2017 - 2018 KTM 125 Duke
The battle of the flyweights rages on as KTM stays in the fray with its race-tastic 125 Duke. KTM takes much the same tack as the competition and builds its entry-level ride to resemble the machines it has to offer further up the licensing chain. The angular Duke bodywork and exposed Trellis frame set the stage for the key player, the 11 kW powerplant that keeps the 125 Duke within the A1 performance envelope and turns it into a weapon in the fight for the zenith of the nadir, ie, the entry-level masses yearning to breathe free. KTM has established quite a name for itself as the King of Thumpers with a proven off-road record, but today I’m going to take a look and see how the littlest Duke stacks up against the rest of the 125 cc streetbike field.
Continue reading for my review of the KTM 125 Duke.
2018 Honda CB125R
Honda looks to cash in on the resurgent interest in café racers with its all-new “Neo-Sports Café” design family that includes the entry-level CB125R at the very bottom of the totem pole. The CB125R packs big-bike features into a decidedly small-bike package with many of the same details as its slightly bigger brother, the CB300R. It comes with its performance restricted to 9.8 kW (13 hp) in order to meet licensing requirements across the European Union and serve to bait the table to draw in and indoctrinate new riders at the earliest opportunity. Did they hit the mark? Let’s dig in and find out.
Continue reading for my look at the Honda CB125R.
2017 - 2018 KTM 390 Duke
The value of indoctrination is not lost on KTM, evidenced by the fact that they’ve updated and generally spruced up their entry-level unit, the 390 Duke for 2017, and those improvements carry straight over into the 2018 season. New upside-down stems float the front end along with larger, more powerful brakes to help manage the energy from the 44-horsepower engine and 328-pound dry weight. Ride-by-wire tech makes an appearance for a bit of tech you normally don’t see at this price point. Add to this a fresh new look and you have a recipe for success, or so KTM hopes. Let’s dive in and see what else the Austrian bike maker has in store for us.
Continue reading for my review of the KTM 390 Duke.
2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Carbon Dark
Paying tribute to their past, Moto Guzzi headed to a major revival plan and launched the new range of V9 platform and the third iteration of their most celebrated roadster model, the V7 back in 2017.
The V7 is also the first model created by MG and celebrating the 50th year of the first, the brand launched the V7 III with four editions in 2017: Stone, Special, Racer and a celebratory entrant Anniversario. Expanding this footprint for 2018, MG launched the ‘Rough’, ‘Milano’, ‘Stornello’and finally the ‘Carbon Dark’ edition.
All of the ‘V7s have been prepped up for the consciousness of the new generation of motorcycling. The V7 models will be the same breed of bikes that differ slightly to imprint different characters carrying the same soul, and my favorite of them all is the limited-edition ‘Carbon Dark’, which as the name suggests, gets quite a bit of carbon-fiber on it.
2019 Honda CB300R
Honda expands its Neo-Sports Cafè lineup with the new-for-2019 CB300R that brings more of the same cafè-tastic vibe that we got with the CB1000R, just in an entry level-size package. This naked little pocket crotch-rocket — or “Sport Naked” as the factory has dubbed the style — looks to pull in younger riders with a user-friendly, 286 cc powerplant and lightweight design. After a race to the bottom of the usable displacement range for the sport and naked genres, Honda is refining its bottom-tier rides, so join me while I take my first look at this all-new machine from the Red Riders and see how it stacks up against some of the other current pocket-rockets.
Continue reading for my look at the Honda CB300R.
Honda is surprising us with the entry of the CB300R in July
"JAPANESE CRAFTSMANSHIP" and the "Spirit of CAFÉ RACER". This is how Honda described its new Neo Sports Cafe motorcycle project that was unveiled to the world on November 6th, just a day before the EICMA Milan motorcycle show. Later what came of that is the CB1000R naked-retro along with the CB300R and the CB125R.
Honda started rolling the naked liter onto the streets soon after setting up the stage for to bring in a whole new flavor into motorcycling. Having the same classic design lines with modern underpinnings, the CBR300R is now making its way onto our shores, and we cannot be any less delighted for this honor.
MV Agusta doubles-down on the "Special" with the RVS#1
Some time back, MV Agusta created a special division called the Reparto Veicoli Speciali, or Special Vehicles Department, and handed them the task of creating the best MV Agusta machines that beam in terms of quality, research, performance, and emotions. This division was joined by the San Marino Research Center Castiglioni (born initially as CRC, Cagiva Research Center) to work on the brand’s Brutale Dragster 800 RR and come out with an evil looking motorcycle that will scare the daylights out of anything on the road.
