Monday, April 16, 2007
More Motorcycle Gymkhana: 'The Bikes'
I wish we had this in Texas. I'd compete in a second. Anyway, here's another nifty Gymkhana vid featuring some classic bikes, namely the timeless NSR250:
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Is the cruiser on its way out?
There is an article by Fred Rau in the April 2007 edition of Motorcycle Consumer News that points out some interestiing stats regarding cruiser sales. While they still make up the bulk of US motorcycle sales, Fred points out that they are in the midst of a 4-year state of decline as a bike category. All this at a time when motorcycling is experiencing a 26-year high in popularity. Hat tip to Richard at Two-Wheeled Texans for the following synopsis of Fred's data:
• Total cruiser sales have flattened and, for some manufacturers, have already declined
• The industry reports that the value of Harleys has recently and suddenly dropped by nearly 15 percent across the board, which is the biggest downturn in the value of a used Harley in over 20 years
• BMW has abandoned its cruiser line due to poor sales
• Two smaller cruiser manufacturerss have gone belly up (Excelsior-Henderson & Indian)
• Victory's latest motorcycle is not another cruiser -- it's a touring bike
• Manufacturers have stepped up sale prices and rebates, and some are offering discounts of up to $5000 per bike on cruisers
• Yamaha is heavily discounting the Roadliner and Stratoliner models that were so hot just two years ago
• The Harley V-Rod has completely tanked, going from up to $3000 over MSRP a couple of years ago, to having hefty rebates and discounts today
• Honda has dropped the Valkyrie, and sales of the once-mighty VTX are steadily declining
• Motorcycle rentals of cruisers (which is the best indicator of future sales) have declined steadily for four years. But rental of touring bikes, in particular the Gold Wing, is rising sharply.
Seems that cruiser popularity is fading fast. I wonder what the true impetus of the market change has been.
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Sunday, April 08, 2007
Questions on the ZX7R from the mailbag
"Hello Tim, my name is Glenn [last name omitted] and I teach music at [omitted] Charter School, Missouri. I am a percussionist/pianist and any stringed instrument player. My other passion is adrenaline which is why I own a Banshee and my favorite toy, the 96' ZX7R (persimmon). I'm writing you because I enjoy reading your blogs and I can't seem to find anyone that knows how to get the most out of a ZX7. Currently I have a full Muzzy, K&N, Factory Jetting, +4timing advance, and I run 93 octane. I am curious to know how Kawasaki tuned the 2000-2002 ZX7s to get them to compete with the bigger/newer bikes. I hope I'm not bugging you, but I would love to get the most out of my bike. It is the most comfortable bike I have ever been on and the handling is phenomenal. Thanks for your time and keep playin. Glenn"
There are several things that can be done to make your 7R go faster, ranging all the way from the addition of 7RR flat-slide carbs to the most invasive surgery I've ever seen, the infamous ZX9R motor swap. But personally, I don't recommend that you do any of those things. You could spend a lot of money and time, and still wouldn't have a bike that could compete with the ZX10R or GSXR1000 in terms of raw horsepower.
My ZX7R is mostly stock. I've installed Factory Pro jets, a BMC air filter (which I recommend highly over K&N), and a D&D slip-on pipe. I also have the bike sprocketed pretty low (one tooth down on the crank, two teeth up on the rear). I advanced my ignition when I first got the bike, but actually lost power with that mod, so I went back to original.
Other than those minor changes, I pretty much just enjoy the bike as-is. My 7R runs low 7s in the 1/8 mile, and is the perfect bracket racer -- easy to launch, quick to make torque, and stable as a bullet train. She's awesome in the twisties, as well. Of course, I probably don't need to tell you that.
Fuelwise, I run Howell Super Red mixed half-and-half with 92 octane pump gas. In regard to horsepower, it's the perfect concoction for my climate and elevation.
Thanks for reading my blogs and taking the time to write. I appreciate it very much. It's also nice to talk with fellow professional musicians who love motorcycles. I think we're all kindred spirits in many aspects.
I hope these ramblings were informative. Write me again any time!
Afterword: In the final two years of competition, the AMA allowed the ZX7R to be bored to 800cc to keep it competitive. One of those years, it came within only a few points of winning the championship, once again showing the superiority of its aging design.