MOTORCYCLE MAKERS, PLEASE THROW A WRENCH (OR TWO) IN THE WORKS
THIS MONTH'S STATS
It's true we don't have much need to field strip a motorcycle with a factory tool kit these days. So little seems to go wrong; why do you need a plug wrench or feeler gauge? And if you are unfortunate enough to face a ride-stopping mechanical failure, the likelihood that you'll be able to fix it roadside and get going again is slim.
As a child of the '80s, I was very impressed with Mav's ride in Top Gun, and I purchased one of its descendants, the 1998 ZX-9R. If Ninja is now 30,1998 was the arrogant teenage years after puberty when it started working out, dropped 70 pounds, and made the team as the first production bike to break into the 9s at the dragstrip.
THE HISTORY of Honda's CBR1000RR has been one of careful, even conservative, evolution since the arrival of the original CBR900RR in the US for the 1993 model year. From the beginning, Honda chose a path of finesse over force, preferring a lightweight and sweet-handling package to monster power.
In the May 1992 issue of Cycle World, the brand-new CBR900RR went up against Yamaha's FZR1000 and Suzuki's GSX-R1100. Could Honda's lightweight/smallerdisplacement formula match the liter-plus powerhouses of the day? The RR proved its point after lapping Willow Springs Raceway's 2.5mile course more than a second quicker than the second-best CSX-R, then besting both at the dragstrip despite giving up 10 hp to each.
With dirt bike prices knocking on $10,000, market forces are calling for a bike such as the SSR Motorsports SR250. Never heard of it? Unless you've been a fan of Chinese-made minibikes and side-by-side ATVs, you probably haven't, which isn't surprising, but the SR250'S $3,699 retail price certainly is.
HONDA'S V-4-POWERED VFR800F REJOINS BIG RED'S US LINEUP
After a four-year hiatus, Honda's VFR800F Interceptorthe legendary V-4powered sportbike that captured multiple Ten Best awards and routinely won us over with its impeccable balance-returns to the US market for 2014. As the bike revealed at EICMA last year suggests, the new Interceptor will have a new fork and swingarm, plus standard traction control, ABS, and heated grips.
At EICMA last year, we fell in love with the CB650F and practically begged Honda to start selling this European-market streetfighter in the US. Well, our wish was granted when Honda recently announced that it would bring this tidy four-cylinder city shredder Stateside.
Yeow! An eyescorching neon pink Cycle World logo and cover blurb hinted (not so subtly) of the "Wild Things!!!" residing within this no-fooling April issue. Our "Futurebikes" cover story featured a half-dozen conceptual drawings by imaginative designer Stuart Imai.
Forget the bright colors and fancy graphics. What's under the hood? Alpinestars' Techstar ($179.95) is a tough, lightweight off-road pant with a reinforced seat, 3-D-shaped leathercovered knees, and a freedom-of-movement back panel. Pair'em with a matching Techstar jersey and glove. All sold exclusively online.
Rizoma Tapered Handlebar
What's the first thing that crosses your mind when you bring home a new motorcycle? Which part should I change first, right? On Yamaha's FZ-09, a Rizoma Tapered Handlebar ($110) Is a prime personalization launch point. From there, it's a small step to grips, brake and clutch levers, mirrors, marker lights...
CTEK MUS 4.3 Test and Charge
Did you leave your battery unattended all winter? A fully automatic reconditioning feature on the CTEK MUS 4.3 Test and Charge ($119.99) "will revive and restore deeply discharged and stratified batteries," Three programs evaluate voltage, starting power, and alternator performance. Works with all 12volt lead-acid batteries.
Öhlins FKA 100-series cartridge kits
Based on NIX technology, Öhlins FKA 100-series cartridge kits $1,461 fit late-model adventure bikes, Including the BMW F800GS, Triumph Tiger 800, and Ducati Multistrada. Tuned for "long miles on difficult terrain," the "drop-In" cartridges offer rebound damping adjustment on one leg, compression on the other, and preload on both.
Artago Aecure Bunker Park & Roll
Looking for a theft-proof parking solution? Meet the Artago Aecure Bunker Park & Roll ($1,190). For cruisers, sportbikes, tourers, or scooters, this 220-pound anchoredIn-place system uses a foot-release front-wheel clamp to secure your bike upright then swings alongside a nearby wall to maximize space for another vehicle.
LOOK (AND FEEL) GOOD IN THE DIRT Forget the bright colors and fancy graphics. What's under the hood? <p moved="true">Alpinestars' Techstar</p> ($179.95) is a tough, lightweight off-road pant with a reinforced seat, 3-D-shaped leathercovered knees, and a freedom-of-movement back panel.
