Spidi 4 Season H2Out Evo Jacket Review

I feel like an impostor in this jacket, really. I only rode in it in the rain once, and only for about a half hour. I stayed warm and dry, but the temperature was only in the low 50s F. Plus, I was behind a nice big fairing. I really can’t speak to how it would work for you Duluthians and people who ride 80 miles to work all winter in freezing sleet on an ‘86 XR600; I can’t even relate. When I moved to SoCal, I laid down one of those Scarlett O’Hara dictums: I swear, as God is my witness, I’ll never be cold again!

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MO Tested: Spidi Clubber Jacket Review

What I was looking for was a lighter-weight perforated leather jacket for use during the hotter parts of the year, when MO is most active, to share duties with my beautiful but aging Dainese Street Rider. When the Spidi box arrived, the light weight was there but not the perforations. Turns out there isn’t a perfed version, but maybe that’s only a personal problem for me, since my old unperforated  Vanson AR-3 has been my go-to black leather jacket for most of a decade now.

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Best Value Motorcycle of 2022

It’s been a few years since an adventure-style moto made its way into this category – though with the popularity of the class still truckin’ along, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see another ADV rip its way into the ranks of the Best Value category. For 2022, the Aprilia Tuareg boldly displays its impressive package starting at $11,999. While $12k isn’t an insignificant sum, what you get for your money with the Tuareg transcends from being an excellent value in the ADV world to an excellent value overall.

2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 Review – First Ride

We’ve seen Aprilia’s new 660 platform stuffed into a sportbike, naked, and now adventure machines. The new Parallel Twin is a versatile mill that has been tuned to fit each of those categories. With the Tuareg, the engine has been tuned to deliver 75% of its available torque from 3,000 rpm, which turns into 85% when you hit 4,500 rpm; it also has 10% lower gearing than the other 660-powered siblings. On the dyno, rear wheel power translated to 68 hp at 9200 rpm and 44.3 lb-ft at 6500 rpm. The Tuareg likes to be spun up a bit more than others, like the Yamaha Ténéré, but it still delivers smooth forward punch throughout the low to mid-range.

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Best Standard Motorcycle of 2022

Frankly the first modern-era Triumph to wear the legendary Speed Twin moniker was a tad disappointing when it rolled down the skids for 2020. All was forgiven, though, when Triumph made it all right with the 2022 version. The weedy suspension components of the first bike (which, in fairness, may have been more period-correct) gave way to a new, 43mm inverted Marzocchi fork brandishing radial-mount Brembo M50 monobloc calipers squeezing bigger, 320mm discs. A pair of “higher-spec” shocks brought up the rear. New lightweight 12-spoke cast wheels rolled onto the scene, shod with Metzeler RR Racetec rubber.

2022 Triumph Speed Twin Review

In making the bike cleaner for Euro 5, Triumph threw in a few more horsepower – 91 in total, on the Rottweiler Performance Dynojet, and 74.5 lb-ft of torque – via a bump in compression, a lightened crank, a new camshaft… That’s plenteous power for a “retro,” and all of it safely deployed via three ride modes: rain, road, and sport. Add all the new stuff up, continue on with the classic comfortable upright ergonomics, and suddenly you’re riding a retro that’s packing surprisingly modern, well-developed curvy-backroad sporting chops. At the same time, for just getting from A to B, you can feel free to think of the Speed Twin as an upscale Standard motorcycle, with beautiful suspension, comfortable seating for two (or one and a nice milk crate). Pile on the miles; Triumph’s proud of having designed the new 1200cc 270-degree Twin with longer service intervals.

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Best Cruiser / Bagger of 2022

Man, it’s been a while since we managed to get seven baggers together for a real-live comparison, but last time we did, in 2018, this BMW won it against the usual suspects from Harley-Davidson, Indian, et al. They’ve all received upgrades in the ensuing years, but nothing earth shattering to upend the pecking order. And nothing to upset our earlier, semi-collective conclusion that a bagger does not have to be built in America or powered by a big V-Twin.

For 2022, BMW made it even easier for us to continue our six-cylinder love by festooning the new K1600B with some nice upgrades (along with all the other K-bikes). It begins with a great big new TFT display, continues through some nice electronics upgrades, and concludes in a motorcycle that’s more dynamic than ever. In fact, the display is always telling you you’re a Dynamic Pro, which is nice reinforcement.

