Harley Closes One Of Its Main Factories; What Does It Mean?
We’ve all seen the news. Harley-Davidson, the iconic American motorcycle manufacturer, has announced plans to close its Kansas City, Missouri, plant next summer and move operations to its York, Pennsylvania, plant. The Harley-haters are having tailgate parties and lots of folks are wringing their hands and quoting numbers and statistics over what could be spun into a story about a failing business. But is it really? What is really going on at MoCo headquarters?
Continue reading for my take on the plant closing and what it means.
2018 KYMCO Xciting 400i
The Kwang Yang Motor Company doggedly pursues its share of the rather limited American scooter market with its new-for-2018 XCiting 400i ABS that replaced the 500 from 2017. Sporty looks and cornering performance are the hallmarks of the XCiting family — possibly from whence the rather uninspired name springs — and the factory continues that legacy with this newest model. A 42-degree lean angle and 35-horsepower mill point to great potential for shenaniganery, or at the very least, a non-boring commute. Sleek and slim, the new 400i most definitely departs from the dated “classic” scooter design, and is a thoroughly modern ride.
Continue reading for my review of the KYMCO XCiting 400i.
My Top Five Bike Picks For Women Who Don’t Want A Cruiser
Is being a woman and wanting to ride a motorcycle a big deal nowadays? It isn’t as much a ’big deal’ now as it was a few decades ago. Our culture is more open to folks of the female gender doing anything and everything we want to do, but there is still a certain barrier when it comes to riding a motorcycle. Why? Because traditionally, bikes were designed with men in mind, at least 5’ 8” tall and with enough upper body strength to wrestle the weight and pick one up if it ended up on its side. Women were generally relegated to cruisers because we are typically shorter than men and cruisers have the low seat heights. That is changing as more manufacturers recognize that there is a whole customer base out here with money to spend. So what shall we spend our money on if we don’t want a plain ol’ cruiser?
Continue reading for my top 5 motorcycle picks that aren’t cruisers.
Ducati Aims To Bring Front and Rear Radar To The Market
Ducati is ticking off the boxes in a list of “first in safety” when it comes to technology. They’re the first motorcycle manufacturer in the world to have a vehicle interact with the jacket-integrated D|air system, and they’re the first to equip a classic model with the ground-breaking ABS Cornering system. So where do they go from here in their bid to introduce new safety systems and technologies? How about front and rear radar? How about front and rear radar that is already slated for 2020 release on one of its models?
Continue reading for more on Ducati’s safety innovations.
2014 - 2018 KYMCO Like 200i
Retro designs that hail back to the ’60s and ’70s are all the rage right now, and the Kwang Yang Motor Company out of Taiwan is trying to capitalize on that phenomenon with the Like 200i. KYMCO brings retro design and contemporary performance together on this ride with a 163 cc power plant and disc brakes under a body that rocks an appealing, dated look.
Continue reading for my review of the KYMCO Like 200i.
2014 - 2017 KYMCO Compagno 110i
The Kwang Yang Motor Company brings classic, Italian scooter style and modern performance together on the retro-flavored Compagno. This Taiwan-made ride sports a 112 cc mill that cranks out just shy of 10 ponies, and boasts electronic fuel injection with a quad-valve head.
Continue reading for my review of the KYMCO Compagno 110i.
2016 - 2018 Ducati Diavel
The Diavel is Ducati’s second venture into the cruiser market — the Indiana being the first — but I’m not sure the designers have the same idea of what a cruiser is as the American motorcycling public thinks about a cruiser. Powered by a 1198 cc engine packing 152 horsepower and 91 pound-feet of torque, the Diavel is more of a power-cruiser-sportbike and might appeal to riders from either market.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Diavel.
2017 - 2019 Honda Grom
Introduced in 2014, the Grom from Honda is a compact bike with sportbike styling, two-up capabilities if you don’t mind having to Fred-Flintstone the take-off, has amazing fuel economy, and offers a little something more for folks who might consider a scooter in this size-range. Marketed in other countries as the MSX125, the Motrac M3, and the Skyteam M3, the Grom is a spunky little — “little” being the operative word here — motorcycle, good for folks new to two wheels or for anyone else who wants a fun ride. It’s not fast, but that’s not the point.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Grom.
2016 - 2018 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
Launched in 2010, the Super Ténéré and its stablemate, the Super Ténéré ES return for 2018 with all the adventure goodness that gave the Ténéré its name. Named after the Ténéré desert region in the Sahara, the Super Ténéré and Super Ténéré ES from Yamaha give you on-road and off-road confidence wherever your journey takes you. The compact 1,199 cc parallel-twin engine coupled with the wide-ratio six-speed transmission carries you over hill and dale and back to the pavement with aplomb. The narrow chassis and low center of gravity make the Super Ténéré easy to handle as well as maneuverable and nimble on twisty roads.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha Super Ténéré and Super Ténéré ES.
2015 - 2018 SYM Fiddle III 200i
Equipped with a new 169 cc fuel injected engine, the Fiddle III 200i from SYM is rated for 89 mpg, making it attractive as a commuter or an around-town errand runner. New bodywork gives the Fiddle a retro look and new seating provides more comfort for on-the-road travel. As one of SYM’s mid-range scooters, you get modern performance with an accessible price tag.
Continue reading for my review of the SYM Fiddle III 200i.
2018 Benelli Zafferano 250EFI
SSR Motorsports brings Benelli’s Zafferano 250EFI to the U.S. market as an alternative to the big-name, high-dollar marques. A metro-commuter visage greets the eye with sweepy, modern looks and a healthy dose of sporty sass. A 20-pony plant pushes the Zafferano, so the sporty looks are not just for show. All-around disc brakes and a CVT gearbox round out the modernized features.
Continue reading for my look at the Benelli Zafferano 250EFI.
Technology abounds with a plethora of alphabet-soup acronyms that boil down to a lot of electronic controls that bridle the scary power of the F4 RR from MV Agusta. (You may not be scared, but someone who loves you will be terrified.) Among them are eight-level traction control, electronically-assisted shift and ABS along with ride-by-wire and four engine maps that control throttle sensitivity, torque, braking, the rev limiter and engine response so you can dial in the controls specifically to suit you and your riding conditions.
Continue reading for my review of the MV Agusta F4 RR.
2013 - 2018 KYMCO K-PIPE 125
The mini-streetbike market heats up with new competition to go head-to-head with the long-standing K-Pipe 125 from Kwang Yang Motor Co, Ltd — better known to us as the Taiwanese manufacturer, KYMCO — introduced not long ago to the U.S. market. Intended to be lightweight and fuel-efficient, the K-Pipe gives the pocket bike class — long dominated by Honda with the Grom and now with the Z125 PRO from Kawasaki — a viable, less expensive option. Entry level? Yes. Commuter? Sure. Fun? Definitely.
Continue reading for my review of the KYMCO K-Pipe 125.
2017 - 2018 SSR Motorsports Razkull 125
“Pit bike,” “monkey bike,” and even “ankle-biter” has been used to describe the Razkull 125 from SSR Motorsports. I suppose arguments could be made for and against any and all of these monikers, but no matter what you call it, the Razkull is a fun little ride that is inexpensive, and easy to own and operate. Compact and powered by a 125 cc thumper, the Razkull demonstrates why going fast on a slow bike is a whole lot more fun than going slow on a fast bike.
Continue reading for my review of the SSR Motorsports Razkull 125.
2016 - 2018 SSR Motorsports’ Doohan iTank
SSR Motorsports has dipped a toe in the EV market with a handful of products, but the iTank scooter by Doohan takes the cake. Marketed under various names in different markets, the iTank rocks a Delta-trike configuration with a moderate range and plug-and-play, easy to use drivetrain. A leaning front end provides extra traction without sacrificing the sensation of flight, and the factory offers bags and a top case to convert it to a nice little campus commuter.
Continue reading to see our look at the Doohan iTank at SSR Motorsports.
2014 - 2018 Piaggio Fly 50 / Fly 150
On the campus, in the gated community or in an urban area, it’s hard to go wrong with a small-displacement scooter for running errands or generally getting around. Piaggio is happy to accommodate you with its Fly duo. On 12-inch wheels with all the usual storage a scooter can boast, the Fly 50 and Fly 150 carry a petite 1.8-ish gallon fuel tank; but with 100+ mpg in fuel economy, that little tank takes you far.
Continue reading for my review of the Piaggio Fly 50 and Fly 150.
2015 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom
Coming into 2018 with a new look, the 1200 Custom in Harley-Davidson’s Sportster line hits the streets with the tried and true 1200 Evolution® engine and agile chassis that’s secured a place for itself in the lineup for over half a century. Kinda the black sheep of the Sportster stable, the 1200 Custom lives up to its name with a look apart from the rest of its siblings with a beefier front end and more aggressive riding position to put a little more ’sport’ into the ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki Boulevard M90
Around the turn of the century, the cruiser style had evolved into fat tires, lots of chrome, wide bodies and pegs out front to give you that almost slouched, relaxed riding posture. Since then, cruiser style has cycled back to "old school." They’ve lost some weight and slimmed down, creating a low and lean version of a sport look. If your vision of what a cruiser should be is stuck in the fat tires and wide body — think of it as "old new-school" — Suzuki has the Boulevard M90 that’s right up your alley.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Boulevard M90.
2016 - 2018 Indian Roadmaster
The base-model luxury tourer in Indian Motorcycle’s lineup, the Roadmaster comes equipped with the awesome Thunder Stroke® 111 engine for stellar performance and gobs of torque early on in the powerband. With standard features such as a premium 200W stereo, cruise control, ABS, power windshield, keyless ignition, remote locking storage, tire pressure monitoring, Pathfinder LED lights, heated seats and grips, and that gorgeous desert tan leather, the Roadmaster puts the "LT" in “luxury tourer.”
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Roadmaster.
2015 - 2018 Indian Chieftain / Chieftain Dark Horse
The Chieftain has all the classic elements that identify it as part of the Indian Motorcycle heritage, including classic badging and iconic War Bonnet mounted on the front fender, much like the figurehead on a wooden sailing ship leading the way into the wind. Carried forward into 2018, the Chieftain — powered by the triple-cam, V-twin Thunderstroke 111 engine — wears the same valenced fenders and vintage styling, leaving no question that it has a prominent place in the lineup of this historic brand.
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Chieftain and Chieftain Dark Horse.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S.
Introduced as the bad-ass brother of Suzuki’s M109R, the Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S. carries forward into 2018 with its 109 cubic inch (1,783 cc) engine. Yeah, B.O.S.S. stands for ’Blacked Out Special Suzuki’, but I’m gonna call it ’Blacked Out Super Sweet’. It might not be the fastest cruiser on the market, but it is definitely a power-cruiser and it really wants to go when you let out the clutch.
Continue reading for my review on the Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S.
2016 - 2018 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic / 900 Classic LT / 900 Custom
Kawasaki created its Vulcan line back in 1984 in an attempt to capture a slice of the American cruiser market, and it is still alive and kicking in 2018. The family includes a trio of models from the boulevard bruiser “900 Classic” to the heritage-style “900 Classic LT” and the home-cooked “900 Custom.” A 900 cc, V-twin mill and 600-plus pound curb weight put the range firmly in the mid-size cruiser category and give it the mass one expects to find an American cruiser.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic, Vulcan 900 Classic LT and Vulcan 900 Custom.
2018 Wolf Jet Classic II
Wolf Brand Scooters brings its Jet Classic II forward into the 2018 model year as the big brother to the 50 cc Wolf Jet Classic. It sports the same retro-tastic look as its smaller-displacement sibling, but packs away a 150 cc plant that drives it to speeds up to 56 mph. Unique looks and generous chrome touches give the Jet II an attitude that you just don’t see very often on rides of the scooter persuasion, but one that I find appealing all the same. Let’s take a look at this little import and see how it stacks up against the competition.
See my review of the Wolf Jet Classic II.
2015 - 2018 Indian Chief Classic
The base model cruiser in the Indian Motorcycle lineup, the Chief Classic carries the vintage badging and iconic lighted War Bonnet that is still the hallmark of the brand even through the fits, starts and financial turmoil of various owners during the post-WWII years, right up to the turn of the century. Since Polaris acquired it in 2011, Indian has become its top-selling motorcycle brand. Carried forward for 2018 and powered by the Thunder Stroke® 111 engine, the Chief Classic has the styling and valenced fenders that identify it as classic Indian with rider amenities and features such as ABS, cruise control, keyless starting, electronic fuel injection and a manually-adjustable single-shock swingarm.
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Chief Classic.
2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra
Harley-Davidson’s three-wheeled Tri Glide Ultra moved into the 2017 model year with a handful of improvements and a brand-spanking new engine. The factory powers it with its powerful Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine introduced last year that cranks out over 100 pounds o’ grunt to place it well into the power-cruiser category, even though H-D markets it as a tour bike. Exhaust components rerouting addressed heat problems from prior model-years, and the King of Paint added a couple of new, two-tone paint schemes to the palette for 2017, as well as a 115th Anniversary model for 2018. Harley’s target market for this beast mainly consists of persons who are unwilling or unable to manage one of their admittedly top-heavy, two-wheeled tourers for one reason or another, and I’ve always considered it to be a very laudable thing to try and make sure that anyone who wants bugs in their teeth can have it.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra.
2016 - 2018 SYM Wolf Classic 150
We usually think of the Sanyang Motor Co., Ltd — better known to us as SYM — as a scooter company, so when looking at their little Wolf Classic 150, I expected ...well, I expected less than what I saw. Unlike the Wolf 125 and 250 released in Asian markets that had a definite sport-bike look, the Wolf Classic has a UJM styling reminiscent of the imports back in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Does it look like the old Hondas? It should. SYM made the Honda 125s for a few decades back so they are well acquainted with the style.
Continue reading for my review of the SYM Wolf Classic 150.
2017 - 2018 Lance Havana Classic
When it comes to building a retro-looking scooter, it’s hard to beat the classic Italian design, a fact not lost on Lance evidenced by its Havana Classic scooter family. The range covers the 50 cc, 125 cc, and the new-in-2017 200 cc brackets, which is a huge footprint in terms of price ranges and possible uses. There’s everything here from a campus runabout to a highway-capable commuter if you have the nerves for it, and all of it bears that timeless design that seems to have reached perfection in, oh, about 1959. I always love rides with this look and this little import sports plenty of that retro vibe that seems to appeal to the hipster crowd especially.
Continue reading for my review of the Lance Havana Classic 50, 125, and 200i.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki Boulevard C90T
Cruisers and touring bikes go hand in hand for that relaxed, comfortable ride you get. The Boulevard C90T from Suzuki — absent for 2014, but back in 2015 - is the touring version of the C90 that was dropped after the 2013 model year, though the C90 B.O.S.S. is still going strong in 2018. Leather-look — not real leather, just leather textured — hard saddlebags and an ample windscreen give the C90T that "I’m ready for the road" look along with a 1,462 cc engine and five-speed transmixer. Is it ready for the road? I wanted to see if, in fact, the "T" in C90T really does mean "touring."
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Boulevard C90T.
2015 - 2018 Moto Guzzi Audace / Audace Carbon
“Audace” translates to audacious, daring or innovative— a fitting moniker for Moto Guzzi’s heavyweight cruiser Audace, and its carbon-fiber sibling, the Audace Carbon unveiled at the 2016 INTERMOT. These rides sport the typical, transverse-mount V-twin that gives MG products away at a glance, with 80-plus cubic-inches and almost 90 pound-feet of fun... er, I mean torque, on tap. Though it technically falls just shy of full-on, power-cruiser status, it’s close enough for government work and will likely appeal to the same sort of rider. So how does it stacks up in the U.S. market?
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi Audace and Audace Carbon.
2018 KYMCO X-Town 300i
The Kwang Yang Motor Company Ltd., in its quest to grab a slice of the relatively small U.S. scooter market, shook up its mid-maxi range for the 2018 model year with the addition of the all-new X-Town 300i ABS. It also dropped the Downtown and People from the 300i lineup, so the X-Town serves as KYMCO’s second-largest scooter in the U.S. market, second only to its Xciting 400i maxi-scoot. Built as an urban commuter, the X-Town sports a generous windshield and wide front fairing with enough underseat storage for a full-face bucket plus some bits and bobs, so you could definitely use it as a grocery-getter, or campus-commuter. The factory claims a total of 23.2 horsepower, so it has the chops to get out of its own way even at highway/interstate speeds. Is that enough to overcome our national apathy toward the genre? It’s hard to say for sure just yet, but we’re certainly free to speculate based on what we see so far, yeah?
Continue reading for my review of the KYMCO X-Town 300i.
2016 - 2018 Lance PCH
Lance Powersports expanded its imported range back in 2013 with the addition of the PCH series scooters. Model year 2016 saw the addition of the 200i engine that brought the PCH into the 21st Century with fuel-injection induction control, better power and improved mileage. Offering the 50 cc and 125 cc models as part of the PCH stable, Lance gives the scooter market a Euro-sport styled, budget-minded ride for urban or suburban transportation.
Continue reading for my review of the Lance PCH 50, 125, and 200i.
2017 - 2018 Piaggio Liberty
Piaggio updated its Liberty scooter range with the all-new, fuel injected “i-Get” engine that boasts improved emission control up to Euro 4 standards on the 150 models and Euro 3 on the 50s with CARB and EPA approval across the board. The change brings increased power output and better mileage to the Liberty stable. A new frame and rider’s triangle improves comfort and feel while the ABS works to improve safety. The list does go on. Needless to say, these are significant updates for the nearly 20 year old model family, and the factory has even more on tap to keep the Liberty at the top of the small-displacement food chain.
Continue reading for my review of the Piaggio Liberty.
2015 - 2018 Honda CB500X
Honda’s CB500X pushes the adventure-bike envelope well into entry-level territory with a mid-displacement engine and low-impact price tag meant to bring more riders into the genre. Let’s face it; the one-liter Africa Twin and larger VFR1200X are a lot of bike for new riders who are not — I repeat: NOT — liable to ever see a trek down the Ivory Coast. Could it be used as a trainer for the larger bikes? Certainly, but its main lot in life will be as an urban commuter with the capacity to handle some poorly-maintained roads and the occasional pothole. If it sounds like I’m downplaying the bike a bit, I would submit that the urban adventure ride is about all most of us manage in a lifetime, thus making it good enough for its designed purpose.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CB500X.
2016 - 2018 KYMCO Agility
The Kwang Yang Motor Company first brought its “Agility” scooter lineup to the domestic market back in 2007, and here it is a decade later and still going strong. It comes with a choice between a 49 cc and a 125 cc powerplant, but both models share the same sporty looks and Spartan appointments. Meant to serve as an entry-level ride, the Agility siblings keep things simple, clean and with nothing of the superfluous to clutter up the looks or drive up the price. I wanted to see what KYMCO is doing to try and keep these rides relevant.
Continue reading for my review of the KYMCO Agility.
2017 - 2018 BMW C 650 Sport / C 650 GT
Nobody blurs the line between scooter and ’proper’ motorcycle better than the engineers at BMW, and the C 650 range is no exception. The 2018 C 650 “Sport” and “GT” models are a direct carryover from the ’16 model year, but that’s not surprising given how difficult it would be to improve upon the bundle of features already built in. I mean, it’s a scooter with traction control and ABS on board, plus a relatively large and powerful engine with a sophisticated engine management system, so this is ’not’ your grandfather’s scooter. I have a great appreciation for German engineering, so I’m looking to see what all Beemer has tucked away on its not-so-little maxi-scooter.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW C 650 GT and C 650 Sport.
2017 - 2018 BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS
BMW’s G 310 R roadster got a brother as it moved into the 2017 model year with the addition of the adventuresome G 310 GS. The “GS” builds on the success of the “R” with a few subtle changes that shift the design toward the adventure bike end of the spectrum. Sharing the same 313 cc engine, the G 310 pair head into the low-displacement market alongside some hot competition.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS.
2016 - 2018 Lance Cabo 50/125/150
Built by SYM and rebranded for Lance, the Cabo scooter line is all about aggressive sport styling and fun. Even though it’s built like an off-road ride, Lance insists the Cabo is not intended to be ridden off-road. Really? What about the action stills showing the Cabo in the dirt? Even in the "official Lance Cabo video", the rider does a little flat-tracking off-road. So is it a street-only scooter or does the promotional material lie? I really like the Cabo scooters and I was a little disheartened by the repeated statements that it isn’t intended for off-road. Let’s take a look at this off-road scooter that you’re not supposed to take off road.
Continue reading for my review of the Lance Cabo.
2015 - 2018 Honda Ruckus
Do you want to ride a scooter for the ease of operation and the extraordinary fuel economy but don’t want to look like a sissy? While not all 50 cc scooters are sissified, a lot of them are. They come in pretty pastel colors and cute designs, something that just isn’t your style. How do I know? Because you’re reading this. Enter the Ruckus (NPS50 ) from Honda, known in other markets as the Zoomer. Bare bones — naked bike, anyone? — and gnarly, the Ruckus looks like it’s right out of Mad Max. No one is going to say, “Awww, isn’t that cute?” when you ride by on a Ruckus. Granted, you won’t be going very fast, so on-lookers will get a good, long look.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Ruckus.
2018 Suzuki Burgman 400
The Burgman range has served as Suzuki’s modern-metro luxury scooter lineup for a football minute now. The Burgman stable used to have a “400” within the range, but the factory pulled it out of the North American market for the ’17 model year. Back in the lineup for 2018, the Burgman 400 emerges as an all-new, third-generation model available for the NA market. A new powerplant delivers over 30 horsepower, and it comes tucked away under a revised body.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Burgman 400.
2016 - 2018 Honda Metropolitan
Honda revamped its classic-looking Metropolitan – known in other markets as the Giorno – for the 2016 model year. Early models enjoyed a bit of popularity starting back in 2002, but that took a hit with the changes made for the ’13 models up through the ’15s. The factory proves that it listens to customer feedback and acts on it with a fresh set of changes for the 2016 and 2017 models, tweaks that directly address the concerns coming from the customers. On the top of the list was a new, liquid-cooled engine that ramped up overall performance, as well as relocating the fuel tank for more storage under the seat. What we have now is a scooter that aims to regain the popularity it once enjoyed with a classic look and a revamped engine.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Metropolitan/Giorno.
