So, WHAT IS IT ABOUT ENGLAND, AN overwatered island roughly the size of Alabama, that made it the world center of motorcycling from just after WWII until that other cataclysmic happening (at least for the Brits), the unveiling of Honda’s blockbuster CB750 Four in 1969?
I WAS PRETTY IMPRESSED ABOUT FIVE years ago when my friend David Knox showed up at Elkhart Lake for the Superbike races, having ridden all the way from Minneapolis on his brand-new 916 Ducati. “You must have the neck vertebrae and wrists of a 12-year-old,” I told him as we shook hands.
A FEW YEARS BACK, A MAN NAMED Bernie Ecclestone saw something valuable that others were ignoring. It was like seeing a $100 bill on a sidewalk crowded with hurrying people who didn’t look down. No one saw the money, so Mr. Ecclestone picked it up.
Your article about Roy Rogers in the July issue brought back fond memories. Back in 1958, I think, when I was 12, Joe Leonard and Roy Rogers were at the Wisconsin State Fair. Leonard was racing and Roy rode a bike around the track during intermission.
It isn’t enough that Kawasaki’s new ZRX1100 pays obvious homage to Eddie Lawson’s AMA Superbike Championship-winning KZ1000. Noooo, now Kerker has upped the retro ante with its ZRX Megaphone System. Looking very 1982, the 4-into-1 stainless-steel exhaust features high-temp black coating for that oh-so-nostalgic look. Put one on your ZRX, for $600. Jet kits sold separately. Kerker Exhaust Systems, 4540 W. 160th St., Cleveland, OH 44135; 216/265-8400
Kerker Exhaust Systems
RACE TECH SPRING KIT
Even the greatest of motorcycles can be improved upon. Take, for example, Yamaha’s R1 and R6 sportbikes. Almost perfect, they can still benefit from some suspension tweaking out back. Enter Race Tech’s $160 Spring Kit, which is designed to provide a wider range of preload adjustment. Included are a straight-rate spring with threaded adjuster to replace the stock, ramp-type unit, plus mounting hardware. Race Tech, 3227 Producer Way, #127, Pomona, CA 91768; 909/594-7755
Kerker Exhaust Systems
CORBIN KAWASAKI DRIFTER SADDLE
Since no self-respecting cruiser fan would dare sling a leather-clad leg over a saddle not laden with geegaws galore, Corbin’s Dual Touring Saddle is perfect for Kawasaki’s Drifter. Constructed with the company’s Comfort Cell foam, it comes with a skirted leather cover and removable (via velcro) fringe. Several color choices are available, and suggested retail price is $589. Adjustable backrests are optional. Corbin, 2360 Technology Way, Hollister, CA 95023; 8001223-4332
Kerker Exhaust Systems
LOCKHART CARBON LOWERS
When it comes to gussying up sportbikes, it seems that nothing but the trickest carbon-fiber bits and pieces will do. And now, thanks to Lockhart Phillips, owners of late-model Kawasaki ZX9Rs, Suzuki TL 1000Rs and Triumph T595s can replace their bikes’ lower fairings with the glossy-looking stuff. Designed to attach with stock fasteners, the chic c-f pieces retail for $250. Lockhart Phillips, 151 Calle Iglesia, San Clemente, CA 92672; 949/498-9090
Kerker Exhaust Systems
JOE ROCKET CREVIER JACKET
Hockey isn’t the only sport those crazy Canucks have wired. Take a look at AMA 600cc Supersport Champion Steve Crevier, eh? It’s no wonder, then, that Canadian company Joe Rocket’s newest jacket is the Crevier model. Fashioned from top-grain cowhide, the Suzuki-style wrap features removable dual-density foam at the shoulders, elbows, forearms and back. Plus, Crevier himself autographed the inside label of the 250 limited-edition jackets. Yours, for $599. Outer Space Sports, 3210 Jefferson Blvd., Windsor, Ontario, N8T 2W6 Canada; 519/945-7200
Kerker Exhaust Systems
CYCRA DUAL VIEW GRAPHICS KIT
Not to be outdone by sportbike dudes and cruiser guys, Cycra’s off-road crew has come up with yet another fly way to funkify an MXer. The Dual View Graphics Kit gives each side of your bike a distinctively different look. Available for late-model Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and KTM two-stroke 125s and 250s, the $129 kit includes stick-on tank/shroud graphics, a grippy seat cover, swingarm decals and a crossbar-pad cover. Cycra Racing Systems, 5742 Westbourne Ave., Columbus, OH 43213; 800/770-2259
Kerker Exhaust Systems
DRAG SPECIALTIES BRAKE ROTORS
Sick of form over function? Well, try form and function with Drag Specialties’ floating brake rotors. Designed to provide a cleaner look and better braking than their stock counterparts, the 11.5-inch iron discs are equipped with billet-aluminum carriers. They fit all late-model Harley-Davidson Dyna and Softail models, and cost $300 per rotor. Front and rear applications are available for both stock and aftermarket calipers. Drag Specialties, 9839 W. 69 St., Eden Prairie, MN 55344; 800/222-3400
TAKING A CUE FROM SuzuKI'S stereotype-smashing SV650, bike makers from America, Europe and Japan are gearing up to launch a slew of bargain bikes. Historically, such machines have been-let’s be honest, here-cheap. Cut-rate chassis components, weakkneed powerplants and lose-your-shorts resale values were de rigueur.
