SO, THE UNIVERSAL JAPANESE MOTORcycle is dead, eh? Readers of particularly pachyderm recall may remember the saga of my 1982 Seca 650, a UJM from the shaftdriven, Euro-styled side of the clan. Bought new, it made the trip out west with me in ’83 when I was hired by Cycle News.
CAN'T SAY I HAVEN'T BEEN WARNED. A few years ago, when I wrote a column called "Saving for a Vincent," my friend Jeff Craig called from Pennsyl vania and said., "I had to call you. Four or five of my friends have phoned in the past two days and said.
THE PLEASURE OF LYING IN A NICE HOT tub of water is invariably spoiled by a growing feeling that it’s not as hot as it was. Stirring around in the water helps restore the warm feeling, but eventually you have to add fresh hot water, trying with varying success to operate the taps with your feet.
Peter Egan lucked out getting a Black Shadow with good brakes ("To Ride a Vincent," September). Most Vincents require a memo sent months earlier, politely requesting a future stop (place, time). Part of the problem is that Vincents were made from scrapped Spitfires, themselves made from scrapped pots and pans donated by British housewives during the Battle of Britain.
Go full-on retro with Metro's fashionably erstwhile off-road togs. Factory FX jerseys from bygone marques such as Maico, Bultaco and CZ are available in 100 percent cotton for $44, in sizes L-XL. Matching Rocket Racing pants in clude removable hip pads, leather knee patches and are lined throughout. In men's sizes 28-42, they cost from $99 to $149. Metro also offers long-sleeve T-shirts emblazoned with logos from Ariel to Zundapp. And did we mention the Trials pants, sweatshirts, jackets and more? The company even offers logoed beer mugs.
MOBIL 1 SYNTHETIC MOTORCYCLE OIL
Auto-industry biggie Mobil 1 is now catering to two-wheelers with its new line of fully synthetic engine oils. Three variations make up the petroleum company's first foray into motorcycle lubricants: MX4T 10w40 for four-stroke engines, MX2T for two-stroke applications and V-Twin 20w50 for-you guessed it-V-Twins. Suggested retail price is $8 per quart.
MICHAEL SAVAGE DESIGNS
If a velvet Elvis is your idea of art, read no farther. If, however, you're intrigued by unique motorsports works, check out Michael Savage's 20 x 26-inch lithographs. His latest black-andwhite rendering depicts former Australian Superbike Champion and Grand Prix bad-boy Anthony Gobert aboard his Vance & Hines Ducati 916. Two hundred of the limited-edition, numbered prints will be available with signatures from both artist and rider. Price is $70.
JAMS FAST SHIRTS
Looking for a sure-fire way to get leied? Then try these on for size: Jams' Hawaiian-style Fast Shirts. At first glance, they look like everyday floral-print garments. Closer examination, however, reveals motorcycling themes that range from familiar racetrack scenes to Ducati logos. Furthermore, they're made of 100 percent crushed rayon, and come with hand-painted but tons. Available in sizes SXXL, they cost $82 each.
WHITE BROS E-SERIES EXHAUST
With almost everyone in the free world drooling over Yamaha's new off-road Thumpers, the aftermarket is spinning at redline. White Brothers' elliptical-disc E-Series exhaust, for example, is constructed from stainless steel, and was developed specifically for the YZ400F and WR400F. Two versions are available, and both the S-Bend and Pro-Meg Works systems were designed to increase horsepower. Rejetting is necessary. Pricing starts at $220.
HARLEY FXRG RIDING SUIT
With the new breed of Harley-Davidson rider comes an equally new breed of motorcycle apparel. The Motor Company recently introduced its FXRG clothing line, and the one-piece nylonand-kevlar riding suit shown here. Features include reflective piping, water-resistant seams and zippered vents. Padding at the shoulders, elbows, hips. knees and back is standard fare. The $650 women's suit comes in XS-XL. The men's suit, available in S-XXXL sizes, costs $690.
PINGEL CHROMOLY SWINGARM
Having trouble launching your dragracer? Then try a Pingel extended swingarm. Designed for mid'80s Kawasaki GPz 1100s and late-model Suzuki GSX-R750s, the bolt-on chromoly swingarm measures 4 or 6 inches longer than stock. It will accommodate OEM suspension, any street tire or a slick up to 8.5 inches wide. A longer chain and rear brake line are required. Pricing starts at $429.
IN WHAT MAY SEEM THE most unlikely of marriages, Harley-Davidson and KTM are talking about tying the knot. Motor Company management has visited KTM’s factory in Mattighofen, Austria, and negotiations are reportedly taking place, with an alleged takeover to be announced at September’s Munich Show.
Ducati’s 15-year union with the Cagiva Group ended recently when the Castiglioni brothers sold their remaining interest in the legendary Italian sportbike manufacturer to their new American “partners,” the Texas Pacific Group. In a press release dated July 31st, TPG announced that in conjunction with Luxembourg-based Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Development Capital Italy and other, unnamed co-investors, it had purchased the remaining 49 percent of Ducati S.p.A. from Claudio and Gianfranco Castiglioni.
STOP THE PRESSES! YAMAHA has an all-new 600cc sportbike. and it's reputed to be the best-handling, lightest, most powerful and fastest machine in its class. “It's like an R1,” verified a company spokesman, “only smaller.” In fact, the all-new 1999 YZF-R6 is significantly lighter, narrower and shorter than the current YZF600R. Moreover, the new bike’s high-revving, 16-valve, 599cc inline-Four is said to produce 120 horsepower and 50.2 foot-pounds of torque at the crank, a gain of 25 bhp and 2.5 ft.-lbs.
Remember Herbert Kainzinger? His stunning Yamaha V-Max (King Maximum, June, 1997) produced 240 rearwheel horsepower and weighed a mere 422 pounds. Well, ol' Herbert is at it again, this time massaging a limited number of Bimota SB6Rs.
MOTO GUZZI has upped the cruiser ante with its V11 Bassa. Based on the CW comparison-winning V11 EV (“Lucky 13!” March, 1998), the latest Italian boulevard bomber boasts a more laidback riding position and updated styling. Changes include a wider handlebar, folding footpegs in place of floorboards and a lower, two-piece seat.
One of the kick-assingest motorcycles Cycle World sampled last year is on its way to the good ol' U.S. of A. Kawasaki's ZRX1100, the ultimate in UJMs, will be in dealerships this January, resplendent in Eddie Lawson green. Priced to sell "in the lowto mid$7000s," the big, bad ZRX may just be 1999's Best Buy.
ONA HAZY SUMMER DAY IN the Big Apple, members of the New York Police Department stopped traffic to allow more than 30 motorcyclists to cross the East River through the Midtown Tunnel and travel uptown to BMW Manhattan. Normally blasé commuters watched in awe as BMWs, Harleys, Suzukis and Yamahas rode in harmony for one cause: finding a cure for breast cancer.
Excelsior-Henderson’s 1999 “production-intent” Super X was shown at the annual Sturgis Rally and Races in Sturgis, South Dakota. Aesthetically, the 647-pound cruiser resembles previous prototypes (CW, January, 1997), but there are several notable updates.
Watergate was in full swing, the Vietnam War was winding down and Montesa’s King Scorpion Automix 250 shared CW’s November cover with Suzuki’s GT750. The Spanish dual-purpose bike was given a five-page road test, in which editors oohed and ahhed over the single-cylinder engine’s “new” oil-injection system.
UP: To the Simon Gaflery in Morristown, New Jersey, for presenting the digital renderings of Ilene Steglitz. The featured work in the exhibit, "ldentita Ducati," was made up of 100 individual laser prints that formed a single work measuring 8 x 10 feet, under which was parked a red 916.
IT'S TAKEN FIVE YEARS for Husqvarna to come up with an answer to KTM'S Duke, but now the legendary Swedish marque has a hooligan bike to call its own. With parent company Cagiva's financial troubles resolved, devel opment of a new electric start Single has been completed, and the Husky SM610 Supermoto is the first beneficiary.
