Is there anything more satisfying than rebuilding your own vintage motorcycle engine and making sure everything is just perfect, from magneto timing to carburetor tune to clutch adjustment to valve timing? Sure, riding is eminently more satisfying.
In response to “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” I realize that performance encompasses more than just horsepower numbers, but dividing cost by horsepower numbers is very interesting. The cheapest horsepower is the BMW S1000RR, at $84 per.
ON THE SURFACE, the 2014 BMW F800GS Adventure might appear to be a simple restyle of the standard model, but important updates to the midsize parallel-Twin make it a serious option for those who really like to travel into the wilds. Buyers will appreciate the larger-capacity 6.3-gallon fuel tank (up from 4.2), improved wind protection, more comfortable seat and off-road guards for the engine, handlebar levers and underseat fuel tank.
The adventurous X completes the 471cc Twin trilogy
WE WERE PREPARED to be under-whelmed by Honda's new 500 Twins. But riding the nimble new CB500F for a few weeks actually was a blast; it's a motorcycle that grows on you. And the CB500X is more of the same: What the counterbalanced Twin lacks in outright power (our F put out 45 horsepower on the CW dyno), it more than makes up for in enthusiasm, and the six-speed box works well, a good complement to the smooth engine.
CAN-AM'S BASE-MODEL Spyder “roadsters” share frames, powertrains and suspensions, and are available with five-speed-plus-reverse manual transmissions (SM5) and semi-automatic boxes (SE5). The differences among the three models are in their bodywork, standard and optional equipment, and, most importantly, riding positions.
Suzuki's Open-class adventure bike for the masses arrives late this fall
IT’S OFFICIAL: The V-Strom 1000 that Suzuki told us as early as last October would be coming to the U.S. will make its debut as a 2014 model and likely be shown at the inaugural AIMExpo motorcycle show in Orlando this October. Production V-Stroms are expected in Suzuki dealers shortly after that.
Erik Buell aims to build 20,000 American-made motorcycles per year by 2017
HERO MOTOCORP. LTD. of India, which sold nearly six million motorcycles and scooters last year, recently bought 49.2 percent of Erik Buell Racing LLC for $25 million. In a Wall Street Journal report following the purchase, Ravi Sud, Hero’s CFO, said EBR’s goal is to sell about 20,000 motorcycles in 2017.
Cycle World’s 13th Annual Ten Best issue dedicated 17 pages to naming the year’s best bikes across 10 categories. We included several additional selections of 10, such as the most influential people in American motorcycling, most memorable races, best racing rivalries, greatest bikes of all time and best technical innovations.
The mini-moto segment is clearly on the rebound, led most recently by these two competition-oriented Kawasaki two-strokes: the KX85 and KX100. If you think two-stroke technology has peaked, think again. Kawi says it has squeezed 20 percent more power out of the $4349 KX85 and placed an emphasis on low-end to midrange output.
Big news from Big Red about fun little bikes: Honda’s CRF80F and CRF100F have been replaced by the 2014 CRF125F, an air-cooled, electric-start Single with an all-new chassis and a front disc brake. The CRF125F, with a 14inch rear wheel and a 17-in.
The inaugural American International Motorcycle Expo takes place in Orlando, Florida, October 16-20. Unlike most other trade shows, AIMExpo is open to the public (Friday afternoon through Sunday), following two days in which approximately 300 exhibitors will showcase their wares to retailers and press.
He’s won Pikes Peak three times in a row, most recently on a Lightning Electric Superbike
ON RACE DAY, THE COURSE WAS REALLY GREEN because of heavy rains the day before. We had practiced and qualified on a really bed-in course. A good amount of the motorcycle field crashed. Micky Dymond went first and he crashed out, which was shocking because he’s so good there and he knows the place so well.
