Category Archives: Motorcycles

Convertible Bonding – 2018 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide

2018 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide

Harley didn’t spill all the beans when they announced the new models back in August. The more to come included the just announced 2018 Sport Glide that converts in moments from a light weight touring machine to a leaner cruising bike. The new offering which would replace models like the 2018 Harley-Davidson Sport GlideSwitchback  gets the all new softail  frame and the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine. The touring components consist of rear hard bags and more stylishly significant, a removable small fairing in the front that mimics the look of the big touring bikes- which more than one rider will wonder whether it fits other models. Other goodies include an inverted front fork and an adjustable rear mono-shock, LED lighting,  ABS and keyless ignition. The Canadian MSRP for the black bike comes in at $22,299 with colour option being $22,749

2018 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide

Length 91.7 in. (2,329 mm)
Seat Height 26.5 in. (673 mm)
Fuel Capacity 5 gal. ( L)
Dry weight 670 lb. (304 kg)
Engine Milwaukee-Eight™ 107 Engine
Displacement 107 cu. in. (1,746 cc)
Bore 3.937 in. (100 mm)
Stroke 4.375 in. (111 mm)
Engine Torque 108 ft-lb (146 Nm)
Transmission 6-Speed Cruise Drive®
Wheels Black, machine highlighted, Mantis cast aluminum
Tires Front 130/70B18 63H BW
Tires Rear 180/70B16 77H BW

2018 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide


Industrial Design – 2018 Honda CB1000R

2018 Honda CB1000R

You can be forgiven for not remembering that Honda had a litre class naked bike in the Canadian market as the previous CB1000R seemed to play peekaboo in the company’s line-up. There it is! No hold on,  what the….? The previous model – an aggressively styled streetfighter –  has been replaced for the 2018 model year by a beefier looking machine that is less angular sword and more swinging mace – but you know, in a good way. Amid the visages of bikes like the MT-10, Z1000 and GSX1000S, Honda’s offering was beginning to look a little staid so the infusion of a new character has come at the right time. The 2018 is definitely more unique in appearance and 2018 Honda CB1000Rseems to take some cues from  industrial elements with a little retro thrown in – as is the style this year. The new CB1000R in fact looks like a modern update of the CB1100 heritage sport bike that is also refreshed for 2018 and appears alongside the CB1000R in Honda’s stable. Everything about the new CB1000R looks big – the round headlight, the radiator shroud, the muffler, the fuel tank. However, the magic of engineering has allowed the new bike to be lighter than the old bike. What is that2018 Honda CB1000R 2018 Honda CB1000Rexpression – ride naked but carry a bigger, lighter stick?  The engine is still based on the CBR1000RR with the ride by wire  system allowing for four riding modes and torque control. All that and it is claimed to be more comfortable too. That would seem to be a winning proposition.

2018 Honda CB1000R

Gettin’ Comfortable – K1600 Grand America

2018 BMW K1600 Grand America It is a convoluted road that leads to this bike. Start with BMW’s ultra luxurious and expensive K1600GTL, a fully loaded, fully dressed and sportier than most touring machine. So far so good. Call Roland Sands and collaborate on a bagger based on the K1600 platform. Roland is cool, the end product is cool, a lot of people decide they would love to have a production version of the Concept 101. BMW complies with said wish and the K1600B is born. Meanwhile on the other side of the world Honda is wondering what to do to extend the Gold Wing platform so they also create a bagger from the Gold Wing and call it the F6B. Let’s stop there and assume that everyone is happy for a moment. BMW and Honda both have baggers that offer a comfortable relaxed riding position, the smoothness of a 6 cylinder engine and are awash in black paint. Yet there is always a BUT in these scenarios. In this case the BUT is Honda’s development of an all new Gold Wing – one that is lighter, faster and sportier and comes 2018 BMW K1600 Grand Americabase as a bagger while the “Tour” version of the Gold Wing is the bagger with a top case. Some pundits have asked if the Gold Wing demographic really wants is a sportier, faster and lighter Gold Wing. The proving ground and profit margin for the Gold Wing and similar dressed touring bikes are the long, empty roads of North America where comfort plays a big part in the equation. Better is always good but should it come at the expense of comfort? But the Gold Wing demographic may be changing. This is where BMW introduces the K1600 Grand America – a bike which in the name and profile states it is intended for the North American market with a focus on comfort and an “American” riding style. The result is the K1600B with a top case. The bike gets several features found on the other K platforms including electronic suspension with a setting for “Cruise” which results in a “very soft damper set-up and pronounced comfort”, reverse assist, led lights, and the silky smooth 160hp engine. There is an interesting footnote to this as this quote from the press release states:
Based on the principle of “The American Way of Riding”, the top speed is limited to 162 km/h or 101 mph. This takes into account the fact that customisation with additional fittings in the rear section – as is popular in this vehicle segment – can impact significantly on wheel load distribution, so in terms of riding dynamics, stability and safety are guaranteed in all situations.
It will be interesting to see how the story of these two machine shakes out as they are two apples in the barrel of apples and oranges that constitute the fully dressed segment. Honda has obviously upped the technical ante with the new Gold Wing but the K1600 Grand America is an interesting addition.

