I HATE TO GIVE AWAY A PUNCHLINE, SO let me be obtuse. If you ever run across an innocent-looking man-mid40s, balding, spectacles, a ready smile-with a barely pronounceable name and a big blue sports car, do yourself a favor and wave him by.
“YOU’RE GOING WHERE, ON WHAT?” “To Sturgis, on a couple of Ducatis.” It was an age-old question, asked with equal incredulity 18 years ago when I rode my Honda 400F from Wisconsin to New Orleans. With the upcoming Sturgis trip, however, it was immediately followed by two other questions: “Won’t Ducatis be uncomfortable on such a long, dull ride?” and “What’ll all those Harley guys think of a couple of Italian sportbikes?”-the latter implying a certain intolerant menace.
THE SHAPE OF A MOTORCYCLE’S FUEL tank is a major part of its appearance, but aesthetics aren’t the only force that molds its shape. The sensuous, curvaceous form of a Ducati 250 Diana tank, for example, was very appealing, and it fit the rider well, but the nature of the fuel system put the tank where it was, vehicle dynamics determined its length and metal-forming technology permitted its complex form.
I had to drop a note after reading Peter Egan’s “Minibike flashback” column (Leanings, September). My dad, who rode Indians and Harleys as a youth, bought me mine, a used Rupp with a 5-hp Briggs & Stratton, Mercury centrifugal clutch (was there any other kind?) and Fred Flintstone-style Converse All-Star brakes.
Add a touch of class to your riding ensemble with the Super III Limited Edition watch from Triumph Motorcycles America, Ltd. (403 Dividend Dr., Peachtree City, GA 30269; 800/743-3874). Sporting an ostrichskin strap, the chronograph-style watch retails for $1000. Only 100 will be manufactured, and each will come with a numbered case, ownership certificate and life-time guarantee.
QWIKSILVER DUALCARBURETOR KIT
Thanks to a fertile aftermarket, Harley-Davidson Big Twins are a tinkerer’s paradise. Consider, for example, Edelbrock’s QwikSilver dual-carburetor kit. Available from motorcycle dealers, the chromed carbs can be ordered in any of four sizes from 3642mm, in 2mm increments. Price for the kit, which includes a three-piece manifold, teflon-lined throttle cables and a chromed air-cleaner cover, is $1481. For more information, contact Edelbrock, 2700 California St., Torrance, CA 90503; 310/781-2222.
GALFER STAINLESSSTEEL BRAKE LINES
Galfer’s stainless-steel brake lines aren’t just for streetbikes anymore. Now available for most late-model dirtbikes, the $105 hoses are teflonlined and PVC clear-coated to resist expansion. For further details and a list of applications, contact your local motorcycle dealer or Motion Pro, 119 Independence Dr., Menlo Park, CA 94025; 415/329-0426.
Rex Marsee had motorcyclists in mind when he designed the Torso Wrap Pack, which features a zippered, 20liter main compartment, two external pockets and a 3M Scotchlite reflective stripe. Padded, adjustable straps connect to a quick-release sternum buckle, so loads are spread evenly over a broad area. An optional 70-ounce Camelbak hydration system fits in the main compartment. Available in red or black, the Torso Wrap Pack retails for $80 direct from Marsee, Box 2588, Temecula, CA 92590; 800/293-2400.
Finding motorcycle riding gear that is as good-looking as it is protective can be an irksome task. Not so with the Carbon Fiber jacket from FirstGear (333 S. Anita, Ste. 1025, Orange, CA 92668; 800/416-8255). Constructed from 1.3mm-thick drum-dyed cowhide, the fully ventilated jacket is trimmed in faux carbon print. Doublestitching, removable armor, and reflective panels at the shoulder and back are standard. Available in chest sizes 38-54, the jacket costs $530 from motorcycle dealers.
Designed for all Suzuki GSX-R750 and 1100 models, Arias high-compression, forged-aluminum pistons come in standard, overbore and bigbore sizes. Rings are included, with tool-steel piston pins optional. Available from motorcycle dealers or direct from Arias (13420 S. Normandie Ave., Gardena, CA 90249; 310/5329737), the pistons cost $480 per set.
SCOOT TOOLS KIT
American iron deserves an American toolkit, or so say the folks at Scoot Tools (1624 Washington St., Denver, CO 80203; 800/869-5001). Designed for late-model Harley-Davidsons, the 76-piece toolkit includes Craftsman, Vise Grip, Bondhus, Lisle and Milton tools. A troubleshooting guide and parts for tire, gasket, hose and electrical repairs come standard; a Leatherman Super Tool is optional. Available from motorcycle dealers or Scoot Tools, the kit costs from $259 to $309, depending on the order.
Sheltering your bike from the elements is simple with the MotoJacket from Pine Ridge Enterprise (13165 Center Rd., Bath, MI 48808; 517/6414881). Designed to stave off corrosion, the lightweight plastic cover zips together and secures with brass locks. Moisture-absorbing OmniDry is included. The MotoJacket is available for $199 from motorcycle dealers or direct from Pine Ridge.
Bob’s BMW provides a way to get even the smallest tot on a Boxer, sort of. Imported from Germany, the Rocking BMW is designed for children ages 2 to 6. It is hand-crafted from pine and hardwood, measures 49 inches in length and has a 19-inch seat height. Also available with a matching sidecar outfit, the rocker costs $895 to $1495 from Bob’s BMW, 10630-Y Riggs Hill Rd., Jessup, MD 20794; 301/924-5155.
CRUISER SALES ARE booming, and there’s no sign of the trend slowing down. Thus, it’s no surprise that the Japanese manufacturers continue to channel much of their energy into developing new products for this burgeoning market segment.
WILL IT EVER END? JUST when you thought it was safe to go back in the 600cc supersport waters, a pair of toothy new sharks break the surface, headed for the beach. Capitalizing on the success of its new-for-’96 GSX-R750, Suzuki has returned to the 600cc supersport class with a downscaled version.
As the power-standard craze shifts into high gear, Suzuki has finally seen fit to bring its much-heralded Bandit 1200S to the U.S. After a successful overseas launch in early 1996, the Bandit will be sold here in two forms: with and without ABS. A Canadian-spec, non-ABS-equipped Bandit wheelied into the hearts of CW staffers during a test in our August issue.
From the “What if...” department comes word that Aprilia boss Ivano Beggio tried to purchase Ducati from Cagiva no less that three times in the past year, only to be denied on the grounds of corporate pride. After repaying a multimillion dollar loan five years early, Beggio had banks falling all over themselves to extend him lines of credit.
IN THE AFTERMATH OF HONDA dropping its aluminumframed nuclear bomb, the 1997 CR250R (see riding impression page 50), on the marketplace, the remainder of the coming year’s steel-framed motocross models pale in comparison. But while the 250cc class may have become a one-horse race (on the sales floor, if not the racetrack), the technological battleground still appears to be fairly level in the 125cc ranks.
Because the 1970s tended toward excess-consider the sexual revolution and the popularity of polyester clothing-it’s no surprise that this issue of Cycle World included a profile of a V-Eight-powered trike. Christened “The Mexawop Express” in honor of builder Dan Hernandez’s Mexican/Italian heritage, this custom three-wheeler was anything but subtle, with its 1967 Ford Mustang engine, psychedelic paint and eight-track stereo.
WHAT’S THIS, A NEXTgeneration Honda ST1100? Not quite. For one, it’s not even a Honda—it’s a BMW! Photographed while undergoing road testing in Germany, the four-cylinder machine is clearly designed for two-up touring—witness the hard saddlebags and top trunk with passenger backrest and built-in stereo speakers.
We told you about it in October, now we’re showing it to you. The latest addition to Buell’s burgeoning lineup is the S3 Thunderbolt. Based on the more-powerful, better-handling S1 Lightning, the S3 will replace the discontinued S2 model, and will sell for $11,999 in the buyer’s choice of red, black or white-gold color schemes.
UP: To Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) and Honda, for giving Indycar fans a glimpse of motorcycle roadracing. Honda hired Erion Racing rider (and CW tester) Doug Toland to parade a CBR900RR at select events this past season, but the exhibitions became impromptu stunt shows when Toland, ever the entertainer, began dragging his knees in the corners and doing stand-up wheelies on the straights.
LOOKING FOR A BIKE THAT oozes motorcycle DNA out its pores? Check out the Boxer 654 Scrambler. On it, you can play street squirrel, dirt demon, Captain Sensible or Joe Average. It just depends on which side of the bed you get up, and where your riding takes you.
Yamaha YZF1000R meets Dodge Viper in a battle of superlatives
CARS. You PASS 'EM ALL THE TIME ON THE STREET. WHEEZING LITTLE econoboxes creeping along in seemingly endless lines, going nowhere fast. Horseless carriages less horsepower. Performance-wise, the vast majority are cannon fodder for even the most modest motorcycle.
THE CAR-VERSUS-BIKE QUEStion will always be with us. Either one can be built to extremes to prove a point, but the real interest focuses on comparing realworld, available-in-stores cars and bikes. So when CW's sister publication Car and Driver offered up a test Dodge Viper GTS coupe, we crossed swords with it.
