Earlier this week Triumph announced to the world its three new engines and five new models for the 2016 Bonneville line. Included in those three new models are the 2016 Triumph Street Twin, Triumph Thruxton and Thruxton R, and the new Bonneville T120 and Bonneville T120 Black. That last model in particular, the Bonneville T120, is the inspiration behind this week’s Church feature. Digging through the MO archives led us back to 2007 and a review of the Bonneville T100 from our European correspondent Tor Sagen. As the models that stay the truest to the original Bonneville of old, the T-series Bonnies promise a retro riding experience. Here’s Tor to tell you more about the T100.
You likely didn’t need the title of this week’s Church feature to figure out what bike is the subject this week. One look at the main photo is all that’s needed for one of America’s iconic motorcycles. This week, we’re looking at the 2009 Harley-Davidson Street Glide, as told through the eyes of our own Pete Brissette, as he reacquaints himself with the new and improved Street Glide while riding up one of the country’s best motorcycling roads: California’s Highway 1, better known as Pacific Coast Highway. To see more of the 09 Street Glide, be sure to check out the photo gallery.
When it comes to mid-displacement touring cruisers, the poor Honda VTX1300T often gets overlooked. It seems as the VTX1300T was the unfortunate victim of bad timing, as this time frame saw the rise of cruisers that took the “no replacement for displacement” mantra to heart. Big-bore cruisers were quickly gaining popularity from OEMs both near and far. For those with more reasonable displacement needs, the 1300T was a solid long-distance package, as Mark Gardiner makes clear to us in his ride review from 2009 below. To see more of the VTX1300T, be sure to visit the photo gallery.
If you’re BMW, what do you do when you have a successful mid-displacement Single and want to diversify your model lineup? The answer seems simple: Stick it in as many new models as you can. The result is the topic of this week’s Church of MO feature. Prior to 2007 this was the dilemma BMW faced, and its answer came to life in the 2007 G 650 X series of motorcycles, ridden and reviewed by former MOron, Pete Brissette. So, instead of expanding the lineup with one new bike, BMW added three: the G650 Xchallenge, G650 Xmoto and G650 Xcountry. Here’s Pete to tell you more about them. And for more pictures of all three, be sure to check out the accompanying photo gallery.
Whereas the engine discussion in the 450cc motocross class typically revolves around how to manage the mega dose of power that the big thumpers produce, the dialogue in the 250cc class has more to do with how to strain every last pony out of each manufacturer’s engine design. With the high level of chassis refinement exhibited by practically all of the current 250s, any machine that comes up short in the motor department is going to be handicapped in comparison with its rivals.
Harley-Davidson cognoscenti are familiar with the hole in the Motor Company’s touring line up. Well, after two years absence, the Road Glide Ultra returns as a 2016 model. The vacation appears to have been good to the Ultra, which rejoins the model line tanned, rested, and with a new body to show off.
Next week your intrepid MO crew is embarking on an epic Adventure-Touring ride with nine – yes, nine – of the biggest and baddest A-T bikes in the segment. Over the next six days the nine bikes and riders will cover 2000 miles over various terrain. Each bike will be put to the test in what will be one of MO’s largest-ever comparison tests. We won’t give away all the bikes taking part in the test just yet, but you can likely guess some of the obvious choices. One of them being the BMW R1200GS. So for this Church feature, we look back at the 2006 BMW R1200GS Adventure. Lending his words is former MOron, Pete Brissette, who will be joining the MO crew as a special guest tester for next week’s epic ride. Lastly, be sure to check out the photo gallery for even more pics of the 2006 GS Adventure. Take it away, Pete…
Recently, we pit the Star Bolt C-Spec against the Suzuki Boulevard M50, in a comparison test. That test was really more an examination of two extremes of cruiserdom rather than a true head-to-head comparison. I bring this up because, as I type this, the Suzuki is currently resting at my abode. I thought nothing of it until I started digging for this week’s Church feature. As you can see from the headline, today’s retrospective is… the 2005 Suzuki M50 Boulevard! So, what has Suzuki done to the M50 in the decade since we first rode one? Not a whole lot, really. Other than a price hike from $6749 to $8599 (which is still pretty affordable, in our opinion), the Suzuki mid-size “muscle” cruiser is pretty much the same. And with that, here’s Gabe Ets-Hokin to describe exactly what that means. Also, don’t forget to visit the photo gallery for even more pics of Gabe and the pocket-size Suzuki.
Ten years ago, Kawasaki had a touring cruiser priced at $13,000. It had a 1552cc V-Twin with plenty of accouterments and power to take its rider to voyages unknown. It was called the Vulcan Nomad 1600, and even ten years later we still think it’s a good bike. However, let’s go back to its introduction in 2005 and Sean Alexander’s first impressions of a cruiser that is more than simply an old model with a bigger engine. As Kawasaki proved, a simple refresh can have a big impact. Now, don’t forget to check out the photo gallery for even more images of the Nomad 1600.
If the vast open road is calling, many bikes are well suited to take you to destinations far away. One of the bikes well suited to this task, but maybe lost in the sea of touring bikes is the V-Max-powered 2005 Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe – the subject of this week’s Church of MO feature. Yamaha clearly knew it had something special in the V-Max, but it would be a shame to keep that engine from those seeking something other than a maniacal boulevard bruiser. Some people prefer the cruising lifestyle, but want the braun to let out their inner hooligan every now and again. As our own Sean Alexander discovered in 2005, the RSTD is capable of combining both worlds. Read on to see what Sean thought of the Royal Star Tour Deluxe, and don’t forget to visit the photo gallery for even more pictures.
Yamaha’s original V-Max was wild, bombastic, and an absolute shock to the senses when it was first introduced to the masses 30 years ago. Nearly 20 years later the V-Max was still in Yamaha’s lineup, still delivering mind-numbing straight-line performance. You’d think that two decades would be enough time for the competition to narrow the performance gap, but that was never the case. So, for this Church of MO feature, Eric Bass revisits the original V-Max. The year is 2004, but that doesn’t really matter, as the V-Max is one of those rare bikes that will leave people breathless no matter what year it is. Also, be sure to visit the photo gallery to see even more pictures of this iconic motorcycle.
Last year, Honda made excellent strides with its flagship CRF450R by tailoring its power curve to deliver more midrange boost, and Honda appeared to accomplish that mission quite handily. Even so, the 2016 CRF450R is capable of even faster lap times with the same exact engine specifications as the 2015 model.
The theme of ridiculous cruisers continues for this week’s Church feature. Last week we brought you the mildly outlandish, but wonderfully brutish Kawasaki Vulcan 2000. Its ridiculousness lie in its monstrous V-Twin engine. This time, we bring you the 2004 Big Dog Ridgeback, which is a reminder to the crazy (and concurrent with the big-engine fad at the time) trend of utterly impractical, yet wildly designed choppers of a decade ago. What did the 2004 MO crew think about it? Considering Sean thinks you’re an idiot if you fell for the chopper fad, that should set the tone for this story.
Sena has been on a tear, lately. The Bluetooth communication company threw down the gauntlet with the release of the Sena 20S Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication System, bringing class-leading features and ease-of-use to the helmet communicator market. Then, back in December, Sena jumped into the action-camera fray with its Prism Bluetooth Action Camera featuring a unique Bluetooth audio recording capability. It might seem logical to sit back and let these two products gather market share. Instead, Sena has released a product that combines many of the key features of the 20S and Prism into one package that checks in at $349 – significantly less than the 20S/Prism combo, even with the recently lowered Prism price.