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com
PEARL WHITE / GREEN $220
SHOWN WITH INCLUDED FSB FIN KIT INSTALLED
RIDEICON.COM I IGNITER
Get your daily fix of all things Icon:
ICONMOTOSPORTS.BLOGSPOT.COM
Living his life on one wheel, Jason Britton has reached the
peak of the game. Whatever you call him - Hooligan, Stunter,
Ambassador, Icon - Jason is proof that the American dream
still shines bright. The signature edition Britton Ignitor
helmet from Icon - dedicated to life on one wheel.
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Brandon is a Senior Sales Rep
at BikeBandit.com. He rides
a 2004 Yamaha FZ1.
At BikeBandit.com, we think our staff
should know what they’re talking about.
So we don’t just hire order takers, we hire
riders. Riders like Brandon, who’s earned
multiple certifications from the Motorcycle
Mechanics Institute.
It’s one more way we make sure you get
the right part on time ... every time. 70,000
customers a day choose BikeBandit.com
for parts and accessories. Log on or call
us today to find out why.

We love to ride as
much as you do.
or call 1.866.239.BIKE to get parts done right.
“Whether you’re looking for an OEM
par t or an after-market solution, we
can get it to you faster than anyone.”
– Bandit, Director of
Rapid Retrieval
Total parts shipped
Get it Fast. Get it Right. Get Riding.
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A COMPLETE GUIDE TO LIVING WITH YOUR MOTORCYCLE
84 DOIN’ TIME
88 SMART MONEY
90 GEAR
92 MC TESTED
94 TRACK TIME
96 STREET SAVVY
97 ANSWERS
98 LAST PAGE
FEBRUARY '10
For news, views and the latest lowdown:
visit ›› www.motorcyclistonline.com
UP TO SPEED
30 BMW S1000RR
The future: available now in Acid Green.
34 MV AGUSTA BRUTALE 990R & 1090RR
A pair of polished brass knuckles from
Meccanica Verghera.
38 DUCATI HYPERMOTARD 796
The most Ducati $10K can buy.
40 HYOSUNG 650 COMET
Lighten up, Seoul brother.
42 APRILIA RS125
Small-bore track star.
44 HONDA ELITE SCOOTER
Go anywhere but the freeway.
46 KAWASAKI KLX110S
C’mon dad, it’s our turn!.
48 BEN SPIES’ STERILGARDA YAMAHA YZF-R1
Riding the world-beater.
53 BEN SPIES BY THE NUMBERS
It all adds up to #1.
54 MAT MLADIN’S YOSHIMURA SUZUKI GSX-R1000
Wringing out the champ’s last ride.
59 MAT MLADIN BY THE NUMBERS
Seven is the one that matters most.
60 LARRY PEGRAM’S DUCATI 1098R
The American Superbike, Italian-style.
64 LARRY PEGRAM’S DUCATI GT1000
Doin’ it in the dirt.
07 CAT TALES
10 UP TO SPEED
All-American Motus V4 sport-tourer, BMW’s prototype six
and a slew of new 2010 models.
18 CHECKERS: BEN SPIES’ MOTO GP DEBUT
20 BEHIND BARS
22 DRAWING THE LINE
24 CODE BREAK
26 MC MAIL
28 ME & MY BIKE
MC GARAGE
10
30
90
48
60 64
54
68
34
12
68 OVERTIME TINA
A humble Vincent single tops the Ton.
73 VINCATI
Take one Vincent and one Ducati and call me in the morning.
74 HERE’S GIANNI!
The past is alive and well in Mr. Morbidelli’s museum.
FIRST RIDES
SPECIAL SECTION: SUPERBIKES!
FEATURES
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Friends &
Family
IN DEEP
ixty-four millimeters of offset?! You should have
like 10,” Michael Lloyd exclaimed as he looked
at the adjustable triple clamps on my borrowed
Yamaha 500 dirt-tracker. “How much tire pressure are you
running?”
“Um, 18 psi.”
“You should have like 8. No wonder you’re having trouble
mid-corner.”
“Mid-corner? I’m having trouble everywhere!”
When the Lloyd brothers offered me a chance to ride
the Ducati dirt-tracker that Larry Pegram raced at the
Springfeld Mile (see page 64), I knew I was in deep. The
notion of riding a 1000cc twin around the Pomona Half-
Mile was daunting for someone who’s almost a dirt-track
virgin. Almost a virgin? Yeah, well… The sum total of my
experience consisted of racing short-track a couple of
times and spinning a handful of laps on a mile.
The good news was there were two events leading up
to Pomona: a double-header round of Eddie Mulder’s West
Coast Vintage Dirt Track Series at Willow Springs and the
monthly Southern California Flat Track Association races
at Perris. If I could fnd a ride for those, I’d be that much
better prepared for Pomona.
And so I called Rod Lake. I’d met Rod at Springfeld last
Memorial Day weekend, when I took part in his inaugural
“230 World Championship” TT. His enthusiasm for this most
American form of motorsports was apparent not only in his
well-prepped Honda CRF230F (which featured a “cheater”
big-bore motor, CRF150R suspension and brakes, etc.), but
also on the leathers of the numerous racers he sponsors.
A well-heeled sort (he started a little magazine called Out-
side) who’s also well connected (he trains at Kenny Roberts’
ranch and is cousins with actor Kevin Costner), he offered to
let me ride one of his bikes any time.
That time was now. And Rod had just the thing: a
1978 Yamaha TT500 single in a Lazer frame.
Better yet, the frame-maker himself, Marty
Lewis, was coming down south for the
week, so could transport and fettle the bike
for me.
In theory, dirt-track technique is simple.
Roll off the throttle at the end of
the straight (don’t snap it shut),
“S
Andrea
Wilson
Some-
times
months go by without
us calling Andrea to
shoot photos, then the
planets line up just right
and her phone rings off
the hook. That’s what
happened this issue as
she shot the various
racebikes that make up
our special “Super-
bikes!” section.
Michelle
Sylvester
Yes, we
did it
again. When Honda
invited us to the press
intro for its new Elite
scooter, we asked
Michelle if she would
attend on our behalf.
A TV producer by day,
she’s a closet scooter
aficionado by night.
Please, no jokes about
fat chicks…
Scott
Darough

Wee
Scotty’s
Indian name is “Three
Rolls,” because he once
showed up for a photo
shoot with only three
rolls of film. Thank
goodness for digital
cameras! He drew the
short straw this month
and had to photograph
Michelle on a scooter.
Poor bastard…
Kel
Edge
Who
better to
photograph the new
BMW S1000RR super-
bike than the man who’s
chronicled the World Su-
perbike Championship
since its very begin-
ning? Kel Edge isn’t just
a talented shooter, he’s
also a charming bloke,
and wasn’t bad-looking
in his day.
CAT TALES
Brian Catterson
PHOTO: Andrea Wilson
counter-steer into the corner and trail brake (with the rear
brake only; there is no front) until the back end starts to
come around. Then roll the throttle back on and power
slide through. Run high up in the cushion and you need to
turn the throttle more to tighten your line.
In practice, however, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Espe-
cially when you don’t get much practice: Two four-lap ses-
sions is it, unless you enter more than one class. Speaking
of which, it helps to know which class your bike is legal for
before you go to sign-up. Unlike motocross or roadracing,
with their near-universal class structures, dirt-track rules
vary from club to club. And so my borrowed Yamaha ran
in 500cc Support at the vintage races and Bomber at the
modern ones.
Not surprisingly, with so little seat time on an unfamiliar
motorcycle, I was hardly competitive. But as I did more
laps around Willow’s sandy, high-banked oval, I started to
get the hang of it. Conditions on Saturday were perfect for
learning: smooth and consistent. But on Sunday the noto-
rious high-desert wind picked up, the track crew watered
incessantly and the surface became rutted and unpredict-
able. “Like trail riding at 100 mph,” I heard one Pro say.
My results suffered accordingly. Should I say I got sixth and
seventh, or last and second to last?
The short-track races at Perris the following Friday night
went even worse. My frst practice session ended when I
was involved in a pileup before completing a single lap,
and the second was worthless because the track crew
watered right before it, making a muddy mess. With
sub-20-second lap times, the four-lap heat races were
seemingly over before they started, after which it seemed
like an eternity until the mains. As Marty put it, “The work-
to-ride ratio is way off.”
Yes, it is—and yet I want more. Turns out, going racing
might not have been a good idea after all. The SCFTA
holds open practice days on which I could have not
only fne-tuned my riding technique, but also my bike
setup. If I’d done that frst, I might actually have
been prepared for Pomona, instead of merely
humbled.
Like swimmers say, once you’re in over your
head, it doesn’t matter by how much.
MC
That’s me aboard Rod Lake’s
Lazer-framed Yamaha 500 at Perris
Raceway. I’d say “at speed,” but that
wouldn’t be accurate.
www.motorcyclistonline.com 7
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EDITORIAL
Editor in Chief Brian Catterson
Executive Editor Tim Carrithers
Milwaukee Desk Aaron Frank
Pittsburgh Desk Mike Seate
Seattle Desk Jack Lewis
Key West Desk Joe Gresh
London Desk Roland Brown, Alan Cathcart, Ben Purvis
Managing Editor Andreanna Ditton
Associate Editor Ari Henning
Last Page Jeff Karr
Administrative Asst. Terie Gallo
Test Fleet Manager Michael Candreia
Test Consultants Barry Burke, Thad Wolff
ART DIRECTION AND DESIGN
Art Director Joe Neric
CONTRIBUTORS
Phil Aynsley, Raymond Bradlau,Adam Campbell, Bob Clarke, Keith
Code, Scott Darough, Gold & Goose, Keith May, Milagro, Dito Milan, Ed
Milich, Jim Moy, Brian J. Nelson, James Parker, Eric Putter, John L. Stein,
StudioZac, Tim Sutton, Michelle Sylvester, Rafael Tassitano, Shasta
Willson, Andrea Wilson, Kevin Wing
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ngineered in Michigan, designed
and built in Alabama, featuring an
all-new, 1650cc V4 engine, the
2011 Motus MST-01 sport-tourer could
put America back on the map as a builder
of high-performance, sport-oriented
motorcycles. Motus—Latin for “motion”—
is the brainchild of company president
Lee Conn and design director Brian Case.
Conn is an entrepreneur in the healthcare
feld, while Case is a product developer
and designer of the Confederate Wraith.
Friends and riding companions frst
and business partners second, the duo
started work on their American motorcycle
concept in ’08. “We took a piece of paper
and drew our ultimate dreambike–a kick-
ass sportbike with a cool look and hard
bags,” Conn explains.
The Motus MST-01 (to be followed by
a higher-output, higher-spec MST-R) is
designed for serious sport-tourers who
maintenance and, most importantly, useful
power. Pratt & Miller created the Le Mans-
winning GT1 Corvette C5-R and C6-R
racers—also single-cam, pushrod, two-valve
designs— which should answer any ques-
tions regarding the new engine’s performance
and durability. Targeting 140 horsepower at
7800 rpm and 120 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500
rpm, the fuel-injected Motus MST-01 aims to
provide strong performance across a wide
rev range, with a pleasing countenance that
higher-revving fours lack.
The V4 motor will be mounted longitudi-
nally in a steel-trellis frame, and used as a
stressed member. The 90-degree cylinder
layout affords perfect primary balance, and
twin balance shafts quell second-order
vibration. Motus chose a six-speed manual
gearbox with chain fnal drive. Chain drive
remains the accepted standard for perfor-
mance bikes, and its use here—despite
requiring a power-robbing bevel-drive output
to turn the power sideways from the fore-aft
crankshaft—injects a higher quotient of
“sport” into the sport-touring equation.
Conventional wheels and tires (17-inch),
New motorcycle startup envisions a
uniquely American sport-tourer
WORDS: John L. Stein PHOTOS: Motus
value comfort, performance and range. The
company has polled hundreds of sport-touring
riders to verify their likes and dislikes. “These
guys want to ride long distances on a light-
weight machine with great engine durability
and aerodynamics,” Conn says. Motus sees
its opportunity in the sport-touring segment
because it attracts experienced riders with
higher incomes.
Michigan-based Pratt & Miller Engineering,
a powerhouse in sports car racing, has
been contracted to engineer and prototype
the all-new machine. The liquid-cooled V4
will deviate from typical high-performance
E
“We took a piece of paper and drew our ultimate
dreambike—a kick-ass sportbike with a cool look
and hard bags.”
An upright riding position, aerodynamically
enhanced bodywork and integrated, modular
luggage will make the Motus MST-01 a capable
and comfortable sport-touring machine. The
sliding, two-position trunk is especially trick.
protocol by utilizing a single, chain-driven
camshaft nestled in the valley of the Vee
like an American V8, with pushrods and two
valves per cylinder. Design benefts include
compact cylinder heads, simplifed
10 MOTORCYCLIST
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he year was 1975. I was living in
Colorado, working my way through
college, when I got a job as a
mechanic at BMW of Denver. It was right
around the corner from my house—not the
new, fancy place, but the tiny old shop
on West Evans, where I was one
of two mechanics. At the time
I had a CZ 400 motocrosser
that I raced and an old
BSA Gold Star that I putted
around on the street. My
only experience with BMWs
was the test rides I took
after servicing them. My friend
and fellow mechanic, Bill Wood,
thought I should know more about the
brand I was working on, so convinced the
owner to loan us a couple of shop bikes
for the weekend. We left Denver on a cool
morning and headed for Aspen to watch
the MRA races at Woody Creek Raceway.
I don’t remember the exact route we took,
but two parts stand out: blazing up and
over Independence Pass (12,095 ft.) and
blasting across South Park side-by-side at
90 mph. At the end of the weekend I said to
myself, ‘I’ve gotta own one of these BMWs.’
And I soon did, buying a totaled R75/5 that
I rebuilt and rode all over the West, one day
ending up at the door of San Jose BMW,
looking for a new throttle cable. They were
looking for a mechanic, and after three
months of considering it, I took the job.
Now, all these years later, my wife and I own
the store. That ride not only changed my life,
it defned it.”
1975
BMW
R75/5
THE BIKE THAT
CHANGED MY LIFE
RIDER: Chris Hodgson
THEN: Mechanic and race tuner
NOW: Proprietor of San Jose BMW
suspension (43mm inverted front and mono-
shock rear) and brakes (four-piston/320mm
radial front and two-piston/240mm rear)
are specifed, and will be sourced from top
suppliers like Marchesini, Michelin, Öhlins
and Brembo. The aggressive bodywork will
be aerodynamically scrutinized using Pratt
& Miller’s sophisticated design computers,
and the body panels will be created from
fberglass, Kevlar or carbon-fber, as pricing
allows. The 525-pound MST-01 is expected to
be similar in size to the Yamaha FZ1, with its
cockpit designed to “95th percentile” stan-
dards, meaning that it should comfortably ft
95 percent of the general population.
The prototype engine is scheduled to
run in early 2010, with a rideable prototype
following as soon as mid-year. If the tallest
hurdle—EPA certifcation—can be cleared,
2011 production motorcycles may
be available as soon as late this
year. Price point is expected to
be somewhere in the range of a
loaded BMW K1300GT—in other
words, the mid-20s. Motus hopes
to eventually establish dealership
outlets across the country, but until
such relationships are formalized,
the frst production units will be sold
and delivered through the factory in Alabama.
It’s impossible to consider the challenge
Motus faces without recalling the inglorious
demise of Buell, which, despite the deep
pockets of Harley-Davidson, got the axe late
in ’09. But Motus actually sees a silver lining
in the recent economic woes. “The recession
has allowed us to access resources that were
otherwise inaccessible,” Conn explains. “We
have manufacturers working with us that fve
years ago would not have even talked to us.
And remember, 60 percent of Fortune 500
companies were started during recessions.”
Motus Motorcycles also has a larger and
more patriotic goal: reversing the loss of
American manufacturing. “From our stand-
point, creating and maintaining a manufac-
turing base in this country is essential,” Conn
adds. With such a provocative motorcycle in
the pipeline, we hope that this ambitious and
worthwhile agenda will fnd traction.
Motus’ liquid-cooled, 90-degree V4 will mount as
a stressed member in a tubular-steel space frame.
Corvette racing powerhouse Pratt & Miller
is leading the engineering effort.
“T
www.motorcyclistonline.com 11
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o much for the Strada Aperta
name... Ducati’s all-new adven-
ture-tourer retains the Multistrada
title, but that’s all it has in common with
the previous model. Underneath that
trendy beak-and-jowl bodywork lurks a
liquid-cooled, 1198cc V-twin ft with more
electronic gadgetry than Noriyuki Haga’s
World Superbike racer. With ride-by wire
throttle, variable drive modes, traction
control, electronically adjustable suspen-
sion and advanced ABS, this is the most
sophisticated adventure-tourer yet.
The Multistrada 1200 is powered by
a redesigned version of the Testastretta
Evoluzione superbike motor with a valve
overlap angle of just 11 degrees, reduced
2010 DUCATIS
MULTI-
DIMENSIONAL
The all-new Multistrada 1200 is the most technically advanced Ducati yet
WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTOS: Ducati
Top-of-the-line 1198R Special Edition gets unique
graphics that commemorate the Ducati Corse logo
change. Bare-aluminum fuel tank looks ultra-trick.
S
he next evolution of Ducati’s twin-cylinder supermoto,
fttingly named the Hypermotard 1100EVO ($11,995),
sheds a whopping 15.5 pounds and gains 5 horsepower
compared to the original. Nearly 12 lbs. were trimmed from
the motor, thanks to new Vacural-cast cases and a light-
ened crank, fywheel and alternator. Extra power comes
courtesy of new porting, a revised combustion chamber
and a new airbox. Ducati will also offer a track-ready SP
version ($14,495) with increased cornering clearance,
uprated suspension, higher bars and even lower weight
after the addition of forged and machined Marchesini wheels
and, of course, a liberal dose of carbon-fber.
Longer-travel Marzocchi front/Öhlins shock
combination differentiates the Hypermotard SP,
along with red-striped Marchesini forged wheels.
T
HYPER-EVOLVED
Ducati drops a fitter, faster Hypermotard too
WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTO: Ducati
from 41 degrees on the superbikes. This
change is said to smooth power delivery, in
addition to improving fuel economy by 15 per-
cent and lowering exhaust emissions by 65
percent. Output remains stout at a claimed
150 horsepower and 87.5 lb.-ft. of torque,
while revised intake and exhaust porting,
altered cam timing and a reduced compres-
sion ratio all work to boost low-rpm torque
and enhance rideability.
The $14,995 Multistrada 1200 base
model offers three different drive modes:
Sport, with aggressive power delivery;
Touring, with progressive power delivery; and
Urban, which reduces peak power by 30 per-
cent. Traction control is standard equipment,
settings automatically readjusted to suit each
power profle—or adjusted independently
among eight settings. Bosch-Brembo ABS is
available for an additional $1000.
Ducati will also offer two $18,995 Mul-
tistrada 1200 S variations, both supplied
with ABS and pushbutton, electronically
adjustable Öhlins suspension in place of the
base model’s Marzocchi fork and Sachs rear
shock. The Sport version features plenty of
carbon-fber body parts, while the Touring
edition substitutes hard saddlebags, heated
handgrips and a centerstand. The S-models
offer four preset “full” drive modes that
tailor power profle, traction-control settings
and suspension setup in concert for Sport,
Touring, Urban and Enduro riding conditions.
Vacural-cast engine cases, a lighter and
stiffer composite steel/alloy frame, an
aluminum single-sided swingarm and a new,
blow-molded fuel tank keep dry weight to
a claimed 417 pounds, making the Multi-
strada 1200 the lightest adventure-tourer
on the market. Designed with a more open
ergonomic triangle than the previous edition,
the Multistrada 1200 offers more spacious
seating, a higher, wider handlebar mounted
on anti-vibration isolators and 2.5 inches
of vertical windscreen adjustment. It’s is an
ambitious machine, and looks fully capable
of providing the best adventure-tourers on the
market—specifcally the BMW R1200GS—
with serious competition.
12 MOTORCYCLIST
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TWIN-CAM
TOURERS
BMW’s big Boxers get a DOHC engine upgrade.
WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTO: BMW
SIX
APPEAL
Outrageous Milan Show bike
previews BMW’s forthcoming
luxury tourer
WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTO: BMW
MW’s all-conquering R1200GS
adventure tourer comes gets some
stiff competition this year in the form
of Ducati’s new Multistrada 1200. Though
it looks unchanged at a glance, BMW’s big
traillie gets a major motor upgrade for 2010,
which should improve its chances of keeping
the 150-horsepower Multi12 in sight. The
GS’s old, single-cam Boxer engine has been
replaced with the dual-overhead-cam, radial-
valve powerplant from BMW’s Boxer superbike,
the HP2 Sport. This increases peak power fve
percent (now 110 hp) and bumps the maximum
engine speed up to 8,500 rpm, with an even
broader spread of power across the rev range.
Interestingly, the new engine also features
an exhaust fapper valve for the frst time—
though BMW claims this isn’t to improve power
delivery but, rather, to roughen up the wimpy
exhaust note that has long been a complaint of
Boxer buyers.
The GS isn’t the only R-bike to beneft from
this engine upgrade. BMW’s venerable R1200RT
also receives the DOHC engine in 2010, offering
the same advantages to sport-touring riders.
The RT further benefts from an improved, Mk. II
version of BMW’s Electronic Suspension Adjust-
ment system, which adjusts damping, preload
and now also spring rate at the touch of a
button. The RT fairing and windscreen have also
been reshaped to improve wind and weather
protection, and a new audio system with iPod/
MP3 interface has been added.
B
TWIN-C
2010 BMW R1200GS/R1200RT
Reshaped, two-bolt valve covers are the only exter-
nal change for the new, DOHC R1200GS. Visually, the
rest of the bike remains the same.
t the 2008 Intermot Expo in Cologne,
Germany, BMW General Manager
Hendrik von Kuenheim told us the
applications. Packaging six cylinders between
two wheels has proven problematic, but BMW
addresses these concerns by incorporating
the same compact construction methods as
its recent K-series fours. The cylinder block is
tilted forward 55 degrees, lowering the center
of gravity and making room for electrical
components behind that crankshaft, instead
of at the ends. A small-bore/long-stroke con-
fguration keeps cylinder gaps to a minimum,
resulting in a power train only slightly wider
than a conventional large-displacement four,
BMW says. Displacement will be no less than
1600cc, and torque output will approach 100
lb.-ft. at just 2000 rpm.
Future-café styling is not production-intent,
but chosen to show off the new engine and
chassis to maximum effect. Exploiting the
café racer’s traditional long-front/short-tail
silhouette, carbon-fber and aluminum body
panels frame the motor and are accented
with gill-like intake ducts that visually refer-
ence the triple-outlet side pipes. The chassis
recalls the existing K1300 with near-hori-
zontal main spars connecting the Duolever
front and Paralever rear suspensions. All this
makes us excited about the new touring bike,
although the Concept 6 defnitely leaves us
dreaming of a torqued-up naked bike, too.
BMW CONCEPT 6
A
company’s touring platform would be over-
hauled after the S1000RR superbike rollout
was complete. He said to expect an all-new
touring machine with “many cylinders, huge
torque and a low seat.” Though the touring
capability of the Concept 6 shown here won’t
extend far beyond the local coffeehouse, its
production-ready inline-six and chassis will
almost certainly form the basis of a new
luxury-touring bike to be introduced next year.
Straight sixes have long powered BMW’s
high-end automobiles, and the confguration’s
superior power and unmatched smoothness
are perfect for long-distance touring
The Concept 6’s futuristic styling is just for show, but
the six-cylinder engine will see production soon.
www.motorcyclistonline.com 13
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V-TWIN
TAKEOVER
The Austrian superbike comes stateside
WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTOS: KTM
welve years is an eon in sport-
bike time, when it’s not unusual
for manufacturers to completely
overhaul their performance machinery every
two to three years. Even the most beautiful
motorcycle in the world—as many regard the
MV Agusta F4—begins to look stale after a
decade-plus. MV has fnally wised up to this
reality, and given the iconic F4 superbike the
frst complete overhaul since its 1998 debut.
It’s a conservative update, barely straying
from the original style or specifcations that
now-retired design legend Massimo Tamburini
indelibly imparted on the original. Most will
agree that’s a good thing.
Styling differences are especially subtle,
and more related to scale than shape. The
upper fairing is lower, slimmer and ftted with
a smaller headlamp, resulting in the smallest
frontal area of any inline-four sportbike, the
company says. The fuel tank is shorter both
in terms of length and height, to give the rider
more room, and a slimmer tailsection shows
more of the quad-tipped exhaust, now with
square outlets.
Fairing vents are larger, and provide a
better view of the red-painted valve cover that
conceals the 998cc four’s radial-arranged val-
vetrain. MV’s pioneering Torque Shift System
variable-length intake tract remains intact,
though the EFI system is all-new, built around
dual injector-equipped, 49mm throttle bodies.
An upgraded Magneti Marelli 7 SM ECU
manages two-mode engine mapping (choose
between sport or rain settings), as well as the
MK II traction control system, offering eight
levels of sensitivity.
Like the styling and specs, power and
weight fgures remain in the same neighbor-
hood as before, with 186 (claimed) horse-
power arriving at 12,900 rpm, and a dry
weight of 424 pounds. As MV Agusta boss
Claudio Castiglioni said at the new model’s
Milan Show introduction, “It’s hard to improve
on perfection”—even when you take 12 years
to do the job.”
n 2009, KTM introduced its
ultra-racy RC8R to the European
market—and kept it there. But
for 2010 the up-spec RC8R is coming
stateside, and it’s poised to give the
2010 KTM RC8R
Italian V-twins and Japanese liter-bikes a run
for their money.
The R is a totally different beast compared
to its base-model brethren. The 1195cc,
75-degree V-twin has bigger Nikasil-plated
cylinders that push up against World Super-
bike regulations, and house aluminum slugs
that boost compression to 13.5:1. Revised
porting and more aggressive cams (with
adjustable sprockets for race tuning) conspire
to bump output to a claimed 170 horsepower
with 90.7 lb.-ft. of pavement-rippling torque. If
that’s not enough juice for power-hungry riders,
KTM’s Club Racer Kit includes an Akrapovic
exhaust and head gaskets that supposedly
add another 10 ponies to the bottom line.
The R-model uses the same lightweight
steel-trellis frame as the RC8, but with new
machined triple clamps with less offset
designed to keep the bike stable at mach
speed. The WP suspension components get
a slick TiAIN coating as well as revamped
spring rates and damping directly aimed at
railing on the racetrack. Forged-aluminum
Marchesini wheels are over 2 pounds lighter
than the RC8’s, and come shod with Pirelli
Supercorsa SP buns.
Endowed with this level of components
and tuned to the moon, the RC8R takes the
marque’s “Ready to Race” slogan to a new
level. Speaking of which, industry insiders
say we should see the RC8R on the WSBK
grid in 2012.
I
An orange powder-coated frame plus various
blacked-out components look racy.
NEW
BLOOD
The World’s Most Beautiful
Motorcycle finally gets a
facelift
WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTOS: MV Agusta
T
2010 MV AGUSTA F4
14 MOTORCYCLIST
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2010 MOTO GUZZI CONCEPTS
oto Guzzi revealed a trifecta of
concept vehicles at the 2009 EICMA
expo in Milan. These prototypes—the
V12 LM, V12 Strada and V12 X—are the
frst fruit of the collaboration between
the iconic, 88-year-old Italian motorcycle
manufacturer and former Ducati design chief,
Pierre Terblanche.
Typical of Terblanche’s genre-bending
designs—he created both the Multistrada
and Hypermotard for Ducati—these new
Guzzis mash-up streetfghter, motard and
cruiser styling elements and design cues.
The red V12 LM invokes the classic sporting
archetype of the Guzzi Lemans, while the
matte green-and-silver V12 X tends toward
motard styling with its beak-like nose and
lack of any discernable tail. The white V12
Strada is the most conventional of the lot,
with a classic, upright architecture that will
appeal to many of Guzzi’s traditional fans.
The three concepts share the same
chassis, which consists of an organically
shaped, cast aluminum “semi-monocoque”
frame mated to some variation of Guzzi’s
unique CARC (anti-reactive) single-sided
shaft-drive swingarm. The Strada and X both
utilize a traditional, vertically oriented rear
shock; the LM gets a novel rear suspension
treatment with the rear shock mounted at a
nearly horizontal angle within the suspension
linkage, a space-saving design that allows a
shorter wheelbase.
This new frame design gracefully envelopes
the jutting cylinder heads of the recently
updated, 1200cc, 8-valve engine. Exhausts
on all three are fabricated from Inconel, an
exotic, nickel-chromium “superalloy” more
commonly found on jet turbines or Formula 1
racers, and all three feature square muf-
fers aft of the oil sump, a design similar to
Giuseppe Ghezzi’s “Quat D” exhaust. Air/
oil cooling is enhanced by the unique fnned
cooling elements fanking the steering head.
More than just cosmetic touches, these heat
sinks extract vapor from boiling liquid to
draw heat away from the exhaust valve and
improve cooling.
Any one of these three machines could con-
ceivably be put into production with relatively
few changes, though parent company Piaggio
made no remarks with regard to any imminent
plans. It remains to be seen whether Ter-
blanche’s design talent can create some much-
needed excitement for Moto Guzzi, or whether
Piaggio’s ongoing attempts to revitalize the
Guzzi brand will position it for future success.
So far Piaggio’s maneuvering of Moto Guzzi
has been less than well received by Guzzi fans.
A September 2009 protest organized by the
Italian Guzzi group Anima Guzzi (www.guzzisti.
it) to highlight Piaggio’s supposed marginaliza-
tion of the Guzzi brand drew over 1500 Guzzisti
to the factory gates at Mandello Del Lario. The
recent departure of Piaggio Chief Operating
Offcer Deniele Bandiera, along with these new
models, may signal a new direction for the
beloved Mandello manufacturer. Let’s hope this
optimism is well founded. MC
›› WILD FILE
VISIONARY
TWELVES
Pierre Terblanche resurfaces with this trio of wild Guzzi concepts
WORDS: Ed Milich PHOTOS: Moto Guzzi
The X-model gets supermoto-inspired styling, com-
plete with handguards, an extra-long banana saddle,
and high-rise suspension.
The Strada provides a good view of the innovative
LED-type lighting and rear-view video system, with
rear-facing cameras on each cylinder head.
The V12 LM initials harken back to the famed Lemans
sportbikes of the seventies and eighties—some of the
finest machines Guzzi ever produced.
M
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18 MOTORCYCLIST
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en Spies ended the 2009 MotoGP
season in 20th place, right behind
Sete Gibernau, which might be disap-
pointing except for the fact that he earned
those nine points by fnishing seventh in the
fnal round at Valencia, Spain. That was the
25-year-old Texan’s frst and only appearance
of the year, two weeks after inking the 2009
World Superbike Championship in Portugal.
The three-time AMA champ had already
re-signed with Yamaha to return to the SBK
wars in 2010, before the decision was made
to promote him to MotoGP—and demote
James Toseland.
Spies was no MotoGP virgin. He’d fnished
14th in the ’08 British GP, flling in for an
injured Loris Capirossi, then eighth at Laguna
Seca and sixth at Indianapolis in wild-card
rides on the Rizla Suzuki. Just fve hours after
clapping eyes on his 240-plus horsepower,
STORM WARNING
In his Yamaha MotoGP debut, Ben Spies shows
he’s a force to be reckoned with
WORDS: Tim Carrithers PHOTOS: Gold & Goose
B
What do you do for an encore after winning the 2009
World Superbike Championship? How about throwing
a leg over your 2010 MotoGP bike and coming home
seventh?
326-pound YZR-M1, Spies ended Saturday
practice 5 seconds quicker than he started,
just over a second behind the fve fastest
bikes. “It’s the frst time I’ve set foot on a
Yamaha, so to be only a second off the mix is
pretty good,” Spies said. “For the frst day, and
only 20 laps on the bike, I’m happy.” Spies’
best 1:33.539-second qualifying lap made
him ninth-quickest, ahead of Italian Andrea
Dovizioso’s Repsol Honda. Impressed yet?
Flying Sterilgarda Yamaha colors for one
last time in front of 94,177 rabid Spanish
spectators, Spies got a solid start, running
ninth until Marco Melandri dropped him to
10th near the end of lap one. By lap 11,
however, Spies got back around. After passing
Mika Kallio to crack the top 10, he took ninth
from Alex De Angelis one lap later. Running
quick enough to match his 2010 Monster
Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Colin Edwards’
1:34 pace up in fourth spot, Spies grabbed
seventh from Dovizioso with fve laps to go
and held on to the fnish.
It was a solid performance from the most
promising American MotoGP rookie since
a certain kid from Kentucky, with a twist.
Bumping Dovizioso back to eighth gave
Edwards ffth for the season. “I gave Ben a big
hug after the race,” Edwards said. “Anything
he wants me to buy him, he can have it.”
Next season won’t be easy, but starting
out with a guy like Edwards in your corner
can’t hurt. MC
www.motorcyclistonline.com 19
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inety-nine percent of motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens,
and the last one percent are nothing more than outlaws.”
Nobody knows who said that. Maybe it’s apocryphal.
“N
What did happen as a matter
of record and history is that “One
Percenter” became a badge of
honor for “outlaw” clubs, its
outlaw brand celebrated with
delicious terror in a thousand
pulp mags and a handful of
Roger Corman B-ficks. Sonny
Barger may (or may not) have
been the frst guy to get “1%er”
inked onto his pelt, but surely he
wasn’t the last.
Herd nature drives us together
against common threats, or what
H.S. Thompson branded “The
Menace.” The same focking
instinct requires The Menace to
provide for their common defense
against, um … “Us.”
And who are Us? We’re the
good guys: conscientious, ATGATT
ambassadors of the sport.
We meet the nicest people on
our Hondas. We put our best
wheel forward. We sneer at the
unwashed and the ign’ant. Our
tire pressures are perfect.
That arrogant patch-holder with
us all look bad!
That heinous crime allegedly
occurred at three in the morning.
What’s 122 mph on a modern
sportbike—top of third gear?
On a long, wide, straight, well-lit,
untraffcked expressway at 0300:
no one to hurt but himself,
unless a deer wandered out.
He lost his bike and license
for that, if it makes anyone feel
better.
Still think they’re not coming
for you? A few months back, a
couple on a Gold Wing hit a mule
deer on I-5, backing up traffc for
miles. Wearing armored clothes
and full-face helmets, herding a
Jack Lewis
Behind Bars
THE
NIEMOLLER PRINCIPLE
PHOTO: Kevin Wing
the tattooed arms, loose-meat
pillion bitch and cherry-bomb
drag pipes who won’t so much
as nod at our cheerful wave from
our kickass Hyperbusa? When he
gets lit up by the law, we snicker
up our armored sleeve as we
elegantly zip by, frmly wrapped in
fail-safe technology.
Better him than me. He makes
us all look bad.
When a Suzuki rider recently
got popped clocking 122 mph on
I-205 South in the small hours
of the night, his harshest judg-
ments came from fellow riders.
The intertubes lit up with digital
pitchforks and torches: He makes
20 MOTORCYCLIST
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shop-tuned, late-model touring
rig along the slab at the speed
limit, they were nearly killed by a
woods rat. Public comment con-
sensus was that they deserved it
for riding that damned donorcycle
in the frst place, how dare they
hold up everyone’s commute for
a Life Flight… and was the deer
okay?
Even Wing Dingers make us
look bad!
Riding a bike brands you as
the minority, and discrimination
against minorities is automatic.
It is instinctive, but we riders
should be better than that. If we
ostracize every rider who doesn’t
meet our personal purity test, e
pluribus unum goes straight into
the toilet.
When they came for the one-
percenters, I didn’t say anything
because I wasn’t a one-percenter
(besides, colors are for clowns).
When they came for the squids,
I laughed at those brain-dead
punks. When they came for the
sport-tourers, I … hey! Wait a
minute! It wasn’t me making us
look bad!
Then the Lord said to Cain,
“Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am
I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen.
4:9, NIV)
If you refuse to wave to
scooterists or three-patch bikers
or squids or whomever, you’re a
dick. They face the same blind
cagers, get hassled by the same
LEOs and get frozen by the same
sleet. Asphalt burns us all the
same shade of red.
Think about this the next time
you blare on about how young
stuntahs ought to take their
tricks to the track (and what track
would that be, exactly?). When
you were a kid, could you afford
“If we ostracize every rider who
doesn’t meet our personal purity
test, e pluribus unum goes straight
into the toilet.”
a newish sportbike, full leathers
and track-day fees? Or did you
get your kicks where you could?
Be honest.
It was several years ago when
Ex2 and I were passed on the
right by Little Joey Rocket in the
diamond lane of westbound SR
520. Doing about 80, he stood
on the seat so he could see over
the fying front wheel. As the lane
ended and the foating bridge
began, he set it down softly,
slowed, signaled and merged
seamlessly into the fow of traffc.
It was beautiful.
“My God,” said Ex2. “That’s
crazy!”
Yeah, okay: crazy beautiful.
I hope that kid lives to be
a cranky old fart, querulously
wheezing on about “kids today.”
I hope someday he stops to help
a brother on a busted old Harley.
I hope he aces an expert riding
course and raises a litter of
bright, daring kids who under-
stand that “outlaw” never was a
synonym for “criminal.”
You grown-ups are making too
much noise! Go play outside for
awhile. MC
P
H
O
T
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:

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a
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l

T
a
s
s
i
t
a
n
o
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:

