2018 Vespa GTS Super 300 / GTS Super 300 Sport
Piaggio expands its “Vespino” footprint yet again with the GTS Super 300 and Supersport variant. While it can be said of every Vespa that the design roots generally run deep, these two rides make references to some very specific models from history in order to establish its pedigree. Classic Italian looks are always nice, but under the hood the Super packs away 21st century tech to make it a thoroughly modern machine. Safety features were a front-burner issue for Vespa, so the factory blessed the family with a double layer of stability insurance that makes the line suitable as an entry-level scooter that is capable of performing within the urban riding environment. Ready to hunt for some Easter Eggs?
Continue reading for my review of the Vespa GTS Super 300 and GTS Super 300 Sport.
2018 Kawasaki W250
Kawasaki’s “W” family has been on the world stage since 1966, and the legacy continues with the new W250. This cute little “leisure bike” packs classic charm into a small package with dated references and finishes that invoke plenty of nostalgia. Power comes from a 250 cc plant with over 15 ponies on tap and loads of fun for an entry-level rider, or one seeking to move up from small-displacement scooters. As simple as it is attractive, the W250 certainly brings something special to the market, so today I’m going to take a look at Kawi’s little retro-ride to see what makes it tick.
Continue reading for my look at the Kawasaki W250.
2017 - 2018 BMW K 1600 GT
BMW’s K 1600 GT moved into its seventh year of production in 2017 with a fresh rebuild that the Bayerische carries right on into MY2018. A six-cylinder engine puts in the power-tourer category in both the torque and horsepower columns for solid performance even in spite of its not-inconsiderable heft. Built for touring, it strikes a balance between storage and aesthetics for a sort of “Euro-bagger” look that compares well with Honda’s new bagger-tastic Goldwing since both leave off the top case for their fully dressed, top-shelf models. This Bavarian bruiser brings a dark-and-swanky attitude to the table with the performance to back it up and all sorts of yummygoodness under the hood, so let’s dig in and see what else Beemer has for us here.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW K 1600 GT.
2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt
Triumph Motorcycles has long been a frontrunner in the race to the top within the adventure-bike genre, and the all-new Tiger 1200 XRt is a perfect example of why that is. This is Triumph’s top-shelf ADV model with all the available bells and whistles built right in. That’s on top of an already-extensive rebuild that the factory says brought in over 100 improvements over the outgoing model, so this ride is totally up-to-date with cutting-edge technology of both the comfort and safety variety. Join me while I check out Triumph’s flagship model for the road-centric ADV market and see how it stacks up against some other likely candidates.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Tiger 1200 XRt.
2018 Vespa GTS 300 / GTS 300 Touring
Vespa carries its GTS 300 scooter into 2018, and it adds a new variant dubbed the “Touring” for the rider who is looking for some stock cargo capacity and touring capabilities. As usual, Vespa maintains the classic looks and features long associated with the brand, but it has added some decidedly modern gadgetry to the mix that brings the machine right up to date. Traction control and anti-lock brakes add safety and value to help move this family up to make a bid for top-shelf status within its displacement. It will have some stiff competition from the Japanese sector, so today I want to dissect the GTS to see how it stacks up.
See my review of the Vespa GTS 300 and GTS 300 Touring.
2018 - 2019 BMW C 400 X
BMW Motorrad turned us on to its newest mid-size scooter, the C 400 X, at the 2017 EICMA with an amply-powered thumper that handles highway speeds and turns in a very respectable 0-60 mph time; not bad at all for a genre made up mainly of rides more appropriate for putting around campus or retirement communities.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW C 400 X.
2018 Piaggio MP3 500 HPE Business
Piaggio’s MP3 scooters were a game-changer when they hit the markets back in 2003, and Italy’s premier scooter maker has hit a new pinnacle of refinement with its MP3 Business HPE ABS ASR. That alphabet soup of features adds to the yummy-goodness already under the hood to make this new variant particularly suitable for the office/student commuter, even if they’ve no previous riding experience. New details abound. Of course, the obvious selling point is the two-up-front trike arrangement that grants the MP3 the stability of a trike with the fluidity and sensation of flight normally reserved for two-wheeled machines. Power, performance and safety; what’s not to love?
Continue reading for my review of the Piaggio MP 500 HPE Business.
2018 KYMCO AK550
KYMCO takes the next step in its quest for a slice of the maxi-scooter market with the new AK550. This newest addition takes the company into some hotly contested territory with its business-class looks and motorcycle-like engine displacement that is sure to reach a more demanding customer base. Comfort and weather protection were front-burner topics for the designers, as were safety considerations, evidenced by the riding modes feature and ABS. What else does KYMCO’s top-shelf commuter/tourer have in store? Let’s find out.
Continue reading for my look at the KYMCO AK550.
2017 - 2018 BMW R 1200 GS
BMW gave its R 1200 GS a series of tweaks over the past couple of years to deliver a more polished product than ever before. A 1,170 cc boxer delivers well over 100 horsepower, and arguably more-importantly, almost triple-digit pounds o’ grunt that’ll be of utmost concern for riders that opt for the off-road-tastic “Rallye” package and its riding style. The overall looks were updated ahead of MY2017 with a few tweaks to the body panels, and the electronic safety fandanglery such as the traction control, Hill Start control, and more are now bundled into new packages to spread some of the love toward the bottom-tier buyers, relatively speaking of course. Beemer throws on plenty of yummy-goodness here, so even though the R 1200 GS is a platform for more advanced/expensive models, it’s a capable machine in its own right. Don’t believe it? Stay tuned and I’ll prove it.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW R 1200 GS.
2018 Piaggio MP3 350
Piaggio steps up its backwards-leaning-trike game ahead of MY2018 with brushed up looks and a brand new 350 cc engine. The larger engine replaces the 300 and promises greater performance to go with its urbanite looks and unique front-suspension system that delivers a safe and stable ride without sacrificing the feeling of flight that makes leaning into the corners so much fun. Electronic safety features bolster the inherent stability of the Delta-trike design to make the MP3 as safe as possible, and Piaggio seems to have accomplished that with a trifecta of features that work together to provide overlapping safety nets. Think I’m overstating it? I don’t think that is possible with this ride.
Continue reading for my look at the Piaggio MP3 350.
2018 KTM 790 Duke
KTM launches a fresh assault, this time on the mid-displacement, naked-bike market with the 2018 790 Duke, first of its name. The Austrian bike builders have nicknamed it “The Scalpel” for its precise control over power delivery and lean angle with a race-tastic chassis and new, 100-plus horsepower mill. A robust electronics suite brings an alphabet soup of goodies to the table, and ABS, traction control and variable power-delivery ride modes are just a few of the features on the menu. Even with the dearth of body panels, it’s easy to see the Duke DNA in the details that leave no doubts about its heritage. A bold move in such a competitive market, so let’s see what else KTM throws in to sweeten the deal and be competitive in a crowded field.
Continue reading for my review of the KTM 790 Duke.
2018 Piaggio Typhoon 50
Piaggio rebuilt its fun-and-young Typhoon 50 ahead of the 2018 model year, and the changes are sufficient to give it an “all-new” tag. New body details modify the looks slightly, but what remains is still recognizable as a Typhoon with plenty of key elements that keep it close to the family tree. Not only is the engine new, it’s a super-clean two-stroke that meets Euro 4 standards due to a number of improvements in induction and emissions control. The factory plans on bringing this little ride to the U.S. for the entry-level/teenager market, so let’s take a look at what the Italian scooter maker has in store for us.
Continue reading for my look at the Piaggio Typhoon 50.
2019 Honda Super Cub C125
After much speculation and anticipation, Honda has finally announced that the all-new Super Cub C125 ABS will be hitting U.S. dealerships in January 2019. This iconic ride brings the same 124.9 cc powerplant that drives the popular Grom coupled with a semi-automatic, clutchless shifter and four-speed gearbox that delivers the same ease of operation that helped to make the original such a hit. A disc front brake and ABS help bring the classic design up to modern standards, but the looks are straight outta’ the ’50s for a genuinely dated vibe that is impossible to imitate. Entry-level pricing provides the icing for this charming little cake in order to endear itself to that critical market segment, but I’d argue that this ride is good for more than just as a trainer. Don’t believe me? Read on.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Super Cub C125.
