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Kawasaki Announces More 2023 Returning Models

Kawasaki announced the return of several sport, retro sport, naked, cruiser, adventure touring, and dual-sport models to its motorcycle lineup. These 2023 motorcycles are set to arrive in Kawasaki dealerships during the summer months.

Models included in this announcement are the Ninja 1000SX, Ninja 400 and 400 ABS, Z H2 and H2 SE, Z900RS and Z900RS Cafe, Z400 ABS, the Vulcan S and Vulcan 900 lineups, 1700 Voyager ABS, Versys-X300 and Versys-X300 ABS, and the KLR650 lineup.

To read about the 2023 KLX300 dual-sport, KLX300SM supermoto, Ninja ZX-6R sportbike, and new Elektrode electric balance bike, click here.

2023 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX in Emerald Blazed Green / Metallic Diablo Black / Metallic Graphite Gray

The Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX is back with its refined sport-touring capabilities, combining the power of a supersport with the feel of an upright sportbike and familiar Ninja styling.

The Ninja 1000SX features a 1,043cc liquid-cooled inline-Four, Kawasaki Traction Control, Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Braking System (KIBS), Kawasaki Quick Shifter, 4.3-inch all-digital TFT color instrumentation, and electronic cruise control.

Related Story: 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX | Road Test Review

The Ninja 1000SX includes rider aides such as electronic cruise control and integrated riding modes that combine traction control and Power Modes, and it is compatible with the Kawasaki RIDEOLOGY THE APP.

This 2023 model will be offered in Emerald Blazed Green / Metallic Diablo Black / Metallic Graphite Gray starting at $13,199

2023 Kawasaki Ninja 400 and Ninja 400 ABS

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Ninja 400 in Metallic Magnetic Dark Gray/ Metallic Matte Twilight Blue

Ideal for both experienced riders and newer riders looking to step up from a lower displacement bike, the 2023 Ninja 400 sport motorcycle offers the largest displacement in its category.

The 2023 Ninja 400 features a 399cc liquid-cooled parallel-Twin, a slip/assist clutch, a lightweight trellis frame, Uni-Trak rear suspension, a 310mm semi-floating petal disc brake and 2-piston caliper in the front, and 220mm petal disc brake and 1-piston caliper in the rear.

Related Story: 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400 ABS | First Ride Review

A low seat height (30.9 in.), twin LED headlights, and high-grade multifunction dash instrumentation make the Ninja 400 the ideal choice for riders looking to enter the sport-riding scene.

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Ninja 400 in Pearl Blizzard White / Metallic Carbon Gray
Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Ninja 400 in Metallic Carbon Gray / Metallic Matte Carbon Gray

For 2023, the Ninja 400 and the Ninja 400 ABS are available in Metallic Carbon Gray / Metallic Matte Carbon Gray, Pearl Blizzard White / Metallic Carbon Gray, and Metallic Magnetic Dark Gray/ Metallic Matte Twilight Blue. The Ninja 400 starts at $5,299, and the Ninja 400 ABS starts at $5,699.

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Ninja 400 ABS KRT Edition in Lime Green / Ebony

The Ninja 400 ABS KRT Edition is painted in a Lime Green / Ebony color scheme and starts at $5,899. The Ninja 400 KRT Edition without ABS will come in the same color scheme starting at $5,499.

2023 Kawasaki Z H2 and Z H2 SE

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Z H2 in Metallic Phantom Silver / Metallic Carbon Gray

The flagship model of the Kawasaki Z lineup, the 2023 Z H2 features a balanced supercharged 998cc liquid-cooled inline-Four, a 6-speed dog-ring gearbox, a slip/assist clutch, a lightweight trellis frame, high-performance Showa suspension components, and Brembo monoblock brake calipers.

Related Story: 2020 Kawasaki Z H2 | First Look Preview

The bike also offers an IMU-based electronics package, Kawasaki Quick Shifter (KQS), Kawasaki Launch Control Mode (KLCM), Kawasaki Cornering Management Function (KCMF), electronic cruise control, integrated riding modes, all-digital TFT color instrumentation, smartphone connectivity via RIDEOLOGY THE APP, and LED lighting.

For 2023, the Z H2 comes in Metallic Phantom Silver / Metallic Carbon Gray and starts at $18,500.

The Z H2 SE offers the same features that come standard on the Z H2, with the addition of the Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension (KECS) with Skyhook EERA Technology, which adapts to road and riding conditions in real-time, providing the ideal amount of damping by combining high-level mechanical components with the latest electronic control technology and reportedly giving the rider a smoother ride as it continually adapts to the road surface in real-time.

For braking power, the 2023 Z H2 SE will once again feature Brembo Stylema monoblock brake calipers, a Brembo front brake master cylinder, and steel-braided lines.

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Z H2 SE in Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray / Ebony / Mirror Coated Black

The 2023 Z H2 SE will be offered in Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray / Ebony / Mirror Coated Black starting at $20,700.

2023 Kawasaki Z900RS and Z900RS Cafe

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Z900RS in Metallic Diablo Black / Metallic Imperial Red

The Kawasaki Z900RS retro-sportbikes reignites the classic style of the original Z1 900 motorcycle.

The 2023 Z900RS and Z900RS Cafe feature a 948cc liquid-cooled inline-Four, a slip/assist clutch, horizontal back-link rear suspension, authentic retro styling, an iconic teardrop fuel tank, a tuned stainless steel exhaust system, a round LED headlight, and bullet-shaped analog dials.

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe in Metallic Diablo Black

For 2023, the Z900RS comes in a Metallic Diablo Black / Metallic Imperial Red paint scheme starting at $11,949. The Z900RS Cafe adds cafe-racer styling with a front cowl, a special seat, and a drop handlebar, and is available in Metallic Diablo Black starting at $12,399.

2023 Kawasaki Z400 ABS

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Z400 ABS in Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray / Metallic Spark Black

Described in a 2018 Rider First Ride Review as a “Ninja 400 with a flat handlebar and no fairing,” the Kawasaki Z400 ABS naked sportbike features a 399cc liquid-cooled parallel-Twin, a slip/assist clutch, streetfighter styling, a lightweight chassis, an upright riding position, a low seat height (30.9 in.), and standard ABS.

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Z400 ABS in Pearl Robotic White /Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray

For 2023, the Z400 ABS is available in Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray / Metallic Spark Black and Pearl Robotic White /Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray starting at $5,399.

2023 Kawasaki Vulcan S, Vulcan S ABS, and Vulcan S Cafe

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Vulcan S in Metallic Flat Spark Black

The Kawasaki Vulcan S sport cruisers are geared to fit a wide range of riders as a result of not only the bikes’ reported starting curb weight just shy of 492 lb but also the exclusive Ergo-Fit sizing system, which includes 18 possible configurations for the handlebar, footpegs, and seat.

Related Story: 2016 Kawasaki Vulcan S Cafe Road Test Review

Both bikes feature a 649cc liquid-cooled DOHC parallel-Twin and sportbike-derived chassis and suspension. The 2023 Vulcan S Cafe also comes equipped with three-tone paint, signature tank badging, sport striping, and a dark-tinted windshield deflector.

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Vulcan S in Cafe Pearl Storm Gray / Ebony

For 2023, the Vulcan S is available in a Metallic Flat Spark Black colorway starting at $7,349, the Vulcan S ABS is offered in Pearl Matte Sage Green / Metallic Flat Spark Black starting at $7,899, and the Vulcan S Cafe is available in Pearl Storm Gray / Ebony starting at $8,099.

2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic, Vulcan 900 Classic LT, and Vulcan 900 Custom

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic in Metallic Spark Black /Metallic Magnesium Gray

In our “Middleweight Touring Cruisers” comparison test, which included the Vulcan 900 Classic LT, Rider EIC Greg Drevendstedt wrote: “Cruisers are about style and sensation. How a cruiser looks is just as important as how it sounds and feels.”

All three of the 2023 Vulcan 900 cruiser models feature a 903cc liquid-cooled, fuel-injected V-Twin and a low seat height (26.8 in.).

The Vulcan 900 Classic features rider footboards with a heel/toe shifter, tank-mounted instrumentation, and a 180mm rear tire. The Vulcan 900 Classic LT features a studded seat with standard passenger backrest, leather saddlebags, and a height-adjustable windscreen. The Vulcan 900 Custom features wide drag bars and forward-mounted footpegs, a low center of gravity for easy handling, custom styling with a teardrop tank, parallel slash-cut pipes, and pinstripe wheels.

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT in Pearl Storm Gray / Ebony
Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom in Pearl Matte Sage Green / Flat Ebony

For 2023, the Vulcan 900 Classic is available in Metallic Spark Black /Metallic Magnesium Gray starting at $8,999. The Vulcan 900 Classic LT is available in Pearl Storm Gray / Ebony starting at $9,999 with a 24-month limited warranty, and the Vulcan 900 Custom is available in Pearl Matte Sage Green / Flat Ebony starting at $9,499.

2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager ABS

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager ABS in Pearl Storm Gray / Ebony

The 2023 Vulcan 1700 Voyager ABS touring cruiser features a 1,700cc liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, transverse 52-degree V-Twin, Kawasaki Advanced Coactive-braking Technology (K-ACT II) ABS, throttle-by-wire, and electronic cruise control.

Related Story: 2012 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager ABS | Road Test Review

The bike has a frame-mounted fairing, an intercom-headset compatible audio system, and integrated luggage. For 2023, the Vulcan 1700 Voyager is available in Pearl Storm Gray / Ebony starting at $19,299.

2023 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 and Versys-X300 ABS

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 in Pearl Matte Sage Green / Metallic Matte Carbon Gray

With a compact Ninja-derived 296cc liquid-cooled DOHC Twin, the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 is a nimble, lightweight motorcycle that’s suitable for commuting or touring.

Related Story: 2018 BMW G 310 GS vs. Kawasaki Versys-X 300 vs. Royal Enfield Himalayan

The Versys-X 300 has a lightweight chassis, long-travel suspension, a low seat height (32.1 in.), front cowling with a tall windscreen, and a rear carrier.

