INFO-SCRAPS, DATA FRAGMENTS, LITTLE-known facts and late-breaking news that wouldn’t fit anywhere else: Moto Trivia #1: What part did motorcycling play in the career of the world’s most famous canine? According to TV. Guide, the collie that went on to become the beloved Lassie was abandoned by its original owners because they couldn’t break the dog of a nasty habit: chasing after motorcycles....
LAST SUMMER, WHEN BARB AND I RODE a borrowed Harley Road King down the coast of California, we detoured off the Coast Highway to visit our old friends Gil Nickel and Beth Yorman in the Napa Valley. Gil is just an average guy—an Oklahoma native, math wizard and former aerospace physicist (yes, an actual rocket scientist) who taught himself winemaking, bought a defunct winery called Far Niente and turned it into an award-winning producer of chardonnays and cabernets.
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PARTS ARE THOSE I call “highly evolved." By that I mean that the parts have been through several cycles of failure and redesign, each time coming closer to an ideal shape and material. Such parts evolve in response to difficult applications where failure is likely.
I very much enjoyed the January issue of Cycle World. It was balanced very well-a little about old bikes, some new bikes, and by far my favorite, “The $500 Ride.” This is the best article I have read in my 20 years of obsessing over motorcycles.
Would you appreciate more engine performance from your Suzuki GSXR600 or RF600R? If so, Franx Machine Worx (430 E. 170th St., South Holland, IL 60473; 708/339-2601) may have the answer. Designed as a bolt-on application, the Franx Machine Worx Big-Bore Piston Kit will boost your engine’s displacement to 800cc. The supplied pistons have deep, large-diameter valve pockets for use with oversize valves and high-lift camshafts. Each kit is machined into the customer’s supplied cylinder and returned in ready-to-assemble form, says Franx. List price for the Franx Machine Worx Big-Bore Piston kit is $1095 plus shipping.
FRANX MACHINE WORX
MEGUIAR’S MIRROR GLAZE NO. 18
If you're tired of peering through a smeared or scratched faceshield or windscreen, Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze No. 18 may provide a solution. Mirror Glaze is said to remove surface scratches while restoring optical clarity. An 8-ounce spray bottle of Meguiar's Mirror Glaze No. 18 retails for $5.95 from Meguiar’s Inc., 17991 Mitchell South, Irvine, CA 92714; 800/545-3321.
FRANX MACHINE WORX
CERIANI BILLET INVERTED FORK
Boost the appearance and handling of your 1984-to-present Harley-Davidson Evolution Big Twin (with exception of the FLH series) or late-model Sportster with a Ceriani billet inverted fork from Storz Performance (239 S. Olive St., Ventura, CA 93001; 805/ 641-9540). Manufactured in Italy, the Enrico Ceriani-designed fork features billet aluminum lower legs mated to 43mm sliders and 54mm aluminum alloy stanchions. Damping from the cartridge-style design is said to provide a smooth, controlled ride. Supplied with axle and stem, the kit will accept the stock wheel, brakes, fender, headlight and handlebar assembly. Spring rates are selected for each individual application. Suggested retail price for the Ceriani billet inverted fork is $1850.
FRANX MACHINE WORX
SILK GLOVE LINERS
Tour Master’s silk glove liners are designed to help keep hands warm and prevent blisters. The gloves have ribbed lycra wristbands and come with a 90-day guarantee, says Tour Master. They are available in black in S-XL sizes. Suggested retail for the Tour Master silk glove liners is $10. For more information, contact Tour Master (2360 Townsgate Rd., Westlake Village, CA 91361; 805/3736868) or your local motorcycle dealer.
FRANX MACHINE WORX
PREMA MOTORCYCLE COVER
Mother Nature can have a devastating effect on motorcycles. In response, Dow Canvas offers its Prema motorcycle cover. Black and maroon in color, the Prema is made of Dri-Flex, a weather-resistant, urethane-coated polyester. Highlights include scorch-resistant aluminized panels, reinforced grommets, an elastic cord hem and Dow’s Moisture Guard venting system. A flannel windshield liner is also included. Available in three sizes, the Prema motorcycle cover is backed by a two-year limited warranty and costs $130-$157. For information or a free catalog, contact Dow Canvas (4230 Clipper Dr., Manitowoc, WI 54220; 800/558-7755)
FRANX MACHINE WORX
QWIKSILVER II CARBURETOR KITS
$294 to $375
QwikSilver carburetor kits are now available for 1957-to-current Harley-Davidsons. The QwikSilver II is self-compensating for altitude, and its single-needle design is said to eliminate jetting confusion. Performance claims include unsurpassed air flow and fuel atomization. QwikSilver II carburetor kits range in price from $294 to $375, depending on the application. The company’s Max Flow chrome air cleaner is included with the kit, as is hardware and an installation and tuning manual. Contact QwikSilver (13465 Nomwaket Rd., Unit A, Apple Valley, CA 92308; 619/247-1714) or your local dealer.
