Tag Archives: Motorcycle Reviews

Triumph Acquires Electric Manufacturer OSET Bikes

Triumph Acquires OSET Bikes

Triumph is moving into the world of off-road motorcycles. Earlier this month, it announced that Ricky Carmichael, the greatest motocross rider of all time, and Iván Cervantes, a five-time enduro world champion, visited the Triumph motocross and dual-sport team in the U.K. to help with prototype testing.

As part of Triumph’s expansion plans, this week it announced the acquisition of OSET Bikes, a manufacturer of electric dirtbikes for kids, teenagers, and adults. The following is the official press release from Triumph America.

Ahead of the launch of the Motocross and Enduro range, Triumph Motorcycles takes another exciting step in the off-road world through the acquisition of OSET Bikes, a leader in the world of children’s electric, off-road motorcycles. Started in 2004 by Ian Smith, who wanted to build an electric off-road bike for his son Oliver, OSET has been setting the benchmark in its segment for the past 18 years. OSET has sold more than 40,000 bikes globally that feature their inhouse developed electric powertrains.

The acquisition of OSET sits within Triumph’s strategy of entering the off-road segment, announced in 2020, and provides both companies with the opportunity to share and benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience in their respective segments, enabling both brands to grow internationally in parallel.

Triumph’s philosophy, For The Ride, played an important role in the acquisition of OSET as it enables the Hinckley-based brand to inspire future generations of riders by providing them with the perfect starting point to develop their passion and dreams. OSET Bikes offers products that are suitable for any rider, starting from 3 years old and upwards.

Nick Bloor – Triumph CEO
“We are excited about the opportunity of joining forces with OSET Bikes: a dynamic brand that has been encouraging children into motorcycling for many years and have been at the forefront of developing electric trials bikes for fun and competition. Whilst the two brands will continue working independently, Triumph and OSET will collaborate on new state-of-the-art products to inspire young riders into off-road riding, across the segments that Triumph and OSET will have a presence in, drawing on their respective strengths to build the best bikes in the world.”

Ian Smith – OSET Bikes CEO
“When we built that first ‘garage’ bike for my son, Oliver, I had no idea that it would lead to this moment. We are all very excited for what the future holds for OSET as part of the Triumph family. The OSET brand will remain as OSET and will continue to serve the trials and off-road motorcycling community. We are now better positioned to develop and innovate across our range, while enjoying the security of scale and market position Triumph can offer OSET.”

The post Triumph Acquires Electric Manufacturer OSET Bikes first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 | First Ride Review

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650
Kawasaki’s venerable Versys 650 sport-tourer has been updated for 2022 with traction control, updated styling with an adjustable windscreen, and a new TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity. Photos by Kevin Wing.

My 2009 Kawasaki Versys 650 was one of the best utilitarian two-wheelers I’ve owned, but since I’m always putting miles on test bikes, I hardly ever rode it. When I realized I’d added only 500 miles to the odometer in five years, a deep sense of shame prompted me to sell it. After listing it on Facebook Marketplace, it was gone in a flash. Due to the high prices for used motorcycles right now, I earned a small profit – about a dollar for every mile I put on it.

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650
The only colorway for the 2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT is Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Flat Spark Black.

Flash forward a few months and I’m wending my way through the twisty interior of San Diego County aboard a 2022 Kawasaki Versys 650. It’s the $9,999 LT version with hard saddlebags and handguards, which only comes in Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Flat Spark Black this year. The base model is available in the same color for $8,899, or in Candy Lime Green/Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black for $9,099.

Check out Rider‘s 2022 Motorcycle Buyers Guide

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650

Not surprisingly, the 2022 upgrade is a much better motorcycle than my just-sold 2009 model, but they still have a lot in common despite 13 years of separation. The seating position, performance, and overall essence of the motorcycle remain virtually unchanged, but a few key aspects go a long way toward improving the bike’s desirability.

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650
The new TFT display is a welcome upgrade. The screen is bright and easy to read.

New for ’22 is a full-color 4.3-inch TFT display that is a major improvement over the previous instrument panel, and light-years beyond the one on my ’09 model. The layout of information is modern and clean, blending everything – the gear position indicator, fuel gauge, tach, speedo, clock, tripmeter, etc. –  into a centrally located format. A rider can choose between a black or white background, and the screen brightness automatically adjusts to ambient light levels.

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650

Gear Up:
Helmet: Sena Impulse
Jacket: Spidi H2Out
Gloves: Spidi TX-2
Pants: Rev’It Campo
Boots: Alpinestars SMX-1 R

Simultaneously depressing two analog buttons on the display allows a Bluetooth connection to be established between the Versys and Kawasaki’s Rideology smartphone app. The app features a useful and handy maintenance log, general bike info, and the ability to record rides as well as share them with others.

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650

During the ride, when the bike and app are talking to one another, the TFT display will notify the rider when a new call or email has been received. The part of my ride recorded with the Rideology app showed that I traveled 79 miles for 1.34 hours from Orange to San Diego counties at an average speed of 54 mph. The map, however, displayed a straight line from point A to point B, not an accurate GPS mapping of the twists and turns.

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650

My old Versys’ windscreen was adjustable only if I were willing to remove the four bolts necessary to position it differently, which rarely, if ever, happened. The inefficiency of the process meant a rider found a likable position for the windscreen and that’s where it stayed. The new Versys features an easily adjustable windscreen that can be raised and lowered to four different settings over a 3-inch range. It’s a two-handed affair with one hand depressing the lock button while the other moves the windscreen, but it’s worth the small effort. The upper position deflects wind quite well while the low position puts the rider more in the wind stream.

The new windscreen is the cherry atop a redesigned upper fairing that shares a family resemblance with its liter-bike counterpart, the Versys 1000. The sides of the new cowling are ducted to move air around the rider while the dual headlights are now bright, low-wattage LEDs. The rear of the Versys matches the front with aggressively pointy style and a new LED taillight.

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650

Anti-lock brakes now come standard on all Versys 650 models, as does traction control. The 649cc liquid-cooled parallel-Twin powering the Versys isn’t a tire shredder – when we dyno tested a 2020 Versys 650, it sent 63 hp and 43 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheel – but it can certainly break traction given enough throttle when leaned over. TC has two settings, with the first being less intrusive and the second providing a more conservative safety net that should prove beneficial to newer riders or experienced ones caught in low-traction conditions. If desired, traction control can be switched off entirely via a switch located on the left switchpod.

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650

Kickstand up and traveling south on Interstate 5 toward San Diego, the Versys felt like a comfortable and familiar old shoe. Exiting the slab and venturing into the twisties, it soon becomes apparent the Showa suspension’s stock settings were a tad soft for my taste. Once stopped, a few stiffening clicks of preload on top of the left fork leg, a few clicks of tensioning rebound on top of the right fork leg, and a few stiffening twists of the remote preload adjuster on the rear shock dialed things in for tackling the road ahead.

The 28-liter saddlebags are large enough to accommodate a full-face helmet, though without much room to spare. There is also a helmet lock if you need to secure your lid when the saddlebags are full of other incidentals. The ignition key unlocks the saddlebags and allow them to be removed from the motorcycle. For those requiring more storage, Kawasaki offers a matching 47-liter top case along with other accessories, such as heated grips and a GPS mount.

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650

The bike’s peppy midrange thrusts its 503-lb claimed curb weight forward in enthusiastically manageable fashion. Dual 2-piston calipers grip 300mm petal discs to slow the party down with equal efficiency. When leaned over, the Versys holds its line effectively and transitions to and fro confidently.

The 5.5-gallon fuel tank combined with efficient fuel consumption allows for extended mileage between fuel stops. (During our 2020 test, we averaged 46 mpg for 253 miles of range.) That’s great news for commuters or anyone wanting to incorporate longer trips into their Versys ownership. Complementing the Versys’ fuel range is an ergonomically neutral riding position that is one of the things I loved most about my old Versys as well as the new one.

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650

Like my old Versys, the new version is a modern, solid, middleweight jack-of-all-trades that’s as steadfast as a motorcycle can be. It responds dutifully to what’s asked of it, whether that be cruising around the city, commuting to work, or taking off on long weekends or longer tours. During my Versys ownership never once did it fail to start, or run badly once started, even though it spent most of its time languishing in my garage.

My old Versys didn’t have ABS, traction control, a remote preload adjusting shock, TFT display, a slip/assist clutch, LED lights, or an easily adjustable windscreen, and it didn’t look nearly as good as the ’22 Versys. In 2009, the MSRP of a base-model Versys was $7,099, which is just over $9,700 in today’s dollars. The new bike offers much more for less money, and the touring-ready LT is a fantastic bargain.

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650

Base Price: $8,899
Price as Tested: $9,999 (LT model)
Website: Kawasaki.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel-Twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 649cc
Bore x Stroke: 83 x 60mm
Horsepower: 63 hp @ 8,700 rpm (rear-wheel dyno, 2020 model)
Torque: 43 lb-ft @ 7,300 rpm (rear-wheel dyno, 2020 model)
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Wheelbase: 55.7 in.
Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 33.3 in.
Wet Weight: 503 lb (as tested)
Fuel Capacity: 5.5 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 46 mpg

Rider Motorcycle Buying Program. Get up front prices on local inventory. View Inventory 

The post 2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

CFMoto Returns to U.S. with 7 Models for 2022

2022 CFMoto 650 ADVentura
2022 CFMoto 650 ADVentura

After a short hiatus, CFMoto is again importing its motorcycles to the U.S. It is offering seven bikes as part of its 2022 lineup. With a range of small and middleweight motorcycles, CFMoto continues its reputation for reasonable price points for both novice and advanced riders.

The 2022 models include the Papio minibike ($2,999), the 300NK naked bike ($3,999) and 300SS sportbike ($4,299), the naked 650NK ($6,499) and 650 ADVentura adventure bike ($6,799), and the classic series 700CL-X ($6,499) and 700CL-X Sport ($6,999).

2022 CFMoto 300NK
2022 CFMoto 300NK

CFMoto Comes of Age

Following the creation of a trademarked liquid-cooled 4-stroke engine in Hangzhou, China, CFMoto was founded in 1989. It has been a supplier of engines, parts, and components for some of the biggest brands in powersports. In 2002, the company entered the U.S. market. In 2005, it built the company’s U.S. headquarters in Plymouth, Minnesota.

