HE WANTED TO BE THOUGHT OF AS simply a good, hard-working engineer who loved motorcycles, and that’s exactly how Ducatisti and the rest of the two-wheel world will remember Fabio Taglioni, who died in July, age 80. It was Taglioni and his 1956 adoption of desmodromic cylinder heads to combat valve float at high rpm that gave Ducati Meccanica its signature technology.
IT WAS ONE OF THOSE SUMMER MORNings from childhood memory, where you step outside and find rays of sunlight slanting down through the green trees and filtering through pockets of ground fog like laser beams from heaven. If you painted a scene like this, critics would dismiss your work as sentimental and mawkish.
WHEN A POWERFUL MOTORCYCLE IS accelerating in first gear, tension in the chain is large. For 600 pounds of motorcycle, fuel and rider, accelerating hard with the front wheel light, there can be very close to 2000 pounds of chain-pull force.
Okay, hold on, stop the presses! How is the Suzuki GSX-R1000 the "Mas ter Blaster" in July's 17-bike compar ison? It might have turned the quick est times on the track, but how does that help Mr. & Mrs. Consumer, who are street riders not racers?
Baja-bound? You need A.R.E.’s Deluxe Commercial Unit truck canopy. Primarily intended for worker-types, the aluminum-skinned, tube-framed topper also makes a first-rate dirtbike hauler. Choose from assorted cap heights, colors, door and window configurations, and toolbin options. “Wild Kingdom” roof rack is pretty nifty, too Prices start at $850.
Lighten your load with Bel staff’s Lidsac. Wear the 600-denier nylon bum bag in fanny-pack form onbike, then convert to helmet-toting backpack off. Shoulder and waist straps keep cargo secure. In black, black/blue, black/red and black/yellow, for $40.
Jims Titanium Pushrods
If light is right, then lighter must be lighter, right? Jims’ titanium pushrods are designed to offer the best of both worlds: light weight of aluminum and strength of chromoly. So your HarleyDavidson Evo or Twin Cam 88 reaches peak power sooner, with less reciprocating mass to punish its precious valvetrain. What’s more, they’re adjustable, so installation only requires removal of pushrod covers, leaving cam and top-end assembly intact. Yours for $197.
Never heard of MIG? It’s France’s leading exhaust-pipe bender, the first company to market a carbon-fiber muffler and a pioneer in the design of double-outlet and high-mount silencers. Eurobikes imports the full line of MIG pipes, including the slip-ons shown here. No fewer than five shapes are available in a choice of four materials-aluminum, aluminum weave, carbon-fiber and carbon-fiber/kevlar. All are designed in-house and built to current European standards. Prices start at $280.
Powertye Soft-tye Tie-downs
Powertye Soft-Tyes eliminate the need for separate soft and anchor-type ties. A full 572 feet in length, the U.S.-made, lifetime-warrantied strappage combines 4500-pound-test nylon webbing, Wth-inch vinyl-covered steel hooks and a commercial-grade, non-slip release buckle with a sewn-in soft tie. Per pair suggested retail is $18.
He re’s a nifty little product designed to reduce engine wear by trapping metal particles not already snared by your oil filter. What’s more, it’s reusable! Simply slap Filter Plus on the end of any spin-on filter, and the rubber-covered magnet does the rest. Available through the manufacturer, Filter Plus retails for $7.
Bugs? Brake dust? Road grime? Leave ’em to The Glosser. The wax-filled, microfiber disposables all but do away with bulky wash buckets and detail kits. Simply sweep away dirt and grease, then buff. Works on leather, metal, plastic, rubber and vinyl-anywhere, anytime. Resealable fivepacks run $16.
Kushitani Extreme Suit
If you're itchin' to do some scratchin'. Kushitani's gotcha covered. New from the Japanese leather-maker is the $1700 Extreme suit, a snazzy one-piece get-up produced from soft-’n’-supple Holstein leather. Full Punch Mesh ventilation keeps you cool, while K-Foam protects collarbones elbows/forearms, shoulders and now, the rib cage. Knees get foam-lined plastic cups and replaceable sliders. A washable polyester liner aids ingress, while stretchy Zylon Knit under the arms, inner thighs and back of calves eases movement. Pair the suit with the dual-closure calfskin GPR II gloves ($225) and pigskin-lined, security-strapped Power Max boots ($320). Custom and off-the-rack sizing are available.
