OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE APpears to be over. I'm not referring to the impeachment of W.J. "Bubba" Clinton, perhaps the only man alive capable of giving fellatio a bad name. No, after 45 homeless years, the last five being hounded by flim-flammers, bamboozlers, bunko artists and other brigands, it looks like Indian is back in business.
A FEW YEARS AGO, WHEN I WAS ON A motorcycle trip around Lake Superior with our Editor, David Edwards, and two friends named Tom Daley and Chuck Davis, we wrapped up a week on the road by shooting diagonally across Wisconsin to my place, where everyone planned to stay the night before heading home.
HOW FAST IS FAST WHEN IT COMES TO engine internals? Ducati's 996 race engine and Harley's VR are mechanically safe to at least 12,500 rpm. With their 66mm stroke and a normal ratio of rod length to stroke, this translates to a peak piston acceleration of just over 7000 g, reached at TDC. On the compression stroke, this is not so impressive, for there is the rising pressure of combustion to help stop the piston.
Reference the Editor-in-Chief's most recent diatribe titled "General stupidity" (CW, January): Boy, did the general get a burr under Edwards' Corbin saddle. Regardless of how you cut it, I have to agree with General Kross when he says, "The bottom line is that riding motorcycles poses a significantly greater risk to individual safety than driving an automobile."
With its sexy backside, this bike could be easily mistaken for one of Italian descent. A Ducati 916, for example? But the bike is British, and benefits from Black Widow's Triumph T595 Underseat Exhaust System. Designed to give the T595 a cleaner look, the $1350 kit comes with a choice of carbon-fiber or black-anodized muffler with either ceramic-coated or stainless-steel tubing. Also included are a powdercoated aluminum battery/ ECU/fuse-box assembly, reservoir bottle, heat shields, rear turnsignal brackets and licenseplate bracket.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON CYCLING JERSEYS
Harley-Davidson fans can show their true colors, even when their two-wheeler is sans engine. To complement its line of Harley bicycles, GT is selling bicycling jerseys bearing The Motor Company's logo. Constructed from made-in-America textured polyknit, the $80 zip-up tops wick away moisture and provide plenty of ventilation. Four designs are available, as are Harley-emblazoned shorts, gloves and water bottles.
Pity not the Japanese cruiser, because it is poised to crest the custom wave. Case in point: Jardine's CNC-machined-from-billet aluminum wheels for late-model, shaft-driven customs of the Asian persuasion. Contributing to the look are the one-piece rim and two-piece hub assembly, complete with bearings and valve stems. They are available polished or chrome-plated. Pricing starts at $790 per wheel.
CARBONLOOK MAGNETIC TANK BRA
Don't go thinking that Mag-Knight's new tank bra is just average or run-of-the-mill. Because not only is this cover magnetic, it also has that spiffy carbon-fiber look. Available for most late-model sportbikes, it attaches without any pesky straps or buckles, protects against scratches and fits against the tank with a water-tight seal. Suggested retail price is $96.
AVON ROADRUNNER AM21 TIRE
Meaty, beefy, big and bouncy. The Who allusions aside, all these describe Avon's new AM21 custom rear tire. Created with Harley-Davidson customizers in mind, the 230/60H15 model is a four-nylon bias-ply tire and measures more than 9 inches wide. Needless to say, it doesn't fit anything stock. Rather, it is designed to fit 6.25- and 7-inch-wide wheels; but not 15-inch car rims, which are smaller in diameter than their motorcycling equivalent. Suggested retail price for this mammoth chunk of rubber is $260.
BATTERY TENDER JUNIOR
Instead of going for the obvious "bigger and better" product upgrade, Deltran opted for a more subtle approach. Enter the Battery Tender Junior. Weighing a mere 1 pound, the automatic, two-stage trickle-charger is positively lilliputian. Designed to charge and maintain all lead-acid, sealed and gel-cell batteries, it carries a suggested retail price of $40.
EXPEDITION SYSTEM GORE-TEX GLOVES
To paraphrase the old postman's adage, neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow will stop Expedition System Gore-Tex Gloves from The North Face. Designed to provide waterproof, breathable protection, they can be worn over traditional motorcycling gloves. Standard fare includes articulated fingers and thumbs, and a drawcord for gauntlet adjustment. Available in black only, the $98 gloves come in sizes S-XL.
