I recently read a story out of San Francisco about the burgeoning craze for artisanal toast, a movement that sees customers paying something like $3 for a hearty square of excellent bread spread with choice organic almond butter or locally grown orange marmalade.
In the April issue, Freddie Spencer gives an inspiring and gracious thumbnail sketch of some of his accomplishments and how they parallel those of young 2013 MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez. They are memories that could only be shared by someone who had truly “been there, done that.”
Sweet new entry bike or one of the Grandsons of Anarchy?
With the international motorcycle press gathering in Europe and India for the riding launch of the all-new Street 750, it appeared that those of us in the US were going to be left out in the cold. But Harley arranged a press ride for us right in our own backyard.
Few other motorcycle companies have made bigger strides in a shorter time than Zero. When we rode first-generation bikes back in 2007, they were crude and needed lots of improvements before they could be taken seriously. And improve they did— dramatically.
A bobber or just another way for Victory to spin its barrel full of big twins?
During Bike Week at Daytona, I had the pleasure of riding one of the most aesthetically elegant, quietly sexy cruisers on the market today: Victory’s 2015 Gunner. Sure, it’s basically a Judge wearing new 24-spoke cast-aluminum shoes and a tiny skirt instead of a robe, but this Victory is its own animal—a dark, muscular one that turns heads.
Mileage taxes are part of the likely future. Is the bike world ready?
John Pearley Huffman
The math isn't pretty. Public roads are (mostly) paid for through fuel taxes. But fuel tax revenue is shrinking. And nothing gets government's creativity flowing like falling tax revenue. Most federal and state fuel taxes aren’t indexed to inflation.
At this year's Geneva Motor Show (and simultaneously in a sneak preview staged by Ducati in the Cycle World photo studio), the Bologna company unveiled the 2015 Diavel, a second-generation bike fitted with a tweaked Testastretta engine and other enhancements that include bar risers, revised gauges, and a new LED headlight.
In our April issue, we told readers the naked Honda CB650F shown at EICMA last fall was coming to the US. We made a mistake; Honda is actually bringing in the faired version of that machine, the CBR650F, which will be priced at $8,499 (or $8,999 with ABS) when it arrives this summer.
A time-warp issue: For two separate stories, our editors asked riding champions from a previous era to sample some new bikes of the day. At Willow Springs, Gary Nixon, Mert Lawwill, and Roger Reiman lapped the Kawasaki ZX-10, Suzuki GSX-R1100, and Yamaha FZR1000, while Jim Pomeroy, Mike Bell, Marty Smith, and Gary Jones blasted around Perris Raceway on five new 250cc motocrossers for 1989.
Five new products to help protect you and your ride
1 BAR BUMPERS
2 SAFETY AT HAND
3 GOT YOUR BACK
4 TUBULAR GUARDS
5 UNDERBODY ARMOR
When you’re in the woods or desert, Cycra Ops Limited Edition Handguards ($149.95)—distinguished by their black anodized mounts—are a great way to protect your hands, clutch, brake lever, and cables from damage. The complete Cycra set includes the high-impact plastic shields, Powergrip alloy bar ends, and graphics.
EVS Misano track glove
Armor with airflow? The EVS Misano track glove ($129) has both. Functional and comfortable, these gloves have external finger-stitch protection, foam wrist guards, and adjustable cuffs. In addition to vented knuckles with impact protection, the full-leather Misanos boast a stretch accordion panel and an exhaust vent above the wrist.
Forcefield Blade Back Protector
Security doesn’t need to be complex. Shield your spine with the Forcefield Blade Back Protector ($149). Just slip the sleek and flexible protector under your riding gear, and the four-layer, CE Level 2 certified defense system goes to work. Generous ventilation ports help you beat the heat, while varied shoulder strap settings ensure a proper fit.
Fatty Freeway Bars/Case Guards
Protect your heavy cruiser from low-speed tip-over damage with Cobra Fatty Freeway Bars/ Case Guards ($219.95). Made with massive 1.5-inch-diameter steel tubing, these bars bolt to the lower frame and serve as durable protection for your precious ride. Note: These bars are not compatible for bikes with fairing lowers or forward controls.
