If there is any single issue of this magazine I've ever worked on that I would consider "my baby," the Handbuilt Issue is it. I’ve always liked getting my hands dirty, and, as a working writer, there is nothing more wonderful than starting with a blank sheet of paper.
After reading the April 2016 issue, I must say I can’t take it anymore! The flat-black paint job trend needs to stop. On bikes, cars, hot rods, and everywhere. Our eyes have six million cones in them for a reason-wake up people. In color! JEFF WILKENING ELK RIVER, MW
Triumph’s big three-cylinder ADV gets significant updates
Triumph has been producing a bike called a Tiger since 1937 or so, and while it has morphed a lot over that time, it has always had an adventurous travel quality. Ted Simon wrote Jupiter’s Travels about his ride around the world on his Tiger, so one could understand if Triumph didn’t want to take any risks with such an iconic name.
Ducati takes the Diavel further into cruiser land. But is it really a cruiser?
The XDiavel is Ducati’s interpretation of a full-out cruiser motorcycle with forward controls, belt drive, and all. The Italian company got the cruiser thing mostly wrong, we’re happy to say. Ducati got the low seat right, at 29.7 inches.
Yamaha has been stepping up its game with all-new models designed to address more specific types of riding. With its latest bike, the 2016 YZ450FX, the Blue Crew started with its 450F MX platform and set out to build a bike that satisfies the GNCC/woods racer’s needs and capabilities.
A look at the data pulled from Loris Baz's Tech-Air race suit after his crash at Sepang
MotoGP riders have the opportunity to test and ride in the latest safety gear. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they’ll, generally speaking, also end up conducting a more thorough evaluation ofthat safety gear than the average consumer would.
1 GOT A LIGHT Illuminate those dark recesses while working on your bike whether in your garage or roadside. The BikeMaster Work Light with Adjustable Base ($9.95) is a triple-function LED flashlight with a magnetic swivel base. Powered by three AA batteries (included), it features a bright spot flashlight, flood pattern work light, and emergency flasher. (877) 848-1320 bikemaster.com
Auto Lift AL-1000M
2 LIFT YOUR SPIRITS No need to slouch down or crawl while wrenching on your bike with the Auto Lift AL-1000M ($784), an air-powered motorcycle lift with a 1,000-pound lifting capacity. The platform measures 84 inches long by 24 inches wide and elevates your bike 30 inches above the floor. Recommended compressed air supply is 90 to 100 psi. (855) 275-5141 bestbuyautoequipment.com
Pro Circuit/Matrix Tool Box
3 TOOL TOTE Keep your tools intact and portable with the Pro Circuit/Matrix Tool Box ($121,95). Made of a high-impact plastic/ metal combination, the durable yet lightweight box features a removable top tray and two sliding metal drawers that lock when the box is closed. The Pro Circuit logo adds a touch of track cred as well when tooled up for the paddock. (951)738-8050 procircuit.com
PBR Chain Tool
4 UNCHAINED Ease drive chain replacement with the Motion Pro PBR Chain Tool ($86.99), which will remove chain pins, press master-link plates, and rivet master link pins on 520, 525, and 530 0-ring and non-O-ring-type chains. Simply align the indexing letters on the movable anvil block and body to ensure correct tool configuration for the task at hand. (650) 594-9600 motionpro.com
There are those who have worn knee braces and those who have not, and there are those who swear by them and those who criticize their use. I am clearly amongst the first group and have been wearing various brands of knee braces for 15 years. With multiple companies making high-quality motocross-/off-road-specific braces these days, finding well-made, protective units isn’t that difficult.
Work on the exact same thing as GP hero Bradley Smith
Wait! Before you ride again or even read the rest of this magazine, walk over to your motorcycle and do a five-minute drill that will reduce your chances of crashing, decrease your lap times, improve your bike’s handling, and put you in the proper relationship with the most powerful component on your motorcycle: the brake lever.
When Sylvester H. Roper attached a small steam engine to an iron-frame "boneshaker" bicycle near Boston in the late 1860s, he had no idea Guillaume Perreaux was fitting a micro-steamer to a pedal-velocipede at the same time in Paris. Kevin Cameron and I disagree on their species; he calls them “steam cycles,” but I think any motorized two-wheeler that delivers yeehaw is a motorcycle.
In the later 1960s, I could see that some Triumph air-cooled 500 twins started AMA National races strongly and finished them sounding a bit flat and emitting smoke. Then in 1968, they were swept into obsolescence by, of all things, Harley’s resurgent (and supposedly obsolete) side-valve KR.
IS ENGLAND SCREAMIN', OR IS THIS "STILL MY PARALLEL TWIN GENTLY WEEPS"?
