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New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England
The rugged nautical majesty of Maine’s historic Nubble Lighthouse on Cape Neddick frames the Chieftain Elite. Story and photos by Phil Buonpastore.

My cousin Jim Pace, an avid motorcyclist and native of New Hampshire, and I had long discussed touring New England from his home in Barrington, and our bucket-list ride was finally planned for last summer. Indian Motorcycles arranged for me to borrow a 2020 Chieftain Elite from Motorcycles of Manchester, so with all of the pieces in place, I flew to New Hampshire in July. The ride to Barrington gave me an opportunity to get accustomed to the bike.

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England
A stop at a scenic overlook on the ribbon-like Mt. Washington Auto Road.

Not long after cousin Jim and I embarked on a loop ride around Lake Winnipesaukee. Leaving Barrington on New Hampshire Route 11, gradual sweepers punctuated by a few tight turns took us along the western side of Bow Lake. Here, towns and traffic gradually disappear and the road begins to elevate to the Lake Winnipesaukee Scenic Islands Viewing Area, cresting a high embankment revealing elevated views of Diamond, Rattlesnake and Sleeper’s Island in the lake below, with rolling foothill mountains in the distance.

New Hampshire-Maine rides
Map by Bill Tipton. (

At Glendale, NHR3 and NHR25 wind for 26 miles along the western shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. The lakefront town of Weirs Beach, location of the annual Laconia Motorcycle Week rally that brings thousands of motorcyclists to the area each June, is also a popular spot for tourists. After stopping for some locally made ice cream and people watching, we continued northeast on low stress two-lane country highway through mild curves, rolling hills and forest until reaching NHR16, also known as the White Mountain Highway, then turned south through the towns of Ossipee, Wakefield and Milton. A detour on First Crown Point Road for a quick jaunt through Blue Job Mountain State Forest and it was back to Barrington, completing a 3.5-hour, 150-mile afternoon ride.

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England
An abandoned Indian Motocycles truck trailer offers a surprise photo-op in Milton, New Hampshire.

The next day’s plan was to ride 60 miles north on a loop that would encompass both the Franconia and Crawford Notches, the well-known valley passes through the White Mountains. Heading north on NH16 through scenic countryside, we passed through the town of Milton, and happened upon the most surprising photo op of the week — an abandoned truck trailer painted bright yellow, with the classic Indian Motocycles logo painted in red and a rendering of a 1940’s vintage Chief motorcycle. It was an absolute must stop for photos of the new Chieftain.

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England
A stop for a roadside break at the Ossippe River near the town of Effingham Falls.

At Union, NHR153 is the preferred route, offering taller hills and tighter curves than the highway. Once to Conway, we headed west on the must-ride Kancamagus Highway. The first 20 miles of the highway begins leisurely and sedate, paralleling the Swift River to the Sugar Hill Scenic Vista, featuring hiking trails and the opportunity to take a cool dip on a hot summer’s day. But the fun for a rider is in the second 20 miles, where the valley between Mount Hancock and Mount Osceola offer major changes in elevation and a sequence of increasingly challenging twisties, topped by a 200-degree classic hairpin turn around the Hancock Overlook.

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England
The Ride up the Mt. Washington Auto Road was blanketed by thick fog for most of the ride to the summit. Cousin Jim cautiously surveys the road ahead.

At the town of Woodstock, the Kancamagus ends. Turning north on U.S. Route 3, the Daniel Webster Highway is a relaxing ride that leads through Franconia Notch State Park, a focal point for hiking trails that go up to five mountains: Lafayette, Liberty, Flume, and the Cannon and Kinsman Mountains that surround the park. North of Franconia Notch, U.S. Route 3 goes east toward U.S. Route 302 and Mount Washington. Here the skies clouded, and intermittent light rain began to fall, putting a damper on the enjoyment of the day. A quick stop to don rain gear and take photos of the magnificent Mt. Washington Hotel on a cloudy day, and we continued through the Crawford Notch to Conway, where sunshine and blue sky returned. After a stop for bygone-era photos at the Conway Railroad Museum, we returned to Barrington through broken clouds, completing 205 miles and 4.75 hours of ride time. The loop was spectacular, but we would need another opportunity to fully enjoy the Crawford Notch and Washington Hotel in better weather.

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England
At the summit, the Sherman Adams Building houses the Mt. Washington Observatory and Museum, and chains anchor the Tip-Top House to the mountain. Wind velocities here have been recorded as high as 231 mph.

By midweek, the days had become sunny, clear and blue, perfect for a ride to the top of Mt. Washington State Park. Taking NH16 north for 75 miles brought us to the park entrance at about 1 p.m. After paying the $20 entrance fee and getting our “This Bike Climbed Mt. Washington” bumper stickers, we started up the very twisty, ribbon-thin 7.6-mile Auto Road to the top of Mt. Washington. The road is hardly wide enough for two cars, and the ride to the summit was made all the more interesting by a heavy fog that settled on the mountain about halfway up, sometimes limiting vision to less than 50 feet, with a road section under repair reduced to dirt and gravel. Keep calm, and keep moving. Still, I couldn’t pass up opportunities for ghost-like photos, with headlights appearing and disappearing as they passed in the fog.

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England

At the road’s end is Mount Washington State Park, a 60-acre site topping the 6,288-foot summit of the Northeast’s highest peak, surrounded by the 750,000-acre White Mountain National Forest. Mt. Washington is famous for having the highest recorded wind velocity ever measured in the U.S., an astounding 231 mph, and the summit building built in the 1930s is chained to the ground in order to withstand the sometimes very high winds. On clear days, summit views extend as far as 130 miles to Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Quebec and out to the Atlantic Ocean. Breaks in the fog allowed for some amazing views into the Tuckerman Ravine. The well-known Appalachian Trail also crosses the Auto Road about halfway up to the summit.

