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Motor School with Quinn Redeker: Balance Ball 2.0

Motor School with Quinn Redeker Balance Ball 2.0
Let’s find your center in this Motor School installment. There is nothing more sublime than the moment you discover perfect balance on your motorcycle. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

In an earlier column, I mentioned that my background was primarily in off-road riding and racing before I got into the police motorcycle thing. So it was inevitable that some of my lifelong dirty habits would bleed over into my techniques for riding heavy streetbikes. Hey, I was an old dog when I became a motor cop, and I had lots of old tricks. Of all the off-road skills that transferred into my urban traffic enforcement program, today’s class covers one of the best.

Let’s kick it off with some game show trivia. I’ll go with “Motorcycles” for $200, please. How do you hold on to a motorcycle when you ride? “With my hands on the handlebar.” Sorry, that’s incorrect. The answer our judges were looking for? We control the bike (push, pull, twist, and squeeze the controls) with our hands; we hold on to the motorcycle with our legs. Thanks for playing, pick up your free copy of Green Smoothies for Life on your way out the door.

Okay, that was the bell, please have a seat so we can begin. For today’s lesson, it’s important to understand that there is an optimal position within the rider cockpit that keeps the rider’s mass always balanced, minimizing the negative effects it has on the motorcycle when we experience weight transfer while riding on the street. 

Let me explain: When we ride around on our motorcycles, we encounter forces of acceleration and deceleration. Do you ever find yourself holding on to the bars like a water skier under hard acceleration or performing an involuntary push-up against the bars under heavy braking? That’s weight transfer, and the less we can include our own mass in the exchange, the less it unsettles our suspension or impacts our traction, braking, steering geometry, and more. In short, the less we throw our weight around, the better. And maintaining a consistent center of balance within the cockpit is key.

Now, to put this lesson into practice, let’s go to the land of make believe (or the garage) and do a visualization exercise while perched atop our motorcycles. With your bike standing straight up (either on the centerstand or balanced with both feet on the ground), pretend the motorcycle is one of those big exercise balls you see people balancing on at the gym.

Motor School with Quinn Redeker Balance Ball 2.0
Counteracting weight transfer under acceleration with only one hand on the bar.

Now play along, and in your mind, with your eyes closed and your hands off the handlebar, shift your body to the precise location on the ball (your seat) that puts you in the center of it. Pay attention to how far forward or back you are and imagine the ball moving around in all directions. Are you still balanced? If the answer is yes, this final position is ground zero. Bullseye. Home plate. From this point forward, this will be the spot you operate from when you encounter forces of acceleration and deceleration (weight transfer) that push and pull you as you go and stop. Oh yeah, you can open your eyes now.

Let’s go ahead and gear up. I’m going to put you through an exercise that will force proper body position during weight transfer and help you develop a better sensitivity for when you get it wrong. This will allow you to self-diagnose and make the necessary corrections, because I can’t always be there to wave my pom-poms and get your special lemon drink.

The Tank Drill: This is a 1st-gear, straight-line, less-than-20-mph exercise. Pick a safe, uncongested strip of roadway or parking lot that will allow you to ride 300 feet or more in a straight line without dealing with pedestrians, cross traffic, or road hazards. Start by pulling away from a complete stop and accelerating to 15-20 mph. Then use your brakes to smoothly and comfortably slow down to approximately 5-10 mph, but don’t make a full stop. Fantastic. Now, while still in motion, accelerate back up to 15-20 mph again. At some point in the process, you will need to turn around, so go ahead and do that in whatever safe manner you choose. That’s all there is to it. Great work, you’re a ringer. Oh, I forgot to mention…

We are going to do this drill with your right hand on the bar and your left (clutch) hand resting on the tank. That’s correct: Only your throttle hand is allowed to grip the bar except during take-off and turnaround. Other than those two exceptions, your clutch hand must rest on the gas tank where I can see it. No cheating.

Motor School with Quinn Redeker Balance Ball 2.0
Shifting your weight back counteracts braking forces, and the Tank Drill helps you learn to get it just right.

You will immediately notice that to avoid pulling on the bar during acceleration (and generating an uncomfortable turning movement), you will be forced to move your upper body forward. Same goes for the braking portion, but you will need to shift your upper body weight back to remain balanced and generate no additional force on the handlebar.

Take it slow, breathe, and concentrate on getting to a balanced centered position like you’re floating on top of the bike throughout the exercise. That’s how you’ll know you got it right. Rinse and repeat, look to the sky, and proclaim “Hallelujah!”

Work this drill until you can comfortably maintain a place of perfect balance when encountering forces that occur while accelerating or braking without feeling the need to grab the handlebar with your left hand to offset any weight transfer. Keep in mind, the harder you accelerate and brake, the greater the weight transfer, which means your range of motion will need to increase within the cockpit to keep the magic carpet ride going.

In time, the pushing and pulling pressure you exert through your hands will decrease as you gain sensitivity to weight transfer. And don’t be surprised when you have more comfort and dexterity at the controls too. Most important, now that you’ve quit upsetting the physics equation with your body weight, your bike will perform better and safer beneath you. That’s huge.

If you want to watch a live-action version of this lesson, go to Police Motor Training with Quinn Redeker on YouTube and find “Perfect Balance On A Motorcycle – Balance Ball 2.0.” The Tank Drill is one of a few exercises I cover in the video, so feel free to fast forward – you won’t hurt my feelings.

Quinn wears Lee Parks Design gloves exclusively. Find Quinn at Police Motor Training.

See all Motor School with Quinn Redeker articles here.

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Enchanted Kingdom: Northeast Vermont Motorcycle Ride

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
Vermont’s unmaintained Class IV roads offer access to truly off-the-beaten-path scenery and long-forgotten historic sites as well as enchanting along this Vermont motorcycle ride. Photos by Susan Dragoo.

It’s all scenic. It’s all charming. And it’s all green … except when it’s not, and then it’s even better.

A few days into a trip to the lush forests of northeastern Vermont, we were reminded of Sedona, Arizona. The connection between these two dramatically different climes may at first seem nebulous, but Vermont’s consistent beauty called to mind the time we visited an outdoors outfitter in Sedona and asked, “Which are the most scenic trails?” The jaded clerk responded with a sigh, “All of them. They’re all scenic.” His tone let us know there was nothing to be gained by pressing him for further details. We would have to make our own choices from the seemingly infinite good ones available.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
Burke Mountain’s ski lift sits idle in the summer, when the resort is popular with mountain bikers riding the nearby Kingdom Trails Network.

Likewise, trying to narrow down the best scenery in Vermont is a fool’s errand. It would be difficult to make a bad choice. Our adventure riding journey to the state’s Northeast Kingdom took us into what may be some of Vermont’s most remote territory, lending itself beautifully to the pursuit of riding motorcycles down dark, green, tree‑­canopied lanes and over roads the likes of which Paul Revere might have traveled in colonial days.

See all of Rider‘s Northeast U.S. motorcycle rides here.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
Willoughby Gap is Burke Mountain’s most iconic view.

These are Vermont’s northeastern highlands, dubbed the Northeast Kingdom in the 1940s by a former Vermont governor in recognition of the area’s distinct culture and geography. The region lies within the southernmost range of the cold boreal forest of spruce and fir, birch and aspen, which stretches to the Arctic. It’s a place of long winters and short growing seasons where ponds, lakes, and villages nestle in valleys and twisting roads follow clear streams between small granite hills and mountains. Adventure in Vermont, like the New England states themselves, comes in tight and tidy packages, so the remoteness here can be surprising to the traveler accustomed to the vast, open American West.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
Remnants of a 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps camp at the summit of Burke Mountain.

