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2022 BMW R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental | First Look Review

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review
The 2022 BMW R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental offer wind protection, luggage, infotainment, and other touring capabilities to the R 18 “Big Boxer” cruiser lineup.

When BMW unveiled the R 18 last year, a cruiser powered by a massive 1,802cc OHV air/oil-cooled 4-valve opposed Twin that’s the largest “boxer” engine the German company has ever produced, it was only a matter of time before touring versions were added to the lineup.

For 2022, BMW has announced the R 18 B “Bagger” and R 18 Transcontinental. Both are equipped with a handlebar-mounted fairing, a passenger seat, and locking hard saddlebags, and the Transcontinental adds a top trunk with an integrated passenger backrest.

Available this month, the 2022 BMW R 18 B has a base price of $21,495 and the 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental has a base price of $24,995. The standard R 18 and R 18 Classic remain in the lineup.

RELATED: 2021 BMW R 18 First Edition | Road Test Review

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review
The full lineup of 2022 BMW R 18 models.

The new R 18 B is equipped with a low windshield, a slim seat, and a matte black metallic engine finish. The R 18 Transcontinental has a taller windshield, wind deflectors, driving lights, heated seats, highway bars, and an engine finished in silver metallic.

Seat height is 28.3 inches on the R 18 B and 29.1 inches on the R 18 Transcontinental. Both have mid-mount controls, with footrests on the Bagger and rider and passenger footboards on the Transcontinental. Fuel capacity is a generous 6.3 gallons (up from 4.2 on the standard R 18).

The saddlebags offer 27 liters of storage in each side (26.5 liters with optional audio), and an additional storage compartment with charging for mobile phones is integrated into the fuel tank. The Transcontinental’s trunk holds 48 liters (47 liters with optional audio).

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review
The R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental both have a handlebar-mounted fairing with an integrated infotainment system.

BMW gave the touring versions of the R 18 a streamliner-style fairing and sculpted saddlebags that complement the lines of the standard bike. Inspired by the 1930s-era R 5, the R 18 has a double-loop frame, a gloss nickel-plated universal driveshaft, classic housing for the rear-axle gearbox, and black paintwork with optional double pinstriping. The “Big Boxer” showcases the overhead pushrod guides on top of the cylinders, while the belt cover and the cylinder head covers echo the legendary R 5 engine’s styling.

As with BMW motorcycles of the past, the fork tubes are clad with a cover extending to the slider tubes in the form of contemporary stainless-steel fork sleeves. Newly designed, rearward-curving side covers blend with the elongated lines, combining with the handlebar-mounted front trim and round mirrors to give the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental a distinctive styling touch.

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review
The R 18’s “Big Boxer” flat Twin displaces 1,802cc and makes 80 horsepower and 109 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel.

The R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental have triple-disc brakes with BMW Motorrad Full Integral ABS. Standard equipment includes Dynamic Cruise Control, which maintains the preselected speed even when riding downhill and applies the brakes as needed to do so. Optional Active Cruise Control uses radar sensors to maintain distance from the vehicle in front even if speed changes, and it also adjusts speed during cornering.

Both models have full LED lighting, and the Adaptive Turning Light is optional. It uses a swivel function to point the low beam into corners according to banking angle, and it also adjusts according to load and ride height.

Behind the fairing are four analog gauges and a 10.25-inch TFT color display. The gauges include a speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, and a “Power Reserve” instrument adapted from the BMW Group’s Rolls-Royce Motor Cars brand. The TFT display allows a navigation map to be displayed in the instrument cluster via a smartphone and the BMW Motorrad Connected App, thus eliminating the need for any additional displays. The display can also be customized with various tiles such as My Motorcycle, Radio, Navigation, Media, Phone, and Settings. Vehicle functions such as Settings, Navigation, and Communication are operated using the Multicontroller wheel next to the left grip.

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review
The R 18 Transcontinental is equipped with a 47-liter top trunk and an integrated passenger backrest.

Other features include:

  • Keyless Ride
  • Riding modes: Rain, Roll, and Rock
  • Automatic Stability Control (switchable)
  • Engine drag torque control (MSR)
  • Hill Start Control
  • Reverse assist (optional)

The new R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental are equipped with a standard sound system developed together with the British manufacturer Marshall featuring two 2-way loudspeakers, each with 25 watts output, integrated into the front fairing, black speaker grills, and white Marshall lettering.

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review

Highlights of the audio system include:

  • Equalizer profiles – optimized listening profiles for a perfect audio experience
  • via the helmet: one profile (studio)
  • via loudspeakers: four profiles (bass-boost, treble-boost, voice, balanced)
  • Highly flexible sound architecture design options (treble/bass) with a very broad output spectrum (output range), even at high speeds
  • FM/AM band, HD radio and optional SiriusXM Satellite radio

The optional Marshall Gold Series Stage 1 equips the motorcycles adds a pair of 90-watt subwoofers in the front upper section of the side cases and a 180-watt amplifier.

The Marshall Gold Series Stage 2, available for the R 18 Transcontinental, includes five speakers (two in the fairing, subwoofers in the saddlebags, and a 2-way, 25-watt speaker in the front side section of the passenger backrest) and a 180-watt amplifier.

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review
2022 BMW R 18 B

R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental First Editions

At market launch, the new R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental will be available in exclusive First Edition versions in addition to the standard models. These combine the classic R 18 look with equipment in exclusive paint and chrome.

Additional equipment extras include chrome components, Blackstorm metallic paint with elaborate double-pinstripes in Lightwhite echoes the bikes’ historical roots. Other highlights include special surface finishes, an embroidered seat and the inscription “First Edition” on the side cases.

