WHOA, ANTHONY GOBERT, DUDE, WHAT the hell were you thinkin'!?! Look, bad enough you got your million-dollar gluteus drummed out of the Grand Prix circus, testing positive for marijuana after a suspicious Team Suzuki ordered you to unholster your weapon and whiz into a glass beaker.
I'VE LONG BELIEVED THE NEXT-BEST thing to buying an interesting new motorcycle yourself is talking a friend into buying one, and then taking this latest object of desire for a test ride. Using this brilliant strategy back in the Seventies, for instance, I had an opportunity to ride the brand-new Yamaha SR500 Single I couldn't afford because I'd just bought a used Honda CB750 Four.
I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT ALL MY life I've had it drummed into me that forged parts are the coolest-strong and most durable-while cast parts are weak and full of defects. Parts machined from plate or billet, the story goes, lie somewhere in between.
A totally new Harley engine? Since when is revamping a 60-year-old design by updating to 30-year-old technology totally new? Harley has discovered super scavenging the crankcase, a method used by British parallel-Twins and the auto-racing people for many years.
By donning Arai's latest race-replica RX-7RR3, even novice riders can get some of that Doug Chandler racing juju. Sporting graphics like those of the three-time AMA Superbike Champion, the lightweight lid also features a pull-down chin spoiler and faceshield vents. A tool-less shield-changing system and removable, washable interior are standard. The Chandler Replica comes in XS-XXL sizes, and costs $595.
DAINESE T3 LEATHERS
The Armani of motorcycling apparel, Dainese brings the flavor of Italian styling to leathers. Take, for example, its chic T3 suit. With composite armor throughout, the matching two-piece ensemble features an adjustable waist and collar, externally accessible knee cups, hip pads and more. It is available in myriad color combinations and sizes, and carries a suggested retail price of $895.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON MONOPOLY GAME
Passing "Go" in a round of Monopoly would be much cooler if your playing piece was a motorcycle rather than a yappy little dog, right? Then check out the limited-edition Harley-Davidson 95th Anniversary version. The board has been "Harley-ized," with houses and hotels replaced by garages and dealerships Other tweaks include pewter playing pieces in the shape of an H-D logo, a vintage Harley, etc. Collect your own, for $80.
BUSE MEGA TANK BAG
"Storage space" is the catch phrase with the Buse Mega Tank Bag. With magnetic mounting, the cordura Buse comprises three bags that can be used in dividually or zipped together as one. The result is a carry-all with two large main compartments, four smaller pockets and three map holders. Tote handles, shoulder straps for backpack conversion and a rain cover are included. Suggested retail price is $149.
$64 to $1190
A certain amount of glamour accompanies most things European, particularly custom motorcycles. Enter Eurobikes, importer of fashionable sportbike bodywork from The Continent. Its wares include small parts such as spoilers and undertail enclosures, and more elaborate fare such as the swoopy, 91 6-esque, dual-headlight fairing shown here on a Suzuki GSX-R. Constructed from carbon-fiber and fiberglass, the lightweight, bolt-on parts come pre-drilled and ready to paint. All are available individually or in package form. Price ranges from $64 to $1190.
FMF FLASHBACK T-SHIRT
With the continuing fashion resurgence of the disco decade comes the appropriately named Flashback T-shirt from FMF. Designed to emulate motocross jerseys of the 1970s, the long-sleeve Tee is fashioned from 100 percent cotton. In fact, it looks suspiciously like the gear worn by former two-time AMA 125cc National MX champ Marty Smith. Very retro, not very pricey: $20, in M-XL sizes.
BARUM OFF-ROAD TIRES
$45 to $75
Remember Barum tires? If so, you're a certifiable codger-crosser. Last seen on 1970s CZs, the Czech-made knobbies are again available in the USA, thanks to a distribution agreement with Continental. Five different models are offered with knob patterns to suit conditions ranging from sandy/muddy to hard-pack, and in sizes to fit most late model MX bikes, including minis. Prices range from $45 to $75. Tell 'em Jaroslav Falta sent ya'.
MAP ENGINEERING BRAKE KITS
Those dual-purpose riders who spend more time on the road than off probably would agree their bikes would benefit from additional stopping power. MAP Engineering claims the fix is as easy as installing one of its oversized brake rotors. Available for BMW, Honda and Kawasaki on/off-road models, the $450 kits include a 320mm floating rotor, caliper-adapter bracket, Galfer steel braided brake line and pads, plus all necessary hardware for a bolt-on fit.
TRIUMPH WILL LAUNCH several new and updated models at Germany's Munich Show in September. Topping the list is the much-anticipated Sprint ST sport-tourer, followed by a more street-oriented Tiger 900, redrawn Adventurer cruiser and Trophy tourer, plus an entry-level Legend TT. Rumors also continue to circulate regarding a fourcylinder 600 supersport entry, and a 750cc Bonneville parallel-Twin.
THE HILLS WERE ALIVE WITH the sound of...Harleys. Okay, it was the lofty mountains and red rock canyons of St. George, Utah. This small desert town bordering Zion National Park was where The Motor Company introduced its 1999 models. Although the headliner was the new Twin Cam 88 engine (CW, August, 1998), the bikes themselves also were significant.
More than 10,000 Ducatisti from around the world gathered in Italy, June 12-14, for the first World Ducati Weekend. Event highlights included a parade from Sant'Arcangelo di Romagna to the Ducati headquarters in Bologna, tours and tech seminars, and an exhibition by the Minardi Formula One car team at the Santa Monica racetrack in Misano.
WHAT IF YOU GAVE A Harley rally and nothing rowdy went down? That's exactly what happened at HarleyDavidson's 95th Anniversary Reunion, held this past June in Milwaukee. In all, more than 100,000 bikers rode into town, 50,000 of whom participated in the Reunion's Saturday-morning parade to the shores of Lake Michigan, in what was surely the world's largest motorcycle procession.
Okay, so Suzuki's 1999 motocrossers aren't new from the knobbies up. They are, however, tweaked sufficiently to keep high-flyers up front. Or so we're told. The $4899 RM125, for example, has a new piston, increased crankshaft inertia, more clutch capacity and revised graphics.
SOICHIRO HONDA ONCE said, "A company is most clearly defined neither by its people nor by its history, but by its products." That may be, but a walk through the new Honda Collection Hall certainly provides much insight into the company's history, if not its employees' souls.
This month, Cycle World's racing-oriented readers were treated to a full platter of two-wheel competition coverage. Indeed, a streaky photo of a sideways-sliding speedway bike was served up on the cover. The accompanying blurb, "Speedway: Addiction Is Easy," hinted at the action-packed feature inside, which included a rousing, first-hand description of the sport by staffer D. Randy Riggs.
UP: To Seattlebased punk-rock band Zeke, for getting its inspiration from motorcycles. Eight songs from its first album, Flat Tracker, and three from its latest effort, Kicked in the Teeth, pay homage to the group's favorite pastime.
IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE A vintage motorcycle on which to base a modern sportbike, it would be no contest. The Vincent was the benchmark superbike of its era, the post-war equivalent of a Ducati 916. And although built in England, the Vincent's glorious 50-degree V-Twin engine was designed by an Australian emigrant named Phil Irving.
THE SUN IS DIPPING INTO A MOLTEN SKY ABOVE THE mountains edging California's Mojave Desert. Running across the desert basin's floor in the slanting light, a 100-mph sagebrush slideshow paints shifting outlines of the new motorcycle along the roadside.
WITH PARKING AT A PREMIUM, GAS PRICES ON the high side of $5 per gallon and traffic more congested than Southern California's 405 freeway at rush hour, it's no wonder scooters reign supreme in Europe. Not that a scooter is the perfect transportation device-agile they may be, stable they're not.
What better way to venture forth into the Alps than on a Lotus Tour with Ducati's new 900SS?
