JUST HOW GOOD ARE THE NEW-GENERation GSX-R Suzukis? You can sample our take on the Family Gixxer starting on page 42, but the global jury has delivered its verdict. Year 2000’s International Bike of the Year, as voted by the editors of 14 moto-mags worldwide, is the GSX-R750.
ONE FINE SUMMER AFTERNOON A COUple of years ago, I was batting around the hills of southwestern Wisconsin on my old Harley FLHS when I suddenly realized the hour was growing late. Turning up the wick a bit to get home in time for dinner, I came around a corner on a small country road to find myself at the back end of a long parade of very slow-moving cars and pickup trucks.
MOTORCYCLE ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS have come a long way since I used to drain the water out of my Lucas “wading magneto” before attempting to start my AJS 500 Single. Back then, headlights and taillights used simple bulbs like something from a flashlight, with vibration-sensitive tungsten filaments supported on whippy wire stalks.
As a long-time subscriber to your (generally) excellent magazine, I must say that this time you win the “booby prize” for your completely awful road test of the new Honda Gold Wing (“Grand Slam,” February). Eleven guys blathering on paragraph after paragraph about their high-tech underwear, speeding tickets, border patrol officers, ad nauseam.
So you're building up the hottest-looking custom known to man, but you lack horsepower. Literally. One solution is Custom Chrome's RevTech engine. The 88or 100-cubic-inch V-Twin comes assembled and ready to install. Standard equipment includes a 42mm Mikuni carb, free-flowing air filter and RevTech's Thunder Heart solid-state ignition. Get yours with either plain or black finish on the cylinder fins. Price ranges from $5295 to $5595.
$469 to $641
Shoei's latest entry into the helmet wars is the Z-II. The new lid sports a revamped shell made with high-strength fibers, as well as intake and exhaust vents that are easily operated by gloved hands. Coup de grace is the spoiler-style rear lip that's said to reduce drag and lift. The design uses Shoei's proven quick-release shield-changing system and removable liner. Available in solid colors and with graphics, the helmet costs from $469 to $641.
Easy Rizer Motorcycle Lift
No home mechanic's garage is complete without a motorcycle lift of some sort. Which begs the question, which lift to get? One solution is the Easy Rizer, imported from England's Quasar Products. Said to safely hold up to 2 tons, the compact, steel lift reportedly supports any type of two-wheeler via interchangeable mounting brackets. And it's height-adjustable, which means no more lying on the ground reaching for hard-to-get-to parts. Pricing starts at $540.
$210 to $240
One ongoing complaint from sportbike owners is that there’s no convenient way to carry stuff on long-distance trips. Fortunately, ZenRail inventor Don Anglin has figured out a way. ZenRails are stainless-steel tubes measuring 1.5 inches in diameter that fit discreetly under most sportbikes’ tail-sections. Perfect as is for bungee-cord mounts, or you can install the optional cowling that accommodates a large duffel or saddlebags. All without marring the bike’s finish. Price ranges from $210 to $240.
$40 to $50
Off-roaders with a hankering to personalize their gear can do so with the help of ZLT Designs. The graphics company designs cool-looking name-and-number plates that affix to chest protectors. Twoor three-color designs are available, and the clear-plastic plates secure to most chest protectors with minor drilling. Cost ranges from $40 to $50 per plate.
Brake Saver Kit
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know. Fastway's Brake Saver Kit isn't the newest idea on the planet. But it's still a good idea. Designed to prevent rocks and sticks and such from ripping your dirt-bike's brake pedal off, it's basically a cable that attaches to the pedal itself on one end, and to a motor mount on the other. Available with different-length cables, it costs just $11. Simple and cheap, a good combination.
Your parlor lacking pizzazz? Your den in need of décor? Then consult the folks at J&P Cycles. The Harley-aftermarket catalog retailers are offering a heavy-canvas reproduction of this promotional poster from the 1926 National Motorcycle Championship in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Two sizes of the limited-edition, numbered prints are available: A 40 x 54-inch version costs $350, while a smaller 24 x 36-inch is $200. Only 300 of each were produced.
