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Very Fickle Riders

I've ridden nearly every brand of motorcycle since 1980. I'm 46 years old, own several Hondas including a 1996 CBR1000F, 2003 919, 2007 25th Anniversary VFR and 2008 CBR1000RR. So I feel confident in saying that I believe Honda has missed the boat.

Come on Honda, talk to the people who have invested in your products. Visit some forums like www.vfrd.com or cbrforum.com to find out what we want. A SI6,000 VFR, but with heated grips and luggage not included? Heck, BMW is closer to getting my future Honda dollars than Honda is. Thanks for all your hard work, CIV.

John Burger

Asheboro, North Carolina

Four long years of waiting for Honda to replace its sixth-generation VFR and I don't know which is worse: Honda's decision to chase after BMW buyers or CIVs brief three-column road test. This seventh generation has diluted the original concept beyond recognition. How ironic at a time when the pinnacle of Honda's roadracing effort is based on 800cc V-Four-powered motorcycles.

Scott Holz Ellicott City, Maryland

The new Interceptor looks fantastic, but I'm a bit confused. It's not a sportbike, it's not a sport-tourer, but it's priced like one. The purchaser can turn it into a tourer with the options (bags, heated grips, etc.) for even more money. Is Honda trying to create a new niche? Maybe the naked, non-sport-tourer? Think I'll stick with my Beemer.

Bob Novotny Severn, Maryland

Thanks for the great write-up on the new Honda VFR 1200F (April). From first impressions, it appears to be another in a long line of superb Honda bikes.

I was gratified, however, to see the "long gone CBR1100XX" mentioned by Blake Conner. As a proud owner of a 1998 CBRI100XX, aka Blackbird, my bike makes nearly as much horsepower and torque as the new VFR. It is incredibly smooth, excellent across town or across state lines, nearly bulletproof— and mine cost (used, of course) S12K less than the VFR. Craig James

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Never satisfied

The rebirth of the venerable Interceptor really had me drooling with delight, a totally can't-take-my-eyes-off-you package. Unlike the new butt-ugly V-Max, Big Red brings it home with a functional beauty and purpose that has been fading away in the sportbike arena lately. The absolute jaw-dropping aesthetics of the VFR make every panel, peg, fit, finish, nut and bolt look like a seamless flow of genius and function. Even by the numbers, features, displays and overall perfect integration of componentry, one would be hard pressed to invoke any improvement on this work of art.

All that said, there's a deal-breaker for me: Fly-By-Wire. I for one do not want this in the back of my mind every time I saddle up a 145-horsepow-er machine that decides it no longer wants to be just Dr. Jekyll and turns into Mr. Hyde.

Guess I'll hang on to my safe Magna a little longer. Mike Furnari

Morgantown, West Virginia

Throttle-by-wire? Ain't this the same system my Toyota uses? Tim ROSS Algonquin, Illinois

No worries. Tim. Jloormats are not an option on the VFR.

Freedom is free!

Just who the hell do you think you are? With most of the nation encased in ice, you found the gall to publish a road tale featuring underpowered, overaged relics from the past! Who in their right mind (read: fuel injected, shaft drive, GPS) would give a flying flip reading about carburetors (what's that?) and breakdowns in Nowhereville, USA?

Me, that's who. And I'd guess about a million other would-be 555 vagabonds out here in our frozen cycle world. I hope you're satisfied that you've allowed this Becky Ohlsen chick to open up a whole messy can of worms. The only viable solution is to get her Baja-bound story in print, pronto!

Mark Henderson Roanoke, Virginia

What a great time I had reading "The 555 to Freedom." Riding an old underpowered motorcycle on a long adventure with your friends, never knowing if and when you will make it to your destination, has to be the best experience. Thanks for allowing this 53-year-old man to live vicariously through them.

David DeSaley Cecil, Pennsylvania

"The 555 to Freedom" was pretty good. Enough with the sportbike comparisons and the zillion-dollar one-off

I can't believe everybody hated Shinya Kimura's bikes! It didn't

occur to me to write to you about the article; I thought, "Just another fantastic piece," and spent my time gazing longingly at the Silver Wasp. I look to CW to cover lots of different aspects of motorcycling, including quirky art bikes. Please remember to throw in a Kimura bike on occasion in the future!

