QUESTION: WHAT DO A JAUNTY LITTLE Honda Mini-Trail 50 and a booming works BMW rally bike, a scruffy Kawasaki EX500 club racer and Wayne Rainey’s fearsome YZR500 Grand Prix bike, a used Honda CB175 and a just-minted $60,000 oval-piston Honda NR750 all have in common?
FOR MANY YEARS, OUR LITTLE LOCAL motorcycle club of like-minded sportbike misfits, the Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang, has staged an annual Thousand Mile Ride-of widely varying length. This event has proved useful as an adjunct to club solidarity and an acid test of saintly tolerance toward those who have a mystical sense of passing time, or can’t program alarm clocks.
FLEXIBLE VEHICLE STRUCTURES DEform under operating loads. An example is found in the Space Shuttle’s controlled rate of main engine cut-off. At eight-and-a-half minutes of flight, the engines are operating at 65 percent thrust to limit Orbiter acceleration to 3 g.
Great special section on “Italy 2003” in the October issue. You better cut back on the grappa and chianti, though, because you managed to invert the Italian flag on every page! If you think the Carabinieri aren’t amused with 81 in a 70-kph zone, just try flying the Italian tricolore upside down.
No matter what you ride, where you're headed or what type of conditions you encounter, Held has a German-engineered glove to fit your needs. Speedsters will want the top-of-the-line, carbon-fiber-knuckled Galaxy ($220) or Akira ($190), or the more traditional Profi ($170). All three are crafted from Australian kangaroo hide, which is said to be colorfast and resistant to moisture and perspiration. Sport-touring types will favor the cowhide Super Jorg $140 with its Armor-Tan ceramiccoated palm, while long-haulers won’t want to get caught in a downpour without the Gore-Tex Storm ($80). All come in sizes M-XXL, some in Small and XXXL. Seven other models are available, too. Intersport Fashions West, Inc., 15602 Mosher Ave., Tustin, CA 92780; 714/258-2120; www.powersportsleague.com
Intersport Fashions West, Inc.
Didn’t bring home that number-one plate this past season? Maybe you need to train harder. Claimed to be 99 percent accurate and water-resistant to a depth of 60 feet, LifeSource’s $110 XC300 is an easy way to track your exer cise intensity. The lightweight design features a wireless heart-rate monitor, calorie counter, stopwatch, 20-hour countdown timer and can be programmed with a target heart-rate zone. Date and time readouts allow all-day wear. Transmitter belt and handlebar mount included. A&D Medical, 1555 McCandless Dr., Milpitas, CA 95035; 888/726-9966; www.lifesourceonline.com
Intersport Fashions West, Inc.
Even if you’re not employed as a paramedic, firefighter or police officer, the Rescue Hook can still come to your aid-or that of a fellow bike-riding pal. Weighing only 1.2 ounces and fitting in the palm of your hand, the high-carbon steel device is ideal for slicing through apparel, strapping, rope, leather and other fibrous or pliable materials-all without exposure to a conventional blade. And at ride’s end, the finger hole doubles as a bottle opener! Suggested retail price for a satin or black-oxide finish is $25 with a soft sheath, or $35 with a snap-fit hard sheath. Benchmade Knife Co., Inc., 300 Beavercreek Rd., Oregon City, OR 97045; 503/655-6004; www.benchmade.com
Intersport Fashions West, Inc.
Stylish as newly crowned AMA 125cc Outdoor National Champion James “Bubba” Stewart is fast, Fox’s Forma Pros don’t stop there. Boasting high-tech running-shoe design concepts double-jumped with new-age boot technology, the newest Formas are super-trick and ultra-simple. Aluminum buckles attach to floating bases that spring from anatomically designed shinplates sized to easily accommodate knee braces or shin guards. Fully padded with shock-absorbing, vibration-damping midsoles, Stewart Replicas feature anodized red buckles on a Silver/White scheme with a wild polka-dot interior print. At $240, they retail for only $15 more than the standard black or white offerings. All come in sizes 5-15. Fox Racing, Inc., 18400 Sutter Blvd., Morgan Hill, CA 95037; 888/369-7223; www.foxracing.com
Intersport Fashions West, Inc.
