Indian came out of the gate early last year with an all-new Chief platform and a revised FTR lineup for the 2022 model year. The full 2022 Indian Motorcycle lineup features an updated Ride Command system and fine-tuned traction control on select models, as well as new colors and accessories.
Ride Command-equipped 2022 models now feature a speed limit overlay, reminding users of the current speed limit on a street-by-street basis. The system also benefits from faster loading times and expanded Bluetooth connectivity this year. The new features are included on 2022 models and available as a software update on 2020-2021 Indians.
2022 Indian Challenger
In addition to the robust Ride Command system, Indian also retuned the PowerPlus 111-powered Challenger’s traction control for smoother engagement. The platform has been refreshed with new colors as well.
The standard Challenger comes in Black Metallic and Titanium Smoke with an MSRP of $23,999. Starting at $27,999, the Challenger Limited is offered in Black Metallic, Maroon Metallic, Spirit Blue/Black Metallic paint options. The Challenger Dark Horse, on the other hand, retails for $28,499 in Black Smoke, Bronze Smoke, and Indy Red/Black Metallic colorways.
2022 Indian Springfield, Chieftain, and Roadmaster
Indian’s Thunder Stroke models also receive fresh liveries for the 2022 model year. Starting at $21,999, Springfield buyers can choose between Maroon Metallic/Crimson Metallic and Black Metallic/Dirt Track Tan color schemes. Additionally, the Black Smoke and Quartz Gray paint options complement the Springfield Dark Horse’s black finish and starts at $22,499.
The Chieftain goes back to basics with Black Metallic paint job and a $21,999 MSRP. However, at $27,999, the Chieftain Dark Horse amps up the options with Black Smoke, Ruby Smoke, and Quartz Gray paint jobs. The top-of-the-line Chieftain Limited commands $28,749 but sweetens the deal with premium Silver Quartz Metallic and Deepwater Metallic colorways.
The Roadmaster returns in Black Metallic or Maroon Metallic/Crimson Metallic paint and costs $29,999. At $30,499, the Roadmaster Dark Horse boasts Black Smoke, Polished Bronze, and Silver Quartz Smoke liveries while the Roadmaster Limited comes with a $30,749 price tag and Black Azure Crystal and Crimson Metallic colorways.
2022 Indian Scouts
Indian doesn’t forget the Scout family either, bringing back the Scout (MSRP $$11,999), Scout Sixty (MSRP $9,999), Scout Bobber (MSRP $10,999), Scout Bobber Sixty (MSRP $8,999), and Scout Bobber Twenty (MSRP $11,999). The base-model Scout now features Black Metallic, White Smoke, Maroon Metallic, and Silver Quartz Metallic/Black Metallic paint while the Scout Sixty keeps it simple with Black Metallic and Storm Blue color schemes.
The Scout Bobber line take the paint options to the Nth degree with 2022 Scout Bobber Sixty offering Black Metallic, Black Smoke, Quartz Gray, and Ruby Smoke. The Scout Bobber now comes in Black Metallic, Alumina Jade Smoke, Maroon Metallic Smoke, Stealth Gray, Silver Quartz Smoke, and Titanium Metallic, while the Scout Bobber Twenty is available in Black Metallic, White Smoke, Maroon Metallic, and Silver Quartz Metallic/Black Metallic.
Along with the model updates, Indian expands its accessories catalog with Spirit Lake Luggage Collection, LED lighting add-ons, and hard fairing lowers for the Indian Challenger platform. The Scouts also benefit from the extensive collection with new piggyback rear shocks and a 5.75-inch Pathfinder Adaptive LED headlight.
When I first laid eyes on our 2021 BMW R 1250 GS 40 Years of GS Edition test bike, I thought of my Uncle Clive. He had worked for the doomed British Leyland for years before accepting a role with BMW. His garage, once the perpetual home to a gleaming Rover, was now occupied by a stunning 5 Series sedan, but it was the new motorcycle, waiting in the shadows, which drew my attention. It was unlike any I had seen before.
The air-cooled cylinder heads of its opposed Twin jutted out brazenly from the sides of the engine cases, protected by crash bars. Though it wasn’t a dirtbike, it shared some of the same characteristics, like a long, single-piece seat and a high, fixed front mudguard. Most distinguishing of all, the rear wheel seemed to float in space. Uncle Clive, always ready to explain an engineering feature, eagerly directed me to view it from the other side and began a lengthy monologue on the benefits of a combined single-sided swingarm and driveshaft. The details were lost on me. I was only 12 at the time.
It was 1984. What I didn’t know back then was how bold the path was that BMW had blazed a few years earlier with the R 80 G/S, the first motorcycle that delivered on-road comfort and performance and genuine off-road capability in equal measure. Between 1981 and 1985, the rugged G/S proved its mettle with four wins in the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally and three wins in the Baja 1000. And that single-sided swingarm – then called the Monolever – was lighter, stronger, and less expensive to manufacture than a two-sided swingarm with shaft drive, and it simplified repairs and maintenance.
What I also didn’t know back then was that those two letters – G for Gelande (“terrain” in German) and S for StraBe (“street”), the slash between them soon dropped – would evolve into an abbreviation for adventure long before ADV stickers found their way onto aluminum panniers. Or that, years later, I would watch Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman ride R 1150 GS Adventures – descendants of that original R 80 G/S – around the world and be inspired to embark on my own adventures.
I rode an R 1100 GS with the Dakar-style tank through the soggy mountains of Wales. My wife and I did two-up tours on R 1200 GSs through the canyons of Arizona and Utah, across Canada, and through the wilds of Chile and Argentina. I rode the first liquid-cooled 1200 down California’s fog-shrouded Highway 1 and around the Rockies of Colorado. I’ve ridden them in snow, rain, rubble, and the dreaded sand. Once, I somersaulted a GS down a hill at BMW’s off-road Rider Academy in South Carolina, picked it up, and rode it back to base.
The earlier models required close attention to the oil level, and although I’ve suffered the odd puncture, a torn tire, and a luggage rack that disintegrated after 11 hours on Chilean roads, I’ve never had one fail on me. Not once.
There’s an obvious through-line from Uncle Clive’s R 80 G/S to the 2021 R 1250 GS tested here, but BMW’s flagship adventure bike has come a long way over the past four decades. Over multiple generations, engine displacement grew from 798cc to 1,254cc and output increased from 50 horsepower to 136, measured at the crank. (On Jett Tuning’s dyno, our test bike grunted out 119 horsepower at 7,900 rpm and 91 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm at the rear wheel.) Air cooling evolved into air/oil cooling and then air/liquid cooling. Cylinders had two valves, then four, and overhead valves evolved into dual overhead cams with variable valve timing. It had five speeds, then six, and a single-plate dry clutch evolved into a multi-plate wet clutch.
As the engine and drivetrain evolved, so did the chassis. The Monolever was replaced by the Paralever, solving the problem of shaft jacking. The telescopic fork was replaced by the Telelever, which moved suspension action from the fork tubes to a single shock attached to the front of the frame and an A-arm, reducing front-end dive under braking. A single-disc front brake and rear drum were replaced by dual discs up front and a single disc out back.
We recently tested the new Kawasaki KLR650, a dual-sport that was introduced in 1984 (as a 600), just a few years after the R 80 G/S. Resistance to change and dedication to simplicity (and affordability) have been points of pride for the KLR, so much so that adding electronic fuel injection and optional ABS on the 2022 model was a Big Deal.
BMW, on the other hand, has taken an early-adopter approach to technology. Fuel injection and ABS were offered on the GS in the early ’90s. Traction control (known as ASC) and Enduro ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) were offered in 2008. Five years later, the GS got throttle-by-wire, riding modes, a Multi-Controller wheel for navigating settings and menus, multiple ABS modes, and Dynamic ESA that adapted the suspension to riding conditions. In 2019, the GS got the ShiftCam variable-valve timing system, a 5.7-inch TFT color display, and infotainment via Bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone. And the latest GS has a 6-axis IMU, which provides input for cornering ABS, lean-angle-sensitive traction control, and semi-active suspension, all of which have different settings for each riding mode. A new option on the 2024 model will supposedly do your taxes, but don’t quote me on that.
The GS’s enduring and broad appeal stems from its excellent handling, versatile performance, comfortable ride, comprehensive features, and renowned durability and reliability. It’s a capable canyon carver as well as a comfortable highway cruiser, great for loading up with a passenger and gear, and is surprisingly capable off-road. Nearly every GS owner – and motojournalist – has, at one time or another, described the bike as the Swiss Army knife of motorcycles.
Riding through Chile and Argentina with my wife on an R 1200 GS is one of the highlights of my motorcycling experience. Patagonia’s vast mountain ranges are a delight, but finding fuel was sometimes a challenge, and on one desolate backroad, I gladly accepted a sheep farmer’s offer of some fuel he kept in an old watering can. It’s at times like these you will be grateful for the knock sensors, which allow the GS to run on low-octane gas.
Riding the R 1250 GS, I recalled that first trip through the Welsh mountains on the ’90s-era 1100. The performance improvements are night and day, with a huge increase in power but only a few pounds of additional weight. While the difference in acceleration is notable, the most pleasing aspect of the 1250’s engine is the abundant torque across the rev range. It allows for lazy short-shifting when relaxed riding is called for, or rewarding grunt when you feel like pushing the envelope.
The most telling improvement is the difference in handling and suspension. While older GS models responded begrudgingly to spirited inputs, our 1250 test bike, which was equipped with the optional Premium Package ($3,925) that includes Dynamic ESA, Ride Modes Pro, and a whole lot more, rolls out the red carpet. The latest version of BMW’s semi-active suspension setup now takes input from the IMU and automatically adjusts for various loads. The Telelever front end has always dulled meaningful feedback, but you can push the GS close to its limits with relaxed confidence. Chassis pitch is minimal and suspension compliance is phenomenal. It’s like riding on air.
BMW made a few updates for 2021, starting with standard Integral ABS Pro. As before, the system is linked front to rear, so the hand lever actuates both front and rear brakes, but the brake pedal only actuates the rear brake. The ABS software has been updated to improve braking stability, and it works in conjunction with the IMU for better control on inclines. ABS Pro adapts to different on-and off-road conditions based on riding mode, with special settings in Enduro Pro and Dynamic Pro modes, and a more compact ABS unit is one pound lighter. Overall braking performance was excellent, whether riding solo or with the GS fully loaded and my wife riding pillion.
A new Eco riding mode takes advantage of the ShiftCam system to maximize range from the 5.3-gallon tank. All-around LED lights are standard, and a new adaptive headlight is available as an option, adjusting the sideward angle of the beam up to 35 degrees relative to lean angle to light up curves. Hill Start Control also comes as standard and was a useful addition in the traffic of hilly San Francisco. Just apply sharp pressure to either the brake lever or pedal at a stop, and the rear brake stays locked until you pull away. With optional HSC Pro (part of the Premium Package), the function can be customized to automatically activate when coming to a standstill on a gradient, and there are special settings for use in Enduro and Enduro Pro off-road modes.
Our test bike featured the 40 Years of GS Edition Package ($1,750), which is inspired by the “bumblebee” black-and-yellow paint scheme of the R 100 GS. In addition to yellow accents and special graphics, it has a gold handlebar with yellow handguards, yellow cylinder head covers, gold anodized cross-spoke wheels, and a stainless-steel luggage rack. Our test bike was further equipped with BMW’s side case carriers and Atacama soft side cases and luggage roll ($2,352).
There certainly is a lot of newness to this latest GS, with all its sensors and settings, with its customizability and high-tech sophistication. But for someone like me, who has put more miles on more GSs in more places than I have on any other motorcycle, there’s a lot of familiarity too. Like the distinctive sound of the boxer Twin when it fires up. Or the feel of the engine when hard on the gas. Or the sensation of leaning into a turn, aided by those horizontal cylinders keeping the weight down low.
Experience can’t help but color our opinions, as unbiased as we may try to be. So, if I’m honest, I’m more than a little partial to the big GS. Uncle Clive certainly started the fire all those years ago, but the embers were stoked over the course of thousands of miles in all sorts of conditions on three different continents. The GS has proven itself to me time and again, and this latest model is the most impressive yet.
2021 BMW R 1250 GS Specs
Base Price: $17,995 Price as Tested: $26,071 (Premium & Lights Packages, 40 Years of GS Edition, side case carriers & luggage) Warranty: 3 yrs., 36,000 miles Website:bmwmotorcycles.com
ENGINE Type: Liquid-cooled, longitudinal opposed-Twin, DOHC w/ VVT, 4 valves per cyl. Displacement: 1,254cc Bore x Stroke: 102.5 x 76.0mm Compression Ratio: 12.5:1 Valve Insp. Interval: 6,000 miles Fuel Delivery: BMS-X EFI Lubrication System: Wet sump, 4.2 qt. cap. Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet clutch Final Drive: Shaft, 2.91:1
CHASSIS Frame: Tubular-steel bridge frame w/ engine as stressed member & Paralever cast aluminum single-sided swingarm Wheelbase: 59.6 in. Rake/Trail: 25.5 degrees/3.9 in. Seat Height: 33.5/34.3 in. Suspension, Front: Telelever w/ single shock, electronically adj. & 7.5 in. travel Rear: Single shock, electronically adj. & 7.9 in. travel Brakes, Front: Dual discs w/ 305mm floating rotors, opposed 4-piston calipers & linked ABS Rear: Single disc w/ 276mm rotor, 2-piston floating caliper & linked ABS Wheels, Front: Spoked tubeless, 3.0 x 19 in. (as tested) Rear: Spoked tubeless, 4.5 x 17 in. (as tested) Tires, Front: 120/70-R19 Rear: 170/60-R17 Wet Weight: 548 lbs. Load Capacity: 455 lbs. GVWR: 1,025 lbs.
Some motorcycles are fantastic right out of the gate. Others take a little time to find their way. They’re diamonds in the rough, requiring an update or two to chip away the rough edges and realize their full potential. The 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT is one such bike.
Eight years ago, I traveled to San Francisco for the press launch of the all-new Yamaha FZ-09. It was a naked sportbike with an exciting, brash engine, an 847cc inline-Triple with a crossplane crankshaft that imbued it with gobs of character and torque. And at just $7,990, it was a steal. But there were downsides, like fueling issues, mediocre suspension and brakes, and a rock-hard seat.
A year after the FZ-09 debuted, Yamaha released a sport-touring version called the FJ-09, which was equipped with an upper fairing, a windscreen, upgraded rider and passenger seats, revised suspension, and optional saddlebags. At $10,490, it was a bargain too, and certainly more practical than the FZ, but the FJ-09 still suffered from a herky-jerky throttle and suspension and brakes that fell well short of the engine’s capabilities.
Nonetheless, both the FZ-09 and FJ-09 sold well. The FZ-09 was updated for 2017, and its major shortcomings were addressed. When Yamaha decided to standardize model names globally, it became the MT-09, and for 2021 it was updated again with a larger 890cc Triple, a revised chassis, and new electronics.
The FJ-09 got its first major update for 2019, and it was offered in two variants, also with new names: the standard Tracer 900 and the premium, touring-ready Tracer 900 GT. Both models featured new styling, smoother throttle response, a longer swingarm for more stability, and a larger, one-hand-adjustable windscreen. The GT also had upgraded suspension, a TFT color display, cruise control, heated grips, and a quickshifter. All that goodness ratcheted up the price to $12,999 for the GT, but it was still a good value.
We quickly grew fond of the Tracer 900 GT, which was agile, responsive, and well-suited for solo touring. Following the press launch, I spent a few days exploring backroads in Oregon and California. After I put nearly 2,000 miles on the bike, former Managing Editor Jenny Smith installed Yamaha’s accessory comfort seat and touring windscreen. Then she embarked on a 7-day, 5,000-mile endurance test that included the Three Flags Classic, a rally with stops in Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. We were reluctant to give back the keys.
