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2020 Liv Thrive E+ EX Pro E-Bike | Road Test Review

Giant Liv Thrive E+ EX Pro
The Thrive E+ EX Pro is part of Giant’s Liv brand, the only major industry brand to cater specifically to women. An identically-equipped men’s version of this bike called the Fastroad E+ EX Pro is also available. Photo by Mark Tuttle.

Electric-assist bicycles, or e-bikes, are hot right now. They’re like regular bicycles, but more fun: a small electric motor kicks in when you pedal, providing an extra boost to your efforts. They’re also a natural crossover point between bicycles and motorcycles, which is why we’re starting to see some familiar names — Yamaha, BMW, KTM and Kawasaki, for starters — eyeing the market, eager to take advantage of explosive e-bike growth in the face of stagnant motorcycle sales. 

Read more about e-bikes and what they might mean for the motorcycle industry here.

From the other direction, bicycle manufacturers are already ahead of the game, with nearly every major player offering its own lineup of e-bikes. This includes Giant, the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer, which built its first e-bike way back in 1999 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. Giant is no stranger to our side of the two-wheeled life — it’s partnered with well-known riders like four-time 500cc Grand Prix World Champion Eddie Lawson and motocross champion and multiple-time X-Game gold medalist Travis Pastrana as brand ambassadors — and, for the first time ever, it’s exhibiting its e-bike lineup at all of the 2019-2020 Progressive International Motorcycle Shows. It’s a smart move on Giant’s part, and a fortuitous one for us.

Given e-bikes’ crossover appeal and potential to bridge the gap for beginning motorcycle riders — it’s easier to handle an electric-assist bicycle than a 400-plus-pound motorcycle — we figured the time is right to do our first Road Test Review of an e-bike. We chose the new-for-2020 Thrive E+ EX Pro, built by Giant and sold under its Liv brand (which happens to be the industry’s only major brand dedicated to female riders); a men’s version called the Fastroad E+ EX Pro is also available. This sleek machine is bicycling’s version of something like a Ducati Multistrada or BMW S 1000 XR: it’s fast — as a Class 3 e-bike its motor provides assistance up to 28 mph — it rolls on road-oriented but ready-for-anything tires, and it has built-in front and rear fenders to control rain splash and pebbles, a headlight and taillight and a rear luggage rack that’s ready to accept optional panniers. For someone looking for a first experience on (semi) powered two wheels, or who’s looking to replace a car trip or three, the Thrive and Fastroad are game changers.

Giant Liv Thrive e-bike
The Thrive E+ EX Pro comes with nearly everything you need to crush a commute or replace errands in your car: a headlight, taillight, front and rear fenders and a rear luggage rack. Photo by Mark Tuttle.

The appeal of an e-bike over a standard bicycle lies chiefly in the way it opens up opportunities — you’ll get less tired, which means you can ride farther and are not a sweaty mess when you get to where you’re going, and it’s impossible to overstate how much fun it is to ride. When people ask me what it feels like, I say that it’s like a normal bicycle, but with an invisible hand gently pushing you along. Or a monstrous and perpetual tailwind that doesn’t blow dust into your eyes and never surprises you with a gusty crosswind.

The Tech

The Thrive E+ EX Pro looks like a regular, modern bicycle at first glance, and cyclists amongst our readership will recognize its quality components: Shimano Tiagra shifters, GRX RX400 rear derailleur and BR-MT200 hydraulically-actuated disc brakes, and Kenda Kwick Seven.5 tires with reflective taping on the sidewalls that gives a cool “Tron” effect and increases nighttime visibility. The frame and fork are Giant’s ALUXX SL aluminum, designed specifically for female body geometry. (The Fastroad E+ EX Pro is identically equipped, but with a men’s frame.)

Providing the electric boost is a Yamaha-powered Giant SyncDrive Pro motor that generates an impressive 59 lb-ft of torque, with a 375Wh EnergyPak lithium-ion battery cleverly integrated into the downtube so as to be nearly invisible. The battery can be charged either on or off the bike via the included 6A Smart Charger, which can achieve 80% charge in just 1.4 hours and doubles as a battery maintainer for storage. 

Giant Liv Thrive E+ EX Pro
The SyncDrive Pro electric motor is a large part of what sets the Thrive apart from lesser competitors. It’s not only smooth, quiet and powerful, but Giant’s proprietary PedalPlus software gives it a fluid, intuitive feeling that won’t intrude on your pedaling experience. Plus, it’s built by a name we know we can trust: Yamaha. Photo by Mark Tuttle.

The SyncDrive Pro is Giant’s most powerful and sophisticated motor, with tunable support ratios (how much assistance the motor is giving you in each mode) up to a maximum of 170 rpm — in human, not ICE terms, that’s fast, more than two pedal revolutions per second. The brain behind this is Giant’s PedalPlus 6-sensor Smart Assist technology — think of it like the IMUs in our motorcycles that use input from various sensors to provide optimal ABS, traction control, throttle response, wheelie control, etc. The PedalPlus uses six measurements: torque (pedaling input), bike speed, pedal cadence, slope (i.e. pitch; how steep of a hill you’re climbing), acceleration/deceleration and lastly, the internal rotation and operation of the motor itself, to deliver smooth, optimum power. Response is instantaneous and fluid, a noticeable improvement even from the PowerPlus 4-equipped Giant e-mountain bike I borrowed for a Woman Rider story in 2018. It feels like riding a regular bike, but with more “oomph” and all of the grins.

