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Cycle World

Cycle World Issue 1 - 2019

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.

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United States
Bonnier Corporation

in this issue

2 min
we ride everything

While most of the feedback about our move to a quarterly schedule has been positive, we, like you (based on your feedback), find the break between the last 2018 issue and the first of 2019 long. Hopefully you kept busy on cycleworld.com finding out about new motorcycles, just as we did writing about them. In fact, we were very busy making sure we had the expertise and talent to keep doing the best testing and telling the finest motorcycle stories, so I’d like to give you an update. You got to meet Senior Editor Justin Dawes last year when he did his first comparison test for the magazine, hammering a trio of adventure bikes in “Big Dirt.” He heads for the wilds again in the dual-sport shootout on page 42. He has…

3 min
dakar rally

For the last 41 years, the Dakar Rally has tested men, women, and their machines in the harshest environments our planet has to offer. A race once contested on two continents—from Paris to Dakar—it now takes place in South America and challenges competitors to navigate special stages using nothing more than a scroll of paper. Notes are laid out in French, marking obstacles and obstructions between waypoints, which racers must collect before ultimately (hopefully) crossing the finish line. But the Dakar is not just about navigating the deserts of South America, or reading roadbooks highlighted in pink and green. Dakar breaks even the strongest wills. It destroys even the most robust equipment. The true test of Dakar is about one’s ability to endure. Can you continue, day after day, with only…

5 min
technology changes everything

As climate warmed at the end of the last ice age, and as humans hunted out the large Pleistocene animals whose meat had sustained them, a new way of life was forced upon those who inhabited the Middle East some 10,000 years ago. To stay alive through ever-more-frequent “starving times” people had begun gathering and eating the tiny seeds of certain grasses. They quickly learned that new plants would grow where such seeds had fallen. This was the dawn of a revolutionary food technology—agriculture—whose rapid development permitted a steadily growing population. Cities, the arithmetic of taxation, written language and all the complexities of civilization come down to us from this. In 1911, Indian was a world leader in motorcycle technology. In that year’s Senior Isle of Man TT, against opposition barely…

6 min
magic metal

In times past, a walk along Daytona’s pit lane during practice was a feast for the eyes, and one of the major attractions was the light-weight magnesium parts on factory bikes. My own home-built Kawasaki H2-R 750 had only the prosaic gray cast-aluminum ignition and primary gear covers carried over from the 1970–’71 500cc Triple. But on the factory bikes, those parts were finished with the gold chromic-acid process sometimes called Dow 19. Lovely because: unavailable, exotic, wonderful. In 1976, when Yamaha brought its four-cylinder monoshock 0W-31 you-can’t-have-it version of the TZ750 to Daytona, its magnesium Powerjet carburetors were a strange, almost furry brown color—maybe the dichromate process. Other processes are used to provide a base for paint, as seen on the black clutch cover and clutch-release lever of production…

6 min
past forward

What if you held a retro party… and nobody came? In 2019, that’s very close to being a ridiculous question. Right now, the retro party is in full swing and everybody from BMW to Yamaha has slipped a ’70s-style dress over their modern-as-tomorrow underwear. Twenty-two years ago, however, the notion of deliberately evoking the past in a big-bore sportbike seemed just a little… strange. It was the era of the mighty ZX-11, ram-air GSX-R750, and ethereally gorgeous Ducati 916. Why look back, when the present itself was bright enough to require sunglasses? Ah, but there was something missing in that lineup of fantastic plastic road rockets. A little bit of comfort, perhaps. Around-town usability, for sure. Most critically, however, the Class of 1997 suffered from a bit of an image problem with…

5 min
the stack

Single-shock rear suspensions are near-universal today. Traditional twin-shock setups are still seen, but exist mainly for reasons of retro style. When the era of longer rear-suspension travel arrived in 1974, it made the best sense to implement it with a single-suspension unit. Why have suspension at all? For decades, American motorcycles had rigid frames—no rear suspension. But as highways improved and speeds rose, rear suspension became necessary to provide chassis stability. Letting just the sprung wheel ride up and down over bumps saved the rider and chassis from their disturbance. The rear shock provides two basic functions: Supporting the weight of the rear of the bike with a bump-softening spring, and controlling any up-and-down oscillations of the suspension by providing damping. Damping is a controlled friction force that drains energy out of…