For less than the price difference between a Ducati 1299 Panigale and a Panigale 1299S, you could have one of the most value-packed and fun motorcycles we’ve ever ridden. It’s astonishing how many desirable features are available on the KTM 390 Duke, a stylish and capable motorbike that retails for just $5,299.
The “Best” bike in this category could be quite an elusive target. Who is asking? Is “best” the best bike in hardcore eastern Enduro settings? The best two-up on the interstate? Best at hitting some sweet jumps? Best at attacking a twisty mountain road? You see, every observer is going to mix their pavement and dirt a little differently, so no single on-off-road capable bike could really be the best for everyone. Understanding that, the ultimate “BEST!” On-Off-Road/Adventure motorcycle available in 2017 is unquestionably the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R! (Your mileage may vary, void where inhabited by short people, consult a Dr. for erections lasting more than five or six years.)
It’s easy for moto enthusiasts to fall in lust with pricey motorbikes, but it’s much more difficult to feel ardor for inexpensive machines – plastic and steel just isn’t as intoxicating as billet and carbon fiber. But that’s why KTM’s 390 Duke is such a special motorcycle.
With August just around the corner, we’re cutting to the apex as we prepare to launch our annual selections for what are the best in motorcycling. MO’s Best Of awards, or MOBOs, begin unveiling the first of August, which is typically the closest the moto industry gets to a bit of a lull period in new motorcycle product launches.
One of the most famous taglines in motorcycle history is “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.” And when it comes to nice motorcycles, Honda most often exemplifies this description. The retro-themed CB1100, first offered on our shores in 2013, made a nice case for nice, and so does this nicely updated version, the CB1100EX.
Yamaha has the FJR1300 and FJ-09 to cover the sport-touring segment, and its Super Ténéré can add some adventure to a rider’s tour. Then there’s the V Star 1300s for cruisers with some touring amenities. But what’s missing is a luxurious tourer that can muscle in on Harley’s extensive touring lineup or even on Honda’s venerable Gold Wing.
This is an odd post, as it features MO’s former editor Troy Siahaan, who has since moved on to other pursuits within the moto industry. That leaves me, the only other MOron who has ridden the newest Gixxer, as the author of this lead-in to Troy’s final video bike review on these pages.
Triumph is killing it with its latest Bonneville platform, churning out a variety of models that fascinate everyone from retro-minded Boomers to 20-something hipsters. Encompassing roadsters, scramblers, standards and cafe racers, the platform has huge crossover appeal to a vast swath of riders.
Joe Leonard, a three-time AMA Grand National champion who went on to race Indy Cars, passed away on April 27, 2017 in a San Jose, California, nursing home at the age of 84. Leonard’s racing accomplishments were extremely rare, as the San Diego native won national championships on both two and four wheels.
We were stoked when KTM told us we could give away a couple of tickets to the MotoGP race in Austin, Texas, this weekend, the only round of the world championship in North America. So we challenged our readers to come up with three reasons why they think they deserved the prize of a weekend ticket, a Red Bull KTM shirt, backpack, hat and lanyard.
The past decade has brought about radical changes around the world. During this epoch, not only has America elected its first black president (and first orangey one), motorcyclists have been introduced to a plethora of ground-breaking new technology. Back in 2007, traction-control systems and ride-by-wire throttles were just coming on line, and things like semi-active suspensions, IMUs and Cornering ABS were unheard of from production motorcycles.
The moto market is spoiled for lustful choices in the high-end arena, but creating a desirable motorcycle at a budget price is a more challenging achievement. The KTM 390 Duke has been entertaining us with its unequaled balance of style, performance and value since we first took the terrific little funster for a spin in 2015, and it rightfully earned its place as Best Entry-Level Motorcycle in our annual MOBO awards. For 2017, the little Duke gets even more desirable by offering greater comfort, higher technology and a bit more power.