The last time Triumph conducted a major revamp of its Street Triple family was 2013. At that press launch Triumph didn’t feel it necessary to include any track time because even the uptown R model remained predominantly a street bike. Four years on and Triumph has reshuffled the Street Triple deck and expanded the portfolio to three models (S, R, RS), each with a specific focus including the new performance leader RS model we just finished testing in Spain. While still largely a street bike, the RS features enough go-fast performance Triumph felt compelled to showcase the bike’s wherewithal around one of the most famous Spanish racetracks, Catalunya.
A few MO commenters are always encouraging me to keep my politics to myself, which I do as much as I can because I understand people want to read about motorcycles and look at pretty pics when they come here to get away from it all. The problem for me is that if you’re paying attention to your life, including motorcycles, politics can’t be avoided any more than you can just ignore the family of bears who just decided to share your campsite. Politics affects my bottom line.
What’s up with Hyosung? The Korean bike builder just seems to do things its own way. If there’s a marketing department, it’s a secretive one that’s careful not to divulge sensitive information. When there’s a new model, it sort of just arrives… the new GD250R did make an appearance at last November’s EICMA show, but we must’ve overlooked it? Is this thing from North or South Korea? Is it a threat to national security? And what is GD acronyming anyway? Grand Douring?
Hey, if Brasfield can get away with it, why can’t I? In the good old days, a big-time professional such as myself would be accompanied by an also professional photographer, but that’s so 2010. Luckily, thanks to the geniuses at Canon, anybody who can push a button can now get decent results. Here are my favorites from the last few years. (In case you don’t already know, clicking on MO photos makes them not just bigger but usually also sharper. No one knows why…)
As you probably know, taking pictures on motorcycles is part of the job as a moto-journalist. Being the narcissistic type we are, we moto-reviewers typically like getting photos of ourselves on motorcycles as it’s our time to ham it up for the camera – pulling wheelies, dragging a knee, smoky burnouts, whatever the situation may present. The best time for photos, however, is a small window roughly 60 minutes before sunset (or roughly 60 minutes after sunrise if you’re an early bird), often called the “Golden Hour.”
Honda CRF450R Vs. Husqvarna FC450 Vs. Kawasaki KX450F Vs. KTM 450 SX-F Vs. Suzuki RM-Z450 Vs. Yamaha YZ450F
The race to deliver the best 450cc motocross bike on the planet grabbed another gear in 2017 when Honda released its all-new 2017 CRF450R to challenge the recent dominance of Yamaha’s YZ450F and the never-ending onslaught from the aggressive European companies, namely the KTM 450 SX-F and its fully revived sister, the Husqvarna FC 450.
Ah, the legendary Phillip Island circuit, the scene of many epic battles among two-wheel gladiators like Gardner, Rainey, Schwantz, Corser, Stoner, Rossi and Iannone, which has long been on my bucket list of racetracks to ride before I die. With significant elevation changes along 2.76 miles of twisting tarmac on the shores of the Indian Ocean and an average GP speed of more than 110 mph, it would be a challenge to learn on any bike, let alone on Suzuki’s most powerful literbike ever.
Ask most motorcyclists about what role Bosch plays in our sport, and they’ll tell you that Bosch produces ABS technology and has been part of the recent trend towards expanding the technology into safety features like cornering ABS. All of this is true, but Bosch has its hands in so many areas of motorcycle technology that it would be hard to find one that the company is not currently developing. Last year, Bosch invited Kevin Duke and Tom Roderick to learn about how Bosch sees the future of technology-based motorcycle safety strategies and to sample cornering ABS in a controlled environment. Now, more than six months later we had an opportunity to sit down with Geoff Liersch, Head of the Bosch Two-Wheeler and Powersports business unit, to discuss what to expect from Bosch in the next few years.
With my three year anniversary as a card-carrying MOron rapidly approaching, I’ve been thinking over my time working at Motorcycle.com. As the staff photographer, I get to spend a little more time out of the office than my coworkers because I’m usually charged with shooting the bike tests – not just those that I’m writing. This translates into more saddle time for me – not a bad deal for someone who has chosen to devote the bulk of his adult life (if you can call it that) to motorcycling.
Up until now Kawasaki’s Ninja 650 has been recognized as a genteel gateway drug to the company’s true supersport model, the ZX-6R. For 2017 Kawasaki has further distilled more performance from the beginner-ish Ninja while maintaining the bike’s streetable mannerisms. In other words, the 2017 Ninja 650 is a more potent sportbike capable of shredding a twisty canyon road or closed course race track on the weekends, while performing commuter duty during the weekdays.
Cresting the top of the steep incline leading onto Portimao’s main straight, I’m committed to keeping the throttle on the new 2017 Honda CBR1000RR to the stop. With fifth gear clicked, the front wheel starts to reach for the sky. Unfazed, the throttle stays pinned, ready for the wheel to eventually come back to earth. The wait feels like forever, and my view is increasingly filled with sky instead of tarmac. I can’t wait for the Honda’s wheelie control any longer, so a click to sixth gently brings the front Bridgestone back to the ground. The Fireblade flexes its muscles, tickling 180 mph down the straight. Then it’s time to scrub speed down the hill before hitting the dip signaling the apex of turn 1. The short chute to reach turn 2 is quickly gobbled up before a moderate amount of brakes are applied to navigate through the hairpin. From there, it’s another flick to the left, and we’re driving uphill towards the crest of turn 3, knee on the ground, rear tire spinning ever so slightly.
Last year it was the all-new Street Twin and it was good. Last Friday it was the all-new Street Scrambler, and it too was good if that’s your bag, man. Now it’s the also all-new Street Cup, which also builds on that same Street Twin platform with 900cc High Torque parallel-Twin to create a road-racier version, tested this week at its launch in Spain.
How many new Triumph Bonnevilles are we up to now anyway? The Street Twin came first, just about a year ago. We liked the sweet little runabout instantly, and it proceeded to come out on top of every comparison test we threw at it, usually by quite a lot. Wait, Maybe it was only this one:
Last week came the announcement that Victory Motorcycles was being shut down, but Victory’s death knell actually tolled in early 2011 following the announcement Polaris Industries had acquired Indian. All the good will in the world to keep Victory afloat is no match for bottom-line data, and in just a few short years the Indian brand has eclipsed Victory in growth, profit potential, consumer popularity, and overall coolness.