ONE DAY, YOU CHOSE. YOU GAVE UP walking or driving full-time and got on a motorcycle. If you were very young when you did it, you may have had help from your family, but here you are, still caught in the wonder of moving on two wheels. And I am betting you are not uninformed of the risks involved.
A closer look at motorcycling's next technological trend
Toyota's huge problems with "unintended acceleration" in cars with its throttle-by-wire system make us wonder about the new generation of throttle-by-wire bikes (Yamaha R6, R1, Aprilia RSV4, Honda VFR1200F, to name a few). In the early days of MotoGP, more than one manufacturer had uncommanded full throttles with its system.
The boys from Bologna are at it again, having just released information on the 2011 Monster 796 ($9995). The middle Monster will be available this June in white, black or Ducati red; all three colors are mated with a red trellis frame and red-striped wheels. Mechanical highlights include an 803cc engine with a slipper clutch, a single-sided swingarm and four-piston Brembo brakes. Released in conjunction with the 796 are 10 different Monster Art body kits, many of which mimic historic past Ducati models. Each kit ($600) includes a gas-tank cover, fender, bikini fairing and seat cover.
Released in Europe as a limited-production 2010 model, Yamaha’s latest Open-class adventure bike is unlikely to come to the U.S. anytime soon. The XT1200Z Super Ténéré is powered by a 1200cc parallel-Twin with a six-speed gearbox and shaft final drive. Features include ABS, YCC-T ride-by-wire throttle with three-stage traction control and three selectable power modes. Here, the XT1200Z is pictured with aluminum sidecases and skidplate that come standard on the “First Edition” model. Pricing in the U.K. is the equivalent of $20,900.
ATTACK PERFORMANCE YOSHIMURA SUZUKI AMA PRO AMERICAN SUPERBIKE
NATIONAL SUPERBIKE ROADRACING has shifted focus in a big way over the past two years. Technical R&D was an essential element in Superbike racing ever since its beginings in the late 1970s. Most parts of production machines required modification or outright replacement with better parts to function in racing.
NO ONE LIKES TO EAT HUMBLE PIE, BUT the staff of Cycle World is now gulping down several large slices of the stuff. In the Roundup section of our May issue, we ran an article titled “MV Agusta F4 1000 R” that actually was an edited version of an older story on a 2007 MV. Our European Editor, Bruno dePrato, intended to send us a story on the new 2010 F4 but accidently e-mailed the one on the older bike instead.
YAMAHA HAS RELEASED information on the brandnew FZ8, announced as a 2011 model for the European market. It is powered by a 779cc, dohc, inline-Four tuned for instant gratification via good bottom-end torque. The aggressive FZ8 chassis features a black powdercoated Deltabox frame, a 43mm inverted fork and optional ABS among other highlights.
The writing was on the wall—literally—on the July, 1985, cover, as Suzuki's Intruder separated itself from other "customs" from Japan by looking, well, truly custom. Chrome covered the bike from its spokes on up, while the engine was as much a part of the styling as it was of the riding experience.
UP: To MotoGP promoter Dorna, for jumping on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch bandwagon. The Spanish company’s new download allows fans to receive live event timing and scoring on those mobile devices. Additionally, track position for each rider, news and results can be accessed through the application.
TO CELEBRATE ITS 30TH anniversary, Edelweiss Bike Travel came up with something spectacular to reflect the many countries in which it has operated motorcycle tours during the last three decades: riding around the world. Edelweiss owner Werner Wachter will lead the way, with additional guidance from Kevin and Julia Sanders of Globe-Busters, who hold the Guinness Book record for the fastest circumnavigation of the Earth on a motorcycle.
KTM’S OFF-ROAD MODELS keep getting better and better. No surprise, since in terms of time, money and involvement, the Austrian company puts a huge effort into the enduro market. One of its latest offerings is the 450 XC-W Six Days. The name commemorates the International Six Days Enduro, which was held in Portugal in 2009 and is scheduled to take place in Morelia, Mexico, this coming November.
UNVEILED AT THE 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the Honda CB1100 strikes a chord among those seeking a throwback to a simpler time. We’ll save you the suspense: Sorry folks, Honda has no serious intention of exporting this faithful repro of the “four paw” to your postcode any time soon, unless you’re one of the lucky souls living in Australia or New Zealand.
The May issue is the best I have ever read. Period. At 53 years old, I have literally been with you guys from the beginning, and thought I had seen it all—until Steve Anderson’s superb “inside” article. Excellent work only to be supplemented with Peter Egan’s heartfelt “put your money where your mouth is” Ulysses editorial.
