THE MOUNTAINS WERE TEASING ME. FIRST it was those damn Alps. I had done the initial legwork setting up this issue's cover story, riding Honda's (so far) Euro-only CB1000R super-standard out of Edelweiss' Alps Touring Center in Seefeld-in-Tirol, Austria.
WHEN IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN EVENTS it becomes necessary to attend a family reunion, you can thank your lucky stars if it’s hosted by a couple of avid motorcyclists who just happen to live on a mountainside overlooking Estes Park, Colorado.I speak here of Barb’s cousin, Gary Rumsey and his charming wife Bonnie, who live right in the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park.
ON SATURDAY EVENING AT LAGUNA Seca, I had dinner with Eugenio Gandolfi, a Brembo engineer, and learned many fascinating things. First, I was told that even in this time of restricted spending, all teams in MotoGP buy rather than receive as sponsorship Brembo brake systems and Marchesini forged magnesium wheels (Brembo now owns Marchesini).
I really enjoy reading Kevin Cameron's writing. He says more in two paragraphs than other magazine guys say in their whole career. After reading KC's "A Very Ambitious Machine" in the August issue, I fell in love with the new BMW S1000RR—though certainly not with that Acid Green Metallic color.
Very rarely does one get to observe the absolute best working their craft. I just returned from the U.S. MotoGP round at Laguna Seca, where I witnessed the ultimate expression of man/machine/team effort. But as MotoGP works to extract maximum performance within allowable parameters, American sportbike racing struggles just to find an identity, causing teams to chase elusive rules white fearing the inevitable pressure to become a two-wheel NASCAR program.
Those crafty designers at Machineart are at it again, this time penning a new body kit for the BMW R1200GS that offers "a lighter, smaller and more agile-looking appearance while retaining the popular adventure model's toughness and versatility." Gone are the GS's chunky, exaggerated signature elements, replaced by components turned out utilizing the latest rapid-prototyping techniques. For-sale production parts include the X-Head cylinder guards ($189), MudSling rear inner fender ($159), Slipscreen windscreen ($129) and Fenda 19 front fender ($149).
North Shore Tech Fleece
What to wear around town, in or out of the saddle? Alpinestars' City Collection is among dozens of new products that the Italian apparel-maker is launching for 2010. Textile jackets include the North Shore Tech Fleece ($160), Verona ($180), Kinetic Drystar ($300) and Quantum DNS ($330), plus, specifically designed for women, the Stella T-Lux (left; $250). Removable CE-approved BioArmor is fitted at the shoulders, elbows, back and chest. Unique to the collection: embroidered logos and micro-suede cutouts with stamped logos at the back of the collars.
Rossi Stoner Laguna Pass Sequence
Sometimes in life you find yourself in the right place at the right time. This was the case last year for ace photographer Andrew Wheeler. He was fortunate to be standing near Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca's famous Cork screw turn at the midpoint of the 2008 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix when Valentino Rossi dramatically passed Casey Stoner—in the dirt, no less! Wheeler captured the season-altering pass from start to finish, and the 12-photo sequence is now available for purchase, printed on Fuji crystal archive paper with 35mm film edging and measuring 96 x 7 inches. Price is $175, plus ship ping and handling. Individual prints are also available.
Sidi Tuono Rainsuit
Stay dry while riding in even the heaviest downpours while wearing the two-piece Tuono rainsuit ($70). Heavy-duty PVC construction and taped waterproof seams keep moisture out, while the perforated polyester liner enhances comfort. Additional features: an adjustable collar, expandable waist and ankle closures, internal document pocket, two waterproof outer pock ets and a carrying bag. Rain mittens are included.
GSX-R1000 License Plate Support
Give the tailsection of your 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 the sleek look that it deserves with a Puig License Plate Support ($100). This aluminum bracket is laser-cut for a clean finish, painted black and adjustable for angle. LED license-plate lights are sold separately.
Easi-Dri Car Wash
Think of the time you could save if you didn't have to dry your motorcycle after washing it. Safe on all chromed, painted and polished surfaces, Eagle One Easi-Dri Car Wash ($5.99) boasts a proprietary polymer that "sheets" water off gas tanks, fenders and other components, leaving those surfaces shiny and spot-free.
H-D Mini-Hardtail Knife
Benchmade makes more than a dozen folding knives for Harley-Davidson, including the Mini Hardtail (#13150-1; $90). Measuring 3¼ inches in length, the locking, tool-steel, clip-point blade opens manually and has ambidextrous thumb studs near the pivot. Molded handle inserts provide a natural grip. Claimed weight is 2.5 ounces.
Harley's CVO line is slightly toned down but still tuned up
IN SOME WAYS, HARLEY-DAVIDSON'S CUSTOM Vehicle Operations line has always been the perfect solution for dyed-in-the-wool Bar-and-Shield types who were long on cash but short on time. No reason to spend endless weekends bolting doodads onto your bike, as the CVO models have always arrived fully tarted up and ready for show.
