AS AFETY BRIEFINGS GO, TFIIS ONE DEFinitely had a Down Under flair, especially the lengthy rundown of indigenous road hazards. “Avoid wombats at all costs,” chastened our tour leader. “It’s like running into a beer keg with paws.” So noted.
RANDOM SNOW FLURRIES SLANTED across my headlights like small javelins, but inside my car the CD player glowed warmly. "Donde esta la estacion deferrocarril?" a male voice asked me, ferociously trilling every "r" in the Spanish word for "railway?" I quickly repeated the phrase twice, my tongue clicking against the roof of my mouth like a pair of castanets.
MTUCH-DISCUSSED IN AUTOMOTIVE CIR-cles is the idea of “virtual corporations.” Instead of pursuing the old Henry Ford model of a company that owns everything from iron mines to dealerships, and carries out all operations in between, the virtual corporation would own almost nothing.
I want to thank Cycle World for taking my MotoCzysz Cl seriously (“Secret Superbike,” January). However, there is some confusion over a few items that I would like to clear up. The reason the Cl’s cranks are placed longitudinally as opposed to the more traditional transverse orientation found in most inline-Fours is not to produce a narrow engine.
Big -boy minibikes always seem to come at big-boy prices Not the Chinese-made SDG Speed Mini. Retailing for $2399, it sports all the hot aftermarket goodies: a sohc, three-valve 107cc Single, four-speed transmission, manual clutch, performance exhaust, chromoly frame, long-travel suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, heavy-duty wheels, oversized footpegs, an aluminum skidplate and a tall seat. You might just have to buy two, or three... SDG USA, 1627 Boyd, Santa Ana, CA 92705; 800/743-3734; www.sdgusa.com
Here’s an effective and speedy way to make dull, tarnished metal shiny again: S100 Polishing Soap. Just wet the supplied sponge, drag it across the soap and voila! you’ve got a handful of polishing power. Post-application, simply rinse with water or wipe off. Effective on household appliances, too. Suggested retail price is $10. S100, 55 E. Main St., Branford, CT 06405; 203/488-6569; www.s100.com
Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Say again? Before your hearing takes an irreparable hit, invest in a set of SmartFit earplugs. Designed to conform to the ear canal for all-day comfort, the singleor multiple-use, foam or molded shapes come in both corded and non-corded styles. Prices start under $1. Bacou-Dalloa Americas, 910 Douglas Pike, Smith field, Rl 02917; 800/343-3411; www.howardleight.com
Harley-Davidson Motor Company
KTM Charcoal Grill
Does it get any cooler-or is it hotter?-than this? Not unless you’re riding! Made by Meco and retailing for $40, the KTMlogo’ed mini-BBQ is perfect for tailgating at the races. It features steel construction, a removable grilling rack and a locking top. KTM North America, 27635 Diaz Rd., Temecula, CA 92590; 951/676-4576; www.ktmusa.com
Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Harley-Davidson FXRG gear
Cruise in comfort and style! The Motor Company has you covered-literally and figuratively-with its latest FXRG riding gear. Offered in both men’s and women’s sizes, the all-black, windand water-resistant, mid-weight leather jacket boasts the crash and weather protection expected from a fully armored, multi-season garment. Same goes for the matching pants. Prices start at $595 for the jacket and $350 for the pants. Complete the ensemble with the $450 carbon-kevlar helmet and $120 Gore-Tex gloves (not shown). Harley-Davidson Motor Company, 3700 W. Juneau Ave., Milwaukee, Wl 53208; 800/588-2743; www.harley-davidson.com
Harley-Davidson Motor Company
There are times when~ roadrace boots are a bit too much. Do you really need carbon-fiber shIn guards or replaceable toe sliders for kickin' it at the mall with your buddies, or for hoofin' it up to the Corkscrew at La~una Seca? For just such occasions, Sidi makes the $160 Scorpion. This is, however, no ordinary high-top. Available in European sizes 38-48 the lightweight, ail-black slip-on incorporates many of the features and materials found on the company’s top-of-the-line creations, including a shift pad, reinforced ankle and heel, ventilation and high-traction sole. Dual Velcro-backed straps simplify entry and egress, and the absence of a heavily reinforced shank makes long walks actually pleasurable. Okay, the Scorpion leaves your lower leg exposed, but the protection is still far better than with a standard tennis shoe. Motonation, 1100 N. Magnolia Ave. #A, El Cajon, e« o IV/HU I-H iuu, www.motonation.com
DESPITE THE DEBUT OF the exciting new 160horsepower, inlineFour-powered K1200R and S, there is no doubt that BMW remains faithful to the Boxer Twin, the engine upon which the German manufacturer built its considerable legend. For proof, look no farther than the all-new R1200RT and ST. Spy photos of both bikes surfaced at the end of last year, forcing BMW’s hand to the point that it pushed the public debut of the touring-oriented RT to the last big event of the year, December’s Bologna Motor Show, while still keeping the more sporting ST under wraps as best it could.
