If you’re of the opinion the Vanderhall Venice is not a motorcycle and shouldn’t be reviewed by a magazine with the URL Motorcycle.com, don’t read this story and spare us the snide remarks in the comments section. If, on the other hand, you’re open-minded and accepting of the fact the Vanderhall is a reverse trike with bucket seats and a steering wheel, and, by default, a motorcycle as far as the California DMV is concerned, keep reading. Feel free to then leave a comment, snide or otherwise. It’s like voting, if you don’t participate, you have no right to complain.
In an era in which adventure-styled motorcycles seem to be taking over the sport-touring class, the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS stands out as a great example of a traditional sport-tourer. Kawasaki has taken the heart of a sportbike and wrapped it with a package that can tackle almost any task a rider could want, from commuting to canyon scratching to touring to the occasional track day. Outfit it with the optional $1165 saddlebags, and you’ve got a mount that would be a great multi-state companion for less than $14,000.
As far as we here at MO are concerned, 2016 will be remembered as a particularly exceptional vintage for Aprilia. The RSV4 arrived with newfound power and claimed our 2016 Sportbike of the Year award, while the Tuono’s bump in displacement from 999cc to 1077cc was enough to usurp KTM’s Super Duke R, earning the Tuono 1100 the 2016 Streetfighter/Hooligan Win as well as Honorable Mention for Bike of the Year for 2016. Congratulations, Aprilia!
I know at least two people who are convinced the Kawasaki Versys 650 is the world’s greatest do-it-all motorcycle, including our own Sean Alexander. I would not attempt to convince them otherwise. The big Versys 1000 is pretty swell, too, and now Kawasaki completes the circle with this all-new Versys-X 300, packing a revised version of the excellent 296cc Ninja 300 parallel-Twin.
After a half-decade of sitting second chair to BMW’s S1000RR ( Honorable Mention 2010, and again in 2015) Aprilia’s RSV4 finally, deservedly, secured Motorcycle.com’s 2016 Sportbike of the year award. Subjectively, the RSV and its V-Four engine have been a staff favorite every year since its introduction, but where does one go after having ascended the throne? For the 2017 RSV4 RR and RF, the answer is improved electronics.
Head Cheese Duke may have gotten a chance to ride the new Suzuki GSX-R1000R at Phillip Island – which is probably tied at the top of every moto-journo’s bucket list of tracks to ride alongside the Mugello track in Italy – but as far as consolation prizes go, getting to ride at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, is pretty darn good. My steed? Ironically enough, the 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000. While my bike may be down one R to the one Kevin rode, to underestimate the single-R Gixxer would be a huge mistake. Let’s take a closer look to why.
One could take two approaches to understanding what BMW has done to the R nineT to give us the 2017 BMW R nineT Racer. The glass half-empty crowd will talk about the components that fell away to help keep the Racer’s price down. The glass half-full perspective would stress the cool new additions to the platform that resulted in the Racer.
EagleRider, a purveyor of motorcycle tours and rentals both here and abroad, is successful for good reason – because the cups of their customers runneth over with fun and adventure while riding motorcycles as well as when the bikes are stationary. A recent three-day jaunt with the tour company was but a taste of their longer escapades, and we left hungry for more. Aboard the motorcycles, we twisted our way over mountains and pounded out miles of straight, horizon-reaching desert vastness. When off the bikes we ate and drank with gluttonous zeal, gambled, got massaged, and when the riding continued, it included not just motorcycles but also a boat as well as a helicopter.
Honda currently offers two versions of the Africa Twin, one with a standard six-speed manual transmission and clutch, and the other with an innovative Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) that offers two auto-shift riding modes as well as a manual-shift mode. The DCT version retails for $13,999, or $700 more than the $13,299 standard Africa Twin.
The moto market is spoiled for lustful choices in the high-end arena, but creating a desirable motorcycle at a budget price is a more challenging achievement. The KTM 390 Duke has been entertaining us with its unequaled balance of style, performance and value since we first took the terrific little funster for a spin in 2015, and it rightfully earned its place as Best Entry-Level Motorcycle in our annual MOBO awards. For 2017, the little Duke gets even more desirable by offering greater comfort, higher technology and a bit more power.
Before you begin wondering if you’ve taken your medication this morning, let me preface this review of the new 2017 Honda Rebel 300 with the fact that it will share a lot of thoughts and observations with last week’s review of the Rebel 500 that was introduced simultaneously. These two bikes share everything in common, except for the sewing machine some little old lady left inside the chassis of the 300.
Indian continues to bring the battle to Milwaukee with a pair of new baggers: the 2017 Chieftain Elite and Chieftain Limited – baggers being such a big deal they’ve spawned their own magazines and websites, and why not? They’re a great balance of form and function, combining the ability to cruise the dirty boulevard in style, then hightail it out of town without having to leave all one’s worldly goods behind. We could call them “American Sport Tourers,” really.