"I've always been an extremist," Frenchman-turned-Floridian Christian Travert says as he swivels around in his chair and smiles. He displays 17 months of design work: 4,972 computer files with pre-production renderings of his V-Rex motorcycle. Clearly, he is extreme in his perfectionism.
The sixties were drawing to a close when promoter Edison Dye trespassed on American Hare Scrambles with a form of off-road racing he imported from Europe. Dye had convinced a number of European riders to cross the pond and compete in an exhibition series to introduce the sport to America. The sport was called Motocross and dirt biking would never again be the same Stateside. (Click image to enlarge)
Using Dainese's patented D-Skin leather—a dramatically softer cowhide treated with special wax and silicone—the Laguna Seca P.B. suit immediately feels pliable and comfortable, and its tacky surface grips the seat and other touch points well. The fit of the bi-axial elasticated panels inside my arms and at the back of my knees is excellent, and prevents that uncomfortable bunching when in a racing stance
What’s not to like? Ducati takes its liquid-cooled, four-valve, L-twin Testastretta motor pumping out 130 hp and drops it into a trellis-framed naked bike with a semi-upright rider’s position, then tops it off with the paint scheme from the Italian flag (or the nearest pizza joint), carbon fiber here, there and everywhere, plus distinctive dual mufflers stacked high on the right.
Ever try to put lipstick on a Pitbull? It's a hazardous enterprise. Blood is spilled. Fingers vanish. Michael Vick leaves nasty messages on your voicemail. Ignoring the obvious peril, the brave souls at Big Dog Motorcycles have given their vicious, 10-year-old Pitbull a complete makeover for 2008. Admirers of the ill-tempered street dog need not fear—this is no Queer Eye, metrosexual de-fanging.
When asked how long he has wanted to build a water-cooled production sportbike, it takes a moment for a telling expression to wash over Erik Buell's face. A nearby engineer overhears the question and erupts with knowing laughter—yet another unspoken confirmation that a large part of Buell's nearly quarter-century of bike building has been tinged with a bit of unconsummated technological craving.
Accessing the growing market of riders who want a custom-style motorcycle from traditional manufacturers, Star is introducing the Raider for 2008. Available in two trim lines, each with two color choices, with the power coming from the same motor that moves the Roadliners and Stratoliners.
The Raider focuses on both the raked look that custom riders prefer—it stretches forward at a nearly 40 degree angle—while still retaining the handling that metric cruisers are known for. Metzeler is supplying the tires, with a wide 120mm front and a reasonable 210 rear.
Do-it-all motorcycles, with styling reminiscent of a Dakar rally bike, but only the slightest pretence of off-road capabilities, generally come from Europe—with offerings from marques such as BMW, Ducati and Triumph—where the styling and performance have great appeal.
American Superbike, Euro Motor
At a press conference, Erik Buell brushed aside questions about the use of non-Harley powerplants in Buell motorcycles. He pointed to the marketing advantage of the Harley-Davidson motor, and, of course, Buell (the brand, not the man) is owned by the Motor Company.
The chopper brings out the animal in us. No matter how self-effacing or demure we may claim to be, the presence and defiance of these motorcycles stirs the renegade within. With the bikes elongated crouches, they are like Dobermans ready to pounce, packages of barely controlled violence balanced on the edge of beauty and lethality. Baring their teeth, their engines growl the challenge to us: command them, or live forever in fear of them.
Vespa LX 150
Vespa, the wasp-like icon of Italian mobility, was originally designed by Corradino D'Ascanio to meet the personal transportation needs of the people of Italy in the years following the Second World War.