When you add a Gran Turismo suffix to the name of a bike, it had better be more than just a streetbike with a set of bags, and it seems that KTM agrees. The new-in-2016 Super Duke GT sports the same 1,290 cc, 173-horsepower plant and much the same chassis as the rest of the family, but the factory boosted the tourability with a set of hard-side panniers and cruise control to go along with a host of comfort- and safety-related features, to include ABS, traction control and more. Best of all, the engineers managed to retain much of the sporty attitude and ability associated with the range to produce a true sport-tourer, so without further ado, let’s check out the details.
Continue reading for my review of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.
AMA Can’t Budge US Trade Representative Over Motorcycle Import Tariff
The ongoing battle between U.S. beef producers and the E.U. is, well, ongoing, and it seems certain that the imported, small-displacement motorcycle dealers are about to become part of the collateral damage. You see, The Powers That Be reckon that the best way to punish the European Union for not buying our beef is to slap a 100-percent tariff on 51 cc-to-500 cc imported motorcycles. That broad net is going to catch up almost all scooters, definitely the ones capable of safe highway speeds anyway, and it’s also going to hit the racers who depend on European manufacturers for their machines— on- and off-road alike. It’s going to affect Millennials, who tend to prefer the smaller rides as a matter of pragmatic frugality, and as a means to reduce their own contribution to our collective carbon footprint. As bad as all that is, the worst part is what is going to happen to the dealerships that rely on the sale of these machines to survive.
Continue reading for more on the import tariff.
2018 AJP Motorcycles PR7
Portugese off-road heavyweight AJP is looking to expand its influence in the U.S. market with a street-legal version of its popular PR7 adventure bike for 2018. The factory is keeping power figures close to the vest for the time being, but it’s fairly forthcoming with all the other metrics, and I know the 600 cc SWM engine that powers it puts out something in the neighborhood of 50 horsepower. That said, I’d like to take a look at this latest and final version of the PR7, but first I’d like to take a look at the builder.
Continue reading for my first look at the AJP Motorcycles PR7.
Indian Sets Three Land Speed Records On The Salt Flats
Ya know that feeling you get when you accidentally break a world record? How about three world records? Yeah, me neither, but apparently the folks over at Indian Motorcycle do. See, the factory had some people down at the dry lakebed at El Mirage, California to make preparations and practice for the upcoming Burt Munro 50th Anniversary commemorative run. The commemorative run itself is not about breaking speed records, but what are you gonna do when you have fast bikes on the Salt Flats? Yeah, ride fast.
Continue reading for more on the speed records.
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.
2017 CSC Motorcycles TT250
CSC Motorcycles — a west-coast importer for Chongqing Zongshen — brings us a dandy dual-sport bike in the TT250. With a 230 cc engine that offers manageable torque and horsepower, the TT250 gives us Enduro styling in a street-legal dual sport for off-road fun or economical commutes at an amazingly affordable price. It’s a gutsy little Chinese bike that is easy to start and runs quite well, so if your preconceived notion of Chinese bikes is that they’re crap, you might want to take another look.
Continue reading for my review of the CSC Motorcycles TT250.
2017 Norton V4 RR
British heavyweight Norton Motorcycles aimed to bring Isle of Man TT performance to the public, and it seems as though it has managed to do just that with the V4 RR. Superbike performance and dead-sexy curves are the hallmarks of this ride, and while that’s nothing new for Norton, there are plenty of details that set this ride apart from its usual fare. Carbon and Kevlar make an appearance with a 200-plus horsepower, V4 engine thrown into the mix for good measure, so yeah, this ain’t your run-of-the-mill race-tribute piece — it has bona fide competitive DNA in its design — but neither is it a racebike made street legal, but something in between.
Continue reading for my review of the Norton V4 RR.
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 MY17 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.
The Electra Glide Ultra Classic serves as Harley Davidson’s entry-level model for its full-dresser lineup. Updated for 2017, it sports improved suspension while reducing the heat felt by rider and passenger for greater all-around comfort. Not only that, but the all-new Milwaukee-Eight engine makes its way onto this ride for greater performance than ever before with 111.4 pound-feet of torque and six-speed transmission that comes geared for highway riding at a reasonable rpm. H-D’s Infotainment system makes an appearance as well, so the phrase “entry level” is obviously a relative statement. Let’s check out this updated classic to see where the balance was struck.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic.
First out in the 1970s, the VanVan from Suzuki has that charming retro look that screams UJM. Recently reintroduced here in the U.S., the VanVan gets a 200 cc engine, an upgrade from the old 125 cc model that is still available in other markets. In typical scrambler fashion, the VanVan 200 is the dirt-road/gravel-road/loose-dirt ride that qualifies it as a “sandbike” because of the fat rear tire that keeps you going. Better than an ATV in some situations, the Vanvan is lightweight and capable, perfect for a jaunt around the ranch, a quick run up the trapline or an excursion down the beach — anywhere the ground is loose and four wheels just won’t do.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Vanvan 200.
Suzuki launched the TU250 in 1994 to replace the GN250. The bike was lightweight with a standard riding posture meant to emulate the UJM — Universal Japanese Motorcycle — popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The second generation of the TU250 — dubbed the TU250X — was introduced in the U.S. market in 2009, though it did take a brief hiatus in 2010 and 2014. Available for 2018, the TU250X its with classic styling and spunky 250 cc engine makes a spiffy little commuter and economical transportation around town.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki TU250X.
TJ’s Top Picks For Entry-Level Bikes
The market is awash with entry-level-friendly motorcycles out there and someone new to the lifestyle — whether he be looking for a fun weekender, an economical commuter, or something serious — it can be quite daunting sorting through all the choices. I have my own preferences that I like as my picks for folks new to two wheels in each of three main categories: sportbike, adventure bike and cruiser. I’ll tell you what I like and why I like it. The final decision is always up to the buyer.
Continue reading for my picks for entry-level motorcycles.