The American love affair with motorcycles, such as it is, has not extended to the naked bikes in recent years. They sell like hotcakes to our cousins across the pond, but in the US…not so much. We like our cruisers and repli-racers and sport-tourers.
For the 2010 and 2011 model years, that has changed drastically, with a whole slew of naked standards, big and small, coming back to the US in a big way, and from nearly every manufacturer. Kawi completely redesigned the big Z1000 for 2010, Triumph has been pushing the Street Triple, and now Yamaha weighs in with the new FZ8, while BMW is trying to recapture the magic of the F800ST with the new F800R.
Motorcycle USA has stacked up some of these bikes against each other in a new comparo. What makes this one interesting is that the three bikes chosen, other than being middleweight standards, are powered by completely different powerplants. The F800R is a twin, the Street Triple is–as the name implies–a triple, and the FZ8 is an I-4.
So who wins? Is it the thumpy Twin of the BMW, the silky smoothness of the Yamaha I-4, or does the Street Triple offer a sporty compromise between the two that makes is a superior bike to ride?
Apparently, there are a lot of things about the Street Triple that catches the testers’ hearts.
THE BLUE AND THE GRAY
This theme was inspired by the first studio shots ever released of the Motus MST-01 sport-tourer. It also has the vertical menu system on the sidebar, instead of the horizontal one in the header.
I’m happy to announce that sometime tomorrow my book, Slackernomics, will be available on Kindle at the Amazon store for the low, low price of $3. For those who don’t know, Slackernomics is a book on basic economics for people who think economics is boring. Instead of a bunch of charts and math, I present economics in a more enjoyable way. For instance, here is a portion of my discussion on the role of prices:
Another feature of the price system is that it forces producers to put resources to their most valued uses. This is important because, quite often, consumers demand different goods that use many of the same components.
Let’s take petroleum, for example. People don’t just need gasoline; they need plastics to make computer keyboards and ugly furniture for college students. Businesses need chemicals for industrial production and dyes. Textile companies need artificial fabrics that don’t fade or discolor. Perverts need Vaseline.
So, in bidding for each of those items, their producers are also bidding for the petroleum required to make them. When more people buy Vaseline, Johnson & Johnson has to bid away some of that petroleum from refineries or textile mills. In turn, this increased demand in petroleum causes the price of oil to rise for everyone who uses it.
In order to keep buying oil, everyone now has to pay the price that Johnson & Johnson is willing to pay. As this raises consumer prices for these items, consumers are likely to buy less of them. For example, a consumer, noticing the increase in the cost of Vaseline, decides to spend Saturday night alone.
So, the price that Johnson & Johnson is willing to pay for oil becomes an added cost for all of the other businesses that use oil. If they want to bid away some of that oil, they have to be willing to pay the higher price. But since higher prices tend to mean lower sales, other producers will only bid away as much oil as they think they can use, now that sales are dropping.
The end result is that Johnson & Johnson ends up with a relatively larger portion of oil. In other words, the resource of oil has flowed to the highest valued product, an important…uh…medical lubricant.
Eventually, because there is an increasing supply of Vaseline, demand is affected. At some point, consumers are unwilling to buy it, because there’s enough of it on the shelves. And, of course, with all this petroleum bidding going on, the price has been increasing. So, some consumers may notice that the price of Vaseline has now increased relative to, say KY Jelly, and they may decide to purchase that instead.
Of course, either way, Johnson & Johnson wins.
So, if you’d like to get a better understanding of how economics work, and maybe get a few good laughs on the way, you can get it tomorrow for about 1/6 the price of the physical book.
I’ll provide the direct link to Amazon to purchase it when it becomes available tomorrow.
Motus Motorcycles has released some high-resolution studio images of the new MST-01 sport-tourer. Thumbnails are below.
If you like the looks of the MST-01, you’d probably like some clue about the price. We don’t know it yet, but considering the specs of the bike and the components included, it’s hard to see how you shove the price down below $20k. So, expect a price in the BMW range.
ATK CEO Frank White informs me that he is setting aside one of these for me to pick up on Saturday:
Except mine is red, i.e., the fast one. It looks like I’ll be driving up to Orange County first thing on Saturday to pick it up. I’ll be keeping it for at least a week, so I’ll be able to give a fairly detailed review of it.
I suspect riding this V-Twin supersport will be…slightly different from my FJR1300.
UPDATE: Not so fast. There’s been a delay on getting the bike to the dealership, so it looks like another couple of weeks before this will happen.
The day started out very badly. In my way in to work this morning, I stopped at Albertson’s for some snacks for the day. This Albertsons is located on the main way in to the military installation where I work. On one side of the road, it’s two lanes that merge into a single lane. It is always full of cars, and they are mainly stopped due to the excessive traffic going into the base.
As I reached the entrance to the road from the parking lot, I saw a CHP motor cop almost directly in front of me. I stopped at the edge of the exit from the parking lot, looked to my left to see if any motorcycles were coming up the side of the lane–as hundreds do every day on this stretch of road, since the traffic is always backed up about a block back. Seeing no one coming I turned into the lane, and followed the path shown below by the pale blue arrow.
The CHP cop pulled out of his lane and lit me up. I stopped and asked whyt he stopped me, and he said it was for illegal passing. To make a long story short, an argument about lane-splitting ensued, in which the CHP officer denied that the California Vehicle Code allowed lane-sharing in California, and demanded I cite the CVC section that allowed it. I had my smartphone with me, and punched up the CHP official web site, and showed him the FAQ on lane sharing that is on the CHP’s FAQ page. His response was to say, “Well, I don’t know why they put that on there.”
In other words, a CHP motorcycle officer denied that California allows lane sharing for motorcycles, and had no knowledge of why the CHP’s official web site said it was legal.
He cited me for unsafe passing on the shoulder, despite the fact that at no time did I cross the white shoulder line, and stayed entirely in the traffic lane. Moreover, it should be obvious from the diagram above that, with the traffic stopped as it was, it would have been physically impossible for him to observe whether or not I crossed the shoulder, as a line of stopped vehicles completely obscured any possible line of sight to the roadway.
In the 12 years I’ve used this gate into the installation, the common practice is for motorcycles to share the #2 lane. It is done constantly.
But what really burned me up was that after he had cited me, and handed me the yellow copy, he then proceeded to question me about my usual route to work, times, etc. From his tone and demeanor, I inferred that to be a threat to single me out for special attention on my morning commute, solely because I had the temerity to argue with him over the legality of lane sharing, and informing him that I would be fighting the ticket in court. When I asked him why he was questioning me in this manner, he said, “I’m just asking questions.” So, I told him that I had been a police officer for ten years, so I knew exactly what the import of those questions was.
I respond poorly to threats, so, as soon as it opened, I called the Oceanside CHP office and lodged an official complaint against the officer for this.
And, yes, I will contest this in court.
Motus Motorcycles, an Alabama-based startup, has been working on a completely new, American-made, sport touring motorcycle. We’ve seen glimpses of the engine, as well as artist concepts of the bike, but now, Motus has finally debuted the complete bike, in the flesh.
The MST-01 is built around a completely new engine, designed by racing powerplant builder Pratt & Miller. Named the KMV4, the direct-fuel-injected engine has a claimed output of 160HP and 122 lb-ft of torque at redline. That power comes, however, without a significant weight penalty, with the engine weighing 130 lbs, and the 6-speed transmission adding about another 70 lbs. This results in a claimed wet weight of just 530 lbs.
Brakes are by Brembo, and suspension is by Öhlins, so pretty much all of the bike is built with top-flight components. This componentry comes at a cost, however, so the price will probably be siognificantly higher than the main Japanese competitors, the FJR1300 and Concours14.
Motorcycle Daily joins the list of motojournalists who’ve tested the BMW K1600GT/GTL. They like it.
The Icon waterproof Patrol jacket seems very nice, if a bit pricey.
The Hyosung GT650 seems like a decent naked standard, considering its price.
Another decent photoshop rendering of the upcoming MV Agusta Brutale B3 675 triple.
Talk about electric vehicles all you want, but they aren’t ready for prime time, if the sales figures are any clue.
Wes Siler thinks the 200-ish horsepower BMW S1000RR would be a great first bike. For beginners. Who just started riding.
