Tag Archives: Adventure & Dual-Sport Motorcycle Reviews

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special | First Ride Review

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
Whether picking your way along a technical off-road trail or wearing down your chicken strips on a twisty paved road, the Pan America 1250 is well-balanced and highly capable. (Photos by Kevin Wing & Brian J. Nelson)

When you step up to the plate, when you’re facing fierce competitors and all eyes are on you, sometimes you have to swing for the fences. That’s what Harley-Davidson — a 118-year-old American motorcycle manufacturer known primarily for cruisers and baggers — has done with its new Pan America 1250 and Pan America 1250 Special adventure tourers.

Harley is a new player in the adventure touring segment, which has grown in breadth and depth over the past several decades. BMW recently introduced a 40th anniversary edition of its highly popular — and very capable — R 1250 GS. And there are big-league adventure bikes made by Ducati, Honda, KTM, Moto Guzzi, Suzuki, Triumph, and Yamaha, many of which are best-selling models with years of development and evolution under their belts.

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
Styling has tie-ins to the Fat Bob and Road Glide; side-laced wheels are optional.

During more than a decade of largely stagnant motorcycle sales since the Great Recession, large-displacement adventure and dual-sport models have been a rare source of growth. Harley wants a cut of that action. As it demonstrated with the release of the LiveWire electric motorcycle, Harley wants to expand its customer base. Two ways it can do that are to sell new models to its existing customers, and sell new models to new customers. Some existing customers own a variety of motorcycles, like Rider contributor Bruce Gillies, who owns a Road Glide Ultra, a Triumph Tiger 800XC and a KTM 690 Enduro R. Bruce is retired from the U.S. Navy and buys American-made products whenever he can. He’s also a highly skilled rider who demands a lot from his motorcycles. He’d consider buying a Pan America, but only if it meets his high expectations.

Rest assured, Bruce. The Motor Company knocked this one out of the park.

[Editor’s Note: After this story was published, Bruce traded in his Triumph for a Pan America 1250 Special with ARH, and he loves it.]

Harley designed and built an exciting, capable and innovative adventure bike in its first attempt. Given the high profile of the Pan America and the eagerness of naysayers to pounce on any weakness, Harley knew it couldn’t release an odd-duck motorcycle. It learned that lesson with the Buell Ulysses. Belt drive is out, chain drive is in, not only because a chain is light, durable in off-road situations and can be repaired in the field, but also because that’s what many adventure riders demand. A V-twin engine stays true to the brand, but it has to be liquid-cooled and offer the power and sophistication necessary to compete in this segment. The new Revolution Max 1250 V-twin makes a claimed 150 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque, and ride modes change output and throttle response at the touch of a button.

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
Commanding cockpit has an adjustable windscreen and hand guards. Touchscreen display is bright and easy to use.

Harley also knew it needed a hook — a killer app, if you will. And that’s Adaptive Ride Height (ARH), a $1,000 factory-installed option on the Pan America 1250 Special that automatically lowers ride height, and therefore the pilot’s seat, by 1 to 2 inches as the bike comes to a stop. The Special’s semi-active suspension automatically adjusts preload to 30% sag regardless of load, which is what accounts for the range of height adjustment. The system works seamlessly and virtually undetectably, and makes a huge difference in effective seat height. ARH is a real game-changer because seat height is one of the biggest obstacles for some riders to overcome when considering an adventure bike. Furthermore, it brings seat height within reach of more riders without compromising suspension travel or cornering clearance. (Click here to read our technical deep dive into the Pan America 1250’s Revolution Max engine and ARH.)

After years of development and benchmarking, not to mention teasing at shows and speculation by the media, the first public test of the Pan America was at its press launch. I have to hand it to the folks who planned the event — this was no bunny slope test ride. Hosted at RawHyde Adventures’ Zakar training facility a couple hours north of Los Angeles, we spent two full days flogging Pan America 1250 Specials on- and off-road in the Sierra Nevada mountains and Mojave Desert. We rode nearly 400 miles on highways, twisting mountain roads and off-road trails that included gravel, sand, rocks, tricky climbs and descents — even a few jumps.

2021 Harley-Davidson 
Pan America 1250 Special review
Top-shelf semi-active Showa suspension made for a plush landing. Damping rates can be set to Sport, Balanced, Comfort, Off-Road Soft and Off-Road Firm.

Greg’s Gear
Helmet: Fly Racing Odyssey Adventure Modular
Jacket: Fly Racing Terra Trek
Gloves: Fly Racing Coolpro Force
Pants: Fly Racing Terra Trek
Boots: Fly Racing FR5

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. After tip-toeing down the sand-and-gravel access road from Zakar to the pavement and falling into formation on Route 58 with the dozen riders in our group, I began taking mental notes. As with many full-sized adventure bikes, the Pan America was comfortable and accommodating, with plenty of legroom, an upright seating position and a relaxed reach to a wide handlebar. Before the ride began, Harley’s tech staff helped us adjust the dual-height stock seat (33.4/34.4 inches), install either the accessory low or high seat (which reduce or increase the dual heights by 1 inch, respectively) or install accessory 2-inch handlebar risers.

The whole business of seat heights becomes a little fuzzy because we were on Pan America 1250 Specials with ARH installed. At a stop, the unladen height of the stock seat in the low position is 32.7 inches rather than 33.4 inches without ARH. In its specs Harley also provides laden seat height with a 180-pound rider, which is 31.1 inches on the Special without ARH and 30.4 inches with ARH. Install the $249.95 Reach Solo Seat on an ARH-equipped Special and laden seat height can be as low as 29.4 inches. In other words, Harley went to great lengths to make sure seat height is not a barrier to owning a Pan America, though getting exactly what you want may require an investment.

2021 Harley-Davidson 
Pan America 1250 Special review
Thanks to its powerful Revolution Max 1250 V-twin and excellent chassis, the Pan America is one of the sportiest motorcycles ever to come out of Milwaukee.

After humming along the freeway for a half hour with the cruise control on and the on-the-fly adjustable windscreen parting the air smoothly, we turned onto Caliente-Bodfish Road, one of the gnarliest paved roads in the Sierra foothills, and began to wick it up. The Pan America offers eight ride modes — Sport, Road, Rain, Off-Road, Off-Road Plus and three custom modes — which adjust power output, throttle response, engine braking, traction control, ABS and suspension damping. The Revolution Max 1250 is ripper, with a sportbike-like sound, feel and responsiveness, and, thanks to variable valve timing, it delivers generous low-end torque as well as a screaming top end.

As has become increasingly common, rather than bolting the engine to the frame, the engine serves as the main structural element of the chassis. Attached directly to the engine are a front frame that incorporates the steering head, a forged aluminum mid frame that’s the attachment point for the cast aluminum swingarm and a tubular-steel trellis subframe. Overall the chassis is stiff and robust, contributing to the Pan America 1250 Special’s neutral, stable handling. And Harley used tried-and-trusted component suppliers, with a steering damper made by Öhlins, radial-mount monoblock 4-piston front calipers made by Brembo and suspension made by Showa — a 47mm USD Balance Free Fork and a Balanced Free Rear Cushion-lite shock, both with 7.5 inches of travel. Everything performed to a high level in a wide range of conditions.

2021 Harley-Davidson 
Pan America 1250 Special review
The 
Pan America 1250 Special is available in four color options: Deadwood Green (shown here), Baja Orange/Stone Washed White Pearl, Gauntlet Gray Metallic, and Vivid Black.

Standard on the Pan America are cast aluminum wheels (19-inch front, 17-inch rear) shod with specially designed Michelin Scorcher Adventure 90/10 tires, which offered good grip and handling on pavement and during light off-roading. Bikes we tested were equipped with the optional side-laced tubeless wheels (which cost $500 and weigh 14 pounds more than the cast wheels). On the second day, our bikes were fitted with accessory Michelin Anakee Wild 50/50 tires ($449.90), which give up some confidence and grip on pavement but are excellent off-road tires, even at the higher street temperatures we were running. Harley’s RDRS Safety Enhancements package includes IMU-enabled “cornering enhanced” linked ABS and traction control, with settings determined by ride mode (the cornering function and rear ABS are disabled in certain off-road modes). Drag-Torque Slip Control, which is like traction control for the engine to manage rear-wheel traction during aggressive riding, as well as cruise control and hill hold control are also part of the package.

Reactions to the Pan America’s styling have been mixed. Lacking the prominent beak or high front fender that is popular on many ADV bikes, it stands apart from the crowd, with a headlight design influenced by the Fat Bob and front bodywork inspired by the Road Glide’s sharknose fairing. Above the Daymaker Signature LED headlight, which uses 30 LED elements behind a diffuser lens, the Special has a Daymaker Adaptive LED headlight that illuminates a series of three lights as lean angle reaches 8, 15 and 23 degrees.

2021 Harley-Davidson 
Pan America 1250 Special review
Trona Pinnacles, which served as a backdrop in “Star Trek V” and “Planet of the Apes” among other films, was an ideal off-road test site. Michelin Anakee Wild tires added grip.

Harley offers a standard version of the Pan America 1250 that starts at $17,319, but many buyers will probably opt for the Pan America 1250 Special we tested. Starting at $19,999, the Special adds semi-active suspension with automatic preload adjustment (and the availability of ARH as a factory option), the adaptive headlight, the steering damper, a tire-pressure monitoring system, a centerstand, an aluminum skid plate, engine protection bars, hand guards, heated grips and a dual-height rear brake pedal.

In one shot, Harley-Davidson not only built its first adventure bike, it also built its first sportbike and sport-touring bike. We hammered the Pan Americas for two days, and they never gave up or reacted in an unexpected way or felt out of their depth. Whatever the metric — power, performance, handling, durability, technology, weight, price — the Pan America 1250 Special can compete head-to-head with well-established players in the ADV segment. Is it the best overall, or in any particular category? Well, that remains to be seen — two days and 400 miles, none of which were ridden back-to-back with competitors in the class, is not enough to draw firm conclusions. But this is one rookie that shows great promise.

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
Adventure touring, sport touring, on-road, off-road, tall or short rider, solo or with a passenger, with options, luggage and accessories or bone stock — whatever you’re into, the Pan America can be spec’d to satisfy your needs.

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special Specs

Base Price: $19,999
Price as Tested: $22,299 (ARH, side-laced wheels, Anakee Wild tires, skid plate)
Website: harley-davidson.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 60-degree V-twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,252cc
Bore x Stroke: 105 x 72mm
Horsepower: 150 @ 9,000 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Torque: 94 lb-ft @ 6,750 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated assist-and-slipper wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Wheelbase: 62.2 in.
Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 32.7/33.7 in. (unladen w/ ARH)
Wet Weight: 559 lbs. (claimed, stock)
Fuel Capacity: 5.6 gals.

The post 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Tech Talk: Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 in Deadwood Green (photo by Kevin Wing)

In July 2018, Harley-Davidson announced a five-year growth strategy called “More Roads to Harley-Davidson,” a plan to add new products, provide broader access, strengthen its dealer network and amplify the brand. Expansion beyond Harley’s typical cruiser, bagger and touring models would include the LiveWire electric motorcycle, which debuted for 2020, and “middleweight adventure touring, streetfighter and high-performance custom models.”

The “More Roads” strategy offered the first look at the Pan America adventure tourer, with few details beyond its displacement and what could be gleaned from a photo of the prototype. At the 2019 EICMA show in Milan, Harley unveiled the Pan America and the Bronx streetfighter, both to be powered by a liquid-cooled 60-degree V-twin engine platform called the Revolution Max — 1,250cc in the Pan America and 975cc in the Bronx — and launched in 2020.

In February 2020, amid financial troubles, Harley-Davidson announced a revised five-year strategy called “Hardwire” that would, among other changes, “selectively focus on opportunities in profitable segments.” Plans to expand the company’s product portfolio were scaled back. The Pan America made the cut, the Bronx did not. Then the pandemic hit, which pushed the Pan America’s launch from late 2020 to early 2021. Details about the Pan America 1250 and up-spec Pan America 1250 Special were finally announced last February, and we got an opportunity to test ride the Special over two days in April.

Revolution Max 1250

Harley-Davidson Revolution Max 1250
Cutaway of the Revolution Max 1250 that powers the Pan America (photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson)

According to Harley, its all-new, modular Revolution Max engine will be offered in four displacements ranging from 500cc to 1,250cc. In addition to powering the Pan America, it will likely replace the aging, air-cooled mill in the Sportster and may replace the liquid-cooled Revolution X in whatever entry-level models fill the gap for the discontinued Street 500 and Street 750.

In the Pan America 1250, the Revolution Max displaces 1,252cc, has a 13.0:1 compression ratio and makes a claimed 150 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 94 lb-ft of torque at 6,750 rpm. Like the Revolution V-twin that powered the V-Rod and the Revolution X that powered the Street models, the Max’s cylinders have a 60-degree included angle. The two crankshaft connecting rod journals are offset by 30 degrees, resulting in a 90-degree firing order for smooth power delivery. Dual overhead cams use roller-finger followers to actuate four valves per cylinder and hydraulic lash adjusters eliminate periodic maintenance. Computer-controlled variable valve timing (VVT) independently advances or retards intake and exhaust timing through a potential range of 40 degrees of crankshaft rotation, with the goal of broadening the powerband to deliver ample low-end torque as well as high-rpm horsepower. Dual spark plugs optimize ignition and a robust, dry-sump oiling system is designed to withstand the demands of adventure riding.

Harley-Davidson Revolution Max 1250

Because the Revolution Max is a stressed member of the Pan America’s chassis, it needed to be strong and light. Harley used finite element analysis and optimization techniques to reduce material mass in cast and molded components. Complex casting techniques allowed oil and coolant passages to be integrated into the engine in such a way that minimized wall thicknesses. Single-piece aluminum cylinders have nickel silicon carbide-surface galvanic coating, pistons are made of forged aluminum and the rocker, camshaft and primary covers are made of magnesium. An engine that vibrates less endures less stress over its life cycle, allowing components to be made lighter. A spiral-shaped, chain-driven balancer in the crankcase minimizes primary vibration, while a small balancer located in front of the cylinder head between the camshafts minimizes secondary vibration.

Revolution Max engines are built in Harley’s Pilgrim Road facility near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and complete Pan Americas are assembled in York, Pennsylvania.

Adaptive Ride Height

Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Adaptive Ride Height ARH
Adaptive Ride Height is a factory option on the Pan America 1250 Special, and it offers several modes. (Photo by Brian J. Nelson)

To be competitive in the adventure touring segment, the Pan America 1250 and Pan America 1250 Special are equipped with state-of-the-art electronics like riding modes and Harley’s RDRS Safety Enhancements. The Special is equipped with added features, including Showa semi-active suspension that adjusts damping rates on the selected ride mode and automatically adjusts spring preload to provide 30% sag regardless of the load.

But the real innovation is the Adaptive Ride Height (ARH), a factory option available only on the Special. Using an array of sensors and algorithms, ARH automatically lowers the motorcycle’s ride height by 1 to 2 inches when the motorcycle comes to a stop (the amount of ride height adjustment depends on preload). Lowering the ride height lowers the rider’s seat, which accommodates a wider range of riders and adapts to a wider range of conditions than other full-sized adventure bikes, even those with semi-active suspension.

Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Adaptive Ride Height ARH
The Pan America 1250 Special’s semi-active suspension is made by Showa. (Photo by Brian J. Nelson)

In standard ride modes, the default setting for ARH is Auto, but in custom ride modes ARH can be turned off or set to Auto with Short Delay or Auto with Long Delay, and those settings will be retained in that mode after the ignition is turned off. In Auto mode, ARH will not lower the motorcycle in an condition where speed is greater than 15.5 mph, but lowering could begin to occur at 15.5 mph if the rider is braking very hard. Speed, brake lever pressure and deceleration rate are all used to determine when to lower the motorcycle. ARH targets the bike to be lowered when the rider would typically be moving their feet off the pegs to put them on the ground, which typically happens at speeds much slower than 15.5 mph under casual braking.

In technical off-road conditions at low speeds, especially if there is a lot of stopping and starting involved, it may not be optimal to have the motorcycle repeatedly lower and raise itself. In Short Delay mode ARH will not lower the ride height at all until 0.5 second after the motorcycle comes to a stop. Long Delay mode waits until 2 seconds after coming to a stop before lowering the bike.

Since ARH is a factory-installed option, it cannot be added to a Pan America 1250 Special after purchase. The beauty of ARH is that it offers a lower seat height without reducing suspension travel or otherwise compromising the motorcycle’s performance or capabilities.

The post Tech Talk: Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

‘A Dream Come True’ Video

A Dream Come True: Moto Guzzi V85 TT Spirit of the Eagle Rideaway Adventure
Kit (on left), Guy, and the Moto Guzzi V85 TTs in Kaniksku National Forest.

In 2020, Guy Pickrell won the Moto Guzzi “Spirit of the Eagle Rideaway” competition. He dreamed up an epic 2,600-mile, 8-day, 7-state, 6-national-park adventure route.

Moto Guzzi gave Guy and his buddy Kit Klein use of two Moto Guzzi V85 TT adventure bikes and a $2,500 travel budget. They packed their gear, had Michelin Anakee Wild tires mounted on the bikes, and they hit the road.

Starting in Seattle, they rode east to Glacier National Park, south to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Flaming Gorge, Capitol Reef, and Grand Staircase-Escalante, and they finished in Las Vegas. Their route included paved sections like Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana and unpaved tracks like Skyline Drive Scenic Backway in Utah.

Two buddies, two bikes, one big adventure. This is their story.

To find a Moto Guzzi dealer near you, visit motoguzzi.com.

The post ‘A Dream Come True’ Video first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special | Video Review

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special
Testing the 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special in the Mojave Desert. (Photo by Kevin Wing)

Check out our video review of the 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special, an all-new adventure bike powered by the 150-horsepower Revolution Max V-twin. We hammered the Pan America 1250 Special for two days in the mountains and desert, on- and off-road, and it never gave up or reacted in an unexpected way or felt out of its depth. And its Adaptive Ride Height option is a game-changer, lowering ride/seat height by 1 to 2 inches when the bike comes to a stop. Whatever the metric — power, performance, handling, durability, technology, weight, price — the Pan America 1250 Special can compete head-to-head with well-established players in the ADV segment.

To find a Harley-Davidson dealer near you, visit harley-davidson.com.

The post 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special | Video Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Honda CRF300L and CRF300L Rally | First Ride Review

2021 Honda CRF300L Rally review action
The 2021 Honda 2021 CRF300L (above) and CRF300L Rally get more power and torque, a new assist-and-slipper clutch, less weight, and other improvements. (Photos by Drew Ruiz)

When Honda set out to improve its top-selling dual-sport models, the CRF250L and CRF250L Rally, it didn’t take half measures. The overhaul was executed as a package deal, integrating the modifications to improve the entire machine, and the 2021 Honda CRF300L and CRF300L Rally offer more power and more all-around capability. Having previously tested both 250 versions, I can assure you that Big Red has elevated the game for its CRF300L lineup.

2021 Honda CRF300L Rally review MSRP
Built on the same platform, the Honda CRF300L Rally (left) adds a windscreen, more seat padding, and a larger for tank, making it a great lightweight adventure bike.

The upgrades proved themselves at Honda’s press launch for the new bikes, where the assembled moto-scribes sampled both the CRF300L (MSRP $5,249) and CRF300L Rally ($5,999). From carving apexes on twisty pavement to negotiating rocky dirt roads and challenging single-track, we tackled nearly every kind of terrain a dual-sport rider might expect to encounter.

2021 Honda CRF300L Rally review action
Our test ride on the Honda CRF300L and CRF300L Rally included a mix of pavement and dirt. The lightweight bikes are easy to maneuver on any terrain.

Arden’s Gear
Helmet: Fly Racing Formula Carbon
Jersey/Gloves/Pants: Fly Racing Kinetic K121 Racewear
Boots: Fly Racing FR5

The CRF300L and CRF300L Rally share the same powerplant, a liquid-cooled 286cc four-stroke single which boasts 15% more displacement, power, and torque than its 250cc predecessor, thanks to an 8mm stroke increase. Honda says the extra 36cc, paired with cam lift and timing mods, pumped up the four-valve single’s low- and mid-range power, and it wasn’t kidding. With 2.5 more horses (27.3) and nearly 3 lb-ft more torque (19), the 300s are quicker, with noticeably more low-end grunt than their predecessors.

2021 Honda CRF300L Rally review engine
A 36cc bump in displacement (to 286cc) and other updates to the CRF300L’s liquid-cooled single yielded a useful increase in power and torque.