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England

The Sherman Adams Building houses the Mount Washington Observatory and Museum, and the Tip-Top House, a hotel built in 1853 and renovated in 1986 for historic tours. While Covid-19 restrictions had closed these facilities to the public, the Mt. Washington Cog Railway was operating. Built in 1866 by Sylvester Marsh, these unique and beautiful period trains use a giant cog-style gear and rack system to pull railcars up the mountain at angles from 25 to as great as 38 degrees, transporting visitors from the Marshfield Base Station near the Mt. Washington Hotel to the top of the mountain.

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England
One of the few operating in the U.S., the colorful Mt. Washington Cog Railway uses a gear and rack system to operate on inclines from 25 to 38 degrees.

As rainy weather had previously kept us from experiencing the Crawford Notch and Mt. Washington Hotel in all their brilliant glory, we took a detour on U.S. Route 302 to make another pass through the notch and a get second look at the hotel. This time, we were not disappointed. Closing in on the golden hour, the late afternoon sunlight bathed the steep mountainsides in deep amber as we rode through the notch.

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England
The Crawford Notch runs through the White Mountains some 4,000 feet overhead.

The Mt. Washington Hotel is a massive and beautiful structure of the grandest design built in 1902. Its history boasts the signing of the agreement for the creation of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in 1944, and the filming of scenes from the movie “The Shining,” as well as supposedly being haunted by a ghost named Carolyn, the wife of the hotel’s builder and first owner, Joseph Stickney. I am not sure, however, if any of this information recommends a night’s stay there! After a walk through the hotel to take in the building’s beautiful interior and the large semi-circular patio that overlooks the golf course and mountains behind, and we were riding once again.

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England
The spectacular Mt. Washington Hotel, built in 1902, has hosted presidents and world dignitaries.

Passing through the town of Freedom, we saw an old rustic barn with a sign reading “Freedom Farm” above its double doors, an obvious final photo-op of the day. With the afternoon spent on Mt. Washington, we arrived home after dark, completing a 225-mile loop.

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England
The “Freedom Farm” in the town of Freedom affirms both the New Hampshire motto and the rider’s resolve: “Live Free or Die.” Center: U.S. 1A, or Long Beach Avenue, runs through the seaside town of York, and within yards of the Atlantic Ocean.

The next day it was time for something completely different — a seaside ride on the coast of Maine. Taking NHR9 and Dover Point Road to Portsmouth then crossing the Maine border, we rode out toward the Atlantic coast on Maine Route 103, a lovely Maine low-country ride along small rivers and waterways and through coastal communities, serene and peaceful. MR103 changes road names from Shapleigh to Whipple to Tenny Hill to Brave Boat Harbor Road before crossing the York River, leading to a right turn onto U.S. 1A, also known as Long Beach Ave. Within a few miles, the road turns parallel to the coast and within feet of the Atlantic Ocean, often separated only by public beach and sidewalk. The day granted perfect riding weather — clear blue skies, low 80-degree temperatures and scattered cumulus. A detour on Nubble Road through spectacular oceanfront residences led to the Nubble Lighthouse, perched on its own island and picture-perfect. North of the lighthouse, we continued through the York Cliffs, Bald Head and Ogunquit areas, with the road becoming less populated as it reached the coastal Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, then to the beautiful town of Kennebunkport, vacation spot of presidents. Maine Route 9A to New Hampshire Route 9 served for a fine open-country ride on the one-hour return to Barrington.

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England
Built in 1879, The Nubble Lighthouse, also known as the Cape Neddick Light, is still in use today.

My arrangements with Indian included returning the motorcycle in Florida, and later that week I began the ride south. New Hampshire and Maine had been new territory for me, and there is a lot of riding there yet to be done. Looks like I’ll need a bigger bucket. 

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England
Built in 1879, The Nubble Lighthouse, also known as the Cape Neddick Light, is still in use today.

New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England Photo Gallery:

The post New England Loops: A Bucket-List Ride in New England first appeared on Rider Magazine.


FOR SALE: 1965 BMW R60/2

Aged Like Fine Wine

Vintage BMW motorcycles are elegant and beautiful pieces of artwork, no matter what type of riding you’re into. If you’ve been examining vintage BMW’s and haven’t had the perfect chance to get one; your time is now.

This 1965 BMW R660/2 is a refinished bike with paint so perfect it might trick you into thinking it just rolled off the dealership lot. Ozzie’s BMW dealership in Chico California did the restoration job in 2012, and the bike has seen limited miles since then (50). It comes with the same bill of sale and title that was originally gathered when the bike was purchased from Ozzie’s BMW dated 2013. The motorcycle currently sits at 25,000 miles displayed by the odometer, but the exact mileage will remain a mystery. 

This R660/2 comes with the original 596cc opposed-twin engine (producing 30 vintage horses when new) with a four-speed gearbox. The paint has been redone in a gloss black with white pinstriping, and the two-up seat has been reupholstered in matching black leather with white accenting around the edges.

Don’t worry about rolling around on 50+-year-old tires, new period-correct Metzeler tires have been mounted to the wire-spoke 18-inch rims to keep the authenticity of this classic motorcycle as true-to-form as possible.

This piece of modern history currently sits at a comfortable price of $7500, despite the auction on only having 2 days remaining to bid. If you’re looking for a low-priced classic BMW for date nights with the wifey, this very well may be the bike for you.


Check Out This Honda CB10000F Concept!

A Blast From the Past

Concept motorcycles and mock-ups are the life-force that keeps motorcycle enthusiasts tied-over between big releases. If you are suffering from dream withdrawal and are looking for a fix, Honda cooked up this vintage-inspired CB1000F just for you.

This aged roadster concept was based on honda’s current CB1000R naked sportbike with your favorite parts from historic motorcycles tied into a modern-day chassis and form factor. There is no way to tell if this concept bike is ever going to see production, but according to MCN, rumors from japan compounded with the original unveiling of the CB-F Concept last spring could suggest otherwise.

