Last year, we voted the Aprilia Tuareg the Best Adventure Motorcycle of 2022 and the 2022 Motorcycle of the Year. Clearly, we like it, but after almost six months without riding one, we began to wonder if it was really as great as we remembered. Fortunately, we recently got to spend some quality time with a 2022 Aprilia Tuareg while adventure touring in South Dakota thanks to the good folks at Travel South Dakota, and it only rekindled our fondness for this motorcycle. This time, however, we spent more time in the dirt than we did on pavement, which only made us appreciate the balance provided by this motorcycle even more.
Harley-Davidson delivered its Q4 2021 earnings report this morning, providing a look at how the first year of its Hardwire plan fared. We’ll have more on that in a separate post (spoiler: H-D did very well), but for now, we’ll focus on one interesting portion of the earnings call: an update on the separate LiveWire brand.
There’s something about inexpensive twin-cylinder middleweight naked bikes like the Yamaha MT-07 (and former FZ-07) that appeals to us. Their simplicity and practicality, combined with their spirited riding attributes make them hard not to love. Clearly, the riding public feels the same, as other manufacturers are starting to get in on the action, making the choices in this category bigger and bigger. Through it all, the MT-07 has been a mainstay since its introduction in 2015.
“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.” – Mark Twain
I knew this day would come eventually. I didn’t expect it to take so long, but I suppose good things like the Aprilia RS660 are worth waiting for. You see, as an owner of a Suzuki SV650 that’s almost of legal drinking age (and a former Kawasaki Versys 650 owner), I have a soft spot for bikes in this middleweight category. They hit that sweet spot between power, performance, and price – there’s just enough power to keep things exciting, moderate performance to emphasize the importance of rider skill, and well…SVs are dirt cheap. After all this time, I still haven’t found a compelling reason to replace my trusty little Suzuki.
Don’t you ever get tired of reading track comparisons from guys that are riding at international race-winning levels? From guys who have been racing their entire lives and who drag elbow like it’s their job (literally)? Me neither, but the guys here at MO and I thought there might be someone out there who could appreciate insight from what a novice track rider might experience when comparing some of the latest 600-class supersports. The two most recently updated of which happen to be the Yamaha R6 and Kawasaki ZX-6R.
Don’t be confused by the new appellation: The MT-07 is the same Yamaha FZ-07 that’s won every MO middleweight mashup we’ve thrown it in since it was new in 2014, beating up on all sorts of bikes since then, including the KTM Duke 690, all Suzuki SV650 variants, various Kawasaki 650 mutations, Hondas of diverse specification, the H-D Street Rod, et al.
In honor of Independence Day here in the U.S. of A., we thought we’d bring you this incredibly exciting on-board footage of Chris Fillmore flying up America’s mountain – Pikes Peak. The 2018 edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb marks the 96th running of the event, and this year Fillmore chose to tackle the mountain aboard the all-new KTM 790 Duke, which is slated to come to these shores later this year. And what better marketing for the 790 Duke than by setting the middleweight course record at a 10:04.038 – smashing the previous record by more than 30 seconds! Fillmore’s time was also good enough for third place overall.
Three years ago in its maiden season, the Yamaha FZ-07 came out with both 80mm pistons blazing to take the win from five other tasty middleweights (including the KTM 690 Duke) in our 2014 Middleweight Mash-Up Six-Way Shootout! Last year, we threw the Yamaha in with the Duke 690 again – also the reborn Suzuki SV650 (alongside Gabe’s old SV, because why not?), and watched as the Yamaha lost out to the Duke by the slimmest of margins (a different set of testers…), on its way to beating up (barely) the new Suzuki SV.
Next week (Wednesday, to be exact) I’ll be riding the new, 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 (look for my review Friday). Now, because we’ve already featured the 1999 R6 in a past Church feature, this week we fast forward to the second-generation R6, which our own John Burns got the chance to ride in late 2002. A sharper tool than the original R6 as far as racetrack chops go, after reading this piece stay tuned to my review of the 2017 model to compare and contrast. Something tells me the two models will be very similar in many ways…
Like their sportbike cousins, middleweight cruisers provide nearly as much pleasure as their big-displacement counterparts, but have the benefit of lighter weight and better maneuverability. Two middleweight cruisers that are reliable as a rock, though perhaps a little bland, the Honda Shadow ACE and Yamaha V-Star 1100 are solid mid-displacement cruisers that are just as fine today as they were back in 2004, when we pit the two against each other. On the surface they may look fairly similar, but dig deeper and the two go about cruising in notably different ways. Here’s the MO crew of 2004 to tell you more.
Could it be that the Yamaha XJ6 and XJ6 Diversion were just slightly ahead of their time? Naked middleweights are making what appears to be a comeback in the form of Yamaha’s FZ-07 and Suzuki’s new SV650, but in this week’s Church feature, we take a look at a bike that could be considered the predecessor to the FZ-07 – the Yamaha XJ6 (and its half-faired sibling, the XJ6 Diversion). Two bikes that never made it to America, assuming you don’t count the XJ6’s slightly different cousin, the FZ6R. Here, our European Correspondent, Tor Sagen, takes the XJ6 for a spin and tells us all about it. As usual, for more pics, be sure to visit the photo gallery.
At the pace the 1000cc literbike field is advancing, it’s easy to overlook the middleweight 600cc sportbike class. For instance, few might have even noticed it’s been three years since Honda gave its CBR600RR a slight refresh. Tom Roderick rode the bike both on the street and the track, where he came back impressed but not overly enthusiastic about Honda’s middleweight supersport. With the march of time giving way to technologies like traction control, cornering ABS, inertial measurement units and apps that can adjust the bike’s attitude at the push of a button, we thought it was time to revisit the CBR600RR to see if time has given us a new appreciation for the simpler things in life.