Motorcycling in America – 1999

Life In America
1999 – Median household income is $40,810. The world’s population hits 6 billion (currently 7 billion). Y2K has many people concerned. Myspace appears on the internet, though not as a social media site. Lance Armstrong wins his first Tour de France. The Euro is introduced into the currency market. At the movies, another Star Wars episode, takes box office honors; The Phantom Menace. The Sopranos, debut on HBO, and Law and Order SVU, begins its long run. Musically, Ricky Martin has us Livin’ La Vida Loca. A gallon of gas is up again, $1.22. That hot new KTM 380 E/XC will set you back $6,049.

Number One Motorcycle Trend:
While the trend in motorcycles is still focused on cruisers, and will be for a number of years, an unnoticed trend is the increase in the number of women entering the market, up almost 30% from 1990.

European Brands Road Tested
Bimota: SB8R, DB4. BMW: K1200LT, R1150GS, R1100S. Ducati: 748, 996, ST4. Cagiva: Gran Canyon. KTM: 380 E/XC, 200 E/XC, 400 SXC, 250 SX, Duke II. Laverda: 750S Formula. Moto Guzzi: V11 Sport. MV: F4 Serie Oro, F4 Strada. Triumph: T595 Daytona, Sprint ST.

Asian Brands Road Tested
Honda: CBR600F4, GL1500 Gold Wing SE, XR250, CBR1100XX, Valkyrie Interstate, XR400, CR250R, Interceptor. Kawasaki: Ninja ZX-6R, Vulcan 1500 Classic, ZRX1100, KX250. Suzuki: GSX-R600, GSX-R1300R Hayabusa, Bandit 1200S, SV650, RM250. Yamaha: YZF-R6, Road Star, TTR250, Venture, WR400F, YZ250.

American Brands Tested
Dreer Norton: VR880. Excelsior-Henderson: Super-X.  Harley-Davidson: FXDX Dyna Glide Sport, Electra Glide, FXSTF Fat Boy. Rokon: Ranger. Victory: V92C.

Quickest, Fastest
Suzuki’s radical new 1300cc sport bike, the Hayabusa, is the first stock motorcycle Cycle World’s ever tested with a sub-10 second quarter-mile, covering the distance in 9.86 seconds. The top speed is 194 MPH, putting everyone else’s Superbike on the trailer and establishing a whole new standard.

Other Issues
A group of “Extreme” athletes are invited to try out the track at the Anaheim Supercross, all are humbled.

Ed Youngblood, long-time AMA President, resigns amid controversy concerning a recent million dollar court decision against the AMA.

BMW hops aboard the cruiser wagon with their R1200C; the quirky bike becomes an immediate best seller for them.

Harley announces a reconditioning service for 1994 – 1999 EVO engines. Silver engines rebuilt for $1,995, black for $2,195.

Miguel Duhamel (Honda) wins the Daytona Superbike and 600 Supersport races. The Supercross is won by Jeremy McGrath, this year on a Yamaha. Josh Hayes wins the 750cc Supersport race.

Scott Parker, 37, announces plans to retire after ’99 season after winning 9 Grand National Championships.

After just a few months into production Excelsior-Henderson is in financial trouble. Their plan to ship 5,000 units falls short, with only 2,500 units being shipped each at a loss of $2,000. Cycle World testers say the bike is a nice start.

Motorcycle sales are up 30% since 1990.

Costco and Ural announce a deal to sell motorcycles through a program similar to their automotive sales scheme.

Brooklyn, OH becomes the first town to ban the use of cell phones while driving.

Milk millionaire, George Barber announces plans for a museum and trace track outside Birmingham, AL.

Custom Chrome introduces a kit bike, you supply paint and labor, cost is $16,005.

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.

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.

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.

Motorcycling in America – 1995

Life In America
1995 – Median household income is $34,076. The Federal Building in Oklahoma City is bombed killing 168 people. A heat wave strikes the mid-west, killing 6,433, and over 700 in Chicago alone. O J Simpson is found innocent; his televised trial causes daytime soaps to lose massive audiences. DVD optical storage media is announced. Let Her Cry, by Hootie and the Blowfish, is a Grammy Winner. Bruce Willis scores at the movies with Die Hard With A Vengeance. And the first all digitally produced cartoon, Toy Story, also scores big at the box office. Modern Marvels debuts on the History Channel. A gallon of gas is $1.09. The new Honda CBR600F3 will cost you $7,299.

Number One Motorcycle Trend:
Harley-Davidson has become a juggernaut in the motorcycle industry, while sales of motorcycles as a whole are on an upswing, Harley is outstripping everyone. Even with increased production capability their dealers are coping with product shortages and most of their existing and future inventory is pre-sold. Consumers on the other hand have to pay thousands over suggested retail to get the bike they want.

European Brands Road Tested
BMW: R1100R, R1100RT. Ducati: M900 Monster. Husqvarna: 250 WXE. KTM: SK250, Duke, 600 R/XC, 250 E/XC. MZ: Skorpion, Voyager, Country, Silver Star, Tour. Triumph: Thunderbird, Speed III, Sprint 900, Tiger 900, Daytona 900, 1947 Speed Twin.

Asian Brands Road Tested
Honda: CBR600F3, CR250, Magna Deluxe, CB1000, CBR900R, VFR750, ST1100 ABS-TCS, Shadow Ace. Kawasaki: Ninja ZX-6R, GPz1100, Ninja ZX-6, Vulcan 800. KX250, KDX200. Suzuki: GSX-R1100, RM250, RMX250, Bandit 600s. Yamaha: SR500, FZF600, XJR1200, FZR1100, YZ250, YZF750R, WR250.

American Brands Tested
ATK: 250LQ. Harley-Davidson: Ultra Classic Ultra Glide, Bad Boy, FXD Dyna Super Glide. Indian: 1947 Chief.

Quickest, Fastest
Quickest 600cc bike tested: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R: Quarter mile, 10.89. Top speed 154 MPH.

Fastest 600cc bike tested: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R: Top speed 154 MPH. Quarter mile, 10.89.

Other Issues
According the Motorcycle Industry Council; the average motorcyclist is 32.6 years of age, 93% male, 56% married, 29.9% blue collar, 23.7% white collar, with an average income of $33,200.

The AMA restructures pro racing. It will now be split into two entities, Paradama; a separate corporation will handle promotion, marketing, and sponsorship. The AMA will continue to sanction and officiate.

Amateur racing is unchanged.

President Clinton includes $30 million in budget for National Recreation Trail Fund. The first time an administration has set aside funds for this program created in 1991.

US Bankruptcy Court awards rights to Indian marque to an Australian.

Big Dog motorcycles make their debut.

Harley Davidson files for right to trademark the sound of their motorcycles.

ESPN will telecast the complete schedule of World Grand Prix races.

Consumer financing for motorcycles, until now handled by independent banks, loan companies and credit unions, is starting to be addressed by motorcycle manufacturers, like Honda’s Zero Down and 9% APR finance scheme’s as an example.

Kevin Schwantz retires from professional motorcycle road racing.

Off-road Champ, Danny Hamel is killed at start of Baja 1000 when a policeman moves his car across the road, and is struck by Danny’s accelerating motorcycle.

It’s rumored that Polaris will soon be building a V-Twin cruiser and entry level dirt bike