"THE MENACE IS LOOSE AGAIN, THE Hell’s Angels, the 100-carat headline, running fast and loud on the early morning freeway, low in the saddle, nobody smiles, jamming crazy through traffic and 90 miles an hour down the center stripe, missing by inches...like Genghis Khan on an iron horse, a monster steed with a fiery anus, flat out through the eye of a beer can and up your daughter’s leg.
JUST AS I WAS MAKING LUNCH—A SLIMFast and banana smoothie in the blender to atone for all the food I ate over the holidays—the dogs started barking like crazy. Our two big dogs looked out the window and barked at something specific, while our ancient, half-blind dachshund, Tuffy, howled at the ceiling, just by way of canine solidarity.
FRONT-END CHATTER IS SOMETHING OF which road riders fortunately have little experience. Chatter occurs under conditions of hard cornering and is a rapid, shuddering vertical vibration of tire against pavement. Chatter—especially at the front—is all in a day’s work for the hardest-riding sportbikers, track-day regulars and competition riders.
I just read Peter Egan’s “On the Trail of the Mighty One” (Leanings, March) about communist revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara as portrayed in the recent movie The Motorcycle Diaries. Peter, you not only need Spanish, but geography lessons!
Attention superheroes: Your dirtbike has arrived! Service Honda’s two-stroke CR500AF is a real rocket ride, equally at home racing motocross and desert or roosting sand dunes and trails. The 2005 version of this custom-built machine utilizes Honda’s fourth-generation twin-spar aluminum frame, with options running the gamut from handlebars to cylinder porting. Prices start at $8999.
Pure Power oil filters
Pure Power oil filters can be washed and reused hundreds of times, and are lab-proven to be 90 percent more effective at removing 30-micron-and-smaller particles than conventional fiber/paper elements. The American-made, spin-on design incorporates a deeply pleated, duplex-woven T304 stainless-steel filter within a removable, 6061 T-6 aluminum housing. Price is $199.
slip-on Dual M2 Variable Adjustment Locking Exhaust system
Gain 5 horsepower and 2 foot-pounds of torque while losing 8 pounds of sprung mass on your 2005 Kawasaki ZX-6R? That’s the claim behind Two Brothers Racing’s slip-on Dual M2 Variable Adjustment Locking Exhaust system. Choose from polished-aluminum, carbon-fiber, X-Metal carbon-fiber or titanium canisters with gold-anodized or polished-aluminum retaining rings. Stainless-steel cores and Teflon-coated, die-cast magnesium end caps are standard. Prices start at $800.
Here’s what reigning AMA Supercross Champion Chad Reed, among others, is wearing this season: the $460 Alpinestars Tech 10. In development for three years, the all-new design brings protection even closer to the body. The Torsion Bar Bootie, for example, has dual external hinges, upping ankle support without transferring excess energy upward to the knee. Weight was addressed by slimming the closure system and using a multi-layer, multi-density, low-profile sole. Order yours in black, red, silver or white in full sizes 7-14.
Famous for its sintered-metal, original-equipment replacement brake pads and shoes, DP Brakes now boasts a line of high-performance clutches. Off-road kits come complete with ready-to-install, no-oil-soak-required friction plates, steel drive plates and shot-peened chrome-silicon springs. Street kits use the stock drive plates, except for Ducati applications, which come with steel plates. Prices start at $110.
Bridgestone says its new Gritty ED663 front (90/90-21) and ED668 rear (120/90-18, 140/80-18) tires were designed to meet the demands of European-style enduro racing, soft-terrain conditions in particular. Neat thing is, they’re also DOT-approved, so abandoning the single-track to run into town for food and fuel won’t get you into trouble with the law. Prices start at $86 for fronts, $94 for rears.
Shok-SpotR Helmet Sensor
Banged your head lately? If you were wearing a helmet, you probably walked away without suffering any permanent injury, But what about your helmet? Even if the damage isn't obvious, and regardless of price or features, the helmet may be ruined. You would have a much better idea if your helmet were equipped with a $20 Shok-SpotR. This is a low-profile, adhesive-backed, impact sensor that attaches to the outer shell of any dirt or street helmet, preferably a brand-new one. Developed using current helmet test standards, including those employed by the DOT and Snell, the one-time-use-only Shok-SpotR accounts for not just the surface it covers, but all areas of the helmet above the imaginary industry-standard “test lines”—about an inch up from the bottom of the helmet. It’s easy to apply, and in our informal drop-test, at least, works as advertised. Now if only someone would make a product that eliminates crashes altogether...
THE AMBITION IS HUGE, the goals lofty, but nobody said putting an all-new racebike on the grid at a MotoGP round would be easy. That’s because it isn’t. MotoCzysz and company founder Michael Czysz knew it was a stretch to try to get their all-new C1 prototype (“Secret Superbike,” CW, January) ready for the big show at Laguna Seca this July, and it ultimately became clear that they weren’t going to make it to the starting grid.
BMW HAS AXED THE POPULAR BoxerCup roadracing series for 2005, and is replacing it with the new PowerCup, a “spec” series that will see riders compete on identically prepared K1200R naked bikes. These will not, however, be run-of-the-mill production machines.
The motorcycle-only speed trials at Utah's mile-high Bonneville Salt Flats, inaugurated last year by exhaust-maker BUB Enterprises, will gain full international status in 2005. The FIM, world sanctioning body for motorcycle sport, has accepted BUB’s speed contest as an “International Prize Event.” World championships must be a series, not one contest per season, so IPE it is.
