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Hudson Valley Scenic Ride: IMS Outdoors New York Ride

Open Road to IMS Outdoors New York City scenic ride
Upstate New York is rife with bucolic scenery. (Photos by the author)

The two Northeastern stops of the 2021 Progressive IMS Outdoors tour are on consecutive weekends in September. The New York City event will be at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, September 3-5 (Labor Day is the 6th), and the Pennsylvania event will be at the Carlisle Fairgrounds, September 10-12.

This 281-mile route begins in Saratoga Springs, in the heart of upstate New York’s farm and horse country. The town is home to the Saratoga Race Course, one of the oldest horse tracks in the country, dating back to 1863. The annual meet runs from mid-July to Labor Day, but there is harness racing year-round. Saratoga is famous for its mineral springs and bath houses, and there are plenty of excellent restaurants and vibrant nightlife to enjoy.

Open Road to IMS Outdoors New York City scenic ride
Saratoga Springs and the surrounding area make for a great escape from the city, or a worthy destination in their own right. You’ll find arts and culture, gambling, gourmet dining, outdoor adventures, and more.

The route leaves Saratoga Springs to the south, on U.S. Route 9, and passes through Malta. It turns east onto State Route 67 and crosses the Hudson River at Mechanicville. Continuing east, Route 67 passes through Schaghticoke and follows the Hoosic River. At Eagle Bridge, the route turns south, and it picks up State Route 22 at the town of Hoosic Falls. At Lebanon Springs, it turns west on U.S. Route 20, then southwest on State Route 66. After crossing Interstate 90 and passing through Chatham, it continues on the Taconic State Parkway.

Open Road to IMS Outdoors New York City scenic ride REVER route map

Click here to view the REVER route shown above

The 104-mile parkway took 40 years to build, from the mid-1920s until its completion in 1963. Parts of the road were designed by Franklin D. Roosevelt during his tenure as head of the Taconic State Park Commission, and we can thank him for insisting those sections follow the natural landscape instead of powering through in a straight line. Built in a simpler time, the Taconic has narrow lanes, minimal shoulders, and plenty of gentle curves, but do be on the lookout for accidents and state troopers.

The route ends at the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan. From there, many options are available to get to the Brooklyn Army Terminal, which is off the Belt Parkway (Interstate 287) on the edge of Upper Bay. Enjoy the show!

For more information about Progressive IMS Outdoors and to buy tickets, visit motorcycleshows.com. Rider is the media partner for the Adventure Out! area at IMS Outdoors.

The post Hudson Valley Scenic Ride: IMS Outdoors New York Ride first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Workhorse Speed Shop to Reveal Two New Custom Indian FTR Builds

Workhorse Speed Shop to Reveal Two New Custom Indian FTR Builds
An inside look at the latest builds from Workhorse Speed Shop.

Brice Hennebert, owner of Workhorse Speed Shop, in Belgium, has been busy during lockdown. After creating Appaloosa V1.0 in 2019 for the Sultans of Sprint then re-working the Indian Scout build into Appaloosa V2.0 for the Baikal Mile Ice Festival, Brice has focussed his attention on building two special dream bikes based on the Indian FTR 1200

Rider Magazine: Indian FTR 1200 S | First Ride Review

The first build, Black Swan, is a 90’s sports bike concept utilizing the latest parts and materials to make it extremely sporty. The build extensively uses carbon fibre to minimize weight, Ohlins suspension, Beringer brakes, and modern additions such as a quickshifter. The second build, FTR AMA, is based on the 80s era AMA SBK race bikes and Rally cars, inspiring an angular design and will be finished in the classic Martini Racing livery

Workhorse Speed Shop to Reveal Two New Custom Indian FTR Builds
Adjustable Öhlins suspension and Beringer brakes are some of the premium parts making up the builds.

Black Swan and FTR AMA Build – Q&A with Brice Hennebert 

We caught up with Brice to get an insight into his latest projects, both of which are shaping up to be remarkably interesting, but quite different builds – just as we have come to expect from Workhorse. 

It’s been a long time since you came back from Russia after taking Appaloosa V2.0 to the Baikal Mile Ice Speed Festival – that must feel like a dream now, are the memories still strong? 

Yes, the memories are really strong. With the lockdown, it was some time after coming back from Russia that I saw many of my friends. Every time I reconnect with a friend they always ask about the trip. So, I get to relive the memories regularly and so they are still strongly alive.  

And when Appaloosa finally got back to Belgium after the Russian borders reopened, unpacking the bike and reassembling it meant I got to relive the memories all over again. 

Obviously, lockdown has changed the way we all work, but you have still been busy with brand-new builds based on the FTR. What are the concepts behind each project?  

The concept for the first build, Black Swan, came a few years ago when I was racing at Wheels & Waves against the Miracle Mike Scout built by The Young Guns. During that time, I had the vision to build a sports bike for road use. But, really sporty, built like a GP bike. It’s deeply inspired by 90’s sports bikes, all made from carbon fibre. That’s what happens when I have total freedom from the commissioners of a project. And I’m even thinking about doing a small series of this bike for sale. It’s pretty unique! 

Workhorse Speed Shop to Reveal Two New Custom Indian FTR Builds
Black Swan Build: building out the clay model.

The second FTR project is based on the 80s era AMA SBK race bikes and Rally cars. Black Swan and the FTR AMA project are for two brothers. The brother that commissioned Black Swan asked me to design a second build for his brother. Something colourful but sharp like a war tank. The only restriction was that it should have a Martini Racing livery. 

After a little research and brainstorming, the main influence became the Lancia Delta HF. I’ve mixed this with a bit of the early Bol d’Or race bikes and some muscle bike flavour keeping an upright riding position, close to the original FTR which works so well.  

With the Appaloosa v1.0 and v2.0 builds, you had some great partners providing advice, components, fabrication, and tuning skills. Who has stepped up for these FTR builds? 

All of them and even more. I went to the Akrapovič factory a few days after the Baikal Mile to work on the Black Swan exhaust. I crossed the border to go home for a few hours and they decided to close the border. That was tight. 

Öhlins have shipped me a full set of custom components for Black Swan, quite impressive I have to say. Beringer Brakes is also in the game on both bikes with their new 4+ system. Super light, super nice. 

I’m also working with Vinco Racing in Holland, Tim is taking care of all the CNC parts around both bikes. And there’s many of them. 

My buddy Robert Colyns from 13.8 Composite is taking care of the carbon fibre fabrication.  

On Black Swan, we will be fitting Rotobox carbon fibre wheels, they really are pieces of art! Liteblox Germany have made a bespoke carbon fibre battery for the bike, Cerakote Nl did all the black ceramic treatment. Jeroen from Silver Machine the seat works. Christophe from Forame design did all the 3D modelling from the Clay scan. 

Workhorse Speed Shop to Reveal Two New Custom Indian FTR Builds
Black Swan Build: Clay model ready for CAD scan.

The FTR AMA wheel set is a total eye catcher. I collaborated with Fabio from JoNich Wheels in Italy. The design is based on his Rush wheels but without carbon flanges. They are machined from billet aluminium. And the design made me think about the turbo fans wheels used on the racing Lancia, so that was a perfect choice. They are completed by a Dunlop GP tyre set with this mad 200 section rear tyre. 

So, as you can see, I’m not alone on this bike.    

We can’t reveal too much at this stage, but from the pictures from the builds so far, designing the bodywork seems to be a fairly intensive process. Can you walk us through the steps, from visualisation and sketches through to a finished piece of the bodywork?  

