Category Archives: Motorcycle News

2024 Harley-Davidson Glide Models Review | First Ride

2024 Harley-Davidson Glide models Road Glide Street Glide
Road or Street, these are easily the most capable OE Harley-Davidson Glide models ever built. (Photos by Brian J. Nelon and Kevin Wing)

If you have only a minute, here’s what you need to know about the 2024 Harley‑Davidson Glide models: The new OE Road/Street Glides are basically last year’s CVOs but with 117ci engines instead of the VVT 121. There, now you can go back to fettling your Shovelhead. 

2023 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide and Road Glide Review | First Ride

But, of course, there’s much more to the story about extensive revisions to America’s bestselling streetbikes. Take a ride with us from Lake Las Vegas into the surrounding remote areas.

2024 Harley-Davidson Glide models Road Glide Street Glide
Pricing for the Street Glide and Road Glide starts at $25,999 for Billiard Gray. Premium colors like those shown above cost extra.

Harley-Davidson Glide CVO to OE

This is the first major update to Harley’s Grand American Touring motorcycle portfolio since the Project Rushmore bikes debuted in 2013. Almost all the attributes we enjoyed about the thoroughly updated CVO Road Glide and Street Glide that debuted last summer are seen here in OE form: the same fairings, fuel tanks, and instrument panels. 

The biggest deviation from CVO to OE is found in their Milwaukee‑Eight powerplants. The 117ci engines seen here use the CVO’s liquid‑cooled cylinder heads but don’t have the variable valve timing of the 121 VVT. Other changes include a 50% larger air cleaner than the Heavy Breathers on the 107s and 114s, and the throttle body steps up from 55mm to 58mm (2.3 inches). Horsepower is bumped 3% to 105 hp at 4,600 rpm, while torque is lifted 4% to 130 lb‑ft at 3,250 rpm.

2024 Harley-Davidson Glide models Road Glide
The Road Glide and Street Glide are bagger icons, and they’ve been updated with fresh styling borrowed from H‑D’s CVO line.

Bodywork Work

Many graybeards turned up their noses when they first saw the fresh styling of the CVO Glides – it’s human nature to reject change. Seven months later, it seems as if the MoCo faithful are softening their harsh opinions, particularly for the elegant yet familiar Street Glide.  

2024 Harley-Davidson Icons and Enthusiast Collections Review | First Look

These new OE Harley-Davidson Glide models are basically identical to their CVO brethren, including the fuel tanks with chamfered upper edges that are 2 lb lighter than before but still hold 6 gallons. Further weight is trimmed by using a triple‑clamp fabricated by a liquid‑aluminum forging process, shaving off about 7 lb from this critical area. The new RG is purportedly 16 lb lighter than the previous RG Special; the SG has lost 18 lb relative to the old SG Special.

2024 Harley-Davidson Glide models Street Glide
The heat exchanger on the bike is located behind the front wheel, with airflow directed downward so a rider isn’t affected by the radiated warmth.

GEAR UP

TFT‑ease

The upgrade riders will have their eyes on most is the stunning TFT instrument panel. At 12.3 inches, it’s diagonally 90% larger than the previous screen. It includes three display options: Cruise, which is a traditional layout; Sport, with a central tach/speedo, leaving more space on the sides for customizable widget displays; and Tour, with most of the screen occupied by maps and directions. 

It’s all managed by H‑D’s Skyline OS, and preferences can be set via the glove‑friendly touchscreen or the various handlebar buttons. Audio wattage has been doubled to 200 watts, sending tunes to two 5.25‑inch speakers in the fairings. 

2024 Harley-Davidson Glide models Road Glide Street Glide
The 12.3‑inch TFT display is gorgeous and can be configured to suit rider preferences. It might be the best and most effective instrument panel in the business.

Ride modes are part of the package. Owners tap into different combinations of power delivery, engine braking, cornering ABS, and traction‑control parameters by selecting from Road, Sport, Rain, or Custom. H‑D’s Rider Safety Enhancements electronics suite is standard equipment, monitoring the linked brakes, cornering ABS, Drag Torque Slip Control, and Vehicle Hold Control. 

Rather than the CVO’s inverted fork and radial‑mount Brembo calipers, the OE Glides make do with a retuned 49mm nonadjustable fork with 4.6 inches of travel, as well as the previous 4‑piston axial‑mount calipers. 

The rear suspension receives a welcome upgrade, with travel up 43% from a scant 2.1 inches to a more reasonable 3 inches. Dual Showa shocks replace the old bikes’ dampers, now using emulsion technology in both instead of just one, which is claimed to improve responsiveness.

2024 Harley-Davidson Glide models Road Glide Street Glide
New Showa shocks bump suspension travel by 43% to a more adequate 3 inches. The left damper has a hydraulic adjuster for fine tuning spring‑preload settings.

Harley-Davidson Glide Guide

For the few of you who are unaware, the Street Glide and the Road Glide are essentially the same motorcycle but with different fairings. The SG uses a version of the iconic batwing fairing that was originally introduced in 1969. Ten years later saw the arrival of Harley’s sharknose fairing on the FLT Tour Glide, which was followed in 1998 by the first official Road Glide. 

Like everything in life, there is a compromise to be made in choosing the Harley-Davidson Glide that works best for you. The RG’s frame‑mounted fairing offers more wind protection, while the SG’s handlebar‑mounted batwing is more svelte but contributes to slightly heavier steering and can be affected by gusty crosswinds. 

From behind the bars, the SG feels like a much smaller motorcycle than the RG with its gargantuan fairing. This makes the 838‑lb SG feel more adept during low‑speed maneuvering even though they have similar weights.

2024 Harley-Davidson Glide models Road Glide Street Glide
A 117ci Milwaukee‑Eight might seem familiar, but it’s now fitted with liquid‑cooled cylinder heads and a new intake system.

Glides Rides

I first hopped aboard a Road Glide in its Sharkskin Blue colorway, a “premium” color that carries an $850 upcharge over the standard Billiard Gray base version. The new instrument panel enhances the bike’s high‑end impression and clearly delivers info to a rider, including tire pressures. The upgraded switchgear also impresses with a higher‑quality tactileness. The RG’s cockpit includes a pair of storage compartments, and the bin on the right side is equipped with a USB‑C connector. 

2024 Harley-Davidson Glide models Road Glide
The Glides roll on aluminum wheels with machine‑cut highlights, with 130/60B‑19 and 180/55B‑18 Harley‑Davidson‑branded Dunlop tires. The Glides now have adjustable front brake levers…finally.

The new 117ci motor spits out stately levels of grunt at all points of its powerband. It’s only in comparison with the CVOs’ 121ci M‑8s that it comes up a bit short. Almost everyone will think it’s more than adequate. I dialed in the Road ride mode for the smooth throttle response I desired for this mostly casual ride.  

While I enjoyed the full roar emitted from the exhaust system, the output from the audio system gets overwhelmed by wind noise above 65 mph. Although rated at 200 watts, it puts out 50 watts per channel, with only two speakers – the extra 100 watts will only be heard after fitting a pair of saddlebag speakers. 

2024 Harley-Davidson Glide models Street Glide
LED taillights fit neatly between the fender and resculpted saddlebags that are slightly larger inside.

