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.
2017 Kawasaki Ninja 1000
Kawasaki seems to have mastered the dark arts of slaying the competition in everything they put their hands in. Especially the way all their Ninjas’ are up on the throats of every other faired motorcycle in their classes. Having diversified their skill sets in recent years, the fearsome Ninja brand got an upgrade on each of its models, with the latest one being this 2017 Ninja 1000. Basically, the sports bike which can hold a couple of bags on it and is a tad bit comfortable for longer stints.
The 2017 edition promises to be sportier and more eager to roar than the outgoing one to give you a competitive edge on those interstate highways and the streets. Like having the best of both worlds, this new bike takes on the pedigrees of the ZX-10R and the Concours brothers and puts them in a sought after package that leaves you with nothing to complain about. Here is our take on this new Green Machine:
BMW designed the F 800 GT to replace the aging F 800 ST, and improve upon the sport-touring capabilities of the family. The new model brings a sleeker, more modern look to the table along with improved performance out of the repurposed ST mill. In its stock configuration the GT comes with ABS as the only bit of gadgetry, but the list of available options includes Beemer’s Electronic Suspension and Automatic Stability Control to name a few. Sporty looks, updated electronics and enhanced comfort are all part of the package, but is it enough to compete in a market segment with so many tour-tastic sport bikes? Let’s find out.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW F 800 GT.
2016 - 2017 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
Launched in 2010, the Super Ténéré and its stablemate, the Super Ténéré ES return for 2017 with all the adventure goodness that gave the Ténéré its name. Named after the Ténéré desert region in the Sahara, the Super Ténéré and Super Ténéré ES from Yamaha give you on-road and off-road confidence wherever your journey takes you. The compact 1,199 cc parallel-twin engine coupled with the wide-ratio six-speed transmission carries you over hill and dale and back to the pavement with aplomb. The narrow chassis and low center of gravity make the Super Ténéré easy to handle as well as maneuverable and nimble on twisty roads.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha Super Ténéré and Super Ténéré ES.
MV Agusta brings Granturismo to the table with its trio of sport-tour bikes in the Veloce family. We have the base model Turismo Veloce 800 plus the “Lusso” version that comes complete with panniers and other tour-tastic features. The “Lusso RC” takes it a step further with red, white and green racing livery and even more special features for the true, top-end bike fans out there. As a concept, the word “tour” seems to mean something different once you leave U.S. shores, evidenced by the lack of baggage on the base Veloce. Although the “tour” label is a bit of a stretch, the word “Veloce” means “fast,” and there can be no argument on that point whatsoever. Today I’m going to delve into this trio of Italian Stallions to see what kind of yummy-goodness the Meccanica Verghera Agusta packed in for our riding pleasure.
Continue reading for my review of the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800, Lusso, and RC.
The biggest sport-tourer in Yamaha’s lineup just got better. In 2016, the FJR1300A and its stablemate the FJR1300ES saw some evolutionary changes that brought just enough tweaks to make it a smoother, more comfortable ride. Probably the biggest change last year was in the transmission, giving it a smoother ride, as well as a sixth gear, and the addition of a slipper clutch to reduce hand fatigue at the clutch lever.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha FJR1300.
Back in 2014 at the EIMC, Yamaha introduced us to its latest effort to join the ranks of sport-touring motorcycle manufacturers with the 2015 FJ-09. Essentially, the factory took its naked FZ-09 and refined it for longer trips with a front fairing, windshield and expanded pillion seat area, leaving us with a smaller displacement, and less expensive, version of the dual-sport Super Ténéré. Brought forward for 2017, it’s sort of an entry-level model for the adventure bike market, just without any claims of off-road capabilities.
Feedback so far suggests that it makes an outstanding commuter bike, which to me speaks volumes about this ride. Sure, long trips give plenty of opportunities to discover any less-than-desirable characteristics on any given bike, but I submit to you that commuters get even more opportunities to learn about their machines through daily use in traffic situations and inclement weather. I consider the daily grind to be a sort of crucible that separates the wanna-be bikes from the truly capable. Join me as I delve in to see what made this bike so popular in such a short period of time.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha FJ-09.
Take a Ninja® ZX™-14R, tune it for touring and what have you got? If you guessed a Concours 14, you get the prize. Kawasaki delivered the 2015 Concours 14 ABS with a whole slew of improvements over the prior year — some cosmetic and some for performance — and carried that over to 2017.
At the core, the Kawasaki kept the 1,352 cc engine derived from the Ninja® ZX™-14R in a chassis tuned for touring. The sport-bike DNA is quite evident in the overall styling, so whether you love it or hate it, you don’t ignore the Concours 14 ABS. Slap some new paint it on for 2016 and we’re ready to go.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS.
BMW launched its newest sport-tour model, the R 1200 RS in 2015, and the model is a direct carryover into the ’17 model year with some upgraded goodies last year and this year. Beemer combined the top-shelf Automatic Stability Control, optional Electronic Suspension Adjustment, Dynamic Traction Control and variable power-delivery modes with a rather sporty platform, both in form and performance. The 1,170 cc, twin-cylinder boxer engine delivers power numbers that would embarrass many pure sport bikes and drives the RS into the realm of high-speed, long-distance riders.
Beemer’s RS series has always been about touring comfort since the original brought its fixed fiberglass fairing to the market back in 1976 with the R100 RS, and this newest incarnation toes the family line with tour-tastic features that should take the edge off the longer jaunts. Join me while I take a look at the newest generation of this venerable line.
Continue reading for my review f the BMW R 1200 RS.
Polaris Industries has its hands full these days with two companies — Victory & Indian — under its umbrella in direct competition with American heavyweight Harley-Davidson. Victory is starting to make a name for itself as the “American Performance” company with its progressive styling and large, powerful V-twin engines.
The 2017 Cross Country (CC) and Cross Country Tour (the Cross Country 8-Ball wasn’t carried forward to 2017) take a stab at grabbing the attention of U.S. buyers with the baggage capacity and wind protection we expect and looks similar to what we are accustomed to. Let’s face it, “baggers” and “tour bikes” look different here than anywhere else in the world, ’cause the “lower 48” is big with long, straight roads that span for miles and miles, unlike some European countries and island nations where one must do laps to get a long-distance ride in. Let’s look at what Victory is doing to compete in this long-legged market with the CC and CC Tour.
Continue reading for my review of the Victory Cross Country and Cross Country Tour.
It might seem strange to us to see these funny, backward trikes, but they really aren’t anything new. In 1884, Edward Butler debuted plans for his Butler Petrol Cycle. It was a three-wheeled motorcycle — two front steering wheels and a single rear drive wheel — powered by a liquid-cooled, 600 cc flat-twin four-stroke engine.
Starting at $22,399, the Spyder ST-S is a far cry from Butler’s design — for starters, the Spyder ST-S has brakes, the Butler Petrol Cycle didn’t — but I’m sure he would be impressed with what Can-Am has done with his concept.
Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am Spyder ST-S.
Trimming down the 2016 stable for 2017, Can-Am offers the F3-S and F3-S Daytona 500 in the sport cruising line and the F3-T as their cruiser-touring model. All of the F3 models come with a Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) function that delivers variable steering assistance based on wheel angle and forward vehicle speed. In reverse, it decreases sensitivity as speed increases for controllable backing operations.
Sport cruising, or touring, whatever you’re looking for, you can find in the Spyder F3 — except for a ride with two wheels, of course.
Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am F3 stable.
When Aprilia entered the growing adventure bike market a couple of years ago, Miguel Galluzi — lead designer for the Caponord — said, “We didn’t want to design an elephant like the BMW R1200GS, or a pig like the Ducati Multistrada.” He went on to say, “We wanted a simpler look that was different from everyone else.” On looks, he might have hit his mark, but he missed the mark by a mile on the adventure bike side of things.
With no off-road amenities like an enduro drive mode, skid plate or engine guards and coming equipped with street tires and wheels, the Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack has only a slightly longer wheel travel to indicate it was meant for anything but the pavement. As an adventure bike, it only dreams of coming close to the "elephant" BMW R1200GS Adventure, BUT….it is an awesome sport tourer. Let’s call it like we see it and look at the 2016 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack for what it is.
Continue reading for my review of the 2016 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack.
Sport-touring is the name of the game when you take a sportbike and give it an upright, comfortable seating position that’ll let you go for miles. The K 1300 S from BMW Motorrad is one of those bikes.
When standing still, the K 1300 S looks like it’s going to be fast. When you start it up, it sounds like it’s going to be fast. And you know what? When you ride it, it is fast. Sure there are bikes out there with more horsepower and higher top speeds, but the K 1300 S is built solid, it feels solid and when you get it out on the pavement, it doesn’t disappoint.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW K 1300 S.