2022 GS Trophy Heading to Albania

gs trophy heading to Albania for 2022

BMW’s next gruelling GS Trophy will take place during the summer of 2022 in Albania (above). After events in Patagonia, Thailand, South Africa, Mongolia, Canada, and most recently in New Zealand, this is the first time the GS Trophy challenge will take place in Europe. There is no word on which bike will be the mount for this edition of the GSTrophy as after many years of the the big boxer GS taking centre stage, the event in New Zealand featured identical F850GS bikes for the teams. What we can be pretty sure of is that the G310GS will not be the chosen ride. Countries that have so far scheduled national qualifying rounds are Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Latin America, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, South East Asia, South Korea, United Kingdom and the USA. There are spots for national 22 teams and an additional six multinational women’s teams (up from two at the most recent event).

Of choosing Albania for the 2022 GS Trophy, BMW representatives state “Albania is slowly opening up to tourism. Especially the narrow coastal strip of the Adriatic Sea attracts many visitors in summer. However, two thirds of the country is covered with mountains and the back country in particular is sparsely populated.The hinterland is criss-crossed with extremely narrow, winding roads and dirt tracks, which call for a very good riding technique. You will always be in for a surprise around the next corner never knowing whether the road will continue or simply stop.”

The obvious favourites for 2022 will be the South Africa team as the country has already won the event three times including the 2020 New Zealand edition. BMW stresses that the GS Trophy is not a race but a challenge of teamwork where all members of the a team must rely on one another, and their machines, to bring everybody across the finish line.

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2021 Harley-Davidson Street Bob 114

A bigger 114 motor graces the stripped-down 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

It is the best deal in the softail line if you are looking for the bigger Milwaukee-Eight 114 motor as the 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Bob 114 comes in just under $2000 more than the Softail Standard and $1400 less than the Softail Slim (both of which still feature the 107 mill).  But there is more to performance than just  extra displacement. Weight is the other riding boot that needs to hit the floor. The good news in that department is the Street Bob is the lightest bike in the entire Softail line-up making the stripped  to the basics design not just cosmetic but also functional – not to say the unadorned bike doesn’t have its own special blend of aesthetic charm. The next on line bike featuring the 114 is the Low Rider S which not only adds $6000 to the price but also over 20lbs to the weight. Harley-Davidson claims that the Street Bob is 9% quicker to 100kph and 13% quicker from 100 to 130kph – for those fast of merging antics – than last year’s bike with the 107 attached to the throttle. The Street Bob also get slick new colour schemes for 2021.

A bigger 114 motor graces the stripped-down 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Bob

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2021 Yamaha Tracer GT

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT

Yamaha’s middleweight sport touring rig, the Tracer 9 GT receives a slightly larger new engine (889cc) for 2021 that is lighter, more powerful and compliant with the new Euro 5 emission standards. There’s an all-new cast aluminum frame and swingarm connected to a new  electronically adjustable suspension. The bike is equipped with a six-axis IMU governing such rider aids as three mode traction control, slide control and wheelie control. To view all those features as well as other bike functions there are two, yes count ’em, not one but two TFT screens. The price for the touring oriented Tracer 9 GT is $16,999 but for that you do get the two side cases included.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT

2021 Triumph Tiger 850

2021 triumph tiger 850

You can be forgiven for thinking there was a new model when Triumph launched the 2021 Tiger 850. In reality the 850 is a bargain version of the Tiger 900 street model. The same 888cc engine with the same bore, stoke and compression (minus about eight hp), the same wheel sizes the same optional seat heights. It takes a little digging but the difference comes down to the suite of electronic aids available to the rider. While the suspension and braking share many of the same hard parts, features including cornering ABS and an extensive list of riding modes are not available on the 850. On the plus side the Tiger 850 at $13,595 will set you back $2,800 less that the lowest spec Tiger 900 GT.

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2021 Aprilia RS660

Long known in North America as a manufacturer building interesting bikes with small but ardent followers, for 2021 Aprilia is aiming right down the centre of main street in 2021. Aprilia enters the middleweight sport segment with the 2021 RS660 powered by a robust 100-horsepower parallel twin. The engine was developed  utilizing one bank of the company’s 1100cc V4 motor including the cylinder heads, cylinders and pistons and the same 81mm bore and 63.9mm stroke. Aprilia says the new platform is designed to be light (182 kg), slender and comfortable for both pilot and passenger. In terms of rider safety, the 660 is claimed to have the most comprehensive electronic system available in the class, including traction, wheelie, and cruise controls, quick shift, engine braking control, engine mapping, cornering ABS, and five riding modes. Notable for the class, Aprilia is offering a long list of accessories including (at both ends of the spectrum) race-only exhaust and a saddlebag.

Aprilia RS660 : a new middleweight for the masses

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2021 Kawasaki Z H2 SE – Tech Abounds!

You might think the most interesting features on the $23,099 supercharged 2021 Kawasaki Z H2 SE are the new Brembo Stylema monobloc brake calipers with steel braided lines or the addition of the Showa Skyhook suspension and perhaps you would be correct. But on the other hand…. 

The H2 bikes, for good reason, are some of the most rider aided bikes you can buy. Take a deep breath and follow along as we list the things a computer will keep a capacitor or two on as you ride…electronic cruise control, electronic throttle valves (controlling air and fuel), launch control mode (minimizing wheel spin and front wheel lift), power modes (four levels), quick shifter (ECU cuts ignition to allow for clutchless shifting), cornering management function, traction control (including considering lean in corners), standard ABS, IMU-enhanced chassis orientation awareness, intelligent ABS, electronic suspension control, a TFT screen providing not only speed, revs, gear, and range but also various temperatures and level of boost, smartphone connectivity (make bike changes via your phone or recap what you did on your ride) and an ECO riding mode indicator to confirm if the 197-horsepower, 998cc supercharged engine is actually emitting a claimed 139g/km level of CO2.

The H2 series of bikes could never have come about without computer controlled manufacturing, CAD drawings and the crunching of numbers. It only follows that a computer is required to make the most of the motorcycle’s possibilities.

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2021 Ducati Multistrada

The ever evolving Ducati Multistrada gets a new V4 engine for 2021. Horsepower is increased to 170 with torque sitting at 92 foot-pounds. The new engine is said to be much smoother than the outgoing V-Twin and Ducati says the first major maintenance on the new engine is at 60,000 kilometres. To retain the distinctive sound of the V-Twin, the V4 has a twin pulse firing order and a counter-rotating crankshaft. New bodywork, lights and technology, including radar, round out the changes. The base model starts at $22,395 and climbs steadily through the S and S Sport models.

2021 Triumph Trident 660

Triumph brings its signature triple format to the mid-displacement segment with the new 2021 Trident 660 featuring a 660cc triple producing a factory-spec 80 horsepower and 47 foot-pounds torque.The styling is more conservative than previous and current sport models from Triumph and may be a reflection of the bargain price. That aside, the Trident still features electronic throttle control, 41mm inverted Showa forks, traction control, LED lighting and two riding modes. So how much of a bargain? At $8,995 in Canada, the Trident is the least expensive model in the Triumph line. Compared to the US price of $7,995, the Canadian sticker is an eye-opener so much so you have to wonder what exchange rate the company was using.

2022 Kawasaki KLR650 – It Wasn’t Gone, It Was Only Regrouping

2022 KLR650 AdventureKawasaki has announced that the KLR650 will be returning to the lineup as a 2022 release – we are assuming as prices have been provided the bike will be a very early release. The return doesn’t come as a big surprise as it was a eyebrow raiser when Kawasaki pulled the KLR from North America in 2018 just as other manufacturers were pushing further into the adventure touring segment. The venerable Kawasaki KLR650 was the lone standard bearer in the segment for riders wanting the ability but not the often high price tags of other ADV machinery. There were trade-offs. The bargain price was due to the relatively primitive but very durable technology found in the bike along with the infrequent model updates.

