You likely didn’t need the title of this week’s Church feature to figure out what bike is the subject this week. One look at the main photo is all that’s needed for one of America’s iconic motorcycles. This week, we’re looking at the 2009 Harley-Davidson Street Glide, as told through the eyes of our own Pete Brissette, as he reacquaints himself with the new and improved Street Glide while riding up one of the country’s best motorcycling roads: California’s Highway 1, better known as Pacific Coast Highway. To see more of the 09 Street Glide, be sure to check out the photo gallery.
There’s a lot to like about Triumph’s Explorer, including excellent comfort, rugged styling and an amiable three-cylinder engine. However, our recent nine-bike comparison test of adventure bikes revealed the Explorer falls short of competing on level terms with the latest and greatest in this rapidly evolving category.
No review of an adventure bike is complete without the observation that few of them will probably ever turn a wheel off-road, since ADV bikes are the SUVs of the motorcycle world, and SUVs rarely get taken off-road. But motorcycle people are way more adventurous than car-driving ones. And even though the new crop of adventure bikes have a lot to recommend them even if you do only ride on pavement, the best of them are packing technology that makes hitting the dusty trail easier and safer than ever. It seems a bit wasteful and sad if you never use that capability.
When setting out for a tour, be it extended or just a weekend jaunt, you need to plan for any hurdles you may encounter on the way. The best strategy to increase your odds of being able to continue your ride after a mishap or mechanical issue is to carry a tool kit that includes more than just the basics. While your bike probably came with a factory kit, you’d be foolish to count on it to serve as anything more than a paperweight. Read on to see what tools I think you should carry – at a bare minimum – on your next tour.
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.*
Harley-Davidson cognoscenti are familiar with the hole in the Motor Company’s touring line up. Well, after two years absence, the Road Glide Ultra returns as a 2016 model. The vacation appears to have been good to the Ultra, which rejoins the model line tanned, rested, and with a new body to show off.
If your dream motorcycle trip involves long distances and limited time, we don’t think there’s a better way to bridge that gap than BMW’s K1600 platform. Consisting of the sporty GT, luxo GTL and opulent GTL-Exclusive (which was the Best Touring Motorcycle of 2014), the K16s allow ambitious and well-heeled riders to comfortably and ably burn up miles by the thousands, no matter if the roads are straight or coiled. The K16 shrugs off every type of path its see-around-corners headlamp is pointed at, and it does so with immense grace once past the bike’s awkward phase below 5 mph.
Last year, it was BMW’s fabulous R1200GS sharing the MOBO in this category with KTM’s brilliant 1190 Adventure, as each excelled in their own particular ways. This year the tie was broken by the stunning new 1290 Super Adventure, an amalgamation of the 1190 and the audacious Super Duke R, our 2014 Best Motorcycle of the Year. Previous KTM Adventure models such as the defunct 950/990 and the concurrently available 1190 Adventure and 1190 Adventure R have always had the upper hand in terms of lighter weight and more serious off-road performance (especially the R model). With the new 1290 Super Adventure, KTM ups the ante in terms of over-the-road performance while maintaining enough off-road chops to allow confident journeys off the beaten path.
Ten years ago, Kawasaki had a touring cruiser priced at $13,000. It had a 1552cc V-Twin with plenty of accouterments and power to take its rider to voyages unknown. It was called the Vulcan Nomad 1600, and even ten years later we still think it’s a good bike. However, let’s go back to its introduction in 2005 and Sean Alexander’s first impressions of a cruiser that is more than simply an old model with a bigger engine. As Kawasaki proved, a simple refresh can have a big impact. Now, don’t forget to check out the photo gallery for even more images of the Nomad 1600.
Touring America is one thing. Expanding your range to include Canada and Mexico is another. But for truly leaving your comfort zone behind, nothing beats putting an ocean between you and home. Whether your foreign country of choice be Africa, Australia, Japan or one or many of the Eastern or Western European countries, touring abroad is an experience tailor-made for motorcycle travel, largely because the rest of the world is more inviting to motorcyclists. You’ll return not only with life-long memorable experiences but also with a new perspective about motorcycling.
A day after we brought you information about Honda’s new adventure bike based on a leaked promotional video and spec sheet, Honda has come forward with full official details and images of the much-anticipated CRF1000L Africa Twin. The official release confirms the information we published yesterday but offers more detail, including specifications for the U.S. market.
The great thing about being a motorcycle rider in this part of the globe is that you can do and see plenty on two wheels within the confines of the contiguous 48. However, if you want to expand your borders a little (literally), the options for moto-exploration become even greater should you decide to travel either north or south. Of course, I’m talking about touring to Canada or Mexico. While there are plenty of great roads, paved or otherwise, in both countries, this particular piece is aimed more towards the rider who has never embarked on a trip across these international borders. Here are a few tips on what you need to know, helpful advice, and suggestions to make your ride just a little more enjoyable.
One of the beauties of living in America is that if you’re traveling by motorcycle here, you don’t really need to go anywhere else. We’ve got it all packed into our 3.806-million square miles, from purple mountain majesties to damp New England villages, vast fruity plains and burning sands. Hop across Canada to Alaska if that’s not enough, maybe catch the ferry to Russia. Jump the southern border, and Mexico’s your oyster. Unfortunately, we have no autobahns, but large chunks of the Louisiana Purchase are so sparsely populated, you can intermittently pretend like we do. When it’s time to combat cabin fever and claustrophobia, we Americans are coming from a good place.
Folks who ride motorcycles frequently have a high level of independence. So, when it comes to touring by bike, many choose to go their own way instead of signing up with a company organized tour. While this is particularly common when the ride begins from your home turf, you can also do it when you decide to rent a bike in some remote exotic locale.
The 2015 Isle of Man TT festival has been a corker. McGuinness, Hutchinson, Anstey and a host of up and coming riders set lap records and made history. And to cap it, the island has bathed in near-perfect weather. Save for a few days in practice week where the a storm and the misty ‘Cloak of Mannanan’ descended upon the island, wreaking havoc with riders, campers and race organizers, we have been blessed with sunny, warm Northern California-esque conditions for virtually the entire meet.