OWNING A MOTORCYCLE HAS ALWAYS cast a positive tint on my world view. From the first one to the most recent, the pride, possession, maintenance and promise associated with a motorcycle in my garage has buoyed my perspective on living. There have been lots of other pleasant side effects, too.
First in a new generation of TTX electronic shocks: upgrade for BMW GS, sportbikes to follow
THE FUTURE OF SUSPENSION IS UNFOLDing right in front of our eyes. In a few short years, screwdrivers and shock-preload spanners will be a distant memory. For many current BMW and Ducati owners, they already are. But what if you don’t like the performance of your factory-issued electronic suspension or the range of its adjustments?
ALABAMA’S CONFEDERATE MOTORS JUST RELEASED the third generation of its X132 Hellcat, named after the legendary F6F Hellcat fighter plane. Unique to the latest X132 are the billet engine cases, which are machined from two blocks of 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum. The numerical designation denotes the 56-degree V-Twin engine’s 132-cubic-inch (2163cc) displacement. Confederate that the fuel-injected monster produces 132 horsepower and 150 foot-pounds of torque.
WE’D LIKE TO EXTEND A warm welcome to the latest addition to the Cycle World staff, Thomas Kinzer, our new Digital Content Manager. If it’s related to pixels and CW, he’s involved. While Kinzer is an ex-IBM IT geek, we let that slide because he’s been a lifelong motorcyclist who got his start on dirtbikes camping with his family.
PRACTICAL TRANSPORTATION WAS A COMMON THEME AMONGST the vehicles Yamaha displayed at the 42nd annual Tokyo Motor Show last December. Sharing the limelight with an electric-assisted bicycle and a 50cc three-wheel scooter was the Y125 Moegi.
This year’s Cycle World/Ride for Kids bike to benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation really does combine a few of our favorite things. Put together by Gregg DesJardins of Gregg's Customs, this one starts out as the excellent little Honda CBR250R, loses a little bodywork, gains some cool bits, including CRG mirrors, and Dunlop tires, and winds up being a dirttrack-inspired street urchin/scrambler that looks like it would be right at home almost anywhere.
THIS IS THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF PERIODIC FEATURES THAT WILL HIGHLIGHT A selection of the best motorcycle roads, hangouts and destinations on planet Earth. From exotic, off-the-beaten-path highways and byways that staffers have ridden to routes sourced from motorcycle touring companies or motorcycle-specific map makers to the occasional offroad/adventure trail, we will scour the planet for the top rides.
THEY DIDN’T CALL ’EM THE SWINGIN’ ’70S FOR NOTHING. OR WAS THAT THE ’60S? NEVER MIND. AT THE CONFLUENCE of those decades, the dawn of the most recent Sexual Revolution was taking place concurrently with the beginning of the Great Cruiser Schism:
BMW HAS A WORD GAME for you. Where you might think Dakar, now say Sertao, referring to the vast badlands of northeastern Brazil. Why? Because the 2012 G650GS Sertao is nothing less than a reactivation of the popular F650GS Dakar. Turns out that BMW’s desire to take its entry-level machines upmarket—confusingly calling the starter version of its new 798cc parallel-Twin the F650—caused U.S. dealers to complain about the loss of a steady-selling, under-$10K model.
Sunday memories I keep forgetting to write how truly great the mag is, and finally the last straw! My January issue arrived today, and I read with mass chuckles the wonderful tribute to On Any Sunday. You guys didn’t miss a beat, from the five-time back-to-back viewing (I actually sat through it twice three nights in a row) to the subtleties of Mert’s title slipping away, along with the ending that so wonderfully posed how all things must pass.
WELL, OUR SLIMEY CRUD CAFÉ Racer Run was a big success this past fall. I’ve never been any good at estimating crowds, but those with adding machines behind their eyeballs assured me we had more than 1000 motorcycles show up for this biennial ride from Pine Bluff to Leland, Wisconsin.
BSA’S CLASSIC 350 AND 500CC GOLD Star Singles are the stuff of legend and were among the first production bikes that could also win races. Gold Stars won the Clubmans TT at the Isle of Man with such monotonous regularity that they were, like Yamaha’s TZ750s years later, vilified for being too good.
HISTORY WILL SHOW THAT Cycle World's first ride on Kawasaki’s ZX-14R happened at a dragstrip. Think back to the HI and Z1 of the 1970s, Team Green’s first pacesetters, for the pattern this company has developed: big horsepower, industry-leading acceleration, physics-defying speed.
