SOMETIMES THE PAIN IS TOO MUCH. Sometimes, when you’ve been so horribly wronged, you just can’t look under the Shroud of Death, the place where you’ve hidden the hurt. But it was time to go to that dark corner of the garage and pull the dusty bed sheet off the Velocette.
More-compact, higher-performing V-Twin Italian sportbike will debut this fall at EICMA
IT WAS ABOUT THIS TIME OF YEAR, 40 years ago, that the great Dr. Fabio Taglioni unveiled his 750cc "bevel-gear" 90-degree V-Twin. At that time, no other twin-cylinder engine even came close to offering the performance potential of Dr. T's concept.
AS THE LAST SURVIVING TWO-stroke world-championship class approaches its conclusion at the end of 2011, we get to take a peek into the future of the new four-stroke Moto3 class that will replace it in Grand Prix competition. Honda has already geared up for the class with its new NSF250R. Honda used its 1996 RS125R (the last "fac tory" Honda 125 to compete in GPs) as the basis for the project.
WITH PRODUCTION OF ITS BRAND-NEW, THREE-CYLINDER 675CC F3 MOVED UP by four months and bikes expected to hit European dealerships by the end of this year, MV Agusta recently announced a suggested retail price of 11,990 Euros ($16,940) for the standard edition of the bike.
For anyone who loved variety in a motorcycle magazine, this issue must have seemed heaven-sent. The cover story was CW’s annual Ten Best Bikes awards that described a banner year for Honda, with Big Red victorious in six of the 10 categories.
VICTORY MOTORCYCLES' NUMBER-one-selling touring motorcycle is the Cross Country, which made its debut in 2010. It seems that buyers were attracted to the CC's "classically styled" lines over the Vision's futuristic twist on the V-Twin-dresser theme.
HUSQVARNA'S TWIN-CYLINDER, SUPER-moto-inspired streetbike has entered its final stage of development and been given an official name: Nuda 900R. Powered by a special 900cc version of BMW's F800 parallel-Twin, this naked roadster (Nuda means "naked" in Italian) is said to produce more than 100 horsepower.
THERE'S A NEW PLAYER IN HARLEY-Davidson's elite CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) lineup for 2012, the CVO Road Glide Custom. It replaces the touring-oriented CVO Road Glide Ultra and joins three returning models: the CVO Street Glide, the CVO Softail Convertible and the CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide.
ROUNDUP WHILE I WAS AT HOME, MAKING A PANCAKE breakfast, Bill Warner was at the former Loring AFB in Maine, riding his homebuilt 1299cc Suzuki Hayabusa 311.945 mph on the Loring Timing Association's 2.5-mile course. Going this fast is very serious business.
Kawasaki shows us what the digital era is doing for dirt
THE HEADLINE FEATURE for Kawasaki's new KX450F is Launch Control, but don't let that one item overshadow the extensive list of changes that transform this green machine into an all-new motorcycle. While Launch Control is cool, a redesigned frame, a heavily revised engine and a new electronics package are the updates that make the 2012 KX-F a better motocross bike.
For those of us who have lived a long time, your August issue was of special interest, beginning with Mark Hoyer’s tribute to the Trailblazers banquet, then Peter Egan’s “The Way of the Desert Sled” and interview with Roger White, followed by Allan Girdler’s excellent history of Max Bubeck’s Indian and Hodaka exploits.
DID YOU EVER GET THE FEELING THAT you're at the center of a vast conspiracy designed to subvert your mind and deflect your soul toward some righteous quest in the clockwork of the Cosmos? No? Well, consider yourself lucky. This past month, you see, I've had a strange suspicion that some secret brotherhood of hooded Triumph acolytes has held a candlelight meeting in an abandoned crypt and elected to bedevil me with hidden propaganda.
WHEN MY DAD WAS AT DEPAUW University in Indiana about 1930, a classmate known as Rody Rodenberg always had a motorcycle. Then, as now, the Great Depression was making college students that doubted their all-nighters and just-in-time term papers were going to win them better jobs.
BMW F800GS vs. Triumph Tiger 800XC: Middleweight adventure in the Land of the Midnight Sun
IT'S THE USA'S NORTHERNMOST, EASTERNmost and westernmost state. It's larger than Texas, California and Montana combined. Its east-west span—from its lower peninsula that extends into Canada to the outermost of the Aleutian Islands—could reach from Jacksonville, Florida, to Sacramento, California.
It's NOT a rally! You see that proclamation on just about every sign, every T-shirt, every bumper sticker and other mention of the annual Dust to Dawson, um, get-together. The event is instead described as "a gathering of like-minded motorcyclists."
Everyday adventurer or multi-terrain tourer? We travel to Croatia to find out.
