Commuting Motorcycles reviews

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2014 - 2018 Piaggio Fly 50 / Fly 150

2014 - 2018 Piaggio Fly 50 / Fly 150

Economical Small-Displacement Transportation

On the campus, in the gated community or in an urban area, it’s hard to go wrong with a small-displacement scooter for running errands or generally getting around. Piaggio is happy to accommodate you with its Fly duo. On 12-inch wheels with all the usual storage a scooter can boast, the Fly 50 and Fly 150 carry a petite 1.8-ish gallon fuel tank; but with 100+ mpg in fuel economy, that little tank takes you far.

Continue reading for my review of the Piaggio Fly 50 and Fly 150.

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2015 - 2018 Indian Chieftain / Chieftain Dark Horse

2015 - 2018 Indian Chieftain / Chieftain Dark Horse

A Tribute To Yesteryear With Sexy Lines And Iconic Emblems

The Chieftain has all the classic elements that identify it as part of the Indian Motorcycle heritage, including classic badging and iconic War Bonnet mounted on the front fender, much like the figurehead on a wooden sailing ship leading the way into the wind. Carried forward into 2018, the Chieftain — powered by the triple-cam, V-twin Thunderstroke 111 engine — wears the same valenced fenders and vintage styling, leaving no question that it has a prominent place in the lineup of this historic brand.

Continue reading for my review of the Indian Chieftain and Chieftain Dark Horse.

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2016 - 2018 Suzuki Boulevard C90 B.O.S.S.

2016 - 2018 Suzuki Boulevard C90 B.O.S.S.

Blacked-Out Boulevard Bruiser

There can be no doubt that the American cruiser market is heating up, and Suzuki looks to capitalize on that class popularity with its Boulevard C90 Blacked-Out Special Suzuki (B.O.S.S.) model. Powered by a 1,462 cc V-twin engine, the C90 B.O.S.S. lives up to its name with black-out styling and agile handling for that sinister boulevard-bruiser look and feel. Let’s take a look at what Suzuki is doing to maintain a foothold with buyers in the U.S. cruiser market.

Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Boulevard C90 B.O.S.S.

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2016 - 2018 Indian Chief Vintage

2016 - 2018 Indian Chief Vintage

"Vintage" In The Truest Sense Of The Word

The word “vintage” gets tossed around a lot, but when a company with a history as long as Indian Motorcycles uses it, you can believe they mean it. Though the company has changed hands many times, the Chief model family, in one form or another, has been part of the Indian lineup since its inception in 1922. Indian Motorcycles, under Polaris Industries Inc., keeps that tradition alive with its 2018 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.

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2017 - 2018 SYM T2 250i

2017 - 2018 SYM T2 250i

Entry-Level or Commuter, It’s A Snappy Ride

SYM brings affordability and practicality together in its streetbike trainer, the T2 250i. This ride represents the largest non-scooter-type model the factory makes, and the 250 cc mill is its second-largest engine currently in production thus raising the ceiling a bit for the company in the two-wheel vehicle department. Built to take on the “Big Four” for a slice of the low-displacement crotch rocket market, this ambitious little ride carries features and aesthetic touches that most riders will find familiar, but looks ain’t everything at the end of the day.

Continue reading for my review of the SYM T2 250i.

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2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra

2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra

Riding A Trike Isn’t Just For Old Folks Anymore

Harley-Davidson’s three-wheeled Tri Glide Ultra moved into the 2017 model year with a handful of improvements and a brand-spanking new engine. The factory powers it with its powerful Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine introduced last year that cranks out over 100 pounds o’ grunt to place it well into the power-cruiser category, even though H-D markets it as a tour bike. Exhaust components rerouting addressed heat problems from prior model-years, and the King of Paint added a couple of new, two-tone paint schemes to the palette for 2017, as well as a 115th Anniversary model for 2018. Harley’s target market for this beast mainly consists of persons who are unwilling or unable to manage one of their admittedly top-heavy, two-wheeled tourers for one reason or another, and I’ve always considered it to be a very laudable thing to try and make sure that anyone who wants bugs in their teeth can have it.

Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra.

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2016 - 2018 SYM Wolf Classic 150

2016 - 2018 SYM Wolf Classic 150

The Budget-Minded Classic UJM

We usually think of the Sanyang Motor Co., Ltd — better known to us as SYM — as a scooter company, so when looking at their little Wolf Classic 150, I expected ...well, I expected less than what I saw. Unlike the Wolf 125 and 250 released in Asian markets that had a definite sport-bike look, the Wolf Classic has a UJM styling reminiscent of the imports back in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Does it look like the old Hondas? It should. SYM made the Honda 125s for a few decades back so they are well acquainted with the style.

Continue reading for my review of the SYM Wolf Classic 150.

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2015 - 2018 Suzuki Boulevard C90T

2015 - 2018 Suzuki Boulevard C90T

Your Basic No Frills Tourer

Cruisers and touring bikes go hand in hand for that relaxed, comfortable ride you get. The Boulevard C90T from Suzuki — absent for 2014, but back in 2015 - is the touring version of the C90 that was dropped after the 2013 model year, though the C90 B.O.S.S. is still going strong in 2018. Leather-look — not real leather, just leather textured — hard saddlebags and an ample windscreen give the C90T that "I’m ready for the road" look along with a 1,462 cc engine and five-speed transmixer. Is it ready for the road? I wanted to see if, in fact, the "T" in C90T really does mean "touring."

Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Boulevard C90T.

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2016 - 2018 Triumph Thruxton 1200 / 1200 R

2016 - 2018 Triumph Thruxton 1200 / 1200 R

For The Classic Cafe’ Racer, Thruxton Is Hard To Beat

Triumph has been busy as of late, expending vast energies and resources reinvigorating the venerable Bonneville range. The Thruxton family got some lovin’ in 2016 and the new incarnation certainly had big shoes to fill considering the fame and glory associated with the Thruxton name from back in the ’60s and ’70s, a fact not lost on the designers. A brand-new engine drives the range, and a whole host of modern, race-tastic features brings the old-school cafe’ racer look to the table with contemporary performance and features that make it less like just a tribute piece, and more of a modern machine with real-world relevance.

Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Thruxton 1200 and Thruxton 1200 R.

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2017 Yamaha SCR950

2017 Yamaha SCR950

An Authentic Scrambler In The Purist Sense

The retro war heats up as more manufacturers jump into the fray, and Yamaha finally took the plunge with its new-in-2017 SCR950 scrambler. Based on the Star Bolt, this bike runs the same proven 942 cc mill with a decidedly classic overall flavor dating back to the original scramblers of the ’60s and ’70s. I must confess that I have an affinity for scramblers, and I already know the Bolt is a heck of a bike, even if it is, shall we say, very ’flattering’ to a certain Sportster currently on the market, so it is with high expectations that I approach The Tuning Fork Company’s new foray into scrambler territory.

Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha SCR950.

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2016 - 2018 Lance PCH

2016 - 2018 Lance PCH

Euro-Styling On A Budget

Lance Powersports expanded its imported range back in 2013 with the addition of the PCH series scooters. Model year 2016 saw the addition of the 200i engine that brought the PCH into the 21st Century with fuel-injection induction control, better power and improved mileage. Offering the 50 cc and 125 cc models as part of the PCH stable, Lance gives the scooter market a Euro-sport styled, budget-minded ride for urban or suburban transportation.

Continue reading for my review of the Lance PCH 50, 125, and 200i.

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2016 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Roadster

2016 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Roadster

Maybe Not Fast, But Certainly Quick

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.

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2013 - 2018 Honda CB500F

2013 - 2018 Honda CB500F

An Honest, Uncomplicated Ride For The Money

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.

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2015 - 2018 Honda CBR500R

2015 - 2018 Honda CBR500R

Make Your Commute Fun

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.

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2017 - 2018 Suzuki SV650 ABS

2017 - 2018 Suzuki SV650 ABS

The New Look Of The UJM Standard

Suzuki continued with the evolution of the SV650 line last year with the all-new-for-2017 SV650. Built on the success of the original SV650 that covered 1999 through 2008, and its offspring, the SFV650 “Gladius,” this new ride carries the SV DNA into a new generation. This new ride replaces the Gladius, so SFV fans, if you are looking for anything beyond a 2015 model, abandon hope. Join me while I take a look at what lessons Suzuki has learned over the last 17 years or so of working on this family.

Continue reading for my look at the Suzuki SV650.

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2014 - 2018 Honda CBR600RR

2014 - 2018 Honda CBR600RR

MotoGP-Inspired Race Replica

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.

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2016 - 2018 BMW R nineT Scrambler

2016 - 2018 BMW R nineT Scrambler

The On-Road Bike With Off-Road Attitude

It is a well-known phenomenon that as people get to a certain stage in life, they crave things from their youth. Frequently, this coincides with a certain amount of disposable income to indulge in such nostalgia. Over time, entire industries have sprung from this demand, and even designers among established businesses capitalize on this market. The new-from-2016, R nineT Scrambler from the Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW Motorrad) seems to fall into just this sort of category. 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.