Is Aprilia's new RSV1000 sport-Twin another case of Mille Vanilli? Not a says Road Test Editor Don Canet
FIDGETING ABOUT MY AIRLINE SEAT IN A FEEBLE ATTEMPT TO get comfy, I thumbed through the March, 1998, issue of Cycle World, reading Kevin Cameron's tech preview of the new Aprilia RSV Mille for the umpteenth time. Bound for Barcelona, Spain, and the press launch of the world's latest liter-class sport-Twin, I had plenty of idle time to ponder the upcoming ride.Not all my preconceptions were good ones.
EVEN NON-MOTORCYCLISTS ARE DRAWN TO TUE powerful shape and color of Italian machines such as the Ducati 916, the MV Agusta F4 and now Aprilia's RSV Mille. Their shapes are organic rather than geometric or merely mechanical, and they have evident purpose.
After accumulating more than 250,000 miles on his trusty BMW, world traveler Helge Pedersen looks back on a 10-year journey and recounts tales of tremendous beauty, harrowing adversity and awesome riding
WENDY F. BLACK
HUDDLED IN THE coner of a dank, foulsmelling prison in North Yemen, Helge Pedersen contemplated his options. The year was 1984, and until this point, the affable Norwegian had been happily bopping across Africa aboard his BMW R80 G/S. That was before a police checkpoint along the Arabian Peninsula.
SHE WAS NOT MY FIRST. There had been others before her. But she was the only 0-mile bike I ever laid my hands on, and she was all mine. It was during our first, rugged year together in Africa that she really proved herself, and I knew I had to put a proper name to her stout, BMW R80 G/S figure.
PERFECT BIKES ARE A PAIN. ESPFCIAILY FOR owners intent on doing a little personal tailor ing. Take that most honored of all streetbikes, the almost-flawless Honda VFR750/800. Whatcha gonna do? A pipe maybe, braidedsteel brake lines, a generic set of soft saddlebags?
A STOCK BUELL IS A CROSS between a greyhound and a badly groomed pit bull." So says Jean-Francois Vicente, owner of the French aftermarket manufacturer VD Classic. Vicente is certainly entitled to his opinion. After all, the outspoken entrepreneur has fabbed his share of show-stoppers.
SOMETIMES, LIFE AIN’T FAIR. ASK any knee-scrapin’, in-the-know sportbike type about the 600 class, and you get a brain-dump of details about the horsepower-heavy Kawasaki ZX, the sharp-as-splinters Suzuki GSX-R and the championshipsteamroller Honda CBR-F3.
The best Commando dirt-trackers and the last Norton to win an AMA national came from the mind and efforts of a passionate hobbyist
THE AMAZING THING IS that Norton Twins ever won anything. The engine that powered the Norton Commando, one of the first machines to receive and deserve the title “Superbike,” started life in 1948 as a longstroke 500. By the time it had been prodded, poked, stretched and stroked to 750cc in the late Sixties, its fuse was short indeed-short enough that few early Commandos with the hi-po “Combat” version of the engine made it through a year of hard riding without a rebuild.
BEFORE RON WOOD AND HIS SUPER-SANO COMmandos, there were other tuners trying to make dirttrackers out of the venerable British Twins. During my early-’70s stint as a Cycle World staffer, I rode one, a Trackmaster Norton tuned by Harold Allison.
WHEN IT COMES TO WATERPROOF RIDing boots, color us convinced. Allied with a good all-weather suit, waterproof boots let you sail serenely on while others are diving for the nearest overpass at the first sign of sprinkles doing the ritual rainsuit/rubber overboot cha-cha.
YOU KNOW THE SCENE IN APOCAlypse Now where Robert Duval says, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like victory”? Well, it’s the scent of two-stroke exhaust and freshly overturned earth that sends my senses reeling.
Hot off near-domination at the Isle of Man, Honda continued to roll through the year’s international racing events, celebrating its 50th anniversary in winning style. Indeed, more than 70,000 fans gathered at Japan’s Suzuka circuit to watch Honda go 1-2-3 at the country’s most prestigious roadrace, the Suzuka 8-Hours.
I have a question about brakes on both a motorcycle and a car. A friend and I have a bet about which will stop first from 60 mph to zero, a car or a motorcycle. Can you tell me where I can find information on this subject? Paul Bouchard Horsham, Pennsylvania How about from 100 mph to zero?
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.