Indian Motorcycle Chieftain Dark Horse
Indian revamped its Chieftain lineup ahead of the 2019 model year, and that includes an extensive rebuild of the Chieftain Dark Horse. Sleeker components meet the eye in a clear bid to lend the “CDH” a performance-minded look to match its potential, and the factory added to the paint packages for a total of three colorways from which to choose. The factory enhanced comfort- and safety-related equipment this year — as well as the infotainment system — to make this newest iteration an almost all-new machine. As always, it comes down to the details as much as the broad strokes, so let’s dive right in and see what else Polaris has going on over there.
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Motorcycle Chieftain Dark Horse.
2016 - 2019 Indian Chief Vintage
Indian Motorcycle, under Polaris Industries Inc., keeps a long tradition alive with its 2019 Chief Vintage powered by the Thunder Stroke® 111 engine. The designers build upon 95 years of Chief tradition with this ride, and while all Indians show their historical roots in varying degrees, none is quite as overt as the aptly named ’Vintage’.
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Chief Vintage.
2018 - 2019 Can-Am Spyder F3 / F3-S
Can-Am carries its sport-cruising roadsters, the Spyder F3 and F3-S, into 2019 with the 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.
2017 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Street Rod
Traffic-carving performance wasn’t the first thing I think of when hearing the name Harley-Davidson, but the MoCo started changing that perception with the new-in-2017 Street Rod 750. While it is, in fact, based on the current Street 750, multiple changes in the setup and equipment turn it into another animal entirely. Shorter steering geometry, a more aggressive rider triangle and a more powerful engine come together in H-D’s decisive push into the sport-standard market.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Rod.
2019 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special
Harley-Davidson revamped its Street Glide Special yet again for the 2019 model year in an effort to keep it “special.” First, the factory stuffed the largest non-CVO engine into the frame. Then it boosted the infotainment potential with the new Boom! Box GTS system. Color choices span the spectrum so there should be something for everyone on the palette. What else makes the “Special” so special? Let’s find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special.
2017 - 2019 BMW R nineT
Heritage sells, and BMW looks to take it to the bank with its R nineT model family that brings classic looks and a timeless engine configuration together. Outward appearances may draw on dated (read: classic) design elements, but performance from the boxer-twin powerplant puts the R nineT in a decidedly modern category that has launched an entire line of sub-models. Today I’m going to dissect the bike that serves as the foundation for the R nineT stable and take a look at the 2017 update that it carries it into MY2019.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW R nineT.
2018 - 2019 Kawasaki Z900RS CAFE
Kawasaki looks to maintain the momentum it garnered last year by rolling its popular Z900RS CAFE straight over into MY2019. And, why not? It’s hard to argue with success, and the retro-tastic looks and modern performance make excellent bedfellows, especially with the Seventies-fabulous graphics as the icing on the proverbial cake. The “CAFE” falls at the Southern edge of liter-bike territory, which could potentially be dangerous for a new rider, but it carries all the requisite safety equipment needed to keep the noobs dirty-side down. Today I want to get into the nuts-and-bolts of the thing and see what else Kawi has crammed under the hood of this charming little tribute piece.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Z900RS CAFE.
2019 Indian Motorcycle Chieftain Classic
Indian Motorcycle, under the expansive Polaris umbrella, blessed its Chieftain lineup with a facelift ahead of MY2019, but the Chieftain Classic alone retains its looks to perpetuate the retro-styling that made it a hit in the first place. The “Classic” benefits from the same under-the-hood fandanglery as the rest of the lineup, so while its looks might be a bit dated in the most delightful ways, you can count on modern safety and comfort all the same. Indian is in the midst of its timeless conflict with America’s second-oldest manufacturer, Harley-Davidson, so today I want to take a look at the new Classic and see how it stacks up against the MoCo. Let’s get to it.
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Motorcycle Chieftain Classic.
2019 Can-Am Ryker
Can-Am announced the newest addition to its funny-backwards-trike lineup with the all-new Ryker model that BRP hopes will open up a whole new market for prospective entry-level trike riders. (Trikers?) The Ryker comes with all the electronic fandanglery that you’ll find on its large-displacement siblings, but comes with a choice in powerplants between a mid-size mill and one that falls closer to a liter. An automatic transmission delivers twist-and-go operation for the ultimate in rider friendliness, even for folks who are complete strangers to having their fists in the wind. Could this be BRP’s new big shoo-in? Only time will tell, but meanwhile, we can certainly dissect this most-interesting machine, so let’s get to it.
Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am Ryker.
2019 Harley-Davidson TriGlide Ultra
Harley-Davidson has released its 2019 lineup, and it looks like the newly revamped TriGlide Ultra is the hot ticket to debut all the new tech to come out of Milwaukee this year. The TriGlide combines the stability of a traditional trike platform with all the same tour-tastic goodies that makes H-D’s two-wheeler tourbikes such a success. New this year, an updated infotainment system gives you better touchscreen performance along with better sound system options, but the real performance boost lies in the engine area as Harley beefed up its already massive mill. Attention was paid to the suspension components as well to make this generation of trike smoother than ever before, so as you can see, the MoCo did its homework and gave the people exactly what they want, and more of it. Or, did they? Let’s find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson TriGlide Ultra,
2019 Indian Chieftain
Indian Motorcycle updated its base-model Chieftain ahead of MY2019 along with the rest of its bagger family in order to present a sleeker, more-modern face to the world. Attention was paid to the aesthetics to include changes to the body panels, front and rear, as well as the saddle. New technology also sees the light of day with entertainment power and comfort features that are meant to help America’s oldest motorcycle brand compete with the second-oldest domestic marque. Some of that gadgetry is geared to make the powerful 111 cubic-inch even more user-friendly and attractive in this great arms-race with its traditional foe Harley-Davidson. Today I’m going to take a look at the new Chieftain and see how it stacks up against one of H-D’s baggers.
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Motorcycle Chieftain.
2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114
Harley-Davidson advances its 100-new-bike agenda in 2019 with the new FXDR 114 that turns the nearly-new Softail into a drag race-inspired stoplight burner. The factory went outside the envelope for design inspiration, with some interesting results that head in an unexpected direction to say the least. A 114 cubic-inch engine delivers the goods to make the FXDR the most powerful production Softail up for grabs so far this year, so you can be assured that it’s by no means an all-show/no-go machine. Plus, an effort was made to shed some weight to improve handling- and ride-quality, and that translates into even better acceleration to make this a rather sporty, non-Sportster ride. Let’s dive into the details.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson FXDR 114.
2018 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Breakout
Once again, Harley-Davidson takes what’s old and makes it new again with its revamped-in-2018 Softail lineup, and the drag-tastic “Breakout” is one of the models that made the jump and carried into 2019. Harley offers this bobber-burner with the 109 pound-foot, Milwaukee-Eight 107 and the Mil-8 114 that boasts a total of 119 pounds o’ twist. The ground-up Softail-family rebuild contains myriad changes from the remarkable to the mundane that go way beyond a handful of re-arranged trim packages. We’re talking about the re-invention of the whole range with capabilities meant to offset the loss of the Dyna family, and technology that is more in line with the current industry standards. We’re talking a renewed focus on the Softails as H-D’s sole (or should it be soul?) cruisers. This is it; the drag-tastic sub-model of the range that Harley hopes will attract the younger buyers.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Breakout.
2017 - 2019 Honda Rebel 300 / Rebel 500
Honda brought one of its most recognized model families into the 21st century with a complete overhaul of the much celebrated Rebel range in 2017. Available as the Rebel 300 and 500, this reworked line features water-cooled mills and fuel-injection induction control to meet modern and near-future emissions standards. A sportier look greets the eye this time around, though the Rebel still targets the same small-[cruiser-mot392], entry-level market.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Rebel 300 and Rebel 500.
2018 - 2019 Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber
Indian Motorcycle has certainly called some attention to its mid-size bikes this year through its success on the flat track, and the Scout Bobber looks to capitalize on that by garnering some of the factory-custom business. The “Bobber” brings modern performance to the table along with an overall look that is rather unique, yet fits in well with the rest of the made-for-the-US market, foreign and domestic built. An 1,133 cc plant delivers the power, and this year, the Bobber rocks improved electronics plus a USB charging port, regardless of which color you choose. I’ve been a fan of the new Scouts since day one, so let’s dig into the nuts and bolts of the thing and see what all there is to love.
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber.
2019 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide
Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations division is at it again with a revised CVO Street Glide model for 2019. The newest “SG” sports a new Boom! Box infotainment system with some serious speaker packages, and it comes with a choice of three distinct finish categories; bright, dark and really dark. Power comes from the Milwaukee-Eight 117 that makes its sophomore appearance and brings its “guns” to the table with oodles of torque and a new color band as a model-year identifier. There’s plenty more to see, so let’s get into the details of Harley’s top-shelf custom-tour bike.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide.
2019 Harley-Davidson Freewheeler
Harley-Davidson remakes its hot-rod trike, the Freewheeler, ahead of the 2019 model year with a host of improvements that the factory hopes will help it compete against the burgeoning three-wheeler competition. Brand-new-for-2019, traction control and backtorque-defeating measures have been put into place, and they’re buttressed by a new suspension system for an overall increase in safety and stability. That’s not all; the beating heart was upgraded as well with a 114-inch powerplant shoehorned in where a 107 used to reside, so there’s even more of that grunty performance we expect from Harley’s three-wheeled stoplight-burner. This year makes a significant benchmark in H-D’s technology development, so let’s dig in and see how well it stacks up against the competition.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Freewheeler.
2016 - 2018 Ducati Panigale 959
Back in ’16, Ducati pushed the supersport envelope with its super-middleweight Panigale 959, and since you can’t argue with success, the Italian marque carries that original model straight over into MY2018. The engine clocks in at nearly a liter with all the performance you’d expect, plus some electronic safety equipment to help you keep it under control and make riding the “959” a user-friendly affair. Race fans find plenty to be excited about, as well, since the Panigale rocks some track-tastic features to go with its already-sporty mien for a look that says “serious business” to all who behold it. It seems the Panigale has the look with the appropriate under-the-hood gear, but how does it stack up against the well-populated market segment in which it falls? That’s what I aim to find out today.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Panigale 959.
Harley-Davidson Steps Up Its Electronics Game Ahead Of MY2019
It nearly took two decades to happen, but Harley-Davidson finally joined the 21st century with a host of new electronic gadgets that are meant to increase safety and put the MoCo on a more even footing against the products and systems coming from just about all the other major manufacturers.
Continue reading for more on Harley-Davidson’s new electronic technology.
Harley-Davidson’s Top-Shelf CVO Range Leads The Way Into MY2019
It seems like it’s been an extra-long wait for the new Harley-Davidsons to start rolling out this year, but the floodgates have finally opened and I want to start out by taking a look at the new models coming out of the CVO division. H-D’s Custom Vehicle Operations serves as a proving grounds of sorts, a crucible in which up-and-coming tech is forged, so naturally it gets all the very best toys first. This puts it at the tip of the spear, as it were, and makes the best place to start, so let’s get started.
Continue reading for more on the new CVO line.
2018 - 2019 BMW F 750 GS / F 850 GS
BMW presses on into adventure-bike territory with a new generation of F-GS models, the F 750 GS and F 850 GS. This adventuresome pair follows the same design as it predecessors with the 750 serving as a road tourer and the 850 set up for work in what you might call less-civilized areas, be it fire trails, dirt roads or deserts. An all-new powerplant delivers up to 10-percent more horsepower than the previous gen, and each enjoys other features specifically geared to its host’s purpose in life. The newly-redesigned frame and bodywork, in the words of the factory, give the range “a more dynamic and masculine design.” Wherever you land on the looks, form follows function on bikes like these (or at least it should) and so it’s the rest of the machine that should matter the most. Let’s dig in and check out the specialized gear and capabilities of these two new-in-2018 rides.
Continue reading for my look at the BMW F 750 GS and F 850 GS.
2017 - 2019 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.
2015 - 2019 Honda Shadow Aero / Shadow Phantom
Honda made an honest attempt to capture that look and feel of yesteryear with the Shadow duo, the big brothers to the Rebel range. Maybe just a little too honest – is that a mechanical drum brake I see? Still with a 745 cc engine and a wide-ratio transmission, the Shadow Phantom and the Aero fill the "cruiser" slot quite adequately for Honda.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Shadow Phantom and Shadow Aero.
