WHO WAS IT THAT SAID REVOLUTIONS start with but a single bullet? Well, how about one that began with a cannon shot across the bows of two-wheeled conventionality? That’s just how the Singles Revolution in the U.S. got started. “Huh? Time out and back up,” you say.
SO MUCH WAS I LOOKING FORWARD TO this assignment that I actually took an 8-week night-school class in Italian this past winter. My work seems to take me to Italy about once a year, so I decided it was high time I learned such important phrases as “Waiter, please give the check to my friend here,” and “Can you direct me to a famous cathedral with a men’s room?” The “assignment” was to drive a 1951 Ferrari 340 in the Mille Miglia road rally, and the man who invited me to co-drive this car was my old friend and motorcycle touring buddy, Gil Nickel.
AS A SMALL BOY, I WHEEDLED MY mother to read to me the encyclopedia articles on “Motor Car” and “Aeroplane”—even though I couldn’t understand much of it. I liked things that moved under their own power. I liked the sounds they made and I liked the words used to describe them.
I wholeheartedly agree with “Letter to Willie G. No.2” in the July ’95 issue. I ride Harleys because my father wrenched on old Knucks and Pans back in the ’50s. Many of the new-wave Harley riders seem to have mounted up because it makes a bold “fashion statement.”
Firstgear by Hein Gericke's Hypertex Expedition System jacket and pants form the most versatile clothing system in motorcycling, claims Intersport Fashions West, Inc. (333 S. Anita Dr., Suite 1025, Orange, CA 92668; 800/495-5042). The feature-filled, $391 jacket is constructed from waterproofed, 500-denier cordura and fitted with Temperfoam body armor at the shoulders and elbows. A $10 back pad is optional. A zipper attaches the jacket to the insulated, $275 bib-style cordura pants, which are equipped with full-length zippers and armor at the knees. The Expedition jacket and pants are available in 38-52 chest and 28-46 waist sizes from motorcycle dealers.
Intersport Fashions West, Inc.
READY PACK TOOL AND FIRST-AID KIT
The Ready Pack from Open Road (1609 West County Road 42, Suite 103, Burnsville, MN 55306; 612/8821087) is designed for on-the-road emergencies. For $90, you get a tire-repair kit, first-aid supplies and a selection of SAE or metric hand tools. A padded nylon travel case is included, and the tools come with a lifetime warranty. Total weight is said to be less than 7 pounds.
Intersport Fashions West, Inc.
SHOEI SPECTRA SHIELDS
Iridium-tinted Spectra shields are now available from Shoei (333 S. Hope St., Suite 2550, Los Angeles, CA 90071; 213/628-0275). The anti-scratch, silicone-hardcoat shields are said to be optically correct and provide 100 percent ultraviolet A and B protection. Three models—CX-1 (RF-700, X-8 Air and X-9), C-10 (RF-200) and C-10A (Duo-Tec)—are offered, with a choice of blue or gold coating. Prices start at $51 from motorcycle dealers.
Intersport Fashions West, Inc.
VELVETOUCH BRAKE PADS
Manufactured in the United States, Velvetouch sintered-bronze brake pads from S.K. Wellman (6180 Cochran Rd., Solon, OH 44139; 800/234-9558) are said to provide uncompromised stopping power in both wet and dry conditions. They are available for most late-model dirtbikes, with prices starting at $24 per caliper. For applications, contact your local motorcycle dealer.
Intersport Fashions West, Inc.
MID USA ACCELERATOR SOFTWARE
Accelerator Software will accurately predict the horsepower and torque for any Evolution Big Twin, says MID USA (4937 Fyler, St. Louis, MO 63139; 314/351-3733). Designed to take the guesswork out of high-performance engine modifications, the $190 DOS-based software features gearing and engine-balancing programs and more than 200 camshaft grinds. What's more, animation lets the user view his engine in motion.
Intersport Fashions West, Inc.
MPZ ENGINE ASSEMBLY AND CAM LUBES
Developed for use on all internal engine and transmission components, MPZ Assembly Lube ensures premium wear protection during start-up of new and rebuilt engines, says Torco (9916 Pioneer Blvd., Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670; 310/942-8480). Also available is MPZ Cam Lube, a high-temp gel that won't run, drip or otherwise migrate off metal surfaces. Suggested retail for either product is $1.95 per tube from motorcycle dealers.
DUCATI'S 900SS, CURrently in its fifth model year, is due for an update. It will come in the form of a new SS sometime in 1996, says England’s Motor Cycle News. Key changes include a major styling revamp and a series of upgrades for the current two-valve V-Twin, including partial liquid-cooling, ram-air induction and optional fuel injection.
Cagiva's Ferrari-designed Four may have fizzled, but that hasn't stopped the Ducati side of the operation from collaborating with the famous Italian auto-maker. According to insiders, Ducati and Ferrari are hard at work on a new racebike, to be powered by a three-cylinder, 900cc slice of the 3.0-liter V-10 Formula One race-car motor Ferrari will campaign next year.
YAMAHA IS GETTING INTO the nostalgia-cruiser market in a big way for market in a big way for 1996—not with a V-Twin but with a motor lifted from the V-Max/Venture Royale family of V-Fours. Yamaha officials confirmed the existence of the bike, to be called the Royal Star.
The 1995 model year has been very, very good to Honda's middleweight sportbike. So good, in fact, that the bike has sold out and the 1996 model is already available. To commemorate a successful racing season against Kawasaki’s ZX-6R, the ’96 F3 will be sold in color schemes inspired by the Erion Racing and Smokin’ Joe’s (shown) supersport teams.
A few spaces remain open for Cycle World's GP Euro-Tour III to the Czech Grand Prix, August 13-22. The tour starts in the Alps, then drops down to the picturesque Danube region before heading to the Brno Circuit in the Czech Republic for two days of world-class roadracing.
IF YOU WERE LOOKING FOR big changes in 1996 motocross bikes, curse the yen. The dollar-yen situation has forced a wave of conservatism among the Big Four, prompting refinement over revolution. In the Honda camp, the CR125's biggest change is the addition of a digital ignition, the first production Honda dirtbike to utilize the technology that has been gracing works racers for some time.
Editorial World-of-Hurt Department: Cycle World's Publisher, founding Editor and columnist Joe Parkhurst used Roundup this month to tell of his new AJS 250 scrambler. It was his first ride since he crashed in a rut, breaking his ankle in nine places and his leg in two more.
WHAT DO YOU GET when you completely cover a Fat Boy in denim? No, not a good excuse for industrial-strength talcum powder. What you get, in this case, at least, is a unique promotional tool. To hawk its new Biker Blues line of jeans, Harley-Davidson gave in-house customizer Wyatt Fuller a new FLSTF and a green light to create something special.
Old is still in, at least in Japan. The enthusiast magazine Auto-bi recently printed sketchy information and a drawing of what it claims is the upcoming Honda Roadstar, due for Japanese release in late summer. This, apparently, will be powered by a liquid-cooled 400cc V-Twin, a down-sized version of the Shadow 600's powerplant.
KTM 620 R/XC Still the dual-purpose king of the hill?
KTM CAME OUT OF nowhere last year to take this magazine's Best Dual-Purpose Bike of the Year award. Based heavily on the company’s off-road Thumper, the 620 R/XC was nonetheless well-finished and fully street-legal. Except in California, that is, thanks to the Golden State’s stringent emissions standards.
UP: To seven-time national motocross champion Jeff Ward, for leading a fruitful retirement. After hanging up his leathers in 1993, the long-time factory Kawasaki rider quietly took up car racing. When he tried to make the Indianapolis 500 this year, few gave him much of a chance.
IT'S A SPORTBIKE FANTASY guaranteed to excite even the most case-hardened performance junkie: Take what already is the most coveted sport motorcycle around today and hot-rod it into a Superbike-spec, street-legal weapon; don't just ride it on the street but turn it loose on a racetrack to see how its lap times stack up against those of real Superbikes; and as icing on the cake, how about getting a world champion to hammer it around the track, maybe even one who had won his crown on the very same brand of motorcycle?
RUDE, CRUDE AND SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE...IN OTHER WORDS, WAY DAMN COOL
DO NOT BUY THIS MOTORCYCLE. DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. Steer clear. Move on before it's too late. Turn the page. Nothing good can come of it. KTM's Duke, the first pure streetbike the tiny Austrian firm has sold in the U.S., is a diabolic device that will land you in hot water quicker than Senator Bob Packwood at a panty raid.
IS THIS BIKE'S NAME SPELLED FUNNY, OR NOT? MuZ? Skorpion? Well, nevermind. Spell it any way you want, even spell it "660cc Single," and it still is a surprisingly effective piece of hardware. With the arrival of its Skorpion Sport and Tour, MuZ—the recently revitalized German motorcycle factory located in the eastern German province of Saxony—has truly entered into the ’90s motorcycle marketplace.
THE SKORPION'S TWIN-CYLINDER STABLEMATE MAY BE THE NEXT BSA
WHAT HAVE WE HERE? WHY, IT'S just the 1997 BSA Rocket Gold Star, is all. “No way,” you exclaim, your mind reeling at the implications of this astounding piece of news. “Yes way,” responds Petr-Karel Korous, MZ’s boss. And it just might happen, providing Korous can get the right deals done, deals that involve not only Yamaha engines for the present, but the promise of an all-new British-built desmo-valve parallel-Twin for the future.
IN AN ERA WHEN MOTORCYCLE MANufacturers seem intent upon driving the very bikes they create into leisure-market niches, real-world motorcycles barely exist anymore, at least according to French design guru Philippe Starck. “In five years, the third millennium will begin,” he says.
FOR YEARS THE SPECULATION HAS SWIRLED—HONDA HAS a lightweight, 400cc Thumper in the works, a best-of-both-worlds dirtbike with the agility of a 250 and the rock-chucking punch of a 600. And for years disappointed off-road four-stroke fans had to be content with the promise of next year.
"Calvin and his growling Harley-Davidson comprised a point of focus that gave off glittering sparks of heat and light." —Cook Neilson, Cycle magazine, upon the death of Calvin Rayborn
BECAUSE THIS IS A STORY OF Yanks in England. we can use Charles Dickens, of whom nobody was ever more English, and say that this motorcycle and the legend it created came at the best of times in the worst of times. Worst first, Early in 1970, in response to a rule change that was long overdue and bitterly fought out, Harley-Davidson introduced a new racebike.
RACING LEGEND CAL RAYBORN HAD many fans, but his biggest admirer was-and still is-his own son, Cal Rayborn III. “I talk about him all the time,” says Rayborn, now 33 years old and residing in Rupert, Idaho. Cal III, an accomplished racer in his own right, has a collection of his father’s trophies, plaques and world-record certificates adorning a wall in his home.
IT WAS THE LENGTHY PAUSES, AS MUCH AS THE WORDS between them, that on this occasion revealed Kevin Schwantz the man. The fast-talking, wisecracking Texan, normally at ease in a pressroom full of rapt international journalists, was now too choked to speak.
An incident from every Baja racer's worst nightmare claimed the life of Kawasaki off-road star Danny Hamel, 23, during this year’s running of the Baja 500 in early June. The nightmare involves non-race traffic, and that’s what Hamel, of Boulder City, Nevada, ran into about five miles past the early-morning En-senada start while running flat-out aboard his KX500.
A COMMON CONCERN WITH THE CURRENT crop of motocrossers—and many fully faired sportbikes, too—is that, aside from colors and graphics, they all look pretty much the same. For a relatively low-cost update, Acerbis USA offers sectional panels that combine with standard plastic for a fully shrouded appearance, not to mention acres of space for sponsor decals.
IT’S ONE OF THE UNIVERSAL LAWS OF the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll into the least accessible location. If that tool is a socket, you can wager important body parts that it’ll end up in the worst possible spot on your motorcycle, someplace where retrieval is either virtually impossible or that requires disassembly of something you hadn’t intended to disassemble.
YOU ALL KNOW ABOUT TAILPACKS, RIGHT? Handy guys, they are. Handier for solo rides than tankbags because strapped atop the passenger's seat, they don't intrude upon your riding environment the way a tankbag can. The best ones hold a lot-shaving kit, a light change of clothes, maps and books, and whatever you’re likely to need to fix flats, clean helmet visors, etc.
I’m a new Honda VFR750 owner, ’94 model, and I need some advice. At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, I get antsy after anything more than 100 miles on the VFR. Time to get off and stretch a little. I recently received some information on Heli Manufacturing’s taller replacement handlebars, and they seem logical, although $208 is a bit pricey.
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.