ALL RIGHT, ALREADY, I CAN TAKE A hint! Seems I was destined to own a new Kawasaki ZRX 1200 musclebike, so I just gave in to kismet and bought one. Here’s my rationalization and I’m stickin’ to it: Eighteen years ago, a wet-nosed reporter for Cycle News, on staff for all of two months, I was handed the keys to a hulking, lime-green KZ1000R, universally known as the Eddie Lawson Replica, and told to go riding.
“IT’S ALL SET,” MY FRIEND MIKE CECchini said over the phone, long distance from Bethesda, Maryland. “I’ve entered you in the Ducati Owners Club of Canada annual rally at Grattan, Michigan. I’ve rented a garage at the track, which you can share with me, and I got you a room at the Candlestone Motel near the track.” “Okay,” I said, chuckling at the irresistible streamlined efficiency of it all, “you finally pinned me down.
MOTORCYCLES CAN NOW BE MADE anywhere in the world where there is capital, labor and demand. This means it is no longer necessary to have a national tradition of established brands in order to enter the market. The first example was England.
I wonder how many of your editorial staff, not to mention your readers, could see the irony of your story on Harley’s new V-Rod? I say ironic because who would have guessed that good old Harley-Davidson would upstage mighty Honda with a similar bike some 700cc smaller!
Got kids? The $150 E-Z Trainer takes the trepidation out of putting tots on two-wheelers by doing away with teartriggering tip-overs. Patented easy-on/off training wheels affix to most auto-clutch minis, such as Honda’s XR50R, Husqvarna’s CR50, KTM’s 50 Mini Adventure, Suzuki’s JR50 and Yamaha’s PW50.
Metro Legend Series T-Shirts
If you’re seeking instant credibility at post-ride bench-racing sessions, try clothing yourself in a Metro Racing Legends Series T-shirt. With their timeless styling and rider-autographed sleeves, Tony DiStefano, Mcrt Lawwill, Dick Mann, Gary Nixon, Jim Pomeroy and Marty Smith replica wear will have your buddies drooling with envy! Prices start at $18. Legend logos may also be found on Metro’s line of denim jackets and shirts, mechanic’s aprons and sweatshirts.
Oxtar T.C.S. Boots
What’s Oxtar, you ask? A new brand of roadracing boots, that’s what. Top of the line is the $225 T.C.S. 7600, which earns its name from its patented Torsion Control System. Engineered to minimize ankle twisting in the event of a crash, the boot is further fortified by an anatomically correct heel cup, zippered/velcro closure, and replaceable calf and toe sliders. Get ’em in black, blue or red, in sizes 8-13.
Wolfman XL Mag Tank Bag
If you're planning a road trip and need additional on-bike cargo space, you may want to opt for Wolfman's XL Mag Tank Bag. Its zippered 16-liter central compartment is complemented by front, side, top and interior mesh pockets for a full 30 liters of storage. The foam-backed, no-scratch bottom contains nine 25-pound-pull magnets for secure mounting on practically any steel gas tank. (A non-magetic, strap-down version is also available.) As with all Wolfman products, the XL Mag (in red or black for $125, or $140 for Millennium Series, shown) comes with a lifetime warranty.
CruzTools Powerdrive T-Sockets
T-handle sockets are a musthave for any bike mechanic, professional or otherwise. CruzTools has taken the concept one step farther by adding a clever "sliding"T that pro vides extra lever age when needed. as well as the ability to drive fasteners within a limited turn ing radius. Cold-forged with heat-treated deep well chrome-vanadium sockets, PowerDrive T handles are available in 8, 10, 12 and 14mm sizes for $10 each, or as a four-piece set for $38.
LeoVince X3 Series
$305 to $413
Known mostly for its track-oriented repli-racer exhaust systems, Italy’s LeoVince now produces a range of four-stroke dirtbike pipes. Elliptically shaped X3 Series slip-ons come in two forms: Open and FIM. The former uses a semi-straightWlk through core mated to an aluminum or titanium shell, and is rated at 100 decibels. Also available in alloy or Ti, the latter is FIM cornil petition-legal, with stainless-steel “twinchamber” 96-dba baffling. Retail ranges from $305 to $413. Complete systems are in development.
