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Peon Maface

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  1. Have I at long last, no sense of decency? Road test after road test, I shamelessly fawn and toady over all these $30,000 motorcycles loaned to me by the masters of the universe who produce them… I do feel some guilt, but this is really the only job skill I’ve got. Thankfully, sometimes the motorcycle makes it really easy to gush, which is the case with BMW’s freshly overhauled K1600 line. When they asked which one I’d like to ride home from a very nice lunch at the historic Mission Inn in Riverside, California, a couple weeks ago, I had to go for the K1600 B. That’s B for bagger, and it’s the bike that won our Seven-Bagger Shootout, dang, more than four years ago. There was quite a bit of static at the time of that win, as lots of people who aren’t even old and crusty yet were already convinced a bagger has to have a chuffy old V-Twin and weigh over 800 pounds. But in the end, the BM’s salacious inline-Six and lithe, 768-pound weight carried the day. What I said then and stick by now, is that it’s precisely the B’s duality that makes it such a great motorcycle. On the one hand it’s got the hulking heavy cruiser profile, and you can ride it around all day without ever revving it above 5000 rpm if you want to. On the other, there’s 135 snarling, luxe touring-car smooth horsepower waiting to waft out of the barn whenever you leave the gate open – all of it corralled by the latest electronic anti-crash measures, and housed in a chassis that’s up for whatever you can dish out; certainly for whatever I can. 2022 BMW K1600 B The K platform’s first big overhaul since 2017 sees it Euro-5 compliant and with a 6-axis IMU to control its 2nd-gen Dynamic Electronic Suspension – along with fresh bells and whistles we’re still discovering. Editor Score: 93.75% Engine 19/20 Suspension 14.5/15 Transmission 9.25/10 Brakes 9.25/10 Instruments 4.5/5 Ergonomics 9.25/10 Appearance 9.5/10 Desirability 9.5/10 Value 9/10 + Highs 135-horsepower six-cylinder is way torquier too Electronic ESA, just get on and ride 768-pound ballerina – Sighs Motorrad Connected isn’t the sharpest nav tool in the shed They won’t let you in HOG They will let you in the BMW club Why shouldn’t you have it all? BMW’s snooty enough not to care whether you like it or not, frankly. All the K1600s, they say, are for people who are all done compromising. They want all the performance, all the technology, and all the safety all the time. They don’t really want to haggle, and they don’t care whether you like their bike or not. Conveniently, that’s also a great rationale for packing nearly every bike BMW imports with various pricey options packages, as it’s always done. They say it just makes it easier for the dealer and everyone concerned. I could’ve had a K1600GT, the sportiest touring K. Or the GTL, which gets the top box and less aggressive ergonomics for long-distance touring. Since I was more interested in a bike to ride around on every day, I chose the B. The one BMW hooked me up with has a base price of $22,545, but as a Guest Prince of the Universe, I also received the $3400 Bagger Package: Radio Software, Audio System with Radio, Center Stand, Keyless Ride, Gear Shift Assist Pro, Central Locking System, Anti-Theft alarm system, LED auxiliary lights, Engine protection bars, and Floorboards. No two are alike. Then I needed the $2750 Option 719 Special Edition Midnight color scheme, with Meteoric Dust 2 Metallic paint including special water transfer prints, and the Option 719 seat with black quilting. They also threw in the Floor Lighting option, $100, tacked on a $795 destination fee, and when I came to, we were looking at $29,590. Had I been paying more attention last October when Dennis wrote all about these bikes, I could’ve asked for the Grand America, which is in fact an options package for the B that adds a top case, upgraded audio system 2.0, floorboards, and a taller windscreen – all for $27,745. The check is in the mail. Floor lighting, why not? Big Updates for the ten-year anniversary It’s been ten years since those first K1600GT and GTLs blew our socks off in 2012. Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment was big news in 2017, and now for 2022 we get a semi-major overhaul along with the jump to Euro 5 compliance. In addition to our clean new engine, all the new Ks receive “Next Generation” Dynamic electronic suspension adjustment, with fully automatic load compensation, a new full LED adaptive headlight, a new 10.25-inch TFT color display, and the new Audio system 2.0. I don’t know what “Welcome”, “Good-bye” and “Follow me home” light functions are, but I will get to the bottom of it. Electronics engineering must be a booming field. Big Dam Tour Part Due: BMW K 1600 B Vs Honda Gold Wing DCT Underway Right off the bat, it’s easier to get underway on the B, as it and the GTL share a seat height of just 29.5 inches from the deck. Settled in to my cush and broad Option 719 quilted seat and looking up at the new 10.25-inch control panel feels like sitting at a drive-in movie. Seven-hundred and 58 pounds sounds like a lot, but it’s all relative. After the 930-lb Indian Pursuit and Harley Road Glides we tested a couple months ago, the B feels like a really big scooter, and somehow feels really easy to balance at parking lot speeds, too. Does that long, transverse crankshaft act as a Flying Wallenda balance pole? Not that it’s that long. The 1649cc Six is 21.9-inches wide and weighs 226 lbs, says BMW. Nobody goes anywhere til Gina nails the selfie. (Photo: G. De Pasquale) One writer for a BMW publication had loaded a map of mostly two-lane roads back to South Carolina into his phone, plugged it into the BMW’s nav system, and was on his way. I was only going 37 miles back home on the 91 and required no assistance. Sad. Later, with a little help from the interwebs (and a friendly salesperson at Irv Seaver BMW in my hometown), I was able to get all the BMW’s electronics up and working. There’s a lot going on in the new 10.25-inch TFT, all of it controlled via left thumb. All you have to do is make yourself an account at BMW Motorrad Connected (Dr. John Burns) and have quite a bit of patience. Instead of loading destinations into the bike, for one thing, you load them into your phone. BMW says that makes it easier to change things up and share with your fellow riders at lunch stops, etc. BMW says: With the smartphone app, the rider also continuously receives the latest software for navigation. In addition, the app enables maximum flexibility during planning. This means planning can be carried out in the app itself and you can apply planned routes, e.g. from Basecamp, or download route suggestions from an internet portal… It contains further attractive additional functions, such as recording driven routes or displaying riding statistics and information. Recorded routes can be shared directly with other bikers via the Rever Community. I wasn’t planning any trips, and the Connected app works okay for me around town, since I mostly already know where I’m going. But it’s the same system E. Brasfield sampled on the R18 B on a tour from Colorado last year, about which he had some strong opinions, not all of them positive. In other words, bring some maps too. Everybody got a short little official BMW cord to plug their phone into the purpose-built phone receptacle up top, which doesn’t lock but is impossible to open once the windscreen comes all the way down, which it does when you turn off the bike. Then, you remember your phone is in there, and turn the bike back on again so you can get it out. In typical BMW fashion, there’s a cooling fan in there that switches on at 86 degrees (and off at 77). Audio 2.0 What I really do like in all this is the new audio system. We’ve got speakers up front, but BMW says they’re not for people who like to ride around blasting their Skynyrd at top volume, which suits me fine. Where the previous audio system was connected to the motorcycle as a primarily independent system, says BMW, the new 2.0 is integrated into the electrical system, which means you control it with your left grip controls. Highlights of the system include: Studio profile optimized for listening experience without helmet audio. Bass-boost, treble-boost, voice and balanced profiles optimized for maximum listening experience with in-helmet audio. Highly flexible sound architecture (treble/bass) with a wide range, even at high speeds. And, Standard SiriusXM satellite radio with 1-year subscription. There are also two internal antennae now instead of one external, for better reception. I could never get enough volume out of my Cardo Packtalk Bold JBL helmet speakers before: Bluetoothed into the BMW’s system, though, they’re much louder and clearer. It’s almost worth the $30k if you enjoy your music. Bombing Bombing along at 85-ish on the SoCal freeway on the B is as swell as it ever was. In contrast to your booming V-Twin baggers, the B needs a few revs to get rolling, and the more you rev the silken Inline-Six, the more you want to keep doing it. You can barely hear the big dual exhausts at 80, but they definitely send up that classic howl shifting through the perfectly adequate, quickshifter-equipped 6-speed around town. Even the one-two upshift is nice and clean provided you just hold steady throttle or roll it open. The adjustable clutch lever’s really light too. Naturally, there’s an electric up-and-down windshield which I couldn’t quite find a peaceful setting behind, but there are many options to cure that. Ergonomics favor the short of leg and long of arm, but still perfectly acceptable for a wide range of body types. The optional 719 seat on my bike positively caresses my rear end deep-dishedly, and deploying the optional floorboards for the classic American feet-in-the-wind posture feels like a good alternative on long, straight rides. Cara mia… You can reach the flaps on either side of the fairing, too, which directs more air into the cockpit when it’s warm. Try to avoid getting into high-speed chases: While all the new K1600s are limited to 124 mph, BMW says the K1600B with floorboards is governed to 111 mph, and the B Grand America to just 100. Having your size 14s hung out there at top whack must not be so aerodynamic? It’s probably for your own good. BMW says “The power output of 160 hp is now achieved at 6,750 rpm – 1,000 rpm sooner than before. Maximum torque increases from 129 lb-ft to 133 lb-ft at 5,250 rpm.” They’re being modest; they succeeded spectacularly in this Euro 5 engine. Our 2018 K1600 B didn’t make its 131.8 hp until 8000 rpm, and produced a measly 106 lb-ft of torque at the same 5200 rpm. The Six is more a grand tourer engine than a real screamer, with a deeply delectable midrange they claim is even more potent than before. I can’t disagree. A new ECU is joined by two knock sensors and two additional lambda probes, which BMW says “represent the centerpiece of the updates. The two knock sensors are on the rear side of the cylinder bank at cylinders 2 and 5, which enables optimized ignition timing. They also allow the use of fuel of varied quality which is particularly beneficial when traveling in remote corners of our planet,” like Riverside, CA. Keep the big bar graph tachometer between 3 and 6000 rpm, and you’re moving right out in the time-honored way served up by a classic BMW or Jaguar automobile, but on two wheels, and with the ability to snarl all the way up to nearly 9000 rpm; 8000 is plenty. In fact, max power now occurs at just 6500 rpm, so there’s usually no point in going much past there. Who knows what this engine would be capable of unleashed? Yes, we’ve got an IMU And it works with the new auto-leveling Dynamic ESA suspension system, whilst damping is automatically adapted to the riding conditions and riding style. The signals from the new 6-axis sensor box and the two sensors at the front and rear enable comprehensive data collection and thus sensitive adjustment of the K 1600 to the riding conditions. Riding conditions such as spring compression, acceleration and deceleration are also recorded and are used to adjust the damping forces on the rear suspension strut and the Duolever front suspension. This adjustment is made by electrically operated control valves within milliseconds. On my K1600B, there are “Cruise” and “Road” modes, while the GT and GTL get “Rain” and “Road.” On all of them, Dynamic ESA “Next Generation” is preset to Road. Pressing a button on the right handlebar lets you switch to “Dynamic,” which firms everything up when the going gets sporty. Everywhere else on the B, Cruise serves up a Cadillac ride, though Road is just as comfortable for me, and I like the firmer ride all the time, really. The long and winding road The one called Angeles Crest, specifically, that climbs from the LA basin 7903 feet into the mountains, is perfectly fine on this bagger. The same uprightish ergonomics that have your feet up under you to make the B comfortable around town, also make it great for attacking fast, flowing curves. Altitude doesn’t seem to affect the 1649cc engine much at all, which pulls nice and hard and smoothly right from 2000 rpm. The quickshifter and new MSR system (which basically functions as a slipper clutch), means you can bang rapid downshifts into corners or right in the middle of them without upsetting anything. Your brakes have the proverbial massive stopping power without needing much pressure, but with really good feel too. And grabbing big handfuls of sonic six-zylinder delight at the exits makes you feel like the $30 g’s you spent on this motorcycle were a bargain. Or in my case, class envy. Though we were sailing through the Crest’s fast curves at a surprisingly rapid clip, not so much as a footpeg ever dragged. And the bike’s chassis maintains strict control regardless of what you ask of it: your Gen 2 Dynamic ESA must be doing its thing. Stability is what it’s all about. You can hustle things along, but again, the B feels like half a luxury touring car as much as it does a motorcycle, a snarling, high-performance convertible that leans. Yesterday, in the tighter curves of Highway 39, we learned the B has no trouble hanging with a Suzuki GSX-1000GT camera bike. For being as large as it is, it steers swiftly over the top and side-to-side. I skimmed a boot edge but never a footpeg in the sharpest curves. And again, something about the B makes it much easier to swing through repeated tight U-turns for the Brasfield Canon than most other motorcycles its size. It’s also the world’s biggest scooter I hate to admit that when I have American V-Twin baggers in my garage, lots of time they sit there while I handle most of my around-town business in the automobile or scooter, if I have one around. That’s not the case with the BMW. You wouldn’t think there’s that much difference between its 758-lb claimed curb weight and the 835 we measured for our last Road Glide (847 for the 2019 Indian Challenger), but for some reason it feels like a bigger gap. The BMW just feels lighter and easier to roll out of the garage. Part of it’s the ergonomics, having footpegs where they belong instead of floorboards, maybe part of it’s the super-smooth running cross-the-frame engine… but whatever it is, we happily hop onto the Beemer for downtown runs that used to be reserved for the old XJ8 Jaguar. A size L Shoei Neotec 2 modular will just fit, too, if you pop off the communicator. Yesterday, I rode it to the big-box hardware store for some small stuff but wound up bringing a tomato plant home in the left saddlebag, too. I never had even tried to put a helmet in those other guys’ saddlebags, but lo and behold, a size L Arai will squeeze in either side (though not by much) on the B – and an open-face round-town helmet stashes easily. Together, those bags will carry more than a few groceries. The fob is pretty handy when you get used to it; you never have to lock or unlock anything, you just walk away. It’s the imperfections that make it perfect I don’t really care much about Apple Carplay, but plenty of people do, and we don’t have that. BMW says you should keep your hands on the bars! Speaking of, the K’s black steel handlebar is not a thing of beauty. The electronics take a long time to sync up every time you plug in your phone, and some other things seem more complicated than they need to be. But once you learn the drill (we’re told some people eventually learn all of them), all the BMWisms seem like small blemishes. Beauty marks. Given the way this thing magic-carpets you, a friend, and quite a bit of stuff around town in quiet comfort, or projects you over the mountain in hair-on-fire blitzkrieg mode – or anything in between… for me, it’s no use trying to not fawn or toady. I never thought I’d become a bagger guy, but I think I love this thing more than ever. In Gear Helmet: Shoei Neotec 2 Communicator: Cardo Packtalk Bold Jacket: Spidi 4Season EVO H2Out Pants: Saint Unbreakable Gloves: Spidi Clubber Boots: TCX Fuel WP 2022 BMW K1600 B Specifications MSRP $22,545 base; $29,590 as tested Engine Type 1649 cc liquid-cooled inline-Six cylinder, DOHC, four valves per cylinder Bore and Stroke 72 x 67.5mm Compression Ratio 12.2:1 Rear Wheel Horsepower 135.8 @ 6500 rpm Torque 117.4 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm Transmission 6-speed with quickshifter Final Drive Shaft Front Suspension Duolever, double trailing arm, central spring strut; 4.5 inches wheel travel Rear Suspension Paralever cast aluminum single-sided swing arm, central spring strut; 5.3 in. wheel travel Front Brake Dual 320mm discs, BMW Motorrad Partial Integral ABS Rear Brake 320mm disc, BMW Motorrad Partial Integral ABS Front Tire 120/70-ZR17 Rear Tire 190/55-R17 Rake/Trail 27.8 deg/4.2 in Wheelbase 63.7 in. Seat Height 29.5 in. Curb Weight 787 pounds (measured) Fuel Capacity 7.0 gal. Fuel mileage 35 mpg (observed) Colors Manhattan Metallic Matte, Black Storm Metallic, Option 719 Midnight Meteoric Dust II Metallic Warranty 36 months limited warranty; extended coverage available 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 K1600 B Review First Ride appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  2. A few years ago, I took a break from my lovely MO family and decided to get a real job, complete with an actual commute. Without the pick of the litter to choose from anymore, I had to actually buy a bike to get to work on. The pick? A Kawasaki Versys – anecdotally, the number one motorcycle actually owned by motorcycle journalists (or former ones, in this case). When asked, Brad Puetz (pronounced like the Fight Club actor but not nearly as famous), Kawi’s PR guy, spouted off a series of names of folks in this job who own the VERsatile SYStem. So pragmatic was my first-gen 2009 Versys that this is the only picture I have of it. And I only took this picture so I could use it for my classified listing. I was too busy riding it to take pictures of it. In fact, the Versys I owned was a former Kawasaki press bike before former MOron Sean Alexander bought it. I then bought it from him and later sold it to fellow MO alum Tom Roderick who only just sold it to a “commoner” outside the industry. 2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT A mild facelift to an old favorite brings with it modest changes. It’s still an excellent tool, but it could still use some key features. Editor Score: 84.5% Engine 18/20 Suspension 12/15 Transmission 7.5/10 Brakes 7/10 Instruments 4.5/5 Ergonomics 9/10 Appearance 8.5/10 Desirability 9/10 Value 9/10 + Highs So comfy The TFT display is way better than the analog gauges I used to have Seems comfortable at highway speeds now, unlike my old one that required a gearing change – Sighs No cruise control No quickshifter You need two hands to adjust the windscreen The point of this story is that even though we in the motojourno biz love to drool over (and ride) sexy exotic bikes just like the rest of you, when it comes time to actually own a “daily,” a lot of us gravitate towards pragmatic motorcycles. With the exception of possibly the Honda NC750X, it doesn’t get much more pragmatic than the Kawasaki Versys. And between the two, the Kawi is definitely more fun to ride. Though I’m sure Burnsie begs to differ. Thirteen years later and the Versys is still around, now with a few updates, but largely the same bike as before. Standard version on the right, LT version (with saddlebags and hand guards) on the left. As anyone faced with this first-world problem will tell you, it’s hard to improve upon a winning formula. However, the Versys has been around for some time without much of an update to its name. To be honest, does it really need one? Not really, but that hasn’t stopped Kawasaki from doing it anyway. Introducing the 2022 Versys 650 and Versys 650 LT, which comes in at $9,999, a slight uptick from the standard $8,899 Versys in black. If you want some Kawi green, you’re looking at $9,099. The LT we rode also benefits from luggage and hand guards. What It Is The most obvious visual difference is the new bodywork, putting it in line with the other Versys models. So, what did Kawasaki improve? In essence, all Kawi did was go after the low-hanging fruit. The biggest being the addition of traction control, adjustable for two levels. It can also be turned off entirely. It’s also not an IMU-based traction control system either, which helps keep costs down. And really, does a Versys really need an IMU? On the safety front, however, Kawasaki has broken with recent tradition and ABS is no longer an option for the Versys – it comes standard. Speaking of electronics, the new Versys ditches its old analog and LCD gauge display and gets a 4.3-inch TFT piece, putting it in line with other, newer, models in Kawasaki’s lineup. It shows all the usual and relevant information like road speed, engine speed, gear position, fuel level, etc., and you can change the brightness and background color to black or white depending on conditions. If you’re familiar with other Kawis, then the system will feel instantly familiar. Even if you’re not, it’s fairly easy to navigate via buttons on the left bar. The 4.3-inch TFT display is new on the Versys for ’22 and gives a clearer view of all the vitals. Note also the triangular tab just to the bottom right, beneath the actual unit. Pushing that tab releases the windscreen to move up or down. Inside the TFT panel is a Bluetooth chip to let you pair the Versys with the Kawasaki Rideology app to see vehicle information, maintenance logs, and ride logs. You can also share information with other app users and rank your stats against your friends. Which has me wondering, do people actually do that? Anyway, from a visual perspective, the last piece of the Versys to update is the looks. Now it gets some new clothes and a little facelift to bring it in line with the rest of the Versys, and greater Kawasaki, family. The (LED) headlights and nose section look a little sharper, with just a tiny beak below it that Kawi says helps deflect air around the rider. Air heading directly towards the rider gets moved around differently courtesy of an adjustable windscreen. Technically, being able to move the position of the windscreen on a Versys isn’t new, but the new bike has the screen placed on a rail system that can slide up and down with one hand as long as you press a button to release the lock mechanism. Wheel speed sensors aren’t just for ABS anymore. The traction control system uses them, too. What It Isn’t With the new features laid out, it’s time to revisit what hasn’t changed with the Versys 650 – namely, all the important bits that made the Versys a Versys. The 649cc parallel-Twin is back and unchanged, and it sits inside the steel frame it’s been mated with for years now. The beauty of this engine is its real-world power, so we’re thankful Kawasaki didn’t try to reinvent the wheel here. The supporting cast, literally, should be familiar to Versys fans, too. A 41mm inverted fork separates suspension duties between both fork legs, while the semi-horizontal shock is mounted directly from swingarm to frame for direct feedback. You can adjust rebound and preload both front and rear. Luckily, the latter can be adjusted with an easy-access knob. If the 649cc parallel-Twin ain’t broke, why fix it? Also, can you spot the remote preload adjuster? Brakes stay the same as before (apart from ABS), with dual 300mm petal-shape discs and two-piston Nissin calipers up front paired with a 250mm petal disc in the back. Rubber lines and a traditional master cylinder also return. Still The Same Friendly Bike Let’s face it. Not much is different with the new Versys, so what can you really expect as far as riding dynamics go? The answer, of course, is not much – and that’s just the way it should be. Granted, it’s been a long while since I last rode my first-generation Versys, but I immediately felt at home on the new one. Actually, I actually felt better on the new one, mostly because the seat felt plusher, more comfortable than before. This isn’t just perception, either. The seat really does have different densities of foam to keep your butt comfortable for the long haul. So comfy. Otherwise, the Versys is the same loveable do-it-all bike it’s always been. Kawasaki’s test route from its HQ in Foothill Ranch, California to the hillsides in and around Fallbrook, via more twisty roads straddling the north San Diego border, incorporated a nice mix of freeway riding and twisties because, as Kawi surveys have shown, most Versys (Versi?) spend their time going in straight lines on the freeway with an occasional fun ride thrown in on weekends. What was immediate with the straight-line freeway stint was how cohesive the Versys is as a sum of its parts. Despite the freeway slog, that cushy seat never had me squirming about or standing up looking for a more comfortable position. Power-wise, the 650 Twin lands in the Goldilocks zone of having just the right amount of power to satisfy without going overboard. The cable throttle gives you a direct connection to the throttle bodies and in a way, it’s reassuring to know what I’m doing with my hand is going, unfiltered, to the engine. Cruising down the freeway at 80 mph, the engine is settled at a comfortable rhythm at about 6,000 rpm. If memory serves correctly, my own Versys was 500 revs higher. It may not sound like much, but my old bike seemed frantic at freeway speeds. I actually bought a smaller rear sprocket, which calmed down the engine and brought the revs down to about 6,000. Then the bike was much smoother on the highway. The net result is basically the same as what the new bike gives you right off the bat. At its highest setting, you can see the windscreen’s railing underneath and get an idea how much lower it will go. Right, so all is good on the engine and gearing front. Except the freeway jaunt reveals a pretty big oversight on the new Versys: Cruise Control. Or, more to the point, the lack of it. Yes, cable throttles make it more of a challenge to incorporate cruise control, but for what the Versys is made to do, it’s a glaring omission. The people in Team Green shirts might argue cruise control would make the price go up. Even so, a modest price bump would be a worthy price to pay. With that gripe out of the way, have I mentioned how comfortable the bike is? You already know about the seat, but even the overall ride is nice and plush without seeming overly so. The seating position is nice and neutral, with the bars not too high or too low, and the pegs directly underneath me. Straddling the 5.5-gallon fuel tank doesn’t feel awkward at all, as the tank narrows to a comfortable shape where it meets the rider. The suspenders veer towards the soft side to absorb the bumps and jolts the average highway throws your way, but even the pocket the rider sits in feels comfy and stress-free. Credit for that has to go to the new bodywork and windscreen diverting much of the air around the rider. Because it was a warm day, I had the windscreen at its lowest setting. As such, a significant amount of air flew straight to the vents in my Arai and cooled my head. Lovely. What’s slightly annoying, though, is having to use two hands to adjust the screen – one hand to press the lever, the other to move the screen up or down. It’s not a deal-breaker, but if the bike had cruise control you could complete the task without losing any speed. If you know the Versys at all, by now you really shouldn’t be surprised that it’s an overall competent motorcycle for daily riding. But as we veered off the freeway and ran into the hills, the Versys’ other side came out to play. ZX-10 levels of braking are not going to be found here, but the setup, though a bit pedestrian, slows the bike just fine (I’ve found changing pads goes a long way). You do need to get used to the suspension going through its seemingly long travel, but those who ride at a more gingerly pace may not even notice or care. Those handlebars give you lots of leverage to move the bike from side to side, and if you really push it, you again start to feel the long suspension going through its motions. The Dunlop Sportmax D222 tires come up to temp quickly, giving impressive stability on the side of the tire. You’re not going to mistake these for slicks, but they are fine for what they are. Playing in the twisties reveals the other Versys oversight – the lack of a quickshifter. An autoblipper would be better, but even having the ability to pop upshifts without the clutch or breathing off the throttle would go a long way towards upping the bike’s profile. It’s not as crucial a feature as cruise control, but it’s a close second in my opinion. And what about the traction control and TFT screen, you ask? Well, with the perfect riding conditions we had, a loss of traction was never a concern. So, unfortunately, an adequate review of that system will have to wait. Though, we have to imagine it will do an excellent job at preventing unwanted wheelspin. As for the TFT, well, it’s great. Clear and easy to read, even in direct sunlight. It’s hard going back to analog after this. I’d Buy Another It might sound like I’m beating the Versys up with my criticisms. I’m not. Quite the contrary. The Versys has been such a competent, fun, and pragmatic bike for so long, the time has come for some constructive criticism. It’s just a shame it had to happen to Kawasaki’s revised version of the bike. All of the loveable traits the bike has always had haven’t gone anywhere, and in fact, if I were on the market for another daily rider to be my do-it-all street bike, I’d still have the Versys near the top of my list. I don’t miss my old bike, but riding the new one reminded me that I made the right choice when I was looking for a daily commuter. Actually, I’d have the Versys 650 LT near the top, mainly for the 28-liter saddlebags. Those are really convenient and use the same key as the ignition on the LT. If saddlebags aren’t your thing, a top case can also be found in Kawi’s accessories catalog, along with heated grips, GPS mount, frame sliders, USB socket, DC power outlet, a large touring windscreen, and more. Regardless of which Versys suits your preferences, rest assured it hasn’t lost any of its charm. We just wish it came with a little bit more. In Gear Helmet: Arai Defiant-X Dragon 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 Shoes 2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 Specifications Engine Type 4-Stroke, Liquid-Cooled, 4 Valve Cylinder Head, Parallel Twin Displacement 649cc Bore and Stroke 83.0 x 60.0 mm Compression ratio 10.8:1 Valve system DOHC Fuel system DFI with 38mm Keihin throttle bodies Horsepower NA Maximum torque 44.8 lb-ft. at 7,000 rpm (claimed) Transmission 6-speed Final drive Chain Clutch Wet multi-disc Frame Steel Front suspension 41mm Hydraulic Telescopic Fork with Stepless Adjustable Rebound Damping (right side)and Adjustable Preload Front wheel travel 5.9 inches Rear suspension Offset Laydown Single Shock with Adjustable Rebound Damping and remote Adjustable Preload Rear wheel travel 5.7 inches Front tire 120/70 ZR17 Dunlop D222 Rear tire 160/60 ZR17 Dunlop D222 Front brakes Dual 300mm Petal Disc with 2-Piston Caliper, ABS Rear brakes Single 220mm Petal Disc, ABS Caster (rake) 25.0° Trail 4.3 inches Steering angle (left/right) NA Overall length 85.2 inches Overall width 33.1 inches Overall height 53.5/55.9 inches (windshield down/up) Wheelbase 55.7 inches Ground clearance 6.7 inches Seat height 33.3 inches Curb weight 482.9 pounds (+20 w/LT saddlebags and hand guards) Fuel capacity 5.5 gallons We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. 