I SUPPOSE I SHOULD APOLOGIZE. LAST Friday, for the first time in maybe 10 years, I watched Bruce Brown's classic bike-racing movie On Any Sunday. I'd forgotten how good, how strong, how wonderful a film it is. As part of this year's Sonomafest activities held in conjunction with the Sears Point AMA National, Cycle World sponsored a "Director's Cut" showing of the movie at the beautifully restored 1930s-style Sebastiani Theater in downtown Sonoma.
OVER THE PAST 26 YEARS, I WOULD EStimate that upwards of 100 people have said to me, "I'm surprised your wife lets you have a motorcycle." This statement is occasionally made by men, but most often, I'm sorry to say, by rather well-dressed, conserva tive women whose husbands stand in the background looking as if they've been hit across the side of the head with a 2x4.
"I'M GOING UP TO THE SHOP TO CHECK on a part." My wife has heard these words from me countless times over the past years. Everything is not in one place. There's no such thing as just sitting at the typewriter, and there's no such thing as just hiding out in the shop.
September's tech feature and riding impression on Polaris' Victory V92C were outstanding! I was very impressed with the new prototype and how it was designed and tested. I had been saving for a new Harley FLST, but after reading your articles, I can't wait to learn more about the V92C. As an industrial-arts teacher, I can appreciate the extensive engineering effort that the Polaris team invested in this project.
Snazz up your late-model Harley-Davidson Sportster with Corbin styling components. Constructed from lightweight Fibertech, the fenders and water-resistant Grifter saddlebags come primed and ready for paint. The bags’ $858 suggested retail includes the taillight-equipped rear fender, while the fenders ($119 front, $159 rear) are also available separately. No frame modifications are necessary for installation.
RACING KNEE SLIDERS
If you can’t get enough of psychedelics—we’re talking roadracing apparel, not hallucinogens—check out Wiz Racing’s knee sliders. From plain plastic pucks bearing Wiz’s logo to funky-looking leather-and-suede jobbies that emulate those worn by reigning 500cc GP champ Mick Doohan, the company can accommodate the pickiest of racers. Per-pair puck pricing ranges from $26 to $56.
SUZUKI DR650 GAS TANK
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Bigger is better. This is particularly true when it comes to trail riding—no teensy-weensy gas tanks here, please. Acerbis’ large-capacity tank for 1996-’97 Suzuki DR650s, for example, holds 4 gallons. Furthermore, this $225 tank comes complete with petcock, gas cap, mounting hardware and decals. Nobody wants to be stuck in the middle of nowhere without fuel, after all.
No, it’s not an old Honda dual-purpose bike. With the XL-500 Jacket, Belstaff provides the traditional appearance of its wax-cotton Trail-master, but in a lightweight, lower-maintenance package Fashioned from PVC-coated Oxford nylon, the waterproof XL-500 features four snap-down cargo pockets, a reversible reflective belt and underarm ventilation. The $220 jacket is available in black only, and comes in sizes S-XXL.
Possibly the ultimate all-in-one too, Buck Knives' Bucktool lacks only the kitchen sink. Indeed, this folding, multifunction gizmo ($82) boasts full-size needle-nosed pliers, wire cutters, slotted and Phillips-head screwdriver tips, a bottle opener, and serrated and drop-point blades. Options include a file and a handy pocket clip.
The folks at Sewell & Jones Engineering believe motorcycling should be an illuminating experience, literally. To wit: They have devised Arrow Head "supplemental turnsignals." Intended to adhere to the backs of helmets, the arrow-shaped reflective stickers glow brightly under the glare of headlight beams. A diamond positioned in the center of the arrows draws additional attention. The stickers are available in orange or green. Suggested retail price is $15.
DYNA 2000 DIGITAL PERFORMANCE IGNITION
Dynatek's Dyna 2000 Digital Performance Ignition allows fine-tuning of your four-cylinder engine's ignition timing. Available for most bikes, the microprocessor-controlled module even accommodates nitrous and turbo applications. Included in the $345 price are an adjustable rev limiter, a dual-sensor crankshaft trigger, wiring harness and built-in frame saddles for easy installation.
DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT those kooky Australians are at it again, this time with a V-Eight sportbike! This newest Down Under wonder—hot on the heels of the spacey Hunwick Hallam V-Twin—is the brainchild of Ian Drysdale, a 38-year-old Melbourne-based design engineer.
It must be something in the water...or, more likely, the beer. No sooner had we stopped drooling over the Drysdale V8, than photos of another Aussie oddity plopped down on the desk. If you know Vee Two at all, it's from the company's Alchemy kitbike, a steel-tube setup meant for old bevel-drive Ducati motors.
Everyone's all-around best sportbike, the Honda VFR750, is due for an update. You've heard the rumors of an 850cc version? Well, forget 'em. The latest dope from CW's European moles has a 781cc VFR800 in the lineup for '98, reskinned, fuel-injected and about 60 pounds lighter than the current VFR750. Mmmm, can't wait.
A SPORTING VERSION OF the best-selling Thunderbird 900 headlines Triumph's catalog for 1998, a year that company officials hope will see increasing sales in the American market. The born-again British marque has received a lukewarm reception since it began exporting motorcycles to the colonies in 1995, but with the recent success of the Thunderbird and the new- for-'97 T595 Daytona, that trend appears to be turning around.
"Fight Those Traffic Tickets!" insisted this issue's main cover blurb. Plugging the first of three citation-oriented articles authored by a retired cop, the crimson lettering contributed to the red, white and green Italian-style cover.
MOTORCYCLE OILS aren't just for lubrication anymore. In fact, some oils can be found decorating hallways and living-room walls. Confused? No need. The oils in question are of the painting variety, and motorcycles are the subject matter.
Make no mistakes, the cool-looking Harley shown here ain't cheap. In fact, its price is $15,000. Reasonable for a custom Big Twin, until closer inspection reveals that this boulevard bruiser is really a coffee-table collectible. Weighing just 12 pounds, the 11-inch-tall miniature is the work of 56-year-old Don Nowell.
UP: To Automobile Quarterly, for recognizing that motorcycles are automobiles, too. More glossy hard-cover book than magazine, AQ's latest issue is dedicated entirely to BMW, including a nicely done chapter—penned by former CW staffer D. Randy Riggs—on the history of BMW motorcycles.
WITH THE NOOSE OF ever more stringent emissions standards poised to strangle off-road motorcycles as we know them, clean-burning two-strokes are garnering their fair share of headlines. And none more so than Honda's Activated Radical Combustion technology.
YOU SAY YOU'VE HAD IT UP TO HERE with bloodless retro-cruisers bent on exceeding themselves in an effort to emulate your grandad's old Harley-Davidson? We know where you're comin' from. On the other hand, frontline repli-racers, those 160-mph jellybeans, leave you cold, all hunched over looking like a simian schtupping a football?
WITH A PENCHANT FOR stoppies and wheelies, Buell's S1 has built a reputation based on its hooligan street manners. But a serious side to the S1 also exists, as evidenced in the Buell Lightning Series—a spec roadracing class pitting lightly modified S1s against their own.
EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT FAMILIAR WITH ANDY JACOBSON, you've seen his work. As the recently retired design director for Ford's Commercial Truck Vehicle Center, Jacobson and his staff determined how the company's pick ups, vans and semis looked.
Come with us now over shining wet roads through misty mountains and brooding forests to the Dutch TT at Assen, on the tifth-annual Cycle World GP Euro-Tour
As WE CLIMBED THE DARK, NARROW STAIRS THAT spiraled up the guard tower into the medieval castle at Bad Bentheim (which sounds, I admit, more like a mechanical problem than a castle), my wife Barbara said, "Can you imagine what it was like for knights to run up these stairs in full armor?" I paused for a moment, sweating heavily, and looked down at my scuffed motorcycle boots and the creaking knee pads in my riding leathers.
TRENDS COME AND GO, BUT A CLEAN, shiny motorcycle is never out of style. S100 has capitalized on this fact, first with its Total Cycle Cleaner ("More riding time in every bottle") and now with its novel Engine Brightener. The latter is designed to renew black-painted engine cases and cylinders, as well as spiff-up time-dulled plastic and rubber.
IF YOU'RE A TYPICAL HOT-BLOODED ROAD-race fan, you've probably fantasized about shredding your usual Sunday-morning backroad aboard a championship-caliber Superbike. Taking to the street on such a bike would inspire you to dive deeper into corners and roll back into the throttle sooner than you ever thought possible.
HOW TO BUILD A STREET-LEGAL roadracer? Easy: Start with a reputable racebike. Aimed at AMA Formula Xtreme and NASB Formula USA competition, the Muzzy Raptor 850 turnkey racer retails for $25,000 and produces a claimed 178 horsepower at the crankshaft.
KAWASAKI HAS HAD A CONTINUING problem with its ZX-9: the Honda CBR900RR. A natural competitor for Kawasaki's sportiest big-bore, the featherweight Honda was able to better the ZX-9's power-to-weight ratio even while trading peak power for a wider powerband.
BEST OF THE "ORIGINAL" HARLEYS, THIS 1929 JD WITH SIDECAR WAS RESTORED FOR DAILY USE
DOING THE RIGHT Thing can be as easy to do as it is to talk about. As in, it's a dark and stormy night, a lonely road, and the sack in the ditch contains...kittens. Obviously abandoned, obviously doomed unless the finder takes action. It doesn't require a degree in theology to instantly know that, nor to take that action.
GOULDING FAMILY LORE HAS IT that eldest daughter Dot was born in one of her father's sidecars. But that's not true. Here's what really happened: When the time came, Jimmy Goulding bundled his very pregnant wife Olive into his Harley-Davidson sidecar rig, and carted her off to the doctor.
IT'S A CRIME WE CAN'T PUT MORE MILES on our long-term Honda XR400. Sadly, the bike that won its class at the Nevada Rally, that finished a 6-hour GP at Glen Helen Raceway, that never left anyone stranded, that provided plentiful thrills and spills, was stolen upon return from an outing in Baja, Mexico.
CONVERTING A MODERN MOTOCROSSER into a trail-worthy enduro weapon typically involves one significant stumbling block: lights. More specifically, once you've got 'em, how do you power 'em? E-Line (54 Spectacle Pond Terrace, East Wareham, MA 02538; 508/2950812) makes bolt-on lighting coils for most late-model Japanese MXers.
ONE YEAR AGO, MICKEY FAY RODE THE TEAM CYCLE World Honda CR500 project bike to a creditable 15th-place finish in the Peoria TT. While Fay wound up near the back of the 18-rider field in the main event, we were elated—relieved even—just to have qualified.
This year, the Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race celebrated its 20th anniversary with...a typhoon! Torrential rains and gusting winds plagued the popular event. Nonetheless, three Americans—John Kocinski, Scott Russell and Doug Polen—were among the top-five finishers.
I've been dreaming about owning a Honda Shadow American Classic Edition Tourer, but one thing troubles me: If this bike is designed for road trips, how come its load capacity is only 381 pounds, including rider? Between my wife and myself, we can just about get to that weight without carrying any gear.
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.