GT650R, Waiting

Speaking of ATK, Frank White informed me this evening that a shiny red GT650R sportbike is waiting for me to pick up at Orange County Harley-Davidson.

I actually had a fantastic idea, which was to see if I could get hold of a Suzuki SV650RS to test alongside the GT. After all, Hysosung, the original manufacturer of the GT650R, have had a long-standing and close relationship with Suzuki. Even though the GT is not a Suzuki design, but rather a natively-created Hyposung bike, I thought a comparison between the products of these sister companies would be quite interesting to experience, and write about. Sadly, Suzuki’s PR guys in Brea told me that, since the SV is not a current model, they don’t have access to one to loan me.

But, all may not be lost. First, I asked Suzuki if they had a GSX1250FA sitting around. I’d really like to write up a test of what seems, on paper, to be a lighter and torquier (torque-ier? Torqier?) alternative to the big sport-tourers.  We’ll see how that goes. Second, Hell For Leather’s Wes Siler has indicated he might be able to scrape up an SV from somewhere. Again, we’ll see how that goes.

In any event, I’ll be heading up to Orange County Harley-Davidson sometime this week to pick up the test bike. And then, I guess we’ll see how that goes, too.

Speaking of naked bikes…

The major manufacturers aren’t the only ones bringing a naked bike to the US market. US startup Motus Motorcycles has not only unveiled the new MST-01 sport-tourer, but they’ve also got a naked version of the bike, dubbed the MST-R, naturally.

Motus MST-R
Motus MST-R

It’s the exact same bike, it just doesn’t have all the smooth plastic bits. Frankly, it looks kind of…mean.

The naked bikes are back

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.

2012 Motus MST-01 studio pics

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.

My own (temporary) ATK GT650R (Updated)

ATK CEO Frank White informs me that he is setting aside one of these for me to pick up on Saturday:

ATK GT650R
ATK GT650R

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.

Motus Motorcycles MST-01 debuts

Motus MST-01
2012(?) Motus MST-01

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.

Mor info and pictures are available at The Kneeslider, and Motorcyclist Magazine.

Quick Hits

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 think I know what I want

2009 Buell 1125R Arctic White
2009 Buell 1125R, Arctic White

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.

It’s a Photoshop…but it’s a good Photoshop

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.

2012 Aprilia Caponord 1200
2012 Aprilia Caponord 1200

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.

BMW K1600 GTL Review

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.

I don't think you're supposed to do this. Or be able to do this, for that matter.

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:

  • Handling
  • Power
  • Brakes
  • Suspension
  • Chassis
  • Rider comfort
  • Air management]
  • Ergos

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.

Another Diavel ride report

Motorcycle Daily has weighed in with their first impression of the Ducati Diavel. Unlike some other reviews, they seem impressed by the handling–even at low speeds.

But perhaps the best impress in comes from one of the article’s commenters, who quips that it looks like somebody finally made a V-Rod that works.

I need two motorcycles

I’ve decided I need a smaller, funner motorcycle to go along with my big, fun, FJR. I’d like something that’s sporty and fun, but commute-y. I don’t want to spend a lot of money, so I’m thinking about used bikes that I can scour Craig’s List for a good deal on. I’d love a new Ninja 1000, but that’s out financially.

These are the options I’m thinking about.

Yamaha FZ1. Fast and fun, but maybe a bit weak down in the lower end of the rev range, where a lot of my commuting would be.

Bandit 1250S. Gobs of torque, but, sadly, flops like a lead balloon on the top end.

GSX-R1000. Screw it. Just go pure sportbike. But not one with an excessively committed riding position.

Those are my top three choices for a used second bike. Any other suggestions?

UPDATE: I forgot about the Buell 1125R. I wouldn’t mind one of those, either.