Every day at CW is borrowed-bike day. Riding other people’s motorcycles is fundamental to our business, but it’s actually pretty uncommon to just hand your personal bike to others. Particularly a vintage bike. I had this unusual occasion at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering, in a double sense.
"After reading your “Cheap Thrills” comparison (June), I looked over the photos and found the Triumph to be the better-looking machine. The Ducati is nice, but, being “older,” I am really drawn to the classic machines. I see the Royal Enfields, Nortons, and Triumphs as much better looking no matter how fast and technical the new bikes are.
More hyper and hip version of Yamaha’s FZ-09 triple
Yamaha had an instant hit on its hands with the FZ-09 sport-naked introduced in 2014. The level of performance offered by its then-new, 847CC, crossplane-concept, inline-three engine blew us away. That, along with the inspired looks and handling prowess of the FZ’s controlled-fill die-cast-alloy chassis, easily exceeded all expectations from a bike selling for $8,000.
The area in and around Moab, Utah, is filled with red rock and dirt roads that are begging to be explored, but within a few miles I realize that’s not how I’ll be spending my day aboard Honda’s new-for-the-States VFR1200X. And that’s okay. That’s okay because the area in and around Moab is also filled with paved roads crisscrossing some of the most scenic landscape this side of the Mississippi.
Massimo Tamburini died on April 6, 2014, but like any real genius, the Italian motorcycle designer left a legacy that today materializes in his most refined and precious superbike ever: the BMW S1000RR-powered T12 Massimo. With this bike, Tamburini’s goal was to make the best-handling, safest, lightest, and most compact motorcycle in the superbike class, ever.
The last of the traditional American full-size vans are being phased out, but thanks to European-market influence, we have some awesome new options to choose from. We’ve had the chance to spend some serious time behind the wheel of Mercedes’ latest 4x4 Sprinter 2500 Crew and Ford’s Transit 350 HR DRW.
Setting sag becomes a one-man task using the Slacker digital sag scale ($149.99) and optional Street Kit ($24.99). The latest version of the tool includes an Auto-Zero function that registers the suspension's fully unloaded state, which allows precise measurement of overall front and rear sag-the foundation of proper chassis setup. (800) 741-7702 motool.co
Dainese Torque D1
Do your sport boots feel like ankle weights? The new Dainese Torque D1 ($389.95) is a CE-certified race-level boot that’s claimed to be "extremely light" compared to the competition. Available In standard and ventilated versions, the boot has a rear-entry inner-bootie and features a D-axial hinge along with magnesium heel protectors and removable toe sliders. (949) 645-9500 dainese.com
Yoshimura Works Finish Race Series
Ever lust over the raw, artful appearance of a works header? The Yoshimura Works Finish Race Series full exhausts for the Yamaha FZ-07 ($599) and FZ-09 ($895) are given a bead-blast treatment that produces a satin/matte finish that takes on uniform coloration delivering that exotic factory racer hue following a couple of heat cycles. (909)628-4722 yoshimura-rd.com
HeliBars Tour Performance Handlebar Risers
Sporting performance need not dictate a semi-crouched riding position. The HeliBars Tour Performance Handlebar Risers ($129) give BMW R1200RS owners a more relaxed, upright posture for extended-range comfort. The CNC-machined 6061 aluminum risers elevate the bars 1-¼ inches and bring the hand grips an inch closer to the rider. (800)859-4642 helibars.com
Thinking about loading up your bike and hitting the open road to freedom? Or perhaps just taking a long weekend ride to independence? Either way, you’ll most likely need to bring a few things with you. And whatever you cannot fit in the motorcycle will need to be attached to it.
Gripped by aching, lusting bike envy? Don't be. For new riders, small is beautiful.
John L. Stein
In some states, at age 15-½ kids can legally ride anything from a Hayabusa to an apehanger'd Street Bob wearing nothing but surf trunks and flip-flops—and they might skip the flip-flops on a nice day. Whereas in Britain, the license structure restricts younger riders to smaller bikes: mopeds at age 16,125CC at age 17 to 18, 35kW (47 hp) output at age 19 to 23, and unlimited at age 24-plus.
I recently traded a perfectly good 2006 Suzuki GSX-R1000 swingarm for a tire change. To sweeten the deal I tossed in the rear caliper assembly (including the caliper) and the rear axle assembly (including the axle, all spacers, axle blocks, and chain adjusters).
