The early years of the new millennium saw the rise of the big-bore battles amongst many manufacturers. However, we’re not talking sportbikes in this case. Far from it. The big-bore war was waged in the cruiser battlefield, and one of the combatants in this fight was the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000. For this week’s Church feature, we go back to 2004, and the MO staff review of this surly beast of a motorcycle. Is bigger really better? Here’s what the old MO staff has to say about that.
This week’s Church feature takes us back to 2002 and the introduction of the Victory Vegas. The latest model from the “other” American motorcycle manufacturer, the Vegas is the result of new-age design and engineering. Designed from the ground up via computer programming, tweaks, changes and modifications could quickly be implemented before production began. The result? Well, here’s Calvin Kim to tell you how he got on with it.
In last week’s Church feature, we showcased the competent, if not boring, Kawasaki Vulcan 800 classic. This week, we turn our attention to Suzuki’s interpretation of a middleweight cruiser: the Intruder Volusia 800. While occupying a similar space in the cruiser landscape as the Kawasaki, according to Brent Avis, who penned the story, the Suzuki goes about its business in an entirely more entertaining fashion. Jump ahead 13 years to present day, and it almost seems strange to call Kawasaki the tame OEM and Suzuki the exciting one. But such were the days back then. Check out Avis’ review of the Volusia 800 below and transport yourself back to 2002.
When you create the largest V-Twin manufactured in Europe and have placed it in a pair of cruisers that have garnered favorable reviews – one of which was named the Motorcycle.com Best Cruiser of 2013 – the natural thing for a motorcycle company to consider is how else can the stable of motorcycles based on this DNA be enlarged.
In preparation of our upcoming 2015 Superbike Shootout we came across this similar gem posted a decade ago. From then to now we find similarities in the entrants as well as the editors, such as Yamaha’s R1 and Sean Alexander. In terms of performance, things have, of course, progressed far beyond what these four machines possessed – mostly in the realm of electronics. “You don’t have a 6-axis gyro, TC, slide, lift and launch control,” asks the 2015 of its predecessor.
Harley-Davidson’s V-Rod was supposed to be the answer to the nay-sayers who clamored that The Motor Company was stuck in the past and couldn’t produce a contemporary powerplant. Considering the engine is still around in H-D’s lineup today is a signal that, at the very least, Harley hasn’t given up on its first mass-produced liquid-cooled engine. In 2002 MO had the opportunity to throw a leg over the then-new VRSCA V-Rod, and in this week’s Church feature, we revisit that test to see what our editors thought of Harley’s rendition of a sportbike.
Sometime during the start of the new millennium, the cruiser manufacturers made a push toward producing models that could best be described as “muscle cruisers.” These bikes packed big engines into minimal frames with big shoulders and mean street cred. The Honda VTX1800 featured in last week’s Church feature is one such motorcycle. These bikes were an attempt to appeal to current cruiser customers while also grabbing the attention of, say, a sportbike rider looking to hang up his or her leathers for something less committed. This week we bring you another in the muscle cruiser category: the 2002 Yamaha Road Star Warrior. Boasting over 100 lb.-ft. of torque and a front end inspired by the YZF-R1 sportbike, the Road Star Warrior was an aggressive attempt by the Yamaha/Star brand to bridge the gap between cruiser and sport buyers. What did we think of it? Read our first impressions below from the Warrior’s new model introduction.
Full Disclosure: I already loved this bike before I ever even laid eyes on it. MV’s stunning Rivale got my heart racing and when I first heard they were considering a long-legged sport-tourer with an 800cc-Triple, I didn’t even need to hear its sublime “Turismo Veloce” naming before I knew I wanted one. Then came the aggressively voluptuous visuals followed by a long wait between the time we shot a video of the bike’s unveiling in late 2013 and this actual first ride in spring of 2015. Many of us began to wonder if the bike had been stillborn, the victim of some budget cut or other ignoble fate. Alas, our fears were simply due to our own high expectations and MV deciding to really take their time nailing their first ever touring motorcycle. Now it’s time to see if that wait has paid off.
This year marks the debuts of several remarkable new motorcycles tugging hard at the moto spotlight, and the most intense category is the literbike supersport/superbike category. BMW’s class-leading S1000RR has been updated and tested here. Yamaha offers a ground-up re-do of its R1 tested here, and it comes equipped with perhaps the most advanced electronic rider aids of any company. And let’s not forget Ducati’s awesome 205-horse 1299 Panigale tested here, nor the outrageous supercharged Kawasaki H2 tested here!
Last time I was at Auto Club Speedway, the MO crew was testing the three fastest streetfighters, and it was a rush to see speedometers creep past 160 mph on the banked front straightaway. This week I watched numbers rush past 175 mph on the same track, this time aboard the quickest-accelerating production vehicle on the planet, Kawasaki’s 2015 Ninja H2.
I was perfectly happy with the kid-sized Camelbak I got my son when he was, what, six years old? But when the wasteful child was last home from college and saw it drying on the clothesline, he disposed of it while I wasn’t looking in spite of the fact I told him Jimmy Lewis himself had told me the black stuff growing in the hose was nothing to be concerned about. It had been colonizing in there since the mid ’oughts and hadn’t killed me yet. With another long hot summer fast approaching, I was forced to obtain a new “hydration system.” I never do any of the sort of serious “enduro” riding this kind of backpack is really designed for, but over the years I’ve found they’re also fantastic for street riding, especially when it’s hot and dry. And especially if I’m going anywhere with Brad Banister.
I was on a GSX-R600 the last time I was at Misano, and the world-renowned Italian racetrack seemed quite lengthy, with several long straights to stretch throttle cables for extended durations. Aboard Aprilia‘s new and more powerful RSV4, the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli seemed like an overgrown go-kart track.
With the news of Erik Buell Racing closing its doors, this week’s Church feature pays homage to one of Erik Buell’s most popular models: the Buell Ulysses. In this particular case, it’s the 2008 Buell Ulysses XB12XT. Separating the XT from the standard X version of the Uly is its sport-oriented tires and slightly tweaked suspension to suit riders who prefer twisty pavement to dirt roads. Penning this story is MO’s Pete Brissette, who might have left the MO crew a fews years back, but is always welcome along these parts. Read along as he goes for a ride aboard the new, sportier Ulysses. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and Erik Buell, if you’re reading this, we hope to see you back on your feet soon. Lastly, be sure to check out our photo gallery for more pictures of the Ulysses XB12XT.
I didn’t need a CR Spotless Water Systems Deionizing water filter deal, but now that I have one it’s hard to see how I could go on living without it. When CR’s nice PR woman asked if I’d like to try one, I almost didn’t. I’ve used the “Spot-Free Rinse” at the car wash, which I decided is probably a bad translation from the Chinese “Free Spots 25 Cents”. Rinse your thing with this CR Spotless deionized water, and you’re supposed to be able to walk away and let mother nature do the drying without worrying about unsightly water spots.