I MISSED DAYTONA THIS YEAR. ACTUally, let me rephrase that. For the first time in many years, I didn’t attend Daytona Bike Week. I didn’t miss it a bit. Don’t get me started about the ongoing Rubbification of the place. As at the Sturgis Rally, the dreaded Dimestore Outlaw Effect has run absolutely amuck.
FOR MY 53RD BIRTHDAY A FEW WEEKS ago, I bought myself a drum kit, a set of used black Ludwig Rockers owned by a recent college graduate who was moving to California (and presumably a smaller apartment), and signed up for my first drum lesson.
DAYTONA IS MY FAVORITE MUSEUM OF technology, in which all the exhibits are living and developing before my very eyes. It takes a week to see it all. Out behind the last row of garages on the east end is Factory Row, with eight glossy, recently washed tractor-trailer transporters, their auxiliary engines chugging to supply power for light, compressed air and air-conditioning.
Once again, Peter Egan is spot-on with April’s “Rambling roadblocks” column. I can understand slow-moving farm vehicles and Q-tips in Dodge Darts (Mom?), but herds of dawdling Hondaminiums and Harleys really annoy. There is an arrogance to holding up traffic, whatever the reason.
Yamaha YZ and WR250F owners looking for performance upgrades or cosmetic alterations (or both) should look no farther than the factory itself. The tuning-fork company is offering a slew of trick tidbits for its four-stroke off-roaders with its Genuine Yamaha Technology Kit. Examples? Lighten your load and increase power with this car bon-fiber/stainless-steel muffler with spark arrestor for $325. Or extend your range with the Extra Capacity Fuel Tank for $229. Or dress up the forks with c-f guards, $56 for uppers and $113 for lowers. Or... GYT the picture? Yamaha, 6555 Katella Ave., Cypress, CA 90630; 714/7617300; www.yamahausa.com
WileyX SG 1 Modular Eyewear
The cold, harsh truth is that wearing protective eyewear when you're not on a bike looks lame. But who wants to schlep around several types of sunglasses? Instead, try WileyX's SG 1 modular eyewear. Sunglasses and goggles in one, the $99 system incorporates a nylon frame and anti-fog lenses that are lined with face-hugging foam. Removable temple pieces can be replaced with an elastic strap (and vice versa) so you're prepared no matter what. WileyX, 4777 Bennett Dr., #D, Livermore, CA 94550; 800/776-7842; www.wiley-x.com
Corbin FXR Fairing
AS if Harley-Davidson's limited-production FXR models aren't edgy enough, Mike Corbin of saddle and electric-car fame is making this funky front fairing for the factory custom. The fork-mounted, fiberglass piece is said to be aerodynamically designed to provide wind protection, while simultaneously giving Milwaukee's Best a sleck-'n'-swoopy new look. It comes in primer gel-coat and ready for paint ($559), or in glossy black ($699). Additional matching bodywork is also available. Corbin, 2360 Technology Pkwy., Hollister, CA 95023; 800/538-7035; www.corbin.com
Prexport Speed Dry Boots
What the sport-touring crowd needs is a pair of boots that will go the distance on comfort, yet still provide plenty of protection. Cue the new Speed Dry Boots from Italian apparel-maker Prexport. Made from water-repellent leather and kevlar, they have a waterproof liner and adjustable intake and exhaust vents. Foam-backed plastic shielding protects the shins and ankles. Available in men's sizes 6½-14, they come in black only. Suggested retail price is $249. Prexport, P0. Box 1477, Slingerlands, NY 12159; 877/871-2668; www.prexport.com
Intercomp Fill, Bleed & Read Air Gauge
This new Fill, Bleed & Read Air Gauge from Intercomp is a good way to rid yourself of inflationary (get it?) inconveniences. The analog gauge attaches to your air-source at one end, and has a 17-inch hose with nozzle on the other. An industrial-grade bleeder valve allows for psi accuracy. See? No more going back and forth between the air hose and the pressure gauge! Put one in your toolbox for $95. Intercomp, 14465 23rdAve. N., Minneapolis, MN 55447, 800/3283336; www.intercomp-racing.com
Honda Motorcycle Identification Guide, 1959-2000
Motorcyclists are nothing if not ultra-particular when it comes to their favorite marque. But on occasion, even the most fastidious owner can by stymied. Not so for Big Red lovers, thanks to the Honda Motorcycle Identification Guide, 1959-2000. The 524-page, soft bound tome has the dish on every model of motor cycle, ATV and scooter distributed by American Honda during those years. Black-and-white photos, a comprehensive index and a historical retrospective are included in the book's $29 price. American Honda, 1919 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90501; 310/783-2000; www.honda.com
Dremco Extreme Bear
Okay, now we've seen everything. An "extreme" bear? Well yeah, actually. Novelty-toy maker Dreamco is offering a lineup of what it calls collectible sports bears, aimed at the off-road set. The plush, 8-inch-tall bears represent various Pro riders, ranging from Jeremy McGrath to Travis Pastrana to Carey Hart. The $15 toys wear their name sake's sponsor logos and come with a tag that's perfect for autographs. Can you think of a better way to get your little one into dirtbikes? Dreamco, 11750 Sterling Ave., #C, Riverside, CA 92503; 909/351-3167; www.extremebears.com
TOMORROW'S SALES-FLOOR superstars today? That's the idea behind these concept bikes, one each from Yamaha, Honda and Kawasaki. Topping this ready-to-rumble trio is Yamaha's "Wild Star," a Road Star-engined neo-standard that combines V-Max-esque mus clebike styling with a healthy dose of MT-01.