When I swapped over to a Street Glide, I enjoyed a more suitable riding position for my smaller physique. The SG’s lower handlebar feels more natural for my stature, while the RG’s bar places the grips just a few inches lower than my shoulders. The touchscreen display on the SG is also much closer to the rider than the RG’s, making it much more accessible. 

2024 Harley-Davidson Glide models Road Glide Street Glide
The cockpit of the Street Glide includes this handy pop‑out drawer with a USB‑C connection point for phones.

Both Glides have adjustable vanes on the sides of their fairings to redirect airflow, plus a vent at the center of the windscreens that can be adjusted to smooth the air that hits a rider’s helmet. Another much‑appreciated feature on the SG is its slide‑out storage tray directly below the instrument panel, which is super convenient for stashing any small items. 

2024 Harley-Davidson Glide models Street Glide
The Street Glide and Road Glide have top‑notch instrumentation, more power, and a more capable suspension.

The smooth Nevada roads we traveled didn’t challenge the suspension, but the few bumps we hit made me grateful for the additional travel provided by the new shocks. They provide a major upgrade in ride quality compared to the previous shorty shocks. The brakes are plenty capable but not to the high levels of power offered by the hardware on the CVOs.

The Verdict

New OE Harley-Davidson Glide gripes are few. The heavy clutch requires a strong pull, and the 6‑speed transmission swaps cogs with a clunkiness unbecoming of a modern gearbox. But the upgraded motor is very satisfying, and the additional rear suspension travel is a major improvement that allows the Glides to glide over bumps that previously would shock a rider’s spine. 

The only real impediment to pulling the trigger on a new Glide is their pricey MSRPs, starting at $25,999. Both bikes have chrome finishes as standard, while black finishes cost an extra $1,350. Color options beyond Billiard Gray add another $850. 

While that’s a significant chunk of change, it’s far less than the CVOs, which are priced above $40K. If you gotta roll in style on a Harley bagger, these new Glides are a substantial improvement over the older ones. Even the graybeards will have to agree.

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

The post 2024 Harley-Davidson Glide Models Review | First Ride appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

10 Most Significant Motorcycles of the Last 50 Years

The following feature on the 10 most significant motorcycles of the last 50 years first appeared in the March issue of Rider as part of our new “Rider Rewind” feature, a monthly tribute to various aspects of either motorcycling history or the 50-year history of the magazine, which was founded in 1974.


During Rider’s 50‑year history, we’ve announced, featured, tested, and toured on thousands of motorcycles. We’ve covered a wide spectrum that includes pretty much anything with a license plate: cruisers, tourers (sport/luxury/traditional), sportbikes, standards, adventure bikes, dual‑sports, cafe racers, classics, scooters, trikes, electric bikes, and some that defy easy categorization. Here are 10 significant motorcycles that changed the course of two-wheeled history.

1. 1975 Honda GL1000 Gold Wing

10 Most Significant Motorcycles 1975 Honda GL1000 Gold Wing

We’ve got a soft spot for the Gold Wing because it was introduced soon after Rider got started. With its driveshaft and liquid‑cooled engine, the Wing has evolved over the past 49 years from a naked high‑performance machine to a luxury tourer, from four cylinders to six, and from a displacement of 1,000cc to 1,833cc. Its first dresser version all but killed the aftermarket for fairings and saddlebags, and later versions introduced the first motorcycle airbag and were available with Honda’s automatic Dual Clutch Transmission.

Honda Gold Wing Timeline: 1972-2018

2. 1981 BMW R 80 G/S

10 Most Significant Motorcycles 1980 BMW R 80 GS

The R 80 G/S was the first motorcycle that delivered on‑road comfort and performance and genuine off‑road capability in equal measure, and its air‑cooled “boxer” flat‑Twin and driveshaft could be traced back to BMW’s first production motorcycle, the 1923
R 32. Between 1981 and 1985, the G/S (the slash was later dropped) notched four wins in the grueling Paris‑Dakar Rally. After launching the adventure bike revolution and becoming BMW’s bestselling model, the completely new R 1300 GS was unveiled on BMW Motorrad’s 100th anniversary.

2024 BMW R 1300 GS Review | First Ride

3. 1984 Harley‑Davidson FXST Softail

10 Most Significant Motorcycles 1984 Harley-Davidson FXST Softail

In 1983, Harley‑Davidson was in deep trouble. Its old Shovelhead motor had run its course, so the MoCo introduced a new 80ci Evolution motor, an air‑cooled, 45‑degree V‑Twin with aluminum heads and numerous improvements. It was offered in several ’84 models, including the new custom‑look Softail, which appeared to have a classic hardtail frame but concealed dual shock absorbers under its engine. That Evo motor helped save the company, and the Softail was a huge success, paving the way for the Harley‑Davidson juggernaut of the ’90s and beyond.

See all of Rider‘s Harley-Davidson coverage here.

4. 1986 Suzuki GSX‑R750

10 Most Significant Motorcycles 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750

Before the Gixxer appeared, a “sportbike” was a standard motorcycle to which the owner had added engine mods, a lower handlebar, and suspension and braking upgrades, all in an exhaustive and expensive effort to improve power and handling. With its oil‑cooled inline‑Four and aluminum frame, the lightweight GSX‑R750 was track‑ready right out of the box. The GSX‑R launched the sportbike wars among the Japanese Big Four, and 600cc, 750cc, and 1,000cc models sold like hotcakes and won numerous championships.

Suzuki GSX-R750: The First Generation 1986-1987

5. 1987 Kawasaki KLR650

10 Most Significant Motorcycles 1987 Kawasaki KLR650

When it punched its KLR600 dual‑sport out to 650cc for 1987, Kawasaki struck a near‑perfect balance between on‑road comfort and off‑road capability, and it went on to sell a boatload of KLR650s without making significant changes for decades. A true do‑it‑all, go‑anywhere machine that was both affordable and bulletproof, the KLR became a popular choice for round‑the‑world travelers and helped launch an ADV aftermarket cottage industry. It got its first major update in 2008, and fuel injection finally arrived in 2022.

Requiem for the Kawasaki KLR650 (1987-2018)

6. 1990 Honda ST1100

10 Most Significant Motorcycles 1990 Honda ST1100

By 1989, sport‑tourers were either a low‑buck Kawasaki Concours or a high‑dollar BMW, both of which had been adapted from other models. In 1990, Honda made the bold move of introducing a purpose‑built sport‑tourer with a full fairing, integrated bodywork, removable saddlebags, and shaft drive. Its liquid‑cooled, longitudinal V‑Four was designed specifically for this model, which was known for its plush suspension, comfortable seat, and huge 7.4‑gallon tank. The ST1100 was a big hit and helped establish the open‑class sport‑touring segment.

Retrospective: 1990-2002 Honda ST1100

7. 1993 Ducati M900 “Monster”

10 Most Significant Motorcycles 1993 Ducati M900 Monster

Known for exotic, sophisticated motorcycles that win races and steal hearts, one of Ducati’s most endearing and enduring models is the Monster. Embracing simplicity, designer Miguel Galluzzi said, “All you need is a saddle, tank, engine, two wheels, and handlebars.” The M900 (nicknamed “Monster”) had a steel trellis frame, an air‑cooled 904cc L‑Twin, a “bison‑back” gas tank, a tubular handlebar, and a round headlight. An instant hit, it spawned numerous Monster models and came to define what a naked bike should look like.

