Motorcycling in America – 2003

Life In America
2003 – Median household is $45,016. The US and allies invade Iraq. Toyota overtakes Chrysler as number three in US auto sales. California elects Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor. The SST Concorde makes its last flight. Beyonce and Jay-Z have the number one hit, Crazy In Love. Myth Busters premieres on TV along with the loveable Teutul family on American Chopper. For the third year running the number one box office hit is a Lord of the Rings, sequel, The Return of the King. Gas is up to $1.82 a gallon. $2,699 will buy you a Yamaha TT-R125LE.

Number One Motorcycle Trend:
Naked bikes, basically sport bikes without fairings are becoming increasing popular. Both Japanese and European manufacturers are filling the segment with bikes of various displacements. Cycle World does a 9 bike comparison.

European Brands Road Tested/Reviewed
Aprilia: RSV-R Tuono, Tuono, Atlantic 500 (Scooter), Mille R “Factory”. BMW: K1200GT, R11150R. Dakota: Indian 4. Ducati: 999, 1000DS, 749S, Monster 1000S, Multistrada, Monster S4R. Gas Gas: 250 EC. KTM: 250SX, 125SX, 525SX, 200SX, 525 E/XC, 450 E/XC, Adventure 950, 990 Duke. Moto-Guzzi: VII Naked Sport, Breva 750. MV: Brutale S. TM: 125X. Triumph: Speedmaster, Speed Triple, Daytona 600, Rocket III.

Asian Brands Road Tested/Reviewed
Honda: CR250R, CR125R, CR450R, ST1300, CBR600F-4i, CBR600RR, 919, Rune, VTX1300, CBR1000RR, CRF250R.  Kawasaki: KX125, KX250, Ninja ZX-6R, Ninja ZX-6RR, Z1000, Ninja ZX-10R, Vulcan 2000, KX250F. Suzuki: RM125, RM250, GSX-R600, SV1000S, GSX-R1000, SV650, Burgman 650 (Scooter). Yamaha: WR450R, YZ250F, YZ450F, YZ250, YZF-R6, FZ-1, TTR-90R, WR450F, YZF-R1, FZ-6, TTR-124LE.

American Brands Tested/Reviewed
Buell: XB12 Lightning, XB12S Lightning, XBR12 Firebolt. Big Dog: Chopper. Harley-Davidson: XLR1200 Sportster, Heritage Softail Classic. Indian: Vintage. Victory: Vegas, 92TC.

Other Issues
After four years and $147 million, Indian is once again, out of business.

Cannondale is liquidated. ATK buys its $10 million parts inventory.

The MX des Nations, to be held at a San Jacinto Indian reservation, is abruptly cancelled when the track’s permits are pulled a week before the event.

Angelle Savoie and Karen Stuffec for the first time, make it an all woman Pro-Stock final at NHRA’s Nationals in Redding, PA.

Motorcycle shows start to blossom on cable TV.

Chrysler unveils the V-10 powered Tomahawk, raising the question, is it a bike or a narrow-track car.

Jeremy McGrath after 10-years and winning 72 Supercross mains announces his retirement at the end of the ’03 season.

Kenny Dreer succeeds in acquiring relevant rights to the Norton marque, and plans a build of 100 Commandos for 2004.

Kenny Roberts is working on a 5-cylinder MotoGP bike.

Karl Fogarty unveils his Petronas FP1 3-cylinder superbike, breathing some life into a moribund World Superbike series.

Two US Senators introduce legislation that would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage for motorcyclists.

According to Cycle World editors, there are 408 motorcycle model choices available to the motorcycling public.

The Suzuki/Kawasaki alliance gives birth to the RM-Z250 and KX250F, identical in every respect except plastic, color and graphics.

2002 new bike sales top 937,000 for the 10th consecutive year of growth, and a 9.4% increase over 2001. Motorcycles are a $19-billion a year business.

Harley-Davidson celebrates its 100th anniversary, tens of thousands of HD fans show up for the party.

Top 20 Motorcycle Roads in the Northeast

Once again we promised a list of the top 20 motorcycle roads.  Here are the top 20 motorcycle roads in the Northeast.  These roads were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 by motorcyclists who have previously ridden these routes – with a score of 5 being the best.