Yes, it’s quite a long journey, here’s roughly the stages for Black Swan: 

First, preliminary sketches and a compilation of reference pictures for the details. At this stage I’m drawing the main lines of the bike, the mood. 

Then I sent everything to Benny at Axesent in Japan to make proper renders in several versions, with realistic lighting and some livery ideas.  

When I was happy at this point, I started 3D modelling. I modelled the bike at full scale in clay directly on the FTR, but only on one side of the bike. This step took about 6 weeks, between the clay structure and perfecting the final shape.   

Then I scanned the bike in 3D to start the CAD modelling stage. The scan was used as a starting point to be sure of the proportions, but there was always freedom for new ideas. In the meantime, I worked on the symmetry, details, articulated parts, and assembly systems between the different elements. All told, another 2 months of work. 

The next step went to 13.8 Composites. Firstly, they 3D printed all the bodywork from the CAD models. These prints were used as a master for moulding and creating the die that the carbon fibre was laid into. 

Once done, adjustments were made between all the parts to be sure that it all fit together and looked perfect.  

With the FTR AMA build, rather than start with the clay, here I used direct CAD design based on a 3D scan of the FTR chassis. Then all the body parts were 3D printed and reinforced with carbon fibre. 

Workhorse Speed Shop to Reveal Two New Custom Indian FTR Builds
FTR AMA Build: Modified tail to accommodate twin shocks.

Is this a process that you have used before? You seem really keen, on every project, to try something new and expand your skill set.  

This was something totally new to me, at least at this scale. I have done clay shaping before, but not on something so complex. 

Workhorse Speed Shop to Reveal Two New Custom Indian FTR Builds
FTR AMA Build: “The wheel set is a total eye catcher.”
Workhorse Speed Shop to Reveal Two New Custom Indian FTR Builds

The bodywork is bound to be the main focal point when people first see the bikes, but what else can you reveal about the builds at this stage? 

The body of Black Swan is just 1.8 kg for the entire bike. I’ve also decided to fit a few accessories such as a quick shifter and Power Commander. The idea is to initially test the bike with the standard performance in the racing configuration (position, bodywork etc.) 123 hp is enough for road use today in Europe. And if the owner of the bike needs more power then we will go into the engine. 

On the FTR AMA, there are two aluminum fuel cells to reach a total capacity of 3.7 gallons with one of the tanks under the seat. Plus, the intake has been redesigned and 3D printed to work with DNA performance air filters. On the chassis side, the tail section has been modified to fit a twin shocks system powered by Öhlins. 

Plans are progressing on when and how the bikes will be revealed, but they will certainly make an impact. 

Yes, with the events calendar being difficult to predict over the last few months, we’ve had to come up with several plans. I really can’t wait to see the response to these two bikes. 

Workhorse Speed Shop to Reveal Two New Custom Indian FTR Builds
FTR AMA Build: Custom Exhaust

The post Workhorse Speed Shop to Reveal Two New Custom Indian FTR Builds first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

The Why Behind Arai Helmets

The Why Behind Arai Helmets
Akihito Arai pictured at the Arai factory in Japan.

In 1914, a doctor practicing near the Brooklands racetrack in England first correlated the relationship between motorcycle accidents and serious head injuries. Dr. Eric Gardner went on to invent the first purpose-built motorcycle helmet. It wasn’t until two decades later, when a head injury resulting from a motorcycle accident took the life of Thomas Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, that the first serious studies were conducted into the efficacy of motorcycle helmets in reducing the severity of head injuries. Hugh Cairns, Lawrence’s attending doctor and a leading neurosurgeon, used his findings and influence to ensure that helmets would become obligatory equipment for British Army Signal Corps riders going forward.

Early helmets were mostly constructed from cork, leather, and sometimes wood, and remained so until post-war developments in synthetic materials lead innovators such as Hirotake Arai to develop an entirely new design. Arai, a keen motorcyclist, had retooled his family hat business to produce safety helmets for construction workers. Applying the same manufacturing techniques, he began making and selling the first Japanese motorcycle helmets in 1952. They were made from a fiberglass resin outer shell lined initially with cork, and later, expanded polystyrene (EPS).

Seven decades on, motorcycle helmets, along with a multitude of international standards, have evolved exponentially, as has our understanding of science. Nonetheless, the infinite number of variables existing in a real-world crash ensure that even the most sophisticated models used to gauge a helmet’s ability to absorb an impact will remain controversial. While tests aimed at appraising shell penetration, peripheral vision, and the strength of chin straps lend themselves more readily to laboratory observation, governing bodies are forced to compromise in the face of producing practical, repeatable tests that accurately simulate impact absorption.

The Why Behind Arai Helmets
An Arai factory engineer utilizing an ‘anvil test’ rig on a helmet shell.

An effective helmet design aims to minimize the energy reaching the wearer in a crash, and since much of the testing involves dropping helmets from a given height onto an anvil, passing the resulting standards can be as simple as thickening the EPS layer in all the right places. Arai argues that the resulting helmet would no longer possess the overall strength and durability afforded by a sphere and ignores the role a helmet plays in redirecting and absorbing energy. In the same way a stone can be made to skim across a pond, a round, smooth helmet will glance off a surface, redirecting energy away from the wearer.

Arai’s design philosophy first accepts that practical limitations on a helmet’s size and weight restrict the volume of protective EPS foam it can contain. Inevitably, helmets can’t prevent all head injuries. But, with the understanding that safeguarding a rider’s head goes far beyond meeting the demands of governing bodies, Arai applies the “glancing off” philosophy to design helmets that reduce the effect of impacts on riders’ heads. Given that most impacts are likely to occur at an oblique angle because motorcyclists are moving at speed, Arai’s design aims to maximize the ability of a helmet to redirect energy by glancing off an object. The design is a function of shape, shell strength, and deformation characteristics that absorb energy along with EPS.

The Why Behind Arai Helmets

Arai collects crashed helmets for analysis and data collection, and uses the information to continually refine their helmet design.

Arai has developed and refined its approach through decades of evaluation and experimentation. Its helmets are round and smooth, and any protruding vents or airfoils are designed to detach on impact. The shell itself must be strong and flexible, but it must not deform too quickly or it will dig in rather than glance off. Arai uses multiple laminated layers combining glass and composite fiber to produce a very strong but lightweight material, and areas of potential weakness at the helmet’s edge and eyeport are reinforced with an additional belt of “super fiber.” Arai says its shells can withstand much higher abrasion than what is mandated by standards tests, and in doing so, can retain its energy absorption properties for a second or third impact.

The Why Behind Arai Helmets
Every Arai helmet is still made and inspected by hand at the family-owned factory in Japan

While glancing off can redirect energy from the impact, a high-velocity crash may also require a helmet to absorb and distribute impact energy. Arai’s proprietary one-piece, multi-density EPS liner is made up of different sections of varying densities corresponding to the adjacent shell surface. This helps maintain the helmet’s spherical form and enhances its ability to glance off. In the case of a crash involving a slide along the ground and into an object, such as a curb or barrier, Arai’s helmets are designed to deflect the initial impacts with the ground with minimal shell deformation, saving its absorption properties for the rapid deceleration caused by impacting the object.

While glancing off can redirect energy from the impact, a high-velocity crash may also require a helmet to absorb and distribute impact energy. Arai’s proprietary one-piece, multi-density EPS liner is made up of different sections of varying densities corresponding to the adjacent shell surface. This helps maintain the helmet’s spherical form and enhances its ability to glance off. In the case of a crash involving a slide along the ground and into an object, such as a curb or barrier, Arai’s helmets are designed to deflect the initial impacts with the ground with minimal shell deformation, saving its absorption properties for the rapid deceleration caused by impacting the object.

The Why Behind Arai Helmets
Each helmet shell undergoes a series of quality control checks before continuing through the production process.

Many other helmet manufacturers and philosophies exist, and riders must make their own conclusions in the knowledge that certification requirements mandated by bodies such as the DOT and ECE only guarantee a minimum standard. Every Arai helmet is still made and inspected by hand at the family-owned factory in Japan; the only automated process is the laser cutting of the eyeports. Over its history Arai has built an enviable reputation for quality and attention to detail. As the saying goes, it is expensive for a reason.

For more information on Arai helmets, visit araiamericas.com.

The post The Why Behind Arai Helmets first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Back to California Superbike School

The School of Speed
Back to school on a BMW S 1000 RR. (Photos by Etechphoto.com)

A couple of friends – sportbike riders and track-day regulars – recently invited me on their Sunday morning canyon ride. I showed up on our Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS test bike. It was early, the road was empty, and we tore away. I say “we,” but I lost sight of them after the first mile and soon resigned myself to not keeping up, doing no justice to the Triumph. 

Decades of riding experience have given me the required confidence in physics and tires to throw a motorcycle into a turn, but that confidence faded once our speed picked up. If I was going to truly test bikes like the Speed Triple, I needed to hone my skills. My friends, it turned out, were both graduates of California Superbike School, and over a weekend in June I signed up for two days of training (Levels I and II) at Streets of Willow Springs, a 1.6-mile track in Rosamond, California, about an hour north of Los Angeles.

The School of Speed
California Superbike School has a fleet of 40 high-tech BMW S 1000 RR sportbikes.

In the 1970s, Keith Code enjoyed some success club racing for the “Pops” Yoshimura team, but he also discovered he had an aptitude for analyzing and communicating the techniques required to carry speed through a corner. Under Code’s instruction, many a young racer shaved seconds off their lap times, demonstrating that speed wasn’t just a matter of innate talent but teachable skills. In 1980, he established a school to offer his unique step-by-step advanced rider training to anyone with a motorcycle license. Four decades later, California Superbike School has become synonymous with sportbike training, with schools in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia.

The School of Speed
One of several female riders who attended California Superbike School.

There is something childishly exciting about driving through the gates of a racetrack, especially true when it’s you destined to be on the track, which creates some apprehension. I haven’t so much as sat on a bike with clip-on bars since selling my Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R years ago. I drew some comfort from the fact that at least half of the 54 people joining me for instruction looked just as nervous as I was. The rest ambled around like they owned the place, posting up in the breakfast buffet and chatting with the staff. I soon found out these were returning students, here for Levels III and IV, and, it seemed, part of the family now. It was encouraging to see half a dozen women in attendance, including Kristina Teskera, a German ex-pat who had been riding for only eight months. 

Day-to-day management of CSS is now handled by Keith Code’s son, Dylan. But Keith was there, too, sauntering about and happy to share advice or an anecdote as the operation hummed along around him. Students were separated into manageable groups, alternating between the classroom lessons, on-track drills, debriefing sessions, and breaks.

The School of Speed
Dylan Code delivers a classroom lesson before every track session, enabling students to practice new techniques and build confidence.

After Dylan delivered our first lesson on throttle control, we filed out into the paddock. The Streets of Willow track, a black ribbon rising and falling with the hilly terrain, formed the backdrop to a line of black BMW S 1000 RR sportbikes gleaming in the morning sun. I suspect even the coolest among us had their hearts in their mouths as we headed to our designated machines.

Lined up in pit lane, I heard Trevor Pennington, the course controller, holler above the resounding throb of engines, “First drill?!” No one gets on track unless they can repeat the name of the drill. This helps us stay focused and allows Trevor to spot students who may be fatigued or dehydrated. I shouted, “Throttle control, fourth gear only, no brakes!” and Trevor yelled, “Go!”

The School of Speed
Under the watchful eye of his coach, Road Test Editor Guy Pickrell hones his street-riding skills with two days of intensive track training.

The no-brakes drill focused our minds on gentle throttle inputs. The RRs were set to rain mode and throttle response was forgiving, but I couldn’t find a good position on the bike, had no idea where the heck I was going, I was entering turns too early and then correcting, all the while trying to stay off the levers.

It took a few laps to get acquainted with the track and the BMW. My assigned track coach arced in front of me, tapped his taillight – follow my line – and I started hitting some apexes. After a lap, he pulled off the racing line and waved me on. My turn to lead. A smile found its way to my face as I carried more speed through the Bowl Turn, a 20-degree banked carousel, which was quickly wiped off when I entered the final turn of the session too hot and trail braked well wide of the apex.

The School of Speed
Coach Mike Pesicka shares feedback during the debrief after a track drill.

Immediately after each track session, students met their coaches for debriefing, where circuit maps taped to each table provide context for feedback and guidance. My coach, Mike Pesicka, validated some of my good throttle control before digging into the errors. An issue he immediately spotted was my tendency to level the horizon as I lean into a turn. Tilting my head up closes my shoulders and limits my ability to lean.

He then turned his attention to Doug Ramey, who’d trailered his Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special from Carson City, Nevada, to use at CSS. Students can bring their own motorcycles as long as they are safe for track use. Watching Doug fearlessly muscle his 800-pound beast around the tight, technical track was a spectacle, and a little depressing when he blasted past me in the first three sessions.

The School of Speed
You can bring your own motorcycle to CSS, like Doug Ramey did with his Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special.

By the last session of Level I, the combination of physical and mental exertion, desert heat, and adrenaline highs and lows had us all fairly exhausted, and I had to ask the guy lined up next to me in the pit lane to remind me what the drill was before Trevor came striding up. The five lessons had focused on rider inputs and improving our turning technique. Turn-in points had been taped to each corner, vastly improving our odds of hitting an apex.

Nonetheless, as my average speed increased, my braking points changed, leading to maddening mid-turn corrections. Mike reported an improvement in head position, but mostly on left turns. He led me over to the Body Position Bike, a static simulator composed of the rider touchpoints – bars, tank, seat, and pegs – affixed to a frame that tilts 45 degrees to each side to mimic on-track motion.

The School of Speed
A student receives instruction on the Body Position Bike, a static simulator that allows coaches to give direct instruction on body positioning in corners.

The next day, I was back for Level II training, and Dylan’s first lesson focused on vision. I took it easy during the first track session, and after getting Mike’s input, I headed for the Lean Bike. Each level includes one supplementary practical lesson, and I met CSS coach Johnny Haynes out on the skidpad. He stood next to a sportbike modified with spring-loaded outriggers, each tipped with a caster wheel, making it crash-proof.

Johnny immediately corrected my position on the seat, which he attributed to slippery leathers. A quick call on the radio brought the sticky butt spray, and after receiving a liberal coating, we resumed the lesson. Johnny had me using my outside knee to grip the tank, helping keep my weight off the bars, while pointing my inside knee toward the corner.

The School of Speed
The outrigger-equipped Lean Bike, one of Keith Code’s innovations in use at CSS, was a revelation.

Now that I was moving around on the bike and digging my knees into the tank, track sessions had become increasingly demanding and by the last, my legs were like jelly. I took the final lesson on trail braking as an invitation to add speed, and when Mike arced in front of me for the last time, he seemed noticeably quicker. I fell in line behind him, the rush of tarmac closer than I’ve ever dared.

As we rolled out of the bowl, Mike’s penultimate debrief fresh in my mind, I wound on the throttle the moment I touched the apex, releasing the BMW’s ballistic power and forcing me to the outer curb. I sat up at the kink just as the tach hit 10,000 rpm, adrenaline coursing through me, and saw Mike glance in his mirror and nod. I was right on his tail, and nothing could have pleased him more.

The School of Speed
By the last run of the second day I was comfortably carrying speed into corners that would have been well outside my comfort zone only 48 hours earlier. But more importantly, I have applied those skills to ride more safely and confidently on the street.

On a racetrack, to be fast around a corner is everything. But more importantly, for most of us, the skills CSS teaches make for better, safer road riding. As I would discover only a week later, applying effective vision, measured control inputs, and braking techniques can make the difference between walking away from disaster or not. Advances in technology have far outpaced human evolution. Motorcycles are faster and, thanks to ABS, traction control, and IMU sensors, are safer than ever, whereas motorcyclists are the same Homo sapiens they were 100,000 years ago. CSS is a potent upgrade to the most critical safety feature, the rider.

I’ve attended many driving and enduro schools, and the program content, quality of equipment, and the professionalism of the staff at California Superbike School are a model for how training should be done. I look forward to going back for Level III. I’ll stride in, grab a Danish, and shoot the breeze with Mike and Johnny.

California Superbike School holds training from February through November at tracks throughout the U.S. Single-day schools cost $725 per day using a CSS bike or $525 per day if you ride your own. The fee includes classroom training, track sessions, coaching, food, and drinks, and CSS has a well-stocked supply of suits, boots, gloves, and helmets for students to borrow. If you want more track time and more personalized coaching, you can sign up for a 2-Day Camp. For more info, visit superbikeschool.com. 

The School of Speed

The post Back to California Superbike School first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone | First Ride Review

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
Updates for 2021 to Moto Guzzi’s V7 Stone and V7 Special include a larger engine and a revised chassis. (Photos by Larry Chen Photo)

“I would know the sound of a big Guzzi in my sleep. It concentrates its aural energies in your upper chest, ringing through your bones. It is … the sound of joy.”
— Melissa Holbrook Pierson, The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles

When we find joy, we hold it close and nurture it. Woven throughout Pierson’s book, arguably one of the best ever written about motorcycling, is a romance between the author and Moto Guzzi. When searching for her first motorcycle, it was love at first sight: “a 500cc V-twin Moto Guzzi, red-and-black, a workhorse, and I thought it was beautiful.” 

Like any true love, Pierson’s passion for Moto Guzzi ran deep and transcended appearance. She fell under the spell of the Italian V-twin’s syncopated beat. She dedicated her mind, body, and spirit to learning to ride, doing her own maintenance, and enduring long hours in the saddle through stifling heat, bitter cold, and drenching rain. 

Moto Guzzi is a storied marque that celebrates a century of continuous production this year. Every Moto Guzzi — from the 1921 Normale, a 498cc single, to the 1955 Otto cilindri, a liquid-cooled, DOHC 500cc V-8 GP racer that topped 170 mph, to present-day models — has been built in the factory in Mandello del Lario, Italy, on the shores of Lake Como. 

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
The Centenario paint scheme is inspired by the 1955 Otto cilindri racebike. (Photo by Sergio Piotin)

Three models — V7 Stone, V9 Bobber, and V85 TT — are available with a special Centenario color scheme for 2021 that pays tribute to the Otto cilindri. Their silver fuel tanks are inspired by the racebike’s raw alloy tank, their green side panels and front fenders are a nod to its iconic dustbin fairing, and their brown seats and golden eagle tank emblems further set them apart, though all 2021 models/colors display 100th anniversary logos on their front fenders. 

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
The V7 Stone is a modern take on a classic roadster, with simple lines, dark matte finishes, and cast wheels.

Greg’s Gear
Helmet: HJC RPHA 90
Jacket: Joe Rocket Classic ’92
Gloves: Joe Rocket Cafe Racer
Pants: Scorpion Covert Pro Jeans
Boots: Highway 21 Journeyman

Over its long history, Moto Guzzi has designed and built many notable models, but the V7 is a true living legend, the very soul of the brand. After two decades of building small, inexpensive motorcycles after World War II, Moto Guzzi became the first Italian manufacturer to offer a large-displacement model when, in 1967, it introduced the 700cc V7. It was the genesis of the engine configuration that came to define Moto Guzzi: the “flying” 90-degree V-twin, with its air-cooled cylinders jutting outward into the wind and its crankshaft running longitudinally. The V7 also had an automotive-style twin-plate dry clutch, a 4-speed constant mesh transmission, and shaft final drive. 

Today’s V7 maintains a strong connection to the original, from its round headlight, sculpted tank, and upright seating position to its dry clutch, shaft drive, dual shocks, and dual exhaust. The V7 Special ($9,490) is classically styled, with spoked wheels, chrome finishes, dual analog gauges, and a traditional headlight. The more modern-looking V7 Stone ($8,990) has matte finishes, a single all-digital gauge, black exhausts, cast wheels, and an eagle-shaped LED set into the headlight.

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
The V7 Special (left) brightens things up with gloss, chrome, and spoked wheels.

I’ve ridden a variety of Moto Guzzis over the years — the Norge sport-tourer (named after the Norge GT 500, which Giuseppe Guzzi rode to the Arctic Circle in 1928), the carbon-fiber-clad MGX-21 Flying Fortress hard bagger, the classic California 1400 Touring, and the red-framed, chrome-tanked V7 Racer, among others. Each was unique, but all shared the distinctive cah-chugga-chugga sound when their V-twins fired up and the gentle rocking to the right side when their throttles were blipped at idle. 

Riding a Moto Guzzi feels special. It’s a visceral, engaging, rhythmic experience. The V7 Stone brought me back to the simple pleasure of motorcycling — the feel of the wind against my body, the engine’s vibrations felt through various touch points, the exhilaration of thrust. Although the new V7 has a larger 853cc engine, variations of which are found in the V9 and V85 TT, output remains modest — 65 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 54 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm, measured at the crank. But that’s enough. The V7 is one of those motorcycles that gives you permission to relax, to take your time and really savor the moment. What’s the rush? 

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
The Centenario edition’s silver and green paint complements the V7 Stone’s black engine and exhaust.

Moto Guzzi made many useful, subtle updates to the V7 platform. Reduced effort from the single-disc dry clutch. A stiffer frame and a bigger swingarm with a new bevel gear for the cardan shaft drive. Revised damping and a longer stroke for the preload-adjustable rear shocks. An updated ABS module. A wider rear tire (now 150/70-17). Vibration-damping footpegs. A thicker passenger seat. 

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
The V7’s new eagle-shaped digital gauge is tasteful.

All are appreciated, but if I’m honest, I thought about none of them as I rolled through curve after curve on California’s Palms to Pines Highway, climbing higher and higher into the rugged, snow-dusted San Jacinto Mountains. For the better part of a day, I just rode the V7. I didn’t try to figure out its riding modes (it doesn’t have any), nor did I connect my smartphone to Moto Guzzi’s multimedia app. I rolled on and off the throttle. I shifted through the gears. And I smiled. A lot. 

The V7 Stone is solid, predictable, carefree. Its engine doles out torque nearly everywhere, but it feels happiest chugging along in the midrange. Throttle response is direct, the exhaust note is soothing. Thanks to its modest weight, low seat, and natural ergonomics, riding and handling are effortless. Braking, shifting, suspension — everything dutifully meets expectations. Like the Guzzi that stole Pierson’s heart, the V7 Stone is a workhorse, and it’s easy on the eyes. Well, except for its peculiar-looking taillight, which has a constellation of red LEDs that look too sci-fi for this style of bike. 

The V7 Stone Centenario carries the weight of Moto Guzzi’s century of history with confidence. The brand is an acquired taste, favored by connoisseurs rather than the masses, and it inspires a cult-like following. When I interviewed Melissa Holbrook Pierson for the Rider Magazine Insider podcast, I asked about her first encounter with a Guzzi. “It was chance,” she said. “I just happened upon the bike that was literally perfect for me.” 

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
The 2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone is one of three new Guzzi’s available in the commemorative Centenario paint scheme.

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone

Base Price: $8,990 
Price as Tested: $9,190 (Centenario edition) 
Website: motoguzzi.com 
Engine Type: Air-cooled, longitudinal 90-degree V-twin, OHV w/ 2 valves per cyl. 
Displacement: 853cc 
Bore x Stroke: 84.0 x 77.0mm 
Horsepower: 65 hp @ 6,800 rpm (claimed, at the crank) 
Torque: 54 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm (claimed, at the crank) 
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated dry clutch 
Final Drive: Shaft 
Wheelbase: 57.1 in. 
Rake/Trail: 28 degrees/4.1 in. 
Seat Height: 30.7 in. 
Wet Weight: 480 lbs. 
Fuel Capacity: 5.5 gals. 

The post 2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Romania to Istanbul Adventure

Romania to Istanbul Adventure with Adriatic Moto Tours
Riding the Transalpina Road in the Carpathian Mountains. There were many roads like this on the Romania to Istanbul Adventure with Adriatic Moto Tours. (Photos courtesy of Adriatic Moto Tours)

Trying to summarize a 14-day motorcycle tour through Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, with all of the roads and meals and people and historic sites that it entailed, in about 1,000 words is like trying to stuff 10 pounds of rice into a 5-pound sack. Adriatic Moto Tours’ Romania to Istanbul Adventure tour lived up to its name, providing a dozen of us — four Australians and eight Americans — with a rich experience in a very interesting and beautiful part of the world.

Our tour began in Bucharest, Romania, and followed a counterclockwise loop with overnight stops in charming towns and rest days in Sibiu, Romania, and Istanbul, Turkey.

Romania to Istanbul Adventure with Adriatic Moto Tours
Our tour route started and ended in Bucharest. You meet the nicest people in Transylvania. And ride some of the best roads. Enjoying a late afternoon ride along the Danube River.

Before our trip, Adriatic Moto Tours (AMT) sent us a detailed tour guide book and a map, and they made our hotel arrangements in Bucharest and picked us up at the airport. All my wife Becky and I had to do was pack our gear and make sure we made our flight. Orientation, bike assignments and everything was stress-free, and after our first dinner together our group was acquainted, bonded and ready to ride.

RELATED: Adriatic Moto Tours’ Intriguing Southeast Europe Tour

Rok was our motorcycle guide and Primož was our support van driver and evening host. From Burcharest we made our way to Târgovişte, where we enjoyed coffee and fresh pastries at a café adjacent to an imposing 15th century fortress. Vlad Dracula, also known as Vlad the Impaler and the inspiration for the vampire Dracula, fought bloody battles here. Primož told us that Vlad once invited hundreds of guests to a banquet, then had them all killed and impaled.

Romania to Istanbul Adventure with Adriatic Moto Tours
Meeting Count Dracula in Târgovişte, Romania

On that cheery note, we rode north toward Câmpulung into delightful mountains, with rocky peaks in the background and gorgeous green pastoral scenery below. This stretch was winding and curvy but smooth and pleasant. There are many beautiful places in the world, all different, but there aren’t many that are more beautiful than this section of Romania’s Carpathian Mountains. We visited Bran Castle, which was built in the 13th century and inspired Bram Stoker’s description of the vampire’s castle in “Dracula.” On the way to dinner that night, Primož led us on a walking tour of the old city in Braşov. Each night we walked to a wonderful restaurant, and the guides shared their wealth of knowledge about the culture and history of the area. Dinners were family-style, with Rok and Primož ordering a variety of platters so we could sample a little bit of everything.

Romania to Istanbul Adventure with Adriatic Moto Tours
Enjoying a late afternoon ride along the Danube River.

Our route continued through Transylvania on smooth roads through rolling hills, the terrain and scenery constantly changing. We had lunch in Sighişoara, a walled 12th century town that’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. For our “rest” day in Sibiu, we did what riders do — we got up early and headed out on a ride, in this case to the renowned Transfăgărăşan road over the Făgărăş range. At the base of the mountain, Rok gave the signal and the group broke apart with everyone riding their own pace up the steep twisty switchbacks to the pass at 6,699 feet. The next day, after finding out that a rockslide had closed the highly anticipated Transalpina Road, we assuaged our disappointment with another run on the Transfăgărăşan.

Romania to Istanbul Adventure with Adriatic Moto Tours
The legendary Transfăgărăşan road in Romania is so good, we rode it twice.

We crossed the Friendship Bridge into Bulgaria and made our way to Veliko Tarnovo, where we spent the night in the Tsarevets Fortress. We visited the Shipka Monument at a 3,900-foot mountain pass that was the site of battles during the Russo-Turkish War in the late 1800s. And we descended into Rose Valley, where much of the world’s rose oil for perfumes comes from, and passed sunflower fields that stretched as far as the eye could see.

After a night in Plovdiv, which has Roman ruins in the center of town, we rode through the Rhodope Mountains into Greece. Most of the road had excellent pavement, smooth curves and gorgeous mountain terrain that gave way to Mediterranean seaside scenery at Alexandroupoli. The next day we crossed into Turkey, and a perfect arc of roadway around the Gulf of Saros took us to tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula, where we visited WWI memorials.

Romania to Istanbul Adventure with Adriatic Moto Tours
Balea Lac at the top of the pass on the Transfăgărăşan road through the Făgărăş Mountains.

Istanbul is beyond words. As the crossroads of the East and West, it has a rich, varied history and a unique mix of cultures. Three nights and two rest days in Istanbul allowed plenty of time to explore and see famous sites like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Hippodrome of Constantinople. People on the streets and in shops were warm and friendly, and the variety of foods was endless and always delicious. Our hotel provided easy access to historic areas, and its rooftop restaurant and bar overlooked the Bosphorus Strait, which is the boundary between Europe and Asia. Just indescribable — you really should experience it for yourself.

After the sensory overload of Istanbul, we followed Rok northwest to our lunch stop at Saray. The roads zigged and zagged, and the surface was somewhat rough due to years of being patched. We crossed the border back into Bulgaria, and at the checkpoint there were several luxury vehicles shot full of hundreds of holes. If that was meant as a warning, it worked. Nessebar, situated on a rocky peninsula jutting into the Black Sea, was our stop for the night. It’s one of the oldest towns in Europe, and as we walked to dinner we saw monuments and ruins dating back to the 5th century. The atmosphere in the twilight was breathtaking, another step back in time.

Romania to Istanbul Adventure with Adriatic Moto Tours
One of the endless fields of sunflowers in Bulgaria.

