WELCOME BACK, MR. MAX, IT’S BEEN A long time coming, huh? Hard to believe it was 23 years ago that you first appeared on these pages. Oh, you were quite the kid. V-Four engine taken from the Venture Royale touring bike, hopped up, of course.
ABOUT 23 YEARS AGO, WHEN I WAS working at Road & Track in Southern California, the good Editor strode into my highly organized office, eventually spotted me behind a pile of unanswered mail and asked if I could fly up to the Napa Valley and do a story on a 1953 Bentley Continental R. This rare car, he said, belonged to a guy named Gil Nickel, who owned the prestigious Far Niente winery.
ALL HAS BEEN CONTROVERSY IN U.S. roadracing. Daytona Motorsports Group bought AMA Pro Racing and announced new rules and classes intended to restore competitiveness. The manufacturers made counter proposals. Concessions were made, then rejected, and the head banging began.
I want to let everyone know what a great time we had at the Indianapolis MotoGP (see Race Watch, this issue). Having been to Daytona 11 times, including this year, and more than 100 other AMA roadraces, as well as dozens of auto events, I thought this would be another typical race weekend.
That big rubber balloon looks swell on the back of your bike, but now a conventional rear stand won’t fit, making simple tasks like lubing the drive chain and draining engine oil more difficult. Solution? Redline Engineering’s Wide Tire Stand ($119) fits rear tires as wide as 330mm and is offered with either spoolor universal-style attachment points. Custom sizes are also available.
Nuun Active Hydration
Nuun electrolyte-replacement tablets-a caffeineand sugar-free combination of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium-are now available in a larger size perfectly suited for 32-ounce drink reservoirs. Just fill your hydration pack with water, drop in one effervescent tab and start drinking; no mixing is necessary. Choose from either Lemon Lime or Orange Ginger flavor. A 12-tab tube retails for $10.
MV75 World Champion Watch
Perfect complement to an MV Agusta F4 R or a Brutale 910? A JeanRichard chronograph commemorating the Italian bike-builder’s 75 international victories, of course. Select from pink gold ($23,500), steel ($9500) or titanium ($10,250; pictured), all featuring a carbon-fiber dial and self-winding Swiss-made movement. Series number is engraved on the back of each watch, alongside the MV logo.
Fresh from Fieldsheer are three new textile jackets-the hip-length Adventure ($300; S-4XL), leather-look Drifter ($150; XS-4XL) and denim Rider ($140; XS-4XL). Each boasts a tilted-forward anatomic fit, plenty of pockets, a zip-out liner and padded shoulders, elbows and back. Should it begin to rain during your ride, the Adventure and Drifter also have breathable, waterproof membranes built into their shells.
RoadLok Arachnid M1
Secure your late-model sportbike with the Arachnid Ml ($2000 per set), the latest all-in-one front brake caliper and disc lock from RoadLok. A keyed lock and spring-loaded locking pin are neatly integrated into a radial-mount, four-piston Beringer caliper. Bonus: Geico insurance offers discounts to riders who install RoadLok systems on their motorcycles.
Airstream PanAmerica Crossover
Home on wheels, garage included? That’s the concept behind the 34-foot-long Airstream PanAmerica Crossover ($85,000). Behind the classic “silver bullet” aluminum skin is a luxury living space with stainless-steel appliances, leather-trimmed furniture and a flat-screen television, plus 11 feet of bike storage that includes a table-top work area, cabinets, electrical outlets, tie-down anchors and a textured floor. A gull-wing exterior door with fold-down ramp eases loading.
Vemar Jiano Bluetooth
Flip-up full-face helmets are growing in popularity. Italian helmetmaker Vemar has taken the concept a step farther by incorporating Bluetooth functionality into its feature-filled, ECand DOT-approved Jiano ($500; sizes XXS-XXL). Compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled cell phones, GPS receivers and MP3 players, the dual-stereo-speakerand boom-microphone-equipped design holds a 10-hour charge, and the left-side-mounted controls can be operated with a gloved hand. Pair two Jianos together for wireless conversations with your passenger.
Let’s face it: Baggy boxers may be comfortable, but they don’t provide much protection or support when you’re riding a motorcycle. Patented Coretection Coreshorts, however, use diagonal “X Core” bands to stabilize the hips, pelvis and groin area without hindering movement. Three models-Lite, Pro and Rehab-are offered; we tested the Lite ($42; XSXXL) and Pro ($110; XS-XXL). Both fit snugly, as intended, under jeans or leathers. The Supplex/Lycra Lite is a good choice for street riding, while the more robust Pro is better suited to motocross or roadracing.
IT IS ONE OF THOSE ETERnal questions: Which is better, quality or quantity? Yamaha found out in surveying buyers of its YZF-R1 that they are more interested in rider-friendly features like additional bottom-end torque rather than just outright horsepower.
Despite its name and visual resemblance to the existing FZ6, Yamaha’s newest middleweight, the FZ6R, has very little in common with its racier cousin. Designed specifically for the fast-growing, under750cc sportbike category, the 6R was built with first-time buyers, commutes and budget-conscious riders in mind.
If ever there were a reason to purchase a new bigscreen television for your home, Faster: Ultimate Collector’s Edition ($40; www. docurama.com) is it. The four-disc set contains director Mark Neale’s two feature-length, Ewan McGregor-narrated MotoGP films-faster and The Doctor, The Tornado & The Kentucky Kid.