2017 - 2018 BMW S 1000 R
The BMW S 1000 R was on the receiving end of a facelift ahead of the 2017 model year, and it carries that enhanced package right on into MY2018. BMW’s liter-sized naked roadster rolls with a new frame, increased engine output and Euro 4 emissions compliance. That comes on top of the already impressive electronics package that includes Beemer’s Automatic Stability Control, Ride Modes and a Race ABS feature. The new look is significantly leaner up front for better penetration and is lighter by four pounds overall, and that comes backed up by a five-pony power increase that makes the most of those improvements. Race fans will also appreciate the extensive optional equipment list, but for today I’m going to focus on the base model of this newest S 1000 R, so let’s dig in, shall we?
Continue reading for my review of the BMW S 1000 R.
2018 Honda Africa Twin
Honda gives its CRF1000L “Africa Twin” a complete overhaul for the 2018 model year, a rebuild so complete that the new version shares not a single part with the old, according to the factory. Engine improvements include both hardware and software that starts with a Throttle-by-Wire system that enables even more electronic wizardry under the hood, as it were. The improvements make their way into the gearboxes on both the manual tranny and the optional, auto-shifting DCT. Safety gets a buff as well with a handful of new features such as the Emergency Stop Signal feature that flashes the hazards during hard braking actions. There’s plenty more packed in there, so let’s go ahead and get into the details.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Africa Twin.
2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XR
Triumph Motorcycles revamped its large-displacement Tiger family ahead of MY2018 with a host of improvements that include a significant weight loss — both inside the cases and outside — for quicker spool-up and livelier throttle responses. The electronics were buffed as well with more rider-controlled options on top of the already top-shelf gadgetry. New cast wheels carry it all with a sporty new spoke arrangement and blackout treatment. Trumpet packs in even more yummygoodness, so let’s dig in, shall we?
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Tiger 1200 XR.
Why Is A Harley Called A Hog?
William Shakespeare wrote, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” for a little play called Romeo and Juliet, maybe you’ve heard of it, but I would submit that the nicknames earned by motorcycles and manufacturers have much more in the way of a meaningful meaning than the simple labels we use every day. We just can’t help but come up with nicknames, sometimes for the manufacturer, sometimes for the bikes, and sometimes it applies to both. I want to take a look at some of the names that stand out among the detritus of history and try to shed some light on their origins. Just think of it as a bit of a semantic scavenger hunt. Some are pretty obvious to those in the know; this is for everyone else.
Continue reading for my exploration of manufacturers’ nicknames.
2017 - 2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special
Moto Guzzi carries its “Special” into 2018 after the introduction last year of the V7 III family that brought in a new engine and all-new frame. This is the third generation of ’Guzzi’s venerable V7 line, and the Special sports DNA that goes all the way back to the V750 S3 of ’75 in a conspicuous display of its deep roots, but keeps things purely modern where it counts. A new V-twin delivers ample ponies with that distinctive rumble and transverse orientation you’d expect with a traction control feature to help you keep it under control while accelerating. ABS overwatch for safe braking makes the Special suitable for entry-level riders and fun for experienced ones. Today I’m going to dig into this classy little standard that hails from the era of my childhood, and I gotta’ say, I’ve been looking forward to this particular ’Guzzi, so let’s get started.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi V7 III Special.
2018 - 2019 Honda Monkey
Honda puts out a lot of fun products, it’s true, but few machines can match the level of whimsy one gets from the Honda Monkey. That’s right folks, the iconic “Monkey Bike” that served as a mini self-Uber in Japanese amusement parks back in the ’60s is back with a new look and powerplant for what the factory surely hopes is a new era of monkey madness. The 2019 version of this little pocket bike bears the genetic markers of the original without being a slave to it with a 9.25-horsepower modern powerplant, larger wheels (thank goodness) and disc brakes. Join me whilst I take a trip down memory lane and take a look at this pint-sized icon destined to hit showroom floors this year.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Monkey.
2016 - 2018 Honda Integra
Honda improves its Integra lineup yet again ahead of the 2018 model year. The Red Riders added two Special Edition paint schemes for this year, but it’s the Honda Selectable Torque Control that steals the show. Traction control is a rarity amongst scooters, but this isn’t your average scooter; in fact, it’s not even really a scooter in the traditional sense at all. A 745 cc, twin-cylinder engine delivers 40.3 kW — far beyond the vast majority of rides that identify as scooters — and Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission provides the same twist-and-go operation you’d expect from a scooter, but with some very important differences. Yeah, it’s an unusual combination of platform and features to say the least, so let’s dig in and see what all the Integra has going on over there.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Integra.
2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Milano
’Guzzi expands its almost-new V7 III footprint here in its sophomore year with a trio of new models that double the number of units in the range with the Milano as a sort of classic-custom tribute. The Milano bears some of the same seventies-tastic touches as the V7 III Special, but in a more understated way that clearly has no qualms about adopting modern tech, as evidenced by the cast rims instead of laced. Twin clocks and a faux tuck-and-roll saddle help the Milano visually hit the target era, but the ABS and traction control feature makes the bike perform like a modern ride. Of course, the 744 cc, 52-horsepower engine certainly helps on that front as well, and today I’m going to dig in and see what sets the Milano apart from its brethren.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi V7 III Milano.
2018 Ducati Multistrada 1260
Ducati’s globetrotting Multistrada 1260 lives to see another model year with enough improvements to qualify as an all-new motorcycle. The adventuresome “MS” sees the next phase of its progression with a new Testastretta engine, new electronics to help manage it and a new chassis to hold it all together. Ducati’s variable valve timing feature makes an appearance to help deliver 85-percent of the available 95.5 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm for a much fatter mid-range than its predecessor. Traction control, wheelie control and ABS come with the standard package with even more fandanglery to be found ’under the hood’ as it were. The MS 1260 serves as the basis for the more specialized adventure models further up the chain, but it isn’t to be considered the “poor cousin” by any means, and is a capable machine in its own right. Don’t believe it? Let’s see.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Multistrada 1260.
2017 - 2018 Honda X-ADV
Honda blurs the line between the scooter and motorcycle worlds with its genre-bending X-ADV model. The X-ADV brings a scooter-like body together with a proper motorcycle drivetrain that delivers twist-and-forget operation not unlike a CVT-equipped, swingmount scooter. The Red Riders further confuse the issue with dual-purpose tires meant to turn in a decent performance on soft surfaces while maintaining a certain amount of roadworthiness for your urban commute. Chuck in the 745 cc powerplant and you’ve got one confused ride. Perhaps the confusion is all on my end? Let’s dive in and find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda X-ADV.
2017 - 2018 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle
Ducati’s popular Scrambler line saw its footprint expand significantly with the addition of a handful of new models that includes the flat track-tastic Full Throttle. There’s no denying that scrambler-style bikes are enjoying an uptick right along with flat track-style racing, so it makes perfect sense for Duc to bring these two worlds together in a bid to grab its slice of the market pie. Model-specific details are the garnish on the main dish that is the base Scrambler, and of course, the 75-horsepower, Desmodromic L-twin powerplant takes care of business for the “FT,” same as it does for the rest of the line. LED, USB and ABS tech factors into the fandanglery to make this a thoroughly modern ride, so without further ado, let’s dig in and see how Duc sets this ride apart from its brethren.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle.
2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone
Moto Guzzi’s V7 family expands yet again with the V7 III series that sees the popular “Stone” model carry over from the outgoing V7 II generation. The new Stone carries itself with the same subtle darkness that made its predecessor so popular along with many of the genetic markers normally associated with the Moto Guzzi brand. Foremost among these is the transverse-mount V-twin powerplant that protrudes conspicuously from both sides of the bike, and of course, the 52 ponies that come along with it. The fuel tank strikes a classic shape as well, and the rest of the design falls right into line with plenty of yummy-goodness under the hood in the ABS and traction control features. There’s more to be found, so let’s dig into this little Italian gem with its not-so-polished moniker.
See our review of the Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone.
2017 - 2018 KTM 125 Duke
The battle of the flyweights rages on as KTM stays in the fray with its race-tastic 125 Duke. KTM takes much the same tack as the competition and builds its entry-level ride to resemble the machines it has to offer further up the licensing chain. The angular Duke bodywork and exposed Trellis frame set the stage for the key player, the 11 kW powerplant that keeps the 125 Duke within the A1 performance envelope and turns it into a weapon in the fight for the zenith of the nadir, ie, the entry-level masses yearning to breathe free. KTM has established quite a name for itself as the King of Thumpers with a proven off-road record, but today I’m going to take a look and see how the littlest Duke stacks up against the rest of the 125 cc streetbike field.
Continue reading for my review of the KTM 125 Duke.
2018 Suzuki GSX-S125
While most eyes are on the battle for supremacy of the upper-displacement brackets, the fight between the flyweights rages on, and Suzuki’s newest weapon is its GSX-S125. Like the rest of the “Gixxess” family, it comes based on the “R” version but is stripped of its body panels to become a proper naked sportbike. The 124 cc powerplant stays within the A1 licensing envelope with 10.8 kW to serve as a true entry-level bike cum indoctrination piece capable of drawing in the very youngest riders, and that’s exactly how it’s set up; to be as rider-friendly as possible with a low curb weight of 133 kg and manageable, 785 mm seat height. Today I’m going to dig in a little deeper to see what all Suzuki has going on with this decidedly important little ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-S125.
2018 Vespa Sprint
Vespa refurbishes its venerable Sprint scooter family ahead of the 2018 model year in an effort to get even more mileage out of the name and adds an “S” model with some upgraded electronics. And why not? The Sprint has been around for half-a-century and more, and the factory made sure that the looks, however updated, pay proper homage to the original. Power comes from the “i-get” engines that produce 2.4 kW and 40 mph at the 50 cc break with 9.5 kW and 59 mph from the 150 cc mill. ABS makes a showing as well for a taste of the electronic wizardry and extra safety to meet the public’s growing expectation of same. As with all their products, the Powers That Be down at Piaggio/Vespa takes the little Vespino very seriously, so let’s dive in and see what else our Italian friends have in store for us.
Continue reading for my review of the Vespa Sprint.
2018 Vespa Primavera 150
After a fairly major update in 2015, Vespa’s Primavera 150 scooter gets brushed up yet again ahead of the 2018 model year. This newest iteration brings a number of improvements to the table to include larger hoops, all-around LED technology with some aesthetic improvements to boot. In addition to the 150 cc base model, the factory is also releasing the Primavera S that bestows never-before-seen levels of technology on the classic design such as TFT instrumentation and a multimedia system, as well as a cargo-friendly Touring model that positively bristles with luggage racks. It must be quite the undertaking to try and keep a model family as long in the tooth as the Primavera relevant, but Vespa doggedly stays the course and treats us to yet another handful of successors here half-a-century after the release of the original.
Continue reading for my review of the Vespa Primavera 150, 150S and 150 Touring.
2018 Honda PCX125
Much like Honda’s mid-size Forza125 got some love ahead of the 2018 model year with new body shapes paired with features that fans of the family will readily recognize. An all-new foundation supports the PCX125 from the wheels up through the suspension and frame with ABS as the icing on the cake. A more powerful, 12-horsepower engine drives the 2018 model that targets that hotly-contested, and all-important, entry-level market. Will it be enough to compete in this field? Let’s dig right in and see how it stacks up against the most likely contenders.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda PCX125.
2017 - 2018 Zero Motorcycles S / SR
Riding the tailwinds of waxing public interest and expanding infrastructure, Zero Motorcycles advanced ’The Cause’ with new improvements and adjustments to its street-centric “S” and “SR” models last year. Part of that was the addition of a more powerful motor that generates increased torque and horsepower as well as a smaller battery pack for short urban trips; all good stuff for increased fun and flexibility, necessary factors if the company wants to further its push into the mainstream. For 2018, Zero adds more range and quicker charging times.
Continue reading for my review of the Zero S and SR.
2018 Honda CB125R
Honda looks to cash in on the resurgent interest in café racers with its all-new “Neo-Sports Café” design family that includes the entry-level CB125R at the very bottom of the totem pole. The CB125R packs big-bike features into a decidedly small-bike package with many of the same details as its slightly bigger brother, the CB300R. It comes with its performance restricted to 9.8 kW (13 hp) in order to meet licensing requirements across the European Union and serve to bait the table to draw in and indoctrinate new riders at the earliest opportunity. Did they hit the mark? Let’s dig in and find out.
Continue reading for my look at the Honda CB125R.
2018 Suzuki SV650X
Suzuki expands its SV650 roadster lineup for the 2018 model year with its café-tastic SV650X ABS. The “X” sports some subtle changes to the bodywork, plus a not-so-subtle bullet fairing to make that crucial historical connection to the target era sometime back in the seventies. The suspension system saw an update this year for the whole SV650 family across the board, and it brings a spring-preload feature to the front end that will be difficult to match at this price point and genre. Power comes from the same 645 cc twin that pushes the rest of the family with 75 ponies ready to go and a handful of electronic fandangelries to help manage them. What else has Suzuki got in store for us? Let’s dig into this tasty mid-size ride and see.
Continue reading for our review of the Suzuki SV650X.
2017 - 2018 KTM 390 Duke
The value of indoctrination is not lost on KTM, evidenced by the fact that they’ve updated and generally spruced up their entry-level unit, the 390 Duke for 2017, and those improvements carry straight over into the 2018 season. New upside-down stems float the front end along with larger, more powerful brakes to help manage the energy from the 44-horsepower engine and 328-pound dry weight. Ride-by-wire tech makes an appearance for a bit of tech you normally don’t see at this price point. Add to this a fresh new look and you have a recipe for success, or so KTM hopes. Let’s dive in and see what else the Austrian bike maker has in store for us.
Continue reading for my review of the KTM 390 Duke.
2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
The Vitpilen 701 joins its diminutive 401 sibling to double the number of Black Arrows on offer this year from Husqvarna. Like its little brother, the 701 packs all of its cubage into a single cylinder to the tune of 692.7 cc with a respectable 75 horsepower on tap and ready to go. Contemporary style and a race-tastic vibe give the 701 even more of what makes the 401 so popular, and it’s clearly targeting mature/experienced buyers while simultaneously trying to appeal to the Millennial buyers who, thus far, have largely shunned the two-wheeled lifestyle but seem to be crazy about the ’Pilen range. I’ve wanted to dive into this ride since I first saw it revealed at Milan, and today I get my chance, so join me whilst I dissect this mid-size ride that’s enjoying so much success in its inaugural year.
Continue reading for my review of the Husqvarna Vitpilen 701.
2018 Honda Forza
The Forza family moves into its 18th year with the refurbished Forza 300 that brings revised dimensions and updated looks together for an overall sportier package. Pilot comfort gets a boost from the new, electrically-adjustable windshield, and safety got a buff as well with the addition of the Honda Selectable Torque Control. That’s right folks; this here is the first scooter to be blessed thusly by the factory, and that makes this ride very special indeed. Throw the 25-horsepower engine into the mix and it becomes apparent that the new Forza is both a worthy successor to the previous generation and a very definite threat to the rest of the mid-displacement scooter field.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Forza.
2017 - 2018 Zero Motorcycles DS / DSR
While most EV manufacturers push either off-road or streetbike products to the exclusion of everything else, Zero Motorcycles boldly expands on both of those fronts plus something in-between with the improved-in-2017 DS and DSR models. These two are built to fill the dual-sport niche with off-road suspension and dual-surface tires under a sporty chassis that naturally runs the company’s all-electric drive system. This represents a success for both the electric sector as well as the dual-sport/adventure sector, both of which are still burgeoning under increasing public interest and steady technological advancements. Today I’m going to take a look at these bikes made unique by the pairing of electrics with the on/off-road riding style associated with dual-sport machines.
Continue reading for my review of the Zero DS and DSR.
Harley-Davidson’s All-Electric LiveWire To Hit The Streets
Back in 2014, Harley-Davdison teased the world with something that many of us considered to be an unlikely creation for the U.S. motorcycle icon; an all-electric sportbike in the form of the LiveWire. Some things have changed since then. Victory Motorcycles has gone tits-up-and-taking-on-water, ending its Brammo-based ’Empulse TT’ program, at least for the moment until Polaris shifts development/production to its other U.S. manufacturer, Indian Motorcycle. That’s a delay that gives H-D a much-needed buffer on the electric front as it struggles to compensate for its dwindling traditional buyer base, and it looks as though the factory is about ready to capitalize on its competitor’s misfortune and the current void in the U.S. electric streetbike market.
Continue reading for the upcoming Livewire release.
Do You Know How To Buy A Used Motorcycle?
Now that tax season is over and you have that fat refund in your pocket, the warming weather of spring may well have you thinking about bugs in your teeth and your fists in the wind. All bike mechanics, and most experienced riders, will already be familiar with the following procedures, but first-time buyers looking to pick up a used bike should pay attention, The following checks may save you a lot of money and aggravation in the long run.
Continue reading for my presale inspection tips.
2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Rough
Moto Guzzi expands its V7 III footprint off the black and onto the brown with the new-for-2018 “Rough” variant. As its cleverly-ingenious name implies, this model comes set up to have some definite scramble-tastic tendencies with street-knobbies that perform as well on soft terrain as they do on the pavement. Like the rest of the family, power comes from a 744 cc V-twin that delivers 44 pound-feet of torque for solid holeshots and plenty of hill-conquering grunt. There’s plenty of that characteristic MG style to go around as well, courtesy of the sideways engine mount and fuel tank design. Best of all, the Rough beefs up its entry-level bike claim with ABS and traction control that can be turned off for a raw ride, or enabled for maximum stability. MG snuck some other yummy bits in there, so let’s just go ahead and dig right in.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi V7 III Rough.
2017 - 2018 Zero Motorcycles FX / FXS
The EV sector is booming, and as it’s grown it has expanded into more and more genres. Zero Motorcycles is all about the electrics, and has pushed beyond the straight-up street and adventure categories into dual-sport and supermoto territory. The off-road capable FX enters the 2018 MY off an update last year alongside its urban-jungle sibling, the FXS, for a dynamic duo of EV fun with more torque and more horsepower than previous model years, plus other upgrades to the drivetrain to include a wider final-drive belt and improvements to the power packs.
Continue reading for my review of the Zero FX and FXS.
2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401
Husqvarna is known for a lot of things — dirtbikes, chainsaws and such — but the marque looks to add “entry-level streetbikes” to the list this year with the Vitpilen 401. The so-called ’White Arrow’ brings a unique interpretation of the classic café racer look to the table in an effort to draw in the newest generation of riders without actually being a café at all; more of a roadster, really. A 375 cc thumper packs 43 ponies with a user-friendly delivery that should fit well and feel fairly non-threatening to the apparently bike-shy Millennials with a catalyst in the exhaust to make the bike meet the emissions expectations of same. Exciting, fresh and new, the Vitpilen range (and its sibling the Svartpilen) looks to be coming out of the hole strong in an otherwise sluggish market, evidenced by the fact that they’re already oversold in the U.S. market before they even hit our shores. I’m itching to find out what other see in it, so join me while I dig into this interesting little machine.
Continue reading for my look at the Husqvarna Vitpilen 401.
2017 - 2018 Ducati Scrambler Icon
The Ducati Scrambler family has been rapidly expanding since its inception — in both the displacement ranges and available styles — but the stalwart Icon remains largely the same into the 2018 model year. It brings the same street-wise spice to the table as ever, and it comes paired with the 803 cc L-twin that delivers its 75 ponies in an easy-to-manage powercurve. Ducati also expanded its palette a bit with the addition of the “Silver Ice” hue. Little else is changed for the ’18 season, but why in the world would Ducati change something that seems to be working so well and is of such a recent vintage? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Scrambler Icon.
2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000
Suzuki gave its iconic sportbike an overhaul for 2017 with a new liquid-cooled engine, a new frame, new ECM, new ride-by-wire throttle bodies and a host of other goodies to keep this ride current and relevant in its sixth generation. The engineers at the factory show their love for the GSX-R1000 by making it the most powerful and hardest accelerating Gixxer-with-a-single-R to date with a horsepower boost that pushes the claimed figure up to 199 ponies at the shaft. Simultaneously, the engineers made the foundation both lighter and stronger so even more of the available power makes it to pavement. End result; more of what we expect from the Gixxer family.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-R1000.
2017 - 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 & 1000XT
Suzuki hits MY18 with a shiny new V-Strom 1000 after a one-year hiatus, and it seems the factory spent that time wisely. The range retains the V-Strom 1000 and adds the off-road-tastic 1000XT to the adventure mix for the folks who favor the road (or non-road) traveled by few. Power remains the same at the 100-pony mark, but the mill upped its emissions game to meet the current requirements with a new exhaust system. Electronics received a buff as well with a new Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit that refines the ABS system to include lean-sensitive intervention for an extra layer of protection for those times when the available traction is split between steering and braking forces. Overall, the new V-Stroms look to be a little more capable and user friendly than the previous gen with more top-shelf goodies even if the top-end is currently showing a flat growth curve.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and 1000XT.
2019 Honda PCX150
Honda’s metro-tastic PCX150 scooter line gets an upgrade that we’ll get to see on U.S. showrooms come July of 2018. It includes a facelift from stem to stern that further polishes its ’luxe metropolitan looks to bring more of the swank and swagger associated with the marque, and it comes paired with a more voluminous underseat storage area to increase its ’commuterability’. Style and function is a tough combination to beat, so let’s dig a little deeper and see what else the Red Rider engineers have in store for us.
Continue reading for my look at the Honda PCX150.
2019 Honda CB300R
Honda expands its Neo-Sports Cafè lineup with the new-for-2019 CB300R that brings more of the same cafè-tastic vibe that we got with the CB1000R, just in an entry level-size package. This naked little pocket crotch-rocket — or “Sport Naked” as the factory has dubbed the style — looks to pull in younger riders with a user-friendly, 286 cc powerplant and lightweight design. After a race to the bottom of the usable displacement range for the sport and naked genres, Honda is refining its bottom-tier rides, so join me while I take my first look at this all-new machine from the Red Riders and see how it stacks up against some of the other current pocket-rockets.
Continue reading for my look at the Honda CB300R.
2017 BMW HP4 Race
Public demand for race-ready road bikes has never been higher, and the folks down at the Bayerische Motoren Werke are trying to take that momentum to the bank with its HP4 Race. Like many of its track-day competitors have recently done, BMW set about the business of mini-mass producing a bike that carries as much of its factory-team race gear as they are comfortable sharing with the world. However, the factory isn’t risking much in this bid for a slice of the hardcore race-fan market with a limited-edition run of 750 hand-built superbike units, so in addition to the obvious attraction of the technology and power we can add ’rarity’ to the curb appeal. Here we have a 215 horsepower engine pushing the world’s first all carbon-fiber frame with a veritable alphabet soup of features that are surely indispensable for racers looking for an edge.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW HP4 Race.
2018 Triumph Tiger 800 XRx
Triumph gave its venerable Tiger range an update for 2018 and an upgrade with the all-new Tiger 800 XRx and its vertically-challenged sibling, the XRx Low. These two reside on the second tier of the XR range with numerous features that the base model misses out on such as Riding Modes, DRLs and full-color TFT display to name a few. A next-gen engine churns out 94 horsepower and 58 pound-feet of torque for greater performance than its predecessor, with the electronic assistance you need to keep it all under control. Built as a street-centric adventure bike, the XRx siblings can double as outstanding commuters. Join me while I check out the details on this dynamic duo.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Tiger 800 XRx.
2017 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000R
Coming off a fresh update in 2017, Suzuki carries its GSX-R1000R into MY18 with a new color palette, but little else in the way of changes. The next-gen “Gixxer” 1000 brings an all-new 999.8 cc powerplant to the table with a claimed 199 horsepower at the shaft and a whole passel of electronic goodies to help manage all those ponies. Traction control, lean-sensitive ABS, launch control and more, Suzuki’s flagship literbike delivers a taste of track-day fun with overlapping safety nets to help keep us mortal, non-professional riders dirty-side down as we explore our electronically augmented performance envelope. MotoGP tech influences the design to give the rider a little taste of track-day performance, or at the very least, ’performance light.’
Continue reading for my review of the GSX-R1000R.
2017 - 2018 Ducati Multistrada 950
Since it came out back in ’03, Ducati’s Multistrada family has gotten a lot of love from the riding community. It’s seen a number of upgrades and engine changes over the years, and the new-for-2017 “950” serves as the smallest Multistrada model this year. I wouldn’t call this an entry-level bike by any means, but it is the most accessible of Ducati’s multi-bikes, and thus is likely to help bridge the gap for folks looking to test the adventure-bike waters as it were. A 937 cc Testastretta powerplant drives the ride with 100-plus horsepower on tap and a host of safety-related features bundled in with the Ducati Safety Pack. Today I want to check out this newest bit of Ducatisti bait, and see how the genre has continued to evolve.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Multistrada 950.
2015 - 2018 Ducati Scrambler Classic
Ducati’s Scrambler lineup covers a range of looks and styles, but it’s the Classic that really ties into the original Scrambler circa the 1970s. It comes with Sugar White as one of the available colors — just like the original — and sports a tan finish on the seat for even more dated flavor. Performance is up to modern standards however; with 75 ponies in the paddock and Euro 4 emissions compliance, the Classic delivers contemporary operation to go with its somewhat dated aesthetic influences. The hooliganism and devil-may-care attitude comes as part of the standard equipment package.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Scrambler Classis.
Top Five Things I See Riders Doing Wrong
I come into contact with lots of riders, partly because of my job, and partly because I enjoy talking to people about their bikes, riding experiences and the like. Most times, I get a pleasant conversation with “sea stories” added liberally thereunto. Sometimes, I come away genuinely concerned for the rider’s chances of surviving the trip home. Yesterday was just such a day, and it got me thinking about mistakes I see with alarming regularity. Before I get started on my little rant, I want to offer up this caveat: I’m not picking on any particular group, bike style or manufacturer. As far as I’m concerned, these mistakes are prevalent across the rider spectrum, with plenty of equal-opportunity fault to spread around. Some of the following is based on science, but for the most part, it simply reflects my own not-inconsiderable experience over the last 20-plus years of riding.
Continue reading for my list of things I see riders doing wrong.
What’s Going On At The Quail Motorcycle Gathering Event?
Spring has sprung, and that means it’s almost time for The Quail Motorcycle Gathering once again. This year will be the decennial, and the event will fall on Saturday, May 5th. As usual, it’s presented by Geico Motorcycles on the idyllic grounds of the Quail Lodge and Golf Club in beautiful Carmel, California. Family-friendly fun, food and entertainment set the stage for classic machines from before the war to works of rolling art by none other than the Ness family. In fact, patriarch Arlen Ness is to be named the 2018 “Legend of the Sport” with his son Cory Ness and grandson Zach Ness in attendance, all with examples of why the Ness clan enjoys such a solid reputation as custom bike builders/artists. It’s not entirely about them, though; in addition to its usual 10-category spread that includes machines from different bike-culture hubs such as the U.S., Italy and Japan as well as current competition models and antiques to name but a few. This year’s themes will be cafè racers, electric motorcycles and, of course, more fabulous machines from the Arlen Ness private collection.
Continue reading for more on The Quail Motorcycle Gathering event.
2017 - 2018 Ducati SuperSport / SuperSport S
It had been four years in the making, but Ducati finally released the revamped SuperSport family for the 2017 model year. This range brings sportbike handling and performance to the table with its race-inspired “Monster” frame and over 100 ponies on tap, but in a package meant to be less intimidating to prospective ’Ducatisti’ than some of their, shall we say, spicier models. The factory touts the new line as “versatile and accessible,” and while the base SuperSport is meant to appeal to riders who want a sportbike that’s a little light on the “sportier aspects,” the “S” model takes on some of the trappings of a proper racebike for a decidedly more sport-tastic nature. Let’s check out what the bike builders in Bologna have in store for us with this newest effort.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati SuperSport and SuperSport S.
2016 - 2018 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2
The scrambler market is booming, and so far, Ducati is ahead of the curve with a full range of purpose-built Scrambler models. It added to the lineup in 2016 with its Scrambler Sixty2, a model that reflects what the factory calls modern pop culture, with a liberal dose of sixties, mid-size standard cruiser flavor blended in. Powered with a 399 cc L-twin, the Sixty2 isn’t a poser in a scrambler costume; it’s ready to rock and roll.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Scrambler Sixty2.
2017 BMW C Evolution
The Bayerische Motoren Werke introduced its original C Evolution electric scooter to the great proving ground that is the European scooter market all the way back in 2012 and it’s finally in the U.S. market. A boosted battery ampacity gives it the increased range needed to handle a long-distance commute, but it’s the electronics suite that really puts the C Evolution in a class of its own. Traction control, torque control and ABS all make an appearance along with the 35-horsepower motor that, according to the factory, has no problem running right up to the 80 mph governor. I had to remind myself more than once that this is still considered just a scooter though it could certainly embarrass many a low- to mid-range ride. Not just other scooters either, but proper motorcycles. Don’t believe it? Read on and I’ll make my case.
Continue reading to see my review of the BMW C Evolution.
2018 Ducati Scrambler Street Classic
After its overseas debut last year in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and elsewhere, Ducati is bringing the Scrambler Street Classic to the U.S. market for the 2018 model year. The Street Classic borrows from the ’70s custom scene for its unique spin on the scrambler platform and an 803 cc L-twin that delivers 73 horsepower to maintain the same level of performance as the rest of the mid-size Scrambler family. ABS provides the only electronic safety equipment, but if you’re looking for techno-gadgetry, then you’re definitely looking at the wrong type of bike, no matter the manufacturer. Ducati continues to morph its Scrambler lineup in an attempt to get as much mileage as possible out of it, and who can blame them. The range has proven itself to be very popular with the masses and a blank canvas for personalization. Are they jumping the shark yet? Let’s find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Scrambler Street Classic.
2017 - 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 650 / V-Strom 650XT
Adventure bikes are definitely a ’thing.’ They aren’t showing any sign of going away anytime soon, and Suzuki’s V-Strom (Deutsch for ’stream’) is definitely one of the major players advancing the cause, as it were. A few years ago, Suzuki made the decision to drop the V-Strom 650 Adventure, and focus its energies on the base model 650 and 650XT. The result is palpable with a number of improvements made in the 2017 model year that will likely endear these rides to their fans even more. Now we have more power, plus a traction control system to help manage said power as well as some nifty aesthetic tweaks and more.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki V-Strom 650 and V-Strom 650XT.
2016 - 2018 SYM CityCom S 300i
Back in mid-2016, Taiwan-based SanYang Motor updated its CityCom line with the new CityCom S 300i that brings a sportier style and upgraded performance to the U.S. scooter market. The factory was going for a more aggressive-looking machine with the chops to back it up, so it boosted horsepower up to 27.9 ponies, and top speed up to an interstate-capable 83 mph. LED lighting increases visibility from the rear for greater safety, and the machine was given a generally brushing up for the next gen. Join me while I dive into the details.
Continue reading for my review of the SYM CityCom S 300i.
2018 Moto Guzzi Griso 1200 S.E.
Moto Guzzi carries its Griso 1200 8V Special Edition into 2018 with the new “Black Devil” livery over the same custom/blackout treatment as the previous gen, and the customary naked look long associated with the range. Much of that look is centered around the exposed, 110-horsepower V-twin powerplant that comes set transversely in the frame for that instantly recognizable ’Guzzi vibe. A sleek shape and nimble frame provide the agility, but the rider will need to provide all the skill since it runs sans any sort of electronic aids or fandanglery such as traction control or anti-wheelie/slip protection. This is one ride that you can take at face value as a raw, honest streetfighter.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi Griso 1200 S.E.
2016 - 2018 Ducati XDiavel / XDiavel S
It’s safe to say that “cruiser” isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind when I think of Ducati, or even the third, yet here we are with the XDiavel and its slightly dressier, “S” trim package that carries the brand into uncharted waters. The “X” is meant to signify the cross and blending of the two worlds — cruiser and sport — and the end result is what the factory calls a “Techno-cruiser” due to its melding of Italian performance DNA and a more cruise-tastic rider triangle than you normally see from this brand. Powered by a 1,262 cc Testastretta engine, the XDiavel duo put the “sport” in “sport-cruiser” and opens the performance field to folks that ordinarily wouldn’t have such an option.
Continue reading formy review of the Ducati XDiavel and XDiavel S.
2017 - 2018 Honda CBR1000RR
Honda carries its CBR1000RR superbike, a.k.a. ’Fireblade’, into 2018 with little in the way of changes from last year. That’s hardly surprising given the scope and scale of the revisions done prior to MY17 that brought us the newest gen of Honda’s Total Control initiative with a host of electronic goodies to help keep the 189-horsepower engine (10 more ponies than the previous gen) under control. It’s Honda’s first inline four-banger to run a throttle-by-wire induction control, and the factory piled on with Riding Modes, Wheelie Control and more to make the ’Blade serve as a model flagship for the affordable-supersport sector with plenty of influence from the racing department for the ’everyrider’. Today I’m going to take a gander at the new-since-2017 Fireblade and see how it stacks up against something of a more European persuasion.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CBR1000RR.
2017 - 2018 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
Ever since I got my first glimpse of the Triumph Bonneville Bobber at the 2016 Milan show I was eager to get to know it a little better. This was my absolute favorite bike at the show, which is saying something considering everything else that was happening. Now that all the metrics are known, I gotta’ say that my enthusiasm has been justified. A 1200 cc plant pushes the classic-looking frame that, much like Harley-Davidson’s Softail, comes built to look like an old hard-tail. The result is a modern ride with very deep roots that can be traced back to the Speed Twin 5T of the late ’30s. There are plenty of other little historical touches here and there, and though this is no replica piece, it can serve as a sort of rolling museum. Today, I’m going to delve into this collection of Easter eggs and see what all Trumpet has in store for us with this petite little “nostalgi-cruiser.”
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Bonneville Bobber.
2017 - 2018 Ducati Scrambler Café Racer & Desert Sled
Ducati’s Scrambler line grew yet again in the 2017 model year with the addition of the Café Racer and Desert Sled. The Scrambler range has proven to be a veritable mine of possibilities as Ducati capable model in the entire range, and the Café Racer, well, it comes set up to look cool in an urban environment. Both rides get the same 803 cc mill that powers the rest of the Scrambler variants along with much the same chassis, but the differences, however minor, make all the difference in the world.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Scrambler Café Racer & Desert Sled.
2016 - 2017 Triumph Scrambler
The scrambler market is enjoying something of a boom with everybody and his uncle jumping on the bandwagon in recent years. Unlike many of these Johnny-come-lately manufacturers, Triumph had been quietly producing their modern version of the classic scrambler concept, in the form of the aptly named Triumph Scrambler, since 2006 and continued up until 2017 when air cooling gave way to liquid. This favorite day-tripper by rough-and-tumble folks like Steve McQueen runs a fuel-injected engine in typical Triumph fashion with 865 cc parallel twin.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Scrambler.
2018 Ducati Panigale V4
Ducati adds to its Panigale legacy with the 2018 V4 base model and its variants, the V4 S and the V4 Speciale. Dramatic as it may sound, the V4 family may well be the finest streetbikes at their price points, and that’s not just clever sales prose, it’s the troofus roofus. It ain’t just about the raw power — 214 horsepower from the base model V4/V4 S and 226 horsepower from the Special — because the electronics suite is nearly beyond compare with an absolute alphabet soup of acronyms for all the engine/brake/chassis-control features. That performance comes bundled with a sexy superbike visage that looks fast even when sitting still, and all for $21,195 for the base model, so this is a weapon of mass seduction that is drawing down on the general riding public rather than an elite (read: rich) few. There’s plenty more to love, so join me while I dive into this Italian trio to see what else Ducati has going on over there.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Panigale V4, V4 S, and V4 Speciale.
2018 Lance Cabo 200i
Lance Powersports — importer of SYM products to the U.S. market — brings the new Cabo 200i to our side of the pond to replace the outgoing Cabo 150 for the 2018 model year. The family line has always been about fun, and though the factory sells it with a “not intended for off-road use” caveat, I believe the owners are just trying to limit their liability and that the knobby tires tell the truth of the matter. This scoot could possibly pull double duty as a pocket-adventure platform. Street knobbies support that theory, as do the rally-style over-under lights, but the 11.8-horsepower engine and claimed 65-plus mph top speed indicates a certain amount of urban mobility as well. An interesting ride, to be sure, so let’s dive in and see what else SYM has in store for us.
Continue reading for my review of the Lance Cabo 200i.
2018 Ducati Monster 821
Ducati’s iconic Monster line gets an upgrade with the updated Monster 821. Newly revised for 2018, the Monster 821 benefits from some trickle-down engineering from its big brother, the Monster 1200, and a host of new design touches all its own. A new tank, tail section, headlight and muffler gives it an all-new variation on the classic Monster look with due consideration for the original Monster 900. Duc’s Testastretta L-twin powerplant serves up streetfighter performance with 109 horsepower tucked away in the stable and a host of safety systems to aid the rider in keeping it all under control. Not an entry-level ride by any stretch of the imagination, the Monster 821 does offer an experienced rider a mercurial platform that can shift personalities at the touch of a button for a wide range of conditions and skill levels.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Monster 821.
2018 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401
Husqvarna Motorcycles, long known for its off-road prowess, takes the plunge into the sort-of streetbike market with its new Svartpilen 410. Set up like an urban scrambler, Husky bills the Svartpilen as an entry-level commuter/explorer with an easy-to-ride and fun nature. A 375 cc thumper drives the “Black Arrow” with 43 horsepower waiting to be unleashed under the control of a ride-by-wire throttle and slipper clutch that couples engine power to the six-speed gearbox. Suspension and rolling gear reflect a certain amount of off-road capability, useful for crossing medians and cruising down the beach (check local laws first) or other soft surfaces, the Svartpilen has a certain amount of ’everybike’ in its DNA.
Continue reading for my review of the Husqvarna Svartpilen 401.
2018 Triumph Street Triple R
Triumph raises the bar with a mid-level upgrade to its base Street Triple model with the Street Triple R and Street Triple R Low. These two siblings take the family to a more sport-tastic level with a number of upgrades to go with its aggressive good looks, starting with TFT instrumentation and extra electronic engine-control features that see riding modes added alongside the TC system, and an on-board ride computer that monitors and displays fuel burn rates, ambient temps and more. A souped-up engine powers the pair with 116 ponies in the paddock that are just waiting to be turned loose and let run. Upgraded suspension components improve handling with beefier brakes to haul it down, but that’s just the broad strokes. Join me whilst I delve into the details.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Street Triple R and R Low.
2016 - 2018 Triumph Street Twin
The Triumph Bonneville line has underwent numerous redesigns over the years, but always kept that classic British flavor and dated panache that is both aesthetically pleasing and rooted in its own past. The Bonneville Street Twin joined Triumph’s new-in-2016 Modern Classics group that includes the Bonneville T120 family and the Thruxton R. Today, I want to take a look at the Street Twin and see how well Trumpet did in upholding the reputation of the venerable Bonnie line.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Street Twin.
2016 - 2018 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber & V9 Roamer
Moto Guzzi launched a brand-new model family in 2016 that pays tribute to the past efforts of custom bike builders, of which there are no shortage given ’Guzzi’s long history on both sides of the pond. The all-new V9 range included the mainstream-custom “Roamer,” and the more sinister “Bobber” with a more outlaw-looking blackout treatment. Not only was the chassis new, but MG built a brand-new 853 cc engine with which to power this mid-size, standard cruiser.
Continue reading for my look at the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer and V9 Bobber.
2018 Triumph Street Triple S
Triumph ups the ante for 2018 with a newly-redesigned base model for its Street Triple line; introducing the all-new-for-2018 Street Triple S. The “S” runs with the same naked roadster looks as its predecessor, but with revised bodywork, an all-new powerplant for greater performance and tweaks to the frame to better handle high-speeds. Electronic wizardry abounds in the form of a riding mode feature, traction control, and ABS to help you manage all that newfound power that clocks in with an impressive 111 horsepower, all for under $10 K. What else has Trumpet got in store for us? Let’s check it out.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Street Triple S.
