Cycle World3 min letti
Life Liquid
In a celebrated case, a vertical shaft hydroelectric turbine ran continuously for 40 years without shutdown. When it was finally replaced, its thrust-bearing surfaces still bore the tool marks of their manufacture. How was that possible? It was becau
Cycle World3 min letti
Ducati 916
Maestro Massimo Tamburini’s first Ducati was the 1986 Paso, its sleek styling and perfectly balanced chassis making it the most “after 1950” motorcycle ever for the marque—and modern at the time by any standard. So, while the Paso is not the nearly m
Cycle World3 min letti
The Telescopic Fork
Look at the bikes in today’s on- or off-road competition, and you will find telescopic forks on all of them. A “tele” is structurally simple and has continued to develop new strengths. Critics correctly note that its sliding motion generates “stictio
Cycle World3 min letti
Two Wheels for All
When you think about motorcycle shows, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the sight of a bunch of dudes cruising around a windowless hall looking at rows of machines, maybe a few T-shirt vendors and a couple of fried-food carts? Did you
Cycle World8 min letti
Super Bike Stimulation
Arguments will be made for other categories of sportbikes, but nothing delivers the emotion-evoking exotic personality and outright performance like a modern-day superbike. Each is a brutally fast piece of industrial art optimized with everything it
Cycle World2 min letti
Lap Analysis
A VBox Sport GPS data logger was used to record official comparative lap times around the 15-turn, 3-mile Thunderhill circuit. Delving deeper into each bike’s quickest recorded lap has provided split times through four distinct sectors, peak speed ac
Cycle World6 min letti
Serious Flux
Like many, I was shocked back in 2014 when Harley-Davidson—perhaps the most tradition-steeped motorcycle manufacturer on the planet—unveiled a prototype electric motorcycle with intent to bring a whisper-quiet Hog to market. It was a bold step for a
Cycle World4 min letti
Foreword Thinking
The first question to anyone’s lips is “Why?” The motor company’s meticulously cultivated image is a muscular one, tied to traditional values of nationalism and personal independence. The Harley Big Twin owner tours America, often over heroic mileage
Cycle World6 min letti
Cycle World 10 Best Bikes 2019
BEST CRUISER It’s long and low with a menacing demeanor, is powered by a massive V-twin engine, and it’s Italian. Wait? What? That’s right, the Best Cruiser of 2019 is straight outta Bologna. Revamped for 2019, the Diavel 1260 S gets a 1,262cc Testas
Cycle World3 min letti
Air. Force.
MotoGP bikes are still accelerating strongly at 200 mph. At that speed, wind pressure—aerodynamic drag—on the front of the machine has taken substantial weight off the front tire, and adding acceleration to this can result in instability, or even fro
Cycle World3 min lettiTech
Matthew B. Crawford
Matthew B. Crawford published his essay “Shop Class as Soulcraft” in the technology and society journal The New Atlantis in 2006, spurring a book of the same title. It simultaneously turned his professional career on its ear and gave voice to a gener
Cycle World3 min letti
In The Outside Air
My 6-year-old son, Ian, yesterday asked if we could take a ride on our 1954 Velocette MSS 500 when we got home after school, work, and all the rest of normal life. It is, of course, impossible to say no to such a request, even if it means a slightly
Cycle World4 min letti
Imminent Specific Progress
It is with trepidation that I write even one word about this. A few years ago, seeing the interest in electric vehicles, I wrote a five-part descriptive article for on electric motors, their power supplies, lithium-ion batteries themse
Cycle World2 min letti
India Rising
It was quite a first editorial meeting in May of 1999, a room full of highly experienced Cycle World staff, and wondering what job I would end up with on my first issue. I had visions of a Honda RC-45 or Yamaha YZF-R7 test. Strangely, my debut riding
Cycle World1 min letti
Being There
The dream, I suppose, would have been to thunder up the Coast Highway and arrive at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering on some glorious beast such as a Brough Superior or a Black Shadow. Alas, we were not astride one of those legendary bikes because, wel
Cycle World4 min letti
Lost Weight, Found Performance
Major elements of the motorcycle—chassis, engine, fork, wheels and tires—have become steadily lighter. This is not from substitution of expensive exotic materials such as titanium and carbon fiber, but because improved manufacturing technologies now
Cycle World3 min letti
Tough And Pure
Stainless-steel alloys are today found on motorcycles mainly in the form of exhaust valves and exhaust systems. So well-adapted to their purpose have these alloys become that there is no longer even a memory of the exhaust-valve problems that plagued
Cycle World3 min letti
Arrow Of Change
In 1977 I knew when it was last call in the bars two miles away, for I could hear that musical three-cylinder sound of Kawasaki H1s and H2s upshifting away into the night. Today, four decades later, the sound has defaulted to Harley-Davidson Sportste
Cycle World3 min letti
The Clutch
Unlike steam or electric powerplants, piston internal combustion engines cannot produce torque from zero rpm. That means they must first be started, and only then gradually connected—“clutched”—to the load. Although 98 percent of new U.S. autos have
Cycle World5 min letti
Xross Generational Racing
Billows of smoke drift across the track, plumes soon brought to life and given color by the yellow sparks dragging parts as 40-year-old air-cooled superbikes rip some of the finest tarmac in the world. The race to Turn 1 is on, and yet I can’t see a
Cycle World9 min letti
For approximately the past decade, Editor Mark Hoyer has been telling me, “We’ve got to get you to the Quail.” His tone of voice always reminds me of one of those worldly college guys telling his naive and innocent freshman roommate, “We’ve just gott
Cycle World6 min letti
Opposed Twins
It wouldn’t be out of the question to think that the Kawasaki W800 Café would trounce the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 in a head-to-head retro-bike comparison. The manufacturing giant from Kobe has, after all, built rockets, helicopters, bullet t
Cycle World3 min letti
Burning Rubber
Although it’s hard to tell by looking at them, those black rubber hoops that your motorcycle rolls on have evolved dramatically in the past decade. And they have to: Faster bikes with more power, complex rider aids and ever-improving suspension and b
Cycle World8 min letti
Dr. Robin Tuluie
“News of Rob”—it was always that, like pings from a satellite gone out of our orbit, sending snaps from other planets. The first news of Robin Tuluie reached our San Francisco café racer club—the Roadholders—in 1986, before we’d actually met him: som
Cycle World6 min letti
When Racing Was King
Things were certainly different in Japan back in 1988. The country’s economy was shooting skyward much like the rev limits of these 250cc sportbikes. Motorcycles were still the primary form of personal transportation for the majority of the populatio
Cycle World6 min letti
Four billion years ago, a Ural sidecar rig rolled out of the primordial soup and set to lurching about the world, seeking adventure and bears and vodka and whatever the hell else Russian hacks survive upon. Or maybe it was 5 billion years. No one kno
Cycle World3 min letti
Mark Blackwell
Mark Blackwell doesn’t want to talk about the past. The honors stretch back some 40 years and his trophy case is filled to the brim, but his primary focus these days is on the future. Namely, the future of motorcycling. Blackwell was a leading rider
Cycle World2 min letti
Rise Of Icons
I’ve always contended that if a motorcycle hasn’t run for at least 25 years, how do you know it’s any good? And then I realized because I was waiting so long to buy, I was often paying too much. The idea is to buy when a bike is just “used,” not yet
Cycle World4 min letti
When The Engine Starts
I bought a terrible rigid-framed BSA D1 Bantam for $140 in 1959. Insuring and registering anything as offensive to good order as a motorcycle in those days required that I enter the “assigned risk pool.” I took the subway there and I stood in one of
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