DRY RIDER RAINWEAR
The year 1999 might not be plagued by the torrents of El Niño, but it will have a rainy season nonetheless. And this is when Dry Rider Rainwear comes in handy. The $115 two-piece suit comprises a belted jacket in blue or red, plus black pants. The former has a lined collar, four pockets, adjustable wrists and a vented back, while the latter has an elastic waist, side pockets, zippered legs and adjustable ankles. Both are available in S-XXL sizes.
FOR A COMPANY THAT HAS produced fewer than 1000 motorcycles—all rotary-powered—in the last two decades, Norton has attracted a disproportionate amount of media coverage. But it was always thus with Norton and to be fair, a 588cc rotary racer did win the Isle of Man in 1992.
Kick up your heels and grab the nearest dirtbike, the California desert is user-friendly once again. As of December 10, 1998, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) revised emissions regulations for dirtbikes and ATVs, allowing the registration and use of all two-strokes and four-strokes initially banned on January 1, 1997.
With the success of the TV movie "CHiPs '99," Erik Estrada mania is on the upswing. Okay, maybe not. Nonetheless, Estrada will represent Famous Fixins' new line of low-fat yucca and plantain chips, which means the Hispanic heart-throb will be on the package wearing his California Highway Patrol uniform.
IF SPARTACUS HADN'T died at the hands of the Roman army, and he'd lived, oh, another 2000 years, this is the sort of muscular motorcycle that might have appealed to his rugged individualism. The Spartaco from GG Motorrad Technik was inspired by the legendary warrior.
WHEN IT COMES TO entry-level dirtbikes, Yamaha won't be taking it on the chin any more. Beginning this spring, consumers will be able to buy the all-new TTR225 and TTR250. Designed to bridge the gap between small and mid-displacement machines, the TTR225 is based on the old, street-legal XT225, while the TTR250 is patterned after a Japanese-market dual-purpose bike.
Blazing toward the horizon on this month's cover was Yoshimura's racy Yvon Duhamel Replica. Fashioned from Kawasaki's formidable Z-1, the 486-pound, street-legal Superbike had a braced frame, firmed-up suspension and one of the broadest torque curves staffers had ever tested.
WITH THE EXOTIC RSV Mille leading the way, Aprilia will make its U.S. debut with a seven-bike 1999 lineup. The fuel-injected V-Twin was previewed in the November, 1998, issue, and boasts a built-in laptimer, race-ready ergonomics and fully adjustable suspension.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Cycle World's seventh-annual GP Euro-Tour is cleared for takeoff, this time headed for the Grand Prix of Germany at the newly designed Sachsenring circuit. Here's your chance to sample the Beemer of your choice (everything from an F650 to the new K1200LT) in the Alps, enjoy the great good company of CW's editors and let our friends at Edelweiss Bike Travel take care of the hard stuff like mapping the route, making hotel reservations, toting luggage and arranging track passes at the GP. Tour date is July 10-20, with prices starting at $2495 (airfare not included).
UP: To American Honda, for its "Stupid Hurts" ATV safety campaign. The program stresses that thoughtless, reckless behavior can lead to injury. "At Honda, we have a strong commitment to the safe operation of our motorcycle products, especially models for younger riders," said Ray Blank, VP of Sales and Operations.
IN THE GUISE OF A MINOR model change, the Buell Motorcycle Company has slipped an exciting new machine past Harley-Davidson's product-planning committee—the 1999 Cyclone M2. Indeed, when the first Cyclone was introduced 2 years ago, it was a detuned, civilian alternative to the Lightning S1, a little sportier than most standards, but with an emphasis on practicality rather than performance.
Insanity with license plates!!! Cycle World's annual search for the quickest, fastest, nastiest streetbikes in America
SOUTE BAY TRIUMPH T595
PROFAB HONDA CBR945RR
TWO BROTHERS RACING KAWASAKI ZX-9R
NEW TECH CYCLE HONDA CBR900RR
DRACUT SUZUKI GSX-R1186
HAHN RACECRAFT SUZUKI GSX-R1117
SMOKE ROILED OUT FROM THE HAHN Racecraft GSX-R as a second-gear burnout bounced the turbo's scream off the empty Pomona Fairplex grandstands. The NHRA Winternationals had just left town, the right lane was sticky with VHT and anticipation ran high as the big Suzuki's Dunlop warmed to the task.
