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COMPARO: MOTO GUZZI MGX-21 VS. VICTORY MAGNUM X-1

BMW G310R

FIRST RIDE

AMERICA’S LEADING MOTORCYCLE MAGAZINE

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YAMAHA DT-07 STREET TRACKER!

MARCH 2017 CYCLEWORLD.COM

THE CUSTOM FZ-07 WE ALL NEED YAMAHA, BUILD THIS BIKE!

PLUS: AARON COLTON’S STUNT VICTORY OCTANE


THE ALL-NEW MILWAUKEE-EIGHT™ ENGINE Ride farther, harder and longer, and get more out of every mile. This is the heart of our 2017 touring line, built with more torque and passing power.* FEEL THE DIFFERENCE – SCHEDULE A TEST RIDE TODAY AT H-D.COM/TESTRIDE *Compared with original equipment 2016 Touring models. ©2016 H-D or its Affiliates. H-D, Harley, Harley-Davidson and the Bar & Shield Logo are among the trademarks of H-D U.S.A., LLC.


MARCH 2017 28. DT-07 STREET TRACKER From concept bike to inspiration piece By Bradley Adams 34. ZAETA 530 SE A street-legal Italian tracker for the tough ones By Bradley Adams 36. 93 OCTANE Aaron Colton’s custom Octane is the sporty Victory we wanted By Sean MacDonald 48. 2018 BMW G310R BMW’s dramatic entrance into the entry-level category By Don Canet Bikes that move your soul

52. 2017 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R A more sophisticated beast By Bradley Adams 58. 2017 TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE BOBBER Custom looks, sans headache By Sean MacDonald IGNITION 10. FIRST RIDE: 2017 DUCATI MONSTER 1200 S A return to the Monster’s more-compact roots

14. FIRST RIDE: 2017 DUCATI MULTISTRADA 950 Ducati’s downsized adventurer proves less can be more

16. TWO-WHEEL CHATTER: Let’s talk backpack options 18. GEAR: Five products that’ll have you riding in style 20. EVALUATIONS: Dowco Fastrax Backroads Series tank bag ON THE COVER: All lights on a DT-07, with lights Photo by Jeff Allen

and tail bag

22. RIDE SMART: Defeating carpal tunnel syndrome

COLUMNS 6. UP FRONT By Mark Hoyer 24. BIKE LIFE By Peter Jones 26. TDC By Kevin Cameron R A C E WAT C H 68. FLAT-TRACK Still going left By Andrea Wilson

42. FRATERNAL TWINS Moto Guzzi’s MGX-21 and Victory’s Magnum X-1 are two decidedly different baggers with a similar design brief. Here’s how the bikes stack up. By Don Canet DEPARTMENTS 8. INTAKE 62. SERVICE 72. SHOWCASE 74. SLIPSTREAM

Visit cycleworld.com every day for a fun mix of two-wheeled news, features, and videos!

Online: cycleworld.com | Twitter: @cycleworldmag | Facebook: facebook.com/cycleworld | Instagram: @cycleworld PHOTO BY JEFF ALLEN

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CYCLEWORLD.COM EDITOR–IN–CHIEF MARK HOYER VICE PRESIDENT, GROUP PUBLISHER ANDREW LEISNER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SALES/MARKETING TIM COLLINS CONTENT STRATEGY DIRECTOR KURT HOY DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL STRATEGY BRIAN SCHRADER

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UP FRONT EDITOR’S LET TER

DEATH OF THE NEOCUSTOM REMEMBER THE “CHOPPER” CRAZE?

O

f all the custom-bike trends I’ve witnessed in my motorcycling years, I’d have to say the neo-custom, or as columnist Paul d’Orléans likes to call the “alt.custom,” has been my favorite. Because while any custom trend has its unrideable versions of work, what makes the neo-custom scene so nice—so cool—is that it’s mostly focused on cheap base bikes and has a sort of practical ethic. The bikes are generally on the lighter and simpler side, and, even if the knobby tire is a bit over-embraced, the hope and wish of builders seems to actually be a motorcycle you can ride a lot of places. And we have done our share of coverage. In fact, Gary Inman’s story on the Wrench Monkees (“Three Danish hipsters take a bunch of established ingredients and shake up a whole new biking cocktail”) in 2010 was a great piece produced when the neo-custom ignition kernel was just lighting off on our current Bike EXIF-fueled era. Of course, back in the day, we put Jesse James’ motorcycles on our cover more than once and for good reason. It was creative, good work for the time. “Radial Hell” in 2007 was a nice one with a seven-cylinder Rotec aircraft engine, which was pretty much just a WCC bike with a weird powerplant. Particularly good, though, was the February 2004 “Killer Café” Honda VTX-based, candy-redcolored custom built sometime after Jesse James told me “choppers are stupid” when I was interviewing him about a chopper-ish creation he built for a cigarette company. I do recall Jesse and a few of his guys working on very purposeful-looking Suzuki Hayabusas at the time, and the T-shirts had always been paying the bills anyway. That is one seemingly constant theme here, no matter the era: Most custom builders don’t actually make much money on the bikes but rather use them as loss-leaders and PR exercises to demonstrate the creativity in their work. Which expands to 6 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

selling bolt-on parts, T-shirts, belts, or branded beer, and we can therefore all get our piece of the growing legend. As they say today, it’s all about merch. The value of the build is the creativity around the build, as the designers read and lead fashion as expressed in the machines we love. There are many caricatures of motorcycles built purely in the name of art, but, as I said, it’s great how many are built to ride today. However. I said “death” up there. The only reason I say this is that it’s on TV. Esquire Network’s Wrench Against the Machine has three of the current top builder/branders judging a build-off between two teams. It echoes Biker Build-Off from the early 2000s but looks better and sounds better. Or maybe that’s just my memory of the chopper show. In any case, Alan Stulberg of Revival Cycles gets with Roland Sands and Michael “Woolie” Woolaway of Deus Customs as judges. It’s not a huge surprise that there’s a tight deadline and too little budget, which means the competing builders on each show are bound to have some conflict and stress. For without it, we wouldn’t have television. Nothing wrong with the show at all, and those are three of the coolest, most talented, and resourceful guys I know. It’s just that by the time this kind of thing hits mainstream TV, it means the next big thing is brewing. I’m just glad motorcycles continue to make good programming. And just the same way that choppers didn’t die when West Coast Choppers shut its doors, the café/adventure/tracker thing will not die either. No, customs aren’t going anywhere, and creative people evolve and/or lead the next big thing. Passion and creativity are timeless.

THIS MONTH’S S TAT S

60 ESTIMATED PERCENTAGE OF REVENUE WEST COAST CHOPPERS MADE ON MERCH

0

NUMBER OF STAFFERS WHO’VE HAD CARPAL TUNNEL SURGERY

zero MARK HOYER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

FULLY FAIRED “CHARACTERS” MOTORCYCLES


EFINED. EDESIGNED. EMARKABLE. THE NEW 201 7 YZF-R6.

®


CITY SLED  OTHER EGAN  FTR750 COMMUTER  BANBURY MIX-UP

KICKSTART THE CONVERSATION

I don’t think I’ll ever do any riding in a desert, or off road for that matter, but the extra travel in the suspension of the 2017 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled makes it a perfect ride for the potholeridden streets in the urban New York area! It’s also a greatlooking bike! PHIL CENCI STATEN ISLAND, NY

THE EGAN To paraphrase Pontius Pilate, I can find no fault with this motorcycle. Well, Peter, we all return to where we came from, and as a fellow boomer my 1966 Bonneville hit all the right buttons for me as well. This 2016 T120 is a boomer’s dream come true and, like you, I love it. Only thing is, my 2000 Kawasaki W650 hit those same buttons a long time ago, and I’ve been living your dream for over six years. The Kawasaki’s sight, sound, and smell are a boomer’s delight. But you’ve made a wise choice—too bad your riding season’s so short! JERRY VA DE BONCOEUR CYCLEWORLD.COM

THE OTHER EGAN Can we please have Barb write us a report on her version of Peter’s escapades over the years? Or maybe Peter could give us her version of a few of the stories? An interview of Barb might be fascinating. ERIC GRUNDIN CYCLEWORLD.COM FYI, Eric, Barb wrote the Christmas card to 8 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

CW this year and it was solid.

INNER-CITY FLAT-TRACKER? Am I the only one looking at the new Indian flat-tracker thinking, “What a cool commuter”? Lane-splitting is legal in South Africa, and I can’t think of a better way to clear a path in traffic. DELVIN VERMAAK JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

PRAY FOR US I love the Freudian misspelling of the new Sena “Calvary”(Cavalry) BT helmet on page 17 of the Jan./Feb. issue! Or is it just a subliminal editorial comment on the utility of a half-shell helmet? I’m sure ATGATT adherents will catch it. But the Harley guys, not so much. Thanks for the laugh! BOB HOOVER CYCLEWORLD.COM

STOP EGAN Stop letting Egan contribute! I’ve bought 37 motorcycles, about half following an Egan article about a bike I’d been contemplating. I thought it was over when he left. Then he writes about

the Triumph T120 I’ve had in the back of my mind. I don’t know about him but I’m running out of space and money! CLIFTON BEASLEY CYCLEWORLD.COM

BANBURY MIX-UP Kevin Cameron’s TDC column in the December 2016 issue discusses the use of the Banbury mixer in the compounding of tire tread rubber and that these units are powered with electric motors up to 50,000 hp. The largest Banbury mixer produced by the HF Group in England is the Model BM700N, which weighs 61,000 kilograms and is powered by an electric motor with a 3,000-kilowatt output rating. Converting this into mechanical horsepower equates to 4,023.0662665 hp. Still a very informative article from The Master! GEORGE MISSBACH, JR. ATLANTA, GA Thanks for the correction, George. And for all the decimal places.

INAUSPICIOUSLY NAMED?! Inside the inauspiciously named “Custom & Style Issue” (Rat bikes? Rich-customer exploits? Male model poseurs?) I found two articles that go right to the heart of what motorcycling is about: the historic battle on the oval track (“Indian Throws Down the Glove”) and Peter Egan’s joy in owning a good-riding and beautiful Triumph motorcycle (“Triumph T120 Bonneville”). Real motorcycles have number plates or license plates. Thanks for keeping it real. TED CRUM OAKLAND, CA Comments? Suggestions? Criticisms? Write us at intake@cycleworld.com.


PROGRESSIVE.COM

1-800-PROGRESSIVE


A LESS MONSTROUS MONSTER  NEW MULTISTRADA  BACKPACKS  STYLE CHECK  ON GOING LEFT

Ignition THE RIDE STARTS HERE

 TRIMMING DOWN: For 2017, Ducati's Monster 1200 lost fractions of an inch in length and width, which makes for a much more svelte and attractive package.

