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Cycle World Issue 4 - 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.

United States
Bonnier Corporation

in this issue

3 min
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 late bedtime, or that I don’t do the dishes until 9:30 that night. On the ride, via our Bluetooth-equipped helmets, Ian said, “What’s great about riding a motorcycle is that you can see everywhere, because you’re in the outside air.” The purity of the observation was magnificent. In this moment, the enormity of what we feel about motorcycle riding, but don’t always consciously observe, washed over me: Motorcycling has improved everything, making life happier, freer, more active, more engaging, and more fun…

3 min
suzuka 8 hours

The Suzuka 8 Hours is one of the most magnificent races on the motorcycle-racing calendar. It has as much pageantry and history as any race—and this year, it also had drama, with the race going down to the wire. The 42nd edition produced what will be one of the most talked about finishes in 8 Hours’ history, with a last-minute red flag that ensured the result was decided in the race officials’ offices rather than on the track.…

5 min
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 cycleworld.com on electric motors, their power supplies, lithium-ion batteries themselves, battery charging, and so on. I might as well have written about deflagration of monodisperse sprays for all the interest those stories generated. I concluded that our readers, while possibly wowed by the novelty of electric motorcycles, did not want to know anything about how they work. Electric motors and their power supplies are already sophisticated and affordable; the barrier to wide use of electric vehicles is their batteries, which remain expensive, heavy, and limited in driving range. Lithium-ion batteries were conceived in 1975, commercialized by Sony in 1992, and have improved…

5 min
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 because the bearing surfaces—one rotating, the other stationary—had never touched. They had been completely separated by a thin and continuously replaced film of oil. This is the ideal to which all surface friction in internal-combustion engines aspires: When surfaces are separated by a continuous oil film, wear from metal-to-metal contact is impossible. Why isn’t oil immediately squeezed out from between crank journals and bearings, between cam lobes and tappets, between pistons and piston rings, and the cylinders in which they slide? The internal friction of oil, called viscosity, strongly resists such squeezing out; it…

4 min
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 mythological creature the Ducati 916 is, it remains a cornerstone in the evolution of motorcycle design. It was also key as Tamburini capitalized on the Paso’s lessons in aerodynamics, purity of design, and man-machine interface when it came time to embark on his greatest work. Around 1990, when Tamburini began working on this new project to harness the mighty Ducati 851–888 eight-valve Desmo V-twin, goals for the chassis were simple yet difficult: Build a long-lasting reference point by being the best-balanced Ducati chassis on the company’s shortest-ever wheelbase. Ducati’s…

4 min
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 “stiction”—initial resistance to movement—its angled legs are pro-dive, and it inefficiently transmits stress up the telescoping legs from the tire footprint to a high steering head before distributing it back down into the rest of the chassis. Each time pivoted-link front ends have shown shorter braking distances, tele builders have cut stiction with harder, smoother fork-tube coatings such as TiC (gold) and DLC (black) plus slippery slider bushings. Pro-dive? Yes, but the anti-dive fad of the 1980s ended when Yamaha showed that dive, by lowering a bike’s center-of-mass height, actually shortened braking…