Motorcycling in America – 1996

Life In America
1996 – Median household income is $35,492. Mad Cow disease strikes Great Britain. eBay starts. Dolly the sheep becomes the first animal to be created through cloning. Internet usage goes from 1 million to 10 million in 12 months. The summer Olympics are held in Atlanta. The Macarena, as a song and dance sweeps the country. Clapton wins a Grammy for Change the World. Much to the joy of gear heads Speedvision debuts. Matlock ends its 10 year run. At the box office, Independence Day is the number one hit. A gallon of gas is up to $1.22. $15,000+ will get you either a Ducati 916 or a Yamaha Royal Star Classic.

Number One Motorcycle Trend:
While not strictly speaking a trend, the repeal of the National 55 MPH Speed Limit is possibly the most important thing that’s happened for motor heads of all stripes. States are now allowed to set speed limits and most dump the 55 MPH law immediately. It’s a cause for joy among most motorcyclists, and throttles are opened wide across the country in celebration.

European Brands Road Tested
Bimota: SB6. BMW: R1100RT. Ducati: 916. KTM: 250 SX, 360 E/XC. MZ: Skorpion Replica Triumph: Daytona 1200, Trophy 1200, Adventurer.

Asian Brands Road Tested
Honda: CR250R, XR250R, CBR900R, Valkyrie, ST1100 ABSII. Kawasaki: Ninja ZX-7, Ninja ZX-7R, Vulcan 1500 Classic, KLX250, Vulcan 500 LTD. Suzuki: DR650, GSX-R750, Bandit 1200S, Savage. Yamaha: Royal Star Classic, YZF750R, Royal Star, YZF600R.

American Brands Tested
ATK: 605. Buell: S1 Lightning. Harley-Davidson: Sportster 1200.

Quickest, Fastest
Quickest bike tested: Bimota SB6 (1075cc): Quarter mile, 10.49. Top speed 166 MPH.

Fastest bike tested: Tie: Bimota SB6, Suzuki GSX-R750: Top speed 166.

Other Issues
Demonstrating the strength of the cruiser market, Cycle World does a special advertising section covering the segment and its accessories. 39 models from Honda, Harley, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Moto Guzzi and Triumph are represented.

Confederate Motorcycles makes a debut with their Hellcat model.

Eddie Lawson, Jeff Ward, Kevin Schwantz and Rick Johnson take up four-wheel racing of various types.
Wayne Rainey, with support of Marlboro is now in competition with his ex-mentor, Kenny Roberts in the 500GP series.

Jawa Motorcycles goes on the block.

World GP racing is in flux due to challenges by IRTA, and Swiss based ISL marketing company. Increasing interest and competitiveness of World Superbike is also draining stars and audiences.
The state of Massachusetts proposes closing the majority of the state’s public lands to off-road use.

New regulations would permit riding in nine state forests, but only between May and October, and no riding on Sunday.

Race promoter Stu Peters is attempting to revive the Catalina GP for spring of ’97. Ex-racer, Goat Brecker is working with the city of Elsinore to revive the GP in that town.

Harley is gearing up to produce 200,000 units per year to satisfy increasing demand and expand sales overseas.

Aprilia is the fastest growing motorcycle company in Europe and a private company announces plans to open a distributorship in the US by the end of the year.

Miguel Duhamel (Honda) wins Daytona Superbike. Aaron Yates and his GSX-R win the 750 Supersport class and Jeremy McGrath takes his Honda to a win in the Supercross.

America’s first motorcycle World Champion, speedway, Jack Milne, passes away.

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