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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


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The post 2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 | First Ride Review 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
Helmet:
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

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.

GEAR UP:
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
ENGINE
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
CHASSIS
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
PERFORMANCE
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.

(SCROLL DOWN FOR DETAIL IMAGE GALLERY)

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

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited | Road Test Review

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
Style, performance, weather protection, comfort, safety, infotainment – whatever a rider and passenger might need, the Pursuit provides. Photos by Kevin Wing.

Indian Motorcycle, now in its ninth model year since being relaunched under Polaris ownership, continues to expand its range of American-made V-Twins. Less beholden to tradition than Harley-Davidson, Indian has embraced liquid-cooled engines since the introduction of the Scout for 2015. The air-cooled Thunderstroke V-Twin is still available on Indian’s Chief, Springfield, and Roadmaster models, but radiators are found across the Scout cruiser and FTR street-tracker lineups, and the liquid-cooled PowerPlus 108 powers the Challenger bagger that was introduced for 2020.

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
Measuring 8.2 ft from stem to stern and weighing 925 lbs ready to ride, the Pursuit is large and in charge, just as an American luxury tourer should be.

Joining the Challenger for 2022 is the new Pursuit, a full-dress tourer that adds a top trunk with an integrated passenger backrest, vented fairing lowers, a Touring Comfort seat, and heated grips. The Pursuit is available in two versions: the Limited with chrome finishes (starting at $29,999) and the Dark Horse with blacked-out finishes (starting at $30,999).

Both versions of the Pursuit are available with a Premium Package ($3,000) that adds electronically adjustable rear suspension preload, Smart Lean Technology, integrated driving lights, and heated seats for both the rider and passenger.

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
The optional Premium Package includes Smart Lean Technology, which adds an IMU and cornering-adaptive ABS and traction control.

After the Pursuit was unveiled in February and first shown to the public at Daytona Bike Week, Rider got early access to a Premium-equipped Pursuit Limited for a full test.

Power to the People

All of Indian’s liquid-cooled V-Twins share some common elements. They have a 60-degree spread between their cylinders, four valves per cylinder, and high compression ratios. Unlike the DOHC valvetrain on the Scouts and FTRs, however, the PowerPlus 108 in the Challenger and Pursuit models uses SOHC with hydraulic cam-chain tensioners and hydraulic valve lash adjusters.

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
The PowerPlus 108 is a liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-Twin with SOHC, four valves per cylinder, and a 11.0:1 compression ratio that makes 113 lb-ft of torque and 108 hp at the rear wheel.

Indian went all-in with full conventional liquid cooling on the PowerPlus rather than the partial liquid cooling used on Harley-Davidson’s Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight. The frame downtubes on the Challenger and Pursuit wrap around a large black radiator to downplay its presence. Full liquid cooling improves an engine’s thermal efficiency, more effectively manages temperature in a wide range of conditions, and more easily satisfies increasingly stringent emissions regulations. Liquid cooling also improves performance, fuel efficiency, and comfort for the rider and passenger. Heat radiating from the engine was not a problem during our test of the Pursuit. Like other Indian tourers, it has rear-cylinder deactivation that kicks in when the bike is idling at a stop.

Displacing 108 cubic inches (1,768cc), the PowerPlus churns out a claimed 128 lb-ft of torque and 122 hp at the crank. After working its way through the clutch, gearbox, and belt final drive, engine output was 113 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm and 108 hp at 5,600 rpm at the rear wheel on Jett Tuning’s dyno. Even though a pair of big 4.25-inch pistons work through a 3.8-inch stroke, the PowerPlus revs eagerly from idle all the way to its 6,500-rpm redline.

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
Taking advantage of 31 degrees of cornering clearance.

The Pursuit Limited with the Premium Package weighs a hefty 925 lbs, but it pulls away from stops authoritatively and lunges forward with quick twists of the throttle. Three ride modes – Standard, Sport, and Rain – adjust the throttle-response map to suit conditions or preferences. When it’s time to just cruise, shifting into the overdriven top gear of the 6-speed constant-mesh transmission turns the engine at a relaxed 2,500 rpm at 60 mph, and cruise control is standard.

We’re In This Together

A big part of what distinguishes the Challenger from the Pursuit is the latter’s top trunk with integrated passenger backrest. A two-up test ride with my wife, Carrie, earned high marks for the passenger accommodations. The wrap-around backrest provides both comfort and security, and we both appreciate the firm-yet-supportive Touring Comfort seat. There are separate seat heating controls for the rider and passenger, with individual buttons on the left side of the seat. The Ride Command+ touchscreen can also be used to activate seat heaters as well as the heated grips.

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
The plush Touring Comfort seat has separate rider and passenger heating.

Carrie also liked the passenger footboards and speakers integrated into the backrest, which allowed her to hear and feel the music when we cranked up the tunes on the 100-watt audio system. What she was less enamored with, however, was the amount of bobblehead helmet buffeting she experienced when the electric windscreen was in the lowest position. That’s my favored position for the windscreen because it allows me to see over the top of the screen while providing wind protection for my upper torso.

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
Shown in its highest position, the windscreen is adjustable over a 3-inch range. The large vent at the bottom smooths airflow when the screen is raised.

Raising the windscreen to its highest position did a fantastic job of reducing turbulence and noise for both of us, though it forced me to look through the screen. With the screen all the way up, there’s an almost eerily quiet bubble within the cockpit, isolating the rider and passenger and allowing the thrum of the engine to be the primary soundtrack. In all, the windscreen has 3 inches of height range, so riders and passengers of different heights and preferences should be able to find a happy medium. On warmer days, opening the vents on the lowers and inner fairing boosts airflow through the cockpit.

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
Large vents in the fairing lowers can be opened or closed on the fly.

The electronically adjustable preload on the Fox rear shock is a convenient, useful feature. On the Ride Command+ touchscreen, the rider can make various selections: Solo or Passenger; No Luggage, Light Luggage, or Heavy Luggage; and Trunk or No Trunk. The rider’s weight can also be set, and preload can be fine-tuned up or down in two increments. The system is user-friendly and makes a significant difference in how the Pursuit handles under different load conditions. (It’s available as a $999.99 accessory upgrade on all 2022 Challenger and Pursuit models.)

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
The Pursuit’s radiator is discreetly tucked between the frame’s downtubes. Brembo 4-piston front calipers squeezing 320mm rotors are serious anchors, and ABS is standard.

Like the Challenger, the Pursuit delivers a comfortable ride and responds predictably and confidently to steering inputs when pushed hard through a series of corners. With 31 degrees of cornering clearance, the footboards rarely scrape the pavement. The frame-mounted fairing takes weight off the handlebar, giving the big tourer a neutral, low-effort steering feel when applying pressure to the grips.

Part of what gives the Pursuit such poise is its modular aluminum backbone frame, which is shared with the Challenger and similar to the one used on the Chieftain. The frame is rock-solid, and despite having hundreds of pounds of engine, motorcycle, humans, and gear trying to twist it out of shape, it remains as unmovable as a mountain. This is the same frame that, by regulation, must be kept in stock form for the MotoAmerica King Of The Baggers series, where Indian’s factory team regularly wins races on Challengers.

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
Thanks to a stout modular aluminum backbone frame, the Pursuit feels solid and responsive at speed and in corners. The suspension is tuned more for comfort than performance, but it holds its own with the rear preload set properly.

A pair of 4-piston Brembo front calipers clamping down on big 320mm rotors and a 2-piston Brembo rear caliper squeezing a 298mm rotor provide prodigious stopping power. The front brake lever is adjustable for reach, but the clutch lever is not. ABS and TC are standard on the Pursuit, and the Premium Package goes a step further by adding an IMU that enables lean-angle-adaptive ABS and TC as well as drag-torque control.

Take It with You

The Pursuit’s top trunk is the same one used on Roadmaster models, and it’s a cavernous cavity that holds two full-face helmets. It’s also lined with durable gray fabric and has a 12-volt power socket. If the Pursuit’s 35 gallons (132 liters) of storage aren’t enough, the trunk has a chrome luggage rack on top for lashing down your kitchen sink. The keyless fob has buttons to lock and unlock the luggage remotely. There are also two small, non-locking storage cubbies in the fairing, and the one on the right has a USB port for connecting/charging a smartphone or thumb drive. Under a flip cover on the dash is another 12-volt outlet, so none of your devices should feel neglected.

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
The Pursuit’s trunk has 17 gallons (64.4 liters) of cargo capacity – enough to hold two full-face helmets. A 12-volt power socket keeps devices charged as you ride.

Indian’s Ride Command+ is one of the most feature-rich and flexible infotainment systems available. Mission control is the 7-inch touchscreen, which has multiple screens for vehicle info, settings, navigation, music, and more. A button on the left switchgear allows riders to quickly toggle through the screens, and there are five prominent buttons below the screen to directly access specific functions. Vehicle/trip info screens can be customized by moving or swapping out different widgets, so you always have your favorite stats in one place.

Ride Command+ includes tire-pressure monitoring, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay integration (which requires an iPhone and a Bluetooth headset), GPS navigation with turn-by-turn directions and built-in points of interest, and a customizable route builder that allows riders to add up to 100 waypoints. Pursuit owners get a free year of Ride Command+ connected features, which include live traffic and weather overlays, as well as a new vehicle locator feature that works through Indian’s Ride Command mobile app or website (after the first year, a Ride Command+ subscription costs $99.99/year).

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
Indian’s Ride Command+ is one of the best infotainment systems available. Electronically adjustable rear preload can be set using the touchscreen.

Hot Pursuit

Baggers and tourers are big motorcycles that can pack in a lot of performance, technology, and amenities. But without style they’d be like the shy, pimply-faced teenager at the school dance, staring at his shoes with no one to dance with. Going down the road in a big American V-Twin needs to make a visual statement.

Leading the charge is a trim fender topped with an illuminated Indian headdress ornament. The fender hugs a 19-inch Sport Contrast Cut cast-aluminum front wheel, which is paired with a 16-incher out back, and both are shod with Metzeler Cruisetec tires. The Pursuit’s massive, wide-mouth, frame-mounted fairing has a large central LED headlight flanked by LED running lights/turnsignals.

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited

GEAR UP
Helmet: HJC RPHA 1N
Jacket: Highway 21 Winchester
Gloves: Highway 21 Trigger
Pants: Highway 21 Blockhouse Jeans
Boots: Highway 21 Axle Shoe

Outboard of the frame downtubes are highway bars and large fairing lowers that provide leg protection and house driving lights (on Premium-equipped models). Toward the rear are tip-over bars just ahead of the saddlebags, and the bags have black-plastic panels that protect their leading edges and lower sides from rock chips and other road debris.

Our Pursuit Limited test bike is painted a lustrous Deepwater Metallic blue (it’s also available in Black Metallic and Maroon Metallic over Crimson Metallic; the Pursuit Dark Horse is available in four other colorways), and it has just the right amount of chrome and Indian badging. The Pursuit’s trunk gives it more visual weight at the rear to balance out the large fairing. Overall, it’s a handsome machine that will make owners feel a sense of pride and confidence when going down the road or parking it on bike night.

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
Total storage capacity on the Pursuit is 35 gallons (132 liters), including the top trunk, saddlebags, and storage cubbies in the front fairing. There’s also a luggage rack on the trunk, and accessory storage compartments can be added to the fairing lowers.

It’s About the Ride

With my feet up on the floorboards and my fundament down in the diamond-stitched seat, taking a long ride on the Pursuit reminded me of why we picked the Challenger as our 2020 Motorcycle of the Year. As we wrote in our September 2020 issue:

“The PowerPlus 108 … offers the performance, comfort, and lower emissions that only liquid cooling can provide, and delivers impressive grunt and smoothness with the rumbling character that makes V-Twins so popular. That plus muscular, modern style, an excellent chassis, a full range of available technology, generous wind protection and luggage capacity, and plenty of long-haul comfort make the Challenger a really great bagger.”

The Pursuit advances to the Challenger platform with greater touring capability, improving comfort, convenience, weather protection, and cargo capacity. Equipped with the Premium Package, the Pursuit Limited and Pursuit Dark Horse are fully featured and leave nothing on the table. Still, motorcyclists love to customize their machines. Indian’s accessories include performance upgrades, speakers for the fairing lowers and saddlebag lids, a Pathfinder Adaptive LED headlight, and more.

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited

Passionate V-Twin fans love to debate the merits of air versus liquid cooling, loud versus quiet exhausts, different vee angles, and much else, but the bottom line is that cruising down the road on a big V-Twin touring bike is deeply satisfying. The pulse and relaxed cadence of the engine, the solidity and security of a heavyweight machine, and the go-all-day comfort always feels good and never gets old. Whether it’s a short ride to blow out the cobwebs or a weeklong journey to escape and explore, the enjoyment is a renewable resource, the gift that keeps on giving. Life, liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness.

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited Specs

Base Price: $29,999
Price as Tested: $33,749 (Premium Package, Deepwater Metallic color)
Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles
Website: indianmotorcycle.com

ENGINE
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 60-degree V-Twin, SOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,768cc (108ci)
Bore x Stroke: 108.0 x 96.5mm
Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
Valve Insp. Interval: N/A (self-adjusting)
Fuel Delivery: EFI, 52mm dual-bore throttle body x 2
Lubrication System: Semi-wet sump, 5-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated assist wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt

CHASSIS
Frame: Modular cast aluminum w/ engine as stressed member & cast aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 65.7 in.
Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/5.9 in.
Seat Height: 26.5 in.
Suspension, Front: 43mm inverted fork, no adj., 5.1 in. travel
Rear: Single shock, electronically adj. for spring preload (as tested), 4.5 in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 320mm floating discs w/ 4-piston radial calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 298mm floating disc w/ 2-piston caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 19 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.00 x 16 in.
Tires, Front: 130/60-B19
Rear: 180/60-R16
Wet Weight: 925 lbs
Load Capacity: 460 lbs
GVWR: 1,385 lbs

PERFORMANCE
Horsepower: 108 hp @ 5,600 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Torque: 113 @ 3,500 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Fuel Capacity: 6.0 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 34 mpg
Estimated Range: 204 miles

2022 Indian Pursuit Limited

The post 2022 Indian Pursuit Limited | Road Test Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited | Road Test Review

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
The Spyder RT Limited is Can-Am’s fully loaded touring model, with generous rider and passenger accommodations, ample luggage capacity, and many other comfort and convenience features.

BRP’s Can-Am three-wheelers have come a long way since the first model was introduced back in 2007. What started out as a single Spyder roadster powered by a 998cc V-Twin has grown into three distinct platforms that include a total of 10 models, with base prices ranging from $8,999 to $29,999.

There’s the light, sporty Ryker platform, which includes a base model available with a 600cc parallel-Twin or 900cc inline-Triple, plus 900cc Sport and Rally models. Each has a Sport or Rally ride mode that allows playful drifting on pavement or dirt.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited

Next up is the feet-forward, cruiser-touring Spyder F3 platform, with four models powered by a 1,330cc in-line Triple, including the F3, the F3-S Special Series, the F3-T with saddlebags, and the F3 Limited full-dress tourer. For luxury touring, there is the Spyder RT platform, with three models also powered by a 1,330cc Triple: the RT, the RT Limited, and the ultra-primo RT Sea-To-Sky.

The “Y” in the Spyder and Ryker names refers to the two-wheels-in-front, one-wheel-out-back configuration. Unlike trike conversions or sidecar rigs where a third wheel is grafted onto a two-wheeled motorcycle, Can-Am Spyders and Rykers were designed from the ground up as three-wheelers. With two wheels in front and three automotive-size contact patches, they are incredibly stable.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
With two widely spaced front wheels, the Spyder stays planted in curves.

We’ve tested many Spyder and Ryker models, but our last test of a Spyder RT Limited was back in 2013. Upgrades to the platform over the years made us eager to reacquaint ourselves with Can-Am’s big tourer.

Ace In The Hole

Propelling the RT Limited down the road is a liquid-cooled, 1,330cc ACE (Advanced Combustion Efficiency) inline-Triple that’s made in Austria by BRP-owned Rotax. Its 120-degree crankshaft gives it perfect primary balance, and a gear-driven counterbalancer offsets the secondary and rocking-couple vibrations. Maintenance is minimized with self-adjusting valves and belt final drive. Claimed output is 115 hp at 7,250 rpm and 96 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm, modest figures for a machine said to weigh 1,021 lbs dry (the engine alone weighs 246 lbs).

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
The spacious cockpit has comfortable seats and offers good wind protection.

