2016 - 2018 SSR Motorsports’ Doohan iTank
SSR Motorsports has dipped a toe in the EV market with a handful of products, but the iTank scooter by Doohan takes the cake. Marketed under various names in different markets, the iTank rocks a Delta-trike configuration with a moderate range and plug-and-play, easy to use drivetrain. A leaning front end provides extra traction without sacrificing the sensation of flight, and the factory offers bags and a top case to convert it to a nice little campus commuter.
Continue reading to see our look at the Doohan iTank at SSR Motorsports.
2018 Honda CB1000R Neo-Sports Café
Honda revamped its naked CB1000R for the 2018 model year, but rather than dressing it up, the Red Riders actually dressed it down even further with a retro cafe’-racer kick. The CB1000R replaced the CB600F Hornet back in ’08 and its naked streetfighter presentation and performance envelope was an instant hit all across Europe. Fast forward to ’18 and we find it still going strong with the same 998 cc mill and a brand new handle as the Neo-Sports Café’. Subtle refinements give the NSC a new look that takes inspiration from the past without becoming enslaved to it, and the result is fresh, modern and appropriately aggressive. Today I’m going to take a look at this decade old model to see what else Honda has done to keep it relevant and competitive in today’s market.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CB1000R.
2015 - 2018 Triumph Rocket III Roadster
Triumph takes a shot at the U.S. power-cruiser market with its Rocket III Roadster. Essentially a carryover from the last several years apart from price, the Roadster still runs the largest production powerplant in the world with its now-famous, 2,294 cc triple set in a very cruise-tastic package. To call it a “roadster” is almost tongue-in-cheek considering the mass of this thing, but the “rocket” part of the name is spot-on.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Rocket II Roadster.
2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400
Kawasaki takes the next step in the struggle to find that perfect balance between displacement, performance and affordability with the new-for-2018 Ninja 400. This all-new ride delivers the aggressive styling that one expects 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. It appears that the Ninja 300 is going by the wayside as the factory tries to unload the 2017 300s with a discounted price tag, so it’s probably safe to say the 400 is the replacement ride; at least in the U.S. market. After a race to the bottom, it looks like Kawi has decided the sweet spot lies somewhere uphill for American riders.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Ninja 400.
2014 - 2018 Piaggio Fly 50 / Fly 150
On the campus, in the gated community or in an urban area, it’s hard to go wrong with a small-displacement scooter for running errands or generally getting around. Piaggio is happy to accommodate you with its Fly duo. On 12-inch wheels with all the usual storage a scooter can boast, the Fly 50 and Fly 150 carry a petite 1.8-ish gallon fuel tank; but with 100+ mpg in fuel economy, that little tank takes you far.
Continue reading for my review of the Piaggio Fly 50 and Fly 150.
2016 - 2018 Indian Springfield / Springfield Dark Horse
Though the new-in-2016 Indian Springfield is called a “bagger” by the Indian marketing folks, it is much closer to the truth to call it a tour bike. Before you start shaking your head, I would point out that big touring fairings are a relatively recent feature, and that back in the day, ’this’ is what American touring models looked like. Powered by the awesome Thunder Stroke® 111 engine, Indian worked in plenty of nostalgic touches here and there on the Springfield while it tackled the more pragmatic issues with an eye to modern performance. This ride is meant to serve as a tribute to the original Indian factory in Springfield, Massachusetts, and was joined by the Springfield Dark Horse, a black-out sinister version of itself.
Continue reading my review of the Indian Springfield.
2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport
Ducati really made a splash when it reintroduced its Scrambler line back in 2014. The 800 cc model begat the 400 cc model, but the factory didn’t stop there, it also reached up into the higher displacements as well with the Scrambler 1100 series. For 2018, we have the Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport that elevates the family line to a whole new level with some top-shelf suspension components and race-tastic livery meant to appeal primarily to the go-fast crowd. Much is shared with its big-bore siblings; chassis, engine and electronics, but the Sport endeavors to increase the line’s inclusivity by drawing in those fiery-eyed pegdraggers. Is it a bridge too far? That’s doubtful, because as far as I can tell, the factory has yet to hit any natural barriers to the potential of the new Scrambler line.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport.
