Departure is inevitable for all of us. The greats, the rich, the poor, the wretched, and all of us average folk eventually leave a hole in this world where we once were. And goodbyes must be said. Such is the case with the former publisher of CW, Jim Hansen, who died at age 71.
Nice timing on the Ural Patrol character article (June). “Don’t be afraid of the bear. He’s harmless and fun...” That Vladimir Putin, what a character! RUSS SKEA BOLTON LANDING, NY You had a nice feature going with your character-bike theme but then just had to go all politically correct, greenie-weenie on us and include the Zero FX ZF5.7— perhaps hoping the Sierra Club will send over a banquet invite.
As a teenager, I was convinced that there could be nothing better than being a rock star. Thankfully, a lack of musical talent saved me from a monotonous life spent fighting off supermodels, eating caviar, and driving Lamborghinis like rental cars.
Firmer suspension transforms this big single into a much better adventure machine
KLR PACK MULE
Admit it, Kawasaki: Calling your latest KLR650 the “New Edition” a bit of a stretch. Apart from suspension and wider same old KLR. Which, readers might recall, won our big ADV shootout (“The Road from Armageddon to Salvation”) in the April 2013 issue.
Harley's iconic Low Rider returns with new style and adjustable ergonomics
2014 HARLEY-DAVIDSON SUPERLOW 1200T
The original 1977 Low Rider was a slammed and sparkling success, and to this day it is remembered as one of The Motor Company’s most iconic models. So there were more than a few disappointed people when the bike left the lineup five years ago. The Low Rider is back, and the seat height is just 26.8 inches.
Motorcycle markets in Southeast Asia, India, and China are growing so fast that almost every major motorcycle manufacturer is either developing bikes for these areas and/ or building motorcycles there to avoid tariffs. One of the most interesting bikes we've seen lately is a 250cc Kawasaki single, the Ninja Z250SL.
“Special K” read the cover blurb, and just inside this issue, the Table of Contents page announced BMW’s K1 sportbike was coming to America. Executive Editor Camron Bussard’s coverage from the world press launch staged in Italy was filled with enthusiasm for the handling improvements the fully faired machine offered over its similarly powered predecessors.
The secret is in the siping, compounds, construction
Michelin has rolled out several new motorcycle radials over the past two years, revamping its entire product line. The latest addition is the Pilot Road 4, which promises performance and longevity beyond that of the Pilot Road 3. Like its sport-touring predecessor, the Pilot Road 4 features Michelin’s patented X-Sipe Technology (XST) integrated into the tread pattern.
A cooler way to carry your keys? Racetrack Style Key Chains ($10) are laser-cut stainless-steel fobs shaped like famous racetracks. One version called "The Rookie” commemorates Marc Marquez’s famous pass of Valentino Rossi at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Free thinkers use them as zipper pulls, wine charms, or earrings.
Combine the fashion-forward design of Aether with Spidi’s old-world Italian craftsmanship and you get the Eclipse Jacket ($1,195). Premium materials include a box-quilted leather shell and yarn-dyed cotton lining. In addition to removable CE-certified armor, the Eclipse has ergonomically correct shoulders and sleeves, plus internal and external pockets.
Dave Perewitz Signature Series Saddle from Mustang
Does your Harley-Davidsons FL need a better seat? Consider a Dave Perewitz Signature Series Saddle from Mustang ($329-$369). One Solo and four Fastback versions are available, each with narrow widths, low profiles, and diamond stitching on durable vinyl covers. Hidden installation systems mean no visible bolts or brackets.
Warhorse Leather Cleaner & Conditioner
Every motorcyclist should own a leather jacket, and a well-maintained one can endure a lifetime of riding. Get the road grime off your prized hide while restoring its supple feel and flexibility with Warhorse Leather Cleaner & Conditioner ($12). Glycerin-soap based, it gently removes dirt without harsh chemicals that may harm leather.
Harley-Davidson Case Knife Collection
A high-quality knife always comes in handy for travelers, especially for motorcyclists. W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company and Harley have teamed up to create the Harley-Davidson Case Knife Collection ($23.99-$123.99). Multiple styles are available from traditional bone-handled folders to high-tech stainless pocket-clipping models.
AGV has never been my go-to brand for racetrack testing, due mostly to fit. That changed with the debut earlier this year of the new Pista GP and Corsa, both of which uniquely carry the "Extreme Standards Helmets" designation. MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi had his head firmly in the development of this flagship design and races in the all-carbon Pista GP ($1,399.95).
Come meet the Dr. Evil of street riding: dirt. It’s gritty, unpredictable, and, when mixed with water, it will turn your Electra Glide into a muddy mess. Worse, running wide on your favorite left-hander means you’ll usually meet dirt at the worst possible moment: leaned over and going way too fast.
Ten minutes into my train ride from Paris’ Saint-Lazare station on my way to Rouen for a dealership appearance, I felt a pair of eyes upon me. Most people are so polite; he wasn’t sure if I was me, and, if I was, should he say anything? I love the interaction.
I’d very much like to think we can just go ahead adding system after system to our new motorcycles and have those systems function as planned throughout those vehicles’ lifetimes. Back when electronic fuel injection was hitting auto showrooms, naysayers were sure that thousands of motorists would be stranded when such black-box systems stopped working.
THREE NAKED SUPERBIKES GO INTO THE CAGE. ONLY ONE COMES OUT.
NAKEDS BY THE NUMBERS COLD, HARD FACTS FROM THE STRIP
TUONO V4 R APRC ABS
1290 SUPER DUKE R
An exciting trend is gaining traction, a movement owed much to the fat, smoking burnout laid down by the Cycle World Ten Best winning Aprilia Tuono V4 R APRC ABS. Rumors of gnarly nakeds from multiple manufacturers have been brewing ever since the Italian brand raised the stakes with the debut of its RSV4-based super standard two years ago.
Before we tell you what the Monster is, let’s tell you what it isn’t. It’s not a stripped-down superbike like the Streetfighter 848. Nor is it a bare-knuckle hooligan bike like the Hypermotard. Rather, the new Monster 1200 S is a sporty roadster that’s more at home on a winding back road than strafing curves on the racetrack.
A LIQUID-COOLED REPLACEMENT FOR BOLOGNA'S BIGGEST AIR-COOLED TWIN
Surely there is a touch of sad music playing in Italian cathedrals with news that Ducati’s air-cooled Monster 1100 EVO sees its last model year in 2014. But others may see it as a time to party because that Ducati has been replaced by the new liquid-cooled 821, a model that shares all the high-tech solutions of the top-of-the-line Monster 1200 but uses the smaller, stellar Hypermotard 11-degree Testastretta V-twin, which has an 88.0 x 67.5mm bore and stroke.
Hold on, big spender... Kawasaki’s Z1000 just powered out of the hole and hit 60 mph in 2.5 seconds as though it had a chip on its shoulder. Perhaps at $11,999 it does? Despite receiving a host of engine, chassis, suspension, brake, and styling revisions for 2014, clocking an impressive 10.38 seconds at 127.5 mph in the quarter-mile, and running a 147-mph top speed at our test site, the Z1000 was cut from our Super Standards comparison.
We’ve had lots of seat time on the FZ-09, and this sub-$8K naked bike has so much spirit, soul, and performance that the next time I rolled on the throttle riding a Honda NC700X, all I heard was the sound of quiet desperation. We know the NC700X isn’t meant to be the same thing, but you just can’t help make the comparison because these bikes are going after the same entry rung and are just too close in price to ignore.
With bases loaded thanks to fantastic sales of the FZ-09, Star Bolt, and YZ250F models, Yamaha appears poised to knock it out of the park with the 2015 FZ-07. On deck for a midsummer release, the all-new $6,990 “entry-level” FZ-07 features a dohc, 689cc, eight-valve parallel twin with a 270-degree crank.
There is no question that the Speed Triple is Triumph’s flagship bike, despite the fact that it isn’t necessarily the Hinckleybased British company’s current number-one seller. But if there is a single machine in Triumph’s range that defines its identity, the Speed Triple is it.
ENTER THE DELUXE: SMALL CHANGES MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
A sixth gear, an extra tailpipe, ABS, and 0.5 gallon more fuel capacity have made a surprising difference to Honda’s sweet and smooth retro-inspired CB1100, called "Deluxe" in this new guise. Price for the red Deluxe is $11,899, $1,500 up on the black standard model (which also gets the sixth cog but not the other new stuff).
Why would anyone want a 135-hp naked bike? You can’t hold on above 100 mph unless you have a UFC neck, and you won’t want to unless you’ve got the mental capacity of a mole rat. But let’s be realistic. Riding a high-performance naked bike does not encourage thoughts of threefigure cruising.
IF MOTORCYCLES ARE A DRUG, THE QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING IS ECSTASY
JOHN L. STEIN
After forty-whatever-it-is years of motorcycling, sometimes I just figure I’ve seen it all. And then I go to The Quail Motorcycle Gathering. Just completing its sixth year at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California, this past May, this wide-encompassing show continues to bend my mind.
It has been more than a decade since four-stroke fever swept over motocross. As the bikes have evolved, determining the fastest, lightest, and best-handling machine has become a much tougher task. Now, in addition to all the bikes being whopping fast, the weight differences have been reduced to nearly nothing, and fuel injection can be tuned to suit an array of riding styles.
While it’s true our long-term Kawasaki Ninja 1000 has yet to endure a long-distance sport-touring trip, the bike has served well as a daily commuter. The practicality of our Ninja’s Quick Release Saddlebags ($1,269.75) has proven priceless to the point that even though the bags remove in seconds, I rarely leave the garage without them.
The same BMW R1200RT that we tested in our last issue—a fully loaded model equipped with the Premium Package and options such as a lighted top case with an LED brake light ($1,796)—has joined our long-term test fleet. We’re stoked to learn more about the new techno-packed RT, which is based on the GS’s steel frame and is powered by a liquid-cooled boxer engine with a heavier crank and alternator.
Q: Let me start by saying my dad calls me an auto-chrondriac—I always think there’s something wrong with a vehicle when it is perfectly fine. That may be the case with what I am experiencing on my Honda 919, but I thought I might ask just to be safe.
BASIC SPECS: Powered by a liquid-cooled, 599cc, dohc inline-four with EFI, the brand-new-for-2009 engine made 110 hp at 13,890 rpm and 44 pound-feet of peak torque at 11,680 rpm on the Cycle World dyno. Our recorded top speed was an impressive 158 mph.
Spain’s FIM CEV is the world’s most important "domestic" roadracing series
The 2014 FIM Road Racing World Championship, known generically as “MotoGP,” opened in March at Qatar with 91 riders from 20 nations filling the grids of three classes, making the 65-year-old series the second-most-international motorcycle-roadracing championship.
Editorial/Production: Offices are located at 15215 Alton Pkwy., Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92618; (760) 707-0100. Editorial contributions are welcomed but must be guaranteed exclusive to Cycle World. We are not responsible for the return of unsolicited material unless accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope.