As THE STORY GOES, F. SCOTT FITZGERALD once remarked to Ernest Hemingway, “The rich are different from you and me.” Hemingway responded, “Yes, they have more money.” Jim Rogers is different from you and me. At age 6, when most of us are thrilled with simply running a slappedtogether lemonade stand, Rogers won the concession to sell soft drinks and peanuts at Little League games.
OKAY, YOU KNEW IT WAS COMING. IN the past few years, I’ve concocted several complex psychological tests to determine whether or not readers had the right stuff to own British, Italian and German bikes. The response has been virtually-if not literally-overwhelming.
WE ALL KNOW THE PISTON ENGINE can’t last forever. Although fabulously developed and refined-and a lot of fun-our gasoline-burners waste too much energy. Alternatives? Demand for electrics will be soggy because, once the power finally reaches the road after coming through powerplants, miles of wire, transformers, battery cycles and what-have-you, it will cost more to drive a mile in an electric than in a gasolineburner.
I thought I was through with motorcycling. When, after riding for 25 years, I sold my last bike in 1994, I thought I would never own a motorcycle again. Then I saw Cycle World's February cover and the accompanying “High Flyin’ Hondas” article.
The Lady Proton chest protector from Acerbis is designed specifically for women. Injection molded for comfort and protection, it features full chest and back protection, foamcovered edges and removable upperarm guards. The Lady Proton costs $110 from motorcycle dealers or direct from Acerbis USA, 9402 Wheatlands Ct., Suite A, Santee, CA 92071; 619/562-1440.
The next time you need to clean your drive chain, you might try the Grunge Brush from Simple Solutions (P.O. Box 61033, Sunnyvale, CA 94086; 800/636-1919). Equipped with adjustable, oil-resistant bristles, the brush is intended for all motorcycle chains, including O-ring applications. The plastic brush costs $10 from motorcycle dealers or Simple Solutions.
Holeshot Performance Products suggests its vacuum gauges as a relatively inexpensive way to synchronize carburetors. Damped to resist vibration, the gauges were developed for two-, threeand four-cylinder applications. Adapters, hoses and T-fittings are included. The gauges cost $160 from motorcycle dealers or direct from Holeshot Performance Products, 320 Babe Thompson Road, La Selva, CA 95076; 408/761-2808.
PROTECH LEATHER JACKETS
In the market for leather riding gear, but on a tight budget? Check out the latest 101V jacket from Protech Leather Apparel (40 Christa McAuliffe Blvd., Plymouth, MA 02360; 800/633-0092). Made from genuine cowhide, it’s ventilated in the front, back and arms, and has a snap-in Thinsulate liner. Available for $299 from motorcycle dealers, the jacket is sold in sizes 36-54 for men and 6-24 for women, in black only.
SLIME SELF-HEALING TUBE
Rocks, cactus needles and other sharp objects may no longer be a threat to off-road riders, thanks to the Slime Self-Healing Tube from Access Marketing (P.O. Box 3109, Shell Beach, CA 93448; 805/489-0490). The rubber tubes are pre-treated with Slime tire adhesive, which is said to seal punctures. Available for $20 from motorcycle dealers, the tubes are designed to fit 18-, 19and 21inch rims.
SYSTEM 1 OIL FILTER
$87 to $97
System 1 now offers a permanent spin-on oil filter for late-model Harley-Davidsons. Weighing approximately 7 ounces, the woven stainless-steel element makes traditional disposable filters obsolete, says the company. Ranging in price from $87 to $97, the unit’s aluminum housing comes chromed, anodized or powdercoated to match your bike. For details, contact your local motorcycle dealer or System 1 Filtration, P.O. Box 1097, Tulare, CA 93275; 209/687-1955.
If your liquid-cooled engine overheats under racing conditions, you might want to consider WaterWetter from Red Line Synthetic Oil Corp. (3450 Pacheco Blvd., Martinez, CA 94553; 800/624-7958). When added to coolant systems, WaterWetter is said to improve heat transfer, reduce cylinder-head temperature, minimize corrosion, and clean and lubricate waterpump seals. Available in 12ounce bottles, WaterWetter costs $8 from motorcycle dealers or direct from Red Line.
CRUISER EXHAUST SYSTEM
$500 to $580
A veteran in the high-performance dragracing and sportbike market, Vance & Hines is now tackling the cruiser crowd. Available with fishtail, slash-cut or straight-cut tips, its cruiser exhaust system boasts fulllength heat shields said to camouflage heat-related discoloration. Billet-aluminum end caps and double-nickel plating are also standard. Suggested retail for a complete system ranges from $500 to $580 from motorcycle dealers. For specific applications, contact Vance & Hines, 14010 Marquardt, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670; 310/921-7461.