The 2023 Versys-X 300 is available in Pearl Matte Sage Green / Metallic Matte Carbon Gray starting at $5,899, while the ABS model comes in the same color scheme starting at $6,199.

2023 Kawasaki KLR650 and KLR650 ABS

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki KLR650 in Pearl Storm Gray

The KLR650 sports a 652cc liquid-cooled Single nestled in a recently redesigned high-tensile double-cradle frame. In 2022, the bike was upgraded with new improved ergonomics, bodywork, a taller two-position adjustable windscreen, a larger aluminum rear carrier, increased generator capacity, and an LED headlight. It features all-digital multifunction instrumentation, an optional ABS system, and 7.9 inches of front travel coupled with 7.3 inches of rear travel.

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki KLR650 in Pearl Solar Yellow
Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki KLR650 in Candy Lime Green

The 2023 KLR650 is available in three colorways – Pearl Storm Gray, Pearl Solar Yellow, and Candy Lime Green – and starts at $6,899. The KLR650 ABS is offered in Pearl Storm Gray starting at $7,199.

2023 Kawasaki KLR650 Adventure and KLR650 Adventure ABS

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki KLR650 Adventure in Cypher Camo Gray

The KLR650 Adventure model is built off of the standard KLR650 platform and designed for the rider who is looking for increased carrying capacity and convenience. It comes equipped with factory-installed side cases, LED auxiliary lights, engine guards, a tank pad, and both a DC power outlet and USB socket. It’s available both with and without ABS.

The 2023 KLR650 Adventure is available in Cypher Camo Gray starting at $7,899, while the KLR650 Adventure ABS also comes in Cypher Camo Gray starting at $8,199.

2023 Kawasaki KLR650 Traveler ABS

Kawasaki 2023 returning models
2023 Kawasaki KLR650 Traveler ABS in Pearl Solar Yellow

The KLR650 Traveler model consists of the same features found on the standard KLR650 as well as a factory-installed top case and both a DC power outlet and USB socket. It comes equipped with ABS.

The KLR650 Traveler ABS is offered in Pearl Solar Yellow starting at $7,599.

For more information, visit the Kawasaki website.

The post Kawasaki Announces More 2023 Returning Models first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 CFMOTO Motorcycle Lineup | First Ride Review

2022 CFMOTO
The 650 ADVentura is one of seven models in the 2022 lineup of CFMOTO motorcycles. Photos by Gary Walton, Leviathan, and the author.

With more than a decade of motorcycle testing experience under my belt, it’s rare to get a first ride on a motorcycle built by a company I have no prior experience with. When CFMOTO invited Rider to Minneapolis to ride its 2022 lineup of motorcycles – a total of seven models (plus an eighth model that’s under embargo) – I was all-in. 

CFMOTO’s motorcycles range from small to middleweight in size, and they’re attractively priced. The lineup includes the 126cc Papio minibike ($2,999), 300NK naked bike ($3,999), 300SS fully faired sportbike ($4,299), 650NK naked bike ($6,499), 650 ADVentura street-adventure bike ($6,799), 700CL-X street scrambler ($6,499), and 700CL-X Sport modern café racer ($6,999). The Papio comes with a one-year warranty while the others are covered for two years.

2022 CFMOTO
Several 2022 CFMOTO motorcycles ready for testing (left to right): 700CL-X Sport, 700CL-X, 300SS, and 650 ADVentura (with optional top box).

Check out Rider‘s 2022 Motorcycle Buyers Guide 

For my first ride on each model, I worked my way through the lineup from smallest to largest, from the Papio to the 700CL-X Sport. After logging several laps on each bike, I rode them again and again in random order throughout the day. 

Our test riding was done at the Minnesota Highway Safety & Research Center (MHSRC), a training facility that includes a 1.2-mile paved road course with a half-dozen nicely radiused corners, a one-third-mile front straight that leads into a slightly banked left-hand sweeper, and an ultra-tight, winding half-mile infield course. Like real-world roads, the pavement was rough and littered with tar snakes that got greasy in the midday sun, and it was damp in the morning after overnight rains and again after an afternoon cloudburst. The track allowed us to test multiple bikes in succession and pursue top speeds without running afoul of local law enforcement. 

2022 CFMOTO
The Minnesota Highway Safety & Research Center is located in St Cloud, MN.

After a full day of at least 100 laps on eight different models, we had an opportunity to spend the next day testing the model of our choice on public roads. I picked the 650 ADVentura and logged another 350 miles on it. 

CF Who? 

Unless you’re familiar with ATVs and side-by-sides, CFMOTO might be new to you too. Established in Hangzhou, China, in 1989, the company grew quickly to become a supplier of engines, parts, and components for some of the biggest brands in powersports. By 2000 CFMOTO had begun manufacturing motorcycles, scooters, and off-road vehicles. 

2022 CFMOTO
Ready to ride! Front row (left to right): 300NK, Papios, 650NK, and 700CL-X Sport. Back row (left to right): 650 ADVentura, 300NK, 700CL-X, 300SS, 700CL-X, and 650 ADVentura.

According to Alan Cathcart, in a company profile published in 2015 on Rider’s website, “CFMOTO emphasizes quality of manufacture rather than low cost, so while its bikes are well priced, they’re also well-made and durable.” In 2014, Austrian manufacturer KTM established a partnership with CFMOTO, and the company began producing KTM 200/390 Dukes for the Chinese market. 

Stefan Pierer, CEO of KTM, told Cathcart, “We built up a very good trust level with CFMOTO – they are a very serious Chinese company. We’ve now arranged to do a 50/50 joint venture on KTM products made in China for sale worldwide. … I’m happy to attach the KTM name to something made by them.” 

CFMOTO has been selling off-road vehicles in the U.S. since 2002, and it established its American headquarters in Plymouth, Minnesota, in 2007. In 2012, CFMOTO began importing motorcycles, including the 650NK naked bike and the 650TK sport-tourer, both powered by a liquid-cooled 649cc parallel-Twin. 

CFMOTO
Alan Cathcart riding the CFMOTO 650TK. Photo by Stephen Piper.

Cathcart reviewed the 650TK in 2015, which retailed for $6,999, and gave it high marks. Other than a few fit-and-finish complaints, he concluded that the “CFMOTO 650TK is as capable, practical, and pleasing as any motorcycle costing twice the price” and “an awful lot of motorcycle for the money.” 

After a couple of years, CFMOTO pulled out of the U.S. motorcycle market because its offerings didn’t resonate with American buyers. It went back to the drawing board, developed a full lineup of bikes, introduced them in Europe and other markets where they were well-received, and decided to try again in the U.S. CFMOTO has 550 dealers in the U.S., with nearly 200 of them selling motorcycles. All 2022 models have been available since April. 

2022 CFMOTO Papio 

2022 CFMOTO Papio
Yes, at 6 feet tall and 215 lb, Rider’s EIC on the Papio (color Galaxy Grey) looks like a gorilla riding a baboon, but that’s part of the fun. He hit 62 mph in 6th gear.

GEAR UP
Helmet: Nolan N80-8
Jacket: Fly Racing Coolpro Mesh
Gloves: Fly Racing Brawler
Pants: Fly Racing Resistance Jeans
Boots: Fly Racing M16 Leather Shoes

Since the Honda Grom was introduced in 2014 and became a runaway best-seller, the small-bore segment has expanded rapidly. These days, the Grom will set you back $3,499, the Kawasaki Z125 Pro goes for $3,399, and the Benelli TNT135 is $3,199. The Papio, which takes its name from the genus that includes baboons, slides in below the others at $2,999. 

Weighing weighs just 251 lb and rolling on 12-inch wheels, the Papio has a 126cc air-cooled fuel-injected Single that kicks out 9.3 hp at 8,500 rpm and 6.1 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm. Unique in this segment is the Papio’s 6-speed gearbox, which helps it achieve a respectable top speed – even with my 215 lb in the saddle, I saw an indicated 62 mph by the end of MHRSC’s front straight. 

2022 CFMOTO Papio
2022 CFMOTO Papio in Lemon Green.

The Papio is aptly named. The Minnesota-nice guys from CFMOTO, who used cones to create two chicanes on the MHRSC track to slow things down, asked us not to race each other. One bike is a ride, two bikes is a race, and three Papios is a barrel of baboons. We couldn’t help ourselves. 

Small and affordable the Papio may be, but it’s nicely featured, with LED lighting all around and a digital instrument panel. It has a telescopic fork with 4.3 inches of travel, a rear shock that has five-click preload adjustability, and single-disc brakes front and rear. Seat height is 30.5 inches, fuel capacity is 1.9 gallons and color options are Lemon Green and Galaxy Grey with red accents. 

2022 CFMOTO 300NK / 300SS 

2022 CFMOTO
The 300NK has a smooth counterbalanced Single, a slick-shifting slip/assist clutch, and ultra-quick steering.

The next rung on CFMOTO’s moto-ladder is a liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valve 292cc Single with Bosch EFI that makes a claimed 28.7 hp at 8,750 rpm and 18.7 lb-ft of torque at 7,250 rpm. You can choose the naked 300NK ($3,999) in Athens Blue or Nebula Black, or the fully faired 300SS ($4,299) in Nebula White or Nebula Black. 

2022 CFMOTO 300NK
With its stubby tail and powdercoated steel trellis frame, the 300NK has modern streetfighter styling. Color choices are Athens Blue or Nebula Black.

Both feature a steel trellis frame, a 6-speed transmission with a slip/assist clutch, an inverted fork with a progressive-rate spring, and a preload-adjustable rear shock. Ten-spoke 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels are slowed by a 4-piston radial-mount front caliper with a 300mm disc, a 1-piston rear caliper with a 245mm disc, and Continental dual-channel ABS. 

2022 CFMOTO
Small-displacement sportbikes with dorky styling are a thing of the past. The 300SS is a fun lil’ ripper with sharp, aggressive bodywork and attention-getting graphics.

