Once upon a time there was the Honda CBR600F, or Hurricane as it was called in the U.S. The magazines tripped all over themselves and I thought maybe I would spend my GI Bill tuition for one, but they were all sold out and I got a left-over 500 Interceptor instead – my first new motorcycle! Just as well, there was less plastic to scrape up.
An Italian is joining the small-displacement fun with the other kids, bringing to the U.S. market the 2018 Benelli 302R. The 302R carries the same inline two-cylinder motor as the previously seen in the Tornado 302, an Italian-designed, Chinese-manufactured naked bike from Benelli.
When I was invited to the 2018 Suzuki GSX250R introduction I had mixed feelings. I have only owned one personal motorcycle under 995cc. Small bikes just aren’t really my thing. While I have plenty of reasons for my bias, I was willing to go into this bike launch with an open mind and I am glad I did. This lightweight bike was tons of fun.
At Motorcycle.com, we care deeply about all aspects of motorcycling, and one of the most important issues facing our recreation and transportation is how to reach the next generation of riders. Our love for motorcycling is hard-wired into our beings, so it’s vexing for us to imagine fun-loving youth not being enthralled by the thrills and benefits of riding on two wheels. And yet we’re seeing troubling statistics that point to a disinterest in motor vehicles, an issue I highlighted in an editorial a couple of years ago.
Not since the heady days of the 600cc sportbike wars have we witnessed competition between manufacturers as fierce as it currently is between Aprilia’s and KTM’s super streetfighters. With the arrival of the Super Duke R in 2014, the monstrously torquey V-Twin-powered hooligan has been in a lock step dogfight with the Tuono and its rip-roaring V-Four. So enamored were we with the SDR it won both Streetfighter and Bike of the Year awards in 2014. For 2015 the SDR retained its streetfighter of the year title over the Tuono, but in 2016 an updated Tuono took away the SDR’s streetfighter crown by virtue of offering a nearly equally equipped but more affordable RR model alongside its top-of-line Factory version. The Tuono duo also claimed honorable mention for motorcycle of the year in 2016.
Ducati sent out a “save the date” notice alerting of an upcoming launch event and indications are it will be related to the company’s new V-4 superbike. The notice teases a Sept. 7 launch at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, promising “the sound of a new era is coming”. We’ve already seen spy photos of Ducati’s V-4 prototype undergoing testing and it appears we’ll see the first official signs of it soon.
Vehicle recalls are an unfortunate, but necessary part of the industry. Nearly every manufacturer goes through it at some point or another, usually to correct problems before they become life-threatening problems. And sometimes, manufacturers conduct recalls because someone just f**ed up. This is one of those.
Ducati released a video teasing a new model to be unveiled at the July 7 World Superbike round at Laguna Seca. The video, titled “When the End Tells the Whole Story,” offers a few tantalizing glimpses of the new model which we suspect to be a final edition version of the Ducati Panigale R.
This is an odd post, as it features MO’s former editor Troy Siahaan, who has since moved on to other pursuits within the moto industry. That leaves me, the only other MOron who has ridden the newest Gixxer, as the author of this lead-in to Troy’s final video bike review on these pages.
We’re getting a little giddy around here as we begin to gather the gamut of new superbikes for our most intensive shootout of the year! We’ve got a fabulous two-day street ride to begin our testing, stringing together some of our favorite twisty roads on an overnight trip to begin our superbike shootout. And then the hardcore performance testing will take place over two days at Auto Club Speedway with our friends at Fastrack Riders. If you can be near Fontana, California, May 26-27, you should sign yourself up for a fun day at the track with us!
In an era in which adventure-styled motorcycles seem to be taking over the sport-touring class, the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS stands out as a great example of a traditional sport-tourer. Kawasaki has taken the heart of a sportbike and wrapped it with a package that can tackle almost any task a rider could want, from commuting to canyon scratching to touring to the occasional track day. Outfit it with the optional $1165 saddlebags, and you’ve got a mount that would be a great multi-state companion for less than $14,000.
Head Cheese Duke may have gotten a chance to ride the new Suzuki GSX-R1000R at Phillip Island – which is probably tied at the top of every moto-journo’s bucket list of tracks to ride alongside the Mugello track in Italy – but as far as consolation prizes go, getting to ride at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, is pretty darn good. My steed? Ironically enough, the 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000. While my bike may be down one R to the one Kevin rode, to underestimate the single-R Gixxer would be a huge mistake. Let’s take a closer look to why.
As expected, BMW introduced the production version of the carbon fiber HP4 RACE at the 2017 Auto Shanghai show. To be produced in a limited run of 750 units, the BMW HP4 RACE claims a fully-fueled weight of just 378 pounds while its S1000RR-based inline-Four claims a maximum output of 212 hp when rated at its crankshaft.
What if a tire manufacturer told you that their new street tire had the performance chops to take 3.5 seconds off the best lap of the previous-generation tire at Spain’s Circuito de Cartagena? That’d get your attention, right? It got mine, but then again, I was sitting in a press briefing in one of the pit boxes at the Losail International Circuit so soon after the first MotoGP of the 2017 season that the rider name boards were still in place.