The latest trend among in motorcycling is introducing a new superbike alongside a higher-spec premium versions. European manufacturers like Ducati and MV Agusta had been doing this for a while but the Big Four Japanese OEMs are now joining in, first with Yamaha and its YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M. Earlier, Tom Roderick gave us a look at Honda’s CBR1000RR SP and SP2 and now he takes us through Suzuki’s new 2017 GSX-R1000 and GSX-R1000R.
Suzuki drew inspiration from its classic DR-Z Dakar racer and its production version the DR-Big, in updating its V-Strom 650 and 1000 models. Each available in regular and wire-spoke XT versions, the 2017 V-Strom 650s are available in dealerships now while the V-Strom 1000 models will arrive in showrooms early next year as an early 2018 model.
Some of you may not be familiar with SSR motorcycles, but with 200 dealerships across America, the company is steadily establishing itself within the industry. At AIMExpo 2016, Tom Roderick visited the SSR booth, where he saw first hand some of the cool new models the company will be releasing soon, including the Buccaneer Cafe and Buccaneer Classic. Both are powered by 250cc, air-cooled V-Twins with stylish designs and attractive price tags. Other models include the scrambler-style XF250-DT and custom-looking XF250 Snake Eyes. Both are powered by a 250cc Single. Rounding out the range are the Lazer 6 moped and SEEV-800 electric scooter.
Earlier this month, Yamaha revealed an updated MT-09 at the Intermot show in Germany. At AIMExpo, Yamaha presented the revised Triple again, this time under its North American market name as the FZ-09. Key updates include an upgraded fork, assist and slipper clutch and a restyled headlight based on the FZ-10’s unit.
The biggest news out of this year’s AIMExpo is the world premiere of the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6. With a proven track record in MotoAmerica and World Supersport racing, the R6 gains new aerodynamic styling inspired by the R1 as well as the superbike’s KYB fork and brakes. The new R6 also receives selectable ride modes, traction control, ABS, a lighter aluminum tank and a magnesium subframe.
If you’re wanting to spend some quality time with your millennial hipster kid and think some shared motorcycle experiences are the way to do it, but you don’t want to relive your ownership of a Honda CB400, and have the means to afford a shiny new two-wheeler even the youthful bearded crowd will have a hard time pooh poohing, BMW’s new R NineT Scrambler might be for you.
Soon we’ll be assembling the combatants for our third naked bike shootout this year. Why another one? Because Yamaha’s new FZ-10 is forcing our hand. Our First Ride Review of the FZ-10 was published at the end of July, a mere week before our Naked Sports Six-Way Shootout hit the digital newsstand in early August. Prior to that, our 2016 Ultimate Streetfighter Shootout between the two reigning kings of the naked bike world – Aprilia and KTM – was published all the way back in April. Leaving the FZ-10 as ridden but not juxtaposed.
If the technologies driving motorcycle components progressed at the same rate as motorcycle helmet technology we’d still be riding around on drum brakes. Where’s the motorcycle helmet equivalent of cutting-edge technologies such TC, C-ABS or semi-active suspension? The general construction of motorcycle helmets hasn’t changed much since leather lids became passé: a hard outer shell, impact-absorbing EPS (expanded polystyrene) liner, comfort padding. Helmets are certainly lighter, quieter, more comfortable and safer than their bygone counterparts, but I would have argued 20 years ago that the features touted by failed helmet company start-up, Skully, would have been commonplace by now.
The one overriding edict in choosing this year’s consortium of adventure bike players is obvious from the story’s title – spoked-hoops, which essentially demonstrates a manufacturer’s commitment to the off-road worthiness of its bike. The introduction of Honda’s new Africa Twin has the potential of re-racking the pecking order in motorcycling’s hottest category, so we gathered five of its likely competitors that are either top-rated or recently updated. The Honda bridges engine displacements, ranging from Triumph’s 800cc Tiger XCx to Yamaha’s 1199cc Super Ténéré ES, and we also included ADV icons like KTM’s 1190 R Adventure and BMW’s what-will-they-think-of-next R1200GS Adventure, plus Ducati’s radical A-T entrant, the new Multistrada Enduro.
When last we visited a Triumph Tiger 800 in XC guise it was in a shootout against BMW’s F800GS Adventure in 2014. This was prior to Triumph’s further diversification of the lineup which now consists of eight models – four XR and four XC including the XCx tested here.
Drum roll… And the award for most enthusiastic gear presentation goes to Alpinestars’ technical media guru, Heath Confran! Applause, cheers, whistles… Heath’s excitement for Alpinestars’ products is palpable and infectious. For good reason because coming soon Alpinestars has a variety of cool new kit for all riding disciplines. The marathon presentation included way too much to cover in entirety, so we chose our favorite five items. For viewing everything new that requires a license plate to ride, go here. For all you dirt-only guys, click here. To see our five faves simply continue reading.
There was a lot of hoopla last weekend over the accomplishment of Cal Crutchlow being the first Brit to win a premier-class Grand Prix race since Barry Sheene in 1981. Congratulations, Cal, don’t get cocky. Which is exactly what he did following the race referring to his competitors as “wimps” – an accusation basted with the decorum of his enrollment in “the Donald Trump School of Tact and Grace,” according to Bruce Allen’s post-race autopsy. So let’s put this in perspective; Cal won a race – a rain race due to lucky tire selection – not a championship based on skill and season-long consistency.
The touring segment is slow to change. Honda’s Gold Wing is always a contender and could easily take the win or the runner-up, and so too could numerous full-dressers from cruiser manufacturers. But in our opinion, nothing matches BMW’s K1600GT/GTL when it comes to combining all the comfort and amenities expected of modern mileage gobblers, with the performance and handling capabilities of more nimble sport-tourers. We even included the GT model in our 2014 Heavyweight Sport-Touring Shootout and the Beemer crushed ’em.
We had to wait a few years for Honda to get on-board with the current Adventure-Touring trend, but when Big Red finally did, it did with the most iconic of Honda off-roaders. The Africa Twin namesake is a lot to live up to, but the latest edition does so, not by being a hardcore Dakar performer, but by being one the most balanced, all-around big-bore ADV bikes on the market.