Aprilia USA announces the return of its Aprilia Racers Days track-day demo tour, where enthusiasts can ride the latest offerings from Aprilia in an environment that inspired the models. Five track-day events will provide a unique opportunity to test Aprilia sportbikes in a controlled setting with no stop signs, traffic signals or automobiles.
Starting at the recently repaved Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, following the MotoGP weekend in April, two other Aprilia Racers Days will follow MotoAmerica race weekends, allowing enthusiasts to ride the same tracks where professionals raced the previous weekend.
Circuit of the Americas Tuesday, April 7, 2020 (following MotoGP weekend) 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd Austin, TX 78617
Road Atlanta Monday, April 20, 2020 (following MotoAmerica weekend) 5300 Winder Hwy Braselton, GA 30517
New Jersey Motorsports Park Friday, May 15, 2020 8000 Dividing Creek Rd Millville, NJ 08332
Buttonwillow Raceway Park Monday, June 1, 2020 24551 Lerdo Hwy Buttonwillow, CA 93206
The Ridge Motorsports Park Monday, June 29, 2020 (following MotoAmerica weekend) 1060 W Eells Hill Rd Shelton, WA 98584
Aprilia Racers Days events will be supported directly by Aprilia-trained technicians and product specialists, as well as partners Pirelli, Dainese and AGV to offer the best on-track experience with expert advice, performance and protection. The entry fee provides participants with an incredible track-day experience with their existing motorcycle and includes a VIP Aprilia Racers Days package, with ability to demo a new Aprilia for one of the track-day sessions, equipped with Pirelli performance tires. Attendees will also have an opportunity to be measured for a custom suit from Dainese and try out the latest track suits as well as helmets from AGV. All registrants will receive a $250 accessory voucher toward qualifying Aprilia purchases before June 30, 2020.
Factory installation offers the customer an attainable
custom paint option that eliminates the need to either re-paint the original
components or install an accessory paint set that leaves take-off painted parts
on the shop floor. The Eagle Eye Special Edition Paint Option finish meets
demanding Harley-Davidson standards for quality and durability, and is backed
by the Harley-Davidson limited warranty.
The Eagle Eye paint option is executed on a brilliant yellow
base color with a glossy clear coat finish. A design highlight is a black eagle
graphic with spread wings that flows from the right side of the fuel tank to
the right side of the fairing. A simple Bar & Shield logo is on the left
side of the tank. Harley-Davidson script is aligned on the outside edge of each
saddlebag lid, and the saddlebag latches are color-matched. The special edition
paint is applied to the fairing, fuel tank, front and rear fenders, saddlebags and
Considering how popular the Versys 650 has become, almost from the moment it was introduced in the U.S. for 2008, we found it decidedly strange that Kawasaki only blessed Europe and Asia with the larger Versys 1000 when it appeared for 2012. OK, the styling was funky, but it had great bones, and when Team Green finally redesigned and brought it stateside for 2015 as the Versys 1000 LT, we liked it so much we gave it our Motorcycle of the Year award…and wore the tires off our long-term test bike. Here was a motorcycle that combined all of the good traits of adventure bikes — comfortable, upright seating; compliant, longer-travel suspension; good wind protection and moderate weight — with performance and handling near that of a liter-class sport-touring machine. In short, a sport-adventure “VERsatile SYStem” for riders with little or no off-road aspirations.
By retuning the liquid-cooled, 1,043cc DOHC in-line four from the Ninja 1000 to create a table-flat torque curve for better touring manners — without sacrificing much of the Ninja’s screaming top-end hit that is catnip to sport-oriented riders — the Versys 1000 LT package could handle rough back roads or smooth highways, long two-up tours or commuting, a sedate group ride or a tire-shredding rip up a canyon road. As a more comfortable alternative to the Ninja 1000, including plusher passenger accommodations, Kawasaki further sweetened the Versys 1000 LT deal with standard saddlebags, an adjustable windscreen, a centerstand, hand guards and a luggage rack. The only complaint we had is a common one among adventure-styled bikes — a tall 33-inch seat height — but a ¾-inch lower accessory seat is available, and the stocker is so thickly padded it’s easily reworked.
The clincher was the Versys 1000 LT’s price of just $12,799 in 2015, well below the competition despite its similar features and standard saddlebags.
