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  1. We were kicking candidates back and forth for this year’s MOTY awards, when somebody threw out as a possible Best Standard the Honda NC750X. Hey wait a minute, I’m the only guy around here who ever liked the NC! Maybe my stately mature influence is rubbing off on the kids at last? For me, it was love at first ride of the original NC700X, way back in 2012. By then, I guess I’d been subjected to enough compromising positions on exotic high-maintenance motorcycles to appreciate the NC’s practical advantages and comfort – and I wasn’t even doing any of the maintaining. 2021 Honda NC750X Honda says its ultimate tool for tackling urban environments in style has also evolved to a new level of comfort. It’s hard to disagree. It’s faster and smoother too. We ride, you decide. Editor Score: 90.5% Engine 18.5/20 Suspension 13.5/15 Transmission 9.75/10 Brakes 8/10 Instruments 4/5 Ergonomics 8.5/10 Appearance 9/10 Desirability 9.5/10 Value 9.75/10 + Highs 23-liter trunk Shiftless 60+ mpg – Sighs CC is MIA Occasionally blustery windscreen You can’t HANDLE the truth I also wasn’t paying for the gas, but I could still appreciate 60+ mpg. The NC’s ingenious storage compartment and automatic transmission were the ultimate in convenience, even if both were lifted directly from the Aprilia Mana. But when it was mentioned as a candidate in the 2021 MOTY fray, we realized we hadn’t ridden an NC since the big update to NC750X in 2018. How could that have happened? 2012 Honda NC700X Review – Video Who will volunteer to test one? Ohhh! Pick me! Frankly, I think the NC is the only thing in Honda’s lineup I’d swap for the PCX I had in my garage, and so I once again made the majestic pilgrimage to Door #8 at Honda’s Torrance HQ. What’s New? What was new in 2018 was a 75cc displacement increase (4mm bigger bores) that bumped the 270-cranked parallel Twin to 745cc, and a full 1000-rpm bump in redline to 7500. Four drive modes now allow full exploitation of the automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), two-level Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), and engine braking too. American Honda doesn’t do horsepower, but Honda UK does: They have it at 43.1 kW at 6750 rpm, or 57.8 horsepower. And 69 nM at 4750 rpm equals 50.9 pound-feet of torque. The original NC was a bit bland looking in some eyes; the new one sports “Bold, adventurous design identity based on the ‘Sensual Performance’ concept, with an LED headlight, taillight, and running lights.” In addition to the boring-out of the engine, they added another hot rod touch by lowering the bike: The original seat height was 32.7 inches; our 2021 claims 31.6 inches, which makes the NC even easier to roll around on in the maze. Despite that, Honda sticks it in the Adventure category, and it looks the part. It’s definitely more dashing than the PCX I traded in. Better Suspension too Early MO tests poo-pooed the bike’s cheap suspension while admitting it worked pretty alright. In 2018, the 750X got a new Showa Dual Bending Valve fork with 41mm tubes to go with its single-shock Pro-Link rear end. You don’t need any adjustments except rear preload, so pipe down and be happy with the 4.7 inches of wheel travel at both ends. (That’s actually 1.3 and 1.2 inches less travel than the 700X had, but I for one will take it in exchange for the lower seat.) Shall we ride? Surprise! The new suspenders are nicer and in their reduced travel are also a bit firmer and more controlling… Together with that extra power, we’re suddenly riding a much sportier NC-X than before. The Dual Clutch Transmission has reached a high state of refinement: Push D with your right thumb after the engine’s running to move ahead, and if you do nothing else you’ll motor off in Standard Automatic mode and let DCT do all the work. Or, hit the M button with the same right thumb for Manual, and perform instant up- and downshifts with your left forefinger and thumb; it becomes almost instantly instinctive. All you need is your right thumb, but there’re also paddle shifters for your left thumb and forefinger for maximum progress. You’ve also got Sport, Rain, and User modes. Be sure to thumb it into Sport every time with your left thumb to get full power; Sport also puts the gearbox in its Sport mode. Standard and Rain modes both dial back the power and up the traction control, fine for doddling round the corner for a gallon of Metamucil and a can of cat food. It’s kind of hard to see why Honda bothers with M at first, because even in Automatic the shift toggles respond instantly to your left digits. The biggest reason is that in Manual, the newly fortified Twin will keep revving all the way to its new 7500-rpm limiter – 1000 rpm more than before – and it doesn’t shift until you give the command. Otherwise, DCT shifts at the 6700 power peak. There’s not a lot more power to be had beyond there, but maybe you want to hold a gear between corners when you’re getting all Marquezy in the curves? It’s also fun to watch the LCD tachometer bar go past the red zone when you blip a couple of quick downshifts into a corner. In Standard, you can see your Power, Engine Braking and Traction controls are all set to medium. Sport mode gives you all the beans, and there are Rain and User modes too. Gas mileage goes up considerably when you’re not blasting past a camera 36 times in the mountains. Speaking of Marquezy, you’ll be hearing Ducatis all around you, because that’s what the parallel Twin’s engine sounds like with that 270-degree crankshaft. Much of the time you can barely hear the engine at all, but when you open the throttle and get the revs up the NC comes alive. The laydown cylinder bank and underseat gas tank keep the weight low, which makes the bike feel light. The 745 cc Twin is happy with 86 octane and not much of it. Once you’re in Sport, you might be surprised how much fun this “boring” Honda can be. Is it because I just traded up from a PCX scooter that 58 horses and 51 lb-ft of torque feel like more? It’s not so much a straight-line hot rod (though it does get to 60 really quickly and 100 mph not that much later), but using the DCT paddles for seamless shifts as you bend the NC in and out of serial corners, and even in the middle of them is fine too, makes you feel like a hero. Sport mode also cranks up engine braking to max. And traction control, on minimum in Sport, lets you feel good about dialing up the Ducati noises early and often at every corner exit. The new fork is firmer and better damped than before, and makes you want to upgrade the shock – which is adequate. The wide-ish near ADV-style handlebar gives more than enough leverage to stick the NC’s snout into corners. For 2021, the NC is ride-by-wire, with imperceptible lag and zero lurch between throttle opening and acceleration. All of it conspires to have you going down your favorite road surprisingly quickly. Since it’s geared tall, the soothing Twin noises lull you into a false sense of not rolling all that fast. Surprise! Even on the Dunlop Trailmaxes, you find yourself dragging the occasional footpeg feeler, and the 17-inch wheels mean sportier rubber will spoon right on. The single front disc has good feel and feedback, but I needed three fingers firmly squeezing to get the front ABS to kick in; a bit more braking power to go with the other upgrades wouldn’t be a bad thing. At a claimed 493 pounds (non-DCT 472), she’s not exactly light and with a 60-inch wheelbase not exactly quick-steering, but she is stable, predictable, and fun for all ages. And if you wanted to tangent down a dirt road, she’s up for that too. For 5’8” me, the handlebar is just about right for standing up on the footpegs. Utility player There’s no finer machine for making it through the Del Taco drive-thru. You don’t even have to dismount to open the big 23-liter trunk right in front of you where the gas tank should be, and secure all sorts of things out of sight in the lockable bin including most full-face helmets and burritos mas grande. Honda says the PCX scooter’s underseat bin holds 30 L, so you’re actually not far off that when it comes to cargo capacity. I’m typing on my 12-inch Macbook in there right now. Let me know if there are any other motorcycles under 500 lbs that offer any storage. For tootling around the surface streets, the DCT, upright ergos and really good suspension make it ideal, though maybe slightly less so than the PCX only because the NCs’ greater power makes it harder to go slower, for safety! And its wider handlebar requires a wider berth between the cars. Past those minor considerations, just thumb it into Standard and roll serenely wherever. It’s nice to be shiftless, especially when you know you can deploy the paddleshifters instantly. On the freeway, the NC pulls way ahead of any scooter or other motorcycle of its displacement, cruising effortlessly at 80 and 90 mph with supertanker stability. (I rode a KTM 1290 Super Duke R to the dyno in the midst of the NC test; it and the NC both turn about 4500 rpm at 85 mph.) Dual counterbalancers in the parallel Twin render it 98% vibrationless, and if there was one more button to control the electronic cruise control which it doesn’t have, the NC would be fighting it out with the new Yamaha Tracer 9 GT for lightweight touring bike honors. Okay, maybe not, but close, and for ⅔ the money. Can we justify this? Without DCT, the NC750X is still a pretty cool motorcycle. With it, it’s kind of a transformatory one: So effortless and fun to ride, so convenient and practical. Originally, DCT added $2,000 to the base bike. Now it’s only an additional $800. That sounds pretty swell until you factor in that the 2012 NC700X base model was only $7k, and the new base price has climbed to $8,499. Spun in a positive way, though, the 2021 NC750X DCT has only crept $300 above the 2012 DCT bike, from $8,999 to $9,299. Soichiro really wants you to have the DCT. Trust him. Most helmets will fit in the locking bin where the gas usually goes, and there’s also a helmet lock loop included for ones that don’t. I think I’ve said before that if they pulled the MO rug out from under me tomorrow, the motorcycle I’d be Most Likely to Embezzle would be the NC, and now that I’ve ridden the new and improved 750X, only one thing has changed: Since then, I’ve also vowed I would never buy a new bike without electronic cruise control. If only Honda had found a way to squeeze in one more button, life could be a dream. They thought of everything else. The optional USB charger is only $34.95, heated grips are $315.95, the centerstand is $125.95. Why no CC, why, Honda? Aside from that, if you like practical motorcycles that can carry things, that are also a hoot to flog in the curvy stuff, squeeze nearly 60 miles from a gallon of gas, cost less than $10k, and leave your left hand free for waving at your adoring fans, the NC is the only game in town, a genius practical fun transportation device. Will all that be enough nine years after the original? In Gear Helmet: Shoei Neotec 2 Splicer Communicator: Cardo Pack Talk Bold Suit: Aerostich Roadcrafter Gloves: Dainese 4 Stroke 2 Boots: Sidi Adventure 2 Mid 2021 Honda NC750X Specifications MSRP $9,299 Engine Type 7445 cc liquid-cooled parallel Twin, SOHC, four valves per cylinder Bore and Stroke 77mm x 80mm Compression Ratio 10.7:1 Horsepower (claimed) 57.8 hp @ 6700 rpm Torque (claimed) 50.9 lb-ft @ 4750 rpm Transmission 6-speed Dual Clutch Transmission Final Drive Chain Front Suspension 41mm Dual Bending Valve fork, 4.7 inches wheel travel Rear Suspension Pro-Link single shock, adjustable for spring preload, 4.7 in. travel Front Brake 320mm disc, 2-piston caliper, 2-channel ABS Rear Brake 240mm disc, 2-channel ABS Front Tire 120/70ZR-17 Rear Tire 160/60ZR-17 Rake/Trail 27 deg/4.3 in Wheelbase 60.1 in. Seat Height 31.6 in. Curb Weight (Claimed) 492 lbs. Fuel Capacity 3.8 gal. MO Observed Fuel Economy 52 mpg Colors Red Warranty One year, transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan. We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post 2021 Honda NC750X Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/_Jz8HcuXxmASource
  2. Maybe it’s the millennial in me, but I’ve always appreciated Arai helmets for the privately owned company’s history and the fact that the lids are handcrafted in Japan. Use the word “heritage” and/or “handmade” and you’ve got the attention of my generation. The thing is though, with Arai, they don’t need to rely on hip marketing to entice interested parties. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and Arai has been serving it up thick since the 1950s. Arai lids can be found on the heads of the world’s most elite racers from MotoGP to Dakar and even in the less interesting four-wheeled sports like F1 (I kid, I kid). Arai XD4 Even with its last “major” update happening nine years ago, the Arai XD4 continues to be a top choice for adventurers around the globe. Aesthetics 9/10 Protection 9/10 Comfort 9/10 Value 8.25/10 Weight 7.5/10 Innovation 8/10 Quality 9.25/10 Options 9/10 Weather 9/10 Desirability 9/10 Editor Score: 87% + Highs Arai quality Good ventilation Versatile – Sighs Wish it came with a Pinlock-ready shield (and a Pinlock insert Not the lightest helmet in the genre The XD4 is getting a little long in the tooth What’s New? The Arai XD4 replaced its predecessor (the XD3) back in 2012 and has gone largely unchanged since. When the XD4 hit the market, Arai claimed a better ventilation system including slight changes to diffusers throughout the helmet and a new shield with brow vents for better ram air cooling effect. The XD4’s internal padding allows for additional adjustment, giving users the ability to decrease the foam thickness by 5mm on the cheek pads and sides of the crown. Emergency quick removal tabs are also included for cheek pad extraction in the instance of the unfortunate. In addition to all of that, the helmet’s shell shape has also been slightly changed and is now offered in five shell sizes (XS, SM, MD-LG (same shell), XL, and XXL) to ensure the smallest, lightest helmet possible. In 2018, we’re told the peak received slight aerodynamic changes, the internal fabric was upgraded to match that of the Corsair, and anti-fog coated shields with a few tint options were made available. First look At a glance, the first thing you’ll notice is the quality of the finishes and/or graphics. The Vision graphic of my helmet has a matte finish with a hint of metal fleck throughout. The graphics are tastefully layered, and while I would use the word perfection considering the other two Arai helmets that I own, a direct look at the front of my XD4 shows asymmetrical graphics (something I hadn’t noticed until the helmet was sitting on my desk as I typed up this review). Grabbing the XD4 off the shelf – depending whether or not you’ve checked out other helmets on the market – you might notice the XD4’s weight next. In terms of heft, the Arai slots itself right in the middle between the three adventure helmets I’ve been using as of late, weighing in at 3 lbs 9.9 oz (1641 g). The other helmets, a Klim Krios and Shoei Hornet X2 tip the scales at 2 lbs 15.7 oz (1352 g) and 3 lbs 15 oz (1786 g), respectively. Considering the entire crop of helmets including on-road, off-road, and in-between, the XD4 is not the lightest helmet by far, but also not nearly the heaviest. Arai uses it’s R75 shell shape for its glancing properties, along with a varying density EPS liner within to properly absorb impacts. Even the comfort liner itself uses multiple densities of foam to ensure the safest and most comfortable fit. Arai helmets sold in North America meet both DOT and Snell M2020 tests. Achieving the Snell certification requires a penetration test that – in every instance I’m aware of – adds weight (and often rigidity) to the helmet. The XD4 shell is made from hand laid carbon and fiberglass layers with Arai’s proprietary resin blends, but the helmets sold Stateside will be heavier than those found in other markets. The orange emergency quick-release tabs can be pulled to easily remove the cheek pads after an unfortunate incident. The small chin curtain can also be pulled down to limit airflow from underneath the helmet. Slipping the helmet on, you’re reminded of why everyone talks about the comfort of Arai helmets. They tend to have pillowy, cushy liners that adapt well to slight variances in head shape, making them comfortable to a wide swath of melons, though the XD4 is considered to fit an intermediate oval head shape. As with other modern Arai helmets, the XD4 features cheek and crown pads that can have a 5mm layer of foam removed for custom tailoring the fit. Installing the Cardo Packtalk Bold bluetooth communicator didn’t alter the fit at all. Cut-outs in the cheek pads allow for easy installation and comfortable fit of comm units. The XD4 truly is an all-day comfortable helmet that is easy to don and doff. Another feature you’ll notice about the Arai XD4, which is true of most ADV helmets, is the massive eye port. This is one reason, I believe, that adventure helmets have become so popular for everyday use. The peripheral vision from adventure helmets is hard to match. This, of course, also allows the user to wear goggles with the XD4 off-road – most comfortably when the visor is removed. Urban fighter pilot mode: engaged. Considering the Arai XD4 as a do-it-all helmet, it has three configurations that help it excel at the intended use. First, you can wear it as is, peak attached and visor on, leaving you just as ready to tackle the commute to Starbucks as you will be conquering Tierra del Fuego. Second, you can remove the visor, reattach the peak (the same plastic screws that attach the peak attach the visor), and use goggles for riding off-road, à la MX. Third, you can remove the peak and reattach the visor to gain a more aerodynamic setup for street riding that also gives excellent peripheral vision. While this might be a strange or uncommon configuration, I’ve come to notice many urban riders using it. It makes sense and makes Arai’s ADV lid all the more useful which is great for a $740 helmet (Vision graphic). On the street or down the trail The recent crop of adventure helmets do a surprisingly good job of being aerodynamic enough to not turn your head into a sail at speed. Do you notice the peak while riding? Yes. Is the XD4 the most aerodynamic adventure helmet I’ve used? No. That said, on everything from naked bikes to adventure touring machines, it hasn’t been such a problem that I regretted using the helmet. Finishing plates on each side provide a polished look whether the peak is installed or not. The XD4’s peak does catch some wind, and depending on which motorcycle I’m riding I can find myself teetering between the point of wind catching under it and pulling up or over it and pushing down. On adventure bikes, it’s almost never an issue that bothers me much. The Arai XD4’s rear diffuser vents can be easily replaced by pressing the red tab on the vent closing mechanism to the right. This allows the diffuser to pop free of the vent, then, once the new piece is lined back up, pulling the red tab back into place locks it back in securely. When the road runs out and terrain turns technical, I’ve found the substantial venting system of the XD4 to work quite well. The three large chinbar vents can all be opened and closed, the center of which has adjustability on both the inside and outside of the helmet for fine tuning. Vents on the visor at the brow can be opened to channel air directly to the forehead and the top vents are easily opened and closed with switch-type toggles on the top of the inlets. I did notice that the top forward facing vents worked best when the peak was pushed to its highest position as it seems to almost entirely block them when it’s lower. Two large exhaust vents at the upper back portion of the helmet can be opened and closed in the same fashion. Two lower exhaust vents are found near the bottom of the helmet and a channel to direct airflow out of the helmet is located at the bottom of the neck roll. Note the fog building at the bottom of the visor. The visor itself may be one of my biggest nitpicks on any Arai helmet, really. They all feel flimsy by comparison, and the locking mechanisms on helmets, like the Corsair X, don’t always seem to offer consistent ease of use. That said, I’ve only actually had one issue with Arai shields which was during my time with the Ram-X when the shield fell off in my hand as I attempted to adjust it while riding. Despite the visor not feeling as stout as the other adventure helmets in my stable, it works well and is easy to see through, but (and it’s kind of a big one) both the clear visor and the tinted one I’ve used fog something awful. Arai now offers accessory visors with anti-fog treatments and a Pinlock-ready version (only in clear and the Pinlock insert is sold separately), but with a starting price of $610, I’d like to see the Pinlock ready visor and insert included in the package. Adventure is booming In 2012, when the XD4 came to the market, there weren’t as many competitors. The adventure scene was just starting to hot up. Now, in 2021, adventure motorcycling is hotter than ever, and the competition looking to outfit those adventurous domes is nearly as heated. There are more than 15 helmet manufacturers selling ADV or “dual-sport” lids in the U.S. Despite the XD line’s last “major” update happening in 2012, Arai’s XD4 continues to be a top contender for those in the market – that’s also despite it being one of the most expensive. While there are two ways of looking at it, arguments can be made for the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” camp or for those hoping for some innovation. Personally, I’d like to see a lighter XD5 complete with a Pinlock ready shield with the insert in the box. Another look at the aerodynamic properties of the peak could be in order, too. Competition has never forced Arai to take drastic measure,s and the evolution of the XD line is an example of the Japanese company sticking to its approach to what it considers the best way of doing things. For now, I’ll keep wearing my XD4, but I’ll remain hopeful that the next evolution from Arai is just over the horizon of the rising sun. Arai XD4 Specifications Colors 18 various solids and graphics Sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL Weight (Medium measured) 3 lbs 9.9 oz (1641 g) Safety Standards DOT, Snell M2020 Check pricing for the Arai XD4 here FAQ What goggles fit with the Arai XD4? Any of them! At least any of the brands I have sitting around which include the 100% Racecraft +, the Klim Viper Pro, and the Fly Zone Pro. Goggles fit best with the visor completely removed, though they can be worn without removing the visor, just keep in mind the seal around the rider’s face will not be great for keeping out dust. What bluetooth communicator fits in the Arai XD4? Any of them, again! Any modern communicator like the Cardo Packtalk Bold or Sena units should fit nicely within the Arai XD4. The medium helmet I have fits me spot on, and I couldn’t tell a difference in fit or comfort after installing the Packtalk Bold. What is an adventure motorcycle helmet? An adventure helmet melds the worlds of street and off-road functionality. An ADV helmet like the Arai XD4 is designed to be tightly sealed for weatherproofing when touring, while offering the ability to be opened up for ventilation like an off-road lid for tackling more treacherous terrain. Like adventure bikes, adventure helmets aim for ultimate versatility. Additional Resources Arai: The Philosophy Behind The Helmets Best Adventure Motorcycle Helmets For The Unknown MO Tested: Arai Corsair-X Review MO Tested: Arai Regent-X Review MO Tested: Arai Ram-X Review We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post MO Tested: Arai XD4 Helmet Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/xc7yfFTePCgSource
