JUST LIKE TOM CRUISE IN TOP GUN, I swear I could not help myself. There I was pulling up to the office, fresh from a 30mile test hop on the pre-production Norton 961 Commando. Sure, I could slip meekly into the driveway, as the tiny “Goose” on my right shoulder implored (“Don’t do it, ‘Mav’...").
I SUPPOSE BY NOW VIRTUALLY ALL HUmans-including the timid Forest People of the upper Wombezee-have heard the old nautical saying that the two best days of boat ownership are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. This is a universally understood concept, and I’ve heard it used on airplanes, cars, marriages, Victorian houses, vacation cottages and certain brands of vintage motorcycles-whose Druidic country of origin I won’t mention here.
JUST AS WE HATE TO SEE OURSELVES robotically buying soap or fast food because we’ve been dinned and blasted with ads for it, so I feel creeping embarrassment when I find product styling having its way with me. One day I laid out the remote controls for our family collection of obsolete VCRs.
I just finished reading “Triumph of the Spirit,” by Geoff Drake (CW, March). The opening paragraph about a young man in the 1960s experiencing the sights and sounds of a Triumph Twin took me right back to that same time warp. I was a 16-year-old growing up in a small Midwest town, and our local neighborhood idol was Neal, the Bonneville-riding, stockcar-racing young man who lived just up the block.
A11-around performance or superior low-end torque, the choice is yours with Akropovic's new Evolution exhaust systems for popular four-stroke off-road and motocross bikes. Both designs use titanium headers and mufflers, the latter meeting the 98-decibel noise limit imposed by the FIM and featuring removable end-cap spark arrestors. Prices start at $681.
Lockhart Phillips USA
Shoei X-11 Lawson and Rainey Helmets
During the 1980s and '90s, American roadracers won a whopping 10 500cc World Championships, with Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey scoring seven of those titles. Shoei is commemorating the Californians' achievements with two new, limited-edition Legends models—the $693 Lawson TC-1 and Rainey TC-1. Updated graphics based on those of the previous replica designs adorn the racingdeveloped X-11 in sizes S-XXL.
Lockhart Phillips USA
Tailgate Latch Bars
Can't cram two dirtbikes side by side in the bed of your pickup, then close the tailgate? You need a set of Tailgate Latch Bars. These model-specific, anodized-alloy plates hold the gate at a 30-degree angle, creating sufficient clearance for the bikes, yet gas cans, toolboxes, gearbags and other cargo are less likely to slide out of the bed. No tools or gate adjustments are necessary for installation. Suggested retail is $50 per set.
Lockhart Phillips USA
$50, or $95
Stashing small personal items—sunglasses, house keys, cell phone, maps, etc.—on motorcycles that are not equipped with fairing cubbies or saddlebags can be a problem. What to do? Buy a Bag-It!, of course. Manufactured from chrome-plated stamped-steel, the Bag-It! fits standard 7 x 4-inch license-plate brackets and holds any Harley-Davidson windshield bag or any bag with a 1-inch-wide mounting bracket. Suggested retail price is $50, or $95 with a hand-crafted Leatherworks bag.
Lockhart Phillips USA
Ramp Master Motorcycle Ramp
Ever high-centered your motorcycle while loading it into your truck? That wouldn't be a problem if you had a Model LRF38122 ramp from Ramp Master. Measuring 10 feet, 2 inches long and 38 inches wide, the ramp arches 3.5 inches to prevent your low-slung cruiser or dragbike from scraping bottom, yet its three-piece, barrel-hinge design means it folds into a space just 14 inches across. And thanks to its 2700-pound load capacity and standard safety straps, you can ride your bike up into your truck instead of pushing it. Cost is $500.
Lockhart Phillips USA
Diamond Powersports Lowering Links
Lower the seat on your 2005-06 Suzuki GSX-R1000 and your dragstrip ET with these engraved and polished lowering links from Diamond Powersports. Machined from 7005 T-6 aluminum, the $65 links reduce seat height by 2 to 4 inches.
Lockhart Phillips USA
Whether your plans call for a simple touch-up job or a complete, factory-spec restoration, ColorRite has everything you need to paint your mid-1980s to 2006 American, European or Japanese motorcycle. Tested to meet or exceed original-equipment durability and quality standards, ColorRite products are ideal for any skill level, from shade-tree mechanic to professional painter. Touch-up pens cost $16, an 11-ounce aerosol goes for $33
Lockhart Phillips USA
Roadgear Multi-Season Adaptive-Tec Jacket
Utopia for motorcyclists would be climate-controlled: not too hot, not too cold. Unfortunately, that's not reality, because you can't be in command of-or really, even predict-the weather. With the Roadgear Multi-Season Adaptive-Tec jacket, however, you can outwit it. Offered in S-XXL sizes in both vest ($100) and fully sleeved ($170) styles, this thin, lightweight underlayer features Outlast, a revolutionary material that was developed for use in space to protect against extreme temperature fluctuations. It's excellent under a jacket or riding suit, or, off the bike, on its own.