First Edition features include:

  • Wheels in black, contrast milled (R 18 B)
  • Wheels in silver grey, contrast milled (R 18 Transcontinental)
  • Chrome clasps on cases with “First Edition” lettering
  • Chrome-plated handlebar fittings
  • Chrome-plated cylinder head covers and hero chest
  • Chrome-plated intake trim
  • White double pinstriping on fuel tank, fairing and trunks and cases
  • Chrome-plated brake calipers at the front (R 18 Transcontinental only)

Another component is the “First Edition” Welcome Box which is exclusively reserved for buyers of the “First Edition” and contains:

  • Box with picture of the engine on the lid
  • Historic fuel tank emblems (copper-colored lettering)
  • Historic slotted screws (copper-colored)
  • Working gloves
  • Assembly screwdriver (can also be used as a key ring)
  • “R 18 First Edition” cap
  • Leather belt with exclusive “R 18 First Edition” belt buckle
  • Book the history of BMW Motorrad
2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review
The R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental are available in optional Galaxy Dust metallic, an iridescent paint finish that shimmers in the spectrum from violet to turquoise blue, depending on the lighting.

As with all BMW motorcycles, the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental will be available with an extensive range of options and accessories. We’ll get a chance to ride both bikes soon, so stay tuned for our review. To find a BMW Motorrad dealer near you, visit bmwmotorcycles.com.

The post 2022 BMW R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental | First Look Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

BMW CE 04 Electric Scooter | First Look Review

New BMW CE 04 Electric Scooter
The CE 04 has a striking contemporary design and is available in Light White or Magellan Grey metallic.

The CE 04 scooter marks the beginning of a new chapter in what BMW Motorrad calls their “electromobility strategy.” The thoroughly contemporary design includes an all-electric drive and, BMW claims, innovative connectivity solutions aimed squarely at urban mobility and commuters. The bodywork is finished in Light White as standard, contrasting with black working parts, and finished with a modern “floating” bench seat. Solid wheels and a sidestand, integrated with the bodywork, finish off the styling. The CE 04 is also available in an optional Magellan Grey metallic, supplemented with a black/orange seat and an orange wind deflector. 

New BMW CE 04 Electric Scooter
The CE 04 has a claimed range of 80 miles (the reduced output version is 62 miles), and can fully recharge from flat in 1 hour and 40 minutes with the optional quick charger.

The CE 04 uses an innovative liquid-cooled, permanent-magnet electric motor, mounted in the frame between the battery and the rear wheel. BMW says they have conducted extensive riding tests to develop specific types of battery recuperation relative to the choice of riding mode. The motor is rated at 20 horsepower with a claimed maximum output of 42 horsepower, which should make it zippy. BMW has highlighted the importance they placed in providing opportunities for riders to choose between maximum efficiency and maximum riding fun, as the mood or need requires. Three riding modes include Rain, with reduced power, Eco, where range is prioritized over performance, Road for more zip, and an optional Dynamic mode, for maximizing performance. Top speed is limited to a healthy 74.5 mph, and 0-30 mph is achieved in 2.6 seconds.

New BMW CE 04 Electric Scooter
Top speed is limited to a healthy 74.5 mph, and 0-30 mph is achieved in a claimed 2.6 seconds.

The CE 04 has a battery cell capacity of 60.6 Ah (8.9 kWh), providing a claimed range of 80 miles (the reduced output version manages 62 miles). The last published study conducted by the DOT on commuting was in 2003 and found that, on average, U.S. commuters travel 15 miles to work. The CE 04 is well within those limits but will require owners to regularly recharge. The lithium-ion battery is charged using one of the BMW integrated charging devices and a regular household socket or a public charging station. When the battery is completely flat a complete charge takes about 4 hours and 20 minutes. The optional quick charger reduces charging time to 1 hour and 40 minutes from completely flat and will take a battery at 20% up to 80% in 45 minutes.

READ: 2022 BMW C 400 GT Scooter | First Look Review

The frame is constructed from tubular steel, with a telescopic fork and twin disc brakes for the front wheel, and a single-sided swingarm/monoshock, and a single-disc brake at the rear. ABS comes as standard, and BMW’s ABS Pro (combines with tilt sensor) is an option. Tires are 120/70-R15 at the front and 160/60-R15 at the rear. A 10.25-inch TFT color screen with integrated map navigation and extensive connectivity should allow owners to safely stow their device in the ventilated mobile phone charging compartment with USB-C charging port. All-round LED lighting units are standard. Adaptive Headlight Pro provides cornering illumination as an available option, as is Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), available by means of an ASC (Automatic Stability Control) unit. ASC limits engine torque in relation to rear wheel slip and DTC enables safe acceleration in various conditions and is also sensitive to lean angle. 

New BMW CE 04 Electric Scooter
New BMW CE 04 Electric Scooter
New BMW CE 04 Electric Scooter
New BMW CE 04 Electric Scooter

Oliver Zipse, CEO of BMW AG, said, “The BMW CE 04 is our new electric star for the city. It combines an e-drive with emotion and motorcycling fun. The latest technology, and the best battery cells, which also provide power in the BMW iX. Just like the CE 04, all future new BMW Motorrad models for urban mobility will be pure electric.”

Price and availability have not yet been announced. For more information visit: bmwmotorcycles.com

New BMW CE 04 Electric Scooter

The post BMW CE 04 Electric Scooter | First Look Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS | Road Test Review

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS review
Completely redesigned for 2021, the Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS has more power, less weight, and premium components and electronics. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

Yes, this is a review of the 2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS, the legendary streetfighter from Hinckley that has been completely redesigned. More power, less weight, all the must-haves – you get the idea. For me, testing the Speed Triple was personal. But before I get into it, you should know the backstory. 

