HEY, WHO NEEDS ONLINE AUCTIONS, Walneck's or the Sunday classifieds when you have friends like Allan Girdler? “I know you just bought a chopper,” he began, referring to my period-authentic BSA 650 (“eBay Beezer,” June, 2003), “and why anybody would want two of the god-awful things is beyond me, but you might want to have a look at this one.”
I CRUISED OVER TO ONE OF OUR TWO local Honda shops last weekend to take a look at a used red 2001 Honda VFR800 they have for sale. It’s very clean, with about 8500 miles on the clock. I must admit to a weakness for this generation VFR, even though I’ve steered away from four-cylinder bikes in recent years, generally preferring the torque and personality of Twins.
GOOD MORNING, WELCOME TO WORK, now slam down that Starbucks, fire up the CAD/CAM programs and roll up your sleeves. You are familiar with Pro/Engineer software, aren’t you? Today’s subject is next year’s pistons. As you know, a good compromise on piston design gets harder as engine rpm keeps rising.
Peter Egan, who has always been able to make me laugh, has now found a way to make me cry. It was with great sorrow that I read his “Lost Summers” column (Leanings, February). Although he seemed a bit nonchalant about his Hepatitis C infection, I know very well what he is going through.
There are bores, then there are big bores, and we’re not talking about your I.T. guy at the company Christmas party. Nope, these 4.25-inch bores are surrounded by El Bruto’s Evo-style, 127-cubic-inch V-Twin. For you metric-types, that is some serious cc’age, like 2081. The $5945 Big Bore pounds out a claimed 140 horsepower, with a thumping 140 foot-pounds of torque—enough to make even a computer geek the fastest cruiser rider on the block.
Moose Racing Expedition Gearbag
Going places? The $120 Expedition is a bag you can bank on. Produced from heavy-duty PVC-coated nylon and featuring molded-foam end and sidepanels for added support, this multi-compartment carryall measures a whopping 34x16x20 inches. Thank goodness for the retractable handle and heavy-duty wheels!
Olympia Ventura Jacket
Hey, it’s a busy world and we all have to multi-task, right? That’s the thinking behind the Olympia Moto Sports Ventura, basically two jackets in one. Constructed from a combination of smooth and buffed cowhide, the main jacket (sizes S-XXL) has Scotchlite reflective piping, CE-approved “Retroflex” composite armor at the shoulders and elbows, and a foam back protector. For warm-weather rides, perforated panels let air flow in; when its gets nippy, zip in the flight jacket-style liner, which features a wind-and water-resistant nylon shell, quilted insulation, four storage pockets and works well as casual wear off the bike. That’s a lot of function for $369.
Tour Master Winter Elite Gloves
When it comes to bad-weather riding, the only thing worse than a wet crotch is frozen hands. You’re on your own with the doused dinkle, but here’s a suggestion for the latter malady: Tour Master’s new Winter Elites, full-featured gloves constructed of goatskin and sheepskin leather, with 3M Thinsulate insulation, a waterproof, breathable HiPora barrier and a soft Bemberg lining. Other inclement accoutrements include a thumb-mounted shield wipe and built-in “polar” mittens that stow in the gauntlet’s zippered compartment. Black only, in men’s sizes XS-XXL and women’s S-L, for $90.
Motard Suspension Kit
Race Tech has all the hardware necessary to prep your Honda, KTM or Yamaha four-stroke motocrosser’s suspension for the rigors of supermotard racing. Installed in-house by qualified technicians, the $1057 kit includes Gold Valves, springs, lowering spacers, oil and labor. Turn-around time is 7-10 days.
Kelty Source Reservoir
What's not to like about the Source reservoir, which is standard equipment in all Kelty hydration packs? To begin with, the water-filter-compatible filler cap locks with a 180-degree. single-handed turn. Then there's the EZ Fill Handle, which allows complete fill-ups without the spillage that can occur with other, less user-friendly reservoirs. What's more, the PVC- and polyurethane-free polyethylene design neither develops nor transmits the taste of plastic, or that of the liquid stored in the reservoir. Best of all, the Source, available in 1.5- ($18), 2- ($20) and 3-liter ($25) capacities, doesn't require between-use scrubbings; just rinse and go.
