It’s all about the SPT says Brandon Kraemer, who’s spent the last three years of his life working on the new 2022 Indian Chiefs as Senior Product Director. People want Style, they want Performance, and they want Technology (even if many of them don’t quite realize they want that last one).
One hundred years ago, in 1921, Indian Motorcycle launched the Indian Chief. At the time, nobody could have imagined what a cultural – and motoring – icon that bike would turn out to be. A century on and a lot has changed since then, including the rise and fall and rise again of the Indian Motorcycle company. But today marks an important day, as Indian celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Chief with a complete revamp and three new models: the Chief, Chief Bobber, and the Super Chief.
There was a lot of racket in the cruiser/bagger world this year, and this thing could’ve gone several ways. But we like a little performance with our cruisers, and it was Triumph’s audacious Rocket 3 that blasted off to the win. The previous version was a hoot to ride, but the new one’s less like the world’s biggest-engined production motorcycle, and more like the world’s biggest Speed Triple. It likes to party. From the 2294 cubic centimeters of the original Rocket 3, to 2458 cc, now there are three 4.3-inch pistons producing a claimed 163 ft-lbs of torque and 167 horses at 6000 rpm. More to the point is the additional lightness; Triumph says the new Rocket’s 88 pounds lighter than the outgoing model, at just 642 pounds (claimed dry weight). It definitely looks way more svelte than the old bike; the new seamless gas tank doesn’t hurt in the looks department. Neither do the brushed alloy intake and hydroformed exhaust header balancing the left and right sides of that big engine, totally reminiscent of a Supermarine Spitfire.
After 21 years, Yamaha has announced the venerable YZF-R6 will be discontinued after the 2020 model year. This coming on the news today of the V Star 250, Bolt R-Spec, XSR700 and XSR900, Super Ténéré ES, FJR1300ES, Star Venture, and XMAX all continuing on for 2021 with what basically amounts to, as we say in the moto-journo biz – Bold New Graphics (BNG).
Once upon a time, many generations ago, motorcycle tires were in limited supply. You wanted them black, round, and capable of holding air. Well, the technology has changed to the point that there is no universal best motorcycle tire. Rather, the motorcycle tire industry developed the capability to create carcasses and tread compounds to handle very specific conditions. Hence, we have the fragmentation of the motorcycle tire market. Let’s take a look at the differing categories, but if you want to jump straight ahead to your type of motorcycle, click on the link at the top of each section.
Ducati has updated its XDiavel range to meet Euro 5, adding two new variants for 2021: XDiavel Dark and XDiavel Black Star (pictured above). The good news: the Euro 5 update adds 8 hp to the XDiavel’s claimed power figures. The bad news: only countries where the emission standard is in place will get the update, meaning countries like the U.S. will not see a performance increase.
Further bad news: the XDiavel Black Star will not be offered in North America.
In the previous century, the manufacturers didn’t want us to call their motorcycles “cruisers,” because they were afraid to be associated with the 1980 Al Pacino film “Cruising,” which was about a serial killer preying on gay men cruising for sex. Today, that plotline could be a selling point, who knows? Things change. Anyway, as you know, cruisers in the motorcycle idiom refers to laid-back American style bikes which tend to be ridden less aggressively than sportbikes, which sort of lessens the need for titanium toe sliders, calf pucks, and Crayon-box color schemes. In other words, these are the kind of boots plenty of normal motorcyclists on cruisers, touring bikes, sport-tourers and standards, don’t mind wearing every day, on the bike and off. We selected a few of the Best Cruiser Motorcycle Boots.
BMW has been teasing us for quite a while, and now that we have it in our hands, the 2021 BMW R18 truly is a thing of beauty. Rolling motorcycle art, if you will. Just walking around the bike slowly taking in the detail work that this embodiment of BMW’s past heritage wrapped in modern technology is a visual feast. From the exposed shaft drive to the polarizing fishtail exhaust to the chromed-out master cylinders of the First Edition trim to the modern headlight in a vintage shell, the R18 exudes quality. Starting the 1802cc oil/air-cooled boxer Twin sets the whole bike rocking side-to-side at the 950 rpm idle speed, pulsing like it’s alive.
Since May of last year, we’ve been anxiously awaiting the official reveal of the BMW R18. We’ve had hints from BMW. We’ve had spy photos. But we haven’t had anything for sure. Well, that time is at hand. Today, BMW officially unveiled the 2021BMW R18. What does it have other than the “Big Boxer” engine? Read on and find out.
Read enough motorcycle reviews and you’ll inevitably hear people like the MO staff talk about two things: Rake and Trail. It’s mentioned so much because rake and trail have a major role to play in the way your motorcycle handles, and the people who design these motorcycles are well aware of this when going from CAD drawing to real-life machine.
A touring version of the BMW R18 cruiser has been spotted by spy photographers, sporting a fork-mounted windscreen and leather saddlebags. A potential competitor to the Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic, this touring model joins the cruiser and fairing-mounted bagger versions we uncovered in design filings in late February.
While we continue to wait on the slow drip of official news on BMW‘s 1800cc cruisers, we’ve gotten our mitts on design filings for what appears to be the production models of the R18 in cruiser and bagger form. [UPDATE: BMW announced the R18 production model will be revealed on April 3. The announcement suggests just a single bike, a cruiser, will be revealed. No word on when we can expect the bagger version.]