2016 - 2019 BMW R nineT Scrambler
The new-from-2016, R nineT Scrambler from the Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW Motorrad) rolls into 2019 still based on a general design popular from the ’50s all the way through the ’70s. The Scrambler embodies the form of the original scramblers, while borrowing from the 1951 Beemer R 68. The result is a ride that invokes nostalgia in those old enough to remember the originals and subsequent variants, but also appeals to a younger crowd who appreciates classic looks coupled with updated performance and more reliable technology than its antique predecessors. I say that with confidence since I fall into the latter group, and I am really digging this new-old ride, so join me for a dissection of this scrambler descendant as I try to determine how closely this apple fell to the tree.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW R nineT Scrambler.
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.
2018 Kawasaki W250
Kawasaki’s “W” family has been on the world stage since 1966, and the legacy continues with the new W250. This cute little “leisure bike” packs classic charm into a small package with dated references and finishes that invoke plenty of nostalgia. Power comes from a 250 cc plant with over 15 ponies on tap and loads of fun for an entry-level rider, or one seeking to move up from small-displacement scooters. As simple as it is attractive, the W250 certainly brings something special to the market, so today I’m going to take a look at Kawi’s little retro-ride to see what makes it tick.
Continue reading for my look at the Kawasaki W250.
2017 - 2019 BMW C 650 Sport / C 650 GT
Nobody blurs the line between scooter and ’proper’ motorcycle better than the engineers at BMW, and the C 650 range is no exception. The C 650 “Sport” and “GT” models have very few changes, but that’s not surprising given how difficult it would be to improve upon the bundle of features already built in. I mean, it’s a scooter with traction control and ABS on board, plus a relatively large and powerful engine with a sophisticated engine management system, so this is ’not’ your grandfather’s scooter. I have a great appreciation for German engineering, so I’m looking to see what all Beemer has tucked away on its not-so-little maxi-scooter.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW C 650 GT and C 650 Sport.
2017 - 2019 BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS
BMW’s G 310 R roadster got a brother as it entered 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. Sharing the same 313 cc engine, the G 310 pair head into the low-displacement market alongside some hot competition.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS.
2019 Honda Super Cub C125
After much speculation and anticipation, Honda has finally announced that the all-new Super Cub C125 ABS will be hitting U.S. dealerships in January 2019. This iconic ride brings the same 124.9 cc powerplant that drives the popular Grom coupled with a semi-automatic, clutchless shifter and four-speed gearbox that delivers the same ease of operation that helped to make the original such a hit. A disc front brake and ABS help bring the classic design up to modern standards, but the looks are straight outta’ the ’50s for a genuinely dated vibe that is impossible to imitate. Entry-level pricing provides the icing for this charming little cake in order to endear itself to that critical market segment, but I’d argue that this ride is good for more than just as a trainer. Don’t believe me? Read on.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Super Cub C125.
2017 - 2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special
Moto Guzzi carries its “Special” into 2018 after the introduction last year of the V7 III family that brought in a new engine and all-new frame. This is the third generation of ’Guzzi’s venerable V7 line, and the Special sports DNA that goes all the way back to the V750 S3 of ’75 in a conspicuous display of its deep roots, but keeps things purely modern where it counts. A new V-twin delivers ample ponies with that distinctive rumble and transverse orientation you’d expect with a traction control feature to help you keep it under control while accelerating. ABS overwatch for safe braking makes the Special suitable for entry-level riders and fun for experienced ones. Today I’m going to dig into this classy little standard that hails from the era of my childhood, and I gotta’ say, I’ve been looking forward to this particular ’Guzzi, so let’s get started.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi V7 III Special.
