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  1. The 2022 BMW R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental first editions. (BMW Motorrad/)BMW has just confirmed production of two new R 18-based touring models: the R 18 B and the R 18 Transcontinental. Both models are equipped with a handlebar-mounted fairing and hard bags, but as the names imply the Transcontinental is a full-dresser designed for Grand American Touring and the B, short for bagger, is a more traditional American-style touring machine and is less adorned. Integrating new technology not previously seen in this segment, BMW’s R 18 platform and the Big Boxer engine seem to have found their stride in this application. Related Content: BMW R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental Slated For 2022 Chassis on either bike are identical (spare top case mounts), with the R 18′s double loop steel frame modified to fit the larger 6.3-gallon fuel tank and an updated rear suspension that is automatically adjusted, though not adjustable by the rider. A cantilever suspension strut is mounted directly to the swingarm and features travel-dependent damping and automatic load compensation through spring preload adjustment; BMW claims this will help achieve the best possible ride response, even with a passenger. The bikes are equipped with nonadaptive nonadjustable 49mm telescopic forks, and suspension travel is 120mm (4.7 inches) both front and rear. Alloy cast wheels are equipped with a dual-disc brake up front and a single disc at the rear, all with four-piston calipers and BMW’s Full Integral ABS. With the 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental, BMW continues to move in on what has traditionally been Harley country. (BMW Motorrad/)As noted with the earlier models of R 18, mid-mounted foot controls seem to be the only option given the boxer’s large cylinders. Transcontinental models will come standard with long floorboards, while B models will have footpegs a little larger than those on the R 18. The R 18 Transcontinental comes with a large two-person seat and heating standard; the R 18 B has a slightly slimmer seat while also accommodating a passenger. Related Content: 2022 BMW R 18 and R 18 Classic First Look Unique among other bikes we’ve seen in the American-style touring genre, both the B and Transcontinental models will have the option of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Dynamic Cruise Control (DCC) as a standard feature. Note that DCC is just a fancy name for what we’re used to, a system that maintains the rider’s set speed even through elevation changes. Likewise, ACC is similar to that we’ve seen on the new Ducati Multistrada V4, with forward-facing radar sensors allowing the bike to automatically accelerate or decelerate to maintain distance from a vehicle in front. The new ACC also features a cornering control system, which BMW says will “automatically reduce the speed, giving the rider the right speed for a comfortable and safe banking angle.” As the banking angle was a point of criticism on past R 18 models, we’re eager to test this in person. This large 10.25-inch TFT display comes on the new R 18 Transcontinental and R 18 B, as well as four round analog gauges up top. (BMW Motorrad/)The B and Transcontinental will each come equipped with a 10.25-inch TFT display, larger than any we’ve ever seen on a motorcycle, and four round analog gauges. The same three ride modes from the original R 18—Rock, Roll, and Rain—carry over. Each bike will also come standard with BMW’s Automatic Stability Control (ASC) and engine drag torque control. Related Content: 2021 BMW R 18 First Ride Speakers on each model are the result of a new collaboration between British manufacturer Marshall Amplification and BMW. The recognizable white lettering can be seen on the speakers of both the B and the Transcontinental, with Gold Series Stage 1 and 2 upgrade options already available. Marshall-branded speakers are the result of a new collaboration between BMW and Marshall Amplification. (BMW Motorrad/)While we saw the R 18 First Edition fall out of production in its second year, as expected given the name, BMW is now introducing a First Edition R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental bearing the same trademark black paint scheme with white pinstriping. “First Edition” lettering, a badge on the seat, and chrome trim set are also included with this limited-edition package. Phone storage and gas cap are located on the R 18 B and Trancontinental’s gas tank. (BMW Motorrad/)We also see BMW introducing its Option 719 line for the R 18, including a collection of milled aluminum parts and the eye-catching Galaxy Dust metallic paint finish. Details on pricing and availability have not yet been released, but we will be reporting back as soon as more information is available. The 2022 BMW R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental dressed in Option 719 Galaxy Dust metallic paint. (BMW Motorrad/) Controls on the left-hand grip are similar to those on previous models, which we know to be easy to use and intuitive. (BMW Motorrad/) The 2022 BMW R 18 B bagger model in gloss black paint. (BMW Motorrad/) The Transcontinental’s top case is decoupled from the rest of the bike to reduce vibration. (BMW Motorrad/) Although a point of criticism on previous models, the R 18 B will come with a badged seat, just like the 2021 R 18 First Edition. (BMW Motorrad/) The full lineup of 2022 BMW R 18 models (BMW Motorrad/)Source
  2. Malaguti’s Drakon 125 concept bike was first shown at the 2019 EICMA show. (Malaguti/)Malaguti as a company dates back to 1930 (with motorcycle manufacturing beginning in 1958) but it went out of business in 2011, spending the best part of a decade dormant before the name was revived by the KSR Group in Austria. KSR already owns brands like Brixton and Motron and acts as a distributor for others including Lambretta, Italjet, and Sur-Ron, selling more than 60,000 products per year. It brought back the Malaguti name in 2018, initially selling rebranded versions of bikes from other manufacturers—including the Aprilia RS 125-based RST 125, the Derbi Mulhacen-derived Monte Pro 125, and the Aprilia SX 125-based XSM 125. In 2019 it revealed its first in-house-designed concept, the Drakon 125, at the EICMA show in Milan, and now new patents show that the production version of that design is nearly ready. The new patents show a production version using much of the same styling, including the unique wraparound headlight and tank design. (Malaguti/)The 2019 Drakon concept, reviving a name used by Malaguti in the past, utilized the same Aprilia-based DOHC single found in the firm’s other offerings and featured the frame from the Derbi Mulhacen-based Monte Pro, but wrapped it all in much more stylish, modern bodywork. For the production version that styling is virtually unchanged, retaining the same intriguing wraparound headlight design, blending into the turn signals on each side and curving upward into the panel below the instruments on the top. It also keeps the same tank design, with boldly flat surfaces and a contrasting insert that carries on the line started by the turn signals in front of it, and the simple, clean-looking seat unit. However, the mechanical components underneath all that are completely different to the concept. Underneath the externals, however, there looks to be a new single-cylinder engine from the Chinese-made Motron X-Nord 125. (Malaguti/)The Aprilia engine has gone, it seems, replaced by another DOHC single-cylinder design, this time from the Chinese-made Motron X-Nord 125—itself a rebranded version of the Zongshen RX1. Assuming there haven’t been too many internal changes, that means power and torque should be close to the Motron’s figures of 12.5 bhp and 7 pound-feet of torque. The chassis is new, too, redesigned to suit the different engine’s shape and mounting brackets; the Motron engine’s cylinder is tilted forward a few degrees more than the Aprilia engine used in the Drakon concept, too, so the steel cradle frame has been completely revised. The upside-down fork and alloy swingarm of the concept are retained, along with the belly-mounted exhaust system, although the latter has been tweaked to suit the different engine and frame. Fork and swingarm remain the same, and a TFT dash is retained as well. (Malaguti/)In terms of styling, the Drakon escapes big changes but there are alterations to suit legislation and road-going requirements. A license plate bracket has been added, for instance—a swingarm-mounted design that incorporates a mudguard and the rear turn signals. The taillight is mounted higher up, in the seat unit. As on the concept, there’s a TFT dash mounted on a stalk sprouting from the top of the headlight, but the production version also gains mirrors, pillion pegs bolted to the seat subframe (so they’re removable if you want to mimic the single-seat concept version), and a grab strap across the seat for passengers. The EICMA show is back on for 2021, so chances are the Drakon will be unveiled as a 2022 model. (Malaguti/)With EICMA making a return later this year after the 2020 show was scrapped due to the COVID 19 pandemic, it’s got to be the most likely platform for the production Malaguti Drakon’s unveiling, with production starting in earnest in 2022. Source
  3. Design patents reveal the look of Zontes’ production 350GK (Zontes/)Out of all of China’s upstart bike firms, Zontes is perhaps the one worth paying more attention to than most—already offering an impressive range of 311cc single-cylinder models and promising new 650cc and 1,000cc triples in the future. Now Zontes is preparing its second-generation single-cylinder line with a new 350cc that debuts in this scrambler-style streetbike. Called the 350GK, the design was previewed in official renders earlier this year but these CAD images from the firm’s design patent show the final look of the production version. Given the firm’s previous record, the mechanical parts including the engine, frame, and suspension will also be used on a range of other machines across a spectrum of styles and markets. The new 350cc single keeps several elements from earlier Zontes 310 models, but integrates newer shapes, like the circular headlight, as well. (Zontes/)With the earlier 311cc “310” models, Zontes introduced a KTM-style, externally braced aluminum swingarm, and the 350GK takes it a step further with a fatter, angled version instead of the straight original. At the front, the design patents show the same forks and brakes as Zontes 310 models, albeit with an unusual cowl over the single brake disc. The circular headlight follows trends seen in bikes like Husqvarna’s Vitpilen/Svartpilen range and Honda’s CB650R, looking slightly oversized and featuring several LEDs behind a clear lens, a horizontal strip separating the high- and low-beam units. Overall styling can be best described as scrambler-meets-standard, a look influenced by the Svartpilen. (Zontes/)The rest of the styling has that modern scrambler look popularized by the Svartpilen, which has already inspired several imitators, but the Zontes design isn’t a blatant copy. The body panels including the tank, seat, and bellypan are all distinct to the Zontes machine, and unlike most bikes in this mold, the radiator cowls are integrated into the main bodywork, meshing with the tank above and the bellypan below rather than standing alone. The twin exhausts follow the stacked arrangement seen on past Zontes bikes, and the engine looks to be externally similar. (Zontes /)The 350GK’s stacked twin exhausts are a Zontes signature, used on most of the firm’s bikes, and given the similarity between the new 350cc engine and the old 311cc version they may even be identical. The CAD images show that the engine is externally similar to the previous design, although in both the patent images and earlier Zontes renders, the cylinders have lost some of the ridges in castings, leading to a smoother, cleaner look. The covers are also new, but essential elements like the engine mounts, the overall shape, and layout are unaltered, so Zontes will be able to slot the 350 into its existing models easily if needed. In terms of performance, the firm is promising around 43 hp—a significant hike from the 34 hp of its 311cc models and enough to exactly match KTM’s 390 Duke or the Husqvarna Vitpilen/Svartpilen 401 duo. With these final design patents issued, we can expect to see the 350GK officially unveiled very soon. (Zontes/) Source
  4. 2021 Yamaha MT-09 (Storm Fluo). (Yamaha/)Ups The same beloved smooth, torquey engine character in a bigger-displacement, lighter-weight packageSignificant redesign with only a $400 price increase from 2020 modelUpdated cast aluminum frame and lighter wheelsImproved mpgNew up-spec SP model availableDowns Downs anyone? Anyone?Verdict Yamaha’s MT-09 keeps on keeping on with improvements. The Tuning Fork company doesn’t shy away from adding an up-spec trim for this year either. Let’s just say Yamaha is in tune (eh, sorry) with what the people want. 2021 Yamaha MT-09 (Storm Fluo). (Yamaha/)Overview For seven years the MT-09 (previously known as the FZ-09) has been and continues to be appreciated as an affordable, everyday streetbike that emphasizes torque across the rev range and agility on any ride. Its current $9,399 price tag is especially reasonable considering its refined, responsive triple and significant 2021 face-lift. It was an impressive middleweight in 2014, and continues to be so. Updates for 2021 Aside from the obvious styling changes, the 2021 MT-09 has seen a tremendous amount of other updates that only contribute to a slightly increased MSRP. We covered these changes in our first look, but here’s an abridged list: The engine has decreased weight, higher displacement/horsepower, improved fuel economy, and revised internals aimed at meeting tighter Euro 5 emission standards while increasing performance. There’s also an updated ride-by-wire system and new braking system. A significant boost in tech includes three ride modes, a 3.5-inch TFT, standard quickshifter, and a YZF-R1-derived six-axis IMU, which manages rider aids such as traction control, wheelie control, ABS, and slide control. The chassis is lighter and more rigid, which includes a new frame and spin-forged aluminum wheels. Handlebar angle and peg position can also be adjusted to adapt the bike to varying ergonomic preferences. Pricing and Variants The MT-series is well known for its bang-for-the-buck package. The base model retails for $9,399, and for even more bang there’s the new MT-09 SP which features up-spec suspension, cruise control, and unique graphics for an MSRP of $10,999. Competition The MT-09′s main competitors are the Kawasaki Z900 ABS, Triumph Street Triple RS, and KTM 890 Duke/R. Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance This MT is powered by Yamaha’s CP3 liquid-cooled triple, which sees a displacement increase from 847cc to 890cc in 2021. A genuine “torque monster.” The internals, such as the pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft, camshaft, and crankcase, have been reworked in the new package. A new fuel delivery system improves combustion efficiency. The engine changes result in weight reduction and better fuel efficiency, Yamaha claims. In his first ride review, contributor Steve Anderson stated the engine is “smooth and responsive and communicative, with a thrilling intake and exhaust roar that meets sound laws and still sounds exciting. It’s an engine that seems to pull as hard at 4,000 rpm as it does at 9,000; it has something for you every time you ask.” 2021 Yamaha MT-09 SP (Raven / Liquid Metal) (Yamaha/)Handling With its handling capability, the MT-09 can run with sportbikes thanks to its solid and planted feel. Its suspension walks the line between comfort and sportiness, “leaning slightly toward the former,” Anderson says, the ride is smooth and controlled. Brakes The brakes, Anderson reports, are smooth and powerful with the Nissin master cylinder syncing up with two 298mm hydraulic discs (front) and 245mm hydraulic disc (rear). ABS comes standard to help during emergency braking situations. 2021 Yamaha MT-09 (Team Yamaha Blue). (Yamaha/)Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG Fuel economy is touted to be improved from the previous model year, from 44 to 49 mpg. Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility As we covered in our first look, ergonomics can be adjusted. Handlebar clamps can be rotated 10mm forward and footpegs can be raised 14mm and pushed back 4mm. 2021 Yamaha MT-09 SP (Raven / Liquid Metal) (Yamaha/)Electronics The MT comes with multiple rider aids that make it a good value for the sub-10K price. There’s ABS, traction control, wheelie control, slide control, three ride modes, TFT display, quickshifter, and six-axis IMU. Warranty and Maintenance Coverage A one-year warranty comes with the purchase of the new MT-09. Quality Yamaha doesn’t rest when it comes to improving an already great machine. The new MT-09 continues to deliver high quality with its value, improvements, and most importantly, torque. 2021 Yamaha MT-09 (Matte Raven Black) (Yamaha/)2021 Yamaha MT-09 Claimed Specifications MSRP: $9,399 Engine: 890cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, inline 3-cylinder; 4 valves/cyl. Bore x Stroke: 78.0 x 62.1mm Transmission/Final Drive: 6-speed/chain Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection w/ 41mm throttle bodies Clutch: Wet, multiplate; assist and slipper Engine Management/Ignition: YCC-T ride-by-wire/TCI Frame: Cast aluminum Front Suspension: 41mm inverted fork, preload, compression and rebound adjustable; 5.1 in. travel Rear Suspension: Single shock, preload and rebound damping adjustable; 4.8 in. travel Front Brake: Dual 298mm hydraulic disc w/ ABS Rear Brake: 245mm hydraulic disc w/ ABS Wheels, Front/Rear: Cast aluminum Tires, Front/Rear: 120/70ZR-17 / 180/55ZR-17 Rake/Trail: 25.0°/4.3 in. Wheelbase: 56.3 in. Ground Clearance: 5.5 in. Seat Height: 32.5 in. Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gal. Wet Weight: 417 lb. Contact: yamaha-motor.com Source
  5. The Saint Unbreakable jacket is made with a blend of cotton and UHMWP, which the company claims can slide for 5.9 seconds before wearing through. (Jeff Allen/)There’s a big difference between workwear and motorcycle gear. Timeless style is always appreciated, but those Levi’s are designed for standing up to abuse in the garage, not for sliding across the asphalt at 60 mph. With companies like Saint pursuing new abrasion-resistant fabrics, there’s no excuse for riding in normal jeans, even if you’re after that classic denim style. Saint’s Unbreakable denim jacket fits the classic trucker-style vibe I wanted, with or without its faux shearling collar. But it also integrates the company’s proprietary technology to bring its safety levels up to modern single-layer standards. Saint, an Australian brand that’s been around for years, has recently been making a big push into the US market. The company’s mission has always been to make stylish clothing with a high level of protection, specifically through the use of abrasion-resistant single-layer fabrics. With the Unbreakable fabric now in its sixth generation, the company has continued to improve on comfort, style, and protection since I first wore its 100 percent Kevlar Roach pants five years ago. Two removable faux shearling collars, black and off-white, come with the Unbreakable jacket. (Saint/)The Unbreakable jacket looks and feels like a casual denim jacket. At 6-foot-4 and just shy of 200 pounds, I am on the taller and slimmer side of the sizing spectrum, and this piece in size large feels like it was made for me. The fit is slim, the material feels light but sturdy, and the sleeves are just a little on the long side; I personally prefer this, as they don’t hike up when you rotate your shoulders forward and bend your elbows as you reach for your handlebars. I appreciate how the jacket’s back is cut slightly longer than the front, perfect for leaning forward on a motorcycle and not showing the world the color of your undies. The pockets are well laid out and the hardware is well selected for its purpose. There is no zipper, only nice bulky buttons, easy to manage with or without gloves on. With the button front, the Unbreakable jacket breathes well and is great for summer riding; it’s my go-to right now in mid-July Los Angeles. Faux shearling collars are included in both off-white and black, pairing nicely with a sweater or sweatshirt to keep you warm in cooler weather. For this piece, Saint uses a mix of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWP) and denim. In what Saint calls “key zones,” meaning the sleeves and the back panel, a mixture of 66 percent UHMWP and 34 percent cotton is used; Saint claims this blend has a 5.9-second slide time, though speed, weight applied, and surface used in testing are not specified. The rest of the jacket is made with a lighter 12 percent UHMWP and a blend of cotton and viscose (a wood-pulp-derived fabric similar to rayon). It is unlined and has no pockets for pads to protect against impact. This helps with the basic denim jacket feel, but does limit its protective potential. Morgan is 6-foot-4, wearing a large Saint Unbreakable jacket. (Justin Dawes/)The Unbreakable jacket, as its name implies, feels very tough; but even if it’s truly unbreakable, your skin and bones underneath are not. Abrasion resistance is a great place to start, and I’ll continue to wear this jacket around town in hot weather, as it’s very comfortable and I love the way it looks. But for sport riding or longer trips, I’ll always step up to more heavily armored gear. Layering something like Forcefield Body Armor’s Sport Shirt under the jacket could remedy this problem, but as the Unbreakable is a slim-fitting piece, you could run into some weird squeeze points around the padding. Technical fabrics aren’t cheap to produce, but considering this piece is priced at $500, which could get you a great-looking, padded, leather or textile jacket from a variety of companies, you’re undoubtedly paying a bit of a premium for style. If you’re the rider who likes to keep it light and wear casual clothing, the Unbreakable jacket is a solid step up in protection that won’t disrupt your style or comfort. It’s a high-quality item that wears just like it’s supposed to, reliably and without any surprises. Sure, it’s a little pricey. Good things usually are. Just like all-cotton denim, Saint’s protective blend fades nicely as it breaks in. (Justin Dawes/) Branded buttons on the back of the Saint Unbreakable jacket let the wearer adjust fit. (Justin Dawes/)Source
  6. China is entering the big-bore multicylinder fray with designs like this 1,000cc cruiser from Gaokin. (Gaokin Moto/)Just as the majority of Western and Japanese motorcycle firms are wrestling with the problem of how to switch from gasoline to electric bikes, the massive Chinese bike industry is turning toward large-capacity multicylinder engine designs for the first time. For years, China has churned out millions of small, uninspiring, single-cylinder bikes. They’ve served as transport for the masses rather than objects of desire. Now, though, as their customers become wealthier and increasingly turn toward riding as a lifestyle or pastime rather than simply the only available means of travel, the country’s motorcycle firms are rapidly switching toward the idea of bigger, faster bikes. Only last month we revealed that Zontes, a current manufacturer of single-cylinder machines up to 310cc, is planning a 1,000cc three-cylinder sportbike, but it turns out that’s just the tip of the iceberg, with a host of other firms exploring similar expansion plans. Related: Will We See a Triple-Cylinder Naked Bike From Zontes? Chinese firm Zontes has also confirmed it’s working on a 1,000cc triple naked, as well as 650cc model. (Zontes/)Zontes itself has now confirmed that the 1,000cc triple is just one of a range of such bikes, with a second three-cylinder engine—a smaller 650cc unit—also currently in the works. Both are likely to be unveiled later this year, though it’s currently not clear whether Zontes will show the engines alone or reveal entire bikes around them. While Zontes is a complete manufacturer, making entire bikes and their own engines, China also has several companies that specialize in designing and building engines to be sold to other manufacturers. Among these, Gaokin (GK) is a major player, and one of the companies leading the way toward bigger engines. The firm already manufactures parallel-twin and V-twin designs used in bikes, ATVs, and even aircraft, and plans to unveil its own 1,000cc V-twin motorcycle at the Chongqing Motor Show later this year. Related: Benda’s BD700 Four-Cylinder Cruiser Is Coming Although yet to be unveiled, the GK V1000 has been betrayed by the firm’s own patent applications for the design, revealing a belt-drive cruiser with a notably low seat and a DOHC 90-degree V-twin engine. The bike’s styling isn’t as successfully “innovative” as the recently revealed Benda LFC700 four-cylinder cruiser, but at least it doesn’t follow the usual route of slavishly copying an existing design from a rival company. GK is developing the GK V1000 (lead photo), as well as partnering with KSR Moto, which makes the Brixton bikes (Crossfire 500 pictured). (Brixton Motorcycles/)The V1000 isn’t GK’s only large-capacity bike project, as the firm is also a partner with Austria’s KSR Moto, building the machines that are sold worldwide under the Brixton brand. At the moment Brixton’s biggest offering is a 500cc parallel twin, the Crossfire, but in 2019 the firm showed a larger, retro-styled parallel twin as concept. Widely rumored to be in the region of 1,200cc, the retro design was clearly intended to be a rival to Triumph’s Bonneville, sharing a similar 1960s-rooted appearance and a water-cooled parallel-twin engine with dummy cooling fins to mimic traditional air-cooled designs. But Brixton (and GK) is also rumored to be developing a larger 1,200cc retro design to compete with Triumph’s Bonneville. (Brixton Motorcycles/)Brixton confirmed in 2020 that the concept will become a production reality, and now GK has patented the visual design of the engine it will use, revealing details that couldn’t be seen on the concept, including the fuel-injection throttle bodies and the subtle water