New motorcycle model introductions follow a well-worn path: travel to the event location, eat nice meals, get briefed on the bike of the moment, ride a route designed to highlight the bike’s strengths, take photos/video, eat more good food, return home, and write up a review. After 27 years in this industry, I still get a cheap thrill about throwing a leg over a new motorcycle before it is available to the general public. However, what really gets me going is when I have a chance to log more than just the couple of hundred miles typically covered in an intro and spend some real time on the road with said bike.
Astute readers are probably wondering why Motorcycle.com is publishing a First Ride of a bike that’s not coming to the States this model year. Our reasoning is that, thanks to the sleuthing of Dennis Chung, we suspect the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ will be coming to the U.S. in 2024. (Read about it here.) So, we thought our fellow MOrons might be as interested as we are in how well the new technology incorporated into the GT+ performs. We hope you enjoy this taste of what it has to offer. –EB
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.
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.
For 2023, Yamaha has gone crazy with the new Tracer 9 GT+ and thrown every bit of technology it could think of at the bike. Now sitting atop Yamaha’s sport-touring mountain as the flagship for the brand – taking the place of the dearly departed FJR1300, which has been out of production for a few years – the Tracer 9 GT+, with its multitude of electronic rider aids, will help make the sport-touring experience as stress-free as possible.
While magazine editors and track riders may wax poetic about the leaps in performance of the latest super-grippy sport and track tires, the vast majority of sport-focused street riders spend their money on sport-touring rubber. Why? Well, two reasons, actually. First, once you look beyond the arid Southwest where the bulk of the U.S. motorcycle industry resides, riders have to deal with rain, making the way tires handle in the wet of great importance. Then there’s the fact that sport-touring tires offer almost the same level of grip as their sportier siblings – at street temperatures – while offering significantly better longevity. (At lower temperatures, sport-touring tires can offer more real-world grip than even the stickiest of sporting rubber, which are designed to work their best at elevated temperatures.) With the release of the Michelin Road 6 sport-touring tires, Michelin claim an increase in both wet grip and wear characteristics when compared to their precursors, the Michelin Road 5.
All we learn from history, goes the current cynical wisdom, is that we learn nothing from history. Then again, maybe we do? For instance, I just learned this morning that Yamaha is still stamping out the FJR1300ES 20 years after the original 2002 FJR1300 hit our shores. Well, they’re still selling them anyway. I remember FJ1100 very fondly, FJ1200 was the tool for inhaling great draughts of western landscape at ludicrous speed… all before this first liquid-cooled FJR blew our moldy sport-touring socks off. (Note Minime’s acting out by spelling three of four names wrong in only the first 2.5 lines of copy. Is there an Editor in the house?)
BMW released initial details on its 2023 model lineup, including new colors and minor updates. BMW also announced the base MSRP for most of its models, though that information is rather moot, as it also announced additional packages which will automatically be added on to all models in the U.S.
It only seemed fitting, after posting a 2022 BMW K1600 B review last week, to revisit Herr Duke’s review of the original six-cylinder Bavarian butt missile ten yeas ago. The basic building blocks really haven’t changed; only the electronic controls and features have stepped up over the years. The biggest surprise is what hasn’t changed much. The 2012 GT with Premium Package sold for $24,540; the 2022 bike with PP is listed at $28,285.
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!”
I’ve worn gauntlet gloves for years because I like the superior protection they offer. However, it always came at a cost of no cooling air flow up the sleeves. So, when I found myself looking for a new set of gauntlet gloves, I thought I’d try a pair with gauntlets that go inside the sleeves to see if they allowed for the ventilation I was craving. I ordered up a set of Dainese Steel-Pro In Gloves because of both the protective features and the fact that they had a low-profile cuff that would fit inside of jacket sleeves. When they arrived, a visual inspection showed the features to be every bit as stout as I had hoped they would be. The funny thing is that when I first put them on, I didn’t like them at all. It had been a while since I’d worn a pair of gloves that required more than a minimal break-in period. However, after the all-day use afforded by my multi-day tour in Virginia and North Carolina, I changed my tune considerably as the Steel-Pro In gloves had molded themselves almost perfectly to the shape of my hands.
