YOUR KID LICKED A BATTERY TERMINAL lately? Sucked on a Schrader valve? Neither has Jason Home's son Logan, but when Mr. Home took the family’s Polaris ATV into his local dealer for servicing, he was turned away, told it was now illegal for the shop to sell or work on minibikes and small all-terrain vehicles.
LAST MONTH, THE PUBLIC LIBRARY IN MY hometown of Elroy, Wisconsin, invited me to speak at a Saturday afternoon “Local Author’s Day.” My friend Pat Donnelly asked me how many people I thought would be there and I said, “Well, if Mary Waarvik, the librarian, doesn’t show up, I’m going to be very disappointed.”
WHILE READING ABOUT THE EARLY History of motorcycle racing at Britain’s great Brooklands speedway, I learned it was common for the centers of the domes of thin, cast-iron pistons to be supported against sagging. A spike projected downward from the center of the piston dome's underside, bearing against the top of the wristpin through a slot in the top of the con-rod's small end.
Thank you for your excellent exclusive on the new Enfield Bullet Classic C-5 (“Dynasty,” CW, March). I love the cool, classic look, a mouth-watering product resulting from the marriage of modern technology to meticulous workmanship, a perfect ride for a lazy Saturday-morning jaunt through the backroads.
SuperTrapp is synonymous with flat-track racing, its booming exhausts long seen-and heard-on Harley-Davidson XR-750s, among other machines. Who better, then, to be first out of the gate with a fitment for the flat-track-inspired XR1200? The brushed stainless-steel 2-into-2 with signature tunable megaphones is said to weigh just 15 pounds, 21 fewer than stock, and comes with two packs of 20 4-inch muffler discs for performance tuning. Suggested retail is $985.
SuperTrapp Industries, Inc.
D.I.D Dirt Star Rims
Attention dirt riders: You now have a choice in rims. D.I.D's Dirt Star LT-X SX/MX ($179 to $229) is lightweight, designed for motocross or Supercross and is available in black or silver. For the rigors of desert and enduro racing, the ST-X ($199 to $229) is 15 percent stronger but slightly heavier, and is available in black only. Both rims utilize D.I.D's “7 series" aluminum and are compatible with original-equipment wheel components from KTM, Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha.
SuperTrapp Industries, Inc.
Dainese Leather Suit and Jackets
Can't go wrong with an Italian suit, right? Dainese's one-piece Gran Premio Professional ($1499) is the two-wheel track-ready equivalent of the classic pinstripe. Are you more of a Casual Friday type? Opt instead for a leather jacket, such as the Tourist ($859) or Chiodo TT ($569). Don’t forget the matching gloves and boots...
SuperTrapp Industries, Inc.
Ducati is now in the wine biz. Its first offering, Desmorosso 2006 ($75), is a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenere blend, the grapes grown on the western slopes of the Colli Berici region in northeast Italy. The second, Desmorosso Bollicine ($75), is a sparkling wine from Franciacorta in the Province of Brescia. Hey, what did you expect, Old Milwaukee?
SuperTrapp Industries, Inc.
Flimsy D-ring helmet locks that are standard on many motorcycles often leave your expensive full-face noggin guard with its fancy graphics resting near or even on a hot muffler. Not a good idea. The HelmetSecure ($60) attaches to most tubular handlebars using hardware hidden from sight; rubber inserts ensure a perfect fit. Securing your helmet is as simple as pulling the pre-coiled, 5mm-thick, 15-inch-long cable from the chromed body, slipping it around the chinbar or through the D-ring and plugging the end of the cable into the keyed, tamper-resistant lock.
SuperTrapp Industries, Inc.
