2014 Motorcycle of the Year Awards

Posted by on Aug 14, 2014 in Motorcycles | 0 comments

2014 Motorcycle of the Year Awards

2014 Motorcycle of the Year Awards http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/features/2014-motorcycle-of-the-year-awards/?dom=fb&src=SOC Motorcycle of the Year KTM 1290 Super Duke R The Naked Bike Done Right Naked bikes look so simple, at least compared to sophisticated superbikes or option-plus adventure-tourers. Just wrap slinky bodywork around—not over—a big-block engine, anoint it with a threatening nickname, and watch buyers beat feet to wrap their wrists around one. In reality, a sublime streetfighter is something more complicated. First, the motor—many repurpose an already-amortized sportbike powerplant, but “retune” too much and risk being labeled weak sauce. Don’t soft-pedal the chassis development either—these aren’t funny-shaped cruisers; most are ridden hard and fast. Styling is another pitfall—it’s a fine line between sinister and silly. And there’s no algorithm for that X-factor that turns the throttle into a thrill meter. KTM has always excelled at this type of bike (see our 2007 Motorcycle of the Year, the KTM 990 Super Duke). With deep roots in off-road racing, performance is always KTM’s priority, and with no sportbike to rip off (back then, at least), the Super Duke was always purpose built. Most importantly, KTM is an enthusiast-run company where everyone, from engineers to executives, rides hard, so that X-factor never lacked. It makes sense that in 2014, unofficially Year of the Naked Bike, our MOTY choice is KTM’s all-new 1290 Super Duke R. The naked class has shifted from its no-frills, urban-warrior roots to become sophisticated-but-versatile sportbikes for grown-up performance connoisseurs. There’s no better example of this evolution than the latest SDR, simultaneously the most savage and most civilized streetfighter yet. KTM started by out-displacing the competition with a 1,301cc V-twin that throws down an astounding 92.7 pound-feet of torque, enough to confidently loft the front wheel in almost any gear. Pavement punishing bottom end and a thunderous finish on top, this is a V-twin done right. The steel trellis frame is light and narrow, while world-class WP suspension and Brembo’s best M50 brakes manage any pace. And KTM’s signature Kiska design, all hard edges and aggressive angles, defines an authentic badass look. But the rider aids make this Duke so Super. Last-generation KTMs were bare-bones essentialists and proudly—some might say painfully—analog. Here (as with its Adventure series) KTM developed category-leading electronics that make all this outrageous power and performance accessible to an even wider wedge of the riding public. Toggle Street mode, and tiptoe this friendly kitten to the café; dial up Sport mode, switch TC off, select the Supermoto ABS setting, and you’re staring down a ferocious tiger ready to eat your face. A streetfighter that can scare or snuggle, KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R sets a new standard for the naked-bike class. No company has come farther faster than the recent KTM. Many still think of the Austrian manufacturer as a boutique builder of high-end dirt bikes, but last year the firm sold almost 110,000 motorcycles, thrusting it ahead of BMW, Ducati, and Triumph in terms of full-size motorcycle production. More surprising, almost 50 percent of that output was streetbikes. KTM’s all-street Duke lineup now spans from 125cc to 1,300cc and is central to KTM’s global emergence as a full-line motorcycle manufacturer. As the flagship of the Duke family, it was critically important that the Super Duke R stand out as a halo product to increase desirability of the entire Duke line. The Super Duke R had to be a magnificent motorcycle. KTM marshaled all of its resources to ensure that it was. This is what makes a Motorcycle of the Year: a fantastic machine that not only extends our concept of the category it belongs to but also...

