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ADVrider was launched in 2001 to provide adventure motorcycle riders their own dedicated online community. The site was debuted as an adventure riding forum and has grown to become the most visited website in the world for motorcycle enthusiasts. ADVrider currently has over 350,000 registered members who have submitted 33 million original posts. Read more about the story of how ADVrider came to be from our fearless leader, Baldy.

We have now expanded beyond ADV’s roots to become an industry leading media network for the moto community. In addition to the forum, this new ADVrider site will act as an editorial voice for the community and provide users free information on ride reports, bike & gear reviews, first-person rider stories and a variety of other content. We have some big plans and hope you will join us on this ride.

Check back daily.

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The motorcycle industry was hit hard through the middle of 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has made a lot of headway since. Look at Ducati—the Italian manufacturer has seen the biggest sales in its decades of manufacturing, and has especially seen major headway in North America. And, adventure bikes are driving a lot of the growth!

By end of 2021’s fourth quarter, Ducati had sold 59,447 units worldwide, a significant increase over 2020’s numbers. Ducati moved 48,042 units in 2020, with sales interrupted by the pandemic. That was impressive in itself, but you’d expect that 24-percent increase in 2021.

However, Ducati’s numbers are also up significantly over 2019’s sales stats. In the last pre-pandemic sales year, Ducati sold 53,183 units; the 2021 numbers are up 12 percent on that figure.

Some of the biggest improvement is due to a massive demand in North America. In the US, sales rose 32 percent to 9,007 units sold, probably partly as a reaction to pent-up demand left unfulfilled in 2020. That made the US the top national market for Ducati, even above Italy, which saw 8,707 units sold. Counting other major Euro countries (6,107 units in Germany, 4,352 units in France, 2,941 units in Great Britain), you can see that Europe as a whole is still the foundation of Ducati sales, but it’s certainly an impressive bit of growth in the US.

What propelled the brand to such growth? Along with the pent-up demand mentioned earlier, the DesertX adventure bike (see our initial write-up here) drove some last-minute sales after its November intro. The Multistrada V4 was a major seller for Bologna all year long, proving that ADV bikes are still driving sales sky-high for the Euro manufacturers.

“With 59,447 motorcycles delivered to customers, Ducati notches up a historic result and once again underlines its solidity, despite the difficulties encountered across all sectors due to the supplies crisis,” said Francesco Milicia, Ducati’s bigwig in charge of Global Sales and After Sales. “Sales grew double-digit in all major countries, from the United States to Australia, where the new subsidiary achieved an increase of 50%.” Sounds like a job well done, then!

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Scramblers are a bit of a thing at the moment.  They’ve got that sort of rebel image of the hardened guy looking for adventure off the beaten path.  And that’s precisely what Yezdi is going for with its new Scrambler model.

Their entire advertising campaign targets that bad boy image, and a little of “I can do whatever I want.”

However Yezdi decides to market its bikes; they need to be capable and fulfill their intended roles.  So can the Yezdi Scrambler live up to its scrambler persona?  Let’s check out the specs to get an idea if it can.

Scrambler Engine

The Scrambler comes equipped with the same engine found in all of Yezdi’s new models.  It’s a 334 cc fuel-injected, single-cylinder powerplant.  And it just so happens that it is the same one found in Classic Legends’ Jawa Perak.

Yezdi says the engine puts out 30 hp (29.1 ps) and 22 lb-ft (28.2 Nm) of torque.  That’s fractionally different from the Yezdi Adventure model, so the Scrambler’s engine appears to have a slightly different tune with somewhat more horsepower and torque on the Adventure model.

Scrambler Specs

Scrambler Specs


The Scrambler seems to get the same six-speed gearbox as the Adventure model.  That sixth gear sets it apart from other similar models in the Indian market.


The Scrambler uses a double-cradle frame.  Attached to the frame is a telescoping fork with coil springs.  At the rear, there’s a twinshock set up with a reservoir.  However, it’s difficult to tell where the reservoir is located from the pictures on its website.

Unfortunately, Yezdi doesn’t provide any more information on the suspension components, wheel travel, or adjustability.  Looking over the website photos, there is no sign of suspension adjustment clickers, so it’s a reasonably safe bet that neither end of the bike has an adjustable suspension.

Scrambler front

Front view.


The Scrambler comes equipped with single disc brakes at both the front and the rear.  The front uses a 320 mm disc, while there’s a single 240 mm unit at the back.  Unfortunately, there’s no information about the brake caliper’s manufacturer or the number of pistons inside.

The machine comes with ABS as standard, but it’s not clear whether you can turn it off entirely or at least deactivate the rear ABS.

Scrambler left

The left side of the Scrambler.


The Scrambler’s wheelset differs from the Adventure model.  It comes with 100/90-19” front and a 140/70-17 rear hoops.  Unfortunately, Yezdi does not say whether they are tube or tubeless rims/tires, but at its price point, it’s probably a safe bet that they are tube tires.

Seat height

The Scrambler has a relatively low seat height of 31.5 inches (800 mm).  That puts the Scrambler’s seat about a half-inch lower than the Yezdi Adventure model.


That scrambler styling is going to cost you some fuel capacity and range.  It comes with a relatively small 3.3-gallon tank (12.5 liters).  Since Yezdi has yet to provide any fuel economy figures, we don’t know the bike’s range.  That said, the Scrambler’s mission isn’t probably designed around long-range touring, so the smaller fuel tank may not be much of an issue for the bike’s target audience.


Weighing in at a claimed 182 kg (401 pounds), the Scrambler is right on the cusp of the “magical” 400-pound mark.   But, unfortunately, lack of data again casts a bit of a shadow on Yezdi’s machines.

There’s no mention of whether the bike’s claimed weight is dry or wet.  It’s a shame that we have to conjecture.  So if the bike carries 3.3 gallons of fuel, you’re looking at the potential for the cycle to gain approximately 23 pounds for an approximate total weight of about 424 pounds.

Scrambler highlights

Some of the Scrambler’s highlights as picked by Yezdi.

Ride modes

The Scrambler comes with three ride modes.  Road, Off-road, and Rain.  That’s quite an interesting feature considering there’s no mention of ride modes on Yezdi’s model that could need it the most; the Adventure.

The website also doesn’t provide any details on the modes or whether they turn off the ABS.  If it’s like most, Road will leave everything on and provide full power.  Off-road may tune the power down and limit/turn off the ABS.  Rain may just restrict power.


In India, the Yezdi Scrambler is priced at ₹204,900 or the equivalent of $2,765.  If Yezdi decides to bring the bike to the US, you can expect that price to nearly double if their pricing structure is anything like that of Royal Enfield in the US.

More information, please

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say anything with certainty about the Yezdi Scrambler and its features.  Whether there’s a purposeful withholding of information or just a poorly detailed website isn’t clear.  But it would be nice if Yezdi took the time to provide the details on all its new bikes that a knowledgeable rider would like to know.

In any event, the Scrambler is an interesting machine, particularly at its price point.  We will keep you up to date if Yezdi provides additional information in the future.



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The motorcycle show circuit isn’t exactly running full speed ahead these days, but it is running, and BMW’s using the Verona Motor Bike Expo to show off two new customs based on the R18 cruiser—and one of them points towards a possible M-series future for the platform.


For years, the M-series was the mark of performance for BMW’s autos. In 2020, that branding finally came to the motorcycle line, with the M1000 RR superbike. This hopped-up version of the four-cylinder superbike paved the way for other M-series motorbikes, and reportedly, BMW is even working on an upscale GS for this series.

The R18 M custom that BMW unveiled at Verona is only a one-off, but based on similar custom projects that BMW’s been involved with in the past years, it’s a good hint as to what the company is thinking.


BMW R18 M custom. Credit: BMW


BMW R18 M custom. Credit: BMW


BMW R18 M custom. Credit: BMW

“Stability, long wheelbase and readiness of the 1800 cc big boxer instigate lightning starts and deserve, in our opinion, a sporty and retro look. In the R 18 M design, we find suggestions from BMW Motorrad tradition and cues from the four-wheelers: M stands for Motorsport,” said Giuseppe Roncen, director of LowRide, the Italian moto-mag that worked on the bike with BMW. We remain curious to experience its potential. Significantly lightened, the bike should also be easy to handle due to its riding position, which is more compact and forward loaded, without exaggeration.”

To start this project, BMW Italia partnered with LowRide; in turn, LowRide partnered with well-known designer Oberdan Bezzi, who did the initial design sketches. The actual assembly and coordination of sub-jobs was done by American Dreams, an Italian custom shop. As far as fabrication of the individual bits, here’s BMW’s list of credits:

Elaboratorio, specializing in prototyping and modeling, created tail, tip and fiberglass windshield from scratch. Carbon Italy handled the head covers, intake ducts, and other carbon fiber details. The short exhaust pipe, designed to make the line more compact and allow greater lean angles, bears the signature of ER Exhaust Revolution. The short exhaust pipes also give greater prominence to the splendid uncovered nickel-plated shaft, an evocative detail that deserves to be highlighted. L.R. Leather covered the saddle in leather, while the paintwork was entrusted to Dox Art Factory. Rizoma provided mirrors, grips, and universal indicators for the accessories, perfectly in line with the bike’s character.

The result? We get a cool power cruiser that’s on par with some of the more modern boulevard-bashers that Milwaukee’s cranked out in recent years. No doubt that lump of a flat twin engine is still a heavyweight; no amount of carbon fiber bodywork can change that. Still, BMW bigwigs are likely considering an M-series R18 that looks something like this custom. That seems to be the whole point of these custom exercises to start with.

BMW R18 Aurora custom. Photo: BMW
BMW R18 Aurora custom. Photo: BMW

BMW R 18 Aurora

This is the other custom BMW unveiled at Verona. It’s far less radical than the R18 M, with more traditional American cruiser styling. Still, there’s a market for this look, and this sort of transformation will be popular at many Euro custom shops in coming years.


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Twenty years ago, Chinese dual sport/ADV bikes were a joke in western markets. Things have changed, and while Chinese manufacturers still make bikes that are derivative of other OEMs’ products, they’ve come a long way from the Zongshen/Lifan/Qingqi 200cc days.

Take a look at the video below, showing the Excelle 525X, for a good look at what’s coming our way.

There are some key things to point out here. First of all, this design obviously owes much to BMW’s aesthetic. Second, the video is in Chinese, and unless you understand that, we’re left guessing as to many of the machine’s specs and features. Third, just because the bike handles a bit of mild hoonery in this video, that doesn’t mean it’s a full-on hard-core offroad-ready bike. Fourth, it’s a Chinese bike, and that always means questions about parts supply, warranty, and general quality control issues.

Having said all that … take a look at this thing. Proper spoked wheels, crash bars that seem to offer very good coverage, and a skid plate. If this is all standard equipment, then props to Excelle!


Photo: Excelle

According to online reports, the liquid-cooled parallel twin engine is built by Loncin (a relatively trustworthy name), with 53 horsepower and about 37 pound-feet of torque. There’s a  smartphone-compatible TFT screen on this bike, something the Europeans have just gotten around to including in their lineups. Supposedly, there’s an adaptive LED headlight, Bosch fuel injection, and the top-level trim version comes with full hard luggage. All that for 41,900 CNY in China, which works out to roughly $6,600 US.

Not that we expect to see this machine here in North America anytime soon, mind you. But you know what we do see already, along similar lines? The Benelli TRK502, and probably the similar MV Agusta Lucky Explorer 5.5 in the near future. Chinese bikes are here already, and more are coming—they’re just going to have Euro, British, maybe even North American badging. If the Excelle 525X comes here, you can expect the same for that bike.

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Yezdi Adventure

We recently told you about Classic Legend’s revival of the Yezdi brand and its three new motorcycles.  One of those machines is an “adventure” bike, and it’s aptly named “Yezdi Adventure.”

The bike probably looks very familiar to you.  But, if it doesn’t, you should spend a little more time checking up on the Indian brand Royal Enfield.  The new Yezdi Adventure squarely targets Royal Enfield’s Himalayan model and looks very similar.  It’s almost too much the same, and that’s probably not by mistake.

Comparing specifications


And the Adventure’s specs seem to rack up nicely compared to Royal Enfield’s machine.  The Adventure has a 334 cc fuel-injected, single-cylinder powerplant.  It’s the same one found in Classic Legends’ Jawa Perak.  The engine puts out a claimed 30 hp (30.2 ps) and 22 lb-ft (29.9 nm) of torque.  Unfortunately, Yezdi’s website doesn’t say at what rpm the Adventure’s maximum torque is obtained.  Royal Enfield claims 24.3 hp and 23.6 lb-ft of torque for the Himalayan.  That gives the Adventure a leg up on the Himalayan in hp but slightly less torque.

adventure specs

Credit: Yezdi


Transferring the power to the rear wheel on the Adventure is a 6-speed, constant mesh gearbox.  The Himalayan appears to be the loser here with one less gear from its 5-speed transmission.


Both machines sport right way up telescopic forks with coil springs.  However, Yezdi doesn’t provide the stanchion diameter or the amount of available wheel travel on its website (at least not yet).  At the rear, both have monoshock suspensions.  But once again, Yezdi doesn’t provide any wheel travel figures.


In the braking department, both bikes use single discs at the front and the rear.  The Yezdi Adventure has a larger 320 mm front disc versus the Himalayan’s 300 mm unit.  Both use a 240 mm disc at the rear.

Adventure left

The left side of the Yezdi Adventure. Credit: Yezdi

Yezdi does not provide information about the brake calipers, but for comparison, the Himalayan has a two-piston front setup and a single pot set up in the rear.   Both machines come with ABS, but it’s not clear whether you can turn it off.


The Adventure and Himalayan have a similar-sized wheelset.  Both use a 90/90-21 inch front.  But at the rear, the Adventure has a 130/80-17 while the Himalayan runs a 120/90-17 setup.

Seat height

For the inseam challenged, the Adventure has a claimed seat height of about 32 inches (815 mm).  Royal Enfield’s Himalayan is not far from that figure, with a lower 31.5 inch (800 mm) claimed seat height.


Both machines can carry approximately four gallons of fuel to take you on those long missions.  Unfortunately, Yezdi hasn’t provided the bike’s fuel economy figures.  The Adventure does have a smaller displacement, so perhaps it has an edge in range?  We won’t know for sure until we get fuel economy figures.


It seems that the Adventure could be out on top in the weight department.  Not by a considerable margin, but enough to give it an edge.  Yezdi claims that the Adventure weighs in at 188 kg (414 pounds).  But, and it’s a big but, they don’t say whether that claimed weight is a wet weight or a dry weight.

Most manufacturers are quoting curb weights now (i.e., at least an 80 percent full tank of fuel and all operating fluids).  So for this very early and short on details comparison, we’re going to consider that the claimed 188 kg (414 pounds) is the curb weight.

Royal Enfield comes right out and says that the curb weight of the Himalayan is 439 pounds.  So if that’s the case, then the Yezdi Adventure is 25 pounds lighter than the Royal Enfield Himalayan.

However, if the Adventure’s claimed weight is dry weight, the weights of the two machines are almost identical, with the scales leaning in the favor of the Himalayan by 3 pounds.

As for the nice to have, but not necessary, the Adventure has a digital display while the Himalayan has a dash with a combination of analog and digital displays.  In addition, both have some sort of navigation assistance.  Finally, both can be outfitted with many accessories to suit your wants and needs.


Yezdi offers lots of customization for its Adventure. Credit: Yezdi


The Yezdi Adventure is priced at  ₹209,900, which equates to about $2,835.  Of course, if Yezdi brings the Adventure to North America, it will be priced higher.  For comparison, the Royal Enfield Himalayan is priced higher.  In India it starts at  ₹214,000 ($2,891).  In the USA, the Himalayan currently has a $5,299 MSRP.

When all is said and done, until more information emerges on the Adventure, the comparison between it and the Royal Enfield Himalayan requires some assumptions.  That’s too bad because the two machines seem so closely linked that it would be good to know both bikes’ complete specs for certain.

But there is one clear thing.  There’s now a new player in the adventure category for the Indian market, and it could be a significant contender to eat into Royal Enfield’s market share.  And one has to wonder if the Adventure is a success, will Yezdi look to sell the bike in other markets.

We’ll keep you updated as more information emerges.


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During pandemic times, motorcycling experienced an uptick, globally. More people got out on their bikes, or learned to ride, than in previous years. In general, and from an industry standpoint, that’s a good thing. Unfortunately there are some worrying numbers coming out of one New England state that say new or returning riders might be driving a rise in road accident fatalities.

Massachusetts road accident rates fell sharply in 2020, predictably, since there was a steep decline in road use. But when filtered specifically for motorcycle crashes these numbers tell a very different story. Car crashes went down, but motorcycle crashes went up. I’d love to see these numbers normalized against miles driven; alas, these statistics are hard to come by.