FORGET HYDROGEN cells and methane from cow manure for a moment and think about this: As the world scrambles to conserve fuel, we sometimes forget that Honda had a perfectly good solution almost half a century ago. Their 50cc Super Cub, introduced in 1958, was capable of going 150-200 miles on a gallon of gasoline.
First one to the next state wins! Is this (finally) the coup de grace for Kawasaki's Concours? Spotted in Japanese magazine Young Machine, known for reliably breaking news about upcoming models, this computer-generated image seems to suggest that Big K's long-inthe-tooth sport-tourer, now in its 20th year, is about to be replaced by a "GTR1400."
Disc locks, heavy steel cables and alarms with ear-piercing sirens are useless if your motorcycle is actually stolen. At that point, you need a product like LoJack for Motorcycles. Based on radio-frequency tracking originally developed for automobile-theft recovery and used by federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies, the system relies on a small transceiver ($595, plus installation fee) hidden discreetly on the bike.
SO, YOU'VE JUST introduced your highest-performance sportbike ever and you want to make a bit of a speed splash. Where ya gonna go? Correct, the Bonneville Salt Flats. hallowed ground of all land-speeders, which is just where BMW showed up with a new K1200S at the second-annual FIM-sanctioned International Motorcycle Speed Trials by BUB. Not exactly a full corporate effort, mind you, so a new 1200S, registered to a company exec, was sent to BMW of San Francisco, a hub for sporting riders.
You wanna talk big? Last October, Bruce Rossmeyer, already owner of 12 Harley-Davidson dealerships in Florida, Mississippi and Colorado, built the world's largest H-D retail store in Ormond Beach, Florida, five miles north of Daytona.
Weighing-in at 186 pages, this hefty issue upheld Cycle World's promise of offering a little something for everyone. Yamaha’s innovative XV750 Virago V-Twin stole the cover, headlining the five full tests within, which included a pair for the off-road set and a trio of pavement-pounders.
AMONG THOSE WHO ARE passionate about classic cars and know their art, the name of English illustrator Bob Freeman, who died in 2004, is known and respected; what is less well known, outside of his own circle, is that Bob was a passionate motorcyclist.
UP: To the American Motorcyclist Association, for making at least one non-controversial and well-reasoned decision. Amidst the curious goings-on in Pickerington regarding the firing of AMA Pro Racing CEO Scott Hollingsworth, the resignation of dedicated Chairman PJ. Harvey and the return of professional race sanctioning to the parent organization (because they did such a bang-up job of running things previously?), the AMA announced that Giacomo Agostini will be the grand marshal of AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2006 to be held July 28-30 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
OH, TO BE 6 AGAIN. Or 7,8 or 9, even. Not that any of us yearn to go through the pain and anguish of growing up all over again. But have you checked out what's available these days in kids' bikes? Motorcycle showrooms are packed with incredibly cool and competent bikes built specifically for youngsters in that age range.
AS YOUR PLANE DESCENDS, IT'S NICE TO look down on California and think of all the places you might go. In the coastal mountains, especially. You see these great fire roads that seem to go on forever, twisting and climbing across the rugged green terrain, and they look like a dual-sport version of Paradise.
With the new Bonneville Scrambler, Triumph is conjuring up its mojo of the early 1960s, when the brand dominated U.S. offroad racing. But the 650cc model that scored the biggest wins during that era wasn’t the T120 Bonneville. It was the high-piped TR6B and TR6C Trophy.
WE ARE SUCKERS, ALL OF US, AND THIS LIMITEDedition Ducati is proof. If the aqua-green frame and silver-metalflake paint don't catch your attention, surely the sweet-sounding accessory Termignoni megaphone pipes will. This bike exists precisely to suck us in, to tweak our nostalgia, even if not everyone was around (or aware) when Paul Smart ripped up Imola for 200 miles to take the epic 1972 race win that put Ducati on the VTwin sportbike map.
It was known as "Old Blue," or later the "California Hot Rod," a machine built and raced by Cycle magazine stalwarts Cook Neilson and Phil Schilling, and it has to be one of the coolest, most-important Ducatis of the modern era. While there is no doubt that Englishman Paul Smart's win at the Imola 200 did a lot for Bologna, no single bike or pair of people did more to make Ducati a household name in the U.S.