2016 - 2019 Honda Fury / Stateline
The Honda designers targeted the outlaw chopper culture of the ’60s and ’70s, and managed to turn out a fairly faithful interpretation in the Fury, which is carried into 2019 though we lost its stablemate, the Stateline, from the lineup in 2017. The deep saddle and cut-down rear fender combined with the sweep of the fuel tank give it that stretched, custom look. For the American market, the 52-degree V-twin fits right in with a 1,312 cc engine that isn’t so big as to be intimidating. Join me as I critique Honda’s attempt to recapture our glory days.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Stateline and Fury.
2014 - 2019 Honda CBR600RR
Honda’s latest generation of 600 cc, CBR supersports toes the family line with its race-winning blend of power and maneuverability all packed onto a MotoGP-inspired chassis. Much like the original CBR600RR that hit the streets back in ’03 and was built as a racebike replica, the current model features a strong engine along with a front suspension featuring Honda’s 41mm Big Piston Fork for superb handling and snappy action, plus MotoGP-inspired bodywork in a race-tested aerodynamic supersport design.
Continue reading for more my review of the Honda CBR600RR.
2017 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic
The Electra Glide Ultra Classic serves as Harley Davidson’s entry-level model for its full-dresser lineup. Updated in 2017, it sports improved suspension while reducing the heat felt by rider and passenger for greater all-around comfort. Not only that, but the all-new Milwaukee-Eight engine made its way onto this ride for greater performance than ever before with 111.4 pound-feet of torque and six-speed transmission that comes geared for highway riding at a reasonable rpm. H-D’s Infotainment system made an appearance as well, so the phrase “entry level” is obviously a relative statement. Let’s check out this updated classic to see where the balance was struck.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic.
2018 - 2019 Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour
Lighter weight, new engine, and updated looks feature prominently in the Honda Gold Wing rolled out in 2018. Looking to appeal to a younger buyer, the factory brought performance back to the top of the list of priorities for its flagship tourer, as well. The all-new engine comes in the typical flat-six configuration and 1,833 cc displacement with 120+ ponies just waiting to be called upon. What else has Honda done to try to make the ’Wing something other than “my grandfather’s bike” to the younger buyers?
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Gold Wing and Honda Gold Wing Tour.
2016 - 2019 BMW S 1000 XR
BMW put together the S 1000 XR for the adventuresome sort that prefers to stay on at least moderately civilized routes. Built on the proven S 1000 literbike platform, the XR really puts the “sport” in adventure-sport with a solid, 999 cc powerplant and a claimed top speed that lands upwards of the 125 mph mark. The XR also maintains a sportbike-like panache in spite of its adventuresome qualities, thus avoiding the blunt pragmatism associated with so many adv bikes. Of course, Beemer is a firm believer in better living through technology, and it includes a host of safety gadgets meant to help you keep it dirrty-side-down. Sound good yet? Let’s dig in and see what else the Bayerische has in store for us.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW S 1000 XR.
2018 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M
Yamaha’s R1 family brings genuine racebike fun to the unwashed masses for a price that belies their capabilities. The base-model R1 and its even more race-tastic “M” variant come with MotoGP-level performance, and indeed are actually set up to be quickly converted for track use, so these are no poser bikes, not by a long shot. A powerful liter-sized mill pushes the R1 family well into the stupidfast category with updated electronic subsystems to help you keep it all under control, and of course, the synergy between the components makes the R1 family much greater than the sum of its parts. Let’s dig in and see what else the Tuning Fork Company has going on with this pair.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M.
2019 Yamaha Niken
Yamaha looks to redefine what we think of when we hear the word “trike” with the all-new Niken (literally: two sword) that brings the leaning trike concept into the realm of full-size bikes. Based on the popular FZ/MT-09, the Niken LMW (Leaning Multi-Wheel) doubles the size (and number) of the front contact patch(es) for greater safety and traction with the proven 847 cc Crossplane Concept engine to drive the thing. With over 100 ponies on tap and its fancy front end with gobs of traction, the Niken seems set to deliver a ride that is limited only by your own skills and testicular fortitude.
Continue reading for my first look at the Yamaha Niken.
2017 - 2018 BMW R nineT Racer
BMW expanded its Heritage lineup for MY2017 with the R nineT “Racer” variant that it carried over right on into MY2018. The Racer takes Beemer’s popular roadster and gives it a café-tastic bent that, in spite of the fact that it adds more body components, seems to accentuate the essential nature of the model. Power comes from a classic boxer engine, and of course, the factory threw on a handful of extra safety items to help you keep it all under control. I’m already a fan of the line, bigly, with an established appreciation for the café bikes, so it’s with great anticipation that I dive into this fun little sled.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW R nineT Racer.
