FORGET ABOUT ALL THE NEWS THAT’S fit to print, sometimes it’s simply all the news that fits. As this issue went to press came late-breaking items of interest, jammed into this column. At its summer dealer meeting, Triumph finally released official photos of its forthcoming big Twin cruiser, previously only seen in spyshots.
AH, SOMETIMES I FEAR OUR VENERABLE local club, the Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang, is falling on hard times. Many of the guys—at least those who live in the Madison, Wisconsin, urban zone—have taken to riding scooters instead of their sacred Nortons, Ducatis and BMWs.
WHEN I FIRST WENT TO AMA RACES, officials were grizzled older men with gray flat-top haircuts. They were most comfortable with dirt-tracks and hillclimbs. Roadraces were something new, not really their cup of tea. What real man would appear in public in those fruit-boots and skin-tight leathers?
I’m not so sure about the new Star V-Max ("Back in Black," CW, August). Some attempts at retro rejuvenation have been successful, but this Max looks like it’s been pieced together with old and new parts. It reminds me of the guy who keeps driving his old Camaro because he just can’t get over the Eighties.
Latest in Deco Rides’ line of ’39 Zephyr kit-car bodies is the Sedan Delivery ($9900). Based on the show vehicle seen here, the steel-supported fiberglass shell will accommodate a custom motorcycle up to 39 inches tall and 9 feet in length, the front tire serving as an “armrest” for the driver and passenger. A planned raised-roof version will house most production Harley-Davidsons. Plans and photos for building a prototype chassis are included. An automated loading ramp will be an option when a production front-wheel-drive chassis becomes available. Deco Rides, 14 Schooley’s Mt. Rd., Long Valley, NJ 07853; 908/876-9100; www.decorides.com
Put down the hacksaw! Cut-your-fairing-to-fit frame sliders are history for Triumph 675 Daytona owners. British Customs-manufactured Slider Pucks ($180) feature black-anodized, 6061 T-6 aluminum mounts and abrasion-resistant Delrin sliders. Hardware is included. British Customs, 18400 S. Broadway, Gardena, CA 90248; 877/999-2748; www.british-customs.com
Steering Damper 2.0
Redesigned to be smaller, lighter and more effective than Öhlins’ original off-road-specific steering damper, the SD 2.0 ($683) fits under the handlebar of any late-model 250 or 450cc Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki or Yamaha motocrosser. New Uniflow valving always routes the flow of fluid in one direction, eliminating fluctuations in damping action. The 2.0 is also fully pressurized to compensate for heat buildup during long motos. Öhlins USA, 703-C Old Spartanburg Rd., Hendersonville, NC 28792; 828/692-4525; www.ohlinsusa.com
Sportz SUV 83000 Tent
Home away from home? That’s the concept behind the SUV 83000 ($270), latest addition to the Sportz family of tents. Designed to attach to any SUV, minivan or camper-shell-equipped pickup, the 10xl0-foot tent wraps around the vehicle’s cargo area while providing access to its interior space. Inside the detachable screen room, there’s even space out of the elements for a couple of motorcycles. Napier Enterprises, 4 Nihan Dr. #3, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2N 1L1; 905/935-0427; www.sportzbynapier.com
Coocase V28 Fusion
Topcases have come a long way. From remote keyless entry to security alarms with shock sensors, integrated LED brakelights and cushioned liners, the Coocase V28 Fusion ($199) and V36 Wizard ($249) are packed with goodies aimed to please. With 28 and 36 liters of storage capacity, respectively, they provide space for a full-face helmet and more. Three colors—gloss black, gloss silver or matte black—are offered; primered lids can be painted to match custom paint. Universal adapter plates and wiring kits are included; model-specific applications are also available. Twisted Throttle LLC, 1080 Kingstown Rd. #1, Peacedale, RI 02879; 401/284-4200; www.twistedthrottle.com
510 Series Wheels
Finally, lightweight magnesium 17-inch sportbike wheels at an affordable price! Weighing a claimed 18.4 pounds (6.9 front, 11.5 rear), Durrani Racing’s patented, injection-molded 510 Series ($1298) are 36 percent lighter than stock cast aluminum wheels, German TUVand Japan JWL-tested, and designed to outlast your motorcycle. Choose from six standard colors. Custom colors and polished also available. Durrani Racing Components, 24039 Research Dr., Farmington Hills, MI 48335; 248/442-0077; www.durraniracing.com
