THE “50” IS A LITTLE BIT MISLEADing, because we’re not actually there until about a year from now, but, hot damn, a full five decades of Cycle World magazine is coming up fast. Looking forward, we’ll be celebrating this in several ways by looking backward, revisiting some of the amazing machines and experiences previously captured on these pages.
While Japan struggles for traction, Europe drives hard toward the future
Restyled Speed Triple gets a new frame, more claimed power (now 135 hp) from its 1050cc engine and a 6.6-pound weight reduction (472 pounds wet), plus optional ABS.
World Superbike racing left Ducati with a wealth of knowledge, much of it finding its way onto the 1198 SP: Ducati Traction Control System, Ducati Data Acquisition system, Ducati Quick Shifter—plus a state-of-the-art slipper clutch and an alloy fuel tank. All for $21,995.
So far the lone Japanese shot in response to the Euro superbike fusillade, this brave new Open-class Kawi runs predictive Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control, advanced ABS and represents Japan’s first line of defense.
Tiger 800 and 800XC
For being such a small manufacturer, Triumph has shown surprising vitality. Biggest news for 2011 are the two middleweight Tiger 800 adventure bikes. The torquey, 95-hp Triples are offered in street and XC versions, the latter getting different suspension and a 21-inch front wheel in place of the 19-incher on the standard bike. Switchable ABS and a highoutput alternator help adventure-readiness.
RSV4 APRC SE
Aprilia Performance Ride Control is the traction-control system Max Biaggi used to win his and Aprilia’s first WSB title. Why wouldn’t you build a Special Edition model around this completely adjustable onthe-fly system? For 2011, Aprilia did exactly that.
Don’t call 2011 Diavel a cruiser; Ducati claims 162 hp and 94 ft.-lb. of torque from the Testastretta 11° engine and a dry weight of 463 lb. All of the Bologna-based company’s electronic knowhow—ABS, DTC, tri-mode ride-by-wire and keyless ignition—is standard. Diavel Carbon (shown) weighs 456 lb.
KTM introduced the Duke 125, a compact, entry-level supermoto-inspired machine powered by a four-stroke Single. No word on U.S. availability.
Smaller-displacement motorcycles don’t cost much less to build, but they’re a good way for MV Agusta to extend its brand beyond the gentry. These two would love to take a bite out of Triumph’s Daytona 675/Street Triple hide. F3 “leak” photo doesn’t give much away, but Milan will reveal all.
AS SHOW SEASON CAME LAST FALL and manufacturers started rolling out their products for 2011, our industry demonstrated once again how it is changing. While Japanese companies had new models to display at the Cologne show in Germany, such as Kawasaki’s 197-hp ZX-10R (cycleworld.com/2011zx-10r) and Suzuki’s GSX-R600 and 750 (see p.
ATTACK PERFORMANCE YOSHIMURA SUZUKI AMA PRO AMERICAN SUPERBIKE
NEW AMA PRO AMERICAN SUPERBike rules introduced in 2009 did away with the works front ends, 16.5inch wheels and handmade swingarms that were status quo on factory racers. Now, chassis modifications are limited to homologated components that even privateers can buy from practically any dealership.
Futureshock! Suzuki’s stunning concept bike, the FalcoRustyco (Latin for “white falcon”), was prominent on the cover of this month’s issue. Newsstand buyers were enamored with this sleek, center-hubsteered, 400cc square-Four with its unique hand controls and fluiddrive transmission.
A DECADE AGO, I TRAVELED TO Hannover, Germany, as a guest of Continental Tire to ride its then-new ContiForce sport radial at the manufacturer’s Contidrom proving grounds. Much has remained the same at the 173-acre facility that includes a spectacular high-speed banked oval, separate wet and dry handling courses and various skid pads.
AT LAST OCTOBER’S INTERMOT SHOW, German accessory company Wunderlich showed a trio of heavily tricked-out BMWs. Our favorite is its S1000RR “Poisoned Arrow” painted in the legendary Gulf racing colors. The bike is outfitted with a long list of the company’s components that include the PowerSportErgo handlebar conversion, VarioLever adjustable hand levers, ActiveComfort SportErgo seat, DoubleBubble sports screen and a tailpiece conversion that incorporates an aluminum license-plate mount and turn indicators with built-in rear/brake light functions.
It would seem like the task of mad men, or at least someone suffering from an obsessive-compulsive disorder: Choose Colorado, a state known for its spectacular motorcycling, ride 40,000 miles of its roads and note the precise globalpositioning system coordinates of the best rides.
IN 2009, HUSQVARNA’S TE450 stole the show in our October-issue Euro Enduro Comparison. It was a great 50-state-legal bike that matched the competition on-road and smoked them off-road. So, why would Husqvarna create a replacement by robbing much of the design of the BMW G450X, the machine that finished fourth in that five-bike comparison?
CERTAIN ELEMENTS OF design simply scream “Italian,” perhaps none quite as loudly as a tubular trellis frame slathered in red paint. Of the various styling and ergonomic updates that Aprilia has included on its 750 Shiver for 2011, the racerred treatment applied to its modular trellis/aluminum frame has lent the versatile naked unmistakable Italian flair.
I’ve been an avid motorcyclist for over 40 years and a Cycle World reader for many of those. Your magazine has always had an interesting mix of cycle tests, custom bikes, new products, articles and, of course, the never-ending story of Ted on the last page.
NOVELISTS AND PLAYWRIGHTS NEVER tire of describing the lives we lead. There we sit at a desk with an “in” tray and an “out” tray. We’ve learned the process, so we take an item from the in tray, process it and put it in the out tray. They give us numbers for this, which we can exchange for food and other needs.
A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, ONE OF Barb’s favorite relatives (and mine), Aunt Betty, died at the age of 93, so on a Saturday morning we got dressed up to go to the funeral in Middleton, Wisconsin. After rushing around to make sure we wouldn’t be late, we somehow managed to arrive in Middleton nearly an hour early, before the church even opened.
LUXURY TOURING MOTORCYCLES are an American invention, uniquely suited to this expansive country and its uniquely unthreatening highway system. Travel Interstates from one end of the U.S. to the other, and except for a very small percentage of onand off-ramps, you’ll be hardpressed to find an unexpected turn, or one that requires as much as a 15-degree lean angle at the speed limit.
1300 miles, 15 Alpine passes, 6 days, 1 BMW R1200RT
THE PUREST, MOST HIGHLY DISTILLED, ultra-concentrated motorcycleriding goodness is really found in only one place on Earth: the Alps. The roads, the scenery, the history, the people, the food and, yes, even the bikes built nearby offer the kind of fun, inspiration and intensity that draws us to motorcycling in the first place.
SHUT THE HELL UP! THAT’S THE MESsage and challenge that has been clearly directed at off-road motorcycle manufacturers. It’s easy to pronounce that four-stroke motocrossers are too loud, but lowering sound emissions, while maintaining the performance expected of competition-ready motorcycles, isn’t as simple as bolting on a more restrictive exhaust.
No, YAMAHA STAR’S NEW MIDsize custom was not named for the troubled Lt. Ted Stryker in Airplane, but that’s not important right now. What’s important is the economy, and it’s in the toilet. If you’re a giant multinational motorcycle manufacturer, it’s no time to swing for the fences.
SUZUKI’S 2011 UPDATE OF THE GSX-R600 AND 750 IS VERY MUCH like a MotoGP team’s midseason adjustment: minor in that it’s not a total redesign but moves steadily in a desirable direction. In the case of the 600, the 67.0 x 42.5mm inline-Four is rotated backward slightly, enough to allow it and the swingarm pivot to be moved forward.
WHAT’S A MAN TO DO WHEN HIS EXUBERANT SPORTING aspirations are killing his Harley-Davidson Road King? As the result of its owner trying to keep up with his fellow corner-carvers, the King has floorboards that are worn thin as razor blades and its heavily modified engine is on its umpteenth rebuild.
Friday the 13th found me flying Flight 436 (adds up to 13) to Virginia International Raceway to compete in the new-for-2010 AMA Pro Racing Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XR1200 spec series—the third of five races. HOG, the Harley Owners Group, had put together a race-prepped XR1200 to play host to a different guest racer/journo type for each round; VIR was my turn to play.
Only 90 Miles and 50 Years Away, the Republic of Cuba is more Hog Purgatory than Heaven
AS AN AMERICAN, I KNOV^ THAT FEW words or images of Cuba’s old Harley-Davidson Panheads and their dedicated Harlista have appeared in the U.S. media. Since the Revolution, American journalists are entitled to travel to Cuba, but it requires a complicated application process through the U.S.
Developed to meet the demanding needs of hardcore dual-purpose riders, GIVI’s new waterproof Trekker series cases come in two sizes: 33 ($320) and 46 liters ($335). Molded in polypropylene and finished with brushed-aluminum panels secured by protective bands, both bags incorporate clamshell-style openings and GIVI’s patented closure system with matching locks and keys. A three-pack—two 33-liter sidecases and a 46-liter topcase—retails for $925. Accessories include a backrest, luggage rack, custom bag liners and cargo-net securing hooks.
Sidi Cobra Boots
We're all paying closer attention to our personal finances these days. That’s why Sidi created the mid-priced Cobra line of street boots. The Cobra ($250), perforated Cobra Air ($250) and waterproof Cobra Rain ($275) all boast Lorica construction, advanced ankle support, fit-enhancing elasticized panel adjacent to the entry zipper, shock-absorbing heel, replaceable toe slider and dual-compound sole. Difference is, the standard Cobra is available in black (metric sizes 39-50), red/black, blue/black or white/black (42-47), while the Air (39-50) and Rain (40-48) only come in black.
