Honda's Crown Jewels Touring Arizona on the 2006 Gold Wing


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Honda's Crown Jewels Touring Arizona on the 2006 Gold Wing

  1. 1. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 Honda’s Crown Jewels Touring Arizona on the 2006 Gold Wing ®
  2. 2. DEPARTMENTS 4 HRCA Features & Benefits 5 Manager’s Box HRCA News 6 ■ Honda Racing loads the cannon for assault on JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 2006 championships 8 ■ Get your IMS Consumer Show discount tickets! ■ HRCA family rides for relief FEATURES 9 ■ Thousands of riders help Ride for Kids reach 2005 goals 18 COVER STORY: ■ Ron Mousouris takes top honors at Crown Jewels Motorcycle Hall of Fame Concours A collection of incredible Honda 10 ■ Blackhawk Auto Museum wows four racebikes that made history. HRCA Chapters ■ HRCA Members spend the day at Cobra Engineering and Chino Air Museum 26 Straight to the Heart 11 ■ Coming soon in the HRCA Clubhouse An autumn ride through the heart of ■ Indian Territory Red Riders Santa Fe trip Arizona on a VTX1800, ST1300 and ■ Alt Wheels Festival draws HRCA Members the 2006 Gold Wing. in Massachusetts 12 ■ From report cards to checkered flag, Honda Red Riders make the grade to race 34 Black Magic the HRCA’s Supermoto Jr. series Custom bike builders turn a VTX1800 14 ■ HRCA Member benefits spotlight into a full-blown custom. ■ Special offer for HRCA Members 38 Metro Tours 16 HRCA People Texas Hill Country 17 Honda Red Rider Junior 41 MotoMart 42 Posted Notes ON THE COVER: Fading memories and tattered black-and-white photos come 48 HRCA Partners Benefits to life once again as we take an up-close-and-personal look at the most stel- lar Honda factory race bikes from the 1960s. Ogle and grin to your heart's content, as we take you back in time beginning on page 18. Below: Turn to page 26 to hear the heartbeat of Arizona. Cover photo and this page: Kevin Wing Coming up in the March/April 2006 issue of Honda Red Rider: On the road again: Spring time rides. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 3
  3. 3. YOUR HRCA FEATURES & BENEFITS For additional membership information, call 1-800-847-HRCA (4722) EXPANDED BENEFITS AND OPTIONS FOR NEW EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO THE HRCA CLUBHOUSE AND CURRENT HRCA MEMBERS This Web site features exclusive access for HRCA Members only, and can be found at Purchasers of new Honda® motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and PWCs The Clubhouse includes street and off-road features that give you a receive complimentary HRCA membership for one year. As we move into a new sea- glimpse inside Honda, travel stories, technology articles, previews of coming features in Honda son, the Honda Rider’s Club of America™ is enjoying an unprecedented time of growth, and Red Rider magazine, photo galleries, Chapter information, places to ride, event information, that means Members will also enjoy a newly expanded array of benefits in the months and racing and event ticket opportunities, quick and easy membership renewals, and more. You’ll years to come. These added benefits will make HRCA® membership more valuable than ever. also have online access to Honda’s Common Service Manual, and paid and renewing Members also have access to Honda Service Manuals. And an HRCA membership enrollment COUPONS, DISCOUNTS AND MORE form is also conveniently available online to allow new customers to join the HRCA—a great HRCA Member discount coupons are a new addition to the HRCA program. Upon enroll- way to get a fast start in the best rider’s club in existence. ment, either paid or complimentary, Members receive a sheet of personalized coupons good for a variety of riding services and products, plus additional opportunities for those MEMBER BENEFITS with an activity-focused lifestyle. Among these offers are a savings of 15 percent on an RV HRCA Member Assistance Program rental from Cruise America; a $20 savings on a CruzTools CM2 CruzMetrix Tool Kit – Toll-free, 24-hour-a-day National Assistance Hot Line * and a $5 savings on a purchase of $50 or more of Genuine Honda Parts or Pro – Roadside assistance * Honda® Oils and Chemicals. It’s a great way to save on riding-related goodies near – Free towing service * and dear to the hearts of enthusiasts. – Extended emergency services * – Non-Honda dispatch services GET OFF TO A GOOD START – Computerized trip routing, with free color maps †† In addition, initial membership will jump off to a faster start than ever as the new Member – Optional lost-key retrieval service †† soon receives the above-mentioned array of discount coupons, the first issue of Honda Red – Emergency message service Rider™ magazine, plus the membership card and benefits manual. New Members will also – 24-hour-a-day weather information receive a card allowing them to select two premiums from the following choices: (1) an – National Hotel and Motel Discount Directory †† HRCA pin, (2) an HRCA patch, (3) a decal sheet featuring decals from HRCA, Pro Honda, * Full Membership only ††Upon request Honda Racing, Honda Red Rider magazine, HRC ® and a vintage Honda Wing, or (4) a soft vinyl HRCA key fob. You pick the way you want to show off your HRCA membership. ■ Member activities at many national events, and local Chapter events ■ Personalized embossed ID card CHOOSE A COMPLIMENTARY MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION ■ Exclusive club pin, patch or other collectible items Also, upon receipt of a paid HRCA renewal, renewing Members will be allowed to choose ■ Honda Red Rider magazine one complimentary one-year subscription from among the following Ehlert Powersports ■ Exclusive HRCA apparel and merchandise titles: ATV Magazine, Cruising Rider, or Watercraft World. This offer may not be applied to ■ Motorcycle safety training reimbursement up to $75 subscription renewals, but it’s a great way to round out your motorsport reading interests. ■ Exclusive Member contests ■ National Motorcycle Transport Program ■ Optional insurance coverage ATTENTION PERSONAL WATERCRAFT ENTHUSIASTS ■ HRCA Clubhouse Web site Been thinking about getting a new AquaTrax® and hitting the lake this summer? Well, here’s another great reason to run down to your local Honda HRCA RED RIDER REWARDS PROGRAM dealer. Purchasers of new Honda personal watercraft are now Now you can get paid for racing your 2004 or newer XR™, included in complimentary HRCA membership. This membership CR®, CRF ™, CBR®, RVT, VTR or TRX ™ † (at select events) entitles the recipient the same Full Membership benefits listed Honda, with the HRCA Red Rider Rewards Card. The Card, a above, including emergency roadside assistance and emer- debit card with a stored, prepaid value, can be used at any gency towing/pickup services for your transport vehicle. Honda dealer, or wherever Visa is accepted. For more information on 2005 contingency And, as a new HRCA Member, you’ll also receive valu- payouts and the expanded program, visit: able personalized discount coupons, the first issue of gencyinformation.asp †16 years of age and older Honda Red Rider magazine, exclusive access to the HRCA Clubhouse, and much more. For infor- Benefits subject to change without notice and might not be available where prohibited by state mation about Honda’s lineup of personal water- laws. MSF reimbursement program is eligible for U.S.A.-certified products only. Only vehicles craft, visit your local Honda dealer or log on to registered to individuals are eligible for membership benefits. Rented vehicles or vehicles used for commercial purposes are ineligible for benefits of membership. Services provided through on the Net. Cross Country Motor Club Inc., Boston, MA 02155, except in AK, CA, HI, OR, WI and WY, where services are provided through Cross Country Motor Club of California Inc., Boston, MA 02155. 4
  4. 4. DEPARTMENT MANAGER’S BOX By Charlie Keller HOMEWARD BOUND “Sitting in the railway station, got a ticket for my slower pace where more things are done on VOL.14 NO. 84 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 destination...” And so it goes to the refrain of relationships with people you trust. Business is the melodious “Homeward Bound.” “Simon and different. People don’t say, “Let’s do lunch.” PUBLISHER Garfunkel” nailed it when they sang that in The They do it. I am sure there are sushi bars American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Graduate too many years ago. It’s Saturday and around Knoxville but catfish seems more the I am not in a railway station but in the Knoxville catch of the day. These are my kind of people! EDITORIAL OFFICE Vreeke & Associates Inc. airport, homeward bound. If I don’t get caught When we moved the Hoot to Knoxville sev- 250 E. Easy St., Suite 3 in Chicago, I will be home tonight. eral years ago, John Preston (owner of Bushtec Simi Valley, CA 93065 Tomorrow is my daughter Summer’s birth- Trailers in Jacksboro, Tennessee) suggested I day. My wife will tell you pretty quickly that over stop by and see his “ad man” in Knoxville. ADVERTISING OFFICE the years I have missed more birthdays and Seems John started doing work with Jim Early Peterson | Probst important occasions than I have made. and Associates soon after he moved his trailer 8500 Normandale Lake Blvd., Suite 1050 Traveling guys know that the adventures of business from Southern California to east Minneapolis, MN 55437 travel aren’t always what they’re cracked up to Tennessee and really liked the man. I had Address all correspondence to the Editorial be, especially when you miss important family received an introduction letter from Jim offering Office, Vreeke & Associates Inc., 250 E. milestones and then find yourself growing his help with the Hoot. Even though he had Easy St., Suite 3, Simi Valley, CA 93065. older. But that’s another story. I’m going to be past experience with motorcycle events and Honda Red Rider™ assumes no responsibility for home for this birthday! great credentials I really didn’t need another unsolicited manuscripts, drawings or photographs, Over the years what has made all the travel agency, or so I thought. and such materials will not be returned unless accom- worthwhile and fulfilling for me are the people In the South it is said that “even a blind hog panied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. I have met and become friends with. Don’t get will find an acorn” and believe me this blind Publication of any article, photograph, illustration or me wrong; I love being part of Team Honda and hog not only found an acorn, I found a cache of advertisement in Honda Red Rider should not representing an unbelievable company. But truffles when I met Jim Early. Jim had been a be construed as an endorsement by American what makes it work is the people. pioneer in the Knoxville area news sector and Honda Motor Co., Inc., or its affiliated companies or dealer organization, of specific products, accessories The Knoxville area is getting to be a second knew his way around the area’s businesses, or their use. The opinions expressed by the con- home for me. It’s a lot like the area I grew up movers and shakers and the back roads because tributing writers of this publication are the sole opin- in. It’s green, rolling and forested, with a little Continued on page 8 ions of these contributors, and should not be construed as an endorsement by American Honda In the South it is said Motor Co., Inc. that “even a blind Honda Red Rider is published for American Honda | Motor Co., Inc. by Peterson Probst. Copyright ©2005 hog will find an American Honda Motor Co., Inc. All rights reserved. acorn.” I found Reproduction in whole or in part without written a cache of truffles permission is prohibited. when I met Honda, Honda Red Rider, Honda Rider’s Club of America, HRCA, HootGear, Honda Hoot and The Jim Early.” Power of the Card are trademarks of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Other trademarks in this pub- lication are property of their respective owners. ADVERTISING INDEX Chase Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Joe Rocket . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Mustang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 National Cycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Progressive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 For additional membership information or change of address information, call Jim in his early days of motorcycling. 1-800-847-HRCA (4722) JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 5
  5. 5. DEPARTMENT HRCA NEWS The best equipment tuned by the best teams ridden by the best riders—it’s a battle-tested strategy for success proven year-after- year by Honda Racing. The first shots of 2006 will be fired by Honda’s Supercross- motocross program. Seven-time champion JEREMY MCGRATH is back as an official Red Rider aboard the omnipotent two-stroke CR®250R. Jeremy will compete in selected Supercross events as he did in 2005 and also lend his considerable expertise to the team’s ongoing testing and development. He is joined by ERNESTO FONSECA, who is coming off his best-ever third place finish in the 2005 outdoor motocross championship. Ernie will compete in Supercross and motocross and will trust the dom- inant four-stroke CRF®450R in both series. Returning is TRAVIS PRESTON, who took home fifth-place honors in the 2005 out- door championship. Travis’s mount for the 2006 season is the mighty CRF450R. ANDREW SHORT is also back on the team after a spectacular motocross performance that saw him take home second place in the 2005 125 championship. For 2006, Shortie will be riding Honda’s four-stroke CRF250R in Supercross Lites (west) and Motocross Lites, the new names for the previous 125 classes. Filling out the big Honda Racing rig will be a new Red Rider, DAVI MILLSAPS. The holder of nine amateur titles and the winner of the prestigious Horizons Award, Millsaps will suit up on the CRF250R for Supercross Lites (east) and Motocross Lites. The Honda-supported Factory Connection team is back stronger than ever for 2006. Officially the SoBe/Samsung Mobile/Honda Racing Team, they are led by stalwarts KEVIN WINDHAM and MIKE LAROCCO. Windham was Honda’s best Honda kicks off its 2006 Supercross season January 7, at Edison Inter- national Field in Anaheim, California. For a complete 2006 racing sched- ule, refer to the calendar insert in this issue. 2006 American Honda Factory Supercross Team Jeremy McGrath Ernesto Fonseca Travis Preston Andrew Short Davi Millsaps 2006 SoBe/Samsung Mobile/Honda Racing Team Kevin Windham Mike LaRocco Josh Grant Joaquim Rodriguez Billy Laninovich Tommy Hahn Jake Weimer 6
  6. 6. Honda Racing loads the cannon for assault on 2006 championships overall finisher in 2005, collecting his second consecutive runner-up trophy second consecutive Formula Xtreme title in 2005 on a CBR600RR. Zemke in the outdoor nationals and posting a third place finish in Supercross com- comes off of a spectacular finish in Formula Xtreme as well, just missing out petition. Windham will once again take the fight to the track aboard a on the championship in a one-for-the-ages final-round battle with Duhamel. CRF450R in both classes, while two-time national motocross and 2002 US Honda-supported Erion Racing will take up the 2006 defense of Open Champion LaRocco will ride a CR250R in Supercross action. Competing Honda’s Formula Xtreme title with two proven winners: 2003 Superstock in both Supercrcoss and Motocross Lites classes on Honda CRF250Rs are five national champion JOSH HAYES and 2004 Superstock national cham- team riders, including JOSH GRANT, JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ, BILLY pion AARON GOBERT. Both riders will ride CBR600RRs in the class, and LANINOVICH, TOMMY HAHN, and 17-year old newcomer JAKE will also put their considerable talent on the line to bring Honda a WEIMER, a six-time national amateur national champion. Superstock Championship on the new 2006 CBR1000RR. In road racing action, the American Honda team will focus almost Just as we were going to press, the team of JOHNNY CAMPBELL, exclusively on the 2006 Superbike series. Led by the returning MIGUEL STEVE HENGEVELD and MIKE CHILDRESS won the 2005 Baja 1000 DUHAMEL and JAKE ZEMKE, the team will pour all of its effort into cap- on their XR650R. It was Hengeveld’s fifth win with teammate Campbell, turing the title on board Honda’s CBR®1000RR—with the exception of and Campbell’s ninth consecutive victory. ROBBY BELL and teammate Daytona. There, both riders will also compete on CBR600RRs in the presti- KENDALL NORMAN, along with Quinn Cody, finished second on gious Daytona 200 in the season opener in March. Duhamel, who has another XR650R. This Baja 1000 win marked 16 victories for Honda. amassed 32 career Superbike wins and 86 career victories, collected his JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 7
