No SELF-RESPECTING MOTORCYCLE magazine should be without a big British road-burner, yet that’s just the situation Cycle World found itself in when Editor-at-Large Peter Egan divested himself of an increasingly irksome Norton Commando late last year.
IT WAS, SO FAR, THE COLDEST NIGHT OF the year, said the TV weatherperson: 27 below zero, with a wind-chill index of 55 below, for those of us who like to torture ourselves. Nevertheless, I climbed into my Ford van and hit the starter. It cranked over with a slow groan of protest, but fired right up.
THE INTAKE PROCESS OF A FOUR-STROKE engine isn’t as simple as the diagram in the high school physics book. In the book, the intake valve opens near TDC and the piston drops. Air rushes in obediently to fill the volume created as the piston falls.
Your Norton Commando articles in the May issue brought back some pleasant memories, and some not so pleasant. I owned a 1969 Fastback. Came in three colors that year: Candy Apple Red, Candy Apple Green and a combination of Candy Apple Red and Metal Flake Silver.
Acerbis has entered the Harley-Davidson aftermarket with its latest 4.1-gallon plastic gas tank. Fashioned in traditional tear-drop style, it's intended for 1986-96 Sportsters. Each tank is molded from composite nylon and comes primed for paint, says the company. Designed to utilize the stock petcock and filler cap, the tank costs $340 from motorcycle dealers or direct from Acerbis USA, 9402 Wheatlands Court, Ste. A, Santee, CA 92071; 800/659-1440.
Have the few extra pounds you've put on turned your leather riding jacket into a medieval torture device? If so, Tom the Tailor's Zip-r-Strip might provide a reprieve. The 2-inch leather panel attaches to most jackets' front zippers, providing extra room for an expanding waistline. Available with silver, gold or black zippers, the Zip-r-Strip comes in assorted colors and finishes and costs $35-$45, depending on the design. For details, contact Tom the Tailor, 327 14th Ave., SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414; 800/379-2201.
KNEE PAD COVERS
Fed up with off-road shin guards that chafe or slide around? Why not slip on a set of Comfort Knee Pad Covers from Advant-Edge? Machine washable, the fleece covers are designed to hold shin guards in place while wicking moisture from the skin, says the manufacturer. Medium and large sizes are available for $13 per pair from motorcycle dealers or direct from Advant-Edge, 2763 West Ave. L, #200, Lancaster, CA 93536; 800/238-2683.
Lockhart Phillips Speedscreens are now available for most late-model Triumphs. Molded to mirror the stock shape to assure a perfect fit, the acrylic screens are said to be optically correct and come in smoke, dark smoke, clear and transparent yellow. Prices range from $40 to $50 from motorcycle dealers or direct from Lockhart Phillips, 151 Calle Iglesia, San Clemente, CA 92673; 714/498-9090.
Distributed through White Bros. (24845 Corbit Pl., Yorba Linda, CA 92687; 714/692-3404), AFAM Workslite sprockets are engineered for maximum strength and minimal weight. Intended for off-road use and priced at $60, they feature a hard-anodized aluminum "snowflake" design. Excellent durability is claimed. Chromoly-steel countershaft sprockets are also available and list for $21. For fitment, see your local motorcycle dealer.
To give your motorcycle a glossy, concours-winning appearance, you might consider the latest liquid waxes from The Wax Shop (P.O. Box 10226, Bakersfield, CA 93389; 800/323-9192). Void of abrasive additives and sealants, Super Glaze, Clear Coat Liquid Wax and Super Glaze Plus are claimed to clean, polish and revitalize paint while removing road tar, oil and waxy buildup. Priced at $11 per bottle, the carnauba-based products are available from motorcycle dealers or direct from the manufacturer.
