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2021 Ducati Monster | First Look Review

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

Ducati has announced an update to its middleweight naked bike lineup, with the new 2021 Ducati Monster and Monster+ models. Singularly dubbed “Monster” by the Bologna-based brand, the latest iteration of Ducati’s iconic series features a new chassis and utilizes the same weight-saving front-frame design as the Panigale and Streetfighter V4 motorcycles. That’s right — the new Monster is no longer using a steel-trellis frame. The result is a 40-pound weight reduction when compared to the Monster 821. Couple that with a more powerful 937cc Testastretta 11-degree V-twin engine, top-shelf electronics and a complete aesthetic refresh, and this Monster looks like a whole new beast.

Pricing for Ducati Red color options of the 2021 Ducati Monster and Monster+ is $11,895 and $12,195, respectively. Meanwhile, Aviator Grey and Dark Stealth colorways are an additional $200.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

Interestingly, the MSRPs for the new Monster and Monster+ are cheaper than the 2020 Monster 821 ($11,995) and 821 Stealth ($12,895) models.

The Monster series dates back to 1993 and is the brainchild of famed motorcycle designer Miguel Galluzzi. Since its inception, Monster motorcycles have satiated those looking for real-world street sensibilities coupled with sporting performance. It has been a winning formula for Ducati, with over 350,000 Monster units sold since its introduction.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

The rider triangle is more neutral and upright, thanks to the handlebar moving 2.8 inches closer to the rider. Legroom is said to have increased as well. In stock trim, the new Monster’s seat height is 32.3 inches and, with its narrow chassis, should accommodate riders of varying sizes. Ducati has taken an extra step for riders with shorter inseam lengths, offering a low seat option (31.5 inches) and spring lowering that drops the saddle height to 30.5 inches.

Powering the Monster and Monster+ is the 5.5-pounds-lighter 937cc Testastretta 11-degree V-twin that is also found in the SuperSport and Hypermotard lineups. Claimed peak horsepower has increased 2 ponies to 111 at 9,250 rpm, and peak torque has risen to 68.7 lb-ft at a street-friendly 6,500 rpm. The increase in displacement is said to distribute power more evenly across the entire rev range, emphasizing low and mid-range grunt. An up/down quickshifter is also standard and will make quick work of the 6-speed gearbox.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

A full suite of rider aids is standard, and owners will be able to choose from three preset riding modes — Sport, Urban and Touring — which adjust throttle response and intervention levels. The new Monster also benefits from IMU-supported cornering ABS, lean-angle-sensitive traction control, wheelie control and launch control — all of which are adjustable from the 4.3-inch color TFT instrument panel. The top-tier amenities don’t stop there, with LED lighting all around, self-canceling turn signals and a USB charging port.

This year, the Monster has hit the gym, boasting a claimed wet weight of 414 pounds, shedding a whopping 40 pounds of weight compared to the Monster 821. This was achieved in numerous ways, and the biggest break in Ducati Monster tradition is the use of a much lighter aluminum front-frame design that uses the 937cc as a stressed member. The new superbike-derived front-frame weighs just 6.6 pounds, nearly 10 pounds lighter than the traditional steel-trellis frame featured on all prior Monster motorcycles. Also, engineers whittled the swingarm down by 3.5 pounds and the cast aluminum wheels by an additional 3.75 pounds. Other weight savings were achieved by using a lightweight GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer) subframe.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

Weight reduction also extended to the 3.7-gallon fuel tank, which holds 0.7 gallon less than the Monster 821’s.

Ducati engineers also worked to create a more agile middleweight Monster by altering its geometry. The wheelbase comes in a slightly shorter 58 inches, and the rake is now at 24 degrees.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

The suspension is handled by a non-adjustable 43mm inverted fork with 5.1 inches of travel and a spring preload-adjustable shock equipped with 5.5 inches of travel.

Braking duties are handled by robust radially mounted Brembo M4.32 4-piston calipers, clamping onto 320mm floating rotors in the front. In the back, a Brembo 2-piston caliper.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

Available in two models, the Monster and Monster+ are identical mechanically and their technological features. For an additional $300, the Monster+ is equipped with a svelte flyscreen and passenger seat cover.

Ducati anticipates that the 2021 Ducati Monster and Monster+ will arrive in North American dealerships in April 2021. We can’t wait to throw a leg over one for a full review, but until then, feast your eyes on the new Monster.

2021 Ducati Monster First Look Review

2021 Ducati Monster and Monster+ Specs:

Base Price: $11,995 / $12,195 (Monster+)
Website: ducati.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 90-degree V-twin, desmodromic DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 94 x 67.5mm
Displacement: 937cc
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated assist-and-slipper wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 58.3 in.
Rake/Trail: 24 degrees/3.7 in.
Seat Height: 32.3 in.
Claimed Wet Weight: 414 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gals.
MPG: 91 PON min. / NA

2021 Ducati Monster and Monster+ Photo Gallery:

The post 2021 Ducati Monster | First Look Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS | Road Test Review

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
The Z900 ABS is eager to get into the corners and doesn’t require much coaxing from the rider. Revised suspension settings help keep the chassis balanced. Photos by Kevin Wing.

When the 2017 Kawasaki Z900 naked bike leaped onto the scene, it quickly garnered praise for its no-frills, bare-bones approach to sport riding. Hold the cost-increasing rider aids, please — I want a good chassis, punchy motor and all-day ergonomics, said utilitarian riders. Kawasaki delivered as ordered, affordably, too, making it one of the best values in the class. This year, the 2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS is getting a tech update without breaking the bank.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
Kawasaki’s paint quality stands out in the class.

The pocket-protector-wearing bunch at Kawi waved their graphing calculators at the 2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS and bestowed new technical amenities such as adjustable traction control, a full-color TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity and four selectable ride modes. Even the design department joined in, with a restyled LED headlight and indicators, shrouds and various covers that add up to just the right amount of Sugomi styling — all for a nominal $200 upcharge over the last ABS model. A non-ABS model is no longer offered stateside.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
In 2020, Kawasaki’s Z900 ABS is coming out swinging with technology and features it never had. New to the party is adjustable traction control, selectable ride modes, and a full-color TFT instrument panel, not to mention a redesigned LED headlight and a slight aesthetic facelift. That’s a far cry from the stripped-down approach the Z900 took when first released in 2017, and it’s still a serious value.

On the engine front, the 948cc powerplant returns with minor finagling to the airbox intake funnels and a new fuel map to meet Euro 5 standards. The good news is that it hasn’t spoiled the party one bit, as the engine produced a healthy 113.3 horsepower at 9,800 rpm and 66 lb-ft of torque at 8,100 rpm on the Jett Tuning Dyno and power is delivered in an impressively linear fashion.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
The inline four-cylinder engine is incredibly smooth and the lack of bad vibes is due in part to the rubber-mounted handlebar and footpegs. Additionally, footpeg weights also help keep vibrations in check.

There is plenty of low-end brawn and heaping midrange power on tap, thanks in no small part to the low 1st – 5th gear ratios in the slick 6-speed gearbox; 6th is overdrive. From the moment you release the light assist-and-slip clutch, the 948cc engine spools up quickly and will pull as hard as you like in the canyons, or take on a friendly, urban-minded role when scooting around traffic. This isn’t your stereotypical peaky inline-four engine and, in that sense, is far more versatile. The Z900’s powerplant is also silky-smooth, with no bad vibrations, allowing the acoustically tuned intake howl and exhaust note to come to the top of the mix.

With a sporty, short throw at the shift lever, the Z900 is practically begging for a quickshifter. Of course, we know that would increase the MSRP, but the perky engine and peachy transmission are primed for one.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
The new 4.5-inch TFT dash is crystal clear and easy to read.

Freshly added is the 4.3-inch full-color TFT dash that is found on several Kawasaki models, paving the way for four selectable ride modes; Sport, Road, Rain and a customizable Rider mode. In Rider mode, owners can choose between Full or Low (55-percent max output) engine power, as well as the new 3-level traction control that can be disabled. ABS cannot be adjusted, per Euro 5 regulations.