BIG HAPPENINGS AT BMW these days, and topping the list is a brand-new adventure-tourer, the R1200GS. Replacement for the best-selling R1150GS, the horizontally opposed twin-cylinder machine is said to be significantly lighter and more powerful than its popular predecessor.
Rumors of a successor to BMW’s now 20-year-old K-series have been rife of late, and here’s proof that they’re true. This grainy spy photo of a black bike, reputedly taken during public-roads testing in Germany, doesn’t show much in the way of details, which is probably fine by BMW. The German company was recently embarrassed by much more detailed photos of the new bike-some sans fairing, snapped inside the factory—published in various European magazines and on the Internet.
Ready to ante up for a Yamaha FJR1300, Cycle World’s Best Sport-Tourer of ’02? Offered in Galaxy Blue, the early release 2005 standard model ($11,699) and ABS version ($12,799) are again available only through Yamaha’s Priority Delivery Program, which requires a $500 non-refundable, non-transferable deposit prior to April 30 of this year.
BILLED AS "THE LAST remaining remnants of the once-mighty Norton factory," the contents of the former rotary-machine assembly plant were auctioned off last November. Vigorous bidding saw every item sell, including a 15square-foot sign off the facade ($290), a reputedly oil-tight electric clock ($480) and the heavily decaled restroom door ($60)!
A high-powered racing motorcycle spends a lot of its time on just one wheel—accelerating on the rear tire, braking on the front. If riders can balance on one wheel, why have two? The Segway people-mover asks the same question, operating in a perpetual wheelie, with an on-board control system providing fore-and-aft balance.
This issue was tailored for the touring set, as evidenced by the coverbike, a Kawasaki KZ1300 outfitted with Vetter Windjammer fairing and hard saddlebags. Along with a full road test of the formidable Six in standard trim, an entire section, seven articles in all, was dedicated to long-distance two-wheel travel, including a comprehensive fourpage evaluation of the aforementioned Vetter accessories.
WITH 1000cc REPLIracers such as the new Yamaha YZF-R1 and Kawasaki ZX-10R resorting to such exotica as titanium exhaust systems to achieve dry weights claimed to be less than 400 pounds, the question arises: How much lower can motorcycle weight drop?
UP: To the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Safety, for celebrating the freedom of the road, while reminding motorcyclists to ride sober. “The state’s motorcycle rider education program addresses the importance of riding sober, however, its main purpose is to teach riders about overall motorcycle safety,” says Raymond Gaulin Jr., a highway safety management specialist with the DOT. “The ‘Open the Throttle.
SOMETIMES, YOU JUST get lucky. No sooner had we returned our likable long-term DL 1000 VStrom to Suzuki then we were invited to the press introduction for the new DL650 at Southern California's Joshua Tree National Park.
ATTEND THE PRESS INTRODUCTION FOR A JAPANESE MOTORCYCLE AND YOU'LL never hear talk of "the designer." Nothing against the Erik Buells, David Robbs and Pierre Terblanches of this world, but in Japan, drawing attention to one's self is considered boastful.
SO YOU'VE READ THE FULL ROAD TEST OF HONDA'S NEW CBR1000RR. Judged on its own merit, there's very little not to like about Big Red's flagship sportbike. But then again, when was the last time any frontline sportbike evaded the inevitable performance comparisons against its peers?
Is Confederate's Wraith the further evolution of the American sportbike?
WE WERE SEVERAL COCKtails deep into afternoon at a beachfront bar as the warm, orange sun settled gently behind Catalina Island and into the Pacific Ocean. J.T. Nesbitt, designer for New Orleans-based Confederate Motorcycles and the man behind the Wraith concept bike pictured on these pages, was bringing to bear all the Big Questions.
Editor’s Note: We asked Craig Vetter, Obi-Wan of American motorcycle design, for his views on today’s V-Twin customs in general and the Confederate Wraith concept bike in specific. As usual with Vetter, we got more than we expected. I love motorcycles and I love design.