ADVENTURE RIDING IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT. IT can be as extreme as traversing rivers and mud bogs in South America or as mellow as sticking to asphalt hairpins while touring the Alps. With such a broad range of terrain in the world and so many definitions of what makes a good adventure bike, the only perfect motorcycle is the one that suits your needs best.
We ride to Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on a Ducati Multistrada, then race it to the clouds. Almost...
AFTER READING ABOUT THE NEW Ducati Multistrada Pikes Peak Special Edition several months ago, I may have accidentally let slip on the phone with Ducati PR guy John Paolo Canton how much I used to enjoy racing supermoto against the brothers Gary Trachy and Greg Tracy (some family members spell it differently) in Road Test Editor Don Canet's SuperTT series.
AMERICANS HAVE LONG LOOKED beyond their own borders for high-performance, sporting motorcycles. For years, there were no (U.S.made options until Erik Buell took a swing at it; unfortunately, he was always swinging with one hand while Harley-Davidson had the other tied behind his back.
The Vincent motorcycle, deconstructed: heresy or hallelujah?
YOU'RE SITTING AT A REALLY GOOD BIKER BAR, WITH EVERY kind of two—wheeler outside—cruisers, classics, choppers. racers. Some lucky bugger turns up on a Vincent Black Lightning, the chatter stops, everybody clambers out for a look. What a thing!
Values are going through the roof on one of the most coveted British bikes of all time, meaning fewer and fewer are actually getting ridden. One man does his part to keep the Vincent myth in motion.
PING WENT THE E-MAIL ALERT. IT WAS MY FRIEND DAN: "LAST night there were four HRDs on UK eBay—the cheapest was £35,000, and the owner boasted it had only run 500 meters in the last two years. A crying shame. Time for the Vincent Liberation Front?" "Funny you should say that," I replied.
INTENTIONALLY ADD MILES TO YOUR daily commute? Are you mad?! Well, call us crazy, but with our new BMW K1600GTL long-term testbike, all we've wanted to do is ride. Even to the point of adding mileage to at least one staffer's already lengthy grind to and from work.
Where are you headed this weekend? Ready your Yamaha Super Ténéré XT1200Z-or just about any other current adventure-tourer—for exploring parts unknown with lighting, luggage, protection and more from AltRider. This relative newcomer designs, makes and sources on/off-road accessories covering a variety of categories. Popular applications include BMW's GS line, the Ducati Multistrada 1200, KTM's Adventure series and the brand-new Triumph Tiger 800XC. Seen here: Crash Bars ($348.43 to $368.43), Luggage Rack ($189.32), Exhaust Heat Shield ($48.97), Skid Plate ($332.97) and Rotopax One-Gallon Gasoline Pack ($49.97; $19.95 to $39.97 for mounts). AltRider, 4000 Aurora Ave. N. #100, Seattle, WA 98103; 206/922-3618; www.altrider.com
Safety Bright Safety Puck
Used to be, you wouldn't leave home without a couple of emergency flares in your toolkit to reduce the chance of a simple roadside breakdown becoming a tragic accident. Now, you can instead rely on the rechargeable Safety Bright Safety Puck ($39.95) with its 16 LEDs and nine light patterns—flashing, flickering, pulsing, swirling or even a flashlight-like beam, among others—to help keep you safe while you fix a flat tire, for example, on the shoulder. This compact, waterproof, molded-plastic disc can be seen for great distances, runs up to 100 hours on a single charge and, because it contains two strong magnets, will stick to any ferrous surface. Safety Bright, Corp.; www.safetybright.com
Arai Signet-Q Helmet
Can't tell the difference between the just-released Signet-Q and the current RX-Q, Arai's "dream" street helmet and basis for the Signet-Q? You're not alone. After all, these two full-face designs share many features, including the wider-eyeport SAl faceshield, Emergency Cheek Pad Removal System, top vent set, side exhaust cowls, removable neck roll and one-piece bottom edge trim. Big difference is the new shell-an Intermediate Oval elongated to create a Long Oval-which is intended to eliminate forehead pressure and "hot spots" for riders whose heads are longer front-to-back and narrower side-to-side. Peel-away 5mm pads on both sides of the removable, washable Dry-Cool head liner allow the wearer to "micro-fit" himself or herself without buying a different size liner. A clear Pin Lock Max-Vision Brow Vent antifog insert is included. Suggested retail prices for the Signet-Q range from $589.95 to $729.95 in Small-XXL sizes. An XS model is planned, as well. Arai Americas, Inc., P0. Box 787, Fogelsville, PA 18051; www.araiamericas.com
IASUS GP3-X2 Helmet Audio System
Can you hear me now? IASUS's GP3-X2 Noise Terminator helmet audio system—comprising a flexible, vibration-transmitting Throat Mic, high-fidelity speakers and in-glove-finger push-to-talk control module—is claimed to be the "only truly effective motorcycle-specific mobile-communications solution available." No charging, pairing or modifications to the inside or outside of the helmet are required. The GP3-X2 ($127)is compatible with all phones that have 2.5or 3.5mm jacks, including iPhone, BlackBerry and Nokia models. IASUS Concepts, Ltd.; www.iasus-concepts.com
