Category Archives: Reviews

2021 Honda CB650R MC Commute Review

The 2021 Honda CB650R ($9,199) rightfully places itself among Big Red’s sport standard lineup, placed between the entry-level and relatively affordable CB300R and the larger-displacement CB1000R. This middleweight certainly offers an engaging and entertaining experience for most experienced riders, while serving as an approachable platform for riders with fewer miles under their belts.

Editor’s note: We rode the CB650R during its US press introduction during the 2019 Honda CB650R First Ride Review and later in the 2019 Honda CB650R MC Commute Review. Peruse this content for added information about Big Red’s four-cylinder naked bike.

In this episode of MC Commute, we review the 2021 Honda CB650R as we ride to the <em>Motorcyclist</em> HQ.

In this episode of MC Commute, we review the 2021 Honda CB650R as we ride to the <em>Motorcyclist</em> HQ. (Jeff Allen/)

Following a successful introduction to the US market in 2019, Big Red has made a number of revisions to the middleweight CB for increased practicality and performance. Honda addressed issues with the CB’s ergonomics, suspension, and engine performance with good, well-balanced results. This middleweight grows more attractive to all riders, while still elegantly dressed in Honda’s Neo-Sports Café styling.

Powering the CB650R is a 649cc inline-four engine. While the bore measurement is identical to the competition-inspired CBR600RR, Honda increased the stroke to achieve the displacement.

Powering the CB650R is a 649cc inline-four engine. While the bore measurement is identical to the competition-inspired CBR600RR, Honda increased the stroke to achieve the displacement. (Jeff Allen/)

Honda chose a 649cc inline-four liquid-cooled powerplant for the CB650R, which sees a number of revisions aimed at improving emissions for the ’21 models year. Engineers made changes to the ECU mapping, camshaft lobes, and intake valve timing, as well as an all-new exhaust system with a new catalyst and muffler. An added benefit is an increase in peak output, which we recorded on our in-house Motorcyclist dyno. The CB650R produced a peak 81.9 hp at 10,900 rpm and 43.0 pound-feet of torque, which is a slight improvement to the 80.6 hp and 42.1 pound-feet that our last 2019 test unit recorded.

The CB650R sees a number of revisions in the 2021 model year. This LCD display has been repositioned to combat sun glare, while fonts have been changed to increase visibility of important information.

The CB650R sees a number of revisions in the 2021 model year. This LCD display has been repositioned to combat sun glare, while fonts have been changed to increase visibility of important information. (Jeff Allen/)

Opening the throttle on the CB650R offers approachable yet engaging acceleration, though an overly abrupt initial response is felt at slower speeds. The engine runs relatively vibration free and offers a comfortable highway ride settling in around 6,000 in top gear. The slick-shifting and well-spaced six-speed gearbox makes for easy work on both acceleration and deceleration. If I had one major gripe in the powerplant, the lack of clutch feel hinders the CB’s ability to efficiently accelerate away from a stop.

A pair of four-piston Nissin calipers clamping to 310mm discs bring the CB650R to a halt, even if lack of feel at the kever hinders their true stopping potential.

A pair of four-piston Nissin calipers clamping to 310mm discs bring the CB650R to a halt, even if lack of feel at the kever hinders their true stopping potential. (Jeff Allen/)

But the CB650R is an overall delightfully neutral ride, which benefits from a Showa Separate Function Big Piston fork (SFF-BP) for the ’21 model year. Although giving up some small-bump compliance over rough pavement for big-hit support needed in sporty scenarios, the suspension offers a likable balance. It’s light on its feet too. The CB tipped the Motorcyclist scales at a considerable 445 pounds with its 4.1-gallon fuel tank topped off, but corners effortlessly in a composed and confidence-inspiring manner. The OE-equipped Dunlop Sportmax D214 tires do an excellent job of connecting the Honda to the tarmac with great grip and feel.

The headlight on this CB650R is LED, as it is the same unit used on the larger-displacement CB1000R.

The headlight on this CB650R is LED, as it is the same unit used on the larger-displacement CB1000R. (Jeff Allen/)

Braking performance is less inspiring, unfortunately. Brought to a halt by dual four-piston Nissin calipers up front, the Honda’s outright stopping power is adequate. Where the issue lies is in the brake lever’s lack of feel and unimpressive initial bite. It requires a lot of lever pull to unlock its braking potential, but also lacks the ability to communicate the amount of pressure being applied to the discs. An upgrade in an aftermarket brake pad may help. But if there is a positive, ABS is standard and offers seamless intervention when needed.

This Showa monoshock features a seven-step preload adjustability. It offers a great balance of small-bump compliance and big-hit support.

This Showa monoshock features a seven-step preload adjustability. It offers a great balance of small-bump compliance and big-hit support. (Jeff Allen/)

Honda also made revisions to the CB650R’s ergonomic setup, most notably rolling the handlebar position slightly forward for a more neutral position. Overall, it’s a comfortable ergonomic setup. The reach to the bar is relaxed, while the up-and-back footpeg placement adds a hint of aggression to the rider triangle, which helps in hustling the Honda through quick successions of corners. The measured 32.0-inch seat height allowed for an easy flat-foot contact for this 5-foot-7 tester and helps in low-speed maneuvers and navigating dense traffic. Finally, the LCD display perched in front of the handlebar has been re-angled to combat glare and given larger fonts so the rider can easily identify vital information at speed. A nice touch, Honda.

Dressed in Honda’s Neo-Sports Café styling, the CB650R is one of three sport standard models in the lineup.

Dressed in Honda’s Neo-Sports Café styling, the CB650R is one of three sport standard models in the lineup. (Jeff Allen/)

The 2021 CB650R undeniably earns its spot in Honda’s lineup. Appropriately placed between the sport standard Honda models, this middleweight holds a place as a great all-around machine that strikes a balance of performance and versatility, while serving as an approachable steppingstone to the open-class market.

The 2021 CB650R is an approachable middleweight option for the Honda enthusiast. At $9,199, it may not exactly be a budget option, but is no stranger to Honda’s premium fit and finish.

