The press briefing at a new model introduction give us the specifics of the changes made from one model year to another. In the case of the 2016 Yamaha FJR1300ES and the FJR1300A, the new 6-speed transmission has sparked the most interest, which is understandable, since adding the additional cog was requested for years by both FJR owners and the moto-press alike. Well, Yamaha’s engineers didn’t just slap on an additional gear and be done with it. They also took the opportunity to adjust the gear ratios to fill some gaps they perceived in the gear spacing and polish up the overall feel of the transmission.
We probably didn’t need to travel to Spain to find out the Super Duke GT is a terrific motorcycle. After all, it’s based on our 2014 Motorcycle of the Year, the wonderfully capable and funtastically fast Super Duke R. What was yet to be discovered was how the changes from R to GT worked to transform the hooligan roadster into a proper grand tourer.
Triumph announced an updated Tiger Sport featuring the latest iteration of the company’s 1050cc engine and electronics introduced in the Speed Triple R and Speed Triple S. Sadly, however, Triumph’s North American arm has decided not to import it to our shores. Americans last saw this bike in 2012 as the Tiger 1050 but we have been left wanting since the previous update and renaming in 2013.
When the hyperbike wars were taking off at the start of the new millennium, Kawasaki was caught with its pants down, so to speak, as Suzuki had lit the field on fire with its Hayabusa. Team Green’s response? No, not the ZX-14R we know today, but the ZX-12R. A fast bike by most measures, when placed against the ‘Busa it simply couldn’t keep up. For this week’s Church feature we have our first ride review of the 2002 Kawasaki ZX-12R, the result of Kawi reimagining the 12R (slightly) for hyperspeed touring duty since it wouldn’t win any drag strip wars.
Every chance we get, we profess our love for KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R, MO’s 2014 Motorcycle of the Year. Aggressive styling matched with a monstrous engine, sophisticated electronics, sportbike-like handling, and reasonable comfort all combined to win our hearts that year. For 2016, KTM is adding to its impressive lineup with the SDR’s cousin, the 1290 Super Duke GT. Aimed for those wanting a Super Duke R but with all-day comfort and some storage space in the form of saddlebags, the SD-GT inspires big hopes in us. In fact, E-i-C Kevin Duke will be putting it through its paces at the bike’s launch in Spain during the beginning of March.
Used to be, there was no such thing as a “sport-tourer.” It’s kind of a silly concept, if you think about it – take the biggest, slowest, worst-handling sort of bike and combine it with the smallest, fastest, best-handling. It’s like crossing an F-18 with the Goodyear Blimp, and nobody will be happy.
For 2015 Alpinestars officially labeled its new Pikes Drystar jacket as sport-touring apparel. But what is sport-touring? Is it riding fast on a saddlebag-equipped Suzuki V-Strom 1000 in the above photo, or is it spending a long weekend aboard a Kawasaki Z1000 (luggage options available) in the photo below? My mind’s eye says the Pikes jacket is appropriate for either, and looks good doing both.
KTM’s calling the 1290 Super Duke GT its Adrenaline Express. Basically we’re taking MO’s 2014 Motorcycle of the Year 1290 Super Duke and turning it into a very sporty sports tourer, with a 1301cc 75-degree 173-hp V-Twin, hard bags, touring fairing and everything you need to hit the road in a fully fuelled 503-pound (228 kg) package.
It’s remarkable to believe it’s been over six years since Honda introduced its somewhat revolutionary dual-clutch transmission in a production motorcycle. A common technology in sports cars, dual-clutch transmission technology hasn’t quite permeated its way into motorcycles. Honda still continues with the DCT today, and it’s a technology that we enjoy sampling, and we can thank the 2010 VFR1200F for bringing the tech to two wheels. Here, we get E-i-C Duke’s take on the bike and the transmission from its launch at the Sugo circuit in Japan. To see more pictures of the VFR1200F, be sure to visit the photo gallery.
KTM Italy has released information about the new Super Duke 1290 GT, a bike that will show up in its finished form next month at EICMA in Milan. According to our virtual translator, this one’s “dedicated to a sporting public that, while traveling in comfort, wants to be always ‘Ready to Race’!”
We live in an age of specialization and performance. A few words written by one of MO’s finest the other day drove this home to me. He had muttered those magic words: “200 miles per hour.” That is a very impressive number indeed. There was a time when topping a “Ton” (100 mph) was the magic number to the porridge pot helmet crowd on their British cafe racers, today we can kick around the notion of 200 mph without being regarded as completely daft.*
It’s a hat-trick. Last year’s Sport-Touring winner, and this year’s Reader’s Choice Sport-Touring winner makes it three for three by also winning our 2015 selection for Best Sport-Tourer. We guess you could say it’s a foursome for BMW’s R1200RT if you include it winning our 2014 Sport-Touring Final SmackDown + Video.
With this month’s Buyer’s Guides focusing on Touring ( Touring America: Buyers Guide, And Advice, Motorcycle Touring: Do-It-Yourself Touring) concocting a touring-focused Top 10 seemed more than appropriate. Large-displacement tourers are abundant and receive lots of press, especially in our bigger-is-better country. Choosing 10 mid-displacement bikes to shoehorn into the category turns out to be more difficult than one might think. The 10 bikes here represent more of what’s available in the category rather than a rating countdown from 10 to one. So, in alphabetical order we give you 10 sub-1000cc bikes that span a wide range of sporting, as well as, touring capabilities.