Life In America
1979 – The average income is $17,500/year, interest rates are 15.25%. Lee Iacocca has asked the Feds for money to bail out Chrysler. Ayatollah Khomeini establishes an Islamic Republic in Iran, in the process 23 American embassy workers are taken hostage. Sony introduces the Walkman at $200. The Dukes of Hazard, ESPN and This Old House debut. My Sharona hits number one in record sales but the year’s best seller is What a Fool Believes, by the Doobie Brothers. Disco officially ends at Chicago’s Cominskey Park in the Disco Demolition. On the big screen its Apocalypse Now, Alien and starring former Kawasaki exec’s daughter, Bo Derek, 10. The new Cougar XR2 is $6,430. Fuel is $.86 per gallon. A new full-coverage Arai will set you back $89.95.
|Number One Motorcycle Trend For 1979:|
|The Japanese OEs have been building quicker and faster motorcycles in four and six-cylinder configurations capable of turning sub-12 second quarter miles, and there’s no end in sight. The horsepower race is on!|
Bimota: KBI Kawasaki 1000. BMW: R100T. Bultaco: Sherpa 350. CCM 600. Husqvarna: OR390, CR390. Maico: Magnum 250. SWM: 250GS.
Honda: CB750K, CBX1000, CB650, XR500, XR185, XL185, CX500, CR125R, CB750F, XR250, XL500S, XL100S, XL125S, XR80, Z50. Kawasaki: KZ400, KZ1300, KX250, KX125, KZ1000 MkII, KZ1000ST, KDX400, L:X250, KE100, KE250, KX80. Suzuki: GS850, RM400M, GS750EN, RM125N, GS1000K, GS425, DS125, MX100, RM80, RM50, JR80. Yamaha: IT250F, XS1100 Special, XS650F, YZ250F, XS750F, YZ125F, IT175F, RD400F, XS400F, YZ80
Can-AM: Qualifier 370. Harley-Davidson: XLS 1000 Sportster.
Jay Springsteen wins GNC for the third straight year.
Bob Hannah becomes first American to win the Trans-AMA series, perennial winner, Roger DeCoster finishes 6th.
FIM phases out 750cc and 350cc classes in international road racing.
Daytona – Suzuki sweeps Superbike race, 1, 2, 3. In 250cc Expert class, 8 of top 10 positions are won by riders on Yamahas. Jimmy Weinert wins Supercross using a paddle-type rear tire, subsequently outlawed.
Baja 500 won by a solo rider for the first time, Jack Johnson takes the checkers when partner Larry Roessler is injured and can’t compete. Race is fastest to date.
Honda unveils new GP race bike, RC500.
Vintage racing added to AAMRR schedule in the East and Manning Racing schedule in the West.
The factory making Hodakas closes, ending a run of very successful small displacement motorcycles.
Motorcycle insurance is difficult to get and expensive. Honda announces partnership with 1st American Insurance Co., to allow motorcycle dealers to sell insurance, something prohibited in many states.
Cagiva agrees to buy Aermacchi factory from Harley-Davidson, marking Harley’s departure from the small displacement motorcycle category.
The Hurt motorcycle accident study, releases some information; 45% of all accidents involve a car turning left in front of a motorcycle. 41% of accidents are rider error. Many motorcyclists over brake the rear and under brake the front. 55% of fatalities involve alcohol.
It’s estimated that the US loses $22.5 million per year from motorcyclists riding off-road in Mexico, rather than in the US which is undergoing major land closures.
Gas rationing is in effect with Sunday closings creating long lines at gas stations. Motorcycles are exempt from law.
Federally mandated 85 MPH speedometers will become standard issue on 1980 model year motorcycles.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issues statement that all cars’ speed should be limited to National Speed Limit of 55 MPH.
Scott USA introduces all plastic motocross boots.