The 2021 CB650R is an approachable middleweight option for the Honda enthusiast. At $9,199, it may not exactly be a budget option, but is no stranger to Honda’s premium fit and finish. (Jeff Allen/)

Gearbox

Helmet: Shoei RF-SR

Jacket: Alpinestars Newman Overshirt

Pants: Alpinestars Victory Denim

Boots: Alpinestars Faster-3 Rideknit

2021 Honda CB650R Specifications

MSRP: $9,199
Engine: 649cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four; 4 valves/cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 67.0mm x 46.0mm
Compression Ratio: 11.6:1
Transmission/Final Drive: 6-speed/chain
Motorcyclist Measured Horsepower: 81.9 hp @ 10,900 rpm
Motorcyclist Measured Torque: 43.0 lb.-ft. @ 8,000 rpm
Fuel System: PGM-FI w/ 32mm throttle bodies
Clutch: Wet, multiplate assist/slipper clutch
Frame: Steel diamond
Front Suspension: 41mm inverted Showa Separate Function Fork; 4.7 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Showa shock, spring-preload adjustability; 5.0 in. travel
Front Brake: Radial-mount 4-piston calipers, 310mm discs w/ ABS
Rear Brake: 1-piston caliper, 240mm disc w/ ABS
Wheels, Front/Rear: Cast aluminum; 17 x 3.5 in. front, 17 x 5.5 in. rear
Tires, Front/Rear: Dunlop Sportmax D214; 120/70-17 front, 180/55-17 rear
Rake/Trail: 32.0°/4.0 in.
Wheelbase: 57.0 in.
Motorcyclist Measured Seat Height: 32.0 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gal.
Motorcyclist Measured Wet Weight: 445 lb.
Availability: Now
Contact: powersports.honda.com

 

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

Motorcycle Review | Honda ADV 150 versus Yamaha YZF-R15

Honda ADV 150 versus Yamaha YZF-R15 comparo

Motorcycle Test by Wayne Vickers – Images by Rob Mott

Eh? Why are we looking at these two at the same time? Sure they share a 150cc sized stump puller within, but other than that they couldn’t be much more different. The short answer is that we thought it might be interesting. They are two very different approaches to the entry level market after all. So let’s see what we’ve got.

Honda ADV 150 versus Yamaha YZF-R15 head to head

In the red corner, weighing in at 133 kilograms and setting you back around six-grand, we have the new Honda ADV150 ‘adventure scooter’. No, I didn’t know that was a thing either, but apparently it is. And in the blue corner, weighing in at 138 kilograms dripping wet and full of fuel we have Yamaha’s updated YZF-R15. Team blue’s littlest brother to the R1. From another mother.

Let’s start with the ADV scooter. Honda describes it as being ‘Adventure Ready’ but I think the marketing team might have gotten a little carried away (they also describe it as having tough, muscular styling.. just saying). For a scooter – which I tend to associate with quick, convenient shorter trips, it has a rather complicated and confusing key fob system with three buttons and a start-up process that involves a push-and-turn dial on the bike as well as requiring the side stand be up and the brakes on to start it. A simple key would have probably been more convenient… but once you figure it out and get used to it, it’s quick enough.

Wayne found the Honda ADV150 annoying with many needless steps required before you get on the move

Anyway. On the go it’s a nice thing actually. Quite refined, auto clutch take-up is seamless, engine is smooth and quiet, ABS stoppers feel up to the task. It has quite a nice, nimble lightness to it that I think a lot of folks would find appealing. In traffic it’s able to hold its own against most cars from the front of the lights.

Honda ADV150

Out on the highway? Well after only 40 kilometres of boring highway work I was already feeling it in my lower back and hips. I got used to it with some more time aboard, but its worth noting that the seat is quite firm and there’s not a lot of soaking up of serious bumps going on for longer trips. It was fine on another full day of riding that was more dynamic. Stop starts, corners etc. But boring highway work is not really it’s forte.

Highway work is not the natural environment for the ADV150 scooter

So, fine for around town and shorter jaunts, and certainly the slightly bigger than average sized wheels (for a scooter) help navigate rougher urban roads, potholes and tram tracks etc. But I wouldn’t want to spend extended hours touring on one out in the countryside.

Honda ADV150

An eight-litre fuel tank is going to force you to stop fairly regularly anyway I guess. I was averaging around 3.5L per hundred kays overall, but was seeing 4.5 – 5L/100ks on the dash while holding it pegged at 110 down the freeway (tucked in behind the slightly adjustable screen), so don’t expect to be getting any more than 200ks per tank. I’d suggest it’d get better mileage than that on full time urban work. Especially with the auto start enabled via the simple switch on the RHS.

Honda ADV Dash
Honda ADV150 instrumentation

And speaking of dash.. It has a display that shows you the day and month once you figure it out (and it also shows you ambient temp’).. But doesnt show you engine temp. I can’t explain it either. And where I was expecting a tacho is instead replaced with an ‘Inst. Fuel Cons’ readout.

Honda ADV150 cuts a fairly nice pose

Styling wise it seems nicely executed if a little busy, with lots of intricate surface details. That said, they’re all quite nicely finished with good quality materials. Plenty to look at while you’re sipping your latte. I did seem to have to keep wiping the bike down in that colour scheme, the footrest areas in particular just kept showing up dirt.

Fairing pocket with power outlet

Although there’s plenty of useful storage space, note that the underseat storage didn’t fit either of the two full faced helmets I tried which I thought was weird. It was about an inch short of closing. Probably would have if I forced it, but I’m not going to do that to a helmet with venting on it… I’d expect its made for open faced helmets.

Honda ADV150 underseat storage

The centre-stand is easy to use on such a light weight bike for even the most physically challenged amongst us. Super easy to put on and off the stand. It also has a great price tag at a bit over 6k ride away with a 24-month warranty. And for that sort of money you can ignore some quirks in the dash etc. I actually think it’s a pretty solid offering. Plenty to like.

Honda ADV150

Now on to the Yamaha YZF-R15

The ‘R-15’ that Yamaha are dubbing version ‘3.0’ (yes I can’t help but think of the vegemite thing either), is quite a different pot of seafood. It certainly looks the biz. Clearly some resemblances to its bigger brothers for those more sportily inclined amongst us. Controls are all quite simple and traditional. Clutch and brake feel is good, seating position pretty comfortable too (I was more comfortable after the initial 45mins on this than I was on the scooter). It does a decent job of soaking up bumps and it actually steers surprisingly well for a bike that’s sub 5 grand new.

Yamaha YZF-R15

The achilles heel with this one though is the engine. While it’s new variable valve actuation might have seen a 20 per cent increase in power over the previous model with it now churning out 18 horsepower (incidentally that compares to the scooter’s 14 ponies), its character is.. well.. let’s just call it a little agricultural due to mechanical engine noise that’s not especially pleasant in the upper revs.

Yamaha YZF-R15

A vibe sets in as the variable time thing gets all variable to the point that it almost sounds as though it’s pinging and generally not having a good time. Character perhaps? You do sort of get used to it… The younguns might love that little reminder that they have it pegged and are in boy-racer mode. And the bike does look the biz for your social media selfies and the like…

Wayne is not a big fan of the engine in the YZF-R15

Fuelling is fairly abrupt in the transition from off to on and back again, and it’ll have the occasional hesitation here and there as well. It doesn’t really like going up hills at speed very much though. And you’ll see the shift-light come on in top gear at about 135 km/h if you have a long enough straight. And some assistance from a downhill.