Motorcycle racers can win on four wheels, too. But there's more to success than skill and unfailing nerve.
“NASCAR is the type of sport where other drivers can make or break you. If they won't draft or run close to you, it can make for long days. Some of the strategy I picked up racing motorcycles has really helped. I wasn’t intimidated by 170 mph, which made it a lot easier to concentrate on the car and what it's doing.
The ultimate Twin? No, just the first Japanese shot in the V-Twin performance wars
AT A SUPERBIKE RACE THIS summer, an American Honda executive was chatting with a friend of his, a marketing person from Harley-Davidson. “You know,” he said, “We’re shutting the door on you next year.” Consider the announcement of Honda’s 1997 VTR1000F the sound of a door closing-at least according to Honda.
Providing further proof that the V-Twin performance wars are about to boil over, Suzuki has unveiled its latest backroad blaster. Like Honda’s VTR1000, the halffaired TL1000SV was inspired by Ducati’s 916. Consider the similarities: two liquid-cooled cylinders 90-degrees apart; electronic fuel injection; trellis frame, albeit manufactured from aluminum rather than chrome-moly steel; 916-like steering geometry and wheelbase dimensions; inverted, fully adjustable 43mm fork; race-worthy brakes and wheels.
Honda's CBR1100XX Super Blackbird has yet to be released in the U.S., but it's already for sale in Europe. Here's what England's Performance Bikes magazine has to say.
IT’S A WARM, SUNNY SATURDAY afternoon at Bruntingthorpe Proving Grounds. The two-mile slab of concrete is silent, save for the chatter of skylarks and the gentle churning of a tractor in a nearby field. The place seems deserted, except for two pairs of timing lights positioned 32 feet apart near the end of the strip.
Supercross Superbike: The world view of Honda's all-new, aluminumframed flyer
BLAME IT ON AMERICAN Honda’s quest for perfect suspension settings, but the Japanese and European press got the first rides on the all-new, aluminum-framed CR250R. Garrrr, a Japanese all-dirt magazine, described the 1997 CR250 as “a works bike with speed and reliability that a beginner can understand.” Another Japanese magazine, Go For Off-Road, as well as the French Moto Crampons, also have published glowing reviews.
Is THERE ANY SINGLE ITEM OF MOTORcycle clothing that has retained its popularity-or its original look-for as long as the black, waxed-cotton trials jacket? Or the pants that go with it? Pull out a copy of Don Morley’s Classic British Trials Bikes and no rider is wearing anything else, back to the dawn of time—well, 1924, actually.
THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS, IS ALL THIS 1995 Triumph Daytona 900 is, a combination of weight loss and strength enhancement any personal trainer would approve of. This Triumph’s workout guru is Earl Campbell, of PI Motorsports in Glendale, California.
Influenced by England's streetfighter craze, Triumph gets weird and wild
SAY WHAT YOU WANT ABOUT THE folks at the reborn Triumph motorcycle company, just don’t call them conservative. As reported in our November issue, Triumph will launch a new T509 Speed Triple alongside its redrawn T595 Daytona for ’97.
THERE WE WERE IN GILROY, CALIFORNIA, THE GARLIC capital of the world, loitering in the parking lot of a motorcycle shop. Almost everybody needed something. Road Test Editor Don Canet’s Suzuki GSX-R750 required a new motor-mount bolt because one of his had fallen out.
EVER HAD TO SWING BY THE SUPERMARket while decked-out in flashy full-coverage riding leathers? You might as well be wearing a NASA moonsuit for all the odd stares cast your way. Certainly, a leather bomber jacket and blue jeans are a more fashion-forward combo, but in the event of a fall, the latter simply don't match the abrasion resistance of dedicated riding pants.
Vance & Hines returns to its drag-racing roots-with a little help from 24-year-old Matt Hines
AUTO RACING MAY HAVE THE ANDRETTI AND UNSER families, but motorcycle racing has its share of famous father-and-son teams, too. We already know of the Roberts clan, the Duhamels, the Rayborns and the Pridmores. Now we have a familial pairing in drag racing-the Hines duo.
Drag racer Elmer Trett, known as the “Father of Top Fuel,” was killed during an exhibition run at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana. Clearly at the top of his game before the run, Trett had set world records for low ET and high mph with a 6.06-second run at 235 mph two weeks earlier.
I have a ’93 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide that I want to liven up a bit, and I plan to do all the modifications myself-carb, air cleaner, exhaust system and cam. None of this work intimidates me, but my buddies all say that in order to install the cam, I’ll have to remove the heads just so I can get the pushrods in and out.
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.