Enter the RVS#1. Now, MV folks have released a ‘corporate video’ of this machine being built to rekindle their faith in customers who might have otherwise lost touch with the brand’s etiquettes amongst the recent financial scandals that put MV in troubled waters.
2018 Moto Guzzi Griso 1200 S.E.
Moto Guzzi carries its Griso 1200 8V Special Edition into 2018 with the new “Black Devil” livery over the same custom/blackout treatment as the previous gen, and the customary naked look long associated with the range. Much of that look is centered around the exposed, 110-horsepower V-twin powerplant that comes set transversely in the frame for that instantly recognizable ’Guzzi vibe. A sleek shape and nimble frame provide the agility, but the rider will need to provide all the skill since it runs sans any sort of electronic aids or fandanglery such as traction control or anti-wheelie/slip protection. This is one ride that you can take at face value as a raw, honest streetfighter.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi Griso 1200 S.E.
KTM busy with testing the Euro V compliant 1290 SuperDuke
When the flagship Super Duke was released in 2014, it blew us away and reigned supreme in the super naked market. It received major updates for 2017 showcasing no plans to be dethroned as the brand that gives us outright thrill seeking motorcycles along with being competitive.
Now, KTM has been caught busy testing their next generation of the flagship that is said to run on Euro V compliant mill. On the exteriors, there isn’t much new going on but on the inside, it is a whole different story.
The "White Ghost" is the new benchmark in commuter electric motorcycle
Established in 2014, Sur-Ron is a 40-person Chinese firm that aims to build high-performance electric motorcycles and bikes. For their second installment, the company has launched a sub $3000 electric commuter motorcycle for the proletariats and the urban masses who love traveling on two wheels all-day to work.
Called as the “White Ghost”, it comes with first-in-class features and styling to go about the cement forest without having to care any less about polluting it. Specked out with a decent battery-motor combo, the White Ghost is best suitable for short runs within the urban jungle.
2018 Ducati Monster 821
Ducati’s iconic Monster line gets an upgrade with the updated Monster 821. Newly revised for 2018, the Monster 821 benefits from some trickle-down engineering from its big brother, the Monster 1200, and a host of new design touches all its own. A new tank, tail section, headlight and muffler gives it an all-new variation on the classic Monster look with due consideration for the original Monster 900. Duc’s Testastretta L-twin powerplant serves up streetfighter performance with 109 horsepower tucked away in the stable and a host of safety systems to aid the rider in keeping it all under control. Not an entry-level ride by any stretch of the imagination, the Monster 821 does offer an experienced rider a mercurial platform that can shift personalities at the touch of a button for a wide range of conditions and skill levels.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Monster 821.
Husqvarna finally releases their Huskies onto the streets
Since the time Husqvarna showcased its ‘Real Street’ Vitpilen 401 and the Swartipilen 401 concepts at the 2014 EICMA, the industry is abuzz to see some bonkers design unlike anything seen before on the streets. The following year saw the Vitpilen 701 concept showcased at EICMA, and it wasn’t until this year that we get to see the production models for 2018.
Finally, after playing the tease game all this while, the Swedish Huskies have dropped the Vitpilen and the Svartipilen machines on the streets and will come to a showroom near you. This Vitplilen 701 will be the first of the Husqvarna’s ‘Real Street’ motorcycle lineup that is headed to bring in the Swedish company’s name into the world stage followed by the Vitpilen 401, Swartipilen 401 and Swartipilen 701.
2018 Triumph Street Triple R
Triumph raises the bar with a mid-level upgrade to its base Street Triple model with the Street Triple R and Street Triple R Low. These two siblings take the family to a more sport-tastic level with a number of upgrades to go with its aggressive good looks, starting with TFT instrumentation and extra electronic engine-control features that see riding modes added alongside the TC system, and an on-board ride computer that monitors and displays fuel burn rates, ambient temps and more. A souped-up engine powers the pair with 116 ponies in the paddock that are just waiting to be turned loose and let run. Upgraded suspension components improve handling with beefier brakes to haul it down, but that’s just the broad strokes. Join me whilst I delve into the details.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Street Triple R and R Low.
Ducati is planning a big bash for the 25th anniversary of their Monster
The history of Ducati is driven by a unique engineering talent that has always generated motorcycles of unmistakable design and most profound sporting spirit. The Monster is no different. Which is why Ducati has planned a big bash for its 25th anniversary inviting all monsteristi to a Sunday Ride Classic, 24 March at Le Castellet, France.
