HOVERING OVER THE BOTTOM HALF OF Yamaha RD350 engine cases, with razorblade in hand, I hear a seasoned, steady voice fill the space between me and its source, intoning itself around the lathe and mill, under the welder and between the teeth of the gearbox that was laid bare before me, oil shimmering on its parts.
ONE THING IS CERTAIN ABOUT THE 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200: The old, ugly-duckling air-cooled version has been sent to its final resting place, and this new model carries only the same name. Whether or not you like the styling is up to you! Development focused on expanded versatility and greater performance.
BMW previews its next touring engine in the Concept 6
The inline-Six is the engine type that best represents the great tradition of BMW in the automotive world. Indeed, the company has a special touch in developing highly sophisticated inline-Sixes capable of delivering supreme performance with exceptional reliability.
Moto Guzzi is not going through its best times under the wing of the Piaggio group. Two Wheel Vehicles Operation CEO Daniele Bandiera has resigned his position. To prove that Moto Guzzi is still alive and kicking, Piaggio requested chief designer Miguel Galluzzi to formulate a series of new concepts.
Claudio Castiglioni is a charmer, gifted with the ability to hypnotize an audience and lead it wherever he wishes. At the unveiling of the new MV Agusta F4, Castiglioni, the president of the company recently put up for sale by owner Harley-Davidson, played martyr at the expense of the “nasty” Americans from Milwaukee and proclaimed his total dedication to the cause of MV.
Oh, to be a teenager! At the Milan Show, the Austrian company unveiled a pair of beautifully turned-out and very high-spec mini-supermoto concept bikes powered by 15-horsepower, 125cc four-stroke Singles. The machines are dubbed, simply, “KTM125.” Concept bikes, yes, but these 125s—one in racing trim, the other in street-legal form—appear ready for production any time KTM’s top management gives the green light.
BMW's iconic Boxer Twin is in for a meaningful performance upgrade. Most of the BMW faithful consider the present sihc 1200 more than adequate, but BMW loves to engineer and had developed a rather sophisticated head design that finally allowed the use of dohc while retaining the elegant rear-facing inlet, forward-facing exhaust.
DESIGN NEVER SITS STILL, ESPECIALLY in racing. Every year at Valencia—the final event of the MotoGP season—Yamaha presents a review of current technical developments. It’s normal to seek more power and a better powerband, and to apply that power more usably through electronic controls.
Ten years ago, we invited Ride for Kids (RFK) to join us at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Shows to help spread the word about RFK’s amazing contributions to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (www.pbtus.org) and its efforts to discover the cause of and cure for childhood brain tumors through the support of medical research.
AMERICAN BEN SPIES HAS WON THE World Superbike championship in his first season, and Valentino Rossi has taken the MotoGP championship, his seventh top-class Grand Prix title. Spies has now been signed to ride with Colin Edwards on the Tech3 Yamaha team (first-timers in MotoGP are required to start on a satellite team), and Rossi will continue at least one more season on the factory Fiat Yamaha team with Jorge Lorenzo.
"World Exclusive!" shouted the cover of this issue a quarter-century ago. All the acclaim was regarding the first full test of Kawasaki’s 900 Eliminator. The opening paragraph of the story read, “Drag racing. It’s wild. It’s weird. And it’s as uniquely American as any sport you’re likely to find.” Swirling smoke, moody lighting and the piercing stare of a red-leather-clad tester aboard the wheelying machine “launched” the story.
Ducati delivers the same hooligan fun in a smaller package
THE NAME HYPERMOTARD pretty much says it all. What else do you need to understand that the moniker describes fun? The only problem with the original 1100cc version is that it alienated riders looking for kick-ass styling, snappy handling and robust engine performance in a lighter, less-expensive package.
More potent performance stuffed into a better-handling chassis
THOSE WAITING FOR MORE Austrian superbike sizzle can rejoice. KTM's spiced-up RC8 R V-Twin is coming to America and will cost only $500 more than the base model did in 2009. At $19,998, the R undercuts Ducati’s 1198 S by $1800, thanks to a recent restructuring of KTM’s U.S.
IN MANY RESPECTS, THE RSV4 R is the "real deal." It's the Aprilia superbike that will be more accessible to the masses at $15,999, while the $5000-more-expensive Factory version remains a “limited-edition” for those with deeper pockets.
I enjoyed immensely the “Three Tenors” story on six-cylinder bikes of the ’70s in the December issue. Although I have never owned a bike of more than two cylinders in 40 years of riding (self-imposed religious-like restriction), I nearly traded my ’75 Ducati 860 GTS for a new ’76 Benelli 750 Sei in 1976 during a fit of religious doubt.
WHERE CAN I WORK ON MY MOTORcycle? My first bikes, like it is with so many people, were worked on in college rooms, in clear violation of reasonable rules. There we were, my roommate and I, with most of a BMW R27 stood up on its hind wheel in the elevator, and with Mr. Buildings and Grounds sprinting toward us.
