Listen to sport riders talk about a corner on the track, or maybe their favorite road, and you’ll hear things like “I come in hard on the brakes, bang a couple of downshifts, and then bend it into the corner.” Let’s just focus on the word “bang” here. Riders are broken into a couple of different categories when it comes to downshifting technique. On opposite ends of the spectrum, you’ll find the ones who flex their ankle, precisely snicking each shift with the toe of their boot, and then there are the stompers who use their whole leg. Most of us are somewhere in between, neither babying nor beating our motorcycle’s transmission. No matter how strong modern transmissions are, they still contain parts that you can bend or break if you abuse them. That’s what Rottweiler Perfomance’s Transaver is supposed to prevent.
At Daytona, Polaris loaned me a Slingshot for a few hours and I’m not even sure the three-wheeled Slingshot should be in Motorcycle.com, but that’s Evans’ problem. I just do the typing. The 2020 Slingshot is mostly new from the brake pedal forward. The driving experience is 80% automotive, 20% ATV Quad, and 100% motorcycle when it rains. It’s going to take me more than a few hours to acclimate to the oddness of this gearbox and the three-wheeler’s handling characteristics.
Polaris Industries has updated its Slingshot three-wheeler for 2020, giving it a new 1997cc four-cylinder engine, an automatic transmission, revised suspension and a redesigned cockpit. In all, Polaris says the 2020 Slingshot features “70% new vehicle content” in its first major update since its introduction in 2015.
KTM released the 790 Duke as a 2019 model in the U.S., but it was available to much of the rest of the world for a year longer. In that time, reports of shifting issues have circulated among Duke owners. While some riders report false neutrals between the higher gears, others have said that, although the quickshifter cuts the ignition, the shift occasionally doesn’t happen. Factory Pro has seen this before, calling the issue lazy shifting, and has created a kit to almost completely resolve the matter on a wide variety of motorcycles, including the 790 Duke. However, to understand what makes this kit special, we first need to discuss how a motorcycle changes gears.
Honda currently offers two versions of the Africa Twin, one with a standard six-speed manual transmission and clutch, and the other with an innovative Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) that offers two auto-shift riding modes as well as a manual-shift mode. The DCT version retails for $13,999, or $700 more than the $13,299 standard Africa Twin.
Well, I didn’t really expect the Aprilia Mana 850 GT to be much of a sportbike, but it is. Amazingly enough, when we set off into the sunset back down Ortega Highway toward civilization after a nice day riding, we didn’t get stuck behind a single cement mixer or weaving pickup or any vehicles at all – completely unprecedented – which meant we could set our own pace through all those fast, smooth sweepers. The Mana settled into a surprisingly swift one.