MO Tested: Massive Riding Jeans Buyer's Guide

For generations, the image of bikers in black leather jackets and blue jeans has been a (somewhat accurate) stereotype of motorcycle fashion. Riders and non-riders alike donned this gear to portray this lone individualist image. In fact, the riding gear I wore during my first, formative motorcycle trip as a newly-minted rider was a black leather jacket and blue jeans. And for a long time, this plus boots, gloves, and a helmet were state-of-the-art for rider protection. However, technology has transformed motorcycling in more ways than just adding computers to bikes. Over the past five years or so, we’ve seen an entirely new market of riding apparel move from obscure to relatively commonplace. Riding jeans have moved from merely being denim jeans with a layer of abrasive-resistant material as an under layer to fully technical motorcycle gear with certified armor and a variety of styles and materials.

Naturally, we, here at, thought that it would be interesting to take a deeper look at what this popular class of riding apparel has to offer. In the end, we ended up testing 34 pairs of riding jeans. We spent months gathering them and coming up with a uniform way to look at them and convey their qualities, both good and not-so-good, to our faithful readers. You can go ahead and protest our failure to include your favorite model, but we know we didn’t get them all. It would have been impossible. Really, just getting 34 took a lot of effort.

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Showdown: 2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 Vs. Yamaha Tenere 700

As we motored slaunchways across Utah, the late daylight stretched our shadows and cast golden hues against the tall canyon walls, further accentuating the contrast between the rust colored ancient seabeds peppered with lush green juniper and muted sage. The lavender sky over Bryce faded as we continued westward on Hwy 12. Refusing to pack a second visor for my Shoei Hornet X2, I lifted the dark smoke shield as I led our crew into the dark dense forest, keeping my line of sight just above the Ténéré’s windscreen in an attempt to protect my peepers from the onslaught of kamikaze insects. In a further showing of stubbornity, I refused to roll back off the throttle while the only bit of light left – aside from what the Ténéré’s quite ample quad headlight offered – was a thick crimson band at the horizon, the bottom punctured by spire-like tree tops.

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2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Review - First Ride

Remember the day you took your first long ride on your very first motorcycle? The weather was TV-commercial sunny as you rolled down the two-lane highway away from home. The wind flowing past your body was filled with excitement as the engine sang beneath your seat. You had the world by the handlebars, and you knew this was the beginning of Great Things, that many Good Times were about to be had – all because you had chosen to take your first steps towards becoming a motorcyclist. For many of us, it was this moment that set the hook, leading to a lifetime of motorcycling, and was less a decision and more of a calling than just about any experience before it. At least that’s how it was for me, and this is the memory I had during the first hour riding the 2021 Moto Guzzi V7. 

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2022 Indian Chief Review - First Ride

It’s all about the SPT says Brandon Kraemer, who’s spent the last three years of his life working on the new 2022 Indian Chiefs as Senior Product Director. People want Style, they want Performance, and they want Technology (even if many of them don’t quite realize they want that last one).

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2021 Aprilia Tuono 660 Review - First Ride

The Aprilia Tuono 660 is a bike that I’ve been eager to ride since I first laid eyes on the pretty production-ready looking concept at EICMA 2019. Even through what was left of my tired red occhi, dried from so many hours of planes, trains, and automobiles (what I would give for that now!), I was digging the “naked” version of the RS660 more than the sportybike itself.

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2020 Motorcycle of the Year

Every year, we are faced with the task of choosing’s Motorcycle of the Year (MOTY), and typically, the debate is heated – and lengthy. This year, we reached agreement remarkably quickly – a rarity with any decision made by this crew of misfits. As we say each year, however, the MOTY is not about choosing the best motorcycle of 2020. While the choice needs to be one of the best by winning one of our MO Best Of categories (MOBO), the bike needs to be something more; it needs to say something about or do something for motorcycling. Looking back at the last five years, you’ll see that we’ve spread the MO love around, choosing an adventure bike, a sportbike, a sport-touring bike, an entire motorcycle platform, and a cruiser. Each choice has been an exemplary motorcycle, but each has expanded the way we think about motorcycling. The KTM 890 Duke R, MO’s Motorcycle of the Year 2020, is a great example of this characteristic.

2020 KTM 890 Duke R – First Ride Review

The Clash Of Two Super Middleweights: KTM 890 Duke R Vs. Triumph Street Triple RS

Track Showdown: 2019 KTM 790 Duke “R” Vs 2020 KTM 890 Duke R

Few motorcycles provide the elemental motorcycling experience in the way that the 890 Duke R does. With KTM’s marketing referring to the 890 as the Super Scalpel, you’d expect it to be a sharp-handling machine, and it is. The fully adjustable suspension immediately improves the 890’s sporting manners over the 790 Duke. Then come the brakes: 320mm discs squeezed by Brembo Stylema calipers and powered by a Brembo MCS master cylinder. With the two weaknesses of the 790 Duke addressed, KTM could have stopped but didn’t, making the final change that elevated the Duke R to the level that the 790’s potential had only hinted at. Bumping the displacement of the compact parallel-Twin to 890cc increased the torque in the bottom end and midrange – the places sporting street riders spend the bulk of their time on backroad rides. This group of changes created a motorcycle that was surprisingly better than we could have imagined the platform being based on our experience with the 790.

When riding the 890 Duke R, the first thing you notice is the increased torque. Whether in town passing traffic or exiting corners on your favorite mountain road, the parallel-Twin leaps forward when you twist the throttle. Add in the optional up/down quickshifter, and you’re headed to motorcycle nirvana (though it is somewhat marred by a clunky transmission, particularly the shift from first to second). The change in the power delivery can’t be overstated – although it’s still as friendly as the family dog until you sic it on something. However, unlike with hyper bikes, this is power that can be utilized and enjoyed on the street and not just the track, which really adds to the fun factor of the 890.

Read more Best Of 2020’s Best Of (MOBO) award season is finally here! In a typical year, this would have happened a while ago, just before the motorcycle show season began, and now, we’d be in the thick of the new model introduction season, delivering you our first impressions of the new motorcycles scheduled for release in 2021. However, we don’t have to tell you that 2020 is an unusual year. In response to the unique nature of this model year, we decided to push back our MOBO celebration to fill part of the gap left by the lack of new model introductions. Now, just in time for the end of the calendar year, we’re going to wrap up the 2020 riding season in the best way possible – before diving headlong into the 2021 season.

So, while the 2021 season is just a twinkle in a rider’s eye, we will pause to reflect on what has occurred in the motorcycling world in 2020. As is tradition, we gathered the MO staff – this year in a socially-distanced video conference (oh wait, we do that every year!) – to hash out what our choices were for ten categories of motorcycles. You may notice a couple of categories are missing this year, cutting the festivities down to an even 10 days. This is because, in classes like Best Touring Motorcycle, there were essentially no changes. However, we will bring them back when something changes. What you can expect over those days is that we’ll reveal our MOBOs and the runner-ups, culminating with the Motorcycle of the Year. Some of these choices you are sure to love and agree with. Others, not so much. That’s the way of award selections. Best Of 2019 Best Of 2018 Best Of 2017 Best Of 2016

This year we had big fun on both large- and small-displacement motorcycles, and you’ll see them well represented here. Adventure touring is still going strong, particularly in the middleweight segment, but the lightweight segment also received some love. Big dollar bikes and penny pinchers were considered. Our requirements for eligibility are pretty straightforward: MO must have tested the bike during the model year, and the bike must be available to the public at the time of publication.

We’ll begin Monday with the MOBO for Best Technology and follow on Tuesday with the Best Lightweight. Every weekday thereafter, we’ll unveil a new winner plus the runner-up. The celebration will come to a conclusion on December 18th with the announcement of the 2020 Motorcycle of the Year. Just in time for the Holidays!

Grab your riding gear. Let the festivities begin.

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Goodbye Harley-Davidson Bronx Streetfighter?

A couple of weeks ago, Harley-Davidson provided an update on its Rewire strategy, including a commitment to releasing the Pan America 1250 adventure tourer in 2021. Harley-Davidson did not, however, provide the same vote of confidence to the Harley-Davidson Bronx, leaving the fate of the streetfighter unclear.

Well, we’re starting to see a better picture now, as Harley-Davidson has quietly scrubbed all mention of the Bronx from its website. The future vehicles page, which until recently included the Bronx alongside the Pan America and their fellow liquid-cooled Revolution Max-engined “High Power Custom”, plus Harley-Davidson’s ebicycles and lightweight electric concepts, is now short one streetfighter.

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Intermot 2018 Show Coverage

Okay, the days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are staying lower. Perhaps even the leaves have started to turn in your neighborhood. That’s great news! Why? Because the Model Year 2019 show season is kicking off today in Cologne, Germany, at the bi-annual Intermot convention. That’s right, in even-numbered years, we don’t have to wait until the EICMA show in November to begin seeing what all the international motorcycle manufacturers have up their collective sleeves. While your actual riding season may be drawing to a close, we hope to keep you daydreaming about motorcycles with a list of new temptations.

Next on the show season docket will be the AIMExpo in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 11 and 12. MO will be there in person to cover the event and get all the information online for you. Then in a few weeks, November 6th, to be exact, we’ll see the rest of the 2019 motorcycles that the manufacturers have ready for us from EICMA in Milan, Italy. The biggest motorcycle industry show in the world never disappoints, so we’ll be sure to get you all the information we can from the event.

So, sit back with a mug of your favorite warm fall beverage and take some time to peruse the first tidbits of information as they flow out of Germany. You can bet your friendly MO editors are busily tracking, collating, and laying out the exciting news as quickly as we can. Keep checking back. We’ll be updating this page throughout Intermot!

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2017 EICMA Show Coverage

AIMExpo offered us some tasty hors d’oeuvres and last month’s Tokyo Show further whetted our appetites with new motorcycles from the Japanese manufacturers, but the main course is now upon us. That’s right, it’s time for the 2017 EICMA Show the largest motorcycle show on earth, where manufacturers from around the world gather in Milan, Italy, to reveal their most exciting new models. will have full, expanded coverage this year, with Sean Alexander, John Burns and Brent Jaswinski along with videographer Brett Colpitts reporting from Milan. The main press days are Nov. 7 and 8, but things will kick off Sunday, Nov. 5 with Ducati revealing several new models including its much anticipated new V4 superbike. The excitement continues on Monday, Nov. 6, with Honda and Yamaha set to introduce their latest offerings, while the rest of the floodgates open on Tuesday.

Keep checking this space for all of the latest new motorcycle reveals from the 2017 EICMA Show.

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Read more Best Of 2017

With August just around the corner, we’re cutting to the apex as we prepare to launch our annual selections for what are the best in motorcycling. MO’s Best Of awards, or MOBOs, begin unveiling the first of August, which is typically the closest the moto industry gets to a bit of a lull period in new motorcycle product launches. Best Of 2016

The previous 12 months saw the introduction of dozens of new and updated models as manufacturers look for ways to appeal to younger riders while maintaining relevance to the Boomers and Gen-Xers who continue to underpin the motorcycle industry. OEMs delivered most everything a consumer could imagine, from sub-400cc gems to the best sportbikes the world has ever seen, plus a passel of intriguing offerings in the cruiser, adventure, standard and retro markets.

As always, we begin the MOBOs with our choice for Best Product, which is followed the next day by Best Technology. After that begins the rollout of the motorcycles that have become our favorites in 12 categories that encompass what’s available in the moto world, including both a winner and an honorable mention. Each weekday will see the unveiling of a new category and its two leading players, culminating in the crowning of our 2017 Motorcycle of the Year award on August 21.

