When I first laid eyes on the 2019 Honda CBR650R, I was pleasantly surprised, impressed, and thankful. For too long the standard sporty middleweight category of motorcycles has been plagued with styling that ranges from dated to cheap to what were they thinking. The 2019 Honda CBR650R is none of these. Razor sharp styling derived from the CBR1000RR combined with LED lighting give this sporty middleweight style for miles with a look owners are sure to be proud of.
[Editor’s Note: Yamaha contacted MO to say that the model tested here is the 2020 European spec Tenere 700. When the Tenere comes here to the U.S., it will be as a 2021 model, the specifications of which have not been finalized and, consequently, may be different. The kind folks at Yamaha just wanted to give us an early test of the European model because we had been waiting so patiently for the Tenere 700 to arrive.]
In 2015, after Euro brands had been long dominating enduro and GNCC-type racing, Yamaha stepped into the game with a serious contender, a closed-course off-road competition model to do battle with the Austrians and others from tree to tree around an enduro course. The Yamaha YZ250FX is heavily based on the YZ250F motocross bike, but has been outfitted with essential off-road racing components, some of which would be costly to impossible to build out yourself. For 2019, the field is becoming more crowded with Honda’s new CRF250RX and KTM’s 250 XC-F. How does the Yamaha stack up to an increasingly competitive class? We made our way to the California desert to find out.
Not all that long ago, if you wanted an off-road competition bike, you were stuck converting a motocrosser for off-road duty. More recently, if you were looking for a high-performance trail bike, you could either build out an “X” model, or start with a motocrosser and deal with the shortcomings of each where they may fall. My first real dirtbike, aside from the clapped out vintage machines my friends and I would tinker on in our youth, was a KX250F converted for trail duty. It was a great dirtbike to learn on and grow with out in the desert, but it had a fairly substantial list of modifications to get it to that point. With the Honda CRF250RX, the market for GNCC racer-types and avid trail riders alike receives a new performance-based model for 2019.
A few years back I started riding dirtbikes. Up to that point in my life, I had it all figured out. At work, I had built and maintained marketing databases better than any of my uninformed superiors could have done and I knew it. I had been the top salesperson in a couple of different positions and, at that point, had a well-rounded background in different facets of the motorcycle industry. I knew the industry. I had my ear to the ground and I was a passionate motorcyclist, heck, some of my bosses didn’t even ride and others seemed to have no clue about motorcycles at all! Thankfully for them, I did. There were instances where I had a really hard time working on projects that I knew weren’t as efficient or focused as they could be. Most of the time, I would reluctantly put my head down and get the job done. Other times, I’d voice my opinion and get myself in trouble. I was, in a word, obdurate.
Chances are, the beating heart of your Ducati and, for that matter, every other desmo you’ve seen out on the road, was assembled, at least in part, by women. Making up 14% of Ducati’s production line in the Borgo Panigale facility, are women. The vast majority of that number is stationed on the engine assembly line, putting together the most crucial components of any Ducati motorcycle.
The Electric Wasp. We were turned loose, a silent swarm of nocuous moto-journos descending upon the city, sneaking up on the unsuspecting fashion-forward folk of Milan, only to be seen as a flash of silver and blue as we sped by. An exaggeration? Possibly, but nevertheless, we were there to test Vespa’s 2019 Elettrica, and we wouldn’t stop until we had fully exhausted the scooter’s battery and our fellow commuter’s patience.
The Paris-Dakar rally, a true test of endurance, the ultimate adventure. I’m referring to, of course, the Paris-Dakar of old, when it ran from France to the west African capital of Senegal, Dakar. It was a time when men were men and women were women and the rally itself was more of an adventure, where “winning” was simply finishing. The rally has changed a lot since its inception in 1978. Now, the incredibly competitive teams are hell-bent on racing through the South American Dakar rally stages at break-neck speeds to ensure their spot in Dakar history whilst backed by chase vehicles full of sponsorship money.
If you were given the most competent adventure bike in terms of travel and off-road performance, where would you go? Would you visit the road of bones as you traversed Asia? Perhaps wind your way through serpentine stretches of asphalt in the Swiss Alps? Or maybe your wanderlust would guide you to the Sahara, one of the harshest unforgiving landscapes in the world. When it comes to adventure, everyone’s looking for something different. Their own definition. On a motorcycle, it can be the same. Some want the most travel-capable bike with adequate off-road ability allowing them to explore further than the road stretches. Others want the most capable off-road motorcycle and the ability to travel long distances. KTM’s answer to those respective questions? The 2019 KTM 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R.
What makes the best memories? Is it the people you’re with? Is it the motorcycle you were riding? Perhaps the location where it all took place? Most times, the best memories are a culmination of variables that fell into place in just the right way. We enjoy reliving those experiences. The feelings they gave us, the sights, the sounds, the entire damn thing, we hold these types of things near to our hearts. It’s healthy to remember, but it’s also easy to get caught up in the past.
Since receiving the KLIM F5 Koroyd, I’ve put a lot of miles into this lid. Long freeway miles and multiple days back-to-back in the dirt, in both hot and cold climates. The F5 Koroyd has performed very well, thanks in part to the technology and development that has gone into this helmet. As KLIM has done with many other products throughout its lineup, the F5 Koroyd is a collaboration between KLIM and other leading companies in an attempt to truly make the best helmet possible.
The first thought that went through my head when our former bro, Brent Jaswinski, was assigned to attend the Honda CRF450L launch was, “Damn, that’s going to be a fun one.” The new Honda dual-sport was a much-anticipated model with promises of real trail bike performance in a plated package. Did it live up to the hype? Well, I couldn’t wait for Brent to write his review. So, I shot him a text, “How was it?” To be honest, I’m pretty sure I texted him while he was still at the launch for the bike. I was curious, as was the rest of the world, about whether this new model would be a thrilling performance-driven machine, or yet another soft polite dual-sport with street bike mentality. I don’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure he responded with something along the lines of, “It rips!” It was at that moment I couldn’t wait to start planning a comparison of the Honda CRF450L against the time-tested king of dual-sports the KTM 500 EXC-F.
Here at MO, comparos and shootouts are what we do. We strive to give our readers the most informative bike-to-bike comparisons. Whether it be two class-leading models brought toe-to-toe to duke it out, or bringing in every bike in a particular category, we’re here to bring you the knock-down, drag-out deathmatches MO-style.
Ryland Wakeley Sr. was born in Chicago’s Beverly Hills neighborhood, a slightly less bougie part of town compared to the California city of the same name, in 1915. As a young child growing up in Chicago, one day Ryland found himself cruising on the back of a neighbor’s Harley-Davidson, watching the pavement fly by beneath him. It was at that moment the fire was lit. A lifelong passion for motorcycles, specifically Harley-Davidson, would ensue. From then on, whatever he had going on in his life, he made sure he had a motorcycle.
I hate earplugs. I find shoving cheap bits of foam in my ears, which usually want to fall right back out, discomforting. Both to my ears physically and to my belief that they will actually do something to protect my hearing as they slowly push themselves back out of my ear canal, they provide little comfort.