You DO THE MATH. SOMETHING LIKE 500,000 people attend Daytona Beach’s Bike Week, that annual rite-of-spring run to the sun that occurs every March. But less than one-tenth that number, maybe 40,000 if you believe optimistic organizers, attend the so-called “Big Race,” the Daytona 200.
ONE OF OUR ENDURING EGAN FAMILY anecdotes alleges that when I was 3 years old I sat on the lap of a department-store Santa in St. Paul, Minnesota, and told him I wanted “a steam-shovel and a piece of earth” for Christmas. He laughed (presumably like a bowl full of jelly) and asked “Why a piece of earth?” “Because the ground is frozen,” I explained, “and I need something to dig,” Nothing ever changes.
THE VERTICALLY SPLIT, TWO-PIECE crankcases of early single-cylinder motorcycle engines were like pairs of thick-walled pie-pans enclosing the crankshaft. This meant that after casting, they could be machined in an ordinary lathe to accurately center the two main-bearing bores.
Wow! Regarding those stunt riders in the “Streetbike Extreme” story (Race Watch, April): I cannot believe you actually put those idiots in your magazine. What a bunch of fools! Darwin lives... John Carver Seattle, Washington A couple of years ago, my favorite motorcycle shop started running a videotape of some crazy guys down in Las Vegas who performed wild wheelies and stoppies in downtown traffic and on the interstates.
Need more than just the basics provided by your Ducati’s analog gauge cluster? Then ante up for Superbike Racing’s Digital Instrument Console. The backlit liquid-crystal data panel’s three-mode display relays engine rpm, road speed, oil pressure, coolant temperature and battery/ charging voltage, plus lights for ignition, neutral, high beam, low fuel and turnsignals, among other features. Designed to fit the stock head-lamp support and wiring harness on 1994-2002 748/916/996/998s, the carbon-fiber-framed console comes with a one-year warranty and retails for $2695. Superbike Racing, Inc., 1702 Baytree Rd., Valdosta, GA 31602; 229/242-0666; www.superbikeracing.com
Superbike Racing, Inc.
If you’re destined for parts unknown, you’d best be prepared. Though no guarantee against errant drivechains or flat tires, Belstaff’s Discovery will most certainly keep you dry and warm. Available in sizes S-XXXL, the $400 garment boasts a 500-denier Cordura/Hitena shell that wards off moisture and wind, yet breathes. Duratec patches at the elbows and shoulders augment Knox armor, while a removable Thermolite liner and zippered vents provide all-season comfort. Order yours in khaki, silver or gold. Belstaff North America, 12881 Knott St. #235, Garden Grove, CA 92841; 714/901-1167; www.belstaff.com
Superbike Racing, Inc.
Baja Designs Case Guards and Skidplate
Are you Basher the Smasher? Baja Designs’ burly aluminum Skidplate ($56) replaces the stocker on Suzuki’s DR-Z400. It even has wings for extra protection up front. Add the Clutch Cover Guard ($38) and Ignition Guard ($25) to make certain the brake pedal and shift lever don’t poke through the brittle magnesium cases. Baja Designs, 185 Bosstick Blvd., San Marcos, CA 92069; 760/560-2252; www.bajadesigns.com
Superbike Racing, Inc.
Suzuki Engine Guard Set
Should you prefer to protect your DR-Z400 with cool ’n’ hip carbon-fiber rather than aluminum, opt for the $305 Genuine Suzuki Engine Guard Set. Designed to cover more real estate than the as-delivered parts, all three pieces bolt directly to the stock mounts using standard hardware. American Suzuki Motor Corp., 3251 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, CA 92622; 714/996-7040; www.suzukicycles.com
Superbike Racing, Inc.
Z Technik Accessories
Newest player in the crusade to customize BMW’s popular R1200C cruiser is National Cycle, longtime purveyor of high-quality aftermarket windscreens. Its Z Technik line boasts hard and soft luggage, frame and tool bags, fender tips, gas-tank covers and pouches, chrome halogen lights and, of course, a selection of shields. Prices start at $70. Z Technik also makes products for other BMWs, including the F650, K1200RS, R1100S and R80/100RT. Z Technik, P.O. Box 158, Maywood, IL 60153; 866/983-2465; www.ztechnik.com
Superbike Racing, Inc.
Goodridge Build-A-Line Kits
Still fingering mushy rubber brake and clutch lines? Goodridge’s Build-A-Line kits fit most American, European and Japanese streetbikes, eliminating the need for model-specific applications. Easy to install and custom-bike friendly, each $30-90 package comes complete with clearcoated or color-matched stainless-steel braided hose fitted with anodized-aluminum, chrome or stainless-steel hardware. Go ahead, give 'em a squeeze. Goodridge USA, Inc., 20309 Gramercy Pl., Torrance, CA 90501; 800/662-2466; www.goodridge.net
Superbike Racing, Inc.