10 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017


BY THE NUMBERS

three Number of Ferraris I wheelied by on my way past the Monaco Grand Prix finish line

50+ Number of first-gear hairpins ridden during the Monster 1200 test

30 euros Price of the cheapest martini at the Monte Carlo Casino

C W FIRST RIDE

2017 DUCATI MONSTER 1200 S Ducati returns to its Monster-ous roots By Sean MacDonald

M

assive power and comprehensive rideraid electronics have sharpened bikes that fill the super-naked category, creating a class of potent track weapons that require some serious skill to pilot to their full potential. Ducati’s own Monster is just one example in a class gone a little mad, with recent models straying far from the pure, light, and simple sport-nakedclass-founding 1993 Ducati Monster M900. Recent offerings seemed a bit monstrous in the wrong ways. With the 2017 Monster 1200 S, Ducati hasn’t gone completely back to its stripped-down roots—that would undermine the Italian brand’s commitment to its progressive sporting heritage. So the Monster’s been updated with tech that will help keep you safer while returning the bike to the beautiful, simpler form that’s been copied around the globe. The Monster has shed some water weight for a more ripped version of its muscular appearance, with a redesigned tank and tailsection that have sharper lines and more compact dimensions. The tailsection length drops nearly an inch, while the fuel tank narrows by a quarter of an inch. Then there’s a new, rounder headlight, the Monster R-inspired exhaust,

and redesigned footpeg/passenger-peg mounts. The last point is important because the passenger pegs interfered with rider foot placement on the previous Monster 1200. That is now fixed, with plenty of foot room for even largeboot-wearing riders. Bigger news is the reworked engine (bigger oval throttle bodies, higher compression), which now makes a claimed 150 hp at 9,250 rpm and 93.1 pound-feet of torque at 7,750 rpm—15 hp more than the outgoing standard Monster 1200

CYCLE WORLD 11


IGNITION FIRST RIDE

EXHAUST SWAP: The Monster 1200's new Monster 1200 R-inspired exhaust looks premium, helps the bike meet Euro 4 emissions standards, and allows for the passenger pegs to be moved so that they don't interfere with foot placement. It's always the little details that make or break a bike.

and 5 more than the outgoing 1200 S, all while meeting Euro 4 emissions standards. Finally, the electronics have been improved by adding an inertial measurement unit (IMU), which feeds the new cornering ABS and Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) systems. Ducati has also given the Monster a full-color TFT screen, and the S model (which we rode) comes with a Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) standard for clutchless up- and downshifts (it’s optional on the base bike). The result is a package that feels far more svelte than the spec 12 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

sheet suggests. Engine changes make the riding experience much smoother when playing around in the bottom of the rev range, and the smaller physical package makes it easier to finagle the bike through tight streets, like those in Monte Carlo, where we rode during the press launch. As city bikes go, the Monster 1200 S is forgiving and easy to handle. Unfortunately, the hairpins that stack on themselves in the mountains above Monte Carlo, like a snake coiled and ready to attack, flummoxed the Monster. In this slow, bumpy, tight-corner setting the Monster took more effort than expected to tip in and would stand up midcorner at times. The roads in this case were not flattering. With its inch-shorter 58.5inch wheelbase and 23.3-degree rake/3.4-inch trail (1 degree steeper/0.1 inch shorter, respectively) the 1200 did feel more


nimble and less porky than its predecessor but, to me, still not as good as the smaller Monster 821. Admittedly, I did not ride the 821 on these roads and in these conditions, so we will leave final judgment on the 1200 S chassis for when we get a bike stateside. Power and engine response outside of town was too twitchy in sport mode but absolutely splendid in touring, and the S model’s Öhlins suspension soaked up the myriad of potholes, speed bumps, and variety of pavement surfaces comfortably. Like on the other DQS-equipped bikes, the quickshifter works great shifting up or down and frees up brainpower to concentrate on braking and corner entry

or throttle application and exit line. The IMU-equipped traction/ wheelie control and cornering ABS system intervened smoothly and without drama too. So while we the jury will remain out on the Monster 1200 S’s backroad handling, the new, leaner appearance, more agile chassis, and smoother, more powerful engine have become one of the best options for daily street riding in the class. If you want something higher performance for serious canyon riding or trackdays, I’d look elsewhere. For something beautiful to have as a daily rider that has tons of power, high-quality contact points, and electronics to keep you safe, the Monster 1200 is a damn fine choice.

THE S DIFFERENCE: Upgrading to the S model will get you beefier Öhlins suspension, 10mmlarger brake discs with Brembo’s M50 Monoblock calipers, lighter wheels, quickshifter, and a whole host of fancy carbonfiber body panels.

2017 DUCATI MONSTER 1200 S E N GIN E T Y P E DOHC 90° V-twin

DISPL ACE M E NT 1198cc

SE AT HE IG HT 31.3–32.3 in.

FU EL C APACIT Y 4.4 gal.

CL AIMED WEIGHT 465 lb. (wet)

BAS E P RICE $16,695 CYCLE WORLD 13


IGNITION FIRST RIDE

MULTISTRADA 950 TOURING PACK

MULTISTRADA 950

C W FIRST RIDE

2017 DUCATI MULTISTRADA 950 With Ducati’s downsized adventure road bike, less turns out to be a little more (satisfying) By Ned Suesse

T

he connection between right wrist and forward motion is the most powerful ingredient in motorcycling. A good bike is one that responds to our desire to move through time and space, and the key is our connection with the engine and the power it produces. Is more power always better? Or is there a point of diminishing returns, where a bike becomes so fast that it requires not only electronic governance but also too much selfrestraint to ride on the road? I had plenty of time to think about these questions between my snowy home in Colorado and arriving in the Canary Islands to test the 2017 Ducati Multistrada 950. The 950 Multistrada is an interesting exercise. The 937cc engine is similar to the one in the Hypermotard and Supersport, and the frame is identical

14 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

to the other Multistradas. To achieve the $13,995 asking price, there are a few concessions: No IMU for lean-sensitive ABS or semi-active suspension, though it does have traction control and standard ABS; a double-sided swingarm and Sachs rear shock; and a cable clutch. Suspension is fully adjustable at both ends but not electronically controlled. None of these concessions are the least bit problematic in use. In fact, the simplicity is welcome when compared to the bewildering number of features on other models. The 950’s claimed weight is about 505 pounds with fuel—or about 6 pounds less than the 1200. First impression? I really enjoyed the bike on my day in the Spanish sun. Our route included a little bit of everything, from divided highway to super-tight and twisty back

roads. The weather was perfect, the pace was spirited, and the traffic minimal—a perfect day to be out on a motorcycle and maybe especially this one. The 90-degree V-twin desmo engine is smooth and revs freely, and it pulls without hesitation from 3,000 rpm. Fueling is excellent. Claimed output is 113 hp (and 70-plus pound-feet of torque, with 80 percent of peak available from 3,500 to 9,500 rpm), which is plenty to pull out of any corner or make any pass. It is highly satisfying but not intimidating. The brakes are strong but easy to control. The handling is intuitive, turn-in is easy, yet the chassis is stable and stays on your chosen cornering line. The riding position is comfortable, and air management from the manually adjustable windscreen is good, though there is some buffeting in the presence of side wind.


Progressive springs are used front and rear, which creates a supple feel for small bumps that firms up when hitting bigger obstacles. The Kayaba fork was a little soft at the top of its travel in that even small brake inputs could create an excess pitching motion. Adding a few clicks of compression damping helped but did not eliminate this issue. Furthermore, on less-thanperfect pavement (which should be home for a bike like this), the front end gave uncertain feedback on several occasions. In fairness, I did not personally check preload nor tire pressure, and it only happened when I was pushing pretty hard. Aside from this, there is very little to complain about. The bike is comfortable—taller riders might want more seat to peg distance, and Ducati will offer a taller seat (and a shorter one as well—32.3 to 33.9 inches). Ducati claims a level of dirtroad capability, and while I am sure that is justified to a point, this would not be my choice for an off-road bike. I made a few

passes around a dirt parking lot, and the road bias is obvious. The 19-inch front wheel will be helpful off pavement compared to the 17-inch wheel on the 1200 S, but riders with dirty aspirations would be better served by other machines. For someone who is looking for a bike to ride to work during the week, and for sport on the weekend, with some two-up and touring rides sprinkled in, this would be a great choice. If there’s a dirt road connecting two twisty paved ones, no problem. That’s how 90 percent of adventure bikes are used, and this one is

better at the job than most. As for my larger question of diminishing returns, the Multistrada 950 makes a strong point that less can be more. For years, the industry has focused on bigger and more powerful engines and the idea that price and features should go up with engine size. That made sense when the fastest bikes were barely fast enough, but going forward I hope the equation will change. To me, the 950 Multistrada is more appealing to ride than the 1200 because I can use it harder within the constraints of the real world.

THE HANDLING IS INTUITIVE, TURN-IN IS EASY, YET THE CHASSIS IS STABLE AND STAYS ON YOUR CHOSEN CORNERING LINE.

2017 DUCATI MULTISTRADA 950 E N GIN E T Y P E Liquid-cooled V-twin

DISPL ACE M E NT 937cc

SE AT HE IG HT 33.1 in.

FU EL C APACIT Y 5.3 gal.

CL AIMED WEIGHT 505 lb. (wet)

BAS E P RICE $13,995 CYCLEWORLD.COM 15


IGNITION TWO-WHEEL CHAT TER LUGGAGE OP TIONS

PICKING THE RIGHT PACK

Four backpacks from non-motorcycle brands that are still perfect for motorcyclists By Sean MacDonald

PEAK DESIGN EVERYDAY BACKPACK

BLACK EMBER TL PACK

$260 peakdesign.com More and more, it seems that my camera kit has become one of the things I grab when I head out the door on a bike. Finding a bag that could keep my stuff protected and mold to meet my changing needs was tough—until I met the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. The internal dividers fold easily and are rigid enough to keep their shape, the bag opens from both sides making all of the lenses easy to access, and has some of the most thoughtful features throughout, which is great for everyday usability.

$196 base, $364 as worn blackember.com The Black Ember TL pack has become my go-to for working on the road. This pack comes as a clean slate, with optional accessory pouches to tailor the pack to your needs. I normally use a large admin, small admin, and smart pouch, but I move the smart pouch to the front shoulder strap and add another small admin on long trips so I have easy access to my passport and plane tickets while in airports. With all of the different places to put things, this becomes my mobile office on the go.

16 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

PHOTOGR APHY BY Jeff Allen


COLFAX DESIGN WORKS RECON PACK

AER DUFFEL PACK

$375 colfax-design-works.myshopify.com Unless I have super-specific needs, this is the pack I choose every day. Its pocket size and layout provides a perfect balance for almost everything between the daily commute and weekend trips. It looks amazing, is one of the most comfortable bags I’ve ever worn, and even after hours on the bike is durable (I crashed wearing it) and feels natural both full and nearly empty. Better yet, the Recon is getting a host of updates for 2017. Stay tuned.

$150 aersf.com The AER Duffel Pack is the best gym bag I’ve ever used. Out of all four packs here, it’s the one I use most because I take a gym break midday when in the office, and this one carries all my clothes, a water bottle, has pockets for my iPod, phone, and headphones, and has a separate vented pocket for shoes. It also has a laptop sleeve and plenty of room for anything else I need to bring to the office, and its vertical main zipper makes pulling your stuff out a cinch.

CYCLEWORLD.COM 17


IGNITION GEAR NEW IDEAS

Ride in style By Don Canet 4

5

3

1

2

1

2

PIPE UP

SHIFT KICKERS

Lend your Sportster or Softail a look and sound characteristic of flat-track racers. The RSD Track 2-into-1 High Pipe ($779.99) has a high-temperature black ceramic coating and choice of gloss black or chrome heat shields and tip. The fiberglass/ stainless-steel wool muffler packing and newly designed baffle are said to voice a deeper tone.  (877) 773-6648 rolandsands.com

Be bad to the bone with the latest Wolverinemade footwear. The Harley-Davidson Kingmont Performance Boot ($180) is a midheight biker boot with an easy-entry inner-side zipper. Features include full-grain leather upper with TecTuff overlays, mesh lining, and Goodyear Welt construction securing the oil-resistant non-slip rubber sole.  (800) 258-2464 harley-davidson.com

18 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

3

PERFORMANCE PATCH 1.0 With retro all the rage, here’s the very flat-track race replica jacket that spawned a trend. The Vanson Leathers Star Jacket ($799) is constructed of competitionweight cowhide with a rayon lining and two inner pockets, brass zippers on cuff s, rear exhaust vents, and leather-wind-flap-backed main entry.  (508) 678-2000 vansonleathers.com

4

5

HEADER DRESS

PROTECTIVE PANTS

Got rusty pipes or just like the hot-rod style and performance benefit of retained header heat? The DEI Titanium Exhaust Wrap ($49.95 per 50-foot roll) is now available in satin black. Made of pulverized lava rock stranded into a fiber material of proprietary weave, the 2-inch-wide wrap is said to be more durable than traditional fiberglass.  (800) 264-9472 deipowersports.com

Looking for riding jeans that don’t outwardly appear to be as such? Devoid of telltale external cues, the heavy-duty Cordura denim Klim K Fifty 1 Jean ($289.99) conceals its protective features well. Kevlar panels in slide zones, D3O EVO hip and knee armor, impact foam tailpiece, and moisturewicking polyester mesh lining have you covered.  (208) 552-7433 klim.com


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IGNITION EVALUATION CW E VA L U AT I O N

FASTRAX BACKROADS LUGGAGE Packing for the fast haul By Don Canet

A

dding soft luggage to a sportbike for an extended weekend jaunt or daily convenience need not tie you in knots. I recently took a four-day road trip on our Suzuki GSX-S1000 long-term testbike and put the Dowco Fastrax Backroads Series tank bag and matching tail bag to the test. Mounting the 19-liter (27 liters when vertically expanded) tank bag was simple as splaying its folding magnetic base flaps atop the Suzuki’s steel fuel tank. Even fully stuffed, the rugged 1,680-denier, UV-coated, water-resistant polyester bag felt very secure without making use of its additional strap mount option. As for the 25-liter (28 liters expanded) tail bag, the included variety of adjustable attachment straps facilitated secure fitment atop the passenger seat. Quick-release plastic clips hook to D-rings 20 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

on each corner of the base providing easy bag removal. While the bags feature waterproof exterior zippers, Fastrax has you double covered with an attached rain hood that stows into a zippered compartment on each bag. Both have a large internal lid pocket and four mesh interior pockets for organizing your stash. Additionally, the tail bag has five elastic tool holders stitched inside the lid and a

nylon exterior “dry bag” that attaches to D-rings on top for added storage. Unique to the tank bag is its integrated map pocket and an even larger map panel that can be Velcro attached to its top. The convenience of the Fastrax soft luggage extends beyond its easy attachment/ removal and storage flexibility. Both have molded rubber carrying handles as well as a sling-style shoulder strap that stows away into a

pocket in the base. All told the Fastrax Backroads Series provides a visually appealing solution to hauling the mail on any sportbike or standard. Furthermore, it does so with a well-thought-out feature set and quality construction that carries a limited lifetime warranty.

FASTRAX BACKROADS SERIES TANK/TAIL BAGS dowcopowersports.com PRICE: $159.99/$139.99 UPS + Lockable main zipper + Hi-vis liner for night rummage + Zippered expansion DOWNS Attached rain hood and shoulder strap eat space – Tail bag or girlfriend— tough choice – In which pocket did I put my phone?

PHOTOGR APHY BY Jeff Allen


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IGNITION RIDE SMART OH, THE NERVE...

THAT TWIST OF YOUR WRIST Throttle, meet your love child: carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis By John L. Stein BEST BIKE MODS. To protect

hands from shock and vibration, consider opting for a bike with a smoother engine and better suspension. Padded gloves, a quick-turn throttle that limits wrist extension, vibration- and shock-absorbing handlebars/ mounts, soft grips, and barend weights will help if your desired mount is not the smoothest thing around. CHECK FOR SYMPTOMS. CTS

symptoms include hands going numb while riding or experiencing hand pain that awakens you at night. To mitigate these, take breaks while riding and wear a brace to keep your wrist from curling while you’re asleep. DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT.

T

he twistgrip. It is both a giving and cruel genie, launching us into flight and, sometimes, into peril. But there is more to clutching the handlebars than enabling our beloved rides. Years of exposure to vibration and suspension shock, combined with wrist extension from turning the throttle, can cause numbness and chronic pain in the wrists and hands. “Pressure, vibration, and repetitive work inflames tendons in the palm side of the wrist, pinching the median 22 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel and causing tingling or numbness in the fingers,” says Dr. Michael Behrman, a board-certified hand surgeon. “On the backside of the wrist, vibration can also cause pain by aggravating tendonitis and arthritis.” Motorcyclists aren’t alone in vulnerability, as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) afflicts other repetitive-use occupations, from computer jockeys to construction workers, and from bass players to dental hygienists. “CTS is part of modern life,”

Dr. Behrman adds. “When hands are exposed to repetitive use or vibration, everybody is at risk—and the risk is higher the more you do.” That said, not all types of motorcycle riding carries the same peril. “The vibration, shock, and jolting experienced while dirt bike riding may cause more problems than steady vibration from riding on the highway,” he notes. Since CTS is caused by energy transmission to the wrists, here are some strategies to reduce the chance of developing it—and how to tell if you have it now.

Diagnoses can include clinical evaluation by an orthopedist and nerve conduction studies by a physiatrist. Interventions can include rest, icing the wrist, anti-inflammatories, cortisone injections, or, in severe cases, surgery. If ignored, CTS can eventually atrophy thumb muscles. GETTING REPAIRED. Arthroscopic surgery microscopically enlarges the carpal tunnel area to lessen nerve pressure. Typically, the procedure is outpatient, complications are rare, recovery time is a few weeks, and symptoms are significantly reduced.

So get out and ride, but always keep in mind the ways of reducing your chances of developing CTS. ILLUSTR ATION BY Ryan Inzana


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IGNITION BIKE LIFE

HURRICANES, POOP, AND FLAT-TRACKS OVAL RACING AND THE CORIOLIS EFFECT BY PETER JONES

M

ost normal humans prefer series at the Woodbine Racetrack in left-hand turns. Well, at Toronto. But this is because the Canadileast most normal American ans love the British, who sometimes run humans share this preferhorse races clockwise. Those two counence, including me. Maybe especially me. tries also like to pal around and remind This dislike of turning right is sort of like each other about the day they burned the loathing of snakes, spiders, and the down the White House. Bastards. word “moist,” which statistically is the In Germany and Australia they also most-hated word in the English language. run horse races in either direction, right Turning right feels weird. Some of us get or left, just not on the same track on the wobbly when doing it. Why? Beats me. same day. When considering this, one needs to On American dirt tracks, which are keep from confusing the dislike of turnactually borrowed horse tracks, motoring right with the seemingly contrary cycles go counterclockwise. I used to desire to stay to the right. We drive on wonder if horses had insisted on that. the right, we like to walk with buildings “Damn it, Wilber, if you’re going to use to our right, and we get into the lines on our track, you have to ride counterclockthe right. We just plain like being right. I wise, the same direction that we run.” suspect that we like staying to the right But are horse races run counterclockwise because it supplies us with more options because the horses like it or because it’s of turning left. By staying right, there’s what the jockeys prefer? So many unanalways that comfortable direction to turn swered questions. when the chance for motion arrives—left. During a difficult season of racing It seems that most people don’t like World Superbike, American Superbike right-hand curves, whether they’re walkchampion Ben Bostrom destroyed the ing, running, riding a bicycle, or driving competition at the Autodromo Misano a car. It just plain ain’t right. Every ashCircuit in Italy. After the race, when covered track encircling every football asked why he did so well he said, “It’s all field at every high school and college left turns.” Bostrom had begun his career from Florida to Oregon is a one-way track, as a flat-track racer. with its curves going to the left. Even The Misano track has since been modiwithout an instruction manual, we all fied and renamed World Circuit Misano know which way to go: counterclockwise. Marco Simoncelli. Now the races there I have no memory of my gym teacher are run clockwise. Don’t ask me. explaining this to us; “Kids, go left. If you Do left-handed people prefer right forget that, you owe me 20 pushups.” turns? Are Italians left-handed? As you know, NASCAR hates right In baseball the bases are run counterturns. So does IndyCar, but only whenclockwise. When I flush my toilet, the ever they race on oval tracks. One has to water goes counterclockwise. Hurricanes wonder why not one single oval track in that originate north of the equator go America has ever dared to rebel against counterclockwise. So do dog races, speed this norm. There’s not one. skating, and carousels. I once saw a spider on the back of a Whatever the reason for this love of moist snake. Sorry. lefts, I’m glad it’s stayed true. Now for In Canada they break the counterclockmore people to join in on the fun and go wise oval-track rule and have a clockwise flat-track racing. Because lefts. 24 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

BY THE NUMBERS

ten PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE WHO ARE LEFT-HANDED

660

NUMBER OF FEET IN A FURLONG

1814 YEAR THAT EVIL CANADIANS AND BRITS BURNED DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE


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IGNITION TDC

SIMPLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD WHEN WAS THE GOLDEN AGE OF MOTORCYCLING? IT WAS WHEN YOU WERE 20. BY KEVIN CAMERON

O

kay, it’s 1966 and we’re about to set ignition timing on a Yamaha TD1-B 250 roadracer. These are the good old days, right? No confusing suspension adjustments, no 10 levels of traction-control intervention—just the most basic stuff. To set timing, we need a dial gauge to tell us when the piston is 2mm before top center, and to mount that gauge, we screw a cadmium-plated (Eek! Cadmium is a heavy metal, man! What’re you doing—tryin’ ta poison yerself?) dial gauge adapter into the spark plug hole. To reach down to the piston crown we have various dial gauge extensions… Ah, here’s the one. I slide the dial gauge with its extension down into the adapter (having previously put the piston at approximate TDC by poking a screwdriver down the plug hole) until I feel it touch and turn the knurled setscrew to hold it in place. Now with this 12mm box wrench on the magneto rotor bolt, I back the crank up to be sure I have enough dial gauge travel to measure 2mm. If not, I set it a bit deeper. Then, rocking the crank back and forth, I locate TDC and by turning the bezel ring of the dial gauge, I rotate its zero to line up with the gauge needle. The idea of this is to adjust the contactbreaker points of the magneto so they open at exactly 2mm BTDC. How will I know? Two possibilities: the “smoker’s way” and the clean, smokeless, modern high-tech way. A smoker pulls some of the really thin cellophane off an open pack of ciggies and, slightly opening the number two cylinder’s contacts with the fingers of one hand, slips the end of the bit of cellophane between the points with the other. Pulling gently on the cello, I rotate the crank toward that 2mm BTDC point, but I’m watching carefully to see where the needle is when the cello slips out of the points as the little magneto cam on the end of the crank opens them. If this

26 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

points may have changed their gap when open. That gap may have to be reset as well. Back and forth we go with these adjustments (like a novice driver, trying to park a car) until we have the cellophane slipping out just at 2mm BTDC and the correct gap. Small adjustments are made by tapping on the stationary point’s bracket. Now to do the number one cylinder. Kind of like doing your income tax twice, just for fun. The non-smoking method? Clip a palegreen Okuda Koki resistance meter across the points and watch for the swing of its needle, indicating points opening. Later, starting the engine, we reflect that each time the floppy, pressed-together crankshaft feels the sudden slap of combustion, it assumes a subtly different shape, easily able to convert 2mm into 2.3 for one cylinder (over-advanced, inviting the detonation gremlin to dine on that piston’s tender edges) and 1.4mm for the other (retarded, with some loss of power). A friend, seeing me at this task, proposed, “If starting the engine this time knocked it out of time, maybe starting it a second time will knock it right back where it should be.” In my mind I know he’s right—at 10,000 rpm this thing’s surely going in and out of time thousands of times per lap. If I’d known then what I know now, I’d have shrugged like Jean-Paul Belmondo; the recommended spark plugs for this model— NGK B10EN—would today be regarded as super cold, as in, “No wonder it fouls plugs—those are practically Top Fuel sparklers.” In other words, cold-running plugs were just a crude form of insurance (we

BY THE NUMBERS

35 CL AIMED HOR SEP OW ER OF T HAT T D 1-B (PROB ABLY OP T IMIS T IC )

54 P OW ER OF YA M AHA'S 196 4 SPA-W INNING RD56

100 P OW ER OF TOP 250 T W INS W HEN T HE CL A SS ENDED IN 2009


TDC IGNITION also carried fouling-resistant 7s for cold starting and 11s in case it got wicked hot). Carburetor jetting is another aspect of the simplicity and straightforwardness of these bikes. In retrospect, jetting seems like something Druids practiced at Stonehenge. There is an idle air screw (1-1/2 turns out), but controlling mixture as you initially lift the throttles is the slide cutaway (4.0—the bigger the number, the leaner the slide), followed by the needle setting (needle is 6A1, clip in center groove), and finally, the main jet (nominally 190, but…). In case all that sounds even slightly precise, the foam-mounted float bowls (responsible for maintaining a constant fuel height for accurate flow control) did not surround each carburetor as a part of it (concentric!) but were “remote”—inches behind the carburetors. That way, fuel sloshes away from the carbs during accel-

eration (lean—gremlins approach) and toward them during braking (a process which safety-concerned moderns should know released asbestos fibers). But it all made sense years later when I learned the Yamaha race team in 1963 were finally able to get their RD56 machine to accept full throttle on the Belgian GP course at Spa by improvising one float bowl ahead of and another behind each of its two carburetors. This enabled Fumio Ito and Yoshikazu Sunako to finish first and second, relegating the great Tarquinio Provini and his potent factory Morini to third. A year later a new butt would be on its seat—that of a very young Giacomo Agostini. Mikuni read the race report and came out with prototype concentric float bowl carbs the next year—the familiar VMs used so extensively in the 1970s. Through difficulties, we ascend to the stars. Just as radiation workers wear

STUFF BROKE ALL THE TIME, SO YOU WERE NEVER WITHOUT TOOLS IN YOUR HANDS.

film badges to accurately measure their cumulative exposure to the ionizing rays, our TD1s had a cumulative vibration dosimeter system, consisting of engine mounts, which broke in a known sequence. Ten years later the same was still true of the 120-hp TZ750— if your frame failed to crack in the standard places, in the usual time, it suggested you weren’t pushing it. So here’s the deal. Got to admit—looking back at the TD1 is comical. Stuff broke all the time so you were never without tools in your hands. It was not a golden age and was neither simple nor straightforward, so let’s forget any retrospective notions of an easier time. Today’s super-sophisticated bikes seem fantastic now, but think about that. In 50 years, young people born in 2045 will giggle at their crudity while you, bent over with age, defend 2016 as a golden age of simplicity and straightforwardness.

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BY THEIR VERY NATURE,

motorcycles are transportation of character, ones that require us to make a conscious choice to be closer to our machinery of movement and to participate in the world that much more intimately. But some bikes give us more than others, and we selected these bikes on the following pages for that very reason. To character!

28 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFF ALLEN


CYCLEWORLD.COM 29


D T- 0 7 STREET TRACKER

YAMAHA’S FZ-07-BASED FLAT-TRACK CONCEPT GETS LIGHTS AND A LICENSE PLATE AND THE DT-07 STREET TRACKER IS BORN B y B ra d l e y A d a m s P h o t o g ra p h y B y Je f f A l l e n

30 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION? Something to

hang on your wall (bedroom, garage, FB) that will allow your mind to wander to better things, better places, better times? The modern equivalent to that poster of the Bimota Tesi, Ducati 916, Ferrari F50, or Lamborghini Countach? If the sheer number of people who’ve come up to me and said, “I’d buy one in a heartbeat if Yamaha made it,” is any indication, I truly believe this Jeff Palhegyi Design’s DT-07 Street Tracker is that bike, the motorcycle that will

inspire a new generation. And not just because of its crisp lines and purposeful stature. But for the experience it offers. If you recognize those crisp lines, that’s because they come directly from the DT-07 Concept Bike unveiled at the 2015 AIMExpo, a bike Yamaha tasked Palhegyi with building as soon as it realized the engine’s potential in flattrack racing. To know that bike is to know where this bike comes from. Palhegyi explains: “Early on, Yamaha had come to me and said, ‘We’ve got this


SUPERBIKE LOOKS: Palhegyi says he took a photo of Yamaha’s latest factory R1 Superbike and knew right away that was how he wanted the DT-07 Street Tracker to look. Good call, Jeff.

new 689cc twin. It’s probably going to make a good dirt-track racing motor. Let’s build a concept bike and see what it would look like.’ “Once we started building that first concept bike, there were mumblings of selling them and getting Yamaha back into dirt-track racing,” Palhegyi continues. “I’m a dirt-track fan, and so pretty much right away I took the oppor tunity to build an extra frame and start collecting parts. I had an opportunity to buy an FZ-07 engine from the beginning, so I was just collecting everything to build another. Six months later I pretty much had them all put together. That’s this bike.” Circling back, what makes the DT project so special is that Yamaha wholeheartedly supported the build from the very beginning. “They took it very seriously,” Palhegyi says. “So much so that in the design phase, they gave us access to the race team’s rear suspension data software. Keith McCarty [Racing Division Manager for Yamaha Motor Corporation] had the idea to build a modern dirt-tracker using the roadracing linkage because of what Öhlins could do with suspension and what they could make it do with this software. So we used that to design all the rear suspension. On the concept bike we actually

used the superbike linkage and shock.” Palhegyi’s street-tracker uses the exact same linkage and geometry as the concept bike but swaps the pricey superbike shock with a TTX36 unit, a still very high-tech piece, just one that’s more readily available than, you know, a full-factory superbike shock. Meanwhile, up front it uses a stock R6 fork and single brake disc/caliper. Adjustable triple clamps from Durelle Racing are mated to a custom chrome-moly frame that’s “really stiff between the points,” Palhegyi claims. “I won’t say exactly what the geometry numbers are because that’s what Yamaha will probably use if it ever goes racing. But it’s all adjustable, and it’s the standard geometry that any dirt-track bike should have.” Except for engine tweaks, there’s little to differentiate Palhegyi’s tracker from the essentially “full race” concept bike. The 19-inch wheels are from Propulsion Lab, tires are from Dunlop (DT3), and the handlebar is a Vortex J. Murphree bend. Proper flat-track stuff. “This bike got complicated because of the stuff we did to make it a streetbike,” Palhegyi admits. “But if I couldn’t get proper lights on there, I’d be bummed. So many people build street-legal stuff but just don’t do a good job at it. I really wanted to make this one look right.”

CYCLEWORLD.COM 31


Looking right and functioning properly are different things, of course, and that last part is where Palhegyi struggled. As it turns out, it’s difficult to get a bike running without the necessary parts. “I had ordered the wiring harness needed to run all of the electronics, but apparently I was supposed to get a box of parts with it. Me and Rodger, my wiring guy, spent something like 10 hours last Friday, and the thing just wouldn’t run. I took it down to Yamaha and they told me, ‘You don’t have any of the right stuff. This thing’s never going to run.’” Good karma comes around, fortunately, as the end result was Yamaha taking off all the parts from one of its dirttrack bikes and putting it on Palhegyi’s tracker. “We changed the injectors, all the sensors, everything,” he admits. Other suggestions that this is basically a DT-07 flat-track bike with headlights? How about the custom-tuned air-

32 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

box and dual-air-filter setup that’s identical to the concept bike’s (which Palhegyi and Yamaha came up with after much dyno tuning to help it resonate properly, make maximum power, and fit in the limited space), the fully custom Graves titanium exhaust, factory race ECU, and beautiful billet aluminum oil pan, which replaced the square pan that guys racing FZ-07s engines had been grinding down on the track. Palhegyi suggests that, with all this, his bike makes something between what a stock FZ-07 would make (68 hp at the rear wheel, per the CW dyno) and a Yamaha-built “race” engine (which is claimed to make between 95 and 100 hp). “And it weighs right around 300 pounds,” Palhegyi adds. If that sounds like a recipe for a good time, that’s because it is. I mean, hell, the

standard FZ-07, at 397 pounds wet, is already fun, nimble, and full of personality. Plus totally user-friendly. Riding Palhegyi’s Street Tracker though, now that is an experience. That user-friendly feeling of the FZ-07 is still there thanks to a smooth power delivery and surprisingly decent ergos (Palhegyi admits footpeg placement was decided by the exhaust routing), but the bike feels 40 percent more willing to get you in trouble. The big wheels/ tires don’t upset the handling like I thought they would, and the brakes are terrifyingly strong. The DT-07 still feels


predictable and stable at corner entry, without too much instability from that short length between wheel centers. And its stance… Its stance and its look change you. You’re a different man on the Street Tracker. An inspired man. I ask Palhegyi if he thinks we could see a lean and light, dirt track-inspired bike like it in Yamaha’s, or anybody’s, lineup one day. To which he replies, “It’s an interesting thing because nobody has really tried that. For a production model, you can’t make a tracker with two-up seating position or storage.” After a pause, he adds: “I think it’s

a matter of getting people psyched up enough. But then is it really workable? Engineers might look at what I’ve built and say, ‘Okay, well you did this wrong, you did that wrong, and we can’t do it because of this.’ There are just so many dimensional challenges. And the motorcycle industry doesn’t have the money to reinvent every single part of a bike when they want to make a new model.” I’m more optimistic. I like to think there’s a very serious contingent of consumers who’d jump at the opportunity to own a tracker and a manufacturer who, at some point in time, will real-

ize the sales opportunity there. I’d also like to think that Yamaha specifically will use this experience with Palhegyi to make its official return to flat-track racing. Then take the excitement it’s created around the bike and build a replica for the street—not with custom chromemoly frame and single-piece body but something that does its racebike—and flat-track as a sport—justice. Until then, I’ll suffice with a photo of Palhegyi’s street tracker hung on my wall and wander off into sweet dreams of crushing a perfectly graded fire road on it. Because street tracker. CYCLEWORLD.COM 33


Z A E TA 5 3 0 S E THE BIKE YOU WANT, JUST NOT THE BIKE YOU NEED B y B ra d l e y A d a m s P h o t o g ra p h y B y E d S u b i a s

LET’S GET SOMETHING OUT OF THE WAY:

If you’re looking for a fun, lightweight, street-legal flat-tracker, the Zaeta 530 SE is not the bike for you. It’s two of those things and, to the right person, may be all three. But you’re probably not that person. You might curse me for saying that. Like me two weeks ago, you want so badly to believe that the Zaeta is for you. 34 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

“It’s a street-legal flat-tracker for god’s sake. It’s everything my garage has needed and more,” you reckon. I can’t blame you for thinking that. The bike oozes cool, from the billet aluminum frame penned by MotoGP engineers to the 528cc, single-cylinder TM engine. Want more? It weighs just 266 pounds (plus or minus a few ounces when you take into account the drool we

dribbled onto this bike’s DT tank) and produces 40.5 hp and 30.7 pound-feet of torque on the CW dyno. Behind the bike’s beautiful shell is a devilish soul though—one that promises to hurt you, if not wreak havoc on certain reproductive organs with utterly shocking amounts of vibrations. It’s street-legal, yes, but to turn the 530 SE into a daily commuter would be to


turn the devil himself into a friend. I wish you luck with that. Having had enough fun (vibration) on the street, I opted to take (drive) the Zaeta to a local lakebed and slide it left the way company founder Paolo Chiaia intended for it to be. There, I learned to love the bar position and how you can slide off to the side of the seat—true tracker ergos. But then there was wheel

chatter on corner entry, oil spray, and still enough vibration for bolts to start removing themselves from the bike. Zaeta is aware of the 530’s primitive nature. To them, that’s part of the allure.

Part of the abundant character. There are probably people with $24,900 to spare who feel the same. To them: Buy one. But know, I’m not one of those people. I don’t know that you are either. CYCLEWORLD.COM 35


36 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017


9 3 O C TA N E AARON COLTON’S CUSTOM STUNT BIKE IS THE VICTORY WE WANT B y S e a n M a c D o n a l d P h o t o g ra p h y B y Z a c h Co h e n IS IT POSSIBLE OR EVEN APPROPRIATE TO FEEL SORRY FOR A MOTORCYCLE?

Take the Victory Octane. It’s a highly functional, easy-to-ride cruiser at a great price. Its problem is that the brass at Victory never watched Star Trek, or at least didn’t take to heart Scotty’s strategy of selling low and delivering high. Victory simply set our expectations too high. The initial plan was actually to release the Octane before the Indian Scout, but the Scout came first. Then Victory’s Project 156 custom-built Pikes Peak racer followed and promised something really different for CYCLEWORLD.COM 37


the brand. While the Octane is special in that it’s a cruiser meant to handle and stop well, it isn’t special in that way. It looks a lot like a gray Scout, not the American musclebike with sporty chops we believed was coming. “That’s why I wanted to customize one of these so bad,” Aaron Colton mused as we waited for Zach, our photographer, to shimmy up the hillside and accompanying light pole for the next shot. He continued, “I’m known for making improvements on my bikes for freestyle, but I wanted to do something to show that I’m also a bike builder. The Octane has a huge potential for easy modification, and people already wanted a bike like this.” We’d been up since well before dawn, and Aaron’s Sprinter van was littered with his Red Bull cans and my proteinbar wrappers. We spent the morning scouting for mischief, swapping his custom “93 Octane” for my stocker and generally getting more and more unruly as the sun rose. Think of it as part stunt school, part bike test, and part geek time admiring the intricacies of a creation by its creator. I spent most of the morning on the stock Octane for comparison’s sake, and it hit me with what a great bike it is. The motor is lovely, and the thing handles better than it should (so much so we wish it had more cornering clearance). When we finally stopped for tacos, I pressed Aaron about it: “Dude, it’s a great bike! That’s the crazy thing: These things can take so much abuse. I’ve put mine through hell already and, when I take it apart, nothing—and I mean nothing—is wrong.” Basic ethic for Colton’s build? “I

38 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

wanted to get it ready to do freestyle demos on but also wanted it to look like something they could sell. I’m kinda hoping they get the hint.” The Octane took very little work to get the 1,179cc engine in stunter shape. A custom full exhaust system by SC Project is complemented by an openedup airbox and appropriate fuel mapping. A stock Octane on the CW dyno delivered 90 rear-wheel horsepower, but with Colton’s minor mods, his bike cranks out 116 hp. From there it was all about getting the chassis geometry in the ballpark with other bikes Colton has used for freestyle. “I changed the rear shock angles and length and added more rear-wheel travel,” Colton said. “Then I ended up changing the steering angle a little bit.” After making the steering head half a degree steeper, he played with fork offset to get steering feel and weight distribution right, plus machined the steering stops to allow for more lock. It was still being experimented with as of our day with Colton. Custom design litters the rest of the


BETWEEN 93 OCTANE’S APPEARANCE, SOUND, POWER, AND HANDLING, I CAN PROMISE YOU RIGHT NOW THAT IF THIS BIKE WERE AVAILABLE, I’D HAVE ONE IN MY GARAGE. CYCLEWORLD.COM 39


bike too. The seat pan was pulled from a one-off design Colton used on his Yamaha FZ-09 stunt bike but reshaped for this application. The seat and reworked tail were both designed so they could be produced as bolt-on kits, too. The brakes were custom designed. Stock, the systems had good power but would overheat when punished with freestyle riding. Colton also wanted to add feel and substantially more braking power, lending as much control at the limits of traction as possible. A Magura HC3 master cylinder with custom direct-mounted reservoir feeds steel-braided lines into twin CNC billet calipers, which bite custom EBC 310mm brake rotors. For the rear brake, he added a lever on the left bar to augment standard right-foot control. The attention to detail didn’t stop with performance. Colton tested different sandblasting and paint techniques so he could match the colors on varying surfaces like the levers, clamps, and 40 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

insides versus outsides of the wheels. Every thing from the bar ends to electrical wiring was chosen with performance and perfection in mind. So what’s it like to ride the thing? Incredible. Truly and honestly wonderful. Between 93 Octane’s appear-

ance, sound, power, and handling, I can promise you right now that if this bike were available, I’d have one in my garage. The engine output makes this bike intoxicating and perfectly suited for street and canyon riding. The reworked seating position is equal parts all-day comfortable and commanding, the perfect setup for riding enthusiastically. Colton still wants to experiment more with chassis geometry to help the bike steer quicker, and he’s likely to use stiffer foam in the seat. But this modified Octane is so close to carrying on Buell’s commitment to the American musclebike that it hurts. Dear Victory, build this bike.


