MISCELLANEOUS RAMBLINGS, HAVING just returned from the second-annual Cycle World GP Euro-Tour...This year’s tour started in Munich, ended in Hockenheim, home of the German Grand Prix. In between were five days and 1000 hard miles of riding in the Alps.
THERE MUST BE A TEMPERATURE/SUNlight sensor built into the brain of every motorcyclist who lives for the Sunday-morning ride. How else to explain the events of last weekend, when I awoke for no good reason at 6:30 a.m., rather than snoozing on to 8:00 or 9:00, as usual?
GETTING MAXIMUM POWER FROM COMbustion in a piston engine calls for correct phasing of two phenomena. One is the motion of the piston, rising on compression towards top dead center, stopping there, then starting downward on the power stroke.
Editor’s Note: What follows are excerpts from some of the more than 250 letters Cycle World received in response to May’s “Up Front’’ editorial asking for opinions on standard-style motorcycles. As promised, all responses have been photo-copied and sent on to the appropriate people at each of the Japanese Big Four manufacturers.
Hot on the heels of Fog City’s Fog Shield is the Fog Thing, said to be the world’s only pre-cut permanent antifog film for goggles. According to the manufacturer, the Fog Thing laminates to the inside of any standard goggle lens and will not smear, wipe off, wear out, have a toxic odor or require constant reapplication. When dirty, the Fog Thing can be cleaned with mild soap and water or household glass cleaner. It costs $10 from Modern World Ventures (P.O. Box 16010, Oakland, CA 94610; 800/4364248) or motorcycle dealers.
If you’re looking for a soft, durable motorcycle glove, Teknic might have the solution. The company’s Rebel gloves are cut from lmm-thick deerskin and boast pre-curved fingers, Nylex lining and velcro closures. Foam, Kevlar and a second layer of leather protect the palm, and double leather and foam cover the knuckles, top of hand and fingers. Available in S-XXL sizes, the black-only Teknic Rebel deerskin gloves cost $90. For more information, contact Specialty Sports Ltd. (5905 Belding Rd., Rockford, MI 49341; 616/874-5867) or your local motorcycle dealer.
Protect your motorcycle’s expensive fuel tank from abrasive belt buckles and zippers with a Fast Company Carbon-Fiber Gas Tank Bra. Available for late-model sportbikes, the bras are custom molded for each application and held in place with double-sided tape. Fast Company carbon-fiber gas tank bras retail for $97 direct from Fast Company (1010 Third Avenue Dr., NW Unit B, Hickory, NC 28601; 704/327-2644).
Restoring your motorcycle’s engine to its original appearance is easy with PJl engine and case paints. The #17-GRY Gray Satin is designed for 1993-94 Suzuki RM motors, while #17-SLV Silver Metallic matches all 1993-94 Yamaha YZ engine cases, claims PJl. Other formulas are available. PJl engine and case paints are said to use an ozone-safe propellant, and the cans are completely recyclable when empty. Retail for the PJl Engine and Case paint is $6.16 per 11-ounce can. For addition information, contact your local dealer or PJ1 (8747 E. Via De Commercio, Scottsdale, AZ 85258; 602/991-8002).
A NEW TRIUMPH, THE 900cc Thunderbird, will join the lineup when the revitalized marque spreads its wings in America later this year, according to Motor Cycle News. A source says a bike photographed while undergoing factory tests in England is close to the production version, but Triumph says otherwise.
Laverda will bring back the 1000cc Jota at October’s Cologne Show, 11 years after the last one was made. The bike, like the old Jota, will be powered by an aircooled Triple, but is getting a new tubular-steel frame. The new Jotas won’t be around for too long, because a new sportbike featuring a liquid-cooled Triple is in the works.
BMW is filling out its R1100 line with a touring bike, photographed at BMW’s Berlin, Germany, design studio. The bike features a large, sleek fairing, all-new bodywork and handlebars higher than those on the R1100RS. Color-matched saddlebags should be standard-equipment.
NYBODY WHO THINKS OF A Honda’s GL1500 Gold Wing as a timeless, unchanging two-wheeled magic carpet is in for a surprise. For 1995, Honda revised and updated the motorcycle that helped shape the concept of luxury touring. But no drastic changes, thanks very much.
Ducati will issue a special-edition 916 model honoring Ayrton Senna, the late Formula One racer. The bikes had been in the works before Senna’s death, featuring a paint scheme approved by the three-time world champion. After Senna’s San Marino GP crash, Ducati had considered not producing them, but decided to do so as a tribute to the legendary Brazilian, who owned a 1991 Ducati 851.
ENDURO RIDERS GET A SURprise for 1995, as Kawasaki overhauls its most popular off-road bike, the KDX200. Most notable among the changes is a perimeter frame, but everything else is new, as well. Kawasaki has reverted to a conventional fork for the KDX, after two years with the inverted variety, in keeping with a trend among endurobike manufacturers.
Englishment Gary Rothwell has set what he says is a world speed record for “skiing” behind a motorcycle, going 135.5 mph while clinging to the back of a Kawasaki ZX-11. To perform the stunt, Rothwell accelerates to about 100 mph, slides back on the seat, holds on to the grab rail, hops off and hangs on.
An analysis of BMW’s new R75 US headlined this issue of Cycle World. Boasting a redesigned engine and frame, the sporty Twin was a simple but finelooking machine. The preview, written by then-Editor Ivan Wagar, noted the R75 “marks a completely new trend for BMW. Gone is the strict adherence to 46-year-old practices and design innovations; in most respects, the R75 is in line with what everyone else is doing...”
