I’M STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW “normal” people tolerate “normal” vacations, amusements and general leisure time. I’ve taken to calling it the Leisure Gap. This thought has crossed my mind from time to time over the years. Mostly at moments like when I got back from a three-day cruise to Mexico from Los Angeles many, many years ago.
Does the world's coolest flat-tracker come from Italy?
PASSION DRIVES US ALL, AND AFTER getting excellent drives, how ironic these two Italian gentlemen's lines should converge at a 2007 Daytona short-track race, of all places. Once back home in the land of love, music, fashion and history, Paolo Chiaia and Marco Belli turned their serendipitous path-crossing into Zaeta, their own piece of brand-new motorcycling history.
When you have Mat Mladin for a team-mate, you get wound up pretty quickly. You think, "Someday, I'm going to have to fill those shoes." Mladin and Ben Spies always rode so hard—hammer down every lap from the green flag to the checkers. I wanted to go, go, go, to put up the numbers that Mladin and Spies had put up.
HAVE YOU READ NICK IENATSCH'S best-selling book, "Sport Riding Techniques: How to Develop Real World Skills for Speed, Safety, and Confidence on the Street and Track"? Are you a graduate of Freddie Spencer's High Performance Riding School, where, for 12 years, Ienatsch was the lead instructor?
It's always fun to look back through 25-year-old issues of Cycle World and find those nuggets that editors predicted would make an impact on the future of motorcycling, and then realize that in fact they did. Take, for example, the Honda CBR600F Hurricane that was featured on the cover and tested inside: With class-leading power, top-quality fit and finish, and attention to styling that hadn't been seen in the category before, it changed how the industry designed and built middleweight machines.
THAT'S WHAT THE AD FOR THE MONZA JUNIOR 160 ASKED in 1966, years before the little factory in Bologna would turn out its first V-Twin. In those days, Ducati was already marketing itself against the Japanese onslaught with "quality craftsmanship," the "skillful attention" it paid to every detail and bragging about its gear-driven overhead cam.
IF YOU'RE A MOTORCYCLIST AND SAW either the original Tron (1982) or the more recent Tron: Legacy (2010) movies, you can't help but want to get on a Light Cycle and show the "programs" how to ride. You'll never live your life on a circuit board, but if you want to do your best impersonation of star protagonist Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), Evolve Motorcycles (www.evolvemotorcycles.com) can put you on its electric-powered Xenon light bike—for a mere $55,000.
Stability's not a bad thing, but only in moderation
FOR 2012 AND THE FIFTH year of Spyder production, Can-Am serves up an even sportier RS model with an extra “S”: The RS-S gets gas-charged Fox shocks up front, six-spoke front wheels, three cool two-tone metallic paint options and a few more cosmetic upgrades.
IN THE WIDE, WILD WORLD OF motorcycles, trials bikes usually don't show up on the radar. Which is too bad, because trialers often contain some of the latest technology before we see it on mainstream models. That's exactly the case with the OSSA TR280i, a 272cc trials bike with, among other cool features, a fuel-injected two-stroke engine.
Sportbikes are not my genre. My favorite bikes are the Norton Interstate, the BMW R100R and now the Kawasaki ZX-14R— but only for its color. All it needs to make it perfect are yellow wheels and a few John Deere stickers. Let the good tines row—an acre every 9 seconds!
THERE’S AN OLD SAYING THAT COINCIdences always come in pairs. Well, it’s not an extremely old saying, because I just made it up a few minutes ago, but it seems to be true. As a handy example, I went to the AHRMA vintage races at Road America last summer and, while wandering through the swap-meet area, noticed a very well-preserved old Windjammer fairing from the early Seventies.
By 1967, INTENSIVE DEVELOPMENT performed by Doug Hele's team at Meriden had made high-revving 500cc Triumph Twins dominant in what there was of U.S. roadracing. Output had reached 48-and-something horsepower, and the great big, old-technology Harley KR flathead 750s—even with just over 50 hp to push their bulk—were nowhere.
Meet Ducati's new war machine: The 1199 Panigale S is lighter, more powerful and so loaded with electronics the DOD may need to buy one...
OKAY, SO SHOOT ME FOR USING THE "P" WORD WHEN DISCUSSING something Italian, but Ducati really is a passionate company. Take my mechanic for the day at the 1199 Panigale launch, Walter Ansaloni. As he was swapping tires on the S models we were riding, he told me about his history with the factory, which included working on the Vance & Hines Ducati team while Ben Bostrom and Anthony Gobert were racing (circa 2000), and more recently wrenching for James Toseland when he won the World Superbike championship in 2004.
