I've often thought that bikes with character are those that don't do what we want them to. Like run all the time. Bikes that stop running too often and don’t give back to us some kind of delicious movement are simply what we might call a “pile.” Piles don’t usually make it on the list but can for the true weirdos among us.
Regarding your December cover story on the Honda RC213V-S: $184,000 US spec at 101 hp?! Are you sure this cover story wasn’t meant as an April 1 issue? JOSEPH VASCONCELOS ATTLEBORO, MA Pretty sure a Honda MotoGP bike for the street is no joke.
Digging through the mental database for the bike that broke the rules-of-capacity convention made me recall the Ninja 636 supersport back in late 2002. It was a bold move at the time, what with “normal” race-derived 600s selling in huge numbers.
Credit goes to KTM for being one of the first to take on the challenge of creating a modern four-stroke single streetbike, the Austrian dirt bike manufacturer introducing the Duke 620 way back in 1994. Twenty-two years and four different design iterations later comes the 2016 KTM 690 Duke.
“Parts shaped this closely to nature's requirements have a compelling beauty."
No part of an engine works harder than its pistons. As a piston rises on compression, the pressure of the fuel-air mixture confined above it rises to 200 psi. Then a spark ignites the mixture. In the next 45 degrees of crank rotation, the mixture burns, reaching a peak pressure of perhaps 1,200 psi.
ADV riders often switch between seated and standing positions, which complicates finding an ideal rear-brake-pedal height. The AltRider DualControl Brake System ($64.97) is a billet-aluminum enlarger plate with stepped riser allowing for comfortable foot position whether seated or standing. It’s available for the BMW R1200C5. (206) 922-3618 altrider.com
Clinging to a slippery motocross seat can wear you down. While gripper saddles are nothing new, the Acerbis X-Seat ($199.95) is designed with three different grip areas to optimize braking, riding, and acceleration states. Its central cutout (available in "Hard” and "Soft” versions) is said to prevent pelvic-area compression and reduce recoils. (800) 659-1440 acerbis.com
The Spider Peak Grip
Loosening your grip on the bars is the first step to combating hand and forearm fatigue. The Spider Peak Grip ($17.95) features an aggressive tread pattern and soft "Traction Gel” outer layer, which offers great feel and nonslip performance. Spider’s Acoustical Rebound Core is a shaped boundary layer designed to reflect vibration away from your hand. spidergrips.com
There are few things worse than trying to hang onto the bars with numb fingers. The Revit Helium Underglove ($19.99) features closed-knit nylon fabric that is breathable, moisture-wicking, and provides improved warmth worn within any existing glove. Its snug stretch fit and seamless design ensure comfort and minimal added bulk. (888) 681-0180 revitusa.com
Perhaps once perceived as the brand geared for street-fighters and stunters, Portland, Oregon-based riding apparel manufacturer Icon has steadily broadened its product offerings and image. While Icon apparel lines focus on sportbikes, cruisers, and the fast-growing retro and ADV segments, its head is also in the helmet arena with an evolving line of street helmets.
Wanting to contribute to the welfare of young street riders in the neighborhood recently inspired me to collate the most valuable lessons learned over 40 years of riding and sprinkle them into coaching opportunities before, during, and after our rides.
I know that for many readers of Cycle World, I totally suck. That's because I've (half) taken over a job done previously by a superhero. I’m sure most readers have noticed there’s no longer a monthly Leanings column in this magazine by Peter Egan.
During the first half of the 20th century, the motorcycle established itself as the simplest of useful vehicles: for transportation, for sport, or for military applications. Motorcycles had air-cooled engines, generally of one or two cylinders, that could be easily kickstarted.
The adventure-bike market has been growing steadily, even as other segments recede. Year after year, the BMW R1200GS has been the best-selling big bike worldwide. But one company has been notably absent from the fray: Honda. The 2016 CRF1000L Africa Twin is Big Red’s return to that market segment, and it makes a strong statement.
Honda put a great deal of engineering into creating a Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) option for the Africa Twin, which puts clutch operation in the hands of a computer. Gear selection can be made by that same computer in any of four modes-essentially a base map plus three sport maps-or manually via triggers on the left handlebar.
How does the Africa Twin stack up against the competition?
The adventure-bike market is crowded with options, and sorting out the best one for any individual rider is an exercise that typically requires several opinionated friends and a copious amount of beer. The Africa Twin does not make this exercise easier because in my view it claims new ground.