G
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e

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www.motorcyclistonline.com 21
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arly last year, Hendrik von Kuenheim, president of BMW Motorrad, spoke about the company’s
plans for its new S1000RR in the World Superbike Championship: “We are taking the battle to their
battlefeld, to play by their rules. This year we hope to develop the bike and fnish in the top 10.”
E
The bike that BMW built as
the basis of its World Superbike
effort is a combination of radical
ends and conservative means.
The S1000RR is claimed to have
the most power and the lightest
weight in its class, and it has
perhaps the most sophisticated
electronic aids to performance of
any motorcycle. This puts its per-
formance potential at the radical
end of the spectrum.
The fact that this radical
performance comes from a com-
pany known for its conservatism
becomes a clear statement that
the company intends to change
its image. This is a radical
change for BMW.
The performance may be
radical, and the culture shift at
BMW may be radical. But how
radical is the engineering? Is the
designa collection of unexpected,
original work?
No. BMW has taken a deeply
conservative approach, in
that almost every detail of the
S1000RR’s architecture and
mechanical elements follows
precedents set by the Japanese
manufacturers. From the stacked
transmission shafts to the under-
engine muffer box to the twin-
spar frame structure to the cen-
tral ram-air duct, the details are
familiar to anyone who’s studied
the Big Four’s inline-fours.
This is not to say that the
S1000RR is a “copy” of any
other bike, but rather that BMW
looked to the Japanese machines
as models of what a super-
bike should be. A conservative
approach is a safe approach, and
the BMW engineers took what
they hoped would be a safe and
sure way to put together a com-
petitive superbike. Now that the
2009 World Superbike season
has concluded, has the safe
approach proven to be the
best course? How has this
Conservative Radical performed?
I’d rate BMW’s debut SBK
season a success. This is an
intensely competitive series,
and it was especially so this
year. BMW didn’t fnish in the
top 10 as hoped, but Troy Corser
led races and fnished 13th in
the series, with Ruben Xaus
not far behind in 17th. Had the
S1000RR performed all season
as it did in the fnal third, a top-10
fnish would have been a safe
bet. Top speed and individual lap
times were very competitive, but
the team often had to use softer
tires to get those times, meaning
that performance went off late
in the race. A best fnish of ffth
came at the Czech Republic.
BMW’s conservative approach
thus resulted in a solid develop-
ment season that will surely
serve as a strong basis for this
year’s effort. But there was one
detail that must have frustrated
the team and caused them to
question their conservative
approach. Most seasons of World
Superbike don’t feature the intro-
duction of a new bike by a new
entrant, but the ’09 season saw
not only BMW’s entry but also
Aprilia’s new RSV4.
The Aprilia is the frst V4 in
SBK since the Honda RC-30s of
the late ’80s, and in many ways
it’s radical relative to the conser-
vative BMW. Its 65-degree V-angle
makes for a very compact engine,
and the bike looks more like a
MotoGP weapon than a Super-
bike. What must have shocked
the BMW team, however, is that
while they struggled to get up to
speed with the S1000RR, the
RSV4 rocketed to an astounding
season.
Aprilia’s Max Biaggi was
already on the podium with two
thirds at the second event at
Qatar, and he followed with seven
more podiums topped with a win
at Brno. For a completely new
bike, the Aprilia’s record was
stunning, with Biaggi failing to
fnish only once during the entire
season. Placing fourth overall for
the season, Aprilia beat every
team except the Yamaha of Ben
Spies and the Ducatis of Noriyuki
Haga and Michele Fabrizio.
BMW’s debut season went
very much according to its
conservative plan, and it’s only
in comparison to the remarkable
Aprilia effort that the question
arises: Was BMW perhaps too
conservative in its approach?
The ’09 season saw another
threat to BMW’s strategy in that
the Yamaha that won the cham-
pionship wasn’t a conventional
inline-four, but rather featured a
crossplane crankshaft, in some
ways a radical departure from
the norm.
The conservatives are under
attack from the radicals. What
else is new? MC
PHOTO: BMW
DRAWING THE LINE
James Parker
PHO
James P
THE
CONSERVATIVE
RADICAL
BMW’s new S1000RR superbike sets a
new standard for electronic aids, with
both Race ABS and traction control.
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’m going to get my wish. This year at the California Superbike School, students will ride the new
BMW S1000RR. While the world around us spouts off about speed being dangerous, you might
recall my column about 1000cc bikes being statistically no more dangerous than 600s. Some
readers took that to mean “liter-bikes are safer,” which I didn’t say. What I said was, there is no hard
evidence that liter-bike horsepower, or their potential speed, is an easily identifable cause of crashes.
Then, as now, my theory has been the opposite: that riders tend to be intimidated by gobs of power and
respect the bike. But theories are only as good as they hold up in reality. So statistically speaking, I’ll
have the grandest liter-bike vs. 600 experiment ever done on earth under “laboratory” (the tracks we run
across America) conditions.
I
Earlier this year, I rode the new
Ducati 1198, Suzuki GSX-R1000
and Yamaha YZF-R1 with the boys
here at the mag, and now I’ve
ridden the BMW S1000RR we’ll
use at the schools. It is impos-
sible not to be impressed with
these phenomenal motorcycles.
Each has a defnite character,
each has stunning power and
each has its own feel and han-
dling. All have proven themselves
in competition, all bring some-
thing to the table and none can
be ruled out.
As time goes by, big bikes don’t
feel that big anymore. Pulling one
of them off the sidestand isn’t
substantially different than a
600 of not so long ago. Between
your legs, there is an immediate
lack of intimidation—with the
BMW, more a sense of security—
because the weight and feel of
liter-bikes is no longer propor-
tionate to power.
Take a Yamaha YZF-R6
weighing in at 417 pounds
wet with 109 horsepower and
compare the S1000RR at 450
lbs. wet with 193 bhp. A scant 23
lbs. heavier but 2.3 lbs. per bhp
compared to 3.8 on the R6. The
question of what happens when
you roll on the throttle shouldn’t
need to be asked, but go ahead.
One answer is 1000s come away
from a stoplight with a feather
touch of the throttle. With fewer
gear changes and far more linear
power, there is no wait time for
power. To me, that makes them
more manageable than 600s.
Not to shamelessly promote
our new bikes, but honestly, if I
had been blindfolded and put on
the S1000RR, I would not have
been able to tell right away if it
were a 600, 750 or 1000. The
handling is that good and that
neutral. I would compare it to a
Honda CBR600RR, and that is a
very nice bike to ride. It passed
my personal test, which is: How
many corners does it take for
the bike to become less impor-
tant than the riding; for it to feel
like an extension of me; for it to
disappear as an object and carry
out my wishes? It’s a lot to ask
of a bike not built just for me,
but they are out there and the
S1000RR is one of them.
For me, it’s all about training
riders in their cornering skills.
Having bikes that meet those cri-
teria has spiked my excitement
levels. Of course, that’s all aside
from the massive adrenalin wow
factor that our students will
experience on the straights. For
the faint of heart, the answer
is in the highly sophisticated
electronics these bikes have.
We can put the traction control
in “rain mode,” which limits
the engine output and power
characteristics to a very mild-
mannered machine. Do you see
what is becoming available to
every street rider now? You can
set the dashboard computer to
have your bike behave the way
you feel, or to comply with the
conditions. Power is rising, but
so is our control over it. Honda
introduced ABS to its CBRs,
and now BMW has upped the
ante with “Race ABS.” So will
everyone else.
That is the future. Welcome
to it. MC
Keith Code
PHOTO: BMW
CODE BREAK
THE FUTURE IS NOW
For nearly 30 years the California
Superbike School has employed
Kawasaki 550s-600s, but for 2010
students will get to ride the new,
high-tech BMW S1000RR.
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friendly tone.” I read that to mean he became
patently condescending. Mitchell says he
“decided to give him a ticket” after the
violator “lit up a smoke and began to whine
more.” Offcer Mitchell allowed this violator
to take the lead in controlling the traffc stop.
The man was pushing buttons, and Mitchell
responded.
To be effective at traffc enforcement, an
offcer should decide his intended enforce-
ment action before he makes the stop.
Certainly, there may be times when an offcer
gleans information during the encounter that
might infuence him to amend that decision.
But in my experience, this meant I changed
my mind and did not write a ticket as I had
intended.
Mitchell says violators should treat offcers
the way they themselves would like to be
treated. I agree, but that advice goes both
ways. In this case, the violator’s most serious
offense was “Contempt of Cop.” The man
tried to get to Mitchell and Mitchell let him
get away with it.
Kurt D. Smith
Via E-mail
Regarding Offcer Mitchell’s soapbox rant:
For every sweet, good-natured constable like
him whose good mood is soured by a squid
with no plate who takes a little too long to
pull over, there’s also a jerk with a badge who
will “throw the book at you,” even if you are
respectful, fully insured and registered.
Sean Mitchell
Colorado Springs, CO
I’ve been a biker for 35-plus years
and 250,000-plus miles and I’m
sorry, Offcer Mitchell, but I’m not
buying it anymore. I have collected
my share of tickets and not a
single one of them had anything
to do with me being a danger to
anyone around me. Faster than
those stupid white signs? Sure.
But not as fast as the rat van
that was passing me the last
time I got pulled over.
Tim Akey
St. Louis, MO
I wholeheartedly agree with
the theme of Mike Mitchell’s
“Asking for It” article on
respecting law-enforcement
offcers. Not too long
ago I was timing lights in
San Francisco, and as I
approached a busy intersec-
tion, the light went to a four-
MC
Mail
GOT A QUESTION OR COMMENT FOR THE MOTORCYCLIST STAFF? E-MAIL US AT MCMAIL@SORC.COM
NAUGHTY & NICE, CONTEMPT OF
COPS, CHORD DIGRESSIONS & MORE
NAUGHTY & NICE
I loved your December “Naughty or Nice”
issue—loved the exotic machinery, loved the
hot girls, loved the raunchy cover, loved it
all! Now cancel my subscription. Not really,
but I just wanted to prepare you for the likely
backlash that’s heading your way after a
ballsy cover shot like that. F’em, and keep
the interesting issues coming!
Mitchell Lang
Wheaton, IL
I have to write in about the “Naughty or
Nice” spread. I loved it—the awesome
suspension systems, the amazing curves of
the bodywork, the wonderful headlights ...
and the motorcycles were pretty cool, too!
Gary Balduzzi
Valley Forge, PA
Just thought you should know that Genna,
the “nice” elf, is the cutest girl I have ever
seen! You should include her more often.
What a sweetheart!
Dave Fagar
Royal Oak, MI
Thanks for the love in the December issue.
P.S.—I want Mixi for Christmas!
John Paolo Canton
Public Relations Coordinator
Ducati North America
Cupertino, CA
The brand-new models on your December
issue are the meanest, toughest, scariest-
looking that have ever graced your cover. I
am, of course, referring to the models on
heels, not on wheels. They may have
been more suitable for your
October cover.
Matthew Miller
Dahlonega, GA
What can we say? That’s how
we roll here in Hollyweird.
—Ed.
CONTEMPT OF COP
As a retired police offcer (37 years of
service, 90 percent of it on the street) and
avid rider (’02 H-D FLHRCI), I grimaced as
I read Mike Mitchell’s “Asking For It” piece
(Street Savvy, December). I learned early in
my career that an offcer must control the
scene and circumstances during encounters
with citizens. Offcer Mitchell began to lose
control of this situation when he became, “a
little upset.” He says he used a “conserva-
tive and borderline-
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26 MOTORCYCLIST
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way stop for pedestrians. I slammed on my
brakes but slid through, a good 10 feet past
the stop line. To my left was a motorcycle cop
staring me down. Talk about bad timing! The
cop just looked at me and asked, “You made a
mistake, didn’t you?” I nodded yes. “You’re not
going to do that again, are you?” Another nod.
He waved me through to a huge sigh of relief.
I know I had done wrong and was nailed, but
as a fellow motorcyclist, he understood that
mistakes happen. So a big thank-you to law
offcers like Mike Mitchell who try to deal with
fellow riders with some understanding! A little
respect goes a long way.
Ron Wen
Raleigh, NC
CHORD DIGRESSIONS
It was interesting to read Jack Lewis’ column
(Behind Bars, December) about his old
BMW and his Silvertone guitar. I am a guitar
teacher and was reliving my history with gui-
tars and motorcycles. My dad started me on
Gibson guitars (Dad is gone, but I still have
the guitar) and I have pretty much owned all
the top models. My bike riding started about
the same time with a Honda 70. I just threw
my leg over to “try it on” and was hooked.
I didn’t get my frst bike until ’96. After an
overseas military tour, I continued my career
as a Navy guitarist and needed a second
vehicle. Quite by accident, I acquired a ’92
Honda Nighthawk. I had discovered the
HOV lane and how bikes were legal. I took
the required riders class on base and truly
discovered the joy of riding.
I have made a career picking the guitar,
have some really nice gear and am now
showing youngsters how to play. My only
connection with bikes is my subscription to
Motorcyclist and the occasional stop at the
local bike dealers to “try one on.”
Thanks, Jack, for an article on this rainy
day that took me back to see my father Bob,
bikes and boxes.
Michael Durig
Chesapeake, VA
I have been reading your mag for a while now
and have always enjoyed the content. That
is, except for Jack Lewis. I typically could
get through, oh, about a paragraph before I
gave up. It wasn’t for lack of trying, either.
This month has been the exception. To my
surprise, I fnished reading his words and
actually went back and read them again,
enjoying it as much the second go-through as
the frst. I just might have to revisit my stack
of back issues and try a little harder.
Richard Meyer
Bellevue, WA
Lovely guitar story but, seeing the old BMW, I
read on hoping it would turn into a road story.
Should have sent that one to Guitar World.
George Perkins
McAllen, TX
DISSENTING OPINIONS
While reading Keith Code’s “Time, Space
and Speed” column (Code Break, December),
I could not help but think of where some
riders, specifcally Valentino Rossi, look in a
turn. They look almost straight down at the
track, which goes against everything I’ve ever
learned, and contradicts KC’s column. Maybe
he could explain this new technique?
Karl Rowlands
Tokyo, Japan
Rossi et al might appear to be looking straight
down at the track, but their eyes are assuredly
looking through the corner.—Ed.
In James Parker’s “Innovation, Take 2”
column (Drawing the Line, December), he
covers the new Yamaha YZ450F and its
reversed engine layout. He gets one thing
right at the beginning of the article when he
mentions the Cannondale E440, but then
states, “Neither was ultimately successful,
but their problems had more to do with
money and markets than with their innovative
architecture. The concept of the reversed
cylinder head languished.” Excuse me? The
450cc family of ATK dirtbikes, the succes-
sors of the E440, has been around for the
last 10 years. First you give credit to Suzuki
for being the frst company to bring EFI to
production dirtbikes (the E440 did it frst) and
now you give credit to Yamaha for “taking up
a technology that was essentially abandoned
several years ago.” ATK has been building
the 450 MX, XC, Enduro, Super Motard, Dirt
Track, and 450 MX and VR ATVs for years. So
please give credit where credit is due and at
least mention ATK in the future when talking
about U.S. motorcycle manufacturers.
Aaron Russell
Foley, AL
If the Cannondale were truly successful, it
would still be sold under that name, no? As
for ATK, perhaps if we heard from someone
at that company once in a while, it might be
higher on our radar.—Ed.
DUCATI, DUCATI, DUCATI
All you ever talk about is Ducati, Ducati,
Ducati. I live in the Chicago/Milwaukee
metropolitan area and you can’t even buy
a Ducati anywhere for 100 miles in any
direction.
Krepotkin
Twin Lakes, WI
You’re obviously unaware of Chicago Cycle in
Lincolnwood, just 40 miles from your home in
Twin Lakes. They’ll hook you up with that new
Streetfghter you’ve been craving.—Ed.
Your article on the Bayliss Edition 1098R
states that it’s the frst road-going Ducati
with twin injectors. Not so. My “lowly”
2000 996 Biposto has twin fuel injectors
per cylinder. Or should I say, had when it
left the factory. It runs much better with an
aftermarket chip and conversion to a
single injector. Thanks and keep the Ducati
articles coming!
Lowell Martin
Poolesville, MD
NOT-SO-SUPERMOTO
I was enjoying the “12 Bikes of XXXmas”
article, and then I got to the two supermotos
and had to laugh. My Husqvarna SMR510
would smoke both of those bikes, and it’s
half the price of that $20K “Slowzuki!” My
Husky is a real naughty street-legal ride. It’s
lighter, puts out more power, has way-tricker
components and is ready to race right off
the showroom foor. I’ve beaten the snot out
of it, raced it several times and have ridden
it to work for more than two years without
any trouble. Wake up and smell the Husky!
John Faison
Whiting, NJ
“Wake up and smell the husky”? Sounds like
you’ve never been the lead dog…—Ed.
www.motorcyclistonline.com 27
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1974 BMW
R90S
NAME: Fernando Costa
AGE: 62
HOME: São Paulo, Brazil
OCCUPATION: Retired pharmaceutical executive
PHOTO: Rafael Tassitano
o tell you the truth, I wasn’t really
interested in motorcycles when I
was growing up. When I was about
19 years old, however, my brother’s friend
got a f at tire by our house and asked if
he could keep his 1967 BMW R60 at our
place. It sat there for three days, and every
night I would sit on the bike. To this day, I
remember exactly what it felt like with its
two big cylinders sticking out. Soon after I
got my f rst motorcycle, a 1968 Gilera 175,
but I never forgot that BMW.
“Over the following years I owned a
couple of Yamahas, but when BMW intro-
duced the legendary R90S in ’74, I found
myself standing in the local dealership in
downtown São Paulo being coaxed to ‘take
a little ride’ by owner Edgard Soares. I told
him, ‘I don’t even have money to put gas
in the bike.’ But Edgard was persistent: He
told me, ‘I didn’t say you had to buy it, just
take a ride to see if you like it.’ Well, I did
take that ride, and soon sold everything I
had: my car, my motorcycle, a camera… I
got some f nancing and bought that R90!
“On that day I didn’t only get a new
motorcycle, but also a lifelong friend in
the form of Daniel Basconcellos,
the dealership’s service technician.
Daniel now owns his own shop, and
35 years later still does all the
restoration, repair and maintenance
on my bikes.
“Even with the R90S, I never
did forget about that ’67 R60 that started it
all. So in ’88, after spending 12 years living
overseas, I came back to Brazil and found
one at the same dealership that sold me
the R90S. Since then I have also acquired
a ’39 R61 and a ’52 R25/2, which Daniel
has almost f nished rebuilding. Admittedly,
working on these bikes in a country like
Brazil isn’t easy. There aren’t that many
around and the resources aren’t like what
you have in the States. The Internet has
made f nding parts so much easier. Before,
it was all word of mouth. I found out about
Martin Kornhaus in Germany and every-
thing would be done via fax. Now, I get all
my original parts online from shops in the
U.S. and Germany. When original parts are
unavailable, Daniel hand-fabricates them in
his machine shop.
“Except for the R61, which now sits in my
living room, I still ride all of these bikes on
a regular basis. The best trip I ever took on
my R90S was 1000 miles to Buenos
Aires…back in 1976! I know for a
fact that bike could make it around
the world, even today. Those bikes
are bulletproof.
“I have a passion for all of
these motorcycles, but it’s
not hard to pick a favorite:
the R90S. It was the f rst
BMW I ever had from
zero mileage. It’s my
love.” MC
“T
28 MOTORCYCLIST
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WORDS: Brian Catterson PHOTOS: Kel Edge/BMW
Germany’s first true superbike
changes everything
They say: “A new
benchmark in terms of
riding dynamics, safety
and innovation.
We say: “You’ll get no
argument here.”
wish I had a photo of it, or better yet
a video. And I really wish I’d done it
on purpose, rather than by accident.
But to be honest, I was just along for the ride.
Approaching the blind double-right before
the stunning Portimao, Portugal, circuit’s
steepest downhill, I passed three slower
riders and then realized I was in way … too
… hot. Snatching at the brake lever and
banging a quick downshift, I felt the BMW
S1000RR’s rear end slew sideways—and
just stay there, with no chattering, hopping
or high-revving histrionics. Spying the apex,
I pointed the bike in that general direction,
let off the brakes, gave it a touch of gas and
disappeared over the brow of the hill, leaving
my fellow test riders’ mouths gaping.
The fact that I was able to recover from
such a profound error in judgment speaks
volumes for Germany’s frst true superbike.
Because it was the bike’s standard slipper
clutch and optional Race ABS that not only
saved my bacon, but made me look good.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg; the
S1000RR is also available with Dynamic Trac-
tion Control. Honda offers ABS on its CBRs,
and Ducati has TC on its 1098R and 1198S,
but only BMW offers both—not to mention a
ride-by-wire throttle, a quick-shifter and vari-
able drive modes.
To say the S1000RR has been long
awaited is an understatement of epic propor-
tions. It seemed like an eternity between April
’08, when BMW Motorrad President Hendrik
von Kuenheim announced plans to build the
bike, and our frst ride in November ’09. But
really, BMW fans have been waiting for this
bike since Reg Pridmore won the inaugural
AMA Superbike Championship on an R90S
way back in 1976.
The S1000RR also marks a major change
in BMW’s corporate philosophy. While the
Bavarian Motor Works has always offered
sporty cars, its bikes have been less so,
aimed predominantly at tourers. The second-
generation K-bikes launched in ’05 were a
bold step, but they were still big and heavy,
and hardly suitable for racing. This S1000RR,
however, is a true superbike.
A clean-sheet design (see the “First Look”
in our September ’09 issue for technical
details), the S1000RR was four years in the
making, and contested the full 2009 World
Superbike Championship before production
models were ever built. Race results were
generally lackluster, but the team made
progress and learned a lot, and should return
much stronger this coming season. More
importantly, the lessons learned were fun-
neled back to Munich and incorporated in the
production bikes.
To test the motorcycle that BMW Motorrad
USA VP Pieter de Waal called “the most
important model ever,” the world’s press was
invited to the Autódromo Internacional do
Algarve. Built in 2008 at a cost of $250 mil-
lion, the undulating 2.9-mile circuit features
every manner of turn, both slow and fast,
making it the perfect test track. The fact that
I
30 MOTORCYCLIST
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Button on right handlebar lets you select which
of the four drive modes you desire. Your selection
doesn’t take effect until you close the throttle and
pull in the clutch lever.
A maze of hoses connects the front and rear brake
calipers to the underseat ABS pressure modulator.
Braking performance varies according to the
selected drive mode.
Ducati introduced its 1198S at the same
track one year earlier set the stage for some
seat-of-the-pants benchmarking.
Helping to illustrate how aggressively BMW
is looking to change its image, all 40 test-
bikes at the press intro were Acid Green. Not
most journos’ favorite (“Nuclear Baby Poop,”
one called it), that color is aimed squarely
at the urban Bike Night crowd, so it will be
interesting to see how it fares. Most of those
on hand preferred the black or silver options,
and especially the red/white/blue Motor-
sports motif, which costs an additional $750.
A word about price: While the base-model
S1000RR retails for a reasonable $13,800,
the options add up fast. Race ABS adds
$1000; Race ABS with Dynamic Traction Con-
trol costs $1480; and the Shift Assist costs
another $450. So a fully equipped machine
costs $15,730. Of course, our testbikes were
fully equipped.
Throwing a leg over the S1000RR on pit
lane, I found the seating position to be sport-
bike-conventional, and very accommodating
for my 6’1” frame. BMW’s designers said
they aimed for the 95th percentile, meaning
the bike should ft all but 5 percent of riders.
The seating position felt just as good in
motion, without any gas tank fares, fairing
edges or heel guards getting in the way. It’s
an easy machine to move around on.
For the frst of our four sessions, we were
asked to follow a racer (in my case, chassis
engineer Ralf Schwickerath) for three laps,
and to select the frst of the four available
drive modes, Rain. This reduces peak power
(to 150 bhp) and slows throttle response,
making it ftting not only for slippery and wet
conditions, but also for re-learning a chal-
lenging circuit. Though to be honest, it just
felt slow. While I was cruising around, I noted
how easily the 422-pound (dry) machine
changed direction, yet how stable it remained,
even when gusting sidewinds caught the bike
cresting the fourth-gear rise onto the front
straight. The suspension felt great too; I only
increased compression damping in the shock
to prevent the rear end from squatting and
the bike from running wide at corner exits.
Once Ralf waved me by, I promptly selected
“While the Bavarian Motor Works has always
offered sporty cars, its bikes have been less so,
aimed predominantly at tourers.”
Rider’s-eye view shows analog tach with 14,000-rpm
redline, shift light and digital display with speed,
gear and drive mode: Rain, Sport, Race or, as
selected here, Slick.
www.motorcyclistonline.com 31
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the second mode, Sport. This restores the
engine to full power (193 bhp at the crank,
BMW claims, or around 165 bhp at the rear
tire) and quickens response from the E-gas
ride-by-wire throttle. And just like that, the
S1000RR was transformed. Suddenly it felt
downright fast, inhaling the long front straight
in one gulp and making third-gear Turn 1 look
like a sharp bend into a blind alley. Yet even
so, power felt smooth and linear. The shift
light was set for 12,500 rpm—5K shy of the
power peak—so when I saw it fash, I toed
the shift lever, the Shift Assist quick-shifter
cut the spark and the transmission engaged
the next gear seamlessly.
All was not perfect, however. Ostensibly
optimized for street riding, in Sport mode
both the ABS and TC cut in too early for
racetrack use. The former was particularly
bothersome as the pressure modulator did
its thing under heavy braking, causing a
moment’s pause as the lever went numb right
when I wanted to tip it into a corner. This
wasn’t a function of braking alone, however,
as the ABS also works to prevent the rear
wheel from lifting. I could also feel the TC’s
wheelie control cutting in, slamming the front
end down abruptly and then snatching it back
up again.
For my second session I toggled up to
Race mode, and here the S1000RR worked
as it should. Though power output remains
the same as in Sport mode, throttle response
is quickened further, and both the ABS and
TC allow more aggressive riding. Suddenly
the ABS wasn’t cutting in anymore, and the
rear tire stepped out and spun a little at
corner exits, particularly the off-camber ones.
The rear wheel also came up a little on the
brakes, though I still felt very much in control.
After lunch our two 20-rider groups were
combined into one 40-rider feld, and our
riding sessions were extended from 20 to 30
minutes. I left it in Race mode, concentrated
on hitting my marks and soon found myself
in the groove, marveling at how easy it was
to ride this powerful sportbike fast. And it is
fast: I saw 275 kph (170 mph) in sixth gear
Say what you will about the Acid Green paint, but
the S1000RR certainly looks the business. Its
unique asymmetric styling features differently
shaped fairing louvers and headlights.
32 MOTORCYCLIST
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Metric system? The single Sachs shock and the stout
46mm fork feature 10 positions of compression and
rebound damping. Rear ride height is adjustable via
an eccentric mount.
Red/white/blue Motorsports color scheme resembles
that of the factory World Superbikes, and costs $750
extra. Accessories include various Alpha Racing
parts, carbon-fiber bits and matching apparel.
at the end of the front straight.
For the last session of the day I selected
Slick mode, which as the name implies is
intended for use with racing slicks. As sold,
this mode doesn’t appear on the S1000RR’s
menu; you have to snap a plug into the
underseat wiring harness to activate it. Again,
power output remains unchanged, but throttle
response is quicker yet, ABS is disabled from
the rear wheel (allowing you to back it into
corners), TC lets you seriously hang out the
rear tire and the wheelie control only works
when the bike is leaned over—though you’re
limited to 5 seconds of fun. Mind you we
weren’t on slicks, remaining on the stock
(and quite excellent) Metzeler Ractec K3s.
That’s when things got really exciting. In
all honestly, I have never ridden a production
streetbike that performed this much like a
racing Superbike. Where the Ducati 1198S I
rode here a year ago was fast yet tractable,
the BMW felt like a monster on a leash. An
invisible, technological leash.
I admit I’ve criticized ABS in the past, and
dreaded the day it would appear on sport-
bikes. Likewise TC, which in my mind has
equalized racing to the point that technology
alone wins the day. The BMW S1000RR has
changed my mind about both. You can turn
them off, together or separately, but I only did
so for one lap, just to say that I did.
Contrary to popular belief, you can have
a rollicking good time on an E-bike. That you
can do so with a much greater margin of
safety only makes it that much better.
tech
SPEC
EVOLUTION
A clean-sheet superbike, closer to the competition’s
offerings than anything else in BMW’s range.
RIVALS
Every other contender on the World Superbike starting grid,
from the Aprilia RSV4 to the Yamaha YZF-R1.
TECH
Price $15,730 (as tested)
Engine type l-c inline-four
Valve train DOHC, 16v
Displacement 999cc
Bore x stroke 80.0 x 49.7mm
Compression 13.0:1
Fuel system EFI
Clutch Wet, multi-plate slipper
Transmission 6-speed
Claimed
horsepower
193 bhp @ 13,000 rpm
Claimed torque 83 lb.-ft. @ 9750 rpm
Frame Aluminum twin-spar
Front
suspension
46mm Sachs inverted cartridge fork with
adjustable spring preload, compression
and rebound damping
Rear
suspension
Single Sachs shock with adjustable
spring preload, high/low-speed compres-
sion and rebound damping
Front brake Dual Brembo radial-mount four-piston
calipers, 320mm discs with optional ABS
Rear brake Brembo single-piston caliper, 220mm
disc with optional ABS
Front tire 120/70ZR-17 Metzeler RaceTec K3
Rear tire 190/55ZR-17 Metzeler RaceTec K3
Rake/trail 23.9°/3.8 in.
Seat height 32.3 in.
Wheelbase 56.4 in.
Fuel capacity 4.5 gal.
Claimed dry
weight
422 lbs. (427 lbs. with ABS)
Colors Acid Green Metallic, Mineral Silver
Metallic, Thunder Grey Metallic,
Motorsport red/white/blue
Available Late 2009/early 2010
Warranty 3 yrs./36,000 mi.
Contact
BMW Motorcycles USA
P.O. Box 1227
300 Chestnut Ridge Rd.
Westwood, NJ 07675
201.307.4000
www.bmwmotorcycles.com
VERDICT
The real deal: The competition should be very worried.
www.motorcyclistonline.com 33
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WORDS: Roland Brown PHOTOS: Milagro
Perfecting the art of naked aggression
ack-to-back sessions on the Misano
circuit had been exciting, exhausting
and a great way of confrming the
pace and poise of the new Brutale 990R
and 1090RR. The smaller-engined 990R was
enjoyably quick and sweet-handling, and the
1090RR that I rode immediately afterwards
was better still.
But a street ride earlier in the day had
revealed that MV’s new naked bruisers had
developed a softer edge. Cruising through vil-
lages and around bumpy hairpins in the hills,
the Brutales performed with a sophistication
and comfort that was a distinct departure
from their predecessors.
Such polite behavior was not what I was
accustomed to from the Brutale. From the
moment Massimo Tamburini’s gloriously
original 749cc four bludgeoned its way onto
the street six years ago, the Brutale backed
up its snub-nosed, barrel-chested look with
performance that was … well, brutal.
That rev-happy, 127-horsepower original
was followed two years later by the Brutale
910, which added 9 bhp and some useful
fexibility. Then in 2008 came the Brutale
1078RR, claiming a rampaging 154 bhp, but
MV’s answer to a Mafoso’s machine-gun had
too much of everything to make sense.
This latest Brutale heads in a different
direction. The 990R and 1090RR are the frst
tangible results of MV’s takeover by Harley-
Davidson over a year ago; 85 percent of their
components have been changed. And rather
than adding more brute force, MV and its new
parent company have decided to make them
more refned and easier to ride.
Most new components are shared by both
models, beginning with the previous Brutale’s
signature shape, subtly revised with a new
headlamp that incorporates a polyellipsoidal
lens plus a string of LEDs. New mirrors hold
LED turn signals in typically neat MV style.
Other changes include a redesigned instru-
ment console, larger air ducts and a tail light
integrated into the tailpiece.
Paint is the quickest way to tell the two
models apart. The 990R has red or black
paintwork with silver sidepanels, while the
1090RR’s two-tone scheme of either red/
silver or black/white includes the tank and
tailpiece. The 1078cc four also has a bright-
red cylinder head.
The two powerplants are very similar, with
the larger unit retaining the 79.0 x 55.0 mm
dimensions of the previous 1078RR model,
and the smaller engine using a 3mm smaller
bore to give a capacity of 998cc. MV’s trade-
mark layout of 16 radial valves and central
B
They say:
“Prepare to be
conquered.”
We say: “In a
kinder, gentler,
Brutale kinda way.”
34 MOTORCYCLIST
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
camchain is retained, but numerous parts
including the generator, lubrication system
and gear-change assembly are smaller and
lighter. The larger motor also incorporates a
slipper clutch.
A new injection system combines Mikuni
throttle bodies with a Marelli control unit that
gives the rider the option of a softer map for
wet conditions without reducing peak power.
Both Brutales come with MV’s race-devel-
oped traction-control system, which adjusts
ignition timing and fuel delivery when revs
rise too quickly.
The frame retains its blend of steel tubes
and aluminum sections, but with slightly more
relaxed steering geometry, softer suspension
and a 20mm longer swingarm. New wheels
save weight, more so with the RR’s forged
rims. The RR also balances its $18,000 price
with a steering damper, adjustable footrests,
upgraded brakes and suspension.
So the new Brutale is less powerful, has
lazier geometry and softer suspension, right?
Forgive me for thinking that maybe MV’s new
American owners had begun a secret mission
to turn the original Italian brute into a softie,
better suited to the freeways back home.
But the 990 engine’s deep, guttural growl
says the Brutale is still plenty menacing, and
one burst of throttle was enough to blow away
any doubts. On the short, straight stretch of
road heading out from the Misano circuit, I
crouched forward, delicately rested my foot
on the rear brake, wound back my right hand,
and was rewarded with the sight of the front
wheel rising skyward.
Not that I had seriously doubted that even
this smaller-engined of the two new Brutales
would live up to its name. That claimed 139
horsepower is plenty for a naked bike, and
these models are both 6.5 pounds lighter
than their predecessors. The 990R not only
sent its tach needle ripping round the dial at
the slightest provocation, it also pulled from
low revs with satisfying enthusiasm.
Predictably, the 1090RR has even more
low-rev grunt. The bigger engine had just
a touch more vibration than the 990R, but
is still very smooth thanks to the added
balancer shaft. It responds from well below
3000 rpm exiting steep hairpin turns, making
effortless progress with little need to shift.
That was just as well, because if the
Brutales have a faw, it’s their rather snatchy
midrange response. In other respects, both
bikes are impressively rider-friendly. More
relaxed geometry and that longer wheelbase
gave calmer steering feel along with the
naked four’s fickable nature.
The Brutales’ new-found civility was wel-
come on the road, but doesn’t come at the
expense of racetrack performance. On the
contrary, the motor’s smoothness helps make
the bike brilliantly rev-happy and entertaining
The Brutales’ cockpit has been completely remodelled.
The new instrument cluster, handlebar, clamp and key
block are all aimed at improving the bikes’ fit and feel.
A steering damper resides beneath the 1090RR’s bars.
“Rather than adding more brute force, MV and its
new parent company have decided to make them
more refined and easier to ride.”
www.motorcyclistonline.com 35
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
tech
SPEC
on the straights. Slightly abrupt throttle
response doesn’t prevent either of the big
fours from storming out of the bends with a
controlled savagery that is hugely addictive.
Despite that lazier steering geometry, the
Brutales navigated chicanes easily, thanks in
no small part to the leverage afforded by their
wide bars. But I wasn’t totally happy after
my frst session on either model, as both
were a bit soft and imprecise, despite having
been set up slightly frmer than the standard
settings we had used on the road. Both
front ends moved around slightly going into
bends, and the steering damper-less 990R,
in particular, fapped its bars exiting the slow
left-hander onto the back straight, as its
shock compressed under my weight.
Fortunately, the solution in both bikes’
cases was as simple as dialing in a bit more
compression and rebound damping at each
end, after which both models carved through
the slower turns with infnitely more preci-
sion. The 1090RR felt so solid that I just
about managed to get it through Misano’s
scary-fast (I saw 160 mph) kink without
shutting off.
The frmed-up front end allowed full use of
the front brakes, especially the RR’s ferce
blend of Monobloc calipers and 320mm
discs (the 990R has conventional radial
Brembo calipers and 310mm rotors). There
was enough cornering clearance to maximize
that bike’s sticky Dunlop Qualifer RR rubber,
as well as the Pirelli Diablo Rossos ftted
to the 990R. I wasn’t aware of the traction
control, which MV says is effective yet less
intrusive than other systems. The fact that
nobody crashed in three days says they might
be right.
Toward the end of the day, I pulled in after
what I thought was my fnal session. Step-
ping off the 990R, I was informed that I was
signed up for one more session aboard the
1090RR—right now. Er, yes please! I was
hot, sweaty and aching from a day spent
at speed on this high-barred hooligan of a
motorcycle, but I wasn’t going to miss a fnal
blast. The Brutale is a little bit kinder to its
rider than it used to be, and even more fun
to ride. MV Agusta’s American-led revival is
off to a promising start.
The Brutales’ new swingarm is 2.2 pounds lighter
and has been extended 20mm for greater high-speed
stability. A forged insert is an attractive contrast and
protects the swingarm in the event of a crash. Revised spring and damping rates are a welcome
change. Other comfort updates include a softer seat,
rubber-mounted handlebar and footrests, and a
redesigned cush drive that smoothes acceleration.
The smaller Brutale is designed more for the street
than the track, but its torquey 998cc engine and
light handling make it a joy in either environ.
EVOLUTION
An Italian-American marriage creates a lighter, more refned
naked that’s every bit as thrilling as the original.
RIVALS
KTM Superduke R, Triumph Speed Triple, Ducati Streetfghter
and Monster 1100.
TECH
Price $15,000 (990R), $18,000 (1090RR)
Engine type l-c inline-four
Valve train DOHC, 16v
Displacement 998cc (990R), 1078cc (1090RR)
Bore x stroke 76.0 x 55.0mm (990R),
79.0 x 55.0mm (1090RR)
Compression 13.0:1
Fuel system EFI
Clutch Wet, multi-plate
Transmission 6-speed
Claimed
horsepower
139.0 bhp @ 10,600 rpm (990R),
144.2 bhp @ 10,600 rpm (1090RR)
Claimed torque 78.2 lb.-ft. @ 8000 rpm (990R),
84.8 lb.-ft. @ 8000 rpm (1090RR)
Frame Steel trellis with single-sided
aluminum swingarm
Front
suspension
50mm Marzocchi fork with
adjustable spring preload,
compression and rebound damping
Rear
suspension
Sachs shock with adjustable spring pre-
load, high/low-speed compression, and
rebound damping (990R: spring preload
and rebound damping only)
Front brake Dual four-piston Brembo calipers,
310mm discs (990R), Dual four-piston
Brembo Monobloc calipers, 320mm
discs (1090RR)
Rear brake Four-piston Brembo caliper, 210mm disc
Front tire 120/70ZR-17 Pirelli (990R),
Dunlop (1090RR)
Rear tire 190/50ZR-17 Pirelli (990R),
Dunlop (1090RR)
Rake/trail 24.5°/4.0 in.
Seat height 32.7 in.
Wheelbase 56.6 in.
Fuel capacity 6.0 gal.
Claimed dry
weight
419 lbs.
Colors Red, black (990R), red/silver,
black/white (1090RR)
Available Now
Warranty 12 mo., unlimited mi.
Contact www.mvagustausa.com
VERDICT
Sleeker, more sophisticated, and as sharp and ferocious
as ever.
36 MOTORCYCLIST
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www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
WORDS: Tim Carrithers PHOTOS: Milagro
The most Ducati $10,000 can buy
here is no such thing as a bad trip
to Italy. It’s sunny and 68 degrees
outside Via Cavalieri Ducati 3 in Bo-
logna. Stepping inside for the obligatory pre-
ride presentation, two things become clear
halfway through the frst double espresso:
This new midsize Hypermotard isn’t the fast-
est Ducati or the sexiest. But for an upscale
brand in a decidedly down market, the 796 is
Bologna’s most important piece of news for
2010 for one simple reason: You can buy one
for less than $10,000.
Building a proper Ducati for that sort of
dough was more complicated. The engine, for
instance, isn’t a 796 at all. Why? The newest
desmodue twin’s actual 803cc displacement
doesn’t roll off the tongue nearly as well. And
though it shares some bits with the Monster
They say: “The 796 rides
the common ground
between manners and
madness.”
We say: “Hypermotard Lite:
same great taste, a little
less thrilling.”
696 mill—including its 88mm bore—there’s
more to it than an 8.8mm-longer stroke.
Redesigned pistons bump compression to
11:1, working above a new crankshaft with
848-style fywheels. Condensed engine cases
are 2.6 pounds lighter, accounting for most of
the new engine’s 4.2-lb. weight savings.
Intake amendments begin with a new
airbox and ductwork feeding 45mm throttle
bodies governed by a Siemens CPU. On the
exhaust side, a pre-muffer stashed under
the swingarm pivot lets the engine exhale
through slim underseat cans with a socially
acceptable bark while maintaining its alleged
81-horsepower bite. And the 21-plate APTC
slipper clutch lets us shift from second to
frst without creating an international yard
sale in some sodden Italian apex when sunny
and 68 segues into 55 and torrential rain.
Stopping for espresso in the perfect little
town of Monzuno, old men smoke cigarettes
and give us a look reserved for escaped
mental patients. I wring out wet gloves on the
patio and question my own sanity.
Who ordered the monsoon? “Just keepin’
it real,” says one of one of our corporate
escorts. It was either Ettore or Massimo, I’m
not sure which—wet notes are hard to read.
Purging forged bits used in the 1100’s steel trellis
makes the 796’s frame lighter and just as stiff. Triple
clamps are new as well. The single-sided swingarm
cues its Sachs shock with an 1100-style linkage.
T
38 MOTORCYCLIST
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
tech
SPEC
Not to worry. These Apennine mountain roads
range from tight and narrow to tighter and
exactly wide enough to pass some mental
patient in a Fiat Punto without trading paint.
The 796 sits noticeably lower than its big
brother—too low if you’re taller than 5-foot-
10—but the 1100 seat will ft, which is good
news if you’re tall. Ergos invite moving around
in the cockpit. These roads insist. Sliding
toward the broad, fat handlebar makes
steering easier. The front Bridgestone’s
blunt profle doesn’t. Springs are too soft for
anyone over 180 pounds. And though they’re
perfectly adequate for this mission, the
Brembo stoppers lack the power and feel of
their upmarket brethren. Still, the net result is
athletic and nimble enough. Bologna’s latest
twin has an obliging personality, despite a
few endearing/annoying Italian quirks.
It’s all about the midrange: more trusty
7-iron than a Big Bertha titanium driver. This
is mostly a good thing. Power builds nicely
from idle to 6000 rpm, though delivery is
less enthusiastic from there to the 8000-rpm
peak. The gearbox that felt stiff leaving the
factory gates with 124 miles on the odom-
eter is coming around after another 80. The
chasm between frst and second is more
problematic, especially downshifting into the
bottom cog for some soggy decreasing-radius
left. Overall gearing is tall as well, so tight
corners have the twin spinning above its
midrange happy place or lugging somewhere
below it. Abrupt low-rev throttle response
hardly helps the cause. Take what consolation
you can from the fip side: That same long
gearing lets you firt with 50 mpg in cruise
mode. And after dripping dry over lunch at
Casa Rugiada—one of the top-three bike-
friendly eateries in all of Europe—we emerge
to actual sunshine and drying pavement.
Pick up the pace enough to lay down some
of that midrange in third and the 796 is back
in its happy place. Picking it up to the point
where metal bits touch down reveals the inevi-
table limitations of price-point suspension and
brakes. But once you adapt to the smaller
engine and compact ergonomics, Hypermotard
Lite turns out to be a pretty good idea: 27 lbs.
lighter than the 1100 on Ducati’s scales and,
better still, $2000 easier on the wallet. You
might be able to buy more motorcycle for less
than $10,000 in somebody else’s showroom,
but you can’t buy more Ducati.
No stroked 696 here. The 803cc twin’s crankcase
castings are significantly lighter, and there’s a new
crankshaft inside with 848-style flywheels. No dry
clutch? The APTC slipper spins in oil.
A steel handlebar replaces the 1100’s tapered-
aluminum bit. New switchgear is excellent. The
orange-backlit Streetfighter-style LCD dash lets you
toggle through vital data with a rocker on the left.
The non-adjustable fork and downmarket Brembo
calipers will be acceptable concessions to that
$9995 sticker price for entry level Ducatisti. For
everyone else, the aftermarket is waiting.
EVOLUTION
A downsized version of the fashionably belligerent
Hypermotard 1100 for under ten grand.
RIVALS
Aprilia Dorsoduro 750, Ducati Hypermotard 1100,
Kawasaki Versys, Suzuki Gladius
TECH
Price $9995
Engine type a-c 90-deg. V-twin
Valve train DOHC, 16v
Displacement SOHC, 4v desmodromic
Bore x stroke 88.0 x 66.0mm
Compression 11.0:1
Fuel system Siemens EFI
Clutch Wet, multi-plate slipper-type
Transmission 6-speed
Claimed
horsepower
81.0 bhp @ 8000 rpm
Claimed torque 55.7 lb.-ft @ 6250 rpm
Frame Tubular-steel trellis
Front
suspension
43mm Marzocchi inverted fork
Rear
suspension
Single Sachs shock with adjustable
spring preload and rebound damping
Front brake Dual Brembo four-piston calipers,
305mm discs
Rear brake Brembo two-piston caliper, 245mm disc
Front tire 120/70-R17 Bridgestone BT016
Rear tire 180/55-R17 Bridgestone BT016
Rake/trail 24.0°/3.9 in.
Seat height 32.5 in.
Wheelbase 57.3 in.
Fuel capacity 3.3 gal.
Claimed dry
weight
368 lbs.
Color Red, matte white, matte black
Available Now
Warranty 24 mo., unlimited mi.
Contact
Ducati North America
10443 Bandley Dr.
Cupertino, CA 95014
408.253.0499
www.ducatiusa.com
VERDICT
An relatively accessible level of hyperactivity.
www.motorcyclistonline.com 39
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
tech
SPEC
Price $6099
Engine type l-c 90-deg.V-twin
Valve train DOHC, 8v
Displacement 647cc
Transmission 6-speed
Measured
horsepower
64.2 bhp at 9000 rpm
Measured
torque
42.3 lb.-ft. at 7500 rpm
Frame Tubular-steel trellis
Front
suspension
41mm inverted fork with
adjustable spring rebound and
compression damping
Rear
suspension
Single shock with adjustable
spring preload
Front brake Dual two-piston calipers, 300mm discs
Rear brake Single-piston caliper, 230mm disc
Front tire 120/60-ZR17 Bridgestone BT56
Rear tire 160/60-ZR17 Bridgestone BT56
Rake/trail 25.5°/2.9 in.
Seat height 31.5 in.
Wheelbase 56.5 in.
Fuel capacity 4.5 gal.
Curb weight 473 lbs.
Contact www.hyosungmotorsusa.com
VERDICT
The sum of its low-spec parts is not enough to overcome
its low-spec price.
WORDS: Eric Putter PHOTOS: Putter Power Media
generation ago, Americans scoffed at
the English and European motor-
cycles rolling onto our shores. In
the 1960s, many discounted the Japanese
onslaught. Now, 21st-century America is in
the midst of another Asian invasion, and
Hyosung is leading the charge.
The Korean company’s sportiest offering
is the GSX-R-look-alike 650R. Unclothed,
half-faired and cruiser versions are also avail-
able. All bikes are powered by a fuel-injected,
647cc V-twin that’s similar in architecture to
another Suzuki, the SV650.
The R-model’s handlebars are clipped to
an upside-down 41mm fork that offers com-
pression and rebound damping clickers, but
no spring preload adjustment. Out back it’s
the opposite, the single shock offering only
preload. Niceties include dual trip meters,
a pair of bungee hooks on the tailpiece,
ample underseat storage and a helmet lock,
as well as a multi-position brake lever and
adjustable footpegs. The seating position is
boy-racer tight, but the seat itself is broad
and comfortable.
While its 64 horsepower and 42.3 lb.-ft.
of torque are fairly respectable, the newly
fuel-injected powerplant is buzzy, slow-revving
and has a decidedly coarse six-speed trans-
mission. A fghting weight of 473 pounds
doesn’t bode well for the bike’s handling,
either. Although it looks modern and sophis-
ticated, the fork doesn’t bestow the chassis
with great feedback or bump management,
and the dual-piston front brakes lack power
and feel.
In terms of overall build quality and perfor-
mance, the GT650R is 70 percent the bike
that a current SV650 is at 80 percent of the
Suzuki’s $7499 price tag. To offset this harsh
reality and add some peace of mind, the Hyo-
sung comes with a two-year warranty that will
lure some riders making the inevitable used-
versus-new-bike purchasing decision. Other
than a brake lever that continually popped out
of its number-one setting, our testbike was
solid during the 1000 miles we rode it.
Hyosung’s game plan reads like that of
A high center of gravity and longish 56.5-inch
wheelbase make the GT650R slow to change direc-
tion, but super-stable at speed. Based on the bike’s
appearance and design, the engineers clearly have
an appreciation for Suzukis.
Hyundai, a Korean manufacturing giant that
was nearly laughed out of the American
auto market by the media and consumers
when it arrived in 1986. After proving itself
with simple, sturdy econoboxes, Hyundai
now steals unit sales from Japan Inc. and
Eurocentric brands. We expect Hyosung’s
motorcycles to be on par in much less time.
They say: “A perfor-
mance machine at a
budget price.”
We say: “That depends
on your definition of
performance.”
A
The digital speedo to the right of the analog tach
uses a bright, legible Vacuum Florescent Display.
Commonly used in DVD players and microwave
ovens, it’s durable and inexpensive to manufacture.
40 MOTORCYCLIST
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
RS-3C
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cre Rn|y cYc||cc|e fRr lne 2008-200º GSXT300P
Hcyccuºc.
Rear Fender Eliminator Kit
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K|lrec||ycccººcneºly|elcycurc|ke.Inere’ºncln|ng
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Ycncnc P-T MRlRrcyc|eº.
Yoshimura understands that attention to detail and
a little “tweaking” here and there can yield big
results. Yoshimura’s RS-3C and Rear Fender Eliminator
Kit are a couple of extraordinary products that are
examples of The Yoshimura Edge.
5420 Dcn|e|º Slreel, Cn|nR, CA ºT7T0 - 800.ó34.ºTóó - www.yRºn|nurc-rc.cRn
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
Price $5499
Engine type l-c two-stroke single
Displacement 125cc
Transmission 6-speed
Claimed
horsepower
32.5 bhp @ 11,000 rpm
Claimed
torque
15.8 lb.-ft. @ 10,500 rpm
Frame Aluminum twin-spar
Front
suspension
40mm Marzocchi fork
Rear
suspension
Sachs shock with adjustable
spring preload
Front brake Four-piston caliper, 320mm disc
Rear brake Two-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Front tire 110/70ZR-17 Dunlop Sportmax
Rear tire 150/60ZR-17 Dunlop Sportmax
Seat height 31.7 in.
Wheelbase 52.9 in.
Fuel capacity 3.7 gal.
Claimed dry
weight
280 lbs.
Contact www.apriliausa.com
VERDICT
A superb learning tool, a hoot to ride and sure to draw
stares at any track day.
tech
SPEC
WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTOS: Kevin Wing
They say: “When the
competition gets tough,
there’s no other bike
like it.”
We say: “How tough can
the competition be in the
125cc class?”
prilia’s RS125 is one European
exotic you can buy today. But there’s
a catch: The little two-stroke’s blue
exhaust haze restricts U.S. usage to the
racetrack.
Fair enough—that’s where this race replica
belongs. Beneath the lively colors of that
Jorge Lorenzo-replica bodywork is a race-
proven 125cc Rotax single, liquid-cooled to
keep cylinder temperature consistent. Crank-
case induction favors top-end power that’s
perfect for the track. There’s no premixing
required, the automatic system metering
lubrication precisely to keep the engine
internals happy.
The product of years of racing experi-
ence, Aprilia’s polished aluminum frame and
bridged swingarm are manufacturing master-
pieces, offering GP-spec rigidity and precise
handling. Rearset foot controls provide plenty
of cornering clearance at steep lean angles,
and that asymmetric swingarm makes room
for a tucked-in silencer. You’ll drag an elbow
before hard parts touch down.
While we didn’t drag ours, we did go
through a set of knee pucks wringing the
thing out around Willow Springs’ Horse Thief
Mile. Flowing and tight, it’s the perfect place
to explore the Aprilia’s abilities. A wet weight
just over 300 pounds makes it a master of
momentum, perfectly content to fick into
most bends without scrubbing off any speed.
All it takes to turn it in is a light push on the
narrow clip-ons and the bike is on its side,
tracking with superb stability.
The standard Dunlop rubber is up to most
track tasks, though front-end grip is a limiting
factor. Thankfully, the front tire’s contact
patch sends plenty of feedback through the
stout 40mm fork. Rear tire movement is
controlled by a single shock wedged between
the rear frame spars. Adjustability is limited
to shock spring preload, which is unfortunate
but entirely acceptable considering the quality
of the rest of the bike and its reasonable
$5499 price tag.
Despite a seemingly insatiable appetite
for uninterrupted speed, robust brakes are
there if you need them. A four-piston caliper
is ready to bite down on the front wheel’s
320mm rotor with exceptional strength and
progressiveness.
As with all two-strokes, low-rev power is