It was mid‑­September, on the cusp of the imminent explosion of fall colors for which this place is famous. Still, there was plenty of sensory stimulation. Besides the inexplicable feeling of navigating these woods in a late summer shower, leaves were beginning to carpet the trail like gold doubloons cast forth from some cosmic seeder. Pungent scents of cut evergreens, vegetation at the end of its cycle, and earth, freshly disturbed by our tires and dampened by the rain, filled our heads with aromas fit for expensive candles sold in artisan shops. Days that started with fog and mist and ended with afternoon showers added mystique and urgency to move along yet held us in the moment, hoping it would never stop.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
Riding in the Northeast Kingdom is an experience of lush, green forests and nearly infinite backroads.

Eric Milano, owner of MotoVermont (see sidebar below), led our group of a dozen riders from all walks of life. Most were successful in business and seeking another way to enjoy the outdoors. Sailors, skydivers, scuba divers, and racecar drivers, they were here to learn the nuances of adventure riding versus railing through the woods with their hair on fire, replaying the antics of their younger selves.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
An adventure bike is the perfect vehicle for enjoying it, and MotoVermont organizes great tours to get the most out the area.

Our business, D.A.R.T. (Dragoo Adventure Rider Training), is often invited on such tours to coach guests not only on the finer points of riding well over difficult terrain but also the philosophy of leaving behind a legacy of responsibility as we explore on adventure motorcycles, a term that can apply to most any off‑­road‑­capable two‑­wheeled machine with enough legs to make it between fuel stops.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
Descending a rocky ledge lends the perfect opportunity for a little fun.

A high priority for adventure riders is respecting landowners and other trail users, helping to ensure trails stay open. There is more than enough joy in smelling the roses (and other flora) while tackling technical trails with natural obstacles. Adventure riders see no need to run loud pipes, ride at breakneck speeds, or travel off trail, risking damage to adjacent lands and hard‑­earned relationships.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
Respectful behavior on roads and trails helps to ensure continued access.

Our first day together was dedicated to enhancing rider skills, and the second was spent applying them over some of Vermont’s most remote backroads. Many are Class IV roads, barely maintained byways kept open mostly by locals who traverse their craggy, narrow tunnels on snow machines during winter and by motorcycle the rest of the year.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
The mountains of the Northeast Kingdom offer some of the area’s most iconic scenery.

Our troupe traveled west out of Burke Mountain Resort, stopping off at Cafe Lotti in East Burke before turning north and entering the woods and our first Class IV challenge. Cafe Lotti is a homegrown hangout set in a typical aging Vermont building which has no doubt fueled generations of local folk and travelers alike with a belly full of breakfast and a hot cup of craft coffee or tea. It is the perfect meeting spot for adventure seekers of all types, from mountain bikers to adventure riders to cross‑­country and downhill skiers.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
Whether crossing a burbling stream or stopping for Pure Vermont Maple Syrup, there’s plenty to see along the trail.

We left town westbound and turned north into the woods, winding our way past drop lines – pieces of tubing strung between taps in a forest of maple trees like webs from a giant prehistoric and overactive arachnid. Eric stopped at the entrance to a steep, rocky uphill and explained the best options for a successful path of travel. Rain had turned the rocks into slippery entrapments like greased turtle shells, ranging from tiny spotted tortoises to 6‑­foot sea turtles.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom

Most riders made the climb without incident, but one or two forgot their training and sat down or, worse, dragged their feet, losing control and learning the hard way why adventure riders stand up. Steering, suspension, and sight are all improved by standing tall and proud, and this mild lesson was a graphic illustration of just how important it is to do so in the rough.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
Vermont’s deepest lake, glacial Lake Willoughby, boasts distinctive fjord-like rock formations and is a popular summer attraction.

The onset of rough terrain was the portal to this enchanted Northeast Kingdom, a region mentioned in Patricia Schultz’s book 1000 Places to See Before You Die, which boasts that when the foliage flames in autumn, this may well be the most beautiful place in America. Indeed, it should not be missed. A few years back, we made the trip by motorcycle during the peak of fall color, and years ago, Bill traversed Vermont by bicycle on his way across the northern tier of the United States, a solo journey that permanently pinned this place to his psyche and keeps us coming back.

Our rugged upward trail eventually turned down, and the trail from the top was no disappointment. Sketchy ruts through mudholes, strategically dispersed to reward good judgment in not rushing, kept us on our toes. Most of these roads shed water well and remained rideable, but caution was of the essence. The road continued to undulate throughout the 100‑­plus‑­mile clockwise loop that would eventually take us back to our starting point.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
Roadside stands along the way offer a variety of goodies, including fresh eggs.

But first, a stop at Devaney Farmstand near the intersection of Hudson Road and Town Highway 29 outside West Charleston, Vermont. The clouds opened and rain came down in full force as we dismounted and climbed a stairway, ducking into a loft room where lunch had been laid out for us by Bob and Sharyl Devaney. Calzones, fresh corn on the cob, and apple pie awaited. We gobbled down the fare as rain drummed on the roof. Maple syrup, candles, fresh jams, and pies of all kinds added their fragrance to the shop, and antiques and other local trinkets were neatly displayed for anyone wanting a souvenir.

Our timing was perfect. The sun began to peek through the clouds as we said our thank‑­yous and goodbyes to the Devaneys and fired up our machines. A short ride on twisty pavement led us back to the reason we were here: more Class IV roads. After skirting the fjord‑­like Lake Willoughby, a glacial lake dotted with vacation cabins and summer camps, Eric turned right onto a barely noticeable two‑­track trail that climbed steadily toward the mountain top.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
It wouldn’t be a trip to Vermont without a covered bridge. The state has 104 historic covered bridges, and many of them are still in use today.

Eventually we descended again and crossed an old bridge leading onto a magnificent, fast gravel road following a river through the canyon. Although tempted to open up the throttle, good judgment kept our horses in check, and we ran at a brisk but reasonable pace. Riding right is critical here, as some turns are blind and, as remote as these roads are, we still saw other users. Respectfully, we would hold up five fingers to oncoming traffic if there were five or more riders behind us, then four, three, two, one, and the sweep rider held up a closed fist to indicate he was the last one. Trail etiquette is critical to maintain good relationships with the locals who hold the power to shut us out. We happily demonstrated good stewardship and appreciation for the privilege of exploring their home turf.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom
Riders take a break at Devaney Farms after a filling and delicious lunch.

We hit pavement just as the rain began again and made our way the last few miles to the resort. Parking under the canopy, we shed our outer gear and immediately began to relive all that had happened in a short couple of days. New friendships had been made and lessons learned. Everyone left with a quiver full of new skills and a renewed appreciation for our freedom to ride, perhaps not by lantern light warning the colonists of the British invasion, but with our own versions of enthusiasm as we explored the Enchanted Kingdom.

See all of Rider‘s touring stories here.

SIDEBAR: MotoVermont

MotoVermont specializes in adventure motorcycle tours, training, rentals, and retail sales. Tours range from day rides in Vermont to week-long adventures farther afield, including New Mexico, Arizona, North Carolina, and other locations. Training events are typically 1-2 days in length with a focus on balance, mastery of bike controls, preparedness, and courtesy. Rental options include the Yamaha Ténéré 700, Kawasaki KLX 300, and Yamaha XT250.

MotoVermont founder and operator Eric Milano is a Backcountry Discovery Routes ambassador and a member of the development team for the NEBDR route. He spends much of his time developing tours and organizing events for adventure motorcyclists. MotoVermont has a retail store in Milton, Vermont, or you can meet them at one of the many rallies and events they attend throughout the Northeast. For more information, visit the MotoVermont website.

SIDEBAR: Burke Mountain Resort

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom

Burke Mountain Resort offers a comfortable stay with great views of Burke Mountain or Willoughby Gap from every suite. Located three miles from the Kingdom Trails Welcome Center, the resort has 116 suites ranging from studios to three-bedroom suites.

Guests can enjoy pub food, craft beers, and cocktails at The View Pub on the second floor, with large windows looking out to Willoughby Gap. Edmund’s Coffee Shop, located in a cozy timber-framed room with stone fireplaces, serves breakfast and coffee. The resort also includes on-site retail shopping opportunities at Bear Essentials and Vertical Drop Retail, with products ranging from basic groceries to home décor and outdoor gear. Other amenities include a heated pool and hot tub, a family arcade, and a fitness center. For more information, visit the Burke Mountain Resort website.

Vermont Motorcycle Ride Enchanted Kingdom Bill Dragoo Susan Dragoo

Bill and Susan Dragoo own and operate Dragoo Adventure Rider Training (D.A.R.T.) in Norman, Oklahoma, and are widely published writers, especially in the field of adventure travel. Learn more at BillDragoo.com and SusanDragoo.com.

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Fly Racing Trekker Adventure Motorcycle Helmet Review | Gear

Fly Racing Trekker Conceal Adventure Motorcycle Helmet
Fly Racing Trekker adventure motorcycle helmet in Kryptek Conceal colorway.

Just as many adventure bikes have beaks inspired by the high front fenders of dirtbikes and rally racebikes, most adventure helmets have peaks inspired by those found on dirtbike helmets. Sometimes called a visor, the peak helps block flying debris, errant branches, and sun glare. Fly Racing makes a wide range of dirtbike helmets, while its Trekker helmet is aimed at adventure and dual-sport riders who spend time both on and off the pavement.

The DOT/ECE-approved Trekker has a lightweight polymer shell, a wide, goggle-friendly eyeport, and a dual-density EPS liner that provides progressive impact protection. The optically correct, UV-resistant clear faceshield has coatings to prevent fogging up and to resist scratches, and its mechanism has several detents for partial or fully open positions. The shield can be removed with a Phillips-head screwdriver (a dime or penny will work in a pinch) to accommodate goggles, but I had no issue wearing goggles with the faceshield in the fully open position. The Trekker also has a drop-down sunshield with an anti-fog coating, and tinted and iridium faceshields are available.

Fly Racing Trekker Conceal Adventure Motorcycle Helmet
Photo by Aaron Crane.

The Trekker has closable vents in the chinbar, atop the forehead, and on the back, and the EPS liner has ventilation channels to pull hot air through the inside of the helmet. Overall, the helmet provides decent airflow, and a removable chin curtain blocks some dust and cool air. Enveloping the rider’s head is a removable, adjustable, washable antimicrobial SpaSoft lining that’s very comfortable. There are speaker pockets for installing a helmet communicator, and the Trekker secures with a double D-ring chin strap.

See all of Rider‘s helmet reviews here.

The Trekker has all the features I want in an adventure helmet at a very affordable price point, and it’s reasonably light (the size medium I tested weighs 3 lb, 10 ounces). The faceshield and sunshield mechanisms work well, even after getting heavily powdered with fine silt. The peak can be removed for more of a street style helmet, but I didn’t have any issues with the peak at highway speeds. And I’m a big fan of the new-for-2024 Kryptek Conceal graphic, especially in the Slate/Black/Red colorway shown.

The Fly Racing Trekker adventure motorcycle helmet is available in sizes XS-2XL in solid colors for $189.95 and the Kryptek Conceal graphic (available in four colorways) for $219.95.

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Join Rider Magazine on Edelweiss Grand Alps Tour

Edelweiss Bike Travel Grand Alps Tour
The Alps are world-famous for their endless curving roads and motorcycle-friendly culture. The Edelweiss Grand Alps Tour will allow you to experience the best of them.

Take a motorcycle trip of a lifetime with us on the Edelweiss Bike Travel Grand Alps Tour. Join Rider contributing photographer Kevin Wing on this 15-day tour through Austria, Switzerland, France, and Italy. The Alps have some of the best motorcycle roads in the world, and this tour has been carefully created to include beautiful scenery, overnight stays at charming alpine villages and towns, hundreds of hairpin bends, and some of the highest passes in the Alps.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Grand Alps Tour village
Old-world architecture and charming villages are some of the many highlights of this tour.

The tour starts in the town of Seefeld in Austria’s state of Tyrol, then heads through Austria, stopping one night in the village of Galtür, and then into Switzerland, with a stop in Andermatt, a village in the Swiss Alps. The tour travels west through Switzerland and into France at Chamonix, a town at the foot of the famous 12,000-feet Aiguille du Midi. In France, the tour circumnavigates the snow-covered mountain of Montblanc with a stop in Briançon, the highest city in France and the second highest in Europe.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Grand Alps Tour Kevin Wing
Professional photographer and long-time Rider contributor Kevin Wing will be on this tour July 21 to Aug. 3.

After France, you’ll head into Italy with stops in Aosta, Lago Maggiore, Livigno, and Collalbo. The tour spends a rest day in Collalbo in the Dolomites before passing back into Austria to the skiing town of Kaprun. After 15 days of some of the best riding in Europe, the tour concludes back in Seefeld.

Related: Edelweiss Bike Travel ‘Southern Italy Delights and Twisties’ Tour Review

Included in the price of the tour are all overnight stops at comfortable middle-class hotels, breakfast every day, two picnics, 11 dinners, motorcycle rental, third-party liability insurance, a tour information package, tour guides, and a support van for luggage.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Grand Alps Tour lake
You’ll enjoy scenery like this day after day.

Motorcycle rentals available include models from BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, KTM, Suzuki, and Triumph, and pricing for the tour starts at $7,670 for a rider in a double room. Optional upgrades include certain motorcycle models, a single room for $960, the Alps Prep Course for $470, and the Guided City Tour for $460.

Join us on the Edelweiss Grand Alps Tour from July 21 to Aug. 3, 2024. For those who can’t make the first dates, this tour will run again from Sept. 14 to 28. For more information and to reserve your spot on this tour, visit the Edelweiss Bike Travel website.

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Source: RiderMagazine.com

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE Review | First Ride

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE action
The 2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE provides larger displacement, more torque, and updated styling over the previous generation in a fun, easy-to-ride package. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

Last year, Kawasaki debuted a new 451cc parallel-Twin in the Eliminator cruiser. Displacement was increased over that of the Ninja 400 sportbike and Z400 naked bike with a longer stroke, resulting in an increase in torque. For 2024, Kawasaki has migrated that engine back into the Ninja and Z series, and the larger engine prompted new names – now the Ninja 500 and the Z500. 

Related: 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator Review | First Ride

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE action
It only takes a glance at the Z500’s updated styling to understand why Kawasaki’s marketing slogan for the bike is “All Eyes on You.”

When we test rode the Eliminator, we enjoyed the extra torque and performance of the larger engine. And while there’s plenty to like about a cruiser, the Ninja and Z series have strong fanbases who will certainly be glad to see the upgraded engine in their preferred platforms. We got the opportunity to test the Z500 SE for a day in and around San Diego, and we found the engine and other upgrades particularly well-suited to the naked bike’s package and target customers. 