I stuck with Sport predominantly since it has the least restriction and is, consequently, the most fun. A good whack of the throttle results in a cheeky front-end lift, while TC and ABS extend the leash for spirited riding without intervening aggressively. They’ll step in when needed, as any well-designed system will do. This does lead me to one complaint about the new Sport and Road riding modes. The throttle response is abrupt during the initial on-off application, requiring the wrist-calibration of a world-class surgeon. You can get it right but sticks out in my mind because of how great the throttle is everywhere else.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
Kawasaki upped the rear spring rate by roughly 5% and also updated stock suspension settings.

Another bugbear is the unintuitive user interface on the Z’s shiny new dash. I’ll admit that diving into the menu’s depths isn’t something that owners regularly do; once you’ve found your settings, you’ll generally keep them. Prod at the dash long enough and you’ll figure it out, but I can’t help feeling like one of the monkeys from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” if only momentarily.

Speaking of new technology, the dash supports Bluetooth connectivity and the Kawasaki Rideology app, which has a host of features ranging from a riding log, text and call notification, to service information and more.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
There isn’t much padding in the Z900’s saddle, but it helps Kawasaki achieve the low 31.3-inch seat height. It also contributes to some of the harshness felt when riding on bumpy tarmac.

Overall, the cockpit and bike feel svelte; you’re in command of the Z900 ABS and able to whip it around on a whim. At 31.3 inches, the Z900’s seat height is the lowest in its class, and Kawasaki has also done a fine job of whittling down the 4.5-gallon fuel tank where it meets the thinly padded seat, giving the bike a less-bulky feel.

Those characteristics pay off for riders with shorter inseams, since many full-sized motorcycles sporting taller seat heights are less accommodating. At 5-foot, 10-inches tall, my 32-inch inseam does see some knee-bend, although I’m not uncomfortable and can confidently flatfoot at a stop. Taller or leggier riders may experience more knee bend, making the 1-inch higher ergo-fit seat a wise investment.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
New Dunlop D214 Sportmax tires perked up the Z900’s handling.

With a sporting 57.1-inch wheelbase and 24.5-degree rake, the Z900 is light and playful, ready to pounce at any corner, while its sturdy steel-trellis frame telegraphs information to the rider well. Kawasaki also says that the frame is beefed up around the swingarm area. It feels a sight nimbler than what the hefty 467-pound wet weight we measured would suggest — the bike could stand to hit the gym.

Whether you’re peeling into a choice mountain sweeper or zipping through traffic, the Z900 is surefooted at both ends, helped along by sportier Dunlop D214 Sportmax rubber that features a more aggressive profile, livening up the Z’s handling.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
The low 31.3-inch seat height will be a boon for shorter riders, but it does create some knee-bend for my 32-inch inseam. Taller individuals will want to opt for the higher ergo-fit seat.

To complement the strengthened frame, Kawasaki tweaked the settings of the 41mm KYB fork, which features spring preload and rebound damping adjustment only. The horizontal back-link KYB shock now boasts a roughly 5-percent heavier spring rate, along with spring preload and rebound damping adjustment.

The initial setup isn’t supersport stiff, nor is it pool-noodle soft. The confidence-inspiring chassis is aided by an athletic setup that helps the Z900 stay balanced, even when you start pushing it to a brisk pace. Firming up the suspension might appeal to those who only venture to mountain roads on Sunday, giving those riders an edge when riding quickly, but it would be detrimental in other environments.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
Kawasaki’s paint quality stands out in the class.

The MSRP-friendly suspension fares well in the city, although rough tarmac will expose a weakness in the shock’s non-adjustable compression damping, especially if you’re a heavier rider. That charge cannot be squarely leveled at the shock alone, as the thin seat padding is an accomplice in the crime of a harsh ride over bumpy tarmac.

Four-piston Nissin calipers that clamp onto 300mm petal discs handle braking duties, resulting in strong braking power and good feel at the adjustable lever. A single Nissin caliper works with a 250mm disc in the rear and is great for low-speed maneuvers or line correction. Together, the braking components do a fine job and remind us that spec-sheets don’t always tell the whole story.

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review
The modest Nissin 4-piston calipers offer good feel and stopping power, once again proving that spec-sheets listing pricier components don’t always tell the whole story.

Kawasaki has upped their fit-and-finish game in recent years and even on the affordable Z900 ABS, that trend has continued. High quality paint on the fairings and frame make the entire bike pop, while graphic decals maintain the alluring price tag.

Undoubtedly, there will be those drawn to the 2020 Z900 ABS primarily due to its lovely MSRP. Smart consumers, indeed. Being budget-conscious used to mean you’d be making plenty of sacrifices in performance and features, and yes, its noticeably pricier competition will have a leg up in certain areas. Here, you’re not giving up much of anything on the street. Telling someone, “You get what you pay for” is usually a warning, but in this case, it’s just a good bike. 

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Review

Nic’s Gear:
Helmet: Scorpion EXO-R1
Jacket: Scorpion Optima
Pants: Scorpion Covert Ultra
Gloves: Racer Guide
Boots: TCX Rush 2 Air

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Specs:

Base Price: $8,999
Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles
Website: Kawasaki.com

Engine
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse inline-four
Displacement: 948cc
Bore x Stroke: 73.4 x 56.0 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.8:1
Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Adj. Interval: 15,200 miles
Fuel Delivery: DFI with Mikuni 36mm throttle bodies x 4
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 4.2 qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, wet assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain

Electrical
Ignition: TCBI with Digital Advance
Charging Output: 329 Watts max
Battery: 12V 8AH

Chassis
Frame: Tubular steel trellis frame, w/ box section swingarm
Wheelbase: 57.1 in.
Rake/Trail: 24.5 degrees/4.1 in.
Seat Height: 31.3 in.
Suspension, Front: 41mm USD fork, adj. for spring preload & rebound damping w/ 4.7-in. travel
Rear: Horizontal back-link shock, adj. for preload & rebound damping w/ 5.5-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 300mm semi-floating discs w/ opposed 4-piston calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 250mm disc w/ 1-piston pin-slide caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.5 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.5 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 180/55-ZR17
Wet Weight: 466 lbs.
Load Capacity: 380 lbs.
GVWR: 846 lbs.

Performance
Horsepower: 113.3 Horsepower at 9,800 rpm
Torque: 66.0 lb-ft of torque at 8,100 rpm
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gals.
MPG: 90 PON Min (low/avg/high) 36.2/42.2/39.2
Estimated Range:  190 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 4,200

2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS Photo Gallery:

The post 2020 Kawasaki Z900 ABS | Road Test Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition | Road Test Review

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Review
The new R 18 is the first salvo in BMW’s Heritage cruiser family, which is likely to include a bagger and perhaps even a touring bike in the future. Seen here in First Edition garb that includes lots of chrome, paint and functional options, it’s BMW’s second attempt to gain some traction in America’s large cruiser market, following the R1200C of 1998-2004.

Some motorcycle manufacturers have a difficult time accepting that Harley-Davidson’s 55-60% share of the cruiser motorcycle market in the U.S. is as much a result of cultural preference as it is affection for traditionally styled bikes. Americans love their cruisers and baggers, but these days mostly want them Made in the USA. Despite an exceptionally good run, the Japanese have pretty much thrown in the towel — with a couple exceptions there hasn’t been a new Japanese cruiser or bagger in a decade. As long as they’re selling lots of ADV, sport and sport-touring bikes, Germany and Italy haven’t paid much attention to our cruiser market, either. But every so often someone on the continent decides that they need a bigger chunk of the American motorcycle market, and out pops a Euro cruiser that either misses the styling dartboard completely or has an unacceptable engine layout. Or both.

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Review
With 788 pounds and a 68.1-inch wheelbase to throw around, the R 18’s minimal cornering clearance isn’t really an issue. Just don’t go there.

BMW’s first attempt was with the R1200C, unveiled to gasps for the 1998 model year. Limited to the existing boxer engine and techy running gear like the Telelever front end and single-sided Monolever swingarm, the result was a nice enough motorcycle in terms of handling and features. But the opposed twin was too small and underpowered to compete in the seismic V-twin market, the ergonomics were weird, and the styling too, er, unconventional. Auf wiedersehn — its last model year was 2004.

This time might be different.

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Review
You would think that Big Boxer would put out a lot of heat, but we never noticed any, even in 85-degree weather.