GEAR UP
Helmet: Arai Regent-X
Jacket: Dainese D-Air Smart Jacket LS
Gloves: Dainese M1G C2 Gloves
Pants: Rev’It Piston Jeans
Boots: Wolverine 1000 Mile

Given that its power-to-weight ratio is about half that of many motorcycles, one might think the Spyder’s acceleration would suffer accordingly. But you’d be wrong. With ample torque on tap throughout the rev range, the big RT blasts away from stops and launches out of corners, delivering smile-inducing exhilaration. Jackrabbit starts can even break the rear tire loose briefly before the traction control kicks in.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited

Using paddle shifters on the left switchgear, the 6-speed semi-automatic transmission delivers lightning-fast upshifts. When ridden hard, each shift delivers a visceral power surge that eggs riders on. You can manually paddle shift into lower gears, or the electronically controlled transmission will do it automatically as you slow down, and it shifts into neutral at a stop. The Spyder has an electrically actuated parking brake, and when it comes time to back out of a downhill parking space, the reverse mode is a huge benefit.

The Spyder uses a throttle-by-wire system that sometimes delivers delayed responses. Both the standard and Eco ride modes exhibited a noticeable hitch in initial throttle application, and irregular power pulses plague the fuel-efficient Eco mode at lower speeds. Those issues fall to the wayside once the Spyder gets rolling, and the big Triple remains ultra-smooth throughout the rest of the rev range.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited

Out on the open road, the RT Limited gallops along with ease. In 6th gear, the Spyder maintains 70 mph at 3,600 rpm, nowhere near its 8,100-rpm redline, and its relaxed engine speed keeps vibration and harshness to a minimum. A couple taps on the paddle shifter gets the engine closer to its torque peak to make a quick pass. Or you can set the cruise control, lean back, and enjoy the ride.

Stable Is As Stable Does

In addition to its Y-architecture, one of the Spyder’s early innovations was its Vehicle Stability System (VSS), which integrates ABS, EBD (electronic brake-force distribution), TCS (Traction Control System), and SCS (Stability Control System). As far back as the original 2007 Spyder, based on inputs from an array of steering, engine speed, wheel speed, and other sensors, VSS would reduce engine power or brake individual wheels to keep the vehicle under control. Those early models were also equipped with Can-Am’s Dynamic Powering Steering.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
Using inputs from an array of sensors, the Spyder’s Vehicle Stability System applies brake pressure to the outside wheel as needed.

The Spyder’s electronic rider aids have evolved steadily over the last 15 years. The same basic systems described above are used on current models, but they are more advanced, so they respond more quickly and intervene more gradually. Also standard on the RT Limited is hill-hold control, which maintains brake pressure on inclines to make it easier to pull away from a stop.

Suspending the Spyder is a trio of Sachs shocks, with two non-adjustable Big-Bore shocks in front and a self-leveling air shock out back. Thanks to double A-arms with an anti-roll bar in front, each wheel moves independently and the vehicle stays planted over irregular pavement and off-camber turns. The shocks are calibrated to deliver a comfortable ride, and they soak up a lot of abuse without upsetting the chassis. With three separate wheel tracks, however, it can be a challenge to dodge big potholes or debris in the road.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
Even though the Spyder’s curb weight tops half a ton, its smooth, torquey 1,330cc Triple hauls the mail.

Lean In

The Spyder’s reverse-trike layout maximizes stability and traction, but the additional wheel also changes the steering dynamics. For riders accustomed to countersteering on two-wheeled motorcycles, there can be an adjustment period. For those with experience on ATVs or snowmobiles, the Spyder’s conventional steering will feel second-nature. To turn, you simply apply pressure to the outside handlebar. To hold a line, you need to maintain that pressure.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
Sporty spoked wheels are shod with grippy tires, and Brembo brakes offer serious stopping power.

To help overcome the turning resistance of the Spyder’s two big contact patches in front, the Dynamic Power Steering system provides more assistance at low speeds and less assistance at high speeds. Still, because those dinner plate-sized front contact patches grab onto more pavement than the single, small contact patch on a motorcycle, Spyders can be sensitive to small inputs at speed. Early models often felt darty, a tendency that has been reduced but not fully eliminated on newer models. As riders rack up miles, they adapt and adjust their steering inputs accordingly.

When cornering at speed, leaning one’s body into the turn helps counteract centrifugal forces. It doesn’t make the Spyder turn quicker, but it helps the rider feel more planted and in control. Whereas early Spyders had both a brake lever on the handlebar and a brake pedal – using either applied brake pressure to all three wheels – newer models use only a brake pedal. For riders used to the finer motor control of their right hand for modulating brake pressure, using only a foot pedal can take some getting used to. With those three big contact patches and triple-disc brakes, the Spyder scrubs off speed quickly and stops on a dime.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
All lighting is LED, and inboard of the front wheels are twin radiators to keep the Spyder’s big engine cool.

Lap of Luxury

The RT Limited and the RT Sea-To-Sky, the latter featuring exclusive styling upgrades, are Can-Am’s top-of-the-line touring models. Standard equipment includes an electric windscreen, an integrated passenger backrest, heated grips, and heated pilot and passenger seats. The Spyder’s side panniers, top case, and front trunk offer a prodigious total of 47 gallons (177 liters) of storage for long-distance adventures.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
The RT Limited’s rider and passenger seats are as comfortable as they come.

Can-Am’s LinQ system allows the top case to be easily removed and reinstalled. The top case can also be swapped out with various LinQ accessories, such as a rear rack, a stand-alone passenger backrest, and bags of various sizes.

For those who want additional storage, the RT Limited has a towing capacity of 400 lbs. Can-Am’s accessory catalog includes trailer hitches and other towing accessories. Can-Am no longer offers its Freedom trailer, but the RT Limited is calibrated to work with earlier versions, and it is compatible with aftermarket trailers.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
Including the Spyder’s exclusive front trunk, total luggage capacity is 47 gallons (177 liters). Towing capacity is 400 lbs.

Both rider and passenger seats provide ample comfort and support for extended road trips, and they have separate heating controls. The broad seat pan paired with generous plush padding and a lumbar-supporting rear bolster promote comfort in the saddle and hold the rider in place during cornering. The handlebars sweep back to the rider for relaxed, easy steering, while the large rider footboards and adjustable passenger footboards allow both pilot and pillion to adjust their foot positions and stretch their legs.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
Long footboards allow riders to change foot position and knee angle, and the passenger footboards are height-adjustable.

The Spyder’s cozy confines encourage mile-munching journeys, but the infotainment system seems dated when compared to its contemporary counterparts. The 7.8-inch color LCD panel lacks the vibrance and visual detail of the TFT displays found on other luxury touring machines. It does provide a wealth of information, however, including a speedometer, a tachometer, a gear-position indicator, fuel level, ambient temperature, and other trip-related details.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
The light-on-dark instrument panel is easy to read, and the hand controls and buttons are user-friendly.

Standard equipment on the RT Limited includes the BRP Audio Premium system with six speakers (four in front, two in back), a radio, and connectivity via USB and Bluetooth. The system can be controlled via buttons on the left switchgear, and the front storage compartment has a USB port for device connectivity and charging. The audio system envelopes the rider and passenger in sound, and volume automatically rises and falls in relation to the vehicle’s speed.

Additional connectivity is available by pairing a smartphone via the BRP Connect app, which allows riders to view texts and make/receive calls or listen to music using a Bluetooth headset. BRP Connect integrates other apps as well, such as REVER, Pandora, and AccuWeather, and they can be controlled through the Spyder’s switchgear.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
The RT Limited has an SE6 semi-automatic transmission, reverse mode, and an electric parking brake.

Three Wheelin’

Starting at $27,499, the Spyder RT Limited is price competitive against luxury touring motorcycles such as the Honda Gold Wing (starting at $28,500) and Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited (starting at $28,729), but it’s significantly less expensive than Harley’s factory trike, the Tri-Glide Ultra (starting at $35,699). All offer generous rider and passenger accommodations, ample storage capacity, infotainment systems, and smooth, torque-rich engines.

From its Y-architecture and Vehicle Stability System to its “frunk” (front trunk), paddle-shifting semi-automatic transmission, and foot-pedal-only combined braking system, the Spyder is a unique powersports vehicle. Two-wheel riders may dismiss it because it doesn’t lean, but the Spyder offers an open-air riding experience for those who do not want to balance and manage a heavyweight touring motorcycle. The RT Limited offers a one-of-a-kind mix of comfort, stability, safety, and touring capability. Prepare to be impressed.

