HURRICANE KATRINA RAGED AS WE WERE putting this issue to bed—ironic, as it features two of Louisiana’s fastest sons, Freddie Spencer and Jamie James. Among the casualties of Katrina were some 70 motorcycle dealerships in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, at least temporarily out of business, according to the publication Dealernews.
ON A RECENT ROAD TRIP, I FOUND MYself thinking about our late and much-missed Editor-at-Large, Henry Manney III. Henry was what you might call a cheerful curmudgeon. He had a darkly humorous view of the human condition, and often prefaced his corrective anecdotes with the words, “If I were King of the World...” For instance, he’d walk into your office, ease himself into a chair, toss his tweed cap onto his knee and say: “If I were King of the World, motorists who block the fast lane on the freeway would be instantly vaporized with large ray-guns mounted on overpasses.” Or: “If I were King of the World, people who write checks in the Cash Only line at the supermarket would be turned over to the Berber pirates and sold as palace eunuchs at the slave market in AÍ Qatrun.” His imaginary punishments for bad behavior were always hilariously specific and harsh, yet apparently well-deserved.
SPARKPLUGS ARE SIMPLE, SEEMINGLY stone-ax devices, right? Igniting them a cookbook exercise in getting juice to the plug cap? Not so fast. When an ignition system sends voltage to one of the sparkplugs, the first thing that happens is that electrons pile up in the plug wire and on the metal rod that runs down the center of the plug, terminating in the center electrode.
From the moment I laid my eyes on an MV Agusta F4 photo about two years ago, I’ve loved the bike more than life itself. It belongs in a museum somewhere next to a DaVinci painting. The only time I ever saw one in person, I was almost hit by a bus trying to take a picture of it with my cell phone.
If you’re going to wear jeans when you ride, why not wear a pair that are reinforced with tougher-than-cotton aramid fibers—otherwise known as Kevlar—at the impact zones, namely the hips and knees? Icon offers several styles, including the patch-equipped, articulated-knee Anthem ($100), wind-stop-insulated Barrier ($90), flex-panel-enhanced Recon ($80), conventional-looking Standard ($70) and waxed-cotton Super-Duty ($90). Get ’em in even waist sizes 28 to 44. Icon, 2040 Gillespie Way, El Cajon, CA 92020; 619/258-5365; www.rideicon.com
Tired of running down to the local motorcycle dealer for shims every time you adjust your valves? Now Hot Cams makes the job easier with its valve shim kits to fit most dirtbikes, streetbikes and ATVs. Available in 7.48mm or 9.48mm ODs, each kit includes shims ranging from 1.20 to 3.50mm in .05mm increments, three of each size. Better still, they come in a handy carrying case for easy access and organization. Price is $90. Hot Cams, Inc., 3025 Justin Dr., Urbandale, IA 50322; 515/402-8005; www.hotcamsinc.com
World’s coolest slip-on exhaust? Among the contenders is the $1299 Stinger from Taylormade Racing. Developed specifically for 2004-’05 Kawasaki ZX-10Rs, the thin-wall stainless-steel system is said to boost output above 8000 rpm by 6-7 horsepower, while Cool Ceramic Technology reduces underseat heat. An LED taillight, license plate bracket and undertray are included. Taylormade Racing, 19541 Arminta St., Van Nuys, CA 91406; 818/781-8123; www.racetaylormade.com
Ziggy Emke and company claim their dual-internal-vent, anodized-aluminum breather valves prevent the fuel spillage and vapor lock common to traditional dirtbike vent hoses. But you know the real reason you’d buy one: They look trick! Available in a rainbow of colors for $23, the valves screw to your plastic gas cap in seconds. BJ Motorsports, 23510 Telo Ave. #7, Torrance, CA 90505; 310/539-6161; www.bjmotorsports.com
Ah, the sweet scent of...burning rubber?! Now your living room can smell just like a dragstrip— without the skid marks on the carpet. Shaped to look like a racing slick, the $14 Smokin’ Ride Candle has an 8-12 hour burn time. Also available unscented. Smokin’ Tire Products, Ltd., 3791 Arabian Ct. Columbus, OH 43221; 614/893-5531; www.smokintire.com
Oil Eater Degreaser
Quickly and safely dissolve grease and oil on asphalt, concrete, engines and tools with Oil Eater, an acid-free, bio-degradable, nonflammable, water-based cleaner. It’s equally effective on carpet and upholstery stains, and safe to use as a spot remover on colorfast clothing. A handy 32-ounce spray bottle costs $4. Also available in 1(shown), 5-, 30-and 55-gallon containers. Kafko International Ltd., 3555 W. Howard St., Skokie, IL 60076; 800/528-0334; www.oileater.com
Adjustable Triple Clamps
Looking for the ultimate chassis setup for your Ducati 999/749 or 998/748? Advanced Motorsports—Texas' largest Ducati dealer—offers this beautiful adjustable-offset tripleclamp that augments the factory rake adjustment with six different trail settings. Machined from 7075 billet aluminum, the clamps accept numbered, machined oval inserts for the supplied alloy steering stem that varies offset from 25 to 35mm in 2mm increments, bringing about an attendant alteration in trail Stainless-steel hardware is used throughout, with stainless thread inserts for added strength. The $1500 kit also includes provision for using the stock steering damper and features adjustable steering stops. Advanced Motorsports, 11550 E. FM 917, Alvarado, TX 76009; 817/790-0200; www.advancedmotorsports.com
WHAT DO YOU DO AS you waft along the Interstates on your whisper-quiet Honda Gold Wing? You dream up new features to make this soothing six-cylinder experience even plusher, and to further defeat and frustrate the evil NVH gremlins: noise, vibration and harshness.