Ogio AR:Series Luggage
On the go with gear? Grab Ogio’s new AR:Series luggage. Brimming with innovative features, the seven-bag lineup comprises three backpacks, two duffels, a smaller hand-held and an enormous 36 × 16 × 16-inch inline-skate-wheeled haul-it-all. Much attention was paid to the needs of motocrossers in particular, hence such niceties as cubbies for goggles and compact-disc players, separate padded helmet and boot storage, even tool-organizer panels. Prices start at $50. Custom logos are available. Ogio International, Inc., 14926 Pony Express Rd., Bluffdale, UT 84065; 800/922-1944; www.ogio.com
Superbike Racing, Inc.
FogCity Hyper Optiks
Let’s face it: Side-of-the-road faceshield swaps can be pretty daunting, what with cars and trucks whizzing past mere inches away. Conversely, soldiering on in the face of a blinding sunrise or sunset while wearing a clear visor is equally dodgy. What to do? One option is to install a $30 FogCity Hyper Optiks shield insert, which combines an anti-fog treatment with a light-reactive coating. The “peel-and-stick” optical-grade lens changes from light mint green to dark cobalt blue in less than 4 seconds, and fits most full-face helmets. Now, that’s what we call a new idea! Modern World Ventures, 950 Gilman St. #800, Berkeley, CA 94710; 800/436-4248; www.modernworld.com
WHAT OPEN-CLASS wonders does Honda have up its sleeve for 2003 and beyond? If the rumors are true, there’s a restyled and even more potent CBR1200XX, a V-Four replacement for the RC51 and-hang on to your exhaust pipes, all five of ’em!-a street-going knock-off of Valentino Rossi’s new RC211V GP bike.
WHATEVER HAPPENED to Herbert Kainzinger, the matter-of-fact German who fabricated “King Maximum,” the 1680cc, 240-horsepower Yamaha V-Max featured in the June, 1997, issue of CW? Not to worry, the 51-year-old is still hot-rodding motorcycles-in a big way, in fact, as verified by this $76,000 Suzuki Hayabusa.
"This is not an enduro turned into a streetbike, it’s a 916 turned into a more comfortable superbike." So said Ducati Director of Design Pierre Terblanche at the 2003 Multistrada’s U.S. press unveiling during Daytona Bike Week. Asked by a pesky reporter (me, actually) if, given the criticism aimed at the bike’s wonky multifaceted fairing, there would be any styling alterations before the bike hits showrooms next March, he leveled his eyes and curtly replied, “No!” Had he a dagger, I might be deceased.
Think Honda’s VTX1800 packs a powerful punch? That’s nothin’ if reports of Triumph’s 2200cc three-cylinder mega-cruiser turn out to be true. U.K. tabloid Motor Cycle News recently published computer-enhanced images of an alleged prototype, which appears to be powered by a liquid-cooled dry-sump engine mounted lengthwise in a tubular-steel frame.
PIAGGIO AND THE CAGIVA Group are set to close a deal that has been floating in the middle of nowhere for a long, long time. The heart of the problem has been the sentimental tie between Claudio Castiglioni and MV Agusta. Castiglioni didn’t want to give up his precious MV for just any price.
Recipe for an instant streetfighter? Take one Aprilia SL 1000 Falco, ditch the clip-ons, fairing and mufflers, and requisition a Falco Fighter Kit from your local dealer. The $1999 combo consists of a bikini fairing, belly pan, fenders, front-brake ducts, radiator shrouds and license-plate bracket-all handfabbed in aluminum-plus a tube-type handlebar, triple-clamp adapter, bar-mounted rear-view mirrors, ECU upgrade and high-rise carbon-fiber slip-ons.
Roadracer Steve Baker made the “front page” this month, his reward for winning the rain-shortened “Daytona 100” on a factory-backed Yamaha TZ750D. In their extensive coverage of the event, editors called Daytona '77 the Speedweek that almost wasn’t, thanks to rain, more rain and a batch of bad Goodyears.
SINCE THE 1970S, IT’S been normal for riders of two-stroke Grand Prix bikes to brake to the point of rear-wheel lift. Although this is an unstable condition (the bike would love to switch ends, but the rider keeps its mass centered behind the front tire), down-shifting does not upset it because two-strokes have very low friction and, therefore, little engine braking.
European sportbike riders sick of paying high insurance premiums are looking for alternatives to their Suzuki GSX-Rs and Yamaha YZF-R1s-and finding it in the form of street-legal super-motards. KTM was quick to spot the potential of this niche and introduced the ground-breaking Duke in 1996.
UP: To American Photo magazine, for its tribute to old-time board-track photographer Ashley Frank Van Order. “Man and Machine” was published in the March/April 2002 issue. What’s more, several turn-of-last-century images taken by the former racer, who retired from competition “after one accident too many,” have been added to the Guggenheim Museum’s exhibition, “The Art of the Motorcycle," which is currently on tour in Las Vegas.
WHAT DO YOU GET when you cross an enduro bike with a trials mount? Wait, here’s an even more difficult question: What’s a Pampera? Okay, the name may sound like an adult undergarment designed to protect its wearer from an “accident,” but in reality, this new two-stroke from Spanish bike-maker Gas Gas fills a lot more niches than you might think.
