Southern Exposure: A Tennessee and Kentucky Motorcycle Ride

Kentucky Tennessee Motorcycle Ride Tim Kessel
This Kentucky and Tennessee motorcycle ride includes a section of the Natchez Trace Parkway, which starts less than 20 miles from downtown Nashville. The historic road follows an ancient pathway for 444 miles to Natchez, Mississippi, on the Mississippi River. (Photos by the author and Cheryl Kessel)

When a family friend decided to celebrate a milestone birthday in Nashville, our interest was piqued. Being big music fans and suckers for seeing new places, especially those with famously good motorcycling roads, my wife, Cheryl, and I decided to tag along. Others handled the search for accommodations and entertainment opportunities for the trip, so I was left to handle the most important job: securing a motorcycle for some adventuring. 

None of the rental companies in Nashville had a motorcycle that matched my criteria, so I searched the Riders Share peer‑to‑peer rental website and found a BMW F 750 GS. I had never used this kind of rental service before, and after some easy back and forth with the motorcycle’s owners, our rental was secure. The owners even agreed to deliver the bike directly to our lodging for a small fee. All we had to do was pack riding gear. 

Kentucky Tennessee Motorcycle Ride Tim Kessel

Scan QR codes above or click Day #1 or Day #2 to view routes on REVER

After a late‑night arrival in Nashville, we settled into our rental apartment downtown. About noon the following day, a clean, blue GS rolled up. The friendly owners, Madison and Tim, gave me some great local knowledge tips for our first afternoon of riding.

Day 1: Leiper’s Fork and the Natchez Trace Parkway | Tennessee Motorcycle Ride

We did not have time on this trip for the complete 444 miles of the famed Natchez Trace Parkway, but I knew we had to ride part of it. Tim gave me a strategy for seeing some great locations and sampling the parkway in an afternoon of riding. Nashville is a hive of tourist activity, and leaving the metro area went how you would expect. We weaved around party buses and through the dense traffic, finally leaving behind the neon lights, blaring music, and bar‑hopping activity for a Tennessee motorcycle ride through the countryside.

Kentucky Tennessee Motorcycle Ride Tim Kessel
The 1,572-foot-long Natchez Trace Bridge is an impressive structure both from below and from above. It carries the Natchez Trace Parkway 145 feet above State Route 96.

We headed northwest on Interstate 40 through farmland and beside impressive southern mansions, both historic and modern. Our eyes, conditioned by the muted pastel hues of our home state of Arizona, were dazzled by the vibrant greens of the Tennessee landscape. After exiting the freeway at McCrory Lane, perfectly furrowed crops and geometrically mowed estate lawns lined the sweeping corners. On State Route 96, the Natchez Trace Bridge, with its sweeping, whitewashed double arches, grew on the horizon. 

See all of Rider‘s Tennessee touring stories here

A bit more riding brought us to Leiper’s Fork. The quaint village, once a virtually unknown dot on a map, has emerged as a small, thriving arts and entertainment center. It is also near sprawling estates owned by music and entertainment superstars like Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, and Nicole Kidman.

On the town’s short main street, we dropped a kickstand at the Fox & Locke Restaurant, a historic establishment with a common feature at any bar or restaurant in this neck of the woods: a stage for live performances. Cheryl ordered the classic BLT, and I chose the catfish sandwich – flaky white fish topped with a medley of slaw, grilled onions, and pickles – which was a culinary highlight of our entire vacation.

Kentucky Tennessee Motorcycle Ride Tim Kessel
The Fox & Locke in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, is a favorite stop for motorcyclists near the Natchez Trace Parkway.

After a walk by the shops and galleries of the small town, we rode onto the Natchez Trace Parkway. It was almost surreal how the traffic dropped away, the road became smooth, and the terrain morphed into an undulating delight. Mowed grass lined the sweeping corners of the parkway, and wooded thickets added to the texture of the ride. I did not have to slow for traffic once on our way to the Parkway’s northern end, which included riding over the massive bridge that we rode beneath earlier. The entirety of the Natchez Trace is now on my bucket list of rides. 

After exiting the Parkway, we passed another famed local eatery, the Loveless Cafe, but I was too full from lunch to indulge in their legendary biscuits and gravy. We made our way to the Belle Meade Estate and Winery for a brief tour of the historic property before rolling back into Nashville.

Kentucky Tennessee Motorcycle Ride Tim Kessel Nashville
Nashville is a nonstop mix of neon, live music, and bustling watering holes.

We spent the night sampling what has made Nashville famous – music. I doubt there’s a Broadway Street music hall that we did not visit. Night clubs sporting the names of famous country stars teemed with tourists as music blared from every direction. Multi‑leveled bars offered performers on each floor. We opted for the rooftop settings as they tended to be less intense and crowded. Far from a lazy Southern city, Nashville is a frenzy of people and music often referred to as “Nashvegas.”

Day 2: Burning Barns and Bowling Green | Kentucky Motorcycle Ride

With country music still ringing in my ears, I geared up for a solo ride north of Nashville as Cheryl opted to sleep late. I headed northwest toward Ashland City on State Route 12, a smooth and pleasant roll through sweeping corners on a road which lived up to its designation as a state scenic parkway. From Ashland City, I made my way onto State Route 49 on a northeastern path toward Kentucky.

I was fully engulfed in farmland. End‑of‑season cornfields dried in the September sun, and various other crops were green and thriving. An unexpected sight led me to stop and reach for my cellphone. Smoke was wafting from the gables and overhangs of a large red barn. I could not help but think about the short story “Barn Burning” by one of my favorite Southern authors, William Faulkner. Just before I did my civic duty by calling 911, I noticed another barn on the horizon emitting the same white smoke. A quick Google search set me straight. 