YAMHA HAS JOINED THE early-release club for 1995, with several models sporting fresh styling but no mechanical changes. Available 1995s include the Virago 750 and 1100, FZR600, Seca II, RT100, and PW80 and 50. Details about prices are limited, but the Virago 1100 and 750 each get a $500 increase, to $7599 and $5899, respectively.
What do you get when you cross a Honda CBR900RR with a Suzuki Quadracer? Well, Brian Koelle, an Industrial Design student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, got the Tsunami. Koelle’s one-quarter-scale model calls for a Quadracer to be widened to accept the Honda engine, lowered for street handling and modified to allow fitment of a single car-sized rear tire.
EVERY SO OFTEN A BIKE BLINDSIDES ITS COMPETITION. Honda's CBR900RR did just that in the spring of 1992. The CBR, weighing-in some 80 pounds under its nextleanest opponent in the Open superbike class, rewrote the rules on power-to-weight ratio for mass produced streetbikes, Honda's featherweight 900 delivered such a staggering blow the others are still catching their breath.
YAMAHA HAS followed the lead of Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki in releasing a 900cc motorcycle for the ’90s, but its XJ900S Diversion is not designed to run with the CBR900RR, the RF900R or the ZX-9. The shaft-drive Yamaha, on sale this fall in Europe, is designed for riders in the market for something more comfortable than a big-bore sportbike, and more affordable than a large-displacement sport-tourer.
IN 1985, YAMAHA’S V-MAX SET THE WORLD OF MOTORcycling on its ear. Claims of 145 horsepower had enthusiasts converging on their local dealers, eager for a glimpse at what was billed as the most radical two-wheeler to come down the road in 25 years.
ON HIS 1Oth BIRTHDAY, THE FIRE-BREATHING HOT-ROD GETS A COUPLE OF COOL NEW LOOKS
TEN YEARS IS A LONG TIME in the constantly changing world of performance bikes. Fashions can be as fickle in motorcycle showrooms as on Parisian runways-most models are due for at least a few stylistic changes every season. But for the past decade, with just an occasional change of paint color its only gesture to changing chic, one bike has demonstrated as much staying power as horsepower: Yamaha’s V-Max.
TALK ABOUT DECEPTIONS! There you are, laid back in an easily identifiable riding posture, knees around a tank you’d know anywhere, listening to a V-Twin exhaust rumble you recognize instantly. Nope, you’re not riding any Harley. You’re aboard the 1995 Honda Shadow 1100 American Classic Edition, a machine wrapped in the classic American look.
BMW IS LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD RIDERS. ABOUT 700, TO BE MORE PREcise. That’s how many of its new-for-’95 R1100GS dual-purpose bikes the company expects to sell in the U.S., out of a worldwide production run of 8000 units. The motorcycle these 700 Americans will wind up with is a paradox, an interesting mix of high-tech features and old-world think, of charming personality and alarming looks, of wonderfully broad scope but potentially narrow appeal.
BMW'S NEW R1100GS CERTAINLY deserves high praise, what with its innovative Telelever front end, responsive twin-cylinder engine and solid all-around capabilities. Even so, the GS’s considerable mass can be intimidating to shorter and less-experienced riders.
THE SIGNPOSTS, SUNfaded and handlettered, said it all. Sable, they announced officially-French for sand. Not that Dave and Nanci Bramsen needed the reminder. They were quite literally sinking in a sea of the gritty stuff this mid-December day of 1989.
LEAVE IT TO THE ITALIANS. TIRED OF WAITING Honda to build a two-stroke enduro bike, they seized the initiative and used Honda parts to come up with a model that may well be the best bike in its class. The CRE260 is a very sophisticated adaptation of the CR250 motocrosser, built-along with its 50, 80, 125, 250 and 500cc CRE siblings-by Italian Honda importer Honda Moto S.p.A. as a serious mount for Honda-loving enduro competitors who would rather ride something other than an XR four-stroke.
DON'T FEEL BAD IF YOU’VE never heard of TM; we hadn’t either. But after sampling the company’s new 250 enduro bike, we’re sure that the small Italian company is an off-road force to be reckoned with. TM, based in Pesaro, Italy, is a 60-man operation that puts out about 1500 machines a year.
YOU DON’T LOOK TO SPAIN to find an off-road bike unless you’re in the market for a trials mount or a vintage Bultaco. But that was before a tiny company called Gas Gas began producing something other than trials bikes. Used to be, the Spanish factory would take Italian-made Husqvarnas and change the plastic to make Gas Gas off-road bikes.
CRASHES IN PRACTICE AND OUTRAGEOUS BEHAVIOR BY visiting road riders very nearly finished the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy for good. That was in 1911, the first year the TT road races were run over the legendary 37.73-mile Mountain Course on Man, a tiny island in the Irish Sea.
Good thing Jeremy McGrath and Damon Huffman found the way to San Jose for that city’s supercross round, the next-to-last in the series. Both riders clinched championships in their respective divisions. McGrath entered the San Jose round needing just four points to tie up the supercross title, his second straight 250 Supercross championship.
I used to own a Gold Wing, which had a liquid-cooled engine and a temperature gauge, and now I’m interested in buying a Yamaha Virago, which has an air-cooled engine and no temperature gauge. What’s bothering me about possibly owning this bike is, how will I know when the engine is getting too hot?