Every year Motorcycle.com gets invited to the press introductions for several new motorcycles – it’s the biggest perk of our job, and the reason all of us have stuck around as long as we have! The cycle goes like this: at the end of one year or the beginning of the next, manufacturers talk a big game about a new model launch, and/or the internet goes wild with social media rumors and opinions about a new bike. In turn we, the media, can’t wait to be the first to throw a leg over said bike to see what the fuss is about. Sometimes the motorcycle in question is a dud, other times it exceeds beyond our wildest dreams. Then you get the rare model that didn’t get much fanfare but turns out to be unexpectedly awesome.
When choosing our MOBOs, it’s not always the spec-sheet shootout winner that takes the cake. There is a lot more to consider when deciding MO’s Best of award. What does the motorcycle mean for its category and how does it impact the industry as a whole? These are but a few of the variables that must be considered for our MOBO awards.
I just spent last weekend riding Ol’ Faithful, my 2008 Honda CRF450R, up in Mammoth, California, on trails very similar to those I rode in Nevada City on the Alta Redshift EXR. Riding up in the Sierra Nevadas is an absolute must for any off-road or dual-sport rider, but it got me thinking… We were riding at a base altitude of about 7,880 feet before climbing up even higher into some of the area’s mountains and lookouts. As a result, Ol’ Faithful was starving for air and running out of steam on her top end.
The Erzberg Rodeo is the toughest enduro in the world, and Alta took two riders to Austria last month to compete. Ty Tremaine qualified 43rd in his first ever attempt at Erzberg, and Lyndon Poskitt might’ve done much better than 113th if his race bikes and gear hadn’t been stolen out of his van at a rest stop dammit! As it was, Poskitt qualified on Ty’s back-up bike and then sat out the race. All you have to do is cover 22 miles in four hours to finish Erzberg; the Alta team came up just a bit short, but with what they learned this year, Husqvarna, KTM, Gas Gas and Beta could be in for a shock in 2019.
(Update: We’ve received some clarification from Harley-Davidson: the product of Project LiveWire is on track for 2019, but the arrangement with Alta Motors is for new electric models beyond the LiveWire. This story has been updated to reflect this information.)
Earlier this month we reported on Alta Motors’ plan to compete with the best in the business at Red Bull Straight Rhythm. Alta entered its Redshift MX racer in the Lites class, to be ridden by Josh Hill, a former MX star who retired three years ago due to a horrific injury. From the start, Alta has designed its Redshift to take on its internal combustion competitors in the Lites category, but instead of treading the waters in local or regional events, Alta decided to jump into the deep end to face the best of the best.
Astute e-bike fans might remember the name BRD, the group setting out to make an electric motocross (and supermoto) competitor from the ground up, called the Redshift, with an emphasis on performance. As we found out at the AIMExpo recently, 2015 brings the bike and the company a few surprises.