It’s been a stellar year for new motorcycles; our frequent flier miles are piling up like crazy as we span the globe to bring you the thrill of victory (Indian now) and the agony of defeat, from the 2019 bumper crop of everything from Nikens to Svartpilens. There’s more to it than new bikes, though. So, let’s take a look at what’s got us excited as we approach the mid-point of 2019.
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?
Indian Motorcycle has been on a bit of a trademarking spree of late, registering a number of potential new model names since December. The latest trademark, filed last week with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the European Union Intellectual Property Office, is for the name “Indian Challenger.”
The Paris-Dakar rally, a true test of endurance, the ultimate adventure. I’m referring to, of course, the Paris-Dakar of old, when it ran from France to the west African capital of Senegal, Dakar. It was a time when men were men and women were women and the rally itself was more of an adventure, where “winning” was simply finishing. The rally has changed a lot since its inception in 1978. Now, the incredibly competitive teams are hell-bent on racing through the South American Dakar rally stages at break-neck speeds to ensure their spot in Dakar history whilst backed by chase vehicles full of sponsorship money.
The air had a brisk freshness about it. Pure mountain air with a hint of fall from the turning leaves. The kind of unsullied atmosphere that can only be found far from the pollution of civilization. The sun had begun its slow descent behind the surrounding red rock mesas, and the cottonwoods and aspens appeared to glow in the late daylight, contrasting beautifully with the red rock, blue skies and well-manicured grass of the Gateway Canyons Resort. The resort sits at 4,500 feet, in the juncture of five canyons, some of which had been carved out more than a billion years ago. This would be the proving ground for our evaluation of BMW’s latest mid-size GS offerings – the 2019 F 750 GS and F 850 GS.
Ducati‘s smallest “multibike” is designed to provide all the excitement of the Multistrada in a more accessible package. Designed to put performance within everyone’s grasp, says Ducati, the new Multistrada 950 is for those who want to get in some touring – possibly with a passenger and some luggage – and those who want an agile, fun bike that’s ideal for everyday use. Not to mention fashionable.
In America, some might consider owning and riding a Harley-Davidson to be patriotic. But in Italy, Ducati is revered and more closely synonymous with religion. Hardcore Ducatisti take motorcycles, their performance, style, and love of their red rockets seriously, and the 2019 Multistrada 1260 Enduro is no exception. With its high-performance/racing pedigree, adventure touring and/or off-road riding is rarely (if ever) the first thing that comes to mind when the Italian marque is mentioned. The update and introduction of this new 2019 Multi aims to change all that, and it started with the goal of making the 1260 Enduro more accessible and intuitive to operate, easier and more enjoyable to ride, all while increasing its overall performance.
By now, hopefully you’ve already read our street installation of this two-part test. If not, STOP! Please do check it out because it outlines and dissects each and every bike in great detail, and it very well might answer a slew of questions you might have that aren’t addressed here, in the off-road portion of the shootout.
For this four-part series, we take a look at five easy bolt-on parts that will transform your ADV bike from a Starbucks-destined road queen, to a Dakar-ready desert blasting rally winner. Or something like that. This series is designed to show how much of a difference a few well-thought-out adventure bike upgrades can make to the off-road prowess of your big ADV bike.
Speaking of adventuring, on my way home from flogging this new Tiger all over the mountainside, I was inspired enough to explore a new route: Instead of taking the 210 to the 57 like I usually do, I hopped on 5 South, to the 10 West, to the 710 South! (I had to go to Long Beach to do a bike swap with Ryan.) Was it scary? A little. There are some parts of LA where you really don’t want to have to stop, but the Triumph Tiger 1200 XCa had me feeling all omnipotent. Bring it on!
Royal Enfield designed and built this motorcycle in India, for Indians, a few years ago, with no plans really to export it. Why bother? India took over from China last year as the world’s biggest motorcycle market; Indians buy something like 48,000 motos a day (which probably includes lots of scooters and mopeds, but you get the picture – something like 17.7 million a year).