Fast forward to 2018, and the (love it or hate it, it’s here to stay) era of electronic rider aids was bypassing the basic-but-just-$12,999 big Versys, which only offered ABS, traction control and two power modes (Full and Low) for the button addicts. So for 2019 Kawasaki took the bold step of raising the new Versys 1000 SE LT+ price to $17,999, and filled the $5,000 gap with semi-active electronically controlled suspension, throttle-by-wire, cruise control, a quickshifter, heated grips, inertial measurement unit (IMU)-based 6-axis input for the now multi-level traction control and cornering ABS, four integrated ride modes that link to the suspension, TC and power levels, and LED head, tail and cornering lights. The command/control window into all of it is a bright, new multi-function TFT display with Sport, Touring and night modes as well as Bluetooth smartphone connectivity via Kawasaki’s Rideology app. The TFT display shares dash space with a big analog speedometer and a 12V, 45-watt accessory socket.
Drilling down into the technical minutiae of each electronic feature is best left to the thick owner’s manual, but a few are worth detailing here, such as the Cornering Management function that uses both ABS and TC — with input from the IMU — to “assist” a rider experiencing sudden acute pucker factor to hold an intended line through a corner. I did not try this, and don’t ask me to. And the ride modes are a well thought-out platter of Sport, Road, Rain and customizable Rider choices that select either Full or Low power delivery (both of which are smooth and linear, with no annoying throttle abruptness), three levels of TC or TC off, and Hard, Normal or Soft suspension damping (rear spring preload is set separately). For example, Sport selects Full power, minimal TC and Hard suspension. In the Rider mode (our favorite, of course), you can set your own combinations, and fine-tune each of the suspension’s three damping settings. Finally, a comprehensive menu display gives you adjustment and on/off control over things like the quickshifter, cornering lights, shift light, etc.
Since all of this stuff is hung on essentially the same basic powertrain, chassis and running gear from 2015-2018, you can fire up the Versys 1000 SE LT+ and without even looking at the instrument panel enjoy its broad, smooth powerband, roomy comfortable ergonomics, good wind protection and exceptional braking. The fairing is a bit broader and more protective now due to the cornering lights, its 17-inch wheels front and rear with sport-touring rubber give the bike good grip and sweet, stable handling, and it has plenty of cornering clearance. Our 2019 test bike made similar power output numbers to our 2015 model (see the dyno chart), which makes sense, since the counterbalanced engine is unchanged. And Kawasaki Electronically Controlled Suspension (KECS) is a sweet addition, mainly because it adjusts damping in the new high-end cartridge fork and BFRC (Balance Free Rear Cushion) lite rear shock in real time depending upon conditions, and lets you quickly change the overall stiffness of the suspension for a softer or firmer ride.
I was less impressed with the new cruise control, which didn’t hold the bike’s speed well, and wasn’t immediately responsive to attempts to raise or lower the set speed. The quickshifter is also a disappointment — though it works adequately it lacks the crispness of other up/down quickshifters and had a vague, mushy feeling at the shift lever. New owners may also be frustrated by the learning curve required to display information and make vehicle menu selections, which is not at all intuitive. Changing ride modes on the fly in particular needs a rethink, since you must close the throttle for far too long to do so.
OK, though some of its new features are still a work in progress, there’s a lot to like about the Versys 1000 SE LT+. The seats are plush, the new heated grips work great and the mirrors, windscreen, adjustable brake and clutch levers and LED cornering lights are all very functional. Can’t say enough about the locking saddlebags either, each of which holds 29 liters or a full-face helmet and can be removed and installed in a snap (and you can add a 47-liter accessory top case). Load capacity and alternator output are quite good, and the bike pops right onto its centerstand with little effort, a remarkable achievement for any nearly 600-pound motorcycle. Ride it on Low power with a tame wrist and you should easily top 45 mpg and 250 miles from the 5.5-gallon tank, though it does require premium fuel.
As an adventure-styled motorcycle with a 17-inch front wheel and no real off-road ambitions, the Versys 1000 SE LT+ is unique among liter-class Japanese ADV bikes, which generally have a 19- or 21-inch front, more ground clearance, undercarriage protection, etc. That Kawasaki chose to fit the new Versys with a raft of contemporary electronic features before the latest Concours 14 sport tourer demonstrates how hot adventure bikes have become — if not actual ADV riding — and makes it even more road ready. For 2020 the Versys will be offered in eye-popping Emerald Blazed Green/Pearl Storm Gray rather than the Metallic Flat Spark Black/Pearl Flat Stardust White of our 2019 test bike, and we can’t wait to see it…especially if it’s from the saddle.
2019 Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE LT+ Specs Base Price: $17,999 (2020 model) Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles Website:kawasaki.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line four Displacement: 1,043cc Bore x Stroke: 77.0 x 56.0mm Compression Ratio: 10.3:1 Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl. Valve Insp. Interval: 15,200 miles Fuel Delivery: DFI w/ Keihin 38mm ETV throttle bodies x 4 Lubrication System: Wet sump, 4.2-qt. cap. Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet assist-and-slipper clutch Final Drive: O-ring chain
The Suzuki V-Strom 1000 is an old lion of the adventure-touring
world. When it debuted for 2002, there weren’t many liter-class adventure bikes
to choose from, and the few you could buy were European. There was the standard-bearer
BMW R 1150 GS plus a handful of others like the Aprilia ETV1000 CapoNord, Cagiva
Gran Canyon, Moto Guzzi Quota and Triumph Tiger 955i. Back then adventure
touring was still a niche segment, and most of these models faded away after a
When it launched the DL1000 V-Strom, Suzuki became the first
Japanese manufacturer to offer a big adventure bike in the U.S., and its domestic
competitors stayed on the sidelines until Yamaha introduced the Super Ténéré
for 2012. The V-Strom had a 996cc liquid-cooled, 90-degree V-twin derived from
the TL1000S/R sportbikes and a twin-spar aluminum frame, and it delivered
impressive horsepower, torque and handling. Although it had a 19-inch front
wheel and tallish suspension, the DL1000 was best suited to the paved roads where
most adventure bike owners spend most of their time.
The DL1000 underwent few changes until 2014, when it got a
larger, more powerful engine, Suzuki’s first-ever traction control system and
updates to its chassis, styling and ergonomics. Four years later, Suzuki gave
the V-Strom 1000 another refresh, bringing its appearance in line with the
V-Strom 650 and adding IMU-based cornering ABS, which Suzuki calls the Motion
Track Anti-lock and Combined Brake System. Here we are just two years later
with yet another update, and the big V-Strom looks and performs better than
Although engine displacement remains the same at 1,037cc, for
2020 Suzuki decided to change the name to V-Strom 1050 and offer three versions—a
standard model, the V-Strom 1050XT and the V-Strom 1050XT Adventure. All have a
revised engine that’s Euro 5 compliant and produces more horsepower and torque
at higher revs thanks to larger throttle bodies, new fuel mapping and cam
timing, higher-compression pistons and a revised exhaust. Claimed output has
increased from 99 horsepower at 8,000 rpm to 106 at 8,500 rpm, whereas peak
torque is down a bit, from 75 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm to 74 lb-ft at 6,000 rpm, though
there’s more grunt at high rpm. New throttle-by-wire has enabled the Suzuki
Drive Mode Selector, which offers three throttle response modes (A, B and C). Other
changes include an updated traction control system with three levels of
intervention, new instrumentation and LED lighting, a lighter, reshaped tapered
aluminum handlebar, wider footpegs and new Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A41
Ichiro Miyata, who designed Suzuki’s DR-Z Paris-Dakar racer
and DR-Big dual-sport in the 1980s, also designed the V-Strom 1050, and its
sharp beak and geometric lines are very similar to those found on the old DRs.
The cool retro styling, unfortunately, gets lost on the standard V-Strom 1050 ($13,399)
because it’s only available in Glass Sparkle Black/Solid Iron Gray. The V-Strom
1050XT ($14,799), on the other hand, looks fantastic in either throwback color
combos—Champion Yellow No. 2 with a blue seat and blue accents or Pearl
Brilliant White/Glass Blaze Orange. Spending the extra $1,400 for the XT replaces
the base model’s cast wheels with tubeless spoked wheels and adds the Suzuki
Intelligent Ride System, a different windscreen with toolless height adjustment,
more stylish hand guards and mirrors, a height-adjustable seat, a centerstand,
engine guards and a lower engine cowl. The V-Strom 1050XT Adventure ($16,999)
adds quick-release aluminum panniers and heated grips, but it’s only available
in Glass Sparkle Black; for my money, I’d buy a colorful XT and buy the
panniers and heated grips separately (there are nearly 60 items on the
The big upgrade for 2020 is the Suzuki Intelligent Ride
System, a comprehensive electronics package that uses a new six-axis (up from
five) IMU and includes cruise control, cornering/combined ABS, hill hold
control, slope dependent control (which mitigates rear wheel lift when braking
downhill) and load dependent control (which adjusts brake pressure based on rider/passenger/luggage
weight). Connecting all of the control units and sensors is a new Controller
Area Network (CAN), which simplifies the wiring harness and offers faster data
What has made the V-Strom 1000 a perennial favorite over the
years is its user-friendliness. It has always been an approachable, versatile,
dependable motorcycle that’s blessedly free of quirks. With its new
electronics, the V-Strom 1050XT is the most technologically advanced V-Strom to
date but it retains its welcoming disposition. During the press launch we rode
the XT on some of southern Spain’s best paved roads, with a few miles of dirt
thrown in for good measure. From seating comfort and wind protection to
throttle response, engine performance and handling, the V-Strom 1050XT felt well
rounded and satisfying to ride. About the only thing missing on that cool
January day were the accessory heated grips.