What do you get when you pair CW photographer Rich Chenet with 13 of the best motorcycles of the past decade and a half? Extreme Motorcycles 2003, a full-color 12-month calendar with a bonus four-month planner page. Cost is $12 from your local bookseller. Browntrout Publishers, P.O. Box 280070, San Francisco, CA 94128; 800/777-7812; www.browntrout.com
Intersport Fashions West, Inc.
Pro Moto Billet
Equipping your twoor four-stroke 2002 Honda CR with an out-of-the-way kickstand is easy, thanks to the $150 Kicklt. Designed to mount under the left footpeg using existing hardware, the clear-anodized, CNC-machined aluminum stand is fitted with an internal compression spring, and rotates upward nearly 180 degrees to hide out of sight under the sidepanel. A slightly different version is available for 1996-2002 Yamaha YZs and 1998-2002 WRs. Pro Moto Billet, 1103 N. Shamrock St., Boise, ID 83713; 208/377-8747; www.promotobillet.com
Intersport Fashions West, Inc.
“Hey, your garage smells like an orange grove!” That’s what your buddies will be saying if you use Maxima’s citrus-scent Contact Brake Cleaner to dissolve and remove brake fluid, carbon deposits, grease, oil and other contaminants. Bigger jobs may require a shot of CleanUp Multi-Purpose Cleaner & Degreaser, followed by a glossy coat of SCI Silicone Detailer or carnuba wax-fortified Spray & Shine Spray On Detailer. In addition to its broad range of cleaners, fuel additives, lubricants and suspension fluids, Maxima also produces a full line of synthetic two-and four-stroke engine oils. Prices start at $5.50. Maxima Racing Oils, 9266Abraham Way, Santee, CA 92071; 619/449-5000; www.maximausa.com
Intersport Fashions West, Inc.
ALL RIGHT, EGAN-ITES, your book is ready, just in time for Christmas! Leanings: The Best of Peter Egan from Cycle World Magazine is the long called-for compilation of our Editor-at-Large’s columns and feature stories. Inside, you’ll find 27 of the former, 21 of the latter, plus commentaries from Peter and a foreword by CW's own Allan Girdler, the man who hired Egan in the first place. All told, 316 easy-readin’ pages dating back to 1977 and Peter’s first story for the magazine. Available in better bookshops, or save the gas and order direct from us for $25 plus $5 shipping and handling. Hey, include an extra $10 and he’ll even autograph your copy! Cycle World, Dept. N, PO. Box 1757, Newport Beach, CA 92658; 800/914-5656
VALENTINO Rossi, EAT your heart out! The new CBR600RR splits Honda’s middleweight offerings in two: The RR aims without compromise at performance, while the carryover CBR600F4i retains the traditional mix of qualities. A new 600 is always a treat for sportbike enthusiasts because it closely links racing with production.
First came the Valkyrie, Honda’s six-cylinder stab at super-cruiser Valhalla. Now we have the Rune, a street-going spin-off of the Valkyrie-based T2 concept bike (“Custom Fever,” May, 2001). Named for an early Anglo-Saxon word meaning “mystery” or “secret,” the Rune differs from the “tribal tail-dragger” T2 showbike by way of new paint (Candy Black Cherry, Illusion Blue or black) and lack of tattoo-style graphics.
Finally! After months of rumor-dodging, Honda has at long last shown its Yamaha YZ250F-beater, the CRF250R. Problem is, it’s a 2004 model, and not scheduled for release until late next year. Though specs may change, the aluminum-framed kick-start currently has a 78.0 x 52.5mm bore and stroke for 250cc displacement.
YOU MAY ASK WHY THE world needs an intensified Suzuki GSX-R1000 when that CW Ten Best winner is already deep into the realm of “too much is just enough.” The answer is that AMA and World Superbike racing will soon adopt a straight 1000cc displacement for twoand four-cylinder machines.
ITALIAN DESIGN IS THE ENVY and the despair of any would-be competitor. Stare in hopeless longing, Guzzi lovers, at this not-for-us MGS/01 prototype, seen at the Munich show this past September. Graceful is a weak word for the integrated upper fairing and seat/gas tank of this machine.
A beautiful steel-blue Kawasaki Z1-R, set against an equally stunning blue-sky backdrop with the words, “ZOOMIEST Z YET!” graced this month’s cover. Testers said the more pedestrian KZ1000 was a better all-arounder, but that they’d “do the foolish, sporting thing and buy the Z1-R.” Allan Girdler, who was Editor at the time, happened through my office as I was perusing this issue, spied the cover and exclaimed, “I remember that shoot!
DON’T LET THE LIQUIDcooled 999/749, Monster S4 and ST2/4S fool you: Ducati is determined to retain air-cooled engines for application in anything where simplicity is deemed appropriate. There remain many riders for whom the qualities of an air-cooled engine are uniquely satisfying.
Like Ducati, KTM is a modern European powerhouse that has risen from modest beginnings. For 2003, KTM will offer its first twin-cylinder streetbike, the 950 Adventure S “all-terrain roadster enduro.” This will be followed shortly thereafter by the 950 Duke.
UP: To Brits Jim Doyly and Tom Hurst, for righting a wrong. When Doyly couldn’t sell his BSA in 1964, he opted to bury it-complete with sidecar-in his garden. Decades later, when Doyly decided to lay a new patio, he remembered the old bike and asked his friend to help him unearth it.
CANNONDALE JUST DOES things differently. Not only was the innovative American bicycle-turned-dirt-bike manufacturer the first to build a fuel-injected four-stroke motocrosser with the intake in front and exhaust in back, it recently hosted a unique press introduction for its new S440 supermotard racebike.
Bringing Vincent back, with a little help from Honda
THE LAST DECADE OF THE 20TH CENTURY was the decade of revivals. No, we’re not talking about Elmer Gantry-we’re talking about resurrected motorcycle nameplates. Excelsior-Henderson, Indian, Matchless, Norton, Triumph-all of these ancient brands and others have been brought back from the graveyard, to try again to make their way in the commercial motorcycle world.
The People’s Car, the average folks’ wagon, rear-engined, cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, with a silhouette unlike anything else on the market. It wasn’t whether the old Beetle was right or wrong, it was a Volkswagen, and became a thing unto itself.
Ten streetbikes that prove a little money can buy a lot of happiness
VULCAN 500 LTD
BULLET 500 ES
HAVE YOU EVER WANTED SOMETHING SO BADLY you could taste it, but you just couldn’t afford it? Who hasn’t? From Ferraris to Harleys to Rolexes to dates with supermodels, we’re all guilty. If we weren’t, there wouldn’t be financial institutions whose sole purpose is to lend us what we don’t have so we can buy what we can’t afford-possible exception of the super-models, that is.
Reader: Mark Oriomoski Ride: 1981 Suzuki GS750E Rundown: One of 300-plus “Cheap Bastards” submissions, Mark earns his $50 payout with this monster-motored GS. Bought off a dirt-riding buddy as a bas-ketcase, the classic UJM is powered by an 1134cc Orient Express engine, capped with Cam Motion cams, Mikuni RFS carbs, Ward Performance Vortex top-end oiling kit, MRE air shifter and “a ton of other goodies.” Paint by spray can, fairing from his old Kawasaki GPz1100 dragbike. All for $1200. “Hey, if you pick my bike,” the Connecticut resident writes, “I’ll get my original $50 back!” You got it, Mark.
Reader: John Sundstrom Ride: 1995 Honda VFR750 Rundown: Some guys have all the luck. Oregonian Sundstrom found this former CIV Ten Best winner for $2250. Okay, so it had been crashed and needed servicing. No problem: He handled the valve adjustment and other maintenance, found some replacement bodywork on eBay, repaired and repainted the rest of the damaged plastic, then had the wheels powdercoated gold. Final outcome is a bike that Sundstrom says “looks and performs great for approximately $2700.” Lucky devil...
