HARD FOR ME TO BELIEVE, BUT IT’S closing in on 25 years since I bought my first streetbike. I was 15 that spring of 1971, about to graduate from my sophomore year at Thomas Stone High School, but still a good six months away from that holiest of grails, a driver’s license.
As I CLIMBED INTO MY SALT-SPATTERED van and headed down our driveway yesterday afternoon, I almost had to laugh (but not quite) at the sheer dismalness of the winter day: dark and wet with heavy fog and big snow clumps flopping out of trees (Fap!).
PASSENGER-VEHICLE FUEL ECONOMY has two faces. Little power is used while cruising at highway speeds, but for acceleration, eight or 10 times more may be required. In the past, this has been “solved" by giving every passenger vehicle an engine much bigger and heavier than needed for cruising-just so it could accelerate as necessary.
For a number of years, I have enjoyed Cycle World's excellent feature articles and service tips. But during the last year you have let your writers interject commentary regarding political and social agendas that I find entirely irrelevant to the subject of motorcycling.
Are your street-riding boots showing their age? If so, Alpinestars offers its 540 Tech Road boot. It boasts a fullgrain leather upper, protective Desmopan shields at the shin, toe and heel, with a zippered rear opening for easy entry, says Alpinestars USA (3860 Del Amo Blvd., #401, Tor rance, CA 90503; 800/438-2577). Sold in sizes 7-12 in four colors, the Italian-made Tech Roads retail for $215 from motorcycle dealers.
X-TREEM WHEEL & TIRE CLEANER
Removing grit and grime from motorcycle wheels can be a formidable task. X-Treem Wheel & Tire Cleaner, manufactured by Hulcher Enterprises (1028 Shady Oaks Dr., Denton. TX 76205; 817/989-1400), is a PH-balanced, spray-on/ rinse-off solution that wil1 not stain or otherwise damage painted, clear-coated, polished or raw-aluminum surfaces, says the manufacturer. It is available at automotive accessory stores in a 16ounce spray for $9.95.
BREMBO BRAKE KIT FOR CBR900RR
Brembo now offers complete front brake kits for Honda's CBR900RR. The $1225 package includes full-floating 12.6-inch rotors, four-piston Gold Line calipers, magnesium mounting brackets, braided stainless-steel lines and a master cylinder with a 16mm bore and a remote reservoir. For more information, contact your local motorcycle dealer or Slater Brothers, P.O. Box 1, Mica, WA 99023; 509/924-5131.
Manufactured in the United States, Bagman Tank Bags are constructed of 1000-denier cordura nylon laminated to foam for long-lasting shape retention. The 14-liter BG-0001 retails for $l0l while the 18-liter BG 0002 costs $107. Both come with three-point mounting systems, rain covers and a removable pouch that doubles as a hip pack. For additional information, contact your local motorcycle dealer or the LeMans Seat Division, P.O. Box 265, Rogers, MN 55374; 612/428-8377.
UNIVERSAL IGNITION WIRES
Traditionally offered in yellow only, Accel's 8.8mm universal-fit ignition wires are now available in black. Highlights include brass terminals, silicone jackets, high-suppression graphite cores and a choice of 90-degree or variable-angle sparkplug boots. Prices for two-cylinder applications start at $16. For more information, contact your local motorcycle dealer or Accel Motorcycle Products, Mr. Gasket Performance Group, 8700 Brookpark Rd., Cleveland, OH 44129; 216/398-8300.
$2.58 to $3.98
Maxima Brake Fluid is now available in DOT 3, DOT 4 and high-temp racing-grade 550. The latter has a guaranteed minimum boiling point of 568 degrees F to assure fade-free braking under severe conditions. Advanced glycol blends keep your system in top condition and prevent vapor lock, says Maxima (9266 Abraham Way, Santee, Ca 92071: 619/449-5000). Sold in 8ounce bottles, Maxima Brake Fluid is available from motorcycle dealers for $2.58 to $3.98, depending on grade.
TUNED VELOCITY STACKS
$108 and $120
Sudco's tuned velocity stacks are designed for Keihin flatslide CR carbure tors and are said to improve midand upper-rpm power and driveability in stock engines, and peak performance in modified powerplants. Machined from aircraft-quality aluminum, they are available in I 5mm and 30mm lengths and cost $108 and $120 per four from motorcycle dealers or direct from Sudco International, 3014 Tanager Ave., Commerce, CA 90040; 213/ 728-5407.
Bates Leathers' 12-page color catalog features custom-made one-piece racing suits, two-piece sport riding and touring suits, and a range of traditional jackets, pants and chaps. Boots and deerskin gloves are also available. Design variations, pricing and a sizing chart are included. For a copy, send $5 to Bates Leathers, 3700 North Industry Ave., Unit 102, Lakewood, CA 90712; 310426-8668.
