Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Three-Year-Old Motorcycle Prodigy?


Even though Tiger woods started paying golf at age two, this story of a three-year-old boy from New Delhi, India is probably just as impressive, maybe more. Azeem Khan, photographed on the Royal Enfield Bullet above, has been granted a special license by judges in India allowing him to ride his motorcycle on side roads but is not allowed out on the main roads by himself.

Khan’s father had to customize the bike so that the young boy could reach the controls and prove that he could handle the motorcycle on his own.

I used to sit him on my bike and he would always grab at the controls. One day he will be a professional racer for sure. Claims the boys father, Shantanu.

Apparently the boy has his heart set on a Harley-Davidson for his next ride.

Sources: www.motorcycle.com

Martini Racing Ducati 1098S

One-off Superbike displayed at Laguna Seca

Ducati North America unveiled a one-off 1098S to honor the classic Martini Racing Porsches of the ’70s.

The Martini-Ducati 1098S Superbike features parts and accessories from the Ducati Performance catalogue. With the bike to be displayed at the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Aug. 14-16 at Laguna Seca, Ducati North America decided to paint the 1098S with Martini-Porsche’s blue and red striping.

The Martini-Ducati 1098S beside the Martini Racing Porsche 908/3.

The Martini-Ducati 1098S beside the Martini Racing Porsche 908/3.

Modifications include racing camshafts, race pistons and titanium connecting rods, all connected to a lightened crankshaft. The bike also features magnesium wheels, a World Superbike spec gearbox, a 1/4 turn throttle, billet racing pegs, Ohlins suspension, carbon fiber panels and a titanium exhaust with 70mm tubing and carbon mufflers.

Sources: www.motorcycle.com

2009 Motorcycles Of The Year



While we enjoy ripping on substandard motorcycles, crappy bikes are hard to find these days. Take a look at any of our comparison tests from the last couple of years and you'll find only marginal differences between our declared winners and their competitors.

With so much high-quality product to choose from, culling the field down into our Best Of winners was an arduous task. But that didn't stop us from coming up with our favorite stuff from the class of '09! Introducing the first-annual Motorcycle.com Best Of awards. And the MoBo goes to...

Motorcycle of the Year

Triumph Street Triple R

Triumph had a good thing going when it unveiled the sweet Street Triple 675, a pared-down streetfighter version of the beloved Daytona 675 sportbike. The Street Triple’s finest feature is its soul-stirring three-cylinder engine that boasts a broad powerband and a symphonic exhaust note. The motor, re-tuned from the Daytona, has a predictable but powerful output that makes it accessible and unintimidating to riders of all skill levels yet is satisfying for even the saltiest veterans. Comfortable ergos – including a reasonably low seat height – and an eminently toss-able nature made it a staff darling, but we were a little disappointed it had some bargain-minded bits to keep the retail figure low.

But like a dream come true, the Street Triple R was introduced just last year, replete with the Daytona’s up-spec fully adjustable suspension and potent radial-mount Nissin brake calipers, alleviating all of our concerns. The result is an invigorating and versatile roadster that stickers for less than $10K. Lofting the front wheel is a snap, and before you know it you’ll be drifting out the back end like an inspired Brit hooligan. And on your favorite twisty back road, its friendly yet potent character is almost unbeatable, proving that no one really needs triple-digit horsepower peaks. Now that Triumph perfected the Street in our eyes, it became the perfect Standard. And it's our favorite motorcycle of 2009.

Best Sportbike

Kawasaki ZX-6R

The middleweight class's relatively low buy-in results in the largest amount of sales among sportbikes, so there isn't a segment of motorcycles more keenly contested among manufacturers. Costly (to the OEMs) updates to the 600s arrive every two years in a never-ending quest to one-up their rivals. And it's for these reasons why the ZX-6R is so redoubtable. Kawasaki has built a motor that handily out-guns its 600cc rivals, but just as impressive is a 22-lb lighter machine that handles like a champ, aided by Showa's fabulous new Big Piston Fork. Doubly impressive is that the Ninja took top honors on both the street and track – no mean feat. Triumph's Daytona 675 gives the ZX a run for its money, but among four-cylinder middleweights, the nasty and nimble Ninja stands clearly at the top of this ultra-competitive heap.

