HONDA IS MAD AS HELL AND THEY'RE not going to take it anymore. At least that was the none-too-discreet message coming from the company’s recent dealer convention. Item: Author of the light-is-right dictum for Open-class sportbikes, Honda positively chafed as Yamaha’s lighter, righter YZF-R1 one-upped the CBR900RR and ran off with all the magazine accolades.
WELL, AFTER APPROXIMATELY SIX YEARS of waffling, I’ve finally bought myself a reasonably modern sport-touring bike. It’s a used, black, full-fairing 1995 BMW R1100RS with 15,000 miles on the clock, hard bags, heated grips and a Staintune exhaust system.
I WALKED AROUND THE FALLEN MONSTER and tried to come to grips with what I saw. A bent and twisted four-bladed steel propeller defined one end, and a mass of twisted sheet and tubing constituted the other. In between, under smooth nacelle aluminum and black cooling shrouds was a 28-cylinder, 4360-cubic-inch radial aircraft engine.
Great article on Bud Ekins in the September issue. I used to ride in the same races as Bud, but I never came close to him. One of my friends has a picture of him and me just after the bomb went off for a hare-n-hound. Bud is in gear and beginning to roll while I’m at the top of my kick—meaning he was probably a hundred yards ahead of me before I got into gear.
The latest in a long line of racer replicas is AGV’s X-Vent helmet with splashy graphics from World Super-bike’s Aprilia-mounted Peter Goddard. The carbon-fiber, kevlar and fiberglass lid has an upgraded chin-and-forehead ventilation system, removable Cool-Max liner and anti-fog/anti-scratch visor. Available in XXS-XXL sizes, the Goddard Replica costs $525. In solid colors, the X-Vent is $510.
With Kushitani’s way-cool leathers, you’ll find yourself in full-on tuck before you even get on your bike. Pictured here (in total air-cornering mode) is the $1495 Meteor design, a one-piece, top-grain-leather suit with foam padding at the shoulders, elbows and back, and adjustable armor at the knees (and, no, you can’t order yours with the CW logos). Also shown are the matching $320 PowerMax Boots, which secure with the company’s Fitted System cross-strap, and the $132 GPS leather gloves, with additional leather at the palms and padding at the knuckles.
FINEST WATER HOSE NOZZLE
Heaven forbid that anal-retentive types should clean their motorcycles with anything less than the ultimate. Hence, what Griot’s Garage is proud to call “The Finest Water Hose Nozzle.” Weighing in at 1 pound, it sprays three streams: a conical pattern, straight and wide-diameter light. The nozzle is made of anodized aluminum and trimmed with soft rubber, and fits household hoses. Because perfection isn’t cheap, it costs $76.
It’s never too early to put your 3-year-old on a Harley. We’re not kidding. Sounding and looking like a classic two-wheeler, Fisher-Price’s Power Wheels Harley-Davidson runs on a 12-volt battery, and supports riders weighing up to 65 pounds. It features forward and reverse gears, and has a claimed top speed of 5 mph. Saddlebags provide storage, and two disguised outrigger wheels give extra stability. Suggested retail price is $220.
FACOM RATCHETING OIL FILTER WRENCH
File this one under the heading, “Really Cool Stuff.” For quickly installing and removing oil filters, Facom’s Ratcheting Oil Filter Wrench allows easy maneuvering in tight spaces. With an ergonomically designed handle and an adjustable stainless-steel strap, it accommodates filters measuring from 2⅝ to 4 3/16 inches in diameter. Suggested retail price is $40.
SMITH WARP GOGGLES
No, Smith’s new goggles aren’t headlining the Gen-X-fraught Warped Tour, but they’re so funky they should be. Designed for better peripheral vision, they have an all-new molded-plastic frame. Its swoopy design incorporates plastic strap attachments that better fit helmet eyeports. While a clear lexan lens is standard, options include gray, orange, yellow or Smith’s Sol-X lens to combat super-high glare. Yours, for $40.
CLUTCH SLAVE CYLINDER
We know that high-effort clutch levers are inherent to Ducatis, and therefore add to their charm, right? Hogwash: Lighten that sucker up! Pro Italia now offers a big-bore slave cylinder that’s said to reduce lever effort considerably. CNC-machined from billet aluminum, the $229 component fits all late-model six-speed Ducatis.
YEAR-2000 MIKUNI CALENDARS
What would the December issue of Cycle World be without the Mikuni calendar girls? We don’t even want to think about that. So without further ado, Mikuni presents for 2000: Fast Dates, featuring World Superbike trophy girls; Ripped Pavement, with action photography from Grand Prix and World Superbike racing; and Garage Girls, which is, well, use your imagination. With full-color shots on heavy stock, the calendars cost $16 each, plus $4 shipping and handling.
OH, THE GOOD FORTUNE that has been heaped upon Yamaha's YZF-R1. Not only did it garner Best Superbike honors in CW's 1998 Ten Best Bikes voting and an Honorable Mention in '99, but dealers can't seem to keep them in their showrooms. With that in mind, you'd think the manufacturer would leave well enough alone.
Facing slow sales of its new Super X cruiser and larger-than-expected second-quarter losses, Excelsior-Henderson has been forced to lay off almost half of its employees. The staff reductions, from all areas of the company, cut the workforce from 216 to 119.
The motorcycle industry has arrived. Not only did the Motorcycle Industry Council announce that overall sales are up by 25 percent for the first six months of ’99, but the MIC sponsored the nationwide tour of country crooner Lyle Lovett and his Large Band.
WHEN IT FIRST SET SAIL four years ago, Suzuki's latest-generation GSX-R750 was a revelation. Taking the ultra-compact, "light is right" concept to new heights, the aluminum-framed machine pounded the competition, proving itself a certified liter-bike killer.
