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Forum: Motorcycle Site Feeds
 Topic: Top 10 Awe-Inspiring Items at the Garage Company
Top 10 Awe-Inspiring Items at the Garage Company [message #7101] Thu, 18 December 2014 21:24
Anonymous

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The phone rings constantly, the bell that announces another customer has broken the electronic beam through the open garage door that opens onto Hyde Park Street dings only slightly less frequently. One guy really wants that Sportster with the twin flatslides but first feels the need to lay out his qualifications to Yoshi by listing all the other vehicles he’s ever owned. Another guy needs a part for his CB750. Many cool characters who look vaguely familiar from movies and half-remembered MTV videos saunter in under ironic hats behind cool shades.

Yoshi smiles through it all. If turning what you love into a business has a downside, there’s not much evidence of it here. His wife, whose idea it was originally to move Yoshi’s hobby into bigger headquarters than their suburban garage, flits in and out of the back office, also always with a smile. If you need a thing for your motorcycle, pretty much any motorcycle, Yoshi’s either got it or knows where to get it. And if you need your CBX tuned up or a completely custom bike built, feel free to wander into the huge shop that can also handle that. If you live in SoCal you’re in luck. If you have a little layover at LAX, it’s about a $10 taxi ride to Garage Company, and you can swing by Randy’s Donuts too.

Top 10 Awe-Inspiring Items at the Garage Company appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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 Topic: Ice Drifting On Two Wheels And Four (With Explosions!) + Video
Ice Drifting On Two Wheels And Four (With Explosions!) + Video [message #7100] Thu, 18 December 2014 18:47
Anonymous

With winter in full swing for much of the country, many of you probably have your biked tucked away and are playing with some four-wheeled toys instead. However, if you live anywhere near a frozen body of water, the riding season doesn’t have to be over for you! Take these folks, for example. Armed with a Polaris RZR UTE and a Suzuki GSX-R1000, winter wasn’t going to stop them. With metal spikes in their tires and a frozen lake at their disposal, watch the drift action they get into…then rethink whether or not your bike should really be stored away for the winter. Oh, and as an added bonus there’s gratuitous explosions! Enjoy.

Ice Drifting On Two Wheels And Four (With Explosions!) + Video appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: Skidmarks – Hooligans
Skidmarks – Hooligans [message #7099] Thu, 18 December 2014 18:26
Anonymous

The playground where I take my three-year-old son to blow off steam is called Astro Park, but aside from a large asteroid-like climbing structure, you’d never guess why it has that name. That’s because about 15 years ago, a crew from the City of Oakland hauled away a large steel flying-saucer shaped play structure that had been there since 1968.

The Kiwanis Club placed this flying saucer play structure into Oakland's Astro Park in 1968 in an effort to keep the Children's Hospital brand-new trauma ward at full capacity.

The Kiwanis Club placed this flying saucer play structure into Oakland’s Astro Park in 1968 in an effort to keep the Children’s Hospital brand-new trauma ward at full capacity.

The saucer – paid for by the local Kiwanis Club, bless their hearts – is fondly remembered by old-time Oaklanders, but the fact that it remained at the playground in all its tetanus-harboring glory until the late ’90s illustrates Oakland’s lawlessness. In a more… um… homogeneous… community, that thing would have been scrapped as soon as Yuppies started having kids in the ’80s.

I’m sure every generation thinks the current generation of kids is coddled and overprotected. If you’re middle aged, you may remember jumping your BMX bike helmetless over piles of rusty scrap iron and broken glass, or catching frogs in what is probably now an EPA Superfund site. And you were fine, right? Okay, maybe not, but when did they start putting down foam-rubber mats everywhere a kid could possibly fall down? Bumps, cuts, scrapes and bruises are a part of growing up. My offspring broke his collarbone falling off the couch. He was completely over it in a few weeks.

But we don’t just hyperprotect our kids, do we? Airliners have multiple safeties, system on top of redundant system. Escalators have giant red emergency stop buttons on them, just in case my mom was right and a barefoot rider could get sucked down into the mechanism. My favorite oyster bar has a warning posted on the wall about eating raw shellfish, and there’s a tag on my hairdryer and my toaster informing me via pictogram to not use them while bathing (there goes my Saturday night!). To do anything more dangerous than tying your shoes, you have to sign multiple waivers. My kid has to wear a helmet to ride his tricycle. His tricycle. That I push. At least there isn’t a law requiring infants to wear one of these during walking training. Yet.

Warning StickerCars used to be pretty hazardous things, but now they’re so safe it’s affecting driving behavior, if you ask me. Used to be, 50,000 or more Americans would die in traffic accidents every year – and that’s when the population was two-thirds the size is it now. Crumple zones, seat belts and airbags make the most horrifying accidents survivable, so why drive carefully? Sometimes I’ll get passed by an SUV at night in the rain and I have to check if I’m still in gear, it went by so fast. The drivers of these things must feel invulnerable, and outside freak rollover incidents or IEDs, they’re probably right. I’d like to remove the seatbelts and airbags and put a big spike right in the middle of the steering wheel of every large pickup truck and SUV. I’ll bet they’d drive a little more carefully then.

Unluckily for us idiots, motorcycles are still incredibly dangerous, and there’s not much you can do to make them safer. Training – at least the way we do it in this country — doesn’t seem to work, nobody wants to wear helmets, and antilock brakes and traction control are still viewed with suspicion by some riders. Seriously. If you compare vehicle miles travelled, motorcycles are over 30 times more dangerous than cars. Hell, you’re seven times more likely to die sober on a motorcycle than drunk in a car. Tequila or cheap gin can drop that to just six times, but even then, what sane person would want to ride a motorcycle more than occasionally? Who would tolerate this kind of risk every day?

Hooligans, that’s who. Now, I know there are some of us who ride motorcycles because they are practical, cheap and affordable, and only because they are practical, cheap and affordable. I don’t personally know anybody like that, but there are 15 or 20 of you out there, I’m sure – wave your yellow reflective vests so I can see you. The rest of us are hooligans of varying levels of intensity.

These are Hooligans, according to the Russian government. Instead of protesting the treatment of homosexuals, they should have been doing something socially acceptable, like invading Ukraine.

These are Hooligans, according to the Russian government. Instead of protesting the treatment of homosexuals, they should have been doing something socially acceptable, like invading Ukraine.

You may not like to be so labeled, but I’m afraid it’s true. A “hooligan” is one who “does noisy and violent things as part of a group or gang,” according to Merriam-Webster, but it may be the legal definition that’s in Article 213 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code: “…a gross violation of the public order which expresses patent contempt for society” that applies best to us motorcyclists.

As Beyonce might say, if you like it, you should have put a ring-a-ding-ding on it...

As Beyonce might say, if you like it, you should have put a ring-a-ding-ding on it…

Contempt? Violating the public order? I’m afraid so. Just our presence on the road creates a disturbance. After all, we’re only one vehicle out of 30 or so, which makes us stand out, and since we have so much more maneuverability, our differentiated movements draw the eyes of other road users. And if your bike (like mine) has a modified exhaust system, they’ll hear you above all the other road noise, too. If you live in California, you get to jump the line and get in front of traffic jams, further attracting jealous ire. And who doesn’t like to perform an occasional wheelie or stoppie? Maybe a nice rear-wheel skid? Maybe a little extra downshift in a tunnel, so you can enjoy the sonorous roar of your aforementioned modified exhaust? Making friends every time, of course.

Those things aren’t heinous crimes if you’re a motorcyclist, but then again, shanking a snitch in the throat with a hand-sharpened spork is just another Wednesday for a prison thug. Just as anyone who’s in front of me in the passing lane is a dull-witted moron while everybody tailgating me in that same lane is a careless maniac, our criminality is in the eye of the beholder, and I’m blissfully unaware of just how reckless my riding appears to others. When I blast past some hapless minivan driver at 90 mph on my chopped-up, barely muffled Multistrada, she has no idea that I’m a small 45-year-old man who trembles with fear when I have to return something at Trader Joe’s without a receipt.

And it’s not just me who’s an unlikely hooligan. At just one event – the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride a few months ago – I observed many, many acts of hooliganism. There were unleashed dogs, hazardous wastes dripped onto the roadway, sidecars up on two wheels and enough non-EPA-compliant emissions to negate all Clean Air Act programs since the mid 1980s. My friend Jenny – a lovely middle-aged woman with such a kind and pleasant temperament you’d never guess she works at a parts counter – did her part to accelerate global warming by buzzing all around San Francisco on her demonically loud two-stroke Yamaha scooter, while Wendy violated the Vehicle Code with her Honda Fury so many times I wanted to loan her my small bottle of personal lubricant.

Is this the face of a hooligan? Yes, yes it is.

Is this the face of a hooligan? Yes, yes it is.

Face it: we are hooligans. We may not elbow grannies in the face at football matches, or set fire to homeless people, or shoplift cases of Schlitz, but we do get a small thrill when we break the law and get away with it, when we shake up some deserving dullard’s peaceful life. That we can still do it without being shunned, arrested or lynched is a tribute to how tolerant our society can be.

So enjoy it.


Gabe Ets-Hokin is launching a new enterprise that leases underutilized jacket warmth to cold people by shipping winter coats to the northern hemisphere when it’s summer in the southern hemisphere and vice-versa. The company, called “jackt,” has been initially valued at $11.3 billion dollars.

Skidmarks – Hooligans appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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 Topic: Registration For The Andorra 500 Now Open + Video
Registration For The Andorra 500 Now Open + Video [message #7098] Thu, 18 December 2014 17:15
Anonymous

In October, we first heard word of five-time Dakar champ, Cyril Despres holding a rally for vintage motorcycles near his home in Andorra (read about it here). Now, Despres has set a date for the event: Jun 4-7, 2015. During the delay between October and now, Despres had to sort his other endeavors, including his schedule for the 2015 Dakar Rally, where he will switch from two wheels to four and drive a Peugeot.

At the Andorra Rally, however, the first day will be reserved for scrutineering, a prologue and a parade through town. The following three days, participants will tackle three 93-mile loops run over tarmac mountain roads; though with a nod to his rally-raid career they will be navigated using a Tripy electronic road book. The competition element comes from a series of timed specials to be ridden at a pre-determined average speed over closed roads. Those more interested in a festive atmosphere and the chance to spend four days with like minded enthusiasts from around the world will also be made very welcome.

The cost of participating in the event is 1250 € (approx. $1500 US) including four nights hotel accommodation in a 3-star hotel at the rally HQ, breakfast, lunch in the mountains on the rally route, diner, mechanical assistance and sweeper truck, medical assistance along the route, Tripy rental and all the logistics associated with running the specials, evening entertainment and the gala price giving (meaning, it’s on you to get to Andorra). A number of Cyril’s friends from the world of motorcycle racing have already announced their intention to take part in the event and several sponsors will be contributing to what already look like being a copious goodies bag.

For more information, including entry form downloads, go to the event’s website at www.andorra500.com.

Andorra 500 – EN from Cyril DESPRES on Vimeo.

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Registration For The Andorra 500 Now Open + Video appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: Vote for the Readers Choice Motorcycle of the Year
Vote for the Readers Choice Motorcycle of the Year [message #7097] Thu, 18 December 2014 17:07
Anonymous

Which new motorcycle deserves to be called Motorcycle of the Year? The decision is up to you!

We want your input in selecting the best bikes of the year for our Motorcycle.com Reader’s Choice Awards, including your choice for the Motorcycle of the Year.

In addition to the Motorcycle of the Year award, there are 11 other categories where you can vote for your favorites. As an incentive for your input, we’ll be giving away a free set of Pirelli tires so your ride can be outfitted with high-quality rubber!

See our editors’ picks for Motorcycle of the Year Honors

Voting will run from Dec. 15 until Jan. 15. After tabulating the results, the winners will be announced on Jan. 31. The manufacturers of the winning motorcycles will then be presented with trophies they’ll proudly display based on your selections. Enter now!

Vote for the Reader’s Choice Motorcycle of the Year appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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 Topic: Honda True Adventure Episode 2: Live Unlike The Others + Video
Honda True Adventure Episode 2: Live Unlike The Others + Video [message #7096] Thu, 18 December 2014 15:41
Anonymous

Earlier this week, we brought you episode one of Honda’s True Adventure series, documenting Honda’s desire to tame the wild race that is the Paris-Dakar Rally. In this, episode two, the spotlight turns to ordinary people with an extraordinary urge to explore the world, be it through paved roads or otherwise. Here, we meet but a few of them. Some are traveling on old C90s, others on new CRF250Ls. All are venturing down the road less traveled, and all are experiencing life-changing events because of it.

The buildup, of course, is in anticipation of Honda’s new Adventure bike the company teased with the True Adventure prototype at EICMA this year. A true world traveler has been missing in Honda’s lineup for some time (at least in the U.S.), and its arrival would raise the stakes in the Adventure-Touring game, currently occupied by a list of manufacturers around the world.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. For now, simply enjoy and become inspired, by episode two of True Adventure.

Honda True Adventure Episode 2: Live Unlike The Others + Video appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: Triumph Street Tracker and Street Tracker R Spied!
Triumph Street Tracker and Street Tracker R Spied! [message #7095] Thu, 18 December 2014 14:59
Anonymous

Motorcycle.com has acquired these spy images of two new Triumph prototypes undergoing testing in Spain, and they reveal a new liquid-cooled powerplant that will surely underpin all future Bonnevilles, Thruxtons, Scramblers, etc.

Triumph filed trademarks for the Street Tracker name in October 2012, and here’s the reason why. Looking at the photos, it would be easy to mistake the bike as a revision of a Bonneville or Thruxton, but upon closer inspection you’ll notice a small radiator tucked nicely between the two header pipes – a giveaway to it having liquid-cooling. Up until now, the only twin-cylinder Triumph with a radiator has been the big Thunderbird cruiser.

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However, the Street Tracker’s engine appears to be unrelated to its 1700cc brother, as it has many distinct differences. The camshaft caps seen at the top of the T-Bird’s cylinder head are absent on the Street Tracker, and the crankcase/transmission area is narrower and is shaped different. Additionally, each exhaust header seems to angle outward more than on other Triumph Twins, liquid-cooled or otherwise.

The physical size of the motor appears to be larger than the current 865cc air-cooled lump, so it will likely have a displacement upward of 1000cc, perhaps as much as 1200cc. The advantages of liquid-cooling should allow a state of tune that delivers horsepower ratings around 100 ponies.

