CALL OFF THE BLOODHOUNDS, CANCEL the all-points bulletins, send the psychics packing. Mad Max, our long-lost 1986 project Yamaha, has been located. A couple of issues back, we tried to track down the wayward V-Max, subject of our "Takin' it to the 9s" retrospective from March of '87.
TWENTY-TWO YEARS AGO, WHEN I WAS hired at Cycle World, my wife Barbara and I sold our house in Wisconsin and moved to California. Determined to avoid the dreaded L.A. freeway commute, we rented a little house in Newport Beach, about six blocks from the CW office.
THE COMING OF FOUR-STROKE GP RACing this spring will focus intense development on combustion chamber design. At mid-century, when strokes were bigger than bores and all engines had two valves per cylinder, the way to get rapid, efficient combustion was to direct intake flow into the cylinder on a tangent, creating a turbulent rotary charge swirl around the cylinder axis.
"Back Seat Rider" (CW, March) elevated the literary tone of your consistently excellent publication. The lovely Ms. Tweeden's use of metaphor and imagery was...arresting. She delicately hints at a willingness to contribute again; I would respectfully suggest that the only gentlemanly thing to do is accede to the lady's request.
How to get more go from your Malaguti? Try fitting a Giannelli hop-up kit. Equipped with a clear-coated, kevlar-canned expansion chamber, larger carburetor main jet, new clutch springs and lightweight variator rollers, the Foggy Ducati Replica shown here jumped its top speed from 30 to nearly 60 mph. Not bad for a $149 bolt-on! Kits for other models are also available.
Gio Moto, Inc.
Total Movement Knee Protector
Take to the dirt with confidence in AXO's new Total Movement Knee Protector. The ergonomically styled, lightweight black-plastic design has a slotted-and-hinged joint for a natural fit and unrestricted movement. A trio of adjustable velcro straps provides secure positioning, and the bio-foam padding may be removed for washing. Suggested retail price is $50 for a pair.
Gio Moto, Inc.
Brand 34 Apparel
Hey, I know that dude! Yep, the guy in the cap is none other than Kevin Schwantz, former Daytona 200 winner and 1993 500cc World Champion. What's he up to here, you ask? Modeling the latest additions to his new Brand 34 apparel line, that's what. Three styles of hats, polos, sweatshirts and T-shirts are available in M-XXL sizes, with more designs to come. Prices start at $20. Catch up with Revvin' Kevin in the Suzuki pits at an AMA Superbike race this year, and he might even autograph 'em for you!
Gio Moto, Inc.
Quiet Series Muffler
Shhh! Here's 94-decibel proof that your four-stroke dirtbike needn't be noisy. Big Gun's Quiet Series slip-on muffler combines the company's modular perf'ed-steel core, five precision-welded "fins" and Silent Sport fiber glass packing with a USFS-approved spark arrestor and turned-down billet-aluminum end cap. Yours for $340.
Gio Moto, Inc.
What's stopping you? German brake-maker Spiegler's top-of-the-line hard-anodized billet-aluminum Racing calipers boast eight pistons for optimal modulation and power. Moreover, thanks to titanium hardware and pistons, they scale-in at a feathery 25.2 ounces each. Complete kits for most late-model streetbikes include calipers, billet adapter plates, teflon-lined steel-braided hoses, 320mm "Racemetal" ductile-iron rotors and Carbon Lorraine sintered-metal pads. Prices start at $1422. Radial master cylinders and thumb-actuated rear brake systems are available, as well.
Gio Moto, Inc.
Got some bare wall space? Alan Jones' motorcycle art work is suitable for the bedroom or the boardroom, or any where in between. The U.K.-based illustrator's latest works are based on photographs taken by Gold & Goose and Tom Hnatiw, and feature reigning World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss and AMA Superbike star Eric Bostrom. Only 250 copies of "Champion 2001" and "On a Mission" were produced, each on 23¼ × 15¾ and 21 ½ × 15¾ heavy stock. Per print price is £30 (about $43), plus shipping.
Gio Moto, Inc.
Airstar Universal Windshield
Givi's Airstar Universal Windshield puts plastic between you and the elements, providing a stylish alter native to wind-in-your-face motorcycling. Offered in red, yellow, blue, black or silver, each retailing for $140, the headlight-mounted fairing fits any late-model standard-style motorcycle equipped with a single round headlamp. Instructions and mounting hardware are supplied. Two other designs are in the works.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON LET the cat half out of the bag at last summer's V-Rod press introduction: The Rod, attendees were told, would be the first of a family of Revolution-engined motorcycles. That's nice to know, but an impressive veil of secrecy has kept details of the next "Revo" Harley a mystery.
