MEET A HERO OF MINE, HOMER KNAPP. Ace fabricator. The man HRC turned to when its early Honda Superbikes needed help. Stalwart on the Southern California classic-bike scene. Ariel Square Four guru. Roadside mechanic without peer. All-around nice guy.
“I'LL MEET YOU IN MARFA, TEXAS,” I told my friend Mike Mosiman, “if I can ever get out of Wisconsin.” It wouldn’t be easy. We’d had two blizzards in three days, and my driveway was sculpted in drifts and hollows like some frozen treat from Dairy Queen.
WHEN I WAS BUT A CALLOW YOUTH, I volunteered to “help” a friend who had just bought a Yamaha TD1-B, which was that company’s 1965 250cc production roadracer. My project was to increase compression and thereby, I fondly hoped, increase power as well.
“The English Experience” by Peter Jones (CW, May) made me recall with laughter my own English experience. In the spring of 1970,I walked into the Yamaha/BSA shop to buy a part for my reliable 1967 350 Yamaha, and there sat two 1970 BSA Firebird Scramblers.
If you’re looking for an alternative look for your late-model Harley-Davidson Softail, Roland Sands Design has just the ticket. Available exclusively through Drag Specialties, the RSD Softail Vintage Conversion Kit comprises gas tank ($1200), rear fender ($900), handlebar ($400), sprung seat ($600) and gas cap ($90), all intended to redefine the term “body kit.” Parts are sold unpainted. Drag Specialties, P.O. Box 5222, Janesville, WI 53547; 608/758-1111; www.drag specialties.com
AXIO MotoGP HardPacks
MotoGP your thing? AXIO has created two limited-edition HardPacks based on the tote-all Swift model-one commemo-rating Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden’s 2006 world title; the other bears the slick red-and-white graphics of the Ducati-backed Pramac d’Antin effort. Suggested retail price is $170. AXIO LLC, 135 Liverpool Dr. #D, Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007; 760/557-0123; www.axio-usa.com
Puig Racing Screens
Better wind protection, improved aerodynamics and a stellar-looking sportbike? That’s asking for a lot. Good thing Puig double-height windscreens are developed using a “virtual” wind tunnel, resulting in better-than-stock aerodynamics while preserving the aggressive original styling cues of the bike. Offered in a wide selection of colors, the screens a manufactured of 3mm high-impact acrylic and shaded at the bottom to cover back-of-instrument cable and wires. Weighing less and offering even better optical clarity, 2mm racing versions are also available. Prices start at $80. OFD Racing, 4805 Calle Alto, Camarillo, CA 93012; 877/428-9633; www.puigusa.com
Mac Tools Buffing Kit
Got the right tools for the job? Mac Tools can help, at least as far as polishing goes. The Spot Buffing Kit ($40) includes four pads-two wool for heavy buffing and blending; two foam for fine and final work-and a hook-andloop backing plate for quick pad changes. % Mac Tools, 505 N. Cleveland Ave. #200, Westerville, OH 43082; 800/622-8665; www.mactools.com
Mustang DayTripper Seat
Hide low and look cool without getting saddle sore. That’s the idea behind the DayTripper, a one-piece seat that incorporates Mustang’s advanced comfort technology. The result is a lean, contoured shape that’s good for both rider and passenger. Detailed stitch work makes for a real head-turner while the soft, synthetic cover resists sun, wind and rain. Prices start at $299 for most Harley-Davidson Big Twins and Sportsters. Metric applications coming soon. Mustang Motorcycle Products, Inc., P.O. Box 29, Terryville, CT 06786; 800/243-1392; www.mustang seats.com
Moose Racing Radiator Guards
Let’s face it: Flimsy original-equipment offroad radiators need protection. Designed for late-model Hondas, KTMs and Yamahas, Moose Racing’s new heavy-duty, 4mm-thick aluminum guards feature black-anodized supports. Suggested retail price of $85 includes mounting hardware and instructions. Moose Racing, P.O. Box 5222, Janesville, Wl 53547; . 608/758-1111; A www.moose racing.com
Your one-stop virtual shopping mall for cool books, calendars, caps, DVDs, T-shirts, coffee mugs, magnets, models, note cards and other motorcycle-related gifts, not to mention m A Cycle World back issues and binders (the CW rr mJrm logo embossed in gold, no less)? That would be S our recent*y upgraded sister website, shop.cycleworld.com. Newly added to the ever-expanding collection: Twist T-shirts ($15), Art of the Chopper II ($45), MotoGP Season Review 2006/MotoGP " Technology ($50) and The Doctor, The Tornado and The t Kentucky Kid ($25). Cycle World Magazine, Dept. N, P.O. Box 1757, Newport Beach, CA 92660; 800/914-5656; shop.cycleworld.com www.cycleworld.com