lackluster. The bulk of the output is focused
between 9500 and an unmarked redline
around 11,500 rpm. Keeping things spinning
in that sweet spot requires quick use of your
left foot, but it pays off with smooth, strong
power. Considering the bike’s stellar handling
and cornering capabilities, a well-ridden
RS125 will give a 600cc sportbike a run for
its money on tighter courses—especially with
sticky, track-spec tires.
While it’s a pity you can’t ride the RS125
to the track, it’s ridiculously easy to load in
your truck. So whether you’re an aspiring
roadracer looking to build your skills or an
experienced enthusiast in the market for a
new track toy, the RS125 is the two-stroke
alternative to the 600cc status quo.
Dressed to impress in factory livery, the 125’s sharp
bodywork mimics that of the 250cc Grand Prix
machine on which Jorge Lorenzo won the 2006-’07
World Championships.
A
42 MOTORCYCLIST
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bernzomatic.com/quickfire
Check it out today at your local hardware retailer.
© 2009 BERNZOMATIC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
tech
SPEC
WORDS: Michelle Sylvester PHOTOS: Scott Darough
y introducing the Honda Elite 110
scooter in the starlet- and paparazzi-
heavy Brentwood area of Los Angeles,
the “nicest people” people gave journalists
a sense of what their latest little scooter
is really good for: cruising quickly around a
traffc-mad city with breezy ease and a playful
attitude.
For the past year I’ve reluctantly been four-
wheel-bound courtesy of a shattered wrist
and broken shoulder (bicycle and rollerblade
accidents, thanks for asking), thus the
chance to ride the Elite 110 couldn’t have
come at a better time. Sure, the doctor had
warned against doing anything dangerous,
but how dangerous could a Honda-sponsored
Poker Run around the City of Angels really
be? So camera in hand, I hopped on the lil’
scoot and zipped off to Red Bull headquar-
ters, the frst stop on our list.
Every traffc light in L.A. is like the start
of a Grand Prix: Once the red light goes out,
everybody’s throttle is pinned. Even so the
Elite held its own, peeling off the line easily
while leaving cars in its wake. At the next
light it came to a stop just as swiftly courtesy
Price $2999
Engine type l-c single
Valve train SOHC, 2v
Displacement 108cc
Transmission Automatic
Claimed
horsepower
na
Claimed
torque
na
Frame Steel underbone
Front
suspension
33mm Showa telescopic fork
Rear
suspension
Showa shock
Front brake Nissin two-piston caliper, 190mm disc
Rear brake 130mm drum
Front tire 90/90-12 Chen Shin
Rear tire 100/90-10 Chen Shin
Seat height 29.1 in.
Wheelbase 50.2 in.
Fuel capacity 1.6 gal.
Curb weight 254 lbs.
Contact www.powersports.honda.com
VERDICT
Not as chic as a Vespa, but you can buy a lot of shoes with
the savings.
of its great brakes, something many scooters
of this size/price point lack. The brakes are
linked so that a squeeze on either lever actu-
ates the opposing brake, hauling things down
rapidly thanks to the single front disc and
reasonably powerful rear drum.
The 110cc four-stroke single has enough
juice to easily top 45 mph. Even commuting
up and over some of L.A.’s steepest and
most heavily traveled roads, I was never at a
loss for power, thanks in part to the PGM-FI
fuel injection. But while Honda claims the
Elite can achieve 100 mpg, I never saw any-
thing higher than 80 riding around town.
Perfect for the urban landscape, the Elite
has a 9-gallon storage compartment that
gave me plenty of room for my helmet plus
my oversized purse, shopping bags, etc.
There is also a handy little glove box right
in front of your knees that keeps small
items within easy reach—like the three 6s
I collected during the poker run. The two
helmet hooks under the seat and the bag
hook above the glove box also work great for
hanging grocery bags.
Zooming all over L.A. at the press intro,
I fell in love with the Elite. It’s a bouncy
Quick pick-up and solid stopping power make the
Elite an excellent urban companion. Clever storage
spaces and hooks offer a place for your helmet,
groceries and other necessities.
ride with a great motor, excellent stopping
ability and great maneuverability. Heading
back to the hotel where we started, I had to
admit that the Honda isn’t as stylish as the
hipster-trendy Vespas that litter the city. But
at $2999, it’s a much better deal.
When I got back to the hotel, another 6
was waiting for me, making me the poker run
winner with four of a kind! And Honda surely
has another winner on its hands with the
Elite 110.
tt
They say: “All you could
ever ask for—and more—
in a scooter.”
We say: “An around-
town all-rounder, as
long as you’re not
freeway-bound.”
B
44 MOTORCYCLIST
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tech
SPEC
WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTOS: Adam Campbell
They say: “A KX450F-
inspired ride for the
aspiring little ripper.”
We say: “And an
entertaining toy for big
rippers, too!”
he secret is out: Riding mini-bikes
is just as much fun now that you’re
an adult as it was when you were a
kid. After discovering that KLX110s are being
ridden by parents as often as the children
for whom they were purchased, Kawasaki
decided to go with the fow and update the
model to better suit kids of all ages. The
result is the 2010 KLX110 and the all-new
KLX110L.
The KLX’s 111cc four-stroke single is
stronger—better for hauling 150-pound-plus
loads—thanks to revised cam timing, a
freer-fowing exhaust and reduced piston-ring
tension. You can kick-start it if you want,
but it’s a lot easier to push the button on
the reshaped handlebar and let the battery
expend its energy. An additional gear in
the transmission brings the count to four,
allowing riders to make better use of the
KLX’s extra oomph. More power requires
more control, so stiffer springs and frmer
damping rates have been implemented at
both ends to help resist bottoming and
Price $2099 automatic, $2249 L-model
Engine type a-c single
Valve train SOHC, 2v
Displacement 111cc
Transmission 4-speed
Claimed
horsepower
7.3 bhp @ 7500 rpm
Claimed
torque
5.8 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm
Frame Steel backbone
Front
suspension
30mm Showa telescopic fork
Rear
suspension
Showa shock
Front brake 90mm drum brake
Rear brake 110mm drum brake
Front tire 2.50-14 IRC
Rear tire 3.00-12 IRC
Seat height 26.8/28.7 in.
Wheelbase 42.3 in.
Fuel capacity 1.0 gal.
Claimed dry
weight
162 lbs.
Contact www.kawasaki.com
VERDICT
An absolute riot for the young and the young at heart.
sharpen handling. A centrifugal clutch keeps
things simple for less experienced riders, and
a revamped shift drum makes gear changes
even smoother.
For more advanced riders, the KLX110L
ups the ante with a heavy-duty manual clutch
that lets you ring every drop of power out of
the high-revving engine. At 28.7 inches, the
L-model’s seat is nearly 2 inches higher than
the standard KLX, opening up the ergonomics
for larger riders. Part of that height comes
from a longer fork and shock that add an inch
of suspension travel, the better to handle
rougher terrain and more aggressive riding.
To introduce the 2010 KLX110s, Kawa-
saki opted to throw the normal Power Point
presentation out the window and let the bikes
speak for themselves. Any bashfulness we
felt about riding a children’s bike vanished
during our frst laps on the little thrashers.
Hucking the bike over jumps and pushing
feet-up, two-wheeled slides had all the riders
grinning from ear to ear. Shorter fnal-drive
gearing and slick shifting action made for
surprisingly rapid acceleration—and
wheelies!—and the reshaped shift lever is
much easier for adult-sized feet to operate.
The updated suspension is a big improve-
ment over that of the previous model. The
2010 KLX felt taut railing berms and only
Both KLX110s feature remodeled bodywork with
fenders, shrouds, fuel tanks and side panels that
mimic the look of the mighty KX450F motocrosser.
bottomed-out on the ugliest of landings.
Bigger, beefer, tapered roller bearings replace
the loose balls in the steerer tube’s lower
race, a strategic update aimed at increasing
durability and reducing maintenance.
Both models put on 18 pounds for the new
year, but that’s a small price to pay for the
convenience of electric start and more abuse-
friendly components. No matter which model
you choose, the KLXs have the versatility to
entertain the entire family. Just make sure to
share the seat time with the kids… MC
T
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SUPERBIKES!
48 MOTORCYCLIST
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ne day after its moment of triumph on this strip of rubber-streaked Portimao tarmac,
the blue-and-white Yamaha is unchanged but the feelings of its rider could hardly be
more different. As the factory YZF-R1 sweeps through the last, fast right-hand curve
and onto the Portuguese circuit’s pit straight, I’m savoring its stunningly strong and smooth
acceleration, enjoying the crisp four-cylinder howl from the underseat exhaust and wishing my
all-too-brief ride could last just a few more laps.
SPY VS. SPIES
UNCOVERING THE SECRET TO BIG BEN’S
STERILGARDA YAMAHA YZF-R1 SUPERBIKE
O
WORDS: Roland Brown PHOTOS: StudioZac
www.motorcyclistonline.com 49
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SUPERBIKES!
What a difference to Ben Spies’ emotions
in the World Superbike fnale just one day
earlier, as he had ridden past a crowded and
anxious pit wall in ffth place toward the end
of the second race, checking his board yet
again to see the number of laps remaining
count down with agonizing slowness. He
was desperately hoping that nothing unex-
pected would happen, that the exhaust note
wouldn’t falter to signal some problem. That
fnally the checkered fag would be waiting
and he’d become Yamaha’s frst ever World
Superbike Champion.
That is exactly what happened, of course,
as the 25-year-old Texan crossed the fnish
line to earn the 11 points suffcient to cap a
memorable roller-coaster of a season, and
end Yamaha’s two-decade-long wait for the
title. Not that Spies ever remotely looked
like making a mistake in those fnal laps,
as he ended the season with the same con-
trolled aggression with which he had begun
it. Having taken pole, he dominated race
one while title rival Noriyuki Haga buckled
under the pressure and crashed out.
It was a spectacular debut season
from Spies, who stamped his class on the
championship. He earned his promotion to
Yamaha’s MotoGP team with a record total
of 11 pole positions and 14 race victories,
most on circuits he had never seen. His
season was a hugely impressive display of
pace, consistency and commitment.
And it was an equally brilliant frst year
for the revamped R1, which had achieved
in one season something its predecessors
never managed, despite coming agonizingly
close several times. The racebike’s perfor-
mance vindicated Yamaha’s decision to give
the production R1 the most comprehensive
redesign since its introduction in 1998, and
in particular to follow the frm’s YZR-M1 in
adopting the crossplane crankshaft whose
Ben Spies’ Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike benefited
from the cutting-edge “through-rod” fork and shock
technology developed for Valentino Rossi’s YZR-M1 in
MotoGP. The sticker keeps track of settings.
The Marelli-based fuel-injection system was
modified to incorporate multiple maps and traction
control with the potential to alter the settings for
each corner.
50 MOTORCYCLIST
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smoother power pulses helped Valentino
Rossi transform the frm’s MotoGP fortunes
a few years earlier.
I’d suspected that the new produc-
tion R1 would make the basis for a great
racebike ever since being blown away by
its outstanding throttle response at its
press launch at Eastern Creek in Australia
last January. Despite that, few people had
expected Spies to make such an impressive
start as he did at nearby Phillip Island the
following month, when he took pole position
plus a win in race two, after being run off
the track twice in the opener.
Eight months later, the R1 in the Portimao
pit lane had acquired Sterilgarda sponsor
logos but was otherwise little changed. At a
glance it looked like a hotted-up version of
the production bike, albeit one tuned with
the very best components from suppliers
including Öhlins, Brembo, Marchesini and
Akrapovic. Look more closely, however, and
the clues to its exotic breeding are clear in
the high-tech Marelli dashboard, the host of
buttons for adjusting fuelling and traction
control, and in the many electronic sensors.
As the Yamaha mechanics unrolled the
tire-warmers from the #19 bike, I threw a
leg over its thinly padded seat and found it
felt typically light, tall and frm. I briefy took
in the cockpit’s blend of bare carbon-fber
fairing inners and big, black-anodized triple
clamps with broad, gold-fnished Öhlins fork
tops poking through.
Despite its production origins, this is one
seriously high-tech motorbike. On its left
handlebar are four round, colored buttons
for pit lane speed limit, launch control, and
to allow Spies to adjust the engine map and
traction control to suit conditions and tire
wear. Those variables can also be adjusted
automatically, depending on gear position or
GPS-determined location on the circuit.
Given all this, it seemed slightly strange
when a mechanic stepped forward to fre
up the engine by pressing a button on the
opposite handlebar, as though this bike was
straight out of a showroom. Yamaha can
meet the 356-pound minimum weight limit
with starter in place, so retains it. There
was no mistaking this R1 for anything
remotely ordinary, though. Even at virtually
idle the exhaust note was gravelly, deep
and malevolent, leaving no doubt about this
engine’s intentions.
Yet there was no hint of bad manners
from the bike as I pulled in the light-action
clutch, hooked into gear, blipped the equally
low-effort throttle and pulled away up the
Portimao pit lane. Out onto the circuit, wind
open the throttle fairly cautiously, and—
Yamaha’s tuning work involved new cams with more
lift and duration, plus modified ports and combus-
tion chambers. The result was a maximum output of
around 215 bhp at 14,000 rpm.
A rat’s nest of cables and components reside within
the R1’s nose. The electronics package consists of
more than 20 sensors and is tended to by a team of
three engineers.
The R1’s subframe was replaced with a new assembly that holds the fuel payload below the seat, improving
mass centralization and allowing a much bigger airbox under the dummy tank.
www.motorcyclistonline.com 51
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SUPERBIKES!
blam! The R1 shot toward the frst turn with
a gorgeously crisp and well-metered torrent
of acceleration, immediately feeling as
viciously powerful yet rider-friendly as you’d
hope of an all-conquering racebike.
For today’s test Yamaha had turned
down the power slightly and increased the
level of traction control, though the R1 was
still kicking out close to 200 horsepower
through its 190mm-wide Pirelli slick. And
making lots of smooth power through the
midrange, too, though inevitably it lost some
drive when I went through a couple of turns
a gear too high on my frst lap. The engine
pulled from about 6000 rpm, but with
nowhere near the force available at higher
revs. The R1 lacks some of the rival Ducati
1098R’s low-rev torque, but benefts from
having alternative gearbox ratios.
Once I’d worked out which gear I needed
to be in, the Yamaha was as breathtakingly
rapid as I’d expected, revving so quickly
through the lower gears that I was glad to
be able to shift with a slight tap of my left
boot on the quick-shifter. Out of the slightly
uphill left-hand fourth turn, it lifted its front
wheel slightly and held it there as I hung off
to the left and shifted into third, the bike’s
perfect fuelling and balance making what
might have seemed scary hugely thrilling.
Revs built with stunning rapidity until trig-
gering the instrument console’s row of lights
at the 15,000-rpm limit, slightly up on last
year’s R1 Superbike. Peak power is increased
by a small margin, too. Yamaha claimed
“over 210 bhp” for the R1 last season and
was even vaguer this year, when the fgure is
about 215 bhp. That puts the R1 roughly on
par with the opposition, perhaps slightly down
on the Aprilia RSV4 and Honda CBR1000RR,
although not enough to be at a notable
disadvantage.
The Yamaha was into ffth gear and
revving hard by the time I ran out of nerve
and sat up to brake toward the end of the
pit straight, by which time it was travelling
seriously fast—though not at the 190 mph
that Spies had managed en route to victory
a day earlier. He was fastest through the
speed trap in Portimao, and although the R1
was rarely the fastest bike throughout the
season, it always had the speed to keep
Spies in contention.
What’s clear from this Superbike season
is that now, more than ever, absolute
horsepower is not critical. More important is
how that power is delivered, with help from
the increasingly sophisticated electronics
used by all the teams. As Yamaha’s racing
manager, Laurens Klein Koerkamp, put it,
“We were thereabouts on top speed. If you
can win in Monza you can’t be too bad, and
we should have won both races.” Robbed of
victory after running out of fuel in the last
turn at the team’s home circuit, Spies’ win
in race two came despite his top speed of
195 mph being well down on the 202 mph
of Max Biaggi’s Aprilia.
In my handful of laps I didn’t feel the
traction control kick in, possibly because I
wasn’t going fast enough to spin the rear
“Yamaha had turned down the power slightly and
increased the level of traction control, though the
R1 was still kicking out close to 200 horsepower.”
52 MOTORCYCLIST
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Pirelli, and perhaps because it’s not easy
to detect. “The system is very smooth. We
control the torque rather than cut it,” said
the team’s electrical expert, Davide Gentile.
“Today it’s a bit softer than the racing
setting, so you can slide less. Spies did
not need a lot of wheelie control. Usually
he rode with a very strong engine, and not
much traction control.”
While Spies openly praised the cross-
plane engine’s throttle response, a less
well-known issue was the relatively heavy
crankshaft’s detrimental effect on handling.
“You need a lot of strength to turn the bike,”
said Gentile. “The torque delivery is so
good, and it [the crankshaft layout] is much
better for the tires, but it made it diffcult for
the handling.”
Everything’s relative, of course, and by
the standards of a production supersport
this ultra-light and superbly suspended R1
felt wonderfully quick and easy to turn. In
this it was helped by Spies’ riding position,
which has footrests set well back and very
wide handlebars to give more leverage. Part
of the reason I didn’t have a problem turning
the R1 was doubtless that, at 6’4” and 185
lbs., I’m even taller and heavier than Spies,
who at a very ft 5’11” and 160 lbs. is big
for a racer. “You need some muscle with
this bike,” Gentile says. “It can work with a
very strong rider, not with a smooth riding
style. Luckily, Ben is big and strong.”
Spies’ size also meant the R1’s suspen-
sion was better set-up to cope with my
weight, so its Öhlins fork wasn’t remotely
fazed when I called on the huge stopping
power of the ultra-trick Brembo radial four-
pot calipers at the end of the straight. The
Yamaha’s frm, Öhlins-equipped rear end also
meant that it stayed stable as it powered
onto that same straight through the fourth-
gear right-hander, while I jammed my head
behind the low screen, glanced up at the pit
wall and wished I had a few more laps on this
searingly fast yet rider-friendly Superbike.
As the closeness of the title race sug-
gests, there was very little between the
Japanese Yamaha four and the Italian Ducati
twin in this most competitive and thrilling of
seasons. The R1 was certainly very good,
as it confrmed by winning national titles
in Germany, the Netherlands, France and
Britain. At world championship level, the most
crucial factor was arguably not the R1 but its
rider. Spies kept his cool until the very last
lap, while Haga couldn’t quite cope with the
increasing pressure of chasing his own frst
championship after years of trying.
The combination of Spies and the Yamaha
was blindingly fast, won half of the year’s
races and overcame some bad luck to win
the title by a narrow margin. The R1 wasn’t
perfect but it was competitive in every area,
and Spies’ physical strength allowed him to
negate its potential weakness. Overall, the
revamped R1 was fast and agile enough to
get the job done, and to deliver that frst
World Superbike title to Yamaha. Ultimately,
that was all that mattered.
The 2009 World Superbike Championship was
this close for most of the season, until Haga lost
the front in Portimao’s sketchy downhill hairpin,
handing the title to Spies.
19 World Superbike race number
462 SBK points earned
6 Points margin over runner-up Noriyuki Haga
6 Laps Haga completed before race-one crash
260 Career SBK starts for Haga
41 Career SBK wins for Haga
28 Career SBK starts for Spies
24 Career SBK fnishes
14 Career SBK wins
65 Total Yamaha SBK wins
1 Total Yamaha SBK championships
11 Superpoles, a single-season record
6 Fastest lap of races
17 Podium fnishes
0 Previous champs earning zero points in the
opening race
16 Finishing position in race one at Phillip Island
2 Younger SBK champs: James Toseland in 2004
(23 years, 11 months) and Troy Corser in 1996
(24 years, 11 months)
12 Position on all-time SBK win list after a single
season of racing
94 Diamonds in Spies’ $45,000 championship ring
3 AMA Superbike Championships
8 Consecutive AMA Superbike wins
7 Finishing position in Yamaha MotoGP debut at
Valencia, Spain
5 2009 FIM roadracing titles earned by Yamaha:
Superbike, Supersport, MotoGP, 250cc and 125cc
4 MotoGP appearances before his Yamaha debut
at Valencia
61 Laps completed at Valencia MotoGP test
4 Final ranking at Valencia MotoGP test
3 Valentino Rossi’s fnal ranking at Valencia
MotoGP test
BY THE
NUMBERS
As the sixth American champion
earning the ninth American
championship in 22 years of
World Superbike racing, 25-year-
old Ben Spies racked up a
stunning record between Phillip
Island and Portimao. But the 2009 season
stands out in the record books for more
than just coming down to the wire.
BEN
SPIES
2009 World
Superbike Champion
WORDS: Tim Carrithers PHOTO: Yamaha
www.motorcyclistonline.com 53
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SUPERBIKES!
DUMBED DOWN?
MAT MLADIN’S YOSHIMURA SUZUKI SUPERBIKE MAY BE SLOWER
THAN IN YEARS PAST, BUT IT STILL WARPS TIME AND SPACE
WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTOS: Andrea Wilson & Brian J. Nelson
54 MOTORCYCLIST
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SUPERBIKES!
our laps into my stint on Mat
Mladin’s AMA Superbike Champ-
ionship-winning Yoshimura Suzuki
GSX-R1000, I fnally build up the courage to
roll the throttle wide fippin’ open. The resul-
tant rush is literally breathtaking—the same
stomach-churning sensation I felt when I
dove out of an airplane. Heading onto Auto
Club Speedway’s banked pit straight, the
front Dunlop fnishes its salute to the sky
as I shift into third gear. I keep the throttle
pinned through fourth and ffth as the
massaged motor propels me forward on a
tsunami-like swell of power that overwhelms
my brain’s ability to keep tabs on time and
space. If this is what a “neutered” 2009
AMA Superbike is like, I can’t imagine the
full-blown machines Suzuki ran previously!
“The K8 [model year 2008] Superbike
was putting out about 205 horsepower.
The K9 Mladin won on this year has about
190,” explains Yoshimura Suzuki crew
member Denis Ackland. “But it’s not just the
horsepower; it’s how fast it spun up. If you
were to stand behind the K8 and the K9,
you’d know which one was the Superbike.
One would sound angry, the other just like a
streetbike.”
In years past, there was much bemoaning
the predictability of AMA Superbike racing.
Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Mat Mladin
and Ben Spies were winning by 10-second
margins, frustrating racers and spectators
alike. When the Daytona Motorsports Group
assumed control of AMA Pro Racing in ’08, a
furry of rules changes attempted to level the
playing feld and revitalize the ailing American
racing scene.
The DMG’s initial class structure was
met with stiff opposition. The new series
organizers proposed a Daytona Superbike
class featuring a motley crew of middleweight
fours, triples and larger-displacement twins
running in place of the 1000cc Superbikes.
Heavily invested in Superbike racing, the Big
Four Japanese manufacturers objected, and
instead proposed a nearly unrestricted Fac-
tory Superbike class. When the smoke fnally
cleared, the rulebook contained two compro-
mise classes: American Superbike for 1000s
and Daytona Sportbike for middleweights,
triples and twins.
But while previous AMA Superbikes were
heavily modifed inside and out—featuring
extensive engine work, works suspension
and chassis parts, and exotic electronics—
the new American Superbikes must be built
using only readily available, homologated
parts. Modifcations are limited to minor
cylinder head work, exhaust, fork internals
and aftermarket shocks, brakes, wheels and
electronics. Teams must also use spec fuel
and tires, of which they are allowed a set
number per event.
Yoshimura Suzuki team coordinator Rich
Doan explains: “In ’08 the bike was full
works, a real Superbike. Pretty much the
only difference between the AMA bike and
the World Superbike was the cams. [The
AMA permitted changes in duration but not
lift.] Before we had factory titanium con-rods
and lightweight, forged pistons. Now we can’t
touch anything below the head gasket.”
As a result, the current Superbikes
“The fans come to see the fastest riders on the
best equipment. Now it’s been dumbed down.
They’ve taken the ‘super’ out of Superbike.”
Unlike the unobtanium AMA Superbike of years past, the new DMG American Superbike is essentially “a
Superstock bike with a ported head and big brake calipers,” as one racer put it.
F
56 MOTORCYCLIST
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Besides softer fork springs, the Yosh Superbike
was exactly as it came off track after Mladin’s final
race in New Jersey. Countless hours of professional
setup make it run and handle like a dream.
The most outspoken among DMG’s detractors is
Suzuki’s Mat Mladin. Now retired, he still lobs
insults at the organization from his home in
Australia via Twitter.
Despite a 1.6mm longer stroke, the ’08 Superbike
revved about 1000 rpm higher than the ’09. “If
there’s one modification we should get back, it’s the
lightened pistons,” says crew member Denis Ackland.
Factory teams that had previously seen themselves
as partners in AMA Superbike racing now consider
themselves at odds with the group, fighting to
maintain the 1000cc status quo.
aren’t far from those on your local dealer’s
showroom foor. “But the fans don’t want to
see stock bikes,” complains Doan. “They
come to see equipment they can’t buy. They
come to see the fastest riders on the best
equipment. It’s been dumbed down and
equalized. They’ve taken the ‘super’ out
of Superbike.”
The rules changes haven’t done much
to tighten up the racing, either. With Spies
gone to World Superbike, Mladin ran about
a second per lap slower in ’09 than he had
in ’08, yet still regularly fnished well ahead
of his competitors and went on to take his
record-setting seventh championship. The
Australian joked that his times had nothing to
do with the bike; he’d just gotten tired of the
DMG’s foolishness and had lost interest in
the series.
Regardless of how “un-super” the Amer-
ican Superbikes are, the Yoshimura Suzuki
GSX-R1000 is still an impressive machine,
and I was plenty nervous about riding it. After
all, it produces nearly one horsepower for
every two pounds of its 370-lb. weight. Did
I mention that I’d never turned a lap at the
Fontana facility?
Ackland fnishes unrolling the tire
warmers and nods. I climb aboard and dis-
cover that the sky-high seat and low clip-ons
force me into an ultra-aggressive stance.
The cockpit is complex but organized, and
completely unrecognizable from stock. A
Yoshimura gull-wing top triple clamp resides
behind a large Motec dash that registers
everything from fork travel to lambda sensor
readings. On the right clip-on is the kill
switch, the pit-lane speed-limiter and the
launch-control button, used to curb wheelies
and wheelspin at the start. On the left
handlebar is a repurposed ignition switch
that allows a choice of two ignition maps,
and below that a set of arrows for toggling
between traction-control settings. “Mat
pretty much always ran with it set to zero;
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SUPERBIKES!
he was faster that way,” Ackland points out.
I set it to three of fve and ride cautiously
onto the track.
The GSX-R’s “stinkbug” stance is the
result of abundant rear ride height, added to
make the bike steer quicker and help keep
the front wheel on the ground. There’s also
an extra inch of foam stacked on the seat, an
ergonomic tweak to accommodate Mladin’s
6-foot frame. Shifting follows the normal
street pattern to accommodate the limited
fexibility in Mat’s left ankle, the result of an
airplane crash nearly 15 years ago.
Tipping the bike into the frst chicane, I
nearly run off the inside of the track as it
snaps over alarmingly fast. Steep steering
geometry, lightweight magnesium Magtan
wheels and pointy Dunlop rubber make
the bike turn much quicker than stock. It’s
unnerving at frst, but within half a lap the
rapid turn-in feels divine, and lets me go from
straight up to cranked over in a split second.
As with most racebikes the suspension
is frm, but not as stiff as when Mladin rode
it. The fork’s 1.1-kg/mm springs have been
swapped for 1.0s, which are better suited
to the lower g-forces generated by a mere
mortal. Although they felt rock-hard when I
bounced up and down on the bike in the pad-
dock, the Showa fork and Ohlins TTX shock
feel wonderful on the track, especially when
leaned over gliding toward an apex. The bike’s
precise handling, heart-squeezing accelera-
tion and freakishly strong Brembo brakes let
me do things I had no intention of doing, like
skating the rear tire into turns and wheelying
from corner exit to braking zone.
The power is astounding. There are no
steps or dips, just potent midrange that
morphs into arm-stretching top-end rip. Wheel-
ies occur frequently and unexpectedly. It’s an
absolute rush to ride, but I can’t imagine the
skill and nerve it would take to race it.
So, where will AMA Superbike racing go
from here? Mladin’s domination has fnally
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come to an end, the Australian retiring at the
end of the season. After more than a decade
of racing in the States, that decision was
bound to come sooner or later. But Mat is
quick to point out that the DMG’s Byzantine
rules helped make it sooner. Honda and
Kawasaki are out, too, leaving only Suzuki,
Yamaha and the various privateer efforts.
“Right now, there’s no returning champion
and no dominant rider,” Doan observes
thoughtfully. “It’s going to be a hell of a
battle.” So the DMG’s rules changes were
successful? “I wouldn’t say that. With Mat
and Ben gone, it’s just a natural changing of
the guard.”
My time aboard Mladin’s Superbike melds
into a nirvanic blur of acceleration, braking
and slanted views of the horizon. Blazing
down the pit straight, I see a small fgure
beside the banking. As the GSX-R inhales
the yardage between us, the fgure grows
into the familiar shape of Sport Rider’s
associate editor, Troy Siahaan, waving
frantically and pointing at the pit. While I’d
been scheduled to take just fve laps, I’d
somehow lost track of time and turned nine.
Blame it on the GSX-R’s ability to warp the
space/time continuum.
BY THE
NUMBERS
7 AMA Superbike Championships
82 AMA Superbike race wins
27 Previous win record, held by Miguel Duhamel
12 Single season AMA Superbike wins
10 Race wins in 2009
9 AMA Superbike Championships won by Yoshimura
Suzuki in the past decade
52 Consecutive Yoshimura Suzuki race wins
38 Age at which he retired
24 Age at which he started competing in AMA
Superbike
1996 First year racing in America
4th Position at the end of his frst AMA Superbike
season
11 500cc Grand Prix starts (1993 season)
6th Best 500c GP fnish
18 World Superbike starts
1 World Superbike poles
4th Best World Superbike fnish (Laguna Seca 2003)
55 Career AMA Superbike poles
3 Consecutive AMA Superbike Championships
(twice)
47 2009 championship points margin
1 Points behind teammate Ben Spies in the 2007
championship
2 Daughters with wife Janine: Emily and Jessica
2 Number of races he boycotted due to safety
concerns in 2009, at Topeka, Kansas
2 Number of riders who beat him to win races in
2009: Josh Hayes and Larry Pegram
3 Daytona 200 wins
7 Last race number other than #1
From lap times to pole
positions to national
championships, Mat
Mladin has laid claim
to nearly every AMA
Superbike record there
is. Here’s a rundown
of the impressive
numbers he’s had a
hand in…
MAT
MLADIN
Seven-time AMA
Superbike Champion
WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTO: Andrea Wilson
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ALMOST FACTORY
LAPPING LARRY PEGRAM’S
“PRIVATEER-PLUS” DUCATI
1098R SUPERBIKE
t’s been years since any other Super-
bike could consistently challenge the
dominant Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-
R1000s. It’s been even longer since another
racer rattled the otherwise unfappable Mat
Mladin. But Larry Pegram and his Foremost
Insurance Ducati 1098R managed both in
2009. Not only did Pegram score three AMA
American Superbike wins (two admittedly
in Mladin’s absence), he also inspired the
normally no-excuses Australian to complain
about Ducati’s “unfair” power advantage.
We rode Pegram’s 1098R at Putnam Park
Road Course in Mount Meridian, Indiana, just
a few weeks after his two Topeka victories.
Mladin is right—this is a very fast motorcycle.
We’d known that since the frst practice ses-
sion of the season at Daytona, when Pegram
posted the top speed of 199.9 mph. But not
only is this bike blindingly fast, it’s also among
the most user-friendly racebikes we’ve ridden.
Pegram can thank Ducati Corse for that.
Pegram Racing is not a factory effort—Larry
manages and fnances the program himself,
and prepares the bikes in-house. But thanks
to Ducati’s impressive commitment to sup-
porting privateers, he was able to effectively
build a factory racebike using catalog parts.
“All the parts that aren’t stock, anyone
can buy right from the Ducati Performance
catalog,” Pegram says. “Except for the ECU,
and you can buy that straight from Marelli.
Anyone could build this bike for $100,000,
including the $40,000 stock bike.”
How closely does Pegram’s kit-bike
resemble Noriyuki Haga’s World Superbike
machine? Very closely, it turns out. “Motor-
wise, our bike is so similar,” Pegram
explains. “The factory team runs different
cases. They’re basically the same, but have
a different oil window. They use a crank
that’s pre-balanced for the kit pistons. We
run the same pistons, but balance the crank
ourselves. They have a different head that
can ft an air restrictor; otherwise the head
is the same. They use a kit close-ratio trans-
mission; we have to use the stocker. That’s
it. Different parts, but very close in spec.”
Electronically speaking, the two bikes
are identical. Pegram uses the same
Magneti Marelli Marvel 4 ECU, uploaded
with the same software. More importantly,
Pegram has a world-class team of number-
crunchers. Crew chief Massimo Capanna
has 30 years experience in Grand Prix,
working with Kevin Schwantz and Wayne
Rainey among others. And Marco Urani,
Contrary to what his competition claims, Larry
Pegram’s 1098R is not a true factory Superbike.
It’s assembled in his Ohio shop from catalog parts,
and makes about 15 less horsepower than Noriyuki
Haga’s World Superbike.
Pegram sets the rev limiter at 11,800 rpm, compared
to 12,200 rpm for the factory bikes. “We’ve gone
three years without an engine failure,” he says.
So much for Ducati reliability questions...
I
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SUPERBIKES!
“How closely does Larry Pegram’s kit-bike
resemble Noriyuki Haga’s World Superbike
machine? Very closely, it turns out.”
the team’s computer tech, came directly
from Mika Kallio’s factory KTM 250cc GP
squad. “Their experience, and their ability
to decode the data, has been a huge help,”
Pegram confrms.
But while their engines are similar,
Pegram’s chassis is less like the SBK
machine. AMA rules require stock fork exter-
nals, limiting brake choice. “The really good
Brembos, with bigger-pistons, are 108mm
spacing and the stock forks are 100mm
spacing,” Pegram says. The kit swingarm is
the same as Haga’s, but American Super-
bikes use 17-inch wheels (as opposed to
16.5s) and spec Dunlop slicks.
Still, the racebike’s handling is markedly
improved over the already-sublime stocker,
especially in tight corners. The stock 1098R
can be slow to turn-in and hard to steer at
lean. So much torque and telepathic traction
make the bike want to go straight. Pegram’s
racer snaps in like a 600 and is more respon-
sive at lean, largely due to reduced fork
offset (30mm, compared to the stock 36mm)
that pulls in the front wheel and sharpens
steering response.
Eight-level-adjustable traction control, plus
wheelie control that constrains both the angle
and duration of any airborne trajectory, enable
ferocious forward motion. Even exiting Put-
nam’s last turn in third gear, one higher than
optimal, the Superbike claws for the clouds
before you’ve got it anywhere near straight
up-and-down. Chaos continues the length of
Putnam’s undulating front straight, wheelying
hard over the frst rise in fourth gear, then
hard again in ffth over the second crest.
Rushing toward Turn One carrying an extra
20 mph compared to a stock 1098R clarifes
Pegram’s comment about the brakes.
Pegram wouldn’t give up a number, but we
reckon this bike delivers around 205 rear-
wheel horsepower, compared to a reported
220 bhp from a factory bike. Pegram’s
engine-builder, Dave Weaver, says the biggest
difference between the AMA and SBK bikes
is fuel. Stateside Superbikes use Sunoco
260 GTX spec fuel, which Weaver claims
makes less power than pump gas. Weaver
says tuning for this fuel costs six to eight
percent—or around 15 bhp.
Even on “lite” gas, the 1098R Superbike
is a potent package. Pegram just wishes
he wasn’t the only one in the AMA paddock
waving the Ducati fag, if for no other reason
than to silence the haters.
“I would love for someone else to put
together a Ducati just like mine,” Pegram
says. “Some guys think my success all
comes down to the bike, and having
someone else out there would show that’s
just not true.”
Larry (left) is in it for the long haul: “After I’m done
riding, I want to keep the team so I can yell at some
kid, and tell him how I would have done it better!”
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cannot do this,” I told myself as I
wrestled the big Ducati through the
Pomona Half-Mile’s rough and rutted
turns. Thrown in at the deep end, out in
practice for the Open class of Gene Romero’s
West Coast Flat Track Series, I tried to stay
out of the way as the other, more experienced
riders dive-bombed under me going into
the corners and slingshot past me on the
straights. I don’t think I breathed once my
frst two laps.
And then a magic thing happened. Real-
izing that the bike was never going to turn
with the throttle closed and the tires plowing
through the ruts, I grabbed a big handful mid-
corner, the rear wheel stepped out, the front
pointed straight up the track and suddenly
everything was right in the world!
I won’t pretend that I set a new track
record—or even went fast enough to make
the feld—but for the frst time in my all-too-
brief dirt-track “career,” I felt like I knew what
I was doing. And that I might actually be
worthy of writing about this bike I was
allegedly “testing.”
For as long as anyone can remember, AMA
Grand National Dirt Track racing has been the
sole property of Harley-Davidson and its iconic
XR750. Sure, King Kenny Roberts (Yamaha),
Ricky Graham and Bubba Shobert (Honda)
won championships on rival brands, but
they’re the exceptions to the rule. Not since
the early ’70s, when guys like Gene Romero
himself were riding BSAs and Triumphs, has
Harley had any real competition.
It wouldn’t be accurate to say that’s about
to change, but the wind is starting to blow
in a different direction. And the bike shown
here is at the forefront of that movement.
Most race fans know Larry Pegram as a
roadracer, and well they should, as he won
three rounds of the 2009 AMA American
Superbike Championship aboard the Ducati
1098R featured on the previous pages. But
he cut his teeth in dirt-track racing, winning
more AMA amateur titles than anyone else
in history and three Grand Nationals aboard
Harleys and Hondas tuned by the legendary
Skip Eaken. More recently he rode a Lloyd
Brothers Racing Aprilia at select races,
but his primary focus was roadracing, and
Ducati wasn’t keen on him riding another
brand. Which got him thinking…
“I missed dirt-track—my last year racing
full-time was 1992,” Pegram laments.
“Ducati gave me a Hypermotard with the
two-valve 1100 motor, and the power pulses
felt just like a Harley. So I thought, let’s
build one.”
Look ma, no brakes! View over the high and wide
Vortex handlebar is sparse, with only a throttle, kill
switch and clutch lever. Clutch fluid reservoir looks
strangely out of place.
This particular Ducati GT1000 came with twin
shocks, but was modified to run only one, like the
SportClassics did in years past. A remote-reservoir
Penske gets the job done.
“I
HOLY
TOLEDO!
OHIO’S LARRY PEGRAM
AND THE LLOYD
BROTHERS BUILD A
DUCATI DIRT-TRACKER
WORDS: Brian Catterson PHOTOS: Andrea Wilson
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SUPERBIKES!
Pegram enlisted the help of the Lloyd
brothers, David and Michael, who bought
a wrecked GT1000 with a salvage title
for $5000 on eBay. Measuring the stock
chassis, they realized the numbers weren’t
too far off, so rather than building a custom
frame decided to tailor it.
After modifying the swingarm to clear the
spec 19-inch Dunlop (nee Goodyear) tire,
they lowered the rear of the bike, deter-
mined the correct leverage ratio, made new
shock mounts and bolted up a fully adjust-
able Penske. Those changes kicked out the
steering head, so they made up some new
bearing races to bring it back in as far as
possible without the front tire hitting the
forward cylinder head.
Removing the cross-bracing let the frame
fex more to cope with rough tracks, while
relocating the battery and electrics above
the engine increased forward weight bias
to give the front tire a better bite. The
front end consists of a Honda CBR600F4
fork bolted to adjustable Baer Racing triple
clamps, while the rear brake was liberated
from an Aprilia campaigned in the AMA
MotoST series. A custom gas tank, seat and
foot controls, AirTech fberglass tailpiece
and Performance Machine aluminum wheels
completed the chassis.
The stock 992cc V-twin already made
decent power, so Pegram’s engine-builder
Dave Weaver just fowed the head and
installed a set of Ducati Performance cams
and high-compression pistons. That boosted
output to 94 horsepower at the rear wheel—
slightly stronger than a good-running Harley.
“The difference is an XR motor lasts one
weekend, while this thing will go thousands
of miles,” Pegram quips. “It’s a lot cheaper,
too,” adds David Lloyd, who’s a big propo-
nent of production-based engines. “It costs
$25,000 to build a competitive XR, whereas
we’ve got less than half that in this bike.”
Pegram debuted the Ducati at the Spring-
feld Mile last Memorial Day weekend, and
still remembers the reaction. “When we
unloaded it people were laughing, but they
stopped after I transferred directly from the
heat race.”
Unfortunately, the main event didn’t go
as well. Pegram ran just outside the top 10,
but the bike lost power as it got hotter. A red
fag due to rain gave him a second chance,
but the bike blew an oil line and he crashed
unhurt.
A confict with an AMA roadrace meant
Pegram couldn’t compete in the second
Springfeld Mile on Labor Day weekend, but
he did take part in the Indianapolis Mile
the same weekend as MotoGP. For that the
Lloyd brothers got serious, hit up Ducati for
a second engine (which came from one of
the Hypermotards used to make Terminator
Salvation) and had Vintage Motorcycle Com-
ponents build a custom frame, tilting the
engine up and moving it forward to put even
more weight on the front end.
Pegram found the “framer” handled even
better than the stocker, and ran as high as
fourth in his heat race before falling while
challenging for third. That put him on the
third row for the semi, and the best he could
manage was fourth—one position away from
making the show.
So what next? The Lloyd Brothers would
like to contest the entire 2010 AMA Grand
National Championship, but fnding funding is
proving more diffcult now than it has in the
team’s fve-year history. They need a top rider
who can win races, but none of them want to
get off their Harleys because they get parts
allowances and contingencies. “That’s too
bad, because if this thing wins, it would be
the best thing to happen to dirt-track racing
in years,” says David. “I ask guys, ‘Do you
want to be just another rider to win on a
Harley, or the frst to win on a Ducati?’”
Pegram is also keen to do more dirt-
track races, but would like to pick and
choose which events he competes in—and
may not even be available for those. “I’d
like to go to a few of the good tracks, but
if I’m in the hunt for the Superbike title, I
wouldn’t be allowed to. So hopefully, I won’t
be allowed to!”
The stock-framed GT1000 Larry Pegram rode at
Springfield (top) and the “framer” he rode at Indy
(above). Chad Cose rode the latter at Pomona, but
failed to qualify.
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otorcycles make good medicine. Sidney M. “Big Sid” Bib-
erman learned that lesson as a young boy growing up in
Norfolk, Virginia, making restaurant deliveries with his father,
a butcher. His father could be a cruel man, and Sid remembers the
occasional glimpse of off-duty sailors racing motorcycles along the
Norfolk city streets as his only joy during those endless, back-breaking
delivery runs. A few years later when Sid—by then an American GI
and big-time motorcycle enthusiast—returned from overseas duty and
found himself betrayed by the man he thought was his best friend,
motorcycles saved him again. Sid’s tormentor was the best motorcycle
drag racer in the Tidewater region. To punish him, Sid built his Vincent
Rapide into the fastest bike on the Eastern seaboard, and then used it
to beat the man so soundly that he eventually gave up motorcycles for
good. Revenge, it seems, is best served on two wheels.
M
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Motorcycles—Vincent motorcycles in particular—continued to
soothe and save Sid for four more decades, while he raised his family,
opened his own motorcycle shop and earned a rock-solid reputation
as one of the world’s foremost Vincent experts. Then, in September of
2000, Big Sid faced his fercest opponent yet, when a serious heart
attack almost killed him. Of course, a Vincent motorcycle once again
saved his life.
With bad knees, a failing back and a faltering heart, Sid was just
waiting around to die. Desperate to pull him from this enduring funk,
Sid’s son Matthew, an English professor at the University of Louisville,
made an insane proposition. The two of them, who never got along
well in the frst place and especially not in the garage, would build one
last motorcycle together. It wouldn’t be any garden-variety restoration,
however. It would be a “Vincati.” This was the mythical hybrid of Sid’s
WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTOS: Bob Clarke
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years. “We needed another quest to keep Sid
going,” Matthew says. Though “The Rattler”
(Sid’s 10-second, methanol-fueled Vincent
Rapide) had won dozens of drag races, Big
Sid never held an offcial speed record, which
remained one of his life-long goals. Scanning
the East Coast Timing Association’s record
book revealed a number of 650cc speed
records within reach of a well-prepared Vin-
cent single. Father and son decided to make
a record attempt at the ECTA’s Maxton, North
Carolina, race course. Perhaps since I’m more
aerodynamic than 6’5”, 300-pound Big Sid,
the Bibermans asked me to ride the bike.
Maxton is a sleepy nowheresville on the
broad coastal plain along the North and South
Carolina border. It’s an unremarkable place,
except for an abandoned, World War II-era
airstrip secluded in a stand of pines just out-
side town. That’s now known as the Maxton
Monster Mile, home to the ECTA speed trials
and Ground Zero for the fastest motorcycles
on earth.
Tina looked somewhat out of place among
the dozens of 200-plus mph, turbocharged
Hayabusas (our sister publication, Super
Streetbike, was hosting its annual Top Speed
Shootout the same weekend), but viewed from
any angle the vintage Vincent is a beautiful
and timeless machine. Tina is a bit of a bas-
tard, in the best racing tradition. The chassis
comes from Lex’s 1953 Rapide, dressed up
with Black Lightning-style aluminum fenders,
brakes, a sleek, sectioned fuel tank and the
saddle from Big Sid’s own Black Shadow.
The single-cylinder motor is originally from a
1950 Comet, extensively modifed by Sid and
Steve Hamel, another world-renowned Vincent
performance specialist.
Hamel built the engine to racing specs,
boring an aftermarket Terry Prince cylinder
barrel 6mm over to bump displacement from
499cc to 598cc, and ftting a custom piston
to raise compression to 9.5:1. An Amal MK
II carburetor was ftted, and a Lucas D Victor
points ignition fres a double coil that leads
to a twin-plug head. An Andrews race Cam
and Terry Prince crank and caged rod balance
the bottom end. Behind the motor sits a four-
speed Norton Atlas transmission, prepared by
well-known Norton racer Carl Hockinson.
Raw brass bar clamps, chunky, Vincent-
logo valve caps and countless knurled knobs
“Big Sid’s pep-talk is priceless: ‘Just go out there
and give that little bitch all you’ve got!’”
Overtime Tina combines a single-cylinder engine
from a 1950 Vincent Comet with the chassis from a
1953 Vincent Rapide. Black Lightning-spec fenders
and dual drum front brakes give a factory-racer look.
two favorite bikes—the Vincent Black Shadow
and the Ducati 750 GT—a machine that had
animated Big Sid’s imagination for decades.
The project, which healed the broken rela-
tionship between father and son and saved
Sid’s life at the same time, is chronicled in
Matthew’s excellent memoir titled Big Sid’s
Vincati, which will be released in paper-
back this May. This story is not about the
Vincati, however. This is the postscript, and
an attempt to tie up some loose ends. The
1000cc V-twin engine that powers the Vincati
came from a Vincent Rapide given to Sid by
his old friend Lex, who was dying from cancer
at the time. When the Bibermans went to
retrieve the Rapide, Matthew made Lex a
promise: “We’ll use the chassis too,” he said.
“Once the Vincati is done, we’re going to fnd
another engine and build up a bike to race.”
This is the story of that next bike, nick-
named Overtime Tina. “We did all the work on
this bike after-hours,” Matthew explains, “and
she just reminded me of a Tina!” Overtime
Tina was built to honor Matthew’s promise
to Lex, and to keep Sid alive for a few more
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Matthew meant.
Working on motor-
cycles quite literally
kept Big Sid alive.
Sid’s next move
was to try a different
exhaust on the bike.
The frst three runs
were made using
an oversized, 2-inch
diameter header,
and Sid suspected
that changing to a
smaller-diameter,
1 5/8-inch pipe
might improve
power. Sid swapped
pipes frst thing
Sunday morning,
and removed the
foam air flter as
well, before sending
me out for a fourth
run. The bike still
fell fat in top gear,
recording a disap-
pointing 98.53 mph.
When I returned
to the paddock we found the real source of
our problem—and it had nothing to do with
carburetors or exhaust. Idling up to the pit,
just yards from where Sid sat on his stool
beneath an EZ-Up, Tina’s motor seized tight.
“For a tuner like Big Sid the racing is incidental,
a slim justification for the countless hours spent
tinkering in the garage.”
and turnbuckles make “The Vincent” (as the
banner decal on the fuel tank so defnitely
states) pure industrial art. Sixty years later the
Vincent still looks ahead of its time, with
“frameless” construction featuring front and
rear subframes bolted directly to the motor
and Rube Goldbergian technical solutions like
the teeter-totter linkage that operates the dual-
drum front brakes. I especially appreciated the
sculptural engine cases, after Sid told me to
run my hand over the left timing chest. “Feel
familiar?” he asked. “Phil Irving [the legendary
Vincent engineer] told me himself that it
mimics the shape of a woman’s breast.”
Matthew did the honor of kicking Tina to
life for the frst time. A deliciously deep, big-
bore bark erupted from the open race pipe, a
noise so primitive that even the ‘Busa boys
looked up from fddling with their digital boost
controls. I suited up and climbed aboard
for my frst ride, up the 1-mile access road
leading to the Monster Mile’s starting line.
Big Sid’s pep talk was priceless: “Just get out
there and give that little bitch all you’ve got!”
It took a few tugs to yank the right-side,
reverse-pattern shift lever up into frst gear,
and then I was off toward the starting line. I
was immediately struck by how non-vintage
the Vincent felt. The girder fork and proto-
monoshock rear suspension literally foated
over Maxton’s broken-concrete surface with a
level of plush compliance utterly unexpected
from such an antique machine. The high-com-
pression single idled fawlessly and Sid had
the big-throated carb fettled to perfection,
delivering perfect throttle response. Torque
output was stronger than expected, equal to
any modern air-cooled single, and Tina pulled
with authority through the lower gears. Even
the braking performance was passable—
excellent, in fact, by drum-brake standards.
My frst run started well, even if I ignored
Sid’s advice and brought “the little bitch”
slowly up to speed. One mile is a lot of room
for a single, and even at a relaxed pace I was
well into fourth gear at the half-mile mark.
Tina pulled strongly until around 5000 rpm
and then ran out of steam, like she was
starving for fuel. Still, we exited the timing
trap at 100.38 mph—fast enough to set a
record in the 650cc vintage four-stroke gas
class (MVG-650/4).
I returned to the paddock and reported to
Sid, who was hungry for details. Tina hadn’t
been on the dyno yet. In fact, she hadn’t even
been beyond 50 mph on the streets around
Matthew’s suburban Louisville home, so top-
gear performance was essentially untested.
Sid bumped the main jet up from 320 to 330
and sent me out again. This second pass
raised the MVG-650/4 record to 105.506
mph, but power still fell off far before redline.
Matthew retarded the timing slightly for the
day’s third (and fnal) run, but that was a step
backward, resulting in a top speed of just
98.63 mph. We retreated to Maxton’s fnest
dining establishment, a Greek-owned Italian
joint in a strip mall in nearby Laurinburg, to
come up with a
new plan.
Noshing on
gluey spaghetti in
a cramped restau-
rant booth, Big Sid
was glowing. The
funny thing about
land-speed racing—
and drag racing,
too—is that for the
vast majority of
participants, it’s not
about racing at all.
For a tuner like Big
Sid, what matters
is designing and
building the fastest
motorcycle pos-
sible. The racing is
incidental, a slim
justifcation for the
countless hours
spent tinkering
in the garage, or
daydreaming about
solutions. To be
challenged like this
was the best possible outcome. If we went
fast right off the trailer, Sid would have been
bored out of his skull. Instead we faced a
genuine problem, a performance puzzle, and
the challenge lit Sid up. I could see what
The real Big Sid story is wonderfully retold in Mat-
thew Biberman’s book Big Sid’s Vincati, a must-read
for anyone who appreciates motorcycle culture. The
paperback version arrives in stores this May.
The BigSid.com team (left to right): Logan Robison, Big Sid Biberman, the author and Matthew Biberman.
www.motorcyclistonline.com 71
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I was horrifed, certain that I had just
broken some irreplaceable, 60-year-old
