MAYBE IT’S WHAT I GET FOR MOUTHing off a couple of months ago. Just about the time I finished pondering the Price of Sanity and went on record about using vintage stuff as real transportation, lightning cracked down from the heavens in a strange horizontal bolt.
Powered by a radical, supercharged, 200-horsepower Six
A HALLOWED NAME IN THE MYTHology of German motorcycling, the Horex marque was long associated with top-class two-wheeled vehicles, but until recently, that name had almost been forgotten outside of Germany. Established in 1923, the company was very successful up until WWII but was never able to fully recover in the post-war years, limping along until its demise in 1956.
MotoGP to the masses! Frameless chassis, 22 pounds lighter and 20 more horsepower!
DUCATI FULLY PLANS TO CAPITALIZE ON the arrival of Valentino Rossi to commercialize the extraordinary carbon-fiber monocoque frame first debuted on its GP9 desmosedici MotoGP bike. This next step in the quattrovalvole superbike family evolution is more like a revolution.
ALL WE WANT TO DO IS RIDE, BUT sometimes it is necessary to get loaded. Pickups and large vans are the obvious choices when we need to transport a motorcycle using four wheels. When Ford introduced the compact Transit Connect in 2010, however, we gave the little van a try.
The all-new second-generation Honda VFR750F shared the cover with a sporty little number that looked like it might actually be attainable for a relatively well-off Midwest-based college kid living on the largesse of the Gl Bill: the new Yamaha FZ600.
Milan confirms that Europe is leading the arms race.
EUROPAN MANUFACTURERS HAVE taken the point in the electronic revolution that is currently sweeping the industry. This theme was reinforced last November at the Milan motorcycle show (EICMA). Anyone who wants to be a player in the world’s motorcycle, scooter or accessory market has a booth at EICMA—and “booth” hardly begins to describe some of the manufacturer displays, which may occupy 20,000 square feet and include 30-foot ceilings, multiple levels, numerous conference rooms, light shows or even bars.
THE BRAND-NEW, 1200cc version of Piaggio/ Aprilia’s 90-degree V-Twin has finally arrived, and it was well worth the wait. Better yet, this first edition of the engine has been shoehorned into the chassis of Aprilia’s Dorsoduro 750, a move made possible because the engine hides its larger displacement inside external dimensions identical to those of its three-quarter-liter kin.
Helmets off to Peter Jones for his unflinching yet misty-eyed look back at the Honda CB200. My first motorcycle was the CB’s stablemate, a new 1974 Honda CL200. The word slow really doesn’t do it justice; glacial maybe. Still, for a kid stepping up from a 2.5-hp Briggs & Stratton minibike, the 200 seemed like a rocket.
SOME YEARS AGO, DURING THE 3-liter V-10 era in Formula One, the diameter of crankshaft journals was on its way down—as it also was in World Superbike. This trend was driven by the knowledge that plain-bearing friction rises as the cube of journal diameter.
WELL, I DON’T THINK I’LL APPLY for a Guinness World Record for miles traveled by motorcycle this past summer. After breaking my ribs and foot in a dirtbike crash last June, I spent about two months in a La-Z-Boy, tilted back and watching the paint dry on our living room wall.
England looks to reconquer the world and aims squarely at BMW with its new adventure-tourers
Tiger 800 XC
THERE'S NOT MUCH WONDER REGARDING WHY TRIUMPH BUILT the Tiger 800 and Tiger 800 XC: Adventure-touring motorcycles have become one of the largest-selling categories in Europe, with the success of the BMW R1200GS unrivaled in today’s motorcycling world.
Triumph owner John Bloor was crystal-clear in his instructions during the first project meeting about the new model back in 2007: "The Speed Triple is probably our most important model. Don't screw it up!" We take a ride to find out how the Hinckley crew did...
THE TWIN ROUND HEADLIGHTS HAVE ALWAYS made the Speed Triple an eye-catcher, so the decision to change the shape of the traditional “eyes” was not made lightly. A lot less discussion was needed to decide the direction in which the handling had to evolve.
