TIME AGAIN FOR CYCLE WORLD'S ANNUAL Ten Best Bikes awards, which means I get to wade in up to my neck with some personal choices that were inexplicably overlooked in the final ballot ing. In no particular order, they are: They used to be called UJMs, for Universal Japanese Motorcycle, a somewhat condescending term for the tube-frame, twin-shock inline-Four.
ABOUT EIGHT MILES WEST OF WHERE I live is the small village of Brooklynno, not that Brooklyn-this one's in Wisconsin. It's a picturesque, sleepy little town with about two stores on its main street, which sits parallel to the railroad tracks where Highway 92 makes a large S-bend through town.
MOST OF MY TRIPS TO EUROPE HAVE BEEN to motor-racing circuits, but there are good reasons to make side trips to the great Gothic cathedrals. Like the fuse lages of aircraft and the chassis beams of sportbikes, these are thin shells. While familiar vehicle structures are internally stiffened by bulkheads or ribs, the cathedrals went about it differently.
Really enjoyed April's "Tales of the City" article about New York motor cyclists. Just shows what fortitude these people have. We could all learn a lot about appreciating the areas we do have to ride in, as opposed to all the dreamin' that goes on about better, faster, smoother, longer, curvier roads elsewhere.
While an "all-new classic" may seem like an oxymoron, the bigwigs at Roadhouse assure us that their Classic Exhaust is just that. With its serrated, stainless-steel headpipe covers and 2-into1 design, the system positively screams nostalgia. Not to mention the 16-gauge steel construction and thermally treated headers. Available for late-model Japanese cruisers, the $570 Classic comes with a choice of four muffler tips.
EAGLE ONE CLEANING PRODUCTS
Show us a filthy motorcycle, and we'll show you Eagle One's line of care products for bikes. Formulated specifically for two-wheeled vehicles, Eagle One's line comprises 10 selections designed to clean, protect and shine paint, chrome, aluminum, plastic, leather and just about any other surface on a motorcycle. They are available individually or as a $49 package that includes a bucket for storage and washing.
EUROPEAN ACCESSORIES XENA DISC ALARM
The Xena Disc Alarm probably wasn't named after the Warrior Princess. Which is too bad, because its high-pitched shriek sounds a lot like that of the leather-clad lass. But seriously, the chromoly Xena looks and acts like your everyday disc lock, only it incorporates a built-in, battery-powered alarm triggered by a shock sensor in the body of the lock. And at $70, it's pretty inexpensive for a lock and alarm in one.
$20 and $120
They say that one man's trash is another man's treasure, but at Motorthings trash is treasure. Using new and salvaged parts such as sprockets, pistons, connecting rods and gears, the company produces contrivances that range from candlesticks to lamps to jewelry. The time pieces pictured here are just a few of the objets d'art created via the motorcycle medium. And with prices between $20 and $120, they could be your next treasure.
OPEN MINDS HONDA DUDLEY SKATE SHOE
So the terms "killer, dude" and "rad, man" aren't in your vocabulary-you don't have to be a fashion victim. Case in point: the high-cut Dudley, from Honda's new footwear line. With canvas and suede uppers, cleat rubber soles and heavy bumpers at the heels and toes, the extreme sport-style shoes also have swank, silver Honda emblems. They come in black only, in men's sizes 7-13. Get a pair for $52. Your kids will never forgive you.
A-LOOP MX KIT
Pity not the Thumper-lovin' MXer, because A-Loop has a kit that will convert late-model Honda XR400s into bonafide motocrossers. With a small 2.3-gallon fuel tank, and CR250-derived seat and radiator shrouds, it gives the bulky XR a slimmer profile and revised seating position for better control in the rough. Sleek graphics provide the finishing touches. The $450 kit uses stock petcock, fuel cap and mounting hardware.
PERFORMANCE MACHINE MAGNESIUM WHEELS
If ever a wheel could be considered elegant, Performance Machine's magnesium rim is it. CNC-machined from magnesium, the six spoke hoop has a fluid, sweeping design, and is sealed and powdercoated for a lustrous finish. Still not sold? Try this on for size: The front weighs a feathery 6.5 pounds, while the rear tips the scales at 10.1 pounds. Put a pair on your racebike for $1795.
