Well, the new-for ’19 RT has put on 20 pounds compared to the R1200 RT that preceded it, but one good thing about that weight gain is it makes it that much easier for us to justify calling it Best Touring Bike – an award that’s traditionally gone to your Gold Wings and your Harley-Davidson FLs.
“Yo Sean! What do you think about racing a BMW R nineT and making a video about it?” I hadn’t heard from my old friend Mike Ngo for a couple of years, but he was still as straight to point as ever. I countered, “What no dinner, drinks, and maybe a movie first? This doesn’t include me buying your R nineT does it Mike?”
What’s the sweet spot for small displacement motorcycles? Is it 250cc? Perhaps 400cc? Ask any internet forum and you’ll likely hear some BS like, 600cc sportbikes are the smallest I would EVER recommend for a beginner. Idiots. Darwinism at its finest. What do we think? We think there are a lot of variables to consider for this question, but the 300cc category is still filled with solid options of bitchin’ motorcycles. Many look at these small-displacement bikes as great options for beginners as well. Which motorcycle is best for a beginner? It all depends on what kind of riding you’d like to do. Any of the options on this list provide a great starting point for new riders. What’s even better is that there are plenty of great bikes in this category that spans multiple genres of motorcycling such as sportbikes, adventure motorcycles, and naked bikes. If you’re interested in entering the world of two wheels check out these great starting points.
Usually when we have a shootout here at Motorcycle.com, the participants are somewhat defined for us. First, we choose a class of motorcycle, and then, we put the latest versions of those bikes in a head-to-head-competition. This time we’re doing something a little different. Each MO editor chose whatever bike they wanted to ride to Monterey, CA, for the U.S. round of World Superbike. The only caveat would be that the bike had to be capable of participating in the annual Pirelli Track Day that takes place the day after the races finish at Laguna Seca. Okay, there was one other rule that I tried to enforce, but the one editor just couldn’t bring himself to choose a bike that had OEM bags available for it.
BMW announced at least one new concept will appear at this weekend’s 2019 BMW Motorrad Days… but it’s not a motorcycle. No, instead, it will be a one-off pickup truck. What does it have to do with motorcycles? Nothing much, really, except BMW present it as a motorcycle carrier for an F850GS, saying that together they can “reach even the remotest corners of the world.”
Right, when BMW told us they were done with R nineT models a year or so ago, they never said they were done with R nineT SLASH FIVES! Upon homing in on the /5 at the end of the press release this morning, I thought oh cool, a new small boxer… but that is not the case. The original /5 bikes of 1969 were available in 500, 600 and 750 sizes (R50/5, R60/5 and R75/5), but this one’s powered by the same 1170cc boxer twin all the other R nineTs use. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. This one’s more a styling homage to the old /5.
Sometimes adding new features and software to an existing product works out well; sometimes it doesn’t. Ask Boeing or a Kardashian. Kawasaki’s pre-existing Versys 1000 was a nice-enough but completely nondescript motorcycle until the company decided to throw fresh gadgetry at it for 2019, to the tune of about 50% of the purchase price of the base model. Check the “LT SE+” box, and for $17,999, you’ll be getting: Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension (KECS), new ride-by-wire fueling with cruise control and Kawasaki Quick Shifter, new electronics including KCMF and KIBS (that’s Kawi Cornering Management Function and Kawi Integrated Braking System), controlled by the new 6-axis IMU, a new TFT color instrumentation dash like the one on the H2 SX SE, new smartphone connectivity with Kawi Rideology app, sweet new self-healing painted bodywork with LED headlights and cornering lights, heated grips, a centerstand, hard luggage… suddenly the Versys is a contender.
At an event showcasing its electric vehicle initiatives, BMW revealed a new electric motorcycle concept called the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster. The new concept, much like the Vision Next 100 concept from 2016, is an interpretation of what an electric motorcycle would look like while keeping BMW’s traditional Boxer configuration.
The 2020 BMW S1000RR is what happens when government regulations ruin what is otherwise a good motorcycle. If you’ve been paying attention to the S 1000 RR (Yes, that’s its technical name, with spaces between letters and numbers. I’m scrunching them all together from here on out.), you’re already aware it’s been available in Europe for some time as a 2019 model year – and the reviews are raving. But now it’s slowly trickling into US dealers as a 2020 model, and this review won’t be quite as amazing – and it’s not entirely BMW’s fault. I wasn’t sure why there was a discrepancy, but after talking with some other journos who have ridden the European version, I think I know why. More on that later.
BMW introduced a new generation of scooters when it debuted the C650GT and C600 Sport (since renamed the C650 Sport) back in 2012. Today, BMW’s “urban mobility” line has grown to include the C400X, C400GT and the electric C Evolution. What gets forgotten, sometimes, is that BMW used to have another scooter introduced in 2000 called the C1.
[UPDATE: BMW has released a video about the Concept R18 being ridden around the streets of Hamburg, Germany. Apart from one short part around the 36 second mark that was oddly reflected, the video gives us a good look at the concept running. The engine noise in the video is presumably genuine and not dubbed, but it is neat seeing the exposed drive shaft rotating. —Ed]
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.
The big GS gets all the love and 27% of BMW’s sales, but when the BMW people asked which one I’d like to ride home after the Palm Springs roll-out party for the new 1250 boxers two months ago, we picked the RT. It only makes up about 10% of BMW’s numbers, but the RT never expects you to ride it through a sand wash.
When I learned I was off to Austin last week with just a couple days notice, on a mysterious mission to see something BMW wanted to unleash on the public, somebody showed me a picture of the Custom Works Zon bike from Japan, “Departed.” When I looked at it I LOL’d oh ho ho!, and said no way is BMW building anything remotely like that. And especially no way on the Japanese custom’s oversize boxer Twin, complete with pushrod tubes. You gots to be kidding me.
Designs of what appears to be the production version of BMW’s Concept 9Cento sport-tourer have been uncovered from, of all places, Brazil’s Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial (National Institute of Industrial Property). The new design shares similar styling with BMW’s concept, only less aggressive and with the necessary parts to be homologated for street use. The filing does not list a model name, but the name going around the rumor mill is “F850RS”.