THERE’S ANOTHER NEOstandard in Japan, but American Suzuki isn't saying much about the new GSF1200, aka the Bandit 1200. Just introduced in the domestic market, and expected to go on sale in Europe next year, the GSF is powered by an enlarged version of the venerable GSX R1100 engine.
TRIUMPH'S NEW-GENERAtiOn Superbike will have an oval-tube frame and appear in early 1996, reports a European source. Housed in that frame will be a revised 900cc Triple with cylinders canted forward like Yamaha’s FZR models. Cosworth Engineering, which built crankcases for several Triumph models, will reportedly help develop and produce those engines.
YAMAHA WILL PRODUCE A second motorcycle with a forkless front end, confirms a European Yamaha source. Expect, sometime in 1996, a 900cc motorcycle considerably smaller and lighter than the GTS 1000, which showcased the company’s James Parker-designed front suspension.
You say your plain old, garden-variety, bright red 916 weighs too darn much and looks a bit dull? Event Technology could be the company for you. It now offers all things carbon-fiber for Ducati’s hottest motorcycle, as well as a dazzling “Custard Yellow” paint scheme created by a graphic artist.
Dubbelju Motorcycle Rentals has expanded its fleet. To its BMW R100R, Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster and Heritage Softail Classic, the company has added an R100R Mystic, a K75 and an XLH Sportster 883 Hugger. Single-day rentals start at $87 and include liability insurance, 100 miles per day and 24-hour roadside assistance.
SUZUKI HAS LET IT BE known that it will fight hard in Japan's new mini-Thumper war. It has just introduced a new DR250R Dual Sport for a late 1995 release in Japan. Specs suggest the DR, targeted to compete against the Yamaha TT250R, Honda XR250R (now available in a D-P version) and Kawasaki KLX250, will be a contender for best-in-class honors.
New motorcycling roads are
pop-ping up all over the Information
Superhighway. There’s everything
from America Online’s Cycle World Online,
to message boards covering subjects from
current racing to vintage mounts.Other commercial services offering motorcycle information are Genie (800/6389636), whose roundtable forum includes the AMA and Motorcycle Consumer News.
As we edged toward the new decade's first summer, Cycle World covered flat-track action from the Astrodome Nationals in Houston, Texas, a ladies trials competition in San Antonio, Spain, and bikes from here and abroad. “Crash, Pop, Bang, Crunch, Endo, Center Punch, Wobble, Dog Pile, High Side, Bail, Rattle Bars, Wahoo, They Shore Like That,” was what we called the flat-track story.
Now WF’RE CONFUSED. First we were told Cagiva’s Ferrari-designed 750cc Four would have forward-facing intakes, radial four-valve combustion chambers, even staggered cylinders like Audi’s narrow-angle V-four. Now, the reality seems to be entirely different.
IT'S EASY TO LAUGH AT GOLD Wings, but only until you actually get the chance to go somewhere on one of the things. Then all that size, weight and bulk mysteriously gets transmogrified into comfort, convenience and storage space you can't live without.
UP: To the Cross of Christ Community Church, located in Eagan, Minnesota, for its respectful attitude toward motorcycle riders. The church hosts an annual Ride-to-Church Sunday, which includes a free meal, outdoor service and live music.
LOOK, WE COULD BE WRONG ABOUT this. But we suspect that the American enthusiast's appetite for sheer, mind-numbing performance is approaching saturation. We suspect that bikes have gotten quick enough, and fast enough, and secure-handling enough, that only the top percentile of riders can use them to their fullest capabilities, and we suspect that as the riding public ages, a declining number is apt to put up with sporting ergonomics.
NEED A DOSE OF SMUG, BURN-THE-BASTARD-AT-THEstake heresy? Here, try this: "Triumph is in danger of becoming stale and old-fashioned. The chassis and styling are horribly boring and unimaginative. The initial excitement of seeing them back in the showrooms is over, and now there's nothing to thrill people with.
KAWASAKI SAYS THE VULCAN 800 IS MORE THAN JUST another new model. It is the first bike to reflect results culled from an intensive study of the cruiser market and the people who ride the kick-back machines. "Until now, we built cruisers based on what we thought people wanted," said Kawasaki Director of Sales John Hoover at the bike's press introduction.
LET'S BE HONEST, HERE: THE REASON THERE'S SO MUCH enjoyment in owning a Harley-Davidson has nothing to do with world-class, leading-edge performance. A big draw is that in contrast to countless Japanese cruisers, Harleys are as easy to customize as your bank account is fat.