Michelin Pilot Road 3 Trail
French tire-maker Michelin has broadened the range of its dual-compound Pilot Road 3 line introduced earlier this year to include V-rated fitments—110/80-19 front ($206.95) and 150/70-17 rear ($248.95)—for three popular adventure-tourers, the BMW R1200GS, Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom and new-to-the-U.S. Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré. According to Michelin, the Trail's tread pattern is exactly the same as that of the previously released Road 3s, which is said to give pavement-oriented riders the advantage of improved grip in wet conditions and longer tire life. Michelin Tire North America, Inc., P0. Box 19001, Greenville, SC 29602; 800/346-4098; www.michelinmotorcycle.com
Harley-Davidson Sirocco Boots
Cold-weather riders have a new reason to get "amped-up" for winter: Harley-Davidson's Sirocco boots with Thermalbed Technology ($399.99; half sizes 7-12, 13). Designed to deliver hours of customizable warmth, the Siroccos use rechargeable lithium-polymer batteries to power the thin material built into the front of the footbeds. Three warmth settings—113 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit—are selected with the touch of the glowing H-D logos located on the boots' leather uppers. Harley-Davidson Footwear; 877/565-1528; www.harley-davidsonfootwear.com
Vibranator Tuned-Mass Dampers
What do you get when you combine the words "vibration" and "eliminator"? Vibranator, of course! These tuned-mass dampers are engineered using helicopter-rotor-head-damper, vibration-cancellation technology to disrupt the "rhythm of vibration" in conventional motorcycle handlebars, thus reducing numbness, tingling and fatigue. We replaced the stock barend weights on a 2011 Suzuki GSX-R1000 with a set of Vibranators intended for late-model GSX-Rs of any displacement. Installation took just a few minutes using our own Allen keys, and we immediately noticed a moderate reduction in the vibration that reached our gloved hands. While the decrease wasn't earth-shattering, it was certainly apparent. Suggested retail price for onand off-road models ranges from $69.99 to $119.99, depending on the application. Vibranator LLC, 7715 Commercial Way #110, Henderson, NV 89011; 888/630-7776; www.vibranator.com
GERMAN HELMET-MAKER SCHUBERTH has been selling the C3 modular lid outside the U.S. since 2008 but finally has taken the plunge into our market again after being absent since 2006. The C3 is a premium, ECE/DOT-approved flip-up helmet with a German focus on engineering for comfort and safety.
Q Just returned from a few weeks riding Wyoming and Colorado with my wife on my Harley Fat Boy, which is my first bike with that new-fangled electronic ignition and fuel injection. I also added a programmable Vance & Hines Fuelpak to go with a 2-into-1 exhaust and an open airbox.
Years sold: 2002-2007 MSRP new: $7999 (2002) to $8499 (2007) Blue Book retail value: $3195 (2002) to $4885 (2007) Basic specs: A 919cc, fuel-injected, in line-Four that made 101 hp and 65 ft.-lb. of torque, allowing the 457-lb. "standard" to cover the quarter-mile in 11.14 seconds at a tick faster than 120 mph and manage a top speed of 142 mph.
Q When you did a review of Griot's Garage Digital Tire Inflating Gun in last November's Service column, I thought it was a great find and put it on my Christmas list. I was thrilled when I received it—until I tried it on my Kawasaki ER-6n and its 17-inch wheels and found that it wouldn't connect because the filler hose isn't flexible enough to allow the straight air chuck to fit down onto the tires' Schrader valves.
Normally, I never include conventional tools in this section; things like socket sets and ratchets are as common as houseflies, so you don't need me to tell you of their existence. Unless, of course, there is something special about them.
NHTSA Recall No. 11V363000 Manufacturer: Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA Models: 2011 ZX-10R, ZX-10R ABS Number of units affected: 2560 Problem: On certain of these motorcycles, it is possible for a portion of the wiring harness to become pinched between the rear subframe and the rear fender or between the rear subframe and the bolt holding the seat.
Recent Honda MotoGP bikes have been fast and powerful, but now they're controllable
ON SATURDAY MORNING AT MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA Seca, Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo survived a hard 25g highside crash, then set pole time in afternoon qualifying. At the press briefing, he said, "For one second, I thought I was paralyzed." In Sunday's race, he poured forth the energy and concentration to lead from Honda's newly powerful quartet of Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli.
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