WELL, THIS HAS BEEN QUITE A WEEK in motorcycling. I'm starting to feel like someone standing on a golf course in a lightning storm. First, I learned that our last remaining Ducati shop in Wisconsin is closing at the end of this month, a place called Corse Superbikes in Saukville, near Milwaukee.
Cool is inspired and inspiring. It’s an idea and an ideal. Cool can be as fleeting as a breeze, as hard to get a grip on as a wet bar of soap, yet as real and as powerful as a whack in the forehead with a titaniumnitrided fork tube. Cool can come from what a bike is or what it does.
ONE LOOK AND YOU KNOW ALL THIS BIKE WANTS TO DO IS piss off like a scalded cat. That alone makes it cool. But the coolest thing about this Gregg's Customs Rl Tracker is that it does piss off like a scalded cat. After a few comers, a few rips on the throttle, I forgot about the trepidation I always feel when throwing a leg over a one-off custom like this.
Once more with gusto for those of us who missed the show the first time around
IN SHARP CONTRAST TO MANY AMERican race fans, I wasn't raised on dirt-track as a matter of course. When I first met Kenny Roberts in 1988, at Laguna Seca, he was a threetime 500cc Grand Prix world champion. A roadracer. I had pictures of Roberts’ GP riders, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey and John Kocinski, taped to my college dorm-room wall.
FIRST SAW THE BRITTEN ON THE COVER OF CYCLE WORLD IN 1991. I WAS INITIALLY attracted to its wasp-like proportions and radical "bundle-of-snakes" exhaust system. Only later did I realize the builder was just as incredible as the bike. John Britten was a Renaissance Man—mechanical engineer, self-taught architect, handcrafted-glass lighting designer, real-estate developer.
THINK I'LL HAVE TO SET ASIDE MY BIAS FOR BEVEL-DRIVE Ducatis and Sixties Triumph Twins for a moment and opine—in a fit of contrariness—that the Harley-Davidson XLCR Café Racer of 1977-78 may be the World’s Coolest Bike. Yes, it has wooden brakes and vibrates and doesn’t go as fast as other Seventies’ café-racers, but it’s all black, looks stunning and they made only 3000 of them.
In 1969, Honda shocked the world with quality, refinement and performance in the first mass-produced multi-cylinder superbike
I STILL REMEMBER THE INCREDIBLY INTENSE emotions that the original Honda 750 Four generated, down in my guts, when she was unveiled at the Milan Show in 1969. She was like a vision, a dream come true, the bike I never thought a motorcycle company would dare put into production and make accessible to the general public.
An indeterminate amount of inspiration and months of perspiration combine to create coveted motorcycles
IN A BRILLIANT ATTEMPT TO BREAK THE ICE WITH SHINYA KIMURA, who'd just driven in from his new base in Azusa, California, I asked, "Say, do you know why it's called Azusa?" “Nooo?!” said the 47-year-old native of Japan, shaking his bushy head gamely, eyebrows raised, “Why?” “Because it’s got everything from A to Z in the USA!” “Oh, ho ho..
YOU WANNA TALK NEW? OKAY, how’s this? Except for the wheels, tires and an assortment of nuts and bolts, everything on the 2010 Honda CRF250R is all-new. Everything. The engine is a complete redesign, as are the frame and suspension, and even the bodywork is new.
Getting carburetors to accurately deliver fuel in motocross has historically been quite difficult because of the challenging conditions. Bumps, jumps and zero gravity get float-bowl fuel sloshing around in such a way as to make it nearly impossible to guarantee predictable engine response 100 percent of the time.
Victory seeks a new tradition with its Cross Country and Cross Roads baggers
S0 THERE I WAS, LOW-RIDING MY WAY BACK TO the Austin, Texas, airport on a lovely green two-lane aboard a shiny black 2010 Victory Vision 8-Ball whilst contemplating the sorry state of my affairs, when I made eye contact with some farmer up to his ankles in mud (or worse), throwing something in a state of advanced decay on the back of a rustbucket ’70s pickup, next to a farmhouse that might’ve been held together by paint if it had had any paint left.
What are we, Cycle World or Trike World? Well, trikes are big and getting bigger as Baby Boomers keep booming into, uhhh, the fullness of their years. Lehman says its trikes’ “No Lean” suspension is designed to resist body roll and that its machines handle more like a small sports car than a trike—also that an experienced rider on a Lehman can outcorner most touring and cruiser motorcycles.
The reigning king of sport-tourers gets even better yet
IT ALREADY WAS A FABULOUS MOTORCYCLE. Bullet-train fast and luxury-car smooth, the 2008-09 Concours 14 offered openroad serenity rivaling that of big-rig tourers; yet on the backroads, that 647-pound sport-tourer somehow managed to handle almost as well as many pure sportbikes weighing a couple of hundred pounds less.
WE'VE NOW WATCHED THE odometer turn past 10,000 miles on our long-term 2008 Kawasaki Versys, closing the book on a story that began, coincidently, at the CW editorial offices in Newport Beach in the spring of 2007. That’s when Kawasaki dropped off an odd-looking European-only parallelTwin with an even odder name.
