Cycle World Issue 1 2020 is available now.
Honda’s history is deeply rooted in racing, and the long-awaited redesign of Honda’s open-class superbike exemplifies what the company has learned through years of handcrafting works machines. Cycle World’s Road Test Editor takes readers behind the scenes on the magazine’s exclusive first ride on the Honda Fireblade SP. Everything about this Fireblade is built to strive for the perfect lap and reassert Honda’s domination in the World Superbike championship, not to mention bring MotoGP technology to the masses. PLUS: DEMOCRACY OF TECHNOLOGY When a stunning new model appears, wouldn’t you like to know how it came to be? Cycle World’s Technical Editor, Kevin Cameron, certainly does, and he’s specifically curious about the Fireblade. To him, Honda Racing Corporation seemed to be the key, and he went all the way to HRC’s shop in Japan to get a glimpse inside HRC to see how its work influences production motorcycles.
Max Hazan didn’t really mean to become a custom motorcycle builder. After a bad racing accident left him with plenty of time on his hands building a bike was just a project to keep him busy, but after a bit more tinkering and a trial year in LA, he started to gain momentum. A decade later, Hazan has a list of enthusiastic patrons waiting as he completes bikes at the rate of six months per build. Cycle World got a look at his latest task: a near-complete racing-inspired build with a unique, highly modified S&S Knucklehead V-twin as the powerplant. “Nobody could build this bike but Hazan—and perhaps nobody would try. It’s a balance of taste and style—always thinking about how to make the bike better, not just add more to it,” says Morgan Gales, Custom and Culture Editor.
RICKEY GADSON MEETS THE TRIUMPH ROCKET 3 R
At the end of 2018, rumors began to swirl that Triumph Motorcycles was working on a new Rocket 3, the company’s biggest and most powerful motorcycle. This caught the attention of 11-time motorcycle drag racing champion Rickey Gadson as much as it did the editors of Cycle World—so they teamed up. No longer is the Rocket a cruiser with a tractor engine. “It’s now a street bruiser; and everyone who looks at it knows it,” Gadson says. After a street test, Gadson hit the Silver Dollar Motorsport Park for a track day to show readers how to get the quickest quarter-mile on the 2020 Rocket 3 R.
The full-face helmet is only about 50 years old, and today many riders wouldn’t ride with anything less. Could wearable airbag protection in your riding jacket or race suit become the new safety standard? Gear companies Dainese and Alpinestars have each been developing programs and products for over two decades, resulting in the Dainese’s D-Air and Alpinestars’ Tech-Air Project. What you get is the latest safety technology derived from MotoGP racing, millions of real-world testing miles, and thousands of analyzed air-bag deployments—all optimized with algorithms specialized in detecting accidents found in real-world scenarios, even at a standstill. While the price point is still a barrier, as KTM Factory MotoGP Racer Pol Espargaro says, “Once you’ve tried the D-air, it’s something you can’t do without.”
PLUS: The Lensman, a Photo Essay; The Story of Harley-Davidson’s lost KRTT Prototype; a Q&A with Markus Schramm; and more