The Route Napoleon is considered one of the best drives across France. It starts near the French Riviera and runs up to the southern tip of the Alps. The route earns its namesake by following the path that the one-time French emperor used to covertly make his way north after escaping his first exile. Despite wet conditions with gravelly sections enroute and frost at higher elevations, it was a most excellent place to have our first dance with Suzuki’s new naked, the 2023 GSX-8S. The second of two 776cc Parallel-Twin-powered models from Suzuki, the GSX-8S proved its mettle over just a single day’s ride in terms of being a contender in the middleweight naked category. Let’s get to it.
You don’t get a name like Elite without earning it (or buying it in this case), and today Indian has introduced two model lines to get the Elite treatment: the Pursuit Elite and Chieftain Elite. What makes these models Elite? All you have to do is look at them to figure out what sets them apart from the standard models. For the Pursuit, this is the first time it will be getting Elite treatment, which consists of Super Graphite Metallic and Black Metallic paint schemes nicely offset with bronze details throughout to exude an air of exclusivity the base models can’t touch.
Harley-Davidson and Hero Motocorp announced a partnership back in 2020 for the distribution of existing Harley motorcycles and the development of a new range of models for the Indian market. We haven’t heard much from that arrangement… until now, when a selection of “spy photos” of a Harley-Davidson-branded motorcycle with a 400-ish cc Single landed in the hands of the Indian press.
Writing about Ducati’s 2023 Streetfighter V4S is nice and all, but while at the Andalucia racetrack riding the bike, I also attached a GoPro to my helmet and spun some laps. This happened for a few reasons: first was so you, the viewer, could hear the amazing roar of an 1103cc V4 at 13,000-plus rpm. Next was to get an idea of the different challenges the Andalucia track poses. The camera doesn’t quite do it justice, and I never did figure all of them out, but the experience reaffirmed just how remarkable the 2023 Ducati Streetfighter V4S really is.
You’ve read the review (maybe), now watch the video! Skirting through beautiful twisty bits of tarmac intertwined with rocky fire roads, the Suzuki V-Strom 800DE’s excellent new Parallel Twin engine is a peach. On road, the Twin powers out of corners with all of the punch expected of a 776cc 270-degree crank-driven Twin. Suzuki tells us the new engine puts out 84 hp at 8,500 rpm and 57.5 lb-ft of torque at 6,800 rpm. Off-road, the new power plant puts traction to the ground smoothly via the RbW throttle and is easy enough to modulate that traction control can easily be flicked off and forgotten about. The engine is the star of the show, but the V-Strom 800DE is an excellent sum of its parts and is the most off-road focused ‘Strom yet – this excites us (me).
For miles, we rode into a dense cloud of ruddy South African dust. Those dusty roads connected rocky trails and choice stretches of pavement like the famed Franschhoek pass which, on a Saturday, was reminiscent of California’s own Angeles Crest Highway. We watched eclectic groups of open topped roadsters interspersed with an equally varied slew of two-wheelers strafe from apex to apex while we made photo passes. Husqvarna had invited the world’s press to experience the new Norden 901 Expedition amongst epic terrain at the southernmost tip of the African continent.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but we’re big fans of the Ducati Streetfighter V4 around here. The do-it-all naked bike is fast as hell when you want to get crazy, but as docile as a puppy when you don’t. For years, fans of naked bikes have yelled to the hilltops for a manufacturer to build one that was a sportbike without fairings. No neutering, no “re-tuned for torque” BS, just pure naked power – and a handlebar. Ducati has firmly delivered with the Streetfighter V4 and we’ve sung its praises endlessly. Which begs the question: what on earth could Ducati possibly do to warrant yet another press intro and new model launch?
Alan Cathcart’s conversation with Stefan Pierer continues, as the PIERER Mobility president and chief executive officer discusses his motorcycle brands (namely, KTM, Husqvarna and GasGas), and some of their competition. This includes MV Agusta, of which PIERER gained a stake in 2022. —ED.
A couple of days ago, we were tipped off by Harley-Davidson blogger Dr. Dan Morel about photos of an alleged new CVO Road Glide and CVO Street Glide taken from the factory floor. Morel has since sent us another photo, offering a clear look at the CVO Road Glide’s right side, including evidence that the new 121ci engine uses variable valve timing.
