I AM ALL ABOUT USING MY COMPANY'S Internet connection during working hours to read stuff about motorcycles. You? But as much as I enjoy the flashbulb, quick-hit nature of the digital world, when I am searching for the kind of fundamental learning and insights that truly help me understand and foster my enthusiasm for motorcycles and other things internal combustion, nothing beats the classic texts.
Are future motorcycles going to have government-mandated electronic safety features?
STABILITY CONTROL MEANS ONE thing for cars and quite another for bikes. For cars, it means placing a yaw-sensing device near the vehicle's center of gravity, which detects over-rapid rotation around the vertical axis, indicating the vehicle is spinning out as a result of either over-braking or wheelspin.
While the company sits in limbo, an awesome new F4 emerges
F4 1000 R
THE MV AGUSTA F4 PROJECT, WHICH started life in 1999 as a 750, has now reached full maturity. Massimo Tamburini has honed the F4 1000 R to its full potential in this model, the distillate of all previous versions, including both regular production and limited editions.
This issue's fold-out cover opened to reveal a spectacular panoramic mountain backdrop as adventurous Japanese motorcyclist Shinja Kazama traversed a ragged rock ridge aboard a Honda trials bike. The feature titled "Mount Everest Dreaming" recounted Kazama's bold attempt to ride to the highest place on Earth.
DURING THE FIVE YEARS IN which Dainese has been developing its D-Air airbag system, the racing-specific design has evolved from the bulky, pillow-atop-shoulders original concept to a sleek, all-internal design that is entirely hidden from view, even after it has been activated.
ANOTHER DOWN-AND-DIRTY MODEL HAS BEEN added to Harley-Davidson's Dark Custom line. The new Forty-Eight is a 1200cc hot-rod Sportster, harking back to a classic era that began even before the original Sportster was introduced in 1957. The Forty-Eight's name pays tribute to the "peanut" fuel tank that Harley first fitted to a motorcycle in 1948.
ANYONE WHO HAS EVER ADMIRED CLASSIC BIKES CAN REJOICE IN THE return of two amazing events in 2010, The Quail Motorcycle Gathering at Quail Lodge Monterey, California, returns on Saturday, May 8, and the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance on Sunday August 15.
UP: To Doug Henry, for adding another X Games Bronze medal to the Gold and Bronze he earned in Supermoto at the Summer X Games in 2005 and '06. Henry was the only paraplegic athlete (he was paralyzed in a 2007 Supermoto crash) competing in the Adaptive SnoCross event held this past January at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.
WHILE TRADITIONAL touring bikes offer the allure of long-range comfort and cargo capacity, the inherent size, weight and cost of such machines is impractical for many riders. Honda has addressed this triad of uncompromised traits with its NT700V, a highly versatile middleweight offering the core amenities of much larger touring rigs in a scaled-down package.
OFF-ROAD RIDING, especially in California, where the Cycle World editorial offices are located, is heavily regulated. Concerns stem from pollution (emissions and noise) to wildfire hazards from exhaust systems that are not equipped with spark arrestors.
The next time John Burns is doing a photo essay on motorcycling in the Alps ("The Italian Campaign," March) and encounters "very shapely, blue-eyed, pig-tailed" women who can also ride the wheels off a Hypermotard, please do us the great honor of including photos of these lovely creatures, and I don't mean fuzzy group shots from 80 yards away.
THIS ECONOMY IS A HARD CRUNCH for the motorcycle industry. Even as many experts tell us that recovery is beginning, a great deal of money is still on the sidelines, kept out of play by a feeling that markets are unreliable, that they don't "feel right."
GRAY DAY, MIDWINTER, THE PHONE rings and it's my friend Jeff Underwood. "Rob Himmelman and I are driving to East Troy tomorrow to the Buell factory for the liquidation sale. You wanna go?" I'd seen the ads on the Internet—"Everything Must Go!"—with color photos of huge, bright red and blue tool boxes, work benches, office equipment, air tools, etc.
An in-depth look at the forces that brought down America's sportbike maker
A MOMENT IN 1993, IN A LAWYER’S OFFICE IN Wisconsin: Erik Buell sits at his attorney’s desk, with a contract from Harley-Davidson in front of him that will terminate the then-current Buell Motor Corporation while creating a new entity, the Buell Motorcycle Company.
Riding the Buell that might have been, but no longer is
A CONFLICTED SENSE OF JOY AND SORROW OVERCAME ME AS I FOUND myself behind the bubble of the Barracuda 2, code name of the concept development example of a second-generation Buell 1125R that was being readied for its planned 2011 new-model release.
