I’m not sure if it’s my naturally rebellious nature, being a man who microwaves his food still in the tupperware and even known to occasionally fill water cups up with soda (that’s right, bitch), that got me the chance to head up to Venice Beach, California, for the launch of the new Honda Rebel 500, but I think it might be because the rest of the Motorcycle.com staff (except Troy) is in the tin-foil reusing, cabbage-scented stage of life.
It’s not often a reduction in engine displacement results in a superior motorcycle (bigger is better, right?), but that’s the case with KTM’s new 1090 Adventure R. Gone are the 1190 Adventure and Adventure R models and in their stead a new 1050cc R model that’s smaller in both bore and stroke (103mm/63mm vs. 105mm/69mm) equaling a 145cc reduction in displacement. Whatever the 1090 gives up in power production to the 1190 Adventure R it makes up for in lighter weight and better handling.
There I was standing in the middle of nowhere, watching my riding partner, certifiable Glamis Dunes freak Scott Shaffstall, have a blast while skiing one of our shiny Honda Africa Twins in some sand dunes in the middle of nowhere in Southern Nevada during AltRider’s 2017 Taste of Dakar adventure ride.
Hemlines and exhausts go up and down, radiators come and go, but the Monster hasn’t really ever gone out of fashion since it hit the runway, dang, has it really been 23 years ago? 1994 brought us Miguel Galluzzi’s original naked bike, and there’s been a veritable plethora of Monsters over the years ever since. Also Monsterinos, as Ducati likes to call the smaller-displacement ones.
Harley’s new Street Rod was our excuse to go to Daytona last week, but while we were there we got to ride The MoCo’s new Road King Special too. Okay, so, yeah, the Street Rod was a bit underwhelming, but it would be fun to sit all the commenters heaping abuse upon H-D for that bike on one of its FLs for about a 10-minute ride. I think it would shut most of them right up. Well, actually it probably wouldn’t. I think we’ve all learned how hard it is to unseat deep-rooted preconceptions lately.
For all those traditionalists/purists who bemoan modern motorcycle electronics (TC, ride modes, electronic suspension, etc.), Kawasaki has a bike for you. The 2017 Kawasaki Z900 in this review is lighter and more agile than either the Z800 or Z1000, is more powerful than the Z800, costs way less than the Z1000, and is devoid of electronics save its gear-position indicator.
A full fairing with supersport styling provides a sharp look that’s unmistakably CBR, along with aerodynamic lines that slice cleanly through the air while helping to shield the rider from the worst of the elements. A sporty riding position places the rider in a comfortable, dynamic seating stance that’s ideal for mastering curves without being overly cramped when it’s time to commute across town or out on a weekend journey.
First introduced by Indian in 2015, the Roadmaster built on the Chieftain platform, adding additional touring and luxury features. Now, the company is releasing a Roadmaster variant, the 2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic. If the Roadmaster was a Chieftain with a trunk, the Classic is a Roadmaster for fans of leather.
In 2015 I wrote a column about how Sportbikes Are Terrible. In short, I felt (and still do) that production sportbikes have become so focused on the racetrack that riding them on the street anywhere other than a curvy road is borderline torture. Take either of the Ducati Panigale variants, for example. Rolling works of art, on a track they are some of the most fun you can have on two wheels. But would I want to ride one a few hours to the track, do a trackday, then ride home?
A week ago Evans Brasfield and I scratched an item from our respective bucket lists when we finished an Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000. Satisfied with our accomplishment (which Evans will be documenting in a soon to be published memoir on MO), curiosity of other motorcycle endurance records had me searching the internet. What I found was a variety of increasingly peculiar endurance records comprising this week’s Top 10.
The fact that most of MO’s editors are quite fond of Yamaha’s FZ-09 is fairly common knowledge. Our readers liked the FZ-09 enough to vote it Reader’s Choice Best Value Bike Of 2015. So, why is it that, up until now, the primary emotion I felt after riding the FZ-09 was disappointment? Frankly, I felt it never lived up to its potential. Two of its strongest attributes – the versatile engine and the responsive chassis – were hamstrung by a slight deficiency in Yamaha’s typically good R&D finish. Well, that was then.