Lok Down’s motorcycle tie-down system is said to be the best anti-theft protection for bike hauling short of a 357 Magnum. Adjustable over a 13inch range and boasting a certified break strength of 6200 pounds, the internally damped design secures unfaired bikes to pick-up beds and trailer floors with a combination of steel rods and tubes, webbed strapping and pick-resistant locks. Suggested retail price is $170 from Lok Down, P.O. Box 88, Franklin Springs, GA 30639; 800/LOK-DOWN.
HERE IN AMERICA, WHERE bigger is better and biggest is better yet, there isn’t much demand for scooters. Pity. Because hiding in the shadows of the recent Milan Show were some small-wheeled wonders that rivaled Bimota’s road-going, two-stroke BB500 and Yamaha YZF1000-powered YB11 for highest-tech honors.
YAMAHA’S ASSAULT ON the cruiser market currently dominated by Harley-Davidson isn’t over yet. Informed sources report that the Japanese manufacturer is working overtime to bring the third and final version of its Royal Star to market.
What’s next, warm Kirin? The Japanese have always loved Things British, especially when it comes to motorcycles. Latest bit of evidence is Kawasaki’s home-market 250 Estrella, recently made even more Limey-like with the addition of a drum front brake, fork gaitors, BSA Gold Star-esque sidecovers and shock mounts, and a traditional “sausage-shaped” muffler.
Work is underway on Laverda’s next-generation parallel-Twin engine-a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, dohc 750 that will debut at the Cologne Show in September. The new engine, which mates a new top end with the existing air/oil-cooled 650/668 crankcases, will likely first appear in a modern update of Laverda’s famous mid’70s SFC750 cafe-racer, with traditional orange livery on modern, 668-style bodywork.
DOES THE HONDA ZODIA, star of the recent Tokyo Motor Show and Cycle World's February, 1996, coverbike, look familiar? Glen Laivins thinks so. His company, Next World Design, Inc., created the Apache Warrior (Roundup, August, 1993, and July, 1995), and he is convinced Honda stole his idea.
YES, THE CASTIGLIONI Brothers, the Italian businessmen who almost single-handedly revived the Italian motorcycle industry, are selling a controlling interest in Ducati. As reported in the March issue, the apparent purchaser is the Zell/Chilmark Fund, a $1 billion investment company controlled by Chicago financier Sam Zell.
"Exclusive Test: BSA’s All-New 500 MX,” announced this issue’s lipstick-red coverline. The road test was partly trial by fire as Chuck “Feets” Minert raced the 257-pound Victor in the Trans-AMA Motocross Series. CW's testbike was one of six such models entered in the series, only one of which failed to finish a round, victim of a defective ignition coil.
MZ's DEAL TO PRODUCE 125cc streetbikes with the BSA Bantam nameplate could have one very substantial spin-off: development of a desmo Single! The first fruits of MZ’s relationship with British engineer Al Meiling are about to be revealed.
Next time you’re feeling sorry for yourself, bemoaning the fact that you can’t afford your new dreambike, spare a thought for the poor folks in the Czech Republic. For them, the Jawa shown here is a dreambike! The top-of-the-line 350cc Tramp is powered by an air-cooled, two-stroke Single that would look familiar to anyone who has ever seen a ’70s twin-port CZ. “Modern” upgrades include a disc front brake, dual expansion chambers, enclosed drive chain and-new this year-21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels.
DOWN: To Cosmopolitan magazine, for reinforcing a negative stereotype. In selecting artwork to accompany an article titled “Scientists Advise: How to Tell He’s a Creep” in its December, 1995, issue, the glamour rag chose a photo of (no bonus points for guessing) a motorcyclist.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING Fuel-injected time machine
HARLEY-DAVIDSON’S ROAD King isn’t a motorcycle; it’s a time machine. It transports you back to the 1930s, when airplanes were first being riveted together from aluminum; to the ’40s, when this country’s scientists had just unleashed the secrets of atomic power; and to the ’50s, when old Route 66 was still intact, and the pull of the open road was never stronger.
HERE’S A SCENE STRAIGHT OUT OF THE NEW West, IN which players are gambling for a piece of the cruiser action. “Cobra Ken” Boyko sits examining his hand, his black, silver-conchoed hat pulled down low over narrowed eyes. He picks up his last card and with a white-hot bolt of satisfaction, finds he’s holding four aces.