DON'T LET DISPLACEMENT FOOL YOU: NOT only have 250cc four-stroke motocrossers edged 125cc two-strokes out of the picture, they've pretty much created a class of their own. Sure, the Lites class still is full of the youthful spirit associated with 125cc bikes of the past, but the level of performance is higher than ever, thanks to faster engines, lighter chassis and top-shelf suspensions.
ENGINEERING IS THE ART OF ELEGANT COMPROMISE. EVERY COMPANY'S design team faces choices dictated by physics, technology and budget, and each of these five four-stroke 250cc motocross engines reflects this decision-making. Three—the Honda, Suzuki, and Kawasaki—have balanced power curves, with something off the bottom, solid midrange torque and strong top-end.
What is it and what does it mean? And what do horses have to do with it anyway?
HORSEPOWER. WHAT A MAGICAL WORD THOSE 10 letters constitute. Riders constantly talk about it, hot-rodders relentlessly pursue more of it, manufacturers and performance-equipment suppliers brag about it, magazines write endlessly about it.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but just barely
SOMEBODY AT DUCATI REALLY DROPPED THE BALL BIG-TIME: ARIZONA Highway 88, a dyspeptic duodenum of a two-lane that coils its way through the Superstition Mountains, had not been swept, prepped or cleared of civilians when we rode Ducati's pair of 2010 Hypermotard 1100s—EVO and EVO SP—one fine cool day in late January with a small posse of fellow motojournalists and an entire flotilla of seniors on their way to Tortilla Flats for the Early Bird Special.
WE DIDN'T PLAN IT THIS WAY. Honest. After completing the test of Kawasaki's new-for-'08 Concours 14 for our October, 2007, issue, we just kept riding it and riding it and riding it... Its onrush of smooth, seamless power was intoxicating, its handling proved nothing short of astounding for something so big, and it was effortlessly and comfortably able to gobble up mile after mile, day after day.
Light up your local sportbike night with a Super Lizard Light Kit ($330). Each kit comes with six multiple-LED lights, a controller and all the wiring necessary to mount each light exactly where you want it. Simple peel-and-stick attachment with plug-and-play wiring makes installation quick and easy. Also seen here: Transformer Grips ($90) and Mini Dagger Pegs ($70). American and metric cruiser applications are available, as well.
Lucas Oil Indy Mile AMA Pro Flat Track National DVD Set
Relive all the race action from last year's Lucas Oil Indy Mile AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National at the Indiana State Fairgrounds—including complete, uncut footage of two-time AMA Grand National and three-time 500cc World Champion Kenny Roberts riding a replica of the Yamaha TZ750 on which he famously won the 1975 Indy Mile. The two-DVD set is priced at $20.
Barkbusters Storm Handguards
Is the forecast for your morning commute cool with a chance of rain? Naked bikes—BMW R1200R, Suzuki Bandit 1250, Triumph Scrambler, Yamaha FZ1 and many others—offer little in the way of weather protection. Storm handguards from Barkbusters will at least keep your digits out of Mother Nature's reach. They come in black ($100) or chrome ($150) and fit both 7/8-and 1-inch-diameter bars using either inner single-point or bar-end mounting.
EPA Compliant Twin Slash Slip-On Mufflers
Sound, style and...federal compliance? You got it. Distinguished by its EPA stamping on the topside of each muffler, Vance & Hines EPA Compliant Twin Slash Slip-Ons ($680) feature full-coverage heat shields and sport the company's signature Twin Slash end treatment. The mufflers meet 50-state guidelines when used on stock 96-cubic-inch 2009 and later Harley-Davidson Touring models equipped with stock 2-into-1-into-2 headers.
Extended Coverage Skid Plate
Four-stroke motocross bikes aren't cheap. Protect the heart of your expensive investment—the engine—with a Works Connection Extended Coverage Skid Plate ($130). Manufactured from 6061 T-6 aluminum, the narrow-profile design features a unique Rubber Isolator Mounting System for 2009 and later models that allows the frame to flex as intended by the manufacturer. Pre-cut access to the drain plug eases engine oil changes.
010 Apex Sport Radials
Sportbike enthusiasts now have another option when it comes to replacement tires. DOT-approved, the 010 Apex front is aramid-belted, while the rear uses zero-degree jointless steel-belt construction. Both models come in an "intermediate" compound and carry a "W" speed rating (168 mph). Suggested retail price for a 120/70-17 front is $110; a 180/55-17 rear goes for $180. Shinko tires are designed in Japan and manufactured in South Korea.
