As a lifelong supporter of the underdog and a proponent of keeping things cheap and stupid simple, I was a big fan of the Suzuki GSX-S1000 right from the start. Basically, we’re talking 2005 GSX-R1000 with much improved ergonomics, more supple suspension, EFI, and other conveniences of modern life that make deploying 144 screaming inline-Four horsepower a kinder, gentler and more comfortable experience every time you leave the house.
It’s rare that a manufacturer debuts two new models at the same time unless there are multiple trims such as the Aprilia RSV4 RR and Factory versions. When MO found out we would be riding both Aprilia’s new Dorsoduro and its Shiver 900, I was actually looking forward to the novel opportunity. It would be interesting to see how different the motorcycles would feel while sharing many of the same components, most notably, the same 896cc 90-degree V-Twin engine.
In the fall of 1992 Ducati introduced its first ever Monster, the M900. It was a bike aimed outside of the company’s typical sportbike targets, a simple roadster that blended the frame from an 851 superbike with the air-cooled 904cc motor from the Super Sport series.
The only thing better than producing a hit might be producing one by accident. BMW knew the R nineT was a cool bike they hoped the younger set would like, but they claim to be surprised by just how successful it’s been. They didn’t really corral as many bearded millennials as they’d hoped, since their numbers tell them the average nineT buyer is 49 years old and as wealthy as the typical K1600 buyer. But maybe that’s because that first 2013 R nineT was a $15,000 motorcycle?
The 2017 Aprilia RSV4 is the culmination of sportbike perfection. Not only is the RSV4 insanely fast and one of the best handling motorcycles available today, its exhaust note is more intoxicating than a fifth of whiskey, while its new-for-2017 electronics package is industry-leading, to say the least. For 2016 we awarded the RSV4 our Sportbike of the Year trophy, which it may well retain for 2017.
Keeping with the 650-ish psuedo Adventure/Enduro bike theme started last week with the 1997 Suzuki XF650 Freewind, this week brings us the 2003 BMW F650CS Scarver. At the time few would call the Scarver a good-looking motorcycle, and unfortunately, the same is true today. We can thank American David Robb, former head of design for BMW Motorrad. Nonetheless, the F650CS Scarver was a new bike for 2003, shedding much of the off-road capabilities of its F650GS cousin with its 17-inch cast wheels, though the engine remains. How does it stack up? Here’s Yossef Schvetz to tell you…
I’ll be honest: I’d never heard of the Suzuki XF650 Freewind before. But as I was digging through the archives, looking for this week’s post, when I came across this beauty I knew it was the one. A Suzuki V-Strom before there ever was one, the 1997 Suzuki XF650 Freewind could easily make the case as being the V-Strom’s predecessor. Off-road-ish styling, psuedo knobby tires, street and dirt intentions – all of those are traits the V-Strom carries. Heck, both even have 650(ish)cc engines! How is it like to ride? Here’s our man Yossef Schvetz with the answer.
Head Cheese Duke may have gotten a chance to ride the new Suzuki GSX-R1000R at Phillip Island – which is probably tied at the top of every moto-journo’s bucket list of tracks to ride alongside the Mugello track in Italy – but as far as consolation prizes go, getting to ride at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, is pretty darn good. My steed? Ironically enough, the 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000. While my bike may be down one R to the one Kevin rode, to underestimate the single-R Gixxer would be a huge mistake. Let’s take a closer look to why.
When you think of Italian sportbikes, Moto Guzzi isn’t the marque that comes to mind first. Heck, it’s probably not the marque that comes to mind third or fourth, either. But every now and then, Moto Guzzi decides to break from its mold and produce a sport (well, sporty, anyway) bike. Such was the case in 1996 with the Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport. A combination of MV quirkiness and performance parts, the 1100 Sport wasn’t your typical Moto Guzzi. How did it work? Here’s Spanish correspondent Antonio Regidor Rao to tell you.
This week on Church of MO, we turn the clock back to 1998 and the Yamaha TDM 850. Long before Yamaha’s FZ-07 had the marketing department abuzz with the words “crossplane concept” in regards to its 270º firing order, the TDM 850 was already doing the same thing. In fact, it was doing it with more valves, too – five valves per cylinder instead of the four on the FZ-07. As for how it and the rest of the bike works, here’s Colin MacKellar from MO’s Dutch Desk (I didn’t know we had a Dutch Desk).
Reading about Tom’s ride aboard the new KTM 1090 Adventure R, and Scott Rousseau’s Taste of Dakar adventure has got us on a big dirtbike kick. This got us looking through the MO archives for old adventure bike stories, and this piece on the 1997 BMW F650 was among the oldest reviews on the subject we could find. Until the F650 came on the scene, BMW had nothing to cater to the newer rider. With its 652cc Single (from Rotax), BMW was hoping to fill that void. How did the bike perform? Here’s Gourd Mounce with his first impressions from the 1997 launch. For a few more pictures of the F650, be sure to visit the photo gallery.
At long last a “new” 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 is here! And in case you don’t know already, the rumors are true: Yamaha’s R6 shares the same inline-Four as the last generation R6 – but you know what, who cares? I sure didn’t as I was flogging the R6 near 16,000 revs before tapping the quickshift-enabled shifter to engage the next gear.
Recently, our own John Burns traveled to Daytona to hitch a ride aboard the alphabet soup that is the 2017 Harley-Davidson Road King Special FLHRXS. In his story, JB noted the Road King made it’s debut in 1994 – the same year the very site you’re reading right now was born. With that in mind, this week’s Church feature goes back in the vault to 1996 and the earliest story we could find about the Harley Road King in the MO archives. In reading Tom Fortune’s review of the Road King, the bike sounds antiquated even when it was brand new. Though some might scoff that today’s Harley’s haven’t changed, if Tom Fortune could ride the 2017 Road King, he’d be blown away by its fit and finish. It’s definitely interesting to see where we’ve come in the last two decades. Read on to take yourself back in time.