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CW COMPARISON

PERPENDICULAR TWINS TWO OPPOSING ANGLES TO THE COMMON BAGGER THEME

B y D o n C an e t P h o t o g ra p h y b y J e f f A l l e n

M O T O G U Z Z I M G X-2 1

42 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

V I C T O RY M AG N U M X-1


CYCLEWORLD.COM 43


CW COMPARISON

W

hat at we ha have re is a p here pair of aractercharacter-rich ctory cu factory custom cr V-twin cruisers e lucrativ vy ed this past y mark Victory M gnum X-1 infus h a hard-rocki model with h 0 watt (!!) sound ssystem, and louder… 200-watt styling. The new-for-2017 Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress is based on the

44 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

California 1400 cruiser platform and delivers a payload of features with a distinct Italian take on the popular bagger theme. As both machines stand out in the segment with eye-catching 21-inchdiameter front wheels, we figured this similarity alone begs for comparison. They share more similarities though. Each features sculpted integrated hard bags, bar-mounted half fairing with low-cut windscreen, cruise control, and ABS brakes. The Guzzi also comes

with an on-board sound system. Both bikes are powered by big-inch, fourvalve-per-cylinder, air-cooled V-twins; the Magnum’s cylinders conventionally arranged in a 50-degree vee with crankshaft across the frame, while the Guzzi’s iconic configuration splays its cylinders outboard in a perfect-balanced 90-degree vee with the crank longitudinally mounted. It’s no surprise the general sound and feel of these twins are oceans apart—the Guzzi’s smooth-revving 1,380cc engine a stark contrast to the throbbing beat of the Magnum Freedom 106 (1,811cc) coffee-can-size pistons. Our Victory testbike came fitted with an accessory exhaust lending it a voice of authority and mild bump in performance. If the audible difference in exhaust note isn’t clue enough, the enduring characteristic torque-induced side rocking motion felt when blipping the Guzzi’s throttle (or changing gears) would tip a deaf man in a blind comparison. Both bikes produce abundant bottomend torque, allowing easy low-rev leaves from stops followed with relaxed short-shifts up through their respective six-speed gearboxes. Shift action on both was refined in feel, and the Guzzi shaft final-drive arrangement causes none of the chassis jacking fuss of old.


IT’S NO SURPRISE THE GENERAL SOUND AND FEEL OF THESE TWINS ARE OCEANS APART— THE GUZZI’S SMOOTH-REVVING 1,380cc ENGINE A STARK CONTRAST TO THE THROBBING BEAT OF THE MAGNUM FREEDOM 106 (1,811cc) COFFEE-CAN-SIZE PISTONS. Comparing dyno graphs shows the Victory makes 103 pound-feet torque at 2,500 rpm with a flat plateau reaching out beyond 4,000 rpm. The Guzzi also comes on early, nearly matching its peak value by 2,500 rpm, but a shallow dip follows before climbing to the 77 pound-foot peak at 3,820 rpm. On the open road the Magnum is content hammering along at basement revs, pulls with exceptional linearity to its 5,500-rpm rev limit, and finds no gear too tall for thundering roll-on acceleration. You would be hard-pressed to feel any flux in the MGX’s bottom response, as its throbbing low-end rumble churns into a creamy quality beyond 3,000 rpm. Given this engine’s ultra-smooth nature, we unwittingly found ourselves stretching a gear close to its 7,200-rpm rev limit at times even though there was no need. Both have tall overdrive top cogs to provide pleasant freeway cruise. At 75 mph the Magnum strums to a beat of 2,800 rpm while the Guzzi

purrs 1,000 revs higher. Posh seats and relaxed cruiser ergos are the norm here. The Victory saddle cradles you in one spot while the broad, more rounded Guzzi perch allows fore/ aft movement. The opposite holds true for foot placement, the Guzzi having you pegged while the Magnum has roomy floorboards that are also twoposition adjustable. Wind buffeting at helmet level is taxing on the Magnum at freeway speed;

even its powerful sound system can’t compete with the rumbling roar. While looking like something Alfred conceived, the double-bubble windscreen atop the Guzzi batwing fairing creates very little turbulence by comparison. Feature packed, the MGX dash illuminates like a Christmas tree with a myriad mix of LCD and info/warning lights when powering on the ignition. There are plenty of electronic gizmos at play here. Its Weber-Marelli ride-

UPS

VICTORY MAGNUM X-1

DOWNS

• Advanced electronic rider aids • She's got black-widow styling • Motor spins like silk

• Clumsy low-speed handling • T-bags for storage • Poor radio reception • Flimsy-feeling handlebar switchgear

• Big twin beat is therapeutic at lower revs • Stereo system is a blast for tailgating • Bags of storage

• Suspension is harsh over sharp bumps • Fuel range meter calibration is crazy optimistic • Jimmy Buffet windscreen

CYCLEWORLD.COM 45


CW COMPARISON

by-wire fuel injection offers a trio of selectable ride modes labeled “Pioggia” (rain), “Tourismo” (touring), and “Veloce” (fast), the latter of which we settled upon as a general preference. Touring mode retains full output with slightly tempered throttle response, a good choice when carrying a passenger. It also has three levels of traction control and allows TC to be turned off. The Magnum makes due without any such wizardry, yet on dry pavement keeping the rear tire hooked at the modest cornering bank angles either bike can achieve raised little cause for concern. We found low-speed maneuvering notably easier on the Magnum despite

its tiller-style bar presenting a long outside reach during full-lock U-turns. Taxing the Flying Fortress demands added attention to nose wheel control, feeling heavy steering at a parkinglot pace with its more raked front’s tendency to flop in when making slow turns. The sensation fades at normal road speed with a hint of steering input maintaining a consistent line through turns. The Magnum is blessed with a more neutral, agile handling feel that hides the fact it weighs more. It’s also notably easier to lift off the sidestand and roll around the garage. Sitting a bit taller, the Guzzi’s longertravel suspension provides superior

THE NUMBERS MOTO GUZZI MGX-21

VICTORY MAGNUM X-1

Price

BIKE



$21,990

$24,499

Dry weight



769 lb.

794 lb.

Wheelbase



67.0 in.

66.0 in. 27.5 in.

Seat height



29.5 in.

Fuel mileage



39 mpg

41 mpg

1/4 mile



13.10 sec. @ 102.7 1 mph

13.02 sec. @ 101.95 mph

0–60 mph



4.2 sec.

4.2 sec.

Top gear 40–60 mph



3.8 sec.

5.5 sec.

60–80 mph



4.3 sec.

5.1 sec.

Horsepower



81.3 @ 6020 rpm

84.2 @ 5260 rpm 102.7 lb.-ft. @ 2600 rpm

Torque



7 7.3 lb.-ft. @ 3820 rpm

Braking 30–0 mph



29 ft.

29 ft.

60–0 mph



117 ft.

118 ft.

46 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

bump absorption, has better damping control, and its chassis provides more cornering clearance than available on the Victory. While measured stopping distance was essentially a dead heat, we give the Guzzi the nod for requiring less effort at the controls and having more initial bite. A major appeal of the bagger genre is the ability to pack a light load for day trips or weekend runs. The Magnum is a clear victor in this regard with toploading, lockable bags offering far more capacity and practical convenience. Fitting a backpack containing a slim laptop had the MGX bag’s clamshell lid bulging, not to mention the need to use a key to gain entry each and every time. So here we have two baggers approaching a common goal, both at a right angle. They are similar in outright acceleration and braking performance, offer a good degree of comfort and custom style, and come well equipped to rock ’n’ roll down the highway. Choosing a character winner is evident. If you weigh the uniqueness of style, powertrain personality, and exclusivity, the Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress is the bomb. Picking the bike I prefer having in my hangar is just as straightforward. The Victory Magnum X-1 may not break the sound barrier as did its namesake, but it fits the bagger mold without reinventing the wheel. Even if that (front) wheel is of an unconventional size.


CW FIRST RIDE 2018 BMW G310R

2018 BMW G310R SINGULARLY SENSATIONAL By Don Canet

48 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017


BMW HAS BEEN ON THE GAS IN RECENT

years, producing exciting new product across several categories. One area yet to be addressed—in fact, historically never addressed—has been that of a truly affordable entry-level platform. With a scheduled summer arrival in stateside dealers, the early-release 2018 G310R looks set to fit the budget and fuel the aspirations of a broad worldwide audience. The lightweight, nimble-handling, attractively styled G310R will naturally appeal to novice riders. Having a firsthand look at its superb build quality along with spending a day in the saddle, I’m pleased to report that the fun-to-ride nature of BMW’s single-cylinder sport naked isn’t lost on this seasoned enthusiast. In development for more than five years, the G310R has been highly anticipated since first appearing in public at the Milan Show in late 2015. Not only does the G310R represent BMW’s first foray into sub-500cc streetbike production, of greater significance is that this is the first model to ever be manufactured outside of Germany. Designed and developed in Munich by BMW Motorrad, production is handled by TVS Motor Company, a BMW partner located in Bangalore, India. “There were some delays that were expectable, but we wanted to have it perfect before putting it on the market,” Project Manager Jörg Schüller says. “It took time to bring the two worlds together. With two different cultural backgrounds, while each is very professional, this needs time.” The result? A bike meeting BMW’s standard for quality that belies its $4,750 price tag. Taking a quick walk around the G310R at the press launch showed that refinement is visually evident in clean welds on the tubular-steel frame, quality castings, precise fit of every plastic body panel, and extensive use of Allen-head fasteners. Same for the view from the saddle: A full-feature LCD dash including bar graph tachometer, gear indicator, shift light, trip computer functions, and more CYCLEWORLD.COM 49


CW FIRST RIDE 2018 BMW G310R SPECS

2018 BMW G310R BASE PRICE: $4750 ENGINE: Liquidcooled single DISPLACEMENT: 313cc SEAT HEIGHT: 30.9 in. FUEL CAPACITY: 2.9 gal. CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT: 349 lb.

greet the rider. Handlebar switchgear is top-notch, the grips and bar end weights would be at home on an S1000R, and an inset BMW logo atop the bar mount and radial dimpled steering stem nut cap the upscale presentation. All well and good, but how do the powertrain and chassis fare? We set out on a 120-mile test loop through the Holly wood Hills tracing the Mulholland Highway to the coast with a photo stop at the famed Rock Store and a seaside lunch in Malibu to find out. Stop-and-go traffic escaping the city provided ample opportunity to experience the G310R’s novicefriendly 30.9-inch seat height and ease 50 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

at which its 313cc, liquid-cooled, fourvalve single moves us away from traffic lights. Clutch pull is light with linear engagement that, combined with a hint of throttle, provides consistent, smooth, stall-free leaves from stops. Maintaining revs between 3,000 and 6,000 rpm provides ample torque and low vibration for a relaxed run up through the lightshifting, short-throw six-speed gearbox. A subtle hit in delivery can be felt at 6,000 rpm with power continuing to build linearly to the 10,600-rpm rev limiter. The claimed peak output of 34 hp at 9,500 rpm proved easily capable of keeping up with fast-lane Hollywood Freeway flow. In top gear, engine revs align with indicated mph: 7,000 rpm equates to 70 mph. Engine vibration finds a sweet spot at 55 mph, with vibes felt through the frame, saddle, and grips moderately increasing beyond 6,000 rpm. The bike is narrow, so splaying your knees and heels slightly to avoid direct contact helps isolate the rider from the engine’s pulse. Chassis stability on the freeway was steadfastly impressive, lending the G310R a confidence-bolstering sense of being larger than its dimensions would suggest. The engine’s unique configuration with its rear-canted cylinder and aft-facing exhaust port allowed a more forward placement in the frame and increased swingarm length for an optimized 50/50 weight distribution. Threading twisties in the Santa Monica Mountains at a spirited pace aboard the lithe 349-pound thumper revealed abundant cornering clearance and decent grip from its Michelin Pilot Street radials. Steering is neutral and telepathically light in effort. The KYB suspension soaked up rough patches

while having enough spring and damping control to keep the chassis settled when aggressively flicking through side-to-side transitions or hammering the brakes. ABS comes standard on the G310R and worked very well on the damp roads encountered during the morning hours of our ride. The single 300mm rotor/radial mount four-pot caliper combination up front requires a fairly firm application at the lever to invoke the ABS on a dry surface. Strangely, the lever is positioned quite far from the bar and has no adjustment provision to accommodate smaller hands. Upon return to the host hotel, I noted the dash displayed a 62-mpg average. Considering all the stop-and-go riding and general horseplay involved, squeaking 200-plus miles out of the 2.9-gallon tank would seem a reasonable expectation. When BMW stepped outside its firmly established touring/adventure box and produced the S1000RR, it captured a category. Based on our first hands-on encounter with the Bavarian Motor Works’ latest venture into uncharted territory, don’t be surprised if history repeats.