The current CB1000R already a beautiful looking motorcycle, but this F edition takes the best features from the R – such as the single-sided swingarm and light-weight modern rims – and packages it along with Honda’s dangerously smooth 998cc DOHC inline-four to create this pre-modern masterpiece. It’s safe to assume that if this motorcycle came to production, the engine would be slightly detuned much like Kawasaki’s Z900RS.

The same steel spine frame and aluminum swingarm will come right from the CB1000R along with the forks and brakes; so you know this motorcycle will ride its way into a much higher category of performance than what it’s appearance may initially lead you to believe.

The body features a very vintage seat and tank, along with the graphics and headlamp looking they were ripped straight off an 80’s CB. Personally, the CBX1050 is my favorite motorcycle of all time, and I think this bike is a beautiful throwback to honda’s golden age of industry domination.

Let’s see if Honda can turn this dream into a reality.


Retrospective: 1975-1976 Honda CB500T 500 Twin

Retrospective: 1975-1976 Honda CB500T 500 Twin

Every motorcycle company has made a couple of bikes it wishes it hadn’t, like the Wankel-engined Suzuki RE5, 1974-1976, or Ducati’s GTL 350, a SOHC parallel twin, 1975-1977. And close to the top of Honda’s list might be the CB500T. Curious that the three just mentioned all appeared in the mid-1970s. With any new model, aesthetics play a part, as do performance and price.

Lots of money goes into any development, whether it’s for a new bike or upgrading an old model, and sales have to compensate. Most times it is not the engineers who make these decisions, but the suits, the people who are supposedly experts on what people want to buy. The CB500T was definitely an upgrade, so here is a little background: The CB450 model, along with its fraternal CL and CM versions, had been around for a decade, 10 years, which is a long time in the mind of Japanese motorcycle designers who are competing with other Japanese motorcycle designers. When the 450 first appeared in 1965, it was applauded for its originality, the vertical twin having the first double overhead camshaft engine in a street bike. Plus, an electric starter. And 444cc! This meant Honda was going to do battle with the British motorcycles American dealers had in their shops.

Retrospective: 1975-1976 Honda CB500T 500 Twin

The Europeans had their own thoughts on the subject, but essentially they thought the Japanese would never really be able to compete with BSAs and BMWs. While the sole American company had just gone public in an effort to turn red ink into black, and would soon be bought by an outfit best known for its golf carts.

The Black Bomber, as that first CB450 was known, had problems and did not sell well. In 1968 a much revamped version showed up, with more traditional styling, plus a fifth gear. And a disc brake in 1970. Sales improved somewhat, and Honda felt this mid-sized machine was good for the brand, and had a price point for the casual rider. The more motivated rider would buy the new four-cylinder CB750.

In the early 1970s Honda engineers were very busy working on its Gold Wing, and somebody pointed out the elderliness of the CB450. It probably was the newest guy in the shop who was told to do something about it. And do it without spending too much money. OK, we’ll keep the DOHC and two-valves per cylinder design, but stroke it an additional seven millimeters and bring the cubic capacity up to 498cc and call it a CB500, with big numbers on the side covers. We’ll put a T after it, so people will know it’s a Twin, and not a four like the CB400F and CB550F.

Retrospective: 1975-1976 Honda CB500T 500 Twin

Engine mods? Those extra millimeters in the stroke might cause problems to the crankshaft, so we’ll swap the 450’s roller bearings for big ball bearings, which should extend the life of the engine. We can use the 450’s DOHC head, but better cut the compression a little, from 9:1 to 8.5:1, so the owner can run the cheapest gas — which is getting expensive right about 1975. No need to change the 32mm Keihin CV carburetors. Rear-wheel power will be the same as on the 450, some 34 horses, but there will be a few extra pounds, like 15, on the 500. Wet weight, with 4.2 gallons of gas, was 460 pounds.

Unfortunately, their cost-cutting ways caused them to miss out on what should have been their primary concern — vibration! The 450 was known as a shaker, and the 500 was even worse. Rubber-mounted seat, rubber-mounted handlebars, thick rubbers on the pegs — and it still shook. In a seven-bike middleweight shoot-out, all Japanese, one moto-mag rated the CB500T worst in a number of categories, including vibration and overall. How expensive would it have been to put in a counterbalancer?

The chassis had a standard cradle frame holding the engine, a new fork up front, standard shocks at the back, 19-inch wheel at the front, 18-inch rear. Brakes were adequate, a disc up front, drum at the back. However, anybody who liked a good bit of lean angle was in for unpleasant surprises. On the left side the sidestand would start to scrape, soon followed by the centerstand, while on the right side the rear brake lever, which looped under the exhaust pipe, could pick up the rear wheel. Not fun. To compensate, sportier riders would crank up the spring preload on the shocks to give a bit more altitude, but then the ride could be unpleasantly stiff.

Retrospective: 1975-1976 Honda CB500T 500 Twin

A curious addition was a rather bulky resonator/connector running between the two header pipes, in a successful effort to keep exhaust noise down. The photo bike has rather attractive aftermarket mufflers, which probably would not pass a contemporary sound test. The U.S. was becoming concerned over air pollution, so Honda added a couple of gizmos. One was the blow-by gas circulator in the cylinder head, and the other the air-cut valves in the carburetors, both of which were designed to prevent unburned gas from getting to the atmosphere. There is not enough room here to get into the specifics, just a reminder that green-suited ecology cops have been around for a long time.

With all these complaints, one nice aspect was the long and comfy seat…except for the passenger grab-strap. Easily removed, and many riders preferred to have their passengers pressed up against them with arms around their waists.

The main thing the CB500T had going for it was the classic look, which meant British. If a rider was not interested in going fast or far, for $1,545 this could be his or her ride — that’s $7,400 in 2020 dollars. And a new 2021 twin-cylinder CB500F costs only $6,100.

Retrospective: 1975-1976 Honda CB500T 500 Twin

Retrospective: 1975-1976 Honda CB500T 500 Twin:

The post Retrospective: 1975-1976 Honda CB500T 500 Twin first appeared on Rider Magazine.