2014 - 2018 Suzuki Burgman 200
Mature, modern looks greet the eye as Suzuki rolls its business-tastic Burgman 200 over into MY2018. In spite of its diminutive powerplant, the Burgman 200 carries itself with a definite maxi-scoot appeal. Motorcycle-like suspension components and safety equipment boost its commuter capabilities with an increase in overall ride quality over your typical [scooter->mot-type vehicle, so yeah, this ain’t your typical 200. Let’s dig in, shall we, and see what else the littlest Burgman has going on under the hood.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Burgman 200.
2016 - 2019 BMW R nineT Scrambler
The new-from-2016, R nineT Scrambler from the Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW Motorrad) rolls into 2019 still based on a general design popular from the ’50s all the way through the ’70s. The Scrambler embodies the form of the original scramblers, while borrowing from the 1951 Beemer R 68. The result is a ride that invokes nostalgia in those old enough to remember the originals and subsequent variants, but also appeals to a younger crowd who appreciates classic looks coupled with updated performance and more reliable technology than its antique predecessors. I say that with confidence since I fall into the latter group, and I am really digging this new-old ride, so join me for a dissection of this scrambler descendant as I try to determine how closely this apple fell to the tree.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW R nineT Scrambler.
2015 - 2018 Yamaha YZF-R3
The Tuning Fork Company makes a solid effort for a slice of the entry-level sportbike market with its YZF-R3. Yamaha had its work cut out for it ’cause this all-important market is hotly contested by nearly every other streetbike manufacturer in the world and the pressure is on to get brand-loyalty instilled in the incoming riders. Engine displacement breaks the 300 cc mark with 40-plus horsepower and 20-plus pounds of torque, and at only 368 pounds wet, this is plenty of power for some cheap thrills on the road. The rest of the bike seems well put together at a glance, but today I am going to dig into the guts of the thing and see what all Yamaha has in store for us and how well it stacks up against similar models on the market right now.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R3.
2016 - 2018 Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive
The Burgman line has always been about classy and comfortable commuting, and the factory seems to have found a sweet spot here with its largest displacement version that brings comfort, convenience and safety to the table. As a “maxi-scoot,” the Executive delivers a motorcycle-like riding experience with amped up scooter features that give it something of an exaggerated look, so clearly, this is a vehicle of extremes. Suzuki carries over its Burgman 650 Executive with a new color for MY2018, so let’s check this ride out and then see how it stacks up against one of the top office-scooters to come out of Europe.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive.
2015 - 2018 BMW F 700 GS
Having gone into MY 2017 with some substantial updates, the 2018 BMW F 700 GS stays competitive in the ever-growing adventure market. Outfitted as the more road-oriented version next to its F 800 GS stablemate, the F 700 GS has a lower seat height, a slightly remapped engine, and chassis components with an eye toward pavement riding.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW F 700 GS.
2017 - 2018 KYMCO Like 150i
The Kwang Yang Motor Company (KYMCO) takes on some pretty heavy hitters in the low-displacement scooter market with its Like 150i. It carries itself with an overall modern look that borrows from classic influences with tasteful results. Power comes from a thumper that rocks electronic fuel injection to help the Like meet U.S. emission standards. At a glance, it looks like good basic transportation, but the devil is in the details, so let’s dig in and see how it stacks up against the mainstream.
Continue reading for my review of the KYMCO Like 150i.
2018 Yamaha R1S
Yamaha’s YZF-R1S expands the R1 range down into a slightly younger demographic with the “S” variant that sheds some of its fancy metallurgy in favor of slightly less-noble metals with a concurrent decrease in the sticker shock. The “S” delivers the same thrilling performance as the rest of the line as well, so this isn’t just a detuned or repowered look-a-like, its a bona fide R1 that drops a few race-day features to make a bike that is not only less expensive, but more pragmatic for a daily rider. Now you can get that same feel and performance even if the parking lot is the closest it will ever get to a track. Today, I’m going to see what all the buzz surrounding this bike is about, and see how it compares to other lower-top-shelf models currently on the market.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R1S.
2014 - 2018 MV Agusta F3 800
MV Agusta launched the F3 800 way back in ’13 for the ’14 model year, and apparently is happy with the result since it carries over straight into MY2018. The F3 800 stands with a foot in two worlds — literbikes and mid-displacement sportbikes— and at a glance it seems safe to say “mission accomplie.” A powerful triple delivers the goods with power figures that land near the top of the range for what is appropriate for “civilized” road use. The electronics suite is even more impressive than its hardware, and the whole package comes together to deliver the goods in a manageable manner with plenty to offer riders looking for a thrill but not wanting a full-on race machine or the leather-bound payment book that comes with one.
Continue reading for my review of the MV Agusta F3 800.
2018 Ducati Multistrada 1260 S / S D-air
Ducati pushes the envelope for its large-displacement adventure machines with the Multistrada 1260 S. This machines roll with top-shelf features such as Riding Modes, Power Modes and all sorts of yummy-goodness bundled together under the Ducati Safety Pack umbrella. A powerful twin-cylinder plant pushes the “S” well into power-adventure territory with upwards of 150 ponies packed away within. The “S,” and the airbag-jacket equipped “S D|air,” build on the base 1260 to deliver something to compete with the other top models on the world stage, so let’s get into the details and see how well they did.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Multistrada 1260 S and S D|air.
2015 - 2018 BMW F 800 R
BMW Motorrad carries its essential little F 800 R into the 2018 model year with the same essential design and, according to the factory, a noob-friendly demeanor. Meant to serve as a sort of Jack-of-all-Trades, it sports Riding Mode technology with ABS to bring a measure of flexibility and safety to the table. Delivering more power after the 2015 update, it comes from a proven, parallel-twin plant nestled away in a lightweight aluminum frame that is set up to have an appropriately nimble nature to keep things exciting for the more-experienced riders out there. Is this the mid-displacement, arguably entry-level roadster you’ve been looking for? Let’s find out.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW F 800 R.
2018 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure
BMW->rub175] carries its R 1200 GS Adventure over into the 2018 model year with new tech bundles and color packages, but much the same hardware as the MY2017 units. The “Adventure” builds on the base GS to deliver a more capable machine to its adventure-some buyer base. It comes with a split personality — one for road and another for dirt — to give the bike a bias to match your own. Beemer gives it enough power to qualify as a ’super’-adventure with 100-plus horsepower, and of course, throws in the electronic systems that help you safely use as much of that power as possible? Sound good yet? Let’s get into the details.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.
2017 - 2018 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S
Many adventure-bike manufacturers try to cover all the bases with a single model, but Austrian bikebuilder KTM splits its efforts to produce the 1290 Super Adventure S. Released for MY2017, KTM built the “S” to deliver long-distance comfort for riders who are looking for more than they can get from one of the Dukes. Wind protection, storage options and electronic safety systems take care of the usual ride-ability concerns, but this is a KTM folks, so you know it’s going to be very well-endowed in the power department as well, to the point of qualifying as a ’super’ adventure. Think I’m overstating the situation? Read on and find out how wrong you are.
Continue reading for my review of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure.
2017 Lifan S-Ray
Lifan expands its small-displacement vehicle footprint with the S-Ray scooter that rocks sporty looks sure to appeal to a younger buyer base with a 150 cc engine delivering friendly, controllable power appropriate for entry-level riders and sufficient for urban travel. This is definitely one of the lesser-known brands in the U.S. market, so today I’d like to dig a little deeper into this little ride and see how it stacks up against a mainstream marque.
Continue reading for my review of the Lifan S-Ray.
2018 Suzuki V-Strom 250
After a race to find the ideal maximum displacement for the adventure-bike genre, Suzuki has now turned its attention toward seeking out the bottom of the effective envelope with the new-in-2017 V-Strom 250. This A2 license-compliant ride is bound for the entry-level market with much the same look as its bigger brothers in spite of its diminutive powerplant and a similar affinity for long-distance trips. The mill is tweaked for the purpose with 25 ponies on tap and a smooth delivery, and of course, the “250” sports plenty of secure storage and storage options for your cargo, so you can actually do some proper touring with it, right off the showroom floor. What else has Suzuki got going on with its mini-adv? Let’s find out.
Continue reading for my look at the Suzuki V-Strom 250.
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.