Amp Research Bed X-Tender
Do you wish your truck bed was longer to more easily accommodate bikes and gear, or keep smaller items secure with the tailgate closed? AMP Research's patented tailgate enclosure, the Bed X-Tender, is now tougher than ever and even easier to fit. Designed for a wide range of compact, midand full-size pickups, effectively adding up to 18 inches to the bed, the 6063 T-6 aluminum-tube structure is available with a silveror black-powdercoated finish and features glass-reinforced nylon uprights and QuickLatch mounts, the latter allowing installation or removal from any angle. Prices start at $250. AMP Research, 2552 McGaw Ave., Irvine, CA 92614; 949/221-0023; www.amp-research.com
Master Lock Quantum Cuff
Ada ptiv Technologies TPX Radar and Laser Detection System
Adapt a car-oriented radar detector to your bike? Not necessary! The TPX Motorcycle Radar and Laser Detection System ($300) was developed specifically for use on bikes, with an upwardangled LCD display, oversized, glove-friendly buttons and designed-in resistance to engine vibration and inclement weather. Packaged with your choice of a wireless headset or a wireless visual alert, the palm-size unit uses custom mounts that allow it to fit most motorcycles. Adaptiv Technologies LLC, 459 Columbus Ave. #709, New York, NY 10024; 646/722-0253; www.radarforbikes.com
BACK IN OCTOBER, 2005, we featured the “virtual customs” of Australian computer artist Tim Cameron. Among these was the Dream Bike, a photo-realistic, alternative-front-suspension cruiser so completely and amazingly rendered we said it looked like it could roll right off the page.
Walter Roehrich has another take on V-Rod-powered customs. His earlier concepts placed two motocross two-stroke top-ends on a common crankcase, then came a light-weight Highland four-stroke V-Twin. Now he says an American Superbike needs an American-made engine.
Think of this Gilera Fuoco as an upsized Piaggio MP3. It is the same basic leaning three-wheel scooter concept, but powered by a 500cc Single (replacing the 250cc) and with a larger chassis and stronger suspension. Price in Europe is about $10,300.
JUST WHEN WE THOUGHT we'd seen every three-wheeled, motorcycle-based vehicle in existence, up pops the Brudeli 625L. Judging by the photos, this KTM-Single-powered “leaner” could be the coolest and most entertaining yet. Developed in Scandinavia by design house Hareide Designmill, the Brudeli (www.brudelitech.com) is pitched as a motorcycle/ATV hybrid, much like the recently tested Can-Am Spyder (CW, April).
That Hydraulic Innovations built a diesel hydrostatic-drive bob-job should come as no surprise. After all, as its name suggests, the Bloomington, Minnesota-based outfit has turned out several unique fluid-drive vehicles over the past few years, including a couple of three-wheelers and even a remote-controlled lawnmower!
A test-packed issue featured the brand-new Honda V45 Sabre on the cover. This 750cc V-Four shared powerplants with the also-new V45 Magna, considered more of a custom than the sporty Sabre. Honda’s liquidcooled V-Four was like nothing that came before it.
OBSESSION TAKES many shapes. For master pattern-maker Mike Hanlon, it came in the form of the 1910 Harley-Davidson Silent Gray Fellow. “About 7 years ago, I wanted really badly to have a board-track racer to display in my shop,” says Hanlon.
DOWN: To Yamaha, for holding out on us! Debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show this past spring were the WR250X supermoto streetbike with 17-inch wheels (pictured) and a dual-sport version of the same platform called the WR250R. Although WR in name, these bikes appear mechanically unrelated to the full-on enduros we get state-side.
MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA VINTAGE Eldorado for the new century
JUST INSIDE THE GATES at the Moto Guzzi factory in Mandello del Lario is a giant wall poster of Sean Connery astride a ’70s-era Eldorado police model. It’s an iconic image. When I was there last summer, just below the poster was parked this new version, the California Vintage, providing a strange echo across the decades.