Reader: Chris Egan Ride: 1972 Norton Commando Rundown: “Elemental locomotive charm” is what drew Mr. Egan to this Norton, purchased from a friend as a failed café-racer project. A general refurbishment followed, then Chris went a little crazy, adding a Yamaha XS650 fork, twin discs, a Harley flat-track tailpiece and twin up-pipes. No concours queen (“The frame has more chips than Frito-Lay”), the Norton nonetheless makes its owner happy. “It rides well, stops even better, has a wicked exhaust note and gives my eyes a place to rest when I’m in the garage,” he says. In total, Chris figures he’s into his “Café Combat Scambler” for about $4500.
Reader: Jie Jarosz Ride: 1982 Yamaha Vision Rundown: “When did cheap jump up to $5000?” asks Joe, who found this low-mileage middle-weight partially disassembled and languishing under a neighbor’s back porch. “Free to a good home,” the sign said. Some jet swapping, a used stator, new battery, brake pads and Bridgestone BT45s got the bike road-ready. The “Riders of Vision” website (www.ghetti.net/rov/) turned up a fairing and optional hard bags from an ’83 model, a Telefix fork brace and upgraded hardware. Initial on-the-road cost was $350, add $1150 for the later upgrades for a total of $1500.
Reader: Robert Aprea Ride: 2001 MZ Skorpion Sport Cup Rundown: Reader Aprea was looking for an inexpensive new motorcycle, but wanted something unique. MZ’s fully faired Single struck a chord, but was a no-sale at its $5795 suggested retail price. So the Massachusetts man fired up his computer and began searching the Internet. Turns out a dealer in neighboring New Hampshire had one and was willing to bargain. The post-test-ride final price was $4800, which included removal of the California emissions equipment and delivery to Aprea’s house 2 hours away. He enjoys riding his “Cup” and answering the oft-asked question, “What kind of bike is that?”
Reader: Joel Crister Ride: 1988 Honda Hawk GT Rundown: Rather rudely christened the “Silver Slut,” Cristea’s much-modded Honda owes its patchwork existence to good deals on the www.hawkgt.com website. As in CBR600F3 fork, CBR900RR brakes, mismatched Marchesini rims, RC45 tailpiece and chopped Sharkskinz Yamaha R1 upper fairing. “Built on an MD 20/20 budget, total wonga outlay was under $4000,” says Joel. “Most importantly, far less than the cost of one of those SV650 things-hack, gasp-for something lighter and way cooler.” Suzuki fans, send hate mail c/o the magazine...
Reader: Steve Butler Ride: 1983 Suzuki GS1100E Rundown: Though this big Suzook had been sitting for a while and didn’t run, it was in “cherry” condition. Even today, 11 years later, the paint, seat, wheels and exhaust are original. “You might notice that the bike is fitted with red-anodized, aluminum-bodied Fox shocks,” says the proud owner. “I made a terrific score on these-as well as other parts-when my local dealer, Max Pitts Yamaha in Peru, Indiana, took in another GS1100E on trade. It was a beater, but equipped with some wonderful, nearly new aftermarket parts. Max let me swap out all the trick parts for $150.” Result is a great all-rounder for less than $2700.
Reader: Paul Miles Ride: 1986 Kawasaki KH58 Rundown: Bought from a friend after it had been cartwheeled into a smaller package at Summit Point Raceway in 1981, Paul’s homage to Kawasaki’s early Eighties Eddie Lawson Replica has all the requisite roadracing upgrades: four-piston Nissin brake calipers with 310mm Braking rotors, ’87 Suzuki GSX-R1100 fork, Fox shock, ’89 GSX-R1100 wheels, braced frame and ’88 GSX-R750 swingarm. Engine hop-up pairs Wiseco 810cc pistons with a ported ’83 Kawasaki GPz750 cylinder head, 29mm Mikuni smoothbores and a Hindle exhaust. “Often mistaken for a ZRX,” the New Yorker reports, “those boneheads.” Total out of pocket? $3975.