HOPE FOR THE LAST TWO-WHEELED SPORT THAT IS WIDELY ACCESSIBLE
Right now there is excitement at the prospect that dirt-track racing might be on the verge of expanding in both popularity and media interest. Why? It is the last two-wheeled sport remaining that is widely accessible. Roadracing, formerly supported by extensive manufacturer contingency programs (former Superbike champion Doug Polen made his living from them on his way up), still provides possibilities, but costs are substantial and the technologies to be learned are complex.
TESTING THE LATEST CROP OF LITERBIKES ALONGSIDE DUCATI'S NEW 959 PANIGALE
Bodies start to ache at around 4:30 in the afternoon, our early-morning enthusiasm replaced by muscle spasms in extremities we’ve neglected for far too long now. We should be relieved the track goes cold at 5 p.m. Excited even by the thought of rest.
NOT A NAKED R1-BUT SOMETHING SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT
It might have an R1 engine, frame, suspension, and the superbike's beady twin LED headlights, but here at its world launch, Yamaha tells us the new MT-10 isn't a naked R1. And you know what? They’re right. It’s not a naked R1—but something so much better than that.
Contemplating the Amal Mono-block "carburetors" on this 2016 Triumph Thruxton R, I am reminded of an expression of a friend of mine who used to do stand-up comedy and had a bit about “fake” augmented parts of female anatomy. “Fake? If they’re in the same room with you, they’re real.”
DUCATI SCRAMBLER COMMUTER, TRAILBIKE, AND RACER ALL ROLLED INTO ONE
After logging more than 100,000 miles on his 2004 Triumph Bonneville daily rider, Heath Cofran fell in love when the Ducati Scrambler was announced for 2015. After riding it, he knew he had to have one. “To me, it felt like how I wish the Bonneville would feel,” he said.
The most decorated drag racer ever—Rickey Gadson—is now looking to set a land speed record at over 220 mph, to add to his growing list of 11 national drag racing championships. For this challenge, Gadson plans on conquering speed on a Kawasaki Ninja H2, not on an H2R.
HONDA'S SUBLIME INLINE-SIX BECOMES AN UNLIKELY TRACKBIKE
The audacity of Honda's 1978-'82 CBX inline-six superbike has made it a cult classic for customizers. That same audacity often leads to, let’s call it, “over-inspiration,” which sometimes results in some overdone machinery. That’s definitely not the case with Nick O’Kane’s CB-XXX, a tight and tidy performance-inspired update of this late ’70s classic.
THE QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING TURNS EIGHT WITH RECORD ATTENDANCE, THE MOST BIKES EVER, AND A HUGELY COMPETITIVE SHOW FIELD
John L. Stein
It’s perplexed me for years, the Quail Motorcycle Gathering has. And it took until the eighth running of the event this past May to put my finger on why. The puzzle was, how can such an amazing range of motorcycle and personal archetypes coalesce in such a friendly two-wheeled Kumbaya?
CLEAN AND SIMPLE HIDES THE THOUGHT-OUT COMPLEXITY IN THIS BMW R75/5
I breezed right past Bryan Fuller's latest custom at the Handbuilt Show last April. With my third "Vintagent" cocktail in hand (nice touch, Revival) and a loud party slowly gyrating through the hall, the BMW R75/5 "toaster tank" café racer, in its quiet black and silver livery, was hidden amidst a sea of “look at me” customs.
Q: I read the letter in the Jan./Feb. issue regarding automotive oils in motorcycles. Will I be creating a problem using Castrol GTX 10w-40 in my 1998 Cold Wing instead of the more expensive Honda oil? A.M. COMITE PORT CHARLOTTE, FL A: You will probably never have a problem.
BASIC SPECS: The Ninja ZX-10R 998cc inline-four utilizes a one-piece crankcase/ cylinder arrangement offering increased rigidity and weight savings. Its stacked close-ratio six-speed gearbox layout allows the compact engine to be more optimally located as a stressed member within the twin-spar aluminum frame.
Everyone is comrades-in-arms at the CZ World Championships
What is it about CZ motorcycles? Although the Česlká zbrojovka factory in the former Czechoslovakia continues to produce automobile parts and measuring equipment, motorcycle production ceased in 1997 after the brand was purchased by well-meaning but financially strapped Italian manufacturer Cagiva.
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