As PARTING SHOTS GO, THIS ONE GETS a bye-run straight into the Hissy Fit Hall of Fame, Military Division. On the eve of his retirement from the Air Force, four-star General Walter Kross centered motorcycling in his radar cross-hairs, acquired tone, and let loose with a salvo of incriminations about our sport.
SITTING UP LATE IN THE GARAGE THE other night, I was having a beer and gazing at the evening’s handiwork. I’d just installed a newly rebuilt Miller generator in the Vincent and was basking in that warm glow of satisfaction one always feels when such a task is completed without breaking off a cooling fin, dropping the gas tank upside down on the floor or stabbing yourself in the center of the forehead with a screwdriver.
FINDING OUT WHAT THE “ENERGY CONSERVING!!!” claim on oil cans and bottles means takes some doing. Detroit needs every possible tenth of a mile per gallon improvement in fuel consumption in these highly regulated days. Technical papers 10 years ago suggested fuel consumption could be reduced 2-4 percent by appropriate changes in oil.
Motorcycle bias is to be expected from Cycle World, but interviewer Ian Falloon, in citing great Bolognese technical minds, might have slighted Nobel Prize-winning Guglielmo Marco (1874-1937) a tad in calling Dr. Fabio Taglioni the “greatest of them all” (“Dr.
The Guggenheim gave us "The Art of the Motorcycle." Airtech gives us the art that is the motorcycle. Designed to accommodate the stock seat, tank, windscreen, mirrors and lights of Honda's CBR600F2 or F3, the bolt-on kit comes with a main fairing, solo tail, swoopy belly pan and front and rear fenders. Sold unpainted, the futuristic-looking fiberglass bodywork was penned by the people at Machineart Industrial Design. Suggested retail price is $695.
NANKAI GP RACING GLOVES
Cream of the crop, best of the best, top of the line-you get the picture. These glowing accolades describe Nankai's UP Racing Gloves, worn by the likes of five-time 500cc Grand Prix Champion Mick Doohan. Definitely high-zoot, they feature top-grain leather; layers of kevlar and dense foam over the tops of the hands; keviar discs at the knuckles; double-stitched leather palms with metal studs; and keviar-and-foam-padded gauntlets. Prices start at $250.
SARGENT CASE PROTECTORS
Consider Sargent's Case Protectors as riding gear for your luggage. De signed to fend off abrasion, they are constructed from a stretchy span dex-style material that fits the con tours of hard saddlebags. They also incorporate heat-resistant fabric in case of pipe contact, and accommo date reflectors and manufacturers' logos. For most late-model sport touring bikes, Case Protectors cost from $70 to $90.
ERTL HARLEY~DAVIDSON COLLECTIBLES
You can't have too many Harley-Davidson collectibles, or so say the folks at The ERTL Company. With 1/12-scale porcelain models, the venerable toy manufacturer has jumped on The Motor Company bandwagon. These tiny dioramas range from a miniature Evolution engine that actually turns over to a rider wrenching on his machine to a solitary Harley-D. Prices start at $40.
BERG RACING TCA-01 AUTOMATIC KX60
IVoe is the 6-year-old who must learn to simultaneously manipulate the clutch lever and shifter. Or not, if you use Berg Racing’s automatic clutch kit. Designed to help children ease into the often-intimidating world of shifting, the $500 kit fits Kawasaki KX60s and includes the bolt-on clutch itself and snappy graphics. For your more agro tyke, an $80 reed valve and $90 adjustable shock linkage are also available.
SHOEI VFX-R OFF-ROAD HELMET
Big news from Shoei is its new-for-’99 VFX-R off-road helmet. Featuring multifiber construction and a removable interior, the lightweight lid uses an integrated ventilation/lining system, which incorporates intake and exhaust vents to maximize airflow. This process is further aided by additional scoops at the forehead. The $450 helmet is available in solid colors or four funky Troy Lee graphics combos. Shoei’s Velocity visor comes standard.
It seems that FRAM isn't just for oil filters anymore. Now the name is attaclied (sorry) to tie-downs. Featuring teflon coating and Absorb-edge webbing, the 6-foot cambuckle ties are designed to resist abrasion and repel water. They are also said to have a rated capacity of 1000 pounds and a safe working capacity of 333 pounds. Price is $11 per tie-down.