2021 Ducati Monster | First Look Review

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

Ducati has announced an update to its middleweight naked bike lineup, with the new 2021 Ducati Monster and Monster+ models. Singularly dubbed “Monster” by the Bologna-based brand, the latest iteration of Ducati’s iconic series features a new chassis and utilizes the same weight-saving front-frame design as the Panigale and Streetfighter V4 motorcycles. That’s right — the new Monster is no longer using a steel-trellis frame. The result is a 40-pound weight reduction when compared to the Monster 821. Couple that with a more powerful 937cc Testastretta 11-degree V-twin engine, top-shelf electronics and a complete aesthetic refresh, and this Monster looks like a whole new beast.

Pricing for Ducati Red color options of the 2021 Ducati Monster and Monster+ is $11,895 and $12,195, respectively. Meanwhile, Aviator Grey and Dark Stealth colorways are an additional $200.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

Interestingly, the MSRPs for the new Monster and Monster+ are cheaper than the 2020 Monster 821 ($11,995) and 821 Stealth ($12,895) models.

The Monster series dates back to 1993 and is the brainchild of famed motorcycle designer Miguel Galluzzi. Since its inception, Monster motorcycles have satiated those looking for real-world street sensibilities coupled with sporting performance. It has been a winning formula for Ducati, with over 350,000 Monster units sold since its introduction.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

The rider triangle is more neutral and upright, thanks to the handlebar moving 2.8 inches closer to the rider. Legroom is said to have increased as well. In stock trim, the new Monster’s seat height is 32.3 inches and, with its narrow chassis, should accommodate riders of varying sizes. Ducati has taken an extra step for riders with shorter inseam lengths, offering a low seat option (31.5 inches) and spring lowering that drops the saddle height to 30.5 inches.

Powering the Monster and Monster+ is the 5.5-pounds-lighter 937cc Testastretta 11-degree V-twin that is also found in the SuperSport and Hypermotard lineups. Claimed peak horsepower has increased 2 ponies to 111 at 9,250 rpm, and peak torque has risen to 68.7 lb-ft at a street-friendly 6,500 rpm. The increase in displacement is said to distribute power more evenly across the entire rev range, emphasizing low and mid-range grunt. An up/down quickshifter is also standard and will make quick work of the 6-speed gearbox.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

A full suite of rider aids is standard, and owners will be able to choose from three preset riding modes — Sport, Urban and Touring — which adjust throttle response and intervention levels. The new Monster also benefits from IMU-supported cornering ABS, lean-angle-sensitive traction control, wheelie control and launch control — all of which are adjustable from the 4.3-inch color TFT instrument panel. The top-tier amenities don’t stop there, with LED lighting all around, self-canceling turn signals and a USB charging port.

This year, the Monster has hit the gym, boasting a claimed wet weight of 414 pounds, shedding a whopping 40 pounds of weight compared to the Monster 821. This was achieved in numerous ways, and the biggest break in Ducati Monster tradition is the use of a much lighter aluminum front-frame design that uses the 937cc as a stressed member. The new superbike-derived front-frame weighs just 6.6 pounds, nearly 10 pounds lighter than the traditional steel-trellis frame featured on all prior Monster motorcycles. Also, engineers whittled the swingarm down by 3.5 pounds and the cast aluminum wheels by an additional 3.75 pounds. Other weight savings were achieved by using a lightweight GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer) subframe.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

Weight reduction also extended to the 3.7-gallon fuel tank, which holds 0.7 gallon less than the Monster 821’s.

Ducati engineers also worked to create a more agile middleweight Monster by altering its geometry. The wheelbase comes in a slightly shorter 58 inches, and the rake is now at 24 degrees.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

The suspension is handled by a non-adjustable 43mm inverted fork with 5.1 inches of travel and a spring preload-adjustable shock equipped with 5.5 inches of travel.

Braking duties are handled by robust radially mounted Brembo M4.32 4-piston calipers, clamping onto 320mm floating rotors in the front. In the back, a Brembo 2-piston caliper.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

Available in two models, the Monster and Monster+ are identical mechanically and their technological features. For an additional $300, the Monster+ is equipped with a svelte flyscreen and passenger seat cover.

Ducati anticipates that the 2021 Ducati Monster and Monster+ will arrive in North American dealerships in April 2021. We can’t wait to throw a leg over one for a full review, but until then, feast your eyes on the new Monster.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

2021 Ducati Monster and Monster+ Specs:

Base Price: $11,995 / $12,195 (Monster+)
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 90-degree V-twin, desmodromic DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 94 x 67.5mm
Displacement: 937cc
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated assist-and-slipper wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 58.3 in.
Rake/Trail: 24 degrees/3.7 in.
Seat Height: 32.3 in.
Claimed Wet Weight: 414 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gals.
MPG: 91 PON min. / NA

2021 Ducati Monster and Monster+ Photo Gallery:

The post 2021 Ducati Monster | First Look Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.


Energica In Collaboration To Produce Marine Powertrains

Energica’s partnership agreement aimed at producing powertrains for other applications.

Begin press release:

Energica Motor Company S.p.A. has just begun a technological collaboration with Sealence s.r.l, an innovative startup that has revolutionized the world of naval propulsion with its own DeepSpeed electric jet.

The meeting of these two Italian companies will allow Energica to approach a new field, the nautical market, and gives additional impetus to the company’s long-term strategy to help turn The Motor Valley into a center for sustainable “Made in Italy” mobility.

This industrial cooperation will be aimed at the development of an electric powertrain: providing not only economies of scale, but also ensuring this new electric product by Energica-Sealence will be among the most powerful and technologically advanced on the world market.

“We are very proud of this new all-Italian collaboration that will bring us to the marine market”, said Livia Cevolini, CEO of Energica Motor Company S.p.A. “Our country is fast becoming the epicenter of extraordinary electric innovation.

