YOU CAN’T SAY WILD BILL DIDN’T GO out in style. William Clement Cottom died last November, 86 years old, and in accordance with his last wishes, he was cremated then interred in the fuel tank of his beloved 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. Certainly, no man ever had a finer funeral urn.
IT WAS AN ALMOST-PERFECT ILLUSTRAtion of Egan’s First Law of Physics, which is: A falling motorcycle, once in motion, tends to remain in motion unless acted upon by three or four guys who have the presence of mind to drop their beers and streak to the rescue.
LONG AGO, WE HAD A RACING FACTORY in the basement of 54 Beechwood Avenue. A row of five benches and jury-rigged fluorescent lights extended down the narrow space, and on each bench was a member’s racebike. The crusty masonry walls were painted Sunshine Yellow, and there weren’t too many spiders.
I am a member of a large segment of American motorcycling, one which seems somehow forgotten. Our members have been riding for many years. We have a burning desire for speed with good handling, but are too old for repli-racers (they hurt our backs on long rides).
Boeri’s mid-priced line of Italian-made street and off-road helmets is now available in the United States. The company’s top offerings, the Lemans street model and Parker FK1 off-road helmet, are hand-painted and feature Kevlar, fiberglass and carbonium construction, and polystyrene liners. Boeri helmets retail for $200-300, depending on the model. For more information, contact Boeri Sport America (121 Freedom Plains Rd., Poughkeepsie, NY 12603; 800/99-BOERI).
Boeri Sport America
Arrow handlebars are manufactured in Italy from 7075 T-6 aluminum. They are designed for current Japanese and KTM off-road motorcycles, and are available in two finishes, both of which come with a crossbar pad. Fifty dollars buys a satin finish, while an additional $10 gets you a polished finish, end plugs, knurled mounting areas and a knurled left-side grip. Arrow handlebars are available from Moto Man Distributing (P.O. Box 1037, Chino, CA 91708; 909/391-3278).
Boeri Sport America
STORZ REARSETS FOR SPORTSTERS
If your Harley-Davidson Sportster feels less-than-sporty, you might want to purchase a rearset footpeg kit from Storz Performance (239 S. Olive St., Ventura, CA 93001; 805/641-9540). Available for all Evolution-engined Sportsters as well as XR1000s, the $415 kit consists of CNC-machined billet-aluminum mounting brackets, a one-piece shift lever and folding foot-pegs with stainless-steel pivots. Installation of the kit reverses the standard shift pattern and retains the stock rear master cylinder.
Boeri Sport America
Maintaining your motorcycle's battery is simplified with the Digicharger from PC Exchange, Inc. (1186 Main St., Unit 72, River Edge, NJ 07661; 201/525-0755). According to the manufacturer, the Digichager is completely automatic; connect it to any 12-volt sealed lead-acid or gel-type battery, plug the charger into an AC power outlet and turn it on. Once the battery is fully charged, the Digicharger reverts from its fast-charge state to its trickle-charge mode, maintaining your battery without overcharging or damaging it, says PC Exchange. The Digicharger comes with a three-year warranty and costs $89 plus $5 shipping and handling.
Boeri Sport America
BLUE BUSTER POLISH-ING KIT
If you shudder at the sight of blued or yellowing exhaust pipes, Blue Coral's Blue Buster Polishing kit may offer a solution. Included in the kit are two polishing gels-Deep Blue for deep scratches and difficult-to-remove bluing, and Lite Blue for minor defects and general polishing-that are claimed to remove unwanted discoloration from chromed exhaust pipes. In addition, says Blue Coral, Blue Buster will erase scuffs and discolorations from paint, windshields and helmets. The kit retails for $32 from motorcycle dealers.
Boeri Sport America
KERKER KR EXHAUST FOR HONDA CB1000
Looking to up the performance of your Honda CB 1000 while retaining its early '80s Superbike appearance? Why not consider Kerker's KR exhaust? According to Kerker, the 4-into-pipe is 20 pounds lighter than stock and produces almost 9 more horsepower. What's more, the Honda's centerstand is retained, as is access to the oil filter and drain plug. Available with either a black or chrome finish, the Kerker KR exhaust retails for $340-370 from White Bros. (24845 Corbit P1., Yorba Linda, CA 92687; 714/692-3404).
JAMES PARKER, OF RADD/GTS1000 fame, is going racing. If new ideas have value outside of mere novelty, they have to be proven, and racing is a fine way to do that. Parker is testing two new ideas with the RATZ Yamaha TZ250 shown here. First, racebikes are compromises.