2015 - 2018 Ural cT
The Ural cT, a stripped down version of its Ural brothers, is a base model on which you can build your own sidecar bike. Rolling with a 749 cc engine and not a lot else, it is designed to have easier handling for new sidecar enthusiasts. The cT comes without accessories such as a spare tire, passenger grab handles, rear fender rack, tool bag, air pump, rubber trunk floor mat or knee grips. Keep it clean or customize it with a whole slew of accessories from your Ural dealer.
Continue reading my review of the Ural cT
2016 - 2018 Kawasaki Vulcan S / S Cafe / S SE
As the lightest bike in the Kawasaki cruiser lineup, the Vulcan S appeals to a variety of riders with adjustable footpegs and options for seat height and handlebar position. New from 2016, Kawasaki introduced the Vulcan S Café and the Vulcan S SE to round out its cruiser stable. Carrying the same low and lean profile of the bigger Vulcan cruisers, the S and its siblings combine Ninja-derived power and handling with the comfort and personalization capabilities of Kawasaki’s Ergo-Fit components
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Vulcan S, Vulcan S Café and Vulcan S SE.
2015 - 2018 Ural M70
The look of the sidecar bike is nostalgic and romantic (or heroic, depending on which image they bring to your mind); but either way, it’s the classic look of a bygone time. For the M70, it’s a classic look, yes, but that’s where old-school ends and modern engineering begins. Ural equips the M70 with fuel-injected 749 cc engine, and while the numbers don’t look terribly impressive on paper, the ride is lively and quite up to an adventure as much as any adventure bike out there.
Continue reading to see my review of the Ural M70.
2016 - 2018 Yamaha Zuma 50F / Zuma 50FX
Yamaha offers two styles in the 50 cc class of scooters for 2018, both under the Zuma banner. The Zuma 50F has tough, off-road styling and the 50FX is the sporty-looking sibling. Each with its own style, the Zuma scooters offer a stepped two-up seat, locking storage and a four-stroke, fuel-injected 49 cc engine for awesome fuel economy.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha Zuma 50F and 50FX.
2018 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic
Harley-Davidson’s lineup has recently undergone a major shakeup with lots of what you might call the ’low hanging fruit’ that fell by the wayside — like the entire Dyna family line, for example — but not the venerable Heritage Softail Classic. Oh no. It moves into the 2018 model year with a dark edge to its paint packages, and a choice of either the 107- or 114-inch Milwaukee-Eight engine that brings solid, 100 pound-feet-plus performance to the table no matter which you choose. Though the underpinnings are all radically different than the originals, the overall classic looks remain largely unchanged for the requisite historical tie-in. Harley has put a new emphasis on the Softail lineup with plenty of performance-driven custom designs for the fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there, but for someone looking for an old-school cruiser and tour bike, the Heritage is your Huckleberry.
Continue reading for my reviw of the harley-Davidson Heritage Classic.
2015 - 2018 Yamaha FJR1300
The biggest sport-tourer in Yamaha’s’s lineup just got better. In 2016, the FJR1300A and its stablemate the FJR1300ES saw some evolutionary changes that brought just enough tweaks to make it a smoother, more comfortable ride. Probably the biggest change in that update was in the transmission, giving it a smoother ride, as well as a sixth gear, and the addition of a slipper clutch to reduce hand fatigue at the clutch lever. Both of these tourers run a 1,298cc liquid-cooled four-banger and come on a sportbike frame for a bit more thrill than just a tourbike.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha FJR1300.
2016 - 2018 Lance Soho 50
Built by SYM and rebranded for Lance, the Soho 50 scooter answers the call for both economy and mobility in personal urban transportation. An estimated 117 mpg and the ease with which you can park this gem makes it a go-to ride for running errands in cities, towns, campuses and gated communities when walking won’t do and transportation options are limited. Not classic and not modern-aggressive, the Soho 50 falls into a more retro-contemporary style; a typical 50 cc scooter without looking like a sportbike-wannabe like you might find in the Zuma from Yamaha or the Super 8 from KYMCO.
Continue reading for my review of the Lance Soho 50.
2016 - 2018 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
Playing to the sport crowd in the mid 1970s meant death for the Moto Guzzi Eldorado 850. The iconic tourer was dumped for the sportier 850T, but Moto Guzzi was already entrenched in the American cruiser market. In fact, if you have one of those 1972-to-1974 Eldorado 850s, you have a gold mine. Thanks to Piaggio’s willingness to let its brands stay true to themselves, the 2018 Eldorado carries the sexy lines and the bold elegance of the Eldorado of yesteryear. Powered by a 1,380 cc engine that delivers plenty of torque at low-low rpm, the Eldorado is as much classic as it is classy.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi Eldorado.
2016 - 2018 Yamaha Vino Classic
Very much a carry over from previous years, the 2018 Vino Classic scooter from Yamaha is one of the many two-wheelers out there that marry vintage looks with modern technology. Equipped with fuel injection since 2013, the 49 cc Vino Classic delivers awesome fuel economy at 127 mpg, has smooth throttle response and lots of storage for running around town or zipping across the campus. With the convenience of easy parking and mad economical operation, the Vino Classic is worth a look. Stylish, yes, but it also appeals to my pragmatic side.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha Vino Classic.
2016 - 2018 Yamaha Zuma 125
Introduced in 2011, Yamaha’s Zuma 125 provides a viable alternative to the old-fashioned, ’60s-style scooter prevalent from the Italian manufacturers, and those who would try to garner a slice of that market. A modern shape and revised chassis carries the four-stroke fuel-injected engine in a spiffy little scooter that — with upwards of 100+ mpg — makes a capable commuter or errand-runner.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha Zuma 125
2016 - 2018 Yamaha XSR900
New-from-2016 in Yamaha’s sport heritage stable, we have the XSR900. Influenced by the classic “XS” series from the ’70s and ’80s, the XSR shows its roots with retro styling and stepped seating combined with just enough modern tech that you know you’re in the 21st century. At first glance, it looks like a nice little bike: compact and sporty. On second glance...and third...it looks like a whole lot of bike for an affordable price. I wasn’t expecting dual 298 mm front disks, beefy inverted forks and respectable power-to-weight ratio for less than 10 grand.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha XSR900.
2015 - 2017 Yamaha WR250F
First introduced in 2001, the WR250F has seen some changes through the years up to and including 2014 — most notably the alloy frame introduced in 2007, improved suspension and some ergonomic tweaks — but for the most part, it had gradually fallen from being a hot ticket to same-old, same-old mediocrity. That changed in 2015. With updates in technology, including the revolutionary rearward slanted engine, an added sixth gear and wide-ratio transmission, twin-chamber fork and fuel injection, the WR250F is a hot ticket once again in the Enduro world, where Yamaha hopes to revive interest in the 250 cc market that has been waning since they essentially quit updating the WR250F in 2007.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha WR250F.
2016 - 2018 Yamaha SR400
Yamaha’s motto for the SR400 is “everything old is new again," and nothing speaks more to that than a kickstarter and tubed tires. Re-introduced to the American market after a long absence, the SR400 still shows the remnants of the old British bike style it was originally meant to emulate in the 1970s. The SR400 is a meld of old and new bringing fuel injection and electronic ignition into the retro styling that’s essentially unchanged since 1978. Easily customized into a café racer, bobber, or street tracker, the SR 400 is a blank canvas for you to make it yours. Excellent as a commuter or an entry-level bike, the SR400 is worth a look.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha SR 400.
