HAVE TODAY’S SPORTBIKES BECOME TOO damn good for their own good? There is no denying that the current crop of repli-racers are the highest-flying, best-performing, surest-handling motorcycles ever, able to humble exotic supercars in acceleration contests, all but raceready right off the showroom floor-most priced far below what you’d have to give for some crapbox econocar.
WHAT WITH TRIUMPH CELEBRATING THE 50th anniversary of the legendary Bonneville for 2009, I did what any crafty investor would do and ran right over to my Triumph shop three weeks ago and bought a 2008 Bonneville T100. Yes, the meaningless 49th Anniversary model!
ONE MORNING RECENTLY, MY WIFE Gwyneth decided to make potato salad before breakfast, so that by dinner time it would develop full flavor. My job was to poke the potatoes periodically, to measure their hardness. As I did so, I thought of the three little “toothmarks” that used to appear in out-of-the-way places on Kawasaki’s KR-750 racebike of 1975-78.
How in the world could an accomplished rider and writer like David Edwards praise Triumph’s new 1600cc Thunderbird (“Anglo-American,” Up Front, November) when it clearly represents everything that is wrong with motorcycle sales in America?
Clean up the ass-end of your 200809 Honda 1000RR with a Hotbodies Racing SBK Undertail. Constructed of durable, lightweight ABS plastic, the aggressively styled MotoGP-inspired piece is available in original-equipment colors ($220) or unpainted ($120). Integrated LED blinkers and license-plate light are included, as are a license-plate mounting kit and hardware. Rear Tire Hugger ($180 painted; $80 unpainted) and KR Tuned Slip-On muffler ($900) sold separately.
Hotbodies Racing, Inc.
Disc locks are an effectve means of deterring thieves, but Xena’s line of locks takes the concept one step farther by including a motion-sensitive alarm that screams at 1lOdB. Other items in Xena’s lineup are Bullett-Lock Alarms, high-tensile steel cables, hardened-steel chains, ground anchors and the Claw chain adapter that enhances the security of the disc locks. Prices start at $35.
Hotbodies Racing, Inc.
X3 94dB Exhaust
AMA has lowered the sound limit for professional MX and Supercross racing to 94dB, and the $899 LeoVince X3 94 Motocross Full System Titanium meets that requirement. Available for all 2009 and most 2008 four-stroke motocross bikes, the full system uses DuraPaq packing material in the silencer, intended to last 50 hours before repacking is needed. The pipe also includes a carbon-fiber end cap, a heat shield, a mounting strap, a spring puller, along with a wash plug and a removable spark arrestor.
Hotbodies Racing, Inc.
What makes a $70 goggle? The list of ingredients could fill this page, so the focus with Scott’s high-end Voltage ProAir is the addition of a Ram Air Port. This is an air-management system that prevents fogging by directing a steady flow of air toward the antifog-coated WORKS Lexan lens and away from the rider’s eyes in a venturi effect. For a more secure fit, a new outrigger concept transfers strap tension evenly across the face.
Hotbodies Racing, Inc.
Give your Suzuki B-King a blast of clean air with K&N’s High-Flow replacement filter. The urethanemolded frame guarantees a perfect seal into the standard airbox, while K&N’s unique pleated media provides a large filtration surface area. The latter allows optimum airflow claimed to increase horsepower and torque. The $79 filter is washable and reusable, comes pre-oiled and has a million-mile limited warranty.
Hotbodies Racing, Inc.
9900 Gear Bag
Large enough to hold all of your gear plus more, the Ogio 9900-which translates to 9900 cubic inches or 162.2 liters-can easily be toted around thanks to the oversized, off-road wheels and retractable Pullman handle. Its SLED (Structural Load Equilizing Deck) serves as a backbone while separate storage areas keep your boots ventilated, gear contained and helmet protected. Available for $200 in various colors and styles with a lifetime warranty.
Hotbodies Racing, Inc.
Renthal's universal-fit Intellilever is a complete clutch perch assembly with lever. What makes it unique is that the lever can pivot 90 degrees up and down as well as 90 degrees forward; so in the event of a crash, the intellilever is virtually unbreakable. It works via a cable and spring system integrated into the hard-anodized, CNC-machined billet aluminum lever. The spring allows the lever to dislocate and then return to the original position. Yes, we tested it in numerous crashes and found that the lever disjoints and then returns. After some harder falls, the lever required the rider's assistance to move back in place. Leverage ratio and shape are similar to a Honda unit, and a reach-adjustment screw allows adjustment closer to or farther from the bar for different size hands. The standard Intellilever is $165, $180 with integrated hot-start lever. Pricey for a clutch lever, but it may be the last one you'll ever have to buy.
HONDA MOTORS ANNOUNCED IT will sell the new-for-the-USA "crossover," the DN-O1, in 2009; it’s a motorcycle that looks a little like a scooter, a bit like a sport-bike and has the flash and laid-back seating position of a cruiser. First revealed as a concept at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show, the DN-01 gets its moniker from Honda’s “Dream New, Concept 1” mission and defies traditional categorization.
WORLD'S FASTEST MOTORCYCLE Rocky Robinson and his Top 1 Oil "Ack Attack" team had the right mix of luck, guts, ingenuity and still air on September 28, 2008, as their stream-liner set the "absolute" world land-speed record for motorcycles. Robinson’s average speed of 360.913 mph, based on two opposing runs, bested the previous record (held by dirt-track legend Chris Carr) by 10 mph.
UP: To Korry Hogan, for earning the self-styled title, "Fastest Motorcycle Drag Racer on the Planet." This past October, Hogan made the first 250-plus-mph pass in the history of the sport, eclipsing the quarter-mile in 5.95 seconds at 250.97 mph on his 1400-horsepower, nitromethane-burning, MTC-backed AMA/Prostar Top Fueler.
THERE'S NOTHING SEXY ABOUT making tires. It's a dirty, smelly, largely unappreciated business. Expensive, too; just setting up shop these days will set you back $500 million. Bridgestone got its start in the clothing business. Company founder Shojiro Ishibashi (Ishi is “stone” in Japanese; bashi means “bridge”) made a forward-thinking, albeit bumpy, transition during the Great Depression from manufacturing a rubber-soled version of the traditional “tabi”-sock-like footwear commonly worn by farmers, rickshaw-pullers and other workmen-to “shoes” for Japan’s expanding car population.
FROM NORTON TO SNORTIN' Kenny Dreer goes drag racing
What do you do if, after eight years of toil and tribulation, your dream of resurrecting the Norton Commando goes bust? Well, if you’re Kenny Dreer, you return to your roots and go drag racing. Pretty serious kit Dreer is running, too: a Pro Mod-style bike with a Koenig F-16 chrome-moly drag chassis on a 70-inch wheelbase, not including wheelie bars.
The 2009 Voyager is Kawasaki’s first full-dress, V-Twin-powered touring model. A new 1700cc, liquid-cooled, sohc Twin is equipped with a fly-by-wire EFI system. A “coactive” braking system with ABS optimizes stopping power electronically.
Executive Editor John Ulrich was working overtime on this month’s issue, photo modeling for the lens of fellow staffer Steve Kimball the latest, greatest machinery from Honda—the V65 Sabre, Nighthawk S and l000 Interceptor. Previews of those machines followed, as did samplers of new Kawasakis, Husqvarnas and Can-Ams.
A DECADE AGO, POLARIS Industries gathered the motorcycle press to introduce the fruit of its newly formed motorcycle division. At the time, that amounted to one bike: the Victory V92C in a choice of two colors. This past October, many miles beyond those humble beginnings, Victory proudly rolled out its 15-model 2009 lineup for journalists gathered in Del Mar, California.
NO ONE WILL EVER ACcuse Yamaha of being a lemming, especially when the topic turns to four-stroke motocrossers. The Tuning Fork Folks did, after all, start the modern moto-revolution away from two-strokes with its YZ400F back in 1998.But in an era of ultra-short development cycles, it’s impossible for any one company to always be at the forefront of technical innovation.
IN CASE YOU HADN’T NOTiced, cruisers have grown ever larger in recent years, some even surpassing the 2-liter mark. But with that extra displacement comes extra weight. More and more riders are discovering that a “middleweight” cruiser, something between 900 and 1300cc, makes a lot of sense, big enough that it isn’t easily outgrown but more manageable than the big cruisers.
THE INCREMENTAL CHANGES EACH MANUFACTURER MAKES in a new model are small, but together they are the ongoing revolution in manufacturing, usable power and responsive handling. We hardly notice it—until we ride a 20-year-old bike for comparison.
Café Racer: Buell’s stripped superbike, debugged and ready to ride
WHETHER YOU LIKE THEM OR NOT, THERE is no denying that Buell motorcycles have brought to market a lot of daring technical features and designs that other larger, more conservative bike-makers would not even consider. Fuel in frame? Rim-mounted single-disc front brake?
EARLIER THIS YEAR, YOU READ TECH EDITOR KEVIN Cameron's analysis of BMW's stunning new S1000RR sportbike (Roundup, July, 2008). At the 2008 Intermot Show in Cologne, Germany, the company showed off not just a liveried and track-ready S1000RR racebike but also newly hired Superbike team rider Ruben Xaus to demonstrate its commitment to winning.