2023 Ducati Monster SP | First Look Review

8. 2001 Triumph Bonneville

10 Most Significant Motorcycles 2001 Triumph Bonneville

Few motorcycles are as iconic as the Triumph Bonneville. First introduced in 1959 and named after the famous Utah salt flats where Triumph set a world record, the Bonneville was advertised as “the fastest production motorcycle made” and became hugely popular in the U.K. and America. After Triumph went bankrupt in the early ’80s, the marque was resurrected by John Bloor and relaunched in the mid ’90s. But it wasn’t until 2001 that a modern Bonneville was born, offering a perfect blend of retro style and modern engineering.

2022 Triumph Bonneville Gold Line Editions | First Look Review

9. 2001 Yamaha FZ1

10 Most Significant Motorcycles 2006 Yamaha FZ1

The FZ1 offered liter‑class sportbike performance in a comfortable, street‑friendly package that could be used for commuting, canyon carving, sport‑touring, or trackdays. Derived from the mighty YZF‑R1, its 998cc inline‑Four was retuned for midrange torque but still made 120 hp at the rear wheel. The FZ1 paved the way for powerful, practical sit‑up sportbikes such as the Aprilia Tuono, BMW S 1000 RR, and KTM Super Duke. The 2006 FZ1 (pictured) was our Motorcycle of the Year, and its spirit lives on in Yamaha’s MT‑10.

2006 Yamaha FZ1 Road Test Review

10. 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure

10 Most Significant Motorcycles 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure

Derived from its Dakar Rally‑winning LC8 950R, KTM’s 950/990 Adventure models were the most dirt‑oriented big ADVs on the market from 2003‑2013. In 2014, KTM launched the 1190 Adventure, which offered sportbike levels of street performance while still being highly capable in the dirt. Its LC8 V‑Twin cranked out 150 hp, and its state‑of‑the‑art electronics included not only ride modes, traction control, and electronic suspension but also the world’s first cornering ABS system, ushering in the current era of high‑tech ADVs.

2014 KTM 1190 Adventure | Road Test Review

So do you agree? Or do you have other opinions on the most significant motorcycles of the past 50 years? Comment below or visit our Facebook or Instagram pages. We’re sure there will be some lively debate on this one.

And now that you’ve taken this blast down memory lane of our choices of the 10 most significant motorcycles, be sure to check out Rider‘s 2024 Motorcycle Buyers Guide for some newer bike choices.

The post 10 Most Significant Motorcycles of the Last 50 Years appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Rider Magazine Revamps Touring Webpage

Rider magazine touring website

You may have noticed some changes to the Rider website the past couple months. Some of these changes are more subtle. For example, gone are the page numbers when you scroll down on each page, replaced by “Load more” for a more seamless navigation experience. We’ve also changed the size of the featured photo frames to capture more of the stunning main photos that accompany each story — including more bike details of course.

“At Rider, we know that most readers come to us for our First Look, First Ride, and Road Test reviews of new bikes,” said Rider magazine EIC Greg Drevenstedt, “but once you’ve got that new bike, you’re going to want to have somewhere to take it.”

Enter the Rider Touring page of the website, where we’ve made more significant changes to help you find the perfect ride, regardless of where you live.

If you’re looking for a shorter trip, the Touring dropdown menu still includes our “Favorite Rides” features, but we’ve also narrowed down the previous lengthy list of U.S. regions to the more recognizable Midwest, Northeast, South, and West, as well as International rides and tour reviews.

Rider magazine touring website

If you don’t want to limit yourself to a particular region, on the main “Touring” page, you can hover over any state and click on it for stories that take riders through that state. Or click on the globe for stories that detail international riding.

Rider magazine touring website

All rides include a route map, and rides since 2021 include a link to online REVER routes with downloadable GPX files.

We hope you find these new changes to the website helpful in finding your next great adventure.

The post Rider Magazine Revamps Touring Webpage appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2024 Harley-Davidson Icons and Enthusiast Collections Review | First Look

2024 Harley-Davidson Icons Hydra-Glide Revival
2024 Harley-Davidson Icons Hydra-Glide Revival

Harley-Davidson has announced the latest additions to its limited-edition Harley-Davidson Icons Motorcycle Collection and the limited-run Enthusiast Motorcycle Collection, showcasing premium factory-direct custom paint and graphic treatments and paint application technology. Both collections are available now at authorized Harley-Davidson dealers, and for those heading to Daytona Bike Week, March 2-9, the bikes will also be displayed there at the Harley-Davidson Event Display Area at Daytona International Speedway.  

Related: 2024 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Lineup Review | First Look 

The Harley-Davidson Icons Motorcycle Collection is an annual program for the limited release of a new model that offers a fresh interpretation of an iconic Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Each model is individually numbered and produced only once. 

The Enthusiast Motorcycle Collection models celebrate Harley-Davidson riders and are inspired by their stories and legacies. This collection of Harley-Davidson motorcycles is available in limited quantities – no more than 2,000 per model – across a curated selection of three motorcycle models.  

2024 Harley-Davidson Enthusiast collection
The 2024 Harley-Davidson Enthusiast collection

Harley-Davidson Icons Motorcycle Collection: Hydra-Glide Revival Model 

The 2024 Hydra-Glide Revival model, the fourth installment in the Harley-Davidson Icons Motorcycle Collection, celebrates the 75th anniversary of the 1949 introduction of the Hydra-Glide telescopic front suspension for Harley-Davidson E and F models. The 2024 Icons model is inspired by the look of the motorcycles ridden in era of the upcoming film The Bikeriders, which follows the rise of a Midwestern motorcycle club as seen through the lives of its members. The film is scheduled to be released theatrically in the United States on June 21, 2024. 

2024 Harley-Davidson Icons Hydra-Glide Revival

When Hydra-Glide equipped models were introduced, the saddle of a smooth-riding Harley-Davidson FL motorcycle was an exciting way for many Americans to explore the country on the new network of interstate highways. 

The 2024 Hydra-Glide Revival model is finished in custom Redline Red paint with a Birch White panel on fuel tank sides, the same design featured on 1956 models. Details include chrome “Harley-Davidson V” tank badges inspired by 1955-56 tank badges and “Hydra-Glide” script badges located on the front fender skirt. The serialized “Hydra-Glide Revival” insert on the handlebar riser cap and Icons Motorcycle Collection graphic on the rear fender identify this limited-production model. 

2024 Harley-Davidson Icons Hydra-Glide Revival

Additional styling features include instrument graphics inspired by those on the 1954-55 speedometer. The two-tone 21-inch detachable windshield features a color-matched lower portion in Redline Red. A chrome round air cleaner cover and chrome steel laced wheels add to the nostalgic look. Front and rear fender trim, engine guard, fork covers, powertrain, and exhaust are finished in brilliant chrome. 

2024 Harley-Davidson Icons Hydra-Glide Revival

A solo saddle is finished with a fringed and decorated leather valance, white seam piping and red contrast stitching, and a chrome rail for a nostalgic look. A matching black leather tank strap is embellished with studs and a concho. Leather and vinyl saddlebags are detailed with chrome conchos with acrylic red centers, chrome studs and leather fringe, white seam piping, and red contrast stitching. The saddlebags are water-resistant and have keyed locks for security, as well as a rigid liner so they will hold their shape season after season. 

