Stripped bare

Harley-Davidson has taken inspiration from the drag strip for its latest offering, the all-new FXDR 114.

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The new power cruiser combines the unrelenting torque of the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine with a bunch of weight-saving applications, including the use of aluminium and composite components.

The FXDR 114 is the tenth Harley-Davidson based on the Softail platform introduced in 2018 and the latest in a line of 100 high-impact motorcycles the company plans to introduce by 2027.

“The look of the FXDR 114 expresses its performance potential and highlights the technical features that set it apart from the rest of the Softail line-up,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson Vice President of Styling and Design. “The drag-bike influence is strong with the raked and inverted front end, massive intake and exhaust, proportional contrast between the wheels and the clipped tail section. But we made sure that purely technical elements like the aluminium swingarm, fully integrated digital instrumentation within the rider controls, and exposed external suspension adjuster are highlighted as well and help define this bike’s mission, which is pure performance – not just straight-line performance.”

The FXDR’s aluminium swingarm weighs 4.62kg less than the normal steel Softail swingarm. As it’s unsprung weight it has a significant impact on rear suspension performance, and is enhanced further by a lightweight 18-inch aluminium disc rear wheel. The 19-inch forged aluminium Ace front wheel is also a lightweight design that features very thin spokes.

The seat and tail section are supported by a subframe of welded aluminium tubing, and the tail section is composite. This replaces the steel subframe, steel rear mudguard and aluminium mudguard supports used on other Softail models, for a weight saving of approximately 3.17kg. The front and rear mudguards are also constructed of lightweight composite material.

Now all you need to do is find yourself a drag strip and let it loose.


Yamaha’s new YZF-R3

Radically styled new YZF-R3 is Yamaha’s ultimate lightweight supersport.

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R-series: Supersport without compromise

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the YZF-R1, surely one of the most influential motorcycles ever to be launched by Yamaha. Designed without compromise, the original R1 brought race bike engine performance and new levels of handling agility to the road rider, and introduced a new era in supersport motorcycle design.

Yamaha’s R-series supersport line has grown to include four class-leading motorcycles that have been developed using the same no-compromise philosophy that has made the YZF-R1 such an enduring success.

For 2019 Yamaha will introduce the new YZF-R3 that features a radical YZR-M1 inspired look together with a range of new performance-enhancing technology and refined ergonomics. Together with the recent announcement of the new YZF-R125 – as well as the latest YZF-R6, YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M – the R-series range is the most comprehensive line up of premium supersport models.  

R World is calling

Yamaha has a rich heritage of building the most sought after Supersport motorcycles designed to deliver the pinnacle of performance on and off the track. From the rider-friendly YZF-R3 to the competition-focused YZF-R1M, the Yamaha R-series model line-up provides options for riders of all skill levels to experience the pure exhilaration of R World.

New 2019 YZF-R3

Powered by a 321cc, twin-cylinder engine that delivers excellent power for navigating cross-town traffic, carving twisty roads, or participating in a track day, the new 2019 YZF-R3 is a user-friendly lightweight supersport featuring Yamaha’s race-inspired R-series styling. With its accessible seat height and ergonomic riding position, the new YZF-R3 is the perfect bike for first-time riders or experienced sport bike pilots who prefer a compact, nimble and agile machine.

Renowned engine and chassis

A reliable 321cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, in-line twin-cylinder, dual overhead cam (DOHC), 4-valve, fuel-injected engine is at the heart of the YZF-R3. Featuring the latest combustion technology together with lightweight forged aluminium pistons and all-aluminium DiASil cylinders with an offset design, the smooth-running and quick-revving YZF-R3 engine produces easy-to-manage power.

A lightweight high tensile steel tubular frame with a simple design incorporates the engine’s crankcase as a stressed structural member of the chassis, resulting in the perfect balance of rigidity and weight. The long asymmetrical swingarm design ensures the efficient transmission of engine power to the rear wheel and delivers excellent straight line stability, while the Monocross rear suspension system features a preload-adjustable KYB rear shock that gives stable damping and contributes to a mass centralisation of weight.

Combined with the all-new inverted front forks, an all-new triple clamp, 10-spoke cast aluminium wheels, a 298mm front brake disc with a floating twin-piston brake caliper, 32 degrees of handlebar steering range, a 780mm seat height and approximately 50/50 front-rear weight distribution, the YZF-R3 chassis delivers agile and responsive handling.