FORGET WHAT THE LOGO ON THE SIDE OF THE F650GS READS, because this bike is not what it seems. First, it's not a 650—it's actually powered by a 798cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-Twin engine just like its sibling, the F800GS. Second, giving it the rough-n-tough moniker of the GS series is like calling yourself a cowboy because as a kid you once rode a horse at the county fair.
DUCATI'S ALL-NEW MONSTER, INTRODUCED AT LAST YEAR'S Milan Show in entry-level 696cc form, has now grown to a full 1100cc. We expected this would happen. After all, the previous Monster was an icon, with hundreds of thousands of examples in a range of displacements sold worldwide.
RSV4: Looks like the rest of the Sportbike World has more than just Ducati to worry about...
APRILIA HAS UNVEILED ITS NEW RSV4, THE V-Four-powered 1000cc machine that has been painstakingly developed over the past two years to launch a new assault on the World Superbike crown. Previous attempts, using the 60-degree V-Twin RSV 1000, did not succeed.
WHEN HARLEY-DAVIDSON BROUGHT ITS V-Rod cruiser to market in 2002, many figured that Buell would soon integrate that bike’s liquid-cooled, dohc V-Twin Revolution engine into its own sportbike line. They figured wrong. Despite having its roots in H-D’s short-lived VR1000 Superbike program, the production V-Rod engine was deemed too heavy and underachieving to serve as a viable sportbike mill.
Rumors to the contrary, Jesse James—and others—prove the American Custom is far from dead
SAY IT AIN'T SO, JESSE. WHEN I heard that Jesse James was building a corporate theme bike for Airstream trailers, I knew the neo-chopper was dead. It was even supposed to have—nooo!—a sidecar attached. Cripes, cue the pink plastic flamingos.
COLE FOSTER REALLY CAN'T help himself. It's a DNA thing. When your father is the late, great Pat Foster, pioneering Funny Car driver, ace fabricator and master drag-car restorer when you grow up as a track rat and shop gofer—it's going to shape your view of the internal-combustion world.
WALK UP TO A GROUP of riders and proclaim that your custom bike is the most beautiful in all the land and you will wind up in some heated arguments. If it happens to be the wrong group, you also might wind up with a broken nose or a black eye. But when your bike wins the “America’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle” trophy at the country’s most prestigious custom show, well, who’s to argue?
POOR DENNY BERG. He's a custom-bike builder without a rap sheet. No tattooer’s needle has ever broken his skin. He does not have his own table at the local titty bar. No idiot sons to yell at, either. Get this, the man has never even had his own TV show!!!
WHEN YOU GO BY THE name "Chopper Dave," people are going to assume certain things up front about your preferred mode of two-wheel transportation. Meet Dave Freston, owner/operator of Chopper Daves Casting Co. (www.loudfastrules.com) located in Long Beach, California, and builder of a bike he calls "Secret Weapon."
CUSTOM BUILDing may be an American institution, but it has become a world party. Witness the S&S 50th Anniversary build-off held last June in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. Fifty builders from around the world building 50 bikes with worldly inspiration, each using one of the company’s powerplants, from Sportster-style to X-Wedge.
A DARE AND A $1 BET is all that former chiropractor and Revolution Manufacturing owner Michael Kamalian needed for motivation to build the bike he calls “Revolution Speed.” Industry friends told Kamalian that building a carbon-fiber hard-tail-framed chopper wasn’t possible, so he set out to prove them wrong.
FOR RIDERS OF AMERICAN V-TWINS, S&S is practically a household name. For the past 50 years, the Wisconsin-based company has been producing engines, parts and special tools for Harley-Davidsons-|and, just recently, Victory motorcycles-while also manufacturing its own brand of V-Twin power.
A century of Americana played out on horse tracks at fairgrounds around the country
THE MILE. PILE ON THE GEARING AND TIGHTEN UP YOUR GUT. IMAGINE HITting the end of a 130-mph straightaway—eyes big as dinner plates, engine screaming for mercy and hay bales dead ahead-surrounded by a dozen like-minded maniacs packed tighter than a fat man's lunch bucket.
Q I own a 1989 Suzuki GSX-R1100 I bought new that same year. I changed the tires in 1996, and they are still on the bike with only 4000 miles on them. Since the tires are 12 years old, should I change them? They look like they are in excellent condition but I wonder if they could be dry-rotted.
Checking for spark on your motorcycle can be a hair-raising experience—literally—if you aren't careful. The time-honored method has been to hold a sparkplug in your hand while grounding it to the engine as you either push the starter button or kick the bike over to see if you can spot a blue arc across the electrode gap.
NHTSA Recall No. 08V446000 Victory Vision Model year: 2008 Number of units involved: 2444 Problem: The terminal nuts that secure the main power supply wires could be loose at the circuit breaker. This can cause an unexpected loss of electrical power and corruption of the fuel/ignition map programmed into the electronic control module (ECM).
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