2019 Zero Motorcycles S / SR
The electric-bike market becomes more viable almost daily it seems, and Zero is at the cutting edge with a number of improvements for its naked-sportbike series — the “S” and “SR” models – going into 2019. We’re talking about more power with a higher top-end kind of improvements, and that’s on top of faster recharge times and a lighter curb weight; in other words, just about every important metric was buffed for MY19. Even the electronics are smarter this year to complete the package. This might be the hottest thing going in the EV bike sector at this point, so today I want to see what’s under the hood and how it stacks up against some of the likely competition.
2019 BMW C 400 GT
BMW Motorrad expands its C 400 range with a Gran Turismo version designed to bring some long-distance capabilities to the table. This mid-size scooter features comfort amenities alongside safety features that deliver peace of mind, and let’s face it, peace of mind has a comfort factor all its own. Cutting-edge electronics and multimedia connectivity come standard, and I gotta’ say the electronics suite is vastly superior to a good number of “proper” motorcycles on the market today. Think I’m overstating it? Hold that thought for just a few minutes and I’ll make a believer of you.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW C 400 GT.
2019 Kawasaki W800 Café
Classic looks and modern performance come together with a parallel-twin to push this homegrown-looking bike, the new Kawasaki W800 Café. Unveiled at 2018 EICMA, the factory pulled out all the stops to give it a custom, homegrown appeal.
Continue reading for my look at the Kawasaki W800 Café.
2019 Harley-Davidson LiveWire
Electric-powered bikes are at the cutting edge of technology as the world grapples with its fossil-fuel dependency and seeks viable alternatives, and the LiveWire represents the MoCo’s contribution to that effort. Harley-Davidson teased us back in ’14 with the Project Livewire prototype, but at the EICMA “Milan Show” this year the production version finally saw the light of day. This machine brings a slew of features to the table that shows that Milwaukee is not as mired in the past as its detractors would like to have you believe with safety and comfort amenities that qualify as top-shelf by anyone’s standards. This is a thoroughly modern ride with up-to-date equipment, and even though it’s operating within a still-niche genre, there’s no problem at all in finding a suitable competitor, so let’s get to it.
Continue reading for my look at the Harley-Davidson LiveWire.
2015 - 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero / Vulcan 1700 Voyager
Kawasaki’s Vulcan 1700 line is well established with the Vaquero and the Voyager — a bagger and full dresser, respectively — both come with ABS and, as the name suggests, the 1700 cc engine in the V-twin configuration with liquid cooling and a six-speed transmission. Ready for a cruise around town or hitting the open road, the Vulcan 1700s are well fitted and all-around solid.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero and Vulcan 1700 Voyager.
2019 Kawasaki Ninja 125
Indoctrination is best started young, and Kawasaki shows that it agrees with that assertion with its new-for-2019 Ninja 125 targeting the youngest riders within the tiered licensing system favored by much of the EU and UK. The A1 bracket’s restrictions are fairly severe, and it takes a special machine to balance the limited performance requirements against what it takes to make something actually fun to ride. Kawi’s littlest Ninja brings the right blend of small-bike power and big-bike handling to the table to fit that bill, so today I want to check out this exciting new ride and see how it stacks up against the competition from some of the other big four.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Ninja 125.
2019 Ural Gear Up
Ural Motorcycle — the Russian company built around a captured German machine from WWII — hits 2019 with some fairly major updates that bring the Gear Up into the 21st century. Most of the improvements are “under the hood” as it were, but the factory brushed up the looks and specific equipment for three submodels to make the “GU,” potentially, four rides out of one. Cross-country safety is increased with these models as they’ve been on the receiving end of a universal spare tire that will work in any of the three possible positions. This is the most thorough engine update in quite a while, so let’s check out what those clever Russians have in store for us.
Continue reading for my review of the Ural Gear Up.
2017 - 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 650
Coming off an update in MY2017, the Kawasaki Ninja 650 remains a very capable sportbike as we move into 2019. The Ninja is powered by a 649 cc, water-cooled engine with all the wizardry needed to earn it a place in the iconic Ninja lineup.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Ninja 650.
2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC
Triumph Motorcycles bills its new Scrambler 1200 XC as an “all-road” machine that’s got what it takes to tackle everything you throw at it. Not quite as off-road-tastic as its sibling, the 1200 XE, it nevertheless delivers top-shelf performance by anyone’s standards. Adjustable, long-stroke suspension components join a “scrambler-tuned” engine and wire wheels for the brown-top work, and for the blacktop, there’s a whole slew of electronic safety goodies that give the “XC” its split-personality. Bonneville power and classic looks come together in the XC, so today I want to dive into the details of this Gemini ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC.