Arai's latest full-face street helmet boasts many of the features found on the company's premier models, but with a lower price tag. Based on the Quantum, the NR-2 uses the same quick-release faceshield, but has a slightly heavier shell and fixed cheek pads. Intake and exhaust vents are optional. The NR-2 is available with or without graphics in XS-XXL sizes. Prices start at $324. For an Arai dealer, call 800/766-2724 or write Arai Helmets, P.O. Box 9485, Daytona Beach, FL 32120.
FOUR SEASONS JACKET
Off-road enthusiasts in the market for a traditional-looking enduro jacket might consider the Four Seasons from Moose OffRoad (3511 Kennedy Dr., Janesville, WI 53547; 608/758-1111). Designed to be both waterproof and breathable, the treated-cotton jacket is cut oversize to accommodate chest protectors. Four exterior cargo pockets provide storage space, while a stand-up collar and shoulder vents aid comfort, says the company. Available in blue, purple and red in M-XXL sizes, the jacket costs $190 from motorcycle dealers.
As CAGIVA PREPARES TO unveil its new four-cylinder F4, Aprilia toils on a 1000cc V-Twin and Moto Guzzi finalizes plans for an updated Daytona, another two of Italy's historic motorcycle marques are planning superbikes of their own. Work is already under-way on Laverda's next-generation parallel-Twin, a liquid-cooled 750 that will debut in a modern update of the famous mid-1970s SFC cafe-racer at September's Cologne Show.
IN 1993, HONDA QUIETLY announced that it had found a way to cut two-stroke emissions and fuel consumption, yet retain the usual virtues of lightness, simplicity and low cost. The bike built to showcase this Activated-Radical Combustion technology was the EXP-2, which finished fifth in its Granada-Dakar Rally debut.
The American Motorcyclist Association’s Vintage Motorcycle Days returns to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 19-21. This year, American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association-sanctioned motocross and trials events join the usual roadraces.
V-EIGHT MOTORCYCLES ARE nothing new, even if all the ones you see running around the streets of Daytona during Bike Week are fitted with small-block Chevys whose sheer size seemingly makes them unsuitable for two-wheeled use. But Moto Guzzi’s legendary 500cc V-Eight GP racer of 40 years ago inspired a number of imitations, from the British Marsh V-Eight of the mid-1960s to the Italian Morbidelli 850, currently nearing production with a Bimota-built frame.
Back by popular demand is the Cycle World Quickest Streetbike Shootout (see Roundup, January, 1996), to be held in conjunction with the AMA Prostar drag race at Indianapolis Raceway Park on August 16-18. This year's entries must be street legal and run on DOT-approved street tires, yet can have an infinite number of internal engine modifications.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF you're dissatisfied with your local dealer’s parts and service departments? Well, if you’re Dennis Campbell, you take matters into your own hands. “I started Bikers Dream because the local dealers and Harley-Davidson aftermarket companies were incompetent,” declares Campbell, whose nationwide operation has grown to include 11 stores since he founded it in 1990.
Who built the first American motorcycle? It apparently wasn't Harry A. Miller, as Allan Girdler speculated in "The Miller Mystery" (CW, March, 1996). According to Dr. Paul F. Johnston, curator of transportation for the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., the earliest known American motorcycle was built at least six years before Miller was born.
Although Assistant Editor Jody Nicholas was pictured on the cover full-lock and flying at the Sacramento Mile, the big story of this issue was summarized in the lead coverline: "Honda CB350—The road bike you are most likely to buy." The blurb-writer's premonition was correct: Americans bought 65,720 of the $735 Twins that year.
DOWN: To incessant “safety-crats,” for devising yet another way to bugger-up a perfectly good motorcycle. The latest offender is Britain’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), which has commissioned Lotus Engineering to design an airbag for motorcycles.
JUST BECAUSE THE Kawasaki KX100 was born for the 100cc or Super-Mini motocross class doesn’t mean that it’s just for kids. It’s a fun scoot for the young at heart, too. The KX100 is based on the KX80, with its added displacement coming by way of a 4.5mm overbore to the liquid-cooled, reed valve-inducted, two-stroke Single.
