CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER AND A long dry spell is over. For the first time since 1993, a Honda has walked away with top honors in the International Bike of the Year competition. In fact, doublekudos to the Big Red Machine, because another of its models notched second place in the annual polling of moto-mag editors from around the world.
IT’S A QUIET WINTER DAY TODAY WITH snow drifting down in big dreamy flakes, like the ones we made with scissors and folded construction paper in Miss Podruch’s third-grade class and then plastered to the classroom wall with our names written on them.
EVERY INDUSTRY MAKES THE SAME SET of discoveries about materials. At first, parts are made of so-called “mild steel,” which has a tensile strength of about 60,000 psi and is cheap to buy. Steel is strong, right? Uh, well, strength is relative.
Way to go for highlighting, once again, the virtues of the Suzuki SV650 ("Ten Best Used Bike Buys,” CW, February). Several years ago, I was dating a woman who professed an interest in learning to ride. “What’s a good bike to begin with?” she asked.
Now in its 26th year of production, the Rebel 250 remains one of Honda’s most important models and has become one of the best-selling motorcycles of all time. No wonder Cobra has created a broad range of mix-and-match, bolt-on accessories for this iconic small-bore cruiser. Seen here: Freeway Bar, spotlight-equipped Lightbar, Sissy Bar and Luggage Rack. Prices range from $20 for a Sealed Beam Light to $285 for the Lightbar. Cobra Engineering, 23801 E. La Palma Ave., Yorba Linda, CA 92887; 714/692-8180; www.cobrausa.com
Load any motorcycle-as long as it weighs less than 1500 pounds-into a shortor full-sized pickup-truck bed by simply pushing a button? That’s the concept behind the Cruiser Caddie ($1850). This fully automatic loading system is made in the U.S. from tough, lightweight aluminum, and it installs in minutes without modifications to either vehicle. Winch, wheel chock and safety straps are included. Cruiser Caddie, 71 Robinson St., Tri County Business Campus, Pottstown, PA 19464; 800/788-8284; www.cruisercaddie.com
Indian Motorcycle Apparel
From belts, boots, caps, polos, jackets to jeans and, of course, T-shirts, reborn Indian Motorcycle has fans of the legendary bike-maker covered from head to toe with its new line of apparel. Goes great with a new Chief... Indian Motorcycle, 116 Battleground Rd., Kings Mountain, NC 28086; 877/380-8686; www. indianmotor cycle.com
Remember this acronym: WCTA. Wide Custom Tread Arc is the full name for the profiling Avon uses to give its new cruiser tire, the Cobra, nimbleness at both low and high speeds usually reserved for cutting-edge sportbike rubber. Further, jointless belting locates carcass fibers closely at the center of the tire for stability and wear resistance, and wider apart at the edges for greater compliancy at deep lean angles. The Cobra is available in 19 sizes, all with Avon’s serpent-like Force Following Grooves tread pattern. Prices start at $165 for fronts and $300 for rears. Avon Tyres, 6911-A 216th St. SW, Lynwood, WA 98036; 800/624-7470; www.avonmotorcycle.com
Hiding motorcycles can be a dirty job. Motocloth Refreshers offer a simple way to clean yourself up after a ride. The Refresher is a 10.5 x 9-inch, premoistened, 100-percent cotton towel that has been individually packaged for graband-go convenience. Infused with calming lemon grass oil and a mild antimicrobial, the Refreshers are sold in 10, 25, 50 and 100-piece packs. Prices start at $12. Motocloth, 20817 N. 21st Ave. #18, Phoenix, AZ 85027; 866/924-4434; www.motocloth.com
Brave Soldier Crash Pak
Even if you haven’t tipped over in years, maybe even decades, you might consider carrying a Brave Soldier Crash Pak ($15). The lightweight, resealable, waterproof mylar bag contains bandages, sponges, antiseptic ointment and all the other supplies you need for on-the-spot treatment of minor abrasions, burns and cuts. A road-rash treatment guide is included. Brave Soldier, 1717 Stewart St., Santa Monica, CA 90404; 888/711-2728; www.bravesoldier.com
Kushitani K-0563 jacket
One thousand bucks. That’s what Kushitani charges, give or take a few Yen, for the K-0563. That’s a load of green for a plain-black, off-the-rack leather riding jacket, especially in this topsy-turvy economy. Fortunately, the K-0563 is special. Sadly, you have to slip it over your shoulders to fully appreciate just how special; this may be the softest leather we’ve ever felt, like silk from Holsteins. Better yet, this fluoride-treated hide, called Proto-Core, repels water, so the fully CE-armored, perforated and lined garment won’t shrink to half its size following a long ride in an unexpected summer rain shower. Cleaning requires only a swipe with a damp sponge. Further proof that the K0563 isn’t for everyone: The cut is narrow, reminiscent of racing leathers, and only Japanese sizing (M, L and LL) is available. Think of it as lifetime leather.
