Riding is like life. Keep your balance, stop for a nice meal once in a while, stand up, sit down, lean in, keep your eyes up but be aware of what’s behind you and what might come from either side, check your blind spot, don’t carry too much baggage, and keep a decent tool kit around.
So cool to read about Harley-Davidson’s new Milwaukee-Eight engine while at the same time Discovery Channel airs the miniseries Harley and the Davidsons. I don’t own a Harley, but given H-D’s current engineering excellence and incomparable heritage, it’s no surprise so many do-and so many more want to.
A bagger with the chassis to match its solid looks
MGX-21 FLYING FORTRESS
"That's a cool-looking motor-cycle," said the man dressed in a Harley-Davidson T-shirt and hat, his eyes locked on the carbon-fiber covers and bright-red cylinder heads protruding from either side of the bike’s chassis. He stood back to take it in and then, as I began to step away from it, asked the question I already knew was coming: “What is it?”
Yamaha's product plan has been pretty impressive over the past five years. The tuning-fork company has done a great job creating new platforms and then building variations on them that appeal to a wide variety of buyers. Take the brand-new SCR950, for instance.
Schlepping gear from here to Timbuktu needn't be an ADV logistics nightmare. Even the non-GS rider will appreciate the BMW Atacama Soft Top Case Duffel ($326.99), a clever storage solution that will strap to any tall rack. The best part of this 10.6-gallon waterproof duffel is that it converts into a backpack off the bike. (800) 831-1117 bmwmotorcycles.com
Losing a load along the road or trail will spoil any great adventure. The Better Bungee Slotted Strap ($5) is just that, an innovative take on the traditional bungee cord. The 36-inch polyurethane strap safely stretches two times its length, features scratch-free molded nylon hooks, and has six slots allowing easy customization of its overall length making for a flexible installation. thebetterbungee.com
Serious on-/off-road riding requires proper tires. The Michelin Anakee Wild ($256.95-$320.95) is developed to combine on-road stability, wear resistance, and increased wet-road and off-road traction. The tread block design releases mud, and bride-blocks on the shoulder increase pavement cornering stability. (208) 552-7433 michelinmotorcycle.com
Dressing for the wide temperature variations encountered on an adventure ride is paramount. The KTM Rally Jacket ($249.99) features removable, breathable, windand waterproof Z-liner membrane and microfleece lining. Chest and back vents, neoprene collar, and Lycra cuffs ensure comfort, while removable elbow and shoulder armor adds protection. ktmusa.com
Safely keeping you cool on those blazing-hot rides
EZ-1 SUPERFABRIC MESH JACKET
Anytime the thermometer starts edging up to triple digits, a common temptation is to ride in a T-shirt with no jacket. Bad idea. Even a minor get-off can leave you with mementos you’ll never forget. The smart move: Wear a jacket that provides as much crash protection as a conventional riding jacket but will keep you from being fricasseed in scorching weather.
THE CLOVERLEAF CONUNDRUM FLAT-LAND PROBLEM: FREEWAY ON- AND OFF-RAMPS
No canyons in sight but plenty of fun corners
While most motorcycle riding technique pieces focus on the never-ending puzzle of maximizing the enjoyment on canyon roads, the reality is that not everyone has the benefit of riding tight, twisting roads day in and day out. Such a case was recently presented to me by an Army Safety Division officer, who surprised me with his number-one motorcycle safety problem: freeway on- and off-ramps.
The new Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC is not where you’d expect to find two icons of chopper culture, but then again, they’re currently exhibiting photographer Danny Lyon’s career retrospective, Message To The Future. Lyon is best known among motorcyclists for his 1967 book The Bikeriders, documenting his membership in the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club, and his images from that period fill a room at the Whitney.
MotoGP photographer Neil Spalding recently explained that a hat-section round object on the lower left side of Honda RC213V fuel tanks is a means of adjusting fuel tank capacity to allow the mandated maximum of 22 liters to be carried. The “round objects” are made in various heights to allow capacity adjustment.
SOMETIMES YOU KICK THE BIKE. SOMETIMES THE BIKE KICKS YOU.
Yes, I know most people believe the Norton Commando is a four-stroke motorcycle, but this is not always the case. Let me explain. Several months ago, I awoke on a warm and sunny morning—perhaps the first really nice day of spring—and decided to take a motorcycle ride.
Suzuki riders have been uplifted by Maverick Viñales' win in the British round of MotoGP and by the MotoAmerica Superbike wins of Toni Elias and Roger Hayden this year, but a new GSX-R1000 has been a long time coming—the last engine update was in 2009.
BECAUSE THE BEST ADVENTURES ARE THE ONES YOU COMPLETE
We humans tend to obsess on how good something can be, how fast it can go, and what farkles it needs for higher performance even before we determine what vehicle we actually need or would use. Adventure bikes are a prime example. Just like in the superbike class, where horsepower wars in the 1990s and aughts gave us super-high-performance bikes nearly unrideable at the limit by the common man, the modern ADV bike is a wonder of high performance that can be quite a beast when ridden at the limit.
"It's a good thing your roving eye doesn’t extend to marriage,” my friend Jim said some years ago while regarding my then-new Ducati 996, “or you’d be on your 10th wife and destitute from alimony payments.” This, of course, assumes there are nine other women on earth besides Barb who are saintly enough to put up with me, but there’s no need to ponder that troubling question now.
HUT TO HUT THROUGH COLORADO’S BACKCOUNTRY WITH FOUR-TIME NATIONAL ENDURO CHAMPION RUSSELL BOBBITT
During World War II, an elite group of US Army soldiers known as the 10th Mountain Division honed its winter warfare at Camp Hale near Red Cliff, Colorado. In the decades since, many of those veterans returned to these mountains and became the foundation for Colorado’s modern ski industry.
Q: I just bought a repo'd 2014 BMW R1200RT. The bike has everything except TPM (tire pressure monitor), shift assist, keyless ignition, and locking bags. I have TPM in my cars and love it. I would love it on my BMW too. I need to know if I buy the BMW TPMs for my bike, will it be recognized by its computer?
BASIC SPECS: A liquid-cooled 1,199cc DOHC parallel twin featuring traction-enhancing 270-degree firing interval and YCC-T ride-by-wire fuel injection with adjustable traction control provides intuitive torque-rich delivery. A low-maintenance shaft drive feeds power to the standard, street-oriented 17-inch rear radial quite well, while fitment of more off-road-capable rubber is a viable modification due to its 19-inch front wheel size.
The German racer who's conquered America likes to work hard and play hard
Ken Roezen is a welcome rarity in a rigid environment. He isn’t afraid to show up to a press conference shirtless and admit he has a can of Coors Light in his koozie; fun is part of his program. His post-race cracks about eating donuts for breakfast became such a running joke in 2016 that, after dominating his second Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship (with 20 of 24 moto wins), his celebration T-shirt was a mock Jimmy John’s menu with fare such as donuts, steak, and mac ’n’ cheese.
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