Survey Says… | Kawasaki Z500 

While developing the Z500, Kawasaki paid special attention to what customers were looking for by surveying customers interested in the Z400, as well as dealers who served these customers. The responses informed the Z500’s upgrades, resulting in a motorcycle that should suit the needs of customers who are most likely to buy it. 

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE action
The added torque from the Z500’s 451cc parallel-Twin is a welcome upgrade that provides more fun while remaining predictable and manageable for newer riders.

Kawasaki found that most shoppers interested in the Z400 were beginner riders with less than one year of experience, in their mid-30s, and not interested in passenger accommodations. They were looking for a bike for commuting duties and backroad rides, and they wanted it to be capable of highway speeds and keeping up with traffic while remaining lightweight and nimble. Interestingly, while the Z400 is mostly the same as the Ninja 400 but with less bodywork and different ergonomics, Kawasaki found that customers who were looking for a naked bike were not interested in a sportbike and vice versa. Kawasaki also found that style was an important driving factor for purchase. 

With the data in hand, Kawasaki designers got to work to address this list of customer needs. 

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE seat
Among other extras, the SE version comes with a rear seat cowl in place of the standard’s passenger seat.

Ready to Rev | Kawasaki Z500 

The new engine is the most significant upgrade over the Z400. The 451cc parallel-Twin has a bore and stroke of 70.0mm and 58.6mm, and it now makes a claimed 51 hp at 10,000 rpm and 31.7 lb-ft of torque at 7,500 rpm. The torque, up from the Z400’s 28 lb-ft, also arrives 500 rpm earlier. 

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE Engine
The 451cc parallel-Twin in the Z500 provides added torque compared to the previous engine. Also seen here are the SE version’s angular lower cowl and frame sliders.

During our test ride, we spent the morning riding around the city streets commuter-fashion, and we found the engine ideal for this role. The extra torque made for quick acceleration while remaining easily manageable and unintimidating. When we ventured onto the canyon roads south of town, the Z500 proved itself to be capable of spirited riding. Vibrations were noticeable above about 7,000 rpm, but they weren’t so bad as to become a problem. 

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE action
If you’re looking for a fun, easy-to-ride, and affordable daily bike, the Z500 should be on your list.

The Z500 features a slip/assist clutch with an incredibly light feel – one of the lightest I’ve tested and another factor that would make this bike a good fit for commuting. Stopping at a stoplight or stop sign every block was no problem for my left hand. Press launches like this involve lots of U-turns for repeated photo passes, so we were especially glad of the super light clutch feel during our ride. 

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE action
The Z500 loves getting out of town for the day for some fun on canyon roads.

Nimble Naked | Kawasaki Z500 

The chassis comes unchanged from the Z400. Like its predecessor, the Z500 rides on a trellis frame with the engine as a stressed member. It features a short-wheelbase/long-swingarm configuration with a wheelbase of 54.1 inches, a seat height of 30.9 inches, and a fuel capacity of 3.7 gallons. The standard version weighs 366 lb, while the SE version with included accessories weighs 370 lb. 

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE action
Commuting duties are easy on the Z500. The bike’s low weight, nimble handling, and light clutch feel make getting around town a breeze.


Suspension comes in the form of a 41mm Showa fork and a bottom-link Uni-Trak rear shock with five-way preload adjustability via the included tool kit. A 310mm front disc is gripped by a 2-piston caliper, and a 220mm rear disc is paired with a 2-piston caliper. Unlike previous Z-series bikes, both the standard Z500 and the SE version feature ABS. 

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE Wheels/Brakes
Nissin brakes provide solid stopping power. Both versions of the Z500 come equipped with ABS.

The wheels feature a star-pattern, five-spoke design, are 17 inches front and rear, and are shod with Dunlop Sportmax GPR-300F tires. 

Upon first rolling out of the hotel parking lot for our test ride, my first impression was how nimble the Z500 is. Tight turns into parking lots are stress-free, and the bike feels slim between the legs. New for the Z500 is a flatter seat shape and new seat cushion, adding comfort over the previous Z400.  

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE action
The Z500’s ergonomics allow for both upright riding when wanted and a somewhat tucked-in stance for sportier riding.

The riding position is fairly upright with a handlebar that’s taller and wider than the Ninja’s. The bike also features new mirror stays meant to reduce mirror vibration, and although they still vibrate at highway speeds, they’re crystal-clear and smooth while riding around town. 

The nimbleness of the Z500 made city riding easy, and it made canyon roads exciting. The bike feels as light as the spec chart claims, if not lighter. The suspension didn’t soak up every bump in the road, but the bike remained stable while being flicked through sinuous curves and inspired confidence. On Kawasaki’ list of customer needs, the Z500 gets a positive mark on being a capable and fun machine for both city traffic and backroads sprints. 

Sugomi Style | Kawasaki Z500 

Styling is an important factor for many motorcycle shoppers. The Z500 comes with updated styling over the Z400, and while it’s still recognizably a Z-series bike, it looks cleaner and meaner. Kawasaki has been using the term “Sugomi” to describe its Z-series styling for years, and this one looks more predator-like than ever. 

2024 Kawasaki Z500
2024 Kawasaki Z500

One styling highlight of the Z500 is a new triple-headlight configuration. The top two lights are low-beams, with the bottom light being high-beam. We rode during the day and didn’t get to see how the headlights illuminate the road at night, but the LED lights looked bright and clear. 

Other styling changes include sharper bodywork and cleaner-looking side covers. The SE version comes with an under cowl and rear seat cowl that add to the Z500’s appearance. The upswept exhaust parallels the line of the rear section, and the bodywork floats above the engine to highlight it. 

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE action
The Kawasaki Z500 SE likes to have fun on backroads.

Standard or SE? | Kawasaki Z500 

We rode the SE version during our test ride, which includes a few features not found on the standard. The most noticeable difference is the color. The standard version only comes in recognizable Kawasaki Candy Lime Green, while the SE version only comes in Permission Candy Red. 

2024 Kawasaki Z500 and Z500 SE
The Kawasaki Z500 SE comes in Candy Persimmon Red, while the standard version is available in Candy Lime Green.

The SE also includes a 4.3-inch TFT display to replace the standard version’s LCD display. Both displays allow Bluetooth connection to a smartphone via Kawasaki’s Rideology app, where riders can check vehicle info, a riding log, a maintenance log, and other details. While both displays have the same functionality, the TFT looks much nicer and more modern, and the background can be changed to black or white. 

2024 Kawasaki Z500 instruments display
The standard version of the Z500 has a high-contrast LCD screen with buttons on the left.

Both displays also feature the Economic Riding Indicator, which appears on the screen to indicate favorable fuel consumption. The indicator is unobtrusive on the screen, and I saw it appear during more gentle riding while keeping revs low. We prioritized fun over efficiency during our time aboard the Z500, but it might prove to be a useful feature for everyday riding. 

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE instruments display
The SE version comes with a nicer TFT display compared to the standard’s LCD display. Both displays can connect to a smartphone through Kawasaki’s Rideology app.

Additional features on the SE include LED turnsignals (the standard has LED headlights and taillights), a meter cover, a radiator screen, frame sliders, a rear seat cowl, tank and knee pads, a USB-C charger, and an undercowl. The price difference between the two versions is $700. Most of the accessories on the SE are also available for the standard version, but it’ll save you a few hundred dollars to get the SE instead of accessorizing the standard to the same degree. 

