EARLY MORNING SOMEWHERE IN NORTH-west Arkansas, temperature crisp, traffic nonexistent, tarmac flawless, traction heavenly. Up ahead, Peter Wylie is slicing through a long, luridly fast sweeper. The Honda CBR900RR I'm on nudges an indicated 120 mph and Pete isn't getting any closer.
INSPIRED BY BIG STEAMING CUPS OF coffee and with all Iowa spread before US in its autumn harvest finery, Bruce Finlayson and I hammered along I-80 in my blue Ford van on a mission from God, as the Blues Brothers would say, discussing motorcycles, as usual.
Now THAT THE GEESE AND THE HUMmingbirds have flown, I have to think about heating my shop. That means remembering to carry three or five pieces of wood up with me, every time I go, to keep my not-too-spiffy stove working. Every year, I have to again correctly wedge a shingle into the blower casing to stop its annoying vibration.
As a bonafide Honda CBX Six nut, I am extremely upset by the blasphemous act of misspelling “Irimajiri” by Peter Egan (Leanings, November, 1999). Furthermore, out of respect, He should be referred to as “Irimajiri-san” or, more correctly, “God.”
While a cruiser's low-slung riding position can certainly be appealing, the accompanying forearm-stretching windblast at speed is hardly welcome. So ditch the latter with Targa's Cruistar Fairing. Designed for Kawasaki's Vulcan 800 and 1500 Classics, the molded-urethane fairing matches stock paint schemes, and has an acrylic windshield and deflectors. The standard screen is 11 inches tall, but 12- and 10-inch versions are available. Mounting hardware, in chrome or black, is included. Put one on your Vulcan for $699.
Z LEATHERS CARBON-KEVLAR GEAR
The year-2000 lineup from Z Leathers includes a plethora of carbon-kevlar products, starting with the $295 Pro Racer gloves. Featuring padding-backed molded carbon-kevlar at high-impact areas, they also incorporate extra layers of calfskin at the palms. Then there are the $315 Pro Racer boots, which have C-K panels and foam padding at the shins and ankles. Additional leather protects toes and heels. Z even uses carbon-kevlar to top its plastic knee sliders, which go for $65 per pair.
RACERS TOY STORE METRIC HARDWARE
Pay attention hardware junkies, Racers Toy Store has a deal for you! First up, the $77 Nut-and-Washer Kit. With 540 zinc-plated steel pieces, it’s an assortment of 6, 8 and 10mm hex nuts, flange nuts, nylock nuts, fender washers, lock washers and regular washers. Then, there’s the $84 Allen Kit. A 270-piece pack, it comes with 12.9-grade steel Allen bolts of varying lengths and is available in 6 and 8mm versions.
BULLIVANT GALLERY RISURREZIONE
Taking motorcycle art to a higher level, the Bullivant Gallery presents Risurrezione, a 27 × 38¼-inch lithograph of the new MV Agusta F4. Only 300 of the $1200 Tamburini Series Gold Editions will be available. They come autographed by Ingegnere Massimo Tamburini, Cagiva boss Claudio Castiglioni and artist Robert Bullivant, and feature a gold emboss of the MV logo. Less pricey are the 1500 Artist Edition prints for $325. which have Bullivant's signature and a standard emboss of the MV logo.
CRUZ CONCEPTS PEGASUS WHEELS
At the risk of oversimplifying the art of customizing, a quick and easy way to revamp your cruiser is to install new wheels. Cruz Concepts' Pegasus hoops are a good example of this. Designed to fit most shaft-driven Japanese cruisers, the polished, billet-aluminum mags are available for both front and rear applications. Price per set starts at $1600.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON RACE JACKET
The newest addition to Harley's casual-apparel line draws upon The Motor Company's dirt-track heritage. Dubbed the Race Jacket, the black leather garment is embellished with a tell-tale orange-and-cream racing stripe around the chest, arms and back. Two zippered front pockets, nylon lining and an elasticized waist round out the features on the $345 wrap. It comes in men's and women's sizes.
SKYKING REAR PADDOCK STAND
So you need to remove the rear wheel from your bike. Which has a single-sided swingarm. And no center-stand. What to do? Check out Skyking's Rear Paddock Stand. Designed specifically for Ducatis and Triumphs with single-sided swingarms, the powdercoated prop is made from heavy-duty steel pipe (as opposed to the usual thin-wall tubing) and disassembles easily for storage. Suggested retail price is $260.