IS BIGGER BETTER? JUDGING BY THE PROLIFERATION OF MEGA-CRUISERS HITTING the marketplace, one would suspect as much. Time was when a 1000cc liter-bike was considered huge, but these days, all four Japanese manufacturers have followed Harley-Davidson's lead by building boulevard bruisers displacing 1300cc or more.
HITTING THE GREAT AMERICAN DESERT AND HISTORIC ROUTE 66 WITH THREE BIG, FAST, HIGH-BUCK SPORT-TOURERS
HONDA ST1100 ABS II
TRIUMPH TROPHY 1200
ON THE ROAD
ST1100 ABS II
BYSTANDERS SOMETIMES MUTTER DARKLY that motorcycle journalists have dream jobs, and this is one of those times when I am inclined to admit the truth. For what could be better than to be yanked out of a frozen Midwestern spring, flown to California and given a chance to ride exactly those three motorcycles about which you are, at that moment, most curious?
DIRTBIKERS REJOICE: Fox Racing, maker of high-style motocross clothing, has served notice that wet weather needn’t dampen a terrific trail ride. Billed as the ultimate waterproof off-road apparel, the Triton jacket and pants are manufactured from Teflon-treated 800-denier cordura nylon.
Titanium is less than halt the weight of steel, but is it worth the price?
TITANIUM EXHAUST PIPE
TITANIUM REARSET CONTROLS
TITANIUM IS FASHIONABLE, expensive, almost too good to be true. Titanium is two-fifths lighter than steel, develops equal strength and has a higher melting point. Its iridescent sheen is beautiful-more brilliant than the calm luster of stainless or nickel steel.
LAST OCTOBER, THE FLEDGLING BUELL MOTORCYCLE COMPANY LOANED us a bright-yellow, pre-production S1 Lightning. Despite a few teething problems, the prototype possessed immense potential, impressing us with its free-revving Sportster 1200-based engine and sharp handling.
IT SEEMS ODD NOW, JUST AS IT SEEMED ODD 20 YEARS AGO. THE YEAR is 1975, and BMW higher-ups, weary of the company's unassuming image, introduce the flamboyant R90S cafe-racer, then charge you with the job of transforming it into a for-real racebike.
I WAS READY FOR A BIG—NO, MAKE THAT B-I-G—SWAP. THERE was no way this new ATK wasn't going to kick sideways. As I sped down a bumpy two-track dirt road, a bike-eating ditch suddenly appeared, deep enough to squash both ends of any suspension, let alone an Open-class dual-purpose bike's.
SOFT LUGGAGE COMES IN A WEALTH OF capacities and colors, but Rogue's all-leather tankbag promises something more: It's tapered to complement a sportbike's racy ergonomics. Rogue’s Kurt Jennings wanted a distinctive, large-capacity tankbag that didn’t interfere with his Suzuki GSX-R1100’s riding position.
THE CATALINA GP COULD HAVE BEEN OUR ISLE OF MAN. IT STILL MAY BE.
IT WAS A QUITE A SIGHT. Two hundred gleaming racebikes were packed on a barge and transported to an island, 25 miles off the coast of Southern California. Meanwhile, well-dressed racers and their companions boarded a big white steam ship to make the one-hour crossing.
The biggest question on the minds of grand prix pundits—Can Honda’s new, lightweight 500cc V-Twin really compete with the dominant, fire-breathing V-Fours?—has been answered. Honda factory rider Tadayuki Okada, formerly a top 250 runner, scored pole position in the opening round at Shah Alam, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
I’m very curious as to why the motorcycle industry hasn’t replaced carburetors with fuel-injection systems. Look at what it’s done for the automobile industry. Could you imagine the improvement in power and throttle response an injection system could have on, let’s say, a ZX-11 or a V-Max?
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.