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Like the T-Bird’s mill, the new Trumpet lump has fins on its cylinders, which evokes a vintage-esque air-cooled appearance. However, the Tracker’s fins extend further down its cylinders and may actually be for more than show. It’s possible the new Twin uses both air and liquid to shed heat, similar in concept to Harley-Davidson’s recent Twin-Cooled powerplant. Lending credence to this theory is a radiator that looks to be too small and thin to chill a 1200cc engine on its own.

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The Street Tracker carries forward the elemental lines of the current Thruxtons with their bar-end mounted mirrors, wire wheels and a larger version of its reverse-megaphone mufflers. Front brakes change from a single-disc setup to a dual-disc combo. The standard Street Tracker is equipped with conventional forks, fork gaiters, standard brakes and twin shocks that don’t appear to have much adjustability.

Meanwhile, the up-spec model likely to be called the Street Tracker R model benefits from adjustable Ohlins suspension pieces at both ends. Brakes are also upgraded, with twin radially mounted Brembo four-piston calipers. ABS will come standard on both models to comply with European regulations.

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The prototypes in these photos appear to be nearly ready for production, so we expect to see an official announcement of the Street Tracker and Street Tracker R in 2015. Considering the expense of creating a new, bigger and more powerful engine, the Street Tracker’s price will probably be significantly higher than the Thruxton’s current $9,099 base MSRP. It wouldn’t surprise us if it retailed for in the $11,000 price range, with the R version carrying a premium of approximately $2,000. If so, that would peg it nicely between the Ducati Scrambler and BMW’s R nineT.

Triumph Street Tracker and Street Tracker R Spied! appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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 Topic: 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS/LT First Ride Review
2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS/LT First Ride Review [message #7094] Thu, 18 December 2014 14:22
Anonymous

First introduced to the U.S. in 2008 as a non-California compliant 49-state model, Kawasaki’s Versys 650 immediately earned praise from journalists, experienced riders, and commuters who could appreciate its practical blending of a nimble sporting motorcycle – and – a truly comfortable chassis. Motorcycle.com’s loudest complaint about the original Versys was merely that it wasn’t legal in California, and even that fact couldn’t stop it from earning 2008 Motorcycle of the Year honors from one of the largest U.S. print mags.

2008 Kawasaki Versys Debut

Kawasaki made the Versys legal everywhere in 2009 when it achieved California compliance. The 2010 update saw numerous small tweaks aimed at taming vibrations and minor cosmetic changes with the styling of its headlight while also eliminating an area of the upper fairing that loudly resonated, causing its panels to vibrate against each other at certain revs. The 2013 model Versys 650 gained ABS brakes in North America, a feature the rest of the world got in 2012.

This brings us to the rugged island of Sicily for the press launch of the upgraded and significantly re-styled 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS and 650 LT sport/adventure motorcycles alongside their bigger brother, the Versys 1000 LT.

Versys 650

An upright seating position and relaxed footpeg position yield an accommodating ergonomic triangle suitable for commuter use or touring jaunts. The LT version pictured here adds saddlebags and hand guards to the standard Versys ABS.

The 2015 Versys 650 LT was a hugely entertaining motorcycle to hustle along the tight, twisty Sicilian roads that are so familiar to older race fans, being the actual surface and several segments of the original route used for the legendary Mille Miglia. Unsurprisingly, the new LT also remained comfortable and unflustered over the cobblestone streets, rough country lanes – and everywhere else on the island – something a modern superbike could never hope to achieve.

I’ve always suspected that the Versys’ riding position, particularly the bend and positioning of its handlebars, was just about perfect for transitioning back and forth through tight curves, making it seem like the Versys has honest sporting prowess baked right into its soul. That is something Versys class competitors like the Honda NC700X or Suzuki V-Strom really can’t offer, as they simply lack the nimbleness, feedback, and outright pace when the going gets truly fast. Those performance traits seeped-through every pore as we flogged the 650 LTs over the serpentine volcanic roads along the slopes of Mt. Etna.

The face of the new Versys is much more handsome than the awkward schnoz of the previous version. Additional wind protection is provided by a larger and adjustable windscreen.

The face of the new Versys is much more handsome than the awkward schnoz of the previous version. Additional wind protection is provided by a larger and adjustable windscreen.

Kawasaki wisely decided to update the homely face of the Versys 650 with a new upper fairing and sleek side-by-side headlights inspired by Kawasaki’s Ninja models. The new “Kawasaki Face” effectively transforms both the 650 and the (previously hideous) Versys 1000 directly into, dare I say, pretty motorcycles. As an added bonus, the new fairing upper is larger than the outgoing version and mounts a taller and wider windscreen that can now be height-adjusted without any tools.

The added protection of the larger fairing and screen were much appreciated, as the press ride took our group through chilly temps and a fairly heavy rain shower. Weather management was fairly effective, diverting water into areas of the slipstream that channeled around instead of splashing-into me. Also appreciated, were the LT model’s standard hand guards which reduced the soaking around my hands and wrists, as well lessening the wind-chill factor. That’s a pretty good deal if you ask me: better looking and more effective.

Kawasaki switched to a new one-piece exhaust design that they claim boosts high-rpm power. I really didn’t notice much of a difference in thrust during our ride; what I did notice was that the 2015 model’s redline has actually been lowered by 500 rpm to 10,000, a fact Kawasaki didn’t mention in the technical briefing. Another one they didn’t mention: the 2015 engine’s compression ratio is now listed as two tenths higher, from 10.6:1 to 10.8:1. They did, however, mention that the bike’s ECU tuning has been tweaked to improve fuel efficiency, but they did not have details to share.

Definitely worth sharing is the fact the 2015 model received a half-gallon fuel capacity boost thanks to a new tank with a wider top section. Coupled with the ECU tweaks, Kawasaki claims the 2015 model’s 5.5-gallon tank will take it farther than ever. I average right around 140 miles between fill-ups on my own 2009 (5-gallon) Versys, but I’m a very aggressive rider. The average commuter or tourer should see close to 200 miles or more between fill-ups on a 2015 model.

The Versys received a rubber-isolated upper-rear engine mount for the 2010 model, but Kawasaki has now isolated the pair of front mounts in a continued attempt to quell the natural vibes of the 180-degree crank in its 649cc parallel-Twin powerplant. While they were at it, they swapped the handlebar mounts to rubber-equipped units as well. The 2010 modification was of only minor benefit, as it made marginal difference to overall vibration levels.

Vibration-reduction strategies on the new Versys nicely shield a rider from objectionable tingles.

Vibration-reduction strategies on the new Versys nicely shield a rider from objectionable tingles.

However, it took less than a mile of riding to discover that those two new rubber engine mounts and isolated bars have taken the Versys 650 ABS and LT models into entirely new territory: parallel-Twins that actually feel smooth in the real world. The overwhelming impression compared to previous models is one of refinement – no rattling noises, no tingling body parts, just nice, usable thrust easily accessible for whatever a rider desires.

Speaking of rattles and rider annoyances, older Versys models seem to suffer from overly notchy shifting that could occasionally even be described as clunky. Kawasaki didn’t make any claims for gearbox refinements, but I and a couple fellow editors believe our 2015 test bikes were noticeably more smooth and quiet when shifting compared to any previous Versys we’d ridden. So that’s a definite positive.

2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT Preview

Now for a definite negative: The bikes we tested were all equipped with a full complement of Kawasaki accessory items, including electric grip warmers with three heat levels. The problem is that the right grip gets much warmer than the left grip. In high-heat mode the right grip got uncomfortably hot during our rainy 55-degree test ride, while the left grip felt nicely warm. The disparity remained consistent at other heat levels, the right grip comfortable at medium heat with the left grip barely warm, etc. It’s an issue that several other editors noticed as well, so it’s tough to blame it on a one-off or poor installation.

This knob for the hydraulically adjustable shock preload allows easy tweaking to accommodate various loads.

This knob for the hydraulically adjustable shock preload allows easy tweaking to accommodate various loads.

The Versys in my garage has lived almost its entire life with its rear spring preload maxed-out and the shock’s rebound damping slowed as much as practical. But even with the rebound damping adjuster maxxed, my bike will still spring back like a pogo following large impacts and G-outs. Prior to the press ride, I was worried Kawasaki’s deletion of the rear rebound damping adjuster would result in even more of a pogo effect from the 2015’s new KYB shock. But after a full day of riding, I am glad to report that even without an adjuster, the new rear shock’s rebound characteristics are not any more pronounced than what I experience on my own bike. Furthermore, the remote adjuster for spring preload is a great addition compared to the old ramped collar, allowing easy roadside adjustments with the twist of a wheel. Its right-side location requires a little throttle juggling to fine-tune while in motion.

The new Separate Function Fork (SFF splits damping and preload functions to separate sides, one leg changes rebound damping, the other leg changes spring preload) works well with the rear shock, with the same amount of control and slightly less harshness than the previous model. A decent suspension coupled with a narrow chassis and an upright riding position have always made the Versys greater than the sum of its parts, and the 2015 model’s suspension changes have resulted in an improved ride without suppressing the bike’s fun-loving personality.

The Versys has always been great at the urban shuffle.

The Versys has always been great at the urban shuffle.

While tweaking the suspension and handling, Kawasaki reached-out for a new tire. Dunlop responded with a Versys 650-specific version of the Sportmax D222. Like most modern sport-touring tires, grip levels are very impressive in the wet or dry. The D222s offer easy turn-in and quick response across the center of the tread, and I think they make a good match for the Versys’ personality while offering what should be a respectable service life.

Easily my favorite 2015 dynamic upgrade is the new Nissin front brakes. The calipers use a look-alike “monoblock” style based on the appearance of modern supersport units, but they are really the same bargain basement two-piston pin-slide type calipers design as previous models. The real benefit comes from the well-matched pairing of a new front master cylinder with a higher leverage ratio, and more aggressive brake pads offering much more initial bite. The spec may not be terribly impressive, but the response and power are a definite and much-appreciated upgrade that inspires more rider confidence, especially when speeds start to rise into the fun zone. All 2015 Versys models are equipped with standard ABS which works nicely in front but may be a little too intrusive and even a little clunky feeling in the rear, which uses a new caliper and larger 250mm rear rotor.

Kawasaki is getting its design money’s worth out of these Ninja 1000 bags. They look just as good on the Versys as they do on the green bike.

Kawasaki is getting its design money’s worth out of these Ninja 1000 bags. They look just as good on the Versys as they do on the green bike.

Both the Versys 650 ABS and the LT tested here have received a stronger rear subframe that can support more weight. It was designed to easily integrate optional single-key Kawasaki Quick Release (KQR) hard bags which – along with handguards – are standard on the new 650 LT model. Those KQR bags can also be combined with an optional same-key KQR 47-liter Top Case for a total capacity of 103 liters. Like most modern designs, the bags are quick and easy to mount and remove. The mounts blend into into the subframe so as not to compromise the bike’s appearance when riding without bags. Even with an aggressive pace over bumpy roads, there was no detectable flapping or shifting of the bags and no sense of torsional twisting in the subframe. That means Kawasaki did their engineering homework. It also means that adding lightly-loaded bags will have an almost undetectable effect on the bike’s handling. Another nice touch in the new subframe is its clean integration of passenger grab-handles, a feature that is sure to please anyone who finds themselves perched way up there on the rear saddle, a position my wife says feels more like sitting on a high-barstool which makes her somewhat uneasy as a passenger on my Versys. I blame it on the wheelies.

Given its displacement, modest power and practical pricing it’s logical to assume a 650 Versys would be viewed as a “beginner” or “budget” bike, something that makes the following facts all the more interesting: The average Versys owner is a 40-year-old male that’s a highly experienced rider and has an above-average household income. The reason for that is simple. Experienced middle-aged riders tend to value comfort, and if they are not cruiser types, they also tend to value real-world performance … and that is precisely what a Versys has always offered.

Riding Gear: Arai Helmet - Signet Q “Zero Red” / Alpinestars Gear - Mono Fuse Gore-Tex boots / Bogota Drystar jacket and pants.

Riding Gear: Arai Helmet – Signet Q “Zero Red” / Alpinestars Gear – Mono Fuse Gore-Tex boots / Bogota Drystar jacket and pants.

I’m not alone in my praise for the Versys. There are a lot of publications at this combined U.S. / Europe introduction, and the buzz from those editors less familiar with the Versys carries a tone of pleasant surprise regarding how much fun this otherwise unassuming motorcycle is to ride. Other editors who were already familiar with its charms are also saying mostly nice things. In fact, the Editor-in-Chief from a large competing publication summed it up nicely during our mid-ride lunch, proclaiming: “The Versys 650 has always been quietly brilliant.” Like me, he put his money where his mouth was when he bought one a few years ago.

Leggy riders will appreciate the extra room afforded by the Versys’ upright layout. Even if its seat-to-peg distance remains slightly shorter than ideal for long distance riding, it still has more legroom than any full-on sportbike, and Kawasaki has now repositioned the 650’s footpegs 15mm lower and 20mm further forward relative to the previous model’s.

However, Kawasaki also tried to keep the top of the seat relatively low in the interest of a moderate 33.1 inch stand-over height which is actually just over 5mm closer to the ground than the seat on the outgoing model. Combining the new seat with the lower pegs means net vertical seat-to-peg distance is 10mm longer than last year. Unfortunately, I’m used to the original “sportbike” pegs on my ’09 Versys, so the difference is actually negligible for me. From 2010 on, Kawasaki added thick rubber vibration-isolating pads to the tops of the pegs, eating-up several millimeters of precious legroom in the process. Every little bit helps on longer rides, so I do appreciate their effort. Of course, a change back to the pre-2010 no- rubber-topped pegs would free-up even more legroom … hint.

The 10mm increase in seat-to-peg distance means large-limbed folks like Editorial Director Alexander can unkink a little.

The 10mm increase in seat-to-peg distance means large-limbed folks like Editorial Director Alexander can unkink a little.

Some things in life are free! The bagless 2014 Versys 650 ABS retailed for $7,999, while the 2015 version gets all the upgrades described above, minus the new bags and hand guards, for $7,999. It’s great when a new model year vehicle holds the line on price, but way more impressive when the price stays the same while upgrades are heaped on top. Kudos to Kawasaki for that little trick. Want the integrated hard bags and handguards too, then get the Versys 650 LT for just $700 more.

At the end of the day, riding this new version has done nothing to change my long-standing assertion that, given riders of equal skill, there are very few motorcycles capable of pulling-away from a Versys 650 over a twisty road. Of the bikes that could (KTM Super Duke 1290 R, BMW S1000R, Superbikes, etc), none would be nearly as affordable to buy and insure, nor as friendly and easy to operate for everyday use.

