SUNSHINE STATE, EH? THIS YEAR, AN unrelenting low-pressure system parked its ugly arse over the Florida peninsula and let loose with 48 solid hours of wind and rain, forcing a week’s postponement of America’s Great Race. Big disappointment if you went to Daytona Beach for the 200-Miler.
EVERY MOTORCYCLE TRIP SHOULD, I have always believed, teach us at least one thing. On one trip, for instance, I learned that Illinois is very long and flat. On another, I discovered that a brand-new, tight-fitting helmet that gives you a blinding headache in your driveway in Wisconsin, will continue to give you a blinding headache four days later in Montana.
PITY THE NEW MOTORCYCLIST. HE OR she must not only learn to ride competently and safely, but must also deal with the concerns of parents, spouse and others who may perceive motorcycles as harmful or, as Cycle magazine’s Phil Schilling once noted, likely to give the rider tattoos.
Thanks to Peter Egan for a great March column, “Our brother’s keeper.” I found myself agreeing with his every word until I was caught in my own hypocrisy. I’d wear a helmet even if my state didn’t mandate it, and until now I haven’t joined the AMA because of its anti-helmet-law stance.
Sprucing up the appearance and performance of your 1993-96 Honda CBR900RR is easy with a free-flowing muffler from Erion Racing (1200 N. Barsten Way, Anaheim CA 92806; 714/630-8850). Available in painted aluminum or brushed titanium, the 20-inch-long canister weighs 4-5 pounds less than its stock counter part, gives a slight increase in power and doesn't require rejetting, says the company. Prices start at $250 from motorcycle dealers or direct from Erion Racing.
Similar in appearance and construction to boot-cut jeans, Draggin’ Jeans from Fast Company (1010 Third Avenue Drive NW, #B, Hickory, NC 28601; 704/327-2644) feature kevlar-based Schoeller Keprotec at the seat and knees for extra abrasion resistance. Machine washable, the stone-washed, five-pocket jeans come in 30-42 waist sizes and 30, 32 and 34 inseams. They cost $80 from motorcycle dealers or Fast Company.
If it’s performance rubber you seek, look no farther than the Battlax BT56 from Bridgestone (1 Bridgestone Pk., Nashville, TN 37214; 800/537-2798). Constructed using the company’s latest dual-compound tread, the radial tires are said to offer improved wet-weather adhesion, superior grip at lower operating temperatures and increased lateral stiffness. Distributed through motorcycle dealers, the tires are designed for most late-model sportbikes. Suggested retail price is $150 for the front, and $210 for the rear.
Z CHAIN OILER
Next time your motorcycle’s drive chain needs lubing, try the Z Chain Oiler from FANAF (2120 Oro-Chico Hwy., Durham, CA 95938; 800/250-6580). Designed to eliminate messy overspray, the snap-on plastic Oiler routes lubricant directly from an aerosol sprayer (not supplied) to the rollers. Available from motorcycle dealers or direct from the manufacturer, the Z Chain Oiler retails for $16.
LONG RIDERS SADDLEBAGS
$150 to $300
In the mood to dress up your cruiser with soft luggage? Long Riders Saddlebags from Eclipse (3771 E. Ellsworth Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; 800/666-1500) are constructed from 1000-denier cordura nylon and feature drum-dyed leather and nickelplated conchos. The bags fit most cruisers via an adjustable yoke and include plastic inserts, which help retain the bags’ shape when empty. Priced from $150 to $300, Long Riders are available from motorcycle dealers or direct from Eclipse.
Designed for motorcyclists, the BelTronics 945i provides instant-on radar and laser detection. The cordless, battery-powered unit fits in a jacket pocket and uses a supplied reflector to detect radar signals. A tiny earphone transmits warnings to the user. What’s more, sophisticated circuitry eliminates false readings caused by out-of-band transmissions, says the manufacturer. Suggested retail is $350 from motorcycle dealers or direct from BelTronics, 8100 Sagl Pkwy., Covington, GA 30209; 800/828-8804.