As we left the coastal town of Marbella on our test ride and
ascended into the Sierra Nevada range on the fast, winding and damp A-366, I
started out in mode A, which offers direct throttle response and was just on
the cusp of being too abrupt for my taste. The mode button and large rocker
switch next to the left grip make it easy to navigate through the various modes
for throttle response, traction control and ABS, as well as operate cruise
control (which only works in gears 4-6 from 31-99 mph). Mode B felt just right,
and the fueling was consistent and never stumbled in on/off transitions. The
V-Strom still pulls strongly in the low- to midrange, while the revised engine’s
newfound liveliness at high revs rewards exuberant grip twisting. And thanks to
the assist-and-slipper hydraulic clutch, even aggressive shifting of the
6-speed transmission was drama-free.
The new V-Strom uses the same fully adjustable 43mm upside-down
fork and rebound- and (remote) preload-adjustable link-type rear shock, both with
6.3 inches of travel, as before, though damping is softer in the front and
stiffer in the rear. Those changes weren’t readily apparent from the saddle,
and the 1050XT was pleasantly compliant on fast, smooth pavement and bumpy,
rocky dirt. Also unchanged are the Tokico monoblock 4-piston front calipers and
Nissin 2-piston rear caliper, which exhibited good initial bite but felt rather
vague otherwise even though there was plenty of stopping power. The
cornering/combined ABS now has two modes, offering more or less intervention,
but it cannot be turned off.
The XT’s new windscreen deflects air well and is height
adjustable over a two-inch range, but because the quick-release lever is on the
lower front of the windscreen, just above the headlight, adjustments must be
made while the bike is parked. Behind the windscreen is an accessory bar that’s
ideal for mounting a smartphone or GPS, and there’s a new USB outlet on the
left side of the dash (there’s also an SAE 12V socket under the seat). The new
seat is comfortable and height adjustable (33.5/34.3 inches), but the
adjustment process requires swapping out bolts under the seat using the wrench
in the toolkit. The brake lever, clutch lever, shifter and rear brake pedal are
all adjustable, so riders should have little difficulty dialing in the V-Strom
to suit their preferences.
With three major updates in the past six years, the V-Strom
1000/1050 has evolved quickly. What was once a fun and competent but rather
basic adventure touring motorcycle has become sophisticated and refined. The
V-Strom 1050XT offers a higher margin of safety, more versatility and more
touring features while retaining the fun, go-anywhere spirit of the original.
Like the rest of the FTR lineup, the Rally is powered by a 1,203cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC V-twin that makes 123 horsepower and 87 lb-ft of torque (claimed) and is held within a lightweight tubular-steel trellis frame. The chassis is equipped with Brembo brakes (including M4.32 monoblock front calipers), a fully adjustable upside down fork, a preload- and rebound-adjustable rear shock and spoked wheels shod with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires (19-inch front, 18-inch rear, tubes required).
“We’re excited to offer North American riders a new take on
the FTR 1200 that combines the unmistakable look and stance of the FTR with the
more classic, rugged elements that have made scramblers so beloved to city
riders,” said Reid Wilson, Vice President of Indian Motorcycle. “The FTR 1200
is as much about style and self-expression as it is about street-oriented
performance, and the FTR Rally delivers that combination in a totally unique
The FTR Rally features Titanium Smoke paint with the Indian Motorcycle headdress graphic, a brown aviator seat and a rally flyscreen. It’s also equipped with cruise control, a USB fast charge port and a new ProTaper handlebar that is 2 inches higher than that of the standard FTR 1200. The FTR Rally has a 3.4-gallon fuel tank, a 33.6-inch seat height and a 511-pound dry weight (claimed).
Pricing for the 2020 Indian FTR Rally starts at $13,499, and it’s compatible with the entire range of 40+ accessories specifically developed for the FTR platform.
Last fall Ducati announced updates to its Panigale V4 and Panigale V4 S superbikes, including a new aerodynamics package and revised electronics, suspension and throttle-by-wire mapping. The 214-horsepower Panigale V4 weighs 436 pounds and the V4 S weighs 430 pounds (claimed figures)—that’s roughly 0.5 horsepower per pound for both models.
Ducati has now unveiled the Superleggera V4, which is Italian for “super light.” With a full racing kit and exhaust, it makes 234 horsepower and weighs a feathery 335.5 pounds, which is 0.7 horsepower per pound—a 40% higher power-to-weight ratio.
How did Ducati shave 100 pounds off the already-svelte Panigale V4? The Bologna-based company says the “Superleggera V4 is the world’s only street-legal motorcycle with the entire load-bearing structure of the chassis (frame, subframe, swingarm and wheels) made from composite material [carbon fiber], achieving a 6.7 kg [14.8 lb] reduction in weight.” Many other components, such as the bodywork and aerodynamic wings (which produce 110 pounds of downforce at 168 mph), are also made of carbon fiber, while others are made of titanium, magnesium or aluminum.