Though smaller and less-expensive than its big brothers, the zūmo 660 and satellite-radio-capable 665, the new zūmo 220 still packs a serious punch. For instance, standard features for this color-touch-screen GPS include: lane assist, Where am I?, photo navigation and Bluetooth headset compatibility. Pre-loaded with City Navigator NT street maps, the 4.2 x 3.3 x 0.9-inch 220 ($600) is waterproof and comes with a universal motorcycle mount, plus a car mount and power cable. FM traffic alerts are optional. A microSD card expansion slot makes sharing routes and adding storage easy.
Power Dry Blower
Shock Doctor makes great gearbags with spacious central compartments and specialized pockets for safely stowing your stuff while traveling. A clever option available on some bags is the plug-in Power Dry Blower ($100), which directs "ionized, ozone-enhanced" air through the bag to dry and deodorize gear. Neat thing is, if you also opt for the Power Dry Dual Port Attachment ($20), you have a handy glove and boot dryer. We put the blower and attachment to the test following a recent ride in a bone-soaking rainstorm. Both boots and gloves came though the drying process with flying colors, the independent heat and ozone controls and three-hour, auto-off timer providing hitch-free performance. Want to get back on the road sooner? The Power Dry High-Output Blower with Base retails for $150.
IN THE PROCESS OF EVALUATING ONE aftermarket product, we sometimes have to test a second piece of gear to complete the tuning recipe, even though that "other" item isn't the focus of our evaluation. This was the case with a Graves Motorsports exhaust system we installed on a 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 for the explicit purpose of reviewing Dynojet's Auto Tune Wideband O2 Controller (CW, April).
MOTO FINISHED, YOU EXIT THE TRACK and putt to your pickup—time for a well-earned break. But not before you hoist the rear wheel of your 200-plus-pound Thumper high enough to hip-check it onto a service stand. If only that last part could be as smooth and effortless as the on-track action...
ISN'T IT ALWAYS THE CASE? You BREAKin a pair of boots and just about the time they're completely comfortable, your socks make a surprise appearance. In Supermoto more than any other toedangling discipline, boot soles suffer. So Alpinestars introduced the purpose-built Tech 7 Supermoto.
Q I just purchased a Suzuki B-King that has zero miles on the odometer. I'm very keen on making this bike last for a long time, so I intend to follow the owner's manual's break-in instructions to the letter. The problem, however, is that the owner's manual is not very specific.
Been checking your bike's tire pressures with one of those little pencil-type gauges? No apologies needed; those gauges usually are good enough. They allow you to get the pressures in the ballpark, and most only set you back a couple of bucks.
Got a Kawasaki KLX110 or a 2003-05 Suzuki DR-Z110 (same bike, made by Kawasaki during the short-lived partnership between the two companies) and can't get the kickstarter to engage? If so, I hope you haven't tried to bump-start the bike, because riding it might have inflicted even more damage.
Best Open-Class Streetbike, 2005 Ten Best Awards; Best Standard, 2006 Years sold: 2005-present MSRP new: $9999 (2005 & 2006) Blue Book retail value: $6105 (2005), $6600 (2006) Basic specs: A naked, standard-style streetbike with a 1050cc three-cylinder engine producing a claimed 128 horsepower and 78 foot-pounds of torque.
NHTSA Recall No. 10V029000 Manufacturer: Piagglo USA, Inc. Models: 2010 Aprilia RSV4 Factory and RSV4 R manufactured between July 2 and October 30, 2009 Number of units involved: 335 Problem: In the manufacture of the connecting rods, a process was used to straighten each rod in order to meet the requisite specifications.
Off-road racing's great adventure moves to South America for a 14-stage, nearly 5600-mile sprint from Argentina to Chile—and back
DAKAR IS THE LAST OF THE wacky races. It's a hangover from the Seventies, when anything went, and it still captures the imagination of competitors and spectators alike, even in this modern world and despite the fact that the rally no longer starts in Paris or goes to Africa.
I'VE BEEN ASKED WHAT IT'S LIKE TO cover Dakar. Do I, for instance, travel from one stage to the next in a helicopter or one of the massive, six-wheel trucks? If only it were that glamorous! As part of the TV crew, I leave the bivouac at 4 or 5 a.m. each day to board a bus to the local airstrip, where I jump on a military plane, such as a Hercules C-130, for a flight of an hour or more to another airstrip only to then get bused again to the bivouac for that evening.
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