Harley-Davidson released the bulk of its 2023 lineup about two months ago, but we’re still waiting to here about more models, such as the Custom Vehicle Operations models that will be joining the CVO Road Glide Limited Anniversary. We may not have much longer to wait, as videos of a new CVO Road Glide and CVO Street Glide have popped up on line, revealing some big changes to the CVO models, and perhaps a sign of what to expect for the 2024 lineup.
Harley-Davidson has officially revealed the X 350 for the Chinese market, a small displacement flat track-inspired roadster produced with Qianjiang Motor (QJ Motor). As of this writing, the X 350 is only confirmed for China, though a modified variant known as the X350RA will be used in Harley-Davidson Rider Academy programs in the U.S.
Fresh off of winning the 2022 MotoAmerica King of the Baggers championship, Indian has gone and done it – Indian is offering a super-exclusive opportunity to actually buy yourself a Challenger RR. This is an exact replica of the bike Tyler O’hara used to win the KotB championship. Yes, an exact replica. Meaning if you had the skill that Tyler has, you could go and win bagger races with it. This is a full-on, non street legal, racing machine that just happens to look like an Indian Challenger (well, loosely…).
Indian Motorcycle and Jack Daniel’s have once again partnered together for a limited edition model. Developed once again in partnership with Klock Werks Kustom Cycles, the latest model is based on the Indian Chief Bobber Dark Horse, and will be limited to a production run of just 177 motorcycles worldwide.
The Harley-Davidson vs. Indian rivalry is a great American classic on par with the likes of Army vs. Navy, Lakers vs. Celtics, Ford vs. Chevy, Pepsi vs. Coke, and even…Google vs. Bing? Ok, maybe not that last one, but you get the point. Harley and Indian have been at each other’s throats going back over a century, save for a 50-odd-year pause in the middle when Indian originally closed its doors. But when Polaris bought the keys to the palace and opened the doors again, the fight resumed as intense as ever when the FTR750 flat tracker started beating Harley’s legendary XR750. Repeatedly.
For the previous week, I’d anxiously checked the weather reports for updates. Sandwiched in between swaths of little sun icons were two little black clouds spewing raindrops. Naturally, those were the scheduled dates for the US press to ride the 2024 Triumph Street Triple 765 R and RS on the Andalusian backroads and the famed Circuito de Jerez Angel Nieto in southern Spain.
Flying over the second largest island in the Mediterranean gives a view of rocky coastlines, lush greenery, small villages, and surprisingly stout topography with mountains stretching more than 6,000 ft. into the sky. Idyllic yet rugged, the isle of Sardinia boasts addictively serpentine asphalt and endlessly challenging off-road terrain. This is where we would get our first test of the 2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE. An exciting new model for Suzuki, particularly due to its all-new powerplant, the 800DE carries on its shoulders both a legacy and an expectation of what a middleweight adventure bike should be in the modern era.
As we expected, Husqvarna announced a new Norden 901 Expedition, adding a more adventure-capable model to its lineup. Equipped with longer-travel suspension and coming standard with a number of accessories such as waterproof luggage, the Norden 901 Expedition carries an MSRP of $15,799, a $1,300 premium over the regular Norden 901.
Indian pulled no punches and left no doubt when it came to the bike it had in its crosshairs when developing its latest model. Usually at press intros, we all know what other model(s) could be considered competition, but it’s very rare to have the host manufacturer come out and say it. They usually resist the urge to talk about their competitors by name – and especially won’t mention a specific competitor model – when hyping up their new product.
Last month, we reported that Honda was preparing to bringing the XR150L dual sport to the U.S. market, introducing an air-cooled carbureted model marketed internationally as an agricultural vehicle to America. While we’re still waiting for a formal announcement form American Honda, it’s Canadian counterparts confirmed the XR150L will be arriving to North America.
It’s pretty simple. If I find a vintage Speed Triple story, I’m going to republish it. Now, 20 years later – 20 years! – we bring back to you MO’s First Ride aboard the 2002 Triumph Speed Triple. So many people have memories with this bike. A lot of them are good, but these early years of the Speed Triple also brought with it a few reliability problems. Let’s not focus too much on that for now and instead appreciate Triumph’s beloved three-cylinder naked bike that basically ushered in the category of naked sportbike.
With no US publications invited to the press launch of the BMW CE 04 more than a year ago, we had to enlist the help of our friend Bertrand Gahel to send us his thoughts in the form of his First Ride Review. Thirteen months later, we finally got our hands on the BMW scoot.