Step out of the norm in these ankle-height riding boots
ICON 1000 EL BAJO
Bilt Sprint Racer
Dainese Vera Cruz
Firstgear Mest Lo
Speed And Strength
<p moved="true">SIDI STREETBURNER</p> Black; size 7.5-13 <p moved="true">motonation</p>.com $265 Rigid as a tortoise's shell, Sidi's sport boot comes with replaceable screw-on ankle, heel, and toe protection as well as a closable vent.
BECAUSE YOU CAN'T RIDE EVERYWHERE TRAVEL LIKE A PRO
MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden shares his frequent-flyer tricks for getting from one place to another comfortably
The prospect of air travel can be downright daunting, but veterans eventually develop tricks that make the process more bearable. While racing the MotoGP circuit over the past II years, Nicky Hayden has logged too many air miles to count, so if you want to arrive at your destination calm and relaxed, read on for the 2006 world champ's best advice.
MY TAKE ON MARC MARQUEZ, 2013 MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPION
BY THE NUMBERS
In the early 1920s, a young man, the son of a blacksmith who owned a bicycle shop in Japan, noticed an ad for Tokyo Art Shokai, a company that dealt in the "Manufacture and Repair of Automobiles, Motorcycles and Gasoline Engines." He wrote them a letter.
I am fond of saying that writing is just keying in whatever it is you have to say. That is considerably complicated by the terrible question: What if somebody reads it? Writing in school can be an exercise in humiliation, so the very large population of people who can tell compelling stories in person is reduced by their memory of writing as, frankly, a punishment.
TWO, THREE, OR FOUR: THREE ENGINE CONFIGURATIONS, ONE GOAL. WHICH DELIVERS THE KNOCKOUT PUNCH?
ON THE STREET
ON THE TRACK
LAP ANALYSIS: STREETS OF WILLOW
THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE
Sugar Ray Leonard and Roy Jones Jr. are two of the most famous boxers to compete as super middleweights. If these bikes were fighters, that's exactly the class they'd be in-not quite burly enough to be heavyweights but far too tough and strong to be "just" middleweights.
Suppose you're in the enviable position of having to choose between two of the most stunning sportbikes Ducati has ever made. Which do you buy: the $18,995 basemodel 1199 Panigale or its 899 sibling at $14,995? We wondered how the 899 stacked up against the more powerful 1199.
INDIAN MOTORCYCLE AND MOTO GUZZI FACE THE MONOPOLY
BIKES & BRRRDENS
DEATH & BEER
POWER & MONEY
WHAT REALLY MOVES US
INDIAN CHIEF CLASSIC
CALIFORNIA 1400 CUSTOM
Did everyone see the commercial Indian Motorcycle created to describe the arrival of "choice in American motorcycles"? It's brilliant. Hundreds of Harley riders stream down a two-lane highway, while at a crossroad a mini pack of Indian riders waits patiently.
RIDING THE NEW ROYAL ENFIELD IN ITS NATIVE INDIAN HABITAT
The morning's taxi journey is my very first taste of India, and even here, in the relatively laid-back western beachy tourist area of Goa, it spun my head like a roulette wheel. I can't get into the driver's brain. Why did he set up passes on the entry to every blind corner?
The true art of the motorcycle may never have been so elegantly expressed as it has been by Italy's Bimota. The boutique manufacturer builds incredible chassis and equips them with high-performance engines from various manufacturers for a string of passion-inciting lowproduction hits.
Kawasaki: "We want the 14R to be the fastest, hardest-accelerating production bike in the world." CW: "Yeah, we need one for our long-term fleet, please." Every CW staffer considered buying this bike and not just because of its amazing engine.
We simply can't get enough of the new Indian Chieftain. Editorin-Chief Hoyer was the first to succumb to the faired hard-bagger's charms while covertly covering its evolution. His thumbs-high First Ride (Oct. '13) was quickly followed by my own breathless online review documenting a three-day ride and reactions to the new model at last year's Sturgis event.
Q:I have a 1999 Honda Shadow Spirit VT1100 that shifts precisely when it is cold, but as the bike gets warmer, it becomes difficult to find neutral, and shifting between lower gears is no longer precise. I am currently using Amsoil 20W-40 but have had this problem using a number of other synthetics and oils.
There is much to be learned from temperature on various parts of a motorcycle, and one of the best ways to capture this information is with an infrared "no touch" thermometer like this Bluepoint unit (part No. RTEMPB3A, $120 from snapon.com) I've had in my toolbox for many years now.
Marc Marquez and Brad Baker square off on a short track in Spain
IMAGINE YOU'RE 20 years old. You compete in an intense motorsport. At home, millions of your Spanish countrymen feel a vested interest in your success. Work is controlling a motorcycle that can snuff out your life in a blink and battling riders who wouldn't really care if the bike succeeded.
Editorial/Production: Offices are located at 15215 Alton Pkwy., Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92618; 760/707-0100. Editorial contributions are welcomed but must be guaranteed exclusive to Cycle World. We are not responsible for the return of unsolicited material unless accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope.