IN LIFE, I DOUBT THAT OTIS CHANDLER, Larry Grodsky or Johnny Chop ever met. They didn’t exactly run in the same circles. Chandler, 78, was the multi-millionaire ex-newspaper publisher who amassed one of the world’s finest collections of motorcycles.
DECISION TIME. I STEPPED OUT OF DOORS with the usual morning cup of coffee grafted to my hand and looked at the sky, trying to gauge the weather. The sky was a glorious blue in all directions, but it was chilly and windy. So, ride or take the car? That was the question.
TODAY’S SOPHISTICATED ELECTRONIC fuel-injection traces its origin to the Bendix Electrojector system of 50 years ago. During WWII Bendix made thousands of injection carburetors for aircraft engines, then built mechanical direct fuel-injection systems for late-model B-29s.
The depth of Kevin Cameron’s Daytona coverage was fabulous (see “High Banks, Big Questions,” CW, June). His ability to sift through the petty politics and ego defense that perennially infect racing is remarkable enough, but to do so while offering holographic insight on the nuts and bolts-and to couch it all in measured prose that seems effortless-deserves major praise.
Operating your Scorpio SR-i500 alarm just got easier thanks to the $99 TRS-6 transceiver. Smaller and lighter than the previous unit, the rechargeable, one-piece, four-button design is impactand waterproof, and boasts a half-mile range. A battery charger is included.
All tankbags are not created equal. Consider, for example, the $140 Axio Tankbag, which features the company’s trademark hard outer shell, an expandable 420-denier nylon base with a hidden storage tray and a waterproof map pocket. Magnets secure bag to bike. Got a plastic gas tank? No problem; straps are provided, too, enabling conversion to a backpack off the bike. Choose from Gloss Red, Carbon Finish, Silver or Electric Blue. Add a snap-on Tek-Pak ($40) for additional carrying capacity.
OtterBox for iPod
$20 to $50
Protect your expensive iPod and its priceless multimedia contents while traveling with the rugged, virtually indestructible OtterBox. Dirt-, dropand waterproof, the molded-polycarbonate unit features a front-of-case interactive membrane for gloveson click-wheel access. Prices range from $20 to $50, depending on the model.
Spidi Lizard Pro Suit
Attention ladies: Do you feel like your on-track apparel options are limited to street-oriented two-piece leathers orhide your bank book!custom suits? Spidi has a solution. The one-piece Lizard Pro ($1099) is manufactured from the same 1.2mm-thick topgrain leather as its highend men’s suits and has many of the same features, including elasticized panels, speed hump, CE-certified “biomechanic” armor and “bi-phase” knee sliders. Difference is, in sizes 42-48, it’s made to fit a woman’s shape.
M4 exhaust system
Which M4 exhaust system best suits your brand-new Suzuki GSX-R600? If it’s fitted with numberplates, then you’ll likely want the full system, which features equal-length, tapered headers in either high-temp black-powdercoated stainless-steel ($897) or titanium ($1296). If, however, you’re a daily commuter and weekend backroad rider, opt for the slip-on, also available in stainless ($514) or Ti ($596), which retains the standard pre-muffler and requires no EFI re-work.
Techmount Accessory Mounting System
If you want to safely mount a cell phone, GPS, radar detector, satellite radio, toll-road transponder or video camera on your motorcycle, you need a Techmount Accessory Mounting System. Manufactured in the good ol’ U.S. of A., the high-quality, fully adjustable designs are machined from 6061 T6 aluminum, then anodized or chromed, and use stainless-steel hardware. Select from six mounting styles. Prices start at $60.
Clear View Solution
Faceshields lead tough lives. As our windows to the world of motorcycling, they are subject to the worst Mother Nature can chuck in their direction. Factor in bugs, sand and road debris, and the likely result is a less-than-stellar view of the road ahead. TP’s Clear View Solution ($13) can’t alter the weather or clear city streets, but it will clean your faceshield without scratching or altering its optics. The specially formulated, alcohol-free solution comes in an “unbreake” 1-ounce bottle along with a soft, cotton cleaning cloth. It all stows in a tidy, snap-close vinyl storage pouch that takes up no more space in a jacket pocket, saddlebag or tankbag than an eyeglasses case.
