A SHORT LIST OF HOW TO SPOT THE WORST OF THE FOUR-WHEELED MENACE
It's a dangerous world out there. It usually seems like everybody on four wheels is out to get us, but I've found that some are worse than others. During my riding years, I've learned it's easy to spot the drivers who are the greatest menace. Here's a short list of indicators that will let you know you are in danger from these behind-the-wheel buffoons:
When I saw the Suzuki V-Strom on the cover of the May issue, I thought it was the ugliest excuse for motorcycle styling that I had ever seen. However, after seeing the MV Agusta Brutale Dragster in Ignition, I decided to give the ugly award to the MV.
The Valkyrie is back. Is a horned helmet required?
GOING FOR THE GOLD
GOLD WING F6B
There's a lot to like about the Honda Valkyrie, newly reinvented after 10 years on the shelf. For starters, the 1,832cc flat-six is one of the most dynamic, powerful, imposing, and just damn cool engines ever offered in a production motorcycle.
The Ducati Diavel has been defying categorization since its 2011 introduction. It's a little sportbike, a bit of a cruiser, and a decent dose of laid-back standard. All these traits add up to a lot of serious fun. In fact, the first two years the Diavel was on the road, we voted it Best Cruiser in Ten Best Bikes balloting.
Yamaha's Super Ténéré defines versatility. In 2012, we named the Super Ténéré Best Adventure Bike in the category's inaugural year, saying: "This 1,200cc twin makes a comfortable long-distance tourer, provides a commanding seating position for urban riding, and performs quite well off-highway.
Massimo Tamburini was not born in the US, but he reminds me of a classic American success story. The Italian motorcycle designer was a totally self-made man, progressing from a plumber-with superb welding ability-to top-level engineer and designer who was equally at home in industrial workstations, at the drawing board, or behind the computer.
At the upcoming EICMA show in Milan this fall, Ducati will unveil a new Scrambler. The Scrambler of the '70s, you might recall, was an evolution of a previous 250cc enduro model named the Motocross. US importers Mike and Joe Berliner saw a lot of potential in the concept, even visiting Borgo Panigale and laying down the sketch of the bike they wanted, largely inspired by the 250 dirt-trackers that were successfully derived from the Ducati 250 Diana.
Not only did MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez have what he called the "perfect weekend" last April at Circuit of The Americas—leading every practice, topping qualifying, and winning the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas-the 21-year-old Spaniard impressed 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz.
The then-Europe-only CBR1000F was called "awesome, outrageous, and, alas, unavailable" on our cover. The bike was so enticing that we traveled to England to capture a lengthy riding impression and sang the praises of this fully faired open-class sportbike.
Adventure is out there. See it in a whole new light with the DOTapproved Shoei GT Air Wanderer TC-1 ($670.99). Shoei's first internal sun shieldequipped full-face helmet provides comfort with a regulated ventilation system and a fog-eliminating breath guard. The multipiece EPS liner is also shaped to enhance ventilation.
Helmet Cool Spray
Tired of having a hot head inside your helmet? Try Ahead Solutions' Airhead Helmet Cool Spray ($15,72), which is designed to give you a "unique cool scalp sensation." Simply spray it on your hair, and let it work to keep your head cool while also combating sweat and irritation. Think of this as an inexpensive way to air-condition your helmet.
Harlem Air Boot
Keep your toes in the flow with the stylish Alpinestars Harlem Air Boot ($159.95). A mid-cut design supports lateral movement and comfort, and ankle, heel, and toe protection offer peace of mind. Made with full-grain leather and a mesh fabric, the boot has excellent breathability to wick away moisture and provide cooling ventilation.
Looking for the protection of leather and textile breathability? The Icon Sanctuary Jacket ($330) has you covered, featuring tough 1.2-1.4mm Brazilian leather in the primary impact zones and Dynax ballistic nylon in secondary impact areas. A removable insulated liner and a dual-zipper vent cuff malke for a comfortable ride.