You HAVEN’T EXPERIENCED EVERYTHING IN MOTORcycling until you’ve uncrated a brand-spanking-new bike. Lifting the cardboard container reveals the wheels first, like the curtain going up on a play. In the case of the MZ Skorpion Replica, which was drop-shipped straight to CW's offices from Germany, the cast of characters is quite impressive: Metzeler tires, Marchesini wheels, a mix of Brembo, Braking, Grimeca and Nissin brake components, WP suspension, Yamaha engine, Sebring exhausts.
WHAT’S THIS, A REPLICA OF THE REPLICA? No way. Although the Sport is based on the same Yamaha-sourced Single and distinctive round-tube steel frame as the racy Replica, it has a stinging character all its own. It’s also $3500 less painful to your savings account, thanks to its single upswept exhaust, pedestrian Paioli fork, low-tech Bilstein shock, single Grimeca disc up front and narrower wheels.
DURING THE RENAISSANCE, THE newly wealthy merchant class, competing for status and prestige, commissioned paintings of themselves and their families, and thus supported a flowering of the visual arts that now fills museums.
IF YOUR DUCATI MONSTER IS BEGINNING TO FEEL A bit dull of tooth, if your 900 or 750SS needs a boost, Personal Cycle Services sells a $4000 turbocharger kit that’ll truly make your Duck truck. PCS owner Tony Foster invited CW to have a taste of the Daytona Beach shop’s latest force-fed hotrod, a tastefully tweaked M-900.
A MAN WHO QUIT school at age 13 designed the most influential, most-copied motorcycle chassis in history-and much else besides. Irishman Rex McCandless devised the “Featherbed” frame for Norton’s use at the 1950 Isle of Man TT races. The year before, Norton’s famous Manx was an obsolete single-cylinder machine, falling behind in the new post-war world of Twins and Multis.
IT'S A TOUGH CALL, juggling bore and stroke figures to come up with a '90s kind of Open-class dirtbike. The optimum result would be a machine with the looks and light weight of a 250, but with tons of torque and big horsepower numbers. Easy there, not so big that the bike becomes difficult to ride...
Conservatively styled, the machine-washable Darien is manufactured from seam-taped, 500-denier cordura/Gore-Tex, which makes it breathable and waterand windproof. Initially stiff as cardboard, it comes with a fully sleeved, zip-in fleece liner, which folds into a fanny pack when not in use. Impact-resistant, hard-shell foam pads are located at the shoulders and elbows (regular foam pads are available as a no-charge option), and a full-length back pad costs $60 extra. Nine easily accessible pockets offer immense storage capacity, and zippered underarm vents and a 3M Scotchlite-coated, dual-pull back vent provide first-rate ventilation without billowing. Made in the United States, the Darien is sold with a two-year warranty in black, blue, gray and red in sizes S-XXL.
Also backed by a two-year warranty against defects in materials and construction, the seam-sealed and waterproofed, 500-denier cordura Patriot is a spitting image of the more expensive Dainese Europa, right down to its expanding cargo pockets, adjustable front-clasp nylon waist belt and three-position skirt snaps, though its non-Gore-Tex design lacks the Europa’s breathability. Similar, too, are the foam-backed plastic cups that cover the shoulders and elbows. (As with the Dainese protection, some riders may find these cups uncomfortable and prone to twisting.) There are no vents, so the Patriot can be quite warm on hot days. Conversely, you’ll be toasty on colder ones, thanks to a snug-fitting, corduroy-lined collar, velcro-tabbed sleeve ends and a zip-out fleece liner. Made in Korea, the hand-wash-only Patriot comes in sizes S-XXL in three tri-color combinations.
FIRSTGEAR HYPERTEX EXPEDITION
The Expedition offers all-season comfort, versatility and protection in an attractive, two-tone design. The seam-sealed and waterproofed 500-denier cordura shell is adjustable at the cuffs, neck, skirt and waist. Mesh-covered slots in the arms and back provide ventilation in warm weather. For colder temperatures, a fully sleeved Thermolite liner zips in easily. There’s plenty of storage, too, including a built-in fanny pack. (The folded, velcroed and zipped hand-warmer pockets are a bother to use, though, especially when wearing gloves.) Removable foam pads are positioned at the shoulders and elbows, and 3M Scotchlite reflective panels are sewn to the arms and back. An optional 16-ounce drinking system ($9) is available, and recommended. Made in Korea, the hand-wash-only Expedition is available in men’s and women’s sizes XS-XXXL in red/black and gray/black.
