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Daytona defies the rain

Published: 04 March 2003

Despite the continuing threat of rain Daytona Bike week has moved into top gear. Well first gear actually because that’s as fast as you can go in most of the town with 600,000 bikers clogging up the streets.

The largest bike event in the world got off to a wet start but the bikes and babes came anyway. The temperature hovers around 20-degrees for most of the day so come rain or shine there is always large amounts of gleaming bikes and naked flesh parading around the streets.

Check out next week’s issue of MCN, out March 12, for a full report on all the action from the sunshine state. We’ll bring you all the best bikes, a look at the stunt riders that make the StarBoyz look tame, and delve into what makes the Daytona International Speedway the most dangerous track in the world.

Aside from the usual glut of highly-modified Harleys there are two new bikes being shown at Daytona that could easily be mistaken for a one-man labour of love. Both Honda and Kawasaki have looked at the success of the Harley-Davidson V-Rod and come out with their own retro/modern-styled cruisers.

Kawasaki USA commissioned top U.S. customiser Cobra to create the Strata cruiser as a prototype to gauge the reaction to possible future Kawasaki cruisers.

The bike is essentially a stripped-down and restyled VN1600, but features loads of one off parts, such as the electronically-controlled thumb shifter and a tiny rev-counter the size of an oil pressure gauge.

Unfortunately the bike is a non-working model and Kawasaki USA said they had no plans to put it in to production.

The Honda NRX1800 Valkyrie Rune on the other hand is going to be a full production motorcycle.

The bike will be built in limited numbers, although it’s not been decided how many yet. It will use the 1520cc flat-six motor taken from the F6C and put out an estimated 100bhp with 100ft lb of torque at the rear wheel.

The Rune is still a prototype but is so far advanced that the bike should be available in the States this Spring, and the UK by 2004.

Although the majority of bikes at Daytona are Harleys, the younger American riders are starting to take to highly tuned sports bikes rather than lumbering cruisers. Increasing numbers of modded R1s and Hayabusas can be seen, but the change is not as drastic as it might be. When you’re in Daytona, sports bike or not, you still have to crawl down Main Street with a buxom beauty on the back.

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