IT’S SUCH A MIND-BENDING DISCONNECT to jump from the aging seat of a vintage Triumph to the modern saddle of a liter-class sportbike or dirtbike. And yet they are inexorably linked by being among the best sporting motorcycles for sale in their respective eras.
BMW-owned Husqvarna is developing its first modern road machine
Radical New Nakeds
Naked BMW S1000RR!
SPIED! HONDA CB600F DCT
A LONG TIME HAS PASSED SINCE Husqvarna V-Twins stormed the roads of Sweden. In fact, for many years, the company was known solely for its two-stroke enduro models and motocrossers. And even though Husqvarna has had success with its new-generation four-stroke engines and pavement-biased supermoto bikes, the company doesn’t currently offer a true road-only model.
BMW’S S1000RR HAS BEEN A SCREAMING SUCCESS FOR THE GERMAN company. This past year, the über repli-racer has been showered with accolades, including Cycle World's Best Superbike award. With those achievements comes the pressure to develop additional models capable of home-run sales success.
IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME before Honda’s Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) found its way onto more of the company’s streetbikes. This spy photo appears to be a European-issue Honda CB600F Hornet equipped with DCT (note absence of a clutch lever).
ALL IT TOOK WAS ONE LUCKY TICKET FOR GIOVANNI VELEZ OF LAKEWOOD, NEW JERSEY, TO WIN THIS year’s Ride for Kids/Cycle World project Honda CBR1000RR. Velez purchased a single ticket at the New York International Motorcycle Show back in December, and he was lucky enough to have that ticket randomly drawn from more than 20,000 entries this past May, just two days shy of his 21st birthday.
Tired of hearing how motorcycling can kill you? Now there's proof that riding can help you live longer.
A NEW STUDY SHOWS REGULAR OFF-ROAD motorcycling is an effective way to reduce body fat, gain muscle, increase endurance, lower blood pressure and guard against diabetes. Duh, we knew that all along, right? “Off-road riding represents an attractive, unconventional physical activity to help combat preventable disease and premature mortality,” says the study, published this past January in European Journal of Applied Physiology.
My heart stopped when I saw Stan Sholik’s photo of the Cagiva-Ducati Montjuich on the cover of this month’s issue. I wasn’t working here at the time, so to learn about this “quintessential Italian racebike,” I quickly thumbed to page 42—past Roundup, New Ideas, the road test of the Honda Shadow 700 and the 250cc motocross comparison.
THIS PAST MAY, BRAMMO, MAKERS of electric motorcycles, announced several new 2012 models divided into two families. The first, called Engage, consists of the MX, SMR and SMS, which stand for Motocross, Super Moto Race and Super Moto Street.
In the capable hands of Ryan Villopoto, the KX450F won the 2011 AMA Supercross championship, and the 2012 model promises to keep the good times rolling. Headlining the list of new features is a Launch Control Mode that allows the engine’s electronics to optimize traction out of the starting gate for improved sprints to the first turn.
MSF's new course takes newbie riders out of the parking lot and into the real world
OF ALL THE CHALLENGES FACED BY NEW riders, the leap from the controlled riding range to the street is one of the toughest. But not so much anymore. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has introduced the Street RiderCourse (SRC) to its training menu, which we sampled recently.
MV AGUSTA HAS TAKEN A GIANT STEP forward by developing what may prove to be the most fascinating MV ever, the 2012 F4 RR. According to MV, the fuel-injected, dohc, 16-valve, 998cc inline-Four produces 200 horsepower at 13,400 rpm, up from the 183 hp at 12,900 rpm of the F4 1000 (figures certainly measured at the crankshaft).
PEOPLE SHOW THEIR CLASSIC MOTORcycles because, like the stock of major corporations, the value of the bikes depends upon the collective opinion of interested persons. I could restore an early Yamaha TD1 and keep it in my office, but then I’d be like the metallurgist I once met who had no one to talk to; the things that really interested him were completely opaque to his family and friends.
IF YOU’RE DEAD-SET ON OWNING A custom-styled Harley-Davidson but the patriot in you demands that it contain only gen-ewe-wine H-D components, you have to decide how to roll. Do you want to “roll” your own by shopping in Harley’s Parts & Accessories catalog or just “roll” one out the door of your local dealership?
I enjoyed the review on the BMW K1600GTL (CW, July). Once again, they’ve teased me by producing a touring bike with great handling, light weight, wonderful tech, great wind protection and fatally flawed in the most basic characteristic of a touring bike: luggage space.
A FEW MONTHS AGO, I WAS TRYING to organize some small corner of my chaotic office by methodically cleaning out a few desk drawers because, well, you’ve got to start somewhere, and you can’t always use a flamethrower. While dumping stuff all over the floor, I accidentally discovered a long-forgotten file of old black-and-white photos taken during the first few years I worked at Cycle World, in the early Eighties.
I’VE BEEN DOING A BIT OF READING lately, and a few things have assembled themselves into possible answers for questions I’ve had for years. First point is that in about 1964, I began to take the long subway-plus-streetcar ride from Cambridge to Everett, Massachusetts, to the shop of the late Mack McConney.
Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE vs. BMW S1000RR vs. Ducati 1198 vs. Kawasaki ZX-10R Traction control comes of age; we search for the best digital superbike
Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE
RSV4 FACTORY APRC SE
CONFIDENCE BREEDS SPEED. TRACTION BUILDS CONFIdence. As with any activity in which humans push their own limits, having faith that you can take it to the next level is often the difference between success and failure. For most motorcycle racers, achieving this trust comes through years of endless practice, racing and spending every waking moment thinking about how to go faster.
What should you do if your favorite flavor of late-model supersport doesn’t offer traction control as a factory feature? The clever folks at Bazzaz (www.bazzaz.net) have an answer: Z-Fi TC. The $949.95 electronic module incorporates race-developed traction-control, quickshift and fuel-injection-mapping capabilities in a single, compact unit that patches into the stock wiring harness via OEM-style connectors.
Located on a remote plot of land near Willcox, Arizona, Inde Motorsports Ranch is a recently constructed “members” road course best described as a country club for motorheads. Featuring tight, point-’n’-shoot corners, off-camber turns, quick-flick chicanes, a fast sweeper, a few blind rises and its fair share of bumps, IMR offers 21 turns of non-stop action.
Ducati 848 EVO Suzuki GSX-R750 Triumph Daytona 675R
DUCATI 848 EVO
Big Mids: The middleweight class grows up
TRIUMPH Daytona 675R
A 749CC INLINE-FOUR, AN 849CC 90-DEGREE V-Twin and a 675cc inline-Triple: One wag described this comparison as the “apples and oranges shootout.” But the Ducati goes slightly downmarket for the Italian company with its $12,995 848 EVO in matte-black “dark stealth” trim, while running with the Triumph Daytona 675 and 600cc Fours in the AMA’s Daytona SportBike class.
WHY ONLY TWO 600s, YOU ASK? Because the new-for-2009 Kawasaki ZX-6R prevailed in that year’s crotch-rocket comparo, and the Honda CBR600RR and Yamaha YZF-R6 haven’t received serious engineering attention in the meantime. Why should they?
CERNICKY DID MOST OF WHAT PASSES for actual work once we were on-site, learning the track and zeroing in bikes on Day One, then riding all nine (10 including the Bazzaz-equipped GSX-R1000) for times on Day Two— including riding the five heavy hitters with and without traction control.
No wonder it's so light: It’s made out of Mithril. By elves. Under the light of a full moon...
IT’S AN OLD VIKING STORY: A TALL, one-eyed man goes into a bar... well, actually, a Viking great hall...in any case, a place where much beer is consumed. He strides toward the tree the hall was built around, pulls a sword from under his cloak and sticks it deeply into the trunk.
A modern salute to Triumphs past, Hammarhead Industries' Jack Pine is both a little less and a little more than the sleds and scramblers of yore
WHEN WE FIRST SAW PHOTOS OF Hammarhead Industries’ modified and artfully restyled Triumph Scrambler 900—called the Jack Pine— Editor Mark Hoyer and I were naturally quite intrigued. Here was a modern interpretation of one of our favorite bikes, the classic all-purpose Triumph off-roader of the Fifties and Sixties.
In 1958, young racer Roger White beat the best in the desert and the mountains. He reflects on his life in sleds.