With its tubular handlebar and slightly taller seat (31.7 inches), the 300NK has a more upright seating position and weighs 333 lb. The 300SS has sporty clip-ons, a 30.7-inch seat height, and a 364-lb curb weight. Both are fun and flickable with linear but modest power delivery, and the counterbalanced Single is remarkably smooth. The brakes, however, felt wooden, a problem that would likely be solved by more aggressive pads. 

2022 CFMOTO 300SS
The 300SS is available in Nebula White or Nebula Black.

These are stylish, well-equipped bikes, with LED lighting and a 5.5-inch TFT display with Bluetooth that pairs to the CFMOTO Ride smartphone app, which provides vehicle info and navigation (the app is also compatible with the Papio, 650NK, 650 ADVentura, and 700CL-X Sport, but not the 700CL-X). 

2022 CFMOTO 650NK / 650 ADVentura 

2022 CFMOTO
The 650NK has reasonable performance limits but offers unlimited fun thanks to its quality components and grippy Pirelli tires.

Moving up from the 300s to the 650s gains 357cc and an extra cylinder. The liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve 649cc parallel-Twin in the 650NK and 650 ADVentura is said to churn out 60 hp at 8,750 rpm and 41.3 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm. Like the 300s, the 6-speed transmission is equipped with a slip/assist clutch. 

2022 CFMOTO 650NK
For the 650NK, choose from Nebula White with high-viz wheels or Nebula Black with black wheels.

Ratcheting up the price – $6,499 for the NK (Nebula White or Nebula Black) and $6,799 for the ADVentura (Athens Blue or Nebula White) – brings higher specification. Both have brakes made by J. Juan, a Spanish supplier owned by Brembo, with dual 300mm discs up front with 2-piston calipers and a single 240mm disc out back with a 1-piston caliper. Continental dual-channel ABS is standard, and 17-inch cast wheels are shod with premium Pirelli Angel GT sport-touring tires. 

2022 CFMOTO
The 650 ADVentura is the best deal going in lightweight touring. At $6,799 with standard saddlebags, it costs much less than the Honda CB500X ($8,139 with optional saddlebags) and the Kawasaki Versys 650 LT ($9,999).

The 650NK, which weighs 454 lb, carries 4.5 gallons of fuel, and has a 30.7-inch seat height, is equipped with KYB suspension, with a non-adjustable fork and a preload-adjustable rear shock. The 650 ADVentura has an inverted fork with 12 clicks of rebound adjustment and a rear shock with adjustable preload and rebound (eight clicks). Both models have full LED lighting and a 5-inch TFT display. 

Standard equipment on the ADVentura includes Shad hard saddlebags, a windscreen with 1.5 inches of toolless height adjustment, and a USB charging port on the dash. It weighs 481 lb (add 17 lb for the saddlebags), carries 4.75 gallons of fuel, and has a 32.3-inch seat height.  

2022 CFMOTO 650 ADVentura
The 650 ADVentura is available in Athens Blue or Nebula White.

Both 650s have upright seating positions, and thanks to its taller seat, the ADVentura offers more legroom than the NK. Both are very approachable and fun to ride. Twisting the right grip delivers rheostat-like power with barely a hint of vibration from the counterbalanced Twin. They are light enough to be tossed into turns, their Pirelli tires provide good grip, and their brakes shed speed quite well. They felt stable at speed too – I maxxed out at an indicated 106 mph on the NK and 107 mph on the ADV. (Read more 650 ADVentura impressions below.) 

2022 CFMOTO 700CL-X / 700 CL-X Sport 

2022 CFMOTO
The 700CL-X street scrambler looks especially fetching in Coal Grey with bronze wheels (the other color choice is Twilight Blue with black wheels), and its lively 74-hp Twin will bring out your inner hooligan.

Though gaining just 44cc in displacement over the 650s, the 700s represent a big step up in specification and performance. Their shared liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve 693cc parallel-Twin makes a claimed 74 hp at 8,500 rpm and 50.2 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm, and both have a 6-speed transmission with a slipper clutch and chain final drive. 

The 700s are also equipped with throttle-by-wire, which enables two ride modes (Sport and Eco) and one-touch cruise control. They have a stylish, throaty exhaust can on the right side, self-canceling turnsignals, and all-round LED lighting with a daytime running light. 

2022 CFMOTO 700CL-X
The 700CL-X is available in Coal Grey with bronze wheels or Twilight Blue with black wheels.

Wrapped around the engine is a tubular chromoly steel frame connected to a steel trellis subframe and a lightweight gravity-cast aluminum swingarm. KYB suspension includes a 41mm inverted fully adjustable fork and a linkage-mounted rear shock that’s adjustable for preload and rebound. Seat height is 31.5 inches and fuel capacity is 3.4 gallons. 

The 700CL-X street scrambler ($6,499) is available in Coal Grey with bronze wheels or Twilight Blue with black wheels, and it has a tubular handlebar and Pirelli MT-60 dirt track-style semi-knobby tires. J. Juan brakes include a 320mm front disc with a radial-mount 4-piston caliper and a 260mm rear disc with a 2-piston caliper, and Continental ABS is standard. Curb weight is 426 lb. 

2022 CFMOTO
For café racer fans, the 700CL-X Sport has the goods, with clip-ons, bar-end mirrors, grippy sport tires, and a solo seat. In Sport mode, it leaps out of corners and its stubby exhaust howls with joy.

The 700CL-X Sport ($6,799), available in Nebula White or Velocity Grey, takes a more aggressive café racer approach to styling and ergonomics, with clip-on handlebars, bar-end mirrors, a removable rear cowling (passenger pegs are standard but a passenger seat is sold as an accessory), and faux carbon fiber accents. Top-shelf Brembo brakes include a radial front master cylinder, radial-mount monoblock Stylema 4-piston calipers squeezing 320mm discs, and a 2-piston rear caliper squeezing at 260mm disc. Five-spoke cast aluminum wheels are shod with Maxxis SuperMaxx ST sport tires. Curb weight is 451 lb. 

2022 CFMOTO 700CL-X
The 700CL-X Sport is available in Velocity Grey (shown above) or Nebula White.

These bikes are a helluva lot of fun, with engine response that feels like a bigger step up from the 650s than the small displacement bump would suggest. With its wider handlebar, more upright seating position, more comfortable seat, and lower weight, the 700CL-X was my favorite of the two. Other than the 650 ADVentura, it’s the bike I spent the most time on, chasing down – but by no means racing – other journalists on the track. 

A Day in the Life of the 2022 CFMOTO 650 ADVentura 

2022 CFMOTO
The wind deflectors and windscreen provide good protection. The screen’s height can be adjusted over a 1.5-inch range without tools.

CFMOTO’s 650 ADVentura has the Kawasaki Versys 650 LT in its crosshairs. Both are street-adventure bikes with 649cc parallel-Twins, upright seating positions, small upper fairings with height-adjustable windscreens, and removable hard saddlebags. There are some differences too – the Kawasaki has traction control but the CFMOTO doesn’t, for example, and the CFMOTO has a longer warranty – but they’re similar enough to be kissing cousins. 

The biggest delta between the two is price. The Kawasaki’s MSRP is $9,999, but the CFMOTO’s is only $6,799. You can buy a lot of overpriced gas for $2,200. 

2022 CFMOTO 650 ADVentura
With the Shad-sourced saddlebags removed, the single-tube luggage carrier offers a clean look.

Since a middleweight street-adventure bike is right in Rider’s wheelhouse, the 650 ADVentura is the bike I chose to spend the day with. On a hot, muggy morning in late June, I threw a leg over a blue one in a hotel parking lot in Maple Grove, Minnesota. My visits to the North Star State are few and far between, so I headed north to Duluth on the southern shore of Lake Superior to visit the Aerostich store and factory and have lunch with Andy Goldfine.

RELATED: Aerostich: The Great American Motorcycle Suit

2022 CFMOTO 650 ADVentura
No visit to Duluth is complete without a stop at Aerostich headquarters. Visit Aerostich.com for seasonal store hours, and ask for a free factory tour.

Work obligations consumed part of my morning, so I left late and slabbed it on Interstate 35 to make time. Boring yes, but also a good way to get to know how a bike runs at sustained high speeds. Keeping up with traffic, the speedometer hovered around 80 mph the whole way. For 160 miles I passed lots of trees as well as billboards for fishing boats, fishing lakes, fish camps, and marinas. The 650 ADVentura hummed along beneath me, giving off a bit of engine heat but hardly any vibration. 

2022 CFMOTO 650 ADVentura
A view of downtown Duluth, Minnesota, from the Skyline Parkway Scenic Byway. Across the harbor is Superior, Wisconsin.

Two hand knobs can be loosened to adjust the height of the ADVentura’s windscreen. With it fully raised and supplemented by deflectors on either side of the dash, wind protection was good with no buffeting. As I got closer to Duluth, I caught the edges of two rainstorms and got a little damp in my mesh jacket and riding jeans. As I-35 descended a steep hill toward downtown, the temperature dropped into the mid-50s due to the cooling effect of Lake Superior. By the time I dropped the kickstand in Aerostich’s parking lot, my teeth were chattering. 

2022 CFMOTO 650 ADVentura
Flanking the TFT display are windscreen adjuster knobs and a USB charging port.

After touring Aerostich’s headquarters and warming up with coffee and a warm bowl of soup during lunch with Andy, I rode up one of Duluth’s steep streets and cruised along Skyline Parkway Scenic Byway, which follows a ridgeline just west of the city and offers panoramic views of Duluth, the harbor, and Lake Superior. The byway offered up some fun curves, plenty of frost-damaged asphalt, and even some gravel on the north end near Hawk Ridge. The final 4 miles of the byway follows Seven Bridges Road, which cuts back and forth over the cascading course of Amity Creek on a series of arched stone bridges. 

2022 CFMOTO 650 ADVentura
This idyllic spot on the Skyline Parkway Scenic Byway is just a stone’s throw from downtown Duluth.

The 650 ADVentura has the qualities I love most about middleweights – modest curb weight, light steering, and enough power for a lively riding experience. Its suspension and brakes are dutifully competent, and its slip/assist clutch helps it shift with ease. Its wind protection, ergonomics, and smoothness made my 350-mile day enjoyable, though its soft seat foam crushed down and didn’t offer adequate support. Fuel economy during my all-day test ride was 45.5 mpg, good for 216 miles from the 4.75-gallon tank. 

2022 CFMOTO 650 ADVentura
Each saddlebag holds a full-face helmet.

Overall, I was impressed with the 650 ADVentura as well as CFMOTO’s other models. They are stylish, well-built with quality components, and spec’d with desirable features. And at a time where value is increasingly important, they offer incredible bang for the buck. 

2022 CFMOTO 650 ADVentura
A stop on Seven Bridges Road, which crisscrosses Amity Creek.

2022 CFMOTO 650 ADVentura Specs 

Base Price: $6,799
Website: CFMOTOusa.com
Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel-Twin, DOHC w/ 4 valve per cyl.
Displacement: 649cc 
Bore x Stroke: 83 x 60mm 
Horsepower: 60.3 hp @ 8,750 rpm (claimed, at the crank) 
Torque: 41.3 lb-ft @ 7,000 rpm (claimed, at the crank) 
Final Drive: Chain 
Wheelbase: 56 in. 
Rake/Trail: 24.5 degrees/4.1 in. 
Seat Height: 32.3 in.
Wet Weight: 498 lb (w/ saddlebags)
Fuel Capacity: 4.75 gals. 
Fuel Consumption: 45.5 mpg 
Estimated Range: 216 miles 

The post 2022 CFMOTO Motorcycle Lineup | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak | First Look Review

When Ducati launched the Multistrada V4 range in 2021, features like adaptive cruise control (ACC) and 36,000-mile valve check intervals made the platform more touring-ready than ever. For 2022, the Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak takes the model back to its sporting roots with performance upgrades and styling to match.

The brand’s 1,158cc Grandturismo V4 returns with 170 horsepower and 92 lb-ft of torque, but Ducati’s Race Riding Mode now maximizes the mill’s potential. Of course, the Multistrada V4’s Sport, Touring, Urban, and Enduro ride modes remain, but the new option gives the Pikes Peak a personality all its own. In Race mode, the system’s rev limiter kicks in more gradually, optimizing drive during high-rpm operation. A revised quickshifter speeds up those gear changes, both up and down.

2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak drives down a paved road under a mountain, next to red and white stripes

Ducati complements the model’s racing spirit with a more aggressive rake angle with its new 17-inch front wheel, sharpening to 25.75 degrees for improved agility. Ducati’s signature single-sided swingarm reappears on the V4 Pikes Peak, calling back to Multis of the past and extending the wheelbase to 62.8 inches for more stability.

A 17-inch Marchesini forged aluminum wheelset helps reduce curb weight to 527 pounds while the multi-compound Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV tires (120/70 front; 190/55-17 rear) deliver sure grip and decent longevity. To take full advantage of the updated chassis, Ducati adjusts the rider triangle with lower handlebars and higher footpegs.

2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak drives fast with rider on board

The Pikes Peak adopts Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 suspension with event-based settings that adapt to the user’s riding style. Along with the semi-active suspension, the Multistrada touts superbike-worthy brakes, with twin Brembo Stylema calipers mated to 330mm discs up front and a single-piston caliper biting a 265mm rotor out back.

With the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb no longer featuring motorcycles, Ducati turns to its MotoGP outfit for styling inspiration. Resplendent in Ducati red with number plates at both sides of the tank, the Desmosedici GP21-inspired livery immediately fits in at the circuit. A carbon fiber beak and front mudguard add style while reducing weight, and the smoke-gray plexiglass windscreen streamlines the Pikes Peak’s silhouette. A carbon fiber-capped Akrapovič silencer and a two-tone black/red rear saddle complete the Multistrada’s transformation.

2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak drives on curvy mountain road

The high-spec trim also features Ducati’s latest-generation electronic suite of rider aids and a 6.5-inch TFT display. Wheelie control and cornering ABS keep the rider safe on a twisty road, while smartphone connectivity provides navigation on the open road. Similar to the Multistrada V4 S, radar-assisted adaptive cruise control (ACC) and blind-spot detection (BSD) come standard.

The 2022 Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak will hit Ducati showrooms in February 2022, with an MSRP of $28,995.

The post 2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak | First Look Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

There’s a New Triumph Tiger 1200 for 2022

New Triumph Tiger 1200

Triumph has released some teaser photos of the new Tiger 1200 planned for 2022, which they say is lighter and more powerful than the previous model.

The new Tiger 1200 has been under testing, which is now nearing completion and Triumph claims their biggest cat is now significantly lighter than its closest competition. That could be a game-changer for a motorcycle that has, up to now, always been at the heavy end of the ADV weight chart.

Triumph claims the new Tiger 1200 will combine a powerful 3-cylinder engine with a new chassis that will offer class-leading agility, control, and handling. We look forward to testing these claims when we ride the bike.

New Triumph Tiger 1200

The post There’s a New Triumph Tiger 1200 for 2022 first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 / Factory | First Ride Review

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 / Factory
The new Tuono V4 Factory is still an out-and-out hypernaked sport-bike, with upgraded suspension and new electronics. (Photos by Larry Chen Photo)

It was a glorious morning in Pasadena, California, and the huge windows overlooking historic Colorado Boulevard bathed Aprilia’s Advanced Design Center office in natural light. Miguel Galluzzi, whom many credit with saving Ducati when he designed the groundbreaking and immensely popular Monster, sat impassively as the room filled with journalists. Galluzzi is also the designer responsible for Aprilia’s RSV4 and Tuono V4 models, which take full advantage of the extremely compact and powerful 1,077cc V4 engine. 

Galluzzi explained that the Advanced Design Center allows his team to sit at the heart of the North American market, where proximity to a diverse group of riders and their viewpoints can be fed directly into their design process, fresh and unfiltered. The latest CAD technology and 3D printing allow design ideas inspired by feedback, coupled with cutting-edge advances trickling down from Aprilia’s factory racing team, to be prototyped and tested more efficiently than ever.  

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 / Factory
The two models – Tuono V4 Factory on left, Tuono V4 on right – are almost identical on paper, but offer different experiences.

The result, we are told, are the most advanced Tuono models yet, a combination of incremental updates designed to improve handling and accommodate a broad spectrum of riders’ needs. The V4 engine is now Euro 5 compliant, and with some tweaking Aprilia has managed to match the outgoing model’s performance. Claimed peak horsepower is 175 at 11,350 rpm and maximum torque is 89 lb-ft at 9,000 rpm.  

Influences from the racetrack include a redesigned fairing with integrated winglets and enhanced geometry to improve handling at the limits, as well as a new inverted swingarm designed to improve traction at the rear wheel. The updated seat is wider, longer, and surprisingly comfortable. A new sculpted fuel tank looks gorgeous and maintains the same 4.9-gallon capacity. The Tuono V4 gets an improved 5-inch TFT dash and new switchgear. The headlight array features the triple LED headlight and a DRL configuration common to the rest of the Tuono line, with the addition of cornering lights.  

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 / Factory
The Tuono V4 is designed to take you further, with all the thrills, added comfort, and even luggage, if required.

Despite being nearly identical on paper, the new Tuono V4 models are quite different in terms of experience. Track rats will be happy to hear that the V4 Factory model is still an out-and-out naked maniac, and is the more expensive, track-focused of the two. The street-focused Tuono V4 represents a new direction, designed to go places carrying more than just a rider and a bare minimum of gear. 

The Factory version is now fitted with Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension and a new Magneti Marelli ECU, controlling fueling and a full suite of electronics. Four times faster than the previous ECU and fully integrated via ride-by-wire throttle and a six-axis IMU, the new setup promises more precise and programable handling for road and track. There are three preset and three track-oriented, user-programmable riding modes, and a host of adjustable rider aids, including traction control, wheelie control, launch control, engine mapping, engine braking, cornering ABS, cruise control, and an up/down quickshifter.   

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 / Factory
The Tuono V4 is billed as a naked, but a minimalist fairing now incorporates racing inspired winglets.

Siting astride the Factory, it feels much more compact than might be expected from a liter bike. The body position is definitely sporty, but the wide bars and seat feel roomy, even for my 6-foot 2-inch stature. Setting off in Tour mode, within the first few miles the V4 Factory somehow feels familiar. Even on the highway leading us to the twisty mountain roads, it is impossible to completely open the throttle for more than a moment before running out of road, and any true test of the Factory model would require a racetrack. 

Throttle response is immediate but initial ham-fistedness is miraculously smoothed out before I can get myself into trouble and I throw the Tuono into the turns with some confidence. Steering is light yet purposeful and exact, the front wheel holding its line despite less-than-perfect surface conditions. A single pop on the downshift raises a smile, and ballistic acceleration on corner exits, accompanied by one of the most fantastic, raspy exhaust notes ever to erupt from a stock can, leaves me grinning like an idiot.  

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 / Factory
The Tuono V4 Factory is nimble and precise, even on less than perfect roads.

The Factory is fitted with Brembo’s M50 monoblock front calipers, which offer progressive feel and no want of braking capability. With my knees firmly pocketed in the sculpted tank I can keep my weight off the bars, gripping the bike with less effort, and lean into corners with a connected conviction. The V4 Factory’s comfort and ergonomics compare quite well to rivals like the KTM 1290 Super Duke R and Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS, yet its sportbike credentials remain intact.  

The standard Tuono V4 feels similar. Slightly raised handlebars make for a less aggressive stance. Despite lower pillion pegs, the rider’s footpegs are identically placed on both models, providing plenty of clearance but also a potential source of fatigue over long distances. A slightly larger fly screen and upper fairing, a practical pillion seat, grab handles, and optional luggage all make for a hyper-naked sport-tourer, with a heavy emphasis on sport.  

Test Ride the 2021 Aprilia Tuono V4
Test Ride the 2021 Aprilia Tuono V4

Performance is identical to the Factory model, and the standard model will make a capable track-day machine if required. Its taller top gear makes for comfortable, economical highway cruising, as you make your way to the next winding backroad. The standard comes equipped with fully adjustable Sachs suspension, front and rear, but on the road, its handling is fairly close to that of the Factory. 