Kentucky Tennessee Motorcycle Ride Tim Kessel tobacco barn
As it cures, tobacco hangs like giant bats in a Kentucky barn.

It was tobacco curing season, and farmers were drying their crop at 135‑140 degrees with carefully controlled fires within those barns. What was, at first, a concerning sight was now a source of intrigue and education for this Arizona boy. After passing by those smoldering structures, I saw another type of tobacco curing: huge red barns had doors opened wide, and tobacco hung from ceilings. If I hadn’t already done my roadside research, I may have mistaken the tobacco leaves for drying animal hides.

See all of Rider‘s Kentucky touring stories here

The ride through farmland continued as I passed from Tennessee into Kentucky, another tobacco‑producing state. The road carried new signage as Kentucky Route 383. I rolled into Franklin, a historically rich small city with a beautiful brick and stone downtown area, where Johnny Cash and June Carter were married at the First United Methodist Church. There is much to do in Franklin: thoroughbred racing and gaming at The Mint at Kentucky, tours and live dueling reenactments at the Sandford Duncan Inn, and Kentucky’s largest sunflower maze in August at Ruby Branch Farms. Kentucky is famous for its whiskey, and the Dueling Grounds Distillery is on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour.

Kentucky Tennessee Motorcycle Ride Tim Kessel
A farmer took his tractor to new heights in the region’s rich farmland.

On my way out of town, I stopped at The Fork In The Road, an art installation of a Paul Bunyan‑sized utensil located at the corner of Bunch and Uls roads. Continuing north on U.S. Route 31W toward Bowling Green, I passed Octagon Hall, an eight‑sided brick home built in 1847 that is now a museum of Civil War artifacts.

Bowling Green is not just a bustling and vibrant Southern city; it is also the only place in the world where Corvettes are made. I rode past and beside several of the sleek Chevys as I made my way through the city, which is also home to the National Corvette Museum. I motored through the attractive Western Kentucky University campus with its white‑columned and red‑brick buildings. The campus also preserves several historic structures like the impressive Felts Log House, which was built by a Revolutionary War veteran around 1810 and relocated to its current location in 1980. 

Kentucky Tennessee Motorcycle Ride Tim Kessel
This unassuming building squats directly on the Tennessee/Kentucky state line.

After WKU, I made my way to the downtown district. The town square is a lively city centerpiece. A garden‑like central park sits in the shadows of historic stone buildings, and a beautiful fountain sits as the heart of the setting. My walk around the city center included several historically significant buildings and memorials. The area is well worth a visit.

The quick route back to Nashville from Bowling Green would be Interstate 65, but where’s the fun in that? I rode U.S. Route 231 south through southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee until I made the southwestern turn onto U.S. Route 31 toward Nashville. It was a nice, relaxing end to my “exposure” of this part of Tennessee and Kentucky. We ended the night back on the streets of Nashville, visiting the famed Ryman Theater, listening to country music, and sampling Tennessee whiskey. 

Kentucky Tennessee Motorcycle Ride Tim Kessel Bowling Green
The beautiful town square in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is a great place to drop a kickstand and stretch the legs.

Nashville, Bowling Green, and the other smaller towns I visited all exuded their own Southern charm. This was my first visit to the area, and it won’t be my last. I plan to ride the entire Natchez Trace Parkway, and the Nashville area will be either the staging location or the end game to that journey.

See all of Rider‘s touring stories here

Tennessee Motorcycle Ride Resources

Kentucky Motorcycle Ride Resources

The post Southern Exposure: A Tennessee and Kentucky Motorcycle Ride appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review | First Ride

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review
The 2024 Triumph Daytona 660 sportbike is powered by a 660cc inline-Triple that makes 95 hp and 51 lb-ft of torque. (Photos courtesy Triumph)

In the mid-1990s, when I cut my teeth as a motorcyclist, the Big Four Japanese manufacturers were engaged in a middleweight sportbike arms race. Every other year, each brand unveiled an updated platform, squeezing a few more ponies out of their 599cc inline-Four engine and tweaking frame geometry, suspension systems, and brakes.

As a result of this one-upmanship, middleweight sportbikes went from entry-level all-arounders to racebikes with lights and license plates. Which is great, except for the fact that only a small percentage of riders spend weekends wearing down knee pucks at the track. Add to this that a tricked-out middleweight now costs nearly what a liter-class machine does, and we arrive at something of an evolutionary dead end.

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review
The 2024 Triumph Daytona 660 in Satin Granite/Satin Jet Black, one of three colorways available.

And yet here we are with a new Triumph Daytona 660. The storied British manufacturer enters the highly competitive middleweight class by hitting the reset button, aiming to produce an affordable, attractive sportbike that can handle commuting and light touring, as well as footpeg-scraping backroads and the occasional trackday. To see if they pulled it off, Triumph invited us to Alicante, Spain, for a full day of riding in everything from city traffic to mountain passes.

Inline-Triple | Triumph Daytona 660

The Daytona 660 is powered by an updated version of the engine that powers Triumph’s Trident 660 and Tiger Sport 660, and it’s a callback to the Daytona 675 that Triumph produced from 2006-2018, which was the first inline-Triple in the middleweight sportbike class. The Triple provides the best of both worlds: torque in the lower rev ranges like a Twin and ample mid- and top-end power like a Four.

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review
Peeking out from the bodywork is the Triumph Daytona 660’s inline-Triple.

The Daytona 660’s 3-cylinder mill gets a trio of new 44mm throttle bodies and larger exhaust valves, and its airflow was increased with a front-mounted intake and a larger airbox. A new crankshaft with increased gear width provides smoother revving, the pistons now feature a low-friction coating, and the radiator and fan are both larger and have been repositioned for more efficient cooling. Exhaust gasses flow through a 3-into-1 header and into an underslung silencer that produces a satisfying growl that becomes a bark with a twist of the throttle.

