The Beast

So, the folks at KTM appear to have gone a bit loony. Today, they announced they will be producing a new naked bike, the 1290 SuperDuke R, which will have 180 HP. They call it “The Beast”.  There will be no fairing. No wind protection. Nothing, in fact, to prevent the force of air from pushing you off the rear of the bike if you open the throttle all the way, other than the death-like grip you’ll need on the handlebars to stay seated.

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Running With the Devil

2013 Ducati Diavel Carbon Review

Two years ago, Ducati apparently decided that making racing bikes and superfast hypermotards wasn’t enough for them. Perhaps they felt that the racing bike market was too limited for them. Perhaps they felt that people weren’t buying hypermotards because “hypermotard” is a stupid name that makes you think the motorcycle is developmentally disabled. In any event, Ducati wanted to break into the cruiser market, and more specifically, the power-cruiser market, which is dominated by the Yamaha V-Max and the…uh…well, the Yamaha V-Max.

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A Buell Sportbike for the Rest of Us?

Erik Buell left—or, more properly—was kicked out of Harley-Davidson in 2009. A non-compete agreement kept out of making streetbikes for several months, but he came back with the 1190RS when he was able. But, since he only made 100 of them, and they cost forty grand, you didn’t get one and I didn’t either. But, based on an announcement today—and securing some financing from GE capital and a partnership with Indian motorcycle giant Hero MotoCorp, that may be changing.

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A cylinder for each wheel

Can-Am gives the 2014 Spyder a triple

I have a soft spot for the Can-Am Spyder. Back when the original Spyder was announced, I was able to get a ride on one—even before they were publically available—after years of not having ridden a motorcycle. I didn’t even have a motorcycle license then, but, fortunately, California doesn’t require one to ride trikes. After my ride, I was so pleased with the experience, I got my motorcycle license back, and bought a motorcycle—though not a Spyder. But it was the vehicle that got me back into motorcycling, so I’ve always loved it.

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Ducati Announces the 899 Panigale for 2014

New bike. New Engine.

Ducati announced their new 899 Panigale to me by sending me a cryptic email with a picture of the bike and no information, except a link to their web site’s Panigale section. That turned out out to be a tediously-navigated, JavaScript-heavy web site where there was information. Sadly, they dribble it out one sentence at a time as you navigate from frame to frame. Yes, JavaScript is the future, but there’s no need to get carried away. Anyway, rather than make you navigate through their beautiful, picture-heavy, yet drearily tedious web site, I’ll just pass the information to you.

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Impossible

2013 BMW K1600GT Review

For years,I’ve been adamant that the R1200RT is the only BMW touring bike I’d be interested in owning. The I-4 powered K1300GT was uncomfortable, seemed sluggish at low revs, and, frankly, a bit ungainly compared to the RT. It was also a motorcycle line that was plagued by a number of niggling mechanical and fueling issues. It was certainly fast, but I was never impressed with it. I remember that after I put it through a ride test, my exact comment to the BMW rep when I got off the bike was, “Meh.”

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Weight Loss

2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B Review

Honda’s Gold Wing has long been the luxo-barge of touring motorcycles. It has pretty much everything you can have on a motorcycle, like stereo, cruise control, anti-lock brakes, massive storage capacity, room for two people, and even an 1832cc flat 6 power plant that seems like something you’d expect to see in a car, rather than a motorcycle. Of course, weighing in at 933 lbs., the standard gold wing is near enough to being half a car anyway.

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2013 Victory Cross Country Tour

Motorcycle USA has taken the 2013 Victory Cross Country Tour for a ride. They seem to like it. Especially the storage. There’s a lot of it, as Victory claims it has a total of 41.1 gallons of storage space. But that’s not all it has.

The amount of storage will spoil a rider, as will the heated grips, heated seats, standard cruise control, and big rider floorboards. Victory elected to use a toe-only shifter so riders can move their feet around and alter pressure points on the backside and lower back on longer rides. Though we rode solo, the 2013 Victory Cross Country tour has passenger floorboards that are three-way adjustable and can be tipped at a 10-degree angle. Passengers also have the luxury of their own controls for the heated seat.

2013 Victory Cross Country Tour

Also, if you buy this instead of the Victory Vision, other bikers won’t point and laugh at you while you ride down the road.

First Rides of the Triumph Trophy

The initial first rides of the new Triumph Trophy, which is the replacement for the Sprint ST, are starting to come in. Both Cycle World and Ultimate Motorcycling have published their first ride reviews this weekend. In both cases the reviewers liked the bike, and both felt very happy with the handling.

As always with a big bike, and Triumph’s claimed 662 lbs make it a big bike, one always worries about handling capability, especially when the road gets twisty. But, Triumph takes a certain amount of pride in making bikes that handle well, and they seem to have lavished the Trophy with some attention in that area.2013-triumph-trophy-06-290612

Ultimate Motorcycling declares:

Get into tighter turns and the Trophy SE defies its size. Much more agile than you’d expect from a 662 pound bike (claimed wet, but no panniers), it handles direction changes controllably and predictably, even when the road surprises the rider.

Similarly, Cycle World’s tester says:

But by the time you’ve ridden the bike a few blocks and snapped it around a couple of simple corners, that perception starts to change. You quickly forget about the shape of the plastic in front of you and marvel at how light and agile the big Triumph feels when it’s moving…The overall effect is that you feel as though you are riding a bike that is at least a hundred pounds lighter than what its manufacturer claims.

Will it give you the rocket-like acceleration of, the Concors14 or K1600GT? Probably not. But it seems pretty good, and at 135HP with 89 torques, it’s probably not boring:

The bike isn’t exceptionally fast by today’s performance standards, but that strong, linear torque output allows it to accelerate crisply and steadily in any gear, at any rpm and at any speed. Just give the throttle a twist and the Trophy moves forward, never pinning your eyeballs to the back of your skull but always rushing the bike down the road with enough authority to be satisfying.

It should be hitting the shores of North America by the end of the year. But, I wouldn’t expect getting a test ride will be easy.

2013 Triumph Trophy pricing announced…in Canada

CMG is reporting that the pricing for the 2013 Triumph Trophy has been announced for the Canadian market at CDN$19,999.

That’s worse news than I thought, considering the Canadian dollar is about on par with the US dollar now. Still, we’re only getting the full-on SE version in North America, so that’s still more than a grand less than a comparably equipped R1200RT. But it’s still a pricey bike.