IT HAD NOT BEEN THE BEST OF SUNDAY mornings. Our project Yamaha YZF Superbike, more than six months in the making, thrasher of more magazine money than I cared to tote up, was dead in the water. The start of the Daytona 200, the world’s premier four-stroke roadrace, was less than three hours away, and we needed a complete new swingarm assembly.
EVERY YEAR I SWEAR I'M NOT GOING back to Daytona. Too much traffic, too expensive, too few curves and hills in the surrounding countryside, etc. "Next year," I tell myself, "I'm just gonna haul my bike to the Southwest—maybe Arizona or New Mexico—and ride for a week; use the engine and brakes for something except crawling down Atlantic Avenue in a raft of overheating Harleys and sportbikes."
WHY DO ENGINES HAVE POWERBANDS? Why don't bikes accelerate with the same force at 700 rpm as at 7000, or at 10,000? First of all, it is engine torque—the twisting force at the crankshaft, generated by combustion pressure acting on the pistons—that makes a bike accelerate.
In the March issue, you had no less than three letters decrying modern machinery and yearning for the iron of 20 years ago. Okay, here’s another one. Honda, bring back the CB750, circa 1969. Kawasaki, bring back the H1 and H2 Triples (de-pollute with fuel injection and electronics).
If a sportbike and soft luggage is your idea of touring, why not consider a set of P-38 Sportbike Saddlepacks from Eclipse (3771 E. Ellsworth Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; 313/971-5552). According to Eclipse, the P-38s match the aerodynamic styling and graceful lines of today's sportbikes, yet offer 1850 cubic inches of combined carrying capacity. The packs are constructed of 1000 denier Cordura Plus nylon, measure 18 x 12 x 5 inches, and are equipped with a quick-release mounting system. Available in black, with black, blue, purple or red accents, the P-38 Sportbike Saddlepacks retail for $100 from Eclipse or motorcycle dealers.
FRANX MACHINE WORX 907CC GSX-R750 KIT
Looking for more performance from your 1990-92 Suzuki GSX-R750? With its bolt-on 907cc big-bore kit, Franx Machine Worx (430 E. 170th St., South Holland, I1 60473; 708/ 339-2601) may have just the answer. Customers must supply their cylinder, which is returned in ready-to-assemble form with gaskets, pistons and wristpins. To accommodate oversize valves and high-lift camshafts, the pistons feature deep, large-diameter valve pockets. Properly installed, the kit offers substantial gains in horsepower and torque, says Franx. Retail price for the Franx Machine Worx 907cc GSX-R750 kit is $995 plus shipping.
EAGLE ONE NEVR-DULL POLISHING CLOTH
Nevr-Dull from Eagle One (5927 Landau Ct., Carlsbad, CA 92008; 619/931-0712), is a specially treated cotton wadding cloth claimed to greatly simplify the task of cleaning and restoring luster to metal. NevrDull is residue-free, will not scratch, and leaves a protective film on the metal, says Eagle One, and it works equally well on aluminum, brass, copper, gold, pewter, silver and steel. Nevr-Dull is available in 5-ounce cans, and costs $4 from the manufacturer or leading automotive stores.
CYCOACTIVE CROSSBAR MAPCASE
If you've ever had to dig through a cluttered fannypack for a wrinkled map, you might appreciate the Crossbar Mapcase from CycoActive Products (117 E. Louisa St., Seattle, WA 98102; 206/323-2349). The 7½ x 7¼-inch Mapcase features a clear vinyl viewing window and velcro closure, and is held in place with two quick-release plastic buckles, says CycoActive. The Crossbar Mapcase retails for $17 direct from CycoActive Products.
STORZ PERFORMANCE ACCESSORIES CATALOG
Storz Performance's new 36-page accessory catalog contains everything to convert your Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster to dirt-track spec, or construct an XR-883R cafe-racer. In addition, a full line of Twin Sport products is available, as is an extensive list of Japanese and Italian sportbike equipment. Storz is the also the exclusive importer of Ceriani G.C.B. steering dampers and 43mm fork kits, the latter for Harley-Davidsons. The Storz Performance Accessories Catalog costs $4 from Storz Performance (239 S. Olive St., Ventura, CA 93001; 805/641-9540).