SUZUKI GSX-R1100 AGAINS YAMAHA FZR1000 IN A BATTLE OF THE BIG-BORE REPLIRACERS
OH, H0W THE MIGHTY HAVE BEEN FORGOTTEN! SOMEHOW LOST IN All. THE HOOPLA AND EXCITEMENT surrounding the recent arrival of 900cc sportbikes is a pair of Open-class performance leaders, the Suzuki GSX-R1100 and the Yamaha FZR1000. No doubt the 900 formula that has given us the Honda CBR900RR. the Ducati 916 and the Kawasaki ZX-9 delivers a superb balance of power to weight, but the additional performance boost that liter-plus sportbikes offer throughout the power curve still holds high appeal for those of us who live for maximum two-wheeled rush. While smaller and lighter may equate to better handling on a tight or unfamiliar stretch of twisties, nothing quite matches the smooth, rhythmic experience of working a torque-strong big-bore up a zig-zag mountain grade.
THE QUICKEST WAY THROUGH A SET OF CORNERS? FORGET l000s. A 400 IS WHAT YOU NEED.
HERE'S A GIVEN: FEW PRODUCTION VEHICLES, two-wheeled or four, can approach the brutal acceleration of an Open-class sportbike. Here's another, trust us on this: When it comes to attacking a really gnarly set of twisties, something with more kinks than a San Francisco leather bar, nothing—n-o-t-h-i-n-g—will beat a 400cc repli-racer.
VOLKER RAUCH PHOTOGRAPHED grand prix racing. His pictures showed the sport and its practitioners as it, and they, never before had been seen. Working mostly in black-and-white, using his beloved 35mm Leicas, Rauch made photographs that smack the viewer in the eye with their rightness of composition, exposure and sharpness, with their sheer artfulness.
TOURING NEW ZEALAND BY TRIUMPH 1200 AND F650 BEEMER
"HERE'S THE KEY TO your room, sir," the cheerful woman at the reception desk said. "Would you like some nice fresh milk?" She held out a cold, dripping carton of milk. Okay. Non-sequitur time. My mind was addled for a moment. Maybe because I'd been on an airplane for 17 hours.
THIS IS A STORY OF DREAMS-DREAMS COME TRUE, dreams deferred and dreams abandoned. More than two decades ago, a young industrial designer named Craig Vetter found fame and fortune by designing aftermarket fairings and other touring-oriented accessories.
YESTERDAY THE MYSTERY SHIP, TOMORROW HARLEY-DAVIDSONS?
DOES THE NAME CRAIG VETTER RING A BELL? IF YOU'RE 40-something it does. You'll remember the Triumph Hurricane of the 1970s, maybe the Mystery Ship of the 1980s. You'll certainly remember his Windjammer fairings—probably because you owned one.
ERIK BUELL IS NOT ONE TO MAKE excuses, neither for himself nor his product. When we phoned Buell to inform him that our long-term Thunderbolt S-2 had developed an oil leak—prompted by an inadequately torqued rockerbox bolt that, in turn, resulted in a failed lower rockercover-to-cylinder-head gasket—he assured us that any problems encountered would be covered under the bike's one-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.
Honda CR250 vs. Kawasaki KX250 vs. KTM 250SX vs. Suzuki RM250 vs. Yamaha YZ250
MOTOCROSS IS A CUT-THROAT BUSINESS. ESPECIALLY THE 250cc class. For manufacturers, no other segment of the market demands an all-new model each year just to stay competitive. A lot is at stake. Build a sub-par machine and the grapevine knows it almost before the first bike is uncrated—kiss sales to Amateurs goodbye and put your Pro team behind an 8-ball of gigantic proportions.
SOME THINGS JUST DON'T MAKE SENSE. Paying almost $250 for a stock replacement seat on a 1982 Seca 650—a bike worth maybe $1000—is one of them. That’s the predicament Mr. Editor Edwards faced when the time came to renew the seating accommodations on his venerable, 25,000-mile Yamaha: A local dealership quoted $243 for a factory-replacement seat.
RAINSUITS ARE A BIT LIKE INSURANCE policies: Most of the time, they're a bothersome expense, but when faced with the unexpected, there is no such thing as too much coverage. Teknic’s Tornado adds a cheerful readiness to the common cloudburst.
"I hate Daytona. I hate Americans. That's why I'll win." —World Superbike Champ Carl Fogarty on the 1995 Daytona 200
LET'S GET ONE THING CLEAR. World Superbike Champion Carl Fogarty doesn't hate Americans. Rephrase that: Carl Fogarty doesn’t hate Americans any more than he hates anybody else. “Sure, I want to kick their asses at Daytona. I want to beat anybody anytime I race anywhere," he explains.
It now appears likely that 1994 was Cagiva’s final year as a player in GP racing’s color, pageantry and politics. Beset by financial problems and answering to bankers who insist that the company race something it sells, Cagiva apparently has pulled the plug.
I have a brand-new 1995 Harley-Davidson FXDS Convertible, and I would like to replace the rear shocks with aftermarket units from Koni. I know that Progressive Suspension also makes shocks that work well on Harleys, but I don’t like their complicated and inconvenient method of spring adjustment.
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.