PANIC CAN PRETTY MUCH RUIN ANYthing. After all these miles and all these years of riding, much of the time as fast as I can, the absolute number one thing I’ve learned to avoid is panic. Well, that and crashing. But panic and crashing often go hand in hand.
THE WORLD NEEDS ANOTHER Open-class sportbike, right? Give it a catchy name—let’s say “Asphaltfighters Stormbringer.” Power it with a souped-up Kawasaki ZX-10R engine, then bill it as “world’s fastest streetbike” with a top speed of 200 mph, able to accelerate from 0-186 mph in 13.9 seconds.
VALENTINO ROSSI SHOCKED GRAND Prix racing when he left Honda for Yamaha in 2002. Thirteen years earlier, in 1989, Eddie Lawson did just the opposite, shunning Yamaha, with whom he’d won three 500cc world titles, for Honda. As with Rossi, the move worked: Lawson, working with tireless engineer Erv Kanemoto, put together an amazing season and captured his fourth premier-class title.
When GoDaddy.com CEO and founder Bob Parsons married Renee LaBelle last October, he didn’t want to leave his Ducati Streetfighter at home. The solution was this 400pound Groom’s cake designed by “Ace of Cakes” Chef/TV star Duff Goldman.
It was Japan vs. Italy, inline-Four vs. V-Twin and New Wave vs. Old World, as the cover line described the Kawasaki Ninja 600R vs. Cagiva Alazzurra 650 comparison test. The Kawasaki won going away in terms of performance, but editors stated that for those looking for something more esoteric, "the Cagiva could be the answer to your prayers."
"Shocking Barack,” last October’s attempt by Brammo product-development director Brian Wismann and adagency creative director Dave Schiff to present an Enertia electric motorcycle to President Barack Obama, didn’t end as hoped.
UP: To organizers of the 2010 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series, for finding another outside-industry sponsor to support racing in America. New backer Jägermeister got its feet wet in 2009 supporting the Freestyle Motocross Jump Team that performed during intermissions.
Riders looking for a bit more snap and style from a café racer will surely like the 2010 Triumph Thruxton SE. This special-edition model features a red powder coated frame and Crystal White bodywork with a red racing stripe down the center of the bike.
AT THE PRESS-INTRO BRIEFing held in the new Can-Am design center in Valcourt, Quebec, company honchos outlined their strategy for persuading motorcyclists and wannabes to climb aboard the new “Roadster Touring” Spyder three-wheeler.
IT’S BEEN A DOZEN YEARS since Harley-Davidson instituted its Custom Vehicle Operations program, and there hasn’t been a dull moment since. Each and every year, Willie G. and Co. whip up a fresh batch of glitzy CVO specials that start life as existing models before being jam-packed with show-andgo equipment straight from Harley’s Genuine Motor Accessories catalog.
WHEN I WAS 13 YEARS old, a friend and I hot wired a 125 Vespa scooter that we found stored in a barn. We fashioned a license plate out of cardboard and markers, unaware that, without the proper coating of reflective paint, our efforts were fruitless.
It was truly sad to hear about HarleyDavidson discontinuing the Buell line (“Bye, Bye Buell,” January). Although I’m not a Buell owner, I do realize that those motorcycles represented the last American-made alternative to heavy, underpowered machinery with poor handling.
EVER SINCE MOTO2 WAS ANNOUNCED as the spec-engine replacement for the 250cc Grand Prix class, we’ve wondered whether this implies there will soon be a “Moto1” replacing the present 800cc prototype class. Last July at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, confused rumors bubbled up to the effect that specials, powered by l000cc production-based-but-modified engines, might if necessary be used to pad out shrinking grids.
NOT MANY PEOPLE WERE OUT RIDING last night. Why? Well, it was 35 degrees here in Wisconsin, with a light rain falling, and it was also midnight. In late November. But I had to ride. More importantly still, I had to open the garage doors and let all the twostroke smoke out before I suffocated.
"NOT ANOTHER NAKED.” THAT WAS THE FIRST RESPONSE from Kawasaki’s U.S. product-planning department when the Japanese home office asked how many Z1000s the American market could absorb. Lack of sales success with previous standards meant Kawasaki over here wasn’t sure it wanted anything to do with the new bike, especially in the current economic environment.