SECURE STRAPS TIE-DOWN STRAPS
Secure Straps are manufactured from heavy-duty nylon webbing and feature built-in rubber straps that stretch as the tie-down is adjusted. The benefit, according to the manufacturer, is constant tension on the coated hooks, which translates to more-secure transportation for your motorcycle with less pressure on its fork springs and seals. Suggested retail for the Secure Straps is $30 from Secure Straps (1632 Industrial Ave., Norco, CA 91760; 800/588-1453).
TRIUMPUH IS CONSIDERING its next moves, anxious to build on current successes. Part of the plan includes a new retro-style motorcycle, to be included in the U.S. line, according to factory sources. The British marque will return here in 1995, with most, if not all of its line, plus a bike sporting spoked wheels and a new tank and bodywork.
Firestone is making motorcycle tires again, some 25 years after bowing out of the market. The company produced motorcycle tires for more than 40 years before concentrating on car tires, and was once a supplier to Indian and Harley-Davidson.
Harley-Davidson's Motorcycles and Related Products division posted substantial gains in 1993, increasing sales by 10.1 percent over 1992's figures. Division sales were $933.3 million. Motorcycle production totalled 81,696 for '93, a 5201-bike increase.
DAVID MILLER IS A MOtorcycle-loving guy, and his comic strip character, Dave, is too. The strip, which debuted in 1992, already appears in about 200 newspapers, nationwide. In that time, Miller says the strip has prominently featured motorcycles on seven occasions.
Development of the new Indian Century V-Twin Chief continues, and a running prototype will appear at a June 11 bike show in Albuquerque, New Mexico, along with a full line of Indian apparel, says company owner Wayne Baughman. Baughman agrees that there have been as many skeptics as there are challenges in developing the new motorcycle, but he insists financing and everything else is in good order.
INCREASING INTEREST IN Singles racing has led three European companies to introduce new racebikes. Two of the firms will also build streetbikes based on the racers. Bimota, Harris and Hejira, a small English racebike maker, are making or modifying bikes covering a broad range of sophistication.
Exotic machines and courageous riders lit up the pages, most notably "Death Wish," a turbine-engined motorcycle, piloted by Larry Carl. CW called the bike a "go-bomb." A volleyball-sized engine produced 200 horsepower at 70,000 rpm. The goal was 350 horsepower at 100,000 rpm and a world record quarter-mile run.
YAMAHA'S TZM50R IS more than Yamaha's answer to Japan's miniclass conquering Honda NSR50R, it could pave another route to roadracing world championships. Tetsuya Harada, 1993 250cc Gran Prix title holder, started in mini racing, as did Norifumi Abe, teenaged winner of the Japanese 500cc championship.
Most riders are glad to get out and enjoy the spring weather, but ice racers have packed up and are looking ahead to next season. A handful of the spiked-wheel set are devouring the ice on Jawa's latest creation. Most ice racers have rigid rear ends, but the Jawa features a monoshock rear suspension.
"BEAUTY OF STYLE and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity," scribed Plato some 400 years before the birth of Christ. There is little doubt that Harley-Davidson believes in this reasoning. If it didn't, the Motor Company's lineup wouldn't include the Sportster 1200, itself a rolling paragon of disentanglement.
UP: To Computer-Aided Engineering magazine, for its January, 1994, issue. The cover prominently features a computer-generated illustration of a Bimota Tesi 1DSR. The illustration, which resembles a cutaway drawing, accompanies a story on understanding variable-driven modeling.
IN WHICH WE TURN A TESTBIKE INTO AN AMA SUPERBIKE, DRIVE TO FLORIDA, QUALIFY IN THE TOP 20 —THEN RUN INTO A FEW PROBLEMS
DO YOU SUFFER FROM CHRONIC FANTASIES ABOUT RACING AT DAYTONA? Have you imagined yourself tucked in tight behind the low screen, knees squeezed against the tank, the tach needle up above 13, the engine sound hammering up through the machine as a hard mechanical rush?
YOU DON'T STAND A CHANCE AT DAYTONA WITHOUT A GOOD BIKE and a good tuner. Team Cycle World had both. Yamaha's 1993 YZF750SP gave us an excellent starting point. Richard Stanboli of Attack Performance took over from there, transforming roadbike into competitive Superbike.
THIS YEAR'S DAYTONA WAS A CONTEST BETWEEN OLD but highly developed designs, and new but unrealized possibilities. Rob Muzzy noted that Kawasaki's design is now four years old—the class graybeard now that Honda has at last retired its RC30 in favor of its fresh RC45.