HOLY KAW! IF THE FRENCH have their way, Kawasaki will blast into the new millennium with five knockout new models. Topping the list of "hopefuls" is a V-Max-esque Eliminator 1500. This is followed by a 200-mph Open-class sportbike, an ultra-light ZX-7R replace ment and a VXR750 dirt-track lookalike.
Gather your Valkyries, your ST1100s, your Shadows: It's time for Honda's 10th annual Homecoming festivities, and the company is pulling out all the stops. Scheduled for July 23-25 in Marysville, Ohio, the rally will incorporate factory tours, live entertainment and demo rides of early release `99 Hondas.
TRIUMPH HAS AN ALL-NEW, 150-mph sport-tourer designed to compete with Honda's VFR Interceptor, reports England's Motor Cycle News. Photo graphed during testing at Spain's Cartagena circuit, the 451-pound T695 is powered by a 100-horsepower, liquid cooled, fuel-injected, 955cc Triple tuned for low-end and midrange torque.
FOR MINIBIKE RACERS who have outgrown the entry-level 50cc class, KTM offers the 65 SX. Physically taller and with more suspension travel than the class-standard Kawasaki KX6O, the bike is powered by a liquid-cooled, 63.5cc, case-reed-induction, two-stroke Single.
So, you've fallen head over heels for last month's MV Agusta F4. Too bad. The initial run of 200 (for which the company already has 7000 unsolicited inquiries!) is spoken for. If, however, you just gotta have one, there is hope: Cagiva has announced plans for a production version of the bike.
MONO-SPIRAL. JOINTless-belt. Zero-degree belting. Three tire terms that mean essentially the same thing: a single continuous cord wound in the direction of travel onto a radial carcass. Whereas most manufacturers employ kevlar or aramid fibers, though, Metzeler uses steel.
If a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, then this photograph of Cannondale's much-anticipated motocrosser is a veritable encyclopedia. The prototype appears to use a Honda CR250style aluminum frame with KTM/ATk-esque linkageless suspension.
As the Swingin' Seventies' leading motorcycle enthusiast publication, CW was, and continues to be, the epitome of style. Dig this: This issue's inside cover depicted the latest Norton girl, naturally, and she was decked out in then-trendy red-satin halter top and bellbottoms.
UP: To Jeremy McGrath, for bringing Supercross into the mainstream. Not only did the four-time champ appear on the nationally syndicated TV show "Hardcopy," he also recently was featured on the entertainment news program "Extra." Furthermore, the Canyon Lake, California, resident was given a full page of coverage in the motorsports section of Sports illustrated.
THE MERE MENTION OF Honda's Pacific Coast 800 elicits mixed and colorful responses. On one hand, you have the small but intensely loyal cadre of PC800 owners who swear by the machines in an almost Harley Davidsonesque manner. And then there are the rest, who find the motorcycle to be, at best, a good commuter and, at worst, a scooter on steroids.
NOT SINCE THE INDIAN MOTORCYCLE COMPANY WENT UNDER BACK IN 1953 have bike buyers had a choice of American cruisers. For four and-a-half decades now, it's either been buy Harley-Davidson or buy something imported. Now, thanks to Minnesota-based ATV/snowmobile/watercraft manufacturer Polaris, U.S.
Ducati's 750SS was a masterpiece of essential, primordial function. Own one today for the price of two 916s.
IMAGINE A THIN, TARMAC LINE GONE BERSERK BETWEEN Point A and Point B. Picture a two-lane blacktop flailing through the countryside in desperate twists and spurts, thrusting forward in 60-mph wriggles and rolling into 100-plus sweepers.
BRIAN DIETZ BOUGHT A NEW MOTOR cycle last year, a 1974 desmod romic Ducati 750 Super Sport. His "new" 750SS is one of two, perhaps three, examples in the United States. There's a catch. Great motorcycles are special because they work in extraordinary ways, but individual examples of great motorcycles have exceptional value if they haven't been used.
JUST SOUTH OF VENICE, IN the north of Italy, lies Emilia Romagna, the country's technological center. The heart of the region is Bologna, a noted university city, from which many renowned engineers have emanated over the years. Greatest of them all is Ingegnere Fabio Taglioni, a.k.a.
THE CONCEPT BEHIND ACERBIS' RALLY Dual Sport Handguards is a good one: Incorporate turnsignals into the company's injection-molded plastic handguards. Now, when making your enduro street-legal, there's no need to take measurements, source stalks or fabricate expensive mounting brackets.
DO YOU LIKE RIDING motorcycles? All types of motorcycles? Do you enjoy commuting to work as much as you do laying tracks literally on the road to nowhere? If so, you probably have a couple of bikes from which to choose. But what if you could have just one-what would it be?
More often than not, KTM's dirtbike-with-lights approach to dual-purpose has paid off-witness the 620 R/XC's hat-trick of Ten Best Bikes awards. For `98, though, KTM wanted a lower seat height, down 1.6 inches from last year's bike, delivered via shorter, plusher WP suspension and a thinner seat.
What can we exclaim about the R1 that hasn’t been exclaimed already? At last, Japan has returned to the top of the superbike hierarchy with a four-cylinder machine that is much more powerful, yet just as lightweight, easy to ride and-dare we say it?-soul-stirring as an Italian Twin. The fact that it costs many thousands of lira less only sweetens the pot. Never before have our testers checked the “excellent” box under as many categories as they did on the Rl’s evaluation forms; a couple even called it perfect. All we can say is, we can’t wait for the 600 and 750cc versions!
Okay, so call its boring for choosing the same Best Touring Bike recipient that we did last year. Believe us, if someone had improved upon BMW's R1 100RT, we'd have picked it-but the truth is, no one did. When it comes to covering ground. preferably at high rates of speed, nothing works as well as the RT. It has the creature comforts of a luxury tourer, the roadholding of a sporibike and the maintenance requirements of a riding mower. Plus, it displays the same unhurried manner that has long made BMW's Boxer Twins the sport-touring standard. Truly, the RT is la creme de la creme.
S1 White Lightning
It's baaack! Two years ago, Bueil's S1 Lightning swept the Best Standard award by virtue of its evocative styling and semi-scintillating performance. Then, last year, Suzuki's bargain-of-a-life time Bandit 1200 debuted, and the Buell suddenly didn't seem like such a good deal anymore. This year, however, the pendulum has again swung the other way. and the new-and-improved S1 White Lightning brings the gold back home to Buell. With 85 rear-wheel horses, the S1 now has the "go" to match its "show." And with the capital afforded by I larley's recent buyout of Erik Buell's name sake, the future of America's only sportbike manufuicturer looks very bright indeed.
A slam dunk, that's what the Yamaha YZ400F winning Best Motocross Bike is. If you don't believe us, pay a visit to your local MX track and check out all the racers who voted with their checkbooks. Off-road riders apparently appreciate high technology as much as their street counterparts, because the four-stroke Yamaha sold out even quicker than the aluminum-framed Honda CR250 did last year. What's the attraction? How about that the Yama-Thumper gives racers two-stroke zing and four-stroke grunt. You may not feel as fast on the YZ-F, but the stopwatch says differently, particularly at the end of a long, tiring moto. And that's when they throw the checkers, isn't it?
HERE IT IS, A COUPLE OF YEARS FROM THE new millennium, and what have we got to show for it? Two decades ago. star Wars showed us the flying motorcycle of the future, yet all we've got are flying toasters on our PCs. Atomic power fuels our microwave ovens, and the best we can do is an electric scooter?
Que bella machina! We love Ducati's new sport-tourer, and while it was in contention for a Ten Best trophy in two categories, it ultimately failed to make the cut. Why? Two reasons: 1) In the Open Streetbike class, the Honda VFR offers better performance at a lower price; and 2) we just couldn't justify it as Best Touring Bike. If you knew how p.o.'ed the Gold Wing set got when we voted for the ST1100 and R1100RT, you'd understand...