Yamaha YZF-R15

On the road it’s a fun enough little thing to punt along though once you start to ignore the engine noise. Everything else works pretty well. The little R15 teaches you to maintain momentum. You can certainly hold some corner speed on a bike that weighs around 130 kilos… It’s actually good fun and a bit of a giggle. Suspension and brakes seem up to it with no obvious weaknesses there.

Yamaha YZF-R15

Single front disc only, but it does the job. Nice dash too. Simple. Easy to read. But again – no engine temp? Is that a thing now? Apparently you can customise the ‘Hi Buddy’ greeting so it says your name on start up too…

Yamaha YZF-R15

Turns out this is the number one selling sports bike on the planet. Sure – mostly in markets where they aren’t competing against bigger sportsbikes, but it’s worth taking that into context. Should it have a better engine in the Aussie/Euro/US market? Yes it probably should. Especially if it wants to have the YZF-R name on the side, but it’s built to a price point and I dare say it’ll sell here too. It looks as though it is doing 100 mph standing still and that certainly adds a lot to the appeal.

Yamaha YZF-R15

Although if Yamaha wanted to really have something for the lower end entry level market I do wonder why they haven’t brought in the MT15 yet – or even instead of. It’d be cheaper again and probably take the expected drops from beginners a lot more robustly without as many fragile plastics on it. But again, I guess it is all about the look.  It’ll be interesting to see how the new R15 sells compared to its slightly bigger R3 brother that sports a much nicer engine. That price though… less than 5 grand. For a new Yamaha road bike with a factory warranty? Albeit only 12 months due to its small capacity compared to the 24 months warranty on a larger Yamaha motorcycle but still, hard to argue against. Amazing value.

Yamaha YZF-R15

Summaries…


Yamaha YZF-R15

Consider the YZF-R15 if..

  • You see yourself getting out on the open road and finding some corners to explore
  • You want to learn to ride with a clutch and gearbox
  • You aren’t going to have anyone on the back
  • You see yourself maybe getting a bigger sportbike one day

Honda ADV 150 and Yamaha YZF-R15 compared

Consider the ADV150 if..

  • You’re all about buzzing around town
  • Twist the throttle and go is your thing
  • You don’t see yourself doing big kilometres on the open road
  • You fancy something with a bit of in-built storage
Honda ADV150

Yamaha YZF-R15 and Honda ADV150 spec’ sheets compared

ADV150 YZF-R15
Engine 149 cc, liquid-cooled, 2-valve, 4-stroke 155 cc single, SOHC, four-valve
Bore x Stroke 57.3 x 57.9 mm 58 x 58.7 mm
Maximum Power 14.34hp @ 8,500rpm. 18 hp at 10,000 rpm
Maximum Torque 13.8Nm @ 6,500rpm. 14.1 Nm at 8500 rpm
Compression Ratio 10.6:1 11.6:1
Starter Electric Electric
Induction EFI EFI
Transmission CVT 6-Speed
Drive Belt Chain
L x W x H 1950 x 763 x 1153 mm 1990 x 725 x 815 mm
Tyres 100/80-14 (F), 130/70-13 (R) 100/80-17 (F), 140/80-17 (R)
Brakes 240 mm disc (F), drum (R) – ABS 282 mm (F), 220 mm (R) – No ABS
Seat height 795 mm 815 mm
Front suspension Showa telescopic forks, 116 mm travel Forks with 130 mm of travel
Rear suspension Showa piggyback twin shocks, 102 mm travel Monoshock, 97 mm of travel
Fuel capacity 8 litres 11 litres
Kerb weight 133 kg 138 kg
Warranty 24 months 12 months
RRP $5790 +ORC $4799 ride away

Source: MCNews.com.au

Ducati Streetfighter V4 S Review

Ducati Streetfighter V4 S Review

Words Adam Child ‘Chad’
Images by Joe Dick and Ducati


The V4 S gets an Ohlins damper in place of the standard models Sachs unit and the suspension gets electronic damping control

Turn the key, and the 5-inch colour TFT dash comes alive. It is then time to select which rider mode is appropriate for your ride – Street, Sport or Race.

Yep that’s naked…

Each one changes a glut of rider aids and power characteristics. I’m a little intimidated so I opt for Street and leave the rider aids alone. Now it’s time to poke the the beast.

Just a bit going on here…

Blip the throttle and there is an instantly familiar Ducati Panigale heartbeat to the Streetfighter. It’s slightly odd if you’re not used to the Panigale soundtrack because it doesn’t sound like a V4, more a pulsing V-twin. It’s Euro-4 compliant yet it sounds strong through the standard exhaust and certainly isn’t crying out for an aftermarket system.

A decent take on the whole modern angular naked bike styling

My first few miles are met with mild confusion as I leave Silverstone, the home of F1 and Ducati HQ in the UK. There is no ‘mad’. In fact, it’s like meeting Ozzy Osbourne and finding out he’s vegetarian and likes knitting.

Anybody would think Ducati was sponsored by Red Bull

Trundling along, whilst admiring the protruding wings on either side of the 16-litre fuel tank, I discover the fuelling is perfect. Clutchless gear changes are smooth, but still no madness. This Italian could be Japanese, so smooth and easy-to-ride. I’d even go so far as to say a relatively inexperienced rider could jump on the V4S and, at low speeds at least, not feel overwhelmed. Once you brush past the snarling teeth, this croc appears not to bite.

Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

Onto the dual-carriageway, and it’s time to poke the beast a little harder. It’s a similar story. The revs start to build, but not frighteningly so; the power is progressive and smooth… Have my balls got bigger overnight, am I braver than I think, or does this Ducati just not feel quick?

Amazing amount of work goes into modern exhausts to meet Euro legislation, look at how much is going on down there

A glance in my mirrors reveals two empty lanes in front and nothing behind me, so I grab 4th gear plus a huge handful of throttle. Wow, now it bites! At 7000 rpm the Streetfighter wants to take off. I short-shift at 10,000 rpm, way before peak torque which is at 11,500 rpm, and another enormous lump of power, possibly more than before, hits with the force of a huge barrelling wave. This is immense. The Streetfighter’s brain limits torque in 1st and 2nd gear, then adds some more in 3rd and 4th, then allows full fat drive in 5th and 6th. Fact is, according to Ducati, with its shorter gearing, the Streetfighter accelerates even harder than the Panigale.

Giddy Up!

The rev counter, I discovered, divides into three distinct zones: between 3000 rpm and 6000 rpm it’s shy and easy to live with; from 6000 rpm to 8000 rpm it wants to party; from 8000 rpm it simply rocks… while biting the heads off bats. Even in Street mode (which gets all the rider aids working overtime) this is an incredibly fast bike, and to test the more aggressive modes I need to get away from civilisation, out into the countryside, because this is going to be wild and quite illegal.