2018 BMW K1600 Grand America

Further, Faster and Fiercer! Africa Twin A/S

2018 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports

The 2018 Honda Africa Twin A/S, officially known as the Adventure Sports, is a beefed up version of the original. Designed to take you further, faster and fiercer (?) , the A/S version of the Africa Twin features a larger and taller fairing, heated grips, power outlets, a larger bash plate, light bar, an additional 1.4 gallons (US) of space in the fuel tank, a 1.2 inch taller seat and .8 inch more suspension travel. The Adventure Sports 2018 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sportsversion of the Africa Twin isn’t stealing all the spotlight as both it and the standard version also get other improvements like a lighter lithium-ion battery, increased levels of traction control, a redesigned airbox and lighter balance-shaft weights which are said to give the bike a little more character under acceleration. That all sound pretty good and seeing as both KTM, BMW and Ducati have beefier versions of their adventure bikes it seems like a good decision on Honda’s part. A subtle change that Honda has made illustrating they were really doing a little thinking in this offering (and a change 2018 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sportswhich also will apply to the standard model) is that the gauges have been placed at a flatter angle so when a rider is standing on the pegs the gauges are easier to see. The amount of time spent standing is often extended in some situations so this small change will be good news to some riders who use the bike for its intended purpose. The changes aren’t going to be inexpensive so expect to pay at least an additional $2000+ for the Africa Twin A/S, …. errr, Adventure Sports

2018 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports

Retro-ADV? – Moto Guzzi V85… Maybe Not

moto guzzi v85There is something about the new Moto Guzzi V85 that makes you want to smile. The new bike is the latest entry into what could loosely be described as the burgeoning retro off-road / ADV segment. It is a segment that began a long time and a couple of motors ago with the Triumph Bonneville Scrambler. That machine while long-lived doesn’t have quite the smile factor. Maybe it is the length of time the bike has been around, perhaps it is because the moto guzzi v85scrambler never came as a surprise but an expected extension to the Bonneville family. Then there is the Ducati Scrambler that is said to exist somewhere in the “Land of Joy”. That land of joy thing looks like way too much work with the need to stay eternally young, eat gelato and be a little too casually stylish. Way to tiring an effort to smile after all that. Then there is the scrambler version of the rNineT which is without a doubt a funky machine but is just a little too precise to crack a smile, a little too serious perhaps – oddly more so than the original rNineT. The new Moto Guzzi V85 seems to be another matter. Looking at moto guzzi v85the machine we can’t decide if it is suppose to be retro or simply unencumbered with doodads. And the fact that it less like a motorcycle with an engine than an engine with a motorcycle bolted to it is definitely a plus. The engine by the way is a new 855cc mill with around 80hp. Should be enough to get this retro / enduro / ADV machine rolling. We love the red trellis frame and the suggestion of grab handles around the headlight. Guzzi hasn’t release too much in the way of specifics about the bike but we know that it is going to be a little quirky and worth a smile or two.


