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      Motorcycle: Motorcycle: Evolution Motorcycle - The Modern Era
    Posted on Sunday, October 31 @ 13:45:54 UTC by cars
      Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle The Modern Era When Honda introduced the CB750 in 1969, it was not just the Japanese machine's four-cylinder, overhead-cam engine and 120mph (193kph) top speed that heralded the start of motorcycling's modern age. Equally important was the Honda's lavish specification, including an electric starter and front disc brake, and its general air of sophistication. Ironically, Triumph's three-cylinder, 750cc Trident T150, which was launched at the same time, handled at least as well and was slightly faster. But the British bike's pushrod engine, kick-start and drum brakes - plus its dubious reliability and need for frequent maintenance - marked the Triumph as a machine from an earlier era.

    Japan had shown the way forward, and the 1970s would belong not just to Honda but to Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha too. Kawasaki raised the stakes again in 1973 with the launch of the 900cc Zl, whose muscular twin-cam engine gave 130mph (209kph) top speed with unburstable reliability. The bike they nicknamed the King and its descendants would dominate superbiking for much of the decade. Not that the Japanese had it all their own way. Britain's industry might have been dying but Italy, in particular, had much to offer. Ducati and Moto Guzzi, each with a distinctive brand of V-twin engine, and Laverda, with powerful 1000 cc triples headed by the legendary Jota, all produced memorable mid-1970s superbikes. The Italian bikes' biggest advantage was in handling, for the Japanese firms found chassis harder to perfect than engines. Not until the Suzuki GS1000 appeared in 1978 did Japan build a superbike that could hold its own in the bends and even then poor wet-weather performance remained. Japanese manufacturers also had a "bigger is better" fixation that reached a peak in 1979 with Kawasaki's massive Z1300 six. But there were some excellent small bikes too, including Yamaha's long-running RD series of middleweight two-stroke twins. Smelly strokers fell foul of emission regulations in America, but thrived elsewhere throughout the 1980s. That decade saw Japanese aircooled fours take over the large and medium capacity market to such an extent that the term UJM - Universal Japanese Motorcycle was coined to describe them. But there were more imaginative designs, too - notably the turbocharged models tried and then abandoned by each of what, by now, were termed as the Big Four. More successful 1980s' developments included the increasing fitment of fairings (and luggage systems for tourers), and the adoption of chassis features such as single-shock rear suspension and radial tyres. Aluminium became frequently used in frame construction, following the dynamic arrival of Suzuki's ultra-light GSX-R750 race-replica in 1985. By 1990 the Japanese had almost univers-ally adopted liquid-cooling for engines, partly to satisfy tightening emission laws. Kawasaki's awesome new ZZ-R1100 had a 16-valve engine producing over 140bhp, a twin-beam aluminium frame, a top speed of 175mph (281kph) and levels of handling, roadholding and braking that would have been unthinkable ten years earlier. The best bikes' all-round excellence meant that developments were less dramatic than before, but outstanding machines continued to appear. Honda's CBR900RR of 1992 combined superbike power with light weight. Kawasaki's 1995-model ZX-6R challenged Honda's long-standing middleweight champion, the CBR600F, with a 160mph (257kph) top speed that few open-class bikes could better. But not every rider simply wanted speed. From Honda's mighty Gold Wing tourer introduced as a basic 1000cc Hat-four in 1976, now a lavishly equipped 1500cc six to scooters via sports-tourers, trail-bikes and cruisers, the Japanese built something for almost everyone. As bikes were increasingly used for leisure rather than mere transport, and the average age of riders rose to above 30 in many countries, what some bikers wanted was an unfaired retro-style machine whose appeal was based on simplicity and nostalgia. One thing most riders seemingly did not want was technology at a premium price. Anti-lock brakes were introduced with some success, notably by BMW. But expensive technical tours de force such as Bimota's Test and Yamaha's GTS1000 - each with non-telescopic front suspension and Honda's oval-pistoned NR750 sold in small numbers. By the mid-1990s there were increasing signs that motorcycling's balance of power was shifting again. Japanese firms had been hard hit by the strength of the yen, which made their bikes increasingly expensive in most markets. Although the Japanese firms' engineering was stronger than ever, many models showed a lack of new ideas. By contrast, Harley and several European manufacturers, having succeeded in matching Japanese quality, were enjoying huge success. Harley's retro-styled V-twin cruisers, BMW's sophisticated yet traditional flat-twins, reborn Triumph's classy triples and Ducati's racy V-twin sportsters offered all-important character to an increasingly image-conscious market.
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    Friday, July 12
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    Thursday, July 11
    · GM, Honda to Collaborate on Next-Generation Fuel Cell Technologies
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    · Honda Introduces New Jazz ES Plus
    · Solar-Powered Pocono Raceway Set to Host the Pocono INDYCAR 400 for the First Ti
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    Tuesday, July 09
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    · All-New 2014 Infiniti Q50 Arrives at U.S. Dealers on Aug. 5 with Strong Pre-Sale
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    Monday, July 08
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    Saturday, June 29
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    · Honda Launches Global Social PR Campaign Inspired by Customer Journeys
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    · Robert Stack 300SL Roadster to be Sold to Highest Bidder at Auctions America
    · Experience Honda On and Off the Track at Goodwood Festival of Speed
    · Acura Introduces New Campaign For The 2014 MDX Entitled "The Extremely
    · Tier 1 Automotive Supplier Contracts Evana Automation to Supply Six Custom Assem
    Friday, June 28
    · Teva Motors: A UK Company Following Tesla Down the Road to Electric Vehicle Succ
    · The Green Flag WILL be Dropping for the Coronado Speed Festival 2013
    · Altran Joins Lotus F1® Team
    Thursday, June 27
    · Drayson Racing Sets New FIA World Electric Land Speed Record
    · Drayson Racing Sets New FIA World Electric Land Speed Record
    · Bureau Veritas Opens Automotive Testing Laboratory in Tianjin, China

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