Honda ST1300 replaced by an ST1200F?

The Spanish Motorcycling web site SoloMoto is touting an exclusive (in Spanish), which is that Honda will replace the venerable ST1300 with a touring version of the new V-4-engined VFR1200F. They state that their information is that a presentation of the new model will be held at the international motorcycle shows in Cologne or Milan (October or November respectively).

They report that the new model will be available with or without bags, as well as with or without the new DCT transmission option.  Compared to the new VFR, this touring model will have higher handlebars and more relaxed seating position, suitable for touring.  Based on the drawings they show, the preload adjustment for the rear suspension will be moved to the right side of the bike, and the front braking system my be different from the current VFR, due to having inverted forks.  They also speculate that the rider’s seat height will be adjustable, and that the windshield will have electrical height adjustment. The new bike also seems to keep the dual-layered fairing of the current VFR.

So, for all you ST1300 lovers, Honda may be providing you with something to love even better.

Let’s just hope that while they’re piling on all these touring amenities, they give us a fuel tank larger than the VFR’s 4 gallons.

2010 Yamaha Super Ténéré First Ride

Janie Omorogbe got to ride a new Yamaha Super Ténéré from Portugal to Morocco, and wrote up her impressions for Motorcycle USA.

The Super Ténéré has been a long-awaited entry into the adventure bike category–long-dominated by the BMW R1200GS.  Available only in Europe at present, a lot of people on this side of the pond have been eagerly awaiting news of it.  Well, how we have some.

Most of her impressions of the bike seem positive:

[T]he Super Tenere is pretty capable and it’s extremely comfortable…The torque curve is as steady as a surgeon’s hand and the power delivery is predictable and measured…[A]ttacking twisties is actually really good fun, not only because of the superb braking system which allows you to grab a fistful at the last moment, (within reason of course) but the bike also has effortless handling…At a faster pace, the Super T feels planted and secure…It’s fun, comfortable and easy to ride.

So far, so good.  Alas, all is not roses with the Super Ténéré , however:

But ask for more aggression, and the ST just won’t play ball…[I]n the mountains, the ST almost throws in the towel, wheezing through the thinning air indecisively. At “normal” altitudes, the bike behaves far more predictably…although it definitely has less punch than BMW’s latest GS…The onboard technology is as limited as the optional extras list…The screen is adjustable, but doing so is not exactly a two-minute job. Where the GS just needs you to twist a couple of knobs, the ST requires an allen key, screw driver and the removal of a side panel.

So, the engine is a bit sluggish, and there aren’t a lot of farkles.  But that’s livable for many riders I suppose.  What may not be livable is surprising, especially when compared to BMW:

But in the UK the biggest stumbling block isn’t its performance but its price. Compared to BMW’s R1200GS, it isn’t any better, it has fewer options and it is more expensive.

Well.  That’s not good.  The big knock on BMW is that they’re generally priced as if they were crafted from purest unobtainium. Now that may be unfair, considering how many technical and comfort doohickeys BMW puts on their bikes. After all, you pay for what you get, and with BMW, you generally get a lot.

But if Yamaha is producing a less capable and less farkled-up bike, and still charging you more for it…well, then I afraid that’s just not on, as our British cousins like to say.

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2010 Superbike Comparo

Motorcycle USA has published their 2010 Superbike Smackdown, pitting the top superbikes head-to-head on the track.  for this year, the contenders were:

  • HondaCBR1000RR
  • Yamaha YZF-R1
  • Kawasaki ZX-10R
  • Suzuki GSX-R1000
  • KTM RC8
  • Aprilia RSV4
  • BMW S1000RR
  • Ducati 1198 S Corse Special Edition

Please make a note of the last bike listed.  Ducati didn’t just bring a stock 1198 to the table, they produced the special racing edition ringer, probably in hopes of comparing well to the BMW S1000RR.

Nice try, but, apparently not quite enough, as the CBR1000RR took Second place honors, and the S1000RR edging past for 1st place.  Ducati merely took 3rd.

Here are the scoring results:

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BMW R1200GS First Ride Reports

Motorcycle Daily reports on their first ride of the new BMW R1200GS.  They really liked it, especially the new engine’s astonishingly wide power band.

Meanwhile, Motorcycle USA was along for that trip, too, and they note:

Whether
or not you opt for the Special Edition or an upgraded package on either model, both machines are phenomenal in their performance. They’re the same old lovable Adventure Touring bikes we’ve come to expect from the propeller gang. We wish we could say the new motor is a vast improvement over the old version, but the circumstances and the time gap in our memory make that difficult. While we couldn’t readily detect a difference in engine performance (that’ll have to wait for dyno testing or a dry back-to-back evaluation) the German crew certainly hasn’t taken a step back.

Motorcycle.Com was also an hand, concluding:

The good news is the GS is still very much what the previous bike was, and that’s, well, good.

All in all, despite being unable to compare the older and new models side by side, everyone seems happy with it.

Honda’s new VT1300 Cruisers

2010 Honda Sabre II
2010 Honda Sabre II

Honda is really jumping into the mid-size cruiser market by really ramping up their product line of VTX1300s, introducing three new models. Motorcycle USA’s Bryan Harley has gotten to take them all for a spin, and he’s written up his impressions of them, concluding:

Honda’s 2010 VT1300 Series covers the gamut, from what Big Red hails as its ‘big impact bike’ in the form of the Fury to a boulevard-cruising pro-streeter in the guise of the Sabre. The range includes a big-fendered cruiser with more traditional styling and a bike factory-equipped for the long haul. The styling of the VT1300 Series is a big leap forward for the traditionally conservative Japanese manufacturer. But the bikes maintain Honda’s reputation for performance and reliability. It’s an ambitious venture for the company, but Honda believes that there is enough variation in the VT1300 Series to appeal to almost every area of the cruiser demographic. With almost 83,000 VTX models sold, it’s hard to question their reasoning.

The three new models add to the “factory custom” movement Honda Joined by producing the Fury last year, and these new bikes are built around the same idea: producing a more distinctively-styled bike, with Honda’s reliability, at a price point below $13k.

As far as I can tell, these new models look like Honda met its goals.

2010 Honda Interstate
2010 Honda Interstate

All of the bikes are powered by the same 1312cc liquid-cooled 52-degree V-Twin, with a SOHC and single-pin crankshaft, and three valves per cylinder.  Vibration is kept in check through the use of dual balancers. New for these models, however, the VTX powerplant now uses a Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system that features a single 38mm throttle body, with an auto enrichment circuit, doing away with the old CV carburetor.

The three new models break down as follows:

The Sabre is a boulevard cruiser with a nicely raked front end.  In fact, that 33° rake on the front end stretches at the wheelbase to a whopping 70 inches.  The fenders are nicely chopped, and the frame leaves lots of space between the top of the engine and the steering head.  It’s definitely designed as a street custom.

The Stateline, on the other hand, is a much more traditional-looking cruiser, with longer fenders, a larger front tire, and blacked-out engine parts.  it’s still a bit more aggressively styled than the old VTX, but not unpleasantly so.

Finally, there’s the Interstate, which is essentially the Stateline, but with a  more touring-oriented accessory package, including leather covered hard bags that have a hidden latch system and 22 liters capacity, floorboards, a heel-and-toe shifter, big honking brake pedal, and a windshield.  And, even with all that, it still comes in under $13,000, which seems like a nice value for the money.

2010 Honda Stateline
2010 Honda Stateline

So, what could possibly be wrong with any of these bikes?  Well…they’re still a VTX.

Now, look, I understand a lot of people like the VTX.  After all, Honda’s sold 83,000 of them.  But that VTX 1300 engine really is a deal-breaker for me.

The thing about that powerplant is that it’s just gutless at the top end.  When the rev limiter kicks in you’re maybe doing, 85 or 90, and you’ve wrung everything out of her that you’re going to.

Now, maybe in town that’s OK, but the the Interstate, especially, has designs on doing some touring.  And out here in California, when you hit the Interstate, 80 or faster is just the normal rate of traffic flow.  The VTX just won’t offer you anything in terms of passing power at the high end, if you’re already bumping up near the rev limiter just keeping up with the flow.

I understand that not everybody is into the sport-touring, triple-digit sightseeing deal, and that’s fine.  But even my Sportster could top 120 on the highway.  I know.  I did it.  The VTX1300 isn’t a bad engine, it’s just not a very powerful one, even compared to the 1200cc mill on the Sportster.

For just a bit more money, you could spend $12K on a Harley Super Glide, another $2000 or so on the touring accessories, and for one grand more, have a Big Twin that will handle the highway much better than the VTX.

The VTX1300 obviously has its afficionados, but the Interstate seems like a stretch when it comes to touring.

2010 Victory Vegas LE Review – Motorcycle.com

Pete Brissette of Motorcycle.com got to spend a week on Bike #1 of 100 brand new 2010 Victory Vegas LEs.  He loved it.

2010 Victory Vegas LE
2010 Victory Vegas LE

First off, The Vegas LE dumps the standard 100ci V-twin for the more powerful Stage 2 106ci mill, which provides a generous 97 hp at 5000 rpm and 113 ft-lb at a lowly 2750 rpm.  That’s 12 horsies more than the 100ci powerplant, and 10 ft-lb more, too.  Victory claims that putting the 106 into the Vegas makes it the fastest Victory yet.

