2018 Benelli Tornado 302R
Benelli must have lost its old world charm of making machines pecked with impeccable high cap mills and is finding it difficult to proclaim its identity amidst the modern and competitive world, even more after a Chinese firm acquired it. But now, it seems like a thing of the past, more of a ‘myth’ one could say. Benelli has started showcasing us products designed by CentroStile Benelli, and slowly their reputation seems to have gotten back to its original charm albeit with entry-level machines.
The Italian marquee Benelli, which after raking in some interesting numbers with its range of naked streetfighters, has now come up with its first fully faired motorcycle in the entry-level segment, the 302R. With what is supposed to just be a ’fairing slapped on’ issue with the naked TNT 300, the 302R promises more than that.
2018 Suzuki GSX-S125
While most eyes are on the battle for supremacy of the upper-displacement brackets, the fight between the flyweights rages on, and Suzuki’s newest weapon is its GSX-S125. Like the rest of the “Gixxess” family, it comes based on the “R” version but is stripped of its body panels to become a proper naked sportbike. The 124 cc powerplant stays within the A1 licensing envelope with 10.8 kW to serve as a true entry-level bike cum indoctrination piece capable of drawing in the very youngest riders, and that’s exactly how it’s set up; to be as rider-friendly as possible with a low curb weight of 133 kg and manageable, 785 mm seat height. Today I’m going to dig in a little deeper to see what all Suzuki has going on with this decidedly important little ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-S125.
2017 - 2018 Zero Motorcycles S / SR
Riding the tailwinds of waxing public interest and expanding infrastructure, Zero Motorcycles advanced ’The Cause’ with new improvements and adjustments to its street-centric “S” and “SR” models last year. Part of that was the addition of a more powerful motor that generates increased torque and horsepower as well as a smaller battery pack for short urban trips; all good stuff for increased fun and flexibility, necessary factors if the company wants to further its push into the mainstream. For 2018, Zero adds more range and quicker charging times.
Continue reading for my review of the Zero S and SR.
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 Zero Motorcycles DS / DSR
While most EV manufacturers push either off-road or streetbike products to the exclusion of everything else, Zero Motorcycles boldly expands on both of those fronts plus something in-between with the improved-in-2017 DS and DSR models. These two are built to fill the dual-sport niche with off-road suspension and dual-surface tires under a sporty chassis that naturally runs the company’s all-electric drive system. This represents a success for both the electric sector as well as the dual-sport/adventure sector, both of which are still burgeoning under increasing public interest and steady technological advancements. Today I’m going to take a look at these bikes made unique by the pairing of electrics with the on/off-road riding style associated with dual-sport machines.
Continue reading for my review of the Zero DS and DSR.
2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000
Suzuki gave its iconic sportbike an overhaul for 2017 with a new liquid-cooled engine, a new frame, new ECM, new ride-by-wire throttle bodies and a host of other goodies to keep this ride current and relevant in its sixth generation. The engineers at the factory show their love for the GSX-R1000 by making it the most powerful and hardest accelerating Gixxer-with-a-single-R to date with a horsepower boost that pushes the claimed figure up to 199 ponies at the shaft. Simultaneously, the engineers made the foundation both lighter and stronger so even more of the available power makes it to pavement. End result; more of what we expect from the Gixxer family.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-R1000.
2016 - 2018 Ducati Diavel
The Diavel is Ducati’s second venture into the cruiser market — the Indiana being the first — but I’m not sure the designers have the same idea of what a cruiser is as the American motorcycling public thinks about a cruiser. Powered by a 1198 cc engine packing 152 horsepower and 91 pound-feet of torque, the Diavel is more of a power-cruiser-sportbike and might appeal to riders from either market.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Diavel.
2017 - 2018 Ducati SuperSport / SuperSport S
It had been four years in the making, but Ducati finally released the revamped SuperSport family for the 2017 model year. This range brings sportbike handling and performance to the table with its race-inspired “Monster” frame and over 100 ponies on tap, but in a package meant to be less intimidating to prospective ’Ducatisti’ than some of their, shall we say, spicier models. The factory touts the new line as “versatile and accessible,” and while the base SuperSport is meant to appeal to riders who want a sportbike that’s a little light on the “sportier aspects,” the “S” model takes on some of the trappings of a proper racebike for a decidedly more sport-tastic nature. Let’s check out what the bike builders in Bologna have in store for us with this newest effort.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati SuperSport and SuperSport S.