Reader:Bill Burns Ride: 1978 Yamaha SR500 Rundown: Here’s a real dog. No, not the Yammie Single, “Booger” the 125-pound rotweiller. Booger’s human is “Barnacle Bill,” who purchased the SR at a moving sale for a mere hunski, though a blown base gasket had something to do with the low price tag. Nothing the cardboard from a cereal box and a tube of Permatex ($1.99) couldn’t fix, though. J.C. Whitney provided new tubes and tires ($70) and the 1965 Velorex sidecar was horse-traded for a used set of scaffolds, value about $100. There it is, baddabing, baddaboom, Booger’s got a sweet little chariot for $272. Good dog!
Reader: Brad Leach Ride: 1994 Honda CB1000 Rundown: Who says it doesn’t pay to peruse the classifieds? When Brad found this 18,500-mile black beauty advertised for the unbelievably low price of $2K, half its retail blue-book value, the Ponca City, Oklahoma, resident snapped it up without delay. “All it needed was some polish and new tires, which cost about $200,” he tells us. When Honda introduced the CB1000, it listed for $6999. It was lauded for the “sporty nature of its power delivery, the excellence of its brakes and the quality of its suspension.” So, $2200 well spent? You’d better believe it.
Reader: Brian James Ride: 1984 Moto Guzzi 858 T-5 Rundown: Brian got his first Moto Guzzi, an old 125 that his father purchased from a guy at work, in 1972. This one came by way of eBay. It’s all-original, and needed only to be trucked home to Tennessee from Oklahoma and fitted with new tires; he opted for a set of bias-ply Bridgestone BT45s. “She’s great fun to ride in the twisties,” he says. “The engine has amazing midrange; you never get into fifth gear unless you’re on the interstate.” A great Guzzi, then, for all of $2450.
Reader: Scott Essex Ride: 1989 Suzuki GH400 Rundown: Built tor his wife to ride, Scott's bob-job began life as an entry-level cruiser. He cut off the sub-frame-along with everything else that didn’t meet muster-and fabricated some tubing to lower the seat. Other addons include a Harley-Davidson front fender, Yamaha rear fender, Triumph gas tank, Honda Rebel seat and Sportster exhaust pipe. Most of the parts came from salvage yards and swap meets. “Grand total is just shy of $700,” the Georgian reports. “I paid $250 for the bike and spare engine. It’s the most fun per dollar I’ve ever spent-on a vehicle, anyhow.”
Readers: Mark Etheredge/ Nick Barton Ride: 2000 Moto Guzzi Rundown: This is what happens when a wrecked Guzzi, two friends and 10 days of free time collide. There also may have been some beer involved. The base bike, an insurance write-off, was had for $1800. Frame surgery kicked the rake out to 43 degrees and got seat height down to 27 inches. Tank is stock but lowered on the backbone. Rear fender is from a small-block Guzzi, taillight a la old bob-jobs. Headlight bucket is from a 1960s M-G Eldorado. Crowning touch of the $3500 “EthNick” chopper, says Mark, is “more chrome than a bumper factory!”
Reader: Geoff Webster Ride: 1977 Harley-Davidson XLCH Rundown: Rescued from four years of solitary confinement in some unfeeling wretch’s garage, this iron-head Sportster required disassembly and lots of elbow grease to get back on the road. “The poor thing was coated with grime and dust,” says Geoff. “The oil tank had 3/4-inch of sludge in the bottom, the front brake was frozen solid from lever to caliper, the carb had more gum than Bazooka Joe, and everything that should have moved freely didn’t.” Let’s see: $1000 purchase price, factor in $726 for tires and miscellaneous parts, and the man’s got himself a standout Sporty for all of $1726. Suh-weet!
