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Cars & Motorcycles

Motorcyclist May - June 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.
beverly hills boardtrack

Guests at the posh Beverly Wilshire Hotel probably haven’t a clue that motorcyclists once claimed the same turf. In 1921, daring speedway riders took to a massive 1.25-mile wooden motordrome in the heart of Beverly Hills, hitting speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. This photo from the scrapbook of Freddie Ludlow (No. 5 in the photo) shows the rolling start of the 50-mile final, won by his Harley-Davidson teammate, Jim Davis. Built at a cost of $500,000, the Beverly Hills Speedway lasted just four years before it was torn down and moved to nearby Culver City, making way for construction of the luxury hotel that is still in operation today.…

1 min.
artful dodgers

LA traffic doesn’t care if you’re driving a Ferrari or a Metro bus. Wade into its waters at rush hour and you’ll find out exactly how egalitarian the City of Angels can be. The average Los Angeles commuter can expect to spend more time stuck in peak traffic than drivers from any other city on Earth, according to a recent INRIX study. Unless, of course, you’re on a motorcycle. Lane sharing—long practiced in California but only explicitly legalized last year—is the motorcyclist’s cheat code for traffic. Find our tips for first-time lane splitters on p. 80.…

1 min.
the hollywood machine

MICHAEL BOWEN COULD have been a racer. He has that intensity: natural, easy speed and daunting power density like he’s packed the energy of two humans under his skin. Instead, he went acting and spent years building the heartbreakingly pretty XR750 on page 22 that he bump-starts every time he wants to run into town for coffee. Bowen gets it: That motorcycles lend Hollywood their cool and get profoundly misunderstood in return. That for every Easy Rider there’s a Ghost Rider. That those of us who sit bolt upright when the Terminator’s Harley sails into an LA flood channel (page 50) cringe when we hear the two-stroke soundtrack of young John Connor’s obviously four-stroke Honda. And traffic-clogged Southern California is a natural fit for motorcycles. It’s a place willing to invest wildly…

2 min.

BENJAMIN PRESTON Ben Preston holds the dubious distinction of having worked both as an editor at The New York Times and as a mechanic at the Pep Boys in Fredericksburg, Virginia. His reporting has taken him to war zones, including Baghdad, Iraq, and the Detroit Auto Show. For this issue of Motorcyclist, Preston writes the strange and riveting history of Thornton Edwards on page 62. KEN LEE Ken Lee launched his writing career at Cycle magazine in the 1970s, eventually becoming road test editor. Following decades of advertising and PR work, he’s returned to his first love, writing about bikes, like his Smart Money column on page 94. Lee’s only regret is not keeping a list of all the motorcycles he’s ridden through the decades. DON EMDE A 1972 Daytona 200 winner, Don Emde is…

1 min.
the los angeles alley rally

For years LA’s alleyways were considered a lost cause by politicians and police alike. Graffiti, gang violence, and trash dumping became so pervasive that massive metal gates were installed to restrict alley access to locals. Murals—long a cornerstone of public art in Los Angeles—faced a 10-year ban that was lifted only in 2013.…

3 min.
me & my bike

BIKE Harley-Davidson XR750 RIDER Michael Bowen AGE 64 HOME Ojai, CA OCCUPATION Actor (Kill Bill, Breaking Bad, Lost) THERE WAS ONE SUMMER, man, where everybody got a Harley. I had my XR, and it was Mickey Rourke and Steve Jones and all these guys from the Clash—Paul Simonon and all these cats—and we used to go out every Saturday night, cruise around and make trouble. It’s really easy to make trouble with that thing. It’s dial-a-wheelie, man, you know? Mert Lawwill built the motor 30 years ago, almost. I was probably working on Valley Girl. Or just after that, I don’t know. I bought it as a junior race bike and rode it around like that for a while. Then it started to make noise, so I took the motor out and brought it up to…