The cover of this Ten Best issue, naming the editors' top picks For the year, lent a hint as to the winners with a photo collage, including plenty of red in the tightly cropped teaser shots. Although Honda claimed half of the honors, not all that was red was a Honda, as Kawasaki’s fire-engine-hued Ninja 900 and GPz 550 sportbikes grabbed hardware, as well.
LET'S TALK ABOUT FAST—CRAZY fast, faster than you can go anywhere but inside a metal cigar at Bonneville. Let's talk about going 254 mph on a naked Suzuki Hayabusa. A man named Bill Warner achieved this in April at the Texas Mile. He needed not only massive power to overcome aero drag and rolling friction at that high speed, but on such a course he needed extra power to accelerate to those speeds in so short a distance.
UP: To the Celeritas (Latin for "speed") art exhibit, for raising U.S. awareness of Riders for Health. Held this past July at the SURU gallery in Hollywood, California, the event was conceived and curated by actor John Hensley and musician Joe Hahn.
In addition to a batteryless injection system with a 43mm throttle body, the engine receives updated cam timing, a stronger connecting rod and crankshaft, and a higher, 13,500-rpm rev limit. Updated Showa suspension and new graphics are also spec'd.
A completely redesigned, more compact Unicam engine features Programmed Fuel-Injection with a 50mm throttle body. New twin-spar aluminum frame, revised Showa suspension, a single-muffler exhaust and redesigned bodywork highlight other changes. MSRP is $7199.
Changes to the YZ engine aimed at improving low-end and midrange response include revised cam timing, a different carburetor, reshaped exhaust ports and an updated exhaust. A new frame with revised geometry and suspension settings, and redesigned bodywork are the other major updates.
Based on the RM-Z, the RMX shares the same Keihin fuel-injection system that contributes to the offroader's "green-sticker" eligibility in California. Electric start, a wide-ratio five-speed transmission, a headlight and other off-road necessities make the RMX trail-ready.
The carburetor's last bastion of strength—the motocross world—continues to crumble in the face of fuel-injection's forward march. Two years after Suzuki got the motocross EFI bandwagon rolling with its RM-Z450 in 2008 (Honda and Kawasaki hopped on board with 450s last year), the Lites class has come to life with recently announced 2010 fuel-injected models.
APRILIA WANTS A CHUNK of the off-road market, and its latest dirt-oriented addition, the MXV 4.5 motocrosser—based on the V-Twin-powered RXV enduro (see page 56)—proves that the Italian company plans to remain unique in a market dominated by Singles.
AFTER MORE THAN 1000 miles in a weekend of riding, things become quite plain. The relationship between you and your bike is either negotiated quickly and works, or things go very wrong. It didn’t take much seat time for me to figure out that the Street Triple R was as affable, friendly and fun as the standard Street Triple we enjoyed so much in 2008 (it won Best Standard honors that year).
SAY HELLO TO THE BEST-selling scooter in Italy. That's right, scootermad Italians bought more of Honda’s SH150i last year than any other model. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the 150i is manufactured in that boot-shaped country, apparently satisfying the style-conscious Italian consumers with its sleek lines and good performance.
PROPS TO HONDA FOR BUILDing a nice chopper that works. Major credit for also giving us an auto-trans-equipped motorcycle/scooter-like transport device that has to be one of the easiest-to-ride full-size two-wheelers ever. But, honestly, Honda, why are you holding out on us?
BEST ROAD RIDING IN THE WORLD? THE ALPS is certainly in the running. And that's based just on the actual asphalt and multitude of curves available in such high concentration in that epic mountain range. Add in European ambiance, culture, spectacular scenery and great food, and there may be no more spiritually hospitable place in the world to be on two wheels.
American Honda's VP on the CB1000R—and on the CB1000R!
WHEN WE ARRANGED OUR TRIP TO EUROPE to try Honda's sporty naked bike, we weren't sure if Big Red's American arm was even thinking about bringing the CB1000R stateside. But the thought had crossed their minds! Turns out, there was even a black non-ABS model being run around SoCal for "evaluation purposes."
BMW PURISTS SHOULD do us all a big freakin’ favor and quickly flip the page, avert thine disapproving eyes from this pair of blasphemous Boxers. Or maybe not. Ever since designer Max Friz—who was no air-head—mounted an opposed twin-cylinder engine in a motorcycle frame in 1923, many have considered these powerplants to be the highest form of industrial art.
Art and engineering in a fast and beautiful Ducati
INGENUITY AND CREATIVity in custom motorcycle building are not hard commodities to find. But there is nothing else in the world like this one-off bevel-drive Ducati. For a gearhead, especially a bevel gearhead, the beauty of this motorcycle starts at the tri-colore paint job and extends to a near-molecular level.
BOBBERS HAVE ALWAYS been anti-establishment. But there might be no bigger outlaw—especially in these "green" days—than one built around Honda's old Godzilla Open-class motocross two-stroke, the mighty CR500. At first glance, owner Casey Moir's creation may look like some sedate, upright, clackity, twin-cylinder pushrod bobber with its skinny tires and classic profile, but it is (almost) every bit anunruly CR500 MXer, from its Dave Miller Concepts-built engine right down to the better part of the dirtbike’s frame.
