Today, a reading from the book of scooters. In Biblical terms, brethren, six years is not that long ago – but it’s far enough in the past that yours truly was not involved in this epochal big-scooter shootout. No stone was left unturned in this epic, except the part about the icy pile-up on Highway 33. No MOrons were injured, but quite a bit of plastic was dashed, along with some youthful innocence; the kids have aged a lot in six years. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the winners of this contest are still for sale. The losers have shuffled off this mortal coil. As it was in the beginning and ever shall be, small wheels spinning without end, amen.
We were all beginners once, right? Whether it be motorcycles, soccer, ballet, etc., the unknown pitfalls of any new venture can cause excitement and joy or, more often than not, leave you scrambling in a fit of confusion. So let’s take a look at tips for helping new motorcyclists navigate their way through the tricky insurance web of deceit! Motorcycle insurance for beginners, take one.
And at that time, 14 years ago, General Ets-Hokin went out among the Berkeleyites and Roombas and came back with this story about a young engineer working on a robotic motorcycle for the military. The actual file has mysteriously disappeared from the MO archive: Luckily, Gabe had saved the story and has lived to tell it (though his computer with the photos has expired from complications due to lack of a charging cord). Meanwhile Anthony Levandowski, who has kept on pursuing his self-driving dreams, suddenly finds himself in the news, and not in a good way. There’s an excellent summation of his troubles at Wired, among many other places. (Note that MO’s original story is the only one to spell Mr. L’s name correctly. Boom!)
Choosing to use the Dominator GTX gloves during a 1600+ mile tour throughout England was one of the better decisions I’ve made recently. They kept me dry through the bipolar Welsh weather and, with the help of the Scrambler 1200’s heated grips, they kept my hands cozy into the low 40s at night. I’m also confident that they would do an excellent job of protecting my paws should things go south.
During the Southern California Timing Association’s Bonneville Speed Week, motels nearby are expensive and fully booked. Which leaves campgrounds. And I hate carrying camping gear on a motorcycle. When I see those BMW earth-roamer types with all the gear piled up over their heads I think, “Oh, Hell no! I’m cool as an ice cube, that’s not me.” Yet here I am. Here I am piling camping junk over my head like a Starbucks-sipping, Hi-Vis wearing, mid level manager-who-mistakenly-thinks-corporate-values-his-efforts, Beemer rider.
“Yo Sean! What do you think about racing a BMW R nineT and making a video about it?” I hadn’t heard from my old friend Mike Ngo for a couple of years, but he was still as straight to point as ever. I countered, “What no dinner, drinks, and maybe a movie first? This doesn’t include me buying your R nineT does it Mike?”
Full disclosure before we begin: I’m a former Alpinestars employee. But don’t take that to mean I’m a fan of all its products. There are definitely some duds. A perplexing one was the first-generation Missile Tech-Air suit. At a thousand bucks, it was a novel idea as a relatively affordable entry-level airbag-compatible suit. The thing going against it was fit (at least for me) – I didn’t like the fit at all. At 5-foot, 8-inches, 150 pounds, with a 30-inch inseam and 31-inch waist, I’m about as average as they come in regards to body size and type. Still, the Missile was uncomfortable. The proportions were wrong and it was tight in the hips and knees, making it difficult to move my lower body the way I wanted.
You knew this was coming shortly after Triumph agreed to enlist its three-cylinder engine into the Moto2 cause, but maybe we didn’t expect it quite so quickly. The Daytona Moto2 765 Limited Edition, says Triumph, is “the ultimate edition of Triumph’s legendary multiple Supersport Championship-winning Daytona,” and “the the closest you can get to a genuine Moto2 factory ride for the road.”
It is only right and fitting that this week’s reading in the Church of MO is 21 years old, since that’s how old you should be to read this lurid comparison: Filled with sexual innuendo, smoldering burnouts and Sunset Strip cruising with an actual rock star and a female tester, this was MO at its most prurient and irresponsible. Thank God we’ve seen the light.
If you’re like me, you love ripping around at trackdays, going as fast as you want without the fear of cops or opposing traffic waiting to ruin your day. That feeling you get when you know your tires are nice and hot and can do no wrong is simply magical and adds to the allure of motorcycling you simply can’t explain to your non-riding buddies. But if you’re also like me, then you’re lazy and too much of a cheapskate to bother buying tire warmers and a generator to operate them. So what’s one to do if excellent grip is the goal, but putting those pigs in a blanket just ain’t gonna happen?