A GREAT DEAL HAS CHANGED IN THE 20 YEARS SINCE MY motojournalism career was launched, quite literally, following a 160-mph highside crash at Road Atlanta during a WERA Formula USA national. The 2.54-mile road course has undergone multiple safety-related revisions, beginning with the addition of a left/right chicane at the very scene of my frightening get-off, a crash that provided the subject matter for my first published article.
THE ROAD UP NORTHERN CALIfornia’s Mt. Tamalpais is paved with good intentions but covered in a thick coniferous carpet of dropped foliage from the huge redwood and Douglas firs that canopy it. Hmmm, is this any place for a 50-year-old moto-journalist on a 503-pound, 136-horsepower Kawasaki?
DUCATI'S DIAVEL IS DEFINED BY WHAT IT ISN’T. IT ISN’T A power cruiser, at least not as has been previously known. A Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle, for example, scales in at about 670 pounds wet and, with about 110 horespower at the rear wheel, has a power-to-weight ratio of 6.1 lb. per hp.
The much-publicized new role of electronics in shaping engine power delivery has masked old truths. More than anything else, cam timing and lift are what shape the “natural engine” that lies beneath today’s electronic smoothing of power curves.
UNLESS YOU HAVE TOO MUCH TIME on your hands, you probably weren't looking for another oxymoron to add to classics like “giant shrimp,” “boneless ribs” and “loners club,” but here's one anyway: sport-touring. That's a fine contradiction in terms if ever there was one.
10,000 miles in 10 days? For riders bitten by the long-distance bug, the question isn’t “Why would you want to ride an endurance rally?” but “Why wouldn't you?”
Endurance Rallies 101
People Who Get It
A Reason to Roam
Easy it Ain’t
Crossing the Finish Line
CHASING THE SUNSET THROUGH THE GOLDEN light and purple shadows washing over Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains, I’m struck by a moment of clarity: This transcendent experience would make a fine answer to all those people who wonder why anyone would want to enter a 10-day, 10,000-mile motorcycle endurance rally.
We already snuck in a European street ride. This time, we hit the dirt in the U.S. of A. to see how Yamaha's big adventure bike would hold up
THERE IS A UNIQUE FEELING THAT comes from a 1200cc adventure machine when it starts screaming near 6000 rpm on a fireroad, roosting dirt, rocks and whatever else falls under the rear tire's footprint. As the revs increase, the exhaust note from this parallel-Twin roars like an unrestricted trophy truck about to hit redline, and the forward drive feels absolutely unstoppable.
One mad Swede cranks out killer concept bikes—in his garage!
WHEN THE WORLD'S MOTORCYCLE manufacturers tightened their belts so firmly they gave themselves a hernia, one man in Sweden decided it was time he started building concept bikes because the biggest factories weren’t. Marcus Carlsson walked away from his well-paid industrial design job and entered his one-car garage on the outskirts of Stockholm with a vision.
Mining Husky’s past for a hint at a possible future
V1000 Gran Turismo
BEING SWEDISH, CARLSSON DECIDED HIS first concept would be his idea of what the country’s most famous bike factory would be selling if it still built road bikes. The V1000 shown here, finished in the summer of 2007, is based on a Suzuki TL1000S, because Husqvarna once made l000cc V-Twins.
What do you get when you blend carbon-infused cocona yarn (derived from coconut shells) with cotton, nylon and lycra? Roadgear’s Generation 3 Coconut Socks. Each pair is pre-washed, given an antimicrobial treatment and the embedded carbon is activated for “remarkable evaporative characteristics and odor management,” says Roadgear. Generation 3 is available in gray in four heights: tall ($19.95), crew ($18.95), ankle ($14.95) and no-show ($12.95) in sizes 8-12 for men and 6-10 for women.
Add flair and function to Honda's new RS750 with Cobra’s freeway, light and sissy bars, along with racks and saddlebag supports. Looking for more rumble? Try the offset Dragsters or shotgun-style Street Rods ($499.95 each). Both exhaust systems come with full-length heat shields and chromed billet tips. Also available: PowrFlo Air Intake System with high-flow K&N filter in black or chrome ($249.95).
Lightweight. Practical. Protective. What else would you expect from an iPad sleeve manufactured by Aerostich? This $24 U.S.-made design is a three-layer laminate: tough nylon twill outside, soft brushed fleece inside and a .20-inch layer of impact material sandwiched in between. iPads slide in easily, fit snugly and are protected from bumps, dust, knocks and scratches.
Ladies can cruise in style in the Shift Curve ($119.95; sizes 5-10 in black or white). Genuine/synthetic leather “chassis” featuring plastic ankle guards provides both protection and lateral stability, and a non-slip bonded sole delivers good grip. An adjustable Velcro laces strap helps ensure a secure fit.
Bugs Off Pad
An on-the-road meet-and-greet with a swarm of flying insects can leave your motorcycle looking like a refugee from a horror film. A little bike-finish-friendly soap and cold water applied to a Bugs Off Pad ($3.49; 3-pack $8.79) and light hand pressure is all you need to clean up your bike. According to the manufacturer, this non-abrasive microfiber pad keeps working even when frayed or soiled. Not intended for applying polish or wax.
Cat Crap Care Kit
Right from the get-go, let’s disperse with any misconceptions: Cat Crap has absolutely nothing to do with felines or their, um, fecal matter. Rather, this unscented gelatinous-like substance is a wipe-on, buff-off anti-fog treatment for faceshields, goggles and sunglasses. It’s said to be safe on all types of lenses and coatings, including those that are anti-reflective. The Cat Crap Care Kit ($11.99) includes a microfiber cloth and an optician’s screwdriver with both Phillips and straight-blade bits.
Moose XCR Racewear
Look sharp off-road in Moose Racing’s new-for-2011 XCR Racewear. Boasting long-wearing graphics, the XCR jersey ($44.95; S-XXL), pants ($139.95; even waist sizes 28-42) and gloves ($34.95; S-XXXL) are engineered for ease of movement and resistance to abrasion. Choose from four colors: blue, orange (shown), red or stealth.
Go ahead and keep sticking things in your tires...
Stop & Go International
Stop & Go International
Pocket Tire Plugger
WHILE TIRE MANUFACTURERS SAY never patch anything (and who can blame them?), the underbreath mumble is that if you must patch a tire, you should do so from the inside with a permanent patch. That’s a lot of work at the side of the road, isn't it?
Q I was wondering what the actual life expectancy of a tire might be. I just finished a Border 2 Border Insanity run on my 2007 Triumph Speed Triple with a 180/55-17 Bridgestone BT-023 on the rear. On my way back to Phoenix, I noticed I had worn through the tread and was nowhere near a tire shop, so I plodded along until I got home.
Sometimes, renewing a bike’s lustrous shine takes more than just a little good, old-fashioned elbow grease. Bug remains, tiny scratches from riding-suit abrasion, dull spots caused by the subtle movement of a tankbag and other blemishes can be stubborn to remove, even with endless rubbing by hand.
Best Cruiser, 1999 Years sold: 7 (1 999-2005) MSRP new: $12,999 (1999) to $14,880 (2005) Blue Book retail value: $6565 (1999) to $9065 (2005) Basic specs: 1999 was the first year for Harley's Twin Cam engine, an 80-cubic-inch (1 450cc), ohv, 45-degree V-Twin that made 60.3 hp at 3400 rpm on the CW dyno, with 73.0 ft.-lb. of torque at 3600.
Q Never have I seen a flaw in your good advice, but I must nitpick the terminology you used in your December “ToolTime” when describing the use of a polyurethane drill stand. First is “drill bits.” They do exist, and carpenters use them, as do electricians doing house wiring.
Agostini, Rossi, Schwantz: the real boys of summer
KEVIN SCHWANTZ DOESN'T SCARE EASILY. BUT THE 1993 500cc world champion was ashen-faced when he hopped off his motorcycle after just one flying lap of Italy’s Mugello Circuit. A hard-fought battle on a screaming, ill-handling 500cc two-stroke?
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