ALL DUE RESPECT, NO OFFENSE INTENDED, AND I KNOW YOU PROFESS otherwise, but c'mon, you don't really want an old Norton, do you? Oh, sure, you love the idea of owning a Commando, of its classic good looks, of its rorty engine note, of that famous script logo on the gas tank.
EVER HAD THE urge to put together your own motorcycle? Ever watch Paulie Sr., Jr. and Mikey beating and bending metal on American Chopper and think you’d like to give it a shot?—bike building, that is, not the never-ending dysfunction that seems to have invaded the Teutul gene pool.
WHY ARE we here at the Streets of Willow Springs roadrace course to ride a V-Twin custom? "Any excuse to rent a track, get out and burn laps on whatever we can get our hands on," exhorts ex-national-roadracing-champion-turnedbig-time-custom-bikebuilder Roland Sands.
RIDING IN HEAVY RUSH-HOUR traffic on Interstate 5 south of Los Angeles, all I can smell is the scent of freshly burning pine. Bashing wooded single-track on a KTM 950 Adventure does allow the bike to obtain a certain aroma that you can take back to civilization with you.
KTM's Dakar Doctor gives us a few tips on nutrition and hydration, and the physical effects of being unprepared
No doubt each and every one of you is a physical god, in the best shape of your life, sleeping well, eating right, exercising regularly... Okay, so maybe you’re human, you like the “occasional” beer, drink your fair share of coffee and sit down a lot more than sitting up.
The very nature of adventure-bikes implies a certain self-sufficiency. So, don’t be a weenie who doesn’t pack any tools. What to carry? “The first problem you’re going to have on a modern bike is with the tires, so you need a patch kit or extra tube, and tools to get the wheels off,” says guesttester Gary Jones.
Motorcycle trekkers’ gear options have come a long way from woolen sweaters, jeans and construction boots. Just check out BMW’s Rallye 2 enduro suit, a high-tech, all-weather textile getup that can keep you comfortable and protected through steamy lowland jungle to snowy mountain pass and everything in between.
Buell takes on Japan Inc. in America's biggest roadrace. We ride the XBRR before it leaves for Daytona.
NORMALLY, WHEN A JOURNALIST RECEIVES AN INVITE TO take a spin on a factory racebike, the offer comes at the end of the race season, after the final checkered flag has flown. It's very unusual to have such an opportunity a month prior to the AMA series opener in Daytona Beach.
PREMIUM SPORTBIKE TIRES ARE A compromise. For one, they're expensive. Two, their high levels of grip are generally short-lived. In exchange for several C-notes, an aggressive rider on an Open-class racer-replica may get only a day or two of peak racetrack performance before traction drops off like an Acapulco cliff diver hurtling toward the sea.
YOUR HELMET IS ALWAYS THERE FOR you, warding off wind, rain, bugs and road grime, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice should you take an unplanned trip over the handlebars. Do the ol' skidlid a favor, then, and treat it right when it's off your noggin.
IT'S LATE AFTERNOON, AND I'M RIDING SHOTGUN WITH Kevin Schwantz in his big, white pickup. We're headed west, straight into the setting sun and away from Road Atlanta, where we spent two days whipping around the rolling, concrete-lined racetrack on GSX-Rs.
I can understand how brown can be the new black, but is 16,200 rpm the new 17,500 rpm? Some British bike magazines have reported that the 2006 Yamaha YZF-R6 does not rev higher than 16,000 rpm, even though the tach shows 17,500 when the rev limiter cuts in.
Shock-preload adjusting spanners are far from new ideas; they've been included in many new-bike toolkits for decades, and others are available through the aftermarket. But here's one that's a cut above the rest. It's a scissors-type that, unlike the typical one-pin spanner, grabs the shock ring in two places 180 degrees apart.
This is in response to "Ergo-tuning" in the March issue concerning the reader's hands going to sleep after riding for a while. I ride an '83 BMW R100RS and had a similar problem with my hands going numb. I considered the same things as being the possible causes and cures but discovered that it I sort of stuck my elbows out a little and hunched my shoulders forward a bit, the feeling returned to my hands.
"Tool Time" in the February, 2006, issue shows a Magnetic Finger Glove for starting nuts on bolts in tight spots. What a great idea...unless the nut is made of non-magnetic material-stainless steel, aluminum, brass, copper or plastic.
I have a 2001 Honda Gold Wing equipped with a portable GPS which showed that my speedometer and odometer were off by quite a bit. After making a few calculations, I changed the rear tire from a 60 series to a 70 series, and what a difference it made!
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