pipes emerging from the cylinder head and lower cases to connect to a radiator that nestles between the front downtubes. Related: Benda LF-01 Concept Revealed Zeths is another Chinese firm that purports to be working on a larger literbike design. (Zeths Motorcycle/)Another Chinese firm that’s entering the big-bike arena is Zeths, a company that currently sells 250cc V-twin cruisers. It’s recently unveiled a 60-degree 1,000cc DOHC water-cooled V-twin engine that’s a far cry from the small motors in its current range, and while we’ve yet to see the bike it will be fitted to, it’s clear the company has big ideas for the future. Similarly, Weisenke—another of China’s engine-making firms—has taken the wraps off a new 796cc inline-four that’s expected to be offered to any bike builder that wants to use it. With a claimed 117 hp at 11,500 rpm and 69 pound-feet of torque at 9,500 rpm, the engine offers far more performance than most Chinese bikes can muster. All this is happening just as other Chinese firms are increasingly leveraging their Western tie-ins to forge ahead with big engine projects. Benelli, owned by Qianjiang, has launched its 1,200cc three-cylinder tourer, with an engine derived from the Italian triple used in the Tornado Tre. The firm has also struck a deal with MV Agusta to adopt its 1,000cc four-cylinder engine in future models. Chinese engine-builder Weisenke has also unveiled a 796cc inline-four 117 hp powerplant. (Weisenke Power Technology/)CFMoto, with close ties to KTM, has already launched its KTM-powered MT800 and the 1250TR-G tourer, which uses a purpose-made V-twin derived from the Austrian firm’s LC8 motor. Zongshen, having snapped up a license to manufacture Norton’s newly designed 650cc parallel twin, has beaten Norton itself to getting the engine into production and is rumored to be developing its own 800cc derivative for future models. While these initial Chinese big bikes aren’t likely to live up to the expectations of those of us used to riding big European, American, and Japanese machines from firms that have had decades to refine their engine-making skills, it’s clear that just as the internal combustion engine appears to be facing its curtain call from those established brands, it’s simultaneously getting a new lease of life in China. Related: Norton-powered Zongshen Cyclone RX6 Nears Production CFMoto’s KTM-powered MT800 is already in showrooms. (CFMoto/)Source
  7. Harley-Davidson’s Heritage models have been around since 1986, but with the introduction of Indian’s new Super Chief Limited, competition has never been greater. (Jeff Allen/)As a kid, I’d always stay on my bicycle later and pass by my neighbor’s place a few more times if he was in the garage working on his bike. I’d sneak glances at the motorcycle parked under the center light, trying to understand my attraction to it. On weekday mornings, he would fire it up and ride to work with saddlebags and windscreen installed. On Sundays more bikes would gather outside, he’d pull down the driveway on his beautiful stripped-down machine and they’d all head out for a ride. It was business and pleasure, equal parts show and go. Just like the 2021 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic 114 and 2022 Indian Motorcycle Super Chief Limited, two motorcycles designed to offer the best of both worlds, each manufacturer’s heavyweight cruiser platform in its highest level of trim, the result of competition that has spanned more than a century. Cruising along Southern California’s highways toward Mount Laguna in eastern San Diego County, there’s 30 feet and 25 years between Editor-at-Large Andrew Cherney and I. We have very different music playing in our helmets, but we easily agree on the Heritage and Super Chief. These bikes offer all the style and most of the convenience of hard-bagged touring machines built around each manufacturer’s big engine, but they’re lighter, more nimble, and more affordable. Remarkably similar in every measurable way, these two motorcycles were designed to perform the same basic task: Tour American highways and cast forth the beacon of freedom that has always been symbolized by Big Twins. Their job—and Americans love to define themselves by their job—is to represent decades of history from their respective companies while also employing modern technology and generally functioning at the level expected of today’s $20,000-plus machines. Editors Morgan Gales and Andy Cherney ride the 2021 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic 114 and 2022 Indian Super Chief in the mountains east of San Diego. (Jeff Allen/)Head-to-Head Engine Comparison: Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic 114 vs. Indian Super Chief Limited The first major similarity in both performance and form are the engines, two large-displacement V-twins with pushrod-actuated valves. The Milwaukee-Eight 114 is air-and-oil cooled, has four valves per cylinder, and operates with a slightly smaller bore and longer stroke, whereas the Indian’s air-cooled Thunderstroke 116 runs with a half-point more compression (11.0:1) but only two valves per cylinder. They’re different roads to the same destination, strong and visceral but refined, shaking with muffled pops at idle and smoothing out as the revs increase. Laying the dyno charts over one another, we can say they’re as similar as we’ve ever seen from two different manufacturers. Laying the Harley and Indian’s dyno charts over one another shows the similarities are remarkable. (Jeff Allen/)Each engine’s torque curve powerfully establishes itself off idle and from around 1,300 rpm, where we start measuring it on our dyno, runs to a peak at 107 pound-feet near 3,000 rpm, then gradually slopes down afterward as the engines rev to redline. As touring riders tend to spend their time at lower revs with less vibration and a mellow beat from the engine, desire for peak performance at higher revs is outweighed by the need for comfort and immediate pull. Therefore these bikes were designed to provide power off the bottom-end, where the vast majority of users want it. And that’s where the first major disparity appears. Clutch and Throttle Feel For smooth, precise engine engagement off the line, good clutch feel and consistent throttle response are key. These are two of the Heritage’s greatest strengths; the Harley’s throttle is precise enough to gradually and carefully increase the lope off idle, and responds as expected throughout the rev range. But this area is also the Super Chief’s greatest weakness; there’s a delay in the Chief’s throttle response from idle, which varies depending on where the engine’s revs sit at the time of application. Communicative clutch lever feel also lets you know exactly when the Heritage’s friction zone is engaging the gearbox, but the Chief’s lever is springy and vague making it hard to be smooth and consistent. This leads to smoother launches with the Harley. With time and experience, Chief riders will undoubtedly learn the clutch’s engagement point and suss out the intricacies of how the throttle responds, but modulation of these controls will be more based upon motorcycle motion and engine sound than it is on feedback and feel. The feeling of connection to the machinery is an important part of cruiser motorcycles, and the Harley has that in spades. Indian’s air-cooled 49-degree V-twin, the Thunderstroke 116, and Harley-Davidson’s air-and-oil-cooled 45-degree V-twin, the Milwaukee-Eight 114. (Jeff Allen/)Quarter-mile times were within a tenth of a second, with the Harley finishing in 13.28 seconds at 100.93 mph and the Indian coming in after 13.37 seconds at 98.58 mph. Zero-to-60 speeds were nearly identical at 4.45 and 4.47 seconds, though the Indian was slightly faster off the line, reaching 30 mph in 1.68 seconds compared to the Harley’s 1.9. All times recorded are the best of several runs at our test facility. Fit and Finish In the cruiser world, fit and finish are just as important as a rider’s feeling of connection to their motorcycle. Harley-Davidson gets a lot of credit for setting the bar high here, and it has continued its good work with this Heritage Classic. As usual, special attention has been paid to routing wires, positioning clamps, and arranging other necessary but unsightly features to make sure that focus remains on the bike’s form as a whole. H-D’s VP of Design Brad Richards called it “cable hygiene” in a recent interview. The Super Chief looks excellent from a few feet away, its metallic blue paint deep and vibrant; but put it next to the Heritage and its shortcomings are apparent. A large wiring loom hangs near the steering head, obstructing the view of a tubular frame that was clearly designed to be seen. Worst of all, the chrome Indian badge on the gas tank was stuck on with foam adhesive that was peeling up on either side. At $20,849 for the Heritage and $21,499 for the Super Chief, these motorcycles are luxury vehicles; exactly how the badge is secured to the tank is a conversation that we shouldn’t need to have. The Super Chief Limited’s touch-screen gauge is easy to read and highly functional, bringing a luxury component of Indian’s hard-bagged touring models into its cruiser segment. (Jeff Allen/)Along that same line, small accents like chrome edges on the fenders, a chrome wheel hub cover, chromed top triple tree and riser clamp, and blackened nickel studs on the seat and tank bib give the Heritage a high-quality feel. Despite models being designated as Limited traditionally being Indian’s more chrome-drenched versions, the Super Chief lacks the same level of adornment; the exhaust pipes, engine covers, intake, and tank bib are in chrome, but most other functional components are muted with black finishes. Electronics and Technology As Big Twins are deeply rooted in traditional styling, gadgetry and tech aren’t things we have expected to see openly integrated until recently. The Super Chief does this very well, using a 4-inch touchscreen gauge system Indian calls “Ride Command” to display all vehicle information, Bluetooth connection, GPS, and more. It does all this while still retaining a simple round shape which seems no different from any other bar-mounted gauge when viewing the bike as a whole. The gauge on the Heritage is simple: an analog speedometer with a small digital readout in the middle displaying fuel level, alerts, and cycling (with a press of a button) between range, clock, trip or overall mileage, and tachometer. It seems dated and, next to the Indian, feels like the bike is missing a key component of a modern luxury touring machine, though the arrangement does keep things nice and tidy at the handlebars. Indian’s 2022 Super Chief Limited in Blue Slate Metallic starts at $21,499. (Jeff Allen/)Three power maps, Sport, Standard, and Tour, are available on the Super Chief Limited, selectable through the Ride Command system. Tour mode is mellow, smoothing out initial throttle application and aimed to assist with long-mile fuel economy. Sport mode is the most aggressive of the maps, ramping up quickly on initial throttle input; though it can be fun to burn some tire here, it only exaggerates the disconnected feeling from the throttle and clutch. Standard mode is the one testers preferred, as it allowed for the most linear and precise application. The Heritage does not offer ride modes, but neither did it really need them; Cherney specifically noted that power was accessible and linear, and the butterfly and therefore engine response matched right-hand movements consistently throughout the powerband. The one “mode” just works very well, and always as expected. Chassis and Handling Despite only a 14-pound weight difference favoring the lighter H-D, these two motorcycles feel quite different from the moment you pick them up off of their sidestands. The Indian feels heavier and seems to carry its weight higher, even though the Harley carries a gallon more fuel. The Heritage simply feels more nimble and manageable. In Black Jet Metallic, the Heritage Classic 114 starts at $20,849. (Jeff Allen/)Taking to the twisty mountain roads around our base at the Laguna Mountain Lodge, the Heritage was quicker to respond to steering inputs and would hold a cornering line without as much fight, due in part to the taller and better positioned handlebars but also due to the narrower Dunlop D401F rear tire. Because of the Super Chief’s 180mm-wide Pirelli Night Dragon rear tire, input to the rear brake or throttle while in a turn would want to stand the bike upright, making it more difficult at times to hold lean angle and maintain the intended line. The Heritage is still a large and heavy bike, but in direct comparison, its handling felt flickable and neutral. Roadside discussion and comparison helps break up long miles during test days. (Jeff Allen/)While maintaining lean angle through a turn, the hinged floorboards on the Heritage Classic have several degrees of give, letting the rider feel when they started to scrape, communicating that there was a little more lean available before touching the underside of the frame. The Super Chief Limited has some room beyond its floorboards, but not nearly as much, meaning that it picks up on hard parts more quickly when pushed beyond the initial “soft” touch point. At higher speeds, when lean angle is really appreciated, the Indian tended to wallow, like the front and back of the bike were out of stroke, an effect often caused by light suspension damping. This paired with the small margin between feeling the road with floorboards and scraping hard parts meant that the Super Chief felt unstable while being pushed hard, zapping rider confidence and making its limits known. While the Harley was well in its comfort zone, the Super Chief had to be muscled around; even then, carrying the same speed through turns required the rider to pick just the right line in order to limit lean angle and keep hard parts off the tarmac. Toward the end of our first riding day, Cherney noted, from the saddle of the Indian, that the added effort of following the Harley through a long stretch of twisty roads was felt after only an hour; he experienced noticeable shoulder pump from the combination of a long reach to the bars and the necessity of constant pressure on them. Suspension and Brakes Whether you’re hitting canyons like that for a couple hours or just mellowing out to ride long miles, suspension can make or break a touring motorcycle. Both bikes come equipped with a telescopic fork, though the H-D’s larger, Showa-manufactured 49mm dual-bending valve set is better calibrated for both sharp hits and minor bumps; this keeps the bike controlled and composed. The Indian’s ZF-made 46mm damper-tube fork provides adequate low-speed damping while carving smooth, twisty roads and loading up the fork to enter a turn, but at highway speeds the suspension mechanism is easily overwhelmed and feels harsh. Rear suspension on each bike is preload adjustable only, but this category was also firmly graded in favor of the Harley, with its 4.4 inches of travel compared to the Chief’s 3.0. There were a couple of times when I reached the limits of the Softail’s monoshock, but only when hitting significant bumps at speed. The Chief’s dual shocks were adequate through minor bumps, but coming across anything major or while the shock was already compressed would use up the full stroke and send the force through the seat and up your spine. Built for riding America’s highways in comfort and style, the Super Chief and Heritage Classic are different approaches to achieving the same goal. (Jeff Allen/)Brakes on the two bikes felt remarkably similar, as you’d expect from such similar weights and equipment. Each machine comes equipped with a four-piston caliper gripping a 300mm disc in the front, and a two-piston caliper in the rear. But as we’d also come to expect at this point, the Heritage just provided better feel at the lever and the pedal, allowing for more confident and precise application. Brake feel on the Super Chief was somewhat vague up front but especially so at the rear, making it a challenge to trail-brake well. In fact, rear-brake pedal travel was excessive and effort was high if you wanted to slow down rapidly. Despite brake feel leaning in the H-D’s favor, testing at our facility saw the Super Chief stop from 60 mph almost 4 feet shorter than the Harley-Davidson. Comfort and Ergonomics The ergonomic package of either bike is designed to be versatile and comfortable for the long haul with comfortably positioned handlebars and long floorboards putting the rider in a relaxed position. Both bikes achieve this goal, but back to back, minor differences decide the verdict. The Heritage’s floorboards sit flat, with mini apehangers providing a nice balance of height and pullback; we both preferred this setup, notable when considering the height difference between me at 6-foot-4 and Cherney at 5-foot-7. The Super Chief’s floorboards are more angled, with the heel down and toe up, and sit a little higher off of the ground. Its handlebars are low and wide, and even with their pullback were a little too much of a reach for Cherney. Reach on the Chief’s low bars wasn’t an issue for me, but the higher floorboards meant I had to move a knee out of the handlebar’s way in order to avoid pinching it against the gas tank while attempting to use full steering lock. Each bike’s saddlebags can be removed with two bolts a piece, but the squared off and lockable bags on the Heritage proved to be more spacious and convenient to use. (Jeff Allen/)Although seat heights are nearly identical, the bikes have a different look while parked and a different feel when riding. The Super Chief’s seat is more in line with the gas tank and is flatter, placing the rider more on top of the saddle, rather than down inside the bike. The Harley’s seat is lower than the gas tank with a steeper back, providing some support on acceleration and a more cradled feel while riding. Both seats were plenty comfortable for a full day on the bike, though testers preferred the H-D saddle, which offers a little more padding and its more contoured shape was supportive, increasing area of contact. Accessories Removable windshields and saddlebags are two of the defining components of each motorcycle tested here, adding to the long-mile capability of the base cruiser platform. The Indian’s windshield is taller and more upright than the Harley’s, providing better protection while riding. The Heritage’s bags are leather wrapped with blackened nickel studs, close from the top with a hinged lid and locking latch, and incorporate a rigid plastic inner frame to help them hold their form. The Super Chief’s bags are soft leather with a couple of structural plastic pieces inside, and close with adjustable cloth straps and plastic clips underneath the decorative leather straps on either side. The lack of internal support on the Indian’s saddlebags make them look more traditional, but they’re also less convenient, less secure, and just don’t match the bike’s high-end feel. The Harley also has the added bonus of fog lights, which greatly increase the rider’s field of vision at night. A chrome bar mounts the Heritage Classic’s fog lights and turn signals, with chrome headlight bezels and windshield hardware nearby. (Jeff Allen/)The Reigning Champ Remains After our spending a significant amount of time on each bike, the Heritage Classic simply felt like a more cohesive and thoroughly developed motorcycle. The handlebars, seat, saddlebags, and windscreen all fit the desired style while functioning beautifully, likely because this bike has been evolving since the first Willie G. Davidson-designed Heritage Softail was released in 1986. The Super Chief Limited is a new machine with a lot of potential, but it lacks refinement in many areas and feels like a first-year bike. There also seems to be a disconnect from design to engineering; for example, so much attention was paid to the Indian’s frame’s aesthetics only to be obscured by a large wiring harness. Also, some components, such as the gauge treatment, feel like high-end luxury, while others like the saddlebags and tank badging have been given notably less consideration. Although overall silhouettes are similar, differences in ride, style, and feel set the Heritage Classic and Super Chief apart. (Jeff Allen/)The Chief works well in its Dark Horse configuration: stripped down with mid-mounted foot controls, blacked out finishes, and intended for more aggressive solo riding. But as that’s translated into a convertible touring machine and more is asked of the platform, it doesn’t demonstrate the versatility and refinement the Heritage has achieved. Given more time to smooth out the bumps, we have no doubt that Indian will continue to improve on the Chief platform, though that won’t be until 2023, as this is already a 2022 model. For now, Harley-Davidson’s decades of building and improving upon Heritage models have led to a truly refined product that is a pleasure to ride in town and on the highway, and make it our clear winner here. Gearbox: Helmet: Hedon Heroine Racer Jacket: Spidi Originals WP Gloves: Spidi X-Knit Pants: Tobacco Archetype Riding Jeans Boots: Roland Sands Design x White’s Boots Gearbox: Helmet: Shoei JO Jacket: Roland Sands Design Ronin Gloves: Cortech Bully Boots: Roland Sands Design Mojave Specifications: 2021 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic 114 2022 Indian Super Chief Limited MSRP: $20,849 (as tested) $21,499 (as tested) Engine: Air/oil-cooled 45º V-twin Thunderstroke 116 Displacement: 114ci 116ci Bore x Stroke: 4.016 in. x 4.5 in. 4.063 in. x 4.449 in. Compression Ratio: 10.5:1 11.0:1 Transmission/Final Drive: 6-speed/belt 6-speed/belt Cycle World Measured Horsepower: 82.04 hp @ 4,700 rpm 80.3 hp @ 4,570 rpm Cycle World Measured Torque: 107.44 lb.-ft. @ 2,960 rpm 107.93 lb.-ft. @ 3,180 rpm Fuel System: Electronic sequential port fuel injection Closed-loop fuel injection Clutch: Wet, multiplate Wet, multiplate Engine Management/Ignition: Throttle-by-wire, electronic Throttle-by-wire, electronic Frame: Tubular steel Tubular steel Front Suspension: 49mm Showa Dual Bending Valve; 5.1 in. travel ZF Suspension 46mm telescopic fork; 5.2 in. travel Rear Suspension: Showa monoshock, spring preload adjustable; 4.4 in. travel Dual ZF Suspension shocks, preload adjustable; 3.0 in. travel Front Brake: 4-piston caliper, 300mm disc 4-piston caliper, 300mm semi-floating disc w/ ABS Rear Brake: 2-piston caliper, 292mm floating disc 2-piston caliper, 300mm floating disc w/ ABS Wheels, Front/Rear: Gloss black, steel spoked; 16 in. Gloss black, steel spoked; 16 in. Tires, Front/Rear: Dunlop D401F, 130/90B-16 / 150/80B-16 Pirelli Night Dragon; 130/90B-16 / 180/65B-16 Rake/Trail: 30.0°/5.5 in. 29.0°/5.2 in. Wheelbase: 64.2 in. 64.0 in. Ground Clearance: 4.7 in. 4.9 in. Seat Height: 27.7 in. 27.7 in. Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gal. 4.0 gal. Cycle World Measured Wet Weight: 727 lb. 741 lb. Availability: Now Now Contact: harley-davidson.com indianmotorcycle.com Performance Numbers: CW Measured Performance 2021 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic 114 2022 Indian Super Chief Limited Quarter-Mile 13.28 sec. @ 100.93 mph 13.37 sec. @ 98.58 mph 0–30 1.9 sec. 1.68 sec. 0–60 4.45 sec. 4.47 sec. 0–100 12.89 sec. 13.88 sec. Top-Gear Roll-On, 40–60 mph 3.9 sec. 4.49 sec. Top-Gear Roll-On, 60–80 mph 4.73 sec 4.91 sec. Braking, 30–0 37.92 ft. 37.92 ft. Braking, 60–0 152.27 ft. 148.49 sec. Source
  8. For 2022 you can choose from three color options for the BMW R 18. There’s no more First Edition trim level. (BMW Motorrad/)BMW has released most of the announcements for its returning 2022 models, and to no one’s surprise, the R 18 cruiser is coming back to the lineup. It’s also no shock that the bike gets very few changes for the new model year, given its long buildup and impressively massive launch in 2020. In fact, the main tweaks come down to a series of new color choices, additional accessory options—some aesthetic, some ergonomic—and the dropping of the First Edition trim from the series. The FE, as you’ll recall, adds white pinstriping, more chrome bits, and special FE badging along with a welcome box with an assortment of BMW-branded accessories. The 2022 R 18 in Mars Red Metallic with the Option 719 Design Package Aero. (BMW Motorrad/)For the 2022 R 18 and R 18 Classic models, though, we’re chiefly talking about fresh colors and new accessory options for 2022. The new hues include Mars Red Metallic, Manhattan Metallic Matt, and the Option 719 Galaxy Dust Metallic/Titanium Silver 2 Metallic. Additional options include metallic black drivetrain and reverse assistance upgrades, though other Option 719 parts are available à la carte as well, including the quilted Option 719 seat and Option 719 wheel options. (Option 719 started out as BMW’s internal code for unassigned options; now it refers to up-spec Motorrad factory accessories.) Related: 2021 BMW R 18 First Ride Review You can get the 2022 R 18 in Manhattan Metallic Matt as well, for either the standard or Classic model. (BMW Motorrad/)The Option 719 Galaxy Dust Metallic/Titanium Silver 2 is notable for the fact that it can actually change color depending on existing light. The Galaxy Dust Metallic finish can morph from violet to turquoise blue, while the Titanium Silver 2 Metallic Mirror surface covers the fuel tank, surrounded by a classic white pinstripe. The Galaxy Dust Metallic paint can flip-flop from violet to turquoise depending on the light, and contrasts with Titanium Silver 2 Metallic Mirror on the fuel tank. (BMW Motorrad/)There’s also an entire Option 719 Design Package Aero which includes different cylinder head and front covers as well as intake snorkels featuring a swanky brushed finish and air vent details. A solid copper chrome-plated badge sits at the center of the side and front covers, with a partial white finish for added drama. Titanium Silver 2 Metallic on the fuel tank meanwhile gives a smoke-effect-like transition between the two surfaces (with the Galaxy Dust paint option). (BMW Motorrad/)Two Option 719 wheelsets are available as well, Aero and Icon. Aero brings a matt silver finish while Icon is in matt black; both are a cast alloy with a six-spoke design that features milled ribs. Related: BMW R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental Slated For 2022 The Option 719 Icon alloy wheels feature a six-spoke design with milled filigree ribs on the spokes. (BMW Motorrad/)That Option 719 saddle meanwhile is an exclusive alternative to the standard R 18 saddle, bringing a special diamond quilting to the main surface with a BMW logo sitting right where your tailbone would go. Lastly, there’s also a geometric change on the lower luggage holder for the R 18 Classic. We were half expecting to see a new Transcontinental model added to the R 18 series for 2022 (based on reporting from sister pub Cycle World) but it looks we’ll have to wait just a bit longer. The Option 719 seat offers standard height, but switches up the upper finish and adds diamond-shaped quilted embossing. (BMW Motorrad/)While the new 2022 R 18 models are expected to hit dealerships sometime in autumn 2021, pricing has yet to be announced. The R 18 Classic is back for 2022, with its traditional touring cruiser accessories intact, including a touring windshield, pillion seat, leather saddlebags, LED auxiliary headlights, and 16-inch front wheel. (BMW Motorrad/) The Option 719 Design Package Aero includes brushed aluminum cylinder head covers with air vents and white paint enclosing the “719.” (BMW Motorrad/) Of course you can still get the base-model R 18 in basic black. No pinstripes though. (BMW Motorrad/) There are no changes to the 1,802cc boxer engine for 2022; additional chrome finishes are available as options. (BMW Motorrad/) A closer look at the touring shield on the 2022 R 18 Classic. (BMW Motorrad/) No confirmation of a new 2022 R 18 Transcontinental model just yet. (BMW Motorrad/) Built in Berlin. (BMW Motorrad/)Source
