WHILE IT MAY HAVE BEEN A BAD YEAR for major league baseball, the Royal Family (again) and celebrity spokespersons named after breakfast drinks, 1994 treated motorcycling pretty well. Up Front's annual look back at the past 12 months reveals more bouquets than Bronx cheers.
MOST OF US HAVE PROBABLY SEEN those inspirational gift-shop tracts (usually affixed to a piece of varnished knotty pine and hung on a wall) in which the anonymous writer tells us what he or she would do if given this life to live over again: “I would laugh more, make more friends, be kinder, learn to dance, take more chances, sing out loud, chew tobacco, learn Swahili...”
FOUR-STROKES, TWO-STROKES—WHY NO one-stroke engines? A four-stroke needs four end-to-end piston strokes to complete its cycle, a two-stroke needs two. What would a one-stroke engine be like? Well, one-stroke engines are already completely familiar to us under their proper name: guns.
David Edwards’ November column, “Incident on Angeles Crest,” struck a somber chord we should all take heed of. How many times has every one of us had too close of a call slamming through a corner quicker than we should have. Today’s motorcycles are not to blame—the cutting-edge technology they possess is unreal—user-error is almost always the cause of calamity.
Does your late-model Japanese dirtbike need more stopping power? If so, contact Braking (820 Manhattan Ave., Suite 101, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266; 800/484-7848 ext. 1122) for its Oversize Brake Kit. The kit consists of one 10.2-inch stainless-steel rotor, a machined caliper bracket and a pair of semi-metallic carbon-fiber brake pads. According to Braking, the rotor contains a high carbon content, and when properly broken-in will provide a higher friction coefficient than stock and a lower operating temperature. Suggested retail price for the Braking Oversize Brake Kit is $249 from motorcycle dealers.
BATTLAX BT-52 RADIAL
$285 and $310
Bridgestone's latest DOT-approved high-performance racing tire is the Battlax BT-52 Radial. According to Bridgestone, the BT-52 incorporates a completely new tread design and compound, and is the result of the company's development program in AMA supersport racing. Two rear sizes (160/60-ZR17 for a 4.5-inch rim and 180/55-ZR17 for a 5.5-inch rim) are available. Prices are $285 and $310, respectively. For additional information, contact your local dealer or Bridgestone (50 Century Blvd., Nashville, TN 37214; 615/872-5000).
If you’re shopping for a new street helmet, Shoei’s RF-700 Nobby—complete with three-dimensional barbed wire, lightning bolt and spike graphics—may be an appropriate choice. Highlights include a lightweight, fiberglass shell, a one-touch, quick-release shield system, and chin, forehead and exhaust ventilation. The Shoei RF-700 Nobby retails for $425 and is available from motorcycle dealers in XXS-XXL sizes. For more information, contact Shoei Safety Helmet Corp. (333 S. Hope St., Suite 2550, Los Angeles, CA 90071; 213/628-0275).
REPRODUCTION INDIAN CYLINDER HEADS
Jerry Greer’s Indian Engineering (8400 Monroe Ave., Unit 3, Stanton, CA 90680; 714/826-9940) sells reproduction cylinder heads for 194053 Indian Chiefs. Manufactured in the U.S., these asymmetrical aluminum castings are CNC-machined for accuracy, says Greer, and carry a suggested retail of $400 per pair for the 74 c.i. Chief, and $500 per pair for the Bonneville or 80 c.i. Chief. The reproduction Indian cylinder heads are sold only in pairs from Jerry Greer’s Indian Engineering.
VINCENT MOTORCYCLE CLOTHING
Vincent Motorcycles is in the midst of a comeback, further evidenced by its new line of casual clothing. The line includes three-button pullovers ($45), baseball caps ($15-25), T-shirts ($17) and leather-and-wool varsity jackets ($300). All products are manufactured in the U.S., and a full range of sizes is available from MotorSports Gallery (P.O. Box 2480, Dept. CW, Oceanside, CA 92051; 800/432-4531).
$150 or $199
Custom Chrome offers a solution to the problem of mounting dual ignition coils to your 1984-present Harley-Davidson FXR or late-model Softail. The company’s dual-coil mounting kit is manufactured from chrome-plated billet aluminum and is said to hold two Dyna or RevTech single or dual-tower ignition coils. Each kit includes chrome-plated mounting hardware, and costs $150 or $199, depending on the application. For additional information, contact your dealer or Custom Chrome (16100 Jacqueline Ct., Morgan Hill, CA 95037; 800/729-3332).