Life, liberty and the high-speed pursuit of happiness
GATHERED BEFORE YOU IS 460 HORSEPOWER AND 545 mph. You won’t find another 3×3 comparison that has more of either of these thrilling commodities. But these bikes-the Honda CBR1100XX, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R and Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusaaren’t just about sick excess, they’re also three of the smoothest, best all-around streetbikes in the history of the wheel.
TWIN PRATT & WHITNEY AFTERBURNING TURBOFANS SPLIT THE air with a tremendous roar as a McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle lifted off the tarmac and pitched up into a near-vertical climb. As though flexing its muscle for all eyes below, the fighter jet accelerated in a rapid ascent until its pilot rolled out and throttled back several thousand feet overhead.
V-TWINS ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR FORGIVING POWER AND willingness to let riders confidently take them to the edge. Judging by the racing resumes of the three Super-Twins tested here, that’s most assuredly true. The Aprilia RSV Mille R, Ducati 998 (a.k.a.
Does the Continent have what it takes to beat HarleyDavidson at its own game?
ACYNIC MIGHT CONCLUDE THAT THESE THREE BIKES-THE BMW R1200C PHOENIX, Moto Guzzi California EV and Triumph Bonneville America-exist for one reason: to demonstrate that motorcycling, as well as being a sport and a passion, is also a business.
Forget the bus, here are three more entertaining ways to get to work
FSC600 SILVER WING
HERE IN AMERICA, WHERE MOTORCYCLES ARE VIEWED PRIMARILY AS ENTERTAINMENT, WE tend to buy bikes with the intent of leaving the city behind. But in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world where motorcycles have long been considered a valid form of transportation, many two-wheelers seldom stray from the concrete canyons.
SOUNDS SIMPLE, RIGHT? PICK THE BEST THREE motocrossers ON the market—a 125, a 250 and a Thumper—then shoot them out. Piece of cake. Except it's not that simple. Well, okay, Honda's impressive new CRF45OR four-stroke was a shoo-in, but the 250cc class is so close a separate mini-comparo was required to come up with a representative.
West Coast Choppers builds a showbike that's also a racebike
JESSE JAMES DOESN'T CARE WHAT YOU think. He might care if you think, but what your reaction is to his two-wheeled creations, or his larger-than-life, almost explosive way of being just doesn’t matter. What matters is that there is a reaction, preferably a large one.
RIGHT, THAT’S A SLIGHT exaggeration, but Jesse James of late constitutes a Gang of One. When I first met him a couple of years ago, the man was already famous in certain circles. Now, after the Discovery Channel profiles, the fame thing is nearly out of hand.
“Don’t back off the gas,” they told me. “The wobble will go away.”
FIRST IT WAS A BAR-END WALLOW, the tips of the flat handlebars slowly arching to and fro. Just like the last pass, I thought, my thumb edging toward the bright brass shift button. Only this time I’m not backing off the throttle, not turning a crummy 138mph, 10-second pass.
Just thinking about that wild ride in Kansas City makes me breathe hard, the crash so vivid in my mind that the only sure indicator that it didn’t happen last week is the fact that my then-toddler son Chris is now a 22-year-old roadracer who stands taller than I do and is faster than I ever was.
SOMETIMES, A GUY’S JUST GOT TO GET AWAY AND LET the rhythm of the road clear the cobwebs from his cerebral cortex. Other times, you just want to blow your brains out with some high-decibel rock-and-roll! For those latter occasions, there’s Harley-Davidson Road Songs, five anthologies comprising eight discs and 126 songs, all of which have at least a tenuous connection to motorcycling.
REMEMBER YOUR MOTHER’S ADMONItion to always wear clean underwear? Well, those apparel-meisters at BMW have one-upped dear ol’ Mom with thermal underwear containing PCM, or Phase Change Material. Quick glance, the ComforTemp setup looks like an ordinary two-piece thermal undersuit.
ONCE IN A WHILE, WE STUMBLE UPON a product that defies convention, that breaks the rules, that somehow pulls off the impossible. Rev-Loc’s Automatic Clutch does all those things-and more. Available for a growing range of twoand four-stroke dirtbikes, the Rev-Loc uses a standard clutch pack (stock friction/metal plates) and a modified basket that accepts a unique pressure plate containing a complex collection of ramping ball bearings.
NICKY HAYDEN, ON A Honda RC51, won the Daytona 200 from pole position with a stunning qualifying time nearly a second-and-a-half under the old record. Whatever had prevented the full application of Honda horsepower during the 2001 season has been swept away.
Rumors abound that the 250cc Grand Prix, Pro Thunder and new-for-’02 Superstock classes are on the verge of being done away with, but racing dines on rumors. Believe it when the AMA sends your entries back. At Daytona, one class not touched by rumors of demise was 600cc Supersport, this year renamed just “Supersport.” Amid whisperings that the Kawasaki 600s were incredibly fast, Honda’s Nicky Hayden qualified on pole with a time of 1:53.351 that would have put him 10th on the Superbike grid.
I have a question that has probably been asked before, but here goes anyway: How do you get the dry weights you publish for your testbikes? You say that Honda’s new CBR954RR weighs 406 pounds while Honda states that its weight is 370. You also show the 2002 ZX-9R at 440 pounds and Kawasaki has it at 403.
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