Motorcycling in America – 1981

Life In America
1981 – The average income is $21,050/year. Ronald Reagan is elected President. Unemployment is 7.1%. Charles, the Duke of Wales marries Diana Spencer. The virus we now know as AIDS is identified. MS-DOS is released by Microsoft along with the first IBM PC. On TV we’re watching Hill Street Blues, and The Great American Hero. At the movies, the number one flick is Raiders of the Lost Ark. Kim Carnes has a big hit with, Betty Davis Eyes. The average domestic car will cost you $8.912. A hot new Suzuki RM125X is $1,579 and a gallon of gas $1.25.

Number One Motorcycle Trend For 1981:
Though it’s been evident for several years, the European brands are rapidly falling by the wayside as evidenced by this year’s crop of European road test bikes, six models from three manufacturers. Though they’ve been able to hang on over the past few years in the off-road segment, their glory days are past.

European Brands
BMW: Krauser 1000, R80GS, R100CS. Maico: 490 Mega2, 250 Omega2 Triumph: Bonneville 750

Asian Brands
Honda: CR450R, CB400T, XR500R, CB650X, CB900F, GL500 Silver Wing, CR250R, CBX, CB750F, CX500 Turbo Kawasaki: KZ750LTD, Gpz1100, KZ1000J, KX420A2, KZ305 CSR, GPz550, KZ750, KZ1300T, KDX80 Suzuki: PE175X, GS1100E, RM125X, GS650G , DR500, GS750EX, RM250X, RM465X, SP500, Katana GS1000S Yamaha: YZ250H, 650 Midnight Special, XJ Seca 550, YZ465H, Virago XV750, IT250H, 750 Seca, XV920, IT465, YZ125

North American Brands
Can-AM: 400 Qualifier. Harley-Davidson: FXRS.

Larry Roessler scores a 6th as highest ranking American at the ISDT held in France. Italians win World Trophy, USA Tenth.

Motocross style knee cups are introduced for roadracers.

Ontario Motor Speedway is bought by Chevron and demolished for commercial development.

Mike Hailwood and his daughter are killed in an auto accident in England.

Daytona – Pig Farmer Dale Singleton, wins 200 miler aboard a Yamaha TZ750. Wes Cooley wins the Superbike race. Darrell Schultz the Supercross – both mounted on Suzukis. Gina Boivard becomes first woman to finish the 200 miler. Speed reached by Superbikes at Daytona would have qualified them for 10th position on the F1 grid.

US GP won by Chuck Sun on a Honda.

Bruce Penhall becomes the first American in 44 years to win the World Speedway Championship.

Other Issues
A group of employees purchase the Harley-Davidson division from AMF.

The lack of kick starters on new motorcycles is causing anguish among some Cycle World readers.
A study by the National Athletic Health Institution indicates that motocross riders, as a whole, are the most physically fit athletes.

For $69.00 you can buy a faceplate and recalibration for your 85 MPH speedometer.

The AMA reports that there are now 5.68 million motorcycles registered in the US.

At present there are no Federal sound regulations for motorcycles, though most modern bikes meet an 82 dbA standard.

On Any Sunday II is slated for an ’81 release. It’s hoped that it will stir the market as well as the original did.

Cycle World editors predict the end of the 55 MPH speed limit is near an end as over 50% of the drivers in the US are reported to be exceeding it.

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