2022 BMW K1600B Review – First Ride

Cruise mode is nice for cruising sedately along in the time-honored, discover America way. The seat’s quite comfy and only 29.5 inches from the ground. Footpegs instead of floorboards make it a bit easier to transition from sportier machinery, but there’s an optional floorboard, er, option, that tall people like, too (along with a million other options). Trim levels, really.

None of it can mask the essential goodness of BMW’s sublime six-cylinder, which can be as sedate, or as wild as you want to be, depending on the angle of your right wrist; 136 rear-wheel horses is nice, at just 6500 rpm, but 117 lb-ft of twist 1300 rpm sooner, is even nicer. Granted, the big V-twins do make their monster torque even lower in the rev band, but they’re all climbing into bed with a warm glass of milk at just about the time the BMW’s getting rolling.

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Best Lightweight / Entry-Level Motorcycle of 2022

After years of KTM owning this class with its 390 Duke and (390 Adventure), there’s a new kid in town – new in the US, anyway – in the form of the CFMoto 700 CL-X. It’s only fitting, really, since CFMoto’s Chinese manufacturer and KTM have a decade-long history together. That same Chinese OEM had a pre-existing relationship with Kawasaki also, and if CFMoto’s 700 CL-X isn’t powered by an engine eerily similar to a Versys 650 parallel Twin, I will eat my cat. In fact, the 700 CL-X is powered by a Versys twin that’s been stroked by 4mm, to 83 x 64mm dimensions – a thing Kawasaki’s never had the decency to do. That takes it to 693 cubic centimeters, and a claimed output of 74 hp at 8,500 rpm (and 48 lb-ft at 6,500 revs). Which makes this one a tad larger than our usual Lightweight winners, but for $6,399, how can you not supersize it?

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2023 Ducati Streetfighter V4, V4 S, and V4 SP2 First Look

Did we really need the Ducati Streetfighter V4 to be even trickier and more refined than the one that won last year’s Open Nakeds Shootout with ease? The one that out-horsepowered even the mighty Kawasaki Z H2 – 177 rear-wheel horses to 163? Actually there was room for improvement, as the mighty V4 S finished third in the Track portion of that seven-bike slugfest. But hey, if it’s a track bike you want, maybe you should just go ahead and get the Panigale. Nay, the Streetfighter is the stripped-down street version, and as such we were all bowled over by not just its scintillating performance, but maybe even more by its unexpected boulevard civility. Like having your cake and riding it too.

Never content, however, Ducati’s upped the Streetfighter’s game for 2023, including addition of a new V4 SP2 model. Extensive electronic upgrading follows the path laid down by the latest Panigale, along with new simplified graphics to control it all, descended from the racing Desmosedici. New Engine Brake Control (EBC) EVO 2 software is said to make cornering even swifter and safer, new Ducati Quickshifter calibration has been refined. We didn’t even complain about the heat before, but a new cooling fan strategy is now in place to offer “greater thermal comfort for the rider already at typical road use speeds.” Ahhhhh. There’s plenty more where that came from.

Pity the person who can’t be content unless they have the very best: The new Streetfighter V4 SP2 gets special Winter Livery Paint, carbon fiber wheels, and other exotic bobs and bits not the least of which is that holy of Bologna holies, a dry clutch. 

Start wheedling now, Streetfighter V4 and V4 S models will be available in Ducati dealerships starting from January 2023, while the V4 SP2 version will arrive starting from March 2023. Read on, in the Queen’s English, for the full glorious scoop.

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MO Tested: Alpinestars Tech Air 3 Vest

Maybe think of this as more a second opinion than a review, since Ryan Adams already wrote quite a bit about Alpinestars’ latest Tech Air 3 vest in Best Motorcycle Airbag Jackets last week. While he was posting that, I was attending the Los Angeles premier of the new vest last Wednesday. I haven’t spent enough time in the thing to know how I really feel about it yet, but I can highly recommend The Bike Shed’s breakfast burrito.

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The Falloon Files: Ducati Pantah

Well it’s not always about me. Or is it? One of the first things I remember seeing after I’d finally busted out to California, up there on the beautiful Presidio of Monterey, was my first Ducati. It was January 1981, and a pale baby blue, so it must’ve been one of the very first 500 SL Pantahs. Exotic place (for the Army, anyway), exotic bike. So exciting.

Ian Falloon, as always, has the whole story, excerpted here from his excellent The Complete Book of Ducati Motorcycles.

The 1970s was another decade distinguished by poor management and dubious marketing moves. The year 1974 saw the end of the singles and round-case 750s, replaced by the ungainly 860 and an unremarkable parallel twin. In 1976, when Ducati’s management finally realised that the parallel twins were a commercial disaster, legend has it that Ing. Fabio Taglioni smiled, reached into his bottom drawer, and presented full technical drawings for a 500cc V twin engine.

