For generations, the image of bikers in black leather jackets and blue jeans has been a (somewhat accurate) stereotype of motorcycle fashion. Riders and non-riders alike donned this gear to portray this lone individualist image. In fact, the riding gear I wore during my first, formative motorcycle trip as a newly-minted rider was a black leather jacket and blue jeans. And for a long time, this plus boots, gloves, and a helmet were state-of-the-art for rider protection. However, technology has transformed motorcycling in more ways than just adding computers to bikes. Over the past five years or so, we’ve seen an entirely new market of riding apparel move from obscure to relatively commonplace. Riding jeans have moved from merely being denim jeans with a layer of abrasive-resistant material as an under layer to fully technical motorcycle gear with certified armor and a variety of styles and materials.
As we motored slaunchways across Utah, the late daylight stretched our shadows and cast golden hues against the tall canyon walls, further accentuating the contrast between the rust colored ancient seabeds peppered with lush green juniper and muted sage. The lavender sky over Bryce faded as we continued westward on Hwy 12. Refusing to pack a second visor for my Shoei Hornet X2, I lifted the dark smoke shield as I led our crew into the dark dense forest, keeping my line of sight just above the Ténéré’s windscreen in an attempt to protect my peepers from the onslaught of kamikaze insects. In a further showing of stubbornity, I refused to roll back off the throttle while the only bit of light left – aside from what the Ténéré’s quite ample quad headlight offered – was a thick crimson band at the horizon, the bottom punctured by spire-like tree tops.
Remember the day you took your first long ride on your very first motorcycle? The weather was TV-commercial sunny as you rolled down the two-lane highway away from home. The wind flowing past your body was filled with excitement as the engine sang beneath your seat. You had the world by the handlebars, and you knew this was the beginning of Great Things, that many Good Times were about to be had – all because you had chosen to take your first steps towards becoming a motorcyclist. For many of us, it was this moment that set the hook, leading to a lifetime of motorcycling, and was less a decision and more of a calling than just about any experience before it. At least that’s how it was for me, and this is the memory I had during the first hour riding the 2021 Moto Guzzi V7.
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).
The Aprilia Tuono 660 is a bike that I’ve been eager to ride since I first laid eyes on the pretty production-ready looking concept at EICMA 2019. Even through what was left of my tired red occhi, dried from so many hours of planes, trains, and automobiles (what I would give for that now!), I was digging the “naked” version of the RS660 more than the sportybike itself.
Every year, we are faced with the task of choosing Motorcycle.com’s Motorcycle of the Year (MOTY), and typically, the debate is heated – and lengthy. This year, we reached agreement remarkably quickly – a rarity with any decision made by this crew of misfits. As we say each year, however, the MOTY is not about choosing the best motorcycle of 2020. While the choice needs to be one of the best by winning one of our MO Best Of categories (MOBO), the bike needs to be something more; it needs to say something about or do something for motorcycling. Looking back at the last five years, you’ll see that we’ve spread the MO love around, choosing an adventure bike, a sportbike, a sport-touring bike, an entire motorcycle platform, and a cruiser. Each choice has been an exemplary motorcycle, but each has expanded the way we think about motorcycling. The KTM 890 Duke R, MO’s Motorcycle of the Year 2020, is a great example of this characteristic.
Motorcycle.com’s Best Of (MOBO) award season is finally here! In a typical year, this would have happened a while ago, just before the motorcycle show season began, and now, we’d be in the thick of the new model introduction season, delivering you our first impressions of the new motorcycles scheduled for release in 2021. However, we don’t have to tell you that 2020 is an unusual year. In response to the unique nature of this model year, we decided to push back our MOBO celebration to fill part of the gap left by the lack of new model introductions. Now, just in time for the end of the calendar year, we’re going to wrap up the 2020 riding season in the best way possible – before diving headlong into the 2021 season.
A couple of weeks ago, Harley-Davidson provided an update on its Rewire strategy, including a commitment to releasing the Pan America 1250 adventure tourer in 2021. Harley-Davidson did not, however, provide the same vote of confidence to the Harley-Davidson Bronx, leaving the fate of the streetfighter unclear.
Okay, the days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are staying lower. Perhaps even the leaves have started to turn in your neighborhood. That’s great news! Why? Because the Model Year 2019 show season is kicking off today in Cologne, Germany, at the bi-annual Intermot convention. That’s right, in even-numbered years, we don’t have to wait until the EICMA show in November to begin seeing what all the international motorcycle manufacturers have up their collective sleeves. While your actual riding season may be drawing to a close, we hope to keep you daydreaming about motorcycles with a list of new temptations.
AIMExpo offered us some tasty hors d’oeuvres and last month’s Tokyo Show further whetted our appetites with new motorcycles from the Japanese manufacturers, but the main course is now upon us. That’s right, it’s time for the 2017 EICMA Show the largest motorcycle show on earth, where manufacturers from around the world gather in Milan, Italy, to reveal their most exciting new models.
With August just around the corner, we’re cutting to the apex as we prepare to launch our annual selections for what are the best in motorcycling. MO’s Best Of awards, or MOBOs, begin unveiling the first of August, which is typically the closest the moto industry gets to a bit of a lull period in new motorcycle product launches.
For those who’ve lapped up every word, expression, and metaphor of the performance novel that was our 2017 Superbike Track Shootout and Superbike Street Shootout, the heir apparent is as obvious as the bike coming in last place. For those still wallowing in anticipation, unable to decipher our MOrse code, you can take a breath because, without further ado, we give you…
A few days riding seven of the most powerful sportbikes available on public roadways without incurring a single speeding ticket is next to miraculous. Johnny Law, wildlife, tourists, and sharing hotel rooms with one another are only a few of the occupational hazards we navigated when conducting our 2017 Superbike Street Shootout. The street-centric comparison may be representative of the actual lives most of these motorcycles will lead in the real world, but for us it’s a necessary precursor to where we prefer to be and where these bikes should actually be ridden: the racetrack.
It’s been two years since we summoned together the superpowers of the sportbike world. In that time the Aprilia RSV4 RR, Honda CBR1000RR, Kawasaki ZX-10R, and Suzuki GSX-R1000 have either been heavily revised or completely overhauled. These changes beg a reinspection into the pecking order of world’s premier street-legal superbikes. Can Japan wrest away the literbike crown from the European OEMs, Aprilia and BMW, that have dominated the class since 2010?