IT'S AN ENGINE-MANAGEMENT system, an anti-theft system and the first system of its kind on any motorcycle in the world. In use on Honda’s Japanese-market NSR250 two-strokes, the PGM-IV system links the bike’s electronic engine-management circuits, an integral steering-head lock and an LCD speedometer/data display by way of a removable computer card.
NINE MONTHS AFTER BUYing the company, ATK's new owners have unveiled the 1994 line-up, which includes two street legal models. The Dual Sports, in 350 and 605cc versions, will be available in electricor kick-start versions. The 350 will retail for $6595, and the 605 is priced at $6995.
Honda's Ride for Kids returns in 1994, with 12 road and dual-purpose rides scheduled throughout the country, from March to October. Last year's slate of rides raised $526,000 for the Central Brain Tumor Registery of the United States.
MOTO LAVERDA, ONE of Italy's most respected motorcycle manufacturers, apparently has returned to life in spite of an official pronouncement of its death by Italian government officials. The company, owned and operated by a financial concern called the Zanini Group under bankruptcy conditions for several years, finally was put into receivership under government supervision last year (see Roundup, June, 1993).
Bimota officials have confirmed that after a year's absence from the American market, the company's high-performance motorcycles once again are available through an American distributor. James Lombardo, Bimota’s U.S. agent, confirmed that Moto Cycle of Stalstown, Pennsylvania, recently concluded an arrangement that makes the company the sole U.S.
KEVIN SCHWANTZ MAY BE the highest-paid motorcycle racer, but his estimated $3.5 million income for 1993 is a bargain compared to other sports notables. Last year Michael Jordan made $36 million, and Formula One racer Ayrton Senna garnered $18.5 million, according to Forbes magazine.
Ever ponder the swing of motorcycling's pendulum away from European bikes, toward Japanese bikes? A look at this issue’s cover is evidence of that movement. Blurbed front and center on this issue’s cover are tests of a Triumph TR6R and a Suzuki TS250.
COLESLAW WRESTLING and the world's only motorcycle demolition derby can mean only one thing: Bike Week at Daytona Beach, Florida. Snap out of those mid-winter doldrums and make plans to go, because all the fun’s happening March 4-13. The following is a tentative schedule of major events.
Just who builds the coolest Harley customs in the country? You're looking at the handiwork of one of the shops contending for that honor, Razorback Motorcycle Works in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Done up in the shop's "futuristic" style, this is one of six Razorback creations featured in the Spring 1994 issue of Big Twin, Cycle World's all-Harley-Davidson magazine, on sale at newsstands February 22.
THE 1993 HARLEY-DAVIDson Heritage Softail, Nostalgia, a.k.a. the Cow Glide, blew people into the pasture with a stately, 1950s style, and genuine Holstein-hide inserts on its seats and saddlebags. Only 2700 were made, and they were snapped up in a hurry.
UP: To writer Jon Krakaurer, for his article on Harley-Davidson and the people who buy them, published recently in Smithsonian magazine. “Not so very long ago any shaggy guy on a Harley-Davidson was automatically assumed to be a rolling scourge, the archetypal American outlaw—‘The Menace,’ as Hunter Thompson described in Hell’s Angels: ‘Genghis Khan on an iron horse,...flat out through the eye of a beer can and up your daughter’s leg...’ Now, people don’t automatically assume that every brother on a Harley is a criminal,” explained one interviewee.
SEPARATING THE HYPE FROM THE HOPE WITH HARLEY'S VR1000 RACER
HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTOR COMPANY built its first eight-valve racer in 1916. It has just revealed its second, the VR Superbike. While the Eight-Valve of 1916 was a board-tracker, the VR is a roadracing machine. Both are V-Twins. It is 20 years since H-D has put a pure roadracing machine of its own design on the start grid with the best that Japan and Italy can produce.
THE MOTOR COMPANY'S ROADRACING HERITAGE IS OLDER THAN RACING
THINK BACK TO ANY ERA AND PICK a moment: Brad Andres, gunfighter eyes and gritted teeth, wrestling his bare-bones KRTT to victory on the tiny asphalt-and-gravel maze that was the Laconia National in 1958. The factory team four abreast across the line on the first lap of Daytona 1968.
ITALY'S BIMOTA HAS LEARNED THE HARD WAY THAT one problem with being a technological pathfinder involves staying ahead of competitors eager to copy your forward thinking. Think about it: Bimota was first with a production aluminum twin-spar chassis, and lots of other great ideas, that quickly became sportbike standard-issue.
THE 900cc CLASS HAS ALWAYS been good to Kawasaki. Twenty years ago, the company introduced the block-buster 903cc Z-1, followed 10 years later by another milestone motorcycle, the Ninja 900R, one of Japan's first serious sportbikes.