London, England, 1998. I can still fit everything I own into the trunk of a hatchback, and for the first time in my short life, I’m earning more money than I’m spending. When my employer relocates me to a new office in the financial district, my commute becomes a 45-minute crush on the Tube. With a modest pot of cash building in the bank, I decide now is the time to buy my first proper motorcycle. Lane splitting in Britain is legal, and I plan to join the multitude of well-healed professionals commuting through the traffic and into the city each morning. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
The legendary streetfighter from Hinckley has been completely redesigned and the 2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS has more power, less weight, and premium parts.

It’s the same year Triumph gives its naked hooligan, the Speed Triple, an aggressive redesign. Introduced in 1994, the Speed Triple had already left its mark. The new styling for ’98 includes wider, higher bars and distinct double headlights under a minimal flyscreen, a design that Tom Cruise will come to immortalize in Mission Impossible II

The engine is now the 955cc Triple from the Daytona, producing a whopping 130 horsepower. I visit the Triumph dealership in Vauxhall so often the sales staff make fun of me and pretend to close the shop, telling me, “turn off the lights when your done sitting on it.” The Speed Triple’s price tag is hanging from the handlebar: £7,999 (around $13,000), which is about ten times more than I’ve ever spent on anything. 

Alas, saving for my first proper bike is competing with the fiscal demands of London’s nightlife, and ultimately, I scale down my plans. The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R I buy leaves £2,500 for some decent gear, but as much as I love the Ninja, I lament the hooligan and tell myself there will always be a next time. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story

Fast forward to 2005. London is history, as is the Ninja. New York is now my home and the center of the universe. Business is going well, but occasional rental rides are not cutting the mustard from a thrill perspective. As if in answer to my thoughts, Triumph releases the fourth generation of the Speed Triple, with a larger 1,050cc inline-Triple and a new chassis. But it’s the massive dual underseat pipes, which help expose the single-sided swingarm, that catch my eye. 

I head down to the Triumph dealer in SoHo and climb aboard. It’s bigger than I remember, and meaner looking. I decide, right there and then, I’m going to buy it. But a test ride is “out of the question” until I get a New York driver’s license, as is insuring any bike I buy. I book the test, but somewhere along the way, a petite Italian also catches my eye, and suddenly I have a shared bank account and an eye-watering mortgage. My new fiancé doesn’t think a new motorcycle is a priority right now.  

Time marches on. With each generation, the Speed Triple gets better and better. And with each passing year, it seems farther out of reach. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
The new Speed Triple 1200 RS is one of the lightest hyper naked bikes on the market, making it extremely agile.

Now it’s 2021, and I’ve been living in Los Angeles for a few years. A few weeks after starting my new job at Rider, our EIC says he needs me to test the new Speed Triple 1200 RS. And just like that, I’m holding the keys – a keyless fob, actually – to a machine I’ve coveted for years. 

Revised from the ground up, the new Speed Triple certainly looks the part. The underseat pipes are gone, replaced with a superbike-style can, but the fox-eye headlights, which replaced the iconic round ones in 2011, are as menacing as ever. It feels more compact than I remember, with a narrower seat and gas tank. Our test bike’s color scheme is the Matte Silver Ice option. Sapphire Black is also available and both colors are understated, flying in the face of its many candy-colored rivals or even the garish colors offered on Speed Triples in the past, like Nuclear Red and Roulette Green. But it’s no sleeper. Huge Brembo brake calipers and Öhlins suspension are clear indicators of the power they’re tasked with harnessing. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
All of the 2021 Speed Triples are designated RS, and standard equipment includes fully adjustable Öhlins suspension and Brembo Stylema front brake calipers.

Triumph completely redesigned the Speed Triple’s engine, starting with an increase in displacement (1,160cc, up from 1,050) and a race-bred oversquare piston configuration. A bigger bore and a shorter stroke result in a higher redline, now 11,150 rpm. A new ignition system with twin-tip spark plugs improves combustion, and a new air intake and free-flowing exhaust system help squeeze every available horse from the Hinkley hooligan. On Jett Tuning’s rear-wheel dyno, the Speed Triple grunted out 165.5 horsepower at 10,800 rpm and 87 lb-ft of torque at 8,500 rpm, figures that are much higher than the previous model.     

Triumph’s engineers must have been busy because, despite the performance gains, the new engine weighs 15 pounds less than before and is Euro 5 compliant. Lighter moving parts have significantly reduced engine inertia, promising a very revvy engine. A lighter slip/assist clutch assembly has fewer plates but more friction per plate, and it’s linked to a new stacked 6-speed gearbox with an up/down quickshifter. An all-new cast-aluminum chassis is both stronger and lighter, further cutting the Speed Triple’s curb weight down to just 437 pounds.

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS review dyno horsepower torque
Dyno results for the 2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS

Compared to the Speed Triple R we tested back in 2012, the 2021 RS makes 40 more horsepower and weighs 40 pounds less. Take a moment and let that sink in. 

The only Speed Triple 1200 available for 2021 is the RS model, and with that designation comes premium equipment. Fully adjustable Öhlins suspension includes an NIX30 inverted fork and a TTX36 twin-tube rear shock. Braking at the front wheel is supplied by twin Brembo Stylema radial monoblock 4-piston calipers clamping 320mm discs, and at the rear, a single Brembo 2-piston caliper. Tires are grippy Metzeler Racetec RR tires with just a hint of rain sipes. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story

Brembo Stylema calipers, coupled with Metzler Racetec RR tires make for truly impressive stopping power. 