All due respect to the newly muscled-up Kawasaki Z1000, but Italy has been doing naked bikes right from just about the beginning. The MV Agusta Brutale is a perfect example. From the 2001 Serie Oro model, the raspy inline-Four has been torquing smiles out of riders from the first twist of the wrist.
PINNING THE THROTTLE WIDE-OPEN ON A LITER-CLASS SUPERsport machine while at or near full lean in a corner normally would spell certain disaster. Common sense rules out grabbing even half a handful of gas while at the apex of a tight bend.
BMW DEFINITELY BLITZKRIEGED WORLD SUPERBIKE RACing with its S1000RR. Whether you consider it a sneak attack or just clever tactics, homologation negotiation allowed BMW to race in 2009 as long as 1000 street-going machines were built before January, 2010.
Dainese party in the Dolomites with Ago and friends! Oh, and we rode a couple of Moto Morinis, too...
THERE’S NOTHING I DESPISE MORE ABOUT MODERN MOTOjournalism than the part where somebody comes up with a thinly veiled excuse to jet off to the Alps to ride around for a week, as if that’s just the type of thing Joe Moto needs to be informed about—as commonplace an activity as lubing your chain or...
I bought back a motorcycle that I once owned. After I told this to a fellow enthusiast, he spontaneously responded, “Oh, you did a Peter Egan.” Wow, Eganing is now a verb in motorcycle vernacular! I pretended I didn’t know who he was. I pretended I didn’t know that Peter has a habit of buying back bikes that he’s previously owned—or ones just like ’em.
ONCE UPON A TIME, Husqvarna was a bigtime player in the dirtbike market. It dominated most forms of off-road competition and even was a major force in world-class motocross. But most of that glory came before the company was sold to Cagiva in Italy, before Japanese dirtbikes took center stage, before fourstroke engines replaced two-strokes as the primary means of propulsion for off-road motorcycles.
OUR LONG-TERM F800GS IS FINALLY back on road—and trail. Plans to install an off-road-oriented Öhlins cartridge fork kit never came to fruition, so, after waiting several months for parts that failed to materialize, we begrudgingly reinstalled the stock damper assembly.
Motorcycle lifts are all the same, right? Not on your life. Kendon Stand-Up Lifts—Chopper ($700), Cruiser ($650), Sport ($630) or Moto ($995)—fold up when not in use for easy storage in a corner or against a wall, saving precious garage or shop space. Other features: 32-inch working height when fully raised, integrated front-wheel chocks, variable-height locks, powdercoated steel construction and removable sections to ease bike cleaning and maintenance. Plus, the Air-Over-Hydraulic Jack works with either the supplied manual pump or a compressor.
Kendon Industries, Inc.
National Cycle Wave Windscreens
Got a late-model Harley-Davidson FLHT or FLHX, or an earlyor late-model FLTR? National Cycle has borrowed characteristics from its patented, turbulence-reducing VStream line to create the relaxed-profile Wave. Available in three heights—5.25, 7.75 or 10.0 inches—the screens are manufactured of 4.5mm Quantum hard-coated polycarbonate for greater impact strength and scratch resistance than acrylic screens. Suggested retail prices start at $140.
Kendon Industries, Inc.
Motorcycle Sponsor Plates
$16 to $20
Running out of room for sponsor decals on your wellsupported motocross bike? Brand-lt offers a solution with its engine-mounted Motorcycle Sponsor Plates. Custom-made to fit most current four-stroke MX, off-road and quad models, the aluminum plates come in several sizes, depending on the available room on each machine, and in numerous colors as well as in anodized or brushed finish. Custom finishes are also available. Prices for standard sizes and colors range from $16 to $20.
Kendon Industries, Inc.
Keith Code’s A Twist of the Wrist II
Become a better rider by simply sitting on your couch, snacking and watching television? You bet, as long as you are viewing Keith Code’s newest DVD, “A Twist of the Wrist II” ($35). Produced in high definition with multiple camera angles and using sophisticated visual effects, the 109-minute film brings to life Code’s popular, like-named book. Cornering-related subjects covered: rider input, steering fundamentals, visual skills, braking, body position, throttle control and more.
Kendon Industries, Inc.
Comfort-Max Ortho-Deluxe Sheepskin Gel Pad
What's in a name? In the case of the Comfort-Max OrthoDeluxe Sheepskin Gel Pad ($70-130), everything. True to its moniker, this plush, heartshaped seat cover is intended to reduce saddle pressure points and allow air to circulate freely for “uncompromised” riding comfort. Comfort-Max Gel Pads are available for most cruisers, sport-tourers and touring bikes.
Kendon Industries, Inc.
Stow your important documents under lock and key with the Stash-It ($175-195). This clamshell-style licenseplate holder features molded rubber bladders to keep your paperwork clean and dry. Slots machined in the back of the billet aluminum frame line up with mounting-hole patterns on most states’ license plates; final drilling is required. Choose from three finishes: Chrome, Black (powdercoated) or Combo (chrome front, black back). Custom laser engraving is an extra-cost option.
Kendon Industries, Inc.
Kushitani GPR6 gloves
we’ve come to expect great things from Kushitani. So it comes as no surprise that the Japanese protective apparel maker’s latest offering, the full-gauntlet GPR6, fits like, well, a glove. Six—yes, six—layers of protection are located atop the hand, all culminating in a "floating," gelbacked, fingerless treatment that moves freely back and forth and stretches from side to side as you work the bars, brake, clutch, throttle and switchgear of your motorcycle. Molded plastic knuckle guards, common now on even entry-level sport gloves, are conspicuously absent—not necessary, alleges Kushitani. Stitching is superb. Heavy-duty digit defense aside, the pre-stretched, triple-closure, kangaroo-palm GPR6 ($310; sizes M-XL) is remarkably comfortable straight from the box, with no break-in needed.
A TRAILER IS THE TRADITIONAL MOTORcycle-transport solution for anyone who doesn’t own a pickup or a van. But parking is a hassle, especially in town, and backing up can be a challenge. Plus, a trailer must be registered and stored between hauls—costly and inconvenient.
MESSENGER-BAG-MAKER CHROME IS big in the bicycleand motorcyclecourier business, where documents large and small must go from here to there in a hurry. Top-of-the-line for this type of heavy labor is the Warsaw. Part of the Pro Series, the Warsaw is defined—like the rest of Chrome’s products—by its utilitarian appearance and function-first design; “We’re antinonsense” is part of the company manifesto.
I have a problem with my 1972 Honda CB500. The number 4 cylinder’s carb shoots a short burst of fuel out of the overflow drain tube about every 20 seconds, whether the motor is running or not (and the petcock is in the on position). It’s not just a gravity-driven flow; the fuel shoots out like it’s under pressure.
Ever suffer from the dreaded “spray-can finger,” an insidiously painful—though often quite colorful—condition brought on by the continuous pressing of a paint-can nozzle with your index finger? If so, relief is only $4 away thanks to CAN-GUN1 (www.cangun1.com).
Best Dual-Purpose Bike 2000 Ten Best Awards Years sold: 2000-present MSRP new: $5349 (2000) Blue Book retail value: $2540 (2000) to $4825 (2009) Basic specs: A 398cc, liquid-cooled, electric-start, dohc, single-cylinder four-stroke dual-purpose machine with a six-speed gearbox.
NHTSA Recall No. 09V464000 Manufacturer: Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA Model: 2009-10 EX250 Ninja 250R Number of units involved: 259 Problem: The upper engine case could have porosity in the aluminum casting in the vicinity of a pressurized oil passage just above the transmission output shaft.
Tom Houseworth won three AMA Superbike titles with rider Ben Spies. This past season, the pair dominated World Superbike MotoGP is next.
THREE-TIME AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPION BEN SPIES AND VETERAN CREW CHIEF TOM HOUSEworth went to Europe last spring with an all-new bike: Yamaha's "crossplane" YZF-R1 Though all of World Superbike's circuits were new to Spies, they won the title after a hard slog through many ups and downs.
Five laps on Ben Spies’ Yamaha YZF-R1 World Superbike title-winner.
I enjoyed watching three-time AMA Superbike Champion Ben Spies clinch the 2009 World Superbike title in his rookie season, but the real reason that I traveled halfway around the world to the Autodromo do Algarve in Portimão, Portugal, was to ride what is arguably the world’s best Superbike: Spies’ factory Yamaha YZF-R1.
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