Lost? Not if you've equipped your bike with a sleek, slim Garmin zŪmo 660 ($800). Follow-up to the popular zŪmo 550, the 660 has a 4.3-inch, glove-friendly touchscreen with oversized buttons. Detailed, street-level maps of the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico have more than 6 million points of interest; new features include Lane Assist, 3-D Building View, Photo Navigation and Where Am I?. Riders receive voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions via a built-in speaker or through a compatible Bluetooth headset or helmet. Optional MapSource U.S. topographic maps provide off-road navigation.
SuperTrapp Industries, Inc.
What's the difference between a Cruise Pack ($110) and other “lick 'em and stick 'em" fender seat pads? This one expands to double as a bag! Large enough to swallow two six-packs, the water-resistant, seat-grade-vinyltopped tote has two heavy-duty zippers and eight suction cups, and it fits any bare rear fender that is at least 7 inches wide. No, the Ducati wine doesn’t fit-either physically or philosophically...
SuperTrapp Industries, Inc.
MotoGP In Camera
Fans of Grand Prix roadracing have called the era of the late 1980s and early 1990s, with its no-holds-barred battles between Doohan, Lawson, Kocinski, Rainey and Schwantz on 500cc two-strokes, the "Golden Age of Grand Prix Racing." Not so fast, says Julian Ryder, British Eurosport's MotoGP television commentator and author of MotoGP In Camera: The Official Portrait of the 990cc Era ($50). This 256-page hard-bound volume documents the 2002-2006 seasons through the lenses of the sport's finest photographers. Ryder selected the photos and wrote the accompanying commentary. In the foreword, Nicky Hayden, 2006 MotoGP world champion, notes, “I loved the 990s because they were very physically demanding bikes and suited my riding style. It wasn't always hard to do a single fast lap, but to handle one of these beasts for 30 laps at race pace definitely separated the riders." Glorious.
Does The Motor Co. have a secret V-Four in the works?
IT IS DOUBTFUL THAT VERY MANY people remember Harley-Davidson's ill-fated Project Nova. The R&D program, which was started in 1976, set out to create a platform to counter the high-tech, high-performance frenzy generated by the second generation of Japanese Fours setting the market on fire with unprecedented horsepower.
Harley-Davidson, like most of file industry, is making adjustments to weather the storm
Harley-Davidson announced that it would cut 1100 jobs during 2009 and 2010. This is just over 10 percent of the workforce. The Motor Company will also consolidate its two Milwaukee engine and transmission plants to a new location in Menomonee Falls and switch product transportation to outside contractors.
"Thunder and Lightning,” proclaimed the cover, along with a yellow bolt from the heavens touching down between a Honda V65 Sabre and a Kawasaki 900 Ninja, both engulfed in tire smoke. The pair of powerhouse performance machines weren't part of an unlikely comparison; separate road tests gave each its due.
Big news on the top-name riding schools front: After eight years at Road Atlanta, the Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School is moving to Barber Motorsports Park, the Freddie Spencer High-Performance Riding School has ceased operations, and veteran automotive tutor, the Skip Barber Racing School (www.skipbarber.com), has launched a new, two-wheel-only program headed by former racer and Spencer school alum Jeff Haney using KTM motorcycles.
SCOTT PARKER KNOWS TRACTION. You don't win nine AMA Grand National Championships on our nation's wickedly competitive dirt-tracks without having a good sense of what the tires do when they start slidin', but who knew he could wheelie, too!
Masochistic, methodical or just plain mad? You be the judge.
WHAT WOULD YOU CALL A GUY who-for fun, mind you-decided he was going to ride 1500 miles a day for seven days straight? Crazy and masochistic are probably the first words that come to mind. But when you take a closer look at veteran endurance rider Dale "Warchild" Wilson's record-breaking, 10,636-mile "Bun Burner Gold Hell Week" ride last July, you realize smart and methodical might be more accurate.
UP: To the Cycle World water fountain, for apparently fortifying the H20 and causing a run on baby girls born to members of our Newport Beach, California, staff. First up, Marketing Director Corey Eastman and his wife Christine, who gave birth to 6-pound, 9-ounce Sarah Marshall on February 15.
IT’S ABOUT TIME. WAY back in 1980, Harley-Davidson introduced the FLT Tour Glide, the company’s very first model to use rubber engine mounts. And since 1983, all FL tourers have rolled on that same chassis, which has undergone only a few small changes along the way.
IT DOESN'T MATTER IF you're a novice or an experienced rider; both are prime candidates for a budget-priced 250cc Single. While this new KLX250SF's sharp appearance revs anyone's fervor for fun and frolic, its refined lightweight package also meets the more basic needs of daily use.
ONE MOTORCYCLE HAS dominated Cycle World's Best Motocrosser category for seven consecutive years: Honda's CRF450R. Accolades can be extended 200cc fewer in displacement to its CRF250R stablemate, as well, as its many qualities make the CRF a front-runner in any Lites-class comoarison.
SKILLED SPORT riders have historically been quick to discount the safety merits of an anti-lock braking system, viewing it as an unnecessary luxury feature best suited to the sport-touring set. Honda now aims to convince us otherwise, offering optional C-ABS (combined anti-lock brakes) on its 2009 CBR600RR and CBR1000RR models.
The day had to arrive when an ABS system would equal or exceed the braking performance of a skilled motorcyclist, but it’s been a long time coming. As noted in the main story, it took Don Canet four tries on a conventional bike to achieve a shorter stopping distance than with C-ABS, now optional on the CBR600RR and CBR1000RR. As he remarks, when a real emergency arises, you don’t get multiple tries.
SIXTEEN YEARS DOESN'T SEEM LIKE SUCH A LONG time, but that's how long it's been since I wrote my first Ducati Monster story for CW, and in fact 1993 was when the first II Monstro appeared on these pages. For 2009, the new Monster 1100S is quite a bit more advanced than the first model, if not appreciably different.
I LOVERIDING THIS MONSTER, BU AT the risk of sounding crotchety, I don’t much like looking at it, and I can’t recall too many Ducatis I’ve said that about down through the ages. Nothing quite flows for me on this one. The whole thing looks a little Frankensteinian.
THE LONGTIME DEDICATED MOTORCYCLIST APPROACHES the scooter with some suspicion. Full bodywork, little wheels, little engines, all designed for ease and economy rather than speed and adventure. But despite its low, plastic profile and automatic transmission, the Honda DN-01 is not a scooter.
We can no longer dismiss motorcycles with automatic transmissions as “scooters.” I know that Honda’s DN-01 is a confusing combination, with its $14,599 price, hard-to-figure styling and modest performance. But its hydraulic-mechanical automatic transmission is a functional and exciting development containing essential elements of the future.
We won’t tell, if you don’t. Yeah, the reality is that most hardened-in-the-saddle motorcyclists wouldn't be caught dead on a scooter. Yes, scooters are fun, yes, they are convenient and, yes, they aren't motorcycles. So while it is true that the Honda DN-01 does blur lines between categories, what if you want the convenience of that bike’s “friendly” transmission without the attention afforded by its unusual paradigm-melting, quasi-scooter appearance?
George Orwell's timing was a bit off; 1984 was actually a very good year
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, YOU MAY RECALL, there was no Internet, no e-mail, no computer-rendered drawings of new machines that might be in the works... and no real expectation that anything terribly exciting was. In those ancient springtimes-when life ran at a slower pace and the adults were in charge-glossy, rolled-up copies of Cycle World, Cycle (and a bunch of other bike magazines if you wanted them) leapt from the mailbox like Ed McMahon with a big cardboard check.
Paging through the Kawasaki Ninja 900 test I wrote for the May, 1984, issue of Cycle World was like stepping into a Way-Back Machine, memories of astonishment flooding back. When I first rode the GPz900 during a press launch at Laguna Seca, it was unreal not only how much better the bike was compared to the competition, but also how the bike defined the future form of high-performance motorcycles.
"VERSYS" IS A CONTRACTION OF "versatile system," says Kawasaki. Marketing hyperbole? Not at all. After running up nearly 7000 miles on our long-term Versys, we continue to be amazed by this middleweight's versatility.
WITH SUMMER JUST AROUND THE CORner, now is the perfect time to consider hot-weather riding gear. Once the mercury is on the rise, you don't want to once again face the same old dilemma: stay cool or stay safe. That’s why Olympia Moto Sports developed the one-piece Stealth Mesh Tech Suit.
HANDS AND FEET AREN'T THE ONLY body parts that interface with a motorcycle; your legs are always making contact with the gas tank. That's why STOMP Design manufacturers its aggressively textured "volcano profile" STOMPGRIP Traction Pads, which are kind of like hand-grips for your knees.
WHO AMONG US HASN'T BEEN SMAcked in the snout by an errant bungee cord while strapping down soft luggage to a motorcycle's rear seat? It's the wise packer who wears his helmet, faceshield down, while performing the operation. And as Herculean as your bungee-stretching may be, aren't you always reaching around behind while on the road, just to make sure the load hasn’t shifted?
AFTERMARKET CLUTCH SUPPLIERS REjoiced at the introduction of the Ducati 1098 in 2007, because this fine Italian machine did not include a slipper clutch as standard. Italy’s EVR is one of those suppliers. Imported by Advanced Motorsports Ducati, the EVR Clutch Tuning System has several features that set it apart from other slipper clutches.
Nicky Hayden won AMA and world titles with Honda. Now, he aims for success with Ducati.
LITTLE-KNOWN FACT: HONDA OFFERED NICKY HAYden an RC212V for 2009. But not before HRC pulled the rug from under him. Eight races into last season, Honda told Hayden's management that the 2006 MotoGP world champion was out of a job. Thanks for the memories.
Q I have a question about chain adjustment on my Yamaha XT225. I bought the bike new in 2006 but found the gearing too low for the street, so I recently installed a one-tooth-larger front sprocket. Afterward, when I was adjusting the chain, the axle would shift and pull the chain tighter than spec when I’d torque the axle nut.
Anyone who has ever removed or installed a master link on a drive chain knows that it's not an exercise in astrophysics. But that doesn't mean someone can't come up with a tool that eases the task ever so slightly—such as the Masterlink Chain Tool Set from ZipTy Racing (www.ziptyracing.com), the company owned by accomplished off-road racer Ty Davis.
Years sold: 1984-1986 MSRP new: $4399 Blue Book retail value: $1600-$1700 Basic specs: A 908cc, dohc, 16-valve inline-Four making a claimed 113 horsepower. It ran the quarter-mile in 11.18 seconds at 121.65 mph and had a measured top speed of 145 mph.
Q After re-reading David Edwards’ editorial comments regarding Craig Vetter's attempts at modifying a Honda Helix to do 70 mph into a 20-mph headwind carrying four bags of groceries and get 100 mpg while doing so ("Freedom Machines," September, 2008), I visited Vetter’s site.
NHTSA Recall No. 09T003000 Manufacturer: Pirelli Tire LLC Models: Metzeler ME880 Marathon Potential Number of units affected: 1615 Problem: Certain Metzeler ME880 Marathon tires, sizes 130/90B16 and 140/90B16, manufactured between June 22 and September 13, 2008, were stamped with incorrect load range and inflation pressure information which fails to conform to the labeling requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 119, "New pneumatic tires for motor vehicles with a GVWR of more than 4536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) and motorcycles."
Q I enjoyed your February "Tool Time" that talked about using Wiha flush-cut pliers to cut off the ends of cable ties. While working as a professional mechanic (I am an American Motorcycle & Marine Institute graduate) rigging boats, I sometimes would use literally hundreds of cable ties on some watercraft, hence ending up looking like your "second-place finisher in a two-man knife fight"!