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited

2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited

Base Price: $27,499
Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles w/ roadside assistance
Website: can-am.brp.com
ENGINE
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line Triple, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,330cc
Bore x Stroke: 84.0 x 80.0mm
Compression Ratio: 12.2:1
Valve Insp. Interval: N/A (self-adjusting)
Fuel Delivery: Electronic fuel injection w/ throttle-by-wire
Lubrication System: Dry sump, 5.0 qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, semi-automatic w/ reverse
Final Drive: Belt
CHASSIS
Frame: Surrounding Spar Technology steel center beam
Wheelbase: 67.5 in.
Rake/Trail: N/A
Seat Height: 29.7 in.
Suspension, Front: Double A-arm w/ anti-roll bar & dual shocks, no adj., 6.9 in. travel
Rear: Single shock w/ self-leveling air preload adj., 6.0 in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 270mm discs w/ 4-piston fixed calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 270mm disc w/ 1-piston floating caliper, integrated parking brake & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast aluminum, 5.0 x 15 in.
Rear: Cast aluminum, 7.0 x 15 in.
Tires, Front: 165/55-R15
Rear: 225/50-R15
Dry Weight: 1,021 lbs
Load Capacity: 494 lbs
PERFORMANCE
Horsepower: 115 hp @ 7,250 rpm (claimed)
Torque: 96 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm (claimed)
Fuel Capacity: 7 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 32 mpg
Estimated Range: 224 miles

The post 2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited | Road Test Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 | First Ride Review

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 review
The 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 blends authentic style with modern engineering. Photos by Brandon Bunch.

Few motorcycle manufacturers can hold claim to the word “classic” with as much legitimacy as Royal Enfield. Having launched its first motorcycle at the Stanley Cycle Show in London in 1901, it’s the oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production. Now, 121 years later, we have the 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350.

Check out Rider‘s 2022 Motorcycle Buyers Guide

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 review
The 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 is available in nine color-style combinations. On the left is the Dark Stealth Black version with cast wheels and tubeless tires. On the right is the Signals Marsh Grey with spoked wheels and tube-type tires. MSRP for both is $4,599.

One of Royal Enfield’s best-known models – the Bullet – was produced from 1931 until 2020, and it was available with either a 346cc or 499cc air-cooled Single. In 2021, Royal Enfield introduced the Meteor 350, a cruiser powered by a 349ccc air-/oil-cooled, SOHC, 2-valve, fuel-injected Single with a 5-speed gearbox. The Classic 350, which brings back the styling that made the Bullet such an iconic bike, is built around the same engine.

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 review
The Classic 350 is powered by a 349ccc air-/oil-cooled, SOHC, 2-valve, fuel-injected Single with a 5-speed gearbox.

Built in Chennai, India, since 1955, Royal Enfields are designed for an enormous segment of the global market – those who want reliable, affordable small to mid-sized motorcycles. Over a 12-year production run, from 2008 to 2020, Royal Enfield produced and sold three million examples of the Classic 500, known here in the U.S. as the Bullet C5 Classic.

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 review
Everything about riding the Royal Enfield Classic 350 is relaxed and enjoyable.

Gear Up:
Helmet: Arai Defiant-X
Jacket: Highway 21 Winchester
Gloves: Highway 21 Trigger
Pants: Highway 21 Blockhouse Jeans
Boots: Highway 21 Axle Shoes

Royal Enfield North America hosted the press launch of the Classic 350 in Savannah, Georgia, a classic Southern city established in 1733 on the banks of the Savannah River. On hand were two variants of the Classic 350, both retailing for $4,599: Dark models, available in Gunmetal Gray or Stealth Black, with a blacked-out powertrain and 10-spoke cast wheels with tubeless tires; and Signals models, available in Desert Sand or Marsh Grey, with 1950s military-style graphics and spoked wheels with tube-type tires. The Signals models are inspired by Royal Enfield’s long association with India’s armed forces.

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 review
Savannah, Georgia, is a charming Southern city with squares that create mini-parks filled with enormous oak trees dripping with Spanish moss.

RELATED: 2022 Royal Enfield Scram 411 | First Look Review

Later this year, Royal Enfield will release the Halcyon collection inspired by 1950s-era British roadsters. Halcyon Forest Green, Halcyon Black, and Halcyon Blue will retail for $4,499, while the Chrome Red and Chrome Brown models with a mirror tank finish and special badging are priced at $4,699.

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 review
Too legit to quit.

Like the Meteor, the Classic 350 was a collaborative effort by Royal Enfield’s design teams in the U.K. and India. They endeavored to create a motorcycle that seamlessly blends authentic styling and ride character with modern necessities like electronic fuel injection, disc brakes, and dual-channel ABS. All Royal Enfields are built in a state-of-the-art, ISO-9001-certified manufacturing facility and backed by a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty with roadside assistance.

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 review
The Classic 350’s tank holds 3.4 gals.

As pleasing as the Classic 350 is to look at while parked on one of Savannah’s brick-paved streets, it’s even more enjoyable to ride. Its relaxed, neutral seating position accommodates riders of all shapes and sizes, and its engine abides riders of all skill levels. Hit the starter and the Single burbles to life, delivering a pleasant, visceral pulse feel and a heartwarming exhaust note that your grandmother would love.

RELATED: 2022 Royal Enfield Himalayan | First Ride Review

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 review
Riding up and over the Talmadge Memorial Bridge, which rises 574 ft above the Savannah River to allow freighters to pass underneath.

Royal Enfield claims 20 hp and 20 lb-ft of torque at the crank. When we tested a Meteor 350, it sent 18 hp at 6,200 rpm and 18 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm to its chain-driven rear wheel. Built around a heavy steel frame and weighing 430 lbs ready to ride, the Classic 350 isn’t exactly a featherweight. Add in a full-grown adult male compressing the 31.7-inch seat’s foam, and the result is a languid, unhurried experience. The engine revs at a relaxed pace, and acceleration lacks urgency. Top speed is about 75 mph.

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 review
The Classic 350 is as friendly as a puppy dog, and it felt right at home in old-town Savannah.

Horsepower and speed, however, are not the appropriate measuring sticks for the Classic 350. It’s the sort of motorcycle that embraces the slower pace of life that comes with molasses-thick humidity and lazy afternoons. What’s the rush?

Classic 350s will pound the pavement of rough, neglected roads the world over, and its suspension and brakes are designed to take abuse. The 41mm non-adjustable fork with 5.1 inches of travel and twin emulsion rear shocks with adjustable preload and 3.5 inches of travel were chosen for their durability and affordability. Ride quality is good but not great, right in line with expectations. Likewise, the ByBre disc brakes, with a 2-piston front caliper squeezing a 300mm rotor and a 1-piston rear caliper squeezing a 270mm disc, provide modest but predictable stopping power.

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 review
Just what you need and nothing you don’t.

With a 19-inch front wheel and an 18-inch rear, the Classic 350 rolls over road imperfections with ease. Its Ceat Zoom Plus tires, which are also made in India, are narrow – 100/90-19 front, 120/80-18 rear – and contribute to the bike’s quick steering.

It’s hard not to love a motorcycle like the Classic 350. It’s a time capsule, an attention-getter, and – like that 1960s ad campaign for Tab diet cola – a “mindsticker.” Riding around the streets of Savannah, every time our get-along gang of journos stopped at a red light or a crosswalk, locals and tourists alike stopped in their tracks and asked, “Hey, what kind of bike is that?”

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 review

Ride a Royal Enfield Classic 350 and you’ll make new friends, and that never gets old.

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Specs
Base Price: $4,599
Warranty: 3 yrs., unltd. miles w/ roadside assistance
Website: royalenfield.com
Engine Type: Air-cooled Single, SOHC w/ 2 valves
Horsepower: 20 hp @ 6,100 rpm (claimed)
Torque: 20 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm (claimed)
Displacement: 349cc
Bore x Stroke: 72.0 x 85.8mm
Transmission: 5-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 54.7 in.
Rake/Trail: 26 degrees/4.4 in.
Seat Height: 31.7 in.
Wet Weight: 430 lbs (90% fuel)
Fuel Capacity: 3.4 gals.

