SAVE FOR THE OCCASIONAL STAR-studded entombment of former popstar/mayor/congressmen, Palm Springs, California, is a sleepy little desert burgh best known for Bob Hope sightings, multitudinous golf courses and the highest per capita Mercedes ownership this side of Beverly Hills.
SIGHT UNSEEN. IF EVER THERE WERE two words to send a shiver down the spine of the prospective motorcycle buyer, them are 'em, as my old English teacher used to say. Over the years, I've known several people who bought bikes over the phone, or by way of photographs and letters, but I've never done it myself.
A MODERN HYDRAULIC SUSPENSION damper produces its damping force by using suspension movement to force oil through a system of orifices. Because the oil has viscosity, or internal fluid friction, it resists this. This resistance is used to bleed energy out of unwanted suspension movements.
I'm aware of J.S. Bach and P.D.Q. Bach, now in "First Fired, First Forgotten," Allan Girdler has invented a fictional relative for Karl Benz: "Otto Benz," said to be the inventor of the four-cycle engine. Allan means Nikolaus Otto, who tested a four-cycle engine in 1862.
Attention Super Lotto winners: Have a look-see at the CycleDyn dynamometer. Designed to measure rear-wheel horsepower and torque, the 1200-pound unit accommodates any motorcycle with a 48- to 72-inch wheelbase. It's equipped with Windows 95- based software, and can be operated from the saddle via remote-control keypad. Granted, at $14,500 the base CycleDyn Sport ain't cheap. (The top-of-the line Pro EC, which includes options for measuring additional data, costs a mind-boggling $31,450.) But talk about your ultimate garage accessory...
FAST BLEND COFFEE
To heck with all those foo-foo coffee houses, serious stuff is brewin' over at Fast By Ferracci. Catering to those jonesin' for java, the Italian company offers fresh-roasted whole coffee beans in 12-ounce retro-style oil cans, which are graced by racing photos of Eraldo Ferracci himself. A choice of two blends is available: 10/40- weight Caffe Leggero or 20/50-weight Caffe Forte. Suggested retail price is $10 per can.
Harley-Davidson and helmet manufacturer Shoei have combined their corporate efforts, and the results are pretty spiffy. First up is the $205 Torque, a half-shell helmet that features fiberglass construction, zip-out neck curtain and the Motor Company's 95th anniversary paint scheme. Then, there's the Road Classic, a three-quarter-shell model. Priced at $225, it comes with an air scoop visor, brushed-nylon interior and anniversary colors. A full-face version is also available.
DYMAG CARBON-FIBER WHEELS
Yes, $4545 is a lot to spend on a set of wheels. But Dymag's carbon-fiber wheels are hardly average. Approved for street use, the one-piece hollow-spoke hoops are 50 percent stronger than die-cast magnesium, and they're exceptionally lightweight. In fact, the front weighs just 4 pounds, while the rear tips the scales at 5.5 pounds. Furthermore, the rear wheel's modular magnesium hub can be modified to fit most any late-model sportbike.
GSX-R GOLD VALVE KIT
You say your late-model Suzuki GSX-R750 is a tad too twitchy for your taste? Try installing Race Tech's GSX-R Gold Valve Kit. Designed to improve straight-line stability, the $175 kit comes with two 10mm fork extenders, Gold Valves, O-rings and shims. An instructional manual and video are included. The fork extenders are also available separately for $25.
When Mother Nature rains on your parade, stay dry with Marmot's Thunderlight overpants. With full-length side zippers and elasticized, snap-down cuffs, the lightweight Gore-Tex garment slips easily over riding gear. Further features include gusseted inseams, articulated knees, adjustable elasticized waist and detachable stuff sack. Available in SXXL sizes, the $239 pants come in black and black/yellow.
MAXIMUM SECURITY LOCKDOWN
$119 to $169
Billed as "the missing link in the ultimate motorcycle security system," Maximum Security Lockdown is designed to work with all cables, chains and locks. Constructed from case-hardened steel and then chromed, the Australian-made device bolts to your garage floor, and comes in two sizes, the larger of which is said to accommodate the beefiest of cable and U-locks. Prices range from $119 to $169, and both units come complete with a base, three sleeve anchor bolts and a protective cap. A $15 adapter ring is optional.
GOOD AS HONDA'S VTR1000 Super Hawk is—it won CW's 16-bike sportbike shootout and was named Best Open-Class Streetbike of '97—company mucketymucks have always hinted that the best was yet to come. It may be here. Circulating in Japan are fuzzy illustrations and murky spy photos of the VTR1000R, a hotted-up, high-buck version of Honda's sporting V-Twin.
