SHOW JUDGING IS A GOOD WAY TO MAKE one friend for life and 14 instant enemies, and I was doing a bang-up job of it a few years back at the Santa Barbara Concours d’Elegance. My major misdeed? I was asking entrants to start their motorcycles, of all things.
ONE FINE DAY LAST APRIL, THE WIND suddenly quit blowing, the leaden skies slid east, the cold rain lifted and the sun came out. A week of rain had washed all the salt off the roads and they were clean and dry. I looked out my window as I shaved in the morning, stared at the sun beaming down on impossible grass the color of Easter basket lining, turned to my befoamed visage in the mirror and said, simply, “It’s Gassing Day.”
THEY ARE CALLED A VARIETY OF THINGS—not all of them very nice—but the traditional words are “backmarker,” “lapper” or the euphemistic “a slower rider.” I call them backmen. These are riders in races who, being significantly slower than the leaders, are lapped once or more in the course of an event.
Regarding your June cover story, “Birds of Pray,” comparing the Suzuki Hayabusa and Honda Blackbird: The headline should have been “Birds of Prey.” A nice anal-retentive copy editor might help. I would offer my services, but you would have to pry my RT Beemer from my cold, dead hands to get me on one of those crotch rockets.
Sometimes your favorite pair of Levi’s just won’t cut it in frosty weather. In such situations, a toastier option is Maverick Mtn.’s Sidewinder Jeans. Lined with Polartec fleece, they are just the thing for warming legs on chilly rides. And if temps increase, the breathable material also wicks away perspiration. Lightweight and machine-washable, the $60 jeans come in men’s sizes 30-42, and women’s sizes 4-16.
Maverick Mtn., Inc.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON QUARTER FAIRING
$246 to $296
For those days when you feel a little bit sportier, The Motor Company offers its Detachable Quarter Fairing Kit. With sleek, racy lines, the injection-molded plastic fairing and lexan windscreen fit most late-model XL, FXR and Dyna models. The screen is adjustable, and the fairing is available primed or painted to match stock color schemes. Suggested retail price ranges from $246 to $296. Mounting hardware is sold separately for $65.
Maverick Mtn., Inc.
ACERBIS MUGEN HONDA KIT
Acerbis’ new off-road bodywork is not only way cool-looking, it’s as inexpensive as a new pair of MX boots. Named for the firm that produced backdoor Honda works bikes in the early 1980s, the $260 Mugen kit fits late-model CR125s and 250s. It comes with two sidepanels, two radiator scoops, front and rear fenders, seat cover and graphics. Interested parties take action, though, only 200 of the limited-edition kits were made.
Maverick Mtn., Inc.
BRP CHAIN GUIDE GUARD
These days, dirtbikes are so tarted up with fancy bits and pieces, you’d think they were cruisers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Take, for example, BRP’s Chain Guide Guard. CNC-machined from billet-aluminum (naturally), the bolt-on part is said to be lighter and stronger than stock, and can accommodate OEM chain guide inserts. It fits late-model dirtbikes, and costs $46.
Maverick Mtn., Inc.
AEROSTICH ROADCRAFTER SUIT
Okay, we admit it: The Aerostich Roadcrafter suit isn’t a new idea per se. But its availability in neon yellow is. If this bold cast looks familiar, it should—you’ve probably seen it on fire trucks. And no wonder, it can be seen for miles and miles and miles. And miles. The onepiece, zip-up cordura suit still comes with all the familiar bells and whistles, including TF2 armor and ballistic nylon at the shoulders, elbows and knees. Pricing starts at $667.
Maverick Mtn., Inc.
HORIZON COOLANT/ ANTIFREEZE
Horizon Racing is doing its darndest to keep tree-huggers everywhere happy. According to the company, its premixed coolant/antifreeze is not only biodegradable, but phosphate-free and non-toxic. What more could those environmentalist types want? Designed for both two-and four-stroke applications, it comes in half-gallon containers and costs approximately $10.
Maverick Mtn., Inc.
LEGEND AIR SUSPENSION SYSTEM
Legend’s Air Suspension System is one more alternative to the stock setup on Harley-Davidson Softails. Designed to provide a range of spring-rate adjustment, effectively changing ride height, the $1800 system comprises twin rear shocks equipped with a miniature, built-in air compressor. The latter is accessible from the saddle. Also included are an air gauge, skid plate, switchgear and aluminum mounting hardware. This last comes either chromed or black anodized.
Maverick Mtn., Inc.