The Superleggera is powered by a 998cc V4 – the Desmosedici Stradale R also found in the Panigale V4 R – rather than the 1,103cc V4 in the Panigale V4 and V4 S, saving another 6.2 pounds. The smaller, lighter engine makes more power – 224 horsepower vs 214 in the standard configuration. The race kit and exhaust further reduce weight while boosting claimed horsepower to 234.
Of course, the Superleggera V4 is equipped with the very
best in electronics and components, including Öhlins suspension (with a
titanium shock spring) and Brembo Stylema R front calipers.
Only 500 Superleggera V4s will be produced, each
individually numbered and including a certificate of authenticity. The bike ID number
(XXX/500), which matches the VIN, is displayed on the frame, fork yoke and
The start of deliveries is planned for June 2020, and five bikes
will be produced per day. Superleggera buyers will also have a chance to
purchase an exclusive Superleggera V4 premium Dainese leather suit with
integrated airbag and an Arai carbon fiber helmet, both emblazoned with the
bike’s colors and graphics.
Such a premium motorcycle will include a premium “SBK Experience,” allowing owners to ride the Panigale V4 R, which competes in the SBK World Championship, on a test track at Mugello. Thirty lucky Superleggera V4 owners will have an exclusive opportunity to enjoy the “MotoGP Experience,” where they will be able to ride a Desmosedici GP20 on a race track.
Ducati has not released pricing, but the 2017 Ducati 1299
Superleggera went for a cool $80,000 and was also limited to 500 units—every
one of which was sold in short order. If you have the interest and the means,
make haste to your nearest Ducati dealer.
What a difference a few years make. When we pitted the Ninja 650 against two rivals back in November 2016, we came away unimpressed — Kawasaki’s street-oriented sportbike felt overweight and uninspiring compared to its lithe sparring partners. But then Team Green put the Ninja on a diet and training regimen for 2017, shedding 43 pounds thanks to a new steel trellis frame, hollow-press aluminum swingarm, wheel assemblies and engine changes. The offset lay-down shock was replaced with a Ninja ZX-10R-derived horizontal back-link shock, and the new package was wrapped in sharper, sportier bodywork.
In addition to the significant weight loss, the Ninja’s 2017 training regimen included improvements to its engine, brakes and ergonomics. The liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valve-per-cylinder, 649cc parallel twin was retuned for better performance in the low- to midrange, where most street riders spend the majority of their time, and it got new injectors for more precise fueling, a mechanical gear position indicator, a revised airbox, a redesigned exhaust and smaller throttle bodies. A new 2-piston Nissin front brake caliper provided noticeably better performance and feel, and optional Bosch 9.1M ABS was said to be lighter and more responsive. (Read the complete details in our First Ride Review of the 2017 Ninja 650 here.) Suddenly this was a fighter to be reckoned with.
For 2020, the Ninja 650 seems to have reached a milestone in its development, with refined styling that brings it inline with its ZX-6R and ZX-10R siblings, a new 4.3-inch full-color TFT display with switchable background color and ambient light sensor, connectivity to Kawasaki’s Rideology app and the latest Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tires. Specs and features only tell half the story of course; like a martial artist, mastering the movements is one thing — putting them to use is another. Since it was Senior Editor Drevenstedt who rode the revamped 2017 model, I haven’t been on a Ninja 650 since the 2016 comparo, and after spending five hundred or so miles on this newest version it’s clear this is a much improved motorcycle.
Overall performance figures haven’t changed that much — peak horsepower is slightly down, mid-range power and torque are slightly up and peak torque is about the same — but with 43 fewer pounds to lug around, the 2020 Ninja 650 is now responsive, quick on its feet and quite fun to ride, emitting a rewarding intake howl as the rpms spin past 5,500. Its steering geometry has been sharpened, with the rake tightened up by a degree and the trail reduced by 0.4 inch, and ergonomics are small-frame-friendly — seat height is down more than half an inch to 31.1 inches, clip-ons are perched well above the triple clamp and the 4.0-gallon gas tank is narrow between the knees. So while my 34-inch-inseam legs got a bit cramped on longer rides and I found myself wishing for thicker seat padding (Kawasaki’s one-inch taller “extended reach” seat might solve both issues), I found the Ninja 650 to be comfortable enough for a 2½-hour-long freeway slog to Palm Springs or an afternoon ride on some favorite canyon roads.