In creating the new R 18, to its credit once again BMW did not build a Harley clone, going so far as to boldly stamp the bike with the words, “Berlin Built.” The R 18 still uses a boxer engine instead of a V-twin, and this go-round BMW is fully committed to its iconic powerplant, taking care to highlight the advantages of a mid-mount footpeg position (active, upright seating, etc.) necessitated by the engine’s flat opposed cylinders versus feet forward. And BMW recognized that this time the engine needed to be big — really BIG. So the pair of 4.2-inch slugs and 100mm stroke in the Big Boxer give it a displacement of 1,802cc, or 110ci, which compares well with Harley’s 108s and Indian’s 111s.

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Review
BMW nailed the styling on the R 18, and with a few refinements to the suspension and seat, it can be a really nice bike to ride, too.

To make it look right, BMW’s styling team stepped back into the company’s motorcycling history, taking cues from the 1930’s R5. “We took a deep look at our own museum, and we condensed these icons from the past, and found five super-important things that you will find all of on this bike,” said Edgar Heinrich, BMW’s head of motorcycle design. In fact it’s easy to see the R5 reflected in the R 18’s double-loop frame and swingarm that give it a modern hardtail cruiser look, as well as the teardrop 4.2-gallon fuel tank, exposed final drive shaft, metal fork shrouds, fishtail dual exhaust and pinstriped black paint on the R 18 First Edition. All of this is pleasingly mashed together with contemporary cruiser licks like bobbed fenders, a semi-slammed rear end and fat tube-type wheels and tires to create the first cruiser in BMW’s Heritage family. We’re told it’s not the last.

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Review
BMW’s largest engine to date has four overhead valves per cylinder actuated by a pair of dual rocker arms with screw-and-locknut adjusters, pushrods and one camshaft per side, parallel to and above the crankshaft.

At 788 pounds fully fueled sitting on a long 68.1-inch wheelbase, the R 18 looks and feels overbuilt, like there’s a roomful of bagger and dresser bodywork tucked away somewhere just waiting to be hung on the sturdy platform. As befits a premium cruiser, BMW styled the R 18 mostly in metal — the engine and gearbox only account for 244 pounds, so we’re talking a whopping 520-pound rolling chassis minus the Big Boxer and a few options. Some parts like the wheels and levers are aluminum, but you’ll find very little plastic, and the tank, fenders, side covers, headlight, instrument and fork covers are all steel.

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Review
Seating is typical wide-bar cruiser, except for the mid-mount footpegs necessitated by those big jugs.

A little weight is attributable to the extra features on this First Edition (included in optional packages), such as the swath of chrome, heated grips, an alarm system, Reverse Assist (flip a lever, hit the starter button, backward you go) and Adaptive Headlight that illuminates the inside of corners. Electronic wizardry was kept to a minimum, though—riders overwhelmingly told BMW that this bike should not be a rolling computer. It still has Integral ABS of course, in which the front lever actuates both the strong front and rear ABS brakes, and the pedal just the rear. Switchable ASC or traction control, Motor Slip Reduction (MSR), a slipper clutch and Hill Start Control (eases starting out on inclines) are all onboard, and the R 18 has three playful ride modes, Rock, Roll and Rain. In addition to turning the volume up or down on the throttle response, changing modes alters the amount of ASC intervention, and even tweaks the idle. In Roll and Rain, it’s pretty tame, but in Rock at a stop, those howitzer-sized pistons waggle the handlebar and shimmy shimmy ko ko bop shake the bike side-to-side like a vibrating bed. Yet unlike a lot of fuel-injected bikes in the equivalent “sport” mode, throttle response is smooth and linear in Rock without abruptness, and comparatively boring in the other modes.

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Review
All LED dual headlight is available with cornering lights.

The R 18 wants to Rock right from startup, too. Quite often those big cylinders light off with a Womp!, and the engine rocks the bike strongly side-to-side — enough that it can yank the grips from your hands if you’re not ready for it. Eventually it settles into a nice loping idle, but when you twist the throttle in neutral or at lower speeds you can also feel the torque reaction of the longitudinal crankshaft rotate the bike slightly on its axis, like BMW boxers of yore. On the Jett Tuning dyno the Big Boxer set a new record for boxer torque at the rear wheel, with 109.2 lb-ft at 2,900 rpm, and 80.3 horsepower at 4,500 rpm. At speed the R 18 feels a lot like most big twins, with loads of torque right from idle that drops off quickly past 4,000 rpm. Redline is way up at 5,750 rpm, but you’ll spend far more time in the rev basement on this bike, short-shifting and enjoying the somewhat muted bark from its two fishtails. Especially since the seat and grips vibrate rather badly at anything above 3,000-3,200 rpm….

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Dyno Test

Perched with arms outstretched to the wide bar and feet comfortably on the mid-mount footpegs, the R 18’s seating position helps you fight the wind at speed, and at just 27.2 inches high the seat is an easy reach to the ground. Since there’s so little cornering clearance, footpegs drag early in corners, and the crankshaft torque reaction doesn’t really have a chance to detract from the bike’s handling. Which is about as good as you’d expect from such a big bike—slow and stable in corners and on the highway, heavy and ponderous at a walking pace or parking (thank goodness for that Reverse Assist), though tight U-turns can be mastered with some practice. That wide handlebar really helps maneuver the bike, though one grip can end up quite a reach at full lock. Of greater note is the suspension, which only offers spring preload adjustment in the rear and just 4.7/3.5 inches of travel front/rear. That’s not unusually short for a cruiser, and the punishing ride that results is no surprise either. It is eyebrow raising, though, that with all of BMW’s advanced suspension experience it didn’t give its first real cruiser some rear suspension comfortably on par with say, a 2014 Indian Chief. To make matters worse the stock seat is merely a seat-shaped rock — fortunately for anyone who actually wants to ride this bike accessory comfort seats are available.

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Review
BMW resisted the temptation to put a boss ultra-wide rear tire on the R 18, so it needs less muscle to turn.

BMW has given the R 18 adjustable brake and clutch levers, and a powerful twin LED headlight and LED brake/taillights integrated into the turn signals. The single instrument incorporates an analog speedometer and useful digital display with tachometer, trip computer and more, and there’s a handy electrical accessory socket behind the left cylinder. Pages upon pages of accessories hail the R 18’s arrival — there’s even a Bobber conversion and premium Roland Sands machined parts ready to go, as well as an Apehanger conversion with 21-inch front wheel. Knock yourself out, have fun storming the castle….

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Review
Spoked wheels necessitate inner tubes. Integral ABS brakes are strong and functional, with perhaps a little more pull at the lever than we like.

Obviously I’m of two minds regarding the R 18. On the one hand, I’m disappointed that the bike isn’t nicer to ride. Harsh rear suspension, minimal cornering clearance and heavy vibration can’t be cured with an accessory seat or chrome dingle balls. On the other, I think it’s a great-looking, badass, real-steel cruiser that rides its own path and makes no apologies for it. It also hides a lot of modern tech in a classic platform. “One of the hardest things to do is to develop a modern bike with a classic look, with no exposed wires, no sensors, no black box visible. It’s one of the biggest achievements for the designers,” said Heinrich. No doubt with the possible exception of the mufflers’ size (and keep in mind that the camera puts on 10 pounds), they nailed it. 

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Review
Parallels between the BMW R5 of the 1930s and the new R 18 (this one a Bobber version) are striking, from the lines of the hardtail-look frame and tank to the exposed driveshaft and fishtail exhaust (OK, if you squint a little…).

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Specs:

Base Price: $17,495
Price as Tested: $22,120 (Special Edition finish, Premium & Select Packages, Passenger Kit)
Warranty: 3 yrs., 36,000 miles
Website: bmwmotorcycles.com

Engine
Type: Air/oil-cooled opposed flat twin
Displacement: 1,802cc
Bore x Stroke: 107.1 x 100.0mm
Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
Valve Train: OHV, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 6,000 miles
Fuel Delivery: BMS-O EFI w/ 48mm throttle body
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 4.2-qt cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated single-plate dry slipper clutch
Final Drive: Shaft, 3.091:1

Electrical
Ignition: BMS-O Electronic
Charging Output: 600 watts max
Battery: 12V 26AH

Chassis
Frame: Tubular-steel double cradle w/ tubular-steel double-sided swingarm
Wheelbase: 68.1 in.
Rake/Trail: 32.7 degrees/5.9 in.
Seat Height: 27.2 in.
Suspension, Front: 49mm telescopic fork w/ 4.7-in. travel
Rear: Single cantilever shock, adj. for spring preload w/ 3.5-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 300mm discs w/ 4-piston opposed calipers
Rear: Single 300mm disc w/ 4-piston opposed caliper
Wheels, Front: Spoked, tube-type, 3.50 x 19 in.
Rear: Spoked, tube-type, 5.0 x 16 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-BH19
Rear: 180/65-BH16
Wet Weight: 788 lbs. (as tested)
Load Capacity: 447 lbs. (as tested)
GVWR: 1,235 lbs.

Performance
Horsepower: 80.3 Horsepower at 4,500 rpm
Torque: 109.2 lb-ft. of torque at 2,900 rpm
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gals., last 1.0-gal. warning light on
MPG: 91 PON Min (low/avg/high) 30.3/34.2/38.2
Estimated Range: 144 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 2,100

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Photo Gallery:

The post 2021 BMW R 18 First Edition | Road Test Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS | First Ride Review

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review
Photos by Drew Ruiz.

Nostalgia is a powerful thing and the folks at Honda know it. With the kind of rich history that Big Red has, we can hardly blame it for periodically plucking an iconic model from Honda’s extensive backlog, tarting it up with all of the modern technological fixings and using it to tug our heartstrings. And my, oh my, does the 2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS give those yarns a yank with its $3,899 MSRP.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review
New meets old: A 2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS posing with an original 1986 Honda Trail 110.

Dating back to the early 1960s, these lovable motorcycles initially became popular with outdoorsmen, much lauded for their user-friendly semiautomatic transmission and centrifugal clutch combo, as well as their off-road capability. What also helped propel these bikes into the limelight was their affordability, and many CT/Trail saw duty as faithful grocery-getters strapped to the back of RVs, or as stout compatriots on the farm and ranch. They were everywhere and many still are.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review

During its nearly three-decade tenure, the CT/Trail series saw several revisions and sold more than 725,000 units in the U.S. before being discontinued in 1986. Globally, the CT/Trail lived on in many other markets, further solidifying its grand legacy. Mention the CT/Trail to anyone hailing from New Zealand or Australia and they’ll recognize it as the “Postie Bike” of their neighborhood postal carrier.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review
A centerstand is standard on the Trail 125, just like the good ol’ days.

More than 30 years later, the Honda Trail 125 has come home to the States. What better way to welcome it back than with a collapsible fishing kit strapped to the rack and Lake Cuyamaca in our sights, tackling the fire roads and mountain twisties surrounding Julian, California.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review

Just like its forefathers, the 2021 Honda Trail 125 proudly carries on the tradition of being a quaint and understated dual-sport machine. The steel backbone frame, upright handlebar, square turn signals, upswept exhaust, high-mount snorkel and luggage rack have all been transported into the 21st century, and so, too, has the go-getter spirit of the original CT. It’s a charmer, having the same adorable qualities seen in a variety of fluffy creatures. Sadly, the spare fuel canister didn’t make the cut, while it does one-up its ancestors with an accessory charger, fuel injection, disc brakes and LED lighting.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review
Honda’s design team is paying attention to the details, even going as far as making the hubs appear to be drum brakes. Take a peek near the snorkel air-intake and you’ll spot the handy tool kit. It’s accessible with Allen key found under the seat.

Part of the rambunctious “miniMoto” lineup, which also includes the popular Honda Grom and Monkey, the 2021 Honda Trail 125 is an offshoot of the Honda Super Cub C125, sharing its frame and engine. However, there are several crucial updates to suit the Trail’s off-road proclivities.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review

Toss a leg over the reshaped 31.5-inch seat, grab onto the upswept handlebar and let those sentimental feelings percolate. A comfy upright seating position awaits and my 32-inch inseam can get boots on the deck confidently. The vintage-styled LCD display needs to be a little brighter and when standing, the heel-toe shifter will cause you to go a bit pigeon toed. Luckily, the foot controls don’t feel clumsy when seated.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review

The Trail’s frame and swingarm are reinforced in critical areas like the head tube and suspension mounts. To increase stability, the wheelbase has been lengthened by 0.5 inches to 49.4 inches. Front suspension travel grew to 4.3 inches, 0.4 more than the Cub, and ground clearance is hoisted to 6.5 inches. The cast alloy rims were ditched in lieu of wire-spoke 17-inch wheels and IRC GP-5 dual-sport rubber with inner tubes. Lastly, fuel capacity is upped 0.4 gallons to 1.4-gallons total — it’s a fuel sipper, too.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review

To say that riding the Trail 125 is “easy” simply doesn’t do it justice — M class license tests don’t stand a chance against it. Powering the Trail is a 125cc single-cylinder engine equipped with a 4-speed semiautomatic transmission and centrifugal clutch. Fire it up with the electric or kickstarter, give the heel-toe shifter a tap into gear, twist the grip and let the big dog eat! Arooo! Power delivery is as welcoming as can be and it has enough pep to playfully zip around in traffic. I managed to achieve a blazing 55 mph, as indicated on the basic LCD instrument panel. Land speed record setter it is not, but it is a silly amount of fun and with modern fuel injection, it wasn’t wheezing at 4,000-plus feet while exploring the Cuyamaca Mountains.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review

The rear sprocket gets an additional three teeth for a little extra oomph in the dirt and the fuel tuning is optimized for low and mid-range power. Also, the upswept pipes and high-mount intake will allow a modest water crossing.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review

Where the twist-and-go philosophy pays off is on the trail. With no clutch to feather, stalling in tricky sections is impossible and all one needs to do is manage the throttle, which reinforces the ease-of-use ethos that Honda injects into many of its models. However, there is a downside — downshifting without rev matching results in a jarring ca-chunk, since you cannot slip the clutch manuallyA properly timed blip of the throttle circumvents the issue. Also, the auto-clutch can struggle when starting out on steep inclines, something that the dual-range transmission of the original Trail probably wouldn’t have been fazed by.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review

The Trail’s beefed-up chassis and non-adjustable suspension perform admirably on the street. Adequately sprung and damped suspenders keep everything balanced well. It’s light, agile and incredibly easy to maneuver, with a wet weight of 258 pounds. That gives the bike a load capacity of 264 pounds against its 522-pound GVWR. Neither a passenger seat nor footpegs are available, so don’t plan on carrying a co-pilot unless it’s furry and fits in a milk crate on the giant luggage rack.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review

Off-road, it’s a similar tale, as long as you respect the CT’s limits. Attempt the same amount of hang-time you would on a dual-sport and you’ll quickly bottom the suspension out, although it doesn’t become squirrely. The Trail 125’s suspension and 17-inch wire-spoke wheels gobble up obstacles respectably well and it won’t deflect erratically in rocky terrain.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review
That’s a whole lotta luggage rack and you’ll have a 44-pound weight capacity.

Compared to a traditional ADV or dual-sport motorcycle, the Trail has an advantage due to its simplicity and low center of gravity, making quick recoveries a snap. This is as unpretentious as it gets, so, sit down, relax and amble along to your campsite or watering hole.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review

A single caliper and 220mm hydraulic disc, featuring non-switchable ABS in the front, handle braking duties. There is plenty of stopping power and it has a soft initial bite. In the rear, a single caliper and a 190mm disc without ABS offer decent feel and unmitigated fun while in the dirt.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Price

As a successor, the 2021 Honda Trail 125 does right by its ancestors, providing the same fun, casual riding experience that the original CT/Trail built its famed reputation on. It isn’t quirk free, namely in respect to the awkward foot controls, but in every other way, the Trail 125 impressed me with its can-do attitude. At long last, Honda’s prodigal son has returned and the loveable scamp is still making us smile.

