Although we caught some flak in Letters for naming the six-cylinder Honda Gold Wing the Best Touring Bike of 1988, the motorcycle on our cover, the Cycle World Project GSX-R endurance racer, proved that we hadn’t retired to the Barcalounger just yet. Even better, we raced the Suzuki—essentially a 1988 GSX-R750 stuffed with a hopped-up 1100 engine—in the WERA 24-hour West event at Willow Springs. Long story short: Our team (Paul Dean, David Edwards, Greg Blackwell, Doug Toland, and David Luthje) led for the first six hours, but a brake failure at turn one late in the event ended our race, sending Luthje on a wild off-course excursion at triple digits and fracturing his wrist in the process. “Well, we may not have won,” Luthje remarked, “but they damn sure knew that Team Cycle World was here.”
In our “Preview ’89” section, three noteworthy Hondas made appearances. The first, the PC800 Pacific Coast, was highly unconventional with bodywork that enclosed every bit of the frame and V-twin engine while also opening clamshell fashion in back to reveal a large, U-shaped storage compartment. The other two Hondas, both somewhat collectible, were the V-twin-powered XL600V Transalp (Honda’s adventure bike before adventure bikes became cool) and the GB500, a traditional ride that looked oh-so-British with its 499cc air-cooled single, clubman bars, racing-style solo seat, and wire-spoke wheels.
Rounding out the issue was a great Race Watch feature on the Peoria TT by Steve Anderson, complemented beautifully by pre-digital photos from Rich Chenet. The winner that year? Chris Carr, of course.