When the Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Classic debuted in 1996, it received lukewarm reviews. Testers mostly liked the mega-cruiser, but none could overlook the paltry engine performance. This year, Kawasaki rectifled the Vulcan's power deficit, then upped the ante even further by introducing the $12,000 Nomad touring version. Suddenly, Road King owners aren't laughing.
If this had been any other year, the KX250 would have won Best Motocross Bike handily. It is, after all, the easiestto-ride two-stroke motocrosser, which diminishes its race-winning ability not one whit. Unfortunately, this is the year of the YZ-F, and the KX is merely secondbest. Unless Jeff Emig can prove otherwise, that is.
Moto Guzzi's first prize in our recent "Lucky 13" cruiser shootout will likely go down in Italian motorcycle lore alongside Paul Smart's Imola 200 win and Mike Hailwood's Isle of Man TT comeback. But as much as we like the sideways-Twin-which is a lot-it's tough to beat Polaris' combination of torque, handling and made. in-America style. V for Victory, indeed.
Another example of poor timing on Kawasaki's part. If the omnipotent ZX-9R had debuted last year, there's little doubt it would have swept Best Superbike honors. Alas, this is the year of the YZF, and even a sword-wielding Ninja doesn't look so fearsome anymore.
Saved from a fiery death, this authentic and unrestored 1913 Single is around to celebrate HarleyDavidson's 95th birthday
THIS IS A CLASSIC bike-in-a-barn story. It involves a beautiful woman, a mail carrier, a fire, a scheming brother-in-law and a Harley-Davidson, but I promise that Elvis never owned this motorcycle. The bike is a 1913 Model 9B, an almost original example of the "Silent Gray Fellow" that was the first successful Harley-Davidson production motorcycle.
Fifteen things you didn't know about Harley-Davidson
1. THE FOUNDERS DIDN'T KNOW MOTORCYCLES AS SPORT
2. LOUD PIPES COST SALES
3. R.I.P., SPORT TWIN
4. V-TWINS AREN'T EVERYTHING, PART 1
5. THE SECRET 750
6. STREAMLINING THAT DIDN'T
7. THE FEUD THAT FIZZLED
8. HINT OF THINGS TO COME
9. THE FACTORY FLAT-TRACKER THAT WASN'T
10. SUPER SPORTSTER
11. V-TWINS AREN'T..., PART 2
12. UPGRADE THE XR!
13. V-TWINS AREN'T..., PART 3
14. MORE ROADRACE TRIVIA
15. IF IT WORKS, DON'T REPLACE IT
HARLEY-DAVIDSON `S OFFICIAL history-and yes, there is an official history, approved and reviewed by The Motor Company and offered for sale at their dealerships-is by now engraved in stone: That the Davidson brothers and their pal Harley began fooling with engines and built a motorcycle.
IT'S HARD TO BEAT A GOOD TOOL-ESPEcially one with 21 different functions. That would be the Schrade Tough Tool, a nifty multi-purpose im plement that weighs just 8 ounces and folds into a package measuring 4¾ X 1½ inches. At first, the Tough Tool looks like some kind of contortionist contraption doubled over on itself Not far wrong, but swing open the stainless-steel "handles" and you get a serviceable pair of 7inch pliers, complete with needle-nose tip, aggressive chompers and wirecutters.
IT WAS A DREAM DAY IN JAPAN. THE Sun was shining for the third morning in a row, and cherry blossoms were everywhere. After several lean years, a healthy crowd was in attendance for the season-opening Grand Prix at Suzuka, and there was a surprise rider on the pole.
Reigning AMA 250cc Supercross Champion Jeff Emig prepared for his `98 title defense by competing in the pre-season FIM World Supercross Championship. The factory Kawasaki rider had a firm grasp on the series' points lead until the last round in Geneva, Switzerland, where he bowed out after a dispute with the promoter over start money.
I just bought a really cherry `68 Triumph Tiger 500 that's all original and in great shape except for a dent in the left side of the gas tank. There are no creases in the metal and the paint's not cracked, but there's a large, rounded indent right below the Triumph badge.
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.