The problem with the Ducati Diavel has always been the inability to adequately describe the type of motorcycle it was. Power Cruiser never came close to encompassing the bike’s capabilities. Similarly, Muscle Bike implied the brute force it’s capable of quite well but overlooked the finesse with which it could be applied. With the addition of the V4 Granturismo engine, the Diavel has matured into the bike it was always meant to be, the Mega-Monster. The 2023 Ducati Diavel V4 has reached the point in its design and performance that it leaves all vestiges of cruiserness in its dust.
It’s another Friday, and we’re back again with another Honda. It’s even sourced from the same forum as before – the Bay Area Riders Forum. In searching for last week’s post, a few gems stood out and I knew I had to get to this one after last week’s Gold Wing post. Why? Well, here’s the story behind this 1993 Honda CBR900RR, straight from the seller himself:
Just over four years ago, Italian trophy marque Moto Morini narrowly avoided joining the many other defunct brands from all our two-wheeled yesterdays already deposited in motorcycling history’s trash bin. But in October 2018 Chen Huaneng, the owner of Chinese scooter and minimoto manufacturer Zhongneng Vehicle Group, saved it from extinction by acquiring 100% ownership of Moto Morini from the previous Italian owner.
For our February 2023 MO Giveaway, Klim has stepped up to offer one lucky winner a touring jacket and matching pants. To make things even better, the winner gets to choose between the Altitude Jacket and Altitude pants or the Latitude Jacket and Latitude Pants, depending on their gender. So, let’s dive into these impressive offerings.
Deep down, in the far reaches of your brain, lie thoughts about riding a Gold Wing across the country. With your feet up, radio blasting, your significant other sitting in back, and the hum of the six-cylinder purring away as the miles melt away; how could you not want to give the ‘Wing a go? It doesn’t matter what you ride now, or what genre of motorcycling you identify with – Gold Wings permeate past every single niche. What’s not to love about riding a couch on wheels?
Little yellow dots emblazoned on the back of helmets have become more and more prevalent in the past few years. That dot, of course, means the helmet is equipped with a slip layer known as the Multi-directional Impact Protection System, or MIPS, as the brand is known. MIPS has more than doubled the number of brands it worked with just three years earlier, now partnering with 143 brands that span industries from motorsports and cycling, to snow sports and even construction. In motorsports, MIPS works with the following brands:
The man with overall responsibility for creating Royal Enfield’s first twin-cylinder modern-era cruiser is New Jersey native Adrian Sellers, 42, who after a four-year stint with Honda R&D in Italy and, before that, nine years at Yamaha’s Design Laboratory in Los Angeles, was appointed the Indian company’s Head of Custom and Motorsport in 2016, based at its UK Technology Centre at Bruntingthorpe. Let’s leave it to him to tell us how the ground-breaking Super Meteor 650 came about.
1990 Honda ST1100 begat 2003 Honda ST1300, which begat 2014 Honda CTX1300… which at some point in the last few years seems to have gone, mercifully, the way of all flesh. Now if it’s a Honda sport tourer you crave, it’s the Gold Wing or, well, that’s about it. Anyway, the big 1261cc V-four ST1300 was quite the long-distance mile muncher 20 years ago. But I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen one in the wild. The good news is Yamaha is still manufacturing the motorcycle that showed the ST the exit – the FJR1300ES. Survival of the fittest, I suppose.
My apologies for returning so quickly to ZXForums, when we were just here two weeks ago. But this one knocked my socks off. The Kawasaki ZX-11 may have had more impact on some of our formative years than any other motorcycle. And this 1998 D model for sale in northern Arkansas (there’re a couple of nice roads there) appears to have been preserved in amber, right down to its shiny stock dual exhausts.
It’s been about a month since we introduced Motorcycle.com’s 2022 Yamaha MT-10 SP semi-long-term project bike. In case you forgot the premise of this whole thing, Yamaha offered us the opportunity to hang on to an MT-10 SP for an extended period of time, and since I have a soft spot for the bike, I decided to give it some tasteful upgrades to address some key weaknesses while also unleashing some trapped potential. The point here is two-fold: first is to see what the bike could do with some simple upgrades. Second is to not break the bank while doing so because otherwise, you could easily go buy one of the European competitors that would probably still spank this MT, stock.
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.
You know what’s worse than carrying a six-pound jug of gas on your hip? Carrying two of them. I know my riding buddies (particularly the one who puts together the awesome rides) are tired of hearing it, but c’mon strapping a gallon of gas to your waist is a drag – and sometimes, I still have to carry two. It’s a requirement for the super remote rides we usually go on in order to get deep into the backcountry – and back out again. I’d like to say the three-gallon IMS tank solved that issue for me, but really, a larger than stock tank is already imperative for the type of riding I do – plus a lil extra when the mileage calls for it.
It’s a little strange to hear Nate Kern call me, and everyone else in the rider’s meeting, one of his kids. “It’s true,” says the childless Kern as he can see the weird looks on our faces this chilly December morning at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. “I’m man enough to say I care about you guys and when you’re here, at one of my trackdays, all I want is the best experience possible for you.” This might sound like lip service since every trackday provider wants you to have a good time, but Nate Kern and his eponymous DoubleRFest trackdays have the weight of BMW behind it to come as close as possible to ensuring this sentiment rings true.
Meanwhile in ZXforums, 185EZ has decided it’s time to part with his 2014 ZX-14R. As you all should be aware, this is one steamy chariot – a motorcycle that challenged the Hayabusa for top-speed honors while performing steamy, 9-second quarter-miles in stock form. Kawasaki would like to sell you a new (and probably improved) one, for $16,599, but the only good reason not to to do that is that this slightly used one’s barely done 11,000 miles, and the seller says it doesn’t have a scratch on it.
Welcome to 2023! The MO offices are full again after our annual weight-gaining extravaganza, and we are ready to hit the ground running into the new model year. That means we’re all about looking ahead, which means we are (mostly) thinking about the 2023 models and what new goodies the manufacturers have in store for motorcyclists. As is our tradition, we put fingers to keyboards and opined on what we, as professional moto-journalists, were most excited about after spending days on the EICMA and other new model announcements. So, what follows is our personal opinions about the bikes we expect to ride for the first time in the upcoming year.
If shootouts are MO’s bread and butter, single bike reviews and first rides are the main course. Motorcyclists crave information on the newest machinery, and we try our best to give you what you want. While you may not always agree with our opinions – and occasionally even accuse us of being on the take when our impressions don’t mesh with your desires – we try our level best to let you know what we think about every bike we have the good fortune to throw a leg over. For 2022, we have a resounding winner that left the rest of the reviews and first rides in the dust, and when you get to that entry, we figure that you won’t be very surprised.
Shootouts have long been the bread and butter of Motorcycle.com’s reviews. Some of this is because the expandable nature of web pages makes long-form content much easier than back in the print media days. Another reason is that the MO motto has always been “more is more.” So naturally, we changed things for 2022. Instead of more bikes, we decided to focus on more shootouts for the year. We think the experiment was largely a success (although you can feel free to give us your opinion in the comments), and for 2023, we are considering a hybrid of shootout models to see if that is the magic combination. However, before we ride into 2023, we need to look at what made the previous year such a good one. So, here are the shootouts that you readers decided with your clicks were the best 2022 had to offer.
Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus and good will toward all on the day of this final Church of MO for 2022. It was the best of times 20 years ago, when Attack Performance’s proprietor rolled Jason Pridmore’s championship-winning Suzuki out for little old us to have a go at California Speedway. As I recall it may have been a case of mistaken identity: Richard Stanboli may have thought it was John Burns calling from Motorcyclist (a big print publication at the time from which I had just been expelled), not John Burns from Motorcycle.com (a pipsqueak online publication which thought nothing of running a 2200-word bike test with one action photo). Say, what’s an online publication?
The e-mobility game has been heating up for a while now (literally in the case of those spontaneously combusting “hoverboards”), and I’ve been seeing more and more people on e-bikes around town and down at the beach with a fairly significant increase in the past couple of years. On the way back from some pedal-pushing of my own during lunch (#musclesnotmotors), I saw a couple of kids two up on an e-bike that looked similar to a Super73, but was not. It was a glance into what unadulterated freedom must feel like for two 13-year-olds: the boy piloting the machine sans shirt, but with a helmet, and a girl standing up on the passenger footpegs, hair flowing in the wind, both laughing and smiling, not a care in the world. Meanwhile, I hurried home to crawl back into my dark, dank office with hopes that my tyrannical editor hadn’t noticed my time away from the screen.
Long-term test bikes aren’t something we normally do here at Motorcycle.com, but when Yamaha’s PR guy Gerrad Capley said I could take the MT-10 SP home after the press intro, it was an offer that was hard to resist. When I asked him how long I could have it, he basically shrugged his shoulders and winked. “Can I modify it?” I asked. “Only if you give it back to us in stock form,” he said. Just like that, I dashed away with an MT-10 SP for an indefinite amount of time. Nice.
Sometimes you don’t know what you want; you only know that you want something. If you’re in group A, keep reading MO and scanning the general marketplaces, of which there are now a bunch. On the other hand, if you know the motorcycle you want, don’t overlook shopping the online forums – of which MO‘s parent company, Verticalscope, happens to own a shedload; multiple forums is Fora, and chances are if it has wheels, wings, skis, sails or propellers, there’s an online forum full of fans.
I’m accustomed to begging scooters from the Big Four, from the companies I know – Kawasaki excluded since they don’t make a scooter – and hanging onto them as long as I can. You’d be surprised. But Honda may be sore after I crashed that last ADV150 while testing its tires over railroad tracks, even though I offered to buy it (at a discount, since it was crashed). Come to think of it, they may even be still sore about the Metropolitan we crashed in our 2002 Scooter Smackdown. Some of these huge corporations have impressively long memories, but atrocious short-term ones. Yamaha has no scooters in the current test fleet (frightening), and Suzuki has no Burgman 200s. Dunno what’s become of Kymco? There’s no love from Vespa.
Entry level dual-sport has for a very long time existed in the void between categories, particularly when you consider folks who are shorter in the inseam. We all need to start somewhere, but for most who did not grow up riding, or maybe started exclusively on street motorcycles, the reality is that the entry-level engine size is often combined with the inability to comfortably touch the ground at a stop. That’s enough to deter all but the most stubborn of vertically challenged riders. Kawasaki is hoping to change this with the 2023 Kawasaki KLX230 S.
Let’s be honest, dual-sport motorcycles aren’t really designed for touring, despite my best efforts ( here and here). The bikes are merely street-legal dirt bikes without much accommodation for creature comfort. So, spending 220-ish miles flat in the saddle from Las Vegas, NV to Palmdale, CA, mostly on Interstate 15, is a platform for cataloging discomforts, and after riding approximately 360 miles, mostly off road over the two previous days, my aches-and-pains were legion. Still, with sore muscles from my arms all the way down to the arches of my feet, why did I spend most of my time grinning as I cranked out the miles? I’d finally participated in the LA-Barstow To Vegas Dual-Sport Ride, an event that had intrigued me for over 25 years, which is 23 years longer than I have been actively riding in the dirt. Achieving life goals is always good, but somehow the physically-challenging ones accomplished after the half-century mark are even sweeter.
They don’t do a lot of advertising at Aerostich. Instead, proprietor Andy Goldfine lets the product speak for itself, mostly by keeping the US motojournalist corp well-supplied with his suits. Once you’ve worn one a bit, it can feel weird to ride any distance in anything else. There’s more competition than when he began the business decades ago, but something about the one-piece Roadcrafter’s versatility, toughness, and wide range of uses in all kinds of environments keeps lots of long-time customers coming back, while still adding new converts, too.
When BMW created the first GS in 1980, reactions were mixed. Back then, the motorcycle industry did not have the fragmented family tree of specialized segments that it has today, with sport bikes, sport touring, touring, off-road, enduro, retro sport, standard, and all manner of cruisers. However, by mixing on-road, off-road, and touring characteristics into a single bike, BMW must have known they were on to something, because they soldiered on with the model, and not only has the GS survived, but it has thrived. Today, adventure riding, the segment that the BMW GS created, is one of the fastest growing in motorcycling, with every major manufacturer having some variation of the GS formula in their current lineup.
The invention of the trackday tire is the single greatest thing to happen to trackday riders since, well, trackdays. Being able to leave the tire warmers at home (or not own any at all!) has a trickle-down effect for those lazy riders among us – myself included. No warmers means the stands can stay home, and so can the generator. Better still, leaving all those things behind doesn’t compromise anything out on track; modern trackday tires provide plenty of grip and more longevity than your average race slick. (But let’s make one thing clear: if you’re actually racing, a slick is still the way to go.)
We know that regular MO readers are fans of the Isle of Man TT. Friend of MO, Andrew Capone, gives us annual posts from the event, and the analytics tell us that they are very popular. So, the release of the feature-length documentary film Tourist Trophy should spark more than a little interest among the fans. Over the course of 90+ minutes, viewers get the opportunity to get to know some of the variety of riders taking part in the 2022 Isle of Man TT.
It was the talk of last week’s 2022 EICMA Show: MV Agusta, Italy’s most prestigious and historic manufacturer, winner to date of 270 Grand Prix races, 38 World Riders’ Championships, and 37 World Constructors’ Championships, had supposedly been acquired by KTM. Stefan Pierer, the most powerful man in European motorcycling, had captured his most iconic trophy brand yet, to add to his roster of Euro-marques including KTM, Husqvarna and GasGas. Indeed, according to one supposedly authoritative source, he’d be sealing the takeover deal with MV’s current owner, Russian entrepreneur Timur Sardarov, on the Thursday before the Valencia GP, November 3. This would permit him to announce at the final race of the 2022 season that MV Agusta would be returning to MotoGP racing in 2023 – albeit as a KTM subsidiary.
Let the record show that, despite my best efforts, Yamaha’s MT-10 was not included in either the street or track portions of our mega seven-way open-class naked bike shootouts last year. I fought for its inclusion but was ultimately denied by the Bossman who wrote it off by saying our field was big enough and it wasn’t going to win anyway. That and we also knew a new one was already on the way.
It all began when our old friend Ken Vreeke returned from a six-day ride in Spain, name-dropping and in love with the BMW S1000XR he’d ridden there. Actually, he rented a GS1250, but also got some time on the XR: Problem is with the ADV bikes, Vreeke complains, even with good tires you run off the edges long before you get any real lean angle. My tires on the rented GS were new, and the front was bald on both sides after a week in Spain. Chasing EB, I kept running out of tire at the precise moment he was grabbing a big mittful of gas and launching away. When I finally got on the XR on the last day, I was shocked at how much throttle you could feed in leaned waaaaay over. I’ve only ridden one modern Superbike – that Kawasaki H2 you brought around – so the XR blew my mind. It was soooooo stuck to the road.
Drawing off a company’s past success is a popular starting point when it comes to future models, and MV Agusta is drawing off its success 50 years ago to guide a new category of motorcycle it hopes to bring to market in the coming years. What you see here is the 921 S concept.
MV is leaning hard into its heritage with this, the Superveloce 1000 Serie Oro, the latest – and arguably most stunning – addition to the neo-retro family that started with the Superveloce 800. In typical MV fashion, the Superveloce 1000 lives up to the brand’s “Motorcycle Art” mantra, but does so with functional technical and stylistic solutions.
At long last, the spiritual successor to Suzuki’s wildly popular SV650 (but not the actual successor, the SV is still staying in the Suzuki lineup) is finally here. Say hello to the GSX-8S, a motorcycle Suzuki says was “engineered from the ground up as an innovative path for future Suzuki sportbikes…”
Warning: Some of the content from 20 years ago will seem inappropriate to a modern audience, but then it was probably also inappropriate 20 years ago; we weren’t aware of it at the time. For that, we apologize in advance. But what were we supposed to do when publishing an Aprilia Mille R vs Honda RC51 track test with no action photography? Co-starring Kevin Erion, Bruce Kusada, Dan Kyle (RIP), and Minime.
Nobody does modern classics quite like Triumph, and today, the famed British marque is taking full advantage of its position within the modern classic space by unveiling its new, 10-bike strong limited edition Chrome collection of motorcycles. How limited? Each bike will only be available for one year.
