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  1. At the earlier this year, Yamaha unveiled its all-new YZ65 youth motocross bike. Big Blue was aware it had a relatively large gap in its product offering between the PW50 to the YZ85, and has filled that gap with the YZ65. The all-new machine features a 65cc, two-stroke, Yamaha Power Valve System (YPVS)-equipped engine, KYB suspension components front and rear, and a steel frame. Yamaha invited us out to Competitive Edge MX Park in Hesperia, California, to test the all-new YZ65, and we let our youth test rider Jack Carrigg loose on it to give us his first ride impression. The YZ65 is an all-new model for Yamaha. Engine The power valve-equipped engine is fed by a Keihin PWK 28mm carburetor and fires to life easily with a few kicks, even when cold. The engine sounds crisp and delivers a surprisingly deep and throaty note for a 65 as well. Another thing that’s immediately noticeable is how easy the clutch pull is, a very ideal characteristic for younger riders with smaller hands. On the track, the engine pulled quickly through the gears, which was very impressive, especially considering Carrigg’s 4-foot-10 95-pound stature. The bike accelerates quickly through each gear due to a combination of how fast the engine revs as well as the gearing of the six-speed transmission being pretty close, which required a foot near the shifter most of the time to keep grabbing gears. Lastly, very minimal clutch work was necessary when exiting corners as long as the correct gear was selected. The YZ65 retails for $4,599 and is available beginning this month at Yamaha dealerships. Suspension Similar to the rest of the YZ line, the YZ65 is spec’d with KYB suspension components front and rear. The fork is a 36mm coil-spring unit with rebound and compression damping adjustability and 8.5 inches of travel. Out back, the shock is a link-less design with adjustable spring preload, rebound, and compression damping and 10.6 inches of travel. With the stock settings, the YZ65 felt balanced from front to rear, but Carrigg opted to stiffen the compression a few clicks on the fork and shock to get better hold-up in corners, which helped significantly. The KYB units did a great job of absorbing the small chop as well as the larger jump landings with a plush feeling that ’s KYB suspension has become so well-known for on the full-size bikes. The Yamaha Power Valve System (YPVS)-equipped 65cc two-stroke engine delivers an impressive amount of power for a 65 and pulls quickly through each gear. Chassis/Handling The YZ65 uses a high-rigidity steel-tube frame and aluminum subframe and swingarm. Also, the front and rear wheels are blue Excel rims fitted with Maxxis Maxxcross tires. The rider cockpit felt very comfortable, and the seat in particular was slim, flat, offered good grip, and was fairly long, which allowed for ease of movement. The shifter and rear brake placement were spot-on and the footpegs were nice and grippy as well. The bike cornered impressively, especially after stiffening the compression on the fork and shock to get better hold-up. The YZ65 features four position handlebar mounts with 27mm of adjustment range. Carrigg opted to leave them in the stock position for the first ride as they felt fairly comfortable there, but he intends to move them forward due to his taller size for the bike. Like the full-size YZs, the 65’s KYB suspension is plush and handled everything from braking bumps to jump landings well. Conclusion All-new motocross models are not that common, especially in the youth market, and we applaud Yamaha for producing a new bike to offer another option for those looking to buy a 65cc motocrosser for their young one. The YZ65 impressed us from the get-go with a powerful engine with a crisp throttle response, plush suspension, and a balanced chassis. Stiffening the compression on the fork and shock helped the bike’s already-good cornering capabilities. After his first full day of riding the it, Carrigg commented that the bike’s size, power, sound, and fun factor were all spot-on, and that it felt “just right” for a 65. The new YZ retails for $4,599 and is available beginning this month at Yamaha dealerships. It’s also eligible for Loretta Lynn’s as well as other amateur national events that host classes for 65cc machines. We’ll be putting more time on this new blue ripper at different tracks, so stay tuned for the full review after we put more time on it. Want more news like this? Sign up to receive our newsletters and never miss an update! By submitting above, you agree to our . The 2018 Yamaha YZ65 impressed us from the get-go with a powerful engine with a crisp throttle response, plush suspension, and a balanced chassis. Tech Spec 2018 Yamaha YZ65 PRICE $4,599 ENGINE 65cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder two-stroke TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/chain MEASURED HORSEPOWER N/A MEASURED TORQUE N/A FRAME Steel tube FRONT SUSPENSION KYB 36mm fork adjustable for rebound and compression damping; 8.5-in. travel REAR SUSPENSION KYB shock adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping; 10.6-in. travel FRONT BRAKE Single 198mm disc w/ twin-piston caliper REAR BRAKE Single 190mm disc RAKE/TRAIL 26.4°/2.5 in. WHEELBASE 45.0 in. SEAT HEIGHT 29.5 in. FUEL CAPACITY 0.9 gal. CLAIMED WEIGHT 134 lb. wet AVAILABLE Now CONTACT Sursa
  2. When you ride as many different motorcycles as we do it gives you good perspective on a given bike’s strengths and weaknesses. And whether you’re shopping for your next bike or just want to be in the know, it’s helpful to get an experienced rider’s opinion. So as a quick way to convey the highs and lows of the bikes we’ve been riding we came up with this new video series. Favorites & Fails is exactly what the name suggests, a concise list of the good and bad for the bikes we’re riding. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive evaluation or road test, but rather a candid snapshot, delivered with the same sincerity and honesty we’d show to a friend that wanted our opinion on a given bike. Hopefully you find it helpful or at least informative. Don’t agree with us, or have a motorcycle you want us to put through the F&F wringer? Feel free to chime in below in the comments section. Without anything to compare, the KTM Super Duke’s dyno chart just looks like nice, linear power and a flat torque curve. It is that, but also makes more torque at 3,500rpm than most bikes ever do, with around (or more than) 80 pound-feet on tap from 4,000 to 10,000rpm. QUICK SPECS PRICE AS TESTED $17,999 DISPLACEMENT 1301cc MEASURED WEIGHT 472 lb. (214 kg) FUEL CAPACITY 4.8 gal. (18L) SEAT HEIGHT 32.9 in. (835mm) MEASURED HORSEPOWER 154.7 @ 9960 rpm MEASURED TORQUE 92.5 lb.-ft. @ 7390 rpm Sursa
  3. To paraphrase a Norwegian saying, “There’s no such thing as bad coffee, just bad roasting.” The same can be said for motorcycles. Certain machines are preferred by one rider over another, in the same way certain coffee roasts are preferred. Sometimes it’s based on nostalgia or budget, sometimes it’s for purely visceral reasons. We pulled together four coffee connoisseurs from different backgrounds and arranged a taste test of five motorcycle-themed roasts from different parts of the country. Our objective wasn’t to select the best, but to discover the highlights of each roast. Five roasters provided fresh beans: Flat Track Sidepipe blend (Austin, TX); Moto Brew medium roast Chiapas (Seattle, WA); Blip Ethiopia Kochere (Kansas City, MO); Cafe Moto Blue Sky global mixture dark (San Diego, CA); and Two Stroke house blend (Portland, OR). Here's a quick breakdown of the cupping protocol of Tyler Toy, director of coffee at Red Rock Coffee in downtown Mountain View, California, where our taste test was held on March 19: We weigh 12.8 grams of coffee for an 8-ounce cupping bowl, Grind coffee at a medium setting, Smell the dry fragrance of the coffee, Add hot water (200 degrees Fahrenheit) to each bowl, Smell the wet aroma of the coffee after breaking the crust, After about 18 minutes, taste the coffee. We evaluate the coffee based on these factors: Acidity (sourness, like lemons or vinegar) Sweetness Bitterness (like biting into a pill, not usually a desirable characteristic) Body/mouth feel Dry fragrance/wet aroma Cleanliness of the coffee (does it have defects?) What’s third wave? It’s a movement to produce high-quality coffee, like artisanal foodstuff or wine, rather than a commodity. This involves all stages of production, from improving coffee plant growing, harvesting, and processing, to stronger relationships between coffee growers, traders, and roasters, to higher quality and fresh roasting. Some call it “micro roasting” (like microbrewed beer). Sounds highfalutin, but it tastes 10 times better than that diner coffee most Americans have been settling for. Third wave coffee is a relatively new thing, with roots in Portland, Oregon, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Surface test. With Starbucks commoditizing coffee across 27,000 locations, third wave aspires to the highest form of culinary appreciation of coffee, so that one may appreciate subtleties of flavor, varietal, and growing region—similar to other complex consumables like wine, tea, and chocolate. Distinctive features of third wave coffee include direct trade coffee, high-quality beans, single-origin coffee (as opposed to blends), lighter roasts, and latte art. It also includes revivals of alternative methods of coffee preparation, such as vacuum coffee and pour-over brewing devices. Our testers were Matthew Park, parts manager for BMW Motorcycles of San Francisco; Katie Coleman, music director and pianist; John Riemenschnitter, pastor of Highway Community; and yours truly. Five roasters provided fresh beans: Flat Track Sidepipe blend (Austin, Texas); Moto Brew medium-roast Chiapas (Seattle); Blip Ethiopia Kochere (Kansas City, Missouri); Café Moto Blue Sky global mixture dark (San Diego); and Two Stroke house blend (Portland, Oregon). Red Rock’s director of coff, Tyler Toy. To begin, Toy had each of us smell the dry fragrance of the coffee. He then added hot water (200 degrees Fahrenheit) to each bowl, and had us smell the wet aroma of the coffee after breaking the “crust” or surface of the pour. After about 18 minutes, we tasted the coffee by slurping from a spoonful. Here are the results, with direct comparisons to the motorcycles each roast represents; going over our notes, I noticed that Matt scribbled in some motorcycle models: Sidepipe Vintage Triumph. Acidity: Neutral Sweetness: None Bitterness: Light Body/mouth feel: Smooth Dry fragrance/wet aroma: Smooth Cleanliness of the coffee: Oaky Tasting notes: Red berry sweetness Chiapas The Deus Ex Machina Honda Sport 90 racer. Acidity: Neutral Sweetness: None Bitterness: Light Body/mouth feel: Rich Dry fragrance/wet aroma: Smooth Cleanliness of the coffee: Creamy Tasting notes: Herbs Ethiopia Kochere Ducati Monster 1200. Acidity: Neutral Sweetness: Pineapple Bitterness: Faint Body/mouth feel: Thin (like a rich tea) Dry fragrance/wet aroma: Mild Cleanliness of the coffee: Sweet Tasting notes: Peach/pineapple Blue Sky Harley-Davidson Knucklehead. Acidity: Strong Sweetness: None Bitterness: Mild Body/mouth feel: Dark Dry fragrance/wet aroma: Intense Cleanliness of the coffee: Dark Tasting notes: Tobacco/charcoal House Blend KTM two-stroke enduro. Acidity: Strong Sweetness: Flowery Bitterness: Faint Body/mouth feel: Smooth Dry fragrance/wet aroma: Smooth Cleanliness of the coffee: Smooth Tasting notes: Neutral/clean Two Stroke is based in the St. John’s neighborhood in northwest Portland, Oregon. Blip Roasters are based in Kansas City, Missouri. Cafe Moto is based in San Diego. Left: Gaz aroma testing. Right: Does it smell like two stroke? Nope. Katie chats about Moto Brew. Left: Matt going in for the aroma test on Flat Track. Right: Tasting time. Sursa
  4. Let's take a moment to remember the carburetor. This article was originally published in the 2001 issue of Cycle World’s Power & Performance magazine. A moment of silence, please, for the carburetor. It is dead, you know; we motorcyclists are just hanging onto the remains until the official death certificate is issued. There is no question that those traditional fuel-mixers are ancient history, beloved but outdated instruments of another era made obsolete by electronic fuel injection. After all, there hasn't been a carbureted automobile produced in more than a decade; and with an increasing number of new bikes being equipped with EFI each model year, it won't be long before the carburetor is discussed only in the past tense among motorcyclists, as well. That transition, from carburetion to , scares the hell out of some people, and not just the ones who like to tinker with their bikes on weekends. Even a lot of experienced tuners consider fuel injection a new-age intrusion that has unnecessarily complicated what formerly was a simple procedure. But that's to be expected: Any time a new technology begins to replace an older one, the high priests of the old way feel threatened. Those of us who learned the tricks of carburetion don't like to see our hard-earned knowledge become irrelevant. We balk at the notion of software hotshots, using a whole new language we don't understand, taking over the task of fuel delivery. Many hot-rodders also fear that once fuel injection becomes universal, engine modification will be impossible. Not true! Class is in session, so pay attention. Although it seems that fuel injection threatens to take control of fuel mixture out of the user's hands and put it into those of government emissions regulators, this is not the case. Yes, EFI is becoming the preferred method by which manufacturers can comply with ever-more-stringent exhaust-emissions regulations. But new developments that we'll discuss in a few minutes are making it simpler to tune fuel injection, and those advances will soon make adjusting the mixture an easier process than it ever was with carburetors. Actually, when you make a point-by-point comparison between carburetors and fuel injection, EFI seems a much more rational way to deliver fuel into an engine. To understand why, let's take a quick refresher course in carburetion. Carburetors are analog devices that deliver fuel in response to variations in intake vacuum. This vacuum arises, as noted by Bernoulli's famous principle,from the fact that as air is set into motion, it trades away some of its pressure