2016 Yamaha FJR1300ES Video Review

For 2016, Yamaha upgraded the popular FJR1300ES and FJR1300A with a significant internal change while leaving the rest of the motorcycle what on the surface seems basically the same. To discern the 2016 model from the 2015 at a distance, just go by the Cobalt Blue color instead of the Candy Red. You probably won’t be pick out the cornering lights or the LED lights all around – well, maybe the restyled brake light. Oh yeah, or the blindingly bright LED high beam until after dark.

2016 Yamaha FJR1300A And FJR1300ES Review

What stands front-and-center in the FJR update list is the new 6-speed transmission. This long requested change to the engine was no simple feat. Typically, adding a cog to a gearbox requires new, wider engine cases. However, that would have compromised the FJR’s ground clearance and added additional weight – two things it does not need. So, Yamaha’s engineers were challenged with the task of adding sixth-gear in the same cases. In the process, those smart folks also tightened up the gap between the gears. The result is a remarkable refinement to an established sport-touring motorcycle. In addition to the 6-speed, the FJR1300A gets new KYB suspenders front and rear to bring its handling closer to that of the ES model and its electronically adjustable suspension.

All the details are outlined in our full test of the 2016 Yamaha FJR1300ES/A, and now you get the chance to view our video review below.

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2016 Triumph Thruxton R Video Review

For 2016, Triumph launched two new Thruxton models, the base model Thruxton ($12,500) and the Thruxton R ($14,500). Both are huge improvements over the outgoing model Thruxton. The new 1200cc liquid-cooled parallel-Twin produces gobs more horsepower and torque, the chassis isn’t the flexi-flyer it used to be, and modern electronics (R-b-W, ride modes, TC, ABS) bring a touch of modernity to a motorcycle steeped in nostalgia. For a complete review of the bike and its performance check out our previously published  2016 Triumph Bonneville Thruxton R First Ride Review.

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2017 Victory Octane Video Review

We’ve been following the creation of the Victory version of a bike with the Indian Scout engine with great interest. Well, it’s arrived in the form of the 2017 Victory Octane and not without a little controversy from our readers. Whether or not the Octane is the motorcycle you wanted Victory to build with its engine, we think the Octane is a very good motorcycle.

2017 Victory Octane First Ride Review

The engine had its displacement increased to 1179cc and has new pistons, cylinders, heads, camshafts, and all it covers. The gearing was lowered, and the EFI was tuned for maximum responsiveness in the lower rpm. In the end, fully 65% of the Octane’s parts are unique with only the remaining 35% being shared with the Scout. After three days in the Octane’s saddle, we can firmly state that the bikes are quite different in character. We are looking forward to testing the Octane side-by-side with the Scout and the other cruisers in its displacement class as soon as we can gather them together.

For now, here’s a look at the Octane in moving pictures and sound.

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2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT Video Review

If you saw my text review of KTM’s new SD GT, you witnessed an old grown man gush about a new Austrian motorcycle. If I had to choose a bike to ride across this vast country to a trackday, it’d probably be this one.

An evolution of the Super Duke R, our 2014 Motorcycle of the Year, the GT ticks all the boxes on my list of ideal sport-touring qualities: reasonable comfort; high-grade handling; an inexhaustible well of power; automatically adaptable active suspension; world-class brakes; adjustable windshield; top-shelf electronics; 6.0-plus-gallon tank; and standard hard-shell saddlebags. In fact, the 94.5% I scored it is the highest number I’ve ever awarded on our single-bike scorecard.

Downsides are few and minor, assuming a price tag around $20k doesn’t frighten you away from this orange and black gem. I might like it better with flashier color instrumentation, and I’d prefer the electronic rider aids were independently adjustable rather than tied to the bike’s ride modes. And perhaps while traversing Nebraska on the way to Virginia International Raceway I’d wish for a bit more wind protection.

Otherwise, the Super Duke GT is pretty much my conception of the ideal sport-touring rig. I’d happily suffer through lubing the chain every couple of days on my transcontinental slog to VIR. And here’s what I thought about it after a day ripping around Mallorca…

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The $17,000 Superbike Faceoff

Look around the liter-class sportbike landscape. The field is littered with some of the most technologically advanced and blindingly fast motorcycles the world has ever seen. Trickle-down technology from the world of MotoGP and World Superbike is making its way to production motorcycles faster than ever before, and it’s hard to deny the sportbike landscape is all the better for it.

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2016 MV Agusta Brutale 800 First Ride Review + Video

“Nasty, brutish and short” is the famous phrase used to describe the life of the typical medieval peasant (or MO editor), but it could almost describe some of MV Agusta’s earlier Brutales. With this latest electronically enhanced iteration, MV has brought the bike all the way into modernity and then some. The goal, according to MV, was to make the new bike more customer-oriented and easier to ride, with a focus on both reduced fuel consumption and a more friendly user interface. To find out, one of us had to go ride it.

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2016 Honda Africa Twin Video Review

The 2016 Africa Twin is the first model to feature Honda’s next-gen Dual Clutch Transmission, and the only ADV bike in the world equipped with such technology. This is a significant achievement not for the sake of new technology, but because the technology works pretty well, which is why my initial review – and this video – focuses on the DCT’s use and performance. However, the story was a little light when it comes to other areas of the bike’s performance. So, I wanted to take this opportunity to address a few omissions.