On this issue's cover, it was "zap" versus "grunt," underlining the differing essential characters of the Penton 400 and Maico 450 that took part in a motocross comparison. After 11 pages of scoring categories, parts prices, specs, dyno charts and lap times, testers declared the $1680 Penton good, the $1728 Maico great.
HOLY AIRSPACE, Thumperman! The much anticipated year-2000 Husabergs are here. Thanks to an influx of cash from KTM’s 1996 buyout of the company, the Swedes have produced their first all-new machines in years. The joint use of components and concepts has resulted in exactly what Husaberg needed to keep itself at the forefront of lightweight four-stroke design.
Getting a jump on the new millennium, Kawasaki has already unveiled most of its year-2000 holdover models, among them the Super Sherpa, previously a Japan-only offering. The stylish, entry-level dual-purpose bike is powered by an air-cooled, dohc, 250cc four-stroke Single, and sports disc brakes and gold-anodized rims.
UP: To Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, for turning to two wheels. At the recent AMA/ ProStar event in Indianapolis, the legendary hot rodder and creator of the famous Rat Fink character presented Kawasaki drag racers Rickey Gadson and Steve Rice with cartoon caricatures of themselves astride their racebikes.
IF YOU HAD FREE REIGN to design a chic Italian streetbike, what features would you give it? The center-hub front end from a Bimota Tesi? The latticework frame from a Ducati? The underseat fuel tank from a late-model Laverda? Breathtaking styling would be a given, as would available colors: red, yellow and, for formal occasions, black.
NOW THAT WE HAVE THE FACTS about Honda's new CBR929RR, here is a short menu: 150 crankshaft horsepower at 11,000 rpm from a short-stroke fuel-injected engine, carried in a lighter, stiffer pivotless chassis, adding up to a claimed 375 pounds.
Big pistons and the latest technology come at a surprisingly low price
IF ONE WERE EVER TO GET THE IDEA THAT HONDA'S RC51 is just a slightly hot-rodded VTR1000, Honda quashed that concept with a throw-away line buried deep in its press kit: "Gear-driven camshafts utilize three-axis drive gears to maintain accurate valve timing and durability at sustained engine speeds."
IF YOU WERE WAITING FOR HONDA to deliver a Yamaha YZ400F-beater, your wait isn’t over yet. Never mind the rumors, the new-for-the-millennium, liquid-cooled, aluminum-framed XR650R is a direct replacement for the tried-and-true XR600R. Why didn’t Honda go after Yamaha and the Euro-brands and build an ultra-lightweight four-stroke motocrosser?
HONDA'S ONLY NEW CRUISER for 2000, the Shadow Sabre takes niche marketing to a whole 'nother level. Done up in street-rod style, the Sabre joins three other Shadow 1100 models—the Aero (white-walled retro), the ACE (bagger) and the Spirit (standard cruiser).
THE MILAN SHOW USED TO BE IN NOVEMBER, WHEN the weather in the north of Italy is plain miserable. The few diehards brave enough to ride their motorcycles to the show found themselves slipping and sliding on the ancient cobblestone streets, made slippery by the fall fog.
WITH THE TURN OF THE CENTURY JUST DOWN THE road, it would be a corner-carver's crime to lean into the new millennium aboard anything less than an up-to-the-minute sportbike. So let us introduce you to the Triumph 955i Daytona, the first year-2000 sportbike to arrive at the Cycle World offices.
ZEN WISDOM TEACHES THAT the answer is the reason, and the reason is just so much BS—that is, if the object of your attentions says yes, you don't care why, while if the answer is no, debating the reasons won't change the answer. Which is to say, why bother?
YAMAHA'S GROUND-BREAKING YZ400F motocrosser is a tough act to follow. The liquid-cooled Thumper has taken the two-stroke establishment by storm, rewriting the rules and doing what most figured couldn’t be done. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the YZ’s trail-oriented brother, the WR400F. For starters, it’s heavy.
IT'S ALMOST HARD TO REMEMBER NOW HOW ECCENTRIC and stunning the Ducati V-Twins were when they first came out in 1971. In a world where inline-Fours seemed the wave of the future, a bare-bones V-Twin with its mechanical heart on its sleeve looked like a throwback to another era of craft and artisanship.
VIBRATION IS BAD. OKAY, WE ADMIT TO occasionally dropping coin on Magic Fingers at roadside motels. But when it comes to dirtbikes, and especially their handlebars, vibration only results in arm pump. Fortunately, there is a cure for this: Fasst Company's Anti-Vibration Bar Inserts.
I COULD HEAR HIM CLOSING FROM BEHIND, THE BELLOWING WAIL OF HIS BSA Triple quickly rising in intensity. My humble Single shuddered in the disturbed air as the big 750 made a strafing pass. Piloted by legendary French Canadian roadracer Yvon Duhamel, the Rocket 3 brushed by within inches, its open megaphones assuming the role of lead vocalist to my Gold Star 500’s drumming beat.
As motocross and supercross move toward the sporting mainstream, so it seems, do the sport’s problems. In the same season that erstwhile Honda rider Mickael Pichon physically assaulted a race official comes more recent trouble with Jeff Emig, a former AMA supercross and motocross champion.
I have a 1976 Honda CB550 that has the most obnoxious turnsignal beeper ever known to man. I was wondering if I could disconnect or remove it without losing the use of the turnsignals. I hate it, other people hate it, and it’s just one more reason for Harley riders to beat me up!
Editorial offices are located at 1499 Monrovia Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92663. Editorial contributions are welcomed, but must be guaranteed exclusive to Cycle World. We are not responsible for the return of un-solicited material unless accompanied with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.