These upgrades result in a claimed 95 hp at 11,250 rpm, a 17% increase over the Trident 660, and the Daytona’s 12,650-rpm redline is 20% higher than the Trident’s too. The engine cranks out 51 lb-ft of torque at 8,250 rpm (9% more than the Trident), with 80% of that power on tap at only 3,125 rpm. Triumph says the Daytona 660 will get you from 0-60 in just 3.6 seconds. 

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review
With the Daytona 660, Triumph offers an affordable, comfortable sportbike for everyday riders.

GEAR UP | Triumph Daytona 660

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review
The Triumph Daytona 660’s sculpted bodywork looks fast even when standing still, and the bike’s design has great attention to detail.

Bespoke details | Triumph Daytona 660

At the tech briefing the night before our test ride, I got my first close look at the Daytona 660 in Satin Granite/Satin Jet Black, a color scheme that, combined with the “660” in neon green on the lower fairing, says “badass” without rubbing your nose in it. (Other colorways include Snowdonia White/Sapphire Black and Carnival Red/Sapphire Black.) The bike’s fit and finish make it look pricier than its $9,195 base price, and its styling is aggressive but exudes a bespoke elegance that stands out from its competition. Take a close look at how the fairing flows into the distinctive molding of the gas tank, or how the silencer nestles near the rear tire, and you’ll see that Triumph’s design team sweated the details. With minimal bodywork highlighting the powerplant and frame, the Daytona 660 looks impressive just leaning on its kickstand. I couldn’t wait to put some miles on it.

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review
From city streets to winding backroads, the Triumph Daytona 660 is easy to handle and fun to ride.

Capable commuter? | Triumph Daytona 660

We started our ride in morning traffic, threading through congested urban roundabouts – the first test of Triumph’s middleweight reset. Is the Daytona 660 a comfortable, capable, and intuitive commuter? It only took a few minutes on Spanish city streets to make me appreciate the availability of useful torque from low revs. Urban stop-and-go traffic is easier to navigate on a machine with a wide powerband, so you can squirt between vehicles without fiddling with the gearbox.

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review
A comfortable rider triangle makes the Triumph Daytona 660 a bike you can ride all day, and it would be a great sport-tourer with some accessory luggage.

At low city speeds, even after shifting into a higher gear than necessary, the Daytona’s engine delivered smooth, confidence-inspiring power without the need to wind up to high rpm. The 6-speed gearbox, which has updated input/output shafts and revised gear ratios, is well-sorted. There are no annoying searches for neutral, each shift accompanied by a satisfying “snick,” and the slip/assist clutch feels light at the lever (Triumph offers an optional quickshifter for those who want to bypass the clutch).

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review
The Triumph Daytona 660 has an understated white-on-black instrument panel that combines LCD and TFT displays.

The cockpit design is well-suited for city riding. The instrument panel, which is a hybrid LCD/TFT display, was easy to see through my tinted visor, even in bright light, and the tachometer, fuel gauge, gear indicator, and digital speedometer are clustered thoughtfully, giving me a lot of information with a quick glance down. The clip-on bars were easy on my wrists and didn’t force me to reach or crouch. Footpeg positioning was comfortable for my 6-foot frame. Likewise, the stock seat height of 31.9 inches was in the Goldilocks zone (Triumph offers a lower seat option that drops the saddle about an inch).

The Daytona 660’s engine, drivetrain, and ergonomics come together in an impressively intuitive commuter that I felt confident flinging around unfamiliar city streets on our way to the mountains to see if Triumph kept the “sport” in their new sportbike.

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review
We tested the Triumph Daytona 660 on twisty roads in the mountains above Alicante, Spain.

Into the mountains | Triumph Daytona 660

It was no accident that we were invited to ride the Daytona 660 through the mountains outside of Alicante. As we gained elevation, the beautifully engineered Spanish roads became downright exciting, with hairpins, sweepers, and significant elevation changes that put the bike’s chassis to the test. The radial 4-piston calipers, twin 310mm discs, and braided lines provided progressive, powerful braking without fading, even after miles of serpentine road.

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review
The Triumph Daytona 660 is equipped with competent brakes, grippy tires, and both ABS and TC.

Response from the throttle-by-wire throttle was precise and predictable. The three riding modes – Sport, Road, and Rain – each offer a different throttle response and level of traction control. Traction control can also be shut off, and a few of my fellow riders who did so had their rear tires step out on them under hard acceleration out of turns on dusty sections of road. I kept it engaged and didn’t have any such issues. In addition to traction control, the Daytona 660 is equipped with ABS, which adds to peace of mind when pushing the bike hard in the bends.

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review
With sporty steering geometry and a low weight of about 445 lb with a full tank of gas, the Triumph Daytona 660 carves through tight corners with ease.

The Daytona 660’s steering geometry and stock Michelin Power 6 tires made it easy to flick through chicane-like mountain sections, and the Showa suspension – a nonadjustable 41mm inverted fork and a single rear shock with preload adjustability – kept things composed on hard braking into turns and over less-than-perfect bits of tarmac. The suspension package is not top-shelf, but it is up to the task for what most riders will ask the Daytona 660 to do: keep a big grin plastered on your face as you carve up your favorite backroads.

A great first impression | Triumph Daytona 660

The Daytona 660 won me over almost immediately. The folks at Triumph clearly spent a lot of time refining this machine, as it felt sorted out in a way that not all first-generation models do. And, as I spent more time on the bike and got a chance to uncork it on beautiful mountain roads, things just got better.

