IT WAS A VIRTUOSO PERFORMANCE BY any standard. I’d ridden my flat-tracker Yamaha Twin the 30 miles up to Jerry Greer’s Indian Engineering to check on the progress of my 1940 Indian Sport Scout. Greer and company are transforming it from an out-to-seed race-bike into a post-WWII bobjob, stripped-down precursor to the radical choppers of the 1960s and ’70s.
LAST WEEK I WENT OUT AND BOUGHT A great big brand-new Japanese bike, black in color, that is reputed to be the fastest production bike on Earth, according to all magazines and the kid at the gas station. A Japanese bike? Moi? Yes. I have decided to dip once more into those deep Eastern waters of technology, and in my mind I have already named this magnificent beast “The Land Shark.”
Now AND THEN I GET A CALL FROM someone who is clearly appealing to me for courage. “Look,” the voice says, “I’ve got an old R5 Yamaha that I race in vintage, and I’ve been thinking of changing the crank....” The voice trails off indecisively, so I supply the missing word, “Yourself?” “Yes.”
Hats off to Peter Egan for his excellent article about the Honda CB500 and CB550 (see “The Three Hundred Dollar Jewel,” CW, June). He is fortunate to have run across such a sweet deal on such a fine machine. Back in 1978, I purchased a used 1976 550 Super Sport that I rode for several years.
Zerk Caps are designed to protect grease fittings from the damaging effects of dirt and moisture. The plastic caps fit all standard, straight, 45- and 90-degree fittings, and come in black, blue, green, red, white and yellow, says the manufacturer. Zerk Caps retail for $4 per pack of 12 from Ferrar Motorsports (3 Buckingham P1., Great Neck, NY 11021; 516/829-8789).
GAERNE SX EVOLUTION OFF-ROAD BOOTS
Gaerne's SX Evolution off-road boots boast top-grain leather construction and replaceable Vibram soles. Additional features include adjustable buckles, dual-density injection-molded plastic calf and arch protection, Sof-Flex insteps and NP1000 heat shields. No break-in time is required, says the manufacturer. Gaerne SX Evolution off-road boots are available in white/blue, white, black, white/red and white/purple in sizes 7-13 for $250. For more information, contact your local motorcycle dealer or Gaerne North America (25030 W. Ave. Stanford, Valencia, CA 91355; 805/257-6372).
If you're in the market for a classic bomber jacket, a custom-built road-racing suit or even vintage-style riding gear, Vanson Leathers probably has you covered. For a copy of its latest 100-page catalog, stickers, ordering information and a complete price list, send $8 to Vanson Leathers (213 Turnpike St., Stoughton, MA 02072; 617/344-5444).
Tired of trying to dry your freshly washed motorcycle with a soggy bath towel? The S100 Drying Towel is claimed to outabsorb anything else, including chamois. According to the manufacturer, the biodegradable S100 Drying Towel is machine-washable and will not mildew. It retails for $9 from Brookside Import Specialties (550 E. Main St., Branford, CT 06405; 203/488-6569).
GIANCARLO MORBIDELLI’S primary business involves production of automated woodworking equipment, so it comes as no surprise that he chose the Milan Woodworking Show to debut the Morbidelli 850 V8. Throughout the late 1960s and into the 1980s Morbidelli, now 60, fielded a series of 125cc and 250cc roadracers that brought him four world championships and a number of national titles.
YES, IT'S A MOTORCYCLE, but don't bother listening for the engine's rumble or looking for a gas tank. Westinghouse Electric Corporation's quiet-running EVader gets its charge from two 12-volt batteries that plug into any standard wall socket.
V-TWINS ARE GENERALLY the engine of choice for cruisers, but Honda has shown a fresh approach for the class—a horizontally opposed six-cylinder Gold Wing engine. A Honda spokesman says there are no production plans for the motorcycle, which was designed and built in Japan as a styling exercise.
Apparently you've been buying motorcycles. So much so that by late April, Honda says its dealers were out of many 1994 models. That's the reason, the company says, it is early-releasing some 1995s. Most notable is the '95 edition of the CBR900RR, which gets an upgraded fork offering a compression damping adjustment and a new cartridge design.
Starting in 1995, Pancho Villa Moto-Tours will offer motorcyclists a chance to tour Costa Rica. About the size of West Virginia, Costa Rica offers a diverse riding land-scape—from pristine beaches to rain forests to jungle mountains. Pancho Villa will provide BMW F-650 Funduros and a support vehicle for luggage transport.
THE STYLING SUGGESTS it's a sportbike, but the Brazilian Kahena is in fact a 697-pound motorcycle powered by a Volkswagen flat-Four engine. If the concept rings a bell, it’s because another Brazilian company introduced the VW-powered Amazonas some 10 years ago, (see Cycle World, November, 1985).
SOME RIDERS MAY GRUMble that dealers make all their money on parts and labor, but figures released by the Motorcycle Industry Council show that isn’t so. In 1993, the average franchised motorcycle dealer took in $1.37 million in gross income, with labor accounting for only 6.5 percent of the revenue, around $88,000.
A new Vincent, the Black Eagle, was to debut this year, but a production deal collapsed. The bike might be better named the Black Phoenix, since plans to make it are alive once more. Barnard Li, president of Eagle One, makers of vehicle care products, said last year he would build 2000 Black Eagles (see Cycle World, November, 1993).
