SO, DESIGNER PIERRE TERBLANCHE AND Ducati have parted ways, bringing to end an amazing—f not always pacific—chapter in the company’s history. It may be a minority opinion, but I think Ducati will miss Pierre way more than he will miss Ducati.
As I MANNED OUR CYCLE WORLD BOOTH at the Chicago bike show last week, a gentleman walked up and smiled at me with a mixture of forbearance and disappointment. It was a smile someone named Big Eddie might use just before inquiring about your overdue loan from the mob.
ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WERE JUST two kinds of engines—the spark-ignition type in cars, light trucks and motorcycles, and the compression-ignition (diesel) in heavy trucks and industrial machines. Forget that. Variety is the word today.
Just read Jeff Buchanan’s "A Man in La Mancha" (CW, April) and was driven to write my first letter to the editor. WOW! Reading Buchanan was like enjoying a prologue to Ted Simon’s globe-trotting epic, Jupiter’s Travels. I am forever trying to explain to my non-riding friends and family the "quixotic" view from the saddle of my Vulcan.
From Vance & Hines Motorsports, V&H's racing division, comes the Indy Series Outlaw Exhaust. Designed for on-track use, the lightweight, low-slung stainless-steel system was developed for peak power on stock, heavily modified or nitrous-oxide-equipped air- or liquid-cooled Harley-Davidsons ($750), late-model Japanese inline-Fours ($1185) and 350-plus-horsepower Suzuki-based Pro Stock racers ($1250).
IT SEEMED RATHER ODD TO me that American Suzuki went to such great lengths to bring seven moto-journalists and a photographer to the GSX-R600's press launch at Italy's Misano World Circuit, if only because the bike— though updated in a few key areas—is far from a ground-breaking all-new model.
Moto Guzzi has announced that its new Stelvio 1200 4V adventure bike will be available in U.S. dealerships this coming August. The bike is aptly named after the famed and much-photographed Stelvio Pass, which, at 9048 feet, is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps.
APRILIA IS SLOWLY releasing details about the development of its new World Superbike model that should join the fray in 2009: the RSV 1000 V4. The first racetrack tests were privately held at Jerez in southern Spain. No official reports were released, but if the right questions are asked of the right guys, a few indications do surface.
So, model-making just doesn't hold the same allure for you since Testor's reduced the acetone content in its plastic cement, eh? Tamiya has you covered with its new 1/6th-scale model of Dick Mann's Daytona-winning 1970 Honda CB750 racer.
Kawasaki’s GPz1100 raced across the cover of this month’s issue, Executive Editor John Ulrich, his left knee hovering just above the deck, at the controls. The big-bore inline-Four was subjected to a full road-test, as was another Kawasaki, the KX500, and Yamaha’s IT490K and XV500 Virago.
LEGENDARY MOTORCYCLE customizer Arlen Ness, builder of groundbreaking, one-of-a-kind showbikes for more than four decades, is the subject of a new exhibit scheduled to open on July 24 at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum located in Pickerington, Ohio.
UP: To Terry Pratt, for getting back to his ink-stained roots. Before wising up and becoming an ad salesman for Cycle News, Pratt was a starving moto-journalist, gunning a VW camper around Europe and filing reports on the 1972 motocross world championships.
KTM's EXC LINE HAS been the off-road benchmark for the past couple of years. First a 450 won Best Enduro in our 2006 Ten Best balloting. Then, when KTM added the components necessary to make the EXCs street legal in 2007, the 525 version easily took Best Dual-Sport honors.
Triumph's stripped-down sportbike came from the street
EVER FOUND YOURSELF EXPERIENCING AN OUT-OF-body moment, where all hindsight is removed, and you look down and think, "I never saw that coming"? It’s what I’m feeling right now. I’m sitting in the small conference room of a hotel that is pretending to be a hollowed-out volcano listening to one of Triumph’s sales team describe the soon-to-be released, revamped Speed Triple 1050.
Using Harley-Davidson’s hugely successful parts-and-accessories division as a template, Triumph continues to broaden its own catalog of after-sale offerings. Most recent beneficiary is the 2008 Speed Triple. Of the 30 products currently available for this stripped-down, three-cylinder factory streetfighter, most are simple bolt-ons.
The blueprint for the factory street-fighter was drawn on backstreets
Just like Meriden Triumph was inspired by what was going on in garages and backstreet bike shops when it built England’s first factory custom, the X-75 Hurricane of the early Seventies, Hinckley Triumph was first to take notice of the streetfighter cult.
