BOB AUBURN CAME LATE TO HIS MID-LIFE crisis, and when it arrived he did not even have the good sense to assuage it with the implantation of hairplugs, the purchase of an expensive sports car or the procurement of long-legged beauties in high-hemmed skirts.
YESTERDAY EVENING I RODE MY NORton into the big city, stopped at my favorite bookstore/coffee shop and found—lo and behold—a new Vincent book that I don’t already own. This one is the Illustrated Vincent Motorcycle Buyer’s Guide by Zachary Miller.
DISCUSSIONS OF “CHARACTER” IN MOtorcycle design usually degenerate into pointless arguments. The pro-character party is easily maneuvered into equating character with defect. (“That old AJS of mine was a great bike, as long as I remembered to drain the water out of the magneto after it rained.”) The opposition is equally easily forced to say it’s proper, even necessary, for the motorcycle to become an appliance, perfect and soulless.
This letter is in response to a comment published in the October ’94 Letters section. Reader Whitney A. Turpen referred to the Ducati 916 as a “corny, stupid excuse for a motorcycle.” I hope this person realizes how much ignorance he littered with one small sentence.
SUZUKI HAS made the motorcycle many riders have been asking for, but the new Bandit 600 may not make it to the U.S. CW's European sources say the Bandit is powered by an air-and-oil-cooled, 16-valve engine based on the Katana 600 powerplant.
The Information Super Highway just got a little faster. Cycle World magazine is now multi-media and interactive as part of the America Online computer network. Subscribers to the service can call up CW road tests, feature stories, photos and columns, as well as log onto bulletin boards to interact with other Cycle World Online users.
A streetbike based on John Britten's avant-garde V-1000 may carry the Indian name and appear in prototype form early next year, according to European sources. The storied American trademark apparently is now owned by Maurits Hayim-Langridge, a former HarleyDavidson distributor from Australia, who confirms he will make a motorcycle powered by a race-proven V-Twin, though he and Britten wouldn't comment about a possible deal.
BMW IS SET TO ADD ANother streetfighter to its stable of new Boxers. The standard-style R1100R will debut in mid-November. As is the case with the dualpurpose R1100GS, the R model’s engine makes a claimed 80 horsepower at 6750 rpm and 71 foot-pounds of torque at 5250 rpm.
MZ ISN’T RESTING ON its laurels, having unleashed the well-received Skorpion, powered by Yamaha’s 660cc Single (see Cycle World, August). Now comes news that MZ is moving upscale with a motorcycle powered by a Yamaha 950cc Twin. This engine, which has never appeared in a Yamaha, is an enlarged version of the TDM850 motor.
The Norton saga continues, with the Aquilini family, which controls the money behind the company, ousting Nelson Skalbania and daughter Rozanda as company managers. The Aquilinis were dissatisfied with the Skalbanias’ efforts, according to Matthew Markin, one of two Canadian brothers who are now managing Norton.
HOT STREETBIKES ARE regularly tested on the track, so why not test a hot racebike on the street? That’s exactly what England’s Motor Cycle News did recently, borrowing a Harris-Yamaha YZR500 grand prix motorcycle from the Padgett’s team.
EFFORTS TO DEVELOP A motorcycle are well underway at Excelsior-Henderson (see Roundup, November), and prototype engines are being tested and revised, says co-founder David Hanlon. “The engine will go through many changes before we release a motorcycle,” says Hanlon.
Touring today is pretty easy: Just load up the Gold Wing, pop in a cassette tape and enjoy good roads. It was considerably more challenging 75 years ago. This issue included a story by Frank Mussetter, telling of his cross-country ride in 1919.
HONDA’S CRM250R HAS always been ideal for riding on Tokyo’s narrow streets and playing in the dirt, but recent modifications have made it even better. A new exhaust valve senses rpm level, as well as the gear selected. According to Honda, the valve provides maximum torque in first, second and third gears.
ATK’S 1995 LINE INcludes its first liquid-cooled motorcycles, Rotax-powered 250 and 260cc two-stroke Cross-Country bikes. The 260cc version is designed for Open-class racing, which requires engines larger than 250cc. ATK promises a dry weight of 220 pounds and a 36.8-inch seat height for the unnamed, six-speed motorcycles, dubbed “H2O Bullets” by the company’s research and development department.
SOME MOTORCYCLES aren’t for introverts. The Storz XR-883R, based on an 883 Sportster, is one of them. Ride inconspicuously through town on this rumbling orange-and-black machine? You might as well wear racing leathers to church.