to create velocity. The resulting partial vacuum in the venturi of a carburetor is powerful enough to draw up fuel from the float bowl and spray it into the airstream, thereby forming an air-fuel mixture. This low pressure—referred to as the "metering signal"—is the analog of the engine's fuel needs. The art in carburetion consists of ensuring that fuel is delivered in proper proportion, accomplished by means of fuel jets and airbleeds. As engine suction draws air through the , the low pressure in the venturi, acting on the jets and airbleeds, delivers an approximately correct flow of fuel to the engine. And as rpm and throttle position change, correct fuel flow is approximately maintained. What Are The Causes Of Motorcycle Failures? We use the word "approximately" here because carburetors thrive on consistent intake signal. If the engine's in-take process is much the same at 1200 rpm as it is at 6000, it's easy to get good mixture from a carburetor. But anything that changes or upsets this consistent signal makes carburetion more difficult. A bigger carburetor is the classic example. We put on a big carb to get more airflow to make more power on the top-end; but the bigger the carb, the slower the velocity of the air passing through it at any given rpm and throttle opening, and so the weaker its vacuum signal becomes. By giving the metering circuits weaker signals to work with, the big carburetor makes fuel delivery sluggish at lower rpm; the rule is, the bigger the carb, the bigger the tuning problems. But with electronic fuel injection, which does not depend upon intake vacuum signal, this problem simply goes away. When an engine is modified—for example, by installing longer-duration cams and a less-restrictive exhaust system—the nature of the intake suction pulses is changed. Tuned exhaust pipes may make intake suction stronger in certain speed ranges but weaker in others. And longer-duration cams weaken suction pulsing at lower rpm. Because the suction signal received by the carb has changed, so does the fuel mixture, thus the engine runs poorly. Carburetion experts develop a feel for these kinds of situations. With a few running tests, a carb wizard can determine which way to go with changes to which systems. So, after installing different jets or other metering hardware, he has the engine again running nicely—although there still may be very little he can do to fully compensate for the weaker intake signal. On a modified fuel-injected engine, however, none of this wizardry is useful. Injection systems operate on an entirely different set of principles that allow the delivery of fuel into the intake stream to be based on an engine's actual needs rather than simply on the flow of air over an orifice. By comparison, what fuel injection does makes what carburetors do seem like little more than guesswork. Here are the key basics of EFI: Time Injection Carburetors spray fuel continuously at a rate that varies with airflow. Fuel injection uses one electromagnetically controlled nozzle per cylinder to spray fuel in timed squirts—one spray per cylinder for every two revolutions of the crank. The fuel pressure available at the nozzle is always constant, maintained at a regulated value in a fuel manifold by an electric pump. Therefore, fuel quantity—and thus, the air-fuel mixture—is determined only by how long the nozzle is held open. That duration, called the "on-time," is decided by a control computer. Stored Fueling Information The control computer—usually called an Engine Control Module (or "ECM" for short)—contains a kind of library in which is encoded the correct fuel quantity for the nozzle to inject at every engine rpm and throttle position. This information is determined through extensive dyno testing at the factory during the engine's development stages. Fuel delivery is varied at many rpm points and throttle positions to find the on-time that gives maximum torque. The complete list of those variables, which relate max-torque on-time to rpm and throttle position, is what is called the "fuel map." The map for street-legal motorcycles must also be configured to let the engine meet the prevailing emissions requirements; but on most modified or racing engines, the only criterion is maximum torque at all throttle settings and rpm points. Because of the way in which fuel injection works, its accuracy does not depend upon the tricky correspondence between the engine's actual fuel needs and the intake suction signal. EFI gives the engine what it needs because it knows what those needs are in all conditions by referring to the fuel map. Of course, if those fuel needs are changed because of modifications to the engine, the fuel map must be changed to suit. Rapid Response The control computer nows the engine rpm and the throttle opening at all times because it receives signals from a tachometer and a throttle-position sensor. Before each fuel-injection spray is delivered, the computer effectively looks up the correct on-time for the current rpm and throttle position, then holds the nozzle open for that prescribed amount of time. This is easy work for the computer because a typical ECM operates at between 1 and 10 million information processing steps per second—or 1 to 10 Megahertz (MHz), to use popular computer terminology. This means that at, say, 5000 engine rpm, a 10 MHz computer can perform 120,000 such steps during each rotation of the crank-shaft, or 333 steps for every degree of crank rotation. The computer can operate this quickly because it is of fingernail size, so electrical signals within it travel only tiny distances. This nearly instant response of EFI to changing conditions makes the engine much less likely to bog or hesitate when the throttle is opened suddenly. Automatic Correction Because fuel evaporates incompletely in a cold engine, carburetors use either a choke or an enrichening system to richen the mixture for cold-starting. Carburetors run richer as the weather warms and leaner as it grows colder, thereby changing the power available. And carburetors also allow the mixture to be too rich as we ride to the top of Pike's Peak, where the air is thinner, and too lean as we travel into Death Valley, where the air is more dense. Racers get peak performance in all conditions by changing carburetor jetting to maintain a best-power mixture—not a viable technique for general street riding. In production streetbike engines, carburetion is set rich enough to safely cover anticipated running conditions while also meeting requisite emissions standards, and we tolerate any power losses these trade-offs might produce. With the processing power of a computer, however, these compromises disappear, and all this tuning work can be done automatically. Sensors located around the motorcycle report engine temperature, atmospheric pressure and air temperature to the computer, which then uses simple arithmetic (you can do a lot of figuring in 120,000 steps) to modify the engine's fuel delivery according to all these variables. This is why fuel-injected engines start so well when cold, why they can be immediately ridden off without stalling or hesitation, and why they don't blubber with excess fuel at very high altitudes or starve for fuel at very low altitudes. The fuel map provides the basic data for fuel delivery, and the sensors modify this information according to current engine temperature and air density. Complete Adjustability There are things you just can't do with carburetors, such as vary the time at which fuel reaches a given cylinder, or change the mixture only in one particular part of the rpm band, or vary the strength of the mixture from one cylinder to another, or even from one gear to another. With fuel injection, all of these options—and many more—are not only possible but easy to accomplish. What's more, fuel injection is obedient. We've all experienced carburetion "flat-spots," which typically occur on modified engines. A carburetor needs a venturi vacuum signal strong enough to make it spray fuel, but some combinations of exhaust pipes and cams, at certain speeds, can kill or even reverse that signal, causing a flat spot that often is impossible to eliminate. Fuel injection, however, is immune to such problems; it merely does what it is told by the fuel map and sensors. Okay, you're thinking, this is wonderful stuff if you happen to be a computer hacker or an engine developer working for a motorcycle manufacturer. But what about the rest of us? How do riders who want to modify their fuel-injected engines manage to get their fuel mixtures correctly adjusted? Well, more easily than you might think. Every day of the year, thousands of people who aren't computer geeks or software programmers tune fuel-injection systems. No programming is necessary. All we need is a way to tell the computer what we want. Several such ways exist. Special Chips In some ECMs, the fuel map is stored on a replaceable computer chip. Engines modified with certain cams, pipes and other parts have already been tested and mapped by some OEM or aftermarket manufacturers, and chips with such maps are available for users running those specific combinations. This is a plug-in replacement. Addressable Fuel Curves Some injection systems can be adjusted either by a special hand-held recalibration unit or by a laptop computer. The existing fuel curve—which relates mixture strength to rpm—can be downloaded and displayed on the computer's screen. Then you can enrich or lean out the whole curve, or any section of it, by any amount. Once you've made the changes you want, you upload the new fuel curve back into your ECM. The net effect is analogous to that of changing jets, but it can be much more specific. Plus, you remove no parts from your bike. No jets will roll into inaccessible places, and there won't be a sticky place in your driveway from draining a carburetor float bowl. Mechanics at racetracks do this job every day: plug in, download, adjust, upload, road test. Full Reprogramming For some time, Dynojet Corporation has marketed devices for fuel-injection tuning under the name Power Commander. These devices change fuel delivery either by supplying adjusted sensor data to the ECM, or by directly changing the on-time of the pulses the ECM sends to the injector nozzles. Now even has begun to offer a service, at some of its associated dyno centers, by which the fuel injection on a motorcycle with any combination of modifications can be reprogrammed quickly and automatically. While running on the dyno, and with an oxygen sensor in the exhaust to measure fuel into the bike's ECM. As the dyno run progresses, all the many data points are automatically gathered and stored. Essentially, this system "learns" the correct fuel mixture curve as it runs, and this data is automatically stored in the Power Commander system on the bike as its new fuel map. Want more news like this? Sign up to receive our newsletters and never miss an update! By submitting above, you agree to our . Time consumed? Such a dyno run takes typically 20-40 seconds. No muss, no fuss, no trial-and-error involving the repeated threading of jets into and out of a hard-to-reach float bowl located on the bottom of a carburetor inconveniently tucked behind an air cleaner. An engine tuned in this fashion—whether nearly stock or highly modified—will start easier, run smoother, respond more quickly. accelerate harder. Electronic fuel injection is nothing to fear; it's merely a newer, better way to fuel an engine. And don't think of injection as the stealthy hand of Big Brother, either, because convenient tools are available by which to control it. Yes, EFI exists in the first place because it does the best, most flexible, most accurate job of controlling engine exhaust emissions, but it is also a superior high-performance fuel system in its own right. This is why you should learn to work with fuel injection. Its principles are not that difficult to grasp; and once you do, you'll soon find that you have more and better control over engine performance than you ever had with carburetors. Whether you like it or not. Sursa
  5. We’ve toured on it, we’ve commuted on it, and we’ve even ridden it around a race track! So, after a few thousand miles of getting to know the full redesigned Honda Gold Wing, we have some strong feelings about what Honda has done with their flagship touring motorcycle. Time to queue up another episode of Favorites & Fails! When you ride as many different motorcycles as we do it gives you good perspective on a given bike’s strengths and weaknesses. And whether you’re shopping for your next bike or just want to be in the know, it’s helpful to get an experienced rider’s opinion. So as a quick way to convey the highs and lows of the bikes we’ve been riding we came up with this new video series. Favorites & Fails is exactly what the name suggests, a concise list of the good and bad of the bikes we’re riding. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive evaluation or road test, just a candid snapshot, delivered with the same sincerity and honesty we’d show to a friend that wanted our opinion on a given bike. Hopefully you find it helpful or at least informative. Don’t agree with us, or have a motorcycle you want us to put through the F&F wringer? Feel free to chime in below in the comments section. 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour by the numbers: Base Price: $26,700 Displacement: 1833cc Claimed Wet Weight: 838 lbs. (380.11 kg) Fuel Capacity: 5.55 gal. (21.09L) Measured Horsepower: 97.85 @ 5,550 rpm Measured Torque: 108.4 lb.-ft. @ 1,210 rpm Sursa
