WE’RE SUCKERS FOR STREET-TRACKERS here at Cycle World. Allan Girdler started it back in 1981 when he took an ex-Jay Springsteen frame and filled it with an iron XR750 motor. I followed suit in 1989, taking a Champion-framed Yamaha XS650, laying on Roberts-replica bumblebee paint and making it minimally street-legal.
MY KTM 950 WAS PACKED AND READY to go, but the issue was in doubt. All night long we’d been hit with thunderstorms that boggled the sleepless mind. Fireballs of lightning hurled themselves into the nearby woods, thunderclaps shook the house and we had to give our largest dog a Valium.
WHY SHOULD A DISTANT VIEW MEAN anything to us? There is a certain road near here from which I can see three far-away ridges, each a deeper blue-gray than the one before it. I look forward to seeing this, even though it disappears behind trees in about three seconds.
“Hot-Rods & Hooligans” (October, 2006) was superlative! A dozen naked beasts, no-holds-barred riding and reviews; I can die and go to heaven right now. As the owner of a BMW Rock-ster, a 2005 Tuono and an on-the-way 2007 Tuono, I can say that naked is my way of life.
In celebration of Doug Henry’s ground-breaking four-stroke victory at the season-ending AMA Supercross race at Las Vegas in 1997 aboard an all-white prototype Yamaha YZ400F, One Industries is offering the Doug Henry White Kit. Available for 2006-07 Yamaha YZ250Fs and YZ450Fs, the $230 package includes graphics, numberplate backgrounds, Technogrip seat cover, fenders and radiator shrouds. Numbers are sold separately.
Rider Integrated Positioning System
Cycle Cat's patented Rider Integrated Positioning System is designed to optimize the connection between rider and machine through the fine-tuning of handlebar and footpeg location. The machined-from-aluminum bar mounts ($290) are adjustable for angle and height, while the rearsets ($545) have 72 possible positions for the footpeg carrier, three for the peg itself and ¾-inch up, down, backward and forward movement for the brake/shift levers. RIPS is available for most late-model European and Japanese racer-replicas.
Throttle Cam System
Does your dirtbike hit too hard? Control the power with the G2 Ergonomics Throttle Cam System ($100). The machined-aluminum throttle tube comes with three interchangeable, ramp-shaped cams for fine-tuning throttle response. The 100 Cam is identical to stock, while the 200 and 400 Cams require additional rotation at smaller throttle openings. In each of the settings, wide-open throttle is identical to stock.
XMART Footrest Disc Lock
Never again forget your disc lock. Luma, a European motorcycle security specialist, has developed a convenient way to carry your lock on your bike. The XMART Footrest Disc Lock functions as the rider’s left footrest but detaches to become a rotor lock. Bonus: Because of the missing footpeg, you’re reminded that the lock is in place, eliminating ride-off damage. Cost is $75, plus $10 for a model-specific adapter.
Oil Eater Table Top Parts Cleaner
Cleaning small parts is easy, faster and safer with the $225 Table Top Parts Cleaner. Measuring 13 inches wide, 14 inches long and 5½ inches deep, the high-impact plastic body houses 5 gallons of environmentally friendly, water-soluble Oil Eater solution, which is pumped through an integrated cleaning brush. A removable lid keeps the tank clean when not in use.
Skull Battery Cover Band
Looking for an easy way to dress up your 2006-07 Harley-Davidson Dyna? Start with The Motor Company’s $32 Skull Battery Cover Band. The easy-to-install band features a three-dimensional chromed skull design set off with black accents. For yet another custom touch, add a Chromed Battery Cover ($77).
Spidi JP3 Hydroback
Dying for a drink on a hot summer day in Turn 8 at Willow Springs International Raceway? Or perhaps on a long street ride, would you like to sip a cool beverage without pulling over? Italian gear-maker Spidi has a convenient answer with its $1500 JP3 Hydroback, a one-piece leather suit that features an integrated hydration system. The half-liter bladder is shaped to fit inside the suit’s rear hump, which unzips for bag removal (filling or cleaning), while two elastic-loop hold-downs secure the drink hose-with 90-degree quick-detach elbow-for its trip over your left shoulder. Our use of the system during a recent endurance roadrace revealed that the bite valve neither flowed nor sealed well, but replacing it with one from a CamelBak solved that problem. It was wonderful to have liquid at hand any time we were wearing the suit. Spidi’s usual excellent fit-and-finish, here in the form of perforated 1.2mm cowhide and CE-approved “Biomechanic” armor, only added to the comfort and cool quotient.