After getting acquainted, I start to get a feel for the Speed Triple’s handling as I make my way out of the city. The ride is firm, as is the seat; not a stone, but not plush either. The quickshifter works beautifully, especially at the higher rev ranges, but I can’t find neutral to save my life. By the time I reach the back roads I feel acquainted enough to really open up the throttle as I exit a familiar, sweeping corner. Thump-in-the-chest acceleration follows as the engine spins up almost instantly. I know this road intimately, but suddenly it feels shorter and I’m up to the next corner before I know it. With a firm, progressive pull on the brake lever, the stopping power from the Stylema calipers feels like I just launched a parachute. I lose my flow through the corner because now I’m too slow. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
Out on the back roads, I finally get to open up the Speed Triple’s throttle, the engine response is immediate, and acceleration out of the corners is blisteringly quick.

A few miles later and I’m coming to grips with it. The Triumph is in Road mode and I see no reason to change that. The body position is spot-on for a naked, the sporty side of neutral, and despite the firm seat and significant bend at my knee, I’m not uncomfortable. The bars are wide but steering inputs are precise. Triumph has moved the footrests inboard slightly, and when I get confident enough to test the sticky Racetecs, I find plenty of grip and ground clearance. 

Now that my brain is properly calibrated, I come to appreciate the phenomenal brakes. I can be heavy on the rear with no issues, and the front brakes are immediate without being snappy. There is barely a whiff of dive in the fork. Our test bike came straight from a track test, and the suspension was carved-from-granite stiff. We turned the clickers on the Öhlins NIX30 to remove nearly all of the compression and rebound damping, and the ride was much improved. Taut and responsive, though as a 160-pound rider I’d like to go softer still. 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS review

The Speed Triple is a breeze to ride, despite the race-bred engine. The performance is staggering, but not unwieldy. Thanks to the abundant torque it’s happy to tootle about in the higher gears. Throttle response is sharp but manageable, and when I’m a little heavy-handed, wheelie control kicks in and levels things out (you can turn it off and wheelie away if that’s your thing). The bike feels smaller than it is, and is eminently flickable, darting into corners on demand with eye-popping acceleration on exit. Sometimes the firm ride can be unsettling on less-than-perfect roads, but through a smooth series of corners it’s like magic.

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story

The cockpit is nicely understated, and the dash is clear and readable in bright daylight and in the dark. Snazzy graphics add a bit of flare. 

Triumph applied its standard minimalist approach to the cockpit. A low-reflection, 5-inch TFT display defaults to a view of the tach, gear position, and speed, and snazzy dash graphics rotate the default screen to the side when you access the menu. A new six-axis IMU sensor empowers a full suite of electronic rider aids, including multi-mode cornering ABS and traction control. There are five riding modes: Rain (power is restricted to 99 horsepower), Road, Sport, Track, and Custom. On the street, the Speed Triple is more than saucy enough in Road mode. All-round LED lights, backlit switchgear, keyless ignition, and cruise control are standard. 

The Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS exceeded my expectations. As I rode it more and more, I adapted to it, and I’d like to think it adapted to me. We got to know each other. I grew more confident in its handling and braking capabilities, which allowed me to explore more of its performance envelope. The mighty Triple rewarded me with one of the most thrilling riding experiences of my life. They say you should never meet your heroes, but in this case, there was no letdown. I still love the Speed Triple. And yes, it was worth the wait. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS Specs 

Base Price: $18,300
Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles 
Website: triumphmotorcycles.com

Engine

Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse inline Triple, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,160cc 
Bore x Stroke: 90.0 x 60.8mm 
Compression Ratio: 13.2:1
Valve Insp. Interval: 20,000 miles 
Fuel Delivery: Multipoint sequential EFI w/ throttle-by-wire
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.5 qt. cap.
Transmission: 6 speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch
Final Drive: X-ring chain

Chassis

Frame: Aluminum twin-spar frame, bolt-on aluminum rear subframe & single-sided cast aluminum swingarm 
Wheelbase: 56.9 in
Rake/Trail: 23.9 degrees/4.1 in 
Seat Height: 32.7 in. 
Suspension, Front: 43mm USD fork, fully adj., 4.7 in. travel 
Rear: Single shock, fully adj., 4.7 in. travel 
Brakes, Front: Dual 320mm floating discs w/ 4-piston radial monoblock calipers & ABS 
Rear: Single 220mm disc w/ 2-piston caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast aluminum, 3.50 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast aluminum, 6.00 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 190/55-ZR17
Wet Weight: 437 lbs.
Load Capacity: 430 lbs.
GVWR: 867 lbs. 

Performance

Horsepower: 165.5 @ 10,800 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Torque: 86.9 lb-ft @ 8,500 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 29 mpg
Estimated Range: 117 miles 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS Photo Gallery

The post 2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS | Road Test Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S | First Look Review

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999

After the successful launch of the Pan America 1250, Harley-Davidson’s first-ever adventure bike that’s built on the all-new liquid-cooled Revolution Max platform, the Motor Company has announced a late addition to its 2021 lineup, the Sportster S. It will be in dealerships this fall with an MSRP of $14,999.

Visually similar to the 1250 Custom teased several years ago, the 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S represents a new era for the legendary Sportster line. Since the introduction of the XL model family in 1957, Sportsters have always been stripped-down motorcycles powered by air-cooled V-Twins.

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999
2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999

Harley-Davidson calls the new Sportster S a “sport custom motorcycle,” and at the heart of the machine is a 121-horsepower Revolution Max 1250T V-Twin, a lightweight chassis, and premium suspension.

“The Sportster S is the next all-new motorcycle built on the Revolution Max platform and sets a new performance standard for the Sportster line,” said Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO, Harley-Davidson. “This is a next generation Sportster defined by power, performance, technology and style. And it’s part of our commitment to introduce motorcycles that align with our strategy to increase desirability and to drive the legacy of Harley-Davidson.”

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999

The new Sporter S has a stocky, muscular profile and fat tires that look like balled-up fists. Its minimalist front fender evokes the front end of a classic bobber, while its tail section, high-mount exhaust, and olo seat draw inspiration from Harley-Davidson’s legendary XR750 flat tracker. The engine’s lightweight magnesium engine covers stand out with a Chocolate Satin finish.

“Every visual design element of the Sportster S model is an expression of the motorcycle’s raw power,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson vice president of styling and design. “This is a wolf in wolf’s clothing.”

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999

Displacing 1,250cc just like the Pan America’s engine, the Revolution Max 1250T in the Sportster S makes less peak horsepower and is tuned for a broad spread of torque. The riding experience can be tailored to conditions or preferences with selectable ride modes (Sport, Road, and Rain, plus two Custom modes) and H-D’s Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements.

Like on the Pan America, the Revolution Max engine is a stressed member of the Sportster S chassis. It has a welded tubular-steel trellis swingarm with a braced design and stamped X-member to further stiffen the chassis.

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999

Suspension is made by Showa and is fully adjustable at both ends, with a 43mm USD cartridge fork and a piggyback-reservoir rear shock with a remote preload adjuster knob. Likewise, the Sportster S has Brembo brakes at both ends, with a single 320mm rotor up front squeezed by a radial monoblock 4-piston caliper and a 260mm rear rotor with a 2-piston caliper. Lightweight cast aluminum wheels with a staggered, five-spoke design are shod with wide Dunlop/Harley-Davidson Series GT503 tires.

Forward foot controls and a low handlebar put the rider in an aggressive posture, and seat height is 29.6 inches. Cruise control and a proximity-based security system are standard equipment. With its 3.1-gallon peanut tank full of fuel, Harley-Davidson says the Sportster S model weighs just 502 pounds.

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S liquid cooled Revolution Max MSRP $14,999

A round, 4-inch TFT screen displays all instrumentation and supports Bluetooth-enabled infotainment. All-LED lighting includes a Daymaker Signature LED headlamp. A wide range of accessories will be available.

The 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S will be offered in Vivid Black, Stone Washed White Pearl, and Midnight Crimson.

2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S Photo Gallery

The post 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S | First Look Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

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

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa | First Ride Review

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review
The Suzuki Hayabusa has received its first major update since 2008. We put it to the test on the track and the street. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

Rewind the clock to 1999. We were approaching the end of the millennium, and it felt like the science-fiction future was just around the corner. The carefree among us were ready to party like Prince, while worrywarts feared a Y2K-induced doomsday for the world’s computers.

That’s the same year that Suzuki introduced a big, bulbous sportbike called the GSX1300R. Appended to its alphanumeric model designation was an unfamiliar name — Hayabusa — the Japanese word for the peregrine falcon, a bird renowned for its ability to exceed 200 mph. Was Suzuki’s 173-horsepower bird of prey capable of the same feat?

Not officially.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review
The Hayabusa has always had swoopy, aerodynamic bodywork. Designers and engineers spent time in a wind tunnel to massage the new model’s shape.

The top-speed wars of the late ’90s, with the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-11 defeated by the Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird, and the Blackbird defeated by the Hayabusa, caught the attention of European bureaucrats. To avoid regulation or an outright ban on powerful sportbikes, motorcycle manufacturers voluntarily agreed to a top-speed limit of 186 mph (300 kph).

With its slippery bodywork and long wheelbase, the big ’Busa wasn’t designed for roadracing. But that didn’t stop us — back in the day I was part of a team that raced two Hayabusas in a WERA 24-hour endurance event at Willow Springs. Meanwhile, it was the hottest bike on the dragstrips.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review
Things get blurry in a hurry when you twist the Hayabusa’s loud handle.

Fast forward two decades, and I’m riding the third-generation Hayabusa on the track at Utah Motorsports Campus, pushing the limit to the point of being uncomfortable. Was I tempting fate?

Near the end of UMC’s long front straight, my speed approaches 175 mph. Pop up out of the bubble, get on the binders, set up for Turn 1. Adrenaline is flowing, everything’s happening really fast. Is it possible to have a blast and shit yourself at the same time?

Yes, yes it is.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review engine disassembled
Some assembly required.

Suzuki’s design brief for the new Hayabusa was “The Refined Beast.” In other words, make the bike better without reinventing the wheel. The Hayabusa’s last major update was back in 2008, when it got a larger engine, a new frame, and other upgrades. Architecture and displacement of the 1,340cc inline four haven’t unchanged, but the engine was thoroughly revised to meet Euro 5 and deliver more low- and midrange power.

Compared to the previous model, peak horsepower and torque are lower — 188 horsepower at 9,700 rpm (down from 194) and 111 lb-ft at 7,000 rpm (down from 114) — but there are sizable gains in the heart of the rev range. Suzuki claims the new Hayabusa goes 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds, a couple of tenths faster than its predecessor.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review engine cutaway
The Hayabusa’s 1340cc inline four was thoroughly reworked. New or updated parts are shown in yellow.