FRANX MACHINE WORX
SIDI SRS OFF-ROAD BOOT
Sidi’s Italian-made SRS off-road boot features a replaceable sole. The benefits of the new sole are two-fold, says Sidi. First, the patented, screwed-on and bonded design can be easily replaced when worn out. Second, a plastic base provides additional rigidity, reducing impacts from hard landings. Available from Acerbis USA (9402 Wheatlands Ct., Suite A, Santee, CA 92071; 619/562-1440), the Sidi SRS off-road boot carries a suggested retail of $280. It is sold in white/blue/gray or red/black/white color combinations in sizes 8-12. Sidi boots are backed by a 14-day comfort guarantee and lifetime guarantee on materials and workmanship.
FRANX MACHINE WORX
STOP ANTI-THEFT MOTORCYCLE ALARMS
Stop Anti-Theft Systems Inc. has developed a new line of motorcycle security systems. Six modelsߞthe M series covers most Japanese, Italian and German makes, while the H series is specifically for Harley-Davidson—are available. Redesigned circuitry draws 70 percent less battery power than that of previous models, and the factory warranty has been extended to two years, says the manufacturer. Prices for the Stop Anti-Theft alarm systems range from $125-$230, depending on application and choice of options. For more information, contact Stop Anti-Theft Systems, Inc., 1800 N.W. 167th PI., Suite 110, Beaverton, OR 97006; 800/536-7852.
PORSCHE WILL ENTER THE motorcycle market with a technological tour de force unlike anything else on two wheels, says Motorrrad Reisen & Sport, a German magazine. A Porsche spokesman in Germany denies that the company is developing a motorcycle, but sources say the bike will appear in 1996 or '97.
HONDA WILL TAKE AIM AT Open-class performance honors with its CB-XX, a light, extremely powerful 1100cc sportbike designated for production in early 1996, say European and Japanese sources. In some overseas markets, Japanese manufacturers have claimed more than 150 horsepower for their big-bore machines.
DUCATI CHOSE THE Bologna Show to introduce its limited-edition 916 Senna. The bike, mechanically unchanged from the standard 916, honors Ayrton Senna, the late Brazilian Formula One driver who won three world championships prior to his death last year in a racing accident.
The International Norton Owners Association will hold its 20th anniversary rally July 19-23 in Reading Center, New York, approximately 150 miles southeast of Buffalo. For information, contact Jim Noll, 58 Merwin Ave., Rochester, NY 14609, or call 716/589-9053.
AV-MAX-POWERED sportbike has always been an intriguing concept. Now, it’s a reality, thanks to PDQ Motorcycle Developments, a English tuning shop that builds the ultratrick Battlemax. “We’re going after the Bimota Tesi,” says Larry Webb. PDQ president, who adds that, at current exchange rates, the 440-pound Battlemax will cost $32,000.
TRIUMPH IS TEAMING with Cosworth, maker of championship-winning Formula One and Indy Car engines, to create a line of single- and twin-cylinder motors, say insiders. Triumph will confirm none of this, but European and British sources insist a 750cc, liquid-cooled, eight-valve vertical-Twin will appear next year in a Bonneville sportbike with a Ducati-style trellis frame.
BEFORE LONG, THERE will be another Italian company producing V-Twin-powered motorcycles. Aprilia has displayed a prototype of its V-Twin engine, which is expected to power a variety of streetbikes and racers. Little specific information was released about the engine or the bikes it will power, but the fuel-injected, liquid-cooled motor appears to be very small and light.
HONDA HAS RELEASED an all-new XR250R that appears ready to challenge Kawasaki’s KLX250 for class honors. In fact, XR specs suggest Honda may have used the KLX250 as a benchmark. A new frame for the 250R, along with fresh plastic, seat and gas tank, should give a thinner profile than that of the old XR, a profile much like the KLX’s.
My response to pulling this issue from Cycle World's dusty, musty archives? “Hey, that's exactly what I'm looking for!" It was the cover bike, a 1970 Yamaha XS650, tested here for the first time anywhere. More precisely, it was the front brake worn by that bike.
DUCATI 900SS CR Sporting Italian style at a hot price
DUCATI'S 900SS CR doesn't get the glory of the Italian firm's 916, but the half-faired CR earns a pile of praise as big as Rome’s Coliseum. For $7725, you get a finely crafted motorcycle that’s a delight to experience even before you hit the road.
