When do you determine that a sea change has taken place? Well this might just be one such change at Harley-Davidson with the release of the 2018 models. A few years back the Rushmore Project changes to the touring models were significant. Last year the release of the Milwaukee-Eight marked a significant moment. I suppose you could even argue that the arrival of the Street models was an important milestone although perhaps more for other markets than North America. All these could however be viewed as progressions. Increasing market share with the Streets, increasing performance and rideabilty with the new motor. But for 2018, the dropping of the Dyna line-up to be replaced by a revised stable on a new Softail platform … that is historic. We’ll look further into the historic change with the the upcoming issue but for now we will just stand back and gape at two of the new iteration of old names – the Fat Boy and Fat Bob. Wow
If you found yourself bored while riding your GS – if that is even possible – BMW may have a solution to some of your difficulties. Beginning with the 2018 models, a TFT display will be an option to replace the standard instrument cluster on the R1200GS and GSA models. The 6.5 inch screen will offer navigation, cell phone connectivity, music and other info you may need (speed, tach, temperature – you know, the actual motorcycle riding stuff). However, should you really want to tackle touring at a higher level, BMW still recommends that you install the Motorrad Navigator GPS unit which comes with the enviable new features of “Avoid Main Roads” and “Winding Roads”. The downside is your cockpit will look a little Star Trek-ish with a combined 11.5 inches of computer display space.
Setting aside the arrival of the resurrected Rebel in 300 and 500 guises, the most interesting new machine from Honda may be the CRF250L Rally. It plays on Honda growing commitment to Rally racing – a commitment that includes giving Monster Energy naming rights for the 2017 rally season. The pint sized Africa Single is an obvious extension of the great Africa Twin that appeared last year. Yes there is a lot of the standard CRF250L found in the Rally but that is far from a bad thing. The proven liquid cooled 250 is a versatile engine and the long travel suspension able to soak up the rough stuff. Improvements for longer hours in the saddle include a floating windscreen and a bit more body to provide additional weather protection. The front wheel gets a bigger disc to aid in stopping from higher travel speeds and significantly, the bike’s ABS system features the ability to turn off the rear wheel ABS which is exactly what you need when descending some treacherous loose gully. One of the keys to success for what looks like an excellent option for light adventure touring will be customer willingness to pay the premium over the standard CRF250L for the CRF250L Rally which currently stands at $800 in the US market. We have to wait to see how that currency conversion works for north of the border but you have to be looking at something near $1000 CDN.
K1600B – BMW has followed Honda down the bagger road by shaving, cutting and blacking out the company’s big dressed touring bike. Like the Honda F6B, the K1600B is intended for the US where both companies believe that a cruiser-ish bagger will appeal to the market. There is lots to like about the BMW – it still has the massive hp of the silky smooth K1600GTL but it has lost a some weight which should – even with the feet forward riding position – offer up sportier performance. If you are looking to thank some-one outside the BMW fold for the arrival of the K16B look no further than the ubiquitous Roland Sands who framed the idea with his Concept 101 bike last year.
In true bagger fashion BMW is said to have a whole garage full of accessories to personalize the K16B – unknown at this time whether any will involve tassles.
BMW’s list of highlights around the K1600B include:
• 6-cylinder in-line engine according to EU4 regulations with an output of 118 kW (160 hp) at 7 750 rpm and a maximum torque of 175 Nm at 5 250 rpm.
•Bagger design with eye-catching stretched streamline-style silhouette and low rear section.
•Low rear frame for reduced vehicle height, dropped passenger seat height (- 7 cm) and typical bagger look.
•Fixed side cases with a new compartment design, rear central cover and integrated light units in US-American styling.
•Chrome-plated parallel silencers with ribbed end caps.
•Folding rear mudguard for easy wheel removal.
•Effective wind and weather protection with wind deflectors stretched further back.
•Typical short bagger-style electrically adjustable windscreen.