Mary Hicklin Lakeside, California

Maybe some flames, iron crosses and skulls or carbon fiber and titanium would do it for all the Shinya haters? As for me, thumbs up all around for Kimura and Burns. Glad to see Burns street racers. How many readers do you think buy the mag for those?

George Penick Tallahassee, Florida

I noticed that my letter about simplified motorcycle travel was conspicuously absent from your Ilotshots section of reader submissions in the April issue. Christopher Blake

Asheville, North Carolina

Don't dis Shinya

Thank goodness for people like Shinya Kimura ("What's it all about, Shinya?" February) and Roland Sands. If not for people like them and the designers that chase them, all the interesting new bikes would fit in a KTM brochure. Oh, wait, they do.

Peter Spinale St. Paul, Minnesota

I can't believe everybody hated Shinya Kimura's bikes! It didn't is now officially on staff. (Have to admit, the picture accompanying the announcement made me think about "There's Something About Mary." Pass the hair gel, dude!) Bob Holway

St. Louis, Missouri

Burns seldom leaves the house with his gun loaded, but the coif is all-natural...

Motus smoker

"Meet the Motus" was a bit of a head scratcher for me, quite unlike the Kevin Cameron we know and love. His usual clear, unbiased technical review style seemed clouded in jingoism. As goofy as the Brammo seems, I think it has a better chance of long-term success than a "sport" tourer with a 1.6-liter, V-Four with two-valve heads, pushrods and 140 hp. A bloody Toyota Corolla has similar engine performance (132 hp @ 6000 rpm; 128 ft.-lb. @ 4400 rpm).

Norm Girndt Toronto, Ontario, Canada

A Toyota Comlla weighs 2723 pounds with all fluids except blood. Norm. So if the Moms weighs 800 pounds, Kevin calculates it will be more than three times as fast. Back to your hockey game...

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Not so electrified

I just finished the fine article on the Brammo Enertia. Props to Matthew Miles for showing us how, for the same price as a Ducat i Monster 696 or an Aprilia Shiver 750, we can have less performance and range than a Ninja 250! Who wouldn't want that!?

Denny Joe Simpson Gilbert, Arizona

The Brammo is no Grand Slammo, but it is a good start. Until then (except for the zealots who must have one), I recommend a Vespa, Burgman, Kymco or other modern, efficient, low-carbon-footprint scooter. Gary Brush

Houston, Texas

believe he was a "plank holder" of the Bay Meadows Mile in the mid-1950s, later known as the San Jose Mile. The

Go Gunter!

Being an Ascot fan in the '60s, I had fun reliving the Friday night motorcycle races there and the cast of characters, Al Gunter being just one of them ("Slidin' Al Gunter," Race Watch, April).

In the caption for the picture on page 86 of Gunter, Keen and Maely, you forgot to mention Dennis "Blackie" Bruce, a regular fixture there on Friday nights and always a front runner and a main-event winner from time to time. He and Chuck Basney, who was killed at Gardena about 1955, should be nominated for the AM A Hall of Fame.

Thanks, Kevin Cameron, for a great article and thank you all for a superb magazine! Dennis W. Schoessaw Roseville, California

Just a short note of thanks regarding Kevin Cameron's article about Al Gunter. I have wondered for years where he disappeared to and now I know. No rider was better at racing the BSA Gold Star than Al; in the early 1950s, he challenged the likes of Joe Leonard (98) and Dick Dorresteyn (76) at Belmont Speedway and West Sacramento Raceway. I

last AMA race I saw him in was at Ascot before I shipped overseas in the early 1960s. Thanks for the great memories.

Ed Coffer San Diego, California

I must take exception to Mr. Saegaert's comment in the April issue about calling the H-D XLCR a "polished turd." I own two of those and, believe me, there is nothing polished about them!

Len Savastio Oak Creek, Wisconsin




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