2018 BMW G310GS Beemer’s mini ADV Hot on the heels of the new G310R roadster comes a G310GS adventure variant expected to arrive on showroom floors six months after the R. Sharing the same basic engine and frame, the GS model offers features aimed to provide modest off-road capability and will be priced slightly higher. Most notable is suspension travel increased to 7.1 inches front and rear along with a larger-diameter 19-inch cast-alloy front wheel and ADV-type Metzeler Tourance tires. A wider handlebar, increased seatto-peg room, stubby windscreen, and luggage rack are standard fare. Of course it wouldn’t be a member of the contemporary GS family without the obligatory nose-beak fender face-lift. —Don Canet


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CW FIRST RIDE

THE BEAST 2.0 KTM’S 1290 SUPER DUKE R WANTS YOUR BRAIN B y B ra d l e y A d a m s SCIENCE SUGGESTS THAT THE HUMAN BRAIN IS ONE OF THE MOST

complex structures in the universe. Engrossed with receptors and neurons, it’s wired in a way that, when presented with an object that appears useful or satisfying, it’ll force you to feel drawn to that thing. You’ll want it. Need it. Be unable to take your eyes off it. It’s the reason I don’t set foot in a grocery store hungry, and also why I’m sitting here at the Losail International Circuit having a staring contest with KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R. My body feels the need for going fast, and my brain knows just the thing to take it there.

52 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017


CYCLEWORLD.COM 53


CW FIRST RIDE 2017 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R

Five minutes and I’ll be on track. Cue the endorphins. Before I get ahead of myself, allow me to back up and say, I didn’t think KTM needed to update its Super Duke R. Introduced in 2014, the bike has already become something of an icon. The platform had the smallest of shortcomings, ones that you could easily ride around and quickly forget about. Comfortable, fast, and fun, it was a clear competitor for the naked-bike class crown since the day it rolled off KTM’s design board. And been a dominant force ever since. Emissions regulations and KTM’s fear of becoming comfortable with “good enough” warranted change though. Which brings me back to the bike sitting in front of me, a bike nipped of its gratuitous bits, with engine updates for even more power and a refined electronics package to keep all that built-in brutishness in check. Peak power is up over the old bike (by a claimed 4 hp), though Henrik Wiese, the head of KTM’s LC8 engine platform, 54 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

suggests the biggest change is engine smoothness below 5,000 rpm, improved fuel economy, and a 500-rpm-higher rev ceiling. This is made possible through small updates, including 10mm-shorter inlet funnels, new titanium intake valves, and resonator chambers on the cylinder heads, which create a whirl effect and disturb the flow of gases into the combustion chamber, thus creating

a better air/fuel mixture for improved combustion. Thanks to a stiffer crank design, KTM also talks about improved reliability (bearings will have an easier life) and reduced vibration. Electronics received like attention, KTM updating the bike with leanangle-sensitive traction control and an optional Motor Slip Regulation system (previously, the Super Duke R’s IMU only supplied information for the Cornering ABS, a system that’s been carried over for 2017).


LAUGH FACTORY: Opening the throttle on a 1290 Super Duke R is quickly followed by hysterical laughter. You can’t not have fun while riding this bike.

SPECS

2017 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R BASE PRICE: $17,999 ENGINE: Liquidcooled V-twin DISPLACEMENT: 1301cc SEAT HEIGHT: 32.9 in. FUEL CAPACITY: 4.8 gal. CLAIMED WET WEIGHT: 430 lb. Riding modes include Sport, Street, and Rain, though you can now upgrade to an optional Track Pack, which adds track mode with launch control, antiwheelie-off setting, throttle-response selection, and MTC spin adjuster, which enables you to manipulate allowable wheelspin from Levels 1 to 9. Cruise control is standard, but you’ll have to upgrade to KTM’s Performance Pack if you want to add the up/downcapable Quickshifter+ system, KTM My Ride (which connects your phone to the bike’s new TFT display through Bluetooth), and previously mentioned MSR system, which is essentially a cornerentry TC system (more on that later). The Super Duke’s 48mm WP Suspension fork has stiffer springs, while the shock has been revalved, ultimate goal being a good balance between on-road comfort and racetrack performance. It can’t all be apexes and checkered flags. KTM has updated the handlebar position and shape. That bar is 20mm wider, 5mm lower, and positioned 18.5mm farther forward, which KTM hopes will keep you hunkered down and out of the wind (you won’t). That new shape also solves a problem I had with the old bike, which was with the ultra-short bar forcing me to rest my hands on its ends in canyon riding. I never had other big complaints with the previous-generation Super Duke R. The electronics were heavy handed, but the bike was an absolute torque monster, handled well enough, and was super comfortable. Did I mention it was a torque monster? By comparison, the

new bike feels more refined. It’s still ungodly powerful, but it’s got even sharper lines, more precise electronic-rider-aid intervention, and refined suspension action. It’s a matured, smarter version of the bike we’d already fallen in love with. And it’s a truly fantastic machine. Our street ride was limited to the roads near our hotel but shined light on engine smoothness in lower revs. The ergonomics don’t feel dramatically different, which is good considering I initially expected them to feel too race-y. At the same time, the new TFT dash is easy to navigate and easy to read regardless of the sun’s glare. Like the old bike, this Duke has splitpersonality syndrome; it’s friendly around town but willing and able to do

ANGLES ON TOP OF ANGLES: KTM says its goal has always been to make the 1290 Super Duke R look scary. From all angles, I’d say it's succeeded. POWER PLUS: The Super Duke R’s engine is the most powerful LC8 KTM has ever built. It’s also more fuel efficient, smoother at lower revs, and has a higher rev ceiling. CYCLEWORLD.COM 55


CW FIRST RIDE 2017 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R

LIFTOFF! Testing KTM’s launch control system With a claimed 75 pound-feet of torque at as low as 2,500 rpm, the 1290 Super Duke R is a handful to launch sans electronics. Enter KTM’s new launch control and wheelie control systems. In a mock dragstrip race, electronics off, I got in what you could consider to be a noholds-barred fistfight with the bike, my mind trying to figure out if I should short-shift, climb over the front, feather the clutch, or hit the rear brake. Pretty soon I was into the rev limiter because, oh, yeah, I was supposed to pay attention to that too. The result wasn’t pretty. New electronic systems on, revs are kept at 6,500 rpm and overall excitement to a minimum. I got out of the box easy, the front stayed down, and shifts were nailed. Launch control is hardly a daily need, but including it is proof of KTM’s evolving understanding of rider aids and the importance of predictable, proficient intervention. Neat.

very, very bad things if and when you’re in need of a little fun. That second (better) personality comes out on the track, where the bike quickly reminds you of KTM’s “Ready to Race” slogan and does a fantastic job of conserving front tires. Effortless front-straight-long wheelies? Yeah, it does that. The updated WP Suspension feels street soft but also more controlled through its travel, with better bump

56 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

absorption—refined. You could probably tinker with the settings if and when you head to the track (you’re taking it there, right?), but as a whole they're an improvement over the already capable bits on the previous-generation Duke in terms of action. The updated electronics are immediately noticeable. In Track mode, I experimented with everything from MTC Level 7 to 1 and noticed that the system’s

cut felt shorter than before. Part of what makes a modern traction control system “good” is its ability to recognize slip early, run through the list of possible reactions in the shortest amount of time possible, and then make the necessary cuts as quickly as possible. This system does that while at the same time allowing for more slip than earlier KTM systems. This is a result of it better understanding what’s going on and not having to be overly cautious. Rather than, “I think we’re sliding. I’m not sure, but let’s be safe and make a cut just in case,” it says, “Well we’re at X lean angle and X throttle position, we might start to spin soon, but we’re okay for another X degrees of throttle opening.” Smarter. It may seem small, but the engine's extra 500 rpm is a big benefit as well, those revs enabling you to hold on to a gear between corners without making friends (enemies) with the rev limiter. That makes things less busy at the track, as you’re not working the bike's transmission and imperfect auto-blip downshift as frequently. Put simply, those usable revs add flexibility to an already very flexible and fun powerplant. As for the other electronic systems, I appreciated having wheelie control separate in Track mode but found the system to be inconsistent (a likely result of how it reacts dependent on lean


KTM’S 1290 SUPER DUKE R TRACKBIKE This one’s really ready to race

Want to turn your 1290 Super Duke R into a trackbike? Easy. Just take a quick dip into KTM’s PowerParts catalog, filled with everything from crash parts and race seat, to rearsets and full Akrapovic exhaust system. KTM mounted up a few of these PowerParts pieces and more to a bike I’d spend a session aboard at Losail. Noticeable change? With the fork cartridge kit, shock, triple clamp, and slick Dunlop rubber, the Duke felt more planted as I tipped into a corner and willingly carried massive amounts more lean angle with absolute confidence. Brakes seemed to have more feel and power, while fueling off the bottom felt perfectly crisp with the closed-course map. A dealer needs to install the exhaust and program said map (included with exhaust, alongside block-off plates). That will register the bike for closed-course use, and from there you’re on your own to mount up and buy whatever other PowerParts you’d like. Have fun!

angle) and preferred it off. Meanwhile, the Motor Slip Regulation system, which opens the throttle butterflies on decel to prevent the rear tire from locking up, gave me a good feeling for grip on corner entry. My only disappointment with MSR is that, because the system pulls information from the ABS, turning that system off or switching over to Supermoto mode also disables MSR. And I really, really like Supermoto

mode… If not because of how it frees up the rear wheel for slides, then for its reduced hold on the front. The beautiful thing about the Super Duke R is that it doesn’t matter how you ride it. Leave the electronics on. Turn the electronics off. Cruise around town. Terrorize apexes at a track. Or throw your better half on the back and go for a big two-up ride. It's content everywhere. Personally, I’d throw on a windscreen

and turn it into a commuter while still taking it to the occasional trackday. No matter how you intend to use a Super Duke R, if you’ve ever considered opening up a spot in your garage for one, now is the time. The 2017 model hasn’t taken a single step in the wrong direction and is one of the most versatile and capable naked bikes ever. Riding one is simply good for the brain.

CYCLEWORLD.COM 57


CW FIRST RIDE

2017 TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE BOBBER CUSTOM LOOKS WITHOUT THE CUSTOM HEADACHE By Sean MacDonald

58 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017


WHEN TRIUMPH FIRST UNVEILED

the new Bonneville Bobber, it was met with strong reactions from people around the globe. Some enthusiasts took huge issue with an OEM creating a production bike that imitated the style and used the name of a bike that could only be created by customizing, while others, including non-riders, were drawn to the aesthetics like mosquitoes to a light. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about both sides. There is validity to the notion that those who ride this style of bike enjoy the fact that it’s only attainable through the work of their hands. But there is also the everyday person getting one more opportunity to have a bike they truly love and connect with. But we’ll get to that later.