The post 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo | Road Test Review

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
The KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo is a torque monster. Once wheelie control is turned off, it will lift the front wheel on command. Experts only, please. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

Some motorcycles are like Buddha, such as a Gold Wing gliding down the road in near silence, its deep bucket seat cradling your fundament and scarcely a vibration felt at the feet and hands. Others are like mad dogs, snarling and pulling at their chains, ready to rip, tear, and lacerate at a moment’s notice. The original KTM 1290 Super Duke R was pretty much the latter – an idealized naked hyperbike that was introduced in 2014. It had terrific power, satisfying daily-rider ergonomics, and the immediate response that earmarks most race machines. KTM’s “Ready to Race” slogan was aptly fulfilled.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
The 1,301cc V-Twin is the star of the show, and the Super Duke’s minimal bodywork and trellis frame does little to hide it.

Now, after eight years of evolution, the latest-gen 1290 Super Duke R Evo goes further with the addition of multi-mode semi-active WP suspension to the KTM’s existing electronic elements, including throttle-by-wire, ride modes (which adjust throttle response and engine power), cornering ABS and traction control, wheelie control, cruise control, and more. Our test bike was equipped with the Tech Pack, a $899.99 option that adds an up/down quickshifter, Motor Slip Regulation (MSR), Suspension Pro, and Track Pack.

The settings may be configured statically or on the fly via multifunction switchgear on the left handlebar. The multilayered menu appears bright and crisp, day or night, on a 4.8-inch color TFT screen, which also includes a hockey-stick-style tachometer, a large digital speedometer, a gear-position indicator, and various annunciators.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
With its top-shelf components and comprehensive electronics, the KTM is designed to work equally well on road or track.

FIRE ME UP

Let’s take a ride. There is no traditional ignition key, but rather an electronic transponder with a flip-out key that’s used only to unlock the seat. Approach within a few feet of the bike and the transponder and machine connect wirelessly. A quick press of the master power button on the right handlebar unlocks the fork and gas cap and illuminates the instrument panel.

From there, climb aboard and tag the start button. The highly tuned 1,301cc DOHC 75-degree V-Twin whirs and churns like a Massey Ferguson before firing and settling into a grumbling baritone idle through its enormous stainless headers. Sound pressure recorded at idle at helmet height was 88 decibels. And it gets louder as the revs build, naturally along with wind noise.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
Bikes in KTM’s naked and adventure lineups share a common design language, with a vertically split headlight surrounded by a daytime running light.

While the liquid-cooled motor warms up – we found the KTM to be somewhat coldblooded – use the opportunity to configure the electronic engine and chassis parameters for the ride. Which invites a fair question: What kind of ride?

First, select a ride mode: Street, Rain, and Sport modes are standard, while Performance and Track modes are part of the optional Track Pack. Next, select a suspension damping mode: Comfort, Street, and Sport are standard, along with electronically adjustable rear preload (in 2mm increments). Track, Advanced, and Automatic modes are part of the optional Suspension Pro package, which also adds automatic preload leveling with three modes (Low, Standard, and High). You can also turn off both traction control and MSR, turn off the quickshifter, and select an ABS mode (Road or Supermoto, which deactivates ABS at the rear wheel). Or not. Everything can be left in default settings, and you can just grab a gear and go.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
The scratch-and glare-resistant TFT display shows speed in a big, bold font with a hockey stick-style tachometer at the top.

It would take much more space than we have available to review all the settings and permutations. It takes some time to get familiar with everything, but for most riders the only settings that will be regularly changed are ride mode and suspension mode. Two customizable profiles allow riders to configure their favorite settings and toggle between them using a switch on the right handlebar. Set it and forget it.

CREATURE COMFORT

Let’s start the ride with the default Street ride mode and the genial Comfort suspension mode to get a baseline understanding of how the semi-active suspension interplays with the carryover electronics. It’s surprising what a pleasant motorcycle the 1290 SD-R Evo is with these soft settings. The suspension – a 48mm WP inverted fork, a linked monoshock, and a single-sided swingarm – is surprisingly comfy. Rowing across town, I found the steering characteristics to be pure joy. The Super Duke is nimble and agreeable for any necessary urban maneuver, from tight turns to quick lane changes to streaking away from offensive traffic.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
KTM’s optional Suspension Pro package adds an anti-dive function to the semi-active suspension, preventing the fork from compressing excessively under heavy braking.

GEAR UP
Helmet: Arai Quantum-X
Jacket: Alpinestars Hyper Drystar
Gloves: Alpinestars SMX-2
Pants: Alpinestars Victory Denim
Boots: Alpinestars Faster-3 Rideknit

Switching to the Street suspension mode, the ride quality still proved fine for a rabid naked bike making a claimed 180 hp. So is the engine’s vibration signature, a minor miracle in that the motor is bolted solidly to the space frame’s thin-wall chromoly tubing, and serves as a stressed member. The motocross-style tapered aluminum handlebar wears a pair of 6-oz bar-end mass dampers, which change the bar’s resonant frequency to quell engine-induced vibration in the grips.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
The semi-active suspension is made by KTM subsidiary WP. An array of electronic sensors and actuators adjust damping in real-time based on conditions and riding behavior.

Breaking free of town onto a winding two-lane highway, I toggled to Sport mode for both ride and suspension, which firmed up damping characteristics and shock spring preload, quickened throttle response, unleashed full power, and loosened up traction and wheelie control. Like observing a dog perking up its ears, the countenance of the Super Duke noticeably sharpened. Gone was the relaxed, easy cadence of Comfort and Street modes; Sport settings picked up the pace, and so did I. Ride aggressively or casually, Honey Badger don’t care.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
Bikes equipped with Suspension Pro have six suspension damping modes and three automatic rear preload modes.

In fact, the twin-spark engine is so flexible, it can just lug around as a torque monster or rage to its 10,250-rpm redline. On Jett Tuning’s dyno, the KTM generated 166 hp at 10,000 rpm and 96 lb-ft of torque at 8,400 rpm at the rear wheel in Sport mode. Horsepower increases steadily with revs, while torque is prodigious throughout the rev range, exceeding 80 lb-ft from 4,000 rpm to redline.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo

In town, the profiles and contact patches of the Bridgestone Battlax HyperSport S22 radials – 120/70-ZR17 front and fat 200/55-ZR17 rear – proved most agreeable. Linear, predictable, and confidence-inspiring. With their fine-particle silica compound, these refined treads are said to excel in conditions from rain to racetracks. We hit neither on this test, but on every mile of street, road, and freeway we covered, they proved highly satisfying.

A word now about seating. Though dimensionally small, the pilot’s seat feels more standard than sportbike. In other words, it’s just right for most riding activities. (If you want to go sport-touring, check out KTM’s accessory Ergo rider’s and pillion seats.) With no front fairing or windscreen, it’s full wind blast, baby. Complementing the fine steering geometry, the ergonomics are refreshingly sensible compared to superbikes – that is, except for the wide tank/airbox combination that splays knees unnaturally. Further, with its hard finishing panel at the rear, the tank can be a ballbreaker if sudden braking intrudes.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
With ride modes, suspension modes, ABS modes, and other settings, the 1290 Super Duke R Evo is highly configurable. Though nicknamed The Beast, the KTM can play many roles, from docile to hyperactive.

ALL IN

For the most fun part of this test, high above the city on empty mountain roads, I toggled to the Track ride mode, which is included as part of the Tech Pack. It maximizes throttle response and power, allows rear wheelspin to be adjusted on the fly over nine levels, and turns off wheelie control. (A more street-oriented Performance mode offers the same features, but also allows riders to use cruise control and the KTM MY RIDE multimedia system.)

In Track mode, everything gets really focused. Throttle response, already made more direct thanks to the new 65-degree quick-turn throttle (reduced by 7 degrees), which also helps reduce wrist angle and elbow drop at full throttle, becomes immediate. The Track suspension mode likewise dramatically firms things up. Although harder-edged, these settings make the Super Duke the ultimate confidence-inspiring machine for attacking road or track. With so much horsepower cued up and lacking the runoff of a modern racetrack, I backed out of this after several miles and reverted to the slightly more docile Sport ride and suspension modes.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo

Our test of the Super Duke R Evo revealed its complete mastery of all kinds of roads, including fast sweepers and tight corners, off-camber bends, and varied surfaces. Throughout, it required no undue tugging of the handlebar to change directions, engaged in no weird chassis hijinks or bobbles, and stayed faithful and true in whatever conditions appeared. Building such a tenable package is complicated, requiring a refined blend of chassis geometry and stiffness, mass placement, suspension design and tuning, power delivery, adaptive electronics, and way more. And the Bridgestones make it all work, whether at trolling speeds or lightspeed. All primary controls – including throttle, clutch, shifter, and front and rear brakes – are balanced with a well-connected feel.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
Switchgear and menus are intuitive.

There are a few demerits, but they’re relatively minor balanced against the total 1290 SD-R Evo package. Some of the handlebar switches are poorly shaped. Particularly egregious is the triangular turnsignal switch; activation feel is fine, but canceling requires pushing what feels like the pointy end of a carpenter’s pencil. Additionally, the headlight high/low switch, toggled by the left forefinger, should be larger, and the horn button is too far from the left thumb. And that 3.2-inch horn! I’m sure it’s stamped with the letters “moo,” emitting barely a plebian bleat no better than a newborn calf’s. Riders deserve better, and not just Super Duke pilots. Lastly, while I was personally happy with the clutch and front brake lever adjustability, the thumbscrews are small, and the adjustment range might not satisfy riders with small hands. Balancing this, the shift lever and rear brake pedal (and fork stops) are also adjustable, albeit with some light wrench work.

The Super Duke R Evo’s optional quickshifter can be turned on or off through the electronics menu. It works spectacularly for rapid upshifts, but is quite sensitive, and so a careless touch of the gear shift lever interrupts power. Admittedly, this only caused problems during particularly aggressive riding. Bottom line, for track duty or raging up a mountain road, the quickshifter is a fine addition; for street riding, though, I was happier deactivating it.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
The Beast’s confidence-inspiring handling and stout motor are delightful when bending into corners and exploding out of them.

Part of the Suspension Pro package is a programmable anti-dive feature. I well remember hammering bikes with conventional inverted forks and cursing the nosebleed dives they’d make under hard braking while rushing downhill. No worries with the SD-R Evo, as this feature keeps the chassis more balanced and its rider happy. While eclipsing miles of narrow, twisting downhill road, the 1290’s chassis, Bridgestones, and Brembo brakes with Stylema 4-piston radial front calipers seamlessly mastered the conditions, with excellent feedback and precision. The tires offer an additional advantage of sticking even when they’re cool. Translation: Premium DOT sport tires are a great choice for the wide range of conditions that this improved Super Duke can handle.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo

TASTES GREAT, LESS FILLING

As much as I enjoyed my time aboard the 1290 while bending it into and out of undulating mountain corners, the KTM proved to be well-mannered on efficient-yet-boring freeways. That’s the real magic of bikes like this with fully customizable riding dynamics. You can tame the power, soften the suspension, and set the cruise control, all while queueing up your favorite song on your smartphone. At 70 mph on the freeway in 6th gear, the engine turns a relaxed 3,500 rpm. The motor seems to be at its smoothest exactly at this point, perfect for touring or droning commutes. On the highway, I found no detriments to the nimble steering geometry; the 1290 tracked beautifully and retained excellent stability.

Modern bikes like this latest Super Duke augment riding fun while reducing certain hassle factors. Pull into a gas station, drop the sidestand, hit the kill switch, and pop open the fuel filler without ever pulling the fob out of your pocket. From the 1290’s 4.2-gal. tank, over a mix of city, freeway, and mowing-down-the-mountain riding, we netted 35 mpg, yielding nearly 150 miles of range. The transponder that allows key-free unlocking, starting, and fueling also simplifies locking. When parked, hit the power button to shut down the bike, then hold it down again to lock the steering.

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
The Super Duke’s structural chassis uses a tubular-steel trellis main frame, a composite subframe, and a cast-aluminum single-sided swingarm.

During a night ride, I happily discovered that the Super Duke’s twin LED headlights are vastly better than the first Super Duke’s halogen system. KTM surrounded the headlight array (split up the center to feed twin ram-air openings) with a racy illuminated surround in white and orange, KTM’s signature colors. Thoughtfully, the headlight assembly can be quickly removed for track duty with three fasteners and an electrical plug. Same goes for the rear turnsignal/license plate assembly. The TFT display, which automatically adjusts background colors in low-light conditions, seems even more beautifully illuminated at night. The switchgear illumination is modest but gives a general idea where the key switches are.

The 2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo is a highly attractive motorcycle for riders with serious sporting intentions – and the skills to go with them. For me, it’s close to a perfect streetbike thanks to its instantaneous response, excellent dynamics and feel, agreeable ergonomics, and the added bandwidth of its new semi-active suspension. Let’s be clear though: In its most active state, a Super Duke pushes the boundaries of sanity for streetbike performance. Do we actually need such a device? Nope. Do we want one? Absolutely!

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo

2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo Specs

Base Price: $19,599
Price as Tested: $20,499 (Tech Pack)
Warranty: 1 yr., 12,000 miles
Website: ktm.com
ENGINE
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 75-degree V-Twin
Displacement: 1,301cc
Bore x Stroke: 108.0 x 71.0mm
Compression Ratio: 13.6:1
Valve Train: DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 18,600 miles
Fuel Delivery: Keihin EFI w/ 56mm throttle bodies x 2
Lubrication System: Dry sump, 3.7 qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated slip/assist wet clutch
Final Drive: X-ring chain
CHASSIS
Frame: Tubular-steel w/ engine as stressed member, composite subframe & cast aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 58.9 in.
Rake/Trail: 25.2 degrees/4.2 in.
Seat Height: 32.8 in.
Suspension, Front: 48mm inverted fork, electronically adj., 4.9 in. travel
Rear: Single shock, electronically adj., 5.5 in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 320mm discs w/ 4-piston radial monoblock calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 240mm disc w/ 2-piston caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast aluminum, 3.50 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast aluminum, 6.00 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 200/55-ZR17
Wet Weight: 466 lbs.
Load Capacity: 471 lbs.
GVWR: 937 lbs.
PERFORMANCE
Horsepower: 165.5 hp @ 10,000 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Torque: 95.9 lb-ft @ 8,400 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 35.3 mpg
Estimated Range: 149 miles

The post 2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo | Road Test Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST | Review

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST
King Of The Baggers champion Kyle Wyman (left) riding the street version of his Road Glide racebike next to racer and brother Travis Wyman on a Street Glide ST. Photos by Brian J. Nelson & Kevin Wing.

V-Twin baggers are regularly at the top of streetbike sales charts, and a perennial leader has been the Harley-Davidson Street Glide, with H-D’s Road Glide running close behind. The Glides are revered for the effortless way they trot along American roads accompanied by the loping cadence of their narrow-angle V-Twin motors.

Check out Rider‘s 2022 Motorcycle Buyers Guide

However, there are many Glide owners who put a greater emphasis on performance than on touring ability. The performance-bagger market continues to gain momentum, a trend Harley says is “a new breed of speed.” The incredibly popular King Of The Baggers (KOTB) roadracing series has added more fuel to the performance fire.

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST
The surging performance-bagger market is served by H-D’s new Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST.

To meet this market demand and to capitalize on its KOTB championship title, H-D proffers the new Glide ST brothers, available in Street and Road versions. Touring bikes for a new breed of riders, says the MoCo.

OUT COME THE BIG GUNS

If you’re gonna build a hot-rod bagger, there’s no better place to start than the engine, and so Harley plugs in the biggest gun in its arsenal. The Road and Street Glide STs are fitted with H-D’s biggest production motor, the 117ci Milwaukee-Eight, an upgrade over the 114ci V-Twin found in lesser models. This is the 117’s first appearance in a non-CVO Harley, firing out a tire-shredding 127 lb-ft of torque from its 1,923cc displacement. Harley says the 117 is a value proposition for riders who might otherwise invest in engine upgrades.

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST
The Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST are powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 117 V-Twin.

Black is the dominant theme, as brightwork is limited to the chrome pushrod tubes, tappet covers, and machined cylinder fins. Matte Dark Bronze finishes on the lower rocker box, timer cover medallion, and the medallion on the Heavy Breather intake provide subtle highlights.

SWITCHIN’ TO GLIDE

The FLHX Street Glide is perhaps the most ubiquitous motorcycle on American roads. Introduced in 2006 as an offshoot of the popular Electra Glide, they are both led by their iconic batwing fairings mounted to the handlebar.

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST
The Road Glide ST and its Street Glide brother are helping usher in the performance bagger trend in production bikes.

Harley’s FLTR Road Glide was introduced in 1998 as an evolution of the FLT Tour Glide from the 1980s, both using distinctive shark-nosed fairings mounted to the chassis. Other than their fairings, the Road Glide is essentially the same bike as the Street Glide.

The Glide STs are part of Harley’s Grand American Touring lineup, so they naturally include luxury items like a Boom! Box GTS infotainment system with a color touchscreen and navigation, fairing-mounted speakers, a hidden radio antenna, cruise control, and Daymaker LED headlamps. Both Glide STs are equipped with linked Brembo brakes with ABS.

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST
Prodigy cast-aluminum wheels finished in Matte Dark Bronze look sharp and match finishes elsewhere on the bike. Brakes are by Brembo, and Harley’s optional Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements package adds cornering ABS and other electronic aids.

For a sportier, lighter appearance, the STs receive a low-profile tank console and a trimmed front fender, plus a new solo seat that exposes the rear fender but leaves passengers at home. Standard-length saddlebags replace the extended bags used on Special models for additional cornering clearance and to expand aftermarket exhaust options.

Prodigy cast-aluminum wheels feature a Matte Dark Bronze finish to match the bronze engine highlights, while nearly everything else aside from the tins (front end, controls, powertrain, and exhaust) feature blacked-out finishes. For a dash of retro, the Harley-Davidson logo on the 6-gallon fuel tanks is modeled from Harley’s 1912 racebikes, and on black STs, it’s outlined in a gold color that matches the bikes’ bronze finishes.

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST
The Road Glide ST is distinguished by its shark-nosed fairing that offers more expansive coverage and smoother airflow than its Street Glide ST brother.

GEAR UP
Helmet: Arai Regent X
Jacket: Alpinestars Hoxton V2
Gloves: Alpinestars Celer V2
Pants: Alpinestars Copper V2
Boots: Harley-Davidson Hagerman

Both Glides retail for $29,999 in Vivid Black. The Gunship Gray versions are priced at $30,574. Supply shortages due to Covid have forced H-D to exact a $1,000 surcharge.

Optional on Grand American tourers is Harley’s Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements package, formerly called Reflex Defensive Rider System (RDRS). It employs a 6-axis IMU to manage cornering traction control with ride modes, cornering ABS with linked braking, drag-torque slip control, hill-hold control, and tire-pressure monitoring. It’s a $1,025 upcharge.

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST
The iconic batwing fairing on the Street Glide ST is the key difference from the Road Glide. As it mounts to the handlebar rather than the frame, the SG is more susceptible to crosswind inputs than the RG.

SWITCHIN’ TO RIDE

The Street Glide is the lighter ST, scaling in at 814 lbs in ready-to-ride form, and its less-expansive batwing fairing adds to the perception. The cockpit is roomy and accommodating, with a handlebar that rises up and sits at an angle. Four analog gauges reside just under the tinted low-profile windscreen, and they’re flanked by a pair of speakers and mirrors integrated at the fairing edges. The touchscreen TFT info/navigation panel sits just above the upper triple-clamp.

The larger fairing on the Road Glide adds visual heft to a rider’s perception, backed up by the bike’s 842-lb curb weight. Here, the vivid TFT touchscreen panel sits front and center just under the low-profile, darkly tinted windshield. The info screen is flanked by a fuel gauge and voltmeter, with a pair of speakers further outboard. A traditional analog speedometer and tachometer pairing reside just ahead of the handlebar mounts. Switchgear on both Glides is the familiar H-D array, including the dual turnsignal buttons.

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST
Both Glide STs feature longer shocks that deliver a bit of extra wheel travel.

The 117 fires up with a rumble and the familiar potato-potato thumping from below. The clutch engagement point is easy to ascertain, and, helped by the engine’s immense low-end grunt, you’d need to be a fool to stall the Glides when pulling away from a stop.

Pushrod valve actuation and air cooling suggest a lack of modern technology, but Harley’s M-8 functions extraordinarily well. As its name implies, the V-Twin breathes through four valves per cylinder, and they never need adjusting thanks to H-D’s hydraulic overhead valves. Power from the V-Twin is omnipresent, delivering a satisfying oomph at nearly any engine speed, eventually running out of breath near its 5,500-rpm redline. Rubber engine mounts eliminate harsh vibration from reaching a rider, and there aren’t many other powertrains that roll down the open road as smoothly and effortlessly as this one.

“A pushrod air-cooled V-Twin is our secret sauce,” said Brad Richards, H-D’s VP of design, who rode with us at the launch. “There’s something special about how it goes down the road.” And he’s right.

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST
The solo seats of the STs aren’t as nicely padded as the saddles on H-D’s more luxurious touring bikes. Passengers will be even less comfortable.

Suspension consists of a dual-bending-valve 49mm Showa fork paired with emulsion-technology rear shocks and single-knob hydraulic preload adjustment. Harley pursues low seat heights more fervently than any other manufacturer, but the STs buck that trend somewhat by fitting shocks from the Road King to deliver 3 inches of rear wheel travel, up from the Road Glide Special’s 2 inches. Seat height shimmies upward to a still-low 28 inches.

Both STs feel similar when bending into corners, despite the drastically different fairings, banking over easier than you might imagine for an 800-lb bagger. It’s a willing and stable platform while unwinding a twisty road, but let’s not confuse it with a sportbike. Floorboards begin to drag when leaned over to 32 degrees – enough to have fun, but nowhere near the 55-degree leans that KOTB champ Kyle Wyman can achieve on his Road Glide racebike.

Solid braking performance is provided by Brembo 4-piston calipers operating via braided lines and clamping on 11.8-inch (300mm) discs. The single rear brake has the same specs. The front tire is a 130/60-19 bias-ply, while a 180/55-18 resides out back.

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST
The Street Glide ST’s cockpit features a quartet of chrome-rimmed analog instruments augmented by a color TFT touchscreen.

There wasn’t an opportunity to fully delve into the Boom! Box GTS infotainment system, but it seems to be well sorted and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Audio quality via the radio is closer to adequate than exceptional.

Ergonomics are very good, but not beyond reproach. The rear brake pedal is mounted rather high, and the Heavy Breather intake intrudes on knee space when raising a boot to apply rear braking. Also, shift action of the 6-speed gearbox is rather clunky. The seat feels supportive for an hour, but it’s not up to the cushy standards of Harley’s other touring models. And while we’re nitpicking, I’d like to see a larger gear-position indicator and adjustable levers on my $30k bagger.

WHICH GLIDE?

This has been a hotly debated topic among H-D aficionados, with no clear winner aside from subjective judgments on style. In windy conditions, I much preferred the greater stability of the Road Glide, as stubborn crosswinds on the Street Glide’s bar-mounted fairing applied marginal unwanted inputs to the steering. The Road Glide’s triple splitstream vented fairing also delivers smoother airflow around a rider.

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST
The Street Glide ST is lighter than the Road Glide ST, but its handlebar-mounted batwing fairing requires more steering effort.

That said, the Street Glide is slightly lighter, and its fairing attached directly to the handlebar allows a rider to wriggle his/her way through dense traffic more adeptly. And for some, its batwing fairing is irresistible.

WRAP IT UP

It’s not a surprise to have enjoyed seat time on these new Glide STs. They’re basically the same bikes that we’ve grown to appreciate for their over-the-road prowess and surprising agility but are now blessed with more power and tasteful high-end finishes. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised when a $30,000 motorcycle delivers the goods. And the Road/Street Glide STs include a pair of hardshell saddlebags in which to carry those goods more than 220 miles between fill-ups.

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST
The Road Glide ST in Gunship Gray and the Street Glide ST in Vivid Black, the only two color options for both bikes.

2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST/Street Glide ST Specs

Base Price: $29,999 (Vivid Black)
Price as Tested: $31,599 (Gunship Gray, Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements)
Website: harley-davidson.com
Engine Type: Air-cooled, transverse 45-degree V-Twin, OHV w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,923cc (117ci)
Bore x Stroke: 103.5 x 114.3mm
Horsepower: 106 hp @ 4,750 rpm (at the crank)
Torque: 127 lb-ft @ 3,750 rpm (at the crank)
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated slip/assist wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt
Wheelbase: 64 in.
Rake/Trail: 26 degrees/6.7 in.
Seat Height: 28.1/28.0 in.
Wet Weight: 842/814 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 6 gal.

The post 2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST and Street Glide ST | Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

You Meet the Healthiest People on a Honda

You Meet the Healthiest People on a Honda
Overlooking Rondout Creek in upstate New York on the 2021 Honda Trail 125, and feeling better with each passing mile. Photos by the author.

After almost 25 years of riding, I came to regard my enthusiasm for all things motorcycle as an infinite source of pleasure, but little did I know just how crucial one specific bike – a Honda Trail 125 – would be in helping me recover from the sickest point in my life.

The story begins on the morning of my scheduled Covid-19 vax in February 2021, when, as luck would have it, I awoke with flu-like symptoms. Testing revealed I was positive, so I began my mandatory two-week quarantine at home. It felt just like the flu – no big deal. But 17 days after that positive test – well after the flu symptoms had disappeared – a new wave of symptoms emerged which would change my life indefinitely.

You Meet the Healthiest People on a Honda
The author and his bikes.

GOOD READ: “The Long Ride,” by Jamie Elvidge,
about a cleansing solo ride from NYC to Key West

The worst of them was extreme vertigo, an intense feeling of rapid dizziness, confusing disorientation, and a total loss of balance. Sometimes, moving half an inch in any direction would feel like falling off a tall building – my body would tense up, break out in a cold sweat, and then shake uncontrollably, which further exacerbated the vertigo. I was completely incapacitated, unable to perform even the simplest tasks autonomously.

Thus began the arduous journey back to normalcy, starting with learning how to walk again. It sounds farcical now, but walking speed was initially a challenge that took a solid week of practice to overcome. Stumbling forward at 2 mph felt more like warp speed, as my addled mind struggled to process motion like an old bogged down 386 computer. I had to stop every few feet to sustain my balance and reassure myself that, indeed, I was only walking! All the while, a persistent feeling of dizziness dominated every waking hour, punctuated by roiling headaches that could not be appeased.

You Meet the Healthiest People on a Honda
Outfitted with a comfy aftermarket seat and a big top box, 12-to 14-hour days on the Trail are not uncommon for me.

These migraines were always aggravated by barometric pressure in the atmosphere, so if it rained, I was completely out of commission. The only escape was sleep. When I closed my eyes, bright bursts of a hot white color would interrupt my rest, like lightning strikes but with more pronounced durations. Any sound, no matter how faint, would immediately wake me. A strange new sensitivity to light compounded the symptoms, making any surroundings other than a soundproof, pitch-black room unbearable. It was a depressing period, to say the least.

During this early stage of the disease, I’d often stagger down to the garage to gaze at my collection of motorcycles. Each one of them triggered an avalanche of memories, beckoning me to recall better times. “Remember all the states we’ve visited together?” queried my BMW R 1200 RT. “Don’t you miss the saucy growl of my small block V-Twin?” purred my Moto Guzzi V7 Racer. “Don’t forget the winter you took me all apart and got me running again!” commanded my Yamaha YSR50.

You Meet the Healthiest People on a Honda
My favorite local loops on the Trail always revolve around the Hudson River, seen here from the peaks of Bear Mountain State Park’s Perkins Memorial Drive.

In those early post-infection days, the daydreaming in the garage vacillated between a resolute desire to get back in the saddle and a bleak hopelessness that I would never recover.

Over the course of the next few months, I graduated past walking and onto running, but only in spurts. I could drive my car again, albeit slowly. Eventually I dared to ride my motorcycles for short distances, if only to get the old juices flowing once more. But riding with “long Covid” symptoms was a profound handicap. The headaches and dizziness could burst like a thunderclap in my head, ferocious and debilitating.

You Meet the Healthiest People on a Honda
Close to the shore on Henry Hudson Drive. A New York state of mind!

Most worrisome was the “brain fog,” which would appear suddenly, obliterating my ability to focus on anything for more than few seconds. It happened to me once while hustling my 600-plus-pound BMW RT through a mountain sweeper, where I wound up in the opposite lane facing oncoming traffic, unsure of how I got there. Other times, I would suddenly forget the basics, like which side of the handlebars the clutch lever was on. My brain was frustratingly dysfunctional.

Adding to these mental challenges were the physical trials. I’ve been riding successive generations of BMW’s venerable RT Series for over 15 years, but I suddenly felt intimidated by the size, weight, and speed of my 2015 R 1200 RT. Low-speed maneuvering was unsteady at best, and anything quick or technical scrambled my mental processing to the point of paralysis. It was a watershed period in my life.

You Meet the Healthiest People on a Honda
Venturing off-road is an entirely new experience for me, but the Trail’s light weight and forgiving nature always encourage further exploration.

It took me many years of dedicated practice to achieve some modicum of riding proficiency, and it was exceedingly difficult for me to accept that many of my abilities had vanished. Riding my full-size motorcycles – once almost the most delightful activity I could imagine – had morphed into something nerve-wracking and dangerous. I knew I wanted to keep riding, but I had to slow down until my symptoms and skills both improved.

Since taming the twisties on my large-displacement bikes was out of the question, I had to find a way to pair what little was left of my riding skills with a suitable machine that was still a motorcycle. (In my mind, riding an automatic twist-and-go scooter would have been acquiescing to defeat.) Enter Honda’s Trail 125, Big Red’s rough-and-ready retro miniMOTO. Simple, lightweight, and slower than a tranquilized sloth, it was the perfect choice for my circumstance.

You Meet the Healthiest People on a Honda
Purposefully riding away from the incessant traffic and distractions of modern society, one can find peaceful bliss off the beaten path.

Through persistent searching, I nabbed one and headed off in search of slow lanes through local hamlets and forests. It was here, on these solitary explorations, that the Trail began to nurse me back to health.

Regardless of our diverse backgrounds and brand preferences, we all recognize the therapeutic value that motorcycles provide. Some refer to what the late psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi famously termed “flow,” or the mental state in which a person is fully immersed in the moment, completely focused and free from all discursive thoughts. The late Rush drummer Neil Peart described the feeling of moto-motion as a subconscious reminder of a mother gently rocking her baby. Every one of us who has swung a leg over the saddle has our own individual reasons why two-wheeled moving mediation therapy just plain works.

You Meet the Healthiest People on a Honda
My maiden voyage on the Trail in August 2021, which also marks the first time I ever embarked on a mostly off-road route.

So it was for me on the Trail, ambling down rutted paths in the woods, scooting along serpentine bicycle paths, and focusing only on the basic rudiments of discovering how to ride again. Like relearning to walk, it was initially frustrating, but the diminutive Honda’s mellow personality encouraged me to just keep trying anyway. Wherever we were, it beckoned me to keep pushing: “Let’s go! Just a little further!”

It’s difficult to describe the character of an inanimate object, but the Trail never judged me for my mistakes the way my big bikes seem to do. We started out on local 40- to 50-mile loops, but before long, we were ripping through nearby states for 300- to 400-mile weekends. I felt like a real rider again, enthusiastically kicking the semi-automatic transmission through its four gears and unleashing all eight of the miniscule thumper’s stampeding horses as we bombed down the backroads.

You Meet the Healthiest People on a Honda
Accessorizing the Trail to spruce up the appearance and add healthy doses of functionality, comfort, and storage cemented the bond between man and machine.

Granted, all this action was despairingly slow by objective standards – but it was engaging in the way that only a real motorcycle can be. This continuous engagement is what rebuilt my ability to focus on a singular task for prolonged periods of time – the very foundation of riding well. Thanks to the eager Trail, I was still in the game, still moving forward, and gradually building my confidence back up. According to the GPS, I never exceeded 59 mph on the modest Honda, but in terms of fun, I might as well have been leading the pack around the Isle of Man TT!

Encouraged by the progress, I outfitted my Trail with accoutrements to increase functionality and add some flair to its spartan workhorse aesthetic. A cavernous Givi 58-liter top case provides ample storage, while a cushy aftermarket seat, a wireless phone charger, auxiliary LED lighting, an Opmid gauge cluster, and toasty Koso Apollo heated grips make for a more comfortable traveling experience.

You Meet the Healthiest People on a Honda

Molding this Trail as uniquely my own cemented the bond between man and machine almost as much as our rides themselves did. Ultimately, I’m certain I wouldn’t have recovered so far, so fast, without this bright red miniMOTO as a willing partner.

Today, I accept that Covid-19 has impaired me, perhaps permanently. My innate senses, mental processing, and physical reaction times still aren’t what they used to be, but I’m confident that over time they can be restored. Indeed, these days I find myself mixing in more rides on my full-sized motorcycles as I relearn how to pilot them competently again.

In the meantime, I want to sincerely thank Honda for imbuing this spunky little Trail with character – one that brings all the essential healing joys of wind therapy to the beginner and expert alike, even if it is in the slow lane.

The post You Meet the Healthiest People on a Honda first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com