SALES OF SUZUKI’S HALFfaired TL1000S may be flagging, but we haven’t seen the last of the S-bike’s fuelinjected 90-degree V-Twin. Not by a longshot. The revvy liquidcooled powerplant may soon find its way into a BMW R1 150GStype all-arounder.
THE V-ROD WASN’T THE only news at HarleyDavidson’s ’02 dealer show. Also announced were two limited-production models from the Custom Vehicle Operations group. First up was the FXDWG3, a customized Dyna Wide Glide that sits lower on special Fox shocks and rides a little sportier with a dirt-track-style handlebar.
Despite rumors suggesting otherwise, Cannondale is full steam ahead for ’02. Look for a ton of revisions to the American-made dirtbikes, most important being reworked fuel-injection. The liquid-cooled, 432cc, reversed-cylinder-head Single now features mapping from Optimum Power Technologies as well as a more powerful Sagem control unit.
Contrary to recently published reports, fatalities among motorcyclists over the age of 35 are not on the rise. According to NHTSA statistics, between 1990 and 1999, the mean age of motorcyclists who were fatally injured rose from 29.3 to 36.5 years of age.
THINGS WERE LOOKING more than a little shaky for the resurrected Indian Motorcycle Company. After a strong start-up in 1999 with lots of hoopla and PR dollars being spread around, there came a serious snag. Inventory was hanging about unsold, forcing the layoff of some 200 workers at the company’s factory, a converted grocery warehouse in Gilroy, California.
Piaggio Is dusting off Its most storied brand: Gilera. While the legendary “Double Ring” has surfaced on Piaggio’s fanciest scooters, last year’s DNA semi-scooter and the world roadracing scene, where Manuel Poggiali leads the 125cc Grand Prix title chase on a Gilera (actually a Derbi painted Gilera Red), the company’s first motorcycle in more than 10 years is a sporty 600cc inline-Four.
Cycle World’s annual “Ten Best Bikes” headlined this month’s issue. In stark contrast to the streetbike bias of today’s selections, there were no fewer than five off-road categories—including Best Trials Bike-making for an even mix.
WHERE IS AMERICAN motorcycle roadracing going? Where can it go might be a better question. We’re all delighted that new racetracks are being built. These include Pennsylvania’s Rausch Creek, Barber’s new track near Birmingham, Alabama, Carolina Motorsports Park and now, the new 2.88mile road course being added to Roger Penskeowned California Speedway.
Build your own bike? That’s the theory behind five new V-Twin-powered customs from Harley-Davidson aftermarket powerhouse Custom Chrome. Starting at $12,499, the Santee-framed Black Widow, Brawler, Hard-Core, Spitfire and Stinger are sold unassembled but complete, you supply the labor and paint.
UP: To Mazda, for offering us the shirt off multi-time AMA Supercross Champion Jeremy McGrath’s back. In trade for a test-drive in one of its new fourwheelers (hopefully, one of the pumped-up B-Series pickups), the Japanese automaker handed out “official” McGrath jerseys-non-muddied, but festooned with sponsor logos.
THE FIRST WAVE OF Honda’s 2002 motocross attack has arrived in the all-new CR125R. The smallest full-size CR comes to us with a heavily tweaked but not totally redone motor. Everything else on the bike, though, centering around Honda’s third-generation aluminum frame, is virtually brand-new.
APOLOGIES TO BEN -AMP;AMP; ERIC OF THE Mighty Mighty Bostroms, but the real star of the Laguna Seca World Superbike weekend never turned a wheel in anger. Instead, Honda’s NAS 1000 sat spiked to a pedestal in the Red Rider compound, surrounded three-deep by slackjaws and lookyloos while marketing-types hovered nearby, clipboards in hand, jotting down reactions.
Buell’s version of the New American Sportbike, coming soon to a Harley dealer near you
ANY CONFUSION OUT there about what the new Buell XB9R Firebolt is all about? In case the 52-inch wheelbase, the 21 -degree steering-head angle or the massive aluminum frame didn’t clue you in to the sporting nature of the newest Buell, we’ll let Erik Buell give you his immodest intent for his latest creation: “It was built to be the greatest backroad bike of all time.
STYLIZED STANDARDS AND TECHNOflaunting naked sportbikes seem to have captured the imagination of designers these days. But pry your gaze away from Honda's NAS futurethink exercise, glance beyond the soonto-be-available Buell Firebolt and take a look at the Bulldog-brainchild of Yamaha’s Italian importer Belgarda.
One family’s snapshots celebrate 100 years of America’s First Motorcycle
THEY STARE BACK AT US FROM ACROSS THE DECADES, sepia-toned snapshots that have now become artifacts of a different time, a different America. Never before published, they document one family’s love affair with the Indian motorcycle, first built in 1901, earliest of the grand old marques of American motorcycling.
TRUTH BE TOLD, THE GREAT DEPRESSION really killed Indian. It just took another 25 years for the breathing to stop. Once the largest producer of motorcycles on Earth, Indian had gradually given up its place-first to Harley-Davidson, then to imported British brands-through a painful, slow decline.
GOT A JONES TO BE LONG GONE ON A GUZZI? UNLESS YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT riding one of the company’s touring cruisers, you’ve been out of luck for the past decade and a half. The storied factory on the shores of Lake Como hasn’t produced a proper sport-tourer since the 1987 SPIII. But now, thanks to a redesign of the 2000-2001 V11 Sport, there again is a bonafide long-distance mount in the company catalog.
I SHOULD NOT LIKE THIS ENGINE. IT torques the bike sideways when you blip the throttle, it’s air-cooled and has pushrods and two valves per cylinder and isn’t about to win any horsepower wars. And yet I find its tractorlike torque, lazy lope and top-end thrum irresistible.
ARE YOU A MOTO GUZZI OWNER tired of running into other Guzzis everywhere you go? Or maybe you’re a Magni Guzzi owner who’s just had it with all the other Magnis in the parking lot when you pop down to the store for some provisions? Yeah, right. Even regular Guzzis aren’t very common, and the handcrafted Magni versions are rarer than good Italian beer.
TODAY’S PHRASE IS UN PICCOLO NASTRO. IF I can just find “a little tape,” I might be able to stop the oil seeping past the threads of my 1957 MV Agusta 125’s crankcase breather and thereby remedy the last of my problems. But in order to find a little tape, I first must do what I’ve been doing ever since the Motogiro d’ltalia got underway three days ago-point to the affected part of my motorcycle, gesticulate wildly while speaking my personal brand of Italianized Español and wait for one of the other competitors to tell me how to say what it is I need to ask for.
TIME TO CLOCK OUT for our long-term DR-Z400E, and the overtime pay in this case has truly been earned. Our firstmodel-year testbike was rarely left sitting as we explored all dirt avenues and came away pretty impressed. Suzuki has built an all-around off-road bike that is hard to beat, and we used , ours for everything from easy : trail rides to challenging offroad Grand Prix races.
WORLD SUPERBIKE AND AMA SUPERBIKE, ALL IN ONE WEEKEND, AND 90,000 people decided they couldn’t pass this up. When Ben Bostrom said after finishing fourth and third in last year’s Laguna Seca WSB round, “We’ll come back next year and win both of ’em for sure,” he predicted only part of the truth.
“The 30-second board goes sideways, the starting gate drops and they’re off! Grabbing the holeshot is Jim ‘Hollywood’ Holley, with the ‘Golden Boy’ Broc Glover and Ron ‘The Machine’ Lechien right behind!” The announcer babbles excitedly, frenetic fans whip their T-shirts over the trackside fences and Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” booms over the RA. system.
COME YE, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, AND follow the path to moto-boot right eousness. Do not cast out your weary soles, but send them forth for salvation! If you’ve always felt it was sinful to buy new off-road boots every time the soles on your old ones wore out, take heart-there is a less expensive alternative.
ANYONE PAYING ATTENTION TO GRAND Prix racing over the past decade has certainly noticed the widespread use of carbon-fiber brake rotors. While much too expensive for general street use, these feathery discs do improve a bike’s handling.
Last February, I bought a beautiful 1996 Ducati 900SS with just 90 miles on the clock. It belonged to a 65-year-old guy who owns seven other bikes and only rode the Ducati three times. I have a lot of technical experience and have owned (and maintained) many motorcycles, but I’m worried about a valve noise on my Ducati.
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