NOTHING BETTER THAN A FREE MOTORcycle—even if there’s really no such thing, of course. My latest acquisition, a 1986 Moto Morini Camel 501, proves the point. It was a Christmas present from my brother Kevin, newly possessed of a KTM 620 R/XC and with little heed for a wonky Italian dual-purpose bike.
“DID YOU SEE MANY MOTORCYCLES IN Poland?” a friend of mine asked. “No,” I said. “Too cold. It’s winter there now. But I saw lots of bike dealerships in Krakow and Warsaw. I’d like to go back in the summer.” And indeed I would. As you might have guessed, I just returned from Poland.
SOMETIMES, IN THE COURSE OF A WILD, disorganized life with motorcycles, it becomes necessary to stay up all night. Scheduling breaks down, parts fail to arrive on time, money takes time to earn-it all adds up to delay. Then you have to work all night.
Three cheers to Buell/Harley-Davidson for the Blast, aimed at attracting new participants to motorcycling. Auspicious—if not long-overdue-timing, considering that H-D’s bread-and-butter clientele consists mainly of fortysomething guys like me who aren’t getting any younger.
A motorcycle's place is in the living room. But if your sportbike won't fit, try decorating with Motorsports Art from up-and-coming artiste Tim Berry. His limited-edition color print features current and erstwhile AMA Superbikers Miguel Duhamel, Doug Chandler, Anthony Gobert and Ben Bostrom in action at the 1999 Road America National in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Each of the 250 available renderings measures 17 x 22 inches, and is autographed by Gobert, Bostrom and Berry. Price is $40, plus $6 shipping and handling. Tim Berry, P.O. Box 399, Hudson, WI 54016; 651/702-3456
Cruiser Wall Clock
It was only a matter of time (groan) until somebody invented a cruiser-style clock. And here it is, courtesy of timepiece-maker Sea Star. Powered by two AA batteries, the $50 Super Cruiser Wall Clock has a molded-plastic, teardrop-shaped gas tank to house the face, chrome-ish handlebar, handgrips and levers. It even emits an engine growl on the hour. Yours in black or red. Sea Star Clock International, 2450 E. 23rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90058; 213/588-7818; www.seastarclock.com
ProGrip Shades MX Goggles
Italian manufacturer ProGrip brings more than 40 years of experience to the off-road table with its new goggles. With dual-color plastic frames and anti-scratch/anti-fog rainbow-iridium lenses, the $50 Shades Goggles look practically tie-dyed. Designed to fit inside most off-road helmets, the goggles include such de rigueur traits as layers of moisture-absorbing double-density-foam, a grippy silicone-treated strap and oversized nose guard. They come in red/white or blue/white. Van Leeuwen Ent., 13275 Paxton St., Arleta, CA 91331; 800/333-1239; www.progrip.com
Yamaha's YZF-Rl is already a trick piece of machinery, but why not make it even more so by adding a Harris Single-Sided Swingarm from Stick-Up Cycles? The swoopy-looking design comprises aluminum tubing welded to machined-from-billet aluminum. Though it doesn't work with the stock R1 hub, the elegant piece accommodates wheels from Ducati, Triumph and Honda models with single-sided swingarms. Suggested retail price is $1800. Stick-Up Cycles, 42-39 Crescent St., Long Island City, NY 11101; 718/392-1334; www.stick-up.com
Hazardous Sports Head Case
Finally, somebody realized that today's high-tech helmets with their high-dollar graphics should be toted about in something sturdier than a fleece sack. Enter the Hazardous Sports Head Case from Chase Harper. For $100, you get a heavy-duty trilaminate thermo-formed case, complete with zipper closure, four tie-down clips, a mesh pocket and carrying handle. Chase Harper, P.O. Box 4098, Santa Barbara, CA 93140; 877/965-7977; www.chaseharper.com
Tour Master Cortech Soft Luggage System
So you want to get away from it all, but don't necessarily want to travel light? Try Tour Master's Cortech Soft Luggage System. The $240 setup includes two saddlebags and a large duffel-style tailpack that easily connect via zippers and quick-release fasteners. Constructed from cordura nylon with reflective piping, all three bags are lined and have internal panels for maintaining their shape while empty. The undersides have heat-resistant coatings in the event of exhaust-pipe contact, and rain covers are standard. Helmet House, 26855 Malibu Hills Rd., Calabasas Hills, CA 91301; 818/880-0000; www.tourmaster.com
Castrol Motorcycle Oils
Considering that Castrol has been manufacturing lubricants for almost a century, it's odd that the company hasn't had a stronger motorcycling presence in the U.S. Well, that's a non-issue now. Castrol's new motorcycle-oriented lineup includes both synthetic and mineral-based lubes that are formulated specifically for bikes Ancillary products such as chain wax, parts cleaner and hand cleanser are also available. Pricing starts around $3. Castrol, 1500 Valley Rd., Wayne, NJ 07470; 973/633-2200; www.castrolbikeworld.com
Joe Rocket Repli-gear
The latest in Canadian company Joe Rocket's apparel line is down with AMA Superbike racer Pascal Picotte. The $200 Jester Jacket has the Harley-Davidson rider's name and number on the sleeves and his tradmark court-jester graphic on the back. Available in orange and black racing livery, in sizes S-XXXL, it features nylon-based, 600-denier Rocktex construction, and removable body armor and insulated liner. Other features include zippered vents and pants attachment. Outer Space Sports, 3210 Jefferson Blvd., Windsor, Ontario, Canada N8T 2W6; 519/945-7200; www.joerocket.com
HONDA'S YEAR-2001 REplacement for the aging GL1500 Gold Wing will not be powered by a rumored 2000cc flat-Eight. Instead, sources in Japan say the new luxury tourer will employ a fuel-injected, 1800cc version of the existing carbureted, liquid-cooled, dohc six-cylinder engine.
