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Cycle World

Cycle World Issue 2 - 2020

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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.
wait, what?

Like the rest of the world, we went from planning things, working, and living our lives to a great screeching halt. The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus meant the time between being out on the road with our testing crew to hiding out at home most of the time was shockingly short. First, we here at Cycle World and the Bonnier Motorcycle Group wish you, your friends, and your family health and safety. We hope by the time this issue is out, that we can begin to see a path toward resolution and solid plans to get back some version of normal life while keeping everyone safe. The motorcycle business is getting hit pretty hard (along with most businesses), while motorcycling itself remains a savior. Many places, it is still OK…

3 min.
new perspective

My normal day job is shooting all manner of car racing around the planet. From Formula 1 in Monaco to the Le Mans and Nürburgring 24-hour to the Indy 500, I’ve shot it all. I enjoy car racing, but I adore bike racing. In fact, my professional photography career started with an assignment for Ducati covering its Pikes Peak Hill Climb effort in 2012 with Greg Tracy and the late, great Carlin Dunne. These days, I only dabble covering bikes but once or twice a year, usually in Macau, and I fall in love with motorcycle racing all over again. The color. The noise. The smells. Bike racing is so insanely visceral and wonderful to photograph. So, when a series of fortunate events led me to be asked to cover a…

5 min.
style unifies

When I had accumulated some basic experience as quite a young man, I realized there were clear national styles in motorcycle engines, but in this new century, I see such diversity receding in favor of a new international style. I saw that British designers reacted against oil leakage and Times of London gasket material by employing a multitude of screws to hold case covers in place. Examples are the attractive, polished timing covers of British twins, but the extreme is exemplified by the cam covers of the Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft V-12, secured by nearly 30 fasteners each. Also very British was too few crank-shaft main bearings—as in giving a parallel-twin or even an inline-four just two of them, and “lettin’ ’er flex” in jump-rope fashion. Also essentially British in nature was…

4 min.
the spring

The word “spring” usually applies to an intentionally created elastic element, such as the helical coil springs used in vehicle suspension or engine valve trains. It can also apply to the compressibility of gases, as in the pneumatic valve springs used in MotoGP, or in the MX “air suspensions” that flower every few years. Rubber in torsion was a common form of spring in 1960s British motocross bikes. Spring can also describe structures never intended to be flexible, as when former Ducati engineer Corrado Cecchinelli explained to me that certain riders mistakenly feel flex in footpeg brackets as loss of tire grip. Structures acting as springs became a big subject during the decades when chatter set the upper limit of chassis performance. I was shown a Yamaha 750 Superbike on a…

6 min.

In the mid-1980s, the Castiglioni brothers, Gianfranco and Claudio, owned the Cagiva Group and had established excellent ties with the leaders of the major Italian political parties. They liberally used their connections to financially strengthen the group after proving rather successful both in the motorcycle market and on racetracks. These same friends granted the Cagiva Group full control of Ducati at no cost. Not a bad gift. At the time, Ducati was controlled by a government-owned financial group, and the top managers were so inept that heavy financial losses piled up year after year. Giving it to the Cagiva Group at least cut the hemorrhagic flow. Almost in perfect coincidence with the acquisition of Ducati, Claudio had made a generous offer to Massimo Tamburini, rescuing him from the backstabbing that Massimo…

5 min.

The safety bicycle, which exploded into a popular craze around 1895, can be regarded as a confluence of technologies that matured at that time—the ball bearing, pneumatic tire, seamless-drawn steel tubing, roller chain and sprocket drive, and super-strong hard-drawn steel wire. A final ingredient might be the production and shaping of thin metal sheet by rolling. The last two together made possible one of the most efficient structures known to mechanical engineering: the tension-spoked wire wheel. A roll-formed rim is made by slitting sheet steel into strips, then roll-forming those strips into a wheel-rim section that was finally roll-bent into a circle. The butt ends were joined by brazing or welding. The wheel hub consisted of a pair of spoke flanges joined by a tube, spinning on the new screw-adjustable cone ball…