Motorcycling in America – 1997

Life In America
1997 – Median household income is $37,006, which is about what it was in 1989 after adjusting for inflation. The world is transfixed by news of the death of Princess Diana in Paris. Microsoft becomes the world’s most valuable company at $261 billion. Mike Tyson bites off Evander Holyfield’s ear in a boxing match. A civil jury finds O J Simpson guilty. Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diana, Candle In The Wind, is the number one song of the year. The Simpsons become the longest running animated series in prime time TV. Titanic, sinks the competition at the box office. Gas stays the same at $1.22 per gallon. $8,999 spent on a Suzuki TL1000S will buy you all the performance of a Ducati 916 at a little more than half the price

Number One Motorcycle Trend:
The recovering economy, and surging demand for cruisers, particularly Harleys is and their failure to meet demand is creating an industry for kit bikes and “custom” cruisers powered by other than Harley V-Twins.

European Brands Road Tested
Bimota: vDue 500. BMW: F650ST, K1200RS, R1100RS, R1200C. Ducati: 916, 900SS, Monster 900, S2. Gas Gas: 250 Endurocross. Husaberg: FX501, FC501. KTM: 250 E/XC, 620 R/XC, 200, 250SX. Moto Guzzi: Centauro V-10. TM (Italy): 300E. Triumph: T509 Speed Triple, T595 Daytona, Sprint 900.

Asian Brands Road Tested
Honda: CBR600F3, XR400R, CBR1100XX, VTR1000F, XR650L, Valkyrie, CBR900RR, VFR750F, CR250, Shadow Ace 800, CR250R. Kawasaki: Ninja ZX-6R, KLX300, Ninja ZX-11, Ninja ZX-9R, KX500, Vulcan 800 Classic, KX250.  Muzzy: Kawasaki SB750 Raptor. Suzuki: GSX-R600, TL1000s, Marauder 800, RMX250, DR650SE, GSX-R1100, RF900R, Bandit 1200 ABS. Yamaha: YZF600F, WR250, YZF1000R, Royal Star Deluxe, YZ125, Virago 750, V-Star Classic, YZ250.

American Brands Tested
ATK: 250LQ. Buell: S3 Thunderbolt, S1 White Lightning. Harley-Davidson: FLH Road King, XLH Sportster 883. Victory: V92C.

Quickest, Fastest
Quickest V-Twin tested: Suzuki TL1000s: Quarter mile, 10.76. Top speed 153.8 MPH.

Fastest and quickest bike tested: Honda CBR1100XX: Top speed 174 MPH. Quarter mile: 10.27.

Other Issues
After years of dominating world’s GP500 competition, only one American rider Kenny Roberts Jr., is active on the circuit.

Vance & Hines land a contract with Ducati for a US Superbike team.

Arkansas becomes the first state in 14 years to amend or repeal a helmet law. Texas dumps lid law for riders over 20 years of age.

Hyosung motorcycles make their first appearance on the pages of Cycle World, but announce no plans to import.

Former AMA MX champ Jeff Ward places third at Indy in his rookie year.

Harley-Davidson’s sales are up 14% over previous Jan – Jul period.

Honda celebrates their 50th anniversary.

Scott Russell, aboard a Yamaha, wins his 4th Daytona title – a record. Pascal Picotte on a Honda wins 600 Supersport race. Rich Oliver, Yamaha, wins 250GP class and Jason Pridmore takes the 750 Supersport win. Daytona’s Supercross is won by Kawasaki’s Jeff Emig.

Bikes must be getting more reliable, Cycle World editors ask readers to send in more tech questions.
John Kocinski wins World Superbike title aboard a Honda.

Doug Chandler, Kawasaki, takes the US Superbike title for the second time.

0 thoughts on “Motorcycling in America – 1997

  1. “Gas stays the same at $1.22 per gallon.” Wow! It seems gas was around $1.00 per gallon for ever. Look at it now. When George W. Bush was in office, gas hit $4.00 per gallon for about 2 weeks and the media went crazy. After that, it came back down to about $2.00 per gallon. It has now been about $4.00 per gallon for 2 MONTHS!! And the media is silent. What a difference having one of their own in the white house makes.


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