  6. The smoothness of the Low Rider is much appreciated when you hit 75 mph. This article was originally published in the April-May 2017 issue of Cycle World's Big Twin magazine. Slick. Not a word often used to describe a new-model . But when the late Cycle magazine tested the very first Dyna-chassised model—the 1991 Sturgis—its editors took Rob Morrison, ex-National dirt-tracker and Softail owner, along for the ride. And after three days and more than a thousand miles on the road, Morrison concluded: “It may be too slick for my Softail-riding buddies. It’s the businessman’s Harley.” Ride the new ’97 Low Rider, and you’ll likely agree: The FXDL is slick. Slide the barrel-shaped key into the invisible, underseat ignition, push the starter button on the switch assembly recently rendered compact and curvaceous, and the Low Rider rumps to life with a controlled “putter-hiss-putter”; there’s certainly no thunder with the stock muf­flers and air filter in place. At a fast idle, the Low Rider shakes a little, but less than the FXR or any of the current rubber-mounted dressers. Click— no, not clunk—the gear­­box into first, let out the smooth-acting clutch, and you can ride away with just a few seconds of engine warming. There is a little buzz­ing in the handlebar and seat under 2500 rpm, but as you glide through the gears, the electricity diminishes the faster you go. At freeway speeds and beyond, the is about as vibrationless as any machine powered by a Milwaukee Big Twin can be. The Dyna comes by its slickness as naturally as does Arkansas’ gift to womanhood. When it was introduced back in the early Nineties, the Dyna was destined as an eventual replacement for the FXR, Harley’s do-everything custom. And let’s not forget when the FXR was de­signed: right at the end of that horrible era when Harleys were in plentiful supply on dealership floors everywhere, when waiting lists were as unthinkable as charging rent for the Lincoln Bedroom, when The Motor Company was routinely getting pum­meled in the mainstream motor­cycle press for building machines that were too slow, too unreliable, too poor-handling, and that simply shuddered and shook too much. The FXR was de­signed to change those impressions, to reach out to motorcyclists beyond the hard core of the Harley faithful. It adapted the rubber-mounting of the FLT and—breaking away from the rigid-mount, four-speed chassis design and its single seat post—wrapped a girder-strong frame around the outside of the machine, more like that of a Norton or a Triumph or the Japanese bikes that copied them. After the FXR, Harley no longer had to hear about poor-handling motorcycles or ones that vibrated excessively. And soon thereafter, with the introduction of the Evolution engine, the big reliability issues were dealt with, as well. All of this put The Motor Company on the road to the current stockholder Nirvana. The Low Rider offers simple and classic Harley-Davidson looks. But that road held some strange turns. The more successful Harley be­came, the more important became bikes such as the Softails, machines that harked back to classic Harley values and appearances—even if it meant they vibrated a little bit. The Softail didn’t handle as well as an FXR, didn’t go quite as quickly, and didn’t stop as sharply. But, boy, did a Softail have character and char­is­ma, qualities that made them the best-selling of Big Twins. So, when it came time to replace the FXR, Harley’s movers and shakers decided to take the new machine in two directions at once: to keep or im­prove the functional aspects of the , all while making it look more like a classic four-speed Shovel. The key to that packaging was a backbone frame that didn’t wrap around the outside of the swingarm, and a new engine-mounting system. The FXR had used soft rubber mounts with tie-bars to keep the integrated engine/swingarm assembly aligned with the rest of the chassis—basically the same Uniplanar system still used on Buells and dressers. It can provide excellent chassis stiffness, but the soft mounts let the engine move around a lot, up to a full inch, necessitating a lot of space around the engine for clearance. Willie G. and the boys in styling wanted a tighter, more compact look, so asked the engineers to hold engine movement to half an inch. The engineers responded with new, laminated steel-and-rubber mounts that support the front and back of the engine/ gearbox assembly. These mounts, similar to designs that have been used in helicopter vibration isolation, are directional: They allow movement in their plane, while resisting sideways motion. By using them, the engineers were able to simplify the frame structure, cutting the number of tie-bars to one at the top of the engine. Then, to improve handling, they rotated the engine backwards a couple of degrees, allowing the crank and its weight to be shifted forward; increasing the weight on the front wheel generally improves handling and stability. Finally, while they were at it, they further simplified the Dyna frame, compared to the complex weldments required for the FXR. They did this by incorporating some steel investment-castings in the structure, such as the large and finely detailed one for the steering head, which simply plugs right into the frame’s downtubes and backbone. When all was said and done, however, the conflicting design requirements of the Dyna concept ended up producing a Harley that presented the company with a few challenges. The first Dynas may have vibrated less than FXRs at a fast idle, but they were buzzier if you lugged them down into the 35- to 50-mph range in top gear. The engineers were sent scurrying to revise the stiffness of the rubber mounts for later years. And the seat h of the Dyna was relatively high, something that finally was tended to in 1996 with revisions to the frame that dropped the seat almost an inch. Like all Harleys, the Dyna has been refined over the years. The engine is unobtrusive and feels as if the bike disappears beneath you. But even in 1997, the latest Low Rider is still sending some mixed messages. With the lower seat, you sit down into the bike, placing the main pegs high and close. The highway pegs stretch your legs out more comfortably, but the pullback handlebar rotates you backward, without the back support provided by the latest Softail seats. The flat bar on risers used by that first Dyna Sturgis offered a more comfortable riding position, and Softails today provide a lower, more-stretched-out and integrated cruising experience. Not only that, those same rumble and quake, staying right in your face while the FXDL almost disappears beneath you. The Low Rider works so well it vanishes like that wonderfully unobtrusive butler found these days only in period English fiction. On the freeway at 75 mph, that smoothness, that unobtrusiveness, can really be appreciated; a Softail’s shaking gets real old after just a few hours at highway speed. And it’s hard to argue with the Low Rider’s double-disc front brake: Capable of stopping even the heaviest dresser, it’s perhaps the most powerful ever fitted to a Big Twin, and hauls the Dyna down hard with just a light squeeze. The Dyna’s four inches of rear-wheel travel provide a ride over sharply creased asphalt that would hammer the rider of a Softail. The 5.1 inches of front-wheel trail and 32 degrees of head rake slow down the Low Rider’s steering, but also make it commendably stable; it’s a bike that takes a bulldog’s hold on its line or its heading. In the end, the Low Rider asks you to decide what you value most. If it is ultimate character or tradition or charisma, this is probably not the Big Twin for you. And it’s obviously not the touring machine that a is, or even as good at that task as a Dyna Convertible. Instead, the Low Rider offers simple and classic Harley-Davidson appearance, along with the slickest operation you’ll find in any Big Twin cruiser. So, if what you want is The Look without The Pain, if you crave functional compromise instead of single-minded style, listen closely here: The FXDL Low Rider is talking your language. Sursa
  7. The was first introduced back in 2010 and was reintroduced last year after a seven-year hiatus from the market. For 2018, the RMX450Z received the same blue accents on the radiator shrouds and seat cover that the RM-Z motocrossers did and features several components that make it designed for off-road riding. Another change from last year’s RMX450Z is that the 2018 model is California red sticker legal whereas the 2017 model is California green sticker legal. Technically, there are no changes between the two bikes aside from the blue accents, but 2018 off-road motorcycles require an evaporative emission recovery system on the fuel tank to be green sticker compliant, which the RMX450Z does not have. It should be noted the 2017 and 2018 models are both sound level legal as well. The 2018 Suzuki RMX450Z receives a few cosmetic changes for 2018, including blue accents on the radiator shrouds and seat cover. offers a six-month unlimited-mileage limited warranty on its RMX450Z, which is not something we commonly see with off-road motorcycles. The warranty can be lengthened via the Suzuki Extended Protection program (SEP) as well. The bike also has an 18-inch rear wheel, kickstand, skid plate, headlight, LED taillight, a dual mode (Sport/Standard) instrument cluster, a Dunlop D742FA front tire, and a Dunlop D756 rear tire. A number of off-road-specific components come stock on the RMX450Z including an 18-inch rear wheel, kickstand, skid plate, headlight, LED taillight, and dual mode (Sport/Standard) instrument cluster. Engine The RMX450Z engine is based on the RM-Z450 motocross bike engine but features a few key differences to make it more suitable for off-road, including an electric starter with a kickstart backup, a modified inlet tract and revised cam profiles to increase low-rpm and midrange power, a larger magneto-generator to charge the battery and power the lights, a hinged lid on the airbox for quick air filter maintenance and better protection from debris, and a coolant reservoir tank. Lastly, the five-speed transmission has wide gear ratios and primary/final drive ratios selected to better suit various off-road riding situations. To help the bike meet sound level regulations, the RMX450Z comes stock with a throttle stop that only allows it to be opened just over a third of the way from wide open. Because we intend on only riding the bike in closed-course conditions, we removed it. Taking the throttle stop out only needed about 10 minutes and involved removing a bolt from the throttle body. Once removed, we installed a shorter bolt (that wouldn’t restrict the throttle opening) to cover up where the throttle stop bolt was. The RMX450Z is electric start-equipped with a kickstart backup. Two other items that help make the bike red sticker and sound level legal are the spark arrestor and sound reducer in the muffler. While one or both of these items may inhibit the bike’s overall engine performance, we opted to leave them in because, in stock form, the EFI system cannot adjust for removing them and therefore engine damage could occur from lean running conditions if one or both of them were to be removed. On the trail, the RMX450Z engine is very versatile and works well in different off-road conditions from single-track to more wide-open, motocross-style riding. The engine has a decent amount of low-end and doesn’t tend to want to stall when the going gets tight. First and second gear are noticeably short to help the bike in these areas, with first gear serving as more of a “granny gear” like one would use on your mountain bike when climbing extremely steep terrain. Riding at low speeds on tighter, technical trails is one of the areas the RMX450Z excels. We took the RMX450Z on some slow, challenging trails and found first gear to work great in these areas. Second gear served its purpose as well on more traditional, flowing single-track. One minor thing that would make the bike a bit easier to manage in the more technical areas would be the clutch pull, as it seems to be just a bit on the stiffer side. Again, it’s a very minor point. The Showa suspension components on the RMX450Z handle both small and large impacts well. When the speeds increase, the RMX450Z can hold its own as well. Third, fourth, and fifth gear feel more like a motocross bike type of gearing. We rode the RMX on a motocross-style turn track and in a wider-open area similar to what you might find in the desert, and were pleased with how easy it was to get the bike up to speed, especially considering how well it performed in the lower-speed areas. Suspension In the suspension department, the RMX450Z comes with a Showa 47mm fork and Showa piggyback-reservoir-style shock. Similar to the engine, the fork worked well in the variety of conditions we tested in on our first ride. Upon small impacts such as rocks scattered throughout the trail, the fork absorbed them with ease and prevented the front end from deflecting or doing anything unexpected. Conversely, the fork also had good hold-up on bigger impacts such as when hitting high-speed whoops and drop-offs. The shock felt well balanced in relation to the fork and helped bike’s the rear end stay tracking when the speeds decreased in the tighter areas we rode. Chassis/Handling Suzuki motocross bikes are well known for having superb handling characteristics, most notably turning, and the RMX450Z is no different. The RMX’s corner prowess is most noticeable when riding motocross-style turn tracks, but the bike also feels very nimble when slaloming down a winding single-track trail. Similar to the RM-Z models, the RMX450Z chassis is a bit on the rigid side, but that’s part of what helps the bike corner so well and respond quickly to rider input. At 272 pounds wet, we only noticed the extra weight it carries from the RM-Z motocross bikes when we had to put it up on a bike stand, or when picking it up after tipping over. Just like the RM-Z motocrossers, the RMX450Z corners excellently. Conclusion The Suzuki RMX450Z is a California red-sticker-eligible off-road bike that meets sound requirements and is well-rounded in terms of how it performs for a variety of types of riding. We’ll be putting more time on this bike in the coming months and intend to put it up against other off-road bikes that fall into a similar category, including the Honda 450X and Yamaha WR450F. The RMX450Z chassis is a bit on the rigid side, which is part of what helps the bike corner so well and respond quickly to rider input. Want more news like this? Sign up to receive our newsletters and never miss an update! By submitting above, you agree to our . TECH SPEC PRICE $8999 ENGINE 449cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 5-speed/chain MEASURED HORSEPOWER 40.48 hp @ 9120 rpm MEASURED TORQUE 27.02 lb.-ft. @ 6460 rpm FRAME Aluminum twin-spar FRONT SUSPENSION Showa 47mm fork adjustable for compression and rebound damping; 12.2-in. travel REAR SUSPENSION Showa shock adjustable for spring preload, high-/low-speed compression damping, and rebound damping; 12.2-in. travel FRONT BRAKE Nissin single 250mm disc w/ twin-piston caliper REAR BRAKE Nissin single 240mm disc w/ single piston caliper RAKE/TRAIL 28°10'/4.8 in. WHEELBASE 58.5 in. SEAT HEIGHT 37.4 in. FUEL CAPACITY 1.6 gal. MEASURED WEIGHT 272 lb. wet AVAILABLE Now CONTACT Sursa