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review
Priced at $9,195, the Triumph Daytona 660 delivers good value and should fit just about any rider’s budget.

This is a powerful, agile, attractive motorcycle that ticks most of the important boxes for less than $10,000. Although our test ride kept me in the saddle for nearly eight hours, I was comfortable enough on the Daytona that I would readily sign up for touring duty, especially considering optional upgrades such as a tankbag and tailbag, heated grips, tire pressure monitoring, and the My Triumph Connectivity System that adds navigation as well as phone and music interactivity.

The Daytona 660 accomplishes what Triumph set out to do: reset the middleweight sportbike segment by offering a versatile, exciting motorcycle that is affordable enough for entry-level riders but capable enough for those with more experience and buying power. And, regardless of your moto skillset, this is a beautiful machine that outclasses the competition with design details usually reserved for pricier bikes. While this may not be the bike for riders who spend lots of time at their local track, that isn’t Triumph’s target audience. I hope Rider gets a Daytona 660 for a longer-term test, because the taste of this bike that I got in Spain left me wanting more.

Check out more new bikes in Rider’s 2024 Motorcycle Buyers Guide

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review
2024 Triumph Daytona 660 in Carnival Red/Sapphire Black

2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Specs

  • Base Price: $9,195
  • Website: TriumphMotorcycles.com
  • Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles
  • Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse inline-Triple, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
  • Displacement: 660cc
  • Bore x Stroke: 74.0 x 51.1mm
  • Horsepower: 94 hp @ 11,250 rpm (factory claim)
  • Torque: 51 lb-ft @ 8,250 rpm (factory claim)
  • Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch
  • Final Drive: Chain
  • Wheelbase: 56.1 in.
  • Rake/Trail: 23.8 degrees/3.2 in.
  • Seat Height: 31.9 in.
  • Wet Weight: 443 lb (factory claim, 90% fuel)
  • Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gal.
  • Fuel Consumption: 57.6 mph (factory claim)

The post 2024 Triumph Daytona 660 Review | First Ride appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

"When I crashed, I didn’t believe I would be able to tell this story…" – Petrucci leaves hospital, targeting Misano return

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) has left hospital after his surgery on the injuries he sustained in a motocross training crash last week. ‘Petrux’ fractured his right collarbone and jaw in the incident, where he went to hospital to undergo surgery. Although he will miss the next MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship round at Assen due to the injuries, Petrucci has left hospital and provided an update on social media, including that he’s targeting a return to action on home soil.

The news broke of Petrucci’s crash on Friday, with the Italian always remaining conscious and he was taken to hospital for surgery. When announcing that Nicholas Spinelli would replace the #9 at Assen, the Barni Ducati team also expanded on the surgery required, with plates inserted into his jaw following the double fracture. A second surgery took place on his right clavicle but with that now completed, Petrucci has left hospital.

On Instagram, the four-time podium finisher said: “Hello everyone, I feel better, I’m out of the hospital, I’m almost well, as you can see the jaw has taken a good blow. I broke it in several parts, as well as the clavicle and the scapula. Unfortunately, I also cut a nerve in the jaw, which may come back. But for now, for the next few days, I’ll laugh with my mouth a little crooked like this. I’m very happy to be here because, first of all, I’m alive, and for a moment when I was crashing, I didn’t believe I would be able to tell this story.

“I thank the doctors of the Torretta hospital in Ancona where I was these days. Doctor De Feudis operated urgently on my jaw, he gave me some plates and screws. He did this masterpiece. I was really hurt. Doctor Balercia, who is in charge of the maxillofacial unit, and Doctor Pascarella, who operated on my clavicle yesterday morning, and put another plate. So, in addition to the two plates, the 20 screws I have on my hand, I added three more plates and some screws but I’m happy I’m going back home. It will take some time to recover. I think we’ll see each other at Misano. I can’t eat so maybe for the first time in my life I’ll lose weight because I can only eat liquids, so it will be tough but as I said I am very happy to be here to talk to you. I really thank you all, all those who have written to me, thank you, thank you again.”

Watch Assen from where you are and don’t miss a single moment using the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

BULEGA OPENS UP: “When you have a fast teammate, you want to do more… I have no pressure”

Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) has enjoyed a strong start to his MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship career, with one win and two podiums in his first six races. Ahead of the Pirelli Catalunya Round, the Italian sat down to talk in-depth about the start to his WorldSBK journey, how he’s in the “best moment” of his career after his WorldSSP title last year and the relationship he has with teammate Alvaro Bautista with the pair currently first and second in the standings, with Bulega leading.

THE BEST MOMENT: “I found a very good team, next year I will stay here”

The #11 first arrived in the WorldSBK paddock in 2022 when linking up with the Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team after a difficult two seasons in Moto2™. Although a win eluded him in 2022, he claimed the 2023 WorldSSP crown after an incredible season, winning 16 races out of 24 and taking 21 rostrums. That performance earned him a seat in the factory Aruba.it Racing – Ducati squad for his rookie WorldSBK campaign, and Bulega explained what that meant to him.

“I think now is the best moment because I’m in a very good team,” Bulega began. “I feel strong on the bike, and I feel that I can be competitive; for a rider, this is very important. They brought me from Moto2™ and I was in a bad moment. I didn’t enjoy riding bikes anymore, but they believed in me, and they gave me a second chance. They gave me a really good package and bike, they always believed in me and tried to give me the perfect bike every weekend.

“It was very important for me to join this team two years ago. We are growing up together. I found a very good team, next year I will stay here. I will try to, I don’t know about fighting for the Championship, stay in front and then we’ll see. I always say you have pressure when you’re in a bad position, like I was two years ago. That time, I had pressure. When you’re in a good team, you have a good bike and when results are coming, you don’t feel pressure.”

THE START IN WorldSBK: “Better than I expected… a real dream”

Bulega made his WorldSBK debut at Phillip Island, but it would’ve been difficult to tell it was his first round solely on results: pole in the Tissot Superpole session, a win in Race 1 and two more fifth places ensured he shone Down Under. With the interview taking place just ahead of the Catalunya Round and before he had arm pump surgery, ‘Bulegas’ reflected on his first weekend, the stunning victory and how more than what he achieved that weekend would’ve been difficult.

Bulega said: “It was a very good weekend for me, better than what I expected. Pre-season was very good but when you get to the first race, and you think I am fast and have a good feeling with the bike, when you have to do it, it’s always different. It was incredible and a real dream. More than this was difficult, my team did an incredible job all weekend. During the weekend, it was incredible to win my first race in WorldSBK in my first race, so it was very nice. To share these moments with my team was a great weekend.”

LEARNING FROM A CHAMPION: “I’m happy to share the garage with Bautista because he’s very fast”

Bulega’s promotion to WorldSBK means he’s racing alongside 2022 and 2023 WorldSBK Champion Alvaro Bautista this year, a challenge the Italian is relishing – not least because he’s able to learn from someone with two titles, 175 races, 60 wins and 93 podiums to his name. Both have won one race so far this season, although Bautista had secured more podiums than Bulega, and Bulega explained why he’s happy to be sharing a box with the #1.

Bulega said: “When you arrive in a new category, and your teammate is the World Champion, they’re always the first one you want to beat but not for me. If you ask every rider, it’s always the same. Alvaro is a very good guy. We’re in a very different situation. I’m happy to share the garage with him because he’s very fast. I like it when you have a teammate who is fast because you want to do more. It’s nice to have a two-time World Champion in the box. Phillip Island didn’t change anything. I won just one race, Alvaro is a two-time Champion, so I have to learn a lot from him.”

GOALS FOR 2024: “I already won a race so I would like to win some more…”

Bulega’s early goals for this season would’ve been to adapt, learn and get some good results along the way, but the first win coming in his first race changed how he’s looking at 2024. The 24-year-old discussed how he went from believing a top ten result as a rookie would’ve been a good result to now wanting more visits to the top step even if the process is more important to him at this point than the results.

“I think that, at the beginning of the season, if I was in the top ten as a rookie, it was a good result,” stated Bulega. “I already won a race so I would like to win some more. It’s too early to understand what I can do until the end of the season. I would like to stay in front in a lot of races and try to be on the podium. I don’t care too much about the final results because I’m only in my first year, so I want to enjoy every race. I have no pressure because it’s my first year. I just have to learn. If I can beat my rivals like in Australia but if I can’t, it’s not a problem, because it’s my first year.”

THE NEW ERA CONTINUES: watch every moment LIVE and UNINTERRUPTED using the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

STATS GUIDE: will BMW take their first-ever Assen podium as WorldSBK race #950 nears

Heading to the Netherlands and to the TT Circuit Assen is always an honour for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship and 2024 will be no different. The records are enormous but some of the history that could be made at this year’s Pirelli Dutch Round is rather remarkable. So, buckle up and take a look at just some of the magic numbers in play for round three of the season.

950 – WorldSBK is readying for its 950th race, scheduled for Race 2 this weekend. So far, there have been 79 different winners, 71 polesitters, 132 podium finishers, 598 points-scorers, 19 Champions and 8 winning manufacturers.

569 – Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) has amassed 569 points at Assen, an all-time record.

400/100 – Last year’s Race 2 was the 400th WorldSBK win for Ducati, achieved by Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). This year, Spain could become the fifth country with 100 wins in WorldSBK, after Great Britain (307), USA (119), Australia (118), Italy (108).

94 – If Bautista gets a podium, he’ll match Troy Bayliss’ tally of 94.

35 – The Dutch track is a home for British wins: no less than 35 out of 65.

31-30 – Last year, Ducati upped their tally of Assen wins to 31, which is one more than the sum of its nearest rivals, Honda and Kawasaki at 15 each.

26 – 26 Dutch riders were able to start at least one WorldSBK race. The most successful is Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), the only one able to record wins (5); poles (1); fastest laps (5) and podiums (40).

25/26 – Rea can equal and surpass his all-time record of podiums on a given track in WorldSBK: 26 at Aragon. He’s on 25 Assen podiums. The only year without an Assen podium was 2009 (7th and 5th).

20 – No less than 20 different riders have won a WorldSBK race at Assen but just two of them are present in the 2024 field: Rea and Bautista. In the last 20 races, only one other rider has beaten them at the track: Tom Sykes in Race 2, 2018, his last win to date.

20/10 – BMW riders never climbed on the podium at Assen: a top three result will make the Dutch track the 20th in which BMW posts a podium finish. Also, a win will make this the tenth winning track for them. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) has never won there either.

17 – 17 wins for Rea at Assen: the absolute record for a rider on any given track.

15 – The last of the two Yamaha wins here came 15 years ago by Ben Spies (Race 1 2009). Their only other win was achieved in 2000’s Race 2 by Noriyuki Haga.

8 – Both Jonathan Rea and Carl Fogarty were able to win eight consecutive races at Assen. Fogarty set the record from 1993 to 1996, Rea from 2014 Race 2 to 2018 Race 1.

2 – Only two riders managed to record their maiden career win at Assen: Chris Walker (Race 1, 2006) and Sylvain Guintoli (Race 1, 2012), both of which were wet races.

2×11 – In the last 11 races run here, a streak started in Race 1, 2019, there were only two winners: Jonathan Rea (5) and Alvaro Bautista (6).

2×19 – The last 19 races run here were won only by two manufacturers: Kawasaki (13) and Ducati (6). The streak started after Rea won for Honda in Race 2, ten years ago (2014).

1 – Only one rider was able to win a dry race here starting outside the top five on the grid: that was Jonathan Rea in 2017 in Race 2, from 9th.

1 – A track of firsts for Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK): first podium and fastest lap in 2014 Race 2; maiden pole, 2018.

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Source: WorldSBK.com

“My hunger and motivation are quite high” – Redding targets top six return at Assen

With the BMW winning races – but not in his hands – Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) is as hungry as ever to be in the front battle at a circuit he enjoys. The TT Circuit Assen is a favourite for many but Redding has good memories with BMW there, having achieved his first top five with the German brand in Race 2 two years ago. Now, after a tricky start to 2024 but at tracks he’s never been strong at, Round 3 onwards should see a more competitive ‘Redding Power’ inside the top ten, with the top six his target.

The 30-year-old’s season started with a P11 in Race 1 at Phillip Island before three consecutive 17th place finishes followed; 12th in Barcelona’s Superpole Race and 11th in Race 2 make it a small upturn in form, although Redding elaborated previously that his feeling with the bike is improving and that the result isn’t perhaps reflective of the progress. Three solid top ten results at Assen in 2023 will spur the British star on, even if it’s not been the dream start to the season for the #45.

“I don’t want to go with too much expectation because I’ve been bitten in the arse a few times with that but I’m feeling good for Assen,” began an ever-honest Redding. “It’s a track that I’m good at and my hunger and motivation are quite high for right and wrong reasons: knowing the bike can do it but it’s not me there doing it. That makes me hungry to be there to achieve it myself. The package has the potential so my goal is top six or top five and if we get them, then we can go home happy. If you’re in those positions, then you’re fighting for a podium. I’m not scared of a battle or a fight when the result is there to be taken.”

As far as BMW’s previous form at Assen goes, it perhaps isn’t their strongest circuit. Never with a win, podium, pole or fastest lap, they have two front row places to cheer about: Troy Corser’s P3 in 2010 and more recently, the mighty performance of Markus Reiterberger in 2019, when he took P3 on the grid and ran in the podium places for the opening laps in Race 1. However, BMW had also never had a win or podium at what is widely regarded as their weakest circuit in Barcelona, yet Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) quickly turned their fortunes around for his first wins with the manufacturer. With Redding’s best BMW-Assen finish of P5 coming two years ago, a trio of good points last year, could this year be different?

Explaining how vital the Tissot Superpole session is to give yourself a chance in the races, as well as a clean opening lap, Redding resumed: “Superpole is probably one of the most important sessions of the race weekend, it really can make it or break it. It’s one of the most stressful parts of a race weekend because you don’t have a lot of time to get it right. You only really get two chances and you have to pull it together. We have to be consistent through the races; it gets a bit chaotic at the start with some of these younger guys coming in; they’re trying to win the race in the first lap and it’s a bit crazy to be honest. When you don’t qualify at the front, you’re in the midst of all that and it’s quite sketchy. I’m more mature now and for me, you get points at the end of the race, not in the gravel on Lap 1 but then there’s always a knock-on effect. You need good starts, first laps and then you work on race pace.”

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Source: WorldSBK.com

PREVIEW: the ‘Cathedral of Speed’ welcomes WorldSSP as enthralling campaign hits Assen

The FIM Supersport World Championship continues its thrilling season with a trip to the Netherlands, and the iconic TT Circuit Assen. A track steeped in history and full of iconic moments, 2024 is sure to be no different for the WorldSSP field as the action heats up for Round 3, the Pirelli Dutch Round. There have been three winners and five riders on the podium so far this season, so will there be a new name to add to the list or will frontrunners start pulling clear?

MONTELLA VS SCHROETTER VS MANZI: three-way title fight brewing, or can others join in?

Four points separate Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) and Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), with Montella taking two wins to Schroetter’s none so far, although he has been close with four podiums out of four. On 65 points and seven away from the German is Stefano Manzi (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing), who was the Race 2 Barcelona winner and has three podiums to his name. At his team’s home race, can the #62 add to his win tally and close the gap? The other rider to win this year is Adrian Huertas (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) but a win, a podium and two crashes means he’s down in fifth, but will the #99 be able to change his mixed fortunes at Assen?

A STRONG START: Caricasulo on the MV Agusta, Debise and Mahias underdogs for Assen?

Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing) has enjoyed a strong start to life on the MV Agusta, running inside the top eight in all four races this season but his next step will be to target a podium. One of the most experienced riders on the grid, perhaps Assen will be where he grabs his first MV Agusta rostrum. Elsewhere, French riders Lucas Mahias (GMT94 Yamaha) and Valentin Debise (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) both enjoyed a strong Barcelona, fighting in the lead group, with Mahias coming away with a podium. He was on the rostrum in 2017 with Yamaha machinery and will be looking to repeat that, while Debise has taken fifth in three races this year. He’s only stood on the podium in France while in WorldSSP but he’ll hope his strong form means this changes this weekend.

BACK TO THE FRONT: looking to make gains at Assen

Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) sits sixth in the standings and is going in search of his first podium and win of the season, although Assen is a circuit he’s only made the top ten once at. For Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), it’s a return to where his 2023 season effectively ended following his crash with Montella last season and he’ll be hoping to put everything behind him with a strong result in the Netherlands. He was quick in Barcelona but faded as the race went on, but perhaps Assen will be different for the #61 at a circuit he’s had a podium at, back in Race 2 in 2022.

