With a combined 85 years of writing about motorcycles and being immersed in the moto industry, the MO staff doesn’t impress easily. And yet, when looking back at the year just passed, we’re spoiled for choices to select from our favorite rides, experiences and events of 2014.
In an era where motorcycles are becoming more specialized (sportbike, standard, cruiser, adventure, etc.), scooters are diversifying as well – everything from 50cc city runabouts to the 650cc-plus mileage gobblers capable of serious touring. Striking a balance between them are models like the Kymco Downtown 300i; a middle-of-the-road scoot capable of doing it all.
Recently, we here at Motorcycle.com brought you one of our biggest tests to date, in the form of our 2014 Middleweight Mash-Up Six-Way Shootout. In it, we wrangled six bikes with minimal or non-existant fairings, ranging in displacement from 471cc ( Honda CB500F) to 690cc ( KTM 690 Duke) and put them to the test.
Behold the 50 days of Christmas! Five lists comprised of 10 gifts per, we’ve provided you with a selection of moto-specific gifts to fit every level of expenditure for all kinds of riders. Or, maybe they’re not gifts for others but ideas of what to buy for yourself with all those X-mas greenbacks you’re about to receive in a month’s time. Whatever the case, there’s a lot to look through here, but if that’s not enough, maybe check out some gift guides from Christmases past: 2013 Holiday Gift Guide, 2012 Holiday Gift Guide.
There’s only one reigning Miss Universe. She’s a beauty, but make no mistake, during the competition any woman on that stage will get a man’s mojo working. And so it is with our annual selection of Motorcycle.com’s Best Of 2014 awards (MOBOs). A winner and honorable mention in 12 categories leaves only 24 spots to fill. Occasionally, a particular motorcycle is so good it might win or be honorably mentioned more than once, leaving even fewer spots available.
Motorcycling is fun and exciting no matter what bike you’re on, but what really stokes our fires is the incessant march forward of what is considered the state of the art on two wheels. It’s fascinating to observe the evolution of motorcycles, irrespective of category or market intention.
Some motorcycles arrive on the scene with shock and awe pyrotechnics, delivering white-hot performance that was previously thought to be impossible from a streetbike. When you step off one of those machines, you feel as if the gravitational constant has shifted, like you’ll never look at a motorcycle the same way again.
Motorcycle apparel manufacturer, Fieldsheer, has announced its 2014 product lineup. The modest collection of 17 items touts proprietary materials adventurous motorcyclists will want to note prior to purchasing any new riding gear. A particular quality that stands out is the zippered connectivity of removable liners from the cuffs at the bottom of the jacket sleeves; so much better than snaps or buttons.
Seems like forever we’ve been waiting for the new R1200RT. A year has passed since we rode the Honda ST1300, Kawasaki Concours 14 and Yamaha FJR1300 to Death Valley and back for our 2013 Sport-Touring Shootout. Since then we’ve been in a holding pattern to take the winner of that shootout, the FJR, and put it up against Triumph’s Trophy SE and the new RT. Well, now that we’ve ridden the new R1200RT the shootout with its contemporaries is on-deck.
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.
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.
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.