  8. If it seems like we’ve all been waiting ages for the Vitpilen to arrive, that’s probably just because it’s so damn droolworthy. The reality is that first showed the 701 concept at in late 2015, and now here we are, a shade more than two years later, with units due in US dealerships in April. It usually takes four years to move from concept to production (that’s certainly the schedule Yamaha appears to be keeping with the , another eagerly awaited model) so 28 months is a quick turnaround. Building the Vit around the frame and engine of the KTM Duke 690 surely helped expedite things, leaving more development time to dial in the details of the design. Sure enough, the 701 I got to rip around Barcelona, Spain, was the spitting image of the lean and futuristic concept first seen in Milan back in fall of ’15. Call the Vit a café racer or an exotic naked or whatever you want—part of the appeal is that its avant-garde style makes it impossible to pigeonhole. The Husky’s personality and performance are difficult to pin down too. After blitzing around the Catalan capital and unraveling kilometers of deliciously twisty roads in the mountains above the city, however, I think the 701 is best described as a joyous mash-up of supermoto rowdiness and sportbike performance. If you thought the Vitpilen was going to be more style than substance (like I did), you’re wrong. As it turns out, it’s as functional as it is fashionable, and so much fun to ride. The Vitpilen looks long and low and that’s how it feels when you sit on it, even though the seat is almost 33 inches high. Chalk it up to a fairly long reach to low clip-on bars that project from the triple clamp, à la RC390. That seat, whose lines form the upper portion of the bike’s trademark diagonal “split,” appears rigid and unforgiving, but it’s softer than it looks. It’s also long enough that you can sit toward the front or the back, so the bike accepts riders of varying torso length readily enough. Unfortunately, those taller than 6 feet looked pretty goofy on such a wisp of a bike. That’s what stands out most when you first hop on the 701—it’s tiny and incredibly light. As it turns out, it weighs just 362 pounds with a full tank. (We weighed Husqvarna North America’s homologation bike back in California.) That’s less than an RC390, yet the Vit makes 75 percent more power. Those are some pretty exciting specs. Husqvarna positions the Vitpilen as an urban bike, and if you intend to ride it primarily in the city, you’re in luck. For starters, it’s got a striking style that turns heads and sets it apart from the two-wheeled crowd, which in Barcelona includes machines of every shape and size parked two rows deep along curbs all over the city. Then there’s that ripping 693cc single-cylinder engine that fires the bike forward like a cannonball. Release the light-action and there’s wheel-lofting grunt right off idle and exciting power all the way to the 9,000-rpm rev limiter, all accompanied by an appealing, albeit thoroughly muffled, exhaust note. Wrangling the Vit’s feisty engine is easy to thanks to precise ride-by-wire throttling. It’s also surprisingly smooth for a big single, feeling more like a V-twin at idle and at speed thanks to comprehensive counterbalancing that includes a weighted shaft in the cylinder head. The engine has a few other tricks up its sleeve in the form of integrated coolant passages (for compactness and a clean appearance), a slipper clutch, dual-spark combustion chamber, traction control, and even a quickshifter and auto-blip downshifting. You won’t see a sensor on the shift linkage though. Husky tucked the sensor into the clutch cover on the other side of the bike where it takes its signal from the right side of the shift shaft. Clever. City streets are usually beat up and bumpy, so you want your urban runabout to have a compliant ride, especially if you’re carrying a fair amount of weight on your wrists like you do on the Husky. The Vitpilen’s suspension is on the firm side but refused to jolt my wrists, even when provoked with potholes. That combination of plushness and support is a hard line to walk for suspension, but the folks at WP did a great job selecting settings for this bike. If for some reason you want to fine-tune the setup, you’ve got adjustable compression and rebound damping up front as well as spring preload and rebound adjustments out back. A comfy ride is important, but so is good handling. It’d be hard for the Husky not to turn quickly with a 362-pound curb weight, but the Vit brings more than just snappy, taxi-dodging steering to the table. The bike changes direction with a thought and holds a line around a rotary so well that you could almost take your hands off the slim, Husqvarna-embossed grips. Need to stop quickly because a trash truck just lumbered out of an alley? There may only be one disc affixed to the front wheel, but it’s a killer setup composed of top-shelf Italian componentry. Two fingers is all it takes to extract maximum stopping power, and ABS has your back if you happen to brake across something slippery. Better still, ABS (as well as TC) can be disabled for unfiltered fun by pressing a hidden button on the dash. Okay, the Vitpilen is great for getting around the city and looks good doing it. So does a Vespa. What about getting out of the city? To my surprise, the Vit has pretty long legs. Big singles usually vibrate like a paint shaker at high revs and feel strained at highway speeds, but the Husqvarna easily cruised 85 mph along the autopista with just the faintest vibration in the footpegs. The mirrors, on the other hand, are affected by some unfelt buzzing that renders them blurry and fairly useless. And while the Vit has nothing in the way of wind protection, the forward-leaning riding position braces you against the breeze so freeway riding isn’t that unpleasant. Barcelona is a beautiful place that I’d move to in an instant, and the city is made all the more appealing by its proximity to intensely curvy roads in the mountains just outside of town. For a supposed city bike, the Vitpilen is a hell of a sport machine, which was totally unexpected. It only took a few bends for me to be reduced to a grinning idiot as I dove into corners and braaaaaaped off apexes. The 701 comes into its own on winding roads, and the tighter the curves, the more you’re going to enjoy the engine’s torque, the quickshifter, and the speed and ease with which the 701 lunges from one side of its Bridgestone S21 Hypersport tires to the other. This is one of those bikes (like Triumph’s Street Triple) that is effortless to ride quickly. I would have been very happy to stay in the hills all day ripping wheelies and wearing out the shoulders of the Vit’s tires, but sadly, our test ride in Spain was over. Complaints? I’ve got a few, but a lot fewer than I was expecting, and they’re really just nits. For one, the disc-like dash seems out of place and uninspired compared to the rest of the bike, which is so refined and sophisticated. I would love to see a slim TFT screen nestled against the triple clamp, but of course that would add expense. Another expensive feature that would suit the futuristic and “Simple. Progressive.” mantra of the Vitpilen is keyless ignition. Instead, a standard ignition switch sticks up from the right side of triple clamp, looking a little like an afterthought. Also, while the hot air that wafted off the 701’s engine in stop-and-go traffic felt pleasant during my chilly March ride in Barcelona, it’s bound to be uncomfortable in August. Not much you can do about that but to keep moving so the radiator gets air. In the end, the Vitpilen 701—this bike we’ve been staring at and lusting after for so long—performs as good as it looks. And some will say that it damn well should for $11,999. That’s no small chunk of change, especially for a 700cc single. But in my mind the Vitpilen is ready to go toe to toe with bikes like BMW’s R nineT and Triumph’s Thruxton R, both of which ring in close to $15,000, and that’s impressive. It’s also impressive that Husqvarna has created a motorcycle so distinctive that it defies categorization. It uses some familiar parts, yeah, but Husqvarna has done something completely original with them, like an artist using common colors to create a unique painting. This bike is something special, and a milestone for Husqvarna as their first foray into a new realm of premium, unconventional, and exciting streetbikes. Sursa
  9. In the same year introduces a V-4 superbike, ditching the engine configuration synonymous with its name, it also gives us the . It’s not a SuperSport, or a Monster, or any other definitive Ducati. It doesn’t even come in red. To give the Scrambler 1100 a premium look, Ducati used very little plastic on the bike. The only major parts made of plastic, such as the seat pan and airbox, aren’t readily visible. The Special even has aluminum mud guards, instead of the plastic ones found on the base model and the Sport. Ducati’s strong heritage and history has bred a legion of Faithful who bow to the diadem of Desmo and enshrine the reliquary of dry clutches, trellis frames, and curvy red fairings. Ducatisti worship at the cathedral of Imola, and bless the patron saint Taglioni (may he rest in peace). How is the Ducatista to interpret the Scrambler 1100? Yes, it’s beautiful, but is it a Ducati? If you’ve watched marketing short film, The Getaway, starring Imogenocide, Goldeluxe, and Dave Hardcastle (does that sound like the cast of a ’70s Italian stag film, or what?), you might be even more dubious, tempted to write off the 1100 as a bike that’s more style than substance, more market-niche than definitive Ducati. Until you ride it, that is. The Scrambler 1100 is the genuine article. From right: the base-model Scrambler 1100 ($12,995), available in ’62 Yellow and Shining Black; the Special ($14,295) in Custom Gray; and the Sport ($14,995) in Viper Black. In addition to the black/yellow paint (perfect for the Pittsburgh Steelers fan), the Sport gets Öhlins suspension front and rear. For one beautiful sunny afternoon in Portugal, the Scrambler 1100 Special carried me on twisty roads clinging to the coastline—its 1,079cc air-cooled desmodue growling from apex to apex, its exhaust crackling and popping in that special Ducati way. The 1100 comes in three variants. I rode the Special, which at $14,295 is the middle sibling price-wise. It’s the brother who gets his worsted wool suits tailored on Savile Row, has his own pair of lasts at a cobbler in Milan, and shaves with an ebony-handled straight razor. The Special’s special treatment includes spoked rims, aluminum fenders, a premium seat cover, a polished swingarm, chrome header pipes, and that posh gray paint job. It’s a sophisticated look that belies the beast within. It’s sort of like if Dame Judi Dench trashed hotel rooms with the Rolling Stones: You’d be surprised, but not entirely disappointed. The engine, derived from the Monster 1100 EVO—the predecessor of today’s 1200—has been redesigned especially for the Scrambler 1100: new single throttle body, dual spark plugs, different gearing, etc., but the same piston, conrod and hot cams as in the donor motor. You can take the engine out of a Monster, but you can’t take the Monster out of the engine. That’s a good thing. The perfect primary balance of a large-displacement 90-degree Ducati twin is one of motorcycling’s great sensations. If you’ve never ridden one, there’s something almost organic feeling about the way the engine configuration translates reciprocating motion into visceral presence. The 1100 feels like a Ducati. Riding through oceanside tunnels and revving the throttle just to hear the holy thunder of the booming twin is really all the justification this bike needs, to be honest. Or maybe that’s just me. The 1100 sounds like a Ducati. Air-cooled, upright rear cylinder, and snaking exhaust: three things that can make a rider toasty in slow-moving traffic. Naturally, excessive heat is not an issue at speed. When you ride a big twin, the old adage “there’s no replacement for displacement” really holds true. The liter-plus motor paints the town Ducati Red, delivering power in big swaths of exuberant torque to the pavement, like de Koonig applying paint to an oversize canvas. The rear squats, the front does a little dance (there’s no steering damper), and comparisons to tractors come to mind. And it’s all available practically from off idle, before tapering off around 8,000 rpm. The 1100 goes like a Ducati. In addition to its premium finish and lusty motor, the 1100’s technical package goes a long way toward justifying the price tag—if revving the motor in tunnels just isn’t enough for you. The first bit on the tech sheet that stands out is Bosch cornering ABS, a safety feature which until now has only been found on more top-spec, non-Scrambler Ducatis, like the Panigale, XDiavel, and Multistrada. The IMU also controls the LED turn signals, automatically canceling them after the bike returns to upright. They work well, except at low speeds when the bike doesn’t lean enough for the IMU to register the maneuver as a turn. The 1100 has three ride modes, four levels of traction control (and off), and is Ducati Multimedia-ready. Check out the slick cast subframe. It’s a bolt-on affair that can be easily removed for ease of customization. Brembo M4.32 calipers—the same as on my ’15 899 Panigale, the SuperSport, and other performance-oriented Ducatis—are one more indication that the Scrambler 1100 means business. The hydraulic clutch feels light, and the gearbox is slick-shifting. No clunky Ducati box of yore here. I, for one, will forever love rattly dry clutches, but time must march on. Want more news like this? Sign up to receive our newsletters and never miss an update! By submitting above, you agree to our . An all-new chassis and fully adjustable Marzocchi front suspension and Kayaba rear (adjustable for preload and rebound) make the 1100 game for the twisties. My biggest complaint, however, is the Pirelli MT60RS dual-sport tires that run on an 18-inch front rim. It’s the same setup as on the original Scrambler. To me, the front felt vague and I wasn’t as confident diving into corners as I am on conventional street rubber. The 18-inch front/17-inch rear wheels limit the selection of tires available too, but there’s still some fine options out there, so it’s not a deal breaker. It’s the biggest form-over-function flaw of the machine. Yes, knobbies look cool, but they’re not worth the trade-off in cornering ability. If you