2018 - 2019 BMW K 1600 Grand America
BMW paid close attention to the custom culture surrounding tour bikes as well as the popular factory features from the competition to come up with the K 1600 Grand America. Not only does the bike provide the look and functionality we tend to expect from our touring machines, but it pushes well into the power-tourer bracket with 160 ponies on tap. The factory wraps up the package with an enviable electronics suite further improved upon with a whole host of factory options. Make no mistake; this is one high-caliber weapon of mass seduction, and it’s aimed straight at the Heartland, so let’s see if we can gauge how true Beemer’s aim is with its latest effort to score a slice of the American tour-bike market.
2017 - 2019 BMW K 1600 GT
BMW’s K 1600 GT moved into its seventh year of production in 2017 with a fresh rebuild that the Bayerische carries right on into MY2019. A six-cylinder engine puts it in the power-tourer category in both the torque and horsepower columns for solid performance even in spite of its not-inconsiderable heft. Built for touring, it strikes a balance between storage and aesthetics for a sort of “Euro-bagger” look that compares well with Honda’s new bagger-tastic Goldwing since both leave off the top case for their fully dressed, top-shelf models. This Bavarian bruiser brings a dark-and-swanky attitude to the table with the performance to back it up.
2015 - 2019 Suzuki Boulevard C50 / Boulevard C50T
Suzuki unveiled the Boulevard C50 back in 2005 after renaming its “Volusia” bike of prior model years. The C50 and C50Ts carry straight into 2019 with a mid-displacement engine to serve as Suzuki’s mid-size cruiser and weekend tour bike. Smooth acceleration and comfortable seating combine with laced wheels and classic styling to keep the C50s on the list of middleweight contenders in the two-wheeled market.
2016 - 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic / 900 Classic LT / 900 Custom
Kawasaki created its Vulcan line back in 1984 in an attempt to capture a slice of the American cruiser market, and it is still alive and kicking in 2019. The family includes a trio of models from the boulevard bruiser “900 Classic” to the heritage-style “900 Classic LT” and the home-cooked “900 Custom.” A 900 cc, V-twin mill and 600-plus pound curb weight put the range firmly in the mid-size cruiser category and give it the mass one expects to find an American cruiser.
2015 - 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero / Vulcan 1700 Voyager
Kawasaki’s Vulcan 1700 line is well established with the Vaquero and the Voyager — a bagger and full dresser, respectively — both come with ABS and, as the name suggests, the 1700 cc engine in the V-twin configuration with liquid cooling and a six-speed transmission. Ready for a cruise around town or hitting the open road, the Vulcan 1700s are well fitted and all-around solid.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero and Vulcan 1700 Voyager.
2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
KTM has proven itself capable of producing competitive dirtbikes and popular streetbikes, and 2019 sees a next-gen Gran Turismo that targets the sport-tour genre for domination. Sure, the previous model set a pretty high standard, especially if you like your sport-tour machines heavy on the sport, but our Austrian friends managed to raise the bar even more with a handful of improvements this year in the 1290 Super Duke GT. Comfort and convenience were buffed along with the instrumentation, all with even more race-tacular tendencies due to the revised V-Twin powerplant and improved electronic aids. It’s a hotly-contested market that the “GT” looks to compete within, so today, I’m going to dissect this “spawn-of-Beast” and see how it stacks up.
Continue reading for my review of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.
2019 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited / Ultra Limited Low
Lots of Harley-Davidson’s lineup hit the cutting room floor this year, but the top-shelf Ultra Limited and Ultra Limited Low remains a constant, at least through the 2019 model year. This pair represents the pinnacle of the MoCo’s standard, non-CVO tourbike development, and they come with all the bells and whistles you’d expect on top of the largest, most powerful Big Twin powerplant ever to see the full-dresser lineup. As its ingeniously clever name suggests, the “Low” comes slammed to the max, and that opens it up for use by inseams that are a skosh short for the regular “Ultra.” I expect a full spectrum of comfort-related geegaws on these bikes, and it seems as though Milwaukee, once again, does not disappoint.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited and Ultra Limited Low.
Top 10 Adventure Tourers of 2018
For some people, adventure is about finding your way through the unknown to see things no one has and doing things most haven’t. But unless you plan on walking, you need the right tool to get there. This is where these adventure touring machines comes in and sweeps you off your feet in the most humble and matured way.
Here are our top ten adventure tourers of 2018 that come with some impeccable versatility to trout the lands across the globe. With the looks and utility of a capable off-roader and the balance and handling of a sport-standard, adventure motorcycles are a bipartisan look at how to tackle paved roads and dirt. Big and powerful engines, long travel suspensions and a higher riding position with multiple rider aids adorn these machines.
2019 BMW R 1250 RT
BMW Motorrad hits MY2019 with the R 1250 RT as its spanky new super-tour bike. Why “super?” Well, it carries a newly refined boxer-twin that brings more mechanical yummy-goodness to the table, to include variable cam timing and staggered intake timing meant to broaden the powerband; and a combined engine/transmission case that eliminates some unnecessary weight from the assembly. As you’d expect, the electronics suite is pulled from the top shelf for the stock package, and unsurprisingly, the factory has optional packages available that introduce even more fandanglery to the situation and make the “RT” a proper technological marvel. It all comes together on an undeniably progressive machine with clear Euro-sport roots. Interest piqued yet? Mine too, so let’s get to it.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW R 1250 RT.
2019 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited
Harley-Davidson’s “Limited” has always been a top-shelf machine, so how do you improve on something that already comes with all the bells and whistles? Why, you turn it over to the Custom Vehicle Operations division, of course. The CVO Limited represents the pinnacle of Harley’s tourbike development with all the gadgets and gizmoes of the Ultra Limited, plus the pure-D awesome-sauce that comes with “CVO-ification”. An updated infotainment system joins the brushed-up, year-model specific design details to boost curb appeal, and the MoCo shoehorns in the largest production mill it has ever built to drive it all. Like the rest of the CVO line, the Limited comes with three distinct paint packages with varied levels of bling, so without further ado, let’s dive into Harley’s premium two-wheeled performance tourbike.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson CVO Limited.
2018 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Street Glide
Harley-Davidson rolled out the newest generation of its hot-rod bagger, the Street Glide, last year when it shoehorned one of its brand-new 107 cubic-inch Milwaukee-Eight engines into the frame, and that more or less carries straight over into MY2019. Updated suspension components join the new powerplant and recently-revised bodywork to make this latest boulevard bruiser one of the most popular models to come out of Milwaukee right now. Today I’m going to dive into this newest version and see what other yummy-goodness the MoCo has in store for us.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Street Glide,
Top 10 Sports-Tourers of 2018
Call them bikes that perfectly fill the gap between thrilling sportsbike and the gigantic touring machines, sports-tourers are simply long haul motorcycles with sportbike expectations built to get the best out of that long way home. Here is our list of 2018’s top ten machines offering the same capabilities as touring bikes but without sacrificing any of the sporty performance.
They tend to be a bit lighter and corner well but aren’t the most comfortable. The riding position tends to be a bit more relaxed compared to sports machines, there’s better wind protection, much better pillion comforts, transmission with lower gearing and usually a whole quick release pannier system designed in.
2016 - 2019 Indian Motorcycle Roadmaster
The luxury tourer in Indian Motorcycle’s lineup, the Roadmaster comes equipped with the awesome Thunder Stroke® 111 engine for stellar performance and gobs of torque early on in the powerband. With standard features such as a premium 200W stereo, cruise control, ABS, power windshield, keyless ignition, remote locking storage, tire pressure monitoring, Pathfinder LED lights, heated seats and grips, and that gorgeous desert tan leather, the Roadmaster puts the "LT" in “luxury tourer.”
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Motorcycle Roadmaster.
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.
2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited / Ultra Limited Low
The new-in-2017 107-inch, Milwaukee-Eight engine from Harley-Davidson delivers nearly 114 pounds o’ grunt along with improved suspension components and other, comfort-related improvements over the MY2016 units. Naturally, this is in addition to all the tour-tastic yummy-goodness that made the Ultra Limited such a touring staple in the first place. Today I’m going to take a look at this pair to see what else is new and exciting, then we are going to see how it measures up against the Indian Roadmaster that I reckon will be its most direct competitor.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited and Ultra Limited Low.
BMW unveils brand-new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT with the new ShiftCam technology
The Bavarian motorcycle manufacturer has been the market leader in the adventure scene with their promising GS motorcycles running the show for more than 35 years. Topping this chart is their flagship workhorse, the R 1200 GS series and its flat-twin boxer engine that is undoubtedly the best companion for exploring the unexplored. Then there is the R1200RT, a sport touring motorcycle which has many at times been the bestselling model for BMW.
Currently, both these machines run on a 1170cc flat-twin boxer engine and are all set to receive some major updates for the 2019 year along with some high-tech features coming in as standard. The new mill is going to make them specked to Euro-V norms and also make more power without losing on any fuel efficiency. What’s the trick? It’s called the BMW ShiftCam technology.