  7. 7. DEPARTMENT HRCA NEWS Continued Get your IMS Consumer MANAGER’S BOX Continued from page 5 Show discount tickets! he grew up in Knoxville. Plus he rode a Wing. Jim was easy to talk to and Your HRCA® membership pays off again. This fall/winter, the good get to know. During the time Jim handled PR for the Hoot we were on every people at Advanstar have arranged a $2 discount off International TV and radio station in the area and written up by more local papers than Motorcycle Show (IMS) tickets for any of the 13 venues on the I knew existed. And it was not done by remote control; he was always there. 2005-2006 show circuit. To obtain a discounted ticket, log on Jim was a treat to travel with; he knew so many jokes and stories that it to the HRCA Clubhouse at and click onto was like a variety show just being with him. Jim had done it all, from hav- the IMS Discount Tickets headline under Hot News for details. ing his own band to being commander of a precision powerboat squadron, being the go-to guy for the Ringling Brothers Circus when in Knoxville and SPECIAL NOTE: When making your online transaction, be sure to all the time remaining a regular guy. He could open doors with a call and choose the correct show city, as tickets are valid solely for the city an idea. He was powerful and knowledgeable. He knew everyone and purchased. Also, make sure your printer is ready to print out your everyone liked and respected him. That’s rare these days. tickets before you begin the transaction. You CANNOT go back and A few years ago Jim’s health began to fail. You can only run wide-open print “after the fact.” for so long. He called me before the Hoot two years ago and told me he had DATE CITY/STATE VENUE macular degeneration. This meant his eyesight was failing. He hated that he JAN 6-8 Novi, MI Rock Financial Showplace couldn’t ride his Wing, and he felt his value to the Hoot was diminished. He JAN 13-15 Washington, DC Washington Convention Center told me he was going to step down. I didn’t have to mull over my response JAN 20-22 New York, NY Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to him at all. I said something to the effect of, Jim Early, blind, with one leg, JAN 27-29 Cleveland, OH IX Center his right arm tied behind him and working only Wednesday nights, would be FEB 3-5 Minneapolis, MN Minneapolis Convention Center all the PR man the Honda Hoot would ever need. And that was not hyper- FEB 10-12 Chicago, IL Donald E. Stephens bole, my friends! Jim stayed on and, with the help of sons Chris and Steve Convention Center and longtime TV friend Sam McGill, got around like he did before and con- MAR 17-19 Atlanta, GA Cobb Galleria Centre tinued to knock the ball out of the park for the Hoot. HRCA Family Rides for Relief Today I felt a part of Jim’s family as more friends than I could count said their final good-byes to a great man in a beautiful old cemetery in Maryville, Tennessee. I hated to see Jim go. His life ended too soon, but he sure crammed a huge amount in those 72 years. He served his country, performed at the Grand Ole Opry, was news director at Channel 10 in Knoxville at age 29, had his very own successful business and raised three great kids with the As the Cameron family—Scott, Tina and their son Matthew—sat in their support of his wife of 52 years, Dena. Ohio home watching the news coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s devasta- Jim helped the folks over at Rider magazine when they were doing the tion, Matthew decided he had to do something to help. In short order, the 11-year old determined they should organize a “Ride for Relief”; he Rider Rally and even wrote some for them. Read these few words and you said he would get some friends together and ride laps aboard their dirt- bikes after garnering sponsors to make donations. Motocross pro Trevor know he loved to ride and could communicate it. If you ever met him you Vines agreed to open his track, TV Land in Pierpont, Ohio, to host the knew he loved people and had his priorities straight. event, and it was all a go. The event was held on September 17, 2005, and more than 50 rid- Godspeed Jim. You really do have “gold wings” now. ers participated, ranging in age from 4 years to 65. At last count more than $11,000 was collected, with more donations still arriving. All pro- ceeds were presented to the American Red Cross. 8
  8. 8. Thousands of riders help Ride for Kids reach 2005 goals The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s (PBTF) Ride for Kids program reached new heights in 2005 with events in 36 cities, including first-time Rides in south Florida, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, Portland (Oregon), Las Vegas, and San Diego. With the help of thousands of dedi- cated motorcyclists (many of them HRCA Members), the support of hundreds of Honda motorcycle dealers and the generosity of the HRCA—the Ride for Kids presenting sponsor since 1991—as of the final ride at Dunnellon, Florida, more than $4.1 million was raised in the battle against childhood brain tumors. Motorcyclists are the heart and soul of the Ride for Kids. Since its inception in 1984, the America is bringing hope to the thousands of a Ride for Kids event near you. For more infor- program has raised more than $31 million to children and their families who battle this dev- mation about the Ride for Kids and the PBTF, support the foundation’s research and family astating disease. please call (800) 253-6530 or visit the founda- support programs, making the PBTF the world’s In 2006, join in the excitement and make a tion’s Web sites at and largest source of non-governmental funding for difference in a child’s life. Two new events have You can also view the 2006 pediatric brain tumor research. The support been added in Albuquerque (New Mexico) and Ride for Kids schedule in the calendar event that motorcyclists have provided across San Francisco, making it easier than ever to find insert in this issue. Ron Mousouris takes top honors at Motorcycle Hall of Fame Concours Photo: BillAndrews/American Motorcyclist Association After spending three years restoring his 1957 Honda Benley, Southern California's Ron Mousouris entered his rare Honda in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Concours d'Elegance and the Vintage Motorcycle Days Show and came away with a pair of Best of Show awards. Ron's next project: restoration of a 1953 Honda. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 9
  9. 9. DEPARTMENT HRCA NEWS Continued Blackhawk Auto Museum wows four HRCA Chapters The past, present and future of two- and four- wheel transportation were on display as nearly three dozen HRCA members from four Chapter dealers in northern California participated in a tour of the Blackhawk Automotive Museum in Danville, California on Sunday, September 25. Located an hour southeast of San Francisco, the 70,000-square foot facility houses more than 90 historically significant and artistically inspired automobiles from the early 1900’s to the present. Among them are the 1880 Long Steam Tricycle and 1893 Duryea (the first American production automobile), a rare 1901 Toledo Steam Car in which the passenger sat directly atop 800+ PSI of steam (!), Clark Some adventurous Bay-area Ruckus riders rode up to 60 miles on their modified mounts to attend the HRCA Gable’s 1935 Duesenberg convertible coupe, regional event. In addition to engine hop-ups, personal touches included suspension tweaks, chrome wheels and special paint. From left to right are: Randy Yancy (Pinole), Binh Cheung (San Jose), Glen Schnierl and a number of one-off or limited production (Vallejo), Jason Collins (Byron), Tim Kneipp (San Jose). View their Web site at Rolls-Royces dating back to 1911. The ride-in from the four area HRCA Chapters Dealers—Mission Honda in Daly City, Honda of HRCA Members wowed at Cobra Engineering Modesto, Honda Peninsula in Sunnyvale, and and Chino Air Museum Carmichael Honda—was marked by perfect rid- More than 70 HRCA Members from six Southern California Chapter Dealers attended the latest ing conditions, sunny skies and 80 degree HRCA Regional Event at the Chino Air Museum on Sunday, October 23. weather. HRCA Members had special parking on It was actually a “two-fer” event as the six Chapters from Honda of North Hollywood, B&B the plaza in front of the museum and were Cycles (Victorville), Huntington Honda, Bert’s Mega Mall (Covina), Orange County Honda greeted by HRCA staff under a Club tent. Tickets to (Orange), Mid-Cities Honda (Paramount), and Mission Honda (Irvine) gathered at Cobra the event included admission to the museum, Engineering’s headquarters in Anaheim before departing to the museum. After a warm greeting giveaways and prize drawings, and lunch at the from Ken Boyko, Blaine Birchfield, Tim McCool and the rest of the smiling Cobra staff, Members Mexican restaurant next to the museum. were treated to an