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2014 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Review. Still Crazy After All These Years

Posted by on Jul 4, 2014 in HeadLines, Motorcycles | 3 comments

2014 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Review. Still Crazy After All These Years

by Jonathan Handler. 2014 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Review. The promise of something new can often be a powerful motivator and usually, without this element, our interests are not aroused. But that’s not the case here as Suzuki has done it again by releasing its 2014 GSX-R 1000 without any changes from the 2013 model. Well, they did give it a new paint scheme. It is one of the last race replicas sold by a leading manufacturer that does not include electronic rider aids – no traction control, no ABS, no anti-rear wheel lift. Regardless, what we get is one of the best handling and all-around performing bikes on the market today. Sure, with all the power it delivers, traction control would be a welcome addition, but a rider’s careful execution of throttle actuation will take care of business. My real focus is street riding at a reasonable pace, though we will take it to the track for some riding insights. While on the subject, let’s compare the GSX-R1000 to Suzuki’s GSX-R750, which I reviewed in January (2014 Suzuki GSX-R750 Review). Again, we selected Greg Nulman’s Motoyard as the track day organization of choice, only for the GSX-R1000 we visit them at Buttonwillow Raceway Park – about two hours north of Los Angeles. Greg runs a cohesive organization that helps make track days fun and safe. His control riders, like David Price, are always helpful with suggestions and escorts to show riders the best lines, and discuss strategy or equipment. Lessons are available, prices are reasonable, and Motoyard’s online signups are simple. Buttonwillow, as it is today, could use a bit of repaving, especially on turn 2, which is off-camber and feels a bit greasy. It’s a lovely turn that begs for more throttle and lean, but without traction control this corner has me on my guard all day (it also consumed one bike during the session…but not ours). Lately, bikes without rider aids tend to be marginalized by what they lack, but, in the case of the GSX-R 1000, there is still much to love. So what if traction control on this machine means connecting your brain to your wrist like we did for countless years? I’m not that fast, anyway, so a fun and pleasing experience is much more important to me than shaving tenths of seconds off my lap time. One electronic feature that is included, besides the simple, easy-to-read dashboard, is S-DMS (Suzuki Drive Mode Selector) which allows the rider to choose one of three fuel injection and ignition maps (A/B/C) by left thumb and forefinger. This helps deliver power best suited to conditions. Frankly, in the short time I had to play with them I felt little difference between modes, simply left it in A. Power delivery is smooth with no spikes or flat spots and modulation was natural and a no-brainer. I’m only guessing but I think we should anticipate a bevy of electronic rider aids from Suzuki soon with their announced entry onto the MotoGP grid in 2015. They must be developing these aids as I write, and we are sure to get the trickle-down effect from the race effort. Expect to see these soon, but there is no official word as of this writing. On the street the Gixxer exhibits excellent manners in all types of riding. For a bike that can, off the track, corner near the best out there, it has a relatively plush ride on oil-damped, inverted big-piston Showa forks and link-type rear suspension. The feedback is excellent, and everything is adjustable – as a rider’s pace and demands increase,...

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BMW F700 GS

Posted by on Jun 29, 2014 in HeadLines, Motorcycles | 0 comments

BMW F700 GS

Από το 2007 η BMW παίζει πρωταγωνιστικό ρόλο στα μεσαία on/off και από φέτος θέλει να τον μετατρέψει σε κυριαρχικό με ηλεκτρονικό τρόπο. Είναι γεγονός ότι οι δύο εκδόσεις F 650/800 GS δημιούργησαν αίσθηση, για να μην πούμε τάραξαν τα νερά της κατηγορίας, όταν εμφανίστηκαν έξη χρόνια πίσω, όπως επίσης είναι γεγονός πως με τον ανταγωνισμό να θεριεύει η BMW έπρεπε να ξαναμοιράσει την τράπουλα με τις βελτιωμένες F700/800 GS. Και αυτό ακριβώς έκανε, αν και στην ουσία δεν πρόκειται για νέες μοτοσυκλέτες αλλά για ανανεωμένες στα σημεία εκείνα όπου οι Βαυαροί έκριναν ότι έπρεπε να αναβαθμιστούν. Η F700GS, στην περίπτωσή μας, αποκτά ηλεκτρονικά βοηθήματα και ο κινητήρας της δυναμώνει σημαντικά, οπότε τώρα πια ευελπιστεί πως μπορεί να αντιμετωπίσει με μεγαλύτερη αυτοπεποίθηση τις Kawasaki Versys 650, Honda Crossrunner 800, Suzuki V-Strom 650 και Triumph Tiger 800. Τι αλλάζει Αρχικά, να διευκρινίσουμε ότι οι δύο νέες F700-800 GS μοιράζονται τον ίδιο δικύλινδρο σε σειρά κινητήρα χωρητικότητας 798 κ.εκ., με διαφοροποιημένη απόδοση, όπως έκαναν δηλαδή μέχρι σήμερα τα μοντέλα που αντικαθιστούν. Μοιράζονται επίσης, πλαίσιο, ψαλίδι, πίσω ανάρτηση, κιβώτιο (6αρι μηχανικό, με πιο “κοντές” σχέσεις στο 700) και πάνελ οργάνων. Όσον αφορά στη μοτοσυκλέτα της δοκιμής μας, οι Γερμανοί προχώρησαν σε αλλαγές στον κινητήρα, με αποτέλεσμα να αποδίδει πλέον 75 ίππους, δηλαδή 4 παραπάνω από το 650 και 7,85 kgm ροπής, 0,25 περισσότερα από πριν. Στη συνέχεια, κλασσικοί Βαυαροί, κοίταξαν να βελτιώσουν την ενεργητική ασφάλεια, τοποθετώντας έναν ακόμα δίσκο μπροστά και αντικαθιστώντας το ABS με ενα νέο δικάναλο τελευταίας γενιάς (αμφότερα στον στάνταρ εξοπλισμό). Αισθητικές αλλαγές θα δούμε στην πλέον αιχμηρή σχεδίαση των πλαστικών, στα νέα γραφικά, στον ανανεωμένο πίνακα οργάνων, στα χειριστήρια πάνω στο τιμόνι και στη ζελατίνα του φέριγκ. Ηλεκτρονική τόνωση Οι σημαντικότερες βελτιώσεις της μοτοσυκλέτας έχουν ηλεκτρονικό χαρακτήρα και αφορούν σε δύο καινοτομίες (για την κατηγορία και όχι μόνο), αυτές των συστημάτων ESA (ηλεκτρονική ρύθμιση ανάρτησης) και ASC (traction control)! Θα λέγαμε ότι η προσθήκη αυτών των σύγχρονων ηλεκτρονικών συστημάτων είναι αυτή που κάνει την εμπορική πλάστιγγα να γέρνει υπέρ των Βαυαρών, αρκεί βέβαια να μπορέσει να την αντέξει η τσέπη των καταναλωτών! Στο δρόμο Ο δικύλινδρος σε σειρά των 798 κ.εκ.έχει δεχθεί αλλαγές στον τρόπο που διαχειρίζεται το καύσιμο, οι 4 επιπλέον ίπποι εμφανίζονται 300 στροφές παραπάνω από πριν και η παρουσία τους είναι εμφανής από την πρώτη στιγμή. Η βελτίωση στην απόδοση αισθητή, ειδικά στις ρεπρίζ, κάτι που οφείλεται και στο κατά ένα δόντι μεγαλύτερο πίσω γρανάζι της τελικής μετάδοσης (42 από 41). Η λειτουργία του μηχανικού συνόλου παραμένει γραμμική και φιλική, με χαρακτηριστική ευστροφία στις χαμηλομεσαίες στροφές και εξαιρετικές τιμές κατανάλωσης. Εμείς μετρήσαμε 5 λίτρα / 100 χλμ σε μικτή χρήση και με βαρύ δεξί καρπό. Καθόλου άσχημα… Οδηγώντας στην πόλη και στον περιαστικό κύκλο, αυτό που εκτιμάς είναι η ευκολία οδήγησης της μοτοσυκλέτας, κάτι που οφείλεται στο πολύ καλό ζύγισμα και στον σωστό “μοχλό” που δημιουργεί το τιμόνι. Οι αναρτήσεις μετατρέπουν σε βελούδινη την κύλιση και η λειτουργία (ειδικά του αμορτισέρ) αρχικά ξενίζει, δίνοντας μια ασυνήθιστη αίσθηση με το να “διαβάζει” διαρκώς το δρόμο και να προσαρμόζεται ανάλογα. Σε επαρχιακό δίκτυο, η “μικρή” GS βρίσκεται στο στοιχείο της, κινείται σε γρήγορους ρυθμούς με χαλαρό τρόπο, η κατευθυντικότητά της προβλέψιμη και ελεγχόμενη, θα έλεγα έως και σκέτη απόλαυση. Και σαν κλασική BMW, θα στρίψει, όπου η άσφαλτος είναι άσφαλτος, με εντυπωσιακές κλίσεις, άρτος και θεάματα που λέμε, τα παιδία παίζει και άλλα σχετικά. Και όλα όσα θα κάνει, θα τα κάνει χωρίς να ζορίζεται. Κι αν φτάσει στα όριά της, αυτό θα γίνει προβλέψιμα, αρκεί η σύνεση να είναι ίδιον του αναβάτη. Στο ταξίδι, τα πράγματα δεν είναι και τόσο ρόδινα για όσους σκεφτούν να βγουν...

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Honda CB400N by Officine Mr. S

Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 in HeadLines, Motorcycles | 0 comments

Honda CB400N by Officine Mr. S

Honda CB400N by Officine Mr. S By Wesley Reyneke | Rather Be Riding Nestled against the northwestern Sicilian coastline is a town called Alcamo. Known for its white wine and beautiful seaside, it’s also home to emerging Italian builder Isidoro Stellino. Stellino began his career at the age of 18 as a coffee roaster in his family’s shop, before taking up TIG welding as a trade. Now 36, he’s been building bikes for the past two years as Officine Mr. S. His latest creation is this 1982 Honda CB400N, put together with the help of an architect friend of his. Nicknamed the CB400S – to signify its scrambler disposition – it’s a charming and well-proportioned bike, and features some very nice hand-made parts. For starters, Stellino harnessed his TIG welding skills to make new 2-into-1 exhaust headers from stainless steel, fabricating intricate flanges to secure them and attaching an up-swept reverse cone muffler. The motor support plates and rear brake strut are also one-offs. Little more than a good service and some carb tuning was needed on the mechanical side – but the wiring was completely re-done and the airbox ditched. The fuel tank’s a scrapyard find of unknown origin, and has a new CNC cap fitted. Stellino’s painted it a classic red, with matching accents on the spark plug wires, fuel lines and air filters. Most of the remaining bits have been coated black, with the exception of the engine – which has deliberately been given a distressed finish. The CB400S has an air of practicality about it with Mitas trial tires, fork boots and fenders at both ends. Stellino’s cleaned up the cockpit with a mini speedo, vintage enduro-style headlight and Biltwell Kung Fu grips. Alloy number plates and dirt-bike handlebars round the scrambler motif off nicely. The new seat is particularly nice though – it’s been covered with black leather on the sides and blue Alcantara on top. Right now Officine Mr. S has four other bikes in the shop, and I honestly can’t wait to see them. If he keeps this up, he’ll soon be able to add his name to the list of things that Alcamo is famous for. Images by Alessandro Giglio http://www.bikeexif.com/honda-cb400n Share this:ShareClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

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Yamaha Champions Riding School Now Offering Ride-Better Videos

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in HeadLines, Motorcycles | 0 comments

Yamaha Champions Riding School Now Offering Ride-Better Videos

     The Yamaha Champions Riding School is now offering ride-better videos on YouTube. Riders looking to improve their skills can check out the “Inside Insights” videos put together by the instructing team at YCRS. The short pieces were produced by eyeball, the marketing team that has represented YCRS since it moved to New Jersey at the start of 2014. “These short videos were a ton of fun to shoot,” says YCRS’s Nick Ienatsch. “Ken Hill and I picked about a dozen topics and tried to have a little fun while explaining some concepts that will really help riders. A lot of people want to attend YCRS and we hope these pieces help get them thinking like a champion.” If you want to watch the “Inside Insights” videos, click here. There are currently 12 different episodes, including “Practice Makes Permanent,” “Performance Anxiety” and “Body Position for New Riders.” Most are 1-2 minutes in length.   Seen here! Share this:ShareClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

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KTM1290 SUPER DUKE R Ride

Posted by on Feb 24, 2014 in HeadLines, Motorcycles | 1 comment

KTM1290 SUPER DUKE R Ride

Former MotoGP driver Jeremy McWilliams riding around Ascari with the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R   Share this:ShareClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

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