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Special Feature - MCUSA's Best of 2005
By MCUSA Staff

Best Print Pub: Motorcyclist
While there are other magazines we enjoy more (Racer X, Roadracer X, Transworld MX), Motorcyclist deserves kudos for its 2005 research into helmet safety. Its industry-shaking two-part series boldly claimed that, in most crashes, an inexpensive DOT-approved lid was more effective at reducing head injuries than a stiffer Snell-endorsed product that costs several times as much. As a result, some major name brands pulled their advertising. Intrepid reporting such as this has been lacking from the major glossies, so we're happy to finally see one of them not afraid to upset the apple cart.

Best Product Innovation: Slipper Clutches
Once seen only in the rarefied world of top-level roadracing, slipper clutches can now be found in a plethora of race-replica streetbikes. Technically termed a "back-torque-limiting" clutch, a slipper-type clutch allows the clutch plates to slip slightly under compression braking. So instead of getting unsettling rear-wheel hop during a poorly timed downshift, a slipper clutch lets the rear tire slowly catch up to the engine speed, resulting in greater stability entering turns. While not often usable on the street, a slipper clutch is the cat's pajamas on a racetrack. How valuable, you may ask? Yamaha's American Superstock racers said their R1's lack of such a clutch put them at a performance disadvantage against the Kawasakis and Suzukis. We said it back in 2004, but it's worth mentioning again: One day all sportbikes will have some form of this technological advance.

Best Crash: Kenny's Ice Harvest
Although MCUSA's prez Don Becklin gets the award for most destructive crash, having to be air-lifted after snapping six ribs during the Best In The Desert Vegas-to-Reno off-road race, Kenny's over-the-bars crash in the snow during our 450 Enduro comparo provided the greatest giggle factor, being caught on still and video cameras. Another Kenny krash later in the test was less amusing, as he suffered a concussion and separated his shoulder. See what we do for you?

Best Motorcycle Film/Video: "Dust To Glory"
Too often, motorcycle-related movies are inane and juvenile (see "Supercross: The Movie" for an example), but D2G vividly captures the grit and drama of running Baja's epic desert races. Manufactured heroes and contrived plots were deemed unnecessary, as the race itself is already larger-than-life. This one's a must-see.

Best Motorcycle TV Program: "The Motocross Files"
Naturally, Speed is our favorite place to go for motorcycle programming, and most of us tune in regularly for MotoGP and Superbike racing. But that's because of its intrinsic content and not for a finished product that is especially exceptional. Last year's winner, "2 Wheel Tuesday," was reduced in length to 30 minutes, so we're giving the 2005 nod to "The Motocross Files." A recent addition Speed's programming lineup, this half-hour look back at the heroes and legends that built the sport of motocross up to its current spectacle is revealing, informative and enthralling. Each show highlights a dirt-racing legend with vintage footage and candid interviews. The series is enlightening, educational and well-produced, and motorcycle fans should not miss an episode.

Most Fun: Baja 1000 Project
When reflecting back upon 2005, it's clear we spent a lot of it smiling. Whether it was Duke thrashing his Project NSR50 around SoCal go-kart tracks, the Oregon crew desert racing the Vegas-to-Reno event, or our whole gang congregating at Laguna Seca for the first-ever MotoGP race in America, the only people that had more fun in '05 are rock stars and supermodels. However, we've never pulled off anything so epic as our recent excursion to Baja.

The Baja 1000 Project was way more than merely a trip to Mexico to compete in the most grueling version in the four-decade history of the Baja 1000. It was more than just an opportunity to prove that MCUSA is not just a bunch of ninnies playing around instead of working. It was the culmination of a half a year's worth of leg work, hundreds of hours of phone calls and e-mails, and more verbal arrangements than you can possibly imagine. Most of us will never play a single down in the Superbowl, and you and I can't go out assemble a race car in a couple months and go race NASCAR at Daytona. But we did get the opportunity to race in the most prestigious and nasty off-road event on the Northern Hemisphere on almost the same bike that took first and second place, alongside some of the greatest riders in the history of the event. We even beat a few. Baja was more damn fun than we can sum up in words.

Source: Motorcycle-USA
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