engine internal right in front of Sid’s face.
I was sick to my stomach, but Big Sid was
unfazed—in fact, he was more excited than
I had seen him all weekend. This was what
he lived for. “Get that sucker up on the work-
stand,” he said, “and let’s fgure out what’s
going on.”
It didn’t take long. In seconds Sid had the
front valve cap off and we could clearly see
the problem. Insuffcient clearance between
the valve stem and guide had caused the
exhaust valve to seize, and forced the pushrod
to unseat from the rocker arm. The tight
valve also explained the high-rpm power loss
we experienced. I apologized profusely, even
though it wasn’t my fault. Sid just laughed
it off. “You didn’t do anything wrong,” he
insisted. “Tina just told us she was done for
the weekend—and that little bitch waited until
she was right in front of me to say so.”
The Overtime Tina project started as an
attempt to settle some unfnished business,
and lucky for Big Sid, it’s not over yet. He’s
going to have to stick around for at least
one more year to see Tina run at her full
potential. The best Vincent Gray Flashes
(the legitimate factory racing singles) are
capable of 125 mph. Sid is certain that Tina
Big Sid poses with “The Rattler,” his methanol-fueled, 10-second drag bike, in the late 1950s. Based on a rare,
red-framed Vincent Rapide, The Rattler won more than three dozen drag-racing trophies (and countless street
races, Sid says) before it was officially retired.
is capable of similar performance, given a
properly operating exhaust valve and a
bigger carb. Sid now plans to do some
additional headwork in preparation for a trip
to Bonneville next summer for another record
attempt. Big Sid is not done yet.
Besides, he’s still got a lot to learn. “Tina
taught us not to expect records to come
without effort,” Sid said after the fact.“She
allowed us to experience the full range of
emotions that come with land-speed racing,
all over the course of just two days.” In the
meantime, Overtime Tina has sprouted a
small headlamp taken from a Triumph Trophy,
a matching tail lamp and a modest muffer.
She’s been spotted roaming the streets of
Louisville, with Matthew in the saddle. Big Sid
doesn’t ride anymore, though he did throw a
leg over Tina in the staging area at Maxton
on Sunday morning—he later emotionally
admitted that was the frst time in four years
he had straddled a motorcycle. But as long
as the Vincati and Overtime Tina are out in
the garage, Big Sid can still wrench away on
his beloved Vincents to his heart’s content.
Nowadays, that’s medicine enough.
“I was horrified that I had broken his motorcycle,
but Big Sid was unfazed—in fact, he was more
excited than I had seen him all weekend.”
Even in single-cylinder configuration, the
Vincent motor is one of the most beautiful ever
made, with deep cooling fins and voluptuous cases.
This one has been bored from 500 to 600cc
The Vincent presents interesting and innovative
technical details everywhere you look. This
teeter-totter front brake linkage is a typically
clever solution.
72 MOTORCYCLIST
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ig Sid Biberman has been a
Vincent man since 1950, when
he took his frst fateful ride on a
Shadow he borrowed from a friend. In
the early ’70s, after 20 years of die-hard
Vincent worship, Big Sid was similarly
smitten with the 1972 Ducati 750 GT.
This was the frst of Ducati’s big twins,
and Sid found the idea of a more-modern
sporting V-twin understandably appeal-
ing. Soon Sid’s garage housed both a
Vincent and a Ducati, and for most of
that decade he switched back and forth
between the two. Naturally, he often
wondered about a bike that combined
the best qualities of both. The Vincati
answers that once-rhetorical question.
Sid’s is one of just seven Vincatis in
existence, and the only one in North
America (the other six are all in Aus-
tralia). His started with a 1973 Ducati
GT rolling chassis, purchased for $2500
from an aspiring vintage racer. It came
complete with all the necessary bodywork
and trim, along with brand-new, 18-inch
alloy wheels. The Vincent motor acts as
THE VINCATI
“Engine by Shakespeare, chassis by Michelangelo”
WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTO: Bob Clarke
a stressed member, and the downtubes
from the Ducati frame have been cut off to
make room. The motor comes from a 1953
Vincent Rapide. Big Sid is a hot-rodder
at heart, so of course the motor has been
massaged with high-compression, 10:1
pistons, ported heads and other modifca-
tions that increase output to around 80
horsepower at the wheel.
From the saddle, the Vincati is almost
indistinguishable from a stock Ducati GT.
The factory Ducati instrumentation and
switchgear are retained, and the Biber-
mans have assembled the bike with such
careful attention to detail that you would
hardly guess this isn’t a factory job. Since
the Vincent engine is roughly the same
size and shape as the 90-degree Ducati
V-twin, the bike handles nearly the same
as well. It’s not until you start the
motor, and notice the slight differences
in cadence, vibration and sound, that you
realize this isn’t your average 750 GT.
On the road, the Vincati does bring
together the best elements of both bikes.
The Ducati is bigger and roomier than the
compact Vincent, with a more comfort-
able riding position and more stable
high-speed handling. The Vincent V-twin
is uncommonly smooth-running and
quick-revving (especially considering its
age!), with a robust midrange perfectly
suited for the fast, sweeping roads the
Ducati chassis prefers. It’s no wonder that
both the Vincent and the Ducati 750 GT
remain in demand by vintage enthusiasts
who actually ride their bikes. And as far
as Sid’s question about mixing the two
machines together? The Vincati is a very
satisfactory answer indeed. MC
“Sid’s is one of just seven Vincatis in existence,
and the only one in North America.”
B
www.motorcyclistonline.com 73
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HERE’S GIANNI!
WORDS & PHOTOS: Phil Aynsley
GIANCARLO MORBIDELLI NOT ONLY RAN HIS OWN GRAND PRIX TEAM,
HE’S ALSO ONE OF THE WORLD’S PREEMINENT MOTORCYCLE COLLECTORS
COLLECTOR SERIES
74 MOTORCYCLIST
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n one side of his elegant card it
says “Giancarlo Morbidelli—Vintage
Motorbike Collector.” On the reverse
is a photo of a ‘70s-era Grand Prix bike, also
bearing the name Morbidelli. Clearly there is
more to this man than just being a “collector”
of old bikes. Although he has done a pretty
good job of doing just that with over 250
bikes on display in his museum in Pesaro
on Italy’s Adriatic coast. Another 250 await
restoration out back.
As you enter the large, modern museum,
this impression is driven home by the two
bikes fanking the stairs leading to the
viewing area overlooking the collection. On
the left is the frst motorcycle Morbidelli built
in 1967, a 125cc two-stroke Grand Prix bike.
On the right is the last complete bike he built
in 1997, the mighty 850 V8 sport-tourer. In
the space of those 30 years he made his for-
tune manufacturing woodworking machinery,
ran a Grand Prix team that won four world
championships using bikes of his own
design, set up a factory (MBA) that produced
competitive privateer GP bikes in quantity and
slowly continued to accumulate motorcycles.
Continuing up the stairs the view is jaw-
dropping. Four main “halls” house the bulk
of the collection which is laid out in chrono-
logical order, production bikes mixed with
racing models in an ever-escalating ode to
the technological improvement of the motor-
cycle. Each bike stands on its own mirrored
plinth so you can easily see the bits normally
hidden by fairings. Niches in the walls hold
individual motors and other mechanical bits
and pieces. And most importantly, the bikes
are generously spaced, so you get an excel-
lent view of each.
The oldest bike on display is a 1906
Swiss Moto Reve, candle sitting proudly in
its headlight nacelle. The most recent is a
late-’80s Ducati 851 Superbike. In between
is a smorgasbord of both the everyday and
the exotic. You don’t see a 1942 vintage,
supercharged 250/4 Benelli GP bike on every
street corner! On the other hand, you used
to see Honda 350 Fours there all the time.
Something for everyone. At the rear of the
building is a smaller room holding all of the
Morbidelli racing bikes.
Behind the main building is the busy work-
shop where both Morbidelli’s own bikes, and
those of like-minded collectors, are restored.
A pair of ‘50s vintage GP Mondials have pride
of place at the moment. Also here is where
the latest Morbidelli creation is taking place:
a mind-blowing 750cc V12! Designed to ft
in a CBR600RR frame, this jewel of a motor
is due to be completed soon. Giancarlo says
(via translation), “It is not the horsepower
that is important. It is how it sings!” The
man’s passion continues.
The Morbidelli Museum is located at Via
Fermo, 39 - Pesaro. It is open Saturday after-
noons from 2 to 7 (but like all museums in
Italy, call first). MC
O
Machines are organized chronologically at the
Morbidelli Museum. This is the “modern” hall,
which contains everything from pedestrian Honda
production bikes to exotic factory Superbikes like
Raymond Roche’s Ducati 851.
www.motorcyclistonline.com 75
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Benelli, like Morbidelli based in Pesaro, is well
represented. This supercharged 1942 250/4
makes more than 50 horsepower. Developed
during the war, it never saw Grand Prix action.
The last Morbidelli motorcycle, the 1997 850 V8
sport-tourer, greets visitors at the main entrance.
Featuring a liquid-cooled V8 and Pininfarina
styling, it’s an elegant, advanced machine.
Book-ending the V8 at the main entrance is the
very first Morbidelli produced, a 125cc two-stroke
GP bike from 1967. Morbidelli motorcycles won
four 125cc world titles in the ’70s.
COLLECTOR SERIES
76 MOTORCYCLIST
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Close-up detail of the DOHC single in a 1954
Mondial 175. Mike Hailwood, among others, helped
make Mondial one of the most successful names
in racing during the ’50s.
www.motorcyclistonline.com 77
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No Italian motorcycle museum is complete
without one of Count Domenico Agusta’s amazing
machines. Cecil Sandford won the 1952 125cc
world championship on a Bialbero Competizione
like this.
A smaller, fifth hall contains Morbidelli’s own
motorcycles. Machines range from 125cc two-
stroke singles to 500cc two-stroke square fours.
Morbidelli produced racebikes through the end of
the ’82 season.
Giancarlo Morbidelli poses with a mock-up of his
latest engineering project, a 750cc V12 designed
to fit in a Honda CBR600RR frame. He hopes to
have a running prototype soon.
COLLECTOR SERIES
78 MOTORCYCLIST
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GB
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SPOT
R
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INK
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
RINGLEADER: Joe Neric
MSRP (2009): $11,499
MILES: 129-2622
AVERAGE FUEL MILEAGE: 41 mpg
ACCESSORIES & MODIFICATIONS:
Firstgear Silverstone Tail Bag, Honda
Carbon-Fiber Tank Pad, Tech Spec
Gripster Pads
Tips, Tweaks, Fixes and Facts, plus Buyer’s Guide and Expert Q&A from the Industry’s Best
DOIN’ TIME
A Complete Guide to Living
With Your Motorcycle...
STAFFERS’ RIDES
HONDA
CBR600RR-ABS
fter three months and 2600 miles
of trying to convince myself that
the CBR600RR isn’t that great,
I give up. For me, this is the world’s best
sportbike, mostly because it refuses to
do anything wrong. We even got through
the frst bit of scheduled maintenance
A
without a hitch. Changing the engine oil and
flter at 600 miles was easy, even if you do
have to remove some fairing bits to lay hands
on a flter that lives directly above the exhaust
headers. Being somewhat mechanically
reclined, I spilled oil all over them. The good
news is I don’t have to do it again until the
odometer rolls over 8000 miles.
Meanwhile, I changed a few things to make
the two of us more compatible. Tech Spec
Gripster Pads ($44.95 from www.techspec-
usa.com) keep me from sliding my junk into
the fuel tank under hard braking. Installation
was easy: Heat the surface with a hair dryer,
peel and stick. The pads blend nicely with the
Honda’s graphics and the shape of its tank,
plus they’re removable and reusable. Those
confrontations with my crotch scuffed up the
back of the tank a bit, but a genuine Honda
Carbon-Fiber Tank Pad ($34.95; www.power-
sports.honda.com) covered the evidence and
should prevent further damage…to the tank,
I mean.
My 27-mile commute takes 45 minutes
to an hour in traffc, which makes wearing
a backpack uncomfortable. Firstgear’s
PHOTOS: Tim Sutton
“This is the world’s best sportbike, mostly
because it refuses to do anything wrong.”
84 MOTORCYCLIST
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RINGLEADER: Aaron Frank
MSRP (2008): $11,599
MILES: 5899-6129
AVERAGE FUEL MILEAGE: 41 mpg
ACCESSORIES & MODIFICATIONS:
HS Performance reusable oil flter
HONDA
CBR1000RR
y long-term CBR, like many 2008
examples, has a thirst for oil. Honda
has advised that consumption—
nearly a quart per thousand miles when the
bike is ridden hard—remains within accept-
able limits. Even though the bike remains
mega-strong on the
dyno and shows no
signs of excess wear,
I’ve been watching my
waste oil closely for
evidence of anything
untoward.
Not wanting to
dredge dirty drain
pans or hacksaw
used oil flters in half,
I decided to install a
reusable, “lifetime”
stainless-steel oil
flter from HS Perfor-
mance Parts ($140
from www.hsper-
formanceparts.com). Not only does this
element offer vastly superior fltration and
performance compared to a conventional
paper flter, it allows you to easily inspect
engine debris close-up, to more accurately
monitor conditions inside your engine.
M
Silverstone Tail Bag ($119.95 frstgear-usa.
com) literally takes the load off my back.
Handy external pockets carry bungee cords
on one side and a tire plug kit on the other.
Another pocket up front packs a rain cover
and shoulder strap for easier handling off the
bike. Unzipping the fap reveals 100 cubic
inches of cargo room—enough to swallow my
lunch, an extra face shield and even some
homework. It expands to 830 cubic inches to
let me haul an extra full-face helmet, but the
coolest features are adjustable dividers to
separate sensitive contents.
After noticing a tendency to squat under
acceleration with the factory suspension
settings, I dialed up spring preload on the
rear shock. That was a step in the right direc-
tion, but the bike still squats. As it stands,
shock spring preload is fve clicks stiffer
than stock—the ride home wasn’t much
fun when I tried six—and the fork’s spring
preload adjusters show one line less than
when I started. Now I have a choice. Go on a
diet, or fnd someone to help me fnd spring
and damping rates to match my weight and
novice-level skills. Guess which one I’m
going with…
Aftermarket suspension of some sort is
next on my shopping list, but I don’t what to
blow the budget, so we’re talking rebuild, not
replace. Stay tuned.
No scratches under that trick carbon-fiber tank pad.
Honest. Tech Spec’s Snake Skin grip pads are func-
tional and subtly cool. Keeping the warning stickers
is proof of my immense coolness.
Ditching the backpack in favor of this Firstgear tail
bag lets me arrive at any destination less fatigued. It
expands to ingest one large Honeybaked ham or two
small cats, but not at the same time.
The frst line of defense is a super-
strength neodymium magnet mounted to the
top of the flter body that captures ferrous
debris before oil even reaches the flter ele-
ment. The element is made from laser-cut,
medical-grade stainless-steel micronic cloth
that captures debris down to 35 microns
instead of a paper flter’s 95 microns. Fine-
grained sand measures 60 microns, while a
white blood cell measures 25 microns—this
is exceptional fltration, in other words. The
stainless flter fows seven times better than
paper, too, so the bypass valve is less likely
to allow unfltered oil to circulate the engine
during extreme cold temperatures or high-
pressure situations.
It works, too. After removing the flter
the frst time, we placed it over a clean
shop rag and blew
it out with com-
pressed air, then
marveled at what my
mechanic Greg Moon
described as “a pile
of galactic space
dust.” After some
study, he IDed the
iridescent powder as
transmission-derived
(normal) and not
piston ring material
(abnormal). Mission
accomplished.
Sure, $140 will
buy you 40,000
miles worth of disposable flters, but with
better fltration, better performance and
improved peace of mind provided by the
unique view this flter gives you inside
your engine, we think this HS Performance
lifetime flter is money well spent.
Prices range from $139-$154, depending on applica-
tion and finish (raw billet or black-anodized), with
availability for nearly every Japanese and European
sportbike and most Harley-Davidsons.
PHOTOS: Gron4 Photography/Jim Moy
www.motorcyclistonline.com 85
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RINGLEADER: Eric Putter
MSRP (2009): $6099
MILES: 151-1213
AVERAGE FUEL MILEAGE: 44 mpg
ACCESSORIES & MODIFICATIONS:
Warning label removal
DOIN’ TIME
HYOSUNG
GT650R
ever one to discriminate against
bikes (or babes) based on their
country of origin, I’m going to live
with this sexy Korean for a year.
Hey, don’t laugh—this is serious busi-
ness. During our initial 1062-mile dance,
the newly fuel-injected GT650R proved
to be a friendly partner that doesn’t do
anything untoward when gently man-
handled. Other than a faulty brake lever
adjustment wheel, the GT didn’t exhibit
any weird peccadillos, slap my face or step on
my toes too hard.
Midway through our frst song, after
blowing 50 percent past the deadline for its
1000-kilometer (621-mile) break-in service,
the middleweight V-twin was remanded to
Hyosung of New Jersey in Metuchen. At
912 miles, it got the full spa treatment,
oil and flter change and valve inspection.
Three hours and $288 later, a well-dressed
mechanic reported that all eight valves were
well within spec and nothing else needed
more than a furtive glance.
Unfortunately, going forward, the GT’s
maintenance schedule calls for a peek under
its valve covers every 6000 clicks (3728
miles). For comparison’s sake, Suzuki lets the
SV650’s valve train bang around for 15,000
miles before a preliminary inspection. In
the coming months, we’ll see if Hyosung’s
vigilance is warranted.
Armed with a clean bill of health, the GT
was strapped to the Ivan’s Performance dyno,
where it made 64.2 horsepower at 9000 rpm
and 42.3 lb.-ft. of torque at 7500 rpm. Com-
pare that to a stock SV650’s 67-horsepower
run on the same dyno.
Weighed on DeMan Motorsports’ ultra-
accurate racecar scales, the fully gassed,
ready-to-ride GT rolled in at 473 pounds,
minimally biased toward the rear end (232
lbs. front/241 lbs. rear). That’s a full 44 lbs.
heavier than the last SV650 Motorcyclist
tested.
With the critical fgures generated, initial
fxes on the agenda include getting the front
stoppers to stop and the engine vibes to stop
vibing. Brake pads and lines will assuredly
do the trick for the former, while a set of anti-
vibe bar ends will likely cure the latter.
Moving forward, more cheap-and-dirty
fxes will be thrown at the GT in search of
its missing mojo. Being that Hyosungs don’t
enjoy the same sort of aftermarket support
as their Japanese counterparts, fnding bike-
specifc parts will be a challenge, but we’ll
search far and wide for suspension, motor
and ergonomic possibilities.
The mission of this long-term evaluation is
twofold: 1) Bring the GT650R’s performance
closer to that of an SV650 with relatively
inexpensive, cost-effective fxes; and 2) put
an untested Asian brand’s wares through the
ringer while objectively reporting on how it
fared in our not-so-delicate hands.
Stay tuned. MC
“Other than a faulty brake lever adjustment
wheel, the GT didn’t exhibit any weird peccadillos,
slap my face or step on my toes too hard.”
The GT’s two-piston calipers and 300mm discs look
better than they work. Bringing the brakes up to par
is one of the first items on the ’Sung’s To-Do List.
N
86 MOTORCYCLIST
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acing success isn’t the only
measure of sporting supremacy,
but for the Suzuki GSX-R1000,
seven AMA Superbike titles in the last
seven years is a pretty good start. The
144-horsepower weapon was the liter-
class force to be reckoned with, bumping
Yamaha’s 130-horse R1 into second
place in its freshman year. But Suzuki
needed something new to accommodate
’03 AMA and World Superbike rules
that would allow 1000cc fours. Plus,
Yamaha’s fuel-injected ’02 R1 made the
factory nervous.
They shouldn’t have worried. Put-
ting 152 horses in a more respon-
sive package, the second-generation
GSX-R1000 crushed all comers. Fresh
software and hard parts let 988cc four
rev quicker than its predecessor with
more power from the bottom up and
dead-accurate fuel delivery. Slip into
top gear and vibration is minimal on the
freeway, where a handful of throttle punts
you from 60 to 80 mph in just under
three seconds. Serious business begins
at 6000 rpm. No need to exceed 9000
on the street, but the big GSX-R inhales
a quarter mile in about 10.0 seconds at
140 mph if you do.
At 444 lbs. with a full 4.7 gallons of
super unleaded—enough to put 190
miles between fuel stops—the ’03 ficks
into tight bends with a minimal effort and
carves fast ones on the proverbial rails.
Radial-mount Tokico four-piston calipers
are light-years ahead of the fade-prone
six-pot bits of ’02. The whole package
R
SMART MONEY ALSO SMART
HONDA RC51
2002 | $6270
The basis for Nicky Hayden’s ’02 AMA
Superbike title came with a new frame,
lighter, longer swingarm, more com-
pliant suspension and enormous 62mm
throttle-bodies. Steering is lighter than
the ’01, but still relatively heavy…like
the rest of the bike.
DUCATI 998R
2002 | $13,125
The last, best iteration of Ing. Massimo
Bordi’s 916 came with the latest 999cc
Testastretta twin and upwards of 140
horsepower, plus top-shelf Öhlins suspen-
sion and ultralight Marchesini Corse
wheels and a selection of racy carbon-
fiber lingerie.
YAMAHA YZF-R1
2002 | $5975
Yamaha’s first major redesign of the
1998 original gained more precise road
manners from a stiffer third-generation
Deltabox aluminum chassis and stiffer
springs at both ends. Suction-piston
throttle-bodies give the R1’s fuel-injec-
tion supremely linear feel.
2003-2004
SUZUKI GSX-R1000
feels bulky compared to an ’09, but humane
ergonomics and superior wind protection
make it a whole lot more comfortable on
all-day rides, especially if you’re tall.
Aside from a few minor issues, GSX-R
holds up well over time. The stock clutch is
fragile. If it’s sloppy, slipping, noisy or grabby,
look elsewhere or factor in the price of a
more durable aftermarket alternative. That
steering damper goes south over time, giving
you inconsistent feedback through a set of
bends. Damping disappears from the stock
shock in a few thousand miles. Gold anod-
izing often peels off the fork tubes, especially
on weathered example of the breed. A loose
headlight assembly usually means broken
mounting tabs. Take a close look at the DLC
coating on the sliders as well. Imprecise
throttle response
is often traceable
to a maladjusted
throttle position
indicator. Beyond
that, watch for the
usual evidence
of ill treatment:
loose, stripped or
missing fasteners,
shoddy installation
of aftermarket bits,
oil/coolant leaks
or concealed crash
damage. Other-
wise, the founda-
tion for two AMA
Superbike titles is
still a super bike.
MC
CHEERS
Hall of Fame horsepower in
a stiff, obliging chassis with
brick wall brakes.
JEERS
Rougher ’round the edges
than an ’03 R1. Shock fades
over time.
WATCH FOR
Shagged clutch, rough idle,
spent steering damper.
VERDICT
The former Superbike king is
still a stellar street bike.
VALUE
2003 | $5875
2004 | $6335
WORDS: Tim Carrithers
PHOTO: Suzuki
88 MOTORCYCLIST
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
Simple stuff to make your bike better.
EASY UPGRADES
orged magnesium wheels, big bore kits and carbon fber
bodywork are fantastic upgrades for the independently
wealthy, but what about the rest of us? This month’s
GEAR is dedicated to sensible stuff to actually improve your ride
without breaking the bank.
F
GEAR
Traxxion
Dynamics Fork
Springs
Unless you’re a
jockey, odds are your
bike’s OE springs
aren’t the ideal rate.
Thankfully, better
handling is just a
spring swap away.
Traxxion Dynamics straight-rate
fork spring kits are available
for all popular motorcycles and
are manufactured from lightweight
chrome-silicon steel that’s guaran-
teed for life to be within 2% of the
claimed rate. Kits cost $109.95 and
include spacer material and installation
instructions. Ride something peculiar?
Traxxion will wind you your own custom springs for a nominal fee.
www.traxxion.com
Autolite Xtreme Sport Iridium Spark Plugs
Time to replace your spark plugs? Deposits
and deterioration can slow spark formation
and keep your engine from performing at its
best. Autolite’s new Xtreme Sport plugs are
engineered with a tapered iridium-coated
center electrode for a more focused spark
and better ignition – an easy way to get more
muscle and miles per gallon. The iridium-
enhanced electrode also resists erosion
better than standard materials, so your plugs
will last longer. The plugs retail for $9.95 a
piece.
www.rkexcelamerica.com
Galfer Braking Components
Upgrading your braking package is
an easy way to increase your bike’s
performance, feel, and safety. Galfer
stainless steel brake lines feature
64-count braiding and a PVC coating
in your choice of 10 colors for about
$90 a set. Hoses are made on-bike
with pre-positioned fttings, and
come with banjo bolts and crush
washers for quick and easy instal-
lation. Galfer’s brake pads run the
gamut from everyday street pads like the G1054s (starting at $58 a
set) to the recently released G1003 race pads that have been used
by the likes of Mat Mladin and Ben Spies.
www.galferusa.com
Motion Pro Tire Gauge
Infating your motorcycle’s tires to the proper
pressure is as important as making sure
there’s oil in your engine. Crummy pencil
gauges and crummier gas station varieties
offer rough approximations at best. At
$92.95, Motion Pro’s professional-grade
tire gauge is a worthwhile upgrade. Its large
liquid-flled face reads in 1 psi increments
and is accurate to within 1.5 percent of its
60 psi maximum. An integrated pressure
relief valve makes easy work of dropping tire
pressures for time on the track.
www.motionpro.com
Vance & Hines Fuelpak
To many motorcyclists’ chagrin, sport
bikes are tuned as much for emissions
as for power. The $279.95 Fuelpak from
racing legend Vance & Hines provides
your FI bike with the optimum fuel/air
ratio for precise throttle response and
maximum power. Set-up is simple: plug
the unit in, select your bike and any
applicable modifcations, enter the set-
tings, and hit the road. No computer or
dyno runs needed. Programmed settings
are the result of extensive dyno and road
testing. Upgrades don’t get much easier.
www.fuelpakfi.com
WORDS: Ari Henning
90 MOTORCYCLIST
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
Zero Gravity Corsa Screen
It may not be a direct performance upgrade for street riders, but a
Corsa screen from Zero Gravity sure will make your bike look faster.
Superior clarity, excellent ft, and superb strength and fexibility make
the Corsa a favorite with racers at all levels. Made from the fnest
grade acrylic plastic, the Corsa screen has a steeply tapered shape
that provides excellent aerodynamics and a distinctly MotoGP
appearance. The Corsa is available for late-model sport bikes for
under $100.
www.zerogravity-racing.com
Driven Sprockets
Changing your bike’s gearing is the easiest way to improve per-
formance, and Driven Racing has everything you need to upgrade
your drive train. Bolting on a larger rear cog or smaller countershaft
sprocket (or some combination thereof) will improve acceleration and
lets you set your bike’s gearing for the roads you ride most. Driven’s
case-hardened steel front sprockets start at $24, and their hard-
anodized aluminum rears start at $55, and can shave over a pound
off your rear wheel compared to the stock steel ring. Rear cogs are
available in gold, red, blue, green, black, and chrome.
www.drivenracing.com
Gilles Tooling X-Treme Levers
Professional racers know the importance of an ergonomically correct
cockpit. That’s why so many choose Gilles Tooling X-Treme levers.
Properly adjusted hand controls yield better feel for more precise,
relaxed riding, and the X-Treme levers offer up to 50 adjustments.
German engineered and beautifully machined from billet aluminum,
the Gilles levers feature a compact adjustment wheel and an inte-
grated hinge that reduces the potential for breakage in the event of
a crash. X-Treme levers are available in several ergonomic variations
and anodized colors for $189.95.
www.gillestooling.com
Leo Vince GP PRO Slip-On
Bin that boat-anchor of a stock exhaust can and strap on one of
these MotoGP-inspired slip-ons from Leo Vince. Lighter, louder, and
tuned for power, the GP PRO slip-on is TIG welded in typical Italian
style and is supported by a beautiful carbon fber bracket. Built with
experience garnered from years of racing, the $519 GP PRO is said to
increase power and torque by up to 5% across the board. The remov-
able dB killer insert cuts the exhaust volume without squashing its
character, keeping you and the neighbors happy.
www.leovince.com
www.motorcyclistonline.com 91
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
MC TESTED
SHOEI
RF-1100 HELMET
WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTOS: Shoei
hen I heard Shoei was replacing
the RF-1000, my frst instinct was
to stockpile the lids to hold me
over for the next decade. The RF-1000’s
excellent ft, no-fuss shield changes,
great venting and stunning good looks
make it one of the best all-around lids
available. Could Shoei really improve on
something so good?
My trepidation dissipated the moment
I slipped the new RF-1100 onto my head.
Ahhh, the 1100’s ft is just as superb as
its predecessor, and you can’t beat that
new-helmet smell. A fully removable liner
makes keeping things fresh that much
W
With the RF-1100 there’s no questioning whether the
chin vent is open or closed. A forceful stream of air
cools the wearer’s brow and leaves no doubt.
A new tighter-ftting visor increases the peace
even further.
The RF-1100’s new CW-1 shield is about
5mm taller and extends further toward the
temples. That may sound nominal, but the
larger eye port improves peripheral vision and
provides a better line of sight when looking
through tight turns. The shield is held in
place by Shoei’s new spring-loaded QRSA
(Quick-Release Self-Adjusting) base plates,
which actively pull the shield against
the new eye port beading to insure
a precise, tight seal every time
you close the visor. Changing
the visor is the same 5-second
procedure it was on the previous
model, and the handy shield
preset lever is retained.
After over 4000 miles of
one-on-one time with the
RF-1100, I’m pretty pleased
with Shoei’s latest street
offering. I love the way it cuts
silently through the air, and
the venting is the best out
there, but the tabs require
frequent lubrication and have
a tendency to pop off their rails
if neglected. As with Shoei’s
Hornet dual-sport helmet, the
snaps that hold the liner in
place are weak and the back
of the liner has started to come
loose when I pull the helmet on. A
dab of superglue remedies the problem
but annuls the removability of the liner.
The RF-1100 is available in your typical
pallet of solid colors, as well as metallics and
an arresting assortment of tasteful graphics.
Despite the small drawbacks, the RF-1100 is
an instant winner and a worthy replacement
for the do-it-all RF-1000.
SHOEI RF-1100
PRICE: $399.99-$499.99
CONTACT: Shoei Helmets
www.shoei-helmets.com
VERDICT
A step above its predecessor in nearly all respects.
easier, and the Snell 2010-compliant design
means more shell sizes for better ft and
protection.
Shoei says the RF-1100 improves on
comfort, noise, aerodynamics and venting.
Venting is too passive a word for what the
RF-1100 does. It’s more like ram-air for your
head. The large tabs are easy to operate
with a gloved hand, and their independent
functionality allows you to tailor airfow to suit
your preferences.
A more aerodynamic shell and revamped
cheek pads help make the RF-1100 one of
the quietest helmets I’ve worn. Shoei uses a
new forming technology to integrate the rear
spoiler into the shell for smoother lines and
better aerodynamics, which not only makes
things quieter but reduces head buffeting
and resistance to directional changes. Inside
the helmet, reshaped cheek pads extend
further forward to wrap around the chin,
reducing turbulence and blocking road noise.
92 MOTORCYCLIST
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BLISS-STAR SPORTBIKE BODYWORK
WORDS: Mike Seate PHOTO: Raymond Bradlau
ALPINESTARS SP-1 GLOVE
WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTO: Joe Neric
espite the showroom success of lim-
ited-edition, racer-replica sportbikes,
manufacturers haven’t quenched the
public’s thirst for motorcycles that look like
the Pros’ rides. A solution can be found at
the Internet auction house eBay, where Hong
Kong-based Bliss-Star offers a truly dizzying
ven if it’s just a minor tip-over, odds
are your hands are going to suffer.
The easiest way to avoid the dreaded
meaty paw is to don a set of quality mitts,
and Alpinestars has over two dozen models
to choose from.
The SP-1s orbit in the upper strata of
A-Star’s Performance Riding category, and
feature all the bells and whistles you need in
a sport/track glove. A beautifully constructed,
full-leather carcass plays host to carbon-fber
knuckle and fnger armor, with a full gauntlet
array of aftermarket bodywork kits.
I shudder to think what the world’s copy-
right lawyers think of Bliss-Star’s work, but
the riding public sure digs having the ability to
cloak their bikes in factory livery. Ready-made
kits abound to make your Kawasaki ZX-6R a
Kevin Schwantz-era Lucky Strike Grand Prix
and wrist cinch for added security. When I
frst pulled these gloves on a year ago they
felt a little tight, but within a week they’d
broken in and that snug ft now equates to
excellent control feel.
Not only do the SP-1s look good and ft
great, they’re functional, too. A series of
cartwheels after a racing high-side let me
test their impact protection. Scuffs on all
sides of both gloves and gouges in the armor
attest to the violence of the incident, yet my
hands were fne. Okay, so the seams are
tough, but that tumbling crash didn’t test the
durability of the suspiciously supple leather.
Next up was a high-speed low-side that sent
me body-surfng down 50 feet of wet pave-
ment. Waiting for the crash truck, I noted with
satisfaction that my SP-1s were soggy and
battered but still intact.
After two crashes the SP-1s have some
stressed seams and torn-up palms, but they
did their job and saved my hands from harm.
I couldn’t ask for more. MC
replica or turn an ordinary Honda CBR into Troy
Bayliss’ Infostrada SBK winner. Like most prod-
ucts manufactured by off-shore Internet sup-
pliers, the bodywork is amazingly affordable,
with graphics so detailed and well-executed the
kits seem too good to be true.
To see whether Mr. Keung could live up to
his word, I threw him a curveball by ordering
a custom set of bodywork for my 2000 Ducati
996, decorated in the oddball green-on-green-
on-red livery of the Stobart Motorsports British
Superbike team. Well, call me Michael Rutter,
but the bodywork arrived looking superb, and
mounted to the 996 using the stock hardware
after drilling just a few holes.
Granted, the plastic resin is not as tough as
stock bodywork, and some minor modifcation
was required to get a proper ft (mounting lugs
for the taillight were absent, requiring a bracket
to be fabricated). But at $369 for a full fairing
and painted seat unit, you can’t complain.
BLISS-STAR BODYWORK
PRICE: $369
CONTACT: Bliss-Star
www.stores.ebay.com/bliss-star
VERDICT
An inexpensive way to look like Hayden or Rossi—even if
you only ride to the local Hooters.
D
ALPINESTARS SP-1 GLOVE
PRICE: $119.95
CONTACT: Alpinestars
www.alpinestarts.com
VERDICT
All the protection you could want without delving into the
webbed-fnger territory of full-race mitts.
E
www.motorcyclistonline.com 93
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
here are riders who are perfectly
comfortable delving into their
bike’s engine, yet are appre-
hensive about pointing a screwdriver at
the fork’s damping adjusters. Unlike the
engine’s explicit tolerances and torque
specifcations, tuning the suspension
is largely subjective, and it’s easy to
feel nervous about messing with those
mysterious anodized knobs and screws.
But there’s nothing mysterious about
suspension tuning. In fact, suspension
setup and adjustment is a scientifc and
systematic procedure, and there’s no
reason you can’t learn to do it yourself. It
just takes experience.
You can get that experience at the Cat-
alyst Reaction Suspension Tuning School.
T
The curriculum is designed to teach riders
the skills and give them the confdence to
tune their own suspension. It accomplishes
these goals through in-depth discussions,
hands-on experience and loads of track time.
The one-day school I attended was held at
Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California, in
conjunction with a Trackside Services (www.
trackside-signmeup.com) track day. Like any
back-to-school experience, there’s some
homework involved. Students should review
their owner’s manual and get familiar with their
motorcycle’s suspension and determine the
adjustment range. You’ll be twiddling your own
dials during your track sessions, so make sure
you have the needed tools packed in your tool
box. And don’t forget to reset the adjusters
once you’ve counted the clicks or turns!
Under the tutelage of CRST owner Dave
Moss, students are introduced to suspension
theory and mechanics and taught a method-
ical, systematic approach to tuning that is
immediately put to use on the track. The syl-
labus consists of six sessions dedicated to
covering the primary variables of suspension:
spring preload, compression and rebound
damping. Each session is broken down into
10 minutes of theory discussion, about 30
minutes of track time, and then a 10- to
15-minute debriefng. Sessions begin with
an explanation of the design and function of
the component being studied. We start with
the basics: For session one, it’s the fork cap
and spring. With the vitals in hand, Moss
explains the mechanics and theory behind
the parts and how it infuences the ride.
Troubleshooting tips are doled out and the
relevant terminology is introduced, but that’s
where this hands-on school departs from your
typical suspension seminar.
It’s easy to say too little spring preload
in the fork will cause excessive front-end
dive when braking, or that too much shock
rebound will make the bike wallow mid-corner.
To appreciate what that means, you have to
experience it. The real meat of the school is
the track time. After a few warm-up laps, stu-
dents enter the hot pit and crank the knobs
in one-third turn increments, always moving
from softest to hardest. Dave instructs us to
CATALYST REACTION
SUSPENSION TUNING SCHOOL
Shedding some light on the black
art of suspension tuning
WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTOS: Dito Milan/Got Blue Milk
Dave Moss has been racing and tuning for over a
decade. He tunes for AFM, WERA and AMA racers and
also contributes to the On the Throttle video series.
”Tips are doled out and the terminology is
introduced, but that’s where this hands-on school
departs from your typical suspension seminar.”
94 MOTORCYCLIST
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
be consistent and only ride at 80 percent;
you need the free mental RAM to monitor the
bike’s behavior and analyze the changes you
are making.
By systematically moving through the
adjustment range one area at a time,
students get a feel for the adjustments’ infu-
ence and get something tangible on which to
hang the handling descriptions. You intention-
ally touch the limits in order to feel what too
much of this or too little of that feels like,
and how it changes handling. Sometimes the
shoddy setups we toyed with messed things
up so badly that they made the laps uncom-
fortable and even a little scary. But that’s an
important part of the learning experience and
the reason it’s critical to do this stuff in the
right environment.
Back in the classroom, there’s time for
refection and note-taking before a discus-
sion regarding how the changes affected the
chassis, which setting worked best and why.
Moss is an affable and patient instructor (he
did time as a school teacher in England) and
elicits thoughtful responses from the riders
regarding what they felt. Proper terminology
is encouraged and errant language corrected,
and everyone must take part in the debriefng
discussion which is the last critical step
in cementing understanding. After the frst
session students scribble wildly in their work
books, but as the day progresses comments
grow more concise as we begin to understand
what the bike is doing and why. “That’s the
beauty of the school,” Moss says, “seeing
the riders become familiar with the feel of
the suspension and gaining the vocabulary to
describe it.”
Under Moss’ guidance and with lots of
seat time and refection, riders arrive at an
optimum suspension setup, with detailed
notes on how they got there. At the end of
the day, it’s time to see how they perform as
a whole. You’ve got several free sessions to
fnd out, and if something feels amiss, there’s
still time to test and tune. Most students
were impressed with how dialed their bikes
felt, and spent the free sessions hauling the
mail on Thunderhill’s newly repaved surface.
Looking to get a handle on your bike’s sus-
pension? Tuition to the CRST School costs
$295 ($215 for the track day plus $80 for
the school), which is a better value than night
classes at your local city college.
Moss has a half-dozen Thunderhill schools
planned for next year, but check his website
(www.feelthetrack.com) often as the program
is likely to go national. MC
Get oily! Students examine the fork and shock
internals as part of the classroom sessions, which
aids in a comprehensive understanding of how the
components work.
Trackside Services run an open format with no
groups or time limits, which contribute to a relaxed,
low-stress experience.Master tune Moss is always
close at hand should you have a question.
Do I look awkward? I should. Many of the laps were
ridden with far from ideal setups, but experiencing
what the wrong setup feels like is an important step
in reaching the ideal one.
www.motorcyclistonline.com 95
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
t’s cold. That nifty thermometer
you got for Christmas read 30
degrees when the garage door
went up, but the sun is out, skies are
blue and all is well. Rolling up the ramp
that leads to work, it’s a whole lot colder
than that at 60 mph. Now things are
getting a little weird. Numb toes and
fngertips are nothing new, even inside
decent boots and gloves, but three ramps
later you can’t stop shivering. After four
or fve more—can’t recall exactly how
many—it feels like somebody brewed a
pot of decaf instead of the good stuff.
Despite a full eight hours of sack time,
you’re sleepy, cranky and mildly dopey.
What’s up with that?
I
For starters, the wind is pulling heat out
of your body faster than your body can pump
it in. According to the handy-dandy National
Weather Service windchill chart, 30 degrees
in still air is equivalent to 10 degrees at
60 mph. At that rate, exposed skin is 30
minutes away from a case of frostbite. Maybe
less. The sleepy/grumpy/dopey syndrome is
more than 43 percent of the seven dwarfs.
It’s your body’s way of trying to warm up,
otherwise known as the early stages of hypo-
thermia. That, according to the Mayo Clinic, is
when body temperature drops from the usual
98.6 to something below 95 degrees. Ignore
sleepy, grumpy and dopey and you’ll meet
oblivious, unconscious and your maker in
roughly that order. It’s an insidious process,
but easily reversible as long as you know
what to do when.
Your metabolic furnace needs fuel, so
start with a good breakfast. No Pop Tarts.
And take the next ramp toward somewhere,
something or someone warm before sleepy,
dopey and grumpy arrive. Warm food and
drink at the frst likely place is usually all it
takes, but caffeine confounds the process
so skip the French roast. Segue to a warm
bathtub or shower stall if that doesn’t work,
and if you’re still pale and shivering, call the
doctor. Slurred words or blue skin mean the
doctor should see you now. But as with most
painful experiences, prevention is better than
any cure.
Chilly in the driveway can literally translate
to freezing at 70 mph. Know your enemy. Cue
up an online weather report for the route du
jour, and dress accordingly. Multiple layers
work best, letting you peel off what you don’t
need down the road. Start with something
thin against your skin to trap heat and wick
sweat away to evaporate in the outer layers:
form-ftting long undies made from high-
tech synthetics like Patagonia’s Capaline or
Polartech Power Dry. Wool or silk are solid
natural alternatives to cotton socks and
drawers that trap moisture against your skin
for hours. A microfeece jacket on top of that
will keep in heat while helping to dissipate
moisture from below. But a breathable lami-
nate fabric like Gore-Tex Windstopper keeps
wind out as well, which is the key to keeping
body heat in. Slip an electric vest underneath
to keep your core temperature up on long,
frigid rides.
Your outer layer is the frst line of defense
against weather as well as impact and abra-
sion, so choose wisely. Leather provides
better pavement protection than anything
else, but fends off wind better than water.
High-end textiles come together in gar-
ments that are ready for just about anything,
including an unexpected monsoon. Just make
sure everything fts well enough to let you
move around on the motorcycle. Add insu-
lated gloves and boots for those sensitive
extremities, keep your brain engaged at all
times and you’re ready to roll. MC
COLD CASE
Survival 101 for the shrewd winter warrior
WORDS & PHOTOS: Tim Carrithers
When the dash says 32° Fahrenheit in the driveway,
you’re looking at well below freezing on the freeway.
Add an electric vest to your proven winter ensemble
or take the car.
96 MOTORCYCLIST
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ESCAPE 2 AFRICA
After losing my job to the world-
wide monetary meltdown back in
August, I’m taking a break from
the progressively depressing process
of looking for a new one to visit friends
in Namibia later this year. I have some
savings stashed. They have plenty of
everything, including a guesthouse in
Windhoek just waiting for me. I have a
stock 2006 BMW R1200GS and a
standing invitation to come visit.
I’m planning to use up a
three-month tourist visa, so
time won’t be a problem.
Accommodations and
such are gratis, so money
shouldn’t be either. The
GS and I have a fair bit of
mileage under our belts on-
and off-road, but we’ve never
taken on a mission like this. The
bike will be outftted here and shipped
ahead of me since there’s no way I’m
riding all the way to Africa. Advice? Am
I crazy? Recommended reading? What
accessories, modifcations or additions
to the BMW tool kit are essential for
exploring the Skeleton Coast? There are
lots of things to learn and I don’t expect
to learn them all here. I’m just getting
started, so any resources or mission-
critical information you can pass along
would be great.
George E. Corby
Southfield, MI
If there is
an upside to
being abruptly
unemployed, it sounds
like you’ve found it.
But since Africa holds
more potential menace
for the unwary and
the dim than, say, Michigan’s Upper
Peninsula, seeking expert advice is the
best way to stay out of trouble. In this
case, our elected authority is Ron Ayres
of Ron Ayres Adventures (www.ronayres.
com), world-class professional tour guide
since 1999. Here’s his advice…
“No, you’re not crazy. I envy you!
Namibia is a safe, clean and very hos-
pitable country. The food is great, the
people are friendly and English is widely
spoken. It’s the country’s official lan-
guage, although German, Afrikaans and
Oshiwambo are more common in some
areas. Namibia is a great place to enjoy
GOT A QUESTION FOR ANSWERS?
SEND IT TO MCMAIL@SORC.COM ANSWERS
Q
A
WORDS: Tim Carrithers PHOTOS: Ron Ayres, BMW
your GS. There are no four-lane
highways. The few “B” roads
are well-maintained two-lane
highways. “C” roads are usually
gravel with occasional patches
of sand and are usually in
reasonable condition. The more
numerous “D” roads are always dirt
or gravel and the condition ranges from
passable to something suitable only for 4x4s:
GS Heaven. Although there are speed limits,
unless you’re passing through the infrequent
town or village, you can drive at whatever
speed you feel comfortable without fear of
being ticketed. The Skeleton Coast is a worth-
while ride, but it’s not nearly as daunting as
the name suggests. Most of it that’s accessible
by motorcycle is paved, but it’s very isolated.
There are other areas of Namibia that offer a
more interesting visit: the giant sand dunes at
Sossusvlei, The Brandberg, Fish River Canyon
and Fort Sesfontein, to name a few.
“Recommended reading? Pick up a copy
of The Lonely Planet Guide to Namibia for
all the information you’ll need on the history
of the country and a description of the most
interesting sites, along with recommendations
for reasonably priced accommodations and
meals. There is only one BMW motorcycle
dealer in the country, but it’s a good one,
located in Windhoek (pronounced ‘vind-hook’).
It’s not necessary to make special modifica-
tions to your GS. If you intend to spend a lot
of time exploring the “D” roads, get a set of
Continental TKC-80 dual-sport tires and carry
a tubeless tire repair kit and a portable air
pump. If you’re going to be especially venture-
some, take some tubes along, with equipment
needed to break down the tire. I carry the
BeadBrakR and Cycle Pump from Best Rest
Products (www.bestrestproducts.com). My wife
Barb and I have been riding in Namibia regu-
larly for more than 10 years and have traveled
through most of the country on various GS
models. We love the place. I’m sure that you
will too.”
STREET CLOTHES
I am 35 years old and ride a new Kawasaki
Ninja 250. I have about 10 years of riding
experience. My riding outft consists of
a full-face helmet, Vanson leather jacket
(with no armor or padding), jeans, Alpine-
stars Gore-Tex boots and gloves. I have
been looking at riding apparel lately and
would like to upgrade my outft to one that
contains more protection.
I mainly use my motorcycle to commute
to work and it appears that I have two
clothing options: I can either get riding
clothes like those in Alpinestars’ city col-
lection that look like normal clothes, or I
can get a suit to wear on top of my regular
clothes. Am I missing another option?
There appears to be a bewildering array
of different items from many manufac-
turers. Could you recommend a set of
riding gear for a non-racer who commutes
and seeks greater protection?
Vic Anand
Lansing, NY
There’s at least one more option that
works around our offices: Stash a set of
work clothes near your desk and show
up early enough to do a quick wardrobe
change. That may or may not be feasible
if your work environment is a privacy-free
cube farm, but think it through and ask the
powers that be. Otherwise, slip an Aero-
stich Roadcrafter suit (www.aerostich.com)
over your normal business duds. Starting
at $797 for the one-piece model, it’s not
cheap, but neither is a trip to the emer-
gency ward. The armor alone will make a
huge difference in the event of a tip-over.
Everybody who rides to work in this office
has one, along with a story or two of how
it spared them from grievous bodily harm.
Unlike most off-the-
rack alternatives,
Aerostich offers
various custom
tailoring options,
along with a list
of other extra-
cost options
that make it fit
the ride as well as
the rider. Plus, the
company is in
Duluth, Minne-
sota, so if you’re
unlucky enough to
scuff up your suit,
send it back and
they can fix it. MC
www.motorcyclistonline.com 97
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
MOTORCYCLIST © (ISSN 0027-2205) FEBRUARY 2010, Issue 1355 • Copyright 2010 by Source Interlink Magazines, LLC. All rights reserved. Published monthly by Source Interlink Media,
LLC, 261 Madison Avenue, 5th Flr., New York, NY 10016. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offces. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40612608.
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$18; Canada $30 U.S. funds (price includes surface mail postage and GST—Reg. No. 872093125RT0001). All other countries $42 U.S. funds per year. For subscription information call
800-800-7433 or 386-447-6318 (internationally) or write to Motorcyclist, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235 or e-mail motorcyclist@emailcustomerservice.com. • POSTMASTER:
Please send address changes to Motorcyclist, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235.• CONTRIBUTIONS: Should be mailed to 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245. They must
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inquiries.
URBANK, Calif., Feb. 1—Struggling
giant NBC, battling a viewer ratings
avalanche that threatens to land
the once-great network somewhere south
of HGTV, has been forced to amp-up its
offerings for the traditionally sleepy summer
rerun season. Spearheading the planned
NBC comeback is the innovative Then Came
Bigfoot. Set on the gritty, mean streets of the
San Fernando Valley—made famous on the
classic CHiPs (NBC, circa 1977)—this daring
mash-up is said to blend the wistful on-the-
road ennui of Then Came Bronson (NBC,
1969) with the raw, monkey dung-finging
chaos of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom
(NBC, 1963). Stir in the achingly repressed
sexuality of I Dream Of Jeannie (NBC, 1965),
sprinkle it liberally with the sweaty determina-
tion of The Biggest Loser (NBC, 2004) and
you’ve got Then Came Bigfoot. Plot? Who
needs a plot with costumes like this?
But will couch-bound America drop their
remotes, pick up their Pringles and “set a
spell” with Then Came Bigfoot? Just how low
are our standards? Star power just may be
the key. Names like Shatner, Pitt, Heston,
Clooney and Hasselhoff have been men-
tioned (though not in relation to this project).
We shall see…
One thing is for sure: When Then Came
Bigfoot premieres at 8 PM on May 21st, you
can bet the Motorcyclist staff will be front
and center on the sofa. And if Then Came
Bigfoot sucks, we can always bail out and
make fun of American Chopper on the DVR.
MC
NBC RATINGS DEATH-SPIRAL
SIRES MAN-BEAST REALITY SHOW
B
WORDS: Jeff Karr PHOTO: Keith May
98 MOTORCYCLIST
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
RIDERS LOOK OUT
FOR EACH OTHER.
We are who we insure. Markel associates are riders like you
ZKRVKDUH\RXUSDVVLRQDQGNQRZKRZWRSURWHFWLW:HKDYHÀUVWKDQG
knowledge of what should be covered when insuring your bike and the
accessories that make it your own. We offer things your homeowners
or auto insurance carrier might not provide – extras like diminishing
deductibles and replacement cost coverage. At Markel, we’ve got
your back – and it’s covered with over 35 years of expertise in
powersports insurance.
For an instant quote, talk to one of us at 1-800-236-2453
or visit markelinsuresfun.com/mm
Tom Conroy
Marine Director
MARKEL AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY
www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com
Ducati Hypermotard 796:
The new way to go Hyper
Whether it’s working the daily commute or attacking the open roads, the 796 will ride the common ground
between manners and madness by mixing Ducati’s unrivalled twin-cylinder power and sportbike heredity
with the lightweight and minimalist supermotard concept. The Ducati Hypermotard 796 - only $9,995. See
your local Ducati dealer today.
www.ducatiusa.com
Recommended
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Living his life on one wheel, Jason Britton has reached the peak of the game. Whatever you call him - Hooligan, Stunter, Ambassador, Icon - Jason is proof that the American dream still shines bright. The signature edition Britton Ignitor helmet from Icon - dedicated to life on one wheel.