POP FOR TICKETS TO A U.S. motorcycle show and you'll be treated to the latest production bikes and maybe a few custom creations. Frequent the every-other-year Tokyo Motor show, however, and you'll gain a glimpse into motorcycling's future.
Is it a sportbike? Is it a standard? Whatever it is, Honda's new Hornet S continues the trend toward a happy middle ground. Unveiled at the recent Milan Show, the Hornet S is an update of the standard Hornet 600 introduced in 1997. In the interest of better high-speed performance and comfort, the S-model adds a frame-mounted half-fairing, more upright seating position, altered fork offset and a 17-inch-diameter front wheel, replacing the 16-incher used previously It will be offered in Black, Metallic Silver or Candy Blue.
Piaggio, creator of the legendary Vespa scooter and Europe’s largest manufacturer of two-wheeled products, has been sold to German financial giant Deutsche Bank. Initial takeover plans were spearheaded by the Texas Pacific Group, which owns Ducati.
WHILE CAGIVA AND Honda stole the show at Milan, Aprilia and Ducati also debuted new machinery, most of which is headed stateside. Aprilia expanded its RSV Mille lineup from one model to four, confirming that this fundamental machine is getting into gear.
It doesn't get much better than wheelying through streams on cool Euro-bikes. So this issue likely made a big splash on the newsstand with its Husky 460 WR and Maico 250 GP coverbikes. Calling the former a 90-mph playbike, editors claimed, “It’s perfect for cow trailing or scaring yourself silly.”
HONDA PRESENTED THE fully kitted competition version of the new RC51 sportTwin to the press at the Twin Ring Montegi circuit in Japan. The VTR1000SP-1, as the bike is called overseas, has but one purpose: stop Ducati’s dominance in World Superbike.
Umberto Borile is a man of titanic determination and creativity. In his single-man shop, he has been able to create the ultimate pure roadster in the best ’50s style. The B500CR is a beautiful piece of the most inspired craftsmanship–a neat, compact machine created around a speedway-conquering GM 500 engine that produces a solid 58 bhp at 6800 rpm.
UP: To developer Mike Embry, for honoring the "great ones." After erecting a new, 120-home subdivision in Suwanee, Georgia, Embry named the streets after former roadracing luminaries Mike Hailwood, Eddie Lawson, Carlos Lavado, Randy Mamola, Wayne Rainey, Barry Sheene, Bubba Shobert and John Surtees.
First-rate first-timer IN THESE DAYS OF Tibetan awareness, tacking the name "Sherpa" onto anything can result in some nasty repercussions. Unless, that is, the product in question is a tribute to the sure-footed mountain people who serve as porters for Himalayan climbing expeditions.
One year into production, Polaris broadens its line successfully, and still has a little work to do
THE NEW VICTORY V92SC IS A BIG, STRONG LUG OF A MOTORCYCLE, THE two-wheeled equivalent of a comic-book superhero. It's not refined or pretty and lacks a few social graces, but in compensation, it ripples with masculine muscle, a machine as honest and forthright as Clark Kent-and no more able to smooth-talk Lois Lane.
HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW $24,000 Indian Chief: 1) It's not a very good motorcycle yet and 2) that little fact doesn't seem to matter much. Some explanation is in order, but first a short history lesson. As everyone knows, the original Indian went jubbliesup way back in '53.
UPSTART BIKE BUILDERS Frank Keery and son Patrick formed the Titan Motorcycle Company of America in the mid-Nineties. Now, having turned the Arizona-based manufacturer into a successful, multimillion-dollar operation with annual production topping 2000 units, the pair are set to unveil their priciest project yet.
CUSTOMIZER JEFF Palhegyi wanted to be free to create his machine without being hassled by The Man. So instead of his usual on-the-Yamaha-payroll gig of chopping, stretching, dropping and hopping a tuningfork cruiser using fat-cat corporate greenbacks thrown at a test-pool mule, Palhegyi broke free of his usual commissioned jobs.
CANADA IS PART OF North America, so Cliff Randall's Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 is a legitimate American Flyer. Truth is, Randall could pitch camp in Aruba; we’d still make space for his hot-rod Vulcan. It’s that good. Randall, a 46-year-old corporate head-hunter from Toronto, Ontario, has a thing for motorcycles-all types of motorcycles.
WHEN IS A BASKETCASE not a basketcase? When it's got a 117-inch V-Twin engine built up from aftermarket parts. A few years ago, custombike-builder Paul Yaffe was approached about completing a project the owner had begun some time before.
TYPICALLY, WHEN a motorcycle collector's Interests extend beyond a particular make or model, he is said to have "eclectic" tastes. Well, meet Kevin Rickbeil, whose collection truly moves the goal posts in terms of eclecticity. Owner of the pristine 1948 Gilera Saturno roadracer that won Best of Show at the Minneapolis round of CW's 1999 Readers’ Collection Series, Rickbeil owns eight other bikes, including the chopped Yamaha XS650 Special that topped the Custom Cruiser class.
NOT EXACTLY YOUR typical showbike, this unfinished-looking bob-job. After all, it eschews polish, shuns elegance and falls short on finesse. Curiously, though. the one attribute that it doesn't lack is style. And that, according to builder Yasuyoshi "Chica" Chikazawa, would be the point.
A blend of classical styling and new technology meet in a beautiful, but unfinished, symphony
SOMEWHERE IN OUR MAGNI AUSTRALIA PRESS PACKAGE, IT SAYS THAT Company founder Arturo Magni began building classically styled, Moto Guzzi-powered motorcycles in the late Eighties to provide "the maturing motorcyclist with a product of beauty and unsurpassed quality."
WHEN ARTURO MAGNI DECIDED TO START A BUSINESS building limited-production cafe-racers, he didn't have to look far for inspiration. Having served on both the dominant Gilera and MV Agusta race teams, he found it staring right back at him from his trophy case.
"EVEL WAS A FOLK HERO. HE WAS A MAN WHO everyone watched with excitement and with curiosity. People were captivated, as they watched a man risk his body, his life, to accomplish a feat." So says legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus in Evel Knievel's recently released autobiography, Evel Ways: A Daring Approach to Life.
FEW PEOPLE APPRECIATE OUR LONGterm Yamaha Venture more than Judy Ienatsch, wife of CW Contributing Editor Nick Ienatsch. Judy has never piloted the Venture, and at 5-foot, 2-inches tall, she probably never will. But during a recent ride to Monterey, California, for the Laguna Seca round of the World Superbike Championship, Judy's appreciation for the bike reached new levels.
THE TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN'. NEED PROOF? LOOK NO FARTHER THAN THE DATE printed at the bottom of this page. Better yet, check out the band of pavement-pounding Thumpers we've assembled here for comparison. Back in the 20th century–say, a year or so ago–if you were looking to purchase a ready-built Supermotard-style bike, your options were limited to the KTM Duke or MZ Mastiff.
It's a race debut for Honda's new XR650 and Team Cycle World is there
IT'S BEEN A LONG 15 YEARS WITH HONDA'S XR600, A nearly irreplaceable Thumper with good power and legendary reliability. Yet as four-stroke dirtbikes have progressed, the big XR was left fighting weight and slumberous handling. The cry went out for a new XR. Not so easy.
POP QUIZ: WHAT DO YOU, THE ABOVEaverage motorcycle nut, want in a leather jacket? It all depends, you say? Well, what we have here, according to the folks at Z Custom Leathers, is the all-season Black Lightning Jacket, designed as the result of their going to the races, rallies, etc., and asking riders what they like and don't like.
ONE NEEDN'T BE AN ITALOPHILE TO appreciate the cleaning power of Ducati Performance Microclean. The synthetic cloth puts the hurt on dirt and grime, regardless of the brand of bike. Offered exclusively through Ducati dealers, the 12.5-inch square looks like a standard wash cloth, but is only half as thick.
SUPERBIKE CHAMPION MAT MLADIN WAS NOT, BY HIS OWN account, dominant over the course of the 1999 AMA season. But recent champions haven't needed to be. Ben Bostrom won no races in '98 and scored the number-one plate in his first full year on a Superbike.
Five-time World Champion Mick Doohan made his promised return to the track before the end of the season-for two demo laps of his home Grand Prix at Phillip Island, Australia. From a rider who could barely walk, on a bike set-up for someone else, and almost five months after he last rode his Honda V-Four GP bike (and went flying off into the barriers), it was quite a couple of laps.
My ’67 Triumph TR-6 has been in storage for five to 10 years. I recently started it and the engine runs great, but the clutch slips so much that the bike has little usable power. It’s been so long since I fiddled with this bike that I can’t remember if there is any clutch adjustment other than the one on the cable.
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