Dirtbike-startup Rev! is hard at work on its prototype RVX250. Going against the current trend of utilizing four-stroke power to meet increasingly difficult emissions standards, Rev! hopes to introduce direct-injection to current two-stroke technology as the basis for its design.
Racer X Illustrated magazine Editor-in-Chief, motocross promoter, television commentator and CW contributor Davey Coombs was recently elected to the AMA Board of Trustees. The 12-member board manages the finances and operational policies of the 270,000-member Association.
DOES THE WORLD REALLY need another V-Twin-powered cruiser? Haven’t we learned a lesson from the imploding “clone” market, the Excelsior-Henderson debacle? Haven’t we figured out that, now that there are enough gen-u-ine Harley-Davidsons to go around, no one has to settle for anything less?
On the heels of Honda's V-Five 500cc Grand Prix entry, Yamaha has announced its four-stroke plans for the class. The OW-M1's prototype inline-Four is currently mated to a twin-spar-aluminum YZR500 frame, and has been tested by factory riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa.
Although the market momentum of the inline-four-cylinder Japanese motorcycle was well established by 1976, there were many parallel-Twins still putting about. Witness Yamaha’s XS500C coverbike. Testers said the high-revving, four-valve-per-cylinder machine was a nimble, lightweight all-rounder.
THANKS TO THE BRITISH charity Riders for Health, thousands of tiny villages in Nigeria and Zimbabwe receive regular visits from healthcare professionals. How do physicians reach these remote African outposts? By motorcycle, of course.
UP: To Danielle Martin, for putting her priorities in order. The 25-year-old amateur motocrosser, model, surfer, TV personality and UCLA softball standout was runner-up in last October’s Miss World United States beauty contest, but would rather ride her Kawasaki KX125 than traipse down the catwalk.
IF CHROME WERE PLUTONIum, Daytona Beach would have reached critical mass and been blown off the map a long time ago. But chrome, attached as it is to so many kicked-back cruisers, is in fact quite stable, so Daytona is just fine. Good thing, too, or else Suzuki would have had a hard time introducing its new middleweight cruiser, the Volusia.
YOU MIGHT AS WELL SEND A GUY WEARING A WHITE SHIRT, black wingtips and a wire into the regular Mafia Friday-night poker game as label a new motorcycle a "standard" Either is the kiss of death. If bike-makers have learned one thing in the last. 15 years, it's that American motorcyclists can be persuaded to buy cruisers and radical sportbikes, but even giving away hardware (remember the $3999 Honda CB750?) won't entice them onto Plain Jane, unfaired machines that hark back to the general-purpose streetbikes of the Seventies and early Eighties.
IT’S OFTEN BEEN SAID THAT THE OLDER YOU GET, THE FASTER TIME GOES BY. WELL, that must be true, because it seems like only yesterday Suzuki gave us the 1986 GSX-R1100, yet here’s the all-new-for-2001 GSX-R1000, forcing us to ask, once again, if we’re worthy.
FROM DOWN THROUGH THE DECADES HAS COME THE CRY OF THE BRITISH BIKE ENTHUSIast: “Why doesn’t someone build a light, simple, aesthetically 'correct' vertical-Twin that sounds good and looks good, combining the sublime virtues of old Triumphs and BSAs with modern engineering, to eradicate their famous faults and failings?” Well, someone was listening.
BIKES, LIKE SHOES, CAN BE SPECIALIZED IN THEIR USE. WOULDN'T IT BE NICE to have one for every occasion? But unless your garage is as diversely stocked as my wife's shoe closet, then selecting just one motorcycle to fit many an occasion is probably what’s best.
IT'S A THUMPER WORLD, RIGHT? WELL, NOT QUITE, BUT THE booming quadra-strokes have been stealing all the headlines lately. They're winning in the woods, out in the desert, in Supercross and on the World MX circuit. Spy photos of Honda’s upcoming CR450F wallpaper the Internet.
EVERYONE'S GOT A THUMPER THESE DAYS. Even small-time Italian bike-builder TM. We slipped in a short ride on the first pre-production TM 400 in the States, here for importer TWS (909/608-0082) to get suspension and jetting sorted. Exact configuration of the motor is still some-what of a mystery as to bore and stroke.
Taking the road (really) less traveled to Canada's Rocky Mountain Trench
WHAT'S A SELF-RESPECTING adventure-tourer to do? Used to be the phrase, "Travel to the ends of the Earth” meant something. But these days... hell, Mount Everest gets well over a hundred tourists climbing all over the top every year, leaving so much garbage along the way it’s taking a multimillion-dollar effort to clean it up.
OUTFITTING YOUR DUAL-PURPOSE BIKE with a few simple accessories will improve Its adventure potential. Fuel capacity is of primary importance. Kawasaki's KLR650 has a 6.1-gallon gas tank and gets 70 mpg. Ideal. KTM's rally-style Adventure has a 7.4-gallon tank, but gets only 40-45 mpg.
APRILIA IS branching out. Hot on the heels of its RSV Mille, SL 1000 Falco and recently released Futura sport-tourer, the Italian bike-maker is targeting the big-bore dual-purpose category, a segment dominated by BMW's R115OGS. For use in the ETV 1000 CapoNord (the name means North Pole in Italian), the familiar, Rotax-built, 60-degree 1000cc V-Twin retains its basic architecture, 97.0 x 67.5mm bore and stroke, twin-plug cylinder head, dry-sump lubrication and vibration-quelling twin balance shafts.
FLASHLIGHTS ARE A LOT LIKE COPS: There never seems to be one around when you need it. That's why smart motorcyclists don't dare venture into the black of night without a flashlight along for the ride. But if you're just out for an evening’s jaunt without even a tankbag for storage, where do you carry a flashlight?
JUST AS YOU DON'T MISS THE WATER 'TIL the well runs dry, so is it possible to ride motorcycles wearing “civilian” stuff and not care...until the going gets rough. For instance, one of our staff was on the Honda Gold Wing’s Lap of America, doing just fine in cowboy boots, until he rode into winter rain and spent nine hours with feet colder and wetter than a non-bike-nut would believe.
IN ONE OF THE MOST TROUBLED DAYTONA 200s EVER, MAT MLADIN FORGED AHEAD DESPITE multiltiple red flags and restarts that had erased his repeated early leads. He and his very experienced crew overcame all obstacles as the others shredded their tires in fruitless pursuit.
Some people come to Daytona for the beer. Actually, a lot of people come for the beer. And many just come for the ride, the first chance after a long, cold winter to use a motorcycle for more than dreaming in the garage. But everybody seems to come, no matter how peripheral their interest in motorcycles.
What do retired champions do when suddenly faced with raceless weekends? Well, if you’re nine-time AMA Grand National Dirt-Track Champion Scott Parker, you keep on racing! Most recently, Parker competed in the 51st annual Alligator Enduro held during Daytona Bike Week.
Is dirt-track a dying sport? It’s been declared dead or dying for what seems like decades now. Well, if the packed stands and overflowing parking lot at the 2001 Daytona Short Track are any indication, dirt-track is alive and well. Still, the two major sanctioning bodies—AMA and Formula USA (nee SFX, formerly PACE)—are trying to give the sport more real-world relevance than its predominantly Harley-Davidson XR-750-based fields currently provide.
After an exciting close struggle with Roland Sands, Rich Oliver brought his number of AMA 250cc Grand Prix wins to 50. The night before the race, as a guest on the Chris Carter Radio Show, Oliver had said he prefers a hard race in which he learns something new to one in which he takes an easy win.
Despite an incredibly long history and several periods of strong popularity in the U.S., the stateside speedway scene is at low ebb. It’s so bad, in fact, that our best riders, Billy Hamill and Greg Hancock-world champions both-have to ride in the British League just to make a living.
I have a ’93 Suzuki Katana 600 that has 19,000 miles on it. Eight months ago, the idle began to fluctuate more and more frequently until the engine finally stopped running altogether. It has not run since then. I had the engine completely rebuilt to restore compression, and also had the carbs cleaned and synched, and the black box tested, but the engine still would not run.
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