The first Norton Commando I ever kickstarted was the Kenny Dreer-built, alloybodied VR880 that graced our September 1999 cover. I’ve been scarred ever since. It was then, and remains now, one of the great motorcycle experiences of a long and varied riding career and directly resulted in buying my own low-mileage original 1974 850 Commando.
What’s an undisputedly great motorcycle name worth in reaching customers? just ask Polaris how much it invested in Victory over 15 years and to compare that with the comparatively easy ride the Indian name has provided. In Indian's first year, Polaris motorcycle sales doubled.
If the devil lives in the details, this Yamaha-powered Norton "Clubman" special built by Northern California's Paul Adams must be totally possessed. Exquisitely crafted with various leftover parts from 1950s and ’60s Nortons that Adams had restored over the years—plus a 1985 Yamaha FJ600 engine found at a motorcycle wrecker—it quite literally represents what the storied English firm might have built if it had not fallen on hard times 60 years ago.
A LOOK AT HOW TO APPROACH A FRAME BUILD AND WHY YOU’D WANT TO TACKLE A BUILD IN THE FIRST PLACE
NOTHING WORTH DOING IS EASY. This is true in life and in custom frame fabrication, a part of the motorcycle-building process that stems from a budding desire (if not necessity) to make a bike uniquely yours. What, after all, could be more rewarding than rolling down the road on something you welded together with your own two hands?
PRODUCTION LINES HAVE ALL necessary controls and inspections engineered into them, but an individual building an engine must take responsibility for fits and tolerances. This is the case in a race shop or for a home builder. The basics are in the available manuals for all to see, and you begin, as one man put it, “By just getting into it.”
YOUR BRAIN, HAND TOOLS, AND ALUMINUM. OR JOY VERSUS DESPAIR.
HAND-FORMED ALUMINUM HAS been one of my life’s greatest inspirations. Bodywork on the coolest motorcycles and finest cars were all built by beating life into flat sheets of pure aluminum alloy, otherwise known as 1100. It still is. The first time I picked up a Martin high-crown hammer and egg dolly (my two favorite tools from my favorite maker) was 16 years ago.
DON’T THINK YOU CAN’T LEARN TO lace wire wheels. While today many builders turn to a specialist like Buchanan’s Spoke & Rim for convenience, not so many decades ago wheel building was a part of every motorcycle mechanic’s skill set. Wire wheels, so perfectly geometric, are attractive, artistic objects, easy to admire.
PAINTING HAS A SIMPLICITY AND approachability that many other crafts do not. Everybody who’s been to preschool picks up a brush, right? But there’s never engine building or welding classes at that age. At least not at my public school. Despite our early exposure to painting, few ever master color, graphics, and finish.
REVIVAL CYCLES’ INSPIRED BUILD AROUND A VINTAGE BMW
ONE BENEFIT OF TROLLING EUROPEAN BIKE SHOWS IS BUMPING INTO EX-FACTORY RACEBIKES HAULED FROM THE VAULTS. Munich’s BMW Museum was in a generous mood in 2013 and toured a pair of its crown jewels—Ernst Henne’s 1932 and 1937 land speed record racers—to both the Concorso di Villa d’Este and its opposite, the Wheels & Waves festival in southern France.
Naked sportbikes have been a favorite category of the Cycle World staff for decades. The attraction predates CW's CBR900RR project (April 1994) in which we stripped that revolutionary Honda down to its bare essentials and fit a one-piece handlebar.
Q: While washing my 2014 BMW R1200GS I noticed that the lip I of the front wheel was bent outward somewhat. I believe the damage was caused by a rock I hit in the roadway some weeks ago. The wheels are the stock cast-aluminum units, and I have not experienced any wobbling, loss of air, or strange handling from the front end.
BASIC SPECS: Featuring decades-old architecture, made-in-India Royal Enfield Bullets sold Stateside around the turn of the century are powered by a 499cc air-cooled four-stroke single characterized by non-unit construction utilizing a chain-drive primary feeding power to a separate gearbox.
Built in a New Zealand barn, these fantastic motorcycles continue to inspire us
Many have worked night and day to embody an innovation or two in a motorcycle, but the late John Britten tackled the entire vehicle-designing by building his own big V-twin engine from scratch, fabricating carbon-fiber chassis and wheels in new ways, developing a novel front suspension, creating a ducted under-seat cooling system, and taking on a fresh approach to aerodynamics.
Few realize how devastatingly well John Britten’s V1000 circulated a racetrack. Some may remember that it won a BEARS championship in 1995 and Sound of Thunder at Daytona with Andrew Stroud a few times, but those victories came while competing against other twin-cylinder machines.
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