JUST GOT BACK FROM HONDA’S BIG 50TH-anniversary shindig in New York City, a two-day affair for 2500 or so dealers, guests and journalists. Lotsa hoopla, including a welcome presentation in the gilded, art-deco glory of Radio City Music Hall, emceed by the ageless Dick Clark, highlights provided by the leggy ‘n’ limber Radio City Rockettes.
YOU’D THINK BY NOW IT WOULD BE Axiomatic never to compliment a British bike on its reliability, even in the mind, much less with the spoken or written word. But sometimes one forgets. Last year, for instance, I was riding my 1968 Triumph (high-pipe T100C version) from our deeply rural home into the city of Madison, thinking to myself how beautifully the bike was running-as it had been all summer.
THE MOST BASIC PISTON ENGINE-THE Single-is an ungraceful beast. Its whole structure leaps up and down jerkily in reaction to the startings and stoppings of its piston. It twists around its crankshaft in response to the rotary thumpings of its widely spaced torque pulses.
I just read October’s mid-weight cruiser review. While I welcome the coverage of this class of motorcycle-my last two bikes have been cruisers-I was surprised by one glaring oversight in your review. Your main objection to the Vulcan, its price, became a non-issue in midsummer when Kawasaki lowered the MSRP on this bike by $1200.
Attention off-roaders: Having it made in the shade is a breeze with Moto-Solutions’ Add-Awn Sport Shade. The water-resistant Sport Shade is a 9-foot-6-inch x 8-foot-6-inch nylon awning supported by an anodized aluminum frame that fits all pick-up trucks and sport-utes, and vans equipped with luggage racks. Telescoping legs accommodate uneven terrain, and mounting hardware is included. Available in blue, red or camouflage, the Sport Shade costs $299 (a $329 version fits long-beds).
RANDY OWENS ARTWORK
Renowned motorsports artist Randy Owens is at it again. His previous serigraphs of Kevin Schwantz and Troy Corser sold out almost immediately, and now comes a new multi-color print featuring Wayne Rainey streaking along on the factory Yamaha YZR500. Autographed by artist and rider, the 21 x 12-inch artwork goes for $300.
SHOEI X-SP HELMET
No one can accuse Shoei of resting on its corporate laurels. Case in point: the new X-SP, which boasts low-pressure exit scoops to reduce fogging, updated aerodynamics and improvements to the patented dual-liner ventilation system. Snell-and DOT-approved, the light-weight lid retails for $590 and comes in white, black or gray. Racer-replicas are in the offing.
DAVIS DESIGNS BAG OF TUNES
If the hills aren’t alive with the sound of music, check out Davis Designs’ Bag of Tunes. Designed to fit most motorcycles, the water-resistant 600-denier and cowhide tankbag houses an AM/FM radio/cassette player and two 4-inch speakers, all stashed securely in closed-cell foam. Suggested retail is $357, although the pack sans radio can be purchased separately for $86. A handlebar-mounted version is also available.
FOX ENGINEERING CRYOLABS CLUTCH PLATES
No, we’re not referring to some sinister sci-fi flick where clutch plates are cryogenically frozen. We are, however, talking about Fox Engineering, which chemically deep-freezes its lightweight aluminum plates to make them more durable than their steel counterparts. At $14.20 per plate, they aren’t cheap. But there’s nothing diabolical about that...
OAKLEY PRO FRAME GOGGLES
Oakley may be the darling of the mountain-bike set now, but its roots are firmly planted in motorcycling. Consider the Pro Frame MX goggle. Featuring three layers of face-foam, a urethane frame and scratch-resistant Lexan lens, the $57 goggles come in red, yellow, emerald, pearl and metallic sand. Tear-offs are optional, as are tinted lenses.
CruzTools has gone metric with its new CruzMetrix toolkit. Included in the compact cordura zip-up pouch are the following: eight open-end wrenches, seven hex keys, Vise-Grips, a 4-in-l screwdriver, gap gauge and room for ancillary items. Suggested retail price is $120.