exclusive tour of the Cobra manufacturing facility to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the company’s accessories go from raw materials to chrome exhaust pipes, back- rests, billet accessories and more. Attendees were given an HRCA Activity Pin and a SoCal “Mad Map” before riding to Corona for a sumptuous barbecue lunch. After lunch, the riders embarked for the Chino Air Museum where they were greeted by HRCA staffers and the Big Red Truck. The museum’s “Planes of Fame” tour included dozens of notable aircraft ranging from a 1903 Wright Flyer replica to a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress to an experi- mental Bell X-2. Later in the afternoon, the group assembled in the courtyard for HRCA prize draw- ings. Riding home through the Chino Hills was the perfect way to end the day. For more informa- The HRCA “Big Red Truck” was parked out tion about the Chino Air Museum, visit front and two notable Honda museum bikes were displayed during the prize giveaways: a 1966 CL77 305 Scrambler and a blue 1975 GL1000. Five Ruckus riders rode in from the Bay Area, demonstrating that two wheels and a motor are all in takes to have a good time when riding a Honda. For more information about the Blackhawk Automotive Museum, visit www.blackhawk- Cobra Engineering staff (left) treated HRCA Members to a tour of their facility. 10
  10. 10. Coming soon in the Indian Territory Red HRCA Clubhouse: Riders Santa Fe Trip Extended coverage of the Honda The Labor Day weekend 2005 found “Crown Jewels” vintage racers, Members of the Indian Territory Red a behind-the-scenes look at the Riders along with many friends making 2006 GL1800 Press Launch in a total of over 70 people who rode to Arizona and more Honda tech. Santa Fe, New Mexico. Log on to to get the inside scoop! With the exception of a few hours of rain between Clines Corners and Santa Fe on the first day, the rest of the trip was perfect. It was hard to decide whether to take a day ride to one of the many locations in that part of New Mexico or just hang out in town shopping, seeing the sites and enjoying the fes- tival that was going on that weekend. What finally happened was folks split up into different groups doing their own thing and having a great time. This is the third such trip the Indian Territory Red Riders have taken. The first ride was to Hot Springs, Arkansas, in October 2004 where the group was joined by Honda sales represen- tative Tim Patnode. Then came the group ride to Branson, Missouri, in April 2005. Where to next? Hard to say but surely it will be fun. Alt Wheels Festival draws HRCA Members in Massachusetts What do hybrids, fuel cells, veg- Honda Civic NGV etable oil and Tropical Storm Ophelia have to do with New England’s HRCA Members? Ophelia was the only uninvited guest as would-be alternative fuel users, Club Members and staffers converged on the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts, to glimpse the future of transportation at the Third Annual Alt Wheels Festival, September 17-18. If you are wondering about the connection between motorcycles and alternative transportation, consider that two-wheelers are inherently efficient vehicles—they use less fuel, take up less space and wear down public roads much less rapidly than auto- mobiles. That’s why motorcycles can legally operate in most state’s HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes. And because many HRCA Members are gadget guys and gals, the festival seemed like a natural attraction for those who take pride in their cho- sen form of transport. On hand was Honda’s own alternative fuels “guru” Barry Carr showing off the Honda Civic NGV (Natural Gas Vehicle), the “cleanest running production vehicle in the world,” and the beautiful new Accord Hybrid. Carr explained to Members that one teaspoon of spilled gasoline pollutes the atmosphere more than driving a Civic NGV from New England to California. Now that’s clean, but Honda has always been an envi- ronmentally-conscious company and in most cases its vehicles exceed existing emis- sion standards. To learn about Honda’s hybrid and fuel cell prototype two-wheelers, be sure to check out Special thanks to John Rice of Cycles!128 in Beverly for supplying the display and a much-needed HRCA tent to keep everyone dry. For more information about the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, go to JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 11
  11. 11. DEPARTMENT HRCA NEWS Continued From report card to checkered flag, Honda Red Riders make the grade to race the HRCA’s Supermoto Jr. series Photos: Raymond Gundy and Scott Hoffman M aking the grade has a whole different meaning to the 15 young riders from across the country who participated on October 1 in the AMA Supermoto season finale held this year studying to qualify for the program, such as Third-place–finisher Tyler Valentine from Evergreen, Colorado. “Tyler has always struggled in school,” said his dad Scott, “So when he came in Reno, Nevada. home with a 2.5 GPA, his mom and I were happy.” But not Tyler. Not only were these riders the fastest to qualify for this He really wanted to compete in the HRCA Supermoto series this prestigious event, they were also the brightest. Like all racing season, so he buckled down, working on his math and reading series, the Honda Red Rider Jr. Supermoto Challenge pre- every night. Tyler’s hard work paid off. sented by the HRCA® has rules, but with one added require- “I knew he had it in him,” said Danny Walker, American ment: Each rider must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. This might Supercamp owner, HRCA Supermoto program director and sound easy to some, like race winner Jamie Sievers of Belle the man behind the academic idea of making grades the key Plaines, Kansas, who is planning to attend Stanford University. to going racing. “This program is designed to help kids gain “He’s always been a great student,” says his mom Lisa. “We confidence and get them to understand that just racing fast like this program because it encourages him to keep up in his doesn’t cut it. You have to do well in school too.” Walker had school work.” promised Tyler the last spot in Nashville if he could bring up To others, there have been many sacrifices and hours of his grades, and with a week to go Tyler brought home the 12
  12. 12. winning report card showing a whopping 3.8 GPA. This got Race Results: him into the Nashville round, where he qualified to race the 1. #2 Jamie Sievers, Belle Plaines, KS GPA 4.0 final in Reno. 2. #4 Brandon Dooley, Belle Plaines, KS GPA 3.75 “This is the best program offered to kids nowadays,” states 3. #5 Tyler Valentine, Evergreen, CO GPA 3.8 Shawn Dooley, the father of Second-place–finisher Brandon. 4. #7 Matthew Menzer, Sheboygan, WI GPA 3.7 5. #13 Taylor Robert, Scottsdale, AZ GPA 4.0 “The kids get to see what it’s like if they work and apply them- 6. #9 Colter Dimick, Fort Collins, CO GPA 3.0 selves. We are thankful for having such a great tool to motivate 7. #8 Brad Baker, Chealis, WA GPA 4.0 Brandon to push himself to do better.” 8. #10 Jacob Lehmann, Snohomish, WA GPA 3.1 On top of getting good grades for the year, the top three fin- 9. #12 Jeffery Carver, Alton, IL GPA 3.1 ishers—Jamie Sievers, Brandon Dooley and Tyler Valentine— 10. #6 JD Beach, Covington, WA GPA 3.3 took home Honda CRF150s, custom riding gear and a savings 11. #14 Dillion Van Way, Carencro, LA GPA 3.2 bond for future education. 12. #15 Kenneth Lamberti, Mechanicsville, VA GPA 3.5 The HRCA thanks American Supercamp and all the spon- 13. #11 Nicholas Hansen, Cedarsburg, WI GPA 3.0 sors and families who made the 2005 Supermoto Jr. series a 14. #1 Travis Frassetto, Hilvert, WI GPA 3.6 huge success. 15. #3 Cameron Beaubier, Roseville, CA GPA 3.0 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 13