In the early years, the company produced mostly small-displacement models. In 2012, CFMoto introduced the parallel-Twin 650NK, followed shortly after by the 650TK tourer. While there were a few superficial details that raised an eyebrow, overall the bike performed very well considering its $6,999 price point.

2022 CFMoto 300SS
2022 CFMoto 300SS

After the 2016 model year, CFMoto stopped importing bikes to the U.S. The company continued to make motorcycles, and in 2017 CFMoto signed a joint venture agreement with KTM, according to the CFMoto website.

“The joint venture will bring CFMOTO’s R&D and manufacturing capability to a whole new level,” Minjie Lai, CFMoto general manager, said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the joint venture production facility in March 2018. “CFMOTO will benefit from KTM’s advanced technology and profound experience from years of being a leader in the power sports industry. KTM recognized how our manufacturing capacity, supply chain management, and channel development could help implement their global strategy.”

2022 CFMoto 700CL-X Sport
2022 CFMoto 700CL-X Sport

As of 2022, the company states it has more than 500 dealers in the U.S. Read on to learn more about the new models for 2022.

2022 CFMoto Papio

2022 CFMoto Papio
2022 CFMoto Papio

The CFMoto Papio features a 126cc air-cooled 4-stroke Single with a 6-speed gearbox that kicks out 9.3 hp at 8,500 rpm and 6.1 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm. The telescopic fork provides approximately 4.3 inches of travel, and the rear monoshock has five-click preload adjustability. Both ends employ lightweight 12-inch alloy wheels paired to 130/70 rear and 120/70 front street tires. Stopping power comes from a 2-piston caliper and 210mm disc up front and a 1-piston caliper grabbing a 190mm disc in the rear.

2022 CFMoto Papio
2022 CFMoto Papio

The Papio has a 30.5-inch seat height, a 1.9-gallon fuel capacity, and a 251-lb curb weight. It has LED lighting all around and a multifunction LCD instrument panel. It comes in Yellow or  Gray/Red Dragon for $2,999.

2022 CFMoto 300NK and 300SS

2022 CFMoto 300NK
2022 CFMoto 300NK

Both the 300NK naked bike and 300SS sportbike come with a liquid-cooled 292cc DOHC 4-valve Single that makes a claimed 29 hp at 8,750 rpm and 18.7 lb-ft of torque at 7,250 rpm. Both bikes have Bosch EFI, dual-channel ABS, and a 6-speed gearbox with a slip/assist clutch.

Braking is handled by a radially mounted 4-piston front caliper with a 300mm disc and a 1-piston rear caliper with a 245mm disc. The 300NK and 300SS also both have an inverted fork and internal-floating-piston monoshock in back with five clicks of preload adjustability.

2022 CFMoto 300SS
2022 CFMoto 300SS

The differences between the two are primarily curb weight and dimensions. The naked 300NK weighs 333 lb, has a 31.2-inch seat height, and a 3.3-gallon tank. The fully faired 300SS weighs 364 lbs, has a 30.7-inch seat height, and a 3.3-gallon tank.

The 300NK comes in Athens Blue and Nebula Black for $3,999, and the 300SS is offered in Nebula White and Nebula Black for $4,299.

2022 CFMoto 650NK and 650 ADVentura

2022 CFMoto 650NK
2022 CFMoto 650NK

Moving up to the middleweight class, CFMoto offers the naked 650NK and 650 ADVentura adventure bike. Both bikes feature a 649cc DOHC liquid-cooled parallel-Twin that makes 60 hp at 8,750 rpm and 41.3 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm.

Both bikes have dual-channel ABS, a 6-speed gearbox with a CF-SC slip/assist clutch, and a 2-into-1 tuned exhaust. Brakes are by J.Juan, with dual 300mm discs in front with 2-piston calipers and a single 245mm rear disc with a 1-piston caliper.

The naked 650NK weighs 454 lb, and the 650 ADVentura weighs 480 lb. But the bigger difference in the bikes comes from their intent. As an adventure bike, the 650 ADVentura comes factory-equipped with progressive-rate inverted fork with 12-click rebound adjustability, and the rear cantilever swingarm utilizes an internal-floating-piston monoshock with stepless preload and eight-click rebound adjustment.

2022 CFMoto 650 ADVentura
2022 CFMoto 650 ADVentura

The ADVentura has LED lighting all around, a 5-inch color TFT display, and 4.75-gallon tank. It is also equipped with removable hard-sided panniers, handguards, and an adjustable windscreen.

The sporty 650NK has a KYB telescopic fork with 4.7 inches of travel and a preload-adjustable KYB rear monoshock with 1.8 inches of travel. It has LED lighting all around, a 5-inch color TFT display, and rolls on Pirelli Angel GT sport-touring tires. Seat height is 30.7 inches and fuel capacity is 4.5 gallons.

The 650NK is offered in Nebula White and Nebula Black for $6,499, and the 650 ADVentura comes in Nebula White and Athens Blue for $6,799.

2022 CFMoto 700CL-X and 700CL-X Sport

2022 CFMoto 700CL-X
2022 CFMoto 700CL-X

Taking it up a notch, the 700CL-X and 700CL-X Sport motorcycles both feature a 693cc DOHC liquid-cooled parallel-Twin that makes 74 hp at 8,500 rpm and 47.9 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm. Both bikes have throttle-by-wire, dual-channel ABS, a 6-speed gearbox with a CF-SC slip/assist clutch, 2-into-1 tuned exhaust, a fully adjustable KYB 41mm inverted fork, and a linkage-mounted, progressive-rate KYB rear shock with rebound adjustability.

The 700CL-X and 700CL-X Sport also offer Economy and Sport riding modes and one-touch cruise control. For braking power, the 700CL-X has a J.Juan 320mm single disc and radially mounted 4-piston caliper in the front, while the 700CL-X Sport has a Brembo Stylema 4-piston front calipers with dual 320mm discs. In the rear, both bikes have a 2-piston caliper with a 260mm disc. The 700CL-X rolls on Pirelli MT60 tires, while the Sport is fitted with Maxxis SuperMaxx ST tires.

2022 CFMoto 700CL-X Sport
2022 CFMoto 700CL-X Sport

As premium models, the 700CL-X and 700CL-X Sport feature LED lighting all around, daytime running lights, self-canceling turnsignals, and a 3.5-gallon tank. The 700CL-X has a single upright handlebar with dual mirrors on top, while the Sport features clip-on handlebars with bar-end mirrors.

Both models have a 31.5-inch seat height. Curb weight is 432 lb for the 700CL-X and 451 lb for the 700CL-X Sport.The 700CL-X comes in Twilight Blue and Coal Gray for $6,499, and the 700CL-X Sport comes in Nebula White and Velocity Gray for $6,999.

For more information or to find a CFMoto dealer near you, visit CFMotoUSA.com.

Rider Motorcycle Buying Program. Get up front prices on local inventory. View Inventory 

The post CFMoto Returns to U.S. with 7 Models for 2022 first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 Indian Scout Rogue | First Ride Review

2022 Indian Scout Rogue
The Rogue in Storm Blue is a beguiling mix of darkness and color with a few flashes of brightwork. Photos by Barry Hathaway.

The Rogue is latest version of the Indian Scout platform, delivering a club-style bike to the cruiser party, and the most aggressive iteration of the Scout so far.

The Rogue brings the Scout into a more modern design aesthetic, with a quarter-fairing around the headlight its most obvious distinction from other Scouts. Another difference is a 19-inch cast-aluminum front wheel replacing the 16-inchers on other Scout models.

Harley-Davidson Sportster S vs. Indian FTR S vs. Indian Scout Bobber | Comparison Review

2022 Indian Scout Rogue
The Rogue that Johnny Cash would select, the Black Smoke version, just one of five colorways to choose from.

Its attractive design looks more hip and contemporary, creating a slinkier downward flow to the bike’s profile. Most every component is murdered out in black, aside from a few flashes of brightwork on the engine. Chrome hand levers inside black perches are a mild styling faux pas. Drop-down mirrors from the Bobber lower the Rogue’s profile, and chopped fenders lessen the bike’s visual heft.

The Rogue (code name: Anarchy) continues with the same powertrain as previous Scouts. Its 1,133cc V-Twin rips out 100 ponies thanks to a double overhead-cam valvetrain with four valves per cylinder, and an aluminum frame helps the Rogue scale in at 545 lbs with its 3.3-gallon tank filled.

2022 Indian Scout Rogue
The Rogue has an appealing profile, whether cruising Main Street or Highway 33. This one is fitted with accessory shocks and a passenger seat.

Gear Up
Bell Star
Jacket: Alpinestars Hoxton V2
Gloves: Alpinestars Celer V2
Pants: Saint Unbreakable Jeans
Boots: Alpinestars Grange

“For so many motorcyclists, riding carries a rogue spirit – a bold statement of freedom and individuality that brings riders together – and Scout Rogue delivers that in spades,” commented Aaron Jax, Indian Motorcycle Vice President, at the bike’s press launch in Ventura, a coastal surf town in Southern California.

Saddle Up

The Rogue is familiar but distinct. A mini-ape handlebar from the Bobber Twenty places a rider’s hands significantly higher than the Scout Bobber, ending up a few inches below shoulder height. Also noticeable is a new sport-style solo seat with an extended backrest portion, which feels comfier than the Bobber’s and helps hold a rider in place when tapping into the 69ci V-Twin’s 100 horses.

2022 Indian Scout Rogue

Spinning laps around Ventura’s city streets proved the fitment of the taller 130/60-19 front tire has benefits beyond styling. Its wheel/tire combo is nearly 1.5 lbs lighter than the Bobber’s, and its sharper profile endows the Rogue with newfound agility relative to the squatter 130/90-16 rubber on other Scouts. The bike feels lighter on its feet, both around town and on canyon roads.

The note from the flat-black exhaust is pleasing in its own way, thumping quicker and smoother than traditional narrow-angle V-Twins like Indian’s Chief and any air-cooled Harley. Most everything but the design of the engine is old-school analog – there are no ride modes, traction control, or IMU, just an unfettered throttle that responds exactly as intended. The cable-actuated clutch requires a bit more effort to pull than a hydraulic unit, but it offers precise and predictable releases.