Catoctin Mountain and Frederick County – Carroll County, MD is one of the prettier farm counties in the State of Maryland so you can expect some beautiful scenery with many stretches in nice cool woodlands along this route. Just off the main route you can find several covered bridges. The asphalt roads are pretty well maintained and there are plenty of twists and turns but there are also some good straight-aways on the route as well.
Riders Rating: 4
Motorcycle Road Length: 64 Miles Continue reading Top 20 Motorcycle Roads in the Northeast

Motorcycling in America – 2002

Life In America
2002 – Median household income is up slightly to $42,409. Energy giant, Enron’s CFO is indicted on 78 counts of fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The Winter Olympics are held in Salt Lake City, Utah. On television CSI: Miami premiers. It’s a sequel year at the movies with Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets battling for box office supremacy.  A gallon of gas is up another $.20 to $1.61. KTM will sell you their 660 LC4 Supermoto for a cool $19,998.

Number One Motorcycle Trend:
Power cruisers are the new thing. Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha have introduced cruiser-style motorcycles with big displacement, big horsepower engines, creating a new niche in the motorcycle market.

European Brands Road Tested/Reviewed
Aprilia: Capo Nord, RSV Mille R, RST1000 Futura, Tuono. Benelli: Tornado Tre. BMW: F650CS, R1200C, R1150RS. Ducati: 996, 998, Monster 620ie, ST4S, 999. Gas Gas: EC400SE FSE. Gilera: Raptor. Husaberg: FE650E. Husqvarna: NOX. KTM: 520SX, 400 E/XC-G, 660 LC4 Supermoto. Mondial: Piega. Moto-Guzzi: California EV, V11 Sports Scura. MZ: 125RT, 125SM, 125SX, 125 FunX, Skorpion Tour. Royal Enfield: Bullet 500 ES. Triumph: Speed Four, Bonneville America, Sprint ST.  Vertemati: 501 E. VOR: SM530RC, 530 V-Cross.

Asian Brands Road Tested/Reviewed
Honda: CRF450F, VTX1800, CBR954RR, Interceptor, 919, Silver Wing (Scooter), RC51, CBR1100XX, CRF450R, CBR600F4i, Interceptor ABSST1300 ABS, VLX Deluxe, CRF150F, CRF230F.  Kawasaki: Mean Streak, Ninja ZX-9R, Ninja ZX-12R, ZZR-1200, KLR650, Ninja 500R, Vulcan 500 LTD, KLX110. Suzuki: DL1000 V-Strom, GSX-1300R, GSX-R1000, GSX-R750, LS650 Savage, GS500E, DR-Z125, DR-Z125L. Yamaha: Warrior, YZ426F, YZF-R1, YZ250, YZ250F, FZ1, FJR1300, YZ450FV-Star, TT-R125L, TT-R225.

American Brands Tested/Reviewed
Buell: XB9S Lighting, Blast, Firebolt. Cannondale: E440. Gurney: Alligator. Harley-Davidson: V-Rod. Indian: Chief. Victory: 92SC.

Other Issues
The first year for MotoGP, Rossi dominates and wins title.

The introduction of the V-Rod creates so many letters pro and con, that Editor Edwards suggests it should have been name “Lightning Rod.”

Harley-Davidson is named “Company of the Year” by Forbes Magazine.

Cycle World devotes over six pages to an article on extreme/stunt riding – the first time the activity is mentioned in the magazine.

Insurance companies are raising rates, and in some cases refusing to write policies on motorcycles all together. Increasing popularity of motorcycling is thought to be part of the problem.

Victory and Arlen and Cory Ness unite to produce a more stylish version of the Victory, to be delivered sometime in 2003.

Eagle One’s ex-owner Berni Li revives the Vincent marque with a new chassis and RC51 engine.
Handling and performance are said to be good. If Li can find adequate financing bikes should roll out in ’05.

NHTSA releases data on teenage deaths due to accidents, motorcycle – 219, 30% of which involve alcohol, cars – 8,000.

Indian introduces new 1638cc bespoke engine for their Chief model.

A new helmet standard is issued, BSI. The new rating is said to be better than Snell and DOT in real world applications. It’s expected to be superseded by a new European standard.

Top 20 Motorcycle Roads in the Midwest

For the third week we decided to list the top 20 motorcycle roads in the Midwest. Again, these roads were rated on a scale of 1 to 10 by motorcyclists who have previously ridden these routes – with a score of 10 being the best.

