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.
Triumph’s Rocket III is a British interpretation of a classic American mantra: “there’s no replacement for displacement.” It’s huge 2.3 liter inline-Triple was a torque monster and ate up flat roads for breakfast. So for 2008, Triumph decided to civilize the Rocket III a tad by introducing the Rocket III Touring. Fittingly, Triumph chose San Antonio, Texas as the locale to host the international press launch for it, allowing the world’s moto-media to experience the expanse of Texas blacktop. MO’s European Correspondent, Tor Sagen, was at the launch, where he can’t help but compare the Rocket to a Harley big twin. Read his thoughts below and be sure to visit the photo gallery to see more pictures.
Back in October, Evans Brasfield penned a preview of Suzuki’s then forthcoming GSX-S750. “The middleweight Naked class just got a lot more interesting,” read his kindly subheading. At the beginning of this month (March) Suzuki hosted a press ride of the GXS-S750 in some very non-optimal weather conditions in Austin, Texas. With the first-ride review a literal washout, we withheld reporting our typical evaluation of, and Scorecard for, the Gixxus until we could perform an honest shakedown. Well, that day has arrived, and we can honestly report that Suzuki’s new naked performs almost flawlessly in the most underwhelming way possible.
After riding Yamaha’s spectacular YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M, stepping down to something like the R3 might seem a bit dull in comparison. Fortunately, that’s not the case with Yamaha’s latest entry into the beginner bike market. As I noted in my first ride review following the R3’s press intro in Northern California, the R3 is a bike gentle enough for a new rider, yet entertaining enough for an experienced rider to still have some fun.
The Suzuki Bandit has been a staple in the company’s lineup for some time. From the 600, to the 650, then the 1200 and lastly the 1250, Bandits were unique in that they were surprisingly capable of handling daily commuting duties, yet were remarkably uninspiring overall. Still, if that’s the worst we can say about the Suzuki Bandit 1250 ABS all these years later, then Suzuki succeeded in producing a solid jack-of-all-trades street motorcycle. Here, we visit with MO’s European Correspondent, Tor Sagen, to get his thoughts on the then-new Bandit 1250 ABS for this week’s Church feature. Also, be sure to check the photo gallery for more Bandit 1250 ABS pictures.
Last week you read the book, now see the Feature Film shot on location in exotic Lanzarote in glorious digital color! Okay, it’s more of a 5-minute video. Some of it is me blathering, but most of it is actual Ducati engineers who built this thing talking about it in their own words: Marco Sairu, Paolo Quatrino and Federico Sabbioni. Also some nice running footage – again some of it me, and some of it a professional rider. Enjoy and feel free to leave comments that won’t dent my fragile ego.
Our old pal Yossef Schvetz is back for another edition of Church of MO. This time the year is 2007, and the bike? The Ducati GT1000 Sport Classic. At a time when the auto world was going crazy introducing retro-themed models, Ducati took a page out of the same book and released three retro-inspired bikes of their own: the Sport 1000, the GT1000 seen here, and the highly sought after Paul Smart 1000. The Sport and Paul Smart received a lot of fanfare, but the most practical of the three variants was this, the GT1000. Here, Schvetz gives us his take on the new-old Ducati. Also, be sure to check out the photo gallery to see even more pictures from this test.
Yamaha’s been on a roll lately, with bikes like the FZ-09, FJ-09 and FZ-07 stealing headlines by proving that affordable and competent motorcycles aren’t synonymous with dull and boring. If that wasn’t enough, Yamaha also unleashed the new YZF-R1 and R1M to the masses, showing the world in one swift kick how far it can push the boundaries of technology on two wheels.
This week’s Church feature centers around two people dear to MO: Pete Brissette and Erik Buell. Long time readers will remember Pete for his various escapades under the MO umbrella and his clever approach to jotting them down with (virtual) pen and paper. Buell, of course, needs no introduction, the American motorcycling pioneer staying steadfast in his quest to deliver an American sportbike. In 2007, however, he introduced what some, including myself, thought would be a fun take on his venerable XB line of Buell motorcycles. With the Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT, Buell drew inspiration from supermoto and flat track bikes to create what was supposed to be a wicked urban assault vehicle and canyon carver. The bike didn’t quite catch on as well as Buell hoped and only survived for a couple years. Still, Pete was a big fan, and here he reflects on how cool a bike he thought the STT to be.
The Aprilia Caponord Rally is the most high-tech road motorcycle in Aprilia’s range, a touring flagship fit with everything from active suspension to traction control. What separates the Rally from the standard Caponord is the extra versatility of having standard large and sturdy panniers (33 litres each), spoked wheels enabling off road tires, a taller windscreen, front fairing crash protection and extra LED lights. Still, dynamic damping is the highlight.
A last-minute flight change, dense fog, a diversion to Abilene for refueling, an engine malfunction, a 3.5-hour rental car drive from Abilene to Austin – I arrive at Austin Land and Cattle restaurant 12 hours after having departed Los Angeles, halfway through the technical presentation for Suzuki’s 2015 GSX-S750. Suzuki’s Steve Bortolamedi kindly greets me with a scotch and rocks. Then, the wife calls to inform me someone sideswiped our van. Make that a double, Steve.
After years of manufacturers serving the high end of the motorcycle market, we’re happy to acknowledge the OEMs for finally devoting engineering resources to the entry-level sporty-bike crowd. Honda’s CBR250R upped the class ante a few years ago, forcing Kawasaki to upgrade its Ninja 250 into a Ninja 300, which then begat the CBR300R and its CB300F naked/standard stablemate.
A quick glance at the MO front page will reveal an overload of sportbike-related material this week. From Chief Editor Duke’s third installment of racetracks he’s ridden, to my very own review of the game-changing 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 and R1M, I realize MO seems a little sportbike heavy. In response, let’s change gears and focus our attention at this, the Royal Enfield Bullet Sixty-5. Where the aforementioned Yamaha is entirely tech-focused, the Sixty-5 is firmly planted in the 1950s. One cylinder, two valves, pushrods and carburettors… tech that wasn’t particularly impressive even 60 years ago. However, these things run like tanks, and if you go to Royal Enfield’s Indian home you’ll likely see plenty of these running around.
Riding an exotic custom motorcycle with actor Keanu Reeves seems an unlikely scenario, yet there I was on the twisty roads in the hills above Malibu aboard a machine bearing the initials of the film star. The KRGT-1 translates into the first production bike from the partnership between Reeves and veteran custom builder Gard Hollinger in a venture called Arch Motorcycle.