  13. 13. DEPARTMENT HRCA NEWS Continued HRCA Member Benefits Spotlight Honda service manuals are worth the price of HRCA admission One of the most practical benefits of HRCA Manual. The CSM can be easily membership is access to electronic ver- accessed from the next page. To sions of genuine Honda manuals. Each access the GSM for your motorcycle, renewed or paid HRCA membership that simply follow the prompt to add your you possess allows you to view the online vehicle bike to your profile. Since this Honda Genuine Service Manual (GSM) of HRCA benefit provides a GSM for one your choice. Most models are available motorcycle, be sure to designate the serv- from 1994 to present. Within its pages you ice manual you want by creating its model will find clear, comprehensive information profile. After you create the vehicle profile, on vehicle service and repair, including it will appear in the drop-down list for you easy-to-read text, top-quality photography to choose. and illustrations, general information for Next you will be taken to the Honda’s experienced technicians, step-by-step OwnerLink page. While you are there, be instructions and information on systems, sure to look at the other OwnerLink fea- The GSM benefit alone justifies the data, and tools. Printed copies and CD- tures you can take advantage of—general cost of HRCA membership, as a single ROMs are also available from Helm service, maintenance and storage proce- service manual can easily cost twice as directly (see below). dures, safety and riding tips, dealer infor- much as a one-year HRCA membership. If Another great benefit of HRCA mem- mation, customer relations and warranty you own more than one Honda, purchase bership is access to view an online copy information, recalls and service bulletins. a membership for each machine to take of the Honda Common Service Manual advantage of this offer. (CSM). Both the GSM and CSM offer a OwnerLink also allows you to order wealth of systems information, including paper and/or CD copies of Honda owner engine testing, lubrication, cooling, and service manuals, plus a number of induction and exhaust, fuel, cylinders, other useful guides including the parts heads, valves, pistons and crankshafts, catalogs for your Honda, the 1959-2000 clutches, transmissions, final drives, Model ID Guide, and Gold Wing wheels and tires, brakes, suspension and Electronic Troubleshooting Guides. To chassis, and electrical. obtain them, call (800) 782-4356 Monday- Just log onto the HRCA Clubhouse at Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST, visit Then select the sil-, or write to Helm Inc., ver banner, Click Here to Get Your Shop P.O. Box 07280, Detroit, Michigan 48207. S ER FOR PECIAL OFFBERS! HRCA Members get 35 percent off the HRCA MEM AirRevolution MiniFootPump— The HRCA is always looking for great new benefits for Members, and and get a second we found one with the help of the good folks at MiniFootPump. For compact pump free! a limited time, they are offering HRCA Members 35 percent off MSRP ($49.95) for the compact, efficient AirRevolution pump. This tough pump has a 32-inch hose and a gauge that reads up to 70 pounds. Measuring 6 x 3.5 x 3 inches and scaling in at 17 ounces, the little pump fits easily into a saddlebag, and comes with its own nylon bag. Best of all, the HRCA discount applies to a two-for-one deal: Buy the AirRevolution pump at 35 percent off— $32.47, plus shipping and handling—and get a second pump, the compact Original MiniFootPump that’s great for pumping up bicycle tires and soccer balls. So take advantage of being an HRCA Member, and go to, click on the offer and enter your HRCA membership number. 14
  14. 14. JULY/AUGUST 2003 15
  15. 15. DEPARTMENT HRCA PEOPLE When we sat down with PAMELA Here’s a little-known fact from TUSCANY-WARREN and HENRY Ohioan BOB VORESS: Blue bugs WINES at the HRCA’s Daytona USA are bitter! He explained by saying, dinner, they couldn’t wait to tell us how “My wife LOUISE and I were riding much they love the HRCA. “We up by Lake Erie when I hit a big blue became Members because of Honda bug. It bounced off the windshield, hit Red Rider magazine, and because of my glasses and exploded all over my the HRCA perks and special activities, just like this one.” They each ride their face, with big chunks landing in my mouth. I had to pull over and stop to clear own bike, and have traveled from their home in central Florida down to Key it all off!” For the record, his 2001 GL1800 is the sixth Gold Wing he has West and also north to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Cherohala Skyway. owned in 32 years of riding, and he’s loved them all. “I’ve tried other bikes, but there’s noth- “I decided to see my daughter one day, ing else that compares to a Honda and get a haircut,” CRAIG EICHHORN Gold Wing®.” So says Connecticut’s told us. “The thing is, we lived in Seattle BILL PHILPOTT. “My first Gold Wing at the time and she lived in Hilton Head, was a 1978 GL1000, and I kept it until South Carolina. I was 62 years, but I just 1996. I spent 20 years in the military, hopped on my bike and rode straight and when I got out I thought I would there—quite an ‘iron butt’ kind of expe- swear off the color green. And then I rience. That was certainly a memorable saw the 1995 GL1500 Interstate . ™ It was green, but I had to have one. So I trip, but my favorite motorcycling memory is when I met my wife-to-be SUSIE, named it Kermie, after Kermit the frog, and that’s what my license plate says.” because now I had someone to ride with me all the time.” You can tell when someone is serious MARK and ANGIE CLAYTON about checking out a bike, and that’s summed things up well by saying, “A what we saw in the faces of JAVIER bad day on a Honda is better than a CASTRO and DARLA HUNSICKER good day anywhere else.” When not of Florida, as they carefully inspected a attending the Honda Hoot™, other GL1800. “I’m getting ready to buy a favorite destinations include Sturgis, Gold Wing,” he declared. Javier has South Dakota and the surrounding been riding for 34 years, and his most Black Hills and Badlands area. They memorable trip was aboard a Honda ST1100 on a trip from Norway to cite Mount Rushmore as another area attraction, and they say there are lim- Turkey in 1992. “I was a little hesitant at first,” he said, “but the people in itless places to ride out there with twisty, curvy roads. Turkey were very kind and helpful. I’d recommend Turkey as a destination for anyone; I made a lot of good friends there.” “You know, nowadays you just don’t hear kids saying, ‘Darn, my clutch cable MARY KRAMER rode her Honda broke!’ That used to happen all the time Helix™ and BILL TAYLOR his Gold with my old Nortons and Triumphs.” So Wing from their home in Kentucky to says JAMES REDMOND, who hails the 2005 Honda Hoot. They’ve from North Carolina. He started riding a been attending the Hoot since 1948 Indian, but has since become the 2000 event in Asheville, and quite a connoisseur of Hondas. He rides they also enjoy riding to the Wing a CBR®1100XX and a 1998 Valkyrie® on a regular basis, but he also owns a Ding and Honda HomeComing. 1964 Honda 305, a 1973 four-cylinder CB350 and four CB750K0s. His Bill likes to engage in restoration projects for fun when he’s not out rid- favorite riding memory? When he rode the Isle of Man back in the 1960s. ing, and he’s recently restored a CB550 and another Helix. 16
  16. 16. Honda Red Rider: At what age did you start riding? Justin Barcia: 7 years old HRR: Tell us about your first race. PROFILE JB: I don’t remember too much. I think I finished Seventh. I was a little scared, I remember that. JUSTIN BARCIA HRR: What are your goals for the next season? JB: To keep on winning. It was pretty exciting and I liked the feeling of winning. So, I am going to stay focused and work real hard. U p-and-coming amateur Justin Barcia takes double wins at Loretta Lynn’s HRR: What do you ride? JB: A Honda CR85R. I love it. It’s dependable and all the guys from Honda are real good to us. When seventh-grader Justin Barcia says “let me spell it out for you,” he HRR: Who’s your mentor? really means s-p-e-l-l. Justin is a top-notch student who loves to spell. JB: I like to watch Ricky Carmichael race. He’s so good. What he’s been spelling lately is w-i-n-n-e-r. He recently claimed two big HRR: How involved is your family in your racing? JB: They are really involved. Both my mom and dad wins at Loretta Lynn’s this year and took home the “AMA Youth Motocrosser take me to all the races throughout the country and we are a good team. They are awesome. Of The Year” award. “It felt great to win at Loretta’s,” says Justin. “To hear HRR: Have you ever attended a motocross school? the crowd cheering was so cool.” Honda Red Rider caught up with this JB: I went to the Millsaps Training Facility. It was real cool. I learned a lot and it was a good learning 13-year-old at his home in New York. Here’s what he has to say: environment being with other kids. Davi’s mom is a great teacher. She’s so busy there helping everyone. HRR: How do you train? JB: I ride my bicycle, run, do some weights and just put time on my bike. HRR: Are you interested in any other kinds of riding? JB: I think I’d like to try Supermoto some time. HRR: What pushes you to succeed? JB: I like the feeling of winning and I want to keep winning more so I can turn pro when I’m old enough. LET THE STORYTELLING BEGIN! We’ve received a box load of mail from budding writers for last issue’s “Honda Holiday” story contest, and it’s been fun to see how much hard work has come in from future authors. So in this issue, we’re introducing another way to win more great Honda goodies by writing on a new topic: My Best Day on a Honda. Let your mind run free as you write, but please limit your story to 100 words or less, and be sure to use your very best spelling and penmanship. Neatness counts, because if we can’t read it, we can’t enjoy your story. We’ll be sending Honda racing posters to the authors of our favorite top 20 stories, and the first 50 entrants will receive cool Honda racing stickers just for sending in a story. BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR AGE (FOR PROPER CLASSIFICA- TION DURING JUDGING) AND COMPLETE ADDRESS. All decisions made by our judges are final. We need to receive your story no later than March 31, 2006. Send your story to: Honda Ride Story - RR84 Vreeke & Associates, 250 E. Easy St., Suite 3 Simi Valley, CA 93065 Materials become the property of Honda Red Rider magazine and will not Photo: Steve Bruhn be returned unless accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 17