2015 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom
Coming into 2018 with a new look, the 1200 Custom in Harley-Davidson’s Sportster line hits the streets with the tried and true 1200 Evolution® engine and agile chassis that’s secured a place for itself in the lineup for over half a century. Kinda the black sheep of the Sportster stable, the 1200 Custom lives up to its name with a look apart from the rest of its siblings with a beefier front end and more aggressive riding position to put a little more ’sport’ into the ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom.
2016 - 2018 SSR Motorsports Snake Eyes
Nothing brings to mind the down-and-dirty custom-bike days of the ’70s and ’80s quite like a UJM-based custom bobber, and SSR Motorsports piles on plenty of that old-school with its street-retro ’Snake Eyes’. Built for the entry-level customer, and anyone looking for a somewhat whimsical nod to the custom culture for that matter. An 18-horsepower, 249 cc thumper drives the thing — plenty for trips around town or campus, but the real story here is with the overall vibe that looks to be straight out of the garage right off the showroom floor. Join me while I take a closer look at this fun little ride that so clearly is looking to capture part of the U.S. market.
Continue reading for my review of the SSR Motorsports Snakes Eyes.
2018 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Black
Triumph expands its record-setting Bonneville Bobber range this year with the new-for-2018 Bonneville Bobber Black. The “Black” builds on that success with more of the same stuff that made it a hit in the first place and some custom touches that give it more of a home-spun look right off the showroom floor. Already a thoroughly modern ride, the factory brushed it up with more tech even as it embraced even more retro-tastic features for an interesting duality of development, if you will. The Bonnie Twin mill delivers its 77 horsepower with the same characteristic ’tude we expect. What else does Trumpet have going on over there? Join me on my journey through this British wonderland and find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Bonneville Bobber Black.
2015 - 2018 BMW S 1000 RR
BMW has always had a presence in the motorcycle racing world, in fact the word “Beemer” was coined specifically for BMW’s race bikes of old, and the factory continues its blitz into the 21st century. The S 1000 RR is already part of that history, and it is marketed as a race bike, though truth to tell, the official factory race bike gets some features you won’t see on the street, but that isn’t unusual. Moved by a 999 cc engine that delivers nearly 200 hp, the S 1000 RR is nothing to take lightly. Salient point is; this bike is very close to the official race bike, which makes sense considering that it started life as a race bike in ’09 that spilled over into production for the general public the following year.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW S 1000 RR.
2015 - 2018 Harley-Davidson SuperLow
The SuperLow line saw few changes into the 2017 model year, and carried that into 2018. Powered by the 883 cc Evolution engine, the XL 883L delivers modest performance and nimble handling. The slammed suspension puts the rider’s butt close to the ground where even the shortest inseams can feel confident and in control with both feet down flat. While this ride isn’t quite as entry level as the Street 500/750, it is the smallest of Harley-Davidson’s traditional designs and typically serves as a trainer bike for folks interested in air-cooled cruisers.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson SuperLow.
2016 - 2018 Triumph Bonneville T120 / T120 Black
Triumph carries the Bonneville name into a new generation with the Bonneville T120 and T120 “Black.” Such a classic name deserves to be treated with dignity with a certain amount of retro appeal, and the factory took extraordinary steps to keep this ride as old school as possible. The designers didn’t go too far though; a modern mill cranks out 80 ponies and over 77 pounds of grunt under a ride-by-wire throttle and traction control. A modern ride through and through, but with a very definite, and dated, curb appeal. Today I’m going to take a look at the pair to see what goodies Trumpet has in store for us, and what compromises were made in the process.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Bonneville T120 and T120 Black.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki Boulevard M90
Around the turn of the century, the cruiser style had evolved into fat tires, lots of chrome, wide bodies and pegs out front to give you that almost slouched, relaxed riding posture. Since then, cruiser style has cycled back to "old school." They’ve lost some weight and slimmed down, creating a low and lean version of a sport look. If your vision of what a cruiser should be is stuck in the fat tires and wide body — think of it as "old new-school" — Suzuki has the Boulevard M90 that’s right up your alley.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Boulevard M90.