Power Source Batteries
There’s nothing like a dead-or dying-battery to ruin your ride. Available for most motorcycles, AT Vs and personal watercraft, Power Source Absorbed Glass Mat batteries are said to provide greater coldcranking amperage and lower discharge rates than conventional flooded designs. Prices start at $30.
RS Taichi Gore Windstopper Inner Suit
Okay, Mr. l-put-mybike-in-storage-atthe-first-frost, listen up: If you can’t cope with chilly riding conditions, RS Taichi’s Gore Windstopper Inner Suit otters a breathable, lightweight alternative to, well, freezing. Patterned after the Japanese leather-maker’s ingress-easing Mawas Inner Suit, the breeze-belittling Gore Windstopper Inner Suit was originally designed for use under roadracing leathers, but it also works well beneath other types of riding apparel, from full-blown touring getups to double-jumping moto-wear. Feel the heat in Japanese sizes M. L, LL, 3L, 4L and 5L, in blue only, for $135.
SUZUKI AND KAWASAKI, Japan’s number three and four motorcycle producers, announced this past August in Tokyo that they would form a “strategic business relationship.” Areas of collaboration will include product development, original-equipment supply, commonizing parts and components, joint purchasing and manufacturing.
IT SEEMED TOO GOOD TO BE true, and maybe it was. For four glorious days in early September, residents of Orange County, California, again had a motocross track to call their own. After 2 1/2 years of hard work, partners Brad Etter, Alan Herrmann and Jon Waller opened up their new Saddleback Motorsports Park on the shore of Irvine Lake, about one mile down the road from the old Saddleback Park, the legendary offroad riding area which closed due to insurance hassles in 1984.
Yamaha’s YZR-M1 is no hotted-up YZF-R1 slotted into Max Biaggi’s YZR500 chassis. Studio photographs of the stripped-down future Grand Prix contender reveal a purpose-built package from front to rear. The absolutely massive Deltabox-type frame is complemented by an equally enormous aluminum swingarm, radially mounted brake calipers and latest-generation 16.5inch wheels.
Time was, touring Costa Rica meant getting dirty—really dirty. And while that’s still possible, MotoAdventures’ new on-road tours provide a paved alternative to messing around in the muck. Covering approximately 1000 miles (with an average of five corners per mile in the mountains) in five days, tour-takers visit three volcanoes and the Central American country’s Pacific Coast on Triumph Sprints.
TIMES HAVE CERTAINLY changed. Only a decade ago, motorcyclists seemingly had it all over car guys. Even the lowliest sportbikes had four valves per cylinder and dual overhead camshafts, while four-wheelers often made do with bendy pushrods, a single cam buried somewhere near the crankshaft and one measly intake valve per pot.
Christmas, 1976, was a good time for horsepower junkies. The then-new Kawasaki KZ1000 made a claimed 83 bhp and knocked off a 12.19-second quartermile, making it the quickest stocker available. Doesn’t seem like much these days what with Suzuki’s 144bhp GSX-R1000 running in the high 9s, but I’m sure 25 years from now we’ll have a laugh about it in light of 2026 liter-bikes that make 185 bhp.
BEGIN WITH THE BAD news, that this Chieftain Mk. XII tank, the ex-Cal Rayborn Harley XR750 and the only XR750 that Kenny Roberts Sr. ever raced, are parked. They are parked because not even Jim Feuling, creator of the Harley-based Feuling W3 (CW, October, 2000) gets everything his way.
First a Suzuki-engined repli-racer, now a new V-Twin! Piaggio is obviously serious about reviving grand old Gilera. Based on the sohc, liquid-cooled Single that powers Piaggio’s X9 scoot er, the 90-degree, four-valve-per-cylinder, 840cc V-motor is said to make 85 horsepower at 8000 rpm and 61 footpounds of torque at 6500 rpm.
UP: To Urban Ecology, for giving bikes a fair shake. The magazine’s Summer, 2001, cover story lauded the ecological advantages of two-wheeled travel. Wrote author John Anner, “None of this country’s leading environmental organizations or magazines suggests that commuters buy motorcycles as an alternative to cars.
With KTM’s new Openclass V-Twin waiting in the wings, is there still a market for the singlecylinder Duke II? Absolutely, because there’s no better bike for coping with the pot-holed rigors of urban decay. As was the case with the original Duke, the current model bridges the gap between dirt and street.