The added power and torque, and reduced ratios in the lower gears, kept me from needing to slip the clutch to climb out of the gullies on the last single-track section of our test ride. The motor/tranny combo put enough tractable power to the ground in 1st gear to effortlessly climb the steep, curved trail. The EFI fueling through the 38mm throttle body was spot-on as well, instilling confidence the bike wouldn’t stall at lower revs. Even so, I hedged my bets by covering the clutch lever, the easy pull of Honda’s new assist-and-slipper clutch requiring just a single finger. The slipper function worked equally as well as the assist, preventing skids on a few too-hot corner entries on the pavement.

2021 Honda CRF300L Rally review action

On the street, the 300s are a kick to flick from corner to corner, doing their best work on tight roads. And though they aren’t rockets, once at speed they have the chops to stay there if you observe the cardinal rule of small moto riding: never back off. But when you do have to slow down, the CRFs are ready with two-piston calipers up front squeezing a 260mm rotor on the standard and a 298mm plate on the heavier Rally. Both use a single-piston caliper and 220mm rear rotor. The front stoppers are the stars of the show, generating easy-to-modulate stopping power, while the back brakes are suitable assistants, capable of locking up the rear wheel on any surface. ABS is a $300 option on both models, but was not fitted to the test bikes.

2021 Honda CRF300L Rally review action

The CRFs’ basic suspension package — 43mm inverted fork, Pro-Link single rear shock, both with 10.2 inches of travel but no adjustments except rear preload — turned in a solid performance throughout the day. Rake and trail have been reduced, which helped in the tight singletrack corners, but the bikes remain quite stable on road or off. The new cast aluminum swingarm, said to improve lateral flexibility and feedback, no doubt played its part, though too subtly for me to isolate as I plowed through ruts, slammed rocks, choosing some dodgy lines without the bikes pitching me off.

2021 Honda CRF300L Rally review action

The lighter standard CRF300L excels here, soaking up nearly everything in its path, or at least not getting badly out of shape. Yes, it will literally kick your butt with rear-end bounce on major hits, and there could be more rebound damping at times, but it stayed on course, letting me survive to choose the next bad line. Having almost 11 inches of ground clearance to play with didn’t hurt, either. 

2021 Honda CRF300L Rally review action

Honda lightened both bikes, making them easier to toss around. Nine pounds came off the Rally (now 333), a notable achievement while adding 4 pounds of fuel (0.7 gallons, now 3.4) and fitting long-ride comfort items like handlebar weights and rubber footpeg inserts. The standard model lost 11 pounds (now 309) making it even easier to flick into corners or pick up, should the need arise. The new LCD instrument panels even lost a couple ounces while presenting more information. Speed, rpm, and gear position were easy enough to see at most times, the smaller text for the odometer and fuel mileage being difficult to read off the pavement.

2021 Honda CRF300L Rally review instrument panel

Speaking of mileage, using Honda’s claim of a 250+ mile range for the Rally, the 300s are capable of almost 74 mpg. We couldn’t track fuel consumption during the press launch, but the mileage readout on the bikes I rode hovered near 60. If ridden with a lighter hand, 74 mpg may well be possible. Sixth gear is an overdrive that should help highway mileage and comfort, though downshifts are necessary for any hills.

2021 Honda CRF300L Rally review fuel capacity

Only a half inch separates the tall-ish seat heights for the 300s, 34.7 and 35.2 inches for the standard and Rally, respectively. The extra padding for longer rides on the Rally was noticeable, but we spent so much time on the pegs for the 300L’s dirt-centric test loop that I can’t comment on its seat. However, the standing position was comfortable for my 68-inch frame and I could stretch my 31-inch inseam enough to touch two feet on the ground from the taller Rally. Despite their counterbalancers, both machines are a bit buzzy; I’ve yet to meet a single that didn’t tingle.

2021 Honda CRF300L review
2021 Honda CRF300L

The new 300s have the potential for reaching a very large audience of two-wheel enthusiasts. They are small enough to hang on the back of a car or RV, lively enough to generate grins all day long on most any surface, easy enough to ride that newcomers can quickly feel at home, and the Rally has range enough to travel. The tough part is choosing between them. My choice is the standard model, for its off-road ability, though I would not hesitate to take the Rally on an extended back-roads tour.

2021 Honda CRF300L Rally review
2021 Honda CRF300L Rally

2021 Honda CRF300L / CRF300L Rally Specs

Base Price: $5,249 / $5,999 (add $300 for ABS)
Website: powersports.honda.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled single, DOHC w/ 4 valves
Displacement: 286cc
Bore x Stroke: 76 x 63mm
Horsepower: 27.3 hp @ 8,500 rpm (claimed, at crank)
Torque: 19 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm (claimed, at crank)
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 57.2 in.
Rake/Trail: 27.3 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 34.7 in. / 35.2 in.
Wet Weight: 309 lbs. / 333 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 2.1 gals. / 3.4 gals.