TRIUMPH HAD ONLY ONE TARGET FOR ITS new Tiger Explorer, explains product manager Simon Warburton: the BMW R1200GS. The big GS Boxer, the most successful motorcycle in the last two-and-a-half decades, sells so well it represents a very substantial chunk of BMW's production and has been the machine that both created and continues to define the adventure-touring category.
MY JOURNEY BACK TO CIRCUIT PAUL RICARD THIS PAST February for the press launch of the new MV Agusta F3 675 was special. This enchanting high-speed road course is perched above the French Riviera in the arid mountains of Southern France.
In addition to their great contributions to the development of the new 675 F3, HRT engineers Ezio and Maurizio Mascheroni and Enrico Sironi created a perfect copy of Giacomo Agostini's world-title-winning three-cylinder GP 500.
WHOLESALE CHANGE DOESN'T often come quickly on the heels of resounding success. Since its debut a decade ago, the GSX-R1000 has amassed an impressive tally of 37 combined World and National roadrace titles. The platform has proven particularly dominant in AMA Superbike, string ing together seven back-toback championships spanning 2003-09, and it claimed an eighth World Endurance title this past year.
Showroom-floor old-school Sportster cool from Harley-Davidson
AS SOON AS HARLEY ROLLED OUT THIS PRETTY LITTLE REDHEAD, I knew I had to ride it. You see, back in the day, I rode— or more accurately, performed roadside repairs on—a crazy, Scandinavian-style hardtail Sportster chopper. I'm talking about a terrifyingly noodley 12-inch-over springer variety.
IT'S ALL RELATIVE, ISN'T IT? THE LAST 16-INCH-WHEELED VICTORY we rode was the apehanger-equipped High-Ball just over a year ago, and I am happy to categorically state that for all-around riding and general comfort, the 2013 Judge is a distinct improvement, largely due to the deletion of that 15-inch-high appendage.
HOW MANY TIMES IN MOTORCYCLING HIStory has a new "inbetweener" class popped up seemingly out of nowhere, promising riders that the middle of the road is the fastest route to success? Right now, such a trend is in full effect with street-legal, fourstroke enduros.
Don't let a tipover or minor crash strand you in the middle of nowhere. By packing a few key tools in a fanny pack or backpack, experienced riders are usually back on the trail in no time. Here are our top-10 must-haves. 1 Spare tube (21 inch): If you only carry one, make it a front because it will work in both tires.
LET'S GET TO THE POINT: KTM's completely revised 2012 500 EXC is the best street-legal enduro ever. It simply has blown our minds. Just about everything on the big EXC is brand-new, right down to its name, and there's not a single aspect of the bike that isn't better than before.
Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... and then one fine morning we'll wake up and say what did ever happen to that beautiful future, anyway?
CALL THEM WHAT YOU WILL-SHOW bikes, concept bikes, future bikes, Whatever-they've been around for a long time. Sometimes they point the way to the future, most of the time they should wear a sign that says DEAD END. But the fun part is that nobody knows for sure at the time.
BY THE TIME OUR CAN-AM "TOURing roadster" racked up 10,000 miles, we'd been riding it for almost 18 months, and we'd learned a lot about the $26,499 three-wheeler from Bombardier Recreational Products. In addition to riding it in all weathers and climes from desert to high mountains, we put it on the track to test its straight-line performance as well as how it worked in slalom and skid-pad testing.
Personalizing Harley-Davidson's newest Softail, the FLS Slim, is as easy as thumbing through The Motor Company's Genuine Motor Parts & Accessories Spring 2012 catalog supplement and placing an order with your local dealer. Among the additions seen here: Gloss Black Fork Cover Kit ($139.95) and Lower Fork Sliders ($389.95), Headlamp Trim Ring ($29.95), Solo Spring Saddle ($549.90), Bobber Style Round Air Cleaner Cover ($49.95), Screamin' Eagle Fat Exhaust Shield Kit ($199.95) and Street Performance Slip-On Mufflers ($449.95). Bringing a friend along on an overnighter? Pick up a Passenger Pillion ($139.95) and Detachable Leather Saddlebags ($849.95). And don't forget to visit the Color Shop, where you'll discover a multitude of attractive options, including Vivid Black & Galaxy Black Denim ($2699.95).
It's not much fun digging wet, sticky mud from the difficult-to-reach nooks and crannies on your dirtbike. That's why Risk Racing came up with the Mud Axe ($19.99). This heat-resistant, glass-reinforced-plastic tool with its ergo nomically shaped rubber handle lets you pick, scoop and scrape to effectively clear fenders, footpegs, the area around the engine, suspension linkages and any other tight spots into which mud has found its way.
