HELL OF A NOTE, REALLY, WHEN YOUR own motorcycle is better known than you are. I had just unloaded my flame-painted 1954 BSA hot-rod when someone approached, circled the bike, stood back, then proclaimed, "That's the Gold Star that guy at Cycle World built.
LAST MONTH I FLEW INTO SEDONA, ARIzona, for the introduction of Yamaha's new luxo-cruiser/tourer, the Royal Star. Beautiful place, good ride, nice bike. Not precisely my kind of motorcycle, but a fine example of the type nevertheless.
EVER HEARD OF THE VOLUME HEATING rate? It’s an interesting but infrequently used way of comparing power sources. Mankind’s pioneering heat-releasing device, the campfire, may have given something like 40,000 BTU per hour, per cubic foot of effective combustion volume (a BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is the amount of heat needed to raise 1 pound of water 1 degree F).
This is the first I have heard of John Britten's passing. What a tragedy, a terrible loss for the worldwide racing community. Britten did what so many only dream of doing: designed and built a winner from scratch. Hopefully his innovations will be continued by those closest to him, and his legacy of unconventional solutions to common problems will live on with the bikes that bear his name.
LONG-SUFFERING FANS OF small-caliber sportbikes, avert thine eyes—here's something else you can't have. Topside is the latest 250cc two-stroke to hit the streets, Suzuki's jewel-like, Japan/Euro-only RGV250, a motorcycle almost as important to Suzuki as the next-generation GSX-R750.
Production of KIM's likable Duke street-rod has been almost doubled to 1500 units for 1996. The supermotard-style 620 should win more friends with the addition of electric starting; that and a new paint scheme are the only changes for '96.
HARLEYS ARE STILL HOT and cruisers may be the coming thing, but in Europe a different breed of motorcycle is gaining ground fast. They're called streetfighters, custom-built, performance-oriented machines with a minimum amount of bodywork and a maximum dose of cojones.
You can thank today's litigious society for the demise of that time-honored freebie, the dealership demo ride. Doesn’t mean you can't scam a test session, though, thanks to demo-ride programs set up by forward-thinking bike-makers.
Moto Guzzi, long known for its sports Twins and conservative cruisers, is about to launch something completely different. Called the V10 Centauro, the muscular-looking roadster was snapped recently outside the company's Mandello headquarters before being crated up for transport to the upcoming Milan Show.
IS HONDA ATTEMPTING TO beat Ducati at its own game? If rumors from Europe prove true, expect the Japanese giant to field a VTwin Superbike in the 1997 World Superbike Series. There are murmurs of an unveiling later this year at the Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race, traditional launch pad for Honda's sporting hardware.
CAGIVA'S EAGERLY AWAITED F4 750 Superbike will not be launched at the upcoming Milan Show as previously thought. The slant-block, dohc inline-Four's debut will be delayed at least six months, effectively removing any chance that the bike will see race action in 1996.
Look what they're teaching kids at school these days. Hans Moritz is a transportation-design student at the famed Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and this is the motorcycle he wants to see in production. It's a monocoque design made from "prepreg" carbon-fiber, the same material used to build the F-117 Stealth Fighter.
Acute Montesa Cota trials bike was on the cover, but a new Triumph, the Tokyo Motor Show and the Mexican 1000 were on the minds of the staff. The Triumph was a neat-looking 350 Twin with chain-driven dohc and a 15-degree-inclined cylinder bank.
DOWN: To the AMA, belatedly, for banning Yamaha TZ dirt-trackers 20 years ago. The screaming two-stroke Fours were written out of the rules when wild-riding Kenny Roberts used one at the 1975 Indy Mile to slingshot past Harley-Davidson teammates Corky Keener and Jay Springsteen on the last lap for the win.
WANT TO DROP A familiar name on the deafened ears of old four-stroke fans? Say "Clews Competition Machine," and memories of hulking Brit rider John Banks putting it to the two-strokes will bring wide, knowing smiles. Well, guess what? After more than a decade's absence, CCM is back.
Are the stars of the Tokyo Motor Show soon-to-come or just a tease?
WHAT WE HAVE here, dear reader, is your basic, Grade A, good news/bad news scenario. Reason for rejoicing; cause for concern. Equal parts triumph and tragedy hang in the air. On these pages are the motorcycles that stole the thunder at the 31st-annual Tokyo Motor Show, that biyearly trotting out of new models, prototypes and concept bikes by the Japanese Big Four.