Sealence although a young company has been able to establish itself in a very short time. The synergy of skills between our companies is only the first step towards new eco-sustainable industrial scenarios. ”

“As Energica we are convinced that we can accelerate the development of DeepSpeed by bringing our technology and our know-how gained both on the road and on the track, thanks to our experience in the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup”.

“Energica represents excellence in electric mobility”, says William Gobbo CEO of Sealence s.r.l. “Over the years they have been able to build a business capable of competing at the highest levels, on a global scale. I know how difficult it is to launch similar entrepreneurial initiatives in Italy but, despite these difficulties, it is clear that Energica is now emerging in the sector as a key point of reference. We are therefore honored by this collaboration”.

In the future, high-powered Energica-Sealence powertrains could become available for other types of applications in different fields based on technical compatibility, thus prefiguring the basis for other new electric vehicles.

The post Energica In Collaboration To Produce Marine Powertrains appeared first on News.

The 2021 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition will be available at dealers in January 2021

The Austrian’s dish out some high-performance eye-candy in the 2021 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition.

Begin Press Release: 


December 1, 2020, MURRIETA, Calif. – KTM North America, Inc. is pleased to announce details of the new KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION, offering enticing performance and aesthetic upgrades for 2021, along with the innovative addition of myKTM app connectivity straight off the showroom floor.

With its development based on feedback straight from top-level Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team stars, competition never stops as KTM remains true to its fundamental goal of continuously pushing the boundaries while searching for something even better for all racers at the starting line. From a stadium seat, a track fence or through a screen, the sight of a race-winning motorcycle in full flight is something special for every READY TO RACE fan.

2021 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition

After securing the 2019 AMA Supercross 450SX Championship, Cooper Webb collected 13 podium results and four Main Event victories to finish runner-up in the 2020 championship aboard the KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION. This machine was also the tool for Marvin Musquin to post seven top-three moto finishes in the 2020 AMA Pro Motocross series as he bounced back from injury with a satisfying fourth in the final 450MX class standings.

Taking full advantage of the experience collected through countless training and racing laps, KTM has applied key upgrades to the latest installment of the KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION, including a near-identical visual aspect to the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machines raced in Supercross and Motocross. When it comes to performance, there’s a direct link to the works machines of Cooper and Marvin as the bike comes with an orange frame, Factory wheels, Factory triple clamps anodized in orange, a composite skid plate, a Hinson clutch cover and an orange rear sprocket. The spec list also boasts elements like the Akrapovič silencer, the Factory start holeshot device, the semi floating front brake and the disc guard.

2021 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition

A notable addition for 2021 is the Connectivity Unit that comes as standard on this special model and is integrated onto the new bar pad. This means the innovative myKTM App can be synced immediately and without the need of any additional parts. Through the use of the myKTM app, riders of all levels can customize ENGINE settings.

An additional benefit of the myKTM app is its ability to offer SUSPENSION recommendations based on every rider’s personal characteristics. Through a few easy menu options and swipes of your smartphone, every 2021 KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION rider can shape their bike to a variety of conditions or terrain.


  • Updated Red Bull KTM Factory Racing graphics
  • Connectivity Unit fitted as standard
  • Ability to connect with the innovative myKTM app
  • Akrapovič slip-on silencer
  • Factory triple clamps anodized in orange
  • KTM Factory wheels
  • Factory start for front fork
  • Exclusive orange frame
  • Composite skid plate
  • Factory seat with Selle Dalla Valle cover
  • Semi-floating front brake disc
  • Front brake disc guard
  • Orange rear sprocket
  • Engine updates
  • Hinson clutch cover

Produced in limited quantities, the 2021 KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION will be available at authorized KTM dealers from January 2021 onwards. For more information please contact your local KTM dealer or visit

2021 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
2021 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
2021 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
2021 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
2021 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
2021 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition

The post The 2021 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition will be available at dealers in January 2021 appeared first on News.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS | Road Test Review

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
The Z900 ABS is eager to get into the corners and doesn’t require much coaxing from the rider. Revised suspension settings help keep the chassis balanced. Photos by Kevin Wing.

When the 2017 Kawasaki Z900 naked bike leaped onto the scene, it quickly garnered praise for its no-frills, bare-bones approach to sport riding. Hold the cost-increasing rider aids, please — I want a good chassis, punchy motor and all-day ergonomics, said utilitarian riders. Kawasaki delivered as ordered, affordably, too, making it one of the best values in the class. This year, the 2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS is getting a tech update without breaking the bank.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
Kawasaki’s paint quality stands out in the class.

The pocket-protector-wearing bunch at Kawi waved their graphing calculators at the 2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS and bestowed new technical amenities such as adjustable traction control, a full-color TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity and four selectable ride modes. Even the design department joined in, with a restyled LED headlight and indicators, shrouds and various covers that add up to just the right amount of Sugomi styling — all for a nominal $200 upcharge over the last ABS model. A non-ABS model is no longer offered stateside.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
In 2020, Kawasaki’s Z900 ABS is coming out swinging with technology and features it never had. New to the party is adjustable traction control, selectable ride modes, and a full-color TFT instrument panel, not to mention a redesigned LED headlight and a slight aesthetic facelift. That’s a far cry from the stripped-down approach the Z900 took when first released in 2017, and it’s still a serious value.

On the engine front, the 948cc powerplant returns with minor finagling to the airbox intake funnels and a new fuel map to meet Euro 5 standards. The good news is that it hasn’t spoiled the party one bit, as the engine produced a healthy 113.3 horsepower at 9,800 rpm and 66 lb-ft of torque at 8,100 rpm on the Jett Tuning Dyno and power is delivered in an impressively linear fashion.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
The inline four-cylinder engine is incredibly smooth and the lack of bad vibes is due in part to the rubber-mounted handlebar and footpegs. Additionally, footpeg weights also help keep vibrations in check.

There is plenty of low-end brawn and heaping midrange power on tap, thanks in no small part to the low 1st – 5th gear ratios in the slick 6-speed gearbox; 6th is overdrive. From the moment you release the light assist-and-slip clutch, the 948cc engine spools up quickly and will pull as hard as you like in the canyons, or take on a friendly, urban-minded role when scooting around traffic. This isn’t your stereotypical peaky inline-four engine and, in that sense, is far more versatile. The Z900’s powerplant is also silky-smooth, with no bad vibrations, allowing the acoustically tuned intake howl and exhaust note to come to the top of the mix.

With a sporty, short throw at the shift lever, the Z900 is practically begging for a quickshifter. Of course, we know that would increase the MSRP, but the perky engine and peachy transmission are primed for one.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
The new 4.5-inch TFT dash is crystal clear and easy to read.

Freshly added is the 4.3-inch full-color TFT dash that is found on several Kawasaki models, paving the way for four selectable ride modes; Sport, Road, Rain and a customizable Rider mode. In Rider mode, owners can choose between Full or Low (55-percent max output) engine power, as well as the new 3-level traction control that can be disabled. ABS cannot be adjusted, per Euro 5 regulations.

I stuck with Sport predominantly since it has the least restriction and is, consequently, the most fun. A good whack of the throttle results in a cheeky front-end lift, while TC and ABS extend the leash for spirited riding without intervening aggressively. They’ll step in when needed, as any well-designed system will do. This does lead me to one complaint about the new Sport and Road riding modes. The throttle response is abrupt during the initial on-off application, requiring the wrist-calibration of a world-class surgeon. You can get it right but sticks out in my mind because of how great the throttle is everywhere else.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
Kawasaki upped the rear spring rate by roughly 5% and also updated stock suspension settings.

Another bugbear is the unintuitive user interface on the Z’s shiny new dash. I’ll admit that diving into the menu’s depths isn’t something that owners regularly do; once you’ve found your settings, you’ll generally keep them. Prod at the dash long enough and you’ll figure it out, but I can’t help feeling like one of the monkeys from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” if only momentarily.

Speaking of new technology, the dash supports Bluetooth connectivity and the Kawasaki Rideology app, which has a host of features ranging from a riding log, text and call notification, to service information and more.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
There isn’t much padding in the Z900’s saddle, but it helps Kawasaki achieve the low 31.3-inch seat height. It also contributes to some of the harshness felt when riding on bumpy tarmac.

Overall, the cockpit and bike feel svelte; you’re in command of the Z900 ABS and able to whip it around on a whim. At 31.3 inches, the Z900’s seat height is the lowest in its class, and Kawasaki has also done a fine job of whittling down the 4.5-gallon fuel tank where it meets the thinly padded seat, giving the bike a less-bulky feel.

Those characteristics pay off for riders with shorter inseams, since many full-sized motorcycles sporting taller seat heights are less accommodating. At 5-foot, 10-inches tall, my 32-inch inseam does see some knee-bend, although I’m not uncomfortable and can confidently flatfoot at a stop. Taller or leggier riders may experience more knee bend, making the 1-inch higher ergo-fit seat a wise investment.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
New Dunlop D214 Sportmax tires perked up the Z900’s handling.

With a sporting 57.1-inch wheelbase and 24.5-degree rake, the Z900 is light and playful, ready to pounce at any corner, while its sturdy steel-trellis frame telegraphs information to the rider well. Kawasaki also says that the frame is beefed up around the swingarm area. It feels a sight nimbler than what the hefty 467-pound wet weight we measured would suggest — the bike could stand to hit the gym.

Whether you’re peeling into a choice mountain sweeper or zipping through traffic, the Z900 is surefooted at both ends, helped along by sportier Dunlop D214 Sportmax rubber that features a more aggressive profile, livening up the Z’s handling.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
The low 31.3-inch seat height will be a boon for shorter riders, but it does create some knee-bend for my 32-inch inseam. Taller individuals will want to opt for the higher ergo-fit seat.

To complement the strengthened frame, Kawasaki tweaked the settings of the 41mm KYB fork, which features spring preload and rebound damping adjustment only. The horizontal back-link KYB shock now boasts a roughly 5-percent heavier spring rate, along with spring preload and rebound damping adjustment.

The initial setup isn’t supersport stiff, nor is it pool-noodle soft. The confidence-inspiring chassis is aided by an athletic setup that helps the Z900 stay balanced, even when you start pushing it to a brisk pace. Firming up the suspension might appeal to those who only venture to mountain roads on Sunday, giving those riders an edge when riding quickly, but it would be detrimental in other environments.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
Kawasaki’s paint quality stands out in the class.

The MSRP-friendly suspension fares well in the city, although rough tarmac will expose a weakness in the shock’s non-adjustable compression damping, especially if you’re a heavier rider. That charge cannot be squarely leveled at the shock alone, as the thin seat padding is an accomplice in the crime of a harsh ride over bumpy tarmac.

Four-piston Nissin calipers that clamp onto 300mm petal discs handle braking duties, resulting in strong braking power and good feel at the adjustable lever. A single Nissin caliper works with a 250mm disc in the rear and is great for low-speed maneuvers or line correction. Together, the braking components do a fine job and remind us that spec-sheets don’t always tell the whole story.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
The modest Nissin 4-piston calipers offer good feel and stopping power, once again proving that spec-sheets listing pricier components don’t always tell the whole story.

Kawasaki has upped their fit-and-finish game in recent years and even on the affordable Z900 ABS, that trend has continued. High quality paint on the fairings and frame make the entire bike pop, while graphic decals maintain the alluring price tag.

Undoubtedly, there will be those drawn to the 2020 Z900 ABS primarily due to its lovely MSRP. Smart consumers, indeed. Being budget-conscious used to mean you’d be making plenty of sacrifices in performance and features, and yes, its noticeably pricier competition will have a leg up in certain areas. Here, you’re not giving up much of anything on the street. Telling someone, “You get what you pay for” is usually a warning, but in this case, it’s just a good bike. 

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review

Nic’s Gear:
Helmet: Scorpion EXO-R1
Jacket: Scorpion Optima
Pants: Scorpion Covert Ultra
Gloves: Racer Guide
Boots: TCX Rush 2 Air

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Specs:

Base Price: $8,999
Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles

Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse inline-four
Displacement: 948cc
Bore x Stroke: 73.4 x 56.0 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.8:1
Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Adj. Interval: 15,200 miles
Fuel Delivery: DFI with Mikuni 36mm throttle bodies x 4
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 4.2 qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, wet assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain

Ignition: TCBI with Digital Advance
Charging Output: 329 Watts max
Battery: 12V 8AH

Frame: Tubular steel trellis frame, w/ box section swingarm
Wheelbase: 57.1 in.
Rake/Trail: 24.5 degrees/4.1 in.
Seat Height: 31.3 in.
Suspension, Front: 41mm USD fork, adj. for spring preload & rebound damping w/ 4.7-in. travel
Rear: Horizontal back-link shock, adj. for preload & rebound damping w/ 5.5-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 300mm semi-floating discs w/ opposed 4-piston calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 250mm disc w/ 1-piston pin-slide caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.5 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.5 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 180/55-ZR17
Wet Weight: 466 lbs.
Load Capacity: 380 lbs.
GVWR: 846 lbs.

Horsepower: 113.3 Horsepower at 9,800 rpm
Torque: 66.0 lb-ft of torque at 8,100 rpm
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gals.
MPG: 90 PON Min (low/avg/high) 36.2/42.2/39.2
Estimated Range:  190 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 4,200

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Photo Gallery:

The post 2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS | Road Test Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.


The Best Modular/Flip-Up Helmets You Can Buy [Updated Q4 2020]

Modular helmets have long been the go-to choice for tourers, commuters, riding instructors, and those who value versatility and practicality along with protection and comfort. Popping up the chin bar is great when you’re stopped and need a breath of fresh air, or want to have a quick conversation with a fellow road user.

And despite what people say, the modular nature of these helmets does not decrease their protection ability. With so many products on the market, here’s a list of some of the best modular helmets you can buy.

But before we look at them, here’s how we made our choices.

A good helmet must meet certain criteria. Most importantly, it has to be safe. It also has to offer a good return for your investment. Lastly, it needs to have earned a good amount of favorable reviews from a broad spectrum of riders.

If a helmet can meet those demands, it’s worthy of our recommendation. Here are our favorites!

Schuberth C4 Pro

Schuberth C4 Pro Modular Helmet Side View

Review: In-depth review
Price: $699.00

The Schuberth C4 Pro is an updated version of the already celebrated C4. It’s a tough and durable modular helmet that features a DFP (Direct Fiber Processing) glass fiber shell, with an innovative sectional EPS foam liner, that’s DOT-certified and performs well on the SHARP test.

On the inside, the helmet uses ShinyTex antibacterial liner that provides a comfortable and secure fit, with an integrated channel to accommodate the arms of eyeglasses. The ventilation on the C4 Pro is very good, thanks to multi-channel vents that provide serious airflow without introducing any unnecessary road noise.

It features an intuitive flip-up system, with an extra-wide viewport and anti-fog face shield. It also accommodates Schuberth’s proprietary intercom system, which can be purchased separately.

The Schuberth C4 Pro could be one of the best modular helmets ever made if it was a little lighter. For some riders, the weight of this helmet is a turn-off. However, if you can tolerate the heavier weight in exchange for tough protection, advanced engineering, and top technology, then give this one a go.

Where to Buy: Buy on Revzilla / Buy on Amazon

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Helmet

AGV SportModular Carbon Helmet Side View

Review: In-depth review
Price: $750.00+

AGV’s Sportmodular Carbon helmet is a great helmet for those looking for a lightweight flip-up lid made from advanced materials. It’s a carbon fiber helmet with a carbon chin bar, formed into a shape that’s designed to minimize impact energy and protect the skull and collarbone simultaneously.

There’s a 5-density EPS liner under the carbon shell, with a wide range of interior comfort options. These include eyeglass-friendly, pressure-free cheek pads, crown pads, and a removable nose guard and wind protector. Ventilation is provided by AGV’s Integrated Ventilation System (IVS) which uses innovative input vents and exhaust extractors to provide optimum airflow.

The flip-up portion uses an advanced lock system that prevents accidental openings. The face shield is a Max-Vision Pinlock anti-fog shield, which also features a smart lock system too. Other notable features include an internal sun shield and a titanium double-D retention system.

Depending on your head shape, the Sportmodular can either be a hit or a miss. If you’ve got a narrow-shaped head, you may experience increased noise volume—and that’s not ideal. However, if you’ve got a rounder head, the fit will be great and the noise egress will be at a minimum.

Where to Buy: Buy on Revzilla / Buy on Amazon


HJC RPHA 90S Modular Helmet Side View

Review: In-depth review
Price: $420.00 ish

The HJC RPHA 90S is a stylish modular helmet that’s lightweight and tough. It uses many of the same components and features found on the brand’s top-tier racing helmet, the RPHA 11 Pro, but at a more accessible price point. Using HJC’s advanced P.I.M (Premium Integrated Matrix Plus) technology, a carbon fiber, and carbon-glass hybrid, and an eyeglass-friendly EPS, the HJC RPHA 90 S is a safe bet for a wide range of riders.

Inside, the helmet features a MultiCool interior, with antibacterial, moisture-wicking, quick-dry fabric. This interior liner has also been designed to keep noise to a minimum—though it’s still not the quietest of helmets in our opinion. Still, if you can put up with the noise, you’ve got a comfortable, well-ventilated, and secure helmet.

The wide eye port offers improved peripheral vision, and the chin bar has an innovative one-touch open and close locking system that can be opened one-handed, and with gloves on. The standard visor is an anti-scratch, anti-fog Pinlock faces shield.

It’s worth noting that the RPHA 90S also accommodates SMART HJC 10B or 20B Bluetooth communicators.

Where to Buy: Buy on Revzilla / Buy on Amazon

LS2 Valiant II

LS2 Valiant II Flip-Up Helmet Side View

Review: In-depth review
Price: $339.98

LS2 make high-quality helmets at affordable prices, and their Valiant modular helmet was a resounding success when it was first launched. Now, we have the second generation of that celebrated model: the Valiant II. Built from an innovative Kinetic Polymer Alloy (KPA) composite shell and EPS liner, it’s lightweight, strong, and affordable.

On the inside, the Valiant II uses a high-tech comfort liner with moisture-wicking fabrics, and thermo-formed padding. The thermo-formed pads boost comfort and breathability while providing a close fit. A series of intakes and exhaust ports allow for optimized airflow, but without introducing any excess noise. It’s quite a quiet helmet, even at high speed.

The flip-up section uses a metal latch on the chin bar to prevent unexpected openings, and it also has an open-function that keeps the helmet open when required too. Other cool features include a built-in drop-down sun shield and Pinlock-ready face shields.

If you’re looking for an affordable DOT-certified flip-up helmet that offers a comfortable and quiet experience at an affordable price, this is worth looking at.

Where to Buy: Buy on Revzilla / Buy on Amazon

Nolan N100-5

Nolan N100-5 Modular Helmet Side View

Review: In-depth review
Price: $409.95
Nolan’s N100-5 is a sleek DOT and ECE-approved flip-up helmet that has been getting some great reviews lately. Made from a polycarbonate shell, the N100-5 is a surprisingly light and compact modular helmet. It feels high-quality, and if you’re looking for value for money, you’re going to get it with this helmet.

The outer layer is tough and strong, and the inside comfortable and secure. It uses a removable and washable Clima Comfort liner, with single-block cheek pads. Ventilation is great too. Nolan has installed the N100-5 with an advanced ventilation system with Air-booster technology for comfortable airflow. And unlike many modular helmets, the Nolan N100-5 is actually quite quiet.

Other features include a wide face shield, a dual-action chin guard opening system, and a UV400 drop-down sun shield.

The downsides with the Nolan N100-5 include the fact that it’s only available with two shell sizes and the fact that you can only use Nolan’s own communication hardware with it. Nolan’s devices are great, but if you add the price of their N-Com B901 onto this helmet’s asking price, it makes it quite an expensive lid.

Where to Buy: Buy on Revzilla / Buy on Amazon

Shoei Neotec 2Shoei Neotec 2 Flip-up Helmet Side View

Review: In-depth review
Price: $699.00
Shoei’s Neotec 2 is a premium modular helmet that can go toe-to-toe with industry mainstays such as the Schuberth C4 Pro. They’re the same price and close in quality, but the Shoei would come out on top in a direct comparison.

The Neotec 2 uses an aerodynamic shell design that’s reinforced with dual-layer EPS layers. Sculpted with an intermediate oval shape, this Shoei should comfortably fit most riders without a fuss. It features a 3D shaped and eyeglass-friendly comfort liner with pads that have been ergonomically shaped for optimized safety, fit, and comfort.

It’s a quiet helmet, as much as modular helmets can be, but it isn’t as quiet as it could be. However, Shoei has mentioned that it’s traded silence in exchange for airflow. Thanks to the use of intakes and exhausts, and Shoei’s Vortex Generator, ventilation is not a problem.

It’s not without its negative points though. The Neotec’s ratchet strap can be uncomfortable, and there’s no shortage of reviews mentioning that it can cut into your neck, with little room for adjustment. Apart from that, it’s one of the best modular helmets on the market.

Where to Buy: Buy on Revzilla / Buy on Amazon

Bell SRT Modular Helmet

Bell SRT Flip-Up Helmet Side View

Review: In-depth review
Price: $369.95
When you think of Bell Helmets you might not immediately think of a modular helmet, but they do make them! The SRT uses Bell’s incredible experience in making sports-focused helmets and deploys it in a smart touring-friendly flip-up with an affordable price tag. Built around a lightweight composite shell, the Bell SRT has many premium features that make it worthy of this list.

Aside from the SRT’s practical flip-up chin bar mechanism, the exterior boasts a wide Panovision face shield with class one optics. Unfortunately, the shield could do with more detents for a varied ride experience, but that’s a small gripe. However, if you’re riding in hot climates it could be a deal-breaker. The regular ventilation is fairly good, but being able to keep the shield open in a few more different positions would really help.

On the inside, the SRT features a removable and washable antibacterial liner, eye-wear compatible padding, a drop-down sun shield, and recessed EPS speaker pockets that can accommodate a wide range of third party communication devices.

Not only is this helmet DOT-certified, but it also comes with a five-year warranty too.

Where to Buy: Buy on Revzilla / Buy on Amazon

Klim TK1200 Karbon Architek Modular Helmet

Klim TK1200 Karbon Architek Modular Helmet Side View

Review: In-depth review
Price: $599.99
When it comes to touring apparel, the folks at Klim know what they’re talking about. The TK1200 was already an impressive modular helmet, but it has been revamped with a new carbon shell. Using a hot-molded and vacuum-sealed pre-impregnated carbon fiber construction method, Klim’s helmet is incredibly light and strong.

To keep things light, the TK1200 bucks another trend by doing away with a drop-down sun shield on the inside. Instead, it uses a transition visor that adapts to the UV level. It keeps the sun out, but it doesn’t prevent cooling winds from giving you plenty of ventilation.

Using intelligent vents and exhausts, airflow is optimized, but it doesn’t interrupt your ride with outrageous noise levels either. Klim uses an innovative Aero Acoustics system to keep distracting noise to the bare minimum.

Other practical features include a breakaway chin guard mechanism, comfortable molded interior padding, and a quick-release buckle. Sadly though, the Klim TK1200 Karbon is only available in one shell size, which is a little disappointing. But if it fits your head properly, you can’t go wrong with this advanced modular helmet.

Where to Buy: Buy on Revzilla / Buy on Amazon