Versys 650

From a face that only a loyal owner could love to an attractive mount – all in one model year. Here, Alexander demonstrates the angle of optimum protection from the elements.

Before wrapping up my review of the 2015 Versys, this author must offer a confession: As a former member of Kawasaki’s marketing team from 2006 through 2013, I helped chase or guide the press rides for almost every new Kawasaki streetbike during that period. I became very much enamored with the Versys platform, and it had nothing to do with the fact that Kawasaki was paying my salary. Au contraire, the issues or flaws that might damn one of their machines are well known to me, and any potential for bias occupies my mind to the point of distraction. You hereby have my promise to tell it to you straight, without rose-colored glasses, always.

I actually bought a 2009 Versys a few years ago. The reason the 650 earned my long-term love is this: Motorcycle press introductions involve days of riding over several waves of journalists, and OEM staff riders are often able to choose their mount from any bike in that manufacturer’s stable. At 40+ years old, with frequent aches from old racing injuries, and now weighing far more than I should, my motorcycle choices were largely influenced by two considerations: comfort and handling. After riding every Kawasaki streetbike, rapidly, I discovered that nothing in Kawasaki’s lineup could touch a Versys for long fast-paced days in the saddle. I ended up choosing to use a Versys – exclusively – for every introduction towards the end of my time with Kawasaki, including the launches of the Ninja 300, Ninja ZX-6R and Ninja 1000, which all took place over some of the best twisty roads in the country. Even when technically out-gunned, a Versys always fit right in with the Journalist GP. Furthermore, I ended every one of those rides un-cramped and with a smile in my heart. The Versys honestly earned my bias. VERsitile SYStem, indeed.

Kawasaki

+ Highs

  • Now smooth and with better brakes
  • Still practical, comfortable, nimble and fun to ride
  • Jack of all trades and almost masters them!
  • No 2015 price increase
- Sighs

  • Not an 800 Triple
  • Wartlike gear-position indicator looks cheap
  • Accessory heated grip kit provides unbalanced warmth

Related Reading
2008 Kawasaki Versys Road Test
2010 Kawasaki Versys Review
2012 Kawasaki Versys Review

2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS/LT First Ride Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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 Topic: 2015 MV Agusta Stradale 800 Review
2015 MV Agusta Stradale 800 Review [message #7093] Thu, 18 December 2014 11:36
Anonymous

There’s an even more pragmatic MV Agusta coming in the Turismo Veloce, and I’ve a feeling we’ll be seeing more versatile models from MV in the future. But for now, the Stradale 800 is the most comfortable, user-friendly motorcycle in the MV range. Who would have thought the bespoke maker of sporting motorcycles would launch a quasi sport-touring bike with bags and a small windscreen?

Straddling the Stradale, it’s immediately apparent that this is a different kind of MV Agusta. The fairing and cowling design are the same as the Rivale but that’s it, everything else is pure Stradale. The beautifully stitched leather seat is comfortable, and neither too tall nor too short. The standard 34.2-inch seat can be swapped for an optional 33.5-inch high one. The reach to the handlebar allows a vertical seating position with no strain on my wrists.

The saddlebags are kinda small but very stylish.

The saddlebags are kinda small but very stylish.

Because the soft lockable saddlebags cover the Rivale’s taillights, the bags are equipped with LEDs. In true MV style there is minimal compromise in terms of original design – the bags appear as if they were always meant to be there. Each bag holds 2.4 gallons of luggage but no more than 11 pounds. A large top box is available as an accessory. The front of the Stradale 800 is outfitted with an adjustable windscreen. The smallish screen provides a minimal amount of wind protection and does so without any intrusive helmet buffeting.

On fast motorways the riding position is comfortable and relaxed, allowing me to enjoy the drone of getting to curvier roads much more than on any other MV Agusta. The mirrors don’t quite stretch far enough to avoid my elbows but they don’t suffer from vibration.

The single-sided swingarm was stretched to 23.9 inches, increasing the wheelbase to 57.5 inches compared to 55.5 inches on the Rivale. Front and rear suspension both have 5.9 inches of travel. Together these changes make for a sure-footed, neutral handling motorcycle.

With its increased wheelbase the Stradale isn’t quite as nervous as the Rivale. The Stradale comes equipped with a quick-shifter for rapid up and down gear selection.

With its increased wheelbase the Stradale isn’t quite as nervous as the Rivale. The Stradale comes equipped with a quick-shifter for rapid up and down gear selection.

In the mountains the neutral handling is welcome, albeit not as quick steering as the Rivale, but still sporty. I actually prefer the Stradale’s handling for road riding because it better caters to the variety of road situations you’re likely to encounter. The suspension soaks up the bumps, providing both comfort and confidence.

The Stradale 800 is very easy to get going in first gear and the power delivery is less aggressive than on other 800cc trepistoni models. The engine is still more than capable of providing thrills. With a longer swingarm, the Stradale is less likely to surprise a rider with an unprovoked wheelie and the whole experience is solid. The larger (0.74 gallon) silencer still provides a hearty soundtrack from the three organ pipes.

The 800cc Triple has its own dedicated tune with a bias towards torque rather than all-out top end power. Claimed max torque is 58 lb-ft @ 9000 rpm and max power of 115hp @ 11,000 rpm.

The 800cc Triple has its own dedicated tune with a bias towards torque rather than all-out top end power. Claimed max torque is 58 lb-ft at 9000 rpm and 115 hp at 11,000 rpm.

Take the reduced top-end power out of the equation and the Stradale 800 is still one very fast motorcycle in the mountains. The EAS 2.0 quickshifter (both up and down) is standard on the Stradale 800 and provides smooth and effortless progress through the gearbox. The brakes are the same high quality radial Brembos with ABS as on other MV models. There’s no lacking in stopping power. Even with bags, claimed dry weight is only 399 pounds.

MV Agusta claims good fuel efficiency, so the 4.2 gallon fuel tank should last a respectable distance. The new instrument cluster now shows fuel consumption, displayed as a relatively large graph on the top left. The clock is now ridiculously tiny due to the lack of space, but I suppose time stands still when riding the Stradale.

The 800cc Triple produces less horsepower than the Rivale, but the gobs of mid-range torque keeps it from losing its edge.

The 800cc Triple produces less horsepower than the Rivale, but the gobs of mid-range torque keeps it from losing its edge.

As we have come to expect from MV Agusta, the 2015 Stradale 800 is jam-packed with electronics. The package includes traction control, quickshifter, riding modes, ABS with rear wheel lift mitigation, and more. This MV Agusta, though, is also probably the best in the range to pilot with rider aids turned off. This is all due to the stability of the chassis, the suspension and the state of engine tune.

The Stradale 800 made me feel comfortable and at ease from the word go. After setting the electronics to levels that I prefer, all I had to think about was riding. The bags are stylish and highly practical. I think it must have taken some guts to plan this model because it differs somewhat from the MV ethos. I salute MV because it gives me the opportunity to say that this is the best MV I have ever ridden.

2015 MV Agusta Stradale 800 Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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 Topic: CSBK releases full 2015 schedule
CSBK releases full 2015 schedule [message #7103] Thu, 18 December 2014 05:58
Anonymous

Calendar has seven races next season.

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 Topic: Guy Martin to pilot a Beemer
Guy Martin to pilot a Beemer [message #7102] Thu, 18 December 2014 04:25
Anonymous

TAS Racing signs with BMW, announces plans for 2015 IOMTT.

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 Topic: 2015 Yamaha FJ-09 First Ride Review
2015 Yamaha FJ-09 First Ride Review [message #7089] Wed, 17 December 2014 20:14
Anonymous

2015 Yamaha FJ-09

Editor Score: 87.25%
Engine 17.5/20
Suspension/Handling 12.75/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.75/10
Brakes 8.75/10
Instruments/Controls4.25/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.25/10
Appearance/Quality 8.5/10
Desirability 8.5/10
Value 9.0/10
Overall Score87.25/100

Almost exactly 14 months ago Yamaha jetted Motorcycle Courier Editor, Troy Siahaan, to San Francisco to sample the 2014 FZ-09, and he came back impressed. Just a little over two months later, MO gathered together four Triples to see how the new kid stacked up against the rest of the three-cylinder class. The results were quite favorable with the FZ-09 finishing second overall and being the editors’ choice if cost were the deciding factor. If it hadn’t been for its little sister, the FZ-07, claiming the Best Value Bike Of 2014, the FZ-09 would have been in a hard-fought battle for the number-one position in that category. That’s how much we love the FZ-09.

2014 Yamaha FZ-09 Review

If you’re wondering why I’m spending so much time mentioning the FZ-09 in an article about the 2015 Yamaha FJ-09 press introduction, the answer is simple: The FJ-09 is the updated 2015 FZ-09 with the extras you’d expect from an adventure-styled sport-touring bike. We knew this bike was coming for a while before it was announced (look here, here, here, and here). Still, the thought of Yamaha taking a motorcycle that we loved last year, polishing off the rough spots (which I’ll get to later), making some well-placed additions, and giving us a chance to (finally) ride it, makes the MO staff collectively dewy eyed.

When the clouds finally parted and some dry pavement appeared, the FJ-09 showed that it has the chops to be a sibling to the FZ-09.

When the clouds finally parted and some dry pavement appeared, the FJ-09 showed that it has the chops to be a sibling of the FZ-09.

So, grab yerself a hot cuppa joe, sit down, and let me get down to the business of telling you all about the new bike carrying one of our favorite Triples.

If It Ain’t Broke, Tweak It

We love the FZ-09’s engine, calling it “a great engine with loads of torque and plenty of character.” E-i-C Kevin Duke opined, “If Yamaha could tune out the harshness of throttle application, this Triple would be one of my favorite engines of all time.” And there’s the rub. Yamaha’s engineers, being the smart folks who designed the FZ’s 847cc Triple, left it mechanically the same. Instead, they focused on tweaking and expanding the electronics package. (If you haven’t read Troy’s description of the FZ’s engine, go read it now.)

Mechanically the same as the FZ-09, the FJ benefits from updated fuel mapping for smoother throttle response and traction control for when things get slippery.

Mechanically the same as the FZ-09, the FJ benefits from updated fuel mapping for smoother throttle response and traction control for when things get slippery.

While Yamaha’s PR types were quick to say the ECU’s changes were directed at the differing requirements of the FJ’s sport-touring versus the FZ’s sporting roles, the answer to the question everyone has had since the FJ was announced at EICMA is: yes, the hinky off-to-on-throttle issues were targeted in development. The Drive Modes retain the same labels A, Standard, and B – with Standard and B delivering about 30% less power than the mode above it – but any similarities with how the modes feel compared with the FZ’s power delivery end there.

Since touring riders tend to ride more miles in more varied weather conditions, traction control was added to the FJ’s bag of tricks. In the age of ride-by-wire, we wouldn’t be surprised to see TC move over to the FZ in some future iteration. While we’re on technology the FJ sports that the FZ (currently) doesn’t, the FJ also benefits from ABS. Unlike the FJ-09’s TC, its ABS can’t be turned off.

The Four-Thirds Shootout: Tres Cool

The  only changes to the chassis were those necessary for the shift to sport-touring duty. The fork features the same KYB components but with internals revised for the additional weight of touring. Additionally, the changes were designed to slow the damping profile of the suspension. The fork now has 1.5 times the compression damping of the FZ and 2.5 times the rebound damping. In the back, the KYB shock has 2.5 times and 2 times the compression and rebound damping, respectively. The stated goal was to “calm the ride down quite a bit.” The shock retains its preload and rebound adjustability, while the fork’s rebound-only adjustment switches from turns to clicks.

The seat was revised for more legroom and to better coddle the derriere. The bags are slightly narrower than those on the FJR for easier navigation through tight spaces.

The flatter, longer seat was revised for more legroom and to better coddle the derriere. The bags are slightly narrower than those on the FJR for easier navigation through tight spaces.

Focus on Comfort

The main frame is the same control-filled die-cast unit from FZ-09, and the engine retains its stressed-member role. However, the subframe was extended and beefed up to carry the accessory luggage that most FJ buyers will add. The additional room allows for changes to the saddle and the rider accommodations. First, the saddle is now a two-piece construction that is longer for both the rider and passenger. The seat is less aggressively positioned, meaning it is flatter and different foam is used for comfort during long stints. The seat height increases to 33.3 in. (and can be adjusted 0.9 in. higher), marking a 1.2 in. growth from the FZ. However, the front of the seat is narrower to make up for the increased altitude. Also, the edges of the seat are more curved for increased comfort.

2014 EICMA: 2015 Yamaha FJ-09 Preview

The good news is that the higher seat gives the rider more separation between the seat and the pegs. Even before riding the FJ, the additional legroom is noticeable. Out on the road, the standard (read lower) position is all day comfortable for my 32-inch inseam. Bumping the seat into the high position (a two-minute process) is akin to moving from coach to business class, with only a slight lengthening of the reach to the ground.

For the additional time touring riders will spend in the saddle, the handlebar was made 40mm wider than that of the FZ, with the grips moved higher and rearward. The resulting upright riding position should also lead to more comfortable days in the saddle. However, larger framed riders could end up having their long arms feeling cramped, so the handlebar risers were designed such that they could be flipped 180°, moving the bar 10mm forward and providing some additional room.

The clever, dirtbike style risers rotate to give large-sized riders more room. The additional key required for the luggage will annoy those who don’t like scratches on their triple clamp.

The clever, dirtbike style risers rotate to give large-sized riders more room. The additional key required for the luggage will annoy those who don’t like scratches on their triple clamp.

Where the FZ-09 offers minimal weather protection, the FJ gives the naked FZ some sport-touring clothes with a frame-mounted fairing and an adjustable windshield. The more upright riding position requires a windshield to ease rider fatigue over the long haul. Without being overly large, the windscreen offers effective protection from the elements. In its high position, I was easily able to see over the screen while my 5-ft., 11-in. frame was almost completely out of the wind blast and experienced none of the back pressure that can sometimes occur. The airflow was directed over my head with no buffeting of the helmet, although I could hear the turbulence passing above. One side effect of the windshield was that, in the rain (What is it about me, rain, and sport-touring motorcycle introductions?), water drops collected on my faceshield because there was not enough wind to clear it, necessitating more frequent wipes with my glove. On a cold, wet ride, I consider this to be a quality problem and decided to keep it in the high position for more protection from the elements. For warmer, drier days, the windshield can be lowered two positions for a total range of 30mm, with the bottom position sending the airflow at my shoulders.