The terrain and scenery changed yet again as we rode north along the Bulgarian coast, which is a popular vacation destination with dramatic cliffs, pristine beaches and resort hotels. After a night in Kavarna, where we stayed in a modern condo overlooking the Black Sea, we rode through fertile grain-producing agricultural areas. We crossed back into Romania on a ferry over the mighty Danube River and made our way back to Bucharest, where Primož greeted us with champagne at the hotel. After celebrating, we emptied the bikes and got cleaned up for the farewell dinner. I don’t remember much about that final night. Our heads were spinning with memories, laughter and a few adult beverages.

This tour was everything we could have imagined, multiplied by a factor of 10. Both guides worked tirelessly to accommodate us every day for 14 long days. The riding was great, the scenery ever-changing, the history and culture beyond what we could absorb in a lifetime, and Adriatic Moto Tours earned our highest regards for everything from the booking to the final hoorah. Maybe we can go again someday?

Romania to Istanbul Adventure with Adriatic Moto Tours
Our group of intrepid adventurers.

AMT’s Istanbul to Romania Adventure tour runs several times a year from August to October. For dates, pricing and details, visit adriaticmototours.com.

The post Romania to Istanbul Adventure first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Tech Talk: Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250

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

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

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

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

Revolution Max 1250

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

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

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

Harley-Davidson Revolution Max 1250

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

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

Adaptive Ride Height

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2022 Triumph Speed Twin | First Look Review

2022 Triumph Speed Twin review Red Hopper
2022 Triumph Speed Twin in Red Hopper

Triumph’s entire lineup of Bonneville-based models has been updated for 2022, including the T120, T120 Black, T100, Street Twin, Streetmaster, Bobber, Street Scrambler, and Scrambler 1200. Last but not least, the Speed Twin has also gotten some useful upgrades.

Introduced for 2019, the Speed Twin offers engine performance and handling comparable to the Thruxton café racer but with an upright riding position, less weight, and a lower price. For 2022, the Speed Twin’s updated “High Power” version of Triumph’s liquid-cooled, 1,200cc parallel-twin makes 98.6 horsepower at 7,250 rpm and 83 lb-ft of torque at 4,250 rpm (claimed, at the crank). Wet weight is 476 pounds, and pricing starts at $12,500.

2022 Triumph Speed Twin review Red Hopper
2022 Triumph Speed Twin in Red Hopper

Compared to the previous Speed Twin’s engine, the updated powerplant now meets Euro 5 emissions standards and offers more peak horsepower, more midrange horsepower and torque, a lower torque peak, and 17% less inertia for better response. Power is sent to the rear wheel through a 6-speed transmission, a torque-assist clutch, and chain final drive.

To improve handling, the Speed Twin gets a higher-spec Marzocchi USD cartridge fork, Brembo M50 monoblock calipers, lighter cast aluminum 12-spoke wheels, and Metzeler Racetec RR tires.

2022 Triumph Speed Twin review Matt Storm Grey
2022 Triumph Speed Twin in Matte Storm Grey

Three riding modes — Sport, Road, and Rain — have been revised, and they adjust throttle response and intervention from the switchable traction control. Other standard equipment includes ABS, LED lighting with a DRL, an underseat USB charging port, and an ignition immobilizer. Sorry folks, still no cruise control.

The Speed Twin’s styling has been refreshed with new brushed stainless-steel upswept silencers, new anodized headlight and mudguard mounts, and new tank graphics.

2022 Triumph Speed Twin review Jet Black
2022 Triumph Speed Twin in Jet Black

The 2022 Triumph Speed Twin is available in Red Hopper, Matte Storm Grey, and Jet Black, and it will be in dealerships in August.

2022 Triumph Speed Twin Specs

Base Price: $12,500
Website: triumphmotorcycles.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin, SOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,200cc
Bore x Stroke: 97.6 x 80mm
Horsepower: 98.6 @ 7,250 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Torque: 83 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Fuel Delivery: Electronic fuel injection & throttle-by-wire
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated torque-assist wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Frame: Tubular steel w/ aluminum cradles, cast aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 55.6 in.
Rake/Trail: 22.3 degrees/3.6 in.
Seat Height: 31.9 in.
Suspension, Front: 43mm USD fork, no adj., 4.7 in. travel
Rear: Dual shocks, adj. for spring preload, 4.7 in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 320mm discs w/ radial-mount opposed 4-piston monoblock calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 220mm disc w/ 2-piston floating caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast aluminum, 3.5 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast aluminum, 5.0 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 160/60-ZR17
Wet Weight: 476 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.8 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 41.8 mpg (EPA)

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

A Short Trip Back in Time: SFO Museum Hosts an Exhibition of 14 Vintage Motorcycles

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles 1912 Flying Merkel Twin-Cylinder Racer
1912 Flying Merkel Twin-Cylinder Racer (Photos courtesy of SFO Museum)

When you make your way to an airport, most times you’re traveling to another place. But right now through the close of summer, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is a worthwhile destination in its own right. The SFO Museum offers an opportunity to travel back in time, through a jewel of an exhibition surrounding 14 vintage motorcycles built before 1916. This amazing display includes a rare collection of old-time engines, photographs, and local SF Bay Area motorcycling history artfully blended together into a not-to-be-missed opportunity for riders and gearheads of all types.

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles
Located in the International Terminal, Departures – Level 3, the “Early American Motorcycles” exhibit is open to the public 24 hours a day (no security screening required).

To give you the inside scoop on this gorgeous exhibit, we asked Daniel Calderon, Curator of Exhibitions at SFO Museum, to fill us in on some of the backstory.

Rider: As Curator of Exhibitions, does your job entail?

Daniel Calderon: I am one of two curators of non-aviation exhibitions at SFO Museum, which means I am responsible for developing exhibitions that draw from outside our permanent aviation collection of more than 250,000 items. These general exhibitions are based on a wide variety of subjects that are both interesting and educational, and we borrow objects from private collectors and from other museums for display. Working with these lenders and our exhibition designer, I source and select objects and accompanying images for exhibition, and then research and write the text and IDs that you see in the gallery. I also develop the content for each exhibit that we produce in a brochure, on our website and in educational programs and catalogs. 

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles 1912 Excelsior Auto-Cycle Model 4B
1912 Excelsior Auto-Cycle Model 4B

Rider: What are some of the more notable exhibitions SFO has offered in the past?

DC: SFO Museum has programmed a remarkable array of general, aviation and photographic exhibitions. In regard to motorcycles, we featured “Moto Bellissima: Italian Motorcycles from the 1950s and 1960s” back in 2011. More recently we have featured exhibitions on subjects as diverse as Japanese toys, African barbershop signs, California studio craft, psychedelic rock posters and custom surfboards made from rare woods. Currently, we have a fantastic exhibition on the history of women’s hairstyles, and another on instrumental rock ‘n’ roll and surf music. All of these exhibitions feature their own printed brochure and page on our website, sfomuseum.org.  

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles 1914 Jefferson Twin-Cylinder Racer
1914 Jefferson Twin-Cylinder Racer

Rider: What prompted you to arrange an exhibition of motorcycles?

DC: A lender visit prompted the “Early American Motorcycles” project. I was on a visit to History San Jose to look at typewriters in their collection and was struck by an early Harley-Davidson twin and an Excelsior single in their storage. Being a gearhead, that certainly stuck in my mind. On another visit to look for typewriters, this time to the Museum of American History in Palo Alto, I met board member Chris Carter, who was our second contact for motorcycles. After Chris generously offered his motorcycles for loan and connected us with Wes Allen and his collection, I knew we had the necessary momentum and asked that the motorcycle exhibition be approved by my colleagues.