Most of the engine’s internals were lightened, strengthened, or refined — cylinder head, valve springs, pistons and piston pins, connecting rods, and crankshaft. Less internal friction helps the engine run quieter and smoother, and critical components are now more durable. Cam profiles were revised to reduce valve lift overlap, redesigned dual injectors for the throttle bodies improve combustion, and revised intake ducts increase pressure flowing into the higher-capacity airbox. A revised radiator improves cooling and a new exhaust system saves 4.5 pounds.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review
The Hayabusa’s prime directive is to go fast in a straight line, but it likes to go around corners too.

Wrapped in panels of wind-tunnel-tested aerodynamic bodywork and weighing 582 pounds, the Hayabusa is a big bike, almost intimidating at first. With its swooping lines and aggressive curves, it looks as fast as it goes. A 50/50 weight distribution and a low center of gravity help the Hayabusa feel agile. The tight, sporty rider triangle and 31.5-inch seat height suit my 5-foot, 9-inch frame. I was able to move around the cockpit freely and use the controls easily.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review
What could be better than a constant-radius corner on a blue-sky day?

Suzuki hosted a two-day launch, and we spent the first day plying canyon roads in the Wasatch Mountains east of Salt Lake City. On the road, the ’Busa was in its element and exhibited confident, stable handling. Negotiating tight sections required some effort, but I had no problem picking a line, turning in, and making midcorner adjustments as needed. The fully adjustable KYB suspension provided a comfortable, compliant ride, and it just floated over rough pavement.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review
With tons of smooth power, agreeable ergonomics, and cruise control, the Hayabusa is the ultimate sport-tourer.

Throttle response was spot-on, with no hesitation or flat spots, and there’s a ridiculous amount of velvety-smooth power available at all times. All it took was a small amount of throttle to make the scenery blur, and gear choice was irrelevant. On the freeway, the Hayabusa never felt stressed, there was a ton of roll-on power for quick passes, and the new cruise control was really well sorted.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review wheel brake
A big bike needs big brakes. Brembo Stylema radial-mount 4-piston front calipers squeeze 320mm rotors, and linked cornering ABS is standard.

On a bike this big and fast, strong brakes are essential, and the new Brembo Stylema front calipers and 10mm-larger 320mm rotors did an excellent job of slowing the beast down. The new linked ABS system, which distributes braking force between the front and rear, worked well on the street. Trail braking into corners, I could feel the system engage the rear brake to settle the chassis.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review gauges
Classic analog gauges are joined by modern full-color TFT display.

As expected, the new Hayabusa gets a full IMU-based electronics package called the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System. Six riding modes (three presets, three customizable) adjust power, engine braking, traction control, and quickshifter mode. SIRS also includes linked cornering ABS, a speed limiter, launch control, slope-descent control, hill-hold control, and cruise control. Everything is adjusted via buttons on the switch clusters, with menus and info displayed on the TFT display centered between the analog speedo and tach.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review
The Hayabusa’s full electronics package (Suzuki Intelligent Ride System) allows you to tailor the ride experience to road or track.

For both street and track riding, the electronic riding aids allowed me to tailor the Hayabusa’s performance and behavior to the conditions. On public roads, I selected mode B (Basic), which softened throttle response but still allowed full power and put traction control and anti-lift (LF) control in the middle of the range. Mode C (Comfort) reduces power and maximizes TC and LF intervention. On the track, I opted for Mode A (Active), which provides more aggressive throttle response, max power, and minimal intervention. Suzuki’s linked ABS, which uses the IMU to adjust intervention based on lean angle, can’t be turned off. It was helpful on the street, but I found it to be somewhat of a hindrance on the track.

A closed course is the only suitable place to explore the Hayabusa’s limits. There’s more than enough power, so the challenge comes with managing chassis dynamics. There’s no getting around the ’Busa’s size and weight, but its stout twin-spar aluminum frame communicates the desired feel and feedback for attacking corners at a sane pace. As my laps accumulated, my speed and comfort level both increased.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review
Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22 tires provided plenty of grip.

The bike was well-balanced and responsive to inputs, allowing me to confidently throw it from side to side to the point of scraping the peg feelers and the exhaust. After a few sessions we made some suspension adjustments — less rebound, more compression — that reduced the Hayabusa’s tendency to pitch front to back on corner exits. Then it really came alive, making corner entry and exit much more predictable.

New Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22 tires provided good grip, and the limits of their adhesion were kept in check by the lean-angle-sensitive traction control. Late in the day when the bike was sorted, I was having a great time. I had found my rhythm, and the TC light was flashing out of every corner while I was leaving black marks in my wake. The onboard computer tracks all sorts of cool data — max lean angle, braking pressure front and rear, rates of acceleration and deceleration, etc. — which made for some fun bench racing between sessions.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review
The Hayabusa’s trademark rear hump can be removed and replaced with a pillion seat. Passengers are encouraged to hang on tight.

All in all, the new Hayabusa is an impressive bike. Looks fast, goes fast, and has all the modern bells and whistles. Maybe it’s time to repeat the comparison test we did back in 2008, when we strapped tank bags and tail bags to a Hayabusa and Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R and hit the road for a couple days of hypersport touring.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review
The choice is yours: Metallic Matte Sword Silver and Candy Daring Red, Glass Sparkle Black and Candy Burnt Gold, or Pearl Brilliant White and Metallic Matte Stellar Blue.

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa Specs

Base Price: $18,599
Website: suzukicycles.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line four, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,340cc
Bore x Stroke: 81.0 x 65.0mm
Horsepower: 187.8 hp @ 9,700 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Torque: 110.6 lb-ft @ 7,000 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated assist-and-slipper wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 58.3 in.
Rake/Trail: 23 degrees/3.5 in.
Seat Height: 31.5 in.
Wet Weight: 582 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gals.