UP: To the Columbus, Ohio, Symphony Orchestra, for knowing what class is all about. The orchestra’s slogan for the 1994-95 season is “Looking for Adventure,” and the program has a motorcycling theme. Musical Director Alessandro Bieiliani is featured on the cover, leaning against a Harley-Davidson FXR. UP: To L&M Productions for its informative, accurate and complete guides and videos of Colorado’s off-road trail system.
KAWASAKI CHOSE ITS ANNUAL OCTOBER GATHERING of dealers to announce three new motorcycles designed to bring smiles not only to the faces of the people who will sell the bikes, but to those of the people who buy and ride them. In a surprising something-for-everyone sweep, Super K announced an all-new GPz1100 based on the ZX-11; an all-new ZX-6R designed to do battle with Honda’s CBR600F3; and the Vulcan 800, designed to steal a bit of cruiser-market thunder.
KAWASAKI’S NEW KDX200 IS A CLASS WINNER BY default. It has no competition. Yamaha had its try with the short-lived WR200, and the Honda XR200 is more playbike than enduro weapon. So the biggest challenge for the 1995 KDX will be replacing its excellent all-around predecessor.
ON ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY, AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE WORLD'S FIRST SUPERBIKE, HONDA'S STUNNING CB750 FOUR
“Your Honda dealer will have it soon. The Honda 750 Four. When you twist the throttle, remember one thing. You asked for it.” -Honda ad, 1969 “Single overhead cam, four cylinders, four carburetors and 67 ponies at 8000 rpm. Without a doubt, the wildest engine to come along in many a moon!” -Motorcyclist, July 1969 “It was the neatest thing I’ve ever seen.
WHEN CYCLE WORLD READERS LAST SAW THIS 1970 HONDA CB750 K0, IT WAS limping its way across the Mojave Desert, gulping a quart of oil every 100 miles courtesy of a badly cracked crankcase. A year-and-a-half later, it’s been restored to better-than-showroom condition.
IN 1969, HONDA'S CB750 WAS BIG NEWS, BUT KAWASAKI'S H1 MACH III WAS THE KING OF QUICK
THE PHRASE “MORE BANG FOR THE BUCK” WAS coined for the Atom Bomb, but applies much more agreeably to Kawasaki’s sensational H1 three-cylinder, two-stroke street machine. Selling at $999 when it hit showroom floors in 1969, the H1 was the “equalizer” that thousands of riders of smaller Japanese machines had been waiting for.
AGV Sport’s Grand Touring suit is manufactured in Italy by Corner. Top-grade, 1.2-1.3mm Italian cowhide is used throughout for its natural feel, elasticity and resistance to tear and abrasion, says AGV. Highlights include two interior breast pockets, a dropped back, reflective striping and a velcro-adjustable mandarin-style collar. The pants have a zippered, snap-close waist, two zippered handwarmer pockets and accordion panels above the seat and knees. Both garments are mesh-lined, and dual-density, molded-polyurethane foam covers the elbows, shoulders, hips and knees. Seams are double-stitched, with triple and quadruple stitching in high-impact zones.
ROAD RACE TWO-PIECE
Bates Leathers uses only topgrain, 1.3-1.5mm, first-cut cowhide. Custom sizing and choice of colors is guaranteed, and each piece of leather is checked for strength, thickness and quality, says Bates. The Road Race Two-Piece employs closed-cell foam padding and a second layer of leather at the shoulders, elbows and forearms, hips and knees. A second layer of leather covers the seat. The mandarin collar is velcro adjustable, but open-mandarin and snap-closure collars are also available.
At a suggested retail price of $1800, the German-made Monaco suit is the most-expensive in our comparison. But unlike the other offerings, the Monaco is waterproof, thanks in part to its removable Gore-Tex liner. The outer shell is vattanned, 1.2mm cowhide, specially impregnated to repel water and improve breathing. Removable, preformed Suprotect padding is fitted at the shoulders, elbows and knees, and there is a pocket for BMW's optional back protector. Breast and handwarmer pockets are complemented by a removable waterproof pouch. Additional features include a full-circumference zipper and a perforated liner. The Monaco is only available in black.
ERBO PRO STAR
The Erbo Pro Star is manufactured in Germany from 1.2-1.4mm, top-grain cowhide. It has a padded, mandarinstyle collar, brass zippers, four zippered pockets and is fully lined. Graphics are sewn over the bottom layer of leather, not pieced together. The pants have an elasticized waist, a full-circumference zipper, accordion panels above the knees and seat and stretch Kevlar inserts behind the knees. Protection comprises plastic cups sandwiched between closed-cell foam at the shoulders, elbows and knees, with Erbo’s Kevlar-backed, multi-layer padding at the hips. Ventilation is supplied by thousands of tiny holes in the front of the suit. Several color choices are available.
The Italian-made Luce is cut slightly looser than Dainese’s roadracing suits for a more-comfortable, off-track fit. Topgrain, 1.0-1.3mm cowhide is used throughout, and the jacket and pants are cut from the same hide to ensure uniform coloring. Foam-backed composite plastic is located at the shoulders, elbows, forearms and knees, with a layer of closed-cell foam at the hips and shins. The Luce is the only suit in the comparison with standard replaceable knee pucks. Other features include a mesh liner, a full-circumference zipper, three zippered exterior pockets, a reflective strip across the back of jacket and accordion panels above the knees and seat. Double leather covers the seat, and extra-long leg zippers and perforations behind the knees are standard.
Made in Korea using 1.2-1.4mm, drum-dyed cowhide. Fieldsheer's "safety" stitching—one seam folded and stitched within another, leaving only one seam exposed—is used through out the suit. Features include mesh lining, a padded mandarin-style snap collar, one interior pocket, a dropped back and a full-circumference zipper. Memoryfoam padding protects the elbows, shoulders, knees and hips, and there are pockets for Fieldsheer's optional, closed-cell foam. Ram-air ventilation complemented by perforation in sleeves, under arms and behind knees. Available in three color combinations.
HEIN GERICKE HYPERSPORT JACKET AND SQUADRON PANT
In addition to its Firstgear and Vetter lines, Intersport Fashions West produces the Hein Gericke Limited Edition Hypersport jacket and Squadron pant. Both are manufactured in Korea from 1.3-1.4mm, top-grain, drum-dyed cowhide. Features include reflective panels, a velcro-adjustable mandarin collar, and full-circumference and 10-inch waist zippers. Plastic cups adorn the shoulders, elbows and knees, and a temperfoam backpad protects the spine. One inside pocket and two zippered handwarmer pockets provide storage space. The pant has an adjustable, elasticized waist, padded hips, accordion panels and anti-bunching inserts behind the knees. Both garments can be purchased separately.
Motoport’s Akito Olympic suit is constructed from 1.4mm, drum-dyed goatskin, which, according to the manufacturer, provides higher tear strength and more abrasion protection than cowhide. The mesh-lined Olympic includes a full-circumference zipper, a snap-down mandarin collar and double stitching at critical seams. Ventilation zippers are located in the arms and back. Removable TriArmor (plastic membrane sandwiched between foam) protects the back, shoulders, elbows, forearms and knees, with a layer of foam at the hips. Knee sliders are sold separately. The Akito Olympic comes with a two-year guarantee, and the jacket and pants can be purchased separately. Several color combinations are available.
The Flash is manufactured in San Jose, California, using top-grain, 1.5-2.5mm, competition-weight cowhide. Protection consists of molded plastic sandwiched between closed-cell foam at the shoulders, elbows, forearms and knees. At each hip is a waterproof combination of closed- and opencell foam backed by Kevlar. Zippers are underlaid with leather in all exposed areas. Two zippered interior pockets are standard. Included in the price of our suit were accordion panels above the seat and knees, and Kevlar inserts at the crotch, elbows, behind the knees and under the arms. Venting costs an additional $80-$120. Graphics are applied over the base leather, not by piecing sections together. Helimot offers a complete repair service.
PRO SPORT PRO STREET
At $272, the Pro Sport Pro Street is the least-expensive suit in our comparison. It is manufactured in Pakistan from drum-dyed, 1.4mm, split-grain cowhide, and nylon stitching is used throughout. Pro Sport's Proform padding—a high-density foam—covers the elbows and knees. Additional features include a mesh liner, a snapdown mandarin collar, a full-cir cumference waist zipper and accordion panels above the seat and knees. The Pro Sport Pro Street suit is available in three color choices.
Teknic’s top two-piece offering is the Magnum sport-touring suit. It is produced in Korea from 1.4mm, drum-dyed cowhide, and has a velcroadjustable mandarin collar, a full-circumference zipper, double-stitched seams and accordion panels above the waist and knees. Sponge rubber padding and a second layer of leather covers the shoulders, elbows, knees and hips. Dual-density foam is also available, and will slip inside the liner pockets. Underarm vents and perforated forearms supply fresh air. The Magnum is available in five color combinations.
Vanson uses top-grain, 1.2-1.5mm, drum-dyed American cowhide in the manufacture of its two-piece Sport Rider suit. Both jacket and pant are fully lined, and can be worn separately or zipped together using the attached 10-inch panel. Vanson racing armor is located at the shoulders, elbow, forearms and knees, and can be removed through a zipper in the liner. Underarm holes and zippered exit vents provide ventilation. The pant has ribbed expansion panels above the knees, two zippered pockets and one snap-close hip pocket. Legs are tapered to fit inside riding boots. The jacket can be purchased in a wide range of colors and graphics; pant is only available in black.
VETTER TURN 2
Manufactured in India using drumdyed, 1.1-1,3mm, top-grain cowhide, the Turn 2 jacket boasts rotated sleeves, a dropped back, nylon lining, an elasticized waist with a full-circumference zipper and Intersport’s patented ventilation system. The shoulders and elbows are foam padded, as are the hips and knees. Two-ply nylon thread is used at all seams. The pant has accordion panels above the seat and knees, and perforations behind the knees. Both are backed by a comprehensive warranty.
Z Custom Leather’s two-piece suit is called the Voyager. It is manufactured from 1.2-1.3mm top-grain, vat-dyed cowhide, finished to Z’s specs. The jacket has an action back with perforated facing, and zippered air vents in the chest, back and biceps area. A two-piece waistband and sloping back covers the full-circumference waist zipper. There are two external cargo pockets and one inside breast pocket. A second layer of leather and precurved, anatomically correct closed-cell foam protect the knees, shins, elbows, forearms and hips, with foam only at the shoulders. A second layer of leather blankets the seat. All zippers are brass. Options include piping ($30), plastic armor ($25 per pair) and coolvent stretch inserts behind the knees ($35). Prices includes custom sizing and a dry-cleanable finish. A full repair service is available.
THE LATE MIKE HAILWOOD SPENT THE better part of his two-wheeled racing career cloaked in the most basic of black leathers. Padding was minimal at best, consisting of little more than a second swatch of leather at the shoulders, elbows and knees.
Kenny Roberts on the USGP, Wayne Rainey, cornering styles and wild rumors
ITALY’S LUCA CADALORA won the 500cc USGP at Laguna Seca on a Team Roberts Yamaha. Last year’s winner, John Kocinski, rode hard into second on a Cagiva. Australian Mick Doohan, already 1994 world champion with three races to go, set pole time but finished third.
YOU DIVE INTO THE TURN DEEPER THAN COMMON SENSE ALLOWS, ease off the brakes at a ludicrous lean angle. The front end pushes a bit as you head for the apex. With knee skimming the deck, ready to catch the bike should the front wash out, you crack open the throttle, shifting weight off the front to balance traction.
AS WITH ANY GP FORMULA, THE RULES GOVERNING THE California Mini Road Racing Association’s 80cc GP class promote variety in machinery. The following are just a few examples of the bikes and racers Team Cycle World's KX80 confronted on the track.
Twenty-six years later, the littlest Honda still delivers a smile
BACK IN 1968, THE FIRST FATHER on the block to buy a Honda Mini-Trail 50 purchased instant popularity. With its cute looks, small size and easy handling, the Mini attracted kids like free candy. In the 26 years since, more than 400,000 Mini-Trails have been sold.
I’D HAVE GIVEN ANYTHING to see the faces of the Cycle World staff after the first day of this year’s Nevada Rally. The press release faxed to the office said, “Cycle World Magazine editor wins Day One.” Well, hey, my job description for the week was to be a racer in the Acerbis Nevada Rally.
LaRocco, Henry and Aaron all collect championships
U.S. stopped at MX des Nations
Corser triumphs in AMA Superbike
New Zealander Aaron Slight, riding for Castrol Honda, took over the World Superbike points lead in late August when his lost points from the series’ opening round, at Donington Park, in England, were reinstated. Slight finished second in both of Donington’s motos-he’s been very consistent about doing just that all season long, with six second places at presstime leading to his current points standing—but was disqualified when a post-race check of his Honda RC45 turned up traces of illegal fuel.
SECURING YOUR MOTORCYCLE FOR transport can be a worrisome proposition. Under heavy loads or when improperly fitted, standard tie-downs can collapse and release from their moorings, leading to disaster. Secure Straps (1632 Industrial Ave., Norco, CA 91760, 909/279-1453) has a solution to this problem.
As a Massachusetts resident, I like to start riding as early as possible in the year, and ride as long as possible into the winter. This forces me to ride when the mercury dips to some very low levels. The temperature gauge on my 1992 Kawasaki ZX-6 tends to stay way down in the lower ranges and doesn’t seem to increase much during my short rides to and from work every day.