Indian Motorcycle is preparing to give the Pursuit the Elite treatment, adding a new limited edition version of the PowerPlus-engined tourer for 2023. The Indian Pursuit Elite will join the Challenger Elite and the Chieftain Elite in getting custom paint schemes and finishes and select upgrades.
Just over four years ago, Italian trophy marque Moto Morini narrowly avoided joining the many other defunct brands from all our two-wheeled yesterdays already deposited in motorcycling history’s trash bin. But in October 2018 Chen Huaneng, the owner of Chinese scooter and minimoto manufacturer Zhongneng Vehicle Group, saved it from extinction by acquiring 100% ownership of Moto Morini from the previous Italian owner.
One of the worst-kept secrets in motorcycling is now a secret no more: Kawasaki has announced the Ninja ZX-4RR KRT will be coming to the US in 2023, (hopefully) ushering in a revival of 400cc four-cylinder sportbikes that were all the rage in the 1990s. But unlike the current parallel-twin Ninja 400, which is essentially a budget bike dressed in sportbike clothes, this newest model is worthy of the ZX prefix, as it boasts proper suspension, twin radial brakes, a full electronics suite, and chassis geometry inspired by its ZX-6R and ZX-10R siblings – oh, and let’s not forget – a compact four-banger that will rev to over 15,000 rpm! But more on all those things in a minute.
The man with overall responsibility for creating Royal Enfield’s first twin-cylinder modern-era cruiser is New Jersey native Adrian Sellers, 42, who after a four-year stint with Honda R&D in Italy and, before that, nine years at Yamaha’s Design Laboratory in Los Angeles, was appointed the Indian company’s Head of Custom and Motorsport in 2016, based at its UK Technology Centre at Bruntingthorpe. Let’s leave it to him to tell us how the ground-breaking Super Meteor 650 came about.
1990 Honda ST1100 begat 2003 Honda ST1300, which begat 2014 Honda CTX1300… which at some point in the last few years seems to have gone, mercifully, the way of all flesh. Now if it’s a Honda sport tourer you crave, it’s the Gold Wing or, well, that’s about it. Anyway, the big 1261cc V-four ST1300 was quite the long-distance mile muncher 20 years ago. But I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen one in the wild. The good news is Yamaha is still manufacturing the motorcycle that showed the ST the exit – the FJR1300ES. Survival of the fittest, I suppose.
My apologies for returning so quickly to ZXForums, when we were just here two weeks ago. But this one knocked my socks off. The Kawasaki ZX-11 may have had more impact on some of our formative years than any other motorcycle. And this 1998 D model for sale in northern Arkansas (there’re a couple of nice roads there) appears to have been preserved in amber, right down to its shiny stock dual exhausts.
It’s been about a month since we introduced Motorcycle.com’s 2022 Yamaha MT-10 SP semi-long-term project bike. In case you forgot the premise of this whole thing, Yamaha offered us the opportunity to hang on to an MT-10 SP for an extended period of time, and since I have a soft spot for the bike, I decided to give it some tasteful upgrades to address some key weaknesses while also unleashing some trapped potential. The point here is two-fold: first is to see what the bike could do with some simple upgrades. Second is to not break the bank while doing so because otherwise, you could easily go buy one of the European competitors that would probably still spank this MT, stock.
Five years on from the 2018 launch of its first ever twin-cylinder models to be made in India, since when over 400,000 examples of the Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650 have been sold around the world, Royal Enfield has now added the first of a much-anticipated series of spinoff models to its range.
When the Husqvarna Norden 901 entered the market for 2022, one of the first things we asked was when we would see a more adventure-focused version. That is, after all, the modus operandi for Husqvarna’s sister brand, KTM, which gave the 890 Adventure an upscaled R version.
Harley-Davidson held its big 120th anniversary reveal last week, and for the most part, the announcement included the bikes we expected, such as the Nightster Special, and the return of the Breakout with a Milwaukee-Eight 117ci engine. What we also expected to come for 2023 but was not included in the announcement were the X350 and X350RA. Still, despite not being part of the big Jan. 18 announcement, we managed to get our hands on some information confirming more details of the Chinese-built models.
Now we need a good reason and a Master Plan: 20 years ago we just needed three cool motorcycles and an open invitation to California Speedway (which I hear just hosted its last trackday. RIP.) Earlier we’d already deduced the Kawasaki ZX-6R was the best 600, the Suzuki GSX-R1000 was the best 1000, and the Aprilia Mille R was the best Twin (and the one you most wish you’d embezzled). So why not compare them all to each other? In the hands of non-professional riders, the results are sometimes surprising. Miss you, Dirty Sean. Hope you’re well in the Las Vegas bunker, Willie T!