The post 2022 Suzuki Hayabusa | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT | First Ride Review

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT review
How well does this 2021 model hold up to more than 40 years of Honda Gold Wing testing and scrutiny? I love it all. Except for one thing… (Photos by Drew Ruiz)

EIC Drevenstedt asked me a simple question: “How many Honda Gold Wings have you ridden?” My answer required lots of mental calculations: maybe 75 or 80 total? “Okay,” he said. “Then you go ride the 2021 Gold Wing Tour DCT and tell me how it fits in with all those past Wings.”

Back in the late 1970s, I worked at Cycle magazine, and we rode the living snot out of every test bike, including the big ones. So full disclosure: I’m an outlier regarding performance standards. I’ve always pushed motorcycles far beyond the typical pace, and I prize light and lively handling above all else. Since 2000 I’ve ridden over 40 different fifth-gen Wings (2001-2017 GL1800s), but I had yet to ride the sixth-gen GL1800 that was introduced in 2018 and updated in 2020.

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT review
Comfy accommodations fit better than ever, fore and aft.
Ken’s Gear: Katie’s Gear:
Helmet: Schuberth R2 Carbon Helmet: HJC IS-Max ST
Jacket/Pants: Aerostich Darien Suit: Aerostich Roadcrafter R-3
Boots: Tourmaster Response WP Boots: Tourmaster Trinity

The mechanicals, measurements, electronics, and such of the sixth-gen GL1800 have been thoroughly covered in previous Rider tests (September 2020, November 2019, May 2018, and January 2018). But there are several updates baked into this 2021 iteration:

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT review
Katie praised the rear seat armrests and heaters. But no drink compartments!

Revised passenger accommodations: The passenger seat backrest reclines more and has thicker foam and a taller profile. Both my wife and daughter prefer this setup compared to the previous-generation GL1800s we ride (2003 and 2008; see “SIDEBAR: A Tale of Two Gold Wings” below). They especially like the longer armrests but regret the loss of the two rear storage compartments.

Larger trunk: The top trunk now holds 61 liters (up 11 from before; total luggage capacity is 121 liters) and can now stow a pair of full-face helmets. The low back lip facilitates easy loading, but care must be taken to tuck in the cargo’s stray straps, sleeves, etc. so the lid latches securely.

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT review
The trunk’s sloped rear face eases loading but stray straps can foul lid closing.

New seat cover and rear turn signals: The seat’s new suede-like material has a premium look and feel to it, and the colored seat piping is a nice touch. The rear turn signals are now all red for a cleaner look.

Updated audio: Improvements include upgraded, 45-watt speakers with richer sound, optimized automatic volume-adjustment level, a standard XM radio antenna and new Android Auto integration in addition to the previous Apple CarPlay integration.

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT review
Electric windscreen, fancy dash with navigation, four ride modes, and a modern 4-valve engine. What’s not to like?

My other impressions of the sixth-gen Wing? Awesome brakes. Truly awesome, much like sportbike binders. I never felt the brakes on my 2008 Wing were lacking, until now. Equally important, rider ergonomics are vastly improved. I’m a big guy, and I’ve always felt cramped and confined by the previous-gen GL1800’s seat/bar/peg configuration. The latest iteration offers much more natural and comfortable ergonomics.

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT review
Gold Wings are engineered to be run hard — really hard — and they’ll go better and faster than the vast majority of owners will ever suspect. For 2021 the overall feel is taut and modern, much closer to the sport-touring side than ever before.

The Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) is also impressive and relieves some of the rider task load, especially while riding around town and dealing with traffic. Its shift points in Tour mode are accurate, if a bit relaxed, while Sport mode’s power delivery feels much crisper and even a bit abrupt. Sport mode holds shift points so much longer you really need to be totally sport focused, not even a little bit lazy in your planning. And that’s not a complaint; Sport is my preferred setting on tight back roads. The DCT can be a little tricky during ultra-low-speed maneuvering, but I adapted fairly quickly. I do, however, miss being able to slow-roll a tight turn using the clutch during gas station maneuvers and such.

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT review
Although the 6th-gen GL1800 displaces only 1cc more than the 5th-gen, the flat six was completely redesigned.

As for styling, the new machine looks stunningly sleek and remarkably athletic parked beside my 2008 GL1800. However, I am not much swayed by a machine’s cosmetics; it’s what she’ll do that counts. And Gold Wings have long been unfairly maligned for their size and looks without proper respect for their high level of full-throttle performance.

It’s hilariously revealing when anybody bad-mouths the Honda Gold Wing as an “old man’s bike,” especially if their opinion isn’t based on actual riding experience. When I wrote the test for the then-new GL1200 for the February 1984 issue of Cycle, my conclusion was: “This year the Honda engineers have pulled off an unbelievable trick — they’ve taken a 790-pound machine and made it nimble and manageable. The choice is clear. Why put up with a big-feeling touring mount when you can have something as close to magic as we’ve seen in a long time?”

Cycle magazine 1984 cover Honda Gold Wing GL1200

Whew! Lofty praise indeed. But it reflects how much Honda engineers have always invested in the basic bones — the chassis and engine — of every generation of the Gold Wing to create a good-handling package.

Things got bigger and better with the gen-four GL1500. I didn’t spend much time on full-dresser 1500s, but I fell deeply in love with the stripped-down 1,520cc Valkyrie muscle bike — unvarnished, rowdy fun! Do you have your October 1996 issue of Rider handy? That’s my story, “The Great Escape,” with our daughter Kristen joining me on the new Valkyrie in Montana. After completing that trip I had more Valkyrie miles logged than any non-Honda employee. And I loved it.

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT review
The Gold Wing has been Honda’s flagship touring model for 46 years. It has set and reset standards for comfort, performance, reliability, and sophistication, and won Rider’s Motorcycle of the Year award in 2001 and 2018 (and the Gold Wing-based Valkyrie Tourer won in 1997).

Rider’s 2018 Motorcycle of the Year: Honda Gold Wing Tour

Within the realm of big tourers, I am especially enamored with the fifth-gen Wing for both its handling and power. When I dove into the first corner aboard the GL1800 back in 2000 during the bike’s press intro, that previously beloved Valky instantly turned to toast; the GL1800 simply smoked it on handling alone, not to mention the big boost in power. For riders with a serious sporting bent, it was a real revelation thanks to its delightfully agile handling and precise steering. (We have former Large Project Leader Masanori Aoki, who was responsible for several CBR sportbike models before heading up the GL1800 project, to thank for that.) It felt nothing short of wondrous at the time and it remains a wonder and a mystery even today, which is why many uninitiated “experts” still foolishly look down their noses at Wings.

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT review
Solo or with a passenger, there’s no motorcycle touring experience quite like the Honda Gold Wing.

Fact is, I’ve personally schooled more than a few leather-clad sportbike riders by treating them to a sudden appearance of a Wing in their mirrors — followed by polite passes, of course. I’ve logged thousands of miles on dozens of different GL1800s and I know exactly how well they get down a road, twisty or straight. Until you’ve ground down a GL1800’s footpegs to half-length smoldering stubs, you’ve got nothing to say about how a Gold Wing supposedly cannot perform.

Honda Gold Wing footpegs ground down
A well-used set of Honda Gold Wing footpegs, courtesy of the author.

That brings us to this 2021 Gold Wing Tour DCT, which is an impressively sporting, fun, and stylish package. It’s so good in so many ways it really outshines the early fifth-gen GL1800, a bike I love dearly. In my book, the sixth-gen’s main shortcoming is that its Hassock-style front end that lacks the delightful steering agility of its predecessor. And that nimble feel is what originally set the GL1800 apart from other big rigs. The 2021 may be 80 pounds lighter, but that benefit is largely offset by heavier steering and muted front-end feel and feedback.

Honda Gold Wing model timeline
After rolling up thousands of serious test miles on all of these models and more, which is my favorite? It’s probably just me, but the nimble steering of fifth-gen Gold Wings still holds sway in my heart.

I regret that loss, but then I’m a nut for steering agility. In the real world, for every rider with a sport orientation like mine, dozens more will line up for all of the comfort, convenience and technology features that make the latest Gold Wing Tour DCT such a sweet touring machine.

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT review
The 2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT in Candy Ardent Red. It’s also available in Metallic Black.

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour Specs

Base Price: $28,300
Price as Tested: $29,300 (DCT model)
Website: powersports.honda.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, longitudinal opposed flat six, Unicam SOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,833cc
Bore x Stroke: 73.0 x 73.0mm
Transmission: 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission automatic (as tested)
Final Drive: Shaft
Wheelbase: 66.7 in.
Rake/Trail: 30.5 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 29.3 in.
Wet Weight: 838 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 5.6 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 40 mpg

SIDEBAR: A Tale of Two Gold Wings  

2003 2008 Honda Gold Wing GL1800
The author with his son-in-law Gregg and daughter Kristen, and their two fifth-gen Gold Wing GL1800s.

Motorcycle industry gurus talk about expanding the touring market with younger riders. But nobody seems to do anything about it. So I did.

Back in 2019, I had one motorcycle — my trusty Honda 919. My wife Katie had basically quit riding with me even though a pair of artificial hips let her hop on a backseat freely again. A GL1800 seemed a nonstarter. Yet next thing I knew, I owned not one but two Gold Wings.

How’s that? Well, we had invited the entire family to vacation with us in Tuscany last June, including motorcycle rides with a private guide. Sweet, huh? That commitment meant Katie needed seat time prior to Italy and a Wing in the garage would supply necessary incentive.

In November of 2019, I found a used 2003 GL1800 showing 29,000 miles. It was a cream puff, and for $5,500 it was a steal. Katie and I mounted up and she fell in love with riding all over again. Life was grand. And then COVID-19 hit. Even worse, serious health issues sidelined me for nearly all of that cursed year.

So I told my son-in-law Gregg (not Drevenstedt!) to come and take the Wing so my daughter Kristen could enjoy a break from the pillion of their Yamaha R6. Kristen had logged thousands of miles with me on Wings and Valkyries from her teen years onward, so she’d surely dig it. But to my surprise, Gregg immediately fell in love with the whole Wing thing and they headed out riding most weekends, having a blast. Months later, I’d feel like a heel by repossessing it. So I bought another GL1800, this time a 2008 for $7,800. And I gave them the ’03. Growing the touring segment one young couple at a time … for less money than that trip to Italy would’ve cost us! — KL

The post 2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
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‘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.
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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.

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2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 | Video Review

2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 video review
2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 in Supernova trim (Photo by Kevin Wing)

Check out our video review of the 2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350, an affordable, approachable cruiser with a base price of $4,399. It’s powered by an all-new 350cc air-cooled single that makes 18 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 18 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm at the rear wheel, as measured on Jett Tuning’s dyno.

To find a Royal Enfield dealer near you, visit royalenfield.com.

The post 2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 | Video Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com