ONLY IN AMERICA COULD HARLEYDavidson have happened. Two boyhood chums, first-generation sons of English and Scottish immigrants, decide that what turn-of-the-century Milwaukee really needs is a motorbike that will tackle the rutted roads of the day without shaking itself to pieces.
MY OLD BUDDY STEVE KIMBALL CAME over from Michigan last week with his son Ben-who just graduated from college-and stayed at our place for a weekend visit in Wisconsin. It was good to see them again, but they hadn’t come merely to visit us, heart-warming as that motive might be.
HEAVEN HELP THE TYPICAL RACING clutch. During a full-power start, this hard-worked component must be slipped violently at first, then gradually engaged, in order to send to the rear wheel only the power it can use. The rest of the engine’s considerable output appears as heat in the clutch, which is therefore replaced after one or two such starts.
After all the backlash you guys took for ranking the Aprilia Tuono #1 in the “Modern Immaturity” naked-bike shootout (Hotshots, July, 2003), I thought you might like to hear from someone who agrees with you. I am a recovering spec-sheet junkie.
Hey, that’s some V-Rod! Famed seat-maker Mike Corbin went wild with Harley’s aluminum-bodied liquid-cooled V-Twin, creating a rake-adjustable fairing, adding his top-loading, lockable Beetle Bags (no drilling required) and a custom saddle covered in silver mock carbon-fiber leather. All tolled, the package will set you back $1866, paint not included. Corbin-Pacific, Inc., 2360 Technology Pkwy., Hollister, CA 95023; 800/538-7035; www.corbin.com
Alpinestars 4W Combat Jacket
For those ladies enamored with the military look, Alpinestars offers the 4W Combat Jacket ($170). Available in XS-L sizes, the black or olive-green riding coat is made of a water-and-oil-resistant nylon/cotton, has CE-approved armor, a removable insulated liner and features brass buckles, snaps and zippers. That's all quite stylish, but the real panache comes from the feminine adjustable waist belt. Rest assured. you won't be mistaken for Alpinestars, 2780 W. 237th St. Torrance, CA 90505; 310/891-0222; www.alpinestars.com
RB Components Aluminum Products
Are the doors on your plywood garage cabinets hanging off their hinges? Have you tripped one time too many over boxes of contact cleaner? Outfitting-specialists RB Components produces dozens of pre-fabricated aluminum space maximizers, including an aerosol-can cabinet, a pop-up paper-towel holder, combination helmet shelf/gear hanger, gas can racks and more. Prices start at $30. RB Components, Inc., 11651 Monarch St., Garden Grove, CA 92841; 909/471-5499; www.rbcomponents.com
Frey Daytona Evo Sports Boots
Frey Daytona Security roadracing boots have long been acknowledged as among the best, thanks to their innovative, hinged kevlar/carbon-fiber inner safety liner and replaceable kangaroo-skin outer shell. The only thing really wrong with them is that they’re painful to buy ($750-ouch!) and to walk in. The German company’s new Evo Sports boots are meant to address that, substituting an injection-molded thermoplastic inner liner and a more upright, calfskin outer shell. Available in European sizes 37-48, they retail for a more reasonable $480. Helimot, Inc., 1141 Bay shore Hwy, San Jose, CA 95112; 408/298-9608; www.helimot.com
Planet Superbike Headlight Cover
Headlight? What headlight? Planet Superbike has developed a perforated stick-on lens cover that protects against rock chips, ups your machine’s style quotient and is track-day-legal. Choose from Angry Eyes, Flames or custom applications for $40, and solid colors starting at $30. Ten bucks buys corresponding treatments for the rear of the motorcycle. Planet Superbike, 213 N. Market St., Elizabethtown, PA 17022; 717/367-6320; www.planetsuperbike.com
Sway-A-Way Softail Shocks
Is your Hog wallowing like a pig? Maybe it’s because the rear shocks are junk. Long-time racecar suspension specialist Sway-A-Way’s coil-over shocks are nitrogen-charged and fully adjustable for compression and rebound damping. Available in 11.5and 12.5-inch lengths to fit your 1982 to present Harley-Davidson Softails, they retail for $369. Sway-A-Way, 20724 Lassen St., Chatsworth, CA 91311; 818/700-9712; www.swayaway,com
Makita Cordless Impact Wrench
6917 employs the company’s latest technology including a rechargeable 12-volt nickel-metal hydride battery and a rare-earth magnet in the motor to increase output by 20 percent compared to previous models. The body of the driver is high-impact plastic, with a magnesium alloy hammer case and a rubberized pistol grip. A progressive trigger allows the operator to control the torque from fingertight all the way up to full output. The 6917DWDE includes two batteries and a charger packaged in a plastic tool case for a suggested price of $260 though many retail and online hardware and tool outlets sell them for considerably less. Makita U.S.A., Inc., 14930 Northam St., La Mirada, CA 90638; 800/4625482; www.makitatools.com
JEFF ALLEN THE RACKET WOULD HAVE been unbearable if it weren't for the fact that it was coming from an all-new Norton engine. Yes, Norton (no more “America,” now that the legal fight for the fabled name is over) is in business and making serious noise at its Portland, Oregon, headquarters with the first running prototype of the 952 Commando.