Behind the scenes with Ducati's category-busting Hypermotard
PIERRE TERBLANCHE DOESN’T PULL ANY PUNCHES. True to his South African roots, the Ducati designer tells it as he sees it—straight up, sugar-free. Well, most of the time. I was seated across from Terblanche at a large conference table on the upper floor of the Ducati factory in Bologna, Italy.
WE'RE THE LUCKY DOGS WHO RIDE EVERY BIKE, EVERYWHERE, EVERY year. Each sales season we pick the Ten Best, selecting a winner for categories such as Superbike, Cruiser, Sport-Tourer...you get the idea. Over the decades the categories have shifted with the market, but ingredients of the winning bikes remained constant: a magical combination of parts creating a motorcycle that drops us to ours knees to give thanks to the gods of internal combustion.
MY MIDDLE-AGED BROTHER-IN-LAW WAS BITTEN BY the sportbike bug a few years back. As the granddad of a dozen and counting, he stood little chance of my big sis allowing a sleek, seductive supersport mistress to enter the family fold. My recommendation at the time resulted in the purchase of Yamaha’s then newly introduced FZ1.
2x2 Ducati Multistrada 1100 vs. Triumph Tiger 1050
MARK HOYER THE IDEA OF ADVENTURE-TOURING OFTEN OUTSTRIPS THE reality. When faced with the image portrayed by bikes like the BMW R1200GS, say, we envision ourselves crossing the Sahara in a very Stephane Peterhansel kind of way (albeit slower), fully loaded with sleeping roll, tent, extra fuel and perhaps a revolver tucked away somewhere for protection from bandits.
EUROPE HAS BEEN THE CENTER OF SO MANY CONFLICTS that historians can barely keep track of them. One of the key strategic locations is Italy’s South Tyrol. This gateway to the “boot” has over the years been controlled by the Romans, conquered by Napoleon, ruled by Austria and since 1919 been a part of Italy.
WHEN IT COMES TO CRUISERS, MUCH LIKE YOU, WE ARE manly men. Supersize us. We want cylinder bores you can stick a boot through. Torque numbers that would do a tugboat proud. Bigger is better. Greater is grander. More is mo’ better. Or is it? One of the unfortunate byproducts of big-inch cruiser motors has been an accompanying increase in overall vehicle weight and size.
EVIDENTLY, KAWASAKI HAS SOME CALENDAR ISSUES. The company introduced its all-new KLX450R to the press in late March, calling the bike a 2008 model, but then had units in showrooms just a few weeks later. In my book, that makes it a 2007 model.
WHEN THE INTERNAL-COMBUSTION ENGINE FIRST SHOWED it could move vehicles, it was embraced most passionately by the French. Conservative Germany was offended by the noise, smoke and unconventionality. England-likewise home to structured living-responded with the infamous Red Flag Law, which held back motor vehicle development for years: All self-propelled vehicles on public highways were limited to a maximum speed of 4 mph and had to be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag to warn oncoming horse-drawn vehicles!
BEING LOST MAKES FOR AN ENTERtaining TV series, but it’s no fun when it happens to you. Between poorly marked roads, unexpected detours and inane directions from locals (“Go past Joe Wilson’s place and turn left where the old schoolhouse used to be”), it’s easy to lose your way, even if you’re an experienced traveler.
Is NASCAR's Moto-ST series a template for America's roadracing future?
THERE ARE DAYS WHEN I THINK I'D BE HAPPY TO have AMA-managed roadracing just continue as it always has—like an underpowered airplane, moving but not quite able to rise off the runway, seemingly capable of greater things, yet never actually attaining greatness.
Q I've decided to ask you a question that's been bothering me for quite some time. Why do current inline-Fours and other across-the-frame engines have their intake systems in the back and the exhausts in the front? In your reply in the April Service column regarding cylinderhead design ("Out with the new"), you explained that air does not like to turn corners; so if the intakes were at the front of the engine, the path to the cylinder would be as straight as possible.
Setting out to “fix” the quick Kawasaki ZX-10R isn’t exactly an easy task. There wasn’t a lot wrong with our Ten Best-winning 2006 testbike, particularly with the engine. But we like to play. So in an effort to boost engine output using simple bolt-on or plug-in parts, we obtained a programmable Kawasaki race-kit ECU ($1404), a LeoVince Factory Slip-On stainless pipe/titanium silencer combo ($1037) and a Uni Filter foam air filter ($27).
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