In a few day’s time you’ll get to read all about the brand new 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000, Suzuki’s most advanced GSX-R to date. Penning the story will be none other than MO‘s E-i-C Kevin Duke, who did his best to tame the beast around one of the most loved racetracks in the world: Phillip Island in Australia. But before we talk about the new bike, let’s go back to the GSX-R1000’s roots; 2000 in this case. For this week’s Church feature we’re bringing you the First Ride review of the 2001 Suzuki GSX-R1000 – Suzuki’s answer to the liter-class sportbike wars started by Yamaha’s YZF-R1 a couple years prior.
Honda pulled out all the stops for its fresh, ground-up redesign of the CBR1000RR. And it’s about time, too. However, instead of searching for power like most of its competition, Team Red’s mission was to make the new CBR as light as possible. All in an effort to give the rider Total Control – the same design ethos given to the original CBR900RR 25 years earlier. To that end, Honda lightened everything it could; using magnesium engine covers, a titanium exhaust, and titanium fuel tank (for the SP model, anyway). It even made the frame walls – and fairings – thinner!
Cresting the top of the steep incline leading onto Portimao’s main straight, I’m committed to keeping the throttle on the new 2017 Honda CBR1000RR to the stop. With fifth gear clicked, the front wheel starts to reach for the sky. Unfazed, the throttle stays pinned, ready for the wheel to eventually come back to earth. The wait feels like forever, and my view is increasingly filled with sky instead of tarmac. I can’t wait for the Honda’s wheelie control any longer, so a click to sixth gently brings the front Bridgestone back to the ground. The Fireblade flexes its muscles, tickling 180 mph down the straight. Then it’s time to scrub speed down the hill before hitting the dip signaling the apex of turn 1. The short chute to reach turn 2 is quickly gobbled up before a moderate amount of brakes are applied to navigate through the hairpin. From there, it’s another flick to the left, and we’re driving uphill towards the crest of turn 3, knee on the ground, rear tire spinning ever so slightly.
Whenever he gets a chance, John Burns likes to ramble on about how much he likes Buell motorcycles. The old ones, the new ones, it doesn’t matter. He’s a fan of Erik Buell’s vision and its execution. Case in point? JB’s review below of the 2004 Buell XB12S. A self-proclaimed lover of the XB9S, riding a bigger, better version of the XB-S around Road America left a big smile on his face. Hell, he still speaks fondly of it today. Check out what he has to say about it below, and for more pictures of the bike be sure to click on the photo gallery.
With the unfortunate news of Polaris shutting down Victory Motorcycles, it only seemed right for this week’s Church feature to be about Victory. Oddly, despite Victory’s beginnings in 1997, it took a few years – and a new millennia – for MO to get its hands on one. We’ve featured some of those models already in past Church features, so for this week we’re going with the oldest Victory review we have yet to showcase: the 2003 Victory Vegas. Ridden and written by Eric Bass, sit back, relax, and enjoy this early road test review of what might become a collector’s item in 20 years. Oh, and for more pictures, be sure to visit the photo gallery.
Mr. Burns’ diary entry of the Top 10 sportbikes of the 1990s gave me a great idea for this week’s Church entry. If you want a taste of what old MO was all about, then the 1997 Open Bikini Shootout is a perfect example. Silly, irreverent, and filled with fast riding and fast riders, this test between the Buell S1 White Lightning, the Triumph T509 Speed Triple and Ducati’s M900 Monster, has it all: three cult classic motorcycles, one Shawn Higbee – an AMA Pro racer and former Buell test rider – and even a bikini model! Because, you know, a Bikini Shootout wouldn’t be complete without one of those. Check out the story (and the model), and don’t forget to click on the photo gallery for more pics.
The maxi-scooter world is relatively large these days, with BMW, Kymco, Suzuki, and Yamaha all fielding players. In 2008, however, the players in this field were rather scarce. One name that’s been on the list the entire time has been Honda. For this week’s Church feature, we go back to 2008 and the review of that year’s Silver Wing ABS. Penning the review is our friends at TheScooterReview.com. Oh, and by the way, the Silver Wing ABS is still around today, available at your Honda dealer for a starting price of $9,270. For more pictures of the Silver Wing ABS, hop on over to the photo gallery.