2024 Harley-Davidson Icons Hydra-Glide Revival

The bike features a counter-balanced Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin tuned with a Screamin’ Eagle High-Flow air cleaner. For the rider focused on performance, this engine accepts all applicable Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Stage Upgrade kits. 

The Softail chassis hides adjustable mono-shock rear suspension below the seat. The bike also features electronic cruise control, an LED headlamp and auxiliary lamps, and standard ABS.  

Global production of the Hydra-Glide Revival model will not exceed 1,750 units, and pricing starts at $24,999. 

Harley-Davidson Tobacco Fade Enthusiast Motorcycle Collection 

2024 Harley-Davidson Enthusiast collection

Featuring a paint and graphics scheme inspired by the classic sunburst wood finish first seen on rock and roll guitars, bass, and drums of the 1960s, the 2024 Harley-Davidson Tobacco Fade Enthusiast Motorcycle Collection celebrates the burst of collective energy released by live music at the corner tavern, at a motorcycle rally, or the live stage at the Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival. Comprising the Low Rider ST, Ultra Limited, and Tri Glide Ultra models, the Enthusiast collection of bikes is perfect for any music lover. 

The Tobacco Fade paint treatment is applied by Harley-Davidson using state-of-the art precision paint tools designed to execute faded panel detailing. A rich caramel-colored pinstripe accents the tone of the metallic gold panel floating just outside the sunburst fade.

2024 Harley-Davidson Enthusiast collection

The fuel tank medallion is inspired by the shape and grooves of a vinyl record, while a graphic on the front fender shaped like a guitar pick, inspired by rock band and instrument logos, speaks directly to the details in the tank medallion. Finally, the bikes have an Enthusiast Collection branded logo on top of the Tour-Pak luggage carrier or rear fender. 

2024 Harley-Davidson Enthusiast collection

Beyond the Enthusiast Motorcycle Collection special styling features, each model is mechanically identical to its 2024 lineup counterpart. Adding the Enthusiast paint and graphics scheme tacks on $1,900 to the Low Rider ST for a starting price of $25,299; $2,900 to the Ultra Limited ($35,399); and $4,000 to the Tri Glide Ultra ($41,999). 

For more information, visit the Harley-Davidson website. 

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

The post 2024 Harley-Davidson Icons and Enthusiast Collections Review | First Look appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Asphalt Heaven: Riding West Virginia Backroads

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams Seneca Rocks
Fog was stubborn this morning at Seneca Rocks, but it couldn’t dampen my admiration for West Virginia backroads.

What I like most about motorcycles is that they lean, a trait I describe to nonriders as “dancing with a machine.” A motorcyclist can select a dance partner ranging from a svelte sportbike to a big‑­boned tourer, but how well that partner performs depends on the quality of the dance floor: the road. 

My favorite motorcycle dance floors are smooth asphalt ribbons that snake over mountains and along waterways, and some of the best I’ve found anywhere are West Virginia backroads. Appropriately called the Mountain State, it’s where the Allegheny, Blue Ridge, and Appalachian mountain ranges converge. With the highest average elevation of any state east of the Mississippi River, the roads curve over and around a rugged, varied landscape. The quality of road surfaces in West Virginia is generally superb (see sidebar at end of article). For riders who love to lean, it’s idyllic.

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams

Scan QR codes above or click “Day 1,” “Day 2,” or “Day 3” to view routes on REVER

As I made my way south into West Virginia on these great winding roads, a familiar anthem played in my head, albeit somewhat revised: Asphalt heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shanandoah River…

No disrespect to John Denver, but your humble scribe gives top billing to the West Virginia backroads. I was headed to Elkins, a small city at the edge of the Monongahela National Forest in the heart of Randolph County where a group of riders had bivouacked at the Holiday Inn Express. This location offered easy access to the region’s fantastic roads and a short walk downtown to multiple options for post‑­ride dinner and libations.

See all of Rider‘s West Virginia touring stories here

Next morning, I mounted my BMW R 1200 RT and joined routemeister Ed Conde for a well-planned 245‑­mile loop through the Allegheny Highlands. In morning fog, our group rode south on U.S. Route 250, then turned north on State Route 28 at Thornwood. The road was fantastically curvy, though a low‑­pressure warning for my rear tire was a cause for concern. After turning east on U.S. 33 at Judy Gap, we stopped at the Germany Valley scenic overlook, which was fogged in but had room for several bikes to safely pull off the road. I discovered a screw in the center of my tread, but the right tools – and folks willing to help – made for a quick repair.

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams Spruce Knob
Stiff winds atop Spruce Knob forced these evergreens to grow leeward.

At Franklin, we turned north on U.S. 220. Just past Upper Tract, we continued north on Smoke Hole Road. This very narrow, winding two‑­way road has continuous blind corners, elevation changes, and no center line, with several curves signposted at 5 mph. In one curvy section, we had to get past a farmer whose tractor was pulling a trailer with implements sticking out the side. He pulled as far over as he could, and we squeezed by and acknowledged his effort. The pavement was not as smooth as most roads that day, but the adrenaline meter was pegged. Smoke Hole Road isn’t for the faint of heart.

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams
Located on U.S. 33 on the way to Franklin, this convenience store looked at home in West Virginia.

We rejoined SR‑­28 near Cabins and wound our way south along the North Fork South Branch Potomac River to Seneca Rocks, where ragged rock ridges reach skyward 900 feet. During World War II, American soldiers trained on these cliffs, and many applied the skills they learned to scale the cliffs of Normandy on D‑­Day. These days, the rocks are popular with climbers and photographers.

Our ride had been largely within the Monongahela National Forest, and we were back in the heart of it. We rode west on U.S. 33, north on SR‑­32, north on SR‑­72 (Dry Fork Road, another winding, single‑­lane gem), and east on U.S. 48, part of the Seneca Trail, to the hip little town of Thomas in Tucker County. At The Purple Fiddle, where “Live Music Lives,” our lunch break included a performance by a physician-musician who sang about a strained relationship with his one‑­eyed grandmother: “We don’t see eye‑­to‑­eye.”

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams Spruce Knob
David Somers of Northfield, New Jersey, motored toward the summit of Spruce Knob along NF 104.

Lunch cravings satisfied, we rode north through Silver Lake and Aurora, over to Macomber, and down to Parsons. A growing part of West Virginia’s energy industry is powered by wind, and we encountered giant turbines spinning atop ridgelines. Later, riding south on deliciously winding U.S. 219, a wide‑­load pilot vehicle stopped all traffic so a tractor‑­trailer hauling a giant windmill blade could get through a section of tight turns. The impressive rig rolled by as we waited. The long blade had wheel‑­trucks attached directly to it, turning the blade into a trailer transporting itself. As the afternoon sunshine grew warmer, we eased back to Elkins.

Out of several local restaurants near the hotel, I picked C. J. Maggie’s and joined other riders for supper at the bar. Later, as we socialized on the hotel’s back patio, the mayor of Elkins, Jerry Marco, paid us a visit. Hizzoner was gracious and welcoming, genuinely pleased to have dozens of motorcyclists staying in his city.