Drawing conclusions from percentages makes it sound worse than it might be in reality. Fatal motorcycle (and scooter) crashes in the state are up more than 50 percent since 2019, but the raw numbers are less startling. In all, there were 45 motorcycle crashes with fatalities in 2019, 58 in 2020 and 71 in 2021. Massachusetts state agencies report anecdotal evidence, saying they’ve heard about a lot of people who recently started riding again after a long gap. Perhaps they had a motorcycle in the garage but didn’t ride it, or perhaps they, like a lot of people, bought a bike mid-pandemic.

Motorcycles Got Popular

We’ve all heard reports about motorcycling becoming a more popular form of transport since COVID hit. When you’re on a bike, you’re not on a bus or train full of people, breathing the same air. You won’t catch anything from the taxi driver when you’re not in a taxi. It turns out lots of folks turned to two wheels as a “safer” travel alternative.

Perhaps, unfortunately, it also meant that those returning to the sport didn’t, on the whole, renew their training or gear up very well.

People Drove Stupider

MassDOT Safety Engineer Bonnie Polin says “a lot of it has to do with riskier behavior.” That is, in 2020 and 2021, state police reported an increase in reckless driving and excessive speeding. It was a combination of pandemic quarantine cabin fever and empty roads, to be sure.

Here is where I would love a proper database full of well-reported and accurate numbers. Since we see state officials admitting that reckless driving and new motorcyclists are on the roads together, does that mean all the fatal motorcycle crashes were due to the riders themselves being reckless, or riding at excessive speed? No, dear reader, it does not. But unfortunately new motorcyclists are less likely to be able to avoid some jagoff doing 100mph where they shouldn’t be. A rider who hasn’t gotten on her bike in years won’t have polished emergency braking or swerving skills.

These are the numbers for only one state, but I bet a lot of places are singing the same song. We know a lot of new or returning riders hopped on the roads with folks who are tired of COVID rules (aren’t we all) and thus, tired of all the rules. And we are among the most vulnerable road users.

The MassDOT Dashboard is here in case you’d like to toy with it.

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Remember the age of screaming small-displacement inline fours?  Well, according to MCN and their “Japanese sources,” there is at least one new screamer coming.  And, it’s again coming from Kawasaki.

Team Green has already released its ZX-25 inline four pocket rocket for the Asian market.  The ZX-25 has all the traits you might remember about high-performance, small-displacement motorcycles, with light weight and high redlines.  In the case of the ZX-25R, it’s 17,000 rpm.

While the little inline-four makes a very respectable 50 hp at 15,500 rpm, its torque output is not spectacular.  If you want to go fast on the little screamer, you’re going to have to row through its quickshifter equipped gearbox.  The quarter-liter screamer only makes 16.9 lb-ft of torque at around 14,500 rpm.

400cc ZX-4R screamer

Now, if MCN’s unnamed sources can be trusted, Kawasaki is going to up its screamer ante up a bit.  This time around, they will up the engine’s displacement to 400 cc.

MCN makes the claim not only on the backs of their unnamed sources but also point to a 2019 Japanese Patent Office application.  Reportedly, the patent specifically says that the design is “preferably applied to a vehicle having four-cylinder 400cc engine”.

Other than the engine change, MCN suggests that a ZX-4R could “share the vast majority of its parts with the existing ZX-25R, including the tubular steel frame, banana swingarm, and most of the bodywork.”  However, the bike will get some new parts, such as a new nose and headlights, which will resemble those found on Kawasaki’s ZX-10R.

According to MCN’s projection, the ZX-4R could make as much as 80 hp with ram-air effects.  Torque would likely rise, potentially to about 24 lb-ft.

If Kawasaki builds the ZX-4R, its initial market will likely be Asia, where small-displacement bikes reign king.  But if it sells well there, could the 400 cc displacement be “big enough” for the machine to be exported to other markets?  Time will tell.

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A once-iconic brand is back in motorcycling.  On Thursday, Yezdi introduced three new models in India.  And if looks count for anything, the Classic Legends, Mahindra-backed Yezdi could come storming out of the gate.


The three new motorcycles.

It’s no secret that Yezdi is targeting Royal Enfield in the Indian market.  Its flashy new bikes  (three of them!) could potentially take a pretty good size slice of Royal Enfield’s pie.  The revived brand already has 300-plus dealers signed up.  That should help ensure access to the brand and maintenance for the bikes after purchase.  The bikes’ price tags also compare well to similar motorcycles.


The Adventure.

In announcing the new machines, Yezdi has also come up with the tagline “Not For The Saint Hearted,” saying the bikes bring “Three New Flavors Of Notorious.”  Bad boy image, anyone?

Roadster, Scrambler, and Adventure

The new machines carry the Roadster, Scrambler, and Adventure names; each addresses a different market segment. The names are so upfront, there’s no need to tell you where the models fit into each motorcycling category.


The Scrambler.

It’s also clear that Yezdi is concentrating on modular design.  Each machine gets the 334 cc fuel-injected, single-cylinder powerplant found in the Classic Legends owned Jawa Perak.  The engine puts out a claimed 30 hp (30.2 ps) and 22 lb-ft (29.9 nm) of torque.


The Roadster.

Classic Legends Co-founder Anupam Thareja is happy with their progress and commented that the new Classic Legends brands had created a portfolio of mid-size motorcycles even with the impacts caused by COVID.

“If not for Covid, we would have been much earlier with Yezdi. We feel we have addressed the supply side issues better and now want to offer India’s original Scrambler and Roadster back – the Yezdi. In 2 months, we have introduced 2 brands – BSA and Yezdi – with 4 bikes. Along with Jawa, we have imagined a portfolio together to cater to different segments of the fast growing mid-size motorcycle segment.”

We’ll have more information on each of the new Yezdi bikes soon.


All image credit: Yezdi

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Cardo is rolling out its newest communicators with its Spirit and FREECOM x lineups.  The new comms concentrate on budget-minded riders but are not short on features.

Both new communicator product ranges now offer over-the-air software updates, an all-new Bluetooth 5.2 chip, a USB-C port, and faster charging.  Each new product line (Spirit and Freecom x) will fully charge in 1.5 to 2 hours.  And for shorter rides, a 20-minute charge will give you a claimed 2 hours of ride time.

Cardo says part of this performance can be attributed to the new Bluetooth 5.2 chip, which “enables the integration of the latest audio technologies and improves significantly the quality of the Intercom. Bluetooth 5.2 is also more efficient and more secure, it offers faster pairing capabilities, as well as longer battery life.”

Cardo is introducing its Spirit line of comms for the most budget-conscious riders, which includes the Cardo Spirit and Cardo Spirit HD communicators.  The Spirit lineup features two brand new devices with essential features and carries a far more accessible price tag.

Cardo Spirit

Starting the line of affordable comms is the Cardo Spirit.  It’s a Bluetooth communicator and not a dynamic mesh system.  Still, it offers a claimed range of up to 600 meters.



Of course, the Spirit wirelessly connects to your phone, and you can stream music from it directly to your headset.  It can also connect to your GPS for turn by turn voice navigation.  The unit also includes an FM radio, and you’ll receive sound through a pair of 32mm “HD” speakers.

The Spirit also has an automatic volume control.  As the outside noise increases, so does its speaker’s volume so you can continue to hear whatever you are listening to.

Probably most importantly, the Spirit is claimed to be waterproof, not water-resistant.  If you are going to ride in weather, a waterproof comm is a hugely important plus.

And if your friends have a different brand of Bluetooth communicator, Cardo says that the Spirit will connect to them as well.  That said, the Spirit will only connect to one other communicator at a time.

On the technical side of things, you can now update the Spirit’s software over the air using the Cardo app.  There’s no need to plug it into a computer; you can update the unit with your phone.

And if you are on a budget, the Spirit will likely fit.  It is priced at a pretty budget-friendly $99.95  When you look at the claimed features, that seems to be a bargain.

Cardo Spirit HD

Next up is the Cardo Spirit HD.  It has all the features of the Spirit, but with some other nice-to-have upgrades.

Cardo says that the Spirit HD will give you a bit more range.  With the HD, the claimed range is now 0.4 of a mile.  You also get bigger speakers, which increase in size from 32 to 40mm.  And talk time is a claimed 13 hours.  MSRP for the Cardo Spirit HD is $149.95.

Cardo’s new Freecom Series

Although the Freecom series sits in the middle of Cardo’s lineup, they possess some pretty impressive features.  Some of those premium features aren’t even in Cardo’s premium Packtalk communicators (although they should be making their way into the Packtalks in the future).


The new Cardo Freecom 2x and 4x Bluetooth communicators.

New for 2022 are the Freecom 2x and Freecom 4x communicators.  Both Freecom units have all of the features of the Spirit lineup but with some significant enhancements.

