Cycleworld celebrates the iconic BMW R90s


Peter Egan has written a wonderful tribute to my favorite motorcycle of all time, the legendary BMW R90s.

The R90s was a hail mary play by BMW. Having realized that their stoic, stolid, black-mit-white motorcycles were boring the shit out of everyone who rode them, BMW decided to build a super bike. What the world got was sheer poetry, the R90s is one of the most beautiful mechanical devices of all time.

Under that lovely styling, mechanical details (overseen by engineer Hans-Gunther von der Marwitz) included twin front discs, aluminum-alloy wheels, Dell’Orto pumper carbs, and a five-speed transmission. The boxer twin was punched out to 898cc and rated at 75 bhp at 7,200 rpm. Cycle World’s 1974 testbike did the quarter-mile in 13.05 seconds at 103 mph and recorded a top speed of 123 mph. Cycle magazine reported that its testbike actually pulled away from a 900cc Z1 Kawasaki in highway roll-on contests at any speed, in any gear.

Well then. I ran right down to our local BMW/Norton/Suzuki dealership (where I was about to order a new Norton Commando) to look at the bike and quickly realized that BMW had finally produced a motorcycle I wanted. I looked at the R90S from every angle and immediately decided it was a classic for the ages.

The 1976 Daytona Orange example above is mine, she has a heart of gold. After waiting decades to own one, I found her, largely restored and slightly modified, with the help of Angus at Northeast Sportscar. Read the rest

303 Aerospace Protectant really preserves plastic and vinyl

I like classic motorcycles and cars. I live by the sea. 303 Aerospace Protectant keeps plastic and rubbery bits looking fresh and new.

I don't know what the hell is in this stuff. I don't know why it is different than Armor-All, but the results are unmistakeable. 303 Aerospace really works.

I spray a rag and apply the milky looking liquid to the surface that needs it. It seems adding a little sea air and some sun to the rubber grommets, caps and fastener covers on my old BMW airhead will cause things to disintegrate before my eyes. A light coating of 303 Aerospace every few months has stopped that completely.

I've seen old vinyl seats come back to life. 303 amazingly even restores some of the lost flexibility in that old Corinthian leather, cracking and peeling significantly slowed to stopped. I've used 303 to keep my plastic kayaks looking new for years, and the fiberglass top on my Volkswagen Westfalia camper. Most amazingly, 303 really does a wonderful job on the horrible plastic covered cardboard dash in that same VW. The bus doesn't look new, but the dash does.

I'd read a lot of complaints from people about Armor-All over hydrating surfaces and cracking them worse. I suspect that might be due to over application, but I find 303 gives me a better, longer lasting finish anyways.

303 (30313-CSR) Aerospace Protectant Trigger Sprayer, 32 Fl. oz. Read the rest

Now I carry an in-line spark plug tester

Sparkplug spark

I was too harried, when my classic BMW motorcycle died on the side of a busy highway, 150 miles from home, to visually test both the plugs. This simple tester would have saved me from my own laziness.

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Driver runs into motorcyclist who scolded him about using phone

In March, motorcyclist Samuel Ayres stopped at a red light and noticed a driver using a phone. He told the driver, "Put down your fucking phone. You're in your car." The driver apparently did not appreciate the advice so he followed Ayres, sideswiped him and knocked him off his motorcycle, and drove away. Ayers is soliciting donations to pay for the resulting bills. Read the rest

Motorcycle lane splitting deemed safe

"This practice of passing other vehicles traveling in the same direction by sharing their lane is called lane-splitting, and a new report by UC Berkeley transportation researchers finds that no matter what some angry drivers might think, it does not necessarily pose a greater risk for injury." Read the rest

How stoned is this motorcycle journalist?

I am baffled as to why CycleWorld published this video. With what I know of motorcycles and marijuana, this gentleman should a) not be on that bike and b) look at the other camera.

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Motorcycle models from watch parts

Artist Dan Tanenbaum makes fantastic motorcycle models out of vintage watch parts. Video below! Read the rest

The Atlantic's Olga Khazan (Gweek 147)

Our guest is The Atlantic associate editor Olga Khazan. We talk about cool smartphone apps, shin splint prevention, a groovy crime novel, and the best portable cell phone charger.

Photo exhibition of women and motorcycles

Portland-based photographer Lanakila MacNaughton created the Women's Motorcycle Exhibition of her photos "to document the new wave of modern female motorcyclists." It's currently on view at the Riverside Art Museum near Los Angeles. To me, MacNaughton's photos have a timeless quality to them, depicting women who are basking in the thrill and freedom of the ride. You can see many of the images online: The Women's Motorcycle Exhibition Read the rest

Wolf Motorcycle Helmet

This DOT-certified bucket is marketed as the "Wolf Helmet", but I think it looks like an angry womble. [via Uncrate] Read the rest

Men and Motorcycles, Nairobi, Kenya (photo)

"Nairobi, Kenya," a photo from Boing Boing reader Biketripper shared in the BB Flickr Pool. On the bikeflaps of one rider, "A Strong Enemy Is Better Than a Weak Friend." Read the rest