What has to be the world's weirdest dual-purpose bike is once again rolling off Moto Guzzi's assembly lines. The original Quota was a half-hearted attempt to cash-in on the "heavy enduro" market pioneered by the BMW GS series. The new bike is a more determined effort, upgraded along the lines of the V11 cruiser that came away the surprise winner in last month's "Lucky 13" mega-shootout.
THE ELECTRIC MOTORBIKE Company, in Sebastopol, California, claims to make the "world's first practical electric motorbike." Scott Cronk, 32, EMB president and founder, whose father helped build the Lunar Rover, knows that the market in the U.S. for affordable electric motorcycles is tiny.
What's happened to the Bimota 500 Vdue, the two-stroke buzz-bomb that was splashed across the world's moto-mags a few months back? Missing in action, is what, held back by a mysterious lack of performance in some early production bikes.
Entertain friends at your next garage party with the sounds of GP racebikes from 1948 to 1974. Narrated by eight-time World Champion Phil Read, the Superior Sounds of Classic Racing Bikes CD consists of the exhaust notes of more than 70 different grand prix bikes, including Honda's famous six-cylinder 250, the MV Agusta Triple, the Moto Guzzi V-Eight and, for you tiddler buffs, a 50cc Kreidler.
MOTO-MINIMALISM IS the theme behind two Honda tiddlers shown at the Tokyo Motor Show. The FB-B prototype looks for all the world like a skateboard with a motor stuck out back and a handlebar hung up front—and check out the wooden floor board!
Here's your chance to buy a new Ducati, meet the people who built it, then break-in the beast on a twisty-road European vacation. Chicago-based Lotus Tours and Ducati have set up a "Fly-Buy-Ride" factory delivery program that goes into effect this summer.
Never a magazine to shy away from digging up the dirt, CW previewed the 125 Can-Am in this issue. An offroad prototype built by snowmobile manufacturer Bombardier, the bike featured a unique approach to rotary-valve two-stroke engine design—its carburetor was conventionally located behind the engine rather than off to the side as was usual with rotary-valvers.
YEAH, YEAH, WE KNOW. Old news these bikes; one a run-of-the-mill VMax, the other a retro monster bike of the inline-Four variety. Big deal, right? Have a closer look. First, Mr. Max—called the "V-Max Special" in this iteration—has fenders and dummy fuel tank made of carbon-fiber.
Here's a surefire way to make your local speed-skating ace look slow! Jawa's latest ice-racing motorcycles utilize the same laid-down engine configuration that recently debuted on longtrack speedway bikes. The benefits are said to he improved stability and less of a tendency to wheelie at the start.
UP: To Jim Lawson and Peter Laird, for turning their pastimes into a pen-and-ink epic. Avid motorcyclists, the pair have come up with Planet Racers, a 276-page "graphic novel" (that's comic book to you and me) that follows the exploits of bike racers Godman Falcon and Methania Fitts in the Planet Race Series of 2999.
THE RETRO-STANDARD craze continues in Japan, and Honda has unleashed what may be the ultimate evolution of the UJM, the four-cylinder CB1300. No technical details were offered, but the CB1300 is basically a big-bore update of the CB1000.
420 pounds... 130 horsepower.... 170 mph...maybe downsizing isn't such a bad idea after all
THE ROAD TO SPORTBIKE high performance, it would appear, is paved with metal shavings. How else can you explain the prevailing design philosophy that "less equals more" and "smaller is better than bigger?" It's difficult to determine where this line of thinking got its start.
BACK WITH A VENGEANCE—THAT'S the best way to describe the $9999 1998 Honda CBR900RR. Whereas the original 1993 Double-R was a track-bred repli-racer, and the revised 1996 model a softer-edged sporting streetbike, the '98 version combines the best of both.
EVER SINCE ITS FIRST 900cc STREETbike, the 1973 Z-1, Kawasaki has been renowned for its powerful engines. And with 127 horsepower on tap at the rear wheel, the $9999 ZX-9R is no exception. But what is newsworthy this year is that after decades of using brute force to net a favorable power-to-weight ratio, Mean Green's engineering team has finally seen fit to refocus its efforts on weight reduction.
TRIED AND TRUE (IN RED OR BLUE) best describes the 1998 Suzuki GSX-R750. Essentially identicat to 1996-97 Gixxers, the '98 model has one significant addition: electronic fuel injection. Drawing on their experience with the TL1000 Twin, Suzuki's engineers equipped the GSX-R with the same Denso engine-control module and sensors, and a double dose of Mikuni injectors.
LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING, BUT IN the case of the new-for-'98 Yamaha YZF-R1, they're not. This bike looks like a refugee from the grand prix wars for one simple reason: It is. The R1's project leader previously worked in the company's racing department, and that influence shows.