The ZX-6R's class-leading motor underpins its track prowess and its usability on the street, combining to deliver the best 600cc sportbike experience of 2009.

The ZX-6R's class-leading motor underpins its track prowess and its usability on the street, combining to deliver the best 600cc sportbike experience of 2009.

Honorable Mention – Honda CBR1000RR

If you want a literbike that handles like a 600, the lightweight and whippet-quick CBR is for you. It's as light as some 600s but has a burly midrange that out-muscles its 1000cc rivals Already a year old in '09, to win our annual literbike shootout in the face of high-profile new challengers from Yamaha and Suzuki is remarkable.

In the literbike class, the CBR1000RR marries the lightest weight, sharpest steering and most potent midrange punch to create our favorite 1000cc sportbike.

In the literbike class, the CBR1000RR marries the lightest weight, sharpest steering and most potent midrange punch to create our favorite 1000cc sportbike.

Best Standard

Ducati Monster 1100

The Italians followed up the lively new Monster 696 with this 1100cc version of its revered air-cooled Desmo V-Twin, and it knocked our socks off with its all'-round versatility, rich character and a huge grin factor.

The big Monster has cozy ergos that welcome urbane commuter duties, as a proper standard should, but it also has the capable chassis and grunty power to terrorize repli-racer sportbikes on a twisty road. Low-rev neck-snapping performance combines with neck-snapping Italian good looks. Ducati's mondo Streetfighter model is much more powerful, but the M1100 is at least as much fun and is thousands cheaper.

Honorable Mention – Harley-Davidson XR1200

When Harley-Davidson announced in summer 2007 it had created a new model called the XR1200, but that it was a Euro-only unit, everyone here in the States asked why we were left out. Then, after listening to the loyal masses, the Motor Company conceded and made it available for the U.S. as an '09.

Ergonomically the XR1200 strikes a good compromise between aggressive canyon attacker and sensible, upright everyday ride. And the potent Nissin brake calipers are crazy powerful. The flat-tracker look-alike styling is a head-turner, and the reliable 1200cc Sporty Twin has been massaged to yield the most horsepower of any air-cooled mill ever to emerge from H-D. Our only criticism is limited lean angle on the exhaust side impeding super-aggressive cornering, but you have to be the fast guy in your crowd for that to be a concern.

Related Reading
2009 Harley-Davidson Sportster XR1200 Review
Ducati Monster 1100 vs Harley-Davidson XR1200 Review

Best Cruiser

Triumph Thunderbird 1600

It's been cruiser utopia for the last decade or so, with every major manufacturer jumping into the market to piggyback on Harley-Davidson's astounding success for the feet-forward crowd. Harley's iconic 45-degree V-Twin has spawned an endless succession of imitators, many of them excellent in their own right. But we don't think we're alone in seeing this genre as a little bit stale. That's one reason why Triumph's new T-Bird made such an impression on us, as its parallel-Twin (a zero-degree Vee) stands apart in a sea of clones. Its 270-degree firing order supplies the requisite thumpity-thump exhaust note, but both its character and layout are unique. This might be a moot point if the 'Bird wasn't blessed with clean, graceful lines that follow a well-worn formula yet are distinct. And for those of you who like cruising on curvy roads in addition to the straight ones on the way to the cafe, the Trumpet can cut an inside track as tight as anything in its class.

Triumph's Thunderbird twists the cruiser mold by eschewing a V-Twin powerplant in favor of a character-rich parallel-Twin that retains a link with Triumphs of yore. Clean lines penned by an American designer are attractive without being too derivative, and a stout chassis encourages riding on twisty roads instead of avoiding them.

Triumph's Thunderbird twists the cruiser mold by eschewing a V-Twin powerplant in favor of a character-rich parallel-Twin that retains a link with Triumphs of yore. Clean lines penned by an American designer are attractive without being too derivative, and a stout chassis encourages riding on twisty roads instead of avoiding them.