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2016 KTM 690 Duke First Ride Video Review

Last week, KTM flew me to Gran Canaria to sample the 2016 KTM 690 Duke and Duke R. While these trips are usually grueling (think 40+ hours in a total of six different pressurized aluminum tubes for just a few hours of riding), I’m not complaining. The 690 Duke exemplifies why we get so excited over new motorcycles. Refinement is an annual event, but large-scale makeovers of an engine that so dramatically address the powerplant’s major shortcoming are relatively rare. KTM has managed, through some clever engineering, to address the biggest drawback of a single-cylinder engine – its inherent vibration – while maintaining and even increasing its strengths.

2016 KTM 690 Duke & 690 Duke R – First Ride Review

For 2016, the 690 Duke has a smoother, more powerful engine that even revs out 1,000 more rpm without rattling your teeth. Also making the scene are: ride modes (with the optional Track Pack), TC, strong brakes, and a well dialed-in suspension. Add those to the Duke’s signature light weight and maneuverability, and you’ve got a bike that can scythe through traffic, carry you on the highway out of town (without beating you up), and unkink even the twistiest of roads. The 690 Duke also has that rare, amiable, easy-going personality that can be uncorked at a moment’s notice to bring out the hooligan in all of us. Watch and drool…

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2016 Ducati 959 First Ride Video Review

The idea of a Panigale with 330cc less engine initially didn’t seem especially exciting. Like all good Americans, I largely subscribe to the more-is-more theory of excellence. Turns out, though, that riding Ducati’s sleek 959 Panigale at the Ricardo Tormo MotoGP circuit in Valencia, Spain, was considerably more exciting than I had anticipated.

2016 Ducati 959 Panigale First Ride Review

The link above contains my review of the 959 that we rushed out to bring you a report ahead of other publications – a Thanksgiving present of sorts. Now we’re able to bring you the sights and sounds of the 959 in moving pictures. Please read the text review for full details, then sit back and enjoy this video presentation.

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Motorcycles of 2016: A Roundtable Discussion of What's Hot + Video

In the wake of autumn’s big motorcycle shows, we’ve got a clearer insight into what lies ahead in the moto world going into 2016. Using this year’s show season as the measuring stick, we think it’s safe to say that excitement has returned full-force to the motorcycle industry.

Complete coverage of AIMExpo
Complete coverage of the Tokyo Motor Show
Complete coverage of EICMA

During the financial ebb of the Great Recession, we were to lucky to have just a few truly exciting new models bound for U.S. shores on a given year. The amount of new 2016 models from only two OEMs, Ducati and Triumph, are nearly equal to the total number of all-new bikes in 2012. Yessir, between last year and this, we’re flush with so many new models it’s gonna be tough giving each one a proper shakedown. Take a look at the video below to hear our thoughts on the year ahead in motorcycling.

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2016 Ducati 959 Panigale First Ride Review + Video

In the presentation for the 959, Ducati described its new bike as having “perfect balance,” which is a descriptor I immediately dismissed as pure PR speak. After all, every OEM would want to say that about one of its new products, but after having spun laps on the latest Panigale at the Ricardo Tormo MotoGP circuit, I’m becoming a believer in this Italian balancing act.

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2015 Six-Pack Superbike Shootout Final Answer!

In spite of protestations from various peanut gallery season-ticket holders who claim disinterest, our mostly annual Superbike Comparison remains MO’s single biggest deal of the year when it comes to clicks and comments. Apparently, many people who don’t have much interest in owning any of these motorcycles are still really interested in riding them vicariously, which is fine by the MO staff; we’re willing to make the sacrifice, for a few weeks anyway. Whether you lust after one or not, it only makes sense to be interested in them, since this is where the new performance stuff turns up first, as motorcycles, like everything else, grow more sophisticated.

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2015 Six-Way Superbike Street Shootout + Video

From the unchained environment of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where performance is the sole consideration for victory in our 2015 Six-Way Superbike Track Shootout, we move to the confines of public roadways to determine which superbike renders the best street-legal exhibition. As tight as our track test results were, the street shootout was just as close with a half-percent separating second from first place. If the MO offices were located in Florida, I’d demand a recount.

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2015 Six-Way Superbike Track Shootout + Video

Rejoice, sportbike fans, as 2015 is bound to go down as the year of the liter-class superbike. After riding this latest crop of superbikes at their individual intros, your respective MO editors all came back gushing, proclaiming the bike they just finished riding is a viable contender for top honors in the class. Of course, with statements like that, pitting them all together and settling the score was the natural thing to do. And here for you now, we bring you the epic showdown you’ve long been waiting for, pitting five all-new or significantly revised superbikes on the racetrack against the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, winner of our 2012 Japanese Literbike Shootout. Stay tuned next week for our street impressions.

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2015 Isle of Man TT Wrap-Up + Video

Having just recovered from my 8th annual trip to the Isle of Man, and already planning for next year’s endeavor, it’s time to look back on what was, by any measure, one of the great TT fortnights in the storied 108-year history of the event. And, to premiere the 2015 edition of the Motorcycle.com TT Review video, five minutes of sights, sound and motion from the greatest motorsports event on Earth.

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