WILDCARDS: Smits returns, van Wikselaar set for debut

Two wildcard riders will race at Assen, and both will be looking to give the passionate Dutch crowd something to cheer on home soil. Twan Smits (Team Apreco) has been in the paddock before, competing in WorldSSP300 in 2021 as a wildcard as well as Portimao last year in WorldSSP where he took a best of 20th. It’ll be a debut for Wiljan van Wikselaar (WST WIXX Racing Ducati), who won the Dutch Supersport championship last year and is competing in IDM Supersport in 2024. He’s also competed in the Dakar Rally.

Watch every moment from Assen LIVE and UNINTERRUPTED using the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

2024 CFMOTO 450NK Review | First Ride

2024 CFMOTO 450NK Review
The 450NK is one of four bikes in CFMOTO’s lineup powered by a liquid-cooled 449cc parallel-Twin with dual counterbalancers and a lively 270-degree crank. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

As a husky guy who’s 6 feet tall and more than 200 lb, I’m not the target buyer for small bikes, but man, I sure love riding them. Don’t get me wrong; I love riding powerful bikes (like the 190-hp KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo I track-tested in Spain) and big bikes (like the Harley-Davidson Glides I recently rode on a nine-day, 4,200-mile tour through four states), but they require a level of respect and seriousness that I’m not always in the mood for. Sometimes I just wanna have fun.

2024 CFMOTO 450NK Review

The CFMOTO 450NK has carefree written all over it. It weighs just 364 lb, makes 50 hp at the crank, and has nothing to figure out – just hop on and ride. That’s not to say the 450NK is a toy or just a playbike. While it’s certainly slender between the knees and is easy to toss through a set of tight turns, it doesn’t feel diminutive, nor does it have a cramped cockpit. Snug, perhaps, but not cramped. The positions of the upright handlebar and footpegs are sensible, and the sculpted shape of the tank allows the rider to comfortably wrap around it, giving the sense of sitting in rather than on the bike.

2024 CFMOTO 450NK Review

Powering the 450NK is a liquid-cooled 449cc parallel-Twin that’s a workhorse in CFMOTO’s lineup. The same engine is found in the 450SS sportbike, the Ibex 450 adventure bike I recently tested, and the forthcoming 450CL-C cruiser. Dual counterbalancers help it run smoothly throughout the rev range, and its 270-degree crank gives it a delightful rumble complemented by a spicy exhaust note – not the dull drone one might expect of a bike in this class.

2024 CFMOTO 450NK Review

GEAR UP

Except for a bit of low-speed roughness, the 450NK’s cable-actuated throttle provides good response. The slip/assist clutch makes for a light, easy pull when rowing through the 6-speed gearbox, and both the clutch lever and front brake lever are adjustable for reach. The 450NK’s 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels and narrow 110/70 front and 140/60 rear tires (made by CST, the parent company of Maxxis) contribute to the bike’s nimbleness. A light push on either end of the handlebar is all it takes to initiate a turn, and the 450NK holds its line obediently.

2024 CFMOTO 450NK Review
The 450NK’s tailsection has cut-outs in the bodywork, a small pillion, and a stylish taillight.

The bike makes a great commuter or playful canyon carver. It purrs smoothly at highway speeds and will do “the ton” with little effort. Given my body’s weight and terrible aerodynamic profile, not to mention my tendency to twist the throttle with abandon, I recorded lackluster fuel economy during this test – just 42.4 mpg, yielding about 157 miles from the 3.7-gallon tank. When our lighter and less aggressive associate editor, Allison Parker, tested the 450SS, she posted a more respectable 63 mpg. Sheesh, maybe it’s time to shed a few pounds and reduce my coffee intake.

2024 CFMOTO 450NK Review
Angular bodywork gives the 450NK a sleek streetfighter look. The bike is equipped with ABS, TC, a TFT display, and LED lighting.

The 450NK’s suspension and brakes, while competent, are about what you’d expect for a $5,399 motorcycle. The 37mm inverted fork is not adjustable, and the multi-link rear shock is only adjustable for spring preload. Damping is good for general street riding without being overly taut or too soft. The J.Juan brakes, with a 4-piston radial front caliper pinching a 320mm disc and a 1-piston floating rear caliper with a 220mm disc, provide adequate, consistent stopping power. Standard safety features include ABS and switchable traction control.

2024 CFMOTO 450NK Review

Carles Solsona, CFMOTO’s Italy-based motorcycle design director, did a great job on the 450NK’s styling, which echoes that of the 800NK. Both bikes have a V-shaped headlight nacelle with a large daytime running light, and the tops of their front fenders have a unique convex shape. The tank shrouds, radiator shrouds, lower cowling, and airy cut-outs in the tail give the 450NK a modern, go-fast look, and the Zephyr Blue colorway is especially eye-catching (the other color option is Nebula White).

2024 CFMOTO 450NK Review

Useful amenities include full LED lighting, a USB charging port, and a 5-inch color TFT instrument panel that includes Bluetooth connectivity to the CFMOTO app, which allows navigation and music to be shown on the screen. The switchgear and menus are intuitive, but the app’s navigation function needs some refinement.

2024 CFMOTO 450NK Review
The TFT is packed with info, but the small, thin font can be hard to read.

As with other bikes in CFMOTO’s lineup, the 450NK delivers good value for the money, but its most endearing trait is its approachability. After a long hiatus from riding, my brother, Paul, has returned to the joys of motorcycling, and lately we’ve been getting together for Saturday morning rides. He has taken a shine to the 450NK, which has been the perfect bike on which to sharpen skills that had become dull. 

2024 CFMOTO 450NK Review

Whether you’re new to riding, returning to the fold, or are a jaded veteran, the smile that will be on your face after riding this bike is priceless.

