BMW’s R 1200 R roadster has been around since 2006, and the Motorrad looks to extend that run with a repowered and updated vesion for MY15 and beyond. The new “R” gets the same boxer mill as the R 1200 GS/GS Adventure/RT/RS, so it packs 100-plus ponies and 90-plus pounds of grunt into the narrow, minimally appointed roadster frame. Electronic gadgetry comes in the form of ABS and ASC, as well as variable power-delivery modes and traction control, for most of the top-shelf safety features folks tend to expect nowadays. There’s more of course, so it’s safe to say that there is much more here than meets the eye if you’ll forgive the shameless Transformers reference, so let’s dive right in and see what else the Bayerische Motoren Werke has in store for us with this newest incarnation of its popular roadster.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW R 1200 R.
2017 Triumph Street Triple
Over the past couple of years, Triumph has been sweating it out on the arena and treating us with exceptionally new modern classics over and over again. Their Bonneville range is selling as fast as they can make them and just when you thought it’s time for them to take a well-deserved breather, they just pushed themselves to change the rules of the street and prove that they can still rule the popular roadster/streetfighter category.
Triumph, a manufacturer having more than two decades of experience in building top class motorcycles, has bet big on their new upgraded Street Triple model. Giving the riders a distinctive appeal was the characterful and thrilling 675cc triple cylinder engine that had previously made the Street Triple what it was. The small roadster motorcycle became a Triumph icon back then, and the British brand has set to repeat the same with an all-new 2017 Triumph Street Triple.
It will now have a 765cc under the hood and will come in three variants: S, R and RS, each with their unique level of power, performance, technology and distinctive attitudes. With cutting edge technology, earth shattering equipment list, attention to detail and a new sinister powerplant, looks like the Brits have concocted a winner. Get on and choose your pick.
2017 Yamaha FZ-09
Up until now, the FZ-09 has been widely regarded as having fallen short of its potential. The suspension was insufficient, throttle too abrupt and a lack of electronic goodies made it a little too simple for the price and current competition. Yamaha saw the error of its ways and set about the business of correcting past mistakes with a significant re-design for 2017 that improves in all the most-criticized areas on its predecessor. The MY17 FZ-09 sports improved throttle-response mapping along with traction control and ABS, so improvement was definitely made in the electronic gadgetry department. But, does this newest version meet popular demand and expectation? I wanted to explore that and I’ll share my findings with you.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha FZ-09.
2016 - 2017 Yamaha Bolt R-Spec / Bolt C-Spec
The Bolt from Yamaha’s Star cruiser line is a cool little bobber-style bike with its high tank, short wheelbase and solo seat. It’s a nice around town bike — lightweight and agile — and naked with real-steel sheet metal, it just begs you to customize it. What could be better? Enter the Bolt’s siblings, the dressier Bolt R-Spec and the café racer Bolt C-Spec. The Spec duo are every bit as snappy and fun to ride as the Bolt, but with some upgrades, both hardware and cosmetic. Powered by the air-cooled 942 cc V-twin engine, the Specs are in the same size slot as the Bolt: not too small that you’ll outgrow it right away and not so big to be overwhelming for new riders. At just a few bills more than the Bolt, they’re worth a look.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha Bolt R-Spec and Bolt C-Spec.
Kawasaki steps up its bid to grab a slice of the growing naked-bike market with the Z900 ABS. As demand for the genre increased, so have expectations of performance along with polished looks. Kawi built this ride to replace both the Z800 and Z1000 moving forward into the ’17 model year, so buyers should expect to find plenty of both of those qualities. What did the factory throw on this all-new bike to make it competitive in a minimalist, sportster/roadster market? How will it compare to the other “Big-Four” naked 750s? Let’s check it out and see.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Z900.
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.
Moto Guzzi has been in the game since 1921, which is a success in itself by anyone’s reckoning. Our friends over in Mandello del Lario, Italy, have produced many different bikes over the years, but none of them are quite like the Griso 8V SE. Lean and low with a curvaceous flow, the Griso is not exactly what you would call a typical MG. The overall look of this ride is unique. As with most MG V-twins, the engine is the dominant design feature, but the rest of the bike just sets the stage for the star of the show. The result is a ’bare bike’ that favors the all-up-front look most commonly associated with race bikes and streetfighters
Continue reading for the my review of the Moto Guzzi Griso.
The Benelli brand name has fallen under the Qjian Jiang Group umbrella since 2005, and has subsequently gone from strength to strength in the Asian markets, particularly in India and Malaysia. While a 600 cc mill might be a big engine over there (aren’t they cute?), it’s middling at best in the States, and there is absolutely no shortage of strong competition from established brands in this bracket. The Big-Four in Japan, plus the Italians, Austrians, Germans and Brits all bring quality rides to the table with comparable mills, so this Chinese-made bike – imported and marketed under the SSR banner – has certainly got its work cut out for it. Let’s check it out and see how they did with the TNT 600.
Continue reading for my review of the Benelli TNT 600.
We live in a world where frequently less is perceived to be more, and nowhere is that truer than in the naked sportbike sector. Triumph started leaning toward the scantily-clad market with its Daytona 675 back in the first decade of the new millenium, and now has released a more refined, next-gen naked line with its new Street Triple family. Sleek and sheik, the three current members of Triumph’s wee nudist colony definitely brings sexy back along with a healthy dose of performance and electronic gadgetry to boot. Folks, this is a brand-spankin’-new trio of rides, and if you’re anything like me, you have a healthy respect for British engineering and can’t wait to dig into this new triple-play from across the pond, so let’s get to it.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Street Triple.
Straight out of the Brooklyn Navy Yard comes the newest threat to the U.S-based, concept-bike market; the “Roadster” by Vanguard Moto, Inc. This is the first of three planned models, with a “Racer” and “Cruiser” just over the horizon, and what I’m seeing so far is quite impressive. Not only is this a pure-D cool looking ride, it comes with a digital pedigree that is almost unique in the full-size smoker-bike category having been largely designed in the electronic medium through CAD and 3-D printing technology.
This is a big step for would-be bike manufacturers, because it allows for relatively rapid design and production with a small team of engineers and workers, perfect for startups and builders looking to keep a small footprint. Edward Jacobs, formerly of Confederate Cycle, is the chief engineer and designer for the company with Francois-Xavier Terny serving as CEO and supply/logistics support, and this dynamic duo has created something truly unique under the sun.
Continue reading for my look at the Vanguard Roadster.
BMW’s G 310 R roadster gets a brother as it moves into the 2017 model year with the addition of the adventuresome G 310 GS. The “GS” builds on the success of the “R” with a few subtle changes that shift the design toward the adventure bike end of the spectrum.
There is considerable pressure on the small-displacement market, and all the major players are hard at work to populate the various genres with these mini-mills. Since indoctrination is best when started young and manufacturers recognize the benefits of cultivating brand loyalty early, this all-important entry-level bracket is hotly contested, which makes me all the more curious what the Bavarians bring to the table as their BMW-bait this year.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS.
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.