The post 2021 Honda CRF300L and CRF300L Rally | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 Triumph Street Scrambler | First Look Review

2022 Triumph Street Scrambler Sandstorm review
2022 Triumph Street Scrambler Sandstorm Edition

From the 900cc Street Twin and Street Twin Gold Line to the 1,200cc T120, T120 Black, Streetmaster, Bobber and Scrambler 1200 (including the ultra-cool Steve McQueen Edition), Triumph has updated nearly every model in its Bonneville lineup for the 2022 model year.

Last but certainly not least is Triumph’s 900cc Street Scrambler (MSRP starts at $11,000; available in July) and new limited-edition Street Scrambler Sandstorm (MSRP $11,750; available in May).

2022 Triumph Street Scrambler review
2022 Triumph Street Scrambler in Urban Grey

As with other Bonneville models, the Street Scrambler’s liquid-cooled parallel-twin has been updated to meet Euro 5 emissions yet it still delivers 64 horsepower at 7,250 rpm and 59 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 rpm (claimed). Three riding modes (Road, Rain, and Off-Road), a torque-assist clutch, switchable ABS and switchable traction control are standard equipment.

2022 Triumph Street Scrambler Sandstorm review
2022 Triumph Street Scrambler Sandstorm Edition

Styling updates include a new side panel with aluminum number board, a new heel guard, new brushed aluminum headlight brackets, new adventure-oriented seat material, new throttle body finishers and new paint schemes.

Street Scrambler models are equipped with a Brembo front brake, a cartridge fork, a 19-inch front wheel, Metzeler Tourance 90/10 adventure tires, an LED taillight and a USB charging port.

2022 Triumph Street Scrambler Sandstorm review
2022 Triumph Street Scrambler Sandstorm Edition

Limited to 775 units worldwide, the Scrambler Sandstorm Edition has a unique paint scheme, premium accessories (high front fender, tail tidy, sump guard, headlight grille and rubber knee pads on the tank) fitted as standard and a certificate of authenticity personalized with the bike’s VIN.

The 2022 Street Scrambler is available in three premium paint schemes: Jet Black, Urban Grey and two-tone Matte Khaki and Matte Ironstone with distinctive new tank graphics.

2022 Triumph Street Scrambler review
The 2022 Triumph Street Scrambler’s 900cc parallel twin makes 64 horsepower and 59 lb-ft of torque (claimed).

2022 Triumph Street Scrambler Specs

Base Price: $11,000 / $11,750 (Sandstorm Edition)
Website: triumphmotorcycles.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin, SOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 900cc
Bore x Stroke: 84.6 x 80mm
Horsepower: 64 @ 7,250 rpm (claimed)
Torque: 59 lb-ft @ 3,250 rpm (claimed)
Fuel Delivery: Electronic fuel injection & throttle-by-wire
Transmission: 5-speed, cable-actuated assist-and-slipper wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Frame: Tubular steel w/ twin cradles, steel swingarm
Wheelbase: 56.8 in.
Rake/Trail: 25.6 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 31.1 in.
Suspension, Front: 41mm fork, non-adj., 4.7 in. travel
Rear: Dual shocks, adj. preload, 4.7 in. travel
Brakes, Front: Single 310mm disc w/ opposed 4-piston axial fixed caliper & switchable ABS
Rear: Single 255mm disc w/ 2-piston floating caliper & switchable ABS
Wheels, Front: Spoked aluminum, 2.5 x 19 in.
Rear: Spoked aluminum, 4.25 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 100/90-19 tube-type
Rear: 150/70-17 tube-type
Wet Weight: 492 lbs. (claimed)
Fuel Capacity: 3.2 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 54.7 mpg (claimed)

2022 Triumph Street Scrambler Photo Gallery:

The post 2022 Triumph Street Scrambler | First Look Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport | Video Review

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport video review
The 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport is an affordable, well-round, street-focused adventure bike with a price that starts at $11,995. (Photo by Kevin Wing)

We test the 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport, a street-focused adventure bike with an MSRP of $11,995. It’s powered by the same liquid-cooled 888cc in-line triple as the Tiger 900 models, but it has been detuned to 82 horsepower at 8,400 rpm and 58 lb-ft of torque at 6,700 rpm at the rear wheel, as measured on Jett Tuning‘s dyno, which is about 10 horsepower lower.

To keep the price down, Triumph also reduced the number of ride modes to two (Road and Rain) and limited suspension adjustability to rear preload. But this is no bargain-bin special. It has Marzocchi suspension front and rear, and it has Brembo brakes, with Stylema front calipers and a radial front master cylinder. ABS is standard but not switchable, and traction control is also standard but is switchable.

Overall we found the 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport to be a solid, all-around street bike that delivers good features and a great riding experience for the money. Check out our video review:

The post 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport | Video Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport | Video Review

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport video review
The 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport is an affordable, well-round, street-focused adventure bike with a price that starts at $11,995. (Photo by Kevin Wing)

We test the 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport, a street-focused adventure bike with an MSRP of $11,995. It’s powered by the same liquid-cooled 888cc in-line triple as the Tiger 900 models, but it has been detuned to 82 horsepower at 8,400 rpm and 58 lb-ft of torque at 6,700 rpm at the rear wheel, as measured on Jett Tuning‘s dyno, which is about 10 horsepower lower.

To keep the price down, Triumph also reduced the number of ride modes to two (Road and Rain) and limited suspension adjustability to rear preload. But this is no bargain-bin special. It has Marzocchi suspension front and rear, and it has Brembo brakes, with Stylema front calipers and a radial front master cylinder. ABS is standard but not switchable, and traction control is also standard but is switchable.

Overall we found the 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport to be a solid, all-around street bike that delivers good features and a great riding experience for the money. Check out our video review:

The post 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport | Video Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport | Video Review

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport video review
The 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport is an affordable, well-round, street-focused adventure bike with a price that starts at $11,995. (Photo by Kevin Wing)

We test the 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport, a street-focused adventure bike with an MSRP of $11,995. It’s powered by the same liquid-cooled 888cc in-line triple as the Tiger 900 models, but it has been detuned to 82 horsepower at 8,400 rpm and 58 lb-ft of torque at 6,700 rpm at the rear wheel, as measured on Jett Tuning‘s dyno, which is about 10 horsepower lower.

To keep the price down, Triumph also reduced the number of ride modes to two (Road and Rain) and limited suspension adjustability to rear preload. But this is no bargain-bin special. It has Marzocchi suspension front and rear, and it has Brembo brakes, with Stylema front calipers and a radial front master cylinder. ABS is standard but not switchable, and traction control is also standard but is switchable.

Overall we found the 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport to be a solid, all-around street bike that delivers good features and a great riding experience for the money. Check out our video review:

The post 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport | Video Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special | Top 10 Review

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
Riding the 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan American 1250 Special in California’s Mojave Desert. (Photos by Brian J. Nelson & Kevin Wing)

We just spent two days in the Sierra Nevada mountains and Mojave Desert of California testing the all-new 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special. Over the course of two days, we rode about 350 miles on highways, twisting mountain roads and off-road trails that included gravel, sand, rocks and tricky climbs and descents. In one shot, Harley-Davidson not only built its first adventure bike, it also built its first sportbike and sport-touring bike. We’ll have a full review soon, but for now we’re sharing our top 10 highlights.

1. Revolution Max 1250 V-twin

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review Revolution Max engine V-twin
Cut-away view of the Revolution Max 1250 V-twin (Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson)

Harley-Davidson’s base-model Pan America 1250 and up-spec Pan America 1250 Special (we only rode the latter) are powered by a brand-new engine called the Revolution Max 1250. It’s a liquid-cooled 1,252cc 60-degree V-twin with DOHC, four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, a 13.0:1 compression ratio and hydraulic valve lash adjusters. Harley-Davidson claims that it makes 150 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 94 lb-ft of torque at 6,750 rpm and redlines at 9,500 rpm. It packs serious performance and sounds fantastic, delivering generous, tractable power throughout the rev range. And multiple riding modes adjust power output and throttle delivery.

2. Semi-active Suspension with Adaptive Ride Height

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review adaptive ride height
The Adaptive Ride Height option on the Pan America 1250 Special can lower ride (and seat) height by 1 to 2 inches when the motorcycle comes to a stop.

The Pan America 1250 Special is equipped with top-shelf Showa suspension — a 47mm USD Balance Free Fork (BFF) and a Balanced Free Rear Cushion-lite (BFRC) shock, with 7.5 inches of travel front and rear. The suspension offers semi-active electronic adjustment that adjusts damping based on the selected ride mode, and it automatically adjusts preload to provide 30% sag regardless of the load. But the real game-changer is Adaptive Ride Height (a $1,000 factory option), which automatically lowers ride height by 1 to 2 inches when the motorcycle comes to a stop (the amount of ride height adjustment depends on preload). The system works seamlessly and is virtually undetectably, and it makes a huge difference in effective seat height, which is one of the biggest obstacles for some riders to overcome when considering an adventure bike.

4. Ride Modes

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review ride modes
A full-color touchscreen TFT display shows all of the ride modes and other menu options.

Like nearly every high-spec adventure bike, the Pan America 1250 Special is outfitted with a full suite of electronic rider aids. It offers multiple ride modes — Sport, Road, Rain, Off-Road, Off-Road Plus, Custom Off-Road Plus, Custom A and Custom B — which automatically adjust the engine map (power output), throttle response, engine braking, traction control, ABS, suspension damping and, optionally, Adaptive Ride Height. IMU-enabled “cornering enhanced” linked ABS and traction control are available in most modes, but the cornering function and rear ABS are disabled in certain Off-Road modes. Drag-Torque Slip Control, which is like traction control for the engine to manage rear-wheel traction during aggressive riding, as well as cruise control and hill hold control are also part of the package. Everything works well and the different modes have a big impact on the riding character of the bike.

5. Brembo, Showa and Öhlins

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
Up front, dual Brembo radial 4-piston calipers squeeze 320mm rotors.

Adventure riders who buy top-level motorcycles expect the best components and latest-and-greatest technology. On many Harley-Davidson motorcycles, component suppliers are not identified, and brake calipers may be branded with a bar-and-shield logo. But the manufacturer of certain components matters to discerning customers, so Harley-Davidson made a smart decision and spec’d the Pan America 1250 Special with Brembo brakes, Showa suspension and an Öhlins steering damper. And all of the components performed to a high level in a wide range of riding conditions.

3. Wheels and Tires

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review spoked wheels brembo brake
Shown are the accessory side-laced tubeless wheels and accessory Michelin Anakee Wild tires.

Standard equipment on both the Pan America 1250 and Pan America 1250 Special includes cast aluminum wheels with a 19-inch front and a 17-inch rear, and they’re shod with specially designed Michelin Scorcher Adventure 90/10 tires. The larger front wheel is good for rolling over obstacles off-road but it does slow down steering somewhat relative to a 17-inch front wheel. The Scorcher Adventure tires offer good grip and handling on the street and they performed well for light off-road riding. We also tested the accessory side-laced tubeless wheels and accessory Michelin Anakee Wild tires, which give up some confidence and grip on pavement, but are excellent off-road tires, even at the higher “street” temperatures we were running. Harley-Davidson did its full range of development testing on both types of wheels and tires to ensure they met performance goals in a wide range of conditions.

6. Chain Final Drive

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
For an adventure bike, chain final drive is the best choice for light weight, durability, minimal power loss and ability to be repaired in the field.

Harley-Davidson owners are accustomed to maintenance-free belt final drive, and in street-only riding conditions such a system works extremely well. But when off-road riding is involved, rocks and other debris can get wedged between the rear sprocket and the belt, causing damage that can lead to a belt failure. Although chain final drive requires some maintenance in terms of lubrication, adjustment and occasional replacement, it is the best solution in terms of weight, durability, minimal power loss and field repair. That’s why everything from dirt bikes to race bikes use chain final drive.

7. Chassis

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
Though mostly hidden behind bodywork, the Pan America 1250’s frame components attach to the Revolution Max engine.

To save weight, the Revolution Max 1250 engine is a stressed member of the chassis. Attached to the engine is a front frame element to connect the steering head, an aluminum midframe element behind the engine that is the attachment point for the cast aluminum swingarm and rear shock, and a steel tail section (subframe) that supports the weight of the rider, passenger and luggage/cargo. Overall the chassis is very stiff and robust, which contributes to the Pan America 1250 Special’s neutral, confident handling. Wheelbase is 62.2 inches, rake is 25 degrees and trail is 4.3 inches.

8. Adjustable Windscreen, Adjustable Seat Height and Adaptive Headlight

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
An adjustable windscreen and hand guards provide good wind protection, and the Daymaker Signature LED headlight and Daymaker Adaptive LED headlight illuminate the road.

Adventure touring motorcycles are built to go long distances. They have upright seating positions with wide handlebars, and they have fuel capacities to go 200-plus miles between fill-ups (the Pan America has a 5.6-gallon fuel tank and an EPA-tested 46 mpg, which translates into 258 miles of range). The Pan America 1250 Special has a windscreen that is adjustable on the fly over a 1.8-inch range. Its rider seat has two positions — low (33.5 inches) and high (34.5) inches — and there are accessory low (32.5/33.5 inches) and high (34.5/35.5 inches) seats. As described above, Adaptive Ride Height can lower the rider’s seat height by an additional 1 to 2 inches. And above the Daymaker Signature LED headlight, which uses 30 LED elements behind a diffuser lense, the Pan America 1250 Special has a Daymaker Adaptive LED headlight that illuminates a series of three lights as lean angle reaches 8, 15 and 23 degrees.

9. It Rips!

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
With a 150-horsepower engine, a solid chassis and 42 degrees of available lean angle, the Pan America 1250 is at home in the canyons at a sporting pace.

Harley-Davidson has done its homework. It knows it is entering a very competitive segment with highly evolved adventure bikes from BMW, Ducati, KTM, Triumph, Yamaha and others. The Pan America 1250 is a high-profile motorcycle, not just within the adventure segment, but within the motorcycle industry at large. Can Harley-Davidson, a company known for its cruisers and touring bikes, build a competitive adventure bike? The answer is yes. On the road and off the pavement, the Pan America 1250 delivered an exhilarating, confident riding experience.

10. It Can Fly!

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
We found the perfect launch pad for the Pan America 1250 Special at Trona Pinnacles, a weird collection of rock formations that has been the backdrop for many movies.

Claimed wet weight for the Pan America 1250 Special is 559 pounds. The accessory side-laced wheels and beefier skid plate add more weight. But when we found a gully that had a tabletop hill on one side, we couldn’t resist jumping the Pan America. We aired it out time and again, and the semi-active suspension provided a plush landing with no bottoming and no harsh rebound or kickback. Nothing broke. This is a solidly engineered motorcycle that has gone through extensive durability testing, about half of which was done off-road, and it took a licking and kept on ticking. No, most customers will not jump their Pan America 1250s, but if they wanted to, they certainly could!

Greg’s Gear:
Helmet: Fly Racing Odyssey Adventure Modular
Jacket/Pants: Fly Racing Terra Trek
Gloves: Fly Racing Coolpro
Boots: Fly Racing FR5
Knee/Shin Guards: Fly Racing 5 Pivot

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Specs

Base Price: $19,999
Website: harley-davidson.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 60-degree V-twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,252cc
Bore x Stroke: 105 x 72mm
Horsepower: 150 @ 9,000 rpm (claimed)
Torque: 94 lb-ft @ 6,750 rpm (claimed)
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 62.2 in.
Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 33.5/34.5 in.
Wet Weight: 559 lbs. (claimed, no accessories/options)
Fuel Capacity: 5.6 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 46 mpg (EPA)

The post 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special | Top 10 Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com