2018 Ducati Multistrada 1260 / S / Pikes Peak
Ducati made a surprising move when it unveiled the Multistrada for the first time in 2010. They were basically introduced to satiate the thirst of those motorcycling aficionados, who love traversing new territories with pace, but naturally, find the supersport motorcycles too hardcore for the job. The Multistrada proved to be a successful amalgamation of the traits of both Superbike and sports tourers, easily giving it the title of the most practical motorcycle Ducati ever made.
Taking that practicality to new levels, Ducati has expanded its Multistrada family with the new Multistrada 1260, Multistrada 1260 S, Multistrada 1260 S D|Air (with airbag system) and Multistrada 1260 Pikes Peak. They come equipped with a bigger 1262cc engine, advanced electronic package, new chassis and more touring capability.
2018 MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800 RC
Until 2014, MV Agusta only built motorcycles that would eat apexes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Machines built to just simply look and go fast and handle like a stealth ninja. Then, the company decided to enter a whole new dimension with the launch of the Turismo Veloce, a touring motorcycle that was NOT made with the inspirations of the marquee’s 75 world titles or racetrack pedigree like the rest of the stablemates.
But that notion too has changed, for since 2018, MV has released a limited-production RC (Reparto Corse) edition of the Turismo. It is a legitimate celebration of this MV Agusta’s superior qualities created by the honchos at the racing department, Jules Cluzel and Lorenzo Zanetti.
For 2018, the bike also receives mild updates with its powertrain, electronics, and chassis to keep their mark on the ever-improving sportsbike market. They also get new colors and graphics to mirror the race bikes running hot on tracks around the world.
2015 - 2018 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX
Moto Guzzi looks to grab a slice of the adventure-tour market with its Stelvio 1200 NTX. The factory aimed high on this model, with a 1,151 cc, 100-plus horsepower V-twin driving the ride. It followed up with adjustable suspension and electronic,engine-management gadgetry that is comparable to some of the top adventure-tour bikes available on the market today, making this ’Guzzi a serious contender for its share of the market.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX.
2018 Can-Am Spyder F3-T / F3-T Limited
Can-Am’s Spyder F3-T and F3 Limited bridges the gap between the sport-tastic F3/F3-S and the tour-tacular RT lineup. Saddlebag storage comes stock across the board for some touring capacity right off the showroom floor with a short windshield for some weather protection to boot. Speaking of boots, the F3-T/Limited sports the same VW Beetle up-front trunk for even more dry storage/grocery-getting capacity. Power comes from a Rotax 1330 ACE triple that delivers 115 horsepower and 96 pound-feet of torque to put the “sport” in sport-tourer, and BRP provides all the electronic fandanglery you could possibly need to help keep everything under control.
Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am Spyder F3-T and F3-T Limited.
2016 - 2018 Indian Springfield / Springfield Dark Horse
Though the new-in-2016 Indian Springfield is called a “bagger” by the Indian marketing folks, it is much closer to the truth to call it a tour bike. Before you start shaking your head, I would point out that big touring fairings are a relatively recent feature, and that back in the day, ’this’ is what American touring models looked like. Powered by the awesome Thunder Stroke® 111 engine, Indian worked in plenty of nostalgic touches here and there on the Springfield while it tackled the more pragmatic issues with an eye to modern performance. This ride is meant to serve as a tribute to the original Indian factory in Springfield, Massachusetts, and was joined by the Springfield Dark Horse, a black-out sinister version of itself.
Continue reading my review of the Indian Springfield.
2016 - 2018 Indian Roadmaster
The base-model 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 Roadmaster.
2018 Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX / H2 SX SE
Kawasaki’s Ninja H2 made a splash when it hit the market last year, and if you missed the window-of-opportunity to score one of the first-run models — or perhaps it was priced a tad out of your range — then I have some good news for you. Introducing the Ninja H2 SX and H2 SX “Special Edition.” Brand new for 2018, the H2 SX line presents itself as a sort of hypersport-next-door with large-ish windshield and relaxed rider’s triangle as part of the comfort-oriented features package. This new line adds a dose of “super” to the sport-touring genre with its supercharged four-banger that cranks out a generous 101 pounds o’ grunt with enough electronic fandanglery to help you tame the beast, or at least protect you from yourself somewhat. Commuter or ’really’ fast tourbike, the SX siblings cover a lot of everyday-riding ground for riders who are looking for more than run-of-the-mill performance. Is it too much? Let’s dig in and find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki H2 SX and H2 SX SE.
2015 - 2018 Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring
Moto Guzzi presents its California 1400 Touring model as one of its ambassadors to the motorcycle world. This is not a statement to be taken lightly given the long-standing history — since 1921 — and unmistakable passion of the designers at the factory in Como, Italy. The handcrafted California possesses the same classic style and grace of previous California models, with modern, cutting-edge technology that would make the previous models positively die from envy. The factory touts this bike as the flagship of Gran Turismo, and backs it up with plenty of innovations and features that place it squarely in the luxury tour-bike category.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki Boulevard C50 / Boulevard C50T
Suzuki unveiled its Boulevard C50 back in 2005 after renaming its “Volusia” bike of prior model years. The C50 and C50Ts carry straight into 2018, 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.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Boulevard C50 and Boulevard C50T.
2016 - 2018 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 2018. 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.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic, Vulcan 900 Classic LT and Vulcan 900 Custom.
2015 - 2018 Indian Chief Classic
The base model cruiser in the Indian Motorcycle lineup, the Chief Classic carries the vintage badging and iconic lighted War Bonnet that is still the hallmark of the brand even through the fits, starts and financial turmoil of various owners during the post-WWII years, right up to the turn of the century. Since Polaris acquired it in 2011, Indian has become its top-selling motorcycle brand. Carried forward for 2018 and powered by the Thunder Stroke® 111 engine, the Chief Classic has the styling and valenced fenders that identify it as classic Indian with rider amenities and features such as ABS, cruise control, keyless starting, electronic fuel injection and a manually-adjustable single-shock swingarm.
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Chief Classic.
Yamaha has been busy shaking things up as of late. The FJ sport-tourer family went the way of the FZ lineup with a brand-new name and refurbished looks, and it will hit U.S. showrooms sometime in November as the Tracer 900 along with a slightly more tour-tastic version, the Tracer 900 GT. Fans of the FJ models — and indeed the FZ/MT-09 range — will recognize the 115-horsepower, 847 cc triple and adventuresome flavor of this new sport-touring lineup that will be replacing the FJs. The base model lands somewhere near the “sport” end of the sport-tour spectrum, but the GT model is a bit more balanced with a set of hard-side panniers that provides some secure dry storage and a host of features that long-distance riders will certainly appreciate. Join me while I take a first look at this new pair that gives us a glimpse into Yamaha’s 2019 lineup.
See my first look at the Yamaha Tracer 900 and the Tracer 900 GT.
2016 - 2018 Indian Chief Vintage
The word “vintage” gets tossed around a lot, but when a company with a history as long as Indian Motorcycles uses it, you can believe they mean it. Though the company has changed hands many times, the Chief model family, in one form or another, has been part of the Indian lineup since its inception in 1922. Indian Motorcycles, under Polaris Industries Inc., keeps that tradition alive with its 2018 Chief Vintage powered by the Thunder Stroke® 111 engine. The designers build upon 95 years of Chief tradition with this ride, and while all Indians show their historical roots in varying degrees, none is quite as overt as the aptly named ’Vintage’.
Continue reading for my review of the Indian Chief Vintage.
2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra
Harley-Davidson’s three-wheeled Tri Glide Ultra moved into the 2017 model year with a handful of improvements and a brand-spanking new engine. The factory powers it with its powerful Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine introduced last year that cranks out over 100 pounds o’ grunt to place it well into the power-cruiser category, even though H-D markets it as a tour bike. Exhaust components rerouting addressed heat problems from prior model-years, and the King of Paint added a couple of new, two-tone paint schemes to the palette for 2017, as well as a 115th Anniversary model for 2018. Harley’s target market for this beast mainly consists of persons who are unwilling or unable to manage one of their admittedly top-heavy, two-wheeled tourers for one reason or another, and I’ve always considered it to be a very laudable thing to try and make sure that anyone who wants bugs in their teeth can have it.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki Boulevard C90T
Cruisers and touring bikes go hand in hand for that relaxed, comfortable ride you get. The Boulevard C90T from Suzuki — absent for 2014, but back in 2015 - is the touring version of the C90 that was dropped after the 2013 model year, though the C90 B.O.S.S. is still going strong in 2018. Leather-look — not real leather, just leather textured — hard saddlebags and an ample windscreen give the C90T that "I’m ready for the road" look along with a 1,462 cc engine and five-speed transmixer. Is it ready for the road? I wanted to see if, in fact, the "T" in C90T really does mean "touring."
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Boulevard C90T.
2018 Can-Am Spyder RT
Can-Am, under the Bombardier Recreational Products banner, carries its premium touring trike into the 2018 model year with the Spyder RT and RT Limited models. It drops the RT-S from last year’s lineup, so it’s all up to the remaining two to cover all the long-distance bases. From what I can see so far, it looks like ’mission accomplie’ for the Canadian manufacturer. A 115-horsepower Rotax mill pushes the vehicle with room for rider, passenger and 41 gallons of storage split fore and aft. Weather protection and comfort-related features abound, and it’s plain to see that Can-Am looks to take on the two-wheeled touring ’status quo’ with the RT range. Can BRP pull out a win against traditional rides with its unusual configuration and sport-trike stigma? So far, so good; so what do you say we take a look at these two unusual creations that are creating their own niche. Market? We don’t need no stinkin’ market, we’ll make our own damn market. Right guys?
Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am Spyder RT and RT Limited.
2018 BMW K 1600 Grand America
Touring bikes are big in the U.S., both literally and figuratively, and the Bayerische Motoren Werke AG looks to take our enthusiasm for touring to the bank, also literally. Beemer paid close attention to the custom culture surrounding such 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 that can be 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.
Continue reading for my look at the BMW K 1600 Grand America.
2015 - 2018 BMW R 1200 RS
BMW launched its newest sport-tour model, the R 1200 RS in 2015, and the model is a carryover into the 2018 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.
Continue reading for my review f the BMW R 1200 RS.
2014 - 2018 BMW R 1200 RT
The BMW marque has long been associated with top-shelf engineering and luxury, and that reputation is justified once again with the updated-in-2014 R 1200 RT. A true sport-tourer, the RT brings 125 horsepower to the table along with an array of electronic gadets to help manage the power and provide a low-stress riding experience. As a base model, the RT stands head and shoulders above most of the competition, but the available accessories raise the bar even higher. Excited yet? I know I am. This newest iteration also received a facelift that brings the model aesthetics up to date, so even though form follows function (as it should), form was definitely not neglected. Let’s get to it and see what those crazy Bavarians are up to, and what they’ve done to bring the venerable RT up to date.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW R 1200 RT.
2017 - 2018 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 2018 C 650 “Sport” and “GT” models are a direct carryover from the ’16 model year, 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.
2016 - 2018 Moto Guzzi MGX-21
Moto Guzzi fans with tour-bike tastes looking for a ride to take them hither and yon on the open roads were more or less limited to the California 1400 — until 2016. After much buildup and fanfare, the Moto Guzzi MGX-21 “Flying Fortress” (FF) was finally released, and it brought long-distance touring capacity and comfort to the table with a decidedly dated look that targets fans of classic American car design from the ’60s. A big, 1,380 cc V-twin pushes the FF with torque to spare, and a highly stylized front fairing, windshield and saddlebags completes the tour-tastic package. Here in the U.S. of A., we have different ideas than the rest of the world about what makes a proper tour bike. I had to admit that I was looking forward to the release, and couldn’t wait to see how well ’Guzzi interpreted the classic American touring bagger. I wasn’t disappointed.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress.