2018 - 2019 Kawasaki KLX250
Kawasaki pulled the KLX250 out of the mothballs, updated it and released back into the domestic market in 2018. That came on the heels of a three-year break, over which the KLX250 became kind of like the Loch Ness Monster, much discussed but rarely seen. Among the improvements are updated looks, revised suspension components and electronic fuel-injection that replaces the old Keihin carb from the previous generation. So, better looks, better ride and better performance in a market that hasn’t been glutted with KLX250 models for a few years.
2019 Zero Motorcycles DS / DSR
For years now, Zero Motorcycles has pushed the EV-bike envelope in an attempt to show how viable/flexible battery-bikes can actually be, and the factory just took another important developmental step with a fresh set of updates for its DS and DSR. These dual-sport rides toe the genre line with their overall design, but of course, the real magic is under the hood with an all-electric drivetrain the factory graced with both a power boost and a range increase in an effort to expand the factory’s footprint within this rapidly burgeoning market segment. Street-electrics generally stay in relatively civilized areas, but dual-sport rides are just as happy off the beaten path and that brings its own set of variables and issues to be resolved, so today I want to take a look at this pair to see what all the factory has done to address those concerns.
2016 - 2019 Yamaha TW200
The Yamaha TW200, brought forward for 2019 with its scrappy little 196 cc engine, is a nice learning bike, fully street legal but with that distinctive motocross-style swale seat that says you’re going off-road. On the move, the bike has nice low-end torque and you’ll feel the front end trying to come up when you get even a little twisty. Dual sport, yes, but so much about this bike just begs to be in the dirt.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha TW200.
2015 - 2019 Honda XR650L
Honda carries its venerable XR650L line into 2019, but to be honest, it’s almost completely unchanged from the original version unleashed on the world back in 1993. Before you scoff, I would point out that sharks haven’t changed in millions of years, having evolved long ago into creatures perfectly suited to their environments, and apparently, so it is with the XR650L. The Red Riders got it right out of the gate with this one, and popular support keeps the bike on Honda’s showroom floors even after nearly a quarter-century. I want to see what Honda has going on over there that gives this bike such longevity.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda XR650L.
2016 - 2019 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM
Pitting the fuel-injection fans against the carburetor fans, we score a point for the latter with the DR-Z400S and DR-Z400SM from Suzuki. Fuel injection hadn’t yet made an appearance in any of Suzuki’s dual-sport lineup, which was a good thing or a bad thing, depending on which side of the fence you’re on. For 2019, the DR-Z siblings haven’t yet been touched by the FI update. Sharing the same engine as the 500EXC from KTM, the DR-Zs come on a different chassis with progressive-link rear suspension. The “SM” — the SuperMoto of the family — and the “S” feature a six-liter air box with quick-release fasteners trouble-free access to the air filter and special low profile mirrors that rotate hoping to avoid damage, both are pluses when you’re playing in the dirt.
Continue reading for more information on the Suzuki DR-Z400S and DR-Z400SM.
2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR200S
Suzuki brings dual-sport capabilities to the entry-level sector with its DR200S. A heavy emphasis on offroad performance defines the overall look of the thing, and a 199 cc engine drives it over hill and dale as well as down the road with all the appropriate lighting for safety and legalities. The end result seems to be a functional, if plain, bike that provides a stable ride and moderate power with a humble overall bearing. A carry-over for the last few years, it hasn’t changed much, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki DR200S.
2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
It’s not the most attractive bike in the dual sport stable, though it’s small and scrappy with its 644 cc engine and so much fun to ride. With a glance at the DR650S from Suzuki and you might just dismiss it as an enduro bike. That would be doing it an injustice. It’s really a basic adventure bike that will get you off the pavement and into the woods with perhaps more gumption than a real adventure bike. Priced affordably, it isn’t a tragic to drop it as it would be otherwise and it is lightweight enough that you can pick it up and keep going.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki DR650S.
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.
What if BMW makes a mid-segment supersports?
The current S1000RR held the throne of being the most proficient machine in the liter class superbike segment in terms of technical prowess and the entire package for a long time now. But the German maker hasn’t had any footfall in the mid-segment supersport arena because they pretty much did not give a damn.
But imagining them do it is going to bring a lot of sleepless nights to the Japanese players who have taken the top slots to the throne in the 600 cc segment. There are no official word or snippets from anywhere suggesting this might happen, but this did not stop our friend Nicolas Petit to sketch a few potent machines that can come out of the Beemer factory gates.
2016 - 2018 KYMCO Super 8
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.
Ducati’s Multistrada family gets a new member: The Multistrada 1260
Ducati made a surprising move when it unveiled the Multistrada for the first time in 2010. They were basically introduced to satiate the thirst of those motorcycling aficionados, who love traversing new territories with pace, but naturally, find the supersport motorcycles too hardcore for the job. The Multistrada proved to be a successful amalgamation of the traits of both Superbike and sports tourers, easily giving it the title of the most practical motorcycle Ducati ever made.
Taking that practicality to new levels, Ducati has expanded its Multistrada family with the new Multistrada 1260, Multistrada 1260 S, Multistrada 1260 S D|Air (with airbag system) and Multistrada 1260 Pikes Peak. They come equipped with a bigger 1262cc engine, advanced electronic package, and more touring capability.
2018 ZERO Motorcycles pack 223 miles in just over 2 hours of charge!
With just a decade of experience in the industry, ZERO Motorcycles has been at the epitome of electrically powered machines on two wheels. Showing the world how to do it right all this while, the folks have upped their game for 2018.
Offering higher performances, the four models for 2018 will come in a set of modern colors and have battery packs that will provide for a ten percent extended range and six times faster-charging capabilities.
With this, the California Republic-based company is addressing the major issues faced by motorcycles running on ’non-liquified dinosaurs’.