WHEN SHAKESPEARE wrote, “All that glitters is not gold,” he obviously wasn’t referring to motorcycles. His quote dates back to 1596, but it still offers insight into the spectacular custom pictured here. Based on its color and absence of graphics, this stunning piece of craftsmanship was named “Solid Gold” by its builder, Wide Open Cycles in Daytona Beach, Florida (www.wideopencycles.com), yet there isn’t a trace of that precious metal on the entire machine.
THERE IS PERHAPS NO bike that flaunts its street credibility like the muscular 2009 Star VMax. Long, low and mean, the Max doesn't hide the fact that it's hell bent on straight-line performance. Packing 174 horsepower and 113 foot-pounds of torque, the bike speaks for itself.
A little father/son bonding at the all-new Yamaha Champions Riding School
WHEN EXECUTIVE EDITOR HOYER asked did I want to attend the new Yamaha Champions Riding School led by the intrepid Nick Ienatsch (a fellow CW contributor), well of course I did. At the same time, I realized that I've already been schooled by the world's greatest riders and none of them have made me any faster, so why burn up tires and fuel?
Some assembly required. Adult supervision recommended. ZX-10R and battery not included.
FUNNY THE THINGS THAT FLASH THROUGH your brain. Am I a bad parent, I wondered as Joey Lombardo's built Kawasaki ZX-10R whooshed once again to 190-some mph down Miller Motorsports Park's long front straight through a gaggle of Apex Track Day riders the Monday after the World Superbike race.
WHEN MY DAD ASKED IF I wanted to go to Yamaha Champions Riding School, I said, “S**t, yeah!," so he slapped me and made me mow the lawn... In retaliation, I desperately wanted to roll our rental Ford Focus in Miller’s huge parking lot. Instead, we entered a classroom full of men who had all hit their middle-aged balding crisis (including my father), all munching on a wonderful buffet of Nutri-Grain bars.
Aprilia RXV 4.5 vs. Beta RS 525 vs. BMW G450X vs. Husqvarna TE450 vs. KTM 450 EXC
5th PLACE: APRILIA RXV 4.5
4th PLACE: BMW G450X
3rd PLACE: BETA RS 525
2nd PLACE: KTM 450 EXC
1st PLACE: HUSQVARNA TE450
DUAL-SPORTING IS BACK! OKAY, SO IT never completely vanished, but for the better part of the past decade, factory-built, road-legal options have been limited to heavy, less-powerful models that were a far cry from their high-performance, four-stroke MX/off-road counterparts.
FEW INVESTMENTS IN MOTORCYCLING pay greater dividends than quality riding gear. This is true for both men and women, yet for years the fairer sex has been shortchanged, with fashion often taking precedent over form and function. BMW hopes to change all that with the ComfortShell suit, a two-piece design that boasts all-weather fabrics, high-tech features and a stylish, modern look.
WHEN KTM LAUNCHED THE 990 Super Duke in North America in 2007, we immediately fell for the Austrian off-road specialist’s first pure liter-class streetbike. Brand Orange has since wasted little time in establishing its pavement prowess; witness the impressive RC8 superbike.
RIGHT AT THE END OF MOTOGP QUALIFYING AT MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA Seca, polesitter Jorge Lorenzo and 2007 world champion Casey Stoner were thrown by corner-entry, off-throttle highsides. Stoner walked off—apparently okay—but Lorenzo went away on a board, returning to the press conference strapped for an apparent collarbone fracture and with toes taped, carried into the room on a chair.
Q I have a question I’m scared to ask because I’m in denial about the answer. I can already see Hector Cademartori’s cartoon mice wearing Can-Am T-shirts and burying an ostrich head or something like that while coughing and wheezing in the dust.
If you’ve spent much time working on bikes, cars or any other mechanical devices, you probably have been confronted with damaged internal threads in an expensive piece of equipment. The threads may have been boogered-up by you or someone else, or maybe they were old and corroded.
I just read a short article about how the European Union has stipulated that after 2010, tires can no longer contain aromatic extender oils. What are aromatic extender oils and what do they do for tires? Will North America adopt this ruling, too? And what will that requirement mean for motorcycle tires—shorter or longer tire life, changes in performance with temperatures or something else?
NHTSA Recall No. 09V211000 Manufacturer: Harley-Davidson Models: 2008-09 Softail Cross Bones; 2008-09 CVO Softail Springer Number of units involved: 11,005 Problem: The acorn stud at the front-brake reaction link may fall out during use.
Q John Kladstrup’s letter in June’s Service concerned the erratic behavior of his Harley’s voltmeter when riding through the Wall area in South Dakota. When I was a kid, there were stories about people getting lost in the Badlands near Wall.
Q In the March issue of CW, Peter Egan tells us about the problem of getting the nasty stench of varnished gasoline off his hands. We have been in the outdoor power-equipment business for over 25 years and have done a lot of carburetor rebuilds. The answer is Snap-on extra-strength hand cleaner with pumice, stock #WOD623CSA. This is the ultimate in hand cleaners.
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