2015 - 2018 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX
Moto Guzzi looks to grab a slice of the adventure-tour market with its Stelvio 1200 NTX. The factory aimed high on this model, with a 1,151 cc, 100-plus horsepower V-twin driving the ride. It followed up with adjustable suspension and electronic,engine-management gadgetry that is comparable to some of the top adventure-tour bikes available on the market today, making this ’Guzzi a serious contender for its share of the market.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX.
2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Carbon Dark
Moto Guzzi expands its third-generation V7 family with the new-for-2018 V7 III Carbon Dark. The “Dark” straddles two worlds with design aspects that hail back to the original V7s while touching on the custom culture as well for an interesting blend of the nostalgic and the new. For power, the factory stuck with “the seven-fifty from Mandello” to drive the Dark with 44 pounds of grunt on tap with a traction-control system and ABS brakes to aid the rider in maintaining control, just the kind of stuff you want for an entry-level ride. Manageable power with a solid pedigree and good looks to boot, the V7 III Carbon Dark seems to have a lot to offer for under 10 grand.
Continue reading for my look at the Moto Guzzi V7 III Carbon Dark.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R750
Suzuki keeps improving and expanding its signature supersport series, and the 2018 GSX-R carries the torch first ignited by the original Gixxer 750 all the way back in 1984 (or ’85 if you count when it actually was made available for purchase). Granted, the “late model” Gixxers dropped the steel frame in favor of aluminum, and the air-cooled engine has been replaced with a jacketed mill, but the overall mission for the bike remains the same: to provide the general public with the most race-ready production bike available for legal use on the street. Of course, the rest of the market has caught up to Suzuki and the supersport segment is flooded with similarly capable rides — and a good number of more capable sleds — though the most race-tastic of them are far more expensive than the $12K-ish GSX-R 750. I’ve always had a great deal of respect for the Gixxer family ever since I scared the bejeezus out of myself on one, and I always look forward to revisiting the range, so let’s get to it.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-R750.
2017 - 2018 Triumph Street Scrambler
Triumph has been getting some mileage out of its new 900 cc engine, and this mill drives yet another mid-size ride for the “Street Twin” family: the Street Scrambler. As the name implies, this bike is built mainly for urban use but comes with an off-road capability one simply does not get from a straight-up streetbike. The Street Scrambler brings rider-friendly performance and stable handling to the table, but in a market glutted with scrambler models from all over the globe, one has to wonder if that is enough to stay competitive. Let’s delve into this Triumph and find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Street Scrambler.
2018 Benelli TNT135
Benelli takes a calculated risk based on the popularity of the small-displacement neo-monkeybikes in the U.S. market with the release of the TNT135. A compact 47.8-inch wheelbase sets the tone with a minimal subframe and dinky tires with a 13-horsepower plant that drives the fun with plenty of grunt to pull off all your fancy tricks and whatnot. This pit bike really toes the genre line quite nicely with all the appropriate flavors and attitude, and could possibly pose a very real threat to the established rides coming from Honda and Kawasaki. Can it compete against members of the Big Four? Let’s dig in and see.
Continue reading for my look at the Benelli TNT135.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R600
The Suzuki GSX-R made a splash all the way back in 1985, and quickly became a motorcycle-household name, complete with a smooth nickname that just rolls right off the tongue. Since then, the Gixxer has been in continuous production over a wide range of engine sizes, and has even been supplemented by the similar, but more street-friendly, GSX-S range. The GSX-R600 continues the family legacy into the 2018 model year powered with a 599 cc engine and sporty handling that is expected in this prestigious line. Today I want to take a look at what Suzuki has done to keep this long-running family viable and competitive against its many adversaries on both track and street.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-R600.
2018 Can-Am Spyder F3 / F3-S
Can-Am slashed its Spyder F3 stable yet again for 2018 by dropping the special-edition Daytona 500 from its lineup, so the sport-cruising roadsters are now limited to the F3 and F3-S. This duo packs the same 100-plus horsepower Rotax engine, as always with minimal design features in order to keep weight down and performance up. The spectacular safety package also reprises its role with traction control, stability control, and ABS on board. Spyders are still something of a curiosity and not quite what you would call mainstream just yet, but the Bombardier Recreational Products presses forward with the F3 / F3-S duo as both its entry-level and most sport-tastic rides in the lineup.
Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am Spyder F3 and F3-S.
2018 Honda NC750X
Honda looks to solidify its position in the adventure-commuter market with the new-to-the-U.S. 2018 NC750X. Like its predecessor, the new sled is built for comfortable riding with a capacity for touring, but the new engine lends it a sportier attitude with 54 horsepower on tap and a two-level torque control to help you keep it under control. Yeah, that’s an improvement of a mere three ponies over the previous gen, but that’s hardly the end of the yummy-goodness Honda packed away on this standard-on-steroids. It won’t be available in U.S. dealerships until mid Summer, but we can take a closer look and make some educated guesses based on the info so far, ’cause after all, our Euro buddies have had access to this ride for a hot minute now and have plenty to say about it.
Continue reading for my look at the Honda NC750X.
2017 - 2018 Norton V4 RR
British heavyweight Norton Motorcycles aimed to bring Isle of Man TT performance to the public, and it seems as though it has managed to do just that with the V4 RR. Superbike performance and dead-sexy curves are the hallmarks of this ride, and while that’s nothing new for Norton, there are plenty of details that set this ride apart from its usual fare. Carbon and Kevlar make an appearance with a 200-plus horsepower, V4 engine thrown into the mix for good measure, so yeah, this ain’t your run-of-the-mill race-tribute piece — it has bona fide competitive DNA in its design — but neither is it a racebike made street legal, but something in between.
Continue reading for my review of the Norton V4 RR.
2016 - 2018 Norton Dominator
The Dominator from Norton captures the look and feel of the limited-edition Domiracer, but with a more production-friendly and street-legal layout. Norton may have been a bit surprised at the pace at which the Domiracers got snapped up and at the high rate of conversion to street-legal status, but its response was right on target. Powered by an in-house-developed 961 cc parallel twin, the Dominator is quite expensive, but do you get a lot of bike for that dough?
Continue reading for my review of the Norton Dominator.
2018 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special
Harley-Davidson adds to its Sportster footprint and moves the progress bar on its “50-new-models” goal with the ’Seventies-tastic’ Forty-Eight Special. Like the base model Forty-Eight, it rolls with numerous custom touches that tie it directly to a specific era, just of a more-recent vintage. Blackout components and chrome accents mix freely across the machine with the same 1200 cc, 73 pound-feet Sportster engine that drives the base model. Join me today whilst I dig into the details specific to this charming little mid-size standard to see how it differs from its predecessor.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Special.
2016 - 2017 Triumph Daytona 675 / Daytona 675 R
Back in the early 2000s, Triumph’s four-cylinder, middleweight sportbikes were taking a beating by the 600 cc bikes from the Big Four in Japan. The solution? Drop a cylinder, boost the cubes and start a nearly complete, ground-up rebuild based off the old Daytona 600 chassis. The result? A decidedly nimble and powerful supersport packed away in a deceptively small package. After a number of changes, and the addition of the Daytona 675 R in 2011 that went on to win the Daytona 200 in ’14, the Daytona family moved into the ’2017 model year with many of the features that made the range a success, and a few new ones too. Join me while I dissect this British Rose and try to discover why its fanbase is so rabid, far beyond the usual national/brand loyalty we see all the time.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Daytona 675 and Daytona 675 R.
2018 Benelli Caffenero 150
SSR Motorsports continues its full-court press for a slice of the U.S. market by importing Benelli’s Caffenero 150 scooter to attract the entry-level crowd and maybe some urban-commuter traffic with its youthful looks and modern styling. A water-cooled plant churns out almost 13 horsepower with the expected twist-and-go operation courtesy of the CVT transmission so it’s easy to manage and control, even with no prior riding experience. Two-up seating and ’tween-feet storage lend the Caffenero a certain amount of inherent utility as well, so let’s jump in and see what else Benelli has going on with this ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Benelli Caffenero 150.