want an off-road Scrambler, get the Desert Sled. Flat bars and a wide supportive seat provide good ergos for the all-day rides the 1100 will cajole you into taking. The Special and Sport both have lower tapered bars than the base model 1100 for sportier riding positions. Over dinner one night in Lisbon, I chatted with the group of young Italian designers and engineers responsible for the 1100. These guys are building a Ducati brand for a new Ducati audience. While the 1100 is oriented in the lineup for the existing Scrambler rider to work up to, it’s also a platform for the more mature rider who wants a timeless-looking Ducati that doesn’t sacrifice too much performance or tech for the sake of style. When style, comfort, ease of use, and performance are given equal priority in the design brief, you get a bike like the Scrambler 1100. For the Faithful who bleed Ducati Red, the 1100 is the link between the Scrambler world—where a promo film that looks like an ad for a flavored vodka isn’t out of left field—and the sacrosanct world of Ducati: a place deeply rooted in history, performance, and a few trademark mechanical elements. The Scrambler 1100 brings it all full circle. It turns out, taking the Scrambler ethos to the nth degree just accentuates its inherent Ducati-ness. It feels, sounds, and goes like a Ducati—which is what makes it the definitive Scrambler. The Scrambler 1100 is a physically larger machine than its little siblings. It weighs about 40 pounds more and has a wider tank and seat (that’s also slightly taller) as well as a longer wheelbase than the 800. Larger riders will feel more at home, but smaller riders won’t have too much trouble moving up from the 800 to the 1100. New LCD dash is a riff on the original Scrambler’s, but expanded to properly display ride modes and settings. Also like the original, the digital tach sweeps from right to left (the wrong way!) along the bottom of the display. I’m sure riders grow accustomed to it, but I found it annoying and illogical. Three riding modes: Active, which gives full engine and a “direct” throttle response; Journey, which keeps full power and softens throttle response; and City, which cuts output to 75 hp and gives an “extremely fluid” throttle response. Modes are selected by pushing the turn signal indicator. Together with the up/down arrow button, changing settings is fairly easy, though it will take a few minutes to figure it all out. Embroidered seat, dual underslung exhaust. For a stock exhaust, it sounds good and has decent volume. Metal headlight surround, LED running lights. Say goodbye to the original Scrambler’s plastic tank cover. Metal tank with anodized aluminum side covers looks great and should make customizing simpler. The many Scrambler variants have helped Ducati reach new demographics. It’s been a strategic success. Ducati has sold 46,000 Scramblers worldwide since 2015. The gift that keeps on giving. Plucked from the Monster 1100 EVO and revised for 2018, the Scrambler 1100 is Euro 4-compliant and ready to rock. The 2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100 Special. Price $14,295 (as tested) Engine 1079cc air-cooled V-twin Transmission/Final Drive 6-speed/chain Claimed Horsepower 86 hp @ 7,500 rpm Claimed Torque 65 lb.-ft. @ 4,750 rpm Frame Tubular-steel trellis Front Suspension Fully adjustable Marzocchi 45mm upside-down fork; 5.9-in. travel Rear Suspension Kayaba adjustable for preload and rebound; 5.9-in. travel Front Brake Brembo 4-piston radially mounted Monoblock calipers, 320mm discs w/ Bosch cornering ABS Rear Brake Brembo 1-piston caliper, 245mm disc w/ Bosch cornering ABS Rake/Trail 24.5°/4.4 in. Wheelbase 59.6 in. Seat Height 31.9 in. Fuel Capacity 4.0 gal. Dry Weight 428 lb. dry Available May 4 and 5 (US, Canada) Contact Sursa
  10. The KX250F corners better than the YZ250F, mostly because it gets better front end traction. The only receives small cosmetic changes for 2018 in the form of race team-inspired blue rims and new graphics. A lack of mechanical changes isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the YZ250F has won over the hearts of many since it was majorly redesigned in 2014. The Kawasaki is in its second year of the latest-generation chassis design and received a number of updates to the engine and suspension for 2018. We took these two 250F motocrossers to LACR for the 2018 Shot Race Gear introduction and did some back-to-back testing on each to see which bike our test riders preferred. Here’s what test riders had to say after a full day of spinning laps on each bike: Cody Johnston, Age: 20, 5’11”, 155 lb., Pro When I hopped on the Yamaha, I instantly noticed it felt like a very comfortable bike that could be widely liked among any size of rider. On the track, I was very pleased with the bottom-end power. Normally, I would have to downshift into second gear for a 180-degree turn on a 250F, but with the amount of bottom-end the YZ250F engine produces, I was able to get away with using third gear and the bike had plenty of power to pull it. The has fantastic over-rev, which I believe all 250Fs should because that’s primarily the part of the powerband in which these bikes are ridden. I could run each gear as long as I wanted and found the Yamaha kept pulling far into the upper rpm range. The YZ250F has a broad powerband that can be ridden however the rider prefers, whether it be lugging or high revving. The suspension was very plush. In some instances, I found it could almost feel too plush, especially in corners. It made the bike feel slightly sluggish and took away from the reactive feel most 250Fs have. That is one area I felt the Kawasaki KX250F excelled. The KX250F was very rider responsive and the harder I rode the bike, the more I got in return. The has a very slim feel around the seat and radiator shrouds, making the bike feel much lighter than it actually is. As far as claimed weights go, there is only a 1-pound difference between these two bikes, but with how slim the KX250F is, it made the bike feel much lighter. I felt the YZ250F had much better straight-line stability than the KX250F. The Yamaha was very planted to the ground and wouldn’t do anything unpredictable. On the other hand, the Kawasaki had better cornering ability than the Yamaha. While riding the big sandy bowl turns at LACR, I felt I would cut down at any point on the Kawasaki and it would go anywhere I pointed it. The KX250F may not have the straight-line stability of the Yamaha, but this can be easily changed by setup such as tightening the steering stem to add more stability at higher speeds. The YZ250F has plusher suspension than the KX250F. Although the Yamaha has more bottom-end than the Kawasaki, I felt the KX250F engine would tend to pick up a bit quicker in the mid to top-end power and was very responsive at any point in the rpm range. Between the two bikes, I would prefer the Kawasaki engine because of how fast it picked up coming out of corners. I never felt either bike was at a lack of power, but as with most 250Fs, you need to ride it in the higher rpm to stay in the meat of the powerband. Therefore, with the Kawasaki getting to the higher rpm quicker, I liked the engine better. Another thing I really liked about the Kawasaki was that it felt a little more like a racebike in stock condition. I had great feedback from the suspension as far as being able to feel the bumps and ruts, but not so much that it would negatively affect my riding; it just had a more performance-based feel to it. The Yamaha on the other hand had such plush suspension that it took away some of the front end feel on the track. I felt that of the two bikes, the Kawasaki would be my first choice and the Yamaha a close second. Both bikes are fantastic and it was difficult to choose one over the other, but for me the Kawasaki was a step above the Yamaha. The KX250F feels small, light, and nimble. Andrew Oldar, Age: 26, 5’10”, 130 lb., Novice Picking apart the differences between the 2018 Yamaha YZ250F and Kawasaki KX250F isn’t entirely difficult because they each have unique traits and a very different feel on the track. What was challenging was choosing which bike I liked better overall at the end of our one-day Showdown test. The YZ250F engine has impressed me ever since the newest engine design was released back in 2014. If I didn’t know any better, I would assume the bike is a 270 because of how much torque the engine has. Lots of bottom-end is not something I commonly associate with 250 four-strokes, but it is with the YZ250F. The bike pulls incredibly well off the bottom-end, so well in fact that I am able to ride the bike in third gear through most corners with only minimal clutch work. The midrange is good and the top-end and over-rev really come on strong. The bike has plenty in these areas and can be either short-shifted or revved to the moon and still be ridden effectively. If there is one thing I don’t like about the Yamaha motor, it’s the engine-braking as it feels like the bike comes to a halt when letting off the throttle. Overall, the YZ250F engine was my favorite between the two bikes and is going to be a hard engine to top in the upcoming 250F Shootout. Both bikes have linear powerbands, but the YZ250F has more of a punch on the bottom-end. The KX250F has a very crisp and free-revving engine. It has a linear powerband that has zero surprises from bottom to top. The linear quality is good because it’s predictable, but I wish it had a little more excitement as I feel it would make it not only be easier to ride fast but also more fun to ride. It doesn’t have as much power as the YZ250F, especially on the bottom-end and top-end. It’s a good engine, but I think more power on the bottom-end and top-end would make it closer to being great. The KYB SSS fork and shock on the YZ250F are incredibly plush. Everything from braking bumps to big jump landings are no match for the Yamaha’s suspension. The fork and shock stay plush throughout the entirety of the stroke and both the front and rear ends are unquestionably the plushest suspension I have ever ridden on. If there is one drawback to the fork, it’s that it feels so plush that it sometimes seems difficult to determine whether the front tire is gripping the ground or not. I don’t think it’s entirely the fork that’s responsible for this feeling, but it contributes to it somewhat. All in all, the suspension on the Yamaha was my favorite between the two bikes. The YZ250F has an impressive amount of torque. The Showa SFF fork on the KX250F has a stiffer, more performance-based feel to it. It holds up well on big jump landings, but that same hold-up makes it feel firm in the small chatter and braking bumps. However, it doesn’t have a harsh feeling. It seemed like the harder and more aggressive I rode the bike, the better the fork worked. The Showa rear shock is plush for the most part and helps the bike stay planted to the ground and therefore enhances straight-line stability, but it wasn’t as plush as the YZ250F. The chassis/handling on the Yamaha YZ250F takes a bit of getting used to, especially after coming off of a different bike. The wide-feeling radiator shrouds are noticeable the moment you sit on the bike, but the feeling seems to decrease when you’re on the track and the more you ride it. The bike has good straight-line stability, but if there’s one thing I don’t like about the YZ250F chassis, it’s the lack of front end traction when cornering. It seems like in stock form the bike doesn’t have a good front end feel when entering turns. At times, it feels like it could wash out at any given moment. This was especially apparent after coming off of the KX250F. I had to get my weight far forward and position myself farther up on the seat than I normally would to try and get the front end to hook up. The YZ250F has a stronger engine and plusher suspension, but the KX250F has a much nimbler chassis. The Kawasaki chassis is awesome. I love how the bike handles and feels on the track as it feels small and thin in a very good way. The small feeling enables me to put the bike anywhere I want with little effort required and another contributing factor to this is how well the bike responds to rider input. However, it doesn’t respond so quickly that it feels twitchy or unstable. It feels perfectly balanced in this aspect. Another chassis trait that I am a huge fan of are the radiator shrouds as they feel slimmer than any bike in the class, especially the YZ250F. All in all, I liked the KX250F chassis better than the YZ250F. Want more news like this? Sign up to receive our newsletters and never miss an update! By submitting above, you agree to our . If I were to have to pick between the Yamaha YZ250F and Kawasaki KX250F, I would have to give the nod to the Yamaha YZ250F. The engine is powerful all-around and the plush KYB suspension is amazing. The slight lack of front end traction is pretty much the only thing I don’t like about the bike. However, it’s something that can be alleviated slightly with getting my weight farther forward and putting more emphasis on the front end. The Kawasaki KX250F is a fantastic bike; I just wish it had more overall power and plusher-feeling suspension. The chassis and ergonomics are excellent. The bike is extremely easy to get used to and feel comfortable on. I would gladly choose this as a racebike any day; I would just have to do some work with the suspension and possibly the engine to make it more suited to my liking. Sursa
  11. The 2018 BMW G310GS is an entry-level adventure bike. The 2018 BMW G310GS is a single-cylinder entry-level adventure bike and the manufacturer’s second offering in the smaller-displacement segment, joining the recently launched . The G310GS is designed to combine urban maneuverability with light off-road capability, characteristics we were able to experience firsthand at the bike’s launch in Rancho Sante Fe, California. It’s clear that BMW is aiming its bikes to new riders, commuters, city dwellers, and those looking for a lightweight adventure bike that won’t break the bank. The G310GS is fairly light at a claimed 373 pounds wet, it’s compact, and certainly affordable. The G310GS has a base MSRP of $5,695, and the only factor affecting price—and the only option for the GS, really—is the paint color. The options include Cosmic Black, Racing Red, and Pearl White Metallic, with the Pearl White Metallic coming at an additional cost of $100. While is a German company, the G310GS is manufactured in India. However, the only thing telltale signs are the ByBre brakes in the front and rear. While we only rode the bike for a day, we can say as far as ride quality goes, the bike performed very well. The bike is visually stunning as well. How the bike holds up in terms of reliability will be determined as we put more miles on the bike in the next few months. The G310GS is designed to combine urban maneuverability with light off-road capability. Engine The 313cc single-cylinder engine offers mostly linear power delivery, though it pulls noticeably harder above 9,000 rpm before hitting the rev limiter at approximately 10,500 rpm. Also, we were able to confirm BMW’s claimed top speed of 90 mph to be accurate, at least according to the tidy digital dash. Three color options are available for the G310GS: Cosmic Black, Racing Red, and Pearl White Metallic for additional $100. With the small engine, shifting at the right time was critical. On a few occasions I found myself a gear high while low in the rpm, and the bike didn’t quite have enough power to get back into the powerband without a downshift or slight pop of the clutch. When I was in the correct gear however, the bike had more than enough power to not only get to where I needed to go but offer a good amount of excitement and fun in the process. Shifting through the six gears on the G310GS was buttery smooth and I didn’t experience a mis-shift during our entire day of riding. BMW’s 313cc single-cylinder engine offers pulls hardest when it’s being revved out. Suspension The suspension on the GS was a bit soft overall, which is great for the type of riding the bike is intended for (both on and off road) and also the type of rider BMW expects to buy this bike. The 41mm upside-down fork moved quite a bit in the stroke on impacts, and the softness of the fork was pretty evident when grabbing a handful of front brake. Likewise, the shock compressed when you get on the gas, but overall both ends of the bike work well enough. As you might expect with a bike at this price point, adjustments are nearly non existent. The fork does not feature any type of adjustment and all you get is spring preload on the shock. The G310GS will be a good adventure partner for mild off-roading. Chassis/Handling Chassis-wise, the GS was very comfortable and nimble, yet predictable. The bar, levers, and seat position were all very agreeable and fit my 5-foot-10 stature well. Once I began riding it more, I was impressed with how well the bike leaned into corners with ease. This can be said for the paved roads as well as the dirt roads we took the bike on, some of which were slicker than I anticipated due to some rain during our test ride. The G310GS is a pleasure to ride, especially on tighter, turn-filled roads. Especially with the rainy conditions, I was impressed with how well the Metzeler Tourance tires hooked up in the variety of conditions we rode throughout the day, which included dry asphalt, wet asphalt, wet dirt, and even a bit of mud. The stock seat offered plenty of comfort throughout the entire day. As far as the gas tank goes, it holds 2.9 gallons, and at a claimed 71 mpg, we burned just over a half tank of fuel in our 110-mile ride, which included some semi-aggressive riding. Metzeler Tourance tires come stock on the G310GS, and they hooked up well in the variety of conditions we rode throughout the day, which included dry asphalt, wet asphalt, wet dirt, and even a little bit of mud. Want more news like this? Sign up to receive our newsletters and never miss an update! By submitting above, you agree to our . It’s a bit soft overall, but the suspension on the G310GS is great for the type of riding the bike is intended to handle. Both the front and rear brakes performed very well and I was happy with how they were powerful enough for the type of riding we did yet not too touchy or sensitive either. The bike comes stock with ABS, which is a good feature to have on a beginner-focused bike like the G310GS. ABS can be disabled for off-road use, but I didn’t notice a massive difference when I turned it off when we hit the dirt. As a complete package, I was very pleased with how easy the G310GS was to ride. It’s bound to be a good fit for new or less-experienced riders. We found BMW’s claimed top speed of 90 mph to be correct. The BMW G310GS is an excellent bike for what it’s intended to do. Conclusion The BMW G310GS is an excellent bike for what it’s intended to do. It’s a pleasure to ride on tighter, turn-filled roads and performs well in light off-road use. Riding the bike around various parts of San Diego County in both rain and sunshine and on and off road provided a great perspective of just how versatile the bike really is. BMW has done a good job of creating a bike that performs well, and, at an affordable price point of $5,695, it’s great fit for younger and/or newer riders and those who want a lightweight commuter bike that can handle the street as well as some off-road exploring. Sursa
  12. The KTM 350 SX-F is a motocross bike through and through, but the “cross country” or “GP” category of bikes that are becoming more and more available are supposed to be able to handle a motocross track as well as faster paced off-road riding. The Husqvarna FX 350 is one said machine, so we decided to put the two machines up against each other to see how they compare and contrast. Here are some of our testers unfiltered comments about the two machines after riding both at Milestone MX, a tighter, jumpier track with a few ruts, but stays pretty smooth, and gets dry and hard packed as the day wears on. “Overall the is a more forgiving bike. The brakes have a little bit more control, mainly with the front brake. The power is a little bit softer, not as powerful. Suspension wise, it is definitely softer. On the braking bumps it tracks great with the stock settings, where the KTM I had to make some adjustments to the fork to get it to do the same. It was riding high [the fork] and then on decel bumps it would drop into the stroke and then just become too busy and it wasn’t tracking real well. I even noticed in the corners, it was diving, like tucking and I would lose traction. We went from 10.7 to 11 bar and that made a huge difference with corning. I didn’t realize it would do that much with cornering. It gave it more hold up and I was able to track through the corners. It helped on the braking bumps but I felt it was still a little bit too quick so we went one slower on the fork rebound, which settled it down even more and made the KTM better everywhere for me. With these changes, the KTM is the better handling bike out of the two, for me at my speed. The harder I pushed it, the better the KTM worked. The harder I pushed the Husky, the worse it worked because it is too soft for me. All around it’s too soft. I need a stiffer shock spring, different dampening. But when it comes to ride comfort, if I’m out doing an 80 percent moto, I could probably go faster and have a more comfortable ride on the Husky. But at 100 percent I’d where myself out on the Husky, because it’s too soft. On acceleration bumps, I feel like the FX had a little bit more control in the rear, but on g-outs and stuff, it was too soft. It cornered well, just like the KTM cornered well. The motor on the Husky was a little soft, not a bad thing, just softer than the KTM was. The KTM has good hit, but it was usable, wasn’t out of control, and it transitioned to the pretty strong mid range and has a pretty strong top end and over rev. Both bikes have good over rev and enough torque to pull the gearing. Both bikes are pretty nimble, but you can feel the weight difference with the tank and the fuel. You feel this in the air and also when you turn one way, then the track throws you from the outside, back to the outside, when you lean it over you feel it going into the turn, it’s a little top heavy. It’s still pretty nimble for having that, just that you can tell the difference between both. If I only had one bike to ride both moto and off-road with, I wouldn’t be bummed with the Husky. Actually I’d be totally happy with it. I’d be happier with the FX than the SX-F to ride both moto and off-road. Could I use both bikes for both and enjoy it? Yes, but I think I can make the Husky work good here at the track as well as keep the comfort for off-road. I could feel the difference between the 19 inch and 18 inch rear wheels. I don’t know if weight is the right word, but it feels like the rear wheel on the Husky is more significant than on the KTM. I could tell the difference in the sidewall, the Husky is a little gummier in certain turns. Not bad, but just not as precise as the 19.” - Ryan Orr, Age 38, 5’10”, 175 lbs. Off-Road Expert/Former Moto Pro “Comparing the current 350cc motorcycles produced by and Husquvarna with the Japanese 250cc or 450cc motorcycles, can be a little tricky. Having the opportunity to ride two different 350cc machines, the KTM 350 SX-F and the Husquvarna FX 350 seemed like a fun idea. The Husquvarna FX is geared towards closed course off-road competition such as GNCC and MX-GP type events and the KTM 350 SX-F geared towards MX, they seemed comparable enough that both could appeal to the same buyer. While the bikes are very similar they are also very different. The obvious differences, other than one being a Husquvarna and one being a KTM, I noticed the FX had Dunlop AT81 tires with an 18” rear wheel, a larger gas tank and OEM hand guards. The 350 SX-F comes with Dunlop MX3S with a 19” rear wheel. One thing you can’t see is the gearbox, the 350 FX has a 6 speed and the 350 SX-F has a 5 speed. Sitting on the bike they are almost identical, with the exception of the gripper seat on the Husky. After riding the bikes back to back I noticed significant differences. As expected, the FX suspension was noticeably softer than the SX-F. On a motocross track there was no doubt the stock FX 350 settings were quite soft however, the jump up to the 350SX-F suspension was almost a little too rigid especially, if you were on a tight rocky trail. The fork gave me the sensation that the fork springs were too stiff (both these bikes have air forks) and felt like it rode high in the stroke. When jumping the FX, you wanted to be fairly smooth on your landings or else you will feel significant bottoming. In contrast, you could over jump on the 350 SX-F and feel confident the suspension would absorb most of the impact. There is no doubt I would prefer the FX 350 suspension over the 350 SX-F if we were on a tight rocky trail. One thing I didn’t notice before riding was the front brake. The FX has a Magura caliper and the 350 SX-F has a Brembo. It was immediately noticeable when going from bike to bike. The FX’s brake was much easier to modulate over the 350 SX-F’s Brembo. The Brembo was too sensitive initially, making it easy to lock up the front wheel. The area that I was not expecting to offer much of a difference was the engine. However, I was quite surprised. My initial thought was how quiet these bikes were. First, I rode the FX 350 and the lack of exhaust and engine noise made me think the bike was slow but when I grabbed a handful of throttle to jump a slightly blind double I found myself unexpectedly over jumping the landing. This confirmed the suspension was soft for aggressive MX. I would describe the engine feeling of the FX closer to a 250-type power. Riding the 350 SX-F the engine had more of a noticeable hit and an unexpectedly significant amount of engine braking. It was certainly more of a MX type power-band. I would say it leans closer to a 450-engine feeling. Both bikes had fantastic seemingly endless over-rev. My overall impression of the FX 350 was that it offers a softer smoother engine/chassis combo that is noticeably more suited for off-road type riding. Although, in stock form, it still has some ability to be ridden on a motocross track with enjoyment. The 350 SX-F is much more rigid and more at home on a motocross track. It might not crossover to off-road competition as well as the Husqvarna crosses over to moto. With some suspension personalization, you could make either bike work well for you. Based on our mini test, if I was going to chose one over the other, I would prefer to start with the FX 350.” – Allan Brown, Age 47, 5’10”, 175 lb, Vet A “I like both bikes to begin with. I’ve spent a lot of time on the FX 350 and have ridden older iterations of the 350 SX-F in stand-alone tests and in a few 450 MX shootouts. In the power department, the KTM has more excitement, especially in the aggressive, second map. I had a hard time telling the difference between maps on the Husky. That being said they have a very similar power delivery (mellow bottom, strong mid, tons of top end and overrev) with the KTM seeming to have more response at all rpm. I would say the SX-F has an edge over the FX in the handling department as well, but not by much of a margin. They both have a very neutral cornering characteristic allowing the rider to decide if he/she wants to slide up and ride the front or lean back and use the throttle to turn. If you want to do the latter, you need to be pretty high in the rpm because neither machine are huge torque machines. The Husky has a little less precise handling because of the softer suspension, more weight higher up, and the 18-inch rear tire. Yet, again, not so much that I couldn’t have a blast on the track on the FX. The suspension is the biggest and most noticeable difference. Unlike the super-fast guys, I actually went down in air pressure on the fork, to 10.4 bar which is sort of the informal recommended ‘vet/mellow rider’ setting. This was just to get the fork to ride lower in the stroke overall. I don’t go fast enough to get that ‘diving fork’ sensation in turns. I also slowed down the rebound on shock because the rear end was kicking out coming out of corners. Hopping on the FX, the first think I noticed was that I really had to grease the landings on jumps. On the SX-F, an OJ or case was absorbed with moderate complaint, but on the Husky, I bottomed hard when going too long on a few of the bigger jumps. But, I prefer a softer, more off-roady set up even on my track bikes so I felt right at home. With more I would dial in the fork and shock to be overall stiffer but not too much because the comfort-oriented suspension soaked up sharp hits beautifully and stuck to the ground so well I felt like I could make the bike turn any which way I wanted. Overall, the FX is just a more versatile machine. I would rather have the Husky and have a track suspension setting and off-road setting AND get the big tank, hand guards, kickstand, and 18-incher which didn’t bother me much on the track.” – Sean Klinger, Age 31, 5’8”, 215 lb, Vet Novice “I’ve never so much clicked with a slow-revving four-stroke before but the FX 350 and I got along great. The most startling thing to me was the bike’s handling. I could stay standing in a sweeping berm with total confidence. Even though the suspension is very soft, I it gave excellent feel of the track and what the bike was doing. The 350 SX-F let me feel the track but didn’t give the same communication of the tires’ traction. Both bikes turned great, and maybe on a softer track the SX-F’s more precise chassis feel would have been better, but on the hard pack vet track at Milestone I just never felt that same sureness of what the tires were doing on the ground. The FX’s suspension was extremely plush. Since I wasn’t launching any serious jumps the set up suited me great. The landings were plush but a little spongey, where it leaned to comfort too much over precision. Maybe this is where the FX’s plushness works against it in terms of control when you’re charging. The SX-F had a more serious feel; it had firmer and a more rigid ride. I dialed out the KTM’s compression clickers front and back, and a few clicks improved things, but once I was six clicks beyond the stock settings the bike got a loose feel that took away what connection the bike had to the track. As for the engines, the FX on Map 1 felt strong and moderately aggressive down low in the rpm where I ride. On Map 2 the power smoothed too much, even for a slick track; it just took away too much of the responsiveness and fun down low. The SX-F felt strong and smooth on Map 1, and more aggressive on Map 2. It was more fun to ride on Map 2 and had plenty of boost in the bottom end without that weighty feel that a 450’s torque creates. As for other details, I heard some of the other testers comment that the SX-F’s front brake was touchy but to me it felt very easy to modulate and never once bit too hard. As for the FX, thinking back after the ride, I had no complaints about the seat, notable because last year’s FC’s seat was uncomfortably hard. I shouldn’t have been surprised the less-serious bike better suited my less-serious speed. The FX just worked for me. I felt confident leaned over while sitting, but the most impressive thing about the bike was how connected I felt to that tire/track contact and how comfortable I felt standing later into corners or just staying up the whole way through.” - Pete Peterson, 49 years old, 5”10”, 175 lb, Vet novice Sursa
  13. The B3 800 RR is the first motorcycle has produced since the Varese-based company was rescued by MV Holding—the investment company co-owned by Giovanni Castiglioni and his Russian business partner, Timur Sardarov—which later reacquired the remaining 25 percent of MV Agusta Motor stock that in 2017 was still in the hands of Mercedes AMG. The three-cylinder 798cc engine that powers the 800 RR had to be amply revised to conform to Euro 4 regulations, and that alone was a big job since the high-performance version had reached a substantial 140 hp, which justified creating the RR-model line. MV’s R&D department under the experienced and dedicated leadership of American Brian Gillen not only made the 800 RR comply with the latest emissions, it improved the personality of the engine in terms of its throttle response and torque curve. Reaching the previous power peak now only requires 12,300 rpm while the earlier edition needed 13,100 rpm. Claimed torque is up slightly to 64.2 pound-feet. at 10,100 rpm from the previous 63.4 at the same rpm and just 0.7 short of the 64.9 pound-feet the F3 800 generates at 10,600 rpm. The 13.3:1 compression ratio, 31.8/26.7mm intake/exhaust-valve sizes, and 50mm individual throttle bodies are unchanged. Two injectors feed each throttle body, one located below the throttle valve and one, showerhead style, above it. The adoption of the showerhead injectors imposed the construction of a new airbox. The new MV Agusta Brutale B3 800 RR sports a redesigned seat that looks nicer and is more comfortable because it offers more solid longitudinal support. The major evolution is development of new camshafts and a redesigned exhaust that uses all the available space under the crankcase to neatly accommodate a much-larger catalyzer. The three separate exhaust terminals have grown in size, while keeping their typical arched and slash-cut design. To conform to the new noise emissions, a valve inserted in the exhaust manifold controls the pressure waves at low rpm and opens when the engine reaches the upper levels of its rev range to allow the pressure waves to flow more freely. For the purpose of shielding mechanical noises emitted from the primary, padded plastic covers were added to the side covers and painted black to duplicate the look of the metal underneath. That was a smart idea indeed because the engine is very quiet despite its frantic activity. The B3 chassis doesn’t differ much from the previous edition, but minor adjustments are intended to enhance stability. Wheelbase now spans 54.9 inches, up from the previous 54.3, while rake has increased from 23.5 degrees to 24.0 with trail up from 3.78 inches to 4.05. The most important modification is the connection between the front engine mount and the triangulated tubing structure that reaches down to it from the upper frame trellis. In previous editions, this triangulation was simply clamped to the engine block by a single bolt that ran through it. The rigidity of this critical connection resulted from the tightening torque applied and the friction between the engine and the tubing surfaces. This left a certain amount of play between the diameter of the bolt and the bore of the channel into which the bolt was inserted, limiting the rigidity of the frame-to-engine connection in a critical area. Overall styling of the naked triple is basically unchanged from that of the previous edition, though it looks larger and more aggressive. Now precisely threaded bores replace the through channel and high-tensile steel bolts much more solidly and precisely connect the frame structure to the front engine mount. This produced a more substantial increase in chassis rigidity than it might sound, with great benefit to the stability of the steering-head section. This translates to a sharper connection through the handlebar to the front end, especially under heavy braking and high-speed cornering. The suspension is a carryover from the previous model with an inverted 43mm Marzocchi fork taking care of the front and a single-sided swingarm with a Sachs shock at the rear. Both the fork and shock are fully adjustable and feature gas-charged dampers. The rear wheel sports a modified hub that includes a more advanced type of damping mechanism for a smoother-operating final drive. An eight-step Sachs steering damper is also new. New graphics make the air scoops on the gas tank look like the nostrils of a hippo, while before they were barely noticeable. Crawling aboard the new Brutale 800 RR returned a familiar feeling—the new seat is ergonomic excellence—that put me in a positive mood from the beginning. The 30-mile ride from the MV Agusta factory to the Pirelli test track on twisty back roads with moderate traffic was a smooth way to get acquainted. The updated engine emits a raspier, higher-pitched staccato exhaust note, and the throttle response is incredibly strong even in fifth and sixth speeds from as low as 2,500 rpm, and that was great for passing through small towns almost unnoticed. Gillen underlined to me that the electronics suite had undergone the deepest revision and now is to be regarded on par with the best from the competition. New graphics are less elegant than we are used to seeing from MV Agusta—too much black, too many contrasting flashes of color. Smooth, extremely agile, and responsive, the Brutale B3 800 RR is a great sporty naked bike for everyday riding. And the track section of the test confirmed the supreme racing tradition of the make. After I switched to sport mode and left only a minimum of traction control, the Brutale started hammering away at the circuit with a vengeance. Progression to redline is absolutely impressive, with speeds easily soaring to 120 mph down the main straight, which measures slightly longer than a quarter-mile. From 9,000 to 13,000, the new 800 RR is a tornado that took my breath away while I was changing gears in a maniacal sequence. With throttle fully open and no clutch, the new quick-shift electronics work great. The chassis is magnificently balanced, quick to find its line, and perfectly surefooted at good lean angles, to the point that I had to jack up the rear suspension to prevent the footpegs from hitting the tarmac while I was scratching my knees. Not an ideal combination, but the Pirelli Diablo Rosso IIIs ensured easy recoveries from slides resulting from hard parts hitting the ground. Want more news like this? Sign up to receive our newsletters and never miss an update! By submitting above, you agree to our . At 386 pounds dry, the Brutale B3 800 RR is nimble, fast (151 mph claimed top speed), and offers terrific acceleration, but it is also a very versatile mount with excellent riding manners. To test the triple’s flexibility, I lapped the test track in sixth gear without any shuddering, a very positive demonstration of the engine’s efficiency. The new course sweeping through MV Agusta appears to be generating a positive path to finally reach the levels of functionality, performance, mechanical refinement, and quality that enthusiasts expect from an Italian make with such a terrific tradition in the sport. I, too, expect that and shall keep a watchful eye on the company’s progress. Sursa
  14. Two flagships on display during Fleet Week at NAS Alameda in San Francisco Bay: USS Constellation and the Electra Glide Ultra. This article was originally published in the February-March 1997 issue of Cycle World's Big Twin magazine. Electra Glide. Even the name evokes a mixture of nostalgia and luxury. And in the Ultra Classic Electra Glide configuration, it’s the flagship of The Motor Company’s fleet. As the name implies, it’s not merely a motorcycle; it’s the Ultra motorcycle. And one with a lot of Cubic Stuff, as well. We’re talkin’ cruise control, and AM/FM/cassette stereo, CB radio, intercom, helmet-mounted headset and much more. It’s the master of the slab, and merely sitting in its soft, spacious saddle makes you want to cancel the newspaper, lock up the house and head for the farthest coastline. The name was first riveted on the side of a Harley fender back in 1965 when electric start was introduced on the then-new Shovelhead motor. The moniker caught on like wildfire, even inspiring a moto-noir movie of the same name (“Electra Glide In Blue”) starring Robert Blake. Now, 32 years later, the Electra Glide offers the sweetest Harley paradox: It still looks remarkably similar to that classic ’65 Electra Glide, yet it contains three decades worth of meaningful improvements. As part of its constant evolution, the top-of-the-line Electra Glide even incorporates quite a few substantial changes over last year’s model. So, to discover just how these changes have affected the Ultra’s road demeanor, we took our test bike on a thousand-mile cruise from our Southern California editorial offices, up the coast to the quaint Dutch town of Solvang. We spent two solid days there, chuffing through the ambling backroads of Central California’s wine country, then snaked our way farther north on the Coast Highway to San Francisco. Finally, on our return to SoCal, we endured the Interstate 5 drone all the way home. This variety of usage gave us a well-rounded perspective of how the Ultra handles through the twisties and along superslab so ruler-straight that only a surveyor could love it. Among the biggest changes for ’97 are those made to the FL frame, which has been modified to lower the seat h some three-quarters of an inch, down to 271/4 inches. This is a boon to short-leggers who yearn to have both feet planted full on the asphalt while trying to balance the Ultra’s hefty, 785-pound dry weight at a stop. At first, our tester noticed no difference in the seat h on the road; but after a few hours, he found himself stretching his legs more often than he used to do on previous FL models. Blame it on the lower seat forcing a slightly sharper bend in the knees. There are upsides to the lower seat, however: For one, the new Ultra saddle is wonderfully comfortable to sit on for long periods; and for another, it’s narrower in the front, which allows the rider’s legs to take a more direct—and thus less tiring—route between the seat and the foot controls. Speaking of ergonomics, the narrower handlebar on the Ultra is so comfortable that it should be standard-issue on the entire FL and Softail lines. Sure, those wide bars on and might look a bit snappier, but they’re back-breakers. For all-around riding, the Ultra bar is far superior. As part of the frame redesign, the fuse panel has been relocated behind the left sidecover for easier access. And for those of you with vitamin A deficiencies who delight in stringing lights on your bikes like Christmas trees, there’s now room for a larger, more powerful battery. What hasn’t changed on the Ultra is the motor. It’s the same venerable, 1340cc torquer that we reported on in the last issue, the issue before that, and the issue before that. It’s also the same motor we’ll report on in the next issue and the issue after that. Really, the only difference is that the Ultra is available in both carbureted and fuel-injected versions; ours was the injected edition. All of our riding was done at or around sea level, so we didn’t have a chance to sample the versatility of this particular machine’s fuel-delivery system. But based on our previous experience with injected Harleys, we like the use of EFI on touring bikes because it handles variables in altitude so well. You’ll find, though, that the Ultra motor definitely does not like low-grade fuel. In warm weather pulling a load, it’ll ping like a bucketful of marbles bouncing on cement unless the rider is careful at feeding time—uh, the bike’s, not the rider’s. We then headed northeast, charging down some idyllic country roads running behind Santa Barbara that indeed were gorgeous, but with potholes big enough to trip an Abrams tank. Panic-grabbing the front brake, we didn’t miss the electric anti-dive front fork as much as we thought we would, compliments of the im­proved performance of new dual-rate springs in the front suspension. Both the fork and the rear shocks on the Ultra are air-assisted. The maximum allowable pressure of 36 psi at both ends was fine on the twisties, helping to make the Ultra as close to a sport machine as that big mother will allow. But the ride was correspondingly harsh over bumps, shaking all the bells and whistles—the bags, trunk, fairing, windshield, cassette door and antennas—and making them rattle like loose bells and whistles. For normal touring and street riding, between 15 and 25 psi offered the most comfortable ride. Speaking of bells and whistles, the Ultra unashamedly offers the whole marching band. The styling/convenience list is a mile long and, depending upon your riding philosophy, is either alluring or depraved. When speaking of the Ultra, however, we think it axiomatic that more is better. First, consider—and we quote the owner’s manual here—the “80-Watt Premium Stereo Sound System with AM/FM Cassette, Fairing Mounted Speakers (Rear Speakers With Amplifier), Weather Band, Digital Clock, Radio Controls For Passenger, Bidirectional Seek, Scan, Music Search and Music Scan, and 8 Presets, Voice-Activated Intercom With Adjustable Muting, 4-Watt, 40-channel Electronically Tuned CB with control for rear passenger.” Whew! Some of this gadgetry we used, most we didn’t. We forsook the intercom and rear speaker because we traveled solo; we ignored the weather channel because we rode in California; and we eschewed the CB chatter because we really dislike CB chatter. Still, we did use the radio and cassette player extensively, knowing full well that fairing-mounted speakers have a really tough mission. The parts of the Boston Pops rendition of the William Tell Overture that actually made it to our ears was as good as could be ex­pected after the wind noise took away the cellos, surrounding traffic killed the woodwinds, and earplugs stifled the strings. But at least the speakers are deep-set in the fairing and project better than flat mounts. Actually, the sound quality for most music is pretty good at the speed limit and below, but above 70 mph, you’ll have to limit your listening to songs you already know, or else crank up the treble, kill the bass and listen to talk radio. The handlebar controls for the stereo-volume, channel and mode selection, tape fast-forward and reverse, are logical and easy to access, although with gloves on, the dash controls can be difficult to operate. The Ultra possesses numerous other little niceties that can make travel on the interstate much more pleasant. Among these are an ambient temperature readout on the speedometer; a stereo helmet headset; a cigar lighter; carpeted interior in the saddlebags; a rider backrest; adjustable rider and passenger footboards; removable fairing lowers with storage; and fairing-mounted wind deflectors. 1997 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra A word here about the gas gauge: We recommend it for anyone who’s on a 12-step program with Procrastinators Anonymous. The gauge needle dawdles lazily to the 3/4 mark, and once there, it must realize it’s late and races crazily to the red Reserve zone; you can almost see it move. The lesson here is, when the needle gets on the left side of the halfway mark, start looking for a gas station. In earnest. After a couple of days cruising the San Francisco Bay Area, we aimed the great headlight and passing lamps of the Ultra south for the grind on the interstate. Here’s where the mettle of a touring rig is tested. Backroads offer ample opportunity to shift around in the saddle, and to mount and remount the bike at frequent stops to see the sights and shoot photos. But the interstate (where Charles Kurault correctly opined that “it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything”) plants your butt in the saddle for hours with only gas stops for a respite. And thankfully, the Interstate is where the Ultra shines its brightest. With billboard landscape and hundreds of miles to go, what better way to traverse great distances than to re­lax back in the spacious Ultra saddle, put some Jimmy Buffett tunes in the stereo, and flick on the cruise control at around 70 mph. The ’97 Ultra is fitted with a new and improved cruise control, by the way, that responds quickly to input and can be easily used to trim your speed in relation to the semis up ahead. At freeway speeds, the big V-Twin broadcasts a pleasing, almost lulling exhaust note, and any small amount of vibration that reaches butt, feet and hands is merely a reminder that there indeed is an honest-to-God ma­chine at work down there. For our 6-foot-1 test rider, the windshield h was ideal; he could see over it by about an inch, and there was no burble slapping his head at any speed. But with its lowers, the fairing works almost too well in the summer. The lowers retain enough engine heat that they should sit safely on the garage shelf from June to first snowfall. Fortunately, they’re easy to get on and off. Even with its lowered seat, the Ultra arranges the rider in a super-comfortable, almost easy-chair position. With the cruise activated, you can simply lean back, rest your hands on your knees and steer only by gving the handlebar ends small inputs with your fingertips. This is a motorcycle that—with a little cooperation from your boss and a lot from your bank—you could ride for months at a time. As you would expect from flagship, the Electra Glide Ultra is one great ride. When you can internalize the philosophy that you travel not for destination’s sake but for travel’s sake, and that the great affair is to move, you understand both the mission and the strength of this motorcycle. Of all the ways there are to travel, we can think of none better than to point an Ultra outward-bound on a sunny day, and move. Ups Great seat Beautiful finish Lots of storage Considerate passenger accouterments Downs 18,000!! Sursa
  15. Over the last few years, we’ve noticed more and more Betas showing up on race results sheets from EnduroCross to National Enduro to Extreme Enduro races. The Italian off-road bikes have been gaining ground and for 2018, has made quite a few changes to its entire lineup. We got the opportunity to test the new , which features quite a few changes for 2018. Red frame and white plastic look good on this off-roader. What’s New First off, the 300 RR is a claimed 10 pounds lighter than last year’s model, which is quite an impressive feat. That being said, Beta models in the past haven’t been necessarily lightweights. How did the company do it? Beta doesn’t explain where the weight loss came from, but one area, most likely, could be the all-new frame for 2018. Additionally, the bike has an updated, smoother-operating clutch and all-new cylinder that Beta says is aimed at even smoother power. It’s hard to notice, but the frame is all-new. What Stays The Same One of the unique features that stays the same is the 300 RR’s oil injection. No premixing need with this machine; straight gas goes in the tank and premix two-stroke oil goes in the oil tank found under the seat next to the air filter and battery. With our previous Beta two-stroke test bikes, we got about three tanks of fuel to one tank of oil, which is way less oil used than when premixing. The reason for this is that the computer changes the oil amount per the rpm and throttle opening. That means at idle and low rpm/small throttle openings, it can be as little oil as 100 to 1 while wide open at high rpm, it can add more oil to get to the 32 or 40 to 1 we are more accustomed to. The suspension stays the same this year as well; a Sachs 48mm USD fork and Sachs shock. The motor received a new cylinder and crankshaft. Out In The Wild After letting the bike warm up at the office, we noticed a little bit of a bog right off idle when you get hard on the gas. We turned in the air screw a half turn out and that got it pretty close to where we wanted it. Since we were going to be riding at 3,000 feet elevation and above, we left it with the slight bog, which went away when we arrived at our riding destination the next day. Primarily because we’ve been spoiled by the modern, counterbalanced KTMs and Husqvarnas of 2017 and 2018, we immediately noticed a lot of vibration coming from the RR, mostly through the pegs but a little through the bar. Once you get riding and/or if you don’t have any other reference, the vibration isn’t an issue. The Sachs shock is less bouncy/trials feeling than last year. The first thing we noticed was actually the suspension or, more specifically, its stiffness. Betas (and most European off-road bikes, for that matter) often have a very comfort-oriented setup that doesn’t make us think, “race ready.” But the ’18 300 RR is definitely set up more on the performance side. In fact, one of our testers felt that the suspension was overall too stiff for casual trail riding. The fork has sort of a linear, non-progressive feel that makes it feel resistant to start to move but stays stiff throughout the stroke. But we also know that this suspension takes some break-in to get it feeling as it should. Our hunch is that this machine had zero break-in time (some manufacturers pre-ride bikes before they give them to the media) and that our day of riding was the very first time this bike saw action. As we ride this machine more, we expect the fork to free up and gain comfort. Also, it could be that the engineers at Beta were tired of hearing American motojournalists saying their bikes are “too soft” and “not race-able.” We would much rather have this bike this way, wait until we get five to 10 hours on the bike, and then decide if we want to go softer. The brakes perform well, but the FIM-approved tire has to go! The shock was also on the stiffer side, but didn’t have the super-bouncy, high-rebound type of feel that past Betas have had. It sounds like we are being harsh on the 300’s suspension but 1) we know that the suspension needs time to break in and 2) the stiffer overall setup is more aligned with serious riders and racers, which is a good thing in our opinion. The clutch is new and all testers commented that the 300 RR has great shifting. The RR’s new cylinder doesn’t give the ’18 bike a drastically different feel, but we would say that we feel more meat/grunt throughout the power. It likes to be short-shifted since it makes most of its power in the low-to-mid rpm range. On our butt-dyno sand hill we use to test a lot of bikes’ engines, the Beta did moderately well, but it didn’t fly up the hill with ease. But, and this is a big but, we are more suspect of the FIM small-knobbied tire as the weak link in the hill climb, not the power coming from the engine. Throttle response was excellent despite the hesitation we felt at the office, which disappeared on our testing day. Also, especially for a two-stroke, the power curve is very linear and easy to modulate. There isn’t a surprising hit to catch you off-guard, just a smooth increase in power up through the midrange. It could use a little bit more power at the very low-end and very top-end to be a really incredible engine. The fork is Sachs as well and is overall stiffer than last year’s bike. But we also know it takes a while for Sachs suspension to break in. Straight up, this 300 RR handles better than last year’s machine. We can’t really say if it’s the new frame or the lighter weight (or a combination thereof), but we like it. As we know from other bikes that went on a diet to get a beach bod, losing weight can really help a bike respond to rider input and this 300 RR is no different. Combined with a slim overall feel and the new chassis, this Beta is even more attuned to tight, technical trails. Want more news like this? Sign up to receive our newsletters and never miss an update! By submitting above, you agree to our . The Beta can be a little twitchy at speed. Overall, this is a better 300 RR than we’ve ridden in the past. We are excited to put more time on this machine and to put it head to head with other 300 two-strokes on the market. Overall it is a light-feeling bike. Second Opinion Tristen Morts, Age: 22, 6'2”, 185 lb, Expert Moto/off-road The new frame and lighter weight improve handling characteristics. This bike has a smooth clutch and shifts through the gears well. The first gear is short, and there is a big jump from first to second gear. First gear was responsive and made it easy to slow down and get over an obstacle. I would say the overall power is right in the middle, not too aggressive and not too mellow. The bike had a short gear range keeping most of the power in the bottom-end though it pulled better through the higher gears. You can definitely feel the vibration through the bike. I felt it most on the pegs, but after some time riding it, I forgot about it. This bike rips through the trails, but I would probably stay away from rough hill climbs. It can take flat landings without bottoming out. I found this bike’s suspension to be on the stiff side. I felt comfortable entering a set of rollers as it balanced well and wanted to stay on top and not dive in or kick back. Although through high-speed sections and wanting to lean the bike into a turn, the front end kept wanting to tuck on me. It worked great through tight single-track as it has a light feel and could really put the bike where I wanted it. It had a shaky feel in fast-choppy sections, but worked surprisingly well over the slow rocky sections, something I'm not very experienced with and was able to use the bike’s agility to my advantage. In the trees is where the Beta wants to be. I found this bike to handle better in the low-speed sections. The light weight makes the bike easy to maneuver. The 300 has a thin feel to it and sits pretty balanced. It's definitely a fun bike to ride, though the front end tucked on me a few times in faster-speed flat corners. The traction of the bike wasn’t something I felt comfortable to rely on either. On coarse granite is about the only place the FIM tires had good grip. What’s Hot Lighter, better-handling machine No mixing oil and gas = more refueling options Linear power is easy to modulate What’s Not FIM tire hurts overall performance Vibration is starting to be more noticeable Suspension needs some time to break in MSRP: $8,499 Seat Height: 36.8 in. Ground Clearance: 12.25 in. Fuel Capacity: 2.5 gal. (650cc oil tank) Weight, Tank Full: 242 lb Sursa