Cars & Motorcycles

Motorcyclist March - April 2018

Each issue of Motorcyclist combines the excitement and color of today's cruisers, sportbikes, naked bikes and touring machines with credible information on road tests, riding gear, safety issues, riding skills and new products.

United States
Bonnier Corporation
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In this issue

1 min.
8 hours of awestruck

Endurance races are traditionally settled by attrition and management as much as rider skill, but motorcycles have changed, and so have their riders. Today’s events are nail-biting sprints, each one a testament to modern engineering and fitness. That’s what you see in the FIM Endurance World Championship, where teams take on tracks like Suzuka, Le Mans, and Oschersleben in contests that range from eight to 24 hours. Grinding out laps as darkness falls puts a premium on visibility for riders and spectators alike, leading teams like championship- winning GMT94 Yamaha to run powerful headlights and lit numbers on their race machines.…

1 min.
were you expecting sand dunes?

There have been 40 Dakar rallies since 1978; all of them tough, many of them deadly. Here, KTM-mounted Walkner Matthias shows why the race still holds our attention. This muck hole would best most motorcyclists, let alone one already beaten down by six stages of hard riding. But here, somehow, 31-year-old Matthias comes out the other side smelling like a filthy, filthy rose. Winning the Dakar Rally takes thousands of tiny triumphs like this one. It’s what makes Dakar so good, and motorcycling along with it.…

1 min.
the appeal of endurance

WHEN ROADRACER RANDY RENFROW lost his thumb in a crash, he had his big toe grafted in its place. Belgian off-road racer Gaston Rahier was not a tall man. At 5-foot-5, he had to launch his BMW rally bike by running alongside it, but he won the Dakar all the same. Bessie Stringfield started adventuring on motorcycles at 19 by tossing a penny at a map and riding where it landed. By the 1930s, she was crossing the country solo on her Harley-Davidson, a young black woman on the road in a country that wouldn’t guarantee her the right to vote for another 30 years. Acts of endurance separate motorcyclists from common travelers. A thousand miles in the car? You might measure it in podcasts. On a bike, it’s enough to…

2 min.

LILY BROOKS-DALTON Author of Motorcycles I’ve Loved and Good Morning, Midnight, Brooks-Dalton penned “Why Do We Do This To Ourselves” on page 70. Her shorter work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times. After spending a year and a half traveling the US and living out of her truck, she recently settled in LA, where she is working on a new book. ANDREW OLDAR Resident trials expert Andrew Oldar competed from the ages of seven to 21; he’s a natural on a motocross bike and tests for Dirt Rider. So we were astonished to find that Oldar didn’t have his motorcycle endorsement. After a quick trip to the DMV, we stuck him on a Triumph Street Scrambler and sent him on a 260-mile excursion to El Camino del…

2 min.
92 years of six days

English trials hero Mick Andrews coaxes his AJS up a rocky, muddy climb at the 1963 ISDT in Czechoslovakia. East Germany dominated that year, collecting a raft of trophies on their MZs (FIM Archive). The International Six Days Enduro is one of the oldest events on two wheels. Its 92nd running occurred this year in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, but competitors have endured the Olympics of Motorcycling off and on since 1913. Originally the International Six Days Trial, the event has drawn the world’s most talented racers, then subjected them to 1,000 kilometers of trails, tracks, and each other. This year saw more than 350 entrants from 30 different countries gun for the podium. Just another year in the muddy, bloody ISDE (FIM Archive). Originally called the International Six Days Trials Event, 1923 saw riders…

3 min.
me & my bike

BIKE 1938 Harley - Davidson U RIDER Rob Root AGE 55 HOME Seattle, WA OCCUPATION Aerospace Engineer “I always describe the old Harleys as being half motorcycle and half tractor. They ’ re crude by modern standards, and yet with a little bit of TLC they ’ re bombproof.” THE SEATTLE COSSACKS were formed in 1938. We’re coming up on our 80th anniversary. It was a group of early Seattle hill climbers who were looking for ways to entertain themselves in between riding the hill. They started to create stunts like lowspeed pyramids—that sort of thing—and then they found that people really wanted to watch. The term “Cossacks” was not really a regional or ethnic reference. They used that term to describe anybody who was a skilled rider. It started with Ukrainian Cossacks who were recognized worldwide…