SPY-SHOOTERS HAVE caught Harley-Davidson's liquid-cooled V-Twin in near final-production form. This time the disguise is gone; in these long-lens photographs, you can start to see the final shape of Harley's new power-cruiser. It's the most complete break from Big Twin tradition yet, with overhead cams, eight valves, unit construction and design input from German sports-car giant Porsche.
Here it is, the first racing Voxan! French magazine Moto Journal photographed this Alain Chevallier-designed prototype, which is scheduled to compete in April’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Endurance events are very popular in France, so contesting the FIM World Endurance Championship is a logical move.
ON LAND, IN THE AIR AND even at sea, the Marine Corps' Kawasaki dual-purpose bikes no longer have a problem living up to the Corps' long-time motto. Modified KLR650s, replacement for the outfit's 10-year-old KLR250s, were delivered to Okinawa, Japan, last November.
Feast your moto-lovin' eyes on this concept truck from Chevrolet. Based on the current Silverado, the one-off V-Eight-powered pickup features a custom notched tailgate that allows two full-size dirtbikes to fit in the bed with the gate closed, two integrated pull-out loading ramps and a 5000-watt on-board generator for operating power tools.
IN AN EFFORT TO REDUCE human error in accidents, the Japanese Big Four have unveiled the "Advanced Safety Vehicle" program. Made public last December at "Smart Cruise Demo 2000," ASV boasts a variety of high-tech, safety-related innovations.
It's been seven years since Formula One auto-racing World Champion Ayrton Senna met his untimely demise, but good things continue to be done in his name. Prior to his death while leading the Italian Grand Prix at Imola, Senna and his sister Viviane had formed the Ayrton Senna Foundation to benefit underprivileged children in their native Brazil.
When he spotted the photo of the Honda CR125M2 Elsinore on the cover of this month's issue, CW Executive Editor Brian Catterson spun a donut in the doorway to my office. Apparently, the blood-red motocrosser had made a real impact on the "Catman" during his teenage years.
THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE Great New York Motorcycle Show? Capture the richness and variety of New York's motorcycle faithful, people who spun their passion for two-wheeled transportation into reality, even if only for a short while. On display through early April at Albany's New York State Museum, the exhibition has the appearance of a 1920s trade show.
UP: To Shav Glick, for putting out the good word. Promoting the Anaheim, California, opening round of the EA Sports Supercross series, the longtime Los Angeles Times staff writer penned a half-page feature on 17-year-old motocross superstar Travis Pastrana.
IS THE DUCATI MONSTER under siege from the Cagiva Raptor? Forget it! Ducati took less than 12 months to answer the challenge posed by the Suzuki TL1000-powered clone. The response is a beautifully conceived and developed evolution of the original Monster concept, with elegant and spirited styling wrapped around a re-engineered chassis and engine.
It's brother against brother as the Suzuki GSX-R1000, GSX-R750 and GSX-R600 answer the eternal question: Does Size Matter?
PEER PRESSURE IS AN UGLY THING. JUST IMAGINE how much less stressful your life would be if your riding buddies weren't always showing up on the latest, greatest sportbikes, taunting you about that tired old thang between your legs. And God forbid you showed up on something smaller than a 900 or a 1000.
"I SING OF ARMS, AND A MAN." THOSE 2000-year-old words of the poet Virgil popped into my head as I sat down to think about the long tradition of Suzuki sportbikes—the GSX-Rs. Virgil wrote of a wandering warrior, and that's a fair description of GSX-R riders.
Suzuki's GSX-R750 wasn't just a trailblazer; it blasted new paths for motorcycling
IF I HAD TO PICK THE TWO MOST INFLUENTIAL MOTORCYCLES of the Eighties, the choices would be simple: Harley's 1983 Softail, which set part of motorcycling firmly on a custom/cruiser trail, and Suzuki's 1985 GSX-R, the first racer-replica from Japan.