Welded from stamped-aluminum sheet and topped with a rubber mat, the 31-inch-tall AC Racing PeeWee Stand elevates lightweight minibikes to chest level for easier servicing. Available from motorcycle dealers or direct from AC Racing (12145 Slauson Ave., Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670; 310/945-2591), the stand retails for $75.
Listening to tunes on your Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail or Road King is easy with the AudioPak from J&M Corp. (1415 S. Cherry, Tucson, AZ 85713; 800/358-0881). Fashioned from leather and cordura, the $200 pouch ($600 with radio pre-installed) holds an AM/FM cassette radio and attaches to the stock windshield. Chrome, handlebar-mounted speakers cost $380. For more information, contact your local motorcycle dealer or J&M.
AFTER SEVERAL DISAPpointing teases, including false word that the bike would debut at last year’s Milan Motorcycle Show, it seems that Cagiva is almost ready to reveal its new F4 superbike. A team of engineers headed by former Ferrari employee Riccardo Rosa is aiming at June 4, the date Cagiva boss Claudio Castiglioni has decreed the 750cc machine will be shown to the press in Monte Carlo.
While Cagiva is busy touting its forthcoming new superbike, rumored financial troubles inside the Castiglioni Brothers’ empire may mean that a proposed deal to sell a majority interest in Ducati to an American investor is dead. Under the terms of the proposed deal, Chicago financier Sam Zell was negotiating for purchase of up to three-quarters of Bologna-based Ducati.
As part of Cagiva North America's customer-satisfaction program, buyers of new Ducatis are now entitled to a commemorative silver coin worth approximately $50. The only way to get one—presentation-boxed, numbered and depicting the Ducati logo and the words, "Style, Sophistication and Performance"—is by purchasing a 1996 916, 900SS or M-900 from an authorized dealer.
WHERE DO YOU GO TO find truly unique ideas in motorcycle styling? If Aprilia’s refreshing Shiver and 6.5 are any indication, you turn to the industrial design firms charged with making appliances such as personal computers and electric toothbrushes look attractive.
REMEMBER SADDLEBACK Park, the Southern California motorcycle playground that closed its gates in the early ’80s? BMW apparently does. The German manufacturer has set-up a similar (albeit smaller) off-road riding area in Hechlingen, near Munich.
With the ongoing trend toward smaller displacement, high-performance sportbikes, is the time right for a 600cc exotic? Bimota thinks so. Latest bike to emerge from the company’s Rimini, Italy, skunk works is the YB9SRI, follow-up to the successful YB9SR that won the 1995 Italian Sport Production Championship.
UP: To Southern California’s Brea Police Department, for giving its motorcycle officers freedom of choice. Full-face helmets have become de rigueur since May, 1995, when the department’s motor corps received permission to shelve its old openface lids after several officers’ faces were injured in accidents.
WHO SAYS CRUISERS must come with their cylinders arranged in a Vee? Not Kawasaki, the company that started the powercruiser craze in 1976 with its 900 LTD musclebike. Combining custom styling with an aircooled, inline-Four motor, this was part cruiser, part performance bike, and spawned similar models from the competition.
TWENTY-THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS IS A LOT OF MONEY. IT would make a nice down payment on a house, for example, or go a long way toward paying someone's college education. In terms of vehicles, that amount would buy one lucky family member a brand-new, fairly upscale daily driver.
REMEMBER THE YAMAHAULER, THE 1970S-ERA Dodge Maxivan meant to capitalize on the public’s fascination with then-fashionable dirtbikes? Well, here’s the “Bimotahauler,” its racier counterpart for the ’90s. Unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, the Ford Chicane is a concept vehicle designed to show what an ordinary Econoline can become with a little imagination and, pardon the pun, a truckload of money.