All-new Inverted front forks and R-series type aluminium handlebar crown

To help achieve the right balance of comfort and sport riding performance for both street and track, the 2019 YZF-R3 features all-new KYB 37mm inverted front forks. Featuring a larger surface area between the outer and inner tubes than on conventional forks, the inverted design significantly improves fork rigidity, giving a sporty front-end feel and precise levels of surface feedback – while maintaining high levels of riding comfort.

Coupled with an all-new triple clamp that incorporates an aluminium handlebar crown with R-series styling, the new front suspension assembly works to provide the rider with outstanding handling during cornering and braking. The new inverted forks also enhance the overall specification of the 2019 YZF-R3 so that it more closely matches the premium appearance of the larger R-series models, giving a heightened pride of ownership and true feeling of belonging to the R family.

New fuel tank design and lower handlebar position

The easy-to-ride character of the YZF-R3 is further enhanced for 2019 thanks to a new fuel tank and fuel tank cover design, along with a handlebar position that is 22mm lower. Fuel tank capacity remains at 14 litres, but the redesigned shape of the tank and cover (31.4mm wider above the knee area and 20mm lower at the fuel cap) helps to achieve a feeling of unity between the rider and machine.

From riding around town to being tucked in on a straight or banking over while apexing track corners, the ability to easily grip the YZF-R3 from multiple body positions allows the rider to take advantage of its full performance potential.

Aerodynamic new front fairing and screen design

The new YZF-R3 features a front fairing and screen design that pays homage to Yamaha’s flagship MotoGP ® race bike, the YZR-M1, with an aggressive look that also achieves outstanding aerodynamic performance.

Developed in conjunction with wind tunnel and track tests, the new fairing and screen combination reduces aerodynamic drag by seven percent, enabling a decrease in air turbulence around the rider’s helmet when in a tucked position, and giving an increase of up to 8 km/h in top speed. The YZR-M1 style central duct in the fairing also functions to direct airflow to the radiator, contributing to engine cooling performance.

Additional new features

New YZF-R1 inspired dual LED headlights and position lights add to the aggressive look of the redesigned front fairing, and a new LCD instrument panel displays essential information that is easy to read at a glance.

The lightweight 10-spoke wheels are shod with radial tyres, providing the YZF-R3 rider with the best possible grip in all riding conditions.

Key features

  • Ultimate Yamaha lightweight supersport
  • High-revving, 321cc, inline 2-cylinder, liquid cooled, DOHC, 4-valve engine
  • Compact and lightweight, high tensile tubular steel chassis
  • Radical new YZR-M1 MotoGP® inspired styling
  • New front fairing and screen gives up to 8 km/h top speed increase
  • YZF-R1 style dual LED headlamps and position lamps
  • Reshaped fuel tank and lower handlebars for improved sports ergonomics
  • New 37mm inverted front forks and Monocross rear shock
  • New multi-function LCD instruments with easy to read displays
  • Refined performance with outstanding reliability and excellent economy
  • Ideal 50/50 weight distribution for agile handling
  • R-series DNA

Availability

The YZF-R3 will be available at Yamaha dealers in March 2019. 

Colours:                Yamaha Blue

                               Power  Black


A quick look at the new BMW R1250GS

It seems like bike manufacturers release their next year models earlier every year and now its the turn of BMW to tease us all with details of the 2019 R1250GS.

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Suzuki’s Katana is back!

Suzuki unveiled a Katana for 2019 bringing back those 80’s lines over a GSX-S1000 base.

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If you were around in the early 80’s you’ll know that there is no mistaking the unique lines of Suzuki’s Katana. It may not have been the best of bikes in those days but it had a massive following and some still stalk the roads today. Well, now its coming back.

It’s launch time in Croatia

Harley Davidson launch four new models in Croatia.

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Is a custom bike still a custom bike if it comes direct from the factory as a custom bike? Ponder that one for a while as you feast your eyes upon the four latest offerings from the design team in Milwaukee, which were launched with the spectacular Croatian coastline as a backdrop.

Based on the super-popular Sportster 1200, the Iron 1200 and the Forty-Eight Special, both mark an acknowledgement from the Harley factory of both people’s desire for a custom style bike and also of the Seventies, the decade the world forgot.