121714-2015-Yamaha-FJ-09-Action-68599

The Call of the Open Road

One of the advantages Yamaha believes the FJ has over other sport-tourers – even its own FJR1300 – is its smaller size and lighter weight. Not every rider who wants a sport-tourer wants the power and the associated weight of the open-class bikes that dominate the category. For example, the Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS and the FJR1300A weigh in at a claimed 690 lb. and 637 lb., respectively. The FJ tips the scales at a claimed 462 lb. (without bags), ready to ride. The riding experience is radically affected by 200 lb., particularly at parking lot speeds.

Slip the easy-to-modulate clutch, and the FJ gets underway. The change to the fuel mapping is immediately apparent. Riding on mountain roads in the rain only highlights how much the power delivery is improved compared to the FZ. Whereas, before on the FZ, I was willing to sacrifice the power in B Mode – in the dry – to get less abrupt throttle response, I could keep the FJ in Standard Mode in the rain on a twisty road without concern. When the roads dried out, I spent some time in A Mode but found it not to my liking. As a rider who values smoothness over snappiness in the twisties, this is more a sign of personal taste than any shortcoming of the FJ. The Triple has been transformed into the engine we knew it could be. (Although Yamaha’s representatives were circumspect in their comments, they did acknowledge the mapping in the 2015 FZ-09’s ECU has been modified.)

Yamaha Triples Retrospective

Everything else we loved about this engine is as it was before: From the meaty torque of the mid-range to the top-end rush, those 847cc love to accelerate. The transmission snicks positively. Its sound is thrilling.

Mmm, heated grips. Worth the price every time. The instrument cluster is reminiscent of the FJR. The top button on the left turns off the traction control.

Mmm, heated grips. Worth the price every time. The instrument cluster is reminiscent of the FJR. The top button on the left turns off the traction control.

Weather? What Weather?

Alas, She Who Spoils Motojournalists’ Dreams of Shenanigans (AKA Mother Nature) put a literal damper on Yamaha’s plans for a fun mountain ride on the FJ-09. So, much of the ride allowed me to noodle on the engineers’ success in providing for my creature comfort in the cold and wet. Also, the rain-slickened pavement provided the ideal environment to ascertain that the ECU’s fuel-metering demons had been exorcised.

121714-2015-Yamaha-FJ-09-Action-0404Testing the FJ’s handling was much more limited, though. As the roads began to dry at the very end of the ride, the FJ showed that the weight of the fairing and luggage hadn’t lessened the bike’s sporty character. Turn-ins were still quick. The wider bar helped here. Mid-corner line changes were just a thought away. Although I didn’t do any peg scraping, the rider’s feet are located the same distance from the ground as on the FZ (since the legroom came from the taller seat), so one would expect the same cornering clearance.

The suspension feels nicely balanced, and the stiffer compression settings in the fork lessened the front-end dive under braking that annoyed me with the FZ-09. The bump absorption finds the right compromise between firmness for sport riding and suppleness for touring duties, but after having my sensors polluted by active suspensions, it feels like a compromise – even if it is a good one.

The brakes proved to be predictable and controllable – essential in the wet – but I don’t have any report about how they work in outright sport riding. I can say that the ABS was a confidence builder that I only needed once when the traffic suddenly stopped as I accelerated away from a stop. The pedal pulsed, telling me that it had just saved me from myself. About the brake pedal: It needed to be depressed a fair amount before it would activate the rear caliper. The Traction Control behaved exactly as you’d want. It did nothing until it needed to intervene on some slippery mud that had flowed across the road.

Got something you want to power? An outlet is included on the dash.

Got something electric you want to power? A 12-volt outlet is included on the dash.

You Can Take it with You

Previously, we’ve questioned why a manufacturer would sell a sport-touring motorcycle without the bags to actually tour on them. Yes, we know that everyone wants the MSRP to be as low as possible, but no luggage on a sport-touring bike? Really? So, in order to get the FJ-09 with luggage to actually carry stuff with you on your tour, you’ll need to buy the Hard Saddlebag Mounts ($94), the Hard Saddlebags ($400 each), and a 3-Lock Set ($80).

Our test bike also included the luscious Grip Heaters ($284) and a Rear Rack ($171). When we add all of these to the $10,490 MSRP, the price of the 2015 Yamaha FJ-09 – as tested – comes to $11,919. That’s way below the FJR1300A’s $15,890, below the $12,799 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT and the $13,999 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS Adventure, and above the smaller Kawasaki Versys 650 LT ($8,699) and Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS Adventure ($10,049) – all of which include hard bags in their MSRP. For another comparison, the Honda Interceptor DLX retails for $13,499 (DLX for the ABS and TC) and $14,479 with bags.

121714-2015-Yamaha-FJ-09-Beauty-47405

While possibly not hitting the same price sweet spot as the FZ-09 in its class, the FJ-09 still feels to be a bargain for what it offers in displacement and performance. Available in either Candy Red or Matte Gray, Yamaha FJ-09s are rolling in to dealers this week. Time for another sport-touring shootout, methinks.

2014 EICMA: 2015 Yamaha FJ-09 Video

+ Highs

  • Well sorted fuel metering
  • ABS and TC
  • Good weather protection
- Sighs

  • No included hard bags on a sport-touring bike?
  • Bags require additional key
  • Rain on another sport-touring intro? Really?
2015 Yamaha FJ-09 Specs
MSRP $10,490 ($11,919 as tested)
Engine Liquid-cooled, Triple
Displacement 847cc
Bore x stroke 78.0 x 59.1 mm
Horsepower N/A
Torque 65 lb-ft. (claimed)
Compression ratio 11.5:1
Fuel System Denso EFI with YCC-T
Ignition TCI
Transmission Six-speed
Final drive Chain
Frame type Aluminum Controlled filled die-cast w/sub-frame
Front suspension 41 mm hydraulic inverted fork, adjustable for rebound, 5.4 in. travel
Rear suspension KYB shock, adjustable for preload and rebound, 5.1 in. travel
Front brake Dual 298×4.5 mm discs, 4-piston Advics calipers, ABS
Rear brake 245×5.0 mm disc, single-piston caliper, ABS
Front tire 120/70 ZR17 (Dunlop D222F)
Rear tire 180/55 ZR17 (Dunlop D222)
Wheelbase 56.7 in.
Electronics ABS, traction control, rider modes
Fuel capacity 3.7 gal ( 0.74 gal reserve)
Seat height 33.3 in. (34.2 in.)
Ground clearance 12.8 in.
Claimed Curb Weight 462 lbs (without bags)
Warranty 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Color choices Candy Red, Matte Gray

 

2015 Yamaha FJ-09 First Ride Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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 Topic: Dates Announced For AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2015
Dates Announced For AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2015 [message #7088] Wed, 17 December 2014 18:07
Anonymous

From an AMA press release:


The American Motorcyclist Association has announced that next year’s premier celebration of vintage motorcycling, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, will be July 10-12, 2015, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

“AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days has a long and rich history as one of motorcycling’s most fun, feel-good events,” said AMA Chief Operations Officer Jeff Massey. “From the vintage racing to the bike shows to the enormous swap meet, there is something for everyone at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. If you love motorcycles, there is no better place to be.”

A fundraiser for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days features classic motorcycles of all makes and styles, and honors the riders who made them famous.

Activities include the AMA Vintage Grand Championship, which features road racing, motocross, hare scrambles, trials and dirt-track racing. Another top attraction is North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet with parts, bikes and memorabilia from all eras. Bike shows bring out examples of some of history’s most beloved motorcycles. Stunt shows, such as the American Motor Drome Wall of Death, and demo rides of current production bikes keep attendees entertained, while seminars on numerous topics by noted motorcycling experts keep them informed.

AMA members who buy tickets directly from the AMA before May 29 receive an exclusive price discount. AMA members can call (800) 262-5646 to purchase a weekend pass for $45, a $5 savings off the regular advance rate, and a one-day pass for $25 for Friday or Saturday and $20 for Sunday, a $5 savings off the regular advance rate. There is no service charge for AMA members when purchasing through the AMA.

AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is a family-friendly event. Children 12 and under get in free with paying, supervising adults.

All proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. The mission of the Hall of Fame, located on the AMA campus in Pickerington, Ohio, is to tell the stories and preserve the history of motorcycling’s legends and heroes. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Hall of Fame’s website at www.motorcyclemuseum.org

Dates Announced For AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2015 appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: Americans Mark Miller And Brandon Cretu Talk You Through Macau + Video
Americans Mark Miller And Brandon Cretu Talk You Through Macau + Video [message #7087] Wed, 17 December 2014 17:06
Anonymous

The Macau Grand Prix is a spectacular street race unlike any other. With walls and barriers all over, the margin for error is non-existant. Mark Miller and Brandon Cretu are two Americans who who tackled the course in 2014 aboard the all-American EBR 1190 RX racebikes. Splitlath Motorsport were the team who campaigned the Team U.S.A. lineup, and though the results weren’t what they were hoping for, it was still an impressive effort for a first-year motorcycle. In the video below, the team describe their experience from Macau, complete with exciting on-board footage.

Americans Mark Miller And Brandon Cretu Talk You Through Macau + Video appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: Lane-splitting in the USA: Sign the Petition
Lane-splitting in the USA: Sign the Petition [message #7086] Wed, 17 December 2014 16:05
Anonymous

Lane-splitting/sharing, or filtering as it’s often called, is a practice legally allowed across most of the globe. However, it’s an illegal activity in 49 of 50 U.S. states and all of Canada. That sounds unfair to the MO crew in California, the only state in which lane-splitting is not illegal. That’s why we were excited to hear about a new petition that intends to legalize lane sharing across America.

It’s high time we shared some California sunshine with the rest of the country. What’s good for MO is good for the entire U.S.A. Whenever there’s a guy sweating in traffic in Miami, we’ll be there. When most of the lanes on that bridge in Jersey are closed, we’ll be there. Sure it probably has as much chance of ever seeing the light of day as any act of Congress that actually benefits people, but you have to start somewhere. Sign the petition at the link below and help move America toward the light in terms of traffic!

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/allow-motorcycle-lane-sharing-all-public-roads/qP86QbjN

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 Topic: MOTO-D Acquires Strapless Transport Stands
MOTO-D Acquires Strapless Transport Stands [message #7085] Wed, 17 December 2014 15:06
Anonymous

From a Moto-D press release:


Moto-D Racing Inc. announced that it has acquired certain assets of Strapless Transport Stands, a move that expands its presence in the motorcycle stand and strapless trailer restraint market.

“The addition of Strapless Transport Stands trailer restraint for sportbikes will greatly enhance Moto-D’s ability to meet the needs of trackday, race, and sportbike motorcycle riders which have come to know our company for exceptional value, service, and performance riding products,” stated Scott Diamond, President of Moto-D Racing Inc.

Strapless Transport Stands is an upright removable steel tower stand that was designed to secure a motorcycle while in transit via a stainless steel rod inserted into the hollow rear axle of most modern sport-bikes. The Strapless Transport Stand is removable in seconds, using two mounting plates that bolt to the floor, just slide the stand into place and engage the locking mechanism. The Strapless Transport Stand works great in a variety of applications (enclosed trailers, open trailers, shipping crates, long bed pick-up trucks). Strapless Transport Stands do not require tie-downs or front wheel chocks.

For more information visit www.motodracing.com

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 Topic: 2015 Yamaha WR250F First Ride Review
2015 Yamaha WR250F First Ride Review [message #7084] Wed, 17 December 2014 14:25
Anonymous

2015 Yamaha WR250F

Editor Score: 90.0%
Engine 17.0/20
Suspension/Handling 15.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10
Brakes 8.0/10
Instruments/Controls5.0/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.0/10
Appearance/Quality 10.0/10
Desirability 9.0/10
Value 8.0/10
Overall Score90/100

After riding Yamaha’s all-new 2015 WR250F at Cahuilla Creek Motocross Park in Anza, California, let’s just put it this way: If you’ve been waiting to sell your trusty pre-2014 Yamaha WR250F in the hope that Yamaha would introduce an all-new machine based around its AMA National Motocross Championship-winning rearward-inclined engine technology, the wait is over. It’s time to get your classified ad ready and get that old blue machine sold, because like its YZ250F sister, the 2015 WR250F is so radically improved that it practically obsoletes the previous model. It’s effectively a YZ250F that you can ride anywhere your trails take you.

A year in the waiting – Yamaha didn’t sell a 2014 WR250F – the new WR’s 249cc DOHC four-stroke Single is virtually identical to the class-conquering 2014 YZ250F motocrosser, except that it’s tuned for enduro competition and aggressive trail riding and fitted with the required emissions and sound equipment to make it EPA-legal and CARB Green Sticker-certified.

Yamaha’s all-new 2015 WR250F is effectively an enduro version of the class-dominating YZ250F motocross machine. It represents a huge leap forward in technology, but is that enough to make it a contender for the 250cc four-stroke off-road crown?

Yamaha’s all-new 2015 WR250F is effectively an enduro version of the class-dominating YZ250F motocross machine. It represents a huge leap forward in technology, but is that enough to make it a contender for the 250cc four-stroke off-road crown?

Its reversed cylinder head, rear-exiting wraparound exhaust and rearward-inclined cylinder are still the focal points of the design. The new layout accomplished numerous power-enhancing goals on the YZ250F, and these translate into a more effective WR250F. Reversing the head allowed Yamaha engineers to create a straighter intake shot to the combustion chamber, and afforded the room to design symmetrical intake and exhaust ports for more consistent velocities when the WR’s titanium intake and exhaust valves open and close. That means more efficient filling and scavenging of the combustion chamber. As a side benefit to the design, relocating the air filter up high in the WR’s faux fuel tank helps to keep the air filter cleaner longer and also prevents water from entering the airbox when negotiating water crossings.

The WR’s fuel-injected 249cc DOHC rearward inclined single boasts the same bore and stroke, and the same camshaft profiles as the YZ250F. Electric start, a six-speed transmission, a slightly different clutch and an emissions friendly ECU and muffler are significant deviations from the closed-course motocross machine.

The WR’s fuel-injected 249cc DOHC rearward inclined single boasts the same bore and stroke, and the same camshaft profiles as the YZ250F. Electric start, a six-speed transmission, a slightly different clutch and an emissions friendly ECU and muffler are significant deviations from the closed-course motocross machine.

