2019 Harley-Davidson LiveWire
Electric-powered bikes are at the cutting edge of technology as the world grapples with its fossil-fuel dependency and seeks viable alternatives, and the LiveWire represents the MoCo’s contribution to that effort. Harley-Davidson teased us back in ’14 with the Project Livewire prototype, but at the EICMA “Milan Show” this year the production version finally saw the light of day. This machine brings a slew of features to the table that shows that Milwaukee is not as mired in the past as its detractors would like to have you believe with safety and comfort amenities that qualify as top-shelf by anyone’s standards. This is a thoroughly modern ride with up-to-date equipment, and even though it’s operating within a still-niche genre, there’s no problem at all in finding a suitable competitor, so let’s get to it.
Continue reading for my look at the Harley-Davidson LiveWire.
2019 Kawasaki Ninja 125
Indoctrination is best started young, and Kawasaki shows that it agrees with that assertion with its new-for-2019 Ninja 125 targeting the youngest riders within the tiered licensing system favored by much of the EU and UK. The A1 bracket’s restrictions are fairly severe, and it takes a special machine to balance the limited performance requirements against what it takes to make something actually fun to ride. Kawi’s littlest Ninja brings the right blend of small-bike power and big-bike handling to the table to fit that bill, so today I want to check out this exciting new ride and see how it stacks up against the competition from some of the other big four.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Ninja 125.
2017 - 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 650
Coming off an update in MY2017, the Kawasaki Ninja 650 remains a very capable sportbike as we move into 2019. The Ninja is powered by a 649 cc, water-cooled engine with all the wizardry needed to earn it a place in the iconic Ninja lineup.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Ninja 650.
2018 - 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 400
Kawasaki took the next step in the struggle to find that perfect balance between displacement, performance and affordability with the new-in-2018 Ninja 400. This ride delivers the aggressive styling that you expect 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.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Ninja 400.
Honda produced its CBR125R for one reason, and one reason only; as a trainer bike for new riders who are into, or who want to be into, supersport motorcycles. It’s built to deliver the same eager and agile handling as its larger-displacement siblings, just with a powerplant that meets A1 license requirements. Big-bike style and feel helps train the next generation of would-be fiery-eyed pegdraggers, whether they be destined for that actual “Track Life,” or just want to look like they are. The 125 cc bracket may be the lowest meaningful classification, but it’s also one of the most important as it targets the entry-level market and represents the first real opportunity to instill some brand loyalty. Let’s check out Honda’s littlest CBR today and see what all the Red Riders have going on over there, then we’ll see how it stacks up against one of its domestic competitors.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CBR125R.
2016 - 2019 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 2019. 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. If you look up ’Stupidfast’ in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of a Hayabusa.
(Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Hayabusa.}
2019 Yamaha YZF-R125
Yamaha takes early indoctrination to a whole new level with its YZF-R125 meant to scoop up riders who live in areas that use the tiered-license system. That’s right, it’s an R-series model specifically built for A-1 license holders in Europe and the U.K. The trackside DNA is evident in the overall look that borrows heavily from its larger-displacement siblings in keeping with it intended use as an entry-level trainer. Supersport looks and handling meet license restrictions to make this a proper first-timer’s bike, so today, I’d like to take a look at the details and see what it will likely face in the contest to rope in riders and instill brand loyalty at the earliest possible.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R125.
2019 Yamaha YZF-R3
Done properly, brand indoctrination starts early, and the newly updated [YZF-R3 is Yamaha’s primary bid for the supersport larvae it needs to support the rest of the range. The”R3” presents a race-tastic face to the world with design elements borrowed from its big brothers, the YZF-R6 and -* R1. It sports lower-drag bodywork and the same powerplant as the ’18 model for a net performance gain, however slim, and maintains its agile nature/fun factor for experienced pilots. Yamaha set the bar for the YZF family pretty high already, so let’s dive right in and see what else the Tuning Fork Company has in store for us on its next-to-littlest supersport.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R3.
2016 - 2019 Yamaha VMAX
The 1,679 cc engine in the Yamaha VMAX houses mad performance with more than adequate power and torque to give the VMAX plenty of ’go’ and the big, dual six-piston calipers up front give it plenty of ’stop.’ The 2019 VMAX comes dressed to impress, so let’s take a look at what the Tuning-Fork company has in store for us this year.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha VMAX.
2018 - 2019 Yamaha MT-09
A lot of words come to mind when someone mentions the Yamaha MT-09: powerful, sporty, agile, and aggressive are a few of them. Packed with the 847 cc CP3® engine, the MT-09 combines aggressive styling and impressive performance with a host of electronics – including traction control, ABS and improved throttle curves – to make it a contender in the naked sportbike field.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha MT-09.
2018 - 2019 Yamaha MT-10
Yamaha’s Hyper-Naked literbike features a 998 cc plant that delivers 160 ponies for a brutally powerful ride. The factory tweaked its D-Mode engine mapping feature to help the rider manage said power and (hopefully) keep the power delivery synched with the rider’s skill level. Also new from 2018 is the Quick Shift System that helps you run through the gears even faster so you can get the most out of whichever mode you prefer. TC, RbW and ABS all make an appearance in the electronics suite, and the suspension comes with an array of adjustments to make this an all-around, top-shelf bike.
Continue reading for my look at the Yamaha MT-10.
2015 - 2019 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS
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 2019. 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 2019 and we’re ready to go.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS.
2016 - 2019 Yamaha XSR900
Influenced by the classic “XS” series from the ’70s and ’80s, the XSR900 from Yamaha shows its roots with retro styling and stepped seating combined with just enough modern tech that you know you’re in the 21st century. At first glance, it looks like a nice little bike: compact and sporty. On second glance...and third...it looks like a whole lot of bike for an affordable price.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha XSR900.
2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
With their bikes dominating the WSBK championships, we can see the direct impact of this on their street products. With the integration of technology and electronics from their motorsport experience, they have continuously pushed the limits for better handling and a thrilling ride experience along with ground-breaking technology catering to the rider’s needs.
For 2019, the ZX-10R series is receiving major updates to slay the competition. New developments in the engine architecture will take the power figures to 200 hp+ to all three models. The RR will be a limited edition affair with even more fineness inside that 998cc mill.
2014 - 2019 Honda CBR600RR
Honda’s latest generation of 600 cc, CBR supersports toes the family line with its race-winning blend of power and maneuverability all packed onto a MotoGP-inspired chassis. Much like the original CBR600RR that hit the streets back in ’03 and was built as a racebike replica, the current model features a strong engine along with a front suspension featuring Honda’s 41mm Big Piston Fork for superb handling and snappy action, plus MotoGP-inspired bodywork in a race-tested aerodynamic supersport design.
Continue reading for more my review of the Honda CBR600RR.
2016 - 2019 BMW S 1000 XR
BMW put together the S 1000 XR for the adventuresome sort that prefers to stay on at least moderately civilized routes. Built on the proven S 1000 literbike platform, the XR really puts the “sport” in adventure-sport with a solid, 999 cc powerplant and a claimed top speed that lands upwards of the 125 mph mark. The XR also maintains a sportbike-like panache in spite of its adventuresome qualities, thus avoiding the blunt pragmatism associated with so many adv bikes. Of course, Beemer is a firm believer in better living through technology, and it includes a host of safety gadgets meant to help you keep it dirrty-side-down. Sound good yet? Let’s dig in and see what else the Bayerische has in store for us.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW S 1000 XR.
2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon
When launched three years ago, the H2 was an elegant artwork of supreme violence making 207 hp, more power than any of the superbikes in competition then. Then came the rest of the chaps who caught on with the horsepower war, with the most recent Ducati V4 making 215 hp. But it looks like the Japanese Green team didn’t like losing this race yet.
So for 2019, they have bumped up their 998cc supercharged motor to produce a lathering 230 hp, and the non-street-legal H2R will be making a mind-boggling 300 hp at the crank! It will also come with a self-healing paintjob, new brake calipers, tires, TFT instrumentation and a new Bluetooth connectivity app.
2019 Yamaha Niken
Yamaha looks to redefine what we think of when we hear the word “trike” with the all-new Niken (literally: two sword) that brings the leaning trike concept into the realm of full-size bikes. Based on the popular FZ/MT-09, the Niken LMW (Leaning Multi-Wheel) doubles the size (and number) of the front contact patch(es) for greater safety and traction with the proven 847 cc Crossplane Concept engine to drive the thing. With over 100 ponies on tap and its fancy front end with gobs of traction, the Niken seems set to deliver a ride that is limited only by your own skills and testicular fortitude.
Continue reading for my first look at the Yamaha Niken.
2015 - 2018 Yamaha YZF-R3
The Tuning Fork Company makes a solid effort for a slice of the entry-level sportbike market with its YZF-R3. Yamaha had its work cut out for it ’cause this all-important market is hotly contested by nearly every other streetbike manufacturer in the world and the pressure is on to get brand-loyalty instilled in the incoming riders. Engine displacement breaks the 300 cc mark with 40-plus horsepower and 20-plus pounds of torque, and at only 368 pounds wet, this is plenty of power for some cheap thrills on the road. The rest of the bike seems well put together at a glance, but today I am going to dig into the guts of the thing and see what all Yamaha has in store for us and how well it stacks up against similar models on the market right now.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R3.