Lightweight Rippers: 2019 KTM 390 Duke Vs. 2019 Kawasaki Z400
KTM has changed the way we look at small-displacement naked bikes with the 390 Duke. No longer is it just a learning tool for new or inexperienced riders, but now, no matter who you are, if you can’t find a way to have an ear-to-ear grin riding the baby Duke, you probably don’t have a pulse. If it’s not clear by now, we love the 390 Duke around here – its 373cc Single is anything but boring, it handles surprisingly well, and its looks are sharp enough to convince you to park it where everyone can see.
2019 Indian FTR1200 First Ride at Last! Review
At MO, just like everywhere else I guess, we always want to classify things. Which is what I’ve been trying to do with the Indian FTR1200 since its formal introduction last fall in Germany, and even more now that I’m just back from finally getting to ride the thing in Baja and am forced to sit here and write words. (Maybe video is the future?) Those exhaust pipes and 1203cc V-Twin say Ducati Monster, but the 19/18-inch wheel and tire combo says Duc Scrambler Desert Sled. Harley-Davidson’s excellent but ill-received Sportster XR1200X bears some resemblance. Guzzi freaks throw in Griso. I want to lump it in with KTM Superduke GT, but maybe it’s more 1090 Adventure?
2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe Review
Oh dear, it’s kind of like one of those deals where you nag a person to do a thing for years, then they do the thing, and you sort of wished you hadn’t encouraged them. Suggesting someone take accordion lessons. Encouraging your wife to take up the krav maga. We always asked Kawasaki why they weren’t cashing in on the “classic bike” market along with the other OEMs, given that they’ve been selling the W800 in other markets since its 2011 upgrade from W650. But now that the W800 is here I kind of agree with their decision not to import it. The W800 is a perfectly nice retro motorcycle, but it’s retro in a way things like Triumph’s “Classics” and some others aren’t: The Kawasaki feels kind of old instead of just looking that way. [Updated with video.]
A Shorter Perspective: Kawasaki Vulcan S
One look around the proverbial Motorcycle.com office and it’s hard not to notice one thing: everyone on staff is a guy. Of course, this isn’t surprising considering the male domination of this sport, but women represent one of the fastest growing segments in motorcycling, and it’s only right we get a woman’s voice – and opinion – on our digital pages. Our friend Christina Orris is just the person to help. An excellent rider, both on- and off-road, she’s in-tune with the wants and needs of the female motorcyclist, and best of all, she’s not afraid to speak her mind. When we were thinking of the perfect candidate to review the Kawasaki Vulcan S and its unique Ergo-Fit system, we knew she was the right person for the job. Follow along as she gives her thoughts. —TS
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 Review – First Ride
Husqvarna’s US media guy, Andy Jefferson, is a little worried about Husqvarna’s name recognition in the States, though worried is probably not the right word. More like “interested in” or “amused by.” Husqvarna’s been selling bikes in the US for decades (Andy raced them in the early ’80s), but it still seems like the few Americans who do recognize the name Husqvarna associate it with chainsaws and sewing machines. Dirtbike people have no excuse since Husky’s won a couple of US championships lately. But you do have to give streetbike people a break. I mean, Husky’s only been back in the streetbike market in the US, since, uh, 2018.
2019 Yamaha Niken GT Review - First Ride
The rain stopped just minutes before I entered the corner at a healthy clip – only to find that it had a decreasing radius. Then it went slightly off-camber. Not an ideal situation by any means. Still, the good folks at Yamaha insisted that less than ideal traction situations were where the Niken GT’s two-wheeled front suspension would shine. The assertion being that if one contact patch momentarily lost traction, the other one would make up for it. So, I grit my teeth and dialed in more lean…
2020 Suzuki Katana Review – First Ride + Video
Judging from the roll-out, Suzuki really wants us to like its new 2020 Katana. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to Japan for a bike launch, probably because I never have been. For this one, they spared no expense – flying a bunch of us to Tokyo, shooting us via Shinkansen bullet train to the Kyoto Brighton Hotel, and renting out the Arashi Yama Takao Parkway for us to ride up and down upon unmolested for a day. When we weren’t cleansing ourselves with the remote control Toto Washlets in every room (the bidet, it turns out, is for saps), we were touring the local temples and noshing expensively on the Miyazaki beef. They kept dragging us away from the hotel, though, to visit a guy who forges katanas, to tour the new Suzuki factory in Hamamatsu and the Suzuki Museum.
2019 KTM 790 Adventure R First Ride Review
If you were given the most competent adventure bike in terms of travel and off-road performance, where would you go? Would you visit the road of bones as you traversed Asia? Perhaps wind your way through serpentine stretches of asphalt in the Swiss Alps? Or maybe your wanderlust would guide you to the Sahara, one of the harshest unforgiving landscapes in the world. When it comes to adventure, everyone’s looking for something different. Their own definition. On a motorcycle, it can be the same. Some want the most travel-capable bike with adequate off-road ability allowing them to explore further than the road stretches. Others want the most capable off-road motorcycle and the ability to travel long distances. KTM’s answer to those respective questions? The 2019 KTM 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R.
