The manual transmission is well on its slide into obsolescence within the automotive world. Meanwhile, every major motorcycle manufacturer is developing fresh bikes to appeal to a new generation of riders, with a renewed focus on looking at ways to lower inhibitions of entry-level riders.
Around the MO offices, we’re filled with excitement and restraint whenever a motorcycle with “motard” in its name enters our graces. This is especially true when we took delivery of the $14,995 Ducati Hypermotard SP. With its high ground clearance, light weight, abundance of power, and dirtbike-like agility, we were anxious to rip around the city and the canyons, knowing there would be very little on the roads that could keep up. Of course, motards, more than any other kind of motorcycle, compel us with a childlike enthusiasm to act like even bigger MOrons than we are, much to the chagrin of the local constabulary.
Dare we say Honda’s been bingeing on Street Glide-style models? Some may consider it blasphemous to include the CTX in the same sentence with Street Glide, but when it comes to motorcycles sporting fairings with low-cut windscreens and hard luggage, Honda boasts five new ones: CTX1300/Deluxe, CTX700 and Gold Wing F6B/Deluxe.
Just because the likes of Ferdinand Magellan and Christopher Columbus helped map the world and make this big blue marble feel so much smaller and accessible than it did hundreds of years ago doesn’t mean the age of the explorer is over. But the job description has changed. It’s no longer about exploring completely unknown regions. Rather, it’s about simply sharing experiences that may seem unattainable for the masses and making them feel very much within reach for the motivated.
When racing organizations around the world ushered the end of the 750cc superbike era circa 2003 by allowing 1000cc four-cylinders to compete, it wasn’t long before almost every OEM dropped 750cc sportbikes from their lineups, focusing instead on developing new 1000cc beasts to comply with the revised racing rules.
Here at MO we like scooters, especially big ones. Laugh if you want, but when it comes to practical, versatile, comfortable, and fun two-wheeled transportation, scooters often get overlooked. Well, we’re here to give them their fair share. What other motorcycle will take you to the grocery store, have room for the box of cereal, gallon of milk and six-pack of beer you just bought, then welcome the chance to take the twisty road back home – all while having your left hand free to sip a latte?
A shootout comprised of four motorcycles of inline three-cylinder arrangement displacing four dissimilar engine capacities from three manufacturers? An unthinkable prospect when Triumph brought the venerable Speed Triple stateside in 1995. Yet here we are today embroiled in this exact scenario, nearly crapping our britches in childlike excitement at the wonderful diversity of three-cylinder motorcycle models from which to choose.
The Energica Ego is a strong attempt to take the electric sportbike to the next level, brought to you by an Italian company with tight ties to the exotic world of Formula 1 car racing. We recently posted our review of the electrified Ego, but we were unable to cut a video in time to run with it.
It has been done many times before, but I’m going to continue pouring the accolades for BMW’s HP4. This beastly, high performance version of BMW’s already impressive S1000RR takes that platform to another level with its sophisticated traction control, ABS, ride modes, forged wheels, striking graphics and, most notably, Dynamic Damping Control (DDC). It’s a system I can’t harp about enough because it truly represents a turning point when motorcycle suspension systems transition from analog to digital.
If you’re reading this, we’ll assume by now you’ve also read my review of the 2014 Honda Grom in which you’ll note how much fun I had riding it. The 125cc urban commuter brings back that youthful enjoyment we can all remember from the first time we swung a leg over a motorcycle. Its light weight (225 lbs) and tall handlebars makes it a comfortable machine for most average-sized riders to learn the skills of motorcycling. And with its four-speed transmission — and a real clutch! — operating the Grom is identical to a full-size bike, too.
The motojournalism game has changed quite a bit during my nearly 20 years in it. Moto-related websites were once greeted with scorn and derision by the traditional players, but Motorcycle.com has been part of the paradigm change and is now firmly entrenched as part of the establishment.