Any day at a trackday is a good day. There is but glory and joy in spending hour after hour strafing apexes. One recent day, I popped up at 4:30 a.m., necked a pot of coffee, and crawled out to the CW pickup that was loaded with an EBR 1190RX and Yamaha FZ-09, hoping the caffeine would take effect before any major decision-making points were foisted upon me in traffic.
A BEEF WITH DEALER DENSITY I read with some interest your “American Beef” V-twin tourer comparison in the April issue. Late last fall, I was in the process of buying another touring bike. My wife and I regularly ride in excess of 20,000 miles a year and desire a bike that is not only smooth, practical, and economical but also, and maybe most important, serviceable.
At $10,399, the cost of entry is higher with this Triumph, but the Street Triple R defines lightweight fun, and its three-cylinder engine has soul.
Yamaha has refined the fueling of the 847cc triple for 2015 and bumped the price of the bike to $8,190. No matter, the fun FZ-09 is still a bargain.
Will the new GSX-S750 make us forget the $10,995 821 Monster? Nope. This liquid-cooled naked has refined electronics and a playful attitude.
I've owned and raced several Suzuki GSX-R models over the years (dating back to the original 750 introduced to the US in 1986), so I know all about the proper track-attack riding posture. But the older I get, the more I've come to appreciate sporting practicality where it exists.
With modern electronics, BMW's superbike takes this challenging Texas track by the horns
Modern motorcycle electronics change everything. They make the timid rider confident. And the slowish rider kind of fast. What’s more, they increase safety so much that you can dial in your lines on an unfamiliar track in a hurry. I’ve been to the Circuit of The Americas near Austin, Texas, twice.
Yamaha’s new FZ-07 twin is poised to make a big impact in AMA Pro Flat Track
FZ-07 FLAT TRACKER
I have been around the sport of flat tracking my whole life, and I never remember seeing as much hype around the release of a new motorcycle as there was when Yamaha released its new FZ-07 twin Stateside this past June. When I turned professional in 2008, almost every single rider who qualified for AMA Pro Flat Track main events was Harley-Davidson mounted.
Any knowledgeable motorcycle enthusiast will tell you WP is a Dutch suspension manufacturer. That was true once, but in the nearly four decades since the firm was established, it has become more. Much more, as I discovered during a tour of the Austrian factory.
This issue was packed with great stories, highlighted by our test of the new ST1100 V-4, which appeared on our cover long before any police agencies got their hands on this Honda. Even though the ST had what we called “comparatively lazy frame geometry,” we quickly fell in love with the pricey ($8,998) sport-tourer and concluded our test with this statement: "Think of the ST1100 as the arrival, at last, of the Japanese sport-tourer.”
Attention, riders: If you're in the market for an all-purpose textile riding jacket with along waist, you might consider the Icon 1000 Beltway. I wore this handsomely styled jacket (serial number 1000-4667) on our recent “American Beef” comparison test (April) and came away impressed.
Five items to make your long-distance journey safer, better
Power It 13,600Ah 500 Peak Amp Jump-Starter Kit
If you’ve ever killed your bike’s battery in the middle of nowhere, you’ll appreciate Impecca’s Power It 13,600Ah 500 Peak Amp Jump-Starter Kit ($149.95). The compact (6.5 x 3.1 x 1.6-inch) unit comes with alligator clips for jumping your battery but also includes a USB port to charge all your small devices out on the road.
Chain maintenance on the road? Let the Scottoiler eSystem ($289.95) bathe your chain in lube automatically while you take in the sights. The system features a three-axis accelerometer to detect when your motorcycle is in motion and then feeds oil to the chain. A screen displays flow info and allows fine-tuning on the fly.
Have the right bike for a road trip but don't have the right luggage? Shad’s new SH36 cases ($469) are made with aerodynamics, capacity, and ease of mounting in mind. They offer enough volume to fit a full-face helmet, while Shad’s 3P mount system keeps the bags securely attached. Currently available for a variety of Japanese models.
waterproof USB medical emergency information wristband
An accident or medical emergency might one day render you unable to speak for yourself. EPIC-id ($35) is a waterproof USB medical emergency information wristband allowing entry and storage of as much medical info as you'd like to share. First responders simply insert EPIC-id into any PC or Mac to access potentially life-saving information.
Vibe Boxer Fly
Sorry, ladies, these are for the dudes. Looking for a super-comfortable pair of underwear for those long days in the saddle? Made of modal and spandex, Saxx Underwear’s Vibe Boxer Fly ($31,95) features mesh panels for improved breathability. Flat seams and excellent fit are designed to reduce chafing and keep you comfy. (888) 409-7299
Where you place the five street-riding priorities we are presenting in this Ride Craft series depends on where and what you ride, plus your experience and skill level. We aren’t going to rank them because we feel each priority can be extremely necessary at certain moments of a ride.
