FOR A MAN WHO WOULD GO ON TO launch what is now the world’s largest motorcycle magazine, it was not a particularly rousing start. Joe Parkhurst’s first ride on a bike ended a few moments after it began when he rather inconveniently plowed a borrowed Indian Chief into a parked car.
LAST WEEK I FINALLY PUT A CLUTCH IN my old Triumph 500, after enduring half a summer of vague slippage somewhat on the order of my dad’s 1956 Buick DynaFlow slushbox transmission. Amazing transformation with those new clutch plates and springs in there; speed is now directly related to engine rpm.
WE ALL KNOW THAT THE FEWER CYLINders an engine has, the larger the flywheel mass it needs. There is a simple reason for this, namely that the flywheel must store enough energy to perform the next compression stroke, even at idle speed.
Just got your newest issue and it’s now drying out on my clothesline, along with last month’s, due to excessive drooling on my part. Why are you guys torturing me so? KTM Super Duke...Hyperpro TRX850...Erion Racing CBR900RR... The list of bikes to die for goes on!
Grifters saddlebags may look futuristic, but they’re designed for HarleyDavidson’s Softail and Road King, as well as Honda’s new Valkyrie cruiser. Manufactured from Fibertech, the bags are finished in a gray gel-coat, ready for paint. They accommodate most stock and aftermarket pipes, and include mounting brackets and, if needed, a passenger-peg relocation set. The locking Grifters cost $695 to $995 per set from motorcycle dealers, or direct from Corbin-Pacific, 11445 Commercial Pky., Castroville, CA 95012; 408/633-2500.
Giving your sportbike a racier appearance is easy with a Fender Eliminator Kit from Competition Werkes (713 Old Garden Valley Rd., Roseburg, OR 97470; 800/736-2114). Designed to eliminate the rear fender and tuck in the stock turnsignals and license-plate light, the kit fits most late-model sportbikes. Available from motorcycle dealers or direct from Competition Werkes, it costs $50 to $130, depending on application.
Manufactured from high-tech, waterrepellent polymers, Liquid Nikwax is designed to quickly and easily waterproof leather riding gear. Occasional wipe-on treatments also clean, condition and strengthen. Sold in 17-ounce containers, Liquid Nikwax costs $15 from motorcycle dealers. For more information, contact Nikwax USA, P.O. Box 1572, Everett, WA 98206; 800/335-0260.
Acerbis’ new ARS off-road pants offer more than just splashy graphics. Consider, for example, the scotchgarded heavy-duty nylon panels, the spandex sides and seat, and the fullcut kevlar knees. Priced at $129, they come in forest green, red, blue or yellow. Matching jerseys and gloves are also available. For details, contact your local motorcycle dealer or Acerbis, 9402 Wheatlands Ct., Ste. A, Santee, CA 92071; 619/562-1440.
TIN-ZINC ELECTROPLATING KIT
Here’s an inexpensive solution for restoring corroded metal parts: The Tin-Zinc Electroplating Kit from the Eastwood Company (P.O. Box 3014, Malvern, PA 19355; 800/345-1178) uses electric pulses to plate copper, brass and steel. Priced at $70, the kit includes two quarts of pre-mixed electrolyte solution, a 1.5-volt battery, a tin-zinc anode bar, wire leads, safety goggles and gloves, and a tube of polish. For additional information, contact the Eastwood Company.
Because the latest sportbike tires don’t fit the odd-size, 18and 15-inch wheels of Yamaha’s V-Max, Kosman developed its 17-inch K-Max wheels. Designed for all model years, the 3.5and 5.5-inch wide, three-spoke aluminum wheels utilize the stock brakes and come with a front fender lowering kit. Cost is $1950 per set from motorcycle dealers or direct from Kosman, 55 Oak St., San Francisco, CA 94102; 415/861-4262.
If your motorcycle sits unused for long periods, you might consider purchasing a Battery Tender from Deltran (801 U.S. Highway 92 East, DeLand, FL 32724; 904/736-7900). Advanced circuitry ensures a fully charged battery with no unwanted cycling or overheating, regardless of ambient temperature. The Battery Tender comes complete with alligator clips and a Quik-Connect cable, and costs $60 from motorcycle dealers.
Designed to match current sportbike graphics, MDS’s Stream helmet is now available from Kawasaki dealers. Manufactured in Italy from kevlar, carbon-fiber and fiberglass, the lightweight, laminated shell is fitted with a Dupont Cool Max liner. Equipped with a scratchand fog-resistant faceshield, the fully ventilated Stream comes in XS-XXL sizes and costs $300. Solid-colored versions are also available. For details, contact AGV/MDS, 801 East St., Frederick, MD 21701 ; 800/777-7006.
BMW CHOSE THE RECENT Cologne Motorcycle Show to unveil its longawaited K1200RS sportbike. And while the bike certainly looks sporty in its fire-enginered or yellow-with-checkeredflag paint schemes, the specifications sheet suggests something else entirely.
The rumor mill has been rife with claims that BMW is building a cruiser, but this photograph provides the first real evidence. Captured while undergoing road testing alongside a Honda Shadow 1100 in sunny Spain, the new bike is obviously based on the R1100R Boxer, but is adorned with de riguer cruiser fare such as a buckhorn handlebar, shorty mufflers and an extra dollop of chrome.
Reg Pridmore’s CLASS Motorcycle Schools are going upscale for 1997. A two-week tour of Norway is scheduled for August 3-16, and includes a one-day CLASS session at Rudskogen Raceway. Prices range from $2700 if you provide your own motorcycle to $3800 with a rental bike.
BASKING IN THE SHADOW of BMW’s new K1200RS at the recent Cologne Show was a plethora of Italian motorcycles. In all, more than a dozen new models were on display, ranging from high-tech race-replicas to retro-scooters. As expected, Bimota stopped show-goers in their tracks with the public debut of its 500 Vdue.
THE EXCHANGE RATE BEtween the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen is a crucial factor in determining the Big Four’s motorcycle pricing. Unfortunately, the dollar has grown progressively weaker over the past two decades, laying the groundwork for burgeoning new bike prices.
Yamaha’s “speedblock” color scheme, popularized in the 1970s by three-time 500cc World Champion Kenny Roberts, is making a comeback. Witness the 1997 XJR1200SP “King Replica” shown here. Like the standard-issue, foreign-market XJR1200 we tested previously [CW, April, 1995), the SP is powered by a 16-valve, 1188cc inline-Four tuned for midrange torque.
The year 1972 was a watershed period in motorcycling. Harley-Davidson’s advertisements first spoke of “classic elegance,” Craig Vetter debuted a unique new product called a Windjammer, and Preston Petty pioneered unbreakable plastic fenders.
UP: To Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), for demonstrating that a woman’s place is in the saddle— and we don’t mean the passenger pillion. “Biker Women,” which premiered on the cable network last August, examined the growing number of female motorcyclists.
LAS VEGAS IS KNOWN AS A gambler’s paradise, but it’s also home to a stateof-the-art new racing facility where the motorcycle press was dealt its first ride aboard the 1997 Suzuki GSX-R600. Based on the year-old GSXR750 that handily won the AMA 750cc Supersport title, Suzuki’s new middleweight boasts a champion bloodline that makes it the odds-on favorite in the upcoming 600cc supersport wars.
Excelsior-Henderson cuts through the hype and hoopla to deliver a new American cruiser
ATTEMPTS TO REVIVE CLASSIC American motorcycle names are lately met with calm skepticism. Wouldbe revivalists simultaneously send out invitations to investors and order a prototype from the usual consulting firms. An engine is milled from billet.
How two Minnesota farm boys created a $30 million (so far) motorcycle company
IN THEIR QUEST TO RESURRECT EXCELSIOR-HENDERSON from a 65-year death, Minnesota brothers Dan and Dave Hanlon want the motorcycling world to know that they intend to produce more than just a cruiser. “Anyone can make a bike,” Dan said. “The motorcycle is the sex appeal.
IN A DESOLATE CIVILIAN SECTOR not far from Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert, the howl of a Super Blackbird grows louder as it rapidly closes on a K-band doppler radar unit. The Bird's bedrocksolid stability at speed allows its pilot to maintain a relaxed grip on the controls while glancing down into the cockpit for a quick instrument scan.
Cafe Commando and hot-rod BSA, a matched pair of cheater dice
JON F. THOMPSON
SEEN ALL THE BEAUTIFULLY restored, perfectly correct vintage Nortons, BSAs and Triumphs you can handle? Just a little tired of the unyielding attitude of those who think they know how a Britbike ought to look, and how it ought to run? Us too.
SUZUKI'S NEW TL1000S WAS INSPIRED, NOT COPIED, FROM THE ITALIANS
V-TWINS, ACCORDING TO THE Suzuki TL1000S brochure, "can be so seductive that some enthusiasts are willing to sacrifice comfort, forego longterm reliability allil serviceability, and give up the parts and warranty support of a comprehensive dealer network.”
What Ducati thinks about the new Japanese sport-Twins
Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Looking at the new Honda VTR1000 Super Hawk and Suzuki TL1000S, one can’t help but wonder how the folks at Ducati feel about the Japanese trodding on what has hitherto been Italian turf. To find out, we went right to the source, and posed the question to the principals of Ducati itself.
GLOVES? GOTTA HAVE ’EM. WHETHER it’s to ward off the first chills of autumn, the sting of suicidal bugs or the agony of asphalt-rash in the event of a get-off, a good pair of riding gloves are a motorcyclist’s first line of defense. O’Neal USA (9800 Eton Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311; 818/9981049), a company best known for its motocross products, has actually carried a line of street apparel for the past 20 years.
BACKPACKS RUN THE GAMUT FROM cheap book bags to high-buck carryalls. Marsee’s Torso Wrap Day Pack ranks somewhere in the middle, both in features and in price. Like most backpacks, the Day Pack has one large central storage compartment.
A banker by profession, B.R. Nicholls was a Cycle World writer/photographer in the magazine’s formative years. Founding Editor Joe Parkhurst remembers the good times.
"MORNING," HE WOULD CHEERILY COMmand as we entered the stark white dining room of the Aragon Hotel on the Isle of Man. Most raised their heads from the engrossing task of devour ing a genuine English breakfast to say, "Mornin', Nick" or "Cheers, Nick."
FIRST THINGS FIRST! No, THE CR250’S TRICK NEW alloy frame didn’t bend, break, get crushed or snap in half. Jeez, sportbikes and roadracers have used aluminum frames for more than a decade; why all the questions just because a berm-buster now has one?
MONEY, EGOS, BRAGGING RIGHTS and a bunch more money were on the line at Cycle World's second-annual Quickest Streetbike Shootout, a run-what-ya-brung war of wheel-spinning, nitrous-oxide-injected, 300-horsepower, street-legal projectiles.
After a 26-year marriage, Kenny Roberts and Yamaha are splitting up, citing irreconcilable differences. “I have Marlboro on one side screaming for results and Yamaha on the other dragging their feet,” says the three-time 500cc world champion.
I have a ’92 Suzuki 400 Bandit I bought with about 2000 miles on it. Very clean and brand-new-like. It has 8K on it now, but since the get-go I’ve had this problem: When the fuel level gets low (but before it hits Reserve) and I pull the clutch in to stop, the engine cuts out, and I may or may not be able to restart it.
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.