ANY GEARHEAD WORTH HIS 20w50 knows that racing improves the breed. For flat-track fanatic Mark Anderson, it also creates a need. The ex-racer is one-half of the duo responsible for the Yamaha XS650-based AR Streetracker (CW, October, 1998).
Whaddaya gotta do to lay your paws on a Serie Oro MV Agusta F4, win Formula One races? Apparently. Cagiva boss Claudio Castiglioni recently presented Ferrari-turned-Jaguar hotshoe Eddie Irvine with one of the hand-built, carbon-fiber-and-magnesium machines in recognition of the Irishman's runner-up performance in last year's F-1 title chase.
Jim Davis circa 1917, receiving his trophy for winning a race in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. LEGENDARY MOTORCYCLIST Jim Davis passed away last February. Born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1896, he was motorcycling's last living link to pre-World War I racing.
BMW’S new F650 GS will come in two flavors: a standard street model and this limited-edition Dakar replica. Mechanical updates include a revised four-valve cylinder head, electronic fuel injection, a new frame, and underseat gas tank and mufflers.
No matter how you look at it, doin’ it in the dirt was what this issue was all about. If this concept wasn’t obvious from the wheelie-happy Montesa 250 V75 MX on the cover, then the test of Yamaha’s MX 400B Monocross was the clincher. While the coverbike received accolades for its improved suspension, light weight and easy handling, editors were more impressed by the 397cc two-stroke Yammie, calling it “one of the most universally adaptable off-road motorcycles ever.”
Honda’s Transalp adventuretourer, dead in this country since 1991, is still going strong in Europe. In fact, the 12-year-old model just got an extensive update. Most notable is a bump from 583 to 647cc, good for an extra 6 bhp from the liquid-cooled V-Twin.
ENTHUSIASTIC, BRAND-LOYAL and almost fanatically dedicated to their sport. Sound familiar? It should. These words are often used to describe motorcyclists. But-big pause here-they’re also indicative of many NASCAR fans. And why shouldn’t motorcycles and stock-car racing go hand-in-hand?
UP: To the Riders of the Lost Empire, for giving good art. The Britbike club’s logo, penned by G.D. Bradley, is definitely a cut above the usual Union Jack-in-a-roundel affair. Based in Florida, the club has 125 members worldwide and is looking for more.
AGIVA'S V-RAPTOR IS motorcycling's newest tough guy. The latest addition to the increasingly popular naked-bike category, the Suzuki TL1000S-powered machine is more than a dramatic styling exercise-it's a flat-out dynamite performer.
JOHN KOCINSKI ONCE SAID THAT IF YOU DON'T SCARE YOURSELF GOING into Turn 10 at Laguna Seca Raceway, you're not going fast enough. The downhill approach is mostly blind, so there is little indication of the camber that works in your favor past the apex of the corner.
AMERICAN HONDA HAS NOW RACED 20 seasons in AMA Superbike, beginning in 1980 with a 1011cc version of its air-cooled inline-Four CB900F, continuing with the V45 Interceptor, VFR750, RC30 and RC45. Honda's Superbike team is now preparing for the 2000 season with its brand-new RC51 999cc V-Twin.
AS THEATRICAL DEBUTS GO, THE RC51'S FIRST OFFICIAL World Superbike test could only be described as a show-stopper. Held at Australia's fast and sweeping Phillip Island race course in early February, the event saw top Honda performance artistes steal the limelight with ill-concealed avarice.