Just like a motorcycle, the Thrive E+ EX Pro sports a backlit LCD instrument called RideControl EVO that displays battery charge, ride mode and speed, and switchable odometer, tripmeter, range to “empty” and cadence. It’s controlled by switchgear on the left grip, where two large arrow buttons run you through ride modes: Eco, Basic, Active, Sport and Power, plus an Auto mode that automatically selects the ideal mode using the six PedalPlus sensors, and Off. The display can be dimmed for night riding and the head/taillights turned off, and there is even a “walk mode” that propels the bike alongside you while walk — useful for pushing it up ramps or into the bed of a truck should the need arise.

Giant Liv Thrive E+ EX Pro
The RideControl EVO display shows battery level, speed, ride mode and switchable tripmeter, odometer, cadence and range. Notice I still had 45 miles to go with nearly three-quarters remaining on the battery. Photo by Mark Tuttle.
Giant Liv Thrive E+ EX Pro
The display is controlled by left switchgear; the two arrows move you through the ride modes, and the power button is also located on this switch. The bike will turn off automatically after sitting still for a while to conserve the battery. Photo by Mark Tuttle.

Also, just like a motorcycle, the display isn’t just for riding data anymore. RideControl EVO allows the rider to connect an ANT+/Bluetooth heart rate monitor, and the system will automatically adjust pedal support to reach and maintain a desired heart rate. It also connects to your phone via Bluetooth and Giant’s RideControl app, enabling turn-by-turn on-screen directions via bike-friendly routes; allows you to tune and customize pedal support settings for each mode; and displays incoming messages, calls and emails. Lastly, the app ties into the heart rate monitor function for tracking and maximizing fitness goals and viewing post-ride stats.

Giant Liv Thrive E+ EX Pro
The Thrive’s riding position is comfortably upright and neutral, and doesn’t place a lot of weight on the rider’s hands. Photo by Mark Tuttle.

The Ride

Fitness is a happy byproduct of e-biking for me; I wanted to test the Thrive E+ EX Pro primarily as a commuter and errand-runner. I live in a city with numerous bike lanes and paths, and since the majority of my in-town car (or motorcycle) trips are less than five miles I was able to replace nearly all of my driving with e-biking. 

Giant loaned me a set of removable panniers ($79) that snapped easily onto/off the Thrive’s rack, and each side easily held a large bag of groceries or my gym bag. The panniers have a semi-rigid structure that holds its shape and makes it easy to load/unload, and each side has a special hook-and-loop strap to hold a spare EnergyPak battery. I also used the Thrive to commute to work, leaving our 2020 Suzuki Katana tester looking rather forlorn in my garage. Commuting by e-bike obviously takes a bit longer than using a car or motorcycle, but the fresh air felt quite nice, and I quickly learned to find the balance with the bike’s power modes that gave me just a bit of exercise without walking into the office feeling sweaty.

Giant Liv Thrive E+ EX Pro
The water-resistant Giant panniers were large enough to easily swallow bags of groceries and my gym bag. Photo by the author.

The vast majority of my riding time was spent in Eco mode (the lowest), which in stock configuration delivers 100% of your pedal input (doubles your power), and I found it to be more than enough for cruising around mostly-flat Camarillo. When approaching a hill, I’d downshift a gear or two and bump it into the next-higher mode, grinning as the invisible hand pressed against my back to help me up the incline. Only when climbing the long, steep hill to my driveway would I use the third mode, and even then only if I was tired. In the highest two, it almost would’ve felt too easy! The SyncDrive Pro’s instantaneous power delivery meant I could launch from traffic lights with enough speed to keep up with the car next to me until we were both through the intersection, and it was nice knowing that power was there if I needed it. 

Given my size, riding style and terrain, I was able to get a lot from the Thrive’s battery in terms of range. Giant claims a maximum range of about 68 miles, which is a lot of 5-mile trips for me! The nice thing about an e-bike (as opposed to an e-motorcycle) is that, as long as you can carry the charger with you (which I did, in the Thrive’s panniers), charging it is just a matter of pulling the battery, taking it inside with you and plugging it in. Alternatively, you can leave the battery installed and plug into the bike itself, as long as it’s close enough to an outlet. It’s also possible to carry extra batteries, as noted above, or to upgrade with an EnergyPak Plus to extend your range.

Giant Liv Thrive E+ EX Pro
The Thrive is equipped with a headlight and taillight, greatly increasing visibility. In fact, in my city it is technically illegal to ride in on-street bike lanes without lights. Photo by Mark Tuttle.

Jenny’s Gear
Helmet: Liv Infinita SX MIPS
Jacket: Pearl Izumi

Everything else about the Thrive was top-notch. Shifting action through the 10 Shimano gears was smooth and positive, and the hydraulic disc brakes provided strong stopping power with just one finger on each lever without a hint of grabbiness. Fit and finish overall is outstanding, down to the satin paint finish and the smooth frame welds. It cruises at speed with stability, the wide Kenda tires helping to absorb some of the bumps transmitted through the stiff aluminum frame, and the occasional dirt or gravel road is no problem. The frame geometry and flat handlebar put me in a neutral riding position that gave me a commanding view and allowed for easy weight transfer back and forth during longer rides. The installation of an aftermarket rearview mirror into the end of the left grip was all I needed to make the Thrive E+ EX Pro a darn-near perfect urban warrior.

bar-end mirror
I added a bar-end mirror ($15 at my local bike shop) for increased situational awareness on the road, but otherwise the Thrive is commute-ready right off the showroom floor. Photo by the author.

Don’t worry, I’m not giving up motorcycles, but I have to admit that thanks to my two weeks with the Thrive I might be developing an alternate two-wheeled addiction. It’s fun, it’s good for me (and the environment), it reduces traffic congestion, it’s a great way to crosstrain as a motorcyclist and it’s another way to enjoy two wheels. Consider me an e-bike believer.

2020 Liv Thrive E+ EX Pro/Giant Fastroad E+ EX Pro Specs

Base Price: $3,500
Website: liv-cycling.com/us/ and giant-bicycles.com/us/ 
Motor: SyncDrive Pro (built by Yamaha)
Battery: EnergyPak 375, 36V lithium-ion
Sensors: PedalPlus 6
Display: RideControl EVO, remote button
Charger: EnergyPak 6A Fast Charger

Components

Handlebar: Giant Connect XC Riser 31.8 x 640mm
Stem: Giant Contact
Seatpost: Giant D-Shape, aluminum
Saddle: Liv Sport

Drivetrain

Shifters: Shimano Tiagra, 10-speed
Front Derailleur: NA
Rear Derailleur: Shimano GRX RX400
Brakes: Shimano BR-MT200, hydraulic disc, 180/160mm front/rear
Brake Levers: Shimano BL-MT201
Cassette: Shimano Tiagra, 11-36, 10-speed
Chain: KMC e.10 Sport, e-bike optimized
Crankset: Forged alloy, minimal Q-factor, 42T

Chassis

Frame: ALUXX SL aluminum
Fork: ALUXX SL aluminum, OverDrive steerer, 12×100 thru-axle
Wheels: Giant eX-2, Tubeless ready, e-bike optimized
Hubs: Giant Performance Tracker Road, sealed bearing
Tires: Kenda Kwick Seven.5 27.5 x 2.40
Carrier: Giant Rack-It MIK
Colors: Rainbow White (Fastroad E+ EX Pro: Black/Black)

Warranty

Frame: Lifetime
Fork: 10 years
Electrical Equipment: 2 years (EnergyPak is 1 year)
Original Equipment Specification: 1 year

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Tanks for Troops Auction Supports Infinite Hero Foundation

Good Ride Tanks for Troops
Custom FTR 1200 tank cover by McKeag Art.

Good Ride is a 501c3 charity started freestyle motocross rider, custom bike builder and hooligan racer Carey Hart. Starting on Thursday, January 9, 2020, Good Ride will host an online silent auction to benefit the Infinite Hero Foundation, whose mission is “to combat the most difficult front line issues–mental and physical–facing military heroes and their families.”

The Tanks for Troops auction includes 22 Indian FTR 1200 tank covers custom-painted by different artists, as well as 1,000 Good Ride challenge coins that will be autographed with personalization by Carey Hart.

The auction closes at 9:00pm Pacific on Thursday, January 16, 2020.

The auction site is available HERE, where you’ll find images and details about each one-of-a-kind tank cover. A selection of tank covers up for bid are shown below.

Good Ride Tanks for Troops
Custom FTR 1200 tank cover by Tagger Designs.
Good Ride Tanks for Troops
Custom FTR 1200 tank cover by Beam Designs.
Good Ride Tanks for Troops
Custom FTR 1200 tank cover by Air Oil + Lead.
Good Ride Tanks for Troops
Custom FTR 1200 tank cover by Lumpy’s Garage.
Good Ride Tanks for Troops
Custom FTR 1200 tank cover by Ryan Roadkill.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

California Superbike School Celebrates 40th Anniversary

California Superbike School
California Superbike School celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2020. Images courtesy CSS.

California Superbike School marks its 40th anniversary in 2020, with a U.S. schedule that includes 86 days of training at 10 different tracks, including Laguna Seca, Barber Motorsports Park, The Ridge, Virginia International Raceway and New Jersey Motorsports Park, and an updated fleet of 2020 BMW S 1000 RRs (there are also bring-your-own-bike options). Full rental gear is also available.

The California Superbike School has trained 153,000 students, most of whom are regular street riders. Racers also occasionally attend, with graduates claiming 65 National and World racing championships. Keith’s teachings have been the basis for motorcycle riding programs all over the country and along with his son, Dylan Code, have brought more technology and advanced metrics into the program to better educate students of all skill levels and learning styles. 

For a full list of school dates, please visit https://superbikeschool.com/schedule/

California Superbike School
Image courtesy CSS.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Ducati “Ready 4 Red” 29-City US Tour

Ducati Ready 4 Red

Starting on January 15, 2020, in Chicago, Ducati will kick off its 29-city, coast-to-coast “Ready 4 Red” tour, a series of entertaining evening experiences that invite local communities to come together and discover the new 2020 Ducati lineup and learn about the World of Ducati.

The “Ready 4 Red” tour will present an inclusive and inviting atmosphere for seasoned motorcyclists, non-riders and new riders alike, showcasing Ducati’s new 2020 lineup, including the all-new Streetfighter V4 alongside the Panigale V2, Panigale V4, Multistrada 1260 Grand Tour, Diavel 1260 S, Hypermotard SP and the new Scrambler Icon Dark.

Check out Rider’s 2020 Guide to New Street Motorcycles

2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S
2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

Ducati’s new e-bike, the MIG-RR e-mountain bike, will also make its North American public debut in preparation of its U.S. availability in 2020.

Ducati MIG-RR e-mountain bike
The Ducati MIG-RR e-mountain bike will be on display at all “Ready 4 Red” tour stops.

In addition to the two-wheeled entertainment, guests will have the opportunity to see the latest apparel collections and “Ducati SuMisura” at select locations — a bespoke fitting service which allows users to customize their own leather suit in terms of graphics options and manufacturing to suit the rider’s specific physique.

Ducati SuMisura
The Ducati SuMisura leather suit customization service will be available at select locations.

Local Desmo Owners Club members (DOC) will also be attending to share with visitors their range of regular activities, ride-outs, events and the benefits of joining the Ducati family.   

“Ready 4 Red” events will be open to everyone through a free online RSVP process. For more information and to register, please visit: http://bit.ly/2sb9nF0

2020 Ducati “Ready 4 Red” Tour Schedule:

  • January 15, 2020 – Chicago, IL
  • January 16, 2020 – St. Louis, MO
  • January 17, 2020 – Indianapolis, IN
  • January 18, 2020 – Detroit, MI
  • January 21, 2020 – Pittsburgh, PA
  • January 22, 2020 – Rockville, MD
  • January 23, 2020 – Philadelphia, PA
  • January 24, 2020 – Foxboro, MA
  • January 25, 2020 – Manchester, NH
  • January 28, 2020 – Charlotte, NC
  • January 29, 2020 – Atlanta, GA
  • January 30, 2020 – Jacksonville, FL
  • January 31, 2020 – Sanford, FL
  • February 1, 2020 – Miami, FL
  • February 4, 2020 – Pensacola, FL
  • February 5, 2020 – New Orleans, LA
  • February 6, 2020 – Houston, TX
  • February 7, 2020 – Austin, TX
  • February 8, 2020 – Dallas, TX
  • February 11, 2020 – Kansas City, MO
  • February 12, 2020 – Denver, CO
  • February 13, 2020 – Salt Lake City, UT
  • February 15, 2020 – Las Vegas, NV
  • February 19, 2020 – Phoenix, AZ
  • February 20, 2020 – San Diego, CA
  • February 22, 2020 – San Francisco, CA
  • February 24, 2020 – Sacramento, CA
  • February 27, 2020 – Portland, OR
  • February 28, 2020 – Seattle, WA

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Honda Reaches 400 Million-Unit Milestone in Cumulative Global Motorcycle Production

1949 Honda Dream D-Type
1949 Honda Dream D-Type. The Dream D-Type was Honda’s first motorcycle. Images courtesy Honda.

Beginning with the introduction of the Dream D-Type back in 1949, Honda has reached a milestone in cumulative global motorcycle production, marking 400 million units as part of its celebration of 70 years as a motorcycle manufacturer.

Read “Honda Celebrates 60 Years in America” here!

Honda was founded in 1948 and began mass-production of motorcycles at its first overseas production facility in Belgium in 1963. Since then, Honda has expanded its production globally in accordance with its fundamental principle of producing locally where there is demand. Honda currently produces a wide range of motorcycles, from 50cc commuters to 1,800cc models, at 35 facilities in 21 countries.

Check out some of the other milestone’s on Honda’s path to today:

  • 1948: Honda Motor Co., Ltd. founded
  • 1949: Honda releases its first major motorcycle model, the Dream D-Type
  • 1958: Honda releases its first Super Cub, the Super Cub C100
  • 1963: Honda begins motorcycle production in Belgium (its first motorcycle factory outside of Japan)
  • 1967: Honda begins motorcycle production in Thailand
  • 1968: Honda reaches 10 million-unit milestone for cumulative global motorcycle production
  • 1971: Honda begins motorcycle production in Indonesia
  • 1976: Honda begins motorcycle production in Brazil / Honda begins motorcycle production in Italy
  • 1979: Honda begins motorcycle production in North America 
  • 1980: Honda begins motorcycle production in Nigeria
  • 1984: Honda reaches 50 million-unit milestone for cumulative global motorcycle production
  • 1992: Honda begins motorcycle production in China
  • 1997: Honda begins motorcycle production in Vietnam / Honda reaches 100 million-unit milestone for cumulative global motorcycle production (achieved in 48 years)
  • 2001: Honda begins motorcycle production in India
  • 2004: Honda exceeds 10 million-unit annual motorcycle production for the first time
  • 2008: Honda reaches 200 million-unit milestone for cumulative global motorcycle production (11 years since 100 millionth unit)
  • 2013: Honda begins motorcycle production in Bangladesh
  • 2014: Honda reaches 300 million-unit milestone for cumulative global motorcycle production (6 years since 200 millionth unit)
  • 2018: Honda exceeds 20 million-unit annual motorcycle production for the first time
  • 2019: Honda reaches 400 million-unit milestone for cumulative global motorcycle production (5 years since 300 millionth unit)

“For 70 years, Honda has provided to customers worldwide motorcycles that make life easier and enjoyable. As a result, we have achieved our 400 million-unit milestone. I am grateful to all of our customers, and everyone involved in development, manufacturing, sales and service of our products. We will continue to do our best to provide attractive products that meet the needs and dreams of our customers worldwide.” – Takahiro Hachigo, Chief Executive Officer, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

2021 CBR1000RR-R
The 2021 CBR1000RR-R represents today’s height of Honda’s sportbike technology.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Book Review: Mimi and Moto Ride the Alphabet

Mimi and Moto Ride the Alphabet

Three years ago I wrote a review of “The Adventures of Mimi and Moto,” a children’s book that follows “blue-eyed Mimi, a female monkey, and green-eyed Moto, her male companion, as they ride dirt bikes, sportbikes, choppers, a sidecar and what looks like a Gold Wing.” At the time, my then six-month-old niece Nina was too young to understand the words, but she enjoyed having the book read to her by her parents before bed. Nina loves story time so much that she demands it before naps or nightly bedtime.