AS WE SPECULATED LAST month, Ducati's new "SuperTwin" four-stroke Grand Prix engine isn't a Twin at all! It's a 989cc V-Four with 16 desmodromic valves, which gives it its tongue-twisting name, Desmosedici. According to Ducati Corse Technical Director Filippo Preziosi, the new MotoGP rules don't give twin-cylinder machines enough of a weight advantage (just 22 pounds) to be competitive with the forthcoming four- and five-cylinder prototypes, so he went looking for alternatives.
Kawasaki, the last of Japan's Big Four bike-makers to reveal its four-stroke MotoGP plans, began on-track testing of its new powerplant at Malaysia's Sepang circuit this past February. The engine—design and displacement of which have not been disclosed, though a big inline-Four is almost a given—was shoehorned into a "more rigid" version of the current ZX-7RR chassis.
First fruits of the recent Kawasaki/Suzuki alliance are four small-bore models, all likely to remain in Japan. Suzuki’s supermotard-style 250SB is a rebadged Kawasaki D-Tracker, while the GSX250FX naked-bike began life as a Ballius II. Kawasaki, meanwhile, gave Suzuki’s Skywave 250 scooter and Epicuro 150 similar makeovers.
NEVER BEEN A BETTER time to be a fireman, Sparky. Increased appreciation from the general public, newfound respect for the hard work you do, and now this: "Firefighter Special Editions" from Harley-Davidson. These are your basic 2002-model Electra Glides and Road Kings slathered in bright-red paint, then topped off with double gold pinstripes and special decals...and, no, dalmatians and sirens are not part of the package.
You asked for it! Yamaha is bringing the previously Europe-only FJR1300 sport-tourer to these United States as an early-release 2003 model. Available late this summer, the 145-horsepower, fuel-injected, 1298cc inline-Four is equipped with YZF-R1-style triple-disc brakes, shaft drive and an electrically adjustable wind screen.
A big, black "Beast" graced the cover of this month's issue, Harley-Davidson's XLCR-1000, the legendary Sportster-powered café-racer straight from the designing mind of Willie G. himself. The $3595 CR knocked off a solid 13.08-second quarter-mile, but its brakes and riding position were panned.
HIDE THE WOMEN AND children, knobbies are on the attack! Dunlop and Pirelli have all-new rubber at each end of the off-road spectrum, from sand to baked hardpack. Pirelli struck first with the introduction of its MT 450 hard-terrain tire. Available in 20- and 21-inch fronts and three 19-inch rears, specifically for motocross.
Big-bore kit coupled to a long-stroke crank, twin-cam conversion, oversize brakes and wider wheels. Hey, sounds like the recipe for a hot-rod Harley! In fact, it's a short list of modifications made to one of the world's wildest Monkey bikes.
UP: To Chick-fil-A, for its whacked-out sense of humor. Promoting its "Eat Mor Chikin" advertising campaign, the fast-food enterprise created "The 2002 Chick-fil-A Calendar: Cows to the Extreme." Among the dozen computer-enhanced images is January's "Mootocross," which depicts a high-flying heifer performing "the rare Supercow Fender Grab." Funny stuff.
WANT PROOF THERE'S still room in motorcycling for creative, hardworking craftsmen? Look no farther than Giuseppe Ghezzi and Bruno Saturno, the men behind Ghezzi & Brian (www.ghezzibrian.com), a tiny Italian outfit specializing in Moto Guzzi-powered sportbikes.
BARCELONA, Spain— The coastal route running from Tossa de Mar to Sant Feliu de Guixols in eastern Spain ravels 365 breathtakingly tight-knit turns into 16 miles. Carved into stone cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, the immaculately surfaced road is accented by mid-corner bridges and a tunnel.
On safari with Suzuki's adventurous DL1000 V-Strom
CAPE TOWN, South Africa—CARVING THROUGH RUSH-HOUR IN THE HEART OF THE CITY, IT ALL SEEMED FAMILIAR, AS IN PEDESTRIANS leaping before they look, buses pulling out minus notice, too many cars, etc. Except that on the walkway crossing the freeway, there's a parade of tall women in robes and turbans, straight as arrows, striding over the bridge with bundles of firewood balanced on their heads.
