A few years ago, I took a break from my lovely MO family and decided to get a real job, complete with an actual commute. Without the pick of the litter to choose from anymore, I had to actually buy a bike to get to work on. The pick? A Kawasaki Versys – anecdotally, the number one motorcycle actually owned by motorcycle journalists (or former ones, in this case). When asked, Brad Puetz (pronounced like the Fight Club actor but not nearly as famous), Kawi’s PR guy, spouted off a series of names of folks in this job who own the VERsatile SYStem.
Post-916 and pre-999, Ducati hit a sweet spot in the form of the 998. Still taking the form of Massimo Tamburini’s 1994 masterwork, but powered by the greatly evolved Testastretta V-twin that powered Troy Bayliss to the 2001 World Superbike championship, the 999 was the best of old and new, the apogee of the 916 curve. Well, now it’s just old. But you know what I mean.
When a manufacturer stumbles upon a winning formula, it tends to milk it for all it’s worth. A perfect example can be found under the Ducati umbrella. The Panigale V4S has been one of the company’s best-selling models, and when Ducati decided to give it the SP treatment and fit it with carbon fiber wheels, a dry clutch, and some other premium parts, all of them sold out within a week.
BMW released its second electric scooter earlier this year in the CE 04, and has made clear it plans to produce more electric two-wheelers in the near future. Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management for BMW AG, recently went as far as to say BMW Motorrad will introduce a new electric two-wheeler every 18 to 24 months, with the next model coming in 2023.
Shut UP, no way was this 20 years ago! Maybe this 2002 Aprilia Mille R stands out in memory because the year after 911 was so uneventful? First we invaded Afghanistan, then Congress approved the Iraq War Resolution – and Dick Cheney was acting POTUS for a few glorious hours while George W. Bush had a colonoscopy. In other words, the crazy hadn’t really even begun. Anyway, the first four-cylinder Aprilia was still way off in the future – along with a host of unknown knowables – and if you’d asked Minime or me if the world needed a four-cylinder Aprilia, we’d have probably given you a blank stare. Why?
BMW is adding a new small displacement sportbike to its lineup, with the company’s Indian subsidiary already accepting pre-orders for the new 2023 G 310 RR. Expected to be based on the TVS Apache RR 310, the G 310 RR should be formally announced shortly for international markets.
Kawasaki’s November 2019 acquisition of a 49.9% shareholding in Bimota has brought the Italian boutique manufacturer back from oblivion, to the point that despite a slowdown caused by component supply issues, it’s now constructed all 250 examples of the its limited edition kickoff model unveiled at the 2020 EICMA Milan Show, the supercharged hub-centre Tesi H2 now being shipped to its dealers around the world – but mainly in Japan. As Bimota’s strapline for the bike succinctly puts it – “The Revolution Continues!”
Kawasaki pulled the covers off its first ever electric vehicle, and as we expected, it is a new powered balance bike for young riders called the Elektrode. Designed for riders as young as three years of age, the Elektrode is positioned as an entry point for future motocross riders.
Our Indian spokesperson says she’s excited to share that Indian Motorcycle is unveiling two new limited-edition baggers within its premier “Elite” class, and that makes us excited. “With limited availability, and an exclusive, custom-inspired design, the 2022 Indian Challenger Elite and 2022 Chieftain Elite deliver the ultimate in style and exclusivity,” we’re told. The Challenger of course rolls with Indian’s latest 108-inch PowerPlus liquid-cooled V-twin that we love, the Chieftain with the more traditional air-cooled Thunderstroke 116 motor, complete with pushrod tubes. Horses for courses. Either way, these bodacious high-tech, high-end baggers will definitely flip some wigs and/or furrow some brows straight off the factory floor.
You kind of have to give Harley-Davidson credit. In 25 years, the Electra Glide Standard has only gone up by $6934 (to $19,429), and in that time H-D’s best-selling bagger has gotten about a thousand times better. Okay, maybe not a thousand times, but way better. And you get like 40 more pounds of it, too. Makes you wonder how many 25-year old motorcycles are still around, and still in the same basic form? Salute.
If you wanted a Harley-Davidson Road Glide that wasn’t a Harley, Indian’s been offering that for a while now in the form of its Roadmaster line of full-dress V-Twin touring bikes. If you want an American V-Twin full dresser that looks the part, but goes like stink, now Indian also offers the Pursuit. The traditional American V-Twin buyer has always been highly skittish prey, easily frightened off by overhead cams and lack of cooling fins. But with its Challenger of two years ago, Indian decided it was time to take the high-performance plunge, developing a revver instead of a chuffer, an oversquare engine instead of an undersquare one. Along with that new engine comes the increased horsepower those changes have brought to the internal combustion engine since, well, for a very long time.