UP: To Best Buy, a consumer electronics and appliance store, for a superior advertisement. A recent multi-page Best Buy ad insert included several televisions, all with simulated pictures showing motorcycle roadracing. As D.T. Risdall, a Cycle World reader from Bloomington, Minnesota, notes, "This type of exposure to a mainstream portion of the population can do our sport nothing but good."
DO GOOD THINGS COME IN threes? Sure they do. Larry, Moe and Curley, for example. Guitar, bass and drums. Bacon, eggs and toast. Also, cylinders. After some initial hunting and pecking, the new Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. has discovered this, just as BMW did, and Laverda, and the old Triumph did.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON SUPER GLIDE vs. HONDA AMERICAN CLASSIC EDITION
DYNA SUPER GLIDE
WHEN IT COMES TO CRUISERS, THERE ARE certain givens: We all know that Harley-Davidson, the company that builds the stereotypical cruiser, sells every last motorcycle it produces. We know that since the early ’80s, Japanese manufactures have tried to tap into that lucrative Harley market with their own American-style cruisers.
DAVE AND DAN HANLON, CO-founders of the new Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Manufacturing Division are finishing up the styling of their 1997 Super X, a high-tech 1385cc cruiser, and they want your help. “We’ve gone through several design proposals and have taken elements from the different concepts to come up with this version, which we’re pretty happy with,” says Dave Hanlon.
INDIAN CHIEF VS. TRIUMPH SPEED TWIN, 50 YEARS LATER
THEY’RE STATELY, NOW, RESPONSIBLE AND respected seniors that have earned the quiet, pampered lives they lead, a bit like race horses finally put to stud. But there was a time when the raucous blasts of their exhausts registered state-of-the-art combustion and red-mist adrenaline levels.
THE V-TWIN GREW FROM THE SINGLE BY A PROCESS OF budding. All early bikes were Singles, and when more power was needed, the easiest way to get it was simply to grow another cylinder off the original crankcase, and hook both con-rods to the single, original crankpin.
TRIUMPH BUILT VERTICAL-TWINS IN 1913 AND 1933, but none was successful until this Speed Twin. Designer Edward Turner, a man characterized as ruthlessly ambitious, went straight for simplicity. What can we afford to build that the public will prefer to a Single?
Dr. Thompson puts the Ducati 900SP to the ultimate test—the Test of Naked Truth—on the strange and dangerous blacktop of the Real World
HUNTER S. THOMPSON
THERE ARE SOME THINGS NOBODY NEEDS IN THIS world, and a bright-red, hunch-back, warp speed 900cc cafe-racer is one of them-but I want one anyway, and on some days I actually believe I need one. That is why they are dangerous. Everybody has fast motorcycles these days.
"YOU SOUND crazy," he growled over the phone, his voice rumbling like loose gravel trapped in a cement mixer. I had just proposed to the Prince of Wild and Weird a ride through the Rockies on two very fast, very red motorcycles. “Crazy.” I didn't argue.
FOUR BACK-TO-BASICS MOTORCYCLES FROM GERMANY'S OTHER BIKE-MAKER
THINK OF IT AS THE BIGGEST leveraged buyout in history: One day there's East Germany, a Communist police state that’s spent 40 years keeping its citizens safe from capitalism and neon lights, and the next day, West Germany makes the beleaguered Commie management an offer that they can’t refuse.
JOE'S IDEA OF AN ENDURO BIKE IS A little bit different than Bob's. And Bob has the wrong idea, if you ask Fred. See, Fred takes his enduro bike out to hare scramble races, with the intention of win-ning the 250cc B class. Bob is faster, will go racing with Fred sometimes, but prefers trail riding just the same.
EVERY YEAR IN EARLY DECEMber, Dunlop carts a truck load of race tires to Daytona International Speedway for testing. Doing the riding are some of the top Superbike pilots from both AMA and world competition. This year's test, as always, provided a first look at a number of riders on new bikes.
AMA Grand National Champion Scott Parker was named the AMA's 1994 MotoWorld Athlete of the Year. Parker, who received his award at the AMA’s annual season’s-end award dinner, was selected from a field of nominees that included Supercross champ Jeremy McGrath and AMA Superbike Champion Troy Corser.
My '93 Kawasaki Vulcan 750 backfires out of the exhaust when I use the engine for braking. It has 15,000 miles on it but has been doing this since new. The harder the engine braking, the louder the backfire, which seems to happen right around 2800 rpm.
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.