A freight train of 20 motorcycles works its way through the rolling hills of southern France on a roller-coaster of silky smooth but undulating pavement, cresting hills, strafing banked turns, and dancing side-to-side through endless esses. Entering the mostly second-gear corners, bikes largely nose-to-tail, the riders take a variety of lines, occasionally scrubbing off a little speed mid-corner – or sometimes more than a little in the case of a sneaky decreasing-radius – with a judicious application of brakes while leaned over, peg feelers just skimming the pavement. Other times, if the situation requires, they adjust their lines, sometimes slightly overlapping wheels as people who are comfortable on the track often do (even if it doesn’t really allow enough margin for error on the street). Then the corner ends, and the throttles twist, widening the gaps slightly, only to accordion back together in the next braking zone.
It’s the moment of reckoning for the motorcyclist-in-training. The time when clutch plates come together, and balance and forward motion begins. The fear of rocketing out of control and crashing horrendously is palpable. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Cedergrens has removed all the monster-under-the-bed scariness of learning to operate a motorcycle and replaced it with a Skidbike security blanket.
In 1996, the cruiser market in America was introduced to the initial Star motorcycle, the Royal Star. Over the next few years, more Stars appeared on Yamaha’s manifest, in the form of V-Stars, Drag Stars, and Royal Star variations. In 2006, the company decided to commit to the flourishing line of motorcycles by creating Star Motorcycles as a brand separate from the mothership, much as Toyota did with Lexus and Nissan with Infiniti. Eventually journalists and riders, alike, became accustomed to what, at first, seemed arbitrary and unnatural – since Yamaha logos were still featured in discreet locations on Star Motorcycles.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Honda should feel pretty special. According to Kawasaki’s sales data, collected from data provided by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), the Grom is number two on the list of best-selling motorcycles in the category Kawasaki calls “Small Street,” which includes dual-purpose motorcycles up to 350cc, scooters between 50cc – 400cc, and street motorcycles below 400cc. Number one is Kawasaki’s own Ninja 300, but there’s no ignoring the meteoric success the Honda Grom has become, which has spurred the creation of this: the 2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro.
As the pinnacles of technology and performance in their respective fields, you can’t get any more advanced than MotoGP and Formula 1 in the motorcycle and automotive worlds, respectively. And when pitted against each other, a Formula 1 car will smoke a MotoGP machine. Interestingly, there are only two circuits that play host to both series – the Sepang circuit in Malaysia and the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Information provided by Brembo – brake provider for both MotoGP and Formula 1 – gives us some interesting insights into the dynamics at play during a lap of COTA for both machines.
I think if you’re going to be lollygagging along on Mulholland Highway shooting videos and not paying attention, then you probably shouldn’t get too upset if somebody in a hurry passes you around the outside. The guy doing the passing on the KTM bagger is former Cycle magazine hero Ken Vreeke, writer of such epic tales as Growing Up Squidly, The Hickman Haul-Ass Club and many other ripping yarns. No idea who Snowcat87 is, other than somebody who makes me glad I’m still holding off on the helmet communicator.
Okay, kids, we need to talk. However, before we discuss the videos below, we need to stipulate a couple things: First, the motorcyclist’s action that precipitated this series of events was illegal. Lane splitting is against the law in Florida. Yes, what he did was trivial but still illegal. Second, the car driver’s reaction was so over-the-top-disproportionate to the motorcyclist’s actions that he clearly has other issues in play. What we need to look at in this road rage video, not to mock or to lay blame but, rather, to identify and learn from, is how the rider essentially threw gasoline on a conflagration. He was extremely lucky to escape unharmed and without injuring others.
Brakes perform a critical job on a motorcycle, which means you should pay special attention to the condition of your bike’s pads. So, plan on replacing your pads when a minimum of 2mm of the pad material remains. Even with 2mm of pad material left, your braking power could be compromised under heavy braking, like at a trackday or a panic stop. Yes, if you like to gamble, you could run them to the absolute limits of their service, but why roll the dice on such an important safety feature.
“Nasty, brutish and short” is the famous phrase used to describe the life of the typical medieval peasant (or MO editor), but it could almost describe some of MV Agusta’s earlier Brutales. With this latest electronically enhanced iteration, MV has brought the bike all the way into modernity and then some. The goal, according to MV, was to make the new bike more customer-oriented and easier to ride, with a focus on both reduced fuel consumption and a more friendly user interface. To find out, one of us had to go ride it.
As I look forward to this holiday season I’m reminded that I have plenty to be thankful for, not least of which is the return of the Suzuki SV650 next Spring as a 2017 model. Short of telling you my life story, let’s just say the SV has a special place in my heart as it does for many other riders out there. So, as I rejoice about this good news from Suzuki, allow me to explain 10 reasons why the SV650 is such a great motorcycle.
The Africa Twin is one of the most beloved Hondas to never have been imported to the United States. In 1986, the NXR750 Africa Twin factory racer made its debut at the then Paris-Dakar Rally. The bike was powered by a V-Twin engine, while the rally largely took place on the African continent – hence its Africa Twin namesake.
Mr. Burns vigorously stirred the pot with this column about how the subjects of motorcycles and guns commingle. This piece was followed one week later by another MO columnist, Chris Kallfelz, who has a different perspective about how issues surrounding guns and motorbikes exist in the sphere of personal responsibility. Read his column here. —Ed.
The road to hell is paved with dead motorcycle companies, and littered with others that despite charismatic leadership, fine product, mergers, venture capital infusions, bankruptcies and other forms of financial (rather than mechanical) engineering, have ended up in the ditch. Some have been saved, some reborn, but when it comes to Erik Buell Racing, all of the above have contributed to a long, wild ride towards a destination and an outcome still unknown.
Honda revealed a couple of concepts based on its 650 models at the 2015 EICMA show. Pictured here is the CB4, a naked roadster, which was joined by the CB Six50 scrambler. No official information was released, as they appear to be a simply design exercises from Honda R&D Europe and unlikely to develop into a production model (but we can hope!).
Suppose you ran a motorcycle manufacturer lucky enough to have produced one of the most iconic motorcycle lines of an era. For the past 15 years your factories had assembled a popular family of motorcycles based on that previous generation to steady increase in sales, ultimately totaling 20% of the company’s international purchases. Still, progress marches onward, global emissions laws change, and the time is ripe for refreshing and broadening the model line. Having stewardship over an icon carries a special weight, making any revision fraught with risk. However, where there is risk, often there is great opportunity nearby. Triumph Motorcycles found itself in just that position with the Bonneville and set about the task of updating and broadening the family to meet today’s motorcycling while remaining true to its heritage.