JOE PARKHURST HAD A CONFESSION TO make. The man who founded this magazine in 1962 and is universally acknowledged as the father of modern-day motorcycle journalism was sitting next to me as we slogged through L.A. traffic on the way to a private viewing of the Otis Chandler Vintage Museum.
THERE’S AN OLD SAYING IN THE MILItary that war consists of hours of boredom punctuated by moments of terror. When things happen, they tend to happen all at once, and as our old sergeant once said (after cleaning up his speech for a family magazine), “You don’t know whether to spit or go blind.”
SUPERSPORT ROADRACING, AS PRACTICED in the U.S., begins with a stock 600cc four-cylinder sportbike. It allows almost no engine modifications other than improved valve seating. Suspension springs and rear damper may be changed, and road-only parts like lights and mirrors must be removed.
Enjoyed your article, “MasterBike 2006,” in the August issue. Who could have guessed that an Aprilia Twin could pull off a victory over that kind of competition? Grover Cramer Todd Galt, California Kudos to Aprilia for its win in the MasterBike ’06 test, but let’s hear it for Kawasaki and the still-badass ZX10R! Two MasterBike wins and now a runner-up in three years is phenomenal in this era of sportbikes.
Now for just $90, even an Average Joe can own Valentino Rossi's MotoGP-winning Yamaha YZR-M1-in 50th-anniversary red, white and black livery, no less. World-renowned master die-cast reproducer MiniChamps has created a factory-authorized 1/12 -scale replica of the four-cylinder roadracer. It comes complete with a removable fairing, detailed chassis and engine components, functioning suspension and a paddock stand. Rytek Motorsports Group, 21 S. California St. #315, Ventura, CA 93001; 805/653-0106; www.motoreplicas.com
Oakley Time tank
What time is it? Time for a new watch, perhaps? Oakley's latest timepiece, the Time Tank, is a brushed-titanium chronograph that blends the precision of 13-jewel Swiss quartz movement with radical design. Available with a black or a white face, the analog display features three sub-dials measuring cumulative, intermediate and split times, all down to 1/10 of a second. Choose from a genuine leather strap ($995, black or brown) or a titanium bracelet with micro-adjustment links ($1195). Oakley, Inc., One Icon, Foothill Ranch, CA 92610; 949/951-0991; www.oakley.com
CTEK Battery Chargers
Bike won't start? If the problem is a dead battery, CTEK offers three charging solutions: the 800 (1.2-32Ah; $50), the 3300 (1.2-l20Ah; $70) and the 7000 (1.2-225Ah; $140). All are fully automatic, compatible with any 12-volt lead-acid battery, short-circuit-proof and protected against sparking and reverse polarity. CTEK Power, Inc., 2374 Edison Blvd., Twinsburg, OH 44087; 330/963-0981; www.ctek.com
Nemo Hypno EX Tent
Set up your tent in a mere 30 seconds? That's reality with the $455 Nemo Hypno EX, a 3.6-pound, two-person design that uses the company's patented AirSupported Technology. Unlike traditional tents, which rely on collapsible aluminum poles for structure, the Hypno uses an integrated hand pump or, better yet, an optional Nemoid foot pump to inflate tear-resistant "airbeams." An extra bladder, stakes, repair kit, seam grip and a waterproof stuff sack are included. Nemo Equipment, Inc., 100 Factory St., Nashua, NH 03060; 800/997-9301; www.nemoequipment.com
GMan Industries GTank
Would you rather ride or hop from gas station to gas station? Suzuki LCI500 and C90 owners can keep on rollin thanks.to the auxiliary 2.5-gallon GTank. Retailing for either $395 or $489, depending on the application, the epoxycoated aluminum tank mounts permanently and invisibly under the bike, with no modifications to the stock gas tank aside from revisions to the fuel and vent lines. Aftermarket exhaust pipes, however, are required. GMan Industries, Ltd., P0. Box 2175, Renton, WA 98056; 425/228-1484; www.gmanindustries.com
California Knives Roll-Lock Auto
A quality knife is a serious tool that can provide decades of dedicated service. The New Roll-Lock California Auto ($109) is manufactured from high-tech materials and boasts quality, made-in-USA craftsmanship. An integrated roll wheel opens the 3 1/2 -inch precision-machined blade and also locks it in the open and/or closed position. A pocket clip is standard, and production is limited to just 500 examples. California Knives, 809 S. Santa Fe Ave., visalla, CA 93292; 559/733-8751; www.californiaknives.com
Nuun Active Hydration Tablets
Bonk from an electrolyte imbalance? Not if you filled your drink reservoir with water and Nuun active-hydration tablets. Unlike with messy powders. side-of-thetrail use couldn't be easier. Simply drop one self-dissolving, quarter-sized tablet into 16 ounces of water, wait 2 minutes and voila-optimal hydration. The non-staining, caffeineand sugar-free concoction contains a combination of sodium, potassium, magnesium. calcium, vitamin C and riboflavin, among other nutrients. Taste is subjective, of course, but to our palate, the three flavors-Lemon+Lime, Tri-Berry and Citrus Fruit-are slightly tart but didn't upset our stomachs. Priced at $6.50, a compact, 12-tablet tube fits in a jacket pocket or a fanny pack. Nuun and Co., P0. Box 31080, Seattle, WA 98103; 2061219-9237; www.nuun.com
Arlen Ness Billet Spokes
Forget what you know about custom wheels. Arlen Ness' Billet Spokes consist of machined-aluminum rims, center hubs and spokes, but that's where similarities to conventional hoops end. There are 14 spokes-available anodized or chromed-per wheel in straight or crossed styles, held securely in place with special 3/8inch dowel-type bushings to isolate the mounting hardware from acceleration and braking loads. Current sizes include: 21 x 3.5 ($1999), 18 x 3.5 ($1999) and 18 x 10.5 ($2599). Coming soon: 23 x 3.5-inch front and 20 x 10.5-inch rear sizes. Arlen Ness Motorcycles, 6050 Dublin Rd., Dublin, CA 94568; 925/479-6350; www.arlenness.com
WHICH WILL IT BE? That was the question left with us after Victory’s 2007 press introduction held at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles this past summer. After company spokesmen rolled out new models and talked market share and business plans, we all were asked to adjourn to a smaller room for the unveiling of the above four concept drawings of Victory’s in-the-works full-rig touring bike.
Even if you never plan to bomb your way through Northern Africa, the new book Chasing Dakar a Rider's Guide to Adventure Riding, Rally Preparation and Racing will help you become a better, more prepared rider. The book is written by KTM North America's official Dakar team physician Dr. Jonathan Edwards, who knows what it takes to help your body survive Dakar on a motorcycle.
YAMAHA’S WR450F AND 250F enduro models no longer sport a shiny blue chrome-moly frame. It’s all aluminum for 2007, and although there was no word on overall weight savings, the new frame is said to lower the center of gravity for more nimble handling.
Fans of the no-quarter-given Ducati 999R Xerox (“Unlimited Editions,” September) whose bank accounts are full but not overflowing have reason to rejoice: the 2007 999S Team USA Edition. Priced at $19,995, a full $13K less than the Xerox, the street-legal, trackoriented machine is powered by the fuelinjected 143-horsepower Testastretta engine, fitted with Öhlins suspension and Brembo radial-mount front brakes, and comes in the official colors and graphics of the Parts Unlimited Ducati Team that competes with riders Ben Bostrom and Neil Hodgson in the AMA Superbike series.
performance-minded readers had their hopes boosted by the CX500 Turbo shown on the cover, with a detailed technical report and first ride aboard Honda's technically advanced, pre-production, fuelinjected Twin within. Honda applied for 250 patents in the process of building the world's first massproduced turbo bike.
A REVOLUTION IN TRANSportation or another far-out cult bike/trike? Piaggio hopes the former for the three-wheeled MP3. As you can see, the "3" in the name stands for the number of wheels, but what is unique is the fact that the wheels also tilt when the scooter is steered, so cornering is leanbased, just like on a twowheeler.
For Piaggio, scooters aren't efficient enough. Two hybrid prototypes are currently being tested: a Vespa LX5O and 125cc Piagglo X8. In addition to the standard gas engine, an electric motor also drives the rear wheel. The combustion engine and/or regenerative braking charge the underseat batter les.
UP: To J.B. Norris, longtime voice of AMA dirt-track, for lending a helping hand. This past July, Norris held an eBay auction for his oilon-canvas photo-reproduction of veteran racer Terry Poovey, who was seriously injured earlier this year in a multi-bike pileup at the Springfield Mile and, at presstime, remains in a coma.
THE FIRST WORD THAT comes to mind when thinking about the Shadow Spirit is “survivor.” In the ever-changing motorcycle landscape, this bike has withstood the test of time and is still a popular seller. What is it about this 21-year old custom cruiser that makes it so enduring?
FUN CAN ONLY BE DEFINED BY THOSE LUCKY ENOUGH to be having it. Every day, on my ride into work I think about this as I stare into the cabins of cars with occupants frustrated by gridlock. Doubtful the source of their sour faces comes from the delicious $5 lattes readily at hand; more likely is their resentment toward me as I motor by thoroughly enjoying-of all things-my commute.
Do you ever wonder if your favorite motorcycle company listens to their customers? We can tell you that Buell Motorcycles does. Erik Buell and his small band of 170 employees want to make sure that the bike you’re riding is the bike you want. There isn’t a whole lot of change in the company’s 2007 lineup, but a couple of the updates were made as a direct response to customer feedback and complaints.
When the final ballots for the accompanying comparo were tallied, was obvious that something was missing. As a matter of fact, all four of the Japanese bikes were absent. What happened? On the surface it seems that the Big Four simply don't have the stones to build the bike that would kick the Italians back onto their little boot-shaped shores or send the Speed Triple packing.
THIS HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST NEW-ENGINE PROGRAM IN Harley-Davidson's history," says Skip Metz, speaking at The Motor Company's 2007 new-model introduction in San Diego, California. "It involves more than 700 new part numbers." That's quite a bold claim, considering everything Harley has accomplished during its storied 103-year existence.
The Vincati: "Engine by Shakespeare, chassis by Michelangelo"
WHEN YOU DRIVE FROM WISCONSIN DOWN to Louisville, Kentucky, the accents slowly change, metamorphosing from the harsh consonants of the upper Midwest toward the softer tones of the South. Yet Louisville-a quite lovely city on the banks of the Ohio River -isn’t really in the South or the North; it’s just kind of poised between the two.
Sidney "Big Sid" Biberman is what might you might call the Real Thing. He was not actually present at The Creation in 1936, when Phil Vincent and engineer Phil Irving revealed their first Rapide VTwin in England, but he got a pretty early start.
MY HEART IS THROBBING, MY LEGS ARE trembling, my arms are pumped rock solid and I’m desperately gasping for air. Sliding sideways while drifting toward the edge of a 70-foot cliff at 85 mph on a bike that weighs more than 400 pounds will do that to you.
Ignore spoiled off-road-trekking Hollywood actors and bandwagon jumpers, they’re all dead-they’ve been chased into the post-apocalyptic ground by blood-crazed, ’crosser-riding thugs in search of high-octane “juice ” for their machines.
PIRELLI WEATHERED A FLAK ATTACK when, in 2004, it became the sole tire provider for the World Superbike Championship. Doubts have since dwindled as the Italian rubber has proven worthy and the parity has resulted in close racing. The racers and the fans are not the only winners, though, as Pirelli claims the tires currently used in WSB are identical to those now available from dealers.
NICKY HAYDEN DID IT AGAIN, WINNING HIS SECOND SUCCESSIVE Red Bull United States Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This victory, the third of his four-year MotoGP career, required him to attack continuously while conserving tires in extreme conditions.
Q In Cycle World and some other magazines, I occasionally see an article or an item commenting on the poor aerodynamic qualities of motorcycles compared to cars, but I don’t recall ever reading anything that puts those attributes into meaningful perspective.
If you head out on a road trip without at least a few basic tools, you’re begging for trouble. It’s all too common for a rider to be stranded at \ the side of the road \ because f a simple problem that could have been corrected with a screwdriver, a pair of pliers or a common socket.
Q This is in regard to Loren Stephenson’s July-issue electrical question ("Watt’s the answer”) concerning brighter lighting for his Honda. Actually, his Honda dealer was correct in that it is better to install a lightbar than a brighter headlight bulb, but not for the reason the dealer stated.
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