THESE DAYS, IT'S NOT EASY BEING EVEL Knievel. At 59, the World's Greatest Daredevil is paying the price for his former fame. In all, he's undergone 15 major operations to mend his oft-busted body, and spent a total of three years in hospitals-more than a month of that time in comas.
I HAD MY 50TH BIRTHDAY A COUPLE OF weeks ago, and we threw a big party in my palatial garage/workshop. I got the cars out of there, parked my four bikes in relatively safe nooks and corners where nobody could drink one too many Sprecher Ambers from the half-barrel and fall into them, and then I put down a large piece of carpet for a "stage," so our blues band could play.
MORE THAN A HUNDRED YEARS AGO, when it was first understood that useful engines could be made to run by burning gasoline vapor right in their cylinders, forming the vapor was one of many problems. The first carburetors operated in a very obvious way; they were either large, flat pans of gasoline, over which the intake air flowed on its way to the engine, or they took the form of great big wicks inside the intake pipe, kept perpetually wet with fuel.
“England Swings” (CW, March) was a wonderful piece. From the outrageous John Cooper/Moon Eyes numberplate to the glorious racket emanating from those open megaphones, Mr. Dreer’s street-tracker did indeed bring back some of the most pleasant memories (Ascot Park figuring heavily among them).
A motorcycle ramp is a motorcycle ramp is a motorcycle ramp, right? Wrong. The Motorcycle Ramp from Ramp Master is all that, and a bag of chips. Fourteen inches wide and 89 inches long, the 20-pound aluminum ramp is arched to ease loading. Other groovy features include traction-enhancing crossbars, a safety cable and a 1500-pound load capacity. Suggested retail is $144. Other configurations and widths are also offered.
The Ramp Master
INDIAN ENGINEERING CATALOG
Those Indian-givers at Jerry Greer's have been busy cram-jammin' 212 pages chock full o' parts and accessories for 1936-53 V-Twins and Fours; the result being the world's largest Indian catalog. Included are specially commissioned explodect assembly drawings, lots of photos and reprints of old Indian ads. All yours for $25-or the equivalent in wampum.
The Ramp Master
AXO KÖLN JACKET
"Axo über alles," might be a catchy slogan for the apparel company, what with its new waterproof Köln Jacket. Named after the city in Germany that we call Cologne, the 3/4-length cordura-nylon garment is fleece-lined, and has adjustable, removable padding in the shoulders, elbows and forearms, and a vented foam backpad. There is also a jacket within the jacket, if you will: A bomber-style innercoat zips out of the Köln's quilted liner. Available in MXXL sizes, the $450 jacket comes in black only.
The Ramp Master
PROGRESSIVE SUSPENSION SIGNATURE SERIES SHOCK
What's in a name? A lot, if you're Larry Roeseler. With fistfuls of off-road wins to his credit, ol' "L.R." knows a thing or two about suspension setup. Hence, Progressive Suspension's new line of signature series suspension components. First off the assembly line is the 420 shock. With a progressively wound spring and CNC-machined aluminum body, the $418 damper fits most late-model, four-stroke dual-purpose and off-road bikes. It's adjustable for rebound damping, and is nitrogen-charged for consistent action.
The Ramp Master
MOOSE GAS CANS
Getting canned doesn't have to be a bad thing-if you're talking about Moose's Gas Cans, that is. Aimed at the off-road market, the 5.7-gallon molded-plastic containers come with beefy han dles, hose holders and easily accessed vents. An interlocking design means the $30 cans can be hooked together or stacked atop each other for convenient, safe transportation. Get `em in clear, black or red.
The Ramp Master
GAERNE STRADA IRONY BOOTS
Italian boot-maker Gaerne has given its roadrace footwear a complete makeover. Not only do the new Strada Ironys come in several stylish color combos, they are more protective and boast added ankle flexibility. Construction is of Lorica, a durable, breathable synthetic, and Vibram soles are super-sticky. Priced at $200 per pair, they come in full sizes 7-13.
The Ramp Master
COBRA VALKYRIE RADIATOR COVERS
Custom chrome for your Valkyrie? You bet. The folks at Cobra Engineering have a brand-new line of trim bits for Honda's big, bad six-cylinder flagship that is positively slathered with the shiny sauce. CNC-machined from billet aluminum, these include radiator covers, carb tops, horn cover and more. Prices start at $70.
The Ramp Master
ARI RAINBOW VISOR SHADES
The only thing more irritating than a faceshield that's too dark is one that isn't dark enough. Enter Swedish company ARI and its disposable Rainbow Visor Shades. Available in red, orange or yellow, the optically correct plastic tear-offs can be used singularly or layered one on top of another to suit nearly any lighting condition. Mounting posts and a drilling pattern are supplied. Prices start at $13 per pack. Smoked and clear Visor Shades are also available.
BMW IS POISED TO GIVE sport-Twin enthusiasts reason to celebrate. With its aggressively styled half-fairing, low-set clip-on handlebars and twin oval mufflers tucked 916-like under the seat, the 1999 R1 100S is destined to be the raciest Boxer ever.
On February 20, 1998, Harley-Davidson took essen tially full ownership of the Buell Motorcycle Company, exchanging its own stock for all but 2 percent of Erik Buell's 51 percent stake. This does not, however, signify the separation of Buell from his name sake company; on the contrary, Buell says, "I've got a 10year contract with Harley and more support than ever."
DUCATI’S REVAMPED 900 Supersport may not be as much a product of passion as some of the company’s earlier bikes, but the end result is no accident. Designer Pierre Terblanche was told to retain the traditional character of the bike and use as many existing components as possible.
News flash! Bicycle manufacturer Cannondale is producing a motorcycle. Details are sketchy, but the aluminum-framed machine will be powered by a liquidcooled, multi-valve, single-cylinder engine, displacing approximately 400cc.
Buyin’ a new bike? If so, you might want to consider these incentive programs from Honda and Kawasaki. Take home a Magna or Shadow (excluding VLX600 Deluxe), for example, and Honda will kick in a DirectTV mini-dish satellite system plus six months of free, Platinum-level programing.
WITH AN AGGRESSIVE new international marketing campaign, Ducati dealerships might soon be as identifiable as McDonald’s. That’s because the company has brought in some of the best in establishing public perception, including Gensler, the firm that designed The Gap and Banana Republic.
Bimota’s stunning SB8R made its racetrack debut recently at Italy’s Misano circuit. Despite its unfinished appearance, the Suzuki TL1OOOR-powered Superbike (see Roundup, January, 1998) remains on-track to head Bimota’s long-awaited return to World Superbike competition.
Judging by this month’s cover shots, all the world waited impatiently for news of a dual-purpose Husqvarna 250 and a Montesa MX bike named after some unpronounceable Swede. Meanwhile, an exclusive quad-test of Kawasaki’s 250, 350, 500 and 750cc Triples rated merely a cover blurb.
Hardcore sportbike types can now add Avon to their new-tire shopping list. The company recently introduced its Azaro Sport and track-compound Supersport radials to the press at Spain’s Catalunya circuit near Barcelona, and both tires performed exceptionally well.
WHEN LAST WE VISITED Excelsior-Henderson in April, 1997, company founders Dan and Dave Hanlon were just breaking ground on their $30 million headquarters in Bell Plaine, Minnesota. Now, the 160,000square-foot facility is complete, and the growing staff is readying for production.
UP: To ex-Grand Prix superstar Kevin Schwantz, for pursuing NASCAR’s Busch Grand National Series with the same determination that earned him the 1993 500cc World Championship. So far this year, Schwantz, who pilots the #88 Ryder Driver Recruiting Chevrolet Monte Carlo, has qualified for every event, even posting an impressive eighth at the season-opener in Daytona.
AFTER SPANISH DIRTBIKE manufacturer Gas Gas exploded out of nowhere and nearly swept Cycle World's 1997 Best Enduro Bike honors with its dazzling TT 250, we had high hopes for its 250 MX motocrosser. We weren’t disappointed. The transition from enduro bike to MXer was relatively painless.
THE STILLNESS is SHATtered by the passing shriek of a four-cylinder engine with megaphones. As the sound accelerates away, tones and over tones warble up the scale. As the sound dies away. I hear a voice. intoning the years and the dates of countless Grands Prix won.
TO HEAR THE WAY MEMBERS OF THE motoring press spoke of the 1970s line of MV Agustas, we should all be excited at the return of the exotic Italian machines. When moto-journalists got the rare opportunity to test an MV, they rarely spared the rapture, while trying to sidestep horrific list prices.
RACETRACK SUCCESSES AND CUTTING-EDGE STYLING HAVE EARNED SUZUKI'S GSX-Rs plenty of glory, but in terms of units sold, it's the Katana 600 and 750 that really deserve the credit. This is due, in part, to the Katanas' lower sticker prices and more affordable insurance premiums.
