As HATCHET-JOBS GO, I’VE SEEN WORSE, but the Los Angeles Times certainly did motorcycling no favors last June when its Orange County edition ran a front-page, above-the-fold story on sportbike riders titled, “Filling the Need for Speed.” The blaring subtitle said it all: “A new breed of bikers is tearing up the roads on machines that easily top 100 mph-and leave police in their dust.” Oh, boy...
“FUNNY HOW WE CALL THEM CANADA geese,” I told my buddy Pat Donnelly, “as if this were where they really live, even though they spend half the year down south. Why don’t we call them Florida geese, or Louisiana geese?” “I don’t know,” Pat said patiently.
WHY DO SOME SMALL BOYS DECIDE IN favor of the locomotive, the car and the airplane, while others are magnetically drawn to investment banking or fascinated by Shakespearean studies? For me, it was no contest. I used modeling clay to make miniatures of everything that I was too small to hope for.
After reading this year’s “Ten Best Bikes” article (CW, July), it seems to me that you failed to include some of 2002’s best bikes. Did you know that Kawasaki makes a standard called the ZRX1200R, and that it would give the Suzuki V-Strom sore eyes from looking at its taillight all day?
Hey, Mr. Motocrosser, think you’ve got what it takes to get on the podium? Pro Circuit’s Works Showa suspension may help your cause. Sold starting-gate-ready with the correct springs and valving for your weight and riding style, both 49mm fork (titaniumnitride-coated sliders, sealed and pressurized hard-chrome cartridges) and shock (oversized body and shaft, highand lowspeed compressionand rebound-damping circuits) offer a full complement of external adjustments. Suggested retail price for the pair is $4890. Handlebars, triple-clamps and axle not included.
Tongue Twister Trailer
Ride in, ride out? For those folks too feeble to back bikes out of a trailer, Tongue Twister offers a swiveling, dual-door design. Once the patent-pending tongue is pivoted out of the way via either electrical, hydraulic or manual actuation, locking doors lowered and wheel chocks removed, motorcycles may be ridden through the trailer. All without uncoupling the trailer from the tow vehicle! Prices start at $5200.
Motorsport Products X-Stand
Under-engine work stands make cleaning and servicing your dirtbike a breeze, but they also take up valuable floor space when not in use. Not so the collapsible X-Stand, which folds flat for easy wall or truck-bed storage. Made from aluminum and standing 17 inches tall, the patent-pending design has a heavy-duty rubber pad held in place with glue and 16 recessed rivets. A central drain hole enables trouble-free fluid flushes. Get yours in one of four anodized colors-semi-chrome, black, red or blue-for $95. A 3-quart drain tub is included.
Ducati Corse Controller II
Into motorcycle video games, but just can’t come to grips with unrealistic keyboard/joystick controls? Ducati Corse to the rescue! A bike-like handlebar with brake and clutch levers on its desktop Controller II make believing you’re Ben Bostrom-or Ben’s factory Ducati teammate and reigning World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss, if you prefer-more believable. Both PlayStation2 and PC-compatible, it leans up to 60 degrees, is auto-centering, can be configured for individual preferences and has a built-in engine-vibration effect. Buy it from the company’s website for $61.
Master Lock Python
Lock it or lose it! Master Lock has created a more flexible approach to motorcycle security: the Python. Snugged tightly around frame rails, wheels or helmets, and held in place with a rekeyable wafer-type cylinder lock, the vinyl-coated, braided-steel cable makes it tough for thieves to pinch your bike and gear. Available in several lengths, the 6-foot Python retails for $30.
Givi E41 Keyless Cases
$120 to $270
As if a gear-gulping 41 liters of storage capacity weren’t enough to satisfy your motorcycle travel needs, Givi’s new E4l series luggage also features keyless combination-type entry, plus separate top and side openings. Neat idea, especially when you only need your spare gloves or shave kit. Per pair pricing is $461 for matte finish, $531 for painted lids. Cost for mounting hardware ranges from $120 to $270.