The Italian-made Europa combines all-weather 500-denier cordura/Gore-Tex construction with progressive styling. Stand-out features include a snap-down storm flap, a removable thermal liner, a zippered fanny pocket, snap wrist closures and an adjustable waist belt. Like the similarly styled Fieldsheer Patriot, the trim-looking Europa is not equipped with intake or exhaust vents, so those who reside in warmer climes might want to consider buying something else. Also, the snap-down cargo pockets are, in some cases, oddly shaped and not particularly commodious. Aside from a tear in the storm flap’s PVC lining, durability was excellent. Shoulder and elbow protection, in the form of area-specific padding capped with high-density plastic cups, is standard. The machine-washable Europa is available in blue, gray and red in European sizes 48-56.
MOTOPORT DIFI ULTRA II
Unlike other jackets in the comparison, the 1000-denier cordura Difi Ultra II doesn’t have a rainor windproof outer coating. This improves breathability, but reduces water resistance. (For added warmth and protection against rain, Motoport sells a zip-in Gore-Tex/Thermolite liner for $99.) Other negatives? The jacket’s corduroy-lined collar and zippered sleeve ends snapdown, rather than velcro, limiting adjustability; and the zippered arm vents don’t stay open. Other features, like the stretch-action back and adjustable waist, are more effective. No complaints about the pockets, either; they provide plenty of storage space. Made in the USA, the Difi also earns points for its comprehensive Tri-Armor padding and reflective tape across the shoulders. Guaranteed for two years against manufacturing defects, the machine-washable Difi is available in sizes XXS-XXXL in blue, red and black.
The Cyclone was introduced to Canada last year, but, as we went to press, is still not available in the United States. Made in Korea, the coated 630-denier cordura shell is waterproof yet breathable. Highlights include electronically welded, double-stitched seams, a tri-level rainflap system, spandex stretch panels and velcro closures at the wrists. Kevlar Keprotec padding conforms to the shoulders and elbows, and a snap-in thermal liner encourages all-season use. Four snap-down cargo pockets and a built-in fanny pack provide lots of easily accessible storage. Also receiving high marks is the zippered, flowthough ventilation system, which consists of two chest vents, two underarm vents and a pair of back exit vents. Machine washable, the Cyclone comes with a one-year guarantee and is available in black, blue and red in chest sizes 38-56.
Here’s a prime example of the age-old truism, “You get what you pay for.” Manufactured in the United States from water-proofed 500-denier cordura, the classically styled Timber retails for $265, which is significantly less than any other jacket in the comparison. To meet that price point, it lacks many of the expensive features so prevalent in most of its competition, like a fully sleeved liner. It does, however, have a zip-in fleece vest, a double storm flap and four zippered storage pockets. Shoulder and elbow protection consists of thin, nylon-covered foam pads held in place with velcro tape. Both neck and cuffs are easily adjustable. Available in red, blue or black in sizes S-XXL, the machine-washable Timber comes with a lifetime warranty against faulty workmanship.
MUCH LIKE MOTORCYCLING, RIDing gear has become increasingly niche-specific. If you ride a zoomy repli-racer, ya gotta have neon-sprinkled leathers that fit like a second skin. For bouncing around the boonies, nothing less than nuclear-striped off-road gear festooned with brand names will do.
WHEN SUZUKI DEBUTED THE RF600R to the U.S. market in 1994, it shunned the traditional “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” racing approach to showroom sales success, and promoted the fully faired sportbike simply as a sharp-handling all-rounder.
IF THERE’S A PROBLEM WITH most aftermarket exhaust systems, it’s that they’re too loud. Your neighbor on the starting grid won’t complain, but the guy who lives next door may not be as understanding. Keeping the peace should sometimes be taken literally.
IT’S A TERRIBLE START TO A WONDERFUL day: Just as you go to put on your helmet in preparation for that highly anticipated weekend ride, a dreadful odor assaults your olfactory senses. Some riders never break a sweat inside their helmets, but those who do know that an unfortunate by-product of perspiration is one of the most gutwrenching smells this side of a septic tank.
THE TRUE SUPER BOWL OF SUPERCROSS racing, ironically, does not take place in America, where the sport was born in the early ’70s. Yes, American riders still rule the world of indoor motocross, but the most prestigious event takes place at Bercy Stadium in Paris, France, of all places.
Wayne Rainey is sick and tired of second place. The three-time 500cc world champion didn’t settle for it when he was racing and won’t stand for it as a team owner. For 1996, he’s got the combination of riders, machinery and sponsorship to once again compete at the highest level.
I own a 1995 Honda PC800 Pacific Coast. I really like the bike and plan to keep it for many years. A friend and I are planning a trip out West this summer, and part of our route will take us across states that have higher speed limits than we are used to observing.
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.