Every motorcycle I've ridden is the best motorcycle I've ever ridden. If you love motorcycles, you know this feeling. While visiting my brother Steve in the Carolinas, before I moved there, he invited me to go for a mountain ride with his pals and him.
As Northeast winter has hung on with 15-degree days and subzero nights, I have yearned for Daytona as I knew it for so long. When I went to Daytona for the first time, in 1969, it was a moderately Big Deal, and the following year, with Honda, Triumph, and BSA in contention, it became a Bigger Deal.
TRACK TESTING THE SUPERCHARGED 2015 KAWASAKI NINJA H2 AND H2R
You first blow the cobwebs off aboard a 210-hp example of the same basic machine! I’m pretty sure this wasn’t the thinking behind Kawasaki’s supercharged Ninja H2 and H2R dynamic duo, but I certainly appreciated the three 20-minute track sessions on the street-legal H2 before slipping into the saddle of the most powerful production motorcycle on the planet.
Back in the early 1980s, I had sights on purchasing my first streetbike. Sport motorcycles were most interesting to me, but the smaller-displacement machines offered back then just weren’t technically or visually inspiring. Ultimately, I put common sense aside and an entire life savings down on a spanking-new $3,500 Honda V45 Interceptor.
SPAWNED FROM BIG RED’S FAMILY OF 500S THAT ALSO INCLUDES the sportier CBR500R and crossover CB500X, the CB500F is the sleeper of the lot. In black, it’s almost so plain that you might miss it altogether if you walked past it parked on the street.
HARD TO BELIEVE THE BUILDER OF A $10,000 DUAL-SPORT BIKE and high-end adventure machines is also responsible for the $4,999 naked bike you see here. But KTM is able to translate its Ready to Race slogan into fun (and fast) streetbikes even at the entry level.
AT THE END OF THE 2014 MOTOGP season, I had the chance to sample a trio of KTMs that included the RC250R Production Racer and the Red Bull RC250RBR Rookies Cup machine. But the clear highlights for me were the two five-lap sessions I had aboard the KTM RC250GP Moto3 bike that young Australian Jack Miller had just ridden to victory on the very same Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain.
FOUR GREAT BIKES THAT HOVER IN THE $5,000 RANGE. OR WELL BELOW.
VFR 800FI Interceptor
“Essentially what I want from you,” Editor Hoyer said over the phone, “is a list of four reasonably modern motorcycles you would buy if somebody gave you 20 grand to spend on a small collection of bikes.” As if to steer me away from the usual ancient British iron and Honda fours on which I’ve frittered away so much of my life, he added, “We could probably start at around model year 1990.”
DUCATI REBOOTS ITS ALL-ROADER AND TOPS OFF ITS ELECTRONICS SUITE WITH VARIABLE VALVE TIMING
MULTISTRADA 1200 DVT
Luddites beware, the 2015 Multistrada 1200 and, in particular, the 1200 S are as technologically advanced as a motorcycle can be. You will rejoice in what the new Multistrada offers only if you are willing to trust the mechanical technology at work, and all the sensors, computers, and a nearly fictional point in the sky (for the S version).
DUAL-SPORT DILEMMA Q: I currently ride a 1998 Kawasaki KLR650 with 35,800 miles on it, and though it is decent at everything, it’s just too darn heavy for the kind of dual-sport riding I have been doing lately. Basically, what I think I want is a street-legal 450 enduro, even though everyone says to just go with a DR-Z400.
YEARS SOLD: 2008-2012 MSRP NEW: $3499 (’08) to $4199 (’12) BLUE BOOK RETAIL VALUE: $2295 ('08) to $3365 (’12) BASIC SPECS: The Ninja 250R features a liquid-cooled 249cc DOHC parallel twin with four valves per cylinder, a pair of 30mm carburetors, and a six-speed transmission.
Q: My 1975 Suzuki GT550 exhaust rotted out, and I, being the tinkering type, wanted to try something different. The motorcycle gets about 46 mpg in town and 38 mpg on the highway. My question: Can I replace the exhaust system with something that will “come on the pipe” at highway rpm (and perhaps increase the efficiency at this speed) instead of 6,500 rpm where peak horsepower is at?
If you like old bikes, of course you will love this one. But if you don’t, the fastest Norton Manx ever to lap the Isle of Man will change your mind.
John L. Stein
Fancy yourself a proper motorbike rider? Good on ya, mate. That's why your trackday screamer has electronic suspension dialed in by Flamenco B. Crouch. Carbon bodywork. A quickshifter. Traction control, wheelie control, and 10 power modes.
As this issue went to print, Bruce Anstey was the fastest rider ever at the Isle of Man, lapping at 132.298 mph on his Honda Fireblade during the 2014 Superbike TT. Here is how he approaches this most daunting race. HOW LONG TO LEARN THE COURSE?
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