RIDEICON.COM I IGNITER
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So we don’t just hire order takers. Director of Rapid Retrieval or call 1.storemags. who’s earned multiple certifications from the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. It’s one more way we make sure you get the right part on time . we think our staff should know what they’re talking about.866.com .. www. He rides a 2004 Yamaha FZ1.fantamag.com & www.. At BikeBandit.We love to ride as much as you do. we can get it to you faster than anyone.239. Log on or call us today to find out why.com for parts and accessories. Get it Right.com.BIKE to get parts done right. we hire riders.000 customers a day choose BikeBandit. Get Riding. every time. Riders like Brandon. Total parts shipped Get it Fast.” – Bandit. 70. Brandon is a Senior Sales Rep at BikeBandit. “Whether you’re looking for an OEM par t or an after-market solution.com.

60 64 64 FEATURES 68 OVERTIME TINA A humble Vincent single tops the Ton.FEBRUARY '10 10 07 10 18 20 22 24 26 28 For news.com UP TO SPEED CAT TALES UP TO SPEED All-American Motus V4 sport-tourer. MAT MLADIN BY THE NUMBERS Seven is the one that matters most.fantamag. LARRY PEGRAM’S DUCATI 1098R The American Superbike.com & www. 74 HERE’S GIANNI! The past is alive and well in Mr. CHECKERS: BEN SPIES’ MOTO GP DEBUT BEHIND BARS DRAWING THE LINE CODE BREAK MC MAIL 12 ME & MY BIKE FIRST RIDES 30 34 38 40 42 44 BMW S1000RR The future: available now in Acid Green. HONDA ELITE SCOOTER Go anywhere but the freeway.storemags.com . BEN SPIES BY THE NUMBERS It all adds up to #1.motorcyclistonline. APRILIA RS125 Small-bore track star. views and the latest lowdown: visit ›› www. it’s our turn!. MAT MLADIN’S YOSHIMURA SUZUKI GSX-R1000 Wringing out the champ’s last ride. 73 VINCATI Take one Vincent and one Ducati and call me in the morning. 34 30 48 54 46 SPECIAL SECTION: SUPERBIKES! 48 53 54 59 60 BEN SPIES’ STERILGARDA YAMAHA YZF-R1 Riding the world-beater. MV AGUSTA BRUTALE 990R & 1090RR A pair of polished brass knuckles from Meccanica Verghera. Morbidelli’s museum. BMW’s prototype six and a slew of new 2010 models. KAWASAKI KLX110S C’mon dad.motorcyclistonline. Seoul brother. DUCATI HYPERMOTARD 796 The most Ducati $10K can buy. 68 MC GARAGE A COMPLETE GUIDE TO LIVING WITH YOUR MOTORCYCLE 84 DOIN’ TIME 88 SMART MONEY 90 GEAR 92 MC TESTED 94 TRACK TIME 96 STREET SAVVY 97 ANSWERS 98 LAST PAGE 90 www. Italian-style. HYOSUNG 650 COMET Lighten up. LARRY PEGRAM’S DUCATI GT1000 Doin’ it in the dirt.com 5 www.

fantamag.com .storemags.com & www.www.

Michelle Sylvester Yes. it is—and yet I want more. Turns out. Almost a virgin? Yeah. well… The sum total of my experience consisted of racing short-track a couple of times and spinning a handful of laps on a mile.com .com 7 www. but also on the leathers of the numerous racers he sponsors. In theory. and the second was worthless because the track crew watered right before it. then the planets line up just right and her phone rings off the hook. I’d say “at speed.” Yes. but also my bike setup. If I’d done that first. Please. “S counter-steer into the corner and trail brake (with the rear brake only. was coming down south for the week. Better yet.storemags.” “You should have like 8. once you’re in over your head. instead of merely humbled. going racing might not have been a good idea after all. The notion of riding a 1000cc twin around the Pomona HalfMile was daunting for someone who’s almost a dirt-track virgin. unless you enter more than one class. Especially when you don’t get much practice: Two four-lap sessions is it. Run high up in the cushion and you need to turn the throttle more to tighten your line. My results suffered accordingly.com & www.” I heard one Pro say. “How much tire pressure are you running?” “Um. making a muddy mess. she’s a closet scooter aficionado by night. With sub-20-second lap times. so could transport and fettle the bike for me.). it doesn’t matter by how much. www. Should I say I got sixth and seventh. Roll off the throttle at the end of the straight (don’t snap it shut). I knew I was in deep. however. dirt-track rules vary from club to club. with so little seat time on an unfamiliar motorcycle. Not surprisingly. and wasn’t bad-looking in his day. we asked Michelle if she would attend on our behalf. etc. “Like trail riding at 100 mph. A well-heeled sort (he started a little magazine called Outside) who’s also well connected (he trains at Kenny Roberts’ ranch and is cousins with actor Kevin Costner). high-banked oval. “The workto-ride ratio is way off. he’s also a charming bloke. Who better to photograph the new BMW S1000RR superbike than the man who’s chronicled the World Superbike Championship since its very beginning? Kel Edge isn’t just a talented shooter. Conditions on Saturday were perfect for learning: smooth and consistent. he offered to let me ride one of his bikes any time.CAT TALES Brian Catterson PHOTO: Andrea Wilson Friends & Family Andrea Wilson Sometimes months go by without us calling Andrea to shoot photos. or last and second to last? The short-track races at Perris the following Friday night went even worse. The SCFTA holds open practice days on which I could have not only fine-tuned my riding technique. The good news was there were two events leading up to Pomona: a double-header round of Eddie Mulder’s West Coast Vintage Dirt Track Series at Willow Springs and the monthly Southern California Flat Track Association races at Perris. My first practice session ended when I was involved in a pileup before completing a single lap.” because he once showed up for a photo shoot with only three rolls of film. If I could find a ride for those. In practice. we did it again. A TV producer by day. But as I did more laps around Willow’s sandy. And so my borrowed Yamaha ran in 500cc Support at the vintage races and Bomber at the modern ones. I’d met Rod at Springfield last Memorial Day weekend. Like swimmers say. the track crew watered incessantly and the surface became rutted and unpredictable. the four-lap heat races were seemingly over before they started. Then roll the throttle back on and power slide through. No wonder you’re having trouble mid-corner. That’s what happened this issue as she shot the various racebikes that make up our special “Superbikes!” section. Thank goodness for digital cameras! He drew the short straw this month and had to photograph Michelle on a scooter. with their near-universal class structures. As Marty put it. CRF150R suspension and brakes. His enthusiasm for this most American form of motorsports was apparent not only in his well-prepped Honda CRF230F (which featured a “cheater” big-bore motor. 18 psi. And Rod had just the thing: a 1978 Yamaha TT500 single in a Lazer frame. But on Sunday the notorious high-desert wind picked up. when I took part in his inaugural “230 World Championship” TT. Speaking of which. Unlike motocross or roadracing. after which it seemed like an eternity until the mains. MC That’s me aboard Rod Lake’s Lazer-framed Yamaha 500 at Perris Raceway. the frame-maker himself. it’s not as easy as it sounds. dirt-track technique is simple. Poor bastard… Kel Edge IN DEEP ixty-four millimeters of offset?! You should have like 10. Marty Lewis. I’d be that much better prepared for Pomona. That time was now. I started to get the hang of it. it helps to know which class your bike is legal for before you go to sign-up. no jokes about fat chicks… Scott Darough Wee Scotty’s Indian name is “Three Rolls. I might actually have been prepared for Pomona. And so I called Rod Lake.” “Mid-corner? I’m having trouble everywhere!” When the Lloyd brothers offered me a chance to ride the Ducati dirt-tracker that Larry Pegram raced at the Springfield Mile (see page 64).fantamag.” but that wouldn’t be accurate. there is no front) until the back end starts to come around.” Michael Lloyd exclaimed as he looked at the adjustable triple clamps on my borrowed Yamaha 500 dirt-tracker. When Honda invited us to the press intro for its new Elite scooter. I was hardly competitive.motorcyclistonline.

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higher-spec MST-R) is designed for serious sport-tourers who An upright riding position. The liquid-cooled V4 will deviate from typical high-performance “We took a piece of paper and drew our ultimate dreambike—a kick-ass sportbike with a cool look and hard bags. with pushrods and two valves per cylinder. The 90-degree cylinder layout affords perfect primary balance. The company has polled hundreds of sport-touring riders to verify their likes and dislikes. the fuel-injected Motus MST-01 aims to provide strong performance across a wide rev range. “These guys want to ride long distances on a lightweight machine with great engine durability and aerodynamics.fantamag. Conventional wheels and tires (17-inch). chain-driven camshaft nestled in the valley of the Vee like an American V8.com .” protocol by utilizing a single. designed and built in Alabama.New motorcycle startup envisions a uniquely American sport-tourer WORDS: John L. useful power.-ft. modular luggage will make the Motus MST-01 a capable and comfortable sport-touring machine.” Conn says. The Motus MST-01 (to be followed by a higher-output. a powerhouse in sports car racing. pushrod. two-valve designs— which should answer any questions regarding the new engine’s performance and durability. Motus chose a six-speed manual gearbox with chain final drive. sport-oriented motorcycles. the 2011 Motus MST-01 sport-tourer could put America back on the map as a builder of high-performance. Motus—Latin for “motion”— is the brainchild of company president Lee Conn and design director Brian Case. 1650cc V4 engine. with a pleasing countenance that higher-revving fours lack.” Conn explains. The V4 motor will be mounted longitudinally in a steel-trellis frame. most importantly. and its use here—despite requiring a power-robbing bevel-drive output to turn the power sideways from the fore-aft crankshaft—injects a higher quotient of “sport” into the sport-touring equation. featuring an all-new. the duo started work on their American motorcycle concept in ’08.storemags. Conn is an entrepreneur in the healthcare field. “We took a piece of paper and drew our ultimate dreambike–a kickass sportbike with a cool look and hard bags. Michigan-based Pratt & Miller Engineering. two-position trunk is especially trick. performance and range. and used as a stressed member. Chain drive remains the accepted standard for performance bikes. and twin balance shafts quell second-order vibration. has been contracted to engineer and prototype the all-new machine. The sliding. Design benefits include compact cylinder heads. Pratt & Miller created the Le Manswinning GT1 Corvette C5-R and C6-R racers—also single-cam. 10 MOTORCYCLIST www. while Case is a product developer and designer of the Confederate Wraith. E value comfort. Friends and riding companions first and business partners second. Stein PHOTOS: Motus ngineered in Michigan.com & www. Motus sees its opportunity in the sport-touring segment because it attracts experienced riders with higher incomes. simplified maintenance and. of torque at 4500 rpm. aerodynamically enhanced bodywork and integrated. Targeting 140 horsepower at 7800 rpm and 120 lb.

Motus hopes to eventually establish dealership outlets across the country. “We have manufacturers working with us that five years ago would not have even talked to us.fantamag. but the tiny old shop on West Evans. we hope that this ambitious and worthwhile agenda will find traction. My friend and fellow mechanic. “The recession has allowed us to access resources that were otherwise inaccessible.” Conn adds. I took the job. the mid-20s. thought I should know more about the brand I was working on. Price point is expected to be somewhere in the range of a loaded BMW K1300GT—in other words. suspension (43mm inverted front and monoshock rear) and brakes (four-piston/320mm radial front and two-piston/240mm rear) are specified. The aggressive bodywork will be aerodynamically scrutinized using Pratt & Miller’s sophisticated design computers. Öhlins and Brembo.com . We left Denver on a cool morning and headed for Aspen to watch the MRA races at Woody Creek Raceway. with its cockpit designed to “95th percentile” standards.” Motus Motorcycles also has a larger and more patriotic goal: reversing the loss of American manufacturing. with a rideable prototype following as soon as mid-year. as pricing allows. got the axe late in ’09. it defined it. working myjob as a college. ‘I’ve gotta own one of these BMWs. 90-degree V4 will mount as a stressed member in a tubular-steel space frame. my wife and I own the store. where I was one of two mechanics. Now. which. “From our standpoint.com 11 he year was 1975. They were looking for a mechanic. creating and maintaining a manufacturing base in this country is essential. And remember.) and blasting across South Park side-by-side at 90 mph. It’s impossible to consider the challenge Motus faces without recalling the inglorious demise of Buell. But Motus actually sees a silver lining in the recent economic woes. The 525-pound MST-01 is expected to be similar in size to the Yamaha FZ1. My only experience with BMWs was the test rides I took after servicing them. It was right around the corner from my house—not the new. At the end of the weekend I said to myself. 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies were started during recessions. I don’t remember the exact route we took. so convinced the owner to loan us a couple of shop bikes for the weekend.095 ft.storemags. and after three months of considering it. despite the deep pockets of Harley-Davidson. but until such relationships are formalized. Bill Wood. That ride not only changed my life. buying a totaled R75/5 that I rebuilt and rode all over the West. Corvette racing powerhouse Pratt & Miller is leading the engineering effort.’ And I soon did. when I got a run in early 2010. meaning that it should comfortably fit 95 percent of the general population. all these years later.motorcyclistonline. Michelin. and the body panels will be created from fiberglass. The prototype engine is scheduled to www.” www.” Conn explains. but two parts stand out: blazing up and over Independence Pass (12. If the tallest hurdle—EPA certification—can be cleared. mechanic at BMW of Denver. With such a provocative motorcycle in the pipeline. looking for a new throttle cable. one day ending up at the door of San Jose BMW. At the time I had a CZ 400 motocrosser that I raced and an old BSA Gold Star that I putted around on the street. 2011 production motorcycles may be available as soon as late this year. I was living in Motus’ liquid-cooled. fancy place.THE BIKE THAT CHANGED MY LIFE 1975 BMW R75/5 RIDER: THEN: NOW: Chris Hodgson Mechanic and race tuner Proprietor of San Jose BMW way through “T Colorado. Kevlar or carbon-fiber. and will be sourced from top suppliers like Marchesini. the first production units will be sold and delivered through the factory in Alabama.com & www.

2010 DUCATIS

Top-of-the-line 1198R Special Edition gets unique graphics that commemorate the Ducati Corse logo change. Bare-aluminum fuel tank looks ultra-trick. power profile—or adjusted independently among eight settings. Bosch-Brembo ABS is available for an additional $1000. Ducati will also offer two $18,995 Multistrada 1200 S variations, both supplied with ABS and pushbutton, electronically adjustable Öhlins suspension in place of the base model’s Marzocchi fork and Sachs rear shock. The Sport version features plenty of carbon-fiber body parts, while the Touring edition substitutes hard saddlebags, heated handgrips and a centerstand. The S-models offer four preset “full” drive modes that tailor power profile, traction-control settings and suspension setup in concert for Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro riding conditions. Vacural-cast engine cases, a lighter and stiffer composite steel/alloy frame, an aluminum single-sided swingarm and a new, blow-molded fuel tank keep dry weight to a claimed 417 pounds, making the Multistrada 1200 the lightest adventure-tourer on the market. Designed with a more open ergonomic triangle than the previous edition, the Multistrada 1200 offers more spacious seating, a higher, wider handlebar mounted on anti-vibration isolators and 2.5 inches of vertical windscreen adjustment. It’s is an ambitious machine, and looks fully capable of providing the best adventure-tourers on the market—specifically the BMW R1200GS— with serious competition. Longer-travel Marzocchi front/Öhlins shock combination differentiates the Hypermotard SP, along with red-striped Marchesini forged wheels.

MULTI-

DIMENSIONAL
WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTOS: Ducati o much for the Strada Aperta name... Ducati’s all-new adventure-tourer retains the Multistrada title, but that’s all it has in common with the previous model. Underneath that trendy beak-and-jowl bodywork lurks a liquid-cooled, 1198cc V-twin fit with more electronic gadgetry than Noriyuki Haga’s World Superbike racer. With ride-by wire throttle, variable drive modes, traction control, electronically adjustable suspension and advanced ABS, this is the most sophisticated adventure-tourer yet. The Multistrada 1200 is powered by a redesigned version of the Testastretta Evoluzione superbike motor with a valve overlap angle of just 11 degrees, reduced

The all-new Multistrada 1200 is the most technically advanced Ducati yet

S

from 41 degrees on the superbikes. This change is said to smooth power delivery, in addition to improving fuel economy by 15 percent and lowering exhaust emissions by 65 percent. Output remains stout at a claimed 150 horsepower and 87.5 lb.-ft. of torque, while revised intake and exhaust porting, altered cam timing and a reduced compression ratio all work to boost low-rpm torque and enhance rideability. The $14,995 Multistrada 1200 base model offers three different drive modes: Sport, with aggressive power delivery; Touring, with progressive power delivery; and Urban, which reduces peak power by 30 percent. Traction control is standard equipment, settings automatically readjusted to suit each

HYPER-EVOLVED
Ducati drops a fitter, faster Hypermotard too
WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTO: Ducati he next evolution of Ducati’s twin-cylinder supermoto, fittingly named the Hypermotard 1100EVO ($11,995), sheds a whopping 15.5 pounds and gains 5 horsepower compared to the original. Nearly 12 lbs. were trimmed from the motor, thanks to new Vacural-cast cases and a lightened crank, flywheel and alternator. Extra power comes courtesy of new porting, a revised combustion chamber and a new airbox. Ducati will also offer a track-ready SP version ($14,495) with increased cornering clearance, uprated suspension, higher bars and even lower weight after the addition of forged and machined Marchesini wheels and, of course, a liberal dose of carbon-fiber.
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www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com

Reshaped, two-bolt valve covers are the only external change for the new, DOHC R1200GS. Visually, the rest of the bike remains the same. which should improve its chances of keeping the 150-horsepower Multi12 in sight. The GS’s old, single-cam Boxer engine has been replaced with the dual-overhead-cam, radialvalve powerplant from BMW’s Boxer superbike, the HP2 Sport. This increases peak power five percent (now 110 hp) and bumps the maximum engine speed up to 8,500 rpm, with an even broader spread of power across the rev range. Interestingly, the new engine also features an exhaust flapper valve for the first time— though BMW claims this isn’t to improve power delivery but, rather, to roughen up the wimpy exhaust note that has long been a complaint of Boxer buyers. The GS isn’t the only R-bike to benefit from this engine upgrade. BMW’s venerable R1200RT also receives the DOHC engine in 2010, offering the same advantages to sport-touring riders. The RT further benefits from an improved, Mk. II version of BMW’s Electronic Suspension Adjustment system, which adjusts damping, preload and now also spring rate at the touch of a button. The RT fairing and windscreen have also been reshaped to improve wind and weather protection, and a new audio system with iPod/ MP3 interface has been added.

2010 BMW R1200GS/R1200RT

TWIN-C TWIN-CAM

TOURERS upgrade. BMW’s big Boxers get a DOHC engine
WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTO: BMW

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MW’s all-conquering R1200GS adventure tourer comes gets some stiff competition this year in the form

of Ducati’s new Multistrada 1200. Though it looks unchanged at a glance, BMW’s big traillie gets a major motor upgrade for 2010,

The Concept 6’s futuristic styling is just for show, but the six-cylinder engine will see production soon. applications. Packaging six cylinders between two wheels has proven problematic, but BMW addresses these concerns by incorporating the same compact construction methods as its recent K-series fours. The cylinder block is tilted forward 55 degrees, lowering the center of gravity and making room for electrical components behind that crankshaft, instead of at the ends. A small-bore/long-stroke configuration keeps cylinder gaps to a minimum, resulting in a power train only slightly wider than a conventional large-displacement four, BMW says. Displacement will be no less than 1600cc, and torque output will approach 100 lb.-ft. at just 2000 rpm. Future-café styling is not production-intent, but chosen to show off the new engine and chassis to maximum effect. Exploiting the café racer’s traditional long-front/short-tail silhouette, carbon-fiber and aluminum body panels frame the motor and are accented with gill-like intake ducts that visually reference the triple-outlet side pipes. The chassis recalls the existing K1300 with near-horizontal main spars connecting the Duolever front and Paralever rear suspensions. All this makes us excited about the new touring bike, although the Concept 6 definitely leaves us dreaming of a torqued-up naked bike, too.
www.motorcyclistonline.com 13

BMW CONCEPT 6

SIX

APPEAL
Outrageous Milan Show bike previews BMW’s forthcoming luxury tourer
WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTO: BMW

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t the 2008 Intermot Expo in Cologne, Germany, BMW General Manager Hendrik von Kuenheim told us the

company’s touring platform would be overhauled after the S1000RR superbike rollout was complete. He said to expect an all-new touring machine with “many cylinders, huge torque and a low seat.” Though the touring capability of the Concept 6 shown here won’t extend far beyond the local coffeehouse, its production-ready inline-six and chassis will almost certainly form the basis of a new luxury-touring bike to be introduced next year. Straight sixes have long powered BMW’s high-end automobiles, and the configuration’s superior power and unmatched smoothness are perfect for long-distance touring

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2010 KTM RC8R

An orange powder-coated frame plus various blacked-out components look racy. cylinders that push up against World Superbike regulations, and house aluminum slugs that boost compression to 13.5:1. Revised porting and more aggressive cams (with adjustable sprockets for race tuning) conspire to bump output to a claimed 170 horsepower with 90.7 lb.-ft. of pavement-rippling torque. If that’s not enough juice for power-hungry riders, KTM’s Club Racer Kit includes an Akrapovic exhaust and head gaskets that supposedly add another 10 ponies to the bottom line. The R-model uses the same lightweight steel-trellis frame as the RC8, but with new machined triple clamps with less offset designed to keep the bike stable at mach speed. The WP suspension components get a slick TiAIN coating as well as revamped spring rates and damping directly aimed at railing on the racetrack. Forged-aluminum Marchesini wheels are over 2 pounds lighter than the RC8’s, and come shod with Pirelli Supercorsa SP buns. Endowed with this level of components and tuned to the moon, the RC8R takes the marque’s “Ready to Race” slogan to a new level. Speaking of which, industry insiders say we should see the RC8R on the WSBK grid in 2012.

V-TWIN

TAKEOVER The Austrian superbike comes stateside
WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTOS: KTM n 2009, KTM introduced its ultra-racy RC8R to the European market—and kept it there. But for 2010 the up-spec RC8R is coming stateside, and it’s poised to give the

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Italian V-twins and Japanese liter-bikes a run for their money. The R is a totally different beast compared to its base-model brethren. The 1195cc, 75-degree V-twin has bigger Nikasil-plated

2010 MV AGUSTA F4

NEW

BLOOD The World’s Most Beautiful
Motorcycle finally gets a facelift
WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTOS: MV Agusta
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welve years is an eon in sportbike time, when it’s not unusual for manufacturers to completely overhaul their performance machinery every two to three years. Even the most beautiful motorcycle in the world—as many regard the MV Agusta F4—begins to look stale after a decade-plus. MV has finally wised up to this reality, and given the iconic F4 superbike the first complete overhaul since its 1998 debut. It’s a conservative update, barely straying from the original style or specifications that now-retired design legend Massimo Tamburini indelibly imparted on the original. Most will

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agree that’s a good thing. Styling differences are especially subtle, and more related to scale than shape. The upper fairing is lower, slimmer and fitted with a smaller headlamp, resulting in the smallest frontal area of any inline-four sportbike, the company says. The fuel tank is shorter both in terms of length and height, to give the rider more room, and a slimmer tailsection shows more of the quad-tipped exhaust, now with square outlets. Fairing vents are larger, and provide a better view of the red-painted valve cover that conceals the 998cc four’s radial-arranged valvetrain. MV’s pioneering Torque Shift System variable-length intake tract remains intact, though the EFI system is all-new, built around dual injector-equipped, 49mm throttle bodies. An upgraded Magneti Marelli 7 SM ECU manages two-mode engine mapping (choose between sport or rain settings), as well as the MK II traction control system, offering eight levels of sensitivity. Like the styling and specs, power and weight figures remain in the same neighborhood as before, with 186 (claimed) horsepower arriving at 12,900 rpm, and a dry weight of 424 pounds. As MV Agusta boss Claudio Castiglioni said at the new model’s Milan Show introduction, “It’s hard to improve on perfection”—even when you take 12 years to do the job.”

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guzzisti. The white V12 Strada is the most conventional of the lot. Typical of Terblanche’s genre-bending designs—he created both the Multistrada and Hypermotard for Ducati—these new Guzzis mash-up streetfighter. an extra-long banana saddle. and high-rise suspension. and all three feature square mufflers aft of the oil sump. or whether Piaggio’s ongoing attempts to revitalize the Guzzi brand will position it for future success. while the matte green-and-silver V12 X tends toward motard styling with its beak-like nose and lack of any discernable tail. nickel-chromium “superalloy” more commonly found on jet turbines or Formula 1 racers. M The X-model gets supermoto-inspired styling. with rear-facing cameras on each cylinder head. 1200cc. a space-saving design that allows a shorter wheelbase. The three concepts share the same chassis. The V12 LM initials harken back to the famed Lemans sportbikes of the seventies and eighties—some of the finest machines Guzzi ever produced. along with these new models. made no remarks with regard to any imminent plans. it) to highlight Piaggio’s supposed marginalization of the Guzzi brand drew over 1500 Guzzisti to the factory gates at Mandello Del Lario.com . 8-valve engine. Let’s hope this optimism is well founded. complete with handguards. may signal a new direction for the beloved Mandello manufacturer.com & www. The recent departure of Piaggio Chief Operating Officer Deniele Bandiera. This new frame design gracefully envelopes the jutting cylinder heads of the recently updated. 88-year-old Italian motorcycle manufacturer and former Ducati design chief. So far Piaggio’s maneuvering of Moto Guzzi has been less than well received by Guzzi fans. these heat sinks extract vapor from boiling liquid to draw heat away from the exhaust valve and improve cooling. These prototypes—the V12 LM. The red V12 LM invokes the classic sporting archetype of the Guzzi Lemans. a design similar to Giuseppe Ghezzi’s “Quat D” exhaust. A September 2009 protest organized by the Italian Guzzi group Anima Guzzi (www.›› WILD FILE 2010 MOTO GUZZI CONCEPTS VISIONARY TWELVESthis trio of wild Guzzi concepts Pierre Terblanche resurfaces with WORDS: Ed Milich PHOTOS: Moto Guzzi oto Guzzi revealed a trifecta of concept vehicles at the 2009 EICMA expo in Milan. MC www. Any one of these three machines could conceivably be put into production with relatively few changes.fantamag. Exhausts on all three are fabricated from Inconel. though parent company Piaggio The Strada provides a good view of the innovative LED-type lighting and rear-view video system. motard and cruiser styling elements and design cues. Pierre Terblanche. with a classic. Air/ oil cooling is enhanced by the unique finned cooling elements flanking the steering head. More than just cosmetic touches. an exotic.com 15 www. vertically oriented rear shock. cast aluminum “semi-monocoque” frame mated to some variation of Guzzi’s unique CARC (anti-reactive) single-sided shaft-drive swingarm.motorcyclistonline. It remains to be seen whether Terblanche’s design talent can create some muchneeded excitement for Moto Guzzi. the LM gets a novel rear suspension treatment with the rear shock mounted at a nearly horizontal angle within the suspension linkage. which consists of an organically shaped. V12 Strada and V12 X—are the first fruit of the collaboration between the iconic. The Strada and X both utilize a traditional. upright architecture that will appeal to many of Guzzi’s traditional fans.storemags.

storemags.www.com & www.fantamag.com .

com & www.www.fantamag.storemags.com .

18 MOTORCYCLIST www.storemags.fantamag.com .com & www.

ahead of Italian Andrea Dovizioso’s Repsol Honda.” Edwards said.motorcyclistonline.” Spies’ best 1:33. just over a second behind the five fastest bikes. “Anything he wants me to buy him. “For the first day. Running quick enough to match his 2010 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Colin Edwards’ 1:34 pace up in fourth spot. Spain. Spies grabbed seventh from Dovizioso with five laps to go and held on to the finish. then eighth at Laguna Seca and sixth at Indianapolis in wild-card rides on the Rizla Suzuki. Spies got a solid start.storemags. “I gave Ben a big hug after the race.” Spies said. Just five hours after clapping eyes on his 240-plus horsepower. however. That was the 25-year-old Texan’s first and only appearance of the year. After passing Mika Kallio to crack the top 10. MC www. By lap 11.com 19 www.” Next season won’t be easy. Ben Spies shows he’s a force to be reckoned with en Spies ended the 2009 MotoGP season in 20th place. before the decision was made to promote him to MotoGP—and demote James Toseland. Bumping Dovizioso back to eighth gave Edwards fifth for the season.fantamag. Spies ended Saturday practice 5 seconds quicker than he started. Spies was no MotoGP virgin. he can have it. so to be only a second off the mix is pretty good. Spies got back around. The three-time AMA champ had already re-signed with Yamaha to return to the SBK wars in 2010. but starting out with a guy like Edwards in your corner can’t hurt. It was a solid performance from the most What do you do for an encore after winning the 2009 World Superbike Championship? How about throwing a leg over your 2010 MotoGP bike and coming home seventh? promising American MotoGP rookie since a certain kid from Kentucky. running ninth until Marco Melandri dropped him to 10th near the end of lap one. and only 20 laps on the bike.com . with a twist. two weeks after inking the 2009 World Superbike Championship in Portugal. He’d finished 14th in the ’08 British GP.WORDS: Tim Carrithers PHOTOS: Gold & Goose STORM WARNING In his Yamaha MotoGP debut.539-second qualifying lap made him ninth-quickest. B 326-pound YZR-M1. Impressed yet? Flying Sterilgarda Yamaha colors for one last time in front of 94. I’m happy. filling in for an injured Loris Capirossi. “It’s the first time I’ve set foot on a Yamaha. which might be disappointing except for the fact that he earned those nine points by finishing seventh in the final round at Valencia.com & www. right behind Sete Gibernau.177 rabid Spanish spectators. he took ninth from Alex De Angelis one lap later.

ATGATT ambassadors of the sport. wide.” And who are Us? We’re the good guys: conscientious.” Nobody knows who said that. or what 20 MOTORCYCLIST the tattooed arms. Sonny Barger may (or may not) have been the first guy to get “1%er” inked onto his pelt. He lost his bike and license for that.com .Jack Lewis PHOTO: Kevin Wing Behind Bars THE NIEMOLLER PRINCIPLE “N inety-nine percent of motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens. loose-meat pillion bitch and cherry-bomb drag pipes who won’t so much as nod at our cheerful wave from our kickass Hyperbusa? When he gets lit up by the law. firmly wrapped in fail-safe technology. Maybe it’s apocryphal. we snicker up our armored sleeve as we elegantly zip by. He makes us all look bad. We meet the nicest people on our Hondas. Our tire pressures are perfect. We put our best wheel forward. Thompson branded “The Menace. um … “Us. well-lit. That arrogant patch-holder with What did happen as a matter of record and history is that “One Percenter” became a badge of honor for “outlaw” clubs.” The same flocking instinct requires The Menace to provide for their common defense against. What’s 122 mph on a modern sportbike—top of third gear? On a long. its outlaw brand celebrated with delicious terror in a thousand pulp mags and a handful of Roger Corman B-flicks. if it makes anyone feel better. untrafficked expressway at 0300: no one to hurt but himself. unless a deer wandered out. Herd nature drives us together against common threats.storemags. his harshest judgments came from fellow riders. Still think they’re not coming for you? A few months back. Wearing armored clothes and full-face helmets. When a Suzuki rider recently got popped clocking 122 mph on I-205 South in the small hours of the night.fantamag. and the last one percent are nothing more than outlaws. but surely he wasn’t the last. straight. The intertubes lit up with digital pitchforks and torches: He makes us all look bad! That heinous crime allegedly occurred at three in the morning. herding a www. We sneer at the unwashed and the ign’ant. a couple on a Gold Wing hit a mule deer on I-5. H. Better him than me. backing up traffic for miles.com & www.S.

When they came for the squids. late-model touring rig along the slab at the speed limit. When they came for the onepercenters. MC www. exactly?). I hope that kid lives to be a cranky old fart. “That’s crazy!” Yeah. get hassled by the same LEOs and get frozen by the same sleet. but we riders should be better than that.motorcyclistonline. e pluribus unum goes straight into the toilet. I laughed at those brain-dead punks. 4:9. e pluribus unum goes straight into the toilet. he stood on the seat so he could see over the flying front wheel. If we ostracize every rider who doesn’t meet our personal purity test.storemags.PHOTOS: Gene Kirkland “If we ostracize every rider who doesn’t meet our personal purity test. could you afford PHOTO: Rafael Tassitano a newish sportbike. how dare they hold up everyone’s commute for a Life Flight… and was the deer okay? Even Wing Dingers make us look bad! Riding a bike brands you as the minority. Think about this the next time you blare on about how young stuntahs ought to take their tricks to the track (and what track would that be. Asphalt burns us all the same shade of red. I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t a one-percenter (besides.fantamag. It was several years ago when Ex2 and I were passed on the right by Little Joey Rocket in the diamond lane of westbound SR 520. and discrimination against minorities is automatic. he set it down softly. they were nearly killed by a woods rat.” he replied. “My God. signaled and merged seamlessly into the flow of traffic. you’re a dick.” You grown-ups are making too much noise! Go play outside for awhile. NIV) If you refuse to wave to scooterists or three-patch bikers or squids or whomever.” I hope someday he stops to help a brother on a busted old Harley. It was beautiful. full leathers and track-day fees? Or did you get your kicks where you could? Be honest.” shop-tuned. I hope he aces an expert riding course and raises a litter of bright.” said Ex2. colors are for clowns). daring kids who understand that “outlaw” never was a synonym for “criminal. Doing about 80. When you were a kid.com . okay: crazy beautiful. “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know. querulously wheezing on about “kids today.com 21 www. I … hey! Wait a minute! It wasn’t me making us look bad! Then the Lord said to Cain. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen.com & www. slowed. It is instinctive. They face the same blind cagers. As the lane ended and the floating bridge began. Public comment consensus was that they deserved it for riding that damned donorcycle in the first place. When they came for the sport-tourers.

The Aprilia is the first V4 in SBK since the Honda RC-30s of the late ’80s. meaning that performance went off late in the race. spoke about the company’s plans for its new S1000RR in the World Superbike Championship: “We are taking the battle to their battlefield. The performance may be radical. but Troy Corser led races and finished 13th in the series. and it has perhaps the most sophisticated electronic aids to performance of any motorcycle. and he followed with seven more podiums topped with a win at Brno. in 22 MOTORCYCLIST www. Now that the 2009 World Superbike season has concluded. Hendrik von Kuenheim. but rather featured a crossplane crankshaft. BMW has taken a deeply conservative approach. to play by their rules.” that almost every detail of the S1000RR’s architecture and mechanical elements follows precedents set by the Japanese manufacturers. is that while they struggled to get up to speed with the S1000RR. a top-10 finish would have been a safe bet. But there was one detail that must have frustrated the team and caused them to question their conservative The bike that BMW built as the basis of its World Superbike effort is a combination of radical ends and conservative means. What else is new? MC E arly last year. But how radical is the engineering? Is the designa collection of unexpected. but the team often had to use softer tires to get those times. Had the S1000RR performed all season as it did in the final third. This year we hope to develop the bike and finish in the top 10. in some ways a radical departure from the norm. and in many ways it’s radical relative to the conservative BMW. the details are familiar to anyone who’s studied the Big Four’s inline-fours. The fact that this radical performance comes from a company known for its conservatism becomes a clear statement that the company intends to change its image. has the safe approach proven to be the best course? How has this Conservative Radical performed? I’d rate BMW’s debut SBK season a success. president of BMW Motorrad. and it’s only in comparison to the remarkable Aprilia effort that the question arises: Was BMW perhaps too conservative in its approach? The ’09 season saw another threat to BMW’s strategy in that the Yamaha that won the championship wasn’t a conventional inline-four. This is a radical change for BMW. This is not to say that the S1000RR is a “copy” of any other bike. but the ’09 season saw not only BMW’s entry but also Aprilia’s new RSV4. Its 65-degree V-angle makes for a very compact engine. and the culture shift at BMW may be radical. Top speed and individual lap times were very competitive. This puts its performance potential at the radical end of the spectrum. the Aprilia’s record was stunning. What must have shocked the BMW team. A conservative approach is a safe approach.DRAWING THE LINE THE James Parker P CONSERVATIVE RADICAL PHO BMW PHOTO: BMW’s new S1000RR superbike sets a new standard for electronic aids. with Biaggi failing to finish only once during the entire season. For a completely new bike. Placing fourth overall for the season. Most seasons of World Superbike don’t feature the introduction of a new bike by a new entrant.storemags. BMW’s debut season went very much according to its conservative plan. with Ruben Xaus not far behind in 17th. the RSV4 rocketed to an astounding season. with both Race ABS and traction control. BMW didn’t finish in the top 10 as hoped.fantamag. The S1000RR is claimed to have the most power and the lightest weight in its class. however. This is an intensely competitive series. Aprilia beat every team except the Yamaha of Ben Spies and the Ducatis of Noriyuki Haga and Michele Fabrizio. From the stacked transmission shafts to the underengine muffler box to the twinspar frame structure to the central ram-air duct. and the BMW engineers took what they hoped would be a safe and sure way to put together a competitive superbike. approach. and it was especially so this year.com . original work? No. BMW’s conservative approach thus resulted in a solid development season that will surely serve as a strong basis for this year’s effort.com & www. Aprilia’s Max Biaggi was already on the podium with two thirds at the second event at Qatar. but rather that BMW looked to the Japanese machines as models of what a superbike should be. The conservatives are under attack from the radicals. A best finish of fifth came at the Czech Republic. and the bike looks more like a MotoGP weapon than a Superbike.

Motorcycle and ATV coverages are underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company.com . Inc. • GEICO Indemnity Co.fantamag. GEICO: Washington. • GEICO Casualty Co.Some discounts. coverages. © 2010 GEICO www. • GEICO General Insurance Co. Government Employees Insurance Co.com & www.storemags. DC 20076. payment plans. These companies are subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and features are not available in all states or in all GEICO companies. Boat and PWC coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency.

A scant 23 lbs. Some readers took that to mean “liter-bikes are safer.3 lbs. Between your legs. Of course. there is no wait time for power. It is impossible not to be impressed with these phenomenal motorcycles. For me. or their potential speed. and now BMW has upped the ante with “Race ABS. Suzuki GSX-R1000 and Yamaha YZF-R1 with the boys here at the mag.fantamag. high-tech BMW S1000RR. Power is rising. and that is a very nice bike to ride. my theory has been the opposite: that riders tend to be intimidated by gobs of power and respect the bike. all bring something to the table and none can 24 MOTORCYCLIST I be ruled out. but for 2010 students will get to ride the new.com & www. Earlier this year. but they are out there and the S1000RR is one of them. students will ride the new BMW S1000RR.” So will everyone else. if I had been blindfolded and put on the S1000RR. but so is our control over it. Welcome to it.8 on the R6. Not to shamelessly promote our new bikes. As time goes by. for it to disappear as an object and carry out my wishes? It’s a lot to ask of a bike not built just for me. I’ll have the grandest liter-bike vs. This year at the California Superbike School. That is the future. but honestly.” which limits the engine output and power characteristics to a very mildmannered machine. While the world around us spouts off about speed being dangerous. But theories are only as good as they hold up in reality. Pulling one of them off the sidestand isn’t substantially different than a 600 of not so long ago. Do you see what is becoming available to every street rider now? You can set the dashboard computer to have your bike behave the way you feel. MC ’m going to get my wish. which is: How many corners does it take for the bike to become less important than the riding. The question of what happens when you roll on the throttle shouldn’t need to be asked. big bikes don’t feel that big anymore. that makes them www. One answer is 1000s come away from a stoplight with a feather touch of the throttle. Honda introduced ABS to its CBRs. wet with 193 bhp. 750 or 1000. Then. more manageable than 600s.” which I didn’t say. All have proven themselves in competition. Each has a definite character. I rode the new Ducati 1198. It passed my personal test. So statistically speaking. We can put the traction control in “rain mode. heavier but 2. or to comply with the conditions. as now. per bhp compared to 3. it’s all about training riders in their cornering skills. for it to feel like an extension of me. 600 experiment ever done on earth under “laboratory” (the tracks we run across America) conditions. Having bikes that meet those criteria has spiked my excitement levels. is an easily identifiable cause of crashes. I would not have been able to tell right away if it were a 600. each has stunning power and each has its own feel and handling. you might recall my column about 1000cc bikes being statistically no more dangerous than 600s. For the faint of heart. and now I’ve ridden the BMW S1000RR we’ll use at the schools.CODE BREAK Keith Code PHOTO: BMW THE FUTURE IS NOW For nearly 30 years the California Superbike School has employed Kawasaki 550s-600s. there is an immediate lack of intimidation—with the BMW. The handling is that good and that neutral. With fewer gear changes and far more linear power. but go ahead.com . To me. the answer is in the highly sophisticated electronics these bikes have. What I said was. Take a Yamaha YZF-R6 weighing in at 417 pounds wet with 109 horsepower and compare the S1000RR at 450 lbs. there is no hard evidence that liter-bike horsepower. that’s all aside from the massive adrenalin wow factor that our students will experience on the straights.storemags. more a sense of security— because the weight and feel of liter-bikes is no longer proportionate to power. I would compare it to a Honda CBR600RR.

com & www.com .fantamag.storemags.www.

000-plus miles and I’m sorry. is the cutest girl I have ever seen! You should include her more often. this meant I changed my mind and did not write a ticket as I had intended. and keep the interesting issues coming! Mitchell Lang Wheaton. the amazing curves of the bodywork. —Ed. good-natured constable like him whose good mood is soured by a squid with no plate who takes a little too long to pull over. What a sweetheart! Dave Fagar Royal Oak. too! Gary Balduzzi Valley Forge..com & www.” The man tried to get to Mitchell and Mitchell let him get away with it.COM CONTEMPT OF COP As a retired police officer (37 years of service. Mitchell says violators should treat officers the way they themselves would like to be treated. Louis.” Officer Mitchell allowed this violator to take the lead in controlling the traffic stop. PA Just thought you should know that Genna.fantamag. Mitchell says he “decided to give him a ticket” after the violator “lit up a smoke and began to whine more. To be effective at traffic enforcement.” He says he used a “conservative and borderline- 26 PHOTOS: Adam “Hollywood” Campbell MOTORCYCLIST www. not on wheels. CO I’ve been a biker for 35-plus years and 250.S. I have collected my share of tickets and not a single one of them had anything to do with me being a danger to anyone around me. I learned early in my career that an officer must control the scene and circumstances during encounters with citizens. GA What can we say? That’s how we roll here in Hollyweird. Not really. loved the hot girls. loved it all! Now cancel my subscription. I am. “a little upset.MCMail NAUGHTY & NICE I loved your December “Naughty or Nice” issue—loved the exotic machinery. Faster than those stupid white signs? Sure. the wonderful headlights . the “nice” elf. MI Thanks for the love in the December issue. The man was pushing buttons. there may be times when an officer gleans information during the encounter that might influence him to amend that decision. MO I wholeheartedly agree with the theme of Mike Mitchell’s “Asking for It” article on respecting law-enforcement officers. but I’m not buying it anymore. Kurt D. 90 percent of it on the street) and avid rider (’02 H-D FLHRCI). Officer Mitchell. an officer should decide his intended enforcement action before he makes the stop. IL I have to write in about the “Naughty or Nice” spread. and the motorcycles were pretty cool. Tim Akey St. P . CA The brand-new models on your December issue are the meanest. Smith Via E-mail Regarding Officer Mitchell’s soapbox rant: For every sweet. I grimaced as I read Mike Mitchell’s “Asking For It” piece (Street Savvy.—I want Mixi for Christmas! John Paolo Canton Public Relations Coordinator Ducati North America Cupertino. Certainly. the violator’s most serious offense was “Contempt of Cop. there’s also a jerk with a badge who will “throw the book at you. I agree.. toughest.com . but that advice goes both ways. Matthew Miller Dahlonega. loved the raunchy cover. the light went to a four- GOT A QUESTION OR COMMENT FOR THE MOTORCYCLIST STAFF? E-MAIL US AT MCMAIL@SORC. but I just wanted to prepare you for the likely backlash that’s heading your way after a ballsy cover shot like that. and Mitchell responded. Sean Mitchell Colorado Springs. NAUGHTY & NICE.storemags. They may have been more suitable for your October cover. scariestlooking that have ever graced your cover. In this case. I loved it—the awesome suspension systems. December). of course. Not too long ago I was timing lights in San Francisco. CONTEMPT OF COPS. fully insured and registered. and as I approached a busy intersection.” I read that to mean he became patently condescending. CHORD DIGRESSIONS & MORE friendly tone.” even if you are respectful. But in my experience. But not as fast as the rat van that was passing me the last time I got pulled over. F’em. referring to the models on heels. Officer Mitchell began to lose control of this situation when he became.

VA I have been reading your mag for a while now and have always enjoyed the content. To my surprise. Should have sent that one to Guitar World. has way-tricker components and is ready to race right off the showroom floor. perhaps if we heard from someone at that company once in a while. and it’s half the price of that $20K “Slowzuki!” My Husky is a real naughty street-legal ride. he covers the new Yamaha YZ450F and its reversed engine layout. They look almost straight down at the track. WA Lovely guitar story but. They’ll hook you up with that new Streetfighter you’ve been craving. Aaron Russell Foley.” ATK has been building the 450 MX. didn’t you?” I nodded yes. I live in the Chicago/Milwaukee metropolitan area and you can’t even buy a Ducati anywhere for 100 miles in any direction. XC. Your article on the Bayliss Edition 1098R states that it’s the first road-going Ducati with twin injectors. bikes and boxes. So please give credit where credit is due and at least mention ATK in the future when talking about U.—Ed. My “lowly” 2000 996 Biposto has twin fuel injectors per cylinder.storemags. I read on hoping it would turn into a road story. puts out more power.way stop for pedestrians. This month has been the exception. Maybe he could explain this new technique? Karl Rowlands Tokyo. Jack. Or should I say. TX DISSENTING OPINIONS While reading Keith Code’s “Time. NC CHORD DIGRESSIONS It was interesting to read Jack Lewis’ column (Behind Bars. I just might have to revisit my stack of back issues and try a little harder. MD NOT-SO-SUPERMOTO I was enjoying the “12 Bikes of XXXmas” article. just 40 miles from your home in Twin Lakes. Ron Wen Raleigh. specifically Valentino Rossi. That is. for an article on this rainy day that took me back to see my father Bob. motorcycle manufacturers.com 27 www. December) about his old BMW and his Silvertone guitar. no? As for ATK. DUCATI. I just threw my leg over to “try it on” and was hooked. First you give credit to Suzuki for being the first company to bring EFI to production dirtbikes (the E440 did it first) and now you give credit to Yamaha for “taking up a technology that was essentially abandoned several years ago. Enduro. George Perkins McAllen.” Thanks. and contradicts KC’s column. I continued my career as a Navy guitarist and needed a second vehicle. it might be higher on our radar. look in a turn. I took the required riders class on base and truly discovered the joy of riding. “You’re not going to do that again.com . DUCATI All you ever talk about is Ducati. Talk about bad timing! The cop just looked at me and asked. Dirt Track. NJ “Wake up and smell the husky”? Sounds like you’ve never been the lead dog…—Ed. but as a fellow motorcyclist. My only connection with bikes is my subscription to Motorcyclist and the occasional stop at the local bike dealers to “try one on. It wasn’t for lack of trying. Space and Speed” column (Code Break.—Ed. I could not help but think of where some riders. he understood that mistakes happen.—Ed. After an overseas military tour. Michael Durig Chesapeake. but their eyes are assuredly looking through the corner.motorcyclistonline. I’ve beaten the snot out of it. Ducati. He gets one thing right at the beginning of the article when he mentions the Cannondale E440. enjoying it as much the second go-through as the first. WI You’re obviously unaware of Chicago Cycle in Lincolnwood. Krepotkin Twin Lakes. and then I got to the two supermotos and had to laugh. I had discovered the HOV lane and how bikes were legal. raced it several times and have ridden it to work for more than two years without any trouble. It runs much better with an aftermarket chip and conversion to a single injector. December). I didn’t get my first bike until ’96. DUCATI. So a big thank-you to law officers like Mike Mitchell who try to deal with fellow riders with some understanding! A little respect goes a long way. My dad started me on Gibson guitars (Dad is gone. He waved me through to a huge sigh of relief. it would still be sold under that name. but their problems had more to do with money and markets than with their innovative architecture. I know I had done wrong and was nailed. Quite by accident. and 450 MX and VR ATVs for years. but I still have the guitar) and I have pretty much owned all the top models. except for Jack Lewis. It’s lighter.com & www. a good 10 feet past the stop line. I slammed on my brakes but slid through. AL If the Cannondale were truly successful.S. I acquired a ’92 Honda Nighthawk. Super Motard. Wake up and smell the Husky! John Faison Whiting.” Excuse me? The 450cc family of ATK dirtbikes. Japan Rossi et al might appear to be looking straight down at the track. To my left was a motorcycle cop staring me down. The concept of the reversed cylinder head languished. My Husqvarna SMR510 would smoke both of those bikes. I typically could get through. “You made a mistake. I am a guitar teacher and was reliving my history with guitars and motorcycles. December). In James Parker’s “Innovation. has been around for the last 10 years. either. are you?” Another nod. about a paragraph before I gave up. I have made a career picking the guitar. Richard Meyer Bellevue. “Neither was ultimately successful. the successors of the E440. which goes against everything I’ve ever learned. I finished reading his words and actually went back and read them again. www. have some really nice gear and am now showing youngsters how to play. Not so. seeing the old BMW. oh. but then states.fantamag. My bike riding started about the same time with a Honda 70. Thanks and keep the Ducati articles coming! Lowell Martin Poolesville. had when it left the factory. Ducati. Take 2” column (Drawing the Line.

1974 BMW R90S
NAME: Fernando Costa AGE: 62 HOME: São Paulo, Brazil rmaceutical executive OCCUPATION: Retired pha ael Tassitano PHOTO: Raf

n’t really o tell you the truth, I was motorcycles when I interested in I was about was growing up. When r, my brother’s friend 19 years old, howeve se and asked if got a flat tire by our hou 67 BMW R60 at our he could keep his 19 e days, and every place. It sat there for thre bike. To this day, I night I would sit on the it felt like with its remember exactly what king out. Soon after I two big cylinders stic , a 1968 Gilera 175, got my first motorcycle t BMW. but I never forgot tha rs I owned a “Over the following yea but when BMW introcouple of Yamahas, 0S in ’74, I found duced the legendary R9 local dealership in myself standing in the ng coaxed to ‘take downtown São Paulo bei Edgard Soares. I told a little ride’ by owner money to put gas him, ‘I don’t even have ard was persistent: He in the bike.’ But Edg had to buy it, just told me, ‘I didn’t say you you like it.’ Well, I did take a ride to see if n sold everything I take that ride, and soo torcycle, a camera… I had: my car, my mo bought that R90! got some financing and n’t only get a new “On that day I did lifelong friend in motorcycle, but also a Basconcellos, the form of Daniel technician. the dealership’s ser vice own shop, and Daniel now owns his s all the 35 years later still doe maintenance restoration, repair and es. on my bik I never “Even with the R90S,

“T

R60 that started it did forget about that ’67 g r spending 12 years livin all. So in ’88, afte zil and found to Bra overseas, I came back hip that sold me one at the same dealers also acquired 0S. Since then I have the R9 l ’52 R25/2, which Danie a ’39 R61 and a . Admittedly, uilding has almost finished reb in a countr y like working on these bikes that many isn’t easy. There aren’t Brazil ources aren’t like what around and the res . The Internet has you have in the States ore, ts so much easier. Bef made finding par nd out about . I fou it was all word of mouth rmany and everyMartin Kornhaus in Ge fax. Now, I get all thing would be done via online from shops in the my original par ts en original par ts are U.S. and Germany. Wh in l hand-fabricates them unavailable, Danie his machine shop. ich now sits in my “Except for the R61, wh all of these bikes on living room, I still ride k on The best trip I ever too a regular basis. miles to Buenos my R90S was 1000 I know for a Aires…back in 1976! ld make it around fact that bike cou Those bikes the world, even today. are bulletproof. of “I have a passion for all torcycles, but it’s these mo e: not hard to pick a favorit . It was the first the R90S BMW I ever had from zero mileage. It’s my love.” MC

28

MOTORCYCLIST

www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com

www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com

WORDS: Brian Catterson PHOTOS: Kel Edge/BMW

Germany’s first true superbike changes everything

They say: “A new benchmark in terms of riding dynamics, safety and innovation. We say: “You’ll get no argument here.”
wish I had a photo of it, or better yet a video. And I really wish I’d done it on purpose, rather than by accident. But to be honest, I was just along for the ride. Approaching the blind double-right before the stunning Portimao, Portugal, circuit’s steepest downhill, I passed three slower riders and then realized I was in way … too … hot. Snatching at the brake lever and banging a quick downshift, I felt the BMW S1000RR’s rear end slew sideways—and just stay there, with no chattering, hopping or high-revving histrionics. Spying the apex, I pointed the bike in that general direction, let off the brakes, gave it a touch of gas and disappeared over the brow of the hill, leaving my fellow test riders’ mouths gaping. The fact that I was able to recover from such a profound error in judgment speaks volumes for Germany’s first true superbike. Because it was the bike’s standard slipper clutch and optional Race ABS that not only saved my bacon, but made me look good. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg; the S1000RR is also available with Dynamic Traction Control. Honda offers ABS on its CBRs,
30 MOTORCYCLIST

I

and Ducati has TC on its 1098R and 1198S, but only BMW offers both—not to mention a ride-by-wire throttle, a quick-shifter and variable drive modes. To say the S1000RR has been long awaited is an understatement of epic proportions. It seemed like an eternity between April ’08, when BMW Motorrad President Hendrik von Kuenheim announced plans to build the bike, and our first ride in November ’09. But really, BMW fans have been waiting for this bike since Reg Pridmore won the inaugural AMA Superbike Championship on an R90S way back in 1976. The S1000RR also marks a major change in BMW’s corporate philosophy. While the Bavarian Motor Works has always offered sporty cars, its bikes have been less so, aimed predominantly at tourers. The secondgeneration K-bikes launched in ’05 were a bold step, but they were still big and heavy, and hardly suitable for racing. This S1000RR, however, is a true superbike.

A clean-sheet design (see the “First Look” in our September ’09 issue for technical details), the S1000RR was four years in the making, and contested the full 2009 World Superbike Championship before production models were ever built. Race results were generally lackluster, but the team made progress and learned a lot, and should return much stronger this coming season. More importantly, the lessons learned were funneled back to Munich and incorporated in the production bikes. To test the motorcycle that BMW Motorrad USA VP Pieter de Waal called “the most important model ever,” the world’s press was invited to the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. Built in 2008 at a cost of $250 million, the undulating 2.9-mile circuit features every manner of turn, both slow and fast, making it the perfect test track. The fact that

www.storemags.com & www.fantamag.com

000-rpm redline. Ducati introduced its 1198S at the same track one year earlier set the stage for some seat-of-the-pants benchmarking. I found the seating position to be sportbike-conventional. which costs an additional $750. and very accommodating for my 6’1” frame. Helping to illustrate how aggressively BMW is looking to change its image. Slick. Button on right handlebar lets you select which of the four drive modes you desire. Braking performance varies according to the selected drive mode. I noted how easily the 422-pound (dry) machine changed direction.fantamag.” Throwing a leg over the S1000RR on pit lane. I promptly selected www. shift light and digital display with speed. BMW’s designers said they aimed for the 95th percentile. Once Ralf waved me by.730. aimed predominantly at tourers. all 40 testbikes at the press intro were Acid Green. “While the Bavarian Motor Works has always offered sporty cars.storemags. but also for re-learning a challenging circuit. Most of those on hand preferred the black or silver options. A maze of hoses connects the front and rear brake calipers to the underseat ABS pressure modulator.Rider’s-eye view shows analog tach with 14. While I was cruising around. Race ABS adds $1000. Race or. Sport. our testbikes were fully equipped. the options add up fast. making it fitting not only for slippery and wet conditions. The seating position felt just as good in motion. So a fully equipped machine costs $15. It’s an easy machine to move around on. For the first of our four sessions.com 31 www. without any gas tank flares. and especially the red/white/blue Motorsports motif. meaning the bike should fit all but 5 percent of riders. This reduces peak power (to 150 bhp) and slows throttle response. so it will be interesting to see how it fares. its bikes have been less so. Race ABS with Dynamic Traction Control costs $1480.800. gear and drive mode: Rain. it just felt slow. Of course. fairing edges or heel guards getting in the way. as selected here. chassis engineer Ralf Schwickerath) for three laps. even when gusting sidewinds caught the bike cresting the fourth-gear rise onto the front straight. A word about price: While the base-model S1000RR retails for a reasonable $13.com & www. Though to be honest. and the Shift Assist costs another $450. Rain.motorcyclistonline. Your selection doesn’t take effect until you close the throttle and pull in the clutch lever. The suspension felt great too. Not most journos’ favorite (“Nuclear Baby Poop. we were asked to follow a racer (in my case. that color is aimed squarely at the urban Bike Night crowd. yet how stable it remained. I only increased compression damping in the shock to prevent the rear end from squatting and the bike from running wide at corner exits.com .” one called it). and to select the first of the four available drive modes.

This wasn’t a function of braking alone. The rear wheel also came up a little on the brakes. Sport. concentrated on hitting my marks and soon found myself in the groove. in Sport mode both the ABS and TC cut in too early for racetrack use. and here the S1000RR worked as it should. I toed the shift lever.fantamag. however. Suddenly it felt downright fast. the second mode.Say what you will about the Acid Green paint. I could also feel the TC’s wheelie control cutting in. and our riding sessions were extended from 20 to 30 minutes. and the rear tire stepped out and spun a little at corner exits. inhaling the long front straight in one gulp and making third-gear Turn 1 look like a sharp bend into a blind alley. BMW claims. but the S1000RR certainly looks the business. power felt smooth and linear.com . causing a moment’s pause as the lever went numb right when I wanted to tip it into a corner. This restores the engine to full power (193 bhp at the crank.500 rpm—5K shy of the 32 MOTORCYCLIST power peak—so when I saw it flash. And just like that. throttle response is quickened further. Though power output remains the same as in Sport mode. however. the S1000RR was transformed. marveling at how easy it was to ride this powerful sportbike fast. Suddenly the ABS wasn’t cutting in anymore. slamming the front end down abruptly and then snatching it back up again. The former was particularly bothersome as the pressure modulator did its thing under heavy braking. and both the ABS and TC allow more aggressive riding. Yet even so. The shift light was set for 12. though I still felt very much in control. as the ABS also works to prevent the rear wheel from lifting. Ostensibly optimized for street riding. or around 165 bhp at the rear tire) and quickens response from the E-gas ride-by-wire throttle. I left it in Race mode. After lunch our two 20-rider groups were combined into one 40-rider field.com & www. And it is fast: I saw 275 kph (170 mph) in sixth gear www.storemags. All was not perfect. particularly the off-camber ones. the Shift Assist quick-shifter cut the spark and the transmission engaged the next gear seamlessly. For my second session I toggled up to Race mode. Its unique asymmetric styling features differently shaped fairing louvers and headlights.

just to say that I did.-ft. RIVALS Every other contender on the World Superbike starting grid. Box 1227 300 Chestnut Ridge Rd. multi-plate slipper 6-speed 193 bhp @ 13. NJ 07675 201. but I only did so for one lap.730 (as tested) l-c inline-four DOHC. (427 lbs.0 x 49.8 in. technological leash. and dreaded the day it would appear on sportbikes.com & www. 320mm discs with optional ABS Brembo single-piston caliper. with ABS) Acid Green Metallic. from the Aprilia RSV4 to the Yamaha YZF-R1.5 gal./36. ABS is disabled from the rear wheel (allowing you to back it into corners). The BMW S1000RR has changed my mind about both.000 rpm 83 lb.3 in. but throttle response is quicker yet.motorcyclistonline. You can turn them off. Available Warranty Contact BMW Motorcycles USA P. I admit I’ve criticized ABS in the past.O. 32. you have to snap a plug into the underseat wiring harness to activate it. Accessories include various Alpha Racing parts. Rear ride height is adjustable via an eccentric mount. 220mm disc with optional ABS 120/70ZR-17 Metzeler RaceTec K3 190/55ZR-17 Metzeler RaceTec K3 23. at the end of the front straight. 56. carbon-fiber bits and matching apparel. which in my mind has equalized racing to the point that technology alone wins the day. 16v 999cc 80. compression and rebound damping Single Sachs shock with adjustable spring preload. 422 lbs.7mm 13. @ 9750 rpm Aluminum twin-spar 46mm Sachs inverted cartridge fork with adjustable spring preload. together or separately. Rear tire Rake/trail Seat height Wheelbase Fuel capacity Claimed dry weight Colors $15.fantamag.9°/3. Mineral Silver Metallic.000 mi.com VERDICT The real deal: The competition should be very worried. Again. TECH Price Engine type Valve train Displacement Bore x stroke Compression Fuel system Clutch Transmission Claimed horsepower Claimed torque Frame Front suspension Rear suspension Front brake Rear brake Front tire Red/white/blue Motorsports color scheme resembles that of the factory World Superbikes. high/low-speed compression and rebound damping Dual Brembo radial-mount four-piston calipers. closer to the competition’s offerings than anything else in BMW’s range. That’s when things got really exciting.4 in. Contrary to popular belief.4000 www.tech SPEC EVOLUTION A clean-sheet superbike. Where the Ducati 1198S I rode here a year ago was fast yet tractable. An invisible. Metric system? The single Sachs shock and the stout 46mm fork feature 10 positions of compression and rebound damping.0:1 EFI Wet. Likewise TC.com 33 www. In all honestly. That you can do so with a much greater margin of safety only makes it that much better. which as the name implies is intended for use with racing slicks. 4. Thunder Grey Metallic. For the last session of the day I selected Slick mode. power output remains unchanged. I have never ridden a production streetbike that performed this much like a racing Superbike. you can have a rollicking good time on an E-bike.storemags.307.com . the BMW felt like a monster on a leash. and costs $750 extra.bmwmotorcycles. www. TC lets you seriously hang out the rear tire and the wheelie control only works when the bike is leaned over—though you’re limited to 5 seconds of fun. Westwood. As sold. remaining on the stock (and quite excellent) Metzeler Ractec K3s. this mode doesn’t appear on the S1000RR’s menu. Motorsport red/white/blue Late 2009/early 2010 3 yrs. Mind you we weren’t on slicks.

From the moment Massimo Tamburini’s gloriously original 749cc four bludgeoned its way onto the street six years ago. The 1078cc four also has a brightred cylinder head. exhausting and a great way of confirming the pace and poise of the new Brutale 990R and 1090RR. Other changes include a redesigned instrument console. The smaller-engined 990R was enjoyably quick and sweet-handling. Paint is the quickest way to tell the two models apart. MV’s trademark layout of 16 radial valves and central www.com . Cruising through villages and around bumpy hairpins in the hills. Such polite behavior was not what I was 34 MOTORCYCLIST B accustomed to from the Brutale. But a street ride earlier in the day had revealed that MV’s new naked bruisers had developed a softer edge. 85 percent of their components have been changed.” ack-to-back sessions on the Misano circuit had been exciting. gentler.0 mm dimensions of the previous 1078RR model. That rev-happy. New mirrors hold LED turn signals in typically neat MV style. Brutale kinda way. This latest Brutale heads in a different direction. subtly revised with a new headlamp that incorporates a polyellipsoidal lens plus a string of LEDs. with the larger unit retaining the 79.com & www.storemags. The 990R and 1090RR are the first tangible results of MV’s takeover by HarleyDavidson over a year ago. The 990R has red or black paintwork with silver sidepanels. the Brutale backed up its snub-nosed. but MV’s answer to a Mafioso’s machine-gun had too much of everything to make sense.” We say: “In a kinder. Then in 2008 came the Brutale 1078RR. larger air ducts and a tail light integrated into the tailpiece. The two powerplants are very similar. Most new components are shared by both models. beginning with the previous Brutale’s signature shape. barrel-chested look with performance that was … well. the Brutales performed with a sophistication and comfort that was a distinct departure from their predecessors. while the 1090RR’s two-tone scheme of either red/ silver or black/white includes the tank and tailpiece. brutal. MV and its new parent company have decided to make them more refined and easier to ride. and the 1090RR that I rode immediately afterwards was better still.WORDS: Roland Brown PHOTOS: Milagro Perfecting the art of naked aggression They say: “Prepare to be conquered. which added 9 bhp and some useful flexibility. and the smaller engine using a 3mm smaller bore to give a capacity of 998cc.0 x 55. 127-horsepower original was followed two years later by the Brutale 910. claiming a rampaging 154 bhp.fantamag. And rather than adding more brute force.

but doesn’t come at the expense of racetrack performance. Both Brutales come with MV’s race-developed traction-control system. wound back my right hand.motorcyclistonline.” and a 20mm longer swingarm. The 990R not only sent its tach needle ripping round the dial at the slightest provocation. making effortless progress with little need to shift. adjustable footrests. Not that I had seriously doubted that even this smaller-engined of the two new Brutales would live up to its name. the 1090RR has even more low-rev grunt. The Brutales’ new-found civility was welcome on the road.000 price with a steering damper. but with slightly more relaxed steering geometry.“Rather than adding more brute force. MV and its new parent company have decided to make them more refined and easier to ride. has lazier geometry and softer suspension. handlebar. both bikes are impressively rider-friendly. The frame retains its blend of steel tubes and aluminum sections. right? Forgive me for thinking that maybe MV’s new American owners had begun a secret mission to turn the original Italian brute into a softie. which adjusts ignition timing and fuel delivery when revs rise too quickly. So the new Brutale is less powerful. but numerous parts including the generator. upgraded brakes and suspension. because if the Brutales have a flaw. That was just as well. The bigger engine had just a touch more vibration than the 990R. clamp and key block are all aimed at improving the bikes’ fit and feel. guttural growl says the Brutale is still plenty menacing. The RR also balances its $18.fantamag. New wheels save weight. and was rewarded with the sight of the front wheel rising skyward. and these models are both 6. softer suspension www. A steering damper resides beneath the 1090RR’s bars. camchain is retained.com & www. and one burst of throttle was enough to blow away any doubts.5 pounds lighter than their predecessors.storemags. But the 990 engine’s deep. On the short. Predictably. The new instrument cluster. better suited to the freeways back home. it also pulled from low revs with satisfying enthusiasm. It responds from well below 3000 rpm exiting steep hairpin turns. A new injection system combines Mikuni throttle bodies with a Marelli control unit that gives the rider the option of a softer map for wet conditions without reducing peak power. I crouched forward. the motor’s smoothness helps make the bike brilliantly rev-happy and entertaining www. More relaxed geometry and that longer wheelbase gave calmer steering feel along with the naked four’s flickable nature. In other respects. but is still very smooth thanks to the added balancer shaft. it’s their rather snatchy midrange response.com . straight stretch of road heading out from the Misano circuit. more so with the RR’s forged rims. That claimed 139 horsepower is plenty for a naked bike. delicately rested my foot on the rear brake.com 35 The Brutales’ cockpit has been completely remodelled. lubrication system and gear-change assembly are smaller and lighter. On the contrary. The larger motor also incorporates a slipper clutch.

TECH Price Engine type Valve train Displacement Bore x stroke Compression Fuel system Clutch Transmission Claimed horsepower Claimed torque Frame Front suspension Rear suspension $15. $18.6 in.0mm (990R). @ 8000 rpm (1090RR) Steel trellis with single-sided aluminum swingarm 50mm Marzocchi fork with adjustable spring preload.com & www. high/low-speed compression. unlimited mi. Both front ends moved around slightly going into bends. the Brutales navigated chicanes easily. 79. despite having been set up slightly firmer than the standard settings we had used on the road. 419 lbs. red/silver.0 x 55. black (990R). black/white (1090RR) Now 12 mo. as well as the Pirelli Diablo Rossos fitted to the 990R. Fortunately. Front brake Rear brake Front tire Rear tire Rake/trail Seat height Wheelbase Fuel capacity Claimed dry weight Colors Available Warranty Contact VERDICT Sleeker.0mm (1090RR) 13. especially the RR’s fierce blend of Monobloc calipers and 320mm discs (the 990R has conventional radial Brembo calipers and 310mm rotors). 56. the front brakes.2 lb. after which both models carved through the slower turns with infinitely more precision. 144. 32.storemags.0 bhp @ 10. and as sharp and ferocious as ever. more refined naked that’s every bit as thrilling as the original. But I wasn’t totally happy after my first session on either model. RIVALS KTM Superduke R.The smaller Brutale is designed more for the street than the track.8 lb. tech SPEC EVOLUTION An Italian-American marriage creates a lighter. I was informed that I was signed up for one more session aboard the 1090RR—right now. 210mm disc 120/70ZR-17 Pirelli (990R). on the straights. 1078cc (1090RR) 76. more sophisticated. 310mm discs (990R). Ducati Streetfighter and Monster 1100. rubber-mounted handlebar and footrests. flapped its bars exiting the slow left-hander onto the back straight. A forged insert is an attractive contrast and protects the swingarm in the event of a crash. and a redesigned cush drive that smoothes acceleration. and even more fun to ride. Er. Dunlop (1090RR) 24. and rebound damping (990R: spring preload and rebound damping only) Dual four-piston Brembo calipers.mvagustausa.000 (1090RR) l-c inline-four DOHC. The 1090RR felt so solid that I just about managed to get it through Misano’s scary-fast (I saw 160 mph) kink without shutting off.0 x 55. compression and rebound damping Sachs shock with adjustable spring preload. Slightly abrupt throttle response doesn’t prevent either of the big fours from storming out of the bends with a controlled savagery that is hugely addictive. I pulled in after what I thought was my final session.600 rpm (990R).0 gal. which MV says is effective yet less intrusive than other systems. Triumph Speed Triple. Toward the end of the day.-ft. Red. the solution in both bikes’ cases was as simple as dialing in a bit more compression and rebound damping at each end. www. 320mm discs (1090RR) Four-piston Brembo caliper. as its shock compressed under my weight. and the steering damper-less 990R.com . 16v 998cc (990R). as both were a bit soft and imprecise.0:1 EFI Wet. Stepping off the 990R. multi-plate 6-speed 139. but its torquey 998cc engine and light handling make it a joy in either environ. There was enough cornering clearance to maximize that bike’s sticky Dunlop Qualifier RR rubber. www. I wasn’t aware of the traction control. The Brutale is a little bit kinder to its rider than it used to be. in particular. Despite that lazier steering geometry. yes please! I was hot.fantamag. thanks in no small part to the leverage afforded by their wide bars. Dual four-piston Brembo Monobloc calipers. The fact that nobody crashed in three days says they might be right.0 in.5°/4. Other comfort updates include a softer seat.7 in.2 bhp @ 10. sweaty and aching from a day spent at speed on this high-barred hooligan of a motorcycle..600 rpm (1090RR) 78. The firmed-up front end allowed full use of 36 MOTORCYCLIST Revised spring and damping rates are a welcome change. MV Agusta’s American-led revival is off to a promising start. @ 8000 rpm (990R). but I wasn’t going to miss a final blast. 6. Dunlop (1090RR) 190/50ZR-17 Pirelli (990R).com The Brutales’ new swingarm is 2.000 (990R).-ft.2 pounds lighter and has been extended 20mm for greater high-speed stability. 84.

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for instance. Condensed engine cases are 2. Building a proper Ducati for that sort of dough was more complicated.2-lb.” says one of one of our corporate escorts.8mm-longer stroke. isn’t a 796 at all. Triple clamps are new as well. working above a new crankshaft with 848-style flywheels.” : We say: “Hypermotard Lite at taste. and 68 segues into 55 and torrential rain. And the 21-plate APTC slipper clutch lets us shift from second to first without creating an international yard sale in some sodden Italian apex when sunny Purging forged bits used in the 1100’s steel trellis makes the 796’s frame lighter and just as stiff. Who ordered the monsoon? “Just keepin’ it real. a little same gre less thrilling. I’m not sure which—wet notes are hard to read. Stopping for espresso in the perfect little town of Monzuno. And though it shares some bits with the Monster 38 MOTORCYCLIST T 696 mill—including its 88mm bore—there’s more to it than an 8. The engine. Why? The newest desmodue twin’s actual 803cc displacement doesn’t roll off the tongue nearly as well. accounting for most of the new engine’s 4. a pre-muffler stashed under the swingarm pivot lets the engine exhale through slim underseat cans with a socially acceptable bark while maintaining its alleged 81-horsepower bite. weight savings. www.000 can buy here is no such thing as a bad trip to Italy. old men smoke cigarettes and give us a look reserved for escaped mental patients.fantamag. Redesigned pistons bump compression to 11:1.storemags. On the exhaust side.WORDS: Tim Carrithers PHOTOS: Milagro They say: “The 796 rides the common ground between manners and madness.com & www.com .” The most Ducati $10. the 796 is Bologna’s most important piece of news for 2010 for one simple reason: You can buy one for less than $10. The single-sided swingarm cues its Sachs shock with an 1100-style linkage.000. I wring out wet gloves on the patio and question my own sanity. two things become clear halfway through the first double espresso: This new midsize Hypermotard isn’t the fastest Ducati or the sexiest. Intake amendments begin with a new airbox and ductwork feeding 45mm throttle bodies governed by a Siemens CPU. It’s sunny and 68 degrees outside Via Cavalieri Ducati 3 in Bologna.6 pounds lighter. It was either Ettore or Massimo. But for an upscale brand in a decidedly down market. Stepping inside for the obligatory preride presentation.

matte white. matte black Now 24 mo. RIVALS Aprilia Dorsoduro 750. 3. Sliding toward the broad. Hypermotard Lite turns out to be a pretty good idea: 27 lbs. 305mm discs Brembo two-piston caliper.The non-adjustable fork and downmarket Brembo calipers will be acceptable concessions to that $9995 sticker price for entry level Ducatisti. despite a few endearing/annoying Italian quirks. www. Red. though delivery is less enthusiastic from there to the 8000-rpm peak. Abrupt low-rev throttle response hardly helps the cause.3 gal. 4v desmodromic 88. This is mostly a good thing.0 bhp @ 8000 rpm 55. Ducati Hypermotard 1100.3 in.0°/3. New switchgear is excellent. unlimited mi. Pick up the pace enough to lay down some of that midrange in third and the 796 is back in its happy place. These roads insist. the Brembo stoppers lack the power and feel of their upmarket brethren. Bologna’s latest twin has an obliging personality.5 in. so tight corners have the twin spinning above its midrange happy place or lugging somewhere below it. The 796 sits noticeably lower than its big brother—too low if you’re taller than 5-foot10—but the 1100 seat will fit.7 lb. And after dripping dry over lunch at Casa Rugiada—one of the top-three bikefriendly eateries in all of Europe—we emerge to actual sunshine and drying pavement. Picking it up to the point where metal bits touch down reveals the inevitable limitations of price-point suspension and brakes. Cupertino.9 in. but you can’t buy more Ducati. the aftermarket is waiting.com VERDICT An relatively accessible level of hyperactivity. the net result is athletic and nimble enough.253. Still. Power builds nicely from idle to 6000 rpm.storemags. The 803cc twin’s crankcase castings are significantly lighter. better still. The gearbox that felt stiff leaving the factory gates with 124 miles on the odometer is coming around after another 80. lighter than the 1100 on Ducati’s scales and.0 x 66. 245mm disc 120/70-R17 Bridgestone BT016 180/55-R17 Bridgestone BT016 24. especially downshifting into the bottom cog for some soggy decreasing-radius left. Suzuki Gladius TECH Price Engine type Valve train Displacement Bore x stroke Compression Fuel system Clutch Transmission Claimed horsepower Claimed torque Frame No stroked 696 here. The A steel handlebar replaces the 1100’s taperedaluminum bit.motorcyclistonline. Springs are too soft for anyone over 180 pounds. It’s all about the midrange: more trusty 7-iron than a Big Bertha titanium driver.0mm 11.0499 www.fantamag. 57.com & www. Not to worry.0:1 Siemens EFI Wet.. 32. chasm between first and second is more problematic. The orange-backlit Streetfighter-style LCD dash lets you toggle through vital data with a rocker on the left. Ergos invite moving around in the cockpit. 368 lbs. which is good news if you’re tall. and there’s a new crankshaft inside with 848-style flywheels.com 39 www. You might be able to buy more motorcycle for less than $10. But once you adapt to the smaller engine and compact ergonomics. These Apennine mountain roads range from tight and narrow to tighter and exactly wide enough to pass some mental patient in a Fiat Punto without trading paint. Front suspension Rear suspension Front brake Rear brake Front tire Rear tire Rake/trail Seat height Wheelbase Fuel capacity Claimed dry weight Color Available Warranty $9995 a-c 90-deg. Overall gearing is tall as well. tech SPEC EVOLUTION A downsized version of the fashionably belligerent Hypermotard 1100 for under ten grand. For everyone else. No dry clutch? The APTC slipper spins in oil. The front Bridgestone’s blunt profile doesn’t. Kawasaki Versys. $2000 easier on the wallet. multi-plate slipper-type 6-speed 81. 16v SOHC. And though they’re perfectly adequate for this mission.ducatiusa. Contact Ducati North America 10443 Bandley Dr. Take what consolation you can from the flip side: That same long gearing lets you flirt with 50 mpg in cruise mode.-ft @ 6250 rpm Tubular-steel trellis 43mm Marzocchi inverted fork Single Sachs shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping Dual Brembo four-piston calipers.com . flat handlebar makes steering easier. CA 95014 408.000 in somebody else’s showroom. V-twin DOHC.

WORDS: Eric Putter PHOTOS: Putter Power Media They say: “A performance machine at a budget price. Based on the bike’s appearance and design. Although it looks modern and sophis40 MOTORCYCLIST A Curb weight Contact VERDICT The sum of its low-spec parts is not enough to overcome its low-spec price. half-faired and cruiser versions are also available. it’s durable and inexpensive to manufacture. as well as a multi-position brake lever and adjustable footpegs. 21st-century America is in the midst of another Asian invasion. many discounted the Japanese onslaught. All bikes are powered by a fuel-injected. and Hyosung is leading the charge. The seating position is boy-racer tight. slow-revving and has a decidedly coarse six-speed transmission. 4. We expect Hyosung’s motorcycles to be on par in much less time.3 lb. A fighting weight of 473 pounds doesn’t bode well for the bike’s handling. of torque are fairly respectable. Niceties include dual trip meters. the newly fuel-injected powerplant is buzzy. the GT650R is 70 percent the bike that a current SV650 is at 80 percent of the Suzuki’s $7499 price tag. Hyosung’s game plan reads like that of A high center of gravity and longish 56. our testbike was solid during the 1000 miles we rode it. 56.storemags. 31.-ft. 230mm disc 120/60-ZR17 Bridgestone BT56 160/60-ZR17 Bridgestone BT56 25. ample underseat storage and a helmet lock.” We say: “That depends on your definition of performance.5 gal. legible Vacuum Florescent Display. While its 64 horsepower and 42. www. either. ticated. the SV650. Americans scoffed at the English and European motorcycles rolling onto our shores. The Korean company’s sportiest offering is the GSX-R-look-alike 650R. Hyundai.V-twin DOHC.5 in.com generation ago. the single shock offering only preload.fantamag. sturdy econoboxes. but no spring preload adjustment. In terms of overall build quality and performance. 8v 647cc 6-speed 64.5 in.9 in.3 lb. at 7500 rpm Tubular-steel trellis 41mm inverted fork with adjustable spring rebound and compression damping Single shock with adjustable spring preload Dual two-piston calipers.com & www. but the seat itself is broad and comfortable. the engineers clearly have an appreciation for Suzukis.2 bhp at 9000 rpm 42. To offset this harsh reality and add some peace of mind. The R-model’s handlebars are clipped to an upside-down 41mm fork that offers compression and rebound damping clickers. After proving itself with simple. www. 300mm discs Single-piston caliper. and the dual-piston front brakes lack power and feel. the fork doesn’t bestow the chassis with great feedback or bump management.-ft. Out back it’s the opposite. Hyundai now steals unit sales from Japan Inc. Commonly used in DVD players and microwave ovens.com . 473 lbs. The digital speedo to the right of the analog tach uses a bright. and Eurocentric brands. Unclothed. Other than a brake lever that continually popped out of its number-one setting. Now.5°/2.hyosungmotorsusa. In the 1960s. a Korean manufacturing giant that was nearly laughed out of the American auto market by the media and consumers when it arrived in 1986. a pair of bungee hooks on the tailpiece. but super-stable at speed. 647cc V-twin that’s similar in architecture to another Suzuki.5-inch wheelbase make the GT650R slow to change direction.” tech SPEC Price Engine type Valve train Displacement Transmission Measured horsepower Measured torque Frame Front suspension Rear suspension Front brake Rear brake Front tire Rear tire Rake/trail Seat height Wheelbase Fuel capacity $6099 l-c 90-deg. the Hyosung comes with a two-year warranty that will lure some riders making the inevitable usedversus-new-bike purchasing decision.

There’s nothing OLNHKDYLQJDUHDOO\FRROORRNLQJELNHZLWKDJLJDQWLFUHDU fender/ taillight assembly that looks like it came off of a Sherman Tank! This kit totally cleans up the lines and PDNHV\RXUULGHORRNJUHDW$IWHUDOOLW©VLPSRUWDQWWKDW the backside of your bike looks good . Rear Fender Eliminator Kit How cool are these? The Yoshimura Fender Eliminator Kit really adds some style to your bike.storemags. Now it is being offered with a slight twist – the same classic shape but with a beautiful carbon fiber cone end-cap.com .it’s all anyone usually sees.com & www. Yoshimura’s RS-3C and Rear Fender Eliminator Kit are a couple of extraordinary products that are examples of The Yoshimura Edge. RS-3C The new Yoshimura RS-3C offers up an updated look to one of our all time most popular muffler shapes.5 Hayabusa.fantamag.5DQG <DPDKD50RWRUF\FOHV 'DQLHOV6WUHHW&KLQR&$††ZZZ\RVKLPXUDUGFRP www.*ZHOGHG construction † 6WDLQOHVVVOHHYHDQGVOLFNFDUERQFRQHHQGFDS † $YDLODEOHLQ6OLS2QRU%ROW2QFRQILJXUDWLRQV † &DUERQDQG7LWDQLXPPXIIOHUVOHHYHRSWLRQV DUHRQO\DYDLODEOHIRUWKH*6. † /SROLVKHGVWDLQOHVVVWHHO0. The RS-3 is synonymous with the Yoshimura name and has been a cornerstone of our product line for years. † 6XSHUOLJKWZHLJKW † 3UHFLVLRQODVHUFXWDQGVW\OHGIRUWKHWUDFN † $YDLODEOH)RU6X]XNL*6.Yoshimura understands that attention to detail and a little “tweaking” here and there can yield big results.

there’s no other bike like it. Thankfully. the RS125 is the two-stroke alternative to the 600cc status quo.com . The product of years of racing experience. 52.500 rpm. and that asymmetric swingarm makes room for a tucked-in silencer. All it takes to turn it in is a light push on the narrow clip-ons and the bike is on its side. Considering the bike’s stellar handling and cornering capabilities.8 lb. 280 lbs. strong power. 3.7 in.9 in. Keeping things spinning in that sweet spot requires quick use of your left foot. RS125 will give a 600cc sportbike a run for its money on tighter courses—especially with sticky. a well-ridden A superb learning tool. 320mm disc Two-piston caliper. it’s the perfect place to explore the Aprilia’s abilities. but it pays off with smooth. low-rev power is lackluster. Rear tire movement is controlled by a single shock wedged between the rear frame spars. Flowing and tight.com & www.-ft.5 bhp @ 11. You’ll drag an elbow before hard parts touch down. the front tire’s contact patch sends plenty of feedback through the stout 40mm fork.fantamag. There’s no premixing required. A wet weight just over 300 pounds makes it a master of momentum. a hoot to ride and sure to draw stares at any track day. usage to the racetrack. Fair enough—that’s where this race replica belongs.000 rpm 15. Rearset foot controls provide plenty of cornering clearance at steep lean angles. The standard Dunlop rubber is up to most track tasks. the automatic system metering lubrication precisely to keep the engine internals happy.storemags. @ 10. 220mm disc 110/70ZR-17 Dunlop Sportmax 150/60ZR-17 Dunlop Sportmax 31. While it’s a pity you can’t ride the RS125 to the track. we did go through a set of knee pucks wringing the thing out around Willow Springs’ Horse Thief Mile. Beneath the lively colors of that Jorge Lorenzo-replica bodywork is a raceproven 125cc Rotax single. So whether you’re an aspiring roadracer looking to build your skills or an experienced enthusiast in the market for a new track toy. While we didn’t drag ours. the 125’s sharp bodywork mimics that of the 250cc Grand Prix machine on which Jorge Lorenzo won the 2006-’07 World Championships. As with all two-strokes. robust brakes are there if you need them. Crankcase induction favors top-end power that’s perfect for the track. offering GP-spec rigidity and precise handling. which is unfortunate but entirely acceptable considering the quality of the rest of the bike and its reasonable $5499 price tag.WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTOS: Kevin Wing tech SPEC Price Engine type Displacement $5499 l-c two-stroke single 125cc 6-speed 32.500 rpm Aluminum twin-spar 40mm Marzocchi fork Sachs shock with adjustable spring preload Four-piston caliper.” We say: “How tough can the competition be in the 125cc class?” Transmission Claimed horsepower Claimed torque Frame Front suspension Rear suspension Front brake Rear brake Front tire Rear tire Seat height Wheelbase Fuel capacity Claimed dry weight Contact VERDICT prilia’s RS125 is one European exotic you can buy today. www. tracking with superb stability.apriliausa. www.S. The bulk of the output is focused between 9500 and an unmarked redline around 11. it’s ridiculously easy to load in your truck. Aprilia’s polished aluminum frame and bridged swingarm are manufacturing masterpieces. Despite a seemingly insatiable appetite for uninterrupted speed. Adjustability is limited to shock spring preload.7 gal. A four-piston caliper is ready to bite down on the front wheel’s 320mm rotor with exceptional strength and progressiveness. perfectly content to flick into 42 MOTORCYCLIST A most bends without scrubbing off any speed. though front-end grip is a limiting factor. Dressed to impress in factory livery. liquid-cooled to keep cylinder temperature consistent. track-spec tires. But there’s a catch: The little two-stroke’s blue exhaust haze restricts U.com They say: “When the competition gets tough.

com . ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.com & www.fantamag.storemags. bernzomatic.com/quickfire © 2009 BERNZOMATIC. www.Check it out today at your local hardware retailer.

Sure.com . For the past year I’ve reluctantly been fourwheel-bound courtesy of a shattered wrist and broken shoulder (bicycle and rollerblade accidents.fantamag. It’s a bouncy y introducing the Honda Elite 110 scooter in the starlet. www. The brakes are linked so that a squeeze on either lever actuates the opposing brake. 2v 108cc Automatic na na Steel underbone 33mm Showa telescopic fork Showa shock Nissin two-piston caliper. is like the start of a Grand Prix: Once the red light goes out. the doctor had warned against doing anything dangerous.and paparazziheavy Brentwood area of Los Angeles.A.A.’s steepest and most heavily traveled roads. etc. shopping bags. peeling off the line easily while leaving cars in its wake. Zooming all over L. ride with a great motor. 254 lbs. 190mm disc 130mm drum 90/90-12 Chen Shin 100/90-10 Chen Shin 29.storemags.WORDS: Michelle Sylvester PHOTOS: Scott Darough They say: “All you could ever ask for—and more— in a scooter. 50. but how dangerous could a Honda-sponsored Poker Run around the City of Angels really be? So camera in hand. thus the chance to ride the Elite 110 couldn’t have come at a better time. There is also a handy little glove box right in front of your knees that keeps small items within easy reach—like the three 6s I collected during the poker run. The 110cc four-stroke single has enough juice to easily top 45 mph.com & www. Even so the Elite held its own.” We say: “An aroundtown all-rounder. another 6 was waiting for me. the “nicest people” people gave journalists a sense of what their latest little scooter is really good for: cruising quickly around a traffic-mad city with breezy ease and a playful attitude. Even commuting up and over some of L. But while Honda claims the Elite can achieve 100 mpg. But at $2999. as long as you’re not freeway-bound. Every traffic light in L. everybody’s throttle is pinned. making me the poker run winner with four of a kind! And Honda surely has another winner on its hands with the Elite 110. Clever storage spaces and hooks offer a place for your helmet. At the next light it came to a stop just as swiftly courtesy 44 MOTORCYCLIST B Quick pick-up and solid stopping power make the Elite an excellent urban companion. something many scooters of this size/price point lack. of its great brakes.com VERDICT Not as chic as a Vespa.powersports. but you can buy a lot of shoes with the savings.honda. hauling things down rapidly thanks to the single front disc and reasonably powerful rear drum. When I got back to the hotel. Perfect for the urban landscape. groceries and other necessities. thanks for asking). I was never at a loss for power.” t tech SPEC Price Engine type Valve train Displacement Transmission Claimed horsepower Claimed torque Frame Front suspension Rear suspension Front brake Rear brake Front tire Rear tire Seat height Wheelbase Fuel capacity Curb weight Contact $2999 l-c single SOHC. at the press intro.6 gal. I fell in love with the Elite. thanks in part to the PGM-FI fuel injection. The two helmet hooks under the seat and the bag hook above the glove box also work great for hanging grocery bags. it’s a much better deal. I had to admit that the Honda isn’t as stylish as the hipster-trendy Vespas that litter the city. I hopped on the lil’ scoot and zipped off to Red Bull headquarters.1 in. the first stop on our list. the Elite has a 9-gallon storage compartment that gave me plenty of room for my helmet plus my oversized purse. 1.2 in. I never saw anything higher than 80 riding around town. www.A. Heading back to the hotel where we started. excellent stopping ability and great maneuverability.

com & www.www.fantamag.storemags.com .