A VFR800 WITH VTEC VALVETRAIN AND OPTIONAL HARD BAGS? A lighter, more powerful CBR954RR? The long-awaited ST 1300 sport-tourer? The Honda Naked Bike missing link, one powered by a 919cc Four plucked from the old CBR900RR? A heavily massaged RC51?
Judging by press materials, Honda’s Superbike-starter-kit RC51 has been listening to inspirational tapes. The speaker? Honda Racing Corporation. For in just about every significant aspect, the RC51 has been altered for better performance.
You’d expect a couple of four-stroke Honda playbikes to be part of the XR family, but this new pair of 2003 off-roaders-the CRF230F and CRF150F-are meant to bask in the performance glow created by the new four-stroke CRF450R motocrosser. A Honda spokesman admitted that they were only a subtle departure from the XR line, but that styling and things like narrower seats help to differentiate the little CRFs.
Honda doesn’t want you to think of the Silver Wing 600 as a scooter. More of a superbike in skirts, it takes the small-wheel segment to a new level in the U.S., both in terms of performance and price. Power comes from a 582cc dohc four-stroke parallel-Twin with a pair of balance shafts and Honda’s V-Matic automatic transmission.
THE ITALIAN MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY IS experiencing a bit of a shake-up. Sales of motorcycles are up 2.5 percent from the year 2000, but sales of scooters-traditionally a very important market in Italy-have nose-dived 33 percent. Piaggio, the leading scooter manufacturer in Europe, has the resources to counter the situation.
There’s a new player on the big-bike scene: KTM. The Austrian firm debuted its first-ever twin-cylinder engine in the prototype LC8 at last year’s Munich Show, but now that engine is a thundering reality, powering the ultimate Paris-Dakar racer, the 950 Rally, and its road-going alternative, the upcoming 950 Adventure.
Aprilia’s honcho makes public his plans for resurrecting the legendary eagle from Mandello del Lario
Q. Mr. Beggio, how would you describe your first few months as president of Moto Guzzi? A. It has been a very positive experience, especially since sales have increased 30 percent with basically the same models that we inherited from the previous ownership.
AS MODEL NAMES GO, “V-STROM” MAY NOT have the staying power of GSX-R, Katana or even DR-Z. Good thing this new TL1000-engined “sport enduro tourer” has other merits on which to stand. In fact, if Suzuki’s gushing description of the new DL1000 is accurate, buyers will likely care less what name is plastered to the fairing sides; they’ll just want to ride.
Reigning 500cc World Champion Kenny Roberts Jr. hasn’t enjoyed the best of title defenses, what with only one podium finish so far this season (see Race Watch, this issue). So, why not show your support for the man from Modesto by popping for a 2002 Team Telefonica Movistar Suzuki Limited Edition GSX-R600?
SUZUKI IS REALLY THE ONLY JAPANESE MANUFACturer attacking the dual-purpose market head-on. Other brands have old-style bikes holding the fort, or leave it to customers to take a dirtbike and convert it into a street-licensable mount, which is becoming increasingly difficult due to tighter DOT and EPA standards.
THERE’S THIS ROAD, MY CHOSEN TEMPLE OF TARMAC, the name and location of which I cannot divulge. Its very existence can be attributed to the timber industry, which swept through the area, leaving behind a swath of scarred landscape-and a perfectly paved section of swervery for delivery of felled trees to lumber mills.
If George Jetson were into motorcycles, this would be his ride. Looking like some sort of Sixties vision of the future, the Futura’s controversial styling leaves onlookers with mixed emotions. But there’s no hemming and hawing over the performance of the Futura’s RSV Millederived 998cc V-Twin engine, which was stout enough to earn the Italian machine Best Sport-Touring honors in Cycle World's 2001 Ten Best Bikes competition. Will it repeat in 2002? Don’t bet against it.
The Germans arguably created the sport-touring motorcycle, and have been refining the concept ever since. The K1200RS is the four-cylinder variant, powered by BMW’s unique laydown longitudinal inline K-motor, said to produce 130 horsepower. The early-release 2002 model is already in dealerships, boasting a new upper fairing and integrated anti-lock brakes. Big and bulbous, the K12 is best suited for cruising at very high speeds over very long distances. That’s the point, isn’t it?
Latest evolution of the R100RS that ushered in fully faired sport-touring bikes more than two decades ago, the eight-year-old R1100RS finally receives some muchdeserved modifications for 2002. As evidenced by its new name, the R1150RS benefits from the new 1130cc engine (up from 1085cc) that graces the rest of BMW’s Boxer-Twin line, replete with six-speed transmission. Also notable are the Evo servo-assisted front disc brakes with optional linked Integral ABS.
You’ve read about the ST4s, here are Ducati’s other two sport-tourers. Introduced in 1998, the ST2 is powered by a fuelinjected, liquidcooled, 944cc version of the venerable twovalve, sohc 900SS engine, renowned for its eminently usable power. The ST4 debuted one year later, boasting the higher-revving, higher-horsepower, four-valve, dohc V-Twin from the 916 Superbike. Both emphasize the sport side of the sport-touring equation, as Italian bikes should.
Honda has no fewer than three sporttourers for 2002. You can read about the new ST1300 and VFR800 VTEC elsewhere in this issue. The remaining model is the 10-year-old ST1100, a past Ten Best Bikes winner that in decidedly un-Honda fashion is staying in the lineup in the face of its “replacement” coming online. The longitudinal V-Four-powered machine is available in two versions, standard and with ABS II, which combines anti-lock and linked brakes with traction control.
You could call the new ZZR1200 a warmed over ZX-11 and not be too far off the mark. After all, the ZZR is based on the same platform as the one-time King of Speed. But to do so would be to overlook the many changes aimed at making the ZZR an exceptional sporttourer. Among these are the grunty 1164cc four-cylinder engine from the ZRX1200, more comfortable ergonomics, a larger gas tank and a new fairing that’s more aerodynamic and modern-looking. Givi saddlebags are optional.
They don’t get much longer in the tooth than the “new-for-1986” Concours, but old Snaggletooth is still a worthy sport-tourer, backed by one of the most enthusiastic owner’s clubs anywhere. Ridden in the company of more contemporary motorcycles, the Ninja 1000-powered machine feels dated, but if you never rode anything newer, you probably wouldn’t find anything to complain about. You certainly can’t fault the price, because at $8199, the Concours costs roughly half as much as its more expensive competition.
Before there was the Yamaha FJR1300, there was the Triumph Trophy 1200, a roomy, stable sport-tourer with a Saturn rocket engine stuffed inside its fairing. Seriously, this 1180cc Four packs so much thrust, shifting is largely optional, and power-wheelies are par for the course, even two-up with luggage! Largely unchanged since its 1996 makeover, the Trophy returns for 2002 in two new color schemes, Azure Blue and Emerald Green.
Voted Best Sport-Touring Bike of 1999, the Sprint ST receives the new, third-generation 955cc engine for 2002. Rated at 120 horsepower, this 12-valve, dohc Triple features shrink-wrapped, die-cast cases that help shave 5.5 pounds from the engine alone. A new airbox, fuel-injection system and exhaust boost the Sprint’s already commodious midrange power. And like Ducati’s sport-tourers, the Triumph’s muffler pivots up for sport riding, and down to accommodate the standard saddlebags.
Behold the forbidden fruit of Japan. For some reason that defies all logic, Yamaha USA won’t be bringing this potent new 1298cc Four stateside this coming year. Having flogged the bike on a recent tour of the Alps, all we can say is, that’s a real shame. The FJR picks up where its vaunted predecessor, the FJ1200, left off, combining the most potent engine in its class with a comfy upright seating position that’s perfect for triple-digit sightseeing. Oh well, there’s always 2003...
Just as it’s hard to tell the players without a scorecard, it’s difficult to tell the sport-tourers without their saddlebags. We here at Cycle World have just one criterion for determining what is a sport-touring motorcycle, and it is this: Hard luggage must be available from the manufacturer.
The next chapter for America's "other" cruiser starts with a redrawn motor
SO, LET'S SEE, UP TO 25 PERCENT MORE POWER, HUH? And 10 percent better fuel consumption? Oh, and 100 percent better looking, you say? Such prolific claims coming from Victory Motorcycles in regard to its redone “Freedom” V-Twin motor might be met with a bit of skepticism.
No secret, really, that Victory Motorcycles has not exactly set the sales charts ablaze. In a year when HarleyDavidson will sell 200,000 units, Victory will be lucky to move...well, let’s just say Milwaukee ain’t exactly looking over its shoulder.
