REMEMBER THE VIDEO MESSAGE FROM Erik Buell posted on the Buell Motorcycles website when Harley-Davidson shut the company down in October, 2009? Erik’s downcast eyes, subdued tone and crumpled demeanor? Forget it. I flew to Wisconsin after we awarded the EBR 1190RS Best Superbike honors in our Ten Best voting so I could personally deliver the message to Erik Buell.
The electronics leader finally gets traction control
IF WE HAD PLACED OUR MONEY ON WHICH ONE OF THE JAPANESE Big Four would be first to market with an honest-to-goodness traction-control-equipped supersport, Yamaha would have been the odds-on favorite. Looking back to the 2007 YZF-R1, early clues were evident: "Is true traction control coming to repli-racers?" asked Kevin Cameron in a technical preview of that bike ("Ride Electronic," December, 2006).
ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES OF Aprilia’s APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) package are now available on the RSV4R APRC, which is a tier down from the Factory SE edition that we recently tested (Cycle World, August, 2011). The R version was created to offer a more price-accessible version of the RSV4 superbike, and it now can be purchased with the same excellent technology suite previously available only on the Factory SE. The package includes traction control (ATC), anti-wheelie control (AWC), quick shifter (AQS) and launch control (ALC).
ELECTRIC MOTORS AND MOTOCROSS are a great fit. San Francisco-based startup BRD is deep into development on its RedShift electric motorcycles and hopes to join the plug-in MXer party next year. With the latest lithium-ion batteries and electric-motor technology, power isn’t an issue for electric vehicles; cost and range are the real hurdles.
LAST JULY AT MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA, STEVE RAPP used his professional skills and the well-developed Mission R to smoke the TTXGP/FIM e-Power electric-bike field, winning the eight-lap race by 39 seconds. In doing so, he turned lap times comparable to those of the frontrunners in AMA Pro SuperSport, another of the MotoGP weekend’s support events.
THE PHONE RINGS AT MEAN MARSHALL’S Motorcycles, a dealership in Oakland, California. It’s Bud Ekins calling from North Hollywood, where he has several hundred motorcycles stashed in a couple of dirt-floor Quonset huts. “Marshall,” he barks, “go empty your bank account.” “Why?” fires back Marshall, standing behind his grease-stained parts counter.
Historically, the last few issues of the year provide readers with enticing information on upcoming new models. While this coverage typically includes technical previews or the occasional early riding impression, this November issue offered sport-minded readers a special treat.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON HAS ELEVATED MIX-and-match model making to high art. Here’s another variation: the light-weight touring bike, a path that Harley has been down before. The idea of a touring bike based on something other than an FL chassis has been explored in the FXRT and the Dyna Glide-based FXDX more than a decade ago.
Putting the H-D Electra Glide on notice: There’s a new touring cruiser in town
TAKE A GAMBLE ON UNUSUAL STYLING and you risk obscuring a machine’s goodness. Example? The Victory Vision Tour, a fine motorcycle with a polarizing appearance. Maintaining the Vision’s dynamic excellence but putting on a more familiar face gave us the Cross Country for 2010.
KAWASAKI ISN’T AFRAID TO GRAB EXISTING technology from other market segments and throw it at its dirtbikes, even when that may mean being a class pioneer. The most recent example of this methodology was Launch Control on the 2012 KX450F (Roundup, October).
BRAAPPP! SOME PEOPLE SAY TWO-strokes are making A resurgence. But for KTM, they never went away. That, in part, is one reason its SX models still feel competitive compared to the market-dominating four-strokes. Three of the SX two-strokes have been updated for 2012 (125, 150 and 250), and we spent the better part of a day at a recent Southern Californa press launch staged at Milestone MX riding the latest 250 SX. The switch to a linkage-type rear-suspension system with a new WP shock and one-piece cast aluminum swingarm is the big news for ’12.
TALK ABOUT AN UNEXPECTED THRILLER. THE 2012 HONDA CRF450R has only five minor updates and no real headline changes, so I was surprised and impressed by the positive impact these tweaks made to the new bike’s performance. It only took a few laps around Racetown 395 in Adelanto, California, at the bike’s press introduction to realize that the CRF has taken another step forward.
VINTAGE TRIUMPHS AND the ilk are all the rage these days, and if you’re looking to recreate that look with a dependable and halfway affordable “modern” motorcycle (smart move), the Suzuki TU250X is just about the only game in town, provided your town isn’t in California, for emissions reasons, apparently.
PEOPLE WHO DON’T UNderstand how exciting streetbike riding can be tend to get a worried look that says, “Relax, buddy,” when I attempt to describe that experience to them, especially when the motorcycle I’m trying to depict is the edgy, radically angular, 16,000-rpm-revving Yamaha YZF-R6.