2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Milano
’Guzzi expands its almost-new V7 III footprint here in its sophomore year with a trio of new models that double the number of units in the range with the Milano as a sort of classic-custom tribute. The Milano bears some of the same seventies-tastic touches as the V7 III Special, but in a more understated way that clearly has no qualms about adopting modern tech, as evidenced by the cast rims instead of laced. Twin clocks and a faux tuck-and-roll saddle help the Milano visually hit the target era, but the ABS and traction control feature makes the bike perform like a modern ride. Of course, the 744 cc, 52-horsepower engine certainly helps on that front as well, and today I’m going to dig in and see what sets the Milano apart from its brethren.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi V7 III Milano.
2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone
Moto Guzzi’s V7 family expands yet again with the V7 III series that sees the popular “Stone” model carry over from the outgoing V7 II generation. The new Stone carries itself with the same subtle darkness that made its predecessor so popular along with many of the genetic markers normally associated with the Moto Guzzi brand. Foremost among these is the transverse-mount V-twin powerplant that protrudes conspicuously from both sides of the bike, and of course, the 52 ponies that come along with it. The fuel tank strikes a classic shape as well, and the rest of the design falls right into line with plenty of yummy-goodness under the hood in the ABS and traction control features. There’s more to be found, so let’s dig into this little Italian gem with its not-so-polished moniker.
See our review of the Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone.
2017 - 2018 KTM 125 Duke
The battle of the flyweights rages on as KTM stays in the fray with its race-tastic 125 Duke. KTM takes much the same tack as the competition and builds its entry-level ride to resemble the machines it has to offer further up the licensing chain. The angular Duke bodywork and exposed Trellis frame set the stage for the key player, the 11 kW powerplant that keeps the 125 Duke within the A1 performance envelope and turns it into a weapon in the fight for the zenith of the nadir, ie, the entry-level masses yearning to breathe free. KTM has established quite a name for itself as the King of Thumpers with a proven off-road record, but today I’m going to take a look and see how the littlest Duke stacks up against the rest of the 125 cc streetbike field.
Continue reading for my review of the KTM 125 Duke.
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.
2017 - 2018 Zero Motorcycles FX / FXS
The EV sector is booming, and as it’s grown it has expanded into more and more genres. Zero Motorcycles is all about the electrics, and has pushed beyond the straight-up street and adventure categories into dual-sport and supermoto territory. The off-road capable FX enters the 2018 MY off an update last year alongside its urban-jungle sibling, the FXS, for a dynamic duo of EV fun with more torque and more horsepower than previous model years, plus other upgrades to the drivetrain to include a wider final-drive belt and improvements to the power packs.
Continue reading for my review of the Zero FX and FXS.
2018 Ducati Scrambler Street Classic
After its overseas debut last year in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and elsewhere, Ducati is bringing the Scrambler Street Classic to the U.S. market for the 2018 model year. The Street Classic borrows from the ’70s custom scene for its unique spin on the scrambler platform and an 803 cc L-twin that delivers 73 horsepower to maintain the same level of performance as the rest of the mid-size Scrambler family. ABS provides the only electronic safety equipment, but if you’re looking for techno-gadgetry, then you’re definitely looking at the wrong type of bike, no matter the manufacturer. Ducati continues to morph its Scrambler lineup in an attempt to get as much mileage as possible out of it, and who can blame them. The range has proven itself to be very popular with the masses and a blank canvas for personalization. Are they jumping the shark yet? Let’s find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Scrambler Street Classic.
2017 - 2019 Honda Grom
Introduced in 2014, the Grom from Honda is a compact bike with sportbike styling, two-up capabilities if you don’t mind having to Fred-Flintstone the take-off, has amazing fuel economy, and offers a little something more for folks who might consider a scooter in this size-range. Marketed in other countries as the MSX125, the Motrac M3, and the Skyteam M3, the Grom is a spunky little — “little” being the operative word here — motorcycle, good for folks new to two wheels or for anyone else who wants a fun ride. It’s not fast, but that’s not the point.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda Grom.
2017 - 2018 Ducati Scrambler Café Racer & Desert Sled
Ducati’s Scrambler line grew yet again in the 2017 model year with the addition of the Café Racer and Desert Sled. The Scrambler range has proven to be a veritable mine of possibilities as Ducati capable model in the entire range, and the Café Racer, well, it comes set up to look cool in an urban environment. Both rides get the same 803 cc mill that powers the rest of the Scrambler variants along with much the same chassis, but the differences, however minor, make all the difference in the world.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Scrambler Café Racer & Desert Sled.
2016 - 2018 Triumph Street Twin
The Triumph Bonneville line has underwent numerous redesigns over the years, but always kept that classic British flavor and dated panache that is both aesthetically pleasing and rooted in its own past. The Bonneville Street Twin joined Triumph’s new-in-2016 Modern Classics group that includes the Bonneville T120 family and the Thruxton R. Today, I want to take a look at the Street Twin and see how well Trumpet did in upholding the reputation of the venerable Bonnie line.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Street Twin.
2016 - 2018 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber & V9 Roamer
Moto Guzzi launched a brand-new model family in 2016 that pays tribute to the past efforts of custom bike builders, of which there are no shortage given ’Guzzi’s long history on both sides of the pond. The all-new V9 range included the mainstream-custom “Roamer,” and the more sinister “Bobber” with a more outlaw-looking blackout treatment. Not only was the chassis new, but MG built a brand-new 853 cc engine with which to power this mid-size, standard cruiser.
Continue reading for my look at the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer and V9 Bobber.
2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Carbon Dark
Moto Guzzi expands its third-generation V7 family with the new-for-2018 V7 III Carbon Dark. The “Dark” straddles two worlds with design aspects that hail back to the original V7s while touching on the custom culture as well for an interesting blend of the nostalgic and the new. For power, the factory stuck with “the seven-fifty from Mandello” to drive the Dark with 44 pounds of grunt on tap with a traction-control system and ABS brakes to aid the rider in maintaining control, just the kind of stuff you want for an entry-level ride. Manageable power with a solid pedigree and good looks to boot, the V7 III Carbon Dark seems to have a lot to offer for under 10 grand.
Continue reading for my look at the Moto Guzzi V7 III Carbon Dark.
2017 - 2018 Triumph Street Scrambler
Triumph has been getting some mileage out of its new 900 cc engine, and this mill drives yet another mid-size ride for the “Street Twin” family: the Street Scrambler. As the name implies, this bike is built mainly for urban use but comes with an off-road capability one simply does not get from a straight-up streetbike. The Street Scrambler brings rider-friendly performance and stable handling to the table, but in a market glutted with scrambler models from all over the globe, one has to wonder if that is enough to stay competitive. Let’s delve into this Triumph and find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Street Scrambler.
2016 - 2018 Norton Dominator
The Dominator from Norton captures the look and feel of the limited-edition Domiracer, but with a more production-friendly and street-legal layout. Norton may have been a bit surprised at the pace at which the Domiracers got snapped up and at the high rate of conversion to street-legal status, but its response was right on target. Powered by an in-house-developed 961 cc parallel twin, the Dominator is quite expensive, but do you get a lot of bike for that dough?
Continue reading for my review of the Norton Dominator.
2017 - 2018 Benelli TNT300
Benelli put together the TNT300 “Tornado” with both the entry-level market and the frugal commuter segment in mind. This sporty little ride brings an unintimidating powerplant to the table tucked away in a naked sportbike assembly that fits in with current styling standards and carries more than a little Italian DNA. Sophisticated enough to pass muster with the emissions folks, this ride nevertheless presents a relatively simple alternative to some of the available options on the market today. Competition is stiff in the bottom-tier streetbikes from some very well established names, and while Benelli enjoys some 100-year-plus roots itself, the name now belongs to the Qjian Jiang Group (QJ) based in China. Today I’m going to take a look and see how well the transition is working out for this storied Italian company.
Continue reading for my review of the Benelli TNT300.
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.