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Retro Classic Motorcycles – Has the Kawasaki W800 Stolen the Market?

For 20 years or more motorcycle manufacturers have been trying to recreate the magic of old classic motorcycles and with it a hopeful market for the rider who is perhaps seeking the classic look and riding experience, but without the notorious mechanical failures that often beset the real old bikes and somewhat tainted many a riders’ enjoyment of two wheels.

Triumph first started this trend by rebuilding their Bonneville and Trident range from the 1960’s. They had some success with this venture with worldwide sales outselling many modern models from the biggest bike builders. However the Japanese big four jumped of the retro bandwagon and started making their own takes on the classics, together with developing the more custom looking bikes. During the last 7 years most manufacturers have been building a wide cross section of bikes styles including many British styles classics.

Kawasaki developed the W series in 1969 at a time when the original classics were being built the first time round. It was closely modeled on the BSA A7 500cc and the engine and frame configuration clearly showed. They later developed the machine during the 1980’s into the W650 to compete with the Yamaha XS650 another British twin clone bike. In the end it was excess emissions that killed this classic bike which was well loved within the classic bike circles. In 2010 Kawasaki revealed the bike was back with an 800 fuel injection engine, but most other aspects of this latest bike is almost identical to the 650 older brother. Read More »

Classic Motorcycles: The Suzuki RG500

By the mid-1980s, it was the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers setting the pace in motorcycle design. Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki were all producing supremely capable sports bikes which no manufacturer in the West could match the speed, quality or reliability.

In the mid-1980s, many people felt that the future of motorcycling lay in the 500cc class. This was probably because whilst there was quite a choice of Superbikes at the time, Superbikes being anything from 750 to 1000cc, these big behemoths were often incredibly fast and powerful for their time, but lacked the handling prowess of their modern-day descendants. By contrast however, it was with the powerful and flickable middleweights that seemed to be where the future lay.

The Suzuki RG500 was launched as a complete 500GP race replica for the road. Indeed it looked exactly like the GP bike, but with the addition of indicators and lights. Although Yamaha had already launched their V4 RD500LC in 1984, there was something about the Suzuki that really got the crowd going when it was launched at the first International Motorcycle Show at the Birmingham NEC.

No one was to know it then but the RG500 was in fact to be the swansong of the large two-stroke machines. The engine that delivered a claimed 95 bhp at 9000rpm was an amazing 498cc square four two-stroke with disc valves. This was virtually identical to the track going bike, along with the aluminium box section frame. With Suzuki’s own monoshock, some interesting forks, and twin front discs with massive four pot calipers, the bike stood apart from other race replica 500 cc machines of the time. Read More »

Options For Adding Motorcycle Gel Seats to Your Bike

Riding on a motorcycle is usually not all that comfortable for long periods of time unless you have gotten a custom seat or pad to make the bike more comfortable. Depending on how much money you have available, you can either order a custom motorcycle gel seat or you can get a gel seat pad to put on top of the seat you already have.

The least expensive option to improve the comfort of your bike is to add a gel cover. AMC makes Comfort Max Gel Pads that cost between $70 and $125 depending on the size and cover material that you choose. If you choose a waterproof neoprene cover your gel seat cover will cost $20 less than if you choose a silver, tan, or black sheepskin cover. There are five sizes available: buddy (7″ wide by 11″ long), medium (12″ by 12″), large (14″ by 11″), jumbo (16″ by 12″), and ortho-deluxe (18″ wide by 17″ long by 8″ wide front).

For about $250 you can get the Suzuki Genuine Accessories Custom Gel Leather Seat, Pillow – C90T for Suzuki Boulevard motorcycles. This motorcycle gel seat equalizes the pressure of your body weight. It has a SaddleGel and foam inside and an outer cover made of leather/vinyl. Another option for riders of this type of motorcycle (as well as the (Intruder) is the Suzuki Genuine Accessories Gel Seat – Two Piece – Intruder LC. This option has gel inserts in both of the motorcycle seats so both riders will be comfortable. Read More »

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