In 2015 I wrote a column about how Sportbikes Are Terrible. In short, I felt (and still do) that production sportbikes have become so focused on the racetrack that riding them on the street anywhere other than a curvy road is borderline torture. Take either of the Ducati Panigale variants, for example. Rolling works of art, on a track they are some of the most fun you can have on two wheels. But would I want to ride one a few hours to the track, do a trackday, then ride home?
Motorcycle.com is on the ground at the 2017 Ducati Supersport and Supersport S intro in Seville, Spain, where Troy “Trizzle” Siahaan will get to ride Ducati’s latest creation both on the street and on the Circuito Monteblanco. Expect Troy’s review in a few day’s time, but while you’re waiting, here are seven things you didn’t know about Ducati’s Not-Quite-A-Panigale sporty-bike.
The fact that most of MO’s editors are quite fond of Yamaha’s FZ-09 is fairly common knowledge. Our readers liked the FZ-09 enough to vote it Reader’s Choice Best Value Bike Of 2015. So, why is it that, up until now, the primary emotion I felt after riding the FZ-09 was disappointment? Frankly, I felt it never lived up to its potential. Two of its strongest attributes – the versatile engine and the responsive chassis – were hamstrung by a slight deficiency in Yamaha’s typically good R&D finish. Well, that was then.
Fans of liter class sportbikes have got to be drooling over the prospects that 2017 holds. In fact, as this goes live, Business Class Editor Troy Siahaan is across the pond preparing to ride the revamped Honda CBR1000RR in Portugal. Next week, E-i-C Duke will be jet-lagging his way to Australia to tussle with the long-awaited Suzuki GSX-R1000. When we last gathered in the 24K gold and marble festooned MO Tower Conference Center from which we run the global MO Empire, we realized that so many examples of 1000cc sporting machinery were going to be available for the coming model year that we’d need to break them up into classes within the liter bike class. At the top, we have the exotics – sportbikes costing $20,000 or more – bikes befitting one-percenters, like ourselves. The next grouping consists of the open classers that the rest of you can afford (if you’re lucky) without requiring a lottery ticket for the down payment.
With the flip of a calendar page, everything changes for Jorge Lorenzo. In 2017, from the looks of his Twitter account, he’s not wasting any time in getting with the new program. Over the past three days, three notable changes occurred on 99’s official twitter account.
Twenty years ago this month Yamaha dropped its game-changing four-stroke MXer bombshell, the YZM400F. The prototype set the precedent for a bold new era of four-stroke machinery. Aboard the prototype Doug Henry won the final Supercross round of the 1997 season in Las Vegas. Henry returned the following year aboard the production version YZ400F to claim the 1998 Outdoor National Championship. A Supercross championship for a modern four-stroke MXer wouldn’t be accomplished, though, until Ricky Carmichael’s 2006 championship season aboard a Suzuki RMZ450.
In just a few days 2017 will be here, which means there will be a metric crap-ton of new bikes to ride! This clearly gets us very excited, and so we’re taking the opportunity with this, the last Top 10 list of 2016, to point out the 10 new motorcycles we’re most looking forward to riding in the coming year.
The 2017 season of the newly named American Flat Track racing series looks to be an exciting one. A slew of changes will roll out along with the new name. First, the premier class, GNC1, will no longer run Twins at big tracks and Singles at shorter ones, which formerly led to riders being sponsored by competing OEMs at the same time. Then there was the development class, the GNC2, that also had the same structural issues. Among the other changes, AMA Pro Racing CEO Michael Lock plans on implementing is a new elimination-style qualifying format that will have the big names out on the track in front of fans more times throughout the event.
The KTM train just keeps on rolling. The other day we published spy photos of the forthcoming 390 and 790 Adventure models, while KTM posted a video of its upcoming 790 Duke. And rumor has it that KTM may be developing a Super Duke powered by a version of its MotoGP V4 powerplant. The biggest competition the current Super Duke R has comes from within its own company. For now, though, the 2017 Super Duke R remains the benchmark of naked bike desire.
By now you must’ve heard the bobber backstory: Restless GIs home from WW2 self-treated their PTSD by bobbing the fenders off their heavy old motorcycles to make them lighter, faster and generally more obnoxious to the populace. Triumph was right there from the beginning, supplying Marlon Brando’s bike in The Wild One, and now it’s back with the brand-new 2017 Bobber, the stripped-down, elemental variation on the new Bonneville theme the company’s been furiously rolling out for about a year now.
As soon as you begin mentally mapping the featureless layout of the Losail International Circuit, it gets dark, the floodlights come on and the track layout changes in a surreal manner. A desert haze drifts through the infield, and in addition to remembering if the approaching corner is the slow left one or the fast left one, you’re also now looking through faceshield glares and the occasional glimpse of you passing your own shadow. Steadfast among all these nocturnal distractions is the familiarity of the Super Duke R’s performance, its booming exhaust note, and that deliciously torquey V-Twin.
At a special engagement in the speakeasy basement of the Federal Bar gastropub in downtown Long Beach, CA, Honda surprised attendees with the reintroduction of a classic. The Honda Rebel can trace its roots back to 1985, but these new-model Rebels are far removed from their predecessors.
Motorcycle.com is on the scene in fabulous Monaco for the media launch of the upgraded Ducati Monster 1200. Key updates include more power, a redesigned fuel tank that looks more like the original Monster, a new headlight, shorter wheelbase, Bosch Cornering ABS, a slimmer tailsection and updated TFT instrumentation. Oh, and new footpegs that don’t force feet into uncomfortable positions like the previous generation.
If EICMA is the barometer of where the moto-industry is headed, it appears as if 2017 will be the year of the small-displacement adventure bike. In addition to the CRF250L Rally on this page, Suzuki unveiled a V-Strom 250, Kawasaki debuted its Versys-X 300, and BMW revealed its G310GS.