No, not the bike—that’s still a few months from production. Rather, the Portland, Oregon-based manufacturer of the all-new air-cooled parallel-Twins is searching for a new Norton Girl to help promote the brand in 2005. Are you over 21 and think you’ve got the right stuff or know someone who does?
FOUR-STROKE trials bikes are nothing new. Honda marketed its TL125 and 250 back in the 1970s, and even won the world championship with Belgian Eddy Lejeune on a works RS360T in 1984. But truly lightweight, compact, competitive four-stroke trials bikes are only now coming into vogue again, following the similar movement in motocross.
The belt final drive on the Lawwill Street Tracker (CW, April) has made people ponder why belts aren't used more commonly on sportbikes Even compared to low-mess modern 0-ring chains, a belt is lighter, quieter and needs no lubrication. The Lawwill twin-arm setup constitutes a four-bar linkage, tunable for anti-squat or anti-rise geometry.
The full-rig touring class had bloomed by the beginning of the 1980s, and the cover this month a quarter-century ago reflected the trend: “Six Ways to Go the Distance.” Inside was an elaborate comparison test featuring the BMW R100T, Honda Gold Wing GL1100, Harley-Davidson FLT-80, Kawasaki KZ1000, Suzuki GS850 and Yamaha XS1100.
THE MOTOGP WORLD championship contains the most exotic and innovative motorcycles seen in history. But while engine systems have become more high-tech with traction control, pneumatic valves and variable-length intake systems evolved from car racing, dynamically adjustable chassis technology-common on four-wheel racers-has yet to appear on today’s motorcycles.
DOWN: To the Edmonton, Alberta, Police Department, for creating a cop bike we’ll never be able to outrun! Yes, we’re This actually should be an “UP,” because reacting to an increase in the number of sportbike deaths over the past few years, the department commissioned a specially outfitted Ducati 749 as part of its STREET LEGAL program aimed at getting speed-minded youngsters off the street and onto the racetrack.
MONSTER, TNT, Speed Triple, Super Duke, Rockster, Brutale, Tuono... the list of big-bore, highspec, high-velocity naked bikes has exploded over the last few years. And that bunch just covers the Euro offerings. Into this lion’s den ventures the MZ 1000SF. Prior to the Iron Curtain getting scrapped, East German firm MZ was a Grand Prix racing pioneer and ISDT winner, as well as being known throughout Europe for producing simple, single-cylinder, two-stroke commuter bikes.
WHAT IS A MIDDLEWEIGHT SPORTBIKE? IN 1949, WHEN Grand Prix motorcycle racing began, it was a 250. The "big" bikes were 500s, and things stayed that way in the GPs until 2002 when the 990cc MotoGP class was born. That change followed the trend in streetbikes, which grew from 500cc Singles to 650cc and 750cc Twins, and then to four-cylinder superbikes measuring 750, 900, 1000cc and more, to the point that today there are mass-produced motorcycles as big as 2.3 liters.
With 24 world championships to its credit, there's no question Michelin can make a good roadracing tire. And now the French manufacturer is direct-connecting consumers with a street-legal radial that utilizes the latest dual-compound, “2CT” racing technology.
Hey straight-liner, how much would you spend to shave half a second from your E.T.? Would you believe less than $200? And if you order now, we’ll toss in a set of steak knives... All joking aside, that’s the cost of a front-end tie-down strap, set of aluminum lowering links (www.diamondpowersports.com) for the shock and a one-tooth-smaller-than-stock countershaft sprocket-the only modifications we made to run a 9-second quarter-mile on an otherwise stock 600.
Lap times are an important part of any sportbike comparison, but no one wants to stand trackside with a hand-held stopwatch while someone else has all the fun. So to make compiling lap-time data for this test as simple as possible, we equipped each of our six middleweights with a MyChron Light TG lap-timer from AiM Sports (www.aimsports.com).
Everything counts when an engine revs to 15,000 rpm
Our interest in the internal-combustion engine mainly focuses on the flame and fury in the space above its pistons. But recent events have shown that significant power loss can occur below the piston. The proof of this can be seen in the latest generation of 15,000-rpm 600cc sportbikes, which have nearly as much careful porting below their pistons as above.
MODERN MOTORCYCLES HAVE EVOLVED into very specialized machines, often designed to perform best for a specific kind of riding at the expense of broad-range versatility. While this may be a luxury for multi-bike owners, what if your budget or garage only has room enough for one?
Within Ducati, the Muitistrada is regarded as the company's best touring bike, despite its own marketing efforts to qualify the ST models as such. Generally, it seems the public has agreed, particularly in Europe, with the common feeling about a Muitistrada being, “If you ride it, you’ll buy it.” This makes the Muitistrada a very solid platform in which to invest, and so the line has been expanded to include the new 620, aimed more toward entry-level and shorter riders.
THERE ARE PLACES ON THE EARTH NOT MADE FOR us. By us I mean mere workaday mortals who are not millionaires, or I guess billionaires these days. Take, for instance, Monte Carlo hard against the Mediterranean in the postcard Principality of Monaco.
RUNNING A SUZUKI GSX-R 1000 IN BEYOND THE 300-METER marker on approach to the first turn at Circuito de Catalunya during last year's MasterBike comparison required huevos grandes. Late-braking from 170 mph for the sharp second-gear chicane is serious business on any machine, but proved particularly tricky on the big Gixxer due to excessive engine braking.
"WE'D SLAP OUR money down on the Triumph Sprint ST with the optional canister and hard luggage.” So went the conclusion to “GT Experience,” our four-bike sport-touring comparison published in March of 1999. In a subsequent shootout, the format this time around being “World’s Best Streetbike,” the tone was less kind.