OUR KIND OF GUY, ERNST JAKOB HENNE, a motorsports legend you may never have heard of, now 100 years old and happily retired to the Canary Islands. That Henne, once the fastest man on two wheels, would reach the century mark was often in jeopardy due to his numerous racing crack-ups.
SCENE ONE: IT IS A BEAUTIFUL WARM morning in 1967 and the lawns around my college dormitory at the University of Wisconsin have finally turned a brilliant, almost artificial Easter-basket green. Fat robins are hopping around the campus. I’m flying high, having just taken my last semester exam (Geology 101 ) at 7:45 in the morning.
How DO ENGINEERS CHOOSE THE bore/stroke ratio of a new engine? If, as I suspect, Ducati chose a Formula One-like ratio of around 2:1 for its Desmosedici MotoGP V-Four, and Honda chose a more production-like 1.6 ratio, what motivated those quite different choices?
With the new K1200S (CW, July) BMW has reached a new milestone in its 80-year history. I always thought the way to greater market share for BMW was not to be found in emulating Japan, but in looking to its own automotive division.Long ago, BMW decided to pull out all the stops and simply create some of the best cars in the world-in short, no-excuses manufacturing and no crybabies allowed.
Hey ladies, ever noticed you're not shaped like men? God knows men have-and now so has Frank Thomas. The British apparel company’s comprehensive new Lady Rider collection includes jackets, pants, boots and gloves in female-friendly colors, styles and sizes. Offerings include the leather Leiah ($250 for jacket, $180 for pants), the textile Sofia ($180 for jacket, $120 for pants) and others. Cycle Gear, Inc. 4705 Industrial Way, Benicia, CA 74510; 707/747-5053; www.cyclegear.com
Cycle Gear, Inc.
Veypor Performance Intelligence
Can't do without data? Get it all-and then some-with the Veypor Performance Intelligence module. Small enough to fit in your hand, the easy-to-install, water-resistant, handlebar-mounted display unit goes beyond standard speed, distance, time and engine rpm functions, offering on-screen graphing, lap and quarter-mile timing functions, a gear indicator and a programmable shift light. The $280 computer works with any engine configuration, chain-or shaft-drive, and even estimates horsepower! Nonlinear Engineering, Inc., 114 Grange Ave., Ottawa, ON Canada K1Y 0N9; 866/221-3638; www.veypor.com
Cycle Gear, Inc.
Dynojet Quick Shifter
Most commercially available quick-shifters allow full-throttle upshifts by momentarily cutting spark, which was fine in the pre-EFI era. Dynojet’s new Quick Shifter works in much more modern fashion: cutting fuel delivery. Designed to work in conjunction with Dynojet’s own Power Commander III USB module, the “DQS” comes with your choice of three styles of actuation switch (linear travel Sensor shown), all necessary instructions and software, and is backed by toll-free telephone and Internet support. Kits are available for most fuel-injected Harleys and late-model sportbikes, with prices ranging from $267 to $317. Dynojet Research, Inc., 2191 Mendenhall Dr., N. Las Vegas, NV 89081; 800/992-4993; www.dynojet.com
Cycle Gear, Inc.
E Line Carbon-Fiber Accessories
Famous for its carbon-fiber/kevlar two-stroke pipe guards and skid/glide plates, E Line also makes chain guides, fork and shock protectors, ignition covers and four-stroke header protection for stock and aftermarket applications. Designed for KTM's racing four-strokes, the $90 tailpipe/muffler guard (shown) covers both pipe and muffler to prevent melted riding gear. E Line Accessories, 54 Spectacle Pond Terrace, East Wareham, MA 02538; 508/295-0813; www.elineaccessories.com
Cycle Gear, Inc.
Alpinestars GP Tech Gloves
Crashing hurts. Best, then, to protect yourself as well as possible. Developed with help from top MotoGP and Superbike racers, the $240 GP Tech glove shields the areas of the hand and wrist that are most vulnerable in the event of an accident. A reinforced kangaroo leather palm, pre-curved fingers and external seams enhance feel. Get 'em in black/black, blue/black or red/black in sizes S-XXXL. Alpinestars USA, Inc., 2780 W. 237th St., Torrance, CA 90505; 310/891-0222; www.alpinestars.com
Cycle Gear, Inc.
Arai XD Helmet
XD stands for “cross-over design” -as in a street helmet for the dirt, or a dirt helmet for the street. Depends on where you've been and where you’re going, but this hybrid lid with its removable peak and “Twin Cam Shield Pivot System” is a good compromise either way you look at it, especially for adventure-touring and supermoto types. Even though the sealing of the flip-up visor is excellent, this Arai is designed to allow the use of goggles in extremely dusty conditions. With the vents closed, dust only slowly migrates in through the bottom of the helmet. The XD is also quiet, much more so than popular flip-up-front-style head protection. Aerodynamics are the best we’ve experienced with a visored helmet, especially at high speeds. And when the vents are open, air flows freely through the shell. With the added free space in the nose/mouth area compared to typical street lids, this is a very airy-feeling full-facer. The XD is offered in XS-XXL sizes in white or black ($484), Aluminum Silver or Aluminum Grey ($517) or "Storm" graphic ($577). Arai Helmets, P.O. Box 9485, Daytona Beach, FL 32120; 800/766-2724; www.araiamericas.com
BIG GOINGS-ON IN power-cruiserdom these days, what with exciting big-bore offerings from Harley-Davidson and Victory, plus a new in-house brand from Suzuki. Harley fired the first shot, unveiling its 2005 Custom Vehicle Operations models, which include a 1250cc hot-rodded Screamin' Eagle V-Rod, the return of the 103 cubic-inch Screamin' Eagle Electra Glide and, most significantly, a 103-cubic-inch Screamin’ Eagle Fat Boy.
Honda introduced in its home-market redone versions of its Forza 250cc four-stroke scooters, dubbed the X and Z. What makes the Z cool is that it is the first 250cc scoot to use push-button six "gear" shifting, dubbed S-Matic, similar to that used on Suzuki's 650cc Burgman.
THE WATERING-TRUCK floodgates have opened and the new season’s motocross bikes have been unleashed—photos and info, anyway! Honda led the way, taking our '04 pick for best motocrosser and rebuilding it! Take a chance why don’t you... Not to worry, we can’t wait to ride the mighty CRF450R. The big Thumper gets the fourth-generation aluminum frame that debuted on the CRF250R last season.
There’s more to four-stroke motocross than just Thumpers! Aprilia’s prototype MXV450 V-Twin moto-bike made its first Italian national and World Motocross appearances. Results were mixed (best was fourth in the national), but development is getting serious.
Kawasaki’s KLX250 made a radical splash on the cover this month a quarter-century ago, with a warp-drive water-crossing picture that looks as though it was digitally enhanced-though pixels had yet to be invented! Inside, the water theme continued as the KLX was submarined on the opening spread, where we declared that this was, "A Four-Stroke Dirt Bike that HANDLES." Credit the light-and-simple sohc Thumper mounted in a KX125 motocrosser frame with "almost perfect damping" in its 10 inches of suspension travel.
"LATANTA ROSSA!" exclaimed the announcer as he took the stage at World Ducati Week 2004-"So much red!" Yes, the "Red Passion" was in full flush at Misano as the Bologna-based bike-builder announced plans to produce a street-going replica of its Desmosedici MotoGP racer.
UP: To Berkeley Breathed, syndicated cartoonist, for poking fun at the silly side of biker culture that looks to "liberate the rebel within." A recent "Opus" strip featured the penguin ducking into "Weekend Rebel Motorcycles" for a "tinkie winkie."
TO THINK IT ALL STARTED in 1978 with the XS650 Special... Yamaha didn’t have a diversified cruiser lineup back then. In fact, the XS650 was the cruiser lineup. In stark contrast, Yamaha today has a bike to fill just about every segment, from its entry-level Virago 250 to full-rig Royal Star Venture touring bike.
Kawasaki's new performance king takes on the world
ANY SPORTBIKE MANUFACTURER WOULD KILL TO have its all-new model raise the class performance bar. Doubly sweet, when achieving such a feat in a category where your presence has not be felt lately. I returned from Kawasaki’s ZX-10R press intro held last December at Homestead, Florida, proclaiming Team Green was back in the ring with a fighting chance this year.
Master Bike is a test of stock streetbikes with steps taken to ensure that each participating machine is standard in specification. Motociclismo's technical staff sets up the magazine’s dynamometer in a garage stall at the circuit and runs each bike-fueled with the Shell pump gas used through-out testing-to verify all are within 3 percent of a manufacturer’s published power specification.
Circuit de Catalunya is one of the world’s foremost race venues. The 13-year-old facility was immaculately manicured, having hosted the FIA Formula One car race a couple weeks prior to our visit and was soon to be invaded by the MotoGP circus after Master Bike was done.
Tires can make or break a sportbike’s handling. Testing 13 different bikes on their original-fitment rubber would likely deliver results reflecting the stock tire’s grip rather than revealing each bike’s relative performance. Equipping all machines at Master Bike with the same tire eliminates this variable.
Testing 13 current sportbikes on a pristine circuit along the Mediterranean coast sounds like paradise. And it is-at least from where I was seated-however, it’s also serious business for the folks fielding the hardware. Talk around the garage suggested Honda sportbike sales in southern-European countries will suffer due to both CBRs finishing last in their respective Master Bike categories.
Forget the stopwatches, which bikes were liked best?
Yamaha’s R1 is the bike that does the most for me. It may not be as fast as the ZX-10R, but is more usable. -Claudio Corsetti, Moto Sprint, Italy Editor and track-day instructor with plenty of laps under his belt; age 39 For me, the R1 offers the capabilities of the ZX-10R, but gives more feedback and warning when nearing its limits.
KAWASAKI’S ZX-10R CONquered all in CW’s 2004 Superbike comparison and subsequently took home an award in our annual Ten Best Bikes competition. Strong like King Kong, making 155.5 rear-wheel horses, and banana leaf-light at 408 pounds, the ZX-10R epitomizes Open-class sportbike performance, enabling its rider to walk on-and all over-the competition.
THE MV AGUSTA F4 750 HAS ALWAYS BEEN a breathtaking motorcycle, with looks that will stop even a Ferrari driver in his tracks. Its handling sets a benchmark, too, a little on the heavy side for a three-quarter-liter four-cylinder, but super-stable and with magical feedback from the front end.
MV returns to racing-with the help of a Belgian endurance team
THE FIRST TEST OF A NEW PRODUCTION MOTORCYCLE is always something special. When it’s a test with a bike you’ve known since its birth, it’s even more so. One-and-a-half years after my last race on the prototype MV Agusta F4 1000, I found myself at a racetrack astride the first production model.
FIFTY YEARS AGO, IN 1954, BSA SWEPT THE DAYTONA 200, TAKING the top five places. Once the world's largest motorcycle producer, Birmingham Small Arms now belongs to history. In one sense, that 1954 Daytona sweep was no accident, because BSA had spent the money, done the testing and hired top American riders.
SHARP-minded readers may recall that the last time my A10 BSA graced these pages, it was seized and I was well-lubricated, having availed myself of the healing properties of three very tall mai-tais. At least the damn thing had the courtesy to weld its innards directly across from a well-stocked bar.
THE BUELL XB12S LIGHTNING IS not a motorcycle-it’s a powered uni-cycle. The torquey and short V-Twin loves to balance on one wheel or the other, the rear during hard low-gear acceleration or the front under heavy braking. That’s one way to maximize traction and save on tire wear!
A little old, a little new, with a timeless theme underneath it all
IT'S AS THE HILLS, or at least as old as motorcycles riding through the hills: Biker boys try to get the attention of biker girls. There may be real art, incredible craftsmanship and independent, creative thought going into a fully radical, fabricated-from-scratch bike, but if a chopper artisan can't take a pretty girl for a ride, what's the point?
I’M NO JAY LENO, BUT talking with Yoshi Kosaka, I felt like the “Tonight Show” funnyman trying out fresh material. This guy just loves to laugh. Kosaka is a free spirit, the type of person who cuts out on a high-paying dental-engineering job in his native Tokyo to move to Los Angeles and open a bike shop, where he collects motorcycling memorabilia, fettles vintage roadracers and builds customs such as the Triumph bobber shown here.
The two-stroke giant-killer returns, Kenny Roberts-style
THERE IS A SPARE PURITY to the dirt-track bike, a machine stripped to its essentials, the elegant expression of two-wheeled performance. . .BWHAAAAA!!! Elegant expression just got smoked by a 65-horse power, 10,000-rpm Yamaha RD350 Twin in a ready-to-ride street-legal package that weighs just 275 pounds.
IF YOUR IDEA OF A VINTAGE mini-bike is a Seventies Honda XR75, take a gander at the Iver Johnson shown here. A one-of-a-kind special, it was built in 1912 by board-tracker Jonathan Sullivan in the hopes it would stir his son's interest in racing.
ONE OF THE BIG PROBLEMS WITH MANY off-road bikes is their limited fuel capacity. This is especially true on slim-and-thin KTMs, which come standard with 2-gallon gas tanks. To address this issue, Baja Designs revived an older idea to fit newer bikes.
WHY USE DR. D’S HOT START LEVER TO RELOCATE YOUR FOUR-STROKE DIRTBIKE’S stock lever from atop the clutch perch to the right side of the handlebar, below the throttle? Three reasons: 1) It eliminates the awkward reach when also trying to fettle the clutch; 2) you can’t inadvertently turn the throttle, activating the carburetor’s accelerator pump and flooding your engine; and 3) mud from tip-overs no longer has to be dug out from between the bar and lever. Simply swap out the stock front brake master-cylinder clamp, hook up the cable and roost away, hot engine or cold.
No MATTER HOW HOT YOUR HOPPED-UP Harley might be, riding it in cold weather can leave your hands feeling like a couple of Meatsicles. But if your H-D is of 1996 vintage or newer, The Motor Company's own Parts & Accessories Division has the answer with its Genuine Heated Hand Grips. Installation is fairly simple, and the kit comes with all the necessary components and a comprehensive instruction sheet.
ALL THE ATTENTION WAS FOCUSED on the starting line, smack dab in the middle of the arena floor. The “Jumbotron” was flashing, the announcer was going nuts, but it was impossible to hear anything over the screams of the fans and the throaty Thumpers ready to rip.
Much has changed in World Superbike this year. For the first time since the class went global in 1988, non-restricted 1000cc four-cylinder bikes are allowed to compete alongside the perennial favorite Ducati V-Twins. Spectires were introduced, as well, so everyone is now on level footing (no pun intended).
Wow! Gas at over $2 per gallon and not likely to go back down ever again? Okay, but we've now got EFI-equipped motorcycles with computer-controlled ignition timing, and Power Commanders and other black-box modification kits designed to "increase power and driveability.”
In the July issue, your answer to Terry Lundgren's vibration problem with his '91 Harley FXRS (“Whole lot 0’ shakin'") is correct, but he also needs to check the transmission (final-drive) pulley. From 1988 to early 1995 models, the pulley’s center is too thin, allowing it to eventually loosen.
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