With EBR’s recent trademark filing for the name Black Lightning, we’re waiting in anticipation to see what Erik Buell will bring to us next. However, while we await the Black Lightning, let’s go back in time and visit one of Buell’s earlier cult hits, and possibly the grandfather to the Black Lightning: the S1 Lightning. The MO staff dubbed the bike “ Buell’s Monster” and even called it “The most radical motorcycle yet from the Buell Motor Company.” With its hopped up Sportster 1200 engine housed inside a sporting package far removed from the cruiser the 1200 V-Twin was originally intended for, the S1 was a radical bike then and remains a cult classic today. Read on to see what the early MOron crew thought of the bike.
Two obvious questions spring to mind when talking about the SSR Razkull 125. First, who the hell is SSR? And second, how soon will Ducati’s legal department come knocking on its door? Because let’s face it, the Razkull looks like a miniature version of a Ducati Monster.
The Honda Shadow has been around forever (well, 1983 if we’re being technical). How many other manufacturers, save for Harley-Davidson, can claim such lineage with one model line? Not many. Heck, the Shadow is still around today! But for this Church feature we’re going back to 2007, since that was the year the Shadow got a refresh and Pete Brissette was there to review it. After reading Pete’s take on the bike you get the sense the Shadow is showing it’s age, but it’s character, charm, and user-friendly rideability make it a perennial winner in Honda’s lineup. For more pics of the Shadow, visit the photo gallery.
I remember riding the Piaggio MP3 when it was introduced in America. A scooter lover at heart, underneath my sportbike-loving exterior, I wasn’t sure what to make of the MP3 and its three wheels. My opinion of it was solidified when I leaned the scooter/trike over through a turn and felt the outside front tire skipping. What would have likely resulted in a lowside on a two-wheeler ended up being a case of massive understeer, without ever separating myself from the scoot in a crash. From that point on I’ve always had a soft spot for all the Piaggio MP3 variants. In this week’s Church feature, Yossef Schvetz takes a spin on the MP3 at its European intro. His opinion? Awfully similar to mine.
The announcement of the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 – with new electronics but the same ‘ol engine – should be considered a jolt of excitement for the supersport world. While it’s a little disappointing to not see any engine upgrades for 2017, the fact the bike is getting any updates at all is a positive sign. And if you’re a little let down by the new R6 like I am, at least the updated appearance of the Yamaha is stunning.
The beauty of modular helmets is the ability to have the best of both worlds; the convenience of a three-quarter helmet when you want it, with the protection of a full-face helmet when you need it. What more could you ask for, really? If you talk to the folks at Scorpion, there’s plenty more, like a modular helmet suitable for adventure touring rides. This modular would have all the benefits we’re accustomed to, but also be able to handle the occasional trip off the beaten path. With that, Scorpion took it upon itself to develop a modular helmet that lived up to the definition of modular: the EXO AT-950.
This week’s Church feature is an interesting look back at the 2008 Vectrix Electric Scooter. It’s interesting because electric vehicle technology has come a long way since Yossef Schvetz rode the Vectrix. For one, NiMH batteries have given way to lithium-ion. What hasn’t changed is the reaction first-timers like Schvetz get when they turn the e-throttle for an electric for the first time. Instant, massive acceleration blows people away each time. Read on to see the rest of Yossef’s thoughts about what is becoming the propulsion method of the future.
The Honda Ruckus won’t win any beauty contests, but its charm is in its ugliness. Maybe that’s why the Ruckus has such a loyal (and huge) cult following. For this week’s Church feature, we look back at the 2006 Honda Ruckus from the eyes of our friends at our sister site, TheScooterReview.com. In it, the author attempts to make the Ruckus out as some sort of masculine device. The word “macho” is used and there’s even a reference to Chuck Norris! It gave us a good chuckle. Hopefully you’ll get a kick out of it, too. Enjoy.