Kawasaki says that about 60% of Ninja 650 owners primarily use it to commute and ride recreationally, but it’s on those sporty canyon roads that the Ninja’s newfound fighting spirit truly shines. It’s quick and flickable, with enough power to remain entertaining without demanding too much of its rider, nor requiring license-risking levels of speed. As is common in this category and price range, suspension is still rather basic, a bit underdamped and non-adjustable except for spring preload on the rear shock — the 41mm KYB fork has 4.9 inches of travel and the KYB shock 5.1 inches. Subsequently the bike can get pretty nervous when riding aggressively in rough corners, but on smoother roads the Ninja tracks through corners with confident stability, and the new Dunlop rubber offers predictable grip and feedback. An assist-and-slipper clutch mated to the six-speed gearbox also makes easy work of quick downshifts and commuter traffic alike.
The 2020 updates are admittedly mostly cosmetic, but they’re like an outward representation of the Ninja 650’s forward progress — a black belt, to continue our martial arts analogy. The TFT display includes a slew of useful information, all easy to read even in direct sunlight, and new twin LED headlights not only look the business but also function extremely well, throwing bright white light far down the road as well as to each side. Overall this new Ninja 650 is at peak form, representing the new heights of performance and style we can now expect from today’s middleweight motorcycles.
With a limited production run of just 225 motorcycles, Indian’s
Roadmaster Elite returns for 2020 with a larger Thunder Stroke 116 air-cooled
V-twin, a full list of touring amenities and an all-new custom paint scheme.
Each Roadmaster Elite undergoes a meticulous paint process
that takes more than 30 hours to complete and is finished by hand. The new
Thunder Black Vivid Crystal over Gunmetal Flake paint with off-set red
pinstripes and exclusive red Elite badging with matching push-rod tubes
delivers a new, meaner and sportier look. The 19-inch precision machined wheel
under the valanced front fender adds to this look, while still maintaining a
New for 2020 is an upgraded 600-watt PowerBand Audio Plus
system that is said to deliver exceptional sound and clarity from high-output
fairing, trunk, and saddlebag speakers. The PowerBand Audio Plus system
features an enhanced nine-band dynamic equalizer that auto-adjusts specific
frequencies to the optimal level at different vehicle speeds to compensate for
road, wind and engine noise.
“The Roadmaster itself delivers the ultimate touring
experience, but the Roadmaster Elite takes that experience to an even higher
level, designed specifically for riders who pay attention to each and every
detail,” said Reid Wilson, Vice President for Indian Motorcycle. “Whether
riding around town or across the country, the Roadmaster Elite is a statement
maker – packed with all the modern touring amenities riders would ever need or
want, with an aesthetic that is captivating.”
As Indian Motorcycle’s most powerful air-cooled engine, the
Thunder Stroke 116 features a new high-flow cylinder head that makes a claimed 126
lb-ft of torque. Three selectable ride modes (Tour, Standard and Sport) allow
riders to adjust the bike’s throttle response to fit their riding preferences.
The Roadmaster Elite also features Indian’s Ride Command
system, said to be the largest, fastest, most customizable infotainment system
on two wheels. The seven-inch, glove-compatible touchscreen features
turn-by-turn navigation, customizable rider information screens, Bluetooth
compatibility, and pairs with the Ride Command mobile app for remote
accessibility to key vehicle information. New 2020 connected features include
traffic and weather overlays, so riders can plan their ride to avoid traffic
and poor weather conditions. Riders can also plan a ride route with up to 100
points on the Ride Command website and wirelessly transfer it to the bike via
Premium touring amenities include tank-mounted analog fuel
and volt meters, rear cylinder deactivation and full Pathfinder LED lighting
with driving lights. Comfort is enhanced by a genuine leather two-up touring
seat with individual heating for both the rider and passenger, passenger
armrests, heated handgrips, backlit switchgear and a power-adjustable flare
windscreen. Also standard are ABS, keyless ignition, weatherproof and
remote-locking saddlebags, a spacious trunk that fits two full face helmets and
more than 37 gallons of storage space.
Pricing for the 2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite starts at
Harley-Davidson has announced two mid-year additions to its
2020 lineup: the return of the CVO Road Glide and a limited-edition Fat Boy 30th
2020 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
Joining the CVO Limited, CVO Street Glide and CVO Tri Glide
in Harley-Davidson’s ultra-premium Custom Vehicle Operations lineup is the CVO
Road Glide, with its distinctive frame-mounted sharknose fairing. Like other
CVO models, it’s powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 117 V-twin, which makes a
claimed 125 lb-ft of torque.
Standard features on the 2020 CVO Road Glide include H-D
Connect, the Reflex Defensive Rider Systems electronics package, Kahuna
Collection components, Boom! Box GTS with Premium Boom! Audio, a Boom! Audio
30K Bluetooth Helmet Headset, a low-profile two-piece fuel tank console with
lighted CVO logo, a Fang Front Spoiler, a Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather
intake, Knockout 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels and more.