Honorable Mention – Suzuki Boulevard M90

Combine the look of a more powerful cruiser with comfortable ergos, handling and stability rarely if ever found in cruisers; grace it with a bigger Twin than any other bike in its class, then bring it at a price at or below the competition, and you’ve got yourself undeniable value. This is the exact scenario of Suzuki’s Boulevard M90. Looking a whole lot like its bigger, meaner M109 brother, the M90 gives power-cruiser fans the look they want matched to V-Twin power that surely has Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha scratching their heads at the M90’s $9,999 tag. In today’s economy, value makes the perfect partner to performance.

Best Touring

BMW R1200RT

When it comes to piling on thousands of miles, we're not sure it's necessary to saddle up on a half-ton luxo-barge. The surprisingly agile RT is packed with comfort yet scales in at an easily managed 570 lbs with its capacious 7.1-gallon tank full of fuel. Prices start below $17K, but we highly recommend getting the optional “Standard Package” ($17,755) that includes such niceties as heated grips, cruise control and a trip computer.

BMW understands the touring/sport-touring market better than any other manufacturer, and the supremely balanced R1200RT is perhaps its best example of the qualities that go into creating a comfortable and capable long-distance touring motorcycle.

BMW understands the touring/sport-touring market better than any other manufacturer, and the supremely balanced R1200RT is perhaps its best example of the qualities that go into creating a comfortable and capable long-distance touring motorcycle.

Related Reading
2005 BMW R 1200 RT

Honorable Mention – Honda Gold Wing

If you want maximum luxury with a bottomless well of power, and you're okay with piloting around a 900-lb two-wheeled convertible, the venerable Honda Gold Wing has an unbeatable combination of comfort and versatile performance. Three excellent V-Twin touring-cruisers have recently been introduced, but they can't do everything as well as the superlative Wing.

Best Sport-Touring

BMW K1300GT

The Honda ST1300, Kawasaki Concours 14 and Yamaha FJR1300 are all terrific mile-munchers, which makes BMW's K1300GT win in our recent sport-touring shootout all the more impressive. True, a princely MSRP is attached to it, but it also has available a plethora of worthy options that are unavailable on its competitors. Combine standard equipment like adjustable seat and windshield with desirable options like cruise control, heated grips and seat, on-the-fly ESA suspension adjustment, Xenon headlamp and traction control, and the K13GT becomes your cross-country best friend. The fact that it has the segment's quickest steering, most powerful motor and excellent brakes only sweetens the deal.

If you're gonna go far and you need to do it fast, BMW's K1300GT is the best choice on the market. A cornucopia of options unavailable on its competitors further expand its allure.

If you're gonna go far and you need to do it fast, BMW's K1300GT is the best choice on the market. A cornucopia of options unavailable on its competitors further expand its allure.

Honorable Mention – BMW F800ST

If the sport part of the sport-touring equation involves unraveling the squiggliest parts of a map, the athletic F800ST is hard to beat. Accommodating ergonomics provide comfort during weekday commutes, while a lithe and obedient chassis encourages canyon strafing on Sunday rides. Optional locking luggage and heated grips give you the tools for inter-state touring, aided by decent wind protection, a maintenance- and lash-free belt drive, and torquey parallel-Twin motor supplying ample power. Its excellence became apparent after it won a side-by-side comparison with Honda's silky VFR800 Interceptor.

Best On-Off Road

BMW F800GS

“The GS for the rest of us,” was how Pete characterized the F800GS. The implication being that the latest addition to BMW’s renowned GS line of adventure bikes is at least as capable as the big R1200GS was at traversing tough terrain, but in a much more manageable package. The F800GS is closer to a big dual-sport than a Boxer-powered behemoth GS or GS Adventure. The 798cc parallel-Twin provides ample power for just about any situation imaginable for an adventure-touring rider, and its humane seat height and reasonable overall size open the door for many riders who’ve always wanted to tread the Sahara but were put off by the dimensions of the motorcycles that normally dominate the adventure-riding segment.

BMW's GS line has been synonymous with adventure-touring, and the F800GS expands the appeal by providing an ease of use far beyond its more ponderous 1200cc brethren.

BMW's GS line has been synonymous with adventure-touring, and the F800GS expands the appeal by providing an ease of use far beyond its more ponderous 1200cc brethren.