2015 - 2018 Ural Gear-Up
You know that sad feeling you get when the first chill arrives in the air and it’s time to start thinking about putting your bike into storage for the winter months? What if you didn’t have to do that? The folks at Ural don’t want you to quit riding just because winter arrives. Back in the day, you needed a one-horse open sleigh to go dashing through the snow. Today, you need a Gear-Up — a street legal, four-season adventure bike from Ural. The off-road beast of its brother, the Patrol, the Gear-Up comes standard with on-demand two-wheel drive, a high-intensity spotlight, spare tire, luggage rack and sidecar bumper to carry you through the snow, over rough terrain or anywhere your adventures take you once the pavement ends.
Continue reading for my review of the Ural Gear-Up.
What American Motorcycle Brand Is Up For Grabs?
If you’ve ever wanted to have a motorcycle manufacturing business with a long-established iconic name, now’s your chance. The Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycles brand and its intellectual property including, but not limited to, all federally registered trademarks, web domains, and existing frame and engine designs could be yours for the right price; that price to be determined at the 27th annual Mecum Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction to be held on January 27, 2018. Interested? Probably not. I’m sure they want a lot more money than I have, but it certainly is interest’ing’ when you consider that one of the big names in the motorcycle industry could be resurrected and put on a tank badge once again.
Continue reading for more on Excelsior-Henderson.
Pristine 1953 BSA A10 ’Golden Flash’ Becomes Museum Piece
The National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire, England, received a donation worthy of the awe of any biker among us. After careful restoration, a 1953 BSA A10 "Golden Flash" was donated by its owner to the National Motor Museum to be a part of "The Motorcycle Story" exhibition. The exhibition looks at the history of motorcycling, examining and celebrating people’s quest for individuality, freedom and the desire to go fast. It is the perfect venue to showcase the A10 and its post-war design that helped to shape the motorcycle industry in the mid-20th century.
Continue reading for more on the BSA A10 "Golden Flash."
2018 Vespa Sei Giorni 300
While it’s fairly safe to say that all Vespa products enjoy a pedigree with an established line of succession and deep historical roots, the limited edition “Sei Giorni” takes it a step further with a very narrow and specific historical reference as its design inspiration. Vespa calls it “the most powerful and technologically-advanced” unit it has ever produced with 278 cc mill that delivers 20-plus ponies and boasts over 16 pounds o’ grunt. Uncommon styling touches include a curiously-low headlight and unusual little windscreen to go with a not-oft-seen body style that touches on the historical and takes even mundane components up a notch so that they too become special.
Continue reading for my review of the Vespa Sei Giorni 300.
2015 - 2018 Kawasaki Versys 650 / Versys 650 LT / Versys 1000 LT
Introduced to the U.S. market in 2008, the Versys stable doesn’t really fit into any one slot. Sharing design elements with adventure tourers, sportbikes, and standard bikes, the Versys makes its own class of versatile commuter/weekender/tourer/grocery-getter bikes. Unless you want an all-out go-fast bike, the Versys lineup has a little something for everyone. A water-cooled 649 cc parallel twin drives the 650 and 650 LT and the 1000 LT gets a 1043 cc engine, also water-cooled, though engine size isn’t the only difference. The ’LT’ models are meant to take you on the long haul, but even between these two, one is more ’tourer’ than the other.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Versys 650, Versys 650 LT and Versys 1000 LT.
2015 - 2018 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero / Vulcan 1700 Voyager
The Vulcan 1700 series from Kawasaki launched in 2009 replacing the the existing 1600 series and carried forward the Vulcan family that started in 1984. The Vaquero and the Voyager — a bagger and full dresser, respectively — both come with ABS and, as the name suggests, the 1700 cc engine in the V-twin configuration with liquid cooling and a six-speed transmission. Ready for a cruise around town or hitting the open road, the Vulcan 1700s are well fitted and all-around solid.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero and Vulcan 1700 Voyager.
2015 - 2018 Kawasaki KLR 650
Equipped with a 651 cc thumper and what looks like a beefy front end, the KLR 650 from Kawasaki is a capable middleweight dual-purpose ride. Big enough to be an adventure bike, but not really intended as such, the KLR 650 has an ample-size fuel tank, frame, rims and suspension that show true off-road roots, yet has enough straight-line stability to handle the pavement. If not-quite-adventure, but more than dirtbike is what you need, the KLR 650 might be your Huckleberry.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki KLR 650.
2016 - 2018 Yamaha Bolt R-Spec / Bolt C-Spec
The Bolt from Yamaha’s Star cruiser line is a cool little bobber-style bike with its high tank, short wheelbase and solo seat. It’s a nice around town bike — lightweight and agile — and naked with real-steel sheet metal, it just begs you to customize it. What could be better? Enter the Bolt’s siblings, the dressier Bolt R-Spec and the café racer Bolt C-Spec. The Spec duo are every bit as snappy and fun to ride as the Bolt, but with some upgrades, both hardware and cosmetic. Powered by the air-cooled 942 cc V-twin engine, the Specs are in the same size slot as the Bolt: not too small that you’ll outgrow it right away and not so big to be overwhelming for new riders. At just a few bills more than the Bolt, they’re worth a look.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha Bolt R-Spec and Bolt C-Spec.
2016 - 2018 Yamaha Bolt
As Yamaha’s "Made in the U.S." cruiser line, Star shows its stuff with the 2018 lineup. The Bolt continues with that classic "bobber" style — high tank and short wheelbase — folks here expect to see in old-school styling. Powered by an air-cooled V-twin engine, but with a plenty of technology on board, the Bolt is a good in-between size — not too small that you’ll outgrow it soon and not so big that it is intimidating for new riders. The bobber-style solo seat, easy cruisin’ rider triangle and naked-bike look make the Bolt a choice little bar hopper or commuter ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha Bolt.
2016 - 2017 Suzuki Burgman
Largely carry-overs from previous years, the Burgmans in Suzuki’s dwindling 2017 lineup — called Skywave in Japan — consists of the 200 and the 650 Executive. Missing is the Burgman 125 available outside the U.S. market and the Burgman 400 not brought forward for 2017. Styled for classy good looks and a certain amount of sophistication, the Burgmans present a scooter that demands to be taken seriously in an otherwise ’wild spirit’ or retro-style scooter market.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Burgman.
2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special
Harley-Davidson made some fairly major changes for MY18, but the Road King stands firm unchanged as a link to the past with a heritage that arguably started in 1958 with the Duo-Glide. The base-model carries the 107 cubic-inch Milwaukee-Eight into its sophomore year within the tourbike range. Engine output places it well within the power-tourer bracket with a whopping 111 pound-feet of torque on tap to push its 836-pound curb weight — may as well call it half-a-ton with a rider plus whatever is in your bags and on the pillion. The factory also kept its blackout Road King Special in the lineup for its connection to the custom culture of yesteryear and popularity with riders who’re looking for an alternative to the usual chrome-wagon look.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Road King and Road King Special.
2015 - 2018 Yamaha WR250R
Essentially a carry-over from 2008 when the WR250R added a street-legal stablemate to the Yamaha WR lineup, the 2018 model carries-on carrying-on dual-sport fun. It’s not really a street-legal version of the WR250F, though the model designation tends to make it seem so. “WR” indicates it’s a wide-ratio gear box, and beyond that, the sky’s the limit. The wide-ratio gives an acceptable balance of highway capability and off-road responsiveness, desirable in the dual-sport market.
