As THIS COLUMN IS WRITTEN, JUST OVER one month has passed since brooding malcontents masquerading as patriots parked a rented van in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and walked away. Moments later, the van’s awful cargo—a crude but potent ammonium-nitrate bomb—exploded, bringing down half the building.
LET’S FACE IT: MOTORCYCLING DOES NOT have a tremendous number of historically famous persons to call its own. I don’t mean legendary insiders, such as motorcycle racers. We’ve got plenty of those. I’m thinking more of people who are world famous for accomplishments outside the motorcycle world—writers, statesmen, etc. Aviation seems to have attracted the lion’s share of colorful and literate public figures in this century.
A CRUCIAL ITFM IN EVERY MODERN motorcycle engine is its connecting-rod bolts. Inertia forces in a running engine increase as the square of rpm. Tooling along a backroad on a warm afternoon at 2000 revs, then revving out each gear to 13,000, involves an increase in revs of six-and-a-half times, but a stress increase in the reciprocating parts of 42 times.
I keep reading articles on motorcycles like the Diversion 900 and the XJR 1200 (see, “Yamahas You Can’t Buy,” CW, April), but I’m sick of the bikes I have longed for, hoped for, and have the money to pay for, being tagged as bikes I can’t buy.
Patrick Racing’s billet cylinder heads for H-D Evolution Big Twins and Sportsters are CNC-machined from 6061-T6 aluminum. They are ported for street use, polished to a brilliant sheen and will work in conjunction with the stock intake manifold and exhaust system. Bolt-on versions retail for $2595 per pair. S&S manifolds, aftermarket bolt patterns and revised valve angles cost extra. For more information, contact Patrick Racing, 10925 Kalama River, Unit E, Fountain Valley, CA 92708; 714/965-2957.
ONE STEP CYCLE CARE SYSTEM
Nortech’s One Step Cycle Care System was designed exclusively for motorcycles, says the manufacturer. It includes One Step Cycle Wash, Cycle Shampoo, Wet Shine polish, Preclean restorer, TKR leather and vinyl treatment, TR aluminum polish and Cleanview windshield polish. The company’s all-inclusive Works package costs $97; a Weekender kit lists for $21. All products are available separately, as well. To order direct, contact Nortech Cycle Systems, Rt. 2, Box 283AC, Sparta, NC 28675; 800/447-9630.
ALL-SEASON RAIN GLOVES
If you don’t mind riding in inclement weather but despise the thought of wearing soggy gloves, you might want to consider a pair of Stearns All-Season Rain Gloves. Distributed by Neat-Stuff Necessities (P.O. Box 178, Elmhurst, I1 60126; 800/721-5732), the preformed gloves are said to provide superior comfort and protection in rain, sleet and snow. Fully waterproof, they are manufactured from 3mm-thick neoprene and feature Sure-Grip palms, glued and blind-stitched seams and an adjustable wrist strap. Stearns rain gloves come in SXL sizes and retail for $22.
If your roadracing club’s sanctioning body requires fitment of a steering damper, you might want to consider the latest example from Toby. Imported by Lockhart Phillips USA (151 Calle Iglesia, San Clemente, CA 92673; 714/ 498-9090), these European-made, rebuildable dampers feature a compensator valve that is said to ensure consistent action, even under the heat of competition. To minimize stiction, sliding surfaces are micropolished. Prices include mounting hardware and start at $240 from motorcycle dealers.
The Canyon Dancer Bar Harness takes the worry out of motorcycle transport by spreading tie-down loads over the width of the handlebars. What’s more, its patented cross strap design eliminates damage to the grips, throttle housing and gas tank. Constructed from high-strength nylon webbing, the $30 Harness fits most sportbikes and installs in seconds, says the manufacturer. It is not recommended for bikes with high-rise bars. For more information, contact your local motorcycle dealer or Canyon Dancer, 2040 Stonybrook Dr., Red Bluff, CA 96080; 916/527-7926.
TECH 7 OFF-ROAD BOOTS
Shopping for a new pair of off-road boots? Italian-made Tech 7 boots from Alpinestars (3860 Del Amo Blvd., Suite 401, Torrance, CA 90503; 800/438-2577) boast full-grain premium-cut leather construction, vibration-absorbing insoles, non-deforming shin plates, steel inner shanks and patented ankle support. Four replaceable cam-buckles lock the boot in place, yet allow vertical ankle motion, says the company. Nine color combinations in sizes 5-15 are offered. They retail for $290 from motorcycle dealers.