SUZUKI HAS TWO 600CC SP0RTBIKES IN its 1998 lineup, the $6199 Katana 600 and $7799 GSX-R600. For the numerically challenged, that’s a $1600 difference. The obvious question, then, is what do you get for your money? In the Katana’s case, you get a newly revamped version of a decade-old design.
SUZUKI WILL UNVEIL FIVE STUNNING NEW MOTORCYCLES before the turn of the century, reports England’s scoopsniffing Motor Cycle News. Topping the list is an Open-class GSX-R, which could displace a mind-boggling 1500cc. Also in the works is a four-stroke motocrosser, a Ducati Monster knock-off, a TL1000-powered dual-purpose bike and a small-bore retro roadster.
In which we ask the not-so-simple question, "What’s your favorite bike?"
WE WERE WHOOPING IT UP IN THE back of the bus on the way to the new-model intro, and the bull session turned to that classic question, What motorcycle would you have if you could have only one, forever? First came a flood of exotica: Ducati 916s, Honda Blackbirds, Laverda V-6s and Vincent Black Shadows.
Discussing an individual’s taste in motorcycles is, at best, unwise and, at worst, dangerous. After all, folks feel strongly about their bikes. And when someone’s taste is called into question, disagreements can arise, tempers can flare and things can get downright nasty.
Team CW crashes a freaky French sandfest and lives to tell the tale
WHEN YOU THINK OF FRANCE, YOU SEE PARIS AND THE EIFFEL Tower, fine wine, gorgeous women, fast cars, right? Well, scratch that. Imagine this: 250,000 frenzied spectators invading a seaside resort town to watch 850 maniacal motorcycle racers ripping hell-bent across the sand, throttles to the stops.
WHEN IN FRANCE, DO AS THE FRENCH DO, RIGHT? IN my case, that meant entering the Gilles Lalay Classic for a second stab at finishing the world's toughest off-road motorcycle race. The GLC is a tribute to Gilles Lalay, one of France's all-timebest off-road racers who was tragically killed in the Paris Dakar Rally.
LET’S FACE IT: “CRUISING” IS A rather limited activity. It suggests some sort of mechanical promenade up and down the boulevard during which one is supposed to be admired for cutting a dashing figure while, perhaps, taking in a bit of sun.
USED TO BE, "LIGHTWEIGHT FOUR-STROKE" WAS a contradiction in terms. Sure, there were some relatively light Thumpers, but only if compared within the genre. Measured against an arena filled with lighter and more agile two-strokes, weight was the killing tool.
LOOKIT, WE KNOW OUR LONG-TERM Yammie's record of going unbroken is starting to sound like a broken record, but the blue beastie just keeps ticking off the miles. And winning pals, even from unexpected quarters. Harley man and Big Twin contributor Bruce Fischer borrowed the Yamaha for an 800-mile twisty-road run and came back convinced: "For a guy accustomed to biginch, big-torque, big-size Harleys, I enjoyed the YZF a lot more than I thought I would.
GOT GAS? GOOD QUESTION, ESPECIALLY if you ride a two-stroke motocrosser. Thirty-minute motos are no problem, but hit the trail for anything more than an hour of heavy-handed rockslinging, and you’ll be scanning the horizon for a petrol plant.
AFUNDAMENTAL step in finetuning your engine’s performance is getting the ignition timing right. One way to do this is by installing an aftermarket ignition advancer. This alters what’s referred to as “static” or “total” advance (but doesn’t reshape the ignition curve).
I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE AN OUTSIDER AND PARASITE FOR THE FIRST TWO or three days after I get to Daytona. Everyone has a racebike, and I don't. Then, I begin to find people to talk to, and that is a treat. Presently, I again feel 1 have some right to be here, aside from the sheer pleasure of so many idea-filled conversations with the people who practice the arts that I care about.
The 1998 FIM World Superbike series was scheduled to kick-off March 15 at Indonesia’s Sentul circuit, but instead began one week later at Australia’s Phillip Island. The Indonesian round was officially rescheduled to September 27 due to a conflict with the country’s elections, but the region’s recent economic woes also played a role.
I have a 1996 Suzuki Bandit 600 that has about 4500 miles on it. In the middle of a ride one day, with around 3900 miles on the bike, the speedometer/tachometer quit working. Just as strangely, 300 or 400 miles later, it started working again.
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.