SOME THINGS ARE JUST TOO GOOD TO make up. Recently, when Florida resident Dave Hingson logged his millionth mile on a motorcycle, the Daytona Beach News-Journal did a nice little write-up—penned by staffer “Scoop” Baslee, no less—complete with photograph and prime placement on the front page of the paper’s local section.
A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, I WAS RIDING into the big city from our deeply rural home when I came upon a stretch of road with cars parked on both sides. Turned out it was a yard sale. I hit the kill button on my yet-unrestored metal flake-orange eyesore Triumph 500 and climbed off for a look.
ON THE WAY TO HIGHER PERFORMANCE, parts get broken. Just when engineers think they’ve got things fixed, riders and tuners push the revs and the temperature up, and trouble starts all over again. Engineering never ends—problems aren’t so much solved as they are just pushed to a higher level of performance.
In July’s Up Front editorial, “Norton Boy,” you hit on a favorite saw of mine: the standard/retro ditty. The only true hot-rod standard left is the Yamaha V-Max. For whatever it ain’t, it’s a great idea that Yamaha never developed to its fullest potential.
A 185-MPH, 160-HORSEpower, ram-air road burner will head Honda's 1997 streetbike line-up, if these spy photos taken in mid-June are any indication. Though company spokes-persons feign ignorance, the photographs confirm the existence of the long-rumored CBR1100XX (see Roundup, March, 1995), which will go by the name Super Blackbird.
MOTOCROSS HISTORY will be made this fall when Honda offers the first-ever aluminum-framed production motocrosser to the buying public. Based on a prototype campaigned in the All-Japan MX Championship, the 1997 CR250R’s roadrace-style, box-section aluminum perimeter frame features twin upper spars and a double cradle.
Financially stricken Italian manufacturer Cagiva is still planning to sell 50 percent of Ducati to an American company, reports the Bloomberg news agency. Though Eugenio Valenti, Cagiva’s finance director, wouldn’t name the players, he did tell reporters that the $320 million deal would be completed by July, and that their goal is to list the company on the New York Stock Exchange within three years.
A DVERTISEMENTS FEATURing motorcycles are nothing new to those who read bike publications or watch bike races on TV. But ads that use two-wheelers to promote non-motorcycle-related products are becoming increasingly common. Witness the "Nice pants" commercial from Levi Strauss & Co., in which a biker accepts a pair of Dockers slacks from the hapless soul who snapped off his Indian's mirror.
Polaris, the ATV, snowmobile and personal watercraft manufacturer, is gearing up to build motorcycles. V-Twin-Dowered streetbikes, to be exact. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Patent and Trademark Office, Polaris was recently granted a trademark for the name "Victory Motorcycles."
Times certainly change. The cover of this 116-page issue featured a lightweight new Kawasaki sportbike. Nothing out of the ordinary there, except that this one was a 350cc, three-cylinder two-stroke dubbed the S2. The editors loved this downsized H1, calling it a “delightful hot-rod.”
JUDGED BY THE NUMBERS alone, Europe’s new motorcycle speed record—set this past spring in England at 209 mph-seems pretty tame. That is, until you realize that the nearest thing England has to the Bonneville Salt Flats offers a mere ¾-mile run to the timing lights.
Do you fantasize about conquering the daunting 37.75-mile Isle of Man TT course but lack the conviction-not to mention the cojones-to make your dream a reality? Us too, so when Sega's new Manx TT video game hit the local arcade, the CW staff was there with change pockets bursting.
UP: As in grow up, to Forrest “Twister” Lane, for getting a head start on his racing career. Standing just 2 feet tall, the 3-year-old motocrosser from Barnesville, Georgia, regularly beats kids twice his age on a modified Yamaha PW50.
KAWASAKI’S ZEPHYRS ARE named after a soft, warm breeze from the west. With the introduction of the new Zephyr X, that breeze has begun to blow a bit hotter. At first glance, this second-generation Zephyr 400 looks identical to its predecessor.
IT’S ALWAYS GOOD TO KNOW WHEN TO RUN WITH THE PRIZE. YAMAHA SNATCHED the AMA 600 Supersport Championship back in 1994 with its then-new YZF600R. But the following year, faced with the prospect of suffocating under a revised CBR600F3 and an all-new Kawasaki ZX-6R, both of which featured power-boosting ram-air induction, Yamaha abandoned the class and its number-one plate.
WHILE YAMAHA'S YZF600R IS JUST NOW FINDING ITS way to the States, riders around the globe have been leaving cat tracks with the YZF600R Thundercat since early 1996. Here's what some of the foreign motorcycle press had to say after pitting the YZF against its middleweight opposition.
HERE'S A MOTORCYCLE FOR THE POLITically Incorrect, a bike that's so rowdy, so raucous, so blatantly designed for tomfoolery that even its creators have a hard time discussing it with straight faces. It is, in other words, just exactly the type of special that results when like-minded enthusiasts get together and think impure thoughts.
PROJECT SUPER DUKE IS A MARVEL of motorcycling madness, a factory supermotard racer for the road. But despite the bike’s superb brakes, hotted-up engine and sophisticated suspension, one important pavement-going feature is missing: electric start.
SHADES OF GREEN AND GRAY ENVELOPE A STREAKING figure in red and white. Hurtling toward an unseen finish line, the 1980 350cc World Roadracing Champion seems crisply clear. Look closer, however. Jon Ekerold is actually on the verge of being swallowed by his surroundings.
Twelve years later, Yamaha's V-Max is still one of the world's most entertaining motorcycles
BACK IN 1984 WHEN YAMAHA ENGINEERS WERE HOTrodding the V-Four from the company’s since-departed Venture touring bike, they came across a small stash of a secret ingredient: Essence of Small-Block. How this mysterious substance—then and now on the DOD’s controlled—technology export list—made it out of this country to Japan is still unknown, but there are clues.
WHAT WOULD YAmaha’s likable, long-running musclebike look like updated for the year 2000? Good question, we thought, so we dialed up British design artist Michel Fisher and commissioned an illustration of a thoroughly modern Max.
One year and 12,000 miles with the staff station wagon
Quotes from the logbook
OUR FAVORITE TRIUMPH? PIECE OF cake: the 1966 Bonneville 650, white with orange stripes—simply beautiful. Say what? Oh, our favorite new Triumph? That’s easy, too. The revived company’s Sprint 900 so impressed everyone here that we named it Best Open Streetbike of 1995, the first time ever that a Triumph had been included in Cycle World's Ten Best Bikes awards.
Austrian, British and Swedish Thumpers tackle America's four-strokes-only Sound of Thunder motocross series
THUMPER PHOTO GALLERY
I LIVE FOR RACING, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT involves roost-churning, flame-throwing four-strokes. So when the opportunity presented itself to evaluate the latest batch of factory Thumpers from Husaberg, CCM and KTM in the AMA’s Sound of Thunder motocross series, I already had my gearbag packed.
CALL ME YOUNG AND INEXPERIenced, but I’ve got a story to tell you. In 1957, a Swedish racer by the name of Bill Nilsson, on his way to winning the 500cc Motocross World Championship on a homebuilt bike, approached AMC, the British makers of AJS and Matchless, with plans to produce a replica of his racebike for the ’58 season.
NEVER MIND THAT ITS NAME IS BETTER suited to the punch line of an off-color joke, here’s a product that performs as claimed. Blue Job Chrome Polish removes the oxidation-caused discoloration, or “bluing,” that plagues some chrome-plated exhaust systems.
ONE OF OUR FAVORITE PASTIMES IS plotting a course on a road map and then navigating that route. The Map Mate eases pre-ride planning by quickly calculating the estimated distance and time of travel between two or more chosen points. Powered by a single lithium battery, the palm-size Map Mate is a snap to use, once you’ve mastered the set-up procedure.
NONE OF US LIKES TO THINK ABOUT IT, but chances are some day you’ll unexpectedly part company with your motorcycle. Hey, stuff happens. Fortunately, the vast majority of bodily damage is limited to schoolyard-type injuries—minor abrasions, skinned knees, etc.
David Aldana relives his past-and then retires-at the revived TransAtlantic Challenge races
WHEN I HEARD TRIUMPH WAS reviving the TransAtlantic Challenge, a tinge of nostalgia went through my old racer’s bones. Just as in the series’ 1970s heyday, the restructured event would pit Brits against Americans in a multirace meeting.
Mick Doohan, that died-in-the-wool defender of wheel-spinning, tire-eating, 190-horsepower V-Fours, looked set to jump on the V-Twin bandwagon for selected GP races this year. But, citing a lack of machinery, Honda wouldn’t let him ride the lighter, more mellow NSR500V Unfazed, the Aussie claimed victories in three of the past four races on his trusty NSR500.
I own a ’91 Yamaha V-Max, and I’ve recently noticed a problem that worries me. During the, ahem, “occasional” launch from stoplight to stoplight, the oil-level light illuminates. As soon as I roll off the throttle, the light goes out. As I said, this only happens during really hard launches.
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.