For 2011, Suzuki gave the Gixxer 600–one of the most popular sportbikes ever produced– a complete overhaul. How good an overhaul is it? Motorcycle.Com’s Pete Brissette took it out on the track to see.
I’ve pretty much decided what bike I want for a used 2nd bike. That’s it right over there on the left.
I want the 2009 Buell 1125R, in Arctic White, with the blue screen and wheels. I don’t want the 2010, with ugly “R” on the intake cowlings and the blue stuff blackened.
I want that bike in that color.
I’ve ridden it, and it has fantastic handling. You’d think the steep rake would make it twitchy, but it isn’t.
It’s a vibey, growly twin that weighs 450lbs wet, and, in stock configuration, puts 130 HP and about 75 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheel, according to Sport Rider. It’d be a big change from my FJR, that’s for sure.
It also has really comfy ergos for me–in sportbike terms, at any rate, and would be great little commuter, especially on the winding roads through Bonsall that I ride twice a day.
The only possible problem I can see is that, looking at Cycle Trader today, there is exactly one available. In the entire US. And it’s 3,000 miles away in Florida. So, there is the slight possibility that finding exactly this bike, in decent shape, may have some degree of difficulty attached to it. But I remain stupidly optimistic that this obstacle can be overcome.
At the moment, it’s not really an obstacle at all, since I wouldn’t be able to buy so much as a creme-filled donught until I pay of my income tax bill for this year. But, perhaps in late summer…
By the way, I’ve been perusing Craigslist, Oodle, and Cycle Trader a lot over the past week or so. Here’s an observation for prospective motorcycle sellers. Just because you had a custom paint job consisting of electric blue and gold skulls and half-naked ladies on the fairing, and then chromed the swingarm and all exposed engine parts doesn’t mean that your seven year old CBR1000RR is worth $8,000. Seriously. Trust me on that.
Aprilia will be revealing a new bike as a successor to the Tuareg, called the Aprilia Caponord 1200. Essentially, it’s a bit of a worked over Dorsoduro 1200. There were some spy shots of the thing floating around yesterday, but..you know spy shots. They suck.
So, Moto-Infos.com got busy with Photoshop and produced this recreation of the bike in the spy shots.
It’s probably fairly close to what the bike will look like, but I have to wonder what the actual bike will be like. The big competitor for Aprilia here is the massively wonderful Ducati Multistrada 1200, which not only lays down a cavalry company’s worth of horses at the rear wheel, but also boasts all sorts of electronic goodness like traction control, electronic suspension adjustment, three ride modes, etc.
Details on the Caponord are going to be really sketchy until the EICMA show in Italy this fall, so we’ll have to wait and see if the bike’s electronics and internals will be anywhere near as impressive.
Since I didn’t get invited to South Africa for the launch of BMW’s new Inline-6 touring bikes–and couldn’t afford to go if I did–I have to wait for another 2 months or so before I can even get a chance to look at one, much less ride one. Motorcycle.Com, on the other hand, suffers from no such limitation, so they have a review of the the big K1600GTL touring model.
They seem impressed. Indeed, judging by the picture, too much so.
They rave on and on about its Gold-Wing-ass-kicking power, the cool electronics, and just about everything else they can think of to indicate how much better it is than the Gold Wing.
Things they loved:
- Rider comfort
- Air management]
Things they hated:
- Smaller passenger accommodations than the Gold Wing
Other than that, though, they think it’s a home run.
Its six-cylinder engine is sex on wheels with power to spare. Its agility and athleticism is positively shocking for such a big girl, and its suspension and brakes are best in class. What’s more, its array of standard and optional equipment put it in a league of its own.
Brit motorcycle journolist Kevin Ash has come up with another little niggle about the GT version, however, which is that, despite the higher torque of the I-6 powerplant, it actually doesn’t pull as hard in lower RPM ranges as the bike it replaces, the K1300GT, with its I-4.
For me, the 703 lb wet weight already made it a far less desirable bike, so I doubt if the new BMW is anywhere in my future. Great concept though. Shave 200 lbs off it, and call it the K1600S, though, and I might be willing to take a second look.