FOLLOWING THE RECENT sales success of its 649cc parallel-Twin platform-the Ninja 650R and Versys-Kawasaki’s 2009 model range adds a new member to the family, the ER-6n streetfighter, along with an updated version of the 650R. Additionally, the new KLX250SF takes supermoto styling to the street in a light, nimble package.
Anti-lock brakes on motorcycles have long been reserved for the more conservative end of the market spectrum. Touring bikes, yes, full-on sportbikes, no. Until now. Honda Europe announced that both the 2009 CBR1000RR and CBR600RR will be available with optional Combined ABS. Further, American Honda confirmed that both models will be offered stateside.
A lot has changed during the past 25 years, but then, as now, new Yamahas graced the cover. A quarter century ago, it featured the now legendary 1984 RZ350 two-stroke and FJ1100 superbike, both of which had just been unveiled at the Paris motorcycle show.
LAST FALL, DON ATCHIson told his wife and Ecosse Moto Works CEO, Wendy, that he wouldn’t cut his hair until they delivered the initial four-bike batch of the Ti Series RR, a supercharged, titanium-framed spin-off of the Heretic V-Twin (“Refined Dynamite,” April, 2005).
UP: To Steve Johnson, for winning the U.S. Nationals-arguably the most important stop on the NHRA POWERade Series tour-for the second time in four years. This past September, the 22-year veteran of the Pro Stock Motorcycle class not only topped the 16-bike field on his Snap-on Tools/WyoTech-backed Suzuki at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Claremont, Indiana, he also posted the highest speed of the meet192.03 mph.
AFTER 25 YEARS, IT’S clear that Buell is a company that goes its own way. Exhibit A: the XB12X Ulysses, a dirtbikestyled “adventure sportbike” that is also part supermoto and even a light tourer. It has a massive frame, a big comfy seat, a 1203cc pushrod V-Twin engine and 17-inch wheels at the end of long-travel suspension; it’s a bike ready for serious travel on anything from interstates to fireroads.
IT ALL STARTED ONE DAY WHEN I RECEIVED A PHONE call from Yamaha requesting that I make an appearance at the 1985 dealer show in Las Vegas. I had no clue what they had in mind for me. Why did I get the call? In the early 1980s, after I retired from a 20-year AMA dirt-track and roadracing career, there was a huge void in my life that desperately needed attention.
An Isle of Man indoctrination on Triumph’s racier naked middleweight
I FIGURED THIS WAS NOT GOING TO BE YOUR AVERAGE street-based press ride, a hunch further reinforced by the London-Gatwick Customs Officer checking my passport upon arrival. “Where are you traveling?” he asked. “Is it business or leisure that takes you to the Isle of Man?” My answer prompted further inquiry into the nature of my business.
APPROACHING THE END OF A LONG straight, the wind buffets your helmet. The machine bucks slightly under you on the uneven pavement of the old two-lane. You can see that the left turn ahead is a decreasing-radius, uncambered example of old-fashioned road-making, typical of deep-country farm-to-town roads.
I’ve been riding pillion with Steve since 1980. We took our honeymoon in England, Scotland and the lsle of Man aboard a Kawasaki. So I had a lot of backseat time to compare with the Spyder ride when I hoisted my ancient butt aboard the sporty three-wheeler.
Five laps of scenic, vintage California inspired by one lap of vintage ltaly...with nothing lost in translation
JANE AUSTEN’S FAMOUS DICTUM NOTWITHstanding, some universal truths are reluctantly acknowledged. As in, during dinner on the first day of Motogiro America, the inaugural running of the transplanted vintage Italian road rally, each rider at our table admitted, during cross-examination, thinking this is for fun, it’s a new event, I won’t worry about keeping score.
When the invitation to Motogiro America arrived, I was both delighted and dismayed. The former because it sounded like a wonderful idea; the latter because my best vintage machine, my 1970 Harley XR750 street-tracker, needed a set of connecting rods to be ready for the road, while my best Italian bike (made by Aermacchi when that brand was a Harley-Davidson division) is a short-track racer, lacking only lights, horn, silencer, plate, registration and insurance to be eligible.
IT’S NO SECRET THAT THE CRF450R HAS BEEN A smashing success for American Honda. It has been “The Bike" since its introduction in 2002, winning a total of seven straight CW Ten Besties. As of late, competing brands have inched their way closer to matching the CRF's coveted performance level but have not been able to defeat it.
ADDING THE CBR1000RR TO THE long-term test fleet was a nobrainer. For starters, at 413 pounds dry, the redesigned-for-2008 Honda is the lightest literbike available. It’s one of the most powerful, too, producing nearly 160 horsepower at the rear wheel.
Anticipation was at an all-time high for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP. Between Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, MotoGP delivered
INDY’S TURN 1 WAS INVISIBLE THROUGH gust-driven heavy rain. Riders trying to forecast the quickest line across three kinds of pavement and sheets of water were distracted by blowing cans and plastic bags. Valentino Rossi cautiously stalked early leader Nicky Hayden through eight laps, after six spent overcoming reigning champ Casey Stoner, Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo and first-year phenom Andrea Dovizioso.
Q I have questions regarding strapping down a motorcycle for transport. Some people have told me that the usual method-compressing the fork with straps-can cause long-term damage to the springs and dampers, and, of course, it also can “blow out the fork seals.”
Everyone who dislikes changing motorcycle tires, please raise your hands. Whoa! When I said “everyone,” I didn’t expect, uh, everyone to raise their hands. And you there in the back of the room, you didn’t have to raise both hands. Changing tires is not one of motorcycling’s more enjoyable tasks, especially on dirtbikes.
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