  17. 17. pectators lucky enough to attend the U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca this last summer saw Honda’s Nicky Hayden score his first MotoGP victory. But if they made their way to the Honda display tent down in the infield, they saw something perhaps equally special: four racing machines that changed the world, there at Laguna on a rare excursion from the Honda Collection Hall in Japan. Honda first fielded a racebike in world competition at the 1959 Isle of Man TT. Those first IOM racers were RC142s, and the competition scoffed when they saw these machines. Conventional wisdom held that racebikes were big singles, more often than not with pushrod engines or bevel-drive single overhead camshafts-just about exactly the opposite of these strange little Japanese racers. These machines were just the beginning of a string of phenomenal racing machines that poured forth from Honda. Only a few years later at the IOM, Honda’s competition was driven from the field of battle in absolute and ignoble defeat. We’re going to examine four of the machines on which Honda forged its world- wide racing reputation-the four bikes that those who attended the USGP at Laguna Seca were lucky enough to see. We will showcase half of this prestigious quartet in the following pages of Honda Red Rider magazine, and show off the other two race bikes in the next issue. These machines represent the pinnacle of Honda’s racing devel- opment in the Golden Age, and many of them directly influenced the motorcycles that an entire generation of consumers was to enjoy in the coming years. 18
  18. 18. C ewels rown J Four incredible Honda racebikes that made history JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 19
  19. 19. C ewels rown J R C16 6 Of all the racing motorcycles that have ever lined up on the starting grids across the world, the Honda RC166 stands alone as the most exotic. Six cylinders. A sound like no other. From the time the first RC165 was unveiled in 1965 at Monza it created a sensation. (An aside: The RC165 was ready too late to book air-freight space to Monza, so Jim Redman and Michihiko Aika, the head of Honda’s racing department at the time, flew with the bike as carry-on bag- gage, taking up three seats in the passenger compartment, covered with a blanket, and “disguised” with four exhaust pipes instead of The RC166 brought Hailwood and Honda world champi- onships in both 1966 and 1967. the six megaphones that would soon be heard round the world.) Nobby Clark calls it his favorite. And it was undoubtedly a favorite of Redman and Mike Hailwood, too, as it and the RC166 brought Hailwood and Honda world championships in both 1966 and 1967. Wherever the RC166 raced, it intimidated the competition. Just a look tells you why: the six perfect cylinders. The atten- tion to detail that borders on something more akin to a Swiss watch than a motorcycle. And then there’s the sound. All four bikes here run unmuffled, with open megaphone exhaust. There’s not even the noise-damping factor of water jackets on the cylinders. At its 18,000-rpm redline, individual cylinders firing all blur together. The sound permeates your entire body. Imagine 20
  20. 20. riding the near 200 miles of the Isle of Man on one of these. Imagine what it was like to be stuck behind one. The RC166 was the brainchild of legendary Honda engi- neer Shoichiro Irimajiri, who later went on to design Honda’s equally world-shaking CBX six-cylinder production streetbike. With its cylinder bank tipped forward and cast as an integral unit with the top crankcase half, it was decades ahead of any other machine, and clearly foreshadowed the bikes like today’s CBR®1000RR and CBR600RR. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 21
  21. 21. C ewels rown J R C181 By 1966, just seven short years since the competition had laughed at the little Hondas that showed up to contest the Isle of Man, only one jewel was missing from Honda’s racing crown: the 500cc World Championship. This would soon be rectified. The 500 class was the true big leagues—it was here that the grand, old, tradi- tional marques still dominated. After having seen the RC165 and RC166, rumors flew through the paddock at the start of the 1966 season. Honda was building a six-cylinder 500. No, they were building a V-8! What they unveiled was, in many ways, the most important machine for an Jim Redman (above) is one of only two Honda riders—along with Mike Hailwood— entire generation of motorcyclists. An inline four, air-cooled, with double-over- to win races on Hondas in four GP classes: 125, 250, 350 and 500. head cams. Gearbox behind the crank, carburetors above that. Tubular-steel, twin-loop chassis. Hundreds of thousands of motorcycles would follow this broad outline, most notably the CB750, save for its single-overhead-cam design. At the very first 500 race of the year, at the old TT track in Assen, Jim Redman scored the victory, beating the great Giacomo Agostini on the MV Agusta. By the season’s close, Honda had easily won the manufacturer’s championship in the 22
  22. 22. 500 class. If there were ever any doubt that in these seven years Honda now stood as the dominant force in Grand Prix racing, it was completely erased. Along with the RC166, the RC181 was one of two bikes from the Honda Collection Hall that was repeatedly started and run at Laguna Seca. One astute Honda insider noted that the bike “was half the size of the MotoGP bikes on the track, and twice as loud.” In a perfect state of tune (as if anything less were acceptable from a machine from the official Honda col- lection) like the RC166, it mesmerized the audience. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 23
  23. 23. c o m p a r i s o n c h a r t RC166 Year 1966 Engine DOHC four-stroke inline six, four valves per cylinder Bore and Stroke 39.0 x 34.8mm Displacement 249.42cc Output 60 hp Redline 18,000 Compression Ratio 12.0:1 Gearbox Seven-speed Dry Weight 251.3 pounds Top Speed Over 149 mph RC181 Year 1966 Engine DOHC four-stroke inline four, four valves per cylinder Bore and Stroke 57.0 x 48.0mm Displacement 489.94cc Output 84 hp Redline 13,000 Compression Ratio 12.0:1 Gearbox Six-speed Dry Weight 337.3 pounds Top Speed Over 161 mph 24
