A big part of the allure in motorcycling is the complexity of the sport and its equipment. It's also a big barrier to getting started. Which is why Cycle World and the Bonnier book division, Weldon Owen, have published The Total Motorcycling Manual.
My grandfather, George, would be proud to finally see an Indian ("Justice," October) that is not a Harley with an Indian logo on the tank. Polaris has the manufacturing acumen and resources to pull this off. You do it by giving the bike its own personality.
Too bad it took a Great Recession for Honda to reinvent these wheels
BY THE NUMBERS
GOD ONLY KNOWS what different path my life would've taken if I'd had one of these in 1973. Well, it would've been the same path at first: the trails that wound through the woods at the end of our street where all the cool bigger kids rode their Elsinores and Combat Wombats.
COMPETITION IN THE four-stroke 250CC motocross class is fierce. To stay competitive, bikes must be made better each year. Honda knows this well, as proven by the all-new 2014 CRF250R that has been brought in line with last year's CRF450R in many ways.
Honda's CRF450R received minimal but effective changes for 2014. The less-than-perfect air fork was addressed by increasing stock pressure from 33 to 35 psi (like going up a spring rate) and by changing the valving. Rather than diving down on corner entry and over smaller bumps, the fork stays high in its stroke so that the rider has better control.
The 1199 Panigale debut two years ago was a revolution in the superbike class but one limited by price. The real question is, how do you bring the revolution to the largest number of potential owners? This past fall, Ducati revealed an 899 Panigale that expresses CEO Claudio Domenicali's underlying aim: to produce the affordable exotic.
Harley-Davidson continues to have its eyes on India, one of the largest markets in the world for motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds. But India has a very high import duty for luxury goods, which is set at 75 percent for motorcycles over 800cc.
Big tank, heavy flywheel characterize BMW's go-anywhere machine
HERE'S OUR first look at BMW's new liquid-cooled R1200GS Adventure, a 2014 model being unveiled at the EICMA show in early November. As expected, this new Adventure is powered by the same 1,170cc boxer twin found in the standard GS, replete with "vertical-flow" heads and an integral six-speed gearbox featuring a wet clutch.
Although we caught some flak in Letters for naming the six-cylinder Honda Cold Wing the Best Touring Bike of 1988, the motorcycle on our cover, the Cycle World Project GSX-R endurance racer, proved that we hadn't retired to the Barcalounger just yet.
Russian company LiveMap is looking for funding to produce a helmet-mounted optical display of GPS-based route information controlled by a natural language voice-command system like iPhone's Siri. Such helmet displays have heretofore existed only for military pilots.
OEM connectors for easy installation? Check. Tenmap memory? Check. Compatible with any brand of exhaust? Check. On-the-fly adjustments? Check. Software? Check. Two Brothers Racing Juice Box Pro ($249.98) is equipped straight from the box with those features and others to improve throttle response and increase torque. → (800) 211-2767
Go what? Turn your Apple iPhone 4/4S or 5/5S or Samsung Galaxy S3 into an "all-conditions" HD camera with a Maptaq Qmountz ($117). The snap-close case is impact/scratch-resistant and watertight to a depth of 30 feet, so a sudden summer storm won't be a problem. A screw-on fish-eye lens and four types of mounts are included. → +352266645-55
Combination Digital Speedometer/Analog Tachometer
Add engine speed at a glance to a 2014 Sportster or late-model Big Twin with a plug-in HarleyDavidson Combination Digital Speedometer/Analog Tachometer ($314.95). The backlit gauges provide an easy-to-read digital speedometer, a sweeping analog tachometer needle, and a liquid-crystal screen with a scroll feature, → (800) 258-2464
Air Pro 2 Wi-Fi
Shooting and sharing video in real time is a snap with the 4.6-ounce, single-finger-operation iON Air Pro 2 Wi-Fi ($299.99). A free app lets users preview and replay 180-degree field-of-view footage on a mobile device, which may also be used as a remote control for turning the waterproof camera on and off. → (855) 411-4466
Would you like to communicate hands-free with other riders, make and accept phone calls, and listen to your favorite music through powerful stereo speakers? The slim, lightweight Sena SMH10R ($219) boasts an intercom communications range of 980 yards and is Bluetooth 3.0 enabled for faster response time and longer battery life. → (408) 448-1997
THE PLIGHT OF THE adventure-touring suit? It should work in all conditions, from cold and wet in Alaska to the hottest places in Africa. That's the goal of the two-piece, zip-together Dainese Teren. Stretchy "Elasticated Cordura Comfort" makes up the outer shell, and thermoformed external shoulder cups aid range of motion.
THERE IS A BLIND DROP-away jump at my local track—sort of a lover's leap for MX jockeys. But more than just jocks use the track, and on a recent Saturday, a grade-schooler crashed at the bottom. Then, as the boy stood beside his fallen Kawasaki KX65, commercial jet pilot Shane Murphy launched off the top aboard his KTM 350 SX-F. "Don't hit that kid!" he flashed.
The crankshafts and connecting rods of most four-stroke motorcycle engines today turn on plain, or journal, bearings. The journals of the crank are ground to a smooth and truly cylindrical shape, and the main and rod bearings consist of semi-circular steel shells surfaced with a thin layer of a special metal alloy, typically a so-called "white metal." This thin layer must satisfy seemingly mutually exclusive requirements.
THE THREE-CYLINDER MIDDLEWEIGHT NAKED BIKE SEGMENT GETS OFFICIALLY, BEAUTIFULLY CROWDED
ON THE GAS
IN YOUR GARAGE?
STREET TRIPLE R
THIS TRIO OF TRIPLES absolutely represents the modern evolution of what we used to just call "motorcycle." They are essentially denuded sporty bikes meant to engage our bodies in a human-friendly stance and offer great all-around performance.
FAST FREDDIE TAKES US BACK TO LORD MARCH'S FESTIVAL OF SPEED
MY INITIAL INVITE to the Goodwood Festival of Speed came in 1998, from my hero and friend John Surtees, who organized the motorcycle portion of the festivities for the first six years. In that first Festival, I rode a Honda Grand Prix bike from my era, a 1987 version of the RS500 V-3.
As the venture-touring market has matured, the bikes within the category have evolved into quasi sport-touring machines that can competently handle light off-road terrain. None, though, handle dirt anywhere near as impressively as KTM's big 950/990 Adventures.
Four twins—two brand-new European Open-classers and a pair of tried-and-true Japanese middleweights—loaded for overseas adventure
Thank God for Jenny Smith. All week, she'd hung back, passing time in my mirrors, never putting a wheel wrong. Shortly after crossing the border into Germany from The Netherlands, however, Smith took charge, leading the way through a maze of highways to our final destination: the castle-crowned university town of Marburg.
They raised me Catholic back there in the Midwestern 'burb, but parochial school was too expensive, so every Saturday morning, it was off to catechism class. While the other kids watched cartoons on all three channels, I learned about the wages of sin and memorized all your popular prayers, motivated by the knowledge that failure would lead to the fiery pit for eternity.
Q: My 1999 Ducati Monster 750 loses proper chain tension every time I put it on the rear stand. Is this normal? At 24,000 miles, I noticed that the chain and sprockets were worn (roughly 7,000 miles on this set), so I changed them. It didn't help.
Two decades after his paralyzing racing accident, three-time 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey talks about his crash, drive to win, and current health
LETTING GO isn't something that Wayne Rainey does well. "I will never accept how things ended," he says, "but I have adjusted to what I missed, and that is the hardest part. There was a time I missed racing pretty hard, but I missed life in general." Twenty years ago, Rainey's life changed forever.
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