Who needs Viagra when you have the world's longest chopper? Certainly not Rob Moore, Rick Dozerv, Frito Decker and Bill Longest, the Kentucky foursome that created this 29-foot, 3-inch giant under the shadetree Racing and Choppers banner (www.legendmcs.com).
Ducati is celebrating its 200th World Superbike victory with a street-going replica of the machine on which Brit Neil Hodgson accomplished the historic feat at Monza, Italy, this past May. Basically a $29,995 999R treated to race-team livery, the 423-pound machine will come with a special ECU, non-catalyzer racing exhaust, rear stand, bike cover, numbered plaque and certificate of authenticity.
AREVOLUTION IN TIRE manufacturing is taking place. bringing with it changes that will improve tire performance for highway and racing users alike. Pirelli calls its system “MIRS” and Michelin, barely admitting its existence, uses the designation “C3M.” In 1984, Michelin began the previous revolution in tire design with its introduction of semi-radial construction.
What has three wheels, carts dead people around and turns a 17.61 in the quarter-mile? That would be Rev. Paul SinClair’s Triumph Speed Triple, er...hearse. Rev. Sinclair, a.k.a. the “Faster Pastor,” is dead serious about his sidehack hearse service, giving Great Britain’s dearly departed the rides of their (after)lives for roughly $600 to $750-wheelies and hurnouts included, if those are on the decedent’s last wish list.
So, YOU'RE TALKING with Pierre Terbianche, Ducati's chief designer, a guy who’s seen-in fact, created-more than his fair share of motorcycles. Mid-sentence, he looks over your shoulder, eyes widening behind too-cool glasses, and blurts out, “I gotta go!
This issue's cover was a carefully choreographed quiz. Ten photographs, each depicting a telltale detail of one of this year’s Ten Best Bikes winners, put readers’ two-wheel knowledge to the test. To minimize eyestrain, here’s a hint regarding the editors’ choice for Best Superbike: Think early ancestor to the current-day, category-conquering Suzuki GSXR1000.
DOWN: To 80th Anniversary BMW Rockster buyers, for being stayat-home scaredy-cats. Here was the deal: Buy a limited-run “Edition 80,” and roiled into the $16,490 purchase price was a chartered jet ride to Germany in the company of Beemer VIPs, followed by a factory tour and bike pick up, then a fiveday guided ride through the Alps ending at the big 80th anniversary shindig in the Black Forest, with the bike shipped home for local delivery.
YAMAHA FJR 1300 Turning sport-touring into sport-torquing
ARCHIMEDES SAID THAT with a lever long enough. he could move the Earth. If an FJR 1300 had been available in the third century, however, he instead might have used it to illustrate his theories about torque. At the mere twist of the throttle in any gear and at practically any speed, Yamaha’s big sport-tourer launches down the road with such explosive force that you just know the Earth is being spun in the opposite direction.
ONF OF CARTOONING'S MORE CONSTANT SUBJECTS HAS BLEN THE wild-eyed prophet, the robed fanatic carrying a sign emblazoned, "The World Is Going To End!!!" We've laughed at this for generations, but in plain fact, the prediction is scientifically accurate: The world is gonna end.
Hard to believe now in this era of 9-second-quick, 185-mph-fast supra-bikes, but it wasn't all that long ago that the Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster XLCH was the meanest mofo on two wheels. Yes. A Sporty. Cycle magazine was staffed by FOSs (Friends of the Sportster) back in 1968, with Associate Editor Cook Neilson especially enthusiastic, campaigning a built, nitro-burning Sporty digger in East Coast drags.
SHAKES ALIVE, THAT MOTOR IS RUBBERmounted! At idle, it judders almost alarmingly. Catterson wondered aloud how that would affect handling, seeing as how the 3 Sportster he used to road-race was rigid-mounted, giving solid feedback at the expense of shaking his fillings loose at redline.
Harley-Davidson just slid a new motorcycle under the Sportster, and that’s a good thing
HARLEY'S PATTERN IS emerging: Don't expect every new model to be as bold and radical as the V-Rod. One of the goals of the Twin Cam 88 program, for instance, was to create a better engine that couldn’t be distinguished from an Evo power-plant at 25 feet.
That Harley-Davidson would one day celebrate its Centennial was never a prophecy written in stone...
A FEW YEARS AGO. IT SEEMED THE WHOLE INDUSTRIAL WORLD WAS celebrating its 50th birthday at exactly the same time I was. Honda, Ferrari, Porsche, Lotus and so on. All creatures that leapt forth from the suppressed buildup of energy and ideas stored up in the giant electrical condenser that was WWII. The spark was unleashed and then there was light.
LOOKS GOOD, NO? AND THIS IS OUR Project 100 Harley-Davidson, a.k.a. the "Centennial Super Glide," in black-primer, bare-metal shakedown mode-no paint, no chrome, no polished bits. Next time you see it, Project 100 will be spiffed and shiny, wearing thick black metalflake from the bass-boat side of the spectrum, topped by a copper flame job and green pinstripes.
Miller Brewing Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary Commemorative Beer
Are you ready for the party of the century?
Miller Brewing Co.
Miller Brewing Co.
Is IT EVERY MAN'S DREAM TO HAVE beer sent FedEx to his office, Priority Overnight, a.m. delivery? Well, somebody wake us up, ’cause dammit if there aren’t a couple of tallboys sittin’ right here! The graphics thereupon the Miller Genuine Draft and Lite cans begin to tell the story: Harley Davidson 100th Anniversary logos, as well as a picture and a blurb about a historic H-D model.
From Moto Guzzi for 2004, a sportier sort of V-Twin
IF WE’VE HEARD IT ONCE, WE’VE HEARD IT A thousand times: “You guys have the best job in the world.” No argument here. What could be better than jetting all over the world to test-ride the latest, greatest motorcycles? Not that the job doesn’t have its drawbacks, mind you.
Dentist to race-team manager to R&D engineer to military consultant isn't your normal career path, but for Dr. John Wittner, it's all in a life's work. Having impressed former Moto Guzzi owner Alejandro De Tomaso (who died this past May at age 75) with his innovative and successful racebikes, Wittner in 1988 was hired to help put his ideas into production.
Behind the scenes with Triumph's new three-cylinder Mega-Cruiser
THERE I WAS, GAS FULL ON, REAR tire stepped out on the newfor-2005 Triumph Rocket III. Exiting the traffic circle, I notched back on the throttle, clicked up two gears and glanced over my shoulder. “Hah!” I chortled inside my helmet. “Put that in your VTX and smoke it!” Okay, it didn’t exactly happen that way...
WHAT THE HECK'S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD OF cruisers? Rubber Sporties, titanic Trumnets and now this, one badass, black-as-sin chopper from. . .wait for it. . .the Honda Motor Company, former provider of 50cc step-throughs to the Nicest People!
SOMETIMES, LONG-TERM BIKES really are long-term. Other times, the odometer just never stops rolling and bam!, it's over before you can say "Iron Butt." This FJR1300 is one of the latter, ripping though its 10,005 miles in only a matter of months.
SUPERMOTO IS A NEW MOTORCYCLE sport that brings all riding skills together in one event, on machines alread widely available. It includes the bravura of sliding on pavement, but without roadracing’s daunting speeds or costs. It invites the physical fitness of motocross, but leaves room for the guile of older riders.
How does he do it? How can Australian Mat Mladin dominate AMA Superbike racing in this age of international superstars and over-achieving machines? Cycle World caught up with the three-time champ to discuss the development of his new Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000, his riding style and his outlook on bike setup.
I own a 1984 Honda Gold Wing that has a turnsignal problem. When I first start riding the bike after it has sat unused for a week or even a few days, the turnsignals won’t work. But after I ride for a while-maybe 10 or 15 miles-and the bike warms up, the signals start working and continue to work for the rest of the ride.
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