2017 Triumph Bonneville T100 First Ride Review
Triumph’s new Bonneville platform has already made a significant impact on the moto market in less than a year. Spearheaded by the 900cc Street Twin and followed closely by the 1200cc T120 Bonneville and Thruxton models, the retro-modern roadsters are selling as quickly as Triumph can build them, with strong sales forcing the company to add an extra shift at its factory to meet demand.
2017 Kawasaki Z1000 R Edition Announced for Europe
Kawasaki announced a new R Edition version of the Z1000 for Europe but the future of the naked roadster remains unclear with a new Z900 model on the way. Kawasaki Europe will still offer the base model Z1000 for the 2017 model year but the R Edition may turn out to be a final production run special edition.
2017 Kawasaki Z900 Pre-Preview
The R Edition offers some refinements over the Z1000. The petal-style dual brake rotors have been replaced by Brembo discs with heat-dissipating grooves and M50 calipers paired with stainless steel braided lines.
2017 Honda CB1100 RS and CB1100 EX Preview
Oh, this is cool. To be sold alongside the standard Honda CB1100 in Europe, the new CB1100 RS is:
“Stripped back and lean, the CB1100 RS has the look of a 1970s race bike, with more than a hint of café racer. The curvaceous fuel tank – made without seam-welded lips – evokes hand-made craftsmanship, while the single round headlight and twin instrument dials outline a timeless silhouette. Adding crisp-edged modernity, all lighting is LED.
“Backing up the sportier styling, the CB1100 RS’s chassis uses sharper geometry than the EX, with firmer Showa suspension, front radial-mount four-piston brakes, cast aluminium 17-inch wheels and sportbike-spec tire sizes. A lower, more compact riding position moves the rider’s weight forward, complementing the chassis changes.
“The air-cooled four-cylinder engine breathes more easily thanks to a revised inlet tract and smaller, lighter 4-2-2 exhaust system while an assist slipper clutch makes for easier lever engagement and rear wheel stability on downshifts.”
2017 Yamaha MT-10 and MT-10 SP Preview
Yamaha announced minor updates to its FZ-10, as well as a new SP variant with electronic suspension and Thin Film Transistor (TFT) instrumentation from the YZF-R1M.
The 2017 MT-10 (the European name for the FZ-10) receives the YZF-R1’s quick shift system which momentarily negates drive torque during upshifts to improve acceleration. The engine mapping has also been revised to smoothen throttle characteristics across the rev range.
2017 BMW S1000R, S1000RR and S1000XR Previews
BMW revealed an updated four-cylinder lineup at Intermot, announcing minor changes for the S1000RR sportbike and adventure-styled S1000XR and some more substantial changes to the S1000R streetfighter. For the most part, the changes were made to comply with Euro 4 regulations but we are glad to see a power increase to the S1000R and S1000XR and some formerly optional equipment become standard issue for 2017.
2017 BMW R NineT Pure and R NineT Racer Previews
Confirming what we were first to report, BMW is adding two new variants to its R nineT line, introducing the R nineT Pure and R nineT Racer. They join the original R nineT and the previously-announced R nineT Scrambler. The four models form the basis of what BMW calls its Heritage line of classically-styled modern motorcycles.
The R nineT Pure and Racer both make use of the modular steel tubular space frame as the Scrambler which opens up several avenues for customization.
2017 Yamaha MT-09 Preview
Yamaha launched a new series of naked motorcycles in 2013 with the three-cylinder MT-09 (a.k.a. the FZ-09 here in North America) earning strong reviews from the press and consumers. European consumers in particular took to the MT-09, making it one of Yamaha top-selling models in the continent. Now joined by a family of MT models ranging from 125cc to 1000cc, the MT-09 receives its first update, getting a quick shifter, assist & slipper clutch and (at last) improved suspension.
2016 Honda NC700X Long-Term Review
The most important thing about the upgrades Honda gave its NC700X for 2016 is that it provided me the excuse to borrow one in order to evaluate them. And you can’t really ascertain whether a bigger windscreen, sharp new bodywork and muffler, and a bigger storage compartment are really what they’re purported to be without some long-term testing, can you? (Unfortunately, we can’t speak to the improvements in the Dual Clutch Transmission since we got the 6-speed manual; maybe we need to borrow a DCT when this one goes back for purely scientific purposes?)
2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II Stornello First Ride Review
Still need convincing that scrambler-styled motorcycles are hot? Moto Guzzi, a brand long known to march to the beat of a different drummer from the rest of the motorcycling world, has taken its updated-for-2016 V7 II platform and created a limited – and numbered – production scrambler model, the Stornello. In doing so, Moto Guzzi’s design team restyled the V7 II Stone to quite accurately resemble scramblers of the past.
2017 Ducati Monster 800 Spy Shots
Many a Ducatisti bid a sad farewell to the air-cooled Monster when Ducati introduced the liquid-cooled 1200 and 821. Those same traditionalists might be happy to learn Ducati is developing a new Monster using an air-cooled engine.
2015 Ducati Monster 821 Review – First Ride
Spy photographers spotted a couple of test mules in Italy that show what looks to be the Scrambler engine in a new-design trellis frame. The new model appears to use the same engine and swingarm as the Scrambler as we can see from the animated overlay below:
Kymco Patents Its Version of Kawasaki ER-6n
Taiwanese manufacturer Kymco has filed a design patent for a motorcycle based on Kawasaki‘s ER-6n. The design, filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, shows a motorcycle with a similar engine, swingarm and offset lay-down shock as the ER-6n and its faired sibling, the Ninja 650. The Kymco design has a different frame and bodywork than Kawasaki’s naked Twin.
Before any readers get too up in arms over the similar designs, it’s important to remember that Kawasaki and Kymco have a long-standing relationship. Kymco builds Kawasaki’s Brute Force 300 and youth ATVs while Kawasaki’s J300 and J125 scooters are actually based on Kymco designs. This new design is likely part of their continued cooperation, with Kymco adapting the ER-6n/Ninja 650 platform to produce its own naked middleweight.
Four BMW R NineT Models For 2017
BMW‘s R NineT will be joined by three variants next year including the R NineT Scrambler that debuted last fall at EICMA. BMW had previously confirmed the Scrambler will join the R NineT in dealerships in the third quarter but a new executive order published by the California Air Resources Board, BMW has received certification for two more variants: the R NineT Pure and the R NineT Racer.
The four models share the same 1170cc engine and yes, BMW says its air-cooled boxer is Euro 4 compliant. The executive order doesn’t provide any details on how this was achieved but the certified emission levels for both hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide for the 2017 engine are lower than their certified 2016 levels.
The executive order also offers no clue as to how the Pure or Racer models will be different from the other two models. One of these will surely be based on the Lac Rose concept presented at the Wheels & Waves Festival in June. Inspired by BMW’s Paris-Dakar bike, the Lac Rose concept could fit the definition of a “Racer,” though a café racer may be a more likely fit for the name.
When BMW presented the Lac Rose concept, Edgard Heinrich, Head of Design at BMW Motorrad, described it as “our laid-back and very individual interpretation of the bike that won the Paris-Dakar Rallye in 1985.” From the descriptors “laid-back” and “individual,” the name “Pure” may also be a fit.
We expect BMW to reveal the R NineT Pure and R NineT Racer at this fall’s two big motorcycle shows, Intermot and EICMA. Until then, check back here on MO for the latest information as it emerges.
2016 Triumph Speed Triple S Review
How do we love the Triumph Speed Triple? Let us count the ways… one, two, three… ever since the original naked Triple showed up in, well not the original one, but the first aluminum-framed one that arrived on scene in 1997. That first real Speed Triple had various teething problems you can read all about in MO’s test here, but nigh on 20 years later all the bugs seem to be worked out, including the chrome bug-eye headlights of the original, which we still miss.
2016 KTM 390 Duke Long-Term Review
Creating a nice expensive motorcycle is almost easy – just throw the best technology at it and charge wealthy owners accordingly. Much more vexing is how to design and build a stylish and entertaining streetbike at a low price.
It’s difficult to imagine anyone doing a better job of that value equation than KTM, which recently had its 390 Duke returned after enduring several months of being passed around to neglectful MO editors who ruthlessly tried to twist the nuts of this eager funster. Despite being forced to ride every new motorcycle on the planet (a regular part of our jobs) we were able to amass nearly 2,000 miles on the littlest Duke, and it fully legitimized itself as the rightful owner of our Best Lightweight/Entry-Level MOBO award of 2015.
In fact, considering its surprisingly low $4,999 MSRP, the 390 Duke also makes a great case for itself as a winner in our Value category. Check out that number again. For just $5k, the KTM is equipped with desirable features like a robotically welded tubular-trellis frame, aluminum swingarm, tapered aluminum handlebar, stout 43mm inverted fork, radial-mount front brakes, braided-steel lines and grippy Pirelli tires – nice stuff not available on its rivals. Oh, and that price includes ABS, a highly attractive feature for a bike catering in large part to junior-level riders – and one that’s optional or not yet available on its competitors.
Suzuki's SV650 Takes on the Competition
If you’ve read my 2017 Suzuki SV650 First Ride Review, you’ll know how I feel about the new SV. I’m a big fan of the new bike and feel that it’s recaptured the magic of the original SV. With its charismatic and refined 645cc V-Twin, I was instantly drawn to its fun-loving character, and now that Suzuki has wised up and given the bike an attractive – and competitive – $6,999 price tag, it’s clear Suzuki is answering the challenge thrown down from its crosstown rival, Yamaha, and the $6,990 FZ-07.
2017 Honda Grom Announced for U.S.
American Honda announced restyled Grom for the 2017 model year, giving the minibike a sportier, more aggressive look. We’ve previously reported on the Grom’s new mini-streetfighter look when it was announced earlier this year for Europe as the MSX125. While the Grom is only a couple of years old, the redesign comes at a good time as it faces new competition in Kawasaki‘s new Z125 Pro.
2017 Yamaha FZ-10 Revealed
When Yamaha made new-model announcements at its big EICMA show shindig last fall, MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo rode onto the stage on the MT-10, an ultra-modern, anime-influenced streetfighter based on the seductive R1 supersport introduced the year prior. In the meantime, Yamaha has introduced the MT-10 to global markets while we have been left sitting on our hands waiting for the day when the American arm of the tuning-fork brand announces it will come to our shores.
Well, that day has now arrived! Except the MT-10 gets renamed to Yamaha’s North American convention and becomes the FZ-10.
2017 Suzuki SV650 First Ride Review
Here at MO, we’ve made it perfectly clear Suzuki missed the boat with the Gladius, the awkwardly styled and poorly-named successor to the hugely popular SV650. A name change to SFV650 wasn’t enough to fool us, either. By virtue of its stellar engine, the SFV held its own in the various comparison tests we placed it in, but it fell a little short of being a true SV successor. Then factor in the exorbitant price tag the Gladius/SFV carried – up to $8,149 in 2014 – and Suzuki had a tall order trying to win back fans of the SV650.
2016 Yamaha XSR900 Video Review
Yamaha’s 847cc Triple hasn’t failed to impress since its 2014 introduction powering the FZ-09. In either FZ-09 or FJ-09 guise, the frisky engine combined with the bike’s light weight and modest MSRP has helped both models to win numerous MO shootouts and Best Of awards:
Little Tearers Comparison: Honda CB500F Vs. KTM 390 Duke
Going into it we surmised the little Duke was going to be the sportier ride and the Honda the more practical one. Guess what, that’s how it shakes out. Having said that, though, the practical Honda is really pretty damn sporty and the sporty little cheap KTM is practical enough to be your commuter – if you’re not much taller than 5’10, anyway. It’s way more compact than the CB500F.
We charted the changes Honda applied to the 2016 Honda here last week; in a nutshell, they totally revised the looks of the thing with bold new plastic, a bigger (4.4-gallon) fuel tank and a new tucked-in-tighter exhaust that gives the CB more a shrunk-down CB1000R look (designed by Honda of Italy) than the built-in-Thailand-on-the-cheap decor of the previous 500F.
2016 Yamaha XSR900 First Ride Review
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 accountability.
2016 Harley-Davidson Roadster First Ride Review
A freight train of 20 motorcycles works its way through the rolling hills of southern France on a roller-coaster of silky smooth but undulating pavement, cresting hills, strafing banked turns, and dancing side-to-side through endless esses. Entering the mostly second-gear corners, bikes largely nose-to-tail, the riders take a variety of lines, occasionally scrubbing off a little speed mid-corner – or sometimes more than a little in the case of a sneaky decreasing-radius – with a judicious application of brakes while leaned over, peg feelers just skimming the pavement. Other times, if the situation requires, they adjust their lines, sometimes slightly overlapping wheels as people who are comfortable on the track often do (even if it doesn’t really allow enough margin for error on the street). Then the corner ends, and the throttles twist, widening the gaps slightly, only to accordion back together in the next braking zone.
2016 Honda CB500F ABS Review
When last we left the CB500F, we were all not exactly amazed but at least pleasantly surprised at what a very nice little inexpensive motorcycle Honda had sprung from its new Thailand factory. When it was new in 2013, the 471cc parallel-Twin CB won MO’s coveted Best Value Motorcycle for that year.
In our Middleweight Mash-Up Six-Way Shootout! two years ago, the CB didn’t win, but the cheapest bike with the smallest displacement of the bunch by far didn’t lose either, and in fact a few of us were surprised at just how well the little Honda worked in a range of roles from miserly commuter to curvy-road assault vehicle, under a range of riders from 150 pounds to nearly double that. It may be inexpensive, but it seldom felt cheap.
2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro First Ride Review
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Honda should feel pretty special. According to Kawasaki’s sales data, collected from data provided by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), the Grom is number two on the list of best-selling motorcycles in the category Kawasaki calls “Small Street,” which includes dual-purpose motorcycles up to 350cc, scooters between 50cc – 400cc, and street motorcycles below 400cc. Number one is Kawasaki’s own Ninja 300, but there’s no ignoring the meteoric success the Honda Grom has become, which has spurred the creation of this: the 2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro.
Harley-Davidson Unveils 2016 Roadster
Until today, Harley-Davidson’s Dark Custom line contained eight models. However, Dark Customs are more than just a selection of motorcycles. At the introduction of the Dark Custom Iron 883 and Forty-Eight, Marketing Manager Jen Hoyer positioned the line, thusly: “The Dark Custom, for us, it’s not just about the motorcycle. It’s about growing the sport of motorcycling.” With the unveiling of the 2016 Harley-Davidson Roadster the Dark Custom line gains a new member to tempt riders and potential riders, alike, into becoming members of the H-D fold.
2016 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S First Ride Review
Based on the Sportster 1200, the Roadster takes the already elemental Sportster lines and pares them down to the bare essentials. Harkening back to an era where customizing a motorcycle was more about what the rider took off of the bike rather than accessories that were put on it, the Roadster openly nods to history in the slotted belt cover and muffler shields which mimic the lightening house that racers drilled into their machines.
Honda Concept CB Type II
Honda revealed a new concept model based on the CB1100 at the Osaka Motorcycle Show. The new concept, dubbed the Concept CB Type II, is described as “a new direction in air-cooled CB models.”
The Type II follows another CB1100-based concept shown at Japanese motorcycle shows last year (the red bike pictured below that we’ll dub the “Type I”). The Type I looks fairly similar to the existing CB1100 and appears close to being production-ready while the Type II is a café-influenced variant on the CB.
2016 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber and V9 Roamer First Ride Review
In its 95th anniversary year, Moto Guzzi debuts a new platform called the V9. It’s an offshoot of the existing V7 but angling toward a cruiser style rather than the V7’s standard/roadster meme. The V9 Roamer version employs classic design elements and extensive brightwork, while the Bobber version (pictured above) uses matte finishes and a fat front tire to deliver an element of badassitude.
World's Smartest Helmet?: The iC-R From Intelligent Cranium Helmets
Intelligent Cranium Helmets is developing a prototype helmet with more electronic functionality than any other smart helmet available or imagined. The iC-R features twin full-color heads-up displays, twin rear-facing cameras, a LiDAR rear collision alert system, an electronically tinting visor, built-in Bluetooth communications, phone connectivity, and a solar panel to help power all this equipment. Can a helmet with this much future tech be realized with current batteries? Get approved by DOT, Snell or ECE? ICH says yes, and that the company can do it for a retail price less than $1,600. According to the most recent update (1/6/2016) on the company’s website, ICH has entered into development agreements with:
2016 Triumph Bonneville T120 First Ride Review
The cover came off and sunlight struck the red and silver paint of the late sixties Bonneville for the first time in a quarter century. Only 1,300 miles after purchasing it, the original owner gave his life in Vietnam, and the bike has since sat in the corner of his mother’s garage. I should have bought it then and there, but didn’t. The memory haunts me still, like an old girlfriend I should have married but never asked. Nineteen years later I’m standing in front of a 2016 Bonneville T120 wondering if I’ll make the same mistake twice.
Triumph Street Twin Dyno Results
At both the unveiling and riding introduction of Triumph’s new Street Twin, the manufacturer noted that the new 900cc engine made more torque – and at lower rpm – than the previous 865cc mill. At the riding introduction, Triumph expanded its claim to include the Street Twin producing less peak horsepower than the previous, smaller engine. So, imagine our surprise when we actually get our sweaty mitts on a production model Street Twin and dash it over to our local dyno shop – and learn that the new engine makes both more torque and horsepower than the most recent dyno run we have of the old 865cc engine.
Honda Grom Gets Streetfighter Look for 2016
Honda announced a new “mini-streetfighter” redesign for the MSX125, the little monkey bike better known to Americans as the Grom. At the moment, the styling update has been announced in Europe and Thailand where it is manufactured, but we expect to see the more aggressive-looking Grom in the U.S. in the next several months.
SPIED! 2017 Triumph Bonneville 900
It’s sunny and 65 here today in SoCal, but that doesn’t stop us lusting after the new 900cc Triumph Bonneville, spotted testing near Triumph HQ in Hinckley in the UK on what doesn’t look like a very pleasant day.
This one will be the standard Bonneville, nestled between the entry-level Street Twin we rode in December, and the 1200cc Bonneville T120, and serving as replacement for the current 865cc air-cooled Bonneville T100.
Which Displacement Is Preferable, A Liter Or A Little Bit Less?
Motorcycle shootouts are a relentless procession of putting the screws to a couple or numerous models selected for similarities in performance, style, purpose, price and, of course, engine displacement. Two of our most recent shootouts, the Gentleman’s Hooligan Comparo and Japanese Mega Standards Shootout, pit four excruciatingly similar models from Kawasaki and Suzuki against one another in two separate competitions. At 999cc and 1043cc the GSX-S1000 ABS and Kawasaki Z1000 ABS were the Goliaths, while the 749cc and 806cc displacements of the Suzuki GSX-S750 and Kawasaki Z800 ABS were the Davids. Is it possible for David to defeat Goliath? Which motorcycle is the true king of Israel?
Interestingly, the two OEMs swapped wins in the aforementioned shootouts, the Gixxus Thou defeating the Z1K, while a few weeks later the Kawi triumphed over the Suzi. In both shootouts the Suzukis scored a perfect 100% in the Objective categories of Price, Weight, lb/hp and lb/lb-ft. But the smaller Gixxus, even with this early advantage, was unable to beat the Z8 to the finish line, coming in a close runner-up with a total tally of 84.8% vs 85.2% when the Subjective scores were factored in.
2016 KTM 690 Duke & 690 Duke R - First Ride Review + Video
KTM finds itself in the enviable position of having created a popular brand-within-a-brand with its Duke line of motorcycles. Don’t believe me? Take a look at KTM’s 2016 Duke line-up. Consisting of six different models (some of which, unfortunately, don’t make it to the American side of the Atlantic), the Duke line starts with the 125 Duke and tops out with the 1290 Super Duke R – yet still has room for a pair of Dukes in the displacement range that started the line in the form of the 609cc 620 Duke I. Before we go any further, we need to step back from the current KTM image to remember that, way back prior to 1994, KTM only manufactured dirt-focused motorcycles. The Duke was the company’s first street bike, and the meaty center of the 2016 Duke line is filled with that first Duke’s direct descendants, the 690 Duke and 690 Duke R.
2016 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory Review
It’s no secret we here at MO are huge fans of the Aprilia Tuono. We’ve declared our love for the bike so much now that we’re starting to sound like a broken record. And if you’re tired of us blabbering on and on about one of Italy’s finest motorcycles, there’s bad news: Aprilia has gone and made the Tuono even better with the Tuono V4 1100 series, the $14,799 RR and the $16,999 Factory. Head Honcho Kevin Duke got to spend time aboard the RR version at the bike’s launch, which you can read about here. The up-spec Factory version, with Öhlins suspension and steering damper, aluminum (rather than the RR’s steel) front brake rotor flanges, a wider 200/55-17 rear tire and red wheels, wasn’t available for Duke to ride, but we have one now. So how does it stack up? First a little back story.
2015 EICMA: Honda CB4 Concept
Honda revealed a couple of concepts based on its 650 models at the 2015 EICMA show. Pictured here is the CB4, a naked roadster, which was joined by the CB Six50 scrambler. No official information was released, as they appear to be a simply design exercises from Honda R&D Europe and unlikely to develop into a production model (but we can hope!).
The CB4 concept is equipped with the 649cc Inline-Four powering both the CB650F and CBR650F with the same gorgeous cascade of four header pipes. Instead of the production models’ single underslung exhaust, the pipes end in a pair of stacked exhaust cans with carbon fiber heat shielding.
2015 EICMA: KTM 690 Duke and 690 Duke R
Back in September, KTM announced some updates to its 690 Duke in prototype form. The changes big naked thumper are now official with the final production version as well as the up-spec R version were revealed at EICMA.
The 690 Duke has been thoroughly overhauled, and now the magnificent LC4 thumper spits out 73 hp (54 kW) and 55 lb-ft (74 Nm) of torque. A completely new cylinder head uses a single cam that works the intake valves directly, the exhausts through roller rockers, and also acts as a secondary balancer shaft.
Japanese Mega Standards Shootout
Almost two years to the month, we took our first ride aboard Kawasaki’s new-gen Z1000 ABS ( 2014 Kawasaki Z1000 ABS – First Ride). We were initially impressed, scoring the Z1K a 93% in its single-bike review. Then came our 2014 Streetfighter Shootouts ( 2014 Super Naked Street Brawl, 2014 Super Streetfighter Smackdown) where the Z rounded out the bottom. In all fairness, the Z1K was matched against the most exotic of European nakeds boasting more performance and costlier prices. Even then the Z1K nearly stole third-place podium finishes from the Ducati Monster 1200S.
Enter the 2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000 ABS, a Japanese naked powered by an inline-four-cylinder engine that, on paper, looks to be the Kawi’s equal. Like the Z1000 ABS, John Burns awarded the Gixxus 1K a respectable 86.25% in his First Ride review. But it’s always difficult to take the measure of a motorcycle during a one-day press intro, especially when there’s no competing model with which to measure it by. So, let’s shake the leaves from these two trees, rake them up and see which pile is better to jump into.
2016 BMW G310R Revealed
A little more than a month after showing a stunt-influenced concept, BMW revealed the full production version of its entry-level G310R roadster. Produced with help from India’s TVS Motor Company, the G310R is BMW’s lowest displacement motorcycle and its first roadster under 500cc.
Discuss this at our BMW G310R Forum.
The BMW G310R shares some styling cues with the S1000R rather the more traditional-looking R1200R roadster. The radiator shroud has a similar shape as the S1000R’s on the left side, and a matching design on the right instead of the RR-style gills on the S1000. BMW also stayed away from its usual asymmetric aesthetic with the single headlight.
Kulture Klash: BMW R1200R Vs. Ducati Monster 1200S
The Ducati Monster 1200S didn’t do so great against most of the other players in last year’s Super Naked Street Brawl, but mostly because two of the other four were our Motorcycle of the Year KTM Super Duke R and the BMW S1000R, which came within a whisker of overcoming the incredible SDR. The Monster suffered more in the track portion of that test than on the street, though, mainly let down by a lack of ground clearance when leaned into Chuckwalla’s endless high speed turns – a non-issue on the road. Back on the street, il Mostro was a highly pleasant thing to ride – as nearly all motorcycles are that deliver 84 pound-feet of torque. The 132 horses up top are like having your burrito wet.
Yeah, well, the Super Duke R made 96 pound-feet and 156 hp. So we decided the Monster S is less of a streetfighter and more of a hot-rod roadster, and therefore the perfect excuse for T. Roderick and yours truly to compare it to BMW’s new R1200R, an awesome do-it-all “big Twin” motorcycle we’ve been looking for an excuse to spend more time upon. All we need now is a hook to hang this thing on! A theme! How about Germany vs Italy!? Why not, since it’s the most obvious? Tubular meats vs. fine red wines! It was on like WWII, with the exception that Germany and Italy were allies in that affair, up to a point.
EiC Duke tasked us with coming up with a couple of waypoints to honor the respective engineering heritages of the two storied brands without breaking the MO bank by leaving SoCal: As always, we rose to the occasion. And then some…
Building A Honda Grom Roadracer
If you’ve been following Motorcycle.com lately, you’ll have noticed a recent Top 10 about Honda Grom modifications. The list, of course, was a teaser to a bigger event a few members of the MO team participated in: a 24-hour endurance race. We’ll get to that story in the coming weeks, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Before we could ever race a Grom, we’d have to transform it from the little funster that it is in its stock condition into a dedicated kart-track destroyer.
Living With A Zero SR
We’ve tested plenty of electric motorcycles over the years here at MO. In the process, we’ve been able to witness firsthand how rapidly e-bikes have evolved. Through it all, however, we get asked the same questions over and over: 1. How far will it go on a charge? and 2. How long will it take to recharge the batteries? There used to be a third question – how fast will it go? – but through our testing and experiences with the greater e-bike community, speed no longer seems to be a concern amongst the critics.
In the quest to satisfy curiosity surrounding the first two questions, we ordered up a 2015 Zero SR and lived with it for two months. We used it as a daily driver, its intended environment, to experience just what it’s like to ride a bone-stock electric bike in the everyday. As you can see from the photos, ours came with a few choice accessories, which we’ll cover later on. For now, let’s tackle the two aforementioned questions head-on.
2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000 / GSX-S1000F First Ride Review
Suppose you wanted a nice new orthopedically correct naked bike, but you didn’t want all the latest fly-by-wire techno-gadgetry that accompanies the best of them along with the $15,000-plus price tag. Well, you’re still out of luck, really, because Suzuki’s all-new GSX-S1000 does use the traction-control system (first seen on its latest V-Strom 1000) to tame its mighty GSX-R1000 Four-cylinder. And ABS is a $500 option.
Yamaha Slates 2016 FZ-07 and FZ-09 for September Release
When Yamaha announced today that the 2016 FZ-07 and FZ-09 would be in dealerships beginning in September, another tidbit was dropped. Collectively, the two models account for two of the top-four-selling motorcycles the company produces. The fact that the FZ-07 has been on sale for less than 12 months makes its placement at number four even more impressive. Yamaha’s PR reps said they expect it to move up the ranks as time goes on.
Star Unveils Early Release 2016 Models
Having a popular motorcycle model – or two – is a good thing for a manufacturer, but it can be a double-edged sword. Faced with a dwindling supply of 2015 Bolt and Bolt R-Spec models in showrooms, Star Motorcycles decided that, to keep their dealers from running short of a desirable model and possibly losing out on some sales, the 2016s needed to be released early. How well are the Bolts selling? Star says the Bolt is its third best-selling street bike. So, as a result, the 2016 Bolt and Bolt R-Spec will hit the showroom floors beginning in August.
2014 Star Motorcycles Bolt Review
Naturally, riders will want to know what’s new and different about the Bolts, and we can say, with some authority (since we got the information directly from Star), that the only things changing are the colors. That’s right, there will be no price increase for 2016. The Bolt will retail for $7,990 in Raven and Deep Blue while the R-Spec checks in at $8,390 with a color palette consisting of Rapid Red and Stone Grey. Just in case you think that’s not enough, the Bolt logo will change on the base model, and the R-Spec gets a new logo and graphic treatment.
2016 Kawasaki Z800 ABS Preview
Kawasaki announced it will import its Z800 middleweight streetfighter to the U.S. for the 2016 model year, slotting in below the Z1000 in the company’s lineup for $8,399. Unfortunately for residents of the Golden State, the Z800 will be a 49-state model and will not be available for sale in California.
The Z800 is not a brand new model; it has been available in Europe since 2013 where it replaced the Z750, and is only now coming to the U.S. In this manner, the Z800 is similar to Suzuki‘s GSX-S750 which was also only available in Europe (under the name “GSR-750“) for years before finally coming to the U.S.
2016 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR First Ride Review
My affection for the Tuono V4 is well documented on the pages of MO, and I’ll jump at any chance to take one for a ride on a twisty road. If the ride is in Italy on an upgraded and faster version, well, step aside.
2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000 First Ride Review
Would I glance at this bike every single time I walk through my garage and smile?
For me, very few naked bikes pass this test but plenty of sportbikes do. I like fairings. However, I’ve busted my back twice. I’m 40. I think it’s time for a nakedbike – without losing the fun of a sportbike.
Somehow the curves of the GSX-S tank and the radiator shrouds, from a certain front three-quarter angle, remind me of my old GSX-Rs and Hayabusas. I was thinking about the bike after I saw it and then later sat on it, and I could not help but think about it a lot more. I’m almost the perfect target market for Suzuki, according to their press kit – 40-years-old, sportbike rider, experienced, don’t like gimmicks or too many gizmos to play with, seek quality and style in a motorcycle and appreciate easy to ride, great handling and smooth power delivery these days on the street instead of outright performance.
2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 Second Ride Review
Back in October, Evans Brasfield penned a preview of Suzuki’s then forthcoming GSX-S750. “The middleweight Naked class just got a lot more interesting,” read his kindly subheading. At the beginning of this month (March) Suzuki hosted a press ride of the GXS-S750 in some very non-optimal weather conditions in Austin, Texas. With the first-ride review a literal washout, we withheld reporting our typical evaluation of, and Scorecard for, the Gixxus until we could perform an honest shakedown. Well, that day has arrived, and we can honestly report that Suzuki’s new naked performs almost flawlessly in the most underwhelming way possible.
New Triumph Bonneville Spied!
In December we published spy photos of a Triumph “Street Tracker” prototype, which boasted a new liquid-cooled parallel-Twin engine that we theorized would form the basis of Triumph’s lineup of classically styled motorcycles.
Triumph Street Tracker R Spied!
And now come these spy photos of what looks like what’s probably the New New Bonneville, which makes sense since the last New Bonneville has been around since 2001. As such, this one is a hugely important machine for Triumph; the current Bonneville/Thruxton/America/Speedmaster line of air-cooled parallel-Twins is the firm’s bread and butter – and has been since Edward Turner built the first Speed Twin in 1938.
If anything, the bike in these photos hews even more closely to the classic Triumph lines than the current model, but the engine and chassis are completely new: The biggest difference is the radiator between the exhaust headers, which would indicate it now cools water instead of oil. The original New Bonnie displaced 790cc before later bumping up to 865; the new liquid-cooled one will probably be even bigger if history is any indication, and certainly more powerful than the 60 or so rear-wheel horses of the current range.
2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 Review
A last-minute flight change, dense fog, a diversion to Abilene for refueling, an engine malfunction, a 3.5-hour rental car drive from Abilene to Austin – I arrive at Austin Land and Cattle restaurant 12 hours after having departed Los Angeles, halfway through the technical presentation for Suzuki’s 2015 GSX-S750. Suzuki’s Steve Bortolamedi kindly greets me with a scotch and rocks. Then, the wife calls to inform me someone sideswiped our van. Make that a double, Steve.
Normally there’d be a MO ScoreCard here, but inclement weather restricted us from experiencing the GSX-S750’s full potential. We felt it unfair to attempt scoring the bike until we can conduct a proper test.
Prior to my meal of chicken fried tuna (when in Texas …) Takeshi Hayasaki, president of Suzuki Motor of America, addresses the assembled media. He’s pointed at Yamaha’s FZ-09 being the motivation behind the GSX-S750. His comments are supported by the press material we are given, wherein some similarities (favorable to the GSX-S) are provided.
2015 KTM 390 Duke First-Ride Review + Video
After years of manufacturers serving the high end of the motorcycle market, we’re happy to acknowledge the OEMs for finally devoting engineering resources to the entry-level sporty-bike crowd. Honda’s CBR250R upped the class ante a few years ago, forcing Kawasaki to upgrade its Ninja 250 into a Ninja 300, which then begat the CBR300R and its CB300F naked/standard stablemate.
2015 MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR Quick Ride Review + Video
In his First Impression and First Ride reviews of the MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR, our European Correspondent, Tor Sagen, lays out the nuts and bolts of the Dragster RR. Similar to the Brutale 800 RR I rode as part of MV Agusta USA’s recent media meet-n-greet, the Dragster benefits from the same engine mods (larger throttle bodies, revised airbox, dual injectors per cylinder, EFI tweaks, etc.) and electronic upgrades. This includes the MVICS 2.0 engine management system with modified traction-control settings and a quickshifter good for both up- and down-shifts.
2015 MV Agusta Brutale Dragster 800 RR – First Impressions
The biggest difference between the Brutale and the Dragster are visual. A snubby tail, floating license plate holder, red (aluminum) Marzocchi fork stanchions, wire-spoke wheels – and the biggest visual difference – the large 200/50-17 rear tire. Though each individual change isn’t very significant, save for the rear tire, combined, the Dragster RR is quite a visually stunning motorcycle. In my opinion, it might even be the best looker in MV’s lineup.
Small-Displacement BMW Spied Testing
The first products of BMW‘s collaboration with India’s TVS Motors are well into development, with spy photographers capturing images of a new small-displacement motorcycle undergoing testing.
BMW previously announced it was working with TVS to develop sub-500cc motorcycles in 2013. Stephan Schaller, head of BMW’s motorcycle operations, has confirmed a target date of 2015 for the small-displacement models, and the test mule suggests the company is hard at work to reach that goal, with the official introduction likely coming at EICMA in November.
At the time of the original announcement, the two companies said they each produce their own models from a common platform. The prototype in the photographs shares some styling elements with the S1000R roadster, with similar looking fairings guarding a radiator. There’s also a clearly visible circular mounting point just in front of the rider’s kneecap that’s perfectly sized and shaped for BMW’s roundel logo.
2015 SYM T2 250i Symfighter First Ride Review
Whether we admit it or not, most of us crave the familiar. SYM? Never heard of it. How could it be any good? In fact, Sanyang Industries has been cranking out vehicles since the ’50s in Taiwan. After inking a deal with Honda in 1962 to begin assembling motorcycles, it started stamping out Civics in 1977. In 2002, it split from Honda and partnered up with Hyundai, who also makes pretty nice automobiles these days. Sanyang also has a deal with King Long, which builds Chinese buses (and whose name can’t be beat), as well as a deal with Mahindra in India.
Longtime Companion: KTM 1290 Super Duke R
We took delivery of our KTM Super Duke R on March 26, 2014, and fought like rabbits for quite some time over whose garage it would reside in until its scheduled return. EiC Duke won, but being the benevolent despot he is, the wealth trickled down and around until the beautiful beast fell into my possession a few months ago. I haven’t complained about having it underfoot. As a matter of fact, the Super Duke might be the finest do-it-all motorcycle it’s ever been my pleasure to possess, living up to its award as MO’s Motorcycle of the Year.
Triumph Street Tracker and Street Tracker R Spied!
Motorcycle.com has acquired these spy images of two new Triumph prototypes undergoing testing in Spain, and they reveal a new liquid-cooled powerplant that will surely underpin all future Bonnevilles, Thruxtons, Scramblers, etc.
Triumph filed trademarks for the Street Tracker name in October 2012, and here’s the reason why. Looking at the photos, it would be easy to mistake the bike as a revision of a Bonneville or Thruxton, but upon closer inspection you’ll notice a small radiator tucked nicely between the two header pipes – a giveaway to it having liquid-cooling. Up until now, the only twin-cylinder Triumph with a radiator has been the big Thunderbird cruiser.
2015 Yamaha FJ-09 First Ride Review
Almost exactly 14 months ago Yamaha jetted Motorcycle Courier Editor, Troy Siahaan, to San Francisco to sample the 2014 FZ-09, and he came back impressed. Just a little over two months later, MO gathered together four Triples to see how the new kid stacked up against the rest of the three-cylinder class. The results were quite favorable with the FZ-09 finishing second overall and being the editors’ choice if cost were the deciding factor. If it hadn’t been for its little sister, the FZ-07, claiming the Best Value Bike Of 2014, the FZ-09 would have been in a hard-fought battle for the number-one position in that category. That’s how much we love the FZ-09.
2015 Ducati Scrambler First Ride Review
Standing in “The Land of Joy,” a makeshift beach party Ducati set up inside the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, California, to serve as its central command post for the 2015 Scrambler launch (the first time a new Ducati model has been introduced Stateside), it was quickly apparent this wouldn’t be like any prior Ducati launch.
2014 EICMA: 2015 Kawasaki Z300 Preview
Kawasaki revealed a new Z300, a naked version of the Ninja 300 sportbike. Based on the Z250 previously released in Asian markets but upgraded to the larger 296cc parallel-Twin engine, the Z300 will be offered in European countries.
Curiously, the Z300 is just one of the new small-displacement models presented at EICMA, along with the single-cylinder Ninja 250SL and Z250SL models. Along with the Ninja 300, Kawasaki now has four similar entry-level models for Europe. There’s no word yet on North American availability for any of the new models, though we hope Kawasaki will at least bring the Z300 over to compete against the likes of the Honda CB300F.