Just make sure to share the seat time with the kids… MC www.00-12 IRC 26.-ft. the better to handle rougher terrain and more aggressive riding.0 gal.storemags. but it’s a lot easier to push the button on the reshaped handlebar and let the battery expend its energy. the KLXs have the versatility to entertain the entire family. www. Hucking the bike over jumps and pushing feet-up.WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTOS: Adam Campbell tech SPEC Price Engine type Valve train Displacement Transmission Claimed horsepower Claimed torque Frame Front suspension Rear suspension Front brake Rear brake Front tire Rear tire $2099 automatic. The KLX’s 111cc four-stroke single is stronger—better for hauling 150-pound-plus loads—thanks to revised cam timing.8 lb. too!” Seat height Wheelbase Fuel capacity Claimed dry weight Contact he secret is out: Riding mini-bikes is just as much fun now that you’re an adult as it was when you were a kid.50-14 IRC 3. No matter which model you choose. 1. bottomed-out on the ugliest of landings. a freer-flowing exhaust and reduced piston-ring tension. The 2010 KLX felt taut railing berms and only VERDICT An absolute riot for the young and the young at heart. 2v 111cc 4-speed 7. At 28.com & www. You can kick-start it if you want. More power requires more control. To introduce the 2010 KLX110s. @ 4000 rpm Steel backbone 30mm Showa telescopic fork Showa shock 90mm drum brake 110mm drum brake 2. Shorter final-drive gearing and slick shifting action made for surprisingly rapid acceleration—and wheelies!—and the reshaped shift lever is much easier for adult-sized feet to operate. allowing riders to make better use of the KLX’s extra oomph. shrouds. Both models put on 18 pounds for the new year.3 in. the L-model’s seat is nearly 2 inches higher than the standard KLX. two-wheeled slides had all the riders grinning from ear to ear.com They say: “A KX450Finspired ride for the aspiring little ripper. Kawasaki opted to throw the normal Power Point presentation out the window and let the bikes speak for themselves.3 bhp @ 7500 rpm 5. so stiffer springs and firmer damping rates have been implemented at both ends to help resist bottoming and 46 MOTORCYCLIST T sharpen handling. Bigger. 42.8/28.com . fuel tanks and side panels that mimic the look of the mighty KX450F motocrosser. and a revamped shift drum makes gear changes even smoother. The updated suspension is a big improvement over that of the previous model. opening up the ergonomics for larger riders.fantamag. An additional gear in the transmission brings the count to four. Part of that height comes from a longer fork and shock that add an inch of suspension travel.7 in. 162 lbs. but that’s a small price to pay for the convenience of electric start and more abusefriendly components. Any bashfulness we felt about riding a children’s bike vanished during our first laps on the little thrashers. beefier. Kawasaki decided to go with the flow and update the model to better suit kids of all ages. a strategic update aimed at increasing durability and reducing maintenance.” We say: “And an entertaining toy for big rippers.7 inches. For more advanced riders.kawasaki. The result is the 2010 KLX110 and the all-new KLX110L. Both KLX110s feature remodeled bodywork with fenders. $2249 L-model a-c single SOHC. After discovering that KLX110s are being ridden by parents as often as the children for whom they were purchased. tapered roller bearings replace the loose balls in the steerer tube’s lower race. the KLX110L ups the ante with a heavy-duty manual clutch that lets you ring every drop of power out of the high-revving engine. A centrifugal clutch keeps things simple for less experienced riders.

com & www.fantamag.com .www.storemags.

SUPERBIKES! 48 MOTORCYCLIST www.com & www.storemags.fantamag.com .

storemags. As the factory YZF-R1 sweeps through the last. I’m savoring its stunningly strong and smooth acceleration. SPIES UNCOVERING THE SECRET TO BIG BEN’S STERILGARDA YAMAHA YZF-R1 SUPERBIKE WORDS: Roland Brown PHOTOS: StudioZac ne day after its moment of triumph on this strip of rubber-streaked Portimao tarmac.com . O www.com & www.fantamag.com 49 www.motorcyclistonline. enjoying the crisp four-cylinder howl from the underseat exhaust and wishing my all-too-brief ride could last just a few more laps. the blue-and-white Yamaha is unchanged but the feelings of its rider could hardly be more different. fast right-hand curve and onto the Portuguese circuit’s pit straight.SPY VS.

Having taken pole.SUPERBIKES! What a difference to Ben Spies’ emotions in the World Superbike finale just one day earlier. despite coming agonizingly close several times. It was a spectacular debut season from Spies. The racebike’s performance vindicated Yamaha’s decision to give the production R1 the most comprehensive redesign since its introduction in 1998.fantamag. which had achieved in one season something its predecessors never managed. most on circuits he had never seen. Not that Spies ever remotely looked like making a mistake in those final laps. and end Yamaha’s two-decade-long wait for the title. That finally the checkered flag would be waiting and he’d become Yamaha’s first ever World Superbike Champion.com . and in particular to follow the firm’s YZR-M1 in adopting the crossplane crankshaft whose www. His season was a hugely impressive display of pace. who stamped his class on the championship. as he had ridden past a crowded and anxious pit wall in fifth place toward the end of the second race. as the 25-year-old Texan crossed the finish line to earn the 11 points sufficient to cap a memorable roller-coaster of a season. as he ended the season with the same controlled aggression with which he had begun it. He earned his promotion to Yamaha’s MotoGP team with a record total of 11 pole positions and 14 race victories. The sticker keeps track of settings. for the revamped R1.storemags.com & www. And it was an equally brilliant first year The Marelli-based fuel-injection system was modified to incorporate multiple maps and traction control with the potential to alter the settings for each corner. consistency and commitment. He was desperately hoping that nothing unexpected would happen. checking his board yet again to see the number of laps remaining count down with agonizing slowness. 50 MOTORCYCLIST Ben Spies’ Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike benefited from the cutting-edge “through-rod” fork and shock technology developed for Valentino Rossi’s YZR-M1 in MotoGP. of course. he dominated race one while title rival Noriyuki Haga buckled under the pressure and crashed out. that the exhaust note wouldn’t falter to signal some problem. That is exactly what happened.

the host of buttons for adjusting fuelling and traction control. The result was a maximum output of around 215 bhp at 14. and— www. this is one seriously high-tech motorbike. As the Yamaha mechanics unrolled the tire-warmers from the #19 bike. tall and firm. Even at virtually idle the exhaust note was gravelly. Look more closely. and to allow Spies to adjust the engine map and traction control to suit conditions and tire wear. plus modified ports and combustion chambers. leaving no doubt about this engine’s intentions. as though this bike was A rat’s nest of cables and components reside within the R1’s nose. hooked into gear. On its left handlebar are four round. after being run off the track twice in the opener. I’d suspected that the new production R1 would make the basis for a great racebike ever since being blown away by its outstanding throttle response at its press launch at Eastern Creek in Australia last January. deep and malevolent. At a glance it looked like a hotted-up version of the production bike. I briefly took in the cockpit’s blend of bare carbon-fiber fairing inners and big. Out onto the circuit. There was no mistaking this R1 for anything remotely ordinary. blipped the equally low-effort throttle and pulled away up the Portimao pit lane. I threw a leg over its thinly padded seat and found it felt typically light. however. wind open the throttle fairly cautiously. albeit one tuned with the very best components from suppliers including Öhlins. improving mass centralization and allowing a much bigger airbox under the dummy tank. launch control. Marchesini and Akrapovic.com & www. Yamaha can meet the 356-pound minimum weight limit with starter in place.000 rpm. so retains it.storemags. Yamaha’s tuning work involved new cams with more lift and duration. Eight months later. when he took pole position plus a win in race two.com . and the clues to its exotic breeding are clear in the high-tech Marelli dashboard. The electronics package consists of more than 20 sensors and is tended to by a team of three engineers. Those variables can also be adjusted automatically.motorcyclistonline. straight out of a showroom. Brembo. black-anodized triple clamps with broad. the R1 in the Portimao pit lane had acquired Sterilgarda sponsor logos but was otherwise little changed.smoother power pulses helped Valentino Rossi transform the firm’s MotoGP fortunes a few years earlier. colored buttons for pit lane speed limit. tops poking through. Given all this. gold-finished Öhlins fork The R1’s subframe was replaced with a new assembly that holds the fuel payload below the seat. though.fantamag. Despite that. Despite its production origins. it seemed slightly strange when a mechanic stepped forward to fire up the engine by pressing a button on the opposite handlebar. few people had expected Spies to make such an impressive start as he did at nearby Phillip Island the following month. and in the many electronic sensors. Yet there was no hint of bad manners from the bike as I pulled in the light-action clutch. depending on gear position or GPS-determined location on the circuit.com 51 www.

slightly up on last year’s R1 Superbike.” Robbed of victory after running out of fuel in the last turn at the team’s home circuit. though inevitably it lost some drive when I went through a couple of turns a gear too high on my first lap. What’s clear from this Superbike season is that now. the bike’s perfect fuelling and balance making what 52 MOTORCYCLIST “Yamaha had turned down the power slightly and increased the level of traction control. when the figure is about 215 bhp.fantamag. Once I’d worked out which gear I needed to be in. immediately feeling as viciously powerful yet rider-friendly as you’d hope of an all-conquering racebike. That puts the R1 roughly on par with the opposition. put it. The engine pulled from about 6000 rpm. More important is how that power is delivered. too. but benefits from having alternative gearbox ratios. Yamaha claimed “over 210 bhp” for the R1 last season and was even vaguer this year. Out of the slightly uphill left-hand fourth turn. and we should have won both races. more than ever. and although the R1 was rarely the fastest bike throughout the season.SUPERBIKES! blam! The R1 shot toward the first turn with a gorgeously crisp and well-metered torrent of acceleration. although not enough to be at a notable disadvantage. by which time it was travelling seriously fast—though not at the 190 mph that Spies had managed en route to victory a day earlier. it always had the speed to keep Spies in contention.com & www. For today’s test Yamaha had turned down the power slightly and increased the level of traction control. absolute horsepower is not critical. Spies’ win in race two came despite his top speed of 195 mph being well down on the 202 mph of Max Biaggi’s Aprilia. revving so quickly through the lower gears that I was glad to be able to shift with a slight tap of my left boot on the quick-shifter. In my handful of laps I didn’t feel the traction control kick in. Laurens Klein Koerkamp. And making lots of smooth power through the midrange. the Yamaha was as breathtakingly rapid as I’d expected. As Yamaha’s racing manager. though the R1 was still kicking out close to 200 horsepower.com . too. He was fastest through the speed trap in Portimao. “We were thereabouts on top speed. The Yamaha was into fifth gear and revving hard by the time I ran out of nerve and sat up to brake toward the end of the pit straight. If you can win in Monza you can’t be too bad. Revs built with stunning rapidity until triggering the instrument console’s row of lights at the 15. but with nowhere near the force available at higher revs. perhaps slightly down on the Aprilia RSV4 and Honda CBR1000RR.” might have seemed scary hugely thrilling. with help from the increasingly sophisticated electronics used by all the teams. possibly because I wasn’t going fast enough to spin the rear www. though the R1 was still kicking out close to 200 horsepower through its 190mm-wide Pirelli slick. Peak power is increased by a small margin. The R1 lacks some of the rival Ducati 1098R’s low-rev torque. it lifted its front wheel slightly and held it there as I hung off to the left and shifted into third.000-rpm limit.storemags.

“Today it’s a bit softer than the racing setting. The R1 was certainly very good. Spies kept his cool until the very last lap. while I jammed my head behind the low screen. while Haga couldn’t quite cope with the increasing pressure of chasing his own first championship after years of trying. not with a smooth riding style. Part of the reason I didn’t have a problem turning the R1 was doubtless that. won half of the year’s races and overcame some bad luck to win the title by a narrow margin. 24 14 65 1 11 6 17 0 16 2 World Superbike race number SBK points earned Points margin over runner-up Noriyuki Haga Laps Haga completed before race-one crash Career SBK starts for Haga Career SBK wins for Haga Career SBK starts for Spies Career SBK finishes Career SBK wins Total Yamaha SBK wins Total Yamaha SBK championships Superpoles.. “The torque delivery is so good.” Gentile says. until Haga lost the front in Portimao’s sketchy downhill hairpin. glanced up at the pit wall and wished I had a few more laps on this searingly fast yet rider-friendly Superbike. Supersport. the most crucial factor was arguably not the R1 but its rider. Öhlins-equipped rear end also meant that it stayed stable as it powered onto that same straight through the fourthgear right-hander. France and Britain. which has footrests set well back and very wide handlebars to give more leverage. 11 months) Position on all-time SBK win list after a single season of racing Diamonds in Spies’ $45. and Spies’ physical strength allowed him to negate its potential weakness. at 6’4” and 185 lbs. so its Öhlins fork wasn’t remotely 41 28 fazed when I called on the huge stopping power of the ultra-trick Brembo radial fourpot calipers at the end of the straight. the revamped R1 was fast and agile enough to get the job done. I’m even taller and heavier than Spies.” said Gentile.com . 25-yearold Ben Spies racked up a stunning record between Phillip Island and Portimao. and it [the crankshaft layout] is much better for the tires. 11 months) and Troy Corser in 1996 (24 years. At world championship level.motorcyclistonline. a single-season record Fastest lap of races Podium finishes Previous champs earning zero points in the opening race Finishing position in race one at Phillip Island Younger SBK champs: James Toseland in 2004 (23 years.BY THE The 2009 World Superbike Championship was this close for most of the season. but it made it difficult for the handling. NUMBERS BEN SPIES 2009 World Superbike Champion WORDS: Tim Carrithers PHOTO: Yamaha As the sixth American champion earning the ninth American championship in 22 years of World Superbike racing.com & www. handing the title to Spies.000 championship ring AMA Superbike Championships Consecutive AMA Superbike wins Finishing position in Yamaha MotoGP debut at Valencia.” Spies’ size also meant the R1’s suspension was better set-up to cope with my weight. 250cc and 125cc MotoGP appearances before his Yamaha debut at Valencia Laps completed at Valencia MotoGP test Final ranking at Valencia MotoGP test Valentino Rossi’s final ranking at Valencia MotoGP test www.com 53 12 94 3 8 7 5 4 61 4 3 www. and perhaps because it’s not easy to detect. Overall. But the 2009 season stands out in the record books for more than just coming down to the wire.” While Spies openly praised the crossplane engine’s throttle response. Spies did not need a lot of wheelie control. the Netherlands. Spain 2009 FIM roadracing titles earned by Yamaha: Superbike. a less well-known issue was the relatively heavy crankshaft’s detrimental effect on handling. and not much traction control.” said the team’s electrical expert. as it confirmed by winning national titles in Germany. of course. Usually he rode with a very strong engine. and by the standards of a production supersport this ultra-light and superbly suspended R1 felt wonderfully quick and easy to turn. The Yamaha’s firm. Ultimately. who at a very fit 5’11” and 160 lbs. The combination of Spies and the Yamaha was blindingly fast. so you can slide less. We control the torque rather than cut it. Luckily. Ben is big and strong. 19 462 6 6 260 Pirelli. “It can work with a very strong rider. The R1 wasn’t perfect but it was competitive in every area. “You need some muscle with this bike. is big for a racer. As the closeness of the title race suggests.storemags. MotoGP. Davide Gentile. that was all that mattered. “You need a lot of strength to turn the bike. “The system is very smooth. there was very little between the Japanese Yamaha four and the Italian Ducati twin in this most competitive and thrilling of seasons. In this it was helped by Spies’ riding position. and to deliver that first World Superbike title to Yamaha.fantamag.” Everything’s relative.

SUPERBIKES! DUMBED DOWN? MAT MLADIN’S YOSHIMURA SUZUKI SUPERBIKE MAY BE SLOWER THAN IN YEARS PAST.com .storemags.com & www. BUT IT STILL WARPS TIME AND SPACE WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTOS: Andrea Wilson & Brian J. Nelson 54 MOTORCYCLIST www.fantamag.

com 55 www.fantamag.motorcyclistonline.www.com & www.storemags.com .

forged pistons. I keep the throttle pinned through fourth and fifth as the massaged motor propels me forward on a tsunami-like swell of power that overwhelms my brain’s ability to keep tabs on time and space.storemags. the Big Four Japanese manufacturers objected. They’ve taken the ‘super’ out of Superbike.com & www. If this is what a “neutered” 2009 AMA Superbike is like. wheels and electronics. “But it’s not just the horsepower. Modifications are limited to minor cylinder head work. frustrating racers and spectators alike. When the smoke finally cleared. The DMG’s initial class structure was met with stiff opposition. the rulebook contained two compromise classes: American Superbike for 1000s and Daytona Sportbike for middleweights.com . Pretty much the only difference between the AMA bike and the World Superbike was the cams. and instead proposed a nearly unrestricted Factory Superbike class.fantamag. One would sound angry. Heading onto Auto Club Speedway’s banked pit straight. Heavily invested in Superbike racing. works suspension and chassis parts. and exotic electronics— the new American Superbikes must be built using only readily available. there was much bemoaning the predictability of AMA Superbike racing. “The fans come to see the fastest riders on the best equipment. The new series organizers proposed a Daytona Superbike class featuring a motley crew of middleweight fours.] Before we had factory titanium con-rods and lightweight. brakes. Now we can’t touch anything below the head gasket. If you were to stand behind the K8 and the K9. Teams must also use spec fuel and tires. I finally build up the courage to roll the throttle wide flippin’ open. Yoshimura Suzuki team coordinator Rich Doan explains: “In ’08 the bike was full works. of which they are allowed a set number per event. it’s how fast it spun up. the other just like a streetbike. the new DMG American Superbike is essentially “a Superstock bike with a ported head and big brake calipers. Now it’s been dumbed down. the front Dunlop finishes its salute to the sky as I shift into third gear. When the Daytona Motorsports Group assumed control of AMA Pro Racing in ’08.” as one racer put it. a flurry of rules changes attempted to level the playing field and revitalize the ailing American racing scene. exhaust. you’d know which one was the Superbike. [The AMA permitted changes in duration but not lift. Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Mat Mladin and Ben Spies were winning by 10-second 56 MOTORCYCLIST F Unlike the unobtanium AMA Superbike of years past. I can’t imagine the full-blown machines Suzuki ran previously! “The K8 [model year 2008] Superbike was putting out about 205 horsepower. fork internals and aftermarket shocks. triples and larger-displacement twins running in place of the 1000cc Superbikes.” explains Yoshimura Suzuki crew member Denis Ackland. The resultant rush is literally breathtaking—the same stomach-churning sensation I felt when I dove out of an airplane. homologated parts.” In years past. But while previous AMA Superbikes were heavily modified inside and out—featuring extensive engine work. triples and twins.” As a result. The K9 Mladin won on this year has about 190.SUPERBIKES! our laps into my stint on Mat Mladin’s AMA Superbike Championship-winning Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. the current Superbikes www. a real Superbike.” margins.

yet still regularly finished well ahead of his competitors and went on to take his record-setting seventh championship. and completely unrecognizable from stock. Now retired. Ackland finishes unrolling the tire warmers and nods. weight. They’ve taken the ‘super’ out of Superbike.com . On the right clip-on is the kill switch. the Yosh Superbike was exactly as it came off track after Mladin’s final race in New Jersey. A Yoshimura gull-wing top triple clamp resides behind a large Motec dash that registers everything from fork travel to lambda sensor readings.” The rules changes haven’t done much to tighten up the racing. used to curb wheelies and wheelspin at the start. in ’08. With Spies gone to World Superbike. he’d just gotten tired of the DMG’s foolishness and had lost interest in the series. I climb aboard and discover that the sky-high seat and low clip-ons force me into an ultra-aggressive stance. On the left handlebar is a repurposed ignition switch that allows a choice of two ignition maps. it produces nearly one horsepower for every two pounds of its 370-lb. Did I mention that I’d never turned a lap at the Fontana facility? Factory teams that had previously seen themselves as partners in AMA Superbike racing now consider themselves at odds with the group.” says crew member Denis Ackland. “Mat pretty much always ran with it set to zero.storemags. and I was plenty nervous about riding it.6mm longer stroke. They come to see the fastest riders on the best equipment. the ’08 Superbike revved about 1000 rpm higher than the ’09. the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 is still an impressive machine.Besides softer fork springs. www. aren’t far from those on your local dealer’s showroom floor. and below that a set of arrows for toggling between traction-control settings.” complains Doan. It’s been dumbed down and equalized. “If there’s one modification we should get back. he still lobs insults at the organization from his home in Australia via Twitter. After all. “But the fans don’t want to see stock bikes.fantamag. fighting to maintain the 1000cc status quo. the pit-lane speed-limiter and the launch-control button. Regardless of how “un-super” the American Superbikes are. The most outspoken among DMG’s detractors is Suzuki’s Mat Mladin. “They come to see equipment they can’t buy.com 57 www. Mladin ran about a second per lap slower in ’09 than he had Despite a 1. The Australian joked that his times had nothing to do with the bike. either.motorcyclistonline.com & www. Countless hours of professional setup make it run and handle like a dream. it’s the lightened pistons. The cockpit is complex but organized.

fantamag. I set it to three of five and ride cautiously onto the track. Wheelies occur frequently and unexpectedly. As with most racebikes the suspension is firm. heart-squeezing acceleration and freakishly strong Brembo brakes let me do things I had no intention of doing. There’s also an extra inch of foam stacked on the seat. Steep steering geometry. lightweight magnesium Magtan wheels and pointy Dunlop rubber make the bike turn much quicker than stock. The GSX-R’s “stinkbug” stance is the result of abundant rear ride height. The bike’s precise handling. It’s an absolute rush to ride. the Showa fork and Ohlins TTX shock feel wonderful on the track. It’s unnerving at first.0s. where will AMA Superbike racing go from here? Mladin’s domination has finally www. but within half a lap the rapid turn-in feels divine.SUPERBIKES! he was faster that way. which are better suited to the lower g-forces generated by a mere mortal.1-kg/mm springs have been swapped for 1. an ergonomic tweak to accommodate Mladin’s 6-foot frame. There are no steps or dips. especially when leaned over gliding toward an apex. but I can’t imagine the skill and nerve it would take to race it.com .” Ackland points out. but not as stiff as when Mladin rode it. The fork’s 1.storemags. So. I nearly run off the inside of the track as it 58 MOTORCYCLIST snaps over alarmingly fast. the result of an airplane crash nearly 15 years ago. Tipping the bike into the first chicane. just potent midrange that morphs into arm-stretching top-end rip. Shifting follows the normal street pattern to accommodate the limited flexibility in Mat’s left ankle. Although they felt rock-hard when I bounced up and down on the bike in the paddock. like skating the rear tire into turns and wheelying from corner exit to braking zone. The power is astounding.com & www. added to make the bike steer quicker and help keep the front wheel on the ground. and lets me go from straight up to cranked over in a split second.

waving frantically and pointing at the pit. Honda and Kawasaki are out. Blazing down the pit straight. held by Miguel Duhamel Single season AMA Superbike wins Race wins in 2009 AMA Superbike Championships won by Yoshimura Suzuki in the past decade Consecutive Yoshimura Suzuki race wins Age at which he retired Age at which he started competing in AMA Superbike First year racing in America Position at the end of his first AMA Superbike season 500cc Grand Prix starts (1993 season) Best 500c GP finish World Superbike starts World Superbike poles Best World Superbike finish (Laguna Seca 2003) Career AMA Superbike poles Consecutive AMA Superbike Championships (twice) 2009 championship points margin Points behind teammate Ben Spies in the 2007 championship Daughters with wife Janine: Emily and Jessica Number of races he boycotted due to safety concerns in 2009. After more than a decade of racing in the States. Mat Mladin has laid claim to nearly every AMA Superbike record there is. Yamaha and the various privateer efforts. Troy Siahaan. braking and slanted views of the horizon.com & www. that decision was bound to come sooner or later. Here’s a rundown of the impressive numbers he’s had a hand in… 7 82 27 12 10 9 52 38 24 1996 4th 11 6th 18 1 4th 55 come to an end. But Mat is quick to point out that the DMG’s Byzantine rules helped make it sooner. too.BY THE NUMBERS MAT MLADIN WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTO: Andrea Wilson Seven-time AMA Superbike Champion From lap times to pole positions to national championships. Blame it on the GSX-R’s ability to warp the space/time continuum. leaving only Suzuki.” So the DMG’s rules changes were successful? “I wouldn’t say that. at Topeka. I’d somehow lost track of time and turned nine. there’s no returning champion and no dominant rider. the Australian retiring at the end of the season.” Doan observes thoughtfully.storemags.” My time aboard Mladin’s Superbike melds into a nirvanic blur of acceleration. it’s just a natural changing of the guard.com .com 59 www.fantamag. “It’s going to be a hell of a battle. Kansas Number of riders who beat him to win races in 2009: Josh Hayes and Larry Pegram Daytona 200 wins Last race number other than #1 www. With Mat and Ben gone. the figure grows into the familiar shape of Sport Rider’s associate editor. “Right now. While I’d been scheduled to take just five laps. As the GSX-R inhales the yardage between us. I see a small figure beside the banking.motorcyclistonline. 3 47 1 2 2 2 3 7 AMA Superbike Championships AMA Superbike race wins Previous win record.

com .fantamag.com & www.storemags.SUPERBIKES! 60 MOTORCYCLIST www.

Contrary to what his competition claims.800 rpm. Larry Pegram’s 1098R is not a true factory Superbike. Mladin is right—this is a very fast motorcycle. They use a kit close-ratio transmission. working with Kevin Schwantz and Wayne Rainey among others.com & www. anyone can buy right from the Ducati Performance catalog.motorcyclistonline. when Pegram posted the top speed of 199. but very close in spec. Pegram Racing is not a factory effort—Larry manages and finances the program himself. Not only did Pegram score three AMA American Superbike wins (two admittedly in Mladin’s absence).000 stock bike. the two bikes are identical. It’s assembled in his Ohio shop from catalog parts. We’d known that since the first practice session of the season at Daytona. compared to 12. But Larry Pegram and his Foremost Insurance Ducati 1098R managed both in 2009. “The factory team runs different cases. “Motorwise. and makes about 15 less horsepower than Noriyuki Haga’s World Superbike. And Marco Urani.com 61 www. Pegram has a world-class team of numbercrunchers.ALMOST FACTORY LAPPING LARRY PEGRAM’S “PRIVATEER-PLUS” DUCATI 1098R SUPERBIKE WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTOS: Andrea Wilson t’s been years since any other Superbike could consistently challenge the dominant Yoshimura Suzuki GSXR1000s. “All the parts that aren’t stock.. we have to use the stocker.com . he also inspired the normally no-excuses Australian to complain about Ducati’s “unfair” power advantage. We run the same pistons. Different parts.storemags.000. We rode Pegram’s 1098R at Putnam Park Road Course in Mount Meridian.” Electronically speaking. So much for Ducati reliability questions. Pegram can thank Ducati Corse for that. They’re basically the same..” How closely does Pegram’s kit-bike resemble Noriyuki Haga’s World Superbike machine? Very closely. it turns out. “Except for the ECU. It’s been even longer since another racer rattled the otherwise unflappable Mat Mladin.” he says.fantamag. More importantly. Anyone could build this bike for $100. he was able to effectively build a factory racebike using catalog parts. our bike is so similar. But thanks to Ducati’s impressive commitment to supporting privateers.200 rpm for the factory bikes. and you can buy that straight from Marelli.9 mph. www. uploaded with the same software. just a few weeks after his two Topeka victories. including the $40. They have a different head that can fit an air restrictor. Crew chief Massimo Capanna has 30 years experience in Grand Prix. “We’ve gone three years without an engine failure. and prepares the bikes in-house. otherwise the head is the same.” Pegram says. but have a different oil window. They use a crank that’s pre-balanced for the kit pistons.” Pegram explains. I Pegram sets the rev limiter at 11. Indiana. but balance the crank ourselves. Pegram uses the same Magneti Marelli Marvel 4 ECU. But not only is this bike blindingly fast. That’s it. it’s also among the most user-friendly racebikes we’ve ridden.

enable ferocious forward motion.” Pegram confirms.storemags. compared to a reported 220 bhp from a factory bike. and their ability to decode the data. but we reckon this bike delivers around 205 rearwheel horsepower. “The really good Brembos. “I would love for someone else to put together a Ducati just like mine. wheelying hard over the first rise in fourth gear. with bigger-pistons. especially in tight corners. if for no other reason than to silence the haters. it turns out.” Larry (left) is in it for the long haul: “After I’m done riding. Pegram just wishes he wasn’t the only one in the AMA paddock waving the Ducati flag. Weaver says tuning for this fuel costs six to eight percent—or around 15 bhp.” Pegram says. Rushing toward Turn One carrying an extra 20 mph compared to a stock 1098R clarifies Pegram’s comment about the brakes. then hard again in fifth over the second crest.com . Pegram’s engine-builder. Dave Weaver. the 1098R Superbike is a potent package. one higher than optimal. Pegram’s chassis is less like the SBK machine. The kit swingarm is the same as Haga’s.” improved over the already-sublime stocker. “Their experience. I want to keep the team so I can yell at some kid. Pegram’s racer snaps in like a 600 and is more responsive at lean. and having someone else out there would show that’s just not true.5s) and spec Dunlop slicks. are 108mm spacing and the stock forks are 100mm spacing.SUPERBIKES! “How closely does Larry Pegram’s kit-bike resemble Noriyuki Haga’s World Superbike machine? Very closely. and tell him how I would have done it better!” the team’s computer tech. has been a huge help. which Weaver claims makes less power than pump gas. AMA rules require stock fork externals. Even on “lite” gas. Stateside Superbikes use Sunoco 260 GTX spec fuel. the racebike’s handling is markedly 62 MOTORCYCLIST www. compared to the stock 36mm) that pulls in the front wheel and sharpens steering response. The stock 1098R can be slow to turn-in and hard to steer at lean. limiting brake choice.” Pegram says. largely due to reduced fork offset (30mm. So much torque and telepathic traction make the bike want to go straight.com & www. says the biggest difference between the AMA and SBK bikes is fuel. But while their engines are similar. Even exiting Putnam’s last turn in third gear. the Superbike claws for the clouds before you’ve got it anywhere near straight up-and-down. but American Superbikes use 17-inch wheels (as opposed to 16.fantamag. “Some guys think my success all comes down to the bike. came directly from Mika Kallio’s factory KTM 250cc GP squad. Eight-level-adjustable traction control. Chaos continues the length of Putnam’s undulating front straight. plus wheelie control that constrains both the angle and duration of any airborne trajectory. Still. Pegram wouldn’t give up a number.

storemags.com & www.com .fantamag.www.

storemags.com .fantamag.SUPERBIKES! 64 MOTORCYCLIST www.com & www.

Ricky Graham and Bubba Shobert (Honda) won championships on rival brands.” For as long as anyone can remember. King Kenny Roberts (Yamaha). Harley had any real competition. more experienced riders dive-bombed under me going into the corners and slingshot past me on the straights.com . kill switch and clutch lever. I don’t think I breathed once my first two laps. but the wind is starting to blow in a different direction. no brakes! View over the high and wide Vortex handlebar is sparse. Most race fans know Larry Pegram as a roadracer. Clutch fluid reservoir looks strangely out of place.storemags. I grabbed a big handful midcorner. I tried to stay out of the way as the other.” Pegram laments.” I told myself as I wrestled the big Ducati through the Pomona Half-Mile’s rough and rutted turns. the rear wheel stepped out. Realizing that the bike was never going to turn with the throttle closed and the tires plowing through the ruts. “Ducati gave me a Hypermotard with the two-valve 1100 motor. So I thought. has www. And that I might actually be worthy of writing about this bike I was allegedly “testing. A remote-reservoir Penske gets the job done. but was modified to run only one. like the SportClassics did in years past. let’s build one. Thrown in at the deep end. and Ducati wasn’t keen on him riding another brand. with only a throttle.com 65 “I Look ma.HOLY TOLEDO! OHIO’S LARRY PEGRAM AND THE LLOYD BROTHERS BUILD A DUCATI DIRT-TRACKER WORDS: Brian Catterson PHOTOS: Andrea Wilson cannot do this. And the bike shown here is at the forefront of that movement. the front pointed straight up the track and suddenly everything was right in the world! I won’t pretend that I set a new track This particular Ducati GT1000 came with twin shocks.” I felt like I knew what I was doing. But he cut his teeth in dirt-track racing.” www. and the power pulses felt just like a Harley. Sure. Not since the early ’70s.fantamag. And then a magic thing happened.motorcyclistonline. Which got him thinking… “I missed dirt-track—my last year racing full-time was 1992. but his primary focus was roadracing. when guys like Gene Romero himself were riding BSAs and Triumphs.com & www. record—or even went fast enough to make the field—but for the first time in my all-toobrief dirt-track “career. More recently he rode a Lloyd Brothers Racing Aprilia at select races. but they’re the exceptions to the rule. It wouldn’t be accurate to say that’s about to change. winning more AMA amateur titles than anyone else in history and three Grand Nationals aboard Harleys and Hondas tuned by the legendary Skip Eaken. as he won three rounds of the 2009 AMA American Superbike Championship aboard the Ducati 1098R featured on the previous pages. and well they should. out in practice for the Open class of Gene Romero’s West Coast Flat Track Series. AMA Grand National Dirt Track racing has been the sole property of Harley-Davidson and its iconic XR750.

“I ask guys. After modifying the swingarm to clear the spec 19-inch Dunlop (nee Goodyear) tire.” adds David Lloyd. but the bike lost power as it got hotter. Measuring the stock chassis. who’s a big proponent of production-based engines. The 66 MOTORCYCLIST front end consists of a Honda CBR600F4 fork bolted to adjustable Baer Racing triple clamps. it would be the best thing to happen to dirt-track racing in years. David and Michael.000 to build a competitive XR. “That’s too bad. the main event didn’t go as well.fantamag. whereas we’ve got less than half that in this bike. but failed to qualify. while relocating the battery and electrics above the engine increased forward weight bias to give the front tire a better bite. The stock 992cc V-twin already made decent power. A conflict with an AMA roadrace meant Pegram couldn’t compete in the second Springfield Mile on Labor Day weekend. but if I’m in the hunt for the Superbike title. AirTech fiberglass tailpiece and Performance Machine aluminum wheels completed the chassis. they lowered the rear of the bike. and the best he could manage was fourth—one position away from making the show. So what next? The Lloyd Brothers would like to contest the entire 2010 AMA Grand National Championship. so rather than building a custom frame decided to tailor it. So hopefully. Pegram enlisted the help of the Lloyd brothers. I won’t be allowed to!” www. Lloyd brothers got serious. “I’d like to go to a few of the good tracks. so Pegram’s engine-builder Dave Weaver just flowed the head and installed a set of Ducati Performance cams and high-compression pistons. hit up Ducati for a second engine (which came from one of the Hypermotards used to make Terminator Salvation) and had Vintage Motorcycle Components build a custom frame. A custom gas tank. “It costs $25. Chad Cose rode the latter at Pomona. I wouldn’t be allowed to. they realized the numbers weren’t too far off. but would like to pick and choose which events he competes in—and may not even be available for those. while this thing will go thousands of miles. “The difference is an XR motor lasts one weekend. or the first to win on a Ducati?’” Pegram is also keen to do more dirttrack races. That put him on the third row for the semi. too.storemags.” Pegram quips. ‘Do you want to be just another rider to win on a Harley.com & www. made new shock mounts and bolted up a fully adjustable Penske. but none of them want to get off their Harleys because they get parts allowances and contingencies.SUPERBIKES! The stock-framed GT1000 Larry Pegram rode at Springfield (top) and the “framer” he rode at Indy (above).com . Those changes kicked out the steering head. and ran as high as fourth in his heat race before falling while challenging for third. because if this thing wins. Pegram found the “framer” handled even better than the stocker. tilting the engine up and moving it forward to put even more weight on the front end.” Pegram debuted the Ducati at the Springfield Mile last Memorial Day weekend. and still remembers the reaction. They need a top rider who can win races. but he did take part in the Indianapolis Mile the same weekend as MotoGP For that the . “It’s a lot cheaper. That boosted output to 94 horsepower at the rear wheel— slightly stronger than a good-running Harley. determined the correct leverage ratio.” says David. while the rear brake was liberated from an Aprilia campaigned in the AMA MotoST series. seat and foot controls. Removing the cross-bracing let the frame flex more to cope with rough tracks. but finding funding is proving more difficult now than it has in the team’s five-year history.” Unfortunately. but the bike blew an oil line and he crashed unhurt. but they stopped after I transferred directly from the heat race. Pegram ran just outside the top 10. “When we unloaded it people were laughing. A red flag due to rain gave him a second chance. who bought a wrecked GT1000 with a salvage title for $5000 on eBay. so they made up some new bearing races to bring it back in as far as possible without the front tire hitting the forward cylinder head.

www.fantamag.storemags.com .com & www.

storemags.com . His father could be a cruel man. and Sid remembers the occasional glimpse of off-duty sailors racing motorcycles along the Norfolk city streets as his only joy during those endless. Sid built his Vincent Rapide into the fastest bike on the Eastern seaboard. motorcycles saved him again. a butcher. Revenge. back-breaking delivery runs. it seems. To punish him.otorcycles make good medicine. A few years later when Sid—by then an American GI 68 MOTORCYCLIST M and big-time motorcycle enthusiast—returned from overseas duty and found himself betrayed by the man he thought was his best friend. is best served on two wheels. www. Sidney M. making restaurant deliveries with his father. Sid’s tormentor was the best motorcycle drag racer in the Tidewater region. “Big Sid” Biberman learned that lesson as a young boy growing up in Norfolk. and then used it to beat the man so soundly that he eventually gave up motorcycles for good. Virginia.com & www.fantamag.

Desperate to pull him from this enduring funk.com 69 www.motorcyclistonline. opened his own motorcycle shop and earned a rock-solid reputation as one of the world’s foremost Vincent experts.” This was the mythical hybrid of Sid’s www.com .WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTOS: Bob Clarke Motorcycles—Vincent motorcycles in particular—continued to soothe and save Sid for four more decades.storemags. It wouldn’t be any garden-variety restoration. would build one last motorcycle together. With bad knees. Sid was just waiting around to die. an English professor at the University of Louisville. It would be a “Vincati. when a serious heart attack almost killed him. Sid’s son Matthew. who never got along well in the first place and especially not in the garage. a Vincent motorcycle once again saved his life. Then. made an insane proposition. in September of 2000. a failing back and a faltering heart.com & www. Of course.fantamag. however. while he raised his family. Big Sid faced his fiercest opponent yet. The two of them.

and fitting a custom piston to raise compression to 9. which remained one of his life-long goals. That’s now known as the Maxton Monster Mile. who was dying from cancer at the time.com & www. This story is not about the Vincati.storemags. Super Streetbike. which will be released in paperback this May. a sleek. Tina is a bit of a bastard. Hamel built the engine to racing specs. but viewed from any angle the vintage Vincent is a beautiful and timeless machine.two favorite bikes—the Vincent Black Shadow and the Ducati 750 GT—a machine that had animated Big Sid’s imagination for decades. which healed the broken relationship between father and son and saved Sid’s life at the same time. Perhaps since I’m more aerodynamic than 6’5”. race course. The project. except for an abandoned. methanol-fueled Vincent Rapide) had won dozens of drag races. Behind the motor sits a fourspeed Norton Atlas transmission. 300-pound Big Sid. Black Lightning-spec fenders and dual drum front brakes give a factory-racer look. dressed up with Black Lightning-style aluminum fenders. prepared by well-known Norton racer Carl Hockinson. and an attempt to tie up some loose ends. nicknamed Overtime Tina. Maxton is a sleepy nowheresville on the broad coastal plain along the North and South Carolina border. however. Though “The Rattler” (Sid’s 10-second. World War II-era airstrip secluded in a stand of pines just outside town. Big Sid never held an official speed record. extensively modified by Sid and Steve Hamel.” Matthew says. boring an aftermarket Terry Prince cylinder barrel 6mm over to bump displacement from 499cc to 598cc. sectioned fuel tank and the saddle from Big Sid’s own Black Shadow. in the best racing tradition. North Carolina. Hayabusas (our sister publication. Raw brass bar clamps.” he said. “Once the Vincati is done. It’s an unremarkable place. and a Lucas D Victor points ignition fires a double coil that leads to a twin-plug head.5:1.” Matthew explains. This is the postscript.com . Scanning the East Coast Timing Association’s record book revealed a number of 650cc speed records within reach of a well-prepared Vincent single. we’re going to find another engine and build up a bike to race. An Amal MK II carburetor was fitted. “We did all the work on this bike after-hours. An Andrews race Cam and Terry Prince crank and caged rod balance the bottom end. and to keep Sid alive for a few more years.fantamag. The single-cylinder motor is originally from a 1950 Comet. chunky. The chassis comes from Lex’s 1953 Rapide. is chronicled in Matthew’s excellent memoir titled Big Sid’s Vincati. When the Bibermans went to retrieve the Rapide. the Bibermans asked me to ride the bike. was hosting its annual Top Speed Shootout the same weekend). home to the ECTA speed trials and Ground Zero for the fastest motorcycles on earth. another world-renowned Vincent performance specialist. brakes. Father and son decided to make a record attempt at the ECTA’s Maxton. The 1000cc V-twin engine that powers the Vincati came from a Vincent Rapide given to Sid by his old friend Lex.” This is the story of that next bike. Vincentlogo valve caps and countless knurled knobs “Big Sid’s pep-talk is priceless: ‘Just go out there and give that little bitch all you’ve got!’” 70 MOTORCYCLIST www. Matthew made Lex a promise: “We’ll use the chassis too. “We needed another quest to keep Sid going. “and she just reminded me of a Tina!” Overtime Tina was built to honor Matthew’s promise to Lex. Tina looked somewhat out of place among the dozens of 200-plus mph. turbocharged Overtime Tina combines a single-cylinder engine from a 1950 Vincent Comet with the chassis from a 1953 Vincent Rapide.

Sixty years later the Vincent still looks ahead of its time. sible. an oversized. even if I ignored Sid’s advice and brought “the little bitch” slowly up to speed. Tina’s motor seized tight. pointing 98. vast majority of and Sid suspected participants. it’s not that changing to a about racing at all. but that was a step backward. I especially appreciated the sculptural engine cases. In fact. www. Sid would have been our problem—and it had nothing to do with bored out of his skull. This second pass raised the MVG-650/4 record to 105. funny thing about The first three runs land-speed racing— were made using and drag racing. a Greek-owned Italian joint in a strip mall in nearby Laurinburg. We retreated to Maxton’s finest dining establishment. I was immediately struck by how non-vintage the Vincent felt. Torque output was stronger than expected. genuine problem. If we went to the paddock we found the real source of fast right off the trailer.com team (left to right): Logan Robison. and then I was off toward the starting line. and just yards from where Sid sat on his stool the challenge lit Sid up. and even at a relaxed pace I was well into fourth gear at the half-mile mark. Still.com . A deliciously deep.storemags.motorcyclistonline.com & www. Tina pulled strongly until around 5000 rpm and then ran out of steam. I returned to the paddock and reported to Sid. to “For a tuner like Big Sid the racing is incidental. Even the braking performance was passable— excellent. by drum-brake standards. reverse-pattern shift lever up into first gear. Tina hadn’t been on the dyno yet. Big Sid Biberman. The recording a disapsolutions. after Sid told me to run my hand over the left timing chest. the author and Matthew Biberman. equal to any modern air-cooled single. The BigSid. she hadn’t even been beyond 50 mph on the streets around Matthew’s suburban Louisville home. challenged like this When I returned was the best possible outcome. 2-inch too—is that for the diameter header.” Matthew did the honor of kicking Tina to life for the first time. The racing is and removed the incidental. To be paperback version arrives in stores this May.506 mph.com 71 www.63 mph. Working on motorNoshing on cycles quite literally gluey spaghetti in kept Big Sid alive.and turnbuckles make “The Vincent” (as the banner decal on the fuel tank so definitely states) pure industrial art. what matters might improve is designing and power. For a tuner like Big 1 5/8-inch pipe Sid.fantamag. Idling up to the pit. One mile is a lot of room for a single. I could see what beneath an EZ-Up. a slim foam air filter as justification for the well. we exited the timing trap at 100. or thew Biberman’s book Big Sid’s Vincati. a cramped restauSid’s next move rant booth. new plan. in fact. who was hungry for details. Sid swapped building the fastest pipes first thing motorcycle posSunday morning. but power still fell off far before redline. Instead we faced a carburetors or exhaust. Matthew retarded the timing slightly for the day’s third (and final) run. Big Sid’s pep talk was priceless: “Just get out there and give that little bitch all you’ve got!” It took a few tugs to yank the right-side. a must-read fell flat in top gear. Sid bumped the main jet up from 320 to 330 and sent me out again. The girder fork and protomonoshock rear suspension literally floated over Maxton’s broken-concrete surface with a level of plush compliance utterly unexpected from such an antique machine. like she was starving for fuel.38 mph—fast enough to set a record in the 650cc vintage four-stroke gas class (MVG-650/4).53 mph. before sending countless hours me out for a fourth spent tinkering The real Big Sid story is wonderfully retold in Matrun.” come up with a Matthew meant. My first run started well. a slim justification for the countless hours spent tinkering in the garage. “Phil Irving [the legendary Vincent engineer] told me himself that it mimics the shape of a woman’s breast. smaller-diameter. a performance puzzle. up the 1-mile access road leading to the Monster Mile’s starting line. The high-compression single idled flawlessly and Sid had the big-throated carb fettled to perfection. I suited up and climbed aboard for my first ride. resulting in a top speed of just 98. so topgear performance was essentially untested. The exhaust on the bike. and Tina pulled with authority through the lower gears. delivering perfect throttle response. “Feel familiar?” he asked. with “frameless” construction featuring front and rear subframes bolted directly to the motor and Rube Goldbergian technical solutions like the teeter-totter linkage that operates the dualdrum front brakes. Big Sid was to try a different was glowing. daydreaming about for anyone who appreciates motorcycle culture. a noise so primitive that even the ‘Busa boys looked up from fiddling with their digital boost controls. bigbore bark erupted from the open race pipe. The bike still in the garage.

I was horrified. Nowadays. Besides.com & www. a matching tail lamp and a modest muffler. Sid says) before it was officially retired. But as long as the Vincati and Overtime Tina are out in the garage. Overtime Tina has sprouted a small headlamp taken from a Triumph Trophy. certain that I had just broken some irreplaceable.” his methanol-fueled.“She The Vincent presents interesting and innovative technical details everywhere you look. Big Sid is not done yet. She’s been spotted roaming the streets of Louisville.” he said. in the late 1950s. all over the course of just two days. Sid just laughed it off. it’s not over yet. and forced the pushrod to unseat from the rocker arm. he was more excited than I had seen him all weekend. “Get that sucker up on the workstand. allowed us to experience the full range of emotions that come with land-speed racing. This teeter-totter front brake linkage is a typically clever solution. and lucky for Big Sid. 60-year-old engine internal right in front of Sid’s face. though he did throw a leg over Tina in the staging area at Maxton on Sunday morning—he later emotionally admitted that was the first time in four years he had straddled a motorcycle. he was more excited than I had seen him all weekend. Based on a rare. Big Sid doesn’t ride anymore. This one has been bored from 500 to 600cc is capable of similar performance. even though it wasn’t my fault. the Vincent motor is one of the most beautiful ever made. Sid is certain that Tina Big Sid poses with “The Rattler.” It didn’t take long. This was what he lived for.” In the meantime.” he insisted.” 72 MOTORCYCLIST www. The best Vincent Gray Flashes (the legitimate factory racing singles) are capable of 125 mph. “Tina just told us she was done for the weekend—and that little bitch waited until she was right in front of me to say so. Insufficient clearance between the valve stem and guide had caused the exhaust valve to seize. “Tina taught us not to expect records to come without effort.fantamag.com . with deep cooling fins and voluptuous cases. but Big Sid was unfazed—in fact.” Sid said after the fact. 10-second drag bike.storemags. The Rattler won more than three dozen drag-racing trophies (and countless street races. I was sick to my stomach. “and let’s figure out what’s going on. red-framed Vincent Rapide. “I was horrified that I had broken his motorcycle. He’s going to have to stick around for at least one more year to see Tina run at her full potential. given a properly operating exhaust valve and a bigger carb. but Big Sid was unfazed—in fact. he’s still got a lot to learn. The tight valve also explained the high-rpm power loss we experienced. “You didn’t do anything wrong. Sid now plans to do some additional headwork in preparation for a trip to Bonneville next summer for another record attempt.” The Overtime Tina project started as an attempt to settle some unfinished business. I apologized profusely. Even in single-cylinder configuration. that’s medicine enough. Big Sid can still wrench away on his beloved Vincents to his heart’s content. In seconds Sid had the front valve cap off and we could clearly see the problem. with Matthew in the saddle.

motorcyclistonline. ported heads and other modifications that increase output to around 80 horsepower at the wheel.com 73 www. This was the first of Ducati’s big twins. sweeping roads the Ducati chassis prefers. And as far as Sid’s question about mixing the two machines together? The Vincati is a very satisfactory answer indeed. after 20 years of die-hard Vincent worship. It’s not until you start the motor. the Vincati is almost indistinguishable from a stock Ducati GT. and the only one in North America. he often wondered about a bike that combined the best qualities of both. Since the Vincent engine is roughly the same size and shape as the 90-degree Ducati V-twin. From the saddle. MC “Sid’s is one of just seven Vincatis in existence.” www. and the only one in North America (the other six are all in Australia). 18-inch alloy wheels. with a more comfortable riding position and more stable high-speed handling. and for most of that decade he switched back and forth between the two. when he took his first fateful ride on a Shadow he borrowed from a friend. It came complete with all the necessary bodywork and trim. purchased for $2500 from an aspiring vintage racer. The motor comes from a 1953 Vincent Rapide. with a robust midrange perfectly suited for the fast. Naturally. and the Bibermans have assembled the bike with such careful attention to detail that you would hardly guess this isn’t a factory job.fantamag. Big Sid is a hot-rodder at heart. vibration and sound. chassis by Michelangelo” WORDS: Aaron Frank PHOTO: Bob Clarke ig Sid Biberman has been a Vincent man since 1950.storemags. In the early ’70s. and notice the slight differences in cadence.THE VINCATI “Engine by Shakespeare. along with brand-new. 10:1 pistons. It’s no wonder that both the Vincent and the Ducati 750 GT remain in demand by vintage enthusiasts who actually ride their bikes. The factory Ducati instrumentation and switchgear are retained. The Vincati answers that once-rhetorical question. and the downtubes from the Ducati frame have been cut off to make room. the bike handles nearly the same as well. The Ducati is bigger and roomier than the compact Vincent. The Vincent motor acts as B a stressed member. Sid’s is one of just seven Vincatis in existence.com . On the road. that you realize this isn’t your average 750 GT. Big Sid was similarly smitten with the 1972 Ducati 750 GT.com & www. Soon Sid’s garage housed both a Vincent and a Ducati. and Sid found the idea of a more-modern sporting V-twin understandably appealing. so of course the motor has been massaged with high-compression. The Vincent V-twin is uncommonly smooth-running and quick-revving (especially considering its age!). His started with a 1973 Ducati GT rolling chassis. the Vincati does bring together the best elements of both bikes.