Could it be time for the DMV to reassess the merit of its Class M license endorsement—at least when it pertains to the ZX-14R pilot? Sure, passing an MSF rider course and state written exam may land you on the street, but a routine blast through the lights at the Thursday night drags aboard a stone-stock 14R is likely to get you booted back to the curb, unless you hold a valid NHRA Pro license that allows you to run in the sub-10-second club.
Fifty Years of “Do You Have Any Idea How Fast You Were Going?”
A brief history of Ludicrous Speed
THE REASON WHY FASTER IS BETTER IS simple enough: Whoever gets there first gets to reproduce with the most desirable member(s) of the opposite sex and gets the best parking spot. Then it became more complicated. After the invention of cosmetics, getting there too fast was no good because the prey would still be in the bathroom anyway.
High bars, hard bags and heaps of black: Victory's badass bagger
THERE’S NO DOUBT APE-HANGER BIKES ARE ALL ABOUT LOOKing cool. And although this bars-in-the-sky style definitely makes some demands of the rider that more conventional cruisers do not, most riders who prefer their fists flying at eye level (or above) couldn’t care less.
When Brian Klock of South Dakota’s Klock Werks Kustom Cycles (www.kustombaggers.com) was let loose to create a customized version of Victory’s Hard-Ball, his first question was, “What do we do with it?” The bike had to be completed by the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show, which gave Klock some inspiration. And he would need it, as he had just over a month to complete the build.
On the (almost) 20th anniversary of the CBR-RR, Honda stays the course with HTC (Human Traction Control)
MOST LITER-CLASS RACER-REPLICAS now come equipped from the factory with traction control, so it is a bit of a surprise that Honda remains a “natural” throttle holdout for 2012. This is even more surprising, given that the CBR-RR is celebrating two decades (it was an early-release '93 model) of cutting-edge tech and large-engine, light-is-rightness.
1993 CBR900RR: The original RR and the story of a story that was, then wasn’t, then was
TO QUOTE THE FAMOUS LINE UTTERED BY ACTOR STROTHER MARTIN in the movie Cool Hand Luke, “What we got here is...failure to communicate." So it seemed in September of 1991 as I sat in my Tokyo hotel room, frustrated and confused, pleading my case by phone to people half a world away in Los Angeles.
The middleweight-Twin Ninja drops the R. Now "rollicking" and "real good deal" are simply implied.
HERE’S THE PROBLEM WITH ENTRY-LEVEL SPORT MOTORCYCLES: While the best ones have the right combination of performance and capability to go with their low acquisition cost and benign manners, they’re just not cool. How many beginning riders do you know who have tapped their college tuition for a 600cc supersport while still wearing bruises from the MSF course?
THE ADVENTURE-BIKE BANDWAGON IS picking up speed fast, and Kawasaki has jumped on board. But Team Green isn’t just going along for the ride; it’s taking the genre into unexplored territory with the new Versys 1000, the world’s first four-cylinder adventure machine.
A Germanic streetbike from the Italian dirtbike people
Husqvarna Nuda 900
AS STREETBIKES GO, THE NUDA 900, the first full-on road machine from off-road specialist Husqvarna in almost 80 years, is an oddball. That shouldn’t be surprising, since the Nuda is an oversize, straining-at-the-leash supermoto made by the people known for smaller versions of such machines but with a nod to the practicality and reliability that parent company BMW does so well with its streetbikes.
Twisted Throttle offers a wide-ranging selection of aftermarket add-ons for Triumph’s new mid-size threecylinder 800 adventure-tourer and its more offroad-oriented sibling, the 800 XC. Among the multitude of parts showcased here are new dimmable (high/low) Denali D2 LED lights ($349.99).
Paw protectors minus all the bells and whistles NOT EVERYONE WANTS, NEEDS OR can afford the kinds of gloves that Valentino Rossi and Ben Spies wear. For many riders, all that’s called for is something midway between those bigbuck, super-tech racing mitts and a pair of gardening gloves from Home Depot.
Break it in or break it? Q I have a question about motorcycle break-in. I plan to buy a new Kawasaki Z1000 as soon as the weather clears up around here, and I'd like to know if I should break in its engine slowly and gently, as some people claim, or “ride it like I stole it,” which is how a few local experts advised me to do it.
Carmelo Ezpeleta is setting a different course for Grand Prix roadracing
CARMELO EZPELETA, CEO OF DORNA, COMMERCIAL RIGHTS HOLDER FOR MOTOGP, doesn’t have a model motorcycle on his desk. He has a model boat. It’s not just any boat, either. It’s a small, sturdy Galician fishing vessel, crafted from wood and with a reputation for being virtually unsinkable.
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