WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE tough...go for a ride? There I was, staring clueless at the gaping maw of unrequited whiteness where my monthly column was supposed to be. Outside, Southern California was gripped in the icy tentacles of another sunny, 75-degree winter day.
My FRIEND JIM, WHO USED TO RIDE BIKES and doesn't anymore, stopped by with his family for a visit last weekend and took the mandatory after-dinner drink-sipping tour of my humble workshop and garage. He carefully looked over my Ducati 900SS SP, felt its carbon-fiber parts, examined the monoshock rear suspension, stood up and said, "Well, that's a pretty bike.
NOT TOO MANY YEARS AGO, I BEGAN TO hear that some Superbike tuners were recommending that new race engines not be broken-in on synthetic racing oils. Lots of people were confirming this. The users of the new oils implied that they were such fine lubricants that they prevented even the normal wear involved in break-in, which is really the last step in manufacturing.
Peter Egan's "Of Deer and Dogs" column in the February issue was right on the mark. I don't know any rider who hasn't had a close call with an animal. I can't understand why someone doesn't come up with a good, reliable electronic animal-repelling device.
Power to the people-er, the little people. Peg Perego's battery-run Bandolero mini-cruiser ($280) is designed for children up to 65 pounds, ages 3 to 7. It’s tough, thanks to molded plastic and metal construction, and capable of a racy, 5.5-mph top speed via the twistgrip on/off accelerator-perfect for hallway hijinks or lapping Central Park. Traction is provided by rubber-covered vinyl wheels, and durable, foot-actuated drum brakes supply sure stopping power. Some assembly required.
Peg Perego Adventure
1996 WORLD SUPERBIKE YEARBOOK
While attending each round of last year’s World Superbike series may only have been a dream, rabid roadrace fans can still get a flavor for the season past with the 1996 World Superbike Year-book. Chock-full of artful photography, this 112-page hardbound volume examines every aspect of WSB racing, from technical trivia to behind-the-scenes interviews with riders and team members. The yearbook carries a suggested retail price of $50, plus $4 shipping.
Peg Perego Adventure
XTREME GX-3 MOTOCROSS APPAREL
Get the drop on your competition with Xtreme’s new GX-3 off-road apparel. Mock turtleneck jerseys ($49) are 100 percent cotton, have padded elbows and dropped tails. A choice of four colors are available in sizes S-XXL. Matching basket-weave construction cordura-nylon pants ($140) are sold in waist sizes 28-40, and claim heavy-duty knees, shins and seats. Foam hip pads are supplied.
Peg Perego Adventure
RENTHAL R1 WORKS CHAIN
Reduce friction and unsprung weight with Renthal’s R1 Works non-O-ring drive chain. Boasting shot-peened alloy sideplates, chamfered edges, chromised bearing pins and oversize bushings, the R1 is available in 96-to 120-link lengths for late-model 125, 250 and 500cc MXers. Prices range from $65-85.
Peg Perego Adventure
ALPINESTARS GP TECH BOOTS
Alpinestars’ all-new GP Tech roadrace boots are arguably the hottest thing going in two-wheel footwear. But there’s more here than a flashy facade: The lightweight, aerodynamically shaped carbon/kevlar shinplate strengthens and protects, while the wraparound heel absorbs impacts. Gel, air and closed-cell foam surround the ankle, and leather-alternative Lorica adds flexibility and saves weight. High-tech ain’t cheap, though: Offered in five color combinations, the ventilated, rear-zip GP Techs retail for $279 per pair in full sizes 8-13.
Peg Perego Adventure
BATES LEATHERS MICKEY’S JACKET
Although the 1991 film Harley-Davidson and the Marlboro Man wasn’t an Oscar contender, actor Mickey Rourke’s flat-track-inspired jacket garnered loads of praise. So much so, Bates has produced a replica model. Fashioned from premium, top-grain cowhide, the jacket incorporates many of the colors, features and sponsor patches found on its movie namesake. The Mickey’s Jacket comes in chest sizes 40-44 and costs $695. Custom sizing, styling and alternative patches are available.
Peg Perego Adventure
Based on WWII-era flyer’s goggles, Bugz Bomberz ($45) feature open-cell foam liners, a lightweight thermoplastic flex-frame, polycarbonate lenses and an alloy-reinforced bridge. The latter, company officials claim, provides additional protection and support. Bomberz come with an innovative strap/frame adjustment system for convenient over-helmet use.
Peg Perego Adventure
K&N BILLET FUEL FILTER
Behold, the final fuel filter you likely will ever buy. This finned, billet-aluminum K&N contains a reusable pleated stainless-steel filter disc, designed to stop particles as small as 10 microns (.000392-inch) in size. Threaded ends sealed with rubber O-rings withstand more than 6000 psi, and a bypass option prevents total fuel starvation in race applications. Available with ¼and 5/16-inch barbed-style fittings, the filter costs $95.
PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS TALKing about the Australian "rider factory," that hidden crucible of Down Under riding talent that has produced such world-class roadracers as Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan, Troy Corser and Anthony Gobert. Well, now comes the Australian motorcycle factory.
Mark the first weekend in May on your calendar as the date of the eighth-annual Connecticut SuperRide. Based at the Sunrise Resort in Moodus, the yearly event is a rite of spring, with many frostbitten New Englanders emerging from hibernation to enjoy their first rides of the season.
THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY TO emerge from the deep-thinking minds of the Honda Motor Company is a patented puncture-proof tire tube called "TUFFUP." The idea stemmed from the after-math of the 1994 Kobe Earthquake, during which motorcycles proved their ability to negotiate debris-covered roads, except for one recurring problem: flat tires.
After its success in international rallies such as the Atlas and Dakar, KIM is sharing its experience with the public by introducing the 620 Adventure. A dual-purpose hike similar to the 640 Rally that CW's Off-Road Editor Jimmy Lewis raced in Dakar (see page 70), the Adventure sports a 7-gallon gas tank, WP race-spec suspension, an instrument-protecting fairing and a thick, rock-deflecting skidplate.
With its bright-red cover depicting a Husqvarna 400 CR and Norton's new disc-braked 750 Commando, this issue must have set a news-stand or two ablaze! Both cover-bikes were given the full road-test treatment, and both received the editorial thumbs-up.
BMW's R1100R IS GETting the star treatment: a mid-year facelift. Revisions to the twin-cylinder roadster include a larger, chrome-trimmed headlight and a brushed-aluminum instrument panel. The latter houses the ignition switch, handlebar lock, warning lights, a trio of toggle switches, speedometer, tachometer and an analog clock.
You've heard of the goose that laid the golden egg, now meet the golden goose—or is it platinum? Moto Guzzi is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and to commemorate the occasion, the Italian company is producing a limited-edition California 1100i.
UP: To Pacific Bell, for putting a classic spin on a modern service. A brochure touting the telephone company’s new internet access asks the question, "Is your business geared up for the future?", then explains the benefits of the World Wide Web.
LAVERDA'S FRANCESCO Tognon freely admits that Triumph is the prototype for his company's renaissance. While Triumph has successfully paired its single-backbone chassis with inline Triples and Fours, building more than a dozen models in the process, Laverda is the opposite, with two frames and one outdated engine to select from.
Into the Valley of Death with the touring mega-cruisers
Harley-Davidson Road King
Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe
Honda Valkyrie Tourer
Royal Star Tour Deluxe
A HARD BEGINNING MAKES A GOOD ENDING," 16TH-CENTURY AUTHOR JOHN HEYWOOD ONCE wrote. Heywood's proverb washed full force over staffers Catterson and Miles as they struggled to right 780 pounds of toppled Royal Star Tour Deluxe. Editor Edwards arrived late on the scene, eyeballing the aftermath of Miles' untimely pavement pirouette.
IN 1962, THE U.S. military's interest in Vietnam was increasing, Ken Kesey wrote his now-famous One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and in California, more than 2500 motorcyclists embarked on the seventh-annual Death Valley Motorcycle Gypsy Tour.
FRANCE HAS LONG BEEN RECOGnized for its artistic contributions. Now, a country that has produced many of the great painters, sculptors and designers of our time, is doing the same for motorcycling. French sport riders are roadrace fans through and through.
Touring northern Mexico in the footsteps-and tire tracks-of the Revolution
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE ONCE SAID,"WITHOUT ITALY, Germans would go crazy." There is some evidence that Germans occasionally go crazy anyway, with or without Italy, but one can understand his meaning. Those of us who live in uptight, highly organized northern climes seem to require a place in the mind that is more relaxed and latin in temperament, where the trains do not always run on time.
SITTING IN THE SUNSHINE AT THE Triumph T595 Daytona's international press launch was a solitary, jet-black T509 Speed Triple. Triumph's newest alloy-framed naked bike was in Spain for static display only, meant as a strong reminder that Triumph's Great Leap Forward is based on two new models, not just one.
I COULD HEAR THE DEEP DRONE OF THE LEADER'S G50 Matchless, down on the apron where so many classic racing competitors ride—the short way around Daytona's big bowl. But up high on the banking, moving visibly faster, came another machine, higher in pitch, sweeping past start-finish and into the lead.
Is it a tempest in a teapot, or is it...AHRMAgeddon?
BY MOST ACCOUNTS, THE AMERICAN HISTORIC RACING Motorcycle Association is intended to be a haven in which VintaGents can restore, show, race and enjoy old bikes in a structured environment that offers something for every enthusiast. But its critics contend that AHRMA has become a pressure-cooker in which politics replace pleasure, and feuding between the club's stud ducks replaces classic-bike camaraderie.
Timbuktu and back: Fifteen days, 5700 miles of dirt, desert and potential disaster
Yamaha vs. KTM
AND ON THE 11TH DAY, I WON A STAGE! AFTER a week and a half of ripping through the African desert at speeds nearing 100 mph, the Dakar Rally took a turn for the worse. "This section will separate the men from the boys," cautioned the rally's head man, Hubert Auriol.
DOES DRAGGING YOUR BIKE THROUGH SLIMY, GREASE-like mud, rafting down whitewater rapids (bike on board), trials riding a burro or zooming down a pristine stretch of a white-sand beach sound like a motorcycle race? It did to Franco Acerbis and ESPN's Motoworld, and so the Incas Rally, an 800-mile "adventure" run around Peru, was on.
CENTERSTANDS ARE WONDERFUL THINGS. Oil changes, lubing and adjusting the drive chain, cleaning rims, tightening spokes, even setting tire pressure, all are easier with a bike securely positioned straight up and down, its rear wheel off the ground.
PURPOSE-BUILT MOTORCYCLE LUGGAGE is a tremendous asset when touring, but there are more convenient ways to carry day-to-day desirables. Courier bags, for instance, capitalize on convenience, which explains their popularity among bicycle and motorcycle messengers.
Doug Chandler never won a grand prix. So what, he's won everything else.
DOUG CHANDLER TUCKED BEHIND THE BUBBLE OF HIS LUCKY Strike Suzuki and focused on the task at hand. Leading the 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix by 15 seconds with seven laps to go, he concentrated on riding smoothly, feeling for traction on the slippery pavement.
Stagnation is over, let the technical adventure begin. That's the message for the forthcoming grand prix season. After five years of factory V-Fours winning all the races, several alternatives are bidding to break the deadlock. The most exciting is Kenny Roberts’ new three-cylinder machine, built like a Formula One car in the heart of England’s specialist race-engineering belt.
Any time I'm riding my '91 Honda VFR750, all of its lights randomly flicker between normal brightness and slightly dimmed. Most of the time, though, they're dim. The problem isn't bump-related because it happens on smooth or rough roads, and it happens during the day as well as at night, although it's not as easy to notice in the daylight.
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.