A last-minute flight change, dense fog, a diversion to Abilene for refueling, an engine malfunction, a 3.5-hour rental car drive from Abilene to Austin – I arrive at Austin Land and Cattle restaurant 12 hours after having departed Los Angeles, halfway through the technical presentation for Suzuki’s 2015 GSX-S750. Suzuki’s Steve Bortolamedi kindly greets me with a scotch and rocks. Then, the wife calls to inform me someone sideswiped our van. Make that a double, Steve.
Not to disparage India’s Border Security Force (BSF) or the country’s national bird, but what is this peacockery? In news reports of Barack Obama attending India’s annual Republic Day parade, I repeatedly heard or read terminology such as “daredevil stunts,” and “dare-devilish manoeuvres.” These descriptions were in regards to the motorcycle performances during the parade by the Janbaz that can more appropriately be described as an elaborately dressed motorcycle drill team demonstration.
One year and a handful of months ago I was returning from Spain with the knowledge that KTM had constructed something special; the 1290 Super Duke R. The SDR went on to claim MO’s 2014 Bike of the Year award, as well as similar accolades from competing publications. If you read my First Ride Review of the SDR, this story will sound familiar. In what seems like déjà vu, I’m returning from Spain with the knowledge that KTM has constructed something special; the 2015 1290 Super Adventure.
Most of these I’ve traversed, but I attempted to avoid personal bias by including a few I’d like to add to my personal list of best roads ridden. So much exists out there to ride a top 10 list doesn’t do justice, nay, not even a top 100 list would begin to scratch the amount of asphalt deemed epic by motorcycle standards. These are but 10 of the best known stretches; the roads that every motorcyclist should at least ride a few of in his or her lifetime.
For no particular reason, my personal moto-wardrobe has been devoid of a new Shoei helmet for quite some time. Evans gave the new-last-year RF-1200 a fair, if not glowing, review, so when the RF’s 2015 color schemes were released, I put in an order for a Terminus TC-9 model. I wore it for the first time on my way to San Diego for Shoei’s presentation of its new adventure-touring lid, the Hornet X2. When it rains it pours.
I’m a fan of expensive eyewear, but like Burnsie surmises in his Why We Can’t Have Nice Things article, the more I spend on a pair of sunglasses, the quicker I am to destroy them. Even to complete this review I had to request a second pair of Lycans due to me losing the originals on the first overseas bike launch I attended with the sunglasses in tow. Twenty-dollar vendor-row aviators … got a box of bent and scratched ones, but it’s that I still have the low-rent shades that’s confounding. My New Year’s resolution is to have the Switch Lycans at this time next year.
With a combined 85 years of writing about motorcycles and being immersed in the moto industry, the MO staff doesn’t impress easily. And yet, when looking back at the year just passed, we’re spoiled for choices to select from our favorite rides, experiences and events of 2014.
Did ya check out our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide? It’s chock full of functional gift suggestions for adult motorcyclists. You know what it doesn’t have? A single motorcycle toy! What the hell is wrong us? Editors Scrooge and Grinch must be responsible for excluding the youth demographic.
In 1959 we laughed at the small-displacement step-throughs Honda brought to America. It didn’t take Soichiro long, though, to establish Honda as the world leader in motorcycle production. Again we laughed when, in 1992, the Korea-based Kia introduced the Sephia to U.S. consumers, then in 1998 merged with Hyundai. Last year the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group was the 5th-largest auto manufacturer in the world. The moto world has been scoffing at motorcycles from China, Taiwan and other Pacific Rim Asian countries for years now. Maybe it’s time we stopped.
Technically, and by that I mean according to the way in which the vehicles here are registered through the DMV (except Texas, but more on that later), each of these three-wheelers qualifies as a motorcycle. In California, at least, a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license to legally operate them is not required, and the two with seatbelts eschew the state’s helmet law. Still, without a more explicit category available and the law being what it is, “motorcycle” becomes the default label for this trio.
On weekdays, when the canyons are devoid of weekend road warriors, our bike testing, photo and video shoots take place. Because we maintain the same weekly, nine-to-five grind as most worker bee motorcyclists, rarely do we cross paths with the average enthusiast out for a Sunday ride.