The multipurpose AGV Sport Mercury Glove ($29) offers two finger-intake vents for increased airflow. The metal mesh shield on the knuckles provides great protection, and a foam pad is positioned on the base of the palm for comfort and vibration absorption. Available in black, black/ blue, black/hi-viz yellow, and black/red.
Neck protection for roadracers and trackday riders
Off-road and motocross riders have benefited from the added safety afforded by neck braces for more than a decade. Dr. Chris Leatt invented the motorcycle-specific devices back in 2002, and his company is once again leading the charge with the release of its STX RR brace, developed specifically for roadracers and trackday riders.
THE CULTURAL PHENOMENON OF MAN AND AMERICAN MOTORCYCLE
Why is Harley-Davidson the number-one selling motorcycle brand in the US? No, I don't want to start an argument—there already have been enough. No deep analysis is required to show that many people don't buy motorcycles off a spec sheet. We can agree that Harleys are heavy, that their handling is unique, and that their performance is something unto itself— generally not to be directly compared with anything else.
THEY SAY IT'S MORE FUN TO RIDE A SLOW BIKE FAST THAN A FAST BIKE SLOW. WE PREFER RIDING FAST BIKES FAST...
LAP ANALYSIS: SPRING MOUNTAIN EAST LOOP
Beautiful late-afternoon desert sun made everything glow as if the light were coming from within all the objects in view. Even the weeds looked good. But we are convinced the Erik Buell Racing 1190RX and Ducati 1199 Panigale do actually produce their own light—and not just from bulbs and LEDs.
TWO UNIQUE SOLUTIONS TO THE TWO-CYLINDER SUPERBIKE POWER PUZZLE
DUCATI AND EBR have taken different paths toward the same end: an ultra-high-performance V-twin superbike. Ducati's Panigale has no frame; a rigid box, doubling as the intake air plenum, is bolted in Vincent fashion to the cylinder heads, just as Ducati did in MotoGP, with the steering-head made as a forward extension of it.
Adventure touring has hit the Electronic Power Era. BMW's original go-anywhere GS is now boasting big horsepower and computers that control almost everything.everything. KTM's entry into the class, 1190 Adventure R, has distinct1y leaner look and feel with even more power, albeit with a more complex yet less integrated electronics package.
They are an odd couple, Moto Guzzi's California 1400 Touring and Honda's new-for-2014 CTX1300. Both are sporty, unorthodox baggers with middleweight (in the cruiser world) displacements and similar prices. Beyond that, however, they're complete strangers—retro versus futuristic, Italian versus Japanese, apples versus cantaloupes.
The stellar success of the K1600GT, an inline-6 that has won awards worldwide and set new standards of sport-touring excellence, caused concern among some BMW disciples.6 They feared the company might focus less on the R1200RT, a beloved, long-running sport-tourer powered by a boxer twin.
A TREATISE ON BIKE CONTROL, FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE PACE
#2 BLI TENET
THE PACE 2.0 CHALLENGES RIDERS to add this statement to their riding portfolio: "I can go to the brakes at any time during my ride." The Brake Light Initiative (BLI) will take this challenge much further as I illustrate that a rider's ability to use the brakes anywhere, anytime will significantly improve his or her riding.
Q:I am having an issue with one of my bikes. Last year, I purchased 1990 Kawasaki ZX-11C from a collector in Canada. The bike was flawless and ran well, but over the winter it obviously collected some dirt in the carburetors. We had also moved to the high desert, which is about 2,500 feet higher than my previous residence, so I thought that might be part of the problem as well.
BASIC SPEC: The 950 Adventure is powered by a liquid-cooled 942cc V-twin fed by a pair of 43mm Mikuni carburetors and rated at 100 hp. A steel frame, together with long-travel WP suspension and wire-spoke wheels (21-inch front, 18inch rear), makes this KTM well suited for off-highway riding.
While most of the racing world struggles, the TT is better (and faster) than ever
TT TIME LINE
The Isle of Man TT has a unique problem in motorcycle racing terms: It has more spectators banging on the door to get in than can physically be shipped to the event. The Tourist Trophy bucks the trend of dipping finances and declining popularity, as well as the reliance on even more bizarre rules and interclass segregation to fill grids.
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