ALL THE NUMBERS are in on the new ZX-6R, and they make a decent case for Kawasaki’s claim that the 6R will achieve class superiority. If that contention is correct, it further supports the notion that you get what you pay for. The 6R retails for $7899, $800 more than the ZX-6.
HONDA, NEVER ONE TO subscribe to the “Why change a good thing?” theory, has introduced a lightly revised ST1100. The bike was good enough to be named CW’s Best Tourer in 1994, but Honda says subtle changes make the 1995 model even better. A new windscreen is wider and more rigid, offering greater protection for rider and passenger.
THE ITALIAN RECIPE FOR A Speed Four is simple: Take one Triumph Daytona, remove fairing, change headlight and graphics. Numero Tre, the Italian Triumph importer, created the Four, a larger version of the Speed Triple; the factory may follow suit.
Honda’s champions get something else beside the glory, adulation and financial rewards of winning a title: Honda gives them one of the race-bikes that made the championship possible. Mick Doohan, the first man to win the 500cc crown for Honda since Eddie Lawson in 1989, was recently given an NSR500 at a Tokyo press conference.
Do you want to ride in Europe, maybe a with a friend or two, but not with a group? If so, consider EuroTours’ EuroBike-95. The firm will fly you and your motorcycle to Sweden in June and turn you loose for a month. For more information, contact EuroTours USA, P.O. Box 82, Marina, CA 93933; 408/384-6808.
HAVING SAVORED THE success of Jacky Martens’ 1993 500cc Motocross World Championship aboard its 610 Thumper, Husqvarna aims to make its 1995 125cc two-strokes into championship-caliber mounts The WXC125 and the enduro-variant WXE each get a new engine and frame.
MOTORCYCLISTS MAKE up only about nine percent of the population, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, but we’re remarkably similar to the other 91 percent. With the exception of the male-female ratio, MIC statistics for motorcycle riders are close to those of the general populace.
The 1960s were officially history, but, even in this new decade, motorcyclists everywhere were still fighting an old reputation fuelled by images of Hell’s Angels and Easy Rider. • And then came Bronson. In its January, 1970, issue, Cycle World reviewed the new television show starring a laconic Michael Parks, “the Hemingway of Harley,” who travelled far and wide on a Sportster, doing good deeds along the way.
GOODMAN ENGINEERING’S Harley-powered cafestyle bike recalls an era gone by, but it may be history because Harley won’t supply Sportster engines. An H-D spokesman says the company is running at full production and needs all the engines it can make.
M atheis & Klose, a German design firm, has unleashed the Raptor, a heavily modified, standard-style Yamaha FZR1000 with a dinosaur name and a scaly paint scheme. They plan to sell 20 Raptor kits, each of which includes new instruments, handlebar, exhaust, air scoops, gauges, seat and bodywork.
Top Ten Reasons It’s Okay for Dweebs—and Others—to Ride Helixes (Heli?)
HI, MY NAME IS DAVE AND I’m a dweeb-aholic. I’ve done pretty well since our last DA meeting. My beloved pocket protectors? Ash-canned without remorse. My charter lifetime subscription to PC Shopper? Canceled, refund in full. The AMC Pacer wagon (exc.
UP: To the Motorcycle Industry Council, for reaching its 80th anniversary in robust health. The MIC, a non-profit trade association that represents the motorcycle industry, was developed by a group of five men, including Arthur Davidson, one of the founders of Harley-Davidson.
HONDA TO KAWASAKI: "BRING ON YOUR OWN ZX-6R; WE'RE READY!"
RUMORS CAN BE VICIOUS, especially when they're wrong. Early teases of an all-new CBR600RR for 1995 had hardcore sportbike aficionados and supersport racers thirsting for a scaled-down 900RR that would set high-water marks for power, weight and handling in the middleweight class.
IT WAS 1967. THE MAN IN BLACK LEATHERS WAS Mike Hailwood. He and the motorcycle he would ride to fame were why I’d come to the Canadian GP. Hailwood, stooping slightly, was speaking to a mechanic, the six-cylinder Honda 250 leaning against his leg.
KB EWS OF SOMETHING SPECIAL IN THE Honda camp spread throughout the Monza paddock. The year was 1964 and Honda had flown in a secret weapon with hopes of retaining the 250cc world championship. Hidden beneath a tarpaulin in Jim Redman's pit was the sensational RC Six.
A VISIT TO A MOTORCYCLE SHOWROOM these days can quickly induce a strong case of sticker shock. With many bikes commanding five-digit prices and more than a few exotics exceeding the cost of a new Mercedes, it’s easy to conclude that having a motorcycle in the garage requires a second mortgage on the house.
AS THEY SANG IN THAT CULT MOVIE CLASSIC THE ROCKY HORROR Picture Show, let’s do the time warp again. The bizarre film was near its peak of popularity in 1978, when Yamaha released the SR500, and like the film, the bike is a cult classic, too. Motorcycles, if not movies, have come a long way since 1978, but for better or worse, the SR hasn’t changed much.
INDIA'S SR: TAKING A SWISS ARMY KNIFE TO A TWO-WHEELED CAN OF WORMS
STAY WITH ME NOW, THIS IS WEIRD: FRITZ EGLI IS A horsepower-crazed Swiss specials builder. Enfield, now of Madras, India, is a last echo of Britain's once-glorious motorcycling empire. What, you ask, could these diametric opposites possibly have in common?
Indy car teams, rental trucks and... motocross shocks?
Penske Racing Shocks
Penske Racing Shocks
8900 Series shock
WHY WOULD ROGER PENSKE, BEST known for his championship-winning race cars, build shock absorbers for motocross bikes? Original-equipment MX suspension is practically state-of-the-art, and for high-flying Pros looking for an edge, proven aftermaket alternatives are available.
CARBON-FIBER IS MUCH IN EVIDENCE these days. It adorns motorcycles for both race and road, and now, it also adorns those who care about those machines. Carbon-fiber for people? Sure,in the form of high-tech attaché cases. These are offered by several manufacturers, but most are similar in two respects: They're made from unpainted carbonfiber, and fittings and interiors are straight from Samsonite attaché cases.
MOTORCYCLES MAY BE TICKETS TO freedom, but even the most-liberated travelers will find touring a trial if they can't bring along certain essentials. That's no problem with larger touring rigs, but motorcycles without built-in saddlebags or fairing compartments have little space for a change of clothes, raingear, a tool bag, toiletries or maps.
SWEATY PALMS ARE NEVER A GOOD thing, whether you're on a first date or charging into a decreasing-radius corner. For motorcyclists, the problem is easily remedied by wearing ventilated riding gloves. in designing its new Streetpaws, Fox (15850 Concord Circle, Morgan Hill, CA 95037; 408/776-8800) took a different approach to venting.
AS ROMANTIC, OLD-COUNTRY VACATION SPOTS GO, Cologne simply isn't in the running. It’s a dull, humid city perched on the banks of the Rhine in the flatlands of west-central Germany. Because of the depredations of WWII, it is almost completely without the classic architecture and charm most European visitors long for.
OKAY, SO YOU’RE CHECKING OUT THE NEW Triumphs, drooling over the classic lines of the Thunderbird, and thinking to yourself, “Man, oh man, brand-new Triumphs, just like my old Triumphs!” You couldn’t be more mistaken. “People want to believe there’s a continuity, a heritage,” says Michael Lock, Triumph’s brash young marketing manager, “they don’t want to believe we’re a new company.”
THE INTERNATIONAL Six Day Enduro. According to some, it’s the Olympics of motorcycling. Dating back to 1913, it is an endurance event, an equipment test and a race against the clock by some of the best off-road riders in the world. In the spirit of the Olympics, the ISDE is a team event in which nations are pitted against each other.
The AMA has responded to what it considers efforts to strip it of its professional racing programs by announcing a major restructuring. All professional racing will be sanctioned by a new company called AMA Pro Racing, said AMA President Ed Youngblood.
I am an older rider from the Seventies and currently own two Honda GL1000 Gold Wings-a ’75 and a ’77. My son is a rider of the Nineties and has a 1993 Honda CBR900RR. As is the case with all old and new riders, the discussion of yesterday’s bikes versus today’s comes up a lot.
We need your photos for Slipstream. We're looking for photos that make us smile because they say something about motorcycling. Submissions should be made to Slipstream, Cycle World, 1499 Monrovia Avenue, Newport Beach, CA 92663. To be returned, the photographs must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope.