Tag Archives: Sport Touring

Pirelli Angel GT II Sport-Touring Tire First Look

Pirelli announced the next generation of its sport-touring line of motorcycle tires with the new Angel GT II. A refined compound, new tread pattern, and revised carcass promise unparalleled performance for a wide range of riders. Considering how good the original Angel GT performed (it’s been a part of Pirelli’s motorcycle tire lineup for more than six years), its successor has some serious shoes to fill.

Sport-touring is a demanding segment for tires. A set needs to be capable of handling sporty rides, so be nimble with reliable grip throughout. But they also need to have longevity, and the ability to perform when the weather turns. Pirelli promises it all with the Angel GT II.

That’s owing to a variable cord end count carcass and high-silica compound. Combined with a new tread pattern which owes its roots to the intermediate race tires used in World Superbike, the Angel GT II aims to deliver confidence and competence in spades.

Pirelli highlights the new Angel GT II’s strength in straight-line stability and durability along with smooth transitions from side to side. That goes for both dry and wet conditions too. The Angel GT II is also touted as being ideal for riders on machines with sophisticated electronics, things like traction control or cornering ABS, where grip can be affected by changes beyond throttle control or road conditions.

The Angel GT II is recommended for a diverse range of segments as a result, in Pirelli’s estimation. That includes large, luxury touring and adventure riders as well as urban-focused or more casual, weekend riders.

The size range backs up that assertion, with a large selection of sizes for an expansive array of machines. Below is the complete run as of the announcement.

120/60ZR-17 M/C TL (55W)
120/70ZR-17 M/C TL (58W)
120/70ZR-17 M/C TL (58W) (A)
110/70R-17 M/C TL 54H
120/70R-19 M/C TL 60V

140/70R-17 M/C TL 66H
150/70ZR-17 M/C TL (69W)
160/60ZR-17 M/C TL (69W)
170/60R-17 M/C TL 72V
170/60ZR-17 M/C TL (72W)
180/55ZR-17 M/C TL (73W)
180/55ZR-17 M/C TL (73W) (A)
190/50ZR-17 M/C TL (73W)
190/50ZR-17 M/C TL (73W) (A)
190/55ZR-17 M/C TL (75W)
190/55ZR-17 M/C TL (75W) (A)

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

10 Thoughts About The 2019 Yamaha Niken GT

After spending a couple of days riding the Tracer GT and the Niken GT back to back, it was the funky leaning three-wheeler that I kept thinking about.

Here are 10 thoughts about Yamaha’s actually-not-that-weird oddball.

It really works!

The Iwata factory’s Leaning Multi-Wheel (LMW) tech functions as advertised. Yamaha’s design objective was to make a motorcycle with superlative front-end grip and stability without diluting the conventional dynamics of riding. Two contact patches up front add a big dose of confidence in less than ideal conditions.

It’s a marketer’s worst nightmare

With a typical vehicle, to see it is to know what it’s for. With the Niken GT, because it’s the first of its kind, its looks don’t naturally convey who it’s for, what it does, or why it exists. That means even at the dealership level, there’s an added layer of disbelief and confusion that have to be punctured. What does that mean for casual buyers? Maybe they’ll be attracted by the sheer weirdness of it. Or maybe it will be a non-starter, limiting the Niken’s audience to true enthusiasts who’ve read up on the thing and really understand it.

The revised engine is great for sport-touring

Yamaha’s crossplane triple is tried and true. In the Niken GT, there’s a slightly heavier crankshaft for improved drivability and a revised gear ratio via two additional teeth in the rear sprocket. Given the motor has to haul around an extra 100-plus pounds, Yamaha also made the gears out of a higher-strength steel alloy for added durability. On the road, the engine is less revy but more tractable, skewing slightly more toward sport-touring than it ever has before.

The luggage seems like an afterthought

One of the main attributes that distinguishes a sport-touring motorcycle from a naked or a sportbike is nicely integrated hard bags. The Niken GT has small-ish semi-hard ABS bags that zip open and closed. And they aren’t waterproof (they include waterproof bags to stow your stuff in should the heavens open). For a machine that has “tour” in its description, no-nonsense luggage should be a no-brainer.

It isn’t as well-equipped as the Tracer GT

The Tracer GT and Niken GT share the GT designation but don’t boast the same level of trim. Because the LMW tech is pricey, it seems like Yamaha had to cut costs in other places. The Niken GT doesn’t have hard bags, an adjustable windscreen, or a TFT dash.

It might be a future cult classic

Like the GTS1000 from the ’90s, Yamaha may have another cult classic on its hand. Bikes that are a bit odd in their day always seem to become endearing in their twilight years. We hope the Niken GT has many years of sales success (it deserves it), but if it doesn’t, we predict that it will become a collector’s item because of its audacity and uniqueness.

LMW tech would be interesting off road

With great front-end grip and stability, it was only natural that we wanted to spool on some knobbies to see what would happen. Pushing the front on a big ADV off road can feel like a game of Russian roulette, so if there’s anywhere where an extra wheel makes sense, it’s in the dirt. There isn’t a lot of front-end travel, but on uneven surfaces, the magic-carpet-like ride the LMW system offers makes for an intriguing prospect. If you’re a Niken owner, please do this and let us know how it goes.

Its price makes it “for experts only”

Yamaha is clear that the three-wheeler is not for new riders or older riders hoping to extend their biking years with a machine that doesn’t fall over at a standstill. The Niken is not that bike. You know what makes it more obvious that the Niken GT isn’t for newbies? The $17,299 price tag.

It’s not an ideal machine for introverts

If you relish the anonymity that flipping down your dark visor provides, don’t buy a Niken GT. The Niken is a conversation starter. Pull up to a gas station on a Ducati Panigale V4 S and no one seems to notice. Pull up on a Niken, and people will ask to take selfies with it. Seriously.

Even though it’s great, I still don’t want one

Yamaha nailed its objectives with the LMW tech, but it’s not this uncrashable, experience-altering bike that will revolutionize motorcycling. It looks too different from a conventional motorcycle but behaves too similarly to a conventional motorcycle to justify the extra $4K, the added weight and complexity, and all the gas station attention. Still, I’m glad Yamaha is bold enough to build a bike like the Niken GT and I have zero reservations about recommending it to people.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

2019 BMW R1250RT First Ride Review

The most dramatic change to the 2019 BMW RT is not in its aesthetics, but hidden beneath its valve covers. The stalwart boxer twin powerplant has been emboldened with a technologically advanced variable cam, which has significantly altered the engine’s characteristics. The new cam and the performance that comes with the boost in displacement move the RT further into a sporting realm, which, when married to its long-distance comfort, is an invitation for those who haven’t considered a sport-touring machine to take a serious look.

The new RT (and GS) 1250 represent BMW Motorrad’s first application of the ShiftCam Variable Engine Timing System in production. The new boxer’s overhead cam configuration uses a modified two-position camshaft for the intake valves that has two different rise lobes (one for partial load and one for full load) which controls the amount the intake valves are opened depending upon rpm. From idle to 4,000 rpm the cam rides in the partial load placement, limiting the intake valve stroke, resulting in lower fuel-air flow, which translates to smoother running and more efficient fuel economy. At 4,000 rpm an actuator shifts the camshaft laterally in its cradle, which brings the full load cam lobes into play, allowing for maximum valve lift for full volume flow. Additionally the intake valves are slightly staggered to create a turbulent swirl effect to produce a more efficient and thorough burn for combustion.

The paperwork says the ShiftCam does its magic at 4,000 rpm, however, the torque chart shows a slight lag at around 5,000 rpm, which suggests the shift is actually activated around that point. That said, the shift is virtually indecipherable. The only thing the rider feels is the pleasant, smooth rush of power that unfolds in predictable, consistent delivery all the way to redline. Most people buying the RT will not be riding the bike to its peak performance all the time, but it’s nice knowing it’s there when you want it.

The new system allows a 100-rpm-lower idle speed, reducing vibration. Additionally, the camshaft drive—previously a roller chain—has been replaced by a toothed chain. A knock sensor allows for variations in fuel quality and octane, which is good news for those taking the RT far afield where their normal preferences of fuel may not exist.

The displacement bump, from 1,170cc to 1,254cc, represents a 9 percent increase in horsepower, brimming with 136 hp at 7,750 rpm. That power is spread over a much broader arc with a less dramatic falloff after hitting its peak. For the torque numbers, where the real heart of performance lies, the 2019 RT gets a significant 14 percent boost over the previous year, delivering a lusty 105 pound-feet, which arrives at 6,250 rpm. Two ride modes standard (Rain and Road) help control that power in adverse conditions.

So what’s the visceral, real-world result of these internal changes? Plenty. The new RT has been transformed into a quick-revving machine, with characteristics closer to the response and feel of an in-line four-cylinder than our cherished, throaty boxer. Even the sound has been altered, resonating now with a slightly higher-pitched exhaust note. The horsepower and torque increase along with the broader powerband translates to a more forgiving motorcycle, capable of being lugged along for mellow touring, and then easily and instantly wicked up for some spirited riding.

The RT has a solid, planted footprint with a precise and responsive turn-in. Stability under hard braking is a strong suit, with the linked ABS doing its job without any noticeable oscillation between front and rear wheels. Dual 320mm discs with four-piston fixed calipers on the front are married to a single 276mm disc with dual-piston floating caliper on the rear. Standard equipment includes ASC (Automatic Stability Control) and ABS Pro (with Cornering ABS). Rainfall during the ride provided adequate test of the system, which at varying lean angles works exceptionally well sans any spongy lever feel. It all adds up to practicality and safety while instilling confidence.

Wet weight of 609 pounds (with allowable payload of 483 pounds) is deceptive given the RT’s low center of gravity and evenly distributed bias. Signature Telelever front end (with central spring strut) and cast aluminum single-sided swingarm/shaft drive Paralever system soak up the bumps and smooths out the ride. Available this year for the RT is optional Next Generation D-ESA (Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment), which automatically adjusts front and rear preload.

With an estimated 50 mpg (compared to 47 mpg for the previous model) and a fuel capacity of 6.6. gallons, the RT will deliver a range in the neighborhood of 300 miles (depending on how much restraint can be exercised with this tempting motor).

Aesthetically, the RT sports new cylinder covers and manifold routing, with the header pipes making a somewhat vertical curve to the exhaust pipes. New cast aluminum 17-inch wheels have a sporty design while the bodywork receives a lower spoiler. Seat heights range from high at 32.7 inches, to standard at 31.7 inches, and low at 29.9 inches to accommodate a range of inseams. The headlight is a highly visible LED unit. Auxiliary LED running lights (pictured) are optional.

The RT is equipped with BMW’s Hill Start Pro, which is easily activated with some extra pressure on the front brake lever when stopped. The system applies brakes and holds the machine until the clutch is engaged. It’s a welcome device when stopped on a severe incline or an uneven surface, and especially helpful when fully loaded down and carrying a passenger.

Hydraulically operated clutch mated with the six-speed gearbox render succinct shifts, with the optional Speed Shift Assist allowing clutchless up- and downshifts—a feature easy to get spoiled by.

A host of optional equipment and an equal number of accessories gives RT owners the ability to craft their own unique ride, from Dynamic Braking Control to the 719 kit, which introduces pinstriping and an attractively stitched seat. All told, the 2019 BMW R1250RT maintains its position as a top-tier sport-touring machine that delivers serious performance with long-haul comfort.

Base MSRP is $18,645. The RT is available in Alpine White, Mars Red Metallic/Dark Slate Metallic Matte, and Carbon Black Metallic.

Techical Specifications

MSRP: $18,645
Engine: 1,254cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC 4-stroke flat twin, one balance shaft and variable engine timing system BMW ShiftCam
Transmission/final drive: Constant-mesh 6-speed/shaft
Claimed horsepower: 136 hp (100 kW) @ 7,750 rpm
Claimed torque: 105 lb.-ft. (143 Nm) @ 6,250 rpm
Frame: Two-section frame w/ bolted-on rear frame, load-bearing engine
Front suspension: BMW Telelever w/ central spring strut; 4.7-in. travel
Rear suspension: Cast aluminum single-sided swingarm w/ BMW Paralever adjustable for spring preload, rebound damping; 5.4-in. travel
Front brake: 4-piston fixed calipers, dual floating 320mm discs
Rear brake: 2-piston floating caliper, 276mm disc
Wheels, front/rear: Cast aluminum, 120/70ZR-17 / 180/55 ZR-17
Rake/trail: 25.9˚/4.6 in. (116mm)
Wheelbase: 58.5 in. (1,485mm)
Seat height: High: 32.7/33.5 in., standard: 31.7/32.5 in., low: 29.9/30.7 in.
Fuel capacity: 6.6 gal. (25L) w/ 1 gal. reserve
Claimed weight: 609 lb. (wet)
Contact: bmw-motorrad.com

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com