WHILE RIDING THROUGH THE Alps a few years ago, our intrepid group of thirsty sportbike riders stopped at a scenic little outdoor cafe in St. Moritz. The place looked inviting not only because the sun was shining down warmly upon its many Campari umbrellas, but because there were at least a dozen Ducati 916s parked nearby and the tables were crowded with people in full riding leathers.
EVEN TO THE UNTRAINED EYE, there's no mistaking the new Ducati 900 Supersport for its predecessor. Pierre Terblanchedesigner of the luscious Ducati Supermono-saw to this, giving the new 900 equally voluptuous styling that screams, "Look my way!" But arresting looks can only carry you so far, how does the new bike work?
STRANGE THING SEEING YOUR VERY OWN MOTORCYCLE UP ON A pedestal in one of the world's great art museums. Strange thing seeing any motorcycle in any art museum, really. But there was my 1940 Indian bob-jobber, plucked from the ordinary suburban SoCal garage where it usually resides and installed in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
HERE'S THE SCENARIO: YOU'VE JUST purchased a brand-new Honda VTR1000 Super Hawk, and all you want to do is ride it-all the time. Unfortunately, that pesky desk job keeps getting in the way. And as bitchin' a sportbike as the VTR is, it doesn't really allow for stashing files, dress shoes and other officeoriented paraphernalia.
If dirt-track's in your blood, this Yamaha should be in your garage
DiRT-TRACK HAS LONG PLAYED AN INTEGRAL role in American motorcycle racing. After all, what red-blooded enthusiast hasn't fantasized about sliding 'round such historic venues as Springfield, Sacramento and Syracuse? Even more apropos, why hasn't someone manufactured a limited series of these lightweight, torquey machines for the street?
DIRT-TRACK REPLICAS SUCH AS THE CONVERTED Yamaha streetbike on the preceding pages are tantalizing, but they'll only ever be kissing cousins to their track-bred brethren. Those interested in owning the real thing should forget all about AR and think XR, as in Harley-Davidson's XR-750.
HUSKY THUMPER OWNERS ARE A TOUGH BREED: THEY ENDURE SACRIfices for their loyalty. Their tribulations began with hard-starting, oil-incinerating 510s, then progressed to poorly suspended-but thankfully liquid-cooled-first-generation 6l0s.
ONCE UPON A TIME, NOT TOO LONG AGO, THERE was no such thing as motocross. At least not on this continent, where off-road riders were content just scrambling around. Then, in 1966, a man named Edison Dye brought a Husqvarna 250 to the U.S., along with a rider, Torsten Hallman, who just happened to be the reigning World Motocross Champion.
WHEN SMITH'S TRICKSTAR GOGGLES debuted earlier this year, they appeared to be just another flashy product aimed at the style-conscious "Crusty Demons of Dirt" crowd. Imagine our surprise, then, when we discovered they're a cut above most off-road eyewear.
ROADRACING, FOR ALL ITS BALLETIC grace, can be downright violent. And hands often bear the brunt of injury. Why? Two reasons: 1) People naturally tend to put their hands out in front of them to break a fall; and 2) a fallen rider's hand can get trapped beneath a handlebar.
THE LAGUNA SECA STOP OF THE WORLD SUPERBIKE Championship saw a battle of contrasting styles, with conservative, Ducati-riding series points leader Troy Corser and Yamaha's young kamikaze Noriyuki Haga each scoring one win. But that clash was played against a backdrop of crashes that downed 10 riders, leaving at least two seriously injured.
Also on the bill at Laguna Seca were two 600cc Supersport events. One was held under AMA rules, the other under FIM World Supersport regulations. The difference is mainly engine mods; the FIM permits them, the AMA does not. The AMA allows valve seat recutting, but all other engine changes are banned.
I recently purchased a 1997 Yamaha YZF1000R with 4000 miles on it. I decided to change the oil and filter myself~ but I inadvertently overfilled the engine and didn't discover my mistake until the bike started smok ing. I immediately drained the oil to the proper level, but the smoking con tinues.
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.