The cylinder itself is inclined 6.2 degrees rearward and positioned to centralize mass by keeping the top-end weight and camshaft rotational inertia toward the center of the bike. It’s also offset 3.5mm forward of the crankshaft centerline to keep the connecting rod more vertical at the moment of greatest combustion force, which lessens power-robbing drag by reducing piston-to-cylinder wall side thrust, particularly at the rear of the cylinder. Less friction equals more horsepower.

Since it is basically the YZ250F in off-road trim, it stands to reason that the WR engine features more similarities, including the move to a wet-sump oiling system, which reduces the engine’s complexity and adds to the compactness of the overall design by doing away with an external oil tank and lines. Its camshaft profiles, piston design and 44mm Keihin throttle body are also the same as those used on the YZ250F.

But there are differences, the most obvious being that the WR’s engine cases are designed specifically to accommodate a convenient electric start system (there is still a kickstarter fitted as a handy backup) and also to house its all-new, off-road-worthy six-speed transmission, which features steeper ratios than the 2013 WR’s transmission. Less obvious is the revised clutch, which uses a different clutch plate material, springs, push lever and oil valve – all of these items are optimized for enduro competition and extreme trail riding. The same goes for the EPA-compliant ECU that is designed to keep the WR emissions legal and cannot be altered.

Even though it sports convenient electric starting, it’s nice to see that the WR still includes a good old-fashioned kickstarter as a backup. Look closely and you can also see the electric fan that helps keep the engine cool in tight and/or hot riding conditions.

Even though it sports convenient electric starting, it’s nice to see that the WR still includes a good old-fashioned kickstarter as a backup. Look closely and you can also see the electric fan that helps keep the engine cool in tight and/or hot riding conditions.

Naturally, there are WR-specific features, too, such as a slightly different decompression lobe on the exhaust cam so that it will work in concert with the electric starter, a resonator in the airbox to hush intake noise, and a USFS-approved muffler/spark arrestor to quiet the exiting din. There’s also an electric radiator fan to prevent overheating when riding slowly and/or in extremely hot conditions. On the ignition front, a large-capacity generator delivers 160 watts at 5000 rpm to power the WR’s lights and enduro computer and to keep its battery charged. The WR250F also comes with a factory-mounted, heavy-duty plastic skid plate to protect its engine cases and frame rails from rock damage.

The WR’s all-aluminum bilateral beam chassis and removable subframe are virtually identical to the YZ250F’s in that they share the same 27.08-degree rake, 118mm trail and 38.0-inch seat height. The WR’s specs quote a 57.7-inch wheelbase, which is slightly shorter than the YZ250F’s 58.1 inches, likely due to the switch to a more off-road friendly 18-inch rear wheel instead of the YZ’s 19-incher.

The WR’s KYB Speed Sensitive System inverted fork features lighter springs and valving that is more suitable for rolling over rocks than blasting berms.

The WR’s KYB Speed Sensitive System inverted fork features lighter springs and valving that is more suitable for rolling over rocks than blasting berms.

However, the measurements may differ only by virtue of where their respective rear axles were positioned in the swingarm when they were measured. The only other notable difference lies with the WR’s 4mm thick engine mounts, which are 2mm thinner than the YZ’s in an effort to make the chassis more compliant over off-road bumps and rocks.

Suspension is one area where the motocrosser and the enduro machine differ slightly, although they use the same hardware. Both feature an inverted 48mm KYB air/oil separate Speed Sensitive System spring fork up front, but the WR uses enduro-oriented valving and slightly lighter, 4.4 N/mm springs compared to the YZ’s motocross valving and 4.7 N/mm springs. Likewise, the WR’s KYB rear shock, which uses Yamaha’s proprietary Kashima coating to reduce stiction and features a large 50mm piston for better oil control, sports enduro valving and a 54 N/mm spring, whereas the YZ’s spring is a slightly stiffer 56 N/mm.

Yamaha made an interesting choice when it comes to tire fitment on the WR, opting for Dunlop’s motocross-oriented Geomax MX52 Intermediate terrain tires front and rear rather than Dunlop’s signature AT81 off-road tires. Hmm …

While our intro was held at Cahuilla Creek Motocross Park, our impressions were garnered not on the moto track itself but rather on an amazingly fun, 4-mile single-track loop that Yamaha laid out for us. The terrain included loose sand mixed with rocks small and large, drop-off ledges and large, ride-up-and-over-it boulders, giving us a good feel for the WR’s new power and handling and suspension capabilities.

A low first gear helps when you need to grunt the WR up and over the occasional boulder in your path.

A low first gear helps when you need to grunt the WR up and over the occasional boulder in your path.

Right off the bat, we appreciated how much more hearty the new WR motor feels compared to the old one, even though its airbox resonator and spark arrestor-equipped muffler keep the engine noise to a dull roar. Its 10-hole fuel-injector and ECU go a long way toward eliminating the starved feel that the old carbureted WR delivered, although the engine is still a little too lean right off idle for some of our tester’s tastes, requiring the rider to keep the throttle slightly above idle when negotiating tight terrain to ensure instant throttle response and avoid the occasional hiccup and stall. Feathering the WR’s clutch helps the cause, and the clutch is plenty stout to handle the abuse.

The WR’s user-friendly power is more abundant than ever, although we wish that its ECU could be just a tad richer down low to enhance off-idle throttle response. Keeping the engine slightly wound up and placing a ready finger over the clutch lever helps to avoid the hiccups when grunting over obstacles at low speeds.

The WR’s user-friendly power is more abundant than ever, although we wish that its ECU could be just a tad richer down low to enhance off-idle throttle response. Keeping the engine slightly wound up and placing a ready finger over the clutch lever helps to avoid the hiccups when grunting over obstacles at low speeds.

For closed-course competition, Yamaha offers an accessory WR Race ECU through its Yamaha Parts and Accessories Division. The WR Race ECU is identical to the ECU found in the WR’s all-new cross-country racing sibling, the YZ250FX. While it alleviates the off-idle flat spot, it also does away with the WR’s emissions-compliant status – caveat emptor or something like that.

Beyond that minor irritation off the bottom, the WR delivers ample low-end lunge and a hearty mid-range that is aggressive without compromising traction. In fact, we were impressed with just how well the WR hooked up in the loose sand and grunted over rocks on our test loop. Rowing through its clean-shifting six-speed transmission revealed excellently spaced ratios that offer the rider a lot of flexibility when attacking a nasty section. It’s no open-class monster, but the WR produces enough low-end torque and mid-range snap to allow the use of a taller gear even when the going gets tight.

The WR handles much lighter than its 295-lb. wet weight might suggest, and its solid mid-range thrust makes tackling sandy berms on the trail a lot of fun.

The WR handles much lighter than its 295-lb. wet weight might suggest, and its solid mid-range thrust makes tackling sandy berms on the trail a lot of fun.

Even more than the engine, however, we loved the WR’s handling character, which is surprisingly light for a bike with a claimed 295-lb. wet weight. Thanks to the careful placement of its mass, which includes tucking its 2.0-gallon fuel cell under the seat, the WR steers with precision in low- or high-speed terrain without sacrificing stability. Plus, its slim layout and excellent ergonomics allow the rider to freely move side to side as well as fore and aft as needed to maintain momentum – a big help whether you are trying to make time in an enduro or off-road race or just keep up with your buddies on the weekend trail ride. Our test riders had a lot of fun darting through Cahuilla’s brush sections and blasting into the sandy berms aboard the WR250F. That said, feedback through the stiffer sidewalls of the motocross-oriented Dunlop MX52s isn’t all that great, but the tires are just squishy enough to avoid deflecting off rocks or roots.

The WR’s suspension performance is very good for perhaps all but the highest-velocity desert riding. Its fork and shock were compliant at Cahuilla Creek, delivering a smooth, balanced and supple feel over rocks and tree roots, but high-speed G-outs tended to soak up a lot of the 12.2 inches of front and 12.4 inches of rear travel. If it were our bike and high-speed cross country racing was our thing, we might opt for slightly stiffer fork springs and crank some more preload into the rear end.

Slim ergos and a nimble feel allow the Yamaha to be chucked around in tight spots as needed.

Slim ergos and a nimble feel allow the Yamaha to be chucked around in tight spots as needed.

We had no complaints with the WR’s brakes. Its Nissin calipers with 250mm front and 230mm rear wave rotor-style discs offer plenty of stopping power without being overly sensitive in loose terrain. We particularly liked the strong yet linear feel of the two-piston caliper up front. Riders seeking more stopping power than the WR’s brakes offer should be able to get it with a simple pad swap.

The WR’s brakes are excellent for low-speed trudging. They offer plenty of power without being touchy.

The WR’s brakes are excellent for low-speed trudging. They offer plenty of power without being touchy.

All in all, the 2015 Yamaha WR250F represents a giant step forward in the 250cc off-road class. Whether or not it has the goods to give KTM’s super-tough 250 XC-W a run for outright top honors in the 250cc four-stroke off-road/enduro ranks is yet to be seen, but with an MSRP of $7990 vs. $8599 for the KTM, the Yamaha should prove to be a strong value in the class.

2015 Yamaha WR250F Specs
MSRP $7990
Engine Liquid-cooled four-stroke single, DOHC four-valve head
Displacement 249cc
Bore x stroke 77.0 x 53.6mm
Horsepower N/A
Torque N/A
Compression ratio 11.8:1
Fuel System Keihin EFI, 44m throttle body
Ignition TCI
Transmission Six-speed
Final drive Chain
Frame type Bilateral beam aluminum
Front suspension Inverted KYB fully adj. fork w/Speed Sensitive System; 12.2 in. of travel
Rear suspension KYB fully adjustable monoshock w/piggyback reservoir, 50mm piston; 12.4 in. of travel
Front brake Nissin two-piston caliper 250mm wave-style disc
Rear brake Nissin single-piston caliper 230mm wave-style disc
Front tire Dunlop Geomax MX52 80/100-21
Rear tire Dunlop Geomax MX52 12-/80-18
Wheelbase 57.7 in.
Rake 27°08´
Trail 118mm
Seat height 38.0 in.
Ground clearance 12.8 in.
Wet Weight 295 lbs. (claimed)
Fuel capacity 2.0 gal.
Color choices Blue & White

2015 Yamaha WR250F First Ride Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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 Topic: Missing Link Offering Up To 50% Off Through End Of The Year
Missing Link Offering Up To 50% Off Through End Of The Year [message #7083] Wed, 17 December 2014 14:11
Anonymous

1ahVtx60296_r_1Though it’s only a small motorcycle apparel business located in Bailey, Colorado, Missing Link has announced it will be offering direct-to-consumer wholesale pricing of up to 50% off through the end of 2014 on a majority of their items, including top sellers like the Ladies G2 D.O.C Reversible Leather Safety vest, the Black Ops Conceal Carry vest and the Military Duty Reversible Nylon vest.

“At a time when some Americans are still struggling to get by, we see other segments enjoying record earnings and their executives receiving huge year-end bonuses. This made us decide it was time to give the average Joes a break.” said co-owner Ken Boenish.  “We know things are still tough out there so we decided to give them a break of our own and offer wholesale pricing on many of our most popular items.  It’s our way of saying thanks to working men and women who love to ride. We are committing to this new lower pricing structure at least through the end of 2014,” Mr. Boenish continued.

Missing Link’s focus is on rider safety and comfort with an emphasis on improving the visibility of riders to other motorists. The company has introduced innovative products to motorcycle enthusiasts, like reversible (leather to Hi-Viz) riding vests, Hi-Viz palmed gloves and ArmPro Compression Sleeves with SPF50. For more information on Missing Link Apparel, or to purchase direct, visit www.MissingLnk.com.

Missing Link Offering Up To 50% Off Through End Of The Year appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: Tickle Joins Roczen at RCH Racing Suzuki (Industry Press Releases)
Tickle Joins Roczen at RCH Racing Suzuki (Industry Press Releases) [message #7104] Wed, 17 December 2014 10:55
Anonymous
Team Suzuki Press Office – December 17. RCH Factory Racing has re-signed Broc Tickle to ride the Suzuki RM-Z450 alongside 2014 AMA Motocross Champion Ken Roczen for the 2015 FIM/ AMA Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships. Tickle (25) showed great promise in 2013 and also this season in the USA until […]... Click Here for Article
 Topic: MotoAmerica rulebook now available
MotoAmerica rulebook now available [message #7091] Wed, 17 December 2014 04:11
Anonymous

Check out regs for superbike, sportbike series.

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 Topic: Video: Honda promotes True Adventure
Video: Honda promotes True Adventure [message #7090] Wed, 17 December 2014 01:51
Anonymous

Big Red talks about two-wheeled adventure through the desert and other off-road endeavors.

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 Topic: Officine GP Design Produces the Brutal Boss (Bike Reports) (News)
Officine GP Design Produces the Brutal Boss (Bike Reports) (News) [message #7082] Tue, 16 December 2014 20:01
Anonymous
Officine GP Design is an Italian customizer well known for its elaborate conversions of production motorcycles. The Brutal Boss pictured here is based on the now discontinued four-cylinder MV Agusta Brutale 920. The Brutal Boss was prepared for a customer looking for a motorcycle inspired by the 70s. Stripped bare, a new tank made of […]... Click Here for Article
 Topic: 2015 CSC Cyclone RX-3 Review
2015 CSC Cyclone RX-3 Review [message #7079] Tue, 16 December 2014 18:04
Anonymous

2015 CSC Cyclone RX-3

Editor Score: 83.25%
Engine 17.5/20
Suspension/Handling 13.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 7.5/10
Brakes 7.0/10
Instruments/Controls3.5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.5/10
Appearance/Quality 8.5/10
Desirability 7.75/10
Value 9.0/10
Overall Score83.25/100

In 1959 we laughed at the small-displacement step-throughs Honda brought to America. It didn’t take Soichiro long, though, to establish Honda as the world leader in motorcycle production. Again we laughed when, in 1992, the Korea-based Kia introduced the Sephia to U.S. consumers, then in 1998 merged with Hyundai. Last year the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group was the 5th-largest auto manufacturer in the world. The moto world has been scoffing at motorcycles from China, Taiwan and other Pacific Rim Asian countries for years now. Maybe it’s time we stopped.

The reason behind the arrest is the soon-to-be-available 2015 CSC Motorcycles Cyclone RX-3, a motorcycle with a quality of construction, fit and finish to rival bikes from Japan. And let’s face it, many of the bikes produced by the major Japanese OEMs (who we regard with such esteem) are constructed in factories outside of Japan. Sure, it’s a motorcycle constructed to Honda’s specifications, but it’s still a Honda built in Thailand. Or a Kawasaki. Or a Ducati.

CSC Motorcycles is probably best known for its line of modern Mustangs – the 250cc versions of which are powered by a Zongshen Single. Like Honda, Zongshen is a motor company – producing in the neighborhood of 4,000 engines per day – and one of China’s largest motorcycle manufacturers. The company is also active in a diversity of business ventures in addition to motorcycle production, and boasts of its alliances with companies such as BMW, Harley-Davidson and Piaggio.

CSC constructs a variety of Mustangs in 150cc and 250cc sizes.

CSC constructs a variety of Mustangs in 150cc and 250cc sizes.

Zongshen is the name you’ll see on the fuel tank badge when your CSC Cyclone RX-3 arrives because CSC is not rebranding this bike, instead choosing to promote the Zongshen brand stateside. CSC is responsible not only for selling the bikes but also spare parts, accessories and warranty issues. In an attempt to maintain affordable pricing and streamline after-the-sale service, CSC is approaching the tasks in a very non-traditional format.

Cyclone RX-3 sales are consumer direct from CSC Motorcycles with either partly assembled or fully assembled bikes (optional) shipped directly to the purchaser’s address. Included in the purchase is a complete service manual enabling the home mechanic to perform all necessary maintenance as well as warranty repairs. CSC says it’s working to make available online tutorials for oil changes, valve adjustments, chain adjustments, changing the fork oil, suspension adjustments, etc. For those desiring professional mechanical services, CSC says it will contract with local independent businesses to perform maintenance or warranty work.

Wind protection is surprisingly good. No significant head buffeting even with the billed Arai helmet. It’s a short reach to the handlebars, but the rider triangle is dimensionally appropriate for a variety of different-sized operators.

Wind protection is surprisingly good. No significant head buffeting even with the billed Arai helmet. It’s a short reach to the handlebars, but the rider triangle is dimensionally appropriate for a variety of different-sized operators.

As the only one of its kind, the Cyclone RX-3 owns the 250cc adventure-touring category. Comparably sized competitors include cruisers, sportbikes, nakeds, standards and retros from Honda, Kawasaki, Royal Enfield, Suzuki and Yamaha, as well as some lesser known OEMs. But when it comes to a motorcycle resembling a BMW R1200GS or Triumph Explorer in size 250cc, the Cyclone’s the only game in town.

2014 Lightweight Naked Shootout + Video

Dimensionally, the RX-3 is a Goldilocks – not too big and not too small. Its 31.3-inch seat height is shorter than full-size A-T bikes but minimally taller than the 250/300cc bikes from the OEMs mentioned above. Looking at the photos, it doesn’t appear that my five-foot eleven-inch, 185-pound frame is disproportionate to the bike. At 386 pounds (claimed curb weight), the Cyclone isn’t the lightest 250 to be found, but it’s sub-400 heft is much easier to manage in off-road circumstances than traditional full-size A-T bikes.

Navigating the 386-pound (claimed wet weight) Cyclone through the deep sand of this dry river wash was much easier than the more powerful but much heavier (out of frame) KTM Adventure.

Navigating the 386-pound (claimed wet weight) Cyclone through the deep sand of this dry river wash was much easier than the more powerful but much heavier (out of frame) KTM Adventure.

Zongshen claims 25 crank horsepower at 9000 rpm and 17 lb-ft. at 7000 rpm from the fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, SOHC, 4-valve Single, which is in line with the power ratings from many of the 250s from other OEMs. Launching the RX-3 from a stop requires spinning up the revs and finessing the clutch lever. It’d be an easier process if the friction zone was a little wider and not positioned at the very end of the clutch lever’s throw. Throttle response is without issue.

For $3,995 the Cyclone RX-3 comes exactly as pictured including luggage and crash guards. The lockable hard bags don’t hold much and don’t have a quick-release function, but it’s better than nothing. Missing are handlebar brush guards, included are passenger grab handles.

For $3,495 the Cyclone RX-3 comes exactly as pictured including luggage and crash guards. The lockable hard bags don’t hold much and don’t have a quick-release function, but it’s better than nothing. Missing are handlebar brush guards, included are passenger grab handles.

Once underway, the engine exhibits decent mid-range and top-end power. Freeway speeds of 65 mph and above are attainable, but the further you crest 70 mph, the more buzz enters the handlebars. Considering the counter-balanced engine is spinning 7700 rpm at an indicated 80 mph with only 1300 more revolutions to go until redline, there’s not much to complain about in the vibration department. The RX-3’s speedometer seems to be highly optimistic, as the speedo of a Kawi KLR650 ridden alongside registered just 72 mph while the Cyclone indicated 80 mph.

The Cyclone’s pavement prowess seems up to the task considering the speeds its capable of attaining. The front is suspended by a 37mm inverted fork and the rear by a preload and rebound adjustable monoshock. There were no glaring suspension issues, although the firm setting are perhaps a little stiff for road riding, but you have to consider the demand for the suspension units to also perform off-road. Which they will until pushed too hard, such as bottoming out when landing from only a mild jump (front/rear travel 5.4 and 5.6 inches, respectively).

More crucial to the Cyclone’s performance is its 15-inch rear wheel, which negates any real selection of available tires. In stock trim the Cyclone comes outfitted with semi-knobby CST tires that balance the street/dirt performance ratio with a decidedly street bias. CSC claims it will be offering a range of three tires including the tires we tested along with a set of street-only tires as well as a set of street-legal knobbies. The tire manufacturer for these optional tires was undetermined at time of publication. CSC will also be offering a 17-inch conversion kit (rim and laced hub) for $258.95. CSC is also developing a selection of accessories for the Cyclone.

The digital speedo has a gear position indicator and a fuel gauge, however, the fuel gauge was showing empty with a half-tank remaining. Idiot lights are small and dim.

The digital speedo has a gear position indicator and a fuel gauge, however, the fuel gauge was showing empty with a half-tank remaining. Idiot lights are small and dim.

The Cyclone comes outfitted with a single twin-piston caliper, front and rear, gripping a 262mm front disc and 258mm rear disc. Stopping power from the front set-up is dull. A different brake pad could improve stopping performance, but as tested, it was weaker than what it should be. The rear brake was overly touchy, locking up with little provocation, but this could be the result of a rear brake pedal positioned too high in relation to the footpeg.

The six-speed transmission was easy to row, the only real complaint being its elusive neutral position. The Cyclone’s 55.1-inch wheelbase is close to other bikes of equal displacement, while its 4.2 gallon fuel capacity a little larger than other competing models.

121614-2015-CSC-RX-3Cyclone-Action-4144

+ Highs

  • Only 250cc A-T bike around
  • Sized right
  • Unintimidating
- Sighs

  • 15-inch rear wheel
  • Ownership requires some level of mechanical ability
  • Unestablished U.S. presence

If prospective buyers are confident in their mechanical abilities, can get past not having the traditional dealer network, and trust Zongshen to produce motorcycles commensurate to that of what we’ve come to expect from the Japanese, we urge further investigation into purchasing a CSC Cyclone RX-3. In our opinion, you could do a helluva lot worse.

The RX-03 is the only 250cc adventure-touring bike on the market. So, unless you’re going to build your own A-T bike – keep in mind CSC offers a two-year unlimited mileage warranty – give the Cyclone your attention. You can stay abreast of future developments at the CSC blog site.

2015 CSC Cyclone RX-3 Specifications
MSRP $3,495
Horsepower 24.8 @ 9000 rpm (claimed at the crank)
Torque 16.6 lb-ft @ 7000 rpm (claimed)
Engine Capacity 249.7cc
Engine Type Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, single overhead cam, 4-valve single-cylinder with balance shaft
Bore x Stroke 77mm x 53.6mm
Compression 11.5:1
Fuel System Delphi EFI
Transmission 6-speed
Final Drive Chain
Frame 2mm thick polygonal steel
Front Suspension 37mm inverted fork, 5.1 inches of travel
Rear Suspension Preload adjustable monoshock, 5.6 inches of travel
Front Brake Twin-piston caliper, 262mm single disc
Rear Brake Twin-piston caliper, 258mm single disc
Front Tire 100/90-18
Rear Tire 130/90-15
Seat Height 31.3 inches
Wheelbase 55.1 inches
Rake/Trail 27°/4.58 inches
Curb Weight 386 lbs
Fuel Capacity 4.2 gal
Colors Orange, Blue, White, Red
Warranty 2 years unlimited mileage. The first year is parts and labor, the second year is parts only.

2015 CSC Cyclone RX-3 Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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 Topic: Ventura Chopperfest 2014
Ventura Chopperfest 2014 [message #7078] Tue, 16 December 2014 17:25
Anonymous

During the early morning hours of Sunday, December 14, while traveling north from L.A. on the 101 Freeway, you might’ve found yourself in the company of a flurry of bikes, primarily of the Harley chopper family, burbling and growling their way through the slower car traffic. What’s the buzz all about? Well, that would be the pilgrimage to the 11th Annual Chopperfest Motorcycle Art and Culture event, now held at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

You can thank David “Huggie” Hansen, the honcho at The Shop, an iconic Ventura-located bike emporium since 1972, for coming up with the idea. It happened that in 2004 the much loved and respected artist David Mann, his work for years seen as the greatest expression of the biker lifestyle, passed away. To honor him, Huggie organized the first Chopperfest, a blend of motorcycle and art that still empowers the annual event.

This year drew several thousand fans who enjoyed a treasure trove of iron and art that spread across the spacious Fairgrounds. Attendees were able to shop for that particular bike part or Christmas gift thanks to some 200 vendors and swap-meet booths stretching as far as the eye could see. There was also a special exhibition of biker art in homage to David Mann. The ground vibrating with the sounds of hundreds of bikes rolling into the Fairground, accompanied by the rockin’ soundtrack for the day-long party provided by the Harlis Sweetwater Band and the Gilby Clarke Band.

Best Bifurcated Gas Tank: Dalton Walker of S.I.K. built this lovely flathead that took Best of Show honors at Chopperfest.

Best Bifurcated Gas Tank: Dalton Walker of S.I.K. built this lovely flathead that took Best of Show honors at Chopperfest.

Featured builders in the Bike Show competition included: Paul Cavallo of Spitfire Motorcycle, Dalton Walker of S.I.K., Duane Ballard, Russel Mitchell of Exile fame, Caleb Owens of Cro Customs, Taber Nash of Nash Motorcycle, Mike Tomas of Kiwi Indian, Kurto Morrow of Ventura Motorworks, Rick Bray of RKB Kustom Speed, Michael Barragan of Evil Performance Motorcycles, David Zemla of Burly Brand, Dan Collins of Old Gold Garage, Jim Giuffa of AFT Customs, Aki Sakamoto of Hog Killers (Japan), Paul Ponkow of Bone Legacy, Lock Baker of Eastern Fabrications, Will Ramsey of Faith Forgotten Choppers and Scott T-Bone Jones of Noise Cycle Mfg. Among them were a slew of home garage builders who brought a wild and woolie spectrum of bikes spanning 49cc to 5000cc’s … highly polished works of rolling art to “patina rich” ratsters.

While the judges and public picked their favorites, naturally I had to conduct my own survey and come up with Paul’s Pix/Picks. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so here goes mine …

Best Café Racer: Jim Giuffra of AFT Customs built this’ “Cimeron” Honda that won the Best Metric category.

Best Café Racer: Jim Giuffra of AFT Customs built this’ “Cimeron” Honda that won the Best Metric category.

Best Use of Copper Polish: Ryan McQuiston’s blindingly beautiful 1976 Shovelhead.

Best Use of Copper Polish: Ryan McQuiston’s blindingly beautiful 1976 Shovelhead.

Best Rarest-Awesomest Mostly Unknown Vintage Bike goes to Don Whalen’s 1914 Feilbach “Limited” 69 cu. in. V-Twin. The bike was originally made in Milwaukee circa 1904-14 by Arthur Otto Feilbach and brother William. One of five known to exist, it was recently restored by master of the art, Steve Huntzinger. For a time, the Feilbach was of such high quality and dependability that it threatened Harley-Davidson.

Best Rarest-Awesomest Mostly Unknown Vintage Bike goes to Don Whalen’s 1914 Feilbach “Limited” 69 cu. in. V-Twin. The bike was originally made in Milwaukee circa 1904-14 by Arthur Otto Feilbach and brother William. One of five known to exist, it was recently restored by master of the art, Steve Huntzinger. For a time, the Feilbach was of such high quality and dependability that it threatened Harley-Davidson.

Best Organ Pipes via Paul Ponkow’s 1972 Honda 750.

Best Organ Pipes via Paul Ponkow’s 1972 Honda 750.

Best Dr. Seuss Inspired Triumph Chopper: Called “Satyricon” by prolific Las Vegas-based builder Paul Ponkow of Bones Legacy. It won the Best British class.

Best Dr. Seuss Inspired Triumph Chopper: Called “Satyricon” by prolific Las Vegas-based builder Paul Ponkow of Bones Legacy. It won the Best British class.

 

Best Gnarliest Cool Bike of the Day. This Noise Cycles Panhead features a hand-formed body, a four-leading-shoe drum brake, and seat upholstery fashioned from vintage leather jacket.

Best Gnarliest Cool Bike of the Day. This Noise Cycles Panhead features a hand-formed body, a four-leading-shoe drum brake, and seat upholstery fashioned from vintage leather jacket.

Best 1974 Predicted “Bike of the Future.” This original supercharged Sportster-powered Magnacycle as designed by Jerry Magnuson came as a kit for $1,495 into which you plugged your motor. A new Magnacycle Motorcycles company is now re-making the bike.

Best 1974 Predicted “Bike of the Future.” This original supercharged Sportster-powered Magnacycle as designed by Jerry Magnuson came as a kit for $1,495 into which you plugged your motor. A new Magnacycle Motorcycles company is now re-making the bike.

Best 18-Year Long Homebuilt Triumph Project. Built by Oklahoman Richard Jones with help from his Dad. Its front end is original Indian springer, The Triumph TR6C engine is kitted to 750cc.

Best 18-Year-Long Homebuilt Triumph Project. Built by Oklahoman Richard Jones with help from his Dad. Its front end is original Indian springer, The Triumph TR6C engine is kitted to 750cc.

Best You Can Never Be Too Thin Bike. A 1983 Yamaha 460cc dragster by Slim Fabrications.

Best You Can Never Be Too Thin Bike. A 1983 Yamaha 460cc dragster by Slim Fabrications.

Best Headlamps Engraved or Otherwise.

Best Headlamps Engraved or Otherwise.

Best Classic Biker and Classic Bike Combo, Robby Derby’s 1976 Ironhead Sportster.

Best Classic Biker and Classic Bike Combo, Robby Derby’s 1976 Ironhead Sportster.

Best Head Cases thanks to artist Jim Knight of Huntington Beach, CA, Motorcycle Art Works.

Best Head Cases thanks to artist Jim Knight of Huntington Beach, CA, Motorcycle Art Works.

Best Facial Hair with Blond Twin Award goes to Jeff and Frankie from Sweatshop Industries and friend either Amy or Jen - it’s hard to tell them apart.

Best Facial Hair with Blond Twin Award goes to Jeff and Frankie from Sweatshop Industries and friend either Amy or Jen – it’s hard to tell them apart.

Best Pinstriper Visiting from Japan: Artist Jet Wrench working on ’78 Shovel owned by Frankie of Sweatshop Industries.

Best Pinstriper Visiting from Japan: Artist Jet Wrench working on ’78 Shovel owned by Frankie of Sweatshop Industries.

Best Wooden Bike without Splinters You Can Ride. Hand-built by Jerry Knight and featuring real springer suspension, adjustable swingarm, working headlight. A bargain at $1,595, with several different models available.

Best Wooden Bike without Splinters You Can Ride. Hand-built by Jerry Knight and featuring real springer suspension, adjustable swingarm, working headlight. A bargain at $1,595, with several different models available.

Best Patina Bike with Skateboards: An ongoing project by Manny based on 1976 Yamaha XS650 Twin. It’s dubbed “Yomama” and is festooned with all kinds of “collectibles.”

Best Patina Bike with Skateboards: An ongoing project by Manny based on 1976 Yamaha XS650 Twin. It’s dubbed “Yomama” and is festooned with all kinds of “collectibles.”

Best Event Organizer: Jennifer Santolucito with admirers Kai and Beatnik.

Best Event Organizer: Jennifer Santolucito with admirers Kai and Beatnik.

Best Combination of Hoodie and Hat.

Best Combination of Hoodie and Hat.

Best Defense Against “I Didn’t See You” Excuse.

Best Defense Against “I Didn’t See You” Excuse.

Best Couple with Bandanas.

Best Couple with Bandanas.

Ventura Chopperfest 2014 appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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 Topic: Rules Are Now Available For Select 2015 MotoAmerica Classes
Rules Are Now Available For Select 2015 MotoAmerica Classes [message #7077] Tue, 16 December 2014 14:32
Anonymous

The AMA has published technical rules for the 2015 Superbike, Superstock 1000, Supersport and Superstock 600 classes in the MotoAmerica series.

The rules may be downloaded from www.americanmotorcyclist.com/racing/roadracing/roadracingrules.aspx and any questions should be directed to technicaldirector@motoamerica.com

Technical rules governing the KTM RC390 Cup, sporting rules and license requirements have not yet been finalized, but will be announced shortly.

The classes will be featured in MotoAmerica-promoted events. MotoAmerica holds exclusive rights to professional motorcycle road racing in the United States and is the sole U.S. promoter authorized to run FIM North America professional road racing events. 

The provisional 2015 MotoAmerica Series schedule is as follows:

•  April 10-12        Circuit of the Americas – Austin, Texas

•  April 17-19        Road Atlanta – Braselton, Georgia

•  May 15-17         Virginia International Raceway – Alton, Virginia

•  May 29-31         Road America – Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

•  June 12-14         Barber Motorsports Park – Birmingham, Alabama

•  July 17-19          Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Monterey, California

•  August 7-9         Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Indianapolis, Indiana

•  Sept. 11-13        New Jersey Motorsports Park – Millville, New Jersey

Rules Are Now Available For Select 2015 MotoAmerica Classes appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: New Single Cylinder Synthetic Racing Oil, From Bel-Ray
New Single Cylinder Synthetic Racing Oil, From Bel-Ray [message #7076] Tue, 16 December 2014 13:56
Anonymous

Bel-Ray, has announced the release of its new 10W-60 Works Thumper Racing Synthetic Ester 4T Engine Oil. Engineered for single cylinder, multi-valve four-stroke racing engines, Bel-Ray’s Thumper racing oil is designed to withstand the extreme temperatures and stresses experienced during racing.

Bel-Ray Works Thumper Racing Synthetic Ester 4T Engine Oil 10W-60 (High Res) copyIn its press release, Bel-Ray states its Thumper synthetic racing oil is formulated with full synthetic, ester base oils and an advanced additive package to minimize cylinder and ring wear, extend bearing life and prevent sludge and varnish formation, as well as carbon build-up, to maximize power and engine life. The racing oil was engineered with high viscosity shear stability to ensure unmatched engine protection, even under the most severe conditions. For engines with wet clutches, Thumper racing oil is formulated for maximum clutch engagement, consistent power delivery, and efficient shifting in any racing environment.

Bel-Ray’s Thumper Racing Engine Oil is compatible with all air and liquid-cooled four-stroke motorcycle engines, including wet and dry clutch applications. The 10W-60 synthetic racing oil exceeds all API SN and JASO MA2 requirements, and is backward compatible for use in applications specifying API SG/SH/SJ/SL/SM or JASO MA/MA1 rated oils.

Bel-Ray Works Thumper Racing Synthetic Ester 4T Engine Oil 10W-60 is available in both one and four-liter containers. To find the nearest Bel-Ray dealer, please consult Bel-Ray’s online dealer locator.

For more information on Thumper Racing Synthetic Ester Blend 4T Engine Oil or Bel-Ray’s full line of powersports products, visit www.belray.com or call 732-938-2421.

New Single Cylinder Synthetic Racing Oil, From Bel-Ray appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: Trials Riding Through A Giant Igloo + Video
Trials Riding Through A Giant Igloo + Video [message #7075] Tue, 16 December 2014 13:25
Anonymous

Dougie Lampkin’s resume on a trials bike needs no introduction. The 12-time World Trials champion, his sense of balance and control is out of this world. However, sometimes the boulders, planks and boxes of a typical trials competition can seem a bit, well, boring. In this video, Lampkin finds something a little more interesting to conquer – a giant igloo!

Set in the vast arctic landscape of Northern Finland, watch Lampkin hop, skip and jump off obstacles made entirely of ice. It surely is mesmerizing, and we’re glad Red Bull were able to help him put this together.

Trials Riding Through A Giant Igloo + Video appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: Duke’s Den My Tour Of Racetracks Around The World: Part 1
Duke’s Den My Tour Of Racetracks Around The World: Part 1 [message #7074] Tue, 16 December 2014 09:52
Anonymous

One day I’ll write an editorial about the grueling and arduous aspects of my job as MO’s Editor-in-Chief. This isn’t it. This edition of DD highlights what are the high points of any sport-minded motojournalist, including myself: a press launch at a world-class racetrack. But my history on roadracing circuits began much less glamorously.

My love of motorcycles began with dirtbikes, and it quickly became apparent that I had a need-for-speed gene. Eventually, I did some motocross racing and thrilled myself by hole-shotting my first moto in a field of 45 other racers. Meanwhile, I became entranced by the higher velocities of motorcycle roadracing and set a course for getting a sportbike for street use. My unlikely choice for an entry-level streetbike was Yamaha’s RZ500, a GP replica powered by a V-4 two-stroke motor. To my young mind, it was a logical transition from my Honda CR125R two-stroke MX bike…

The RZ remains, to this day, one of the most exciting motorcycles I’ve ever ridden, and I’d be tempted to sell a kidney to get an RZ-engined sportbike in my contemporary garage. But the experience that truly set the roadracing hook in me was a track school I attended at Gimli Motorsports Park, a small and beyond-primitive circuit on the Canadian prairie near my home in Winnipeg. The track is flat and featureless, but dragging my knee aboard the RZ was a transcendent feeling I’ll never forget even as the decades pass. If you’re a motorcyclist who has never dragged a knee on a racetrack, you’re missing out on an indelible experience.

Dragging a knee on a racetrack is relatively easy. Trying to drag a knee on the street - in jeans - is stupid.

Dragging a knee on a racetrack is relatively easy. Trying to drag a knee on the street – in jeans – is stupid.

The hook was set. Following a Honda CBR600 Hurricane, I purchased a CBR600F2 and began racing. Having no truck or even a trailer, I rode my F2 to Gimli for my first few races, stripping it of its street equipment in the pits before taking to the track. Good times, for certain, but decidedly unglamorous.

Since then, thanks to my career path, I’ve been blessed to have ridden 39 other racetracks, not including six kart tracks and eight dragstrips. All of them have been terrific playgrounds on which to test the limits of any sporty bike, and I hope this editorial entices you to get you and your bike on track. Allow me to take you on a trip around North America and the world in this retrospective of the first dozen racetracks I’ve ridden. More to follow in next month’s Duke’s Den, when the level of exoticness ramps up exponentially.

And to my crew of MO editors: Don’t expect to be assigned to future press launches at Phillip Island, Brno or Mugello, cuz those epic tracks still have my name on them!

Gimli Motorsports Park

An extremely modest facility with a flat, 1.3-mile circuit. I won several trophies at Gimli on my F2. Also lost part of my index finger there…

After the unfortunate finger incident mentioned above, in which I destroyed my F2, I rode the reigning champ’s F2 to a second-place finish in the Expert class.

After the unfortunate finger incident mentioned above, in which I destroyed my F2, I rode the reigning champ’s F2 to a second-place finish in the Expert class.

Brainerd International Raceway

My first endurance race with my buddy Paul Lie riding his Yamaha FZR600 at the 3.1-mile track in rural Minnesota. First time photographed by now-illustrious lensman, Brian J. Nelson, who has since shot me many times. Turn 1 at the end of a long dragstrip straightaway is a gentle bend taken in fifth or sixth gear. Also the site of the first couple World Superbike races I attended.

Autodrome St-Eustache

My first racetrack test for a magazine, Cycle Canada, aboard a Yamaha FZR1000 while interning in 1994. A dull circuit inside an oval speedway, the Quebec track was nevertheless a thrill while thrashing a borrowed press bike.

Mountain View

The now-defunct track formerly located north of Denver was a small but fun layout with some elevation changes. Rode my Ducati 900SS there in 1995 and marveled at its chassis stability and bottomless powerband.

Daytona International Motor Speedway

The beginning of my glory days as a motojournalist after having landed a job at Motorcyclist in 1997. I had the invaluable help from racer Michael Martin instructing me in a Team Hammer school at the legendary track, whose banking is so steep that I thought I might slip off during our slow sighting lap. Signed my first autograph there, as a classmate had the impression I was somehow someone special.

Laguna Seca

One of the coolest track layouts anywhere in the world, Laguna’s undulating circuit first saw me when I attended a Keith Code school aboard a Kawi ZX-7R. Somewhere I have a picture of former Superbike and Grand Prix star Doug Chandler following me through the Corkscrew, one of the most famous corners in the world.

2008 Yamaha R6 – First Ride

The Corkscrew at Laguna Seca always gets a thumbs up from anyone lucky enough to ride down. Duke at the 2008 Yamaha R6 press launch.

The Corkscrew at Laguna Seca always gets a thumbs up from anyone lucky enough to ride down. Duke at the 2008 Yamaha R6 press launch.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Honda put on a great event at LVMS, putting us through a riding school with Freddie Spencer before unleashing journalists on the 1998 CBR900RR. The flat infield portion is actually quite entertaining, while the transitions to and from the speedway’s banking is jarring. LVMS is also the track where I wadded a CBR600F4i during its press launch and signed crashed bodywork for the Honda engineers.

Willow Springs International Raceway

Likely the site of more magazine shootouts than any track in America, Big Willow is a fast and flowing track I’ve ridden more times than I can remember. The ultra-fast Turn 8 always makes my pink skirt ruffle in a 130-mph breeze.

Streets of Willow

I’ve probably spun more laps at the Streets course, the little sister to Big Willow, than any other track. Consequently, I’ve ridden a drastically diverse range of bikes there, from a Muzzy Raptor to a Bimota Vdue to a Honda NSR50!

Moriwaki MD250H Vs Aprilia RS125 Shootout

The Moriwaki MD250H was just one of the variety of bikes I’ve ridden at the Streets of Willow.

The Moriwaki MD250H was just one of the variety of bikes I’ve ridden at the Streets of Willow.

Buttonwillow Raceway Park

BW is another California track often used for testing by magazines, boasting alternate layouts and directions over rolling terrain. My first time there was during the introduction for Pirelli’s original Diablo. The PR guy warned us about not crashing then promptly went out and crashed himself!

Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli

My unlikely mount the first time at Misano was on a Ducati ST4 while taking part in World Ducati Weekend in 2000. The open trackday proved to be endlessly amusing as I passed many slower riders on their 916s and 996s, especially humiliating during the session I rode with the saddlebags attached.

2008-suzuki-gsx-r600-motorcyclecom-026

My second time at Misano was for the 2008 Suzuki GSX-R600 launch, by which time the track direction had changed from anti-clockwise to a a clockwise layout. The series of left-handers of increasing radii, allowing a rider to continue adding speed has changed to a challenging braking zone into ever-decreasing radii. It’s a real hero section for World Superbike racers.

2008 Suzuki GSX-R600 Review

Spring Mountain Motorsports Park

Located on the outskirts of Pahrump in the Nevada desert, Spring Mountain was the location of my tutelage at Jason Pridmore’s Star School. Already having considerable experience on all the fastest sportbikes, Pridmore’s modest SV650 proved to be delightful on a racetrack and taught me heaps about riding a motorcycle at its limits.

Here’s hoping this racetrack stroll has whetted your appetite for getting yourself out there on track to experience the thrill for yourself, whether for the first time or your umteenth.

Duke’s Den – My Tour Of Racetracks Around The World: Part 1 appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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 Topic: SW-Motech announces new Navi Case Pro
SW-Motech announces new Navi Case Pro [message #7081] Tue, 16 December 2014 04:11
Anonymous

Protect navigational equipment with waterproof case.

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 Topic: Dan Kruger wraps up 2014 season with a win
Dan Kruger wraps up 2014 season with a win [message #7080] Tue, 16 December 2014 01:59
Anonymous

Canadian racer takes endurance contest win in China.

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 Topic: MV Agusta USA Offering Big Rebates On Select 2014 Models
MV Agusta USA Offering Big Rebates On Select 2014 Models [message #7068] Mon, 15 December 2014 19:53
Anonymous

MV Agusta USA has announced it will be offering rebates of up to $2,000 on almost all of its non-ABS equipped 2014 models. Just in time for the holidays, this means certain MV Agustas can be had for as low as $10,498.

This promotion runs through the end of the year. For more information, contact Moto Forza, North America’s largest MV Agusta retailer, at (760) 746-6001, email sales@moto-forza.com, visit www.moto-forza.com , or contact your local MV Agusta dealer.

Moto Forza can even ship motorcycles to your doorstep. If you wish to visit the shop in person, Moto Forza is located at 572 N. Tulip Street, Escondido, CA 92025.

MV Agusta USA Offering Big Rebates On Select 2014 Models appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: Allstate Does Its Part To Help End Motorcycle Crashes + Infographic
Allstate Does Its Part To Help End Motorcycle Crashes + Infographic [message #7067] Mon, 15 December 2014 19:34
Anonymous

One of the leading causes of motorcyclist fatalities occurs when a motorcycle crashes with another vehicle at an intersection. This is a preventable occurrence, and for the last year Allstate Insurance has been doing its part to help eliminate these crashes through its advocacy campaign, the Once is Never Enough (O.N.E.) program. 

Allstate_14_Moto_InfoOver the last three years, Allstate has worked to install 167 Watch for Motorcycles signs in 37 different cities across 19 states. In 2014, the program expanded into three new cities and three new states with an additional 12 new signs. 

Before 2009, 46% of all multi-vehicle crash fatalities happened at intersections. In addition, three motorcyclists are killed everyday in multi-vehicle crashes at intersections in the U.S. See the accompanying infographic to grasp the results that have come from the “Watch for Motorcycles” signs, which were deployed at dangerous intersections. By 2012, the FHWA notified Allstate that the warning signs were allowed in accordance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

Established in 2009, Allstate’s Once is Never Enough (O.N.E.) program is an awareness campaign created to help reduce the number of motorcycle crashes involving other vehicles at intersections while attempting to standardize motorcycle warning signs across the United States. Allstate’s primary message of the campaign is simple: look twice for motorcycles, because once is never enough.

The program is informed by research and studies suggesting that motorcycle crashes involving other vehicles at intersections are among the most preventable, including:

  • The Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures1 – otherwise known as the Hurt Report and considered by many to be the benchmark for motorcycle crash research – concludes that a majority of motorcycle crashes involve a collision with another vehicle, intersections are the most likely place for a motorcycle crash and the failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle crashes.
  • Data from the National Highway Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System2 continues to support the Hurt Report’s findings, as it shows 46 percent of all multi-vehicle motorcycle crash fatalities (8,107 out of 17,470 fatalities from 2006-2012) occurred at intersections.  This data shows that, on average, three motorcyclists are killed every day from multi-vehicle crashes at intersections in the U.S. (8,107 / 7 years = 1,158.1; 1,158.1 / 365 days = 3.17 riders).

Throughout the program, Allstate and its engineering partners work closely with local traffic authorities to review available crash data and to identify intersections with a high number of multi-vehicle crashes involving motorcycles. Allstate then donates warning signs to be installed at the site with the intent of elevating awareness of motorcycle incidents that would not be readily apparent to a driver.

The warning signs used in the campaign are yellow diamond warning signs that read “Watch For Motorcycles.” Allstate worked in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration to design the current sign to ensure compliance with section 2A.06 paragraph 13 of the M.U.T.C.D.

Allstate Does Its Part To Help End Motorcycle Crashes + Infographic appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: Yamaha Returning to Nigeria
Yamaha Returning to Nigeria [message #7066] Mon, 15 December 2014 17:22
Anonymous

Yamaha is returning to the Nigerian market with a new factory set to open in Lagos in 2015. Yamaha is partnering with French distribution company CFAO to form a joint venture called CFAO Yamaha Motor Nigeria to produce motorcycles from the 30,000 sq-ft. factory in the country’s largest city.

The joint venture will be Yamaha’s second try at the Nigerian market. Yamaha had originally set up shop in 1980, producing and selling motorcycles for 35 years before shutting down operations in 2005 due to a decline in the market. While Yamaha continued to import motorcycles over the last decade, the joint venture will allow Yamaha to expand its business in the country with the largest demand for motorcycles in Africa. According to Yamaha, Nigeria’s motorcycle market reached 1.3 million units in 2013 and is expected to grow to 1.8 million units by 2020.

With CFAO, Yamaha has found a partner with extensive experience in the African market. CFAO operates in 34 countries on the continent with several motorcycle and automotive brands. CFAO already imports and distributes Yamaha motorcycles to 16 African countries. Yamaha and CFAO will each contribute half a million dollars towards the new Nigerian joint venture.

The factory will begin operating in the summer of 2015 with targeting a production goal of 70,000 motorcycles a year by 2018.

[Source: Yamaha, CFAO]

Yamaha Returning to Nigeria appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: Hondas Dream Of Conquering Dakar + Video
Hondas Dream Of Conquering Dakar + Video [message #7065] Mon, 15 December 2014 14:04
Anonymous

The Paris-Dakar Rally was one of the most grueling tests of man and machine. It was for this very reason Honda set out to conquer it. Which it did, for four consecutive years in 1986, ’87, ’88, and ’89. In this first episode in Honda’s “True Adventure” series, entitled “The Dream,” the experience of competing, surviving and winning the Dakar rally is captured and re-told from the people who were there, including five-time winner Cyril Neveu. It’s surely no coincidence the title of this series coincides with the True Adventure prototype Honda unveiled at EICMA earlier this year (video of the prototype here), which leads us to believe the series will culminate in an official unveiling of the bike early next year.

In the video below, listen as the riders describe the loneliness that sets in when riding in the middle of the desert. How they form an unusual bond with their machine as it’s their only companion. Almost two decades on, it’s this Honda spirit of True Adventure that has spurred a whole new generation of riders to explore new boundaries on two wheels. Stay tuned for future episodes from this series.

Honda’s Dream Of Conquering Dakar + Video appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: Ed’s March across Canada – the prequel, part 1
Ed’s March across Canada – the prequel, part 1 [message #7072] Mon, 15 December 2014 13:49
Anonymous

Ed March and his girlfriend Rachel are making their way across Canada on a pair of C90s. We'll be checking in with the duo every two weeks. To kick it all off, here's an introduction to Ed.

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 Topic: 2015 MV Agusta Stradale 800 First Impressions
2015 MV Agusta Stradale 800 First Impressions [message #7064] Mon, 15 December 2014 13:34
Anonymous

Motorcycle.com’s European correspondent, Tor Sagen, has just completed riding the 2015 MV Agusta Stradale 800 in Southern Spain, where he provides these first impressions. As mentioned in our preview of the Stradale 800 from EICMA 2014, this is MV Agusta’s attempt at tapping into the lightweight touring market. Whereas the Turismo Veloce has a more substantial half fairing and windscreen, the Stradale takes a more minimal approach, essentially slapping bags and an adjustable windscreen onto a Rivale.

To recap the Stradale’s vital stats, it’s powered by the same 798cc Inline-Triple as the Rivale, with counter-rotating crankshaft to minimize inertia during side-to-side transitions. The Electronic MVICS suite is back, which includes four different power modes, ABS with rear-wheel lift mitigation and quickshifter for full-throttle clutchless upshifts. Crucially, the Stradale gets a 4.2-gallon fuel tank, 1 gallon larger than the Rivale for more touring range. Stay tuned, as Tor will return soon with a more substantial Stradale First Ride review. -TS


The 2015 MV Agusta Stradale 800 is the first MV Agusta I’ve ridden with saddlebags. The Stradale is not exactly a touring bike, but it’s as close as MV’s ever been. The Tourismo Veloce, MV’s other new touring rig, will arrive early in 2015, but it’s unlikely the Stradale 800, with its Rivale-inspired tilt to touring, will steal any of its thunder.

At first glance, the Stradale looks like the Rivale, and it’s mainly because most of the design features are borrowed from the Rivale. In the engine bay, we find an 800cc Triple with 115 horsepower and a torque curve optimized for everyday riding. The swingarm is longer and the suspension softer (than the Rivale), which makes the Stradale the very best everyday MV Agusta to date, in my opinion.

121514-2015-mv-agusta-stradale-800-STATIC_11

This isn’t something MV Agusta exactly strives after, but the Stradale is here and more practical than any other MV ever. The seat is much more comfortable than the Dragster, F3, F4, Rivale, you name it. It’s the first commuter-friendly MV Agusta, and I really felt at ease both in comfort and ride quality on our tour in southern Spain.

I’ll get down to detail in my full review, but what I can say straight away is that I really was surprised at how comfortable the Stradale 800 is compared to the more sporty offerings from the esteemed Italian manufacturer. This is finally an MV Agusta that caters to the everyday rider, and as such, there is nothing else for me to say than that I recommend it wholeheartedly. The Stradale 800 is the MV nobody expected, but it’s very welcome.

2015 MV Agusta Stradale 800 First Impressions appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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 Topic: Jared Mees, Marc Marquez Thrill In Superprestigio Final
Jared Mees, Marc Marquez Thrill In Superprestigio Final [message #7063] Mon, 15 December 2014 13:29
Anonymous

In what is quickly becoming one of the most popular races of the year, the second annual Superprestigio flat track race was held this past weekend in Barcelona, Spain. Conducted on a bumpy and short course, Marc Marquez and Jared Mees battled at the front in the Superprestigio final after narrowly avoiding a downed rider, with the Spaniard ultimately edging the American for the victory.

The race featured some of the best riders from nearly every form of motorcycle racing in the world, including an American contingent of Mees, last year’s champion, Brad Baker, and rising female talent Shayna Texter. A fourth American, Kenny Noyes (who has lived in Spain for some time), made for a strong Team U.S.A. 

Mees dominated both heat races and all three finals to win his Open class. But in the Superfinal, Mees got caught up behind a downed rider in the first corner and nearly stalled his bike while running wide to avoid the crash. He was in the middle of the pack for the first time all night and one spot in back of Marquez.

Methodically and impressively, the two picked off riders before they found themselves in front. Mees drew even with Marquez’s back tire by the final lap, but ran out of time before being able to make a move for the lead. He settled for a hard-fought and well-deserved second.

“I had an amazing time, it was my first time in Spain,” Mees said. “I can’t say enough for everybody that invited me, Marc Marquez and everybody that put the event on. It was amazing, I had a lot of fun. … I hope I can come back next year.”

Marquez is a large supporter and fan of flat track racing, and uses it, like many top road racers, to train. In January, the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Champion, Brad Baker, won the Superprestigio after a thrilling battle with Marquez. This time around, the practice Marquez put in specifically in hopes of winning the Superprestigio really showed.

“He kept his wheels in line very well,” Mees said. “Keeping the wheels in line is the faster way to go around the race track, so hat’s off to him. He definitely had amazing style for being a road racer (primarily).”

Baker suffered a shoulder injury in practice on Saturday morning and was unable to compete. Leading up to the event, he had been the fastest rider in practice.

“First and foremost, I would like to say thanks to Jared. He came from America to here, and also Brad,” Marquez said. “I was worried for (Brad) because the crash this morning was scary.”

AMA Pro Flat Track’s Shayna Texter, the only female rider in the event, crashed in her first heat race and found herself in unlucky spots on the track during later heats. She eventually bounced back and finished fourth in her Last Chance Qualifier.

Fellow American and 2014 FIM CEV SBK International Superbike champion Kenny Noyes was third in the Superfinal. All three riders on the podium are current champions in their respective series.

Additional AMA Pro Flat Track flare was provided by flagger Kevin Clark, who was invited to return for a second time to the event.

The 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track season gets underway with a doubleheader at Daytona Flat Track March 12-13. Like the Superprestigio, every AMA Pro Flat Track race in 2015 can be seen live at FansChoice.tv.

Jared Mees, Marc Marquez Thrill In Superprestigio Final appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

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 Topic: Yamaha Getting The 2015 R1 Ready For Austin + Video
Yamaha Getting The 2015 R1 Ready For Austin + Video [message #7062] Mon, 15 December 2014 12:42
Anonymous

In this video, provided to us from Yamaha, we see the all-new, 2015 R1 getting stripped of its street clothes in preparation for racetrack battle. The introduction of the new R1 coincides with the new chapter in American road racing, as MotoAmerica is set to take over. Here, we see the bike stripped to its frame, its engine run on the dyno, and geometry measurements being taken. Interestingly, the beginning of the video shows a computer screen with a CAD drawing of a fuel tank. The length of a road race forces the engine to consume more fuel than the stock tank allows, so one of the first modifications is to design a larger unit that mimics the shape of the stocker. Check out the video below, and keep an eye out for the new R1 at the season opening race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, April 10-12.

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 Topic: Ducati Produces its Millionth Motorcycle
Ducati Produces its Millionth Motorcycle [message #7061] Mon, 15 December 2014 12:18
Anonymous

Ducati has reached an important milestone, producing the 1 millionth motorcycle in the company’s history. The millionth bike, a 2015 Ducati Monster 1200S, was specially delivered to its new owner, 47-year-old Ernesto Passoni by Ducati Chief Executive Officer Claudio Domenicalli.

It’s still a far cry from the 300-millionth motorcycle mark recently passed by Honda, but an important accomplishment for the much smaller Italian manufacturer. Founded in 1926 as a producer of radio components, Ducati didn’t begin making motorcycles until after the end of World War II.

“Between 1946 and today we have designed, built and delivered one million dreams that have become reality to Ducatisti,” says Domenicali. “Our strength is in the exceptional work that all of the Ducati employees carry out so efficiently on a daily basis, contributing to making our bikes beautiful, unique and desirable. To deliver the millionth bike produced directly into the hands of a passionate Ducatista is an incredible feeling and an incentive to continue along our growth path.”

Audi Group CEO Rupert Stadler and Luca de Meo, a member of the board for marketing and sales for Audi, were also present for the delivery which took place at the Audi City Lab in Milan, Italy.

The landmark Monster was marked with a laser serigraph on the top handlebar bracket to indicate its historical importance.

121514-1-millionth-ducati-monster-1200-s

[Source: Ducati]

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 Topic: Marquez wins Superprestigio
Marquez wins Superprestigio [message #7071] Mon, 15 December 2014 07:42
Anonymous

World MotoGP champ wins flat track all-star event by narrow margin.

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Current Time: Fri Dec 19 02:54:38 EST 2014