  3. Honda Europe revealed the new 2022 NT1100, a street-focused tourer based on the CRF1100L adventure bike. As of this writing, the NT1100 has only been announced for Europe, but we hope to see it come to North America eventually. Fast Facts Choice of manual transmission or DCT Sharper steering geometry than the Africa Twin 5.4 gallon fuel tank Integrated panniers, heated grips, cruise control and an adjustable windscreen come standard Visually, the NT1100’s design resembles the NT700V (a.k.a. the Deauville), which was last offered in the U.S. in 2013. The fairing is designed for touring comfort, and stands in contrast to the recent industry trend of sport-tourers with adventure-inspired styling. The windscreen is five-way adjustable for height and angle, and it’s supplemented with wind deflectors on either side. Cruise control and heated grips come standard, as are the integrated detachable panniers. The cases are designed to be slim, with a maximum width of 35.4 inches at their widest point. The left case holds 8.7 gallons while the right is slightly smaller at 8.4 gallons, to create more clearance from the exhaust. Honda claims the NT1100 will get 47 mpg which, combined with the 5.4-gallon fuel tank, would mean a range of about 253 miles. The 2022 Honda NT1100 is powered by a liquid-cooled 1084cc Parallel-Twin similar to the one used on the Africa Twin. The engine has the same 10.1:1 compression ratio and 270° phased crankshaft, but the air intake duct length and exhaust are tuned to make a low-rpm “throb”, with Honda claiming smooth, powerful acceleration and relaxed highway cruising performance. Honda claims the NT1100’s engine produces 101 hp at 7,500 rpm and 76.7 lb.ft at 6,250 rpm. That’s the same power output claimed by the 2022 Africa Twin, but a slight dip in peak torque. Like its ADV sibling, the NT1100 is available with a dual clutch transmission (DCT). The manual model has a claimed curb weight of 524.7 pounds, while Honda claims the DCT model comes in at 546.7 pounds. The chassis consists of the same steel semi-double cradle frame as the Africa Twin, with a bolt-on aluminum subframe. The NT1100’s 60.4-inch wheelbase is 1.6 inches shorter than the Africa Twin, while the 26.5° rake and 4.3-inch trail should make for sharper steering than the CRF1100L’s 27.5° and 4.4 inches offer. Showa supplies the preload-adjustable 43mm inverted fork and rear shock with remote spring preload adjustability. Both offer 5.9 inches of travel. The wheels are made of die-cast aluminum, with a sand core allowing for a hollow hub center for the front wheel. The intersecting spokes attach to the rim diagonally, with Honda claiming high rigidity for cornering and smoother road vibrations when traveling in a straight line. The front wheel sports a 120/70-17 tire while a 180/55-17 tire is fitted at the rear. The braking system consists of dual four-piston radial-mount calipers with 310mm discs up front and a single-piston caliper with a 256mm disc at the rear. We’re a little surprised the NT1100 comes standard with a 2-channel ABS instead of the IMU-based cornering ABS offered on the Africa Twin. The NT1100 does offer three selectable ride modes plus two customizable modes, a three-level traction control system and a three-level wheelie control system. The NT1100 is equipped with a similar stacked instrument cluster as the Africa Twin, with a 6.5-inch TFT above a smaller LCD screen. The full-color TFT offers customizable displays plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. At 32.3 inches, the seat height is more manageable than the AT which stands at 32.4 inches with the lowest seat option. The saddle is designed for comfort for both rider and passenger, with grab handles integrated into the rear rack. Other standard features include a USB socket, accessory power socket, center stand, and, where markets allow, full LEDs with daytime running lights, self-canceling turn indicators and emergency stop signals. Honda also offers three optional packages. The Urban pack adds a 13.2-gallon top case/pillion back rest and a 1.2-gallon tank bag. The Touring pack includes more comfortable seats and pillion footpegs plus fog lights. The Urban and Touring packs can be combined to form the Voyage pack. Each of these accessories can also be purchased separately. For 2022, the Honda NT1100 will be available in three color options: Matte Iridium Gray Metallic, Pearl Glare White, and Graphite Black. In the U.K., it is priced at £11,999, which puts it slightly less expensive than the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT‘s £12,202 MSRP. At the moment, there is no indication the NT1100 will be offered in the U.S., though we will keep an eye on any updates from American Honda. 2022 Honda NT1100 Specifications Engine Type Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve Parallel-Twin with 270° crank and uni-cam Displacement 1084cc Bore x Stroke 92mm x 81.5mm Compression Ratio 10.1:1 Horsepower 101 hp at 7,500rpm (claimed) Torque 76.7 lb-ft. at 6,250rpm (claimed) Oil Capacity 4.8 – MT 5.2 – DCT Carburation PGM-FI electronic fuel injection Fuel Tank Capacity 5.4 gallons Fuel Consumption 47 mpg (claimed) Battery Capacity 12V/11.2AH Clutch Type Wet, multiplate clutch Transmission Type MT: 6-speed Manual Transmission DCT: 6-speed Dual Clutch Transmission Final Drive Chain Frame Steel semi-double cradle frame with bolt-on aluminum subframe. Length 88.2 inches Width 34.1 inches (35.4 inches with the panniers) Height 53.5 inches (low screen position) Wheelbase 60.4 inches Rake/Trail 26.5°/4.3 inches Seat Height 32.3 inches Ground Clearance 6.9 inches Curb Weight 524.7 pounds – Manual (claimed) 546.7 pounds – DCT (claimed) Front Suspension Showa 43mm SFF-BP type inverted telescopic fork with dial-style preload adjuster, 5.9 inches stroke. Rear Suspension Monoblock aluminum swing arm with Pro-Link with Showa gas-charged damper, hydraulic dial-style preload adjuster, 5.9 inches of axle travel. Front Wheel Multi-spoke cast aluminum Rear Wheel Multi-spoke cast aluminum Front Tire 120/70R17 M/C Rear Tire 180/55R17 M/C ABS System Type 2-channel ABS Front Brake Radial mounted four-piston brake caliper, 310mm floating double disc Rear Brake Single piston caliper, 256mm single disc Instruments 6.5-inch TFT Touch Panel Multi information display & secondary LCD meter Security System HISS Headlight LED with DRL Taillight LED Connectivity Apple CarPlay & Android Auto USB USB 12V Socket Yes Auto Winker cancel Yes Quickshifter Accessory Cruise Control Yes Additional Features 5 Riding Modes Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post 2022 Honda NT1100 Announced for Europe appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/cFkGaYDtsB0Source
  4. After giving us a glimpse of a pre-production prototype in August, Triumph officially revealed its new Tiger Sport 660. Sharing the same platform as the Trident 660 roadster, the 2022 Triumph Tiger Sport 660 is a middleweight “adventure sports” model, claiming class-leading power and low cost of ownership. By “adventure sports”, of course, we’re talking about sport-touring models that are styled after true ADVs rather than sportbikes. Like the Trident does for its roadster line, Triumph also sees the Tiger Sport 660 as an entry point for the larger and more adventure-ready Tiger models in its lineup. Triumph is thus positioning the Tiger Sport 660 against the likes of the Kawasaki Versys 650 and, in Europe, the Yamaha Tracer 7. Cross shoppers might also be considering the Suzuki V-Strom 650, which may be a bit more capable off-road, but the Tiger probably won’t compete as well in the dirt against the Yamaha Ténéré 700 or theupcoming Aprilia Tuareg 660. The Tiger Sport 660 is powered by the same liquid-cooled DOHC Inline-Triple as the Trident, with the same claimed performance numbers of 80 hp at 10,250 rpm and 47 lb-ft. at 6,250 rpm and with Triumph claiming 90% of its peak torque available from 3,600 rpm to 9,750 rpm. The Tiger Sport 660 also shares the same underslung silencer as the Trident, as well as a slip-and-assist clutch. An up-and-down quickshifter is available as an accessory.  The engine is packaged in a tubular steel perimeter frame similar to the Trident’s, but the Tiger Sport has a longer subframe to support luggage and a higher two-level seat (the 32.8 inch seat height is 1.1 inches taller than the Trident, but the pillion seat is significantly higher than on the roadster). Luggage is sold separately, but the Tiger Sport 660 is set up with integrated pannier mounts that fit neatly with the shape of the tail. The suspension is also similar to the Trident, with a 41mm separate function fork and rear shock with remote hydraulic preload adjustment, although with a longer 5.9-inches of wheel travel for both wheels. The Tiger Sport also has a rake of 23.1°and 3.8 inches of trail compared to the Trident’s 24.6° and 4.2 inches. Nissin provides the dual two-piston front brake calipers and single-piston rear caliper. ABS is standard, as is a switchable traction control system. The electronics package also includes two selectable ride modes with a small color TFT screen integrated in a white-on-black LCD display which is also designed to work with the My Triumph accessory to provide turn-by-turn navigation, phone connectivity and GoPro control. The Tiger Sport 660 offers a relaxed, upright riding position with a tall height-adjustable windscreen. The controls are positioned for comfort for both urban and highway riding. The brake lever is span-adjustable for rider comfort while passengers will benefit from the ergonomically-shaped grab handles. The blue model in the photographs is outfitted with a number of accessories including 57l panniers with color-matched lids and a 47l top case (an aluminum luggage rack is sold separately). Standard features include a 4.5-gallon fuel tank, Michelin Road 5 tires, and twin LED headlights. In markets where they are allowed, the LED turn signals are self-cancelling, and they can be upgraded to scrolling LED indicators. The 2022 Triumph Tiger Sport 660 arrives in U.S. dealerships in February 2022 with an MSRP of $9,295 for the Sapphire Black color, with an additional $125 for the Korosi Red and Luceren Blue colors. At that price, it’s more expensive than some of its competitors like the $8,399 Versys 650, but Triumph says the Tiger Sport 660 makes up for it with a category-leading low cost of ownership. Service intervals are every 10,000 miles or 12 months. Triumph also claims the service time over the first three years of ownership add up to 8.3 hours of labor compared to a range of 11 to 15.9 hours for its competitors. Triumph asserts this results in a 17% lower maintenance costs over that time span. 2022 Triumph Tiger Sport 660 Specifications Type Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, inline 3-cylinder, 240° firing order Displacement 660 cc Bore x Stroke 74.04 mm x 51.1 mm Compression 11.95:1 Horsepower 80 hp at 10,250 rpm (claimed) Torque 47 lb-ft. at 6,250 rpm (claimed) Fuel System Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection with electronic throttle control Exhaust Stainless steel 3 into 1 header system with low single sided stainless steel silencer Final Drive X-ring chain Clutch Wet, multi-plate, slip & assist Gearbox 6 speed Frame Tubular steel perimeter frame Swingarm Twin-sided, fabricated steel Front Wheel Cast aluminum, 17 x 3.5 in Rear Wheel Cast aluminum, 17 x 5.5 in Front Tire 120/70 ZR 17 (58W) Rear Tire 180/55 ZR 17 (73W) Front Suspension Showa 41mm upside down separate function cartridge forks, 5.9 inches of wheel travel Rear Suspension Showa monoshock RSU, with remote hydraulic preload adjustment, 5.9 inches of wheel travel Front Brakes Nissin two-piston sliding calipers, twin 310mm discs, ABS Rear Brakes Nissin single-piston sliding caliper, single 255mm disc, ABS Instruments Multi-function instruments with color TFT screen Length 81.5 inches Width (Handlebars) 32.8 inches Height 55 inches / 51.7 inches (high / low screen position), without mirrors Seat Height 32.8 inches Wheelbase 55.8 inches Rake / Trail 23.1° / 3.8 inches Wet weight 454 pounds (claimed) Fuel Tank Capacity 4.5 gallons Service interval 10,000 miles / 12 months Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post 2022 Triumph Tiger Sport 660 First Look appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/WLqtJg9XTt8Source
  5. Dainese Torque 3 Out AirEditor Score: 91.5%Aesthetics 9.0/10Protection 9.0/10 Value 9.0/10Comfort/Fit 9.5/10 Quality/Design 9.5/10 Weight 8.5/10 Options/Selection 8.5/10Innovation 9.5/10Weather Suitability 10.0/10Desirable/Cool Factor 9.0/10Overall Score91.5/100 In motorcycles, we frequently see tremendous loyalty in consumables like brake pads and tires. Because of their long life cycle, riding gear isn’t usually thought of as a consumable (except, perhaps, from crash damage), but if you use something long enough, it will eventually wear out. Boots and gloves suffer the stresses of everyday use more than other riding gear and, consequently, fall into this category. Dainese Torque RS Out Air – Review My five-year-old Dainese Torque RS Out Air boots were ready for retirement. The soles were worn bald, and the outer TPU was ground away in a couple of places from MO’s two forays into endurance mini racing. They’d been my everyday boot for hot SoCal weather seemingly forever, suffering through 100-plus degree track days, sport rides, commuting, and hiking through the underbrush during photo shoots. While the comfort and protection were still top notch, they were beginning to look pretty haggard, and the soles were offering less grip. So, as I frequently do when I’m thinking about a product, I found myself online late at night researching vented boots, only to discover that I simply wanted to replace my workhorse boots with the updated version, the Dainese Torque 3 Out Air (available for just $10 more than my original pair). Well-earned battle scars: The Dainese Torque RS Out Air boots served me well for five years. What makes the Dainese Torque 3 Out Air so special is really a combination of several features. Working from the inside out, the interior offers a unique fit-adjusting system. Because of my many years of running, I have Morton’s neuroma in my left foot, which requires that I wear a boot/shoe slightly larger than my foot to give my toes a place to splay out when I walk or place my weight on the pegs. The Torque 3s have an internal speed-lacing system that, with the pull of a locking drawstring, cinches the boot’s upper down across the top of my foot near the ankle joint, giving me a snug, movement-free fit in my ankle and heel along with the room I need around the front of the foot. This custom fit goes a long way towards making the Torque 3s comfortable during a day’s use on and off the bike. The next layers out are the microfiber and D-Stone fabric that forms the upper along with the TPU exterior armor. The perforated upper flows massive amounts of air, and at speed, you can actually feel the moisture (and heat) being wicked away. The air channeling works so well that I can even feel it flowing up behind the solid sections of the armor. One of the improvements to the Torque 3s is the larger air intake just below the accordion panel. The perforations in the upper also flow tremendous amounts of air. And then there is the armor. The toe box has an internal nylon reinforcement. Moving back from the toes are shifter pads on both boots for added stiffness and protection from stones. The heel cup is constructed of TPU with a protective internal nylon case and features an integrated magnesium slider to aid in, well, sliding and dissipate impacts. Ankle joints present a challenge for boot manufacturers because they must be protected yet remain flexible. Dainese has resolved this issue with its D-Axial system, which is a big TPU hinge mimicking the movement of the rider’s ankle. (A key ingredient in the Torque 3’s all-day comfort.) This solid structure minimizes the twisting of the ankle in a tumble. The exoskeleton’s flexible ankle hinge combines with the accordion panel to make the boots easy to walk in and manipulate the motorcycle’s controls. The Dainese Torque 3 Out Air boots also have several other convenience features. The rear zippered entry makes them easy to don and doff, the rear tongue acting as a shoehorn into these snug-fitting boots. Then there is the rear zipper itself making closing the boot simple. The dual rear hook-and-loop flaps allow for easily fine-tuning the boot opening for a comfortably snug fit whether you’re wearing them over your leathers (the Out in the boot name) or inside of your riding jeans. Finally the magnesium toe sliders wear extremely well and are easily replaced with an Allen key. Lots of features in one photo: The drawstring for the speed lace insures a snug fit, the plate covering the Achilles tendon acts as a shoehorn, and the boot opening is adjustable thanks to the two panels on either side of the rear zipper. If you frequently ride in a hot, dry environment, I highly recommend the Dainese Torque 3 Out Air. For $400, you get a comfortable, protective, and cool boot for almost any type of street riding. The black color is non-descript enough to be worn in the everyday world, and the protection is solid enough for track use. The Dainese Torque 3 Out Air are available in Euro sizes 39-47 in either Black/Anthracite or Black/White/Lava-Red, and are also available in the same colors and price in women’s Euro sizes 36-42. The sole is grippy on the pegs, but it does wear faster than the rest of the boot. Check prices for the Men’s Dainese Torque 3 Out Air here Check prices for the Women’s Dainese Torque 3 Out Air here Dainese Torque 3 Out Air Colors Black/Anthracite and Black/White/Lava-Red Sizes Euro 39-47 (men’s), Euro 36-42 (women’s) Safety Standards ECE Dainese Torque 3 Out Air FAQ Is Dainese Italian? Yes, Dainese was founded in the Italian town of Molvena and is today headquartered in Colceresa, Italy. Where is Dainese gear made? While all Dainese gear is designed in Italy, its products are made in many different countries. For example, the Torque 3 Out Air boots are manufactured in Romania. What does the Dainese logo mean? The red devil logo traces its roots to the earliest days of Dainese, where “The first logo featured a speed demon as a symbol of dynamism and rebellion.” Additional Resources Best Motorcycle Track Boots Best Waterproof Motorcycle Boots MO Tested: Alpinestars Supertech R Boots Review We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post MO Tested: Dainese Torque 3 Out Air Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/2wdzO0BBprESource
  6. You know what they say: It’s more fun to ride a slow motorcycle fast than a fast motorcycle slow. Yet another example of conventional wisdom baloney. It’s actually more fun to ride a fast bike fast, or even a medium-fast one. I’m pretty sure that’s why they keep building faster motorcycles all the time. Heck, you could argue faster bikes are also safer, because power can get you out of trouble just as easily as it can get you into it (once you’ve learned to ride, that is). And power can launch you out of corners, instead of incentivizing you to cling to every mph when you’re diving into them the way slow bikes do when ridden in packs of MOrons. Have you seen a Moto3 race? They’re faster mid-corner than the Moto2 or MotoGP bikes. Then again, you can probably trust that front tire since all these bikes weigh well under 400 pounds. And you’re definitely not braking into those corners from triple-digit speeds, so how bad could it be? Well. It takes a certain lack of imagination, like the famous race car driver said, to ride these quickly on the street. But these aren’t just motorcycles for sport riding. Little bikes are a blast in urban areas where space is at a premium, and with what you save in gas and tires, they probably pencil out not bad against public transportation.  It turns out only having $6k to spend on a new motorcycle doesn’t have to be a bad thing, especially when you’ve got us to help separate the wheat from the chaff. No, no need to thank us: Just hit the Like button on the video. Ride to eat. Eat to ride. And even if you do have a bigger budget, we learn once again via the scientific process that all inexpensive little motorcycles are not created equal, and you can definitely have big fun on a small one while sinking the rest in Bitcoin or GameStop. Once again, the crack Motorcycle.com staff swings into action (complete with part-time MOrons Tom Roderick and Thai Long Ly), riding the top five tiny tadgers repeatedly round our SoCal test circuit, bombing them up and down the LA freeway system, and all parts in between to get to the bottom of it all. It beats working. 5th place: BMW G310 R Thai Long Ly is 5’5″ tall. It’s all relative, and when we reviewed BMW’s new mini roadster three years ago, we had mostly nice things to say about it – though we did mention the KTM 390 Duke makes about 8 hp more than the BM’s 31, a figure that’s way more insignificant on paper than it is on the road. That hasn’t changed. It pretty much appears that BMW was attempting to replicate the Duke in building its 310: Both pack counterbalanced Singles in steel trellis frames very close in specification, both with simple, non-linkage suspension out back. The BMW even out-tricks the KTM, with its rear-canted cylinder and rear-firing exhaust port designed for better mass centralization. Our scales have them within a pound of each other in the 362 vicinity. 