In 1973, I was beginning to look at the streetbike magazines as well as the dirtbike ones on the magazine rack at Lyons Drug; there must’ve been 20 or 30 of them, and plenty of time to browse as there was no www, and very little hope of obtaining any motorcycle at all anytime soon. The 1973 BMW R90S was a chunk of pure unobtanium, from a planet far, far away, that knocked my striped tube socks completely off. Ian Falloon wrote an entire 128-page book about it.
When Ducati revealed the 2023 Panigale V4 R last week, we raised an eyebrow when we saw its $44,995 price tag. As we noted in our First Look article, this exceed the price cap to be eligible for World Superbike racing. According to 2022 regulations, sport production machines were capped to a price of €40k, and the previous Panigale V4 R fit snugly below that price cap. The 2023 model, however, comes in at €43,990 in Ducati’s home market, Italy. We figured another shoe had to drop.
Ten years ago, Tommy, Trizzle, and the Duke were feeling their oats as they manned about town on a trio of naked torpedoes. “When it came to forming a mental picture of riding one or the other, we also agreed the sexy Speed Triple will pick up more chicks than the Aprilia. The Tuono’s manufacturer claimed it was for “the rider who, given the chance, would use a race bike just to go for a coffee.” Meanwhile, the MV Agusta’s combination of short wheelbase and mid-range torque keeps the Brutale’s front wheel in the air, aided by the shortest overall ratios in the first two gears. `It leaps off the line like a hot poker was stuck up its gorgeous pipes,’ raves Duke… “for those who appreciate its tight tolerances, beauty of design, historical namesake and can disregard the practicality of purchasing the other bikes, the Brutale remains an appealing and exotic Italian option.” Picking a winner was, as always, a fight to the end.
Round rolling rubber is Continental’s bag, but it’s not the only one – not by a longshot. You no doubt know Continental for its tires – and you should. Conti has been making tires for more than 150 years spanning nearly every industry. From solid rubber to pneumatic tires and now, tires made from dandelions. Continental has the tire market covered as a major player, but the German company’s emphasis on safety doesn’t stop where the rubber meets the road. Continental takes it more than a few steps further to inform how the rubber interacts with the road. In this day and age, striving to keep folks safe no longer ends at the mechanical traction of a tire. More than ever, companies like Continental are developing highly complex rider/driver aids that range from mild safety intervention to fully autonomous driving.
The universal truth about children is that you feed them, and they grow. So, after an extended time with the Honda CRF125F, my daughter started to look like a giant on the bike and needed to move up. A year prior, she’d tried the Kawasaki KLX140R L and found it intimidating because she couldn’t easily touch the ground when astride it. Well, adolescence took care of that issue, and along with growing, she expanded her riding skills, making her first reaction to throwing a leg over the KLX one of “Wow, it fits!” before heading off to ride in our favorite desert OHV area.
BMW did it! It answered the calls for a naked version of its flagship sportbike! No, we don’t mean the S 1000 R, we’re talking about this – the 2023 M 1000 R. Inevitably, whenever a new sportbike is introduced, the people who have no interest in racing clamor for a streetable version with all the power, all the electronics, all the badassery, but just with handlebars. For the longest time manufacturers have responded with dumbed-down versions of said sportbikes. Often the frames, suspensions, and even the electronics will be the same (or similar), but the engines are neutered in the interest of what the OEM thinks makes for a better streetbike.
Hot off the heels of the newly updated S 1000 RR, BMW today unveiled the 2023 M 1000 RR – the basis of its racing programs all over the world. With the new M model, focus wasn’t placed on increasing power, but rather on making the most of the aerodynamics to use the existing power as efficiently as possible. As you’ll see in the full press release below, countless hours were spent in the wind tunnel and on the track to take full advantage of the aero package – and improve upon it where necessary. BMW says top speed has gone up to “189+ mph” (the legal department surely stepped in and said the actual number couldn’t be published), and so has total downforce from the wings. This helps keep the bike from doing wheelies when it really should be accelerating, so the traction control doesn’t have to work as hard. It also helps mid-corner to keep weight on the front tire for better mechanical grip through the turn.
The future of transportation and mobility is facing an interesting problem. Actually, a series of problems. For one, humankind is contributing to a climate crisis that needs to be corrected. For two, there are far too many internal combustion engines littered across the globe to simply scrap them all and start over with electrification. For three, as we’ve long known, eventually our supply of dead dinosaur juice is going to dry up and we won’t be able to produce fossil fuels anymore. And while that could solve problem number one (if the planet isn’t completely screwed by then), it just makes problem number two that much more serious. So, what do we do?
Kawasaki is bringing back both the Ninja 650 and Z650 for 2023 with one significant update – traction control. Formerly a rider aid only for the most powerful sportbikes on the planet, the safety benefits of traction control reach far beyond trying to go quickly around a racetrack. The two-step KTRC system does not feature the exotic IMUs that flagship sportbikes use, but a more modest system. In mode 1, KTRC allows the rear tire to slip a little more and doesn’t intervene as early. It’s a sport setting designed to allow the rider maximum drive and acceleration off a corner.
I was all Pavlov dogging when I read that the KX450SR “features elite-level racing components, special tuning and design elements inspired by the Monster Energy Kawasaki race team,” only to suffer slight cotton mouth when I learned that consists of nothing more than new SHOWA suspension components front and rear. I mean, obviously great suspension is critical to motorcycles that leap 40 feet into the air, but I felt like I was led to believe there’d be more. In fact, the rest of the 2022 package was already so blinged out, there wasn’t much more Kawasaki could add. It’s even got push-button starting.
Is the Killer 650 the longest-running Japanese motorcycle? I think it is, and it doesn’t count that Kawasaki dropped it from the line-up for a year or two. Its price and performance always assured the KLR was widely available to a huge swath of dual-sport enthusiasts (along with just plain motorcycle enthusiasts): Now it’s even more broadband, thanks to a seat height that’s 2.3 inches lower via shortened and revalved suspension front and rear, combined with a resculpted seat: S for short.
Earl Roloff’s Facebook fables are too good not to share with a wider audience. In this episode, we learn the value of perseverance and hard work, race with famous children of the swingin’ Southern California ‘60s, and continue growing onward and upward. Part 1, in which we explored the origins and earliest career of our young protagonist, is here. – John Burns
Like your Eskimos and snow, we here in California have 100 different words for sand. Regular sand. Powder sand, silt, chonky sand, fine sand, &, blowing sand, deep sand, you get the picture. The stuff’s all over the place, which makes sense as it’s a desert. So it’s nice to have a vehicle able to traverse it. Enter the SSR Sand Viper eMTN bike.
Events at Aragon this past weekend have re-ignited the firestorm that has surrounded Marc Marquez since he rode in the 125cc class back in 2008 (the year I started covering MotoGP). The eight-time world champion, his boyish good looks having been displaced by a steely persona, has as many fans as detractors. Let’s see what’s at the root of this split.
Last Sunday’s outpouring of love for the old Kawasaki Vulcan 800 was so unexpected and heartwarming, why not let’s revisit, for this Church of MO, the equally lovable yet completely forgettable 2002 Suzuki Intruder Volusia 800. Nine out of ten of them are probably still on the road, parked next to an old F-150 under a dusty carport in Palmdale. And the other one’s still on the Suzuki showroom floor, now known as Boulevard C50.
The thing about any of the electric motorcycle companies actually taking product development seriously is that, more often than not, each new model they introduce is markedly better than any model before it. Considering the EV market is still in its early stages, you expect a marked advancement with each new model.
I’m a big fan of scramblers that can actually Scram, ya dig? When a production scrambler has the chops and capability to do what those customized rigs did back in the good ol’ days, well, that’s the real deal. Isn’t it? Royal Enfield has based this latest machine on its highly popular Himalayan ADV bike so, in theory, the new 411 should be nearly as capable as that machine while being imbued with its own style. A tweak here, some new paint there, a smaller front wheel, viola! Welcome to the Scram 411.
Following our recent Falloon File about the lovely and talented little Ducati Supermono, Commenter Bob wanted to know: “Why did Bordi use an extra connecting rod instead of the usual balance shafts? BMW had a parallel twin with a third con rod for the same reason. I would be interested in reading a technical analysis of those motors.”