Although the architecture is clear, the design team have added from cool retro touches to both bikes to allow them to reach out to a new segment of rider. Those that grew up in the roller skates, tight tee-shirts and afro hair era.

Not to be outdone, Harley has also given its venerable Street and Road Glide models some new colours and a few minor tweaks to keep them on the money.

Both the Sportsters have tank decals that really hark back to that time of disco and the bright colours that flowed from the scene into everyday life. Where Vellore interiors and funky side graphics seemed perfectly fine on your family car, so the bike industry followed.

Both bikes get Mini Ape handlebars and a 1200 Revolution engine, thankfully fairly chrome free. But then they head in different directions, with the Iron 1200 sporting a headlamp cowl, nine-spoke rims and a café racer style seat. The Forty-Eight Special keeps the single round headlight open to the elements (along with you) and a less ‘lipped up’ seat.

But it’s the tanks that really strike that 70s note on these two new models. The cool graphics can be had in a range of colours, including black, white and the amusingly named ‘Twisted Cherry’. The two Glides have to make do with some stunning paint jobs.

On the road there’s nothing new to report, as the 1200 Sportster underpinnings remain unchanged. The engine is large enough to get you up to some very un-Harley-like speeds, especially with the lower weight of the Sportsters.

The Road Glide and Street Glide are virtually unchanged, so still give you that solid, torque-laden ride that the big cruisers are known for. These are easily the two coolest cruisers in Harley’s range, so they fit perfectly with a bit of a retro touch.

If the Sportster range is more your thing, it’s worth remembering that these bikes also have the most ground clearance of the Harley-Davidson range, so given a decent road, you can actually hustle these bikes along a fairly rapid pace. Many a weekend sportsbike rider has been known to underestimate a good rider on a Sportster.

Add to that disco fever and maybe it’s time to grow a big fro’ to squeeze into your helmet and get your 70s groove on.

(BME)

All new Can-Am RYKER

BRP upends the 3-wheel vehicle category with all-new CAN-AM RYKER.

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BRP is disrupting the three-wheel vehicle category with the introduction of an all-new Can-Am Ryker model. Built to be accessible, fun and customisable, the Can-Am Ryker is the perfect choice for men and women who crave incredible adventures, including those who have yet to discover the joy of riding the open road.

The Can-Am Ryker is an entirely new model in the Can-Am On-Road vehicle lineup, which now includes both the Can-Am Ryker and Can-Am Spyder model families. The Can-Am Ryker is designed to bring the on-road experience to as many people possible by shattering the accessibility barrier with ease of riding and low purchase price.

“Our research has shown that thousands more people around the world would be willing to consider riding on three wheels if it were more affordable,” said Josée Perreault, Senior Vice- President, Can-Am On-Road at BRP. “The Can-Am Ryker tackles that barrier head-on with no compromises – it’s highly sophisticated and has a long list of innovative features and technology…plus it looks great and is a hell of a lot of fun to ride!”

The Can-Am Ryker is available with two renowned engine options: a two-cylinder Rotax 600 ACE or a three-cylinder Rotax 900 ACE. It also has a durable driveshaft that requires no adjustment, alignment or maintenance, lowering ownership costs. And riders will enjoy adjustable handlebars and foot pegs which can be moved to fit different riders in seconds with no added tools or parts.

The Can-Am Ryker is arguably the easiest-to-ride 3-wheel vehicle ever created. It has an automatic transmission so riders don’t need to change gears – the very definition of twist and go. It also features Can-Am’s Y-architecture, with two wheels in front and one in the rear for superior stability and stopping power, along with a Vehicle Stability System. The ride itself is incredibly fun, with superb responsiveness and a low center of gravity that connects people to the road.

“People think there’s something hidden or a trick to the Ryker purchase price, but there’s not,” said Perreault. “It’s simply an incredible value, which is critical in our effort to open a new market. A portion of that will be younger riders who want a great-looking ride and individual style.”

More Than 75,000 Ways to Customise
There are more than 75,000 ways to customize the Can-Am Ryker with unique accessories, all designed to easily swap out. There are also functional accessories for riding solo or two-up, increased storage and more. All accessories are priced in line with the vehicle to be affordable.

“The Can-Am Ryker enhances the riding experience, but there’s also a superior shopping experience,” said Perreault. “We created a Can-Am Ryker app that leverages augmented reality. It’s a first for BRP and it’s completely awesome. People can customize their ride and then see it in front of them in an immersive and up-close way.”