The $23,000, special-edition, gray-market, good-for-the-soul Ducati 916
Jon F. Thompson
SAY HELLO TO THE 916 SENNA, A DUCATI THAT IS less than red. It may, in fact, occur to you that painting a 916 gray and black seems a bit like draping leggy supermodel Elle Macpherson in a dark choir robe. That elegant shape, and the fabulous components of that shape, get completely lost in colors that absorb light like one of the universe's black holes.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE THE WORLD’S SECond-largest motorcycle manufacturer and your single most important sportbike is no longer competitive on the racetrack? If you’re Yamaha, and the class in question is 600 Supersport, you get serious.
The travels and travails of seven long-distance riders
1952 VINCENT BLACK SHADOW
1978 BMW R100/7
1987 HARLEY-DAVIDSON FLHS
1982 YAMAHA XV920RJ
1975 HONDA GOLD WING
1970 TRIUMPH T-120R/T
BACK IN 1975, DURING THE DARK DAYS between the beautiful Ducati 750SS and the finely sculpted Darmah, a creature emerged from the Ducati factory that only a mother could love: the 860 GT. Featuring non-desmo heads, electrics with the half-life of unrefrigerated milk, the nimble handling characteristics of the U.S.S. Nimitz and box-like styling that made VW buses look fashionable in comparison, the 860 GT was doomed to a quick and painful death.
DO NOT ENTER THESE BIKES IN A HILLCLIMB. AVOID drag races at all costs. Motocross? Well, not exactly. These machines-Honda’s new XR250R and Kawasaki’s liquid-cooled KLX250-are predisposed to trail riding. They are, in other words, perfect partners for long loops through dusty deserts, unspoiled forests and snow-capped mountains.
YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT?!" I bellowed at Editor-in-Chief Edwards during an otherwise calm CW editorial meeting. “Test the Honda XR628 that Jimmy finished second on in the Baja 1000,” the boss repeated matterof-factly, as if I were qualified for Lewis’ job as Off-Road Editor.
IF A LONG-TERM TESTBIKE’S ODOMETER drive dissolves into a lump of smoldering goo, does that mean the bike has logged enough miles to merit Wrap-Up status, or is it just a not-sosubtle reminder that upkeep is neverending? In the case of our KTM 400 R/XC, the answer to both questions is an emphatic yes.
CYCLE WORLD HAS A LONG HISTORY OF going racing. We meet some of motorcycling’s most fascinating people at the races. Equipment and handling problems are at their purest in racing. Racing pries us loose from our desks, teaches honesty through humility and it’s fun.
After a week’s rain delay and 200 miles of racing, Daytona was won by a wheel-length
I KNOW MY FRONT WHEEL WAS FIRST across the line, but I’ll bet his rear wheel crossed it before mine.” Thus Miguel Duhamel described winning the rain-delayed 55th running of the Daytona 200 over threetime winner Scott Russell. “Mr. Daytona” was just .010 second behind-less than two revolutions of the crankshaft.
Survival of the fittest: Grand Prix vs. World Superbike
Jeremy McGrath, supercross overachiever
MX champ Donny Schmit dies
While Aaron “Where’d He Come From” Yates was busy giving the new Suzuki GSX-R its first major race win in 750 Supersport and Miguel Duhamel was upsetting Scott Russell’s try for a Florida “four-peat,” the rest of Bike Week’s races went pretty much according to plan.
YOU’VE BEEN THERE; SO HAVE WE. You’re miles from home, rain has reared its ugly, gray head and you’ve ducked under the nearest overpass, performing the Totes two-step as you struggle into overboots while 18wheelers whiz by a few feet away. Firstgear (333 S. Anita, Suite 1025, Orange, CA 92668; 714/978-7718) has a better idea: Its Nevada H20 riding boots have built-in waterproof liners.
DISCOVERING THAT YOUR MOTORCYCLE has been stolen is an awful, heartwrenching experience. Initially, emotions run the gamut from disbelief to outrage. Later, though, you analyze the situation. What precautions might have prevented the theft?
I ride my ’95 GSX-R1100 all around Illinois and Indiana, where some gas stations are required by law to sell gasoline with alcohol in it during certain times of the year. But some are not. And depending upon where I ride and when, it’s not always clear if the gas I’m buying contains alcohol.
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.