Look for a fully faired, street-legal version of the KTM 390 Duke with clipon bars to make its debut at EICMA in November. This new RC390, based on the RC390 ADAC Cup spec racer (photo) unveiled at the Sachsenring last summer, will go on sale in Europe early next year.
A good boot made better: Fourth-generation TCX Explorer Evo Gore-Tex ($229.99) combines Cordura and microfiber with a Gore-Tex liner for waterproofness. This sporty mid-height zip-up has CE-certified ankle protection, a polyurethane shift pad, shin guard, reinforced heel counter and touring-oriented molded rubber sole.
Bursig Paddock Stand
You don’t have to be a professional mechanic to appreciate a Bursig Paddock Stand ($575). One person can quickly and safely lever an entire motorcycle off the ground for service or storage. The model-specific adapter plate is adjustable, ensuring a perfect fit. Add $90 for a set of four wheels that makes it easy to move your bike about the garage.
Leatt Chest Protector Pro Junior
Designed for riders ages 6-12 weighing between 70 and 120 pounds, the neck-brace-friendly Leatt Chest Protector Pro Junior ($129) is the first youth protector CE certified at prEN 1621-3:2012, Level 2, meaning it offers the highest available impact protection. The back of the protector is certified to EN 16212:2003, Level 1.
A helmet with pedigree? Claim to fame for the LS2 MX456 ($159.95-169.95) is that the legendary Cyril Despres wore this lightweight DOT/ ECE-approved fiberglass design to victory In this year’s Dakar Rally. The AirCo Pump Fit System built Into the cheekpads and liner provides "a perfect fit in just a few pumps."
Cleaner Degreaser Formula
Cleaning your dirtbike? Slick Products has expanded its line of bearing-and-finish-friendly products, adding powerful Cleaner Degreaser Formula ($11.99) and appearance-renewing High Gloss Pro Shine ($11.99) to biodegradable Super Concentrate Cleaning Solution ($19.99). Also available: a spray applicator, scrub brush and microfiber towel.
Whether you’re commuting, exploring or traveling, the right carryall will help you bring what you need wherever you’re going
KLIM KREW PAK
OGIO MACH 5 MOTORCYCLE BAG
KRIEGA R25 MOTORCYCLE BACKPACK
MISSION WORKSHOP THE RAMBLER
ALPINESTARS TRADER DAY PACK
Storage capacity: 28 liters 208/552-7433 klim.com $135.99 OFF-ROAD SUPPORT Enduro riders carry lots of spares, tools and other supplies. Perfect for unsupported off-road adventure, the Krew Pak combines a removable, compartmentalized tool pouch (tools not included) with a hydration reservoir, fleece-lined goggle pouch and external shovel storage. This pack is all you need when you have to bring everything you own off-road.
MACH 5 MOTORCYCLE BAG
Storage capacity: 17 to 24 liters 800/922-1944 ogio.com $169.99 COMFORT KING Designed specifically for motorcyclists, this streamlined bag sets new standards for on-bike comfort and functionality Thoughtful details, like an off-center hip belt that won’t scratch gas tanks, padded sleeves for carrying a laptop and a faceshield, a fleece-lined sunglasses pouch, plus lots of smaller pockets, make this a staff favorite.
R25 MOTORCYCLE BACKPACK
Storage capacity: 25 liters 504/872-9367 kriega.us $189 DUAL-PURPOSE READY The R25 has a four-point Quadloc harness that provides excellent support on or off highway. Interior features are simple but well-conceived. We preferred to use the R25 for enduro riding, as the open-neck design accommodates a neck brace. Optional Kube harness pocket is a must. Also available: a CE-approved back protector.
Storage capacity: 22 to 44 liters 415/864-7225 missionworkshop.com $265 FORT KNOX If keeping the contents of your backpack dry and safe is important, The Rambler is a great choice. Designed for professional bicycle and motorcycle messengers, this weatherproof, “roll-top”-style bag expands quickly, doubling cargo capacity. Interior pockets provide organization, while internal carbon-reinforced framework offers flop-free rigidity. A waist belt is optional.