Is this the Ducati Monster perfected? Hard not to think so, because the 2006 S2R 1000 marries the Italian company's coolest styling with arguably its best streetbike engine: the air-cooled Dual Spark 1000. Making a claimed 95 horsepower, the desmo engine is essentially unchanged from its duty in both the big Multistrada and SS1000, which is a good thing.
The S2R 1000 isn’t the only new bike coming from Ducati in 2006. The $14,495 ST3S ABS, now the company’s top sport-touring bike, combines the liquid-cooled threevalve-per-cylinder desmo Twin with the Öhlins suspension and ABS brakes of the discontinued-in-the-U.S.
HOLY HAYABUSA HUNTer! We thought the Speed Wars of the last century were over, but Kawasaki is back with a vengeance in the form of the Ninja ZX-14. That's right, 14, as in a 1352cc fuel-injected inline-Four. First note the lack of “R” in the model designation.
Great the first time around, even better the second? Here's hoping that is the winning scenario for the 2006 Aprilia Tuono 1000 R. The 133-horsepower "V60 Magnesium" version of the V-Twin super-naked that earned CW Best Open-Class Streetbike honors in 2003 is virtually identical to the Italian bike-maker’s flagship superbike, the RSV 1000 R, but with even more torque at lower engine revs.
THE 2006 FJR1300AE isn't just a high-powered sport-tourer with some extra vowels on the end of its name. It features what Yamaha is calling Electronic shifting, hence the "E" to go along with the "A" for ABS. Technical details on this new system are virtually nonexistent.
A pair of Colorado brothers from a long line of off-road crazies got tired of not being able to buy the adventure-touring bike of their dreams, so they built their own. Engineers Wes and Wayne Weber started fabrication of the Rally Twin (www.rallytwin.com) around a Kawasaki EX500 engine, building a custom chrome-moly frame with dirt-spec geometry in their two-car garage/workshop.
The Yamaha XV920R coverbike was well received by mag-men of the day, but not by the general public as it never really caught on. The enclosed chain, rear-tire-hugging fender and large headlight gave a Euro-flare to the Yamaha V-Twin.
WHILE THE GRAPHICS on this mini-moto crosser state "SDG USA," the only American aspect about this bike is where it's sold. That's right, it's Made in China just like so many oher things we consume these days. SDG—an acronym for “Speed Defies Gravity”—is actually a seat manufacturer, the Corbin of the dirtbike world.
UP: To the National Hot Rod Association, for realizing the error of its ways. When the speeding front wheel of early-season Pro-Stock Motorcycle points leader Steve Johnson’s Suzuki somehow failed to trip the lights at the end of the strip during final-round competition at the Mac Tools U.S.
Suzuki's 2006 M109R matches high style with sportbike tech
WHEN SPORT RIDERS CONGREGATE for some benchracing, Suzuki is certain to get more than a mention. GSX-R repl 1-racers have earned a rightful place in performance-bike history with two-decades of accolades and numerous racing championships to back up the fast talk.
Jamie James creates the best tuner-special we’ve ever ridden. Available at your local Yamaha dealer.
WHAT HARDCORE sportbike enthusiast hasn't fantasized about owning a factory Superbike as his personal street ride? Ignore the cost factor and the cold reality remains that these purpose-built performance machines would prove highly impractical and downright brutal as daily transportation.
Crawdads are cool, but Yamaha's Limited Edition YZF-R1 has quite a sting
Never did the words of our Yamaha PR rep ring louder than when the bars of the Limited Edition YZF-R1 started to cross after I ran wide in Circuit de Catalunya's Turn 3 and hit a damp spot on the track. But almost as soon as front end traction was gone, it returned, and in such a swift, gentle and sure way I didn’t even have time to scream like a little girl.
YOUNGSTERS WEANED on Jesse James T-shirts and OCC action figures will no doubt find this hard to believe, but at one time not all customs were based around 45-degree V-Twins made in Cheesehead Land. Nope, back in dark ages of the 1960s (ask your folks), a steadfast and upright 650cc inline-Twin from Merry Olde, a country of warm beer, cold women and insufficient dental coverage, was just as likely to be slotted into a chopper frame.
WITH A SLY SMILE, David Hamilton calls his Mike Hailwood 900 Evoluzione "The Painted Lady." Indeed, David's Ducati MH900e is a fille de joie: a dazzling thing to behold and admire, a garage adornment left unsullied by any long, hard miles.
WHAT IS GOING ON with Supermoto? Everybody's talking about it, the AMA has a series for it, the factories are involved and it's even been on national television, thanks to the X-Games and ESPN. Hot stuff. It was at the first X-Games Supermoto event in 2004 where five-time Baja 1000 winner Steve Hengeveld raced this very machine.
FOR SOME, RACING takes the place of higher education. For others, such as mechanical engineering student Brian Scott, higher education leads to racing. Scott designed and built this custom-framed roadracer for the Oregon Motorcycle Road Race Association’s Lightweight Superbike class, in which big-bore Singles compete against everything from liquid-cooled 350cc two-strokes to pushrod 750cc Twins, common thread being that in race tune most of these engines make between 60 and 70 horsepower.
IS THERE EVEN SUCH A thing as a stock Norton Commando? Maybe in a museum, but out on the road these most useable of classic British Twins are far from 100-point concours queens. Most have been owner-modified for performance, reliability and looks.
Is this mystery machine the original American Flyer?
IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT a Traub is, you can be forgiven. Nobody knows! Okay, so we have this single brown-and-yellow example as our guide, but as current owner Dale Walksler admits, “Not one clue to its origin has ever surfaced.” Adding to the enigma, the bike was found bricked up in the wall of a Chicago-area residence, circa 1967.
THE TZ750 FOUR-cylinder two-stroke is one of the most famous, and in famous, engines of all time. At its peak, the engine was flaming out more than 140 horsepower in full roadrace spec. Desperate to defeat the dreaded Milwaukee Wrecking Crew, Yamaha even mounted one in a flat-track chassis, which a very brave Kenny Roberts used to win the 1975 Indianapolis Mile—defeating Jay Springsteen and Corky Keener on the last lap after he essentially learned how to ride the evil bike over the course of the race.
CARBURETORS ARE DYING AT THE HANDS of electronic fuel-injection for the simple reason that EFI is more flexible, more precise and more reliable than old pot-metal mixers. EFI is also much easier to tune these days, thanks to the availability of devices such as the Dynojet Power Commander III USB. Whether you have installed an aftermarket exhaust system or simply want to improve the throttle response on a stone-stock streetbike, all you need is a PC III. The kit includes the compact (smaller than a pack of cigarettes) control box, a CD loaded with tuning software and the USB cable that connects the unit to your computer or Palm Pilot, the latter being easier to tote around if you wish to tune while on the road.
5 REASONS THIS IS THE LAST CYCLE WORLD GP EURO-TOUR
JAMES B. PETERSEN
SOMETIMES YOU PICK UP THE PHONE AND YOUR LIFE changes. Last summer, David Edwards called to ask a favor. A family emergency had cropped up; could I take his place and cover the Cycle World GP Euro-Tour in Spain? There was one problem. The tour happened at the same time as my daughter’s high school graduation.
Sometimes, as Mick Jagger so wisely told us, you might just find you get what you need. So it was in the Pyrenees when the bikes were handed out. I have an open, relaxed riding style and prefer the leverage of real handlebars, the swoopy feeling of a standard.
The trickest (and priciest) mirrors you’ll ever buy
Magical Racing Co., Ltd.
Magical Racing Co., Ltd.
Racer Replica Mirrors
WHEN IT COMES TO LIGHT STUFF, Magical Racing has the right stuff. Consider that Japanese company’s carbon-fiber Racer Replica rear-view mirrors: At about three-quarters of a pound for the pair, they’re a half-pound lighter than the Stockers on a 2005 Yamaha R1 and 1.3 pounds lighter than those on an ’05 Suzuki GSX-R1000.
WE SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT coming: Just as another batch of sparkling-new dirtbikes began to trickle into the CW editorial offices, interest in our long-term 2004 KTM 525 SMC started to wane. But when the telephone call came in forming us that our lease was up and that the SMC would have to be returned, we balked.
Freddie Spencer’s fabulous double world championship in 1985 was the result of his infinite adaptability
TWENTY YEARS AGO, FREDdie Spencer won both the 250 and 500cc world roadracing championships in the same season—a feat that has not been repeated since. It has not been repeated because the intensity of factory racing in our era makes it all but impossible.
My problems are two-fold. First, Nicole Kidman continues not to respond to my queries regarding her availability. Second, I’m experiencing electrical difficulties with my 1994 Honda VFR750 and am hoping Cycle World can offer some advice.
Under the right circumstances, T-handle wrenches can be fantastic time-savers. You use both hands to break the nut or bolt loose, then use a finger on one arm of the T to quickly spin the fastener in or out. Problem is, if your other hand applies enough pressure on the shank to keep the socket end securely on the fastener, it also creates enough friction to prevent the T-handle from spinning very quickly or for very long.
When adjusting a motorcycle’s drive chain, the way in which you tighten the axle nut can be almost as important as the method you use to achieve proper chain and rear-wheel alignment. Once you have satisfactorily aligned the wheel with the adjusters, always tighten the axle nut by pushing the wrench forward.
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