Motorcycling in America – 1987

Life In America
1987 – Average household income is $24,350. An Iraqi missile strikes USS Stark killing 37. Saddam apologizes. Iran-Contra debacle sinks military career of Ollie North. Unemployment is at 6.2%. Prozac is released for general use. 30 Something debuts on TV, and the Simpsons make their first appearance as a segment on the Tracy Ullman Show. At the movies we see two sides of romance, Moonstruck, with Nicholas Cage and Cher, and Fatal Attraction with Glenn Close. Michael Jackson is Bad, and George Michael tells us we gotta have Faith. You can buy a new Jeep pickup for $6,495, just a few hundred dollars more than the new Harley Sportster 1200, $5875. Gas is cheap at $.89 per gallon. It’s Cycle World’s 25th Anniversary.

Number One Motorcycle Trend For 1987:
Though no one is absolutely sure, it appears that sport bikes have overtaken sales of cruisers.

European Brands
Cagiva/Ducati: WMX125, SS650, Paso 750. Husqvarna: 430 Enduro, 250 Enduro, 250 MX. KTM: 250 Enduro. Moto Guzzi: V65 Lario.

Asian Brands
Honda: CR125R, CR250R, CR500R, 700 Magna, CBR1000 Hurricane, CBR600 Hurricane, Shadow 1100. Kawasaki: KX125, KX250, Vulcan 88, EX500. Bayou 220, Ninja 600, EL 250 Eliminator. Suzuki: RM125, RM250, Intruder 1400, LT80. Trac: DH100. Yamaha: YZ490, YZ125, Virago 535, Virago 1100, FZR750R, Trailway 200.

American Brands
Harley-Davidson: Low Rider Custom FXLR, Low Rider Sport FXRS, Softail FXSTC, Tourglide Classic FLTC. Sportster XL1200.

Quickest, Fastest, Best, Most Expensive, Cheapest
Quickest bike tested: Yamaha FZR1000, 11.13 seconds in the quarter-mile. Top speed: 155 MPH.

Fastest bike tested: Honda CBR1000 Hurricane, 11.23 quarter mile. Top speed: 156 MPH.

Best Superbike: Yamaha FZR1000. Best Cruiser: Harley-Davidson Softail Custom. Best Enduro: Husqvarna Best Motocross: Honda CR250R. Best Dual Purpose: Kawasaki KLR650.

Most Expensive: Harley-Davidson Tour Glide Classic, $10,985.

Cheapest: Trac (Korea): $895

Other Issues
First mention of motorcycle built in Korea (Trac), as lower priced substitute for increasingly expensive Japanese brands.

HD introduces trade-up program whereby initial purchase price of Sportster 883, $3995 can be applied to FX, or XL model up to two years later.

HD spends $155 million to purchase Holiday Rambler motor home business.

FIM abandons push starting.

David Bailey and Danny Chandler are paralyzed in motocross accidents. Wisdom of double jumps is called into question.

Buell RR1000 goes on sale to public, $12,495, making it America’s most expensive motorcycle.

An exhibit of American motorcycling opens at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

With one year left to go, Harley requests FTC to drop the tariff on +700cc motorcycles.

Cycle World begins regular testing of ATVs.

CBS airs, The Most Dangerous Vehicles, in April creating a furor over the inherent safety of ATVs. CW asks readers to view the SVIA Safety Video, and spread the news about its availability.

Trans-Atlantic series won by US, crushing the UK 933.5 to 745.5. Most US competitors are pros, and most Brits talented amateurs.

Senator John Danforth, R, Missouri, introduces bill to limit performance of motorcycles. Uses as comparison four-cylinder, four-door econo car with 98 horsepower.

0 thoughts on “Motorcycling in America – 1987

  1. I really enjoy these little snapshots of history, especially with the moto “twist”! Keep up the great work on the blog & I love your site for shopping and great deals! Thanks, Dan


  2. I very much enjoy snapshots of history….as a teenager in 1968, i worked at a ESSO gas station in Mifflinburg Pa…..$3.oo got you 8.1 gallons of gas. $2.00 got you 5.7 gallons of gas. Oh, the good old days!

    Thanks Guys,
    Sincerely, Ken Yoder


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