Sweet Fifteen and counting for Suzuki's 750 Superbike
THERE IS A CHICANE OF CLASSIC DIMENSION AT ITALY’S MISANO CIRCUIT. Hard braking precedes the challenging second-gear right/left combo. Striped, shallow-sloped curbs grace each apex, bracketing the fine line through this black ribbon of tarmac.
WHEN DOES A MACHINE POWERED BY AN S&S BIG TWIN-REPLICA V-TWIN not deserve the title, “Harley clone?” That’s easy: When Confederate Motorcycles manufactures it. The small, Louisiana-based outfit makes machines so different from the Milwaukee product that about all the two share is a basic engine configuration.
IT CAME TIME TO PONDER HOW WE DODGED THAT WHOLE millennial apocalypse bullet. Near as I can figure, the Four Horsemen were making their stop at my house, saw the CSA Wildcat and knocked each other off fighting over who'd ride it. Lucky, eh? You’ve got Confederate Motorcycles to thank, because even Mephistopheles himself would have a hard time resisting the Wildcat’s sinister charms.
HAULING A MOTORCYCLE HAS ALWAYS meant having a truck. If you didn’t have a truck, you needed a trailer, for which you also needed a trailer hitch, light hook-ups, registration, insurance and someplace to park it when it wasn’t in use. All of which kinda made you wish you had a truck...
When it comes to four-stroke enduros, one size does not fit all
NITS & PICKS
WRAP IT UP, ALREADY
520 E/XC RACING
MY FRIENDS HAVE A SAYING: "Know your size." It's usually uttered to prevent you from doing something really stupid, such as getting in a fight with a 6-foot, 4-inch martial arts master, trying to jump a supercross triple on a minibike or buying an Open-class enduro that will impress your friends in the garage but land you on your ass out on the trail.
ARE YOU OKAY?" ASKED YAMAHA R&D technician Mike Ulrich. "Uh, yeah." I replied, shaking my head groggily. "I just went to put my foot down, and the next thing I knew, I was upside down, sliding down the hillside." As it turned out, falling down was the least of my troubles.
GO TO COLLEGE. GET A JOB. GO to graduate school. Get a better job. It's the American dream, right? Not for Mark Miller. The 23-year-old Oregon State grad and part-time motocrosser had other ideas. So he saddled up his Yamaha YZ400F ("You can get anything licensed in Oregon") and set out for Mexico.
Ridden hard and put away wet, that was the lot in life for most Manx Nortons in the 1960s. Flogged on the track, repaired in the pits, welded, hammered and soldered in the shop, little by little, the good was squeezed out of them. They ended up as rat bikes, awaiting a new chance at life. Herein, the tale of one such survivor.
IN AN OLD WOODEN WORKSHOP IN JOHANnesburg , South Africa, sat the Rat Manx. More than 30 years ago it had been a glistening 500cc Grand Prix warrior, the tool of choice for riders in England, Rhodesia and South Africa, where it dueled against the likes of Mike Hailwood and Jim Redman and the ruthless horsepower of their invading Honda and Yamaha Multis.
"CYCLE WORLD, YOU HAVE BEEN tried by a jury of your peers and found guilty of motorcycle abuse in the first degree. As punishment, you will have your long-term Ducati ST2 removed from your possession, whereupon it will be placed in a nurturing environment.
IF YOU ARE MADLY IN LOVE WITH THE KAWASAKI Z-1 and its children, you will understand and want Micky Hesse’s bilingual book, Z1 Kawasaki. If you are not, you may dismiss the book as an anthology of press kits. Micky Hesse is a German super-enthusiast of the Z-1, a person who gave up his formal education the better to concentrate on studying, collecting, photographing and eulogizing Kawasaki’s classic, big, air-cooled Fours-even including the turbo bikes.
SIMPLE QUESTIONS OFTEN ARE THE ONES WE DON'T ask. When we do, what at first seems simple turns out to be gravely complicated. So it is with the motorcycle. The apparent simplicity of the two-wheels-with-an-engine system masks the complex physics at work.
TUCKED IN, FLYING ACROSS THE SAND AT 120 MPH, I look under my arm and glimpse four BMWs right behind me. And behind them a flock of 25 more bikes, all chasing an arrow on a GPS screen, just like me. Following them will be another two rows of 30 bikes each, then 120 rally racecars, then 50 race trucks.
ALL GOOD THINGS, IT APPEARS, COME IN twos. Certainly, duality was the overriding theme of the first official World Superbike off-season test, held at Phillip Island in Australia during early February. First (and finally), Honda wheeled out its RC51 twin-cylinder works bike.
I have a 1998 Kawasaki KLR650 with 3800 miles on it. I bought the bike in Colorado Springs, Colorado (elevation 5000 feet), in May of 1999. I am an Army retiree residing on a somewhat remote island in the Philippines that is only about 150 feet above sea level.
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