Beringer Aerotec 4-D Quad Brakes
JUST AS PIE-PLATE FRONT brakes become a sportbike staple, Beringer pulls the wraps off its Aerotec 4-D Quadruple system. Five years in the making, the 230mm fourrotor design weighs 25 percent less than conventional 320mm twin-disc setups, resulting in three times less gyroscopic inertia. Hence, the French brake-maker’s claim of quicker steering response and improved acceleration. Four floating castiron rotors, two machinedaluminum four-piston calipers and sintered-metal pads for your late-model repli-racer will set you back $1650. Add a matching Aerotec radial master cylinder for $550.
THE WAIT IS OVER. IN THE eight years since the 916 was introduced, speculation has grown over what the next-generation Ducati Superbike would look like. Now we know. These factory-provided photos show a sharp-edged machine that more resembles a Supermono or a Supersport 900 than the decidedly organic 916/996/998.
Rumors persist that Ducati will introduce a supercharged version of its early 1990s Supermono roadracer. The carbon-fiber and magnesium Doppia Bielletta sported double connecting rods, resulting in a Single with the perfect primary balance of a 90-degree V-Twin.
Say what you will about the Italians, but they know how to party. Two weeks after being officially unveiled to the press at the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, the Desmosedici GP V-Four made its first public appearance in the midst of the Saturday-night festivities at World Ducati Week this past June.
MOST FOLKS KNOW POlaris for its ATVs, snowmobiles and personal watercraft. And for good reason: Last year, these three divisions accounted for 85 percent of the Minnesota manufacturer’s record $1.5 billion in sales. Over at Victory, the company’s fledgling motorcycle group, however, sales were flat.
Tucked away at the end of a nine-page cover story about Honda’s new three-model, twin-cylinder 400cc Hawk series was the sad note that Honda thought the market couldn’t bear too many bikes in the 400cc range, so it was likely the four-cylinder CB400F would depart the lineup.
GREEN DR-ZS? YELLOW KLXs? What’s the brandloyal bike-buyer to do? Not to worry, say Kawasaki and Suzuki, the alliance announced last year between the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers will benefit both companies, their dealers and consumers.
Is this BMW’s next-generation S model? Styling isn’t changed much on this test mule, but the new bike will get the additional displacement and smoother-shifting sixspeed tranny of other current oilheads, leaving the R1200C as the only five-speeder.
DOWN: To EA Sports, for its environmentally insensitive ad promoting its new “Freekstyle” video game. The ad depicts a hairless rabbit covering his eyes as shirtless, tattooed freestyle motocrossers perform aerial tricks above a burning meadow.
ARE YOUR KIDS READY for their first dirtbike? Kawasaki’s KLX110 is picture-perfect for first-time trailriders-and it makes a pretty good pitbike for grownups, too! One of many recent editions to the popular entry-level play-bike category, the KLX is powered by an air-cooled, sohc, two-valve 11lcc Single with a three-speed gearbox and an automatic clutch.
Flagship sport-tourers head-to-head on the road-with a little help from our friends
ST1 300 ABS
THE GREAT EXPANSES OF THE AMERICAN WEST LEND THEMSELVES TO introspection and self-examination, the vastness of the landscape, its barren, cascading grace stripping away life’s complication and leaving a crisp clarity like the fantastic blue of the big, deep sky.
What does the future hold for BMW’s K1200RS? Spy shots show a more touring-oriented version of the current “Flying Brick,” further enhanced with additional displacement. Question is, will fresh bodywork and added wallop be enough to bring down sport-touring’s current top dogs, the Honda ST1300 and Yamaha FJR1300?
SOME MOTORCYCLES lead more interesting lives than others. This one, for example. Its creator is Jerry Magnuson, who you may know for his Magnacharger superchargers. Back in the early 1970s, Magnuson was a fledging entrepreneur with a line of Harley parts and a crazy idea that motorcycles of the day were just too tall.
A JAPANESE SUPERBIKE with an Australian rider as an American Flyer? Consider this: After the factory’s withdrawal from the World Superbike Championship at the end of the 2000 season, Yamaha USA’s YZF-R7 Superbike is now one of three such beasts being campaigned at top level in the world.
LOVE CAN DO STRANGE things to a man. Make him hold on to an old, oily, unreliable motorcycle, for instance. But even amore has it limits, and when Tony Payan’s mildly customized 1961 BSA Super Rocket lost its electrons one time too many, something had to be done.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS CAN be like demons: Until they’re exorcised, you just can’t get them out of your head. Just ask Jimmy Dobbs. The first streetbike Dobbs ever rode was his father’s Rickman Metisse, a classic motorcycle with a nickel-plated frame.
How Ken Maely re-invented the shoe (and maybe even the wheel)
START WITH A STORY FOR which Hollywood is not yet ready: Ken Maely’s dad was “Slim” Maely, a professional racer in the 1930s who rode for Harley-Davidson and Indian, whoever had the better machines at the time. Then as now, racing was seasonal, so during the offseason, he stored his racer in the family barn, north of Madison, Wisconsin.
Ken Maely has been involved in racing on all levels for, oh, call it 70 years. He knows everybody, and he can't resist a good story. Here are three about the human side of Kenny Roberts Sr: One: In Steve Wright’s wonderful book, American Racer, on page 137, there’s a picture of a goofy country kid, an Alfred E. Neuman lookalike, posing with his pals while seated on AMA Number One Mert Lawwill’s TT Harley.
MZ's new 125cc four-strokes prove what we've known all along: Girls just wanna have fun!
LEAVE IT TO A GIRL WHO CALLS HERSELF “SUPER SARAH” TO take the piss out of male motorcyclists.“I had fun, too,” she replied to an e-mail I’d sent her after we’d spent a day testing together. “I was thinking it must have been a fun change from all the testosterone flowing freely on the usual test rides!” The sad part is, she was right.
FOUR-STROKE DIRTBIKES ARE NOW THE MAKE-OR-BREAK INGREDIENT IN many a small European manufacturer's lineup. If you don't have one, you aren't looking to the future. Sure, they may never totally replace the two-stroke, but right now Thumpers are capturing hearts and market share at an alarming rate.
AS GOOD AS ALL MODERN Thumpers are, they are losing something. Weight, size, complexity and alienation from a previously premixing public, this is all good. But thunderous, big-stroke power is going the way of a revvy, almost two-stroke-like blur.
SOME IDEAS ARE SO PATENTLY OBVIOUS that the first time you see one of them, you smack yourself in the forehead with the palm of your hand and exclaim, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Xena’s Disc Lock Alarm is just such an idea, combining two common motorcycle security systems-a disc lock and a motion-sensitive electronic alarm-into one innovative anti-theft device.
John Hopkins always wanted to race 500cc Grand Prix bikes. At 18 years old, he's getting his chance.
IMAGINE YOU’RE 18 YEARS OLD, FRESH out of high school. You and your girlfriend decide to spend the summer traveling through Europe, so you rent an apartment in France, buy a used Alfa Romeo and spend your days taking in the sights. Sounds like the life, doesn’t it?
He was a hero the likes of which World Superbike racing had never seen, and his name became synonymous with Italian factory Ducati. So much so, in fact, that when injury forced his retirement from riding in 2000, it was half expected that he’d be put in some “managerial” position of esteem within the racing effort such as Mick Doohan has assumed with Honda.
I frequently read or hear people talking about having an engine “blueprinted.” What does that mean, and how does it affect an engine’s performance? I asked my boyfriend, but the only thing I learned from his answer was that he doesn’t know, either.
If you’ve ever taken apart an engine, or at least stripped the outer covers off of one, you’ve probably faced this reassembly dilemma: Which case screws go where? On most engines, the screws securing any given case or cover are of varying lengths.
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