We like wheelies…

Now the V4’s power goes from puppy to wolf the more you twist the throttle. On the road it’s almost too fast, in fact I don’t think I ever actually revved it all the way to redline at any point. On the road I was always changing gear around 10,000 rpm, way short of peak power at 12,750 rpm, because there is so much power on tap. You really need to be on track to make her scream. My only criticism is that the quick-shifter is on the touchy side. A few times I tapped a gear by mistake or tapped two gears instead of one. But as the miles built up, the more we clicked and experienced fewer missed changes.

Adam has raced the TT so likes the whole between the Hedges thing…

The EVO-2 rider aids are incredible. You have traction, slide, and wheelie control, plus engine braking and launch control. Furthermore, there is cornering ABS and that quick-shifter/auto-blipper.

Quick-shifter/auto-blipper

Öhlins Smart EC2.0 controls the semi-active suspension (S model only), which can be tailored by the rider via a set-up menu. Rider aids can be changed on the move, but only deactivated at a standstill. The excellent rider aids don’t inhibit the fun, instead they enhance it by giving you the confidence to push a little harder and start to use those 208 horses. These are some of the best rider aids I’ve ever tested and can be easily tuned to the conditions and how you ride.

You can see in this shot just how much those wings must provide down-force at speed

I was guessing the V4S to be wheelie prone, but it isn’t. Instead, it simply finds grip and catapults you forward with arm-stretching acceleration. Even with the rider aids deactivated, it’s far less wheelie inclined than I was expecting. This is down to several factors: wings, rider aids, limited torque in the lower gears, a longer wheelbase than the Panigale (by 19mm), and a counter-rotating engine.

Desmosedici Stradale in Aussie tune pumps out 208 horsepower

It’s not just down to the iconic wings. Typically, large capacity naked bikes with piles of power and torque are always trying to wheelie. On a naked bike, you’re sat higher up, in the windblast. When you ride fast or accelerate hard, the wind pressure hits the rider, who then pulls on the bars which lift the forks and sits the rear down. All of which means naked bikes are more wheelie prone than fully-faired machines, as the rider acts as a sail. But Ducati has managed to lessen wheelies and increase stability and it can’t be all down to the wings, which don’t start working until speed increases above road limits, in the same way a plane can not take off at a standstill.

Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

This doesn’t mean the Streetfighter is less amusing to ride. In fact, the opposite is true because this stability delivers confidence. A naked bike with this much power shouldn’t be this stable, composed and civilised at speed.

Adam says the Streetfighter is almost unflappable, no doubt the electronic suspenders play their part in that equation

The Brembo Stylema M4.30 calipers bite down on the 330 mm discs with immense power. But again, like the engine power, it’s not an overpowering experience, just strong. You can’t ‘feel’ the corning ABS working, not on the road, and the stoppers are backed up by class-leading engine braking control, which allows you to leave braking devilishly late.

Do a skid Mister.

Personally, I love the fact you can opt for the front only ABS, which allows you to have some fun getting sideways into corners. Again, the Öhlins semi-active suspension has to take some credit for the superb braking performance, as the front forks don’t dive like a scared ostrich. They hold their composure and allow you to make the most out of the expensive stoppers.

Ducati Streetfighter V S
Ohlins TTX36 fully adj.,  electronic damping

The semi-active Ohlins Smart EC2.0 suspension is equally reassured in the bends. It copes with undulations and bumps with poise and refinement. I deliberately hit notorious bumpy, horrible sections at TT speeds and the Ducati stayed composed and unflustered, it even felt like the steering damper could be thrown in the trash. Even really pushing on the handling is solid and stable, all those clever electronics, the wings, the engine’s character, that longer wheelbase and steering geometry (rake and trail are the same as Panigale) colluding to deliver a superb ride.

Brembo Stylema and 43mm Ohlins NIX30 fully-adj. forks, electronic damping.

The seat is 10 mm higher than the Panigale’s, with increased foam for comfort, and the pegs are lower. The wide bars and protruding wings give the feeling of a large bike, and with that longer wheelbase I was expecting the steering to be a little slower, but it’s more than happy to lay on its side like an obedient dog. Once over, the grip and feel are impressive.

Seat height: 845 mm

Unfortunately, we stayed away from the track on this test and will have to give the Streetfighter a thorough workout at a circuit in the coming weeks, perhaps with race rubber, to see how it performs on the very limit (test coming in Italy). But in standard form on standard Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa rubber, there are no negatives.

Tyres:  Front 120/70×17, rear 200/60×17.

You’re correct, I’m enjoying the new Ducati Streetfighter and to be honest I wasn’t a huge fan of the old bike (2009), because I never warmed to the looks. But now the new Streetfighter is neat and tidy, exhaust and water-cooling routes hidden, the finish neat. I love the extra details and touches like the ‘Joker’ style face, the stunning single-sided swing-arm, and the cut-out sections in the rear seat. It looks like a bike designed from the ground up, not just a Panigale with its clothes removed.

Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

But for 30-grand I was expecting a little more bling. Where, after all, is the carbon fibre, the keyless ignition and other trinkets? Oh sorry, did I not mention the price. Yes, I know it’s an exotic Ducati but $33,900 for the S and $29,500 for the standard model is serious money, especially as the competition from KTM and Aprilia are 10 to 20 per cent cheaper.

Ditching those mufflers would help the look from this angle

While I’m grumbling about price, I have to mention the fuel consumption, which approahces eight litres per 100 km if pushed on the road. The fuel light regularly comes on prematurely often before 150 kilometres, while the 16-litre fuel tank can be drained in 200 kilometres if you are having some fun.

Range if having a bit of fun can come in under 200 kilometres

But, as a good friend (who’s not as tight as me) pointed out, it’s a bargain compared to the Panigale V4, and, anyway, who buys an exotic Ducati with over 200 hp and worries about fuel range. And let’s face it, the Streetfighter is a better road bike with friendlier ergonomics and ease-of-use that its fully clothed sibling. Primarily riding on the road, with the very occasional track day, I’d opt for the naked Streetfighter every time.

Adam with the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

Verdict

If you’re mainly riding on the road, it questions why would you want a sports bike, as the Streetifighter is so good. Ducati has made 208 hp functional through a clever combination of chassis, power delivery, electronics, and aerodynamic wings.

Ducati Streetfighter V S
Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

You can, ride (or pose) around town and nip over to your mate’s for a beer, or alternatively tear up some bends, or embarrass some sportsbikes on the track. It really is as quick as your arm and neck muscles will allow.

The rider aids don’t reduce the fun or character, and it looks spectacular from every angle.

Ducati Streetfighter V S
Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

Yes, the Streetfighter is expensive and drinks like a drunk at happy hour, but on paper is the most powerful naked bike on the market and, on the road, arguably is the best hyper-naked at the moment.

Only a big group test will tell us for sure. Don’t worry, it’s a tough job but we’re on it and that test will be with us in coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Standard or S model?

Both models use the same engine layout, brakes and chassis. Peak power of 208 hp is identical on both models, however, the pricier S model is a fraction lighter, 178kg (dry) compared to 180kg (dry) for the standard model. This is mainly down to the lightweight wheels on the S model, which are Marchesini 3-spoke forged aluminium rather than 5-spoke light aluminium alloy. The Marchesini wheels are 14% lighter with 16% less inertia.

Ducati Streetfighter V S
Ducati Streetfighter V4 S Marchesini wheels are 14% lighter with 16% less inertia.

The suspension is also a major difference. The S model as tested arrives with Öhlins NIX30 43 mm forks, the rear TTX36, both semi-active. The top yoke steering damper is also an Öhlins unit. The standard model comes with a conventional, manually fully adjustable suspension, 43 mm BPF Showa upfront, and Sachs on the rear. The S also gets an Ohlins steering damper over a Sachs unit on the base model.

Ducati Streetfighter V
Ducati Streetfighter V4 has 43 mm BPF Showa upfront, and Sachs on the rear while the S model gets fancier electronic Ohlins at both ends

Ducati Streetfighter V4 S Specifications

  • Engine: 1103 cc Desmosedici Stradale V4
  • Bore x Stroke – 81 x 53.5 mm
  • Compression Ratio – 14.0:1
  • Induction – Twin injectors per cylinder, elliptical throttle bodies
  • Power: 208 hp (153KW) @ 12,750 rpm
  • Torque: 123 Nm at 11,500 rpm
  • Frame: Aluminium alloy ‘Front Frame’
  • Wheelbase: 1488 mm
  • Rake / Trail – 24.5-degrees / 100 mm
  • Brakes: Front 2 x 320 mm discs, radial Brembo Stylema 4-piston
  • Brakes: Rear 245 mm disc, two-piston caliper
  • Transmission: 6 gears & chain final drive
  • Front Suspension: 43 mm Ohlins NIX30 fully-adj. forks, EC2.0 electronic damping. 120 mm travel
  • Rear suspension: Single Ohlins TTX36 fully adj.,  electronic damping. 130 mm travel
  • Tyres:  Front 120/70-17, rear 200/60-17.
  • Seat height: 845 mm
  • L x W x H – 2127 x 833 x 1138 mm
  • Fuel capacity: 16 Litres
  • Weight: 199 kg
  • Warranty:  Two years
  • Price: $29,500 ride away or $33,900 ride away for the S model as tested here
Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

Source: MCNews.com.au

2020 Triumph Rocket 3 R And 3 GT Review First Ride

As we turned onto the highway, that power I sought showed itself in spades. A tidal wave of torque, to the tune of 163 pound-feet (claimed) greets the rider from 2,000 rpm to 5,000. And backed with 165 hp, the Rocket’s engine keeps pulling all the way to 6,000 rpm before plateauing at its 500-rpm-higher redline (7,000 rpm). The deep purr of the engine grew with the revs, winding up to a throaty growl but never a roar. I wanted an exhaust note to match the size and power of the engine. Muted by the muffler, the Rocket never really opened up and pulled at my heartstrings like I hoped it would—an aftermarket pipe would go a long way here.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

2020 Super73 R-Series Electric Bike Review

The Super73 R-Series starts with a $3,000 starting price and escalates to $3,500 for the premium RX model, which adds air assist to the inverted coil spring fork, a rear piggyback reservoir to the rear monoshock, full LED lighting, a horn, fenders, premium paint, and four-piston brakes. Special pricing through February 28, 2020, shaves $500 off those MSRPs.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Review First Ride

We review KTM’s more polished and functional 1290 Super Duke R from the official press introduction in Portugal.We review KTM’s more polished and functional 1290 Super Duke R from the official press introduction in Portugal.KTM AG

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Chassis

Since its introduction six years ago, the Super Duke R’s hyperactive handling was one of its weakest links. With a springy chassis that felt more akin to a V-twin-powered supermoto, we’re pleased to report the 2020 Super Duke R is more road-focused, and in line with the top competitors in this red-hot class.

This was especially evident around the Portimão Circuit—a hilly 2.9-mile stop-and-go-style World Superbike circuit on the southern tip of Portugal. Here the Super Duke demonstrated its newfound poise with a chassis that has enhanced balance and sportbike-like pitch control.

The redesigned rear suspension delivers a significant handling improvement for the 1290 Super Duke R. The chassis is less hyper and more planted at an elevated track pace.The redesigned rear suspension delivers a significant handling improvement for the 1290 Super Duke R. The chassis is less hyper and more planted at an elevated track pace.KTM AG

Much of the credit goes to the now linkage-equipped rear suspension and swingarm. This boosts grip off corners, maximizing the enhanced adhesion coefficient of the OE-fitted Bridgestone Battlax S22 rubber. Yet, even with the extra firmness from the suspension and tire, the Super Duke continues to deliver favorable bump absorption characteristics on public roads. As an optional accessory, the quickshifter’s auto-blip function maintains stability when downshifting at lean, plus mitigates clutch use.

KTM partnered with Bridgestone for development of the 1290 Super Duke R’s tires. It modified the construction of the rear Battlax S22 for a hint more carcass flex. The tires complement the handling manner of the Super Duke with them offering a high level of grip.KTM partnered with Bridgestone for development of the 1290 Super Duke R’s tires. It modified the construction of the rear Battlax S22 for a hint more carcass flex. The tires complement the handling manner of the Super Duke with them offering a high level of grip.KTM AG

A handy hand-adjustable and measurement-engraved preload knob allows for easy ride height changes based on preference or payload. We preferred the +15 setting as it sharpened steering without compromising grip off turns. The shock also affords compression and rebound damping adjustment, however unlike the front suspension’s handy color-coded adjustment knobs, adjustment requires a flathead screwdriver.

Another benefit is the ability to modify spring preload inside the fork. Red sliders visualize fork travel and allow you to tweak the setup accordingly, helping to ensure that you’re operating in the front suspension’s sweet spot.

The lower and more forward position of the handlebar places more weight on the Battlax front tire and affords a more sportbike-like (but still forgiving) riding position. The bend also helps position the rider’s elbows up affording a more commanding stance. In typical KTM fashion, the handlebar can be shifted and the rider footrests can shift up or down via a neat and easy-to-adjust concentric sliding hub.

The rider’s seat is more plush than we remember with plenty of room to move about the cockpit for this 6-foot rider.

