AROUND HERE, IT'S CALLED "PULLING A Peter Egan." Seems every six months or so our Editor-at-Large, who also writes for Road & Track magazine, reshuffles his garage to incorporate yet another interesting blue-chip car or motorcycle. This usually involves the selling off of a vehicle or two, and perhaps the assistance of the local loan officer.
WHILE DRIVING THROUGH A LIGHT snowstorm to see my dad at the nursing home this weekend, I happened to be listening to A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor on the radio. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this program, it's a variety show broadcast live from St.
WHEN INTERNAL COMBUSTION (IC) ENgines were first built, their piston-sealing rings were borrowed from an obvious place—the steam engine. This so-called "Ramsbottom ring" persists to this day, consisting of a springy metal ring with a gap in it.
I am not the letter-writing type, but this is the last straw. I know it is not your fault that the factories never actually build these things, but to run pictures and specs of concept bikes that will never hit the street is wrong. It's teasing.
Yes, this is the latest Yama-cruiser, but take a gander at this Road Star 1600’s trick new hardware, just released from Performance Machine. Note the three-spoke Trespasser wheels with matching Image Series brake discs and rear pulley. Adding a touch of class are the dual four-piston calipers up front, and the single six-piston setup in the rear. All pieces are CNC-machined from billet aluminum and come polished or chromed. Prices for the individual components range from $650 to $1000. Performance Machine, 6892 Marlin Cir., La Palma, CA 90623; 714/523-3000
$99 to $125
You have your Xtreme Sports, your Xtreme Games— now, and we're not kidding, there's the Xtreme Battery. Designed to accept a faster rate of charge than traditional motorcycle batteries, it comes in 545and 680-amp versions. It's enclosed in protective metal to guard against vibration, and is said to maintain 50 percent of its charge after proper storage for up to two years. Intended to accommodate most street applications, the Xtreme Battery costs from $99 to $125. Batteries Plus, 625 Walnut Ridge Dr., Hartland, WI 53029; 800/67-START
FOX ROOST 2 DEFLECTOR
$99 to $109
When you're in the dirt and the rocks are flying, your upper body should be protected. Which is where Fox's Roost 2 Deflector comes in. Available in clear or colored ventilated plastic, it features lycra-covered inner padding as well as a three-way adjustable waist. The Roost 2 comes in adult's and children's sizes in a variety of color combos. Suggested retail price ranges from $99 to $109. Fox, 15850 Concord Cir., Morgan Hill, CA 95037; 408/776-8633
TOUR MASTER DELUXE TAIL BAG
Billed as the do-it-all, carry-it-all duffel, Tour Master's venerable Deluxe Tail Bag has been revamped. Manufactured from water-resistant, heavy-duty nylon, it has a large double-zippered main compartment, four exterior pockets, a shoulder strap, retractable bungee hooks and three reflective panels. Extra bonus: The $70 bag comes with a fitted rain cover. Helmet House, 26855 Malibu Hills Rd., Calabasas Hills, CA 91301; 818/880-0000
As if Yamaha’s YZF-R1 wasn’t radical enough in stock trim, Eurobikes is making it look even hotter. Enter the Eurotail, a light-weight, fiberglass tailpiece that cleans up the Rl’s backside. Available unpainted for $230 or painted in Yama-hues for $260, it comes with the necessary mounting hardware and additional turnsignals. Beware: The hour-long installation means chopping off the rear fender. But as they say, if you’re gonna make an omelet... Eurobikes, 9341 S. Whitt Dr., Manassas, VA 20111, 703/257-9500
For the more mechanically challenged, comes Harley-Davidson Fundamentals. Featuring a motivational video and an 18-module program (read extensive service manual), it details the technical aspects of both the Evolution and Twin Cam 88 engines Granted, Fundamentals won't turn you into a bonafide Harley mechanic, but it will explain four-stroke theory, some system troubleshooting and routine maintenance. Yours, for $300. Clinton Educational Group, 2844 W. Deer Valley Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85027; 888/431-4343
When it comes to making knick-knacks, CycoActive takes the proverbial cake. The company's latest trinkets are the $20 MotoFile and TowDowns (also $20). The former is a compact, waterproof pouch that attaches via velcro to your bike. Perfect for stashing registration, extra cash, etc. The latter are 6-foot-long tie-downs that double as a single towstrap. They pack away into a pocket-sized pack. Convenient and cheap! CycoActive products, 701 34th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122; 206/323-2349
It's never been easier to "Ride Red," what with the Honda Rider Collection from Intersport Fashions West. Take this Race Jacket, for example. Fashioned from waterproof nylon, the ventilated coat has a zip-out Thermoliner, removable armor in the back, shoulders and elbows, and zippered handwarmer pockets. Also featuring stylish, reflective Scotchlite piping, the jacket costs $285. Intersport Fashions West, 15602 Mosher Ave., Tustin, CA 92780; 714/258-2120
WE'VE WAITED AND we've hoped. Yamaha's World Superbike entry has long been the oldest design in the series, and the coming of the wonderful YZF-Rl and YZF-R6 hinted that a 750cc version couldn't be far behind. At last, Yamaha's new four-stroke racer is here.
