HOW PLEASED THE HIGHER-UPS AT FORD Motor Company must have been when two days after a big press conference announcing their five-year sponsorship of the Harley roadrace team, lead rider Scott Russell gets his ass flattened at some late-night watering hole.
"YOU GOING TO DAYTONA THIS YEAR?” I asked my friend Jeff Weaver. Jeff is a fellow member of the Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang, and we were all at the Come Back In, located in the wintry heart of downtown Madison, Wisconsin, having one of our disorganized, random “meetings,” which consist mostly of hoisting a few beers from the dark, 90-weight end of the viscosity spectrum while waiting for spring.
WHEN AIR-COOLED ENGINES WERE FIRST used in airplanes and motorcycles, the method of cooling was the same: Let the cylinders stick out in the breeze. Aircraft-engine cooling advanced from there. For air-cooled motorcycle engines, the past remains the future.
Many thanks for April’s “The Hawk Above, the Crud Below.” In 1969, a buddy and I rode our identical 1966 CB77 Honda Super Hawks north to Canada from New York City, across to Michigan and continued due south through Ohio, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas to Nueva Laredo, Mexico.
Don’t be fooled by this bike’s swoopy fairing and funky design. A standard sportbike, it’s not. It is the eCycle, an electric two-wheeler powered by a dozen 12-volt batteries. The 290-pound bike is said to make 20 horsepower and a whopping 200 foot-pounds of torque at the rear wheel. Top speed is reputed to be 85 mph. Sportbike-esque accoutrements include an inverted fork, single-sided swingarm and disc brakes. Price is $4000ish.
GIVI CRUISER PANNIERS
It’s not too late to turn your bike into a latter-day tourer, and Givi can help. The luggage company’s latest are molded-plastic panniers. They fit most cruisers, and each boasts 21-liter capacity. In other words, the lockable, detachable bags are perfect for stashing a change of clothes or a few odds ‘n’ ends. They come in a choice of colors and textures, and pricing starts at $138 per set. Mounting hardware, which starts at $89 for both bags, is sold separately.
You’ve finally gotten your Harley, and the last thing you want is for some jerk to steal it. This is where the Immobiliser alarm comes in. Designed for late-model Harley-Davidsons, it has a remote-control shock sensor with 16 sensitivity levels, a 130-decibel siren and a pager that beeps if the bike is tampered with. When activated, it disables several electrical circuits on the bike. Installation is a simple plug-in affair, and doesn’t require cutting the wiring harness. Put one on your bike for $395.
FERODO OVERSIZE BRAKE KIT
The age-old argument rages on-is bigger indeed better? In the case of Ferodo Brake Tech’s Oversize Brake Kit, the answer is yes. Aimed at Honda’s VTR1000, the $750 kit comes with two Superlite six-button iron rotors. The latter increase diameter to 320mm while staying within an ounce of stock weight. Also included are billet-aluminum adapter brackets that fit the stock calipers, plus mounting hardware. Other sportbike applications are also available.
YOSHIMURA ROADRACE SUIT
Suzuki roadracing fans have got it good, what with the introduction of Yoshimura leathers. Fashioned from top-grain cowhide, the mesh-lined suit has frontal perforation, a removable backpad and contoured, dual-density armor at the elbows, shoulders and knees. Kevlar at the inner arms and crotch, as well as doubleand triple-stitched seams, are standard fare. Available in mens’ chest sizes 40-50, the $750 leathers come in several color combinations.
SUOMY RUSSELL REPLICA
Sponsoring former AMA and World Superbike champ Scott Russell, new helmet maker Suomy is entering the motorcycle market full-throttle. Its Russell Replica retains Troy Lee’s updated “Chief” motif, and is said to weigh just 2.8 pounds. The shell is constructed of a Kevlar-fiberglass weave, and incorporates a carbon-fiber chinbar, intake vents at the chin and forehead, and a venturistyle diffuser at the crown. Suggested retail price is $400.
Making a bold fashion statement can be as simple as donning the right pair of sunglasses. And you can’t get much bolder than Wiley-X’s trendy Romer 2 shades. They feature a gloss black frame made of flexible nylon, and shatterproof polycarbonate lenses. The latter are interchangeable and come in Clear, Lightning Yellow and Silver Steel. A soft case and the additional lenses are included in the $88 price.
PRO GRIP DUAL-COMPOUND HANDGRIPS
Leave it to the Italians to give ancillary accessories fashionable flair. Pro Grip’s dual-compound handgrips are constructed with rubber and soft-gel in the palm area. Measuring 125mm in length, they fit 7/8-inch handle-bars and are said to be more durable than stock. The $11 grips come in a slew of color combos, and are available for off-road and street applications.