THREE MONTHS AFTER HIS CAREER-ENDING CRASH, THE THREE-TIME WORLD CHAMPION TALKS ABOUT HIS RECUPERATION AND THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
A CHILDREN'S BOOK ON THE COFFEE TABLE IN WAYNE Rainey's magnificent Monterey, California, home seemed most appropriate. Atop a stack of bike magazines sat The Little Engine That Could, the story of the relentless locomotive that refused to even consider not making it up the hill.
COULD WAYNE RAINEY'S CAREER-ending injuries have been pre vented? Shreve "Mac" Archer, M.D., a Cannel, California, pedi atrician, thinks so, and he's come up with a couple of products to back up his claims. Now, before you start rolling your eyes and dismissing the good doctor as some meddling mamby-pamb, you should know that the 45-year-old Archer raced motorcycles well enough to be the Florida-state Formula Two champ in 1977 and still rides with enough skill to keep his Honda RC3O ahead of all but the most determined riders on California's Pacific Coast Highway.
LAST SPRING, THE FÉEDÉRATION INTERNATIONALE Motorcycliste announced that motorcycles raced in 1994 World Endurance Championship events, including Japan's prestigious Suzuka 8Hour, would have to be production-based. Even at the manufacturer level, the FIM decided, one-off prototypes and factory specials had become too expensive to justify.
A LOOK AT THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF A LATTER-DAY LEGACY
HONDA'S RC45 IS ABOUT TO BEGIN ITS RUN FOR THE World Superbike Championship against the enthroned Kawasaki ZX-7R and the potent new Ducati 916. This RC is but the most recent addition to Honda's long lineage of V-Four machines, extending 15 years into the past.
LOST IN ALL THE CONSIDERABLE HOOPLA SURROUNDING THE introduction of the RC45 is the fact that another equally important sportbike was just introduced. Unlike the ultra-expensive. ultra-rare Honda RC45, enthusiasts will actually see some of these, and maybe even get to ride an example or two.
END OF THE LINE, OR BEGINNING OF A BRIGHT NEW TOMORROW?
NELSON SKALIBANIA BUYS AND SELLS THINGS. He is, some may recall, the Canadian stock promoter who taught a 17-year-old Wayne Gretzky the realities of a professional athlete's life when he sold the kid's contract for $350,000. Skalbania buys and sells lots of things, but he has his problems.
THE CHANGES AT NORTON MOTORS have put one of British racing's best-known names out of a job. Ex-John Player Special team boss Barry Symmons now is involved only in weekly visits to the unemployment office and in attempts to claw back some of the £11,000 (about $16,500) he says Norton owes him.
IS IT 1995 YET? IT IS FOR THE PROSPECTIVE WR250 owner. Why? Well, usually the WR is a year behind the YZ250 motocross bike as far as development goes-underneath the 1993 WR250 was a '92 YZ motocrosser with the requisite off-road goodies added.
IF AN ALUMINUM FRAME APPEARED ON A DIRTBIKE IT would be big news, right? Well, here it is, and it's been around for a while. Trials bikes like Yamaha's TY250 have been at the forefront of off-road technology, yet they’ve managed to quietly putt-putt-putt right past our noses without getting much attention, mainly because they don’t clear 80-foot triple-jumps or move large quantities of real estate with a twist of the wrist.
VONDUTCH INVENTED modern pinstriping. Nobody, anywhere, questions that. Beyond that, however, there isn't much agreement. Depending on who’s doing the talking, VonDutch was a genius, a monster, a recluse, a shameless self-promoter, an artist or a butcher.
AS WE GO TO PRESS, OUR LONG-TERM Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide shares space with Editor-at-Large Peter Egan's Ducati 900SS and Formula Ford 2000, having propelled Publisher Larry Little and Editorial Director Paul Dean from our Newport Beach offices to Milwaukee for H-D's 90th Anniversary celebration.
SKI SEASON IS A MONTH AWAY and high in the Rockies just west of Denver there's no sign of snow. Yet the normally quiet streets of Steamboat Springs, one of Colorado’s many ski meccas, are filled with the roar of open exhausts and scented with fine blue clouds of castor-bean racing oil.
American bad-boy racer John Kocinski has signed a one-year contract to race the Cagiva 594 in the 1994 500 GP championship. Kocinski, who raced 1993’s last four GPs aboard the Cagiva 593, winning the USGP, says Cagiva’s brass is fired up and is “No longer satisfied to just win races.
I am the original owner of a ’92 Kawasaki ZX-6 with 15,000 miles on the odometer. At the 9000-mile mark, the stock endless drive chain was replaced with a Tsubaki Sigma No. 530 O-ring chain, as well as both sprockets, at the dealership of purchase.