But 2021 is when the Tracer 9 GT has come of age. With a new name and now offered only in the GT version, it’s more capable, more comfortable, and more fully featured. It got the larger 890cc Triple from the MT-09, which is more powerful, more fuel efficient, and saves nearly 4 pounds of weight. On Jett Tuning’s dyno, the Tracer 9 GT made 108 horsepower at10,000 rpm and 63 lb-ft of torque at 7,200 rpm at the rear wheel. That’s a gain of 5 horsepower and 6 lb-ft of torque over the Tracer 900 GT we tested last year. During this test, we averaged 48.7 mpg, up from 44 mpg on the Tracer 900 GT. Fuel capacity increased slightly to 5 gallons on the Tracer 9 GT, and our estimated range was 243 miles, up from 211 miles on the previous model.
Although throttle response issues were resolved during the previous update, the Tracer 9 gets the latest version of Yamaha’s Y-CCT (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle) throttle-by-wire, which uses an APSG (Accelerator Position Sensor Grip) for a more refined feel. A 15% increase in crankshaft inertia further smooths out on/off throttle transitions. On the road, there is a direct connection between the right grip and the rear wheel without any harshness.
Yamaha’s D-Mode, which adjusts power and throttle response, now has four preset modes: 1, 2, and 3 offer full power with progressively milder response, while 4 reduces power and has the softest response. Mode 1 corresponds to what would be called “sport” mode on many motorcycles, which is often overly abrupt, but not so on the Tracer 9 GT. Throttle response is immediate without being too aggressive. As the dyno chart shows, torque is consistent through the rev range, so there’s always grunt available when you need it.
Wrapped around the engine is a new aluminum frame made using a controlled-fill diecast process that reduces mass and increases lateral rigidity by 50%. A 1.2-inch lower headstock and mounting the engine more vertically helps centralize mass. A new aluminum swingarm is mounted within the frame for more rigidity, and a new steel subframe increases load capacity and allows an accessory top trunk to be mounted along with the larger 30-liter saddlebags.
The saddlebags are large enough to hold a full-face helmet in each side. The bags can be left unlocked for convenient access, locked for security, or removed to carry into a hotel room or to lighten the load for apex strafing. The lock barrels can be a little fiddly (which has long been an issue with Yamaha luggage), but with practice they work just fine.
Another upgrade for the Tracer 9 GT is semi-active suspension. The KYB Actimatic Damping System (KADS) uses input from a 6-axis IMU, the ECU, a hydraulic control unit, a stroke sensor on the fork, and an angular position sensor on the rear shock to adjust damping based on real-time conditions. The system electronically adjusts compression and rebound damping in the fork and rebound damping in the rear shock, and there are two modes, A-1 (sport) and A-2 (comfort). Spring preload must be adjusted manually using a tool for the fork (it’s in the toolkit) and a remote knob for the shock.
With 5.1/5.3 inches of front/rear suspension travel, the Tracer 9 GT has plenty of available stroke to absorb bumps, seams, potholes, and other pavement irregularities. By adapting to changing conditions, the KADS suspension delivers a supple, compliant ride and it quickly firms up as needed to prevent excessive chassis pitch under braking and acceleration. The Tracer 9 GT feels more sure-footed in corners than its predecessor, with excellent grip from its Bridgestone Battlax T32 GT sport-touring tires. Agility has gotten a boost from new 10-spoke aluminum wheels made using Yamaha’s new “spinforging” process, which saves 1.5 pounds of unsprung weight.
In addition to its new semi-active suspension, the Tracer 9 GT has a more comprehensive suite of IMU-based electronic rider aids derived from the YZF-R1 sportbike, including traction control, slide control, lift control, and ABS, with intervention adapted to lean angle and other inputs. The electronics have multiple modes, and the only system that can’t be turned off is ABS. The IMU also provides input for new LED cornering lights, which illuminate the insides of cornering when lean angle exceeds 7 degrees.
The Tracer 9 GT has an upright seating position, more like an adventure bike than the more committed ergonomics on many sport-tourers. Being able to sit up straight with no weight on the rider’s wrists, relaxed shoulders, and ample legroom makes it enjoyable to pile on the miles, and that’s what a sport-tourer is all about. The one-hand-adjustable windscreen and handguards provide good wind protection too.
Comfort and convenience features include cruise control, heated grips, and a quickshifter. In addition to upshifts, the quickshifter now provides clutchless downshifts with an auto-blipper. And the heated grips now offer 10 levels of adjustment. The Tracer also has full LED lighting, a 12-volt outlet behind the instrument panel, and a centerstand.
Yamaha has given the Tracer a unique dual-panel TFT display, with each screen measuring 3.5 inches. The speedometer, tachometer, gear indicator, and other functions are on the left panel. The right panel has a grid of four smaller displays that can be customized to show the rider’s preferred info, even if the information is also shown on the left panel. The mostly white-on-black text is crisp and clear, but some of the text is small. The TFT panels have a glossy surface that reflects sunlight and can make the screens appear too dim (brightness is not adjustable). Depending on the position of the sun, sometimes all I could see was the reflection of my riding jacket.
Yamaha upgraded the rider’s seat with higher-quality cover material and added color-matched stitching. The dual-height rider’s seat can be set at 31.9 or 32.5 inches. To suit riders of different body types or preferences, the bars and footpegs can be adjusted. Rotating the bar-riser clamps allows the handlebar to be moved up 4mm and forward 9mm, and the footpeg brackets can be moved up 14mm and back 4mm. The passenger seat is now thicker and wider, and there’s a new integrated, one-piece grab handle.
The Tracer 9 GT’s many upgrades have raised the price to $14,899, which is $1,900 more than last year’s Tracer 900 GT. For those who are cross-shopping, BMW’s F 900 XR (with Select and Premium Packages but no saddlebags) is $15,045 and Kawasaki’s Versys 1000 SE LT+ costs $18,199. Even though the Tracer is more expensive than its predecessor, it’s priced lower than its closest competitors and no important features were left off the spec sheet.
Over the past several years we’ve put thousands and thousands of miles on the FJ-09, the Tracer 900 GT, and now the Tracer 9 GT. We were immediately won over by its exciting Triple and its playful maneuverability. Yamaha kept at it with a steady regimen of improvements and refinement, and the platform got better and better.
When the covers were pulled off the 2022 Triumph Tiger Sport 660, the first question that came to mind was: Why? In an increasingly cluttered adventure bike landscape, why introduce a model without off-road capability? Why challenge the category-defining Kawasaki Versys 650? Just two months after posing those questions, Triumph marque invited us to find out firsthand at the Tiger Sport 660’s global launch in Portugal.
Adventure-inspired styling may tether the Tiger to the ADV world, but under that cladding, the Sport 660 shares a lot with Triumph’s new Trident 660 platform. From the 17-inch wheels to the Nissin braking system, from the Michelin Road 5 tires to the electronics suite, Hinckley leverages much of the Trident’s core components for the new adventure sports model. Even the liquid-cooled, 12-valve, 660cc inline-Triple remains unchanged, producing 80 horsepower at 10,250 rpm and 47.2 lb-ft of torque at 6,250 rpm (claimed, at the crank).
Despite the family resemblance, the Tiger Sport 660 is more than a naked bike in adventure clothing. Triumph still employs a tubular-steel perimeter frame but steepens the rake to 23.1 degrees. The longer and sturdier subframe accommodates optional panniers and a top box while the long-travel suspension promotes comfort and two-up touring. To the naked eye, the adventure-adjacent aesthetics set the Tiger apart, but the facelift is equal parts form and function.
Of course, the new front fairing provides more wind protection but a one-hand, height-adjustable windscreen allows riders to reduce buffeting on long road trips or amplify airflow in congested urban environs. In the lowest position, oncoming air flowed past my chest while wind danced around my helmet’s chinbar in the high setting. Results will vary for shorter and taller riders, but at 5 feet, 10 inches, the top position suited my frame best.
Dustin’s Gear: Helmet:Bell Eliminator Jacket:Alpinestars GP Plus R v3 Jacket Gloves: Alpinestars Mustang v2 Gloves Pants:Pando Moto Robby Arm 01 Jeans Boots:Dainese Persepolis Air Shoes
Triumph enhances that comfort with taller handlebars and extra distance between the seat and footpegs. Thanks to the neutral position and generously padded seat, the Sport 660 encourages all-day riding. The lengthened subframe also provides extra space in the cockpit, enabling users to scoot forward or rearward for an optimal rider triangle. Throughout the 154-mile ride aboard the Tiger, not once did my back, wrists, or knees ache, and larger riders in the group echoed those sentiments.
While I’d classify the ergos as relaxed, the handling lives up to the Sport moniker. The upright position places the rider’s knees flush against the fuel tank, providing an ideal anchor point before tip-in. That’s when the Tiger is at its best. Side-to-side transitions are swift and fluid. Steering is precise and direct. Couple that with grippy Michelin Road 5 tires and the Sport 660’s handling borders on telepathic.
Due to the 23.1-degree rake, the Sport 660 stays light on its feet, ready to dive into the next corner. On the other hand, the longer, 55.8-inch wheelbase helps maintain stability at lean. That nimble nature allows the rider to put the Tiger anywhere on the road. While the non-adjustable Showa 41mm fork and preload-adjustable Showa shock favor comfort with 5.9 inches of travel at both ends, the setup delivers sufficient support and feedback for spirit riding as well.
The suspension’s only blemish is the fork’s soft spring, but only heavy braking exposes that minor shortcoming. In a straight line, the dual 2-piston Nissin calipers and 310mm discs up front bring the 454-pound tiger to a rapid halt. Equally unexpected, the axial master cylinder yields surprising feel and feedback when trail braking into a bend. Dual-channel ABS also increases confidence while Rain mode (in addition to the default Road mode) and switchable traction control act as safety nets for less-than-ideal conditions or technique.
Triumph adds such rider aids to favor newer riders, but the ultra-tractable 660cc inline-Triple is innately user-friendly. With 80 ponies and 47 lb-ft of torque on tap, the retrofitted 675 triple is equal parts thrill and chill. Away from a stop, the mill delivers 90% of its torque between 3,600-9,750 rpm. The linear powerband may benefit novice riders, but it doesn’t stop experienced pilots from exploiting the power potential at the top of the rev limiter.
However, most riders won’t need to push the Sport 660 to those limits, especially when engine vibrations course through the footpegs at 8,500 rpm. Luckily, in 6th gear at 70 mph, the Tiger trots along at around 5,000 rpm. That mild-mannered quality caters to tourers, but the engine remains manageable even when the pace picks up. With usable power accessible throughout the rev range, the middleweight ADV also helps compensate for rider mistakes.
On several instances during the ride, I forgot to drop a gear – or two – going into a corner. Fortunately, the readily available torque helped pull the Tiger through the exit. Despite its accommodating demeanor, the Triple also wails up to its 10,500-rpm redline. It’s that combination of performance and practicality that makes the Sport 660 such a versatile bike. Those looking for the utmost performance can add on a bi-directional quickshifter from Triumph’s accessories catalog, but the standard unit offers smooth transitions and reliable gear engagement out of the box.
The Tiger Sport 660 may not feature a fire-breathing engine, trick suspension, top-tier brakes, or state-of-the-art electronics, but that doesn’t stop it from becoming one of the most balanced packages on the market. Each component contributes to the 660’s end goal. The electronics enhance safety without adding complexity. The inline-Triple produces enough power for seasoned vets without scaring beginners. The suspension and brakes complement the Tiger’s mild and wild side.
I may have doubted Triumph when it introduced the new cub in its Tiger line, but after spending a full day with the Sport 660, I’m a firm believer in its worth. Whether you label it a sport-tourer, an ADV, or none of the above, the Tiger Sport 660 is undeniably well-rounded. From commuting to canyon carving to touring, Hinckley’s latest middleweight practically does it all. That’s why Triumph believes the new adventure sports model can make an impact in an increasingly cluttered adventure bike landscape – and now, I do too.
2022 Triumph Tiger Sport 660 Specs
Base Price: $9,295 Website:triumphmotorcycles.com Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, inline triple, DOHC w/ 4 vpc. Displacement: 660cc Bore x Stroke: 74 x 57.7mm Horsepower: 80 hp @ 8,750 rpm (claimed, at the crank) Torque: 47.2 lb-ft @ 6,250 rpm (claimed, at the crank) Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch Final Drive: X-ring chain Wheelbase: 55.8 in. Rake/Trail: 23.7 degrees/3.8 in. Seat Height: 32.8 in. Wet Weight: 454 lbs. (claimed) Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gals.
Like any great team, Honda’s miniMOTO lineup has a little something for everyone. The Grom favors sporty styling while the Monkey opts for retro-cool. The Super Cub adds urbane sophistication to the mix and the Trail 125 counters with rugged utility. With each member filling a niche, Team Red’s miniMOTO family may seem complete. However, the new 2022 Honda Navi is by far the most affordable and user-friendly bike in the lineup.
Toeing the line between a twist-and-go scooter and step-over motorcycle, the latest mini borrows the fan-cooled, 109cc Single from the Activa 6G and the Grom’s popular design language. Honda hopes that mix of practicality and performance will carve out a new niche in the miniMOTO range, one that caters to students, commuters, and scooter converts. To prove the Navi’s moto meddle, Honda invited us to Costa Mesa, California, to put the newest mini to the test.
Before we climbed into the saddle, long-time Honda collaborators Steady Garage and MNNTHBX (man in the box) showcased their custom Navi creations for the crowd. From a Tron-inspired, cyberpunk dragster to a stereo-equipped road racer, the two builds put the Navi’s custom potential on display. Honda wants Navi owners to follow in those footsteps, offering accessory TrueTimber and Icon Motorsports graphics out of the gate.
Even in stock form, the Navi’s Red, Grasshopper Green (shown), Nut Brown, and Ranger Green colorway give customers more than enough options to express themselves. All four liveries were in attendance when we threw a leg over the Navi. As expected, the 30.1-inch seat height proved agreeable right away. Very few riders will struggle with the perch’s height, especially when considering the Navi’s 236-pound curb weight.
After releasing the left-hand emergency brake and squeezing the front brake lever, the little thumper purrs to life. The automatic CVT transmission shifts into neutral at stops, so the emergency brake helps the Navi stay put when parked. With the Single fired up, users simply twist to go. The CVT relieves riders of friction points or shifting gears. While the automatic drivetrain offers the approachability of a scooter, it delivers comparable acceleration as well.
The Navi pulls away from a stop easily, and torque quickly peaks at 6.6 lb-ft at 5,500 rpm. It takes the thumper more time to reach its maximum 7.8 horsepower at 9,500 rpm (there’s no tachometer on the instrument panel). With its leisurely pace, the Navi obeys all posted speed limits, but on the backroads, riders can wind the miniMOTO all the way up to 50 mph. In full tuck, with the throttle pinned, and a light tailwind, the Navi even touches a top speed of 55 mph. Of course, you can’t take yourself too seriously on a 109cc motorcycle, and the gentle powerband ensures those antics remain harmless fun.
The drum brakes help with those efforts, and they’re predictably soft. Light on initial bite and overall stopping power, the brakes require a heavy hand and extra distance to do the deed. The linked system does maintain the Navi’s stability, but only compounds the vague feel at the lever and pedal when used in tandem. On the bright side (especially for newbies), the drum units lack the power to lock up. Despite stomping on the brake pedal with all my might, the rear wheel refused to brake traction. The “old school ABS” of the Navi’s drum brakes match its minuscule mill and $1,807 MSRP.
(Why the odd price point? Why isn’t it $1,799 or an even $1,800. Honda reps told us the price stands out, not just for how low it is – most electric bicycles cost more – but because it makes folks stop and think.)
Unlike the brakes, the basic suspension exceeds expectations. The 26.8mm inverted fork only offers 3.5 inches of travel and the rear shock lowers that figure to 2.8 inches, but the soft suspension soaked up most road irregularities. Only the harshest hits unsettled the chassis. Luckily, those instances were rare. Along with the supple suspension, the 27.5-degree rake made the Navi eager to tip in and the 50.6-inch wheelbase preserved that agility without sacrificing stability at top speed.
The balanced chassis not only remained composed at lean but also stayed steady at slow speeds. Combined with the user-friendly throttle response, the poised chassis allows riders to pick through rush hour traffic with confidence. The Navi’s motorcycle-style ergonomics only enhance that feeling. Mid-mount pegs keep the knee bed at a 90-degree angle and the reach to the bars is short. Compared to a sportbike, the riding position is neutral and relaxed, but compared to a scooter, it’s much more commanding.
The Navi’s aesthetics and ergonomics may resemble a motorcycle, but the ride is closer to a scooter. The rear-mounted engine contributes to that quality, shifting much of the weight to the back. That configuration leaves an engine-sized hole in the frame, which Honda fills with a lockable storage box.
In pictures, the cubby’s capacity looks nominal. In the flesh, the storage area proved much more spacious than anticipated. I easily fit two water bottles, a notebook, snacks, and a hat in the compact box. Most students and commuters will have no problem packing textbooks and light jackets into the lockable storage.
At $1,807, the Honda Navi presents an affordable gateway to Honda’s miniMoto lineup as well as the motorcycling world. The model’s tractability appeals to beginners while its simplicity keeps things enjoyable for experienced riders. Its unintimidating 109cc Single and no-brainer automatic CVT transmission help the newcomer carve out a niche in the miniMOTO range. Despite its practicality and user-friendly nature, the Navi is fun first and foremost. If there’s any qualification for joining Honda’s miniMOTO, it’s fun factor, and the Navi more than lives up to those standards.
2022 Honda Navi Specs
Base Price: $1,807 Website:powersports.honda.com Engine Type: Fan-cooled Single, SOHC w/ 2 valves Displacement: 109.2cc Bore x Stroke: 55.0mm x 55.6mm Horsepower: 7.8 hp @ 9,500 rpm Torque: 6.6 lb-ft @ 5,500 rpm Transmission: Automatic CVT Final Drive: Chain Wheelbase: 50.6 in. Rake/Trail: 27.5 degrees/3.2 in. Seat Height: 30.1 in. Wet Weight: 236 lbs. Fuel Capacity: 0.9 gals.
Having now ridden the Aprilia Tuareg 660, it’s easy to see that this machine will be a serious contender in the middleweight adventure class. Slim, stripped, lightweight, and without nonsense, it is a bike of pure function.
The narrow 659cc engine of the Tuareg 660 defines this motorcycle’s personality. Besides powering the Tuareg down routes of pavement or dirt, its narrow parallel-Twin provides svelte comfort and control while producing a respectable 80 horsepower, with as little motorcycle as possible between the rider and the engine. While it’s doubtful anyone will gaze longingly at the Tuareg 660 in admiration of its beauty, many may well gaze at it in admiration of its performance. It has a gracefully malicious personality.
The Tuareg’s powerplant is a modified version of the engine in the RS 660 and Tuono 660 sportbikes, itself derived from the front cylinder bank of the 1,099cc RSV4. The Tuareg’s twin-cam profiles are the main difference, tuned to supply a flatter, wider powerband. It’s an engine that is without any midrange dips or glitches, and no stumbles or lurches throughout throttle positions. It shares the 81mm bore from the RSV4 as well as the heads and pistons from that proven World Superbike Championship engine, which should assuage concerns about reliability.
The Tuareg’s redline is lower than its sister machines, kicking in around 9,500 rpm after reaching its claimed peak of 80 horsepower at 9,250 rpm. For comparison, the RS 660 makes 100 horsepower at 10,000 rpm. Torque hits its 51.6 lb-ft peak at 6,500 rpm, and the crank pins are at 270 degrees to give the rider a feel of piloting a V-Twin.
The Tuareg is Euro 5 compliant and capable of meeting Euro 5+ standards with its catalytic converter optimally located as close to the headers as possible. It is shrouded by a heat shield that nicely blends into the shape of the skid plate beneath the engine, making its presence barely noticeable. Though the cat is contained within a single-walled pipe its heat is well managed, and in the 70-degree weather of our test ride in Sardinia, Italy, engine heat was undetectable.
The Tuareg 660’s chassis is quite different from the aluminum twin-spar chassis of the RS 660 and Tuono 660, with a tubular-steel frame mated to cast aluminum swingarm plates, welded up as a single unit with the rear subframe. The engine is a stressed member of the frame with six mounting points, creating a rigid chassis to meet the demands of off-road riding. Additionally, the engine is rotated back by 10 degrees, for a claimed reduction of yaw movement to lighten steering. There’s no way to verify this, but it’s fun to consider.
The two-sided aluminum swingarm is longer than that of the other 660s, and it is captured between the cast aluminum plates and the engine. The Tuareg’s wheelbase is 60 inches while the RS and Tuono are significantly shorter at 53.9 inches. Fully adjustable suspension is by Kayaba, with 43mm inverted fork and a piggyback rear shock with a progressive linkage, and there’s 9.5 inches of travel at both ends. The rear spring weight is for riders between 165-175 pounds, so heavier riders or those regularly carrying a passenger or gear may need to install a beefier spring. As an adventure bike with serious off-road intentions, wheels are an expected 21 inches fore and 18 inches aft, and they’re both spoked and tubeless. Tires are Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR, adventure rubber designed for 70% on-road and 30% off-road use.
The Tuareg 660 was created through the combined efforts of the Piaggio Advanced Design Center, in Pasadena, California, led by Miguel Galluzzi, and Italy’s Piaggio Design Center, where project design leader Mirko Zocco is located. The combined efforts resulted in what is essentially the bobber of adventure bikes, birthed without a single unnecessary component. It doesn’t even have any bodywork on the tail section, just a subframe, a seat, and a place to hang taillights and a license plate. A rear fender? Nope.
The Tuareg’s front is dominated by a clear fairing above a three-piece headlight that’s flanked by two air intakes captured within the same aluminum-colored shroud, which is the Tuareg’s primary item of actual aesthetics. Notably, the Tuareg has no “beak” but instead sports a conventional streetbike fender, which shouldn’t be a problem outside of Georgia’s red clay on a rainy day. Combined, the windscreen and the handlebar protectors keep the rider well insulated from the elements.
The gas cap has a retro look, standing above the fuel-tank cover just like in the old-timey days. The real intent of it though is a weight savings due to eliminating the extra hardware needed for a flush fuel tank filler. Small side fairings direct air into the radiator while providing useful streamlining for an aerodynamic profile, keeping to the Tuareg’s strict dictum of form follows function. The 4.8-gallon fuel tank sits vertically behind the engine, with over half of its volume contained below the top of the engine to keep the motorcycle’s mass as centralized as possible.
Simply put, the Tuareg is a blast to ride. Its narrowness is instantly appreciated from the rider’s seat, with the slim tank and seat profile providing easy legroom for a standing or seated rider. Even while leaning forward, one’s legs don’t come into contact with the wider forward section of the bodywork, which some may find a positive or a negative depending on one’s preference of knees pushing forward against the motorcycle or not.
Once you scale your way up onto it, the Tuareg is an ultra-easy ride with everything about it brilliantly dialed in, from the throttle-by-wire to the wealth of suspension travel to the slipper clutch. We were unable to get hard data for the sag numbers, but by feel alone – and logic – the static sag appears to be about 3 inches, approximately a third of the travel. While swinging a leg over the 33.9-inch seat you can feel the bike squat an inch or so to where your feet can touch the ground.