The new Tuono V4 and Tuono V4 Factory are intoxicating motorcycles. They offer astounding power in a compact, lightweight chassis that is exhilarating. And yet, thanks to its suite of adjustable electronics, they are both rewarding and manageable. And one can never forget – or grow tired of – the machine-gun salute connected to your right wrist. While the Factory will keep the Tuono faithful satisfied, the standard model will open up the Tuono range to a host of new riders, who, like me, actually want to go places and bring more than just our wallet and smartphone. 

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 / Factory
The new Tuono has a broader appeal. Track enthusiasts will love the factory for its suspension and formidable array of programable settings, while sports riders who like to cover miles can now add the Tuono V4 to their list of possibilities.

2021 Tuono V4 / Tuono V4 Factory Specs

Base Price: $15,999 / $19,499
Website: aprilia.com
Engine Type: Liquid cooled, transverse 65-degree V-4, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,077cc
Bore x Stroke: 81.0 x 52.3mm
Horsepower: 175 @ 11,000 rpm (claimed, at crank)
Torque: 89 lb-ft @ 9,000 rpm (claimed, at crank)
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch
Final Drive: X-ring chain
Wheelbase: 57.1 in.
Rake/Trail: 24.8 degrees/3.9 in.
Seat Height: 32.5 in.
Wet Weight: 461 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 4.9 gals. 

The post 2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 / Factory | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Harley-Davidson Unveil Arctic Blast Limited Edition Street Glide Special

Harley-Davidson Unveil Arctic Blast Limited Edition
The handcrafted Arctic Blast Factory Custom Street Glide Special will be limited to 500 serialized motorcycles worldwide.

Harley-Davidson is producing a limited run of 2021 Street Glide Specials featuring the handcrafted Arctic Blast Limited Edition paint set. The motorcycle was revealed today at the 81st Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Availability will be limited to 500 examples worldwide, each serialized on the fuel tank.  

The Arctic Blast Limited Edition paint will be offered in a single colorway – metallic deep blue with bright blue strokes over a pearlescent white base. Each of the Street Glide Specials receiving the new custom scheme is hand-painted by the artisans at Gunslinger Custom Paint in Golden, Colorado. Gunslinger is home to a renowned group of painters, designers and, artists with decades of experience supplying custom-painted components for Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations team and limited-edition motorcycles. 

Harley-Davidson Unveil Arctic Blast Limited Edition
Custom paint is applied by Gunslinger Custom Paint of Golden, Colorado.

“With the Arctic Blast Limited Edition paint offering for the Street Glide Special, at Harley-Davidson, we continue to build on our reputation and lead by example, as the best in exclusive custom motorcycles and design,” said Jochen Zeitz, Chairman, President and CEO Harley-Davidson.  

The Street Glide Special model is a Harley-Davidson hot-rod bagger that combines long-haul touring comfort and custom style powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin engine. Key features include the iconic Harley-Davidson batwing fairing, stretched locking saddlebags, a Daymaker LED headlamp, low-profile engine guard, and Prodigy custom wheels.  

Harley-Davidson Unveil Arctic Blast Limited Edition
A close up reveals intricate details in the finish.

“The Arctic Blast paint is executed in strokes of high-contrast color intended to communicate the appearance of motion,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson Vice President of Styling and Design. “The design looks bold from a distance but offers interesting details that can only be seen up close, including a blue pearl effect over the white base, and a ghosted hexagon pattern on the fairing.” 

The Arctic Blast Limited Edition Street Glide Special MSRP is $38,899. A Chopped Tour-Pak luggage carrier with matching paint will also be offered through Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Parts & Accessories (MSRP: $1,699.95).

For more information visit: harley-davidson.com 

The post Harley-Davidson Unveil Arctic Blast Limited Edition Street Glide Special first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS | Road Test Review

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS review
Completely redesigned for 2021, the Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS has more power, less weight, and premium components and electronics. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

Yes, this is a review of the 2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS, the legendary streetfighter from Hinckley that has been completely redesigned. More power, less weight, all the must-haves – you get the idea. For me, testing the Speed Triple was personal. But before I get into it, you should know the backstory. 

London, England, 1998. I can still fit everything I own into the trunk of a hatchback, and for the first time in my short life, I’m earning more money than I’m spending. When my employer relocates me to a new office in the financial district, my commute becomes a 45-minute crush on the Tube. With a modest pot of cash building in the bank, I decide now is the time to buy my first proper motorcycle. Lane splitting in Britain is legal, and I plan to join the multitude of well-healed professionals commuting through the traffic and into the city each morning. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
The legendary streetfighter from Hinckley has been completely redesigned and the 2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS has more power, less weight, and premium parts.

It’s the same year Triumph gives its naked hooligan, the Speed Triple, an aggressive redesign. Introduced in 1994, the Speed Triple had already left its mark. The new styling for ’98 includes wider, higher bars and distinct double headlights under a minimal flyscreen, a design that Tom Cruise will come to immortalize in Mission Impossible II

The engine is now the 955cc Triple from the Daytona, producing a whopping 130 horsepower. I visit the Triumph dealership in Vauxhall so often the sales staff make fun of me and pretend to close the shop, telling me, “turn off the lights when your done sitting on it.” The Speed Triple’s price tag is hanging from the handlebar: £7,999 (around $13,000), which is about ten times more than I’ve ever spent on anything. 

Alas, saving for my first proper bike is competing with the fiscal demands of London’s nightlife, and ultimately, I scale down my plans. The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R I buy leaves £2,500 for some decent gear, but as much as I love the Ninja, I lament the hooligan and tell myself there will always be a next time. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story

Fast forward to 2005. London is history, as is the Ninja. New York is now my home and the center of the universe. Business is going well, but occasional rental rides are not cutting the mustard from a thrill perspective. As if in answer to my thoughts, Triumph releases the fourth generation of the Speed Triple, with a larger 1,050cc inline-Triple and a new chassis. But it’s the massive dual underseat pipes, which help expose the single-sided swingarm, that catch my eye. 

I head down to the Triumph dealer in SoHo and climb aboard. It’s bigger than I remember, and meaner looking. I decide, right there and then, I’m going to buy it. But a test ride is “out of the question” until I get a New York driver’s license, as is insuring any bike I buy. I book the test, but somewhere along the way, a petite Italian also catches my eye, and suddenly I have a shared bank account and an eye-watering mortgage. My new fiancé doesn’t think a new motorcycle is a priority right now.  

Time marches on. With each generation, the Speed Triple gets better and better. And with each passing year, it seems farther out of reach. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
The new Speed Triple 1200 RS is one of the lightest hyper naked bikes on the market, making it extremely agile.

Now it’s 2021, and I’ve been living in Los Angeles for a few years. A few weeks after starting my new job at Rider, our EIC says he needs me to test the new Speed Triple 1200 RS. And just like that, I’m holding the keys – a keyless fob, actually – to a machine I’ve coveted for years. 

Revised from the ground up, the new Speed Triple certainly looks the part. The underseat pipes are gone, replaced with a superbike-style can, but the fox-eye headlights, which replaced the iconic round ones in 2011, are as menacing as ever. It feels more compact than I remember, with a narrower seat and gas tank. Our test bike’s color scheme is the Matte Silver Ice option. Sapphire Black is also available and both colors are understated, flying in the face of its many candy-colored rivals or even the garish colors offered on Speed Triples in the past, like Nuclear Red and Roulette Green. But it’s no sleeper. Huge Brembo brake calipers and Öhlins suspension are clear indicators of the power they’re tasked with harnessing. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
All of the 2021 Speed Triples are designated RS, and standard equipment includes fully adjustable Öhlins suspension and Brembo Stylema front brake calipers.

Triumph completely redesigned the Speed Triple’s engine, starting with an increase in displacement (1,160cc, up from 1,050) and a race-bred oversquare piston configuration. A bigger bore and a shorter stroke result in a higher redline, now 11,150 rpm. A new ignition system with twin-tip spark plugs improves combustion, and a new air intake and free-flowing exhaust system help squeeze every available horse from the Hinkley hooligan. On Jett Tuning’s rear-wheel dyno, the Speed Triple grunted out 165.5 horsepower at 10,800 rpm and 87 lb-ft of torque at 8,500 rpm, figures that are much higher than the previous model.     

Triumph’s engineers must have been busy because, despite the performance gains, the new engine weighs 15 pounds less than before and is Euro 5 compliant. Lighter moving parts have significantly reduced engine inertia, promising a very revvy engine. A lighter slip/assist clutch assembly has fewer plates but more friction per plate, and it’s linked to a new stacked 6-speed gearbox with an up/down quickshifter. An all-new cast-aluminum chassis is both stronger and lighter, further cutting the Speed Triple’s curb weight down to just 437 pounds.

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS review dyno horsepower torque
Dyno results for the 2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS

Compared to the Speed Triple R we tested back in 2012, the 2021 RS makes 40 more horsepower and weighs 40 pounds less. Take a moment and let that sink in. 

The only Speed Triple 1200 available for 2021 is the RS model, and with that designation comes premium equipment. Fully adjustable Öhlins suspension includes an NIX30 inverted fork and a TTX36 twin-tube rear shock. Braking at the front wheel is supplied by twin Brembo Stylema radial monoblock 4-piston calipers clamping 320mm discs, and at the rear, a single Brembo 2-piston caliper. Tires are grippy Metzeler Racetec RR tires with just a hint of rain sipes. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story

Brembo Stylema calipers, coupled with Metzler Racetec RR tires make for truly impressive stopping power. 

After getting acquainted, I start to get a feel for the Speed Triple’s handling as I make my way out of the city. The ride is firm, as is the seat; not a stone, but not plush either. The quickshifter works beautifully, especially at the higher rev ranges, but I can’t find neutral to save my life. By the time I reach the back roads I feel acquainted enough to really open up the throttle as I exit a familiar, sweeping corner. Thump-in-the-chest acceleration follows as the engine spins up almost instantly. I know this road intimately, but suddenly it feels shorter and I’m up to the next corner before I know it. With a firm, progressive pull on the brake lever, the stopping power from the Stylema calipers feels like I just launched a parachute. I lose my flow through the corner because now I’m too slow. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
Out on the back roads, I finally get to open up the Speed Triple’s throttle, the engine response is immediate, and acceleration out of the corners is blisteringly quick.

A few miles later and I’m coming to grips with it. The Triumph is in Road mode and I see no reason to change that. The body position is spot-on for a naked, the sporty side of neutral, and despite the firm seat and significant bend at my knee, I’m not uncomfortable. The bars are wide but steering inputs are precise. Triumph has moved the footrests inboard slightly, and when I get confident enough to test the sticky Racetecs, I find plenty of grip and ground clearance. 

Now that my brain is properly calibrated, I come to appreciate the phenomenal brakes. I can be heavy on the rear with no issues, and the front brakes are immediate without being snappy. There is barely a whiff of dive in the fork. Our test bike came straight from a track test, and the suspension was carved-from-granite stiff. We turned the clickers on the Öhlins NIX30 to remove nearly all of the compression and rebound damping, and the ride was much improved. Taut and responsive, though as a 160-pound rider I’d like to go softer still. 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS review

The Speed Triple is a breeze to ride, despite the race-bred engine. The performance is staggering, but not unwieldy. Thanks to the abundant torque it’s happy to tootle about in the higher gears. Throttle response is sharp but manageable, and when I’m a little heavy-handed, wheelie control kicks in and levels things out (you can turn it off and wheelie away if that’s your thing). The bike feels smaller than it is, and is eminently flickable, darting into corners on demand with eye-popping acceleration on exit. Sometimes the firm ride can be unsettling on less-than-perfect roads, but through a smooth series of corners it’s like magic.

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story
The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story

The cockpit is nicely understated, and the dash is clear and readable in bright daylight and in the dark. Snazzy graphics add a bit of flare. 

Triumph applied its standard minimalist approach to the cockpit. A low-reflection, 5-inch TFT display defaults to a view of the tach, gear position, and speed, and snazzy dash graphics rotate the default screen to the side when you access the menu. A new six-axis IMU sensor empowers a full suite of electronic rider aids, including multi-mode cornering ABS and traction control. There are five riding modes: Rain (power is restricted to 99 horsepower), Road, Sport, Track, and Custom. On the street, the Speed Triple is more than saucy enough in Road mode. All-round LED lights, backlit switchgear, keyless ignition, and cruise control are standard. 

The Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS exceeded my expectations. As I rode it more and more, I adapted to it, and I’d like to think it adapted to me. We got to know each other. I grew more confident in its handling and braking capabilities, which allowed me to explore more of its performance envelope. The mighty Triple rewarded me with one of the most thrilling riding experiences of my life. They say you should never meet your heroes, but in this case, there was no letdown. I still love the Speed Triple. And yes, it was worth the wait. 

The Triumph Speed Triple - A Love Story

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS Specs 

Base Price: $18,300
Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles 
Website: triumphmotorcycles.com

Engine

Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse inline Triple, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,160cc 
Bore x Stroke: 90.0 x 60.8mm 
Compression Ratio: 13.2:1
Valve Insp. Interval: 20,000 miles 
Fuel Delivery: Multipoint sequential EFI w/ throttle-by-wire
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.5 qt. cap.
Transmission: 6 speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch
Final Drive: X-ring chain

Chassis

Frame: Aluminum twin-spar frame, bolt-on aluminum rear subframe & single-sided cast aluminum swingarm 
Wheelbase: 56.9 in
Rake/Trail: 23.9 degrees/4.1 in 
Seat Height: 32.7 in. 
Suspension, Front: 43mm USD fork, fully adj., 4.7 in. travel 
Rear: Single shock, fully adj., 4.7 in. travel 
Brakes, Front: Dual 320mm floating discs w/ 4-piston radial monoblock calipers & ABS 
Rear: Single 220mm 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: 190/55-ZR17
Wet Weight: 437 lbs.
Load Capacity: 430 lbs.
GVWR: 867 lbs. 

Performance

Horsepower: 165.5 @ 10,800 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Torque: 86.9 lb-ft @ 8,500 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 29 mpg
Estimated Range: 117 miles 

2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS Photo Gallery

The post 2021 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS | Road Test Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone | First Ride Review

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
Updates for 2021 to Moto Guzzi’s V7 Stone and V7 Special include a larger engine and a revised chassis. (Photos by Larry Chen Photo)

“I would know the sound of a big Guzzi in my sleep. It concentrates its aural energies in your upper chest, ringing through your bones. It is … the sound of joy.”
— Melissa Holbrook Pierson, The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles

When we find joy, we hold it close and nurture it. Woven throughout Pierson’s book, arguably one of the best ever written about motorcycling, is a romance between the author and Moto Guzzi. When searching for her first motorcycle, it was love at first sight: “a 500cc V-twin Moto Guzzi, red-and-black, a workhorse, and I thought it was beautiful.” 

Like any true love, Pierson’s passion for Moto Guzzi ran deep and transcended appearance. She fell under the spell of the Italian V-twin’s syncopated beat. She dedicated her mind, body, and spirit to learning to ride, doing her own maintenance, and enduring long hours in the saddle through stifling heat, bitter cold, and drenching rain. 

Moto Guzzi is a storied marque that celebrates a century of continuous production this year. Every Moto Guzzi — from the 1921 Normale, a 498cc single, to the 1955 Otto cilindri, a liquid-cooled, DOHC 500cc V-8 GP racer that topped 170 mph, to present-day models — has been built in the factory in Mandello del Lario, Italy, on the shores of Lake Como. 

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
The Centenario paint scheme is inspired by the 1955 Otto cilindri racebike. (Photo by Sergio Piotin)

Three models — V7 Stone, V9 Bobber, and V85 TT — are available with a special Centenario color scheme for 2021 that pays tribute to the Otto cilindri. Their silver fuel tanks are inspired by the racebike’s raw alloy tank, their green side panels and front fenders are a nod to its iconic dustbin fairing, and their brown seats and golden eagle tank emblems further set them apart, though all 2021 models/colors display 100th anniversary logos on their front fenders. 

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
The V7 Stone is a modern take on a classic roadster, with simple lines, dark matte finishes, and cast wheels.

Greg’s Gear
Helmet: HJC RPHA 90
Jacket: Joe Rocket Classic ’92
Gloves: Joe Rocket Cafe Racer
Pants: Scorpion Covert Pro Jeans
Boots: Highway 21 Journeyman

Over its long history, Moto Guzzi has designed and built many notable models, but the V7 is a true living legend, the very soul of the brand. After two decades of building small, inexpensive motorcycles after World War II, Moto Guzzi became the first Italian manufacturer to offer a large-displacement model when, in 1967, it introduced the 700cc V7. It was the genesis of the engine configuration that came to define Moto Guzzi: the “flying” 90-degree V-twin, with its air-cooled cylinders jutting outward into the wind and its crankshaft running longitudinally. The V7 also had an automotive-style twin-plate dry clutch, a 4-speed constant mesh transmission, and shaft final drive. 

Today’s V7 maintains a strong connection to the original, from its round headlight, sculpted tank, and upright seating position to its dry clutch, shaft drive, dual shocks, and dual exhaust. The V7 Special ($9,490) is classically styled, with spoked wheels, chrome finishes, dual analog gauges, and a traditional headlight. The more modern-looking V7 Stone ($8,990) has matte finishes, a single all-digital gauge, black exhausts, cast wheels, and an eagle-shaped LED set into the headlight.

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
The V7 Special (left) brightens things up with gloss, chrome, and spoked wheels.

I’ve ridden a variety of Moto Guzzis over the years — the Norge sport-tourer (named after the Norge GT 500, which Giuseppe Guzzi rode to the Arctic Circle in 1928), the carbon-fiber-clad MGX-21 Flying Fortress hard bagger, the classic California 1400 Touring, and the red-framed, chrome-tanked V7 Racer, among others. Each was unique, but all shared the distinctive cah-chugga-chugga sound when their V-twins fired up and the gentle rocking to the right side when their throttles were blipped at idle. 

Riding a Moto Guzzi feels special. It’s a visceral, engaging, rhythmic experience. The V7 Stone brought me back to the simple pleasure of motorcycling — the feel of the wind against my body, the engine’s vibrations felt through various touch points, the exhilaration of thrust. Although the new V7 has a larger 853cc engine, variations of which are found in the V9 and V85 TT, output remains modest — 65 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 54 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm, measured at the crank. But that’s enough. The V7 is one of those motorcycles that gives you permission to relax, to take your time and really savor the moment. What’s the rush? 

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
The Centenario edition’s silver and green paint complements the V7 Stone’s black engine and exhaust.

Moto Guzzi made many useful, subtle updates to the V7 platform. Reduced effort from the single-disc dry clutch. A stiffer frame and a bigger swingarm with a new bevel gear for the cardan shaft drive. Revised damping and a longer stroke for the preload-adjustable rear shocks. An updated ABS module. A wider rear tire (now 150/70-17). Vibration-damping footpegs. A thicker passenger seat. 

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
The V7’s new eagle-shaped digital gauge is tasteful.

All are appreciated, but if I’m honest, I thought about none of them as I rolled through curve after curve on California’s Palms to Pines Highway, climbing higher and higher into the rugged, snow-dusted San Jacinto Mountains. For the better part of a day, I just rode the V7. I didn’t try to figure out its riding modes (it doesn’t have any), nor did I connect my smartphone to Moto Guzzi’s multimedia app. I rolled on and off the throttle. I shifted through the gears. And I smiled. A lot. 

The V7 Stone is solid, predictable, carefree. Its engine doles out torque nearly everywhere, but it feels happiest chugging along in the midrange. Throttle response is direct, the exhaust note is soothing. Thanks to its modest weight, low seat, and natural ergonomics, riding and handling are effortless. Braking, shifting, suspension — everything dutifully meets expectations. Like the Guzzi that stole Pierson’s heart, the V7 Stone is a workhorse, and it’s easy on the eyes. Well, except for its peculiar-looking taillight, which has a constellation of red LEDs that look too sci-fi for this style of bike. 