SAYONARA HAYABUSA, Kawasaki is readying the mother of all Ninjas, a fuel-injected, aluminum-framed monster geared to go 200 mph. Headed for dealer showrooms next spring, the all-new ZX-12 will be powered by a liquid-cooled, dohc, 16-valve, 1195cc inline-Four.
Honda's VTR1000F-based roadracer is nearing fruition. Factory Superbike stars Colin Edwards and Aaron Slight recently tested the fuel-injected, 996cc V-Twin alongside the factory’s two-stroke Grand Prix bikes at Australia’s Phillip Island.
Ducati and Moto Guzzi are revving up Wall Street. Ducati Motor Holding SpA, as the former is now known, went public in early March. The offering comprised 17 million new shares and 73.2 million shares sold by TPG Motorcycle Acquisition L.P and its affiliate TPG Motorcycle Belgium S.A. It was anticipated that approximately 68.7 percent of the company’s outstanding shares would be publicly held, leaving 31.3 percent to the original shareholders.
WITH FIVE EUROPEAN and one World Super-sport Championship to its credit, Pirelli should theoretically have a greater presence in the streetbike performance-tire market. Pirelli hopes to do just that with two new radical radials, the Dragon EVO and GTS. The EVOs are sport-oriented.
Oh, the slings and arrows suffered by the Franklin Mint's "Bobby the Little Biker Baby” (Letters, May). The scorn, the contempt, the shame! Fortunately for the commemorative company, amends have been made for the leather-clad infant. Indeed, the latest item to be memorialized is the Billy Bike of Easy Rider fame.
Honda's new CB550 Four, throwing spray toward Kawasaki's new KX250 motocrosser, graced our mid-summer cover. Kawi’s first dedicated 250cc MX effort, the $1150 KX was hailed as a success. Coupled to a tightly spaced five-speed transmission, the Green Machine’s piston-port, two-stroke Single produced “plenty of beans.”
NOT ALL NEWS OUT OF Milwaukee concerns the Twin Cam 88. On the Evolution Big Twin front, Harley-Davidson has announced a new service: factory engine re-manufacturing. The process is simple: Take any tired 1984-99 Evo-powered bike to your local dealer, and he’ll remove the engine and send it to Milwaukee.
When it comes to building out-of-this-world scooters, Aprilia leads the league. True to form, the new Area 51-named for the top-secret U.S. military installation in Nevada-takes step-through design to an otherworldly level. The 220-pound machine is propelled by a humble, 50cc, two-stroke Single working through a centrifugal clutch, but beyond that, it’s totally high-tech.
UP: To Chicago’s Field Museum, for keeping with its mission to explore the Earth and its people. Most recently, this motive included the continent-hopping “Art of the Motorcycle” exhibit. Though pared down from the Guggenheim’s 113 pedestalled pieces, the 72-bike show drew more than 100,000 attendees during its five-month stay.
DO YOU CRAVE THE GRAND Prix experience, but lack the life-long dedication, financial commitment and skill needed to succeed in the sport? Yeah, same here. But we’ve found a cool substitute. As part of its forthcoming assault on the U.S.
Honda's CBR1100XX Super Blackbird and Suzuki's GSX 1300R Hayabusa inspire religion as motorcycling closes in on 200 mph!
ROLLING DOWN THE FREEWAY ENTRANCE RAMP, THE DERANGED PSYCHO WARD ROAD TESTER whacked open the throttle and watched the tachometer needle sweep toward red-line...9000... 10,000... 11,000 rpm. Struggling to retain his grip on the bars as the bike threatened to shoot out from beneath him, he dared a quick glance at the speedometer, and saw that it indicated 85 mph.
IT'S A DRAG, DRAG, DRAG PUSHING THE AIR aside. And contrary to what motorcycle companies might like you to think, your bike is probably not as slick as the average minivan. Compare a modem 600cc sportbike to a pure-bred 500cc Grand Prix racer from four decades ago, and you’d find the current street-based machine to have an advantage in almost every area.
Hangin’ with the Hanlon Boys and their made-in-Minnesota cruiser
WATCHING DAN Hanlon wheel a 1909 Excelsior belt-drive Single around a downtown Daytona Beach parking lot, smile plastered ear-to-ear, while brother Dave stands by cheering him on, it’s hard not to root for this pair of Minnesota farm boys who grew up to start their own motorcycle company.
WHAT TO MAKE OF THIS NEW INDIAN, WITH FINANCING OUT OF Canada and an S&S Harley-clone motor, to be built in Gilroy, California, self-proclaimed Garlic Capital of the World? Introduced to investors, the press, industry types and various hangers-on at the Daytona Hilton during Bike Week, the 1999 “limited-edition” Chief is a handsome enough piece-once you get your sensibilities around the fact that the only thing the machine has in common with its Springfield, Massachusetts, predecessors is a nameplate and skirted fenders.
BY RIGHTS, I ought to abhor this motorcycle. With two genuine Springfield Indians in my garage, this skirt-fendered retro-’Saki should be viewed as an affront, little more than a two-wheeled kit-car Bugatti with a VW motor stuffed inside.
For Harley-Davidson it was the worst of Daytonas, for Honda the best
MIGUEL DUHAMEL WAS SUPERB, ALMOST SUPERHUMAN, AT Daytona this year. In winning the star-studded 600 Supersport race and the Superbike 200-miler, he called upon resources even he did not suspect he had. In Victory Circle after the 200, he had to hop around on one leg as he sprayed champagne—no one had brought his cane.
WHAT A DOWNER IT MUST have been for engineer Max Fritz to design a motorcycle, of all things. He'd spent his life as an aircraft designer, and on the eve of World War I joined the prestigious BFW (Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, or Bavarian Aeroplane Works), which metamorphosed into an engine-building offshoot called BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) in 1917.
Yesterday's champions meeet today's 1255s on the Track of Dreams
"IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME." It was a subconscious, almost holy voice in my head, like something from a movie. “Give them new 125s with full tanks of premix,” the voice continued. “Arrange for a perfectly groomed and watered track. Bring a photographer and some sandwiches.
IF YOU LIKE MOTORCYCLES AND THE OPEN ROAD, MAN, do you have options. Among them, the three bikes pictured here. Call them retro-rigs, call them nostalgia-tourers, call them whatever you want. These machines are designed to go the distance-long legs for the style-conscious.
RIGHT OFF THE BAT, WE LIKE THIS bike. A lot. During its eight-month stay, our long-term BMW R1100S was constantly in motion, serving as a daily commuter, weekend sport-tourer and comfy continent crosser. In fact, staffers logged saddle time in no fewer than 15 states, recording 15,282 miles.
The Triple that could have saved Triumph-but wasn’t allowed to
THEY WERE MEANT to take America by storm. But the three-cylinder 750s shipped by BSA and Triumph in 1968 failed to rake in the dollars their British makers desperately hoped for. You only need scan any gathering of vintage Brit iron today to see that the Rocket 3 and T150 Trident Triples are mere historical footnotes compared with the immortal Triumph T120 Bonneville, or even BSA's less-admired vertical-Twins.
TAILPACKS ARE HANDY ITEMS, WHAT with their user-friendly mounting systems and ability to swallow most anything. Of course, not all strap-on soft luggage deserves five-star status. For the record, Roadgear’s Jumbo Sport Tail Bag does. It’s a simple setup, with a cavernous, top-loading main compartment that’s supplemented by five external stowalls.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: BMW's KALAHARI jacket is named after the South African desert, not fried squid (that's calamari). But even the most tentacled rider will appreciate the versatility of this high-tech tog. Characteristic of the new breed of alternative-material riding apparel, the black-and-gray Kalahari (available in men's sizes 38 to 56 Regular and Long, plus women's sizes 38 to 46) is meant to take varying weather conditions in stride.
DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, install Microsoft's Motocross Madness video game on your computer. In fact, don’t even take the CD-ROM out of the package. And for heaven’s sake, don’t actually play the game. But if you do, be thankful that your computer doesn’t take quarters-if it did you’d soon be broke.
NOT SO LONG AGO, THE THOUGHT of fielding a showroom-stock 600cc sportbike in an AMA Supersport national surely would have been written off as delusional thinking. And rightly so: Not only would an unmodified machine have been outmatched in speed, its standard suspension would have proven inadequate, and its cornering clearance would have become a risky limitation while engaged in the heat of battle.
A roadracing BMW? Are we talking vintage, maybe the supercharged kompressor 500s of the late 1930s? Or the Rennsports of the ’50s? How about the AMA Superbike-winning R90S? No, we’re talking about the present. Ridden by Martin Joos, the German Boxer Team’s Rll00S-based special finished fourth in Daytona’s Pro Thunder event.
Both of the tires that presently are on my bike are of the same brand. The rear tire is ready to be replaced but the front one is not, and I am thinking of putting a different brand of tire on the rear. Will putting two different brands of tires on the same bike have any negative effect on the handling?
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.