What a beast, I thought to myself as I put my first few miles on the 2022 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R. In retrospect, that thought kind of made sense given the fact that the mill tucked beneath the 1290’s new tank design is an iteration of the Super Duke’s 1301cc V-Twin – the naked bike dubbed by KTM marketing folks as “the beast.” And beastly it is. Even in larger ADV garb coming in at 542 pounds dripping wet, the SA-R is still an absolute ripper of a motorcycle that is fully capable of serially killing rear tires.
Continental Tire is recalling 68,770 motorcycle tires because they may develop cracks that can result in tread separation. The recall includes the popular TKC 80 dual sport tires, ContiGo! tires for lightweight motorcycles, plus K62 and LB scooter tires. The recall may also include tires that were installed as stock equipment on certain BMW, KTM and Husqvarna models. The recall affects tires manufactured between Jan. 6, 2019 and April 30, 2022. The full list of tires and specific sizes affected is posted at the bottom of this article.
Last week, Kawasaki dropped a teaser for a new electric two-wheeler, and we uncovered evidence that the teaser is for an electric balance bike called the Elektrode. Kawasaki is set to reveal the Elektrode on June 7 alongside some side-by-side models, but we’ve already got an idea what the balance bike will look like.
Some of us were a bit surprised when Yamaha’s newly overhauled 2021 MT-09 snagged first place in last summer’s 900cc(ish) Naked Bike Comparison, against such more-expensive heavy hitters as the new Ducati Monster and KTM Duke 890. And all of us were a little surprised when the XSR900 defeated Indian FTRs 1200 and 1200S, and the now-defunct Monster 1200S, in an only slightly unfair 2019 comparo. (Slightly unfair because our test route was really nothing but tight, twisty roads.) Now, the 2022 XSR900 is newly overhauled just as last year’s MT-09 was, using all the same parts from the waist down, including the new super-sized 890 cc version of that most excellent CP3 three-cylinder and all its electronic controls.
Who are we to question the motorcycles red-blooded Americans love most? Harley-Davidson sells more Street Glides than it does Road Glide Limiteds (which basically adds the frame-mounted fairing and trunk), but the song remains the same. Indian’s new Pursuit adds the same things to its Challenger – though its fairing was already a frame-mounted design. Who doesn’t want more storage? More closet space? Nobody. And that goes double for people who travel in pairs. In every couple, there’s at least one shoe hound.
Here at modern MO, we probably wouldn’t publish a road test of a new Honda without a few photos of the thing in action. Twenty years ago, though, there was probably a perfectly reasonable-sounding excuse: My dog ate the film, a bear ate the photographer… Most probably, somebody slud the shiny new Honda 919 down the road on the way to the shoot, and the show had to go on. Who knows? They shouldn’t have called the color “Asphalt.” In any case, this CBR900RR-based naked has become something of a cult classic, well loved by people who love Hondas. Enjoy the tiny studio photos and full spec chart.
Harley-Davidson announced it is pausing assembly and shipments of all motorcycles for a two-week period due to a problem with a component from a third-party supplier. Production halted as of May 18, the day after Harley-Davidson was notified about the problem by the supplier.
This is going to be awkward. You see, you’re about to read a piece about Ducati’s most focused Streetfighter V4 yet. You’re going to expect it to be a highly refined and special machine, worthy of the Sport Production suffix. And you know what – you’re right. It’s good. It’s very good.
Kawasaki has dropped teasers for its first electric two-wheeler, with an announcement date of June 7. The 15-second teasers released on social media channels show images of a young rider and a dirt course, ending with the tag line: “The Good Times are electric.”
We’ve been waiting for news of a model from Zero called the DSR/X for nearly two years now. Despite trademark filings and vehicle identification filings, however, there’s been no indication from the Santa Cruz electric motorcycle brand about the mysterious model.
Twenty-five years ago, the 1997 Kawasaki ZX-6 had not yet grown an “R.” It came with a centerstand, dual exhausts, and weighed 430 pounds full of 4.8 gallons of unleaded fuel. The leaded stuff hadn’t been phased out until one year earlier, which may explain a lot about the mental condition of many of us Boomers. It was a great, inexpensive, do-anything motorcycle in other words. I haven’t seen one in years, you? Take it away, Billy B.
LiveWire officially revealed its new S2 Del Mar, the brand’s second electric motorcycle and the first to use its new S2 Arrow architecture. Pre-orders for the Launch Edition model are now open, with an MSRP of $17,699 with deliveries to begin in Spring 2023. A full production run will also begin in 2023, with LiveWire targeting an MSRP of $15,000. (UPDATE: Reservations for all 100 units of the Launch Edition got scooped up within 18 minutes of the pre-order window opening.)
In 1997, Harley-Davidson owned 49% of Buell Motorcycles and a lien on Erik Buell’s house; outwardly, the relationship appeared to be somewhat symbiotic. The M2 Cyclone was almost the last of the tube-framed Buells, while the first turbocharged XB fuel-in-aluminum-frame bike was on the drawing board. It was close, but sadly, none of it quite went according to plan…
In my opinion, Suzuki hit a home run with its new for 2022 GSX-S1000GT and GT+. Seeing a market that was slowly shifting towards adventure bikes pulling double duty as tourers, Suzuki sought to revitalize the sport-touring segment for those who prefer 17-inch wheels and strafing twisties. The result is what you’d expect from the company some tout as building the first “real” sportbike in the GSX-R750.
Although I was born and raised in Virginia and North Carolina, I’ve done relatively little riding in the two states. When I got my first motorcycle license, I literally packed my belongings on my bike and set out for California the next day for a three-month, 11,000-mile tour. So, when I received the invitation to my 40th high school reunion (OK, 41st. Thanks, Covid.), thoughts of spending some quality, two-wheeled time in the mountains of my home states immediately came to mind.
The Sportster hasn’t been all that sporty for some time now – that is aside from the 2021 Sportster S that the Nightster shares more than a handful of tricks with. It’s been 65 years since Harley-Davidson introduced the Sportster as America’s answer to the British invasion of bikes that had begun to increase in popularity Stateside around that time. Back then, folks used their motorcycles for everything – drags, trials, enduros, scrambles, hare and hounds, road runs, and Sunday cruising. You could do it all on a Harley according to the 1958 ad for the Sportster CH and C models below. The market wasn’t so segmented.
The Triumph Trident 660 isn’t the first middleweight naked I would consider taking to the racetrack. Then again, sometimes I forget that some people only own one motorcycle that they use for everything. But, that didn’t stop Akrapovič from developing and manufacturing a closed-course only race-line full-system exhaust for it. I suppose if someone had to do it, it may as well be the Slovenians with their in-house titanium foundry and metallurgical laboratory.
The US motojournalist/influencer corps doesn’t look much at all like the people in the ads for Indian’s new Scout Rogue and Rogue Sixty. Carey Hart did meet us for lunch in Ojai during our ride, and he’d fit right in. The former MXer/freestyler not only looks the part, he actually builds custom motorcycles in his own big shop.
Naturally, I reached for my Aerostich. The sport-tourer’s uniform of choice, it seemed like the right thing to wear when the invite to test Suzuki’s newest sport-tourer – the 2022 GSX-S1000GT+ – popped up in my inbox. It offers full-body protection from both the ground and the elements, is easy to take on and off, has loads of pockets, and has room underneath for layers (including an airbag, in my case). I felt like I made the right decision when I hopped on the bike.
Things move at their own pace in the South. When it’s not stifling, the warm, humid breeze gently blowing through the Spanish moss-strewn southern live oaks relaxes in a way that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. It puts you in a southern state of mind – one where slowing down and living in the moment just feels like the thing to do. Royal Enfield’s new Classic 350 is the perfect pairing for such a place. A historic setting for a historic machine.
It’s good to be the king. At least, that’s what it feels like to anyone racing a Kawasaki Ninja 400. When it comes to small-bore track or race bikes, what is a field of several – Yamaha R3, Honda CBR500, and KTM RC390 included – has been whittled down to a field of one: the Ninja 400. Virtually anywhere in the world that has a class for little bikes of this size will see a field dominated by the little green machines. Heck, we called it the winner back in 2018 during our Lightweight Sportbike Shootout, too.
How many 25-year old motorcycles are still being sold anyway? The Honda XR650L springs to mind, but other than it, it’s too early on Easter Sunday to investigate further. Granted, the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic has undergone enough changes as to really not be the same machine anymore, yet that indelible American profile, architecture, and riding experience remain the same. Roll away the stone…
Perhaps what I love the most about the English language is its flexibility, how you can bump disparate words together and create something with an entirely new meaning. When it comes to motorcycles, the words sport and touring bring to mind two very different kinds of motorcycles. Sporting motorcycles place an emphasis on handling, acceleration, and braking, while touring bikes tend to focus on cargo capacity, rider comfort, and long-range capability. Butt those words together, as in sport-touring motorcycle, and you get a spectrum of bikes that ranges from sportbikes with bags to tourers that can corner better than you think they should. The reality of sport-touring motorcycles is that most favor the middle ground, compromising both sporting capability and touring chops, to create a supremely flexible motorcycle. What happens when you throw a third word into the mix? What would you expect from a sport-touring cruiser? Well, the folks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin have done their level best to define this category of motorcycle with the 2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST.
After a brief teaser campaign, Harley-Davidson officially revealed the Nightster, a new Sportster model powered by a 975cc version of the liquid-cooled Revolution Max engine. Arriving in dealerships this month, the 2022 Harley-Davidson Sportster is priced at $13,499 for Vivid Black and $13,899 for the Gunship Grey or Redline Red color options.
The saying is massively overused, but there really is no replacement for displacement. Such is the case with the updated 2022 Piaggio BV 400 S – BV being the abbreviation for Beverly. For a few years now, Europeans and Americans alike have been doing just fine with Piaggio’s BV 350, but stricter Euro 5 regulations have forced manufacturers to comply with the rules if they want to keep doing what they do; sell product.
Since its debut in 2015, the KTM RC390 has represented the pointed end of the lightweight sportbike spectrum. Aggressive in its styling, and dedicated to its Ready to Race brand promise, the RC390 has always been pitched as a fun little track bike that also happens to be street-legal with enough comfort for daily duty. This has caused the little KTM to be lauded with praise at the track in our previous comparisons, but at the same time, that attitude has caused the Kawasaki Ninja 400 to come out on top as a better well-rounded motorcycle in our last two comparisons.
For a while there it looked like Triumph wanted to play the superbike game with the rest of the world. But slimming down the 955i Daytona by losing its original one-sided swingarm, and other weight-saving measures, sometimes seemed more like cost-cutting ones. And maybe Triumph sensed the imminent demise of the superbike a bit earlier than some others. Screw it, let’s build Speed Triples instead, and maybe a smaller one as well… Herein, T. Rozenfeld damns the Daytona with faint praise: “Long live the British eccentricity!”
Ah, Los Angeles. The city of angels and Dodger dogs, beaches and mountains. It’s the land where everyone is famous – or trying to be. People from all over call LA home, and the result is a really amazing place, steeped with rich traditions and cultures from all over the world.
Harley-Davidson will announce its next Revolution Max-powered Sportster model on April 12. The Motor Company dropped a short music-themed teaser video titled “Instrument of Expression,” to promote the announcement, and offer a few tantalizing glimpses of the new model.
It’s always fun to read the armchair quarterbackings of our beloved MOrons in the Comments whenever a new motorcycle springs into view, and the latest iteration of Suzuki’s naked GSX-S1000, harumph, was no exception. Some hate the angular new styling, some defend it. Some lament the demise of Suzuki in general, some admire the company’s resourcefulness in doing less with more. Repeatedly. And everybody knows how they could do it better.
Bombardier Recreational Products announced Can-Am is returning to the motorcycle business with a new range of electric two-wheelers. A teaser video suggests at least four different models are in the works, with BRP expecting to reveal the full lineup in mid-2024.
Triumph’s open-class ADV bike, the Tiger 1200 (or Tiger Explorer depending on what era we’re talking about), had begun to get a little long in the tooth. The big cat hadn’t received a major overhaul since its introduction in 2012 – only receiving incremental upgrades to keep the machine relevant over the past 10 years. The Brits did give the bike some refreshes and new tech over that time, but nothing compared to the latest iteration that I was lucky enough to get a proper two-day test of around the backroads and trails of the Iberian Peninsula.
This weekend, at the 2022 Osaka Motorcycle Show, Honda revealed the new Hawk 11, a new café racer based on the Africa Twin and NT1100 sport-tourer platform. And while Honda released several details about the Hawk 11, there is still a lot of vital information that has not been provided.
Well lookit that: I was already a Buell apologist 20 years ago. The low-handlebarred XB9R was Buell’s first with the sweet Verlicchi fuel-in-frame design, but it was the XB9S that came out the following year that we still covet. Meanwhile, taste may finally be catching up to the new Ducati 900SS Pierre Terblanche designed in 1998.