As you can see, the styling is updated a bit, too, dumping a lot of chrome and replacing it with black powder-coated trim.  It looks like it has just enough, but not too much Arlen-Nessiness in the design.  And, frankly, it doesn’t take a lot for there to be too much Arlen-Nessiness.  He can go a little overboard with al the swoopy curves and what-not.  The Vegas LE, though, looks to be about right in the design department, right down to the blacked-out, curved pipes.

In fact, my real quibble with Victory’s motorcycles is the shape of the jugs.  They just look like somebody stuck two blenders on top of the engine.  Technically, however, the air/oil-cooled, four-valves-per-cylinder, SOHC V-Twin is a thing of beauty.

Brissette concludes:

The Vegas LE possesses lots of powerful, low-end grunt by virtue of the most potent standard engine Victory has made to date. Yet the LE is largely a standard Vegas model and so enjoys the better handling and steering provided by the standard Vegas’ 180-section rear tire versus the chubby 250 found on the Jackpot model.

So, it has the big power of the Jackpot mated with the standard Vegas’ good handling. The LE is the perfect blend.

I can’t argue with that.

Sadly, Victory is only making 100 of these, and I suspect they’ll all be gone quickly.

2010 BMW K1300S vs Honda VFR1200F Shootout – Motorcycle.com

Motorcycle.Com has the results of their shootout between the BMW K1300S and the Honda VFR1200F.  On paper the bikes are a really close match with the Beemer putting out 146.8HP and the Honda throwing out 146.4 HP.  BMW has the edge in torque, though, with higher torque all along the rev line, except at the tippy top, and maxing out at 89.6 ft-lb compared to the VFR’s 82 ft-lb.  The BMW hit max torque 700RPM shorter, too.

On the other hand, they write that the Honda is easier to ride, more maneuverable, more comfortable, and carries its weight better than the BMW.  Both bikes sport about 5-gallon tanks, so neither one is all that impressive when it comes to touring range.

So, what’s the bottom line?

“Although the BMW may not have the utter refinement of the Honda, I wouldn’t be ashamed or regretful of having a K1300S in my garage if I’d purchased one and then later had the chance to ride a VFR1200F,” says Pete. “Furthermore, the practical techy options like anti-spin control, ESA II, etc, that have real-world application raise the K13’s’s price by only $1,800 more than the Honda’s, making a case for the BMW being the better value. Frankly, the BMW’s Premium Package option is simply worth the added cost over base MSRP, especially so if you amortize that $1,800 across the term of a loan.”

The price on the Honda is the kicker.  For what you get for the money, I’d agree that the BMW is probably a better deal.  You really do have to ride a BMW to really get how good the ESA is.  And the BMW cruise control really is excellent.

I really wanted to like the new VFR a lot, but this 1st-gen model doesn’t seem to quite have “it” at the price Honda’s asking you to shell out.

2010 Indian Chief Vintage

2010 Indian Chief Vintage
2010 Indian Chief Vintage

Motorcycle.com got their hands on a 2010 Indian Chief Vintage for a ride review.  The pictures are nice, and, apparently, the bike is even better-looking in person.

Its acre’s worth of chrome was so flawless, we wondered whether Indian had found alchemists who’d replaced mere chromium with magically-applied liquid mercury instead. “This might be the best quality chrome on a production bike I’ve seen to date,” quipped Pete on the Chief’s high-luster shiny stuff.

Likewise, the leatherwork looked and felt like it had been produced by a high-end boutique. The seat is actually supplied by Milsco, the same Milwaukee-based saddle-maker that had outfitted early-1940s and later Indians for some time before the original company ceased production in 1953.

Alas, despite the beauty, there are also some blemishes.

Unfortunately, we can not compliment some of the other buzzes this bike’s engine induced. It visibly shook the tank, and audible resonation came possibly from the windshield – or maybe it was just the tank? In top gear at cruising speed with earplugs in, it was still audible. Specifically, the buzz began at around 2,600 rpm, and discouraged us from wanting to rev it anywhere near its 5,250 rpm redline.

After riding the Vintage on the highway, Pete said he felt like his feet might vibrate off the floorboards.

The 105ci V-Twin powerplant is rigidly mounted, and has no counter-balancers, which might account for the vibration problem.  Of course, it is a “vintage” model, so vintage design isn’t completely out of place.  and, besides, vibration is really in the butt of the beholder, right?

Well, maybe.  But when you’re riding a bike that costs as much as an Acura, you might want a little refinement in comfort to go along with all that liquid-mercury chrome.

First Ride: 2010 MV Agusta F4

2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4

MCN’s Michael Neeves has gotten his hands on the all-new MV AGusta F4, and his ride impressions are posted at Motorcycle USA.  He really likes it.  Really.

F4s were always lightning-fast, but never that friendly to actually ride and live with, but the new F4 is different – it’s the best superbike MV has ever made.

Taking the F4 for a spin on the heavenly roads surrounding Almeria race circuit in southern Spain to start our test day, it’s a pleasant surprise to feel how easy it is to get on with. Gone is the harsh throttle, rough ride and a seat that trapped you resolutely between the tank and tail unit of the old bike. In its place is a seat you can move around in, spaciously-set clip-ons, a flawless throttle response, smooth gearbox, light controls and tactile brakes…

The Italian firm has smoothed out all the old F4’s rough edges and created a thoroughly usable superbike for the road. Relatively, it’s still not as soft or cuddly as a Japanese 1000 and probably not as easy to get on and ride, but it has considerably sharper teeth and is a thousand times more exclusive and handsome.

The F4 was always wicked fast, but it was a difficult beast in just about every other area.  But, now, it looks like MV Agusta may have finally found the F4’s stride.

2010 Ducati Multistrada First Rides

I‘ve never been a big fan of Ducati.  I don’t dislike them, and they make some very fine-looking–and performing–motorcycles.  They just don’t personally appeal to me all that much.  Not that I’d turn one down, you understand…or even a chance to test-ride one.

But they do have a loyal following, and one of their much-beloved models, the Multistrada, got a complete overhaul for this model year.  The new Multistrada 1200 has has generated a lot of excitement during the wait for its release.  Now, the wait is over, as Motorcycle Daily’s Basem Wasef and Motorcycle USA’s Adam Waheed have both gotten a chance to ride the new Multistrada, and jot down their experiences for us.

Wasef concludes:

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman still wouldn’t pick the plucky new Duc for a hypothetical third ’round-the-world journey. But for the rest of us whose primary milieu is pavement with a touch of dirt, the Ducati Multistrada 1200 is an impressively well-rounded sport adventure tourer whose available electronic aids make it ready to tackle more rugged trails than you might expect. Considering the Italian manufacturer’s image is so laden with historical baggage-both good and bad-the Multistrada 1200 challenges the past, and redefines the essence of the Ducati brand.

Waheed concurs in his judgement:

Coming into this test, I had lofty expectations of Ducati’s new do-it-all two-wheeler. And after spending only a few hours aboard the bike, I quickly realized it was everything I thought it would be and then some. With the tap of a button it’s as sporty or as docile as you desire; it’s in its element blasting around a corner with the engine roaring at lean, or just quietly soaking up the countryside on a backwoods highway. The Multi somehow manages to be both comfortable and sporty, plus has realistic cargo capacity when you feel the need for an adventure coming on. It actually works for mild off-roading and its pavement-based rider aids (ABS and DTC) only increase its off-road potential.

The new Multistrada 1200 is a big – no, scratch that – humongous step forward for Ducati. It’s mainstream enough for any rider to appreciate, yet still retains that wild, rip-roaring Superbike pedigree that we know and love.

So far, the response to the Multistrada 1200 has been unanimously positive.

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2010 Star Stratoliner Deluxe: MD First Ride

Motorcycle Daily has their first-ride impressions of the Star Stratoliner Deluxe, Yamaha’s anwer to the Harley-Davidson Street Glide.  They seem to like it, concluding:

Star has introduced a worthy contender in the bagger category. Stylish, but practical, the 2010 Star Stratoliner Deluxe can look cool and edgey while delivering you and your 13.7 gallons of stuff comfortably and swiftly.

Yamaha now joins Victory in providing a Street Glide alternative.

2010 Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré (UPDATED)

After months of speculation and teasers, Yamaha has finally revealed the new XT1200Z Super Ténéré.  It seems like quite a bike.  The 1200cc parallel-twin powerplant puts out…well…we don’t know.  Yamaha hasn’t released HP or torque figures.  But with a compression ratio of 11:1, I’m thinking we’re probably somewhere in the vicinity of 110HP and 80-ish lb-ft of torque.

Like the R1200GS, it sports a full set of aluminum panniers, and other goodies for going on the road–or perhaps off it.

The full specs for the shaft-driven, 574lb, adventure bike are below the fold.

The only question is, will this bike be released in the US, or will it only be available to our cousins in the Old Country?

UPDATE: The folks at Asphalt & Rubber come through in the clinch with the output of the ST’s engine:

With 1,199cc under the hoood, the XT1200Z Super Ténéré is aiming its sights on the class-leading BMW R1200GS and new-comer Ducati Multistrada 1200. The powerplant features a parallel twin motor with four valves per cylinder, and makes 108hp @ 7,250 RPM and 84lbs•ft @ 6,000 RPM.

Pretty much what I thought it’d be.

Continue reading “2010 Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré (UPDATED)”