For 2020 there is a single color choice: Premium Sand Dune
with pearl topcoat and subtle graphics highlighted by Smoked Satin Chrome,
Gloss Black and Black Onyx finishes. Front and rear wheels are finished in
Gloss Black/Smoked Satin, and the Heavy Breather air cleaner is finished in
Pricing for the 2020 CVO Road Glide starts at $40,999.
Harley-Davidson is celebrating three decades of the iconic
Fat Boy with a limited-edition 30th Anniversary model—only 2,500 will be built,
each serialized with a number plate on the fuel tank console.
Introduced for the 1990 model year, the “Fat Boy took the
look, proportions and silhouette of a 1949 Hydra-Glide motorcycle and
completely modernized it for a new generation of riders,” explains Brad
Richards, Harley-Davidson Vice President of Styling and Design. “Those riders
appreciated our post-war design DNA but also found themselves drawn to the
clean simplicity of contemporary industrial design. Each of these elements was captured
in the new 2018 version of the Fat Boy model. For this 30th Anniversary model
we wanted to create something very special, so we leaned into the popularity of
darker finishes and a limited run/serialized strategy to make the bike truly
unique and exclusive.”
The Fat Boy 30th Anniversary offers a bold reinterpretation of the original with dark finishes and a single color option, Vivid Black. The cast-aluminum Lakester disc wheels are finished in Satin Black with machined highlights. The blacked-out Milwaukee-Eight 114 powertrain is finished with engine covers in gloss black and subtle bronze-tone lower rocker covers and timer cover script. The exhaust finished in a Black Onyx, a durable physical vapor deposition paint finish that reveals the underlying chrome in bright light. A Vivid Black headlamp nacelle, handlebar and controls as well as a new bronze-tone waterslide Fat Boy tank logo complete the dark look that is distinctive from the regular production model.
Based on the Harley-Davidson Softail platform launched in 2018, the Fat Boy redefines an icon with power and presence. The entire Fat Boy front end is massive and topped with an LED headlamp in a newly shaped nacelle. The Lakester disc aluminum wheels update one of the Fat Boy’s defining styling features, with a 160mm front and a 240mm rear tire that deliver a factory custom look.
Pricing for the 2020 Fat Boy 30th Anniversary starts at $21,949.
We’ve been looking forward to getting our hands on the Moto Guzzi V85 TT, the latest bike to roll out of Italy’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer, since our first ride on one at the press launch last spring (read the review here). The V85 TT (tutto terrano, or all-terrain) appeared to be a Goldilocks ride for those looking for a friendly, accessible middleweight adventure tourer, with a 32.7-inch seat (a 31.9-inch low option is also available), narrow waist and claimed 505-pound wet weight. Its styling turns heads, too, especially in either of the two “Adventure” color combos. But the big news is its new air-cooled, 853cc, OHV two-valve-per-cylinder 90-degree “flying” V-twin engine, launched initially in the V85 TT with more models to follow. Technical details on the new engine can be found in our First Ride Review, but in summary the new powerplant is quicker-revving with a higher redline, and lighter, quieter and smoother than previous Guzzi small-blocks. Ground clearance is an ADV-friendly 8.3 inches, thanks to a redesigned gearbox and clutch housing and a tubular steel frame that uses the engine as a stressed member, eliminating the need for a lower frame cradle. Power is sent to the rear wheel via driveshaft housed on the right side of the long, asymmetric aluminum swingarm.
The standard V85 TT ($11,990) is well equipped with hand guards, electronic cruise control, an aluminum sump guard, switchable MGCT traction control, ABS and three riding modes (Road, Rain and Off-Road). But for just $1,000 more the Adventure is a no-brainer, with striking red/white or red/yellow/white livery and standard aluminum top and side cases. (For reference, the luggage alone runs just shy of $2,000 in Moto Guzzi’s accessory catalog.) The Adventure also gets dirt-ready Michelin Anakee Adventure tires rather than the standard Metzeler Tourance Nexts; both models have 19-inch front, 17-inch rear tube-type spoked rims.
This is a lovely time of year to ride California’s Central Coast, so we planned an overnighter to Monterey, on roads varying from the wide-open divided highway of U.S. Route 101, to meandering wine country two-lane, the sinuous curves of Big Sur and the bumpy, narrow tarmac of Carmel Valley Road. By the time we made our first pit stop in Los Olivos, northwest of Santa Barbara, the V85 TT’s new engine was already making a favorable impression. Response from the throttle-by-wire system was smooth and precise, without the abruptness that has plagued other bikes we’ve tested. We picked up on some vibration in the pegs and grips at higher cruising speeds, but it was never enough to cause discomfort, and once we ducked off U.S. 101 in favor of two-lane Foxen Canyon Road, which dances through hills and vineyards, the new engine’s character really started to shine.
The most noticeable difference from the previous-gen V9 engine is an increase in horsepower; our V85 TT Adventure produced 66.3 peak rear-wheel horsepower at 7,900 rpm and 48.6 lb-ft of torque at 5,300 on the Jett Tuning dyno, compared with 51.3 horsepower and 47.3 lb-ft of torque from the 853cc V9 Bobber we tested in 2017. The new V85 spins up quickly and easily, which is good since you’ll want to keep it above 3,000 rpm to stay in the meat of its powerband. The six-speed gearbox is relatively smooth and less clunky than past Guzzis, though the cable-actuated dry clutch engages and disengages within a narrow portion at the end of the lever throw. Overall, we’re impressed with the new engine, and the increased horsepower as shown in the dyno figures is only part of that. Rather than holding it back, the V85 contributes to the TT’s nimble, easy to handle feel; this is a cohesive machine that works well and is really fun to ride.
Back on the road, after rotating the wide handlebar back down to its stock position (the previous tester had moved it up to facilitate standing off-road), the TT also proved to be fairly comfortable, with a long, flat, plush seat that narrows at the tank for easy reach to the ground. Footpegs are set at a happy medium between ground-clearance high and comfortable low. With a 34-inch inseam, my knees hovered just a couple of inches from the rear of each cylinder head, but heat was never a problem and I only banged them a couple of times when moving around on the bike during aggressive cornering. Our biggest complaint regarding touring comfort was the short, non-adjustable windscreen, which flowed air directly onto my shoulders and helmet; an accessory or aftermarket touring screen would be an easy fix. As an early twilight descended, we made another wish: auxiliary lights. While the twin LED headlights, bisected with a DRL in the shape of the Moto Guzzi eagle, do a nice job of lighting up the road directly in front of the TT’s front tire, their beams end abruptly in a horizontal line about two car lengths ahead. Flicking on the high beam only makes those two car lengths brighter rather than illuminating farther down the road.
The V85 TT is equipped with three ride modes, Road, Rain and Off-Road, all of which offer full power but vary in terms of ABS, traction control, throttle response and engine braking settings. Road is the standard touring mode, while Rain softens throttle response, increases traction control and ABS intervention and limits top speed, and Off-Road reduces traction control and disables ABS to the rear wheel (ABS can be completely disabled in this mode as well). Traction control can be shut off independently, but always reengages after the bike is turned off/back on again.
Radial-mount four-piston Brembo front brakes are adequate, but require a hefty lever squeeze to produce much action; more aggressive initial bite would be welcome and might add to rider confidence, especially when riding fully loaded on a downhill. Suspension is fairly soft, well-suited to off-road excursions and gnarly, bumpy pavement, and both the 41mm Kayaba USD fork and single rear shock with dual-rate spring are only adjustable for preload and rebound damping. We cranked the rear shock’s preload nearly all the way to the max, but even with a lightweight rider (never ask a lady how much she weighs!) and luggage that was far from full the TT sagged considerably, eating through most of the “soft” part of the spring. That said, at a moderate pace, even over rough pavement, the TT handles nimbly and easily, and in fact is almost too willing to turn in. Once tipped into a bend, I actually found myself countersteering against the turn to prevent the TT from leaning farther, then just increasing that pressure to straighten back out. Nothing dangerous, just one of those quirks that becomes “normal” after a couple of weeks.
Anyway, as any Guzzi owner will tell you, a bit of character is part of the charm. Somewhat fiddly switchgear that requires a small learning curve? An indicator light that blinks irritatingly whenever cruise control is on but not in use? A starter button that doubles as a ride mode selector, requiring wrist contortions, multiple thumb taps and constant attention to (hopefully) select the desired mode? Nessun problema! (No problem!) None of these are a deal-breaker, and as a mid-weight ADV tourer or commuter the V85 TT Adventure is a real bargain, and eye-catchingly stylish to boot. With the easy additions of a touring windscreen, the optional heated grips and a set of auxiliary lights, this is a machine that’s ready to go the distance.
2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Specs
Base Price: $11,990 Price As Tested: $12,990 (Adventure w/ paint, luggage & Michelin Anakee Adventure tires) Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles Website: motoguzzi-us.com
Type: Air-cooled, longitudinal 90-degree V-twin Displacement: 853cc Bore x Stroke: 84.0 x 77.0mm Compression Ratio: 10.5:1 Valve Train: OHV, 2 valves per cyl. Valve Insp. Interval: 6,200 miles Fuel Delivery: EFI w/ 52mm throttle body Lubrication System: Wet sump, 2.1-qt. cap. Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated dry clutch Final Drive: Shaft