FLEXIBILITY, USABILITY and tailoring engine output to the rider's needs are the future for sportbikes. Or let us say, these things are the present, as the 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000 makes evident. The ever-increasing role of electronics in managing performance is apparent here, because the ’07 GSX-R1000 has a three-position switch on the right handlebar that controls mapping to tailor engine output to conditions.
Batman, your naked muscle-bike is almost ready. Rolled out at the recent Paris Show, the Suzuki B-King has made it from concept status to the production line. We first saw the ballsy stunner at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2001, wearing a supercharger and a big black beach ball of a rear tire.
Ducati’s Monster S4RS too rich for your blood? Consider the 2007 Monster S4R Testastretta. Like the top-line RS, the same 130-horsepower 999-sourced Testastretta deep-sump V-Twin is at the heart of the the S4R, but the lower $12,995 price comes as a result of the more cost-effective fully adjustable inverted Showa fork (with radial-mount Brembo calipers) and a fully adjustable Sachs shock.
DUCATI SAYS THE ONLY major changes made to the 2007 Multistrada were related to the engine. But what an engine! The late, great Fabio Taglioni would be pleased by what his brilliant pupil and heir Gigi Mengoli has been able to extract from a power-plant that is still based on Taglioni’s air-cooled, sohc, two-valve-per-cylinder, 500cc Desmo Pantah V-Twin of 1975.
"Out with the old and in with the new" was the overriding theme in the 128-page December issue. A look forward was in order as forthcoming 1982 models continued to be unveiled, while most racing championships had been concluded and new champions crowned.
THE SEMI-NAKED sportbike is alive and kicking in '07, highlighted by new bikes from Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. Leading the way is Suzuki’s new $8299 Bandit 1250S, which replaces the 1200S that was discontinued after ’05. The full-size bandito packs a new counterbalanced, 1254cc (79.0 x 64.0mm), liquid-cooled, 16-valve inline-Four with Dual Throttle Valve fuel-injection.
DOWN: To Honda, for killing off its two-stroke motocross bikes. That’s right, Big Red announced that 2007 would be the last model year for the two-stroke CR lineup, advising its dealers of this move in September. “This decision reflects Honda’s commitment to environmental leadership in the markets in which we compete,” said Honda VP Ray Blank.
THE "DUDE! ARE THEY kidding?!" response all of us had when we first greeted the color-matched saddlebags fitted to the 2005 Triumph Sprint was nearly universal. If you missed all the hubbub, the trouble was that the bags had been designed to be too lightweight and were therefore structurally incapable of holding their shape, even when empty.
Yamaha's 2007 YZF-R1 brings MotoGP technology to a dealership near you
TOWARD WHAT PERFECtion does the design of motorcycles move? Bikes of 20 years ago look quaint today. Will today's machines seem so in 20 more years? They will, for right now the electronic motorcycle is beginning to make the leap from MotoGP to showroom.
SOME ENGINES JUST INCITE passion. They may not be the most practical, the most durable, the most powerful or even the finest design, but there is a character and personality to some powerplants that cannot be suppressed. Count the Honda CBX six-cylinder among the mechanical works of art that seduce even the most rational among us.
YOU MAY NOT RECOGnize Lee Von Der Hey's name, but you’ve likely seen his work in films and on television. His area of expertise is set construction and special effects, the greater the detail, the better. The airplanes he and his team created for the 2001 blockbuster Pearl Harbor, for example, had wingspans up to 12 feet in length and flew by radio control.
NEAL MOFFETT DOESN'T want to be a chopper television star. He’s not looking for fortune or fame and doesn’t even want to go into the business of building bikes. The sole reason that Moffett built this radical Kawasaki ZRX1200-powered beauty was that no one else had done so and it was exactly what he wanted to ride.
"UH, THERE’S A PROBlem,” the seller said to the prospective buyer of his 1987 Moto Guzzi SPII 1000. “The Guzzi’s in this garage, the door is locked and I’ve lost the key.” Rodney Aguiar had not just driven three hours to turn around without at least seeing the bike.