TRADER DAY PACK
Storage capacity: 27 liters 800/438-2577 alpinestars.com $110 STORM CHASER A simple, effective bag for keeping your stuff dry. This sleek-looking pack is ideal for commuters in wet climates or anyone looking to carry more stuff than they can safely pack on their motorcycle. While storage features are fairly basic, the welded-seam construction and water-resistant zippers never let us down.
Intersections are dangerous. If drivers won’t see us, maybe their cars will.
John L. Stein
ACCORDING TO THE U.S. Department of Transportation, 50 percent of fatal motorcycle collisions occur in intersections compared to just 21 percent for all vehicles. Statistically, then, motorcycles have a greater need for new collision-avoidance features available in the car market.
Chances are, if you're old enough to understand the title of this column and its reference to vinyl albums (which I see have made a comeback among audiophiles), you may also have been around when I got hired by this magazine. That would be in the first week of January in 1980.
The classic idea of progress has generally been that every day and in every way, things are getting better and better. Many point to Moore's Law, which has observed that approximately every two years, the number of features that can be placed on a computer chip doubles.
AN EARLY RIDE ON THE NEW CHIEF, PLUS AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ALL-NEW INDIAN
INDIAN MOTORCYCLES has taken a tremendous beating in the decades since the 1953 closure of the factory proper, but the nobility of the brand is so deep, the cultural imprint so strong that it has endured. In recent years, Indian was a bit like watching a tough but aging prizefighter getting his ass kicked in his “comeback,” to the point that you almost wished he’d just go down and get his suffering—and that of his loyal fansߞover with.
WE TRAVEL DOWN TO WILLIE NELSON COUNTRY TO GET SOME EXCELLENT TEXAS BARBEQUE—AND ALSO RIDE THE FIRST SERIES B VINCENT RAPIDE AND AN EXQUISITE HRD RUDGE PYTHON SPORT
Dangerous business, flying down to Austin to ride a Vincent. Last time I made this trip was 14 years ago, and I ended up buying the 1952 Vincent Black Shadow featured in a story I cleverly entitled “To Ride a Vincent.” Came home, sold everything I owned that anyone would want to buy and purchased the bike from collector/restorer Herb Harris.
THE MOMENT we threw a leg over a Yamaha Super Ténéré’s saddle, we were hooked. The parallel-Twin-powered adventure bike soon proved to be the best all-arounder in the class, even earning Best Adventure Bike honors in 2012. Thrown into multiple comparison tests, the Super T always performed well, on-road or off.
Q: I have my dream bike now: a 2009 Kawasaki Concours. Problem is, she has to live outside my current humble abode. I have a Nelson-Rigg cover that does a fairly good job, but what other steps can I take to discourage spiders, moths and other “outdoors-types” from taking up residence under the cover?
Q: believe you’ve gotten the physics incorrect in your “Control the Contact Patch” sidebar (“The Pace 2.0” by Nick lenatsch, August). A bigger contact patch does not give a tire more resistance to sliding: The force of friction is proportional to the normal force (F=mu x N), where F is along the surface and N is perpendicular to it, and mu is the coefficient of (static) friction.
New riders, new rules and new fans for our sport’s oldest venue
EVER SINCE THE DAYS of what was men called “pedal assist,” motorcycles hills have been linked in competition. That is, sometimes the motor does the job, sometimes the hill comes out on top. In pioneer days, this wasn't mere sport. When Indian’s founders wanted to show the world what they’d built, they summoned the press to the steepest hill in Springfield, Massachusetts.
TO LEARN ABOUT hillclimbing, I phoned Dan Watson, veteran builder of nitroburning 'climbers and father of seven-time national champion Dave Watson. Unlike most other motorsports, hillclimb continues to embrace the three classic racing fuels: gasoline, alcohol and nitromethane.
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