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  3. Kawasaki’s November 2019 acquisition of a 49.9% shareholding in Bimota has brought the Italian boutique manufacturer back from oblivion, to the point that despite a slowdown caused by component supply issues, it’s now constructed all 250 examples of the its limited edition kickoff model unveiled at the 2020 EICMA Milan Show, the supercharged hub-centre Tesi H2 now being shipped to its dealers around the world – but mainly in Japan. As Bimota’s strapline for the bike succinctly puts it – “The Revolution Continues!” The Tesi H2 has now been joined by the KB4, a less obviously radical but nonetheless innovative follow-up model, which having previously been shown as a concept bike at EICMA 2020, was displayed in production-ready guise at last November’s show, with a retail price in Japan of 4,378,000 yen including 10% tax (3,980,000 + 10% tax 398,000) which is currently 31,200 euro, or 28,400 euro tax free. But there’s still no word of a European price, nor of availability despite production being in full flow in Bimota’s new 2,500m² factory in the born again company’s Rimini birthplace housing its 13 employees. With 105 examples already manufactured at the time of my recent visit there, and 30 of the bikes already shipped to Japan, I was honored to be the first journalist anywhere in the world to be able to ride the result. Despite having tested almost all the different motorcycles Bimota has produced in its half-century of existence – it’ll be celebrating its 50th birthday next year – and even raced some of them, after a full 215km/135mi day of riding the KB4 on the challenging roads of the hilly hinterland behind Bimota’s Rimini factory, I was surprised to discover this wasn’t at all the bike I thought it was going to be, after seeing it make its debut at last year’s Milan Show. That’s because the KB4’s slinky styling by Bimota’s in-house progettista Enrico Borghesan makes it appear to be the latest of the many Bimota Superbikes-for-the street concocted down the years by Bimota’s COO & CTO Pierluigi Marconi, 62, and his predecessors. But it’s not. “If we’d wanted to make a new generation Bimota Superbike, we couldn’t have avoided using Kawasaki’s ZX-10RR engine to do so,” says Marconi. “But quite apart from the difficulty of improving on a motorcycle that’s won seven World Superbike titles in the past ten years, that wasn’t what I or Kawasaki wanted to do. Instead, we’ve used the 1043cc motor from the Z1000SX Ninja, because our objective is to provide our customers with the ultimate real-world motorcycle, a sports tourer – no, SuperTourer! – which is the best handling bike on the market in everyday use, while also rational and user-friendly to ride. Please tell me if we succeeded!” Before heading off for the hills to try to determine that, a close look at one of the unclothed bikes being assembled by Bimota’s four-man production team showed the nowadays radical format Marconi has opted for. This sees the Z1000SX’s liquid-cooled 77 x 56 mm 16-valve four-cylinder in-line motor with offset chain drive to the twin overhead cams positioned way forward in the wheelbase compared to the Ninja it’s borrowed from, to deliver a pretty extreme 54/46% forward weight bias that’ll help glue the front tire to the ground in turns, only partially further aided by the rider’s own personal kilos thanks to a more upright riding position. “The concept for the KB4 is for it to be like a 600 with a 1000cc engine,” says Marconi. “We’ve made a really short bike with a 1390mm wheelbase, and we have a lot of weight in front thanks to mounting the engine further forward, which was made possible by putting the radiator at the back, under the seat.” That’s a format Marconi is already familiar from his time at Benelli 20 years ago, where the Adrian Morton-designed Tornado and TnT 900 Triples he was in charge of developing both featured a rear-mounted radiator with twin extraction fans beneath the rear part of the seat. It was a format already pioneered on the Britten V-1000 Twin, as well as the Saxon Triumph 900 triple which I used to race in the BEARS World Series – indeed, I can recall Marconi’s men taking lots of photos of it during the 1995 Italian round at Monza, when I ahem, beat the Britten for the win on the British triple. The benefit was the same as on the KB4 – a more forward weight bias that proved beneficial in keeping up turn speed, albeit without a radiator fan on the racebikes which meant that I and the Britten riders had to be sure to be last back to the grid after the warmup lap, to avoid overheating while stationary waiting for the start! On the Bimota KB4 that’s been addressed via the installation of a pretty loud extraction fan which kicks in when the coolant temp reaches 100°C, to run it down to 95°C when it cuts out. Borghesan’s styling incorporates two large cooling ducts running the length of the bike from either side of the fork legs to the radiator, with two more ducts under the single round headlight feeding the Kawasaki airbox. Indeed, the entire stock Z1000SX mechanical and electronics package has been transplanted to the Bimota, thus not only cutting back on time and cost which would otherwise have been spent concocting a dedicated KB4 one, but also delivering the same well-proven array of riding aids and engine performance that the 1000SX Ninja offers. So, the KB4’s 1043cc Euro 5-compliant motor featuring an 11.8:1 compression ratio delivers 142bhp/105kW at 10,000 rpm, same as the Ninja SX – albeit some way short of the 200bhp/150kW at 13,200 rpm of the more potent 998cc ZX-10R – with peak torque of 111Nm/81.87 ft-lb on tap at 8,000 revs. But this already more user-friendly horsepower is delivered via two power modes: Full, which is as per the label, and Low, which has a softer delivery with output limited to 105bhp/78kW, just 75% of Full. These are paired to four different riding modes – Sport, Road, Rain, and a customisable Rider setting – with three different settings for TC/traction control. The Ninja’s colour TFT dash has also been transplanted to the Bimota, as well as its two-way quickshifter and cruise control. Mmm – factory-supplied Japanese mechanical and electronic quality on a hand-built Italian motorcycle, is a pretty appealing combo. One that’s made even better by the exquisite build quality and high end componentry of the KB4, with its composite chassis consisting of an upper main trellis frame in chrome-moly steel tubing, mated to twin billet-machined aluminum engine plates, with the engine itself as a fully-stressed chassis component. A fully adjustable 43mm Öhlins FG R&T NIX30 upside down fork offering 130mm (5.1 in.) of travel for the OZ forged aluminum 3.50-in. wheel is carried at a 24° rake with 100.8mm of trail – super-rational steering geometry compared to Bimota’s often more extreme numbers on its racers-with-lights. And yet thanks to having the wide radiator relocated to beneath the seat, the 30° steering lock of the KB4 is exceptionally tight by sportbike standards, making feet-up U-turns in narrow roads perfectly feasible. Amazing! At the rear, there’s a three-piece aluminum swingarm machined from separate billets of Anticorodal aircraft alloy operating a fully-adjustable Öhlins TTX36 shock via a progressive-rate link. This delivers just 122mm (4.8 in.) of travel for the 6.00in forged OZ wheel, which carries a 190/50ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa Evo, with a 120/70ZR17 front. Wheelbase is indeed the ultra-short (for a one-litre four) 1390mm Marconi spoke of. The bodywork is all carbon fiber, resulting in a low dry weight of 189kg with all street equipment. That’s stopped via a Brembo brake package consisting of twin 320mm floating front discs – downsized from the 330mm items on the Tesi H2 – gripped by radially-mounted Monoblock four-pot calipers, with a single 220mm rear disc and twin-piston caliper. Kawasaki’s own dual-channel ABS has been adapted to the Bimota, just as on the Tesi. Eccentric adjusters on the rear suspension allow ride height to be easily changed. Just sitting aboard the new Bimota’s rather incongruous-looking tan leather seat pad tells you at once this bike isn’t what it seemed it would be. Thanks to the quite low 810mm (31.9 in.) seat height by sportbike standards (adjustable over a 16mm (0.6 in.) range) you sit within the KB4 rather than on it, with a relatively upright riding stance, thanks partly to the quite wide-spread clipon ‘bars, which aren’t as steeply dropped as on some other Bimota models. So, being higher-set are less stressful on your wrists. Coupled with surprisingly low-set footrests adjustable via eccentrics over a 30mm (1.2 in.) range – I used the middle setting, which didn’t, however, drag them even with the grippy Pirelli rubber – this delivers a riding position which, while not exactly relaxing, is certainly more rational (that word again) and accommodating than on almost any other Bimota I’ve ever ridden. Let’s not forget that this is the company which invented the modern-day sportbike back in 1987 with the YB4 EI, the world’s first ever aluminum deltabox beam-framed motorcycle with electronic fuel injection. Successive Bimota fours have all followed in the tire tracks of that design – until now. While not exactly a BMW R1250GS go-anywhere workhorse, the KB4 is definitely a less extreme, better-rounded Bimota, that’s more easy-going and less demanding to ride than its ancestors. Which is not to say it’s devoid of Bimota’s traditional qualities of handling and performance, and didn’t like to carve corners in the junior Appenines that my ride with Pierluigi Marconi – he on the prototype KB4 RC Naked version – took me to, especially once we found some smooth stretches of twisting tarmac that hadn’t been attacked by frosts anytime over the past decade, and remained unrepaired like so many Italian roads. That’s where the extra front end grip from the KB4’s forward weight bias made itself felt, allowing greater turn speed even if I wasn’t able to physically help out too much in achieving this. That’s because the shape of the 19.5-liter (5.2-gallon) fuel tank sitting behind the airbox doesn’t allow you to crouch forward under the screen, because your chest hits its upper rear section before you’ve leant forward very far. “It’s true, we’ve not been able to package the fuel as well as I’d have liked,” admits Marconi, “but we’ve achieved a satisfactory front end weight bias mechanically, without the rider needing to add to this. So, this is a bike that you don’t need to move about on very much when you ride it – just relax, and go with the flow!” Indeed, that semi-upright stance was quite comfortable for a 180cm/5’10” rider like myself even at high speed, thanks to the way the original Kawasaki SX screen that’s been retained on Borghesan’s bodywork is subtly shaped to deflect most of the wind blast up onto the upper part of my helmet, when leaning as far forward as the fuel tank would let me. Still, I’d like to have seen some of that touring-level fuel capacity sacrificed to deliver a slightly lower and better-rounded shape to the rear of the KB4’s fuel tank. Another element in the KB4’s relaxing ride was the nature of the power delivery of the Z1000SX Ninja motor, which while more than adequately potent was also reassuringly flexible, with heaps of midrange power, and an ultra-flat torque curve. There’s a slight surge in acceleration after 6,500 rpm, but the power delivery doesn’t feel at all peaky or layered. This meant I didn’t need to use the perfectly set up two-way quickshifter unduly often, because the engine came on strong from as low as 3,000 rpm upwards, building power in otherwise linear fashion all the way to the 11,800 rpm rev limiter, if I really wanted it to. Which I didn’t – well, except just the once to say hello to the soft-action cutout: instead, I usually short-shifted at 7,500 rpm in every gear after surfing the meaty torque curve that peaked 500 revs higher, and always found the Bimota ready to pull hard and strong in the next higher ratio. On some twisty sections I’d hold third gear for ages on end, running as low as 40 kmh/25 mph in hairpins before rocketing down the following straight to the next tight turn with the engine eager to run into the five-figure zone to save a couple of gearshifts, if I wanted. Thanks to the KB4’s light weight, acceleration was downright impressive. While on faster deserted stretches once the road opened up, the Bimota would cruise perfectly happily at 100 mph/160kmh with the engine pulling a mere 7,500 revs, and despite the upright stance, I wasn’t blown about unduly, thanks to the surprisingly effective deflector screen. But it’s by its handling that any Bimota will ultimately be judged, and on the KB4, this was immediately as confidence inspiring as I believe all Marconi’s conventional (i.e. non-Tesi) Bimota designs always have been – this is a designer who knows how to find the sweet spot in making a motorcycle steer and handle, no matter what engine he’s wrapped the frame around. Besides the KB4’s light weight and the flickability, this delivers, that’s thanks in no small part to Bimota test rider Gianluca Galasso, who’s worked with Marconi in optimising his chassis settings and dynamic set-ups for most of the past 35 years, and here GG has performed his usual task to best effect. The ride quality and compliance of the KB4’s Öhlins suspension was outstanding, in my opinion better than any previous Bimota I can remember riding. It holds a line extremely well once cranked over at speed, yet changes direction easily – it’s light-steering without being nervous. I could trail brake deep into the apex of a turn with the fork soaking up any road rash I’d encounter, despite the inevitable weight transfer from using those fabulous brakes to something approaching their full potential and trailing them into the turn. Hooking up the rear Pirelli on the exit was almost always effective, even if there were ripples and some lumps and bumps to be traversed – it’d be rare that the road surface was so bad that the Bimota jumped or skipped about when running over it, rather than have the suspension soak it up, despite the surprisingly small 122mm (4.8 in.) of rear wheel travel. Later on, following Gianluca on his suspension test track aka the back roads of the Republic of San Marino overlooking Rimini had the KB4’s front end juddering over downhill corrugated surfaces – but without ever being overcome by such extreme poor road quality. So what? This is a sportbike, isn’t it – so horses for courses means a Bimota isn’t expected to have to cope this this kind of extreme road surface. But this one is – and does – because it’s been designed to go places and do things that nothing else to have emanated from the Rimini manufacturer ever did before – well, barring the short-lived DBX Street Enduro. This is a very happy marriage of the Kawasaki Z1000SX motor and the Bimota composite frame, whose bodywork combines recalling the classic shapes of the iconic Bimota models of the ’70s and ’80s, with the function and utility of a modern motorcycle. “The KB4 looks sleek and fast – just like the process that created it!” says designer Enrico Borghesan. “It went from first sketch to full-size model in a very few months using computer-aided design – and without missing any of the passion that has made so many Bimota products such fun to ride, and to be honest, show off. You ride some bikes because you have to, but you ride a Bimota like this because you want to!” Can’t argue with that – so, start saving! Ukrainian Encounter: Are You British? My ride on the Bimota KB4 into the hills inland from Rimini led me past Valentino Rossi’s legendary test track at Tavullia, so I stopped to take a picture of the KB4 with my phone, with the track in the background. Well, it would have been rude not to, wouldn’t it? “Excuse me, are you British?” said this angelic looking young girl with long, mostly blonde hair and glasses who appeared from nowhere as I was cuing up the shot. Could it be because of the helmet I was wearing? Anyway, no point denying it – but even so, I wasn’t prepared for what came next. “Britain is our best friend, and your leader Boris Johnson is a great man. Thank you for all your support – my husband in Ukraine has British anti-tank weapons, and he says you are helping us defeat Russia. So thank you!” That’s when I noticed the white Hyundai with Ukrainian license plates that had stopped ten meters away while I was busy with the photos – and the three other people standing by it. It turned out that young Mark and his sister Tatiana were the children of 20-something Anastasia Lubov, the young woman I was speaking to – and that was her Mum Taranenko with them. Evidently prosperous, when the war began they’d escaped from their home town of Krivoy Rog, 400km southeast of Kyiv on the edge of the Russian-occupied zone, by simply driving due west to Moldova and thence through Romania and the Balkan States to Italy, where they had friends to stay with. They’d told them about Valentino’s bike track – so here they were looking at it, while her husband Rogan remained home in Ukraine, having joined the Army to fight Putin’s invaders. It was a grim reminder of realpolitik on a sunny day’s ride in the Italian countryside… 2022 Bimota KB4 Specifications Engine Type 4 stroke, 4 cyl, DOHC, W/C, 4 valve Displacement 1043 cc Bore X Stroke 77.0 mm × 56.0 mm Compression Ratio 11.8 : 1 Horsepower 142 hp at 10,000 rpm (claimed) Torque 81.9 lb-ft. at 8,000 rpm (claimed) Fuel System 38 mm throttle bodies(4), Euro 5 Transmission 6 speed Gear Ratio 1° 3.188(51/16); 2° 2.526(48/19); 3° 2.045(45/22); 4° 1.727(38/22); 5° 1.524(32/21); 6° 1.348(31/23) Primary Reduction Ratio 1.627 (83/51) Final Reduction Ratio 2.444(41/15) Clutch Wet, multi-disc Lubrication System Forced Lubrication (wet sump) Frame Type Front frame trellis made by Hi-resistance steel with Aluminum alloy plates billet machined Front Suspension Öhlins front fork FG R&T 43 NIX30 Wheel Travel 5.1 inches Rear Suspension Aluminum alloy Swingarm billet with Öhlins ttX 36 Rear Wheel Travel 4.8 inches Front Tire Size 120 / 70Z R17 Front Wheel Size Forged J17M/C×MT3.50 Rear Tire Size 190/50ZR17 Rear Wheel Size Forged J17M/C×MT6.00 Front Dual Disc 320 mm Rear Single Disc 220 mm Rake Angle / Trail 24.0°/4.0 inches Wheelbase 54.7 inches Length 79.6 inches Width 30.1 inches Height 45.9 inches Ground Clearance 5.5 inches Seat Height 31.9 inches (+/- 0.3 inches) Fuel Capacity 5.0 gallons Dry Weight 412 pounds (claimed) Become a Motorcycle.com insider. 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  4. You see, here’s the thing about the Isle of Man TT. It shouldn’t be thought of as a “bucket list” event. The TT is The Bucket. The 115 year old vessel which holds the best of motorcycle racing history, technology, competition, camaraderie, and culture. It is surrounded by the places and the people and the spirits that form a shared experience unrivaled in motorsports. And once you indulge, you will know that once is not enough. This is trip number thirteen for me. And as in years past, rather than just report on the results of the TT Races, I’ll give Motorcycle.com readers a sense of what goes on throughout the fortnight, out and about on The Isle of Man. Off The Grid On The Isle Of Man – 2018 I arrived just before Practice Week (now officially called Qualifying Week, but give it another 50 years for that to be broadly used by the locals) allowing time for copious hugging of old friends not seen since 2019. I greeted my plucky Suzuki V-Strom 650 that had sat patiently in a garage for three years on a battery tender. She fired up, and I began my rounds. The Author’s trusty IOM- housed Suzuki V-Strom somewhere in the hills. First stop, Castletown for the Pre-TT Classic Road Races, organized by the venerable Southern 100 Club, and run on the 4.25 mile Billown Course. Old school, mass starts, furious sounds, sidecars and solos, and the distinct smell of Castrol R wafting across the fields. An awards ceremony in front of Castle Rushen, one of the best- preserved medieval castles in the world, makes for a celebration of the return of real road racing and spirited motorcycle banter to the island. The Pre-TT Classic is worth a visit on its own, as is the Southern 100, run in July. Scene from the Blackford’s Pre-TT Classic races in Castletown. The residents of the Isle of Man broadly embrace the TT and its sister road race meet, the Manx Grand Prix, as an important part of their country’s heritage, and they dig the fun (and the money) that the TT brings. Riding up the A36 and over the Round Table, a sweet, sweeping mountain road, now with a 50 MPH speed limit as the IOM government tries to manage the exuberance of a hyped-up returning crowd, I head down to beautiful Port Erin. My destination is Foraging Vintners, one of the finest spots for a drink, bite, and view here or anywhere else on earth. Sidecars using all the road during the Pre-TT Classic. Welcomed with furious face licks by her charming cockapoo Quinne, I chat with local resident Charley Hogan and her visiting mum Jayne from Worcester, England. “We are so happy that the TT is back! We missed all the people and events and atmosphere,” said Charley. “The island suffered through lockdowns and border closings, and Covid was such a challenge, but the TT and everything around it is so wonderful and important to our economy, and this one feels very special.” Charley added that she “would rather not live anywhere else,” and a session on the patio of Foraging Vintners on a sunny day makes that understandable, while underscoring the main thing about the TT. It’s not just about the racing. A break in the action at Foraging Vintners in Port Erin. 2017 Isle of Man TT Highlight Video But there is much racing, and Practice (QUALIFYING!) Week sees the tension rise and the teams and event organizers getting their bearings for the most challenging road races on earth. This week has its charms, far less crowded than Race Week, but quite compelling. The paddock is open and alive and you can poke your head in and chat up most of the riders and teams as long as you show respect and awareness of their time and focus. The big noise this year is coming from the extremely well-funded and turned out FHO racing team, where US TV reality show Gas Monkey Garage has a big sponsorship presence. And their main rider Peter Hickman is the man. He was blistering in qualifying, and won the Superbike race on Saturday, setting the fastest lap of the race at 133.461mph, so expectations are high. Peter Hickman at The Raven, on his way to a Superbike win. Photo by Dave Kneen/Pacemaker Press John McGuinness, MBE, on his way to his 100th TT race start. History was made in the Superbike Race when 50 years young John McGuinness MBE took fifth place in his 100th TT start, and for many returning riders like two- time TT winner Gary Johnson, the cobwebs from the three years away have been removed quickly, as the good weather has allowed for ample practice laps. While visiting Gary in the TT Paddock, he’s cool and collected, and jokes that the biggest change he’s felt since 2019 is that “two of my favorite Thai and Indian restaurants in Douglas have closed. But otherwise, yeah, I still remember the course well and my muscle memory is pretty good.” Two- time TT winner Gary Johnson, cool, calm and collected. Northern Ireland native Shaun Anderson represents the riders on the rise. Sharing a paddock space with Michael Dunlop at Hawk Racing for the Suzuki Superbike, and at Wilcock Racing for his other machines, Shaun grew up around racing with his race mechanic father Howard, who accompanies and supports him here. While winning is a goal, Shaun sees himself as his main competition. “I just want to go faster each time, the finishing position will sort itself out,” said Shaun. “I’ve improved throughout practice, one or two miles an hour each session and I feel good, so let’s roll.” Roll he has, indeed, and with a 9th place finish in the Superbike race, he inches closer to the TT podium. The ultimate sort-out for a roadracer. I have been an Isle of Man TT Marshal since 2008. The races require over 500 volunteer Marshals on duty for every session, in place, in line of sight, at precise locations. Marshals are trained to address racing incidents and medical emergencies, control course access, work the flags and radio, and with constabulary powers while on duty, generally ensure their sector is fit for racing. While the vast number of sessions go by without much bother, things can go pear shaped quickly. The Orange Army makes the races possible. For Qualifying, I was placed at Selbourne Drive, right above Ago’s Leap, about 1 mile from the start line. There were no incidents there during my sessions, and we went about our duties methodically. But two days later, French rookie sidecar passenger Olivier Lavorel was killed in an incident during the first Sidecar Race right in that very spot. I was not on duty that day, but my fellow Marshals had to deal with the unspeakable aftermath. Lavorel is the second competitor taken this year, with British rider Mark Purslow killed during an incident in qualifying. There is no getting around this, the TT is a dangerous event, with exhilaration and tragedy often intertwined. 17-time TT winner Dave Molyneux on board the 890cc DMR KTM with passenger Daryl Gibson. Photo by Dave Kneen/Pacemaker Press. My crew has arrived from New Jersey, we’ve picked up their rental motorcycles, and we’re heading out and about again. A spirited trip up the Coast Road to the idyllic rocky beach at Port Cornaa leads us to one of the many painted dolphin statues around the island, part of The Big Splash art trail, with installations in the most spectacular coastal locations and open spaces. The New Jersey TT Crew with an artsy Dolphin. Meanwhile, the pubs are filled with the most committed enthusiasts in the world, and spots like the Rover’s Return and The Woodbourne, both in Douglas, are places for moto-natter late into the night. The Rover’s Return Pub is brimming with motorbike history, fine conversation, and delightful Bushy’s Manx Bitter. I’ll report back with more news and views later this week. You can, and should, subscribe to the new TT+ streaming service with live action for the first time ever (iomttraces.com) or listen on ManxRadio.com, with excellent full- time coverage all meet-long. 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 Out and About at The Isle of Man TT 2022 – Part 1 appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  5. Energica got our attention this weekend when it announced the Energica Experia Green Tourer. What’s that, you say, an electric touring bike? Yes, and here’s what Giampiero Testoni, CTO Energica Motor Company, has to say about it: “We have focused on the real-world needs of motorcycle riders worldwide, creating an ex novo state-of-the art engineering platform. We melded high-tech electric mobility with the roaming spirit of the motorcycle traveler. The intention was to create the first electric motorcycle created specifically for long-distance bike lovers.” Meeting this goal required some big changes. Both the motor and battery are brand new. Battery has increase to 22.5 kWh maximum, and the motor puts out 101 peak hp and 85 lb-ft of peak torque – all to propel a claimed 573 lb. In addition to Level 1 and 2 capability, 80% charging in just 40 minutes is possible with the standard Level 3 DC Fast Charging, which Energica claims is the first bike with all three modes as standard equipment. The Energica Experia features an all new battery and motor for extended range. We know you’re interested in the Experia’s range, as are we. Energica claims that it has “the longest range of any electric motorcycle, regardless of speed: from 246 km (153 miles) combined to 420 km (261 miles) in urban areas.” Cargo carrying capacity is said to be a generous 112 liters combined among the hard bags and trunk. When can we get a chance to throw a leg over one of these intriguing bikes to see how it does. Read the full press release below. The Experia has the looks. We can’t wait to see how it works. Energica unveils Experia: new electric Green Tourer Energica Motor Company S.p.A., the Italian manufacturer of high-performing electric motorcycles based in Modena, Italy has just unveiled a new 0-emission green tourer model during the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup races at Mugello this weekend. Modena, Italy – Saturday May 28 EXPERIA- Born to be wind During these over 10 years of full-electric focus, Energica technical team has been capable to create a brand-new sustainable branch inside the Italian Motor Valley: the Electric Valley proudly made in Energica. From racing to the road, Energica has grinded thousands of km/miles, gathering the experience for the first line-up still on the market. Now the focus of the Italian company adds a new element: the electric wanderlust. Here comes Experia, a brand-new motorcycle designed and built to enhance the pure electric motorcycle riding experience “We have focused on the real-world needs of motorcycle riders worldwide, creating an ex novo state-of-the art engineering platform.” Said Giampiero Testoni, CTO Energica Motor Company. “We melded high-tech electric mobility with the roaming spirit of the motorcycle traveler. The intention was to create the first electric motorcycle created specifically for long-distance bike lovers.” EXPERIA: the new horizon of the Italian electric expertise Hesperia was the name given by the ancient Greeks for the unspoiled lands beyond the Western horizon of the then-known world. That spirit of exploration can now be indulged by any rider who wishes to travel to the ends of our now-known world in an environmentally-friendly way. EXPERIA denotes the deep expertise Energica has acquired during a decade of racing, design and manufacturing in the field of electric technology. Energica Green Tourer Platform Energica Experia is the first model release as part of a new second generation “Energica Green Tourer” technological platform. Innovations include a reengineered EMCE electric motor, revised battery chemistry, and new frame and chassis design, all intended to reduce weight and vastly improve balance and rideability. The result in the Energica Experia is an electric green tourer bike integrally designed and built for that purpose from the ground up. The motorcycle delivers on the essential promise of comfort and endurance yet is the nimblest and most maneuverable machine Energica has ever made. “It is the Company’s intention to spread these technological innovations across a family of other electric motorcycles”, says Giampiero Testoni, Energica Motor Company CTO, “and additionally incorporate elements of these in Energica Inside, the recently launched business unit of Energica Motor Company S.p.A. dedicated to the development and production of powertrains, batteries and technology across numerous disciplines and applications.” PURPOSE-DRIVEN PERFORMANCE: a new High-Tech platform. The Experia motor and battery are both brand new. Battery capacity has increased, yet has a lower weight, plus a centralized, lower center of gravity allows for better low-speed rideability. Experia enjoys the largest battery capacity of any electric motorcycle at 22.5 kWh maximum (19.6 kWh nominal) that can be charged from 0-80% in just 40 minutes at a Level 3 / DC Fast Charger at a top rate of 24 kW. You can also use Level 2 (240V) and Level 1 (120V) charging at the office or for longer stops, or overnight at home for substantial savings over the cost of petrol. Energica is the only manufacturer to offer riders all three levels of charging. The completely new designed PMASynRM motor EMCE (Synchronous Reluctance assisted by permanent magnets) is also lighter, with less mass, and is positioned lower than in our other models. Peak power is 75 kW (101 HP), torque is 115 Nm (85 lb. ft.) and then the top speed for the Energica Experia is 180 km/h (112 mph) – perfect for everyday freeway riding. Electric means no shifting or pulling in a clutch, no noise from exhaust, no heat and vibration by the reciprocating mass of an IC engine. Energica Experia is intended for wholly immersive riding experience, allowing rider and passenger to fulfill the needs of long-distance, putting them in touch with nature on a sensory level. Satisfy your long-distance wanderlust This translates into the longest range of any electric motorcycle, regardless of speed: from 246 km (153 miles) combined to 420 km (261 miles) in urban areas. The engine counter-rotating, reduce total inertia of the motorcycle. The Energica Experia fairing provides excellent weather and wind protection while remaining stylish and unobtrusive. New voluminous hard side panniers and top case with a total capacity of 112 liters will be included in the Launch Edition, designed for long-distance travel. The Launch Edition will also include bar ends and bolts in black ergal, heated handgrips and aluminum rims with red details. Experia is equipped with two USB ports on the dash and two more in a waterproof large and lockable storage compartment. The accessories list will gradually grow and will cover all the needs of all customers who love green touring. The bike can be ordered from the 1st of June 2022 at all Energica stores worldwide and will be available starting in autumn 2022. Pricing available on www.energicamotor.com Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post Energica Experia Green Tourer Revealed appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  6. What a beast, I thought to myself as I put my first few miles on the 2022 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R. In retrospect, that thought kind of made sense given the fact that the mill tucked beneath the 1290’s new tank design is an iteration of the Super Duke’s 1301cc V-Twin – the naked bike dubbed by KTM marketing folks as “the beast”. And beastly it is. Even in larger ADV garb coming in at 542 pounds dripping wet, the SA-R is still an absolute ripper of a motorcycle that is fully capable of serially killing rear tires. 2022 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R Just as beastly as its Super Duke R cousin, with the legs for long haul traveling and an affinity for off-road. Editor Score: 92.5% Engine 19/20 Suspension 14/15 Transmission 9/10 Brakes 9/10 Instruments 5/5 Ergonomics 9/10 Appearance 9/10 Desirability 9.5/10 Value 9/10 + Highs Motor that absolutely stonks Useful technology Much better handling – Sighs She’s still big And tall And intimidating It took a while for us to get our hands on this big orange monster, but we’re certainly glad to have finally done so. While the middleweight ADV wars have seemed to steal all the thunder lately, you’d be remiss to forget the lightning clash preceding those machines in the open-class adventure segment. KTM has long held the title of most pointedly off-road worthy in the category, but as time has marched on and smaller more manageable machines have infiltrated the market, do customers still want sky-high seats and serious off-road intentions in these big bikes? Never one to rest on its laurels, KTM has reworked its big adventure line and delivered a motorcycle that is better performing in every way with useful technology that helps the rider use the machine exactly how they prefer. A new recipe The orange Kool-aid is now just a bit sweeter. The Super Adventure R has received a pretty thorough redesign and, as we’ve seen happen with other OEMs, seems to be bringing its big bikes more inline with its middleweight’s winning formula. These changes have made a massive difference in how the SA-R handles itself. At $19,499, the big KTM is starting to look like a bargain in the category. To start with, the 6.1-gallon fuel tank’s new design mirrors that of the 890 and 790 Adventures before it. The bulk of the 1290’s 36 or so pounds of fuel is now carried low on either side of the engine, allowing the 1290 to keep its center of gravity as low as possible, which really helps with quick transitions from side to side and while navigating slower technical terrain. Looking to further increase the big bike’s agility without compromising stability, the steering head has been moved back 15mm while the swingarm has been extended 15mm. The redesigned frame is said to weigh just 22 pounds. In addition, the steering head redesign allowed KTM to rotate the engine forward by two degrees, and is now secured by new aluminum struts. The XPLOR suspension has also been optimized to keep the machine’s Alpina tubeless wheels in contact with the ground and offers 8.6 inches of travel from its 48mm fork and PDS-type shock. Removing the seat is as easy as pushing the small black button (while the motorcycle is on) located to the right of the side panel, which releases the latching mechanism electronically. Bolted to the new frame is a more stout one-piece aluminum subframe that also helps lower the seat height to 34.6 inches. Passenger pegs are bolt-on and easy to remove should you find it necessary (which you might because they can get in the way with moto boots on while trying to move back on the motorcycle). The beastly 1301cc LC8 V-Twin is now said to be 3.5 pounds lighter thanks to thinner cases (which were pretty thin to begin with) and a few other internal upgrades. On the Rottweiler Performance dyno we saw 139 hp at 8700 rpm and 96.2 lb-ft. of torque at 6500 rpm at the rear wheel. The mill is also now Euro 5 compliant. To keep the big Twin cool, KTM is using a dual radiator setup that works in conjunction with the fans and redesigned bodywork. The airbox is also easier to access thanks to the new tank design (a particularly nice feature to see after having removed the 1190’s tank so many times to access its air filter); its cover is found just under the small storage compartment near the handlebar, and can be removed with just six bolts. The TFT is tilt angle adjustable and offers connectivity via KTM’s KTM MY RIDE app. Rounding out the new features is a monstrous 3.5-inch² TFT display that provides plenty of information and is easy to navigate with the new backlit switchgear (even the intensity of the backlighting is adjustable) found on the handlebar. In that big ol’ display you can access ride modes, traction control, ABS settings, and a myriad of other options. Not only is the display easy to navigate, it also features visually pleasing images to further describe what the setting you’re tweaking is actually doing to the motorcycle. From ABS and TC, to its cornering lights, many of these settings are further enhanced by a new 6-axis IMU from Bosch. Unleashing the beast I will say that my first few miles on the back of this monster were in Rally mode with the throttle response also set to Rally (the sharpest), which meant a slight twist of the wrist sent the big bike rocketing forward with ferocity. A bit much for cruising around town. In Sport mode, throttle response is a touch more smoothed out, but again, too much for grocery getting. Street mode seemed to be a more reasonable choice for everyday riding, whether that be commuting, or just bouncing around town. The 1290 Super Adventure R’s key fob can be used normally, but also offers an Anti Relay Attack setting that provides an extra layer of security by requiring a button press on the key fob which then gives a 10 minute window to start the machine. Unlike most of the big adventure bikes these days, KTM opts to use the standard XPLOR manually adjustable suspension on the R model – the S has the electronic stuff. While suspension tuning isn’t as simple as a press of a button, you have a lot more adjustability with the manual WP components. In the standard settings (sport, standard, and comfort suggested settings can be found on the inside of the fairing near the left fork leg), the 1290 SA-R feels fairly soft, making cruising and backroad strafing a comfortable experience. For more aggressive riding though, the sport settings felt better equipped to the task, both on road and off. Adjustment for the fork is toolless, but you’ll need a standard screwdriver and socket for the shock (preload is easily adjustable via a hand crank knob). During my first bit of time on the SA-R I noticed the front end felt flighty – even more so under hard acceleration and at speeds of 80 mph or above. PDS-type shocks tend to be very sensitive to preload adjustment so, adding two full turns of the hand knob made a massive improvement in getting the bike balanced. Preload adjustment is toolless front and rear. The SA-R’s riding position is just about perfectly neutral for me at 5’8” with a 30-inch inseam. I could roll the handlebar back for a bit more comfort while on the pavement, but I would want to roll it back forward while standing, so I left it as is. The tiny windshield on the R model can be cranked up just enough to get some of the wind blast off of the rider’s chest, but even at my height, it had no effect on airflow around my helmet. We returned an average mpg right around 40 during our time on the 1290 Super Adventure R. I’m continuously impressed by how well modern adventure tires like the equipped Bridgestone Battlax Adventurecross AX41 (a model name with length befitting this machine) do on road. In the mountains to and from our off-road testing, in Sport mode, the 1290 SA-R is entirely capable of such riding. Out of corners, the TC light would flicker to remind me of the machine’s immense torque as I rolled on the throttle. Still, the AX41s are pretty capable of decent lean angle and grip while braking, and also didn’t cause any annoying vibration on the interstate. The engine hums along smoothly at about 4200 rpm at 80 mph, and since we’ve got cruise control, it’s as easy as setting it, and forgetting it on the slab. Unfortunately, you’ll have to opt for the S model to get the adaptive kind. Once you’ve made it to the curves, you can be lazy with the big V-Twin and let its torquey motor lug down into the rpm range with nary a shift needed. Our bike was equipped with the $750 optional Tech Pack which gets you the Rally Pack, Motor Slip Regulation, Hill Hold Control, Quickshifter+, and Adaptive Brake Light. If you do find yourself shifting more though, the optional Quickshifter+ rows up and down through the gearbox smoothly. Shifting on the 2022 SA-R feels smoother thanks to the new lighter shift drum and copper coated shift forks. Pull at the hydraulic clutch was never tiring even after long rocky stints on the trail where it was needed at times to smooth out power delivery. You expect the 1290 Super Adventure R to be a handful off-road and, in a way, it most certainly can be. Even in Off-road mode with its measly 100 hp, it’s easy to get yourself in over your head with nearly 550 pounds worth of momentum sliding around. If we’re talking about high speed off-road riding, the story is much the same as it has been; drifting and power slides a plenty are a lot of fun on the 1290 SA-R. It’s when the going gets a little slower and more technical that the new design shines brightest. A bit of protection from the factory can be found in the side crash bars and skid plate. Really, it’s the same story as the 790 and 890. The new fuel tank design lowering the bike’s CoG makes a massive difference when traversing tricky terrain. This setup makes what was once a tall, top-heavy machine, much easier to handle in technical situations. After a day of everything from mountain roads, to sand and rocky two tracks, the difference between the old 1190s, 1090s, and 1290s is immense. The new 1290 SA-R is everything it has always been, yet better in every way. Being able to adjust TC on the fly feels even more useful on the 1290 versus the 890 simply due to the amount of power on tap. The electronics, particularly in the optional Rally mode which allows for adjustable throttle response as well as on-the-fly adjustment of TC with its new ergonomically placed +/- paddles, lets you really tailor the ride to the terrain. I’ve said it before with the middleweights, but KTM has really hit the nail on the head with the way its electronics package integrates with the motorcycle and rider. Rather than feeling gimmicky, the systems are easy to use and allow you to help push the envelope. Dial the TC back when you have room to get loose and crank it back up as the trail tightens. With the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R, you have a machine that can easily tour the country and provide exhilarating performance when the road gets twisty or when the pavement runs out – and there’s a good chance that you won’t be running into the machine’s limit before you hit your own. She’s still a big beastly thing, but really, we wouldn’t have it any other way. In Gear Helmet: Shoei Hornet X2 Communicator: Cardo Packtalk Black Jacket: Alpinestars Halo Drystar Gloves: Alpinestars Chrome Pants: Alpinestars Venture XT Boots: Alpinestars Tech 7 2022 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R Specifications MSRP $19,499 Engine Type Liquid-cooled 1301 cc, 75° V-Twin, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder Bore and Stroke 108mm x 71 mm Compression Ratio 13.1:1 Horsepower 139.0 hp at 8700 rpm (measured) Torque 96.2 lb-ft. at 6500 rpm (measured) Engine Management Keihin EMS with RBW and cruise control, double ignition Clutch Hydraulically operated PASC slipper clutch in oil bath Transmission 6-speed transmission, claw shifted Final Drive 525 X-Ring chain Frame Lattice frame made of chrome molybdenum steel tubing, powder-coated Front Suspension 48mm WP Suspension XPLOR 5548, preload, compression, rebound adjustable, 8.66 inches of travel Rear Suspension WP Suspension XPLOR 5746 monoshock, compression (high and low speed), rebound, preload adjustable, 8.66 inches of travel Front Brake Double disc brake with radially mounted four-piston Brembo calipers, floating 320 mm brake discs Rear Brake Single disc brake with dual-piston Brembo caliper, float- ing 267 mm disc Front Tire 90/90 21 M/C 54Q M+S TL Bridgestone Adventurecross AX41 Rear Tire 150/70 B 18 M/C 70Q M+S TL Bridgestone Adventurecross AX41 Rake/Trail 25.3°/4.4 inches Wheelbase 62.13 ± 0.59 inches Seat Height 34.7 inches Ground Clearance 9.53 inches Weight 503 pounds, without fuel (claimed) Fuel Capacity 6.1 gallons (1.3 gallons reserve) Service Intervals 9,300 miles/15,000 km, valve clearance check every 18,600 miles/30,000 km 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 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  7. Continental Tire is recalling 68,770 motorcycle tires because they may develop cracks that can result in tread separation. The recall includes the popular TKC 80 dual sport tires, ContiGo! tires for lightweight motorcycles, plus K62 and LB scooter tires. The recall may also include tires that were installed as stock equipment on certain BMW, KTM and Husqvarna models. The recall affects tires manufactured between Jan. 6, 2019 and April 30, 2022. The full list of tires and specific sizes affected is posted at the bottom of this article. According to the recall report released by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the problem was first noticed in February after a separate recall on ContiScoot scooter tires for potential tread groove cracking. That initial recall led Continental to conduct endurance testing on other tires. From February to April, testing revealed the TKC 80, ContiGo!, K62 and LB tires may be prone to develop groove cracks. Continental TKC 80 tires are standard equipment on some production models such as the BMW R1250GS. Cracks in grooves can lead to tread separation which may increase the risk of a crash. Continental says the grooves are superficial and “did not propagate into the reinforced material of the tires. However, the cracks found during endurance testing exceeded the 3/16 inch maximum limit specified by federal safety standards. As a result, Continental initiated recall procedures on April 29. Continental says it has not received any field complaints or reports of damage or injury related to this issue as of that date. Continental will replace all affected tires sold to customers or that are in dealer inventories, and reimburse customers who have already replaced their tires because of groove cracks. Continental says it hasn’t determined the cause of the problem yet, so replacement tires may not be the exact same type, but will be “substantially similar tires not affected by the recall.” Letters to owners are expected to be sent out on June 6. Customers may also contact Continental’s customer service line at 1-888-799-2168. There may also be recall measures from BMW, KTM and Husqvarna for motorcycles that come equipped with the affected tires as standard equipment. This may include the BMW R 1250 GS and GS Adventure, the BMW R NineT Urban GS, Husqvarna 701 Enduro, and KTM 690 Enduro R among other models. Tire Size Continental TKC80 90/90-21 M/C 54S Continental TKC80 5.10-17 M/C 67S Continental TKC80 2.50-21 M/C 48S Continental TKC80 3.25-18 M/C 59S Continental TKC80 120/90-17 M/C 64S Continental TKC80 120/90-18 M/C 65R Continental TKC80 3.50-18 M/C 62S Continental TKC80 2.75-21 M/C 52S Continental TKC80 4.00-18 M/C 64R Continental TKC80 90/90-21 M/C 54T Continental TKC80 3.00-21 M/C 51S Continental TKC80 120/70-19 M/C 60Q Continental ContiGo! 100/90-18 M/C 65H Continental ContiGo! 130/90-17 M/C 68H Continental ContiGo! 130/90-16 M/C 67H Continental ContiGo! 150/70-18 M/C 70V Continental ContiGo! 130/90-16 M/C 67V Continental ContiGo! 100/90-18 M/C 56V Continental ContiGo! 120/80-16 M/C 60V Continental ContiGo! 110/80-17 M/C 57V Continental ContiGo! 110/90-18 M/C 61H Rear Continental ContiGo! 120/90-18 M/C 65V Continental ContiGo! 130/90-17 M/C 68V Continental ContiGo! 100/90-19 M/C 57H Continental ContiGo! 140/80-17 M/C 69V Continental ContiGo! 130/70-17 M/C 62H Continental ContiGo! 110/90-18 M/C 61H Front Continental ContiGo! 130/80-17 M/C 65H Continental ContiGo! 3.25-19 M/C 54H Continental ContiGo! 110/80-18 M/C 58V Continental ContiGo! 90/90-18 M/C 51H Continental ContiGo! 130/80-18 M/C 66V Continental ContiGo! 100/90-18 M/C 56H Continental ContiGo! 100/90-19 M/C 57V Continental ContiGo! 90/90-21 M/C 54H Continental ContiGo! 3.00-21 M/C 51H Continental ContiGo! 4.00-18 M/C 64H Continental ContiGo! 130/70-18 M/C 63H Continental ContiGo! 110/70-17 M/C 54H Continental K62 3.50-10 M/C 59J Continental K62 3.50-10 M/C 59J WW Continental K62 3.00-10 M/C 50J Continental LB 4.00-8 M/C 55J Continental LB 3.50-8 M/C 46J WW Continental LB 3.50-8 M/C 46J Continental LB 4.00-8 M/C 55J WW Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post Continental Recalls 68,770 Tires Including TKC 80, ContiGo!, K62 and LB appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  8. Last week, Kawasaki dropped a teaser for a new electric two-wheeler, and we uncovered evidence that the teaser is for an electric balance bike called the Elektrode. Kawasaki is set to reveal the Elektrode on June 7 alongside some side-by-side models, but we’ve already got an idea what the balance bike will look like. Japan’s intellectual property office has published designs for a balance bike from Kawasaki, and though it doesn’t say it outright, the designs we can only assume will be for the Elektrode. The designs were filed by Kawasaki on April 28, 2021, and officially registered this month. The design filings indicate the balance bike is a Kawasaki creation and not from a manufacturer like the Stacyc, which produces balance bikes for its owner, Harley-Davidson, and under license for KTM, Husqvarna, and GasGas. A description accompanying the filing (translated from Japanese) reads: “this article is an electric motorcycle. A battery is stored inside the body frame between the front and rear wheels, and a motor is located in the center of the rear wheels.” The design filing only protects the parts of the illustrations shown in grayscale, with dashed lines illustrating other components such as the hub motor mentioned in the description. The battery appears to take up most of the main frame, as the drawing below shows what we assume are screw holes for accessing the power source. The handlebars are not part of the design, but we presume there will be a throttle grip and switchgear on the production model. The sketches also show two hand levers for controlling the brakes. A bicycle-style rim brake is shown on the rear wheel and while there’s no matching brake on the front wheel, we can see mounting points for one on the fork. The saddle looks like a standard bicycle seat and post, which should make it easy to adjust the height to suit young riders of varying ages. On the front end of the frame, the designs show a number plate that draws a connection to Kawasaki’s KX models. We can probably expect a green color scheme and graphics resembling Kawasaki’s dirt bikes. The design filing does not provide any clues about the battery capacity or how much power the motor produces. We’ll have to wait for the June 7 announcement for official details as well as pricing for the Kawasaki Elektrode balance bike. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post Kawasaki Elektrode Electric Balance Bike Designs Leak Ahead of Reveal appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  9. Some of us were a bit surprised when Yamaha’s newly overhauled 2021 MT-09 snagged first place in last summer’s 900cc(ish) Naked Bike Comparison, against such more-expensive heavy hitters as the new Ducati Monster and KTM Duke 890. And all of us were a little surprised when the XSR900 defeated Indian FTRs 1200 and 1200S, and the now-defunct Monster 1200S, in an only slightly unfair 2019 comparo. (Slightly unfair because our test route was really nothing but tight, twisty roads.) Now, the 2022 XSR900 is newly overhauled just as last year’s MT-09 was, using all the same parts from the waist down, including the new super-sized 890 cc version of that most excellent CP3 three-cylinder and all its electronic controls. 2022 Yamaha XSR900 Only a fool couldn’t love Yamaha’s CP3 Triple, but you know how some of you are when it comes to styling: Give you a retro round headlight, or you’ll keep riding your GS850. The new XSR is Yamaha’s latest, highly competent attempt to reach across the aisle. Editor Score: 90.0% Engine 19/20 Suspension 13/15 Transmission 9.5/10 Brakes 9.25/10 Instruments 4.25/5 Ergonomics 8/10 Appearance 8.5/10 Desirability 9.5/10 Value 9/10 + Highs A lot of practical, high-po moto for the money, including cruise control and quickshifter Looks like it costs more ’Bout time Christian Sarron gets some love – Sighs You’ll miss the MT-09’s seat after about an hour Crying out for color-matched tail cowl A little mini-fairing wouldn’t kill it either From the waist up, as even a rudimentary eyeballing reveals, things are completely different. What’s going on, says Yamaha, is an homage to its iconic old GP racers of the ‘80s, the blue one here in particular representing “a modern take on the classic French Sonauto Yamaha race colors — the stunning blue, cyan and yellow combination famously campaigned by legendary French Grand Prix champion Christian Sarron.” You can see it in the big, flat-top 3.7 gas tank (the rear chunk is steel), in the little gap between tank and seat, in the Dzus fasteners that hold the sidepanels on and the tucked-under taillight. But mostly that ‘80s GP connection is trying to be conveyed by the shape of the seat, the rear section of it in particular. Nobody at Yamaha USA claims to know why there’s not a plastic cover to match the tank either already on the bike or at least in the accessories catalog? Homage or not, it only makes sense to offer a more classically styled, round-headlight version of the CP3 for the crowd who don’t like the MT’s more contemporary styling. 1984 250cc GP Champion Christian Sarron and his old 500 GP bestie, sans fairing, is what Yamaha was going for. The racy connection of the new XSR also takes the form of firmer suspension settings and more aggressive ergonomics than sistership MT-09. Compared to the MT, your grips are 14mm forward and 35mm lower, while your rear end is moved back a bit and 22mm lower (on a 22 mm lower seat); your feet are in just about the same natural place. The bars and the pegs are a little bit adjustable. That 0.8-inch lower seat sits upon a new steel subframe (better for customization than aluminum), which rides upon a new swingarm that’s 59mm longer than the MT’s unit. Though MT and XSR both have the same rake and trail numbers, 25 degrees and 4.3 inches, the XSR wheelbase is 2.6 in. longer. 2021 Yamaha MT-09 Review – First Ride Add all that up, and what you’ve got is a longer, lower, firmer-sprung motorcycle: Think of the MT-09 more as an urban “streetfighter,” and the XSR as a more serious backroad sportbike. Yamaha says it’s “the highest performing platform ever for a Yamaha sport heritage machine.” I suppose one of us will have to ride it It fell to yours truly to, once again, ride the Pacific Surfliner to Ventura, there to hop onto a brand-new XSR the next morning for another assault on one of California’s finest fast curvy roads, Highway 33, over the Topatopa Mountains. (I never knew they were called that until I was quaffing a Topa Topa Chief Peak IPA later that evening.) Now, we’ve got all the IMU-assisted electronics just like the new MT last year, with four ride modes, a full ride-by-wire throttle, and up/down quickshifter as standard equippage. It’s 22mm easier to swing your leg over the seat, the ergos only feel a smidge racier at first sit, the exhaust bark is subdued but definitely eager, and all systems are go. It was chilly/drizzly in that morning coastal fog, and you wonder why a Christian Sarron-inspired mini-fairing isn’t part of the package? On the bumps, you can sense that our fork springs (in the same 41mm KYB unit as the MT) are 7% stiffer than the MT ones, and that our KYB shock’s rear spring is 21% stiffer: That’s to deal with the increased leverage of the 2.3-inch longer swingarm. On smooth pavement, which is what Highway 33 is with its recent repave, it’s delicious – a smooth-rolling low-flying stable thing that’s neither light nor heavy-steering, but right in the sweet spot. Those new golden “spinforged” wheels look way too nice to be on a $9,999 motorcycle, and Yamaha says they reduce rotational mass by 11% (24.7 ounces lighter per wheelset). Bridgestone S22 tires are, likewise, not shabby. There’s no steering damper, and the bike feels like it never needs one, feeding back nicely planted messages from both ends. Though suspension travel is the same as the MT, there’s less fore/aft pitching thanks to the stiffer springs, increased compression damping, and reduced rebound damping at both ends; it’s a vicious circle that has you twisting the throttle harder and squeezing the brakes more as you wind in and out of the corners, wondering how much is your amazing raw talent and how much is the bike’s IMU? We’ve had a stroke Now at a full 890cc following its 3mm stroke job, the Yamaha Triple is one of the finest engines on the road, mainly because its torque-rich yet revvable nature means it does its best work below 120 mph or so – a speed it’s easy enough to achieve on some of Hiway 33’s straights. If you need more than that, have a look at the MT-10. And please confine yourself to track days. The MT-09 we dynoed last year made 106 horses at 9900 rpm, and 63 lb-ft torque at 7000. Our scales had that same MT at 416 pounds with 3.7 gallons of fuel; Yamaha says the XSR is 8 lbs heavier. Which is still nice and light. Criticize if you must, but I think the new Controlled Fill aluminum frame is way more graceful than the outgoing one, and the 890 cc engine it houses has reached peak Triple. Anyhow, the same quickshifter the MT got last year has found a home on the XSR, which already had a great gearbox, and now, it’s even easier to bip up and down through it, sometimes accompanied by a nice little backfire yelp on the overrun to complement the Triple’s excellent exhaust music on the way up the digital tachometer. Blipping and brapping between 2nd, 3rd, and 4th reels in Hiway 33’s best sections just right, at speeds that fit the bike’s lean-into it ergos perfectly on a warm day. When you do need the clutch, the lever is nice and light, and its slip function makes those smooth downshifts even smoother. Just like the MT, you’ve got four easily selected Drive modes, 1 being sharpest and 4 reducing power (rain mode). I only used 1 and 2, where power take-up is nice, smooth and linear. A 3.5-in TFT display is just about the right size on a bike like this. If you want directions and Bluetooth, you’re on your own. Come to think of it, there’s no USB port either. We’re stripped down. There’re plenty of other adjustments in the 3.5-in TFT display also, including BC brake control (you can swap between ABS and lean-sensitive ABS for some reason), QS (turn the quickshifter Off, or just off in either the up or down direction)… There’s also wheelie control, traction control, and slide control – all stuff lifted from the R1. People who are good at wheelies, were good at wheelies on the XSR. Your new Brembo radial master cylinder gives better feel at the ABS engagement point, says Yamaha. I never squeezed it that hard, but the bike’s got plenty of power and feel for me. This is also Yamaha’s first use of bar-end mirrors, which are nice but a bit wide in tight confines. At the end of the road, it’s pretty much just as Yamaha claims: It feels like on a fast road like 33, or a racetrack, the longer, lower, stiffer XSR would ease away from an equal rider on an MT (and plenty of riders on anything). Then again, on tight, bumpy backroads, the softer, shorter-wheelbased, more ergonomically upright MT could probably turn the tables. After lunch, we did turn the rear preload ramp up a notch and increased rebound a click, and the XSR was turning even sharper and feelier. The 101 Freeway And on the morning after my ride up the 33, it was time to ride the XSR 110 miles home down the freeway. It was chilly and foggy again along the coast, and again, I dreamed of a nice little fairing, but by the time I got to The Valley it was hot and I was glad not to have one. By the time I got home, 96 minutes later, I was also dreaming of the MT-09’s plush, wide seat. As befits its sportier status, the XSR gets a pad that’s narrower, thinner, and square of edge. Well, they did say the XSR is GP-inspired, including the seat. It didn’t help that I didn’t take the time to return the shock preload to its standard, softer position rolling through Ventura’s bumpy surface streets and over a few sections of aptly named Superslab, where the bike drove home in a fundamental way how serious Yamaha is in calling it the highest performing platform ever for a Yamaha sport heritage machine. You can have sporty and you can have plush, but on a sub-$10k motorcycle it’s tough to have both. What made the sporty ride completely bearable, though, was the cruise control button on the left switchgear. Whenever there’s a gap in traffic, switching that baby on makes it easy to give your right side a break. And when the cars are flowing at a decent speed, it makes it easier to flow along with them instead of acting like Rich Strike trying to bite the other horses even after he’d already won the Kentucky Derby. Just chill. And Yamaha still manages to get the horn button in the right place. Five-thousand rpm gets you 75 mph in sixth gear and a bit of tingle in the handlebars. Dialing it up to 80-ish smoothed my XSR out nicely, and that slight forward cant compared to the MT has you pretty neutral in the windblast, too. Small things You can lock the fork either full left or full right, a thing I don’t remember seeing before, but that’s kind of thoughtful for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on. We’ve got all LED lighting, including the skinny turn signals and tucked-under the tail taillight. The aluminum tray under the tail section is nice. So are the forged aluminum foot controls and swing-out passenger pegs. Faster sons It’s the design philosophy behind Yamaha’s “Sports Heritage” line, showing respect for its rich racing heritage while using stripped-down design, high technology, and modern electronics to keep things future-focussed. Meanwhile, on the Dark Side of Japan, there’s the MT-09. The XSR is a bit racier, the MT’s a bit more playful. They’re both maybe the most fun you can have on a sub-$10k motorcycle in the real world, in addition to being practical transportation. Kind of depends on where you ride and how fast. And speaking of Faster Sons, might we just close with, Go Fabio! In Gear Helmet: Arai Regent X Bend Jacket: Dainese Street Rider (discontinued) Jeans: Trilobite Parado Gloves: Dainese 4-Stroke 2 Boots: TCX Fuel WP 2022 Yamaha XSR900 Specifications MSRP $9,999 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 105.8 @ 9900 rpm (rear-wheel dyno, 2021 MT-09) Torque 62.8 lb-ft @ 7000 rpm (rear-wheel dyno, 2021 MT-09) Transmission 6-speed; slip-assist clutch; up/down quickshifter Final Drive Chain Front Suspension 41mm inverted KYB fork; adjustable for spring preload, rebound damping, compression damping, 5.1-inch travel Rear Suspension Single shock; adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping, 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 56.3 in. Seat Height 31.9 in. Curb Weight (Claimed) 425 lbs. Fuel Capacity 3.7 gal. Colors Legend Blue, Raven Black 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 2022 Yamaha XSR900 Review – First Ride appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  10. The US motojournalist/influencer corps doesn’t look much at all like the people in the ads for Indian’s new Scout Rogue and Rogue Sixty. Carey Hart did meet us for lunch in Ojai during our ride, and he’d fit right in. The former MXer/freestyler not only looks the part, he actually builds custom motorcycles in his own big shop. But most of the rest of us are quite a bit older, less tattooed and pierced, and make our living typing and politicking instead of grinding metal and being cool. It’s impossible for us to maintain that fashion-model scowl when we’re riding around on free motorcycles on a beautiful spring California day with our old besties. 2022 Indian Scout Rogue and Rogue Sixty Mixing up the rolling stock and throwing on a mini ape-hanger would appear to be pure vanity, but those things somehow make the Rogue a more comfy, pretty entertaining curvy road conveyance. Editor Score: 81% Engine 18/20 Suspension 11/15 Transmission 8/10 Brakes 8/10 Instruments 4/5 Ergonomics 7.5/10 Appearance 8.5/10 Desirability 8/10 Value 8/10 + Highs More precise steering More comfortable for most people Badder to the bone – Sighs Two inches rear wheel travel Beautiful but small tank: 3.3 gallons Not traveling solo will require even more investment You may be shocked to learn that most of us, truth be told, aren’t the biggest cruiser fans either. But all of us are willing to play along to keep this most excellent ball rolling, and the fact is the modern cruiser is a far more engaging thing to ride than most earlier efforts. You could almost credit Indian for that. We named the all-new Scout our Motorcycle of the Year in 2015, and the pressure that bike put on Harley-Davidson couldn’t have gone unnoticed when it was time for the new Sportsters just now rolling out. Also, Indian’s success following Victory’s failure might have even caused the Japanese to ponder, what’s in a name? A lot, apparently. Reinvent the wheel Swapping different components on the same motorcycle is a time-honored way to keep things fresh, and so here we arrive at the third or fourth Scout, in the wheeltracks of Scout Sixty, Scout Bobber… behold Scout Rogue. It’s a Rogue because it’s got a lot of blacked-out components, but mostly because a 19 x 3.5-inch front wheel and 130/60-19 Metzeler Cruisetec tire replaces the 16 x 3.5 inch front wheel and 130/90-16 front tire of the other Scouts. Out back, the 16 x 3.5 in wheel and 150/80-16 tire remain undisturbed. Full Rogue at left with cool mirrors and more chrome; Rogue Sixty at right less cash, less flash. Then there’s your “mini-ape” handlebar and the addition of a quarter fairing to shield a bit of wind. There’s also a new sport seat, which is supposed to provide better long range comfort, with a more pronounced rear lip to better keep you from falling off the back. Your powertrain remains the same, and that’s not a bad thing, since we’ve been big fans of Indian’s 60-degree DOHC 8-valve V-twin ever since its inception. In the Rogue, you’ve still got your choice of 60 or 69-cubic inches (999 or 1133cc), the former with a 5-speed gearbox, and the bigger engine with a 6-speed. The 69 is rated at 100 crankshaft horsepower and 72 pound-feet of torque; the 60 at 78 hp and 65 lb-ft. We dyno’d both in 2016. Yes there’s a left side, and on it there’s a nice low-maintenance belt drive. You can actually flip those mirrors side to side, and on top for a better view to the rear. Harley’s cheapest new Sportster carries an $11,299 price tag; Indian will still fix you up with a Scout Bobber Sixty for $9,499, or the new Sixty Rogue for $500 more. The big-engine Rogue carries an $11,499 sticker. Rogue state Indian chose to hold the press ride in Ventura, California, which allowed me a nice relaxing Amtrak ride up the coast, and gave all of us a nice blast up and down California’s excellent Highway 33 the next day. If somebody introduced a new dump truck on that sinuous piece of pavement art over the coastal mountains, you’d love the dump truck too – especially since the whole road was freshly repaved not long ago. Going into it, the claim was that the new non-fatty tire up front was going to lead to quicker, more nimble handling – and I can’t argue that’s not the case. The overall diameter of the new 19-in and the preexisting 16-in tire, we’re told, is the same; the only difference is that the new wheel/tire combination takes about 1.5 pounds out of the spinning, unsprung equation (and the fork tube spacing and axle are even the same, which means you can swap 19 for 16 at will). Cruising I could be wrong in thinking the vast majority of buyers of cruisers don’t much care about how we do it in California, but that didn’t stop us from testing the Rogue like we test every bike. Even if you set out with the intention to enjoy the scents of the orange blossoms and wildflowers while trying to get your chakra aligned on a leisurely cruise, that’s all out the window as soon as some punk starts throwing footpeg sparks in your face. Why I oughta… The forwardish footpegs make decent highway ones if your legs are about 30 inches like mine. On smooth pavement. Like any cruiser, the footpeg feelers will let you know when doom is impending from either side, but lately cruiser manufacturers seem to have been paying a little more attention to the sporting side of things too. Like the new H-D Sportster S, you’re motoring at a reasonably brisk pace when the Rogue feelers signal, but the pegs do of course fold, and gauging how much farther you can lean before something solid contacts the road is up to viewer discretion: I never found out. The fastest riders in our group (one of whom claims to ride 33 three times a week) quickly checked out, not to be seen again until back at the Marriott – where he said he was surprised by how really competent the Rogue was. And where his footpeg feelers, along with some of the rubber, was completely missing on both sides, and the exhaust pipe cover gouged on the underneath right side of the bike. My little group felt like we were motoring along fast enough at our slightly reduced pace, which is defined more by sight lines and old-age self preservation than by how far the Rogue will lean most of the time: In tighter curves, you definitely have to account for available lean as you calculate entry speed, but in faster ones you can mostly keep the gas on and keep pretty impressive roll speed up. At all speeds it’s capable of, though, the chassis remains unflapped on the smooth, flowing pavement that is Highway 33. The 41mm conventional fork up front and twin rear shocks do a reasonbly good job keeping things nicely balanced and on even keel. Planet of the Mini-apes Somewhat surprisingly, everybody seemed to like the mini-ape handlebar Indian chose for the Rogue, which lifts your fists six or seven inches compared to the usual Scout bend, and brings them a bit closer to your body, too. On the Rogue, the mini-ape feels a bit like a dirt bike handlebar, and rotates you back into the same sort of in-control feeling of omnipotence over the front tire. The ergos combined with the lighter, quicker-turning 19-in front tire, makes it easy to bend the bike into turns, and the Metzeler Cruisetecs are more than sticky enough given the limited ground clearance. Given what’s available, steering is direct and crisp, and light mid-corner braking with front or rear brake or both results in just the kind of non-dramatic decel you’d hoped for. Compared to the 16-inch fatty tired Scout, the Rogue does feel more accurate, precise, and sportier in general. When it comes to stopping hard in a straight line, you won’t mistake the single 298mm disc up front (the rear’s the same size) and its low-tech two-piston caliper for the latest Brembos, but jumping on both ABS-equipped brakes stops the bike pretty hard anyway, thanks in part to the long lowness of the thing. Indian does fit steel brake lines as standard, and the lever is firm and linear-feeling. Ride modes We don’t need any stinkin’ ride modes. Throttle response is crisp yet jerk-free (depending on the jerk twisting it) and power is adequate for heady propulsion but not really enough to have you worrying about spitting the rear tire out – on dry pavement at least. It’s surprisingly calm behind the quarter fairing. One nice round dial gets the job done, especially if you’re technophobic. Can we do something about these wire cables? Has anybody ever done exhaust wrap on their ape hangers? Nor have we got any IMUs or traction control or any of that. One of the beauties of cruising is that the motorcycle is low and long of wheelbase, which tends to keep things in line and happy. When I reviewed the first Scout Sixty way back in 2016, I remember feeling like I didn’t miss 5th gear or the extra 135 cc much at all – but at that launch we rode more urban environs and Las Vegas backroads at a more leisurely pace. This time, stretching the throttle cables of the 69 and 60 engines back to back up to 7000 feet, well, it’s hard to keep up on the 60, especially uphill. And I do believe the bigger engine runs a tad smoother as well. Both bikes are way smooth at lower revs and around town. But you do feel some vibes up beyond 6000 rpm or so, and at speeds above 80 mph through the footpegs and grips. Not enough to be a problem for most people. Overall, it’s such a nice motorcycle to ride, it’s a shame Indian can’t throw on standard cruise control like it does on all the FTRs, but you knew I was going to say that. With the mini-apes and the new fairing/windscreen (not to mention all the cool accessory luggage options), you could easily go places. The seat’s comfy, the cockpit’s calm if you’re 5-feet-8-ish, and the ergonomics aren’t bad at all for a cruiser. Local only For short bops around Ventura, bikes like the Rogue make all kinds of sense, particularly for short people thanks to the 25.6-inch low seat. And also because torquey V-twins are just cool around town. But even more to the point, for people who could be mistaken for the models in Indian’s ads, the Rogue really is one cool-looking bike, with its blacked-out trim and really handsome styling. The mini-apes keep your armpits aired out. Carry Tic-Tacs and you’re ready to mingle. It’s easy to get carried away trying to beat Harley-Davidson at its own game, though, which is the only reason I can produce for trying to figure out why the new Rogue gets 2 inches of rear-wheel travel, instead of the 3 inches of the regular Scout. (The Scout Bobbers also have just 2 inches travel.) I mean, they claim 25.6-inch seat heights for all of them. (This just in from Indian: 25.6 inches is the laden seat height, so they’re saying the longer shocks settle more than the short ones when you climb on, I guess. Whatever, man.) Three inches rear travel isn’t enough either, but it’s a 33% improvement over 2 inches. It wasn’t a problem at all over 33’s smooth pavement, except in a couple of big g-outs and pavement changes, but around Anytown, USA anymore, and on plenty of other bumpy roads, be sure to put your coccyx on high alert, as we will be crashing into the bumpstops. The Rogue bottoms out relatively gently, but it does it a lot. Accessorize Maybe they do it so you’ll buy the $829.99 Adjustable Piggyback Rear Shocks, which give a sweeter ride along with, that’s right, three inches of rear wheel travel. Ahhh, much better with the longer piggyback shocks. The “love seat” is the best-selling accessory, for reasons that can go unstated. I managed to get on a bike with them for a short while, and the longer shocks are a big improvement. There are plenty of other accessories and luggage options on Indian’s site, of course. The Choice If it’s a small(er) American cruiser you want (which is exactly what the original Scout was decades ago), there are only two games in town, which is literally 100% better than all those years when there was only one. And it’s even nicer that with the Rogue, Indian’s giving you a choice of Scouts: The Scout and Scout Bobber are great motorcycles in the style department, but if you want sportier handling along with your style, you’ll find the Rogue even more lovable. It really is a cruiser for the cool kids that even us sportbike squids can get behind. And as we speak, young Ryan Adams is off riding new Sportsters. Epic cruiser deathmatch to come… In Gear Helmet: Schuberth E1 Modular Jacket: Vanson AR3 Gloves: Dainese 4 Stroke 2 Jeans:Saint Unbreakable Boots: Sidi Adventure 2 Gore-Tex Mid Specifications 2022 Indian Scout 2022 Indian Scout Sixty MSRP $11,499 (no ABS) to $13,999 $9,999 (no ABS) to $11,399 Engine Type 1133cc liquid-cooled DOHC 60-degree V-twin; 4 valves per cylinder 999cc liquid-cooled DOHC 60-degree V-twin; 4 valves per cylinder Bore and Stroke 99mm x 74mm 93mm x 73.6mm Compression Ratio 10.7:1 11:1 Horsepower 100 hp @ 8100 rpm (claimed) 78 hp @ 7200 rpm (claimed) Torque 72 lb-ft @ 6000 rpm (claimed) 65 lb-ft @ 5800 rpm (claimed) Transmission 6-speed 5-speed Final Drive Belt Front Suspension 41mm telescopic fork, 4.7 in. travel Rear Suspension Twin coil-over shocks, adjustable for spring preload, 2.0 in. travel Front Brake 298mm disc, 2-piston slide-type caliper (ABS optional) Rear Brake 298mm disc, 1-piston slide-type caliper (ABS optional) Front Tire 130/60-B19 Metzeler Cruisetec Rear Tire 150/80R-16 Metzeler Cruisetec Rake/Trail 29° / 4.7 in (120 mm) Wheelbase 62 in. (1575 mm) Seat Height 25.6 in (649 mm) laden! Dry weight 525 lbs (claimed) 520 lbs (claimed) Fuel Capacity 3.3 gal. (12.5 L) Colors Black Metallic, Black Smoke, Sagebrush Smoke, Storm Blue, Stealth Gray Black Metallic, Bronze Smoke, Titanium Smoke Warranty 2 Years, Unlimited Miles 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 Indian Scout Rogue and Rogue Sixty Review – First Ride appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  11. GasGas officially revealed two new single-cylinder streetbikes, the ES 700 dual sport and the SM 700 supermoto. Both models will be released internationally as 2022 models, but North American consumers will have to wait for the 2023 model year.  With GasGas now under the ownership of Pierer Mobility, the 700 models share much in common with their counterparts from KTM and Husqvarna. From the image juxtaposition below, you can see the similarities, and differences, between the GasGas SM 700 and the KTM 690 SMC R. The GasGas ES 700 is likewise based on the KTM Enduro R.  The engine remains a liquid-cooled 693cc Single claiming peak performance figures of 74 hp at 8000 rpm and 54.2 lb-ft.at 6500 rpm. Both GasGas 700 models are fitted with PASC slipper clutches, six-speed transmissions, and up-and-down quickshifters. Both models offer two selectable ride modes. Mode 1 offers crisp throttle response and corner sensitive ABS and traction control programed for regular street riding. The SM 700 offers a supermoto mode which offers a smoother throttle response, disengages the rear wheel ABS and adjusts the traction control to allow more rear wheel drifting and front wheel lift. The ES 700’s second mode is a similar, but fine-tuned for off-road use, with the corner-sensitive function disengaged. The frame is likewise similar to the KTM chassis, with a chrome-moly tubular space frame, powder-coated in red instead of orange. According to GasGas, the frame alone weighs just 18.5 pounds, which goes a long way to producing the claimed dry weights of 321.8 pounds for the ES 700 and 327.4 pounds for the SM 700. The SM 700 is equipped with an inverted WP APEX 48 fork with 8.5 inches of front wheel travel and a WP APEX linked rear shock with 9.4 inches of travel. The ES 700 swaps these out for more off-road capable WP XPLOR suspension, with 9.8 inches of travel for both front and rear wheels. The Brembo-supplied braking system is also different for the two models. The SM 700 uses a Monoblock four-piston caliper and a 320 mm rotor on the front wheel while the ES 700 uses a two-piston floating caliper and 300 mm disc. The two models have a common rear brake, comprised of a single-piston caliper and 240 mm rotor. The SM 700 runs on 17 inch cast wheels (which appear to be the same wheels used on the KTM 890 Duke) clad with Continental ContiAttack SM EVO tires. The ES 700 uses wire-spoke wheels and Continental Twinduro TKC 80 tires, with a 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear wheel. The ES 700 is the taller of the two, with its saddle height of 36.8 inches compared to the SM 700’s 35.4 inches. Other features common to both 700 models include a 3.6-gallon fuel tank, underseat airbox, handguards, mirros and a single headlight with integrated cable management. In GasGas’ home market of Spain, the ES 700 and SM 700 are each priced at 10,749 euros (US$11,440), the same MSRP as the KTM 690 Enduro R and 690 SMC R. We’ll have to wait for U.S. pricing, but if they remain the same as the KTM bikes, we’re looking at an MSRP of US$12,499 for either model. Specifications 2023 GasGas ES 700 2023 GasGas SM 700 Engine Type Liquid-cooled, Single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine Displacement 693 cc Bore x Stroke 105 mm x 80 mm Horseower 74 hp at 8000 rpm (claimed) Torque 54.2 lb-ft. at 6500 rpm (claimed) EMS Keihin EMS with RBW, twin ignition Clutch APTC slipper clutch, hydraulically actuated Transmission 6-speed Starter Electric starter Chain 520 X-Ring Lubrication Forced oil lubrication with 2 oil pumps Frame Design Chrome-moly tubular space frame, powder-coated Front Suspension WP XPLOR-USD, Ø 48 mm, 9.8 inches of travel WP APEX 48 fork, 8.5 inches of travel Rear Suspension WP XPLOR with Pro-Lever linkage, 9.8 inches of travel WP APEX with Pro-Lever linkage, 9.4 inches of travel Front Wheel 21-inch wire spoke wheel 17-inch cast wheel Rear Wheel 18-inch wire spoke wheel 17-inch cast wheel Front Tire Continental Twinduro TKC 80, 90/90 MC 21 Continental ContiAttack SM EVO, 120/70 R 17 Rear Tire Continental Twinduro TKC 80, 140/80 MC 18 Continental ContiAttack SM EVO, 160/60 R 17 Ground Clearance 9.3 inches Front Brake Single Brembo two-piston floating caliper with a 300 mm disc Single Brembo four-piston monoblock caliper with a 320 mm disc Rear Brake Single-piston floating caliper with a 240 mm disc ABS Two-channel Bosch 9.1 MP ABS with cornering ABS and off-road mode; disengageable Two-channel Bosch 9.1 MP ABS with cornering ABS and supermoto mode; disengageable Tank Capacity 3.6 gallons (approx.) Fuel Consumption 57.4 mpg (claimed) Dry Weight 321.8 pounds (claimed) 327.4 pounds (claimed) Seat Height 36.8 inches 35.4 inches Steering Head Angle 62.3° 63.6° Service Intervals 6,200 miles Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post 2023 GasGas ES 700 and SM 700 First Look appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  12. GasGas is preparing to reveal its first street-legal models tomorrow, but photos of one of the models have already leaked online. As we were first to confirm back in February, GasGas will be adding two street legal models to its lineup, the SM 700 supermoto and the ES 700 dual-sport. Over the last week, GasGas has been teasing an announcement on social media, hinting at two new models. Most notably, the teaser shows one bike equipped with mirrors, which suggests a street legal model, a first for the Spanish brand. Later posts confirmed a reveal set for April 26, showing more details including a headlight. Though the launch isn’t until tomorrow, it appears GasGas’ web team has already been prepping its official site. A landing page for new GasGas “Travel” models popped up online last week and was quickly taken down again. Italian site Moto.it was first to publish the leak, but its post has also been taken down. Thanks to Google, we’ve been able to pull up a cached version of the page and get our hands on it, including the first photos. Official specs and details were not revealed, but the text confirms the ES 700. Translated from Italian, it reads: On the road, off the road … go everywhere! A commuter bike ready for the road, super competent off-road and full of GASGAS DNA! Combining high-quality, road-approved performance with proven off-road capability, the ES 700 proudly brings GASGAS’s playful and vibrant attitude to the road. Perfect for mixed-surface adventures and to liven up any daily commute, the GASGAS ES 700 is a playful and versatile dual-sport artist. The photos reveal a model that looks very similar to the ES 700’s Pierer Mobility cousins, the KTM 690 Enduro R and the Husqvarna 701 Enduro dual-sports. The engine, frame look nearly identical to the KTM and Husqvarna models, which are also categorized as “Travel” models by their respective brands. We can therefore assume the ES 700 will use a similar 693cc Single, which claims 74 hp and 54.2 lb-ft on the 690 Enduro R. The suspension is provided by WP, another Pierer brand, but it remains to be seen if they are the same spec as the KTM or Husqvarna models. We haven’t been able to find a similar landing page for the GasGas SM 700, but we have been able to find mentions of Supermoto wheels in Google searches of GasGas’ website. The excerpts in the search results indicate two Supermoto wheel options in GasGas’ accessories. After visiting the pages themselves, it appears the Supermoto references have been removed. The “Technical Accessories” page has been scrubbed completely while the “Front wheel” page remains up, and it still says “supermoto” in the URL. We expect the GasGas SM 700 will be the red brand’s take on the KTM 690 SMC R and Husqvarna 701 Supermoto. All will be confirmed tomorrow, but the evidence says we should expect GasGas to announce the new street-legal SM 700 and ES 700. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post Street Legal GasGas ES 700 Photos Leak Ahead of Official Announcement appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  13. Naturally, I reached for my Aerostich. The sport-tourer’s uniform of choice, it seemed like the right thing to wear when the invite to test Suzuki’s newest sport-tourer – the 2022 GSX-S1000GT+ – popped up in my inbox. It offers full-body protection from both the ground and the elements, is easy to take on and off, has loads of pockets, and has room underneath for layers (including an airbag, in my case). I felt like I made the right decision when I hopped on the bike. In hindsight, maybe I should have grabbed my leathers. 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT and GT+ Suzuki completely revamped the GSX-S1000GT to make it the complete sport-touring package. Anchored by a massaged version of the legendary K5 GSX-R1000 engine, not only can it take you from Point A to Point B quickly, but comfortably, too. Editor Score: 93% Engine 19.5/20 Suspension 14.5/15 Transmission 10/10 Brakes 8.5/10 Instruments 5/5 Ergonomics 9/10 Appearance 8.5/10 Desirability 9/10 Value 9/10 + Highs The K5 engine is legendary The best production quickshifter in the business A comfortable gixxer with saddlebags! – Sighs The seat’s a little hard Rubber brake lines and so-so master cylinder Final drive gearing is a little short Instead of a relaxing ride through some of central California’s best roads, we were hauling arse, channeling the inner GSX-R inside. Strafing corners like we were going for Superpole and letting the big Gixxer-based engine eat when the road opened up, for 300-plus miles we were living in our own little Isle of Man TT. And this was just day one. When we finally stopped to smell the roses, it dawned on us that we had a handlebar instead of clip-ons and saddlebags behind us with a change of clothes and a toothbrush. Maybe we should have taken the Suzuki reps seriously when they told us the GSX-S1000GT+ was a sport-touring bike with the heart of a GSX-R. We can all agree the previous GSX-S1000GT won’t win any beauty awards, but this latest GSX-S1000GT (GT+ shown here) is much more attractive. Suzuki has gone all-in on the sport-touring segment, and with the GSX-S1000GT and GT+, the company has leaned heavily on sport while sacrificing little on touring. Yeah, Suzuki is leveraging its Gixxer heritage hard when it comes to this bike, but is that really a bad thing? The important bit is Suzuki has done so without sacrificing the essence of a sport-tourer. It’s really quite astonishing. How the Hamamatsu brand has done this is an interesting read, and as you can imagine, there’s a lot to unpack with the new GT and GT+. So, let’s dig in. The Elephant In The Room Yes, the GSX-S1000GT and GT+ are powered by what is essentially the K5 GSX-R1000 long-stroke 999cc four-cylinder engine. The same as the newly updated GSX-S1000 naked bike, and several models before. Suzuki’s been on the receiving end of some flack in recent years for continually recycling the same base engine for nearly two decades, but there’s something to be said about Suzuki’s commitment to evolving what is still considered one of the best engines ever made. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and Suzuki’s taking this to heart. In case you didn’t know, I’m also an owner of an SV650. And as we all know, Suzuki has milked that engine for all it’s worth, too. The K5 GSX-R1000 engine might be retired from superbike duty, but it’s still more than capable for sport-touring purposes. In the GT’s case, the K5 Gixxer Thousand engine sees a ton of changes to shift its powerband and make it more suitable for sport-touring duty. Among those changes are intake and exhaust camshafts, valve springs, cam chain, cam chain tensioner, crankcase/crankshaft mounting hardware, clutch assembly, clutch pushrod, Shift Cam, Shift Cam retainer, Shift Cam plate, shift shaft, stator cover, clutch cover, drive sprocket covers, and more. Beyond the changes inside the engine, the GT and GT+ no longer use throttle cables. This Ride-by-Wire system now has the throttle directly linked to a position sensor that activates a servo which then moves the throttle plates. Having such a system makes it easy to incorporate cruise control, the Suzuki Drive Mode System, and even the updated quickshifter (which is glorious, but more on that later). It may not look like much, but all those new pieces in yellow really transform this engine and give it usable power for the real world. The long, tapered intake tract has a smaller inner diameter than the previous GSX-S, improving the intake charge velocity resulting in better throttle response and torque production. All of the spent gasses exit the bike through a revised 4-2-1 exhaust system with a secondary catalyzer in the mid-chamber. This allows the actual silencer at the end to be small, light, compact, and importantly, able to be replaced with an aftermarket slip-on without bypassing any of the emissions systems. The result is not only a two-horsepower increase compared to last generation’s GSX-S1000 (150 hp vs. 148 hp), but more importantly, a much smoother power and torque curve compared to the previous bike with virtually no dips or valleys. Incidentally, peak torque is actually down on the GT+ (by about one lb-ft or so), but again the overall shape of the graph looks significantly better. All this while complying with global emissions requirements. The overall graphs of the new engine versus old show how much smoother the revisions have made the GT’s power curve. And it’s not like the old engine was that bad, either. Sport-Touring, The Suzuki Way On a macro level, sport-touring is about traveling long distances, often via the twistiest roads, as quickly as possible. We’ve already established the GSX-R-based heart of the GT and GT+ will get you where you’re going in a flash, but comfort comes first. This is where the decision to repurpose the K5 engine makes sense. Because instead of pouring resources towards a new engine, those resources instead went towards making a focused sport-tourer – one Suzuki is immensely proud of. Right off the bat, if you’re thinking this is a gussied-up version of the recently released GSX-S1000 naked bike, you’re kinda right. But not really. The obvious difference is the sharply styled bodywork. You’ve also got two windscreens (standard and the optional touring screen), both of which were developed in the wind tunnel. From an ergonomics standpoint, you’ve got the same 31.9-inch seat height as the outgoing GSX-S1000F, but the new tapered handlebar is 0.9-inch wider and rotated slightly upwards, resulting in the bars being 0.6-inch closer to the rider. A wind-tunnel-developed windscreen, combined with bars that are closer to the rider than before, result in a comfortable ride. The passenger seat is said to be a little more accommodating than before and perched about an inch and a half higher than the rider, so whoever’s back there can see over your shoulder better. To keep vibes to a minimum, all the touchpoints for both rider and passenger are laced with rubber – the bars are rubber mounted, the passenger grab handle is as well, and all four pegs have rubber inserts. Opt for the GT+ (not the standard GT), and you get two saddlebags, each of which are able to hold 37L, and most full-face helmets, including the Arai Defiant-X I’m wearing in these photos (minus the communicator sticking off the side). The locking bags use the same key as the ignition, have huge latches to lock and unlock, and are super simple to remove entirely. Also, if you’re thinking about getting the standard GT and opting for the accessories to add the saddlebags later, don’t. It’s $13,149 for the GT and $13,799 for the GT+. The saddlebags and the various hardware needed to retrofit a GT into a GT+ will cost you over $1000. Unless you’re positive you don’t want bags, just spend a little more and get the Plus right off the bat. What’s a sport-touring bike without saddlebags? Actually, it’s called the GT. Saddlebags are the sole distinction between the GT and GT+. They’re big enough to hold a full-face helmet, super easy to operate, and a bargain compared to trying to add bags to a GT later. Also note the passenger grab handle, which is rubber-mounted to minimize vibrations. Compared to the previous GSX-S1000F, last seen in 2020, the GT models get a 5.0-gallon fuel tank versus the previous 4.5-gallon tank. Combined with the estimated 35 mpg (which ended up being fairly accurate during our 500-plus-mile ride over the course of two days), and you can expect to get something like 175-ish miles per tank. Under normal riding, of course. Tech Yeah, it’s got some, and it’s all the tech bits you’d expect to find: 6.5-inch TFT display, five-level traction control (plus off), ABS, Suzuki Drive Mode Selector, autoblipper, cruise control, easy start, low-RPM assist, and connectivity to Suzuki’s mySPIN Bluetooth app. The best part is the minimal amount of buttons on the switchgears: nearly every function can be accessed via a thumb wheel with arrows. The more surprising feature (or lack of) is the absence of an IMU. The 6.5-inch TFT display on the GSX-S1000GT gets high marks for being clear, easy to read, and having the important information like engine speed, road speed, and gear position in clear view of the rider. The screen can switch from white to black depending on ambient light, and if you pair the motorcycle to the Suzuki mySPIN app, the screen can mirror your phone functions, and even display a map with your location. Note the USB port to the left of the display to charge a device. Behind the scenes, a new 32-bit ECM uses CAN-style wiring to reduce the amount of wires needed for all of the bike’s various systems while also allowing those systems to communicate with each other much faster. A new, compact ABS control unit is supplied by Hitachi Astemo, which we all know better by its former name: Nissin. Finally, a new gear position sensor is the heart of the new bidirectional quickshifter system and eliminates the slop sometimes associated with autoblippers from competitors. Chassis Making great engines is not the only thing Suzuki is known for. Its chassis department gets far less praise. It’s a shame, too, as the GSX-R family has a reputation for its neutral, inspiring handling. It all starts with the twin-spar aluminum frame and arch-style swingarm, both of which have very close ties to the GSX-R. In fact, the swingarm is borrowed directly from the GSX-R1000. Behind the frame, you have a trellis-style subframe with integrated mounting points for the luggage. The trellis construction allows it to be relatively light while still being strong enough to handle a passenger and full saddlebags. The suspension and brake components you can see here are well up to the task. Fully adjustable suspension is a treat and Brembo brakes have plenty of power. The rubber lines and weak master cylinder would be among the first things I’d change if this were mine. KYB handles suspension duties with a 43mm inverted fork up front with 4.7 inches of travel and link-type shock in the back. Both are fully adjustable for rebound, compression, and spring preload. Radial-mount Brembo four-pot calipers are paired with 310mm discs up front, but are fed fluid via rubber lines and an axial-mount master cylinder. ABS is standard and always on. A 240mm disc and single-piston caliper slows down the rear wheel. TRP six-spoke wheels are unique to the GSX-S1000 models, and they wear Dunlop’s new Roadsport 2 tires, specially designed for this application. Which, as we discovered, was going long distances. Fast. Grand Touring, Gixxer Style By now you already know the GT+ can haul the mail and isn’t so far removed from the GSX-R1000 it can trace its lineage back to. But Suzuki’s constant refinement of this engine makes it seemingly perfect for this application. All of the changes to the engine internals help shift the powerband away from the top, where you need it on a sportbike, and more towards the bottom and middle, where sport-touring riders spend their time. I’m happy to report, it worked. There’s plenty of power down low and in the mid, with the electronic throttle mapped perfectly to the amount of twist I was giving with my wrist. Of the three Suzuki Drive modes, I found myself toggling between A and B the first day. All three modes deliver full power, only the application of power is metered differently between them. On many bikes, no matter the manufacturer, A mode is usually too aggressive. Even the tiniest of wrist movements results in a jump. Not so with the GSX-S. In A mode power would come on quickly, but not abruptly, and it ended up being my default setting for the twisty roads. The slightly muted B mode worked well enough around town and on the freeway, but by the second day of riding, I’d become comfortable with A mode everywhere. Even on the freeway, slogging miles until we got back home. Despite moving the engine’s punch lower in the revs, there’s still a considerable amount of thrust available as the rev needle moves into the last third of its sweep. You can take the engine out of the gixxer, but you can’t take the gixxer out of the engine. It seems so simple, but that autoblipper works wonders and elevates the enjoyment level of riding the GT. The biggest surprise, by far, is how sublime the autoblipper operates. Shifts in either direction, no matter the gear, even first, are amazingly smooth and slick. Flicking the lever with your foot requires just the right amount of pressure to know you’ve asked for a gear, it’s not too soft (like some BMWs) nor is it too hard. Shifts are positive, too, so you’re never second-guessing if you made the shift or not. It might sound silly to be so praising of something seemingly so innocuous as an autoblipper, but flicking through the gears, without ever using the clutch, while hustling the GT through a set of curves highlighted the importance of being in the right gear going in – and coming out – of a corner. The amazing autoblipper enhances the riding experience in a way I didn’t know was possible. It’s that good. Without having to worry much about the engine or gear selection, it opened the brain space for hustling around the tight and curvaceous confines of Highways 33, 58, and 166. As you can probably imagine, with its GSX-R frame and swingarm, the GT makes quick work of canyon roads. Having a handlebar gives the leverage to flick the bike in either direction. Once leaned over it holds its line like you’d expect from a sportbike. Since the saddlebags on my bike were not carrying much, it’s hard to comment on a fully-loaded GT’s abilities through the corners. However, I can attest to the KYB suspension reacting well to changes, as the bike really came into its own once the rebound damping was slowed by only two clicks, front and rear. Doing such made the ride more compliant and