I'M AT ABOUT 130 MILES AN HOUR, HUNCHED OVER A Ducati 350D MkIII vintage racer. I'm up on Turn 4's unforgiving banking at Daytona Motor Speedway, attempting to tuck my very large frame onto this very small motorcycle—imagine a gorilla trying to ride a minibike—to squeeze out a few more revs, another mile per hour, maybe two, for my dive down onto the front straight.
DAYTONA ISN'T JUST about roadracing. While Don Canet was flogging the Team Cycle World Superbike to a top-10 finish in Thursday's qualifier on the Speedway's high banks, I was a few feet above swamp level, slogging a Kawasaki KDX200 through the mud of the Alligator Enduro.
OFTEN OVERLOOKED IN FAVOR OF ITS BIGGER BROTHER, THE HONDA CB550 FOUR WAS (AND IS) A MINOR CLASSIC IN ITS OWN RIGHT
ALL RIGHT, I'VE WANTED ONE OF THESE BIKES FOR A long time. The Honda 550 Four was a motorcycle I missed during my meteoric rise through the displacement ranks in the early Seventies, having gone straight from a Honda CB350 Twin to a Norton 850 Commando.
MOST DUAL-PURPOSE MOTORCYCLES are compromises, often trading street legality for seemingly unnecessary weight and, inevitably, losses in performance. Enter the Baja Designs Dual-Sport Conversion Kit. According to the manufacturer, the kits contain the necessary equipment, instructions and paperwork to convert a Honda XR, Kawasaki KLX, Suzuki DR, or four-stroke Husqvarna or KTM to street-legal status.
DISPLAYED BEFORE YOU IS SPORTBIKE NIRVANA. THEY ARE the 750 Supersports, those dynamic, hard-edged platforms from which Superbike championships are born. This year, more so than in the past, the class is bulging with talent. Kawasaki's ZX-7 and the limited-edition ZX-7R are accomplished veterans with numerous race wins and championships to their credit.
FREDDIE SPENCER HAS HEARD IT said that the best times are sometimes followed by the worst. He agrees with that notion, and knows of what he speaks. "The way everything worked out in '83 and '85, winning three world championships, then what came after that...
RECIPE: TAKE AN ENGINE DEVELoped when Elvis was alive and skinny. Add free-flowing exhaust and intake systems. Wrap in a chassis as contemporary as this morning. Result: The Buell Thunderbolt S2, a surprisingly fast and ridable sportbike that rumbles like a Harley and handles like a dream.
ERIK BUELL HAS PAID HIS dues. And then some. Eight years ago, the ex-Harley-Davidson engineer and former national-class roadracer designed and built the first of several street-going motorcycles, the XR1000-powered RR1000. Now, having toiled in relative obscurity for the better part of the last decade, Buell has closed his previous concern, the Buell Motor Company, and formed the Buell Motorcycle Company, 49 percent of which is owned by Harley-Davidson.
WRAPPED IN BLACK LEATHER FRINGE ABOARD A bike pulsing with purple-painted flames, he rumbled up to the Hondas, squinted, and took a good long look. Maybe it hadn't been such a great idea to bring two Japanese motorcycles to this hard-core Harley hang-out.
DESIGNING AND DEVELOPING its all-new R1100RS may have cost more than BMW would officially care to admit, but with one exception, after one year and 10,047 miles on the road, we have every indication those deutschemarks were well spent. Much has been said of Boxer power-plants old and new, but the latest Type R259 engine—with its 99.0 x 70.5mm bore and stroke and resulting 1085cc displacement—is the best opposed-Twin we've ever sampled.
IT SEEMED EASY: FLY TO FRANCE, ride the Gilles Lalay Classic, finish in the top 10, come home. No problem, right? Wrong. Hey, I like challenges, but this is ridiculous. The GLC, as it’s called, is named after a French racing hero killed in the 1992 Paris-to-Dakar Rally, and is a combination of enduro, rally and endurance race.
Chris Carr, the AMA's 1992 Grand National Champion, showed Daytona Bike Week race-goers he's determined to be a factor in the 1994 championship run. He did so by scoring a convincing win at the Bike Week’s short-track national aboard his Harley-Davidson/Rotax over Terry Poovey, who finished second, and third-placer Brett Landes.
My 1991 Suzuki Katana 1100 has a serious problem, I think. During a trip to Mexico a few months ago, a bearing in the transmission came apart and caused a bunch of teeth to break off some of the gears. I had the bike fixed in Mexico City, and now it shifts all right except that it has this really annoying noise in third gear.