2022 Indian Scout Rogue
Nicely angled surfacing from the fairing to the tank to the fenders. Downward mirrors can be rotated upward if preferred.

The last time we dyno tested the Scout’s engine, it kicked out 85 hp to the rear wheel, arriving at 8,100 rpm, shortly before its rev limit. Torque peaked at 5,700 rpm with 64.5 lb-ft of twist. Those numbers translate into admirable speed potential when wringing its throttle, pulling willingly from lower revs, and surging to a strong run for the redline.

On the freeway, the Rogue’s plusher seat and modicum of wind protection from the fairing treat a rider better than the Bobber. However, the scant 2 inches of rear suspension travel created a few jarring moments over harsh expansion joints. Otherwise, the Rogue rolls serenely down the highway, with vibes from its counterbalanced motor never becoming obtrusive. Instrumentation is basic. A round analog speedometer has an LCD inset panel that displays gear position, time, and tripmeters. Self-canceling turnsignals and a 12-volt charging port are unexpected conveniences on a such bare-knuckled bike.

2022 Indian Scout Rogue
The Rogue slots nicely into Indian’s Scout lineup, and this Sixty model can be had at prices starting at $10k.

Once out in the canyons, the Rogue’s livelier steering is enhanced by the height of the mini-ape handlebars, which encourage aggressive countersteering to bend the bike into corners. As usual, the Scout’s stout chassis resists flexing and feels totally planted up to (and occasionally exceeding) the 29-degree lean angle liberally enforced by dragging footpegs, and then the shotgun exhaust’s lower muffler.

Still, there’s much fun to be had cranking the Rogue over, and our cadre of journalists set a brisk pace on magnificent Highway 33 in the mountains inland from Ventura. Footpegs that scrape early are seldom a concern for many cruiser riders, but your mileage may vary. Brakes are a dull point, performing more than adequately but not quite as sharp as the latest braking hardware on the market. In terms of performance, the Rogue’s most limiting factor is its modest amount of suspension travel.

2022 Indian Scout Rogue
The Rogue’s instrumentation is fairly basic. Mini-ape handlebars are sourced from the Bobber Twenty.

Sure, low seat heights are nice, but we’d gladly trade a taller seat for another inch or two of wheel stroke and a few extra degrees of lean angle. I’d be tempted to fit a set of fully adjustable shocks with additional travel. Indian’s accessory department sells a pair with 3 inches of travel for $829.99. And if you’d like to carry a passenger, Indian offers a pillion seat ($215) and footpegs ($199.99). The Rogue’s fairing can be fitted to other Scouts, retailing for $350 for an unpainted unit or $530 when painted.

The accessory line also includes a multitude of seats, handlebars, luggage, exhaust systems, and a tachometer with a shift light. Perhaps the most intriguing accessory is the Pathfinder adaptive LED headlight, which replaces the Rogue’s halogen lamp. The $530 headlight activates 15 individual beams inside the lamp’s 5.75-inch housing based on the bike’s lean angle, using patented technology claimed to project light farther and with an improved spread.

2022 Indian Scout Rogue
We had fun shaving off footpeg ends on Highway 33.

Takin’ It Home

The Rogue’s West Coast style adds an interesting and appealing option for those in the market for an American cruiser. If you’re searching for a feet-forward middleweight cruiser and like the way the Rogue looks, it offers strong value.

The Black Metallic version retails for $11,499, the same price as the Bobber but $1,000 less than the standard Scout that includes passenger accommodations. ABS is a $900 upcharge unless ordering color options in matte Black Smoke, Sagebrush Smoke, or Storm Blue, each retailing for $12,899. The two-tone Stealth Gray version lists at $13,399.

Riders on a tighter budget can opt for the Sixty version of the Rogue, which retails for just $9,999 and is nearly identical to its bigger brother. Like Indian’s previous Sixty versions of the Scout, it uses a smaller engine (61ci, 999cc), and its transmission lacks a cog compared to the regular Scouts, with its 5th gear ratio slotting in between the top two gears of the 6-speed Scouts.

2022 Indian Scout Rogue
The Rogue can be had in two engine sizes, including the 999cc Sixty version seen here on the right. Conventional mirrors and a lack of the “Scout” badge on the fuel tank are the clues you’re looking at a Rogue Sixty.

Indian says the Sixty motor produces 78 hp and 65 lb-ft of torque at its crankshaft, which isn’t as robust as the 1,133cc mill, but it certainly doesn’t feel underpowered, especially since riding at full throttle is a rare occurrence. The Sixty is a viable option for riders unconcerned with blitzing stoplight grands prix or regularly “doing the ton” on an empty highway.

The base Black Metallic version costs $9,999 without antilock brakes, a $900 option. Titanium Smoke and Bronze Smoke colorways include ABS and retail for $11,399. Among American-made cruisers, the only cheaper one is the Scout Bobber Sixty, which retails for $9,499.

2022 Indian Scout Rogue Specs

Base Price: $11,499
Price as Tested: $12,899-$13,399 (colors w/ ABS)
Website: IndianMotorcycle.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 60-degree V-Twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,133cc (69ci)
Bore x Stroke: 99.0 x 73.6mm
Horsepower: 100 hp @ 8,100 rpm (claimed)
Torque: 72 lb-ft @ 6,000 rpm (claimed)
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt
Wheelbase: 62 in.
Rake/Trail: 29 degrees/4.7 in.
Seat Height: 25.6 in.
Wet Weight: 545 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gals.

The post 2022 Indian Scout Rogue | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Riding the Motorcycle Century

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Child of the ’60s meets Bud Ekins’ 1915 Harley-Davidson in 1978. (Photo by Robin Riggs)

Looking through a file folder named “Cars & Bikes” on my computer the other day, I noticed that in 50 years of riding, I’ve experienced nearly the entirety of motorcycle history. From 1915 Indian board-track racers to a 2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo, that’s 108 model years’ worth. And in between were tests, rides, or races on more machines from every decade. Hardly planned, this all resulted from simply loving to ride, being curious, and, most of all, saying yes at every chance. Here are some of my favorite moto memories, one apiece covering 12 decades.

1915 Harley-Davidson Model 11-F

In 1978, Cycle magazine gave me an assignment after I joined the staff: Write a feature about anything I wanted. Interested in the history of our sport, I replied that I’d like to ride a really old bike. “Call this guy,” the editor said, handing me the number of Bud Ekins, an ISDT gold medalist and the stuntman in the epic The Great Escape jump scene.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
More than a century after its manufacture, this modified 1915 Harley-Davidson 11-F completed the cross-country Motorcycle Cannonball. (Photo by SFO Museum)

In his enormous shop, Ekins reviewed the starting drill for his 1915 Harley-Davidson Model 11-F: Flood the carb, set the timing and compression release, crack the throttle, and then swing the bicycle-style pedals hard to get the V-Twin’s big crankshaft spinning. When it lit off, working the throttle, foot clutch, and tank-mounted shifter – and steering via the long tiller handlebar – were foreign to a rider used to contemporary bikes. But coordination gradually built, and after making our way to the old Grapevine north of Los Angeles, I found the 998cc engine willing and friendly, with lots of flywheel effect and ample low-rpm torque to accelerate the machine to a satisfying cruising speed of about 45 mph. And its rider to another time and place.

RELATED: Early American Motorcycles at SFO Museum

1927 Norton Model 18 TT Replica

On a lucky trip to New Zealand, McIntosh Racing founder Ken McIntosh let me race his special Norton Model 18 in the Pukekohe Classic Festival. Unlike the exotic Norton CS1 overhead-camshaft model that likewise debuted in 1927 – a big advancement at the time – the Model 18 TT Replica used a tuned version of the company’s existing 490cc pushrod Single engine. Its name was derived, fittingly, from the sterling Model 18 racebike’s multiple Isle of Man TT wins. As such, the production TT Replica had as much racing provenance as you could buy at the time.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
The author aboard New Zealander Ken McIntosh’s 1927 Norton Model 18 TT Replica, which reached 80 mph on track. (Photo by Geoff Osborne)

I found it surprisingly capable, delivering a blend of strong power (a digital bicycle speedometer showed a top track speed of80 mph) and predictable, confident handling – despite the girder-style fork and hardtail frame. However, lacking gear stops in its selector mechanism, the 3-speed gearbox required careful indexing to catch the correct gear. But once I got the process down, the bike was steady, swift, and utterly magical, like the Millennium Falcon of Singles in its time.

RELATED: Retrospective: 1974 Norton Commando 850 John Player Replica

1936 Nimbus Type C

When a friend handed me his 4-cylinder Nimbus, it had big problems. The engine was locked solid, and my buddy wanted to get it running and saleable. Built in Denmark, the Nimbus is unique for several reasons. One is its 746cc inline-Four engine. Rather than being mounted transversely like modern multis, it was positioned longitudinally in the frame, with power flowing rearward via shaft drive. Interestingly, the rocker-arm ends and valve stems were exposed and, when the engine was running, danced a jig like eight jolly leprechauns. The frame was equally curious, comprised of flat steel bars instead of tubing, and riveted together. With a hacksaw, hammer, and some steel, you could practically duplicate a Nimbus frame under the apple tree on a Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Bob Sinclair, former CEO of Saab Cars USA, loved motorcycles. He’s riding a Nimbus Type C sidecar rig with a furry friend as co-pilot. (Sinclair Family Archives)

Anyway, the seized engine refused to budge – until I attempted a fabled fix by pouring boiling olive oil through the spark-plug holes to expand the cylinder walls and free up the rings. Additionally, I judiciously added heat from a propane torch to the iron block. Eventually, the engine unstuck and, with tuning, ran well. But the infusion of olive oil created a hot mist that emanated from the exposed valvetrain, covering my gear and leaving behind an olfactory wake like baking Italian bread.

1949 Vincent Black Shadow

One blissful time, years before Black Shadows cost six figures, I was lucky enough to ride one. Seemingly all engine, the Black Shadow was long and low, with its black stove-enamel cases glistening menacingly, and its sweeping exhaust headers adding a sensual element to an otherwise purely mechanical look.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Unquestionably the superbike of its day, Vincent’s 998cc Black Shadow was simultaneously elegant and menacing, and a big 150-mph speedometer let the rider know it. This is a 1952 model. (Photo by Clement Salvadori)

Thanks to the big, heavy flywheels and twin 499cc cylinders, starting the Vincent took forethought and commitment. And once the beast was running, so did riding it. A rude surprise came as I selected 1st gear and slipped the clutch near the busy Los Angeles International Airport. Unexpectedly, the clutch grabbed hard, sending the Shadow lurching ahead. The rest of the controls seemed heavy and slow compared to the Japanese and Italian bikes I knew at the time – especially the dual front brakes. The bike was clearly fast, but glancing at the famous 150-mph speedometer, I was chagrined to find that I’d only scratched the surface of the Black Shadow’s performance at 38 mph.

1955 Matchless G80CS

Despite not being a Brit-bike fan in particular, I’ve owned five Matchlesses, including three G80CSs. Known as a “competition scrambler,” in reality the CS denotes it as a “competition” (scrambles) version of the “sprung” (rear-suspension equipped) streetbike. Power comes from a 498cc long-stroke 4-stroke pushrod Single of the approximate dimensions of a giant garden gnome. Starting a G80CS requires knowing “the drill” – retarding the ignition, pushing the big piston to top-dead-center on compression, and giving the kickstart lever a strong, smooth kick all the way through. This gets the crank turning some 540 degrees before the piston begins the compression stroke again.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
A true garage find, this 1955 Matchless G80CS hadn’t been used since 1966. Now resurrected, the long-stroke 498cc pushrod Single shoves the desert sled ahead like the rapid-fire blasts of a big tommy gun. (Photo by John L. Stein)

Once going, the engine fires the G80CS down the road with unhurried explosions. Then at 50 mph or so, the Matchless feels delightfully relaxed; vibration is low-frequency and quite tolerable, and the note emanating from the muffler is a pleasant bark –powerful but not threatening. It is here, at speeds just right for country roads, that the G80CS feels most in its element as a friendly, agreeable companion. With such a steady countenance, it’s no wonder that G80CS engines powered tons of desert sleds. I just wouldn’t want to be stuck in a sand wash on a 100-degree day with one that required more than three kicks to start.

RELATED: Retrospective: 1958-1966 Matchless G12/CS/CSR 650

1961 Ducati Diana 250

During Ducati’s infancy, the Italian firm concocted a249cc overhead-cam roadster named the Diana. Featuring a precision-built unit-construction engine like Japanese bikes, it offered an essential difference: being Italian. And that meant all sorts of wonderful learning, as I discovered when, as a teen, I bought a “basket-case” Diana. The term isn’t used much anymore, but it means something has been disassembled so thoroughly that its parts can be literally dumped into a basket. In the case of this poor ex-racer, literally everything that could be unscrewed or pried apart was. The engine was in pieces, the wheels were unspoked, the frame and fork were separated, and many parts were missing.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
The author aboard his basket-case 1961 Ducati Diana. (John L. Stein archives)

Its distress repelled my friends but inspired me. Upon acquiring it, a year of trial-and-error work included rebuilding the scattered engine, designing and welding brackets onto the frame for a centerstand and footpegs, assembling the steering, fabricating a wiring harness, and ultimately tuning and sorting. This basket-case Ducati literally taught me the fundamentals of motorcycle mechanics, by necessity. And due to the racy rear-set controls I’d crafted, the machine had no kickstarter, necessitating bump-starting everywhere, every time.

The bike was never gloriously fast, but it carried me through my first roadrace at the Ontario Motor Speedway. After selling it, I never saw it again. Rest in peace, fair Diana. And by the way, the California blue plate was 4C3670. Write if you’ve seen it!

1971 Kawasaki Mach III

Stepping from an 8-hp Honda 90 onto a friend’s Mach III, which was rated at 60 hp when new, was the biggest shock of my young motorcycling life. I knew enough to be careful, not only because of the 410-lb heft of the Kawasaki compared to the Honda’s feathery 202 lb, but because the Mach III had a reputation as a barn-burner. It was true. Turning the throttle grip induced the moaning wail from three dramatic 2-stroke cylinders, and propelled the Kawasaki ahead with a ferocity I’d never come close to feeling before.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Rated at 60 horsepower, the Kawasaki Mach III (officially known as the H1) was the quickest-accelerating production motorcycle of its time. (Photo by John L. Stein)

In those first moments of augmented g-forces, I distinctly felt that the acceleration was trying to dislocate my hips. In reality, it was probably just taxing the gluteus muscles. But regardless, I remember thinking, “I’ll never be able to ride one of these.” That clearly wasn’t true, but the memory of the Mach III’s savage acceleration and whooping sound remains indelible. Additionally, the engine vibration was incessant – there was simply no escaping it – and in those pre-hydraulic disc days for Kawasaki, the drum brakes seemed heavy and reluctant, even to a big-bike novice. Glad I found out early that the Mach III’s mad-dog reputation was real.

1985 KTM 500 MXC

If Paul Bunyan designed a motorcycle, this KTM 2-stroke would be it. For its day, the 500 MXC was extraordinary at everything, such as extraordinarily hard to start; the kickstart shaft was a mile high and the lever arm even higher. At over6 feet tall in MX boots, I still needed a curb, boulder, or log handy to effectively use the left-side kickstarter. The motor had so much compression (12.0:1) that this Austrian Ditch Witch practically needed a starter engine to fire the main one. Once, I was stuck on a desert trail with the MXC’s engine reluctant to re-fire. Not so brilliantly, I attached a tow line to my friend’s Kawasaki KX250 and he pulled me to perhaps 25 mph on a nearby two-lane road. Before I could release the line and drop the clutch, my buddy slowed for unknown reasons. Instantly the rope drooped, caught on the KTM’s front knobby, and locked the wheel, slamming the bike and its idiot rider onto the asphalt. The crash should have broken my wrist, but an afternoon spent icing it in the cooler put things right.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
A beast to start and a blast to ride, this 1985 KTM 500 MXC 2-stroke was also comically and maddeningly tall. So was the desk-high kickstart arm. But, oh my, how the Austrian Ditch Witch could fly. (Photo by John L. Stein.)

When running, though, the MXC was spectacular. Capable of interstate speeds down sand washes and across open terrain, the liquid-cooled 485cc engine was a maniacal off-road overlord. The suspension included a WP inverted fork and linked monoshock with an insane 13.5 inches of travel out back. I bought the 500 MXC used for $500, and I had to practically give it away later. But now, I wish I had kept it, because it was fully street-plated – ideal for Grom hunting in the hills today.

1998 Yamaha YZF-R1

On a deserted, bucolic section of Pacific coastal backroads, I loosened the new Yamaha R1’s reins, kicked it in the ribs, and let it gallop. And gallop it did, at a breathtaking rate up to and beyond 130 mph. That’s not all that fast in the overall world of high performance, but on a little two-lane road edged by prickly cattle fences and thick oaks, it ignited all my senses. What had been a mild-mannered tomcat moments before turned into a marlin on meth, but it wasn’t the velocity that was alarming.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Superbike tech leapt ahead with Yamaha’s YZF-R1. Its performance rang every alarm bell in the author’s head. (Photos by Yamaha)

No, the point seared into my amygdala was how hard the R1 was still accelerating at 130 mph. Rocketing past this speed with a ratio or two still remaining in the 6-speed gearbox sounded every alarm bell in my head, so I backed down. Simply, the R1 rearranged my understanding of performance. But simultaneously, it made every superbike of the 1970s, including the King Kong 1973 Kawasaki Z1 – the elite on the street in its era – seem lame by comparison.

2008 Yamaha YZ250F

After 25 years away from motocross, in 2008 I bought a new YZ250F and went to the track. Oh, my word. The dream bikes of my competitive youth – Huskys, Maicos, Ossas, and their ilk – faded to complete irrelevance after one lap at Pala Raceway on the modern 4-stroke. Naturally it was light, fast, and responsive, but the party drug was its fully tunable suspension. By comparison, everything else I’d ridden in the dirt seemed like a pogo stick. Together, the awesome suspension and aluminum perimeter frame turned motocross into an entirely different sport, and I loved it anew.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Contemporary technology turned riding motocross from torture in the sport’s early years to the best workout – like simultaneously using every machine in the gym at maximum effort. Training and racing this 2008 Yamaha YZ250F produced heartrates just shy of running a 10k race. (John L. Stein Archives)

In retrospect, the glorious old MX bikes were dodgy because real skill was required to keep them from bucking their riders into the ditch. But, surprisingly, I found motocross aboard this new machine still merited hazard pay, for two reasons: 1) Thanks to the bike’s excellent manners, I found myself going much faster; and 2) Tracks had evolved to include lots of jumps, sometimes big ones. Doubles, step-ups, table-tops – I later paced one off at Milestone MX and realized the YZ was soaring more than 70 feet through the air.

2017 Yamaha TW200

There’s something about flying low and slow that’s just innately fun. Just ask the Super Cub pilots, lowrider guys, or Honda Monkey owners. After a day in the Mojave, plowing through sand, sliding on dry lake beds, and dodging rocks and creosote bushes, Yamaha’s TW200 proved equally enamoring. Yes, it’s molasses-slow, inhaling hard through the airbox for enough oxygen to power it along. And it’s built to a price, with an old-school carburetor and middling suspension and brakes.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
For flying low and slow on a dry lake bed, the fat-tire Yamaha TW200 is righteous. Learn to dirt-track early in life, and the skills last forever. (Photo by Bill Masho)

Nonetheless, its fat, high-profile tires somehow make it way more than alright, kind of like riding a marshmallow soaked in Red Bull. Curbs? Loading docks? Roots, ruts, and bumps? Scarcely matters at 16 mph when you’re laughing your head off. Top speed noted that day was a bit over 70 mph – good enough for freeway work, but just barely. So, actually, no. But throttling the TW all over the desert and on city streets reminded me just how joyous being on two wheels is.

RELATED: Small Bikes Rule! Honda CRF250L Rally, Suzuki GSX250R and Yamaha TW200 Reviews

2020 Kawasaki Z H2

Building from its supercharged Ninja H2 hyperbike, Kawasaki launched the naked Z H2 for 2020. Lucky to attend the press launch for the bike that year, I got to experience this 197-hp missile on a road course, freeways, backroads, and even a banked NASCAR oval. The latter was, despite its daunting concrete walls, an apropos vessel to exploit the bike’s reported power. Weighing 527 lbs wet, the Z H2 has a 2.7:1 power-to-weight ratio – nearly twice as potent as the 2023 Corvette Z06.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Exploiting Kawasaki’s 197-horsepower Z H2 definitely required a racetrack. (Photo by Kawasaki)

Supercharged engines are known for their low-end grunt, and the Z H2 motor was happy to pull at any rpm and in any gear. But it fully awakened above 8,000 rpm, as the aerospace-grade supercharger began delivering useful boost. From here on, the job description read: Hang on and steer. Free to pin it on the road course and oval, I did. And not for bravado’s sake – I really wanted to discover the payoff of having so much power. As it turns out, a supercharged liter bike dramatically shrinks time and space, making it a total blast on the track – and absolute overkill on the road. Watch where you aim this one.

Based in Southern California, John L. Stein is an internationally known automotive and motorcycle journalist. He was a charter editor of Automobile Magazine, Road Test Editor at Cycle, and served as the Editor of Corvette Quarterly. He has written for Autoweek, Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Cycle World, Motorcyclist, Outside, and other publications in the U.S. and abroad.

The post Riding the Motorcycle Century first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Kawasaki Announces 2023 Returning Models, New Electric Balance Bike

2023 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R in Metallic Matte Twilight Blue / Metallic Diablo Black
2023 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R in Metallic Matte Twilight Blue / Metallic Diablo Black (MSRP $10,699 non-ABS only)

The whole family will be able to take their turn on two wheels following  the recent announcement from Kawasaki of the return of three models for the 2023 model year – the KLX300 dual-sport, KLX300SM supermoto, and Ninja ZX-6R sportbike – as well as a new electric balance bike for the kiddos called the Elektrode. Read on to learn more about these bikes, then don your gear and follow Kawasaki’s advice to “let the good times roll.”

2023 Kawasaki KLX300

2023 Kawasaki KLX300 Lime Green
2023 Kawasaki KLX300 in Lime Green (MSRP $5,899)

The Kawasaki KLX300 dual-sport returns for 2023 with all the features riders have grown to love, whether off-roading or on the street. Starting at $5,899 for the familiar Lime Green ($6,099 for the Fragment Camo Gray), the KLX300 is still a financially friendly entry point for new motorcycle riders. It features a 292cc DOHC liquid-cooled 4-valve Single with its powerband, electric starter, cam profiles sourced from the KLX300R off-road model, and a 6-speed gearbox. We did a first ride review on the KLX300 in March 2021 and reported solid bottom-end torque and midrange power.

2023 Kawasaki KLX300 in Fragment Camo Gray
2023 Kawasaki KLX300 in Fragment Camo Gray (MSRP $6,099)

The bike has a steel perimeter frame and aluminum swingarm, a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel combo, and dual-sport tuned long-travel suspension for optimal ground clearance. The 43mm inverted fork with adjustable compression damping and the fully adjustable gas-charged Uni-Trak shock provide 10 inches of travel in the front and 9.1 inches in the rear, meaning the KLX300 can dish out whatever the trail (or asphalt) throws at you. When it comes to braking, the dual-sport comes with a 2-piston caliper and 250mm disc up front and a 1-piston caliper and a 240mm disc in back.

2023 Kawasaki KLX300SM

2023 Kawasaki KLX300SM in Neon Green
2023 Kawasaki KLX300SM in Neon Green (MSRP $6,299)

First introduced for the 2021 model year and developed alongside the KLX300 dual-sport, the KLX300SM shares a similar engine and chassis with its stablemate. However, the SM features a host of supermoto-inspired components, including 17-inch front and rear wheels paired with IRC Road Winner RX-01 street tires, supermoto-tuned suspension, and a larger 300mm disc and 2-piston caliper up front for braking.

2023 Kawasaki KLX300SM in Ebony
2023 Kawasaki KLX300SM in Ebony (MSRP $6,299)

Priced at $6,299 for both Neon Green and Ebony, the KLX300SM is still a great entry-level supermoto bike but with the credentials that make it attractive to more skilled riders as well.

2023 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R

2023 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R in Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray / Metallic Diablo Black
2023 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R in Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray / Metallic Diablo Black (MSRP $10,999 non-ABS or $11,999 with ABS)

In order to meet growing consumer demand, Kawasaki has reportedly moved up the production and introduction of its 2023 model Ninja ZX-6R supersport motorcycle, featuring a 636cc 4-cylinder DOHC engine optimized for both the street and the track. The Ninja ZX-6R has the Kawasaki QuickShifter, Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS), selectable power modes combined with Kawasaki Traction Control, Showa suspension with a SFF-BP fork, slip/assist clutch, adjustable clutch lever, multifunction LCD screen, and a pressed-aluminum perimeter frame.

The 2023 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R is available in Metallic Matte Twilight Blue / Metallic Diablo Black without ABS for $10,699, or in Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray / Metallic Diablo Black for $10,999 without ABS or $11,999 with ABS.

2023 Kawasaki Elektrode Electric Balance Bike

2023 Kawasaki Elektrode electric balance bike
2023 Kawasaki Elektrode electric balance bike (MSRP $1,099)

From the brand behind the KX motocross powerhouse comes the new Elektrode electric balance bike. Little rippers can now start their journey on two wheels as early as 3 years old, putting them on the path to the podium earlier than ever.

Since engine noise and exhaust can often be intimidating to young children learning to ride, the Elektrode should help encourage those who might otherwise be nervous to see how much fun riding can be. The Elektrode is lightweight and compact in size to allow for easy transportation in the back seat or trunk of a car.

2023 Kawasaki Elektrode electric balance bike

The 2023 Elektrode electric balance bike features an air-cooled, brushless, in-wheel electric motor producing 250 watts of acceleration at the rear wheel. Power is said to be delivered in a smooth, linear fashion, getting the bike moving in a predictable way and gradually building the rider’s comfort with power and control. The motor positioning contributes to the Elektrode’s low center of gravity, which should create a light steering feel and easy turning and leaning.

The Kawasaki Elektrode’s in-frame lithium-ion battery is said to provide up to 2.5 hours of riding (or approximately 9 miles) depending on battery and rider conditions. The battery takes 2.5 hours to fully recharge from any home outlet, car, camper, or side-by-side vehicle, and the bike features an auto-sleep feature that shuts off the power after 10 minutes of inactivity. The battery’s location in the aluminum frame provides protection from dirt, debris, and potential impact damage that could occur during hard use.

2023 Kawasaki Elektrode electric balance bike

Three speed modes allow young riders to grow and adapt as their abilities increase. Modes can be selected using the LCD screen located on the handlebars – but only when the bike is at a complete stop. Each mode caps the electric bike at a specific speed: low at 5 mph, mid at 7.5 mph, and high at 13 mph. A special parental lock requires a unique passcode to deter unauthorized changing of power levels. Or turn off the power entirely, fold up the rubber-padded steel footpegs, and use the Elektrode as a standard balance bike.

The Elektrode’s lightweight aluminum frame and 32.8-inch wheelbase provide durability while remaining light for kids to handle. A highly rigid steel front fork on the front of the bike should grant young riders a solid feel for steering, and a 160mm rear-mounted mechanical disc brake provides ample stopping power at the pull of a lever.

2023 Kawasaki Elektrode electric balance bike

To add to the lightweight, sturdy nature of the Elektrode, Kawasaki designed special 16-inch cast-aluminum wheels with 16- x 2.125-inch HE-type knobby tires for use on several different types of terrain and tubes with Schrader valves.

The Elekrode is designed to accommodate riders from ages 3 to 8. The 16-inch wheels and adjustable components make it suitable for growing riders, including over 4 inches of adjustability in the seat, meaning the Elektrode can fit children 37-55 inches tall. The handlebar design promotes an upright riding position without compromising knee space, providing the extra room as kids grow, and with a common-sized handlebar and seat, parents will have the ability to change and customize their child’s bike as they see fit.

And when it comes to looking cool, Kawasaki designed the Elektrode to look like a full-fledged off-road machine. A KX-inspired front number plate adorns the front of the Elektrode, and the bike comes in the iconic Kawasaki Lime-Green coloring and racing graphics.

The 2023 Elektrode electric balance bike will be available in Lime Green with for $1,099.

For more information or to find a Kawasaki dealer near you, visit Kawasaki.com.

Rider Motorcycle Buying Program. Get up front prices on local inventory. View Inventory.

The post Kawasaki Announces 2023 Returning Models, New Electric Balance Bike first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT | Road Test Review

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review
Suzuki’s all-new GSX-S1000GT+ is a street-tuned sportbike that’s outfitted for touring with a fairing and windscreen, comfortable rider and passenger accommodations, and 36-liter side cases. Photos by Kevin Wing.

Suzuki is helping sport-tourers make a comeback. With the rise of adventure bikes over the past decade, sport-tourers got shoved aside, relegated to the dark corners of showroom floors. Development cycles stretched out, and model updates became few and far between. That’s a shame. Not everyone wants a motorcycle with a 19-inch front wheel, a 34-inch seat height, and a jungle gym’s worth of crash bars.

Check out Rider‘s 2022 Motorcycle Buyers Guide

As the name implies, sport-tourers combine go-fast performance and touring prowess into a single package. What’s not to love about a superbike engine tuned for the street, a chassis built for both speed and comfort, and ergonomics that won’t make you cry uncle after an hour in the saddle? With their 17-inch wheels shod with grippy radials, sport-tourers love to lean, and modern electronic rider aids help keep things in check.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review
The GSX-S1000GT and GT+ are available in Metallic Reflective Blue or Glass Sparkle Black.

Enter the new-for-2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT ($13,149) and GSX-S1000GT+ ($13,799), the latter distinguished by its color-matched side cases. Color options are the Metallic Reflective Blue of our test bike or Glass Sparkle Black. The GT is built on the same platform as the GSX-S1000 naked sportbike we tested recently. But unlike the GSX-S1000F that was in Suzuki’s lineup until 2020, which was little more than a GSX-S1000 with a fairing bolted on, the GT is a true grand tourer.

Look Good, Feel Good

The GT’s bodywork is distinctive and angular, with a wedge-shaped front fairing that juts sharply forward and houses a V-shaped LED position light and a pair of mono-focus LED headlights (for low beam, only the right lamp is illuminated). Attached to the top of the fairing are mirrors perched on the ends of long stalks and a nonadjustable windscreen. Lower fairing panels keep the radiator and much of the engine hidden, and they are vented to pull hot air out and away from the cockpit.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review
Compared to the GSX-S1000F, the GSX-S1000GT’s handlebar is 0.9 inch wider and 0.6 inch closer to the rider.

Helmet: Scorpion EXO-R1 Air
Jacket: Scorpion Optima
Gloves: Scorpion Havoc
Pants: Scorpion Covert Pro Jeans
Boots: Sidi Gavia Gore-Tex

Two-up comfort was an important consideration in the GT’s development. All the rider and passenger touchpoints – the handlebar, footpegs, and rear grab handles – are rubber-damped to minimize vibration. Compared to the GSX-S1000F, the handlebar is 0.9 inch wider and 0.6 inch closer to the rider, allowing for more steering leverage and a nearly upright seating position. The wide, slightly dished rider’s seat sits 31.9 inches off the deck and is comfortable enough for long days in the saddle. A sporty amount of cornering clearance necessitated high placement of the footpegs, sacrificing some legroom, and they are positioned just below the rider’s hips.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review
The $650 upcharge for the GT+ adds lockable, removable, weather-proof, color-matched saddlebags.

Seat height for the passenger is 34.2 inches, and the 2.3-inch boost in height provides a better view over the rider’s shoulders. Large grab handles allow the passenger to hold on securely to the bike rather than just a strap on the seat or the rider’s hips. Both the front and rear seats have thick, supportive foam and are covered in a slightly grippy weather-resistant material.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review
Each 36-liter saddlebag is large enough to hold most full-face helmets.

To accommodate the added weight of a passenger and luggage, the GT has a trellis-style subframe that provides both strength and visual flair. The GSX-S1000GT+ comes standard with side cases that hold 36 liters (and up to 11 lbs) on each side, and they’re large enough to fit most full-face helmets. The saddlebags are easy to open, close, lock, remove, and reinstall, and they are keyed to the ignition. The only downside is that they cannot be left unlocked for quick access.

Paying the $650 premium for the GT+ is money well-spent. High-quality, lockable, removable, weatherproof saddlebags are undeniably convenient and practical. And buying the cases and necessary hardware as standalone accessories will set you back more than $1,000.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review
The GT is the first Suzuki to be offered with a TFT display. The default screen has an analog-style tach, digital speedo, and other info.

To further enhance the GT’s touring ability, Suzuki gave the bike a 6.5-inch full-color TFT display, all-new switchgear, and Bluetooth connectivity. The TFT has a large analog-style tachometer, a digital speedometer, and a fuel gauge on the left side, as well as an array of bike and trip info on the right. It also has a sensor that automatically switches the background from white in bright light to black in low light.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review
Pairing Suzuki’s mySPIN smartphone app provides access to contacts, phone, maps, music, and calendar.
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review
The mySPIN app enables turn-by-turn navigation using REVER and other apps.

Buttons on the left switchgear allow the rider to adjust settings and navigate menus. Installing the Suzuki mySPIN smartphone app and pairing via Bluetooth provides access to contacts, phone, maps, music, and calendar functions, which are displayed on the TFT screen. You’ll need a Bluetooth helmet headset to make/receive calls, listen to music, or hear turn-by-turn directions. A USB port on the dash provides on-the-go charging for devices.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review
The GSX-S1000GT’s new switchgear is user-friendly.

In Thrust We Trust

Like the GSX-S1000, the GT is powered by a 999cc in-line Four adapted from the GSX-R1000 K5 (2005-2008). It’s been retuned to make the engine more suitable for the street, but there’s still plenty of heat in the kitchen. On Jett Tuning’s rear-wheel dyno, the GSX-S1000 churned out 136 hp at 10,200 rpm and 73 lb-ft of torque at 9,300 rpm. Updates to the engine include new camshaft profiles, new valve springs, new throttle bodies, a revised airbox, and a Euro 5-compliant 4-2-1 exhaust. Together, they result in an extra 2 hp at the peak and smoother horsepower and torque curves.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review

The GSX-S engine is a gem with no rough edges. From cracking open the throttle above idle to twisting the grip to the stop, power comes on cleanly and predictably. Slaloming back and forth on a series of curves with grace and confidence requires accurate additions and subtractions of fuel and air, and the Suzuki mixes them perfectly. Using a throttle-by-wire system, turning the right grip directly activates the throttle position sensor, which sends instantaneous signals to a servo motor that precisely moves the throttle plates. Throttle response is further enhanced by a long, tapered intake tract that is narrower at the bottom where the 10-hole injectors are located.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review
Bending the GSX-S1000GT+ through a series of fast curves is pure pleasure.

The GT’s throttle-by-wire also enables the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System, which includes three ride modes (Active, Basic, and Comfort) that adjust throttle response and power delivery, 5-level traction control, cruise control, and Suzuki’s Easy Start, Low RPM Assist, and Bi-Directional Quick Shift systems. ABS is also part of the electronics package, but with no IMU, neither it nor the TC are lean-angle adaptive. The 6-speed transmission has a cable-actuated slip/assist clutch. Gear changes using the quickshifter are fast and smooth, and clutch action is light with predictable engagement. Both the clutch and brake levers are adjustable for reach.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review

Being derived from a Superbike championship-winning sportbike like the GSX-R1000, the GSX-S1000GT has a massive twin-spar cast-aluminum frame that surrounds the engine and attaches to a cast-aluminum swingarm. KYB suspension – a fully adjustable 43mm inverted fork and a link-type rear shock that’s adjustable for preload and rebound – is taut yet comfortable.

Brembo 4-piston radial-mount monoblock front calipers are mated to fully floating 310mm rotors, and they offer strong power and precise feedback. A Nissin 1-piston rear caliper squeezes a 240mm disc. The GT rolls on six-spoke, 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels shod with Dunlop Roadsmart 2 sport-touring radials that deliver reliable grip and neutral cornering behavior.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review
The Suzuki GSX-S1000GT is a finely tuned instrument of performance. Its in-line Four is uncommonly smooth with a linear powerband, its throttle-by-wire system provides a tight, direct connection between the right grip and the rear wheel, and the quickshifter is one of the slickest we’ve ever used

On the Road Again

Suzuki hosted a two-day press launch for the GSX-S1000GT+, with a test route that started and ended at its U.S. headquarters in Brea, California. Back-to-back 300-mile days gave us a chance to thoroughly evaluate the GT in a wide range of conditions, including traffic-choked freeways, wide-open highways, and tight, technical backroads. We followed that up with more miles on a test bike over several weeks on home turf.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review

The qualities that impressed us about the GSX-S1000 – impeccable smoothness, predictable handling, unflappable stability, and linear power delivery – carry over to its GT sibling. Likewise, its braking and suspension components and electronic rider aids were selected to deliver sporting performance without inflating the retail price.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review

Where the GT really stands out is its rider and passenger comfort, cruise control, instrumentation and connectivity, and, on the GT+, stylish and useful saddlebags. Weighing in at 521 lbs with its 5-gal. tank full, the GT+ is much lighter than open-class sport-tourers like the BMW R 1250 RT (615 lbs), Yamaha FJR1300ES (644 lbs), and Kawasaki Concours 14 (691 lbs). It weighs more than the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT (503 lbs) but makes significantly more rear-wheel horsepower (136 vs. 108). With its cornering ABS and TC and semi-active suspension, the Tracer 9 GT also costs $1,200 more than the GSX-S1000GT+ ($14,999 vs. $13,799).

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review

If the GT has one notable shortcoming, it’s the nonadjustable windscreen. Though Suzuki says it and the bodywork were developed in a wind tunnel, airflow over the windscreen hit me square in the chest and created a lot of turbulence around my helmet. Of course, the size of the rider plays a role in aerodynamics (I’m 6 feet tall), but the lack of height adjustability means you get what you get. Suzuki makes an accessory touring windscreen ($169.95) that is 2.75 inches taller and has a more vertical pitch near the top, but one was not available during our test.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review

Other available accessories include heated grips, a two-tone rider’s seat with a suede-like cover embossed with the GSX-S GT logo, axle sliders, ring-lock tankbags (small and large), tank pads and protectors, and wheel rim decals.

We’re glad to see Suzuki helping bring the sport-touring class to its former glory. The GSX-S1000GT+ strikes an excellent balance between performance, technology, weight, comfort, and price. Life is good when the scenery is a blur.

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT review

2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ Specs

Base Price: $13,149 (GT)
Price as Tested: $13,799 (GT+ w/ 36L side cases)
Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles
Website: suzukicycles.com
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line Four, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 999cc
Bore x Stroke: 73.4 x 59.0mm
Compression Ratio: 12.2:1
Valve Insp. Interval: 15,000 miles
Fuel Delivery: EFI w/ throttle-by-wire, 40mm throttle bodies x 4
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.6 qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Frame: Twin-spar cast aluminum frame & swingarm
Wheelbase: 57.5 in.
Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/3.9 in.
Seat Height: 31.9 in.
Suspension, Front: 43mm inverted fork, fully adj., 4.7 in. travel
Rear: Single linkage shock, adj. spring preload & rebound, 5.1 in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 310mm floating discs w/ 4-piston radial monoblock calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 240mm disc w/ 1-piston caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.5 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 6.0 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 190/50-ZR17
Wet Weight: 521 lbs (as tested)
Load Capacity: 405 lbs (as tested)
GVWR: 926 lbs
Horsepower: 136 hp @ 10,200 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Torque: 73 lb-ft @ 9,300 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 35.5 mpg
Estimated Range: 178 miles

The post 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT | Road Test Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 Indian Challenger Elite and Chieftain Elite | First Look Review

2022 Indian Challenger Elite
2022 Indian Challenger Elite

Since its debut in 2017, Indian’s Elite program has offered the most premium and feature-packed versions of its bagger and touring models, such as the Chieftain and Roadmaster. For 2022, Indian has unveiled two models: the Challenger Elite and Chieftain Elite.

“From factory-custom details to premium amenities, and advanced ride-enhancing technology, we left no stone unturned when designing our new Elite baggers,” said Aaron Jax, Vice President of Indian Motorcycle. “Whether you prefer the liquid-cooled power and performance of the Indian Challenger, or the more organic growl and unmatched air-cooled power of the Chieftain, these two Elites elevate both platforms with gorgeous custom-inspired design elements straight from the factory.”

RELATED: 2022 Indian Pursuit Limited | Road Test Review

2022 Indian Challenger Elite

2022 Indian Challenger Elite

Limited to 200 units worldwide, 2022 marks the debut for the Indian Challenger Elite. It offers muscle car-inspired styling and class-leading performance from its liquid-cooled PowerPlus 108 V-Twin, delivering 122 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque. Pricing starts at $34,999.

The Challenger Elite’s attention-getting Stealth Gray and Black Metallic paint with Indy Red accents screams American muscle. A red-stitched seat and color-matched Elite badging complete the bike’s performance-inspired design. 

2022 Indian Challenger Elite

With three ride modes, riders can customize the bike’s throttle mapping by selecting Sport, Standard, or Rain. Each ride mode has been engineered with its own distinct traction-control setting to deliver three unique riding experiences.

The Challenger Elite is loaded with premium amenities like Fox rear shocks with electronically adjustable preload, Smart Lean Technology with lean-angle-adaptive ABS and TC, back-lit switches, an Adaptive Pathfinder LED headlight, and LED driving lights. It’s also equipped with an adjustable flare windscreen, select floorboards, and heated grips.

2022 Indian Challenger Elite

Ride loud and proud with an upgraded, fully integrated 400-watt PowerBand audio system with speakers in the fairing and saddlebag lids. The 7-inch color touchscreen display features the Ride Command infotainment system, which includes detailed vehicle info, Apple CarPlay, GPS with turn-by-turn navigation, a complimentary year of Ride Command+ connected features (live traffic and weather overlays, plus a vehicle locator feature).

The Indian Challenger Elite also includes standard features on the Challenger such as ABS, keyless ignition, tire-pressure monitoring, and remote-locking saddlebags with more than 18 gallons (68.1 liters) of storage.


2022 Indian Chieftain Elite

2022 Indian Chieftain Elite
2022 Indian Chieftain Elite

The Chieftain Elite was the first Elite model offered by Indian back in 2017, and an all-new take for 2022 will be limited to 150 units globally. It’s powered by the air-cooled Thunderstroke 116, which delivers 126 lb-ft of torque. Pricing starts at $32,999.

The factory custom features Heavy Metal Smoke paint complemented by premium bronze finishes, including the tank’s Indian Motorcycle headdress, saddlebag latches, center console, primary cover, and airbox. Oil-rubbed bronze finishes across the engine’s push rod tubes, horn cover, and cam cover take the Chieftain Elite’s style to an entirely new level straight from the factory.

2022 Indian Chieftain Elite

The Chieftain Elite’s streamlined fairing and slammed saddlebags contribute to the bike’s aggressive stance. In addition, LED saddlebag lights, a two-up comfort seat, low suspension, precision-machined wheels, and premium blacked-out finishes round out its head-turning style.

The Chieftain Elite’s Thunderstroke 116 features three ride modes (Sport, Tour, and Standard) that adjust throttle response and rear cylinder deactivation to mitigate engine heat when idling at a stop.

2022 Indian Chieftain Elite

Like its Challenger Elite stablemate, the Chieftain Elite is packed with premium features, including an Adaptive Pathfinder LED headlight, an adjustable and tinted flare windscreen, select floorboards, rear saddlebag LED lights, backlit switch cubes, and an integrated 400-watt PowerBand audio system.

It’s also equipped with a 7-inch color touchscreen display with Ride Command, a year of Rider Command+ connected features, ABS, keyless ignition, tire-pressure monitoring, and remote-locking saddlebags.

2022 Indian Chieftain Elite

For riders who want to further customize their Challenger Elite or Chieftain Elite, Indian offers a range of style, comfort, and touring accessory upgrades. Indian Challenger Elite riders can add Pathfinder LED Saddlebag Lights, while Chieftain Elite riders can add Pathfinder S LED Driving Lights. Elite riders can also add the ClimaCommand Heated and Cooled two-up seat, color-matched Hard Lower Fairings, a color-matched Trunk, up to 800 watts of PowerBand audio, and items from the versatile Spirit Lake Luggage Collection,

For more information or to find an Indian Motorcycle dealer near you, visit IndianMotorcycle.com.

2022 Indian Challenger Elite Detail Gallery:

2022 Indian Chieftain Elite Detail Gallery:

The post 2022 Indian Challenger Elite and Chieftain Elite | First Look Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2023 KTM 450 SMR | First Look Review

2023 KTM 450 SMR
The track-only 2023 KTM 450 SMR supermoto has received updates to its engine, suspension, quickshifter, tires, electronics, ergonomics, and graphics.

Sporting many of the familiar features that riders love, as well as upgrades that will take the experience up a notch, the updated-for-2023 KTM 450 SMR proves it’s still a serious player in the supermoto game. When tenths of a second and tens of centimeters make the difference in lap times or an overtaking move, the track-only 2023 KTM 450 SMR is exactly what any supermoto racer needs. Pricing for the 2022 model starts at $11,999, so expect a small bump in MSRP for 2023.

Read our 2021 KTM 450 SMR First Ride Review

2023 KTM 450 SMR

What’s new on the 2023 KTM 450 SMR?

The 450 SMR’s revised shock mount is said to enhance energy absorption and straight-line stability, and its “anti squat” design should translate to better acceleration and stronger corner exits. Redesigned high-grade aluminum CNC-machined triple clamps have increased grip surface for less handlebar “twist,” which should contribute to better control and feedback.

2023 KTM 450 SMR

The SMR’s central double-cradle-type chromoly steel frame is still hydro-formed, laser-cut, and robot-welded, but KTM has altered longitudinal and torsional flex as well as frame-wall thickness to improve feedback. The new 22mm rear axle and latest generation of WP XACT suspension are said to improve traction and energy absorption for sliding into turns.

The fully adjustable AER 48mm front fork with 11.2 inches of travel still has a split-damping function and simple toolless adjusters, among other advantages. Out back, the 2023 model features a shorter, lighter (but still with the same 10.5 inches of travel) WP XACT shock, which has revised internals to improve damping behavior.

2023 KTM 450 SMR

Replacing the Bridgestone slicks are Metzeler Racetec SM K1s, which promise rapid warm-up times and consistency in grip lap after lap. The 450 SMR rolls on Alpina tubeless spoked wheels, with a 16-inch front and a 17-inch rear.

The 499.9cc liquid-cooled, SOHC Single, which still blasts out a claimed 63 hp, has been revised to improve mass centralization and reduce weight – at 59.5 lbs, it’s nearly a pound lighter than the previous version. The engine has been tilted back, the cylinders have new internals, the crankshaft has been optimized, and the countershaft sprocket has been lowered by 3mm. Pankl Racing Systems has supplied a redesigned 5-speed gearbox with new ratios.

2023 KTM 450 SMR

Another feature is the new Quickshift sensor on the shift drum for clutchless upshifts, which can be disabled through the handlebar switch. The Keihin Engine Management System still administers the traction control, launch control, and quickshifter functions, and there are two customizable engine maps.

Throwing the whole package into place on-track is easier thanks to revised ergonomics and a sculpted rider triangle that permits an even better contact points between motorcycle and user. There’s also a new recessed grip pocket under the seat, and visually, the 1990s-derived splash of purple adds to the “Ready to Race” graphic vibe, along with the flat orange seat and white tailsection.

2023 KTM 450 SMR

Where does the song remain the same?

KTM follows the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” with several aspects of the new 450 SMR. The polyamide-reinforced aluminum two-piece subframe is strong, light, and contributes to a sense of control from the saddle, as do the inward-located footpegs that are cleated to ensure reassuring grip under extreme riding conditions.

Premium components such as the Brembo M50 monoblock 4-piston front caliper with a 310mm rotor, a 220mm rear disc with a 1-piston caliper, a Suter slipper clutch with Brembo hydraulics, and a compact exhaust system ensure that the 450 SMR is ready to compete right out of the gate.

2023 KTM 450 SMR

Full specs have not yet been released, but expect a slight reduction in weight from its predecessor (232 lbs) with the same 35-inch seat height and 1.85-gallon fuel capacity.

The 2023 KTM 450 SMR will be available starting in June 2022. Visit ktm.com for more details and to find a dealer near you.

The post 2023 KTM 450 SMR | First Look Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 Yamaha XSR900 | First Ride Review

2022 Yamaha XSR900

Custom cafe racers were all the rage when the Yamaha XSR900 debuted in 2015. If that wasn’t evident in the XSR’s classically shaped tank, single round headlight, and optional seat cowl, then the ‘70s-esque paint schemes certainly drove the point home. Try as it might, the XSR900’s cafe racer aspirations never quite gelled with the sloping lines of its twin-spar aluminum frame and stressed-member inline-Triple. 

Trends evolve over time, though, and so has the XSR900. Updated for 2022, the neo-retro no longer aims to squeeze a square peg into a round hole. Yamaha instead starts its own trend, drawing from the brand’s rich racing history with ‘80s Grand Prix-inspired styling. A newly sculpted fuel cell, race-style side panels, and the squared-off passenger pad say as much, but the Sonauto Yamaha-era livery makes the loudest statement.  

2022 Yamaha XSR900

The Iwata factory matches that beauty with brawn and brains as well, featuring the same recently revised CP3 engine and 6-axis IMU that highlighted the updated 2021 MT-09. Contrary to common belief, the XSR is more than just a reskinned version of its Hyper Naked sibling. The retro roadster courts the cultured crowd with throwback threads, a tubular-steel subframe, a longer swingarm, and a Brembo radial front master cylinder. Here’s what we learned after bending the 2022 XSR900 through California’s curve-happy Highway 33 for nearly 200 miles of unfettered fun.

Firm Foundations

Yamaha’s lauded CP3 inline-Triple has always been a peach of a powerplant, but the company doesn’t rest on its laurels with the latest iteration. The larger 890cc displacement – up from 847cc – may headline the spec sheet, but Team Blue engineers did more than arm the Triple with 3mm of extra stroke. A new intake system, cylinder head, camshafts, and exhaust all contribute to the cause, and Yamaha claims 6% more torque (68.6 lb-ft at 7,000 rpm) and 11% better gas mileage (49 mpg) as a result.

2022 Yamaha XSR900

In 1st and 2nd gears, throttle pick-up and roll-off still aren’t completely jolt-free, but they’re no longer lightswitch-abrupt either. By 3rd gear, the XSR fully irons out those wrinkles. The new quickshifter system aids riders in ascents to those heights too, delivering clutchless upshifts with a smooth yet positive engagement. Downshifts are no different, allowing riders to stomp down the gearbox with impunity. Whether you ride with a devil-may-care attitude or a neat character, the revised CP3 is happy to oblige.

Those adjustments may have improved the CP3’s road manners, but the torquey Triple remains as engaging as ever. Upon initial throttle crack, the rider is well aware of the power at their right wrist, and for good reason. One common complaint cast upon the previous-generation XSR900 was the snatchy throttle response. Yamaha largely smooths out those jerky mannerisms, but the Sport Heritage still possesses enough pizzaz to stir the soul.

2022 Yamaha XSR900

That’s most evident with the newly updated ride modes. Yamaha drops the three-setting system (A, Standard, and B modes) of the past and sides with a simpler approach, offering four ride modes designated by number (1, 2, 3, and 4). Whether you’re cruising the boulevard or hunting apexes, the XSR instantly shifts personalities at the touch of a button.

Modes 1 through 3 pack the full punch, but each subsequent number eases the power delivery. Mode 4 not only curtails power but also provides the gentlest throttle response for soggy weather conditions. While Mode 1 unlocks the most direct power application, Mode 2 isn’t very far behind. At times, distinguishing the difference between the two settings was nearly imperceptible, but users will clearly recognize the differing powerbands among Modes 1, 3, and 4.

2022 Yamaha XSR900

Helmet: Arai Regent-X
Jacket: Spidi G-Warrior
Gloves: Spidi Track Warrior
Pants: Spidi J-Tracker Jeans
Boots: Dainese Persepolis Air

Fortunately, we enjoyed sunny weather while aboard the XSR, so we only taste-tested Modes 2 through 4 and mostly kept the roadster in the full power setting. Unless picking through congested urban areas or negotiating wet conditions, we expect most riders to leave the Yamaha in Mode 1 as well. The thrilling throttle response, meaty mid-range, and husky exhaust note are simply addicting and will keep owners coming back for more. The punchy Triple spreads the fun across the entire rev range too, with torque-rich tug down low and a spirited surge of power kicking in at 7,000 rpm.

2022 Yamaha XSR900

Confident Cornering

Power is nothing without control, and the XSR900’s redesigned chassis harnesses all that potency to perfection. Yamaha repurposes the same die-cast aluminum frame underlying the MT-09, but couples it to the extended swingarm found on the 2021 Tracer 9 GT sport-tourer. Measuring 59mm (2.3 inches) longer than the MT-09 unit, the in-frame-mounted swingarm optimizes rigidity and stability without sacrificing much agility. The XSR doesn’t just tip-in, it dives into corners with a predictable yet urgent steering rate. 

Much of that nimble nature is a result of the updated fully adjustable 41mm KYB front end and preload- and rebound-adjustable rear shock. For 2022, Yamaha increased the fork’s spring rate by 7%, boosted compression damping by 31%, and reduced rebound damping by 27%. Similar preparations help out in the rear, with the monoshock benefiting from a 21% stiffer spring rate, 35% more compression damping, and an 11% decrease in rebound damping.

2022 Yamaha XSR900

The benefits of the updated suspenders are most apparent at lean. The front wheel tracks true to the rider’s initial input, but easily adapts to mid-turn steering adjustments. The fork also withstands heavy braking with aplomb but remains compliant at high lean angles. Even when cranked over on its side, mid-corner dips and undulations couldn’t compromise the XSR900’s composure. The direct and precise maneuvering also paid off in the S-curves, with the neo-retro flopping side-to-side seamlessly.

If there are any nits to pick with the XSR900’s ultra-capable chassis, it lies in the new Brembo front brake master cylinder. The upgraded component is still leagues above the previous-generation XSR’s axial-mounted unit, but the brake lever doesn’t quite deliver on the feel we’ve come to expect from the prestigious Italian brand. It provides more than enough clamping force and speed-shedding potential, but vague feedback at the lever doesn’t match the quality of Brembo’s top-tier models.

2022 Yamaha XSR900

Following the initial grab, the lever’s throw becomes more vague. That stunted rate of travel makes judging exactly how much braking force to apply more challenging as speeds climb. Many riders will be more than happy with the new Brembo unit, but those dropping anchor into a tight, technical turn will also find that quality somewhat limiting . Aside from that minor niggle, however, the XSR900’s overhauled chassis largely lives up to its new GP-drawn cosmetics.

Of Man And Machine

That sporty styling extends to the new riding position as well. Compared to the outgoing XSR900, the new seat sinks the rider 22mm (0.9 inch) lower into the bike and 5mm (0.2 inch) further forward. Similarly, the handlebar grips shift 14mm (0.6 inch) fore and 35mm (1.4 inches) down for a more aggressive stance. The footpegs also drop by 7mm (0.3 inch) and nudge aft by 2mm (0.1 inch). In the cockpit, the new rider triangle feels sporty but never approaches uncomfortable. The generous tank cutouts accommodate riders well over 6-feet tall, and the rider’s upper body only slightly looms over the tank. 

After hours in the saddle, I was as limber and spry as the moment I threw a leg over the XSR900’s seat. Those looking for a more committed posture can also rotate the handlebar clamps 180 degrees for 9mm (0.4 inch) of extra forward play and 4mm (0.2 inch) of rise. Adjustable footpegs should keep boot sliders from dragging with 14mm (0.6 inch) of lift and 4mm (0.2 inch) of rearward placement. We only tested ergonomics in stock form, but the adaptable touchpoints certainly position the XSR as a viable part-time track bike.

2022 Yamaha XSR900

The new R1-derived electronics package supports that bid for track time with lean-sensitive traction control, slide control, lift (wheelie) control, and cornering ABS. The 6-axis IMU-based system automatically syncs slide and lift control to the selected traction-control setting (Modes 1 and 2), but users can customize the experience with the Manual Mode or turn off the rider aids altogether. Sticking to the streets, we kept the XSR900’s traction control in Mode 2 the majority of the day. Even when pushing the pace, we never tested the outer limits of the Bridgestone Battlax S22 tires to engage the traction-control system in the most sensitive setting. Still, it’s always reassuring to know that you have those safety nets, and Yamaha allows riders to fully personalize the experience via a new TFT dash.

Gone is the previous generation’s round LCD display, and the new 3.5-inch TFT makes that dash look like a relic of the past. Yamaha doesn’t go overboard with the graphics or multi-folder menu systems, though. Featuring a bar-type tachometer at the top of the layout, and with the numerical speed readout and gear indicator displayed in large font, users can quickly gather critical data at a glance. On the other hand, the limited screen size renders the drive mode, traction-control setting, time, fuel gauge, and tripmeters nearly illegible at speed. At a stop, all the data is easy to read, but many riders would welcome a larger display.

2022 Yamaha XSR900

Additionally, navigating the system isn’t intuitive or self-explanatory. With the menu scroll wheel at the right handgrip, the user will need to stretch to the controls without chopping the throttle when in motion. Once inside the submenus, the spartan user interface is easy to navigate despite the scroll wheel occasionally confusing inward presses for upward rolls. While the setting menu prioritizes simplicity, the same can’t be said for the drive mode/traction-control system switches.

Located at the left handgrip, the Mode button force users to toggle between the drive mode and traction control panes before adjusting each setting with separate up/down switches. Of course, centralizing the scroll wheel and separate-function buttons on the left switchgear would have been the most user-friendly option, but with the cruise-control module taking up a large portion of the left controls, we understand Yamaha’s decision. Yes, the retro roadster has cruise control, and it works like a charm. Increasing or decreasing speed takes the system a second to apply the change, but it’s great to see such a comfort-oriented feature on a Grand Prix-influenced bike.

2022 Yamaha XSR900

Dawn of a New(er) Era

Most motorcycle enthusiasts mistakenly categorized the XSR900 as a vintage-clad MT-09. Yamaha hopes to dispel those beliefs with the 2022 model. The XSR and MT may share the same 890cc CP3 Triple, die-cast aluminum frame, and R1-derived electronics system, but like fraternal twins, they also possess their own identities. If the 2022 XSR900’s outward appearance doesn’t provide enough contrast, the stiffer suspension, longer wheelbase, and Brembo radial master cylinder should convince the masses.  

The new Sonauto Yamaha-informed design takes the XSR900 in a new direction, but Yamaha believes the model will remain a suitable canvas for customizers. The brand bolted on a tubular-steel subframe for that very reason, and we can’t wait to see what builders do with the new platform.

Trends come and go, but with equal measures of form and function, the 2022 Yamaha XSR900 has all the elements of a classic in the making.

2022 Yamaha XSR900 Specs

Base Price: $9,999
Price as Tested: $9,999
Website: yamahamotorsports.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, DOHC, inline-Triple w/ 4 valves/cyl.
Displacement: 890cc
Bore x Stroke: 78.0 x 62.1mm
Horsepower: N/A
Torque: 68.6 lb-ft at 7,000 rpm (at the crank)
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Wheelbase: 58.9 in.
Rake/Trail: 25.0 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 31.9 in.
Wet Weight: 425 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gal.
Fuel Consumption: 49 mpg (claimed)

The post 2022 Yamaha XSR900 | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com