  24. 24. I n the eginning B makers and so on. He also purchased racing parts that were not available in Japan. In England, he purchased racing tires and rims from Avon, chain from Reynold and plugs from KLG. In Italy, he bought wheels from Borrani and carburetors from Dellorto. Carrying as many parts as he could manage, On June 9, 1954, Mr. Honda set off on a trip he returned to Japan. to Europe. His primary objective was to Nevertheless, a TT Races Headquarters was observe the Isle of Man TT Races with his own established in October, and Kiyoshi Kawashima eyes. He arrived at this Mecca of motorcycle was directed to develop a racing engine. racing, once only a distant object of desire, on “I asked if we really were going to com- June 13. The first thing he did was to inspect pete,” said Mr. Kawashima, “and the reply I the race courses. These were not circuits built got (from Mr. Honda) was, ‘No matter what exclusively for racing, but literal road happens, we’re entering the race,’ ” he remem- courses, sections of ordinary roadway closed bered. “If we dillydally now, we’ll get left far- off for the races. ther and farther behind. Then, ‘And you know, One was the Mountain course, 60.725 km everyone is having a very hard time now. This long, and the other was the 17.36-km long is just the kind of time when people want to Clyps course. Both appeared even more have a dream. To have flowers bloom tomor- demanding than he had heard. His first sight of row, we have to go ahead and plant seeds now.’ the assembled Grand Prix machines from all That’s what the Old Man told me. So I started “Everyone is having those different countries also overwhelmed Mr. designing a racing engine, figuring it out as I Honda. He examined them in minute detail, a very hard time went along.” squatting down in his usual way. now. This is just the Honda would not race at the IOM for sev- The shock he received when the race began kind of time when eral years, but in the interim developed racing was even greater. Years later in a magazine arti- people want to have machines for domestic events, competing cle, Mr. Honda recounted the experience. against the many burgening manufacturers in “What amazed me was seeing machines a dream.” Japan. A win at the biggest race, Mount Asama, running with about three times greater power Having had the wind taken right out of his eluded Honda until 1959. That’s when Honda’s than we had been considering. From Italy, sails, Honda had now regained his competitive first in-line four-cylinder machine, the 250cc Germany and England, they all came together spirit, and he continued his tour, visiting RC160, appeared on the scene. The powerful to the Isle of Man and I watched them shoot England, Germany and Italy, where he energeti- Honda sound of its 14,000-rpm engine aston- off like arrows. Not only were these machines cally toured motorcycle manufacturers, auto- ished the spectators, and this motorcycle swept unlike any we’d ever seen before, we’d never mobile makers, parts fabricators, machine tool First through Third places at Asama. even dreamed of such a sight. When I went and saw that, my first reaction was a shock of disappointment. I had gone there after spreading talk all over Japan about how Honda would enter the TT Races, so this was a terrible shock to me. What did I say, I won- dered, and what am I going to do? Then I pulled myself together and took another look. After a good night’s sleep, I went back and looked at the racecourse again the next morn- ing. Then it came to me. These people here have a history, and that’s why they can make machines like these. We don’t have that his- It took seven years not the single tory, but we’ve seen these machines, and that year he’d hoped—but even Mr. Honda couldn’t have dreamed of the extent of can have the same effect for us as history.” his Isle of Man TT success when it finally came. Here, Mike Hailwood takes [Excerpts from Honda F-1 1964-1968, the win at the 1961 250 TT. Nigensha Publishing] JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 25
  25. 25. 26
  26. 26. straight to the heart An autumn ride through the heart of Arizona on a VTX1800, ST1300 and the 2006 GL1800 Gold Wing In many parts of the USA, the arrival of autumn brings more to motorcyclists than just fall colors—it instills a touch of anxiety as well. As the air takes on a chilly note and trees turn color, then drop their leaves, these seasonal changes signal the beginning of the end of the riding season, as all too soon the cold winter months shut the door on pleasant two-wheeled journeys. However, in another portion of the country—Arizona, to be specific—autumn signals the shift from blast-furnace summer temperatures to the onset of prime-time riding weather. In these parts, fall is the perfect season for taking in the spectacu- lar natural wonders that abound in the Copper State, riding in blissful comfort while motorcycling brethren in other climes sit by the fire, dreaming of adventures to come. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 27
  27. 27. On a map, Arizona’s borders roughly define a rectangle, and if you plunk down three fingers right in the center of that shape, you’ll cover some of the most dramatic terrain and scenic roads a motorcyclist could ever hope to find. American Honda was kind enough to invite Honda Red Rider magazine along on the 2006 press introduction of the GL1800 Gold Wing®, complete with a brand-new, fully integrated Garmin navigation system (see sidebar on page 32). And because vari- ety is often the spice of life, for this ride we also included the The Verde River long-ranger of sport touring Valley is laced with bikes, Honda’s ST1300®, and an scenic roads and accessorized VTX®1800R decked out for serious travel. Between historic spots of the three machines, we covered such note that some a broad spectrum of the riding travel publications world—just the ticket for the wide range of conditions we’d call it The Heart be encountering during the of Arizona Tour. upcoming days. Beginning in Litchfield Park, a suburb located just outside the state capitol of Phoenix, a small entourage of very lucky magazine editors set out for a rider’s paradise called the Verde River Valley, which is laced with scenic roads and his- toric spots of such note that some travel publications call it The Heart of Arizona Tour. We would be traveling to Sedona, a friendly little burg that sits nearly a mile high at the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon with its incredible towering red-rock cliff and mesa formations that give the area an otherworldly appearance. Our departure from the Phoenix area took us through prototypical desert terrain complete with saguaro cactus, the state flower of Arizona. Passing through the western-flavored town of Wickenburg, we soon picked up State Route 89, a designated scenic route that includes the Yarnell Grade, which pitches up posthaste from the desert floor in a rapid procession of big, sweeping turns. In fact, the elevation gain yields such a dramatic view, our small entourage decided to ride back down to the desert floor and enjoy the trip up a second time. Of course, the fact that the road is such fun to ride also encouraged us to retrace our path. Testing brand-new bikes isn’t all toil and drudgery; some testers also enjoyed a leisurely creek-side luncheon at L’Auberge de Sedona. 28
  29. 29. Amazingly, as we neared the former gold mining town of Prescott, which served briefly as Capitol of the Arizona Territory in the 1860s and 1870s, the road grew even more entertaining as it kinked up tightly and the smooth pavement flowed through mountain cuts boasting deep stands of sweetly scented pine trees. In the heart of Prescott lies the nefarious-sounding Whiskey Row. This stand of establishments has tamed down considerably over the years, but among the restaurants and watering holes you’ll find a number of antique shops and jewelry stores that can lighten your wallet significantly if you’re not careful. A few miles outside of town the highway branches into routes 89 and 89A, the latter keeping the scenic the elevation gain highway designation. Once more, 89A turns twisty and highly enter- yields such a taining as it pitches down a scenic dramatic view, our canyon where the tiny town of small entourage Jerome clings precariously to the decided to ride back mile-high mountainside. Little Jerome is big enough to merit two down to the desert nicknames: “America’s Most floor and enjoy the Vertical City” and “Largest Ghost trip up a second time. Town in America” depending on your druthers. Founded in 1876, this copper-mining boomtown once carried the reputation of being the wickedest town in the west. Its population rocketed to 15,000 in its hey- day before plunging like a meteor to a ghost town of less than 50 people. Nowadays Jerome enjoys a quiet retirement with its designation as a federal National Historic District, offering a thriving tourist trade and artist community. The Douglas Mansion is Jerome’s State Historic Park featuring the mining history of the area, and the Gold King Mine displays early machinery of the mining era in Jerome. Due to the 30-degree incline of the mountain slope on which it is built, gravity and time have sent a number of Jerome’s buildings tumbling downward—including the town’s jail, much to the delight of the resident ne’er-do-wells at the time. Even more twisty-turny scenic highway greets riders who depart Jerome for Sedona along SR 89A, and just when you think the landscape can’t possibly get any better, a lavish collection of shockingly red spires and mesas announce your entrance into Sedona. Our late-afternoon arrival granted us a first-class first impression, as warm sunlight bathed the stately redrock cliffs and spires with an incredible crimson glow that seemed to Montezuma Castle National Monument 30