Honorable Mention – Aprilia SXV/RXV 5.5

Stuffing in a compact V-Twin motor into an aluminum-framed dirtbike-style chassis has created one of the most grin-inducing rides we've ever experienced. With 62 excitable horses at the rear wheel galloping with a sub-300-pound burden, the supermoto SXV (and its RXV dual-sport brother) is an extreme thrill ride – it even won the recent Pike's Peak hillclimb. Its $9,499 MSRP ain't cheap and, as we noted in our test of the 550cc SXV, “It's as pragmatic as Paris Hilton,” but it's ultra-cool, quite exotic and as fun as anything on two wheels. We stand by the closing statement from our review: “If you’re a former or present dirtbike rider with a dominant yee-haa! gene, you can’t find a more exciting street-legal two-wheeler at any price.”

Best Scooter

Piaggio MP3 400/500 i.e.

For the uninitiated, the MP3 is Piaggio’s three-wheeled scooter line with two wheels up front. The revolutionary parallelogram front end uses an automobile-like double-wishbone aluminum suspension system supporting two independent steering columns that allows it to lean like a proper motorcycle. The result is a fuel-injected scooter that brings along another contact patch for new-rider safety as well as salty-dog giggles. On the right canyon road, it’s like skiing through the trees, holding your line with your outside foot (wheel) instead of your inside leg’s ski edge. Back and forth is wicked fun, like skiing a giant slalom run. At booger-picking speeds, like when maneuvering in a parking lot, a rider feels the added balancing help of the third wheel. The 400 i.e. is the more economical and practical version, with more underseat storage, but the 500 turns us on for its capability of busting a ton on the speedo and while getting more than 50 mpg.

Honorable Mention – Vespa GTS 300

Also from the Piaggio Group is the recent Vespa GTS 300. It includes the curvaceous Italian styling that has made Vespa a legend in the scooter world, plus it's the biggest, fastest, Vespa ever made. New riders would be well advised to go easy on the light-action throttle for the first few rides, as the GTS can whisk you away with a surprising pace in near silence and considerable grace. In Fonzie's upcoming review, he calls it “the invisible hooligan.”

Vespa continues to be the leader in sensual scooter design, and the new GTS 300 adds the kind of strong performance we can get behind.

Vespa continues to be the leader in sensual scooter design, and the new GTS 300 adds the kind of strong performance we can get behind.

Best Eccentric

Can-Am Spyder

If standing out in a crowd is you’re cup o’ tea, you’re sure to be seen riding aboard the Can-Am Spyder Roadster! Although it can't lean like a motorcycle (or a Piaggio MP3), it’s got some open wheels and puts you in the wind all the same. Basically, it’s a “flipped around” three-wheeler, putting the two-wheeled part of the trike in the front. Packed full of technology as well as eye-catching appeal, the Spyder now comes in three colors and two transmission choices: standard foot-controlled shifting (SM5) or a version that is capable of being shifted by hand (SE5, a sequential electronic 5-speed). BRP has built in a lot of fun as well as safety. The coolest part of this machine is the licensing. When last we checked, if you live in California or Delaware, you don’t even need a motorcycle license to operate one on the open road. Aging and/or handicapped riders who still feel the need for speed and excitement they once received by ripping down the road on two wheels can again feel that old thrill on the Spyder, and it's also proving to be attractive to new and female riders.

Honorable Mention – Travertson V-REX

In the custom cruiser mien, it's not unusual to throw down $50K or more for something that stands apart from the hordes of other choppers trying to be unique. And yet they are all pretty much just variations on tired themes. But nobody will think that when you pull up on a V-Rex. Looking like a refugee from a sci-fi movie, the Travertson-built monstrosity is unlike anything you've ever seen. The swingarm front suspension is the first thing to blow your mind, but everywhere else your eyes rest will continue the squall on your brain, such as the bespoke cast frame, the single-sided rear suspension and the alien-looking nose. There aren't many $40,000 bikes we are willing to describe as a bargain, but for its incredible traffic-stopping countenance, V-Rex qualifies.