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Engine Power And Electronics

The 2020 1290 Super Duke R with its clothes off. Note the secondary showerhead-style fuel injectors, redesigned frame and subframe, and larger-diameter header pipes. These updates net a significantly improved riding dynamic.The 2020 1290 Super Duke R with its clothes off. Note the secondary showerhead-style fuel injectors, redesigned frame and subframe, and larger-diameter header pipes. These updates net a significantly improved riding dynamic.KTM AG

KTM has been manufacturing its LC8 V-twin platform for years, and despite its age, engineers continue to breathe new life into this 1,301cc twin. Still a torque monster (to the tune of more than 60 pound-feet from as low as 2,500 revs, based on our last 2018 MY dyno test), the 75-degree twin has improved high-rpm performance—something it has historically lacked. Credit the ram-air intake which forces cool air into the airbox. It’s complemented by a set of showerhead fuel injectors. Together this gives Super Duke riders the best of both worlds.

Although dated in terms of its architecture, KTM continues to evolve its 1,301cc V-twin. With the redesigned intake and exhaust the engine gains a fair degree of top-end power.Although dated in terms of its architecture, KTM continues to evolve its 1,301cc V-twin. With the redesigned intake and exhaust the engine gains a fair degree of top-end power.KTM AG

Short-shift and run a gear high, or pin the throttle in the lower cogs until redline. The orange bike is well-suited to either riding style. Plus the optional electronic quickshifter keeps the engine spinning in the meat of its wider powerband. The last time we dyno tested the 2018 Super Duke R, it belted out 154.7 hp. We estimate the updated mill is good for another 3–4 ponies at the top. Engine vibration is readily apparent through the controls, but it’s counteracted by the engine’s playful sound and punchy power delivery.

The 2020 1290 Super Duke R wears a bolder and brighter color TFT display that’s easier to read than before. The switch gear has been improved with greater tactile function, and the menu navigation is easy to understand.The 2020 1290 Super Duke R wears a bolder and brighter color TFT display that’s easier to read than before. The switch gear has been improved with greater tactile function, and the menu navigation is easy to understand.KTM AG

Throttle response in any of the three power maps (Rain, Street, Sport) is spot-on (a testament to KTM’s ride-by-wire setup) and the bolder and brighter color TFT display make it easy to tweak electronic settings. However, there is a fair degree of engine vibration. In addition to the three power maps/modes, the Super Duke offers Track and Performance global modes. Here you can tweak countermeasures (traction and wheelie control) as well as Motor Slip Regulation (i.e., engine-brake control) and ABS.

KTM insists the rider’s hands should always be on the controls, so in lieu of a touchscreen, it employs large and easy-to-press switch gear on the handlebar. Tactile function is vastly improved and on a level commensurate with KTM’s Bavarian-based nemesis. Menu navigation is equally slick. Another plus is the ability to adjust traction control while riding via a large paddle-style button. Street riders will also appreciate standard cruise control.

Our only gripe in the electronics department is that the default riding mode restarts every time the engine kill switch is pressed. This means you have to swipe through the menu to ensure that the settings are intact when it’s time to lift the kickstand.

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R, Yay Or Nay

Not only is the 1290 Super Duke R more adept on track, the handling refinements pay dividends on the road with it offering superior levels of comfort than its predecessor.Not only is the 1290 Super Duke R more adept on track, the handling refinements pay dividends on the road with it offering superior levels of comfort than its predecessor.KTM AG

Still as rowdy as ever, the 2020 Super Duke R is also more polished in every way. From its refined handling poise—highlighted by vastly more controlled suspension action—to its elevated fit and finish, the KTM is a more comfortable and entertaining motorcycle to burn rubber with. Factor in its punchier top-end engine character and well-developed electronics package and Orange riders have a truly versatile sport-oriented motorcycle.

Able to transform from mild to wild, the 2020 Super Duke R is proof of KTM’s commitment to the sport naked bike class. Riders seeking a hardcore naked bike that is as friendly to operate as it is exhilarating to ride should take a spin on the 2020 Super Duke.

Gear Box

Those seeking a more forgiving sportbike-like riding experience, albeit without wind protection, will appreciate the 1290 Super Duke R’s overall package.Those seeking a more forgiving sportbike-like riding experience, albeit without wind protection, will appreciate the 1290 Super Duke R’s overall package.KTM AG

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Price And Specifications

PRICE $18,699
ENGINE 1,301cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled V-twin; 8-valve
BORE x STROKE 108.0 x 71.0mm
COMPRESSION RATIO 13.6:1
FUEL DELIVERY Dual-stage Keihin fuel injection w/ 56mm throttle bodies
CLUTCH Wet multiplate, PASC slipper; cable actuation
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/chain
FRAME Chromoly steel tubular trellis
FRONT SUSPENSION 48mm inverted WP Apex fork, fully adjustable; 4.9-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION WP Apex shock, fully adjustable; 5.5-in. travel
FRONT BRAKES Brembo Stylema 4-piston calipers, 320mm discs w/ switchable ABS
REAR BRAKE Brembo 2-piston caliper, 240mm disc w/ switchable ABS
WHEELS, FRONT/REAR Die-cast aluminum; 17 x 3.5-in. / 17 x 6.0-in.
TIRES, FRONT/REAR Bridgestone Battlax S22; 120/70-17 / 200/55-17
RAKE/TRAIL 25.2°/4.2 in.
WHEELBASE 58.9 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 32.8 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 4.2 gal.
CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT 437 lb.
WARRANTY 2-year, unlimited miles
AVAILABLE TBD
CONTACT ktm.com
Leaner, meaner, and more apt to play. KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R is a gigantic step forward as compared to its last major update in 2017.Leaner, meaner, and more apt to play. KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R is a gigantic step forward as compared to its last major update in 2017.KTM AG
The 2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R wears new body panels and wheels. It offers an edgy but simple aesthetic that is unique in its class.The 2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R wears new body panels and wheels. It offers an edgy but simple aesthetic that is unique in its class.KTM AG
The 1290 Super Duke R’s ergonomics package is more sport-focused. Yet with adjustable handlebar and footpegs it delivers a pleasing level of comfort on the road too.The 1290 Super Duke R’s ergonomics package is more sport-focused. Yet with adjustable handlebar and footpegs it delivers a pleasing level of comfort on the road too.KTM AG
KTM strips down the sportbike riding experience with its 1290 Super Duke R, delivering a motorcycle that is functional, fast, and fun for riders seeking one sport-oriented bike that can do it all.KTM strips down the sportbike riding experience with its 1290 Super Duke R, delivering a motorcycle that is functional, fast, and fun for riders seeking one sport-oriented bike that can do it all.KTM AG
Motorcycle riders looking to make a statement will appreciate the hard-edged look but softer (in a good way) performance of the 1290 Super Duke R.Motorcycle riders looking to make a statement will appreciate the hard-edged look but softer (in a good way) performance of the 1290 Super Duke R.KTM AG

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

2020 Suzuki Katana Review MC Commute

Four decades ago, Suzuki turned the motorcycle world on its head with the 1982 Katana streetbike. Featuring a smart and highly cutting-edge German-inspired design, this Japanese-built motorcycle developed a cultlike following. It also set the tempo for Suzuki sportbikes to this day. Now it’s looking to remake magic with the reintroduction of its 2020 Suzuki Katana ($13,499).