The Kawasaki Z500 fits its purpose to a T. It’s a fun, easy-to-ride bike, and the upgrades since the previous Z400 make it even better without a big jump in price. Those shoppers who filled out Kawasaki’s survey should be pleased with the results of their efforts. We certainly were. 

2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE
2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE

2024 Kawasaki Z500 (SE) Specifications 

  • Base Price: $5,599 ($6,299) 
  • Warranty: 1 yr. 
  • Website: Kawasaki.com 
  • Engine Type: Liquid-cooled parallel-Twin, DOCH w/ 4 valves per cyl. 
  • Displacement: 451cc 
  • Bore x Stroke: 70.0 x 58.6mm 
  • Horsepower: 51.0 hp @ 10,000 rpm (factory claim) 
  • Torque: 31.7 lb-ft @ 7,500 rpm (factory claim) 
  • Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch 
  • Final Drive: Chain 
  • Wheelbase: 54.1 in. 
  • Rake/Trail: 24.5 degrees/3.6 in. 
  • Seat Height: 30.9 in. 
  • Wet Weight: 366 lb (370 lb) 
  • Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gal. 

The post 2024 Kawasaki Z500 SE Review | First Ride appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2024 Indian FTR x RSD Super Hooligan Review | First Look 

2024 Indian FTR x RSD Super Hooligan

Indian Motorcycle and Roland Sands Design have teamed up to make a limited-edition FTR x RSD Super Hooligan, inspired by the Super Hooligan National Championship series of run-what-ya-brung races that sees custom street bikes battling on challenging racetracks across the country. The FTR x RSD Super Hooligan is built on the Indian FTR R Carbon and will be limited to only 300 units globally. 

2024 Indian FTR x RSD Super Hooligan Action

The FTR x RSD Super Hooligan looks like it’s ready to be rolled onto the racetrack. It features Black Metallic bodywork with Super Hooligan race graphics, an Indian Motorcycle Red frame and matching wheels with gold accents, and Indian Motorcycle Racing’s No. 1 championship logo on the front and side number plates. The bike also features logos from race team sponsors on the rear seat cowl, and additional graphics for the radiator shroud, front fender, and front forks are available as options. 

2024 Indian FTR x RSD Super Hooligan Pipes

Related: 2024 Indian Lineup and Brand Collaboration Announced

“The term ‘hooligan’ has taken on an entirely new meaning in the world of motorcycles,” said Aaron Jax, vice president of Indian Motorcycle, “characterized by a rebellious, fearless attitude that places having fun on a motorcycle above all else, and that’s what this new FTR is all about. Roland Sands has blazed this trail and built the RSD brand around the hooligan lifestyle. From spinning laps on dirt ovals on mid-size cruisers to today’s competitive racing within the MotoAmerica series, the ethos of hooligan riding has not changed.” 

2024 Indian FTR x RSD Super Hooligan Seat

The Super Hooligan National Championship is a MotoAmerica series racing custom street bikes, including water- or air-cooled Twins of 750cc and up, 900cc Triples, and electric bikes. The Super Hooligan series has seen bikes like the Indian FTR and Chief, Harley-Davidson Pan America, KTM 890 Duke, BMW R nineT, Ducati Hypermotard, and Energica electric motorcycles. The 2024 series includes 10 rounds at five race events across the country, and the first event will be at Daytona International Speedway in March, where Tyler O’Hara, once again racing for Indian, will hope to hold on to his No. 1 plate from the 2023 season. 

2024 Indian FTR x RSD Super Hooligan No. 1 Plate

“Super Hooligan has always been about more than just racing,” said Roland Sands, founder of Roland Sands Design. “It’s about pushing boundaries and having a blast riding motorcycles with your friends. Far from the full-fairing machines you normally see on the racetrack, a Super Hooligan bike has effortless attitude and a custom aesthetic with an exposed powertrain. When Indian Motorcycle approached us to codesign an Indian FTR for consumers, it was a natural fit, and something we were very excited to be a part of.”  

2024 Indian FTR x RSD Super Hooligan No. 1 Console

The FTR x RSD bike is built on the Indian FTR R Carbon model and features a liquid-cooled 1,203cc V-Twin, fully adjustable Öhlins inverted front fork and a rear piggyback shock. Also included are dual-disc Brembo brakes, a 4-inch round touchscreen display with Bluetooth connectivity, and an Akrapovič muffler and heat shield, as well as Gilles Tooling parts adjustable rear sets, oil cap, radiator cap, and bar-end weights. 

2024 Indian FTR x RSD Super Hooligan

The FTR x RSD Super Hooligan will start at $18,499, and each bike will have an individually numbered commemorative tank console. Find more information at the Indian Motorcycle website

Check out more new bikes in Rider’s 2024 Motorcycle Buyers Guide

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Source: RiderMagazine.com

2025 CFMOTO Ibex 450 Review | First Look

2025 CFMOTO Ibex 450
2025 CFMOTO Ibex 450 in Zephyr Blue

When the 2024 CFMOTO lineup was announced last October, notably absent was the 650 ADVentura middleweight street-adventure bike. However, added to the company’s lineup were two new naked sportbikes, one of which is based on its 450 platform, and at the annual AIMExpo in Las Vegas, the company announced two new bikes based on that same platform: the 2025 CFMOTO Ibex 450 adventure bike and the 450CL-C cruiser.     

2025 CFMOTO Ibex 450
2025 CFMOTO Ibex 450 in Tundra Grey

The Ibex 450 features a liquid-cooled 449cc parallel-Twin with DOHC, a 270-degree crank, and dual counterbalancers all working together for a claimed 44 hp at 8,500 rpm and 32.5 lb-ft of torque at 6,250 rpm. The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox with a slip/assist clutch. 

When we tested the 650 ADVentura in the summer of 2022, one of the things we noted was the lack of traction control. This has been added on the Ibex 450, as well as the ability to turn it off at the rear wheel. The Ibex 450 has a fully adjustable KYB inverted fork and a central-aligned, multi-link rear monoshock with adjustable damping and preload and an external gas reservoir for steady damping and enhanced heat dissipation. Suspension travel is 8 inches front and rear.  

2025 CFMOTO Ibex 450

In addition to the Standard ride mode, the Ibex 450 also features an Off-Road mode and switchable rear-wheel ABS, two features we would’ve liked on the Ibex 800 T. Otherwise, stopping power comes from J.Juan components, with a 4-piston caliper biting a single 320mm disc up front and single-piston caliper and 240mm disc in the back. 

Related: 2023 CFMOTO Ibex 800 T | Road Test Review 

The Ibex 450 has a chromoly steel frame, tool-less windscreen adjustment, foldable mirrors, an adjustable handlebar, an aluminum alloy skid plate, and a 4.6-gallon tank. The 32.3-inch seat height/ride height can be lowered to 31.5 inches via an integrated lowering link, it has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and it rides on tubeless, cross-spoke rims (21-inch front, 18-inch rear). The bike has a dry weight of 386 lb.   

The Ibex 450 features full LED lighting, a 5-inch curved TFT with Bluetooth and CFMOTO Ride app connectivity, and a USB type-C charging port. 

2025 CFMOTO Ibex 450

The 2025 CFMOTO Ibex 450 will come in Zephyr Blue or Tundra Grey and start at $6,499. 

For more information, visit the CFMOTO website

Check out more new bikes in Rider’s 2024 Motorcycle Buyers Guide 

The post 2025 CFMOTO Ibex 450 Review | First Look appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Edelweiss Bike Travel ‘Southern Italy Delights and Twisties’ Tour Review

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Gran Sasso Corno Grande
The Edelweiss Bike Travel “Southern Italy Delights and Twisties” tour took us through Gran Sasso (Big Rock) with Corno Grande, the Appenines’ tallest mountain, stealing the show.

Lying in bed in our darkened hotel room in Morano Calabro, I could hear the loud laughter and music outside. Beneath my open window on the ancient cobblestone walkway of Villa San Domenico, Robin, Shiva, and my wife, Amy, were laughing, singing, and dancing together. Total strangers just a few days earlier, they were now living it up well into the night, despite spending a long day on motorcycles. I had retreated to the room earlier in the evening to jot down my day’s notes and sneak in some much‑­needed rest. But instead, I was laying there smiling, soaking in the joy these people had found in each other’s company. I suppose the multiple rounds of Aperol spritz helped a bit too. 

We were approaching the final days of the Edelweiss Bike Travel “Unknown Italy: Secrets of the Appenines” tour, a new 10‑­day expedition added to the company’s portfolio (starting in 2024, the name of the tour has been changed to “Southern Italy Delights & Twisties”). Starting in Florence in the exquisite Tuscany region, the route traced the Appenines (Appa‑­NEENS), the mountainous spine of Italy stretching more than 800 miles down the center of the country. The tour introduced us to the largely unfamiliar mountainous areas situated between the country’s better known eastern and western shores and cities, revealing secrets of the interior regions, which have been there since the beginning of human civilization yet are still largely unknown to tourists. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour

Related: Edelweiss Bike Travel Releases 2024/25 Tour Brochure

Some of these secrets included wonderfully diverse landscapes that transitioned from rugged stone mountains to soft rolling hills and vast plateaus. We experienced deliciously nuanced foods, each homemade and unique to a region’s own crops, creatures, catches, and culture, and we met delightfully distinct people who welcomed us and were genuinely interested in hearing our stories as well as sharing their own (since these aren’t big tourist areas, the residents were eager to engage, even when language was a barrier). 

Although there is a wide socioeconomic range throughout the country, when it comes to beauty, character, history, fascinating people, and utterly amazing food, Italy is rich in every region (we rode through seven out of 20 of them). And while each is impressive on its own, the differences make the entirety even more interesting, more appealing, and infinitely sensational. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour
Delicious curves (and food!) are endless on this tour.

Our tour participants were equally diverse and sensational, with folks converging from Turkey, South Africa, Colombia, and all over the U.S. The tour was led by Edelweiss’s energetic and tremendously knowledgeable Domenico, a native Italian and proud son of the city of Naples. He was eager for this fresh opportunity to share the cultural riches and splendid roads of his beloved country, with support from his equally upbeat and capable guides, Michael and Nicolas (aka “Nico”). At one point during a casual group gathering, I stepped back and just listened to the unusual blend of Italian, German, Turkish, Spanish, and a mix of South African and American English dialects as these foreign individuals found common ground and began to seamlessly meld into one harmonious group. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour
Yours Trowly, Dane, Domenico, and Graham yuk it up in Amalfi.

Out on the road, we were all moved by what we saw and awestruck by the continually evolving experience as we rode higher and higher into the remotest parts of the Appenine mountains, away from the bustling cities and out to where cows, horses, sheep, and dogs outnumber residents. With so few restaurant options in these isolated parts, the Edelweiss Bike Travel team even assembled an impromptu open‑­air picnic lunch one day amidst the remote hills. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour
Italy’s history has deep roots, and photo ops are endless throughout the Appenines.

At one point, we saddled up for a spectacular ride into “spaghetti Western” movie country (any Bud Spencer fans out there?) and on through the hills to the Grand Sasso, the jagged “big rock” that marks the highest point of the Appenines. 

The diversity continued to unfold as more secrets of the Appenines were revealed, one turn after another. We rode deeper into the wilds of the Abruzzo National Park, tracing the meandering contours of the mountains. The scenery evolved dramatically from craggy rock faces to rolling mountain hills to wide open valleys (think Yellowstone) and then into thick, mature pine forests that are home to deer, bear, fox, and other wildlife. A ride along the shores of several tranquil rivers and lakes was thrown in for good measure. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour
It seemed every kilometer presented an entirely new and different landscape.

Eventually, as we turned westward, tall mushroom‑­shaped evergreens known as “umbrella pines” indicated we were getting closer to the coast. Sure enough, after countless delicious turns through the hills, the scene opened to reveal the vast Tyrrhenian Sea. 

Related: Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece Tour Review

The Alps were millions of years old before the Apennines rose from the sea. But when they did, they did so with gusto, jutting straight out of the water. Along these coastlines, you won’t find long sweeping sand beaches. Instead, the rock face of the mountain shoots nearly straight for the heavens. And a heavenly sight it is. A plaque at the gateway to Amalfi reads something to the effect of: “When you go to heaven, you will have already been there.” 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Polignano a Mare
Built upon the cliffs, the city of Polignano a Mare provides breathtaking views of the crystal blue waters of the Adriatic, drawing sunbathers, swimmers, divers, and motorcyclists to the area.

Contrasting with the quiet, empty backroads was the autostrada to Naples and the mad downtown traffic of a city of 3 million people. Cars, bikes, scooters, and buses battled for the same piece of roadway, each insisting on advancing as quickly as possible, while chic passengers of scooterists nonchalantly perused their smartphones amidst all the chaos and seemingly endless near‑­misses. In motorcycling’s version of a rude shove into the deep end of the pool, riding in this environment can initially be quite shocking. Eventually, it becomes somewhat normalized and manageable, although certainly out of the ordinary for most American riders. The Turkish contingent on this particular Edelweiss Bike Travel tour thought nothing of it – in fact, it may have even been a bit milder than what they were accustomed to back home. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Sulmona
We stopped for lunch in Sulmona, birthplace of Roman poet Ovid.

Just as we became adept at dodging and passing other vehicles in tight spaces, it was back into the open country, where we moved from the Tyrrhenian Sea at the instep of Italy’s boot, tickled the arch at the Ionian Sea, and worked eastward through farm country toward the Adriatic Sea at the boot’s heel. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Apulio
Riding through the agricultural Apulio region.

Our lodging and dining experiences were every bit as diverse, with no two days the same. 

We settled into a spectacularly restored 15th century castle, now a first‑­class hotel with a beautiful view overlooking its gardens and the city of Perugia. The views would be inspiration even for the Masters’ canvases.  

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Castello di Monterone
Castello di Monterone in Perugia is a 15th century castle restored as a premium hotel. Its accommodations and grounds make visitors feel like royalty.

In sharp contrast to the luxurious castle in Perugia, we stayed two nights in the tiny remote medieval village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio. Once an abandoned 15th century hill town left largely in ruins, it has been brought back to life as a distinctive retreat. The village’s buildings and former residences now form the highly unique Sextantio, an “extended hotel.” With the lodging modernized just enough for comfort and convenience, the space preserves much of the original medieval ambiance. It’s an incomparable experience.  

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Morano Calabro
We stayed at the beautiful Villa San Domenico in Morano Calabro.

We also maneuvered the bikes up narrow, winding mountain roads to a point high above the Amalfi coast, where we stayed in a luxury hotel built on the edge of the rock face, hundreds of feet above the rocky coast. The view from the balcony of our room was spectacular, and a touch terrifying. 

Later in our journey, we enjoyed 4‑­star modern accommodations and delightful sea‑­sourced cuisine in the ancient city of Matera, where the modern civilities and businesses are mixed in among Roman Empire‑­era structures dating back to 250 B.C. that were, in turn, built upon the remains of cave dwellings that have been there since the dawn of man’s first colonization (and amazingly, were occupied until the 1950s). 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Matera
The ancient city of Matera is perhaps the oldest formal settlement in the world.

The thing that strikes me most as I consider the secrets of the Appenines and the unknowns of Italy is that it is a land of great contrasts. It’s the contrast of terrain transitioning from rolling hills to rocky cliffs and from farmlands to dense forests and then on to crystal blue seas. It’s the solitude of riding through the untouched rural hill country and then hurtling through frenzied traffic on the autostrada. It’s dodging buses, trucks, cars, and scooters on dense city streets and then dodging goats and working dogs in farmland. It’s the pure, undisturbed silence of a night in the medieval village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio juxtaposed with the roaring high tide of coastal tourists along the Amalfi coast. It’s the paradox of a thoroughly modern 4‑­star hotel and restaurant built upon a meager ancient cave city. And it’s also the riddle of 18 people from different parts of the world laughing at the same silly “dad joke,” a brand of humor that transcends international borders, as does the deep, eye‑­rolling groan in response. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Lake Trasimeno
After riding to Arezzo and Cortona, where scenes from the film Under the Tuscan Sun were shot, we embarked on a breathtaking ride around Lake Trasimeno. Dane and Vicky pause to enjoy the amazing view.

Back in the Villa San Domenico in Morano Calabro, I eventually drifted off to sleep, strangely lulled by the laughter and singing of dear Amy, Robin, and Shiva in the courtyard below my window. Clearly, I slept soundly because I awoke to Amy sleeping peacefully beside me. I smiled as I thought about all the incredible things we’d already seen and experienced, and I marveled at the dynamics of this diverse group of people. With so much global unrest dominating news headlines, it has been almost surreal to find such peace on this ride. Somehow, amidst a troubled and often unfriendly world, this international group immediately restored my long‑­held but recently wavering belief that people are, by and large, good and kind. And I was reminded that although we are from disparate lands with strange native languages, we are much more alike than we are different. Perhaps that was the biggest secret revealed in the Appenines.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour
During our tour, strangers from around the world became a tight-knit group of friends.

The Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights & Twisties tour is scheduled to run four times in 2024: May 12‑­23, June 3‑­14, Sept. 28‑­Oct. 10, and Oct. 10‑­13. Prices start at $6,360 per person. For more information, visit the Edelweiss Bike Travel website.

See all of Rider‘s international touring stories here.

The post Edelweiss Bike Travel ‘Southern Italy Delights and Twisties’ Tour Review appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo Review | First Look 

2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo
2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo

In celebration of 30 years of the Duke, KTM has announced an upgrade to the KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo. For 2024, “The Beast” is even stronger with a 49cc bump in displacement, updated styling that celebrates the lineage of the Duke platform, and improved suspension, ergonomics, and electronics. 

2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo

The Beast has grown since its 2007 KTM 990 Super Duke origins. For model year 2024, the 1,301cc LC8 V-Twin from the 1290 Super Duke gets bored out from 108mm to 110mm for a displacement of 1,350cc, and a new camshaft allows for two separate valve lifts depending on rpm. The redesigned airbox has a shorter stack height, and the new throttle bodies have an increased inlet diameter of 60mm (up from 56mm). Additionally, 5th and 6th gears have been revised for better use of the rpm range. 

Related: 2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo | Road Test Review 

2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo

The new model also receives upgraded suspension with the latest generation of WP’s Semi-Active Technology that provides a range of adjustability. The Suspension Control Unit adjusts damping rates in real time based on information from the IMU, and all suspension settings can be managed through the 5-inch full-color TFT display. Five damping modes are also available on the display: Auto, Comfort, Rain, Street, and Sport. 

For even more suspension customization possibilities, the optional Suspension Pro pack adds two more suspension modes (Track and Pro), three preload settings (Low, Standard, and High), and an Anti-Dive setting. Also included in the package is Factory Start, which automatically reduces shock preload to lower the rear when coming to a stop. 

2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo

The Super Duke’s ergonomics receive an upgrade for 2024 with a focus on performance. The tank is angled outwards for better rider support while hanging off into corners, and the handlebar has been moved lower for better control. 

Slowing down The Beast are Brembo braking components, including dual 4-piston Stylema monoblock front calipers biting 320mm discs and a 2-piston rear caliper with a 240mm disc. A new Brembo multiple-click-system master cylinder is also included. The Super Duke also gets new tires in the form of Michelin Power GP tires for better grip and a lighter weight. 

Related: 2024 KTM 890 SMT Review | First Look 

The Beast has been known for its aggressive styling, and that is even more evident in the 2024 1390 Super Duke R Evo. The model gets a new LED headlight unit, new tank spoilers, and new winglets, and fuel tank capacity has been increased from 4.2 to 4.6 gallons. 

2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo

The Beast’s new styling is most evident in its new angular headlight unit. Position and daytime running lights are located along the edges and are auto-adjustable, and the automatic low beam is in the center. 

Upgrades to the 5-inch TFT display include new graphics and a redesigned menu structure intended to offer faster access to features with fewer clicks required. The Tire Pressure Monitor System has been upgraded with more accurate software and shows tire pressures on the TFT, and it now offers custom pressure settings for track use. 

2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo

Related: 2024 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S and Super Adventure R Review | First Look 

The 2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo comes with three ride modes as standard (Rain, Street, and Sport), and two optional modes (Performance and Track). Each mode manages power, traction control, and throttle response. Performance mode allows for customization of traction control, throttle response, anti-wheelie control, and launch control. In Track mode, the same level of customization is available but with a “ready to race” focus with two display settings that focus on lap times and other race-focused data.

2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo

Other optional technology includes cruise control, Engine Brake Control (adjustable among five levels), anti-wheelie mode (adjustable among five levels), and KTMconnect. 

The 2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo will be available in orange with red highlights or black with orange highlights. Pricing has not yet been announced. 

Visit the KTM website for more information. 

Check out more new/updated bikes in Rider’s 2024 Motorcycle Buyers Guide 

The post 2024 KTM 1390 Super Duke R Evo Review | First Look  appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Inaugural BMW Motorrad Days Americas at Barber Vintage Festival a Success

18th annual Barber Vintage Festival BMW Motorrad Days Americas
The BMW Motorrad Days Americas area dominated the Henderson Auctions Fan Zone at this year’s Barber Vintage Festival. It featured motorcycle displays, a beer garden, a stage with live music, food trucks, vendors, and more. Be-yond the Fan Zone is the racetrack, which hosted AHRMA racing and BMW parade laps.

America should designate a national park dedicated to motorcycles, and I nominate the Barber Vintage Motorsports Park. Set on 880 acres in the lush, rolling hills east of Birmingham, Alabama, it’s a motorcycle dreamland. A 16‑­turn, 2.4‑­mile racetrack designed with input from John Surtees and Dan Gurney winds through the campus. There are no grandstands, just well‑­manicured grassy hillsides where spectators can spread out chairs, blankets, and umbrellas.

The crown jewel, of course, is the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, which holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest collection of motorcycles: more than 1,800 of them representing 200 manufacturers from 22 countries.

18th annual Barber Vintage Festival BMW Motorrad Days Americas Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
With more than 1,000 motorcycles on display, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is overwhelming.

More than 1,000 motorcycles are on display at any given time, and they are spread out over five floors in a spacious, well‑­lit cathedral of speed and engineering. The top floor of the museum houses the Barber Advanced Design Center, an industrial design lab.

Barber has hosted rounds of AMA/MotoAmerica Superbike racing since 2003. I attended the Superbike races in 2004, where I watched the dominant Mat Mladin battle it out against Jake Zemke and Miguel Duhamel. It also hosts American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) racing.

18th annual Barber Vintage Festival BMW Motorrad Days Americas Fred Jakobs
During a museum tour, BMW archivist Fred Jakobs took a deep dive into historical models like this 1938 R 51.

Barber hosts two annual motorcycling events: Barber Small Bore, which celebrates the wild and wacky world of minibikes, and Barber Vintage Festival, which brings together vintage bike fans for a three‑­day festival packed with AHRMA races, demo rides, bike shows, seminars, museum tours, vendor areas, and a huge swap meet.

18th annual Barber Vintage Festival BMW Motorrad Days Americas
Demo rides are a popular activity at the Barber Vintage Festival, and BMW offered both on‑­road and off‑­road demos.

This past October, the 18th annual Barber Vintage Festival hosted the inaugural BMW Motorrad Days Americas – a spin‑­off of the event that takes place every summer in Germany – to celebrate the 100th anniversary of BMW Motorrad.

See all of Rider‘s BMW coverage here.

BMW invited members of the motorcycle media and friends of the brand to be part of the event, which gave me the opportunity for a long-overdue visit to the festival and museum. I’ve been told that you can’t do justice to the museum in less than a full day, and truer words have never been spoken. The scale, depth, and breadth of the collection is mind‑­boggling.

18th annual Barber Vintage Festival BMW Motorrad Days Americas
If it has a motor and two wheels – and sometimes three or four wheels – it can be found at the Barber Vintage Festival.

On Friday, our chummy group of motojournalists saddled up on a fleet of BMW R 18 Roctanes to ride from our hotel to Barber. We were joined by Peter Nettesheim and his daughter, Kate. Nettesheim’s New York home showcases the world’s largest collection of BMW motorcycles. He owns at least one of every BMW model built between 1923 and 1970, including the oldest known example of the first motorcycle BMW built, the 1923 R 32, as well as various newer models and an extensive collection of BMW paraphernalia.

18th annual Barber Vintage Festival BMW Motorrad Days Americas 1923 BMW R 32
The 1923 R 32 was BMW’s first production motorcycle.

Upon arriving at Barber, I hopped on one of the shuttles that carries visitors along the park’s ring road surrounding the racetrack and ferries them to the museum, the Fan Zone, the swap meet, the Proving Grounds, the paddock, and the spectating areas. Motorcycles were parked on nearly every available patch of grass, and the age range and diversity of bikes were impressive. The blue smoke and ring‑­a‑­ding sounds of 2‑­strokes filled the air, and old‑­school minibikes piloted by hipsters and overgrown boys zipped around everywhere. Harleys, Hondas, and Hodakas of various vintages and conditions sat proudly on makeshift kickstand pads, some with “For Sale” signs tucked into the handlebars. Name any motorcycle brand, and it was represented somewhere by someone.

18th annual Barber Vintage Festival BMW Motorrad Days Americas
The BMW ride‑­in bike show included John Langston’s 1928 R 62 that he rode in the 2014 Motorcycle Cannonball and an R 75/5 chopper.

My first stop was the sprawling Proving Grounds, which was the staging area for demo rides offered by BMW, CFMOTO, Indian, KTM, Royal Enfield, Triumph, Yamaha, and electric bike maker Ryvid. BMW had an enormous fleet of bikes on hand and was offering both on‑­road and off‑­road demos. Next to BMW’s demo area, our very own Quinn Redeker gave hourly police‑­style riding demonstrations on a BMW R 1250 RT‑­P, and his humor and skills weaving through tight cone patterns kept folks thoroughly entertained.

Related: Motor School with Quinn Redeker: Hi, My Name is Quinn

Near the Proving Grounds was the Isle of Triumph, an immersive fan experience located inside the racetrack with live music, a bike show, art installations, and vendors selling food, drinks, and merch.

18th annual Barber Vintage Festival BMW Motorrad Days Americas Quinn Redeker
BMW Authority Sales Ambassador and Rider columnist Quinn Redeker gave a demonstration of police‑­style riding.

Next, I made my way over to the Henderson Auctions Fan Zone, which overlooks the racetrack and had a bouncy‑­house kids zone, American Motor Drome Company’s Wall of Death, the Urias Family Globe of Death, and a vendor area, where I visited our friends at Royal Enfield, SW‑­Motech, and Wunderlich America.

Taking up most of the real estate in the Fan Zone was the BMW Motorrad Days Americas area, which included displays of current and historical models, a beer garden, a stage with live music, a merchandise store, and partner displays, including Edelweiss Bike Travel, RawHyde Adventures, and the BMW Performance Center.

18th annual Barber Vintage Festival BMW Motorrad Days Americas Shawn Thomas BMW R 1300 GS
GS Ambassador Shawn Thomas during the world‑­first public unveiling of the 2024 R 1300 GS.

On the stage at noon, GS Brand Ambassador Shawn “Rock On” Thomas and BMW Motorrad VP Region Americas Trudy Hardy gave a few introductory remarks before pulling a cover off the 2024 BMW R 1300 GS – the bike’s first public showing since being announced on Sept. 28 (see page 7 for details). After Stefan Reiff, BMW Motorrad’s VP of Customer, Brand and Sales, gave an overview of the new GS, Thomas rolled it off the stage, and I captured a short video of him starting up the bike, which is available on the Rider YouTube channel. The R 1300 GS was on display the rest of the weekend, giving folks a chance to check out the bike up close.

Related: BMW Motorrad Unveils 2024 BMW R 1300 GS at Barber Vintage Festival | Videos

At dinner on Friday night, I had the privilege of sitting with Udo Giestl, who worked as an engineer for Butler & Smith, the former U.S. importer for BMW motorcycles. He built the R 90 S racebikes that Reg Pridmore, Gary Fisher, and Steve McLaughlin campaigned in the inaugural 1976 season of AMA Superbike racing. McLaughlin and Pridmore finished 1‑­2 in the Daytona 200 that year, and Pridmore won the championship.

18th annual Barber Vintage Festival BMW Motorrad Days Americas Udo Giestl Fred Jakobs Steve McLaughlin
From left, Udo Giestl, Fred Jakobs, and Steve McLaughlin with Pridmore’s R 90 S.

On Saturday, Giestl’s son, Eric, led the BMW parade laps on a restored version of Pridmore’s R 90 S racebike, and he was flanked by Peter and Kate Nettesheim on two vintage BMWs from Peter’s collection.

That same day, Revival Cycles hosted a BMW‑­only ride‑­in bike show, which included well‑­maintained bikes of new and old vintages as well as various customs, like an R 75/5 chopper with a raked‑­out springer front end. I joined several other journalists for an in‑­depth tour of the BMWs in the Barber Museum given by BMW archivist Fred Jakobs, who had traveled from Germany to attend the event.

18th annual Barber Vintage Festival BMW Motorrad Days Americas Eric Giestl Reg Pridmore
The BMW parade laps were led by Eric Giestl on Reg Pridmore’s 1976 AMA Superbike championship‑winning R 90 S, Peter Nettesheim on a 1966 R 60/2, and Kate Nettesheim on a 1958 R 50.

It was a full, fun weekend with more to do than there was time to do it. No word yet whether BMW Motorrad Days Americas will become an annual event, but no matter what, put the Barber Vintage Festival on your calendar (Oct. 11‑­13, 2024), and make sure you allow plenty of time to explore the museum.

For more information, visit the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum website.

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Source: RiderMagazine.com