2019 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport
Moto Guzzi modified its already-sporty V9 Bobber with even more race-tastic yummy-goodness to produce its new-for-2019 V9 Bobber Sport. The “Sport” pays homage to the post-WWII flat dirt track racers of the late forties and fifties with beefy tires, liberal blackout treatment and fork boots. Aesthetics may be intentionally dated, but performance from the 850 twin is entirely modern with a double dose of electronic safety gear to boot. A special, two-tone palette wraps the package up and identifies it at a glance, and of course, the racing bits make a slightly more subtle impact that further sets it apart from the base V9 Bobber.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport.
2019 Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro
Ducati refined its dual-surface game ahead of 2019 with a new, larger engine for its largest Multistrada adventure platform. The result is the souped-up 1260 “Enduro” that necessarily brings more power to the table along with an even greater affinity for off-road work to deliver an almost rally-style package. Of course, the factory backs it up with a robust accessories line that lets you gear up according to taste and needs. It isn’t all about the brown; the electronics suite makes sure that the Enduro retains its road-friendly mien so it can continue to serve as Ducati’s primary globetrotter. Today I want to check out the new Enduro to see what all makes it tick, and see how it compares to another proper dual-purpose ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro.
2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
Triumph brings classic scrambler looks and modern performance together with its new-for-MY2019 Scrambler 1200 XE. The “XE” carries itself with plenty of the old-school standard DNA on display and an off-road bias that leaves no doubt as to how it’s meant to be used. Proper “any-road” hoops deliver the goods on just about any surface, but it’s the top-shelf safety electronics that really sell this Bonneville-powered ride. Triumph promises a machine with a true dual-identity, so today I want to test that claim and see how it stacks up against one or two prominent competitors.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE.
2019 MV Augusta F4 Claudio
Tribute pieces frequently pay homage to a particular year-model or perhaps a certain race, but MV Agusta’s F4 “Claudio” is a piece of art that doubles as a mobile shrine to its designer; Claudio Castiglioni. The factory used the F4 as a platform for a whole host of ’luxe aesthetics that brush up the looks; no mean feat for a bike called “the world’s best-looking bike” back in ’97. This machine is far from all-show/no-go. It comes with track-capable power and the electronics you’ll need to keep it all under control. It’s truly a spectacular specimen, but don’t take my word for it, read on and let me convince you.
Continue reading for my review of the MV Agusta F4 Claudio.
2015 - 2019 Yamaha V Star 250
If you’re a carburetor fan, you’re still in luck for a 250 cc commuter bike with the 2019 V Star 250 from Yamaha. Simple, classic cruiser good looks and scooter-like fuel economy make the V Star 250 a no-nonsense choice for a budget-minded or entry-level rider.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha V Star 250.
2019 Triumph Tiger 1200 XCx
Triumph polished its off-road chops ahead of MY2018 with a new Tiger 1200 XCx that rocks more of what you want and less of what you don’t in an adventure bike. The “XCx” is looking trim at the scale after a Summer at fat-camp, and that trickles down to turn in improved handling and performance from the improved chassis and significantly upgraded powerplant. Adjustable ride-quality controls ride alongside layered electronic safety features to make this XCx quite flexible and capable of fitting a variety of roles and riders. The Tiger moniker has always set a high bar, so today let’s see how Trumpet measures up against its own yardstick and check out the likely competition.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Tiger 1200 XCx.
2018 - 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 400
Kawasaki took the next step in the struggle to find that perfect balance between displacement, performance and affordability with the new-in-2018 Ninja 400. This ride delivers the aggressive styling that you expect from the Ninja family with a host of improvements over the previous generation. More power, less weight and a mature presentation should hold the new Ninja in good stead in the highly-competitive small-displacement sportbike market that serves as the main battlefield in the contest to instill some brand loyalty in the increasingly important Millennial buyer base.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Ninja 400.
Honda produced its CBR125R for one reason, and one reason only; as a trainer bike for new riders who are into, or who want to be into, supersport motorcycles. It’s built to deliver the same eager and agile handling as its larger-displacement siblings, just with a powerplant that meets A1 license requirements. Big-bike style and feel helps train the next generation of would-be fiery-eyed pegdraggers, whether they be destined for that actual “Track Life,” or just want to look like they are. The 125 cc bracket may be the lowest meaningful classification, but it’s also one of the most important as it targets the entry-level market and represents the first real opportunity to instill some brand loyalty. Let’s check out Honda’s littlest CBR today and see what all the Red Riders have going on over there, then we’ll see how it stacks up against one of its domestic competitors.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CBR125R.