Motorcyclists treasure those moments of solitude when our mounts transport us to uncharted places. But it may be difficult to imagine traveling across five countries on dangerous dirt tracks, rocky roads, and some of the most brutal desert landscapes in the world for 15 sleepless days, just to say, “I did it.” However, that is precisely what the intrepid competitors who undertake the legendary Dakar Rally set out to do.
John Ethell may not garner the same level of name recognition around the beer tents as racers such as Miguel Duhamel, Jake Zemke or Josh Hayes, but the engine-building virtuoso and undisputed master of the Honda racing mill is universally lionized in the paddock. Throughout his remarkable 18-year career, Ethell has earned the respect and friendship of the riders who have racked up countless victories atop his powerful motors.
Buell has an enviable skill of making the most of limited resources. The company clearly isn't set to make each machine completely unique and independent, so they carefully peruse the parts bin to come up with something "new" and interesting. Case in point is the Lightning Super TT, a streetfighter/supermoto hybrid that delivers much more than you might expect at first consideration.
Louis Vuitton—as a purveyor of custom luggage and expensive bags, and owner of elite subsidiaries such as Donna Karan, Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon, Hennessey, Givenchy, and Tag Heuer—is one of Europe's most profitable groups, yet is not too proud to maintain links with the concours and retro-rally scene.
With motocrossers' designs in a maturation phase, the big changes in the dirt are happening off the closed courses. These three bikes reflect that reality.
Just as the two Gallery bikes in this issue revolutionized the street motorcycle world over 30 years ago, so too did the 1968 Yamaha DT-1 250 Enduro. The famous white-tanked bike was the first street-legal motorcycle that was also a capable, lightweight, reliable and powerful off-road machine. Yamaha's newly dubbed “dual purpose” motorcycle introduced untold hundreds of thousands to the sport of motorcycle riding, and spawned an entirely new market segment.
Looking to spend a couple of days playing in the dirt? Well, look no further than MotoVentures. Located just 30 minutes from Temecula, Calif., owner Gary La Plante has 300 acres of private land for you to indulge in everything from Trials to Motocross, as well as taking an extended tour on the dual-sport motorcycle of your choice.
My introduction to BMW motorcycles occured in the summer of 1975. I was 17 years old and had exuberantly nailed a job at a Honda/BMW dealership, indenturing myself to uncrating motorcycles. A perception of BMW elitism was immediately instilled simply by virtue of how the German machines were boxed up at the factory. Unlike their Japanese counterparts, the BMWs came fully assembled. All that needed to be done was raise the handlebars and attach the mirrors.