HE’S ALSO ONE OF THE WORLD’S PREEMINENT MOTORCYCLE COLLECTORS 74 MOTORCYCLIST www.COLLECTOR SERIES HERE’S GIANNI! WORDS & PHOTOS: Phil Aynsley GIANCARLO MORBIDELLI NOT ONLY RAN HIS OWN GRAND PRIX TEAM.com .storemags.com & www.fantamag.

And most importantly. a 125cc two-stroke Grand Prix bike. Also here is where the latest Morbidelli creation is taking place: a mind-blowing 750cc V12! Designed to fit in a CBR600RR frame.com & www. production bikes mixed with racing models in an ever-escalating ode to the technological improvement of the motorcycle. This is the “modern” hall. Giancarlo says (via translation). the mighty 850 V8 sport-tourer. set up a factory (MBA) that produced competitive privateer GP bikes in quantity and slowly continued to accumulate motorcycles. As you enter the large. The most recent is a late-’80s Ducati 851 Superbike. The oldest bike on display is a 1906 Swiss Moto Reve. Another 250 await restoration out back. Continuing up the stairs the view is jawdropping.com 75 O www. the bikes are generously spaced. On the right is the last complete bike he built in 1997.” On the reverse is a photo of a ‘70s-era Grand Prix bike. and those of like-minded collectors. It is how it sings!” The man’s passion continues. Something for everyone. modern museum. You don’t see a 1942 vintage. Each bike stands on its own mirrored plinth so you can easily see the bits normally hidden by fairings. n one side of his elegant card it says “Giancarlo Morbidelli—Vintage Motorbike Collector. candle sitting proudly in its headlight nacelle.com . call first). 39 . Although he has done a pretty good job of doing just that with over 250 bikes on display in his museum in Pesaro on Italy’s Adriatic coast. are restored. It is open Saturday afternoons from 2 to 7 (but like all museums in Italy. In between is a smorgasbord of both the everyday and the exotic. you used to see Honda 350 Fours there all the time. A pair of ‘50s vintage GP Mondials have pride of place at the moment. Four main “halls” house the bulk of the collection which is laid out in chronological order.Pesaro.fantamag. which contains everything from pedestrian Honda production bikes to exotic factory Superbikes like Raymond Roche’s Ducati 851. On the left is the first motorcycle Morbidelli built in 1967. At the rear of the building is a smaller room holding all of the Morbidelli racing bikes.storemags. Niches in the walls hold individual motors and other mechanical bits and pieces. so you get an excellent view of each. Clearly there is more to this man than just being a “collector” of old bikes. MC www. this jewel of a motor is due to be completed soon. In the space of those 30 years he made his fortune manufacturing woodworking machinery.motorcyclistonline. also bearing the name Morbidelli. The Morbidelli Museum is located at Via Fermo. “It is not the horsepower that is important. supercharged 250/4 Benelli GP bike on every street corner! On the other hand. Behind the main building is the busy workshop where both Morbidelli’s own bikes.Machines are organized chronologically at the Morbidelli Museum. ran a Grand Prix team that won four world championships using bikes of his own design. this impression is driven home by the two bikes flanking the stairs leading to the viewing area overlooking the collection.

This supercharged 1942 250/4 makes more than 50 horsepower. like Morbidelli based in Pesaro. Morbidelli motorcycles won four 125cc world titles in the ’70s.fantamag. it never saw Grand Prix action. The last Morbidelli motorcycle. it’s an elegant. the 1997 850 V8 sport-tourer.COLLECTOR SERIES Benelli. Featuring a liquid-cooled V8 and Pininfarina styling. Developed during the war. is well represented.storemags. greets visitors at the main entrance. 76 MOTORCYCLIST Book-ending the V8 at the main entrance is the very first Morbidelli produced.com . advanced machine. www. a 125cc two-stroke GP bike from 1967.com & www.

Close-up detail of the DOHC single in a 1954 Mondial 175.motorcyclistonline. helped make Mondial one of the most successful names in racing during the ’50s.com .com & www.storemags. www. among others.com 77 www. Mike Hailwood.fantamag.

78 MOTORCYCLIST Giancarlo Morbidelli poses with a mock-up of his latest engineering project. fifth hall contains Morbidelli’s own motorcycles. Cecil Sandford won the 1952 125cc world championship on a Bialbero Competizione like this. A smaller. Morbidelli produced racebikes through the end of the ’82 season. a 750cc V12 designed to fit in a Honda CBR600RR frame.com . Machines range from 125cc twostroke singles to 500cc two-stroke square fours. www.com & www.storemags.fantamag. He hopes to have a running prototype soon.COLLECTOR SERIES No Italian motorcycle museum is complete without one of Count Domenico Agusta’s amazing machines.

storemags.com .fantamag.com & www.www.

com .www.fantamag.com & www.storemags.

com & www.storemags.com .www.fantamag.

www.com & www.fantamag.com R .storemags.

com & www.www.fantamag.com INK .storemags.

95 from www. STAFFERS’ RIDES PHOTOS: Tim Sutton HONDA CBR600RR-ABS RINGLEADER: Joe Neric MSRP (2009): $11.com & www. I changed a few things to make the two of us more compatible. Being somewhat mechanically reclined. which makes wearing a backpack uncomfortable.powersports. Honda Carbon-Fiber Tank Pad. mostly because it refuses to do anything wrong.honda. The good news is I don’t have to do it again until the odometer rolls over 8000 miles. even if you do have to remove some fairing bits to lay hands on a filter that lives directly above the exhaust headers..499 MILES: 129-2622 AVERAGE FUEL MILEAGE: 41 mpg ACCESSORIES & MODIFICATIONS: Firstgear Silverstone Tail Bag. Fixes and Facts.95.storemags. Meanwhile.techspecusa. Tech Spec Gripster Pads ($44.com) covered the evidence and should prevent further damage…to the tank. Firstgear’s A www. Installation was easy: Heat the surface with a hair dryer.” without a hitch. I mean.fantamag.com . I give up. Those confrontations with my crotch scuffed up the back of the tank a bit. I spilled oil all over them.Tips. mostly because it refuses to do anything wrong.. Changing the engine oil and filter at 600 miles was easy. plus Buyer’s Guide and Expert Q&A from the Industry’s Best DOIN’ TIME A Complete Guide to Living With Your Motorcycle. My 27-mile commute takes 45 minutes to an hour in traffic. We even got through the first bit of scheduled maintenance 84 MOTORCYCLIST “This is the world’s best sportbike. The pads blend nicely with the Honda’s graphics and the shape of its tank. For me. this is the world’s best sportbike.com) keep me from sliding my junk into the fuel tank under hard braking. www. but a genuine Honda Carbon-Fiber Tank Pad ($34. Tweaks. Tech Spec Gripster Pads fter three months and 2600 miles of trying to convince myself that the CBR600RR isn’t that great. plus they’re removable and reusable. peel and stick.

so the bypass valve is less likely y long-term CBR.com .” After some Not wanting to study. Now I have a choice. Honest. we think this HS Performance engine debris close-up. “lifetime” tion and finish (raw billet or black-anodized). M www. depending on applica. The stainless filter flows seven times better than paper. like many 2008 examples. Stay tuned. Even though the bike remains shop rag and blew mega-strong on the it out with comdyno and shows no pressed air. while a ACCESSORIES & MODIFICATIONS: white blood cell measures 25 microns—this HS Performance reusable oil filter is exceptional filtration. with (abnormal). better performance and element offer vastly superior filtration and improved peace of mind provided by the performance compared to a conventional unique view this filter gives you inside paper filter. After removing the filter bike is ridden hard—remains within acceptthe first time.95 firstgear-usa. we placed it over a clean able limits. too. Tech Spec’s Snake Skin grip pads are functional and subtly cool.com & www.piston ring material reusable. Go on a diet. not replace. I dialed up spring preload on the rear shock.000 from www. Honda to allow unfiltered oil to circulate the engine during extreme cold temperatures or highhas advised that consumption— pressure situations. sportbike and most Harley-Davidsons. an extra face shield and even some homework.storemags.hspermiles worth of disposable filters. As it stands. nearly a quart per thousand miles when the It works. so we’re talking rebuild. The element is made from laser-cut. RINGLEADER: Aaron Frank medical-grade stainless-steel micronic cloth MSRP (2008): $11. it allows you to easily inspect your engine. dust. It expands to ingest one large Honeybaked ham or two small cats.No scratches under that trick carbon-fiber tank pad. but the bike still squats. he IDed the dredge dirty drain iridescent powder as pans or hacksaw transmission-derived used oil filters in half. has a thirst for oil. Sure. or find someone to help me find spring and damping rates to match my weight and novice-level skills. It expands to 830 cubic inches to let me haul an extra full-face helmet. but with formanceparts. com) literally takes the load off my back. too. to more accurately lifetime filter is money well spent.com).fantamag. shock spring preload is five clicks stiffer than stock—the ride home wasn’t much fun when I tried six—and the fork’s spring preload adjusters show one line less than when I started.availability for nearly every Japanese and European accomplished. Handy external pockets carry bungee cords on one side and a tire plug kit on the other. Keeping the warning stickers is proof of my immense coolness.motorcyclistonline. then signs of excess wear.599 that captures debris down to 35 microns MILES: 5899-6129 instead of a paper filter’s 95 microns. Not only does this better filtration. marveled at what my I’ve been watching my mechanic Greg Moon waste oil closely for described as “a pile evidence of anything of galactic space untoward. but the coolest features are adjustable dividers to separate sensitive contents. Silverstone Tail Bag ($119. PHOTOS: Gron4 Photography/Jim Moy HONDA CBR1000RR Ditching the backpack in favor of this Firstgear tail bag lets me arrive at any destination less fatigued. (normal) and not I decided to install a Prices range from $139-$154. FineAVERAGE FUEL MILEAGE: 41 mpg grained sand measures 60 microns. monitor conditions inside your engine. Another pocket up front packs a rain cover and shoulder strap for easier handling off the bike. The first line of defense is a superstrength neodymium magnet mounted to the top of the filter body that captures ferrous debris before oil even reaches the filter element. but I don’t what to blow the budget. Mission stainless-steel oil filter from HS Perfor.com 85 www. but not at the same time. That was a step in the right direction. $140 will mance Parts ($140 buy you 40. After noticing a tendency to squat under acceleration with the factory suspension settings. in other words. Unzipping the flap reveals 100 cubic inches of cargo room—enough to swallow my lunch. Guess which one I’m going with… Aftermarket suspension of some sort is next on my shopping list.

Compare that to a stock SV650’s 67-horsepower run on the same dyno. heavier than the last SV650 Motorcyclist tested. the fully gassed. Midway through our first song. the middleweight V-twin was remanded to Hyosung of New Jersey in Metuchen.fantamag. and 2) put an untested Asian brand’s wares through the ringer while objectively reporting on how it fared in our not-so-delicate hands. MC N www. Unfortunately. Being that Hyosungs don’t enjoy the same sort of aftermarket support as their Japanese counterparts. During our initial 1062-mile dance. front/241 lbs. Brake pads and lines will assuredly do the trick for the former. With the critical figures generated.” any weird peccadillos.2 horsepower at 9000 rpm and 42. finding bikespecific parts will be a challenge. more cheap-and-dirty HYOSUNG GT650R RINGLEADER: Eric Putter MSRP (2009): $6099 MILES: 151-1213 AVERAGE FUEL MILEAGE: 44 mpg ACCESSORIES & MODIFICATIONS: Warning label removal ever one to discriminate against bikes (or babes) based on their country of origin. Armed with a clean bill of health. That’s a full 44 lbs.com & www. I’m going to live with this sexy Korean for a year. For comparison’s sake. its valve covers every 6000 clicks (3728 miles). Stay tuned. while a set of antivibe bar ends will likely cure the latter. rear). Other than a faulty brake lever adjustment wheel.3 lb. At 912 miles. a well-dressed mechanic reported that all eight valves were well within spec and nothing else needed more than a furtive glance. oil and filter change and valve inspection.com . where it made 64. slap my face or step on my toes too hard. but we’ll search far and wide for suspension. don’t laugh—this is serious business. the newly fuel-injected GT650R proved to be a friendly partner that doesn’t do anything untoward when gently manhandled. Moving forward. going forward. Hey. Suzuki lets the SV650’s valve train bang around for 15. minimally biased toward the rear end (232 lbs. Three hours and $288 later. the GT didn’t exhibit 86 MOTORCYCLIST “Other than a faulty brake lever adjustment wheel.storemags. of torque at 7500 rpm. the GT’s maintenance schedule calls for a peek under fixes will be thrown at the GT in search of its missing mojo. Weighed on DeMan Motorsports’ ultraaccurate racecar scales. after blowing 50 percent past the deadline for its 1000-kilometer (621-mile) break-in service.-ft. cost-effective fixes. slap my face or step on my toes too hard.DOIN’ TIME The GT’s two-piston calipers and 300mm discs look better than they work. the GT was strapped to the Ivan’s Performance dyno. ready-to-ride GT rolled in at 473 pounds. In the coming months. initial fixes on the agenda include getting the front stoppers to stop and the engine vibes to stop vibing.000 miles before a preliminary inspection. the GT didn’t exhibit any weird peccadillos. Bringing the brakes up to par is one of the first items on the ’Sung’s To-Do List. it got the full spa treatment. we’ll see if Hyosung’s vigilance is warranted. The mission of this long-term evaluation is twofold: 1) Bring the GT650R’s performance closer to that of an SV650 with relatively inexpensive. motor and ergonomic possibilities.

www.com .storemags.com & www.fantamag.

No need to exceed 9000 on the street. with a full 4. Plus. That steering damper goes south over time. missing fasteners. especially on weathered example of the breed. but for the Suzuki GSX-R1000. Damping disappears from the stock shock in a few thousand miles. the foundation for two AMA VALUE Superbike titles is 2003 | $5875 still a super bike. lighter. obliging chassis with indicator. wise. longer swingarm. GSX-R holds up well over time.fantamag. plus top-shelf Öhlins suspension and ultralight Marchesini Corse wheels and a selection of racy carbonfiber lingerie. 2004 | $6335 MC DUCATI 998R 2002 | $13. Beyond brick wall brakes. Massimo Bordi’s 916 came with the latest 999cc Testastretta twin and upwards of 140 horsepower. where a handful of throttle punts you from 60 to 80 mph in just under three seconds. seven AMA Superbike titles in the last seven years is a pretty good start. rough idle. but the big GSX-R inhales a quarter mile in about 10. Slip into top gear and vibration is minimal on the freeway. The 144-horsepower weapon was the literclass force to be reckoned with.7 gallons of super unleaded—enough to put 190 miles between fuel stops—the ’03 flicks into tight bends with a minimal effort and carves fast ones on the proverbial rails. They shouldn’t have worried. stripped or over time. YAMAHA YZF-R1 2002 | $5975 Yamaha’s first major redesign of the 1998 original gained more precise road manners from a stiffer third-generation Deltabox aluminum chassis and stiffer springs at both ends. But Suzuki needed something new to accommodate ’03 AMA and World Superbike rules that would allow 1000cc fours.0 seconds at 140 mph if you do. Steering is lighter than the ’01.SMART MONEY WORDS: Tim Carrithers PHOTO: Suzuki ALSO SMART 2003-2004 SUZUKI GSX-R1000 acing success isn’t the only measure of sporting supremacy. Gold anodizing often peels off the fork tubes. oil/coolant leaks VERDICT or concealed crash The former Superbike king is damage. especially if you’re tall. Fresh software and hard parts let 988cc four rev quicker than its predecessor with more power from the bottom up and dead-accurate fuel delivery. The whole package 88 MOTORCYCLIST HONDA RC51 2002 | $6270 The basis for Nicky Hayden’s ’02 AMA Superbike title came with a new frame. spent steering damper. Radial-mount Tokico four-piston calipers are light-years ahead of the fade-prone six-pot bits of ’02. of aftermarket bits. that. but humane ergonomics and superior wind protection make it a whole lot more comfortable on all-day rides.com . Imprecise throttle response is often traceable CHEERS to a maladjusted Hall of Fame horsepower in throttle position a stiff. www. At 444 lbs. A loose headlight assembly usually means broken mounting tabs. Serious business begins at 6000 rpm. R feels bulky compared to an ’09. giving you inconsistent feedback through a set of bends. Putting 152 horses in a more responsive package. watch for the JEERS usual evidence Rougher ’round the edges of ill treatment: than an ’03 R1. Otherstill a stellar street bike. WATCH FOR shoddy installation Shagged clutch.com & www. the second-generation GSX-R1000 crushed all comers.storemags. If it’s sloppy. bumping Yamaha’s 130-horse R1 into second place in its freshman year. noisy or grabby. Aside from a few minor issues.125 The last. Take a close look at the DLC coating on the sliders as well. slipping. Suction-piston throttle-bodies give the R1’s fuel-injection supremely linear feel. look elsewhere or factor in the price of a more durable aftermarket alternative. The stock clutch is fragile. but still relatively heavy…like the rest of the bike. more compliant suspension and enormous 62mm throttle-bodies. Shock fades loose. Yamaha’s fuel-injected ’02 R1 made the factory nervous. best iteration of Ing.

com .storemags.www.fantamag.com & www.

The iridiumenhanced electrode also resists erosion better than standard materials. but what about the rest of us? This month’s GEAR is dedicated to sensible stuff to actually improve your ride without breaking the bank.fantamag. Galfer’s brake pads run the gamut from everyday street pads like the G1054s (starting at $58 a set) to the recently released G1003 race pads that have been used by the likes of Mat Mladin and Ben Spies.5 percent of its 60 psi maximum. www.galferusa. feel. Ride something peculiar? Traxxion will wind you your own custom springs for a nominal fee.storemags.95 Fuelpak from racing legend Vance & Hines provides your FI bike with the optimum fuel/air ratio for precise throttle response and maximum power.95 and include spacer material and installation instructions. www.com Galfer Braking Components Upgrading your braking package is an easy way to increase your bike’s performance. Upgrades don’t get much easier.com Vance & Hines Fuelpak To many motorcyclists’ chagrin.com 90 MOTORCYCLIST Autolite Xtreme Sport Iridium Spark Plugs Time to replace your spark plugs? Deposits and deterioration can slow spark formation and keep your engine from performing at its best. Autolite’s new Xtreme Sport plugs are engineered with a tapered iridium-coated center electrode for a more focused spark and better ignition – an easy way to get more muscle and miles per gallon. Motion Pro’s professional-grade tire gauge is a worthwhile upgrade. so your plugs will last longer.95 a piece.WORDS: Ari Henning GEAR F EASY UPGRADES Simple stuff to make your bike better. An integrated pressure relief valve makes easy work of dropping tire pressures for time on the track. Kits cost $109.95.fuelpakfi. www. Galfer stainless steel brake lines feature 64-count braiding and a PVC coating in your choice of 10 colors for about $90 a set. enter the settings. and come with banjo bolts and crush washers for quick and easy installation. Set-up is simple: plug the unit in. odds are your bike’s OE springs aren’t the ideal rate. The plugs retail for $9. sport bikes are tuned as much for emissions as for power. Programmed settings are the result of extensive dyno and road testing.rkexcelamerica. At $92. and safety.traxxion. Its large liquid-filled face reads in 1 psi increments and is accurate to within 1. www.com & www.com . Traxxion Dynamics Fork Springs Unless you’re a jockey. No computer or dyno runs needed. Traxxion Dynamics straight-rate fork spring kits are available for all popular motorcycles and are manufactured from lightweight chrome-silicon steel that’s guaranteed for life to be within 2% of the claimed rate. www. select your bike and any applicable modifications. Crummy pencil gauges and crummier gas station varieties offer rough approximations at best.com Motion Pro Tire Gauge Inflating your motorcycle’s tires to the proper pressure is as important as making sure there’s oil in your engine. and hit the road. Thankfully. orged magnesium wheels.com www.motionpro. Hoses are made on-bike with pre-positioned fittings. big bore kits and carbon fiber bodywork are fantastic upgrades for the independently wealthy. better handling is just a spring swap away. The $279.

the GP PRO slip-on is TIG welded in typical Italian style and is supported by a beautiful carbon fiber bracket.com . the $519 GP PRO is said to increase power and torque by up to 5% across the board. black. The removable dB killer insert cuts the exhaust volume without squashing its character.leovince. German engineered and beautifully machined from billet aluminum. and Driven Racing has everything you need to upgrade your drive train. Lighter. www. but a Corsa screen from Zero Gravity sure will make your bike look faster. www. Built with experience garnered from years of racing. keeping you and the neighbors happy.com Zero Gravity Corsa Screen It may not be a direct performance upgrade for street riders. Superior clarity. and their hardanodized aluminum rears start at $55.gillestooling.fantamag. the Corsa screen has a steeply tapered shape that provides excellent aerodynamics and a distinctly MotoGP appearance.com Gilles Tooling X-Treme Levers Professional racers know the importance of an ergonomically correct cockpit. relaxed riding.motorcyclistonline.storemags. green. and can shave over a pound off your rear wheel compared to the stock steel ring. X-Treme levers are available in several ergonomic variations and anodized colors for $189. excellent fit. That’s why so many choose Gilles Tooling X-Treme levers. The Corsa is available for late-model sport bikes for under $100. the Gilles levers feature a compact adjustment wheel and an integrated hinge that reduces the potential for breakage in the event of a crash.Driven Sprockets Changing your bike’s gearing is the easiest way to improve performance. Properly adjusted hand controls yield better feel for more precise.com & www.com 91 www.com Leo Vince GP PRO Slip-On Bin that boat-anchor of a stock exhaust can and strap on one of these MotoGP-inspired slip-ons from Leo Vince. Rear cogs are available in gold. and superb strength and flexibility make the Corsa a favorite with racers at all levels. and chrome.com www. and the X-Treme levers offer up to 50 adjustments. www. www. and tuned for power. Bolting on a larger rear cog or smaller countershaft sprocket (or some combination thereof) will improve acceleration and lets you set your bike’s gearing for the roads you ride most. louder. Made from the finest grade acrylic plastic.drivenracing.95. blue. Driven’s case-hardened steel front sprockets start at $24. red.zerogravity-racing.

reshaped cheek pads extend further forward to wrap around the chin. Inside the helmet. With the RF-1100 there’s no questioning whether the chin vent is open or closed. no-fuss shield changes. which actively pull the shield against the new eye port beading to insure a precise. and you can’t beat that new-helmet smell. tight seal every time you close the visor. A more aerodynamic shell and revamped cheek pads help make the RF-1100 one of the quietest helmets I’ve worn.99-$499. Changing the visor is the same 5-second procedure it was on the previous model. As with Shoei’s Hornet dual-sport helmet. but the tabs require frequent lubrication and have a tendency to pop off their rails if neglected. I love the way it cuts silently through the air. reducing turbulence and blocking road noise. A forceful stream of air cools the wearer’s brow and leaves no doubt. It’s more like ram-air for your head.fantamag. Despite the small drawbacks. and their independent functionality allows you to tailor airflow to suit your preferences. Shoei says the RF-1100 improves on comfort. great venting and stunning good looks make it one of the best all-around lids available. noise. A dab of superglue remedies the problem but annuls the removability of the liner. www. The shield is held in place by Shoei’s new spring-loaded QRSA (Quick-Release Self-Adjusting) base plates. Ahhh. The RF-1000’s excellent fit.com VERDICT A step above its predecessor in nearly all respects. and the venting is the best out there. Venting is too passive a word for what the RF-1100 does. but the larger eye port improves peripheral vision and provides a better line of sight when looking through tight turns.com & www. the snaps that hold the liner in place are weak and the back of the liner has started to come loose when I pull the helmet on.99 CONTACT: Shoei Helmets www.shoei-helmets. The large tabs are easy to operate with a gloved hand. and the handy shield preset lever is retained.MC TESTED A new tighter-fitting visor increases the peace even further. The RF-1100 is available in your typical pallet of solid colors. as well as metallics and an arresting assortment of tasteful graphics. A fully removable liner makes keeping things fresh that much 92 MOTORCYCLIST W easier. That may sound nominal. Could Shoei really improve on something so good? My trepidation dissipated the moment I slipped the new RF-1100 onto my head.com . Shoei uses a new forming technology to integrate the rear spoiler into the shell for smoother lines and better aerodynamics. The RF-1100’s new CW-1 shield is about 5mm taller and extends further toward the temples. which not only makes things quieter but reduces head buffeting and resistance to directional changes. SHOEI RF-1100 HELMET WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTOS: Shoei hen I heard Shoei was replacing the RF-1000. and the Snell 2010-compliant design means more shell sizes for better fit and protection. After over 4000 miles of one-on-one time with the RF-1100. my first instinct was to stockpile the lids to hold me over for the next decade.storemags. SHOEI RF-1100 PRICE: $399. the RF-1100 is an instant winner and a worthy replacement for the do-it-all RF-1000. aerodynamics and venting. I’m pretty pleased with Shoei’s latest street offering. the 1100’s fit is just as superb as its predecessor.

but the riding public sure digs having the ability to cloak their bikes in factory livery. Not only do the SP-1s look good and fit great. Next up was a high-speed low-side that sent me body-surfing down 50 feet of wet pavement. D array of aftermarket bodywork kits. you can’t complain. call me Michael Rutter.motorcyclistonline.ebay. But at $369 for a full fairing and painted seat unit. Granted. but they did their job and saved my hands from harm. so the seams are tough. but that tumbling crash didn’t test the durability of the suspiciously supple leather. MC ALPINESTARS SP-1 GLOVE WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTO: Joe Neric ven if it’s just a minor tip-over.95 CONTACT: Alpinestars www.com . When I first pulled these gloves on a year ago they felt a little tight. To see whether Mr. the bodywork is amazingly affordable. yet my hands were fine. www. Waiting for the crash truck.com & www. with graphics so detailed and well-executed the kits seem too good to be true. A solution can be found at the Internet auction house eBay. I noted with satisfaction that my SP-1s were soggy and battered but still intact.stores. decorated in the oddball green-on-greenon-red livery of the Stobart Motorsports British Superbike team. The easiest way to avoid the dreaded meaty paw is to don a set of quality mitts. but within a week they’d broken in and that snug fit now equates to excellent control feel.alpinestarts.storemags. racer-replica sportbikes. Scuffs on all sides of both gloves and gouges in the armor attest to the violence of the incident. A beautifully constructed. Ready-made kits abound to make your Kawasaki ZX-6R a Kevin Schwantz-era Lucky Strike Grand Prix and wrist cinch for added security. manufacturers haven’t quenched the public’s thirst for motorcycles that look like the Pros’ rides. with a full gauntlet www. and mounted to the 996 using the stock hardware after drilling just a few holes. they’re functional.com/bliss-star VERDICT An inexpensive way to look like Hayden or Rossi—even if you only ride to the local Hooters. I threw him a curveball by ordering a custom set of bodywork for my 2000 Ducati 996. A series of cartwheels after a racing high-side let me test their impact protection. too. I shudder to think what the world’s copyright lawyers think of Bliss-Star’s work. I couldn’t ask for more.com 93 E The SP-1s orbit in the upper strata of A-Star’s Performance Riding category. but the bodywork arrived looking superb. ALPINESTARS SP-1 GLOVE PRICE: $119.fantamag. Well. After two crashes the SP-1s have some stressed seams and torn-up palms.com VERDICT All the protection you could want without delving into the webbed-finger territory of full-race mitts. and Alpinestars has over two dozen models to choose from. BLISS-STAR BODYWORK PRICE: $369 CONTACT: Bliss-Star www. and some minor modification was required to get a proper fit (mounting lugs for the taillight were absent. Like most products manufactured by off-shore Internet suppliers. full-leather carcass plays host to carbon-fiber knuckle and finger armor. requiring a bracket to be fabricated). the plastic resin is not as tough as stock bodywork. where Hong Kong-based Bliss-Star offers a truly dizzying replica or turn an ordinary Honda CBR into Troy Bayliss’ Infostrada SBK winner.BLISS-STAR SPORTBIKE BODYWORK WORDS: Mike Seate PHOTO: Raymond Bradlau espite the showroom success of limited-edition. odds are your hands are going to suffer. Okay. and feature all the bells and whistles you need in a sport/track glove. Keung could live up to his word.

hands-on experience and loads of track time.” The curriculum is designed to teach riders the skills and give them the confidence to tune their own suspension. To appreciate what that means. The real meat of the school is the track time. students are introduced to suspension theory and mechanics and taught a methodical. so make sure you have the needed tools packed in your tool box. Unlike the engine’s explicit tolerances and torque specifications. and it’s easy to feel nervous about messing with those mysterious anodized knobs and screws. Like any back-to-school experience. In fact. It accomplishes these goals through in-depth discussions. It just takes experience. WERA and AMA racers and also contributes to the On the Throttle video series. We start with the basics: For session one. homework involved. about 30 minutes of track time.com . in conjunction with a Trackside Services (www. suspension setup and adjustment is a scientific and systematic procedure. CATALYST REACTION SUSPENSION TUNING SCHOOL Shedding some light on the black art of suspension tuning WORDS: Ari Henning PHOTOS: Dito Milan/Got Blue Milk here are riders who are perfectly comfortable delving into their bike’s engine. students enter the hot pit and crank the knobs in one-third turn increments. there’s some It’s easy to say too little spring preload in the fork will cause excessive front-end dive when braking. Sessions begin with an explanation of the design and function of the component being studied. 94 MOTORCYCLIST T ”Tips are doled out and the terminology is introduced. it’s the fork cap and spring. or that too much shock rebound will make the bike wallow mid-corner. Students should review their owner’s manual and get familiar with their motorcycle’s suspension and determine the adjustment range. After a few warm-up laps.com) track day.storemags.Dave Moss has been racing and tuning for over a decade. And don’t forget to reset the adjusters once you’ve counted the clicks or turns! Under the tutelage of CRST owner Dave Moss. always moving from softest to hardest. but that’s where this hands-on school departs from your typical suspension seminar. but that’s where this hands-on school departs from your typical suspension seminar. and then a 10.fantamag. You can get that experience at the Catalyst Reaction Suspension Tuning School.to 15-minute debriefing. With the vitals in hand. tuning the suspension is largely subjective. Dave instructs us to www. systematic approach to tuning that is immediately put to use on the track. Moss explains the mechanics and theory behind the parts and how it influences the ride. You’ll be twiddling your own dials during your track sessions. The syllabus consists of six sessions dedicated to covering the primary variables of suspension: spring preload. trackside-signmeup. you have to experience it. Each session is broken down into 10 minutes of theory discussion. He tunes for AFM. But there’s nothing mysterious about suspension tuning. compression and rebound damping. The one-day school I attended was held at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows. yet are apprehensive about pointing a screwdriver at the fork’s damping adjusters. California.com & www. Troubleshooting tips are doled out and the relevant terminology is introduced. and there’s no reason you can’t learn to do it yourself.

it’s time to see how they perform as Trackside Services run an open format with no groups or time limits. students get a feel for the adjustments’ influence and get something tangible on which to hang the handling descriptions.storemags.feelthetrack.com & www. By systematically moving through the adjustment range one area at a time.Do I look awkward? I should. and spent the free sessions hauling the mail on Thunderhill’s newly repaved surface.motorcyclistonline. But that’s an important part of the learning experience and the reason it’s critical to do this stuff in the right environment. Moss has a half-dozen Thunderhill schools planned for next year. “seeing the riders become familiar with the feel of the suspension and gaining the vocabulary to describe it. Proper terminology is encouraged and errant language corrected. Sometimes the shoddy setups we toyed with messed things up so badly that they made the laps uncomfortable and even a little scary.com) often as the program is likely to go national. which contribute to a relaxed. and how it changes handling. which aids in a comprehensive understanding of how the components work. be consistent and only ride at 80 percent. Back in the classroom. but as the day progresses comments grow more concise as we begin to understand what the bike is doing and why. you need the free mental RAM to monitor the bike’s behavior and analyze the changes you are making. which setting worked best and why. At the end of the day. low-stress experience. MC www. You intentionally touch the limits in order to feel what too much of this or too little of that feels like. there’s time for reflection and note-taking before a discussion regarding how the changes affected the chassis. but experiencing what the wrong setup feels like is an important step in reaching the ideal one.” Under Moss’ guidance and with lots of seat time and reflection. Moss is an affable and patient instructor (he did time as a school teacher in England) and elicits thoughtful responses from the riders regarding what they felt.fantamag. riders arrive at an optimum suspension setup. which is a better value than night classes at your local city college. a whole. and if something feels amiss. Many of the laps were ridden with far from ideal setups. discussion which is the last critical step in cementing understanding. Looking to get a handle on your bike’s suspension? Tuition to the CRST School costs $295 ($215 for the track day plus $80 for the school).com 95 www.” Moss says. with detailed notes on how they got there. there’s still time to test and tune. but check his website (www. You’ve got several free sessions to find out. “That’s the beauty of the school.com . After the first session students scribble wildly in their work books. Most students were impressed with how dialed their bikes felt.Master tune Moss is always close at hand should you have a question. and everyone must take part in the debriefing Get oily! Students examine the fork and shock internals as part of the classroom sessions.

and if you’re still pale and shivering. Rolling up the ramp that leads to work.6 to something below 95 degrees. That nifty thermometer you got for Christmas read 30 degrees when the garage door went up. Know your enemy. Segue to a warm bathtub or shower stall if that doesn’t work. even inside decent boots and gloves. dopey and grumpy arrive. Chilly in the driveway can literally translate to freezing at 70 mph. What’s up with that? 96 MOTORCYCLIST I For starters. including an unexpected monsoon.com & www. 30 degrees in still air is equivalent to 10 degrees at 60 mph. according to the Mayo Clinic. Warm food and drink at the first likely place is usually all it takes. so start with a good breakfast. but caffeine confounds the process so skip the French roast. Wool or silk are solid natural alternatives to cotton socks and drawers that trap moisture against your skin for hours. but the sun is out. you’re sleepy. A microfleece jacket on top of that will keep in heat while helping to dissipate moisture from below. But a breathable laminate fabric like Gore-Tex Windstopper keeps wind out as well.When the dash says 32° Fahrenheit in the driveway. Leather provides better pavement protection than anything else. grumpy and dopey and you’ll meet oblivious. No Pop Tarts. www. Slurred words or blue skin mean the doctor should see you now. According to the handy-dandy National Weather Service windchill chart. Numb toes and fingertips are nothing new. Despite a full eight hours of sack time. Cue up an online weather report for the route du jour. and dress accordingly. call the doctor. cranky and mildly dopey. so choose wisely. Slip an electric vest underneath to keep your core temperature up on long. frigid rides. letting you peel off what you don’t need down the road. That. but fends off wind better than water. but three ramps later you can’t stop shivering. After four or five more—can’t recall exactly how many—it feels like somebody brewed a pot of decaf instead of the good stuff. exposed skin is 30 minutes away from a case of frostbite. Ignore sleepy. High-end textiles come together in garments that are ready for just about anything. the wind is pulling heat out of your body faster than your body can pump it in. keep your brain engaged at all times and you’re ready to roll.storemags.com . Add an electric vest to your proven winter ensemble or take the car. At that rate. prevention is better than any cure. The sleepy/grumpy/dopey syndrome is more than 43 percent of the seven dwarfs. Multiple layers work best. something or someone warm before sleepy. And take the next ramp toward somewhere. MC COLD CASE Survival 101 for the shrewd winter warrior WORDS & PHOTOS: Tim Carrithers t’s cold. is when body temperature drops from the usual 98. but easily reversible as long as you know what to do when. unconscious and your maker in roughly that order. It’s your body’s way of trying to warm up. it’s a whole lot colder than that at 60 mph. skies are blue and all is well. But as with most painful experiences. otherwise known as the early stages of hypothermia. Now things are getting a little weird. Maybe less. Just make sure everything fits well enough to let you move around on the motorcycle. Your outer layer is the first line of defense against weather as well as impact and abrasion.fantamag. Start with something thin against your skin to trap heat and wick sweat away to evaporate in the outer layers: form-fitting long undies made from hightech synthetics like Patagonia’s Capaline or Polartech Power Dry. Your metabolic furnace needs fuel. which is the key to keeping body heat in. It’s an insidious process. Add insulated gloves and boots for those sensitive extremities. you’re looking at well below freezing on the freeway.

I’m planning to use up a three-month tourist visa. Starting at $797 for the one-piece model. Vanson leather jacket (with no armor or padding). take some tubes along. although German. That may or may not be feasible if your work environment is a privacy-free cube farm. seeking expert advice is the best way to stay out of trouble. The bike will be outfitted here and shipped ahead of me since there’s no way I’m riding all the way to Africa. so any resources or missioncritical information you can pass along would be great.” www. or I can get a suit to wear on top of my regular clothes.bestrestproducts. get a set of Continental TKC-80 dual-sport tires and carry a tubeless tire repair kit and a portable air pump. The Brandberg. it sounds like you’ve found it. I have a stock 2006 BMW R1200GS and a standing invitation to come visit. Aerostich offers various custom tailoring options.motorcyclistonline. I have about 10 years of riding experience. Minnesota. I’m sure that you will too. it’s not cheap. If you’re going to be especially venturesome. along with a story or two of how it spared them from grievous bodily harm. Fish River Canyon and Fort Sesfontein. so time won’t be a problem. Most of it that’s accessible by motorcycle is paved. “C” roads are usually gravel with occasional patches of sand and are usually in reasonable condition. There are other areas of Namibia that offer a more interesting visit: the giant sand dunes at Sossusvlei.com . Afrikaans and Oshiwambo are more common in some areas. but think it through and ask the powers that be. slip an Aerostich Roadcrafter suit (www. But since Africa holds more potential menace for the unwary and the dim than. Could you recommend a set of riding gear for a non-racer who commutes and seeks greater protection? Vic Anand Lansing. clean and very hospitable country. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Although there are speed limits. There are no four-lane highways. but it’s very isolated. It’s not necessary to make special modifications to your GS.storemags. BMW ANSWERS ESCAPE 2 AFRICA After losing my job to the worldwide monetary meltdown back in August. Corby Southfield. Otherwise.WORDS: Tim Carrithers PHOTOS: Ron Ayres. “Recommended reading? Pick up a copy of The Lonely Planet Guide to Namibia for all the information you’ll need on the history of the country and a description of the most interesting sites. unless you’re passing through the infrequent town or village.ronayres. modifications or additions to the BMW tool kit are essential for exploring the Skeleton Coast? There are lots of things to learn and I don’t expect to learn them all here.com) over your normal business duds. The few “B” roads are well-maintained two-lane highways. The more numerous “D” roads are always dirt or gravel and the condition ranges from passable to something suitable only for 4x4s: GS Heaven. jeans. Accommodations and such are gratis. The food is great. In this case. our elected authority is Ron Ayres of Ron Ayres Adventures (www. The GS and I have a fair bit of mileage under our belts onand off-road. along with a list of other extracost options that make it fit the ride as well as the rider.com 97 Q If there is an upside to being abruptly unemployed. I mainly use my motorcycle to commute to work and it appears that I have two clothing options: I can either get riding clothes like those in Alpinestars’ city collection that look like normal clothes. They have plenty of everything.aerostich. Advice? Am I crazy? Recommended reading? What accessories. It’s the country’s official language. My wife Barb and I have been riding in Namibia regularly for more than 10 years and have traveled through most of the country on various GS models. I have been looking at riding apparel lately and would like to upgrade my outfit to one that contains more protection. so money shouldn’t be either. Am I missing another option? There appears to be a bewildering array of different items from many manufacturers. you’re not crazy. There is only one BMW motorcycle dealer in the country. the people are friendly and English is widely spoken. Namibia is a great place to enjoy A your GS. but neither is a trip to the emergency ward. including a guesthouse in Windhoek just waiting for me. along with recommendations for reasonably priced accommodations and meals. I have some savings stashed. The Skeleton Coast is a worthwhile ride.com). but it’s a good one. Unlike most off-therack alternatives. Everybody who rides to work in this office has one. I’m taking a break from the progressively depressing process of looking for a new one to visit friends in Namibia later this year. Plus. you can drive at whatever speed you feel comfortable without fear of being ticketed. say. send it back and they can fix it. I envy you! Namibia is a safe. but it’s not nearly as daunting as the name suggests. NY There’s at least one more option that works around our offices: Stash a set of work clothes near your desk and show up early enough to do a quick wardrobe change. the company is in Duluth. world-class professional tour guide since 1999. com). located in Windhoek (pronounced ‘vind-hook’).COM STREET CLOTHES I am 35 years old and ride a new Kawasaki Ninja 250. to name a few. but we’ve never taken on a mission like this. If you intend to spend a lot of time exploring the “D” roads.fantamag. My riding outfit consists of a full-face helmet. Here’s his advice… “No.com & www. MC www. The armor alone will make a huge difference in the event of a tip-over. We love the place. MI GOT A QUESTION FOR ANSWERS? SEND IT TO MCMAIL@SORC. George E. with equipment needed to break down the tire. so if you’re unlucky enough to scuff up your suit. I carry the BeadBrakR and Cycle Pump from Best Rest Products (www. Alpinestars Gore-Tex boots and gloves. I’m just getting started.

NBC RATINGS DEATH-SPIRAL SIRES MAN-BEAST REALITY SHOW WORDS: Jeff Karr PHOTO: Keith May URBANK. Issue 1355 • Copyright 2010 by Source Interlink Magazines. Feb. CA 90245. 1963). • CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Six weeks’ notice is required to change a subscriber’s address. you can bet the Motorcyclist staff will be front and center on the sofa. Spearheading the planned NBC comeback is the innovative Then Came Bigfoot. We shall see… One thing is for sure: When Then Came Bigfoot premieres at 8 PM on May 21st. Stir in the achingly repressed sexuality of I Dream Of Jeannie (NBC.. payment will be made at our current rate. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. be accompanied by return postage and we assume no responsibility for loss or damage thereto. • POSTMASTER: . inquiries. Pitt. funds (price includes surface mail postage and GST—Reg. NY 10016. And if Then Came Bigfoot sucks.• CONTRIBUTIONS: Should be mailed to 831 S. address. FL 32142-0235. P Box 420235. 872093125RT0001).S. Please send address changes to Motorcyclist..com . drawings.O. pick up their Pringles and “set a spell” with Then Came Bigfoot? Just how low are our standards? Star power just may be the key. Please give both old and new addresses and label. For subscription information call 800-800-7433 or 386-447-6318 (internationally) or write to Motorcyclist. Calif. 2004) and you’ve got Then Came Bigfoot. 1965). Periodicals postage paid at New York. battling a viewer ratings avalanche that threatens to land the once-great network somewhere south of HGTV. FPO and U. Plot? Who needs a plot with costumes like this? But will couch-bound America drop their remotes. monkey dung-flinging chaos of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom (NBC. The act of mailing a manuscript and/or material shall constitute an express warranty by the contributor that the material is original and in no way an infringement upon the rights of others. 98 MOTORCYCLIST www.com. P Box 420235.S. and phone number on any . All rights reserved. ON N6C 6B2 Canada. sprinkle it liberally with the sweaty determina- B tion of The Biggest Loser (NBC. FL 32142-0235. MC MOTORCYCLIST © (ISSN 0027-2205) FEBRUARY 2010. 5th Flr. P Box 25542.fantamag. New York.O. which shall be considered as text. Possessions . Clooney and Hasselhoff have been mentioned (though not in relation to this project). Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International. LLC. which covers the author’s and/or contributor’s right. 40612608. Mail to Motorcyclist. Palm Coast.com & www. Subscription rates for one year (12 issues): U. NY. and at additional mailing offices. Palm Coast. 1969) with the raw. Heston. charts and designs. Any material accepted is subject to such revision as is necessary in our sole discretion to meet the requirements of this publication. Please include name. No. Douglas St. Upon publication.S.. circa 1977)—this daring mash-up is said to blend the wistful on-theroad ennui of Then Came Bronson (NBC. All other countries $42 U. Published monthly by Source Interlink Media.O. Palm Coast. we can always bail out and make fun of American Chopper on the DVR. 1—Struggling giant NBC. Canada $30 U.S. LLC. $18. FL 32142-0235 or e-mail motorcyclist@emailcustomerservice.O.storemags. title and interest in and to the material mailed including but not limited to photos. APO. mean streets of the San Fernando Valley—made famous on the classic CHiPs (NBC.. funds per year. El Segundo. Names like Shatner. P Box 420235. London. They must . 261 Madison Avenue. Set on the gritty. has been forced to amp-up its offerings for the traditionally sleepy summer rerun season.

com . For an instant quote. We offer things your homeowners or auto insurance carrier might not provide – extras like diminishing deductibles and replacement cost coverage. we’ve got your back – and it’s covered with over 35 years of expertise in powersports insurance. talk to one of us at 1-800-236-2453 or visit markelinsuresfun. We are who we insure.storemags.fantamag.com & www. Markel associates are riders like you ZKRVKDUH\RXUSDVVLRQDQGNQRZKRZWRSURWHFWLW:HKDYHÀUVWKDQG knowledge of what should be covered when insuring your bike and the accessories that make it your own.com/mm Tom Conroy Marine Director MARKEL AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY www. At Markel.RIDERS LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER.

fantamag. See your local Ducati dealer today.995.com .storemags.com Recommended www.com & www. the 796 will ride the common ground between manners and madness by mixing Ducati’s unrivalled twin-cylinder power and sportbike heredity with the lightweight and minimalist supermotard concept. www.only $9.Ducati Hypermotard 796: The new way to go Hyper Whether it’s working the daily commute or attacking the open roads. The Ducati Hypermotard 796 .ducatiusa.

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