Like we said, forums are an excellent place to search for a new-to-you used motorcycle. Or car. Or whatever. Very generally speaking, people who care enough to join a forum care enough to take good care of their love object, and putting the thing up for sale on the forum may be a way of ensuring it goes to a good home. If you’re lucky. Some fora (that’s plural) even make you jump through a hoop or two to join. Ducati.MS, for instance, insists you’re a member for 15 days, and must make five posts before you can access its Marketplace. Like a cooling-off period I guess? Keeps out the riff-raff… but I kept after it and here we are.
Honda is preparing to add two dual-sport models to it’s U.S. lineup: a CRF300LS and an XR150L. Both models were listed in the latest vehicle certification data released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, indicating that they will be added to the 2023 lineup.
Chrissy Rogers and I were toying with the idea of a pre-Christmas blast up the Pacific coast to Hearst Castle for a few days while business was slow, since the weather was an impeccable partly cloudy and 60-ish degrees. That or maybe the Ruta de Vino down Mexico way? Maybe hop in the new-to-me 23-year old Jaguar? Take the train? At the same time, we’re both aware that the two of us in a sealed container works best if the container is at least 1500 square feet, compartmentalized into rooms, and stationary. I tend to get a little worked up driving a car in and out of SoCal when there’s traffic (there’s always traffic), followed by Christine getting worked up at my getting worked up, followed by, why don’t we just hang out here at home and eat and drink and save the money? Because we’re chiselers.
Triumph is preparing to add a pair of special edition Tiger 900 models for 2023, according to updated vehicle certification data from Australia. Available for both the road-going Tiger 900 GT and the more off-road equipped Tiger 900 Rally, the special edition models are likely in recognition of Iván Cervantes’ victory for Triumph in the 2022 Baja Aragón last July.
We’re just a few days into the new year, and Harley-Davidson has already started shipping 2023 models to dealerships. These are mainly carry-over models, returning for 2023 with new colors, which should prepare dealers ahead of Harley-Davidson’s launch event on Jan. 18.
Now that it’s 2023, that means 1998 was 25 years ago and the Honda PC800, in its last year of production, is thus fair game for this week’s sacred Church of MO. The more all these years pile up, the more some of us dig practical devices like scooters. So why not a big scooter like this one? Alas, the PC may have just been ahead of its time in 1998. While we were busy salivating over new Yamaha R1s and Ducati 998s, calling the Pacific Coast the world’s most practical motorcycle may have been the most backhanded of compliments. Then again, the PC did enjoy a solid, decade-long run beginning in 1989, and there are plenty of nicely preserved ones still on the road.
It scarcely seems possible that BMW Motorrad’s lineup-leading S1000RR sportbike actually made its official public debut a whole decade and a half ago in April 2008, with deliveries beginning the following year. Even though 15 years is a long time, especially in the Superbike arena, where serious players like BeeEm, as well as Ducati, Aprilia, and the Japanese, don’t stint on investing in fast-moving high-end technical R&D in pursuit of engineering excellence, the German brand’s first-ever customer motorcycle with a transverse-mounted four-cylinder has maintained its leading edge reputation for both mechanical and electronic innovation ever since then, and the newly introduced latest version is no exception.
Earlier this week, we uncovered Australian certification documents revealing a new Nightster S model and Harley-Davidson‘s 2023 Softail lineup including 120th anniversary Fat Boy 114 and Heritage Classic 114 models. As we predicted, a similar document certifying Harley-Davidson’s 2023 touring models has now been released in Australia, confirming the models returning, as well as the Anniversary Edition Touring models, plus one possible addition to Harley’s Icon collection.
Harley-Davidson turns 120 next year, which naturally means we’re getting some special Anniversary Edition models. Thanks to new vehicle certification data from Australia, we can confirm that the Heritage Classic 114 and the Fat Boy 114 will be receiving 120th Anniversary Editions.
Long-term test bikes aren’t something we normally do here at Motorcycle.com, but when Yamaha’s PR guy Gerrad Capley said I could take the MT-10 SP home after the press intro, it was an offer that was hard to resist. When I asked him how long I could have it, he basically shrugged his shoulders and winked. “Can I modify it?” I asked. “Only if you give it back to us in stock form,” he said. Just like that, I dashed away with an MT-10 SP for an indefinite amount of time. Nice.