Extend your riding season by weeks or possibly even months with the StormRider Bodywarmer ($240). Powered by your motorcycle’s battery or an optional rechargeable Li-Ion PowerPack ($90), the zippered veststyle garment uses FabRoc panels sewn into the garment to transfer heat to key areas of your body. Optional StormRider controller ($54) attaches to the clutch perch. StormShield heated gloves ($230), featuring waterproof, windproof and breathable Porelle inserts and molded knuckles, can be worn year-round. exo2 The Heat Inside, 980 Birmingham Rd. #501-310, Milton, GA 30004; 877/396-2432; www.theheatinside.com
Hey, has anyone seen my signed copy of TDC by Kevin Cameron? Oh, there it is, under my lunch, gym shoes, workout clothes, spare riding gloves, rainsuit and daughter’s birthday present. You get the idea: The zippered main storage compartment of Roadgear’s Commuter Max ($130) is one of the most cavernous we’ve come across. That, combined with various zippered interior pockets, key-ring lanyard and only slightly smaller zippered external pocket, makes this pack really useful for everything from everyday commuting to weekend overnighters, both on the bike and off. It’s comfortable to wear, too, thanks to adjustable, ergonomically shaped, padded shoulder straps. Made in the USA, the Max Commuter comes with a 10-year warranty in red/black, blue/black, silver/black, yellow/black or black. Roadgear, Inc., 206 W. Elgin Dr., Pueblo West, CO 81007; 800/854-4327; www.roadgear.com
HARLEY-DAVIDSON has agreed to purchase 100 percent of MV Agusta for $109 million, joining two of motorcycling's greatest icons, two powerful brands in two different market segments. The purchase is an Italian homecoming for H-D. MV’s premises, near Lake Varese, were built in 1913 by Aeronautica Macchi, a major aircraft company best known to motorcyclists simply as Aermacchi.
The third edition of the Red Bull Experiment (RBE), which puts world-class athletes in the spotlight performing world-first sporting achievements, featured freestyle motocrosser extraordinaire Ronnie Renner. His goal was to establish a Guinness World Record for the highest-ever air on a motorcycle quarterpipe.
The Wheels Through Time Museum is moving from its 38,000-squarefoot location in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, to a yet-to-be-announced site in northern Arizona, with plans to reopen its doors in mid-2009. The museum, housing one of the premier collections of vintage and antique American motorcycles and automobiles, has seen a record number of visitors this year with guests trying to squeeze in one last visit prior to shutting its doors for the relocation on November 15.
THE LATE GEORGE Carlin hated oxymoronic phrases like "jumbo shrimp," which pinged off his ears like sour violin notes. When Harley first pitched its version of the "factory custom" concept, we have to admit it had a similar ring. But since 1999, factory customs have been created under Harley’s Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) banner.
TALK ABOUT EVOLUTION! Ducati has been honing its present-generation, 90-degree V-Twin for 33 years, dating back to the Pantah 500, its last completely new engine designed by the great Dr. Fabio Taglioni. Under the guidance of its current General Manager, Dr. Claudio Domenicali, Ducati is in good health but has realized that the time had come for a new engine.
Wakan's next chapter in the blending of American V-Twin power with a French-designed chassis is the Track Racer. One of 50 bikes constructed by a variety of builders to commemorate S&S Cycle’s 50th Anniversary, this machine isn’t so much a one-off design as it is a prototype.
This issue struck home with a link to my very beginnings in moto-journalism. Back in 1990 while I was riding for Team Valvoline Suzuki, the team’s owner, John Ulrich, a former Cycle World Executive Editor, had me write a story for his American Roadracing publication recounting a crash I’d walked away from when my Formula USA bike spit me off at 160 mph while racing at Road Atlanta.
HONDA GOLD WING GL1800 The original supersized sportbke
WE LIKE to test bikes in their intended environments, so an extended tour on Ike's Interstate is the only way to put a Gold Wing through its paces. Any bike can be fun for a day, right? I rode the big white Wing 2400 miles in four days on I-40 to refresh my memory as to why this 16-time Cycle World Ten Best winner has been so successful.
DOWN: To 2008 West Coast Supercross Lites Champion Jason Lawrence for not being able to keep out of trouble this past summer. J-Law was issued a suspended $25,000 penalty contingent upon the successful completion of one year’s probation after an incident in which he rolled his mechanic’s rental car during Round 3 of the AMA Motocross Championship in Wortham, Texas.
Eight heavyweight cruisers equipped with windshields and saddlebags through 1400 miles of the Great Southwest
HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING CLASSIC 105TH ANNIVERSARY
KAWASAKI VULCAN 2000 CLASSIC LT
MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA VINTAGE
SUZUKI BOULEVARD C109RT
TRIUMPH ROCKET III TOURING
VICTORY KINGPIN TOUR
YAMAHA STAR ROAD STAR SILVERADO S
VULCAN 2000 LT
ROCKET III TOURING
AH, HIGH SUMMER IN THE MOJAVE DESERT, WHEN THE GILA monsters are in bloom, sand swirls across the highway like something from the Red Planet and the toothpaste out of your saddlebag is hotter than the reading lamp in your blessedly air-conditioned motel room.
Having six million-plus points of interest at your fingertips is a wonderful thing. But when you want to see the big picture, zooming out on an itty-bitty screen just doesn’t cut it, especially with riding buddies peeking over your shoulder.
Harley touring platform gets major makeover for ’09
News flash! Just as we nosed the Harley Road King Classic into the embracing heat of the Mojave came word that the 2009 version would see major changes. Harley-Davidson’s bagger/dresser models have been soldiering along with the same basic chassis package since 1980, which apparently is long enough.
TIMES ARE GOOD, 2008 has produced a bumper crop of pickin's for riders in search of an affordable, userfriendly, sporty motorcycle. The midsize-naked category is well covered in this regard, with recent additions including the Ducati Monster 696, KTM 690 Duke, an updated Suzuki SV650 and the spirited Triumph Street Triple 675.
URPRISE! BMW’S DIRTBIKE IS HERE. WHO would have thought five years ago that BMW would be building a full-on, raceready 450cc enduro? Not us. The reason behind this madness? BMW wants to diversify, to hit a new performance-driven market segment, to basically captivate and snap up a younger clientele.
I COULDN'T BELIEVE MY LUCK. HAVING JUST landed in Bologna, after the long haul from Los Angeles, I was shocked to see that a driver holding a little placard reading "Bimota DB7 Press Launch" was actually on the other side of baggage claim waiting to cart me an hour away to Rimini.
Despite producing a family of four excellent bikes, one thing has still haunted Bimota: its past. Four years into a new beginning granted by businessman Roberto Comini, the Italian company was still having a hard time shaking off the hangover from the failure of the two-stroke 500cc V-due and subsequent bankruptcy.
AT STRAIGHT, FLAT LEMOORE NAVAL Air Station, the 2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R annihilated the competition in our recent 0-to-180-mph shootout (“Turn & Burn,” July). No surprise, on the CW dynamometer, the newest Ninja was the most powerful of all the 1000cc racerreplicas.
IT IS BY DESIGN THAT THE SPORTorientedTCX Competizione RS strongly resembles the flagship model of the nowdiscontinued Oxtar boot brand. Novation Motorbike SpA, a leader in the Italian footwear business, recently acquired Oxtar, and one of its first steps was to rebrand the entire product line—both on-and off-road—as TCX. The new name is derived from the unique Torsion Control System (TCS), a key safety feature borrowed from its predecessor.
DOWNSIDE TO RADAR DETECTORS ADvertised as compatible with motorcycles is that most were developed for cars. Not so the Adaptiv Technologies TPX Radar and Laser Detection System. In fact, “Designed by motorcyclists for motorcyclists” is the phrase TPX inventor Wayne Chen uses when describing his company’s product.
LAST MARCH, CRAIG MCMARTIN, REIGNING AUSTRALIAN ProTwins champion, rode a 1600cc Irving Vincent developed by Ken and Barry Horner of HRD Engineering to victory in the annual Battle of the Twins race at Daytona International Speedway.
Q I just saw the latest Indiana Jones flick and was distracted by what looked like front disc brakes on the Harley being ridden by the kid. Harley aficionados out there can no doubt cite the model number, but didn’t disc brakes first appear on bikes in the early 1970s, long after college professors stopped wearing bow ties?
If you didn’t know that Snap-on (www.snapon.com) makes tools for motorcycles, well, now you do. The company famous for its high-end, professionalquality shop equipment has several products aimed specifically toward the two-wheel market, including this Low Profile Spark Plug Socket (part #S9724RHS; $25) for plugs with a 5/8-inch (15mm) hex size.
Q I have some tech questions about top-level racing that I never seem to find the answers for. Sometimes the little stuff just gets overlooked! 1. I never see elite racebikes with rotary steering stabilizers. Why is that? Are they inferior?
NHTSA Recall No. 08V253000 Ducati 1098,1098S, 1098 Tricolore Model years: 2007-08 Number of units involved: 3614 Problem: On certain motorcycles, the rear drive sprocket can fail. If the sprocket were to fail while the motorcycle is being ridden, it is possible that the motorcycle will experience a sudden loss of power and/or the chain may become entagled with the chassis.
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