more planted over both smooth and rough roads. If the GT does have a weakness in the handling department, the brakes leave a little to be desired. Specifically, the axial-mount master cylinder is decent at best, and if it weren’t for the rubber lines, this would be a nice braking system. Feel at the lever has a hint of sponginess, but it never left me worried. I just wished it was more firm and direct. While I wouldn’t consider this a weakness, an oddity I noticed while hustling the bike from side to side was what I assume to be deflection of the rubber in the handlebar mount. When you’re going at a quick pace, you depend on the handlebars to give you the leverage you need to turn – especially with the square-ish 190/50 profile rear tire. A few times I could feel the bars moving slightly within the mounts, an attribute I can only assume is rubber deflection. Again, it wasn’t alarming, just something I noticed. Despite the omission of an IMU, the traction control system works surprisingly well. Since road conditions on our ride proved to be near perfect, I never had a chance to really put the system to the test. Instead, I tried cranking the TC to the fifth, and highest, setting. On corner exits the TC light was flashing rapidly on the TFT display, but from where I was sitting all I could feel was gradual acceleration matching what I was twisting at the throttle. Many systems on other motorcycles can be overly intrusive in the highest setting and give the feeling as if you’re being pulled backward, not gently pushed forward. It was very impressive. In setting two I never noticed the intervention (assuming it came on at all). In my mind I thought I could spin up the tire and leave a black line on the ground. In reality I’m not that good. Besides, the Suzuki traction control does a surprising job of putting down the power without holding you back. We’ve talked a lot so far about the sporting side of the GSX-S1000GT+, but the touring aspect is just as important. Ultimately, is the bike comfortable? The short answer is yes, but in the case of my 5-foot, 8-inch frame there were a few things I noticed. For starters, the standard windscreen just happened to direct the air right to my face and neck, instead of over my helmet. Every now and then some debris would swirl under my helmet and be distracting. The optional touring screen is not only taller but is angled upward, toward the sky, to move the air up and over the rider. If it were me, I think I’d opt for the touring screen. Otherwise, the seating position is ultra-comfortable and neutral. The hands drop right where you expect them to for an all-day ride and the pegs are just under the butt. Though the tank is bigger than before, the junction with the seat isn’t terribly wide. My 30-inch inseam could reach the ground easily, though not flatfooted. That’s about as neutral a riding position as they come. Speaking of all-day rides, I found the seat padding to be a touch too firm for my liking. After about 45 minutes in the saddle, it was time for a stretch to get some feeling back. Even the contours of the seat start to feel like they’re slightly digging into your thighs. I’m guessing the seat foam hardly compressed at all under my scrawny 155-pound frame. Heavier riders may find the padding to be perfect. Suzuki’s Done It I’ll admit, for the past few years Suzuki’s product offerings have left me feeling a bit uninspired. I know others have felt the same, too. Speculation was even going around, worrying about where the company was going. The pandemic certainly didn’t help, but nonetheless, if the 2022 GSX-S1000GT and GT+ are a sign of things to come – and Suzuki reps tell us there’s a lot more to come – then we should all be excited. Here we have a sport-touring package that embodies everything about both genres. It’s fast as hell, topped with a layer of comfort, finished off with a consistent 35 mpg even riding like a goon. With the motorcycle world turning towards adventure-touring motorcycles lately, the sport-touring segment seems to be experiencing a bit of a lull. In fact, in the sub $15,000 price range the Suzuki sits in, only these bikes stand out: Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ $13,799 ($13,149 for the GT) Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX $12,899 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT $14,999 BMW F 900 XR $11,695 (base), $12,362 (with some options) BMW R 1250 RS $15,695 (base) As you can see, it’s pretty rarified air to find a sport-touring bike as capable as the Suzuki, let alone one that’s at all comparable on price. The BMW R 1250 RS is thrown in there as an example of how quickly the price gap jumps – and that’s just for a base model. Nevertheless, I still think the Suzuki could give it a run for its money. Could a Suzuki win Best Sport-Touring bike of the year honors? Maybe. It’s definitely in the running. Simply put, Suzuki nailed it. If your GSX-R days are coming to an end, move one letter down in the alphabet and give the GSX-S a go. In Gear Helmet: Arai Defiant-X Dragon Suit: Aerostich Roadcrafter Classic One Piece Airbag: Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 Gloves: Alpinestars SP-2 v2 Boots: Alpinestars Faster 3 Rideknit Shoes 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT and GT+ Specifications Engine Type Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke Inline-Four Displacement 999cc Bore and Stroke 73.4 x 59.0 mm Compression ratio 12.2:1 Valve system DOHC Fuel system DFI with 40mm throttle bodies Horsepower 149.9 hp at 11,000 rpm (claimed) Maximum torque 78.8 lb-ft. at 9,250 rpm (claimed) Transmission 6-speed Final drive Chain Clutch Wet multi-disc, w/slip assist Frame Aluminum twin-spar Front suspension KYB 43 mm inverted telescopic fork, fully adjustable Front wheel travel 4.72 inches Rear suspension Link type KYB shock, fully adjustable Rear wheel travel 5.12 inches Front tire 120/70 ZR17 Dunlop Roadsport 2 Rear tire 190/50 ZR17 Dunlop Roadsport 2 Front brakes Dual semi-floating 310mm discs with Brembo radial-mount 4-piston calipers, ABS Rear brakes Single 240mm disc with single-piston caliper, ABS Caster (rake) 25.0° Trail 3.9 inches Steering angle (left/right) 31° / 31° Overall length 84.2 inches Overall width 32.5 inches (excluding GT+ cases) Overall height 47.8 inches Wheelbase 57.4 inches Ground clearance 5.5 inches Seat height 31.9 inches Curb weight 498.0 pounds (claimed, GT+ excluding cases) Fuel capacity 5.0 gallons 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 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ Review – First Ride appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  14. One score (that’s 20) and no years ago, Honda re-sampled possibly its greatest hit – the 750 V-four Interceptor it had been building since 1983. A perineal favorite of sophisticated riders ever since its inception, not to mention winner of a slew of roadracing championships, the new 2002 VFR800 gained a few pounds, a fashionable undertail exhaust, and Honda’s VTEC variable valve system. It remained one of the slickest sporty tourers of all time, and Honda must’ve lost money on every one. The Gen 7 VFR800 that replaced it, circa 2014, was somehow neutered and overpriced, and when the last VFR quietly disappeared a few years later, few mourners were in attendance. Sad. More than just a face-lift for the perennial favorite. By MO Staff Jan. 04, 2002 Torrance, California, January 4, 2002 — To say that somebody or something is a legend in their own time has nowadays become almost a joke. It’s a phrase thrown about like so many bad jokes between men at seedy after-hours beer joints. Therefore, we’ll not use such verbiage in the context of this story, though you may consider it implied. Heavily.When Honda introduced its Interceptor in 1983 it was in the thick of the sport bike wars. In the ensuing 19 years, through a number of incarnations, it has won numerous World Superbike and AMA Superbike titles, notched up a mile-long list of race wins and become a perennial favorite of moto-journalists across the globe. The Year 2002 Interceptor cuts a much sharper profile than its predecessor. Thankfully, changes are not just cosmetic. Though it still possesses a number of features that may lead one to utterance of sporting glory, the Intercepter has gone a tad soft in recent years, leaving most of its racing roots firmly in its past. For the majority of riders, however, this is a good thing. After all, when’s the last time you had to hold off Fred Merkel on the way to your Sunday Morning breakfast nook? Seems today’s Interceptor owner is more interested in having the perfect do-it-all bike beneath them than an uncompromising road burner. For this all-purpose role, the Interceptor has known few peers, though competition is definitely getting rather stiff of late. To stave off the coming advances from European manufacturers, Honda engineers have seen fit to adorn the Year 2002 interceptor with a healthy dose of techno-gadgetry as well as some simple things we’ve been requesting for years. Honda’s latest iteration of their annoying Linked Braking System isn’t nearly as intrusive as year’s past. ABS is an option our test unit was not adorned with. “Under all the slick red plastic, however, lies a bit of techno-trickery we’d only expect from Honda.” To the eye, the most obvious difference between this bike and last year’s model is the body work. The new stuff is edgier and has more of an Akira does WSB look to it. Some may dismiss the styling effort as little more than a knock-off of Aprilia’s Futura, but few can deny the striking silhouette cut by this new Honda. The addition of optional hard luggage and the under-seat exhaust do little to dissuade comparisons with the Aprilia, though these same features go a long way towards distancing the new Interceptor from the bikes that came before it. Under all the slick red plastic, however, lies a bit of techno-trickery we’d only expect from Honda. The 781 cc DOHC motor now sports a VTEC valve train that’s similar in principle to the system found on cars such as their own Acura Integra. What it does, basically, is allow the motor to run on two valves below 7,000 RPM and on four valves above 7,000 RPM. The theory is that this provides the best of both worlds: Low RPM economy and mid-range power as well as high-RPM peak power. To go with its sportier image, Honda gave the suspension a make-over that resulted in a machine that feels more planted than ever. The VTEC system also does away with the gear-driven cams of the old bike. And even though this change eliminates the mechanical whine we’ve all grown so accustomed to, the swap to a silent-type cam-chain drive reduces engine weight by a solid 6.2 pounds.Working in conjunction with the VTEC motor’s valve actuation system is a similar system that resides in the intake tract. There is a solenoid-activated dual-air-intake-duct that keeps one duct closed during low-speed operation and then opens at higher RPMs. The new Interceptor is a 50-state model that exceeds the California Air Resource Board’s Year 2008 guidelines, thanks to the VTEC system. We thought increased power was part of the reason, but even in Honda’s own press material for the bike, not once is power mentioned as a benefit or even a byproduct of this VTEC technology. In reality – maybe were being a bit pessimistic here – all these systems seem to do is cut emissions and increase mileage at low RPM. The Interceptor’s gauge cluster is about as informative and tidy as they come. Center-mounted tach hints at the machine’s sporting nature. On the dyno, it made one less horsepower at peak and one foot-pound of torque more than last year’s model. But we all know that the road and the dyno are two completely different places. So what is it like to actually ride? On the road, the new Interceptor gets better mileage than last year’s bike and it makes beautiful sounds as the tachometer sweeps past the 7,000 RPM mark when the VTEC system invites the final two valves to the party. But really, for those of you – like us – who were hoping for more power, there’s really none to be had. Still, on the freeway, the heart of the VFR is still very much alive. At 4,300 RPM in top gear, you’re moving along at 65 MPH with barely a trace of the motor’s vibes coming through the bars. At 75 MPH the motor is turning over at 5,000 RPM and actually feels smoother than it did at lower speeds. “We often found ourselves coming out of corners at 6,000 RPM and then up-shifting at 8,000 RPM as many times as we could before we had to shut it down to make the next bend.” Though this new Interceptor weighs in a claimed 24 pounds heavier than last year’s model, the new machine doesn’t allow the rider to notice the extra heft. Honda says that, at the same road speeds, the new motor turns over at 50 fewer RPM than the old mill. It’s this, combined with the VTEC system, that provides such good mileage, returning upwards of 42 MPG through one particular 240 mile stint of highway and canyon riding that saw 4.6 gallons pass through the motor. When the motor sweeps past that magic 7,000 RPM mark, its very difficult to discern if there’s a real surge in power at that point or just a tonal change that fools the brain into thinking, “oh yeah, I’m going faster now.” Whether or not a surge in power is present, the motor is certainly fun to whup up on from time to time. We often found ourselves coming out of corners at 6,000 RPM and then up-shifting at 8,000 RPM as many times as we could before we had to shut it down to make the next bend. Wind protection, anybody? The new Interceptor has it, along with the same comfortable ergonomics as last year. Of course, you can run the bike right up to its rev limiter, as it seems to like it up there, but most of the time short-shifting will get you into the next bend nearly as quick. Besides, the motor is fun to play with like that. As smooth as the Interceptor’s motor is, the transmission is just as smooth and the fuel-injection is flawless. At no time does the bike surge or lurch or hesitate at any throttle opening in any gear, no matter how ham-handed the rider. The new motor isn’t the only part of this bike that received attention. The chassis has definitely improved, and everything from the 20 millimeter increase in wheelbase to the two millimeter larger forks combine to make this a more capable Interceptor. In the twisties, the ’02 Interceptor’s chassis feels a bit tighter and more composed than previous editions. Compared to last year’s suspenders, the new model’s front forks feature an increase in compression damping though they retain the same rebound damping. The rear shock, meanwhile, received a slightly stiffer spring as well as an increase in compression damping while the rebound damping rates were slightly softened. Mid corner bumps will get the suspension moving through its stroke – as should happen – but at no time does the bike feel wallowy. And though it’s not sport bike stiff, there’s a definite sporting quality to the suspension’s set-up so that even when the bike is moving around beneath you, it maintains its composure and provides the rider with a good amount of information. So much so that it’s easy to goad yourself into traversing your favorite roads at elevated speeds, dragging the peg-feelers around nearly every bend, all the while leaving your sphincter relatively relaxed. Through the years, one of the most endearing qualities of the Interceptor has been its sleeper factor, and it remains even today. While shooting photos we had our Year 2001 Yamaha YZF-R1 along for the ride. And though the R1 will leave the Honda for dead at the track, the Interceptor was able to keep pace with the Yamaha on the street. Dyno! Even at this accelerated pace, the Honda pilot was having a more enjoyable time. And therein lies the magic of the Interceptor that few bikes, if any, have been able to reproduce. Between the Interceptor’s looks, its V4 growl, the VTEC waaaah at 7,000 RPM, it’s sure-footed handling, excellent wind protection and excellent ergonomics, it’s a hard bike not to like, even if it’s not the bike we were hoping for. Specifications Model: 2002 VFR800FI Suggested Retail Price: $9,999, $10,999 Engine Type: 781cc liquid-cooled 90-degree V-4 Bore and Stroke: 72.0mm x 48.0mm Compression Ratio: 11.6:1 Valve Train: VTEC DOHC; four valves per cylinder Carburetion: PGM-FI with automatic enricher circuit Ignition: Computer-controlled digital with three-dimensional mapping and electronic advance Transmission: Close-ratio six-speed Final Drive: #530 O-ring-sealed chain Front Suspension: 43mm HMAS[tm] cartridge fork with spring-preload adjustability; 4.7-inch travel Rear Suspension: Pro Arm single-side swingarm with Pro-Link single HMAS gas-charged shock with seven-position spring-preload and rebound-damping adjustability; 4.7-inch travel Front Brakes: Dual full-floating 296mm discs with LBS[tm] three-piston calipers Rear Brake: Single 256mm disc with LBS three-piston caliper (ABS option available) Front Tire: 120/70ZR-17 radial Rear Tire: 180/55ZR-17 radial Wheelbase: 57.4 inches Rake (Caster Angle): 25.5 degrees Trail: 95.0mm (3.74 inches) Seat Height: 31.7 inches Dry Weight: 472.0 pounds (Optional ABS 483.0 pounds) Fuel Capacity: 5.8 gallons, including 0.8-gallon reserve Color: Red The post Church of MO: 2002 Honda VFR Interceptor First Ride appeared first on Motorcycle.com. 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  15. Dear MOby? Will they ever bring it back? Great bikes. Rick York Gmail man Dear Rick, As we’re all not aware, the Mean Streak was a power cruiser Kawasaki sprung in 2002, when power cruisers were a big deal. The Harley-Davidson V-Rod had appeared a few years earlier, in 1999, and imitation was the sincerest form of flattery then as now – even weak imitation. What you were looking at in 2002 was a 1470cc Kawasaki SOHC fuel-injected 50-degree V-Twin, which was bumped up to 1552cc via a bore increase, from 2004 until the Streak ended after 2008. In spite of all those cubic centimeters – and hotter cams, higher compression, bigger valves in freer-flowing heads and larger fuel-injection throttle bodies – the Mean Streak wasn’t particularly fast. But it was fast enough, and did have a reputation for being pretty sporty thanks to its inverted cartridge-style fork, air- and damping-adjustable shocks, big dual front disc brakes with six-piston calipers, and sporty 17-inch wheels. Seems like it was a nice-enough bike and comfortable/practical, too, judging from MO’s 2007 Power Cruisers Shootout, where the Streak finished in a disappointing tie for next-to-last place with the Yamaha V-Max (which was kind of a wild-card entry). 2007 Power Cruisers Shootout Guest tester Buzglyd(!) nicely summed up why: So, with the third largest engine of the five, nice styling, a comfortable riding environment, light handling, great brakes and the tiniest price tag, how is it that the Mean Streak winds up one tick off the bottom? Buzglyd summarizes it best when he said, “We all marveled at what a good all-around motorcycle it was and it’s clearly the most inexpensive in the test. If you’re a 40 year-old virgin looking to be a badass this might be your machine. But this [category] is about being bold and dangerous; not virtuous. As nice as it is, I voted it Miss Congeniality.” Cruisers and customs of all kinds did not do well in the aftermath of the Housing Bubble implosion. An interesting tidbit from that 2007 comparison was this: Today Kawasaki’s cruiser line-up consists of 15 models, 14 of which proudly carry the Vulcan name. From the Vulcan 500 LTD all the way up to the mighty Vulcan 2000, Kawasaki offers a formidable line to suit just about everyone’s needs. Fifteen years later, I count four Kawasaki Vulcans – and two of them are the same bike, the 1700 Vaquero and Voyager. The cruiser herd has definitely been culled. NO. The answer to your question is “no.” Kawasaki is not going to start building a 2002 model again 20 years later. Only Harley-Davidson could get away with that. Actually, even Harley can’t get away with it anymore, thanks to way stricter emissions regulations among other things. The happy news, if you want a Mean Streak, is that there are plenty of perfectly preserved ones for sale. In the Mean Streak’s heyday, everybody was buying a power cruiser and a second house whether they wanted one or not: Plenty of people found out they really didn’t, but also didn’t want to come out on the short end of their “investment.” Hence, things got pushed to the back of the garage and forgotten. The key is to find your niche and stick to it, and in hindsight, the Aughts were kind of a golden era, just before all kinds of cars and motorcycles sort of went overboard with computerized complexity. A quick googling of Kawasaki Mean Streak for sale turns up 14 Mean Streaks on Cycle Trader, in the $4,000 to $6,000 range, including this orange 2005 number in Wenatchee, Washington, showing 4241 miles and asking $6500 OBO. My best offer would be considerably lower, but it seems the Streaks have held value better than you’d (I’d) expect. Most of them have aftermarket pipes and Power Commanders, which you may or may not want, but as in any used-vehicle tango, caveat emptor. Anyway, it’s hard to break a Kawasaki, really; they’re all reliable vehicles, and all the Streaks also come with the subject of our last Ask MO: shaft drive. Warrior, what is it good for? The Mean Streak’s a perfectly okay motorcycle if that’s what you like, but we’d be remiss in our duties if we ignored the power cruiser that won that 2007 shootout by a significant margin, wouldn’t we? Though it’s actually become a bit of a cult bike, the Road Star Warrior that Yamaha began cranking out in 2002 looks like it’s not selling for much more money than the Streak these days. First Ride: 2002 Yamaha Road Star Warrior This thing’s cool enough that former Cycle World EiC and savvy collector David Edwards bought one. A crazy mix of American nostalgia and Japanese samurai sword, the Warrior houses an air-cooled pushrod V-Twin in an aluminum frame, with an inverted fork and R1 brakes, single-shock rear end (adjustable), belt drive, and 17-inch wheels including a 200mm rear. That 2007 comparison test ended with: …MO thinks that you’ll agree with us that the Star Midnight Warrior [a blacked-out version] is the one to have. It doesn’t have all the horsepower or all the torque but it has more than enough of each. Nor does it have the most refined and honed appearance. But at least it’s modern looking, and bad ass, too. This bike will certainly get you into trouble with Mr. Man. It will also create some grief for the regulars at the drag strip or the arrogant youths careening up and down the twisty roads. Do you have a riding partner who refuses to let you have all the fun? Stick her or him on the back and cruise to your heart’s content. The Warrior will do all this and more, for a mere $1,700 more than the least-expensive bike in the test. On top of that, and very unusual for a Japanese cruiser, Yamaha came out shortly with a bunch of Speedstar performance parts for the bike, based as I recall, on this Patrick Racing Warrior. Oh hey, look. That stuff is still available. Today, I count exactly zero Road Stars on Yamaha’s website, though its big $30k Star Venture touring machine is still powered by a modern version of that excellent air-cooled pushrod V-Twin. But it barely matters, as there’s a plethora of Warriors on Cycle Trader, a few with under 5000 miles retaining the cool stock sewer pipe exhaust, in the $4 – 7k range. Lately, the cure for middle-age moto-malaise has been the adventure bike, but cruisers have never gone entirely away. And from where we sit (on the back patio, ogling used motorcycles online) the Mean Streak and the Road Star Warrior were, and still are all these years later, two of the best of the breed: Reasonably upright and nearly ergonomically correct, and with the added bonus of low seat heights. Getting great deals on lightly used things like these is one of life’s great pleasures. We advise you to take full advantage. Send pics of whatever you wind up with! (I vote Warrior.) Direct your motorcycle-related questions to AskMoAnything@motorcycle.com, Remember, the only dumb question is the one you ask in public using your real name. Oh brother. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post Ask MO Anything: Will Kawasaki Ever Bring Back the Mean Streak? appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  16. Cardo Systems has been a leading manufacturer of motorcycle communicators since 2004 when it introduced the first Bluetooth headsets designed for riders. The latest from Cardo is the Packtalk Edge, a new flagship product offering faster connectivity, improved sound quality, and a more compact chassis. The Packtalk Edge is powered by Cardo’s second-generation Dynamic Mesh Communication technology. Like the first generation, DMC gen. 2 can connect up to 15 riders within a range of up to a mile (or 1.6 km), and is self-healing, allowing riders to reconnect to the network automatically if they move out of range. The second generation system is simpler and offers a faster grouping process than earlier Cardo communicators while providing clearer wideband intercom audio for improved sound quality. For connecting with headsets from other manufacturers, Cardo equipped the Packtalk Edge with a Bluetooth 5.2 chip, with faster pairing and improved security, while also working more efficiently to prolong battery life compared to the 4.1 chip used on previous Packtalk headsets. Cardo worked with JBL to redesign the sound system for the Packtalk Edge. The 40 mm JBL speakers are the same size as the Packtalk Bold’s (though smaller than the 45 mm speakers on the Packtalk Black), but the sound quality improved thanks to a new music processor and three redesigned audio profiles. The Cardo Packtalk Edge received a new noise-canceling microphone to better hone in on your voice. An updated Natural Voice Operation engine makes it easier to use voice commands. The Packtalk Edge responds to a number of voice commands initiated by the keywords “Hey Cardo”. New for the Packtalk Edge are voice commands for sharing music and muting or unmuting the microphone. There are also a number of quality-of-life improvements. The Cardo Packtalk Edge’s waterproof casing is slimmer than previous communicators, and loses the pop-up antenna, making it more compact and reducing aerodynamic drag. The Packtalk Edge also comes with a magnetic “Air Mount”, replacing the clunkier “click-in” mounts on earlier headsets. Simply bring the Packtalk Edge close to the magnetic cradle and it will snap into place with little effort. Like most recent smartphones and mobile devices, the Packtalk Edge ditches the previous micro USB connector for the more robust, and reversible USB Type-C connector. Not only can you finally get rid of your old micro USB cable, the Type-C port allows for fast charging, so you can get up to two hours of talk time from plugging in your Packtalk Edge for just 20 minutes. A full charge can be gained in 1.5-2 hours of charging. The USB-C connection can be used to download and install updates from your computer, but the Cardo Packtalk Edge is also capable of Over-the-Air software updates. After downloading the software to your phone, you can wireless install the update directly to the Packtalk Edge. The new Cardo Packtalk Edge is available at retailers now, for an MSRP of $389. For more information, visit CardoSystems.com. The post Cardo Packtalk Edge appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  17. Things move at their own pace in the South. When it’s not stifling, the warm, humid breeze gently blowing through the Spanish moss-strewn southern live oaks relaxes in a way that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. It puts you in a southern state of mind – one where slowing down and living in the moment just feels like the thing to do. Royal Enfield’s new Classic 350 is the perfect pairing for such a place. A historic setting for a historic machine. 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Historic Classic 350 styling with just enough modernity to make it easy to live with. Editor Score: 81% Engine 17.5/20 Suspension 12.5/15 Transmission 8/10 Brakes 6.5/10 Instruments 3/5 Ergonomics 7.5/10 Appearance 8.5/10 Desirability 8.5/10 Value 9/10 + Highs Smooth engine and transmission Good looks with attention to detail Approachable size – Sighs Questionable manufacturing decisions Not quite fast enough for the speediest American freeways I’m going to need more seat time This new model is built from the same platform first introduced as the Meteor 350 a year ago, sharing much of the same componentry. We didn’t have a chance to test that bike, so the Classic would be MO’s first chance to throw a leg over Enfield’s modern air/oil-cooled 349cc Single. With the success of Royal Enfield’s recent models: the Himalayan and Twin-powered International and Continental GTs, I was curious to see if this new platform followed suit. From what I was told by Royal Enfield North America’s President, Krishnan Ramaswamy, we will have more to be excited about, too with a handful of new models to be released in the next 18 months or so (not all of which will be variants of existing platforms). Everything you need, nothing you don’t The Dark series, available in Stealth Black (pictured) and Gunmetal Grey, come with cast wheels and tubeless CEAT tires. The other seven colorways including the Signals series (pictured in Marsh Grey) are equipped with spoked wheels that require tubes. That’s how Ramaswamy described the Classic 350. What you see is what you get with the Classic. Sure, it has ABS, fuel injection, and electric start, but that pretty much covers the technology within. That’s not to say the 349cc Thumper isn’t an example of modern engineering though. Firing to life with the twist of a retro start/kill switch, the Single produces a satisfying thump from its single pea-shooter exhaust pipe. The oversized accessory footpegs shown above made the already low shift lever much more difficult to get to. Being that they aren’t that much larger than the stock pegs, I can’t see any benefit in swapping to these. You can feel the engine pulses at a standstill, but the moment you roll on the throttle the vibes are left behind giving way to a smooth ride thanks to its balancer shaft. It also delivers a bit more pep from a stop than I thought it would. Royal Enfield claims 20.2 hp at 6,100 rpm and 19.9 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. “It’s all about the torque,” says Ramaswamy. It’s true. For a bike destined to spend much of its time around town and on back roads tasked with mostly recreational riding, but expected to still pull daily duty, it makes sense to put an emphasis on the low end. In addition to the oversized footpegs, my bike was equipped with the touring rider and passenger seats which are ribbed and finished with grey piping. I couldn’t tell much of a difference between the two seats during my limited time on the bike. On an extended freeway cruise, the Classic 350 managed a top speed of 75 mph with me on board (with my chin bar on the tank). It was relatively easy to reach 65, but the miles per hour start to be more slowly achieved after that. Since you’ll be rowing through the five-speed gearbox quite a bit, I was thankful to find shifting to be smooth and positive, with pull at the clutch lever unlikely to cause fatigue for anyone. Braking components are supplied by Bybre and get the job done, but at speed, you’ll want to plan on braking earlier than you might normally. Feel at the lever is mush, and the rear brake’s oversized pedal doesn’t allow for much finesse. It’s when you really try to dig into the braking power that you’re reminded that the Classic 350 does certainly have some heft to it. The Classic 350 uses a 19/18 wheel combo. The bike feels solid, I kept thinking to myself. Solid. It kept crossing my mind. Solid as in, well put together, giving a feeling of robustness, but at the same time, like a solid hunk of metal – which it is. RE claims 430 lbs with its 3.4-gallon tank 90% full of fuel. Unless you’re trying to stop in a hurry, the Classic carries its weight quite well with much of it low to the ground. The spec sheet says the seat height is 31.7 inches, but I would’ve guessed lower. It is also really well-balanced making low-speed u-turns and other maneuvers easy to carry out. The Signals models (pictured in Desert Sand) are inspired by Royal Enfield’s association with Indian armed forces, and commemorate 65 years of working with the Indian army. The suspension works a bit better than I expected as well. The non-adjustable fork uses 41mm tubes with 5.12 inches of travel and it’s a similar story in the rear, though there is a six-step adjustable preload from the twin rear shocks. Hard hits reveal the damping isn’t terribly complex, but normal conditions delivered a compliant ride without feeling too soft – as is often the case on lower-priced machines. RE tells us: “Later this season, look for the release of the Halcyon collection (pictured in Halcyon Forest Green), styled after the original 1950’s British roadsters. Halcyon Forest Green, Halcyon Black, and Halcyon Blue will be available for $4499. The Chrome Red and Chrome Brown models, featuring a mirror finish and special badging, will also be arriving later in 2022, and will be available for $4699.” The bike looks somewhat small and is quick to turn around town, though, at highway speeds, the low CoG kept the bike stable. Ergonomically, at 5’8” with 30-inch getaway sticks, I found the Classic 350’s riding position perfectly neutral, though I might prefer the bars rotated back slightly. The bike being well-balanced combined with its low seat height inspired confidence while squirting around cobbled streets, weaving in and out of traffic. Unfortunately, I can’t comment on the machine’s cornering ability as there are no curves in or around Savannah, at least not that we rode. First impressions are important But they’re not everything. My first impressions were pretty positive. The Classic 350 is a subjectively good-looking motorcycle with fit, finish, and performance (as far as I could tell) that is worthy of a higher price point than its $4,500 starting MSRP would suggest. That said, I feel the need to explain that our first taste of the Classic 350 did not give us the chance to get much more than just that. The few Georgia natives that joined us on our test ride kept telling stories of how great the riding is up north. “If you’re out here in my neck of the woods (northern GA) give me a shout and I’ll show you some great riding.” Southern hospitality, as they say. Unfortunately, as swell as Savannah is as a match for the Classic 350, the “lowlands” as I heard it called, of Georgia don’t make for the best proving grounds for motorcycle testing. Most of my time was spent bolt upright (as is evident in the photography) aside from the on-ramp to the bridge crossing into South Carolina where I managed to touch down the oversized accessory footpegs on the Dark model I was piloting. The roads were flat and straight. They kind of reminded me of riding in the middle of the US where I’m from – and also part of the reason I left. As far as I can tell The Classic 350 delivers on all of its promises. Everything you need, nothing that you don’t. The machine looked great in the Dark and Signal trims that we got to sample, with nice styling touches that elevate the machine’s presence. They feel tight and well-assembled (even if some components like the handlebar clamp seem puzzling), the transmission is smooth as southern bourbon and the 350 mill is as sweet as a Savannah praline. The “Tiger Eyes” are just one example of the subtle interesting touches found throughout the Classic 350. I’d like to spend more time with Royal Enfield’s Classic 350 – preferably one clad in Halcyon Forest Green or Chrome Brown when they’re available. It would be nice to live with the machine to see if it could truly be a great-looking all-rounder rather than just a Sunday cruiser. Time will tell, but the Classic 350 seems to be on par with Royal Enfield’s new era of excellent mid-sized machines. In Gear Helmet: AGV X3000 Jacket: REV’IT! Prometheus Gloves: Racer Mickey Jeans: SA1NT Unbreakable Boots: Red Wing Iron Ranger 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Specifications Engine Type Single-cylinder, air/oil-cooled four-stroke Displacement 349cc Bore x Stroke 72.0 x 85.8 mm Compression Ratio 9.5 : 1 Horsepower 20.2 bhp @ 6100 rpm (claimed) Torque 19.9 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm (claimed) Clutch Wet, multi-plate Gearbox 5 Speed, constant mesh Lubrication Wet sump, forced lubrication Engine Oil SAE 15W-50 API, SL Grade, JASO MA 2 semi-synthetic Fuel Supply Electronic Fuel Injection Air Cleaner Paper element Starter Electric Frame Twin downtube spine frame Front Suspension Telescopic, 41mm Forks, 5.1 inches of travel Rear Suspension Twin tube emulsion shock absorbers w/ 6-step adjustable preload Front Brake 300 mm Disc, Bybre twin piston floating caliper Rear Brake 270 mm Disc, Bybre single piston floating caliper ABS Dual Channel Front Tire 100/90 – 19″ – 57P Rear Tire 120/80 – 18″ – 62P Wheelbase 54.7 inches Ground Clearance 6.7 inches Length 84.45 inches Width 30.9 inches (without mirrors) Height 42.91 inches (without mirrors) Seat Height 31.69 inches Curb Weight 430 lbs (with 90% fuel & oil), claimed Fuel Capacity 3.43 gallons Electrical System 12V – DC Battery 12V, 8 AH, VRLA (Maintenance free) Head Lamp 12V, H4-60/55W (Halogen) w/ LED Light Guide Tail Lamp 12V, P21/5W Turn Signal Lamp 12V, 10W x 2 Nos. 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 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Review – First Ride appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  18. One day is good, but more is better. Words to live by if you appreciate consecutive long days of motorcycle touring. With thousands of kilometers of roads spider-webbing across Ontario, Canada, putting a memorable multi-day tour together is time-consuming. Lucky for us, the GoTourOntario.ca website can get you started but allow us to make it even easier with this collection of five Ontario motorcycle routes you don’t want to miss. The Grand Algoma Tour – 682 km Containing perhaps two of Ontario’s best motorcycling experiences, the spectacular two-day Grand Algoma tour deserves the top spot on any “I have to ride this.” bucket list. Rolling east from Sault Ste. Marie along the North Channel of Lake Huron, be sure to fuel the body at the famous Bobbers Restaurant in Bruce mines before turning north on to memorable experience number one, Hwy 129. Snaking its way between water and rock, there is a reason why this road is referred to as the tail of the dragon north; yes, we’re talking twists here. Along the way, Tunnel Lake Trading Post & Motel and the Black Creek Outfitters further north offer a chance for gas, food, or rest. In Chapleau, stop by Engine 5433 and get a glimpse into the community’s railway heritage before turning west onto Hyw 101 and enjoy grand vistas and leisurely cruising. In Wawa, drop your bags at the moto-friendly Wawa Motor Inn, and it’s time to play tourist; take a selfie with the Wawa Goose, ice cream at Young’s General Store or maybe a swim and some beach time at Wawa Lake. If you don’t mind a bit of gravel under your wheels, the nearby Magpie Scenic High Falls and the spectacular Sandy Beach along the Lake Superior shoreline are well worth the effort. Day two is all about Lake Superior and memorable experience number two. The visual delight that presents itself as you drop into Old Woman Bay, the towering cliffs, the water, and the beach is why I ride this loop counterclockwise. The “wow” moments keep coming all ride long, as do reasons to stop; Lake Superior Provincial Park has so much to see and explore. At Agawa Crafts and the Canadian Carver, partake in some gift shopping and sample the famous apple fritters at The Voyageurs’ Lodge and Cookhouse. Georgian Bay Coastal Route – 1400 km Georgian Bay is sometimes referred to as the 6th Great Lake and with a coastline of approximately 1400 kilometers and natural wonders such as the Niagara Escarpment, the La Cloche Mountains, and some of the world’s best freshwater beaches. I say that’s reason enough to hop on your bike and explore. The good folks at Northeastern Ontario agree, hence the Georgian Bay Coastal Route. From the sand and cottage-lined south shore to the rugged Bruce Peninsula, the touristy vibe of Tobermory and the view from the deck of MS Chi-Cheemaun Ferry as you make your way to Manitoulin Island, the allure is non-stop. The Anchor Inn Hotel in Little Current is perfect for spending the night. Enjoy a meal on the patio, stroll the shop-lined main street and take in a sunset over the historic Little Current Swing Bridge. Riding north along Hwy 6, you are in for a treat as it winds its way through the white quartz walls of the La Cloche Mountains. The north shore of the Georgian Bay is wild and inaccessible, forcing the route inland. A side trip to Killarney to snoop around Killarney Provincial Park, enjoy some fresh fish and chips at Herbert Fisheries or perhaps overnight at Killarney Mountain Lodge are all worth the detour. You can catch a glimpse of the iconic French River from the road, but do pull into the French River Provincial Park Visitor Centre for a better look. In Parry Sound, you can find many options for a night’s stay, and the patio at Trestle Brewing Company is a perfect spot to end the day. So much to do and see; three days on the Georgian Bay Coastal Route might be enough, but if you bring your bathing suit, four days is better. The Highlands Loop – 1000 km Ride the Highlands, Ontario’s premier moto playground, provides routes aplenty, but if you want to sample it all in one multi-day adventure, the 1000 km Highland loop is for you. The Ottawa River, Rideau Canal, Algonquin Park, Centennial Lake Road, Calabogie, and Tweed are all on the schedule and joined by twists and turns aplenty. With roads carved out of rock and between lakes, straightaways are a rarity here. To quote the Ride The Highland website, “Give yourself three days, not because you are slow, but because there is so much to see, eat, and do.” Yes, there is much to do along the Highlands Loop, a list too big to detail it all. Your best bet is to visit the website for the nitty-gritty, but I can offer a ‘few been there done that’ favorites. A rider’s got to eat; the Wilno Tavern, Heartwood Restaurant, the Redneck Bistro in Calabogie or the famous Iron Rooster Rotisserie and Grill are worthy stops. Memories are as much part of a tour as the ride, and these stops are sure to leave an impression. Head underground at the Bonnechere Caves, learn the craft of glass blowing at Artech Glassblowing Studios or step back in time at Champlain Trail Museum and Pioneer Village. A good night’s rest is guaranteed at Sir Sam’s Inn, the charming Somewhere Inn Calabogie or perhaps a stay at Bonnie View Inn, where riders are welcomed with a 10% discount. Don’t forget to pick up your Ride The Highlands patch. The Big Loop – 1000km Making your way through Muskoka’s abundance of lakes and Canadian Shield outcrops makes for some of the best motorcycle touring in the province. The only way the 1000 km Big Loop manages to navigate all the obstacles is with an abundance of twists and turns. From the heart of Muskoka to the shore of Georgian Bay, the remote vibe of Hyw 522 and cruising through Algonquin Park, this ride is sure to leave an impression on and off the bike. Linking many of Ontario’s best motorcycling roads and peppered with reasons to stop, you can do it in two days, but more is always better. Accommodations are as varied as the roads, from quaint B&B’s like the Four Ninety Muskoka in Gravenhurst, a resort experience at Deerhurst, or maybe a cabin stay at Bristlecone Lodge Resort. Every time I ride my favorite road, Hyw 518, coffee and a sweet treat at The Trail Mix is a must. As is breakfast at Jake’s Place along Hyw 522 or lunch at The Mad Musher along Hyw 60, 5 minutes from the East Gate of Algonquin Park in Whitney. Nor’Wester – 555-613 km Heading west from Thunder Bay, the Nor’Wester loop showcases the best of northern Ontario’s landscape of lakes and Canadian Shield. Depending on how you approach the ride, the distance can vary a bit from 555 km to 613 km; either way, two days will do nicely. It was planned initially as a way for riders travelling from western Canada to connect with the epic Lake Superior Circle Tour. As it turns out, with various attractions and accommodations and a spectacular setting, the Nor’Wester is a worthy destination for your next moto tour. Be sure to grab a selfie with the 40 foot tall Husky the Muskie in Kenora. Referred to as the Niagara of the North, the Kakabeka Falls plunge 40 meters over sheer cliffs, definitely a sight to see. West of Kenora, the Keewatin Rock-Holes are another natural wonder worthy of a stop. The Riverview Lodge is a perfect spot to unwind after a day on the bike with a balance of rustic charm and luxury plus fine and casual dining options. In the Fort Frances & Rainy River District, along the scenic shores of beautiful Rainy Lake, La Place Rendez-Vous Hotel offers lake views and fantastic food. In Thunder Bay, take in the Lake Superior views from your room at the Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel & Suites and enjoy a meal at the many eateries in the area. Spending a day on your motorcycle is fantastic, but more is better. With an abundance of multiple-day tours throughout Ontario, your biggest challenge is time; hopefully, the above routes will save you time planning and get you out riding. The post 5 Ontario Motorcycle Routes You Don’t Want to Miss appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  19. It’s good to be the king. At least, that’s what it feels like to anyone racing a Kawasaki Ninja 400. When it comes to small-bore track or race bikes, what is a field of several – Yamaha R3, Honda CBR500, and KTM RC390 included – has been whittled down to a field of one: the Ninja 400. Virtually anywhere in the world that has a class for little bikes of this size will see a field dominated by the little green machines. Heck, we called it the winner back in 2018 during our Lightweight Sportbike Shootout, too.  The reasons are obvious: the Ninja 400 punches above its weight while still being approachable to riders of all skill levels. For its class, the 399cc parallel-Twin is punchy and vibrant, with smooth power and great fueling from top to bottom. In stock trim, its supporting cast of brakes, chassis, and suspension are all adequate for the task, too. But as we know, “adequate” isn’t good enough for track riding or racing, and here the aftermarket has come to the rescue with parts to cure basically every one of the Ninja’s shortcomings. 2022 Kawasaki Ninja 400 vs. 2022 KTM RC390 Since its introduction, the Kawasaki Ninja 400 has been the bike to beat in small-bore racing categories around the world. For 2022, however, KTM has revised and updated the only bike that’s been able to give the Ninja a run for its money: the RC390. It’s a valiant effort by the Ready To Race team, but is it enough? 2022 Kawasaki Ninja 400 + Highs Excellent engine Easy to ride quickly Fun no matter what your skill level – Sighs Wet noodle chassis Brakes can get overwhelmed after a hard day of track riding Suspension is bare bones 2022 KTM RC390 + Highs Excellent chassis, especially for the category Strong brakes (steel braided lines are a nice touch) Nice that it has IMU-assisted ABS and TC, not that we ever used either – Sighs Needs more power and/or better fueling The autoblipper is supposed to make shifting easier, not harder Still needs some work to beat the Ninja It might be hard to remember, but there used to be a brief time when the KTM RC390 was the bike to have in the class. With a mantra like “Ready To Race,” anybody who wanted to do exactly that would be justified for grabbing the little Orange bike. Over time, though, it became evident that the Ninja was simply an easier motorcycle to go fast on. Couple that with reliability issues for the KTM (at least early models), and the writing was on the wall for the RC. Or Was It? Not ones to take a challenge lying down, KTM has updated the RC390 for 2022. Ostensibly, the changes come in a bid to comply with Euro5 standards, but it can also be viewed as an attempt to claw back its standing against the Kawasaki. With a new, lighter frame, lighter wheels, new airbox, IMU-enhanced ABS and traction control, an autoblipper, adjustable suspension, and reshaped fuel tank and bodywork, on paper it seems like there’s a lot to like about the updated 390. Green bikes have dominated the small-bore category of production-based racing. It’s about time to bring back a little orange. One thing you won’t see, however, is a new or updated engine. The 390 Single is fed air differently because of the new airbox, but it’s largely the same as before. Still, the combination of these changes got the MO crew wondering if KTM had done enough to dethrone the Kawasaki for track superiority. Clearly, there was only one way to find out. Time For A Track Showdown! Not ones to resist an opportunity to go to the track, we took the RC390 and Ninja 400 to Buttonwillow Raceway with our friends at Trackdaz to settle the score once and for all. Other than replacing the stock tires for the super sticky Bridgestone R11 rubber, we kept both bikes completely stock. For this test we also wanted to get a broader range of opinions other than my own, so we brought in some special guests. Our pal Mark Miller needs no introduction, but I’ll give him one anyway. A former AMA champion with 50-something Isle of Man TT starts under his belt, “Thriller” Miller is currently the fastest American around the Isle. More than just black, round, and sticky, Bridgestone developed the Battlax R11 to carry on where the Battlax R10 left off. Aron Smetana joins us next, and while he may not be a name familiar to some of you, he was the man who played a huge part in helping MO collect data for our 7-bike Heavyweight Naked Shootout and the subsequent Data Mining story, comparing how three riders, on three different motorcycles, lapped within a second of each other. A track-riding regular aboard his Triumph Daytona 765 and Street Triple (and even his BMW GS on occasion!), Smetana also owns a Ninja 400 in race trim and used to race an RC390 before that. Last, but certainly not least, we have Kate Afanasyeva. She and her brother Dennis run Beach Moto, a premier motorcycle apparel retailer in Los Angeles. When she’s not at the shop you can usually find her at the track aboard her Yamaha R6, either dicing it up or coaching new track riders at many Let’s Ride trackday events. Having gotten her start with track riding aboard a Kawasaki Ninja 300, the benefits of small displacement motorcycles as you move up the ladder is not lost on her, and Kate brings a refreshing perspective to this test. Our testers and video crew, putting the bikes through their paces so you don’t have to. The premise here was simple: all four riders would swap back and forth on the two bikes throughout our trackday to gather their impressions on each in the track environment. At the end of the day a discussion was had and a winner was chosen. Fortunately, we all didn’t see eye to eye. Track Chops Before even getting to the track impressions, our first surprise came on the Rottweiler Performance dyno, where the KTM put down 40 horsepower compared to the Kawasaki’s 43.4. Torque was almost identical – 24.6 lb-ft for the Ninja, 24.1 lb-ft for the KTM. The surprise comes with how sloppy the RC’s dyno graph looks. With more zigs and zags than the Alps, the RC is particularly ugly in the upper mid-range, with a huge flat spot that rises sharply at 8,000 rpm before plateauing again for 1,600 rpm en route to redline. It’s really quite shocking how bad the fuel curve is. Yuck. The KTM’s jagged edges, huge flat spots, and long plateaus prove to be huge handicaps on the track, too. Meanwhile, the Kawasaki’s power and torque graphs look buttery smooth. We wish both bikes could keep climbing in their respective upper rev ranges instead of falling flat. Conversely, the Ninja’s graph looks buttery smooth in comparison, rising steadily before hitting its peak at 10,300 rpm and carrying the overrev for another 2,000 rpm. It’s clear both bikes are being choked in the upper rev range, but at least the Ninja’s power is delivered smoothly and in linear fashion. This was also what our riders felt on track, as the Kawasaki was easy to ride and power was easy to extract. Our riders agreed that turning the throttle was met with a commensurate amount of power, and the Kawi’s wide overrev instilled a sense of comfort allowing them to wring the Ninja’s neck. Mark’s trying everything he can on the KTM to keep up with the Kawasaki. He’s so obsessed with lightness that he shucked his knee puck mid-turn! (See the black object beside his head) You’re forced to squeeze every last ounce you can out of the KTM and stretch its digital throttle cable, because the RC’s big problem is simply how slow it is. You don’t feel the midrange fueling jumps because you’re spending most of your time getting to WFO as fast as you can. A difference of three horsepower isn’t much, but the RC has basically plateaued at 8,600 rpm and you’re left riding a flat spot until the engine signs off at 10,000 rpm. Meanwhile, the Kawasaki is just getting into its stride and pulling away easily. In this case, we didn’t need the dyno chart to tell us the RC390 was glaringly slower than the Kawasaki. We quickly learned the KTM didn’t have the power to overcome the resistance from sticking a knee out during long sweepers. As in, we could feel ourselves slowing down when the knees came out, so the trick became keeping body parts tucked in for as long as possible during a lap. Combine this lack of power with the ultra-sticky R11 rubber and the IMU-assisted traction control took the day off. Both Aron and Kate were gracious and diplomatic in describing the KTM’s power shortcomings, though Kate made an excellent point about the RC’s anemic nature being a good thing for the completely green track rider, as they’ll be able to benefit from learning the finer points of track riding before worrying about power management. Meanwhile, Thriller Miller didn’t even need to touch his knee down on the Kawasaki to stay in front of the KTM. With Mark and I riding, whoever was on the Ninja was constantly throttling off to let the KTM rider catch up. Its power advantage was that apparent. However, Thriller discovered short shifting the 390 just as it hit its peak (instead of letting it inch towards redline) gave it the best shot of keeping the Ninja in its sights. Of course, once sixth gear is reached it’s bye bye Kawi. Transmission KTM gets credit for incorporating an autoblipper to the RC, but its operation still needs fine-tuning. But this highlighted the other glaring downfall for the Orange bike. Despite being equipped with an autoblipper for clutchless shifts both up and down – an item I’m normally a huge advocate for – the system KTM employs feels entirely half-baked. Upshifts require a firm lift from your toe and are clunky with each selected gear. Agricultural was the best way I could describe it. To its credit, clutchless downshifts were acceptable, but many of our testers ultimately decided to pretend the autoblipper didn’t exist and shifted the old-fashioned way. The only sensor the Kawasaki has is the one telling you which gear you’re in, and in typical Kawasaki style its analog gearbox rowed through the gears just fine. Considering the KTM’s autoblipper is largely software-based, with no visible sensors shown near the shifter, there’s hope that the aftermarket (or even KTM itself) can come up with new code to make shifts smoother. Doing so would be a big improvement. Handling Now that we’ve established the KTM is weak in the area it didn’t change, the engine, and should have spent more time developing its autoblipper, let’s give the RC credit where it’s due. All of our testers agreed the KTM’s chassis was much better than the Ninja’s. Where the Kawasaki would feel like a “wet noodle” (Mark’s words), the RC chassis felt stable and composed. Kate said it inspired confidence in her because she knew what the bike was doing when she leaned over, whereas the Ninja was “squirming” underneath her, zapping a little bit of confidence. Miller liked how the 390 gave him better feel and control from the front end – something he thought was vague on the Kawasaki. It’s amazing KTM went through the effort to have removable braces in the frame to dial in the amount of flex based on rider preference. Not that any of us had any complaints with the standard setup. The KTM chassis is stellar, with none of the flex we associate with small-displacement, inexpensive sportbikes. Kate was especially a fan. Speaking of adjustability, Smetana really appreciated having adjustable suspension both front and rear on the KTM. The Ninja only offers rear preload adjustment. Granted, how effective the WP adjustability actually is is still up for debate as we hardly made any adjustments to them all day – we really had no reason to. Coincidentally, Smetana’s personal Ninja 400 still uses the stock suspension. “I want to explore the limits of the stock stuff before I go upgrading,” he says. Which raises a good point: if you’re looking at either of these machines as entryways into track riding, they both have a lot to teach you when it comes to chassis setup – but those lessons reach the same point from vastly different angles. The Kawasaki’s lack of adjustments (assuming you don’t immediately upgrade from the aftermarket) forces you to learn and understand what a budget suspension and flexible frame feel like – a lesson that will serve you well no matter what you ride going forward. You can still go quickly, and once you’re ready to graduate, you’ll quickly be able to understand what aftermarket suspension, or even a proper supersport, offers with its superior componentry. In comparison, the Kawasaki chassis and suspension leave some to be desired. Perhaps it’s for this reason that Aron is keeping the stock suspension on his personal Ninja 400. If you can feel comfortable on a pogo stick, then you’ll feel comfortable on anything. The KTM, meanwhile, will bring you to the same point, but the base chassis won’t communicate the kind of obvious flex as the Kawi, meaning the bike won’t “talk” to you as much. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the adjustable suspension from the factory gives you an opportunity to try the whole range of adjustments to see what they feel like and bring you to the same conclusion. This solid feeling from the chassis, the one that more closely resembles what bigger, faster sportbikes feel like, is a big draw for Kate. Confidence is everything, especially for newer riders, and Kate got it from the RC. When it comes to track riding, it’s no surprise KTM also nailed the riding position. The bars are low and wide, beneath the triple clamp, and the seat is relatively high, putting the rider in the attack position. On the other side, Kawasaki’s aim was to find a balance with the Ninja 400. Its bars are high in comparison, a tad on the narrow side, above the triple, and the pegs are relatively low. We removed the peg feelers on the Ninja prior to our track outing and occasionally touched the pegs down anyway. We didn’t have any ground clearance issues on the KTM. Since the aftermarket has solved this “problem” for the Kawasaki we didn’t put too much weight on it, but it’s worth noting as a stock vs. stock comparison. Brakes A big rotor, radial caliper, and steel-braided line all give the KTM an edge in braking. When you’re already going slow, brakes aren’t something you use much of with little bikes like these. Nonetheless, these two contenders go about slowing down in different ways. Both have single discs, but the KTM’s 320mm rotor is 10mm larger than the Kawi’s, is paired with a radial ByBre caliper, and has a steel-braided line. The Ninja gets a conventional, axial-mounted two-piston caliper and makes do with a rubber line. Both bring their respective machines to a halt just fine, but it’s not surprising that the KTM gives better stopping power and better feel at the lever. All the testers were in agreement about this, though Mark commented about the 390’s master cylinder feeling a bit inconsistent at times. Despite its inferior components, the Kawasaki handled the track environment well and never left its rider feeling like they were really missing out by not being on the KTM. Despite being inferior on paper, the Kawasaki’s smaller rotor, axial caliper, and rubber lines are decent – though a tight track with lots of heavy braking would be a distinct disadvantage for the Ninja. Being a Ninja 400 owner himself, Smetana noted how several track riders and racers have noticed the stock rotor’s tendency to overheat and fade after only a day’s worth of hard riding. While I personally didn’t notice much drop off in the rotor’s performance from the beginning of the day to the end (maybe because I was using it less and relying more on engine braking?), the visual discoloration from the rotor by day’s end was noticeable compared to the RC. Smetana said he could feel the performance drop off. Meanwhile, Kate remarked that a master cylinder upgrade would be high on the list of changes she’d make to the Ninja if it were hers, the sponginess from the lever not to her liking. Looks In certain categories, a motorcycle’s appearance isn’t something we spend too much time worrying about, but when it comes to entry-level sporting motorcycles, aesthetics mean something. While I don’t have much of an issue with the Kawasaki’s styling – it’s a huge step up from the Ninja 250s and EX250/500 from 20 years ago – all of the other testers made a point about how common the Kawi’s styling is today. Miller wasn’t a fan of the “Darth Vader looks,” while Kate gave it the biggest dig: if you were to open a book on motorcycle design, it’s like sportbike styling 101. For what it’s worth, the KTM looks fresh, edgy, and different. Our testers liked that. Aron was particularly a fan of the RC’s matte blue and orange livery. Close, But No Cigar Here’s what it boils down to. On paper, there’s a lot to like about the KTM, but in the real world, the Kawasaki’s overall package wins the day. It’s true the KTM has the superior chassis for track use, and it really is the bike’s shining star, but its engine and transmission let it down in a huge way. Even though the Kawasaki is meant to be a street bike first, it’s far from unrideable at the track. Like we said before; if you can master it, you’ll be prepared for any bike you ride next. In this case of stock vs. stock, the better chassis is ultimately what led Kate to pick the RC390 as her choice for a track bike. “As long as we’re talking only track riding, not racing, I think the KTM is the one I’d pick, especially for newer riders,” she said. It’s hard to argue with the confidence the KTM has leaned over. If you’re just starting out, that’s big. However, what the Ninja 400 lacks in the handling department (which really isn’t that much), it more than makes up for in the engine bay. The parallel-Twin is so flexible, both experienced veterans and newer riders alike can get along with it right away and have a good time. Then, as Smetana points out, “the aftermarket for the Ninja is so huge, anything it lacks can be fixed.” At $5,799, the KTM comes in at the exact same price as the most-expensive Ninja 400 trim package, with the KRT livery and ABS, which is what we have here. The Kawasaki’s pricing can go as low as $5,199 if you choose to go without ABS. The Kawasaki Ninja 400 is still top dog on track in the small-bore category. Considering the level playing field as far as price goes, Aron, Mark, and I all picked the Kawasaki because it’s just so easy to go quickly on it. In a perfect world, there would be a bike with the KTM’s chassis and the Kawasaki’s engine. Now that would be a gem. In Gear – Kate Helmet: AGV Pista GP R Suit: REV’IT! Xena 3 Women’s Race Suit Gloves: PDainese Carbon D1 (Discontinued) Boots: Alpinestars Stella SMX Plus (discontinued) In Gear – Mark Helmet: Scorpion Helmets EXO-R1 AIR JUICE Suit: Joe Rocket Custom Suit Gloves: RST – TracTech Evo 4 Boots: Alpinestars SMX PLUS V2 In Gear – Aron Helmet: Bell Race Star DLX Flex Suit: Dainese Misano 2 D-Air Gloves: Held Titan EVO (Discontinued) Boots: Alpinestars SuperTech-R In Gear – Trizzle Helmet: LS2 Thunder Suit: Alpinestars GP Force Chaser Airbag: Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 Gloves: Racer Hi-Per Boots: Alpinestars Supertech R Specifications 2022 Kawasaki Ninja 400 2022 KTM RC390 Engine Type Liquid cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, four-valve, Parallel-Twin engine Liquid cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, four-valve, Single-cylinder engine Displacement 399cc 373cc Bore x Stroke 70.0 mm x 51.8 mm 89.0 mm x 60.0 mm Compression Ratio 11.5:1 12.6:1 Horsepower 43.4 hp at 10,300 rpm (measured) 40.1 hp at 9,000 rpm (measured) Torque 24.5 lb-ft. at 8,300 rpm (measured) 24.1 lb-ft. at 8,400 (measured) Starter Electric starter Electric starter Clutch Wet, multi-disc assist and slipper clutch PASC antihopping clutch, mechanically operated Transmission 6-speed, constant mesh, return shift 6-speed Chain Chain 520 X-Ring EMS Bosch EMS with RBW Lubrication Wet sump Wet sump Frame Trellis, high-tensile steel Powder-coated steel lattice Front Suspension 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork; 4.7 inches of travel WP APEX 3343 inverted fork with adjustable compression and rebound damping; 4.7 inches of travel Rear Suspension Horizontal back-link with adjustable spring preload; 5.1 inches of travel WP APEX 3446 monoshock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping; 5.9 inches of travel Front Brake Single 310mm semi-floating petal-type disc with 2-piston calipers Four-piston radial fixed caliper, single 320 mm disc Rear Brake Single 220mm petal-type disc with single-piston caliper Single-piston floating caliper, 230 mm ABS Dual-channel ABS Bosch 9.1MP Two Channel ABS (Supermoto ABS) Front Wheel Cast five-spoke wheel Cast five-spoke wheel Rear Wheel Cast five-spoke wheel Cast five-spoke wheel Front Tire 110/70 R 17 M/C 54H 110/70 R 17 M/C 54V TL Continental ContiRoad Rear Tire 150/60 R 17 M/C 66H 150/60 R 17 M/C 66V TL Continental ContiRoad Fuel Capacity 3.7 gallons 3.6 gallons Seat Height 30.9 inches 32.4 inches Ground Clearance 5.5 inches 6.2 inches Wheelbase 53.9 inches 52.8 inches Rake / Trail 24.7° / 3.6 inches 23.5° / 3.3 inches Wet Weight 370 pounds (measured) 362 pounds (measured) Service Intervals 15,200 miles 9,300 miles 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 Showdown: 2022 Kawasaki Ninja 400 vs KTM RC390 – At The Track appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  20. How many 25-year old motorcycles are still being sold anyway? The Honda XR650L springs to mind, but other than it, it’s too early on Easter Sunday to investigate further. Granted, the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic has undergone enough changes as to really not be the same machine anymore, yet that indelible American profile, architecture, and riding experience remain the same. Roll away the stone… The Definitive Study in Nostalgia By Don Crafts Mar. 15, 1997 It might not be your father’s Oldsmobile, but this is definitely his Harley. From its five-inch running lamps to the fishtail exhaust pipes, Harley’s Heritage Softail Classic is the definitive study in nostalgia. The lines are intimately familiar. Anyone who looks at a Heritage knows this is classic styling. Even if they never saw an original 1950’s motorcycle, they know this is what one looked like. Harley’s Heritage (or FLSTC as the factory likes to call it) is responsible for starting the whole retro-bike thang. With fat forks straight off a 1949 Harley-Davidson Hydra Glide, old-fashioned studded-leather saddlebags, chrome-studded seat, full windshield, floorboards, huge chrome headlamp and Fat Bob tank, the Heritage is a rolling blast from the past. Before there were Royal this, and American Classic that, fake air-cooling fins or chopped Gold Wings, there was the Heritage. A motorcycle produced by a company that made the real thing over forty years ago. There’s something about a bike made to recreate the 50’s that you just can’t get from a more “modern” ride. It’s the feeling of never being in a hurry. Never feeling like you have to push the bike to its limits. It’s a liberating feeling. Sit down in the spacious saddle, reach out for those wide comfortable bars and fire the motor. That’s all the effort this bike will ever demand of you. The Heritage is a simple pleasure. You don’t have to be told how to enjoy it. It comes naturally.Before we get any further into this, let me run over some basics for the uninitiated. Believe it or not, there was a time when motorcycles had no rear suspension. As you can imagine, the ride was pretty… well, hard. It isn’t difficult to figure out the derivation of the term hardtail. Secondly, before the advent of modern rubber compounds, motorcycles had their engines mounted rigidly to the frame. This made for bikes that shook like paint-mixers. Therefore, if you want to re-create a bike from the 50’s you need to mount its engine directly to the frame and give an appearance of no rear suspension. To accomplish this visual slight of hand, suspensions were designed with a set of twin shocks hidden under the bike. This arrangement allows for the look of a hardtail with the benefits of quasi-modern suspension. Hence, the term Softail. “It’s hard to cop an attitude when you’re stuck smiling and waving.”I may be the only person in the world to ever say this, but the Heritage Softail reminds me of the little Piaggio scooters I rode around the Greek Islands on my honeymoon. Not because this Harley is almost as quiet, and certainly not because it is light and nimble, but because it is so easy to jump on and bop around town. People may not usually associate Harley’s with “bobbing around,” but that’s what this one says to me. It doesn’t fill me with the urge to head for a far-off coast or to carve up any mountain sides. This bike has a different purpose. Perhaps the main reason the Heritage gives one the urge to “take it easy,” is its riding position. There’s only one way to sit on this bike, and it’s the same way your piano teacher made you sit. Back straight, feet directly below your knees and arms slightly bent, reaching comfortably out at mid-torso. This position forces you to smile, ride slowly and wave at everyone. It’s hard to cop an attitude or tear through town when you’re stuck smiling and waving. As delivered from the factory this bike is built for cruising slowly and soaking up scenery, which it does extremely well. And that brings up a very important point. Reviewing a stock Harley is a difficult thing to do because few Harley’s remain stock for very long. The design’s simplicity allows for almost unlimited customizing. So, if after reading this review you walk up to someone with a Heritage and tell them they have a very nice bike for bopping around town, you may then wonder why you got bopped on the nose. Like the animals you see in the zoo, wild Harley’s rarely resemble those found in the showroom. You have to love the Heritage Softail Classic for what it is and for what it is not. It’s a beautiful rendition of an old classic. The attention to detail does not go unnoticed. People can’t walk by it without saying, “Oh look, it has those old ____s on it. Just like the old ones.” Fit and finish on this ride is also top notch. And where would a retro 50’s bike be without chrome? No where. You can’t beat genuine Harley-Davidson chrome. The Heritage fairly beckons you with its gleam every time you open your garage door. As if to say: “What the hell are you doing that’s more important than riding?” Good question… NUMBER ONE NOSTALGIC FEATURE The inelegant on/off switch controlling the running lamps, located on the back of the triple clamp shroud. This is pure retro. What the Heritage also is, is real. One of the truly great things about a Harley is the nearly complete lack of plastic. This thing is made of metal — and what a great feeling that imparts. As we’ve come to expect of modern H-D’s, all components are heavy duty with a solid, dependable feel. In a world full of lip-synching country bands and silicon-breasted women, a Harley is one of the last refuges of “the real thing.” NUMBER ONE MODERN FEATURE Reliability. Sit down, poke the start button, and go. Sounds simple, but it wasn’t that long ago when things didn’t work so well. What the Heritage is not, is a fully modern motorcycle complete with all the modern amenities expected of a modern ride. The Motor Company has purposely kept this bike simple. They’ve only updated what absolutely needs to be updated and left everything else pretty much alone. With the notable exception of the electronic speedometer, nothing on this bike is high-tech for high-tech’s sake. Why add water cooling and multiple valves if that’s not what your customers want? There seems to be an unwritten law that if you talk about rigid mounted Harley’s you must talk about vibration. Here’s my recommendation: Smack the next person that comes up to you and whines about Softail vibration. This thing is a dream to ride. And if you ride it like it was intended to be ridden, you won’t ever notice the fact the engine is rigidly mounted to the frame. That means generally staying below 70 mph. It is here that vibration is extremely pleasant, reminding you that you’re on a motorcycle and not a golf cart. However, there is one downside to the rigid mounts. Vibration will mar up anything you put in the saddle bags. Three screw heads protruding inside the bags do quite a number on any hard or soft sided items stored there. To alleviate this headache, either wrap everything you carry in some kind of fabric or cover the screw heads. What can be said about the tried and true, 80-cubic-inch Evo V-twin that hasn’t been said a thousand times? Bullet proof, stone cold reliable and great looking. Sure it doesn’t have the sex appeal of the old Panheads, but to these eyes the blockhead offers a more powerful, modern look. Kinda like the difference between a modern gridiron athlete and his leather-helmeted counterpart from the past. Harley-Davidson’s 1997 Heritage Softail Classic has all the beauty and appeal of a 50’s Hydra-Glide with most of the 50’s technological shortcomings eliminated. As delivered from the Motor Company, it offers a relaxed, friendly mount for cruising around town and just enjoying the scenery. COMPLAINTS-Beautiful chrome accents on the tips of both front and rear fenders are plastic. For 15 thousand dollars you’d think the Motor Company could spring for real metal. It’s not like they are trying to cut weight.-The idiot lights are tiny, dimly lit affairs. Not what I expected to see on such a grand machine.-Passenger foot pegs are the same ones you’ll find on a Sportster. How about mounting those nice passenger floorboards found on Electra Glides?-Like most Harleys, if you remove the pillion pad you are greeted with several nasty scars on your beautiful fender. A simple patch of terrycloth, or better still, some kind of wide rubber pads, could eleviate this problem.-I realize this is an area that the Motor Company has almost no control over, but the exhaust note is almost non-existent. On my first few rides it was more than a little eerie. Specifications Harley-Davidson Model: 1997 FLSTC Heritage Softail Classic Price: $15,175 Engine: V-twin OHV Evolution Bore and Stroke: 3.498 x 4.250 in. Displacement: 1340cc Carburetion: 40mm Constant velocity with enricher and accelerator pump Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh Wheelbase: 63.9 in. Seat Height: 26.5 in. Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gal. including .4 reserve Claimed Dry Weight: 704 lbs. The post Church of MO: 1997 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  21. SEO wasn’t a thing 20 years ago, far as I knew anyway: I had to read down pretty far to even find the names of the three bikes we compared in the 2002 Open Twins Shootout. They were Aprilia Mille R, Ducati 998, and Honda RC51. 2002 was also the year one Colin Edwards rode the RC51 to the World Superbike Championship in highly dramatic fashion, over Troy Bayliss on the Ducati. These were the bikes everybody wanted in 2002. Having proved its point, Honda soon said sayonara to the V-twin, settling back in again with its inline-Four inclination. Sad, that RC51 was a pip. By John Burns May. 01, 2002 How Are the Twins?Torrance, California, May 1, 2001 It’s our own little World Superbike stop, really, but without the whiny four-cylinders. Mini could pass for Colin Edwards if he were shorter and much better-looking, Hackfu Calvin’s almost indistinguishable from Haga if you’re a round-eye like me (though his McRib/fries staple diet means he’s also too tall), and with longer sideburns I could pass for Troy Bayliss in the dark–but I don’t have to because we brought in a real Australian to serve as expert witness. Aaron Clark is actually a New Zealander, but comes to us by way of Australia, where he raced GP bikes extensively. In 2000, he won the Aprilia Cup Challenge (on one of their cute little RS250s), and then campaigned an Aprilia Mille R last season–one which turned out to be woefully underfunded as so often happens in the wonderful world of motorcycle racing. His Aprilia affiliation, however, is a thing of the past. He’s impartial (and racing Suzukis now – Minime). Man From Metzeler Once again, tires were provided by the lovely and talented Tom Jirkovsky of California Sportbike Racing, Huntington Beach, California. This time we chose Metzeler’s M-1 Sportec rubber–tires designed for heavy-duty street abuse and occasional track days, because a) these twins should be a bit easier on tires than the fire-breathing four-cylinders featured in our last comparo and b) Willow Springs’ Streets course is not so dang blazing fast anyway and c) the Sportecs are fine street rubber and will last at least until the manufacturers pry these three lovelies back out of our clutches. Speaking of tires, man I’m bushed…. On Track Have a look at The Streets of Willow 1.8-mile road course. They keep adding new sections onto the track, so that now parts of it are high speed, and other sections remain a point-and-shoot affair–a good multi-angle test of a sportbike, really. Some places you throw out the anchors and drop it down to second (or was that first?), others you clench your sphincter, roll ‘er wide open and aim. Mr.Clark didn’t like the way the Ducati fit him, complaining of a strange handlebar angle and a lack of room to scoot rearward on the seat (he’s a motocross guy). Again, wish we would’ve asked to have the 998 delivered with the rake set at the steeper of its two angles–23.5 degrees. (My feeble attempt to do it at home resulted in abject failure, a slightly marred top triple clamp, and the acquisition of a new pair of snap-ring pliers.) “Ducati is, pardon the cliche but here it fits: very confidence-inspiring.” As partial compensation, all you need to adjust the bike’s rear ride height is one 17mm and one 19mm wrench–it’s an easy adjustment. (You can adjust the Mille’s shock length, too, but you have to disconnect its bottom mount first. The Honda has no ride-height adjuster.) Even raised a bit in the back to a slight stink-bug attitude, Clark still thought the Ducati felt “a bit lazy everywhere.” The Ducati wants to run wide at corner exits, and needs stronger inputs to initiate turns and change direction. Throughout the day, we added spring preload to the rear of the bike, took a bit of preload out of the front in an effort to steepen rake, and experimented with different damping settings (more rebound in the fork keeps the nose down at corner exits, for one), eventually reaching a point where the Ducati felt much better than when the day began–but it remained a high-effort ride compared to the other two machines. The Aprilia’s steering geometry is even less aggressive than the Ducati’s though, and it steers lighter and quicker. Part of it then, is down to engine architecture: With the front cylinder of its 90-degree Vee lying down nearly horizontal, the Ducati does feel less “mass-centralized,” and as a result, slower-reacting, than the other two bikes. Go ahead and give it that extra effort, though, and the Ducati is, pardon the cliche but here it fits: very “confidence-inspiring.” It never gives you the idea that you could steer the front wheel out from under yourself if you’re not careful, and once you adjust to its “manual steering,” pushing on the inside clip-on tightens your line just as surely as with the other bikes. The other Ducati controls complement its steering manners, too: the clutch is a little heavy, downshifting needs more pressure (and upshifting too, slightly). The rear brake is nearly impossible to lock, which is a good thing sometimes, but then too it gives very little retardation all the time. The front pair of Brembos don’t have quite the feel of the tricky four-pad Brembos of the Aprilia, but braking power isn’t a problem for any of these machines. “The Honda is at the other end of the effort scale from the Ducati.” The bars are higher and closer, the front wheel is tucked up under tighter. Both heavy cylinder heads, the side-mount twin radiators, and everything else, feels dense-packed right between your thighs and beneath your fundament, and so the bike requires very little effort to throw at apexes. Light clutch, light shifter action, strong deceleration as soon as the brake lever’s squeezed–and the Honda has the revviest motor of the bunch, too: Even when expert Aaron Clark gets a better drive out of a corner than whoever’s on the Honda, the RVT still manages to scoot away and fend him off–until it comes time to slow for the next corner, at least… As for the Honda, Aaron says: “It just feels very neutral. It’s not really outstanding in any area, but it does nothing wrong, either.” Overall, with its dense, short, quick-reacting feel, the Honda feels almost more like a 125-horsepower four than a twin. “Honda aims to give the RC51 rider a bigger target to aim at when getting the suspension dialed for track use.” We did detect a bit of lurchy fuel delivery at lower rpm aboard the Honda, or maybe a bit of excess driveline snatch?–whatever the cause, in a couple of the Streets’ slower, second-gear corners, it behooved the rider to be very smooth with the throttle–and even then, the bike’s power would wander off and on unexpectedly. Calvin thinks maybe the flapper valve in the airbox can’t make up its mind? Seems like you get used to it, and adjust after a few laps, and strangely, it’s less noticeable on the street. Whatever, those big 62mm throttles do not come back onstream as seamlessly as the other bikes’ systems. Hmmm… could it be because the Honda’s just making more POWAH? As with its 954RR, Honda aims to give the RC51 rider a bigger target to aim at when getting the suspension dialed for track use. There’s no ride-height adjustment, like we mentioned, but the RC is the only bike here with a ramp-type rear preload adjuster, which means you can whip the spanner out of the tool kit and raise the rear a bit, toot-sweet. Honda’s new fork preload adjuster, though (like the one on the 954), is a bit of a step backward in that you can’t go by “lines showing” as usual. You need to measure sag with a ruler or tape measure, or count turns (if you happen to have the right socket which we never do at the track); it’s just not as easy to tell at a glance where in the range of adjustment you are. Page2 Reader Feedback The post Church of MO: 2002 Open Twins Shootout appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  22. The saying is massively overused, but there really is no replacement for displacement. Such is the case with the updated 2022 Piaggio BV 400 S – BV being the abbreviation for Beverly. For a few years now, Europeans and Americans alike have been doing just fine with Piaggio’s BV 350, but stricter Euro 5 regulations have forced manufacturers to comply with the rules if they want to keep doing what they do; sell product. 2022 Piaggio BV 400 S A bigger engine for 2022 transforms the BV 400 S and turns it into a fun scooter that’s also extremely practical, especially considering today’s gas prices. Editor Score: 81.5% Engine 19/20 Suspension 8/15 Transmission 9/10 Brakes 8/10 Instruments 4/5 Ergonomics 8/10 Appearance 9/10 Desirability 8.5/10 Value 8/10 + Highs A surprisingly fun and spritely engine Good looking, too It’s both fun AND economical – Sighs You’re stuck in one seating position There’s a noticeable vibration when the cooling fan turns on Some would prefer a real key to a fob What this has largely meant is a retuning of motorcycles and scooters to meet the new regs at the cost of power (or at the very least, a reshuffling of where that power is found). That’s fine for motorcycles with lots of horses to begin with, but when you’re playing in scooter territory, every little horse counts. Piaggio’s answer to make the BV 350 pass? More displacement, of course! For 2022 the Piaggio BV 400 S is available in three colors: Arancio Sunset (orange), Argento Cometa (silver), or Nero Tempesta, seen here. While it may look black, it’s actually a very deep blue with a hint of grey in direct sunlight. Packing On The Muscle For 2022, the BV 400 S gets a bump up to 399cc for its single-cylinder engine, resulting in a claimed 35 horsepower – 17% more than the 350 it replaces. Piaggio also says torque is up to 28 lb-ft – 20% higher than before. We’ll have to take Piaggio’s word for it since we couldn’t put the BV on the dyno, but simply judging by the butt dyno, the BV 400 really moves! Thirty-five ponies doesn’t sound like much, but the BV 400 had no problem winning stoplight-to-stoplight drag races. There is an initial lag when first getting on the throttle that’s common with scooter CVTs, but compared to other models in the class (we’re looking at you, Suzuki Burgman 400), the lag is hardly noticeable. Power seems to always be there when you need it, which is reassuring when you can often feel vulnerable riding a scooter in crowded cities. Where the BV surprises is on the highway. Engines this small tend to be maxed out once you get to highway speeds, but not so with the Piaggio. There’s plenty of gusto to quickly reach merging speeds and blend with traffic, but better still is the leftover reserve on tap should you need to make an overtake. So smooth and deceiving is the BV that I often found myself cruising along only to look down and see the speedo showing 90mph – with a little more speed to spare! Living With It Like most things in life, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. The seat isn’t dramatically tall at 31.1 inches, but its base is really wide, making it difficult to reach the ground. For my 30-inch inseam, I had to settle for only reaching my toes to the ground. I didn’t think it was a big deal, as this step-through balances its weight nicely with its fuel down low. The seating position isn’t bad for short trips, but it would be nice to have the option to move around. The seating position is a reminder that the BV 400 S is meant for major metropolitan European cities – you’re bolt upright, feet underneath you like you’re sitting in an office chair taking a scoliosis test. What’s more, the windscreen feels mere inches away from your face. For short jaunts, it’s not so bad; you get a commanding view of the road ahead with very little wind to hit your face. The downside is the inability to move anywhere else, making longer trips a contest of will and strength to see how long you can stand being in a single position. This probably isn’t an issue for Europeans and their tightly packed cities, but for ‘Muricans who need to cover some distance, it might be. Then again, the fact you can even consider going long-ish distances on the BV is a positive in itself. It clearly has the power to do it and the wind protection to do it without getting bugs in your teeth. Despite our heavy right hands, we were still able to coax 52 miles per gallon out of its 3.2-gallon tank. Considering today’s gas prices, suddenly a scooter like this could become attractive to many. The storage space under the seat is deceiving. We were able to fit a small full-size helmet with a little bit of room to spare on either side. This is a good thing because commuting on a scooter like the BV makes sense. To add to the reasons above, having the convenience of underseat storage adds to the Piaggio’s practicality. Piaggio claims you can fit two half helmets under there. John Burns couldn’t fit his large Shoei Neotec modular, and I couldn’t fit my medium Arai Defiant-X with a communicator on the side. However, my small Arai Corsair-X, when laid on its side, just barely fits underneath with a little bit of room to spare around the sides. If you wear a communicator, your chances don’t look good – unless you wear a small helmet and are good at jigsaw puzzles. If you’re one who still goes to an office for work these days, fitting a foot-long sub for lunch and a change of clothes under the seat is easily doable. You can even charge your phone via the USB port in the hidden compartment in the leg shield. Oh, and there’s the obligatory flip-out bag hook between your knees, too. Tech Speaking of the USB port and moving electrons, the BV is a little more sophisticated than your average scoot. For starters, the rider only has to keep the key fob on them to do nearly anything. A push-button knob below the bars turns the ignition on or off once it’s in proximity of the fob. With the scoot on you can open the fuel door, or underseat storage, with the push of buttons adjacent to the bars (redundant buttons are also on the key fob). Full LEDs are used both front and back, and we’re happy to report the LED headlight is really bright. Beyond the key fob, you’ll also find ABS and traction control on the BV. Neither are adjustable for levels, but you can turn traction control off (ABS is always on). While I wasn’t surprised that traction control only activated while getting little throttle happy in some gravel, I was pleasantly surprised by how hard I could brake before feeling the faintest hint of ABS intervention. You’ll likely never feel it in normal riding, but it’s going to be a potential lifesaver in an emergency or in bad weather. While I’m less inclined to say the same about the TC on the BV, when the road conditions suck, any safety feature is better than none. There Really Is No Replacement In the past, the 400cc category of scooters have seemed strange to me. If you wanted to burn miles, then mega scooters with really big engines would make sense. If bopping around little towns was more your thing, then a little scoot would be better and cheaper. After spending time with the BV 400 S I realize I was missing the point. The BV 400 S reaches a perfect balance between the two extremes. It’s big enough to ride far-ish, but also small enough to be a daily rider. I know looks are a very subjective topic, but if any company is going to design a good-looking scooter, it’s Piaggio – it does own Vespa after all. Negatives? I have a few. For starters, the aforementioned ergos get more annoying the longer you ride. If I was to really pick a nit, the dual shocks provide a ride that’s a little more jarring than I’d prefer. An unusual omission is the lack of a parking brake, though this didn’t turn out to be much of a problem. Just curb a wheel. Lastly, there’s the price. For $7,199 the Piaggio BV 400 S packs a lot of scooter punch for less than some of its competitors. With a healthy engine, more than adequate storage space, and attractive looks, the BV seems like a bargain in the scooter space. Of course, an actual 400cc motorcycle undercuts the Piaggio by thousands of dollars, but we imagine someone shopping for one isn’t considering the other. If the BV 400 is on your radar, then the saying still holds true. There really is no replacement for displacement. In Gear Trizzle Helmet: Arai Defiant-X Dragon Communicator: Cardo Packtalk Bold Jacket: Alpinestars Oscar Bomber (discontinued) Pants: Aerostich Protekt Jeans Gloves: Alpinestars SP-2 v2 Boots: Alpinestars Faster 3 Rideknit Shoes 2022 Piaggio BV 400 S Specifications MSRP $7,199 Engine Type 4-stroke, 4 valves, Single overhead camshaft (SOHC) Displacement 399 cc Bore x Stroke 84mm x 72mm Max Power (claimed) 35 HP at 7,500 rpm Max Torque (claimed) 37.7 Nm at 5,500 rpm Starter Electric starter Fuel System Electronic fuel injection Fuel Capacity 3.17 gallons Tested Fuel Economy 52 mpg Transmission Type CVT Final Drive V-Belt Frame Double cradle tubular pipe in high strength steel Front Suspension Hydraulic telescopic fork Rear Suspension Dual, double action hydraulic shock absorber, adjustable preload on 5 positions Front Brake Single 300mm disc, ABS, ASR Rear Brake Single 240mm disc, ABS, ASR ABS Standard Front Wheel Cast aluminum Rear Wheel Cast aluminum Front Tire 120/70-16 Rear Tire 150/70-14 Instruments LCD Length 84.8 inches Width 31.5 inches Height NA Wheelbase 61.0 inches Seat Height 31.1 inches Curb Weight 430 pounds (measured) Colors Argento Cometa, Nero Tempesta, Arancio Sunset 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 Piaggio BV 400 S Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  23. We are less than a week away from the official reveal of Harley-Davidson‘s next Sportster, but we’ve managed to confirm the new model will use a 975 version of the Revolution Max engine. Harley-Davidson has been slowly revealing details of the new model, first with a teaser video and a number of social media posts. We’ve previously speculated that the new model will use a smaller displacement version of the Sportster S‘ Revolution Max 1250T engine, with clues such as the telescopic fork, twin rear shocks and single front disc hinting at a less performance-oriented focus. The shelved Bronx streetfighter was originally supposed to use a 975cc version of the liquid-cooled engine, so we assumed it would be a candidate for the next Sportster. We now have evidence supporting the 975 theory, courtesy of Harley-Davidson itself. An official product listing for billet aluminum mirrors from Harley-Davidson’s Wild Ones collection makes mention of models RH975 and RH1250S, noting that both models would also require handlebar end caps. Harley-Davidson refers to its new Revolution Max Sportsters as RH models, with RH1250S being the Sportster S. The RH975 must therefore be the new model coming on April 12. It’s worth noting the RH975 model code does not end with an “S” like the RH1250S. Harley-Davidson typically uses the “S” to denote its more performance-oriented models, such as the Sportster S and Low Rider S. The lack of an S suggests the RH975 would fit the less performance focused model hinted at in the teasers. A new 975cc Sportster would fit a much-needed spot in Harley-Davidson’s lineup. At the moment, Harley-Davidson only has one model displacing less than a liter: the Iron 883. One of the last air-cooled Sportsters (alongside the 1200cc Forty-Eight), the Iron 883 has already been discontinued in Europe, leaving several markets without an entry-level model. A new Euro 5-compliant liquid-cooled RH975 would fill that void. For the U.S., it would be the eventual successor when the Iron 883 finally ends its production run. When the RH975 is announced, we expect it to get a model name. Harley-Davidson filed trademark applications for the name “Nightster” in 2021, a name previously used for a 1200cc Sportster. The name is a strong candidate for the RH975, and if you perform a Google search for the term “Nightster” on Harley-Davidson.com, the landing page for the April 12 announcement is one of the top results. We wouldn’t call this definitive proof, but it wouldn’t surprise us if the new model will be called the “Nightster 975”. We’ll find out for certain when Harley-Davidson makes its official announcement on April 12. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post Confirmed: Next Harley-Davidson Sportster Will Use Revolution Max 975 Engine appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  24. It’s happened. When I got into this business 30-some years ago, those who came before me were going on about Norton Commandos and BSA Gold Stars. I tried to fake it, but could form no mental picture of what they were even referring to? Are you sure you don’t have an earlybird special to get to or a nap to take? This year, the Honda CBR600 is 35 years old, and here am I to tell you all about probably the greatest motorcycle ever made. Strap in. In 1986, sporty motorcycles were popular enough to advertise on TV – and that was when there were only three channels. I can’t remember if I saw the new 1987 CBR600 Hurricane first on the Motorola or on the cover of Cycle magazine when it appeared in the mailbox, but I do remember my heart skipping a few beats. Not only was this revolutionary Honda amazing looking and said to be amazing performing – at $3,698 it might even be affordable. As long as I stayed enrolled in the U. of Mo, KC, a nice GI Bill check could also be depended upon to arrive monthly in the mailbox. Seems like my half of the rent was $135, tuition was pocket-change cheap, and I was also bringing down a whopping $8 an hour loading trucks part-time in a grocery distribution warehouse ($12 for any shift over 8 hours in that union shop)! Flush… I don’t remember what it was about the new Hurricane that so grabbed my attention. Maybe it was the all-enclosing bodywork, which was said to be influenced by the Ducati Paso and other exotic Euro-bikes of the era, but really was a way of keeping costs down by not having to make the innards of the bike presentable. Probably it was just the claimed performance of the thing, at the real beginning of the middleweight performance wars – hence the Ninja commercial. But mostly because I was 26 years old and badly in need of speed and a testosterone outlet, with a few dollars to spare. Ken Vreeke when he was less creaky. It didn’t get any cooler in ’86. Also because in the years before Youtube, my monthly sportbike fix came from Cycle magazine, where they’d had a pair of CBRs to play with the last couple of issues. Ken Vreeke was there and remembers: “Yes, Honda provided two CBR600s to Cycle to go racing. The 600 class was heavily supported with contingency then, and very competitive. [Doug] Polen was traveling the country with a trailer full of CBRs and GSX-Rs and making a good living. Danny Coe [another Cycle deity at the time] sent his bike off a cliff on Latigo [there were pictures in the magazine!], and I took mine to the racetrack.” Indeed. Somebody recently dug up this archival footage from 1987 of KV in action at beautiful Willow Springs, filmed on glorious VHS tape from the Budweiser Balcony. Run-off room? We don’t need no steenkin’ run-off room… Kent Kunitsugu is in there somewhere too, I think he finished seventh-ish. It was all too much to take; I drove to my local Honda dealer one early spring Saturday with cashwad in pocket, only to be told that every CBR600 Honda produced that year had already been sold. It was not the first of many vehicular tragedies I would suffer as a young man. But I was actually happy enough to settle for a left-over ’86 VF500F for $2,749; it was that or a couple hundred more for a leftover bumblebee Yamaha RZ350, which is now collectible. Neither was a performance match for the new CBR, but both were a huge step up from the used junk I’d been abusing. Astoundingly, it couldn’t have been much more than a year later that I had to sell the VF500, as I loaded up the Buick and moved to California to work at Cycle with my heroes. Pinch me. (Among the luminaries I would meet, besides Vreeke and Coe, is former Rider magazine Editor-in-Chief Mark Tuttle, whose dad wrote and produced “The Beverly Hillbillies.” I sang the theme song most of the way west.) But enough about me. Right now we’re talking about the original Honda CBR600. 1987 Hurricane CBR600 The first Hurricane’s unique bodywork allowed designers to forego the usual engine and frame cosmetics, and instead devote development dollars to pure performance. The result was 83 horsepower from a liquid-cooled 16-valve inline-four, superb handling, and a claimed dry weight of 396.8 pounds – making the Hurricane the lightest, most powerful 600 available. Coincidentally (or not), the Hurricane debuted the same year the AMA introduced its new 600 Supersport class. It won all nine races that year, making Doug Polen – who won seven in a row – the first AMA Supersport champion. In ’88, Polen signed a Yoshimura deal, jumped to a new Suzuki Katana 600 (lame), and won the championship even though the CBR won Daytona and six of nine races that season. Yamaha’s brand new FZR600 won the title in 1990 under the dearly and recently departed David Sadowski, which just shows how important and competitive the 600 supersport class was becoming. 1990 CBR600F. Note where the grips are in relation to the seat. Though it’s a “sportbike,” the early CBRs were remarkably humane. To keep up, for 1990, the now no-longer called Hurricane CBR600F received engine revisions that yielded even more power: Revised porting and cam timing, recontoured pistons and combustion chambers, slightly higher compression ratio, recalibrated carb and ignition settings, and a new stainless steel exhaust system gave the CBR an additional 10 horsepower, Honda said. I got to Cycle in I think 1989, and I don’t remember ever riding a CBR600F. But I definitely remember riding at least a few F2s, which Honda launched in 1991. 1991 CBR600F2 Here’s what we wrote in a Top Twelve article a few years ago: “…when F became F2 in 1991, Honda’s plastic-covered middleweight morphed into one of the best all-rounders of all time – a near-perfectly balanced sportbike that won all the shootouts as well as the ’91 AMA 600 Supersport title under Miguel Duhamel. Not only did MD win the Daytona Supersport race in ’91, he also won the 200, substituting for an injured Randy Renfrow on the Commonwealth RC30. (photo courtesy Honda) A better companion than your dog, the F2 was also happy to be ridden on a daily basis or to San Francisco for the weekend. At the time, it was a “sportbike”; today we’d have to invent a new category, probably the ‘plastic-covered standard.’ All yours for $4,998.” In fact, the CBR600 wasn’t just a great middleweight, it was a great motorcycle. We didn’t know at the time that the October 1991 issue would be the last Cycle magazine, but it was. The cover story was “World’s Greatest Sportbike,” in which the whole crew went for a nice multi-day ride comparing an F2 to a Ducati 900SS, a Kawasaki ZX-11, a Suzuki GSX-R750, a Yamaha FZR1000, and why not a Honda VFR750 too. Guess which one won? That’s me on the left when I was 50% as old as I am now, EiC Steve Anderson, Vreeke’s index finger, the late Charles Everitt, Thadeus Wolf, and T. van Hooydonk. If you click on the pic it should blow up so you can get the gist of how the next to least-powerful and the least expensive bike ($5,298) beat all the others, after an 18-page extravaganza that included hot laps around the big track at Willow Springs. The CBR clocked a 1:35.84 to finish second, just 0.09 second off the fastest bike, the GSX-R750. Pretty sure it was during the course of that test that the F2 encouraged me to drag knee for the first time ever… pretty sure I rode that F2 to Willow Springs and back, too. (Note perfect form and 30-year old thumbtack hole in vintage snapshot) 1995 CBR600F3 Ground-up redesign: compression ratio goes from 11.6:1 to 12:1 via more compact combustion chambers and new pistons. Low-friction piston rings, lighter connecting rods, smaller-diameter crankpins… curved radiator with increased capacity, new ignition unit with new-fangled throttle position sensor. Two-mm bigger, 36mm carburetors and shorter, straighter intake tracts fed by a dual-stage pressurized air-intake system are claimed to provide a major boost in performance at all speeds. Etc… F3 in flight The new bike’s cartridge fork and fully adjustable shock get heavier spring and damping rates, with a more progressive ProLink linkage out back. Stiffer triple clamps and a larger-diameter swingarm pivot axle will deal with the bike’s 5-inch rear wheel. Cycle World reported an 11.05-second quarter-mile, and a 145-mph top end at 12,500 rpm. But screw Cycle World. The F3’s coming-out party at Honda’s then not-so top secret facility in the desert (with 7-mile oval) was one of the first ones MO was invited to attend, just one year after its birth. Founding father Brent Plummer concluded: In truth, we would have preferred a more RR-type update with upside-down forks and maybe 15 pounds less pork to lug around. But we certainly wouldn’t prefer to pay more than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $7,299 (that’s in US dollars). That’s a $900 price increase in one year! But the good news for value shoppers — which, as the dollar continues to drop against the yen, is just about all of us — is that the new 1995 CBR600F3 will give us the best of both worlds: Race-winning speed and technology coupled with good ergonomics, a friendly riding position, and Honda’s rock-solid reliability. M. Duhamel wins his second 600 title on the new F3 in 1995 – all 11 races in fact, without even coming close to dragging his elbows. (photo courtesy of Honda) For 1996, the F3 got new graphics and a $400 price bump. We still loved it, and concluded that year’s quick test with, The happy truth is that the F3 comes with one of the most comfortable peg/seat/bar relationships in the class. With all that going for it, it’s no wonder Honda chose not to mess with their best-selling bike in America. I couldn’t remember if I’d been just imagining that, but I think it’s correct: For more than a year or two, Honda said the CBR600 was its #1 seller. I wonder if now its best-seller is still the Grom? What a barometer for how things have changed, and not in a good way. 1995 was also the year Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City federal building and OJ was found not guilty. 1999 CBR600F4 In early ’99, then, it was time for another 600 Supersport Shootout starring Roland Sands, Chuck Graves, et al, and an all-new Yamaha YZF-R6… guess who won? “The battle for 600 Supersport supremacy boiled down to a choice between raw attitude versus refined balance. While attitude carries more pop currency, balance should not be ignored. What Honda achieved with the CBR600F4 is nothing short of remarkable, creating a high-performance 600 supersport capable of winning Championships while not sacrificing the comfort and versatility that made its predecessor the top selling sportbike in the world. It should also be noted that while Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha produce other, more-street oriented 600s, Honda chose to make only one 600. To do what Honda did – design a motorcycle that in many circumstances will outperform other OEM’s race-replica supersports yet remain as comfortable and easy-to-ride as the competition’s street-oriented 600s – should not be underestimated. Perhaps no other manufacturer could pull this off. If you take delivery of a stock CBR600F4 with the suspension set at stock and ride home down the freeway, you’ll swear you were on a plush sport tourer. When you’re home, crank on the very accessible and easily adjustable spring, preload and compression and you’ll have a super-fast, super-tight, aggressive canyon scratcher. The F4 is light: at 428 pounds wet, only the R6 is lighter. The versatility of the F4 is amazing: This is a bike that can be enjoyed equally by both the expert card holder and the intermediate rider fresh from track school. A kid named Nicky Hayden won the ’99 Supersport championship on an F4. 2001 CBR600F4i The unobtrusive “i” appendix marks the end of an era and of the ubiquitous carburetor, and the adaptation of Honda’s PGM-FI programmed fuel injection – a thing that had to be done in the face of tightening emissions standards. A single four-hole injector per 38mm throttle body provides a more efficient burn, with the California model meeting CARB 2004 through the use of a catalyzer that drops two peak horsepower. There’s also a 5.9%-more rigid frame now painted black, under a slipperier new fairing, a bigger airbox, and a bunch of other subtle tweaks Honda lavished upon its favorite money maker. Out of habit, Duhamel won the Daytona Supersport race on the new bike. It wasn’t the first year the CBR didn’t win MO’s somewhat annual Supersport Shootout; it still finished a close second to that year’s R6, which was also really quite comfy but slightly racier than the Honda. Of the CBR, MO said: This is by far the best streetbike here, thanks to comfortable ergos and a motor that doles out easy-to-use power everywhere. The suspension’s also extremely plush while maintaining enough firmness that, should the pace quicken, it’s all in a day’s work for the little CBR. The rider’s information display is also the most comprehensive in this test while maintaining the sort of ease-of-use that gives you just what you need in a quick glance without becoming too cluttered. Not unexpectedly, the Honda’s downfall is the race track where it’s not as solid as the other bikes are. Still, it only took a few clicks and twists to get the bobbing and weaving bike to settle on its haunches and get back into the swing of things. Oh yeah? Too streetbikey for ya huh? In the depths of our kneepuck addiction, when all the OEMs kept feeding us ever-sportier sportbikes and a steady diet of track days, we only craved more. Push the powerband higher, make me bend over further! I want to be like Valentino! No pain, no gain used to be a popular saying before they blew up the World Trade Center. 2003 CBR600RR Okay, If you’re sure that’s what you want, said Honda in 2003, as it dropped the “F” and bombed us with the CBR600RR, which was packed with RC211V MotoGP technology. That bike and its V-Five engine and Valentino Rossi had already laid waste to the 2002 MotoGP championship, and was about to do it again in 2003 and ’04. Under the skin, the new RC211V and CBR-RR had a lot in common. The new RR was as the name implies: Really racy. Actually Honda kept building the F4i through 2006, but guess which 600 everybody wanted? Seems smaller all of a sudden… As near as I can tell, MO didn’t do another 600 Supersport comparison until 2005. By then I was in a dank cubicle in Palookaville, but Sean Alexander was in charge and the Yamaha R6 came out on top that year. “It’s [the R6] is the best street bike because its riding position is immediately comfortable and feels the most natural,” says Sean. Our street and everyday riding tests revealed some unexpected strengths and weaknesses. Who would’ve thought the compact Yamaha R6 to have the most comfortable riding position? Who would expect a Suzuki GSX-R to offer ergonomics that fit everybody? Who would believe that last year’s torture rack ZX-6R could transform into this year’s living room couch? Would you believe that a Honda finished a distant fourth in our comfort rankings? It’s all true. No! I would not have! After testing the new CBR600RR at Buttonwillow Raceway, Sean named it the best-handling sportbike he’d ever ridden. On the street however, the CBR’s stellar handling wasn’t enough to overcome the weight it places on the rider’s wrists, its hard seat or its buzzy engine. The Honda is a racebike and it seems best to leave the street duties to the other three. A good deal farther up the practicality and comfort scales, you’ll find Suzuki’s GSX-R 600. That’s right, a Suzuki GSX-R was a good deal farther up the scales in comfort and practicality. All that RC trickle-down meant the CBR did win the track portion of that year’s test, but our jack of all trades, and master of most CBR, was no more. The next year, 2006, Yamaha blew up its sweet-spot R6 for a much racier, peakier new model that followed in the CBR-RR’s wheel tracks, and would be the final R6. (The R6 right before Yamaha went terminally racy was delectable.) A year or two later, the Great Recession hit. People quit buying all kinds of motorcycles, but it seems they especially quit buying 600 Supersports. Here today, gone tomorrow. Naturally, Duhamel won Daytona again on this first-year RR. You can blame the economy, you can blame the government (whose tightening emissions laws are particularly hard on high-revving powerful small engines), but most of the blame probably falls to all us Boomers for growing old en masse and sucking along most of the national wealth in our wake. A lot of us still love roadracing, but really it’s no sport for old men. Much of the blame must go to Honda and Yamaha, who should have known better than to give us exactly what we asked for – racebikes for the street – as their MotoGP addiction seeped into the rest of the plant. Then again, Kawasaki and Suzuki’s 600s never grew as extreme, and their sales fell off too. Personally, I blame the ergonomics. The perfect rider triangle was no more… Anyway, yesterday’s pimply squid is today’s stretch-pants adventure rider, no? Things change in unpredictable ways. Though Honda hasn’t changed that original 2003 RR much at all in the ensuing 19 years, some of us are left wondering what CBR600F7, 8, or 9 might’ve been like? Nothing like the 1987 Hurricane, probably. More like a 110-horsepower F4i with modern electronics in a less-extreme 400-pound package? Alas, you can’t go home again can you? Let’s just remember the happy times. Right now I’ve got a siesta to take, and an earlybird special to hit. Happy 35th, old CBR. Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here. The post 35 Years of Honda CBR600s: A Love Story appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
  25. Triumph’s open-class ADV bike, the Tiger 1200 (or Tiger Explorer depending on what era we’re talking about), had begun to get a little long in the tooth. The big cat hadn’t received a major overhaul since its introduction in 2012 – only receiving incremental upgrades to keep the machine relevant over the past 10 years. The Brits did give the bike some refreshes and new tech over that time, but nothing compared to the latest iteration that I was lucky enough to get a proper two-day test of around the backroads and trails of the Iberian Peninsula. 2023 Triumph Tiger 1200 Less weight and more power. The all-new Tiger 1200 is following in its little brother’s footsteps. Editor Score: 89.5% Engine 18.5/20 Suspension 14/15 Transmission 9/10 Brakes 9.5/10 Instruments 3.5/5 Ergonomics 8.5/10 Appearance 9/10 Desirability 9/10 Value 8.5/10 + Highs Excellent adaptable suspension Ride modes that make a difference Weight loss – Sighs Engine mapping could use refinement TFT lags No more electronic windscreen… sigh All-new! We hear all too often. Fortunately, however, when asked what components had been carried over from the previous Tiger 1200 family to these new models, Chief Engineer Stuart Wood replied with a smile, “I believe there are a few fasteners.” The 2023 Triumph Tiger 1200 is truly a ground up redesign. Before we dig into the bits and bobs, as they say, let’s take a look at what we have in the Tiger 1200 lineup. All in the family Five models make up the Tiger 1200 line for 2023. We have the GT subset which includes the standard GT, GT Pro, and GT Explorer. These models make up the more road-focused variants in a line which offers loads of touring comfort and tarmac performance, while still being game for the odd adventure. The Rally Pro and Rally Explorer models are better equipped for off-road expeditions with longer travel suspension and a 21-inch front wheel, among other things. Cast wheels in a 19/18-inch combo are standard fare on the GT models, allowing them to steer more quickly thanks to their smaller size and weight compared to the larger spoked wheels of the Rally models. Metzeler Tourance tires are standard issue. Showa semi-active suspension is used across the model range with the GT line offering up 7.9 inches of travel with 10% stiffer springs. Two-position seats are also equipped to all trim levels, with the GT’s ranging in height from 33.5 inches to 34.3 inches. The street-focused models are also a bit shorter in length and have a less steep rake and more trail than the off-road models. Standout features of the Explorer models include a 7.9-gallon tank, engine protection bars, heated seats for the rider and passenger, and blind spot detection from its rear-facing radar. The Rally Pro and Explorer have slightly different skid plate designs, but both feature thicker bottom panels with slightly thinner pieces welded on at the sides for weight savings. Rally models set themselves apart with 0.8-inches of extra suspension travel, giving them 8.7 in. of total travel at both ends. Additionally, the Offroad Pro ride mode is included, allowing users to disable traction control and ABS entirely. Metzeler Karoo Street tires are wrapped around tubeless spoked wheels in a proper 21/18-inch off-road combo. Seat heights range from 34.4 to 35.2 inches on the Rally models. One of Triumph’s major engineering feats with the new 1200 range has been a substantial reduction in weight. The GT model comes in at a claimed 529 lbs with the largest model, the Rally Explorer tipping the scales at 575 elbees. Pricing for the GT models ranges from $19,100 to $23,100 while the Rally Pro and Rally Explorer retail for $22,500 and $24,200, respectively. Tiger 1200 overview As Mr. Wood alluded in his statement about fasteners, the 2023 Tiger 1200 range has been entirely revamped from the ground up. In this monumental task, Triumph’s goals were a reduction in weight, an increase in power, and improved rideability with more purposeful and focused performance for the task at hand. As is the trend with Triumph lately, the up/down quickshifter works most excellently. Hinckley says the new package is more than 55 pounds lighter than before which, with our last top-o-the-line Tiger 1200 tipping the MO scales at 632 lbs, 575 for the ’23 Rally Explorer seems about right. Weight reduction comes from every nook and cranny of the Tiger 1200 with the frame, engine, and shaft drive being just a few areas showing considerable weight loss. Despite cranking out more power, the new Tiger 1200 engine is actually 55 cc smaller at 1160 cc. The compression ratio however, has increased from 11.0:1 to 13.2:1. The new, smaller 1160 cc Triple now uses the T-plane crank setup we first saw on the Tiger 900 range. The T-plane crank has a 1, 3, 2 firing order – a configuration Triumph uses to help coax Twin-like performance out of the Triple at low rpm while still delivering excellent power through the mid- to upper-rpm range that Hinckley’s Triples are known for. In addition, it makes for a pretty great soundtrack. Triumph claims the new Triple makes 148 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 96 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm at the crank. The last Tiger 1200 we ran on the dyno during our 2018 Big Bore Adventure Touring Shootout made 114.6 hp at 8,600 rpm and 67 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 at the rear wheel. On previous models, you could really feel the weight of the single-sided shaft drive when riding off-road. With the new system, thanks to the lighter tri-link setup and the Showa electronic suspension, the ride feels much more controlled and balanced, closer to that of a standard chain final drive. The Tiger 1200 retains shaft drive but now uses a single shaft versus the two-peice configuration from previous years. The new setup uses a “tri-link” setup forgoing the single-sided swingarm from previous years. Although it looks complex, we’re told tire changes only require one extra bolt to be removed compared to any other traditional double-sided swingarm. Triumph says the tri-link configuration saves more than three pounds of unsprung weight – not an insignificant amount. Recommended maintenance for the final drive is an oil refresh every two years regardless of mileage. That’s the kind of final drive maintenance schedule we can all get behind. Speaking of maintenance, Triumph has also increased the new Triple’s service intervals to 10,000 miles for oil changes and 20,000 miles for valve checks. The GT model’s footpegs are fairly low. While they’re great from a comfort standpoint, they tend to drag when the pace heats up. We’re told the entire chassis, frame, and engine have been rotated forward in its design to place the bike’s center of gravity closer to the front contact patch, giving better front end feel to the rider. The Showa semi-active suspension features many of the tricks we’ve come to expect from electronic suspension, including optimum damping settings for each ride mode; these are constantly adjusting at a rate of 50 milliseconds during the ride. There’s also the ability to adjust damping characteristics manually over nine levels, and automatic preload setting based on how the bike is loaded. The suspension is also able to detect jumps and increase damping for landings. Showa also uses what it calls a “virtual spring rate” which, in theory, controls the spring rate by adjusting damping forces when the suspension is at higher stroke positions. This gives a progressive feel to the shock that is typically achieved through a linkage system. Excellent performance, as expected, out of the Brembo Stylemas. Across the Tiger 1200 range, Brembo Stylema calipers clamp two 320mm discs at the front, with a single-piston Brembo unit clenching a 282mm disc out back. Continental’s IMU-based cornering ABS is also standard fare across the five trims. Braking is linked in all but off-road modes and uses specific ABS parameters that are based on ride modes. On-road I actually started my day of testing on the tarmac with the Rally Explorer. After half a day’s ride on that machine, the difference between it and the GT Pro that I hopped on after lunch was night and day. Really, it shouldn’t be surprising that the 21-inch front wheel and extra heft on the Explorer models was easily felt while railing through corners. Circling back to my comment about the new Tiger 1200 range feeling more focused, there is a massive difference in feel between the GT and Rally models, and it mainly boils down to the smaller, lighter cast wheels. The extra heft and 21-inch front wheel of the Rally Explorer was noticeable on-road, but by no means a deal breaker. Yes, you can feel the extra weight on the Explorer models and the larger front wheel on the Rallys, but it doesn’t take long to get used to and didn’t stop me from keeping up with the pack as we blasted through the Portuguese countryside. The biggest feature that stood out after some time on the asphalt was just how well the suspension adapts to the road surface. Although I did tweak the damping characteristics in ride modes to get a feel for the differences, I never felt it was necessary. The baseline settings and semi-active suspension adjustment worked fantastically. Also, despite the amount of braking force generated by Brembo’s stellar Stylemas, the anti-dive damping works almost as well as the telelever setup found on other bikes (cough*BMW*cough). The Showa units are highly refined and complex and manage to work better than I thought was even possible. Big round of applause to Showa and Triumph. I am very impressed. RIP to the electronically adjustable windscreen. The new one is easy to adjust with one hand though. Naturally, the engine is the next standout feature. The 1160cc Triple lost some of its sewing machine smoothness in favor of a bit more bark and rawness. This did translate into a bit more vibes being carried through the machine, but not enough to bother me during our ride. That said, we were never droning down the highway for much time, but if we were, at least we have cruise control. In Sport mode, on/off throttle input can be a bit jerky, and really, it can be somewhat annoying when scooting through small towns at low speeds. However, slotting the Tiger into Road mode really seemed to smooth out the on/off throttle lurchiness. Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Explorer. Once we had made our way out of town, I left the bike in Road mode for a bit which delivered a smooth, controlled ride from the suspension with an equally smooth delivery of power. Clicking the big cat back into Sport mode (via the aptly named joystick) for the twisty bits thoroughly changed the character of the bike. The stiffer suspension kept everything very well composed and the bike never felt like it was moving through the stroke too fast. Even in fast switchbacks, damping felt controlled and deliberate. Throttle response was much sharper with Sport mode, allowing the engine to rev up much quicker into its meaty mid-range as it smoothly climbed toward the bike’s 9,500 rpm redline. There is loads of adjustability available via the Tiger’s 7-inch TFT display though, on the preproduction units we were on, there was a noticeable lag while navigating the menus. I really appreciated the difference between the ride modes. In the past, I’ve ridden motorcycles that, when switched between ride modes, don’t feel drastically different – with the Tiger 1200, you feel like you’ve just swapped motorcycles. On the road, the GT Pro and its 5.2-gallon tank feel like the quickest of the bunch, as they should. Triumph has managed to make that bike feel small and manageable – compared to the other models – for an open-class ADV machine. With its smaller cast wheels, it’s easy to hustle through the tightest of corners with confidence that you can easily adjust mid-corner if necessary. That said, once I had some time on the GT Explorer, I found the front end even more planted and confidence inspiring. Yes, you can feel the weight of the extra fuel the Explorer carries (approximately 16.2 pounds worth) and it is all up high – there is no low slung tank like that of the KTM adventure bikes, but even still, it didn’t put a damper on our ride. Explorer models come equipped with a rear-facing radar for blind spot detection. The rider is alerted by a small light at the bottom of the rearview mirror. Some rider’s worried that this might be annoying, but after our ride, nobody seemed to think it was intrusive. The feature can also be shut off. If I were looking for a road-biased British adventure bike, the Tiger 1200 GT Explorer would be the ticket. I like the extra fuel range, could take or leave the rear facing radar for blind spot detection – which does work quite well, whether with bikes or cars – and all the fantastic electronics that come with it. Triumph’s ability to keep some of the character of the previous Tiger 1200, yet make it better in nearly every way, is a testament to the brand’s engineering prowess. Also, the fact that the machine feels so much different between modes – and with the amount of adjustment – really lets the rider decide how they like their dish served. Thanks to the Tiger 1200’s new twin split-radiator setup and some clever air routing (the small duct just in front of my knee), I’m pleased to report the big Tiger no longer wafts an oppressive amount of heat onto the rider. On the street, the Tiger 1200 is an absolute hoot to ride, thanks to its chassis composure and the engine’s excellent mid-range, which, when combined with strong brakes and ride modes that actually change the character of the machine, peg the limiter. The Tiger 1200 is causing some deja vu for me from our Middleweight Adventure comparison where the Tiger 900 Rally Pro showed up as an excellent all-around adventure machine, not focused too pointedly in any direction, but delivering well-rounded performance from every angle. Off-road on the Rally Pro Being able to handle business on the road isn’t enough though in the adventure-verse. It needs to be competent off-road as well. To be honest, I was worried after our street ride. I had switched between Road and Sport ride modes primarily and felt the motor, despite its new T-plane crank, was a bit soft on the bottom end. I assumed that during any slow going off-road I was going to be slipping the clutch quite a bit to keep the bike from stalling. We would see. While the Tiger 1200 doesn’t hold a candle to the low-speed performance of the BMW GS, switching the bike into its Off-road modes again changes the character of the motorcycle more than I expected. The engine is still not as punchy at low-rpm as a big Twin, but there’s enough punch down there to have fun. I’m a big fan of the Michelin Anakee Wilds. The Tiger 1200 Rally Pro offered excellent front end grip and feel off-road. For our time off-road, Triumph had rotated the handlebar forward, removed the passenger footpegs from the bolt-on subframe, and equipped factory-spec Metzeler Karoo 3s. Otherwise, we were working with the stock settings. In Off-road mode, rear ABS is disabled and the front is dialed back to allow more slip before intervening. Off-road traction control is used to allow a safety net should your wrist be too heavy for your ambitions. Suspension can be adjusted separately in any ride mode, but again, at a medium pace, the stock default of 5/9 on the suspension scale seemed reasonable for those looking to have fun while traveling versus us speed-addicted journos hellbent on destruction. The accessory footpegs equipped during our off-road day provided a larger platform for standing, but not as much grip as expected – particularly so when they were muddy. After switching into Off-road Pro, ABS and traction control are a thing of the past, allowing for all the hooliganism you’re willing to get yourself into – and with 1160cc of Triple goodness between your legs, it’s hard to be mature. Damping settings are dialed up to 8/9 toward Sport, and as it was on the street, the Showa components do an excellent job of keeping the ride composed. I did manage to bottom the shock while riding at a hot pace, but even then, the bike didn’t spring back up wildly, the semi-active suspension keeps the action smooth in nearly every situation. The biggest takeaway from the off-road ride, which consisted of mostly fire roads, but included single-track, two-track, a few loose climbs, and even some bits of sloppy mud was, again, the bike’s composure. The Tiger 1200 Rally Pro did a great job of staying in line whether I was breaking the rear end loose to slide around corners or hopping off little jumps on two-track trails. Feel from the front tire was excellent and immensely confidence inspiring on a bike of this size. To have some fun while still keeping it together for a full “adventure tour” – whatever that may mean to you – the Tigre 1200 should be an apt dance partner. In the end “Is the all-new Tiger 1200 better in every way,” I thought to myself? I think so. It’s lighter, more powerful, and handles much better overall than the outgoing models. Like the Tiger 900 Rally Pro which, in my opinion, is probably the best all-around middleweight adventure bike, the new 1200s seem to be following suit. Maybe the Tiger 1200 is not the sportiest on-road, and perhaps it’s not the most hardcore off-road, but it does do both very well and it does so with all of the electronic adjustability and safety nets we’ve come to expect on these pricey adventure machines. Really though, there’s only one way to know for sure how the new Tiger compares to the stacked open-class adventure segment. I’d say it’s time to get the band back together. In Gear Helmet: Shoei Hornet X2 Communicator: Cardo Packtalk Black Jacket: Alpinestars Halo Drystar Gloves: Alpinestars Chrome Pants: Alpinestars Venture XT Boots: Alpinestars Tech 7 2023 Triumph Tiger 1200 Specifications GT GT Pro GT Explorer Rally Pro Rally Explorer MSRP $19,100 $21,400 $23,100 $22,500 $24,200 Engine Type Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, inline 3-cylinder Displacement 1160 cc Bore x Stroke 90.0 mm x 60.7 mm Compression 13.2:1 Horsepower 148 hp at 9,000 rpm (claimed) Torque 96 lb-ft. at 7,000 rpm (claimed) Fuel System Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection with electronic throttle control Exhaust Stainless steel 3 into 1 header system with underslung primary silencer and side mounted secondary silencer Final Drive Shaft drive Clutch Hydraulic, wet, multi-plate, slip & assist Transmission 6 speed Frame Tubular steel frame, with forged aluminum outriggers. Fabricated, bolt-on aluminum rear subframe. Swingarm Twin sided “Tri-Link” aluminum swingarm with twin aluminum torque arms. Front Wheel Cast aluminum, 19 x 3.0in Spoked (tubeless), 21 x 2.15in. Rear Wheel Cast aluminum, 18 x 4.25in Spoked (tubeless), 18 x 4.25in. Front Tire Metzeler Tourance 120/70R19 (M/C 60V TL) Metzeler Karoo Street 90/90-21 (M/C 54V TL) Rear Tire Metzeler Tourance 150/70R18 (M/C 70V TL) Metzeler Karoo Street 150/70R18 (M/C 70V TL) Front Suspension Showa 49mm USD forks with semi-active damping; 7.9 inches of travel. Showa 49mm USD forks with semi-active damping; 8.7 inches of travel. Rear Suspension Showa monoshock with semi-active damping and automatic electronic preload adjustment; 7.9 inches of travel. Showa monoshock with semi-active damping and automatic electronic preload adjustment; 8.7 inches of travel. Front Brakes Brembo M4.30 Stylema monoblock radial calipers, OC-ABS, twin 320mm floating discs. Magura HC1 span adjustable radial master cylinder with separate reservoir. Rear Brakes Brembo single piston caliper, OC-ABS, single 282mm disc. Rear master cylinder with remote reservoir. Instruments Full-colour 7” TFT instrument pack with My Triumph Connectivity System Length 88.4 inches 88.4 inches 88.8 inches 89.4 inches 90.4 inches Width 33.4 inches (handlebars), 38.7 inches (handguards) Height Without Mirrors 56.5 – 58.9 inches (adjustable screen) 58.5 – 60.9 inches (adjustable screen) Seat Height 33.5 – 34.3 inches (adjustable) 34.4 – 35.2 inches (adjustable) Wheelbase 61.4 inches Rake 24.1° 23.7° Trail 4.7 inches 4.4 inches Wet Weight (Claimed) 529 pounds 540 pounds 562 pounds 549 pounds 575 pounds Fuel Tank Capacity 5.3 gallons 5.3 gallons 7.9 gallons 5.3 gallons 7.9 gallons 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 2023 Triumph Tiger 1200 Review – First Ride appeared first on Motorcycle.com. Source
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