  9. To quote AC/DC: “I ain’t foolin’ Can’t you tell: I’m a Live Wire, I’m a Live Wire, I’m a Live Wire. Gonna set this town on fire.” The LiveWire One debuts with a $21,999 price tag. No foolin’. (LiveWire/)Following Harley-Davidson’s announcement that it’s co-opting the LiveWire name for its all-electric sub-brand, the Milwaukee company is unveiling the LiveWire One, the latest version of the original LiveWire, an electric motorcycle that immediately stole headlines by giving diehards pause to consider the potential implications of H-D’s long-held nickname: “The Motor Company.” In addition to revealing changes to its flagship electric bike—mainly a significant price cut—Harley-Davidson’s press release also fleshes out relevant details of the Hardwire strategic reboot meant to see the iconic brand through the next 120-ish years. Some bikes just look good in black. (LiveWire/)In the press release, Jochen Zeitz, Harley-Davidson president, chairman, and CEO says: “As part of The Hardwire Strategy, we made a commitment that Harley-Davidson would lead in electric. We recognized the pioneering spirit and brand value in LiveWire for our community and took the decision to evolve the original LiveWire motorcycle into a dedicated EV brand. Today’s LiveWire One builds on the DNA of Harley-Davidson but with the electric focus and ambition of the new LiveWire brand. Harley-Davidson and LiveWire will continue to rewrite the motorcycle rule book and we are excited about this next chapter in our legacy.” LiveWire One Pricing OK, so the bike itself is mostly unchanged, but the LiveWire brand’s ambition, as Zeitz calls it, is clearly revealed in dollars and cents: The new model is $7,800 cheaper than the original. How’s that for ambition? As a halo model, the 2019 LiveWire came to market with a price tag of $29,799. Three years later, the LiveWire One starts at $21,999. Affordability is definitely a great way to express ambition, so well done, Harley…er, LiveWire. And for those keeping track, $21,999 puts it at the same price point as the Zero SR/S. LiveWire early adopters who dropped $30K may be less enthused by the news, though time will reveal if there’s something of consequence in having a first-run model in black and orange paint and the name of the company’s founders on the tank cover. The One has a sleek graphics treatment featuring the stylized “LW” LiveWire logo, and while it’s difficult to tell in photos, it appears as though there’s no Bar & Shield or “H-D” in sight. Revelation powertrain. (LiveWire/)The press release goes on to say: “with evolved software and hardware, LiveWire One builds on the experience of the original LiveWire and reflects the new identity of the LiveWire brand.” At the time of press, Harley-Davidson did not provide further details about the specifics of the “evolved software and hardware.” Buying a LiveWire Alongside news of the LiveWire One, Harley-Davidson reveals LiveWire will have a “hybrid omnichannel” retail model. Essentially, that means consumers will be able to seamlessly interact with the brand in traditional brick-and-mortar stores, online, and on social media channels. To the curmudgeonly among us (raises hand), that may sound like non-news, but in practical terms it’s kind of important. For those who’ve ever bought, say, a T-shirt online and subsequently tried to return it to a store, only to be denied because the digital and physical worlds of the brand don’t really mix, you’ve experienced the shortcomings of multichannel retail. What we want then is omnichannel retail, where parting with our money requires the most minimal of barriers because the virtual and physical channels are aligned. Sarcasm aside, omnichannel retail is the future and Harley claims to be the first of the OEMs to get there. To that end, visit livewire.com if only to get a glimpse of the brand’s identity. While the author’s rural internet connection is too slow to fully experience its bright-feathered allure, it does seem very hip. For those of us with slow internet, LiveWire is also opening 12 new dealerships in California, Texas, and New York with more sites planned for later this year. A LiveWire Experience Gallery “designed to facilitate a fully immersive brand experience”—whatever that may be—is also scheduled to open in the fall/winter of 2021. “Oh, stick this in your fuse box!”: AC/DC again. (LiveWire/)Look, traditionalists may scoff at all this fancy techy stuff (the website/social stuff, not the motorcycle) and pine for the days when your local H-D dealer, “Bif’s Bikes ‘N’ Stuff,” was just a grimy little spot with a hell of a mechanic and a lot of ancient wisdom, but you have to hand it to Harley-Davidson for deeply committing to its strategy for future profitability. Not everyone will like it. Some will. Either way, by speratating the dirt-under-your-nails world of internal combustion Big Twins, and the shiny, utopian world of LiveWire, Harley-Davidson seems to understand its markets and is trying to give the people what they want. Other than that, most people can agree that a top-line motorcycle that’s 26 percent cheaper than it was last year is very cool. Don’t see that everyday. The LiveWire One can be ordered today at—you guessed it—livewire.com. Source
  10. BMW has released the CE 04 electric scooter for 2022, and it’s not all that different from the radically styled concept bike from 2017. (BMW Motorrad/)When BMW pulled the wraps off the Concept Link design study four years ago, few would have believed that a bike with cyberpunk styling would ever get the go-ahead for production. But now the firm has officially added the CE 04 to its 2022 lineup and it looks just as radical as its concept bike forebear. Styling carried over from the concept includes a flat seat hovering over a steel tube chassis covered in bodywork, with solid disc wheels. (BMW Motorrad/)There’s an accepted theory in the moto world that says motorcyclists as a whole are a conservative bunch wary of big changes in styling or technology, but BMW clearly believes the city-bound commuters it’s targeting with the CE 04 have a much more forward-looking, early-adopting mindset than the average rider. While other firms are trying their hardest to develop electric bikes that look the same as their combustion-engine equivalents, the CE 04 embraces the packaging changes that electric power allows and bristles with futuristic tech. Related: Production-ready BMW CE 04 Revealed in Patents BMW is arguably a step ahead of its rivals here. The firm has already gone down the route of building a conventional-looking electric scooter (the C evolution that made its debut a full decade ago) and learned from the intervening years of manufacturing and marketing it. So when the firm believes that the CE 04′s approach—with styling that’s somewhere between Blade Runner and Star Wars—is the way to go, there’s clearly research and experience behind that decision. Florian Römhild, the CE 04 project manager, said: “The new BMW CE 04 is the logical and at the same time rethought continuation of BMW Motorrad’s electromobility strategy. Urban areas are its element. This is where it sets a new benchmark—in terms of both technology and visual style.” Power comes from a liquid-cooled permanent magnet motor rated for 42 peak horsepower. ABS and stability control are standard. (BMW Motorrad/)Although we actually revealed the final production styling of the CE 04 back in March this year, and the original look dates back to a 2017 concept, the bike’s appearance is still arresting. The completely flat seat, which appears to hover above the main bodywork, the solid disc wheels, the floating front side panels which meld into the footboards and bellypan. Even the orange-tinted screen that was a hallmark of the original concept is available as an optional extra, along with the same graphics. Underneath all that lies a tubular steel chassis with a 60.6Ah, 147.6V lithium-ion battery pack running along its length. At the rear sits a liquid-cooled, permanent magnet synchronous motor, able to run at up to 12,300 rpm and putting out a peak of 42 hp at 4,900 rpm (though the rated “continuous” power level is 20 hp). That’s enough for a 75-mph top speed, making the CE 04 fast enough to keep up with highway traffic. Torque maxes out at 44 pound-feet at a mere 1,500 rpm, helping the CE 04 hit 62 mph in 9.1 seconds. As the motor is liquid-cooled there’s a radiator mounted conventionally at the front, but the battery is air-cooled via a finned heat sink running the length of the bike’s underside. Low but still pretty long and heavy, the CE 04 has a wheelbase of 66 inches, on par with that of a Triumph Rocket 3. An electric reverse helps riders back the 509-pound scoot out of parking spots. (BMW Motorrad/)Although the CE 04 looks compact, it’s not a small scooter. At 90 inches, it’s longer than the old C evolution, and the wheelbase, at 66 inches, is the same as a Triumph Rocket 3! The compact appearance is helped by the fact that the wheels, despite looking typically scooter-small, are actually 15 inches in diameter. With its size in mind, the CE 04′s 509-pound mass doesn’t seem that bad, and since most of that will be in the low-slung battery pack it’s sure to feel lighter to maneuver. Even so, BMW has added a reversing aid, whereby the electric motor will drive the bike backward at walking pace to help back into garages or parking spots. A large bright TFT screen offers up info on range—a claimed 80 miles on a full charge—battery status, and engine modes. The Premium package adds a Dynamic riding mode as well. (BMW Motorrad/)As with any electric bike, there’s sure to be a focus on range and recharging time. Here, the figures aren’t so impressive. On a full charge, the CE 04 is good for around 80 miles, though the way you ride will have a significant effect on that. The base range is measured in the bike’s normal Road mode, with full power available and a normal amount of engine-braking during which the motor acts as a generator to feed power back to the battery. There’s also an Eco mode that increases the engine-braking and regen effect and limits acceleration to stretch the range, and a Rain mode that softens the power delivery and cuts down the engine-brake effect to help maintain traction. A Dynamic riding mode that maximizes acceleration and regenerative braking effects is available as an option as part of the Premium package. Once your 80 miles are up, the recharging options are a normal Level 1 charge from a household 120V socket, which will take 4 hours, 20 minutes for a full charge, or a Level 2 240V wallbox or public charger, which cuts that recharge time to 1 hour, 40 minutes. On the go, a 45-minute charge from a Level 2 charger will take the battery from 20 percent to 80 percent, but even so it sounds like long-distance rides on the CE 04 won’t be straightforward. Of course, that’s not what it’s for, and for most commutes the home charging option will be more than good enough. Recharging options range from the usual Level 1 household socket to faster Level 2 chargers (the Premium option comes with a Level 2 cable), though longer trips will still be a challenge. (BMW Motorrad/)In line with the CE 04′s futuristic looks and the clear appeal to early adopters, there’s inevitably an accompanying smartphone app and plenty of connectivity between your phone and the 10.25-inch high-definition TFT dash. Navigation is built in, but there’s also a host of other options including media and calling controls, plus details of the battery’s state of charge and a live display of energy usage or recuperation to help eke out more miles. With the smartphone becoming an integral part of the experience, BMW has added a secure, splashproof storage compartment, with a built-in USB-C charging port and ventilation to make sure your phone doesn’t overheat when it’s in there. It also locks with the bike’s central locking system. The main storage is in the form of a side-opening, illuminated underseat compartment, big enough to swallow a helmet and—thanks to its unusual opening system—able to be accessed while you’re sitting on the bike. Main storage on the CE 04 is a side-opening underseat cubby large enough to cram a full-face helmet into. (BMW Motorrad/)LED lighting is standard, with adaptive lights coming as part of a Premium option package along with cornering ABS and dynamic traction control, plus tire pressure monitors, a heated seat, and the Level 2 charging cable. Normal Bosch ABS is standard, operating on two four-pot calipers gripping 265mm discs at the front and a single pot caliper on the same size rotor at the rear, along with ASC (automatic stability control). The suspension is more conventional than the bike’s appearance might suggest, with a 35mm fork up front and a direct-action monoshock at the rear, offset to one side so as not to intrude on the space needed for the motor and electronics. A standard 35mm fork is mounted up front, while rear suspension is handled by a direct action monoshock. (BMW Motorrad/)As you might expect, a BMW electric scooter isn’t cheap, though the CE 04 does undercut the old C evolution in markets where both have been offered. The base model starts at $11,795 MSRP. Also included is a clever splashproof phone compartment with a built-in charging port. (BMW Motorrad/) LED lighting is standard, while the Premium package will also get you adaptive lighting as well as cornering ABS, dynamic traction control, and a heated seat, among other perks. (BMW Motorrad/)Source