David Bill Motorcycle Art
Artist David Bill’s original oil paintings and pencil drawings sell for thousands of dollars, but prints are now available for as little as $35 each. Subjects include classic Harley-Davidson and late-model Triumph motorcycles, World Superbike racers Leon Haslam, James Toseland, Jonathan Rea and Cal Crutchlow, and past series champions Carl Fogarty, Raymond Roche, Troy Corser and Doug Polen.
GBRacing Crash Protection
You don’t have to be a world champion roadracer or even a trackday regular to appreciate GBRacing’s engine covers, frame sliders, lower chain guards and paddock-stand bobbins. Even a seemingly harmless stoplight tipover on your latemodel European or Japanese sportbike can set you back thousands of dollars in repair bills. Approved for competition by the FIM and AMA Pro Racing, these bolt-on products are injection-molded from fracture-resistant longglass-fiber nylon for greater impact absorption and energy dissipation. Stainless-steel or titanium-alloy mounting hardware is included. Protection “bundles” start at $309.19. All parts are available individually, as well.
Strap it, look it and leave it. That’s the idea behind Lockstraps ($39.95). These notat-all-conventional tie-downs are uniquely fitted at each end with carabiners equipped with combination locks—no keys to lose! In addition, a stainless-steel cable runs the entire 8.5-foot length of each strap, adding an element of security that other tie-downs can’t match. Built-in soft-tie extensions reduce the possibility of scratching a bike’s paint.
Japanese helmet-maker Shoei has a new weapon in the war against wind noise. The DOTand Snell 2010-approved QWEST is said to be more than 2 decibels quieter in back-to-back wind-tunnel tests than the earlier, likewisetouring-oriented TZ-R, which was already one of the quietest helmets on the market. Further, the QWEST (XXS-XXL; $349.99469-99) incorporates features found on the top-of-the-line X-Twelve and RF-1100. For example, the fully removable and washable multi-layer cheek pads come in six different thicknesses for a personalized fit. Shoei’s patented springloaded Quick Release Self-Adjusting base-plate system pulls the ratcheting UVA/B-protected CW-1 shield—wider and taller than the previous-generation CX-IV for enhanced peripheral vision—evenly against the opening’s rubber beading for a windand waterproof seal. A breath guard and chin curtain are included.
FGK Fork Cartridge Kits
Give your fork a lift with an FGK cartridge kit from Swedish suspension specialist Öhlins. Now available for the BMW F800GS, Buell 1125R (2009-’10), Ducati Sport Classic and Hypermotard, Harley-Davidson XR1200, Suzuki SV650, Triumph Speed Triple (2008-’09) and Yamaha FJR1300, the kits use either 25 or 30mm pistons, come with the appropriate springs and have external adjustments for preload, compression and rebound damping. Installed pricing starts at $1500.
WE CLEAN AN INORDINATE NUMBER OF motorcycles here at Cycle World. Every testbike gets multiple dressings for various photoshoots, and we’re always in a hurry trying to get everything as clean as possible as the last minutes of waning light bum away from the day.
IF YOU SPEND A LOT OF TIME IN YOUR garage, you probably appreciate a clean, attractive workspace. G-Floor Raceday Peel & Stick Adhesive Floor Tiles are a durable alternative to paint, roll-out mats or snap-together plastic squares and can be installed in not much more time than it takes to wash and wax your motorcycle.
WILLOW SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL Raceway. Kawasaki ZX-10R. Ambient temperature in the 90s. Is there a tougher torture test for a tire? Pirelli rented “The Fastest Road in the West” because its new Diablo Superbike PRO is a pure racing slick, not a treaded DOT capable of pulling double-duty on both street and track.
Q While I was at a local bike shop getting a new rear tire installed on my 2002 Honda VFR800, one of the mechanics passed his hand over my front tire (which is starting to feel ever-so-slightly “square” in the middle) and told me that even though the service manual says the front and rear tires should be inflated to 36 and 42 psi, respectively, I should put more air in them to avoid premature cupping and squaring.
In the “Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow” sequence that constitutes the internalcombustion process, the “squeeze” component-compression—is perhaps the most important. If an engine is losing compression, it’s also losing power and efficiency.
Best Superbike, 1999 Years sold: 12 (1999-2009; 2011) MSRP new: $10,499 (1999) to $13,699 (2011) Blue Book retail value: $5215 (1999) to $10,255 (2009) Basic specs: A 1299cc, dohc inline-Four supersport that screamed out 161 rearwheel horsepower and 100 ft.-lb.
2010 AMA Supercross and 450cc Motocross National Champion Ryan Dungey proves that, sometimes, nice guys do finish first
HAD RYAN DUNGEY PLAYED BASEBALL FOR THE BROOKLYN Dodgers, the hackneyed phrase “nice guys finish last,” first uttered by team manager Leo Durocher in 1939, might not be a cliché. Instead, had the baseball great been talking about Dungey—the kid from Minnesota who last year became the first rider in history to win both the AMA Supercross and Motocross titles in his maiden 450cc premier-class season—the cliché might today be “nice guys finish first.”
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