2017 BMW G310R Review In most of the subjective categories on the Official MO Scorecard, the BMW is right there in the fray. Sadly, the category it got left behind in was Engine, with a last-place 67.5% rating. When you’re talking motorcycles in the 30 to 40 horsepower range, every horse matters, and though the BMW’s 313 cc Single is perfectly adequate ridden in isolation, it’s a 750 among 1000s when ridden in a hurry. “Stretching the throttle cable” is the old adage that comes to mind as you strain to keep up with the pack, though the Euro 5 BMW probably doesn’t have one. Running along a straight on a backroad WFO in 5th gear, the Svartpilen and then the MT-03 just motored past me on the BMW. Which is a shame, because the rest of the bike’s not so bad at all. Then again, slow bikes seem to always feel more secure than fast ones. Road Test Editor Troy Siahaan says: “You expect bikes in this class to have no power, but other than the BMW, the group surprises with how much get-up they have. Not the BMW. There’s not enough power to get out of its own way or take evasive maneuvers in traffic. According to the dyno, it makes peak power 500 rpm before redline… and it’s still the least amount of power here.” Troy’s exaggerating a little: I saw 96 mph indicated on here on level ground, but it took a run to get there. At 85 mph, the BMW’s LCD bar tach says it’s thumping 9000 rpm, reasonably smoothly. Tom Roderick has learned diplomacy since he left the motojourno business: “Unintimidating by way of its low seat height, smooth power delivery, and comfy egros, the BMW is the novice’s best friend among this group of two-wheelers. The 310R is attractive with nicely styled wheels that color match the equally attractive red-painted trellis frame.” T. Roderick is 5’11” tall. At least it’s not uncool; the 310 scored ahead of the Z400 in Cool Factor! But the little BMW scored one of the worst Grin Factor ratings in memory: 32%. It lacks excitement. Excitement and power. They’re not quite the same thing but they’re very close. Thai Long Ly can’t hold back, thank God: “I had so much hope for this bike as it looks good parked, with price-appropriate fit and finish and an attractive color scheme. With a low seat height and puny engine, this bike couldn’t frighten a skittish stray cat no matter how many vacuum cleaners you bolted to it. The biking equivalent of a mouthful of Xanax with all the excitement of a flavored toothpick, the bike does promise excellence upon first twisting the grip, with a nice smooth pull all the way up to about 28 mph. I know it’s the weakest of all the motors in the test, but I’m quite certain my cat’s water fountain has more power and is verifiably smoother. Basically, the engine [censored]. As for the actual ride, it’s quite comfortable on the motorways and has great ergonomics and a comfortable seat. However, front end feedback at speed is like [CENSORED!]… you can’t feel a thing. Good luck finding neutral at a stoplight. Although it sounds like I didn’t like the BMW, you’d be right. At least Ryan Adams feels bad: I feel bad for the BMW coming in last. It was quickly apparent that it would be at the bottom of the pack, though. Despite it’s open cockpit and comfy ergos, its adequate suspension and decent brakes, not even its solid shifts and quality fit and finish could keep its motor performance – or lack thereof – from grenading the entire experience. It delivers a healthy cuppa torque just off idle, but then begins to skyrocket into the rpm range with little forward momentum gained along the way.” Ouch. 2021 BMW G 310 R + Highs Looks legit and says BMW right on it Not too uncomfortable and 60+ mpg A crashed Duke motor might bolt right in? – Sighs She’s down on power, captain She’s got the least torque too Grin Factor 32 4th Place: Yamaha MT-03 Surprise. The bike with the next-smallest engine – 321 cc – finishes next to last, pretty much for the same reason as the BMW. The Yamaha Twin gets to within 7 hp of the most powerful Kawasaki Z400’s 43, if you don’t mind winding it up to nearly 11,000 rpm. But this Master of Torque has none, making barely more lb-ft than the BMW – 20.1 – and not until 9100 rpm. We admit it: Part of the problem is tester bias. We always wind up chasing each other through Sand Canyon, and the MT impressed me off the bat as more the sport-tourer of the group, with slightly softer suspension, and I wanted to write “some of the best ergonomics here” but I see the poor MT finished next-to-last in that category also (though Thai and I gave it high marks). You’re sat pretty upright on most of these bikes, but the Yamaha provides a broad, comfy seat for the rider, and a passenger pad not designed to promote acrimony. 2020 Yamaha MT-03 Review – First Ride “Slow but refined,” is how Troy sums up the MT-03. “Well, as refined as a cheap 321cc bike can be. Wet noodle frame and the suspension gets stressed when pushing on choppy roads. The shock feels like it’s bottoming when going fast and you hit a decent bump. You sit in the bike, not on top. Low seat height is kinda cramped and narrow bars. The Transformer headlight thing can take some getting used to, but I dig it, and maybe younger, newer riders will too.” Tom says: “As much of a fan as I am of the MT-09 and MT-07, the MT-03 just doesn’t swing my excitement meter. Landing somewhere between the BMW and the Kawasaki on the scorecard the Yamaha didn’t excel at anything but didn’t disappoint in a remarkable way either.” Thai Long Ly: “The Yamaha is a nice little ride. You sit ‘in’ the bike with a comfortable reach to the narrow bars, with a friendly low seat height for us donkey-legged humans. With only 36 hp, this bike packs all the thrills of ornithology with the rush of backgammon in the park. But what a difference a couple ponies can make, as the MT feels far more enticing than the tragically anemic BMW. Though the MT moniker here is less ‘Master of Torque’ and more ‘Miniature Thighs,’ I like the way the motor smoothly revs up to the limiter, which is where you’ll spend most of your tachometer time if you’re in any sort of rush. The brakes are grippy and the bike handles the canyon roads well enough for government work, though the suspension is far from supple. Choose only freshly paved roads to travel, and you’ll be fine: Wear a mouthguard to prevent concussions everywhere else. If you take one home, you’ll be rewarded with a drama-free ownership experience. Which will last exactly three months before you realize you should’ve purchased one of the next three bikes instead.” Ryan A is 5’8” tall. Ryan thinks: “The Yamaha feels the most like a beginner bike out of this group to me. Maybe it’s the lowest seat and the compact seating position which places you firmly within the motorcycle, or, despite its duo of cylinders, the fact they combine to make the second-lowest displacement here. The motor is fairly smooth and revs out high into the rpm range where it makes most of its power, but unlike the BMW, you don’t feel like you’re being unkind to the machine while you’re there. The brakes work, though the front one could be used as the definition of wooden. The larger -07 and -09 are befitting of the title Master of Torque, the -03, not so much.” Sadly there is still no replacement for displacement, short of a supercharger, and the MT-03 no gots. What it does have is the lowest price tag – $4,599. 2021 Yamaha MT-03 + Highs Comfortable on smooth pavement $4,599 Won’t wake the neighbors or the dead – Sighs Master of Almost No Torque How much more for an MT-07 for the love of God? Remember the RZ350? No? You’re better off 3rd Place: Kawasaki Z400 The jump from #4 to the Kawasaki is 78 small steps in cubic centimeters – but a giant leap in terms of performance. Stepping up from the MT’s 321 cc parallel Twin to the Z’s 399 cc unit gets us the most power of the five bikes here – 43 hp. And 24.5 lb-ft of torque is but one short of the torquiest engine here. Give it a big handful of gas, and while the Z might not feel quite as fast off the line as the Austrian Singles, it’s very close. And top-speed testing in the carpool lane on the way home has the Z’s digital speedo claiming 112 mph. (The Austrian sisters are both tapped out at 100; it’s hard to tell if there’s a governor or the jig is just up?) If it’s time for the dyno chart, we must be in the Kawasaki department. The KTM and Husqvarna engines feel way more linear in their delivery than their traces suggest. The KTM single usually feels faster than the Z twin, but it’s not clear if that’s the case… Eighty-five mph and 8000 rpm is more like it on the Z, where it runs with not too much vibration, and if you’re after a lightweight commuter, the Kawasaki and Yamaha tie for biggest gas tanks – 3.7 gallons. 2019 Kawasaki Z400 Review – First Ride! Surprisingly nice suspenders, just like the Z900, are on the firm but not-too side, and do a nice job keeping the tail up when you begin coming over all aggro on the backroads. Bump absorption/damping are really good most of the time except for big hits, but then, all these little bikes deal best with big bumps by avoiding them. In our Handling category, the Z tied for second place with the Vitpilen. Z ergonomics lean a smidge more sporty than the other bikes’ upright seating. Taller riders seem to feel a little cramped on the Z as the rear of the seat slopes forward, and in fact that’s 5’11” Tom Roderick’s main complaint re: the Z: “The right aftermarket butt pillow that doesn’t ski-slope your gonads into the fuel tank would go a long way into changing my opinion about the Z400. Otherwise, the little Kawi is a handsome, good-handling entry-level two-wheeler. “Next to the KTM’s (and Husquvarna’s) single-cylinder, the Kawi’s parallel-Twin is the smoothest running engine of the group. Power builds slowly over its rev range, so it doesn’t have the punchiness of the KTM. Lacking almost all feel at the clutch lever, this is not the bike for a new rider to learn the nuances of engaging/disengaging the clutch (a la friction zone).” As for the seat, it does slope tall guys into the tank, but that’s an easy thing to fix, probably as simple as tacking on Kawi’s factory accessory Extended Reach seat, which raises the seat one inch, for $199. At the other end of the chart is 5’5” Thai: “For whatever reason, I’ve always vibed with Kawasaki motorcycles. Maybe it’s an Asian thing. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Whatever it is, I get their engines and truly enjoy the way they make their smooth yet clinical power. I have a supernatural ability to adjust quickly to the high-pegged ergos and once my hip flexors go numb from the cramped angles, I settle nicely in for the ride. Then again, I’m only 5’ 5.” I didn’t care for the way my right foot kept hitting the exhaust shield, but that’s a small thing. As for handling, once at speed, everything comes together like an 18th-hole birdie after a day of bogeys. Kawasaki makes excellent race bikes, and this baby fruit hasn’t wandered far from the tree. I know this is a beginner bike and all, but it feels like a legitimate supersport in the way it handles tight twisty canyon roads while commanding confidence when ridden hard. It’s a rare bike that a true novice can grow with and a seasoned veteran can enjoy whipping around on. Because it makes all that smooth Kawasaki power up top, it won’t penalize a rookie mistake while it urges the rest of us to keep riding faster. And when you do, you’re rewarded with tons of on edge grip and tons of big bike feel. If you favor reliability and efficiency in a capable lightweight bike, this is clearly the one to buy.” Ryan Adams, whose hobbies include bagging on Kawasakis, approves of the smallest Z: “The Z400 might be the best well-rounded bike here for the largest swath of riders. At $4,999, it’s the second cheapest and puts out the most power. The neat part is just how smooth and approachable the motor is. For new riders who aren’t likely to rev the engine into the meat of its power, it’s a very approachable machine. For more experienced riders, that healthy mid- to top-range is a fun place to be. This makes the Z400 a great motorcycle for new riders to grow with and a fun lightweight steed for grizzled old veterans to exploit. It’s also nearly the lightest bike here at 360 lbs and offers pretty great range with its 3.7-gallon tank and 53.5 mpg (averaged from our heavy-handed riding). The riding position suffers the same high-kneed somewhat cramped triangle that the Z650 and Z900 did, along with a forward cant that beckons your bits toward the tank. Perhaps the extended reach seat would alleviate our woes, I know not. Even with all of those boxes checked though, the Kawi doesn’t offer as thrilling of a riding experience as our top two Austrians (in different clothes).” Just a man in search of some soul… Troy’s Euroweenie slip is showing again as he mercilessly abuses the innocent little Z: “Kawasaki has the most power, and it’s apparent, but it has no soul. It sounds like a sewing machine. I’m not usually one to suggest an exhaust as the first upgrade you make, but it might be with this bike. Anything to make it sound cooler. “Seating position is cramped, even for me. Tall folks need not apply. It handles well enough, as you’d expect from its Ninja 400 roots, and the price is right. If you’re scared off by reliability concerns over KTM engines, the Kawasaki is a fine alternative… just not nearly as exciting.” The Kawasaki won exactly none of our Subjective scoring categories, but purely rational types will note it won the Objective portion of the card, thanks to its light weight, most power, and sub-$5k price tag. Nice. 2021 Kawasaki Z400 + Highs Finally we’ve got a little oomph Sporty handling, good suspension Decent range with 3.7-gallon tank – Sighs Forward-sloping seat induces non-stop whining Criticizing its styling invites cultural stereotyping, which we would never do She’s a little buzzy at speeds none of the others can achieve 2nd Place: Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 Interest in the tiny tiddler test turned totally positive when we learned at the last minute that the Svartpilen would be participating: All that remained to be seen was would it be good enough to beat the bike it’s based upon? No. I loved the 701 Svartpilen when I got to ride it a couple of years ago, but it’s been a few years since we rode the 401s, both Svart and Vitpilen. Just like the 701, the 401 is such a visually interesting thing everybody has to sit up and take notice. Speaking of sitting up, everybody immediately likes the ergonomics. The front wheel is right under you, and you can reach down and grip the fuel tank rack like the saddle horn on a mechanical bull. Sadly, that tank only holds 2.5 gallons. I wanted to write “you’ll probably get better mileage than we did when you’re not riding maniacally,” but kind of the point of the 401 is that you’re always riding maniacally. Just as the Svart 701 shared an engine with the KTM Duke 690, the 401 is powered by the same 373 cc Single as the 390 Duke. In contrast to the bigger Svart, though, the Svartpilen 401 actually retails for $400 less than the KTM, which is even more mysterious as it comes standard with niceties including an up/down quickshifter, adjustable suspension, and wire-spoke wheels that, unfortunately, require tubes. On those wheels you’ll find adventurous Pirelli tires that go with the Svartpilen’s rugged barista look. On the freeway, they send up more vibes to the rider than the Duke’s street rubber, and in the curves, they don’t have quite the traction or feel – but it barely matters most of the time – and the Svart is the preferred mount if dirt roads are on the menu. But keeping it real around town seems to be the Svartpilen’s mission, given the tiny gas tank. And you’ll be glad to not be in the boonies when you have a flat tire, too. Still, those nice adjustable WP suspenders led the Svart to a first place in the Suspension category, and a tie for second with the Z400 in Handling. What does Dirty Ryan Adams think? “This neo-retro futuristic scrambler thing is cool. I dig it. It’s not too surprising that the 390 Duke in Swedish garb would come in just behind its sibling given the shared platform, but the Svartpilen does manage to offer a fairly different riding experience. The wide, old school moto-style handlebar (complete with a cheesy cross brace bolted to welded tabs on the bars) and flat narrow seat puts you over the front tire in supermoto fashion, offering ample space for larger riders to be comfortable. “Stock Pirelli Rally STRs encourage you to take the Svart onto the unknown, and while I would like to comment on its performance off-road, I got yelled at for taking it in the dirt during our testing [Correction: for getting it dirty on our photography day – Ed.]. It’s basically like any other street scrambler with knobbies, it will be fine as long as your speed goes down as the bumps ramp up. It does have a cute little skid plate protecting the exhaust’s expansion chamber, though. The 2.5-gallon tank isn’t a big deal for ‘round townin,’ and the seat isn’t exactly the most comfortable place to spend a lot of time, as the sides of the plastic under it push your legs out, but it’s not terrible either. The brakes are a bit grabby initially but provide good stopping power. Kind of a bummer ‘supermoto’ mode didn’t make it to the 401 since it has knobbly tires. Oh well, at least there’s no TC. I’d be pretty happy with this or the KTM in my garage.” Troy approves: “The Husqy is pretty badass. Sitting tall like a dirt bike, it feels totally natural to stick a foot out in turns. Changes direction nicely. Strong brakes… It’s biggest downfall is its TINY gas tank. The fuel light came on by lunch – about 80-90 miles. You’re not going to want to – or be able to – tour on the 401, and the small fuel tank will make sure you don’t. Get off, stretch your legs, and refuel. Adjustable suspension is a nice touch! And so is having a quickshifter in BOTH directions! “The Svartpilen 401 stands out from this crowd. Its look is unlike anything else. It looks cool, aggressive, and with lots of attitude.” T. Roderick is on board: “Call me prejudiced. I entered this test wanting the Svartpilen to win, mostly because of styling that separates it from the rest of the bikes in this test and most motorcycles on showroom floors. But its measly 2.5-gallon fuel tank, stylish but crowded multifunction instrumentation, and plankish seat just wouldn’t allow it. The only motorcycle here with adjustable suspension and a quick-shifter, for $400 less than the KTM Duke. Tell me again how this bike lost? It was close, though, with only 15.13 points separating them when the scores were tallied.” Thai Long Ly probably has an opinion? “Straight up, this bike is badass. The svelte and stylish tank and distinct lines lend an air of seriousness to its purpose. The KTM-derived motor is a thing of raw raucous beauty, with a punchy playful nature that tastes like happiness. The throttle response is quick and light as the transmission engages with a solid fluidity. The pegs are low, the seat long, and the narrow bars are within easy reach for any size pilot… all enticing you to ride as hard and long as you can. Which is only about 30 minutes due to the laughable lack of fuel capacity. The money you save over the KTM 390 should be earmarked for a top-tier AAA membership. I had a blast on this bike in the canyons, despite the blocky 50/50 tires which while adequate on loose dirt, don’t help the bike’s freeway chops in any way. On the highway I was bounced about as the bike tramlined and weaved around the lane, seemingly with a mind of it’s own, and the clocks on this bike are completely invisible in direct sunlight. Honestly though, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need the dash to tell me I’m having fun. If I had to pick between this and the KTM for garage space, I’d go with the Dark Arrow, despite what the scorecard says. This really isn’t a beginner’s bike. It’s more of a precision lightweight bike for enthusiasts.” 2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 + Highs Arresting hook looks 390 Duke underpinnings Best suspension and quickshifter – Sighs 2.5-gallon tank can leave you hanging Tubes in your tires can kill your drive Quit being so practical, gramps Winner and Still the Champeen: KTM Duke 390 Surprised? You shouldn’t be. This thing’s covered in welts from all the awards and praise we’ve been throwing at it since the first one arrived in the US in 2015. The Duke swept our Engine and Handling categories by large margins, then went on to trounce the others in Braking and Instruments (it’s the only one with a big, bright TFT screen), and would’ve won Suspension if not for the Svartpilen’s adjustable WP components (not that we adjusted anything). In the all-important Ergonomics/Comfort category, el Duko beat the 2nd-place Svartpilen 87 to 80% – while the Z400 finished with a dismal last-place 71% (it’s not that bad!). 2017 KTM Duke 390 Review Not only is the Duke 390 the most fun to ride, in contrast to the Duke 890 which reminded some of us of a Black & Decker gardening tool last month thanks to its pedestrian design, the 390’s shiny new-toy looks completely belie its $5,700 price tag. And so it made off with the win in Quality, Fit, and Finish too. Cool Factor it lost to the Svartpilen, 90 to 87%. Grin Factor: another KTM win at 82% – 50 full points atop the last-place BMW. (This sums up the difference between Austria and Germany as well as anything.) May we have the accolades, please? T. Siahaan: “Even though it has more power than the Husky, it doesn’t feel as lively as (not a huge difference, but noticeable for more experienced riders). There’s a comfy riding position for a variety of body types, but it still puts you in attack mode if you want it. It attacks corners better than all but maybe the Husky, but can still get its suspension overwhelmed if you push too hard. Brakes are good among this crowd, with steel lines and adjustable levers, unlike the Japanese bikes. TFT display is tops in this class, by far. “Special bonus points for having Supermoto mode! “The 373cc engine used to be known for blowing head gaskets, but the latest generation uses different materials and is more reliable. As an overall package among this group, the KTM is my pick. If only it had the Svartpilen’s autoblipper…” Troy is also 5’8″ tall and enjoys walks on the beach. Ryan Adams: “The 390 Duke was one of the first motorcycles that made me start choosing my terminology more carefully regarding sub-400cc motorcycles. Entry-level, Beginner bikes, etc. have been used when describing these machines, but Lightweight seems like the better descriptor. Sure, the KTM could be those things, but it isn’t just that. The 373 cc Single delivers a healthy wallop of low to mid-range power and is a blast around town or in the canyons because of it. The rider triangle is one of the most open and accommodating out of this group, and the TFT screen used to access fun things like supermoto mode is miles ahead of many larger more expensive bikes. I’d be remiss not to mention the fact that we can no longer turn ABS all the way off for ultimate hoonery like we could back in 2018, thanks Euro 5. Instrumentation worthy of the YouTube generation. “The non-adjustable suspension is decidedly sporty feeling and the brakes provide plenty of power and feel for the 363 lbs it needs to slow. Styling is subjective, but for me, the two Austrians in this test have more interesting and mature styling than the others and look like much more expensive machines than their prices would suggest.” Tommy “Guns” Roderick: “Fast, fun, comfy, good-looking… The littlest Duke does it all while punching well above its weight class. About the only fault I can find with the 390 is that its less-expensive cousin, the Svartpilen, is equipped with adjustable suspension and a quick-shifter. Even that, though, wouldn’t persuade me to purchase the Husky over the Duke.” Thai Long Ly: “With excellent ergos, a thoroughly enjoyable motor, a flickable chassis, and respectable fuel economy, this bike can satisfy anyone no matter how long they’ve been riding. It’s quick on its feet due to the lightweight design, with excellent handling and high speed composure. While the motor begs to be revved hard, slamming the limiter is an abrupt affair and is the only time you’re reminded it’s a 390 cc thumper with a low rev ceiling [is 10,000 rpm low now?]. Highway riding was a less jittery affair than its Scandinavian sibling due to the extra weight and actual street tires, though I can’t see doing any serious hard miles unless being chased by a pack of bears or wolverines. If you live near a canyon and want an endlessly entertaining way through it, this is your bike. As a city commuter, this would be far more fun than a scooter and equally as nimble. “Btw, I put my girlfriend on the back for a quick midnight blast, and we were both shocked at how much pull and punch this bike exhibited. Her only exposure to riding pillion with me has been aboard a much larger sport tourer from the last decade, and we were certain this would result in a flaccid affair. I couldn’t have been more wrong, as we laughed incredulously over the intercoms while I recalculated my views on lightweight bike ownership. In fact, when I got back on my daily driver, the Grey Whale, immediately following the test, I couldn’t help but notice how much of a pig it truly is and how shockingly heavy it handles by comparison. Now I’m looking at used 1290GTs…” 2021 KTM Duke 390 + Highs A machine more than the sum of its parts All its parts are really good Voted Most Ergonomically Correct – Sighs It’d be nice if somebody stepped up with a worthy competitor, BMW This 800-pound gorilla only weighs 363 lbs She’s all done at the Ton By Unanimous Decision There it is. Flogging the KTM along is more fun than riding a slow bike fast, mostly because it’s not a slow bike, even if it is a small one. Burn down, wait, ride it down your favorite curvy road. Throw it into Supermoto and terrorize your local kart track. If all you want is a utilitarian thing to get around upon economically, possibly with a companion, the Duke can easily play that role, too. The only thing that keeps it from being as useful an urban tool as a good scooter is its lack of storage (but KTM does sell a cute tailpack). Sister Svartpilen is the same motorcycle in dyed hair and Doc Martens, if that’s what you like. If neither of those work for you, the poor over-maligned Kawasaki is better than the scores suggest, possibly just a re-stuffed seat away from true happiness, and will probably outlive you even if it’s your first motorcycle. There’s a lot to be said for keeping it light and simple. Guilty as charged, we are spoiled by the latest and greatest motorcycles, but riding these little naked bikes around wound up being way more fun than we thought it was going to be. In Gear – Thai Helmet: Arai Corsair X Gloves: Held Air Stream II Jacket: A* GP Pro V2 Tech Air compatible Airbag: Tech Air 5 Jeans: Bolidster Ride’ster Shoes: Dainese York Air In Gear – Tom Helmet: Arai Signet IoM TT Jacket: Dainese SP-R Jeans: ICON 1000 Shoes: Alpinestars SMX1R Gloves: Dainese In Gear – John Helmet: Shoei Neotec 2 Splicer Communicator: Cardo PackTalk Bold Jacket: Dainese Racing 3 Gloves:Dainese 4-Stroke 2 Jeans: Trilobite Parado Boots: Sidi Tex Arcadia In Gear – Ryan Helmet: Arai Corsair X Pedrosa Samurai 2 Jacket: Alpinestars Atem V4 Gloves: Alpinestars Chrome Jeans: Alpinestars Copper V2 Shoes: Alpinestars Faster 3 Rideknit In Gear – Troy Helmet: Shoei RF-1400 Scanner Communicator: Sena Spider ST1 Bluetooth Headset Jacket: Alpinestars T SP-5 Rideknit Airbag: Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 Gloves: Alpinestars SP-2 v2 Pants: Alpinestars Diesel Shiro Riding Jeans Boots: Alpinestars Faster 3 Rideknit 2021 Lightweight Naked Bike Shootout Smackdown Scorecard Scorecard BMW G310R Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 Kawasaki Z400 KTM 390 Duke Yamaha MT-09 MSRP 91.2% 86.8% 92.0% 80.7% 100% Weight 99.2% 100% 99.7% 98.9% 96.8% Pounds/HP 73.2% 88.6% 100% 91.3% 81.8% Pounds/Torque 76.5% 86.8% 95.7% 100% 76.2% Total Objective Scores 88.4% 91.5% 96.5% 91.8% 91.9% Engine 67.5% 86.5% 83.5% 87.0% 74.5% Transmission 73.0% 85.0% 80.0% 81.0% 80.0% Handling 79.0% 81.5% 81.5% 90.0% 77.0% Brakes 77.5% 85.5% 75.0% 86.0% 72.0% Suspension 77.5% 86.0% 76.5% 82.5% 74.0% Technologies 67.0% 75.0% 67.5% 72.5% 66.5% Instruments/Controls 73.0% 69.5% 73.0% 89.0% 72.0% Ergonomics 79.0% 80.0% 71.0% 87.0% 78.5% Quality 80.0% 78.5% 78.0% 81.5% 79.5% Cool Factor 75.0% 90.0% 72.0% 87.0% 71.5% Grin Factor 32.0% 79.0% 70.0% 82.0% 53.5% Overall Score 74.2% 83.8% 80.1% 85.9% 76.6% Specifications BMW G310R Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 Kawasaki Z400 KTM 390 Duke Yamaha MT-03 MSRP $5045 (base) $5299 $4999 $5699 $4599 Engine Type Liquid-cooled DOHC single; 4- valves Liquid-cooled DOHC single; 4 valves Liquid-cooled DOHC inline two-cylinder; 4 valves/cylinder Liquid-cooled DOHC single; 4 valves Liquid-cooled DOHC inline two-cylinder; 4 valves/cylinder Displacement 313cc 373cc 399cc 373cc 321cc Bore and Stroke 76.2 mm x 60.96 mm 89.0 mm x 60.0 mm 70.0 mm x 51.8 mm 89.0 mm x 60.0 mm 68.0 mm x 44.1 mm Compression Ratio 10.9:1 12.6:1 11.5:1 12.6:1 11.2:1 Horsepower (measured) 31.8 hp at 9500 rpm 37.9 hp at 9200 rpm 43.2 hp at 10,200 rpm 39.8 hp at 8800 rpm 36.4 hp at 10,800 rpm Torque (measured) 19.7 lb-ft. at 7500 rpm 22.1 lb-ft. at 7000 rpm 24.5 lb-ft. at 8200 rpm 25.8 lb-ft. at 7000 rpm 20.1 lb-ft. at 9100 rpm Fueling Electronic fuel injection Electronic fuel injection system, 46 mm throttle bodies with Ride-by-Wire system DFI with 32mm throttle bodies Electronic fuel injection system, 46 mm throttle bodies with Ride-by-Wire system Fuel injection Transmission 6-speed 6-speed w/autoblipper 6-speed 6-speed 6-speed Clutch Multi-disc oil bath (anti-hopping) with self-reinforcement multi-disc slipper clutch, mechanically operated multi-plate wet clutch multi-disc slipper clutch, mechanically operated Constant mesh; wet multiplate clutch Final Drive Chain Chain Chain Chain X-ring chain Frame Tubular steel frame in grid structure with bolt-on rear frame Steel trellis frame, powder coated Trellis, high tensile steel Steel trellis frame, powder coated Tubular steel Front Suspension 41mm inverted fork, non-adjustable; 5.5 in. travel WP Apex 43 mm inverted fork, compression, rebound adjustable, 5.6 inches of travel Telescopic fork, 4.7 in travel 43mm WP inverted fork, non-adjustable; 5.6 inches travel 37mm KYB inverted fork; 5.1-in travel Rear Suspension Single shock, preload-adjustable; 5.2 in travel WP Apex shock, preload and rebound damping adjustable, 5.6 inches travel Single shock withUni-Trak swingarm, preload adjustable, 5.1 in travel WP shock absorber, preload adjustable, 5.9 inches travel Single shock, 7-step preload adjustable, 4.9-in travel Front Brake Single 300mm disc, 4-piston caliper, radially bolted, ABS Single 320mm disc, ByBre 4-piston caliper, radially mounted, ABS Single 310mm disc, 2-piston caliper, ABS Single 320mm disc, radial-mount 4-piston caliper, ABS w/Supermoto mode Single 298mm disc, 2-piston caliper, ABS Rear Brake Single 241mm disc, single-piston floating caliper, ABS Single 230mm disc, ByBre single-piston, floating caliper, ABS Single 220mm disc, single-piston caliper, ABS Single 230mm disc, single- piston floating caliper, ABS w/Supermoto mode Single 220mm disc, ABS Front Tire 110/70 R 17 Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR 110/70 R 17 110/70 R 17 110/70 x 17 110/70 R17 Rear Tire 150/60 R 17 Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR 150/60 R 17 150/60 R 17 150/60 x 17 140/70 R17 Rake 25.1° 25.0° 24.5° 25.0° 25.0° Trail 4.5 inches 3.7 inches 3.6 inches 3.7 inches 3.7 inches Wheelbase 54.3 inches 53.4 ± 0.6 inches 53.9 inches 53.4 ± 0.6 inches 54.3 inches Seat Height 30.9 inches (Standard Seat), 30.3 inches (low), 31.5 (high) 32.9 inches 30.9 inches 32.7 inches 30.7 inches Curb Weight (measured on MO scales) 363 pounds 359 pounds 360 pounds 363 pounds 371 pounds Fuel Capacity 2.9 gallons (Approx. 0.25 gal reserve) 2.5 gallons 3.7 gallons 3.5 gallons 3.5 gallons Fuel Economy 61 mpg (measured) 49 mpg (measured) 54 mpg (measured) 51 mpg (measured) 56 mpg (measured) Valve-adjustment Intervals 12,000 miles 9,300 miles 15,200 miles 9,300 miles 26,600 miles We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. 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  7. After a lengthy pandemic-caused delay, the 25th James Bond film, “No Time to Die” is finally going to premiere in a matter of weeks (Oct. 8 in the U.S.). Triumph was a partner for the film, supplying a Scrambler 1200 and a Tiger 900 for key action sequences in the movie. Last year, despite the film getting delayed, Triumph announced a limited edition Scrambler 1200 Bond Edition which quickly sold out. Big budget productions, especially high-profile ones like a new Bond film, typically have a lot of moving parts, with various marketing and commercial tie-in deals each moving on their own pace. With the bikes already in production and, at the time, no clear timeline for the film’s premiere, Triumph made the decision to release the Bond Edition Scrambler last May. The decision seemed justified as all 30 units allotted to the U.S. were quickly claimed. For anyone who was interested but missed out, you’ll get another chance, as Triumph announced another Bond Edition model, this time centered around the Tiger 900 Rally Pro. The Tiger 900 Bond Edition will be limited to 250 units, worldwide, with each bike carrying a unique number on its billet machined handlebar clamp and an accompanying signed certificate of authenticity. The Bond Edition models come in a Matt Sapphire Black paint with 007 graphics. The frame, headlight finishers, side panels, sump guard, pillion peg hangers, auxiliary lighting shrouds and engine bars were all given a premium, black finish. Other features include heated rider and pillion seats with Bond Edition branding, a brushed stainless steel Arrow silencer with a carbon end cap and strap, plus off-road capable Michelin Anakee Wild tires (the Tiger Rally Pro’s factory fitted more street-oriented Bridgestone Battlax tires will also be included). Like the Scrambler 1200 before it, the Bond Edition Tiger 900s will feature a 007-themed start-up screen animation on their TFT displays. The Triumph Tiger 900 Bond Edition will arrive in US dealerships around May or June 2022 with a $20,100 price tag (a $3,000 premium over the regular Tiger 900 Rally Pro.) Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post Limited Edition Triumph Tiger 900 Bond Edition First Look appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/FvCIUul7VUsSource
  8. The definition of a sport-touring motorcycle has gotten a bit blurred lately with adventure-touring bikes encroaching on the space. A good bike in either genre agrees that you need to be able to pound out miles and do it in relative comfort. The difference comes when one decides to pursue sport over adventure.  This is where the 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT separates itself from the A-T pack. Designed exclusively with pavement riding in mind, Yamaha has no intentions for the Tracer 9 GT to travel down a dirt road (at least not intentionally). The most obvious difference comes from the 17-inch front wheel. Adventure bikes wear big front wheel/tire combos to help navigate dirt, rocks, and other obstacles you simply don’t find on the street. The tradeoff, however, is slightly less capable canyon carving abilities, and comparatively speaking this is where the Tracer 9 GT shines. Clearly, there’s more to the Yamaha’s capabilities on pavement than just a wheel choice. In fact, the entire bike is new from the ground up, with the biggest difference compared to its Tracer 900 predecessor being a bigger, 890cc Triple, compared to the old bike’s 847cc. It’s housed in an all-new frame with the new swingarm mounted inside the frame spars compared to outside them on the Tracer 900. This may not sound like much, but the bigger, more powerful engine, combined with the extra rigidity provided by the new frame/swingarm combo, gives a well-balanced and capable handler of a motorcycle in Tracer 9 GT form. 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT Review – First Ride Of course, I go into more details about the changes and how they work in my written First Ride Review, but you didn’t click this story to read a bunch of words. Instead, feast your eyes on the cinematography of the talented Ray Gouger and the editing work of our own Sean Matic. Then brace your ears for the voice of Yours Truly. I apologize in advance. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT First Ride – Video appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/foNyzjIiC2kSource
  9. The Kawasaki KLR has been kicking around since its first 600cc iteration in 1984. Despite being a strong seller for Team Green and developing a cult following over the decades, Kawasaki announced in 2018 that the old workhorse was being put out to pasture. Likely due to tightening emissions standards and other modern regulations, the KLR was put to rest briefly, only to be resurrected for the 2022 model year. With more than a handful of updates and welcome changes, the KLR 650 is back like it never left and will still occupy the simple, affordable adventure niche it had dug out for itself over the years. The big story with the new KLR 650 is fuel injection. The 100mm by 83mm bore and stroke as well as the low 9.8:1 compression ratio remain unchanged, but where there was once a Keihin carburetor, a Keihin throttle body now sits with a 10-hole injector linked up to an O2 sensor to keep the KLR running and starting smoothly regardless of elevation or temperature. 2022 Kawasaki KLR 650 Review – First Ride The 2022 model also receives a larger front rotor, longer swingarm, beefier axles, redesigned fuel tank (with the same 6.1-gallon capacity), increased carrying capacity from its one-piece frame, and a new LCD display that unfortunately offers less information than the last dash set up. Some transmission parts have been upgraded for durability, though the cam chain tensioner or Doohickey, as the KLR connoisseur calls it, remains unchanged from the previous model (meaning you may want a tighter spring in there). That all adds up to about 24 pounds more heft from the 2018 model as well. For those who wanted the KLR 650 to remain the same affordable, easy-to-ride adventure machine that it always has been, rest easy in knowing the 2022 model is largely the same machine with the base model starting at $6,699. Folks who had hoped the new KLR would be on par with the performance of a machine like the Yamaha Ténéré 700, we’re sorry. But, don’t write Kawi off just yet. Maybe we’ll see a Versys-X 700 come onto the scene to fight that battle. Whatever the future may hold, just know that the KLR 650 is back. And yes, better than ever, just not too much better. When asked what motojournos thought at the introduction, “It’s a KLR,” was muttered more than a few times. “Damning with faint praise” comes to mind, but I suspect there will be plenty of people who are happy with just that. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post 2022 Kawasaki KLR 650 Video Review – First Ride appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/uQj1HUM8EBsSource
  10. Fast Facts This is an all-new Tracer from the ground up. Engine’s now 890cc instead of 847cc. 5-gallon fuel tank should yield roughly 240 miles. It’s comfortable and packs a punch at the same time. MSRP: $14,899 Six-axis IMU and R1-like rider aids. Remember sport-touring motorcycles? Maybe you don’t, thanks to the rise of adventure-touring bikes cross-pollinating the genre. Well, before the craze of wanting to explore both the paved and unpaved paths of the world, there was a subset of motorcyclists who felt the call for exploration without the need to play in the dirt. Asphalt touring was one ingredient necessary to satiate the exploration hunger, but being able to get from Point A to Point B via the longest, curviest path possible was the other. Having the ability to pack a co-pilot on the back and/or assorted gear in saddlebags was further accoutrement to make the dish even sweeter. This has always been the essence of sport-touring, and while adventure-touring bikes can get very close to the sensation, something about those big front wheels and long-travel suspension just isn’t the same. Enter The Tracer 9 GT 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GTEditor Score: 87.0%Engine 18.0/20Suspension/Handling 13.5/15 Transmission/Clutch 9.5/10Brakes 8.0/10 Instruments/Controls4.5/5 Ergonomics/Comfort 9.0/10 Appearance/Quality 8.0/10Desirability 8.5/10Value 8.0/10Overall Score87/100 Yamaha hasn’t forgotten about sport-touring, despite the fact its big and little Teneres occupy a piece of the ADV pie. What you have with the Tracer 9 GT is 100% a road-focused sport-touring bike with no pretenses of being able to hold its own off-road. Speaking of 100%, the Tracer 9 GT is also 100% all-new compared to the Tracer 900 it’s replacing. Ok, well, probably more like 90-something percent new, as Yamaha says there are only a handful of parts that have carried over. Despite appearances that are very similar to the Tracer 900, the GT has a new frame to house its new, bigger engine – and all the assorted electronics to go with it. New styling and bodywork also greet the Tracer 9, its mature styling an evolution of the previous Tracer 900 and even the FJ-09 before it. The basis of it all, of course, is Yamaha’s (also new) MT-09, a great little machine John Burns loved after his First Ride but is also one the rest of us also like a ton – so much so it came out on top of a six-way pileup of near-thousand-cc nakedbikes. The MT-09 forms the basis for the Tracer 9 GT, which means we’re almost predetermined to love it. Using the MT-09 as a starting point, Yamaha surveyed owners, and potential owners, to ask them what they were looking for in a middleweight sport-touring bike. Comfort, handling, and engine performance were the top three responses. With those guiding principles in mind, we can start to dive into the Tracer 9 GT. Comfort Normally we start reviews off by talking about the engine and work out from there. Make no mistake, the 890cc Triple in the Tracer 9 is nice, but as far as survey respondents go, their highest priority was comfort. So this is where we begin. When you’re talking about comfort, you have to start at the seat. And this one’s really good. It has plenty of padding and a classy suede-like cover. The passenger seat is also bigger than the previous version on the Tracer 900. Sport-touring involves being able to take a corner or two, sure, but the other side of that coin is being able to relax, if you want to, as you watch the miles go by. With the Tracer 9 GT, you can change the positions of the seat, handlebars, and footpegs all relatively easily. I found my 5-foot, 8-inch self instantly comfortable in the standard settings. The faux-suede seat exudes luxury, and it’s so well padded I rarely found myself feeling the need to adjust my butt on the seat, even through corners. At 31.9 inches from the ground, I could only get my toes on the ground, but taller riders (or really any rider who wants a more commanding view of the road) can lift the seat to a higher, 32.5-inch position, without tools. Like the MT-09, the Tracer also features two sets of threaded holes for the footpegs (low and high), with the low setting being the default. Opt for the higher setting and the pegs move 4mm rearward and 14mm higher. Not feeling the need for the extra knee bend, the standard setting staved off any protests from my knees all day. Adjustable footpeg positioning used to be an aftermarket thing for sportbike folks. Now we’re seeing different sets of threaded holes on sport-touring bikes. The bars, too, can be moved 9mm toward the front of the bike and 4mm higher by simply removing and rotating the handlebar mounts – a design inspired by Yamaha’s motocross bikes. From where I was sitting, the rider triangle was just about perfect. The adjustable windscreen can be moved up or down on the fly, all with just one hand needed for operation. In its lowest setting, I found the wind would hit me right above the eye-port of my helmet, and the edge of the screen didn’t block my line of sight. Taller riders found the low setting to aim the oncoming air right at their necks or chins, so moving the screen up was perfect for them. As always, your mileage will vary. As you’d expect, once underway the rider is sitting in a fairly comfortable pocket of air. The bolsters from the lower portions of the tank and fairing do a decent job of moving air around your lower body, though I did feel a little bit of heat hovering around my right toes. The jury is still out if this has something to do with exhaust routing or not. It wasn’t anything serious, but at times it was noticeable. If you flip the handlebar mounts, you can change the positioning of the bars, again for further comfort. Handling Striking the right balance on a sport-touring bike is key. You want the all-day comfort a soft suspension can provide, but when the roads get sinuous, the last thing you want is a Cadillac. Yamaha believes they’ve found that balance with the Tracer 9 GT. It all starts at the center of the bike with an all-new frame. Well, it’s all-new compared to the Tracer 900 before it but a shared piece with the new MT-09 (this will start to be a continuing theme if you haven’t already noticed). It’s a lighter piece compared to the old Tracer 900 frame, with a minimum wall thickness of just 1.7mm, but still offers 50% more lateral rigidity compared to the outgoing bike. There’s an all-new frame on the Tracer 9, with a revised swingarm mounting position for better rigidity. Note also the remote preload adjuster. To keep things more compact, the headstock is now 30mm lower than before, and the engine is mounted 5 degrees more vertical – all in an effort to scrunch everything up. Revised, solid engine mounts also help the Tracer 9 feel more planted for high-speed handling. While an engine mount might not sound like much, Yamaha reps revealed that it’s common during new product testing to have engineers take solid mounts, mark a certain shape on the mount, and cut out that shape. Afterward, test riders would report their findings, often feeling a noticeable difference. From where I was sitting, taking a spirited ride through the local Los Angeles mountains, the chassis certainly felt composed and sure-footed. Some of the credit goes to the frame, but some of the credit also goes to the new, lighter, aluminum swingarm, now mounted between the frame rails instead of outside them (as on the previous model) for added rigidity. Measuring 60mm longer than the MT-09 swingarm, this also adds a bit more stability. The Tracer 9 GT’s frame and swingarm didn’t raise any eyebrows, good or bad, which is to be