The history of motorcycle engines powering other vehicles goes back a long way. Look at the original Morgan 3 Wheeler, for example. Almost a century ago, J.A.P. bike engines were plunked onto the front of a strange piece of machinery with two wheels in front and one in the back. It proved to be popular and a rather high-performing vehicle in its time. For this Top 10 list we take a look at other applications for motorcycle engines. As you can imagine with a list like this, there are a wide variety of vehicles. Some are production cars, while others are one-offs or boutique items. And yes, even though this is Motorcycle.com, I want to get behind the wheel of every single one of these! So, if you’re a rep from one of the below companies (or are simply a kind soul who owns one), give me a jingle and let’s make it happen!
In the build-up to our nation’s observance of Martin Luther King Jr., it became apparent that I’d heard nothing more than audio highlights of the Dr.’s speeches. For shame, to never have listened to an alocution in its entirety from one of last century’s greatest orators. Youtube easily rectifies the oversight, and I urge anyone who’s also lacking the experience to listen/watch. His famous “I Have a Dream” speech lasts only 16 minutes.
It’s Sunday, January 11, and I’m killing time browsing through my social media feeds. For as much grief as social media gets for destroying a person’s ability to be productive, sometimes there are occasions where scrolling through your feed is actually beneficial. This is one of those times.
People occasionally drop me a note or friend me up on Facebook and say, “Hey! I used to love your ‘Bitter Little Man’ column when you were at Motorcyclist.” I always love fan mail, everybody loves a little pat on the back. But hey, that was a long time ago … and I’ve been cranking out new pearls of wisdom every three weeks here on MO for a year now. Hey, Lama, how about a little something, you know, for the effort?
Riding across America is the dream of many motorcyclists. The notion of traversing the U.S.A. on two wheels has a certain romantic aspect; 4000 miles unspooling before you like reels of an old, epic film. A lone rider and his/her machine, dusty and stoic, sharing tales of the road with strangers at every stop but never lingering in one place for more than a meal or a night’s sleep.
Something unusual happened awhile back. My boss contacted me and wanted me to take a look at copy for an upcoming column coming out, a column written by John Burns. I have a great deal of respect for Mssr. Burns. The body of work John has produced over the length of his career speaks for itself, so what could I possibly add to anything John had to say? But okay, El Jefe wants me to look at something, sure, send it my way.
For no particular reason, my personal moto-wardrobe has been devoid of a new Shoei helmet for quite some time. Evans gave the new-last-year RF-1200 a fair, if not glowing, review, so when the RF’s 2015 color schemes were released, I put in an order for a Terminus TC-9 model. I wore it for the first time on my way to San Diego for Shoei’s presentation of its new adventure-touring lid, the Hornet X2. When it rains it pours.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding the 2015 model year. With so many new models coming from almost every manufacturer, it’s hard not to be excited. And of all those new models slated to arrive within the coming months, this week’s Top 10 lists the ones your MO crew are most anxious to ride.
As I chased my little compadre Tom Roderick once again into the breech, up California’s astounding S-22, at a speed probably quite a bit above the limit, him on a brand-spanking BMW and me on a 126-horsepower KTM Adventure, I had the thought again that often pops into my head when we’re out riding, especially on this road which I have decided is my favorite: Why doesn’t somebody take this thing away from me? (It’s what James Thurber’s mom said, waggling a revolver, in his short story The Night the Bed Fell.) Everything else that feels half as crazy and exhilarating as riding a fast motorcycle up and down this cliffhanger of a mountain road is not just illegal, it’s impossible. For the average stiff, anyway. The only other things that could approach the adrenaline level this place induces might be if you were one of those guys who owns a Mig or your own racetrack or distillery or high-end women’s shoe store.
The category-straddling Kawasaki Versys 650 enters its third iteration and first major update of Kawasaki’s VERsatile SYStem. In 2015, the sporty yet friendly Versys 650 arrives in two forms, both of which feature a new, chiseled appearance that is much more handsome than previous versions. Its new nose also includes a larger windshield that is tool-lessly adjustable, and revised footpeg locations supply additional legroom. The LT version adds hardshell saddlebags and hand guards that expand its sport-touring capabilities.
With a combined 85 years of writing about motorcycles and being immersed in the moto industry, the MO staff doesn’t impress easily. And yet, when looking back at the year just passed, we’re spoiled for choices to select from our favorite rides, experiences and events of 2014.
It might be easy to dismissively refer to the all-new 2015 Yamaha YZ250FX as a YZ250F with a six-speed transmission or a WR250F without lights. Based on the FX’s technical merits, both statements could be considered mostly true, but neither would remotely do justice to Yamaha’s all-new quarter-liter off-road racer.
First introduced to the U.S. in 2008 as a non-California compliant 49-state model, Kawasaki’s Versys 650 immediately earned praise from journalists, experienced riders, and commuters who could appreciate its practical blending of a nimble sporting motorcycle – and – a truly comfortable chassis. Motorcycle.com’s loudest complaint about the original Versys was merely that it wasn’t legal in California, and even that fact couldn’t stop it from earning 2008 Motorcycle of the Year honors from one of the largest U.S. print mags.
There’s an even more pragmatic MV Agusta coming in the Turismo Veloce, and I’ve a feeling we’ll be seeing more versatile models from MV in the future. But for now, the Stradale 800 is the most comfortable, user-friendly motorcycle in the MV range. Who would have thought the bespoke maker of sporting motorcycles would launch a quasi sport-touring bike with bags and a small windscreen?