It’s been entertaining to watch as new bikes get announced and then ridden, leaving us to dissect and distill the crop into its superlative elements. Come along for the ride as we share our favorites!

History of the MOBOs:
Best Motorcycles of 2016
Best Motorcycles of 2015
Best Motorcycles of 2014
Best Motorcycles of 2013
Best Motorcycles of 2012
Best Motorcycles of 2011
Best Motorcycles of 2010
Best Motorcycles of 2009

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2017 Superbike Shootout Vanquisher

For those who’ve lapped up every word, expression, and metaphor of the performance novel that was our 2017 Superbike Track Shootout and Superbike Street Shootout, the heir apparent is as obvious as the bike coming in last place. For those still wallowing in anticipation, unable to decipher our MOrse code, you can take a breath because, without further ado, we give you…

An interesting breakdown of how we came to our conclusion.

With seven bikes demanding seven riders (eight considering there was a separate guest tester for the street test vs. the track test) over the course of multiple days on public roads and multiple trackdays, scales, dyno runs, tire changes, suspension settings, electronics variables, photos, videos – it’s an exhausting undertaking. A labor of love, but also of critical evaluation, analysis, and, yes, math.

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2017 Superbike Track Shootout

A few days riding seven of the most powerful sportbikes available on public roadways without incurring a single speeding ticket is next to miraculous. Johnny Law, wildlife, tourists, and sharing hotel rooms with one another are only a few of the occupational hazards we navigated when conducting our 2017 Superbike Street Shootout. The street-centric comparison may be representative of the actual lives most of these motorcycles will lead in the real world, but for us it’s a necessary precursor to where we prefer to be and where these bikes should actually be ridden: the racetrack.

“If you own one of these and don’t take it to the track, then you’re simply not getting your money’s worth,” says our Editor-in-Cheese, Kevin Duke. “If you want a high-performance streetbike and have no plans to bring it to a racetrack, you’d be better off with a Tuono or FZ-10 or 1190SX or Super Duke.”

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2017 Superbike Street Shootout

It’s been two years since we summoned together the superpowers of the sportbike world. In that time the Aprilia RSV4 RR, Honda CBR1000RR, Kawasaki ZX-10R, and Suzuki GSX-R1000 have either been heavily revised or completely overhauled. These changes beg a reinspection into the pecking order of world’s premier street-legal superbikes. Can Japan wrest away the literbike crown from the European OEMs, Aprilia and BMW, that have dominated the class since 2010?

2015 Six-Way Superbike Track Shootout

2015 Six-Way Superbike Street Shootout

The last time a Japanese motorcycle won a MO superbike shootout was 2009 ( 2009 Literbike Shootout), with Honda’s CBR1000RR coming out on top. The next year BMW introduced the S1000RR and changed the landscape of top-class sportbikes, winning every shootout it’s been involved until the Aprilia RSV4 seized the crown in 2015. Chief superbike flogger Kevin Duke clarifies the Beemer’s impact in his Best Of 2010 Awards.

2017 Superbike Spec Chart Shootout

“After years of incremental increases in performance among sportbikes, along comes a fresh player to shake things up in the literbike world in a way we haven’t seen for more than a decade when the first-gen R1 debuted,” said Duke.

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2017 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Vs. KTM 1090 Adventure R

Since its introduction, the Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin hasn’t stopped drawing comparisons to some of the best off-road-oriented Adventure-Tourers in the category, an honor it comes by honestly seeing as it’s such a great motorcycle.

The Africa Twin’s surprisingly dirt-worthy performance, its fairly light weight, simplicity and relatively economical $13,299 MSRP (for the manual 6-speed model) have made it a sales success. Honda seems to have remembered what a lot of other OEMs have forgotten, namely that complexity and weight can be the enemy.

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