expected, considering how dialed most motorcycle frames are these days. Of course, the other component affecting ride quality is the suspension, and when you get back to the balance of comfort versus sport, the fork and shock play a huge role. For the longest time, trying to find that balance has always been a compromise. You either tune your suspension for touring, or you firm it up for sport riding. Electronics have completely changed the game, and it does so again with the Tracer 9 GT. KYB has stepped in with what it calls its Actimatic Damping System (KADS), which the rest of the moto community know as semi-active suspension. Electronic suspension on a sport-touring bike just makes sense. Using data input from the six-axis IMU (more on that in a minute), the engine control unit, and the hydraulic control unit, the system will change the attitude of the ride in real-time by adjusting compression and rebound for the conditions (rebound only on the shock). The fork uses a stroke sensor to determine its position, while the shock uses an angular position sensor to detect its position. Like all semi-active suspension systems, it’s “semi” because spring preload is still adjusted manually. With the KADS system on the T9, it’s further adjustable to two different settings: A-1 and A-2. The former is intended for sport riding on smooth roads, as it ramps up the stiffness the more aggressively you ride. A-2 is the comfort setting with a much softer progression in its damping. Unlike other systems, however, a “manual” mode to mimic changing your own compression or rebound clickers doesn’t exist. In practice, who actually changes their manual clickers in the middle of a sport-touring ride anyway? The shock uses a stroke sensor to determine its position, helping the KADS system determine how much to adjust rebound settings. Out on the roads of LA, I started the ride off in A-2 mode, as it would take a little jaunt through the city to get to the fun roads. This seemed ideal for A-2, and it was. The ride through town, with a little hop on the freeway, was pleasant and well-damped. No odd bumps or jolts made their way to my hands, legs, or spine. Even when we arrived at the Angeles Crest Highway and carried along for quite some time, I forgot I was still in A-2 – the ride was still pleasantly comfortable while still being supportive enough for a canyon run. However, if A-1 was supposed to be tailor-made for canyon runs, then a simple (off-throttle) button tap to change settings was in order. Not surprising, the A-2 (comfort) setting for the suspension was really quite nice for normal riding. To KYB’s credit, the system works as advertised. As the pace picked up, so did the firmness of the suspension, both front and rear. This poses a problem, though, when the road surface is not billiard table smooth – as is the case on virtually any public road in the United States, and especially Southern California. The faster you go, the stiffer the ride and the more every single minor ripple in the road surface gets transmitted back to the bars. It never reached a point of being dangerous, but it gets jarring and unsettling quickly and instead of inspiring confidence, all it did was make me want to slow down and switch back to the softer A-2 mode. After trying both, it turns out the “comfort” setting was actually my preferred choice for both normal riding and spirited pavement blasting. Its damping progression is far less steep and much more predictable, only transmitting the bumps I need to be aware of and damping away little ripples. More surprising was how well the A-2 mode worked even when riding, um, “briskly” in the canyons. The A-1 mode, which is supposed to thrive in these conditions, became overly stiff and unpleasant. Engine Performance If you’re familiar with the latest version of the MT-09, then you’ll understand our admiration for Yamaha’s latest CP3 engine. However, if you’re coming off the previous Tracer 900 GT (or even the FJ-09 before it), boy is there a surprise for you. By outward appearances, this would seem like the same engine, but it’s all grown up now. Gone is the 847cc Triple, as it’s now beefed up to 890cc via a new crankshaft with 3mm longer stroke and 15% “increased inertia.” In other words, a heavier crankshaft. The new pistons are forged pieces, and the fracture-split connecting rods are 1.5mm shorter than before. Putting the power to the ground is a new transmission with 3% taller ratios in the first two gears, a redesigned shift fork, updated assist and slipper clutch, and new clutch plate material. An up/down quickshifter is not only a godsend but also part of the deal. Now sporting 890cc compared to the previous 847cc, the latest iteration of the CP3 three-cylinder engine from Yamaha is one of our favorites. Note the auto up/down quickshifter. As has become commonplace these days, different drive modes can be selected to alter the power delivery. In the Tracer 9’s case, four different modes are available. The first three all give full power, but each successive mode increasingly dampens the initial throttle input (Mode 1 being the most aggressive). In Mode 4, not only do you get the least aggressive power delivery but overall power is tapered as well. Out on the roads, the 890cc Triple is the perfect dance partner for the tango that is sport-touring. The power is exciting without being overwhelming, and the distinct three-cylinder exhaust wail is music to anyone’s ears. Being the Tuning Fork brand, after all, Yamaha engineers actually tuned the intake and exhaust sound for maximum exhilaration. Part of this was done through uneven lengths for the three intake ducts to give a specific resonance, and part of this was done via the exhaust shape, which is not only 3.1 lbs. lighter than the Tracer 900’s, but also sounds killer, too. Hearing that wonderful exhaust note is a stark reminder that Yamaha made (and still make) music long before they made motorcycles. The auditory delight continues whenever you change gears with the slick autoblipper, as the ignition cuts between each gear (in either direction) sound like you’re piloting a YZR-M1 MotoGP bike, not a sport-tourer. Once you get past the small delay in power delivery, the Tracer 9 GT will build speed fast if you ask it to. Of course, the CP3 engine isn’t perfect. At least not in Tracer 9 form. Coming off the MT-09, with its direct, snappy, and engaging throttle response, the Tracer showed a noticeable lag from on/off throttle even in Drive Mode 1, the most aggressive setting. No matter how slowly I opened the gas there was a slight delay before the power would kick in. It’s a feeling similar to turbo lag but on a much smaller scale. Once underway, the engine’s fueling reacted predictably to everything I was throwing at it. So much so I found myself switching back to Drive Mode 1 after quickly sampling the other three modes. Even during the quick rain blast we encountered on our ride, Mode 1 doesn’t throw up any surprises to warrant switching to a softer setting. Tech Yamaha really lit the fire in the electronics game when the 2015 R1 came out. Complete with a six-axis IMU to intelligently operate the traction control, slide control, lift control, and other functions, other manufacturers have had to really step up their game to keep pace (fun fact: Aprilia incorporated an IMU in the RSV4 years before Yamaha did it in the R1). Much of the Tracer’s tech is hidden beneath the bodywork, but the split-screen dash is your central command. The left screen shows the usual speed, tachometer, gear position, and rider aid settings. On the right are four boxes with specific values on display (which you can change). It’s a clever split-screen, but I found myself primarily looking to the left most of the time, especially if I wanted to change a rider aid setting. Six years on, and we see the trickle-down effect make its way to the Tracer 9 GT, which is now graced with a six-axis IMU that’s 50% smaller and lighter than the one in the R1. Its role in determining the motorcycle’s position hasn’t changed, and now, the Tracer 9 GT features traction control, slide control, lift control, and brake control (otherwise known as lean-sensitive ABS to the rest of us) – just like the R1. We won’t bore you with the details on how each rider aid works, as that information has been out there for years, but with the Tracer 9 GT you can choose between two TC presets that also pre-select slide and lift control settings. Or, you can pick the TC-M manual mode to choose the exact levels of the three settings you want. Except for ABS, the rest of the rider aids can be turned off if you prefer. Toggling through and changing presets is done through various button presses on the left switchgear, though the right side scroll wheel (not shown) allows you to dig deeper into various menus. Also, check out the cruise control button! I wish I could say I felt all of these rider aids kicking in at some point during the ride, but the road conditions were mostly perfect, which meant tires weren’t breaking loose, and slides certainly weren’t happening. Hell, I only experienced the ABS kick in when I deliberately smashed the rear brake lever to see what would happen. And despite the quick rain splash we experienced, instead of riding like a maniac to see if the electronic nannies would kick in, self-preservation instincts took over and I slowed down like any sane person would do. Other Odds and Ends As an overall package, the Tracer 9 GT hits the key points a sport-touring motorcycle needs to hit. It’s comfortable, at least for the 150-odd miles of our ride day, and even though it’s somewhat hampered by low ground clearance from the peg feelers and centerstand, you can still carry a very quick pace before ever worrying about them. And it’s all anchored by an engine that likes to have fun but is very capable of long-distance touring if that’s your thing. Kudos to Yamaha for integrating saddlebags into the Tracer’s design (and including them in the purchase price), but they may not be big enough to fit certain full-face helmets. Those are all attributes to admire, but this section is a shout-out (along with an occasional nitpick) to the Tracer 9 GT’s supporting cast, starting with the luggage. A sport-tourer isn’t very great without luggage and the pair of saddlebags you get with the Tracer are pretty slick – except for one thing. The bags were designed alongside the bike, so their fitment doesn’t look like an afterthought, and their full width is a hair less than 38 inches when on the bike. This allows the bike to keep a relatively slim profile. A clever trick Yamaha incorporates is a damper inside the lower mount of the bags to soak up the various bumps the bike’s chassis will experience on a ride, but also to absorb some of the mass transfer when flicking through a set of turns. To Yamaha’s credit, these bags stay in place with hardly an annoying budge or rattle. They stay perfectly solid. Bonus points for being able to use the same key for the ignition and bags. The Tracer 9 GT’s face. You can see clear R1 inspiration from the headlights, but the LED lights above them “bend” into corners. Now, those points get taken away because, despite the fact the bags will hold 30 liters, all the assembled test riders struggled to fit their helmets inside the case, with only one person able to shove their medium Shoei in a bag and shut it. I couldn’t get mine to fit, and the other folks (mostly wearing Arais) had no luck either. Without dwelling on the luggage too much, let’s appreciate the cruise control and five-gallon fuel tank, which Yamaha claims can get you 240 miles down the road before needing to fill up again – assuming you keep your throttle hand in check. These are basically must-have items for sport-touring, and the Tracer’s cruise control is active at a minimum of 31 mph in as low as fourth gear. The Tracer’s two color options: Liquid Metal and Redline. Stopping power from the twin 298mm discs up front and four-piston radial calipers were more than adequate, but won’t pop your eyes out of your head. A new radial Nissin master cylinder helps provide a nice amount of feel and power through the lever, but rubber brake lines dull some of that sensation. Nonetheless, they work well enough. Another interesting side note are the spin-forged wheels developed by Yamaha. First seen on the MT-09, spin-forging basically takes a cast wheel and places it on a jig that spins. A burner on one side introduces heat to the wheel while a roller on the other side shapes the wheel. The combination of simultaneous heat and pressure eventually turns out a wheel with minimal wall thickness while still being as strong as before. In the Tracer’s case, its wheels are 1.54 lbs lighter per set, with a minimum wall thickness of 2mm compared to 3.5mm previously. That may not sound like a lot to some, but traditionally true forged wheels were how you shaved weight…while adding cost. Sport + Touring? The 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT can do it. But so can a slew of others at similar prices and varying displacements. While a comparison test would expose the strengths and flaws of each, we’re confident you can’t go wrong with the Tracer. Speaking of cost, at $14,899 the Tracer 9 GT comes in reasonably priced for all the comfort and performance it offers. Although it’s worth pointing out the 2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 isn’t considerably more at $15,999. Whether or not the two are worth comparing is debatable, but nevertheless, what you get with the Tracer 9 GT is a sport-tourer with a firm grasp of each end of the S-T spectrum. With comfort, handling, and engine performance as its three main guiding principles, Yamaha has done a fine job hitting each target without getting too deep in one at the expense of another. 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT + Highs Wonderfully comfortable That engine packs a punch Cruise control, 5-gallon tank, and integrated saddlebags! – Sighs Slight delay picking up the throttle A-1 suspension mode is basically worthless on bumpy US roads There’s a decent chance the saddlebags won’t swallow your full-face helmet In Gear Helmet: Shoei RF1400 Suit: Aerostich Men’s R-3 One Piece Suit Airbag: Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 Gloves: Alpinestars SP-2 v2 Shoes: Alpinestars Faster 3 Rideknit 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT Specifications MSRP $14,899 Engine Type 890cc liquid-cooled inline-three cylinder, DOHC, four valves per cylinder Bore and Stroke 78.0mm x 62.1mm Compression Ratio 11.5:1 Horsepower 117.4 horsepower at 10,000 (Yamaha UK claimed, crankshaft) Torque 68.6 lb-ft at 7000 rpm (Yamaha UK claimed, crankshaft) Transmission 6-speed; slip-assist clutch; up/down quickshifter Final Drive Chain Front Suspension KYB 41mm inverted fork, electronically adjustable with preload adjustability; 5.1-in travel Rear Suspension KYB single shock, electronically adjustable (rebound only) with remote preload adjustability; 5.4-in travel Front Brake Two 298mm discs, radial-mount four-piston calipers, lean-sensitive ABS Rear Brake 245mm disc, lean-sensitive ABS Front Tire 120/70-R17 Rear Tire 180/55-R17 Rake/Trail 25 deg/4.3 in. Wheelbase 59.1 in. Seat Height 31.9 in or 32.5 in Curb Weight (Claimed) 485 lb* (*does not include side cases) Fuel Capacity 5.0 gal Colors Liquid Metal, Redline Warranty One year limited warranty We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT Review – First Ride appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/XZsln0nE37ISource
  11. BMW debuted a new electric two-wheeler concept it hopes to be an urban commuter for today’s youth. Specifically, the BMW Motorrad Concept CE 02 is designed for people 16 and over who are more familiar with smart technology than motorcycles. Think more Instagram than fuel injection and more TikTok than torque curves.  Gen Z marketing aside, the Concept CE 02 looks more like a motorcycle than the CE 04 electric scooter, but BMW wants to make it clear it’s still not a “classic motorcycle”. “At first glance, there is little about the BMW Motorrad Concept CE 02 that is typically BMW Motorrad – it’s something completely new. We want to strive for something novel and be pioneers – which is what we’ve proven ourselves capable of with various projects in the past,” says Edgar Heinrich, BMW Motorrad’s head of design. “The Concept CE 02 features new proportions and modern forms of single-track mobility in an urban environment. In addition, we wanted to achieve a level of design innovation that we have not had before at this level. Straightforward use was important, but above all the emotional component was crucial, as well as riding fun.” The proportions immediately brings to mind the Grom, but look closer and you’ll see details that out-quirk Honda’s little minibike. For one, the CE 02 does not come with fixed footrests. With no gears, there’s no need for a shifter, and both front and rear brakes are controlled by hand levers. Instead, there is a metal bracket below the battery pack where you can mount pegs or, as BMW suggests on the concept photos, attach a skateboard to act as footrests. I can already feel our readers eyes roll as I typed that, but the idea does have a practical benefit. The design lets riders customize their own riding posture, whether it’s farther back on the long, flat seat with the feet forward like a cruiser, or leaning forward with the footrests in a sportier riding position. The Concept CE 02 is powered by an electric motor with a claimed output of 11 hp. According to BMW, the motor is enough to propel the CE 02’s claimed 264-pound weight up to a maximum speed of 56 mph. BMW didn’t provide details about the battery, except to claim the CE 02 has a range of 56 miles. The motor is mounted below the seat, with a belt drive spinning the rear wheel. The suspension system is comprised of a beefy-looking fork and a single rear shock mounted directly to a single-sided swingarm. A two-piston front caliper and single-piston rear caliper grip the rotors on the 15-inch disc wheels. The front of the seat rises up in a hump, creating a small storage area above the frame. Two elastic bands at the front of the seat can be used to hold other small items. Other features include a four-LED headlight, rear LED lighting integrated into the tail, a small color screen, and a low 28.7-inch seat height. Will the Concept CE 02 ever go into production? My initial thought would be “no”, but I thought the same when BMW first introduced the Concept CE 04, and the electric scooter is now scheduled to arrive in dealerships in early 2022. That said, it’s worth noting the Concept CE 02 is only being shown on BMW’s websites in select countries: 23 of 36 European nations BMW does business in, only Malaysia in Asia and Pacific regions, and for North and South America, only Canada. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post The BMW Motorrad Concept CE 02 is an Urban Electric Bike for Gen Z appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/5zQVFso7hO8Source
  12. 2022 BMW R18BEditor Score: 83.0%Engine 16.5/20Suspension/Handling 11.5/15 Transmission/Clutch 7.0/10Brakes 7.5/10 Instruments/Controls7.5/5 Ergonomics/Comfort 8.5/10 Appearance/Quality 9.5/10Desirability 8.0/10Value 7.0/10Overall Score83/100 As I pull the 2022 BMW R18B out of the underground parking of the hotel where BMW had hosted its new model introduction, I wonder if a 7:30 departure still qualifies as my crack-of-dawn goal. Within a couple of blocks, I’m fully embroiled in the peak Denver commuter bump-and-grind. Still, I settle into an easy rhythm of following the mechanical voice instructions paired with their informative visual counterparts on the massive TFT screen. The saddlebags are packed to the point of bulging, and the overflow gear is rolled up and strapped down on the back. Yes, I’d have more room with the BMW R18 Transcontinental, but I prefer baggers for their cleaner lines and lower weight. Eventually, I head up the entrance ramp that will guide me to I-70 W out of the city. When I roll the throttle open, accelerating up to cruising speed, the beefy Boxer shudders its approval. The mountains and the road west beckon. BMW Releases Details On “Big Boxer” R18 Engine 2021 BMW R18 Review – First Ride Fast Facts Drivetrain unchanged from original R18 Self-leveling rear ride height Adaptive cruise control Amazing TFT screen Phone-based navigation Tank holds 6.3 gallons for 304 mile calculated range MSRP: $22,590 (base) A Big Boxer Ignoring the ginormous cylinders jutting out of both sides of the “Big Boxer”engine is simply impossible. Nothing about the 1,802cc Big Twin is subtle. Take its 244-lb. weight, for example, which is about 13 lb. more than a Honda Grom. Or how about the 107 mm x 100 mm bore and stroke? Despite its historical origins, the air- and oil-cooled Big Boxer is a thoroughly modern, Euro 5-certified beast. The four valves per cylinder are operated by fork rocker arms (with traditional locking screw adjusters for easy home-garage adjustment), which in turn are manipulated by pushrods. The dual cams are positioned above the crankshaft to help minimize pushrod length and reciprocating mass and contribute to the overall tighter tolerances of a modern engine. If you liked the R18’s Big Boxer engine but wanted some cargo carrying capacity, you got your wish. Power is transferred from the engine to the exposed drive shaft via a constant mesh 6-speed transmission. Controlling the exchange of power is a single plate, self-reinforcing dry clutch, complete with a back-torque limiter to prevent rear wheel hop under hard deceleration or botched downshifts. Working my way through the morning traffic is an object lesson in how clutch effort need not be hard on a torquey, large-displacement engine. My hand can easily manage the repeated clutch releases in the shuffle from one stoplight to the next. One feature that is not as sunny as this Friday morning is the clutch’s friction zone and final engagement point, which seems to vary with the throttle position. So, if I try to get a quick launch by giving a little more throttle, the clutch ends up slipping more, making me sound like I don’t know what I’m doing. The workaround I settle on is getting the clutch fully engaged while almost lugging the engine and then rolling on the throttle, which works quite well in traffic. Still, I’d prefer a more consistent clutch engagement point. Since the R18B/Transcontinental have the exact same powertrain as the R18, the power output should be similar, if not the same, to the R18 we tested last year. Once I enter the mountains and leave the interstate behind, I can really focus on the engine’s power delivery. The Big Boxer has a sweet spot between 2,000 rpm and 3,500 rpm, and if you can ride the crest of the torque wave here the engine seems its happiest. Get up above 3,500 rpm, and vibration becomes pretty prominent. Above 4,000 rpm you become acutely aware of how huge those pistons are as they slam back-and-forth inches from your feet. There was some discussion about engine vibration among the journalists, with some of them finding objectionable vibrations occurring below 3,500 rpm. Personally, I find that if you can keep the rpm within that 1,500-rpm range, the vibration is really quite pleasant and part of the character of a Big Twin. Try to rev out the engine to redline, and unless you are accelerating very quickly, the vibration becomes oppressive, particularly above 4,000 rpm. The BMW R18B checks most of the boxes of what creates an American-style bagger, and then it turns it on its ear. Rolling through seemingly endless corners through the Rocky Mountains is a great way to test the EFI’s fuel metering. As I found with the R18 when I had one in my possession last year, the fueling is spot on. Nothing I could do would make the power delivery hiccup in any on/off or off/on throttle transitions. While I’m sure the flywheel effect helps to mask any small miscues, the overall impression is one of polished precision. The same can be said of the slick-shifting transmission. Once I had the heel and toe shifters height adjusted to my preference, running through the gears was simply a joy. What makes the shifter adjustment so critical is that there is precious little space for the rider’s toes to access the shifter, and having the front shifter only slightly too high or too low makes shifting quite difficult. Still, on my journey through the Rockies, I frequently wondered why BMW chose not to outfit the R18B with its typically flawless Shift Assist Pro system. Given that the engine’s happy place is only 1,500 rpm wide, the rider has to stir the gearbox a little more frequently than is typically required of a Big Twin. Updated Chassis BMW could have simply installed the fork-mounted fairing and saddlebags without making any changes to the chassis (we’ve seen it done before), but that would have compromised the chassis rigidity and stability of the R18B and the R18 Transcontinental even more so. Consequently, the BMW engineering team tackled the chassis from two directions. First, the headstock and backbone were strengthened to handle the additional loads of the fairing, saddlebags, passengers, and cargo. More interestingly, the rake was changed, and the fork tubes were moved behind the steering stem. These changes were made to give the bike a lighter steering feel at lower speeds and to lessen the tendency to fall into corners at higher speeds. The difference between the two chassis constructions is pretty obvious from the rendering – and from the saddle. BMW was successful in both goals. Once you get the R18B (and Transcontinental) moving, parking lot maneuvers are pretty sprightly for a machine claimed to weigh 877 lb. In my travels home from the Denver introduction, I bent the bagger into hundreds of corners and not once did I feel an inkling of falling in. Quite the opposite. The R18B wants to stand up slightly and understeer in corners, requiring a bit of pressure on the inside grip to hold a line. This is not to say that the rider has to fight the bike, and the tendency is not increased by rolling off the throttle or applying the brakes mid-corner. It’s just a characteristic that I noted and played around with throughout my ride, and it does not affect the ability to change lines mid-corner at all. As my ride takes me out of Colorado and into the remote southeastern corner of Utah, I encounter bumpy pavement that gives me the perfect environment to consider the suspension and chassis stiffness. Having been spoiled by semi-active suspension, I miss it a bit on the rough pavement. The taut fork and shock that stabilize the chassis in corners feel a little harsh in this environment. However, given the choice between a firm ride in the corners with a little more delivery of bumps to the rider and a pillowy ride that wallows in the corners, I’ll take the firmer suspension every time. Despite the firmness, I can clearly feel the additional suspension stroke allowed by the 4.7-in. travel BMW claims in the rear. Where the R18 felt harsh as the shock ended its stroke, the R18B (and Transcontinental) does a better job of handling big jolts. By putting the fork tubes behind the steering stem, BMW’s engineers achieved their goal of easy low-speed handling and ending the tendency to fall into corners (just like Harley-Davidson did 30 years ago). Encountering bumps while leaned over, particularly in high-speed sweepers, is a great way to test the stiffness of the chassis, and in all but the biggest of the rolling bumps encountered mid-corner, the chassis displays no flex. Those big hits, which are followed by G-outs, give a slight, momentary hinge-in-the-middle feeling but not the oscillation that can turn into a wobble. Not surprisingly, the limiting factor in cornering is the floorboards. While the shock is 1.2 in. longer, the ride-height only increased by 0.3 in. So, the R18B has marginally more cornering clearance and, like its older sibling, drags cleanly when the peg/floorboards do touch. Still, the cornering fun ends sooner than I like. However, by the time I arrive in Utah, I’ve had two days of riding to adjust my lean angle sensors and only drag the floorboard twice in the state while still having fun at a cruiser-touring pace and continuing to be the fastest bike of all those I encounter on the road. Capable Cruiser Brakes I come up with this description of the R18B’s binders, as I’m trail-braking into a long, downhill, slightly decreasing-radius corner along Utah’s scenic Highway 12. The phrasing is meant to imply that, while they are decent, the brakes are not up to sporty-touring standards – not that it’s really a problem since the R18B is a cruiser. So, what we have is a pair of axial-mounted four-piston calipers squeezing 300mm floating rotors up front with a single four-piston caliper and 300mm disc out back to handle your deceleration requirements. While the lever is mushier than I would like – and consequently, limits feel – the front braking system is plenty powerful and can haul the big bike down from speed with gusto if necessary. Notably, the brakes are linked, making the front brake also apply the rear brake to some degree. This is a good thing since the brake pedal position makes it difficult to cover or even apply the rear brake in a hurry. I can only guess that the position was an attempt to address the issue with the R18’s pedal. Unfortunately, the new location is a detriment to the rear brake’s use. Although the clearance is tight with the right cylinder, I think that having the brake pedal be a half inch wider would address the rear brake application problem. So, how does a performance-oriented rider navigate a turn on this touring cruiser? The long wheelbase means that the Big Boxer plays a big role on corner entry with an early throttle roll-off on approach and a possible downshift to begin the deceleration. When I choose to apply the brakes is a function of how I see the corner’s path. Typically, I lift to a neutral throttle position and trail the brakes into the corner using them to keep my lean angle within the ground clearance parameters. When the exit is in sight (or I’m certain my speed is correct for the rest of the corner), I release the brakes and begin the throttle roll-on. This technique is fun, challenging, and allows the R18B to make remarkably good time through a series of corners despite the ground clearance limitations. Rider Comfort The area of rider comfort is quite subjective. So, I believe I should start with some dimensions. I am 5 ft. 11 in. with a 32-in. inseam. At the R18B’s introduction, I encountered journalists – both taller and shorter than myself – that rated the riding position less than ideal. I’ll start with the legroom. I was riding 400-500 miles per day and never felt cramped by the floorboard position. However, I heard a rider who is a couple of inches taller than me say that the legroom was less than optimal for him. Similarly, he felt that the B’s windshield created excessive buffeting while I had no issues with it – even at triple-digit speeds. Although this windshield is the standard height for the R18B, the blacked out lower portion reveals it to be a BMW accessory version. (An aside about the taller Transcontinental windshield: I was able to just barely see over it, with the line crossing the lower third of my field of vision, but a shorter rider of around 5 ft. 8 in. said he could only look through it, which would be a consideration for riders in rainy or buggy environments. Since the Bagger and Transcontinental windshields are interchangeable, the lower option would fit on the Transcontinental. There is also a wind deflector option that is even lower, but I did not get a chance to see or sample it.) When traveling multiple hundreds of miles per day, any seat will get uncomfortable. That said, taking occasional breaks to stretch my legs and get fresh blood in my buttocks helped immensely. I’d rate the R18B’s seat at a solid 8 out of 10 for long-distance comfort. There is also plenty of room to move around on the seat to ease the bun burn during tank-draining stints. The R18B’s seat was as comfortable as any seat can be on a 500-mile day. Removing that annoying strap for the passenger would be the first change I’d make if I bought this bike. With regards to my upper body, the reach to the handlebar was just about perfect for me, and only during tight turns did I feel like it was a stretch for my outer arm to retain a comfortable grip on the throttle, brake, or clutch. Storage Capacity The fact that the B has less storage capacity than the Transcontinental is fairly obvious, and both bikes offer a fairly typical saddlebag capacity of 27 liters. However, it was a single miscalculation (the hard sides of my helmet case made it take up half of the saddlebag’s space) that forced me to strap my duffel bag to the back seat for my ride home. The electronically-locking saddlebags feature an interesting double locking system. You press the lid down until it clicks, and then you press down a lever to secure the latch. The electric lock is also keyed for non-powered use. If I were in the market for this bike, I’d go for a version without the saddlebag speakers since they eat into the storage space, and I never use a motorcycle’s speakers unless I’m testing the sound system for an article. If you’re one of the types that wants to be able to remove your bagger’s bags for around town lightness, look elsewhere. The wiring harness for the tail lights, the electronic locks, and the optional speakers all exit the rear fender near the bag mounts. Electronic Touring Amenities Here is an area where BMW typically excels, and for the most part, this is true with the R18B and R18 Transcontinental. Many of the options, when they work properly, are completely unobtrusive and go unnoticed. For example the automatic ride-height adjustment on the shock. How do I know it worked? The R18B felt completely balanced front and rear both with and without my belongings in the saddlebags. Then there are the de rigueur heated grips and seat (the grips I used when summiting Mt. Evans in 42° F weather and 30-mph winds). Here’s how the Automatic Load Leveling system works behind the scenes so that you don’t have to think about it. Riding after dark to my hotel gives me a chance to really test the LED headlight. With the Headlight Pro with Mechanical Cornering Lights, I expected to be able to see a difference as I turned in for corners. Well, I don’t notice the low beam pivoting, but I am impressed by how far through a corner I can see after dark. BMW claims the low beam pivots over a range of +/- 35°. This is particularly important since I am riding through dusk to full darkness in the mountains…in open range…where 1,700 lb. of beef in a black fur coat could be awaiting me just out of the light’s reach. The high beam is impressive, giving me a great view down the road, but I’m even more thrilled by the low beam’s light pattern that gives plenty of illumination without prompting a single oncoming car to flash lights at me. The LED headlight and its pivoting beam light up the road quite well at night. Perhaps the most impressive piece of electronics in the R18B’s arsenal is the Adaptive Cruise Control. Not only does it take into account the vehicles in front of you, but it also responds almost immediately to climbing or topping a hill, typically delivering just 1 mph of variation when encountering these challenges. The more I play with the cruise control the more impressed I am with it, which is why I have it set to allow for the closest following distance possible. The front radar has a remarkably narrow beam and only selects the cars in your lane, although sometimes, in a curve, the car icon on the TFT will flash for an instant before correcting itself as the car in the next lane crosses the radar’s field of view. However, with a field of view this precise, it is possible for it to miss the bike immediately in front of you when riding in a staggered formation. Riding a little more towards the center of the lane, rather than the right or left side, eliminates this issue, but you still need to pay a little more attention with bikes in front of you than with other vehicles. Soon Burns won’t be demanding just cruise control. He’ll want it to be adaptive cruise control. I predict that in 10 years, we’ll laugh at how big the radar unit (directly above the headlight) used to be when adaptive cruise control was released. Why did I wait so long to write about the 10.25-in. TFT display when I spent so much time looking at it during my ride? Perhaps, I was saving the best for last. The screen really is a sight to behold, and it offered all of the information I needed at any given time save for the fuel gauge and the tachometer, both of which were only glanced at periodically more out of curiosity than need. Once you’re indoctrinated, the BMW’s menu system is easily manipulated with the control wheel while under way. The TFT is easy to read in all lighting conditions – even with direct light shining on it. The dual trip displays allow me to track my trip both from beginning to end and through each tank of gas. That’s how I discovered that I averaged 59 mph over the entire 1,475 miles. (I’ll leave it to you to figure out how that happened with all the small towns I passed through with 30 mph speed limits.) I really can’t say enough about how nice the screen is, and how its width allows you to view multiple readouts simultaneously, particularly the navigation map alongside the turn-by-turn directions. Which brings us to… BMW has done such a great job of developing a beautiful screen and an extremely flexible menu navigation system via a control wheel (bottom left), it’s a shame that the navigation app is not ready for prime time. BMW’s Odd Choice of a Navigation System I’ll state my thesis right off the bat: A motorcycle company that can design such an intuitive menu system manipulated by a control wheel should be able to integrate that system with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Instead, the engineers give us the BMW Motorrad Connected app, which, in order to work, must always be in the foreground with your phone fully awake. Don’t get me wrong, there are some strokes of brilliance in BMW’s system, like the waterproof phone locker with the USB C port and a fan to keep your phone cool. (Although, one journalist was unable to get his iPhone Plus to fit in the locker with the charging cable attached.) Wireless charging was ruled out because of the heat it generates. How many touring bikes have I ridden over the years in which the storage for charging a phone appeared to be an afterthought? (I remember a pouch hanging inside of a fork-mounted fairing. What bike was that?) But back to the Connected app. My preparation for my ride back to Los Angeles began in its usual fashion for a touring bike. I massaged a route into shape for each day with Google Maps and then converted the URL for the route into a GPX file for transfer to a navigation system. A reasonably workable solution, and up to the point of getting the information into the Connected app the process is the same as with every bike-based GPS. However, utilizing the app and the navigation system proved to be an occasional challenge. Here’s the view I had on my screen for most of the ride, and when the app was connected, the system was a delight to use. For the basic operations, like Bluetooth pairing for phone calls and music, the R18B’s process is straightforward. The issue is the connected app. First, it takes a couple of minutes for the system and the phone to completely connect. So, my traveling routine is: start the Connect app, load the route I want to travel, plug the iPhone into the bike, turn on the ignition, wait for the connection process to complete, and finally start the engine. The process was only slightly shortened if the app was already running the route prior to stopping. Once it’s fully connected to the bike, the display on the TFT is a sight to behold. My preferred setup is to have the map on the left side of the screen and the directions on the right. That way I always know how far it is to the next turn and what the road’s name is. I used this screen setup for my entire ride. Unfortunately, while riding, periodically, for no apparent reason, the system either freezes or disconnects from the phone, leaving me with a flashing icon for the display. If the phone doesn’t reconnect in a minute or two, the only recourse is to pull over and try quitting and restarting the Connect app and possibly the bike, too. While this disconnection happened on every day of my ride, the first and last days were the worst. Although I can’t prove it, I suspect that heat was part of the issue. During the hours I spent in the desert with the temperature ranging from 104° – 109°F the disconnections were most frequent. But there’s more to the instability. This isn’t the only issue with the app. What the design team appears to have overlooked is that people like to run more than one app at a time on their smartphones. While I have access to my address book for phone calls and the music stored on my phone, I am out of luck if I want to stream music or listen to podcasts from my favorite app. So, I ended up unpairing my helmet from the entertainment system and pairing it back to my phone. This way I can run the other apps I want to use and the Connected app at the same time. Sort of. Hey, how about a nice shot of the optional reverse switch right next to the heel shifter? My final day of riding starts with the map refusing to display. Since the app is still announcing turns (and my trip is a straight shot down I-15 to Los Angeles), I decide to ride without the map. Once the podcast I’m listening to finishes, the map immediately pops up on the screen, and directions start to function normally. So, if heat isn’t responsible for the multiple disconnections with the Connected app, the attempt to run multiple apps simultaneously is. What BMW appears to have overlooked is that people don’t just use their phones for calls, music, and navigation. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, BMW should have spent its time getting their system to work with the CarPlay and Android Auto environments, which would allow people to use their phones as they would in their car. Then the Connected app would work in conjunction with the other apps instead of trying to completely take over the phone. If Honda can make the Gold Wing compatible with Car Play and Android Auto with a less intuitive control system, one would think that BMW is more than capable of doing the same thing. Or is this simply a case of the same “We know better” arrogance that for years forced BMW riders to use three buttons where one switch would work better for turn signals? The End of the Road Pulling into my driveway, I’m grateful for my time with the BMW R18B. I’ve gained a depth of understanding of the bike’s strengths and weaknesses that I didn’t have from the one day, 200 mile ride at the introduction. While I can learn a lot about how a bike rides during an intro, a touring bike, because of the complexity of its systems, really demands an extended test. I couldn’t have figured out the intricacies of the Connected app without the seat time, nor would I be able to say that the calculated range from my average of 48.2 mpg is 304 miles. In my short time on the BMW R18 Transcontinental, I found it to be a capable touring companion, but the 64 lb. of extra weight it carries was noticeable in every performance category, making me glad that I’d requested the R18B for my ride home. As I sit here looking back on the ride, I consider the 2022 BMW R18B to be an extremely capable touring companion with one glaring flaw for the market in the form of the BMW Motorrad App requirement for navigation. Although BMW’s representatives said (and it is fairly obvious) that the Harley-Davidson Street Glide was an inspiration behind the development of the R18B, I don’t think that the bike will steal many sales from the HD faithful. Rather, the R18B and the Transcontinental will attract the bagger-curious and other riders who are attracted to the relaxed cruising-tourer style of riding but were put off by the weight that the Harley name carries in some circles, or perhaps, they simply don’t like the traditional V-Twin configurations offered by Harley, Indian, and the Japanese marques in this riding segment. If you think you might be interested in either the R18B or the Transcontinental, they are currently arriving in showrooms. The base (and therefore impossible to find) model starts at $22,590. The price, as tested, for the R18B that I rode home is approximately $25,520. It includes the following packages: Premium Light Package ($2,300) and Select Package ($1,275). Then it also received a nice selection of BMW Accessory Roland Sands Designs parts, but no price is available for them: 2-Tone-Black brake fluid expansion tanks, 2-Tone-Black engine housing cover, 2-Tone-Black cylinder head decorative trim, and 2-Tone-Black handlebar end caps. Go take a look and a ride. Let me know what you think. 2022 BMW R18B + Highs Cruise-friendly torque curve Great touring range 10.25-in. TFT screen – Sighs Limited ground clearance Phone-based navigation system not ready for prime time Missing Shift-Assist Pro In Gear Helmet: Shoei Neotec 2 Jacket: Alpinestars Brera Airflow Jacket (Discontinued) Gloves: Castor Sport Leather Gloves Jeans: Alpinestars Riffs (Discontinued) Boots: TCX AirTech EVO Gore-Tex Boot 2022 BMW R18B (Transcontinental) MSRP $22,590 (Base) Engine Type 1,802cc Air/water-cooled 2-cylinder 4-stroke boxer, OHV, 4 valves per cylinder Bore and Stroke 107.1 mm x 100.0 mm Compression Ratio 9.6:1 Rear Wheel Horsepower (claimed) 91 hp @ 4,750 rpm Torque 116 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm Transmission Constant mesh 6-speed Final Drive Shaft Front Suspension Telescopic fork, 49 mm stanchion, 4.7 in. travel Rear Suspension Cantilever shock, 4.7 in. travel Front Brake Dual four-piston calipers with full-floating 300mm discs Rear Brake Four-piston caliper 300 mm disc Front Tire 120/70 R 19 Rear Tire 180/65 B 16 Rake/Trail 27.3 deg/7.2 in Wheelbase 66.7 in. Seat Height 28.3 in. Curb Weight (Claimed) 877 lbs. Fuel Capacity 6.3 gal. Colors Black Storm Metallic, Manhattan Metallic Matte (+$500), Option 719 Galaxy Dust/ Titan Silver Metallic (+$2,400) We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post 2022 BMW R18B (And R18 Transcontinental) Review – First Ride appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/9gTRs5fVcXUSource
  13. Just more than a week after teasing us with a new Tiger Sport 660 prototype, Triumph sends us photos of another new model, this time a heavily updated Tiger 1200. Along with this showcase of Triumph’s camouflage wrapping, the British manufacturer sent us this brief description: NEW TIGER 1200 OFFICIAL PROTOTYPE TESTING Lighter and more powerful, the all-new Tiger 1200 transformation is on its way. The all-new Tiger 1200 has now reached its exciting final stages of testing. The word ‘transformation’ simply doesn’t do it justice. Designed to deliver the new ultimate large capacity adventure ride, the incredible Tiger 1200 will bring every advantage in one all-new motorcycle family. Now significantly lighter than its closest competition, with an astonishing transformation in weight, the new 1200 will combine the triple powered engine advantage with a new dimension in class-leading agility, control and handling. Those are some bold claims to make for one of the most competitive segments in the industry, adventure-touring. There’s a lot to unpack from this brief statement and the three supplied photos. First of all, that Triumph has been working on a new Tiger 1200 should be no surprise. The existing Tiger 1200s were last offered as a 2020 model, with their 1215cc three-cylinder engines only certified for Euro 4. As Triumph did with many of its models, the Tiger 1200 skipped 2021, opting for a Euro 5 update for the 2022 model year. While we know it is still a Triple, it’s clear from the casings that the Tiger has a new engine that looks a lot like the 1160cc engine on the new Speed Triple. The industry trend has been to increase displacement to make up for any loss of performance from meeting Euro 5, but Triumph may be bucking the trend with a smaller, but more powerful engine. That said, it’s entirely possible the engine may turn out to be a larger version of the Speed Triple’s powerplant. From the front, we can see the new Tiger has two smaller radiators instead of a single larger radiator like the previous models. Triumph’s boasts about “an astonishing transformation in weight” is likely due in large part to the new chassis. The frame uses straighter tubes, with fewer smaller support tubes than the previous chassis, and the subframe is now bolted to the frame instead of being welded together. The new Tiger 1200 also uses a double-sided swingarm, with the rear brake now on the right side of the rear wheel, opposite the redesigned drive shaft. The previous Tiger 1200s used WP Suspension components but the fork on the new model looks similar to the Showa fork currently equipped on the Tiger 900s. From the front, the new model still has a small beak and a new windscreen. The headlights are a slimmer design, but instead of the Tiger 900’s unibrow LED running light, the new unit has two small light strips below the main headlight lenses, like football players wearing eyeblack. The motorcycle in the photos is equipped with wire-spoke wheels, engine bars and auxiliary lighting, but if past Triumph models are an indication, we can expect the new Tiger 1200 to come in both more off-road capable and street-biased versions. We probably won’t see the previous Tiger’s XR and XC nomenclature, with Triumph likely to adopt the Rally and GT naming scheme of the 900 models. Triumph hasn’t provided any indication on when we might learn full specifications on the 2022 Tiger 1200 Rally and GT. In recent weeks, Triumph has offered hints at the Tiger 1200, Tiger Sport 660 and Speed Triple RR prototypes. The Nov. 23 EICMA show is still a long ways off, so we suspect Triumph will reveal more about all three bikes well ahead of the Milan show. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post All-New Triumph Tiger 1200 Confirmed for 2022 appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/7Pebme71IeYSource
  14. As motorcyclists, we are well aware of how important tires are. Our ride – even our survival – depends on just a few square inches of rubber. So, why is it that rarely does a week go by in which we don’t see a motorcycle out on the road with visibly under-inflated tires? These are tires that are way past the point of affecting handling and into the zone of being dangerous. Perhaps it’s because tire technology has advanced so much in recent decades that we take them for granted. It used to be that one of the easiest upgrades you could make to your bike – particularly for sport-focused riders – was getting rid of the OEM tires and spooning on some aftermarket rubber. Now, street tires can offer grip that would surprise racers from a decade ago while still delivering reasonable mileage. Additionally, less performance-oriented tires are now capable of considerably more wet-weather grip and durability, a real boon to commuters and touring riders. You don’t have to ride like this to benefit from the advances in modern tire technology or the longevity afforded by proper care and maintenance. However, tires still depend on the end user to attain maximum performance and durability while they sacrifice themselves for our riding pleasure. So, I reached out to representatives from Avon, Dunlop, Metzeler/Pirelli, and Michelin to find out what we need to do (and why) to get the most out of our motorcycle’s rubber. The genesis of this article was a simple question from a forum that I frequent. Who knew that a single question could send me down a rabbit hole for months, but since the people that I was talking to were the technology-focused types behind the development of tires, I learned very quickly that the answer to my simple question leaned, in many ways, on an understanding of many interlinked factors. Naturally, the answers to a sport-focused question would have a sport-riding-centric answer, but there is still plenty to learn here for riders of other motorcycles. The question that started this 5,500 word opus? “When sport riding, should street riders run the manufacturer’s suggested tire pressure or something slightly lower for better grip?” Choose the right tire for the job Once upon a time, pretty much all motorcycle tires had similar construction. They were black and round and were filled with air. Then came the categories of tires. So, you had the off-road tires, the touring tires, the cruiser tires, the sport-touring tires, the sport tires, and the race tires. However, as technology marches forward, we now have categories within categories. The recent trend of track day tires is a great example. This all comes from the fine-tuning of the attributes that the individual tires feature from wheel fitment to carcass construction to tread compound to tread profile and adds up to a huge menu of tires to choose from. In a recent conversation with representatives from Avon Tyres, I was informed that the company lists over 200 different tire specifications spread out over 10 different categories. When you’re choosing a tire for your motorcycle, you don’t just want to throw any old tire on it, and for your own sake, don’t listen to the people who say it’s safe to mount an automobile tire to the rear of a motorcycle. These people are clearly deluded and should not be trusted about anything – except, perhaps, the ambulance ride times to the local hospital. As with each category of motorcycles, cruisers have their own special requirements for tires. All four tire manufacturers I consulted agreed that to get the most from the investment in rubber, riders need to buy the right model for their particular riding. Each had a list of questions for riders to consider, and when combined formed these common themes: What is the type of riding you do? In what kind of weather? What type of motorcycle do you ride? If you are a sportbike rider, are you looking for more grip or more mileage, and do you ever do track days? Next, they recommended that less experienced riders talk to their local tire vendor. More experienced motorcyclists most likely have a pretty good idea of what category they fit into, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do their due diligence. Tire technology is changing incredibly quickly. So, you need to pay attention. What differentiates the categories of tires? At the most basic level, the differences start with two separate but somewhat interrelated features: construction and load carrying capability. Bias-ply tires, for example, are quite good at carrying heavier loads, which is why you commonly find them on heavyweight cruisers and baggers. Bias ply tires run their carcass layers of fabric cords from bead-to-bead in alternating layers at an angle (at a bias, which is how they get their name) to each other. This construction makes them stiff and strong – a plus for carrying heavy loads. Unfortunately, the additional thickness in the carcass presents a problem when it comes to shedding heat, which is less than optimal when it comes to sporting use. Radial tires have their carcass constructed with their cords running directly across the tire from bead-to-bead perpendicular to the tire’s rotation. This construction with fewer layers of body cord allows for a more supple sidewall, which helps make the contact patch larger when the tire is on the edge of its tread. Not surprisingly, performance-oriented motorcycles primarily utilize radial tires because of the higher grip and improved feedback the more supple sidewall allows. Another feature of radial tires is their ability to have short sidewalls with wide treads. Look at your typical sportbike rear tire’s dimensions. They simply wouldn’t be possible with bias ply tires. Sportbikes aren’t the only motorcycles that benefit from radial tires. Touring bikes and cruisers can also take advantage of them. However, that’s not to say only sportbikes use radials. The Honda Goldwing comes with radial tires, and it is certainly a bike that is capable of carrying two large-sized people and their cargo. So, the lesson is that you should know what kind of tires your bike was originally fit with and continue doing so. Next, riders should consider the rubber compound(s) that make up the tread of the tire itself. Those of us who live for the next apex and can be seen carving up mountain roads typically are willing to sacrifice longevity for cornering capability and often opt for the stickiest rubber available. However, you still need to be aware of the conditions the tire you’re mounting on your bike is designed to handle and what you’re actually doing with it. The long and short of it is that race compounds don’t belong on the street. Oscar Solis, Senior Roadrace Manager, North and South America Metzeler/Pirelli: “If you have a really sporty compound, if it’s an ultra-race compound like our Pirelli SC0, they’re not made to be at 120 degrees. They’re made to be at 200-plus degrees Fahrenheit. It’s very difficult to get that kind of heat in the tire on the street – with an SC0 or any kind of tire. So, your ultra-race compounds are actually going to be a harder compound at a lower temperature. Even if you had the skills to ride the bike to generate the heat on the track, you most likely won’t be able to get that much heat on the street. So that’s why you shouldn’t have race compounds as street tires.” This is not to say that performance riders don’t benefit from buying the stickiest street tires they can buy. All motorcycle tire manufacturers are making tremendous strides in delivering sticky sport tires that don’t wear out as quickly as those in the past. The Diablo Rosso IV is Pirelli’s most recent example. The stated areas of focus on the tire’s development were “benchmark performance in both dry and wet” and “tread design optimized for sporty riding and regular wear.” Oscar continues: “We’ll look at the Supercorsa SP. It’s a hyper sport tire, and it’s very aggressive. It’s a very sticky tire. Whenever I ask somebody what they’re going to do with this tire, they’ll say something like, ‘I’m going to go commuting. I’m going to go canyon carving. I’m going to the track once in a while.’ If you go to the track once in a while and you’re doing some canyon carving, the Supercorsa SP is great, and that extra amount of grip it offers can be forgiving because it may allow you to make some mistakes and have that safety net underneath you. If you have a tire that’s way more durable but less grip, that safety net might not be there when you’re asking for whatever degree of lean on the brakes and trying to miss a car because you were way too hot coming into a corner. The grip level could really save your butt. “Conversely, Supercorsas for a commuter bike, that’s a waste of money because all you’re going to do is wear out the center of the tire. You’re only going to go five degrees of lean angle because you just need to pull into the 7-Eleven for some stuff. You’d be much better off with a sport-touring tire, an Angel GT, a Rosso III. Something that has more durability.” Dominic Clifford, Global Avon Motorcycle Manager, concurs: “We have a road-legal track day tire called the Extreme. We see this all the time, a rider will come to us and say, ‘I want that tire. I don’t care that I will only get 1500 miles out of it. That’s the tire for me.’ What we find is that, in the road application, it is 100% the wrong tire for them. It’s not just the mileage. In road application, it is very difficult to keep the heat in that type of tire. It is designed for track use, not for stopping and starting at lights, junctions, etc.” A quick glance at the Avon Spirit STs above tell you that this sport-touring tire was designed with wet-weather grip in mind (in England, that’s of particular importance) along with dry-weather performance. The difference between hypersport street tires and sport-touring tires is about more than just the rubber compound. You also need to consider the difference in carcass stiffness and tread profile and how they affect handling. Ashley Vowles, Avon Motorcycle Tire Development Manager: “From a tire standpoint, they are designed very differently specifically to application. Hypersport track tires are designed to be very stable at high-speed. They’re designed to provide optimal grip at higher operating temperatures, and the profiles are designed a lot sharper to enable the bike to turn it in and fall right onto the edge of the tire when the rider is going around corners and hitting the apexes. “When looking at sport-touring tires, they are slightly similar to hypersport tires, but the construction is slightly different. The track tire/sport tire has quite a lot stiffer construction so that the rider gets optimal feedback from the tire. Whereas sport touring is slightly softer in construction to improve rider comfort. But also the profile is slightly flatter than a sports tire. Sport-touring tires offer a little more footprint because they’re upright a lot longer than on a sport tire. “Also, you generally get dual compounds on the rear of those tires. The sport-touring tire is designed for high mileage. Sport-touring tires people kind of refer to them as the all around, all season type tire. People are commuting on them. People are using them all year round. They’ve got good dry performance, good wet performance, good longevity, good handling and stability.” Sport-touring tires are probably the closest to a universal motorcycle tire. They offer a great balance of wet- and dry-weather grip along with good wear characteristics. Daily commuters would be throwing money away on the stickiest rubber in their workday bump-and-grind, when sport-touring tires offer almost the same grip on the street while delivering many more miles per set. Still, the decision doesn’t stop with just the compound. Tire choice also depends on where the rider lives. A tire with the bare minimum of sipes – as close to a slick as possible – will suit riders in the arid Southwest or riders who never ride in the rain, but enthusiasts from wetter climates appreciate the ability to channel water away from the contact patch in addition to dry grip. Since cruisers and tourers are less interested in outright lean angle than comfort and longevity (plus wet weather performance for the travelers among us), these tires emphasize durability and the ability to handle the forces that the public roads throw at them and the heavier loads they tend to carry. Finally, we can’t ignore the role that styling plays in tire choice. Tire Pressure is key Now, we arrive at the impetus for this article: How do riders get the most out of their tires? We’ve heard about special pressures for track days. Should rider’s vary their pressures for different street-riding jobs? Or should they set their tire pressures (which they are checking at least weekly, right?) to OEM specifications and not worry about it at all? If you take away nothing else from this article, understand that the secret to getting both the best performance and durability out of your motorcycle tires is to buy an accurate tire pressure gauge and to use it regularly. Among the tire companies I consulted, the unanimous statement was that you couldn’t go wrong with running the OEM-recommended pressures on the street. However, there were some caveats. Vowles @ Avon stated: “For 90% of our tires, we recommend the OE pressures for that motorcycle…There are a few sizes and few bikes where we do recommend a different pressure, on our custom stuff, especially, where we might have a slightly higher pressure.” Clifford @ Avon adds: “Tire pressures are very important. You should be increasing your pressures if you’re riding with luggage and pillion. The pressures we recommend are for cold tires in a road application. If you are going to ride with a pillion and or luggage, we’d always recommend increasing 1 or 2 PSI in that tire as well.” Shawn Bell from Sumitomo Rubber USA (Dunlop’s parent company) concurs: “The first thing I recommend is check with the motorcycle manufacturer. They have ideal air pressure settings when it comes to the capabilities of the motorcycle. We actually have a 1-800 number (800-845-8378) that we get a lot of customers calling in and asking questions like this, and we always recommend running OE placard pressure on the street.” Michelin responded in a written statement from its engineering department: “For street riding purposes, Michelin recommends the tire pressure quoted by the motorcycle manufacturer…Road pressures are defined by the motorcycle manufacturer to cover all possible uses of the motorcycle, ranging from slow speed commuting to work in an urban environment all the way to two-up on the highway (high speeds sustained in a straight line).” For a regularly-ridden motorcycle, weekly pressure checks are the minimum. Still, according to the tire reps, we should do it before every ride. Solis @ Metzeler/Pirelli, said: “It’s always going to be the bike manufacturer’s recommendation. They build the bike. When we build a tire, it’s not necessary we build the tire for every motorcycle. Instead, we build a tire that can go on a handful of motorcycles. It’s the bike manufacturer’s pressure recommendation because it is more of a singular application for the bike and rider than just the tire itself.” So, the common thread in all of this is that the OEMs know what the motorcycle is capable of and the kind of stresses that it will put on the tires in the range of operating conditions expected of it. The cynics among us will say that this is largely a CYA statement to avoid lawsuits, but the engineers and test riders responsible for developing street bikes really know what they’re doing. The most common mistake Let us pause for a moment of silence to consider the suffering inflicted on motorcycle tires by neglectful owners – and let their tales of woe be a warning. Bell @ Dunlop: “At rallies, we would set up a tire check, people would come through with their motorcycle, and we would check their weight and pressure. We’d have them roll up on the scale and sit on the bike with everything, their luggage, the wife on the back, and we would get the weights front and rear. Then we would check their pressure. And the number of under inflated tires was surprising. We even came across some riders with less than 10 psi in their tires. It was kind of scary and comical at the same time. We’re telling people, you don’t understand how important this is. “We found in our testing that you’re going to get the best mileage bang for your buck on the street if you maintain the placard pressure. As soon as you lower that pressure, you’re putting more heat cycles into the tire. You’re definitely generating more flex in the carcass, and that’s going to wear the tire out. I couldn’t tell you how much quicker. I know that it’s pretty obvious to me when I have seen a street motorcycle running too low air pressure, either it wears out too quickly or wear is uneven. You get cupping.” This basket case of a tire shows clear signs of being used while under-inflated. Note the cupping of the tread while the center still has rubber left. Solis @ Pirelli: “Check your pressure. Every time you go out on a ride. Nobody ever does it, but I’m still going to suggest that you do it. Check your pressure every time – especially when the weather changes. That’s what really changes the pressure in the tire. Heat is generated in a tire by deflection, by how much it squishes, basically. On the road, less pressure is going to create more heat. That’s why big truck drivers in semis get blowouts when the pressure is too low. It creates more heat. The heat’s not so much on the surface. It’s actually under the surface. That’s why you see the tread come off.” Clifford @ Avon: “The one stat that I always talk about is that you should look at tire wear as a bell curve. The optimum pressures in the middle. If you go ten percent either way on your pressures, then tire wear literally drops off the bell curve. “So, your optimum wear rate is at 42 PSI. If you go plus or minus on the 10% rule, and a lot of riders will for a 42 PSI recommendation. They will probably drop that down to 34 or 35, but even 10% so from 42, that’s about 38 PSI. Even if you’re 38, that will, in some cases, increase your wear rate by 50%. So, you will get half the mileage out of your tire by running it between 35 and 38 than you would do at 42 PSI.” Track pressures are for the track, and street pressures are for the street. There is actual science behind these settings. Vowles @ Avon addresses the desire for a bigger footprint provided by running slightly lower pressures when sport riding. Moderation is the key here: “Yes, you are going to potentially have a bigger footprint, but at the same time you’re also going to change the complete construction of that product because it’s going to be a lot softer in the sidewall. It’s going to wallow around; you’re going to wear the tire out. You’re going to have tires moving around, which can generate more heat as well. So, you can risk overheating the tires. Now, it may be that on some bikes an end user, instead of having 36/42, he’s gone 34/40, and he likes it like that. Okay, that’s okay.” To wrap up this section, it’s time to get really honest with yourself. When did you last check your bike’s tire pressures? If it was in the last week, you’re better than most. If you can’t remember, you could, at best, be throwing away money on rubber that you’re wasting and, at worst, endangering yourself (and others). Motorcycle tires are serious business. Track pressure is a special case The track environment is quite different from the street. The extreme loads are nearly constant, going from braking to full-throttle acceleration back to braking and leaning over in a corner. This generates heat quickly and can push tires not made for the environment well out of their temperature range and cause them to become greasy. Another component of the heat build up in tires on the track is how it affects pressure rise. Michelin puts things succinctly in its written statement: “Circuit pressures are traditionally defined by the tire manufacturer for track use only. It is not recommended to ride on the road with these pressures. “For track use, the front tire pressure is lowered so that when it is hot, the tire operating temperature is close to the cold road pressures. “The rear pressure is lowered significantly on track versus street because the pressure needed to support two-up is not required and thus a lower pressure achieves a more optimal operating temperature.” Track pressures serve multiple purposes. First, the lower pressure helps to manage the increase in tire pressure as the carcass temperature rises. Second, the size of the rear contact patch can be adjusted to give better drive out of the corners. Bell @ Dunlop reveals that the issue is about more than just tire temperature. For example, street settings have higher rear pressure than front, but at the track things are reversed: “[On the track] the lower pressure on the rear is because of the benefits of the increase in contact patch that you’ll get, specifically for the drive out of the corners. The air pressure on the rear, when it gets hot, increases more than the front. If you started off with 32 in the front and 30 in the rear, you’re gonna end up with 36/36 hot. Just because of the volume of air inside the tire, you’re seeing a bigger increase on the rear. “I always say that it’s important to check the hot pressure because, when you’re on the track, you’re not normally riding on cold tires. You’re on hot tires. If you want to hone in on air pressure, I recommend checking the hot pressure, but you have to start with something. You have to start with a cold pressure [which is information that a tire vendor will have].” Solis @ Metzeler/Pirelli emphasizes that novice track riders or riders that don’t have track experience with the tires they’re running should talk to a tire vendor: “ When you take tires to the track, talk to somebody. Talk to trackside vendors about pressures. Yes, you go lower to get a little more grip, but they’ll help you out with the specifics of those pressures and make sure that you’re not going to overheat your tires. With true track race tires, it’s very very hard to overheat them. Most of the time, it’s the track that actually loses a lot of grip when it gets too hot. You have to keep in mind that friction is from two parts, the tire and the track. Maybe the tires lose their grip and maybe it’s the track losing grip. A lot of the time, people don’t realize the track loses its grip, and you have to do something with the tires or suspension to kind of compensate for that.” The final word on track tire pressure is talk to the people who know the tires you’ve mounted and then, if you have the skill set, adjust from there to suit your preferences. If you’re new and don’t have the skill set, then we’ll reiterate the importance of contacting a reputable tire vendor ahead of time to seek proper tire pressures to start with. Odds are you’ll stick with these pressures for the whole day. Remember that not every tire brand will have a representative at your track day. So, again, get the information you need prior to arriving at the track. On running non-standard tire sizes This topic can get fairly far off into the weeds if you include custom cruiser show bikes that are all about the form with little – if any – thought about how the bike will handle. Still, a surprisingly large number of riders think that the hot set up is to put larger tires on their bikes. Here’s what the tire reps had to say about it. We’re going to keep our focus on motorcycles that are actually designed for riding. Again, Michelin wins points for brevity, getting to the crux of the matter: “For street riding, motorcycles should be equipped with the size of tire specified by the motorcycle manufacturer. Do not mount tires wider or narrower than the original-equipment tires, either of which could negatively affect the motorcycle’s handling. Exceptions to this guidance should only be considered with qualified tire support specialists; i.e. trackside tire support (190 rear width vs 180 rear width, etc.).” Solis @ Metzeler/Pirelli says you should check with the tire and bike manufacturers’ specifications: “When we create a tire and when we engineer a tire, we actually engineer for a certain size rim. As long as the tire manufacturer says the application is for this rim size, then it’s been tested that way. A 180 to 190, the profile doesn’t mean it’s the same right? The profiles are different. If you go with a different size with the same rim size, it’s going to pinch the profile. What happens is it kind of curves a little bit more. When it’s on the street, that means that it doesn’t quite go all the way to the side of the tire. It kind of stays up a little bit more on the tread. That could be bad because, when you go all the way to the side of the tire, you deflect the sidewall a little bit more and, actually, may have more of a contact patch. You are squeezing that side wall a little bit and getting a bigger contact patch. Not a lot of people understand that. They think it’s just wider, and it’s better: ‘Just pinch that puppy on there. You’re going to have more contact patch.’ But they might actually have less. “The other problem about it is that the selection of the tires might actually be less as well. The range of tires that you have a certain size may be different. If your bike manufacturer recommends it, fine, go with it. If it doesn’t then, you know, it’s going to change and you might have less availability for your bike.” Most riders don’t spend much time thinking about it, but a lot of testing goes into the development of tires and how they affect a motorcycle’s handling. Choose non-standard tire sizes, and you could screw things up. Bell @ Dunlop: “There are two schools of thought. I think if somebody is going to entertain the idea of trying a non-standard size, something that’s different than the motorcycle manufacturer recommends, they should do as much homework as they can. I wouldn’t recommend just going off of the blogs because somebody said that they did it, and it was awesome. They should try to really understand what they’re doing to the motorcycle because the geometry of the motorcycle is just like air pressure: the manufacturer set up the suspension and the geometry of the motorcycle for its ideal handling. As soon as you change that, you could potentially upset the handling of the motorcycle. “The information that’s gonna be important is the diameter, because you can change the ride height. Not only are you changing the width of the tire, but depending on the aspect ratio, you can also change the diameter. You’re essentially raising or lowering the center of gravity. That might be great for a track day because you want the quick steering, but I think they should try to understand what they’re doing. “Clearance with the swingarm is important. Tire size changes at speed. The dimensions we publish are static. That’s not dynamic. Luckily, sport tires are pretty stable. Bias ply tires grow quite a bit. As soon as you start throwing in a wider tire or a taller tire, then you run the risk of interference. My recommendation is that they just need to do their homework and make sure that they’re doing the right thing. “I know personally, spending as much time as I have at the track, a taller aspect ratio is better for the track. A taller profile gives a bigger footprint when leaned over. It gives quicker handling. Again, those are all things that you want at the track, but is that what you want on the street? That’s another question. It really comes down to where you’re gonna ride.” If you look closely at the leading edge of the front fender, you’ll see that my fitting a taller than stock tire caused it to rub against the fender as the carcass expanded at high speeds. Clifford and Vowles from Avon tag-teamed on this answer: Vowles: “So if you’ve got a five-and-a-half inch rim on the back of your sports bike that’s designed for a 180, and you want to put a 190/55 or 200/55 on, you are going to dramatically change the performance of a motorcycle. Tires on narrower rims will change the profile. If the tire is designed to be on a 6-in. rim, and you’re going to put it on a 5-in. rim, you’re going to sharpen the profile.” Clifford: “When you mix in a motorcycle designed for a certain fitment, somebody may put a different size rear tire on. What we find then, in certain situations, is that the front tire and the rear tire aren’t working in harmony. And then you end up with a shimmy, particularly on a sweeping bend because those profiles are not matched. So, they end up working against each other.” Vowles: “You’ve got one that wants to turn in and the other wants to stand up. It’s our worst case scenario in the tire industry. A motorcycle manufacturer or a tire manufacturer would steer away from that at all costs. We could not ever recommend anything we’ve not tested in application. Always, always stay with your recommended tire size.” Wrapping it up While reading this article, you probably noticed that the manufacturers agreed with each other on the broad strokes. These are demonstrable truths that their companies have learned through R&D. You should absolutely heed this advice. In the cases where there are slight differences in their approach to a topic, some wiggle room is implied, meaning that if you know what you’re doing or consult with someone who does, there is room for you to find what works best for you. Why would Dunlop haul all these used race tires away from the track? To study and learn from. Street riders will eventually benefit from the technology developed at the track. FAQ? Should motorcycle tires be inflated to max PSI? There is some confusion as to what the Max PSI listed on a tire is. This figure is generated for the motorcycle’s maximum rated load and the pressure required to support that load. As the tire pressure goes down, the maximum load the motorcycle can carry is reduced. Of course, motorcycles spend little of their time carrying that maximum load. So, for regular use, consult the motorcycle manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure to achieve optimal results. These will be the pressures that it was designed to operate with. What happens when a motorcycle tire pressure is low? First of all, your motorcycle’s handling will be affected because the tire’s carcass will not maintain its proper shape. Steering will feel heavy. As stated in the article above, low tire pressure puts more heat cycles into the tire because it’s generating more flex in the carcass. At its best, the tire is going to wear out sooner, wasting the money you invested in it. At its worst, low pressure could lead to catastrophic tire failure. How often should I check my motorcycle’s tire pressure? The best answer, the answer tire manufacturers always give, is to check tire pressure before every ride. The realistic answer is that for a regularly ridden motorcycle, a weekly check is sufficient. However, if your bike sits unridden for any length of time, definitely check the pressure before you ride it again. Additional Resources Best Motorcycle Tires Best Sportbike Tires Best Motorcycle Racing Tires You Can Also Use On The Street Sport Touring Tire Buyer’s Guide Adventure Tire Buyer’s Guide Best Motorcycle Touring Tires Best Motorcycle Cruiser Tires Best Dirtbike Tires How To Properly Check Your Motorcycle’s Tire Pressure We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post Black Magic: Motorcycle Tires appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/dzF27NdBWKASource
  15. The longer you ride the more your seat matters – in both years ridden and distance traveled. Air bladders and rubber donuts and bead seats can take you so far; past there it might be time to bite the bullet and replace your factory seat with something upscale, something more befitting your two-wheeled station in life. Here’s a smattering of what are widely regarded as the best motorcycle seats on the market for a wide range of bikes, from Goldwing to sportbike, but be aware that people come in so many shapes and sizes, what’s right for one person may not be what’s best for you. Be sure to perform your due diligence as you figure out what the best motorcycle seat is for you, to keep you riding farther, longer, and happier. Table of Contents Mustang Super Solo Seat With Driver Backrest For Harley Touring Saddlemen Adventure Track Seat Airhawk Independent Suspension Technology Seat For BMW Sargent World Sport Performance Seat Corbin Fire & Ice Saddle for Goldwing Saddlemen Gel-Channel Tech Seat LePera Daytona Seat for Harley Russell Day-Long Comfort Seat Mustang Super Solo Seat With Driver Backrest For Harley Touring Mustang’s Super Solo sweetheart fits nearly all kinds of FL Harley-Davidsons dating back to 1997, and has all kinds of 5-star reviews. It sits the driver 1-1/4-inch further back than the stock seat and a bit lower, in what Mustang claims is luxurious comfort and unheard-of support. The backrest is fully adjustable and easily removable. Don’t worry if flying solo isn’t your style, or Harley-Davidson either; Mustang makes a plethora of seats for all kinds of metric cruisers, Triumphs, and other bikes too. Bottom Line/Widely available in wide also Shop Now Saddlemen Adventure Track Seat With fitments for all sorts of ADV bikes from BMW to DRZ to KTM, (Super Tenere pictured), this high-tech hybrid seat combines Saddlemens’ SaddleGel interior, progressive density foam, and a gel channel to provide unparalleled comfort and control. That channel in the base foam goes easy on the old perineal area and increases blood flow, keeping you in the saddle longer and happier. The vinyl and rugged micro-fiber suede cover is said to hold up to hard use while providing a superb blend of comfort and control. Some applications for mid-sized dualsports have a standard foam design (no GC) with a gripper and vinyl cover better suited to “rigorous riding.” Integrated cargo mounting points on the pillion portion of the Adventure-class seat sets make it easy to attach Saddlemen’s Adventure PACK luggage or other cargo, and most are also available in low-profile designs. Etc, etc… Bottom Line/No cheek left behind Shop Now Airhawk Independent Suspension Technology Seat For BMW Rummaging through the seat marketplace reveals that it’s Harley and BMW riders whose butts require the most coddling. Airhawk seats for BMW are born from a partnership between Danny Gray Custom Motorcycle Seats and Airhawk, and are available for most GS models and many others. Using patented Danny Gray IST (Independent Suspension Technology) construction and Airhawk’s ergonomic expertise, these seats isolate the rider from shocks using special inserts that target the lower portions of your pelvic area. Airhawk’s AirCell technology lines the top layer of “w/ Air” option seats to deliver further mechanical shock separation and pressure point reduction. This system is configurable to each rider thanks to an adjustable bladder system. Designed to deliver uniform weight distribution and easier leg passage, the sculpted front contours benefit riders short and tall when it comes to getting a foot down. Bottom Line/Air it out Shop Now Sargent World Sport Performance Seat Available for all kinds of sportbikes from Aprilia to Yamaha, these babies use “advanced digital modeling, computer design techniques, precise manufacturing processes and superior materials. Each signature vacuum-formed light-but-strong PVC acrylic alloy seat pan is precision-molded for superior fit and provides an exceptional high-performance seat foundation.” Super Cell Atomic Foam suspension is a unique and proprietary blend of resilience, firmness, and vibration-absorption qualities without the thermal retention and extra weight of gel. Most stock seats, Sargent says, suffer from a crowned shape that centralizes pressure and creates discomfort. The level, wider and slightly cupped foam shape of the Sargent World Sport Seat distributes pressure evenly and eliminates hot spots for long-distance comfort. Furthermore, these seats eliminate the forward slope of many stock seats, and provide a more neutral seating angle for the rider. Bottom Line/Super Cell Atomic Foam Shop Now Corbin Fire & Ice Saddle for Goldwing What the? So that’s where Indian got its new ClimaCool seat. Not only is this magnificent throne heated, it also uses the Peltier Effect to quickly cool the seat’s surface 10-15 degrees below ambient temperature. With just a couple of fans, says Corbin, that temperature drop is achieved without pumps, compressors or fluids. Elsewhere, there’s almost too much to describe. The seat pictured is also equipped with Ovalbac backrests, which brings your overall vertical support up to 16.5 inches and 20 inches for rider and passenger – and of course Corbin makes these for all kinds of Harleys and other touring bikes. “Naturally,” says Corbin, “we built up the saddle ergonomically to provide the best possible support and elimination of hot spots. This has been a staple of the Corbin design and is one of the most critical components of a true, touring class design.” Genuine leather seating panels breathe with your body. Coordinated vinyl side panels keep the foam shape tight and the saddle looking new longer. Shop Now Saddlemen Gel-Channel Tech Seat Saddlemen’s Gel Channel (GC) technology (patent pending) incorporates a split piece of SaddleGel and a channel in the base foam to relieve seating pressure on the perineum, increase blood flow, and keep the rider in the saddle longer. The “Tech” series incorporates a high-quality, flexible fabric top cover that breathes well and is textured to allow aggressive maneuvering. Just under the top cover is a layer of memory foam that contours to the shape of your body, with additional memory foam in areas strategically positioned for maximum comfort. These are available for many sportbikes, and a smooth black vinyl pillion seat cover is included. Bottom Line/Perineal favorite Shop Now LePera Daytona Seat for Harley This one has almost nothing but rave reviews, as it apparently soaks up lots of bumps your Harley’s rear suspension doesn’t. A molded one-piece foam foundation sits atop a 16-gauge powder-coated steel baseplate that’s carpeted on the bottom to protect your fender, and covered on top with premium-grade black vinyl. Made in the USA, there aren’t many Harleys the Daytona won’t fit – and there’s a Sport version too with a rear-sloping pillion for those who like to instill fear in their passengers. Bottom Line/Looks good too Shop Now Russell Day-Long Comfort Seat Jimmy Lewis might not approve of this seat for the Honda CRF250L, but it just goes to show you you can have the seat of your dreams on just about any motorcycle. Russell’s Day-Long Touring Saddle “is a saddle shaped seat specifically designed for driver and passenger comfort, incorporating our patented Support Suspension System. Each motorcycle seat is individually made to be the perfect seat between person and machine, according to your personal physical requirements.” You’re not going to just waltz into Revzilla or Amazon to get a Russell seat, though. You’re going to have to make an appointment to send in your seat, then wait two weeks or so to get it back. As of now, Russell’s backed up until November. Alternatively, you can book an appointment for one-day ride-in service – first openings in December – which is just the excuse you need to ride to Shasta Lake, California. Russell seats get great reviews, and if you’re not satisfied there’s a money-back guarantee. Bottom Line/A finely tailored suit for your rear end Shop Now FAQ What is the most comfortable touring motorcycle seat? For touring riders, that’s like asking what’s the best oil, but even more subjective. Since human bodies come in so many shapes and sizes, it totally depends. And just like with mattresses, some prefer soft while others like firm.The best way to narrow down the field is to become a forum member of your bike, then find the thread(s) that discuss seat choices. For Gold Wings and Harleys and BMWs, there are hundreds of them, and even more opinions. Be sure to mention your height and weight when you wade in to the discussion. Can I reupholster my own motorcycle seat? Totally. On nearly all of them, the vinyl cover is held in place by staples, inserted by the gun you probably already have. Upholstery stores are all over the place and online, with all kids of vinyl and different types of foam for your experimentation. The electric knife seems to be the most common tool for removing foam where you don’t want it, and slicing off chunks to add where you do with spray adhesive. If your bike isn’t brand-new, it’s not a bad idea to see if you can find a seat in a junkyard or on ebay – all you need is the seat base – just in case your little experiment goes horribly wrong. But really, how hard could it be? How can I clean and protect my motorcycle seat? Like every other thing in the world, vinyl and foam seem to be of much better quality and last longer than the stuff on our chariots of old. The number one thing you can do to protect your seat is to not leave it in the sun, as much as possible, which seems like common sense. Some people carry bike covers, some just seat covers, which is easier. The other common sense thing to do is to clean your seat when it’s dirty, and apply good vinyl/leather conditioner as needed. Additional Resources MO Tested: Indian ClimaCommand Classic Seat Review Recent Updates August, 2021: Mustang Super Touring Seat for Harley replaced by Mustang Super Solo Seat With Driver Backrest For Harley Russell Day-Long Comfort seat added FAQ and Additional Resources added —————————————————————————— We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews and other articles. Learn more about how this works. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post Bottom Line: Best Motorcycle Seats appeared first on Motorcycle.com. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Motorcyclefeed/~4/c0R8KQxzTksSource
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