The Freecom 2x and 4x now have what Cardo calls “Live Intercom.”  With Live Intercom, should one rider be disconnected, the device will automatically start looking for the disconnected communicator.  There’s no need to push any buttons.  Once that previously connected rider comes back into range, the communicator will automatically reconnect.

The Freecom series also has “natural voice operation.”  To access the device’s features, you can say “Hey Cardo” and tell the communicator what you want it to do.

Both Freecom units have 40 mm JBL branded speakers with a “specially tuned” music processor and three distinctive audio profiles.

The Freecom units utilize a jog dial for some functions.  Although they have a moving part, Cardo says that the units are still 100% waterproof.  And they both have a two-year warranty.

Freecom x series differences

If you wonder what the key differences are between the Freecom 2x and 4x, it’s the number of riders the units will connect and the comm’s claimed range.  The Freecom 2x will only join 2 riders, while the Freecom 4x will connect up to 4.

Cardo says the Freecom 4x has a bit more range than the 2x.  The Freecom 4x is supposed to provide up to 0.75 miles of range, while the Freecom 2x offers a 0.5-mile range.  However, ranges can be significantly affected by terrain and other variables.  Remember, these are Bluetooth communicators, not dynamic mesh units.

Freecom series pricing

The Freecom series is supposed to be Cardo’s mid-range offering, and their pricing reflects that.  For example, the Freecom 2x carries an MSRP of $209.95 for a single unit or $399.95 for a duo pack.

duo pack

Each communicator is available in either a single and duo pack with reduced unit pricing for the pair.

The Freecom 4x has a $269.95 price tag for the single unit and is priced at $499.95 for a duo pack.

These newest Cardo communicators seem to offer many features for their price point.  But claims are one thing, and performance is another.  In that regard, Cardo is sending us a pair of Freecom 4x communicators, and we’ll provide a review after we’ve had a chance to test them.

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Fifty years ago, Kawasaki debuted the Z1 for 1972—a birthday worth remembering. To celebrate five decades of horsepower and fun, we’re getting special-edition models of the Z650, Z650 RS, Z900 and Z900 RS.

In the beginning was the Z

Why party hearty over a model that came out in 1972? Simple: The Z1 knocked the motorcycle industry on its ear. Before this, the Honda CB750 was the world’s dominant superbike, with a smooth, powerful four-cylinder engine (including electric start) standard disc brake. It was superior to any other stock motorcycle on the market, and it surprised Kawasaki, which had been working on a similar project.

Realizing its thunder had been stolen, Kawi went back to the drawing board and decided to come out with a bike that didn’t just blow away the Euro/Brit competition. Team Green wanted to eclipse the CB750 as well, and that’s what the 903 cc Z1 did. This massive four-cylinder was the foundation for years of Kawasaki dominance atop the big-bore four-cylinder market. From the Z1 we got the KZ900, KZ900 LTD (which kickstarted the Japanese cruiser market), KZ1000, and really, that quest for powerful four-cylinder bikes continues right through to the supercharged H2 series today.

2022 Kawasaki Z900RS 50th Anniversary. Photo: Kawasaki
2022 Kawasaki Z900 50th Anniversary. Photo: Kawasaki
2022 Kawasaki Z650 50th Anniversary. Photo: Kawasaki

The Z today

Today, Kawasaki still sells Z-series machines, but now they aren’t halo bikes (except for the Z H2, arguably). Now, there are two parallel Z lineups: A modern-styled series of naked bikes, and the RS series, which combine the same mechanical underpinnings with retro-styled bodywork and paint.

Both the standard-styled Z650 and Z900 get a 50-year commemorative paint job, along with the Z650 RS and Z900 RS. The standard models get Firecracker Red; the RS models get a two-tone Fireball paint scheme in the US (Candy Diamond Brown paint in Canada). There’s other special trim/badging, but mechanically, these bikes are the same as the standard models, with no trick suspension or power added to the motors. Pricing in the US: $9,499 for the Z900 50th Anniversary, $8,299 for the Z650 50th Anniversary (Canadians will pay $9,599 for the 650, $11,499 for the 900). For the retro-tastic RS series, Americans will pay $12,049 for the Z900RS 50th Anniversary, and $9,249 for the Z650RS 50th Anniversary (Canucks will pay $14,299 and $10,499 respectively).

You can find out more info at ( for Canadians). If you want one of these bikes, get your order in soon, as they’re only available in limited numbers.

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Check out this new project Brixton is working on. Not happy with simply riffing on classic Japanese and Brit bike styling, Brixton’s website now features a new scrambler with contemporary European cyberpunk styling.

It’s called the Crossfire 500 XC, and it’s based on the existing Crossfire street models. Those bikes have a strong resemblance to the Husqvarna Svartpilen and Vitpilen models, with lines ripped straight from a scene from Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049.

The XC variant has a 19-inch front wheel, instead of a 17-inch hoop, and a more streamlined, straight seat, allowing the rider to slide around to change weight distribution when needed on loose or uneven surfaces. Like the standard Crossfire and Crossfire X, the XC has tubeless spoked rims, for easier repairs and tire changes.

It has the same liquid-cooled 486 cc parallel twin-cylinder engine as well, pumping out 46.9 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 31 pound-feet of torque at 6,750 rpm. We’d also expect to see the same decent-quality parts as the rest of the Crossfire line as well: Spanish-built J Juan brakes, Bosch ABS, adjustable KYB suspension, and Pirelli tires. Brixton relies on many Chinese-built components, but it also uses lots of European technology, especially for the parts where you’d notice.

In some ways, Brixton is the ultimate modern motorcycle company, then, synthesizing many different influences into hip new models at prices that average riders can afford. Unfortunately, you cannot buy Brixton’s lineup in North America yet, and it seems unlikely that it will attempt an entry here, especially considering current global supply chain issues.

For a closer look at the Brixton Crossfire 500 XC, click here.

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Cinema legend Sidney Poitier passed away January 6, 2022, leaving behind a legacy of seminal acting clinics in iconic movies such as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Lilies of the Field, In The Heat Of The Night, and To Sir, With Love. If you haven’t watched those ’60s movies, they are worth seeing, especially in context of the times both then and now.

With those successes (and one of those shiny golden statues for acting) under his belt, Poitier also tried his hand at directing. One result was 1973’s A Warm December, a sort of 1960s reimagining of the 1953 vacation love story and Gregory Peck/Audrey Hepburn classic Roman Holiday, which gave Vespa and scooters in general a huge boost in popularity. But in A Warm December, widower/single parent/Dr. Matt Younger (Poitier) is in England instead of Italy with his young daughter to indulge in his favorite past time: racing dirt bikes. The trailer for the movie gets right to the point:

That’s Poitier on a BSA 50-series dirt machine, a staple of the day, and there’s some pretty sweet vintage (but still intense) racing footage in the trailer and movie. It’s still impressive how hard these bikes were ridden given the primitive suspension and weight of these mental all-metal machines; it gives us true respect for those riders, to be sure. Side note: BSA is on the way back as well.

The plot (spoilers ahead) revolves around Poitier’s character, Dr. Younger, meeting a beautiful and mysterious woman, Catherine, while on his English dirt bike holiday, and of course, falling hard for the lovely daughter of a diplomat, played by Esther Anderson. 

But Catherine has a sad secret: she is terminally ill, and is in the “December” of her life, as she tells Poitier/Younger. Despite this, Poitier is undeterred to get her to marry him, but the decision is ultimately up to Catherine. I won’t give away the ending, but it’s a movie from the 1960s and happy endings were no longer guaranteed in cinema.


Title card for A Warm December. – First Artists

Anderson hails from Jamaica, and Poitier, while a U.S. citizen by birth, is truly from the Bahamas, thus the mellifluous accent. Poitier was born unexpectedly three months early while his parents were traveling in Florida. A preemie in an age before the amazing medical technologies for early arrival newborns we enjoy today, Poitier was not expected to survive, but his parents and doctors nursed him along until he was strong enough to return to Nassau in the Bahamas, where he grew up. Did he ride motorbikes in the tropical paradise before coming to the U.S. to find fame and influence onscreen? The interwebs do not offer definitive proof that I can find, but he does look comfortable behind the handlebars.

It’s not clear if Mr. Poitier ever turned a wheel in the dirt or if stunt doubles did all the riding in the movie, but we do have to call out Poitier’s sweet leather racing ensemble and that cool helmet, chinstrap and googles kit. I wonder if there are any on eBay…


Looking good in leather, Mr. Poitier. – First Artists

And again, much of the riding footage is impressive, including power wheelies up hills and some genuine air time on those old sleds. And while the motorcycle aspect of A Warm December isn’t the focus of the film, it’s still an enjoyable movie, even if it’s not one of Poitier’s most well-known roles. Keep in mind he directed as well. I saw the movie on TV as a child, but it’s too long ago for me to clearly remember how I felt about it (I think I was about 9 years old) although I do recall thinking the motorcycles were very cool.


Majestic machines ridden with courage! – First Artists

It’s good to see some real dirt bike action and respectable representation in a mainstream 1970s movie when at the time, people on motorcycles were usually drug-and-rape obsessed scofflaws, or worse. It’s important to remember that On Any Sunday had debuted two years earlier in 1971, and changed a lot of peoples’ minds about motorcycles and the people that rode them.


Mr. Poitier in proper muddy race bibs. Go BSA No. 33! – First Artists

Did you see this movie back in the day? What did you think? Unfortunately, we could not find it on the major streaming services, but you can get it on Bluray disc and luxuriate in the HD colors, cars, bikes and beauty of 1960/early 1970s England. Enjoy, and thank you, Sir Poitier.

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David “Dave” Sadowski, a talented roadracer from the 1980s and 1990s and a respected on-camera race commentator, has passed away at age 58.

According to several new outlets, Sadowski apparently suffered a fatal heart attack at his home in Austell, Georgia. An official cause of death has not yet been specified.

Initially a hockey player, Sadowski transitioned to motorcycles in the 1980s and soon began winning club races, first in the 250 class and later in AMA 600cc Supersport. He also spent time on the podium in AMA 750 Supersport. He often raced both 600 and 750cc machines on the same day.

“Ski,” as he was best known, joined the Vance & Hines race team, and in 1990 notched his biggest victories, winning the prestigious Daytona 200 for V&H Yamaha. He went on to win the AMA 600cc SuperSport National title that year. He had eight career AMA road racing wins and two Formula USA National titles to boot, both in the 1990s.

According to CycleNews, while Sadowski was learning to wrench on bikes at an AMI school in Florida, he once climbed a tree to get a look at “Fast” Freddie Spencer and Mike Baldwin wringing out their Hondas on the Daytona banking.

While still racing, Sadowski expanded his love of riding to race commentary for the AMA, and he became a familiar and well-informed analyst of on-track action – which he was also still participating in.

CycleNews reports Sadowski also operated a riding school in China. He is survived by his two sons, who also raced motorcycles, and three brothers.

In the clip below, Sadowski puts some ferocious Muzzy Kawasaki Raptors through their paces in 1997. Our condolences go out to the Sadowski family.

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British madman/adventure filmographer/Honda C90 enthusiast Ed March is back again, with his first video in a year. And this time, his Honda C90 is nowhere to be found. And this time, he’s taking a break from his transcontinental adventures, and focusing on Moab, Utah.

Warning: This video has lots of NSFW language, including jokes about willys. Also, Ed’s butt ends up on full display, again.

Wait—who’s Ed March?

Ed is the genius (or lunatic?) behind the c90adventures YouTube channel, which carries his video series about his Alaska-to-Argentina trip aboard his step-through of choice. With then-girlfriend Rachel Lasham, Ed flew to Alaska, with their Honda C90s in crates. They assembled the bikes, rode them across Canada in the winter, then rode south to tackle the TAT once the trails thawed. From there, they headed south, Ed pushing on alone when Rachel went home to the UK.

That series is all the way up to Part 15 now, with every episode getting better and better. But for his latest update, Ed instead chose to share a more recent adventure, when he visited Utah and rode the desert trails in Moab. Unable to find a Honda C90 to rent, or even a new Honda CT125, he hires … a KTM EXC-500F.

A big change-up from his usual slow-lane transportation (complete with shopping basket for aftermarket luggage!). And, Ed’s filming technique also sees a big change-up, as he’s shooting in 4K, with the help of a drone, too (donated by a helpful viewer). His editing, his background music, it’s all getting better and better, and the viewer benefits. He says he’s currently working on a new entry in his Alaska-to-Argentina series, and no doubt that’s going to also be excellent.

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Two websites are posting material that claims to show the bike that Harley-Davidson will reveal on January 26th.   Both say Harley’s newest machine will be a Low Rider model.  Specifically, the teased machine is reportedly Harley’s 2022 Low Rider S.

Two website reports

The German HARLEYSITE.DE and the Brazilian Doctor Dan websites provide what they say is information from Harley’s 2022 model year promotional material.  In addition, both sites offer plenty of pictures of the 2022 bike.  Surprisingly, the photos are not blurry spy shots.  Instead, they have the look of studio-quality images.  Hmm, does this lean towards the motorcycle and photos being real?

Going through the information, HARLEYSITE.DE includes a purported spec sheet for the updated low rider.  The amount of information is quite extensive; it doesn’t show bits and bobs.

Although the Low Rider S disappeared from Harley’s earlier product lineup release, if the information above is correct, the bike will continue in 2022.  But there will be significant differences between the 2021 and 2022 models.

According to the Doctor Dan website, some of the changes are as follows:


Probably the most significant change is the bike’s engine.  The 2022 version gets a new one.  Gone is the 114 ci v-twin replaced by Harley’s Milwaukee 8 117 ci engine mill.  It also gets a new air filter design.  According to the spec sheet on the HARLEYSITE.DE website, the newly inserted powerplant will provide 103 hp and 125 ft-lb (169 Nm) of torque at 4,750 rpm.


The bike’s suspension setup has changed as well.  According to the Doctor Dan website, the 2022 model sits higher than the one it replaces.  The new Low Rider S has a seat height of 27 inches (686 mm) versus the 26.5-inch seat height of the 2020 and 2021 models.

They report that the rear suspension is now the same as the setup found on Harley’s Fat Bob and Heritage Classic models.  As a result, the rear suspension will have a total stroke of 4.4 inches (112 mm) in 2022 compared to the 3.4 inches (86 mm) of the 2021 and 2020 models.  The bike’s fork will deliver 5.1 inches (130 mm) of travel.

Braking comes courtesy of an all-disc setup with ABS as standard.


The instrument cluster has been moved from the top of the tank to the handlebars.  It will be a single unit with an analog tachometer and a digital speedometer.  Replacing the large instrument cluster on the tank is now a single slimmer “cover” that travels the length of the fuel tank.

Whether the handlebars will change due to the placement of the instrumentation is not yet clear.  But the Doctor Dan website says that the handlebars are straighter in relation to the fork and further away from the fuel tank compared to previous years.

The bike’s fuel tank is still 5 gallons, and with an estimated 47 mpg, it should be able to keep the ride going for about 235 miles.

Paint choice

According to the Doctor Dan website, the new machine will be available in “Vivid Black” or “Gun Metal Grey,” and their photos seem to back up both color options.

There has been no word on pricing.

Obviously, Harley-Davidson has not confirmed any of the above data or below specs.  But it does seem that both websites have provided some very detailed data with genuine-looking images.  We’ll know the truth come January 26th.

2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S specifications

Reported Low Rider S Specifications from HARLEYSITE.DE:


  • Length  – 93.1 in. (2,365 mm)
  • Width – 34.3 in. (870 mm)
  • Overall height – 47 in. (1,195 mm)
  • Seat Height, Laden – 27 in. (686 mm)
  • Static Ground Clearance – 5.7 in. (145 mm)
  • Rake (steering head) (deg) – 28
  • Trail – 5.7 in. (145 mm)
  • Tires, Type – Michelin® Scorcher® “31” front and rear
  • Front Tire Specification – 110/90-B19,62H,BW
  • Rear Tire Specification – 180/70B16,77H,BW
  • Fuel Capacity – 5 gal.  (18.9 l)
    Reserve Fuel Capacity – 1 gal (3.8l)
  • Oil Capacity (w/filter) – 5 qt. (4.7 l)
  • Transmission Capacity – 1 qt.  (.95 l )
  • Primary Chain Case Capacity – 1.25 qt.  (1.18 l)
  • Weight, As Shipped 650 lb. (295 kg)
  • Weight, In Running Order 679 lb. (308 kg)
  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating 1,160 lb. (526 kg)
  • Gross Axle Weight Rating, Front 450 lb. (204 kg)
  • Gross Axle Weight Rating, Rear 730 lb. (331 kg)