  30. 30. Editorially speaking, the 2006 GL1800 is a hit For a few days in October, a select group of motorcy- cle magazine editors enjoyed the opportunity to experience the 2006 Honda GL1800 Gold Wing, and we were on hand to participate in this exclusive industry-insider event. To cut to the chase, the ’06 GL received kudos aplenty for all of its new features, beginning with the new 80-watts per channel pre- mium audio system. This new system includes a six-speaker setup with larger 140mm front speakers plus a pair of 35mm tweeters to better define those high notes. Of course, the big hubbub surrounded the Gold Wing’s new Honda Satellite Linked Navigation System™, the first fully inte- grated navigation system in the motorcycle industry. Now under- stand that all of the editors in attendance are long-time hard-core travelers who have probably logged more seat time than 99.7 per- cent of the global riding populace. They didn’t become this travel- savvy by getting lost all the time, so these guys are pretty sharp when it comes to navigating with the old analog papyrus navi systems, aka maps. However, after traipsing about some of Arizona’s finest roads for a few days, everyone found the GL’s full-color system to be easy to read and operate, and the many optional features give plenty of leeway for personal preferences in use. Also, the large storehouse of points of interest that are preloaded into the Honda system proved to be very handy when visiting some of Arizona’s historical sites dur- ing a day ride, and in general the setup eliminated a lot of the stresses related to exploring new roads. Bottom line: All of the additions to the 2006 GL1800 have made a great ride even better, but the navi system is a true revelation. It’s amazing how much stress this system can relieve when you are no longer pulling over to find your bearings, grappling with a map or trying to remember the next turn-off in unexplored territory. Say goodbye to flapping maps and directions taped onto the gas tank: Meet the Gold Wing’s new Honda Satellite Linked Navigation System. Some of the most savvy magazine editors in the nation gave this sys- tem a thorough workout and proclaimed it a success. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 31
  31. 31. Enjoying the not-so-Wild West The great state of Arizona may still trade on its Wild West heritage, but there’s noth- ing wild or wooly about the many upscale resorts and luxury hotels dotting the land- scape. During our stay, members of our group were treated to deluxe digs, begin- ning with The Wigwam Resort, a sprawling 464-acre facility offering 331 rooms, suites and upscale casitas done up in southwestern style. Amara Creekside Resort In Sedona we sampled the amenities found in a pair of neighboring establish- ments, the Amara Creekside Resort and L’Auberge de Sedona. The Amara Creekside Resort offers what Frommer’s Guide calls “the hippest room and interior décor in Sedona” and the resort works closely with six local galleries to showcase original art. In a different vein, L’Auberge de Sedona offers the distinctive charms of a European coun- try retreat, including private cabins with fire- places, creek-side and canyon views. We enjoyed our time spent at all three resorts, but if pressed to name a favorite, here’s how we would reply: “We’re not quite sure; send us back again!” The Wigwam Resort Phone: (800) 327-0396 Amara Creekside Resort Phone: (928) 282-4828 L’Auberge de Sedona Phone: (877) 700-2855 32
  32. 32. Sedona serves as a emanate from the very core of the Earth. Perhaps it’s the utter convenient base from profusion of these red-rock cliffs and the way they seem to which motorcyclists embrace the town that endows Sedona with such a special atmosphere. In any case, virtually every building in the area can visit a number of features a spectacular mountainside view. nearby natural and Sedona serves as a convenient base from which motor- historical sites. cyclists can visit a number of nearby natural and historical sites—which allows for a wonderfully entertaining regimen of riding combined with sightseeing. Just outside of town you’ll find Slide Rock State Park and Red Rock State Park, both of which offer exceptionally fine views of magnificent geologic structures. In addition, Red Rock State Park offers special programs focusing on wildlife, green meadows framed by native study, hiking, picnicking and bird watching, while Slide Rock State Park contains a 30-foot-long water slide worn in the rocks along a creek in Oak Creek Canyon. Short but entertaining rides will also take you to Tuzigoot National Monument and Montezuma Castle National Monument where remnants of the world of the Southern Sinagua (Spanish for “with- out water”), a prehistoric culture that flourished in the Verde Valley centuries ago, can be exam- ined. Montezuma Castle is especially fascinating, as this five-story, 20-room dwelling built into a cliff recess perched about 100 feet above the valley still survives today after enduring wind, weather and man’s intrusion for about 900 years. Early settlers marveled at the structure and assumed incor- rectly that it was Aztec in origin; hence the name. Close by Montezuma Castle you’ll find Fort Verde State Historic Park, the remnants of a U.S. Army camp that was first established in 1865. Three of the original five buildings still stand, and they hold detailed exhibits of period pieces. Special Living History Presentations are staged at various times during the year, so check it out ahead of time. In this vicinity, State Routes 179, 260 and 169 crisscross between 89A and Interstate 17 to provide fun riding along with outstanding scenery—a real rider’s treat. There’s plenty more to do and see in the greater region surrounding Sedona; a trip northward to the Grand Canyon, for example, will make for a most entertaining day ride. However, there’s also a lot to be said for just taking things easy and spending at least a day hanging around town to relax. Accommodations range from budget hotels to first-class resorts offering spa treatment, award-winning gourmet restaurants and more. And no one can fault you should you decide to simply sit around and admire the red-rock mesas over an extra-long lunch. Late in autumn, while your fellow motorcyclists elsewhere around the country busily winterize their bikes and dream about next season’s riding, you and your favorite machine could be living out that dream—comfortably ensconced in the heart of Arizona. For more information, visit these Web sites: Arizona State Parks: Montezuma Castle National Monument: Tuzigoot National Monument: Sedona Chamber of Commerce: VTX1800R ACCESSORIES Adjustable chrome backrest with pad $255.95 Chrome backrest/rear carrier mounting brackets 165.95 Chrome rear carrier 166.95 Adjustable windshield 474.95 Lower wind deflectors 127.95 Leather saddlebags (plain) 589.95 Saddlebag mounting brackets 144.95 Leather front pouch (plain) 76.95 Leather tank belt (plain) 112.95 Leather touring bag (plain) 272.95 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 33
  33. 33. b l a c k m a g i c Let’s face it: Most of us own Hondas because they are incredibly well- engineered machines that also look great and go about their business like nobody’s business. So why on earth would anyone want to modify one, let alone turn their Honda into a full-blown custom? Because they are so well-designed, Hondas are ideal platforms for inveterate cus- tom-bike builders. Lamont Bryden of Mosheim, Tennessee, and Hal Greenlee know this well. The duo teamed up to build a VTX® custom they call the Pro Street Project or PSP. Except this was no ordinary two-man effort. In this day of online communities, they actively solicited design direction and fabrication feedback. Most custom-bike projects start off with a vision, and the collective vision of the PSP jelled in a relatively short time. “There have been a lot of custom VTXs that were really nice but the look that comes from the rake is really what made this bike come together,” says Bryden. “After I posted pictures on an online forum, I received count- less e-mail and phone calls from people who wanted ‘that look’. It’s what really turned people on.” Just as important, the final rendition of the PSP needed to be affordable for those who wanted to build their own version. This underlying goal was the key. Photos: ©2005 Mark Langello 34
  34. 34. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 35