At the end of November, Greenger Powersports announced its new Saddleback electric balance bike for kids.
Greenger says the Saddleback is inspired by the mountains of Southern California and blends electronics, easy-to-use features, and proven engineering to create “a fun training tool for young kids looking to explore the outdoors.”
Greenger continued to say that motocross enthusiasts remember the Saddleback area, a natural landmark formed by the two highest peaks of the Santa Ana Mountains, as a “riding mecca back in the day.”
“Riders would drive for hours to get a chance to turn the dirt of these pine lined mountains. Today, Saddleback is a destination for families and outdoor enthusiast of all kinds.”
With the base of the mountains now dotted with suburban neighborhoods and a new generation of children, Greenger was looking for a way for those children to be able to explore in a quiet and friendly way. Thus was born the Saddleback electric balance bike.
Offering either a 12-inch or 16-inch model, the Saddleback is driven by a 22V 150W hub motor, a disc brake, a push mode for younger riders or three adjustable speed modes. On the 12-inch model, the Level I top speed is 5 mph, Level II is 7 mph, and Level III is 9 mph; top speeds on the 16-inch model are 6.5 mph, 9.5 mph, and 12.5 mph.
Both models have aluminum rims. The 12-inch Saddleback weighs 20.9 lb, and the 16-inch weighs 26.5 lb. The LG battery uses a toolless bracket to make it quick and easy to swap if needed and provides a claimed 50-70 minutes of riding time based on mixed riding conditions.
The Saddleback is now available in Black or White for $749 for the 12-inch and $949 for the 16-inch (plus a $40 destination and freight charge). Both bikes come with a standard charger.
“With the success of the CRF-E2, it was a clear indicator kids of all ages want to ride.” said Brad Chapman, Greenger Sales & Marketing manager. “We want everyone to experience life on two-wheels powered by Greenger.”
Along these lines, in addition to the Saddleback, Greenger will be releasing a family of e-bike models in the first quarter of 2023 to “get the masses outdoors,” including the Telluride city bike, the Ozark folding recreational bike, and the Shasta and Shasta ST adventure bikes, as well as two Portable Power Stations: 1200w and 2000w.
Husqvarna Motorcycles North America Inc. has announced the availability of its 2023 street lineup, including the single-cylinder Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401, the versatile single-cylinder 701 Supermoto and 701 Enduro, and the parallel-Twin Norden 901.
The 2023 701 Supermoto and 701 Enduro were made available in November at authorized Husqvarna Motorcycles dealers, while the Norden 901 arrives in December 2022. The Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 models will be available from January 2023 onward.
2023 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401
Husqvarna says the 2023 Svartpilen 401 is great for urban and rural settings alike, while the lower bar and sport tires of the 2023 Vitpilen 401 make it suitable for twisty roads or as a commuter. Both bikes feature a liquid-cooled 373cc single-cylinder engine making a claimed 44 hp and 27.29 lb-ft of torque, a 6-speed gearbox linked to an Easy Shift sensor allowing for clutchless gear changes, and PASC slip/assist clutch.
The steel trellis frames, low weight (approximately 333 lb dry weight for the Vitpilen 401 and 335 lb for the Svartpilen 401), and WP APEX suspension contribute to the bikes’ middleweight capabilities, and ByBre brakes and Bosch ABS offer powerful, controlled stopping. Both bikes have an approximately 2.5-gal fuel tank.
For 2023, the main changes to the 701 Supermoto and 701 Enduro are new colors and graphics.
Both bikes return with a liquid-cooled 693cc single-cylinder engine making a claimed 74 hp and 54.21 lb-ft of torque at 8,000 rpm, a 6-speed gearbox with the Easy Shift function, and the Adler APTC slip/assist clutch.
The 701 Enduro and 701 Supermoto are equipped with an LCD dashboard with a USB port and an RPM display and gear selection indicator. From the handlebar, riders can quickly personalize their machine by selecting from two ride modes. Mode 1 on both bikes offers sporty throttle response and cornering-sensitive traction control. Mode 2 on the 701 Enduro provides a smooth throttle response with off-road traction control, allowing wheel slip and lifting of the front wheel.
On the 701 Supermoto, Mode 2 provides a more aggressive throttle response with reduced traction control to allow for drifts and full control on slides. Riders can also deactivate traction control entirely.
The 701 Enduro has WP XPLOR suspension, and the 701 Supermoto has WP APEX suspension. Both bikes feature Brembo brakes (with 300mm/240mm front/rear discs on the 701 Enduro and 320mm/240mm on the 701 Supermoto) and cornering ABS that can be disengaged.
The 701 Enduro has a dry weight of approximately 322 lb, while the 701 Supermoto comes in at approximately 324 lb. Both bikes have 3.4-gal fuel tanks.
2023 Husqvarna Norden 901
Husqvarna says the Norden 901 delivers “the ideal blend of offroad capability and world-traveler ridability.” Our editor-in-chief put this claim to the test with his video review of the 2022 model after two days of on- and off-road testing on to São Miguel, Azores, a wet, foggy island in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The Norden 901 is based on the KTM 890 Adventure platform. It’s powered by a liquid-cooled 890cc DOHC parallel-Twin that makes a claimed 105 hp at 8,000 rpm and 74 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm at the crank, a 6-speed sequential gearbox with the Easy Shift function, and a PASC slip/assist clutch. It features ABS (Road and Offroad modes), lean-angle-sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control, and cruise control and is equipped with adjustable WP APEX suspension, with 8.7/8.5 inches of front/rear travel.
For 2023, the Norden 901 features updated ride modes, including the return of Street, Offroad, and the optional Explorer mode, as well as a Rain mode that replaces the Urban mode on the 2022 model. Street mode gives direct throttle response with traction control suited for paved surfaces and Road ABS. Rain mode has controllable throttle response with reduced peak power and traction control engaged at lower rpms. Offroad mode has smooth throttle response and allows wheel spin before traction control is engaged and ABS is automatically adjusted to match terrain. The optional Explorer mode gives the rider full control over throttle response, peak power, and ABS.
Last summer I traveled to Minnesota, home of the CFMOTO U.S. headquarters, to test the company’s new lineup of motorcycles. On a flat, paved, tar-snaked road course at the Minnesota Highway Safety & Research Center, about a dozen journalists and influencers buzzed around on bikes ranging from the 125cc Papio minibike to the 800 ADVentura adventure bike.
Launches featuring multiple bikes are like eating at a buffet: You get to taste a little bit of everything, but you don’t get the full experience of a dedicated entree. After the day at the track, I logged 350 miles on the 650 ADVentura, an affordable, middleweight adventure-styled touring bike with saddlebags, and I got to know the bike better.
But the CFMOTO I kept thinking about was the 700CL-X, a feisty middleweight naked bike with scrambler styling.
At the end of the trackday, when all the photography was done and we were given free reign, I hopped aboard the 700CL-X and played cat-and-mouse with two of my fellow scribes. John Burns was on the 800 ADVentura, and Ron Lieback was on the 650NK naked bike.