Reader: Marc Fortune Ride: 1987 Cagiva Alazzurra Rundown: Another eBay bike-buyer, Marc has three Alazzurras, this one serving as his daily rider/weekend roadracer. Lots of mods, including a Honda CBR600F3 fork, Brembo four-piston front caliper and Pantah-style plastic. “The bike is ridden nearly 50 miles per day, and raced as often as I have time,” he says. “I earned a third and a seventh at my last two races, and am currently 10th in points in the Florida-region Lightweight Sportsman class.” Sans gas, the little V-Twin tips the scales at 340 pounds. Pretty good for $3890.
Reader: John Foyston Ride: 1994 Honda ST1100 Rundown: Funny, it doesn’t look like an ST1100. That’s because the sport-tourer had been pitched into a swamp, pranging off the fairing and fork tubes in the process. Foyston got the wreck for $915 and started tabbing. A VF1000R fork had nothing better to do, so on it went. Likewise, Hurricane brakes and a Suzuki front wheel. Headlight is from a ’34 Ford. A friend helped with the new instrument panel, which includes VD0 gauges and “a St. Christopher’s medal for symmetry.” The same pal helped with the headers, which attach to Norton Commando mufflers. Another buddy shot the paint. With a little help from his friends, John’s un-standard ST was built for about $3000.
Reader:Joseph Kuchera Ride: 1986 Suzuki GSX-R100 Rundown: A Hall of Fame sportbike for $1835? Joe couldn’t say no when he came across a clean 35,000-mile Gixxer 1100 for $1500, including matching leather jacket, helmet and gloves. That winter, the Illinois resident polished and painted the rims, replaced tires and brake pads, changed fluids, then fitted a Zero Gravity windscreen and a Vance & Hines pipe, the latter yet another eBay acquisition. “She’s beautiful!” enthuses Kuchera. “Some may call me a cheap s.o.b., but I call myself a lucky cheap s.o.b.!” Agreed.
Reader: Jon Seizinger Ride: 1977 Harley Super Glide Rundown: Are you a victim of sticker-shock down at the local H-D shop? Then take a cue from Jon, who acquired a down-on-its-luck Big Twin for $1000. “It was disgusting and it didn’t run,” he says. Over the next year, it cleaned up pretty well. Jon rebuilt the motor himself, adding a smattering of go-fast bits, but then ran into budget problems. These were solved by shopping the sidewalk sales at nearby dealerships, using his pals’ take-off parts and low-ball bidding on eBay. Final tab? A shade under $5000. Says Jon, “It turned out much nicer than I originally anticipated, runs great and is leak-free. I’m pretty proud of it.” Damn right.
Reader: Joe Adams Ride: 1975 Triumph Trident Rundown: The key to cheap Britbikes is “sweat equity,” says Adams, who picked up a pair of Triumph Triples-one a runner, one in boxes-for $3300. He already had a stock T160, so Joe decided to have a little fun with the runner. A universal quarter-fairing went on, as did a solo seat and second front disc. New paint, a sprinkling of chrome, and Joe’s mild café job is a real head-turner for a little over $4000. “Did I mention the elbow grease?” he asks. “Polishing an old Britbike is good for the soul-at least that’s what I tell my wife.”
Redder: Steve Dobbs Ride: 1989 Suzuki Katana 1190 Rundown: We have a winner! Air Force man Dobbs is jawing with his first sergeant one day, saying how much he wants a bike. Sarge mentions he has one that’s not been ridden in a year, come get it, no charge. What greets Steve is a crusty but complete 1100 Kat. “I at least had to give him a dollar for it,” says Steve, who then sprung for a $200 tune-up. But that’s it, a big-bore asphalt-eater for $201, its only real bugaboo a faded and chipped gas tank. “I’m so cheap, I hope you print this just so I can pay for a tank cover,” he jokes. Your $50 is on its way, Steve, along with another $50 for being the Top Gun S.O.B. Dinner’s on us!
Do BIKES WITH ZERO MILES SCARE you as much as they do me? I mean, how can you possibly put any faith in something that’s got absolutely no track record of actually getting somewhere? That’s why I like used bikes so much: Mileage is proof they’re ready to roll, because, clearly, they’ve rolled in the past.