As American as mom, apple pie and some speed demon named Max
WHEN THE WONDERS OF THE ROAD ARE SAVORED FROM THE CAPTAIN'S CHAIR OF A TOUR Classic, life is not just good; life is great. The touring version of Yamaha's new Royal Star supercruiser whisks you along the highways and byways in first-class comfort and high retro-style, your passage invigorated by a massive V-Four that throbs and shudders with every firing of every cylinder, bellowing NASCAR-quality exhaust music in living, fourpipe stereo.
YAMAHA'S MEGA-CRUISER GETS THE ROYAL TREATMENT FROM TWO CALIFORNIA CUSTOMIZERS
AIMED SQUARELY AT buyers with a penchant for customizing, the 1996 Royal Star 1300 made its debut at Yamaha's annual dealer meeting flanked by the pair of renegades you see here. The first-ever Royal Star customs, they were commissioned by Yamaha to whet dealers' appetites for the scads of bolt-on accessories soon to come.
On the dyno, the bike produced 117 peak horsepower at the rear wheel, 3 up from last year. More importantly, there's as much as 5 additional horsepower throughout the rev range. This, in addition to a claimed 3-percent reduction in drag and an 8-pound drop in dry weight, promised better real-world performance.
Before you build a better mousetrap, be sure the public doesn't like mice
YOU ARE A REASONABLE PERSON AND THIS IS A motorcycle magazine so it's fair to assume that when you flipped through the pages and saw photos of two similar-but-unusual motor vehicles, you thought something along the line of "Hmmm, neat old motorcycles."
HITTING THE DUAL-PURPOSE NAIL DEAD SQUARE ON THE HEAD
BATHED IN A SWIRLING SEA OF LIGHT AT Suzuki's annual dealer meeting last fall in Las Vegas, the all-new GSX-R750 repli-racer stole the show, drawing oohs and ahhs from enthusiastic shop owners and media types alike. Response to the electric-start DR650SE dual-purpose bike, likewise redrawn from the axles up, was somewhat less impassioned.
CAGIVA HAS JUST FIRED THE LATEST VOLLEY IN ITS campaign to develop a complete model lineup. It's the Canyon 600, aimed at the BMW F650 and Aprilia Pegaso. Those two are liquid-cooled and more modern mechanically, but the Canyon has one great advantage: a flair and a personality that sets it quite apart from its competition.
ALL GLOVES ARE CREATED EQUAL, right? Not so, says Fieldsheer. The company’s latest roadracestyle glove, the Diablo, combines high-tech articulated leather-andfoam plating with super-soft Japanese calfskin. Made in Korea, the Diablo offers the kind of top-shelf features that will satisfy racers and canyon riders alike.
KEEPING OUR FLEET OF LONG-TERM testbikes washed and polished can be a full-time job, especially during Southern California’s winter rainy season. Any product that makes the task easier is a welcome complement to the CW garage. Champions Choice Protect All from Protect All, Inc. (1910 East Via Burton St., Anaheim, CA 92806; 800/3224491) is designed to clean, polish and protect practically every motorcyclerelated surface, including aluminum, chrome, fiberglass, plastic, rubber, stainless steel and vinyl, not to mention other non-bike materials such as formica, marble, tile and wood.
The Incredible Adventures of Blind Faith Racing and the $200 Ducati
JON F. THOMPSON
THE BIKE SITS FORLORN AND covered with oil, the victim of multiple disasters. Its engine is silent and maybe busted. Its rear wheel is askew. We ponder it for a while. Finally, we summon the energy to pull the little Duck off its stand and roll it into the truck.
Following in the footsteps of Kenny Roberts, Freddie Spencer and Wayne Rainey, dirt-tracker-turned-roadracer Mike Hale has left America to seek glory on the world stage. The runner-up in this year’s U.S. Superbike and 600 Supersport wars, Hale jumped from his Smokin’ Joe’s Honda to the Promotor Ducati team.
During my usual winterizing ritual, I stripped the threads in the oil drainplug hole on my wife’s 1986 Honda Rebel 450. I tried all the local shops between Seattle and Everett for a solution, but no one was willing to do any kind of repair, short of installing a whole new set of engine cases.
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.