Life In America
1976 –Its the year of the Bi-Centennial. Family income continues to rise, but is eroded by ongoing inflation. Jimmy Carter is elected president. Microsoft and Apple are formed. The US Naval Academy accepts its first female midshipmen (err…women). Musically the nation’s rocking to The Eagle’s Hotel California, their album Greatest Hits, becomes the number one seller. AC/DC serenades us with Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. On TV it’s Laverne & Shirley, The Gong Show and Charlie’s Angels. At the movies we’re inspired by Rocky and infatuated with Taxi Driver…”You lookin’ at me?” Gas is now $.59 a gallon, cars are pretty boring and Suzuki’s new motocrosser, the RM250 will set you back $1410.
|Number One Motorcycle Trend For 1976:
|Off-road and motocross motorcycles have been the traditional turf of European OE’s Their products are being displaced increasingly by Japanese competitors. Every Japanese OE now has several highly competitive machines for sale.|
Bultaco: Sherpa T350, 125 Pursang. Hercules: Wankel 2000. Husqvarna: 250WR, 360 Automatic. KTM 250M/C-5. Maico: 250WR Cross Country. Montesa: Cota 348.
Hodaka: 250ED (Thunderdog). Honda: CR125M2, CR250, CB400F, MR250, XL250, CB750F, CB750A. Kawasaki: KH400, KZ400, KZ750 Twin, DX250, KZ1000, KD125. Suzuki: RM100MX, GT500A, RM250, RM125A, GT380, PE250. Yamaha: RD400C, YZ250, XS500C, XS750D, IT400C.
ISDT at Isle Of Man. W. Germany breaks Czech stranglehold on series to finish in first place. USA finishes sixth.
Trans-AMA series won by DeCoster, but Americans take seven of top ten places. First American is Tony DiStefano in third.
Roberts lights a fire in AMA dirt track series with TZ750 based bike run at Indy Mile.
Daytona, Steve McLaughlin wins first Superbike race, a 50-miler on a BMW. Venezuelan Johnny Cecotto wins 200 miler aboard a Yamaha.
Trans-Atlantic series is again won by Brits 412 to 384, but America’s Steve Baker puts on a stunning performance.
Jim Weinert, Kawasaki, wins Superbowl of Motocross Series.
Motorcycle sales are down. Hardest hit are the Euro brands, only Hodaka and Suzuki suffer decline on Japanese side.
NVT in trouble, Wolverton factory goes into receivership. US operations lay off most staff.
Albert B Kelley, VP Insurance Institute for Highway Safety proposes nation-wide ban on motorcycles, American Automobile Medicine VP agrees.
AMA officially becomes the American Motorcyclist Association, as opposed to the American Motorcycle Association.
“Willie G.” is introduced to American motorcyclists for the first time as designer of the XLCR.
Cycle World initiates Ten Best Awards.
Color pictures start to appear in the editorial sections. Everyone seems to have long curly hair.
It appears that trials will not be the salvation of the off-road side of the business as inventories of these bikes stack up in dealerships across the nation.