Triumph will launch its all-new, 600cc four-cylinder sportbike at England’s annual NEC show this fall, says Motor Cycle News. In the works for more than three years, the fuel-injected, ram-air-boosted T6 has a conventional fork, twin-spar aluminum frame and double-sided swingarm.
Well, it's no Ducati Supermono, but ya gotta admire Rex Marsee’s chutzpah. The Temecula, California-based designer has always wanted to manufacture his own motorcycle, which is how he explains this aluminum-bodied, singlecylinder roadracer.
DIRTBIKE SALES ARE BOOMing (up 29 percent from last year), and the Big Four have released their year-2000 models. Without further ado... Honda’s CR125 ($4899) and CR250 ($5799) benefit from a host of changes, all aimed at sending Red Riders to the front.
Seven-time national motocross champ Jeff Ward finished a stunning second in last May’s Indianapolis 500. For his efforts, the 38-year-old Californian netted $583,150. “I wanted to win this one,” confessed Ward, who took home rookie-of-the-year honors at Indy in 1997.
The world's best 250cc motocrosser, circa 1974? That would be this month's coverbike, Yamaha's all-new YZ250M. Resplendent in red, white and black paint, the $1850 monoshocker won staffers' hearts. "Jumps are a gas," testers avowed.
AT THE HEART OF EVERY Mazda Miata is a motorcycle-at least that's the way Ruben Archilla and Ken Saward see it. Archilla, a member of Mazda's product-development team, says that the Miata was designed to offer a driving experience akin to riding a motorcycle.
UP: To the Buell Riders Adventure Group, for pumping up the volume. During a brief four-year period, club membership has risen from 1500 to more than 8000. This year, BRAG is really moving into high gear, adding benefits and planning national and regional events, many of which will include appearances by company founder Erik Buell.
FOLLOWING THE GLOWING debut of reborn MV Agusta’s F4 superbike comes a modern-day replica of Count Agusta’s early-1970s 750 Sport. Designed and built by former MV race team manager Arturo Magni, and sons Carlo and Giovanni, the tube-framed Magni Sport is powered by an air/oil-cooled inline-Four sourced from-hold on to your Agostini-replica helmets, MV purists-Suzuki’s Bandit 1200.
LONG AFTER NORTONS SHOULD HAVE been left on history’s junk pile, they endure, old enough now to draw Social Security. It’s been a quarter-century since the factory shuttered its doors, but Nortons not only persist, they thrive. And none more so than the hand-built hot-rods being turned out by Vintage Rebuilds, a small Oregon shop run by one Kenny Dreer.
Do NORTONS MAKE YOU horny, baby, do they? I’m randy for one, too. They have that certain, as the French would say...I don’t know what. Smashingly shaggelicious. Mojo amundo. Boffo ad campaign, too. My chums at Cycle World (decent sorts, for Yanks) tell me that Norton Girls ran on the prime inside cover of almost every CW and Cycle magazine from 1970 through mid-’74, when the brass at Norton-Triumph canned the crumpets in favor of tech-oriented ads, daft bastards.
LIKE THE QUEEN MOTHER HERSELF, the 1999 Enfield India Bullet is the product of another time. Given the opportunity to take a ride, though, you find yourself strangely enticed, even if you’re not so sure you want your friends to see you...
ALUMINUM IS LIKE HEROIN TO ME. AND this neo-Norton has hand-hammered AL bodywork, left naked and polished no less... It is something to behold. But I found one thing better than looking at it: riding. That was a surprise. I’ve always been attracted to British machines with wire wheels-they’ve just usually had four of ’em.
The “new” Norton says V-Eight sportbikes will be in dealerships this summer
THE “NEW” NORTON’S OUTRAGEOUS Nemesis V-Eight could be roaring on the road before June. The Anglo-American firm admits it is coming under “enormous pressure” to produce bikes for sale after originally announcing that the first Nemesis would be delivered at the beginning of this year.
TALK ABOUT BEING IN THE RIGHT place at the right time. Six years ago, after quaffing a few cold ones at the Sturgis Rally, Dan Hanlon (in the role of Mickey Rooney) turned to Brother Dave’s Judy Garland and blurted out, “Hey, let’s put on a motorcycle company!” Dave’s wife, Jennie, deserves credit at this point for not immediately padlocking the ice chest and packing the slurry siblings off to bed.
