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.
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.
2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob
Harley-Davidson’s Fat Bob is one of only a few [Dyna1760] models that made the crossover into the all-new 2018 Softail lineup. Its popularity as an FXD played heavily into that decision, and it looks like the factory is doubling down on more of the same modern-custom/bobber vibe that endeared it to its fans. Heavily bobbed and blacked-out, the Fat Bob comes with a choice between the 107-inch Milwaukee-Eight and the 114-inch version along with a (relatively) sporty new suspension system, all of which gives the Fat Bob an aggressive bent that is meant to appeal to a younger generation of rider. Will it be enough? Time will tell, and with the overall decline of motorcycling, models that grab the Millennials’ attention may help prop up the MoCo until the next gen comes of age or, at least, until the pendulum swings back the other way.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob.
2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim
Harley-Davidson and the custom-bike culture have always gone hand-in-hand, and the new Softail Slim makes for a rolling tribute to both. The Slim rides on the same, newly-revamped frame as the rest of the fake-hardtail family for that unmistakeable geometry and dated look that you just can’t get from a traditional swingarm. Bobbed fenders and blackout paint tie right into the custom trends of yesteryear
quite nicely, but it’s the 107 cubic-inch Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin and its 100-plus pounds of torque that drives the Slim past “historical-tribute” turf right into viable power-cruiser territory. Since the whole point of the original bobbers was to provide a more thrilling ride, I find this pairing of power and panache to be entirely fitting. This is a big year for the Softails as the MoCo phases out its Dyna cruisers and the ST family takes on the full weight of the cruiser market all by its onesies, and it’s interesting to see what the factory decided to hinge its mid-size hopes upon. That’s right folks; this ain’t last year’s Softail, so let’s check it out.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Softail Slim.
2016 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Roadster
Honestly, at first glance I was a little underwhelmed by this new-in-2016 offering from The Motor Company. I thought it was a little sparse, a little spare, and an exercise in understatement. It wasn’t until I started to familiarize myself with the bike that I realized this is the whole point of the design. Still, my disappointment persisted as I labored under the misconception that this bike was just a lightly modified version of existing Sportster models, but again I was off target since it actually uses a slightly different frame than the other Sporties, and comes with enhanced suspension as well. At this point, I abandoned all of my preconceptions and took a slightly more objective look at the Roadster, finally willing to give it an honest chance. This is what I found.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Roadster.
2016 - 2018 Yamaha XSR900
New-from-2016 in Yamaha’s sport heritage stable, we have the XSR900. Influenced by the classic “XS” series from the ’70s and ’80s, the XSR shows its roots with retro styling and stepped seating combined with just enough modern tech that you know you’re in the 21st century. At first glance, it looks like a nice little bike: compact and sporty. On second glance...and third...it looks like a whole lot of bike for an affordable price. I wasn’t expecting dual 298 mm front disks, beefy inverted forks and respectable power-to-weight ratio for less than 10 grand.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha XSR900.
2016 - 2018 Yamaha Bolt R-Spec / Bolt C-Spec
The Bolt from Yamaha’s Star cruiser line is a cool little bobber-style bike with its high tank, short wheelbase and solo seat. It’s a nice around town bike — lightweight and agile — and naked with real-steel sheet metal, it just begs you to customize it. What could be better? Enter the Bolt’s siblings, the dressier Bolt R-Spec and the café racer Bolt C-Spec. The Spec duo are every bit as snappy and fun to ride as the Bolt, but with some upgrades, both hardware and cosmetic. Powered by the air-cooled 942 cc V-twin engine, the Specs are in the same size slot as the Bolt: not too small that you’ll outgrow it right away and not so big to be overwhelming for new riders. At just a few bills more than the Bolt, they’re worth a look.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha Bolt R-Spec and Bolt C-Spec.
2016 - 2018 Yamaha Bolt
As Yamaha’s "Made in the U.S." cruiser line, Star shows its stuff with the 2018 lineup. The Bolt continues with that classic "bobber" style — high tank and short wheelbase — folks here expect to see in old-school styling. Powered by an air-cooled V-twin engine, but with a plenty of technology on board, the Bolt is a good in-between size — not too small that you’ll outgrow it soon and not so big that it is intimidating for new riders. The bobber-style solo seat, easy cruisin’ rider triangle and naked-bike look make the Bolt a choice little bar hopper or commuter ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha Bolt.
2018 Harley-Davidson Street Bob
The Harley-Davidson lineup has undergone some serious changes for MY18, and the chopped-down, Dyna-based Street Bob was rebuilt and reintroduced as a Softail model while the Dyna family was cut from production in its entirety. Not only did it switch to Harley’s faux-rigid style frame, but the frame itself got completely reinvented to the point where it bears little resemblance to the original that saw the light of day for the first time back in ’84. Sure, it still has that classic Softail visage, but the factory achieved it in a totally different way this time, and any perceived similarities are only skin deep. As if that wasn’t enough, the Street Bob got a beating-heart transplant with the addition of the new-to-cruisers, Milwaukee-Eight 107 powerplant that brings over 100 pounds of twist to the table. More power, new frame and a new family/model combination. Excited yet? I know I am, so let’s get started.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Bob.
2018 Harley-Davidson Breakout
Once again, the Motor Company takes what’s old and makes it new again with its revamped-for-2018 Softail lineup, and the drag-tastic “Breakout” is one of the models that made the jump to the new MY18 range. 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 has pinned its mid-size hopes on for the foreseeable future.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Breakout.
