EVERYBODY NEEDS A BIT OF GUIDANCE now and again, don’t they? One of the things that I’ve tried to do during my time at Cycle World is be cognizant of the publication’s history and let that inform our future progress. It is in this effort that I’ve always asked myself, “What would Joe do?” in hoping to capture the spirit of CW's founding publisher, Joe Parkhurst.
SWITCH ON THE BRAMMO EMPULSE R and push what appears to be a start button, and no starter grinds an engine to life, no ignition ignites a volatile mixture and no exhaust barks as it purges burnt gases. Instead, the dashboard blinks ever so silently as the Empulse boots up.
Just when much of the country was gripped by winter doldrums, the motorcycle industry saved enthusiasts everywhere with a pile of fresh hardware for the coming year. “New Bike Preview ’88” was headlined by the 13,000-rpm Suzuki GSX-R750 and supported by the Katana 600 and 1100 (the latter with cool, electrically adjustable windscreen), as well as the Yamaha FZR400 and Honda’s radical RC30 Superbike homologation special.
CARS WEREN’T THE ONLY STARS AT the 62nd Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California, as a collection of 13 pre-1968 German motorcycles made up Class X. Best of Class went to the prototype 1934 BMW R7 belonging to the Munich-based company.
BETWEEN 2003 AND 2006, KAWASAKI PRODUCED a 636cc ZX-6R that, while not legal for AMA 600 Supersport roadracing competition, proved very popular among street riders due to its robust low-end and midrange power. Now, that same concept is back with a vengeance in the form of the 2013 ZX-6R ($11,699).
UP To a new year, for giving us the excuse to replace our old calendar with this fantastic 2013 "Milestones: An Isle of Man Road Races Calendar." We, like many of you, would be perfectly happy flipping through 12 months of motorcycle action from the IOM TT, but isn't an artsy, conceptual interpretation of famous and not-so-famous TT events that are cleverly and humorously reenacted by semi-nude and nude model (and calendar creator) Rachael Clegg better?
THERE IS NO GREATER PLACE TO ENJOY a motorcycle than from the saddle, which is why the Cycle World Rolling Concours is such a great classic bike show: Everybody rides if they want to win! Some 80 bikes showed up for this year’s event, held for the second time in conjunction with August’s Indy MotoGP round.
TRIUMPH’S BIG EXPLORER, all-new in 2012, already gave the visual impression it was ready for serious off-road adventuring. Now, the XC version takes it one step closer to reality: Wire-spoke wheels with aluminum rims (19-inch front, 17 rear) generally hold up better to off-road bashing than cast ones, and the wheels on the new XC also mount tubeless tires—often easier to repair trailside than your tubed jobs—giving the bike the best of both worlds wheelwise.
MOTOCROSS IS GOING THROUGH A DYNAMIC SHIFT IN SUSPENSION technology. Concepts that were way ahead of their time—like the Fox Air Shox and Factory Forx from the mid-1970s—are now viable options due to progress in technology and manufacturing.
Thrifty riding pleasures on the “Terra” and “Strada”
THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO experience a vast amount of countryside in a short period of time than on a motorcycle. In fact, the same can also be said for a big city. This is the aim for the 2013 Husqvarna TR650 Terra and Strada: exhilarating, go-anywhere rides that are also affordable and fuel-efficient.
Just finished the October issue and was excited about seeing the articles on Café Racers—nice job, indeed. Neither the 39-horsepower Guzzi V7 Racer nor the 61-hp Triumph Thruxton will send adolescent readers' hearts a-flutter.
THESE DAYS, A LOT OF YOUNGER, LESS experienced riders come up to me and say, “Mr. Egan, you have an almost legendary reputation for being able to change the oil and filter on your motorcycles without spilling more than about 30 percent of the oil onto the garage floor or your own clothing.
ONCE DECADES OF HARD WORK HAVE dealt with large effects, smaller details shine through. A case in point is motorcycle suspension. As to large effects, what these units do is convert unwanted chassis motion into fluid kinetic energy inside a glorified piston pump.
WE HAVE A SOFT SPOT FOR THE "CHARACTERS" OF THE motorcycle world. That's why we were excited to throw a leg over the new 675cc, inline-Triple-powered MV Agusta F3. Like the Triumph Daytona 675 before it, this Italian-made middleweight flips the bird at the conventional 600cc-supersport-displacement norm by packing a supersized engine into its lightweight chassis.
Semi-active suspension helps bump the ride-by-wire S1000RR to the next level
YOU CAN'T HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT, TOO. That's what I was thinking as I stood in pit lane at the Jerez Circuit watching the gentle morning light illuminate this holy land of motorcycle roadracing and the beautiful new paint and bodywork on BMW's S1000RR-based HP4.
IN RELEASING THE HP4 VERSION OF ITS S1000RR SPORTBIKE, BMW IS double-underlining its continuing leadership in bringing the electronic aids of world-championship racing to the street. European makers were the first to put traction control and engine-mode control on production models, while Japanese makers adopted them much more slowly and often under confusing names.
More performance headroom with Team Green’s entry-level sportbike
Ninja 300 ABS
CONTRARY TO OUR SOCIETY'S SUPERSIZE-ME MENTALITY, Kawasaki’s Ninja 250R has sold like Happy Meals since it first hit the scene back in 1986. Even Cycle World expressed doubts in our first road test of the bike (June, 1986), concluding that “This country hasn’t shown much fondness for small streetbikes in recent years, and only time will tell if the 250 Ninja will fade into obscurity.” Guess we blew that one!
Honda’s sweet new CRF250L dual-sport bike takes us back
CRF250L dual-sport bike
ALL OF YOU WHO PUT CRAYON TO PAPER over the last few years to tell Honda to go back to building simple, inexpensive little bikes like the ones that helped make the company what it is today have gotten your wish. Powered by a slightly modded version of last year’s all-new CBR250R liquid-cooled, fuel-injected Single in a new chassis, this sweet little $4499 CRF250L sells for $600 less than the (carbureted) Kawasaki KLX250S, $700 less than the (air-cooled) Yamaha XT250, and a whopping $2191 less than the very trick WR250R.
A corner-carving sport-tourer with all the big-rig bells and whistles
IT’S NOT EXACTLY A CASE OF DAVID CHALLENGING GOLIATH, BUT IT’S close—real close. With the new 1200 Trophy SE luxury-tourer, Triumph, a comparatively small bike manufacturer, is challenging one of the industry’s giants when it comes to producing frontline over-the-road motorcycles: BMW.
Dr. Thompson puts the Ducati 900SP to the ultimate test—the Test of Naked Truth—on the strange and dangerous blacktop of the Real World
HUNTER S. THOMPSON
THERE ARE SOME THINGS NOBODY NEEDS IN THIS WORLD, AND a bright-red, hunch-back, warp-speed 900cc cafe-racer is one of them—but I want one anyway, and on some days I actually believe I need one. That is why they are dangerous. Everybody has fast motorcycles these days.
Yes, I admit it. As Feature Editor of Cycle World, I displayed either the idiocy or insight to give Hunter S. Thompson a high-end, high-speed, high-priced Ducati and did so with no guarantee that the Guru of Gonzo would return either the motorcycle or an article.
Return to yesteryear and BMW's mid-Eighties Paris-Dakar-Rally-winning glory with the R120 G/S body kit from Unit Garage in Italy. Designed to fit 2004-12 R1200GSs, the $5000 kit comes painted, is said to install in about four hours with no permanent modifications to the motorcycle and weighs 14 pounds less than the parts it replaces.
MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, MOTORCYCLE batteries fail due to neglect. Bikes often sit unused for long periods, especially during the winter in cold climates, and that can kill a battery faster than you can say, "Hey, my bike won't start!" That's why battery chargers like Schumacher's SP2 Battery Extender were invented.
Q I usually have a chance to go through some European and Japanese motorcycle magazines every month, and I've read about a lot of cool bikes that aren't sold here in the U.S. I've always wondered why the companies don't bring more of those models over here.
Repairing a flat tire on a dirtbike when you’re out on the trail is one of the more primitive things you’ll ever do with a motorcycle, especially when breaking the tire’s bead. You have to lay the wheel on its side, continually jump up and down on the sidewalls with the edges of your boots until that bead finally comes loose, then turn the wheel over and repeat on the other side.
Problem: Ducati is recalling 1199 Panigales manufactured between March 16 and July 12, 2012, for five different safety-related issues. (1) The exhaust butterfly-valve bowden cable could melt or burn due to excess heat of the catalytic convertor, which could lead to smoke and/or a fire.
Basic specs: An 1130cc, dohc, 60-degree, fuel-injected V-Twin making 120 horsepower and 80-foot pounds of torque in a standard-style chassis with upright ergonomics, sport-tuned suspension, Brembo brakes and sticky tires. Why it won: The Street Rod never won a Ten Best award and was only in the H-D lineup for two years.
WILL MOTOGP SURVIVE? INSIDERS SAY ONLY RADICAL COST-cutting and production-based Claiming Rules Teams (CRT) bikes can restore full grids and save teams from a shoestring existence in which lesser riders may be shaken down to cover parts costs.
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