On the heels of Aprilia's world chamionship in Supermoto's S2 class comes this computer illustration of what the four-stroke 450cc Twin could look like in road trim. Sort of a dirtrider’s Tuono, the SVX SM gets a headlight fairing, “hugger” rear fender and a new underseat exhaust to complete the conversion from track to street.
Can’t get by in life without classic Vespa PX styling and traditional fourspeed handlebar shifting? No worries, Piaggio USA is importing an individually numbered, 49-state-legal run of 500 units-all featuring pressed-steel monocoque frames and single-cylinder two-stroke powerplants just like on the original 1978 model.
FIRST PUBLIC THROTTLEto-the-stop spin on the new-for-2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000 went to none other than 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz. At Road Atlanta last October for the annual Suzuki Cup Finals, the Texan got just two laps around the 2.54-mile circuit aboard Hamamatsu’s latest big-bore repli-racer, but was able to draw a few conclusions from the experience.
As previewed last issue, Moto Morini chose last December's Bologna Motor Show to unveil its new Corsaro 1200. But surprisingly, the reborn Italian manufacturer also showed a second machine, the 91/2 Scrambler, the fraction paying homage to the 1970s 31/2.
The coverbike Honda CB900 was billed on the table of contents as, “A Science Fiction Motorcycle: Air Suspension, Two Transmissions, Shaft Drive and More.” Two transmissions was true, as it had a five-speed with a dual range, making fora 10-speeder.
THE BIKE BIZ ISN'T AS simple as we’d like it to be. We’d like brilliant designs to be manufactured to the highest standards by a dedicated workforce, then set loose upon an appreciative public that snaps them up as fast as they are produced. The driving forces are passion for motorcycling, passion for excellence.
Maybe it's because the land is so flat in the Netherlands. Or perhaps it's just that rollercoaster designers have finally recognized what we have known all along: Motorcycles are thrill rides. This world’s first motorcycle-based rollercoaster-called the Booster Bike Motorbike Launch Coaster-is part of the Toverland theme park located near the German border.
UP: To Arai Helmets, for celebrating the life’s work of Jay Springsteen. To commemorate Springer’s 30 years of professional dirt-track racing, the Japanese helmet manufacturer commissioned an 88-page book chock-full of wonderful photographs by Dan Mahony, Bert Shepard and Shogo Nakao.
CAN'T HELP BUT FEEL A little sorry for owners of Triumph’s Daytona 600, as the new stroked and massaged Daytona 650 is far better than its additional 47cc of engine displacement might suggest. Parking the new bike alongside last year’s machine offers no visual hint as to the level of refinement experienced when riding the two machines back-to-back, as we did at the press launch held last November at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
THERE’S NO QUESTIONING KAWASAKI’S CONVICtion about taking charge of the middleweight class, both on and off the track. Like its competitors, Team Green offers a multi-bike middleweight sportbike lineup ranging from bargain-biased carryover models to the latest hardware.
TOMMY HAYDEN'S FACTORY KAWASAKI ZX-6RR is a proven piece of race weaponry. In 2004, the 26-year-old Kentucky resident and his well-armored team brought down the competition’s defenses and took home the AMA 600cc Supersport Championship.
THERE HAS GOT TO BE AN EASIER WAY TO LEARN A RACEtrack,” I thought to myself as I rocketed down the front straightaway at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain, last November. Steed for my first-ever stint on the 2.48-mile, 14-turn track wasn’t just some psychotically fast sportbike, but one of the most psychotically fast racebikes on this green earth: the Kawasaki ZX-RR. Unlike Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP championship-winning Yamaha YZR-M1 that I would ride 24 hours later (“Doctor for a Day,” CW, February), the Kawasaki’s 990cc inlineFour doesn’t make use of a traction-enhancing, big-bang firing order.