NEVER MIND THE AMERIcan buying public’s infatuation with feet-forward cruisers, for the rest of the world, rearsets are in. And if the recent Milan Show was any indication, 1998 will be the Year of the Sportbike. Undisputed star of the show was Cagiva’s long-awaited F4 superbike, which debuted with the name of the most revered Italian marque of all on its flanks: MV Agusta.
Kawasaki has unveiled the 1500 Nomad, a touring-oriented cruiser based on the Vulcan 1500 Classic. While the Nomad shares the Classic’s new K-TRIC ignition and revised-ratio five-speed transmission, it’s more than just a Vulcan with cop-bike windshield and hard saddlebags.
Philip Zanghi II, the self-styled Indian revivalist, has been convicted in U.S. district court of bilking investors out of $830,000. The jury deliberated less than three hours before finding Zanghi guilty on 12 counts of securities fraud, three counts of tax evasion and six counts of money laundering.
SUZUKI WILL OFFER A racier, fully faired version of its popular TL1000S sport-Twin for 1998. That, we knew. What we didn’t know is that the new TL1000R will wear a conventional twinspar aluminum frame, not the S-model’s exotic trellis affair.
Yamaha's ill-fated TX750 was this month’s featured bike, splayed out on the lima-bean-colored cover. The vertical-Twin was labeled a “lush touring machine,” and was lauded for being a smooth runner. “As with any mechanical device there is some vibration, but the almost total lack of it makes the rider think he is riding a four-stroke Four,” enthused the editors.
IT WAS ALREADY ONE OF THE best all-around motorcycles known to man; now, Honda’s V-Four sportbike promises to be even better. New-for-’98 is the 800 Interceptor, a slimmed-down, powered-up VFR complete with redesigned frame and revamped engine.
American Honda’s other bits of bike news for 1998 involve the CBR900RR, which gets a slew of refinements aimed at lowering weight and upping horsepower (again!), and the new Shadow Aero, a slick, smoothed-over version of the ACE cruiser featuring windswept fenders, lotsa chrome and two-tone paint.
UP: To Canadian skating superstar Elvis Stojko, for taking to asphalt instead of ice. An off-road rider since age 7, the three-time world figure skating champion recently attended Michel Mercier’s FAST roadracing school (above). By day’s end, he’d proved to be one of the fastest students, and had also found some similarities to skating.
LET'S MAKE ONE THING PERfectly clear: A set of saddlebags do not a touring bike make. That said, we can begin to look at the MZ Skorpion Traveller for what it is, rather than what its name suggests it should be. When the MZ first arrived at the CW offices, reactions ranged from “Hey, nice bike,” to “Traveller, yeah right.
RED-AND-WHITE WAYNE RAINEY PAINT. Tiny, like a 250. High seat, low clip-on handlebars. Satin-finished alloy gleaming everywhere. If what you see is what you get, then Yamaha’s new YZF-R1 is nothing less than a street version of the company’s latest YZR500 grand prix roadracer.
HOW DO YOU FILL THE CYLINDERS OF A FAST-REVVING engine? Do you use one intake valve or two? And if two are better than one, why stop there? Yamaha engineers asked themselves these questions, and their answer is Yamaha's signature feature: five valves per cylinder, as used in their Genesis family of engines.
It’s a Replica replica; it’s the ultimate UJM; it’s a damn nice bike; it’s the Kawasaki ZRX1100 and it’s coming our way... maybe
IT’S A WONDERFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, YOU THINK, AS YOU DART DOWN the Pacific Coast Highway, a setting sun off your right shoulder, an empty, twisting road ahead and a big, green Kawasaki happily thrumming away beneath you. You suspected this bike would be good.
WHEN IS A REPLICA NOT A REPLICA? WELL, LET’S HAVE a look at Kawasaki’s 1982 KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica, meant to commemorate our man Ed’s winning of the previous year’s AMA Superbike crown. Same lime-green paint, granted, and there was more than a passing resemblance to the racebike, but the ELR was really nothing more than a KZ1000J tarted-up with gold wheels, piggyback shocks, Kerker 4-into-1, cut-down seat and bikini fairing.