HOW STRANGELY TECHNOLOGY changes. It would be comforting to think that it follows the guidance of reason, but often enough it seems more like fashion. Why does technological change sometimes take so long? Replaceable three-layer plain bearings were developed for heavy service in the large piston aircraft engines of WWII, and at war’s end this was a mature technology, ready for adoption by the civilian world.
IT MAY BE TRUE THAT THE FLUTTERING of a butterfly wing in the Amazon changes the weather in Des Moines, but nothing has more consequential echoes than the changing of a single part on a motorcycle. Swap your handlebars—as I did for a more traditional Sixties’ bend on my Triumph Scrambler last week—and the ramifications proliferate.
Crossplane or 180? Inline or Vee? Two Cylinders or Four? It's time to make some crank calls, as we take our select group of liter bikes and search for the fastest, easiest-to-ride superbike for the street and track
Miller Motorsports Park, East Loop: (Almost) Purely Objective
APRILIA RSV4 R
DUCATI 1198S CORSE
WORD ON THE STREET: Subjectively Speaking
APRILIA RSV4 R
DUCATI 1198S CORSE
Control Tire: Pirelli Supercorsa SP
May We Have The Envelope Please...
WELL, THIS ONE’S GOT THE BEST WIND PROTECTION, you think to yourself as you get back to full throttle and steer with tail wagging to the edge of the exit and then some, up on the rumble strips bumbabumbawhumba, then rotate slip-and-stickily back to the next tight apex with the brakes mashed hard, before tearing off another clumsy chunk of throttle meat—spin, chortle, repeat...
V-Four, inline-Four, V-Twin— what do engine layout and crank design have to do with your ride?
Last year, Ben Spies ate up WSB on the revised Yamaha YZF-R1, a 1000cc inline-Four with a new-tech 90-degree crank. But dogging his every move was Noriyuki Haga on a 1200cc Ducati V-Twin. Showing amazing strength for a first-year bike was the Aprilia RSV4 Factory, ridden by Max Biaggi.
NEVER BEFORE HAVE WE witnessed such a vast array of electronic rider-assist systems as featured on this current crop of liter-class sportbikes. From selectable power-delivery profiles, traction control, anti-lock brakes or electronically controlled steering dampers, innovation is the order of the day.
ONCE AGAIN WE FIND OURselves swimming the murky waters of dual-sporting, a genre more diverse and inconsistent than any other segment in all of motorcycledom. The available choices include models as small as 200cc four-stroke Singles to others as large as 1200cc Boxer Twins and everything in between.
Torque for sale. Massive quantities on hand. No waiting.
TIRED OF PERFORMING A TAP-DANCing act on your shift lever every time you want to speed things up? Are you so over having to rev your engine to the moon just to summon some decent get-up-and-go? If your answers are yes and yes, step right up, Bubba, you're shopping in the right aisle.
Triumph goes all King Kong against Yamaha's Godzilla
How can two vehicles be so inherently similar yet so entirely different? It’s hard to figure. But the Triumph Rocket III Roadster and the Yamaha Star VMax are exactly that. On one hand, they’re both big, long, unfaired, ultra-heavy, über-powerful asphalt shredders.
YOU'VE GOTTA HAND IT TO YAMAHA: THE COMPANY SURE HAS A WAY OF CHANGING THE DIRECTION of motocross. Two of the best examples are the 1975 YZ250, the first production single-shock MXer, and the 1998 YZ400F, the Thumper that paved the way for the four-stroke revolution.
Ready to hit the road this summer on your sportbike? Saddlemen has all-day comfort and storage convenience in mind with its Sport Bike Seats and Luggage. New Gel Channel seats are easy to install and come in three styles: Sport (black-on-black, synthetic-suede cover; $259.95), Tech (flexible fabric top, plus memory foam; $239.95) or flagship Track (bike-specific colors, contoured shape; $259.95). A matching pillion cover is included. Add a Magnetic Tank Bag ($139.95) for short, around-town hops. Longer, overnight hauls call for either the semi-rigid Sport Panniers in either Large ($139.95) or XL ($159.95) or a feature-filled Top Pack ($99.95).
PH-T1 Torx Wrench Set
Got the right tool for the job? Park Tool's PH-T1 Torx Wrench Set ($55) has star-shaped ends for sure engagement and feature Park's proprietary "P" handles. Each wrench is made in the U.S. from industrial steel and through-hardened for long life. Eight-piece set includes T6, T8, T10, T15, T20, T25, T30 and T40 sizes.
H7 Intense White Halogen Headlight Bulb
Bright, white light without a hint of blue is the claim behind PIAA's new H7 White Halogen Headlight Bulb ($45.50). A larger glass tube with a white top coat is said to increase output and allow the bulb to burn at a cooler temperature to balance performance with long life.
Create a stylish barrier against road rash with Draggin' Jeans' new antique wash. The faded, worn look is achieved chemically so as not to compromise the protective qualities of the 14.5-ounce denim. As with all Draggin' Jeans, 13.5-ounce Kevlar lines the seat and knees. Pair them with CE-approved SaS-Tec hip ($23.95) and knee ($23.95) armor for greater impact protection. Choose either men's Classic Style ($119.95; waist sizes 30-42) or women's Modern Fit ($119.95; sizes 2-18).
Airflow Windshield System
Not the same height as your riding buddies? Stands to reason your windscreen should be different, too. GIVI's two-piece polycarbonate Airflow Windshield System ($239-269) offers 7 inches of adjustment via glove-friendly latches. Claims include a "turbulence-free zone" that cuts wind noise, reduces helmet buffeting and enhances overall protection. Current applications: BMW R1200GS, Honda Silver Wing 400/600, Piaggio MP3 250/400, Suzuki Burgman 400 and DL650/1000, plus Yamaha Majesty 400 and T-Max 500.
Moose Racing is your one-stop-shopping place for all late-model GasGas, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki and Yamaha off-road clutch needs ($99.95-$224.95). Sold ready to install, complete kits include friction plates, heavier-than-stock steel plates for improved traction, heat-treated and shot-peened springs and a "high-density, hydro-fused" clutch cover gasket.
If urban crowding and impending global apocalypse have you feeling a little hot and claustrophobic lately, there's still no better way to combat the forces of darkness than a quick blat around town for a face full of fresh air. Bell's excellent new Custom 500 series helmet harkens back to happier times, 1954 to be precise, when Bell Helmets founder Roy Richter produced his first fiberglass lid. Available in sizes XS-XXL, the new Custom 500 doesn't just look retro, it is retro, with a custom fiberglass shell, special EPS liner with quilted interior and various cool graphic treatments including our choice—the Speed Soul—complete with rear-facing koi, snaps for a peak or shield, real leather trim and chinstrap padding, etc. Very comfy, lightweight (1.94 pounds), low-profile and DOT-approved, and not at all overpriced at $119.99-139.99.
NOTHING BEATS LEATHER IN AN OFF-the-bike tumble. But when the sky goes dark and rain begins to fall on your faceshield—plop, plop, plop—you’d better have a waterproof cover-up close at hand. Unless you’re zipped into Alpinestars’ 365 jacket, that is.
Q I ride a 2003 Yamaha Road Star I’ve had for three years. The bike has 35,000 miles on it, and I’ve put on 21,000 of those. Since I’ve had it, the engine has died about 15 times. It has died sitting at a stop sign, it has died going through the gears, it has died going 75 mph down the highway, it has died when the motor was hot and cold.
With my motocross background, I appreciate off-road bikes that have MX-like characteristics. The Suzuki RMX450Z I tested last month impressed me in that way, but as an all-around off-roader, it fell short in one important area: fuel-tank capacity.
Best Open-Class Streetbike, 1997 Years sold: 1997-2005 MSRP new: $8999 (all years) Blue Book retail value: $2990 (1997) to $5050 (2005) Basic specs: A 996cc, 90-degree V-Twin sportbike making 103 rear-wheel horse-power that propelled the 452-pound VTR to an 11.03-second/124.26-mph quarter-mile and a top speed of 155 mph.
Q In response to your answer to Gary Pepitone’s question regarding ditticulty getting his GSX-R started when the weather is unseasonably cool in Florida (“F-f-freezing in F-F-Florida,” April issue), I believe the problem could be related to the “RVP” of the gasoline in Florida.
Having already won two national titles and an X Games gold medal, Ashley Fiolek may soon be gunning for her first women's world motocross chapmpionship
ASHLEY FIOLEK WANTS TO CONQUER the world—the FIM Women's Motocross World Championship. The 19-year-old Michigan native and factory Honda Red Bull rider is also out this season to add a third AMA Pro Women's Motocross Championship and maybe oven another X Games Moto X gold medal to her already crowded trophy collection.
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