We have mixed feelings about KTM nixing the 890 Duke R in favor of the all-new 990 Duke (and bringing back the 790 Duke). Sure, the bigger Duke is bound to be a ton of fun, but the 890 hit that sweet spot where power, handling, and fun collide. And the price has always been right, too. It was a winner in more ways than one, as evidenced by the many comparison tests we’ve put it in – and where it usually won. The 890 Duke R earned our admiration over the years, and as much as he didn’t want to admit it, our beloved Evans Brasfield secretly yearned for one… after he’d already modified his 790 Duke to compete.
There’s a saying in combat sports that styles make fights. Dominant fighters can sometimes be put on their hands and knees by someone with a style they aren’t prepared to defend. Other times the fans are treated to a show because the favorite has to adapt to a fighter with an unorthodox technique. Ali vs. Frazier became legendary because not only were the two complete opposites in the ring, but they were opposites out of it, too. In more modern times, Tyson Fury became the current heavyweight champion by using skill and agility to beat Deontay Wilder, a fighter who uses his ridiculous punching power to clobber his opponents – while also making up for his relative lack of experience with the Sweet Science.
Touring on motorcycles has always been fraught with variables, and adventure touring, with its off-road excursions, only increases them – exponentially. We’d been planning a trip to South Dakota to ride the Black Hills’ extensive road and trail system and were scheduled to hit them on the first day of the season. We weren’t going to let a little thing, like a week of rain prior to our arrival, dampen our enthusiasm. So, we were surprised when the trails were mostly dry and not muddy, with the exception of occasional mud puddles that ranged from a couple of inches to a foot – or more – in depth. With the opaque nature of the puddles, we had no choice but to venture through them blindly. What could possibly go wrong?
C’mon, you knew it was going to happen. How could we not put the newcomer to the ADV scene head-to-head with the long standing heavyweight from the Fatherland? Our comparison of the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special and BMW R 1250 GS kicks off a series of monthly two-bike tests for 2022. Look out for a new scorchin’ comparison from MO every month. Spanning the smorgasbord of genres, your favorite kooky MO characters will ride, review, and bicker about some of the spiciest meatballs on the market today. To kick things off though, America versus Germany!
Welcome to Motorcycle.com’s 2021 Heavyweight Naked bike Shootout. If you haven’t noticed, 2021 has been the year of naked bike shootouts here at MO. We’re dubbing it Motorcycle.com’s Naked Summer, and it has all been building up to this moment – seven of the biggest, baddest naked bikes on the market today. We’ve teased the bikes on our Youtube channel for days now, and we’ll also assume you’ve already seen the specs for these seven monsters in our Spec Sheet Shootout, expertly crafted by Dennis Chung.
Don’t look now, but the field of naked bikes slotting in just below the 1000cc mark is starting to rise – and we’re all the better for it. Maybe the OEMs have figured out that those big beasts in the upper echelons of naked bike performance are just too much for the more sensible among us. They’re too big, too fast, too powerful, with too much electronics, and too much of a price tag. For those of us still with a desire for naked bike fun, but at a slightly more moderate pace, we bring you the assembly of motorcycling you see before you.
With news of the Yamaha R6 going the way of the dodo bird, we thought it fitting to take a look back through the Motorcycle.com archives to see all the things we’ve written about Yamaha’s mighty little sportbike. Like the R6, Motorcycle.com has gone through a few changes since its inception in 1994, but fortunately for us, we’ve (barely) been around just long enough to see the R6’s journey. What follows is a trip through time with all the R6 stories that haven’t been lost during various server changes in MO’s history.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. The ER-6n is no more, but Kawasaki will sell you a Z650 for only $600 more this decade later – $6,999. And while Gladius has left the building, the Suzuki SV650 remains, for a mere $200 more than ten years ago – $7,099. Let us bow our heads in honor of the cheap middleweight twin, and haggle. Whirled without end, amen.
We probably didn’t really need to compare the Honda CB1000R and Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe since they’re polarized enough in the looks department to make it appear that potential consumers will be drawn to one or the other – and their performance and mission statements both are close enough on paper to make them more or less interchangeable, aren’t they? I think we really just wanted an excuse to ride both of them again, they’re both such charismatic motorcycles. Everybody wants to hang out with them. What is a café racer? One that flits from Starbucks to Starbucks? Close enough for us.
It’s not that I didn’t want to go on the big Adventure Bike Shootout a couple weeks ago; it’s just that I didn’t want to die a hot, thirsty death in the middle of nowhere. My perfectly legit excuse, though, was that as a team player, I want what’s best for MO, and having anybody less than a guy who really knows how to ride 600-pound motorcycles over terrain Marines would refuse to assault would be a disservice to both the manufacturers and MO’s faithful readers. Am I right? Of course I’m right. I know people who can ride a Triumph 1200 Explorer up and down vertical single-track trails; I’m not one of them.
This week you might notice Motorcycle.com being a little quieter than usual. The reason is because most of the MO staff are out riding in our Sorta Annual Big Adventure Bike Shootout. For 2018, we’ve gathered seven of the biggest and baddest adventure machines out there. The plan? To put them through their paces on both the pavement and the dirt. To prove we’re serious about the dirt part, each of the contenders here comes to us with wire wheels, except for one, which we’ll get to in a moment.
In those days, the rate of publication wasn’t anything like it is today, and so Plummer and Roland Sands and the other three wise men were able to spend not only days at Willow Springs, but even more time at SoCal’s finest dragstrips, wearing out clutches and making passes in an apparently tireless effort to name 600 numero uno – at a time when that class was hugely important. Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki all still produce great 600 supersport bikes, but it’s not like it was 19 years ago.
When last we left it, in February, the BMW K 1600 B won out over a pack of six other baggers on our overnight whirlwind tour to Hoover Dam, Sin City and parts east. Some didn’t feel the six-cylinder German wonderbike should win since it’s not really a V-twin bagger, but then we’re not really bikers, either, so we just picked the motorcycle we liked best. The BMW was the smoothest, fastest, comfiest, highest-tech two-wheeled vehicle out there that sports saddlebags and a windshield.