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Get Your Head in the Game: Best Motorcycle Touring Helmets

Touring connotes long days in the saddle, and that means long days with your head inside your helmet. Fit, then, is going to be of utmost importance when it comes to selecting a touring helmet. A helmet that gives you a hot spot might not be a huge deal when you’re only wearing it for 45 minutes. Over the course of days, though, like an annoying travel companion, an ill-fitting helmet will grow to be a thing you loathe.

Traveling to a brick and mortar store to try helmets on is the best thing you can do, and if that’s not possible then finding an online retailer with a generous return policy is the next best way to go. When you try a helmet on, keep it on for a while too. Minor annoyances that grow large over time can take a while to show themselves.

Anyway, there are hundreds of possibilities, but here we scratch the surface with eight of the best motorcycle touring helmets we’ve either sampled, or that come highly recommended from trusted sources.

Some of our favorite best touring helmets are modulars, or flip-front helmets, so see also Best Modular Helmets.

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Best Motorcycle Helmets for Harley Riders

If you don’t understand, we can’t explain it to you. But you know who you are. It’s not a universal rule, but for many, many motorcycle riders, it’s Harley or nothing. For many of them, the best Harley helmet has to continue the theme that often but not always includes the leather vest, the chained wallet and the tattoos. For even more Harley riders, a good helmet is a good helmet. In truth, everybody’s skull is basically the same shape, on the outside anyway, so the best motorcycle helmets for Harley riders are still great helmets no matter what you ride. But there are definitely variations that make some of them the best motorcycle helmets for Harley riders. And away we go…

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Whatever: Stop Doing Stupid Things

My latest stupid thing is rinsing the engine of my new used car with the hose. Not a pressure wash or even a full blast, I swear! Just a light drizzle to rinse off some degreaser in a couple nooks and crannies the morning after I brought the thing home. Before I did that, my new-to-me 2000 Jaguar XJR had been running like a 4-liter V-eight Jaguar with an Eaton supercharger on top of it. After it, the RESTRICTED PERFORMANCE lamp was lit and it would barely run. Dang. (I hope we can talk about cars here, too, can’t we? I was a car guy before I was a motorcycle guy, and the same concepts apply.)

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2022 Yamaha MT-10 Review - First Ride

Heaping praise upon Yamaha’s naked bikes has become all too easy lately. Yes, the MT-07 did get dethroned in last year’s Middleweight Naked comparison, but not by much – and it took brand-new motorcycles from Aprilia and Triumph to do it. When it came time for the 900cc(ish) Nakeds last August, the newly revamped MT-09 surprised a couple people by taking the cake against KTM Duke 890 and five other very nice and mostly more expensive motorcycles. Sadly, when it was time for the Open Class Nakeds shootout last November, the MT-10 got left out. We thought it was too old, and couldn’t win. Plus, we knew the 2022 Yamaha MT-10 was on its way. Possibly to save the day.

Battle Royale: 7-Way Heavyweight Naked Bike Shootout

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MO Tested: TCX Fuel WP Boot Review

Am I dating myself with my choice of footwear? So be it. My old Frye engineer boots served me well for more years than I should admit, but they’re done now. Actually I could probably have them resoled and ride in them off into the sunset, but it’s my job to review new stuff too, so how about these TCX Fuel WP boots? The Fryes aren’t really even motorcycle boots anyway, but that never stops us fashion hounds. Like I said in my 20-year old review of those puppies, you think of engineer boots on cruiser riders, but I’ve never had any problems wearing them on all kinds of motorcycles.

Frye 8-inch Engineer Boot Review

Why not try out these similarly styled TCX numbers? TCX is an Italy-based boot company so you know you’re going to get some style and a little flair.

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2022 CFMOTO 700CL-X / 700CL-X Sport Review - First Ride

With just about every Chinese motorcycle I can remember riding, there’s nearly always A Problem. Sometimes they look great on paper, and sometimes they even look pretty good in the flesh. But then you hop on and start riding, and are met with a powerband that’s more a powerhole. Or an ADV bike with two inches of rear suspension travel, or cast iron components that weigh 60 pounds more than the competition. If it’s not one glaring thing, there’s usually a combination platter of weirdnesses that make you question whether the monetary savings are worth the sacrifice for any but the cheapest of contrarian skates – even if reliability isn’t much of a concern any more.

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