  11. European type-approval documents have shed some light on the upcoming July 13 Harley-Davidson model announcement. The new Revolution Max 1250-powered bike will be called the Sportster S. (Harley-Davidson/)Harley-Davidson is planning a global reveal of its water-cooled 1250 custom—a bike that was first teased as a concept a full three years ago—on July 13. But details of the production version have now emerged ahead of schedule, courtesy of the firm’s official type-approval documents. We now know the new machine will go under the name “Sportster S,” confirming that this liquid-cooled DOHC machine is the successor to the long-running Sportster line of air-cooled pushrod V-twins. The model’s official designation is RH1250S, in line with the Pan America that shares its 1,252cc Revolution Max engine. The adventure model’s designations are RA1250 for the base model and RA1250S for the Pan America 1250 Special. A screengrab from Harley’s July 13 teaser shows the DOHC 1,252cc engine. Documents reveal it will make less power than the unit powering the Pan America 1250 adventure motorcycle. (Harley-Davidson/)The fact that Harley showed a concept for the new Sportster S in 2018, and has teased the production version overtly since then, means there are few surprises in store when it comes to the bike’s appearance. However, these are the first definite technical details to emerge. The 2018 concept for the Sportster S is very similar to the finished product seen in the H-D teaser video. (Harley-Davidson/)The engine might be essentially the same Revolution Max 1250 design used in the Pan America, but it has been detuned from the Pan America’s claimed 150 hp to 121 hp, with significantly lower peak revs. This might be a clue that the Pan America’s variable valve timing system isn’t used on the Sportster S, which would help reduce complexity and cost. But regardless of how the power reduction is achieved, it means the new bike’s max output arrives at 7,500 rpm instead of 8,750 rpm. Torque is also reduced, albeit by a smaller amount. The Sportster S manages 92 pound-feet at 6,000 rpm, whereas the Pan America is good for a claimed 94 pound-feet at 6,750 rpm. (On the Cycle World dyno, the Pan America 1250 Special produced 128 rear-wheel horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 80.8 pound-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm.) Despite a reduction in power and torque, the Sportster S isn’t any slower than the Pan America. Type-approval documents list its maximum speed as 137 mph, the same figure listed for the Pan America in its equivalent type-approval info. With peak torque arriving at lower revs, plus a significant reduction in weight, the Sportster S will probably outrun the Pan America in a race from the lights. The Sportster S has a type-approved weight of 503 pounds wet, including a full tank of fuel. That’s 66 pounds less than the Pan America 1250 Special in the same state and 37 pounds less than the base Pan America. Note that these are the European type-approval figures, not those claimed on Harley’s spec sheets. For the US, Harley quotes the Pan America Special at a slightly lighter 559 pounds (534 pounds for the base Pan America). If the same proportions apply to the Sportster S, the US version is likely to be around the 495-pound mark. European documents reveal a 503-pound wet weight, but it could come in slightly lighter than that. (Harley-Davidson/)As on the Pan America, the Revolution Max isn’t just the Sportster S’ engine but also a major component of its chassis, providing the main structure between the swingarm pivot and the separate upper frame section, which is bolted to the top carrying the steering head. That means its dimensions can’t stray too far from the Pan America’s, and documents show both bikes are identical in overall length at 2,270mm (89.4 inches). The new bike has a slightly shorter wheelbase at 59.8 inches compared to 1,580mm (62.2 inches) for the Pan America, but of course it’s substantially shorter and narrower overall; its total height is 42.7 inches, down from 59.4. With less mass, there’s a reduced need for braking power as well, so the Sportster S uses a single front disc instead of the Pan America’s twin disc setup. The original concept version was notable for its massively wide front tire, and the production Sportster S doesn’t scale it down. The front rubber is 160/70ZR-17—big enough for the rear of many streetbikes—while the back hoop holds a 180/70ZR-16. The Harley-Davidson Sportster S will sport wide front and rear tires and a flat and low stance. (Harley-Davidson/)Harley’s decision to use the Sportster S name for the RH1250S gives a couple of clues to the firm’s plans for the future. It suggests the bike is a genuine Sportster replacement rather than a parallel model, and shows that Harley-Davidson’s recent trademark application for the Nightster name wasn’t destined for this model (although it may yet be applied to a variation on the same theme). The fact that the initial version of the new Sportster is the “S” also hints that a lower-spec, non-S version of the bike may also be in the cards, perhaps built around the smaller-capacity 950cc version of the Revolution Max engine originally destined for the canceled Bronx streetfighter. The final questions will be answered at the bike’s official unveiling on July 13, at which point Harley’s plans for the future of the Sportster will surely be revealed at least a little further. Source
  12. Benda has released the 680cc four-cylinder LFC 700 cruiser in China, with distribution in Europe coming soon. (Benda Motorcycles/)China’s motorcycle industry might continue to pose some problems in the future given its history of plagiarism and reputation for cheap, low-quality machines, but there’s no denying it’s currently one of the fastest-moving in the world, with a growing number of brands striving to create large-capacity models that can compete on the world stage. Benda, a brand that was barely known a year ago, is at the forefront of this new Chinese charge, and it’s surprising many by not only promising new bikes and greater international access, but actually delivering on those vows. Now the firm has officially launched the production version of the LFC 700 cruiser powered by its own new 680cc four-cylinder engine, but also unveiled a second model, the LFS 700, that plants the same motor in a flat-track-inspired roadster. The LFC’s styling is unique, with four exhaust exits, a long wheelbase, and a huge rear tire. (Benda Motorcycles/)The LFC 700, which was first previewed by Benda’s LF-01 concept last year, is barely altered in showroom form and has now gone on sale in China, with the European market to follow in the near future. Like the original concept, the production bike has comically vast dimensions, with an enormous 67.7-inch wheelbase and a 310/35-18 rear tire, to give the sort of proportions more associated with one-off custom bikes than showroom models. There’s no denying that it’s attention-grabbing, with its quadruple exhaust exits and unique turbine-style air intake surrounding the LED headlight, and perhaps more importantly, it’s not a bike that can be accused of copying others in terms of style. The engine is a 680cc DOHC liquid-cooled V-twin, available in two versions. (Benda Motorcycles/)The engine does appear to have a few similarities to Honda’s CB650 four-cylinder, with the same bore and compression ratio, but its castings are unique and the crankshaft’s throw is 2mm longer to give the 680cc capacity. Two versions are being offered, a cheaper model with 84.5 bhp available at 10,000 rpm and a higher-spec, pricier version with 92.5 bhp at 11,000 rpm, equipped with a slipper clutch and Brembo brakes instead of Nissins. Both models have KYB suspension front and rear and Bosch ABS electronics, plus a TFT dash with phone connectivity for navigation and media. How much for all that? In China, the prices are remarkably low. The cheaper version’s 45,800 yuan price equates to around $7,000, while the Brembo-equipped, more powerful bike is 46,800 yuan, or around $7,200. Benda released the LFS 700 model at the same time, which features the same engine as the LFC, but stuffed into a smaller package with roadster styling. (Benda Motorcycles/)While the LFC 700 had been expected, Benda’s launch of the LFS 700—due to go on sale in China in October—comes as a surprise. It features the same engine as the higher-powered LFC, with 92.5 bhp at 11,000 rpm, plus the Brembo brakes and KYB suspension, but gets more conventional proportions, with a part-alloy, part-steel tube frame instead of the LFC’s huge cast alloy design. The wheelbase shrinks to 1,480mm (58.3 inches), and the tire sizes are conventional, with 17-inch wheels at both ends with a 120-section front and 180-section rear. With its smaller dimensions, the LFS enjoys a significant weight advantage over the LFC, coming in at 480 pounds wet instead of 518 pounds, and its top speed is listed as 130 mph. And the price? In China, the LFS 700 will be just 38,800 yuan, which equates to $6,000. The smaller, lighter, and lower priced LFS 700 also brings some interesting styling choices to the table, including angular side panels and oversize number boards. (Benda Motorcycles/)As with the LFC 700, the LFS’ styling is distinctive, even if it might also prove divisive. Angular side panels extend forward of each side of the fork, with LED turn signals built into them, and those exaggerated number boards on each side of the tail work to hide a duo of underseat exhaust end cans, each with a flattened profile and vertical, slotlike exit. The rear turn signals are also melded into the number boards, with an L-shaped design to make them visible from the side and rear simultaneously. The LFS 700’s underseat exhaust also features a unique flattened shape with vertical exits. (Benda Motorcycles/)Although we’ve yet to hear any plans for Benda to bring its bikes to the USA, the company has already started to establish dealer networks in Europe, with a Spanish operation already in place and bikes expected to reach Italy later this year. The brand has teased several future models as well, including the small-displacement VTR-300 Turbo. (Benda Motorcycles/)Even more intriguing than Benda’s existing models are the company’s plans for the future. At the start of 2021, the firm released a teaser image showing the silhouettes and names of three upcoming models. One of these was the LFS 700, now available in China, and another was the VTC-300, a small V-twin DOHC water-cooled cruiser that was also unveiled last week. The third new model, expected to appear before the end of the year, was dubbed the VTR-300 Turbo, and the silhouette clearly showed a fully faired sportbike. Will it really be powered by a turbocharged 300cc engine? Having seen Benda’s other new models, it seems increasingly likely. Source
  13. The Honda Rebel 300 is the smallest displacement in the line of Big Red’s cruisers and is wholly approachable. (Adam Campbell/)The Honda Rebel has a beginner-friendly pedigree like no other motorcycle cruiser. Since its launch in 1985, this small-bore hero has been introducing riders to motorcycling with its likable, easy-to-handle character. While the 2021 model remains unchanged after its 2020 updates, it retains the approachable nature for which it is very well known: a plucky engine with performance that won’t be outgrown too quickly, a low seat height that new and shorter-statured riders will feel comfortable swinging a leg over, and a low-slung chassis that’s easy to handle on the road and while stopped. The 286cc liquid-cooled single produced 25 peak horsepower and 17.6 pound-feet of torque on our in-house dyno. (Adam Campbell/)The Rebel’s 286cc liquid-cooled engine acts as a stressed member within what Honda calls a diamond-type steel frame. Its 25 Cycle World-measured peak horsepower put out by the quick-to-rev DOHC single is entertaining—but not quick to intimidate. The engine can hang at low speeds a gear high without bucking or shuddering and then sings at higher rpm and speeds. During testing we saw a high of 91 mph indicated on the LCD dash, just enough to keep up with California motorists while holding additional power in reserve for passing. With a CW-recorded quarter-mile time of 16.53 seconds at 75.93 mph, the Rebel covers the quarter more quickly than some of its competition. It gets up to 60 mph in 7.85 seconds, keeping most econoboxes off your tail off the line; engine performance is impressive for its small displacement and allows riders to improve their skills as they push the bike harder. It’s clear that Honda intends to keep the learning curve climbing too, with offerings in the 500 and now 1100 segments. Shifting through the gears is precise. No false neutrals. (Adam Campbell/)The throttle is easily modulated; the Rebel’s delivery of power is predictable and smooth thanks to well-sorted fuel mapping. The clutch lever pulls with minimal effort thanks to the cable-actuated slip and assist clutch. Shifting gears through the six-speed gearbox is precise; the Rebel does not give off a deep “thunk” confirming the gear-changing action like that made by some larger V-twins. It’s doing its job without fanfare or fuss. With the darker colored paint scheme and blacked-out detailing, the Rebel makes a bold statement. (Adam Campbell/)The Rebel carries over styling cues first seen in the 2017 redesign. Its 3.0-gallon peanut tank has bobberlike lines leading down to a 27.3-inch low solo seat. Blacked-out paint covers nearly every inch of components south of our test unit’s Pearl Blue tank and fender. The LED lighting package, which saw a redesign in 2020, is in typical high-quality Honda fashion and gives this bike a modern cruiser appearance. A wide 130/90-16 Dunlop D404 front tire leads the way. (Adam Campbell/)While the seat height and peg location cramps my 32-inch inseam slightly, the seat-to-bar stretch is more roomy. A shorter 5-foot-6 tester with a 31-inch inseam agreed that the seat was very low and the pegs high, though the reach to the bars was not an issue for him either. Seat cushioning, however, is firm and dense, contributing to a numb butt after about an hour and a half of riding. Its composed chassis helps boost rider confidence in the turns. (Adam Campbell/)The suspension is also on the firm side, with a sporty feel from both the 41mm telescopic fork and dual shocks allowing the rider to explore their limits on snaking roads. Small-bump compliance is good for soaking up minor imperfections in the road; it’s only when hitting large bumps that the rear finds the bottom of the Rebel’s 3.8 inches of travel. The bike carries its light 372 pounds hunkered down low, making it very maneuverable and quite fun on winding backroads. If the Rebel had a résumé, it could add “excellent communication” to the list. The rear brake, specifically, communicated its actions very well to the rider. (Adam Campbell/)Applying the Nissin brakes (296mm and 240mm discs, front/rear) demonstrates well-controlled fore and aft weight transfer, again thanks in part to the Rebel’s sub-400 pound mass. This also helped us record a 141.3-foot stopping distance from 60 mph to zero. Furthermore, both the front and rear brakes have a wonderful feel that lets you know when you are approaching imminent assistance from the ABS system. The rear brake has impressive power and can bring the bike to a purposeful stop on its own. Our test unit was equipped with ABS (MSRP $4,899); a non-ABS model is available for a total MSRP of $4,599. The Rebel 300 (with ABS) is listed at a reasonable $4,899. (Adam Campbell/)Motorcycle models come and go, but the Rebel’s 36-year run goes to show that approachability is always in demand. Riders who are just beginning to grow and develop their skills will find this bike a great place to start their motorcycle journey. 2021 Honda Rebel 300 ABS Specs MSRP: $4,899 (ABS) Engine: DOHC, liquid-cooled single-cylinder; 4 valves/cyl. Displacement: 286cc Bore x Stroke: 76.0 x 63.0mm Compression Ratio: 10.7:1 Transmission/Final Drive: 6-speed/chain Clutch: Wet, multiplate; cable actuation Engine Management/Ignition: Electronic fuel injection w/ 38mm throttle bodies Frame: Diamond-type steel Front Suspension: 41mm telescopic fork; 4.8 in. travel Rear Suspension: Twin shocks, preload adjustable, 3.8 in. travel Front Brake: Nissin hydraulic caliper w/ 296mm disc w/ ABS Rear Brake: Nissin hydraulic caliper w/ 240mm disc w/ ABS Wheels, Front/Rear: Cast aluminum; 16 x 3.0 in. / 16 x 3.5 in. Tires, Front/Rear: Dunlop D404; 130/90-16 / 150/80-16 Rake/Trail: 28.0º/4.3 in. Wheelbase: 58.7 in. Ground Clearance: 5.9 in. Cycle World Measured Seat Height: 27.3 in. Fuel Capacity: 3.0 gal. (0.6 gal. reserve) Cycle World Measured Wet Weight: 372 lb. Contact: powersports.honda.com 2021 Honda Rebel 300 ABS Performance Numbers CW Measured Performance Horsepower: 25.01 hp @ 7,640 rpm Torque: 17.59 lb.-ft. @ 7,320 rpm Quarter-Mile: 16.53 sec. @ 75.93 mph 0–30: 2.42 sec. 0–60: 7.85 sec. 0–100: N/A Top-Gear Roll-On, 40–60 mph: 9.22 sec. Top-Gear Roll-On, 60–80 mph: 12.49 sec. Braking, 30–0: 35.27 ft. Braking, 60–0: 141.3 ft. GEARBOX: Helmet: Arai Regent-X Jacket: Pando Moto Capo Cor 01 Pant: Pando Moto Kusari Kev 01 Gloves: See See Street Glove Boots: Cortech Women’s Slayer Riding Shoe The Pearl Blue paint is one of two colorway options for the small-displacement Rebel. (Adam Campbell/) The Rebel has a 58.7-inch wheelbase, 28-degree rake, and 4.3-inch trail. (Adam Campbell/) A close-up of the Rebel’s brake pedal and right peg. (Adam Campbell/) The exhaust that sings out the single’s tune. (Adam Campbell/) A Nissin caliper squeezes on a 296mm disc for front-end stopping power. (Adam Campbell/) The four-bulb LED headlight that illuminates the road ahead. (Adam Campbell/) A close-up of the radiator gives you a glimpse of the plumbing required to cool the Rebel engine. (Adam Campbell/) Honda does a very admirable job of neatly wrapping wires and directing said wires to the appropriate locations. (Adam Campbell/) A simplistic gauge shows pertinent information on a contrasting white-on-black LCD screen. (Adam Campbell/) Many bikes have the ignition switch located by the instrument cluster, the Rebel’s is located on the left side just under the tank. (Adam Campbell/) The 41mm telescopic fork has 4.8 inches of travel. (Adam Campbell/) Dual shocks provide 3.8 inches of travel. (Adam Campbell/) Decent lean is achieved before pegs start to scrape. (Adam Campbell/) Looking for chrome? Well, there ain’t much. Only a small amount can be found on the fork tubes. (Adam Campbell/) I want my, I want my, I want my LED. That’s how it goes, right? (Adam Campbell/) A solo saddle gives the Rebel its bobberlike look, but the firmness of the cushion is uncomfortable on longer rides. (Adam Campbell/) Knees up and arms outstretched make up the Rebel’s ergonomics. (Adam Campbell/) The single-cylinder engine helps keep the bike slim. (Adam Campbell/) A diamond-type frame holds the engine in place. (Adam Campbell/) Fill ’er up. The Rebel has a 3.0-gallon fuel capacity. (Adam Campbell/) The Rebel’s low center of gravity makes it easy to tip into turns. (Adam Campbell/) Overall approachability makes the Rebel a-track-tive to new riders. (Adam Campbell/) Cast aluminum wheels are shod with Dunlop rubber (Adam Campbell/) Both front and rear wheels have 16-inch diameters. (Adam Campbell/) With a 0–60 time of 7.85 seconds, the Rebel has impressive acceleration for its engine size. (Adam Campbell/) A color-matched steel rear fender looks sleek. The plastic front fender, however, seems like a cost-saving touch. (Adam Campbell/) In stock form, the Rebel is for the solo rider, however, there are accessories available that can cater to the two-up travelers. (Adam Campbell/) Here’s a decent view of the Rebel’s underbelly. (Adam Campbell/) The three most common final drives are belt, shaft, or chain. The Rebel is fitted with an O-ring-sealed chain. (Adam Campbell/) Despite all the plumbing for the liquid-cooling there is still some negative space between the engine and frame. (Adam Campbell/) The Rebel clocked a 16.53-sec quarter-mile time at 75.93 mph. (Adam Campbell/) Who can ever say no to a winding road? (Adam Campbell/)Source
  14. Fabio Quartararo extended his point lead after his win at Assen. (MotoGP/)By handily winning the Dutch TT, Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo took the lead in the MotoGP championship with 156 points, over second place Johann Zarco’s 122 and the 109 points of Francesco Bagnaia in third (both on Ducatis). Although it was a surprise to see Maverick “Mr. Up-and-Down” Viñales topping most practices after finishing 10th at Sachsenring, it was only an illusion brought about by his hot single laps versus Quartararo’s crushing consistency. In FP4 Quartararo unrolled eight 1:32 laps to two by Viñales, while Bagnaia produced steady 33s. Bagnaia, who came sixth in the race, said, “In FP4 my pace was not too bad, but looking at the pace of the Yamaha, [I’m] five- or six-tenths slower. “I didn’t expect to struggle so much this weekend. The Desmosedici is difficult to handle in the fast corners because it moves a lot. “I will try to stop them in the first few laps [Quartararo and Viñales] but it will be difficult to stay with them for the whole race.” Quartararo assessed the competition: “…Bagnaia is good at tire management and he will be there, as well as the Suzukis and [Miguel] Oliveira—difficult to know who will be the main opponent.” Everyone agreed that Assen’s new asphalt gives outstanding grip. Viñales noted, “My problem is grip. When it’s there, I’m fast. When it’s not, I suffer.” The racing this year has shown that it’s essential to get away in the first group, get into clear air free of hot, tire-killing slipstreams, take the lead, and go away. Bagnaia gamely gave it a try even without the pace to win. He led four laps, but Quartararo’s repeated attacks eventually succeeded and the Frenchman broke away to win by 2.7 seconds over Viñales. Quartararo made the pass on Bagnaia on lap 4. (MotoGP/)Many in the paddock speak of how close the competition is now, the result of every rider having thorough training and being aboard fully engineered factory racebikes. Can competition be too close? Luca Marini (Valentino Rossi’s half brother) said of present MotoGP, “It’s different from Moto2. Last year I fought for the championship until the end of the season but it was a completely different situation. [In MotoGP] the stress is much higher. “…in Moto2 I was never tired. In MotoGP you start the weekend already tired.” Other riders spoke of having to ride at the limit the whole time. Oliveira, who finished fifth, said, “I was on the limit since the start to the finish.” Zarco said, “Today I raced really to the limit, the front end closed and to recover I was pushing [on the pavement] with my elbow. “Even at Sachsenring I pushed to the limit but I took pole there, while here it wasn’t enough.” Zarco finished fourth. What of Marc Márquez, who thrilled us all by winning Sachsenring? A snap highside in practice effectively thumped him very hard. Unbroken, he gathered himself to finish seventh. Márquez noted, “The thing is, only Honda riders have these kinds of highsides. In Portimão, Álex and Pol. Here, me. “But the traction control didn’t keep the slide.” As the back end started to go, he waited for the intervention but it never came. Marc Márquez finished seventh at Assen—a commendable finish considering the massive highside he had in practice. (MotoGP/)Despite two changes of crew chief, Viñales has now asked for early separation from Yamaha (his existing contract includes 2022). “Somehow I start to feel when I come to race that it starts to be a nightmare. I have for three years the same comments [to Yamaha].” Maverick Viñales finished second on the weekend he announced his request for an early departure of the Yamaha squad. (MotoGP Race News/)Losing three positions at the start, Viñales set about getting past Takaaki Nakagami (Honda): “For sure I destroyed the tires a lot behind him. I didn’t find the way to overtake until he lost grip.” What has happened to other previous winners such as Joan Mir, Jack Miller, and Oliveira? Mir’s 2020 consistency has been eclipsed by Quartararo on the improved Yamaha, yet he did forge his way into third this time. Miller crashed at turn 5. Oliveira said, “Our goal was to make the bike [KTM] agile, but making it agile and stable at the same time is not an easy result to achieve.” Joan Mir finished third on the day in Assen. (MotoGP/)Zarco had earlier noted, “The fourth sector is the most complex for our bike—there are high-speed changes of direction.” The Yamahas have always excelled at direction changing, but the usual means of speeding up the process, through reduced steering rake and trail, can provoke oscillatory instability—wobble or high-speed weave, which riders call “pumping.” Is chassis oscillation what riders now mean when they complain of “shaking”? Quartararo spoke of shaking beginning out of turn 12 until turn 15, and Bagnaia noted that while Quartararo was faster in sector three, “I’m always faster in some corners like the fast ones in sector four. I know that maybe for the setting his bike is shaking more and I can control it better.” MotoGP is no picnic, as American World Supers rider Garrett Gerloff, standing in at Yamaha for the injured Franco Morbidelli, said: “The bike is so rigid and the tires have so much grip that it just reacts off of every imperfection in the track. “…there isn’t much middle ground. Either you push or you don’t push. You need balls.” Gerloff finished 17th. Garrett Gerloff stood in for an injured Franco Morbelli and finished 17th. (MotoGP/)This is close to the reaction former MotoGP rider Ben Spies and crew chief Tom Houseworth voiced at their first GPs: The bikes are much stiffer than Superbikes and offer much more grip. This season and last, first one rider and then another moves to the front in a steady succession, suggesting that, in a paddock where everyone in the top 10 has a winning pace, winning has become a lottery. Quartararo has emerged as a force, but even so, we won’t be surprised if the Ducatis return to strength at tracks that favor them. We can guess, but nothing is certain. What if tires are more complex than the simple-minded model that says “baby them in the early laps so there’ll be something left at the end”? What if they behave more like old-time engine break-in? Piston rings might never seat properly unless loaded to, say, 70 percent of maximum in cycles of heavy throttle, alternating with rest. “Babying” the rings just resulted in arrested break-in, leakage, and disappointing power. How did Casey Stoner get his tires to operating temperature so fast in the first three laps and still have winning grip at the end? What did Andrea Dovizioso learn at Ducati that allowed him to use that maker’s tremendous power without shredding his tires? How did Marc Márquez arrive in MotoGP already able to postpone his tire drop beyond what veterans Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo could manage? How does Quartararo make his Yamaha win races when the finish record of the factory’s other three riders has been so up-and-down? We have to reject the idea that MotoGP has become a “tire lottery” in which the winning strategy is trusting luck to issue you two good ones for Sunday afternoon. Quartararo’s wins would be an unlikely result. From early 1950s experiments with silica as a tire tread reinforcement (in partnership with carbon black), it was 40 years before Michelin released its “Green Tire” revolution in 1992, employing rubber that paradoxically combined high wet and dry traction with much reduced rolling resistance. It was a breakthrough. Tread compound development is scientific, but it is also slow because understanding the effects of so many ingredients and processes takes time. The result is yearslong programs of exhaustively testing every small variation. There is no such thing as full knowledge in this business. Rossi (who lost the front and crashed out) said of Michelin on Saturday, “They don’t know which tire will work either. “[Piero] Taramasso expected no one to use the hard tire on the rear, but in FP4 with that [on] I had a pace that was sixth-tenths better than [with] the medium. “But this is valid for today. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow in the race.” Quartararo won on the medium/hard that many riders chose. We instinctively seek reliable truth but we enjoy the uncertainty and surprises of racing. Now comes the monthlong summer break. Will MotoGP resume at Austria’s Red Bull Ring as it is today? Or will everything change again? As Rossi put it, “…the cards are always shuffled.” We’ll know more on August 8. Source
  15. From model years 2017 to 2019, Husqvarna’s four-stroke enduro bikes were absent from its lineup. Consumers who wanted an off-road-only model designed for high-level trail riding could purchase a dual sport model, but they would either have to compromise by riding a slightly heavier and less powerful bike or stripping it of components added to make it street legal, remap the ECU, and add a less restrictive exhaust system to make it as light and powerful as the enduro models. Riding the 2021 Husqvarna FE 501. (Mark Kariya/)While that’s not an incredible amount of work, it’s more labor-intensive than just buying an enduro model. Luckily, that dilemma ended when Husqvarna brought its four-stroke enduro motorcycles back to its lineup for 2020. We swung a leg over the Austrian manufacturer’s 350cc four-stroke enduro and dual sport models last year, and got the opportunity to test this year’s big-bore FE 501, Husqvarna’s flagship four-stroke enduro motorcycle. As Husqvarna’s flagship enduro model, the FE 501 shares lots of components with the FE 501s dual sport motorcycle but is aimed at high-level enduro riding. (Mark Kariya/)2021 Husqvarna FE 501 Engine Despite the FE 501′s model name, it’s actually 511cc in displacement. The foundation of the engine is the same as the FC 450 motocross model with the same bore but a longer stroke to give it the additional 61cc. The FE 501 is equipped with an exhaust system fitted with an O2 sensor connected to the header pipe for its closed-loop EFI system. The muffler has a United States Forest Service (USFS)-approved spark arrestor, but it’s not the same fully restricted silencer that comes on the FE 501s dual sport. The bike also has a reed valve in the airboot to help keep the noise within EPA regulations. Being that it’s a 50-state-legal off-road motorcycle, the FE 501 sacrifices some engine power and weighs more than its FC and FX model counterparts. It churned out 44.5 hp and 31.6 pound-feet of torque on the Dirt Rider dyno, and hit our automotive scales at 253 pounds wet. (Mark Kariya/)Even though the FE 501 meets the requirements to make it California green-sticker-eligible and 50-state legal, two things which can severely limit a bike’s overall power, it seems to have as much torque as a small tractor. With its 12.5:1 compression ratio and six-speed gearbox, the big-bore Husqvarna has ready power and the right gear for almost every situation. In comparison to the 450 motocrosser, the powerband signs off much lower in the rpm range, likely due to its longer stroke and engine modifications made for it to meet EPA requirements. There is a reed valve in the airboot to help keep the engine noise level below EPA requirements. (Mark Kariya/)The inertia of the bigger engine is noticeable, but the bike does not feel that heavy overall, especially in comparison to some other big-bore enduro models. Despite the somewhat restricted exhaust and the reed valve in the intake, the engine still produces an impressive 44.5 hp and 31.6 pound-feet of torque. It chugs along quietly, but is always ready to pull you up and over whatever hill or obstacle you may encounter. Overall, with its combination of a flexible powerband and six-speed gearbox, this engine package delivers exactly what a fun enduro riding experience needs. RELATED: 2021 Husqvarna FE 501 Dyno Test Because of the engine’s longer stroke than the FC 450 and the restrictions to make it a 50-state-legal bike, the FE 501 signs off a little early in the powerband compared to the motocross model. (Mark Kariya/)2021 Husqvarna FE 501 Suspension The FE 501 comes with a WP Xplor 48 fork which is adjustable for compression damping, rebound damping, and spring preload. It uses an open cartridge design with a coil spring in each leg. Compression damping is controlled in the left leg and rebound damping in the right, with a range of about 30 clicks each. The WP Xact shock uses a linkage design and has adjustable low- and high-speed compression damping, rebound damping, and spring preload. Both the front and rear suspension have 11.8 inches (300mm) of travel. The stock settings are definitely designed for comfort, offering a plush ride that will suit a wide range of riders. The external adjustability of this suspension is helpful in this regard, though if you are more than 185 pounds and an intermediate or better rider, you might benefit from going with stiffer springs as the bike rides a little low in the stroke, even for a 170-pound rider. The FE 501 feels like it has more torque than a John Deere tractor. It offers big-bore power without the big-bore feel. (Mark Kariya/)2021 Husqvarna FE 501 Chassis/Handling The FE 501 chassis is the exact same as the motocross model’s, with a chromoly steel frame and a composite carbon fiber subframe, but is spec’d with a larger 2.2-gallon fuel tank. The greatest feature of the chassis is that while the fuel tank is bigger, it’s not noticeable while sitting or standing on the motorcycle. The Husky also has a seat 0.4 inch (10mm) lower than its KTM competitor, complete with a standard non-gripper cover. With its remarkable amount of suspension comfort, Husqvarna’s largest-displacement enduro bike allows for long days of riding with less fatigue. (Mark Kariya/)The stock skid plate and hand guards are well-designed and quite durable. Dunlop Geomax AT81s, a premium off-road tire, comes standard. Brakes are Magura with a 260mm front and 220mm rear rotor. The ProTaper handlebar can be placed in four mounting positions atop the 22mm-offset triple clamps. There is a very usable multifunction odometer with several trip, speed, and fuel consumption displays. With its mellow-mannered engine and plush suspension, the FE 501 delivers a planted feeling along with much more traction than expected. Riding the bike with both feet on the pegs, standing as much as possible, you can use its torque to get through obstacles that would normally require much more effort. The same can be said for climbing hills; used correctly, the torque of this engine will carry you up most slopes like they’re not even there. Naturally, during braking, especially downhill, there is a little more mass to account for, requiring you to think about your braking zone a little earlier than on a smaller-bore machine. The ability to adjust spring preload on the fork certainly aids in making this bike fit a wide range of riders and riding styles. Minimal adjustments are needed off the showroom floor to start enjoying it. (Mark Kariya/)2021 Husqvarna FE 501 Overall Impression This bike, in short, is a big-bore enduro motorcycle with tractor-like torque and Cadillac-like ride comfort. It easily fulfilled my expectations. Note that this is not an FE 501s dual sport model but more of a competition enduro bike; while the EPA requirements for off-road are similar to a street-legal bike, this model does not have the added catalytic converter, turn signals, and other components needed to adhere to DOT regulations. The FE 501 is best suited for more open trail riding, casual riding, and long-distance rides in its stock trim, and riders from novice up to expert should equally enjoy riding this bike in standard form. If you’re looking for more out of the big-bore Husqvarna, it would be a great starting point for hare & hound, desert racing, and long-distance events. With its big-bore engine, six-speed gearbox, and linkage-type suspension, the foundation of the FE 501 opens it up to a world of possibilities for a serious off-road racer. If you were to install a performance exhaust and ECU, you would immediately turn this machine into a closed-course-competition fire-breather. The personalization options for it are almost limitless. (Mark Kariya/)Gearbox Helmet: Fox Racing V3 Goggle: Fox Racing Vue Jacket: Fox Racing Legion Jersey: Fox Racing Legion Gloves: Fox Racing Legion Thermo Pants: Fox Racing Legion Boots: Fox Racing Instinct 2021 Husqvarna FE 501 Specifications MSRP: $11,299 Engine: SOHC, liquid-cooled single-cylinder; 4 valves Displacement: 511cc Bore x Stroke: 95.0 x 72.0mm Compression Ratio: 12.75:1 Transmission/Final Drive: 6-speed/chain Dirt Rider Measured Horsepower: 44.5 hp @ 8,400 rpm Dirt Rider Measured Torque: 31.6 lb.-ft. @ 6,900 rpm Fuel System: EFI w/ 42mm throttle body Clutch: Wet, multiplate Damped Diaphragm Steel (DDS); hydraulic actuation Frame: Central double-cradle chromoly steel Front Suspension: WP Xplor 48mm fork, compression damping and rebound damping adjustable; 11.8 in. travel Rear Suspension: WP Xact shock, spring preload, high-/low-speed compression damping, and rebound damping adjustable; 11.8 in. travel Front Brake: Magura 2-piston caliper, 260mm disc Rear Brake: Magura 1-piston caliper, 220mm disc Wheels, Front/Rear: 21 x 1.60 in. / 18 x 2.15 in. Tires, Front/Rear: Dunlop Geomax AT81; 80/100-21 / 110/100-18 Rake/Trail: 26.5°/NA Wheelbase: 58.5 in. Ground Clearance: 14.2 in. Dirt Rider Measured Seat Height: 37.4 in. Fuel Capacity: 2.2 gal. Dirt Rider Measured Wet Weight: 253 lb. Availability: Now Contact: husqvarna-motorcycles.com Source
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