SUBMITTED FOR YOUR APPROVAL, AN overview of good and bad from the year just past. Next stop, then, the Highlight (and Lowlight) Zone. Let's give new-bike buyers an UP for the fourth year in a row, as sales continue on an upward trend started in 1992.
ACCORDING TO HISTORIANS, MUCH OF the original road system in the U.S. was based on Indian footpaths, which in turn followed ancient game trails. Makes sense to me. Who better than a deer or a pedestrian to find the most sensible path through the wilderness?
WHY RIDE MOTORCYCLES OR CARE about them? The ad agencies think they know. We do it, the ads tell us, to be cool, to ensure reproductive success, to display something beyond the financial reach of others. Yet conversations with riders and confirmed motorheads reveal latent poetry that seldom makes it into print.
As I was ripping down the road on a cold November day knowing that nothing on four wheels stands a chance in hell of keeping up with me on my Honda CBR900RR, I couldn't help but feel cheated by the Yamaha YZF 1000 vs. Dodge Viper shootout in the December issue.
Who says KTM only makes motorcycles? Certainly not anyone who has seen the Austrian manufacturer's Adventure 3 motocross pants and jerseys. Emblazoned with current KTM graphics, the padded cordura-nylon pants come in waist sizes 22-40, while the 100 percent cotton jerseys are offered in S-XXL. Available from motorcycle dealers, the pants cost $149 and the jersey is priced at $50. For details, contact KIM, 930 Fesler St., El Cajon, CA 92020; 216/246-6301.
VREEKE DUCATI 916 SPROCKETS
Ducati 916 owners now have another readily available alternative to factory gearing. Vreeke Industries (11991 Challenger Ct., Moorpark, CA 93021; 805/529-1408) manufactures CNCmachined, aircraft-quality, anodized aluminum rear sprockets for 1994-96 916s in 36through 41-tooth sizes. Suggested retail price is $159 each.
AIRLIFT SEAT SYSTEM
$239 to $399
Mustang developed its AirLift Seat System to relieve the discomfort often associated with long-distance motorcycle travel. Designed to fit beneath existing seat foam, the polyurethane bladders expand and contract via attached hand controls. Sold in conjunction with Mustang's Harley-Davidson touring seats, the complete system retails for $239 to $399, depending on the application. For details, contact your local motorcycle dealer or Mustang, 278 Town Hill Rd., Terryville, CT 06786; 800/243-1392.
The Badlands Illuminator converts turnsignals into running lights. Designed for all motorcycles, the palmsize unit continually diverts 50 percent of available current to the rear turnsignals. Activating the signals manually produces 100 percent performance. Available for $80 from motorcycle dealers, the Illuminator comes with all necessary wiring. For more information, contact Badlands Motorcycle Products, 1200 South Rock, Sparks, NV 89431; 702/359-4450.
RC SPORTBIKE WHEELS
Rc Components' Sportbike Wheels are now available in Star and Whirl spoke patterns. Designed for most late-model Japanese sportbikes, the spun-aluminum wheels accommodate stock brake rotors and come in 17 x 3.5-inch front, and 17 x 5.5and 17 x 6.25-inch rear sizes. Suggested retail is $1310 per set, and includes a matching, solid-mounted rear sprocket in a choice of 41through 49-tooth sizes. For details, contact your local motorcycle dealer or RC Components, 140 Hunters Ct., Bowling Green, KY 42103; 502/842-6000.
ACME TIRE GAUGE
Checking tire air pressure is easy with the Linear Indicator Hose Extension Gauge from Acme Automotive (P.O. Box 309, 200 Clay Ave., Middlesex, NJ 08846; 908/7521973). Designed to accurately determine air pressure, the epoxy-coated, brass, pencil-style gauge features a manual bleed valve and a heavy-duty nylon extension hose. The $20 gauge is available from motorcycle dealers or Acme.
HONDA GENUINE CLASSIC CLOTHING
$10 to $375
Nothing accessorizes a Honda motorcycle better than Genuine Classic Clothing from American Honda (1919 Torrance B1vd., Torrance, CA 90501; 310/783-2000). Designed by Troy Lee, the line covers all the bases, from T-shirts and caps to varsity jackets and denim shirts. Available only from Honda dealers, the apparel ranges in price from $10 to $375.
AEON AXC-1 CHILD'S HELMET
Aeon's AXC-l off-road helmet is designed specifically for children. The lightweight fiberglass helmet has adjustable vents, a non-slip goggleholder, a padded and perforated nylon interior, and a padded chin strap. It's designed for children ages 3 to 13, and comes in child's small/medium and large/X-large sizes. The $80 helmet is available in white, black, white/red and white/blue. For details, contact Helmet House, 2360 Towns gate Rd., Westlake Village, CA 91361; 805/373-6868.
PIRELLI MT320 MX TIRE
Intended for soft-to-intermediate terrain, Pirelli's MT320 knobby tire uses the company's patented triple-layer, high-modulus polyester carcass for improved stability in the dirt. Front and rear applications are available, and prices start at $80. For more information and sizing, contact your local motorcycle dealer or Pirelli, 410 Eagleview Blvd., Suite 106, Exton, PA 19341; 610/458-9662.
YOU KNOW KTM's DUKE. Even if all you saw was a photo, you'd remember. It's the dressed-up dirtbike that thinks it's sporty, a supermotard racer for the street. Having sold every Duke it could build to date, the Austrian KTM company is exploring its options.
Honda's answer to KTM's Duke is the SLR650, built in conjunction with the Japanese company's Spanish importer, Montesa. Although its XR650L-derived, air-cooled, sohc 644cc single-cylinder engine is firmly rooted in dirtbiking's past, the SIR's street-oriented styling is bold and purposeful.
KENNY ROBERTS' three-cylinder 500cc grand prix bike isn't the only racing motorcycle being developed in England's Formula One heartland. March, the famed chassis constructor whose race cars won several F-1 GPs in the 1970s before the company turned its attention to Indycars, is currently working on a Superbike.
More and more motorsports illustrators are coming to realize what motorcycle enthusiasts have known all along: Bikes are more exciting than cars. The latest artist to try his hand at two-wheelers is Michael D. Savage. Best known for his Indycar and Formula One works, Savage is a closet sportbike junkie who owns a race-kitted Kawasaki ZX-7R and just put a down payment on a Ducati 916.
As if there weren't enough racecar companies working on motorcycle projects, British Indycar chassis constructor Reynard has now entered the arena. Only Reynard's project isn't really a bike; it's a two-seater sports car powered by a four-cylinder Triumph 1200 Daytona motor.
YOU THINK THE DEAD don't rise from their graves? Consider the strange case of BSA, and its Bantam and Gold Star models. Bantam first: Originally designed as a DKW, the Bantam became a BSA, as well as a Harley Hummer, through World War II reparations ("To the victors go the spoils," right?) and was built in England through 1971 as a 175cc econo-runabout.
Stick with us on this, be cause it gets a trifle confusing. For CycIe World's fifth-annual GP EuroTour, we're going to the Dutch TT, which isn't really a TT but a GP, as in the seventh stop on the 1997 world championship circuit. Got it? Okay.
JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT America had enough theme parks, along comes one that's actually worth going to. Daytona USA, located adjacent to Turn 4 of the famed superspeedway, is billed as "The Ultimate Motorsports Attraction." The 50,000-square-foot building offers an inside look at Daytona history, and showcases the color and pageantry of motorsports through a variety of films, shows and interactive multi-media displays.
Cycle World featured his very first custom motorcycle just one year ago (see "Super Stars," February, 1996), and now, Jeff Paihegyi has taken Yamaha's Royal Star to new heights. This power cruiser is diametrically opposed to his previous, nostalgic-looking effort.
In typical trend-setting manner, Cycle World went disco years before the Bee Gees with a strobe-lit photograph of HarleyDavidson's new 1000cc Sportster on the cover. The editors dubbed the bike "the most likely to be ripped off in 1972," and said that it "hauled ass" through the quartermile.
UP: To the motor officers of Duluth, Georgia, for being the first police department in the U.S. to forsake the ubiquitous Harley-Davidson Big Twins and Kawasaki KZ1000s in favor of sportier Buell RS1 200s, thus bettering their chances of catching speeding motorists.
IT'S A HARLEY" YOU THINK as you thump along. What else has that copy right-applied-for exhaust note, those majestic flywheels that guarantee stately engine response, those big, lulling torque pulses? Why, a Big Dog, of course. In the last several years, the in creased availability of almost every part needed to build a Harley has coincided with shortages of certain models from the Milwaukee manufacturer.
ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN A DEMO cratic society is the freedom to vote. Not just for political leaders-only 49 percent of eligible Americans cast ballots in the recent presidential election, anyway-but also to vote with our wallets, to make educated purchases based on our own research.
THE 600cc SPORTBIKE IS THE hottest ticket in town. Accounting for almost 40 percent of total U.S. sportbike sales, 600s promise performance and speed galore, but are less intimidating and less costly than their largerdisplacement brethren.
Kevin Schwantz shirks retirement for a ride on Mick Doohan's championship-winning Honda NSR500
WHEN I RETIRED from racing almost two years ago, I was quoted as saying, "I don't regret that I never rode a Honda." Well, that's not entirely true. I enjoyed a great career with Suzuki. I won the Daytona 200, 25 GPs and the 500cc world championship.
KEVIN SCHWANTZ'S REPUTATION FOR A ROLLICKING good time precedes him. Before I left for Australia to mop up the final details of the NSR test, CW Executive Editor Brian Catterson offered the following: "Make sure you go out drinking with Schwantz one night.
BACK IN THE '80s, TEAM YOSHIMURA WAS STILL HIRING riders on the basis of "sudden death" tryouts at Willow Springs Raceway. Any young hotshot who got on one of those bikes knew this was his chance at the Big Time. Journalist Ken Vreeke was watching when 20-year-old Kevin Schwantz made the cut.
WHEN LAST WE CHECKED IN ON our long-term BMW R850R (CW, October, 1996), we remarked that the unpretentious twincylinder roadster was racking up miles quicker than Amtrak. That pace slowed somewhat over the summer due to our busy new-bike testing schedule, but what hasn't changed is the Beemer's reliability-with regular oil changes, it continues to run like clockwork.
RAY HENSLEY SAYS TODAY THAT Trackmaster, the racing frame company he founded, was kind of a happy accident. He had no for mal training, no action plan, no venture capital. Instead, Hensley made history by following the example of the Chicago politician who amassed a large fortune on a small salary: "I seen my opportunities," he told the press, "and I took `em."
England's last hurrah, courtesy of Ray Hensley, C.R. Axtel and Gene Romero
FORMER GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPION GENE ROMERO literally couldn't believe his eyes. "Yup," he said after a long and reflective pause. "That's it. That's the San Jose bike." - For Why this matters, rewind 30 or so years and at least two racing generations.
THE BUELL S1 LIGHTNING'S HIGHvolume, automotive-style muffler is a technical marvel, full of computer generated, multiple-chamber baffling designed to enhance performance and suppress noise. Too bad, then, that it looks like something borrowed from an old Packard.
In the grand tradition of carving multiple bikes from a single platform, Suzuki brought the Marauder here for $5999. It is a carbon-copy of the 400cc Desperado, on sale in Japan since last May. Impressive for a bike of its price the Marauder comes with custom-looking, castaluminum wheels-a 16 x 3.00 up front and a 15x3.50 in the rear. Suzuki's accessory department is working overtime to produce add-ons for the Marauder. Witness the draginspired version (left) with its fairing ($350), chin spoiler ($140) and one-piece seat ($215). The boulevard variation wears an array of billet-aluminum bits, saddlebags ($250), windshield ($240) and studded seat ($215). Lifted from the 800 Intruder, the Marauder motor goes 7500 miles between valve adjustments, has an easily accessible spin-on oil filter and a convenient oil-level check window.
WHILE THE OTHER JAPANESE GIANTS ARE BUSY courting fortysomething re-entry riders with mega-buck jumbo cruisers, Suzuki has taken a decidedly different route. With its corporate eye on America's youth, the Hamamatsu factory has unleashed its new-for-'97 Marauder 800.
Getting in touch with your inner child on a Whizzer, a Rock-Ola or a Silver Eagle
WENDY F. BLACK
AS THE HOT SUMMER SUN BREAKS THROUGH the clouds in Portland, Indiana, on this July morning, visitors to the Jay County Fairgrounds are greeted by an odd sight. Just within the gates-next to the Women's Building, across from the Floral Buildingare hundreds of scooters.
DUBBING THE 1948 Salsbury Model 85 simply another motorscooter is akin to calling Marilyn Monroe just another pretty face. Those voluptuous lines, those eye-popping curves, that perky tailsection... But what about the scooter, you ask?
How fast is a turbocharged ZX-11 in a one-mile sprint? Mr. Turbo and the East Coast Timing Association provide some impressive answers
LAURINBURG/MAXTON AIRPORT, NORTH CAROLINA, SATURDAY A.M.
SHAKEDOWN RUN...AT RECORD SPEED
STANDING ANKLE DEEP IN BRINE, surveying the temporary lake that used to be the Bonneville Salt Flats, Mike Beckett and Tom Sarda knew there had to be a better way. The year was 1994 and the pair of land-speed-record enthusiasts had trailered their immaculately prepared cars from North Carolina to western Utah in search of untethered straight-line velocity at the big doggy of all speed meets held annually in Wendover, Utah.
YOU COULDN'T KNOCK THE SMILE OFF PHIL DETAMORE'S FACE WITH a shovel. "Last month I came out and ran her at 137 mph," he beamed, motioning to his pristine Suzuki Katana 750, "and this morning we went 145!" Detamore, a 63-year-old enthusiast from Westerville, Ohio, rode one of four bikes entered in the ECTA's Production 750 class.
SOME AREUVE IN PLUSH MOTORHOMES. OTHERS ShOW up in the family station wagon. There is camping for all, the sweet smell of Southern barbecue wafting through the air, picnic tables full of hungry hangerson. Girls chase boys. Boys chase girls.
In claiming the 1996 World Superbike title, 25-year-old Troy Corser became the youngest rider to do so and the only Aussie champion in the series' nine-year history. Moving steadily from the 1993 Australian Superbike title, then to the 1994 AMA Superbike championship to the WSB crown, Corser now has his sights set on the 500cc grand prix arena, where he is considering a Yamaha factory ride.
In the November, `96, Service, you responded to a letter that asked how best to combat the unpleasant odors that accumulate in a helmet after a season or two of riding. Your answer was (to keep it short) soap and water. There may be a better way: baby wipes.
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.