The Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 Classic LT displaces a staggering 125 cubic inches, and each 4-inch piston has a throw of nearly 5 inches!
Think of Victory Motorcycles and lean, flashy cruisers immediately leap to mind. The “other” American motorcycle company has been diligently carving out its identity since 1997 by providing forward-looking alternatives to the perceived stodginess of its Milwaukee-bred competition. Bold graphics, gleaming chrome flanks and the towering silhouettes of Arlen and Cory Ness lending the company line a bit of their bold custom DNA have become hallmarks of the Victory brand.
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.
In the stillness of a high desert afternoon, we can hear the Yamaha YZF-R6 clearly as it makes a test run toward us. Considering the bike is still at some distance, the high-pitched wail cuts through the air with amazing clarity, and the gearshifts come in quick succession as the 599cc engine rips through the top end of its rev range in each gear. Close-ratio transmissions make that possible, and they are invariably fitted to high-revving engines, where the power band is comparatively narrow and crowded into the top end of the engine's usable rev range.
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.
Harley-Davidson fired a 1340cc silver bullet into the marketplace when it introduced the Softail Fat Boy in 1990. Crafted as a high-caliber response to the low-cost Japanese imports that swamped the U.S. market, the imposing “Gray Ghost”—with its metallic paint, winged USAF-inspired tank logo and solid disc wheels—made a muscular and unapologetically American statement. It helped Harley-Davidson recapture the sales leader mantle in the 750cc-and-up heavyweight division.
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.
Harley-Davidson CVO Electra Glide
Honda Gold Wing
Moto Guzzi is once more taking the plunge into the fully faired sport touring market with the new Norge 1200. Powered by Guzzi's traditional transversely mounted air-cooled, two-valve, pushrod motor, the 1133cc Norge is a grand touring bike, with the expected accoutrements—a 6-speed transmission with shaft drive, 6-gallon fuel tank, electronically adjustable windshield, ABS and dual saddlebags.
Several years ago, the motorcycling ether was finely misted with intriguing rumors of a man in Oregon embarking on the daunting task of creating a new American motorcycle. Industry press and curious enthusiasts ruminated on what the machine might be.