This V4 Pikes Peak version is the sporting Multistrada, says Ducati, getting back to the pavement performance of the original Pikes Peak via a beautiful set of 17-inch forged Marchesini wheels – the rear one spinning on a one-sided swingarm. The Marchesinis, Ducati says, remove fully 8.8 pounds of spinning, unsprung mass compared to the other Multis’ 19-/17-in. wheelsets. Apart from that and a few other electronic and ergonomic differences, the PP is pretty much the same Multistrada V4 as the base and S models. That’s in no way a bad thing, since the Multi V4 S was just named our Best Sport-Touring Motorcycle of 2021.
After giving us a glimpse of a pre-production prototype in August, Triumph officially revealed its new Tiger Sport 660. Sharing the same platform as the Trident 660 roadster, the 2022 Triumph Tiger Sport 660 is a middleweight “adventure sports” model, claiming class-leading power and low cost of ownership.
If this were any normal year, Moto Guzzi would be holding a big party this week to celebrate its 100th birthday. Because of the pandemic, however, the Piaggio-owned brand had to postpone its Moto Guzzi World Days 2021 Festival to 2022, celebrating its centennial on what would actually be its 101st year.
We were hoping to learn more about Triumph‘s new Speed Triple 1200 RR after the British brand dropped a teaser for the faired roadster last week. Instead, we’ve received teaser images for a different new Triumph model we’ve been anticipating: the Triumph Tiger Sport 660.
Has it really been six years since the Shoei GT-Air helmet was released? Well, it has, and that means the lid was due for an update – even though, when Troy tested it back in 2017, he said, “[T]he Shoei GT-Air really impresses when it comes to all-day touring comfort. It’s got all the features you’d want from a helmet, with the fit to match.” Using the previous generation as the starting point, Shoei’s designers set out to improve on the already top-notch lid. The result is the brand new Shoei GT-Air II, which ups the ante when it comes to premium touring/sport-touring helmet comfort and utility. To make the helmet even more enticing, Shoei partnered with Sena, as with the Shoei Neotec II, to create a fully-integrated Bluetooth communication system, the Sena SRL2.
Gennelmen, start your engines. Ten years ago, Tommyguns Roderick still had his video-star good looks, EiC Duke was Eic, and where is Kevin Smith today? The Suzuki GSX-F, also now defunct, was the spiritual (and mechanical) descendant of the mighty Bandit 1200, and the FZ1 was the Jeb Bush of the family. Ten years on, only the Ninja 1000 soldiers on, MO’s Runner-Up for Best Sport Tourer of 2020.
Twenty years ago we didn’t need no stinkin’ TFT displays or active suspension or adaptive cruise control, cause we had paper maps and Walkmans, our butts were tough from all the beatings, and our wrists were well-developed from all the, ah, riding. And we liked it that way. Twenty years ago, Minime and the “MO Staff” escaped to Yosemite for a nice ride aboard a pair of Italians stallions. Why doesn’t Aprilia make a modern Futura? Why?
Twenty-five years ago the Aprilia RSV1000 Mille won our Open Twins shootout, the SL1000 Falco was a staff favorite, and the Scarabeo 150 scooter was “practically Italian sex in a practical package.” Wait, what? Anyway, the Futura was and is a great sport-tourer, but maybe not great enough, since Aprilia pulled the plug after 2005. Have they built a sport tourer since? I think not. Shudder to think how good a thing to ride an RSV4 Futura might’ve been.
Customization is a staple of motorcycle ownership, and when it comes to sprucing up the looks of modern sportbikes, there’s no better way to get dramatic and eye-catching results than to turn to aftermarket fairings. Then again, maybe you’ve had the unfortunate fate of crashing your sportbike and damaging the stock bodywork. Aftermarket fairings are a great way to replace your damaged bodywork at a fraction of the cost of new, while also injecting some personalization at the same time. Whatever your reason, you should look to Monster Fairings for your aftermarket bodywork needs.