Maybe it is best to leave the stoppies and other stunts to professionals, such as BMWsponsored Chris “Teach” McNeil. At least you can dress the part in the latest streetoriented riding gear from Shift. Seen here: CE-armored leather Vertex jacket ($500; M-XXL); Kevlar-reinforced Torque Jean ($100; waist sizes 30-40); laceup leather Fuel Street Shoe ($100; 7-14); and short-gauntlet molded-knuckle Volt ¾ Glove ($80; S-XXL). Not just for guys, Shift has ladies covered, too.
Pounding out the miles is hard on boots—and feet. HarleyDavidson’s Extreme Riders Collection uses full-grain-leather uppers, abrasion-resistant overlays and heavily lugged rubber soles to reduce wear and tear, while breathable footbeds and contoured ankle guards enhance comfort and protection. Choose from the Jax ($150), Riddick ($150) or Xavier ($140), all offered in men’s half sizes 7-12 and 13.
“If, as the saying goes, Britannia ruled the waves, it’s just as true that it ruled the motorcycle lanes of the world.” So begins Shooting Star: The Rise and Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry ($30), the latest book from Abe Aamidor. The awardwinning author, journalist and university lecturer takes a comprehensive look at iconic British motorcycle manufacturers Norton, BSA and Triumph and the business practices that eventually ran all three companies into the ground.
Boxers or briefs? Neither! Zone Performance Long-Ride Shorts ($45; men's waist sizes 30-44, women's hip sizes 34-46) are manufactured of moisture-wicking, fatiguereducing, hypo-allergenic synthetic materials and feature a multi-density CoolMax pad positioned just where you need it when sitting on a motorcycle. Wear `em in the dirt, on the street or at the racetrack.
SCX Compact MotoGP
Bring the excitement of world championship motorcycle roadracing into your home with officially licensed SCX Compact MotoGP ($100). The premier class is faithfully represented by geared, lean-capable 1/24-scale replicas of seven-time series champion Valentino Rossi on his Fiat Yamaha YZR-M1 and Spanish rival Dani Pedrosa aboard his Repsol-backed Honda RC212V. More than 16 feet of racetrack and wired controllers are included.
Take your music with you on the road. RoadTunez's weather-resistant, self-contained speaker systems attach to the handlebars or windshields of most cruiser-style motorcycles. Choose from two models: Standard (200-watt 4-inch speakers) or Big Rig (240-watt 5¼-inch speakers), each with a 2-channel, 300-watt amplifier, in either black ($259/$279) or hand-dyed colored leather ($299/$319). Supplied 3.5mm cable is compatible with most MP3 players, satellite radios and global positioning systems. Custom colors are available upon request.
Lens Cleaning Kit
Quick show of hands: Who among us at one time or another hasn't aftempted to clean the faceshield of his helmet with a gas-station car-windshield scrubber pulled from a bucket of dirty water-and then wiped off the residue with an abrasive paper towel?! Here's an alternative to such barbarity: Clear Shot Lens Cleaning Kit ($20). This compact pack includes 1 ounce of biodegradable, nontoxic cleaning fluid-said to be safe for use on coated, tinted, prescription and polarized lenses-and two cleaning cloths. The blue cloth is thicker for removing road grit and grime; the white cloth is softer for daily use. The injection-molded plastic case features two cylinders, one for the refillable spray bottle, and the other, which is segregated into two halves, for the cloths. A bit too big to fit in most jacket pockets or under the seat of a modern motorcycle, Clear Shot is ideally sized for tankbags, saddlebags or top trunks. Heading crosscountry? Stock up with a Fluid Refill Kit ($17; 8 ounces), an Extra Cloth Kit ($13) or a Grab-N-Go Kit ($11).
WHEN A TIRE MANUFACTURER INTROduces new sport-oriented rubber, its primary focus is typically a technological advancement. With the Angel ST, however, Pirelli is breaking the mold, so to speak. This new sport-touring tire instead establishes a new category: Extended Mileage Sport.
Q I bought a used 2006 Suzuki SV650 equipped with a 2-inch lowering kit; the front of the bike was not lowered. If my basic geometry knowledge still works, lowering the rear should increase rake and trail, and also put more weight on the rear wheel.
If you do a lot of work on motorcycles or other mechanized devices, you occasionally need to clamp a shaft, an axle or some other round and/or threaded steel component in a vise, but you don’t want to damage the threads or mar the surface.
National-caliber dirt-track returns to the West Coast...as good (or better) than ever
WHEN THE ROLLING THUNDER SHOW, AS WE CALLED THE AMA's national dirt-track series back in the day, returned to the West Coast after 10 years out of town, it was as if they'd never been away. First off, national dirt-track isn’t like NASCAR or MotoGR So, when the series arrived at the L.A. County Fairplex in Pomona, there were no acres of gaudy trucks and trailers, no catered hospitality suites, no VIP lounges, and the closest the meet came to celebrities was Willie G., the man whose name is on the tanks.
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