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.
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.
UK Motorcycle journalist Kevin Ash has posted what I believe is the first ride review of the new 6-cylinder BMW K1600GT/GTL motorcycles. This torque-monster of a motorcycle (129lb.ft) has been highly awaited as BMW has trickled out all sorts of press releases about the technology. Is it worth the wait? Well, maybe…
What you’ll be hoping for then is a bike laden with well thought through gadgets, a super smooth engine and real muscle from idle upwards. You get most of that, but not quite all…
The big complaint about the bike seems to be the way it performs at the lower end of the rev range.
The motor is a little disappointing at lower revs, especially in the 2,000-3,000rpm zone where you find yourself a lot, as the gearing is tall and the engine so smooth it will trickle down to idle even in the high gears without complaint. Given the fat torque curve you’d hope to be able to snick the smooth-changing transmission into top and leave it there until you switch off at the end of the day, but in practice typical 50-70mph (80-110kph) overtakes demand a couple of downchanges if you’re going to despatch with slower traffic rapidly. And that’s solo, with a passenger, full luggage and steep mountain roads to negotiate (which is the point of a bike like this) you’ll be using the gearbox a fair bit more than you might have expected.
Other than that, Ash lauds the smoothness of the engine, the low weight (relative to the various accouterments, the handling, and, happily, the banshee scream of the inline-6 when you push it into the higher rev ranges. One surprise to me, having ridden the K and R series bikes, is that he’s not all that impressed with the performance of the suspension when set to the harder “Sport” mode.
In Sport the ride gets harsh and choppy and the lack of compliance means you’re not only more comfortable staying in Normal even when going for it, the bike feels happier too. I’d even go for the plushness of the Comfort setting in preference to Sport when riding fast, as stability doesn’t suffer too much and aside from some floatiness over undulating bumps, the wheel control remains good.
Maybe the K1600-series is different, but on the R and earlier K bikes, I prefer the Sport mode for hard riding. Maybe this is one of those subjective assessments that can only be confirmed–or denied–through personal testing…which I intend to accomplish, and relate to you, as soon as these bikes make it to Southern California, and are available for testing.
At any rate, Ash’s ride review make for interesting reading, and make me lick my chops for a chance to unleash that I-6, myself.
Wes Siler, of Hell For Leather, has already been pretty vocal about his unpleasant experience on the new Honda VFR1200F, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see him not only back one one, but liking it. What he likes, specifically, is the one thing I’ve been leery about, which is the new Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT). Owning an AE-model FJR with the electronic clutch, I’ve found it convenient in city traffic, but a bit scary in parking lots, as I’ve mentioned many times before.
This new DCT, however, seems to be a different beast.
The thing that makes this transmission so brilliant is that it actually, honestly, really improves control over the bike at low speed. Yes, some hydraulic pumps, two clutches and an electronic brain are better than my left hand at smoothly, predictably modulating power. Tight u-turns become a cinch, barely requiring your concentration. Pulling away at a crawl is as easy as twisting your right wrist. Coming to a halt, you just stop, the transmission simply cuts the power unobtrusively and instantly.
And that is precisely the bit of information I wanted to know about. The FJR AE has a problem with slow speeds. Once that tach drops below 2500RPM in first, the clutch engages and you lose all power. This mainly happens inevitably when you’re leaned over a bit pulling into a parking space, making the FJR AE want to flop over on it’s side. The key is to give it some throttle, and stomp on the rear brake to slow down. This requires a fair amount of hand-foot-eye coordination. That seems to be completely unnecessary with the Honda.
Of course, it also comes at a steep price, bringing a DTC-equipped VFR to a sticker price of $17,499. That’s perilously close to BMW territory when it comes to pricing. But, without the BMW’s large-capacity bags, heated seat, grips, ESA, traction control, and usably large fuel tank.
With gas mileage in the 30s, and a 4-gallon tank, the VFR is hardly the best equipped “touring” model of the sports-touring category, unless “touring” to you means stopping every ton for gas. And the available luggage for the VFR is pretty small compared to the rest of the bikes in the sport-touring class.
It seems like a great, powerful bike with some great technology, but the high price and assorted drawbacks don’t impress–at least, not in a good way.
The rumor, of course, is that Honda already has a sport-tourer version of this bike in pre-release (as well as an adventure version). Perhaps they’ll rectify some of the current range and luggage issues with that bike. I suspect, however, that the drawback of high sticker price won’t be solved.
Well, this isn’t something you see every day. Motorcycle USA, Motorcycle.Com and Motorcycle Daily all have the same featured top story. Each of them have test ride reports for the new Kawasaki Ninja 1000. And they all seem to like it.
I’m curious to see how this bike will do in the US. The Z1000 on which the Ninja is based probably won’t sell well, because Americans really don’t like naked standards.
But the fully-faired Ninja is different. The power and performance of the Ninja 1000 slots it between the ZX-6 and the ZX10. So it has at least supersport performance. What is doesn’t have are the tortuous ergonomics. Kawasaki seems to have made it comfortable enough for touring, withut neutering the performance.
In recent years, sport bike ergnomics have gotten increasingly tortuous. The handlebars are low, requiring the rider to lay across the tank. The footpegs are high, to allow for extreme lean angles, but that means the riders knees are pulled up to massage the ribs. Nice for a track day or 20-lap sprint, but not so nice for a daily commute. and touring, of course, is right out.
What Kawasaki has done is created a motorcycle with the full-on performance of a sportbike, but a more upright, comfortable perch. Street performance can never really match track performance, so the race-inspired ergos aren’t really necessary. In most categories in which the Ninja 1000 competes against the ZX-10 in terms of street performance, the Ninja seems to be the equal, if not the superior bike, though the ZX-10 would undoubtedly stomp it on the track.
Kawasaki also has touring in mind for the Ninja 1000, offering full sets of color-matched hard luggage. It’s hard to imagine doing any serious touring on any of the ZX line. At least, not with an on-call masseuse and unlimited supplies of Tylenol.
It seems to have more than reasonable performance for the street–indeed, more performance than most riders can even use. At the time time, it’ll have comfort and touring capability that no pure race-bred sport bike can possibly offer. So, the question is, will American motorcyclists buy it? Or will they stick with the high-revving, pain inducing ZX line?
The Michigan State Police regularly puts current police motorcycles through a number of objective tests. The results of the most recent test are now available, and they don’t look good for Harley-Davidson. The MSP tested the BMW R1200RT-P, Kawasaki Concours14 ABS Police, and the Harley-Davidson Road King and Electra Glide police models.
Here’s a taste of the results:
Simply put, nothing that Harley-Davidson makes can match the performance of modern motorcycles in the police role. That’s not an opinion. That’s the objective result.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office just finished a round of similar tests, and the full report is shown below. In this case, the Kawi is not tested, but the Honda ST1300-P is. Results are similar, when considering the rather different testing methodologies. That report is shown below, in full.
Motorcycle USA Motorcycle.Com has posted their 2010 Literbike shootout, comparing the newest European bikes to the top Japanese 1,000cc rockets. From Europe, they test the Aprilia RSV4 R, and the BMW S1000RR. From the Land of the Rising Sun comes the Honda CBR1000RR and the Kawasaki ZX-10R. Like nearly everyone else who’s riddewn it, they give the top marks to the BMW.
BMW S1000RR. If you want the literbike with the most power, best brakes, a wonderfully compliant chassis and best available options in 2010, these are the only letters and numbers you need to know.
Everybody loves this bike, it seems, in the sportbike set.
And yet, in World Superbike, where the S1000RR is in its second season of competition, its riders have been on the podium…um…not a single time.
Motorcycle.Com has just released this year’s comparo of the top sport touring motorcycles. This year, they pit the BMW K1300GT, Yamaha FJR1300A, Kawasaki Concours14, and the venerable Honda ST1300 against each other.
They declare the top bike to be…
Objectively the BMW is the clear winner to us. It makes markedly more power than the others despite not having the biggest engine. Our experiences aboard all four left no question the big K bike is the quickest steering and provides excellent braking performance. It offers very good wind protection, great ergos, an adjustable seat and handlebars, possibly the best passenger perch and very good saddlebags, to name only a few high points.
I’ve never been aboard the St1300 or the C14, but after tiding a K13GT and owning an FJR, I’d pick the FJR any day. I didn’t like the GT at all.
The RT, on the other hand, was a dream.