WHEN CONFRONTED BY MACHINES LIKE THESE "LIGHT is Right" sportbikes—and specifically the new YZFR1—you can be sure some fool will ask, "Where do we go from here? Is this the zenith of sportbike development?" Rest assured, just as with any other time when people started mumbling about the limits of performance—as in, say, 1979 with the introduction of the CBX, or in 1989 with the ZX-11—the show has only just begun.
When you think of New York City, you might think potholes, skyscrapers, 12-hour workdays, mercenary taxicab drivers and just a little traffic congestion. You're probably not thinking motorcycle enthusiasts. But those ingredients create a devout—indeed, almost religious—fraternity of adept city slickers on bikes in the Big Apple.
SO, YOU'VE JUST VIEWED A "CRUSTY DEMONS OF DIRT" STUNT VIDEO AND HAVE an itch for a ride on the wild side. Problem is, pavement is your preferred riding surface, and while a traditional dual-purpose bike is enticing, you're looking for something with a bit more pizzazz.
NO QUESTION, THE BUG-EYED MASTIFF IS VERY cool, but with its wide, 17-inch wheels and sticky low-profile rubber, it's best suited to terrorizing repli-racers in the canyons. Fun, in other words, but not terribly versatile. If it's all-around ability you want, consider the dual-purpose Baghira.
REMEMBER PROJECT SUPER DUKE, THE HOT-ROD STREET Single that ran in the September, 1996, issue? Well, forget about it. That Duke was fast, but the bike shown here is even faster. How much faster? Fast enough that after taking it for an impromptu lap of CW's on-site test track/parking lot, Off-Road Editor Jimmy Lewis proclaimed it the most powerful four-stroke Single he'd ever sampled.
I READ CYCLE NEWS NOT SO MUCH FOR ITS HOT NEWS AS FOR ITS GEEZER ITEMS: Every week I breathlessly consult "In The Wind," the gossip page, to discover what the old berserkos and hairpins of my generation are up to, who has divorced who this time, who has been overthrown and run out of office, who has gotten creamed playing vintage racer, or who has completely cracked up in his dotage and done something so disgraceful that he has been sent to the jug.
Twenty-five years ago, Ducati’s new 750 V-Twins needed an image boost. With a spectacular 1-2 finish at the inaugural Imola 200, they got it.
JOHN L. STEIN
TO DUCATI LOVERS, THE 1974 750 SUPER Sport is the Holy Grail that launched the company a Superbike maker. But the SS, and in a sense contemporary Ducatis as well, owe their existence to a handful of factory racers like the one seen here. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the Imola bikes nearly were.
Fast By Ferracci's Ducati 748 has the competition seeing red
ERALDO FERRACCI HAS A VISION. WHEN HE closes his eyes, he imagines a motorcycle that produces precisely 102 horsepower at the rear wheel and weighs exactly 395 pounds—no more, no less. His vision includes a pair of liquid-cooled cylinders displacing 855cc, a set of Ducati emblems proudly displayed on a fly-yellow fuel tank and a slew of Japanese 600s trailing in the bike's wake.
RIDING DIRTBIKES AMIDST THE BLISTERing, blustery cold of winter certainly requires some compromises, especially where your hands are concerned. Double and triple layers will keep your digits warm, but they reduce all-important feel for the controls.
MOST MOTORCYCLISTS PROBABLY CONsider custom-tailored leather riding pants a frivolous expense, right up there with a polished speedometer bezel and color-coordinated handgrips. After all, who needs leather pants when you already have a one-piece roadracing suit hanging in the hall closet?
IT WOULD BE EASY TO FEEL SORRY FOR Wayne Rainey. The three-time 500cc World Champion seemed to have everything—talent, wealth, a loving family—until a paralyzing crash nearly took it all away from him. Yet even before his unfortunate accident, Rainey was not happy, as journalist Michael Scott has documented in his book, Wayne Rainey—His Own Story.
SOAKING WET AND COVERED IN MUD, JEFF EMIG CHOKED BACK TEARS as he spoke into the ESPN microphone. The date was October 4, 1992, and Emig, after piloting his shrieking Yamaha YZ125 through the dark brown slop of Budds Creek, Maryland, had just clinched his first AMA National Motocross Championship.
No question, the 500cc Grand Prix class is the pinnacle of motorcycle roadracing. Still, there are problems. For example, the upcoming season has been characterized as “the world’s biggest Honda Cup Series.” That’s because NSR500s won all the races last year and often filled the forward grid positions.
I'm going to do some rewiring on my 1973 Norton Commando and my 1961 Harley 250 Sprint. I talked to my landlord, an electrician by trade, and he said I should use 12-gauge copper wire because it will flow a lot of juice. A biker friend of mine, however, said that doing so could cause an impedance problem, and that I might need to use a very large battery with a high ampere rating in order to use that size of wire effectively.
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.