What Tiger 850? When I went to St. Louis to learn all about the new Triumph 900 family way back in December 2019, there were five Tiger 900s – two 900 GTs, two Rallys, and a base model Tiger 900. Sometime between then and now, Triumph decided to distinguish the base model by calling it Tiger 850 Sport, but in fact, it has the same 888 cc Triple as the other four bikes, supposedly slightly detuned.
Triumph is set to announce a new sport-touring model to be called the Tiger 850 Sport. The new model will be based on the current Tiger 900 adventure models, with the same 887cc Triple, but we expect it to be purely street-based model without off-road aspirations.
As motorcycles become more reliable and maintenance intervals get more spread out, one consumable remains on a fairly frequent interval for motorcycles. Tires have made tremendous advances in the last decade, but they are still the most frequent maintenance items for motorcyclists. With the rates for mounting and balancing tires going through the roof (My local shop charges $60 for a pair of tires with the wheels off the bike.), buying a tire changer makes a lot of sense. I’d been eyeing No-Mar Tire Changers for quite a while before pulling the trigger and installing one in my garage. In less than a month and after changing a dozen tires, we’d have already spent about 35% of the cost of the No-Mar Classic HD Motorcycle Tire Changer at our local motorcycle shop, but what’s most important is how convenient it is having a tire changer in my garage available when I need it. I no longer have to load my wheels into my truck, drive to my local shop, wait an hour (or more) for them to be ready, and finally take them home to reinstall on my bike.
Frankly I was a little intimidated when I saw the all-new 2020 BMW S1000 XR sitting there in the warehouse. It’s large, and the seat’s not low, and the battleship gray and sharp prow reminded me of touring the USS Iowa. It fired up with a raspy bark when I climbed into the stiffish saddle. You barely even need to let things idle anymore before you take off, but I usually do anyway (the computer on this one will only let you past certain rpm points as it warms up). Still, its 6%-lighter engine and 7%-lighter drivetrain doesn’t like it when I try to ease away with minimal rpm; it snatches and jerks and I almost kill it a couple of times before I remember what I’m dealing with here (I’ve been riding a lot of Rebel 500s and Burgman scooters lately).
Whatteth the heck was going on in 2010 anyway? Not much, really, relatively speaking. The World Health Organization was in trouble for overestimating the swine flu pandemic, the Deepwater Horizon had a small leak in the Gulf of Mexico, and the US was busy finishing up Operation Iraqi Freedom. Small things. Of much greater import, Honda launched its first big VFR. It really wasn’t what anybody was expecting, but you don’t go riding the motorcycle you want, you go riding on the motorcycle you have. Let that be a lesson, and always strive to know the unknowns as well as the known. Amen. Over and out. Good luck.
I’ve ridden touring bikes all across the American continent. From a transcontinental dash on a touring cruiser to multi-day jaunts on Gold Wings to a gravel road to the Arctic Ocean in Prudhoe Bay, AK, I’ve done my time and racked up the miles, but none of the touring motorcycles I’ve ridden appeal to me as much as the sport adventure touring class of motorcycles. They appeal to me and the type of riding that I like to do. With that said, the 2020 Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour is a great example of the species.
Since its introduction in 2015, the Sportec M7 RR tire has been a popular seller for Metzeler and continues to sell well to this day. So, why fix it? Well, while we may think that the advent of motorcycle electronics has been growing quickly, the arena of tire performance has also been undergoing seemingly exponential change, and a five-year-old tire runs the risk of being left behind in the marketplace. Enter the Metzeler Sportec M9 RR, a tire designed to capitalize on all the M7 RR’s strengths and then exceed them. Does Metzeler, the only tire manufacturer to exclusively produce motorcycle tires, have another hit on its hands? Let’s take a look.
I’ve been reviewing BMW’s flat-Twin boxer powered bikes since I started testing motorcycles in the late ’80s and have burbled around on historic versions too, dating back to a beater ’64 R60/S my now ex-husband gave me to ride (quite possibly because it was less traceable then cyanide). Through it all, the boxer, with its punch-punch rhythm and unique seesaw jig always felt like an old friend, no matter the sprinkling of magic German engineering dust, or the ambition of the motorcycle BMW built around it.
Arai was in a bit of a pickle. The company felt it was making the best helmets possible, but couldn’t get some riders to try them on. You see, the round shape of the Arai helmet made for a somewhat tight opening at the bottom of the helmet. Apparently, when trying on Arais, some folks were getting the helmet down to their ears and not liking how snug the opening was. Then they either decided not to try on the helmet or (worse) selected a larger size that slipped on easier but offered a less secure fit. Had they persisted and gotten the lid over their ears, they would have learned that the interior of Arais are as comfortable as you would expect from a helmet from a premium brand. This realization was the genesis for the Arai Regent-X.
My experience with the 6D ATS-1R started at WSBK weekend at Laguna Seca where I bumped into Bob Weber, who I worked with 20 years ago at Petersen Publishing. Since then he’s gone on to become one of the cofounders and the CEO of 6D Helmets. Bob asked me if I’d seen the latest version to the ATS-1, and I sheepishly admitted that I didn’t know it had been updated. I knew that Tom Roderick had really liked the original 6D ATS-1 back in 2016 when he tested it, but that was all I knew.
Yes, that’s right, you get two pairs of boots when you purchase the Alpinestars Supertech R boots. There’s a catch, though. You have to wear both pairs of boots at once. Well, I suppose you could walk around your house in the inner booties so that your family can mock you, like mine did, when I first tried on the Supertechs, but really, the inner booties are a secret best kept between you and the outer Supertech boot. In case you’re wondering why two sets of boots, I’ll tell ya, and once you consider it, the idea makes a lot of sense. The two different boots that combine to make the Supertech R serve different purposes.
What’s not to like, really? Kawasaki’s “versatile system” Versys sisters – X 300, 650 and 1000 – are all just that, versatile bikes for all seasons. But now that there’s a lot more competition in the adventurish sporty roadbike segment than there used to be, the Versys 1000 felt like it needed to keep up with the Joneses.
The big GS gets all the love and 27% of BMW’s sales, but when the BMW people asked which one I’d like to ride home after the Palm Springs roll-out party for the new 1250 boxers two months ago, we picked the RT. It only makes up about 10% of BMW’s numbers, but the RT never expects you to ride it through a sand wash.
We all know that the world shown in motorcycle advertisements isn’t real. As much as we’d like it, the sun doesn’t always shine, and we aren’t the only vehicle on the road. We can always dream, though. When it comes to bad weather, we all have to deal with it sometime – even those of us who reside in sunny SoCal. When the rain starts to fall, the best thing we can do is have proper rain gear to keep us dry. Touring and adventure touring riders will often make their stand against the elements with waterproof riding suits, which we’ve covered here. For the rest of us, a rain suit over our regular riding gear gets carried along when the weather looks like it could turn wet.
The rain stopped just minutes before I entered the corner at a healthy clip – only to find that it had a decreasing radius. Then it went slightly off-camber. Not an ideal situation by any means. Still, the good folks at Yamaha insisted that less than ideal traction situations were where the Niken GT’s two-wheeled front suspension would shine. The assertion being that if one contact patch momentarily lost traction, the other one would make up for it. So, I grit my teeth and dialed in more lean…
It’s on rainy, cold nights like this one that I’m glad I have a garage. Looking at your motorcycle parked outside as it’s pelted with rain, sleet, hail, mud and other unpleasantness can make you weep with impotent rage. Cover it? Motorcycle covers are a hassle to put on and remove. First, you have to wait until the bike cools to avoid melting the cover to the exhaust. Plus, they can blow off your bike, get shredded and messy-looking, and trap moisture underneath, which can cause rust and mold. Nasty!
Like me, you probably know Aerostich as the company making funky one-piece motorcycle oversuits that go over your regular clothing. Well, that suit is called the Roadcrafter, there are many derivations of it, and it’s basically the class uniform for veteran moto-journalists. However, many people don’t know Aerostich also makes much, much more. Like this, the Protekt jeans.
This time last October, I was flying through serpentine roads in the foothills of the Sierra just south of Yosemite on board a Ural Gear Up (okay, I was hardly flying) to meet some of my closest friends for a camping trip prior to getting married the following weekend. The temps began to drop rapidly as we ascended in elevation, making me all the more happy to have chosen the REV’IT! Westport Overshirt as my jacket of choice for the ride.
You can find a cheap motorcycle phone mount all over the internet these days, but pricing versus quality don’t seem to run entirely linear. After a bit of digging the evidence is clear; yes you can spend $50-60 on a higher end mount that will be rock solid, but there are also a few great well-built buys out there that don’t break the bank. Enter the Roam Universal Premium Bike Phone Mount for Motorcycles—a simple and sturdy mount currently on sale for $12.98 with free shipping via Amazon. with over 4,700 customer reviews and an average score of 4.4 out of 5, this mount is tough enough to do the trick on a budget. If you do a fair bit of off-road riding, even if just on bumpy logging roads, we’d suggest going the heavy duty route, but if you’re a commuter/highway cruiser there’s no sense breaking the bank here.
If you’re a fan of naked bikes or sport-tourers, odds are that you’re familiar with the offerings from KTM. Both motorcycles eschew the velvet glove and deliver the iron fist of sporting performance to riders. For 2019, the 1290 Super Duke R returns essentially unchanged while the 1290 Super Duke GT gets a raft of upgrades, bringing it in line with the R.
Nothing spells adventure like hitting the open road on a motorcycle with your family and friends. America is an incredibly big country, encompassing seemingly endless places to go and see. With all its vastly different landscapes and attractions, the U.S. is a haven for motorcycle travel and adventure. So, where do you even start? Well, you could plan your own trip, map out your route, make your lodging arrangements, find places to eat and fuel up along the way, and hope you don’t run into any bike troubles. Or, you can kick back, relax, and let one of the many motorcycle touring companies here in the U.S. take care of all that for you. After all, they’re experts on the subject with everything you need to know, and more. All you have to do is enjoy the ride and the beautiful scenery (and fork over a little cash).
There I was last Wednesday night in Stevenson, Washington, on the northern bank of the mighty Columbia River via the excellent hospitality of Yamaha for the launch of the new Tracer 900 GT. I was slurping a fine glass of the local vino when I overheard Greg the Rider magazine guy talking about riding home to SoCal on the new bike, via the Cascades and other places.
BMW introduced a new “Adventure Sport” concept model at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este previewing a new mid-sized sport-touring model. The eventual production version of the BMW Concept 9Cento would, essentially, be a smaller version of the S1000XR with the frame and engine of the F850GS.
To be honest, I didn’t pay any more attention when Yamaha announced it would actually produce the Niken than I do to the unicorns that occasionally wander into the back yard as I’m semi-dozing on the patio after a nightcap. Fanciful creatures of the imagination. But I snapped to fully woke when the invite came in over the email transom to come to Austria and ride the thing. What, it actually exists? Sure, why not?
We already performed a complete road test with amazing video on Kawasaki’s amazing new H2 SX SE a while ago. But why let that stop us from revisiting the highest-ranked bike I ever raved about, with a 97.5% approval rating, and with the first engine I ever gave a perfect 20?
Bridgestone has just introduced two new tire families to their lineup – the Battlax Adventure A41 and the Battlax Sport Touring T31. The driving goal behind these two new models was to improve on their outgoing predecessors’ overall performance by focusing on and upgrading wet grip and handling with an emphasis in low temperatures. On top of that, Bridgestone set out to increase feedback and contact feel across all lean angles, all while maintaining stability and no sacrifice on wear life. Sounds easy enough, right? Well…