Motorcycling in America – 1990

Life In America
1990 – Average household income is $28,960. The US is entering a recession. Interest rates are at 10% and inflation is running at 5.39%. Troops are sent to Kuwait to drive the Iraqi’s out.  The first in-car GPS system goes on sale. On TV we’re watching the comedy, In Living Color, and the quirky Twin Peaks. At the movies two very different themes have our attention, a comedy, Home Alone, and an epic Western, Dances With Wolves. Billy Joel rolls us through 40 years of history with, We Didn’t Start the Fire, and Don Henly sings about The End of the Innocence. The newly released lsuzu Rodeo SUV will set you back $12,490. A gallon of gas is $1.34.The hot new Suzuki GSX-R’s MSRP, $6199.

Number One Motorcycle Trend For 1990:
Cycle World editor, Steve Thompson declares that America has embraced Harley-Davidson motorcycles, “Harley-Davidson’s are fun, period..they’re the least threatening motorcycles on the road today.”

European Brands Road Tested
BMW: K-1, K-75, R100-GS. Ducati: 851. Husaberg: 500, WXE 510. Husqvarna: 510 WMX. KTM: 250, 500MX, 600.

Asian Brands Road Tested
Honda:CR250R, CBR1000, Gold Wing SE, ST1300, CR500R, RC30, CB-1, Hawk GTVFR 750F, NSR250, Transalp, XR600R. Kawasaki: KX250, Ninja ZX-6, Ninja ZX-11, Tengai, KX500, Ninja ZX-7, Zephyr 550, KLR650. Suzuki: GSX-R 750, GS500LE, VX800, Katana 1100, GSX-R 1100, RGV250, DR650, DR350. Yamaha: OWO1, Radian, FJ1200, FZR1100, TZR250, XT600, XT350.

American Brands Tested
ATK: 600 MX Electric Start. Harley-Davidson: FLSTF Fat Boy, Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Sportster 883, FXR-SP, Sturgis FXDB.

Quickest, Fastest, Best, Most Expensive, Cheapest
Quickest bike tested: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-11: Quarter mile, 10.46. Top speed 176 MPH.

Fastest bike tested: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-11: Top speed 176 MPH. Quarter mile, 10.46.

Best Superbike: Kawasaki ZX-11.

Best Enduro: KTM 300 E-XC.

Best 750 Street: Honda VFR 750F
Best Dual Purpose: Suzuki DR650.

Most Expensive: Yamaha OWO1, $16,000.

Cheapest: Yamaha XT350, $2,949.

Other Issues
Ducati motorcycles will now be sold as simply, Ducati, rather than Cagiva-Ducati.

The long rumored tale of a warehouse full of unused WWII Harley-Davidsons is demonstrated to be a myth.

Industry vet, Ed Lemco, proposes building a new “standard” motorcycle. It will be called the Conquest, have a 650cc, four-stroke engine. In drawings it looks remarkably like a Kawasaki W650.

With only 5% of the US motorcycle tire market, Michelin announces it will no longer sell tires in the States.

The last BSA Gold Star, a 1963/64 model still in its unopened crate is up for auction. It fails to meet sellers $55,000 reserve.

Cycle World readers desire for a new “standard” motorcycle prompts Honda and Kawasaki to respond. Honda offers CB750/4 and Kawasaki the Zephyr 550.

The new Triumph breaks cover in the UK when spy photos are taken while mule is undergoing testing.
Norton introduces F1 rotary street bike.

Freddie Spencer comes out of retirement and races a Honda in Miami superbike event. (DNF)

Larry Roessler captures 6th Baja 1000 title.

David Sadowski wins Daytona Superbike race.

Privateer Jeff Farmer, on a Yamaha, wins Daytona 600 Super Sport.

Former world roadracing champ Barry Sheene declares Laguna Seca to be dangerous and unsafe in spite of the fact he’s never raced there.

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