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.
American riders have had a love affair with the Harley trike ever since the original Servi-Car hit the streets all the way back in 1932, and that’s a fling that Harley-Davidson is still trying to take to the bank with the 2017 Freewheeler. This newest iteration of their naked trike is a real hotrod that runs the all-new Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine that cranks out 100-plus pound-feet of torque to push it well into the power-cruiser bracket. It comes with some significant improvements over last year’s Freewheeler as well as some fairly major structural differences with the tour-tastic Tri Glide Ultra, so let’s see what else Harley packed onto its stoplight-burning trike.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Freewheeler.
Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations department puts together what one could call showroom-custom bikes that include many of the features that buyers commonly add on post-sale and borrows much of the Infotainment system used on the big touring models. For 2017, this hot-rod bagger features a new-and-improved suspension system to the table with the all-new, 114 cubic-inch, Milwaukee-Eight engine. Power output falls well above the 100 pound-foot mark — not surprising with a CVO machine — so it falls into the power-cruiser/stoplight-burner category. Performance, good looks and barrels of that Harley mystique push the CVO Street Glide over the top in my book, so join me while I check out the details of this vanity-stoking sled.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide.
Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) program has been hard at work churning out models with the toppest-of-the-shelfestfeatures they can cook up. All that R&D isn’t wasted on the premium models though, as frequently technology pioneered in the CVO program makes its way through the Rushmore bikes and on down the line to the less-expensive models. H-D’s newest CVO release is a direct assault on the American muscle-bike market, and it cuts a mean figure with its raked front end and massive V-Twin engine. Introducing the FXSE CVO Pro Street Breakout, a model packed with CVO and Screamin’ Eagle yummy goodness as it rolls off the floor ready for stoplight-burner action. While Harley markets the V-Rod as its “performance line,” this Breakout definitely qualifies for that category as well, albeit with a more traditional look and DNA that goes back to the classic dragster/gasser era. Join me while I take a gander at this latest creation out of Harley’s CVO division.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson CVO Pro Street Breakout.
Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra
Harley-Davidson’s three-wheeled Tri Glide Ultra moves into the 2017 model year with a handful of improvements and a brand-spanking new engine. The factory powers it with its powerful and all-new, Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine 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 addresses heat problems from prior model-years, and the King of Paint adds a couple of new, two-tone paint schemes to the palette. 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.
2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide - Street Glide Special
Harley-Davidson updates its popular Street Glide family for MY17 with a few much-needed tweaks that make it as suitable for the superslab as it is for the boulevard. The earlier generation suffered from lack of power, uninspired suspension and a definite heat-to-rider transfer problem to boot. Harley addressed these problems to make the Street Glide into the bike it always should have been. Dual Bending Valve Forks and rear emulsion shocks take care of the suspension problems, while the Milwaukee-Eight engine brings 6.7 additional pounds of torque to help it push that front fairing into the wind comfortably at highway speeds and above. Adjustments made to manage the heat problem results in a whole new animal in the bagger stable. So, let’s check out the new models and try to act like we’re seeing the family for the first time, because in a way we are.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Glide and Street Glide Special.
2017 Indian Chieftain Limited & Chieftain Elite
Indian Motorcycle, under the Polaris Industries umbrella, has been pushing hard to increase its footprint since its relaunch in 2013. The demise of Victory Motorcycles (also owned by Polaris) should lend new impetus to this effort as resources are freed up, but the dynamic duo I want to look at today began life long before this shakeup. I’m talking about the two new additions to the Chieftain lineup; the “Limited” and the “Elite.” Indian took its boulevard bruiser “Chieftain” and steered it even further toward the customized end of the spectrum with a number of aesthetic changes that change the attitude significantly. This is an important move for the factory as it expands its range of top-end rides to square off with its long-time foe Harley-Davidson. Let’s see how it all pans out, shall we?
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Chieftain Limited and Chieftain Elite.
The Vulcan 1700 series from Kawasaki launched in 2009 replacing the the existing 1600 series and carries forward the Vulcan family that started in 1984. 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.