CSC MOTORCYCLES’ RX3 CYCLONE IS A WHOLE NEW TAKE ON THE ADV-BIKE SCENE
Several years ago, two of my uncles were at a backyard barbecue. Uncle Number One mentioned that he was wearing a $300 pair of shoes. Uncle Number Two pointed to his own feet: "These? Twelve bucks at Walmart." Each one laughed, thinking he’d gotten the better deal and the other sucker had gotten scalded.
RALLY RACING IS LIFE. EVERYTHING ELSE IS JUST LOGISTICS.
Every racer knows one of the most intense moments in life is just before the start. Anticipation is a strong emotion-there's a reason lingerie is so popular-and in those instants before the green flag drops, all of our desires and fears come together and fill us to the brim.
The difference between the new Triumph Bonneville Street Twin and the previous Bonneville is only one thing: everything. It has a new engine, new chassis, new instruments, new ride-by-wire throttle, new traction control, new yadda, new razzmatazz, and new glafuncles.
SWEET HOME ALABAMA! V-4 SPORT-TOURERS FROM THE LAND OF LYNYRD SKYNYRD
Every now and then a motorcycle comes along that, after the first few ham-fisted miles of riding, you just have to park on the side of the road, get off, and take a newly earned respectful look at it. The Motus MST is one of those bikes. Motus calls its MV41650 engine the “Baby Block.”
Sure, it will murder any racetrack and devour your favorite back road without a hint of indigestion. And yet. The more time we spend on our long-term Yamaha YZF-R1, the more we realize what a fabulous all-around streetbike it is. Suspension is firm and ultra-controlled yet totally livable—compliant even.
The English sometimes called it the "commencer lever," and it’s a rare streetbike today that asks your leg for a kick to get going. Even Royal Enfield puts an electric starter (along with the kick lever) on its Bullet 500 variants. But it’s that very commitment to kick-only starting that’s key to the fundamental charm of the Yamaha SR400.
Twenty-two hours from door to door brings me to a small village in southern Portugal known as Lagos. It’s a beautiful summertime oasis for Europeans bound for holiday. But it’s not summertime, and I’m not here on vacation. This is where Husqvarna has gathered a small group of moto-press to unveil two new motorcycles in its growing lineup: the 2016 701 Supermoto and Enduro.
Few motion-picture actors have possessed a cool cachet rivaling that of Steve McQueen— doubly so considering McQueen’s starring role in The Great Escape and inclusion among a cast of true-life motorcycle racing characters in the iconic motorcycle film On Any Sunday.
SMALLER PISTONS, FEWER GEARS, LOWER PRICE, SIMILARLY GREAT BIKE
You've likely heard that the Indian Scout is an awesome motorcycle that provides a great riding experience on a great cruiser platform at a great price. But if that’s true, is a detuned version that’s missing 134.cc (8ci) and a gear, weighs 4 pounds more, and costs $2,300 less a good value or a false economy?
AFTER HUFFING AND PUFFING, EL SOLITARIO WONDERS IF TWO DAYS OF INSTAFAME IS WORTH THE EFFORT
IT’S DIFFICULT TO PICTURE NOW, but five years ago David Borras wore a suit and a clean shave while striding the glass corridors of a globo-corporate netherworld. In his free time, he collected and rode vintage bikes and, like thousands of others, watched the Internet change motorcycling via blogs and websites.
Q: I own a 2005 Suzuki DR-Z400SM. How do I top up the coolant overflow bottle? JARRAD ACIUS BERMACUI, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA A: I like to see just a splash of coolant in the overflow bottle when cold. Since Suzuki was kind enough to place the bottle on your bike in a most inaccessible spot, above the swingarm pivot, topping it off requires some creativity.
YEARS SOLD 1999-2003 MSRP NEW: $13,499 (’99) to $13,499 (’03) BLUE BOOK RETAIL VALUE: $3,170 (’99) to $4,390 (’03) BASIC SPECS: A 998cc, liquid-cooled, 60-degree Rotax V-twin with electronic fuel injection, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, and a unique pneumatic slipper clutch serves as a stressed member of the RSV’s twin-beam alloy frame.
Where we've been and examining the forces in play for the 2016 MotoGP season
The The obvious now-and-future contest in MotoGP is between Honda and Yamaha. Ducati, Suzuki, and Aprilia strive to rise into contention, but only Honda or Yamaha has won a race since 2010. Contests within the contest are the still-undecided ongoing collision between the 125/250-inspired corner-speed style of Jorge Lorenzo and others on Yamaha and the dirt-track-originated style of the Honda men, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, which by compressing braking and turning into the smallest distance practicable, leaves the rest of the corner for a quick lift-up and acceleration.
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