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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

2020 KTM 390 Adventure | First Look Review

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
2020 KTM 390 Adventure

The ranks of lightweight, entry-level adventure bikes will grow by at least one in 2020 with the introduction of KTM’s new 390 Adventure. Ready for touring and light off-roading at a claimed 348 pounds dry with a 33.6-inch seat height, the bike’s high-performance heart is the liquid-cooled, 373cc DOHC single with four valves from the 390 Duke, which has EFI, a balancer shaft, PASC slipper clutch and a Ride-by-Wire throttle for smoother and more refined response. The engine is carried in a steel trellis frame with a bolt-on seat subframe and die-cast, open-lattice swingarm similar to the larger 790 Adventure’s.

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
2020 KTM 390 Adventure

The 390 Adventure’s WP Apex 43mm upside-down fork was originally developed for enduro riding and features 6.7 inches of travel with a spring on both sides; compression and rebound damping are separated into the left and right fork legs respectively. The WP Apex shock has 6.9 inches of travel and adjustable spring preload and rebound damping. Extra robust cast wheels — a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear — are fitted with tubeless Continental TKC 70 tires for a blend of street performance and off-road grip.

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
2020 KTM 390 Adventure

The 390’s Bybre brake package includes a 320mm front brake disc and 4-piston radially mounted front caliper, and a 230mm rear disc with a 2-piston floating rear caliper. An ergonomically designed 3.8-gallon fuel tank gives the 390 Adventure a claimed range of more than 249 miles. Rider aids include Off-Road and Cornering ABS and Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC), and the 390 Adventure comes standard with an adjustable windscreen, LED lighting and KTM My Ride, which allows for a Bluetooth connection to control incoming calls and an audio player through the full-color, 5-inch TFT display with multifunctional dashboard. An up/down Quickshifter + is optional for the 390 Adventure, along with a number of KTM Power Parts accessories. The 2020 KTM 390 Adventure is priced at $6,199; availability is TBD.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Ducati Panigale V4 25th Anniversary 916 | First Look Review

Ducati Panigale V4 25th Anniversary 916
The limited-edition Ducati Panigale V4 25th Anniversary 916 celebrates the silver anniversary of Ducati’s most iconic motorcycle. (Images courtesy Ducati)

On any list
of iconic motorcycles of the 20th century, Ducati’s 916 holds a place of
prominence. Delivering the 1-2 knockout punches of stunning good looks and
blistering performance, the 916, which debuted for 1994, is considered one of
the most beautiful motorcycles ever designed. The beauty was also a beast,
winning 120 races, eight constructors’ titles and six rider championships in
World Superbike during its 10-year production run, which includes the
larger-displacement 996 and 998 models. Closely associated with the 916 is
British racer Carl “Foggy” Fogarty, who won 43 World Superbike races and four
championships on the 916 and 996.

1994 Ducati 916 Stradale
The bike that started it all–the 1994 Ducati 916 Stradale.

To celebrate the 916’s 25th anniversary, Ducati has unveiled a limited-edition Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916. Based on the Panigale V4 S, the 25th Anniversary edition has been upgraded with racing content from the Panigale V4 R such as the Ducati Corse Front Frame, the dry clutch and even more track-specific electronics, such as Ducati Quick Shift EVO 2 and “predictive” Ducati Traction Control EVO 2.

2019 Ducati Panigale V4 R | First Look Review

The special
Panigale’s livery is inspired by the Ducati 996 SBK (winner of the 1999 World
Superbike Championship) with forged magnesium Marchesini Racing wheels, a titanium
type-approved Akrapovič exhaust and a wish list of carbon fiber and billet
aluminum components. Limited to just 500 examples, each bike comes with an
authenticity certificate that matches the laser-engraved ID number (XXX/500) on
the top yoke with the engine and frame serial number.

Ducati Panigale V4 25th Anniversary 916
Four-time World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty with the limited-edition Panigale V4 and his 1999 Superbike race machine that provided inspiration.

Dedicated
equipment for the Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916:

  • “916 25° Anniversario” color scheme
  • Numbered (xxx/500) machined-from-solid aluminum top yoke
  • Front Frame with Ducati Corse specifications
  • Two-tone rider’s seat
  • Forged magnesium Marchesini Racing wheels
  • Dry clutch
  • Titanium Akrapovič type-approved silencer
  • Ducati Traction Control EVO 2 (DTC EVO 2)
  • Ducati Quick Shift EVO 2 (DQS EVO 2)
  • Racing screen
  • Carbon fiber front mudguard
  • Carbon fiber rear mudguard
  • Carbon fiber heel guards
  • Carbon fiber/titanium swingarm cover
  • Racing grips
  • Adjustable billet aluminum rider footpegs
  • Billet aluminum folding clutch and brake levers
  • Brake lever guard (supplied)
  • Ducati Data Analyser+ (DDA+) kit with GPS module (supplied)
  • Open carbon fiber clutch cover (supplied)
  • Special “25° Anniversario 916” bike cover (supplied)
  • Billet aluminum racing-type filler cap (supplied)
  • Plate holder removal cover (supplied)
  • Billet aluminum rear view mirror plugs (supplied)
  • “Shell” and “Foggy” logo stickers (supplied)
Ducati Panigale V4 25th Anniversary 916
Ducati Panigale V4 25th Anniversary 916

The Panigale
V4 25° Anniversario 916 is powered by the 1,103cc Desmosedici Stradale. A
MotoGP-derived 90-degree V4 with Desmodromic timing, it features a
counter-rotating crankshaft and a Twin Pulse firing order, and it produces 214
horsepower at 13,000 rpm and 91 lb-ft of torque at 10,000 rpm. The engine is
enhanced with the adoption of a dry clutch and type-approved titanium Akrapovič
silencers.

Ducati Panigale V4 25th Anniversary 916
Foggy hasn’t lost his edge. He look right at home on the Panigale V4.

From a
chassis viewpoint, the Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916 has it all. The front
frame, which exploits the Desmosedici Stradale engine as a structural chassis
element, is the same as the one on the Panigale V4 R but differs slightly on
account of the lighter, machined sides. The frame is coupled to an Öhlins
NIX-30 fork, an Öhlins TTX36 rear shock and an Öhlins steering damper, all
managed by the Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 control system. This gives the rider access
to next-level dynamic bike control, augmenting on-road safety and shortening
on-track lap times. Ultralight forged magnesium Marchesini Racing wheels carry top-drawer
brakes, with two 330mm Brembo discs with Brembo Stylema monoblock front calipers
and a single 245mm disc with a 2-piston caliper at the rear.

Ducati Panigale V4 25th Anniversary 916
In addition to the special livery and limited-edition numbered plate, the racing screen includes a nod to Sir Foggy.

The Panigale
V4 25° Anniversario 916 has a latest-generation electronics package. Based on a
6-axis Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), it features controls designed to
manage every aspect of riding. The electronic package includes:

  • Bosch Cornering ABS EVO
  • Ducati Traction Control EVO 2 (DTC EVO 2)
  • Ducati Slide Control (DSC)
  • Ducati Wheelie Control EVO (DWC EVO)
  • Ducati Power Launch (DPL)
  • Ducati Quick Shift up/down EVO 2 (DQS EVO 2)
  • Engine Brake Control EVO (EBC EVO)
  • Ducati Electronic Suspension EVO (DES EVO)

Furthermore,
the Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916 comes with the Ducati Data Analyser+
(DDA+) kit with GPS module. DDA+ is a telemetry system. Similar to those used
in competitions, it consists of a data acquisition device (via CAN line) and
analysis software that takes its inspiration from professional programs. The
device records ride parameters such as cornering lines, RPM, gear, throttle
aperture angle, front brake pressure, DTC intervention etc. and geo-locates
them on the track. Once disconnected from the bike and connected to the PC via
the USB port, the software lets the user upload the acquired data feeds and
analyse on-track performance.

For more information, visit ducati.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com