IF STEVE RICE LISTENED TO THE “EXPERTS,” HE WOULD have given up on his Kawasaki ZX-11-based dragster four years ago. That was when he was told the Ninja motor was too fragile, and that various parts (crank, clutch, cases-take your pick) never would work when pushed to the extremes required to run with the boys at the front of the Funnybike class.
OWING A DUCATI HAS ALWAYS BEEN A bit of a compromise. The booming, red Italian V-Twins are renowned for being sexy, fast and sure-footed, but they’ve also earned a reputation for being finicky, maintenance-intensive and uncomfortable. As a result, these thoroughbreds more often than not are relegated to Sunday-morning-only status.
DON’T LET THE ST2’S DETACHABLE hard luggage fool you into mistaking it for another “wake me up when I get there” long-distance mount. Because in outlining its design goals for the ST2, Ducati spelled sport-touring with a capital"S." That being the case, sights and sounds experienced from the ST2's comfortable saddle aren’t far removed from those I sense while riding a 916 on the street.
WILL AMERICANS GO FOR A MODERATELY PRICED, MIDdisplacement cruiser that offers the appearance-if not the performance-of bucks-up mega-cruisers? That’s the question raised by Yamaha’s new-for-’98 V-Star Classic. The V-Star is based on Yamaha’s popular domestic-market Dragstar 400.
I'M NOT CHEAP. REALLY, I'M NOT. I PREfer the word, ummmm, frugal. Thrifty, even. Such economic acumen is, no doubt, one of the reasons that I find Yamaha’s V-Star Classic so appealing. At $5899, the 649cc V-Star is less costly than most of the bikes in CW's recent middleweight-cruiser comparison.
Honda CR25OR vs. Kawasaki KX250 vs. KTM 250 SX VS• Yamaha YZ250 vs. berms, jumps, whoops ruts and us
WITH MOTOCROSS BIKES BECOMING MORE TECHnologically advanced each season, a rider could spend many years learning to master them. MX success requires flesh and bone to blend with metal and plastic, to become a single, purposeful entity capable of conquering anything in its path.
THE IDEA WAS TO SEE UNDISCOVERED AREAS OF Russia and Mongolia. Explore the rough-and-tumble wilderness of Siberia. Experience the nomadic life of the Mongols. Venture into the whirlwind of China. An Asian Expedition, if you will. The journey, two years in the planning and scheming, was the brainchild of Helge Pederson.
IT’S DIFFICULT TO DETERMINE THE MAIN selling point of Sidi’s On Road Sympatex boots. Is it that they’re rain boots you can wear anytime? Or is it that they’re all-around riding boots that just happen to be waterproof? Either way, Sidi’s newest street boots (distributed by Acerbis USA, 13200 Gregg St., Poway, CA 92064; 800/659-1440) represent the latest development in all-weather motorcycling apparel.
Team CW defends truth, justice and the American way
REMEMBER THE DAYS WHEN A MOTORHOME JUST didn’t look complete without a Honda Mini-Trail strapped to its bumper? While minibikes may no longer be the mainstay of family camping, each summer a small band of motorcyclists sets up camp in the heart of Washington state for a weekend of roadracing.
Kawasaki is surely happy with the outcome of the AMA National Motocross series this year, having claimed both the 125 and 250cc outdoor championships with rookie-sensation Ricky Carmichael and repeat titlist Jeff Emig. From the get-go, the 17-year-old Carmichael showed style, winning the first three rounds.
I am 18 years old and own a 1993 Honda CBR600F2 sportbike, and I have noticed that the bike seems to have a slight left lean when I’m riding it. You can see this in the rear tire, because the remaining tread grooves on the right side are longer than those on the left, and the overall wear pattern is slightly offset to the left of the rear tire instead of in the middle.
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.