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles 1915 Harley-Davidson Model 11-F Effie
1915 Harley-Davidson Model 11-F Effie

Rider: Do you have any personal experience with riding motorcycles?

DC: I have surprisingly little experience riding motorcycles, just a friend’s knock-around 1980s Honda street bike, another buddy’s Suzuki 125 dirt bike and my sister’s old Trail 90, which was a really fun machine. I’ve been building and working on classic cars, racing airplanes and vintage aircraft for years, so a classic motorcycle is definitely in the works at some point.

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles 1911 Pierce Four Cylinder
1911 Pierce Four Cylinder

Rider: How many motorcycles do you have on display, and how did you source them?

DC: We have 14 motorcycles made prior to 1916 on display, along with three early engines and a selection of rare photographs. Half of the exhibit was sourced from Chris Carter and Wes Allen. Then I found Dave Scoffone through the George Wyman Memorial Project website, and Dave generously opened up his collection as well. Looking for images, I discovered Cris Sommer-Simmons and her book “The American Motorcycle Girls.” Cris graciously lent images and her 1915 Harley-Davidson 11–F Cannonball racer “Effie,” along with an outstanding 1915 Iver Johnson twin owned by Cris and her husband Pat.

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles 1915 Iver Johnson Model 15-7
1915 Iver Johnson Model 15-7

Rider: What other displays and materials are you offering in addition to the motorcycles?

DC: Racer and author Don Emde and the San Francisco Motorcycle Club (SFMC) lent numerous photo images to the exhibition, some of which are truly remarkable. The backdrop for each of the two galleries was created from two rare panoramas from the SFMC and are quite dramatic in person. Twelve of the motorcycles are featured on our website, and everything is documented in an online catalog that showcases some wonderful images taken by our photographer. In fact, everything that you see in the exhibit and online was created in-house by staff at SFO Museum.

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles 1903 Indian Motocycle
1903 Indian Motocycle

Rider: You have created a comprehensive self-guided tour and impressive supplemental teaching materials aimed at parents and teachers of students in grades K-12. Tell us about the educational focus you build into this exhibition and others.

DC: Each year we select at least two exhibitions for our educational programs, which are designed to be led by either parents or teachers in the galleries. We also try to design the educational program as a standalone source of information that parents and children can access while at home. Given the current COVID–19 pandemic, the ability for the public to access our exhibits from home is even more important. Once things get back to normal, we hope to start offering our aviation-based education programs again in the Aviation Museum and Library at the International Terminal.

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles 1914 The Flying Merkel Model 470
1914 The Flying Merkel Model 470

Rider: What kind of reactions have you gathered from people who have taken in your exhibit?

DC: Many people have been surprised to see these machines at the airport given their rarity, and we have heard great things from the public so far, which is always rewarding. I hope that as flights and passenger traffic increase, more people will take the time to view the exhibition and offer their feedback.

Listen to the Rider Magazine Insider podcast interview with Daniel Calderon

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles 1912 Marsh-Metz Magneto Twin
c. 1912 Marsh-Metz Magneto Twin

When Daniel mentioned Chris Carter’s name, it gave me the perfect excuse to call up a longtime friend. We first met back in the 1960s at the Yamaha dealership A&A Motors in Redwood City, long before he went on to do a few things like earning a Gold Medal at the 1976 International Six Day Trials (ISDT) and founding Motion Pro, supplier of trick tools to nearly everybody.

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles 1912 Indian 8-Valve Racer
1912 Indian 8-Valve Racer

“Working on this airport project with Daniel has been a fun time,” Carter told me. “We both love motorcycles and we wanted to share the experience and awareness that these vintage bikes bring. Over the years, vintage bikes such as these have become more and more hidden as they’re acquired and stored away out of sight by their new owners. However, it’s a real commitment to offer up a bike for loan; between the organization and actual display time, the bike will be tied up for about a year. For me, the best part was seeing how many of these bikes on display came right out of collections in the Bay Area and Northern California. I’ve been focusing on finding vintage bikes with a pedigree, trying to preserve some of the history surrounding old racers and other bikes of note. And that’s exactly what we see right here in this exhibition.”

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles 1907 Curtiss Double Cylinder
1907 Curtiss Double Cylinder

In addition, SFO Museum’s exhibition and educational materials do an excellent job of sharing the long history of women in the motorcycling scene, from intrepid travelers Augusta and Adeline Van Buren, who rode from New York to Tijuana, Mexico, and back in 1916, to modern-day Motorcycle Cannonball competitor Cris Sommer-Simmons, who not only rode the Cannonball three times, but also happens to be an author, antique motorcycle collector and AMA Hall of Fame member.

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles 1902 California Motor Bicycle
1902 California Motor Bicycle

All educators and parents should take advantage of the free, downloadable educational materials provided in PDF format on the SFO Museum website. They are outstanding in quality and will open up young minds to the adventures of motorcycling! These materials interpret the display in a friendly and engaging manner that makes this one topic in history class an A+ experience.

“Early American Motorcycles” will be on view at SFO Museum in the International Terminal, Departures Level, until September 19, 2021. For more info, visit sfomuseum.org.

SFO Museum Early American Motorcycles 1910 Yale Single
1910 Yale Single

The post A Short Trip Back in Time: SFO Museum Hosts an Exhibition of 14 Vintage Motorcycles first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Ducati Monster | First Ride Review

2021 Ducati Monster review price red wheelie
Testing the wheelie control on the 2021 Ducati Monster. (Photos by Gregor Halenda and Mike Levin)

Over the years Ducati has produced several iconic motorcycles which have withstood the test of time. Many enthusiasts credit Ducati’s 916 as the one that stands above the rest in it’s revolutionary design and styling. But there’s another Ducati that has made its own mark in similar fashion — the Monster — which established the “naked bike” style.

Unveiled at the Cologne show in 1992, designer Miguel Galluzzi said, “All you need is: a saddle, tank, engine, two wheels and handlebars.” Though designated the M900, it became known by its nickname, “Monster.” Like Frankenstein’s monster, the M900 stitched together the steel trellis frame from the 851 Superbike, the air-cooled, 904cc L-twin from the Supersport Desmodue, a “bison-back” gas tank, a low handlebar and a round headlight.

2021 Ducati Monster review price red
Is something missing? The Monster’s iconic steel trellis frame has been replaced with a Panigale-style modular frame that uses the engine as a structural member.

Over nearly three decades of production and more than 350,000 units sold, the Ducati Monster has seen multiple evolutions in terms of styling and technology, and it has been offered in a range of displacements, from 600cc to 1,200cc. The commitment made by Ducati to enhance and keep the Monster relevant is evident from the latest version of this iconic motorcycle, which brings together a Superbike-inspired chassis, a road-going engine and the latest in electronic riding aids.

2021 Ducati Monster review price red
The Monster’s new electronics suite is easily navigated via handlebar switches and the 4.3-inch TFT display.

It’s fitting that the 2021 Ducati Monster was launched in San Francisco because the bike has been a huge hit among urban enthusiasts. The design brief for the latest version was to deliver the best of both worlds — to be “more thrilling for experienced riders” as well as “more accessible for new riders.” The new 2021 Monster maintains the model’s signature minimalist styling and aggressive attitude while delivering increased power, comfort, and maneuverability. Couple this with a new, comprehensive electronics package, and the latest generation is likely to ensure the Ducati Monster remains as popular as ever.

2021 Ducati Monster review price red
The lighter, tighter Ducati Monster made quick work of San Francisco’s steep, narrow Lombard Street.

First impressions of the 2021 Ducati Monster can be deceiving. Sure it looks like a Monster with its bison-back tank and round headlight, but there’s something missing. The classic steel trellis frame has been replaced with a new Panigale-style aluminum upper section frame that saves 9.9 pounds and uses the engine as a structural member of the chassis. They didn’t stop there. Updates including a new swingarm and fiberglass-reinforced polymer subframe shave off 10 pounds, and the Testastretta engine and lighter wheels save another 10 pounds. All this tinkering, Ducati says, has reduced the Monster’s curb weight to a lean 414 pounds, a full 40 pounds less than last year’s model.

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Less and more. Less weight to the tune of a 40-pound-lower curb weight. More power and torque than the Monster 821 thanks to the larger 937cc Testastretta L-twin.

Firing up the Monster produced a familiar sound that resonated in my ears. Powering the Monster is a version of the liquid-cooled, 937cc Testastretta 11-degree L-twin also found in the Hypermotard, Multistrada 950 and SuperSport 950. Claimed output is 111 horsepower at 9,250 rpm (up 2 from the Monster 821) and 69 lb-ft at 6,500 rpm (up 1.5). Updates to the engine include new cylinder heads, pistons and rods, intake and exhaust system, geardrum, stick coils, alternator and belt covers. A new clutch has 20% lighter pull, and an up/down quickshifter is standard. The new Monster has a 9,000-mile oil service interval and an 18,000-mile desmodromic valve service interval.

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The Monster’s unique mix of style and performance, not to mention compact dimensions, make it a favorite among urban enthusiasts.

The Monster’s new electronics package includes three fully customizable riding modes (Sport, Touring and Urban), IMU-based cornering ABS, cornering traction control, as well as wheelie and launch control. Starting off in Urban mode, which reduces engine output to 75 horsepower, the softer throttle response and increased level of intervention for ABS and TC make the Monster highly manageable. The tamed throttle response is sufficient enough to get the job done when negotiating lane changes or avoiding sketchy situations, but after a few miles of exploring the busy streets of San Francisco, Urban mode felt too corked up and I was eager for more.

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Everything you need, nothing you don’t.

Tapping a button on the left switch cluster allowed me to sample Touring and Sport modes, both of which offer full power, more direct throttle response and less electronic intervention, with Sport mode being the most aggressive. An up/down toggle scrolls through the various settings within each mode; just push the button, close the throttle and the change takes effect. Changes to default settings can only be done while stopped. Everything is displayed on a new 4.3-inch, high-resolution TFT instrument panel.

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Wait, I just came down this road. Where’s the lunch stop again?

As our test ride continued, I came to appreciate the Monster’s agreeable riding position and agile handling. The Panigale-style frame, new bodywork and a new seat make the Monster narrower between the legs. Height of the stock seat is 32.3 inches, but the accessory low seat ($160) reduces seat height to 31.5 inches and the low seat plus the accessory low suspension kit ($300) reduces seat height further to 30.5 inches. Ducati also changed the bar/seat/peg configuration, with the handlebar moved 2.6 inches closer to the rider and the footpegs moved back 1.4 inches and down 0.4 inch compared to the Monster 821. Not only are the ergonomics more comfortable, but a 7% tighter steering angle reduces the turning radius by 3.75 feet, simplifying U-turns and slow-speed maneuvering.

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As fun as the Monster is in the city, it’s even more fun when you escape the urban jungle.

Riding around town, the Monster hits all the marks, but how will the changes translate out in the twisties, while giving it the berries? On the handling front, Ducati kept it simple. Suspension is made by KYB, with a non-adjustable 43mm USD fork with 5.1 inches of travel and a preload-adjustable rear shock with 5.5 inches of travel. The basic setup worked quite well, with good bump compliance and exceptional midcorner stability. Compared to the Monster 821, the wheelbase is slightly shorter thanks to a tighter rake (24 degrees, down 0.3) but trail is unchanged at 3.7 inches. Revised chassis geometry, less weight and a narrower 180/55 rear tire make for a more maneuverable platform. While lighter wheels, reduced unsprung weight, and grippy Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tires combined to give a  planted feeling during quick transitions.

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The highway separating me and the new Monster from the sublimely twisty roads of the Santa Cruz Mountains, south of San Francisco, provided an opportunity to feel out its cruising abilities, and in 6th gear, at around 75 to 80 mph at 5,500 rpm, there was plenty of roll-on power in reserve. As soon as I exited the highway, and headed into the mountains, I really started to flog it. I thought for sure the suspension would give it up, but the Monster handled pretty much everything I threw at it. Tight switchbacks, long sweepers, decreasing-radius corners, uneven pavement and even those mystery bumps hidden in the shade of redwoods were all kept in check. The effort Ducati put into designing a more compact, agile, and friendlier riding position has really paid off. Transitioning back and forth was fairly easy in the fast stuff, but needed some increased effort in the tighter sections. The front-end feel at corner entry and mid-corner was reasonably good, allowing me to feel the road adjust to the conditions with confidence.

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The Monster also has good front-to-rear balance and minimizes weight transfer on exits. I did some experimenting with the TC and ABS settings to gauge their effects at full tilt. There is definitely some intervention in the upper ranges of the 8-level TC, especially when traction is questionable. I found that peculiar sensation like a rev limiter kicking in several times on hard corner exits. In the lower levels of the TC the Monster’s response is more measured and precise. You’ll feel like a real pro, barely noticing that it’s working.

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Braking wise, the Monster is equipped with Brembo’s latest M4.32 monoblock front calipers and 320mm rotors, along with a Brembo radial master cylinder. Together they offered a superb braking feel with plenty of stopping power. The ABS is well sorted and even though I’m not usually a fan, it stepped in to save the day a few times.

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Everybody sampled the 4-level wheelie control and launch control at nearly every stop light. Where it counted for me was on low-speed corner exits. In Level 4 it’s very apparent as the motor starts to cut out in order to keep the front wheel on the ground. Level 1 and 2 seemed most agreeable with minimal intervention. The good thing is the wheelie control can be independently adjusted from the other control systems or turned off. Ducati’s quickshifter worked well in both up and down directions, adding to the fun, but felt clunky at lower speeds.

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Overall, the 2021 Ducati Monster performed exceptionally well. It’s the friendliest Monster yet and should satisfy a wide range of riders (and abilities) attracted not only to its performance and style, but also its accessibility. The many updates ensure that Monster legacy will be carried forward by this worthy successor. 

The Monster comes in three color options: Ducati Red ($11,895), Aviator Gray (+$200) and Dark Stealth (+$200). And the Monster+ ($12,095) adds a flyscreen and passenger seat cover. An extensive range of accessories allow you to personalize the Monster, from a Termignoni racing exhaust to an EPA/CARB-compliant slip-on, tank cover kits and more.

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2021 Ducati Monster Specs

Base Price: $11,895
Price as Tested: $12,095 (Monster+ w/ flyscreen, passenger seat cover)
Website: ducati.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 90-degree V-twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 937cc
Bore x Stroke: 94.0 x 67.5mm
Horsepower: 111 hp @ 9,250 rpm
Torque: 69 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Wheelbase: 58.0 in.
Rake/Trail: 24 degrees/3.7 in.
Seat Height: 32.3 in.
Wet Weight: 414 lbs. (claimed)
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gals.

The post 2021 Ducati Monster | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com