IF IT’S THE END OF THE YEAR, THEN IT must be time to pick the International Bike of the Year, a polling of moto-magazine editors from around the world, now in its 17th year of pontification. Rules are simple: The bike has to be a series-production 2001 model-no boutique specials or early-release ’02s allowed.
YESTERDAY WAS A DAY OF BIG MOTORcycle plans. It was projected to be one of the last warm, balmy days of late autumn by our “Storm Team” TV weather forecasters, who, I’ve noticed, seem to issue a forecast every day whether there’s a storm coming or not.
WHEN I WAS BUILDING RACING MOtorcycles, my plan had no room for appearance because my budget had no room for it. I always assumed that if the parts were located where they had to be, and connected appropriately, then decently covered by somebody’s fiberglass, the result had to be good-looking.
I read Brian Catterson’s remarks on that butt-ugly V-Rod. What should be important to him is the “finite number of old-school bikers” who are looking forward to bitch-slapping him for his comments about us! When is his next public appearance, so I can get in line?
If today’s pierced-nippled, Metal Mulisha types have you doubled over with laughter, MSR’s new camouflage Evader Series may fit you to a tee. Made to the same standards as the rest of the company’s dirt apparel, the Evader jacket sports a fleece collar, mesh liner, handwarmer pockets and anatomically curved arms. It’s manufactured from water-resistant, 500-denier cordura-nylon, same as the Evader pants ($82), which also boast long-wearing kevlar knee panels, spandex calf inserts and a left-leg cargo pocket. Ammo not included.
How to make your 2000-02 Yamaha YZ250/400/426F stand out in a sea of true-blue Thumpercrossers? Dress it up with Fastway Rhino graphics. Each $60 kit comes with perforated gas-tank and radiator-shroud decals, plus swingarm stickers.
Say goodbye to brake dust, road grime, tar and water spots with Meguiar's new Hot Rims/Cool Care All Wheel Cleaner. Neat thing is, it's safe for use on all wheel coatings-anodized, chromed, cleared, painted, polished, etc. Retailing for Price $5 the 24-ounce spray is available at most auto-parts stores.
One-up your buddies with ProShow s snap-together tile floors. Quick and easy to lay down and pull up, they're great in the paddock and at the local concours d'elegance. Plus, the non-slip, heat-retardant design is available in 11 standard colors, with custom hues and silk-screened graphics of fered as options. Per-square-foot pricing starts at $3.20. ProShow also sells a full line of pit accessories, from aluminum-framed wall systems and water-cooled fans to folding barri ers and cargo karts.
Holy halogens! Headwinds' machined-aluminum Honda Valkyrie Vee Bar serves as the starting point for a host of custom lighting options, including the 7-inch Mariah Concours Rocket headlight, 41/2inch Mariah Bullet spotlights and matching 3-inch turnsignals shown here. Headwinds sells a huge selection of high-style products (more than 100 headlights alone!) for American and Japanese motorcycles. The Vee Bar retails for $286, and comes with a windshield adapter plate.
Four-time 250cc World Champion Max Biaggi had a tough time of it this past season. Trying to bring down eventual 500cc-class titletopper Valentino Rossi, the diminutive Italian ended up on his head more times than he'd care to remember. Credit for Biaggi's current cognizance, then, must surely go to his Suomy Gunwind helmet. Tipping the scales at a claimed 3.2 pounds, the bag molded Biaggi Replica boasts a wind-tunnel-developed shell, an Ui/ / tralure liner, anti-fog shield, plus brow, chin and scalp venting. Be like Max for $400. :1
Call'em what you will-groin guards, package protectors, sack sentinels-Ryza’s Magnetic Tank Pad and velcro-inplace Racing Tank Pad have but one purpose: protect the family jewels from potentially painful collisions with your motorcycle’s gas tank. Covered in black vinyl, the spongy $30 protuberances arc guaranteed against untimely lift-off.
WHAT PRICE patriotism? In the case of Z Custom Leathers' new Patriot jacket $605 There are cer tainly less costly riding gar ments, hut few incorporate such features as semi-cus tom sizing, brass zippers, competition-weight leather, and shoulder and elbow!
Sauber may partner with Triumph for a three-cylinder 900cc World Superbike-eligible model. Reason? The breathtaking cost of Sauber's MotoGP design-$1O million per year for a two-rider team-is more appropriate to the of a large corporation than a GP team.
