Yep, 2016 is on its cool-down lap before pulling into the hot pit for the last time. That means it’s time to begin our end-of-year wrap-ups. While text is the backbone of MO’s publishing process, the importance of other media is ascending. You’ve probably noticed that we’re spending more time and effort on the videos that accompany our bike reviews and shootouts, and that’s because you all want to see what the bikes look like in motion and how they sound, which is a difficult task to accomplish in text form.
So, with video gaining in prominence, we decided to look at our YouTube account to find out which of the videos we produced in 2016 delivered the most views. Now, keep in mind that basing popularity on a video published last January – nearly 12 months ago – gives that piece a massive headstart on a video that debuted in, say, November. But we’re trying to make this list simple, so let’s dig in already!
Think of the new Yamaha XSR900 as an FZ-09 that went backstage for a costume change and emerged for act II in disguise. In the process the XSR was also wired to perform some on-stage acrobatics of which the FZ is incapable. Ticket prices went up, but so did the bike’s technological ability.
A Roadster, Scout, Bobber and Octane roll into a bar…
With names like those, a joke is almost imminent. Determining the best urban sport cruiser among these four, though, is serious business – or as serious as can be considering the clowns involved in the process. At least no one here is wearing creepy face paint, baggy polka-dot lounge suits and oversized shoes, we just naturally look funny. Except Troy, he’s a handsome devil. And we were all fortunate to have been given only a warning by the po-po when shooting in the L.A. River, rather than anything more official.
Staking out the most traditionally-focused of the new Bonneville models, the T120 takes its inspiration from the 1959 Bonneville and seeks to add even more of the historic model year’s DNA to the modern Bonnie platform. The challenge for Triumph was to modernize the engine, including all of the current electronics, bringing the T120 into the current century without displaying all of that advancement. So, what’s it like on the open road?
The Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory v KTM 1290 Super Duke R are so equally matched E-i-C Kevin Duke and Tom Roderick nearly resorted to jello wrasslin’ in an effort to determine a winner. Even then we didn’t do such a good job, nitpicking over a few subjective personal preferences is what it came down to in the end. The microbial hair of difference in the ScoreCard is nary worth mentioning, and probably begs a rematch with different editors aboard to see if there’s a change in outcome. But if you’re curious as to how this fight went, here’s the blow-by-blow account.
We probably didn’t need to travel to Spain to find out the Super Duke GT is a terrific motorcycle. After all, it’s based on our 2014 Motorcycle of the Year, the wonderfully capable and funtastically fast Super Duke R. What was yet to be discovered was how the changes from R to GT worked to transform the hooligan roadster into a proper grand tourer.
What this country needs is a great $9,000 motorcycle made in America by Americans, a bike that will be great – trust me on this – a bike that’ll be huuge. Not a loser. Look at the size of my hands… Lucky for us, suddenly there are two choices that fit the bill: Harley’s Iron 883 has been a huge winner for Milwaukee for years, and Indian’s new upstart, the Scout Sixty.
Kawasaki’s supercharged H2R accelerates at a rate beyond any production bike in the world, and this was put into sharp focus while attempting to knock down the door to 200 mph when ridden on an airport runway for a half a mile. Full throttle will flip the ferocious H2R in the first two gears if you’ve been brave enough to switch off the traction control, and acceleration is so fierce in third gear that a full handful of twistgrip will cause the H2R’s winglets to assume a positive angle of attack as the bike wheelies, threatening to launch into the sky.
Considering how fast, how advanced, and how downright amazing today’s literbikes are, how much would you expect to pay for such performance? Twenty grand? Forty? More? Taking into account the cost of today’s fastest hypercars, which can’t hold a candle to today’s literbikes in terms of sheer acceleration, even paying $50,000 can seem like a relative bargain.
Luckily for us, we can get our hands on the Aprilia RSV4 RR or Kawasaki Ninja ZX–10R, two new for 2016 amazing two-wheeled rocketships for $17,000 – and have some change left over.
From a nimble, affordable scooter in the Piaggio MP3, to a leaning Harley-Davidson and non-leaning Spyder, these three reverse trikes represent the diversity of available tricycles. The leaning reverse trike charge isn’t being led or financed by BRP or H-D and their deep pockets. Instead, at the vanguard of the full-size tilting-trike revolution is a lone engineer in a garage somewhere in Snohomish, WA. So, how does it compare to the big boys?
When it comes to liter-class streetfighters, Europe’s been putting the Japanese contenders to shame. Granted, with the KTM 1290 Super Duke R, BMW S1000R, and Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 ruling the roost, this is a tough nut to crack. However, leave it to the tuning-fork brand to bring an answer: the 2017 Yamaha FZ-10 (or MT-10 for our Euro viewers). Sharing the awesome Crossplane-crankshaft engine from the current R1, Yamaha has made some changes to bring the power back to the midrange, where street riders use it most. Frame and suspension remain the same, and although the hi-tech IMU on the R1 isn’t here, the FZ-10 isn’t hurting in the tech department. We sampled the new bike on the (in)famous Tail of the Dragon on the North Carolina/Tennessee border to put the bike to the test.