2018 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200
Harley-Davidson expands the Sportster family with the new-for-2018 Iron 1200. Retro is in, so the ’70s-esque paint and custom touches draw from that era to give the Iron 1200 plenty of nostalgic value. Power comes from the venerable Evolution engine to the tune of 73 pound-feet of torque to give this ride modern performance that belies the dated veneer. A classic dish with custom spices, the new Iron 1200 stands poised to raise the Iron family’s displacement ceiling in order to try and draw new customers from a market that has been in decline for over a decade. Join me while I take a look at the rest of the package, and let’s see what else it has going for it.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Iron 1200.
2016 - 2018 SSR Motorsports Rowdy 150
One of the most un-scooter-like scooters out there, the Rowdy from SSR Motorsports offers a no-nonsense look with a 150 cc engine for folks that want a scooter but don’t want that typical Euro styling. Big enough for a daily commuter around town, but small enough to be an economical ride, the Rowdy is a rugged, and rugged-looking, ride.
Continue reading for my review of the SSR Motorsports Rowdy 150.
2018 Can-Am Spyder F3-T / F3-T Limited
Can-Am’s Spyder F3-T and F3 Limited bridges the gap between the sport-tastic F3/F3-S and the tour-tacular RT lineup. Saddlebag storage comes stock across the board for some touring capacity right off the showroom floor with a short windshield for some weather protection to boot. Speaking of boots, the F3-T/Limited sports the same VW Beetle up-front trunk for even more dry storage/grocery-getting capacity. Power comes from a Rotax 1330 ACE triple that delivers 115 horsepower and 96 pound-feet of torque to put the “sport” in sport-tourer, and BRP provides all the electronic fandanglery you could possibly need to help keep everything under control.
Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am Spyder F3-T and F3-T Limited.
2017 - 2018 Benelli TNT300
Benelli put together the TNT300 “Tornado” with both the entry-level market and the frugal commuter segment in mind. This sporty little ride brings an unintimidating powerplant to the table tucked away in a naked sportbike assembly that fits in with current styling standards and carries more than a little Italian DNA. Sophisticated enough to pass muster with the emissions folks, this ride nevertheless presents a relatively simple alternative to some of the available options on the market today. Competition is stiff in the bottom-tier streetbikes from some very well established names, and while Benelli enjoys some 100-year-plus roots itself, the name now belongs to the Qjian Jiang Group (QJ) based in China. Today I’m going to take a look and see how well the transition is working out for this storied Italian company.
Continue reading for my review of the Benelli TNT300.
2018 Honda CB1000R Neo-Sports Café
Honda revamped its naked CB1000R for the 2018 model year, but rather than dressing it up, the Red Riders actually dressed it down even further with a retro cafe’-racer kick. The CB1000R replaced the CB600F Hornet back in ’08 and its naked streetfighter presentation and performance envelope was an instant hit all across Europe. Fast forward to ’18 and we find it still going strong with the same 998 cc mill and a brand new handle as the Neo-Sports Café’. Subtle refinements give the NSC a new look that takes inspiration from the past without becoming enslaved to it, and the result is fresh, modern and appropriately aggressive. Today I’m going to take a look at this decade old model to see what else Honda has done to keep it relevant and competitive in today’s market.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CB1000R.
2017 - 2018 Benelli TNT 600
Benelli’s TNT600 – their biggest sportbike available in the U.S. market – hits the streets for 2018. Powered with a 600 cc engine and upgraded brakes from the previous gen, the TNT 600 is touted as the hottest-selling middleweight naked sportbike in India, though it encounters stiff competition and less-than-enthusiastic response here in North America. Though its roots are Italian, Benelli now comes to us from China. So is it an Italian bike? Or a Chinese bike?
Continue reading for my review of the Benelli TNT 600.
2015 - 2018 Triumph Rocket III Roadster
Triumph takes a shot at the U.S. power-cruiser market with its Rocket III Roadster. Essentially a carryover from the last several years apart from price, the Roadster still runs the largest production powerplant in the world with its now-famous, 2,294 cc triple set in a very cruise-tastic package. To call it a “roadster” is almost tongue-in-cheek considering the mass of this thing, but the “rocket” part of the name is spot-on.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Rocket II Roadster.
2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400
Kawasaki takes the next step in the struggle to find that perfect balance between displacement, performance and affordability with the new-for-2018 Ninja 400. This all-new ride delivers the aggressive styling that one expects from the Ninja family with a host of improvements over the previous generation. More power, less weight and a mature presentation should hold the new Ninja in good stead in the highly-competitive small-displacement sportbike market that serves as the main battlefield in the contest to instill some brand loyalty in the increasingly important Millennial buyer base. It appears that the Ninja 300 is going by the wayside as the factory tries to unload the 2017 300s with a discounted price tag, so it’s probably safe to say the 400 is the replacement ride; at least in the U.S. market. After a race to the bottom, it looks like Kawi has decided the sweet spot lies somewhere uphill for American riders.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Ninja 400.
2016 - 2018 Indian Springfield / Springfield Dark Horse
Though the new-in-2016 Indian Springfield is called a “bagger” by the Indian marketing folks, it is much closer to the truth to call it a tour bike. Before you start shaking your head, I would point out that big touring fairings are a relatively recent feature, and that back in the day, ’this’ is what American touring models looked like. Powered by the awesome Thunder Stroke® 111 engine, Indian worked in plenty of nostalgic touches here and there on the Springfield while it tackled the more pragmatic issues with an eye to modern performance. This ride is meant to serve as a tribute to the original Indian factory in Springfield, Massachusetts, and was joined by the Springfield Dark Horse, a black-out sinister version of itself.
Continue reading my review of the Indian Springfield.
2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport
Ducati really made a splash when it reintroduced its Scrambler line back in 2014. The 800 cc model begat the 400 cc model, but the factory didn’t stop there, it also reached up into the higher displacements as well with the Scrambler 1100 series. For 2018, we have the Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport that elevates the family line to a whole new level with some top-shelf suspension components and race-tastic livery meant to appeal primarily to the go-fast crowd. Much is shared with its big-bore siblings; chassis, engine and electronics, but the Sport endeavors to increase the line’s inclusivity by drawing in those fiery-eyed pegdraggers. Is it a bridge too far? That’s doubtful, because as far as I can tell, the factory has yet to hit any natural barriers to the potential of the new Scrambler line.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport.
2016 - 2018 SSR Motorsports Snake Eyes
Nothing brings to mind the down-and-dirty custom-bike days of the ’70s and ’80s quite like a UJM-based custom bobber, and SSR Motorsports piles on plenty of that old-school with its street-retro ’Snake Eyes’. Built for the entry-level customer, and anyone looking for a somewhat whimsical nod to the custom culture for that matter. An 18-horsepower, 249 cc thumper drives the thing — plenty for trips around town or campus, but the real story here is with the overall vibe that looks to be straight out of the garage right off the showroom floor. Join me while I take a closer look at this fun little ride that so clearly is looking to capture part of the U.S. market.
Continue reading for my review of the SSR Motorsports Snakes Eyes.
2018 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Black
Triumph expands its record-setting Bonneville Bobber range this year with the new-for-2018 Bonneville Bobber Black. The “Black” builds on that success with more of the same stuff that made it a hit in the first place and some custom touches that give it more of a home-spun look right off the showroom floor. Already a thoroughly modern ride, the factory brushed it up with more tech even as it embraced even more retro-tastic features for an interesting duality of development, if you will. The Bonnie Twin mill delivers its 77 horsepower with the same characteristic ’tude we expect. What else does Trumpet have going on over there? Join me on my journey through this British wonderland and find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Bonneville Bobber Black.
2015 - 2018 BMW S 1000 RR
BMW has always had a presence in the motorcycle racing world, in fact the word “Beemer” was coined specifically for BMW’s race bikes of old, and the factory continues its blitz into the 21st century. The S 1000 RR is already part of that history, and it is marketed as a race bike, though truth to tell, the official factory race bike gets some features you won’t see on the street, but that isn’t unusual. Moved by a 999 cc engine that delivers nearly 200 hp, the S 1000 RR is nothing to take lightly. Salient point is; this bike is very close to the official race bike, which makes sense considering that it started life as a race bike in ’09 that spilled over into production for the general public the following year.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW S 1000 RR.