Transition Series 3 Jacket
"Transition" is a great name for one of Tour Master's most popular textile riding jackets because this CE-armored, three-quarter-length garment has just received a collar-to-cuffs update. Not to worry, the Transition Series 3 ($209.99; XS-XXXXL, plus tall and women's sizes) remains threeseason-friendly, thanks to its waterproof, breath able Rainguard barrier, quilted zip-out liner and Phoslite reflective pan els. Storage options include an internal "media" pocket and a dual-zippered fanny pack. Compatible pants, such as the Caliber ($179.99) or Venture ($149.99), are available.
Bionic and Tech 10 iPhone 4/4S Cases
Haven’t dropped your iPhone 4 or 4S? You will— someday, somewhere, somehow. In the event that you’re holding, er, were holding a new 4S, all-knowing Siri won’t be able to save the day. Better, then, to trust your device to Alpinestars. Or, more specifically, its new Incipio-made cases: Bionic ($34.99; black/black, black/white, white/red, orange/black, blue/white, green/black, OD Green/ Coyote Brown or Hi Vis Yellow/black) or Tech 10 ($24.99; black, white, blue, green, KTM Orange or Suzuki Yellow). The former is a two-piece design with a contrasting-color snap-on plastic shell, while the latter relies solely on durable, shock-absorbing silicone. Both styles have an anti-static coating, cutouts for inputs and include a cleaning cloth and surface protector with a “smoothie card” applicator.
X-Head DOHC Cylinder Guards
X-Head DOHC Cylinder Guards ($189) cover 80 percent of the faces of the cylinder heads on 2010-12 BMW R1200 twin-cam engines. That’s critical, says, MachineartMoto, because, even in a driveway tip-over, the inertia generated by the fall will likely cause the bike to roll briefly onto the face of the head before settling down on its bottom edge. The injection-molded covers are made of a DuPont nylon polymer chosen for its unique blend of highimpact strength, resistance to changes in temperature and UV stabilization. A 7mm-thick thermoplastic rubber liner sandwiched between the cover and head further dissipates energy resulting from a hard knock. Stainless steel fasteners treated with Nyloc thread-locking compound hold the covers securely in place.
Shoei's new DOT-approved modular helmet, the Neotech ($648.99 to $662.99; XS-XXL), picks up where the still-available Multitec left off. A 360-degree Pivot Locking System secures the EPS-lined chinbar in the down . position, while a large, front-of-helmet release offers smooth, single-handed up/down action, even while wearing gloves. Same goes for the QSV-1 sun shield, which provides instant relief from sun glare with one quick motion. A large slider located on the left side of the Advanced Integrated Matrix shell moves the non-locking, tinted inner shield up and down. Air comes in through chin and three-positionadjustable forehead vents and rushes out through the back-of-lid exhaust vent. The 3D liner is removable and washable; center crown and multi layer cheek pads are available in different thicknesses for a custom fit. Changing the newly wider, taller CNS-1 faceshield is a snap with the Neotec-exclusive OR-N baseplate. An anti-fog Pinlock insert is included.
WELL, IT'S A LOT TO PACK INTO A couple of discs, isn't it? Which is why these two run over four hours, with the lion's share of that packed onto Disc 1 and divided into eight chapters, from "The Pioneers, 1907-1914," to "The 120-mph Years, 1990-2006."
New shape, new features for Arai's mid-priced helmet
Arai Americas, Inc
Arai Americas, Inc
Arai Americas, Inc
HELMET FIT IS SUCH AN INTENSELY personal thing that many riders find a brand and model they're comfortable with and stick with it through thick and thin—garish colors, incomprehensible graphics and the inevitable price hikes be damned. Those with affection for the Arai Signet were less than sanguine when the company discontinued it for the Profile in 2008.
Q I ride a '94 Kawasaki ZZR1 100. It had a little over 12,000 miles on the clock when I bought it, and it's now coming up to 42,000. It gets a major service every 3000 miles. At the last service, I had the fork seals replaced, and now, when I brake, the fork shudders.
If you do any kind of work with your hands, you sooner or later will get a splinter of some sort—wood, metal, fiberglass, carbon fiber, plastic, whatever—in a finger or palm. Sometimes, splinters are big enough or pro trude far enough above the skin that you can easily grab them with tweezers; but splinters often are so small or close to the skin that you need a magnifying glass to see them clearly and pluck them out.
I'VE BEEN FORTUNATE TO HAVE HAD CONVERsations over the years with some of roadracing’s top builders. At Talladega in 1974, all of the factory Yamaha TZ750As were violently unstable in Friday practice; I saw Don Castro’s bike throw his boots right off the footpegs as he passed start/finish on the superspeedway.
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