I really like these things. Riding a Zero FX along a babbling brook and over some granite outcroppings a few years ago while hearing the water gurgle and the birds chirp was a come-to-Jesus moment that showed me the potential of silent running and instant torque. But I haven’t spent any time on electric bikes since that one.
Well, we’ve joked about Harley-Davidson’s upcoming Milwaukee-Eight engine. We’ve prognosticated from EPA documents about what the Milwaukee-Eight would be. However, until now, we haven’t had the straight scoop about the ninth generation of the Motor Company’s Big Twin engines. After submitting ourselves to a variety of invasive tests, signing our lives away to gain entry into the Harley Media Department’s “circle of trust,” and waiting for the appointed hour to arrive, we can now tell you exactly what H-D has up its cylinder sleeves. However, the biggest news isn’t the part hidden in the sleeves at all.
The SCR950 is the second Yamaha press intro this year offering a re-stylized version of an existing model – the first one being the XSR900 launched a few months ago and reviewed here. With the XSR Yamaha took the laudable FZ-09, dressed it in vintage ’70s attire, and upgraded the bike’s performance with better suspension and some (ironically) modern electronics. For the SCR, Yamaha took the popular Bolt model, stirred in some select features from the C-Spec, added a seamless tank, reimagined it as a Scrambler, and, voila, another très chic neo-retro from circa 1977.
Nicky Hayden is a busy guy. As if the rigors of competing full-time in World Superbike on board a Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR wasn’t enough, the less glamorous portion of his job includes all his sponsor obligations and chatting with media hacks like Yours Truly. But there’s a reason why The Kentucky Kid is such a well-loved figure in racing paddocks worldwide – he always gives whatever time he has to those secondary obligations, and he does it with a smile. Motojournalists like the guy because he’ll always give you honest answers to the best of his ability and not canned one-liners other racers sometimes snort out reluctantly, as if talking to the media is beneath them.
Anyone who has attended a large-scale rally will tell you that there is a certain point, after the front wheel has turned for home, that a feeling of emptiness can set in, a sensation, as the events of the past few days pass out of sight in your mirrors, that can call into question your very reason for being. OK, not really, but I’ve spent hours reminiscing about a rally as the miles rolled by underneath me on my way home. So, grab your gear and take a virtual ride home with me.
Triumph’s efforts at reinventing the Bonneville platform (which includes the Street Twin and Thruxton along with the T120 Bonneville) deserve huge kudos. It’s one thing to create a terrific new motorcycle that meets contemporary emissions and performance standards, but it’s another to do so while making the bikes look almost like they stepped out of a showroom from 50 years ago. They appear more authentically retro than the previous air-cooled generation, which is a massive accomplishment for bikes with contemporary liquid-cooled motors.
KTM‘s new MotoGP race bike made its public debut ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. We’ve previously seen the KTM RC16 undergoing testing last October, but this is the first time we’d seen the V-4 prototype in full colored livery and, as KTM is fond of saying, just about “Ready to Race.” KTM has four more tests lined up before it plans to enter the RC16 at the Nov. 13 season-ending race at Valencia, Spain.
Way back in 2013, Moto Guzzi said that the revamped California 1400 was the platform for a line of models, and we watched it grow from the initial pair of the California 1400 Custom and the hard-bagged California 1400 Touring to include in the 2016 model year the Audace and the El Dorado – though both fail to mention their California roots in their names. Into this family, Moto Guzzi lands the formidable MGX-21 Flying Fortress.
This past weekend, more than 81,000 Ducatisti congregated at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for World Ducati Week. While most of the event was a big red love-in, perhaps the biggest news to come from the weekend was the announcement of the limited edition 1299 Panigale S Anniversario and a special sneak peak at a brand new Ducati SuperSport model.
Pitting the ultimate expression of soccer mom adventurism in the form of Honda’s VFR1200X against the top tier off-roader in Triumph’s ever-increasing line of Explorer models is audacious, if not a little bit irrational. But ever the astute brain trust of intrepid motojournos, we rose to the occasion and Sherlock Holmes’d our way to a few rather elementary discoveries.
If you’ve read my 2017 Suzuki SV650 First Ride Review, you’ll know how I feel about the new SV. I’m a big fan of the new bike and feel that it’s recaptured the magic of the original SV. With its charismatic and refined 645cc V-Twin, I was instantly drawn to its fun-loving character, and now that Suzuki has wised up and given the bike an attractive – and competitive – $6,999 price tag, it’s clear Suzuki is answering the challenge thrown down from its crosstown rival, Yamaha, and the $6,990 FZ-07.