SAY HELLO TO THE MOTO GUZZI V11 Bassa, a big-bore cruiser done The Italian Way: high style, with purpose. Those unfamiliar with the Cruzzi Guzzi should know we like this bike. In fact, it was so impressive in its former incarnation, the V11 EV, that it topped our “Lucky 13” Mega-Cruiser Shootout (CW, March, 1998).
No longer vying for the Indian trademark, Eller Motors unveils three new designs
POOR ELLER MOTORS. ON THE LOSing end of last year’s controversial court battle with Indian Motorcycle of Canada, the Lonnie Labriola-led, Bob Lutz-backed wannabe bike-builder had to mothball its stunning neo-Chief (Roundup, February).
CRUISERS ARE THE TALK OF THE town. The more modified, the better. Which is why aftermarket add-ons are flying out of dealerships around the country. Hey, what self-respecting bike buyer wouldn’t appreciate a bug-blocking windshield and day-trippin’ saddlebags?
HARLEY-DAVIDSON HAS LONG BEEN the reigning heavyweight champ in the custom cruiser ring. But lately, several dark horses have come forward to challenge Milwaukee. And a few have actually delivered stinging blows. Okay, enough with the boxing metaphor.
We wouldn’t call Suzuki’s GZ250 free exactly, but it’s awfully close
Wendy F. Black
REASONABLE. ECONOMICAL. FRUGAL. Ummm, okay, we admit that these words don’t exactly inspire passion. But if you’re on a budget, baby, they’re beautiful, as is Suzuki’s new-for-’99 GZ250. We don’t want to sound like some cheesy used-car salesman here, but the $2899 GZ is truly a smokin’ deal.
Racer, restorer, stuntman, elder statesman, Bud Ekins has done it all
BEFORE THERE WAS LENO, BEFORE THERE WAS LETTERMAN, TV’S TOP-DOG talk artist was Johnny Carson. And during one midnight gab-fest back in 1963 the top-dog talker was making nice with Hollywood’s top-dog tough guy/bad hombre, Steve McQueen.
YAMAHA’S VENTURE TOURING CRUISER is the most recent addition to the CW long-term fleet. Its presence fills the long-haul gap that was previously missing with our other extended-test Yamahas, the YZF-R1 and WR400F. Initial impressions?
A FEW SHORT YEARS AGO, THERE WASN’T SUCH A THING AS A 400cc four-stroke. Everyone was stuck on 350cc, including off-road race organizers, who structured their classes accordingly. But leave it to KTM to throw an oddball-sized displacement into the fray.
FOR MANY ROADRACING ENTHUsiasts, a biography of reigning 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan may seem premature. After all, before suffering knee and wrist injuries in a practice crash at Jerez, Spain, the 34-year-old Australian was the odds-on favorite to win his sixth-straight title this year.
TIMES CHANGE. PEOPLE USED TO TAKE UP MOTORcycling as a natural extension of growing up riding and fixing bicycles, building hideouts and grinding the valves in the family lawnmower. A motorcycle was just another understandable gadget, and it was a lot of fun.
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE FOR POLARIS TO KEEP ITS Victory motorcycle secret from the folks at Classic Motorbooks. You see, the publishing company is located right across the street from Victory’s R&D headquarters in Osceola, Wisconsin.
So, THERE YOU SIT, BASKING IN THE sweltering summer heat, reading the September issue of Cycle World, when suddenly it occurs to you: “Gads, what am I going to wear to stay warm while riding this autumn?” Okay, so you probably aren’t thinking that.
FEW MOTORCYCLES ARE AS SHARP A sporting tool as Yamaha’s YZF-R1. But even the R1’s corner-carving prowess can be improved upon with the right aftermarket performance bits. For example, when we first rode our stock Yammie at the racetrack, we noticed the footpegs touched down in corners a little too easily-even with the threaded feelers removed.
FOR SOME MOTORCYCLISTS, detailing their bikes is a labor of love, an afternoon task to be enjoyed and savored But for others, a sound scrubbing is simply one more time-consuming obstacle to overcome before riding. Not anymore, thanks to ProClean 1000’s new Spray-N-Shine.
EVERYONE EXPECTED SOMETHING FROM Kenny Roberts Jr. when he burst onto the Grand Prix scene in 1995. That he'd be a brat-maybe even brattier than his father. That he was a spoiled racer, on a golden ladder to racing’s highest rung without having paid his dues.
You could be forgiven for thinking that there are only two Americans battling for a roadracing world championship this season, such has been the attention focused on the young pretender of Grand Prix racing, Kenny Roberts, and the old GP warhorse, John Kocinski.
I have a 1990 Kawasaki ZX-11. When I ran it up to 140 mph the other day, smoke (a lot of it) started blowing out the exhaust. After that, the motor was backfiring and sputtering. When I finally got the bike back home, it leaked about a handful of oil out one of the drain hoses (not the fuel overflow).
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