ZINIO logo
Cycle World

Cycle World Issue 3 - 18

America's leading motorcycle magazine since its inception in 1962, Cycle World covers all aspects of the two-wheel universe. From dirt-slingin', double-jumping motocrossers to wind-cheating, 200-mph roadracers, Team CW brings experience, credibility and excitement to the pages of the magazine each month. Get Cycle World digital magazine subscription today.

Read More
United States
Bonnier Corporation

in this issue

2 min
indian makes it real

The Scout FTR750 flat-track racebike triggered a lot of dreams when it was unveiled in 2016. I am sure more than a few pro flat-track racers immediately envisioned podium finishes, but for the rest of us, this light and lithe racebike triggered a speculation about a road-legal tracker. Indian quashed that with its “race-only” declaration for the 750cc V-twin. Booooo! Then at the EICMA show in Milan in 2017, the FTR1200 Custom appeared. We were so impressed, particularly after riding it, that we put it on the cover of Issue 2 and said, in no uncertain terms: Stop screwing around with the “Custom” BS and build it. At the neo-custom cultural gathering Wheels and Waves in Biarritz, France, this past June, Indian announced the FTR 1200 (the name gained a space) was indeed…

2 min

Since 2013, the MotoGP World Championship has settled at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas each spring to do battle on the 3.4-mile strip of asphalt just outside Austin. The undisputed king has been Marc Marquez, who has won each of the five Grand Prixes held at COTA on his Honda RC213V. The circuit seems to suit the Spaniard and his Honda, but that doesn’t stop the world’s best riders from gathering every year to test themselves over 20 laps. The 2018 edition was the third round of the championship, and the last of three “fly-away” races (including Qatar and Argentina) before the MotoGP circus returned to Europe for the meat of the season. Four MotoGP rookies joined the ranks this year, trying to make the leap from the teeming…

5 min
strange partners

The artist, scientist, and engineer influence one another because they share the same world. Physicists of 1900 were nervous because theory and experiment could not in important respects be reconciled without making upsetting assumptions. Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, and others earned their places in history by resolving some of the inconsistencies, but only by accepting the unacceptable—that space, time, and even causality are not absolutes. Every cellphone depends for its operation on their conclusions. In art and music, the “absolutes” were human conventions such as the French Academy or wealthy patrons. Approved art came in a frame and hung in museums. All else were daubs. Music was classical, while jazz and rock ’n’ roll were threats to civilization (but the coming of the phonograph offered the choice to millions—care to…

5 min
the workhorse

Aluminum is everywhere that either lightweight structure or high thermal and electrical conductivity are required. The typical sportbike has an aluminum cylinder block, head, and crankcases, plus a welded aluminum chassis and swingarm. Within the engine, the crucial aluminum application is its pistons, which by conducting heat so well are able to survive exposure to combustion temperatures far above their melting point. The wheels, coolant and oil radiators, hand levers and their brackets, top and (often) bottom fork crowns, upper fork tubes (in USD forks), brake calipers, and master cylinders are likewise aluminum. We have all stared in admiration at an aluminum chassis whose welds resemble the fabled fallen stack of poker chips. Some of these chassis and swingarms, such as those of Aprilia’s two-stroke 250 racers, are graceful works of…

5 min
suspension of disbelief

You can be ahead of your time, you can build a better mousetrap, you can have a VPN connection straight into the distant future—but if you fall short on execution, your chances of success are identical to those of Icarus and his flight to the sun. For the first 300 years after its invention, the wheel was used only for making pottery. Nobody could figure out how to make wheeled carts equal to the durability and versatility of sleds on runners. The obvious conceptual superiority of the wheel must have been plain to all, but the successful execution of that concept took more time than the transition from the Pony Express to an SR-71 Blackbird. By the same token, it’s universally acknowledged that the motorcycle fork is a thoroughly unsatisfactory idea.…

4 min
exhausting design

Few elements have as large an impact on a motorcycle’s design as the exhaust system. From header to exit, the gently curving shapes help define some of our favorite bikes, but the shapes are far from purely aesthetic. Exhaust gas contains useful energy in the form of velocity, and smooth shapes minimize the loss of that energy. A piston’s full-throttle power stroke begins with combustion gas at roughly 1,000 psi a few degrees after top dead center. That pressure falls rapidly as it pushes down the piston, transmitting power to it. At the moment the exhaust valves or ports begin to open, roughly 100 psi is all that’s left of combustion pressure. Can’t we go on expanding that gas with the piston to get all its energy? We could, but we don’t…