Best Value

Kawasaki Ninja 250

Yeah, most of us know that new riders should hone their riding on a lightweight and modestly powerful bike, but no one wants to look like a dweeb while expanding their skill set. The little Ninja avoids the newbie-bike stigma by looking a lot like its more powerful Kawi brothers, appearing sleek and purposeful despite its easy-to-ride nature. Its twin-cylinder 250cc engine won't intimidate newbs yet has enough power to keep up with 80-mph freeway traffic, and its agile demeanor has the capability to embarrass larger machines on the right twisty road. At $4,000, it's a bargain, and you'll get most of that back on resale when it's time to trade up for a bigger bike.

The attractive and capable Ninja 250 forgoes the embarrassment that is accompanied by most budget bikes.

The attractive and capable Ninja 250 forgoes the embarrassment that is accompanied by most budget bikes.

Honorable Mention – Kawasaki KLR650

Last year saw the renovation of an all-time do-it-all motorcycle. The '08 model KLR put to rest a 20-year-old design but retained its simplicity in function, use and potential for roadside repair. With 50 upgrades in handling, power, comfort and styling, the new KLR is so much more than just minimal increases in horsepower and torque. With an MSRP of just $5,599 and compatible with many of the past 20 years of aftermarket products, you can ride to the equator and back with the money you’ll save over something from BMW. Fonzie knows cause he’s done it!

Best Exotica

Ducati Desmosedici RR

MotoGP is the pinnacle of two-wheel motorsports, with the best riders in the world piloting the most exotic sportbikes ever seen on earth. So when Ducati unleashed a street-legal version of its 990cc V-Four GP bike, we were as giddy as Casey Stoner after winning his world championship. Our time aboard the GP bike with lights was brief – just part of a day at the racetrack – but it was a scintillating experience we won't soon forget. Blisteringly fast, it blows past regular literbikes like they are 600s. Abrupt throttle response and a race-stiff suspension makes you realize you're not worthy of its stratospheric potential, and its $72.5K price tag will have you thinking twice about shaving off seconds from your lap time. But it's the most exotic and outrageous sportbike we've ever ridden, causing us to consider selling our homes or our mothers to put one in our garage. If we do, we'll make sure to invite fellow D16RR owners Jay Leno, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise over to the coffee shop to talk about how cool we are.

Yamaha/Star V-Max

Perhaps it seems a bit odd to label a Yamaha-built bike as an exotic, but consider its monstrous 200-horsepower V-Four engine stuffed in an aluminum frame, a ride-by-wire throttle, variable-length throttle intakes, bespoke radial master cylinders and hand-polished aluminum intake scoops. A lofty $17,990 MSRP keeps out the punters, helping to ensure its exotic and rare status. Mountains of power throughout the rev range is like engaging hyper-drive, and tire-smoking corner exits are delivered easier than anything else with two wheels. Yamaha has brought an icon back to life with the new Max, and it's crazier and more capable than ever.

The V-Max isn't a cruiser and it's not a sportbike - it's both, and there's nothing else quite like it. It's an accessible exotic.

The V-Max isn't a cruiser and it's not a sportbike - it's both, and there's nothing else quite like it. It's an accessible exotic.

Best New Technology

Honda C-ABS

Sportbike pilots usually have no interest in anti-lock brakes, believing they can do a better job of quickly bringing a motorcycle to a stop than a computer. But they probably haven't yet sampled Honda's new Combined ABS as found on the 2009 CBR600RR and CBR1000RR as a $1,000 option. With this new combined system, there is absolutely no mechanical link, or otherwise, between the front and rear. It is entirely up to the electronic control module to determine when more than one brake set is required. Not only does the ECM regulate pressure to each brake set, it also can “combine” front and rear brake sets based upon established parameters, and it does it seamlessly. We now have the first brake-by-wire system available commercially on sportbikes. Innovative!

Honda's new C-ABS has allayed our concerns about anti-lock brakes on a sportbike. You might not even notice it's there until it saves your bacon when you least expect it.

Honda's new C-ABS has allayed our concerns about anti-lock brakes on a sportbike. You might not even notice it's there until it saves your bacon when you least expect it.