2018 Hayabusa – The Last of the Original?

2018 hayabusa
2018 Suzuki Hayabusa

Suzuki has made it official that the 2018 Hayabusa will be a carry over from the 2017 Hayabusa which was a carry over from the 2016 which was a carry over from 2015 which was a carry over from ……. okay, you get the point. During the bike’s 19 potent years as the original go-for-broke, large displacement sport bike, it hasn’t had too many changes. There were  some improvements and revisions but it is undeniably the same machine that was launched to dropping jaws and itchy throttle hands in the last millennium. The fact that its styling was so unusual back then and  nothing else looked like it is why it still looks  darn good today. The rumours are swirling that there is a new Hayabusa in the works and some pundits felt sure that it would arrive as a 2018 model but that will not be the case. A supercharged all-new Hayabusa is still somewhere just over the hill via that twisty road. If it is a supercharged  bike that debuts as the new Hayabusa, this may be your last chance to get the big, gorgeous 1340 cc inline four -the engine that was a favourite for drag racers. land speed record attempts and companion to extended swingarms.  Kawasaki’s H2R has illustrated that the need for top speed has changed to smaller displacement, not-so-normally aspirated high tech power plants rather than the no-replacement-for-displacement old school approach. But it was that approach that made the Hayabusa so appreciated. It was a massive, hawk nosed missile with an eye towards aerodynamics intended to punch a big hole through the air. In the past 19 years has everyone who wanted a Hayabasu bought one? Probably not or Suzuki would not keep building them. The bike has long since paid for its development costs so it represents a substantial bargain compared to other bikes in the “sport” category. If this is the last of the old school Hayabusas, no matter how good the replacement, the original will be missed.


The Inevitable Ninja 400 – It was Going to Happen

What was the Ninja 250 missing? What what was the Ninja 300 missing? For that matter what was the Suzuki’s new GSX250R missing? The answer is just a little bit of displacement. Not much but just a little more squish space at the top of the cylinder.  It is what makes a bike that is entry level into a bike that is enjoyable for a far greater audience and, with the exception of a few riders, a bike that doesn’t have an expiry date because it is powerful enough to cover all the bases from commuter to weekend touring machine. The Suzuki GSX250R in some ways knew what was needed. The bike was big. It didn’t feel like a small bike but the engine – as fun as it was – had its limitations. But small displacement bikes were getting bigger …. 250, 300, 320, 390 and now 400 (399 to be specific). But this is going to be the sweet spot.  Where can you go from here without bumping into the already existing middleweight Ninja models. But here is the rub – we don’t know as of today whether Kawasaki will be bringing the new Ninja 400 with it new motor into Canada. We hope so but we also hope that it is still priced in the small displacement range. If it does arrive at Canadian dealers  expect to see the other manufacturers bump the displacement of their smaller offering.


The Ninja 400 is coming to Canada with a starting price of $5799 for the base model ranging up to $6399 for the ABS KRT edition. Kawasaki’s Canadian specs are:

Displacement               399cc
Type                                   4-stroke Parallel Twin
Bore and stroke          70.0 x 51.8 mm
Cooling                            Liquid-cooled
Compression ratio   11.5:1
Valve system                DOHC, 8 valves
Fuel system                   Fuel Injection: 32mm x 2 (Keihin)
Ignition                            Digital
Lubrication                   Forced Lubrication, wet sump
Front: type                    Single semi-floating 310 mm petal disc
Front: calipers             Single balanced actuation dual-piston
Rear: type                     Single 220 mm petal disc
Rear: calipers             Dual-piston
Overall length           1,990 mm
Overall width            710 mm
Overall height          1,120 mm
Wheelbase                1,370 mm
Ground clearance 140mm
Seat height               785mm
Curb mass**            164 kg
Fuel capacity         14 litres
Transmission          6-speed, return
Final drive                Chain
Primary reduction ratio 2.219 (71/32)
Gear ratio: 1st           2.929 (41/14)
Gear ratio: 2nd         2.056 (37/18) [
Gear ratio: 3rd         1.619 (34/21)
Gear ratio: 4th         1.333 (32/24)
Gear ratio: 5th          1.154 (30/26)
Gear ratio: 6th          1.037 (28/27)
Final reduction ratio 2.929 (41/14)
Clutch                        Wet multi-disc, manual
Frame                         Trellis, high-tensile steel
Wheel travel:front 120mm
Tire: front                    110/70-17 M/C 54S
Wheel travel: rear 130 mm
Tire: rear                     150/60R17 M/C 66H
Caster (rake)              24.7°
Trail                               92 mm
Steering angle (left/right) 35° / 35°
Maximum Power‡      36 kW {49 PS} / 10,000 rpm
Maximum Torque‡    38 N.m {3.9 kgf.m} / 8,000 rpm
Suspension, front        41 mm telescopic fork
Suspension, rear          Bottom-Link Uni-Trak, gas-charged shock with adjustable preload


2018 Gold Wing – Long Time Coming

You can’t argue with the notion that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The Gold Wing is a case in point. The last new Gold Wing appeared  shortly after the turn of the century. To be fair, there are some older bikes on the market – shuffle through Honda’s line-up and delve into the age of the venerable XR650L-  a  bike that rode to school uphill both ways through four feet of snow. So in perspective, the old Gold Wing wasn’t that old but it was showing it’s age even though it had received a few subtle nips and tucks through the years. But when new models like the F6B and Valkyrie appeared it seemed like an effort to get wring a few more years from an aging chassis with bodywork changes. It was time for a ground up makeover.  What the new 2018 Gold Wing brings is a modern  design that still shouts  “Gold Wing” on far lighter new motorcycle with a redesigned inline  six, riding modes, digital displays and screens, electric windshield and the choice of either a six speed manual or DCT transmission. What is most interesting is that a base Gold Wing is now what the F6B was, a Gold Wing without a rear topcase. A Gold Wing Tour is a Wing with a topcase but, like the recently departed Victory Vision, the topcase is removable should a trip without the kitchen sink be planned for the weekend. And there is the airbag version with its own paint scheme.

The base model begins at $26,999.

2018 Kawasaki Z900RS – An Orange and Brown Revival

Are you ready for the onslaught? It is the time of the year when we start learning about bikes that we may or may not get in Canada. The Tokyo motorcycle show unveiled a couple of interesting models late last week. Proving that there is always the option of going back to the well, Kawasaki is this year reminiscing about the early 1970s. Arguably Kawasaki is the most successful of the Japanese brands for tapping into the retro – sometimes with bikes from their own past and sometimes from other manufacturer’s back catalogue – Kawasaki Drifter 800 and 1500, the W800 Bonneville tribute, the ZRX1200 Eddie Lawson, the Vaquero … Is is good to keep looking back? In Kawasaki’s case it has been, in some incidences both for themselves and the manufacturer whose bike they were paying tribute. In this case it is the 1970’s era Kawasaki Z1 that gets the nod so should you be in the market for an orange and brown retro bike with a classic rolled seat, here you go – the Z900RS  (there will be other colours available but it was jarring combinations like orange and brown that made the ’70s go around so we are going to stick with it).  Underneath the old style is a completely modern bike based very closely on the Z900 so while the look may be 40 some years old, the internals are blessedly not and for that we can forgive the faux finning on the engine. There are going to be a few hurdles to overcome prior to getting this bike in Canada, one of which may be whether the US decides they want the bike. We think it is pretty obvious that the answer will be yes because you know, everyone else is doin’ it and as they say, there is no escaping the past.

Style Award – V-Strom 250

We don’t have an announcement that the V-Strom 250 will be coming to Canada but if we had to make a prediction, we would  give a favourable nod that the pint sized ADV machine will eventually hit our shores. The small displacement machine has just won a Design Award in Japan illustrating that a good looking ADV machine can be based on a diminutive motor. What else leads us to believe that the V-Strom 250 will arrive in Canada? (a) Kawasaki has the Versys-X 300 on the market here and we doubt other manufacturers will leave Kawasaki alone in a small displacement category (remember the Kawasaki Ninja 250?), (b) small displacement bikes are the volume leaders, (c) Suzuki would be remiss to not work on engaging more riders with the V-Strom line which is its most successful in the Canadian market and (d) a bike that would likely cost a similar amount as the GSX250R which comes in at $4699 would surely draw a few eyeballs.  Some of the Japanese photos show the bike with saddlebags and a top case – great accessories but packed with gear may just put too much load on the little motor for some riders.