IS EVOLUTION AT WORK in the realm of the standard-style motorcycle, or are these new-age adventure/megamotard standards the work of Dr. Frankenstein? Whether this is a case of only the strong surviving or a careful mixing of parts from similar creatures, the resulting motorcycle gene sequences appear to have what it takes to make it in an ever-changing two-wheel world.
Word is finally out, and spy photos be damned, the 2007 Honda CRF450R motocrosser doesn’t get twin pipes, fuel-injection or a wholesale redesign after all. It did, however, receive plenty of smaller changes that might just keep this five-time Ten Best Bikes winner tops for another year.
After a season of selling raffle tickets at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Shows held last November through this past March, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Ride for Kids program randomly chose from more than 5000 entries the winner of this year’s prize, a beautifully restored 1963 Honda CL72.
WHY DROP THE Displacement of MotoGP to 800cc? The series is successful, and despite recent ominous grid attrition, there remain enough participants to make a show. Or should we begin with the question, “Why 990 in the first place?” In my opinion, that was chosen to make sure that even hastily prepared four-strokes could prevail over the previous 500cc two-strokes.
Ace lensman Michael Lichter is at it again, hosting a combination bike and art show at the Sturgis Rally. This year’s theme is “Old Skool, New School, All(s)Kool” and will feature 24 custom bikes, including the wacky “El Wood,” shown here, creation of rising star Aaron Greene from Paramount Customs.
Talk about getting your money’s worth. For just $1.50, you got four full tests, two street and two offroad. The coverbike, a Kawasaki GPz550, was given this enticing conclusion: “A hot-rodded version of what was already a high-performance bike."
IF YOU HAVE A GOOD idea, half-a-million dollars and three years, you could be on your way to starting a motorcycle company. That is what it took Mike Hodgkinson to establish FX Bikes (www.fxbikes. com), an innovative motorcycle company based in New Zealand.
BMW acknowledges the existence of this full-on sportbike, going so far as to release this grainy picture and a vague press release, but insists the bike is only a test mule for technologies such as traction control meant for the company’s future streetbikes.
UP: To Husqvarna, for sharing its off-road weapons in one of the world’s great, enduring off-road contests, the International Six-Day Enduro. Okay, so it ain’t free, but for less than $2500, Husky will provide a twoor four-stroke, ready to race, with support for this year’s ISDE held November 14-19 at Lake Taupo in New Zealand.
OKAY, WE'VE BEEN over the two-stroke/ four-stroke thing more than once, so pay attention: Even though "diesels" appear to be taking over, strokers are far from being on the endangered species list. One ride on the 2006 KTM 300 XC proves that two-strokes still have a place, and what better place than on the trails or the track or, hey, maybe even in your garage.
Spanish Inquisition: 3 days, 13 bikes, 16 riders, 170 tires and 1040 laps to decide the Best Sportbike of the Year
PROFILES IN COURAGE
Fave raves from the MasterBikers
IN 2004 KAWASAKI’S ZX-10R BEGAN ITS REIGN IN SPAIN AS SUPREME MasterBike, topping all challengers at Circuito de Catalunya near Barcelona. Kawi’s Green Hulk defended its status when the annual MasterBike comparison, Europe’s largest sportbike shootout, visited the Valencia circuit a year ago.
IT’S BEEN 35 YEARS SINCE THE RELEASE OF the Ducati GT750-the most historically significant model in the company’s history. That bike put Bologna on the moto-map in 1971 when Fabio Taglioni, predicting market trends were heading toward large-displacement motorcycles, took his existing sohc, two-valve, single-cylinder design, doubled it up and turned it into Ducati’s first 90-degree V-Twin.
When MV Agusta crammed its radial-valved 750cc inline-Four into a beautiful naked streetfighter chassis we applauded. After riding it, we hooted and hollered. But now that MV has shoehorned a 909cc version into the trellis framed Brutale we're speechless.
It changes gears electrically, but you still have to give a shift
"THIS BIKE DOES NOT HAVE AN automatic transmission," said Bob Starr, Yamaha's Corporate Communications Manager. "Anyone who calls it an 'automatic' will be fined five bucks for each infraction." Starr made this proclamation during the recent press introduction of the 2006 FJR1300 in San Diego, California.