Can-Am Ryker Rally Edition for Unpaved Roads
For people who want to enjoy paved roads, but also unleash the fun off the beaten path, there is a versatile Can-Am Ryker Rally Edition.

The Rally Edition has added features that make it tough and capable, while also giving people confidence to conquer unpaved roads. This includes Rally Mode, which allows riders to let loose and perform drifts on gravel or dirt while staying in control.

Whether someone falls in love with the accessible, fun and Customisable Can-Am Ryker or dreams of exploring the open road on a Can-Am Spyder, BRP now has them covered. Go to www.CanAmOnRoad.com to find out more about the Can-Am Rider Education Program and the complete 2019 Can-Am On-Road lineup, including full product specs and technical information.

More torque that a Kawasaki H2?

As quiet as they are, Zero Motorcycles have more torque than most sportsbikes!

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Some love them, some hate them. Petrol heads want to avoid them at all costs but the future is bringing them right to out doorstep. Electric bikes are growing in popularity, becoming more useable and with the rapid pace of battery technology are giving more power for longer with shorter re-charge times.

Racing forward

You only have to look at the most popular race series to see where electric power is going. The new MotoE category starting in the 2019 MotoGP season has 18 bikes already confirmed on the grid. When teams like Tech 3 Racing, LCR Team, Pramac Racing, Esponsorama Racing, Gresini Racing, Angel Nieto Team join with two bikes and Sepang International Circuit (SIC), Marc VDS Racing Team, Ajo Motorsport, Pons Racing, Dynavolt Intact GP, SIC58 Squadra Corse field a single rider you know its going to be a serious championship to watch for in the future.

We spent a day testing Zero’s bike at The Green Welly Stop last month. So how did it go?  Read more…

Indian Motorcycle unleashes redesigned & updated Chieftain

Restyled Fairing & Saddlebags, Combined with New Features, Offer Riders a More Streamlined, Aggressive Style.

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Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company founded in 1901, today announced a redesigned Chieftain lineup. Since its debut in 2013, the Chieftain has consistently won high marks for handling, power and comfort. Now, for 2019, the Indian Chieftain, Chieftain Dark Horse and Chieftain Limited feature more streamlined, aggressive styling that reflects the bike’s well-established performance capabilities. For those loyal to Indian’s classic designs, the 2019 Indian Chieftain Classic will continue to feature its traditional fairing and iconic valanced front fender.

The redesigned Chieftain lineup continues an evolution that started in 2017 with the introduction of the 10-spoke, 19-inch contrast-cut front wheel and open fender on the Chieftain Limited and Chieftain Elite. The response from customers was overwhelmingly positive, paving the way for this lineup expansion.

“As we continue to evolve the Indian Motorcycle brand, we want to expand our lineup with more aggressive style options, while still maintaining the availability of our more classic style options,” said Reid Wilson, Senior Director for Indian Motorcycle. “What’s most important to us is developing motorcycles that meet a wide variety of customer style preferences, and Chieftain’s new look does just that.”

At first glance of the new Chieftain, riders will notice a restyled fairing and saddlebags with sharper lines and harder edges that give the bike a commanding presence and more streamlined look. A trimmed and slimmed fairing, paired with new fork guards, delivers a streamlined front-end package that’s indicative of the bike’s impressive performance capabilities. The Chieftain’s new, slammed saddlebags with colour-matched fender closeouts also provide the custom-inspired look. While the new Rogue gunfighter seat gives the bike a sleek profile to match the Chieftain’s superior handling and comfort. New badging on the tank and saddlebags and the iconic Indian headdress on the front fender completes the package.

In addition to the styling and design enhancements, the 2019 Chieftain lineup features new ride-enhancing technology for increased performance customisation and rider comfort. For a more customised ride experience, riders can now choose between three Ride Modes  – Tour, Standard or Sport. The throttle map for each Ride Mode was designed with a specific application in mind, resulting in one bike with three distinct personalities. All 2019 Chieftains are also equipped with Rear Cylinder Deactivation for increased rider comfort when the bike is stationary.

Also new for 2019, the Chieftain Dark Horse lineup expands with new paint options, including White Smoke, Bronze Smoke and Thunder Black Smoke. More than just matte-finish body paint, the 2019 Chieftain Dark Horse now features premium black ceramic exhaust and gloss black finishes on the primary cover, valve covers, push-rod tubes, cam cover, and saddlebag hinges for a custom, blacked-out look.

Several enhancements have also been made to Indian Motorcycle’s stock audio system to significantly improve sound quality. First, the tweeters have been separated from the mid-range speakers to optimise sound output and clarity. Second, a dynamic equaliser that’s fully customisable now adjusts specific frequencies at different vehicle speeds to provide peak system performance at all times. As speed increases, the equaliser automatically adjusts each frequency to the optimal level to compensate for road, wind and engine noise. The result is crystal-clear, 100-watts of premium audio at all speeds.

In summary, the 2019 Chieftain lineup packs a host of new features, including:

  • A restyled fairing and saddlebags that reflect Chieftain’s performance capabilities
  • A new Rogue gunfighter seat that enhances the bike’s sleek profile
  • New front and rear turn signals and new badging
  • New ride-enhancing technology that provides a customisable ride experience with three Ride Modes and Rear Cylinder Deactivation for improved rider comfort
  • Enhanced stock, 100-watt premium audio system for crystal-clear sound at all speeds

Also new for 2019, Indian Motorcycle introduces its loudest audio system to date. With PowerBand Audio, riders can choose from audio configurations that are up to 50 percent louder than stock audio. The system is engineered with an integrated amp on speaker and does not require additional amps. The premium audio package is fully integrated with Indian Motorcycle Ride Command so that when PowerBand Audio speakers are installed, Ride Command automatically recognises the upgrade and takes the equaliser from five bands to nine bands with additional pre-set options and volume control. Riders can choose from three kits – PowerBand Audio (fairing upgrade), PowerBand Audio Plus (fairing and saddlebag upgrade) and PowerBand Audio Plus with accessory trunk (fairing, saddlebag and accessory trunk upgrade).

Riders can further customise their Chieftain with a variety of accessories, including custom fit options like extended and reduced reach seats, mid-rise handlebars and reduced reach handlebars. Also available are colour-matched accessories such as Hard Lower Fairings, Saddlebag Audio Lids, a Quick Release Trunk, and for the Chieftain Classic owners, a 10-spoke 19-inch contrast-cut wheel with an open fender can be added to give your bike a custom look.

Two hours of supercharged madness

Kawasaki’s Ninja H2 is a world apart from Superbikes!

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When Kawasaki do something different with their sportsbikes you can bet it will be far reaching and a bit radical. First it was the GPZ range in the 80’s that pioneered the modern sportsbikes. That grew into the ZZR range, the ZX’s evolved and here we have the pinnacle of engineering in the shape of the Ninja H2.

We’ll be honest and say that when the H2 was first launched back in 2014, we weren’t bit fans of the looks, frankly we thought it was ugly – at that time. Well the looks haven’t changed that much but somehow it has grown on us. The H2’s aggressive angular looks now make sense and that was before riding it.

We only had two hours to get to grips with the supercharged beast provided by Kirkaldy Kawasaki. Two hours isn’t a lot of time on a bike especially one as different as the H2 so we got down to business and decided that we’d have a blast along some dual carriageway and then hit the real roads around Fife before going back into Kirkaldy.

Any bike can go well in a straight line and on a main road so we weren’t expecting too much on the first part of the ride but boy were we wrong. The H2 just wants to pull, pull and keep on pulling. Going up through the gears is as quick are clicking your fingers and in seconds you’re in 6th, the supercharger is winding up and screaming – man that sound! Other road users should have to pay for the entertainment of the sound an H2 makes passing them. The only way you could make this bike feel quicker and sound better would be to strap rockets to each side of it!

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The Vstrom family out on test

We took Suzuki’s Vsstrom (250, 650 and 1000) out for a run in Scotland. There bikes, same name but very different characters.

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Whether you want to call them Vstrom’s or by their proper name, the DL range doesn’t matter what Suzuki have brought to the market are a range of three very different bikes under that same banner attacking the Adventure sports market from the smaller capacity DL 250 up to the 650cc and 1000cc models.

They share the same name but that is about where the similarity ends. When you buy any one of these bikes it has its own unique character, you not just buying the same bike with a smaller or larger engine.

We took all three for a one day test in Scotland last month to see how they compared against each other. This is what we found. Read More…