This time around Suzuki tasked Italian designer Rodolfo Frascoli to redefine the lines of Hans Muth’s original rendering. The 2020 Katana wears more curved and three-dimensional surfaces yet retains the Katana’s signature nose and neatly carved fuel tank (3.2-gallon capacity) area. Full LED lighting and a pleasing swingarm-mounted hugger-style license plate bracket make for a clean overall look.

Suzuki brings back a blast from its past with the 2020 Katana, a remake of the legendary 1982 Suzuki Katana.Suzuki brings back a blast from its past with the 2020 Katana, a remake of the legendary 1982 Suzuki Katana.Suzuki Motor of America

Swing a leg over the new Katana and you’ll be greeted by a friendly upright cockpit design that is neither too sport nor too relaxed. The monochrome LCD instrument panel is a tad small, but replete with information, and features the original Katana’s signature J-hook-style swept tachometer. The position of the handlebar puts the rider in a commanding, but not overly so stance. The seat junction is slim so it will be easy for most riders to stand flat-footed at a standstill. We also appreciate the plushness of the rider and passenger seats.

Considering its dated underpinnings, the Katana takes a few more miles compared to more contemporary designs to break in. Once worn in, the powertrain offers typical Suzuki responsiveness. This is defined by responsive clutch action and excellent throttle response, despite not incorporating ride-by-wire throttle setup, like its 2017–2020 Suzuki GSX-R1000/R sportbike.

The 2020 Katana tastefully pays homage to Hans Muth’s original rendering, however it incorporates more three-dimensional surfaces.The 2020 Katana tastefully pays homage to Hans Muth’s original rendering, however it incorporates more three-dimensional surfaces.Suzuki Motor of America

Hard on the throttle and this 999cc K5-spec GSX-R1000 engine (2005–2008) delivers a pleasing GSX-R-like induction growl with plenty of vehicle-passing torque. Engine vibration is minimal and it’s amazing how well this engine performs overall, despite being 15 years old—a testament to Suzuki’s original engineering effort.

Horsepower-wise the engine is good for nearly 140 ponies at the 190-series Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tire. There’s no quickshifter, so gear exchanges are made the old-fashioned way, however, the gearbox has a solid and precise feel, once broken in. The Katana comes outfitted with Suzuki’s older-style (non-IMU powered) three-way-adjustable traction control which helps prevent rear wheel instability over slick surfaces.

The 2020 Suzuki Katana is available in two colorways: Metallic Mystic Silver or Solid Black (pictured).The 2020 Suzuki Katana is available in two colorways: Metallic Mystic Silver or Solid Black (pictured).Suzuki Motor of America

The KYB suspension components provide a nice balance between sporty road holding in the twisties and everyday comfort over bumpy surfaces. The Katana also feels more lithe in motion than its 474-pound curb weight implies. Triple hydraulic disc brakes keep speed in check and fixed always-on ABS ensures tire lockup during brake application a thing of the past. Our only gripe is that you can’t manually disable ABS, say if you want to lay skids or ride a nose wheelie.

Limited fuel capacity and its relatively dim LED headlamp compromise everyday usability on the road, however, there are few retro-style motorcycles that look as authentic as this Katana. While we appreciate its trendy-again look and polished overall character, its $13,499 MSRP is hefty considering its older underpinnings. But if you want a slice of motorcycle history, without any oil stains on the garage floor, the 2020 Katana fits the bill.

Want a piece of motorcycling history, without the oil stains on the garage floor? Suzuki’s 2020 Katana will let you take a ride down memory lane…Want a piece of motorcycling history, without the oil stains on the garage floor? Suzuki’s 2020 Katana will let you take a ride down memory lane…Suzuki Motor of America

Gear Box

2020 Suzuki Katana Price And Technical Specifications

PRICE $13,499
ENGINE 999cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four; 16-valve
BORE x STROKE 73.4 x 59.0mm
COMPRESSION RATIO 12.2:1
FUEL DELIVERY Fuel injection w/ SDTV
CLUTCH Wet multiplate slipper clutch; cable actuation
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/chain
FRAME Twin-spar aluminum
FRONT SUSPENSION 43mm inverted KYB fork adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 4.7-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION KYB shock adjustable for spring preload, rebound damping; N/A travel
FRONT BRAKES Dual opposed 4-piston radial-mount Brembo calipers, 310mm discs w/ ABS
REAR BRAKE 1-piston caliper, 250mm disc w/ ABS
WHEELS Die-cast aluminum; 17 x 3.5-in. front; 17 x 6.0-in. rear
TIRES TBD; 120/70-17 front, 190/50-17 rear
RAKE/TRAIL 25.0°/3.9 in.
WHEELBASE 57.6 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 32.5 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 3.2 gal.
CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT 474 lb.
WARRANTY 1-year, unlimited mileage
AVAILABLE February 2020

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

2020 Honda CRF450L Review

Along the familiar curves of Angeles Crest Highway, the CRF manages competence, but not necessarily breakneck speeds, extreme lean angles, or neck-bending acceleration. This is, after all, a dirt-focused motorcycle that happens to be street legal, not the other way around. But veering off the beaten path and exploring a fire trail opens up a whole new world, especially in the vastness of some 700,000 acres of wilderness. Suddenly the suspension, which seemed a bit soft on the road, is plush enough to soak up giant ruts and cracks in the earth. The engine, which felt somewhat anemic on pavement, now shreds the trail and shoots you forward as fast as you feel comfortable going—and sometimes, even faster. It’s dramatic, this shift from tarmac to trail, and exactly the kind of escape that shows you the transformative power motorcycling can hold.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

2020 Ducati Monster 1200 S Review MC Commute

Ducati’s Monster motorcycle jump-started the naked bike segment (and the Italian company’s balance sheet) when introduced in 1993. Fast-forward 27 years and the 2020 Monster 1200 S ($17,695) is the tip of the spear in Ducati’s sport naked bike lineup. Last updated in 2017, today’s Monster is slimmer and more in line with the original Miguel Galluzzi-drafted design, pairing clean, muscular lines with modern Italian tech.

For 2020 Ducati's Monster 1200 S wears special gloss black on matte black livery.For 2020 Ducati’s Monster 1200 S wears special gloss black on matte black livery.Ducati Motor Holding

The Monster 1200 is powered by Ducati’s legendary 1,198cc Testastretta 11 degree DS L-twin. Born from superbike competition, this liquid-cooled eight-valve torque monster has been steadily refined over the last decade. Dual-spark ignition and valve overlap techniques boost torque delivery while elevating fuel efficiency and overall engine smoothness.

Full of plastic and peculiar-looking plumbing, the Monster 1200 appears cluttered when viewed from the left side.Full of plastic and peculiar-looking plumbing, the Monster 1200 appears cluttered when viewed from the left side.Ducati Motor Holding

Maintenance intervals have been stretched too, with suggested oil service every 8,000 miles (following the 600-mile break-in service). Recommended valve adjustment is listed at 19,000 miles.

Conversely, the right side of the motorcycle is more tidy. We appreciate the Monster 1200 R-sourced tail and exhaust.Conversely, the right side of the motorcycle is more tidy. We appreciate the Monster 1200 R-sourced tail and exhaust.Ducati Motor Holding

How Does The Monster 1200 S Perform On A Commute?

The Monster 1200 S get 10 mm-larger-diameter brake disks (versus the standard Monster 1200) pinched by heavy-duty M50 calipers from Brembo. Cornering ABS functionally helps mitigate skids during braking, even at lean.The Monster 1200 S get 10 mm-larger-diameter brake disks (versus the standard Monster 1200) pinched by heavy-duty M50 calipers from Brembo. Cornering ABS functionally helps mitigate skids during braking, even at lean.Ducati Motor Holding

Ducati’s contemporary electronics suite allows the rider to tune the powerband from mild to wild. Of the three combined engine/throttle maps, we prefered the “high” power setting, though throttle response remains overly sensitive—especially during more dedicated throttle application (i.e., wheelies). Adjustable wheelie and traction control help less experienced riders remain in control, however we preferred riding with these countermeasures disabled.

The Monster 1200 S get 10 mm-larger-diameter brake disks (versus the standard Monster 1200) pinched by heavy-duty M50 calipers from Brembo. Cornering ABS functionally helps mitigate skids during braking, even at lean.The Monster 1200 S get 10 mm-larger-diameter brake disks (versus the standard Monster 1200) pinched by heavy-duty M50 calipers from Brembo. Cornering ABS functionally helps mitigate skids during braking, even at lean.Ducati Motor Holding

Although the exhaust note sounds tinny at idle, with speed it delivers a rhythmic thump—that makes riding motorcycles pleasurable. Ample torque, in excess of 60 pound-feet above 2,700 revs equate to a fun sporting character that is classic Ducati. If you enjoy riding high on waves of Pirelli tire smearing torque, then this powerband will suit you well.

Taller folks will appreciate the added room between the handlebar and the seat.Taller folks will appreciate the added room between the handlebar and the seat.Ducati Motor Holding

Yet, this twin is just as ready to play at higher rpm belting out just over 129 hp at 9,250 rpm. A color TFT display keeps tabs on the engine’s vitals and is loaded with trip information. However, it could be larger in size. The handlebar-mounted switch gear and menu system could be slicker and we wonder why Ducati doesn’t opt for a touchscreen like some of its competitors?

The Monster 1200 S adds Y-spoke alloy wheels versus the standard model's 10-spoke rims.The Monster 1200 S adds Y-spoke alloy wheels versus the standard model’s 10-spoke rims.Ducati Motor Holding

Handling-wise, the S model’s premium Öhlins suspension strikes optimum balance between sport road holding and around-town comfort on rough stretches of pavement—a pleasant surprise based on past experiences with older Monster 1200 iterations. Both suspension components offer full suspension adjustment and we value the twist-knob-style compression and rebound adjusters on the gold shock body.

Monster fans will appreciate the return of the ski-buckle-style latch at the forward portion of the 4.4-gallon fuel tank.Monster fans will appreciate the return of the ski-buckle-style latch at the forward portion of the 4.4-gallon fuel tank.Ducati Motor Holding

More nimble than we remember, the 2020 version is more apt to play yet retains steadfast stability. The cockpit, below the waist, remains tight for taller than average riders, however the seat height can be raised or lowered, in nearly an inch increment. Conversely the space between the seat and handlebar is more spread out—a boon for taller riders. Bold LED lighting helps riders stand out and the headlamp illuminates the road superbly during night rides.

The 2020 Monster 1200 S borrows the outgoing Monster 1200 R's svelte tailsection.The 2020 Monster 1200 S borrows the outgoing Monster 1200 R’s svelte tailsection.Ducati Motor Holding

The contrast between gloss and matte black finishes adds a degree of class to the 1200, not to mention a visual slimming effect. The sleeker 1200 R-sourced tail and Y-spoke alloy wheels are other nice styling touches. Keen eyes will note the signature Monster ski buckle allowing the 4.4-gallon fuel tank to be lifted for service needs.

2020 Ducati Monster 1200 S Commute Review Verdict

Leaner and certainly meaner, the 2020 Monster 1200 S is more adept at putting smiles on naked bike riders’ faces than it has been since fully moving to a water-cooled platform. Yes, it’s fast, yes it’s fun, but the hefty MSRP makes it less palatable when measured against the excitement it delivers behind the handlebar.

Gear Box

2020 Ducati Monster 1200 S Price And Technical Specifications

PRICE $17,595
ENGINE 1,198cc liquid-cooled desmodromic L-twin; 8-valve
BORE x STROKE 106.0 x 67.9mm
COMPRESSION RATIO 13.0:1
FUEL DELIVERY Fuel injection, 56mm oval throttle bodies
CLUTCH Wet multiplate slipper clutch; hydraulic actuation
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/chain
FRAME Steel-trellis
FRONT SUSPENSION 48mm Öhlins inverted fork, three-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 5.1-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Öhlins gas-charged shock, three-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 5.9-in. travel
FRONT BRAKES Radial-mount Brembo Monoblock 4-piston calipers, 330mm discs w/ Bosch cornering ABS
REAR BRAKE 220mm disc w/ single-piston caliper
WHEELS, FRONT/REAR Die-cast aluminum; 17 x 3.5-in. 17 / 6.0-in.
TIRES, FRONT/REAR Pirelli Diablo Rosso III; 120/70-17 / 190/55-17
RAKE/TRAIL 23.3°/3.4 in.
WHEELBASE 58.5 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 31.3–32.3 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 4.4 gal.
CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT 465 lb.
WARRANTY 2-year, unlimited miles
AVAILABLE January 2020

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

2020 Indian Motorcycle Challenger Dark Horse Review MC Commute

In terms of raw performance, this Indian delivers. Its engine is fast, fun, and powerful, and the well-sorted chassis is equally apt to play. However, considering its rich history, the Challenger is missing the type of fit and finish we expect, especially considering its price tag. Still, if outright performance is the end game, for a bagger-style bike the Challenger gets it done.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com