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams Elkins
Truth in advertising.

In the morning, I hit the road early and solo, with more twisties and high elevations being my key goals. As I pulled my bike up off the sidestand, I felt some soreness across my chest. Rowing the handlebars of a 630‑­lb sport‑­tourer at a quick pace over hundreds of miles of tight curves had proved a workout.

Aiming the RT east along winding U.S. 33, I made rapid progress toward Alpena, Harman, and Onego. Asphalt heaven, West Virginia repeated in my head as smooth, curvy blacktop unfolded like a roller coaster. It was worth the 600‑­mile ride from my home in western Massachusetts to ride these roads. And here’s some down‑­home irony: The primary author of John Denver’s hit “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is Bill Danoff, who revealed in an interview that the song was inspired by his upbringing…in western Massachusetts! Danoff felt the word “Massachusetts” didn’t sound musical, so he wrote the song about West Virginia.

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams
A lay-by along NF 112 offered this midmorning vista toward Circleville.

I turned north on SR‑­28 for a view of Seneca Rocks, then back south to U.S. 33 and Briery Gap Road, where a right turn revealed a view of wickedly serpentine asphalt ahead. Time to apply those trackday lessons on body position.

Farther on, a right onto National Forest 112 took me through a tunnel of trees. This road was fairly smooth, suitable for a spirited but reasonable pace. Sight distances were short, and at the crest of a blind rise, an oncoming car reminded me to be wary of oncoming traffic.

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams
Zipping along NF 112 felt like being in a tunnel of trees.

A few switchbacks added excitement, but it was repeated deer sightings that quickened my pulse. A doe suddenly appeared in the road ahead, and I hit the binders. She trained her big ears on me and then looked behind. Moments later, a wobbly, spotted fawn appeared at her side. It was captivating to see two beautiful road hazards step effortlessly up a steep incline and vanish into the woods.

Turning right onto NF 104 took me to the summit of Spruce Knob. At 4,863 feet, it’s the highest ridge in the Allegheny Mountains and the highest point in West Virginia. On this clear day, the view from Spruce Knob was spectacular.

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams Spruce Knob
Spectacular view from Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia.

Reversing course, I again savored those wicked twisties descending Briery Gap Road. My ears popped as I reached U.S. 33, now 3,000 feet below the summit. I stopped again at Germany Valley, this time enjoying a fog‑­free view and no flat tire, then rode all the way to Brandywine in Pendleton County. I turned south on County Road 21 and rode past Sugar Grove Station, a National Security Agency communications site that reportedly intercepts all international communications entering the eastern U.S. Since I wasn’t expecting any illicit communiques that morning, I turned west to enjoy curvy Moyers Gap Road.

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams Germany VAlley
With no fog and no flat tire, the view of Germany Valley was beautiful.

At U.S. 220, I turned south and briefly entered Virginia (what a young boy there called “regular Virginia”). At U.S. 250, I cut right and stopped in Monterey for a late lunch at High’s Restaurant. This venerable eatery now holds the distinction of serving me the best fish sandwich I’ve ever had: rainbow trout, sourced from a local creek, fileted and grilled to perfection, and piled on a brioche bun. “Delicious” can’t do it justice.

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams
High’s Restaurant in Monterey, Virginia, is a great spot for lunch.

As I continued north and east on U.S. 250, I rode up and down ridges and leaning through a succession of tight curves that had me laughing inside my helmet. And it was clear the instant I crossed the state border and entered Pocahontas County: Virginia’s road surfaces are good, but West Virginia’s are superb. 

From Thornwood, the ride back to Elkins reversed the beginning of the previous day’s route. A fun road in the opposite direction was its own fun ride. Back at the hotel, I connected with other riders and walked downtown to another local eatery, Mama Mia Pie & Pasta. Over Italian entrees and local craft beers, we compared notes from our day’s riding.

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams Spruce Knob
David Somers (foreground) and Mitch Pivor of Dover, New Hampshire, motored down from the summit of Spruce Knob along NF 104.

Morning presented another opportunity to ride glorious West Virginia asphalt, this time with my long‑­time riding partner Steve Efthyvoulou. Temps started cool, and the previous day’s crystal blue sky was now tarnished gray with smoke from massive wildfires in Canada. We went south on U.S. 250, a now‑­familiar route out of Elkins. Turning south on SR‑­28, we saw signs for the Green Bank Observatory, home of the world’s largest steerable radio telescope. Astronomy nerds will want to stop, but today we were observing asphalt, laid out before us in smooth, banked curves.

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams
The view over Hightown, Virginia, from a lay-by along U.S. 250. Steve and I rode through that farm a few minutes later.

At SR‑­66 we turned west toward Snowshoe, one of West Virginia’s premier ski resorts. It was June, so the slopes were green, and we stopped for lunch at Kickin’ Chicken. Loaded with protein, we paralleled the Tygart Valley River on U.S. 219 north to Valley Head, where a left onto SR‑­15 set us up for an afternoon twist fest. The road presented often tricky curves to Webster Springs, where we picked up SR‑­20 for more fantastic curves. Flat light due to the wildfire haze softened the contrast between sun and shadow, improving visibility on these technically challenging roads.

Asphalt Heaven West Virginia backroads Scott A. Williams
Some roads just sound enticing. This one is off U.S. 33 near Oak Flat.

Near the West Virginia State Wildlife Center, we turned right onto Alexander Road. This narrow, curvy two‑­lane is full of tight corners and elevation changes, all the way to U.S. 250, where we turned north on a familiar route back to Elkins. Another amazing day was in the books. Though I had previously ridden through West Virginia several times on the way to other riding destinations, this was my first dedicated trip to ride the Mountain State – and I just scratched the surface. Without a doubt, there’s asphalt heaven on West Virginia backroads.

See all of Rider‘s touring stories here

West Virginia Backroads Resources

Sidebar: Why are West Virginia Backroads So Good?

Randy Damron, a liaison between West Virginia’s departments of Transportation and Tourism, clued me in. Damron rides a Honda Gold Wing and a Kawasaki KLR, so he understands the motorcycling community. He explained that the improved quality of the state’s roads in recent years owes much to “Roads to Prosperity,” a road construction and maintenance initiative to support West Virginia residents, industry, and tourism.

Transportation and Tourism partnered to create four West Virginia Mountain Rides (with more on the way) that are in excellent condition, have good shoulders and guardrails, and run through beautiful scenery. The Seneca Skyway, for example, is a signposted 300-mile loop that includes several roads covered in this story. Go to the West Virginia Department of Tourism website and click on “Road Trips” to learn more.

And check out Episode 150 of the West Virginia on the DOT podcast, where Damron and co-host Jennifer Dooley had me on the show. Visit the West Virginia Department of Transportation website to listen.

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2024 Keeway Models Announced: V302 C Cruiser and Three Scooters 

2024 Keeway V302 C
2024 Keeway V302 C in Black

Keeway, the motorcycle company founded in Hungary in 1999 and owned by Chinese manufacturer Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycle Group Co., is corporate manager and co-owner of the Benelli brand and also sells motorcycles under its own name. It has announced 2024 Keeway models for the American market, including the V302 C lightweight cruiser, the 1960s-styled Sixties 300 scooter, the smaller retro Versilia 150 scooter, and the modern Vieste 200 scooter. 