THE CRUISER landscape has changed a lot since Big Dog Motorcycles opened its doors in 1994. Back then, it was almost impossible to get a Harley-Davidson without your name first being at the end of a long list at the local dealer, and so there were many so-called “clone” makers who popped up to help fill the demand.
CUSTOMS LIVE: Reports of hot-rodding's demise have been greatly exaggerated
If you believe everything you see and hear, performance-modified V-Twin streetbikes have just about rumbled to the end of the road. Very soon, due to stepped-up enforcement of evertightening emissions laws, making such motorcycles street-legal will be impossible.
RUMOR HAS IT THE ONLY REASON THE Victory CORE concept bike actually exists in the metal is that somebody in the industrial design department “accidentally” misplaced some budget for it. If it’s true, then keep up the good work! Unveiled at the New York stop of the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in January, this futuristic bobber is billed purely as a concept, although the second rumor is that the bike is very close to being a runner.
After seeing our “MonoGP” story (December, 2007) that highlighted three Japanese 450cc MXers converted into roadracers, the folks at Aprilia said, “Super Single? Paah! We’ll make it one cylinder better!” Aprilia commissioned Roland Sands Design-maker of the MonoGP bikes-to build a roadracer based on the 2007 SXV 450 V-Twin supermoto bike, which, for a variety of reasons, didn’t meet DOT/EPA requirements for street legality in the U.S.
Hit hard by the rollercoaster economy? Don’t despair; good times are just a pedal stroke away. Oklahoma City’s Ridley Motorcycle Company (www.ridleymotorcycle.com), best known for its medium-weight fully automatic motorcycles, is “bringing back the fun, ease and vintage styling of the 1900s.” We’re talking bicycles with clip-on engines.
WATCH THE VIDEO. AUSTRALIAN Robbie Maddison accelerates his Yamaha YZ250 down a short ramp and runway to gain speed, then transitions to a second, nearly vertical ramp. He shoots up, off the end, noses the bike over and lands easily atop the 96-foot-high replica Arc de Triomphe in Las Vegas.
DOWN: To the economy, for putting the kibosh on three great motorcycle events. Citing the recent financial downturn, organizers of the Honda Hoot, the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours and Motogiro America have all dropped their events for 2009.
MV AGUSTA RECENTLY SENT OUT A press release stating that, after 13 years of fruitful cooperation, Massimo Tamburini, designer of the iconic Ducati 916 and MV Agusta F4, was retiring from his position as design chief and head of the Cagiva Research Center in San Marino.
Gracing the cover was a blue-and-white Suzuki CiS1150ES popping off of an all-black background. It was the quickest production hike cycle World had ever tested in the quarter-mile (10.94@125 mph). The GS's speed and acceleration were praised but not its heft and how that weight affected handling.
RUMORS OF A NEW SINgle-cylinder GS were circulating months prior to the press launch of the G650GS in San Diego, California, but reality presented us with a new name on a trusty steed. Truth of the matter is that Munich had for all intents and purposes killed this model.
IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT Kawasaki’s brand-new, fuel-injected KX450F has grabbed lots of headlines. It is, after all, the high-profile replacement for the bike that carried James Stewart to his first outdoor national championship in the big-boy class via a perfect 24-for-24 moto season.
TRADITION AND INDIVIDUALISM RUMBLE AT THE core of the cruiser market. The first point is what drives the proliferation of V-Twins in the segment, but the second makes this very proliferation somewhat ironic. Triumph had a different idea and knew full well that to ignore its own tradition of Twinness-the parallel kindmight be interpreted as too “me-too” and inauthentic for the British company.
YAMAHA HAS MADE GOOD USE OF THE VAST SUMS OF MONEY and resources it annually invests in roadracing’s premier class. Technologies developed and proven through its championship-winning MotoGP program have provided a steady stream of advanced features found in recent YZF-R1 sportbikes.
IN 1928, GERMAN RACER ERNST Jacob Henne earned international acclaim when he crossed the Targa Florio finish line. It took mind and muscle to complete three rough-and-dusty, countless-turn, 67-mile laps, but Henne had won the grueling 201mile Sicilian endurance roadrace, considered the most challenging event of its time.
BRAKES SLOW VEHICLES BY FRICTION, converting the kinetic energy of mass at speed into heat that is then transferred to the surrounding air. During a full-effort stop, they also act as reservoirs, momentarily storing heat that is generated rapidly.
Husaberg turns the engine upside down with its all-new FE450e
Husaberg North America
Husaberg North America
HUABERG'S ENGINEERS OBVIOUSLY HAVE NEVER read the Japanese handbook on How to Build an Off-Road Motorcycle. While the Swedish company's bikes have always been a little diffeient and sometimes pretty quirky, the all-new FE450e breaks the mold of conventionalism altogether.
Going under the asphalt tutelage of World Champion Doug Polen in his exclusive 1-on-1 Riders School
THERE I WAS, LEANING INTO the long, sweeping lefthander at speed, my gut telling me to ease up, my nerves slipping into caution mode, my right wrist threatening to roll off and put me back into a realm of velocity I was comfortable with. But the voice in my head encouraged me to go in a little deeper, to crank in more lean angle.
Doug Polen set the racing world on fire in 1991 when, in his rookie season in World Superbike aboard a non-factory Fast by Ferracci Ducati 888, he thoroughly decimated the competition, dominating the series and wrapping up the championship with five races to go.
DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR, POUND for pound, pony for pony, the Kawasaki ZX-14 is one of motorcycling’s finest all-around streetbikes, with comfort, power and speed in spades. That is the consensus CW editors reached after living with a Passion Red 2006 model for the past two years.
LET’S FACE IT: MOST THREE-QUARTER helmets evoke images of tradition, not technology. Davida, however, claims to have integrated these usually mutually exclusive ideals into its hand-made designs. We sampled the smartly styled Jet, one of four available models.
SEEN STARS LATELY? THAT’S NOT A good thing, as repeated whacks to the head can lead to permanent brain damage. To protect against such injuries, Shock Doctor offers the Power Gravity 2, an inexpensive, ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) mouthguard that, after being heated in boiling water, molds to your bottom-yes, bottom-teeth for a personalized, low-profile fit.
SKILL, FOCUS, A COMPETITIVE MOTORcycle and good fortune are all key ingredients needed to stand atop the podium in real-life MotoGP racing. Those same principles, as well as finger dexterity, apply when vying for a pole, race win or the long road to world-champion status in MotoGP 08, the latest video game that promises to deliver an accurate virtual experience of the sport’s premier class.
LAST YEAR’S SUPERBIKE SHOOTOUT (“Turn & Burn,” July, 2008) looked like a runaway win for the all-new Honda CBR1000RR. But with set-up time limited by the volume of street, topspeed and track testing (eight bikes!), the big CBR produced only the sixthbest lap time at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.
DAYTONA BIKE WEEK 2008 HAD SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE FOR ME and my family. It was the 60th anniversary of the ’48 Daytona 200 win by my father, Floyd Emde. In the fall of 2006, I’d already been thinking about that upcoming anniversary when a bike listed for sale in Jerry Wood’s Vintage Motorcycle Auction catalog caught my attention.
Q Are there any effective ways to secure a bike’s oil cap? After I had a run-in with my girlfriend’s exboyfriend (also a rider), he dumped sand into my engine via the oil filler opening on my 2003 Honda CBR600RR. Swapping the engine for a slightly more powerful 2005 version taught me a lot about how my bike works, but I’d like to prevent such a thing from happening again.
The doctor is in! Or at least it looks like he is in when the stethoscope from Graham Tools (part #52750, $25; www.grahamtool.com) is dangling around your neck. Many decades ago, savvy mechanics began using medical stethoscopes to detect the source of noises in cars and motorcycles.
NHTSA Recall No. 08V659000 Harley-Davidson FXD, FXDF, FXDC, FXDL AND FXDB Model year: 2009 Number of units involved: 3285 Problem: The Jiffy Stand spring anchor may have been built with a defective weld that may not allow the stand to retract as intended.
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