What does the future of cruising hold? Fun o’ plenty, if this sensational Honda Valkyrie concept bike is any indication. Fabricated by Honda Research of America (HRA), the fuel-injected Six is loaded with radical modifications, from its hardtail-look, single-shock rear suspension with rocker linkage and extended swingarm to its modified frame members, six-piston Nissin brake calipers and polished Shadow Aero-esque headlight.
Excelsior-Henderson has built its first production Super X mega-cruiser. Coinciding with the Belle Plaine, Minnesota-based manufacturer’s fifth anniversary, serial number 0001 rolled off the assembly line on December 30,1998. Full-scale production will commence shortly, with bikes scheduled for shipment to dealers in late January.
YAMAHA HAS RESURRECTED its popular 1970s roadster, the XS650. Reminiscent of the original, the decidedly retro machine is powered by an air-cooled, dual-carb vertical-Twin. But it uses pushrods to actuate an octet of overhead valves, a la the new Road Star cruiser.
A Husqvarna 250 CR in mid-flight was depicted on this month's cover. Inside, the corresponding road test praised the bike for being as close to a factory-prepped racebike as possible. "Numerous magnesium components, reed valving and forward-mounted rear shocks make this one machine experts can earn a living on," read the subtitle.
BURDENED BY CONTRAdictions and last-minute deals that never seem to come to fruition, the Italian motorcycle industry is tip-toeing toward the third millennium. As a whole, the industry remains fractioned to the point that not even the most well-known makes exceed sales of 30,000 units per year.
Titan has teamed with Shelby American to produce a limited-edition custom cruiser that will complement automotive-icon Carroll Shelby's new Series 1 Roadster. Plans call for the Titan Series 1 to pair a 113-cubic-inch, S&S-based V-Twin with a lightweight, chromoly-steel frame.
UP: To everyone who participated in the John Myers Benefit Auction, for caring. Held last November in conjunction with the NHRA Winston Finals, the event raised $120,000 for Myers' widow Kerry and their 2-year-old daughter, Christina.
WHO WOULD HAVE thought Yamaha's up-start YZ400F would win an AMA Supercross race in its first season of competition? And who would have thought the same four-stroke motocrosser could win nearly every magazine shootout? Or carry Doug Henry to the AMA 250cc National Championship?
Gixxer, 6R, R6, 748, F4 and Formula 750 go for middleweight gold
Laverda 750S Formula
FIFTEEN-FIVE. THE REDLINE SITS THERE ON THE WHITE-faced tachometer, beckoning. Run the engine up there just once and experience the carnal sensation, we dare you. It's a siren's scream, a primal wail, a blood-curdling cry for help. More than that, the Yamaha YZF-R6’s dizzying redline is a wakeup call to the middleweight sportbike class, a silkscreened proclamation that shouts out, “Oh yeah, top this!" After nearly a decade of taking it on the chin, the tuning-fork company is back with a vengeance, looking to return to the dominant position held by the FZR600 circa 1989-90.
TIME PASSES, THINGS CHANGE. Yes, but this much? In 1982, my final year as a full-time staffer for Cycle World, the last comparison test I wrote was a cover story billed as "Four Sporting 550s" and blurbed inside as "The Double Nickel Rockets."
Cycle World's inaugural installment spotlighting the best of modified, made-in-USA motorcycles
A Seeley special
NORTONS IS NORTONS, RIGHT? NOT WHEN THE BIKE in question starts out with a nickel-plated Seeley Mk. 4 frame, a choice bit of 1970s British hardware as rare as it is alluring. English roadracer Colin Seeley was an early pied piper for perimeter-style frames, now a sportbike staple.
ALL THOSE WHO THINK ARLEN Ness invented custom Harley-Davidsons, gather 'round and prepare to be edumacated. Nobody really knows when the first American customs rose from the primordial slime. Good guess is that back in the Teens some punter, having removed the crash-crunched front fender from his Silent Gray Fellow, stood back and exclaimed, 'Jeepers, don't that look swank," then went after the rear fender with a hacksaw for good measure.
PHIL LITTLE NEVER MUCH CARED for shaft-driven motorcycles. As proprietor of Omar's Dirt Track Racing,his tastes run toward lean,purposeful machines,such as the Yamaha XS650s for which his company makes dirt-track conversion kits. But when he spied this 1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport languishing in a Minnesota dealership in 1996, he had to have it.
MANY OF US MODIFY OUR STREET-bikes to make them lighter, faster and tricker. Well, imagine pursuing your goals from the opposite end of the problem by purchasing a for-real racebike and adding enough parts to make it street-legal. That's the idea behind this TZ250 Yamaha.
THERE IS NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, SUBTLE about Mike Maldonado's chopper. But then again, the hand-crafted custom was never intended to be discreet. 'I just wanted a real radical, outlaw-style bike," says the 36-year-old fabricator, "an in-your-face bike!" That, it is.
JOURNALISTS ARE NOTORIOUS FOR missing deadlines, but this story is 16 years past due. Way back in 1983, a customer coerced Ron Wood into building a street-legal version of one of his Rotax-powered dirt-trackers. Not long after, however, that same customer got Wood going on another project, the "Blank Check" Harley-Davidson XR-750 featured in the December, 1990, issue of Cycle magazine.
WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU SAW KENNY Roberts ride a racebike? Maybe it was at the Houston Astrodome, where Roberts flicked his Yamaha dirt-tracker harder than any human could, digging furrows with the engine cases? Or was it Laguna Seca, watching "The King" wheelie out of old Turn 2 while looking over his shoulder at Randy Mamola?
INTOLERABLE CONTRADICTIONS ARE a powerful driving force of design change. When conventional thinking fails to unravel them, people are forced to consider something new. When in 1980 Kenny Roberts won his last world 500cc title on this 125-bhp OW-48R Yamaha, it was a tight bundle of contradictions.
riding a super hawk was an act of rebellion.honda belonged to what was new, edgy, experimental and different about the '60s.riding a motorcycle was a finger-tip in the face of a uthority, a revolt against tightly wrapped straightness.
slimy crud, the nineties
between jake’s and sprecher’s
bob oakes was to honda as st. paul was to christianity. he had a dazzling revelation that turned him into an apostle for honda.
the apostle oakes
BIKE THE GARAGE COMPANY tHOSE ARE THE SIMPLE FACTS. FOLKLORE CONNECTS those facts this way: Honda tossed motorcycling into the suds with slick advertising; the sport emerged fluff-dried into middle-class respectability; and that allowed the company to sell Hondas by the millions.
iN THE LATE 1950s, Jack McCormack was on a Los Angeles free way en route to a business call. His suit ruffled a bit in the 60-mph breeze. McCormack, the regional manager for a button-machine company, made his calls on a 650 Triumph TR6. It marked McCormack as a young man with unconventional ideas.
List price (1998) $7498 TO SAY WE ARE ENAMORED WITH KTM's Paris/Dakar replica would be an understatement. Since joining CW's long-term fleet, the two-wheeled sport-ute has played the role of commuter, off-road explorer and tourer.
THERE ARE PECULIAR THINGS OUT THERE IN THE WOODS. UNEXPLAINED PHENOMena, rarely seen, yet ballyhooed to the point that they have become folklore. Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, El Chupacabra and manageable Open-class dirt-bikes that ride like 250s all come to mind.
There's a lot to be said for light weight and agility. Especially in a long, gnarly, off-road race. I don't care who you are (Scott Summers excluded), but at the two-hour mark of a three-hour hare scrambles, you don't need knob-shredding power.
Voxan's stunning Cafe Racer has it all: character, performance, style. So, when's it coming to America?
TAKE ONE LOOK AT THE SVELTE NEW Voxan Cafe Racer and it's obvious that craftsmanship and originality abound. From every angle, seduction is apparent. In fact, enthusiasts are so smitten that in France, where Voxan is based, more than 100 of the V-Twins already are spoken for, and production hasn't even begun!
THE SUMMER IN SOUTHERN CALIFORnia is not a season to be trifled with. After all, SoCal is essentially a desert. Which means that it can get downright sweltering. With this in mind, we set out to find a riding jacket that would be protective while remaining cool in the heat.
MOST RIDERS, HAVING BEEN WEANED on modern, trustworthy iron, feel no need to be weighed down by anything other than the feeble, pot-metal tools already supplied with their bikes. Some of us know better, which is why the first thing that goes into our tankbags is a well-stocked tool roll, ready for most emergencies.
Showtime for Xtreme athletes at the first-ever Supercross Crossover
WHAT'S WITH KIDS THESE DAYS? IT SEEMS ANY activity that can't get you seriously broken or dead hardly rates as a potential pastime. 'Course, it is hard to blame anyone for shunning strike-prone, prima donna-populated stick-and-ball sports.
The 1999 FIM World Roadracing Championship is set to kick off this month in Sepang, Malaysia. Defending 500cc Grand Prix champ Mick Doohan will be back aboard his Repsol Honda NSR500 in search of a sixth consecutive title. Little has changed in the champ's corner, but the competition is another story.
I have a 1985 BMW K100. It is fuel-injected, so it has a computer-controlled engine-management system. Should I have any concern that a Y2K bug might be present in the engine-management computer? Dennis Bogusky Temperance, Michigan Fear not, Dennis; your BMW won't grind to a halt at the stroke of midnight this coming December 31.
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.
Like a lot of turkeys, Waldo just wanted to ride and be free to do his own thing in his own time without being hassled by The Man...but he had a brain the size of a chickpea, short legs and no opposable thumb. We need your photos for Slipstream. We're looking for photos that make us smile because they say something about motorcycling.