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.
2016 - 2018 Ducati XDiavel / XDiavel S
It’s safe to say that “cruiser” isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind when I think 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 “Techno-cruiser” due to its melding of Italian performance DNA and a more cruise-tastic rider triangle than you normally see from this brand. Powered by a 1,262 cc Testastretta engine, the XDiavel duo put the “sport” in “sport-cruiser” and opens the performance field to folks that ordinarily wouldn’t have such an option.
Continue reading formy review of the Ducati XDiavel and XDiavel S.
2017 - 2018 Honda CBR1000RR
Honda carries its CBR1000RR superbike, a.k.a. ’Fireblade’, into 2018 with little in the way of changes from last year. That’s hardly surprising given the scope and scale of the revisions done prior to MY17 that brought us the newest gen of Honda’s Total Control initiative with a host of electronic goodies to help keep the 189-horsepower engine (10 more ponies than the previous gen) under control. It’s Honda’s first inline four-banger to run a throttle-by-wire induction control, and the factory piled on with Riding Modes, Wheelie Control and more to make the ’Blade serve as a model flagship for the affordable-supersport sector with plenty of influence from the racing department for the ’everyrider’. Today I’m going to take a gander at the new-since-2017 Fireblade and see how it stacks up against something of a more European persuasion.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CBR1000RR.
2018 MV Agusta F3 800 RC
The hottest performing middleweight sportsbike in production wearing civilian clothing is the F3 800. The blend of performance similar to a liter class and handling prowess of a 600cc track machine is the DNA of every F3 800. And this limited-production RC (Reparto Corse) edition is a legitimate celebration of this MV Agusta’s superior qualities created by the honchos at the racing department, Jules Cluzel and Lorenzo Zanetti.
There aren’t many quintessential motorcycle manufacturer like this Italian. They have had their own share of trumps and falls throughout their history but now it seems like MV is enjoying a rare period of sustained growth. Turning motorcycles into a work of art has become a trait at MV and this 2018 RC edition of the F3 is a graphically accurate duplicate of the factory racers.
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.
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.
2018 Triumph Street Triple S
Triumph ups the ante for 2018 with a newly-redesigned base model for its Street Triple line; introducing the all-new-for-2018 Street Triple S. The “S” runs with the same naked roadster looks as its predecessor, but with revised bodywork, an all-new powerplant for greater performance and tweaks to the frame to better handle high-speeds. Electronic wizardry abounds in the form of a riding mode feature, traction control, and ABS to help you manage all that newfound power that clocks in with an impressive 111 horsepower, all for under $10 K. What else has Trumpet got in store for us? Let’s check it out.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Street Triple S.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R750
Suzuki keeps improving and expanding its signature supersport series, and the 2018 GSX-R carries the torch first ignited by the original Gixxer 750 all the way back in 1984 (or ’85 if you count when it actually was made available for purchase). Granted, the “late model” Gixxers dropped the steel frame in favor of aluminum, and the air-cooled engine has been replaced with a jacketed mill, but the overall mission for the bike remains the same: to provide the general public with the most race-ready production bike available for legal use on the street. Of course, the rest of the market has caught up to Suzuki and the supersport segment is flooded with similarly capable rides — and a good number of more capable sleds — though the most race-tastic of them are far more expensive than the $12K-ish GSX-R 750. I’ve always had a great deal of respect for the Gixxer family ever since I scared the bejeezus out of myself on one, and I always look forward to revisiting the range, so let’s get to it.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-R750.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R600
The Suzuki GSX-R made a splash all the way back in 1985, and quickly became a motorcycle-household name, complete with a smooth nickname that just rolls right off the tongue. Since then, the Gixxer has been in continuous production over a wide range of engine sizes, and has even been supplemented by the similar, but more street-friendly, GSX-S range. The GSX-R600 continues the family legacy into the 2018 model year powered with a 599 cc engine and sporty handling that is expected in this prestigious line. Today I want to take a look at what Suzuki has done to keep this long-running family viable and competitive against its many adversaries on both track and street.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-R600.