2016 - 2018 Indian Roadmaster
The base-model luxury tourer in Indian Motorcycle’s lineup, the Roadmaster comes equipped with the awesome Thunder Stroke® 111 engine for stellar performance and gobs of torque early on in the powerband. With standard features such as a premium 200W stereo, cruise control, ABS, power windshield, keyless ignition, remote locking storage, tire pressure monitoring, Pathfinder LED lights, heated seats and grips, and that gorgeous desert tan leather, the Roadmaster puts the "LT" in “luxury tourer.”
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Roadmaster.
2018 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
Royal Enfield hit the 2018 model year running with an all-new, 650 Twin engine that comes with a brand-new Interceptor wrapped around it. All new from the ground up, the Interceptor 650 has improved handling and agility that its single-cylinder predecessors just couldn’t match. It’s a hot-hot release in its homeland, but will the U.S. market receive it with as much enthusiasm?
Continue reading for my first look at the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650.
2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob
Harley-Davidson’s Fat Bob is one of only a few [Dyna1760] models that made the crossover into the all-new 2018 Softail lineup. Its popularity as an FXD played heavily into that decision, and it looks like the factory is doubling down on more of the same modern-custom/bobber vibe that endeared it to its fans. Heavily bobbed and blacked-out, the Fat Bob comes with a choice between the 107-inch Milwaukee-Eight and the 114-inch version along with a (relatively) sporty new suspension system, all of which gives the Fat Bob an aggressive bent that is meant to appeal to a younger generation of rider. Will it be enough? Time will tell, and with the overall decline of motorcycling, models that grab the Millennials’ attention may help prop up the MoCo until the next gen comes of age or, at least, until the pendulum swings back the other way.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob.
2018 Triumph Speed Triple
Finally, the big boy has arrived. For 2018, the legendary British manufacturer is spinning a new edition of their iconic Speed Triple motorcycle that has had its glory days starting way back with the ’94 Speed Triple T309. The original ‘factory streetfighter’.
Like old wine in a new bottle, the new Speed Triple is a 24-year-old model. It has already been updated half a dozen times with the last one being in 2016. But with the competition spearing ahead, Triumph decided to refresh the Speed Triple with a few of its latest gimmicks and is giving us their sophisticated hooligans, the ‘2018 Speed Triple S & RS’.
Unveiled at the exclusive factory launch yesterday, the new Speed Triple S & RS are the most powerful, smartest and best-handling Speed Triples... ever.
2016 - 2018 Suzuki Hayabusa
It’s a Hayabusa. Is there really anything more to be said? It’s Suzuki’s Gixxer 1,340 cc monster speed machine back again for 2018. The ’Busa is one of the biggest sportbikes out there, so yeah, big and heavy; you don’t want to go slow very long. Once at speed, the bike is in its element. Stupidfast. Look it up in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of a Hayabusa.
(Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Hayabusa.}
2015 - 2018 Indian Chieftain / Chieftain Dark Horse
The Chieftain has all the classic elements that identify it as part of the Indian Motorcycle heritage, including classic badging and iconic War Bonnet mounted on the front fender, much like the figurehead on a wooden sailing ship leading the way into the wind. Carried forward into 2018, the Chieftain — powered by the triple-cam, V-twin Thunderstroke 111 engine — wears the same valenced fenders and vintage styling, leaving no question that it has a prominent place in the lineup of this historic brand.
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Chieftain and Chieftain Dark Horse.
2018 Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX / H2 SX SE
Kawasaki’s Ninja H2 made a splash when it hit the market last year, and if you missed the window-of-opportunity to score one of the first-run models — or perhaps it was priced a tad out of your range — then I have some good news for you. Introducing the Ninja H2 SX and H2 SX “Special Edition.” Brand new for 2018, the H2 SX line presents itself as a sort of hypersport-next-door with large-ish windshield and relaxed rider’s triangle as part of the comfort-oriented features package. This new line adds a dose of “super” to the sport-touring genre with its supercharged four-banger that cranks out a generous 101 pounds o’ grunt with enough electronic fandanglery to help you tame the beast, or at least protect you from yourself somewhat. Commuter or ’really’ fast tourbike, the SX siblings cover a lot of everyday-riding ground for riders who are looking for more than run-of-the-mill performance. Is it too much? Let’s dig in and find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki H2 SX and H2 SX SE.