Finally, it’s happened. After much beating of chests and gnashing of teeth, Alpinestars apparel is coming Stateside. Included in the U.S.bound lineup are these cordura jackets. The $300 Tech Road is waterproof, and has a removable fleece lining and ballistic shoulders. The Jet Road, at $270, is also waterproof and features armor and a quilted lining, both of which are removable. The jackets come in sizes XS-XXL and in a variety of color combos.
LOCKHART PHILLIPS SPEEDSCREEN
We admit that Suzuki’s TL1000R is a tasty dish in stock trim alone. But it never hurts to add a little spice! In this case, the seasoning comes from Lockhart Phillips’ Speedscreen. Available in bright tints such as red and blue, the press-molded acrylic screen fits all TL-R applications, has a stoneground polished edge and comes with pre-drilled mounting holes. Suggested retail price is $50. □
WHAT DO YOU SEE when you look at Harley’s 1999 FXDX Super Glide Sport? A more cleanly styled, slightly higher-performance Big Twin? It’s a lot more than that, according to HarleyDavidson Dyna Platform Manager AI Wagner. “The FXDX is taking the Dyna platform into a sportier Big Twin,” he says.
IHE NEW MILLENNIUM IS upon us, and KTM is at the forefront with a shrink-wrapped, four-stroke Single aimed squarely at Yamaha’s ground-breaking YZ400F. Penned by Josef Hattinger, the original LC4 engine was a lightweight, compact design, especially for a mid-Eighties four-stroke.
Whoa, what’s all this then!?! Pushrod tubes on a new-for-’99 Yamaha? And nary a radiator in sight? You got it, bub. Shake hands with the Road Star, 98 cubic inches (1602cc) of aircooled mega-cruiser aimed directly at the hearts of V-Twin fans.
Accurate Engineering in Dothan, Alabama, now offers a complete line of Berry Wardlaw Signature Series V-Twins. Evolution, Shovelhead, Panhead and Knucklehead packages are available complete with an assortment of performance-oriented options.
WILL MOTORCYCLES travel underwater in the not-so-distant future? You bet, say Marco Date, Jay Kovacs and David Flynt, three students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. The trio was asked to design a nextgeneration motorcycle as part of an Aprilia-sponsored project, but didn’t want to create just another two-wheeler.
Suzuki fans who found themselves drooling at the sight of the avantgarde Innotech Crea Honda CBR900RR (Roundup, April, 1997) have reason to rejoice: The Czech Republic-based company now offers a similar treatment for 1996-99 GSXR750s. Priced at $3000, the fully painted, fiberglass bodywork kit incorporates the twin headlamps off an Aprilia RS250 and the low-slung windscreen off a Ducati 916, but makes do with standard Suzuki underpinnings.
Nothing comes between Malcolm Smith and his ISDT gold. Don't take our word for it, eyeball this issue's fullcolor spread of the famous desert racer wearing only his five medals, stars-n-stripes undies and a smile. "It got me a lot of teasing, and it sure wasn't a hit with the ladies," ne JoKes now.
OCONTROVERSY, 0 DIScord! Whatever shall we do about oil for motorcycles? Bike riders are reporting oil-related engine problems allegedly stemming from the use of "energy-conserving" SJ-rated multi-grade oils. These problems include drive and starter clutches that slip or won't engage, pitting on transmission gears and non-op back-torque limiters.
UP: To four-time 500cc World Champion Eddie Lawson, for rediscovering his roots. The 40-year-old former dirt-tracker turned up at a recent SuperTT event at California’s Buttonwillow Raceway. With support from ol’ pal Wayne Rainey, Rainey’s father Sandy and machinist-to-thegods Jewel Hendricks, Lawson donned his old lace-up boots and steel shoe to race a borrowed ATK 600 DT. Looking as though he’d never stopped racing, Lawson fended off similarly mounted A.J. Herrera to finish second behind Rick Pierce on the super-fast, ex-Cycle World Project Honda CR500.
OKAY, HERE’S YOUR Mission: Design an entrylevel motorcycle that will be 1) affordable, 2) easy to ride and 3) an absolute joy to look at. You seem troubled. Stymied, even. Not a problem, because Honda’s already done the job for you with the tweakedfor-’99 Shadow VLX Deluxe.
Mike Hailwood Evoluzione : Ducati looks forward while looking back
THOSE WHO WORRY THAT BLAND, BLACK AND GRAY sport-tourers are harbingers of the Americanization of Ducati, take heart: Italian design is alive and well and thriving in the MH900e Mike Hailwood Evoluzione that stole the show recently at Intermot in Munich, Germany.
Mike Hailwood didn’t believe in his legend. He was 38 years old. But he always liked the Isle of Man, so...
COMEBACKS ARE catastrophes. Most people are not in a position to make them, and the ones who are usually shouldn’t. Particularly not the ones loosely referred to as legends. Most legends are dead, or shelved. People like them like that.
THERE WAS A TIME WHEN Yamaha was the undisputed king of the 600cc Supersport class. Precisely a decade ago, Yamaha’s newly introduced FZR600 set the performance standard. Its dominance was proven by John Kocinski’s win in the 1989 Daytona 600cc Supersport race and back-to-back AMA titles won by Scott Zampach and Dave Sadowski.
BRILLIANT, I THINK TO MYSELF AS I LAP LAS Vegas Motor Speedway. Incredible turnin, and steering so light that the first lap is accomplished with fingertip ease. As the tires warm, the pace increases until redline shifts are the norm and my knee pucks are giving their all.
JOURNALESTS TEND TO BE A SKEPTICAL LOL AFTER ALL, a good reporter can't take manufacturers' claims at face value. So when we learned that Yamaha's new fu1l-dress touring rig was based on its Royal Star line of cruisers, we envisioned a slower, heavier, plasticencrusted Tour Deluxe.
IT WASN’T enough that Yamaha surprised everyone with its neo-classic Venture. Oh, no. Honda had to get into the game, too. Just as we were going to press, a bomb in the form of the retrosty led Valkyrie Interstate was dropped. Essentially, the Interstate is a Valkyrie Tourer topped with a fork-mounted fairing, larger gas tank, cushier saddle, fullsize tail trunk and the usual assortment of audio equipment.
Cycle World's founder journy's to Japan to celebrate Honda's 50 years of shifting gears
JOSEPH C. PARKHURST
WE WERE HAVING LUNCH THIS past October in the dining room of the luxury hotel on the grounds of Honda's incredible new Twin Ring Motegi racing complex in Japan when across the room, a familiar face appeared. It was Luigi Taveri, Honda factory kider of the Sixties in the 50 and 125cc classes, twice world champion in the latter.
THERE ARE PLENTY OF REASONS TO thank the French. Aside from fries, champagne, Bridget Bardot or that big bronze dame residing in New York Harbor, there is Supermotard. Hold on pilgrim....didn’t our French friends import the idea for Supermotard-an adaption of the dirt/pavement Superbikers format-from America?
SELDOM IN RECORDED HISTORY HAS a long-term testbike covered so many hard miles in its early life as our new yellow S-model. First, Associate Editor Paul Seredynski picked up the bike in New York and rode it all over the Northeast (including laps at Lime Rock Park) before taking a transcontinental run back to California.
IT’S NOT EASY BEING AN ALL-WEATHER jacket these days. Buyers expect you to ward off rain, cold and roadrash-and not cost too much while doing so. Tour Master’s new 3/4 Cortech is just such a jacket. Constructed of waterproofed cordura nylon, it’s cut in the classic Belstaff enduro style, with four front pockets and a cinchable belt.
LET’S FACE IT, PROPERLY STORING A motorcycle is easier said than done. If you’re forced to park on the street, for example, your bike is subject to unsightly scratches, harmful UV rays or, God forbid, acid rain. And even in the most tidy garage, a bike can still become covered with fingerprints, coated in dust or just breathed on wrong.
HIGH OVER THE BOULEVARD, A JUMBOTRON IMAGE OF JEREMY MCGRATH LIT UP THE sidewalk. Welcome to Vegas, baby, and the U.S. Open of Supercross-a two-day, $250,000-purse, live-TV, indoor-motocross extravaganza. Though labeled an "Open," entries were by invitation only.
With the Las Vegas National complete, the 1998 AMA Superbike season is history. Mat Mladin, master of the off-handed understatement, won the race on a Suzuki GSX-R750. Ben Bostrom, who started the year as journeyman, went home with the master’s reward-the AMA Superbike title.
I recently crashed my 1996 HarleyDavidson XL 1200 Sportster, fracturing my leg and my knee. Before this happened, I had a couple of close calls caused by brake lock-up. I think the brakes are locking up too quickly. I’ve raced dirtbikes and owned many types of Japanese and British streetbikes, and I’ve never had any other serious accidents.
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.