Almost exactly 14 months ago Yamaha jetted Motorcycle Courier Editor, Troy Siahaan, to San Francisco to sample the 2014 FZ-09, and he came back impressed. Just a little over two months later, MO gathered together four Triples to see how the new kid stacked up against the rest of the three-cylinder class. The results were quite favorable with the FZ-09 finishing second overall and being the editors’ choice if cost were the deciding factor. If it hadn’t been for its little sister, the FZ-07, claiming the Best Value Bike Of 2014, the FZ-09 would have been in a hard-fought battle for the number-one position in that category. That’s how much we love the FZ-09.
Standing in “The Land of Joy,” a makeshift beach party Ducati set up inside the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, California, to serve as its central command post for the 2015 Scrambler launch (the first time a new Ducati model has been introduced Stateside), it was quickly apparent this wouldn’t be like any prior Ducati launch.
Last but not least in BMW’s new line of liquid-cooled Boxers (and not even quite last since the RS variant will be here next year), is the lovely new thoroughly redesigned R1200R you see here. Where the GS and GS Adventure want you to dig out your Boy Scout neckerchief and head off into the boonies, and the RT wants you to abandon your life and make them all three-day weekends, the basic R is the bike for all reasons: This one’s designed to be great everyday urban transport but comfortable and capable enough for long distances with a passenger and luggage as well, and a reasonable dirt road wouldn’t be a problem either. It’s your basic Roadster, the most direct descendant of the first Boxer BMW built nigh-on 100 years ago.
In terms of gearhead appeal, the passion of Italy’s high-performance enterprises and plethora of world-class racetracks are impossible to beat. So, when Yamaha was deciding to set up its European headquarters for its racing operations, it chose Gerno di Lesmo, a stone’s throw from the historic Monza circuit not far from Milan.
Technically, and by that I mean according to the way in which the vehicles here are registered through the DMV (except Texas, but more on that later), each of these three-wheelers qualifies as a motorcycle. In California, at least, a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license to legally operate them is not required, and the two with seatbelts eschew the state’s helmet law. Still, without a more explicit category available and the law being what it is, “motorcycle” becomes the default label for this trio.
Your eyes aren’t fooling you. Yes, this is Motorcycle.com and, yes, the thing you’re looking at has three wheels, a steering wheel, bucket seats, seat belts and three pedals on the floor. It’s called, simply, the Morgan 3 Wheeler, and because it’s missing a fourth wheel, the Department of Motor Vehicles classifies it as a motorcycle (yes, even in Texas). And so, since we are Motorcycle.com afterall, it’s our duty to give the 3 Wheeler a whirl.
Well it looks like I drew the short straw again. Most of the other MOites have young kids and/or needful spouses which all provide convenient excuses, so I was the guy who’d have to ride the BMW R1200RT (MO’s Sport-Tourer of 2014) up to Healdsburg, an hour north of San Francisco, for a chamber of commerce-sponsored junket where I’d have to spend several days riding around sampling the area’s finest wines and haute cuisine with a bunch of foodies and wine snobs. Why me, Lord?
Behold the 50 days of Christmas! Five lists comprised of 10 gifts per, we’ve provided you with a selection of moto-specific gifts to fit every level of expenditure for all kinds of riders. Or, maybe they’re not gifts for others but ideas of what to buy for yourself with all those X-mas greenbacks you’re about to receive in a month’s time. Whatever the case, there’s a lot to look through here, but if that’s not enough, maybe check out some gift guides from Christmases past: 2013 Holiday Gift Guide, 2012 Holiday Gift Guide.
Most people who fantasize about traveling the globe on a motorcycle think of the adventure they will encounter and the people they will meet. Anna Grechishkina started from those thoughts and carried them to include charitable works and inspiring others to pursue their dreams. For the past 15 months, Anna has ridden her KTM Adventure 1190 halfway around the globe from her Ukrainian home, spreading a simple message: Follow your dreams and good things will happen.
However you look at it, 2015 is destined to be an exciting year for motorcyclists. Seemingly every manufacturer is coming out with new models next year – a sure sign the moto industry is recovering nicely from the doom and gloom of the economic downturn. It seems to me, though, that certain bikes have been hogging the limelight. I’m talking Yamaha R1, Ducati Scrambler, and of course, the Kawasaki Ninja H2 and H2R, just to name a few. While I’m not saying those bikes don’t deserve their moment in the sun, the 2015 model year is filled with machines deserving of more attention, all of which I’m genuinely looking forward to riding. So in this week’s Top 10, I give you my list of 10 underhyped bikes of 2015.
There’s a lot to be excited about in 2015. Germany’s Intermot motorcycle show was first to burst forth new or significantly revised models, about 20 of ‘em. Next up, we attended the second year of the AIMExpo in Orlando, Florida, where we saw five new or revised bikes plus several of the ones shown at Intermot.
If you’re like us, then you must be salivating over the 2015 literbike prospects. With no less than eight new bleeding-edge sportbikes on the table from both European and Japanese marques, the bar is being raised in the quest for track domination or, in the case of the Kawasaki H2 and H2R, simply having the rider experience intense acceleration like they’ve never felt before. However, there’s an interesting trend in the method in which each manufacturer is going about upping the literbike ante. More and more, a greater emphasis is placed on technology and electronics rather than hardware. Sure, hardware isn’t being ignored, but with today’s bikes making so much power, being able to harness it effectively is of utmost importance.
Well, ahh, basically we were just looking for an excuse to tool around on H-D’s swell new FSXB Breakout for a while, and decided to bring one of our favorite cruisers, the Victory Gunner, along for the ride to see how things stack up between these American cruisers. In the powertrain departments, at least, both big V-Twins are representative of their makers’ current offerings.
Rules are rules when it comes to racing, but Yamaha’s new YZF-R1 – the star of EICMA 2014 for some of us – doesn’t have to follow any of them. Things get coy when you ask how much horsepower a factory Superbike makes, and Yamaha USA doesn’t even care to divulge horsepower numbers for an off-the-shelf R1. Its European counterparts, though, make no bones about it: 200 PS, they say, which is about 197 crankshaft horsepower in a 439-pound package that looks a lot like the one Vale rides.