WHEN OUR RIDING BUDDY BILL GETTY (WHO OWNS JRC Engineering, a wholesale Brit-bike parts business) told us he had Roger White’s Big Bear-winning Triumph 650, we could hardly believe it was still around and in one piece. Turned out Roger was a good friend who actually gave Getty the bike last year.
A minor facelift for the reigning king of the open road
PLANES, TRAINS AND MOTORCYCLES SEEMS LIKE A WEIRD NAME FOR a factory-sponsored group ride on a new bike. But that’s the title Honda applied to its mid-May press ride on the 2012 Gold Wing, parodying the 1987 Steve Martin/John Candy Planes, Trains and Automobiles movie.
Troy Lee Designs Grand Prix Air “Beast” Riding Gear
Elbowz Racing Jersey and Bib Shorts
DuPont Motorcycle Degreaser for Chains & Sprockets
V.I.O. POV.HD Camera
Innovative Metal Technology Jac-Knife Floorboards
Valentino Rossi Limited-Edition Helmet Print
Valentino Rossi and his brightly colored, Drudi Performance-designed AGV helmet are once again the target of CW Contributing Photographer Andrew Wheeler. Two years ago at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, a print of Wheeler’s original “Helmet” image—signed on-the-spot by the then-soon-to-be nine-time world champion—sold at auction for $8500, with all proceeds going to Riders For Health. When Rossi moved from Yamaha to Ducati this season, Wheeler set out to shoot a similar, though not identical, photo. The opportunity finally presented itself this past May at the Grand Prix of Portugal. Wheeler has produced 46 signed and numbered 24 x 18 giclée prints—stretched and mounted on canvas, ready to hang—for $550 each. AutoMotoPhoto; 831/539-3324; email@example.com; www.automotophoto.com/vr46_2011/
Ti-4R Exhaust System
Pro Circuit’s flagship closed-course exhaust system, the Ti-4R ($999.95), is now available for KTM 250, 350 and 450cc SX-F motocrossers. This three-piece titanium design features an RC-4 resonance chamber to reduce noise emissions and meets the AMA Pro Racing sound cap of 94 decibels. Also available: The likewise-race-only T-4R ($779.95), with its stainless-steel header pipe, and the off-road-approved T-4 ($779.95), which comes with a removable USFS-approved spark arrestor and race muffler tip. Pro Circuit Racing International, 2771 Wardlow Rd., Corona, CA 92882; 951/738-8050; www.procircuit.com
Midnight Black Billet Parts
Works Connection’s line of anodized billet aluminum motorcycle products—Elite Perches, Engine Plugs, Axle Blocks, Engine Oil Dipsticks, Rotating Bar Clamps, Front and Rear Brake Caps, and Oil Filler Caps—are now available with a rich-looking Midnight Black option that complements their CNC-machined finish. All of Works Connection’s products are manufactured in the USA. Prices for the aforementioned components start at $24.95. Works Connection, Inc., 6451 Capitol Ave., Diamond Springs, CA 95619; 800/349-1475; www.worksconnection.com
Grand Prix Air “Beast” Riding Gear
Troy Lee Designs chose the AMA Supercross finale in Las Vegas this past May to debut its 2012 Grand Prix Air “Beast” gear line. Now, you, too, can dress like TLD Lucas Oils Honda riders Cole Seely and Travis Baker. The nine-panel “micro-mesh” athletic-fit GP Air jersey ($46, S-XXL) is designed to keep you cool in the steamiest riding conditions, while the Lycra-lined, double- and triple-stitched, 600-denier polyester GP Air pants ($138, even waist sizes 28-40) feature leather at the knees for enhanced grip and protection from hot exhaust pipes. Coming soon: the SE3 “Beast” helmet. Troy Lee Designs, 155 E. Rincon St., Corona, CA 92879; 800/2396566; www.troyleedesigns.com
Jersey and Bib Shorts
Factory Yamaha MotoGP rider Ben Spies spends a lot of time on two wheels. Earlier this year, the three-time AMA Superbike and 2009 World Superbike champion started his own professional cycling team, Elbowz Racing. Among the sponsors are Yamaha GYTR and Alpinestars, both of which feature prominently on the now-available-to-the-public, three-pocket, full-zip Velocity jersey ($89.99 XS-XL) and 260-gram Lycra Velocity bib shorts with their multi-density chamois ($119.99, XS-XL). Both pieces are manufactured for the team by Hincapie Sportswear. Elbowz Racing; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.benspies.com
Motorcycle Degreaser for Chains & Sprockets
Remove dirt, grease, road grime and even wax from your motorcycle’s chain and sprockets with DuPont Motorcycle Degreaser for Chain & Sprockets ($6.99 for 10-ounce can; $8.99 for 14-ounce can). This biodegradable, virtually odor-free, no-rinsing-necessary aerosol is said to be safe for use on all sealed drive chains, including O-, X- and Z-ring designs. Also available: DuPont Teflon Chain Saver, a no-fling, water-repellant, wax-based lubricant. DuPont; 631/666-4186; www.performancelubricant.dupont.com
Lights! Camera! Action! V.I.O. says its new 1080p HD camera ($599.95) is the “most flexible, rugged and easy-to-use point-of-view HD video system available.” Hardware is adventure-touring serious: The dust-, shock-and waterproof recording unit with its 2 x 1¼-inch, liquid-crystal color display fits in a jacket pocket, tankbag or fairing cubby. Power is supplied by four AA batteries, and startup takes just a few seconds. Not much bigger than your thumb, the camera has a six-element glass lens that captures a broad, 142-degree view in full 1080p, 30-frames-per-second mode (95 degrees in slow-motion 720p 60 fps). Strap the wireless remote to your handlebar or wrist to record or “tag” scenes on-the-go. A 4GB SDHC card is included—memory is expandable to 32GB—and files are easily downloaded to both PCs and Macs via the supplied USB cable. Goggle and helmet mounts are included with the camera; RAM bike mounts can be purchased separately. V.I.O., Inc., 100 N. Front St., Marquette, MI 49855; 888/579-2267; www.vio-pov.com
Stretch out and relax! Innovative Metal Technology’s Jac-Knife Floorboards ($499-560) incorporate fold-out Highway Pegs that position your boots to the outsides of the CNC-machined-from-6061-T6-aluminum boards for even greater comfort. The spring-loaded, ball-detent pegs hide under the boards when not in use. Built-in Kicker Pegs let you swing the Highway Pegs out with your boot heels while rolling down the road. Innovative Metal Technology, LLC, 1819 Yolande Ave., Lincoln, NE 68521; 402/474-7121; www.imtnebraska.com
SO FAR, WE’VE RIPPED UP TO YOSEMITE on a VFR1200F in this jacket on a hottish day and stayed reasonably cool, ridden through a couple days of misty drizzle on a KLR650 and stayed completely dry, dismounted from a DR-Z400 onto some sharpish rocks and emerged totally unscathed (so did the jacket).
A SIDE FROM AN ACTUAL MACHINE, THERE is no single cultural touchstone of motorcycling that is more powerful than the leather jacket, particularly in black. Ridingwear has evolved mightily since the early days, with highly technical armor and myriad materials used for abrasion resistance and impact protection these days.
Q I have a 1972 Suzuki GT380 two-stroke Triple with a fresh crankshaft and a 1.0mm overbore. The transfer port entries have been detailed but the port timing is stock. The bike runs great but I’d like to try some more compression (I live at 7000-foot elevation).
Ever had to install an Allen bolt into a deep recess and then try to get it started in its threads? Though not an impossible task by any means, it still can often be a little frustrating and time-consuming. But not with the Magic Ring Screw Holding Ball Hex L-Key Sets from Wiha Tools (www.wihatools.com), which make that same job a no-brainer.
Basic specs: A single-shock, aluminum-framed cruiser powered by an ohv, 1854cc, 48-degree, air-cooled, counterbalanced, four-valve-per-cylinder V-Twin that made “only” 86.7 horsepower at 4600 rpm but slammed out 110.7 foot-pounds of torque at an impressively low 2150 rpm.
Q You may get a thousand e-mails on this, but in your May-issue reply to Mclnerny (“Torque monster”) about the torque vs. the horsepower of a large diesel truck engine, you erred in stating that 100 x 4000 is 40,000, when it is actually 400,000.
Remembering Max Bubeck and the world's second, third and fourth fastest Indians
EVEN AT THE AGE OF 91, MAX BUBECK WAS TOO YOUNG to have inspired Rudyard Kipling, but when the poet wrote of the man who can "Meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters both the same," he should have had Bubeck in mind. Begin with the present.
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