BIKE BUYING needn't put your bank account into a tail-spin. Just ask Renato Simone, title-holder to this 1985 Kawasaki GPz550, a beautifully preserved example of what was once a CWTen Best Bikes winner. The San Francisco Bay area resident (and cousin to my wife Robin) got the bike for the cost of issuing new DMV paperwork after it had sat unused in a friend's garage for more than a decade.
PITY THE POOR SHOP RAT, unwanted, unloved and, in this case, unridden. In bike-biz parlance, this 1995 Kawasaki Vulcan is a “crusher,” that is, a pre-production bike brought over with no intention of re-selling, meant to be destroyed when its duty is done.
THE ONLY THING SADDER THAN A motorcycle sitting forlorn in a dark comer of a garage is a really nice motorcycle sitting forlorn in a dark comer of a friend’s garage. My old roadracing buddy Mark Cmz repeatedly told me he’d like nothing better than to get his 1988 Ducati Paso 750 Limited running again, but I knew he’d never get around to it.
WHEN TWO VINTAGE-BIKE NUTS in a row tell you a certain barn-fresh black Norton Commando you just told them about isn’t such a good deal-then ask nonchalantly where you saw it— proceed directly to the bank and with-draw cash. Which is exactly what I did when I heard about this 9000-mile all-original ’74850 Roadster that had been on blocks and undercover for some 10 years.
A transcontinental excursion on BMW’s new luxury-tourer Twin
EVERY FIVE YEARS OR SO, FOR SOME UNEXPLAINABLE reason like the one that drives lemmings to run off cliffs, the urge to go on a nice, leisurely cross-country motorcycle trip hits me. I picture myself stopping in quaint villages, sipping a Coke on the front porch of some backwoods gas station with old guys in coveralls watching the sunset while bloodhounds gently gnaw a possum.
LIKE DÉJÀ VU IN A GROUNDHOG DAY sort of way, I once again found myself logging the first ride on a new Buell in a Steve Anderson wake of words. As was the case with the XB9R Firebolt one year ago, Anderson’s technical preview (“Buell XB9S,” October) spelled out the design philosophy behind Erik Buell’s latest creation in such a compelling way that it left me clamoring for a ride on one of the high-handlebar machines.
No PUN INTENDED-WELL, MAYBE JUST A little—but the Lightning is a blast to ride. Too bad, then, Buell couldn’t have sparked a little more Lightning likeness into the entry-level Blast. All Buell’s work to get the XB9S’s riding position just so worked; it fits my frame, both physically and mentally.
MY FUNMOVER WAS TRULY LIVING UP TO ITS NAME. LOADED WITH SEVEN brand-new playbikes and a weekend’s worth of provisions, it was headed for the hills with a guest list of beginning riders in tow. All in a quest to evaluate the latest entry-level dirt-ridin’ motorcycles-the hottest, or soon-to-be-hottest, sellers on each manufacturer’s respective model list.
GET YOUR HANDS ON A BLANKE INdustries Series 2500 exhaust-gas analyzer and you’ll be sniffing more tailpipes than your dog. This rechargeable handheld determines the carbon-monoxide content of your vehicle’s exhaust gas to accurately measure its air/fuel mixture.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HIGHLY motivated, highly skilled rider on top equipment, and a champion? This season we have seen the dominance of Valentino Rossi, Ricky Carmichael, Troy Bayliss and Nicky Hayden make their competition seem almost superfluous.
With Harley -Davidson money and the Vance & Hines drag racing track record, the billet-hewn NHRA Pro Stock V-Rod drag-bike wasn’t expected to have this much trouble qualifying in its first season. Even after running its quickest time yet-a 7.457-second/176-mph run at the Indy nationals this past summer-it still missed the qualifying cut by a little less than a tenth of a second.
I just bought a 2003 Honda VTX 1300R, and since the bike has no centerstand, I would like to simplify the task of checking the oil and coolant levels. Following the procedure described in the manual, I now have to balance the bike in an up-right position and then try to reach back and pull out the dipstick to check the oil.
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.