SAUBER’S NEW 968CC Mk. II Triple made its racetrack debut last October at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Its three high-revving cylinders filled the air with a shattering four-stroke howl. The maker’s full name is Sauber Petronas Engineering, which is a Malaysian-backed, Swiss-based engineering company that has been active in Formula One.
Looking to bring the excitement of the made-for-television “X Games” to street riding, Yamaha has created its own extreme machine, the disc-braked, monoshocked Tricker. The powerplant, a sohc, air-cooled, 223cc Single sourced from the dual-purpose XT225, is housed in a matte-gray aluminum beam frame.
Fancy spending a behind-the-scenes week with none other than former AMA 250cc National and three-time World Champion Greg Albertyn? Then sign up for the South African’s ultimate motorsports vacation, and you’ll become a factory motocrosser, with opportunities to ride race-prepped machines at various Southern California tracks, and tour industry hot-spots such as Pro Circuit and Troy Lee Designs.
QUESTION: WHEN IS A Norton not merely a lovable old lump of British iron? Answer: When Kenny Dreer & Company get through with it. The scarlet screamer you see before you is Dreer's latest creation, a hot-rod VR880 Commando so swimming in modern tackle it forced the man to form a new company Used to be "Vintage Rebuilds," but since there aren't many vintage or rebuilt parts on the bikes anymore, the new business cards read "Norton America" (log on to www.nortonamerica.com.
An “Off-Color Guide to Daytona Speedweek,” Kawasaki’s “little brother-to-the-Z1 ” KZ650 and Yamaha’s newly monoshocked DT250 and DT400 were blurbed big on this month’s cover, complementing a blue-sky-backdrop image of a soaring 400.
What makes up a motorcycle? If it’s a Gas Gas TXT280 Pro, apparently not much. The Spanish marque’s new flagship trials mount is reputed to weigh a mere 144 pounds dry, which is a full 20 pounds less than last year’s model. The all-new, case-reed two-stroke engine and “miniaturized” sixspeed gearbox is only 6 inches wide, making it nearly 2 inches narrower than before.
NAKED BIKES ARE THE hottest thing going, and the newest addition to this growing niche is Ghezzi & Brian’s latest Moto Guzzi-based creation, the showstopping Furia. The Italian specialty shop started with its SuperTwin 1100 frame, a steel box-section, single-shock design incorporating the airbox.
UP: To Jay Leno, for off-loading one of his many motorcycles to help the victims of last September’s terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The “Tonight Show” host auctioned off his celebrity-autographed 2001 HarleyDavidson Dyna Low Rider on e-Bay last October, raising a whopping $360,200 for the Twin Towers Fund.
FEW BIKES HAVE SUCH A strong following as Yamaha’s WR426F. Chalk it up to the WR’s all-around competence. With a few minor modifications, it can go from trailbike to competitive cross-country, desert, enduro or grand prix racer.
THE 1300 SUZUKI Hayabusa B-KING...SUPERCHARGED engine...“Way over 200 bhp”...concept-bike bombshell of the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show. Five hundred and fifty million years ago, sea life on our planet burst into wild variety in a kind of huge natural experiment.
Like the name implies, a sportbike with four wheels
G S X - R / 4
IT'S ABOUT AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN get to riding a motorcycle.” When describing the attributes of a sports car, no other words are more praiseworthy. During my years of driving sporty four-wheel machines for Road & Track, I’ve come to realize that the more a sports car can convey the feeling of riding a motorcycle, the better it’s received.
Half-naked, completely zero to 180 mph in 8 seconds
THE AURA IS ONE OF EVIL AND MENACE, BUT THE PURPOSE IS pure. And while there's nothing subtle about this 500-horse-power dragbike, subtlety is the only way to make the Nxt Level Racing Hayabusa work. How else could you possibly get a motorcycle with so much horsepower, no wheelie bar and a DOT tire down the dragstrip in 8 seconds or less at more than 180 mph?
THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME THE BOSS has tried to kill me with a Hayabusa. First, it was our 1999 copper-colored long-termer, then it was Rad Greaves’ 185-horsepower Formula Xtreme roadracer. Now this. This" is Nxt Level Racing's Street sleeper, a piece of wicked, turbocharged 350-horsepower moto-missile construct-ed to make suckers out of dudes who think they've got a quick bike, and also to scare the crap out of motorcycle mag-azine editors.
Past and present collide as road-racing legend Wes Cooley samples a pair of street-legal Suzuki Superbikes
NEXT TIME YOU FIND YOURSELF STARING AT THE Suzuki sportbike in your garage, spare a thought for Wes Cooley. In the formative years of production-based Superbike racing, Cooley and his peers were sort of two-wheeled Chuck Yeagers, risking life and limb piloting dangerous, untested machines at absurd velocities.
AIN’T NOTHIN' WRONG WITH SUZUKI’S GSX-RIOOO. HAMAMATSU’S OPEN-CLASS repli-racer cranks out a whopping 144 horsepower at its 190mm-wide rear Dunlop, tips the scales at a scant 407 pounds and tops out at a faceshield-flattening 175 mph.
Bored with the acceleration of a Hayabusa or GSX-RI000? Star Racing's championship-winning Pro Stocker makes the average streetbike look about as quick as a rock
THINK TODAY’S KING streetbikes turn quick zero-to-60-mph times? Think again. Two-point-five seconds may sound impressive if you’re comparing a Suzuki GSXR1000 to a car, but it’s so far from a Pro Stock dragbike as to be embarrassing.
TERRY VANCE IS GLAD TO BE ALIVE. BECAUSE ONE SUMMER 20 years ago on the first Vance & Hines Top Fuel dragbike, the man wasn’t sure if he was going to make it. The reason was this Suzuki GS1100-based machine, a supercharged, injected, nitromethane-fueled 1325cc missile packing some 800 horsepower and putting it to the ground via a 14-inch-wide car-racing slick.
ETCHED IN THE BACK OF MY mind were the quote-encased words of Erik Buell. A statement that stood out like a glowing neon sign in the Firebolt XB9R preview we ran in the October, 2001, issue. “It was built to be the greatest backroad bike of all time.
ALL YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW about the RW750 is how it got its name. "RW stood for Road Warrior-as in the movie," explains Erik Buell. "It was just me and the bike against the barbarians of the motorcycle world." Everything and nothing has changed since then.
Seventy years ago, a motor officer decided he could build a better bike, and that people would want it. He did. They didn't.
"GENTLEMAN," A TERM BOTH USED AND ABUSED, IS A perfect fit on LeGrand Jordan. He's 82, a retired motorcycle patrolman, still straight as an arrow. Quoting scripture, his eye is not dimmed nor his nat-ural force abated. When Jordan joined the California Highway Patrol in 1930, he liked the job.
LeGrand Jordan died on November 9, 2001, at his home in Malibu, California, aged 100, just as this issue was being put to bed. He was, as King James wrote, full of honors. The Jordan Four is with us still, the prize exhibit (for some of us, anyway) at the Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, California.
IT’S SO SIMPLE, ISN’T IT? Straight, left, straight, left in a semi-circle, just like they’ve done for a hundred years now. Why hasn't dirt-track racing changed in a century? I heard it said once that the easier it is to do something, the harder it is to excel at it.
EACH MONTH, A STACK OF European motomags arrives here at the CW offices. We routinely skim through the foreign press in search of that exclusive Euro-only model we all swear we’d buy if only it were imported to this country. I also grew increasingly envious of another aspect of twowheeled sport abroad.
LET’S FACE IT, WE RIDERS are the original bag people. If you use a motorcycle for anything other than ego gratification, you’re going to need a way to carry stuff-either on the bike or on your person. The latter task is where Chase Harper’s new Sport Tour H20 comes in.
Four days, three countries: Life on the road with a European speedway star
THIS IS A TRIP IN THE SHADOW OF ONE OF THE world’s top speedway racers, four crazy days in the draft of the sport’s 2000 World Champion, Mark Loram. Morning, noon and night, in airports, on planes, on the starting line or in the back of the race van, his itinerary over the course of the eight-month season would break lesser men in half.
Sure, we know being old is the point of Vet racing. No, wait, winning is the point of Vet racing, but you do have to be “of a certain age” to be able to participate. Doug Dubach has both points covered. Since he turned 30 (eight years ago), he’s been killing his cronies at the White Brothers Vet World Championship, held annually at Southern California’s Glen Helen Raceway.
In the June, 2001, issue, you answered a letter from the owner of a 2000 Honda CBR929RR (“‘RR’ means rattle, rattle”) that was making a loud rattling noise at 5000 to 5500 rpm, and you told him that the noise was caused by the bushings in the Honda Titanium Exhaust Valve (HTEV).
When rebuilding or reassembling an engine’s top end, you need to prevent the connecting rods from flopping around any time you have to rotate the crankshaft. Here’s an easy, fail-safe method requiring just two everyday rubber bands per rod.
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