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2017 - 2018 BMW C 650 Sport / C 650 GT

2017 - 2018 BMW C 650 Sport / C 650 GT

The Maxi-Scooter Almost Too Beefy To Be A Mere Scooter

Nobody blurs the line between scooter and ’proper’ motorcycle better than the engineers at BMW, and the C 650 range is no exception. The 2018 C 650 “Sport” and “GT” models are a direct carryover from the ’16 model year, but that’s not surprising given how difficult it would be to improve upon the bundle of features already built in. I mean, it’s a scooter with traction control and ABS on board, plus a relatively large and powerful engine with a sophisticated engine management system, so this is ’not’ your grandfather’s scooter. I have a great appreciation for German engineering, so I’m looking to see what all Beemer has tucked away on its not-so-little maxi-scooter.

Continue reading for my review of the BMW C 650 GT and C 650 Sport.

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2017 - 2018 BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS

2017 - 2018 BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS

BMW Heats Up The Small-Displacement Market

BMW’s G 310 R roadster got a brother as it moved into the 2017 model year with the addition of the adventuresome G 310 GS. The “GS” builds on the success of the “R” with a few subtle changes that shift the design toward the adventure bike end of the spectrum. Sharing the same 313 cc engine, the G 310 pair head into the low-displacement market alongside some hot competition.

Continue reading for my review of the BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS.

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2016 - 2018 Moto Guzzi MGX-21

2016 - 2018 Moto Guzzi MGX-21

The MGX-21 "Flying Fortress"

Moto Guzzi fans with tour-bike tastes looking for a ride to take them hither and yon on the open roads were more or less limited to the California 1400 — until 2016. After much buildup and fanfare, the Moto Guzzi MGX-21 “Flying Fortress” (FF) was finally released, and it brought long-distance touring capacity and comfort to the table with a decidedly dated look that targets fans of classic American car design from the ’60s. A big, 1,380 cc V-twin pushes the FF with torque to spare, and a highly stylized front fairing, windshield and saddlebags completes the tour-tastic package. Here in the U.S. of A., we have different ideas than the rest of the world about what makes a proper tour bike. I had to admit that I was looking forward to the release, and couldn’t wait to see how well ’Guzzi interpreted the classic American touring bagger. I wasn’t disappointed.

Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress.

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2016 - 2018 KYMCO Super 8

2016 - 2018 KYMCO Super 8

A Compact Dual-Sport Scooter

The Super 8 in both the 50 cc and 150 cc models have been around for a bit, and while some folks discount KYMCO as a serious manufacturer, it’s worth a look. KYMCO maintains a prominent presence in the Grand National Cross Country Series, a grueling off-road racing circuit that hosts long courses over a variety of rugged terrains, and serves as a sort of trial-by-fire for both rider and machine. If that isn’t a testament to quality, I don’t know what is. We lost the Super 8 "R" siblings going into last year, but let’s take a look and see how well KYMCO’s race prowess transitions to the scooter sector with its 2018 Super 8 “X” model duo.

Continue reading for more information on the KYMCO Super 8.

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2016 - 2018 Lance Cabo 50/125/150

2016 - 2018 Lance Cabo 50/125/150

Off-Road Styling, But Is It Off-Road Capable?

Built by SYM and rebranded for Lance, the Cabo scooter line is all about aggressive sport styling and fun. Even though it’s built like an off-road ride, Lance insists the Cabo is not intended to be ridden off-road. Really? What about the action stills showing the Cabo in the dirt? Even in the "official Lance Cabo video", the rider does a little flat-tracking off-road. So is it a street-only scooter or does the promotional material lie? I really like the Cabo scooters and I was a little disheartened by the repeated statements that it isn’t intended for off-road. Let’s take a look at this off-road scooter that you’re not supposed to take off road.

Continue reading for my review of the Lance Cabo.

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2015 - 2018 Honda Ruckus

2015 - 2018 Honda Ruckus

The Mad Max Of Scooterdom

Do you want to ride a scooter for the ease of operation and the extraordinary fuel economy but don’t want to look like a sissy? While not all 50 cc scooters are sissified, a lot of them are. They come in pretty pastel colors and cute designs, something that just isn’t your style. How do I know? Because you’re reading this. Enter the Ruckus (NPS50 ) from Honda, known in other markets as the Zoomer. Bare bones — naked bike, anyone? — and gnarly, the Ruckus looks like it’s right out of Mad Max. No one is going to say, “Awww, isn’t that cute?” when you ride by on a Ruckus. Granted, you won’t be going very fast, so on-lookers will get a good, long look.

Continue reading for my review of the Honda Ruckus.

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