We last performed this public service in 2017, when your Yamaha FZ-07 prevailed over the Kawasaki Z650, Suzuki SV650, the new Harley-Davidson Street Rod, and the new and indeterminate Benelli TnT 600, in that order. The FZ-07 has since morphed into the MT-07 amidst a host of well thought-out upgrades in 2018, and then again for 2021. The Z650 got a modern instrument pod in 2020 with a few other tasteful refinements, and the SV650 hasn’t changed a bit (God bless it). The Benelli is still around but didn’t get the call this time, and the H-D Street Rod has been withdrawn from the market under a hail of ridicule. Sad.
Kawasaki has announced it will be producing the Versys 1000 S for the European market. Currently, the top trim level available in Europe is the Versys 1000 SE, which includes the KECS – Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension. The new S model will ditch the KECS in favor of traditional 43 mm Showa components at both ends, adjustable only for rebound damping and spring preload. Undoubtedly, this will also bring the price down.
It goes without saying that motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than cars, but that hasn’t stopped motorcycle manufacturers from trying to reduce the safety gap as much as possible. It’s often worth looking at the safety systems in the car world to get a glimpse into what might be coming down the pipeline for motorcycles.
Honda’s all-in when it comes to the small-displacement category, perhaps more so than any other manufacturer out there. With the popularity of the Grom, CBR250R, CBR300R, CB300F, and Rebel lines – and recent introductions of the forthcoming Monkey and Super Cub – it’s no wonder Team Red is proud to introduce its latest addition – the 2018 CB300R.
As motorcyclists, we may have a different outlook when we hear the name Bosch. I know I do, but to many, the name may conjure up familiarities with automotive parts, household appliances, or power tools. The German technological powerhouse plays more of a role in our lives than the average consumer may ever be aware of, from sensors and software in your car, to the toaster on your counter, there’s a good chance you use the company’s tech and may not even be aware of it. Of course, I’m not really in the business of writing about toasters so, for now, we’ll focus on Bosch’s technological advancements for motorcycling and most importantly, a few new pieces of technology that we should be seeing on the market within two to three years.
Scooters are big in European and other markets – around here, not so much. “Scooters and soccer,” Kymco PR rep Peter Jones tells us, “they’re just not a part of our culture.” Still, Kymco doggedly sticks to its guns, offering a full line of scooters where many OEMs have reduced or eliminated their scooter offerings.
In an era in which adventure-styled motorcycles seem to be taking over the sport-touring class, the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS stands out as a great example of a traditional sport-tourer. Kawasaki has taken the heart of a sportbike and wrapped it with a package that can tackle almost any task a rider could want, from commuting to canyon scratching to touring to the occasional track day. Outfit it with the optional $1165 saddlebags, and you’ve got a mount that would be a great multi-state companion for less than $14,000.
Ask most motorcyclists about what role Bosch plays in our sport, and they’ll tell you that Bosch produces ABS technology and has been part of the recent trend towards expanding the technology into safety features like cornering ABS. All of this is true, but Bosch has its hands in so many areas of motorcycle technology that it would be hard to find one that the company is not currently developing. Last year, Bosch invited Kevin Duke and Tom Roderick to learn about how Bosch sees the future of technology-based motorcycle safety strategies and to sample cornering ABS in a controlled environment. Now, more than six months later we had an opportunity to sit down with Geoff Liersch, Head of the Bosch Two-Wheeler and Powersports business unit, to discuss what to expect from Bosch in the next few years.
Just as we suspected, Honda today unveiled its much anticipated 2017 CBR1000RR at Intermot in Germany. We first reported on the new CBR last month as spy photos started to come out, but Honda still had a few surprises in store with this announcement. Two, actually. First, Honda decided to release its up-spec model, the CBR1000RR SP, ahead of the standard edition (Honda says to expect an announcement on that one come November). And second, there would be a second, limited-edition model, the CBR1000RR SP2, homologated strictly for racing purposes (more on that later).
If your occupation is testing motorcycles there’s a certain measure of accepted risk that comes with the job. When cornering ABS (C-ABS) arrived a couple years ago, the general consensus among the motojournos was, Hey that’s awesome, we’ll take your word for it working as described, because no matter how professional we try to be, grabbing a fistful of front brake mid-corner to evaluate this new technology is a line few were willing to cross. Just thinking of the action conjures images of impacting asphalt at a rate approaching lightspeed.
It’s nearly impossible to purchase a new motorcycle that doesn’t include some form of pre-installed electronic rider aid. From cornering ABS to switchable ride modes, on-the-fly adjustable traction control to hill-hold start, the variety of rider aids made available in just the last few years is mind blowing.