WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DECADE MAKES! Travel back 10 years and look at Cycle World's August issue, pamphlet-thin at a paltry 82 pages. Why so slim? At the time, the motorcycle industry was between the proverbial rock and a hard place, what with a glut of unsold left-overs from the Big Four's market-share wars of the early '80s, followed by the dollar nosediving versus the Japanese yen.
NATURALLY, ON THE FIRST REALLY good day of spring riding weather this year—a record 78 degrees and sunny—I was not riding one of the bikes I actually own, but driving all day to look at a bike I don't own. Nothing ever changes. Windows open, elbow on door, I was cruising through downtown Chicago in my blue Ford van, headed for Indianapolis where a 1979 Moto Guzzi 1000 SP lurked in the back of a man's garage.
WHILE I WAS VISITING MY FOLKS REcently, I saw my father poke aluminum nails through potatoes before baking them in the oven. This, it seemed to me, wonderfully illustrated the state of coolant radiator design 80 years ago. The object of nailing the potatoes is to conduct heat into the centers of the spuds more rapidly, based on the idea that aluminum conducts heat faster than a mass of wet starch.
I just read Peter Egan's "Real versus toy bikes" column (CW, June). It is possible to bicker about what constitutes a "real bike" all day long. Peter seems to have based his definition on reliability and comfort, and the possibility of long cross-country journeys that result.
Let's hear it for GRC Moto Pocket Bikes, good for giggles all 'round. Like this replica of four-time 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan's Repsol Honda, the tiny two-stroke minibikes are powered by 39cc Polini Singles. They make a whopping 6.2 horse-power, and boast a heart-stopping top speed of 52 mph! And did we mention the twin-spar aluminum frames and triple disc brakes? At $2600 a pop, they're extravagant playthings. But my, what fun...
Seen it all, at least where carbon-fiber is concerned? Guess again. The eye-catching triangular weave found on Two Brothers Racing's new Filament Wound mufflers is produced by spinning a cylinder at high speed, then slowly adding a thin strand of carbon-fiber. The result is seamless-and durable. Plus, it looks great. Prices for slipon applications start at $309.
A case of earplugs may seem like overkill, but Dew Lane can make it worth your while. Of the dozens of styles available, the company says its most popular are the Classic E-A-R and E-Z Fit plugs. Both feature non-irritating foam that conforms to most ear canals. Discounts are available for large-quantity purchases. For example, 10 pairs cost $4.50, but 200 are just $45-a 50 percent savings.
SPORT RIDER JACKET
Thumb your all-American nose at those uppity Europeans and effect a neo-cafe-racer look with the Sport Rider Jacket from Harley-Davidson. Fashioned from topgrain, drum-dyed leather, it incorporates an actionback, along with zippered cuffs and front pockets. A snap-down Mandarin collar, The Motor Company's logo and slim lines perfect the look. Available in men's sizes XS-XXXL, it costs $370.
Give your late-model motocrosser some extra oomph with a PRO-X Power Piston Kit. Designed to boost power, the cast-aluminum pistons are slightly oversize for a snugger-than-stock fit with stock cylinder bores. Rings, circlips and wristpin are included. Suggested retail is $90.
Looking for another trick way to streamline your late-model sportbike? Check out Lockhart Phillips' new Flush Mount IV Marker Lights. Designed for a smooth, even fit on any fairing, the curved front turnsignals come with amber, smoke or clear lenses (the latter uses a yellow bulb). Drilling is required, and all hardware is supplied. Yours, for $20 per pair.
With gadgets, gizmos and geegaws galore, Saeng/TA can rig any motorcycle for touring duty. Simply choose from the company's system of adjustable booted-ball linkages. Designed to attach to nearly any surface, the rubber mounts are equipped with velcro-covered platforms that accommodate mirrors, lights, radar detectors, even GPS. Pricing starts at $33.
FINALLY! ENDING WHAT seems like years of speculation, Honda's aging CBR600F3 will eschew its steel-perimeter frame for a twinspar aluminum infrastructure reminiscent of that employed by the CBR900RR. What's more, the all-new machine will be outfitted with a two-stage, ramair induction system and electronic fuel injection, a la the VFR Interceptor.
MAZDA HAS TEAMED UP with famed helmet painter and apparel designer Troy Lee to create a "Dual-Sport" concept vehicle. Based on the company's new B-Series pickup, the modified machine is loaded with custom features, including a folding aluminum loading ramp and an onboard pressure washer with an electrically driven pump and 7-gallon water tank.
Remember the three-wheeled Tsunami, the fully faired prototype that married a Honda CBR900RR with a Suzuki Quadracer (Roundup, September, 1994)? Well, David Pence, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh professor who managed the project, is at it again.
FED UP WITH HONDA'S domination of 500cc Grand Prix racing, two aviation-oriented Brits in Plymouth, England, are trying to remedy the situation. Ian Cramp and Paul Bristow have built a liquid-cooled, 100-degree, two-stroke V-Twin.
Aprilia's Shiver showbike, the distinctive, Philippe Starck-styled neostandard that appeared a couple of years ago (Roundup, March, 1996), failed public taste tests and won't be put into production. "We presented the Shiver to various customer clinics all over Europe," says company boss Ivano Beggio, "and it didn't receive the necessary approval to justify production."
MOTO Guzzi IS ON THE move. Not only will the company leave its longtime Mandello del Lario headquarters on the shores of Italy's Lake Como for space at the former Philips electronics factory in Monza, but the entire model lineup will change.
WE HAVE SEEN THE FUture of motorcycling, and quite frankly, it looks pretty darn good. According to analyst Don Brown, 1997 was the sixth straight year of general prosperity for the industry, and 1998 appears even more promising.
Planning on buying a motorcycle, but loathe tiresome sales routines? CycleByNet can save you time, money and hassle. Launched in February, CycleByNet (www.cyclebynet.com) is a no-cost "powersports vehicle" buying service catering to ATV, dirtbike, personal water-craft, snowmobile and street-bike purchasers.
Honda's MT250 Elsinore stole the cover, but buried on page 95 of this issue was the first report on a truly revolutionary two-stroke, Yamaha's YZR500 roadracer. The YZR's liquidcooled, reed-valve-inducted inline-Four produced 80 bhp at 10,000 rpm, inciting the caption-writer to exclaim, "This is a screecher if there ever was one!" Perhaps, but then what would he have called today's YZR, which pumps out more than twice as many horses?
UP: To author William C. Herow, for his book, America's Scenic Drives. Produced by Roundabout Publications, the 468-page, softbound travel guide and atlas details 200 picturesque backroads from 38 states. Each entry has a map of the route and information about the surrounding area.
IN LAST YEAR'S "ULTIMATE Enduro Shootout," we christened TM's 300E, "The Monster." We applauded the bike's light feel and works components, but its wicked burst of midrange power was simply too much. So how did the Italian manufacturer respond to our criticisms?
Just Harley-Davidson's first all-new Big Twin in, oh, the last 62 years
THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF motorcyclists: those who care about Harley-Davidsons, and those who don't. A rider of the second sort could have walked by one of the first prototypes carrying Harley's new Twin Cam 88 Big Twin motor, glanced at it, and kept on walking, never realizing he'd seen anything unusual.
WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS heroism in two acts. Act One begins in 1931. Cutting Charles Dickens in half, it was the worst of times, period. By the end of World War I, the motorcycle had become sport, something people didn't need to have, so during the Roaring Twenties, sales boomed.
Hot-rod parts, rock-star looks, the Yamaha that might have been
"WHO MAKES THAT!?!" WE WERE LESS than a mile from Yamaha's U.S. HQ, and you would have thought we had the world's first YZF-R1 in the back of the pickup. In what would become a common sequence in our short time with the latest Royal Star "styling exercise," our only response was a sad admission: "Regrettably sir, no one."
IT'S A COMMON BELIEF THAT MILWAUKEE iron is the base requirement for a showstopping custom. But the tide is steadily turning as an increasing number of Japanesebased cruisers break into the custom scene. Just ask Yamaha customizer John Vaughan-Chaldy, and you'll quickly learn that many of his current clientele were once die-hard Harley fanatics.
Grand rebirth of the British musclebike or just another case of March madness?
DO YOU ACCEPT THAT THE world needs an English-designed 1500cc V-Eight motorcycle of 260 horse-power and 435 pounds, capable of 225 mph? England being the center of Formula One chassis development, do you further accept active suspension, push-button shifting and fly-by-wire control as interesting concepts?
HONDA'S CBR1100XX SUPER Blackbird is a bullet. In fact, only one other production motorcycle can better its eye-opening, 174-mph top speed. It's also incredibly agile for its size and weight, with suspension settings that are spot-on for solo sport riding, and an innovative linked-brake system that dramatically shortens stopping distances.
FITTING A TURBOCHARGER TO A SUZUKI Bandit 1200S should result in a match made in heaven. After all, at $7199, the Bandit is a stone-cold bargain, leaving lots of room in the budget for add-ons, such as a turbo. Problem is, no one had ever done it before.
THE CALL FOR ENTRIES WENT OUT THIS PAST MARCH. Dust off your Brownies, we said, fire up those Instamatics, the inaugural Cycle World Photo Concours is on. Show us your bike, and if we like it, fame and glory will be yours—well, at least a nicely engraved plaque and some feature space in the magazine.
SO, WHAT OF MODENAS, THE ALTERNATIVE IN 500cc Grand Prix bikes? Kenny Roberts found funding for this original project after his split with Yamaha. Although Frenchman Jean-Michel Bayle qualified it third once in 1997 at Brno in the Czech Republic, this nonconformist three-cylinder has usually finished among the last factory machines.
In what was dubbed "The California Triple," the AMA Superbike Series descended upon Laguna Seca, Willow Springs and Sears Point raceways over three consecutive weekends in late April and early May. Honda's Miguel Duhamel, last seen several weeks earlier on his knees in the chicane at Daytona, got up in a big way out West.
I'm trying to do a mild restoration of an old Honda CL175, and I'm having trouble with buggered-up enginecase screws. Before I bought the bike, someone completely rounded out the Phillips heads on most of the screws. Not only do I not have a clue about how to get them out, but everything I try just messes them up even more.
"Hey, man, could you, like, get this guy off my ass?" 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.