CYCLEWORLD.COM 59




CW FIRST RIDE 2017 TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE BOBBER

Triumph says that when it started designing the Bobber three years ago, it gave its design teams a couple of required deliverables: The bike had to be based on the Bonneville T120 and have its DNA; it had to have premium finishes and detailing that rivaled anything else in the Triumph line; it had to have an exciting power delivery and exhaust note; it had to be a good blend of ergonomics and riding characteristics; and it had to be a platform for customization. The Bonneville Bobber is based on the Bonneville T120 in that it uses the same “high torque” variant of Triumph’s new 1,200cc engine. Both are eightvalve, liquid-cooled, single overhead cam parallel twins with a 270-degree crankshaft, and both are mated to the same six-speed gearbox. The Bobber has a new twin airbox setup with different intake and exhaust system and its own tune, which bumps horsepower and torque figures in the lower rev range. More specifically, the Bobber makes 60 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

77 hp at 6,100 rpm, with the biggest gains around 4,500 rpm, where it has a 10 percent bump over the T120. Similarly, peak torque comes in at 78.2 pound-feet at 4,000, also 10 percent more than what the T120 makes (peak torque is only 2 percent more). To achieve the bobber look, the bike sports a floating aluminum single seat, which can be adjusted to an “up and forward” and “down and back” position. Similarly, the speedometer is angle adjustable, allowing its face to be tipped up and pointed more directly at the rider or to lie more flat in line with the bike. Triumph achieved the hardtail look by pairing a classic “cage” swingarm with an underseat shock with linkage. Triumph’s development team said one of the biggest debates they had was with the amount of suspension travel at the rear, with some members of the team pushing for authentic looks while others pushed for modern capabilities. The resulting unit offers 3 inches of travel

that makes for a surprisingly good ride. Finally, Triumph has given the Bobber a large number of unique styling and detail bits. The tank is new and smaller than the T120’s, and while it does have Triumph’s signature knee pad recesses, it gets its own badging. Front and rear fenders are steel and made to be as small as possible, the wheels are strung with spokes, and the battery box points to heritage in the most subtle of ways. The Bobber is packed with premium finishes. The tank badges are beautiful, as are the bronze badges on the seat, engine, and speedometer. The engine covers are brushed, the handlebars satin and graphite, and the instruments have machined detailing. Nothing on this bike appears as if it were overlooked. The result? This Bobber is incredibly cool and doesn’t feel nearly as much like it’s trying too hard in person as it does in pictures. Visually, the Bobber is a really pretty motorcycle. To my skeptical eye, it looks


different from multiple angles, as the shape of the seat pan for some reason reminds me of a Ducati Diavel while the front view looks like a Harley-Davidson Roadster. Fortunately, the rest of the bike looks classic Triumph, only stripped down, something most of us can agree is really pretty. When you sit in the saddle and fire up the bike, its exhaust note burbles to life with a soft but meaty chug, and a twist of the throttle sends throaty cries not normally found in stock exhausts. Unlike Harley-Davidson with the Roadster, Triumph nails the foot position, placing the pegs just forward enough for you to put your feet down unobstructed at a stop. The seat is hard but shaped well enough that it doesn’t create hot spots, and the torqueassist clutch makes clutch pull light. Fueling is nearly perfect as you pull away, and it’s only seconds into a ride before you realize that Triumph has sort of undersold the engine changes. Pushing the power lower really enhances the ride, giving the Bobber a more cruiser-

SPECS

2017 TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE BOBBER BASE PRICE: $11,900 ENGINE: Liquidcooled parallel twin DISPLACEMENT: 1200cc SEAT HEIGHT: 27.2–27.5 in. FUEL CAPACITY: 2.4 gal. CLAIMED DRY WEIGHT: 503 lb. like engine characteristic that’s fun to blip and punch around town. My main problem with the Bobber comes from its binders. The single, 310mm disc and two-piston Nissin floating caliper require a full four-finger grasp to access good stopping power. Overall, the Bobber is a really fun bike to ride and to look at. Even more important is the impact the bike is making. Like the Ducati Scrambler, the Bonneville Bobber is bringing a lot of attention from non-motorcycle enthu-

siasts. Love or hate the Ducati, it got people who’d never considered a motorcycle excited about these machines we love. So while I appreciate that having a bobber used to mean you put some serious blood, sweat, and time (or just tons and tons of cash) into a bike build, I’m okay with the fact that my neighbor can go buy a Triumph Bobber from the factory. Because it’s a really great motorcycle that he will love and because it will make him one of us.

CYCLEWORLD.COM 61


TACHLESS BEHAVIOR  HEATED DISCUSSIONS  CRUDE TALK  ASK KEVIN

BY RAY NIERLICH

REV-ELATION

Q:

From information I have gleaned during reading an article written by Sean MacDonald, the Husqvarna 701 does not have a tachometer. Sean wrote that the “bike pulls hard until just before the rev limiter kicks in.” Is it safe to run the motor up to the rev limiter repeatedly? How are you supposed to know when you are approaching the rev limiter without a tachometer? My experience with rev limiters comes from a GM pushrod engine that blew a rod through the block when the limiter kicked in. Based on my experience, since the 701 does not have a tachometer, I would want to short-shift and miss some of the available power. JOHN KNOX CYCLEWORLD.COM

HOT CHILD IN THE CITY

Q:

I have owned my 2007 BMW R1200GS Adventure since spring of 2011, putting on a bit over 100,000 kilometers in that time. I’ve had the pleasure of using it the way it was intended, riding from Germany to China via Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia and back over Japan, Southeast Asia, and Turkey. We are currently on a trip around South America. The problem I am having relates to the engine overheating during slow, big-city riding. It doesn’t even have to be terribly hot for the engine to hit the top of the temperature gauge and see the oil pressure light flicker at idle as it did in heavy traffic in Moscow. I

62 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

have had the thermostat and oil cooler checked out, and they appear to be working properly. I have heard that the 2007 R1200GS runs quite lean and therefore hot, though I haven’t done an exhaust gas analysis to confirm that. Have you heard of this problem and any solutions? EKKE KOK CYCLEWORLD.COM

A:

A:

If you’ve wondered whether that poseur dude at bike night, the guy who sat there with his Ducati wailing away, popping and snorting on the limiter, was really doing harm, the answer is yes. The lessons you learned from that GM pushrod engine will serve you well. Your Husky engine (a retuned KTM 690) is quite tough, but running any engine on the rev limiter regularly is ill advised. Limiters are designed to save the engine on the odd occasion that exuberance overcomes sensibility. Just listen to the engine, and get accustomed to its power delivery and you’ll learn when to shift. Not having a tach on a bike like this isn’t a big deal. If you have time to be studying the tach, you aren’t having enough fun.

At the risk of sounding like the jerk at the dealer: “They all do this, sir.” This isn’t really a problem on your BMW. With some other engines, it would be cause for consternation. If it bugs you, fit a fan to the oil cooler as BMW does on the police models. Using a heavier-weight

oil for the hot, ambient conditions might reduce the light flickering but won’t reduce engine temps.

TEMPERAMENTAL GAUGE

Q:

Why is it that my liquid-cooled motorcycle temp gauge will soar or register the true temp? At a stoplight my car temp gauge stays at the same level no matter what the outside temp or cooling stress being placed on the motor. Is it normal for a bike’s temp gauge to change by a few degrees even when steady state touring? This fluctuation in the temp gauge seems more pronounced during the stifling heat of a Virginia summer! WALT TAYLOR RICHMOND, VA


A:

Bike engines—being smaller physically, almost exclusively made of aluminum, and hung out in the breeze—shed heat way more quickly than any car. In some cases bike cooling systems aren’t as sophisticated as the typical car, since space and weight are at a premium. Modern cars must meet strict emissions standards, requiring steady, higher-running temperatures. They also have AC systems that add extra heat into the radiator and must have enough extra capacity to handle that when in use in the most severe conditions. Car gauges are also typically heavily damped so that fluctuations in the gauge don’t concern owners. Many don’t have numbers on the face for the same reason. Your bike is acting perfectly normal. (Tell us what bike you have next time! We all want to know.) When scorching hot, you are watching the electric radiator fan kicking on and off. When slightly less miserable out, you may be able see some variation when the thermostat opens and closes.

OIL ORIGIN

Q:

Cleaning the air filter on my 2016 Harley Switchback, I noticed oil in the bottom of the filter. Will you explain this? STEVE FORDONE CYCLEWORLD.COM

A:

You ran it. Harleys of all ages and displacements are known for pumping some oil out the crankcase breather, which on your bike goes into the air cleaner. A little oil is entirely normal so long as it doesn’t get ridiculous. See “Slobber” in the August 2016 issue for a kindred soul’s lament.

NO SMOKE MOVEMENT

Q:

In a February 2014 letter you talked about the pros and cons of two-stroke bikes and/or motors. You stated that things like DFI would serve to make a modern twostroke legal. You left out the Yamaha GL750, which already had fuel injection, four cylinders, disc brakes, reed valves, and water-cooling. I lusted after that bike. I worked two summers as a teenager to save up to buy it. In fact, I still have the original motorcycle magazine report with all the lovely pictures of what was never to be!

Just thought you'd like to know (of course I am sure you already know). CHARLES HISSOM CYCLEWORLD.COM

A:

We miss the wafting aroma of burnt oil and cacophony ringding of two-strokes as much as you obviously do, Charles. Unfortunately, the winds of change have blown against us. On the plus side, KTM has had a prototype two-stroke EFI dirt bike spotted during testing.

SCOOTIN’ RIGHT ALONG

Q:

I ride a 2014 Honda Forza. My question is, am I okay going 100 km/h for an extended period of time, i.e., one hour or longer? ED HIEBERT WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA

A:

You are A-okay until your derrière can’t sit in the seat any longer…or until you have run out of gas. The 279cc single had EFI and liquid-cooling and is fully capable of sustaining 65 mph for as long as you'd like to sustain it.

TEXAS OIL

Q:

I have a 2001 Kawasaki ZRX1200R with 28,000 miles, Ivan’s Stage 1 jet kit, full Muzzy exhaust, and Barnett heavy-duty clutch kit with Kevlar plates. I’m going to install a Holeshot Stage 2 jet kit with K&N pods. Those are the only engine mods to the bike (it runs like new). What would be the best oil to use for my bike? I change oil on or about 3,000 miles like clockwork. This will be the first time I personally will do the oil change (just bought the bike a few weeks ago). It has 10w-40 oil in the bike now. I live in Dallas (summers are hot, while winters are mild). Is Castrol 20w-50 conventional oil correct, as it’s my go-to oil since the ’80s? I’m looking for the best oil to get the best protection for my bike. I’m a weekend warrior. That’s when I go out of Dallas and let the ponies run free on the back roads (my buddy and I usually do 350 to 400 miles in a day when we go ride, with lots of triple-digit riding). Other than that, it’s rough Dallas city traffic. TRACY TAYLOR DALLAS, TX

BEST USED BIKES

HARLEY-DAVIDSON FXR SUPER GLIDE II YEARS SOLD: 1982–1994 MSRP NEW: $6,999 (’82) to $10,274 (’94) BLUE BOOK RETAIL VALUE: $5,410 (’82) to $5,250 (’94) BASIC SPECS: The 80ci Shovelhead engine was utilized in the inaugural years of FXR production with the modernized 1,340cc Evolution V-twin powering the platform from ’84 forward. All model years share a five-speed transmission and vibration-isolating rubberized tri-mount system adopted from the FL touring family. Belt drive was introduced in ’85. The FXR’s most enduring characteristic is its chassis design built on a robust frame said to be far more rigid than anything Harley had produced to date. Twin Showa shocks, a Sportster-derived front end, and triple disc brakes all contribute to a cruiser many still believe to be the besthandling Harley of all time. WHY IT’S DESIRABLE: As one of the first post-AMF-era models, the FXR helped establish The Motor Company’s renewed commitment to competing with the Japanese. While the base model maintained a price point and offered better handling and cornering clearance than contemporary Harleys of the time, several variants to the platform such as the Low Glide, Low Rider Custom, and Sport Glide Deluxe were produced. A wealth of aftermarket support has made the FXR a cult classic canvas for customization to this day. THE COMPETITION: Stemming the tide of V-twin cruisers streaming in from Japan was the FXR’s mission statement. Harley engineers did such a thorough job that many of Harley’s old-guard audience perceived the bike as being too Japanese. The Honda Shadow 1100, Kawasaki Vulcan 88, Suzuki Intruder 1400, and Yamaha Virago 1100 all vied for a share of the big twin cruiser market.

CYCLEWORLD.COM 63


SERVICE

A:

Back in the day most everybody used Castrol in most everything. Nowadays I don’t recommend any of the car oils for engines with wet clutches. The additive packages have changed from what they used to be so as to be less polluting for catalytic converters. These oils are too slippery for wet clutches and starter drives. Most don’t offer enough load protection for solid lifter cams either. I would run a semi-synthetic 10w-50 such as Motul 5100 in most modern motorcycles. These semi-synthetics are very good oil, better than what was available only a few years ago and cost less than a full synthetic. But if your baby deserves the best, go with a full synthetic motorcycle oil such as AmsOil, Mobil 1, Motul, etc. For your conditions I’d recommend 15w-50 or 20w-50 weight oil to cope with the heat and type of riding you engage in. You can also follow the manufacturerrecommended oil-change intervals, especially if you use full synthetic.

FALSE SHIFTS

Q:

I bought a Ducati Panigale 1199R in October 2014, and it now has 1,600 miles on it. (Yes, one butt and three bikes to share it: VMAX, 1199S, 1199R—oops, almost forgot the Piaggio BV350.) That being said, the R has given me false gearshifts since day one, meaning in a high gear—fourth, for instance—I kick it up and it will flash the red rpm lights, with the overrev noise like it’s in neutral, then kick finally to fifth gear. This happens in about a second, and the bike is up and running fine again. Until it happens

again, unannounced. I can’t replicate on my own, of course! I sent the bike to Peninsula Motorsports (our dealer). They had their hands on it a few times and no luck. I contacted Ducati Customer Service, and their answer was pretty much that the dealer had found nothing. They would send a service order, but if nothing was found again, I would have to pay for the service. So I didn’t do it. This Memorial Day weekend I was doing a 200-mile run, and it did it again twice while shifting fifth to sixth (at about 140 mph). I come home and the bike is leaking oil, and it will be back at the shop. Have you ever heard about this issue? Any ideas what else I can try? I’m afraid this is a lemon, as my 1199S runs flawlessly! CARLOS FORTE CYCLEWORLD.COM

A:

My advice is always to get a second opinion whenever you have a problem that has been unre-

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MISSOURI

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WASHINGTON

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Retailers MINNESOTA

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SERVICE

ASK KEVIN DIRECT DRIVE AND OVERDRIVE

Q:

This is a quote from Lee Conn at Motus M/C: “When you have adequate power/torque, you can design in overdrive gears for better fuel economy. They may be out there, but I think most bikes/cars have overdriven top gears for the same reasons. On the Motus, you are only turning 3,000 rpm at 70 mph in sixth gear and still have a ton of passing power while barely sipping fuel. That’s a good thing! At 1-1 (fourth gear), you’d have a ridiculous amount of torque at cruising speeds but would be using much more fuel. These bikes are designed for performance, comfort, and range, and the overdrives check the boxes for all three.” This next quote is from Bert Baker, Powertrain engineer. “The DD6, or Direct Drive six-speed, combines three technical approaches to achieve the most advanced transmission gearset design available for your big twin with minimal compromise. Firstly, first through third gears are straight cut (spur) for strength during maximum acceleration with no parasitic axial thrust. Secondly, fourth and fifth gears are automotivestyle helical gears for quiet and smooth operation as highway speed approaches. Lastly, sixth gear is direct drive, which means there is no underdrive or overdrive in top gear, which translates into 99 percent efficiency for minimum parasitic loss, minimum wear and tear, and maximum fuel efficiency.” It seems to me that Baker’s statement is true. And if so, then Conn’s statement is not true. Is it that simple?

MARV DECKER CYCLEWORLD.COM

A:

It used to be that all British bikes had direct-drive top gears, and only the lower three ratios required driving through the countershaft, which they did through two meshes. To shift into top (fourth) the mechanism would dog the output gear to the mainshaft, resulting in a 1:1 ratio that did not drive through any mesh but the primary gears or chain. The Germans and Italians, and later the Japanese, adopted all-indirect gearboxes. Power came in from the clutch on the input shaft, and all ratios were driven by their own gear pairs. Thus, power was passing at all times through a single mesh while the unengaged gears “windmilled.” To make an overdriven top gear on an all-indirect gearbox is simply a matter of providing the required tooth counts in whatever pitch is being used. To make a direct-drive high-ratio (cruising economy) top gear in a British-style gearbox (direct drive in top) all the other ratios would have to be lowered appropriately. In this way, they are both right. Overdrive fifth and sixth are common in all-indirect gearboxes (ratios less than 1.00), but by other means a similar end effect may be had from a British-style gearbox in which the countershaft transmits no power in top gear. —Kevin Cameron

solved after more than a couple of visits to your regular guy. Same advice holds true for your doctor, dentist, or plumber. I called my go-to Ducati guy, Jordan Rhodes at Dallas Ducati, for his take on your situation (advancedmotorsports. com). Jordan says the Panigale transmissions have been bulletproof, so he’d focus on external causes. Check the shift linkage closely. Is there sufficient clearance between the clamping bolt and the swingarm? (The higher gear throws are slightly longer, and the rear chain adjusts with an eccentric.) Check the adjustment of the drive chain. Does

your bike have aftermarket rearsets? Since you are fortunate to live near civilization, you have several good choices for shops. Desmotosport (desmotosport. com): not a dealer, so no warranty work, best Yelp ratings. And since your bike is still under warranty, Monroe Motors in San Francisco. Ask for Matt (munroemotors.com). GOT A MECHANICAL OR TECHNICAL PROBLEM WITH YOUR BELOVED RIDE? Perhaps we can help. Contact us at cwservice@ cycleworld.com with your questions. We cannot guarantee a reply to every inquiry.


DIRT, REBRANDED  TWINS VS. TWINS  SINGLES VS. SINGLES  INDIAN CIRCLING

THE VIEW FROM INSIDE THE PADDOCK

68 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017


FLAT-TRACK RACE WATCH

AMERICAN FLAT-TRACK REVIVAL Is the racing sport of turning left finally making the right turn? By Andrea Wilson

F A CHAMPION: Bryan Smith won the last official AMA Pro Flat Track GNC1 championship, since the series will now be called American Flat Track and the premier class will be called Twins.

PHOTOGRAPH BY Jeff Allen

lat-track racing has pretty much been awesome since, well, two motorcycles met some neatly arranged left turns on dirt. Over the decades, the success of the Grand National Championship has gone up and down, but there has never been any question that the sport has offered some of the best motor racing of any kind on the planet. Even with its great action and strong tradition, flat-track’s popularity on the national level dwindled in the modern era. The only thing that kept it going was a tightly knit core of enthusiasts who put money into the sport purely out of love. And there has been but one factory committed long-term: Harley-Davidson. Without this love for the sport and this one factory, it’s unlikely that flat-track would have survived as a professional national series. But in recent years, flat-track has been rediscovered by a wider audience. The bikes have always been pure, but it’s the accessibility, both from a participatory standpoint and as a fan on the national level, that makes flat-track so attractive. You can walk pit areas and talk to the top riders, who are glad to share their time with you. Custom builders have widely adopted the tracker style and Hooligan racing—a run-whatya-brung-grassroots-racing emergence typified by Dirt Quake (Race Watch, Oct. 2015) and similar events—has brought even more interest. CYCLEWORLD.COM 69


A WORLD SPORT: Brad Baker (6) is arguably the most famous dirt tracker in the world, thanks to his epic battles with Marc Marquez (bottom) at Superprestigio. The Spaniard, like our own Hayden Gillim (middle), uses flat-track for roadracing success.

There’s also been a high-profile push on the world stage with guys like Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez, and Troy Bayliss sharing their passion for the sport. And America’s own Brad Baker has banged bars with Marquez at the annual Superprestigio indoor short-track race in Barcelona, Spain. To add to that buzz, flat-

70 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

JEFF ALLEN AMERICAN FLAT TRACK

track landed a spot in X Games, further widening the audience. Basically, flat-track is burning bright again and, as a result, has a window of opportunity. That’s why AMA Pro Racing’s flat-track boss Michael Lock has introduced some big changes for the AMA Pro Flat-Track series in 2017, starting with a complete rebranding to American Flat-Track, new logo and all. “The last thing we wanted to do was mask it all with this feeling that nothing’s changed,” Lock says. “It was imperative that we apply a fresh look onto the top of the sport in order for people to know we were doing something new. We have this long, rich history. It’s the oldest form of motorcycle racing. We wanted to communicate [our new path] while acknowledging the heritage.” But recapturing the sport’s former glory requires more than a new name and logo. So a plan was formulated and changes were made in three key areas: class structure, rules, and race format. The first, and perhaps most important area, was class structure. Starting in 2017, the premier class—AFT Twins—will only be racing twins, and the support class—AFT Singles—will stick with 450cc singles. “The racing classes were just fine

for the existing competitors, the existing teams, and maybe even the existing fan base,” Lock begins. “But the more I looked outside of that world I found that we were struggling to make a meaningful connection with a whole load of potential stakeholder groups around the sport that would help us grow it.” To illustrate the problem with the old class structure you need not go far. The 2015 season finale was held on an indoor short track in Las Vegas, a home race for one of Jared Mees’ principle team sponsors—Las Vegas Harley-Davidson. Mees was able to clinch his third Grand National Championship at his sponsor’s home race but while riding a Honda. “There is no other form of pro sport I can imagine, no other form of professional auto or motorsport in the world where that could happen,” Lock says. “I understand why it happened, but I vowed that would never happen again.” This sort of convoluted scenario is not only unappealing to the manufacturers, but it’s also confusing for fans trying to follow the sport. “If we are to grow a new generation of fans, particularly young fans, we have to dial down the complexity and the barriers to understand flat-track, and we have to dial up the accessibility,” he says. “In almost every other form of motorcycle sport and car sport, there is this triangle of success: It is an athlete, a machine, and a team. Those are the three things you need. You need them all to be the same every week, otherwise there’s no story to tell.” Fans are critical to a sport’s success, but without money there would be no narrative in the first place. Creating a manufacturerfriendly environment was a critical first step to take the series forward. “In speaking to every OEM in the industry I found this enormous gap between their participation and their goodwill,” Lock says. “So a primary driver of separating the classes into racing twins all year or singles is to get

DAVE HOENIG/AMERICAN FLAT TRACK

RACE WATCH FLAT-TRACK


FLAT-TRACK RACE WATCH the attention of that dozen motorcycle manufacturers out there, and say, ‘Hey, we’ve cleaned up the format, now can I ask for you to help?’ So if we achieve nothing else with the class change, we’ve achieved a lot with that.” Another part of cleaning house and attempting to sell to motorcycle manufacturers was simplifying the rules, most notably, tightening up the displacement range for the Twins class from 550cc to 1,200cc to 650cc to 990cc. “It’s still too broad in the long term, but what we don’t want to do is just exclude bikes that are currently on the grid,” Lock explains. “So we’re trying to send out a message to say, long-term, the 650 might go to 750, and the 990 might come down to 850, for example.” Lock also envisions a productionbased championship. At the moment, purpose-built race machines line up alongside production-based machines. Harley-Davidson XR750s, the dominant flat-track bike of the past 40 years, have now been joined by the brand-new Indian Scout FTR750, reigniting one of the oldest motorcycle racing rivalries. The rest of the field lines up on bikes that started out as street machines. With renewed interest comes increased scrutiny. And there have been grumblings about Indian coming in with a race-only engine that wasn’t for sale when the FTR750 made its race debut at the Santa Rosa Mile (“Indian Throws Down the Glove,” Dec. 2016).

JEFF ALLEN

RIVALRY IS GOOD: Indian vs. HarleyDavidson can do nothing but good for dirt track. Joe Kopp crushed it at Santa Rosa on the Scout.

“Indian wanted to get into the sport and be competitive as quickly as they could because they saw an opportunity and growth in pro flat-track,” Lock explains. “The only way they could execute that in a short space in time was to create a bike for flat-track, much in the way Harley-Davidson did 40 years ago with the XR. But by the end of 2019 we will be looking to have only production-based engines eligible for competition. Indian understands that they’ve got a window to develop and compete with this bike, and that’s the same for anybody else.” It’s unlikely anybody else is working on a prototype flat-trackspecific powerplant, but Lock says if a manufacturer has the inclination, any prototype fitting the rules would be allowed. Aside from a race-format change (a tournament-style elimination program will keep the top racers on track and in front of spectators more through race day), the new flat-track presents itself much like the old flattrack but in a package the series hopes will bring more fans and sponsors to the races, to TV screens (every round on NBC Sports Network), and streaming feeds (fanschoice.tv). American flat-track has seen many attempted “revivals” over the years, but none has been supported by the broader cultural popularity we are witnessing. If there was ever a time for big growth and success for flattrack, that time is now.

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74 CYCLE WORLD MARCH 2017

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After nine years and three world championships, Jorge Lorenzo leaves Yamaha. His first taste of the Ducati came at Valencia after the final 2016 round.

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Cycle World - March 2017