MOTORCYCLES HAVE TAKEN ME MANY places, but none this grand—quite literally. A well-maintained series of dirt roads and trails had delivered me to the very edge of the Grand Canyon's North Rim. No parking lots, no guardrails, no tourist trams unloading herds of gawkers making like dimestore Ansel Adams with their cheap cardboard cameras.
IF THERE WERE EVER A YEAR FOR RIDING to Daytona, rather than hauling a bike down there, this was it. Global warming or a fluke in the jetstream (pick one) brought 70-plus temperatures that stretched all the way from Wisconsin to the Deep South.
A BIG TOPIC IN THE DAYTONA GARAGE area this year was fuel. For many years it was an article of faith that, although racing gasolines might vary in octane number and volatility, all gave essentially the same horsepower. Particular fuels were chosen because they worked best in particular engines.
Something's missing! Where was the KLR650 in your adventure-touring comparison of Old West ghost towns ("Big Bikes, Big Adventure," April)? The tiny-tanked Suzuki DR650SE got a fleeting mention, but there wasn't even a whisper about the venerable Kawasaki KLR with its 6 gallons of gas, 50 mpg, hammer-like reliability, monster ground clearance and a list price of $4899—three grand less than your cheapest testbike!
When folks ponder Alpinestars, highend dirtbike and roadracing boots usually come to mind. Which is fine, but limiting. Especially since the high-profile Italian firm also offers apparel. For example, catering to cruiser riders is the stylish $420 NY Jacket, made from topgrain leather and with removable armor at the elbows and shoulders. Then there's the $499 Haga Replica, which share's the former's features but in a sportier package. For those non-leather types comes the cordura-nylon ASX, $159, with its Coolmax collar and liner, and adjustable waist. Something, in other words, for everyone.
Motion Pro T-Handles
The concept here is versatility. Tool-maker Motion Pro has amended its T-handle lineup to include two models equipped with 1/4 and 3/8-inch drives. The result is they accept a variety of attachments, such as sockets, hex bits, swivels and more, for use in an equal variety of applications. They also have chrome-vanadiumsteel shafts and carbon-steel handles. Suggested retail price is $9 for the 1/4-inch and $11 for the 3/8-inch.
Blu Eye Goggles
So you like the look of sunglasses with an open-faced helmet, but you prefer a bit more eye protection? Try this Aussie eyewear from Blu Eye. Styled similar to today's popular sport shades, the award-winning goggles from Down Under have a soft, rubber frame that secures firmly to the face with a thin, adjustable elastic strap. Interchangeable lenses are made from impact-resistant polycarbonate that's said to be they swear, bullet-proof. Or at least pellet-proof. Stateside, they sell for $110.
Drag Specialties H-D Accessories
If God created Harley-Davidson on the eighth day, then it stands to reason that He conjured chrome on the ninth. Hence, these righteous shiny bits. Those interested in titivating their Harleys, pay heed. At $585, this chromeplated aluminum rear pulley and spacer look chic and allow for a narrower belt and fatter rear tire. Still not enough gleam? How 'bout these chromeplated mounting kits for the rear brake and shifter controls? The former costs $350, while the latter is $225. Hardware, bracketry and such included.
ICP Cycle Saver
Convenient and inexpensive—words not often used in tandem. But with this solar-powered battery trickle-charger from Canada's ICP, they work. Dubbed the Cycle Saver, it maintains and charges any 12-volt battery while exposed to daylight. This holds true even in cloudy, rainy or snowy conditions. Connection accessories are included, as are 20 feet of wire for outside mounting in case your motorcycle is stored indoors. Price? Just $40.
Fond of reliving your childhood? Want everybody to know about it? Then for goodness sake, get ahold of some retro togs from Metro. Like ex-hippies who stopped listening to new music after 1974 (because it all sucks), Metro is immersed in all manner of garments bearing logos from your favorite erstwhile marques: Bultaco, BSA, Norton, etc. If you can identify, check out their lineup, which ranges from T-shirts to shop aprons to denim jackets and more. Pricing starts in the $15 neighborhood.
TBR SV650 Racing Exhaust
Suzuki SV650 owners, pay attention. Two Brothers Racing has a proposition for you with its stainless-steel 2-into-1 Racing Exhaust. Said to reduce weight, add horsepower and look way swank, it comprises polished, tapered headers and a 4.5-inch diameter canister. The latter is available in polished aluminum or TBR's signature filament-wound carbon-fiber. The whole shebang can be installed like the stocker, or in a racier, high-mount configuration. Pricing starts at $590.
BUSINESS IS BOOMING AT KTM. Back with a vengeance after its nearly ruinous early Nineties bankruptcy, the Austrian manufacturer has big ideas for the future, including several new streetbike models and tie-ups with some of Europe's heaviest hitters.
There's nothing like leaving a posthumous legacy. And, thankfully for his readers, that's exactly what "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz did. Although the 77-year-old died of complications from colon cancer last February, his humorous and ofttimes wry comic strip lives on.
Really, who would have thought that the whole Internet thing would actually catch on? Kawasaki and Ducati, for two. Both manufacturers now have e-commerce sites. The first of the Japanese bike-makers to experiment with such on-line vending, Kawasaki will sell its accessories, apparel and replacement parts via www.buykawasaki.com.
THE WORLD CENTER OF cruising, Daytona Beach, is always good for a little Cruze News, and so it was at Speed Week 2000. Harley was first out of the box. No new models as of yet (and very mum’s the word about all those Porsche-Harley spyshots), but NASCAR bigwig Rusty Wallace was on hand to unveil the H-D livery his Penske Ford will run at three night races this year.
Streethike-related accidents clainied a record 13 lives at this year's Daytona Bike Week, prompting the Associated Press to christen the event, "The deadliest such qatbering on record." The previous worst death toll for the annual 10-day get-together was in 1991, when 11 motorcyclists died.
For this issue, coverboy editors hit the road on a pair of parallel-Twins, a Honda and a Yamaha, and asked, “Is one better, or is one worse?” Honda’s CB500T was deemed better than the Yamaha XS500, but both were judged worse than the multitude of Multis available by that time.
WHITHER CAN nondale? After knocking our socks off more than a year ago with its prototype MX400, the Connecticut-based bicycle manufacturer has suffered several setbacks, as well as tumbling sales and stock values. In all fairness, creating a motorcycle from scratch is not easy-just ask Excelsior-Henderson.
UP: To Discover Today’s Motorcycling, for its "Journey to Adventure.” The nicely done brochure details how to get started in motorcycling, both on-and off-road. For a copy, call 800/833-3995, or visit DTM online at www.motorcycles.org.
CHANGE IS GOOD, ESPEcially where it Concerns BMW'S F650 Funduro. The single-cylinder dual-pur-pose bike set all sorts of sales records when it debuted in Europe in the early Nineties. Stateside, though, the beginnerfriendly machine met with less success, likely due to its lofty suggested retail, which rivals the asking prices of much faster, more powerful 600cc sportbikes.
Kawasaki's Ultimate Weapon makes a politically correct debut
Kawasaki Motor Corp.
Kawasaki Motor Corp.
IT NOT THAT WE NEED MOTORCYCLES like Kawasaki's ZX-12R. No, more than anything, we need hat such bikes represent: progress, striving br better, doing what hasn't been done. These machines inspire us because they are the most beautiful expression of the art of pure.
THAT HISSING SOUND YOU HEAR IS THE AIR BEING LET OUT OF Kawasaki's balloon. The mighty ZX-12, pride of Akashi, intended to return Big K to its rightful place atop Vmax Mountain, is 10 miles per hour too slow. Insult to injury, even with its suspension slammed and a hired gun in the saddle (see "Factory Flyer," page 46), the 12 is slower through the quarter-mile than a stock Suzuki Hayabusa.
OKAY ZX-11 FANS, TIME FOR A TRADEin. Big-time Kawasaki horsepower has met modern chassis geometry and the results are better than expected. I've always put up with the long, heavy ZX-11 because the unbreakable engine guaranteed a thrill every time the tach spun past 6000 rpm.
It’s not how fast you’re going; it’s how fast you’re making decisions
FAILURE TO LIVE UP TO ITS CONSIDERABLE HYPE NOTWITHSTANDing, which one of us really needs a 200-mph ZX-12R? Not me, for one. Speeds like that take on an air of unreality, and the strange thing is that the few places where you can use them, they don’t seem that fast.
Rickey Gadson goes for gold on Kawasaki’s mean, green (and now, Y2K-compliant) ZX-12R
RICKEY GADSON HAS A REPUTATION TO uphold. After the factory Kawasaki rider’s blazing 9.52-second/147-mph pass on a lowered, pre-production ZX12R at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina last November, the detractors were out in full force.
A Chevy V-8 motorcycle makes all the sence in the world to a man brave enough to ride it
HE WAS CALLED THE MICHIGAN MADMAN." OH NOT at first. But when someone came up with name and it helped him sell his services to the endless string of promorers who ran small dragsrips around the country, well, why not? Let's begin with little perspective.
EJ. POTTER IS, AMONG OTHER things. a wonderful story teller. And he's got a lot of stories to tell. So a while back he decided to write his own book, telling his own story. “I thought I'd write a book in about a week and sell copies and make some money,” he says.
Don Vesco, hot-rodder, road racer, land-speed record holder, doesn't know when to quit-thank goodness
IT’s 1988, AND AN HOUR OR SO NORTH OF LOS ANGELES, out on the high Mojave, Don Vesco is coming home to his old playpen, Willow Springs Raceway. But he’s late-almost a quarter of a century late. Buddy Parriott, John MCLaughlin, Ron Grant, Tony Murphy and all the other ghosts who used to tear up Willow at warp velocity when Manx Nortons were the weapons of choice are so long gone that nobody here has heard of them.
It’s called the World’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle; he's called one of the world’s most talented customizers
LOOK UP THE WORD "PRODIGY" in your Funk & Wagnalls and you'll find it defined as a person, thing or act so extraordinary as to inspire wonder. in which case the Harley-Davidson custom pictured here qualifies as one of the most appropriately named motorcycles you're likely to encounter.
THOUGH PAUL YAFFE COMES ACROSS AS AN UNSELFISH MAN, HE TURNS DECIDEDLY GREEDY WHEN PURSUING BIKE-SHOW awards. So when he departed Phoenix for the 2000 Roadster Show, his trailer carried not one but two of his custom Harleys. And on the return trip, it carried not one but two awards: the World's Most Beautiful Motorcycle trophy for Prodigy, and the Promoter's Choice award for this custom, called "Fallen Angel."
DIRTBIKES ARE BETTER THAN STREETBIKES. FACT! Now, before you go off the deep end already and start with the e-mails and the letter-writing campaign, read on. You don’t see guys on GSX-Rs or CBRs roosting around in the dirt, but there are CRs and YZs, etc. racing on asphalt, a la supermotard.
Think the reigning champ of dual-purpose bikes was going to sit back and get passed? initially, it looked that way, but when KTM dropped off the year-2000 640 there were a few surprises in the package. The proven LC4 motor is nearly identical to last year’s, yet through a new stainless-steel enciosed-disc SuperTrapp muffler, the four-valve Single thumps a new tune, crisp with power to spare.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO'VE JUST crawled out from under some misanthropic rock, I am not The Dirt Guy. Yes, I own a Yamaha TT-R250. And yes, I've fantasized about riding through the desert with Malcolm Smith as 1970s acoustica wafted through my head.
Thirty years after, a Honda CR750 Four goes back to Daytona
AT DAYTONA, YOU CAN OFTEN SENSE THE PRESence of another bike in your slipstream. Particularly if you’re out front, punching a hole in the wind down the home stretch off NASCAR Turn 4. It was here, on the flats headed toward the tri-oval finish stripe, that my Honda CR750’s wailing engine began to labor.
On the high banks, there's no substitute for speed
THE TROUBLE WITH GETTING OLD IS THAT YOU THINK TOO much. As if the notion of piloting the stunning Corse Bimota SB8RC (CW, April) in the AHRMA Sound of Thunder race at Daytona wasn’t daunting enough, I had to deal with all the “advice” I got from well-wishing spectators.
Riding an oldtime idea into the Land that Time Forgot
"THE BEST THING ABOUT BAJA,” PHOTOGRAPHER JEFF ALLEN SAID JUST BEFORE OUR trip, “is that the U.S. doesn’t own it. Otherwise, it would be ruined.” Not everyone who visits this half-wild 1000-mile peninsula appended to the bottom of California norte would agree.
SO THERE WAS THIS CHICK, GOLDilocks. And she liked things just so-not too big and not too small. Just right, in other words. Kinda like the Bullet Pack from Black Diamond. If you’ve never heard of Black Diamond, you’re not alone. Employeeowned since 1989, it’s not a motorcycle-oriented firm per se.
TIME IS A PRECIOUS COMMODITY, PARticularly in racing where tenths of a second can be lost to a gear change. Since this can easily become several bikelengths, a competitive edge is available with a Techtronics Quickshifter. Working through an electronicignition cutout, this allows split-second upshifts without backing off the throttle or fanning the clutch.
Mat Miadin and Nicky Hayden split hairs in the second-closest 200 ever
RACING CAN BE A LOT LESS DRAMATIC THAN IT looks, and this was one of those days. While the race announcers babbled excitedly about the duel among the three leaders, the truth was that because no one could get away, the bulk of the race was just a skillful strategic holding operation.
Eight races into the 2000 EA Sports Supercross Series, things looked pretty dismal for anyone not named Jeremy McGrath. The Yamaha rider had once again embarked on a reign of winning terror, topping six of the first eight events in such commanding fashion that the rest of the field was beaten down and demoralized even before the series reached the halfway mark.
I have a 1997 Yamaha YZF1000. At about the 6000-mile point, I noticed that I was having to put about half a quart of oil in the engine every 300 to 400 miles. I had bought the extended warranty, so I took the bike to my local dealer, who disassembled the engine and found that the oil rings on the pistons had never seated.