The only reason I’m not buying a new motorcycle right now is because I currently have a new BMW S1000R on loan, and a KTM SMC 690R – and an old R1 sitting in my garage. Otherwise, I’d be down there toot sweet, bending all the bored salesmen at my local dealer over backwards on a killer deal on something new. It is my sacred duty on some level, as a licensed motojournalist, to sell motorcycles to people. But this time I think my heart is truly in it. No, really… Here’s why. (lead image courtesy of Bert’s Mega Mall)
Alright folks, let’s do some math! If we take the sum of S+V multiplied by 650 we find the factor is equal to or greater than a standard or naked bike. If we then take SV(650X) we see the coefficient of X, 650 in this example, being equal to… Who am I kidding? I was always terrible at math/algebra/statistics, all of it. But what Suzuki’s telling us is that X equals cafe. Simple as that. Don’t question your teachers kids; just put your head down and conform.
It’s the start of a new week, which means Revzilla has a whole bunch of new deals and markdowns to sort through. In this week’s edition of Revzilla deals, we see all sorts of riding gear getting marked down, but this is only a small sampling. Head on over to Revzilla to see the full list of fresh price drops.
I like to think I got into motorcycle racing at the tail end of an epic time for American motorcycle racers. It was approximately around the year 2000. A young whippersnapper named Valentino Rossi was all the buzz, but in the 500cc paddock, Kenny Roberts Junior took the crown. Over in World Superbike, the epic battles between Troy Bayliss, Nori Haga, and Colin Edwards were just hotting up, with the Texas Tornado sealing the deal and making it two American world champs in the same year.
You never know what bikes will end up garnering a cult following. This can be based on so many variables, one of which is the aftermarket. The Honda CB500X was a nice enough little adventure-styled 471cc motorcycle when it was introduced in 2013, but when aftermarket manufacturers like Rally Raid Products out of the UK started providing accessories to bring the CB500X into dirt-worthy territory, interest in the bike took off. You can now buy full suspension kits and spoked wheels among other serious off-road accoutrement to fit to your CB500X. When Honda went back to the drawing board to redesign its littlest adventure touring bike, it began with a look at what current owners and prospective buyers wanted in a light(ish) weight touring bike and how to make the CB500X easier and more fun to ride. The result? Read on.
If you didn’t know the Vemar Shark was a $199 helmet, you probably wouldn’t guess it. You wouldn’t confuse it with our MO consensus Cadillac of modulars, the Shoei Neotec 2, but you also wouldn’t think it would sell for one- fourth the price of my go-to Neotec Splicer TC-6.
Trips like this always sound like such a great idea… You have somewhere you need to be in a certain time frame, and the weather looks clear. There are important personal matters requiring resolution on a Monday morning, and with my initial plan to fly now gone askew, I was staring into the driveway at the Africa Twin and pondering. How hard could it be, right?
You may remember a time when helmets were…helmets. Full-face, modular, three-quarter…they did the job but were kind of bland, monochromatic and didn’t have a lot of features we take for granted today. Features like dropdown inner sun visors, carbon-fiber shells or modular lids designed to be worn as either a full- or open-face. And then came Shark.
Does Kevin Cameron still have to change tires? I mean, riding your choice of the latest bikes to Laguna Seca for World Superbike weekend, followed by a Pirelli-sponsored track day Monday, is a dream come true for any motorcycle person, but maybe you don’t want to see how the MO sausage is made. Pirelli wanted us to mount up its new Supercorsa TD (Track Day) tires ahead of time, and they drop-shipped me two sets. Two sets because when Troy couldn’t make the ride this year, I volunteered my son Ryan to ride the Ducati Supersport in his place. Ryan was, to say the least, excited.
On a cool, clear morning, the Indian Scout 60 fires up and settles into a steady, V-Twin idle. I text John, my neighbor two doors down and tell him I’m getting ready to leave. From the yard, I can hear John’s well-thrashed Suzuki 650 thumper stumble to life then stall. The cycle repeats; each time the Suzuki runs for a bit longer. We’re going to take a lap of Lake George, Florida’s second largest lake and a stone’s throw (if you’ve got a cannon for an arm) from Daytona Beach.
After nearly four decades in the advertising business, I’ve been around enough co-branding campaigns to fill a Louis Vuitton + Supreme duffel bag with Doritos by Taco Bell chips. Strategic partnerships between brands are not without potential pratfalls (The Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars/Sex Pistols collaboration leaps to mind.) But when there is a real fit across audiences and consumers, they work, particularly in today’s challenging and fractured media environment.
Yes, it rained for the better part of two weeks. Until it didn’t. And then all hell broke loose on the Mountain Course. The pubs, hotels, and campsites emptied, the Parc Fermé lit up, and qualifying and racing got underway as an unusual and stirring race fortnight on the Isle of Man drew to a fitting climax.
Old soldiers might just fade away, but what happens to old race bikes? Basically the same thing. Though a few GP bikes still get destroyed to keep engineering secrets secret, most old race bikes, or many of them anyway, get bought up by guys with more money than they really need, to park in the den. Others get bought up by type-A riders who want the ultimate trackday weapon (but the joke is shortly on them, since the life expectancy of any competitive advantage is, well, it’s short). And some get bought up by collectors, possibly with the hope that today’s deeply discounted last-year’s greatest thing might someday be the next Crocker or Brough Superior or even gray-market RZV500R.
As Sunday unfolded, an unfamiliar yellow orb rose in the sky over the Isle of Man, and a stiff wind blew the eerie mist known as The Cloak of Mannanan out to the Irish Sea. Weary sojourners emerged from crowded pubs and soggy tents. The TT Paddock buzzed with energy. After five consecutive days of qualifying canceled and racing delayed, motorbikes and sidecar outfits took to the 37.73-mile Mountain Course in anger. The 2019 TT was finally on.
During our time in and around Palm Springs, CA, we had the chance to test not only the CBR650R, but also Honda’s new naked, the CB650R. The naked 650R shares many of the same functional components from the fully faired 650, but along with its aluminum handlebar, it has attitude and handling all its own.
Following in the footsteps of Cycle, Sport Rider, Dirt Rider, Hot Bike, Baggers, et al., Bonnier Corporation has decided to kill off the print version of Motorcyclist, though the online version will continue on with the same staff. Bonnier acquired Cycle World first early this decade, then bought Motorcyclist, Sport Rider, Dirt Rider, and one or two more a couple years later, nearly cornering the US motorcycle magazine market as it doubled down on print. The last two years have been an interesting time, as Motorcyclist and CW experimented with having the two big former competitors intermingle their staffs and resources; Cycle World was supposed to be more timely (a tough thing to do given the decision to make it a quarterly publication instead of a monthly), while Motorcyclist was to be a “lifestyle” bimonthly.
When I first laid eyes on the 2019 Honda CBR650R, I was pleasantly surprised, impressed, and thankful. For too long the standard sporty middleweight category of motorcycles has been plagued with styling that ranges from dated to cheap to what were they thinking. The 2019 Honda CBR650R is none of these. Razor sharp styling derived from the CBR1000RR combined with LED lighting give this sporty middleweight style for miles with a look owners are sure to be proud of.
It’s all fun and games riding around in your Chuck Taylors until Old Granddad turns left across your bow. Sometimes, even if you’re the best braker out there, you wind up layin’ `er down – and if you lay her, or him, down on top of your ankle, well, then you might suddenly and painfully appreciate what a wondrous and complex organism the human body is; things like ankles and wrists and knees, once mangled, take a lot to put back together again. Good boots aren’t always going to save your underpinnings, but motorcyclists who’ve been around the block a few times like our chances much, much better with some serious soles and ankle protection – and a little (or a lot) of protection over the easily-injured tibia is never a bad idea either. Let us scratch the surface, shall we?
I’m a happy man. Not because I enjoy staring at my computer, sporadically typing as the coffee slowly warms my sleepy cockles, on yet another bright and breezy California morning. I’m happy because my head no longer feels like it’s being squeezed between the bowling balls of a nasty oil-stained concussion, whose relentless grip has steadily faded with every passing day. His BFF, vertigo, has been stalking me for weeks and only makes itself known when I stand up too fast or move about too quickly. Like slamming a fifth of tequila with every flight of stairs, the dizzying effects of slapping one’s brain against the sides of a thickened skull, preferably your own, can be quite debilitating. But I’m feeling better now… much mo’ betta’. Perhaps 93.98% mo’ betta’.
How do I not love this helmet? Let me count the ways. Sticking your head into it is like sticking it into a high school girl’s purse; the soft liner offers almost no resistance until you come to the much-more-solid EPS liner. It’s extremely comfy while you’re sitting still, like wearing a hollowed-out sponge, but the liner gives up all resistance once you’re rolling and meet a little aerodynamic drag. The liner is removable and washable; too bad it’s not removable and replaceable with a better liner. What do I know? The Eliminator carries the ECE 22.05 sticker as well as of course DOT, so it passed somebody’s tests.
Longtime MO readers know that we’re big proponents of developing riding skills throughout your entire riding career. We also stress the importance of protective riding gear for the possibility of things going bad. Unfortunately, I see too many untrained riders careening around the streets with little more than a single layer of cotton – and the helmet they are forced to wear by law – between them and the sharp teeth of the tarmac. What are they counting on to keep them safe out on the road? Their God-given right, as an American male, to instinctively know how to pilot a motor vehicle in any circumstance?
Unless you’re one of the lucky few who spend their lives traveling the world on two wheels, chances are you’re spending time in the office, on the job site, or otherwise too busy with daily life to get out for an adventure all that often. In KLIM’s new video series, KLIMLife, viewers are able to ride alongside an epic enduro excursion from the urban sprawl of Guatemala City to mars-esque landscapes made up of volcanic terrain. Set aside nine minutes of your day for a glimpse into what could be your next adventure: Destination Guatemala.
If you’ve been hankering for one of Arai’s premium helmets but just didn’t have the scratch, now is your time. Revzilla has a great sale going on that is reducing prices of closeout helmets by an astonishing amount. Prices range from $300 to almost $800 with discounts as much as 60%! Selection is limited, and with deals like this Arai helmet sale, they won’t last long. Go take a look.
A few years back I started riding dirtbikes. Up to that point in my life, I had it all figured out. At work, I had built and maintained marketing databases better than any of my uninformed superiors could have done and I knew it. I had been the top salesperson in a couple of different positions and, at that point, had a well-rounded background in different facets of the motorcycle industry. I knew the industry. I had my ear to the ground and I was a passionate motorcyclist, heck, some of my bosses didn’t even ride and others seemed to have no clue about motorcycles at all! Thankfully for them, I did. There were instances where I had a really hard time working on projects that I knew weren’t as efficient or focused as they could be. Most of the time, I would reluctantly put my head down and get the job done. Other times, I’d voice my opinion and get myself in trouble. I was, in a word, obdurate.
Although the cruiser craze of the late 1990s and early 2000s has long since passed, there are still tons of riders who love cruisers. For newer riders or those reentering motorcycling after a hiatus, high prices can be an obstacle for buying a cruiser. It doesn’t have to be. The staff at Motorcycle.com have always been fans of cruisers and what they represent out on the road. So, we decided to go deal shopping to see what new models could be had for less than $10,000. Note that all of these motorcycles are 2019 models. You can find some great deals on leftovers from earlier model years if you look around.
When I learned I was off to Austin last week with just a couple days notice, on a mysterious mission to see something BMW wanted to unleash on the public, somebody showed me a picture of the Custom Works Zon bike from Japan, “Departed.” When I looked at it I LOL’d oh ho ho!, and said no way is BMW building anything remotely like that. And especially no way on the Japanese custom’s oversize boxer Twin, complete with pushrod tubes. You gots to be kidding me.
Chances are, the beating heart of your Ducati and, for that matter, every other desmo you’ve seen out on the road, was assembled, at least in part, by women. Making up 14% of Ducati’s production line in the Borgo Panigale facility, are women. The vast majority of that number is stationed on the engine assembly line, putting together the most crucial components of any Ducati motorcycle.
We like to think we ride our bikes everywhere, right? That no horizon is too distant, no riding day too long. We are MOrons, with iron butts and steely hearts. But no matter how tough your tush, no matter how much intestinal fortitude you have, there are plenty of situations where it just makes more sense to put your bike and all its ancillary needs onto (or into) a trailer.
What if there was one rally each year that you could go to? What would it be? If you’re an Overlander – a vehicle or moto-based outdoor explorer with the self-contained means to go practically anywhere – the ideal rally will have all your favorite gear vendors and manufacturers, beautiful, scenic camping areas, social events, seminars, films and vehicle demos, classes, tailored one-on-one instruction and a skills challenge with prizes. Does that exist?
Akrapovič. You might have that word on your bike’s exhaust, and you’ve certainly seen Akrapovič’s distinctive logo on thousands of racing vehicles over the years, from MotoGP, WorldSBK, MXGP to Dakar and even to four-wheeled competition in the FIA World Endurance Championship. When Jorge Lorenzo clinched the 2015 MotoGP World Championship for Yamaha, Akrapovič took home its 100th world-championship title; just 15 years after American Colin Edwards (Honda) won WorldSBK title in 2000, first world championship title for Akrapovič exhaust.
Inside a former tool-shop located on the Piaggio facility’s grounds in Pontedera, Italy sits a treasure trove of history, a time capsule if you will, which allows visitors a look into the past of some, but not all, of the brands currently included under the Piaggio umbrella. The 32,000 sq ft Museum is located in one of the oldest parts of the Piaggio complex where, in the early 1920s after purchasing the facility, Piaggio began production of airplane engines.
Arlen Ness lived in way that speaks volumes to his character and values. A man who has long been associated with the churn of an air compressor and the fizz of a paint gun, the clang of tools on a workbench, the staccato first firing of a straight-piped high compression rabble rouser, and a clan of like-minded loud and proud riders on gleaming custom American V-Twins. After a career and life in motorcycling, Arlen wanted to be in his home to peacefully take his last breath. Following a battle with cancer, Ness passed away after a full life of friends and motorcycles, with loving family at his side.
Late last year, the MOron crew participated in yet another 24-hour minibike road race, this time aboard the Benelli TnT135. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, but we got spanked – like bringing a knife to a gunfight spanked. Not surprisingly, the winning team consisted mostly of kids who couldn’t reach my head even with their arms fully outstretched. Surely their power-to-weight ratio helped, but we’d be dumb to think the kids weren’t also very skilled at their craft (and a lack of fear helps, too).
We ride motorcycles because we like to. It’s the most fun way to get from Point A to Point Wherever. As motorcyclists, we have enough stress to deal with from work, and road hazards. Any little extra way we can relieve stress is welcome. This time of year, some people get all worked up over basketball. Forget your brackets, fill up your cart with some sweet deals on motorcycle gear and accessories that will make your ride a little easier.
Having grown up around motocross, and with a couple of years on the road on two wheels some 13-plus years ago, throwing my leg back over a motorcycle this past summer was anything but starting from scratch (thankfully). Sure, I was a little rusty to say the least, but the essence of riding isn’t something easily forgotten. After a few quick jaunts, I was back in the swing of things. Though the mechanics and principles remain the same, the new motorcycle market for more novice riders is a completely different beast than it was the last time I was on two wheels. A veritable boom of larger, and frankly more appropriate “starter bikes” is well underway in the form of the 300cc class. These more approachable and rookie friendly rides aren’t like the undersized and underpowered 125s and 250s that have been around for decades, which is a fantastic thing – a serious win for new riders who are on the taller side. Throwing my 6’1 frame over a CBR 125, well, can you picture the bear riding a minibike in a Russian circus? You get the idea.
The deals on motorcycle gear keep coming and going, but just today we received the announcement that Revzilla is further slashing its prices on closeout Alpinestars gear, and there’s a lot of good stuff in the mix to choose from. In total the list runs 83 items long, including boots, gloves, jackets, and even a handful of full race suits. Granted some of these items are lower on the discount totem pole—in the 10-15% range, but there is still a lot to choose from in the 30-40% range, including many items that are not limited in terms of sizing and availability. Here’s a quick look at some of our favorite pieces in the sale.
In a virtual carbon copy of last year’s riveting Grand Prix of Qatar, Andrea Dovizioso, the second-best rider on the planet today, edged defending world champion Marc Marquez by .023 seconds to capture the win. Cal Crutchlow, the Black Knight of MotoGP, took the third step on the podium on a right ankle held together with bandaids and baling wire. Parity has arrived in MotoGP, with tonight’s race producing the 8th closest podium in history and the fastest Top 15 ever. Last year, Dovizioso’s winning margin was .027 seconds, suggesting Marquez, his surgically-repaired shoulder mostly healed, is making progress. Comparing this year’s top seven riders to last year, the only significant difference is Suzuki’s Alex Rins. Last year Rins, whose season started miserably despite my jocking him all over the place, crashed out mid-race. This year, he was in the mix the entire time, led the race for a couple of partial laps, and finished fourth, barely 14/100ths behind Crutchlow. He was followed by Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi (who started 14th), Ducati factory rider Danilo Petrucci and polesitter Maverick Vinales who, with a full fuel tank and cold tires, rides like the second coming of James Ellison. Last year, behind Dovi and Marquez, it was Rossi, Crutchlow, Petrucci, and Vinales. This, I suggest, is what they mean by “the usual suspects.” Embed from Getty Images
Kawasaki admits motorcycles can be a tough sell these days. All the manufacturers perform market research to find out what new buyers want, but when it’s time to sign on the dotted line, all those “intenders” who say they’ll buy if you give them this and this and this – suddenly become as thin on the ground as unicorns. What they say they want is simple design that’s affordable, less plastic, more comfortable than aggressive…
And in those ancient times, the apostle Glenn scribed occasionally for MO, that is until Queen Ashley sent him to a later Yamaha event than this one, whereafter the feckless scribe filed his report with a competing kingdom for 31 pieces of silver. And he never worked in this town again. And yet, yea verily, it’s an ill wind that blows no man good, as the apostle JB was also at the later event where Glenn betrayed MO, and so JB and the Queen of MO became allies, combating evil everafter. Before being cast out of the kingdom, the apostate Glenn did ride the amazing R7, and so it is ridden.
In-helmet bluetooth headsets are a great resource for group rides, allowing you to communicate clearly with your fellow riders clearly rather than relying on hand signals. These units can often be pricey, but we just spotted a great deal on one of these units from a company called Ecocom that is definitely worth consideration. Usually priced at $60.99, a 41% markdown brings these units down to only $36. The units can maintain a connection at up to roughly 1,000 yards, can link to 2 other units simultaneously, and can also be paired to media players and GPS units to provide some great additional functionality if you’re out and riding solo. The unit doesn’t have much in the way of reviews just yet, but so far it seems it’s being well received and is easy and straightforward to install.
Here at MO, we think training is important to keep our skills sharp; and training in other disciplines is one tool in our arsenal. So it goes without saying we are fans of anything that makes said training more affordable and accessible. As you probably know from our recent stories on participating in yet another 24 hour mini bike race and our very own Trizzle’s recent test of the turn-key ready-to-race 2019 Husqvarna FS 450 supermoto, we MOrons are big fans of taking advantage of the tighter confines and lower speeds of karting circuits as a way of refining one’s everyday ride craft – as well as race craft. Karting circuits are generally closer to home and the price of admission is significantly cheaper than full-size racetracks. As a matter of fact, almost any excuse to rip around a kart track on a turn-key supermoto is a legitimate one in our eyes.
We’re keeping it brief because time is limited on this one. Revzilla’s closeout deals are always a good place to shop a bargain, but as an added bonus they’ve offered up a promo code to save you even more as you get geared up for spring. With the code PRESEASON19 you’ll save an additional 5% on marked down helmets, jackets, gloves, boots, and other gear from your favorite brands, including SIDI, Alpinestars, Icon, and plenty more. Beyond that they’re also discounting parts and accessories, so even if new tires, brakes, or a battery (for example) are on your shopping list, you can save more on that stuff as well. The full sale is an astounding 3,685 items long, so you’re gonna want to get browsing fast. That said, even without the additional 5% savings, there are plenty of good deals here.
An absolute force, Ducati CEO, Claudio Domenicali has risen through the ranks at the Bologna-based firm and has now run Ducati Motor Holding in his current role since 2013. We were lucky enough to have the chance to interview Claudio during our time at the Bologna facility for the Ducati Design Center workshop. We spoke with Claudio about the future of electric motorcycles as he sees it, conducting business in the digital age, and the sheer breadth of the company’s expansive product portfolio. Order up a cappuccino, sit back, and enjoy.