ducati's new Supermono is one hot number. But it takes some of us back to a time when all Ducatis were Singles, Singles that were the last word in European cool.
DUCATI'S NEW Supermono 550 and this exquisite Parilla 250 have a lot in common. Both are Italian. Both are Singles. Both are racebikes. And both were built this year. “Basically, it’s a 1993 Parilla,” says Todd Millar, who built the bike along with partner Tom Rightmyer to showcase the pair’s restoration business (1333 Carmenita St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651; 714/494-2197).
SO THERE YOU ARE, BRAKING deep-fork-bottomed, rear-tire-hopping deep-downhill into the fast left at Willow Springs Raceway. When the speed feels right, you ease off the binders and throw the bike in Hail-Manly toward the apex, your tires slither and grip, your knee rasps the asphalt, and you squirm toward the inside line with your inner voice saying, Captain, she'll na take much more a`this abuse.
MOUNTAIN HIGHS: CYCLE WORLD'S GP EURO-TOUR OF THE ALPS
LET’S FACE IT. MANY OF US HAVE doubts about guided bike tours. Will the group travel too slowly? Too fast? Will we spend valuable hours of riding daylight waiting at gas stations watching each other fill-up, search for dropped gloves or struggle with mechanical problems?
THE YEAR 1903 WAS A GOOD ONE FOR AMERICAN INVENTORS. IN KITTYHAWK, NORTH CAROLINA, TWO BICYCLE SALESmen, Orville and Wilbur Wright, built a canvas-and-stick contraption that actually flew through the air under its own power. Up in Dearborn, Michigan, a fellow named Henry Ford had a crazy notion that people would buy these new-fangled horseless carriages if he could make them affordable and reliable.
12 YEARS BEFORE HONDA, HARLEY WAS WOOING THE NICEST PEOPLE
HARLEY-DAVIDSON'S FAME AND FORTUNE HAS BEEN MADE with great hulking V-Twins, so it's easy to forget that for 15 years a lightweight two-stroke runabout was an important part of the Motor Company's lineup. Back in 1959, if you wanted to buy an entry-level Harley, you might have considered an ST-165 like the one shown here, a slightly larger, more powerful version of the Harley-Davidson ST-125.
EVEN IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS HARLEY'S 90TH anniversary but lived in rural Wisconsin as we do, you would have known Something Big was happening, much the way French peasants along the Marne knew World War I was coming by the distant rumble of artillery.
HOW DO YOU COMMEMORATE 90 YEARS OF Harley-Davidson motorcycle manufacturing? If you're Denny Berg, product development manager for White Bros. (24845 Corbit Place, Yorba Linda, CA 92687; 714/692-3404), you start with a 1990 Softail, pry open the company's extensive parts and accessories catalog, and loose the floodwaters of creativity on a machine that celebrates Harleys both old and new.
IF YOU WERE A YOUNG PERSON AT THE TURN OF THE CENTUry with some mechanical aptitude, an interest in the internal-combustion engine, and the good fortune to live in a manufacturing center where the materials you needed were available, you might have set out to build a flying machine or a horseless carriage...or a motor bicycle.
FOR SOME, HARLEY-DAVIDSON'S EVOLUtion Big Twin offers the perfect combination of performance and reliability. Others see it merely as a starting point for greater things. Custom Chrome Inc. (16100 Jacqueline Court, Morgan Hill, CA 95037; 800/729-3332) aims to capitalize on that latter philosophy with its RevTech High-Performance Kit.
ONCE UPON A TIME, A LEATHER MOTORcycle jacket was just that-a leather motorcycle jacket, no belts and buckles, no ultra-wide or fur-lined collars, no fringed leather, no pretense. Just a simple cut, a couple of pockets and a snap collar.
WHEN JEREMY MCGRATH CROSSED the finish line at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, not only did he take his ninth victory of the season, he clinched the 1993 AMA Camel Supercross series. It was the first time a rookie rider had won motocross's most prestigious title.
I have a 1980 Kawasaki KZ1300 Six with 14,000 miles on it. Four years ago it began fouling sparkplugs. The frequency was once every three or four months for about two years, but it gradually got to where it would run great only for a few days after I would clean or replace all six plugs.
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.