RETRO JUST SEEMS SO... YESTERDAY, DON’T YOU THINK? But, of course, that’s the point. The Bonneville America is Triumph’s new twist on the oldbike theme, and, strictly speaking, it’s the British company’s first purpose-built cruiser.
While the Cruiser Dept, over at Triumph was busy rounding up focus groups and such to figure out how to get a slice of the fat American (oh, the ugly truth...) retro-custom market, the sporty guys were keepin’ it real on the performance end. But that’s the cool thing about performance bikes-none of that marketing voodoo about “history” and “authenticity,” retro’s just old!
REMEMBER THE VERTEMATI BROTHERS? NO? WELL, here’s a quick history to bring you up to speed. The Italian duo ran the Grand Prix motocross team for Husqvarna, then Husaberg, until they decided they could build better bikes themselves-which they did, handcrafting some seriously scrumptious berm-busters.
Back-country tourers of the world unite, your ride is ready! BMW’s R1150GS Adventure, all 550 pounds of It, may just be the ground-poundingest, rock-crunchingest dual-sporter ever to strap on a set of knobbies. Based on the standard GS, the Adventure is rigged for desert duty with the addition of burlied-up suspension, especially at the rear, which features a long-travel WP shock.
ONE LOOK AT THE 2002 KXs AND IT’S, LIKE, “Where’re the changes?” Well, get out the tech sheet or hop on the saddle and you’ll find Kawasaki’s hidden secrets. Fork-tube diameter on both the 125 and 250 has been increased from 46 to 48mm, while the wall thickness of the tubes was decreased to keep weight down.
IT’S NO SURPRISE TO ME THAT KTM NOW makes the fastest production 125.I raced for the Austrian factory in the early ’90s, and my 125 was worlds faster than any other eighth liter bike I rode until the end of the decade. I knew the stock bikes could make competitive power, it was just a matter of getting them set-up like the factory bikes, which simply used carefully assembled production motors.
DO SADDLEBAGS AND A WINDscreen make a motorcycle more open-road ready and, in turn, a sales-floor success? In the case of Harley-Davidson’s new-for-2001 Dyna Super Glide T-Sport, the answers are a resounding yes and, well, the jury’s still out on the second question.
SURELY THE BEST WAY TO PRAISE A BOOK IS NOT TO tell everything, to hold back the inside data, which, thanks to the book, the reviewer now knows and the potential reader would like to learn. Consider it praise, then, that any Harley fan who wants to know the real story behind the Softail-and the facts aren’t what you’ve been told-will have to read this book.
ROADRACE FANS WHO TAKE THEIR SPORT SERIOUSLY know that the view from the grandstands is a very limited one. You can see action from the grandstand, but to understand the life of racing you must cross the track to where it is lived-in the garage area, on pit lane and along the rows of team transporters.
WHEN IT COMES TO PROTECTING MOtorcyclists in a high-speed tumble, nothing beats a set of one-piece roadracing leathers. If there’s a downside, it’s that said leathers are dang near impossible to shrug off, particularly after they’ve become soaked with sweat.
CHOICE OF COLORS AND FOAM PROtection aside, motocross gloves are pretty much all the same, right? Not Acerbis’ Carbon G gloves. These are dirt mitts with a street spin. Lots of thought went into this design. Carbon-fiber knuckle guards are the obvious addition, but other aspects of the gloves are cutting-edge, too.
KENNY ROBERTS JR. WON last year’s 500cc World Championship on a Suzuki. This season, though, has been a mitigated disaster. Despite brilliant starts and early leads, Roberts and his RGV500 are soon overwhelmed by the opposition, who pass him as if in procession.
In both AMA and World Superbike racing, Twins get 1000cc displacement, Triples get 900 and Fours get 750. In the 14-year history of WSB, Twins have won all but four titles, causing people now to call the series “Battle of the Twins.” Here in the U.S., Honda’s RC51 Twin has a clear power advantage even if it can’t always apply it.
My 2001 Harley-Davidson Sportster is really an attention-getter. When I ride it through town, people stop and stare-but not because of its classic styling, highquality chrome or readily identifiable exhaust sound. Instead, they’re trying to figure out where that awful, grating, screeching sound is coming from.
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