With the AltRider Skid Plate ($289.37), rocks, roots, and other debris have little chance of causing any engine or frame damage to your BMW F800GS Adventure. Weighing a substantial 5 pounds, the aluminum skid plate attaches with OEM fasteners and uses a 3/16-inch stainless-steel bracket. Available in silver or black.
MEASURING A BIKE’S ACCELERATION, braking, and handling performance with the same precision as Cycle World is now more affordable than ever. With the $429 Racelogic VBox Sport, you get a professional-grade GPS data logger that records speed, acceleration, distance, time, heading, and position onto a removable SD card at a sample rate of 20 times per second.
Exposure to wind, noise, light, and vibration should be ameliorated
John L. Stein
I love the racing adage, "To finish first, first you must finish." That's a great mantra for all types of riding, but it also helps you take care of that other machine—your body—over the longer endurance race of life. Thanks to the NFL concussion discussion, overall society is finally learning something that motorcyclists know instinctively: Repeated blows to the head, even if you’re wearing a helmet, can be detrimental long-term.
FOUR-STROKE SPORTBIKES HAVE LOST A LOT OF WEIGHT. HERE'S HOW.
Back in 1980, the AMA decided to put 1,025cc "Formula 1" four-strokes into what had been an exclusively 750 two-stroke field. But both the production-based “Superbikes with fairings” and Honda’s purpose-built FWS V-4 tore up tires because of their new combination of great weight and power.
TO RIDE A MOTORCYCLE with a sidecar is to travel into a different world. To ride a Russian-made Ural motorcycle with a sidecar is to travel into a different world tinged with a kind of magical unreality. Riding it is also a bit like wrestling a seizure-prone three-legged bear drunk on vodka (the bear; you seem like more of an oatmeal-stout guy).
WHEN ARE MOTORCYCLES MORE THAN THE SUM OF THEIR PARTS?
So often you hear older riders deploring the lack of "character" in today's motorcycles, yet it's clear that the modern product is better in every measurable way than the product of the 1960s and '70s. Is "character" to be dismissed as just oil leaks seen through rose-colored glasses?
Think of Erik Buell Racing as the little engine that could. When the Buell Motorcycle Company was killed by parent company Harley-Davidson late in 2009, it was perhaps a blessing in disguise for Erik Buell the man. In short order, he created EBR and his small band of just 13 employees in East Troy, Wisconsin, promptly got to work.
A short return visit to the once and future digs of Erik Buell & Co.
The winter of 2010 was the best of times and the worst of times, as our friend Dickens would say. It was the best of times because I was celebrating my birthday by buying a new Buell Ulysses from a Harley dealership in Racine, Wisconsin. It was the worst of times because I’d just gotten word that Harley-Davidson was closing the Buell factory in East Troy, Wisconsin, about 60 miles east of my home.
Gaze across the parking lot at the 2015 Aprila Caponord, and it will likely trigger fantastic dreams of pulling up to a bar in Morocco for a taste of mint tea after a long slog across nearly impassable roads and seemingly endless expanses of nothingness.
Classic American-style cruiser lovers can find many things to admire about the Harley-Davidson Switchback. Primary among them is that the bike is burly in character yet approachable, thanks to a lowish seat height of 27.4 inches and relatively manageable claimed dry weight of 696 pounds.
Q: I have a 2013 Ducati Diavel, and I am puzzled over the odd wear on the OEM front tire, which I replaced at about 9,000 miles. The right half of the tire was worn enough to have a near-flat surface, but the left side had normal wear. The rear tire was fine but also replaced because of mileage.
BASIC SPECS: The Street Triple is perhaps best characterized by its dohc, 675cc liquid-cooled triple, a feisty engine serving as a stressed member in the bike’s race-spec alloy perimeter frame. With minimalist bodywork, the Street Triple tips the scales at a svelte 393 pounds, while its engine produced 93 hp and 45 pound-feet of torque on the CW Dynojet dyno.
A personal recollection of 45 years of motorcycle racing at the World Center of Speed
HOW TO WIN DAYTONA
The first year I went to Daytona was 1969, the year after Harley-Davidson's high-tech mods to its venerable flat-head 750 KR V-twin ended Triumph's hard-won domination. Buddy Elmore and Gary Nixon had won in 1966 and ’67, but in ’68, the best Triumph could manage was sixth and seventh, while Cal Rayborn took the 200 in both ’68 and ’69.
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