Four Sporting standouts in a duel for Grand Touring supremacy
WE HAVE GATHERED HERE A FAST AND FINE QUARTET. Fast as in long-legged, road-eating, state-crossing. Fine as in GT—Grand Touring in the traditional sense, where style counts and the machine can carry you and a friend in all-day comfort at speed.
NINETEEN NINETY-EIGHT SHOULD HAVE been one big party for Bimota. The Rimini, Italy-based sportbike manufacturer was celebrating its 25th anniversary, hot on the heels of two historic events. First, the SB6 and SB6R had sold in record numbers, with 1744 of the Suzuki GSX-R1100-powered machines streaming out of the tiny factory, a figure that accounts for 15 percent of Bimota's total production to date.
THE VDUE DEBACLE DAMAGED MORE THAN BIMOTA'S reputation—it nearly forced the company to close its doors for good. The recall caused the assembly line to shut down for eight months, and with no product going out, there was no money coming in. The vultures were circling.
WHEN IT COMES TO COLLECTIBLE ITALIAN MOTORcycles, there are almost as many desirable models as there are marques. Do you choose a Ducati 750SS, Laverda 750 SFC, MV Agusta 750S America, Moto Guzzi V7 Sport? How about something a bit more contemporary, like an eight-valve Ducati (any will do) or Guzzi Daytona?
AT FIRST WE WONDERED, WHY GO TO the trouble of making a bolt-on hydraulic clutch for dirtbikes that really don't need clutch help? Then we tried one. Now, we wonder why all bikes don't come with hydraulic clutches. Billetanium R&D makes such a system.
LET'S FACE IT: THERE'S NOTHING LIKE hard luggage. But a surprising number of sport-touring bikes don't come with any. What to do? You can install relatively expensive aftermarket hard bags, or sling a set of soft saddlebags over the rear seat.
SEEMS LIKE THIS IS THE BIGgest thing to happen 'round here for weeks. On the sidewalk people stare and nudge each other, while startled children peer quizzically over a playground wall. Even the slouching man, Gauloise in mouth—every French main street has one—drops his studied insouciance to sneak a glance.
SWISS ROADRACER AND HILLclimber Fritz Egli built his first Vincent special in the winter of 1967-68. "My (stock) Vincent was fast enough, but the chassis was not good compared to my rivals' Matchless G50s and Manx Nortons. So I decided to make my own frame," he recalls.
WIDOW I KNOW GOT married again, to a much younger man, and embarked on the good life, as in her own Corvette. One day she drove into the gas station. "Oh, yeah," the attendant said, "I know this car. Your son was in here yesterday." Ouch. She zoomed home at Vette speed and telephoned a pal, a plastic surgeon.
Want to learn how to beat Kenny Roberts? The line forms here.
WHEN IT COMES TO ROADRACers gifted with natural talent, Freddie Spencer stands tall at the top of many a knowledgeable observer's list. In 1983, his first full season of Grand Prix racing, the Louisiana native defeated none other than King Kenny Roberts to win the 500cc World Championship.
If you can't pass 'em, maybe you can knock 'em down!
IF EVER THERE WERE AN UNLIKELY headmaster, Rick Johnson would be it. Throughout the 1980s, the "Bad Boy" of motocross won races any way he could, which to hear him tell it today sometimes meant taking out his opponent. Crude, yes, but effective: R.J. won seven national championships and legions of fans before a wrist injury forced his retirement in 1991.
CW's Off-Road Editor and Honda's Johnny Campbell score off-road racing's highest honor
IT'S NO PROBLEMO, NO?" MY FRIEND DAVE DONATONI MUMBLED IN his best Spanglish to the Mexican cop who'd just flagged us down for not stopping long enough at an alto sign and having way too nice of a motorhome. One hundred pesos slipped into the open hand waiting below the window.
Traditionally, most regard the December tire test at Daytona as a secret outing featuring fabulous new prototypes rolling on hush-hush test rubber. In fact, most of the runable bikes are well-worn veterans of the previous season.
I keep having wheel-bearing problems with my '88 Suzuki GSX-R750. The bearings went out the first time at a little over 17,000 miles. I replaced both of them, but one of the new ones failed again only about 2500 miles later. I replaced that one, too, and it only lasted 2000 miles.
"That is not the fuel hose, Herb!!!" 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.