ONE OF MOTORCYCLING'S GREATEST assets is its accessibility. Nothing short of Russian Roulette provides as. much excitement for so little outlay. This reality did not make itself evident to me in a blinding moment of truth, but in the aftermath of a telephone call from my mother.
A FEW YEARS AGO, WHILE DOING MY PEriodic cruise of record shops in search of blues CDs I don’t already have but should (Little Walter: The Intentionally Lost Chess Sessions), I ran into an old college acquaintance on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin.
WHAT IS TORQUE? IT HAS DIFFERENT meanings to different people, meanings that foster endless misunderstandings. To those with formal training in engineering and physics, it’s all very clear. Torque means, simply, a twisting force.
What’s with this Indian revival? Indian is dead. Oh, I sympathize with Indian lovers. In the late 1940s, I waited in the rear of a gas station while my father’s Hudson underwent dialysis. Oddly enough, the gas station was on the outskirts of Springfield, Massachusetts.
If you think size doesn’t matter, think again. Avon’s 200/60VB16 AM23 is said to be the fattest rear tire available. Designed for customized Harley-Davidsons, the V-rated tire can be used with wheels measuring 5 to 6 inches in width. Boasting nylon-and-kevlar construction, the tire costs $235 from motorcycle dealers. The company suggests pairing the AM23 with its AM20 Roadrunner front. For more information, contact Avon Motorcycle Tires, 407 Howell Way, Edmonds, WA 98020; 800/624-7470.
Avon Motorcycle Tires
STORZ STEERING DAMPER KITS
GCB Ceriani steering damper kits are now available for Kawasaki’s ZX-6R from Storz Performance (239 S. Olive St., Ventura, CA 93001; 805/641-9540). Adjustable over a 16-position range, the rebuildable damper allows full lock-to-lock movement. Complete instructions and mounting hardware are included. Suggested retail is $240 from motorcycle dealers or direct from Storz Performance
Avon Motorcycle Tires
GRAVES SHARK GUARDS
If you’re particularly protective of your toes, you might consider investing in an aluminum Shark Guard from Graves Motor Sports (7756 Balboa Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91406; 818/902-1942). Designed to prevent your foot from becoming wedged between the drive chain and the rear sprocket, the guard fits most late-model sportbikes. Available in blue, purple and silver, Shark Guards retail for $37 from motorcycle dealers or direct from Graves Motor Sports.
Avon Motorcycle Tires
VELOCITY BOYS T-SHIRTS
Striking sportbike illustrations distinguish a new line of 100-percent-cotton T-shirts from Velocity Boys (237 Waverly Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11205; 800/920-7048). Six designs dress up both black and white, short-and long-sleeved shirts. Available in sizes M-XXL, the shirts range in price from $16.50 to $19.50, depending on style.
Avon Motorcycle Tires
CUSTOM CHROME LOW GLIDE FRAMES
Looking for a custom chassis to hold your Evolution Big Twin? If so, Custom Chrome’s Low Glide frame might be the ticket. Constructed from mild-steel tubing, the frame is priced at $1895. It uses standard mounting points and accepts most Harley-Davidson and aftermarket parts and accessories, according to the company. A rear axle and swingarm pivot shaft with bearings are included. For more details, contact your local motorcycle dealer or Custom Chrome, 16100 Jacqueline Ct., Morgan Hill, CA 95037; 800/359-5700.
Avon Motorcycle Tires
SOLAREZ UV-CURE RESIN
Solarez UV-cure resin can be a convenient and inexpensive way to repair fractured fairings, dented gas tanks and other damaged bodywork. A mixture of polyester resin, fiberglass and a UV-activated catalyst, Solarez hardens quickly when exposed to sunlight, says the company. A 3.7-ounce tube costs $10 from motorcycle dealers or direct from Tradewinds Marketing, 904 Silver Spur Rd., Suite 372, Rolling Hills, CA 90274; 310/540-2503.
APRILIA ENJOYS SHOCKING people, and the new Shiver, introduced at the Bologna Motor Show, is as attention-getting as a cattle-prod. The Italian manufacturer was expected to debut its new V-Twin RSB 1000 sportbike at the Milan Show two weeks previous, but instead chose the low-key Bologna Show to unveil a motorcycle that defies categorization.
THE 1995 MILAN SHOW was supposed to be spectacular, with new motorcycles expected from a variety of European manufacturers. So it came as a great surprise to attendees when the turnstiles started turning and the expected Ducati 944, Cagiva F4, Moto Guzzi cruiser, Bimota BB500 and Aprilia RSB sportbike were all absent!
The lesson has finally sunk in about leaving too long a lead time between the show debut of a new model and its appearance in dealerships, leading to a fit of realism by the Italian manufacturers. Aprilia has its new RSB1000 V-Twin superbike ready, but won’t reveal it until much closer to the production start-up date.
CONGRESS MAY HAVE heeded the need for speed by passing the National Highway System Designation Act (Roundup, December, 1995), but it was President Clinton's signature that turned the act into a law last November.
One of the stars of the recent Tokyo Motor Show displaced just 49cc and had a decidedly non-current veneer. Honda’s jewel-like Dream 50 is meant as a red-and-silver homage to the famous CR110 roadracer, an eight-speed, 14,000-rpm, 50cc four-stroke Single from the 1960s.
"Meet Super-Book,” proclaimed the cover of this 166-page banner issue, which featured a bird’s-eye view of a Norton Commando Fastback. The editors called the coverbike “the best of the British Big Twins,” saying that it had “the character of a sleek, lush grand touring car.”
Forget Disneyworld, Caribbean cruises and that hole in the ground in Arizona. If you’re looking for the ultimate vacation, we’ve got your ticket. Join us May 19-29 for Cycle World's GP Euro-Tour IV, as we roost the Alps on the way to the Italian GP.
CHICAGO-BASED FINANCIER Sam Zell is buying 50 percent of Ducati, according to an announcment from Cagiva S.p.A. Zell will pay $188 million for his stake in the Bologna, Italy-based company. His aim is to get Ducati listed on the New York Stock Exchange within two years.
British painter Roy Barrett’s lifelong passion for motorcycles was kindled at the age of 5, when from his grandmother’s house across the road he watched brand-new Velocettes being ridden through the Birmingham factory gates.
PEOPLE BUY MOTORCYCLES for many reasons, some of them measurable with dynamometers and radar guns, others with less tangible qualities, such as pride of ownership. Traditionally, a European motorcycle elevates its owner’s status.
UP: To Time Australia, for featuring World 500cc Grand Prix Champion Mick Doohan on its cover. The accompanying four-page article is a well-informed account of the sport and Doohan’s quest for a second successive title, which quotes former champions Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Gardner and Barry Sheene.
HONDA AND YAMAHA ARE AT war. At stake is leadership in motorcycling’s newest prestige class: mega-cruisers. Late last year, Yamaha led the charge with the new-for-'96 Royal Star, a nostalgically styled cruiser fueled by a raucous-sounding 1294cc V-Four.
THERE'S A SCHWINN AD CURRENTLY RUNNING IN various bicycle magazines that sums up the history of Suzuki's GSX-R750 better than any literature the motorcycle manufacturer could ever produce on its own. Intended to win back Schwinn's lost share of the enthusiast market, the ad depicts a mountain biker with road-rashed leg and the simple statement: "We fell.
CALL IT POOR TIMING or just plain ol' rotten luck. Kawasaki’s new ZX-7R was the hottest 750cc sportbike CW had ever tested. Its liter-class quarter-mile and top-speed performance left us in awe. A host of major updates applied to Kawasaki’s tried-and-proven ZX-7 has yielded a significant leap forward in performance while simultaneously improving the 7’s street credentials.
THE LATE-AFTERNOON SUN DAPPLES THE ELEmentary school playground. On the swings and the merry-go-round, laughing children await their parents' arrival. In this setting, the presence of a motorcycle thief, even a reformed one, seems surreal and somewhat sinister.
HARRY A. MILLER WAS AN artist, an intuitive engineer, and the brains and drive and faith behind the invention and perfection of the racing car. Miller was the guy at the crest of the wave that became auto racing's golden age. History tells us this, with no mistake.
IT IS POSSIBLE TO DISCOVER THAT WITH A RIDER hunched slightly behind its raked-back windscreen into the envelope created by its voluptuous new fairing, the 1996 Triumph Trophy 1200 will pull an indicated 155-mph top speed. Further, it is possible to discover that while doing so, the Trophy tracks dead straight for mile after mile without the slightest trace of a wobble, or even a weave when a gust of wind hits the streamlined bodywork.
Honda CR250R vs. Kawasaki KX250 vs. KTM 250 SX vs. Suzuki RM250 vs. Yamaha YZ250
TENSION IS HIGH. YOUR EYES lock on the starting gate, looking for a jiggle that signals it's going to drop. Your motor is wound up, clutch dragging at the edge of engagement. The gate quivers! With a twist of the right hand and slip of the left, you're roosting down the start straight, front wheel skimming the surface.
IT'S EASY TO RACK UP MILES WHEN A bike is almost constantly in use. That describes our long-term Sprint, which rarely spends a night in the Cycle World garage, thanks to its inviting ergonomics, likable three-cylinder motor and handy hard luggage, made for Triumph by Givi.
Do YOU FAVOR LIGHTNING BOLTS AND iridescent stripes over more mundane solids? If so, a Tapeworks helmet-graphics kit may be a welcome addition to your two-wheel wardrobe. Tapeworks (2712 S. Saunders St., Raleigh, NC 27603; 800/232-8273) produces some of the slickest, stick-on graphics we’ve laid eyes on.
THERE ARE FEW TOUGHER TRIALS FOR a riding jacket than touring New Zealand, a country with everything from roadside glaciers to subtropical rain forests. That’s just where we went with Firstgear’s multi-faceted Everest jacket. At first glance, the parka-like Everest might seem more at home climbing mountains than on a motorcycle.
Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz have all retired. At this point, Doohan is looking for new prey to keep himself amused on the racetrack. The 30-year-old Australian started racing just for fun, and was rapidly propelled beyond this realm by his unique mix of natural riding talent and obsessive determination.
It’s confirmed: Scott Russell is back on a Superbike. The affable Georgian swore off four-strokes when he defected from Kawasaki midway through last season’s World Superbike Series to chase the 500cc grand prix crown for Suzuki. Now, “Mr.
I own a '94 Honda VFR750, which I think is the best all-around motorcycle made. After 10,000 miles, the only complaint I have concerns a front-end wobble between 40 and 55 mph on deceleration when I place little or no pressure on the handlebars.
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.