The Tuareg is fast enough to pass other vehicles at will, while sporting light steering and stability at every speed despite not having a steering damper. On one stretch of road, a wandering tear in the pavement sent the bike into a bit of a shake, but as soon as the front tire hit smooth pavement again the nervousness immediately disappeared. There’s no trade-off here, because the Tuareg feels planted at any speed.
If the Tuareg is ridden within proximity of riding the RS, the reduced horsepower and lower redline will be obvious from feel alone. Still, the power of the Tuareg is most impressive from 6,500 rpm on up, and at full throttle the throaty intake sound is a delight. The reduction in peak power from the RS is a fair trade-off for the smooth, wide powerband of the Tuareg – a real plus when riding off-road where ease of power delivery, particularly at lower speeds, assists the rider. Riding into the redline is unrewarding, as the bike hits a hard wall of nothingness rather than a soft reduction of power.
The bikes we rode were equipped with the optional quickshifter (Aprilia Quick Shift, $249.95), which makes life on the bike even easier. It provides seamless shifting up and down through the gears while forgiving attempts to modulate the throttle or use the clutch. While upshifts can be clutchless at any throttle setting, for downshifts to be smooth riders need to unload the engine. That should be obvious for any experienced rider but for some reason at times I forgot. Unlike most first-ride introductions, over-revving, stalling, missed shifts, or false neutrals were absent from our group of 13 jaded journalists. The feel and feedback of the controls are spot-on.
Adding to the Tuareg’s versatility is the Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) suite of electronic rider aids, which includes cruise control as well as multiple modes for throttle response, engine braking, ABS, and traction control. There are presets in the four ride modes – Urban, Explore, Off-road, and Individual – and the switchgear next to the left grip allows easy scrolling between them. Our test ride included dry and wet pavement, mud, gravel, dirt, rocks, and a healthy stream, and the ease of cycling through the Tuareg’s modes on the fly was appreciated.
Explore and Urban are street-focused ride modes, with ABS activated at both wheels. Explore offers more aggressive throttle response and less traction control intervention than Urban. Being the sportiest mode, I used Explore for dry pavement. Given its higher margin of safety, I used Urban as the rain mode.
Leaving the pavement, the choice of was obvious. Off Road provides the most manageable (softest) power delivery and ABS can be disabled at the rear wheel or switched off entirely. Individual gives the rider freedom to either craft the perfect recipe of preferences or muck things up incomprehensibly. Individual was a fun distraction and if I lived with this bike, I’d regularly experiment with it. The TFT dashboard where all of this is on display is nicely laid out, well angled, and wasn’t susceptible to sun glare.
The adjustable traction control decides when to intervene by evaluating the difference between front and rear wheel speeds. This results in different angles of how far the rear of the motorcycle can come out of line with the front. Using any electronic TC to its fullest is a difficult task that requires complete trust in the machine. Due to years of muscle memory, it can be hard to resist correcting for the rear stepping out. Use as your own comfort level allows.
Peter’s Gear: Helmet:AGV AX-8 Jacket: IXS Evans-ST Tour Gloves:Heroic ST-R Pro Shorty Pants:Ugly Bros. USA Motorpool Boots:TCX Mood Gore-Tex
Riding the Tuareg can make one wonder about the virtue of sportbikes. We rode Tuareg 660 at a hard pace on numerous snaking mountain roads, and its high clearance allowed for extreme lean angles. Its light steering and crisp feel, as well as its wide, usable powerband, make this a bike worthy of a day in any canyons or mountains alongside any road-racer replica. On top of that, bags are an option and so is a passenger who won’t start slapping your helmet after 20 miles. And after one’s streetbike pals start wondering how you stayed with the pack, you can take an off-road shortcut and beat them to the bottom of the mountain.
Riders accustomed to streetbikes might at first be surprised by how much the Tuareg 660 moves around under hard braking or acceleration. That’s the key advantage of 9.5 inches of suspension travel – there’s plenty to use. The motorcycle moves comfortably through the suspension stroke while the wheels remain on the ground – except for when the rider doesn’t want them to – and the suspension does not top or bottom. Dive is well controlled and never unsettled. On- or off-road, the Tuareg remains surprisingly properly planted. Full disclosure: no MX jumps were attempted.
All in all, the Tuareg should be seriously considered by anyone desiring a middleweight adventure motorcycle that shines on both pavement and dirty stuff. It is reasonably comfortable, has seamless power, shifting, and mode selections, and provides confidence-inspiring agility. The brakes provide consistent feedback, the suspension, though fully tunable, should match most riders needs as is, and the electronics are dang smart. It’s one of the easiest and friendliest motorcycles to ride while being more than up to the task of being ridden hard.
2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 Specs
Base Price: $11,999 (Acid Gold, Martian Red); $12,599 (tri-color Indaco Tagelmust) Price as Tested: $12,249 (Aprilia Quick Shift) Website:aprilia.com Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel-Twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl. Displacement: 659cc Bore x Stroke: 81.0 x 63.9mm Horsepower: 80 horsepower @ 9,250 rpm (claimed) Torque: 51.6 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm (claimed) Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch Final Drive: O-ring chain Wheelbase: 60.0 in. Rake/Trail: 26.7 degrees/4.5 in. Seat Height: 33.9 in. Wet Weight: 449 lbs. (claimed) Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gals.
Husqvarna is a storied brand that goes way back. It takes its name from the Swedish town – now spelled Huskvarna, which means “millhouse” – where it was founded in 1689. The fledgling company used hydropower from a nearby waterfall to make muskets, and its logo depicts a gun sight viewed from the end of a barrel with an “H” in the center. In the late 1800s, as the world became more mechanized, Husqvarna started making sewing machines, cast-iron kitchen equipment, and bicycles.
In 1903, the same year Harley-Davidson began operations, Husqvarna started manufacturing motorcycles, first with imported engines and later its own. In the 1920s, it produced a 550cc side-valve V-Twin similar to those built by Harley and Indian, and in the 1930s it began competing in Grand Prix racing.
As John L. Stein chronicled in “Striking Vikings,” Husqvarna produced its first purpose-built enduro, the Silverpilen (Silver Arrow), in 1953. Husky made a name for itself on American and European motocross tracks, and the brand was popularized in the iconic 1971 film, On Any Sunday.
Husqvarna sold its motorcycle business to Cagiva in 1987, building motorcycles under the same name while the original company – now headquartered in Stockholm – focused on chainsaws and lawnmowers. After 20 years of Italian ownership, Husqvarna Motorcycles was sold to BMW, and it continued making motocross, enduro, and hardcore dual-sport machines. In 2013, Husky introduced the 50/50 on-/off-road TR650 Terra and the road-going TR650 Strada, both powered by a tuned-up version of the 652cc Single from the BMW G 650 GS. We praised both bikes in our reviews, but they were short-lived. That same year, Husqvarna’s German owners sold the brand yet again, this time to Austria’s KTM.
The motorcycle industry has a long history of consolidation, mergers, divestitures, bankruptcies, and resurrections. When brands are under the same umbrella – Pierer Mobility Group owns KTM, Husqvarna, and Gas Gas – it makes economic sense to share costly resources such as engine platforms. Just as the TR650s were based on the G 650 GS, current Husqvarnas are adapted from KTM models. The Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 street models were based on KTM’s 390 Duke, and the 701 Enduro and 701 Supermoto are based on KTM’s 690 Enduro R and 690 SMC R, respectively.
Which brings us to the Norden 901, Husqvarna’s first foray into the red-hot adventure bike market. Not surprisingly, it’s based on KTM’s highly capable 890 Adventure platform. The standard 890 Adventure is geared toward a mix of street and light off-road touring, while the 890 Adventure R is aimed at more aggressive off-road adventure riding (and the R Rally version even more so).
Where does the Norden 901 fit in? Right in the middle, says Husqvarna. It’s designed to be more off-road capable and versatile than the 890 Adventure, but not as hardcore as the 890 Adventure R. It’s even priced between them. At $13,999, it’s $800 more than the 890 Adventure and $200 less than the R (based on KTM’s 2021 prices).
Why would Husqvarna build an adventure bike like what KTM already offers? It showed a Norden 901 concept at the EICMA show in 2019, and the positive response encouraged Husqvarna to carve out its own niche within the segment. For some buyers, it simply comes down to styling. Perhaps they don’t like the sharp angles or orange paint on the KTMs. The production version of the Norden is very similar to the concept, with a smoothly curved rally-style fairing, a large round headlight, fog lights, and a wide, flat seat. If you’re a fan of the look, not to mention the fluorescent yellow stripe and matte black-on-black paint and graphics, then the Norden 901 offers unique appeal.
Husqvarna hosted the launch of the Norden 901 (Swedish for “the north”) on São Miguel, the largest island in the Azores, an archipelago of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean that is an autonomous region of Portugal. The Gulf Stream contributes to the Azores’ mild, wet climate, and over the course of two days we experienced the full spectrum of conditions one might encounter on an adventure bike: rain, fog, wind, gravel, sand, mud, water crossings, dry roads, wet roads, slick cobblestone roads, mud- and manure-smeared roads, and even roads carpeted with moss. São Miguel is impossibly green, and with giant volcanic craters filled with scenic lakes and more cows than people, it feels like a cross between Hawaii and Scotland.
Having put lots of miles in lots of places on nearly every model in KTM’s adventure/travel lineup, the Norden 901’s touch points, engine character, and performance feel familiar. On the left switch cluster are four buttons (up, down, back, and set) that simplify navigation of the bike’s menus. The 5-inch color TFT display has bold, bright, detailed graphics that clearly convey information. For example, when switching from Road to Offroad ABS, which disables ABS at the rear wheel, a graphic illustration of the bike changes from green front and rear wheels (ABS is active at both ends) to green on the front wheel and red on the rear wheel (rear ABS is deactivated).
Equipped with throttle-by-wire and a 6-axis IMU, the Norden 901 has riding modes (Street, Rain, and Offroad), cornering ABS, and lean-angle-sensitive traction control. Each mode has a preset level for engine power, throttle response, and TC intervention. There is an optional Explorer mode that allows the rider to customize the settings, as well as make on-the-fly adjustments of rear wheel slip over a 9-level range.
Unlike other adventure bikes that bundle all relevant settings into each riding mode, those made by KTM and Husqvarna require riders to make separate selections for riding mode and ABS mode. On our test ride, we switched back and forth between paved and unpaved roads and wet and dry conditions many times each day, and I had to constantly remind myself that changing the riding mode from Offroad to Street does not automatically change ABS from Offroad to Road. I had to change both, which requires extra steps. I did not want to go into a blind, wet corner on a paved road with the rear ABS turned off, but sometimes it happened.
The Norden 901’s liquid-cooled, 889cc parallel-Twin has DOHC with four valves per cylinder and a 13.5:1 compression ratio. Without oil, it weighs just 118 pounds, and the Norden’s claimed curb weight is 481 pounds. Power is sent to the rear wheel through a 6-speed transmission with a slip/assist clutch and a standard up/down quickshifter. During off-road riding, the transmission occasionally popped out of gear, perhaps by bumping the shifter with my heavy boot; I had the same issue when testing the KTM 890 Adventure R. Standard equipment also includes motor slip regulation and cruise control, and oil change intervals are 9,320 miles.
The engine is lively and responsive, with dual balancer shafts neutralizing unwanted vibration while allowing plenty of character to shine through. Husqvarna claims 105 horsepower and 73.8 lb-ft of torque at the crank. Those are the same figures for the 890 Adventure R, which made 90 horsepower at 8,200 rpm and 62 lb-ft of torque at 6,900 rpm at the rear wheel on Jett Tuning’s dyno in our test earlier this year.
Like the standard 890 Adventure, the Norden 901 has WP Apex suspension, with a fully adjustable 43mm inverted fork with separate functions in each leg and convenient adjusters on top. The rear shock has a linkage and is adjustable for rebound and spring preload, the latter via a handy remote knob. Suspension travel is 8.7/8.5 inches front/rear, and ground clearance is 9.9 inches. Compliance is good over a range of conditions, though launching off water bars and hitting G-outs occasionally caused the Norden to bottom out. The underside of the engine and lower parts of the fuel tank are protected by aluminum skid plates.
Tubeless spoked wheels, with a 21-inch front and an 18-inch rear, are shod with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires that have large tread blocks and provide good grip both on- and off-road. Brakes are by J.Juan, with a pair of radial 4-piston front calipers on 320mm discs and a single 2-piston floating caliper on a 260mm disc, and they offer ample power and good feel at the front lever and rear pedal. Both clutch and brake levers are adjustable for reach, the brake pedal is adjustable for height, and the rubber inserts can be removed from the cleated metal footpegs.
What most sets the Norden 901 apart from its KTM cousins, other than styling, is comfort and wind protection. The broad, flat seat has a ribbed, suede-like cover to minimize slip, and it can be set in low (33.6 inches) or high (34.4 inches) positions. In typical adventure bike style, the seating position is upright, legroom is generous, and the reach to the wide handlebar is relaxed. There’s a good-sized pillion seat with large grab handles, and on the back is a small luggage rack. The Norden has a wider fairing than the KTMs, which provides good wind protection (along with the hand guards), and visually it offsets the bulbous shape of the lower “pods” of the horse-shaped, 5-gallon fuel tank.
Many will want to outfit the Norden 901 for extended tours or off-the-grid exploring. Above the TFT display is a convenient place to mount a GPS, and there’s a 12-volt socket on the dash. An optional Connectivity Unit allows you to pair your smartphone to the bike via the myHusqvarna app, and it will display turn-by-turn navigation on the TFT. We used the nav feature on a ride back to the hotel after lunch on the first day, and it worked like a charm. Husqvarna also offers aluminum luggage made by Touratech, as well as a range of accessory soft luggage, heated grips, comfort rider/passenger seats, a suspension lowering kit (which reduces seat height by nearly an inch), and apparel. Our test bikes were fitted with optional carbon-tipped Akrapovič silencers, which add style and a nice exhaust tone.
Overall, the Norden 901 is well-balanced, ruggedly built, and capable of tackling whatever most adventure riders will throw at it. We can’t wait to get a test bike and put some serious off-the-beaten path miles on it.
Earlier this year Triumph announced 2022 updates for every motorcycle in its Modern Classic lineup, including Bonneville, Scrambler 1200, Street Scrambler, and Speed Twin models. On top of the performance, technology, and aesthetic changes, Triumph will offer special Gold Line Editions of key models.
These eight limited-edition models, which are available for one year only, showcase the hand-painted gold lining skills of Triumph’s expert paint shop and provide custom-inspired schemes and premium details. They will be in dealerships in December 2021, with prices starting at $11,450.
2022 Triumph Bonneville T100 Gold Line Edition
The Bonneville T100 Gold Line Edition features a Silver Ice fuel tank with Competition Green tank infill edged with hand-painted gold lining and an elegant ‘gold line’ logo. It also has Silver Ice fenders and side panels with Competition Green side panel stripes, a unique new white-and-gold Bonneville T100 logo and hand-painted gold lining. An accessory Silver Ice flyscreen is also available. Pricing starts at $11,450.
2022 Triumph Street Scrambler Gold Line Edition
The Street Scrambler Gold Line Edition has a Matte Pacific Blue tank with a Graphite stripe, gold Triumph tank logos, and an elegant ‘gold line’ logo. It also features hand-painted gold lining alongside the tank stripe and around the brushed foil knee pads. Matte Jet Black front and rear fenders and side panel with new gold Street Scrambler logo. An accessory Matte Pacific Blue flyscreen and high-mount front fender are also available. Pricing starts at $11,950.
2022 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster Gold Line Edition
The Bonneville Speedmaster Gold Line Edition features a Silver Ice fuel tank with a Sapphire Black twin-stripe design and brushed-foil knee pads, all edged with hand-painted gold lining and a ‘gold line’ logo. It also has a Sapphire Black headlight bowl, fenders, and side panels with unique new gold-and-silver Bonneville Speedmaster logos and hand-painted gold lining. An accessory Sapphire Black short front fender is also available. Pricing starts at $14,200.
2022 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Gold Line Edition
The Bonneville Bobber Gold Line Edition has a Carnival Red fuel tank and fenders, with gold Triumph tank logos and a ‘gold line’ logo, a Sapphire Black twin-stripe design, and brushed foil knee pads edged with hand-painted gold lining. It has Sapphire Black side panels with a unique new gold-and-silver Bonneville Bobber logo and hand-painted gold lining. An accessory Carnival Red short front fender is also available. Pricing starts at $14,200.
2022 Triumph Bonneville T120 Gold Line Edition
The Bonneville T120 Gold Line Edition features a Silver Ice fuel tank with Competition Green tank infill edged with hand-painted gold lining and a ‘gold line’ logo. It has Silver Ice fenders and side panels with Competition Green side panel stripes, a unique new white-and-gold Bonneville T120 logo and hand-painted gold lining. An accessory Silver Ice flyscreen is also available. Pricing starts at $13,100.
2022 Triumph Bonneville T120 Black Gold Line Edition
The Bonneville T120 Black Gold Line Edition has a Matte Sapphire Black fuel tank, front and rear fenders, headlight bowl, and side panels. It also has a Matte Silver Ice fuel tank infill edged with hand-painted gold lining and a ‘gold line’ logo, as well as Matte Silver Ice side panel stripe graphics with a unique new black-and-gold Bonneville T120 Black logo and hand-painted gold lining. An accessory Matte Sapphire Black flyscreen is also available. Pricing starts at $13,100.
2022 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC Gold Line Edition
The Scrambler 1200 XC Gold Line Edition has a two-tone Carnival Red and Storm Grey fuel tank with an Aluminum Silver stripe, brushed foil knee pads, hand painted gold lining, and a ‘gold line’ logo. It also has a Jet Black side panel and headlight bowl. Pricing starts at $15,100
2022 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE Gold Line Edition
The Scrambler 1200 XE Gold Line Edition has a two-tone Baja Orange and Silver Ice fuel tank with a Pure White stripe, brushed foil knee pads, hand painted gold lining, and a ‘gold line’ logo. It also has a Jet Black side panel and headlight bowl. Pricing starts at $16,500.
Kawasaki has announced a new “SE” version of its retro-styled Z900RS for 2022, which features upgraded suspension and brakes. Up front are new radial-mount monoblock Brembo M4.32 calipers and new settings for the fully adjustable inverted fork, which now sports gold legs. Out back is a new fully adjustable Öhlins S46 rear shock with a remote preload adjuster.
Also new on the 2022 Kawasaki Z900RS is a new “Yellow Ball” color scheme, with Metallic Diablo Black paint, yellow highlights on the teardrop tank and rear fender, and fetching gold wheels.
At the heart of the Z900RS SE is a liquid-cooled, 948cc, 16-valve, inline-Four, which made 100 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 67.5 lb-ft of torque at 6,700 rpm at the rear wheel in our 2020 comparison test. This lightweight and compact engine spools up quickly and delivers solid and smooth performance when pushed but is versatile enough to be ridden in traffic with ease. The high-tensile steel trellis frame has received revisions at the swingarm pivot point, which is now stronger.
A fully adjustable 41mm inverted fork offers 10 clicks of compression adjustment, 12 clicks of rebound adjustment, and a stepless preload adjuster. At the rear, the RS is fitted with a horizontal backlink Öhlins S46 shock with a remote preload adjuster. The shock is linked to an extruded lightweight aluminum swingarm to maximize handling, with the linkage placed atop the swingarm helps to centralize the weight.
Braking is provided by a pair of radial-mount monoblock Brembo 4-piston M4.32 front calipers squeezing 300mm petal discs with a Nissin radial-pump master cylinder. Out back, a 2-piston caliper squeezes a 250mm petal disc. ABS and stainless-steel braided lines are standard.
In keeping with the classic styling, the Z900RS SE is equipped with cast flat spoke wheels, finished in gold, to resemble traditional wire-spoked wheels. Dunlop GPR-300 tires further add to the retro credentials.
The Z900RS SE features a large-diameter round LED headlight with a convex lens and chrome ring, adding to the retro look without compromising on lighting. LEDs have replaced all the lights except for the turnsignals. A dual-dial analog instrument cluster is coupled with a multi-function LCD screen for retro-style with modern functionality. The LCD features white letters on a black background and includes a gear position indicator.
Much like the sporty bikes of the ’70s, the Z900RS SE has a relaxed, upright riding position. A wide flat handlebar means the grips are 30mm wider, 65mm higher, and 35mm closer to the rider compared to the sportier Z900, partly thanks to the raised upper-triple clamp. The footpegs are also 20mm lower and 20mm farther forward, enhancing the relaxed riding position. Rubber-mounted bar ends help dampen vibrations in the bars, and both the clutch and brake levers are 5-way adjustable to help accommodate a wide variety of hand sizes.
The slim fuel tank is narrow at the rear, which allows for easy knee gripping. A low seat height, combined with a slim design, adds to the rider’s ability to place both feet on the ground when stopped.
A full range of Kawasaki accessories is available to give owners the option to add to the motorcycle’s iconic, old-school feel, including a tank emblem set, black, gold, or silver oil filler caps, front axle slider, tank pad, frame slider set, center stand, passenger grab bar and more.
2022 Kawasaki Z900RS SE Specs
Base Price: $13,449 Website:kawasaki.com Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse inline-Four, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl. Displacement: 948cc Bore x Stroke: 73.4 x 56.0 mm Horsepower: 100 @ 8,500 rpm (2020 Z900, rear-wheel dyno) Torque: 67.5 lb-ft @ 6,700 rpm (2020 Z900, rear-wheel dyno) Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch Final Drive: Chain Wheelbase: 57.9 in. Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/3.9 in. Seat Height: 32.9 in. Wet Weight: 474 lbs. Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gals.
We test the 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT, which won Rider’s 2021 Motorcycle of the Year award. It’s a fully featured sport-tourer powered by an 890cc inline-Triple that makes 108 horsepower at 10,000 rpm and 63 lb-ft of torque at 7,200 rpm at the rear wheel. MSRP is $14,899.
For 2021, the new Tracer 9 GT gets the larger crossplane Triple from the MT-09, which is lighter, more fuel efficient, and more powerful. An all-new aluminum frame is made using a controlled-fill diecast process that reduces mass and increases rigidity. A new aluminum swingarm is more rigid, and a new steel subframe increases load capacity and allows an accessory top trunk to be mounted along with the larger 30-liter saddlebags. New spinforged wheels reduce unsprung weight, and they’re shod with grippy Bridgestone Battlax T32 GT sport-touring tires.
In addition to updated throttle response modes and all-new KYB semi-active suspension, the Tracer 9 GT now has a 6-axis IMU that enables a suite of electronic rider aids adapted from the YZF-R1, including lean-angle-sensitive traction control, ABS, slide control, and lift control. It also has full LED lighting (including cornering lights) and a new dual-screen TFT display. The rider/passenger seats have been upgraded, and the rider’s ergonomics are adjustable.
Check out our video review:
2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT Specs
Base Price: $14,899 Website:yamahamotorsports.com Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse inline-Triple, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl. Displacement: 890cc Horsepower: 108 @ 10,000 rpm (rear-wheel dyno) Torque: 63 lb-ft @ 7,200 rpm (rear-wheel dyno) Bore x Stroke: 78.0mm x 62.1mm Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch Final Drive: Chain Wheelbase: 59.1 in. Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/4.3 in. Seat Height: 31.9/32.5 in. Wet Weight: 503 lbs. Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gals. Fuel Consumption: 48.7 mpg Estimated Range: 243 miles