UNTIL. NOW, NEW Zealand's John Britten has been reluctant to discuss his involvement with the Indian Motor Company being set up by Australian investor Maurits Hayim-Langridge, but in a letter to Cycle World Britten confirmed he has been working on prototypes.
BIKES WILL BE MADE IN THE USA, SAYS INDIAN'S NEW CHIEFTAIN
THE MAN WHO SAYS HE will bring John Britten-designed Indians to market has some strong ideas on what it will take for the company to be a success. Maurits Hayim-Langridge, the Australia-based money man behind the Indian Motor Company, says, “We’ll be building the motorcycles that Indian would be producing had they stayed in business all along...Back in the glory days of the ’teens and ’20s, Indian was at the cutting edge of performance technology, and we have to revive that tradition.
ONE OF THE BEST-KEPT secrets in motorcycle manufacturing is now up and running—and in doing so. helps explain the current worldwide shortage of Europe’s most in-demand two-wheeler, the Ducati 916. Ducati dealers around the world have been bitterly frustrated at the lack of availability of the highly regarded 916 and its new kid sister, the 748.
The success in Europe of BMW’s Rotax-powered, built-by-Aprilia F650 Funduro apparently has spawned a new line of Beemer street Singles. The first will be the "Funstrasse," a non-faired roadster using the F650 frame, but with 17-inch wheels (probably spoked) and a more stylish seat/tank combo.
WHEN ROADRACING fans in the Midwest first heard that the 1995 U.S. Grand Prix was coming to Road America in Wisconsin, many of them said it was too good to be true. As we now know, unfortunately, they were right. What went wrong? The short answer is that track modifications mandated by the FIM could not be completed.
Cycle World is looking for a few good plates. Personalized license plates, that is, 10 to be exact. If you think your motorcycle plate is among the wittiest, most humorous examples in the U.S., we want to know about it. Send a photo, along with your name, address and telephone number, to GR8 PL8S, c/o Cycle World, 1499 Monrovia Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92663.
"The Dragster: How and Why" took the cover this month. Inside was a day-in-the-life story about Californian Boris Murray and his 9-second, twin-engined Triumph dragbike as he prepared to take on the powerhouse East Coast racers.
BSA, ONCE THE BIGGEST of British bike-makers before going bust in 1973, may be back in business. England’s Motor Cycle News reports that a new two-stroke sportbike bearing the Barrakuda model name will be the first in a series of 125cc BSAs, with production planned for 1996.
By the time you read this, Mantras may be drawing crowds at your local Bimota emporium. Thirty examples of the controversial, art-deco-styled bike, powered by a Ducati 900SS V-Twin, are being brought to the U.S. by Bimota’s North American importer, Moto Cycle (401 Jones Mills Rd., Stahlstown, PA 15687; 412/593-6208).
Crashes and mechanical glitches have plagued the VR1000's sophomore season. Will it win soon? Will we ever be able to buy a road. going replica?
So, THE HARLEY-DAVIDSON VR1000’S second racing season has begun, and still this ambitious, long-in-gestation design has yet to achieve performance parity with its competition. When, in mid-1994, works rider Miguel Duhamel extracted a sensational fourth place at the super-fast Brainerd AMA National, we all joined the chorus of hope that this American effort would grow from strength to strength.
YEP, IT TAKES JAPANESE ENGIneers and designers to make Japanese motorcycles-factory guys inculcated with the One True Corporate Way. What's interesting is that the engineers and designers involved in bringing Yamaha's new TRX85O to reality weren't all factory guys.
I MET THE BRITTEN V-TWIN RACEBIKE IN A PREVIOUS LIFE. I WAS A FULL-TIME racer, the place was New Zealand and for the first couple of laps of a Formula One race at Ruapuna, my 888 Ducati was right on its butt, holding second place. Then we came out of a long, left-hand sweeper that gave onto the start/finish straight.
THE FIRST QUESTION HAS TO BE THIS ONE: WHY? It's a question John Britten himself struggles to answer. It's a case of fooling about in the workshop and getting seriously out of control. What started as a burning desire to build his own racebike has snowballed into a small, enthusiastic company employing 13 staffers.