Our bikes were like the Three Bears. Papa Bear was the 800 ADVentura, with a 799cc parallel-Twin that cranks out 95 hp with a curb weight of 509 lb. Mama Bear was the 700CL-X, with a 693cc parallel-Twin that makes 74 hp and weighing 426 lb. Though hardly a toddler like CFMOTO’s Papio, Baby Bear was the 650NK with a 649cc parallel-Twin that makes 60 hp and has a weight of 454 lb.
Try as we might, with pegs scraped and boot soles beveled, we could not break ranks. We’d bunch up in the corners, but John and I protected our lines so there were no chances to overtake. We’d draft each other heading onto the front straight and then pull three abreast with the throttles pinned, but there was no fighting the displacement advantage. Burns would pull ahead of me, and Lieback would be on my six, filling my mirrors.
Chasing buddies around a track for bragging rights over beers is always fun, but beyond that, I was really digging the 700CL-X. A wide, upright tubular handlebar gives it good steering leverage, and its light weight made it easy to throw into a corner or weave around the chicanes made of traffic cones. The real kicker was the 700CL-X’s throttle response. In Sport mode, giving it the whip revved up the Twin, and at around 7,000 rpm, there was a loud below from the exhaust and a surge in thrust, almost like V-Boost on the old Yamaha V-Max. Having a $6,499 motorcycle deliver that sort of thrill took me by surprise, and I wondered, What is this thing?
Although well-established in the U.S. market in the ATV and side-by-side segments, CFMOTO is not a familiar brand for most American motorcyclists. Founded in 1989, the Chinese company’s first decade was focused on supplying parts, components, and engines to major powersports manufacturers. In 2000, CFMOTO began building motorcycles, scooters, and off-road vehicles.
CFMOTO has been selling its off-road vehicles in the U.S. since 2002, and after gaining a solid foothold in that market, it established its U.S. headquarters near Minneapolis. In 2012, CFMOTO began importing motorcycles to the U.S., but it met with limited success and pulled out a few years later. Reviews of CFMOTO’s motorcycles were generally positive, but American buyers are averse to new brands. Furthermore, many view Chinese-made motorcycles as being of inferior quality to those made in Japan, Europe, or the U.S.
Thanks to its well-established production expertise and capacity, in 2014 CFMOTO entered a strategic partnership with KTM and began manufacturing 200 Dukes and 390 Dukes for the Chinese market. In 2018, the two companies started a joint venture that allows CFMOTO to license and manufacture some of KTM’s engines. CFMOTO’s 800 ADVentura is powered by the 799cc LC8c parallel-Twin from KTM’s 790 Adventure. Starting in 2023, KTM’s parent company Pierer Mobility will distribute CFMOTO’s motorcycles in some European markets, an arrangement similar to the recent announcement that KTM North America will soon take over distribution of MV Agusta motorcycles in the U.S.
While brand or country of origin are important for some buyers, others place a higher priority on style, performance, price, reliability, and dealer experience/proximity. With an MSRP of $6,499, the 700CL-X offers good value and is less expensive than other middleweight naked bikes like the Honda CB650R ($9,299), Kawasaki Z650 ABS ($8,249), Suzuki SV650 ABS ($7,849), Triumph Trident 660 ($8,395), and Yamaha MT-07 ($8,199). The 700CL-X is covered by a two-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, and CFMOTO has about 200 motorcycle dealers in the U.S.
Here’s Lookin’ at You
Through its partnership with KTM, CFMOTO’s motorcycles are styled by Kiska. With its minimalist profile, tubular handlebar, bobtail with a one-piece seat, Y-spoke cast wheels with an 18-inch front, and Pirelli MT60 semi-knobby tires, the 700CL-X has the stance of a street tracker. Retro touches include a round headlight, a round gauge cluster, a single front disc, and a stubby exhaust shaped like a Foster’s Oil Can. One can see hints of the Ducati Scrambler in the 700CL-X’s tubular-steel frame, brushed aluminum tank panels, swingarm-mounted license plate carrier, and machined finishes on its engine’s faux cooling fins.
With the exception of its switchgear and the layout of its LCD instrument panel, the 700CL-X doesn’t look cheap, and its fit and finish are on par with more expensive bikes. It is illuminated front and rear by LEDs, and it has a unique, bright-white headlight surround shaped like one of those Craftsman four-way flathead screwdrivers I used to have on my keychain. The turnsignals are self-canceling, the clutch and brake levers are adjustable for reach, the brake lines are steel braided, and the cleated footpegs have removable rubber inserts.
Motorcycles at this price point are usually limited to basic features, but the 700CL-X has throttle-by-wire with two ride modes (Eco and Sport), a slip/assist clutch, standard ABS, and cruise control. Most notable, in a class where the most one can typically hope for is spring preload adjustment, often only at the rear, the 700CL-X has a fully adjustable 41mm inverted KYB fork and a linkage-mounted KYB shock with a progressive spring rate and adjustable preload and rebound. Brakes are supplied by J.Juan (a Brembo subsidiary in Spain), with a radial-mount 4-piston front caliper squeezing a 320mm disc and a 2-piston rear caliper pinching a 260mm disc.
Time to Ride
The 700CL-X is very approachable. Its dished seat is 31.5 inches high and provides decent support. The bike feels compact and light, and the tall handlebar allows the rider to sit mostly upright. Thumb the starter, and the CFMOTO’s 693cc DOHC parallel-Twin burbles to life, settling into a syncopated rumble. The engine compresses fuel and air with forged pistons that move up and down via fracture-split connecting rods.
Roll on the throttle, and the engine spins up quickly with no drama. Concerns about vibration and heat never crossed my mind, and the throttle-by-wire delivers crisp response without any vagueness or abruptness. When we rolled the 700CL-X into Jett Tuning’s dyno room and John Ethell ran it on the big drum, it sent 62 hp at 9,200 rpm (redline is 9,500) and 41.6 lb-ft of torque at 7,400 rpm to the rear wheel. The dyno curves show a notable bump above 7,000 rpm that corresponds with that boost sensation I mentioned earlier – a little extra kick in the pants to keep things lively.
Lightweight, modestly powered bikes like the 700CL-X are some of my favorites to ride. Unlike today’s liter-class fire-breathing beasts, I don’t feel any guilt about not being able to use the bike’s full power, nor inadequacy for not being able to exploit its capabilities. I mostly kept it in Sport mode because the milder throttle response of Eco mode felt like a letdown. If I were commuting or taking a weekend escape, then I’d use Eco and cruise control to conserve fuel.
But all I did on this test ride was flog the darn thing – I couldn’t help myself, and my fuel economy suffered accordingly. Pushing the 700CL-X hard through a series of curves was a blast, taking me right back to the fun I had last summer chasing John Burns and outrunning Ron Lieback. Some bikes just bring out my hyperactive inner child.
While the 700CL-X was solid and responsive and its suspension took a hammering without complaint, the single-disc front brake wasn’t quite up to the task. Stopping power was decent, but feedback at the lever was numb, and it exhibited some fade after repeated hard stops. A second front disc would probably help – or an upgrade like the setup found on CFMOTO’s 700CL-X Sport, a cafe racer version with top-shelf Brembo Stylema front calipers and an MSRP of $6,999.