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Review

Nic’s Gear:
Helmet: Arai Defiant-X
Gloves: Velomacchi Speedway
Jacket: Fuel Division 2
Pants: Pando Moto Steel Black 02
Boots: TCX X-Blend WP

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Specs:

Price: $3,899
Website: powersports.honda.com
Engine Type: Air-cooled single, SOHC, 2 valves
Displacement: 125cc
Bore x Stroke: 52.4 x 57.9mm
Transmission: 4-speed, semi-automatic centrifugal clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Wheelbase: 49.4 in.
Rake/Trail: 27 degrees/3.1 in.
Seat Height: 31.5 in.
Wet Weight: 258 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 1.4 gal.
Avg. MPG: NA

2021 Honda Trail 125 ABS Photo Gallery:

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2021 Honda Rebel 1100 | First Look Review

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

Honda has announced the latest addition to its Rebel family, the 2021 Honda Rebel 1100. Available in manual transmission and DCT versions, the Rebel 1100 now takes the title as the biggest Rebel in Honda’s longstanding cruiser lineup. In fact, it’s the largest displacement Rebel that’s ever been produced. The Rebel 1100’s aggressive price-point is even more exciting — $9,299 for the manual transmission version and $9,999 for the DCT variant.

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

Powering the Rebel 1100 is a retuned version of the 1,084cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine found in Honda’s recently updated Africa Twin platform. Complete with a 270-degree crankshaft design, the 1084cc engine is expected to provide ample low-end torque and tractable power delivery, suitable for this cruiser application.

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission, which is available as an option on other models such as the Gold Wing and Africa Twin, enables computer-controlled automatic shifting. However, riders can still retain control of shifting by using the “manual” transmission mode and perform gearshifts via handlebar-mounted switches. The conventional transmission Rebel 1100 is equipped with a slip and assist clutch.

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

A full suite of electronic aids is standard on the 2021 Honda Rebel 1100, including four selectable riding modes: Standard, Sport, Rain and a customizable mode. Each mode alters the throttle map and power delivery. Four-level Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) is also featured, which incorporates traction control, wheelie control, engine braking and DCT settings. Cruise control is standard.

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

The Rebel 1100 uses fairly typical cruiser chassis geometry with a lengthy 59.8-inch wheelbase, 28-degree rake and 4.3 inches of trail. Notably, the seat height is a low 27.5 inches, carrying on the Rebel line’s tradition of accessibility for riders of varying sizes. The maximum lean angle is cited as 35 degrees. The claimed wet weight is 487 pounds for the non-DCT version and 509 pounds when equipped.

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

Handling suspension duties is a conventional 43mm fork equipped with cartridge damping and 4.8 inches of travel, along with twin Showa shocks featuring piggyback reservoirs and 3.7 inches of travel. The fork also uses a titanium oxide finish for a blacked-out appearance.

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

A single radially mounted monobloc 4-piston caliper and 330mm disc take care of braking in the front. In the rear, a single-piston and 256mm disc rounds out the braking components. ABS is standard.

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

Honda is also offering a plethora of accessories, ranging from simple cosmetic customization options to more focused touring components.

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

Stylistically, the Rebel 1100 takes essential cues from the cruiser world with steel front and rear fenders, as well as a seamless 3.6-gallon fuel tank. Modern touches come in the form of LED lighting all-around and an LCD instrument panel, which displays a speedometer, tachometer, gear-position indicator, fuel gauge, riding modes and more. Two color choices are available, Metallic Black and Bordeaux Red Metallic.

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

The 2021 Honda Rebel 1100 is scheduled to be available in dealers in January 2021. MSRP is set at $9,999 for the DCT model and $9,299 for the manual-transmission option.

2021 Honda Rebel 1100 Photo Gallery:

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2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport | First Look Review

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport First Look Review

Triumph has announced the 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport, a new road-oriented Adventure-Touring model, based on the latest Tiger 900 platform. At $11,995, the 850 Sport is the most affordably priced Tiger in the lineup and will replace the current base model Tiger 900. 

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport First Look Review

The Triumph Tiger 850 Sport fills an essential role within the greater Tiger 900 family, as it hopes to attract riders through its more manageable power delivery and lower peak performance numbers, as well as its road-focused suspension and wheel setup. 

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport First Look Review

Although this new model carries an 850 designation, it is essentially, a re-tuned base model 2020 Triumph Tiger 900. As such, all components and geometry figures remain the same between the two motorcycles. Outside of the engine tuning, two distinct liveries are available, “Graphite & Caspian Blue” and “Graphite and Diablo Red,” exclusive to this model.

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport First Look Review

Triumph sees the BMW 750 GS as the 850 Sport’s direct competitor and has also employed a similar branding strategy as the Bavarians. Although the BMW 750 GS features a 750 designation, it utilizes a re-tuned version of the 853cc parallel-twin engine and the same chassis found in the BMW 850 GS. The 750 designation also implies a lower level of performance. The BMW 750 GS’s component choices are touring focused, while the 850 GS uses an ADV biased suspension and wheel setup, clearly stating their intended use. Similarly, Triumph leans on the expanded Tiger 900 lineup to satiate those with greater off-road or touring aspirations.

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport First Look Review

Powering the 850 Sport is the exciting 888cc in-line triple-cylinder engine, featuring the T-plane crank design and 1-3-2 firing order, which is said to improve tractability at lower rpms. The crucial difference between the 850 and 900 variants is its model-specific fuel tuning, which reduces claimed peak horsepower to 84 at 8,500 rpm and peak torque to 60.5 lb-ft at 6,500 rpm. This dedicated tune promotes a more progressive power delivery, and importantly, reaches its peak performance figures noticeably lower in the rpm range. By comparison, Tiger 900 models claim to produce 93.9 horsepower at 8,750 rpm and 64 lb-ft of torque at 7,250 rpm.

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport First Look Review

Two selectable ride modes are available, Road and Rain, which alter throttle response and traction control intervention levels. Traction control is switchable by exploring the full-color 5-inch TFT instrument panel, while ABS settings cannot be modified. To maintain a lower price, the 850 Sport does not use an IMU, unlike its mid and top-tier Tiger brethren.

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport First Look Review

Returning to the fold is the same tubular steel chassis, modular aluminum subframe and cast aluminum swingarm seen across the entire Tiger 900 range. The non-adjustable 45mm Marzocchi USD fork with 7.09-inches of travel and Marzocchi shock with 6.7-inches of travel and preload adjustment only, are employed once more. Triumph has only released a claimed dry weight of 423 pounds and defines its dry weight measurement as a motorcycle without fluids or battery. For reference, our 2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro test bike tipped our shop scale at 476 pounds wet.

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport First Look Review

The 850 Sport offers a neutral rider triangle that welcomes commuting, touring and more. In its lowest position, the 850 Sport’s seat height measures at 31.88 inches. However, it can be raised as much as 0.79 inches to a maximum height of 32.67 inches to aid taller riders. There are other helpful standard features, such as: an adjustable windscreen, adjustable levers, a 12V charging port and LED lighting all-around.

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport First Look Review

Braking components remain a highpoint, with superbike-ready 4-piston Brembo Stylema calipers and 320mm floating rotors in the front. Meanwhile, a 1-piston Brembo caliper and 255mm disc take care of braking duties in the rear.

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport First Look Review

Cast alloy 19 and 17-inch wheels drive the road-focused message home, and one notable change for the 850 Sport is the inclusion of Michelin Anakee Adventure tires. 

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport First Look Review

Numerous factory accessories are already offered, with various Givi Trekker luggage options, a low seat, heated grips, hand guards and several forms of engine or case protectors.

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport First Look Review

The 2020 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport is expected to arrive in dealers in January 2021. We’ll have a full test as soon as we can get our mitts on one. 

2020 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport Specs:

Price: $11,995
Website: triumphmotorcycles.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line triple, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 888cc
Bore x Stroke: 78.0 x 61.9mm
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically-actuated wet assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 61.25 in. 
Rake/Trail: 24.6 degrees/5.24 in.
Seat Height: 31.9/32.7 in. 
Claimed Dry Weight: 423 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 5.28 gals.

2020 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport Photo Gallery:

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2021 Yamaha MT-07 | First Look Review

2021 Yamaha MT-07 First Look Review

Since its launch in 2014, the Yamaha MT-07 has been quite the crowd-pleaser in the naked middleweight class, thanks to its wonderfully tractable yet wickedly fun parallel-twin engine, sporty handling and affordable pricing. This year, the 2021 Yamaha MT-07 is set to receive a styling and ergonomic update, larger front brake discs and a few Euro 5 spurred tweaks to the peppy parallel-twin engine. Note that the MSRP is still an approachable $7,699, too — a $100 increase above last year’s price tag.

The news of the 2021 Yamaha MT-07 comes shortly after the tuning-fork-brand announced a nearly complete overhaul to the popular Yamaha MT-09.

For the model year 2021, the 689cc liquid-cooled CP2 parallel-twin engine returns with some massaging, undoubtedly done to meet Euro 5 emissions standards. Mechanically, the engine is virtually identical to prior generations with its fun-loving 270-degree Crossplane Concept crankshaft design and 80mm bore and 68.6mm stroke. However, there are some notable upgrades.

2021 Yamaha MT-07 First Look Review

New to the party is a redesigned air intake, partially brought on by the aesthetic refresh and a new 2-into-1-exhaust system. Going hand-in-hand with those changes are updates to the ECU specifications and fuel injection settings, which Yamaha says have improved low-rpm throttle response. Hopefully, the FI updates have cured the throttle abruptness that we have noticed on past MT-07 generations. Also, new exhaust valve seats are introduced. Lastly, the six-speed gearbox is said to boast improved shifting feel due to the new cut angles in the dog gears.

2021 Yamaha MT-07 First Look Review

The Master of Torque styling is in its third-generation, and the MT-07 borrows heavily from its big brother, the 2021 Yamaha MT-09. Notable styling changes include revised bodywork throughout, with the most noticeable update to the all-new LED headlight. Importantly, LED turn signals are featured, ridding the MT-07 of its polarizing pumpkin-esque indicators. Three color choices are available for no additional charge; Storm Fluo Yellow, Matte Raven Black and Team Yamaha Blue.

2021 Yamaha MT-07 First Look Review

Other aesthetic changes come in the form of its updated negative LCD instrument panel. While still an LCD readout, the 2021 MT-07’s dash appears to be far easier to read, benefitting from larger displays of the clock, gear indicator, trip/odometers and tachometer. Also, 10,000-12,000 rpm is indicated in red, which is shown in white on prior models.

2021 Yamaha MT-07 First Look Review

Ergonomically, the 2021 Yamaha MT-07 will encourage a more neutral, upright riding position with a new tapered handlebar that is 32mm wider and 19mm taller than before. For taller riders, this will surely open the cockpit up and increase comfort. Meanwhile, the approachable 31.7-inch seat height remains the same.

2021 Yamaha MT-07 First Look Review

What has not changed is the steel-trellis chassis and non-adjustable 41mm KYB fork with 5.1-inches of travel. In the rear, the single KYB shock featuring spring-preload and rebound damping adjustment and 5.1-inches of travel returns as well. With its 406-pound claimed wet weight, the MT-07 has always been nimble and accommodating for a variety of riders.

2021 Yamaha MT-07 First Look Review

Braking performance is not ignored either, as the front discs grow in size from 282mm to 298mm. ABS is still standard. 

2021 Yamaha MT-07 First Look Review

Lastly, high-quality Michelin Road 5 120/70 and 180/55 tires will be part of the package in 2021.

2021 Yamaha MT-07 First Look Review

We’re quite excited about the 2021 Yamaha MT-07, which is expected to hit dealers in January 2021 and can’t wait to put these changes to the test. Until then, feast your eyes on Yamaha’s updated MT-07.

2021 Yamaha MT-07 First Look Review

2021 Yamaha MT-07 First Look Review Photo Gallery:

2021 Yamaha MT-07 Specs:

Base Price: $7,699
Website: yamahamotorsports.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, parallel twin, DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 80.0 x 68.6mm
Displacement: 689cc
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Wheelbase: 55.1 in.
Rake/Trail: 24.8 degrees/3.5 in.
Seat Height: 31.7 in.
Wet Weight: 406 lbs. (claimed)
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gals.
MPG: 86 PON min. (avg) NA

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2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited | Tour Test Review

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Tour Test Review
The Road Glide Limited replaces the Ultra and adds premium finishes, optional technology and 18-inch Slicer II wheels. Paint quality and fit and finish are stellar.

American V-twin motorcycles are big, boisterous, and have an unmistakable rowdy personality. Love ’em or hate ’em, they immediately assert their presence in the parking lot of any roadside haunt. The thrum of a massive, torque-rich engine and a booming exhaust note have almost become synonymous with Harley-Davidson — best exemplified in its touring machines.

Receiving a spit-shine from the Bar and Shield marque, the 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited replaces the Ultra in H-D’s touring bike lineup and adds premium finishes, along with high-tech options, to an already bright feather in the brand’s cap.

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Tour Test Review
The Tour-Pak trunk and saddlebags offer 133 liters of storage capacity. Two full-sized helmets will fit in the trunk, with plenty of space for wine country souvenirs. The one-touch latches are locked manually.

Subtle updates to the luxury long-hauler come in the form of a gloss-finished inner fairing, painted pinstriping, new badges on the 6.0-gallon fuel tank and fenders, as well as heated grips. A dizzying array of paint options are available this year, along with a Black Finish package ($1,900) that bestows an ebony touch to nearly every piece of hardware. New premium 18-inch Slicer II wheels are the soul mechanical changes, up from 17- and 16-inch wheels on the Ultra.

At its core, it’s still the same shark-nosed Road Glide with the bright LED Daymaker headlights, Boom! GTS infotainment, a massive top-case, premium Showa Dual Bending Valve suspension, linked braking by Brembo, a potent Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114 powerplant, palatial seating and fit-and-finish fit for kings. This is a machine for the American V-twin touring faithful, dressed in full regalia.

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Tour Test Review
New for this year is a gloss painted finish on the fairing’s interior, raising the bar for fit-and-finish. Sound clarity is pitch perfect from the Boom! Box GTS infotainment system.

The big news this year is optional tech. For $995, any H-D touring bike (save for the Electra Glide Standard) can be equipped with H-D’s Reflex Defensive Rider System, which includes linked-braking cornering ABS, lean-sensitive traction control, hill-start control, tire pressure monitoring and an engine braking management system to reduce rear-wheel lock when decelerating. We’ll dive into its functionality later.

What the Road Glide Limited yearns for is exploring the highways and hidden gems of your state. So, I did just that on this Tour Test, taking the RGL on a two-wheeled pilgrimage through Central California amidst a record-breaking heat wave and wildfires. Both made planning a route with reasonable temperatures and smoke-free scenery for photos a challenge, but it was a mere inconvenience compared to the challenge portions of the Western U.S.  face, battling unprecedented drought and wildfires. The loss of life and property has been staggering, and our hearts go out to those who have had their lives upended.

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Tour Test Review

With the Tour-Pak and saddlebags filled to the brim, I set off in search of more temperate weather. The fog-blanketed beach cities of California’s coast were more than tempting.

Santa Paula, California, is an unassuming agriculture town nestled in the nook of the Santa Clara River Valley. It’s quaint, quiet, and has loads of quality places to nab a breakfast burrito. It’s also where you can pick up California State Route 150 and venture into the Transverse Ranges, home to numerous legendary motorcycling roads.

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Horsepower
The Twin-cooled M8 powerplant has loads of torque and manages heat much better than its predecessor.

Action is relatively light on SR 150; it mostly saunters up the hills and allows me to take in the RGL’s lavish accommodations for the first time. At 5-feet, 10-inches, the Limited’s cockpit has everything I can ask for on a long ride. Its plush, supportive leather-bound seat is 27.2-inches high (laden), and the mini-ape handlebar provides all the leverage I could want while keeping me in a neutral position. Floorboards allow plenty of movement during droning freeway rides, although the brake pedal angle is a tad acute. Meanwhile, the triple Splitstream frame-mounted fairing with a tall touring windscreen offers excellent wind protection and airflow.

The Boom! Box GTS infotainment unit’s full-color TFT touchscreen has useful features like navigation, phone connectivity and vehicle data. Audio is clear, even when riding at freeway speeds, and the radio signal is downright impressive. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported. However, you’ll need to have your device connected to the USB port in the fairing cubby, and also be wired in directly with a helmet headset to use them.

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Tour Test Review
New to the Limited platform are 6-level heated grips for those colder rides.

Branching off SR 150 is the legendary State Route 33, a road that any motorcyclist in California worth their salt has traversed. With more views and winding corners than you can shake a stick at, some might even be interested in calling it a day after taking it in. I’d recommend a quick break at one of the many overlooks on Pine Mountain.

Dropping into the flatlands, temperatures spike into the triple digits during the summer in the San Joaquin Valley, making the ride through oil towns such as Maricopa, Derby Acres (population 322!), and Taft a drag if it weren’t for the standard cruise control. Once in Taft, it’s time to top off the RGL because my next stop won’t be until Morro Bay, about 116-miles away and well within the bike’s 217.5-mile fuel range.

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Tour Test Review

State Route 58 is a gem of a road with variety that’s rarely matched. Epic curves lead into long slogs through majestic wheat fields, and if the time of year and conditions are right, you might catch a California poppy super-bloom.

Roads like the 58 are where the Road Glide Limited shines. Our last 114 M8 engine produced a healthy 78 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and a stomping 104 lb-ft of torque at 2,900 rpm at the rear wheel on the Jett Tuning dyno. If you had doubts about the fully loaded RGL’s ability to get-up-and-go, put them to rest now, because she’ll compress you into the seat lickety-split. The 114ci M8 hums a nice, bassy tune with just enough visceral vibration coming through to let you know that it’s alive.

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited MSRP

The 114’s chunky gearbox makes sturdy, positive shifts befitting of the RGL’s size. However, clutch pull is quite heavy, making clutch modulation during low-speed maneuvers tricky and taxing when in traffic. Luckily, all that luscious torque and well-spaced gear ratios will almost allow you to leave it in 6th gear, settling into a rhythm on a road like 58.

The 922-pound Road Glide takes some effort to lift off the sidestand and is cumbersome at low speeds, like many touring bikes of this size — plan your route carefully in tight spaces. Once you’re rolling, its low center of gravity and gentle handling perform well, and thanks to the Road Glide Limited’s frame-mounted fairing, steering is noticeably lighter than its Electra Glide brethren with fork mounted fairings. A bit of input on the mini-ape hanger bar and the RGL will tip in as quickly and as controlled as you’d like, holding a steady line.

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Seat Height
Spacious and comfortable accommodations are long-haul ready.

The non-adjustable 49mm Showa Dual Bending Valve fork with 4.6-inches of travel does a commendable job of hiding road impurities. The spring preload adjustable rear shock with 3-inches of travel can struggle to deal with hard-edged potholes but does soak up rough roads well, in general.

I did notice that when the pace picks up, the RGL’s plush setup, abbreviated suspension travel and older dual-shock chassis design show their limitations. Over long, fast sweepers, wallowing can be felt that serves as a warning to cool your jets. It never truly gets out of shape, but it’s as if the Road Glide is tapping you on the shoulder, saying, “More Grand Tour, less Gran Tourismo, kid.”

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Tour Test Review

Branching off 58 is the short, but very sweet SR 229 — colloquially known as “Rossi’s Driveway.” This single-lane, undulating road sweeps through loads of twisting, blind corners in a roughly 8-mile stretch of tarmac and seems like something only a motorcyclist could dream up — hence the reference to Italian MotoGP star, Valentino Rossi. It’s still fun to hustle the big RDL on a road seemingly built for Supermotos.

With the sun setting behind the hills, I connected to State Route 41, making my way to Morro Bay. Even at dusk, inland temperatures this time of year are high. As you drop down toward the coast, the reprieve comes with each mile, eventually leading to a cool, socked-in beach city.

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Tour Test Review
Morro Bay’s natural harbor attracts all sorts of sea life, from sea lions and seals, to cuddly-looking sea otters, and countless birds.

Morro Bay is a kitschy spot with beautiful views and seafood along the boardwalk, which isn’t a bad place to stretch your legs after a good ride. It’s a surf town with a vibe to match; things happen at their own pace here, unless you’re working the bustling docks or fishing boats. There’s plenty of affordable lodging, as well as more ritzy accommodations and even camping options nearby.

In the morning, we headed south on U.S. 101 in search of winding roads, jumping on SR 166 to Tepusquet Road in the Santa Maria Valley. Much like Rossi’s Driveway, Tepusquet sachets through the mountain range, diving in and out of the valley, with plenty of action to perk you up in the morning. There is something fun about wrangling a bike of this size through narrow, single-lane roads.

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Tour Test Review
A frame-mounted fairing helps reduce the amount of effort needed to steer, while also improving the Road Glide’s behavior in cross winds.

Brembo provides the braking hardware, with 300mm rotors all around. Feel at the lever is progressive and does require a generous pull if you need to stop in a hurry — like when wild turkeys run out in your path.

In those moments, H-D’s RDRS rider aid package goes from optional to mandatory. On compact, often dirty mountain roads, I’ll ride with more confidence when faced with corners filled with debris or obstacles.

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Tour Test Review
Larger 18-inch Slicer II wheels are the soul mechanical changes from the Ultra to the Limited model.

Tepusquet Road spits you out into wine country, with grapevines as far as the eye can see, and onto Foxen Canyon Road. One can saunter along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail or make the foliage blur along the respectably winding road. Asphalt here is something of a mixed bag due to all the agriculture vehicles, and again, highlights the need for a decent electronics package.

When I hit SR 154, I know that my ride is coming to a close. In a short time, I’ll be winding down the mountain in Santa Barbara, California, and reconnecting with U.S. 101 for the slog back into SoCal. The Road Glide Limited has been a fixture in American V-twin touring due to opulent rider and passenger comfort and massive storage capacity. In 2020, its chassis is beginning to show its age, but when it comes to luxury touring, the feature-loaded Road Glide Limited offers everything else one could want.

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Tour Test Review
Morro Bay Rock is a 576-foot tall volcanic plug that sits at the harbor’s entrance and is one of the most iconic landmarks in the region, easily visible from the 101 freeway.

Nic’s Gear:
Helmet: Bell SRT-Modular
Jacket: Scorpion Phalanx
Pants: Scorpion Covert Ultra
Gloves: Racer Soul
Boots: Stylmartin jack

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited

Base Price: $28,299
Price as Tested: $33,394 (RDRS, color)
Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles
Website: harley-davidson.com

Engine
Type: Precision liquid-cooled, transverse 45-degree V-twin
Displacement: 1,868cc (114ci)
Bore x Stroke: 102.0 x 114.0 mm
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Valve Train: OHV, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Adj. Interval: NA (self-adjusting)
Fuel Delivery: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection
Lubrication System: Dry sump, 5-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive: Belt

Electrical
Ignition: Electronic
Charging Output: 625 watts max.
Battery: 12V 28AH

Chassis
Frame: Tubular-steel double cradle w/ two-piece backbone & steel swingarm
Wheelbase: 64.0 in.
Rake/Trail: 26 degrees/6.7 in.
Seat Height: 27.2 in. (laden)
Suspension, Front: 49mm stanchions, no adj., 4.6-in. travel
Rear: Dual shocks, adj. preload w/ remote knob, 3-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 300mm floating discs w/ opposed 4-piston calipers, fully linked & ABS
Rear: Single 300mm fixed disc w/ opposed 4-piston caliper, fully linked & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.5 in. x 18 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.0 x 18 in.
Tires, Front: 130/70-BH18
Rear: 180/55-BH18
Wet Weight: 922 lbs. (as tested)
Load Capacity: 438 lbs. (as tested)
GVWR: 1,360 lbs.

Performance
Fuel Capacity: 6 gals., last 1.0 warning light on
MPG: 91 PON Min (low/avg/high) 33.0/36.3/43.1
Estimated Range: 217.5 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 2,200

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Tour Test Review Photo Gallery:

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2021 Triumph Trident 660 | First Look Review

2021 Triumph Trident 660 First Look Review
The 2021 Triumph Trident 660 shown in “Silver Ice & Diablo Red” (left) and “Crystal White” (right).

The 2021 Triumph Trident 660 has finally been unveiled, and Triumph hopes that its triple-cylinder-powered roadster has what it takes to shake up the twin-cylinder dominated middleweight class. Aggressively priced at $7,995 and equipped with ABS, switchable traction control and selectable ride modes, the British marque is bringing the fight to its competition.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 First Look Review

Pitted against the likes of the Suzuki SV650, Yamaha MT-07 / XSR 700, Kawasaki Z650 and Honda CBR650R, the Trident 660 has its work cut out for it. However, the Triumph offers plenty of up-spec componentry and features for a few hundred dollars above most of its competition — and significantly less than the Honda.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 Seat Height

The Trident moniker is an essential piece of history for Triumph, as it was the brand’s first triple-cylinder powered machine, launched in 1968. A full-factory racing Trident known as “Slipper Sam” also claimed five consecutive Isle of Mann Production TT wins from 1972 to 1975. In the early 1990s, the Trident name was revisited with the Trident 750 and 900 roadsters.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 First Look Review

Triumph began teasing the 2021 Trident 660 earlier this year when it revealed a design prototype at the London Design Museum, which displayed the new roadster’s rough concept. Shortly after, Triumph broke tradition and officially released images of the new Trident during its final testing stages. Details have been scarce until now.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 First Look Review
2021 Triumph Trident 660 shown in “Matt Jet Black & Silver Ice”

Beginning with its Euro 5 compliant powerplant, the 2021 Trident is powered by a liquid-cooled, DOHC, 660cc inline-triple cylinder engine making a claimed 79.9 horsepower at 10,250 rpm and 47 lb-ft of torque at 6,250 rpm. Notably, the Trident’s engine is said to provide 90-percent of its peak torque at an impressively low 3,600 rpm. Triumph engineers stated that low end and midrange power is prioritized in its design and it will also offer top-end power that middleweight parallel and V-twin engines are not known for. A sleek underslung 3-into-1-exhaust system is almost surely going to produce the triple-cylinder howl that Triumph fans adore.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 First Look Review

If the engine cases and bolt patterns look familiar, that’s because the engine is an evolution of what was used in the 2013-2016 Triumph Street Triple 675. This refined engine features 67 new components and significant design changes. Engineers narrowed the 74mm bore and lengthened the 51.1mm stroke, resulting in decreased displacement and paving the way for a new crankshaft, piston design and cam profiles. Additionally, an all-new intake and exhaust system was needed for the Trident’s application.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 Horsepower

The 6-speed gearbox is updated with new internal gear and final drive ratios and a redesigned slip-assist clutch that is said to offer a light clutch pull for urban riding. The lever itself is non-adjustable. The Trident can be fitted with an optional factory up/down quickshifter, which isn’t offered by its direct competition.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 Valve Service

Thanks to the modern throttle-by-wire, the Trident 660 boasts two preset ride modes, Road and Rain, which alter throttle response and rider aid intervention. Traction control can be disabled, while ABS cannot, per Euro 5 standards. To help keep the MSRP down, the Trident does not use an IMU, but Triumph staff says that its rider aids are tested at full-lean, suggesting that its system may not be as heavy-handed with intervention.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 First Look Review

A round TFT/LCD instrument panel offers an uncluttered design. The optional Bluetooth module provides modern amenities such as turn-by-turn navigation, GoPro control, phone, and music control, all accessed from the switchgear.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 First Look Review

Stylistically, the Trident strikes a careful balance between its heritage and modern lineups. Triumph is flexing its fit-and-finish prowess with numerous embossed components and LED lighting all around. Four liveries are available: Crystal White, Matt Jet Black & Matt Silver Ice, Sapphire Black and Silver Ice & Diablo Red.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 Middleweight Motorcycle

An all-new tubular steel chassis and cast aluminum swingarm have typical roadster figures, with a 55.2-inch wheelbase and 24.6-degree rake. The standout number is the accommodating 31.7-inch seat height, which should appeal to a broad range of rider sizes. The 3.7-gallon fuel tank features knee cutouts, which are a classic styling cue from the Triumph playbook but also help keep the overall package slim. The claimed weight is listed as 417 pounds, which is noticeably heavier than the MT-07 and Z650.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 Specs

Suspension duties are handled by a non-adjustable 41mm inverted Showa fork and Showa shock featuring spring-preload adjustment only. Compared to the traditional fork found on most bikes in this class, the inverted fork is a step up, although costs were still saved with the lack of adjustment.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 First Look Review

Class-appropriate 2-piston floating Nissin calipers work with 310mm floating rotors, and a single-piston Nissin caliper grabs onto a 255mm disc.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 Cost

High-quality Michelin Road 5 120/70 and 180/55 rubber is mounted on cast aluminum 17-inch wheels. Michelin Road 5 tires are a significant improvement when compared to the OEM rubber available in this class.

We can’t wait to throw a leg over the 2021 Triumph Trident, but until we do, feast your eyes on the images below.

2021 Triumph Trident 660 First Look Review

2021 Triumph Trident 660 Specs

Base Price: $7,995
Website: triumphmotorcycles.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line triple, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 660cc
Bore x Stroke: 74.0 x 51.1mm
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated assist-and-slipper wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 55.2 in.
Rake/Trail: 24.6 degrees/4.2 in.
Seat Height: 32.5 in.
Claimed Wet Weight: 417 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gals., last 1.0 gal. warning light on

2021 Triumph Trident 660 Photo Gallery:

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2021 Yamaha MT-09 | First Look Review

2021 Yamaha MT-09 First Look Review

The Yamaha MT-09 has been a naked-bike segment favorite ever since it first came on the scene in 2014. With its affordable MSRP and nothing-short-of-brilliant CP3 triple-cylinder engine, it quickly received well-deserved attention. This year, the virtually all-new 2021 Yamaha MT-09 comes out swinging with a heavily updated engine, an all-new chassis, less weight, state of the art electronics and an aesthetic overhaul.  Best yet, all of those features will only cost us $400 above last year’s price, with the new bike’s MSRP at $9,399.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 First Look Review

Kicking up the power quotient is the revised 890cc CP3 triple-cylinder engine (growing from 847cc) featuring a claimed 117 horsepower and 69 lb-ft of torque. For those keeping score, that’s five extra ponies and two more lb-ft of torque, and this new engine is Euro 5 compliant — kudos, Yamaha. Interestingly, the 78mm bore remains, while the stroke has increased to 62.1mm from 59.1mm. Also, the engine is reported to have shed four pounds despite its displacement bump.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 First Look Review

To that end, the 890cc engine now boasts new pistons, connecting rods, camshafts and crankcases. Notably, the MT-09 now has a ride-by-wire throttle, which has opened many technological doors and, hopefully, improved the snatchy throttle response that existed in prior generations. Also, a new slip-assist clutch is included that is said to reduce effort at the lever. Lastly, an up/down quickshifter is standard.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 First Look Review
An up/down quickshifter is standard.

One of the biggest highlights this year is a rider aid package derived from the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike. The MT-09 now features a 6-axis IMU providing adjustable cornering ABS, lean-angle-detecting traction control, slide control and wheelie control.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 First Look Review

In addition, a 3.5-inch full-color TFT display will allow riders to choose between three riding modes, 1, 2 and M (customizable). That’s a notable improvement over the LCD instrument panel.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 First Look Review

The all-new Deltabox frame, subframe and swingarm are all made out of cast aluminum and feature slightly altered geometry. According to Yamaha, longitudinal and lateral rigidity in the frame is increased by a whopping 50 percent to improve handling characteristics. Claimed curb weight is a nod-worthy 417 pounds, down eight pounds compared to the outgoing model.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 First Look Review

The suspension is still handled by a fully adjustable 41mm KYB fork and an updated KYB shock with spring preload and rebound damping adjustment only. While plush and comfortable for street use, the MT-09’s suspension could become bouncy when pushed. Yamaha acknowledges this in the announcement, stating that the bike’s new suspension setup matches the more rigid frame and reduces the suspension’s tendency to pitch.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 First Look Review

Also encouraging improved handling are lighter 10-spoke spin-forged aluminum wheels, with a claimed 11-percent weight decrease in the rear wheel. Less rotating mass always translates to quicker steering.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 First cost

Braking duties are taken up by the same setup as last year, with radially mounted Nissin 4-piston calipers and dual 298mm floating discs up front.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 First Look Review

Visually, the MT-09 received quite an overhaul, with all-new bodywork and a redesigned single LED headlight being the most apparent changes.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 First Look Review

There are plenty of other changes that we’re excited about, and can’t wait to put the new Yamaha MT-09 through its paces before it arrives in dealers in January 2021.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 Photo Gallery:

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