Shifting by wire while coming through in the clutch
How? And perhaps more important, why? Those are the first two questions people ask the moment they learn that the FJR1300AE is equipped with electric shifting. How does it work, and why did Yamaha equip that bike with such a feature in the first place?
Searching for fun, function and freedom on the streets of Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES is a big, beautiftil, busy cityemphasis on big and busy. County wide stats claim 10.2 million residents and 7.5 million registered vehicles. On the con gested arteries paving the way here and there, it's tough going day and night.
EAGLE RIDER: An auto-racing legend combines skill and judgment on two wheels
FROM 1959 TO 1970, DAN Gurney survived and thrived in a sport where many died. In Formula One car racing, he competed in 88 races and scored 21 podium finishes, including seven wins. During that same era, he successfully raced and won in World Sports Cars, Indy Cars, Trans-Am, Can-Am, even NASCAR (five-time winner of the Riverside 500-miler), standing on top of the podium 49 times in 306 starts.
OUR LAST LONG-TERM Buell testbike, a midNineties Thunder-bolt S2, proved more maintenance-intensive than a desperate housewife. Although the sport-touring-oriented S2 was an amiable pack mule when all was well, over time it developed a laundry list of issues ranging from spittin' screws and a blown head gasket to high oil consumption and cracked bodywork, the latter caused by poor fit and excessive engine vibration.
IF YOU HAVE EVER RIDDEN A MOTORcycle in a group or with a passenger, you know how difficult clear communication can be. Does that hand signal mean, "I've got to pee," "I need gas" or "That way to China"? Hard to tell. Additionally, there are dangers on the road, situations when a little voice in your ear, with the right message, could reduce your risk on the motorcycle.
YOU'VE BEEN THERE, SO HAVE WE. You leave an o'dark-thirty wake-up with plans of hitting the road early and making some miles before it gets too hot. Departure is delayed, however, when you reach the bike and discover dew all over it-or worse, an overnight rain shower has really doused things.
PROPER MOTORBIKES DESERVE A BIT of a bark to the exhaust note. Triumph's new Scrambler-as proper as they comebegs for a sound as sweetly retro as the bike's looks. Can the company's own accessory slip-on silencers deliver? To the garage!
Michael Czysz has a plan, capable personnel and funding. Does he have a chance in hell?
SOME SUGGEST THAT ONLY LARGE COMPAnies can innovate because only they can afford original research and the development that exploits it. Others claim only small companies can innovate because of their agility and tolerance for the creative personalities who sicken in large organizations.
Q While trailering my new 2006 Harley-Davidson Road Glide to the Ozarks from distant West Texas, the handlebar rotated downward into the tank, allowing the bike to lean over and rub against the trailer. All tolled, the damage to the bike was just under $1800.
What’s that they say about your chickens coming home to roost? There I was, a few short days before the inaugural Legends of the Motorcycle Invitational Concours d’Elegance with a motorcycle that wouldn’t start, its battery as flat as day-old soda pop.
Changing tires and fixing flats are two jobs rarely found on anyone’s list of Favorite Things to Do. Flat repairs can be especially aggravating when they have to be performed in the middle of an enduro or fun trail ride. Using their first-hand experience with such matters, the off-road riders at Motion Pro (www.
Q A short article at RealTechNews (www.realtechnews.com) links to a much longer article that explains how acetone can boost fuel mileage in cars. It would be interesting to see if such a boost can be had with motorcycles, too. My Yamaha Seca II gets about 60 mpg right now, but with the rise in gas prices, it would be nifty to increase that by 10 or so more mpg.
Ever had an oil filter come loose and douse the underside of your bike-and the rear tire—with a couple quarts of engine lube? If you’re lucky enough to remain upright, you then hope that the engine suffered no internal damage. This happens more frequently than you might think.
NHTSA Recall No. 06V090000 KTM LC4 400, LC4 640, LC4 640 Enduro Model years: 2000-03 Number of units involved: 1714 Problem: On certain motorcycles, the front-wheel spokes can become loose and break, causing further damage to adjacent components.
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