Live 100% Supermoto School
Here at MO, we think training is important to keep our skills sharp; and training in other disciplines is one tool in our arsenal. So it goes without saying we are fans of anything that makes said training more affordable and accessible. As you probably know from our recent stories on participating in yet another 24 hour mini bike race and our very own Trizzle’s recent test of the turn-key ready-to-race 2019 Husqvarna FS 450 supermoto, we MOrons are big fans of taking advantage of the tighter confines and lower speeds of karting circuits as a way of refining one’s everyday ride craft – as well as race craft. Karting circuits are generally closer to home and the price of admission is significantly cheaper than full-size racetracks. As a matter of fact, almost any excuse to rip around a kart track on a turn-key supermoto is a legitimate one in our eyes.
Thanks to the recent launch of Live 100% Supermoto School, a supermoto rental, riding school, and race team for hire, we didn’t need to come up with any bogus excuses to take a day away from the palatial MO offices and get our butts back down to the kart track. Live 100% utilizes a fleet of wonderfully competent Husqvarna FS 450s, and I, your humble video producer/editor, got a chance to be in front of the camera for a change to give the new school a shot. In the process, I got schooled by a couple of fast MotoAmerica kids, but I also learned a lot, too. Check out the video to get the full experience.
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
2019 Honda Super Cub Review: First Ride
It was only seconds after hopping aboard the 2019 Honda C125 Super Cub that laughter started to erupt. Despite rainy weather and cool temperatures, we journos couldn’t help but smile on the new Super Cub, and we hadn’t even left the parking lot of 4077 Pico Blvd – the site of the original American Honda HQ. This is the effect the Super Cub has on people; even those whose job it is to test ride every motorcycle under the sun. It’s cute, it’s inviting, and it’s just fun. If you can’t have a laugh on it, you’re dead inside. In a world where digital media is stealing away everyone’s attention (including yours since you’re reading this), maybe the Honda Super Cub can reinvigorate motorcycling in America just as it did 57 years ago when the original Honda Super Cub (called the Honda 50 here in the States) arrived on these shores.
2019 Triumph Speed Twin Review - First Ride
Within Triumph’s Modern Classics line there was always a sizable gap between the Bonneville T120 and the Thruxton. The Bonnie had a nice standard riding position and more sedate power delivery, while the Thruxton had a much more committed rider stance and sportier performance. What about riders who wanted an upright riding stance but craved more get up when the go knob was twisted? Well, the good folks in Hinckley have answered the call with the 2019 Triumph Speed Twin.
Helequip Helmic 3.1 Helmet Mic Review
In case you somehow haven’t noticed by now, Motorcycle.com has a separate YouTube channel – because sometimes (okay, most of the time) you’d rather see the motorcycles we ride in action rather than just read our words about them. Sometimes it can be even better if you can get our immediate thoughts about a motorcycle directly as we’re riding them. Of course, this means talking and riding at the same time (it’s harder than it sounds if you’re a MOron like us). The challenge is capturing good, clean audio with little to no wind noise. Bonus points if you can do it on the cheap. Say hello to the HelEquip HelMic 3.1. Since this is a microphone review after all, watch the video below to get my thoughts. Otherwise, feel free to read on.
A Disruption in the Force: KTM 790 Duke Vs. Triumph Street Triple R
You’ll see a theme if you scroll back the last decade or so on MO: we have a thing for the Triumph Street Triple. After numerous rides and shootouts each time it gets updated, it’s safe to say we love that little 675cc three-cylinder. The sound it makes is outrageously cool, the power it delivers is fun without being overwhelming, and the overall package is an absolute blast. Yeah, the looks are kinda polarizing, but none of that matters once you twist the grip.
World Exclusive! Kramer GP2 Prototype – First Ride
Markus Kramer said it so nonchalantly when I asked him. “Three months ago,” he said. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, so I asked in a different way. “You mean to tell me this motorcycle didn’t exist four months ago?” Again, the response was simple. “Yep.” Markus isn’t a man of many words, but that’s when I knew this ride aboard the GP2 Prototype from Kramer Motorcycles was going to be different. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Back when KTM’s 790 Duke was first announced, I knocked on Joe Karvonen’s social media door, asking the sole importer for Kramer Motorcycles USA whether the 790 Twin engine would make its way into a Kramer.
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
Cafe Society: Honda CB1000R Neo Retro Cafe V Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe
We probably didn’t really need to compare the Honda CB1000R and Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe since they’re polarized enough in the looks department to make it appear that potential consumers will be drawn to one or the other – and their performance and mission statements both are close enough on paper to make them more or less interchangeable, aren’t they? I think we really just wanted an excuse to ride both of them again, they’re both such charismatic motorcycles. Everybody wants to hang out with them. What is a café racer? One that flits from Starbucks to Starbucks? Close enough for us.
2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe Review