DESIGNING A MIDDLEWEIGHT SUPERSPORT BIKE IS A lot like walking a tightrope. On the one hand, it needs to be potent enough for professionals to win races on, but on the other, it needs to be tol-erant of novice street riders. To find the opti-mum balance, manufacturers constantly fine-tune their products, and gauge their success by looking at sales figures, racing results and yes, even magazine reviews.
WHEN YOU VIEW THE AMA 600 SUPERSPORT RECORD BOOK, one name leaps off the pages, that of five-time series champion Miguel Duhamel. The 37-year-old, Canadian-born, Las Vegas, Nevada, resident has been the most successful 600 pilot the racing world has ever known.
Warning: Riding Honda’s RC211V can alter your perceptions!
IT WAS LIKE SOME SORT OF WEIRD PARADIGM SHIFT, ME sitting at a table in Repsol leathers with Nicky Hayden on the other side in street clothes. The only thing normal about the scenario was that I was the one taking notes. The occasion was the annual HRC test day at Motegi, Japan, last December, where select moto-journalists had an opportunity to throw a leg over various works Honda racebikes, Hayden’s RC21IV MotoGP bike among them.
On the surface, it probably seemed like a reasonable idea. Many Harley riders would love to learn how to do their own routine maintenance, and most of them-the males, anyway-are not prone to looking the other way when a bare-breasted female saunters into the picture.
Everyone who rides our long-term Multistrada raves about the bike's smooth-running, air-cooled V-Twin. Since this couldn’t possibly be the result of proper break-in, it must be the synthetic oil we’ve been running, first Royal Purple 20w50 with Synerlec and more recently Motul E-Tec 100.
WILLIE G. DAVIDSON AND RIGHT-HAND styling man Louie Netz live in a time warp, the real-world version of a Bruce McCall illustration. It’s a world where the 1940s aren’t over, where Raymond Lowery is still designing streamline moderne radios, and where motorcycles embrace chrome, flowing fenders and two-tone paint schemes.
APPEARANCES ASIDE, THE FADED-BLUE 1949 Panhead bobber you see on this page is not, repeat not, a barn-fresh find unearthed in some poor potato farmer’s estate sale. No, just like HarleyDavidson’s new Softail Deluxe, it was built in 2004 and made to look like something from the days of the Harry Truman White House.
PERHAPS THE PROJECT SEEN HERE, an ’04 Triumph Bonneville souped up, cut down and transformed into a dirt-track racer with street gear, is so logical that serendipity, the art of the happy accident, wasn’t needed. But this success story began with a happy coincidence.
BACK IN THE 1970s, when the AMA’s Grand National series mandated production-based 250cc Singles for short-track races, Harley-Davidson certified its Italian-made two-stroke motocross engine and sold it—to those who knew where and how to get one—along with a list of suitable frames, suspension and so forth.
DESPITE WHAT YOU’VE HEARD, THERE ARE SOME REPLACEments for displacement. More revs and hotter cams, for example. Porting, for another. Losing weight (your own) is oft overlooked.. .but hey, get out the boring bar, no one should have to give up a decent meal!
Sure, drooling over Hoyer’s project WR three-whatever-it-is has its moments. Right ’til I realize how thin my wallet is. Yours, too? So what to do? Well, cheap-out and try to get the beef anyway! In this case, we’re talking about the RPMs Ice Cube Big Bore kit for the Kawasaki KX250F and identical Suzuki RM-Z250 that leaves all that complicated (and expensive!) stroker stuff off the bill.
MOTORCYCLISTS WHO ENJOY LISTENing to music want two things from a set of earphones: Good sound and a reduction in ambient noise. That’s what you can expect from the ER-6 Isolator Earphones from Etymotic Research. One of the 2,475,612 items in the Aerostich RiderWearHouse catalog, these in-ear audio speakers are said to provide “superior response accuracy” while reducing engine and wind noise by as much as 20 decibels.
IN LAST SEASON'S AMA FORMULA XTREME RACES, AFTER THE front-running Hondas and several other 600cc Fours screamed past, a pair of Buell XB Lightnings thundered in pursuit, their bellow for a moment completely overwriting all other sound.
Five national titles, 12 track records and more than 100 round wins don’t count for much when the well runs dry. Just ask Rickey Gadson, longtime Kawasaki drag racer, who last October found himself out of a job after nearly a decade under the Team Green banner.
I own a 2002 H-D Softail Deuce with fuel-injection. I’m thinking about buying an aftermarket exhaust, and my question is whether or not a crossover tube is desirable on a 2-into-2 system. Some come with crossovers, most do not, but all new Harleys come with them from the factory.
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