The busy program includes many other events celebrating Ducati’s naked machine apart from the special celebratory parade. It will include the original Monster 900 MY1993 displayed at the Ducati Museum, an exhibition of special and custom Monsters and various contests.
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.
Menza Motors have launched the "Lucat" electric power commuter
The Emflux One is India’s first electric superbike that was launched at the 2018 Indian Auto Expo with tall claims of having a 125 mph superbike that runs on electricity for up to 100 miles at full range. And if you go full-blown-track-mode, expect a range of around 50 miles.
Now, another Indian start-up, Menza Motors, has come up with their version of an electric “power commuter” called the Lucat. And it looks bonkers for a brand new firm. This too was launched at the same Auto Expo as the Emflux was. The ‘Menza Lucat’, as it is called, is a naked streetfighter that is a factory-customized motorcycle.
2013 - 2018 KYMCO K-PIPE 125
The mini-streetbike market heats up with new competition to go head-to-head with the long-standing K-Pipe 125 from Kwang Yang Motor Co, Ltd — better known to us as the Taiwanese manufacturer, KYMCO — introduced not long ago to the U.S. market. Intended to be lightweight and fuel-efficient, the K-Pipe gives the pocket bike class — long dominated by Honda with the Grom and now with the Z125 PRO from Kawasaki — a viable, less expensive option. Entry level? Yes. Commuter? Sure. Fun? Definitely.
Continue reading for my review of the KYMCO K-Pipe 125.
Richard Hammond goes 200 miles on a TVS commuter to end world hunger
Commuter motorcycles are...well…used to commute basically. But for many folks in Africa and India, carry anything and everything under the sun on these puny little machines. Free from stuff like a roof, windows or doors, you can carry some surprisingly tall, long or wide objects on a motorcycle.
How about long poles for drying fish?? Weird right? Not according to Richard Hammond.
For the season finale, the chaps of the motoring show Grand Tour have embarked on a journey to end world hunger (Just the small village of Bingo in Mozambique they mean). And Richard Hammond has opted to travel 200 miles transporting fish on a 99cc TVS Star HLX across Mozambique.
Check the video to see how much fun they both had.
Triumph releases pricing of the Speed Triple S and RS
Earlier this month, Triumph unveiled their new most powerful, smartest and best handling Speed Triples ever, the Speed Triple S and RS. This British hooligan is back with better electronics and equipment list and carries over the glory days that started way back with the ’94 Speed Triple T309. The original ‘factory streetfighter’.
When the British brand made the factory launch, we were told that the pricing of these machines would be announced on the 28th. But they have spilled the beans a week early at the official international press launch in Almería, Spain.
2017 - 2018 SSR Motorsports Razkull 125
“Pit bike,” “monkey bike,” and even “ankle-biter” has been used to describe the Razkull 125 from SSR Motorsports. I suppose arguments could be made for and against any and all of these monikers, but no matter what you call it, the Razkull is a fun little ride that is inexpensive, and easy to own and operate. Compact and powered by a 125 cc thumper, the Razkull demonstrates why going fast on a slow bike is a whole lot more fun than going slow on a fast bike.
Continue reading for my review of the SSR Motorsports Razkull 125.
2017 - 2018 Benelli TNT300
Benelli put together the TNT300 “Tornado” with both the entry-level market and the frugal commuter segment in mind. This sporty little ride brings an unintimidating powerplant to the table tucked away in a naked sportbike assembly that fits in with current styling standards and carries more than a little Italian DNA. Sophisticated enough to pass muster with the emissions folks, this ride nevertheless presents a relatively simple alternative to some of the available options on the market today. Competition is stiff in the bottom-tier streetbikes from some very well established names, and while Benelli enjoys some 100-year-plus roots itself, the name now belongs to the Qjian Jiang Group (QJ) based in China. Today I’m going to take a look and see how well the transition is working out for this storied Italian company.
Continue reading for my review of the Benelli TNT300.
2017 - 2018 Benelli TNT 600
Benelli’s TNT600 – their biggest sportbike available in the U.S. market – hits the streets for 2018. Powered with a 600 cc engine and upgraded brakes from the previous gen, the TNT 600 is touted as the hottest-selling middleweight naked sportbike in India, though it encounters stiff competition and less-than-enthusiastic response here in North America. Though its roots are Italian, Benelli now comes to us from China. So is it an Italian bike? Or a Chinese bike?
Continue reading for my review of the Benelli TNT 600.