Honorable Mention – Ducati Traction Control

While other more conservative manufacturers have been reluctant to fit a form of traction control to their sportbikes for fear of liability concerns, Ducati has forged ahead and delivered what will surely become commonplace in the future. When DTC detects the rear wheel is spinning faster than the front, the computer first retards the ignition then will cut fuel if wheelspin continues. The multi-level DTC is rider-adjustable from scaredy-cat invasive to pro-racer-boy hands off, providing a new level of security currently unavailable from any other OEM.

Best New Product

GoPro Hero

GoPro Industries has revolutionized the homegrown on-board YouTube video industry as well as Motorcycle.com’s own story and video quality with its Hero video camera, and it got even better this year with the addition of a wide-angle lens unit that rounds out Fonzie’s bag of tricks. Its diminutive design and versatile mounts result in a camera that will go where no human can go – dangling from footpegs, stashed under subframes or taped to Kevin’s kneepuck. The GoPro Hero camera can make everyone look like a star.



Honorable Mention – HJC IS-Max

With changing times come changing weather, so why not ride with gear that can adapt? Now that the age of looking goofy in modular helmets is waning, and we're getting used to seeing fighter pilot sunshades on motorcyclists everywhere, HJC brings us the IS-Max flip helmet. It's not only comfortable and reasonably priced, it is full of bells and whistles like high-flowing vents, an integrated sun shield, clean styling and well-balanced in the 'up' position. Its MSRP starts at just $199 for solid colors, while radical wine colors retail for a bit more. So stylish is the helmet that Harley-Davidson has adopted it into its accessory line to serve their image-conscious buyers. Subtly branded with the bar-and-shield logo and H-D name, the IS-Max only comes in black when bought from Harley for a $325 MSRP.


Best Event

U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca

The USGP is the event we most look forward to each year. Not only is it our chance to see the world's best motorcycle racers up close and personal, it's held in one of the best motorcycle race circuits in the world. Adding to this irresistible allure is the opportunity to string together some of the best roads California has to offer.

The USGP at Laguna Seca has an unbeatable atmosphere of the finest motorcycles and riders, top-quality vendors and exciting race action - all surrounded by some of the best roads in America.

The USGP at Laguna Seca has an unbeatable atmosphere of the finest motorcycles and riders, top-quality vendors and exciting race action - all surrounded by some of the best roads in America.

Honorable Mention – AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days

Taking the reigns once again, the American Motorcycle Association has pumped new energy in to the annual Mid-Ohio event with Grand National titling in both on- and off-road racing and supplied the 20,000 attendees with the world’s largest swap meet. Despite this year's rainfall, the event sparked many imaginations and memories with the relived glory and hundreds of classic bikes on display and for sale.

Vintage Motorcycle Days reminds us where our sport and hobby came from. It's a motorcycle dream world seen through a rear-view mirror.

Sources: www.motorcycle.com

Playboy Honda Replica

The LCR Honda MotoGP team is sponsored by Playboy, as you may already know. The black and white livery of the MotoGP weapon is quite striking, and the European outfit ADK Custom Paint has created a replica of the machine based on a production Honda CBR1000RR. With Ohlins suspension and other top drawer features (both off the shelf and custom made for this bike), the modified CBR1000RR is stunning. Feast your eyes on this $28,790 Euro masterpiece.



Sources: www.motorcycledaily.com

Monday, August 3, 2009

2010 HD Wide Glide & Fat Boy Lo

The Dyna series is the least expensive way to get into a Big Twin Harley, starting at just $11,999 for the Super Glide model. Moving up in price is the Street Bob and the Super Glide Custom, followed by this new Wide Glide at a base price of $14,499. Dynas are easily recognizable by their exposed dual rear shocks and underseat battery box.

The 2010 Dyna Wide Glide strikes a pose.

The 2010 Dyna Wide Glide strikes a pose.

The WG gets its name from its wide-placed 49mm fork laid out in a generous chopper-style rake of 34 degrees. A consistent styling theme is the contrast of black and chrome. The wide chrome triple-clamps are accented with gloss-black handlebar clamps and risers, and this is mimicked in the 40-spoke wheels with black rims and the black headlight bucket highlighted by a chrome bezel. Similarly, the engine is powdercoated black and accented by machined cylinder fins and chrome-plated rocker and derby covers.

Harley ups the ante in the Dyna family with the new Wide Glide.

Harley ups the ante in the Dyna family with the new Wide Glide.

Also creating its own personality within the Dyna family is a black battery box with a chrome “Wide Glide” logo, a mini sissy bar and a new two-into-one-into-two “Tommy Gun” exhaust with slotted heat shields over the rear header. The front of its 4.7-gallon fuel tank is kicked up 0.75 inch for a jauntier angle that contributes to its chopper profile and the feeling of sitting “in” the bike.

Like many of Harley’s new models, there is a focus on reducing seat heights to give riders a greater feeling of confidence. As such, both ends of the suspension have been cut down to yield a seat just 25.5 inches from the ground. In comparison, the Dyna Super Glide’s seat is placed at 26.3 inches.

The back end of the Wide Glide is interesting for two reasons. First, there is no traditional stoplight, instead using the red-lens turnsignal lamps as stoplights as first seen on the Nightster. This innovative arrangement and chopped rear fender provides an ultra-clean rear end. The surprising part of this story is that European regulations do not allow such a system, so those on the Continent have to suffer with a traditional taillamp as seen in our action photography. For a change, North Americans get cooler stuff than the Euros!

Wide Glide Ride

Straddling the new WG is effortless thanks to its low seat, but the reach to the forward-set pegs is a stretch for those with short inseams. The internally wired 1.25-inch handlebar is set on 4-inch risers for a drag-style posture – fists punching the air – which rotates a rider’s spine into a comfortable curve.

Low-speed maneuverability is typical of a raked-out front end with a 21-inch front wheel, feeling a bit awkward at parking-lot speeds because of a floppy response at the bars. A light-effort clutch and throttle help keep the 665-pound (wet) bike manageable.

Black and chrome and flames are a powerful cruiser combination.

Black and chrome and flames are a powerful cruiser combination.

Unlike the Softail line which is fitted with a counterbalanced 96-cubic-inch V-Twin, the Dyno line quells vibes via its rubber mounting. At cruising speeds, the motor is very smooth, but at idle and low revs, vibration is quite prevalent. As with all modern Harley powerplants, throttle response is excellent, reacting smoothly and precisely.

At Denver’s mile-high altitude, the impression of power from the TC96 is muted, and it is further diminished at the 9,000 feet we experienced in the Rockies. This is a very nice motor, but some of its competitors haves more grunt on tap. Peak torque arrives at 3,000 rpm, which supplies very usable power at mid-range revs.

Harley’s Big Twins are equipped with the 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission, all of which are now fitted with a helical-cut fifth gear to eliminate annoying gear whine. Gear selection is positive if a bit clunky.

I wasn’t expecting stellar ride quality from the Wide Glide with its slammed suspension, but I was pleasantly surprised by its behavior. In most conditions it feels very composed, although it sometimes struggles to feel balanced when trying to absorb repetitive bigger hits, partly due to the wheels being set a lengthy 68.3 inches apart. And with the suspension loaded in corners, the rear shocks reveal a deficiency in rebound damping. I was impressed with the ground clearance available in left-hand corners, but the amount of lean angle is more limited in right-handers to protect the exhaust system.

Ergonomically, the WG is fairly benign. Its seat is firm but supportive, and the tank-mounted speedometer is easy enough to read. Self-canceling turnsignals are a convenient feature that should be standard on many other bikes.

Small niggles include the air cleaner that intrudes on space for a rider’s right knee and mirrors that fuzz at various rpm. A noticeable amount of heat can be felt radiating from the engine’s rear header, and the single-disc front brake can be diplomatically described as adequate.

The Wide Glide’s attention-getting style can be had for less than $15,000.

The Wide Glide’s attention-getting style can be had for less than $15,000.

Some may consider the above paragraph as damning with feint praise, but these are minor issues which don’t seem to bother the Harley faithful. For many, the gracefully sweeping lines of the attractive Wide Glide will be enough to sway them into joining the family of Harley faithful. There is no ignoring the many envious looks and comments the WG regularly drew throughout our time aboard it. This won’t get it down a canyon road as quick as some other cruisers, but it significantly adds to the pride in ownership.

Like all things in life, the more you spend, the cooler it gets. The $14,499 base price of the Wide Glide is for the handsome but subdued Vivid Black version. An extra $375 will upgrade you to the slightly more flamboyant but still stately Red Hot Sunglo. If you’re starving for attention, you’ll want the Vivid Black with clear-coated flames graphic for $15,194.

2010 Fat Boy Lo – Quick Ride

It didn’t take long after the Fat Boy’s 1990 introduction for it to achieve an iconic status – perhaps you recall a robot from the future that looked like an Austrian bodybuilder in a little film called Terminator 2. Its signature styling elements are a beefy FL-sourced fork, solid disc wheels and the 5.0-gallon Fat Bob fuel tank. Harley calls this newest iteration of the Fat Boy, the Lo, “a darker and lower interpretation of the motorcycle that still defines the fat-custom segment.”

The Fat Boy Lo's contrasting finishes are a visual treat.

The Fat Boy Lo's contrasting finishes are a visual treat.

The Softail chassis underpins the chunky Fat Boy.

The Softail chassis underpins the chunky Fat Boy.

This shot demonstrates how the Fat Boy comes by its name honestly.

This shot demonstrates how the Fat Boy comes by its name honestly.

The finishes from the Milwaukee company are above reproach, and this is evident on the Fat Boy Lo. Against a backdrop of gloss black and “Denim” black are lovely satin finishes on the engine and primary-drive covers and, most noticeably, on the mufflers of the shotgun exhaust pipes that glisten against the flat-black headers. It’s quite the eye-popper.

Also visually arresting are the 17-inch “Bullet Hole” cast-aluminum wheels with machined outer rims highlighting the black centers. Continuing the fat theme are a wide 140mm front tire and a 200mm rear. More fine detail work is found in the leather tank panel accented with an H-D medallion and a satin-chrome instrument console.

The transition to Lo status is the result of the Softail suspension being lowered 1.15 inches front and rear, plus a narrower seat, that results in the lowest seat height of any Harley: 24.25 inches. A reshaped handlebar completes the transformation.

The result is a very compact-feeling motorcycle for something that weighs 731 pounds wet. “Half Moon” floorboards are are placed well within reach and are very comfortable, but their shortcoming is that they drag early and often when riding on twisty roads.

The Softail platform uses the TC96B motor, which means that it has a counterbalancer to reduce vibration. This allows the engine to be mounted rigidly in the chassis, enhancing chassis stiffness compared to Harley’s rubber-mounted motors. The result is a better-handling motorcycle, but the reduced ground clearance means that you can’t fully exploit its potential.

My time aboard the Fat Boy Lo was too brief to provide a decent evaluation, but in terms of visual appeal, this is one of Harley’s finest work. The glossy Vivid Black version retails for $16,299, while the matte-finished Black Denim option has an MSRP of $16,674.

Sources: www.motorcycle.com

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Motorcycle Garage Design In Japan


This apartment was designed and built in Tokyo, Japan by three architects, Yuji Nakae, Akiyoshi Takagi and Hiroshi Ohno. The mini garages for motorcycles or scooters on the ground level have direct access to the apartments above, cool concept and a great design.

Look for more images after the jump.



Sources: www.motorcycle.com

Lawn-Mowing Choppers

Sources: www.motorcycle.com

Motorcycle Sidecar Is Literally A Car....

Adjectives fail me. This almost seems like one of those sci-fi movies where an evil scientist tries to cross two deadly animals together to create the ultimate killing machine.

So what are we looking at? It seems to be the deformed love child of a Citro├źn Xantia and a Kawasaki 1000 RX.

This custom project, called “Snaefell“, cost its creator about 15000 Euros and 10 years of part time work. I have to wonder “why?”.

I guess if you really love the thrill of riding a motorcycle but none of your friends and family do, this concept makes sense. Or not. Would they want to be seen in this? Hopefully those windows are tinted.

Check out the rest of the post for more shots of this… hybrid.

Source: [ Snaefull via Gizmodo ]