So, BMW’s new six-shooter finally dethrones the Concours 14 but costs 40 percent more (“There’s a New Sheriff in Town,” September)? Come on, guys. Not all of us are multi-millionaire Cycle World employees, and in these times, we must make the wisest choice for our money.
SOMETIMES IT’S NICE TO HAVE DECIsive friends, so you actually get on your motorcycle and go somewhere on a holiday weekend rather than dithering your time away on pleasant-but-forgettable picnics and fireworks. Not that there’s anything wrong with picnics and fireworks.
IT’S USEFUL TO HAVE EARS. YEARS AGO, a young man came to my shop with a Suzuki 500 Titan. He ran the engine and I heard a low-frequency series of thuds. I said, “Tools are in that box over there. Turn the petcock off, lay the thing on its side so you won’t have to drain the gearbox oil, then pull off the primary cover.
Sensory overload at Radical Ducati, where lightness is a fundamental element of cool
EVERY DETAIL IN THE RADICAL DUCATI UNIVERSE SETS MY SPIDER senses tingling. From the minute I walk through the door of their concrete unit on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain, everything is right with the world. My eyes flit like a butterfly, and each place they land is sweeter and more interesting than the last.
Beefed-up Eighties AMA Superbike replicas will never go out of style. But this is no replica. It’s got a one-off aluminum chassis, and Soichiro wouldn’t pee on that engine, even if it were on fire...
THERE IS A SMALL CULT OF BIKE builders in Europe obsessed with creating brutal road bikes inspired by early-Eighties AMA Superbikes. Some are straight replicas, others have modern twists. This bike was never going to be an exact replica.
A century ago, it was called the greatest motorcycle ever built
AS THE YEAR 1900 ROLLED AROUND HERE IN THE U.S., BUSINESSES and inventors were filled with excitement. The ancient system of slow craft manufacture for very limited markets had given way to the giant shops of the railroads, to the sewing machine and to the bicycle.
MATT STOUTENBURG’S 20-YEAR ODYSSEY BEGAN WITH A clapped-out 1987 Yamaha YSR50 bought in the summer of ’89. His original plan was simple: Install a liquid-cooled 80cc two-stroke motor in the YSR frame, bolt on trendy aftermarket mods, pour in some premix and ride.
One-third more aerodynamic than a Ducati World Superbike, plus a heater, seatbelts and air conditioning. A trip into the alternative universe of cabin motorcycles.
ON THE AUTOBAHN EN ROUTE TO THE CZECH Republic, Roger Riedner, the CEO of Peraves, is showing off. He twists the throttle, and our blue Monotracer smoothly accelerates from 125 to 155 mph. Meanwhile, our conversation continues, words flowing as fast as kilometer markers on this German highway.
GARY NIXON, A WELL-LOVED AND SEEMINGLY INDESTRUCtible champion of our two-wheel sport, died August 5 of a heart attack. He was 70. The bare facts of Nixon’s career are that he earned an AMA Expert license in 1960 and had to work hard for everything he learned in racing.
Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 vs. Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP
HYPERMOTARD 1100 EVO SP
THE MAXI-MOTARD IS ESSENTIALLY A FRAT PARTY ON TWO wheels. Overdone substance abuse, togas and giving in to your most sordid impulses? Sure, as long as the substances are fuel and rubber, your toga is leather and “getting it up” refers to one of your wheels.
NOT EVERYONE HAS A MOTOGP DUCATI with grab handles grafted onto the gas tank for two-up Sunday afternoon rides like ex-racer Randy Mamola. Instead, sport-touring and sportbike passengers have to latch onto the rider’s love handles through leather or textile jackets, or worse, skin-tight racing suits.
Q I have an ’85 BMW K100RT with approximately 160,000 miles on it. When I start the bike in the morning, it idles very rough and will stall unless the fuel is enriched at 100 percent. After a few miles, the engine warms up and will run fine with the fuel enrichener closed.
NHTSA Recall No. 11V346000 Manufacturer: Polaris Industries, Inc. Models: 2004-2011 Victory Kingpin, 2006-2011 Victory Jackpot Number of units affected: 1688 Problem: Certain of these motorcycles manufactured between January 1, 2004, and May 1, 2011, were equipped with accessory seats, part #287664-01, Kingpin Touring Double Backrest Seat; and part #287596101, Jackpot Touring Seat With Backrest.
Basic specs: A 748cc, dohc V-Four with an aluminum frame and single-sided swingarm. Its 100 claimed horsepower propelled the 515-pound, fully faired (but saddlebag-less) sport-tourer to an 11.46-second quarter-mile time at 119.04 mph and a top speed of 148 mph.
A former world and national champion returns to his dirt-track roots...with a new and different attitude
ONE OF THE UNSOLVABLE SUBJECTS PONDERED BY PHILOSOphers is this: We were once all little kids, and now, we are adults—parents, workers, boring old folks—very different and yet we're the same as we were back when. How this can be, we don't know, but it's so.
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