  • Engine Milwaukee-Eight® 117
    • Torque 125 ft-lb (169 Nm)
    • Torque (rpm) 3,500
    • Power (Hp/kW) 103 HP / 77 kW @ 4750 rpm
    • Fuel Economy 47 mpg (5 l/100 km)
    • Valves – Pushrod-operated, overhead valves
    • Bore – 4.075 in. (103.5 mm)
    • Stroke – 4.5 in. (114.3 mm)
    • Displacement – 117 cu in (1,923 cc)
    • Compression Ratio – 10.2:1
    • Fuel System Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) 3
    • Air Cleaner – Heavy Breather intake with synthetic media,
      washable exposed element
    • Exhaust – 2-into-2 offset shotgun; catalyst in muffler
    • Lubrication System Pressurized, dry-sump with oil cooler
  • Primary Drive Chain – 34/46 ratio
  • Final Drive Belt – 32/66 ratio
  • Clutch – Mechanical, 10 plate wet, assist & conventional
  • Transmission 6-Speed Cruise Drive®
    • 1st – Gear Ratios (overall) 9.311
    • 2nd – Gear Ratios (overall) 6.454
    • 3rd – Gear Ratios (overall) 4.793
    • 4th – Gear Ratios (overall) 3.882
    • 5th – Gear Ratios (overall) 3.307
    • 6th – Gear Ratios (overall) 2.79

Frame, brakes, and wheels

  • Frame – Mild steel, tubular frame; rectangular section
    backbone; stamped, cast, and forged junctions; MIG welded; aluminum forged fender  supports
  • Swingarm – Mild steel, tubular sections, stamped x-member, forged axle junctions; MIG welded; removable belt spacer
    Front Fork – Single cartridge 43 mm inverted with aluminum fork triple clamps; triple  rate spring
  • Rear Shocks – Hidden, free piston, coil-over monoshock; 56 mm stroke; hydraulic preload adjustment
  • Wheels – Front Type Dark bronze, Radiate cast aluminum wheel
  • Wheels – Front Width 2.5 in. (64 mm)
  • Wheels, Front Height 19 in. (483 mm)
  • Wheels, Rear Type Dark bronze, Radiate cast aluminum wheel
  • Wheels, Rear Width 5 in. (127 mm)
  • Wheels, Rear Height 16 in. (406 mm)
  • Brakes – Caliper Type 4-piston fixed front and 2-piston floating rear
    • Rotor Type Front and rear black, Split 7-spoke floating rotors
    • Front Diameter 11.8 in. (300 mm)
    • Front Thickness 0.2 in. (5 mm)
    • Front is dual Yes
    • Rear Diameter 11.5 in. (292 mm)
    • Rear Thickness 0.23 in. (5.8 mm)
    • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) Standard
  • Suspension Travel, Front 5.1 in. (130 mm)
  • Suspension Travel, Rear 4.4 in. (112 mm)
  • Warranty 24 months (unlimited mileage)
  •  Service Interval – First 1,000 miles (1,600 km), every 5,000 miles (8,000 km) thereafter



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It’s not news that motorcycle sales had been declining before the pandemic.  And, millennials did not appear to be interested in two-wheeled transportation.  But with the outbreak of the pandemic, those two things appear to be changing.

Many motorcycle manufacturers are seeing record growth.  Several OEMs like Ducati, BMW, and Energica have been able to post record sales in 2020 and 2021.  And now, the Japanese OEMs are showing similar results, with the Big Four reporting that 2021 domestic shipments are at a 23-year high.

The Japan Automobile Manufacturer’s Association reports that Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha 2021 sales were 233,059 units (bikes over 51cc), not including those sold in December.  These numbers reflect a 20.6 percent uptick over the same period in 2020.

Younger riders returning

But there’s better long-term news.  It seems that, at least for now, millennials are returning to two wheels.  Although Kawasaki’s sales data points to middle-aged and older riders purchasing bikes, the story is different for the remaining Big Four Japanese manufacturers.

Both Honda and Yamaha’s data points to increasing sales among younger riders.  In 2021, Honda sold over 30,000 PCX scooters.  Yamaha’s data shows that more than half of their YZF-R25 customers are people in their teens and twenties.  Suzuki is also reporting increasing sales with young persons.  They drove a 40-percent jump in GSX250 sales between January and October 2021.

While the data is looking good for sales, the Japanese OEMs are taking a long-term view of this spike in sales and ridership.  Yamaha Motor President Yoshiro Hidaka said:

“The rapid surge in demand will likely settle down once the coronavirus pandemic subsides.”

So in an effort to keep the sales going, Yamaha is hoping to continue its growing rider base by hosting amateur racing.  Hopefully, the other OEMs will take at least some measures to keep ridership growing.

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Waiting around for Honda/Yamaha/Suzuki/Kawasaki to release a practical electric motorcycle? We expect an all-electric sportbike from Japan this year, but that might not be the sensible commuter you want. Maybe the new Kymco Like 125 EV will fill that void instead, if it’s available in your market.

Wait, Kymco’s building an electric scooter? In case you hadn’t noticed, everyone’s trying to build a battery bike these days. Development of internal combustion engines has basically trailed off amongst the Euro and Japanese manufacturers, and now, Harley-Davidson, the Big Four and BMW/KTM/Ducati et. al. are working on electric motorcycles and scooters.


NASA design meets European scooter styling. Photo: Kymco

However, it’s not just the big-name manufacturers of the industry who are headed this direction. Kymco and other Asian motorcycle/scooter manufacturers are also working hard on electrification, and although these brands aren’t as well-known in western markets, they are still massive companies, with sales numbers that would tower over the puny North American market.

So, what’s the Kymco 125 Like EV all about? It’s all about a brushless DC motor with 3,200-watt output (that converts to just over 4 horsepower). Hardly impressive, but it’s enough to get around urban areas, especially when you consider there’s more than 90 pound-feet of torque at the rear wheel. It won’t take long to get up to top speed.

The new EV’s battery pack is more interesting than its motor. In stock form, the Kymco scoot comes with two quick-charge 50V/13Ah li-ion batteries, which can be recharged in an hour or less. It seems those batteries are good for roughly 80 kilometers of range inside city limits, which isn’t much. However, the scooter’s storage space is made to hold an additional three batteries, which boosts range to 200 kilometers.

Photo: Kymco
Photo: Kymco

Photo: Kymco
Photo: Kymco

That sort of range would make the Kymco Like 125 EV a practical choice for delivery riders and other people who need all-day transportation without long breaks for recharging. It also makes the scooter a bit more practical for out-of-town rides on quiet, slow roads. If pricing is reasonable (and it should be), then the combination of useful torque and real-world-usable range could make this little electric scooter a breakthrough success in markets where it’s introduced.

Alas, that does not appear to include the North American market, at least for now. Elektrek reports the Like 125 EV is headed to Europe for the low, low price of €1,200. However, we have seen no indication it’s coming to the US, and Canada’s Kymco importer seems to be focusing on ATVs right now.

This scooter comes with general Euro styling, a single-disc front brake and drum rear brake, and rolls on 12-inch aluminum wheels.Find more deets on the Kymco Like 125 EV at the company’s website here.

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While much of the world is hearing the death knell for internal combustion engines, one company thinks they have a solution that will allow the suck, squish, bang, blow to continue, at least a little while longer. While large automobile companies like Audi, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz have announced that they have ceased research and development of IC powerplants, Astron Aerospace are in the midst of creating an all-new engine architecture unlike anything else on the market. With the usual dramatic claims of greatly improved power-to-weight, efficiency and low emissions, will this be the next big thing, or vaporware never to see the light of day?

Omega 1 Engine. Credit: Astron

Omega 1 Engine. Credit: Astron

While Astron has not signaled any intention to develop an engine for motorcycles, the claimed compact size and weight would seemingly be tailor-made for a two-wheeled application, especially since the weight and bulk of the current crop of batteries for electric motorcycles is one of the factors holding the segment back from hitting the mainstream. Thousands of pounds of batteries are acceptable in a Tesla when the power output is so prodigious and the overall weight of the vehicle is already in the thousands of pounds, but when the typical motorcycle weighs 500 pounds or less, adding any significant weight with batteries kills the performance and range very quickly. Astron sees their engine as being suitable for everything from aerospace, generators, military applications, and as a range extender for electric vehicles.

Omega 1 engine exploded view. Credit: Astron

Omega 1 engine exploded view. Credit: Astron

The Astron Omega 1 is truly a unique design, which, if it works, does seem to be a possible contender for the saving grace for IC engines. What Astron has done is separate the four strokes in a four-stroke engine into two separate chambers with a pre-chamber in between. The layout consists of two main shafts stacked vertically and connected with synchronizing gears so that they spin at the same RPM in opposite directions. Four rotors run on the two shafts in two pairs, one stacked pair on the front end taking care of the intake and compression strokes, the other pair on the back end taking care of combustion and exhaust strokes. Between the two sets of rotors is a rotary disc valve and a pre-chamber.

The two lower rotors both have a paddle running in their own chamber, and the two upper rotors are solid except for a notch that meshes with the lower rotors’ paddles. Air is introduced into the front end chamber ahead of the paddle, and as it rotates, the paddle compresses the air as it comes up against the upper solid rotor. When the notch in the upper rotor is exposed, a port in the side of the chamber opens up, allowing the compressed air to flow into the prechamber. The paddle meshes with the notch, then the cycle starts again.

Meanwhile, in the pre-chamber, fuel is introduced via an injector. The mixture is then allowed into the rear chamber by the rotary valve, and a pair of glow plugs ignite the mixture. The resulting flame propels the paddle on the rear lower rotor around until the exhaust port is exposed, and the burnt gasses are expelled from the rear chamber.

The result is an engine with no reciprocating parts, and Astron claims that with precise machining, no sealing issues such as those found in a Wankel rotary engine. The detailed exploded view does not appear to have any seals except those for the four large bearings. Astron Aerospace claims the Omega 1 weighs 35 lbs. (15.9 kg), produces 160 horsepower, 170 lb-ft of torque, idles at 1000 RPM, and redlines at 25,000 RPM. They have built a running prototype, and they claim that the engine can run on a variety of fuels, with extremely low emissions (zero in some cases).

Automobile and motorcycle manufacturers are currently scrambling to perfect the all-electric vehicle to meet the low-emissions, no fossil fuel demands of governments worldwide, but it seems there are some who are still championing the cause of internal combustion. If Astron Aerospace can bring the Omega 1 (or 2 or 99) to fruition, there may well still be some life left in the fuel burners yet.


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Harley-Davidson has released details of its 2022 model lineup, and on balance, it’s a light reshuffle of models from 2021 (R.I.P., cool Sport Glide), and some pretty new colors and wheels for some rides. Yes, the well-received Pan America adventure bike returns, of course, and with a spiffy new Blue-White color scheme (above), but no other major changes.

If you’re keeping track, here’s what’s coming back: the Pan America 1250 base model, Pan America 1250 Special, Sportster S (the new liquid-cooled model), Iron 883 (air-cooled 883 Sportster), Forty-Eight (air-cooled 1200 Sportster), Softail Standard, Heritage Classic 114, Street Bob 114, Fat Bob 114, Fat Boy 114, Electra Glide Standard, Road King, Road King Special, Road Glide, Road Glide Special, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Ultra Limited, Road Glide Limited, Tri Glide Ultra (touring trike), and the Freewheeler (sportier trike).

Not returning? The above lamented Sport Glide, the Softail Slim, the Iron 1200 (aka Sportster 1200) and the Electra Glide Revival, a limited production model. Also not appearing for 2022 is the popular Low Rider S, but that leads to another question: Will it reappear in the big upcoming January 26 “Further, Faster” new bike reveal?

The internet is rife with rumors about what the Jan. 26th event will bring, from a possible “new” Low Rider S kitted for light touring to a completely new bike based on the new 1250cc RevMax plant (possibly the thought-to-be-shelved Bronx streetfighter, below) to a longer-range, more sport-touring version of the Pan America.


Harley released this image of the Bronx Streetfighter back in 2019, which seems like 10 years ago. Could this be the time? – Harley-Davidson image

Harley has been cagy of course, and their emailed invites and internet ads feature a short video showing some tank art (very Low Rider S type tank art), solid wheel spokes and some possible exotic materials like carbon fiber. Really, your guess is as good as anyone’s (feel free to speculate in comments).

With new-think models like the Pan America and Sportster S showing H-D’s willingness to go modern and be aggressive, we’re hoping the big news on the 26th is more of the same and less of the same old same old. What would you like to see Harley come up with?

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There’s another big merger in the moto aftermarket that’s just been announced: Arrowhead Engineered Products has purchased Western Power Sports.

Western Power Sports (aka WPS) is a well-known name for many riders, but maybe not Arrowhead Engineered Products. Yet, Arrowhead is responsible for many products that DIY wrenchers are familiar with. It’s the distribution company behind All Balls Racing, Vertex Pistons, Cylinder Works, Hot Cams, Hot Rods, Pivot Works, and Tiger Lights. As well, Arrowhead is also involved with many other non-moto products (power equipment, golf carts and a lot more).

As for Western Power Sports, many riders are familiar with the products it distributes. In the US, Western Power Sports is exclusive distributor for FLY Racing, Sedona Tire & Wheel, Open Trail, Shinko Tires, Fire Power, SP1, LC, GMAX, Rale, ScorpionEXO, Alpinestars and many other brands.

Now, Arrowhead owns WPS, and will control even more of the motorcycle and ATV/UTV aftermarket scene. According to a press release regarding the sale, “WPS serves nearly 12,000 customers with more than 150 sales reps and seven U.S. distribution centers.” No doubt there will be some sort of reorganization of all this infrastructure; expect this deal to impact both the industry and consumers for years to come, as a result.

Changing landscape

The move comes as we’ve seen considerable shifting in the landscape of the American aftermarket scene over the past decade. In the last major deal we saw, Tucker Powersports bought Kuryakyn; before that, Comoto Holdings (parent company of Revzilla) bought J&P Cycles. We’ve seen other similar merges and buy-outs every few months since the ’08 financial crash left the world trying to figure out how to pay its bills. Throw in some Internet retail disruption, and the aftermarket scene is changing rapidly.

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Chalk this one up to more than a rumor, but not verified.  According to India’s BikeWale, Royal Enfield will bring a new Himalayan 450 to market.  Interestingly, they have quite a few details on the machine, which might lend a little more credence to their report.

The Himalayan 450 is a brand new platform and reportedly carries the codename K1.  Its power will come from a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine that supposedly will churn out about 40 hp.  However, BikeWale says that their sources indicate that the engine can produce 45 hp, but Royal Enfield is focusing more on stronger low and mid-range power.

Design rendering

A rendering of the bike shows a brand new design philosophy.  This machine does not look like the bike it will allegedly replace.  Instead, it has a much smoother and “dirt bike-ish” look.  But there are design elements that do harken to the Himalayan 411.  For example, the headlight and tank guard has a bit of that machine’s look.

Sporting a trellis frame, long-travel suspension, and upside-down fork legs, and what looks to be a lot of ground clearance, the bike is to be positioned as Royal Enfield’s “hardcore” adventure machine.  But it also appears to have comfort as a key parameter with center set footpegs, a long one-piece seat, and pulled-back handlebars.

In addition, the 21″/17″ wheelset looks similar to the current Himalayan as well.  BikeWale says that the wheels for the new machine will come with tubeless tires.


As for when you might expect Royal Enfield to release the Himalayan 450, BikeWale says that it should make an appearance in India in the first quarter of 2023.  It’s too early to predict whether Royal Enfield will produce the bike for export.

But Royal Enfield has made it clear that it is looking to grow through exports, so if the bike does make it to market, it’s not a long shot that the company would export the bike to the rest of the world.


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If there are two things MV Agusta is good at, it’s making attractive motorcycles, and making promises. And now, we’ve got new promises from the Italian manufacturer, saying there’s an updated three-cylinder engine coming, along with a new four-cylinder powerplant.

The news comes out of an interview that MV Agusta’s CEO did with Brit moto-outlet MCN (read the whole thing here). The interview took place at November’s EICMA show, and MV Agusta bigwig Timur Sardarov promised a line of new bikes based on the company’s 950 cc triple. That’s the engine used in the Lucky Explorer 9.5 (which debuted at EICMA). In addition to this rally raid tribute machine, MV Agusta says it plans to bring the engine to other bikes, including naked bikes and sportbikes. Along with the new 950, Sardarov told MCN that MV Agusta also plans to still offer the 800 series in the future as well.

However, hardened sportbike fans will not be so excited about that triple, as it’s based on a fairly old design at this point. For the true performance junkie, MV Agusta instead says it will bring out a four-cylinder litrebike in the future. The brand’s fans should be rejoicing, as the F4 inline-four is now past its best-before date. Not that it can’t offer thrills, but other manufacturers have left it behind with their latest superbike updates.

We’ve heard all this before, though, and yet we’re still waiting. MV Agusta’s shaky financials have caused delay after delay, and it seems the beancounters are making sure that any forward progress is done at a financially viable pace. So, we wait.

We’ll wait for the new Lucky Explorer adventure bike as well. While the smaller 5.5 model might be released to showrooms fairly soon, as it’s based on a Chinese design, the big-bore 9.5 version is not expected to sell before the spring, MV Agusta’s chief told MCN. No surprise—the photos out of EICMA were obviously not a street-ready bike, and we didn’t see the usual videos of fast-paced desert test riding.

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The 2021 MotoGP season is now complete.  And MotoGP’s rule-making body, the Grand Prix Commission, is announcing some rule changes for 2022 and beyond.  The changes affect many different areas of the sport.

Age limit

Some changes do not affect the bikes themselves.  For example, confirmed for 2023 is a change in the minimum age limit for all three classes of riders; Moto3, Moto2, and MotoGP.  From 2023 onward, the minimum competitor age will rise to 18.  The change is the result of some tragic deaths of young riders in elite roadracing, particularly three high-profile incidents in 2021.

107% lap time rule

In addition, the Commission has deemed it essential to ensure that the potential racers have the skill to compete at this level.  As such, the qualification limit is now only 105%, down from 107%.

It’s not a huge difference, but it does have an impact.  For example, the average lap around GP circuits is somewhere around 1’40, or 100 seconds.   Under the old rule, all competitors must qualify within 7 seconds of the fastest lap (100 seconds X 7%).  With the updated rule, all competitors must qualify within 5 seconds (100 seconds X 5%) of the fastest time set.


One of the more substantial mechanical rule changes has to do with brakes.  In MotoGP, the allowable brake disk size is increasing from 340 to 355 mm.  MotoGP’s increasing speeds and rider talent have made the importance of dissipating energy quickly paramount.  With the relative competitiveness of all the bikes in the field, it’s braking and corner entry where real racing gains occur.

While Brembo’s new calipers have been helpful in this area, having larger discs will assist in the dissipation of heat and the ability to brake harder and later.

In a similar move, the Commission will allow Moto2 machines to use brake cooling ducts.  Again, this is to help dissipate the heat from heavier braking.

There are also other changes aiming to close loopholes and ensure closer competition.  Most of the changes are technical in nature.

CAD drawings

For 2022, factories will have to provide 3D CAD drawings or a sample of their aero packages to the Technical Director.  In the past, detailed drawings were deemed sufficient.  But 3D CAD drawings provide far more data beyond the dimensions of the aerodynamic wings and other such devices.  The more detailed drawings should help the Technical Director understand if the materials will move/deflect under aero load, such as had been an issue in Formula 1.

Ride Height

There is also a new process to determine whether a ride height device is legal.  The new procedure hopes to crack down on attempts to go around the ban on systems that use more than the changing attitude of the bike as a trigger.

Performance parts designation

For Moto3, there is a substantial change regarding certain parts.  Starting in 2022, the bike’s wiring loom, fuel pump assembly, and pressure regulator will become a “performance part.”

With the new designation, these parts must now be homologated by the Technical Director and, once approved, will be made available to all teams.   Last year, the Leopard Honda’s seemed to have more speed than other Moto3 machines from KTM and other Hondas.

Perhaps the Commission thought that these parts were the contributing factor to Leopard’s extra speed.  There’s no way to know for certain, but if they were one of the primary reasons for it; the Commission will likely have leveled the playing field somewhat.

Commission FIM

Image credit: FIM

Injury assessment

The Commission is taking steps to tighten up the assessment of injuries.  Specifically, they are setting new evidence requirements before a rider can be deemed fit to return to racing.

The new evidentiary requirements pertain to recovery from a head injury and concussion, abdominal/thoracic injury, and musculoskeletal injuries such as fractions requiring surgery, compound or complex fractures.

The FIM press release does not indicate precisely what that evidence is.  However, it does say that the Chief Medical Officer, MotoGP Medical Director, and the FIM Medical Officer can request a further opinion on the evidence submitted.  They will then make the final determination as to whether a rider is fit to return to competition.

Helmet evaluation

The Commission is making it clear that it wants to know more about head injuries and a helmet’s ability to protect riders.  As a result, there is now a testing process for the helmets of all riders that are taken to the medical center.

All helmets worn by a rider taken to the medical center must now be submitted to medical personnel or the Chief Medical Officer for control by the Technical Director or the Technical Stewards before being returned to the rider or the team manager.

If a rider suffers a head injury, including a concussion or loss of consciousness (unless a specific provision of a national law advises otherwise), the rider’s helmet must be forwarded to the FIM Laboratory at the University of Zaragoza for expert examination and non-destructive analysis.

Helmet manufacturers will be notified of the tests to be carried out and have the right to approve or refuse them.  They may also attend the tests if they desire.  Once testing is complete, the helmet will be returned to the rider, team, or manufacturer.

Disciplinary Regulations

The Commission is creating a new position called the Judge of Facts.  The Judge’s job will be to assess on-track regulation infractions.  Issues such as jump starts, track limits violations, etc., now fall under the auspices of the newly created position.  And to make things more definite, the Judge’s decision is final.  There can be no appeals.




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Not too long ago, we told you about Mahindra-owned Classic Legends’ plan to resurrect the Yezdi brand.  The move was confirmed last year, and now it seems that Yezdi’s first revived bike will arrive on January 13th, 2022.

Several Indian outlets were told to block their calendars for the reveal.  Unfortunately, there is little other information available.

That said, there have been spy shots of different bikes that could be the test mules for new Yezdi models.  One appears to be an “adventure bike” and could be positioned to take on the Royal Enfield Himalayan.

As for the bike’s specs, Indian outlet Gaadiwaadi says that it will likely get its power from the same 293 cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine that currently drives the Jawa and Jawa 42.  If it is the same engine, you can expect it to pump out about 27 hp and 20 lb-ft of torque.


Potential Yezdi resurrection candidates.  Image credit: Yezdi

However, webbikeworld says that the new Yezdi’s will be powered by the 334 cc single-cylinder engine currently found in the Jawa Perak.  If that’s the case, the new Yezdi will get a bump in power compared to Jawa 42’s engine.  The Perak’s powerplant makes about 31 hp and 24.1 lb-ft of torque.

Unfortunately, there’s no information about the new bikes on Yezdi’s website.  It currently shows six different heritage models from Yezdi’s past, including the:

  • Road King
  • Classic
  • CL II
  • Deluxe
  • Monarch
  • Yezdi 125

Whether Classic Legends intends to bring one or all of these models back to life is unclear.  And at least at its rollout, you shouldn’t expect the bike to reach North American shores.

Whatever Yezdi’s plans are, it won’t be long before we know which of these bikes if any become the first resurrected Yezdi model.



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Alpinestars is showing off its Tech-Air airbag systems at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this weekend, including a new offroad airbag system.

The new lineup includes the  Tech-Air 10, Tech-Air 3, and Tech-Air Off-Road V2 autonomous airbag systems, all aimed at different usage scenarios. Alpinestars’ press release says they’re all “all-new” but does not list any actual updates to the either the Tech-Air 10 or Tech-Air 3. Most likely, there are some changes to the software that manages the 10 and the 3.

It seems we’ll see significant updates to the Tech-Air Off-Road V2, at least. We don’t learn much about this suit, but it’s the second-generation suit from Alpinestars for rally raid racers, and likely this is what the Dakar racers are using this year (the original suit, debuting in 2020, was aimed at Dakar riders). Alpinestars says it will be available for sale “later in 2022,” so maybe Ricky Brabec or Andrew Short are beta testing it for us?

Although you can’t buy it, you can see the new offroad vest at Alpinestars’ booth at CES (in Tech West of the Venetian Expo, Level 2, Halls A-C, Booth 54932 in the Lifestyle zone of the Venetian Ballroom). By the way, the very fact that Alpinestars is at CES, and that Damon launched its new HyperFighter there, show just how quickly the world of moto is changing. Bikes and gear at a tech show, not EICMA? The times, they are a’changin’.


On the left, the Tech-Air 10 is for roadracing. On the right (and not pictured to scale), the Tech-Air 5 is for street use, over your riding gear. Photo: Alpinestars

On to the other suits. The Tech-Air 10 is the top-shelf suit aimed at roadracers. It has coverage for the rider’s torso (chest, shoulders and full back protection) and hips. It’s made to fit with Alpinestars’ Tech-Air Ready suits, but will also work with any third-party leather suit that has 4 cm of space around the circumference of the rider’s chest, and 2 cm of space around the circumference of the rider’s hips.

Alpinestars doesn’t list MSRP for this suit, or any of the other new airbag systems, but it’s worth noting that since they’ve taken to wearing these things, MotoGP racers have been able to shrug off crashes that would have put them out of action for the weekend, or longer, in the old days.

All safety equipment is a compromise, though, and if you feel you don’t need race-spec protection for your commute, you can opt for the Tech-Air 3. This is a vest-style airbag system that’s intended for wear over a rider’s jacket. It’s weatherproof, and it can be stowed away in a backpack or even in a scooter’s trunk when not being used (if you want to wear your stylish moto jacket around town once you’re parked, and not your airbag). The Tech-Air 3 also comes in a women’s version as well as men’s sizing.

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