SHOEI SYNCROTEC HELMET
$432 to $444
Shoei’s Syncrotec helmet could be considered a two-for-one deal. After all, it looks like a full-face model, but the chinbar and faceshield flip up via an easily accessible, single-button release. Voila, open-face convenience! Other features include fiberglass shell construction, and the company’s ventilation system and quick-release shield. Suggested retail price ranges from $432 to $444, depending on paint scheme.
FORGET THE TANTALIZING MV Agusta F4 repliracer, Cagiva’s financial future rests with an unfaired musclebike powered by a Suzuki TL1000S engine. The yet-unnamed machine is set to debut at September’s Milan Show. Cagiva USA’s Larry Ferracci has seen the bike, albeit in prototype form.
IN A SHOCK MOVE, BUELL Motorcycles has recalled virtually all of its motorcycles produced between 1994 and 1999, a total of close to 19,000 units, of which approximately 12,400 were sold in North America. The recall was initiated by Buell after a review of warranty data indicated several safety-related concerns.
Hot on the heels of Moto Guzzi's recent reorganization comes a new entry-level cruiser, the $7999 Jackal. Mechanically, there's not much new; offered in Black, Red or Titanium-Gray, the bare-bones machine shares the pricier V11's fuel-injected 1064cc V-Twin, steel-tube frame and 45mm Marzocchi fork.
It's official: David Willet has amassed a total of 416,000 miles on his 1987 Harley-Davidson Tour Glide, the most miles ever documented on an Evolution engine. Along the way, the High Point, North Carolina, resident recorded every service check, tune-up and oil change.
EVER MET SOME GUNG-HO yo-yo who thinks he’s so fast he needs slicks on his streetbike? Well, guess what? He’s fooling himself. Most roadracing tires—even DOT-approved, race-compound “street” tires—require more heat to make them stick than even a legitimately fast rider can build up on a twisty road.
Ever since Bultaco’s popular “thumbs-up” logo went thumbs-down in the Spanish industrial crisis of the early 1980s, the sport of trials has felt the absence of the once-prominent bike-maker. Now, Bultaco is back. Witness the Sherco 2.5, a new trials mount manufactured entirely at the old Barcelona factory.
If it was scary-fast, this was the issue for it, as the intrepid Cycle World road testers sampled everything from a six-cylinder superbike to a demonic motocrosser. Of Benelli’s revolutionary 750 Sei, the editors raved, “We can’t remember a machine that could light up the rear tire for such a distance.”
SCULPTOR RICK BOOTH had one goal in mind after building the racy-looking motorcycle pictured here. And that was to fool most two-wheeled experts into believing that the machine was real for at least 30 seconds. Has he been successful?
Dunlop’s parent company Sumitomo Rubber Industries has joined forces with tire-magnate Goodyear. The result is four shared ventures—one each in Europe and North America, and two in Japan, plus two U.S. support divisions that will tackle technology and global purchasing.
UP: To ImagiNet, for constructing Cobra Engineering’s prize-winning internet site. For its effort, the Lisle, IIIinois, interactive web-development agency won “Creative Excellence” laurels at the International Web Page Awards. Site highlights include a “build your bike” section, where users can customize Stockers with assorted parts and accessories.
LAVERDA 750 STRIKE More low end, even lower prices More low end, even lower prices
THERE ARE WORSE THINGS than spending a brilliant spring morning dodging butterflies in the Texas Hill Country. Given the eye-popping metallic-tangerine paint scheme of Laverda’s 750 Strike, one might forgive the monarchs for being drawn toward the lusty Italian Twin.
DATELINE, NÜRBURGRING, GERMANY, AUGUST 29, 1976: Giacomo Agostini takes the checkered flag aboard an MV Agusta for the final time, ending an era in which the legendary scuderia amassed a record 275 Grand Prix victories and 38 world championships.
BOLSTERED BY ITS RETINA-FLATTENing, ram-air-boosted top speed of 194 mph, Suzuki’s GSX1300R Hayabusa is a watershed motorcycle. Other sportbikes may weigh less or offer crisper handling, but nothing—repeat, nothing—accelerates with such astonishing alacrity.
Born on the Isle of Man, blessed by the factory, not available at a Honda dealership near you...
THOUSANDS OF MOTORCYCLES HAVE LAPPED England's legendary Goodwood Motor Circuit in the past 50 years, but few if any have topped 165 mph on the back straight between Lavant and Woodcote corners. Lap after lap, this wicked Honda CBR900RR Evolution Fireblade lunged down the kinked pavement between the two right-handers, snapping through the gears like a shark in a koi pond.
THROTTLE EASED OPEN ever so gently, the ultrafat Dunlop slips ‘n’ grips under the heavy strain of cornering and acceleration. The bike’s twin-shock suspension momentarily unloads as the rear tire spins up, then squats abruptly when the sticky rubber grabs hold of the tarmac.
YOU WANT FUN? WE GOT YOUR FUN. BlG TIME. FORGET pesky little 250s. Throw away those 400cc Thumpers. What you want, friends, is a true modern-day Open-class two-stroke. You know, twist the throttle and feel like a flag in a gale-force wind.
FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY they came, transporting bikes to one of nine Cycle World International Motorcycle Shows. Hundreds of entries—everything from customized 916 Dukes to splinter-dodging Harley board-trackers—vied for trophies in the CW Readers’ Collection Series.
BECOMING A VINTAGE bike owner has a special way of breathing new life into one’s motorcycling existence. This has certainly held true for Michael Roberts, a 58-year-old lifelong rider from Vancouver, Washington, who purchased his prizewinning 1970 Norton Commando Roadster just a year ago.
IT’S FAIR TO SAY THAT Nick Russo was in no big rush to restore his 1938 Indian Four. Though the inline-motor sidecar rig was all original and fully intact when he bought it back in 1960, it was a 22-year-old classic in need of a stem-to-stern redo.
THE PURCHASE OF A RARE competition motorcycle is often accompanied by a detailed history—a fat notebook chock full of service records, setup notes and race results. Kevin Rickbeil’s 1948 Gilera Saturno has no I such pedigree. All he knows is that the Italian Single, which copped Best of Show honors at the Minneapolis, Minnesota, round of CW's Readers’ Collection Series, probably came to the U.S.
DALE WALKSLER IS NOT your average bike buff. For starters, he’s the founder and curator of his own museum, Wheels Through Time, located in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. He’s built two-wheeled entries for the transcontinental Great North American Race, and he runs a successful Harley-Davidson dealership situated, appropriately, adjacent to the museum.
"THAT BIKE SHOULDN’T have won Best of Show,” the stern (and formidably large) man said, pointing at the 1956 Ariel Square 4 parked nearby. “It’s the wrong color for the year. That particular shade of red wasn’t available until 1957.” Well, there’s one in every crowd, and thankfully at CW's Cleveland Show, there was only one.
SO LONG AS THERE ARE motorcycles, there will be little boys to dream about them. And when Ray Corlew was just a wee tyke, the particular motorcycle holding his imagination captive was a Triumph. Visions of Bonnevilles danced in young Ray’s head.
NORTON’S FAMOUS Featherbed frame served as the jumping-off point for Jim Barsano’s stunning Commando-powered cafe-racer. “I’ve always liked Commandos,” the Chicago native confesses. “I thought one of those motors in a Featherbed frame would be the perfect combination.”
FUNNY THING, FATE. PAUL Zell, speedboy CBR600 owner, falls in with a bunch of classic bikes on a breakfast run a few years back, likes the action, decides what he really needs is an A65 BSA. He scans the want-ads, locates a likely candidate, only to find it’s a Hornet off-road model.
USED TO BE WHEN YOU BOUGHT A new pair of motocross pants, you also got a set of knee/shin guards. Cool, even if the quality was suspect. These days, though, knee/shin guards are usually sold separately, and run the gamut from full-fledged prescription knee braces to strap-on plastic cups with cheesy foam.
NO DOUBT, RIDING TO THE RHYTHM OF your favorite band is a good way to dispel the monotony of long freeway stints. But while on-board sound systems may be standard equipment on some touring bikes, most of today’s tuned-in motorcyclists opt for earphones plugged into a portable music source.
WAITING IN AN AIRPORT LOUNGE BEFORE the 1992 Australian Grand Prix, Erv Kanemoto and other GP team managers watched a fascinating video of an unknown rider competing in the Australian Superbike Championship. The watchers cringed as the rider approached a corner at a clearly impossible speed.
Reigning 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan will not capture his sixth consecutive title. The 34-year-old Australian crashed while practicing for the Spanish Grand Prix, breaking his collarbone, knee and wrist. Doohan was flown to San Francisco, California, where he was operated on by Dr. Arthur Ting and Dr. Kevin Louie.
I have a `92 Yamaha FZR1000 with 28,750 miles on it, and it is making a ticking sound in the transmission area. The bike is mildly modified and I ride it fairly hard, but there is no power loss anywhere in the powerband. I recently inspected the clutch and found no problems in there.
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