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.
Yamaha announces the 2018 TMax SX Sport
More than just a practical commuter, the stylish TMax scooter has been Yamaha’s darling ever since it was launched in 2001. Although it was a bit long in the tooth here, it’s a whole different story across the pond. The scooter was at the top of the ranking charts in Europe for 17 years, and Yamaha has no signs of retiring it from there anytime soon.
While we are still only able to reach our hands on the 2015 model, Yamaha Europe has given the already sporty TMax SX a new upgrade for 2018 that ticks at being the sportiest and sexiest scooter there ever is. Called the ‘TMax SX Sport’ edition, the scooter gets packed with some fancy equipment, confusing a whole lot of new-bees with their decision-making abilities.
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.
The CCM Spitfire Bobber breaks cover
When Clews Competition Machines unveiled their Spitfire model last February, it made headlines all over the internet and received an insane amount of response from the riding folks. Within a short span of a year, this British marquee has proved well beyond conviction that it can make some of the most striking motorcycles the industry has seen.
CCM’s “SkunkwerX” division has unveiled a new Bobber variant of their new Spitfire range at the 2018 MCN London Motorcycle Show that concluded recently. The bike will use the same 600cc single pot mill that does the job on all the Spitfire models including the Scrambler, Café Racer, and the Flat Tracker.
Finally someone made a Royal Enfield Bobber
Royal Enfield, has been the spoilt choice for many custom bikers and builders around the globe. They are mental, and they are a gold find for its simplistic construction and the liberty for customization. You can chop it up and put them together, and they will carry a whole new charm.
With the soul of ’go anywhere, do anything’ taking up a new meaning every time it goes under the axe, folks from KR Customs in Chennai (the same place Enfields are made these days) have couped up a retro bobber out of the bullet maker’s best-selling model, the Classic 500.
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.
Here is a custom Honda CX500 with tire warmers
There will be times to build and create a motorcycle that is all practical and sensible, and not just that looks good to impress your friends. Then there comes a time for just hanging loose and to go Full Monty on creating a bonkers of a bike without having a client or a brief in mind.
One example of that Custom scene is this build on a Honda CX500 by the National Custom Tech crew of David Widmann, Kurt Kosjek, and Manuel Tilke. Created in their workshop in Feldkirchen, Austria, the crew stripped the old Honda right down to its nuts and bolts, before rebuilding it to include the need of bloody tire warmers. How cool is that?
It is called the Honda CX 500 Highflyer.
CCM Spitfire Bobber to be unveiled next week
When Clews Competition Machines unveiled their Spitfire model last February, it made headlines all over the internet and received an insane amount of response from the riding folks. So much so that all the limited 150 models were sold within a span of one week. “It was a combination of the promise of pure riding pleasure and a timeless design that set hearts a fluttering at the show.”
CCM’s “SkunkweX” division is now about to unveil a new Bobber variant of their new Spitfire range at the 2018 MCN London Motorcycle Show. The bike will use the same 600cc single pot mill that does the job on all the Spitfire models including the Scrambler, Café Racer, and the Flat Tracker.
2014 - 2018 Royal Enfield Continental GT
India-based Royal Enfield has been busy expanding its footprint as of late. The newly-minted U.S. dealerships will be scampering for a piece of the action with a bike that is sure to appeal to the increasingly-important Millennial buyers— the cafe’-tastic Continental GT. Built with an unmistakeable retro flavor and powered by a 535 cc, 29.1-horsepower engine, the GT brings a relatively authentic cafe’ experience to the table. Maybe even a little too authentic in some ways, perhaps? We’ll find out. The factory established a foothold on U.S. soil just a few years ago and it has introduced its very first engine to be designed in-house, but the GT is more of a reflection of the company’s deep roots than a product of its more progressive agenda.
Continue reading for my review of the Royal Enfield Continental GT.
The Supercharged KTM by Hazan Motorworks
It is not every day that you come across something that makes you pause and just look at it in all astonishment. One bloke called Maxwell Hazan has made it his life’s prophecy to give the world some of the most beautiful drug, of which people can only fathom of how such a notion was even hypothesized.
The drug this time is, yes you guessed it right, “Supercharged.”
2015 - 2018 Honda CB500X
Honda’s CB500X pushes the adventure-bike envelope well into entry-level territory with a mid-displacement engine and low-impact price tag meant to bring more riders into the genre. Let’s face it; the one-liter Africa Twin and larger VFR1200X are a lot of bike for new riders who are not — I repeat: NOT — liable to ever see a trek down the Ivory Coast. Could it be used as a trainer for the larger bikes? Certainly, but its main lot in life will be as an urban commuter with the capacity to handle some poorly-maintained roads and the occasional pothole. If it sounds like I’m downplaying the bike a bit, I would submit that the urban adventure ride is about all most of us manage in a lifetime, thus making it good enough for its designed purpose.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CB500X.
2013 - 2018 Honda CB500F
Back in 2012, Honda presented the CB500F to the world at the EICMA Motor Show to bolster its “standard” category for the 2013 model year. This compact streetfighter sported Honda’s then-new 471 cc in a rather naked layout with almost 50-horsepower on tap to push the 414-pound curb weight around, so it’s safe to say that it definitely punches above its weight. This is at least part of the reason for its success and market popularity, and the factory has made tweaks here and there in an attempt to keep it fresh all the way into 2018 in order to maintain that momentum. Now that the family has matured somewhat and settled into its groove if you like, I want to take a look at the range to try and divine the secrets to its success.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CB500F.
2015 - 2018 Honda CBR500R
Honda started the CB500 twin line back in 1993 to plug a gap in the entry-level market and serve as a mid-size commuter bike – a mission statement that’s still valid today. You could consider the CBR500R as the supersport branch of the CB family tree, but with the same 471 cc engine as its closest kin, the CB500F and CB500X. In spite of its sporty exterior, the CBR500R seems to maintain the family tradition of entry-level and commuter service.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CBR500R.
2014 - 2018 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.
Royal Enfield will bring the Himalayan to North America
The self-attested “oldest motorcycle company in continuous production in the world” has been making the right moves to be heard the world over. And their recent project seems to have gained a lot of traction at the recently concluded EICMA show: The 650cc retro twins running on brand new twin-cylinder engines.
After dominating back home in India, the post-British brand has been relentlessly expanding for half a decade and have increased exports to 93% this year compared to last year. And for 2018, they have no plans for slowing down. Their dual-sport enduro is making its way to our shores.
2017 - 2018 Yamaha YZF-R6
If you’ve ever wanted to own a bona fide racing machine but didn’t have the money or vanity to go for one of the $100K-plus literbikes on the market right now, I’ve got good news for you; Yamaha updated its mid-size [YZF->mot1937-R6 in MY17, and it can be had without selling a kidney or your firstborn. At just over the $12K mark, the R6 claims over 120 horsepower with a host of features to help riders manage the tremendous forces this thoroughbred generates. The 600 cc-ish bracket has been getting a little stale as of late between competition from the liter category and the burgeoning interest in the 300 cc bikes, so the updated version of a proven mid-size racetrack champ is exciting news indeed. I’ve been really looking forward to dissecting this blue rocket, so join me whilst I partake of what Yamaha has to offer.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R6.
2018 Honda CRF450R
Back in ’17, Honda rebuilt the CRF450R pretty much from the ground up, so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of new stuff and expected to see a straight-up carryover. Boy, was I mistaken. A new, lightweight lithium-ion battery drops enough weight that the factory decided to keep the electric leg and rely on it alone, having offered push-button start as an option last year as a market test. May as well, most of the other big-name MX producers have already done so and it will be expected from now on. Besides, it only adds five pounds to the bike, and that’s only likely to get lighter on subsequent models. Updated suspension settings and a lower center-of-gravity deliver a superior ride as compared to the ’17 model. Plus, tweaks to the engine result in quicker holeshots to help you establish and maintain your lead right out of the gate. All-in-all, a more capable machine meant for competition on the MX course, at least according to the factory prose. Let’s take a look for ourselves, shall we?
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CRF450R.
2016 - 2017 Yamaha YZ450F
When Yamaha redesigned the YZ450F engine back in 2010, it really struck a balance between power and control. The 2015 version carried top-shelf racers such as Weston Peick and Justin Barcia to podium finishes, so there is no denying that the largest of the YZ family is already an accomplished model. Not content to rest on its laurels, the factory introduced a number of improvements for the 2016 model year that carried over into 2017. How does one improve upon success? Let’s take a look and find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZ450F.
2016 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Street 500 / Street 750
If you remember back in the 1990s, Harley-Davidson offered the "49-95" Sportster. It was a no-frills entry-level bike priced affordably at $4,995 — hence the clever in-house nickname — and it let a lot of folks stick a toe in the water, as it were, into the motorcycle scene. The Street 500 and Street 750 are the new generation of that concept. The cost is little more than $4,995, though in today’s market, $6,899 is still considered affordably priced. The Streets have that same no-frills, no-nonsense approach to an entry-level bar-hopping café racer. Powered by a Revolution V-twin engine, the bikes are premium Harley. Just because the price is low doesn’t mean they skimped on quality. The Street siblings come with a steel teardrop tank and fenders covered in the deep, rich color and flawless finish that long ago made Harley-Davidson the benchmark for premium paint on a motorcycle. The cherry on top is the chrome tank badge — not a decal, as you might expect in a budget-minded bike, but a three-dimensional tank medallion — as Harley’s pledge to you that you are riding a premium quality machine.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street 500 and Street 750.
2017 - 2018 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 last year. Available as the Rebel 300 and 500, this reworked line sports 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. Unveiled at the Long Beach PIMS, I do think it is worth a look.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Rebel 300 and Rebel 500.