IF YOU'RE DUCATI, HOW TO UPSTAGE YOUR OWN world champion's MotoGP bike in a static stare-down? Impossible, you say? Well, Casey Stoner, how do you like your Desmo RR Duck cooked? Because Ducati turned up the heat and did just that by getting Roland Sands Design, a.k.a.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON CALLED IT THE Street Rod. We called it perhaps the best backroad H-D ever. But the bike-buying public evidently called it something much less flattering. The Street Rod—a standard-style, semi-sporty take on the original V-Rod cruiser—was such a flop on the sales floor that just two years after its introduction, it was punted out of The Motor Company’s 2008 lineup.
Forget Jackson Pollock, here's our kind of modern art
WE'RE SUCKERS FOR STREET-TRACKERS HERE AT Team CW, especially those conjured up by Richard Pollock in his "man-cave," a converted two-car garage in suburban San Diego. But is a street-tracker a streetfighter? Yes, and it’s not too much of a stretch.
BLURRING THE LINES BETWEEN STREETFIGHTER AND street-rod is Gregg DesJardins' Hellion. At first glance the bike is stunning, if confuising. So thoroughly unique is this latest creation from Gregg’s Customs that anyone who sees it in person is forced to throw out the anchors and take a closer look.
IF STREETFIGHTERS ARE ABOUT ROLLING your own piece of bad-ass hardware, then Norm Wilding's "Kawabusa II" is a fatty that can't be ignored. British expat Wilding grew up riding Tritons and other alloy-tanked, clip-on’d, Ace Café-era multi-manufacturer specials, which has helped make him an expert on motorcycle heart transplants.
Buell 1125R vs Ducati 848: Two sides of liter-class convention
IF THERE'S A COMMON THREAD THAT TIES THE BUELL 1125R and Ducati 848 together, it's that they both thumb their noses at established engine displacement classes. Ducati and Buell have each scaled its latest sportbike model with the interests of the road rider in mind, racing rules be damned.
ARE YOU ARE COMMITTED TO THE SPORT OF RIDING A high-performance motorcycle, interested in sharpening your skills with the goal of being the fastest, smoothest rider you can be? Do you believe every rider has something to learn, from rank beginner to the most seasoned expert?
Motorcycle racing is an amazing thing. One moment it fills you with near-orgasmic joy, the next it fills you with unbridled terror. Each second stresses your mind like a three-hour final exam. Each inch of track strains your body as though you were pushing the motorcycle up Sisyphus' hill.
EVER SINCE OTTO INVENTED HIS CYcle, folks have been trying to figure out what to put in fuel to make an engine produce more power. Mothballs apparently did the trick at one time, nitromethane seems under certain special circumstances to have a positive effect, and there are all kinds of racing fuels available now that bump output.
GEARED UP FOR GETTING DOWN, I walked onto the pit lane of Circuit Jerez, home of the Spanish Grand Prix. My objective was to choose the weapon I would use to evaluate Bridgestone’s new BT-016 Battlax high-performance sport tire. The multi-compound rubber was loaded onto the rims of a gamut of sportbikes laid out before me and the rest of the moto-press.
THERE ARE SOME PLACES ON EARTH where you don't want to get stranded wearing the wrong gear. North Africa, Death Valley or even your local mountains are perfect examples. That’s why, when it comes to adventure riding, off-road racing or even casual outdoor recreation, versatility is paramount, especially over the course of long days in the saddle.
IF YOU HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED THE wonderfulness of an electric jacket liner, you truly don’t know what you’re missing. Not only does a heated liner keep you warm on cool days, it allows you to ride farther and longer while maintaining a higher level of alertness.
Does motorcycle racing in America have a new future?
BUBBLE, BUBBLE, toil and trouble! Where shall I begin? Yoshimura Suzuki dominated Daytona's Superbike race as we all expected, for theirs is the only full effort in the paddock. Mat Mladin was first, Ben Spies second. Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo broke up a potential Suzuki sweep by finishing third ahead of Tommy Hayden.
Q I'm 62 years old and ride a 2005 Suzuki SV650 that I love dearly. I’m 5-foot-9 with a 29-inch inseam, and it is getting harder for me to swing my leg over the seat. I’ve been reading about suspension lowering links and would like to know if there is a danger in using them.
Ever stuffed rags between two gears just to prevent rotation so you could loosen or tighten the nut holding one of them in place? Or did you use something even more ludicrous, like a screwdriver blade or the beam of a combination wrench? I hope not, but in case you have, here's a more sensible remedy for many of those situations: the Gear Jammer (part #08-0427; $19) from Motion Pro (www.motionpro.com).
Q In response to your January Tech Tip about a gearshift or kickstart lever coming loose, there is another possible method. Your excellent suggestion was to cut away the first spline or two adjacent to the split that the pinch bolt passes through, but you can also remove a small amount of material from the split itself.
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