CARMEL, California— WHO SAYS RANK DOESN'T HAVE ITS PRIVILEGES? WHILE GIRDLER WAS WINGING IT TO SOUTH AFRICA IN THE FOLDED AND FULLY locked position ("I spent six nights away from home, three of'em in Economy Class") and Hoyer was dodging raindrops and numb nubblies in Merry Olde ("Damned good reason most British intros are held in Spain"), I assigned myself the task of attending the Kawasaki ZX-12R press launch in quaint Carmel, a mere hour-and-a-half turboprop hop up the coast.
HINCKLEY, England— IT CAME TIME TO PONDER OVER A WARM, PUB-DRAWN BEER HOW MOTORCYCLING EVER BECAME POPULAR IN ENGLAND. I'D JUST SPENT THE DAY IN THE BRITISH MIDLANDS RIDING TRIUMPH'S NEW SPEED FOUR, THE TT600-BASED NAKED BIKE BUILT IN THE SAME SPIRIT AS THE revived company's Speed Triple.
Bridging the gap between motorcycles and motor scooters
TORRANCE, California— MOTORCYCLISTS ALREADY KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT SCOOTERS. AND IT'S QUITE AN INDICTMENT: UNDERPOWERED, sway-backed contraptions that bury their leaf-blower engines right below the rider's butt. There's more. After normal wear and tear, those donut-wheels and whacko suspension systems produce handling quirks just one trembling step short of peril, right?
WILLOW SPRINGS, California— TRY REINVENTING VELCRO, DUCT TAPE OR ZIP-TIES, ALL GREAT INVENTIONS. OR MAYBE BUBBLE GUM— that way, there's at least room for a change of flavor and color. Or try taking the Honda RC51, winner of the 2000 World Superbike Championship in its debut season, and making it better.
HOLLYWOOD, California— THERE ARE REASONS THEY CALL THIS TOWN "HOLLYWEIRD." BETWEEN ALL THE TOURISTS, WANNABE ROCK stars and starlets parading up and down the Sunset Strip (some for profit—just ask Eddie Murphy or Hugh Grant), there's a definite weirdness to the place that you just don't find anywhere else.
WHO AMONG US HASN'T DREAMED of outfitting a dirt-worthy adventure-touring bike and heading out to conquer continents, traverse tundra or become a jungle juggernaught? Helge Pedersen has spent a lifetime living this dream. Nearly two decades ago at the age of 27, the Norwegian photographer sold all his belongings, bought a BMW R80 G/S and headed for Africa.
The pundits said we'd never make Seattle—and they were right
"I GUESS IT'S BETTER TO BEND A VALVE IN MISSOULA THAN to lose your mind in Bozeman," my wife said, patting my hand as if to console me. We were riding back to Madison, Wisconsin, via Greyhound bus, returning to a city full of prophets honored in their own time.
Funny, reading this story now, to realize that all the details of the trip are as accurate as memory could make them, except for the main one, which is the real identity of our motorcycle. Truth be told, the bike Barb and I rode West was not a "venerable" British Twin as described, but a brand-new 1975 Norton 850 Interstate with only 3000 miles on the odometer.
WE'VE ALL SEEN artists' conceptions depicting impossibly gorgeous motorcycles, only to dismiss them with a wave of a hand and a hearty, "Yeah, but they could never really build something like that." Try telling that to Ola Stenegard, designer of the custom Honda VTR1000 Super Hawk shown here.
IF IT WERE UP TO TWO-stroke streetbike fanatics, Yamaha's 1984 RD500 would have been a road-going replica of Kenny Roberts' OW70, runner-up to Freddie Spencer's NS500 in the '83 500cc World Championship. Instead, the twin-crank, balance-shaft-equipped V-Four was somewhat underpowered (a claimed 91 horsepower versus the racer's 150 bhp) and saddled with a then-trendy 16-inch front wheel.
A PITCHED WAIL PIERCES your cocoon of soothing Britbike parallel-Twin thrum. It's a frantic sound, and moving so fast you can't pinpoint it. Then comes an orange blur quickly obscured by blue smoke. Welcome to the annual Southern California Norton Club's All British Ride, which strictly speaking isn't all British.
WHY IS THIS MAN SMILing? Wouldn't you be all dimply-cheeked if you'd just ridden your hardtail Harley 1600 miles from Shreveport, Louisiana, to Wendover, Utah, stripped off the street equipment, then churned across the Bonneville Salt Flats at 87.67 mph with nothing between your ass and the frame rails but a set of leathers?