Continue reading for more information on the Yamaha WR250R.
Harley Says ’BuhBye’ to Labor Unions
The United Steelworkers Union and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have ended a collaboration agreement with Harley-Davidson that’s been in place for 22 years. Is this a bad thing? Probably not. It’s likely that Harley doesn’t want Milwaukee to end up like Detroit and they want to stay a viable entity in this new motorcycle market that needs to cater to the 18-to-34-year-old buyers or die a miserable death. How does this affect the future of the company and their employees?
Continue reading for more on the union pull-out.
2017 Triumph Tiger Explorer XCx / XCa
If the phrase “British Explorers” brings to mind fond memories of Safari hats and 24-7 solar coverage of the Empire, then I’ve another visual for you to plug into the equation; Triumph’s Tiger Explorer XC family. Based on the entry-level XR range, the XC siblings build up to the XCx that adds cornering traction control and ABS to the 139 ponies that reside in the engine cases, and the XCa that expands the yummy-goodness even more with a tire-pressure monitor and two additional rider modes. Is there more? You betcha. Trumpet really went to great lengths to bring top-notch touring capabilities and an adventure-some spirit together.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Tiger Explorer XCx and XCa.
2016 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Street 500 / Street 750
If you remember back in the 1990s, Harley-Davidson offered the "49-95" Sportster. It was a no-frills entry-level bike priced affordably at $4,995 — hence the clever in-house nickname — and it let a lot of folks stick a toe in the water, as it were, into the motorcycle scene. The Street 500 and Street 750 are the new generation of that concept. The cost is little more than $4,995, though in today’s market, $6,899 is still considered affordably priced. The Streets have that same no-frills, no-nonsense approach to an entry-level bar-hopping café racer. Powered by a Revolution V-twin engine, the bikes are premium Harley. Just because the price is low doesn’t mean they skimped on quality. The Street siblings come with a steel teardrop tank and fenders covered in the deep, rich color and flawless finish that long ago made Harley-Davidson the benchmark for premium paint on a motorcycle. The cherry on top is the chrome tank badge — not a decal, as you might expect in a budget-minded bike, but a three-dimensional tank medallion — as Harley’s pledge to you that you are riding a premium quality machine.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street 500 and Street 750.
2014 - 2017 KYMCO People GT 300i
KYMCO’s People GT 300i brings modern scootering capabilities to the market with EFI fuel delivery and 16-inch hoops all around. The mid-size engine churns out just under 30 horsepower and turns in a top speed somewhere around 85 mph depending on conditions, cargo and such. That’s plenty to qualify it to tackle what one might call “regular traffic” with confidence, and the 16-inch hoops help it handle like a larger machine. The factory calls it a GT, but I want to see if "GT" means Grand Touring or Gettn’-around Town.
Continue reading for my review of the KYMCO People GT 300i.
Suzuki’s "Burgman Fuel Cell" Launched In Real-World Trials
A trial to test Suzuki’s hydrogen-powered Burgman scooters launched on September 4, 2017 with the Metropolitan Police’s Fleet Services in London. On trial are seven Suzuki Burgman scooters equipped with the “Burgman Fuel Cell.” The cell is an integral part of a zero-emission hydrogen fueled scooter that is part of a green movement to reduce the city’s dependence on fossil fuels. The folks at the Met aim to have 550 green vehicles by 2020 and these scooters will go toward testing the viability of the hydrogen cell. The Burgman Fuel Cell was developed as a joint effort between Suzuki and Intelligent Energy Ltd, a provider of clean power technologies that aims to meet the market demand for more environmentally-friendly products.
Continue reading for more on the Burgman Fuel Cell.
2016 - 2018 Indian Motorcycle Scout / Scout Sixty
Reintroduced for 2015 after over a decade-long hiatus, the Scout from Indian Motorcycles has a long and illustrious heritage dating back to 1920. Bigger than a café racer, but smaller than what I consider a cruiser, the Scout fits into an in-between class that I call a bar-hopper and Indian calls "mid-size." Fair enough. Spec-wise, the 2018 Scout is essentially a carry-over from last year, which isn’t a bad thing. New in 2016 was the Scout Sixty. Rolling on the same chassis as the Scout, the Sixty has a smaller engine for "a confidence-inspiring ride," according to the folks at Indian. The Scout and the Scout Sixty have cut-down fenders — unlike most of the Indian lineup with valenced fenders — and lacks the iconic fender-mounted war bonnet. Still, they’re Indian in all the right places. The fat 130-series front tire gives the Scout a great bit dose of American-cruiser styling.
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Scout and Scout Sixty.
Where’s My New Star Venture?
Yamaha announced today that the much hyped and much anticipated new touring model, the 2018 Star Venture, is experiencing production delays and customers shouldn’t expect to see their new bikes until close to Christmas, hopefully by New Years. A modification to the production process at the factory in Japan is pushing the delivery date from August — which we already know they didn’t hit — to the end of December. Yamaha had been stringing us along for weeks when they finally announced the Star Venture in June 2017, claiming it would redefine the luxury touring motorcycle market.
Continue reading for more on the Yamaha release.
2015 - 2018 Honda CB300F
New from 2015 and going strong in 2018, the CB300F from Honda is all about naked sportbike styling at an entry-level price and demeanor. A little bit lighter and with a more upright riding position than its kissing cousin, the CBR300R, the CB300F carries essentially the same engine as the CBR250R but with a longer stroke to add a few more cubes to the mix. Beginner’s bike? Check. Commuter bike? Check. Sportbike trainer? I don’t know. Let’s check it out.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CB300F.
2018 Suzuki GSX-R125
Suzuki doubles down in the worldwide race to the bottom with its newly-redesigned GSX-R125. This pocket-rocket carries the undeniable genetic markers and the typical, race-tastic visage associated with the family. Engine output falls just shy of 15 horsepower (11 kW) and displacement is just under the 125 cc mark as well, so British riders can use it on the road with just a CBT certificate. This is no accident, since indoctrination is best when started young, and only good things can come from instilling some brand loyalty right at the entry level. Sure, there are plenty of 125 cc two-wheelers out there, but many are cheap Chinese imports and the rest are scooters, so there’s definitely room in the market for a trainer bike with the name power and reputation of the Suzuki GSX-R family. Personally, I rather like these small-displacement sportbikes. Their simplicity is refreshing, and what they lack in top-end, they make up with handling which is where the fun is, anyway.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-R125.
2015 - 2017 Yamaha V-Star 1300 Deluxe
Touted as the only casual (almost) full-dress touring bike in the mid-displacement class, the V-Star 1300 Deluxe from Yamaha’s Star cruiser stable hit the streets with a majority of its technology and style from the V-Star 1300 and V-Star 1300 Tourer. Equipped with a 1,304 cc engine, some nice little pieces of tech, and styling that clearly aims it at the American sector, the V-Star 1300 Deluxe is a strong contender in the mid-range bagger market.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha V-Star 1300 Deluxe.
2015 - 2018 Honda XR650L
Honda carries its venerable XR650L line into 2018, but to be honest, it’s almost completely unchanged from the original version unleashed on the world back in 1993. Before you scoff, I would point out that sharks haven’t changed in millions of years, having evolved long ago into creatures perfectly suited to their environments, and apparently, so it is with the XR650L. The Red Riders got it right out of the gate with this one, and popular support keeps the bike on Honda’s showroom floors even after nearly a quarter-century. I want to see what Honda has going on over there that gives this bike such longevity.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda XR650L.
2015 - 2018 Vespa Primavera
The Vespa Primavera got a facelift in 2015 and debuted as Vespa’s hot ticket for the 150 cc U.S. market and a modern yet retro entry in the 50 cc market. The three-valve 150 cc engine gets a lot better gas mileage than the previous incarnations, so using this snazzy-looking scooter as a commuter is even better now. Speaking in terms of the fit-and-finish of the Primavera, this is possibly the best scooter out of Vespa for a while now. It’s classy and classic, elegant and sophisticated; that’s something I don’t always get to say about a scooter. New badging harkens back to the original Primavera in the late 60s, so the whole look of the scooter is modern-old...or classic-new, however you want to look at it.
Continue reading for my review of the Vespa Primavera.
2016 - 2017 Genuine Scooters Buddy Kick
Chicago, Illinois-based Genuine Scooter Company added to its Buddy lineup back in 2016 with the fuel-injected Buddy Kick. The Kick brings a definite Euro flavor to the table with a clean and efficient, fuel-injected powerplant that cranks out almost two-horsepower more than the existing Buddy 125 and all-around disc brakes for increased stop to match the enriched go. While many of Genuine’s imports come from Kanpur, India-based manufacturer LML, this ride is actually manufactured by PGO Scooters under the Motive Power Industry banner in Taiwan. PGO serves as an Italian connection of sorts due to its decade-long affiliation with Piaggio from ’72 to ’82, and this relationship shows in overall look of the Kick. Looks are important, but so is what’s under the hood so let’s get started.
Continue reading for my review of the Genuine Scooters Buddy Kick.
2017 - 2018 Kawasaki Z125 PRO
The mini-streetbike market heats up with the new-from-2017 Z125 PRO and the new-for-2018 Z125 PRO SE, obviously meant as a direct competitor for the Honda Grom and KYMCO K-Pipe 125. “Cheap thrills” takes on a whole new meaning — or maybe just a revitalization of the old meaning — when it comes to the Z125 PRO from Kawasaki. Small and relatively fast for the thrills, and good fuel economy and a bargain-basement price for the cheap. Sure, as a fun bike, it has that hands down. It’s also a commuter if you have to navigate congested traffic because it’s small, lightweight and narrow so filtering through traffic is a breeze. As a first bike for someone new to two wheels, this is a completely approachable bike, not intimidating at all and without the electronics that frequently get used as a crutch. On this bike, you learn how to ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Z125 PRO.
Do You Protect Yourself From Insurance Scammers?
According to FBI.gov, insurance fraud costs the average American family between $400 and $700 every year in the form of increased premiums. I’m sure there are bean-counters compiling statistics to back up those figures, but what does it really mean to folks living their lives everyday? As a woman in the U.K. found out, insurance scams are real and you can be targeted at any time just by going about your daily routine. Without the benefit of a dashcam, her life would have been directly impacted, not by a bean-counter and not by a statistic, but by a scammer with an accomplice who were out to relieve her wallet of some cash.
Continue reading for more on the scam and what it means to you.
2016 - 2018 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM
Pitting the fuel-injection fans against the carburetor fans, we score a point for the latter with the DR-Z400S and DR-Z400SM from Suzuki. Fuel injection hadn’t yet made an appearance in any of Suzuki’s 2017 dual-sport lineup, which was a good thing or a bad thing, depending on which side of the fence you’re on. For 2018, the DR-Z siblings haven’t yet been touched by the FI update. Sharing the same engine as the 500EXC from KTM, the DR-Zs come on a different chassis with progressive-link rear suspension. The “SM” — the SuperMoto of the family — and the “S” feature a six-liter air box with quick-release fasteners trouble-free access to the air filter and special low profile mirrors that rotate hoping to avoid damage, both are pluses when you’re playing in the dirt.
Continue reading for more information on the Suzuki DR-Z400S and DR-Z400SM.
BMW Recalls R1200 GS and R 1200 GS Adventure
Owners have been complaining about it for years. Finally the Powers-That-Be have issued a recall on the 2014 through 2017 R1200 GS and R1200 GS Adventure from BMW for a problem with the upper triple clamp, though several complaints lodged about the bike losing power — both underway and when idling — are still in the wind. First things first, let’s deal with the triple-clamp recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall on the GS and GS Adventure for a problem that causes the fork tube to separate from the fork cap. The first symptoms could be oil leaking from the top of the fork. As it continues to wear, the steering would feel sloppy and imprecise. If it gets to the point that the tube actually separates from the cap, you’re going down in no uncertain terms.
Continue reading for more on the BMW recall.
No waiting for Sturgis to get a look at these gems. Indian Motorcycle has revealed the 2018 lineup of its complete range including new-for-2018 the limited edition Roadmaster Elite to top off the touring stable and the Springfield Dark Horse to expand the blacked-out Dark Horse line. We already knew about the new Scout Bobber, but the Chief makes an appearance for 2018 as well as the Chieftain Classic, which replaces the Chieftain Elite from last year.
Continue reading for more on the Indian Motorcycle 2018 line up.
Zero Motorcycles Recall on S, SR, and DSP Models for Lighting Problem
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall on 2017 Zero S, SR, and DSP motorcycles with the ZF13.0 power pack and the S with the ZF6.5 pack. The turn signals could fail and the turn-signal flasher may not change its flash rate to alert the ride that something is wrong. Not as dramatic as brake failures or engine problems, but it is a safety-related problem that could cause a collision if other riders and drivers don’t have a clue that you’re turning. Let’s face it, it’s hard enough getting drivers to notice you when all the lighting on your bike is functioning properly; if you don’t believe me, go watch some crash videos on YouTube.
Continue reading for more on the Zero recall.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki DR650S
With a glance at the DR650S from Suzuki and you might just dismiss it as an enduro bike. That would be doing it an injustice. It’s really a basic adventure bike that will get you off the pavement and into the woods with perhaps more gumption than a real adventure bike. It’s not the most attractive bike in the stable, though it’s small and scrappy with its 644 cc engine and so much fun to ride. Priced affordably, it isn’t a tragic to drop it as it would be otherwise and it is lightweight enough that you can pick it up and keep going.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki DR650S.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki DR200S
Suzuki brings dual-sport capabilities to the entry-level sector with its DR200S. A heavy emphasis on off-road performance defines the overall look of the thing, and a 199 cc engine drives it over hill and dale as well as down the road with all the appropriate lighting for safety and legalities. The end result seems to be a functional, if plain, bike that provides a stable ride and moderate power with a humble overall bearing. A carry-over for the last few years, it hasn’t changed much, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki DR200S.
Yamaha Recalls 2017 YZFR3 For VIN SNAFU
Of all the reasons for a manufacturer to issue a recall, this is one of the most benign, though the potential is there for future safety concerns. Some 2017 Yamaha YZFR3 motorcycles destined for the U.S. market were given a Canadian Motor Vehicle Certification Label and as a result, fail to comply with proper certification requirements. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on these bikes doesn’t match the VIN on the Vehicle Certification Label. This may seem, at first glance, to be no big deal, but the concern is that without proper labeling, owners might miss future recalls that could include safety-related concerns.
Continue reading for more information on Yamaha’s recall.
Tattoo Ink Made From A Motorcycle
In a world of stereotypes and clichés, tattoos and motorcycles go together like peanut butter and jelly. Motorcycle people love their bikes and a goodly number of motorcycle people have tattoos. If you could have ink made from your motorcycle and then use it to create a tattoo on your body, would you do it? Carey Hart, one of the most recognized names in all of freestyle Motocross, said yes and Indian Motorcycle was his path make it happen. With the world’s first tattoo ink created using the carbon from Hart’s modified Indian Scout, the motorcycle legend had his newborn son’s name tattooed on his neck. Passion for motorcycles and passion for family has never been so well declared as this.
Continue reading for more on the Indian tattoo ink.
Indian’s Wrecking Crew to Compete in X Games
This week, Indian’s Wrecking Crew — the team that dominated Flat Track Racing this season in its first appearance in 63 years — is making its debut at the X Games. A legend in his own right, veteran road racer Larry Pegram will join Bryan Smith, Jared Mees and Brad Baker, to pilot the Indian Scout FTR750 at this premier action sports event in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 13. Looking to take the podium from Harley-Davidson after last season’s sweep, the guys from Indian are ready to race.
Continue reading for more on the Wrecking Crew and the X Games.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall on 700+ MY16-17 KTM 690 Duke motorcycles. While KTM hasn’t announced a fix yet, the problem looks like a possible fuel leak around the filler cap. While filling up, we always take care not to dribble the gas on the tank and possibly mar the finish, but it’s a little upsetting that the filler cap may leak and create the conditions that could cause a fire.
Continue reading for more on the KTM recall.
Taiwanese motorcycle giant KYMCO (Kwang Yang Motor Co) adds to its MY18 motorcycle lineup with the pocket-size Spade 150. This bumps the total number of motorcycle products available in the U.S. up to five, and brings a decidedly ’70s flavor to the lineup. The funky little Spade packs a 12-horsepower thumper into a sporty and agile little frame with two-up capability for some cheap thrills and fuel-efficient transportation. I like to cover KYMCO’s products; the factory has really made some inroads into defeating the stigma attached to the “Made in China” label. Don’t believe it? I would make mention of the fact that Kawasaki and BMW both have partnerships with KYMCO, and if that isn’t an endorsement, I swear I don’t know what is.
Continue reading for my review of the KYMCO Spade 150.
First out in the 1970s, the VanVan from Suzuki has that charming retro look that screams UJM. Recently reintroduced here in the U.S., the VanVan gets a 200 cc engine, an upgrade from the old 125 cc model that is still available in other markets. In typical scrambler fashion, the VanVan 200 is the dirt-road/gravel-road/loose-dirt ride that qualifies it as a “sandbike” because of the fat rear tire that keeps you going. Better than an ATV in some situations, the Vanvan is lightweight and capable, perfect for a jaunt around the ranch, a quick run up the trapline or an excursion down the beach — anywhere the ground is loose and four wheels just won’t do.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Vanvan 200.
Genuine Scooters brings its updated “Stella” scooter to the U.S. market with a number of improvements over the previous generation. Gone is the old two-cycle engine in favor of a modern four-stroke 125 cc engine that brings more power to the table while meeting more stringent emissions standards. The old twist-grip manual shifter even gets relegated to the history books, as well, with the switch to an automatic. That classic ’70s charm remains, though, and so the Stella looks pretty much the same as ever, even if it has finally decided to join the 21st century. The Stella is built by the Lohia Machinery Limited factory in Kanpur, India. LML made its Italian connection with Piaggio back in ’86, and that experience clearly shows in the overall design. In fact, fans of the Vespa brand will recognize the Stella as being very similar to the A1, so even though the scoot is assembled in India, the design itself is truly from the Old Country.
Continue reading for my review of the Genuine Scooters Stella 125.
AMA’s Horizon Award Renamed To Honor Nicky Hayden
The American Motorcyclist Association annually bestows its Horizon Award to amateur competitors for their performance in the professional ranks. This year, the Executive Committee of the AMA Board of Directors unanimously voted to rename the AMA Horizon Award the Nicky Hayden AMA Horizon Award in honor of Nicky Hayden who was the inaugural AMA Horizon Award winner in 1997. Nicky won the AMA Supersport Championship, the AMA Superbike Championship and the FIM MotoGP World Championship in past years and was in training for the FIM Superbike World Championship when he was struck by a car and subsequently died from his injuries.
Continue reading for more on the AMA Horizon Award and Nicky Hayden.
Suzuki launched the TU250 in 1994 to replace the GN250. The bike was lightweight with a standard riding posture meant to emulate the UJM — Universal Japanese Motorcycle — popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The second generation of the TU250 — dubbed the TU250X — was introduced in the U.S. market in 2009, though it did take a brief hiatus in 2010 and 2014. Available for 2018, the TU250X its with classic styling and spunky 250 cc engine makes a spiffy little commuter and economical transportation around town.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki TU250X.
KTM Delivers One-Two Punch At Pikes Peak International Hillclimb
KTM and Kawasaki were represented in the top four finishes in the Heavyweight Motorcycle division at the 95th running of the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado Spring, Colorado, but it was KTM’s [1290 Super Duke R->mot5233 that delivered the one-two punch by taking first and second place, as well as fourth place. Chris Fillmore, an in-house racer for KTM, made a record-setting climb of 9.49.265 to beat the previous record held by Carlin Dunne set in 2013. All-in-all, it was an excellent day of racing for KTM and the 2017 Super Duke R.
Continue reading for more on the race.
2015 - 2017 SYM Mio 50
The Sanyang Motor Company expands its U.S. footprint with the Mio 50 scooter line. A compact learner’s ride, the Mio brings urban mobility and enviable gas mileage to the table along with an attractive modern interpretation of the classic Italian scooter design elements. It comes restricted to 30 mph, so you won’t be hitting the highway, but if you need to zip across campus or around scooter-friendly urban areas, the Mio will fit the bill well enough with an affordable price and economically-minded 50 cc engine.
Continue reading for my review of the SYM Mio.
Reflective Sidewall Tires - Safety Innovation or Gimmick?
Shinko, one of the big names in aftermarket motorcycle tires, has released a new tire based on its 777 H.D. (Heavy Duty) line that it touts as the next evolution in motorcycle tires. The 777 H.D. Reflector has a reflective material embedded in the sidewall that lights up when light hits it. It’s a blackwall by day and a ’glow ring’ sidewall at night when headlights hit it. To ride a motorcycle responsibly, safety is always a front-burner topic and being seen is a big part of that. Is this new Reflector tire a safety innovation or a gimmick?
Continue reading for more on safety and the new Shinko tire.
Wrecking Crew Swept the Podium Once More Before The Streak Ends
Indian’s Wrecking Crew extended its swath of destruction to the OKC Mile held at Reminton Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, before that winning streak came to an end at the Lima Half-Mile. For the fourth time this season, the three-man team of Jared Mees, Bryan Smith, and Brad Baker managed to fill all three podium spots for a clean sweep in OKC, and that weekend marked their eighth undefeated race. Current results are less than stellar, but we knew it had to end sometimes. Performance at the Lima Half-Mile, while the streak is broken, still saw a second-place finish.
Continue reading for more on the Wrecking Crew results.
Piaggio Recall on 2016-2017 Moto Guzzi V7 III and V9 Models
A slew of Moto Guzzi motorcycles are under the gun for a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall. The front brake hose is routed in a way that allows it to rub against an engine component, possibly creating a loss of containment of the brake fluid. If you can’t get your bike started, that’s a problem. If you’re underway and you can’t stop it, that’s an emergency that no one wants to face. The models involved — some 1,100-plus of them — include the 2016 and 2017 MG V7 III Racer 750, V7 III Stone 750, V7 III Special 750, as well as the V9 Bobber and V9 Roamer.
Continue reading for more on the Piaggio recall.