Dain Gingerelli ran into Cobra Engineering’s Denny Berg at the Long Beach motorcycle show this past weekend. Here’s what Berg had to say about a couple of bikes of his that almost stole the show.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
After a long, hot day in the saddle it’s a relief to kick back and relax. But when you kick off your riding boots does the offensive odor from your tired, sweaty dogs make it smell like you have one foot in the grave? If so, here’s a possible cure, Roadgear’s Generation 3 Coconut Socks.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Stock suspension isn’t as bad today as it was back in the days when everyone swore the factories used fish oil for damping fluid, but that doesn’t mean it’ll never wear out. After 31,000 miles the rear shock on my 650 V-Strom was starting to feel limp, so I checked into a new one. The retail price of the OE unit—a breathtaking $1,006.04—suggested it was filled with diamonds, not fish oil. My next stop was Progressive Suspension’s website, where I was happy to see a new 465 Series shock priced at $745.90.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Just because a helmet looks nostalgic doesn’t mean it’s a throwback to the days before DOT and Snell certifications. Case in point is the Ed Hardy series of open-face helmets distributed by NHJ Powersports. Look on the back of these colorful helmets and you’ll see the DOT label, which means the helmet has been approved by the Department of Transportation. The DOT certification verifies that the helmet, liner, interior, strap and buckle retention system meet certain criteria that the federal government has set for all motorcycle and scooter helmets used on public roads.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The American motorcycle market is top-heavy with large, expensive bikes that are not only hard to justify buying in these sucky economic times, but difficult for new and returning riders to warm up to because of their intimidating performance. There are exceptions, such as Kawasaki’s evergreen 250 Ninija, which was the third-best-selling on-highway bike in the U.S. from June 2009 to May 2010, outselling four H-D FL models, Honda’s CBR1000RR and GL1800, and Kawasaki’s own ZX-600. The little Ninja proves there’s life in the entry-level class yet, and now Honda is joining the party with the new CBR250R.
The CBR250R is powered by a single-cylinder 249.4cc (let’s just round that off to 250cc, shall we?) engine with fuel injection and a counterbalancer. Based on manufacturers’ specifications, which typically are not to be trusted, the Honda is slightly down on power compared to the Ninja 250, and weighs a few pounds more. The CBR puts out its claimed 26 horsepower at 8,500 rpm; that makes it a bit of a plodder next to the 32-horsepower (claimed) Ninja, which not only willingly spins into the five-digit part of the tach but needs to in order to produce decent power.
The CBR comes with disc brakes front and rear, and is available with optional Combined ABS, which should come in handy for keeping new riders from having to be scraped off the side of cars. The U.S. market gets its CBRs in black or red, not the neat tricolor scheme shown here. Price hasn’t been announced yet, but expect it to be close to that of the 250 Ninja. —Jerry Smith
Friday, October 22, 2010
By any reasonable standards of behavior, Iron Butt riders are nuts. Anyone who is driven—there's no other word to describe it—to ride in the legendary event, in which the top riders will cover more than 11,000 miles in 11 days, is more than likely a few foot-pounds shy of fully torqued.
And yet there is method to the madness of Iron Butt competitors, as well as the legions of LD (long-distance) riders who think little of clocking 500, 800, even 1,000 miles in a single day. They all know something—many things, really—that most riders don't know, things that can make your next tour safer, easier, and more enjoyable whether your idea of a good day's ride is a thousand miles or just a couple of hundred.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
“You get what you pay for” is often used to justify high prices. The implication is that cheap goods are somehow inferior to ones that cost more. The HJC CL-16 sells for a suggested retail of $129.99-$144.99, depending on color and graphics. Compared to helmets running in the $400-$600 range, that’s pocket change. But do you get what you pay for, or do you get more, or less?
Thursday, September 30, 2010
For various technical reasons our Bonneville coverage wasn't what we'd hoped for. To make up for it, we present this video, which pretty much speaks for itself.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I’ve always been a two-stroke fan because I used to road race them at Southern California tracks. Eventually, along with my brother Alan and a gaggle of other talented riders, I gained a reputation as an RD Yamaha specialist. Without boring you with the details of those halcyon days, all of us top RD riders did pretty well for ourselves, gaining the respect of our peers from the other classes in the process. For the record, I owe a lot of my racing success to my tuner and good friend, John Lassak.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Some riders choose dual-sports and adventure bikes because they want to ride both on and off the pavement. Others appreciate the upright seating and plentiful aftermarket luggage options such bikes offer. That’s what led me to my 650 V-Strom, which I’ve ridden off pavement for maybe 100 miles, but over 31,000 on the street. Until now, however, I haven’t found a rear tire that lasts very long, because the soft compound necessary for off-pavement riding compromises on-pavement tire life. But I think I’ve found the perfect tire for me and my bike—Pirelli’s dual-compound Scorpion Trail.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Even though many budget bikes have engines with fuel injection and four-valve cylinder heads, their suspension—particularly the front fork—remains mired in the past, relying on inexpensive damper rods to help control wheel movement instead of the sophisticated cartridge damping found on pricier models. Ricor’s Intiminator fork valves bring cartridge performance to damper-rod bikes.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
The racers churned up the salt on Tuesday, completing 351 runs that resulted in 50 AMA records (pending confirmation by officials) and numerous FIM records. Racing continues on Wednesday, but wind conditions have kept the streamliners from running today. “But the regular bikes are okay to run,” said Denis Manning.
Some notable records and speeds include a sidecar from Switzerland that was clocked at 172 mph for an FIM record, and a BSA 500cc single registering 103 mph through the lights, also a record.
Recent Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee Larry Coleman piloted his sidecar to an AMA record of 170.350 mph, and the electric-powered motorcycle class isn’t short of drama, either. Mike Czysz ran out of gearing before completing a full circuit on the 5-mile short course, clocking 151 mph. “He’s putting more gearing on it,” said Manning.
Meanwhile Paul Tede broke the existing 102 mph electric-bike record, posting a speed of 162 mph. These guys give new meaning to the phrase “assault and battery.”
“The whole Klock family is here, too,” said Manning. “I think everybody in that family has a record now.” —Dain Gingerelli