The V7 Stone Centenario carries the weight of Moto Guzzi’s century of history with confidence. The brand is an acquired taste, favored by connoisseurs rather than the masses, and it inspires a cult-like following. When I interviewed Melissa Holbrook Pierson for the Rider Magazine Insider podcast, I asked about her first encounter with a Guzzi. “It was chance,” she said. “I just happened upon the bike that was literally perfect for me.” 

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - First Ride Review
The 2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone is one of three new Guzzi’s available in the commemorative Centenario paint scheme.

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone

Base Price: $8,990 
Price as Tested: $9,190 (Centenario edition) 
Website: motoguzzi.com 
Engine Type: Air-cooled, longitudinal 90-degree V-twin, OHV w/ 2 valves per cyl. 
Displacement: 853cc 
Bore x Stroke: 84.0 x 77.0mm 
Horsepower: 65 hp @ 6,800 rpm (claimed, at the crank) 
Torque: 54 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm (claimed, at the crank) 
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated dry clutch 
Final Drive: Shaft 
Wheelbase: 57.1 in. 
Rake/Trail: 28 degrees/4.1 in. 
Seat Height: 30.7 in. 
Wet Weight: 480 lbs. 
Fuel Capacity: 5.5 gals. 

The post 2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special | First Ride Review

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
Whether picking your way along a technical off-road trail or wearing down your chicken strips on a twisty paved road, the Pan America 1250 is well-balanced and highly capable. (Photos by Kevin Wing & Brian J. Nelson)

When you step up to the plate, when you’re facing fierce competitors and all eyes are on you, sometimes you have to swing for the fences. That’s what Harley-Davidson — a 118-year-old American motorcycle manufacturer known primarily for cruisers and baggers — has done with its new Pan America 1250 and Pan America 1250 Special adventure tourers.

Harley is a new player in the adventure touring segment, which has grown in breadth and depth over the past several decades. BMW recently introduced a 40th anniversary edition of its highly popular — and very capable — R 1250 GS. And there are big-league adventure bikes made by Ducati, Honda, KTM, Moto Guzzi, Suzuki, Triumph, and Yamaha, many of which are best-selling models with years of development and evolution under their belts.

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
Styling has tie-ins to the Fat Bob and Road Glide; side-laced wheels are optional.

During more than a decade of largely stagnant motorcycle sales since the Great Recession, large-displacement adventure and dual-sport models have been a rare source of growth. Harley wants a cut of that action. As it demonstrated with the release of the LiveWire electric motorcycle, Harley wants to expand its customer base. Two ways it can do that are to sell new models to its existing customers, and sell new models to new customers. Some existing customers own a variety of motorcycles, like Rider contributor Bruce Gillies, who owns a Road Glide Ultra, a Triumph Tiger 800XC and a KTM 690 Enduro R. Bruce is retired from the U.S. Navy and buys American-made products whenever he can. He’s also a highly skilled rider who demands a lot from his motorcycles. He’d consider buying a Pan America, but only if it meets his high expectations.

Rest assured, Bruce. The Motor Company knocked this one out of the park.

[Editor’s Note: After this story was published, Bruce traded in his Triumph for a Pan America 1250 Special with ARH, and he loves it.]

Harley designed and built an exciting, capable and innovative adventure bike in its first attempt. Given the high profile of the Pan America and the eagerness of naysayers to pounce on any weakness, Harley knew it couldn’t release an odd-duck motorcycle. It learned that lesson with the Buell Ulysses. Belt drive is out, chain drive is in, not only because a chain is light, durable in off-road situations and can be repaired in the field, but also because that’s what many adventure riders demand. A V-twin engine stays true to the brand, but it has to be liquid-cooled and offer the power and sophistication necessary to compete in this segment. The new Revolution Max 1250 V-twin makes a claimed 150 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque, and ride modes change output and throttle response at the touch of a button.

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
Commanding cockpit has an adjustable windscreen and hand guards. Touchscreen display is bright and easy to use.

Harley also knew it needed a hook — a killer app, if you will. And that’s Adaptive Ride Height (ARH), a $1,000 factory-installed option on the Pan America 1250 Special that automatically lowers ride height, and therefore the pilot’s seat, by 1 to 2 inches as the bike comes to a stop. The Special’s semi-active suspension automatically adjusts preload to 30% sag regardless of load, which is what accounts for the range of height adjustment. The system works seamlessly and virtually undetectably, and makes a huge difference in effective seat height. ARH is a real game-changer because seat height is one of the biggest obstacles for some riders to overcome when considering an adventure bike. Furthermore, it brings seat height within reach of more riders without compromising suspension travel or cornering clearance. (Click here to read our technical deep dive into the Pan America 1250’s Revolution Max engine and ARH.)

After years of development and benchmarking, not to mention teasing at shows and speculation by the media, the first public test of the Pan America was at its press launch. I have to hand it to the folks who planned the event — this was no bunny slope test ride. Hosted at RawHyde Adventures’ Zakar training facility a couple hours north of Los Angeles, we spent two full days flogging Pan America 1250 Specials on- and off-road in the Sierra Nevada mountains and Mojave Desert. We rode nearly 400 miles on highways, twisting mountain roads and off-road trails that included gravel, sand, rocks, tricky climbs and descents — even a few jumps.

2021 Harley-Davidson 
Pan America 1250 Special review
Top-shelf semi-active Showa suspension made for a plush landing. Damping rates can be set to Sport, Balanced, Comfort, Off-Road Soft and Off-Road Firm.

Greg’s Gear
Helmet: Fly Racing Odyssey Adventure Modular
Jacket: Fly Racing Terra Trek
Gloves: Fly Racing Coolpro Force
Pants: Fly Racing Terra Trek
Boots: Fly Racing FR5

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. After tip-toeing down the sand-and-gravel access road from Zakar to the pavement and falling into formation on Route 58 with the dozen riders in our group, I began taking mental notes. As with many full-sized adventure bikes, the Pan America was comfortable and accommodating, with plenty of legroom, an upright seating position and a relaxed reach to a wide handlebar. Before the ride began, Harley’s tech staff helped us adjust the dual-height stock seat (33.4/34.4 inches), install either the accessory low or high seat (which reduce or increase the dual heights by 1 inch, respectively) or install accessory 2-inch handlebar risers.

The whole business of seat heights becomes a little fuzzy because we were on Pan America 1250 Specials with ARH installed. At a stop, the unladen height of the stock seat in the low position is 32.7 inches rather than 33.4 inches without ARH. In its specs Harley also provides laden seat height with a 180-pound rider, which is 31.1 inches on the Special without ARH and 30.4 inches with ARH. Install the $249.95 Reach Solo Seat on an ARH-equipped Special and laden seat height can be as low as 29.4 inches. In other words, Harley went to great lengths to make sure seat height is not a barrier to owning a Pan America, though getting exactly what you want may require an investment.

2021 Harley-Davidson 
Pan America 1250 Special review
Thanks to its powerful Revolution Max 1250 V-twin and excellent chassis, the Pan America is one of the sportiest motorcycles ever to come out of Milwaukee.

After humming along the freeway for a half hour with the cruise control on and the on-the-fly adjustable windscreen parting the air smoothly, we turned onto Caliente-Bodfish Road, one of the gnarliest paved roads in the Sierra foothills, and began to wick it up. The Pan America offers eight ride modes — Sport, Road, Rain, Off-Road, Off-Road Plus and three custom modes — which adjust power output, throttle response, engine braking, traction control, ABS and suspension damping. The Revolution Max 1250 is ripper, with a sportbike-like sound, feel and responsiveness, and, thanks to variable valve timing, it delivers generous low-end torque as well as a screaming top end.

As has become increasingly common, rather than bolting the engine to the frame, the engine serves as the main structural element of the chassis. Attached directly to the engine are a front frame that incorporates the steering head, a forged aluminum mid frame that’s the attachment point for the cast aluminum swingarm and a tubular-steel trellis subframe. Overall the chassis is stiff and robust, contributing to the Pan America 1250 Special’s neutral, stable handling. And Harley used tried-and-trusted component suppliers, with a steering damper made by Öhlins, radial-mount monoblock 4-piston front calipers made by Brembo and suspension made by Showa — a 47mm USD Balance Free Fork and a Balanced Free Rear Cushion-lite shock, both with 7.5 inches of travel. Everything performed to a high level in a wide range of conditions.

2021 Harley-Davidson 
Pan America 1250 Special review
The 
Pan America 1250 Special is available in four color options: Deadwood Green (shown here), Baja Orange/Stone Washed White Pearl, Gauntlet Gray Metallic, and Vivid Black.

Standard on the Pan America are cast aluminum wheels (19-inch front, 17-inch rear) shod with specially designed Michelin Scorcher Adventure 90/10 tires, which offered good grip and handling on pavement and during light off-roading. Bikes we tested were equipped with the optional side-laced tubeless wheels (which cost $500 and weigh 14 pounds more than the cast wheels). On the second day, our bikes were fitted with accessory Michelin Anakee Wild 50/50 tires ($449.90), which give up some confidence and grip on pavement but are excellent off-road tires, even at the higher street temperatures we were running. Harley’s RDRS Safety Enhancements package includes IMU-enabled “cornering enhanced” linked ABS and traction control, with settings determined by ride mode (the cornering function and rear ABS are disabled in certain off-road modes). Drag-Torque Slip Control, which is like traction control for the engine to manage rear-wheel traction during aggressive riding, as well as cruise control and hill hold control are also part of the package.

Reactions to the Pan America’s styling have been mixed. Lacking the prominent beak or high front fender that is popular on many ADV bikes, it stands apart from the crowd, with a headlight design influenced by the Fat Bob and front bodywork inspired by the Road Glide’s sharknose fairing. Above the Daymaker Signature LED headlight, which uses 30 LED elements behind a diffuser lens, the Special has a Daymaker Adaptive LED headlight that illuminates a series of three lights as lean angle reaches 8, 15 and 23 degrees.

2021 Harley-Davidson 
Pan America 1250 Special review
Trona Pinnacles, which served as a backdrop in “Star Trek V” and “Planet of the Apes” among other films, was an ideal off-road test site. Michelin Anakee Wild tires added grip.

Harley offers a standard version of the Pan America 1250 that starts at $17,319, but many buyers will probably opt for the Pan America 1250 Special we tested. Starting at $19,999, the Special adds semi-active suspension with automatic preload adjustment (and the availability of ARH as a factory option), the adaptive headlight, the steering damper, a tire-pressure monitoring system, a centerstand, an aluminum skid plate, engine protection bars, hand guards, heated grips and a dual-height rear brake pedal.

In one shot, Harley-Davidson not only built its first adventure bike, it also built its first sportbike and sport-touring bike. We hammered the Pan Americas for two days, and they never gave up or reacted in an unexpected way or felt out of their depth. Whatever the metric — power, performance, handling, durability, technology, weight, price — the Pan America 1250 Special can compete head-to-head with well-established players in the ADV segment. Is it the best overall, or in any particular category? Well, that remains to be seen — two days and 400 miles, none of which were ridden back-to-back with competitors in the class, is not enough to draw firm conclusions. But this is one rookie that shows great promise.

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
Adventure touring, sport touring, on-road, off-road, tall or short rider, solo or with a passenger, with options, luggage and accessories or bone stock — whatever you’re into, the Pan America can be spec’d to satisfy your needs.

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special Specs

Base Price: $19,999
Price as Tested: $22,299 (ARH, side-laced wheels, Anakee Wild tires, skid plate)
Website: harley-davidson.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 60-degree V-twin, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,252cc
Bore x Stroke: 105 x 72mm
Horsepower: 150 @ 9,000 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Torque: 94 lb-ft @ 6,750 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated assist-and-slipper wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Wheelbase: 62.2 in.
Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 32.7/33.7 in. (unladen w/ ARH)
Wet Weight: 559 lbs. (claimed, stock)
Fuel Capacity: 5.6 gals.

The post 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special | First Ride Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 Yamaha WR250F vs WR250R | Comparison Test

2020 Yamaha WR250F vs WR250R Comparison Test
Dirt bikes like Yamaha’s 2020 WR250F (left) are light, fast and incredibly nimble off-road, but with no license plate to appease the authorities, first you have to get it there somehow. A good alternative is a lightweight dual-sport like the Yamaha WR250R (right), which harnesses much of the F’s ability in a less-expensive package…and it’s street legal.

Life is so simple when you’re young. As teens and 20-somethings we thought nothing of loading up our dirt bikes, gas cans, firewood, chili, beer, chips and more beer in the ol’ pickup truck and heading out to ride in the desert and OHV parks, sometimes for days. Sleep usually came in a camp chair by the dwindling fire, or in the back of the truck. It was all about the riding, and après riding, so all of the effort and time involved just getting there went unnoticed.

Dirt bike riding and ownership is definitely more complicated than living with a street-legal bike, however, and that complication creates inertia that can be hard to overcome when you get older and busier and are dealing with, say, kids, a job and a mortgage. Off-road riding is fun, exciting, challenging and helps build skills you can use on the street, but since the bike can only be ridden off-road in designated areas, first you have to get it there. That requires a truck or tow vehicle and trailer of some sort, ramps to load the bike in the truck, tie-downs to secure it and the skill and ability to do all of that in the first place. Add to that loading up all of your riding gear, water, food, sunblock and first aid kit and you’re good to go…after about an hour’s worth of effort.

2020 Yamaha WR250F vs WR250R Comparison Test
The extra weight on the typical dual-sport versus a dirt bike comes from the addition of DOT-approved lighting, wheels, tires, emissions equipment and more, but the weight difference has been narrowing in recent years.

Once you arrive at the riding area—from my house the closest is about an hour’s drive—then it’s time to unload everything, gear up and go riding. Which is heaven! Once you acquire some basic off-road riding skills, either on your own, by riding with friends or at a training school, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of exploring single-track trails, conquering hill climbs, sand washes and desert moguls or dark forest paths between trees. Dirt bikes are light and have big power-to-weight ratios, so just twisting the throttle on one and shooting down a dirt road is a major rush. And once you learn how, many of the hooligan antics—wheelies, sliding, burnouts, etc.—that would land you in jail on the street are par for the course off-road.

Tired and had enough riding for the day? OK, load it all up once again, and unload one more time when you get home. Wash the bike, drain its carburetor if it has one (and the bike will sit for a while until the next ride), get cleaned up and collapse on the couch. Sound fun? It really is, particularly if the type of off-road riding you do and your skill level really warrant a non-street-legal dirt bike. The 2020 Yamaha WR250F we sampled for this story, for example, weighs just 255 pounds gassed up and has fully adjustable suspension with more than 12 inches of travel at each end. Its liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC 4-valve, 4-stroke single revs briskly and makes whopping torque and top end power, fed through a wide-ratio (hence the WR) transmission that’s good for slow technical trails, flat-out flying and everything in between. Lights and an electric starter round out a mission-critical package that can tackle just about anything off-road.

2020 Yamaha WR250F vs WR250R Comparison Test
Dirt bikes can still eat a dual-sport for lunch off-road, except when it comes to the amount of time, effort and expense getting there.

But what if you just want to do some off-road exploring, perhaps at a mellower pace, and have no interest in all of the additional expense and logistical hassle of getting you and a dirt bike out to a riding area? Adventure bikes are all the rage these days and can handle some off-road riding, but they’re expensive and most of us don’t have the skills to pilot a 500-plus-pound behemoth down much more than a dirt fire road. Even the smaller KTM 390 Adventure tested in this issue weighs 387 pounds wet—that’s like adding a passenger to the weight of the typical dirt bike.

If your off-road forays are not too far away—or even if they are and you’re OK taking frequent breaks along the way—a good alternative to truck ownership or big ADV machines is a light single-cylinder dual-sport bike. For the least weight and most performance, the European makers like KTM and Husqvarna offer some very serious (and expensive) lightweight dual-sports. But all of the Japanese manufacturers also sell less expensive models in displacements from 200 to 650cc. The 250s run from just 296 to about 321 pounds and still make enough power for riders (who aren’t exceptionally large) to not only tackle a lot of the same terrain dirt bikes can—at a slower pace—but they can also be ridden to the trailhead from home, skipping the whole load/unload/repeat process. More dirt is open to a dual-sport as well, since unlike a dirt bike it has a license plate and is legal on the thousands of miles of unpaved public roads that connect, for example, ghost towns in Nevada and the national forests in Tennessee.

2020 Yamaha WR250F vs WR250R Comparison Test
The uniform for dirt riding is generally a little lighter-weight and cooler on the outside due to the extra exertion involved, but I’m protected underneath with an armored shirt, shorts and Fly Racing Pivot knee guards. Goggles keep out dust better than a face shield.

The 2020 Yamaha WR250R we sampled for this story shares much of its WR250F sibling’s DNA, but has far fewer unobtanium bits for racing so it costs $1,900 less. Yet at 296 pounds gassed up, it’s still the lightest of the affordable Japanese 200/250 dual-sports. The WR250R’s liquid-cooled single is based on the F’s 250cc race-ready enduro motor and shares the same bore and stroke, but among other changes has lower compression and mellower cam profiles for more street tractability. Seat height is still quite tall at 36.6 inches, but that’s an inch lower than the F’s, and the R still soaks up the bumps with 10.6 inches of fully adjustable suspension travel at each end. And it averages 61 mpg!

The WR-R’s design can’t take the pounding that its tougher enduro-inspired sibling can, but unlike many dual-sports it was built more for off-road than road, so you can tackle some pretty gnarly single-track terrain, ruts, rocks and jumps if it’s not too heavily loaded. The trade-off, of course, is its lower level of on-road comfort. Though it’s surprisingly smooth at highway speed and cruises right along at 65-70 mph without the engine feeling like it’s going to blow up, the seat is tall, narrow and hard, and the bike can get blown around in high winds. I have no problem riding it on the highway for a couple hours at a stretch before I need a break, though, and the aftermarket offers more comfortable seats, soft luggage (see the review on page 62) and suspension lowering kits as well as lots of bolt-ons to upgrade its off-road chops. Gearing can be easily raised or lowered depending upon how much off-road riding you actually end up doing, and the suspension beefed up as needed.

2020 Yamaha WR250F vs WR250R
The uniform for dirt riding is generally a little lighter-weight and cooler on the outside due to the extra exertion involved, but I’m protected underneath with an armored shirt, shorts and Fly Racing Pivot knee guards. Goggles keep out dust better than a face shield.

Thirty years ago, I would have chosen a dirt bike every time for any kind of off-road riding. Today convenience and cost are more important than speed and ultimate capability, which makes a bike like the WR250R dual-sport the obvious choice. 

2020 Yamaha WR250F vs WR250R Comparison Test
From their appearances alone it’s easy to see why the WR250F (right) is the superior machine for off-road riding. But the WR250R can follow it nearly anywhere at a slower pace, and keep going when the road requires a license plate.

Mark’s Gear (WR250F):
Helmet: Fly Racing Formula Vector
Goggles: Fly Racing Zone Pro
Jersey: Fly Racing Kinetic K120
Pants: Fly Racing Evolution
Boots: Fly Racing FR5

Greg’s Gear (WR250R):
Helmet: Shoei Hornet x2
Jacket: Scorpion Yosemite
Pants: Scorpion Yosemite
Boots: Alpinestars Corozal

2020 Yamaha WR250R/WR250F Specs:

Website: Yamaha
Base Price: $6,699/$8,599
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled single, DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 77.0 x 53.6mm
Displacement: 250cc
Fuel Delivery: EFI
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 55.9/58.3 in.
Rake/Trail: 26.7/27.2 degrees; 4.4/4.6 in.
Seat Height: 36.6/37.6 in.
Wet Weight: 296/255 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 2.0/2.2 gals
MPG: 91 AKI min (avg): 61.0/NA

Source: RiderMagazine.com