“Audace” translates to audacious, daring or innovative— a fitting moniker for Moto Guzzi’s heavyweight cruiser Audace, and its carbon-fiber sibling, the Audace Carbon unveiled at the 2016 INTERMOT. These rides sport the typical, transverse-mount V-twin that gives MG products away at a glance, with 80-plus cubic-inches and almost 90 pound-feet of fun... er, I mean torque, on tap. Though it technically falls just shy of full-on, power-cruiser status, it’s close enough for government work and will likely appeal to the same sort of rider. So how does it stacks up in the U.S. market?
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi Audace and Audace Carbon.
It’s safe to say that “cruiser” isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of Ducati, or even the third, yet here we are with the XDiavel and its slightly dressier, “S” trim package that carries the brand into uncharted waters. The “X” is meant to signify the cross and blending of the two worlds— cruiser and sport — and the end result is what the factory calls a “Technocruiser” due to its melding of Italian performance DNA and a more cruise-tastic rider triangle than you normally see from this brand.
For years, Ducati has been all about the sportbikes, and has recently ventured back into Scrambler territory after a roughly half-century hiatus, but this push into the power-cruiser sector is something new. Today I’m going to take a look at these two bikes to try and get a feel for how well they will stack up against the competition in this densely packed field.
Continue reading formy review of the Ducati XDiavel and XDiavel S.
Arch Motorcycles’ flagship bike brings innovative design, crushing performance and artistic flair together for buyers looking for something, shall we say, a little more exclusive. Proprietary engine management components and an S&S twin-cam V-twin drive the bike with over 120 pound-feet of torque to work with, so it’s far from being just a showy curb ornament. This ride is the first fruit borne of the partnership between actor Keanu Reeves and self-taught engineer Gard Hollinger. Keanu’s influence and star power is reflected in the first two letters of the KRGT-1 moniker, but he is far from just being a celebrity face-man for a company.
This whole project got started when Mr. Reeves decided to build his own bike, and the relationship developed with Mr. Hollinger during this project gave birth to this bike, sort of. The original set the tone for the production model, but every part was re-worked for the limited-edition production model.
Continue reading for my review of the Arch Motorcycles KRGT-1.
"Handmade in Italy." Those words make us think of luxury and quality. Leather shoes and handbags, sunglasses and optical frames, ceramics and glass, textiles, and the list goes on. Also included, of course, are cars and motorcycles. Moto Guzzi continues the proud tradition of Italian artisans in its historic factory in Mandello del Lario, hand building the California 1400 motorcycles first presented at the 2012 EICMA show in Milan and the 2016 EICMA show promises more for 2017.
Combining classic grace with modern technology, the California 1400 Touring and its bad-boy sibling, the California 1400 Custom, represent an artesian tradition that has put Moto Guzzi on a top tier among world motorcycle brands.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring and California 1400 Custom.
Victory’s Gunner brings modern, V-twin performance and a fresh take on the classic Bobber look. Essentially unchanged between 2015 and 2017, the Gunner carries the Freedom 106/6 mill that pushes it into the power-cruiser category with 100-plus pounds of grunt and a top speed upwards of 130 mph. It needs every bit of that power to compete against the other big U.S. players; Harley-Davidson and Victory’s sister under the Polaris umbrella and longtime H-D foe, Indian Motorcycles. As the new kid on a very tough block, Victory bills itself as the American Performance brand, a brave moniker if you aren’t prepared to back it up. Let’s see what Victory has in store for us in its base-model cruiser, ya’ know, other than the monster V-twin.
Continue reading for my review of the Victory Gunner.
Price king in Victory’s 2017 cruiser lineup is the Hammer S with its awesome 250 mm rear tire, inverted forks and red on black racing-style colorway. Originally introduced in 2006, the Hammer S appeals to the cruiser crowd with that easy-going rider triangle. With plenty of torque in the low-to-mid range, the bike is surprisingly nimble and responsive for its size. As a "super-cruiser," the Hammer S won’t be left behind if your friends are still into sportbikes. For the size, power, black-out look and almost bare-necessity instrumentation, you definitely get the no-nonsense "muscle" vibe.
Continue reading for my review of the Victory Hammer S.