Motorcycling in America – 1986

Life In America
1986 – Average household income is $22,400. Unemployment is at 7%. The shuttle Challenger exploded on takeoff, killing all aboard. It’s NASA’s first major disaster. In Russia the world’s greatest nuclear disaster takes place in a place called Chernobyl.  Mad Cow disease is diagnosed for the first time in England. Oprah, debuts on TV. ALF and Matlock are more popular however. At the movies we’re watching Platoon, which will launch the careers of several young actors. Musically we’re listening to Robert Plant’s, Victim of Love, and Bob Seger’s, Like A Rock. A gallon of gas is only $.89 and new Husqvarna 250 Enduro is only $3,095

Number One Motorcycle Trend For 1986:
Fully faired sportbikes are becoming available from virtually all manufacturers, traditional 500, 650, and 750 cc displacement categories are being displaced with 600, 700, 900 and 1100 cc engines in a variety of configurations, though predominately inline fours.


European Brands Road Tested
BMW: K75C. Cagiva/Ducati: F1 Montjuich 750, 125MX, 750 Paso. Husqvarna: 400 Enduro, 430 Automatic, 250 Enduro, 510 Cross Country. KTM: 250MXC, 350 Enduro.

Asian Brands Road Tested
Honda: CR500R, CR250R, RR125R VFR750, Aspencade, XR250, Shadow 700, Rebel 450, Helix 250 Scooter. Kawasaki: Ninja 1000R, ZL600 Eliminator, KDX200, Voyager 1300, Ninja 250, KX500, KX250, Concours 1000, Ninja600RX, Ninja 750, ZL1000. Suzuki: GSX-R11100. RM250, Cavalcade, 650 Savage. Yamaha: FJ1200, FZX700 Fazer, Venture Royale, FZ600, YX600 Radian, SRX600, YZ250, Virago 1100.

American Brands Tested
Harley-Davidson: FXRT Touring Edition, Tour Glide Classic.

At Daytona, Eddie Lawson wins the 200 mile Superbike race on his Yamaha FZ750. There are 180 entries for this event, the most in several years. There is no F1 race.

Quickest, Fastest, Best, Most Expensive, Cheapest
Quickest bike tested: GSX-R 1100, 11.04 seconds in the quarter-mile. Top speed: 152 MPH.

Fastest bike tested: Ninja 1100, 11.20 seconds in the quarter-mile. Top speed: 159 MPH.

Best Superbike: Suzuki GSX-R1100. Best Cruiser: Yamaha Virago 1100. Best Enduro: Husqvarna 400. Best 125, 250 & 500 motocross and best dual purpose, all Hondas.

Most Expensive: Harley-Davidson Tour Glide Classic, $9,974

Cheapest: Kawasaki KDX200, $1,899

Other Issues
With horsepower ratings rapidly increasing and an escalating incidence of crashes, the government is considering horsepower limits, as are OE’s in an effort to head-off restrictions that might be damaging to the market.

Harley-Davidson agrees to sell engines to Eric Buell.

In an editorial, Paul Dean points out that there are no longer any motorcycle companies that just make motorcycles.

Cagiva purchases Husqvarna, says production will continue in Sweden.

The Nebraska legislature passes a bill raising the state’s speed limit to 70 MPH on Interstate highways, it’s unknown if the Governor will sign the bill.

Harley-Davidson announces its intent to go public in an effort to raise $14-million. The stock is expected to go on sale for $11.00 per share.

Andy Goldfine of Aerostich debuts his one piece Aerostitch suit for $300, a set of high-end, Gaerne Silverstone road boots are only $142.95.

Competition Accessories advertises DID 630V O-ring chain for, $62.00 and a Shoei Z100, for $118.50.

0 thoughts on “Motorcycling in America – 1986

  1. No mention of the tariff? There were a lot of ~700cc motorcycles being built in the mid 80’s. Then there was Danforth trying to ban sportbikes, but that was one year later in 1987.


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