•Electronic suspension Dynamic ESA with automatic damping adaptation and “Road” and “Cruise” damping modes as standard.
•Reverse assist for even simpler manoeuvrability as an optional equipment item ex works.
There is no need to tell a Ducatisti that his or her Monster 1200S is beautiful. That and the red paint are likely the reasons they bought the Italian icon. But the affirmation of this beauty comes from the 24 annual ADI Compasso D’Oro awards for those of you who might be skeptical. What are the ADI Compasso D’Oro awards and why should you believe them? Glad you asked!The awards are the held – and have been since 1954 – by the Association of Industrial Design and this year a jury of international designers looked at 237 products to discover the most beautiful design. The Monster 1200S received an honourable mention. So there.
Yamaha has refreshed the very long running FJR1300 for 2016 as even though the axiom may be “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” sooner or later you have to do something. In this case Yamaha has upgraded the 6-speed transmission with a taller sixth gear and modifications to provide quieter and smoother running. As an extra little bonus for the Iron Butt crowd and others who like to run all night, the ’16 FJR also features LED corner lighting so when you dive into that corner at 2 am you can see where you are going. The Canadian MSRP for the non-electronic suspension version of the 2016 FJR1300 will be $18,099 – a competitive price in this category.
Everybody wants the world’s longest something so it isn’t surprising that there is a sub-culture of inventive individuals wanting to build the world’s longest motorcycle. These creations have been based on cruisers, scooters and dualsports bikes among others but the aspect they have in common is a metal lattice truss as it is the only way to build a very long structure that is light and yet will not sag in the middle. There are a few drawbacks to a 60+ foot wheelbase – a turning circle measured in hundreds of metres, a long distance between you and your passenger ( that may only be a drawback to some) and the need for a very long garage. But should you live next to an abandoned airfield or perhaps in the prairies where the need to drag a knee – or gently ease the bars to the left – is not a constant requirement, the longest bike may be a project you can get behind. The folks at Guiness have just awarded a new record for the world’s longest motorcycle for a machine that comes in at a little over 86 feet and the creator seems happy dealing those challenges. See the video here. Not to be outdone the pedal-powered guys have the same theory for an even longer bicycle here that makes use of a motorcycle front end as the front fork and skinny tire from your old Norco will likely not support a 117 foot frame. Is that a 800 series rear tire on the world’s longest bicycle? That’s what we call fat rubber!
“If can’t ignore em, join em”. A small amount of that statement has to be true with the announcement of BMW’s new machine, the G310R. The little road going 310 cc single is the smallest displacement motorcycle to come from the German manufacturer since the short lived G450X enduro that was released back in 2007. The sub 400cc segment has relatively new entries from Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and KTM and there are sure to be more on the way. Rather than a sport bike BMW enters the fray with a roadster which is a wise move as the naked or roadster segment seems to be the preferred niche for the buyers of these machines that tend toward far more urban environments where an upright and comfortable riding position is beneficial. With such a “rebirth” in this segment it is not surprising that the “premium” brands have taken notice especially if the small bike is a stepping stone to the brand’s larger and more lucrative models.
Bonhams Auction has claimed that a new world record price has been set at their recent auction for an Indian Four. In this particular case it was a 1930 Indian Model 402 that sold for the equivalent of almost $197,000 CDN. To be fair this particular model was a “Combination” and included a sidecar. Indian was however not the big dollar brand at this auction as three Brough Superior bikes brought in over $415,000 CDN each with the top bike going for a hefty $521,000 CDN. The most impressive thing about the two highest priced Brough Superiors is they were not complete motorcycles but rather a collection of project parts. So for a cool half million the lucky owner would receive a box with the instructions “Some Assembly Required”.
In Turkey this past weekend the Red Bull Sea to Sky proved that you don’t need a track to have a race. The Sea to Sky is a “hard enduro” and as you can see from the highlights that description sums it up appropriately.
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