2024 CFMOTO 450NK Review
At just $5,399, the 2024 CFMOTO 450NK provides a lot of value in a playful package.

Check out more new bikes in Rider’s 2024 Motorcycle Buyers Guide

2024 CFMOTO 450NK Specifications

  • Base Price: $5,399
  • Website: CFMOTOusa.com
  • Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles
  • Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel-Twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl. 
  • Displacement: 449cc  
  • Bore x Stroke: 72.0 x 55.2mm  
  • Horsepower: 50 hp @ 9,500 rpm (factory claim)  
  • Torque: 28.8 lb-ft @ 7,600 rpm (factory claim)  
  • Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch   
  • Final Drive: Chain  
  • Wheelbase: 53.9 in.
  • Rake/Trail: 24.5 degrees/3.7 in.
  • Seat Height: 31.3 in. 
  • Wet Weight: 364 lb (factory claim)  
  • Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gal.  
  • Fuel Consumption: 42.4 mpg 
  • Estimated Range: 157 miles

The post 2024 CFMOTO 450NK Review | First Ride appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

FULL SCHEDULE: all the session times from Assen as the Dutch Round awaits!

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship continues with the Pirelli Dutch Round at the iconic TT Circuit Assen, with track action at the ‘Cathedral of Speed’ starting at 09:40 Local Time (UTC+1) on Friday with WorldSSP300 Free Practice followed by WorldSBK Free Practice 1 at 10:20. WorldSSP Free Practice is 11:20. Then, we dive straight into Tissot Superpole for WorldSSP300 at 14:10 and WorldSSP Superpole at 16:00, with WorldSBK Free Practice 2 sandwiched between them at 15:00. On Saturday, the action begins at 09:00 with WorldSBK Free Practice 3, before Tissot Superpole at 11:00 for the WorldSBK field. After that, it’s race time. WorldSSP300 Race 1 at 12:45, WorldSBK at 14:00 and WorldSSP at 15:15. The round concludes on Sunday, with three Warm Up sessions starting the day from 09:00 before racing begins at 11:00 with the Tissot Superpole Race. WorldSSP300 Race 2 starts at 12:45, WorldSBK at 14:00 and WorldSSP at 15:15.

THE NEW ERA CONTINUES: watch every moment from Assen LIVE and UNINTERRUPTED using the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Friday, 19th April 2024 (all times Local Time, UTC+1)

09:40-10:05 – WorldSSP300 Free Practice

10:20-11:05 – WorldSBK Free Practice 1

11:20-12:00 – WorldSSP Free Practice

14:10-14:35 – WorldSSP300 Tissot Superpole

15:00-15:45 – WorldSBK Free Practice 2

16:00-16:40 – WorldSSP Tissot Superpole

Saturday, 20th April

09:00-09:20 – WorldSBK Free Practice 3

09:30-09:40 – WorldSSP300 Warm Up

09:50-10:00 – WorldSSP Warm Up

11:00-11:15 – WorldSBK Tissot Superpole

12:45 – WorldSSP300 Race 1 (12 laps)

14:00 – WorldSBK Race 1 (21 laps)

15:15 – WorldSSP Race 1 (18 laps)

Sunday, 21st April

09:00-09:10 – WorldSBK Warm Up

09:20-09:30 – WorldSSP300 Warm Up

09:40-09:50 – WorldSSP Warm Up

11:00 – WorldSBK Tissot Superpole Race (10 laps)

12:45 – WorldSSP300 Race 2 (12 laps)

14:00 – WorldSBK Race 2 (21 laps)

15:15 – WorldSSP Race 2 (18 laps)

Source: WorldSBK.com

Petrucci out of Assen after motocross training crash, Spinelli gets WorldSBK debut

The third round of the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship will not feature Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) after the Italian suffered a motocross training incident in Italy. Already with a podium in 2024 and with a solid start after six races, it’s a blow that the #9 didn’t want but with seven weeks off between Assen and Misano, he’ll hope to be back fit for his home round. This weekend, he’ll be replaced by fellow countryman and WorldSSP podium finisher, Nicholas Spinelli.

Spinelli, who has 20 races, seven top ten finishes and one podium from his experience in WorldSSP, steps up to the main World Superbike class for this weekend, deputising for ‘Petrux’. Spinelli is no stranger to the team, having won the CIV championship for them in 2022 under the ‘next generation’ class. 22-year-old Spinelli doesn’t have Superbike experience but he’s a double CIV Moto3 champion alongside his CIV Supersport accolade.

Petrucci’s crash left him with a double fracture to his jaw, which he has already undergone surgery for with the insertion of plates. He’ll also undergo surgery on his right clavicle but is scheduled to remain in hospital until Monday, 15th April, although his recovery will take longer due to the second procedure. The fourth round takes place on 14th – 16th June, although there will be a test at Misano two weeks prior on the 30th and 31st of May, with this the target for Petrucci’s return to the track.

Speaking about being out for the third round, Danilo Petrucci spoke dejectedly after such a strong start to the year: “I’m truly disappointed about this injury. I was in great shape, felt I could achieve good results, and was training even harder. I’d never had to skip a race due to a motocross accident, but I won’t be at Assen. With the plates they’ve inserted, I wouldn’t even be able to put on my helmet. In agreement with the doctors, we decided to operate on the clavicle too. I want to be there for the Misano tests at the end of May.”

With a career-first WorldSBK call-up, Spinelli is relishing the opportunity, despite the circumstances: “I am so sorry for Danilo’s accident and I wish him a speedy recovery, but I am really happy with this call. Racing with the guys of Superbike is a dream come true, I will try my best to do well and enjoy this experience. A big thank you to Marco Barnabo and the whole team who still believe in me after the season we had together.”

Watch Assen from wherever you are and whenever you want with the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com