SLACKERS BEWARE, BOB GOODMAN IS on your case. Seems you’re taking way too much time answering the call of nature, cutting into your riding time on tour, shortening your daily mileage total and messing with your average speed. Creeping onset of incontinence be damned, what you need is the Louisiana inventor’s “E-Z Leaker,” sort of a funnel/catheter device that hooks up to the Big Bopper, with tubing that runs down your pants leg and out past your boot.
A FEW YEARS AGO, WHEN MR. EDITOR Edwards decided to update the portrait used in this column to make me look nearly as old as I really am, he asked what bike I wanted included below my mug shot. I had just sold my 1995 Ducati 900SSSP to my friend Paul Roberts, and was about to spend the proceeds on either a more practical BMW R1100RS or a less practical Ducati 996.
WHY NOT SUPERCHARGED STREETbikes? This would be an entirely new kind of superbike-one with power equal to current Open-class engines, but with the lighter weight and greater agility of present 600cc sportbikes. We are accustomed to motorcycle engines making their power either through displacement (low-revving cruisers) or rpm (sportbikes), but always in both cases being limited in torque by the atmosphere’s modest ability to fill cylinders.
What is David Edwards missing at Daytona? In June’s “Trouble by the Beach” editorial, apart from rightfully complaining about the follies that took place on the racetrack this year, he complains about the “Dimestore Outlaw Effect” and laments the lack of “real bikers.” Elis definition of real bikers seems to refer to the type of people who are too busy with the drug trade, prostitution and welfare scams to attend Daytona.
If Junior spends more time under his minibike than on it, take heart A Factory Effex graphics kit will have his Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki or Yamaha looking like new in no time. The $50 packages include fork, fender and radiator-shroud decals, plus numberplate backgrounds. Seat covers and crossbar pads are also available. Factoiy Effex, 24922 Anza Dr. #D, Valencia, CA 91355, 800/866-0709; www.factoryeffex.com
Baker Drivetrain offers everything needed to convert the five-speed transmission in your Buell or late-model Harley-Davidson Sportster to a six-speeder. Sold bolt-on ready with a 6061-T6-aluminum trap door, Andrews gearset and laser-etched derby cover, the XL6 kit retails for $2350. Drag and roadracing enthusiasts may also opt for Baker’s $259 Reverse Pattern Drum Kit for one-up, five-down shifting. Baker Drivetrain, 16429 Upton Rd. 42, East Lansing, MI 48823; 877/640-2004; www.bakerdrivetrain.com
Here’s a racy alternative to traditional black-leather riding jackets. Produced for Yoshimura in Pakistan by Pilot, the 1.3mm-thick top-grain-leather Signature features a full complement of back, elbow and shoulder armor, a zip-out liner and doubleand triple-stitched seams. Yours, in men’s chest sizes 40 to 50, for $400. Matching $160 XI-R gloves are laden with molded knuckle protection, multitudinous wrist straps and requisite Yosh logos. Yoshimura R&D of America, Inc., 4555 Carter Ct., Chino, CA; 800/634-9166, www.yoshimura-rd.com
Ron Wood Racing Products, longtime four-stroke Rotax importer and hopup parts source, has developed a performance kit for BMW’s F650. Said to up output by a whopping 48 percent, the $2300 kit includes more aggressive cams, a forged high-compression piston, nested valve springs with titanium retainers, an offset ignition rotor key, a megaphone-style exhaust system, 39mm Keihin flat-slide carburetors and a custom K&N air filter. Ron Wood Racing Products, 755 W. 17th St. #D, Costa Mesa, CA 92627; 949/645-0393; www.rotax.net
What to wear while roosting around the countryside on your YZF-R1 or R6? A YZF, of course. In fact, Suomy’s R-Series Gun Wind Replicas match Yamaha’s repli-racers to a tee. Boasting “bag-molded” fiberglass construction and perspiration-wicking interiors, the DOT-approved Italian-made lids come in blue or red in XS-XXL sizes with Fog City Anti-Fog Shield-equipped clear visors. Tinted visors are optional. Price is $400. Gearbox International, 2236 Mariner Square Dr. #200, Alameda, CA 94501; 800/799-9444; www.gearboxinternational.com
If you crave the comfort, fit and mobility of an athletic shoe in an off-road boot, then slip your dogs into a pair of Alpinestars’ new M6s. Similar in feel to the popular Tech 5, the $250 M6 has a steeltoe-equipped, top-grain leather upper and a four-buckle closure topped with velcro and an extended gaiter. For enduro-types, there’s an all-black version shod with a treaded “all-terrain” sole. □ Alpinestars USA, Inc., 2780 W. 237th St., Torrance, CA 90505; 310/891-0222; www.alpinestars.com
HERE’S AN IDEA THAT’S SO obvious you have to wonder why no one thought of it before. An innovative spin on the traditional tail-type motorcycle travel trunk, the water-resistant, 1000-denier cordura-nylon Rocket Locker in-corporates a locking base plate that replaces the passenger seat or cowl on late-model sportbikes. Voila, no more bodywork-abrading bungee cords! The standard Sport model ($170) will ingest a full-face helmet, but we prefer the even more capacious Elite Zip-Pak ($197). In addition to a pair ot roomy zippered outer pockets, the latter’s perimeter zipper allows the upper storage area to be easily removed from the base. Consequently, you can take your stuff with you without exposing your bike's underseat contents to the elements.....or thieves. Neat. Rocket Locker, Inc., R0. Box 5315, Petaluma, CA 94955; 888/414-2903; www.rocketlocker.com
EVER HEARD OF ZONGshen? At the second round of the FIM Endurance World Championship held in early May at the Auto-dromo Brno in the Czech Republic, a Suzuki GSX-R1000 sponsored by this Chinese motorcycle manufacturer finished second in the Superproduction class.
Liberace, your motorcycle is ready! Created by fashion-designer Leeora Catalan, stylist to such stars as Jennifer Lopez, Madonna and Britney Spears, the Noir by Catalan Kawasaki ZX-12R is dressed up in more than 50,000 Austrian Swarovski crystals, some as small as 1/8inch in diameter.
Foot and mouth disease has claimed another victim: the annual Isle of Man TT. According to Isle Chief Minister Donald Gelling, the decision was difficult and required “sober and careful consideration of the facts.” He added that the TT is “the single most important component of the island’s tourist year, but the stakes are just too high.” Despite cancellation of the racing, the Isle of Man Post Office went ahead with plans to release its Joey Dunlop stamp series.
WHAT’S THIS, ANOTHER "world-class” road-racing facility? Seems every time we turn around, someone’s paving “the perfect combination of curves and straightaways” and planning to host an AMA Superbike race and, just maybe, the next U.S.
Remember the Beneili Tornado Tre, the green-and-silver star of the 1999 Milan Show? Since then, we’ve seen the bike do a parade lap at the Isle of Man TT, but beyond that, there has been very little news from the folks at company headquarters in Pesaro, Italy.
Stealing the spotlight from the shaft-drive Yamaha 750 Triple featured on this issue’s cover was an inset photo of an even more intriguing Yamaha-Kenny Roberts’ works 0W72 dirttracker. This wasn’t the infamous TZ750-powered two-stroke with which Roberts won the Indy Mile (and which was duly banned by the AMA), but an even more expensive parallel-Twin loosely based on the production XS650.
WHAT IS THIS UNUSUAL conveyance, and why does it exist? It’s called the Single Track Vehicle, and it exists because builder (inventor?) Jon Watkins was looking for alternative transportation. “All normal motorcycles have going for them is that they’re fun,” says the retired businessman, who made a for-tune in the spa business.
UP: To Geoff Giammarco, for being one lucky s.o.b. The Glendale, California, resident (and professional bike painter) is the proud winner of the Cycle World Norton 880 raffled off at this year’s International Motorcycle Shows. In all, $52,346 was raised in the raffle, all proceeds going to the Ride for Kids program benefiting the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
SOMETIMES, you just need to get away from it all. And for anyone who has ever dreamed of riding off into the sun-set-a desert sunset-KTM’s 640 LC4 Adventure R is a prime candidate as the companion of choice. Orange and gray in color and packing 7.5 gallons of gas, the Austrian-built Adventure R will carry you to places that are otherwise unreachable.
ONE THING ABOUT THE NEW ROAD STAR WARRIOR, YOU DON’T have to guess what it's about. Just one look at the long and low machine, and you know two things: It’s a cruiser, and it’s no old man's Harley. The 2-into-l exhaust with its massive mid-mounted muffler, the 200-section 17-inch rear tire, the R1-look wheels, the huge front brakes with multi-piston calipers, they’re all blaring signs that this V-Twin hauls.
WHY DO CRUISERS LOOK THE WAY THEY DO, AND why must they have V-Twin engines? Because the models for today’s cruisers are American motorcycles of the late 1930s. They were lovable enough lugs, built big and heavy to last on the mainly dirt roads of that time.
THE ABOVE NUMBER SEQUENCE IS THE FEULING W3’S FIRing order. And when you give this 150-cubic-inch Triple the order to fire, fire it does. “I’m a firm believer in discretionary power,” says Jim Feuling, the man behind this unusual machine.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN, THE WHOLE BMW “THING” CAN BE A tough nut to crack. Zealots of the brand are of no real help, baptized as they are in the cool, clear waters of a Bavarian mountain stream. The buck-98-a-bike bunch aren’t in the loop, either-to them, anything with a five-figure price tag should also carry a mortgage and zipcode.
OUR FAVORITE OILHEAD BEEMER? SIMPLE. THAT would be the big GS, affable galoot of a dual-purpose bike that refuses to be hemmed in by the usual sales categories. As such, it’s not a bike that everyone “gets.” Even we can be confused, naming the 1994 R1100GS as Best Standard in our annual Ten Best Bikes issue, then slapping saddle-bags on and proclaiming the R1150GS as 2000’s Best Sport-Touring Bike.
I NEVER THOUGHT A JOCK STRAP would make my list of required touring equipment, but then, I never thought motorcycles would come with power brakes, either. A couple of years ago, my wife and I spent a week riding an R1100RT around Spain on the Edelweiss Cycle World GP Euro-Tour, and I quickly learned that smooth application of the brakes was the best way to prevent our helmets from smacking together like a set of ’70s Click-Clacks.
OVER THE YEARS, HANDLEBARS HAVE GONE UP, AND HANDLEBARS have gone down, while footpegs have moved ’round and ’round. Somewhere between the extremes lies normalcy, or “standard,” which we’ve taken to calling naked, because nudity is more enticing than standard.
ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT WORKING AT CYCLE WORLD IS you gain insight into prevailing motorcycling trends every time you pull into the parking lot. This morning looked pretty much like any other: Mark Hoyer's weary Toyota pickup strained under the weight of his latest acquisition, an equally weary Norton Commando.
DUCATI HAS NEVER BEEN KNOWN for its sport-tourers. The Paso series certainly had potential, but the original 750 and later 906 and 907i.e., were overpriced and never came with hard luggage. Despite uninspired styling, the current saddlebag-equipped ST2 and ST4 are closer to the mark.
Strange sensations from Triumph's sporting flagship
As AIR PORTUGAL’S FLIGHT 5633 BEGAN ITS DESCENT INTO LISBON, I GLANCED out the window at the city below and was overcome by a bizarre sense of déjà vu. Although the nearest I’d ever come to this country before was Spain, the landscape looked oddly familiar.
The most audacious car designer of the 20th century had a secret: He loved motorcycles
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BIKE?
JOHN L. STEIN
FOR MOST OF THE 20TH CENTURY, MEN LIKE BILL Mitchell, Harley Earl and Raymond Loewy ruled American industrial design. In stark contrast to today, the empires at General Motors and elsewhere guaranteed that head designers were virtually untouchable by management, and thus extremely powerful.
JUST WHEN YOU WERE FEELING PRETTY groovy about showing up at the track with your carbon-fibered-out, hot-rod YZ250F, some guy unloads an aluminum-framed minibike with a bottom-feeder TTR125 motor. And everyone in the pits is drooling over the thing.
Two Wheels on Two Reels: A History of Biker Movies
JUDGING BY THE PHOTO ON THE BACK COVER OF THIS book, author Mike Seate is a great big guy. That’s lucky for both of us, because if he wasn’t twice my size I’d punch his lights out. Why? Because he and his inside knowledge and relentless research have shattered one of my favorite illusions...or perhaps not.
THIS LITTLE BOOK IS ONE MAN’S PLAIN-SPEECH account of being drawn into motorcycle drag racing, of breaking the parts you have to break to learn, and of somehow persisting and struggling to the top of his class. In the story, former Pro Star and IDBA record-holder Ed Killar tells his readers things that took him hard years to discover.
MOST MOTORCYCLES ARE OBVIous in their intentions. The Cagiva Gran Canyon is no such thing. From the moment we picked up our red-and-silver 1999 testbike, we puzzled over what it was supposed to be. Two years and more than 10,000 miles later, we think we know the answer.
WHO NEEDS A $73 SCREWDRIVER? You do. If you aren’t already a tool freak, using Snap-on’s Soft-Grip Ratcheting Screw-driver Set will make one out of you. Like every Snap-on product we’ve tried, the Soft-Grip is a durable, high-quality and useful device.
Honda and Yamaha prepare for Grand Prix racing’s four-stroke future
OF ALL THE WORDS UTTERED ABOUT the coming of “double-displacement” four-strokes to 500cc Grand Prix roadracing, Yamaha GP racing chief Masahiko Nakajima’s plan “to produce a well-balanced motorcycle” makes the most sense. “We believe,” he continued, “tire life is the most critical issue of all.
Although the CRF450R will surely sell on features and hype alone, Honda is nonetheless taking the usual “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” marketing approach. Which explains why the first five public sightings of the all-new four-stroke motocrosser have been at racetracks both here and abroad.
I have always wondered why motorcycles have slower top speeds than cars, even though they’re capable of much faster zero-to-60 or quarter-mile times. No Ferrari or Lamborghini or Porsche can come close to out-accelerating performance bikes like a Hayabusa or a GSX-R1000, yet many of those cars can easily exceed 200 mph.
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