Motorcycling in America – 1998

Life In America
1998 – Median household income is $38,100, the first real growth in income since 1989. The government announces its first budget surplus in 30 years, but is overshadowed by the impeachment proceedings of President Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice for his relationship with “that woman.” The iMac is unveiled. Google is founded and the FDA approves Viagra. Eric Clapton nets a Grammy with, My Father’s Eyes. Sex In The City premiers on HBO and Seinfeld ends a nine year run. At the movies Saving Private Ryan is the nation’s number one hit. A gallon of gas costs $1.15. A new Titan Gecko will cost you $39,275, more than twice as much as the average car.

Number One Motorcycle Trend:
The V-Twin market continues to expand and anyone who can build a reasonable facsimile of a “cruiser” is attempting to do so, some at ridiculous prices…see Titan Gecko!

European Brands Road Tested
Aprilia: Mille RSV1000. BMW: R1200C, R1100S. Ducati: 916. Husaberg: FE600E Elduro. Husqvarna: TE610. KTM: 300 E/XC, 620 Adventure. Laverda: 750S. Moto Guzzi: VII-EV. MZ: Mastiff. Triumph: Thunderbird Sport, Thunderbird.

Asian Brands Road Tested
Honda: CBR900RR, Aero 1100, Spirit 1100, VFR800. Kawasaki: Ninja ZX-9R, Vulcan 1500 Classic, 1500 Nomad. Suzuki: GSX-R750, 1500 Intruder LQ, Intruder 1400, TL1000R, Katana 750. Yamaha: YZF-R1, Virago 1100, YZ400F, WR450F.

American Brands Tested
Big Dog: Aero Sport. Buell: X1. Harley-Davidson: FLHRCI Road King Classic, Dyna Low Rider. Titan: Gecko. Victory: V92C.

Quickest, Fastest
Quickest V-Twin Cruiser tested: Titan Gecko: Quarter mile, 11.93. Top speed 133 MPH.

Fastest bike tested: Tie: Yamaha YZF-1: Top speed 172.1 MPH. Quarter mile: 10.32 & Ninja ZX-9R Top Speed 172.1 MPH. Quarter mile: 10:51.

Other Issues
Harley-Davidson introduces their first all new engine in 62 years, the Twin Cam 99 Big Twin.

While testing the latest generation of hyper-sportbikes,Cycle World editors predict that superbikes will become lighter, quicker and rely increasingly on electronic components for throttle, brake and traction control.

New York’s Guggenheim museum hosts the “Art of the Motorcycle” exhibit, bringing thousands of people to the museum who’d never been there before. The exhibit will tour the US and Europe.

The World 500GP Series has become a one brand race with Honda NSRs picking up all the marbles.

Costs for a lease bike are a $1 million a year without suspension or brakes. Costs for salaries, and travel continue to rise, while long-time sponsor, big tobacco, is backing out of the scene. Consensus is the formula needs to change.

Cycle World attempts to create a Daytona West event around the Sears Point, now Infineon, Superbike event with bike shows, demos, vendor tents, organized riders and other activities in Sonoma wine country.

Ricky Graham, National number 3, dies tragically in a fire at his home.

Harley-Davidson buys all but 2% of Buell. Buell will continue to operate as a separate entity.
Bicycle maker, Cannondale, announces plans to build a motocross bike.

Excelsior-Henderson erects 160,000 sq. ft. facility in Belle Plane, MN. Expects to start producing motorcycles within the year.

Scott Russell, Yamaha, becomes the first person to win Daytona five times. Doug Chandler, Kawasaki wins the 600 Supersport class, and Rich Alexander comes out of nowhere to take the 750 win on his Suzuki.

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