2018 Indian Motorcycles Scout Bobber - How Does It Stack Up To The Competition?
Among the other party favors and door prizes at Indian’s “Hometown Throwdown” party at the 2017 X-Games was the unveiling of the new “Bobber” version of the popular Scout lineup. This re-imagined Scout uses much the same chassis and running gear as the rest of the retro-tastic family, but the overall panache takes it somewhere else, entirely. Why is it a big deal, you ask? Well, it signals that Indian has seen the writing on the wall, and is moving to capture the next generation of motorcycle riders and indoctrinate them with some brand loyalty early on with a sexy variant of one of the hottest bikes on the planet right now. Powered with a 1,130 cc engine that delivers 72 pound-feet of torque and 100 horsepower, is the Scout Bobber is just the bike to do it?
Continue reading for more on the Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber.
2018 Indian Scout Bobber
When Polaris took over the operations ofIndian Motorcycles, they literally revived the brand from the dark shallows of the abyss and created a niche for the brand worldwide. Since then, Indian motorcycles seems to have found its stronghold and has been swiftly introducing more products to its existing lineup. For its new instalment on the Scout platform, the Polaris owned manufacturer has launched the 2018 Indian Scout Bobber. A black-out minimalistic approach of the Scout platform ready to tear apart the asphalt.
The reason it is in existence is credited to the purists and enthusiasts who started building one from their Scouts. So the folks at Indian decided to capture the American way of the ‘30s and built this brutally beautiful factory custom bobber. It carries around the same panache and poise of the Scout and leaves no question of having a prominent place in the lineup of this historic brand. This could just as well be the bike you’ve been waiting for, and I cannot wait to decipher the logic behind this.
Triumph Celebrates Record-Breaking Bonneville Bobber Launch
The design team that dreamed up the Bobber must surely be slapping each other on the ass right about now. They managed to cook up one of the sweetest rides on the roads today, and if you don’t agree then obviously all your taste is in your mouth. Sales numbers don’t lie, and Triumph sold more Bonneville Bobbers in the first 30 days after initial release than any other model it has made, ever. That’s no mean feat given the history of the company, but I can’t say I’m surprised, I’ve said for years that Harley-Davidson should make a similar model based on the Sportster line, and I absolutely adore the Bobber, in fact, Triumph just wrapped up a North American event cleverly named the Bonneville Bobber Brutal Beauty Tour.
Continue reading for more on the record-breaking sales event.
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.
Introduced last year, the all-new, V9 range that 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 engine with which to power this mid-size, standard cruiser – really more of a barhopper/grocery-getter that’s perfect for around town riding while maintaining a limited road trip capacity. I say “limited” only because it can be rather fatiguing riding a lightweight, short wheelbase bike over long distances at highway speeds, and I would know, having put many state lines behind my Sportsters over the years, but I digress. Many manufacturers are riding the current wave of enthusiasm for custom and classic-looking bikes, and luckily for ’Guzzi, it has its own deep roots to draw upon for inspiration.
Continue reading for my look at the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer and V9 Bobber.
Ever since I got my first glimpse of the Triumph Bonneville Bobber at the Milan show I’ve been 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 seems to have 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 nostalgicruiser.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Bonneville Bobber.
Harley certainly loves historical references, and that comes naturally since they helped to define those eras. The factory picked the 1950s as the targeted period for the FLS Softail Slim, specifically the minimalist “bobber” niche known for trimming off anything that didn’t directly contribute to performance.
Bobber enthusiasts back in the day were fixated on one thing only — the need for speed — and Harley was not remiss in this regard. The factory keeps sticking more powerful engines into each successive model, so this ride is not meant for the all-show/no-go category. Let’s take a look and see how the details pan out.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Softail Slim and Softail Slim S.
Introduced in 2006, the Dyna Street Bob (FXDB) was the first "Dark Custom" designed for Harley-Davidson’s Dyna family. The Street Bob originally came with an 88.5 cubic-inch (1,450 cc) engine and graduated to 96.7 cubes (1,584 cc) in 2007. After the release of the Twin Cam 103 in the 2012, Harley dropped it into the Street Bob starting in 2014.
In the modern bobber style, the 2017 Street Bob is minimal: solo seat, no windshield, cut-down fenders, mid-mount controls and retro-style air cleaner cover. Minimal doesn’t mean lack of comfort, though. The Street Bob is very comfortable — comfortable enough for all-day riding. With bags and a windshield, it would make a nice casual tourer — better than a Softail would.
Minimal also doesn’t mean lack of quality. The Street Bob holds to the same standard of quality that Harley is known for and pledges that to you in a cast 3-D fuel tank medallion, not some econo graphic sticker.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Bob.
No matter what style of bikes you prefer, if you are old enough to legally ride street bikes, chances are pretty good that you’ve heard of the Triumph Bonneville family. Originally released in 1959, the Bonnie quickly became popular with speedsters in the U.S. and abroad, and it inspired numerous incarnations spanning decades, and even Triumph brand-name and factory owners.
The line 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 joins Triumph’s new-for-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.
Black-out is the name of the game with Harley-Davidson’s Fat Bob — a member in good standing of the Dark Custom series. While the Fat Bob only saw a new paint color for 2015, for 2016 Harley slapped that High Output Twin Cam 103™ engine in it for some extra sexiness. With fat tires, an extreme riding position, and hot-rod styling, the Fat Bob looks like a beast and yeah, it talks the talk, but it also walks the walks when it comes to performance.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob.