Coming directly off of a six-bike shootout the previous day of paltry 900cc nekids, I knew I needed to focus on rewiring my brain to handle the beast that is the Aprilia Tuono V4. I’ve been a fan (and owner) of the Aprilia Tuono V4 platform for some time now – and I’m not the only one around here. From earning the editors’ top spot in our 2017 Supernaked Streetfighter Shootout!, to bringing home the people’s choice award in our Writer’s Choice: MO’s WSBK Sport-Touring Showdown in 2019, the Tuono’s list of accolades run deep through the years both at MO and other publications worldwide – and it just keeps getting better. With an ever more hard-edged category though, the Tuono hasn’t won them all.
We last performed this public service in 2017, when your Yamaha FZ-07 prevailed over the Kawasaki Z650, Suzuki SV650, the new Harley-Davidson Street Rod, and the new and indeterminate Benelli TnT 600, in that order. The FZ-07 has since morphed into the MT-07 amidst a host of well thought-out upgrades in 2018, and then again for 2021. The Z650 got a modern instrument pod in 2020 with a few other tasteful refinements, and the SV650 hasn’t changed a bit (God bless it). The Benelli is still around but didn’t get the call this time, and the H-D Street Rod has been withdrawn from the market under a hail of ridicule. Sad.
Barreling down the back straight at triple digit speeds on the 2022 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS feels surprisingly comfortable. It could be the reminiscent nostalgic comfort in having owned two of this machine’s predecessors – one of which, the Speed Triple 955i, was my first street bike. Or perhaps it’s the fact the Speed Triple has always been an upright street bike first with its performance refined and enhanced over the decades (nearly three, at this point). Or maybe still, it’s the high-level componentry working in harmony with the 2022 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS keeping the chassis composed as I’m hard on the brakes, trailing off as I dip into the second gear left-hander.
Finding a balance of protection, ventilation, and versatility can be difficult when looking at summer jackets; however, the Super Speed textile jacket from Dainese does a pretty good job at the balancing act. While it is not new in Dainese’s line-up, it is year-after-year a bestseller that will keep you calm, cool, and collected on your summer rides.
Different is good. Change is good. Not fitting precisely into a predetermined category is good. That was the take-away from many when the Indian FTR1200 hit the market in 2019. Made in America with naked bike styling, a flat-track-esque wheel combo, and a rowdy performance-focused V-Twin engine, the FTR was unlike anything to come from an American manufacturer for quite some time – and arguably the best culmination of its mass-produced parts ever assembled Stateside.
I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the last two Ducati Multistrada press launches for MO. In late 2017, I was in Gran Canaria putting the then-new Multistrada 1260 through an endless series of switchbacks up the side of a volcano. I came away thoroughly impressed with the chassis and quickness of that big adventure/sport/touring bike. In addition to the motorcycle’s natural ability, the electronics suite allowed the ride to be tailored to fit a large swath of rider preferences. From the throttle response to the suspension – all was easily adjusted with the handlebar’s switchgear. It was the swiss army knife of motorcycles, I thought.
Back in December, I included the KTM 890 Adventure R in our selection of most anticipated motorcycles of 2021. This was a list of the staff’s most anticipated bikes, mind you. As I mentioned there, the bike was hot on my mind because I knew I would have the chance to swing a leg over it soon. I mean, how could I not be excited about a motorcycle that is capable of long days of travel while simultaneously being able to tackle the toughest terrain you’re willing to take it over. Folks the likes of Chris Birch and Quinn Cody have shown that the KTM isn’t likely to be the limiting factor. If you have the talent, the Adventure R will get it done.
The 2021 Kawasaki KX250X is essentially the same motorcycle as the ‘21 KX250(F) with a few necessary changes to convert the motocrosser to an off-road racing machine. That’s not a bad thing by any means, particularly because the KX250F just received a major overhaul this year. Since this “new” model marks Kawasaki’s focus on off-road racing – a genre it has had major success in in the past – we couldn’t wait to get our hands on this latest model.
We always say it’s a great time to be a motorcyclist. There are so many great bikes for all sorts of end uses these days. Perhaps the best example of this is the Adventure category – specifically the red hot middleweight adventure class. There are a handful of middleweights that quite thoroughly span the breadth of what moto-wanderers might consider necessary to tackle the unknown. In MO’s collective opinion, no motorcycle quite runs the gamut like Triumph’s new Tiger 900 Rally Pro.
We generally associate value with cheap when, in reality, this isn’t (necessarily) the case. The KTM 890 Duke R is a perfect example. For under $12,000 you get a motorcycle packed with performance KTM could charge 15-large for, and you still wouldn’t feel ripped off.
You don’t need big bucks or big bikes to have a swell adventure. But it helps. Or, you can have a perfectly fun adventure on either of these cute little Hondas, and still be one of the nicest people at the same time, as you’re getting nearly 100 mpg and treading lightly. These days, you take your adventures where you can get them. Instead of blasting off on a multi-day ride on big gas hogs, we poked around in our own Long Beach back yard.
The re-introduction of the Honda Trail in the United States marks a homecoming of sorts for a model that was, and still is, very special to American Honda and many Americans that grew up riding it. While attending the introduction of the 2021 Honda Trail 125 in Julian, California a few weeks ago, I had the chance to see the new model sat next to a well-preserved, but used 1985 Trail 110. The resemblance is commendable. From the dimensions themselves, to small details like the large hub on the front wheel that looks reminiscent of a drum despite the new model’s disc brakes (front and rear), Honda has done a really great job making the 2021 model a spitting image of the Trails imported to the US in the ‘80s.
When you’re not scrambling to make ends meet or get ahead, it seems like you’re constantly rallying the troops, possibly ’round the flag but usually just trying to instill pep. It’s always something, and both of those things are so ingrained in my psyche that I barely even miss roosting on the track or burning up the backroads. We were less impressed with the all-new Triumph Speed Twin than we expected to be a couple weeks ago, but when SoCal Motorcycles let us swap it out for a new Scrambler 1200 XC, it was love at first ride. Maybe in the ’60s, scramblin’ meant riding around in the desert with McQueen and those guys, but with the current state of infrastructure, now you can interface gnarly terrain without leaving the city. Scrambling is now something you can do every day.
The team and I have been grounded longer than usual this year. It’s not all bad. Some of us actually enjoy being with our family, and it’s given us time to complete those long-standing projects around the house while simultaneously creating new ones. That said, it’s only a matter of time before the antsy feeling of wanderlust starts to creep in. Nothing quite satiates a much-needed break from the day-to-day (especially the day-to-day of 2020) like a lil’ camping and a lil’ motorcycle riding.
I must preface this review with the disclaimer that this is the first Beta I’ve ever ridden. I’ve had the opportunity to spend time on various other two strokes in this genre, but the 2021 Beta 300 RR is the first from the Italian brand that I’ve had a chance to get out and ride. So don’t expect a thorough year-to-year comparison. I just can’t do it, captain!