North Dakota

Enchanted Highway –Enchanted Highway begins at exit 72 on Interstate 94. There are many interesting metal statues every few miles, which makes for a pretty entertaining ride. We recommend bringing a camera for this one! There is also a museum at the end of the route in the small town of Regent that sells various items and is worth stopping for.
Motorcycle Road length: 32 Miles
Riders Rating:  9
Continue reading Top 20 Motorcycle Roads in the Midwest

Motorcycling in America – 2001

Life In America
2001 – Average household income is $42,350. Al-Qaeda terrorists attack New York’s Twin Towers World Trade Center, killing 3,000. In retribution, the US invades Afghanistan. Wikipedia goes on line. Apple introduces the iPod. Smash Mouth reprises Neil Diamond’s old hit, I’m A Believer to “smashing” success. 24’s Jack Bauer begins his 10-year run on TV. At the movies Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone, vie for number one. A gallon of gas is up $.20 from ’00 to $1.46. What’s been crowned as the world’s best motorcycle, Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 will set you back $10,399.

Number One Motorcycle Trend:
Highly competitive 600cc sport bikes are being offered by all the Japanese manufacturers. These motorcycles are becoming the dominant product in sportbike sales. Their performance is at a level` that was the domain of open sport bikes only a few years ago.

European Brands Road Tested
Aprilia: RSV Mille R. BMW: R1150RT. Ducati: Monster S4. Gas Gas: XC300. Husqvarna: TC570. KTM: 520SX, 200 E/XC, 520 E/XC. Moto-Guzzi Magni: America. TM: 125E. Triumph: Bonneville, Tiger 955i, TT600, Daytona 955i.

Asian Brands Road Tested/Reviewed
BBR: TTR150 (US Modified Honda) Honda: Shadow Spirit 750, CBR600Fi, VTX-1800, CBR929RR, Magna 750.  Kawasaki: ZRX-1200R, 800 Drifter, W650, Ninja ZX-6R, Concours, KDX200, Mean Streak. Suzuki: GSX-R600, SV650, Bandit 1200S, GSX-R1000, DRZ400LE, TL1000S. Yamaha: YZ-250F, FZ-1, WR250F, YZF-R1, YZF-R6, YZ426F, WR250F, V-Max.

American Brands Tested/Reviewed
Cannondale: MX400. Harley-Davidson: Sportster 883, V-Rod.

Quickest, Fastest 600s
Quickest 600 tested: GSX-R600: Quarter mile, 10.64. Top speed 156 MPH.

Fastest bike tested: Tie, GSX-R600: Top speed 156. CBR600Fi: Top Speed 156 MPH. Quarter mile, 10.82.

Other Issues
’01 is a bad year for some of motor cycling’s most memorable and important contributors: Joe Parkhurst, founder of Cycle World dies of cancer at age 74; “Wheelie King” Doug Domokis is killed in an ultra-light accident; Dave Schultz, NHRA Pro-Stock rider dies of cancer.

Bob Rasor, long time AMA staffer and legal rep, replaces J. Scott Thompson, who lied about his military service, as President of the AMA.

Terry Vance of Vance and Hines reveals that 50% of every exhaust system they make is for a Harley-Davidson.

Honda reports sales of 175,000 motorcycles and 211,000 ATVS for 2000. A 35% increase over 1999.
Vespa scooters return to the USA.

Suzuki’s GS series has become such an icon in the sports bike category that Cycle World devotes most of their April issue to the “Year of the GSX-R.”

Schuberth helmets introduce the “Concept” helmet with a flip-up front and built-in retractable sun visor. The carbon-fiber helmet retails for $399.00.

According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, 1.3 million motorcycles, scooters and ATVs were sold in 2000. A 23% increase over 1990 and the eighth consecutive year of growth for the industry.

Excelsior-Henderson’s receivers sell off the company’s assets nailing the coffin shut on the EH revival.

Employers are now forbidden from denying motorcycling employees benefits. However benefits can be denied for injuries sustained in connection with motorcycling.

Kawasaki and Suzuki announce a “strategic business relationship” covering product development, supply, common parts, joint purchasing and manufacturing…no one at the American subsidiaries understands why