BY NOW, WE'VE ALL SEEN THE RESULTS OF JOHN Britten's labor, a stunningly beautiful, stunningly fast motorcycle. It began as it should, with the engine, which was designed with strength in mind. It has to be. The Britten doesn’t have a conventional chassis.
IN 1914 INDIAN PIONEERED ELECTRIC START AND SWINGARM SUSPENSION ...AND STALLED PROGRESS FOR 40 YEARS
TO SFT THE STAGE FOR TRAGEDY, A quote from the sales literature describing the 1914 models from the Hendee Manufacturing Company, makers of the Indian Motorcycle: "Only the engineering staff which conceived and executed the motorcycle sensation of 1913—the Cradle Spring Frame-could add to that triumph in 1914 a practical, electric system for motorcycle use...They waited only long enough to allow the electric starter and electric lighting to prove themselves on the automobile.
WHEN HARRY SUCHER WROTE THE IRON REDSKIN, the definitive history of Indian, he concluded his account of the ill-fated Hendee Special with "no examples are known to exist." As these photos show, that statement, while correct at the time, has been rendered inoperative.
ANYONE TRULY LOOKING FOR THE TRANSPORTIVE experience promised in Steppenwolf's classic rocker "Magic Carpet Ride" needn't look much farther than a touring bike. These things are magic carpets, whisking their riders from place to place seemingly without effort.
“IT’S NOT TECH FOR TECH’S SAKE.” THAT’S THE FIRST THING Earl Werner, Harley’s head of engineering, has to say about the Ultra’s new fuel-injection system. “Harley-Davidson is not in a technology competition with anyone. When we apply technology, it’s to enhance the function of the motorcycle.” I’m sitting in a conference room in the big brick building on Juneau Avenue in Milwaukee, talking to Werner, who was a Corvette program manager at Chevrolet before coming to Harley, and to Skip Metz, the engineer in charge of the Ultra fuel-injection project.
BY NOW, YOU'RE PROBAbly familiar with reborn Triumph Motorcycles Limited. New to the U.S. for 1995, the British bike-maker's lineup consists of nine beautifully finished, threeand four-cylinder road-bikes in various sport, standard and sport-touring motifs, each of which has received a fair amount of press.
FRANCK DEPOISIER HAS NEVER met motorcycle design legend Craig Vetter, but that doesn't mean the Frenchman hasn't been touched by Vetter's magic. Vetter, of course, designed the Triumph X-75 Hurricane of the early 1970s, the bike that launched, some say, the cruiser revolution that even today continues to flex its muscles.
THE CURRENT CROP OF DIRTBIKES REPresents the most technically impressive collection of mud-slingers ever produced for public use. So, why don’t they offer external provisions for altering fork-spring preload? Good question. <p moved="true">Tru-Tec</p> (27930 Tyler, Unit 402, Canyon Country, CA 91351; 805/298-7601) has responded to that omission with its $120 <p moved="true">Quick Caps</p>.
WHILE IT’S TRUE THAT THE LATEST HIGHtech nylon-and-Kevlar riding suits offer an impressive combination of comfort, protection and water resistance, most experts still agree that cowhide tailored into a high-quality, form-fitting leather suit is still the motorcyclist’s best defense against crash-related abrasion.
I WAS FLAT ON MY BACK, LIMP AND RELAXED as my neck was tugged to one side. Cllaaaack! It sounded as if someone had just stepped on a roll of bubble packing material. A voice said to me, "If I was in your shape and could ride that fast, I'd do it. Now relax and I'll get the other side."
Perhaps the most stunning piece of news as the World Superbike series prepared for its 1995 season-opener at Hockenheim in Germany was that Doug Polen, who won a trio of championships for Ducati before defecting to Honda Racing Corporation for the 1994 and 1995 seasons, is looking for a ride.
I want to raise the gearing on my stock 1992 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy for an upcoming cross-country trip to Sturgis. Stock gearing uses a 71-tooth rear pulley and a 131-tooth drive belt. To avoid the considerable hassle of purchasing and installing Harley’s International Sprocket/Belt Kit, can I simply bolt on a stock 1995 rear pulley, which has 65 teeth, without having to replace my stock belt with the 129-tooth belt from a ’95 model?
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.