For 16 years, GSX-Rs have been a big part of the Cycle World family album
December, 1985: Team CW outfits two first-year GSX-R750s and sets 12 FIM world speed records at the Uniroyal Tire Company's Laredo Proving Grounds in Laredo, Texas. "It'd be great fun, we thought," then-Editor Paul Dean's story began. "We'd get a couple of fast bikes, assemble a team of riders from the Cycle World staff, find a big, banked track somewhere, and go set a new 24-hour world speed record.
On board Yoshimura's Superbike, a two-time title winner back from the dead
TWO YEARS AGO WE MAY NOT HAVE CLAMORED AT THE chance to ride Mat Mladin's Yoshimura Superbike. The hard-charging Aussie fought his way to third in the 1998 championship, but everyone knew that the GSX-R750 was past its prime and hopelessly outgunned.
Yoshimura isn't resting after two consecutive titles
RACE TEAMS HATE CHANGE, WHICH IS WHY SUZUKI CAMpaigned the 2000 AMA Superbike Championship with the last-generation GSX-R750. The new bike, winner of every magazine accolade you care to mention, arrived too late for any substantive R&D to be done.
THEY WERE THE ESSENTIAL AMERICAN MOTORCYCLE, flame-throwing, oil-spewing buckboards that careened around saucer-shaped speedways made of wood. "Neck-and-Neck with Death!!!" screamed the posters, and when the board-trackers came to your town, everybody turned out to see the spectacle.
SENSATIONAL JOURnalism? Maybe so, but the above quote, taken from a newspaper account of a race meet at the Los Angeles Motorcycle Stadium in 1912, was no more than a parallel to the venue itself. The board-tracks, the terrifying machines and the men who rode them popularized motorcycle racing like nothing else before or since.
Before mega-malls, retail operations hawked their wares through catalogs so comprehensive that even full-size motorcycles could be had through the mail
WENDY F. BLACK
DESPITE WHAT SOME PEOPLE THINK, THE Middle of Nowhere still exists. It's extremely difficult to find these days, what with GPS and Palm Pilots and cell phones and such, but it's out there. It wasn't so long ago, however, that The Middle of Nowhere truly was.
WHILE THE MAJORITY OF SEARS' MOTORCYCLE SALES OCCURRED during the '50s and '60s, the company did have a prior flirtation with the two-wheel trade. In the early Teens, the retail giant's wares included V-Twins and Singles such as this 1914 model.
HAULING MOTORCYCLES AROUND IS the dirtbike rider's penance. You've got to get the bikes to the track or trail, right? But doing it with the least amount of hassle and the minimum amount of vehicular damage requires some clever thinking.
PITY THE POOR CYCLE WORLD staff. Our long-term Suzuki SV650 is no longer ours. During the last two years, the zippy little V-Twin has been a source of amusement for almost everyone under the CW roof. And as we merrily put our obligatory 10,000-plus miles on the '99 model, we all agreed that few motorcycles in our well-stocked shed are quite as much fun to ride.
EVER HAVE ONE OF THOSE DAYS? EVER HAVE ONE OF those days last three weeks? That's the Paris-Dakar Rally, where even the winner takes a merciless beating. As for the losers, well, in addition to a beating, they also get beat. It's as much a struggle as it is a race, and the joy of winning is often only equaled by the joy that it's finally ending.
Seven-time AMA Supercross Champion Jeremy McGrath relaxed in the mirror-lined inner sanctum of his new $1 million semi-truck, quietly chatting with a few close friends. It was three days prior to the season-opening round of the 2001 EA Sports Supercross Series at Edison International Field in Anaheim, California, and McGrath was feeling good.
With all the recent controversy concerning Yamaha's new YZ250F four-stroke motocross bike and its huge displacement advantage over the 125cc two-strokes it's allowed to race against, I have a question: Why can't the limits for engine displacement and engine weight be made equal for both two-stroke and four-strokes?
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