The Confederate you can actually buy-provided you're carrying $60 large in your wallet
Looking for an entertaining and relaxing way to unwind after a long day at the office, say, demolishing buildings with high-explosives? Let us introduce you, then, to the Confederate F124 Hellcat, $60,000 worth of handmade American musclebike.
CONVENTIONAL HINDSIGHT SEEMS TO HAVE CONCLUDED that the South lost the Civil War due to its lack of technology and production capability. If that's the case, it makes sense that Gen. William T. Sherman, on his way to sack Atlanta, ran into some seriously stiff resistance around Kennesaw Mountain, just northeast of Marietta, Georgia.
IT WAS AN UNUSUAL SIGHT, ONE YOU HAD TO SEE TO believe, as the saying goes. There at the Long Beach, California, Cycle World International Motorcycle Show was a pair of high-profile motorcycle designers gathered around a matched set of custom choppers.
LET ME USE A SPORTS ANALOGY HERE, not that I know anything about sports. Team Husqvarna is down by 4 in the third period, on their 5-yard line and getting ready to punt from the free-throw line for a goal with their 2004 model line. In other words, it's a make-or-break moment for the historic marque.
HONDA HASN'T BEEN A PLAYER IN THE enduro game lately. Forget about Baja and the potent XR650R for a minute, most of the XR line has slipped into Playbike Land, forcing serious Honda off-roaders to convert CRF450s or CR250s—or reluctantly jumping brand to get what they need.
VESPA IS TO SCOOTERS WHAT Harley-Davidson is to motorcycles and the VW Bug is to cars—an enduring icon that inspires impassioned owner loyalty, makes people smile and never seems to go out of style. In designing the new Vespa Granturismo, the engineers and stylists at Piaggio faced a challenge common to all makers upgrading a legendary vehicle: How to push the design and performance envelopes while preserving the essential elements that have made it a classic.
Apologies to Mr. Schneider, our scooter-expert contributing writer, but anyone who scoots across the country is absolutely insane. Or are they? You might think so until you ride a rig like the new-for-’04 Aprilia Scarabeo. Okay, yes, for lifelong motorcyclists, it will be weird not being directly connected to the rear wheel by gears, your feet will get bored (they have nothing to do on this machine except be attached to your legs), and the near constant drone of the Constantly Variable Transmissioned 460cc Single may remind you of your mini-bike past.
Well, you won’t find out through Bertie Simmonds’ new book, Colin Edwards: The Texas Tornado. Sure, Simmonds, whose résumé includes editorial stints at Britain’s Motor Cycle News, Bike and Two Wheels Only, dutifully tells readers where Edwards and Bayliss finished in each round, and that his subject never gave up in his quest for a second WSB championship. But the subterranean side of the story, in which Edwards and crew chief Adrian Gorst might reveal all, goes untold. Surely, there must be more to their title-winning tale than “steamroller momentum and a morale-boosting pre-race test before the final round,” as Simmonds suggests. Die-hard fans of “The Texas Tornado” will enjoy learning about Edwards’ upbringing, his promising motocross career, his climb through roadracing’s ranks and his move to MotoGP with Aprilia. For anyone seeking a backstage pass to what may be remembered as Edwards’ finest hour, though, Simmonds misses the mark. -Matthew Miles
Haynes North America, Inc.
How To Set Up Your Motorcycle Workshop
WE GET A LOT OF BOOKS HERE AT CW, AND "How To's" ARE OFTEN SLOTTED onto a library shelf without so much as being read. I mean, c'mon, how interesting is reading about setting up a motorcycle workshop? The answer is pretty interesting if, like me, you happen to be moving house and contemplating outfitting the garage for working on bikes. And so on a long international flight, I read this book from cover to cover. And learned...not a lot, to be honest, but it definitely made me think about some things I wouldn’t have otherwise. Most motorcycle enthusiasts who perform their own maintenance will likely have learned most of the lessons this book has to offer on their own. But for those who are new to wrenching on bikes, it’s a wealth of information. Author C.G. Masi leaves no stone unturned. A self-proclaimed “gypsy,” Masi has set up numerous home workshops over the years, and that experience shows. And because this is the second edition of the book (the first was published in 1996), he has an even greater wealth of experience to draw from now. He even goes so far as to discuss the “Temporary Workshop,” a glorified title for making roadside repairs–something he no doubt learned through his affinity for vintage Harley-Davidson Sportsters. While there is useful information throughout, I found the most interesting reading in the eight “Profile” chapters, which include detailed floor plans of workshops ranging in size from a single-car garage to a two-story race shop (Yoshimura R&D, to be specific). Good stuff–and highly motivational, too. While Masi’s writing style isn’t fancy, nor his photos, his enthusiasm is infectious. By the time I finished reading this book, I found myself excitedly sketching plans for my new home workshop. Which is exactly the point. -Brian Catterson
Haynes North America, Inc.
IT'S EMBARRASSING WHEN A spectator asks a question about the bike you're racing and you don't know the answer. That happened to me a few times at the BMW BoxerCup races at Daytona last March, and I was determined not to let it happen again when I competed in the Airheads Invitational at Talladega this past September. And so I spent a few hours reading BMW R100RS by Bill Stermer. Part of the Whitehorse Press Motorcycle Collector Series, the 80-page paperback isn’t thick, but it diligently details the history of the Hans Muth-designed machine that is widely considered motorcycling’s first dedicated sport-tourer. It’s all here, from the RS’s controversial debut in 1977 during which company bosses argued about using the Rennsport name on a non-racing bike, through the “Last Edition” models in 1984 (which, of course, weren’t), to the resurrection in 1988 and ultimate supplantation in 1993 by the R1100RS, first of the “Oilheads.” You don’t have to be an R100RS owner to enjoy this book, as the first chapter contains a brief history of the Bavarian Motor Works that would interest any motorcycle enthusiast. Similarly, the chapter on “Making a Better Rennsport” suggests various aftermarket upgrades that would work on just about any air-cooled Boxer. Author of Motorcycle Touring and Travel and a former staffer at Cycle and Rider magazines, Stermer is a lifelong Beemerphile who knows of what he speaks. As do I, now that I’ve read his book. So thanks, Bill, for keeping me from looking like an airhead. -Brian Catterson
WITHOUT QUESTION, THE 2002 WORLD SUPERbike season, in which Honda's Colin Edwards roared from well back in points to wrestle the title from Ducati-mounted reigning series champ Troy Bayliss, will go down in history as one of motorcycle racing's crowning moments.
PRISTINE PAINT GLEAMS WITH NEWness and smoothness, not a scratch on it. Yet you'd like to carry your things in a convenient tankbag. Magnets or straps are the usual anchoring choices, but both make direct contact with the gas tank, risking damage.
WHEN IT COMES TO MODERN sportbikes, comfort is secondary to performance. As such, seats are thin, footpegs are rear set and handlebars are low, the latter often mounted below the top triple-clamp Invex's Convertibars address that concern by allowing riders to quickly and easily adjust bar position.
KURTIS ROBERTS SHOULD HAVE been a trial lawyer. At least that's what the straight-talking 25-year-old has often been told by friends and former teachers. Ever since he can remember, however, the youngest son of three-time 500cc World Champion Kenny Roberts has wanted nothing more than to race motorcycles, and to be a world champion himself.
Expectations are always high when the AMA Supercross series kicks off at the always-sold-out Edison International Field in Anaheim, California, on the first Saturday night of January. Unfortunately, several of the sport’s biggest stars weren’t on the starting gate: Defending three-time Supercross Champion Ricky Carmichael and crowd-favorite Travis Pastrana were on the injured list, and seven-time champ Jeremy McGrath retired last year.
Mr. Dean, I wish to protest the demeaning manner in which you continually characterize a very fine human being, Mr. Bubba of Bubba’s Moorsycle Shop. In many past issues of Cycle World, the illustrations in your Service column have shamelessly portrayed Bubba as a mindless, lowbrow buffoon barely able to provide his customers with inferior repair work.
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