Nina is now three-and-a-half, and although she hasn’t started riding a little dirt bike yet (fingers crossed!), she’s become proficient at riding a Strider balance bike. She’s also quite precocious and has an amazing command of language for a girl her age.

When the authors of “Mimi and Moto,” the wife-and-husband team of Nancy Gerloff and Mark Augustyn, sent me their latest book, “Mimi and Moto Ride the Alphabet,” that same day I stopped by Nina’s house on my way home from the Rider office. She had been wearing a Wonder Woman outfit all day and was thrilled to get a new book.

Mimi and Moto Ride the Alphabet
Nina is intrigued by knobby tires.

I figured her mother or father would read the book before she went to bed that night, but Nina pestered her mother to read it to her NOW. My sister-in-law Kelly was in the middle of feeding a bottle to Nina’s seven-month-old brother, Felix, so I sat down on the couch, still wearing my bright-orange Aerostich suit, propped Nina in my lap and read her the book with the most animated voice I could muster.

Reading a book to a chatty three-year-old, I’ve learned, is very interactive. Comments are made, questions are asked, dots are connected, pages are turned back and forth — it’s a fascinating process to observe for a linear, literal, by-the-book adult like me.

Mimi and Moto Ride the Alphabet
Uncle Greg tells Nina about wheelies. E is for “enduro riders exploring the woods who make up no excuses.”

Each page of “Mimi and Moto Ride the Alphabet” is dedicated to a different letter of the alphabet, with playful, colorful illustrations by Aveliya Savina and Marat Kurokhtin. Stories are told and lessons are taught, with words that begin with the featured letter shown in bold. For example, for the letter D:

Dear little rider, our day continues with the dandy letter D.
Dirt bikes, dual-sports and dads rock, do you agree?
Dirty helmets and gloves most definitely protect.
Daddies teaching their daughters and sons to ride safe deserve much respect.

Mimi and Moto Ride the Alphabet
Pages for letters C and D from “Mimi and Moto Ride the Alphabet.”

I’ll admit, at times my tongue got twisted due to all of the alliteration on every page, but Nina was patient with me. We had engaging discussions about goggles versus face shields, the purpose of knobby tires and the relative merits of different flavors of ice cream (the letter I). And Nina enjoyed playing the guessing game of identifying the animal shown on each page (but not mentioned in the text) whose name begins with the featured letter—a frog on the F page, a unicorn on the U page and so on.

Mimi and Moto Ride the Alphabet
Nina identifies the unicorn on the letter U page.

As much as Nina enjoyed the book, Uncle Greg got a kick out of identifying different motorcycles shown throughout, like a Triumph Thruxton (C is for café racer), BMW GS adventure bikes (N is for “navigating their Iceland adventure”), a Yamaha MT-07, a Ducati Hypermotard and a KTM 1090 Adventure R (“I remember going on that press launch!”).

Mimi and Moto Ride the Alphabet
“Very cool vintage motorcycles depend on the letter V.” Mimi, the blue-eyed female monkey that is the co-star of the book, works on an old bike. (Illustration by Aveliya Savina and Marat Kurokhtin)

We applaud Nancy and Mark for promoting a positive image of motorcycles among children. They were recently recognized for their efforts by winning the Motorcycle Industry Council’s 2019 Gas Tank Competition. As Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young sang, teach your children well — and hook them young on two wheels!

Hard cover copies of “Mimi and Moto Ride the Alphabet” and “The Adventures of Mimi and Moto” retail for $14.99 plus shipping and are available at mimiandmoto.com or Amazon.

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is a bike fit for Wonder Woman.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

‘Zen Motorcycle’ Joins the Smithsonian

Super Hawk Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Robert M. Pirsig’s book, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” has achieved near-legendary status among riders and non-riders alike. Now the 1966 Honda Super Hawk featured in the book, along with other memorabilia, will take its place in U.S. history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will be the new home of American author Robert M. Pirsig’s 1966 Honda Super Hawk featured in his book, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values.” Pirsig’s book, originally published by William Morrow in 1974, has sold more than 5 million copies and has been translated into 27 languages. The inspiration for Zen stemmed from a month-long road trip Pirsig (1928–2017) took with his 11-year-old son Chris in 1968. As they rode the 5,700 miles from the Twin Cities of Minnesota to San Francisco and back, Pirsig became better acquainted with his son and himself.

Stored for decades in the family’s New England garage and recently mechanically restored, the motorcycle is a gift from Pirsig’s widow, Wendy K. Pirsig. The gift includes Pirsig’s leather jacket, maps, shop manual and other gear from the 1968 ride, together with his toolboxes, a manuscript copy and signed first edition of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The book kickstarted an international cultural movement to rethink how people interact with technology and find balance in life, as it tells a story about the relationship between people and machines that made Pirsig a pioneer in the human-technology interface and do-it-yourself maintenance and repair.

“Bob’s philosophy explored human values, and he aimed to show how quality is actually at the center of all existence,” Wendy Pirsig said. “It seems consistent with this focus on quality that his motorcycle collection joins the nation’s exemplary history museum at the Smithsonian.” The museum is located on Constitution Avenue N.W. between 12th and 14th streets in Washington, D.C., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For more information, visit americanhistory.si.edu.

original manuscript for "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
A copy of the original manuscript for “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” will be included in the Smithsonian’s exhibit.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 / GT / Rally | First Look Review

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro and Tiger 900 Rally Pro
For 2020 Triumph has thoroughly updated its middleweight adventure platform, now called the Tiger 900, with a larger engine, a new chassis, new technology, new styling and more. The lineup includes five models; shown on the left is the Tiger 900 GT Pro and on the right is the Tiger 900 Rally Pro.

For the 2011 model year, Triumph launched two all-new models – the Tiger 800 and more off-road-oriented Tiger 800 XC, both powered by a 799cc in-line triple – in what was then a much smaller and less competitive middleweight adventure bike segment, with competition coming primarily from BMW’s F 650 GS and F 800 GS.

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro engine
The 2020 Triumph Tiger 900 platform is powered by a larger 888cc in-line triple that makes more power and torque than its 799cc predecessor.

Adventure bikes have been a rare bright spot of growth in
what has been a stagnant decade in terms of motorcycle sales since the Great
Recession. And where there’s growth, competition flows in like the tide in the
hopes of raising more boats. We’ve seen a proliferation of new models and new
technology in the segment, with adventure bikes all but displacing traditional
sport- touring motorcycles and some offering nearly superbike levels of power
and specification.

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro
2020 Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro in Korosi Red

Triumph added a 1,215cc triple-powered Tiger Explorer for 2012, it updated and expanded its Tiger 800 lineup to four models (XR, XRx, XC and XCx) for 2015 and it rolled out no fewer than six Explorer models for 2016. By the time the 2018 model year rolled around, both the Tiger 800 and Tiger 1200 (formerly Explorer) families were comprised of six models each – XR, XRx, XRx Low Ride Height (LHR), XRT, XCx and XCA – offering varying levels of specification and on-/off-road worthiness.

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro wheel
All 2020 Triumph Tiger 900 models feature top-of-the-line Brembo Stylema monoblock front calipers. Wheels, ABS/TC, suspension, ride modes, etc. differ by model.

Triumph decided to simplify things somewhat for 2020, with five middleweight Tiger models: Tiger 900, Tiger 900 GT, Tiger 900 GT Pro, Tiger 900 Rally and Tiger 900 Rally Pro. If you’re keeping tabs on the progression of model designations, the Tiger 900 and Tiger 900 GT/Pro models replace the more street-oriented XR models, and the Tiger Rally/Pro models replace the more off-road-oriented XC models.

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro
2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro in Matte Khaki

The Tiger 900 lineup is powered by a larger 888cc, DOHC, 4-valves-per-cylinder in-line triple that makes a claimed 94 horsepower and 64 lb-ft of torque, with more midrange power and 10% higher peak torque than its 799cc predecessor. Widening the triple’s bore from 74 to 78mm (stroke is unchanged at 61.9mm) yielded an 89cc increase in displacement. The updated engine gets a new 1-3-2 firing order for more character, and Triumph says the Tiger 900 offers class-leading acceleration and a distinctive soundtrack.

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro cockpit
The 2020 Triumph Tiger 900 has a 5-inch TFT display, whereas all other models (such as the Tiger 900 GT Pro shown) have a 7-inch TFT display.

Triumph revised the Tiger 900 platform from the ground up,
with a new modular, tubular-steel main frame and a bolt-on subframe, top-of-the-line
Brembo Stylema monoblock front calipers, new bodywork and new LED lighting.

Other new features vary by model:

2020 Triumph Tiger 900
2020 Triumph Tiger 900 in Pure White

Tiger 900

  • Cast wheels, 19-in. front, 17-in. rear
  • Marzocchi 45mm USD fork, non-adj., 7.1-in. travel
  • Marzocchi shock, adj. for spring preload, 6.7-in. travel
  • Seat height: 31.9/32.7 in.
  • Standard ABS
  • Ride modes: Road, Rain
  • 5-inch TFT display
  • Fuel capacity: 5.3 gals.
  • Dry weight (claimed): 423 lbs.
  • Color options: Pure White

Tiger 900 GT

  • Cast wheels, 19-in. front, 17-in. rear
  • Marzocchi 45mm USD fork, adj. for compression & rebound, 7.1-in. travel
  • Marzocchi shock, adj. for spring preload & rebound, 6.7-in. travel
  • (GT Low Ride Height: 5.51/5.95 in. travel)
  • Seat height: 31.9/32.7 in. (GT LRH: 29.9/30.7 in.)
  • Radial front master cylinder
  • Cornering ABS and traction control with IMU
  • Ride modes: Road, Rain, Sport, Off-Road
  • 7-inch TFT display
  • Illuminated switches with a 5-way joystick
  • Electronic cruise control
  • Heated grips
  • Secure mobile phone storage with USB charging port
  • Fuel capacity: 5.3 gals.
  • Dry weight (claimed): 428 lbs. (GT LRH: 426 lbs.)
  • Color options: Korosi Red, Sapphire Black and Pure White, all featuring premium tank badges and contemporary new decals
2020 Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro
2020 Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro in Korosi Red

Tiger 900 GT Pro

  • Cast wheels, 19-in. front, 17-in. rear
  • Marzocchi 45mm USD fork, adj. for compression & rebound, 7.1-in. travel
  • Marzocchi shock, electronically adj. for spring preload & rebound, 6.7-in. travel
  • Seat height: 31.9/32.7 in.
  • Radial front master cylinder
  • Cornering ABS and traction control with IMU
  • Ride modes: Road, Rain, Sport, Off-Road, Rider-configurable
  • Triumph Shift Assist (up/down quickshifter)
  • 7-inch TFT display
  • Illuminated switches with a 5-way joystick
  • Electronic cruise control
  • Heated grips
  • Heated seats
  • Tire-pressure monitoring system
  • LED auxiliary lights
  • Secure mobile phone storage with USB charging port
  • My Triumph Bluetooth connectivity
  • Fuel capacity: 5.3 gals.
  • Dry weight (claimed): 437 lbs.
  • Color options: Korosi Red, Sapphire Black and Pure White, all featuring premium tank badges and contemporary new decals

Tiger 900 Rally

  • Spoked tubeless wheels, 21-in. front, 17-in. rear
  • Showa 45mm USD fork, fully adj., 9.5-in. travel
  • Showa shock, adj. for spring preload & rebound, 9.1-in. travel
  • Seat height: 33.5/34.3 in.
  • Radial front master cylinder
  • Cornering ABS and traction control with IMU
  • Ride modes: Road, Rain, Sport, Off-Road
  • 7-inch TFT display
  • Illuminated switches with a 5-way joystick
  • Electronic cruise control
  • Heated grips
  • Secure mobile phone storage with USB charging port
  • Fuel capacity: 5.3 gals.
  • Dry weight (claimed): 432 lbs.
  • Color options: Matte Khaki, Sapphire Black and Pure White, all featuring contemporary new decals and a distinctive white frame inspired by the Tiger Tramontana rally bike
2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro
2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro in Matte Khaki

Tiger 900 Rally Pro

  • Spoked tubeless wheels, 21-in. front, 17-in. rear
  • Showa 45mm USD fork, fully adj., 9.5-in. travel
  • Showa shock, adj. for spring preload & rebound, 9.1-in. travel
  • Seat height: 33.5/34.3 in.
  • Radial front master cylinder
  • Cornering ABS and traction control with IMU
  • Ride modes: Road, Rain, Sport, Off-Road, Rider-configurable, Off-Road Pro
  • Triumph Shift Assist (up/down quickshifter)
  • 7-inch TFT display
  • Illuminated switches with a 5-way joystick
  • Electronic cruise control
  • Heated grips
  • Heated seats
  • Tire-pressure monitoring system
  • LED auxiliary lights
  • Secure mobile phone storage with USB charging port
  • My Triumph Bluetooth connectivity
  • Fuel capacity: 5.3 gals.
  • Dry weight (claimed): 443 lbs.
  • Color options: Matte Khaki, Sapphire Black and Pure White, all featuring contemporary new decals and a distinctive white frame inspired by the Tiger Tramontana rally bike

The 2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally and Tiger 900 Rally Pro
will be available in March. The Tiger 900, Tiger 900 GT and Tiger GT Pro will
be available in April. Pricing for the Tiger 900 starts at $12,500; pricing for
the other models is TBD.

Check out more new bikes in Rider’s 2020 Guide to New Street Motorcycles

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 BMW S 1000 XR | First Look Review

2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Racing Red.
2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Racing Red/White Aluminum. Images courtesy of BMW.

After BMW announced several changes to the potent in-line four powerplant in its S 1000 RR superbike earlier this year, we figured it was only a matter of time before the tech trickled down to its flagship adventure sport tourer. And sure enough, here comes the 2020 S 1000 XR, lighter, faster and more versatile than ever before.

The big news of course is the RR-derived engine, which pumps out a claimed 165 horsepower at 11,000 rpm and 84 lb-ft of torque at 9,250. Fourth, fifth and sixth gears have longer ratios to reduce noise, fuel consumption and engine speed (hopefully addressing some of the buzziness we’ve noted in our tests — read our review of the 2016 S 1000 XR here). It also now features what BMW calls engine drag torque control (MSR), which reduces rear wheel hopping under hard deceleration.

2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Racing Red/White Aluminum
A 6.5-inch TFT display is standard on the 2020 S 1000 XR.

The suspension, frame and swingarm have all been tweaked to reduce weight, and coupled with the lighter engine the 2020 S 1000 XR is said to weigh just 498 pounds (our 2016 test bike weighed in at 531 pounds).

The list of standard features is long: Dynamic ESA (electronic suspension), four ride modes (Road, Rain, Dynamic and Dynamic Pro), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) with wheelie control, ABS Pro (cornering ABS) with Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), 6.5-inch TFT display, LED lighting and Hill Start Control Pro. Options include Dynamic ESA Pro with two damping modes and automatic load compensation, HP Shift Assistant Pro (up and down quickshifter), Headlight Pro with DRL and cornering lights, and electronic cruise control.

The 2020 BMW S 1000 XR will be available in Ice Gray and Racing Red/White Aluminum. U.S. pricing and availability are TBA.

Keep scrolling for more photos….

2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Ice Gray
2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Ice Gray.
2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Ice Gray.
2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Ice Gray.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 & 2021 KTMs: 1290 Super Duke R, 790 Adventure R Rally, 890 Duke

In addition to the new 390 Adventure, KTM revealed several new and updated machines at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy this week that should further its reputation as a performance-oriented brand. The 1290 Super Duke R returns to the lineup completely revamped, and a Rally version of the 790 Adventure R promises heaps of off-road ability — both are expected at dealers in February 2020. The cover was also lifted from the new KTM 890 Duke R, which will come to North America in the fall of 2020 as a 2021 model. Details on the latter bike weren’t readily available, but we imagine giving a displacement bump to what appears to essentially be a 790 Duke is to compensate for Euro 5 emissions restrictions.

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
MSRP: $18,699 USD

Though the name hasn’t changed, the 2020 1290 Super Duke R is so improved from its predecessor that it’s essentially an all-new motorcycle. Coming in at a claimed 416.6 pounds dry, the bike is said to be lighter and more powerful and have better handling than its predecessor.

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Engine
An updated more powerful 1,301c LC8 V-twin, with titanium inlet valves and resonator chambers on the cylinder heads, gets new top-feeder injectors and 56mm throttle bodies for improved air/fuel mixture at high rpms. A new ram air intake positioned in the new headlight mask also maximizes flow by forcing air into the combustion chambers. New thinner engine casings and revised water and oil cooler mounts have resulted in a 1.7-pound weight savings, and new exhaust headers optimize gas flow. An updated Pankl gearbox provides quicker shift times, shorter shift action and lighter lever modulation.

Frame
A new ultra-lightweight chrome-molybdenum steel frame carries the engine as a stressed member. The combo is said to be 3 times stiffer and 4.4 pounds lighter than its predecessor. A new lighter composite subframe combines a number of functions to save weight and increase functionality, and a longer single-sided swingarm has been repositioned closer to the output sprocket for more control.

Suspension
An updated, lighter 48mm WP Apex USD fully adjustable split front fork has separate damping circuits. The newly developed WP Apex rear shock absorber features separate gas and oil reservoirs, making it lighter and more compact than its predecessor. A “no-tools-needed” manual preload dial eases rear shock set-up, and new linkage at the rear helps smooth out rough roads.

Wheels
New CAD designed wheels offer a lighter build while keeping strength, and new Bridgestone S22 tires were developed with a specific carcass in the rear for the KTM 1290 Super Duke R that provides a more stable ride in corners, improving grip and performance.

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Electronics
Reworked and updated ride modes have been designed to be less intrusive in all modes, with smoother anti-wheelie functions. MSC (Motorcycle Stability Control) with Cornering ABS by Bosch includes Supermoto mode, Ride mode technology and multi-stage, lean angle sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC). The lean-angle sensitive MTC uses a 6-axis lean angle sensor and two different controllers to keep things in check. The wheel-slip controller regulates the amount of spin or break in traction at the rear wheel. A pitch angle controller identifies and regulates abrupt changes in front wheel lift.

Optional “Track mode” includes launch control, 9-level spin adjuster, a track ride mode and anti-wheelie off function. Optional “Performance mode” takes the basic concept of “Track mode” but adapts it for the street. An optional dealer-installed Performance Pack combines Motor Slip Regulation (MSR) and Quickshifter+, and cruise control adds long distance convenience. KTM’s Race On keyless system means less hassle and increased security.

Details
KTM My Ride is standard on the 1290 Super Duke R and features a Bluetooth connection to the rider’s smartphone to control audio playback and accept phone calls. A new LED headlight and LED daytime running lights improve visibility, and the new multifunctional TFT-dashboard with increased functionality displays information in a clear and bright display. Finally, new colorways and bodywork are aggressive and lean — every panel and plate has been calculated for optimum thickness and minimized wherever possible.

2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally
2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally

2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally
MSRP: $19,499

With only 500 units planned for production worldwide, the limited edition KTM 790 Adventure R Rally adds top-line suspension components from WP Pro to make it the most off-road-capable ADV bike in KTM’s lineup. Based on the KTM 790 Adventure R, the Rally model has the same steel trellis chassis, compact LC8c parallel twin engine and the R’s electronic rider aids. The major difference is the addition of the special WP Xplor Pro suspension, which was developed in the same department as WP’s Factory Racing equipment for superior performance. It also adds 30 mm of suspension travel front and back and raises seat height to 35.8 in.

2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally
2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally

KTM says that the WP Xplor Pro 7548 fork uses cone valve
technology that allows unlimited opening, so harshness of the suspension is
reduced, while the closed cartridge construction ensures reduced friction, consistent
performance over longer periods and improved responsiveness. The WP Xplor Pro
6746 shock absorber uses KTM’s trademark progressive damping system (PDS),
which allows progressive damping without using a linkage for reduced weight and
maintenance.

Other upgrades to the 790 Adventure R Rally include a completely new and unique color scheme, Akrapovic titanium silencer and an off-road-specific air filter from the KTM PowerParts line. The bike also has special high-strength DID Dirt Star rims, a high, race-specific straight seat and Rally footpegs.

2021 890 Duke
Here are photos of the 2021 890 Duke. Besides the addition of a passenger seat cowl and bump stop and passenger footpeg delete in this European-version photo (and obvious color and graphic changes), we don’t yet know what else has been changed besides displacement. KTM’s “Scalpel” 790 Duke certainly didn’t lack for power, so perhaps it was done for Euro 2020 reasons…we’ll find out soon enough!

2021 KTM 890 Duke
2021 KTM 890 Duke
2021 KTM 890 Duke
2021 KTM 890 Duke

Other street-legal KTM models returning for 2020 include:
RC 390
390 Duke
690 Enduro R
690 SMC R

790 Adventure
790 Adventure R

790 Duke
1290 Super Adventure R
1290 Super Adventure S
1290 Super Duke GT

Source: RiderMagazine.com