This week’s Church feature brings you a review of the 2004 Yamaha RoadStar. More than that, however, this week’s Church feature brings you an example of Eric Bass truly soaking up a motorcycle press intro, complete with photos of the hotel room, EB making a duck face for the camera, posing in a bathrobe, talking to Brad Banister in said bathrobe, and lastly, sunbathing on top of the RoadStar. Oh, and there’s a motorcycle review in there somewhere, too. For more pics of E-Bass, be sure to check out the photo gallery. Enjoy!
Some may wonder why we’d bother to test a new motorcycle model that basically only includes stylistic changes from the one we tested previously. In the case of the 2016 Indian Chieftain Dark Horse, we last tested a Chieftain in November 2013 and felt enough time had passed that we needed to throw a leg over this Indian to remind ourselves what a great bike it is. Also, there was a battleship tour, in the form of the USS Iowa, involved as well as a chance to get out of the office for a ride.
As part of my job, I wear tons of motorcycle boots both on bikes and walking around at events or on daylong photo shoots. These Rev’It Regent H2O are the first boots in my 20 years of testing gear that have made the transition to becoming part of my everyday streetwear – boots that I choose to put on even when I’m not planning on riding.
We’ve traveled down this path before when we asked what types of bikes our readers have owned. What we learned there, frankly, didn’t surprise us too much. You’ve owned a bunch of different motorcycles. That makes you a lot like us. We like motorcycles – all motorcycles. As an industry friend once said about our profession, “All motorcycles good; we investigate.”
We’ve been following the creation of the Victory version of a bike with the Indian Scout engine with great interest. Well, it’s arrived in the form of the 2017 Victory Octane and not without a little controversy from our readers. Whether or not the Octane is the motorcycle you wanted Victory to build with its engine, we think the Octane is a very good motorcycle.
Harley-Davidson doesn’t ask for much, says U.S. PR Manager Jen Hoyer, only to: “1. Lead in every market. 2. Grow the sport of motorcycling in the U.S., in part by growing the number of core customers and growing U.S. outreach at a faster rate. 3. Grow U.S. retail sales and grow international retail sales at a faster rate. 4. Grow revenue and grow earnings at a faster rate through 2020. 5. Outperform the S&P 500.”
When we posted our article about Victory’s unveiling of the 2017 Octane, the vitriol in the comments section was surprising even by internet standards. Of the 50 comments posted as of the writing of this review, roughly 30 were negative, many saying that the commenter felt mislead by Victory’s references to the Project 156 Pikes Peak racer as an inspiration during the Octane’s development. Perhaps this is an example of people hearing what they deeply wish for instead of what was actually being said.
Cruiser riders can be pretty particular about what they want. Why would cruiser aficionados who have a bit of wanderlust be any different? Indian was aware of this before they even released their first models. Those who are more classically inclined go for the Indian Chief Vintage. The riders for whom maximum mileage is the primary concern can opt for the Chieftain or the Roadmaster. What about the riders who want the classic windshield and hard bags? Until now, they haven’t had any option. The release of the 2016 Indian Springfield changes all that.
The different takes on cruiserdom was in full effect in the early 2000s, with the custom chopper scene getting most of the attention. However, the muscle cruiser crowd was also well represented with seemingly every cruiser manufacturer getting on board the bandwagon, stuffing big V-Twins into whatever they could. Honda’s big Twin was a 1,795cc, liquid-cooled stump puller first found in the VTX 1800 for model year 2000. Five years later we had this, the Honda VTX1800F. Same 1800cc V-Twin, this time wrapped in more muscular gym clothes capped with tribal graphics. You know, to really intimidate those other posers at the coffee shop. Despite its brawny appearance, however, the VTX1800F was actually a softy at heart. Sort of. As Gabe Ets-Hokin describes in his review below, it does all the things you expect from a big cruiser, but it definitely isn’t for the novice rider. For more pics of the 2005 Honda VTX1800F, be sure to click on the photo gallery.
The spinning steel drum does not lie: Ducati claims 156 horsepower at 9500 rpm for the XDiavel’s new 1262cc DVT (Desmo Variable Timing) L-Twin, and the MotoGP Werks Dynojet bears that out. The old rule of thumb is that rear-wheel hp (what the dyno measures) is generally about 10% less than crankshaft hp (what the manufacturers claim) on a chain-driven bike, and if that still applies then the Ducati is actually a few horses ahead of the game. Compared to the old Diavel, which never felt anything like slow, you’re looking at 10% more horsepower and 9% more torque.
Kymco may be best known for its scooter lineup, but the Taiwanese company has had a small displacement motorcycles come and go from its model choices through the years. One example is this, the 2005 Kymco Venox, as reviewed by former staffer and current MO columnist, Gabe Ets-Hokin. In a beginner motorcycle field littered with sporty bikes, cruisers for the newbie set were hard to come by. Honda’s Rebel, Yamaha’s Virago 250 and Suzuki’s GZ250 were your main options. Then there was Venox. Unlike the Japanese bikes, the Taiwanese beginner cruiser was a better fit for larger riders, or those simply desiring a motorcycle with a bit more heft. As for its actual riding dynamics, here’s Gabe to fill you in. As always, for more pics of the Venox, be sure to visit the photo gallery.
Today, Black Brand launched its line of motorcycle gear aimed squarely at the V-Twin/Cruiser market, and you might be wondering why you should care. Well, when developing the line the folks behind Black Brand did their due diligence and found what they think is a huge hole in the cruiser gear market. Anyone on the cruiser scene is aware of the 800-pound gorilla of the V-Twin world, and the Harley team does a pretty good job of dominating its corner of the market with well-made clothing with its name emblazoned all over it.
What do the Diavel and the XDiavel have in common? According to Ducati, aside from six letters in their names, only brake calipers and tires. So, despite the similarities of the names – and even in profile – Ducati calls the 2016 XDiavel the company’s first true cruiser. Don’t think of this as a boardroom construction meant to fill in a particular check mark on a manufacturer’s list of necessary products. As Claudio Domenicali, the Ducati Motor Holding SpA Chief Executive Officer, said just this morning over breakfast, Ducati doesn’t focus-group its bikes to death. Instead, the company builds the bikes it wants, the bikes that scratch a creative itch, and lets the chips fall where they may.
In 2009, when it came to burning away mile after mile in long-distance, big displacement touring comfort, certain motorcycles came to mind. Motorcycles like the Honda Gold Wing and Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic were obvious choices, but another motorcycle deserving inclusion in the conversation was the 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager/Nomad, the topic of this week’s Church of MO feature. Here, MO’s Editor-in-Chief Kevin Duke takes one for a spin, wherein he discovers you really can take this Kawasaki from coast to coast in absolute comfort. The fact it is still in Kawasaki’s product lineup, seven years on, speaks to its capabilities. Read on to get Kevin’s complete thoughts on the bike, and to see more pictures of the Vulcan 1700 Voyager, be sure to check out the photo gallery.