2023 Suzuki GSX-8S Review - First Ride
The Route Napoleon is considered one of the best drives across France. It starts near the French Riviera and runs up to the southern tip of the Alps. The route earns its namesake by following the path that the one-time French emperor used to covertly make his way north after escaping his first exile. Despite wet conditions with gravelly sections enroute and frost at higher elevations, it was a most excellent place to have our first dance with Suzuki’s new naked, the 2023 GSX-8S. The second of two 776cc Parallel-Twin-powered models from Suzuki, the GSX-8S proved its mettle over just a single day’s ride in terms of being a contender in the middleweight naked category. Let’s get to it.
2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition Review - First Ride
For miles, we rode into a dense cloud of ruddy South African dust. Those dusty roads connected rocky trails and choice stretches of pavement like the famed Franschhoek pass which, on a Saturday, was reminiscent of California’s own Angeles Crest Highway. We watched eclectic groups of open topped roadsters interspersed with an equally varied slew of two-wheelers strafe from apex to apex while we made photo passes. Husqvarna had invited the world’s press to experience the new Norden 901 Expedition amongst epic terrain at the southernmost tip of the African continent.
2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE Review - First Ride
Flying over the second largest island in the Mediterranean gives a view of rocky coastlines, lush greenery, small villages, and surprisingly stout topography with mountains stretching more than 6,000 ft. into the sky. Idyllic yet rugged, the isle of Sardinia boasts addictively serpentine asphalt and endlessly challenging off-road terrain. This is where we would get our first test of the 2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800DE. An exciting new model for Suzuki, particularly due to its all-new powerplant, the 800DE carries on its shoulders both a legacy and an expectation of what a middleweight adventure bike should be in the modern era.
Nate Kern DoubleRFest Makes Its Way To The West Coast
It’s a little strange to hear Nate Kern call me, and everyone else in the rider’s meeting, one of his kids. “It’s true,” says the childless Kern as he can see the weird looks on our faces this chilly December morning at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. “I’m man enough to say I care about you guys and when you’re here, at one of my trackdays, all I want is the best experience possible for you.” This might sound like lip service since every trackday provider wants you to have a good time, but Nate Kern and his eponymous DoubleRFest trackdays have the weight of BMW behind it to come as close as possible to ensuring this sentiment rings true.
Riders taking their S or M1000RRs to trackdays on the east coast and midwest have had the advantage of attending Nate Kern’s DoubleRFest for a while now. This is where fellow BMW fans, no matter what they actually ride, can ride with each other, and with the brand’s most prominent ambassador, in what amounts to a dream trackday for all in attendance. Such events are fairly common among other European brands – both Aprilia and Ducati hold their own trackdays for their owners – so it’s not groundbreaking that BMW and Kern are following suit. The distinction here is that, after years of trying, Kern and team are finally bringing the circus out west to California – arguably the hottest market for sportbikes.
2023 KTM 890 Adventure Review - First Ride
Portugal is a great place to visit for a number of reasons, but it’s particularly accommodating for those who do it in the dirt. Compared to the rest of Europe, Portugal’s tolerance of off-road motorcycle riding knows nearly no bounds. It’s an excellent place for dual-sport and adventure motorcycles. Serpentine paved roads connect dozens of dirt paths just waiting to be explored – and I was fortunate enough to do just that on the 2023 KTM 890 Adventure.
Best Adventure Motorcycle of 2022
It was a hard choice between winner and runner-up in the Adventure category which means we’re the real winners. There are so many great options not only in the middleweight category, but also the genre as a whole. The Ducati and Aprilia are two of the latest entrants into the segment and the Tuareg managed to eke out the win for precisely the reason we’ve seen it twice now in our MOBO selection – its exceptional value proposition.
2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 Review – First Ride
The 660cc Parallel Twin-powered Tuareg proved its versatility during our long ride off-road and on from Sturgis to Los Angeles during our August Showdown. It was Evans’ and my preferred steed for the long stints on the street and gave up little if anything when the trail got bumpy. Further showing its versatility was the fact that Evans and I had the same observations despite our different levels of off-road proficiency. Being able to adjust the electronics to suit the ride really helps the tailor the Tuareg for a large swath of riders. The fact that it’s smaller in stature and displacement also helps those new to riding or the ADV scene to feel less intimidated while allowing them to enjoy their first foray into the unknown.
For Aprilia to knock it out of the park with the first really well-rounded adventure machine certainly deserves praise, and like we mentioned before, the Italian marque has managed to do so while providing a great value relative to any motorcycle segment – not just for an ADV bike. And it’s for those reasons that we’re giving the Aprilia Tuareg our Best Adventure Motorcycle of the Year award.
Best Value Motorcycle of 2022
It’s been a few years since an adventure-style moto made its way into this category – though with the popularity of the class still truckin’ along, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see another ADV rip its way into the ranks of the Best Value category. For 2022, the Aprilia Tuareg boldly displays its impressive package starting at $11,999. While $12k isn’t an insignificant sum, what you get for your money with the Tuareg transcends from being an excellent value in the ADV world to an excellent value overall.
2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 Review – First Ride
We’ve seen Aprilia’s new 660 platform stuffed into a sportbike, naked, and now adventure machines. The new Parallel Twin is a versatile mill that has been tuned to fit each of those categories. With the Tuareg, the engine has been tuned to deliver 75% of its available torque from 3,000 rpm, which turns into 85% when you hit 4,500 rpm; it also has 10% lower gearing than the other 660-powered siblings. On the dyno, rear wheel power translated to 68 hp at 9200 rpm and 44.3 lb-ft at 6500 rpm. The Tuareg likes to be spun up a bit more than others, like the Yamaha Ténéré, but it still delivers smooth forward punch throughout the low to mid-range.
Best Lightweight / Entry-Level Motorcycle of 2022
After years of KTM owning this class with its 390 Duke and (390 Adventure), there’s a new kid in town – new in the US, anyway – in the form of the CFMoto 700 CL-X. It’s only fitting, really, since CFMoto’s Chinese manufacturer and KTM have a decade-long history together. That same Chinese OEM had a pre-existing relationship with Kawasaki also, and if CFMoto’s 700 CL-X isn’t powered by an engine eerily similar to a Versys 650 parallel Twin, I will eat my cat. In fact, the 700 CL-X is powered by a Versys twin that’s been stroked by 4mm, to 83 x 64mm dimensions – a thing Kawasaki’s never had the decency to do. That takes it to 693 cubic centimeters, and a claimed output of 74 hp at 8,500 rpm (and 48 lb-ft at 6,500 revs). Which makes this one a tad larger than our usual Lightweight winners, but for $6,399, how can you not supersize it?
2023 Royal Enfield Scram 411 Review - First Ride
I’m a big fan of scramblers that can actually Scram, ya dig? When a production scrambler has the chops and capability to do what those customized rigs did back in the good ol’ days, well, that’s the real deal. Isn’t it? Royal Enfield has based this latest machine on its highly popular Himalayan ADV bike so, in theory, the new 411 should be nearly as capable as that machine while being imbued with its own style. A tweak here, some new paint there, a smaller front wheel, viola! Welcome to the Scram 411.
Best Motorcycle GPS Units to Help Find Your Way
Adding a motorcycle GPS to your riding repertoire can expand your horizons beyond your imagination. There are products on the market to suit every rider’s needs, whether off-road, on-road, or adventure. All the units covered here are specific motorcycle GPS products or units otherwise lend themselves very well to use on a bike. Your typical automotive GPS units aren’t built to the same standard as motorcycle GPS units and the often harsh environments we find ourselves in. While it’s important to compare features of the units themselves, two key elements to maximizing the benefit of motorcycle GPS units are the mapping products available and the computer or mobile device user interface. As you get deeper into this technology, you will find yourself spending more time on your mobile device or computer laying out your next ride, exploring with Google Earth, and ultimately, downloading and editing tracks you’ve actually recorded on the ground. Choosing a motorcycle GPS with the type of maps you want and the pre- and post-ride user environment are key considerations before purchasing a specific unit.
Saying that these moto-minded bits of tech have come a long way since their inception would be an understatement. Some of these units do much more than just point you in the right direction like syncing via Bluetooth to your helmet, phone and even to accessory tire pressure monitors. As they say (maybe too often), it’s a good time to be a motorcyclist.
Here’s Motorcycle.com’s list of the best motorcycle GPS units.
Showdown: 2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 Vs. Yamaha Tenere 700
As we motored slaunchways across Utah, the late daylight stretched our shadows and cast golden hues against the tall canyon walls, further accentuating the contrast between the rust colored ancient seabeds peppered with lush green juniper and muted sage. The lavender sky over Bryce faded as we continued westward on Hwy 12. Refusing to pack a second visor for my Shoei Hornet X2, I lifted the dark smoke shield as I led our crew into the dark dense forest, keeping my line of sight just above the Ténéré’s windscreen in an attempt to protect my peepers from the onslaught of kamikaze insects. In a further showing of stubbornity, I refused to roll back off the throttle while the only bit of light left – aside from what the Ténéré’s quite ample quad headlight offered – was a thick crimson band at the horizon, the bottom punctured by spire-like tree tops.
2023 Ducati DesertX Review - First Ride
When the DesertX prototype hit the scene at EICMA in 2019, it was portrayed as a Dakar-inspired Scrambler variant – that was the initial idea anyway. As you’re likely already aware, the production DesertX is anything but. Powered by the proven 937cc Testastretta 11° Desmo engine, the 2023 Ducati Desert X has been designed from the ground up as a purpose-built adventure machine.
Tracking The MO Showdown Adventure Tour
After months of preparation, MO’s biggest Showdown of the year is taking place right now, and you can follow it. We have secured an Aprilia Tuareg 660 and a Yamaha Ténéré 700, had them transported to the Get On! ADV Fest, flew out to Sturgis, SD, and are riding the two bikes back on an epic 1,800-mile street and off-road route planned by master of the long-haul journey, Ryan Adams. Accompanying him will be EiC Evans Brasfield for riding and photo duty (bets are currently being taken over how many times he’ll crash in the dirt) and MO Video Producer, Sean Matic.
2022 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R Review
What a beast, I thought to myself as I put my first few miles on the 2022 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R. In retrospect, that thought kind of made sense given the fact that the mill tucked beneath the 1290’s new tank design is an iteration of the Super Duke’s 1301cc V-Twin – the naked bike dubbed by KTM marketing folks as “the beast.” And beastly it is. Even in larger ADV garb coming in at 542 pounds dripping wet, the SA-R is still an absolute ripper of a motorcycle that is fully capable of serially killing rear tires.
2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster Review - First Ride
The Sportster hasn’t been all that sporty for some time now – that is aside from the 2021 Sportster S that the Nightster shares more than a handful of tricks with. It’s been 65 years since Harley-Davidson introduced the Sportster as America’s answer to the British invasion of bikes that had begun to increase in popularity Stateside around that time. Back then, folks used their motorcycles for everything – drags, trials, enduros, scrambles, hare and hounds, road runs, and Sunday cruising. You could do it all on a Harley according to the 1958 ad for the Sportster CH and C models below. The market wasn’t so segmented.