So what has happened to the KLR650 during the hiatus? The most obvious is the arrival of two different options – the standard KLR650 and the beefed up, bag-toting, crash guard-wearing, light-afixed Adventure model. Powering both bikes is a revised version of the venerable 652cc, liquid cooled single but now equipped with fuel infection to sip fuel more efficiently from the 23 litre fuel tank. Kawasaki claims the new 2022 KLR650 has improved ergonomics and comfort due to a revised frame. There is also a taller two position windshield, LED headlights, increased generator capacity for additionaleletrical accessories and a larger rear carrier. The Adventure models also gets fog lamps, frame sliders, side cases, USB outlets and standard ABS. In regard to a suite of electronic rider aids, don’t be looking any further than the aforementioned ABS.

2022 KLR650 AdventureThe standard 2022 KLR650 with optional ABS is $7779 CDN and the Adventure edition is $9999 CDN.

 

Honda Rebel 1100 (2021)

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

Would you like that super-sized?  It looks like some-one put the Rebel 300 on a diet of protein, vitamins and growth hormones. Meet the 2021 Honda Rebel 1100.

Honda’s introduction of the 2021 Rebel 1100 came as a bit of a surprise. The Honda cruiser line-up, once oozing corpulence and variety, is a shell of its former glory and could use some reinvigoration to reclaim a little of the old excitement. Gone are the plentiful Shadows, the Fury, the Stateline, the Magna, the VTXs, the Valkyrie and the Rune (the especially cryptic symbol of long gone extravagances). All that remained were the two more recent additions, the Rebel 300 and 500. Which was fine if what you wanted was a small, relatively inexpensive cruiser for errands around town and the odd day runs into the hills. Power was adequate for the purpose if not breathtaking. Passenger accommodations were minimal – much like the styling. But the bike is inexpensive, its a Honda and it looks …. well, it looks distinct.

Some of that has changed. The price for the new Honda Rebel 1100 is $12,999 CDN or, if you are clutch-hand averse, $13,999 CDN for the DCT version. To their credit, Honda seemed to be trying to keep the costs reasonable. If you want to spend a lot of money on a cruiser, there are still numerous options elsewhere. Honda saved a few bucks on design by making it look just like the 300 and 500.  If the styling is unusual at least we are use to it by now. Honda saved a few more dollars by grabbing the excellent engine from the Africa Twin (the new bigger one) and declared, wisely, that it had solved the  lack of power conundrum. A few modifications to the 1084cc liquid-cooled parallel twin were incorporated to make the engine feel a little more cruiser-like.

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

Continuing to looking around the parts bin for ideas, Honda grabbed an existing suite of electronics that includes three riding modes. Interestingly, and perhaps a first for the cruiser segment, the Rebel 1100 has wheelie control. Sure, almost everything can be the expression of wheelie self-expression but the Honda Rebel 1100 doesn’t appear the obvious choice for the wheelie enthralled. However, the high clearances (for a cruiser), the mid-mounted footpegs and the 84 horsepower at hand indicate that the Rebel 1100 will fall on the sportier side of the cruiser spectrum.

So the Rebel 1100 continues the current Rebel family lines? Is that a good thing? In some regards it is the only thing. Honda no longer has any other cruiser families and the styling is, love it or hate it, distinctive.

The challenge might come from building the family from the bottom up. Does the Rebel 300 have the cachet to reverse sire a bike that is more than twice its price? Other Honda product lines like the CB1000R started high and worked their way lower down the spectrum to the likes of the CB300R and CB650R. It is hard to say if the reverse is going to work.

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

The reassuring aspect of the parts bin put together that represents much of the Rebel 1100 development is that the parts they gathered are excellent. The bike is light, powerful and a reasonably good deal. If you want to spend even more money on the Rebel 1100, Honda has come out with an extensive catalog of accessories to lighten the wallet.

2021 Honda Rebel 1100

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