CABIN FEVER BROUGHT on by a Wisconsin winter can drive a man to do strange things. String three of 'em together, and who knows what might happen to a basement-ridden bike nut with a stack of old parts, some machine tools and a figment of his imagination.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING, right? Take this tasty Yamaha Twin, for instance. Builder Richard Pollock is best known for the super-sano Harley street-trackers that roll out of his Mule Motorcycles shop in Poway, California, but he's always wanted to build one based on Yamaha's XS650, the "better Bonneville" (electric start, overhead cam, oil tight, etc.) campaigned by the likes of Kenny Roberts, Don Castro and Gene Romero on the 1970s AMA circuit.
ONE OF THE ATTRACTIONS OF standard-style motorcycles is that they cry out for customization. Yamaha's FZ1 leads the current wave of sporty, do-it-all work-horses carrying the tinkerer's tradition into the future. While we stopped short of delving into the pages of JC Whitney, we did equip our long-term testbike with a number of items from the factory parts and accessories catalog.
Museum piece or motorcycle? Keith Hale thinks he knows the answer
THE WORDS ROLL ACROSS YOUR TONGUE LIKE A SIP of '95 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva: 1974 Ducati 750SS. If the bare numbers are magic, the actual bike is known as the Holy Grail of Ducati-dom. It is an elegantly engineered motorcycle, but originally was so shabby in appearance it was described as "absolute perfection dressed in tatters" by a period moto-journalist.
The Scene: Sotheby's Auction for Motorcycles and Bicycles, Chicago, Illinois, September 15, 2001. The Subject: Lot 350, a 1972 Ducati 750cc Desmodromic Road Racer, Serial Number 750-397, ridden by Bruno Spaggiari on April 23, 1972, at the inaugural Imola 200, "The Daytona of Europe." There, the Italian rider finished a desperate breath behind winner Paul Smart on a similar Ducati racebike.
HERE'S HOPE FOR STINKY HELMETS and faceshields so smeared you feel as though you're riding in a haze. Swiss lube-maker Motorex says its foaming Helmet Care "deodorizes, freshens up colors and is gentle to surfaces." Its Viso-Clean wipes, meanwhile, "quickly and effectively remove dust, insects, oil residues and soot." Turns out the stuff works, and it's easy to use.
On the ground, in the air and behind the scenes, Yamaha's David Vuillemin battles for Supercross supremacy
TWO WINS OUT OF FOUR MATCHES AIN'T SO BAD, AGREED KEITH McCARTY, brigadeer general of Team Yamaha's Supercross corps, but now, he says, "We have to keep winning and not shoot ourselves in the foot." Whose foot? Trooping into Edison Field in Southern California's Orange County for round five of the EA Supercross Series this February came a battalion of Team Yamaha feet, including those of mechanics, assistant mechanics, trainers, PR spellbinders, ad guy wizards, plus Yamaha's demon super-duper star Jeremy McGrath (the only 'crosser so flush he has his own 18-wheeler transport) and series point leader, champion of the previous Anaheim and San Diego rounds, David Vuillemin.
IT'S BEEN A WHILE SINCE I LAST RODE a factory Supercross bike. Say, 1993 and Jeremy McGrath's championship-winning Honda CR250, to be exact. That red rocket was way too stiff and way too fast, a hell of a lot more machine than I could ever handle.
Sorry if I sound a bit jaded, but was this year's Dakar Rally a bit boring? After BMW'S withdrawal from rally racing last year (want to see my pink slip?), this left KTM as the only manufacturer with a factory team, and all of the top riders ended up going orange.
I am new to dual-purpose, chain-driven motorcycles, having owned only shaft-drive bikes for years. I now have a 2000 Honda XR650L with 10K on the clock, and it seems to have a problem. When I let go of the handlebar, the bike veers portside.
There is clear evidence that the location of the carb pilot-air screws on some inline-Four motorcycles was decided long before the rest of the bike was built. Why? Because once the carbs are on the bike, they're almost impossible to reach.
It's an iron-clad rule around my garage: When safety-wiring anything, never cut off the excess wire without immediately picking up the clipped-off piece and depositing it directly in the trash. Otherwise, it's a flat tire waiting to happen or a hard-to-see piece of metal likely to end up somewhere it doesn't belong-like stuck in your knee or hand when you get down on the floor to do some low-altitude work.
Editorial/Production: Offices are located at 1499 Monrovia Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92663; 949/720-5300. Editorial contributions are welcomed, but must be guaranteed exclusive to Cycle World. We are not responsible for the return of unsolicited material unless accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope.