2014 EICMA: Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen and Vitpilen Concepts

Alongside the new 701 Supermoto production model comes a pair of scrambler concepts from Husqvarna. Dubbed the 401 Svartpilen (Swedish for “Black Arrow”) and 401 Vitpilen (“White Arrow”), the two concepts draw upon the company’s past while still offering a futuristic styling.

At a quick glance, the Svartpilen and Vitpilen share many similarities with Ducati‘s recently introduced Scrambler. The concepts harken back to the same era in the ’60s and ’70s and share similar lines as well as a similar circular ring LED headlight as the Duc.

The concepts share the same Single-cylinder engine, trellis frame, WP suspension and braking components.

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2014 EICMA: 2015 Ducati Monster Preview

For 2015, the Ducati Monster family – which includes the Monster 1200 and Monster 821 – doubles in size with the addition of the Monster 821 Stripe and Monster 1200 Stripe, both introduced today at EICMA 2014.

Both Stripe models are distinguished by their red color scheme with a white stripe running down the middle, covering the front mudguard, fuel tank and passenger seat cover. For Monster 821 fans, the Stripe model also comes with a performance upgrade in the form of 43mm Kayaba inverted forks in front and Sachs shock in back. Both units are fully adjustable. The 1200 Stripe, meanwhile, receives a Ducati Performance undertail license plate holder and carbon belt covers.

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2015 Harley-Davidson Street 750 Wrap-Up

It was a good summer, all in all, made better by hanging out with the friendly, fun-to-be-around Harley-Davidson Street 750. We were only supposed to have the little hog for a couple weeks, starting in mid-June, but it wound up being a puppy that wanders into your yard you hope nobody comes looking for, so we asked to keep it around a little longer. It’s supposed to be an entry-level/beginner bike, and my 20-year old son liked it so much he went and got his motorcycle license, something no other bike at the compound had gotten him to do. The Street even got him to do a little work for MO, which nobody and no other thing has ever been able to accomplish.

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2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000, GSX-S1000F, and GSX-S1000F ABS Preview

Although the primary focus of the Suzuki Dealer Meeting is the revealing of the 2015 model line, a special look a year ahead was shared with attendees in the form of the early-release 2016 GSX-S1000, GSX-S1000F, and GSX-S1000F ABS models. Suzuki is well aware that some of the qualities that make an open-class sportbike capable of winning on the race track prevent it from being an ideal street bike. To remedy this issue, today Suzuki introduced its dealers and the media to the GSX-S1000 line of motorcycles.

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2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 and GSX-S750Z Preview

The 750 Naked bike class has just gained a formidable entry. Suzuki Motor of America as taken the wraps off the 2015 Suzuki GSX-S750 and GSX-S750Z, which our European readers will recognize as the GSR750 that’s been available on the Continent since 2011 but will now arrive in the U.S. for the first time. These functionally identical motorcycles will certainly enliven what has been an energetic class in the last year.

Using the engine from Suzuki’s best selling model – the GSX-R750 – as a starting point, the GSX-S750’s 749cc mill has been massaged to deliver performance in the rpm range most commonly encountered on the street. With the charges and spent gasses flowing through specially designed intake/exhaust tracts, the valves are directly operated by cam profiles designed to produce bottom-end torque coupled with mid-range power for optimal streeting acceleration.

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Intermot 2014: 2015 Triumph Bonnevilles

Today at Intermot, Triumph unveiled not one, but three new Bonneville variants: the Bonneville Spirit, Bonneville T214, and the Bonneville Newchurch.

Bonneville Spirit

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Intermot 2014: 2015 Triumph Street Triple RX

ED: Updated with more pictures!

With the new Triumph Street Triple Rx, unveiled today at Intermot, Triumph has blurred the line even more between its Daytona 675 and the existing Street Triple. Short of completely revamping the S-T, Triumph instead transplanted parts from its full-fledged sportbike.

Sharp eyes will notice the rear profile is now sharper, thanks to the Daytona’s tail section being moved over to its sibling. The Rx sees a matte silver paint job accented with red components like the frame, subframe and wheels. The wheels, in particular, are light and inspired by racing wheels. Each wheel is also hand finished for that extra pop. Triumph’s seat cowl, belly pan and fly screen complete the Rx’s aesthetics package.

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Intermot 2014: 2015 Suzuki Bandit 1250S ABS

For 2015, Suzuki has updated the popular Bandit in the form of the Bandit 1250S ABS. Headlining the changes is a refined half-fairing that refines the Bandit’s aerodynamics while providing improved wind protection and rider comfort.

Wrapping around the radiator shrouds, the new fairing also features a vent just below the headlight, which should smooth the airflow past both the rider and passenger. Additionally, the fairing modernizes this venerable platform, giving a fresh impression to an old favorite. Meanwhile, a new seat is height-adjustable by 20mm, from 31.7 to 32.5 inches. A classic analog tachometer takes up its rightful place in a new instrument panel, with all other information displayed on a modern LCD panel. Other classic touches include a standard centerstand and big passenger grab handles.

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Intermot 2014: Moto Guzzi V7 II

Today at Intermot, Moto Guzzi unveiled a revised V7 lineup with a host of new features. Despite its vintage heritage, the V7 II lineup will receive ABS and “Moto Guzzi Controllo Trazione,” better known as traction control. While the addition of ABS is no surprise considering all motorcycles sold in Europe are required to have the feature starting in 2015, traction control was slightly unsuspected. It makes sense, however, since much of the ABS hardware can perform double duty.

Other changes include the addition of a sixth gear, meaning the engine won’t be taxed as heavily during cruising speeds. Clutch improvements mean lever effort is reduced. Speaking of the longitudinally-mounted 90-degree V-Twin, it’s now tilted 4-degrees forward and lowered 10mm compared to last year. By doing so, 30mm (1.18 in.) of leg room is now freed to better accommodate taller riders. Footpegs located 25mm lower than before also provide the taller rider with a more accommodating knee bend.

A reshaped seat is now a half-inch shorter, at 31.1 inches, which M-G says gives the rider the feeling as if they are sitting in the bike rather than on top of it. The V7 II will again come in Stone, Special and Racer variants. The V7 II Stone will come in four new colors: black, red, grey and yellow. All are satin finishes inspired by ‘70s color schemes. The V7 II Special now has three glossy color bases: classic black with orange stripes to faithfully revisit the colors of its famous ancestor, the famous 1975 V750 S3, and two brand new schemes: metallic red and light blue with a silver stripe. Lastly, the V7 II Racer keeps its distinct look, with its “total black look” and chrome fuel tank.

See the massive gallery below for photos of all three V7 II models.

Follow the rest of our 2014 Intermot Show coverage for more information on new 2015 motorcycle announcements.

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Intermot 2014: Honda VFR800X Crossrunner

The Honda VFR800X Crossrunner features prominently in almost any discussion of cool bikes that don’t make it to the U.S. For those not already in the know, the original Crossrunner has been sold overseas since 2011. We noted its EICMA debut in 2010 and silently crossed our fingers in hope that this VFR800 framed but converted to a more upright, utilitarian positioned Naked bike would see time in our garages – to no avail.

When we first heard rumors of an updated Crossrunner for 2015, we contacted our sources inside American Honda and were told roughly, “Yeah, we heard about it, too, and no, we don’t know if it’s coming stateside.” Now, Honda Europe has made that market’s update official.

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Intermot 2014: 2015 BMW R1200R Gets Liquid-Cooled Boxer Engine

BMW pulled the covers off a new R1200R featuring the liquid-cooled boxer engine first introduced on the R1200GS and also equipped on the R1200RT and the newly revealed R1200RS.

According to BMW, the engine produces 125 hp at 7750 rpm and 92 ft-lb. at 6500 rpm, with increased and more uniform torque across the rev range. Along with the new engine comes a 2-in-1 exhaust system, a modified airbox and reshaped air intakes and a centrally-positioned radiator. The R1200R comes with two ride modes, “Rain” and “Road”, and with the Riding mode Pro option, adds dynamic traction control and the “Dynamic” and “User” modes.

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2015 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom Review

It’s like Woody Allen says, 90-percent of success is showing up. And the Sportster’s been showing up since 1957. However you feel about it or the Motor Company or post-WW2 America, you have to respect it like you have to respect the `57 Chevy profile or Tony Bennett leaving his heart in San Francisco. Whether TB has gotten better with age is a topic for some late night over a tumbler of fine Scotch, but there’s no question the Sportster’s now about as refined as a motorcycle can get.

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2015 Kawasakis Not Yet Announced

When Kawasaki announced its 2015 lineup last week, it outlined its existing models which are returning largely unchanged from their 2014 versions. However, there were a couple of desirable models that were conspicuous by their absence.

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2015 Honda CB300F Review

When we were introduced to the 2015 Honda CBR300R at its recent press introduction at Honda’s headquarters in Southern California, Honda reps teased us by displaying the 300R’s naked sibling, the CB300F, alongside it. We weren’t able to ride it, but there it sat, ready for the assembled press to sit, ogle and stare. Thankfully, Honda didn’t keep us waiting for long, as only weeks after I rode the fully faired 300R, we were given a 300F to throw around.

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2014 Honda CB1100 Review

Honda’s homage to itself was a big hit for 2013 with all those fans who still can’t get enough of the original earth-shattering 1969 CB750, even though the bike picked up design influences from a few more CBs as it rolled along Memory Lane: 1100F-ish fuel tank shape, 400F-like right-side four-into-one pipe … In any case, its style definitely pushed a lot of the right buttons for vintage Honda enthusiasts.

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2014 Moto Guzzi Griso 8V SE Review

Originally launched in 2004, Moto Guzzi’s Griso isn’t new to the scene. The bike’s styling is so uncategorizable and timeless, it looks contemporary whether parked next to a BMW R nineT or KTM Super Duke R. Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, and whether you love it or leave it, you certainly can’t say it looks dated.

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2015 EBR 1190SX First Ride Review

The heavyweight Streetfighter category of motorcycles has exploded in popularity lately, with seemingly every manufacturer jumping on the bandwagon for a piece of the pie. Japan’s represented with the Kawasaki Z1000, Honda CB1000R, and even Suzuki is entering the ring in 2015 with the GSX-S1000. Italy’s three representatives include the MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR, Ducati Monster 1200 and Aprilia Tuono V4R. Germany, of course, gives us the BMW S1000R, and we can’t forget BMW’s Austrian neighbors and their contribution to the party: the all-conquering KTM 1290 Super Duke R, Motorcycle.com’s 2014 Motorcycle of the Year.

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2015 Yamaha SR400 First Ride Review

Your giant corporations can be a little slow to respond to trends, but sometimes they surprise you. Yamaha started teasing the idea of bringing back its old SR400 a couple years ago, and now they’ve gone ahead and done it. This is not a modern interpretation of the old bike, this is the actual old bike it’s been building and selling in other markets since the ’70s – though it does have modern fuel injection and a charcoal canister to meet current emissions requirements.

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2015 Suzuki GSX-S1000 Spied!

Sporting a California plate and looking production-ready, this new Suzuki looks set to expand our favorite class of motorcycles – sporting nakeds – bikes that include the KTM Super Duke R, BMW S1000R, Kawasaki Z1000 and Ducati’s Monsters.

Discuss this at our Suzuki GSX-S1000 Forum.

Sporting a tubular handlebar instead of clip-ons and therefore the more humane ergonomics that define the class, it would appear that the new S is powered by the previous, slightly less oversquare version of the mighty 999cc GSX-R four-cylinder that ran from 2005 to 2008 – a good choice if the goal is beefier midrange torque at the expense of a little top-end horsepower.

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Head Shake - Time and Distance

It is approximately 666.74 miles between St. Inigoes, Maryland, and Belgrade Lakes, Maine. This is good, I needed those miles.

There are times when you need to think, to figure things out and put things in order. We’ve all heard the metaphors, parables, similes, and whatever about motorcycles being good therapy, largely because it is true. It’s a solo pursuit, just you and a machine, your continued existence on this Earth largely dependent upon what you do. It is concentration which, strangely enough, offers one time to think. And it is satisfying. I needed to do some of that. I needed to think about rather weighty issues like marriage, and the future, and whatnot. I needed perspective.

I once heard, I believe it was Pete Conrad, describe watching Earth rise from his position circling the Moon. That sight, that glance at our little blue spinning marble out there, changed forever how he thought about everything, I needed a little bit of that. There was a small problem though, I couldn’t go to the Moon. I could go to Maine, however, which some days is almost as good.

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2014 BMW R NineT First Ride Review

Herr Hipster, your bike has arrived. The BMW R nineT impresses with its premium finish details and a pared profile boiled down to its essentials. Seeing the bike in pictures doesn’t do justice to the wow factor experienced when seeing it in the flesh.

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Harley-Davidson LiveWire Video

The announcement of Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire electric motorcycle sent shockwaves through the moto industry and even made headline news in the general media. Harley’s products, perhaps more than any other vehicle manufacturer, are steeped in tradition, so building an e-bike just seemed so unlikely for the hidebound company.

And yet, there was a row of LiveWires ready to ride in NYC last week, looking sharp and production-ready even if they are actually technology demonstrators and aren’t yet available for sale. The LiveWire is a huge departure from H-D’s traditional market, but the bike’s stance and appearance give it a strong visual presence.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire First Ride

You can read more about the LiveWire in the link above. This week we’re giving you a LiveWire experience on video, including on-board riding footage and interviews with the key personnel behind this unexpected project.

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2015 Ducati Monster 821 Review - First Ride

Since the launch of Ducati’s Monster 1200 S ($15,995) earlier this year, we’ve extensively tested the bike on both the track and the street. What we found is that while the 1200 S is not the best choice for a naked track-day weapon, it is a consummate roadster when set between the yellow and white lines. Now comes the Monster 821 with an MSRP of $11,495. Is the smaller-displacement Ducati Monster a better choice than the base-model Monster 1200 at $13,495?

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Value-For-Money Hondas: 2014 Honda Grom

Honda can’t seem to keep enough Groms on dealership floors, and considering its $3,199 price tag, it’s easy to see why. For those in urban environments, college towns, or both, the Grom represents an extremely affordable way to blast through town on a fun and compact motorcycle. Its appeal widens even further when you take into account first-time riders who want to learn the fundamentals of two-wheeling on a motorcycle that isn’t the least bit intimidating.

2014 Honda Grom Review + Video

Powered by a 125cc, fuel-injected, single-cylinder, four-stroke, the Grom comes with all the levers and controls of bigger motorcycles, including both brake levers, a clutch lever and shifter to row through the four gears. An inverted fork, disc brakes and lightweight 10-spoke alloy wheels are features you’d expect to find on a CBR sportbike. It’s targeted towards the youth market, as Grom is in reference to young surfing phenoms, but really, anyone who’s young at heart will appreciate what it has to offer.

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Value-For-Money Hondas: 2014 Honda CB500X

The CB500X is the third model in Honda’s 500cc parallel-Twin triumvirate. With stealthy styling and matte-black bodywork, the CB500X positions itself as an Adventure-Touring model compared to the sportier intentions of its brothers.

Sharing the majority of components with the CBR500R and CB500F, the differences between the X and its F and R siblings are a one-inch taller seat height (31.9 inches vs 30.9 inches), a fuel tank with an extra 0.4 gallon of fuel (4.5 gal. vs 4.1 gal), and the highest claimed curb weight: X = 430 lbs., R = 425 lbs., F = 420 lbs.

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2015 Yamaha FZ-07 First Ride Review

A weird thing happened to me during the U.S. launch of Yamaha’s latest motorcycle, the FZ-07. As we were rolling through the backroads of Bainbridge Island, just off the coast of Seattle, it hit me. “I think I like this bike more than the FZ-09.” Before the ride, I was expecting a middleweight sporty bike, with performance comparable to the Suzuki SFV650 or Kawasaki Ninja 650. I figured, after riding the FZ-09 and loving its fun-per-dollar quotient, there was no way the 09’s little brother, with one less cylinder and less displacement, could be nearly as fun.

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Harley-Davidson LiveWire First Ride

Harley-Davidson’s electrically-powered LiveWire has sent shockwaves throughout the moto industry – and also through the general public. I don’t recall the last time Harley made a bigger splash in traditional media than the news of this electric motorcycle, which I got to ride yesterday on the streets of New York City.

The LiveWire impresses even before riding, as Harley engineers have clearly put a lot of effort into making this an e-bike that pleases the eyes. It borrows some elements from H-D’s dirt-track heritage, with a low, flat faux fuel tank and abbreviated tail section. Also low is the seat height, about 30 inches. A sand-cast, perimeter-style aluminum frame wraps around the batteries, while the electric motor is proudly on display at the bottom end of the bike. Harley designers describe the longitudinally mounted motor with its billet aluminum housing as a highlight of the LiveWire.

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SCOOP: Electric Harley-Davidson Livewire Nearing Production

In a bombshell that would seem to be an April Fools joke, we believe Harley-Davidson will be building a production motorcycle powered by electric power, named “Livewire.” Harley filed a trademark application for the name on Nov. 1, 2012 with the USPTO, then also filed for a trademark in the EU on Nov. 2, 2012 which was approved March 13, 2013. This is potentially game-changing news, and if this indeed turns out to be true, it will give a whole new meaning to “The Motor Company.”

UPDATE: Harley-Davidson released a new teaser video that supports our theory:

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2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT Review

In a world of increasing electronic complexity, Royal Enfield’s Continental GT is a bastion of motorcycling simplicity. And that’s just how Enfield’s CEO, Siddhartha Lal, likes it. Over lunch on our Continental GT media ride, he relates how the more simple a motorcycle is, the more reliable the bike and the easier it is to fix if there is a problem. No argument there, but what’s his underlying point?

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2015 Yamaha FZ-07 Review

The west coast of Canada probably offers the country’s best motorcycling. The scenery is magnificent, with cascading mountains along the coastline of British Columbia plunging sharply to meet the Pacific, all the way from Alaska to Washington State.

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2014 Super Naked Street Brawl + Video

In the track version of our Super Streetfighter Smackdown, the KTM 1290 Super Duke R won over the BMW S1000R by the narrowest of margins. Which is all well and good for the small percentage of riders who’ll actually take these bikes to the track. For the greater population, riding these motorcycles on the mean streets of America, the streetable personas of these two and the Ducati Monster 1200S and Kawasaki Z1000 ABS are far more important.

Similar to the track shootout, scoring these four (the MV Agusta was unavailable for street testing, but you can read about it here: 2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR Review – Quick Ride) was extremely close, with the two finalists separated by only 1.07% or 5.75 points (497.75 vs 492).

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2014 Super Streetfighter Smackdown + Video

What we have in these five bikes: BMW S1000R, Ducati Monster 1200S, Kawasaki Z1000 ABS, KTM Super Duke R, MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR, is an assemblage of pretenders to the throne. What throne? The literbike streetfighter throne upon which Aprilia’s Tuono V4R APRC ABS has comfortably resided since its introduction in 2012. Truth is, two of these five have a real chance of dethroning  the reigning champ on-track, so once we’ve identified the most worthy contenders in this shootout, first and second place will get a chance to meet the Tuono on the field of battle. 

2012 Literbike Streetfighter Shootout – Video

To separate the wheat from the chaff we spent a day at Chuckwalla Raceway scraping pegs and destroying tires. It was a good day that clearly distinguished the performance hierarchy of these motorcycles.

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No-Shift Shootout: 2014 Aprilia Mana GT Vs. BMW C600 Sport Vs. Honda NC700 DCT + Video

The manual transmission is well on its slide into obsolescence within the automotive world. Meanwhile, every major motorcycle manufacturer is developing fresh bikes to appeal to a new generation of riders, with a renewed focus on looking at ways to lower inhibitions of entry-level riders.

Case in point, this trio of motorcycles, none of which is equipped with a clutch lever.

This shootout was originally slated to have only two bikes, the Aprilia Mana 850 GT ABS and the Honda NC700X DCT ABS, since they represent the two clutch-leverless strategies employed on full-sized motorcycles currently available. Without a manually operated clutch to manipulate, both will likely charm new riders or re-entry riders with their terrific ease of use. They also feature similar riding positions and decently sized storage bins where you’d normally find fuel tanks.

To complicate matters a little, we decided to see if BMW’s C600 Sport could compete in this class. We really enjoyed our time with the C600’s more luxurious brother, the C650GT, during our Uber Scooter Shootout, so it seemed the sportier maxi scooter might be able to hang with its non-scooter rivals. We wanted to see if the gap between big-bore scooters and motorcycles was insurmountable.

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Kawasaki Bike Nite in the Daylight Show Results

As we previously noted, Kawasaki organized a “Bike Nite in the Daylite” on Friday, March 14th at the Daytona Int’l Speedway. With around 40 bikes assembled for the four prize category, all those involved with the show felt like it was a success.

This year marked the first time that the Most Unique Bike category was included in the mix. In previous years, the folks at Kawasaki noticed there were many bikes that didn’t fit the Best Cruiser, Best Sportbike, or Best Vintage Bike classes. So, they approached MO to see if we’d be interested in being a sponsor. Since we feel MO readers are unique among motorcyclists, we immediately signed up for the duty.

The entries in the Most Unique category ranged from KZs of various sizes to a ER–6N to a Concours to even a KLX250 in motard trim. The selection of the category winner was left to the folks in attendance who then submitted their ballots to Kawasaki reps. At stake was a 16 GB iPad and a cool trophy created by hand by Kawasaki employees. The Best in Show (with its trophy and $500 MasterCard debit card) would then be selected from the category winners by four judges from Cycle News, MO, Motorcycle Cruiser, and Sportbikes Inc. Additionally, MO partnered to offer our “Most Unique” category winner a free set of METZELER or Pirelli tires. Not bad, eh?

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2014 Zero SR Review

We say it every time we test one of these things, but electric motorcycle technology really is advancing at an astonishing pace. For proof of this, look towards the Isle of Man TT, where the fastest e-bikes are averaging more than 100-mph laps – something impossible just five years ago. In fact, it took gas bikes over 50 years to do a “ton up” lap. E-bikes? Four. How’s that for progress?

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2014 MV Agusta Rivale Review + Video

I’ve formed a love/hate relationship with the MV Agusta Rivale. In its element, which, let’s be clear, is tight and twisty ribbons of asphalt, it is an absolutely sublime machine, ready to attack a corner with precision and honk a wheelie on its way out, its three-cylinder wail filling your ear holes with pure auditory bliss.

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2014 Aprilia Mana 850 GT ABS Review

Well, I didn’t really expect the Aprilia Mana 850 GT to be much of a sportbike, but it is. Amazingly enough, when we set off into the sunset back down Ortega Highway toward civilization after a nice day riding, we didn’t get stuck behind a single cement mixer or weaving pickup or any vehicles at all – completely unprecedented – which meant we could set our own pace through all those fast, smooth sweepers. The Mana settled into a surprisingly swift one.

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2014 Ural Solo ST Review

When it comes to newly pressed Russian-made motorcycles imported to the United States, there’s Ural and then there’s Ural. Renown for its rugged line of sidecar models, specifically the 2WD Gear-Up and Patrol, Ural also manufactures the lesser-known Solo sT. Sans sidecar, the Solo sT is the only two-wheel counterpart to the variety of three-wheelers in Ural’s 2014 model lineup.

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2014 Honda NC700X DCT ABS Review

When Honda released the 2012 NC700 series of motorcycles with an optional Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), some members of the riding public scratched their heads. To an experienced rider, operating a well-engineered clutch and gearbox is seen as an asset, not a negative. What the naysayers couldn’t wrap their heads around was that Honda was trying to attract new people to the ranks of riders.

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2014 MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster Review

Time has come for the most brutal Brutale, and the only thing it likes to drag is your knee sliders. The Dragster 800 features the same 800cc Triple engine as the Brutale 800 and Rivale 800, and this means 125 horsepower (at the crankshaft) and plenty of fun. Add a fat 200mm rear tire and revised ergonomics, and you have the meanest MV Agusta to date, the Dragster 800.

Mean the Dragster is, and particularly on this day in less than ideal weather conditions in the south of France. I lost and saved the front on the road section of testing and then I lost the whole Dragster in a corner at Paul Ricard later in the day, causing a broken thumb.

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Ridden! 2014 MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster First Impressions

MV Agusta hosted a media launch for its new Dragster 800 this week in France. Although the weather wasn’t ideal for motorcycle riding, our Euro correspondent, Tor Sagen, brings us the following quickie ride report. Stay tuned for the full review.

The MV Agusta Dragster 800 is the black sheep in the MV Agusta family. While both the Brutale and the Rivale are capable motorcycles, the Dragster strives to be even naughtier. Not necessarily better on the road but somewhat more exciting.

The Dragster is the third incarnation featuring the 125-horsepower Triple, and the engine gets addictive as soon as you can open it up. And open it up I certainly did down the Mistral straight at the Paul Ricard circuit.

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2014 Kawasaki Z1000 ABS - First Ride

It’s gonna be a good year for moto-nudity. A damn good year. We already tasted the KTM Super Duke R and are still savoring its flavor while salivating like a bloodhound hot on the trail of riding BMW’s fairingless S1000R. But before we sink our teeth into the naked Bavarian, there’s the matter of Kawi’s newest unclothed hooligan, the 2014 Z1000 ABS.

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2013 Honda CB500X Review

The CB500X postures to be the Adventure-Touring model in Honda’s 500cc parallel-Twin triumvirate. Sharing the majority of components with its CBR500R and CB500F siblings, the X’s distinctions are the styling of its stealthy, matte black bodywork and a one-inch increase in fork travel and seat height.

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2014 BMW R NineT Unveiling

After 90 years, BMW wants to send a message. Yes, the company’s representatives and press releases said that the 2014 BMW R nineT is a present for the company, its customers and motorcyclists – which is to be expected. Doing anything for 90 years is admirable, and being, arguably, at the top of your game as you celebrate the anniversary is even better.

Visit BMW Nine-T Forum

Still, this is more than a company tooting its own horn. BMW is looking for something and wants to make a point about it. So the company flew us to Munich for our undivided attention.

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2014 Suzuki GW250 Review – First Ride

Newer riders have a fresh choice of quarter-liter funsters with Suzuki’s GW250. Known as the Inazuma when it debuted in Europe last year, the liquid-cooled twin-cylinder entry 250 is targeted at entry level riders looking for options beyond sportbikes, dual-sports and cruisers.

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2014 KTM Super Duke R Review - First Ride

Turn off the switchable ABS and Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) and KTM’s new 1290 Super Duke R slips, slides, wheelies and stoppies just like in the promotional video released a few months ago (certain skillset required). Leave these two rider aids on, however, and the “Beast” (as KTM affectionately refers to it) is as genteel as a 1301cc V-Twin boasting 180 horsepower and 106 ft-lbs of torque can possibly be.

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2014 Yamaha FZ-09 Review

Maybe it’s a sign of my, ahem, maturity, but as much as I love riding sportbikes, quite frankly they’re a chore to ride during the daily grind. The low bar, high peg, racer crouch is great on a racetrack, but impractical for the street. Plus, they’re not great at carrying things, either. I’m not saying I don’t like riding sporty bikes on the street, but these days I want my sport with a bit of practical and comfortable, too. That’s why I gravitate towards standard/naked bikes. With similar power to supersports, only marginally less performance, and an upright seating position, these really are sportbikes for the road.

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2014 Honda Grom Video Review

If you’re reading this, we’ll assume by now you’ve also read my review of the 2014 Honda Grom in which you’ll note how much fun I had riding it. The 125cc urban commuter brings back that youthful enjoyment we can all remember from the first time we swung a leg over a motorcycle. Its light weight (225 lbs) and tall handlebars makes it a comfortable machine for most average-sized riders to learn the skills of motorcycling. And with its four-speed transmission — and a real clutch! — operating the Grom is identical to a full-size bike, too.

We know you wanted to read all about the Grom, so we rushed to post my story as quickly as possible. However, to get the full experience of the little Grominator, we brought along occasional guest rider, and video shooting/editing extraordinaire, Sean Matic, to capture yours truly acting a fool. The video wasn’t ready by the time my story went to press, but we hope you agree it was worth the wait. The playful spirit of the Grom is difficult to fully explain through words, but Matic captures it nicely in the accompanying video, shot in and around Honda’s Southern California HQ.

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Best Streetfighter/Hooligan Motorcycle of 2013

While choosing this year’s MOBO selections we noticed that the Best Standard category was awash with bikes such as Aprilia’s Tuono and Triumph’s Speed Triple R – last year’s Best and Honorable Mention, respectively. This year adds models such as MV Agusta’s Brutale 675 and 800 as well as a revised Triumph Street Triple R. How is a true standard such as Honda’s new CB1100 to compete with bikes such as these high-performance nakeds? To solve this conundrum we created a new category for 2013, Best Streetfighter/Hooligan.

Aprilia’s Tuono V4 R is especially notable for not giving up much performance in its transformation from full-on sportbike to nearly naked streetfighter, unlike pretty much every other conversion from full-faired literbikes. Boasting go-fast hardware like traction control, a slipper clutch and a quick-shift transmission, the Tuono V4 R APRC is the most technologically advanced streetfighter available – its resume of competition-based technologies makes it a better track weapon than many lesser-equipped supersport bikes.

While it may resemble Bumblebee’s two-wheel transforming cousin, with 154 rear-wheel horsepower (20 more than Ducati’s Streetfighter) the Tuono simply blows away any previous naked. And because no bike has emerged to unseat the Tuono from its throne as king of the Hooligans, and Aprilia saw fit to reduce the Tuono’s MSRP to $13,999, it remains our number-one choice and earns our inaugural award for Best Streetfighter. Simply put, the thrilling and exotic Tuono V4 R is one of our favorite motorcycles of all time.

Read More:
2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR Review – Quick Ride
2013 MV Agusta Brutale 800 Review
2014 Aprilia Tuono V4 R Gets ABS And Horsepower Upgrade
2012 Aprilia Tuono V4 R Review
2012 MV Agusta Brutale R 1090 Review
New 2014 Yamaha FZ-09, YZ450F & YZ250F

Best Streetfighter/Hooligan Honorable Mention: KTM 690 Duke

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Best Standard Motorcycle of 2013

Honda rang our heartstrings when it introduced its nostalgia-tinged CB1100. Hearkening back to the iconic air-cooled CBs of the 1970s, this reinvention of the UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) screams “Standard” to our eyes.

And like early UJMs, the all-new CB1100 proves adept at nearly any task thrown at it. A fairly low seat (31.3 inches) and relaxed handlebar placement welcome a rider into the CB’s pleasant cockpit that’s comfortable for anyone. Excellent clutch modulation and a tuned-for-torque 1140cc inline-Four engine ensure smooth getaways, aided by a crisp-shifting 5-speed tranny. Its engine size and substantial 540-pound curb weight imply ponderousness, but the CB’s handling is anything but. Riding on relatively skinny tires, its steering response is extraordinarily intuitive and light – you’d swear, if you didn’t know better, it was a 750 instead of an 1140.

But it’s the CB1100’s immense curb appeal that mesmerizes riders who fondly remember the good old days of motorcycling. Its fuel tank looks like it just stepped out of a 1980 brochure, but its rich and deep paint is superior to anything from that era – indeed, superior to almost any factory paint job. Chrome fenders and a large brake lamp recall Honda’s heritage, as do the snaking CB400F-inspired four-into-one exhaust headers. “Elegant” is perhaps the best descriptor of the CB1100.

This homage to Honda’s past brings us back to a period before motorcycle categories became filleted into specialized products. The CB1100 is a simple and pure motorbike that’s exceedingly friendly and easy to ride. Admired males are sometimes described as being a man’s man. Honda’s CB1100 is a Standard’s Standard, and it deserves our praise as the best one of the year.

Read More:
2014 Honda CTX700/N Review
2013 Honda CB1100 Review
2013 Honda CB1100 Review – Quick Ride
2012 Honda NC700X Review – Video
2012 Triumph Scrambler Review
2009 Triumph Bonneville Review

Best Standard Honorable Mention: Honda CB500F

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2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR Review – Quick Ride

MV Agusta produces four renditions of its inline-Four powered 1078cc naked streetfighter: Brutale 1090, Brutale 1090 R, Brutale 1090 RR and Brutale Corsa.  The two Triple models, Brutale 675 and Brutale 800 brings the total Brutale count to six.

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2014 Star Bolt Vs. 2013 Harley-Davidson 883 Iron – Video

If we told you that you could purchase a brand-new urban performance bobber with a blacked out V-Twin engine and components, a stripped neo-industrial appearance and a low seat height that’s ideal for new-ish, female or those “short of leg,” all for under eight grand, would you bite? There are two motorcycle manufacturers producing such a bike. Your choice is between the proven machine with a few well-documented idiosyncrasies, or the upstart contender that’s eager to take on the champ.

Most things being equal – both are stylish, quality-built and cool as all get-out – the obvious deciding factor would be price, right? Sorry, misers, their cost is pretty much equal, too. So how does one decide between the established American legend and the imported arriviste? If you’re on the staff of Motorcycle.com, you ride the hell out of them, and whichever impresses the most, wins.

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Middleweight Multi-tool Shootout: 2012 Honda NC700X Vs. Kawasaki Versys - Video - Motorcycle.com

“New Concept” forms the acronym for Honda’s NC700 platform, powered by a sub-700cc parallel-Twin engine. This somewhat bold proclamation implies that other OEMs haven’t been quite as innovative.

We mostly bought in to Honda’s creative line of thought. That is until we realized that Kawasaki has had the 649cc parallel-Twin-engined Versys in its lineup since its 2006 European launch, eventually arriving on our shores in 2008. The Versys (VERsatility SYStem) was updated in 2010 with cosmetic upgrades, an adjustable windshield and vibration-reduction efforts you can read about here.

So, does Honda’s New Concept stand up in the face of an established and well-reviewed player like Kawasaki’s utility scoot? Is the Versys worth a $900 premium? Let’s find out.

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2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer Vs. 2013 Triumph Thruxton - Video - Motorcycle.com

We don’t need yet another class in the resurgence of café bike culture, do we? Nah. The evidence is there on the street: at every bike night and every rally, on boardwalks and boulevards from Santa Monica to Manhattan.

Whether it’s a restored CB, a classic BSA or even a stripped-down Sportster, retro bikes are downright ubiquitous. Yes, friends, a good look around is all the proof one needs to know that vintage is all the rage, if not in actual iron then certainly in appearance and form. And it’s more than just tastemakers like Jesse James and Roland Sands jumping on the retro wagon. Garage builders are ordering clip-ons and rearsets by the pallet-full.

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2012 Ducati Diavel Cromo Vs Star VMAX - Video - Motorcycle.com

The VMAX postures like a dominant silverback gorilla but the Diavel refuses to be intimidated by the size and power of its opponent. In the annals of imaginary dream fights this matchup is akin to a young Mike Tyson in the ring with an equally youthful Muhammad Ali, or a movie where the Terminator is programmed to kill James Bond. While not exactly a David vs Goliath scenario, the Diavel vs VMAX is certainly a bout for the ages between the brute finesse of the Ducati and the cudgeling strength of the YamaStar. 

For more than 20 years the V-Max was part of the motorcycling lexicon. Reborn in 2009 with the first full overhaul since its introduction in 1985, the VMAX (note the tweaked nomenclature) boasts a nearly 500cc increase (from 1,197cc to 1,679cc) in engine capacity and a massive bump in power (see dyno chart). A modern cult bike without equal, the VMAX not only owns the power-cruiser class, it’s the bike that created the species.

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2008 Benelli Tre1130K Review - Motorcycle.com

(A quick note: all Benellis available in this country are 2008 models or earlier. EPA and CARB approval for 2009 models is pending.)

For some riders it’s not enough to ride just any bike. The cookie-cutter sportbike or run-of-the-mill sport-tourer no longer satisfies. Oddballs and brands with limited or low production numbers are much more tempting. If you’re ready to step outside motorcycling mainstream, if even just a little bit, but can’t bankroll a Confederate Hellcat and still want a modicum of comfort and utility, we may have your ticket.

Until our review of the Tornado last year we hadn’t sampled a Benelli since a review of the 2004 TNT. Were battin’ a thousand, as we’ve another Benelli (two years in a row now!) in our stables. Welcome the Tre1130K.

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2008 Benelli TnT 1130 Review - Motorcycle.com

The American motorcycle market may not be the hotbed of success for standard and naked style bikes like it is for the cruiser, custom or sportbike arena, but that doesn't necessarily mean there's a dearth of good choices when looking a fairing-less ride.

For one, witness the return of Kawasaki's Z1000 as an all-new model for 2010. Putting aside opinions about the new Z's styling, most enthusiasts could agree that, from what we know about the bike thus far, it should be a great machine.

Another motorcycle with questionable styling but a powerful, character-filled motor wrapped in a stout chassis is (or rather, was) Buell's 1125CR. And of course there's Triumph's most excellent Street Triple R. The British Triple isn’t supplied with a liter-class engine, but if you've either read about it or ridden it, you then know it doesn't need a big mill to be loved the world over.

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Ryca CS-1 Review - Motorcycle.com

Zzzzip, unngh, aaaaaaaah…ssssssssss…

“Hey man I saw you pull in on that little racer bike. What is that anyway?”

“Whaaa, huh?! Oh damn dude, can’t a man pee in private? It’s a Ryca.”

“Never heard of it. Single cylinder right?”

“Yeah, 650cc, belt drive, it’s a kit bike. They even have a chain drive conversion available if you’re into chains for some reason.”

“A kit bike?! No kidding. It looks all custom.”

“Well it’s as custom as you feel like making it. Basically you start out with the engine and frame from the most trashed Suzuki Savage S-40 you can find, then throw $2,595 and a few days of elbow grease at it, and abracadabra! You’ve got social cachet that follows you everywhere you go – even into the men’s room apparently. Hey, do you mind if I meet you outside after I finish giving last night’s beer its proper burial at sea?”

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2012 Cleveland CycleWerks Tha Misfit Review - Video - Motorcycle.com

With an MSRP of just thirty-two hundred bucks, Tha Misfit from Cleveland CycleWerks is the motorcycle option to similarly-priced 125cc scooters. Tha Misfit’s 229cc engine capacity out-displaces those scoots by more than 100cc, and it strikes a much cooler profile. But is Cleveland CycleWerks a steadfast motorcycle company and is Tha Misfit worth its retail price?

(By the way, all CCW bike names are prefixed with “tha” to prevent copyright hassles –Ed.)

From its kick-starter to fuel petcock and handlebar-mounted choke, the Misifit does more than look the part of a vintage cafe racer, it adheres to the simplicity of the era. The carbureted, air-cooled Single exemplifies British one-lungers frequenting the Ace Cafe when not engaged in doing “the ton.”

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2012 Bajaj Pulsar 200NS Review - Motorcycle.com

Bajaj’s Pulsar bikes are a rage in India. Now, a triple-plug Pulsar 200NS, with an engine based off of the KTM Duke 200, aims to spark off a new chapter.

Bajaj Auto Ltd. is India's second-largest two-wheeler manufacturer, consistently selling over 200,000 motorcycles per month. A household name in India, Bajaj operates from three sprawling manufacturing facilities, with an in-house R&D center. At the helm of the company sits a hands-on managing director, Rajiv Bajaj. The company recently increased its stake in KTM to 47% after starting out with a 14.5% share in 2007.

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