Team Green punches up the power with a quicker, sicker ZX-6R and class crushing Concours 14 sport-tourer
KAWASAKI IS A CHANGED COMPANY. TAKE SIX years ago: It was still beating its dead-horse ZX-7R in dealerships (all 500 pounds and 100 horsepower of it), its ZX-9R looked like a touring bike compared to flyweight supersports such as the Yamaha YZF-R1 and Honda CBR929RR, while its flagship full-rig luxo-boat was the Voyager XII tourer, a sad shadow compared to the Honda GL1800 Gold Wing available in 2001.
Okay, when Kawasaki says the KLR650 is “new,” what it really means is “significantly updated.” But after 21 years in the lineup, this workhorse dual-sport Single deserves the thorough makeover it just received. Start with the engine.
The 450cc Thumper enduro wars are heating up. Kawasaki’s new KLX450R is designed to take on Yamaha’s WR450F and Honda’s all-conquering CRF450X. Despite being based on the KX450F, this is much more than just a motocrosser with lights. The new alloy-framed KLX features different cams, smaller exhaust valves, electric start (but retains the kick lever), a wide-ratio five-speed transmission, an 18-inch rear wheel, side-entry air filter and a kickstand.
IF WE WERE TO COMPARE THE NEW R1200S Boxer to, well, a boxer, it would be more Mike Tyson and less Oscar De La Hoya. Its two 4-inch pistons provide more knockout punch than multi-round battering, more low-down grunt than top-end flash. BMW claims the new ’07 R1200S has the most powerful Boxer engine to date cocooned in the sportiest chassis ever to house a Bavarian flat-Twin.
Awright already, we know the vehicle in the accompanying photos has four wheels. Let us explain. You see, the GG Quad isn’t a car, it isn’t really a kart and it sure as hell isn’t a motorcycle. But believe it or not, this Frankenstein of fun is more akin to a BMW motorcycle than anything else.
EVEN TODAY, WHEN YOU TELL PEOPLE YOU ARE OFF TO RIDE A motorcycle from Italy to Norway, they take notice. It is a trip of nearly 3000 miles, which on Europe’s smaller, less-direct-than-Interstate-40-through-New-Mexico highways, is a very long trip.
MAN, TIME GOES BY FAST. IT'S been a year and a half since we added a Honda CRF450X to our long-term test fleet. During that period, the X was entered in two endurance races-12-and 24-hours in length-and the inaugural Red Bull Last Man Standing.
GOT SHORT FINGERS? A WEAK LEFT hand? Hate having to work your Harley-Davidson’s clutch lever at stops? Or performing that constant engage-disengage hand-boogie in bumper-to-bumper traffic? If so, Rekluse Motor Sports can provide a bit of relief with its ProStart centrifugal clutch for all 1990-2006 H-D Big Twins (except ’06 Dynas).
Two champions from different sides of the tracks add up to 350.8 mph
BEFORE WE GET TO THE HISTORY and heroics and controversy, before we see how Denis Manning and Chris Carr set world and national speed records, take a moment to look carefully at the profile of their stream-liner motorcycle. It should look familiar, a shape we’ve seen all our lives in books and on television and maybe real life, an ageless form in a new and different guise.
Q I own an ’01 Suzuki 1200 Bandit S and would like to upgrade to steel-braided front brake and clutch lines. Both the service and parts managers at my local dealer told me not to change the Bandit’s stock three-line front-brake system to a two-line system for three reasons: A two-line system is for racing only and would make little or no difference for street riding; the master cylinder would not flow enough fluid for a two-line system; and with two lines connected to the master cylinder, the line attached closest to the master-cylinder reservoir would receive fluid before the other line, resulting in unequal braking that might cause loss of control.
When considering stuffing any new tool into my off-road toolkit, I try to follow a basic rule of thumb: It should be as small and as light as possible without compromising its ability to do its intended job. That certainly describes this trick little float-bowl wrench (part #08-0366; $15) from Motion Pro (www.motionpro.com; 650/594-9610).
Q If friction is calculated as the coefficient of friction multiplied by the force between the surfaces, is it necessary to consider the size of the contact patch of a tire when evaluating traction? Why be concerned about surface area? Ben Bleazard Salt Lake City, Utah A There are various “laws of friction,” and Coulomb friction is only one of them.
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