After logging hundreds of miles on the 700CL-X on city streets, freeways, and winding backroads, there were a few things that left me wanting. The first is the small fuel tank, which holds just 3.5 gallons. (Other bikes in this class have fuel capacities ranging from 3.7-4.1 gallons.) During this test, I averaged 41 mpg, which works out to 143 miles of range. Exhibiting more throttle restraint is the sensible solution, but where’s the fun in that? I’d rather have more fuel to burn.
The second is the instrument panel. When less expensive bikes like the KTM 390 Duke – which CFMOTO builds for the Chinese market – have color TFT displays, the monochrome LCD display on the 700CL-X seems like an unfortunate way to save a few bucks. Other than the road in front of us, the instrument panel is the main thing we look at when riding. The 700CL-X’s gauge provides plenty of info, but the perimeter tachometer is hard to read, the text for some of the info functions is too small, and I couldn’t figure out how to reset the tripmeter without also advancing the clock by one hour. If I didn’t do the time warp again with each fill-up, I had to press the “Adjust” button 23 more times to correct it.
Lastly, the self-canceling turnsignals shut off too early. Hit the button and they’ll flash four or five times and then stop, which sometimes happens before the turn is executed.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve ridden and tested hundreds of new motorcycles of nearly every size, configuration, and style. Because my passion for motorcycles runs deep and my tastes are omnivorous, I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every motorcycle I’ve ridden. Some aligned with expectations, some fell a bit short, and a few went above and beyond, exceeding expectations because something about their styling, character, or performance – or all three – felt special.
That happened to me last summer. As I worked my way up through CFMOTO’s eight-model lineup, the 700CL-X caught my eye because I like scrambler styling and I’m a sucker for gold wheels (which come with the Coal Grey colorway; the Twilight Blue colorway has black wheels). Then I rode it and was surprised by how responsive the engine was, especially that extra kick above 7,000 rpm, and it had a nice bark to its exhaust. It was also light, agile, and fun to ride.
The 700CL-X exceeded my expectations – not just for a motorcycle built in China, but for any motorcycle at this price point.
Why on earth did I recently pick up a 2006 “iron barrel” Royal Enfield Bullet 500? In a word, nostalgia.
The last bike I had to kickstart was a used 1970s Honda Trail 70 that I got on my 10th birthday. It was loud and burned oil, and I terrorized the neighborhood’s backroads at a blistering 30 mph. That bike was life, and it made me feel like Evel Knievel. Some of my friends’ parents thought I was a bad seed as a result, but I was just having fun and caught the adrenaline bug early (and some of the suit-wearing dads were probably jealous).
My first streetbike was a used 1989 Honda NT650 Hawk, which was fast in its day and a real performer, and I’ve craved that rush ever since. Fast forward to today, and I’m riding a supercharged Kawasaki Z H2 that doesn’t disappoint.
I guess I’m about to age myself, but it’s been 33 years since I last kickstarted a bike (at 15) and here I am kickstarting a streetbike in 2022 – a new-to-me 2006 Royal Enfield Bullet 500. That sounds fairly new, but these bikes are anomalies as they’re basically 1955 designs. India had strict tariffs for decades that kept foreign competition out, so there wasn’t an urgency to update what became a timeless design. It’s like a Volkswagen Beetle on two wheels.
The first Royal Enfield motorcycle was built in 1901 by the Enfield Cycle Company of Redditch, England. In 1931, Royal Enfield introduced the Bullet, a single-cylinder motorcycle available in 350cc or 500cc displacements that was built in the UK until 1966. Like many other British manufacturers at the time, Royal Enfield suffered a slow, ignominious decline and finally went belly up in 1970.
In 1955, India’s Madras Motors was granted a license to build Bullets, and Royal Enfield India was established as an independent company. It thrived, outlasting its English cousin and growing into one of the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturers, headquartered on India’s southeastern coast in Chennai. Bullets were produced essentially unchanged for more than five decades until they were upgraded in 2008 to an all-aluminum unit construction engine (UCE) with fuel injection. Bullets continued to be produced until 2020. In 2022, the iconic Bullet styling was reborn in the Classic 350.
The pre-UCE Bullet’s reputation is interesting; it’s a quirky, no-frills, underpowered bike with quality control issues and bizarre maintenance needs, but it’s also one of the most iconic models in history. In fact, it holds the claim as the longest-running motorcycle model in continuous production: 90 years, from 1931 to 2020. It beats the venerable Harley Sportster, which was produced for 66 years (1957-2022).
Technicalities aside, no other bike from the 21st century provides such an “old world” experience as an Royal Enfield Bullet with cast iron cylinder barrels in an aluminum head. Even Harley changed to all aluminum engines in the mid-1980s to keep up with foreign competitors. I just had to know why a traditional Bullet is such an icon. Or to think about it another way: What was it like riding in my grandfather’s day? (Hint: horrible.)
This particular bike is a solid runner, but it has multiple issues and took many nights in the garage to get it where it is today. There’s some piston slap (likely an issue with bearings), the timing gears are a bit worn, and the transmission is so sloppy that every gear change is a potential false neutral. Finding actual neutral is challenging enough that it could qualify as an Olympic event. Since operating this bike is more art than science, I wear old sneakers so I can really feel the shifter.
Kickstarting a bike that’s loud, obnoxious, and problematic takes me back to the Honda that my dad rolled into the kitchen when I thought a pair of shoes and jeans were my only 10th birthday gifts.
I’m Not Embarrassed
When I’m on my Kawi Z H2, I feel kinda cool. It looks futuristic, sounds amazing, and is almost always the fastest bike on the road. Only a handful of other naked bikes can compete – Ducati V4 Streetfighter, Aprilia Tuono V4, Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS, you get the idea. It’s never about image and always about having fun, though on rare occasions I do pretend to be Batman (minus the cape). What can I say? When stopped at lights, people sometimes stare and even ask questions. It’s just one of those bikes.
My Royal Enfield Bullet, however, elicits different kinds of stare. Some people think I’m broke and desperately trying to get somewhere on an old, loud, crappy bike. Others give me a nod of admiration. Some recognize it for what it is, while others simply appreciate vintage bikes – or a motorcycle built in 2006 that looks like it was built in 1955.
Let’s back up for a second. Like I said, it’s not about image, but this bike just screams for attention. The exhaust is already loud, and there are rattles and knocks that would scare an antique chainsaw. When I can tune out the clatter and hear the distinctive thumping of the 500cc Single, however, it starts to make sense. There’s a legit icon underneath the proverbial rust (although there’s some real rust too). The noise tends to quiet down in 4th and 5th gears, and having a sense of what bikes were like in the mid-20th century is kind of cool. When parked, I’m amazed that so much ruckus can come from such a small bike. It’s like a rabid chihuahua.
Riding the Mean Streets of L.A.
Los Angeles is an interesting place to ride. Some of the best motorcycling roads are located within reach – the Pacific Coast Highway, all the legendary Malibu roads (Mulholland, Latigo, Piuma, Stunt, Decker, etc.), and the Angeles Crest Highway, to name drop just a few. But cruising through the city is a different experience entirely. Traffic is notoriously bad, as are the drivers, but a bike like the Bullet 500 is designed for this. Have you ever seen the chaotic car, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian, and animal traffic in India? It’s pure mayhem.
That said, I’ve never ridden a streetbike like I do the Bullet. I’m more focused on engine noise and when to shift and am hesitant to exceed 50 mph as the engine complains in no uncertain terms. I already feel like a hospice caregiver forcing my patient to jog, so pushing it to a sprint is probably ill-advised.
Let’s start on a typical cold November morning. The kickstand is missing, so it’s a centerstand-only affair, although that’s ideal for kickstarters. The bike originally came with a points ignition system, but somewhere along the line it was upgraded to an electronic ignition. That’s a more reliable system but negates a traditional way to kickstart the bike. You want the piston at top dead center, and with points, the ammeter (next to the speedometer) can signal this position. It doesn’t work with an electronic ignition, so I just go by feel and when it seems close enough. I’ve reached a point where it starts within three kicks when cold. That sounds positively archaic, but prior to getting my Bullet truly road worthy, it could take 10 or even 15 minutes to start. I don’t care what kind of shape you’re in, that’s exhausting.
After a few minutes of questionable rattles and knocks, it’s warmed up and ready to roll. I maybe use 50% of the throttle as I again don’t want to push it, and that makes an already slow bike even slower. We’re talking about 23 hp (when new). There are drum brakes front and rear, so I plan stops accordingly as it’s like slowing a freight train.
Lane splitting is easy as the bike is loud and narrow, but overtaking cars just isn’t a thing, and those ubiquitous pay-as-you-go electric Lime scooters can easily pass me. It’ll comfortably cruise at 50 mph and blend in as a bona fide motorcycle, though. Honestly, I’d be miserable if this was my only bike (see supercharged Kawasaki Z H2 above), but as a second or third bike, it’s entertaining, and I’m no longer concerned it’ll leave me stranded. It even handled a recent 25-mile ride like a champion asthmatic senior Great Dane with hip dysplasia.
Night Riding is a Lesson in Improvising
Everything works during the day (relatively), but things change after dark. The headlight turns on (you can also turn it off), but it draws too much power and tries to stall the bike. It’s an aftermarket unit and the battery charges fine, so I’m not sure if it’s an alternator thing or just the wrong third-party light. The speedometer doesn’t light up at all, although that’s likely just a blown bulb. Thankfully the motorcycle gods have left the neutral light intact because if that didn’t provide its faint green glow, the already difficult transmission would be nigh impossible to deal with. It’s important to ride this bike often to keep it healthy, as even parking it for a week can cause issues, including oil settling (called wet sumping). Therefore, I’m forced to ride at night on occasion.
My current solution is to (allegedly) use a very powerful handlebar light for mountain bikes. It’s brighter with a wider spread than the stock headlight and designed for rough terrain, so the heavy engine vibrations aren’t problematic. I’m not sure about the exact legalities, which is why I allegedly do it. And it allegedly works very well. The beam even lights the speedometer on its way to the street. The permanent solution is either a stock headlight or new alternator, and I’m hoping the former is the answer.
Is It Worth It?
Back when my bike was new, Rider tested a 2006 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 ES Electra X, which is an upgraded, premium edition. Things were a little problematic even then, so you can imagine what the years, multiple owners, and almost 20,000 miles can do to a very old Indian design. It amazes me that this Bullet was sold new in 2006, but I also appreciate it. It’s not for everyone – and I’d only recommend it as a second bike – but the overall experience is unlike anything built after the early 1970s. Build quality is questionable, regardless of mileage or abuse, and as mentioned earlier, it’s quirky by even the most charitable standards of today. I also have a 2022 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650, which is basically a 1960s cafe racer without the headaches, and it might as well be from a different manufacturer. Royal Enfield has come a very long way, and the Continental can (kind of) rival a modern Triumph.
So, is it worth it? Yeah, but only for the right person. This is all about riding a historic model, understanding its shortcomings, and appreciating how far motorcycles have come. It’s a snapshot of the 1950s, not the 21st century, which is an important distinction. Don’t let “2006” fool you. If I didn’t have my other bikes, I’d likely hate the Bullet, but as a niche ride that doesn’t have responsibilities (as in, actually getting me somewhere fast), this iconic piece of British-Indian engineering will always have a home in my garage.
The 2023 KTM 890 Adventure features a liquid-cooled 889cc LC8 parallel-Twin, a 6-speed gearbox, the PASC slip/assist clutch, Bosch EMS with throttle-by-wire, and Dell’Orto throttle bodies with an integrated knock sensor for handling varying fuel quality while off the beaten path.
For 2023, one of the most significant changes has been made to the fairing between the front of the bike and the fuel tank.
A connected fairing section offers improved protection from the elements, and it is now further reinforced to offer more security and more load-bearing capability for larger GPS devices. The KTM 890 Adventure also has wider panels on the tank and side panels.
For suspension, the reworked WP APEX 43mm fork now comes with adjustment for rebound and compression, accessible from the top caps. The APEX shock, engineered and slotted into the bike to minimize height, has new settings orientated for the demands of adventure riding.
A new ABS unit is informed by the six-axis IMU to enable full braking power in a range of scenarios. The improved ABS is synced with the ride modes, allowing Offroad ABS (maximizing braking control through disengagement on the rear wheel and lowered intervention on the front) to be activated automatically in Offroad or Rally mode.
The KTM 890 Adventure can be clicked into Street, Offroad, Rain, and an optional Rally mode to adjust engine and traction control character, and a Demo setting allows the rider the chance to try the full gamut of optional rider aids for the first 932 miles (1,500 km) before deciding whether to purchase and keep them permanently.
The 2023 KTM 890 Adventure has a new higher windscreen that offers increased protection and is inspired by the product used on the KTM 450 Rally, and the two-part seat has a new soft foam structure and a slimmer front fender for aerodynamics and rain protection.
The overhauled 5-inch TFT display has revised hardware (bonded mineral glass for extra scratch and glare resistance), and KTM says the redesigned software system of menus and infographics makes alterations to the behavior of the KTM 890 Adventure even simpler. The backlight changes intensity as it reacts to the environment, and a new feature for 2023 enables riders to list their ‘top 10’ calls by the last ones made or favorites list. The Turn-by-Turn+ navigation allows the rider to add extra customization to their navigation details on the go from the bike’s TFT menu without having to stop and fish around for their mobile device.
Sportier graphics and more dynamic looks (the plastics are color injected and using in-mold decals where possible for extra resistance, as seen on the KTM offroad bikes) comes with other practical additions such as the new aluminum engine and tank protector. Other additions include a handlebar switch with hazard warning, Pirelli Scorpion STR tires for offroad emphasis, and LED indicators.
The 2023 KTM Adventure has a 5.3-gal fuel tank and has a dry weight of 441 lb.
Both bikes return for 2023 and are still powered by the liquid-cooled 1,301cc LC8 V-Twin engine with a 6-speed PANKL gearbox, PASC slip/assist clutch, and Keihin EMS with throttle-by-wire. Both also have a 7-inch TFT display and Rain, Street, Sport and Offroad ride modes as standard, as well as an optional Rally mode with nine levels of adjustable traction control intervention. Offroad ABS mode allows for dirt-specific ABS application on the front wheel while disengaging the rear ABS.
