What was magnificent about the Ural “record” run was its ridiculousness. We are fortunate to live in a world where much of what we do can be contrived, like spending too much time in a sidecar riding on some of the greatest roads in the world. For no good reason except that.
I don’t usually read articles word for word, beginning to end. I scan them and look at the bikes, and I have never written a letter to the editor. But I started reading about the nonstop Ural sidecar ride from Seattle to Los Angeles (“Unnecessary Express,” June) and couldn’t stop reading until every word was read and reread.
A California road trip on Kawasaki’s "Gentleman Sportbike”
California stretches forward in a burst of emerald and blue. Engorged from an influx of rain, flowers dot the apexes we’re blitzing by. Quick, sure, but not at the detriment of breathing in the scenery—a moment that freezeframes the experience of performance and touring in one.
If in need of quick separation from a post-apocalyptic zombie horde, I can think of no better weapon than the Ducati Diavel Diesel. Owner of the quickest zero-to-60-mph time of any production motorcycle Cycle World has ever tested, Ducati’s low-slung, fat tire muscle cruiser is even quicker to turn heads given the Diesel treatment.
Whether blazing a wooded trail, carving canyon roads, or ripping around a trackday circuit, quality POV video puts the viewer in the saddle. Now imagine wowing viewers with captured data such as speed, G-force, a GPS-generated track map, lap times, and more, all easily overlaid onto the video image.
"Just go faster and lean over farther until you crash.” Acceptable advice for waterskiing but not so good for motorcycle riding! Yes, you can learn lessons from crashes, but you have to survive them first and have enough money and health to return with your newfound knowledge.
Motorcycle sales have been on a downward slope for a decade. Has the world changed, or has the industry changed—or, even, have bikes themselves reached a stage of maturity? The internal-combustion motorcycle seems to have reached a point of diminishing returns technologically, as even a smallcapacity machine is capable of double any speed limit, with good suspension and brakes.
Dunlop and Michelin advertising is now announcing something we would never have believed before: Newly developed tread rubber compounds can give us both increased wet and dry grip and reduced wear (for Dunlop Sportmax Q3+ and Michelin Power RS).
THE WAIT IS OVER AS THE LATEST SUPERBIKES FROM APRILIA, HONDA AND SUZUKI GO UP AGAINST THE YZF-R1
THE OLDER GENTLEMAN at the guard shack doesn’t appear to be in a hurry. The world waits. Or at least our world waits as he shuffles past the caravan of cars, stopping to make friendly but slow conversation with everyone in our group, all through a drawl that perfectly welcomes us to the farmland lining Willows, California.
Our VBox Sport GPS datalogger allows an in-depth analysis of each bike's quickest lap around the undulating 15-turn, 3-mile Thunderhill layout. The lap has been broken into four sectors, each of which highlights different aspects of a bike’s performance envelope.
Finding a middle ground between performance and comfort on a mix of highway and canyon roads
Rain is the only thing that could put a damper on a 350-mile day aboard the latest crop of literbikes. And it’s raining. Not hard. But strong enough to have us second-guessing our ride plan. “Maybe if we ignore it and just keep riding, it’ll go away,” I think.
As a racer, I’ve spent a fair bit of time wondering where the competition's machinery differs from what I’m riding, where their bikes excel and lack. This here was my first opportunity to ride some of the bikes I’ve never ridden before but would race against-in one form or another-in MotoAmerica.
I felt a sense of relief entering pit lane following an eventful 20-minute stint aboard Ducati’s exotic 1299 Superleggera street-legal superbike. Moments after dismounting the signature red machine and removing my Arai, I found myself face to face with Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali.
TODAY’S 1,000cc SPORTBIKES HAVE MORE THAN DOUBLE THE POWER yet weigh 20 percent less than the well-loved classic sit-up literbikes of the 1970s and early ’80s. With much lighter wheels and tires yet more capable brakes, today’s bikes stop and turn with agility impossible to their forebears.
Q: I have a 2014 Harley Electra Glide Police (FLHTP) motorcycle. I have an issue with filling the 6-gallon gas tank. When the gas gets up to the top, I have to stop, shake the bike back and forth to make the gas go into the tank so I can put in more. Sometimes I can put in 1/2 to 1 gallon more after the gas comes up to the top.
YEARS SOLD: 2003-2006 MSRP NEW: $17,695 ('03) to $17,995 ('06) BLUE BOOK RETAIL VALUE: $5595 ('03) to $7520 ('06) BASIC SPECS: Cradled inside the traditional trellis frame is Ducati’s redesigned (for 2003) liquid-cooled 90-degree 998cc V-twin with fuel injection, six-speed gearbox, dry clutch, and the obligatory desmodromic valve system.
It’s still hard to fathom. Nicky Hayden, at just 35, is gone. His life taken away in a tragic bicycle training accident in Italy. Hit by a car. His family said the doctors told them mercifully Nicky probably never felt a thing. He died on May 22, 2017, a date that motorcycle racing fans will long remember.
The first time I saw Nicky was at a WERA club roadrace at Indianapolis Raceway Park, possibly 1992. That would have made him 10 years old. He and his older brother Tommy were racing 125cc Honda GP bikes and showing most of the older and more experienced riders the fast way around the track.
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