Was this issue a genuine Big Deal? You bet it was. It featured the most eagerly awaited road test of the decade. The August 1969 edition carried an analysis of the Honda CB750, and Cycle World’s test personnel, usually flinty-eyed in their objectivity, couldn’t help themselves.
SUZUKI HAS STEPPED into Japan's highly popular "naked" class with a vengeance, introducing the Impulse 400. Suzuki had the advantage of studying the competition before unveiling the Impulse, and its advertising suggests that scrutiny paid off.
WHAT DOES TENNIS champion Gabriela Sabatini do when she’s not battling the likes of Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova? She rides motorcycles. “When I want to get away from it all, I get on my motorcycle,” says Sabatini, who owns a 1992 Honda CBR600F2.
DUCATI CALLS ITS E900 the Range Rover of motorcycles, and that's not a bad analogy. Both are powerful, uncommon, versatile and expensive. It is also unlikely that either vehicle will see regular action much more rugged than that found on crowded city streets.
UP: To 13-year-old Eric Capossela, for doing his part to end Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. To bolster awareness of the afflictions, Capossela drew portraits of BMW’s 1994 motorcycles, which were then used to illustrate the company’s 1994 Impressions calendar.
AGOSTINI'S MV AGUSTA TRIPLE. The Moto Guzzi V-Eight. A Brough Superior SS100. Any Arlen Ness special. How far would you go to obtain a ride on your Dream Bike? Donate a kidney? Give up your first-born? Maybe hock the wife? And what would you give for seat time on Honda's $60,000 NR750, the dreamiest two-wheeler ever to come from Japan?
HONDA'S NR OVAL-PISTON CONCEPT HAS, DESPITE all the development lavished upon it, only one visible heir at the moment: the NR750 collector-bike, intended more to be seen than ridden. The NR is not, however, without an important legacy. NR research began in 1977, at a time when Honda was seeking a fresh engine paradigm to replace the milestone CB750 inline-Four and its twin-cam descendants, the 750F and 900F. High performance is central to motorcycling, so rpm would continue to rise.
YOU'VE MAYBE NOTICED: CARBON-FIBER IS COOL. It's beautiful and it's high-tech. It's light and it's strong. It's expensive. And these days, it's everywhere. Carbon-fiber originally was developed for use in the aerospace industry, with a financial assist from the federal government.
IF IT WAS BUILT IN ITALY WE might have expected the first production versions to appear sometime around Christmas, a bit late for the summer selling season. But the born-again MuZ factory, which builds bikes bearing the famed MZ badge, is Teutonic, rather than Latin, so it’s no surprise that the first production versions of the Skorpion, fitted with Yamaha’s liquid-cooled five-valve XTZ660 Single, rolled out of the all-new factory at Hohndorf exactly as scheduled on March 24.
DRESSED IN A BUSINESS SUIT AT A TRADE show, glasses glinting in the light, 37-year-old Petr-Karel Korous looks like a corporate high-flyer. And that's just what he was before he bought a bankrupt relic of the former East Germany. Then you see him in leathers and helmet at the press launch of the Skorpion and realize how unreliable first impressions can be.
CONDITION RED WITH THE U.S. NAVY FLIGHT DEMONSTRATION TEAM
President Bill Clinton The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Washington, D.C. Dear Mr. President: Just a quick thank-you note, a short respite from the vollies being fired your way about Whitewater, health care and the First Partner’s amazing investment skills.
APPARENTLY, THERE'S MORE TO A BLUE ANGELS flight than motion sickness. Just ask motocross great Bob Hannah: "You wake up not quite sure where you are. Once you begin regaining your senses, you notice that your arms and legs are flailing around and you can't make them stop—you’re having a seizure.”
KTM, THAT TINY AUSTRIAN MAKER OF MOTOcrossers and world-class enduro bikes, is now in the dual-purpose business. And with the new 620 R/XC, the company may have just jumped all the way to the head of the class. Some dual-purpose history: Back in the early 1970s, D-P bikes were wildly popular, accounting for more than 60 percent of all new-bike sales.
THE BARK OF THE EXHAUST TELLS YOU IT'S A Thumper, but the authority of that sound makes clear this is no ordinary Thump. KTM has just unleashed the most potent Single to hit Europe's cobblestones, and it's got a name that suggests its nobility.
AFTER LANGUISHING FOR MOST OF the winter in Editor-at-Large Peter Egan's garage, our long-term Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide is back at CW's Newport Beach, California, editorial offices. Rather than ride the bike—and battle freezing temperatures—we paid Federal Moving $441.66 to ship it cross-country.
that, perhaps because it's so far away from the motorcycling mainstream, seems to encourage original thought. New Zealand has remained closer to its European roots than its Aussie neighbor, and that close Euro-connection was the basis for the creation of BEARS a decade ago.
Aprilia, which manufactures high-end race replicas and has become a force in 250 grand prix racing, has introduced the ultimate Aprilia. Called the RSV 500, it is designed to do what 500 GP bikes of the more established makers can't do—be especially light and nimble, and therefore excel at small, tight tracks.
I own an ’85 Kawasaki 700 Vulcan I bought from a friend who never had any problems with it. But now, if the engine is shut off when warm enough to put the needle beyond the second line on the temperature gauge, it won’t restart. I’m no mechanic, and after many trips to different bike shops, the problem remains.