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My wife and I are big people, 260 and 244 pounds. We were thinking of getting a Yamaha FZ1 for riding double. Will this much weight be OK on that bike?
By the numbers, no. Yamaha lists a maximum load for the FZ1 of 420 pounds, 80 pounds short of the combined weight of you and your wife. Unfortunately, there are not many sportbikes with that kind of load-carrying capacity. The FJR1300 and Super Ténéré both have a maximum load of approximately 460 pounds, for example, and even the BMW K1600GT — with 488 pounds of load-carrying capacity — is a bit shy. If you are determined to find a standard bike to ride two-up regularly, you may want to consider the Suzuki GSX1250FA. It’s heavier than the FZ1 to begin with, but has a stout 480-pound maximum load. Still, I think it would be safer — and more comfortable — for you to be on something like a sport-touring or adventure-touring bike. While they are still a bit under the load capacity you’d need, either would be a much better starting point than the FZ1. Shop around and check the owner’s manuals for the maximum load listing. Whatever bike you purchase, you will most likely need to upgrade the suspension with stiffer springs. Use sport-touring or touring tires (that have a stronger carcass than sport tires) and set the pressure to what the manufacturer recommends for maximum load.
Those Bronze-Colored Engine Covers
The Ducati Superquadro engine...
The Ducati Superquadro engine has its primary drive, clutch, sump and cam covers all made from cast magnesium.
The technical specs for the Ducati Panigale engine, listed in the January 2012 edition of SR, state that the casing for the clutch, sump, primary drive, and cam covers are magnesium and these items are colored bronze. This got me thinking — what is the history of Ducati (and other motorcycle manufacturers) coloring magnesium engine parts bronze? Uncolored magnesium is silver. I’m curious how this came about? I have a 2010 Streetfighter and in my opinion with its exposed engine, its bronze cam and clutch covers looked odd on a black and white bike (I actually painted the clutch cover black because of this).
Magnesium, like most other metals, needs to be protected from the elements to prevent corrosion. Left untreated, the normally bright magnesium will corrode and fade to a dull gray over time. Common methods for corrosion protection include chromate conversion coating or anodizing, which can also be covered with paint or a sealer for further protection. The bronze or light tan finish on many engine covers is typical of an anodizing treatment that is left unpainted to avoid adding unnecessary weight.