Suspension on the 2023 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R is provided by a fully adjustable, long-travel WP XPLOR fork with separate compression and rebound damping and a fully adjustable WP XPLOR PDS rear shock. On the 2023 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S, WP APEX Semi-Active Technology (SAT) suspension adapts the damping rates in real time according to Sport, Street, Comfort, or the optional Offroad, Auto, and Advanced, and the WP APEX rear shock with 200mm of travel and new hydraulic preload adjustment (20mm) offers 10 steps of adjustment or, as an optional add on, three levels of automatic leveling in Low, Standard, and High.
The KTM LC8 and LC8c ADVENTURE range will begin shipping to authorized KTM dealers from December onward. Pricing hasn’t been announced as of publication.
White Rim Trail – or White Rim Road in national park parlance – is a 100-mile unpaved route that loops around the Island in the Sky mesa in Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah. It’s on the bucket list of many dual-sport and adventure riders, and rightfully so. The scenery is spectacular, and the trail is ridable by anyone with a modicum of off-road experience.
White Rim Trail, named after the layer of White Rim Sandstone that it runs on top of, was built in the 1950s by the Atomic Energy Commission to access uranium deposits. The mines didn’t produce much ore and were abandoned, and the road became part of Canyonlands after it was established in 1964.
Although White Rim Trail is a rough and rugged route, only street-legal (plated) motorcycles and high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles are permitted. Off-road-only dirtbikes, ATVs, and side-by-sides that are common on many trails around Moab are prohibited, which helps keep noise and traffic down. There’s also a daily limit of 50 day-use permits.
Since the trail is within Canyonlands, a national parks pass or entrance fee ($25 per motorcycle, good for seven days) is required. Day-use permits are free at visitor centers, but a $6 fee is required for permits purchased online at Recreation.gov. There are several campgrounds along the trail that require overnight permits for an additional fee. In the spring and fall, reservations are strongly encouraged.
The plan was for four of us – Bruce Gillies, Vic Anderson, Kevin Rose, and me – to ride the entire White Rim Trail in one day. We would be traveling light, with all of us riding KTM 690 Enduro Rs. As enjoyable as camping would be in such a beautiful place, it requires gear that would’ve weighed us down, and whatever was in our saddlebags or panniers would be subjected to paint-shaker conditions for hours on end. Instead, we rented a house in Moab that served as our base for two days of riding.
As a warm-up for the White Rim, we spent our first day riding Chicken Corners Trail, a 42-mile out-and-back route on Bureau of Land Management land that passes through Kane Springs Canyon, goes over Hurrah Pass, and runs along a high sandstone bench on the southern edge of the Colorado River. We got hammered by rain early on, but then the clouds parted, and we enjoyed a fun, scenic ride. The trail ends 400 feet above the river across from Dead Horse Point Overlook, the filming location for the final scene in Thelma and Louise when they drive off the cliff.
Having obtained our day-use permits online, the next day we left the house around sunrise and rode north on U.S. Route 191 past Arches National Park and then turned west on State Route 313. There’s no gas in Canyonlands, and the nearest gas station is about 30 miles away in Moab, so completing the loop requires at least 160 miles of range. We were equipped with auxiliary fuel canisters just in case.
White Rim Trail is a two-way road, so it can be ridden in either direction. Our plan was to ride it counterclockwise, saving the famous Shafer Trail for the very end. We turned west on Mineral Canyon Road (BLM 129) before entering Canyonlands and followed the long, flat, well-graded dirt road for about 12 miles.
The road into Canyonlands climbs up onto the Island in the Sky mesa, which is where the visitor center and many RV-clogged overlooks are located. Since the White Rim is below the mesa, riding it in either direction requires going down a series of steep switchbacks to get to the trail.
On a crisp morning in late May, we peered down into the red sandstone canyon carved by the Green River and descended to Horsethief Bottom. After passing the Canyonlands National Park boundary sign, we cruised along the flat trail and took in the full spectrum of colorful scenery: green vegetation along the river; layers of red, pink, yellow, white, and gray rock; and blue skies sprayed with tufts of white cirrocumulus clouds. Off in the distance was Canyonlands’ Maze district.
Our first challenge was crossing a sand wash where Upheaval Canyon dumps into the Green River. If the Green is running high, the wash can be flooded and make the trail impassable. We blasted through on the gas and soon found ourselves at one of the two most technical sections on the trail: Hardscrabble Bottom. Since we rode the loop counterclockwise, this section was downhill, and we picked our way along without incident.
Even though it was a Saturday, we rarely saw others on the trail. We waved to a group of Jeepers at a campground, and we passed a few 4x4s and mountain bikers followed by support trucks. Otherwise, it was just the four of us enjoying the sweeping views and a fun trail with minimal dust thanks to the previous day’s rains.
The second technical challenge on White Rim Trail is climbing up and over Murphy’s Hogback. Our KTMs were perfectly suited for the terrain, and we again made it through without any problems. Bigger ADV bikes would be more of a handful here but certainly capable of getting through.
While some of White Rim Trail is red dirt and sand, miles of it are on bare sandstone, which makes for a bumpy ride. Long-travel suspension, good ground clearance, and a sturdy skid plate are essential.
The sky had become progressively cloudier throughout the day, and by midafternoon, dark clouds blotted out the sun. At the junction with Potash Road, a ranger checked our permits before we began the final climb up the Shafer Trail switchbacks. This section of trail is accessible by anyone visiting Canyonlands, so we worked our way to the top around not only Jeeps and mountain bikes but Toyota Camrys full of Instagrammers too.
A few fat raindrops began to fall as we exited the trail. We made a hasty retreat back to the house to hoist celebratory beers and share stories about our adventure.
KTM North America Inc. has announced the 2023 Duke and Super Duke Duke range. After a brief hiatus, the 790 Duke and 1290 Super Duke GT will be back in KTM’s lineup, and they’re joined by the returning 890 Duke R and 1290 Super Duke R Evo. The 2023 KTM Duke and Super Duke range will begin shipping to authorized KTM dealers in December 2022, but pricing has not yet been announced.
Introduced in 2017, the KTM 790 Duke sold more than 29,000 units, and was later upgraded to the 890 Duke. KTM says the 2023 790 Duke is a “true mid-range motorcycle” that joins the 890 Duke R to fill the gap between the 390 Duke and the 1290 Super Duke R Evo.
The 790 Duke will be powered by KTM’s LC8c parallel-Twin DOHC engine with 799cc of displacement and two balancer shafts for smooth power delivery and minimum vibration.
The 2023 KTM 790 Duke features throttle-by-wire, a PASC slip/assist clutch, three ride modes (Rain, Street, and Sport), lean-angle- sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC), cornering ABS with Supermoto mode, a full-color 5-inch TFT display, and LED lights front and back.
Optional features include Quickshifter+, Motor Slip Regulation (MSR), cruise control, tire-pressure monitoring, and Track mode, which includes traction control slip adjuster, anti-wheelie mode, launch control, and three levels of throttle response variation. The bike has a 3.7-gal tank and a dry weight of 383.6 lb.
In terms of looks, the 2023 KTM 790 Duke introduces two new colorways to the mix: a traditional KTM orange scheme and an all-new gray and black motif.
2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT sport-touring bike has also returned to North America for 2023. KTM says the bike was “designed to offer riders a unique Grand Touring experience but engineered to be a true Sports bike underneath the touring parts.”
The 2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT has enhanced emissions control and a reworked 1,301cc LC8 V-twin engine and the same standard features of the 1290 Super Duke R Evo.
However, the WP APEX semi-active suspension on the 1290 Super Duke GT has been geared for the long-distance tourer, enabling the rider to set the suspension according to four different riding situations: Rider, Rider & Pillion, Rider & Luggage, or Rider, Pillion & Luggage. On top of that, the anti-dive function is fitted as standard. The larger 6.1-gal tank also contributes to the touring capabilities.
The wheels are also the same as the 1290 Super Duke R Evo and boast a weight savings of 2.2 lb of unsprung mass over the old set of rims. These all-new lightweight wheels are wrapped in new Continental ContiSportAttack 4 tires, boasting a sportier and more stable riding experience while delivering on the demand for a sportier tire to match the bike’s versatility. The 1290 Super Duke GT has a dry weight of 476 lb.
A new 7-inch TFT display has a newly designed layout, and the setup is completed by the new switchgear that KTM says not only feels premium but also allows for intuitive interaction between the rider and the dash itself.
The 2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT will also debut an all-new navigation system called Turn-by-Turn Plus, which will be available via KTMconnect and further enhance the touring experience. TBT+ allows navigation instructions to be projected directly on the TFT display.
Powered by SYGIC, TBT+ can also operate offline, allowing riders to plan their journey and adventure from remote locations, with the Navigation feature using industry-standard mapping to guide riders to their destination of choice. There’s also an advanced search feature and a diverse range of POIs including gas stations, restaurants, and rest stops. Or you can select one of your pre-saved destinations directly from the TFT dash.
The new system also allows for waypoints to be skipped without prompting a turnaround. The system will merely recalculate and find the next available route to get you back on track. Also, the last 10 destinations searched are automatically saved and available directly on the dashboard.
2023 KTM 890 Duke R
KTM says the 790 Duke is great for introducing a new generation of riders to the world of the Duke naked bike, “and when they’re ready to take things to the next level, the 2023 KTM 890 Duke R is waiting.” The company added that the 890 Duke R is as comfortable on mountain roads as it is on the track.
In addition to the standard features mentioned above for the 790 Duke, the 2023 KTM 890 Duke R has adjustable, track-ready WP APEX suspension, monoblock Brembo Stylema calipers grabbing 320mm front discs, and Michelin Power Cup II tires. The bike has a 3.7-gal tank and a dry weight of 377 lb.
2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
Taking it up a notch, KTM’s flagship street motorcycle, the KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo, underwent its most significant update in 2020, boasting a number of tweaks and engineering improvements, including a reworked 1,301cc LC8 engine and an all-new chassis.
In 2022, the latest incarnation of “The Beast” was launched with the same LC8 engine making a claimed 180 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque. The bike was dubbed the “Evo” thanks to the evolution of the second-generation WP APEX Semi Active Suspension with damping adjusted in real-time based on conditions in three preset modes: Sport, Street, and Comfort. Rear spring preload can be set via the TFT display’s menu over a 20mm range in 2mm increments.
KTM says the 2023 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo has “the most power and torque in the family and the most advanced electronics to keep it all under control.” The bike features Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC) with cornering ABS by Bosch including Supermoto ABS, ride mode technology, and multi-stage, lean-angle sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) using a 6 axis lean angle sensor, and cruise control. The bike has a 4.2-gal tank and a dry weight of 441 lb.
Following in the steps of other popular customization projects of the BMW R 18, seven BMW Motorrad sales partners in Poland took their own swing at a new look for the premium cruiser – from an R 18 inspired by a popular American cartoon character to one modeled after the Japanese style of bobber-style motorbikes (and a famous painting from that same country) and everything in between. For more information, read the press release from BMW Motorrad below.
Following similar endeavors in Canada, Italy, and Japan, impressive customizing projects based on the BMW R 18 have now also been created in Poland. BMW Motorrad Poland has unveiled seven equally spectacular and individual creations using the “Big Boxer.”
Black as night, from crown to sole, the R 18 Black Jack is presented by BMW Motorrad sales partner ZK Motors in Kielce. The customizers not only used black lacquer but also applied black chrome extensively, which gives the R 18 Black Jack a very special high-grade appeal.
The list of galvanically treated components includes the headlight ring, speedometer surround, engine housing cover, handlebar weights, cylinder head covers, pushrod tubes, intake manifold trims, intake grille, air filter cover, handlebar clamps, wider beach bar handlebars, fuel filler cap, fuel filler trim element, and the hanging rear view mirrors.
Small 16-inch wheels with big-sized tires give the R 18 Black Jack an elongated, low, and masculine appearance. The thoroughly black look is further enhanced by a matte black sidepipe-style exhaust system and high-grade milled elements. The cylinder head covers and the engine casing cover feature milling trim from Roland Sands Design, and the “Black Jack” emblem on the engine has also been milled from aluminum.
Other black parts such as hand levers, the front indicator lights, and the indicator and rear lights recessed into the holder of the rear fender round off the harmonious design. The quilted single seat, tinted headlight lens, and the license plate holder on the left also blend in with style. Two Black Jack cards on the rear fender are the icing on the cake.
BMW Dobrzanski Team Customs – BMW R 18 Isle of Man
The famous Isle of Man, where the Tourist Trophy has been held since 1907 and where Georg “Schorsch” Meier won the Senior TT for BMW in 1939, inspired BMW Motorrad sales partner Dobrzanski Team Customs in Kraków to create the sporty BMW R 18 Isle of Man.
The design of the BMW R 18 Isle of Man evolved from the heritage of Georg Meier’s victorious BMW factory racing machine, the BMW RS 255 Kompressor. Adorned with “Schorsch” Meier’s starting number 49, this motorcycle ties in with the tradition of road racing and represents the history of the Isle of Man as a special place for motorcyclists and for the history of BMW Motorrad.
The “Isle of Man green metallic” paint finish, familiar from the BMW M4, defines the bike’s dynamic look and emphasizes the love of speed and the affiliation to the world of exceptional BMW vehicles.
Liberty Motors Piaseczno – BMW R 18 Liberty
Nine Hills Motorcycles in Chełmno is a renowned tradition-steeped Polish company, led by a true enthusiast: Paweł Stachura. His designs are recognized all over the world, and the motorbikes have already triumphed on the world’s best custom stages. As a partner of Liberty Motors Piaseczno, this commissioned project based on the BMW R 18 called Liberty includes handmade body components designed from scratch, such as the fuel tank, front and rear fenders, the seat bench, lamp trim with small LED headlight, and the handlebar.
Special features include the round instrumentation integrated into the tank center tunnel, tank filler necks that are flush with the tank surface and can be opened under pressure, and exclusive leather components that are also handmade, including the seat upholstery and side pocket. The chassis has a lowered and fully adjustable rear suspension, a slightly lowered fork, and three-piece wheels from Rick’s Motorcycles, sized 8 x 18 inches at the rear and 3.5 x 21 inches at the front with 240/40-18 and 130/60-21 tires respectively.
Numerous CNC-milled parts such as cylinder head covers or the specially designed oil cooler, as well as brake calipers and footrests from Beringer, tastefully complement the R 18 Liberty, which is elaborately painted featuring airbrush work. A short black FCR exhaust system rounds off the stylish look.
BMW and MINI sales partner Inchcape Wrocêaw in Wroclaw took its inspiration for designing the BMW R 18 Roadster entirely from 1920s and 1930s automotive engineering. The focus was on clear and straightforward lines and, together with a dash of Art Deco, ultimately led to a very clean and equally unique look for the R 18 Roadster.
A completely newly developed hump seat bench with additional fuel tank and “Monza Cap” filler neck helps give the rear end of the R 18 Roadster a very sporty appearance, which is complemented at the front by matching cockpit trim and special handlebars.
The longitudinal beading in the hump seat bench and fairing are style-defining design elements of this bike. This design language is taken up in the openwork trim elements on the sides of the tank and on the aerodynamically designed front fender, the front of which features the legendary BMW kidney grille hearkening back to BMW automotive construction.
BMW Smorawiński – BMW R 18 Roar
BMW sales partner Smorawiński in Poznań had the 2019 R 18 Concept study entirely in mind when creating his R 18 Roar.
In particular, the Smorawiński team focused on a very light-looking rear section. Harmoniously designed details such as the short rear fender and the swinging saddle with two coil springs make the bike look particularly light. The extremely short, “silencerless” exhaust system in sidepipe style not only generates great sound but also adds to the light look of the rear section.
Together with wire-spoke wheels and chrome brake calipers, the result is a very purist R 18 that conveys a purist motorcycle feel. Roar!
BMW Inchcape Poznań – BMW R 18 Speedy Gonzales
BMW sales partner Inchcape in Swadzim chose the fastest mouse in Mexico as the namesake for its BMW R 18 customizing creation. Voilà, the BMW R 18 Speedy Gonzales. You can well imagine this customized BMW R 18 on the highway in the northern Mexican desert, riding past huge cacti and nothing but a seemingly endless ribbon of asphalt ahead – similar to the adventures of the TV cartoon mouse.
Indeed, the BMW R 18 Speedy Gonzales with an apehanger handlebar and comfortable single seat seems made for riding along never-ending asphalt roads. Inspired by automobile construction of the 1920s and 1930s, the front and rear fenders are powerful and curved. This design feature, together with the tank, side covers, headlamp cover, instrument housing, and long fishtail rear silencers, give the bike great presence. Not to mention its extraordinary paint finish – executed in blue-black with elaborate airbrush technique and filigree lines.
This bike is characterized by absolutely perfect craftsmanship and is a real eye-catcher and feast for the eyes!
BMW Team Długołęka – BMW R 18 The Great Wave
Together with UNIKAT Motorworks, BMW sales partner Team Długołęka initiated the BMW R 18 The Great Wave. The leitmotif here was to modify the BMW R 18 taking inspiration from Japanese art painting and the Japanese style of bobber-style motorbikes.
The bike’s patinized paintwork makes you think that the R 18 The Great Wave has been around for decades and has just been found in a barn. This special paintwork technique was entrusted to the best artist in Poland: Łukasz Elbalenko. The theme of the Great Wave in Kanagawa was chosen because it is one of the most famous works of art from Japan by Hokusia, created around 1831.
The Japanese bobber style features details such as the rear ducktail fender and the shortened frame rear section with a single seat covered in natural brown leather. Sonorous sound is generated by short, handmade silencers with slotted copper-colored end pieces and hexagonal cross-section. You will also find the exclusive copper coating on the shaft drive, brake calipers and cylinder head covers.
Finally, classic Shinko tires with a very large cross-section and grooved tread give the R 18 The Great Wave a particularly masculine look. A flat drag bar handlebar with genuine leather grips and personalized emblems on the engine round out the well-balanced look of the R 18 The Great Wave.
At the EICMA show in Italy, the Piaggio Group introduced the new Aprilia ELECTRICa project, as well as several updated models in the company’s brand range, including the following:
Aprilia RS 660 Extrema
V7 Stone Special Edition and V9 Bobber Special Edition
Vespa GTV, Primavera Color Vibe, and 946 10° Anniversario
The Piaggio Group said its brands have “accepted the challenge of a changing world, introducing a vast offer of vehicles capable of meeting any mobility needs.” Pricing and availability dates of the new models have yet to be provided.
2023 Aprilia ELECTRICa Project
Although the Piaggio Group has been working on electric propulsion since 1975 – including releasing the first hybrid scooter in the world, the MP3 Hybrid, in 2009 – the Aprilia ELECTRICa project is a new concept for the company. Piaggio says the lightweight electric bike is the company’s response to the changing commuting needs in the world with a nod to “the thrilling riding experience that only a bike can provide.”
The electric motor on the ELECTRICa is positioned in the center and powers a chain final drive. The bike includes keyless ignition and LCD instrumentation. The aesthetics of the ELECTRICa carry the familiar Aprilia style, especially the modern interpretation of the triple headlamp cluster typical of all Aprilias.
The bike has compact dimensions and a low saddle height, and the company says the presence of both brake controls on the handlebar makes the transition from scooters easier.
Exact specifications, pricing, and availability were not available as of publication.
2023 Aprilia RS 660 Extrema
The 2023 Aprilia RS 660 Extrema is the sportiest and lightest RS 660 in the range, with updated and new standard equipment.
The Aprilia RS 660 has a liquid-cooled 659cc DOHC parallel-Twin making a claimed 100 hp and 49.4 lb-ft of torque at 8,500 rpm.
The 2023 RS 660 Extrema features a lighter street-legal exhaust system by SC Project with a carbon silencer positioned on the right side (and no longer beneath the engine). Also contributing to the overall reduction in weight are the carbon front fender and the new carbon engine undercover. Wet weight is a claimed 366 lb.
The RS 660 Extrema sport attributes are emphasized by the single-seat tail fairing (the passenger’s seat comes with the bike). Standard electronics on the RS 660 include traction control, cornering ABS, engine brake, engine map, and wheelie control – all adjustable – as well as five ride modes (Road and Track, three fixed and two customizable). The RS 660 Extrema also has software that allows the rider to set up the standard quick shift in a reverse-shift pattern without having to replace any bike components.
Pricing and availability of the RS 660 Extrema were not available as of publication, but we expect an MSRP north of $11,599, the list price of the 2022 Aprilia RS 660.
2023 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Special Edition
Introduced as a ready-to-ride factory bobber in 2016, the Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber has an air- and oil-cooled longitudinal 853cc 90-degree V-Twin making a claimed 65 hp and 53.8 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm.
The engine sits in a twin-tube steel cradle frame. Suspension is basic, with a nonadjustable 40mm fork on the front and preload adjustable rear shocks. Stopping power comes from Brembo opposed 4-piston calipers grabbing a 320mm stainless steel floating disc up front and Brembo 2-piston calipers and a 260mm floating disc in the back. The 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels are still shod in the V9 Bobber’s characteristic oversized tires (130/90 up front, 150/80 rear).
Piaggio says the 30.9-inch seat height contributes to the bobber’s “sporty, active, and extended riding position.” The V9 Bobber has a 4.0-gal fuel tank, and the bike comes in with an overall wet weight of 463 lb.
The new Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Special Edition boasts a special Workshop twin-tone black and grey color scheme that enhances the teardrop fuel tank shape and extends to the aluminum side panels. A billet aluminum cap is a high-end touch.
The matte black brings out the Moto Guzzi branding milled on the aluminum cylinder head covers, and the familiar sound of the Moto Guzzi 850 twin cylinder is highlighted by the exhaust painted matte black with an aluminum bottom. Bar-end mirrors mounted at the ends of the handlebar, along with the fork seals and the short front fender, complete the equipment.
Pricing and availability on the 2023 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Special Edition were not available.
2023 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone Special Edition
The Moto Guzzi V7 Stone was updated for 2021 with a larger air-cooled 853cc longitudinal 90-degree V-Twin making a claimed 65 hp at 6,800 rpm and 54 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. Other updates included reduced effort from the single-disc dry clutch, a stiffer frame and 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, and more.
The 2023 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone Special Edition features a new Arrow exhaust system, which the company says has led to gains in performance, bumping up to 65.7 hp at 6,700 rpm and 55.3 lb-ft of torque at 4,900 rpm.
From a visual standpoint, Moto Guzzi has swapped out the matte shades typical of the Stone version for a special Shining Black color scheme, enhanced on the tank with graphics and red details that recall the style traits of the Eagle brand’s sportiest models.
This sport attitude is also highlighted by the red shock springs and contrasting red stitching of the saddle, also specific to this model. A plate on the handlebar riser identifies its special edition status, and the equipment package also includes bar-end rearview mirrors and an anodized black billet aluminum fuel cap.
Previous V7 Stone models started at $8,990. Pricing and availability of the 2023 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone Special Edition were not available at publication.
2023 Piaggio 1
Piaggio has upgraded the electric motor that powers Piaggio 1 range to deliver better performance. The moped version (Piaggio 1) has a claimed 3.1 hp from its motor built into the rear wheel and has a top speed limited to 27 mph. The motorbike version (Piaggio 1 Active) reaches 4 hp and has a top speed of TK mph. Piaggio says acceleration has increased 14% on Piaggio 1 and almost 12% on Piaggio 1 Active.
The 2023 Piaggio 1 has a full technological package that includes 5.5-inch digital color instrumentation, full LED lighting, and keyless ignition. It also has an underseat storage compartment large enough to hold a full helmet.
The previous Piaggio 1+ model had a claimed range of approximately 62 miles in ECO mode and 42 miles in Sport mode, while the Piaggio 1 Active claimed 53 miles in ECO and 41 miles in Sport mode.
With both the versions, the battery is located beneath the seat and is easily removable and portable so it can be charged at home or in the office.
2023 Vespa GTV
It has been four years since the last version of a Vespa scooter was launched, but at the beginning of October, the Piaggio Group announced the release of the new 2023 Vespa GTS range, featuring a 4-stroke, liquid-cooled 300cc high-performance engine (HPE) offering a claimed 23.8 hp at 8,250 rpm.
Built on the Vespa GTS base, the Vespa GTV maintains the traits of its origins but combines them with a new technological equipment package and new finishes, which Vespa says results in “an extraordinary marriage of tradition and modernity, classicism and aggressiveness, which manifests itself in the most authentically sporty Vespa ever.”
The low headlamp is LED, and the new instrumentation maintains the circular shape but is entirely digital and displays maximum speed, average speed, instant and average mileage, range, and battery charge status, as well as all call, message, and music notifications if the vehicle is connected to a smartphone through the Vespa MIA system (available as a separate accessory).
The instrumentation is connected to the handlebar using a cantilevered bracket and enveloped by a small top fairing with sport inspiration. At the center of the front shield, the Vespa “neck-tie” has lateral slits and is enhanced by decorations with orange edging. A USB port comes as standard equipment, located in the storage compartment on the back of the shield.
The Vespa GTV has a single-seat two-tone saddle with a racing look, and the rear part is designed for a hard cover color-coded to match the body and reminiscent of the typical racing Vespa fairings.
The five-spoke design of the wheel rims is also new – painted matte black with an orange graphic on the channel. On the safety front, standard features include ASR electronic traction control and ABS.
Vespa Primavera Color Vibe
The Piaggio Group says the new Vespa Primavera Color Vibe is a “tribute to the colourful and carefree Vespa universe.”
The Primavera range features air-cooled i-get (Italian Green Experience Technology) 4-stroke engines available in 50cc and 150cc versions. The new Primavera Color Vibe is characterized by a special two-tone livery: the body, available in the Arancio Impulsivo and Bianco Innocente shades, is matched with a footboard in Ottanio, a shade of turquoise.
A contrasting color “stain” is outlined in black and runs diagonally across the entire body through the dedicated graphics on the sides of the front shield and side panels. The decorations of the steering cover on the front shield are also in Ottanio, as well as the wheel rims, which were made exclusively for this version in a special glossy metallic finish.
Finally, the outfitting is completed by sporty black trim for the headlamp and taillight frames, the profile that runs along the front shield, the crest on the front fender, the front suspension spring and guard, the passenger grab handle, and the muffler cover. The saddle is black with anthracite stitching.
Vespa 946 10° Anniversario
The Vespa 946 special 10° Anniversario outfit has an exclusive dedicated color that represents a modern take on the classic Vespa green shade, a color that is described as “soft and velvety, but has a hint of acidity.” The pearlescent color appears pastel at first glance, but then gains depth with illumination.
At the EICMA show this week in Milan, Italy, Royal Enfield unveiled a new tourer: The Super Meteor 650. Following in the tradition of the Meteor 350, the Super Meteor sits in an all-new chassis and comes in an array of color options with two optional accessory packages.
The Super Meteor features the 648cc air-cooled parallel-Twin also found in Royal Enfield’s Continental GT and the INT650, all producing a claimed 38 lb-ft of torque and 47 hp.
However, the chassis of the Super Meteor 650 is new. Created in conjunction with Harris Performance, it’s said to have a low center of gravity for stability and confidence for all levels of rider. Royal Enfield reports that the new chassis is built with long-distance riding in mind.
“We have always had a differentiated approach to building motorcycles, and our new cruiser, the Super Meteor 650, is the next evolution of this approach,” says Siddhartha Lal, Managing Director of Eicher Motors Ltd. “Inspired by our own long-distance riding experiences and those of our customers, we have built the Super Meteor to be absolutely enjoyable to all senses.”
The Super Meteor features a steel tubular spine frame and a 43mm inverted fork with 120mm of travel, along with twin shocks in the rear with 101mm of travel. Twin-piston caliper brakes will be standard.
Also included as standard on the Super Meteor are LED headlights, a TBT navigation system, and redesigned engine covers.
The Grand Tourer version includes a touring dual seat, a high windscreen, a passenger backrest, panniers, and LED indicators, and was shown at EICMA in Celestial Red. A standard Super Meteor 650 was also shown in Interstellar Green.
Paint colors available for the standard, with or without the Solo Tourer accessories kit, include Astral Black, Astral Blue, Astral Green, Interstellar Grey, and Interstellar Green. Color options for the Grand Tourer variant include Celestial Red and Celestial Blue.
While pricing information is not currently available, we know that Royal Enfield hopes to deliver the Super Meteor 650 in North America in Summer 2023.