While we’ve seen the fluctuation of “entry-level” displacements swell over the past few years in the U.S., a difference in opinion still remains among riders and manufacturers alike regarding the perfect entry-level machine. Disregarding current trends, the Austrians have decided to bring the KTM 200 Duke – a model that has existed in other markets for some time now – stateside for 2020. When asked why they felt this machine would fit the U.S. market, KTM explained the decision was to give riders a more approachable entry point to the KTM family, specifically, into the Duke product range. Now interested parties have a clear path up through the Duke lineup should they choose.
Yeah, well, maybe it is kind of a ridiculous comparison, but who went on a nice day-long adventure ride while you were locked down? Ryan Adams and I did, that’s who. Really it’s not even that ridiculous. The KTM 790 Adventure R sells for around $13,500; the 390 Adventure’s less than half that at $6,200. Ryan came back from the 790’s launch in Morocco last year calling it the best adventure bike in the world. Then it won a three-bike comparo starring Eric Bostrom…
Here we are again. Every few years Polaris (or its PR rep) rings up Motorcycle.com with the opportunity of reviewing the latest Slingshot, a vehicle now designated as an auto-cycle in most US states. It’s not a motorcycle, we know (and I’m sure there will be folks reminding us of that in every comment section available online). For 2020, Polaris tells us its three-wheeler is 70% new with upgrades spanning from the cockpit to the all-new Polaris-built Prostar four-cylinder engine and the AutoDrive “automatic” transmission mated to it. With such substantial upgrades to the machine, we were happy to flog the Slingshot SL for a couple of weeks to give our take on the new machine. This will be a motorcyclist’s perspective of the 2020 Polaris Slingshot SL.
It’s been said dozens of times, many different ways. The definition of adventure is unique to the person defining it. Like fingerprints, no two answers will be identical. Case in point: the KTM Adventure 790 R, BMW F 850 GS Adventure, and Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro. These bikes make up three-quarters of the burgeoning middleweight adventure category. These motorcycles comprise a niche within a popular category, yet within a few miles of riding each bike, it’s remarkable just how differently each brand approaches the task. The core philosophy of each marque shines through in these machines and plainly portrays how its part of the world, and the people riding there, define adventure.
The REV’IT! Quantum One-Piece Suit is a looker for sure. Whether you can handle the splattery graphics and snakeskin-esque embossing is entirely on you, but if you can, you’ll be awarded with a suit that functions just as well as it looks, and all the ladies (and/or men) will notice. Let’s delve deeper into the Quantum’s mechanics.
Lately, it’s like time travel around here. A couple years ago we put the then-new Kawasaki Z900RS up against the Suzuki GSX-S1000 in a slightly apples-to-oranges comparo, Retro or Not(ro), which the Kawi won by a hair. Now that Suzuki has their own retro based upon the GSX-S in the Katana, we felt like we had to do it again. Our duty.
Don’t you ever get tired of reading track comparisons from guys that are riding at international race-winning levels? From guys who have been racing their entire lives and who drag elbow like it’s their job (literally)? Me neither, but the guys here at MO and I thought there might be someone out there who could appreciate insight from what a novice track rider might experience when comparing some of the latest 600-class supersports. The two most recently updated of which happen to be the Yamaha R6 and Kawasaki ZX-6R.
In the wake of declining sportbike sales, we’ve seen manufacturers drop supersport models or leave them untouched for years on end. For the more versatile, upright sporty bikes, the industry as a whole has not given up. For Honda and Kawasaki, models like the Ninja 650 and CBR650R offer sportbike looks with practical ergonomics and performance that riders can grow with. With both models receiving updates within the last year – including seriously stepping up their game in the looks department – these everyday sportbikes are even more enticing than ever.
Triumph has brought out another modern classic motorcycle and, once again, hasn’t skimped on the performance. We liked this trend in the Speed Twin, and we applaud its continuance with the Thruxton RS. You get your vintage style, your upright riding position, and your smile-inducing handling. Then add to that the slight bump in horsepower, but more importantly, internal upgrades and weight savings that results in a claimed 20% reduction in rotational inertia. These updates allow the RS to spin more freely throughout the entire rpm range. Oh, and you get a 500-rpm higher redline. Woohoo!
Ever since protective moto-specific jeans hit the market, I’ve been searching to find some that I liked. It’s been a challenge. I’m 5’8” with a 30-inch inseam and pretty muscular thighs – the watermelon-crushing kind. For a long time, it was the fit that bothered me. Euro jeans were too skinny, others were too baggy. Furthermore, jeans built with aramid fiber offer zero stretch to help with fit. Even now that there’s a plethora of jeans on offer from many different brands, I’ve yet to find any that I, personally, am 100% stoked about, be it fit, color, style, etc. At long last, the Pando Moto Steel Black jeans have been like finding the needle in the haystack for me.
The Thruxton namesake is one that has described Triumph’s racing efforts throughout the middle of the past century. Now, the name designates a model that harkens back to those days that’s thoroughly modern while being meticulously designed to look the part of cafe racers from the 1960s. This new Thruxton RS continues to refine and develop Triumph’s factory cafe racer into a machine that will properly haul the mail and look smashing while doing so.
Klim makes some of the most technical gear on the market. From the companies Klim partners with, to the level of thought, research, and testing that goes into new products, it’s always exciting to hear what the brand has coming down the pipeline. Recently, I had the opportunity to take a trip with the folks from the Klim HQ in Rigby, ID, to the Gore facility in Maryland (think Gore-Tex). We had the opportunity to tour the Gore labs – an eye-opening and mind-blowing experience – and later got to check out some of Klim’s 2020 product line, which includes some new stuff that I think will be a hit for the company. In addition to new gear of its own, Klim has teamed up with In&Motion, a company that makes motorcycle airbag vests, to bring the Klim Ai-1 airbag vest to America’s motorcycling contingent.
Taking this job with Motorcycle.com has opened up an unbelievable set of opportunities for me. I’ve had the chance to ride some amazing motorcycles in some of the most awe-inspiring places. If you’d asked me when I moved from the Midwest ten years ago if I thought I would’ve had the experiences I’ve had so far, even though I’ve always been hopeful, I couldn’t have imagined just how incredible it has been. Not a day goes by, even the long ones in front of a computer, that I’m not truly grateful for this.
The Cake Kalk OR is the first in the line of a quartet of stylish Swedish electric… motorcycles? Yeah, they’re motorcycles. No pedals over here. But after a quick couple of days getting acquainted with the Kalk OR – the company’s off-road model – in Moab, UT, I came away surprised not only by how much fun was had, but also with the riding experience itself. The Cake Kalk OR is a veritable amalgam of two-wheeled fun. It’s a bit mountain bike and a bit off-road moto and a total blast to ride.
The 2019 KTM 690 Enduro R fills a niche within a niche. Ask riders of different disciplines where the 690 Enduro R falls among motorcycle segments and you’re likely to get two different answers. To off-road riders, the 690 is an adventure bike. Its big Single is smoothed out by dual counterbalancers, and a nice electronics package sets it apart from the 350 or 500 EXCs and two strokes available in KTM’s enduro/dual-sport range. Ask the same question to a street rider and you get, “It’s a dirtbike”. Dirtbike ergos, dirtbike looks, a big ol’ 693 cc Thumper, and its relatively small size – compared to 1290s – place the Enduro R in off-road territory for asphalt-locked motorcyclists.