2024 Keeway V302 C 

The V302 C lightweight cruiser is powered by a liquid-cooled 298cc V-Twin with SOHC and 4 valves per cylinder. Keeway claims 30 hp at 8,500 rpm and 19.5 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm. The V302 C has a 6-speed gearbox and belt drive. 

2024 Keeway V302 C
2024 Keeway V302 C in Red

Keeway emphasizes the long and low attitude of the V302 C, which has a wheelbase of 55.9 inches, a low seat height of 27.1 inches, forward-mounted foot controls, a wide handlebar, and a claimed weight of 367 lb. An inverted fork provides 4.5 inches of travel, and dual shocks provide 1.8 inches of travel and are preload adjustable. The V302 C has single-disc brakes front and rear, and ABS is standard. 

2024 Keeway V302 C
2024 Keeway V302 C in Red

Visual highlights on the 2024 Keeway V302 C include bar-end mirrors, low-profile fenders, LED lighting, shorty drag bars, and blacked-out styling. Instrumentation is fully digital with a tachometer surrounding a speedometer, fuel gauge, gear indicator, odometer, and clock. 

The 2024 Keeway V302 C is available in Black, Red, or Gray, and the MSRP is $4,999. 

2024 Keeway Sixties 300 

At the top of Keeway’s scooter lineup for the American market is the retro Sixties 300. It’s powered by a liquid-cooled 278cc Single with 4 valves that produces a claimed 25 hp at 8,250 rpm and 17.7 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm. It has a CVT transmission and a top speed of 75 mph.

2024 Keeway Sixties 300
2024 Keeway Sixties 300 in White

The Sixties 300 comes with a KYB fork and KYB dual shocks with preload adjustability, as well as front and rear disc brakes with Nissin calipers and Bosch ABS. 

2024 Keeway Sixties 300
2024 Keeway Sixties 300 in Sky Blue

The Sixties 300 leans into its 1960s styling with a front-fender ornament, a front grille, rider and passenger quilted seat pads, and swoopy side panels. Also included is a digital display with analog gauges, LED lighting, under-seat storage, and a rear luggage rack.  

2024 Keeway Sixties 300
2024 Keeway Sixties 300 in Matte Black

The Keeway Sixties 300 is available in Sky Blue, Matte Black, or White with an MSRP of $5,299. 

2024 Keeway Versilia 150 

The Versilia 150 scooter is the smaller sibling of the Sixties 300 and is powered by a 150cc Single with a claimed 9.7 hp at 7,000 rpm and 7.7 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm, paired with a CVT transmission. Braking is provided by a single front disc and a drum in the rear. 

2024 Keeway Versilia 150
2024 Keeway Versilia 150 in White

The Versilia 150 takes design cues from the Sixties 300 but with a more modern twist. Details include a stitched seat, a stacked LED headlight, under-seat storage, and a rear storage rack. Instrumentation includes a speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge, and clock. The Versilia 150 also includes a locking glove box with a USB port, a backpack hook, and keyless ignition. 

The Keeway Versilia 150 is available in Gray, Red, or White with an MSRP of $2,499. 

2024 Keeway Vieste 200 

The Vieste 200 takes on a more modern appearance compared to the Sixties 300 or the Versilia 150. It’s powered by an air-cooled 172cc Single that makes a claimed 11.4 hp at 7,500 rpm and 8.9 lb-ft of torque at 5,500 rpm with a top speed of 59 mph and a CVT transmission. Suspension is provided by a telescopic fork and dual rear shocks, and braking comes from 240mm front and 215mm rear disc brakes. 

2024 Keeway Vieste 200
2024 Keeway Vieste 200 in Blue

Instrumentation on the Vieste 200 comes in the form of analog gauges for the speedometer and tachometer along with digital displays of temperature, odometer, trip meter, clock, and fuel level. All lighting is LED, and the scooter comes with rear grab rails, two storage pockets above the footwell, a USB port, and a large storage bin under the seat. 

2024 Keeway Vieste 200
2024 Keeway Vieste 200 in Gray

The Vieste 200 is available in Blue, Gray, or White with an MSRP of $3,399. 

Visit the Keeway website for more information. 

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

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Remembering ‘Dr. John’: John Wittner, Dentist Turned Moto Guzzi Engineer

Dr. John Wittner Moto Guzzi

Rider offers condolences to the family and friends of Dr. John Wittner, DMD, who passed away Feb. 15 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, at the age of 78.

John Wittner was originally known as “Dr. John” to the patients in his dentistry business; however, previous to graduating with his dentistry degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, he studied mechanical engineering at Lehigh University. He used these skills in his spare time from his dentistry practice to tinker with tuning Harley-Davidson engines for the purpose of road racing. In 1983, he purchased a Moto Guzzi Le Mans, which longtime motojournalist Alan Cathcart said in his book Dr. John’s Moto Guzzi was primarily because Wittner “thought it looked neat, and also had a pushrod motor like the Harley’s he was familiar with working on.”

Wittner had another motivation. “I bought the bike with the sole intent of forming a team of friends to go Endurance road racing with it,” he told Cathcart. “I had worked on and ridden a number of Guzzis, and knew they were extraordinarily reliable, the perfect weapon for Endurance competition.”

Thus was born Dr. John’s Guzzi racing team, which went on to win the 1984 U.S. Endurance Championship’s Middleweight class with a perfect 100% finishing record. In 1987, Dr. John’s Guzzi rider Doug Brauneck won the AMA Battle of the Twins championship on a Le Mans III developed by Wittner with the financial support of Alejandro de Tomaso. For the next decade, Wittner worked as an engineer for Moto Guzzi at the company’s factory in Mandello del Lario.

Dr. John Wittner Moto Guzzi Doug Brauneck
Doug Brauneck on Dr. John’s Moto Guzzi 8V

“Dr. John and I became friends during the mid-1980s,” Cathcart said, “when the bikes he created were raced successfully to three AMA National titles by the team he established to bring Moto Guzzi to the fore again in the USA. The saga of the former dentist and his various Dr. John’s Guzzi racers reawakened awareness of the historic Italian brand at a time 40 years ago in the late 1980s when its profile was at its all-time lowest ebb, even among dedicated enthusiasts of the marque.”

Cathcart was able to track test each of the bikes created by Wittner and decided approximately a year ago to write Dr. John’s Moto Guzzi to document Wittner’s achievements, “both as a dedicated engineer and an incredibly warm human being.”

Dr. John Wittner Moto Guzzi

The book is available at www.motoitaliane.it.

John Wittner’s full obituary from Donohue Funeral Home is included below.

See all of Rider‘s Moto Guzzi coverage here


Dr. John Wittner Moto Guzzi

John A. Wittner

Oct. 27, 1945 – Feb. 15, 2024

A legendary innovator for Moto Guzzi and driving force in the motorcycle community, Dr. John A. Wittner, DMD, age 78, of West Chester, PA, passed away on February 15, 2024. He was the son of Howard Wittner and Victoria (Shenker) Wittner, and brother to Ken Wittner, who pre-deceased him. “Dr. John,” as known to friends, colleagues, patients, and members of the motorcycle community, was intensely dedicated to his craft, whether it was complex dentistry without pain — or mechanical innovation and next-level mastery in motorcycle engineering.

Studying mechanical engineering at Lehigh University (always with a love of fixing things), he applied his inherent talent and skills to help improve human performance, and graduated from University of Pennsylvania Dental School, as DMD, and was partner to Dr. Bill Deal, in Deal-Wittner Dental Health Group for many years. But for decades, he kept on building engines for motorcycle racing, channeling the magic into Moto Guzzis that won and won and won.

One day, he reached a turning point while working on a friend and patient in the dental chair – who encouraged him to take motorcycle racing from the local to the big time. And that’s how the legendary Dr. John’s Team Moto Guzzi was launched and went from an experienced, dominant group of regional racers to winning and dominating the 1984 AMA National Endurance Racing Championship at the Daytona Firecracker 400. And went on to design and engineer unique marques for Moto Guzzi in Italy, leaving an historic legacy for motorcycle racing.

Dr. John was a Vietnam veteran, loyal friend, and independent individual who always rose to a challenge and who’d rather be burning rubber than anything else.

Services and Interment are Private. 

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Motor School with Quinn Redeker: Clutch Situation

Motor School with Quinn Redeker Clutch Situation
In this installment of “Motor School,” Quinn offers exercises for better clutch control and slow-speed maneuvering. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

People ask me if I miss being a motor cop. Let’s unpack that. Do I miss washing off petrol and sunscreen at the end of every shift? Do I miss roadside debates about how “everybody was speeding”? Do I miss the tragedy of consoling parents at a fatal accident in the middle of the night? A hard “no” to all of those.

But what I do find myself missing these days is the incessant verbal abuse our motor unit dished out to each other at every opportunity. It didn’t matter how serious or important the moment; if you screwed up, however slight, you were doomed to receive ongoing mistreatment until the next guy came up short.

And there was no better place to experience the hazing than on the grinder where we trained slow‑­speed skills every month on our motors. What should have been a place of learning, exploring, and honing of one’s skills was instead a schoolyard of insults, jabs, and finger‑­pointing. Simply put, if your bike hit the ground, standby to standby, buddy, your ticket got punched.

Luckily, my bike rarely hit the deck on training days, because I was skilled with my clutch. Don’t get me wrong, my colleagues found ample opportunities to pound me into submission, but sloppy clutch work never made it on the menu.

Now I can’t speak for your sewing circle, but I’d venture to guess you all give each other a pretty rough time on the regular. And just imagine how cool it would be if you had the tools to pull a proverbial rabbit out of your hat every time the speeds slowed down, like for U‑­turns, heavy traffic, and parking lots. Well, I have a few simple training tools that will have you laughing, jabbing, and finger‑­pointing far more than you typically get to do when riding with your crew.

Motor School with Quinn Redeker Clutch Situation
Fear of slow-speed bike incompetence can be a thing of the past. Practice these simple drills at your leisure to gain confidence and impress family and friends!

Before we jump into the actual exercises, we need to rewire our brains a bit and start seeing the clutch (not the throttle) as the control that makes the bike go. In other words, when we’re in slow‑­speed environments, we want to have a “set it and forget it” mindset with the throttle and think of the clutch as the primary “gatekeeper” that supplies power to the rear wheel. There are two reasons for this: First, this consolidates two physical tasks of manipulating the controls into one: modulating the clutch. Second, we will have far better mental focus on that singular task, which will improve our sensitivity, dexterity, and control.

Motor School Clutch Control Exercise 1: Driveway Drill

With your engine running at around 1,500‑­2,000 rpm, your bike in 1st gear, and both feet on the ground, position your front wheel at the base of a gently sloped incline on a driveway entrance (or similar). You want a short incline that allows the bike to roll back down on its own when you pull in the clutch at the top. (see photo at the top of the article) Next, smoothly, slowly, and calmly begin to meter the clutch out, adding just enough power to the rear wheel to allow you to slowly “walk” the bike up the incline. Remember, leave the throttle alone here and only work the clutch. Once you are at the top, gently pull the clutch in (don’t fully disengage it) just enough to pull power from the driveline so the bike starts to roll back down to our starting point. Rinse and repeat until you can hold a casual conversation with your neighbor as you roll up and back down the incline without thinking about it. And no wise cracks just yet, Nancy, you’re only just getting started.

Motor School Clutch Control Exercise 2: 2×4 Drill

Motor School with Quinn Redeker Clutch Situation
The common 2×4 is not just for beating yourself over the head while you struggle with slow-speed clutch work.

Place a length of 2×4 lumber down on the ground perpendicular to and touching your front tire. Now apply all the same instructions you learned above, and smoothly and slowly “walk” the bike over the board from a complete stop. Continue until the bike is resting with the 2×4 directly in front of the back tire and do it all again. It sounds easy, but there are a couple of rules here: First, you start from a complete stop, so once you “set and forget” your throttle, you can’t manipulate it to prevent stalling or to change the amount of power transferred to the driveline to help get you over the board. Second, when you ride over the 2×4, you don’t pass go if you “shoot” it out from under the rear tire. That’s to say that the 2×4 must stay in place as you ride over. People often struggle to keep the 2×4 in place because they tend to let the clutch out too quickly, sending too much power to the rear tire as it rolls onto and over the board.

Motor School with Quinn Redeker Clutch Situation
The 2×4 Drill teaches you better clutch control by slowing your roll.

The good news? You got it right on your first try. The bad? I’m only referring to you successfully buckling that helmet. Set it up and do it again while I make some calls to confirm you have a real motorcycle license.

Motor School Clutch Control Exercise 3: Incline Drill

Find an incline, such as a hill, a long driveway, or an abandoned loading ramp. Nothing too steep but something that generates decent rolling resistance. Next, stage yourself for lift off by facing up the incline. Once you’ve set your engine speed, smoothly, slowly take off and put your feet on the pegs. Go as slow as possible, using only your clutch to control your momentum. Once you’ve made it 15 feet or so, pull in the clutch and put your feet down. Here’s the rule: Don’t use your brakes to rest on the incline, instead engage only the clutch, and in the amount necessary to hold you in place on the incline as you reset. When you’re ready, do it again, moving slowly toward the top. A word of caution: Don’t fry your clutch with high revs. If the clutch is getting warm or the engine is getting hot, take an easy lap around the block before getting back to work on these drills.

Well, color me amazed. Just wait till your friends see how much better you control your bike when the speeds ratchet down. Now don’t quote me, but if you get your mind right and really work these drills, I’m confident we can finally hack those training wheels off, slap some Girl Scout patches on your leathers, and have you going freeway speeds in no time!

Find Quinn at Police Motor Training. Send feedback to [email protected].

See all Motor School with Quinn Redeker articles here.

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Janus Gryffin 450 Scrambler Review | First Look

Janus Gryffin 450
Janus Gryffin 450

Janus Motorcycles has announced its latest model, the scrambler-styled Gryffin 450. The Janus Gryffin 450 has classic ’50s and ’60s style and hand-crafted components, and each one is made-to-order with the owner’s input and preferences. 

Janus Motorcycles is based in Goshen, Indiana, and the company’s website states that it makes “simple, beautiful machines that are a joy to own and ride.” The Gryffin 450 joins three other models in the Janus lineup: the Halcyon 450, Halcyon 250, and Gryffin 250. It will use the same enduro-inspired air-/oil-cooled 445cc Single as the Halcyon 450, with a claimed 30 hp. The scrambler version will ride on 21-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels and will feature a high exhaust, other adventure-oriented details, and a low weight of a claimed 330 lb. 

Janus Gryffin 450
Janus Gryffin 450

“The Gryffin 450 is a close sibling to our Halcyon 450, but with some key changes that really make it excel off-pavement,” said Charlie Handsen-Reed, senior design engineer for Janus Motorcycles. “The longer suspension travel, wheel size, lower seat height, and larger fuel tank will be really welcomed by our off-road riders, and trimming another 30 lb off our already feather-weight 450 chassis will be a huge bonus for trailering, van-lifers, and for any adventuresome rider’s peace of mind and confidence.” 

Part of the experience of owning a Janus is the customization offered from the made-to-order process. Like other Janus models, the Gryffin 450 will be available in a wide range of color options, pinstripe options, and other accessories. It will feature motocross footpegs, a headlight cage, pannier racks, highway bars, a skid plate, and a pillion seat. 

Janus Gryffin 450
Janus Gryffin 450

Other components included on the Gryffin 450 will be hand-formed and beaded fenders, a hand-formed and welded stainless-steel exhaust, hand-welded chassis and fork, Brembo brakes, and hand-painted graphics and pinstripes. 

Janus Motorcycles will begin taking reservations for the Gryffin 450 starting Feb. 23, 2024, and all orders placed in the first 30 days will be First Edition models with serial-numbered plates, limited-edition race plates, engraved components, and commemorative packages. 

Those interested in the manufacturing process of Janus motorcycles can check out the Janus YouTube channel, where the company documents their design and build process. 

MSRP for the Janus Gryffin 450 will be $13,495, and the fee to place a reservation is $2,995. The first Gryffin 450 bikes are expected to be finished in July 2024. 

Visit the Janus Motorcycles website for more information.

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

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A Scenic (and History-Laden) Southern Utah and Arizona Loop | Favorite Ride

Southern Utah Arizona motorcycle loop Zion National Park BMW R 1600 GTL Grand America
There are several hairpins just west of the 1.1‑­mile Zion‑­Mt. Carmel Tunnel, which separates distinctly different parts of Zion National Park in southern Utah.

Living at 6,000 feet in Cedar City, Utah, most of my winter riding involves heading south, which offers a quick drop in elevation and less chance of the falling white stuff. So that’s what I did a week before Christmas, giving myself a gift of a one‑­day ride through some southern Utah and Arizona history.

See all of Rider‘s West U.S. Motorcycle Rides here.

The day promised unseasonably warm temperatures…eventually. Just after the sun peeked over the mountains, the ambient temperature was in the upper 20s, but doing 80 mph on the interstate meant I was closer to single digits. Thankfully, the BMW R 1600 GTL Grand America I was riding offers great wind protection, and with my California Heat heated apparel (see California Heat gear review here), I didn’t need to use the bike’s seat or grip warmers.

Utah is one of the few states where even interstate riding offers great views. Descending the Black Ridge south of Cedar City, the mountain terrain changes from gray and sage green and reveals distant red rock mesas. Exiting Interstate 15, I took State Route 17 to Hurricane and connected with State Route 59.

After a quick climb out of Hurricane, SR‑­59 flattens out and heads south. Just a few miles outside of town, jagged peaks painted in rust, deeper reds, and oranges rise in the distance. Much of this area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and numerous dirt roads meander from the highway.

Southern Utah Arizona motorcycle loop Zion National Park BMW R 1600 GTL Grand America
If you keep your eyes open on the east side of Zion National Park, you’re likely to see a mountain goat…and much less tourist traffic. Plus, the curvy road is open to motorcycles all year.

Within an hour, the temperature had risen nearly 20 degrees as I rolled into the small twin cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, an area locally known as Short Creek. Much has already been written about this area that is both the last U.S. stronghold of the FLDS church (read: polygamists) and the non‑­FLDS members struggling against that stigma, so I’ll just say they have a beautiful place to live.

Southern Utah Arizona motorcycle loop REVER map

Scan QR code above or click here to view the route on REVER

Continuing on, the road isn’t especially exciting, but the scenery remains impressive. Crossing into the Kaibab Indian Reservation, the road heads east, paralleling red cliffs to the north. To the south, on a clear day, you can see as far as 60 miles into the Arizona Strip – a wedge of that state between the north side of the Grand Canyon and the Utah border – without any signs of humanity. The desolation makes it easy to imagine life a couple centuries ago. However, not far onto the reservation is a sign for Pipe Spring National Monument, an oasis in the desert where Mormon pioneers erected a fort in 1872 for protection against some of the very people whose land they had settled on. Located a half mile off the highway, the museum and fort are worth a visit.

Southern Utah Arizona motorcycle loop Pipe Spring National Monument
The fort at Pipe Spring National Monument was built as both a ranch house and protection for settlers during the Black Hawk War. It later served as a refuge for polygamist wives.

Farther east, I picked up U.S. Route 89 in Fredonia, and 7 miles later, I rode into Kanab, Utah, known as “Little Hollywood” for its filmmaking history, particularly old Westerns. My family likes to come here in February for the annual Balloons & Tunes Roundup hot air balloon festival. The historic Parry Lodge is a fun place to stay, and there’s a good mix of dining options.

Outside of town, the road cuts into the red rock, climbing and then dropping again into Mt. Carmel Junction, with the landscape colors changing from red to white to yellow. 

Southern Utah Arizona motorcycle loop Kanab Utah BMW R 1600 GTL Grand America
The only thing missing from this photo taken in Kanab, Utah, (aka “Little Hollywood”) is a locomotive.

Taking State Route 9, this diversity of landscape continues with almost every twist and turn, both in tones and textures, leading to the east entrance of Zion National Park. For most of the year, you can only get up the road into Zion’s main canyon via shuttle, but as spectacular as the towering cliffs in the main canyon are, I much prefer riding on the east side, which is always open. It’s like an alien landscape, and with the slower speeds, you get to enjoy both the views and the numerous curves.

Southern Utah Arizona motorcycle loop Zion National Park BMW R 1600 GTL Grand America
The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to personal vehicles most of the year.

On the west side of Zion is Springdale, a typical national park gateway community with lots of lodging and dining options (depending on the season), as well as art galleries and novelty shops. Just a few miles past Springdale is Rockville, where you can detour on Bridge Road to cross over the Virgin River on the last surviving Parker‑­through‑­truss bridge in Utah. Continuing 3.5 miles on this road, which turns to dirt about halfway, takes you to Grafton Ghost Town, where parts of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were filmed.

Southern Utah Arizona motorcycle loop Rockville Bridge
The Rockville Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1924, it enabled the first direct link from the Grand Canyon North Rim to Zion National Park.

Staying on SR‑­9, it’s about 16 miles from Rockville to close the loop at SR‑­17 in La Verkin, where I made my way north and back home. Like the places I’ve ridden through, this Favorite Ride is now in the history books.

Southern Utah and Arizona Loop Resources

See all of Rider‘s Touring stories here.

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Source: RiderMagazine.com