Compact Octane is a newly founded SoCal based track-day provider that that has been created to give customers a more unique and different track-day experience. Here at Compact Octane we cater to machines with displacements of 400cc and below. The result is pure fun and freedom for our “little” bikes. Little bikes provide BIG fun and our goal is
To most North American motorcycle riders, China-based motorcycle maker CFMOTO is a newcomer when it comes to street bikes. Elsewhere, it’s a familiar face, especially in Australia, the Philippines, and the UK, where CFMOTO’s sub-300cc motorcycles and scooters have been sold for decades. But CFMOTO is now making a play for a share of the street bike market in America, and the new 2023 450SS is one of the high-profile new “bigger bikes” beginning to arrive at over 300 CFMOTO motorcycle dealerships across the nation.
It had been quite a while since I last rode a multi-cylinder KTM on a racetrack – all the way back to 2011 and the Red Bull-sponsored factory RC8R 1200cc V-twin on which Martin Bauer was victorious in that year’s IDM German Superbike Championship, with teammate Stefan Nebel third. That was a key moment in the Austrian dirtbike specialist’s climb up the ladder to equal status with the likes of Honda and Ducati in the road racing pantheon, and showed that orange was a color to be reckoned with on-road as well as off it.
Digging deep into our archives, we bring you this First Ride review of a legendary motorcycle: the 1995 Suzuki GSX-R1100. The GSX-R1100 became super popular in drag racing circles and for good reason – that 1074cc four-banger was made to zip you in a straight line quickly. If it was handling and circuit performance you were looking for, the GSX-R750 was the bike to choose. The 1100 was the sport tourer of the time even if it wasn’t supposed to be. At least we’d consider it one now thanks to its smooth, powerful engine, clip-ons above the triple, and comfortable seating position.
One of the worst-kept secrets in motorcycling is now a secret no more: Kawasaki has announced the Ninja ZX-4RR KRT will be coming to the US in 2023, (hopefully) ushering in a revival of 400cc four-cylinder sportbikes that were all the rage in the 1990s. But unlike the current parallel-twin Ninja 400, which is essentially a budget bike dressed in sportbike clothes, this newest model is worthy of the ZX prefix, as it boasts proper suspension, twin radial brakes, a full electronics suite, and chassis geometry inspired by its ZX-6R and ZX-10R siblings – oh, and let’s not forget – a compact four-banger that will rev to over 15,000 rpm! But more on all those things in a minute.
It’s a little strange to hear Nate Kern call me, and everyone else in the rider’s meeting, one of his kids. “It’s true,” says the childless Kern as he can see the weird looks on our faces this chilly December morning at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. “I’m man enough to say I care about you guys and when you’re here, at one of my trackdays, all I want is the best experience possible for you.” This might sound like lip service since every trackday provider wants you to have a good time, but Nate Kern and his eponymous DoubleRFest trackdays have the weight of BMW behind it to come as close as possible to ensuring this sentiment rings true.
It seems a little crazy that anyone with the cash can just pull up to a Ducati dealer and walk away with a Panigale V4 S. What it has to offer would have seemed like science fiction just a decade ago. For starters, a decade ago who would have thought Ducati would deviate from its beloved L-Twin for its flagship superbike? Not only has Ducati doubled up its cylinders, but it has continued its winning ways. The 2022 Panigale V4 S is the byproduct of many of those lessons. It’s done so while keeping in mind that pros and regular schmucks like us ride these things too, so making it easier and more accessible to ride – and ride quickly – was also a focus. The convenient byproduct is that a bike that’s easier for average Joes to ride quickly also translates to a bike the really fast guys and gals can ride quickly, too.
Earlier this year, reports emerged that BMW had filed trademark applications for “R12”, with many predicting the name would be used on a new cruiser. The logic made sense, as the naming structure was similar to the R18, and BMW lacked a cruiser model in the 1200-ish range. We were a little less bullish on that theory at the time, and we suspected there was more to the story. And now, new evidence has emerged that may justify our skepticism.
Ever since we first uncovered evidence of a YZF-R7 based on the MT-07, people started to ask when Yamaha would do the same to the MT-09 and release an YZF-R9 sportbike using the same 890cc Crossplane Triple. The questions picked up a few months later when we dug up trademark filings for a whole range of model names from an R2 to an R9.
KTM announced updates for its RC 8C sportbike, including a reworked, more powerful engine, a new exhaust, updated electronics, and the latest WP suspension. Produced once more with the help of Krämer Motorcycles, the RC 8C will have a limited run of 200 numbered units, with a suggested retail price of US$39,599.