Tag Archives: Monday’s Motorcycle

Monday’s Motorcycle: And it’s a Ducati

Ducati has made a very interesting machine.  It’s a Motorcycle… but I just can’t tell what kind.  I’m talking about the Multistrada 1200.

The bike a technological powerhouse.  ABS, Traction Control, and the valve tech that Ducati uses in their racing bikes, just tuned for low end power and smoother riding.  It gives fantastic on road performance… but it isn’t a sports bike.

It’s more of a Supermoto, or as they call it in Europe, a Motard… or as Sports Riders call it, Motor-Retard.  But the haters can just hate, because Supermotos are just straight up fast and agile where ever they want to go… and they can go anywhere.

So it’s an Enduro?  The Multistrada is very offroad capable… compared to a ZX-10, but not so much compared to, say, a KTM… er… damn near any KTM… Anyways… still, the Multistrada is no two wheeled Jeep, but it’s not scared of dirt.  Not at all.    It’s more suited to street, but since it can do dirt as well, it gives the Ducati a great deal of versatility.

And what I like about the most… it’s got legs.  It has range.  You can go anywhere… everywhere… I love that about motorcycles, and this bike can do everything.  It’s a bike that either has serious split personality issues, or it’s a bike that really can do it all.  Surprisingly, it’s not even that expensive.  The new Honda NC700ABS Vanilla is 8999,  and it is heralded as a Bang for the Buck winner…   The Multistrada starts out only Two G’s more.  Two G’s more for some real performance, sex appeal, and a 1200cc engine that is seriously awesome.

Ducati Multistrada

PRICE
MSRP: $11,999

ENGINE

Type…a-c 90-deg. V-twin
Valve arrangement…sohc, 4v
Bore x stroke…94.0mm x 71.5mm
Displacement…992cc
Compression ratio…10.0:1
Transmissio…6-speed
Final drive…chain

CHASSIS
Weight…486 lb. (wet)
454 lb. (fuel tank empty)
Fuel capacity…5.3 gal.
Rake/trail…24.0 deg./3.90 in. (99mm)
Wheelbase…57.6 in. (1462mm)
Seat height…33.5 in. (851mm)

SUSPENSION
Front…43mm inverted cartridge fork adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping

Rear…single shock, adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping

PERFORMANCE

Horsepower…82.9 hp @ 7750 rpm
Torque…66.9 ft.-lb. @ 4250 rpm
Corrected…1/4-mile* 11.44 sec. @ 113.22 mph
0-60 mph…3.82 sec.
0-100 mph…9.63 sec.
Top-gear roll-on, 60-80 mph…3.92 sec.
Fuel mileage (low/high/average)…33/46/41

 

Monday’s Motorcycle: KTM Cafe

I don’t know exactly what this is… But it’s a KTM dirt bike of some sort, rebuilt as Cafe Racer.   I don’t know why I find this so appealing.  I really don’t.  I love Cafe bikes, but mostly those built on big brutal and thuggish engines.  Not angry little Singles.    I bet this would be an absolute blast to ride.

Cafe bikes continue to turn my head more than anything else.  This is in spite of the fact that I couldn’t even put my feet on the pegs right now.  My right leg remains uncooperative thanks to a knee that refuses to bend.

Speaking of KTM… My own is ready to be picked up again.  I just have to wait till Tuesday because they are not open on Monday and I couldn’t get in there to get it Saturday.    We’ll see.  It will be very nice to have my Wheels under me again.  While I can’t ride my ZX-11, I can ride the KTM thanks to the position of the foot pegs.    I already miss my ZX-11 a lot.  It’s parked in front of Ogre Ranch, sipping on a Battery Tender, waiting for me to come play.  People who don’t Ride, just don’t understand this.  “Just get a car.” They say.  What they are really saying “I totally don’t get Motorcycles.”  And that’s fine…. you don’t have to get it.  Just please shut the fuck up then, okay?  Riding is… like Flying.   Next time you go to the Zoo take a close look at the Eagles there on their perches.  They can’t Soar like they used to… they are Tethered.  That’s how I feel when I look at my ZX-11.  I feel like that Eagle that can’t fly.

Monday’s Motorcycle: Honda NC700X

Honda, and every Cycle Rag that I’ve looked at lately are all spouting off that this new commuter standard is a “Game Changer”.
Okay, I took this at face value the first couple times I heard it. Its an interesting looking bike.  Clean lines.  Some nice MPG numbers. A trunk where the fuel tank should be.  I wanted to like this bike.
And then I took a close look at one in person.
I don’t like it.
If this is a game changer, I don’t want to play this sport anymore.  But I don’t know why that is.  But there is something about it that is off-putting.
The engine is just fine for the intended purpose… but it doesn’t offer anything more.  “Spirited” is something it will never be accused of being.  The engine is pretty much the engine of a Honda Fit cut in half.  You’ve probably seen the Honda Fit rolling around, when I was out in SLC last week, you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting one.  Being based on an automobile engine does have some advantages perhaps.  Commonality of parts, cheaper parts.  Really, Honda was quite clever in this.  The engine is lower revving than most bikes, getting much of it’s torque well below 3,000 RPM’s.  And that’s a great thing, as I like to keep the revs down anyways.

And the 680cc engine allows for a very narrow bike.  As there are only two cylinders side by side instead of the normal 4 that’s popular in many street bikes.  My beloved Magnas for example had 2 side by side… of course there were also 2 more in a V going in a different angle, but still.  I loved my last Honda Twin… My Superhawk.  I loved how narrow that bike was.  It was a 996 that felt as skinny as most 600’s, if not more so.

I like the trunk, but I don’t want to sacrifice performance for something that a tank bag can do.  I don’t see myself storing my bucket in the trunk anyways.  I’m in the habit of taking it with me anyways.  I guess this is from having a few helmets stolen.  BTW, who the hell would steal someone else’s helmet?  That’s a very low level of scum.  If you catch someone stealing a helmet – that should be justifiable homicide right there.   Anyways, but having a nice storage compartment would be handy.  A couple DVD’s a can of Xing Tea or two, some snacks.  That’s something that would indeed be handy.

Of course Honda also has number of other add-ons.  Such as hard luggage.  Turning this little commuter into a nice little Touring machine.  Notice that Center Stand.  Handy that.  I had a bike once that had one.  I liked it.  Of course I wrapped that bike around a tree so hard the engine popped out and they had to cut the tree down to get the bike off it.  But that’s another post for another time.  Anyways, yeah, that luggage… That top truck unit… that’s 600 bucks for that one trunk think alone.  And you can’t buy just any aftermarket trunk for it, because then you couldn’t refill your bike because of the fuel cap location under the passenger seat.  (Talked to the dealer about it.  Evidently that was a problem for a guy.)  So you have to buy it from Honda.  I’ve never seen a plastic box worth 600 bucks, but there it is.  Still, even dressed out, you still have a nice bike that rides about as relaxed as you can get, turns in great fuel economy…

But I just don’t like it.  In fact, I kinda hate them.  It’s too… “Nice”.  It’s almost a Scooter in it’s Civility, and I hate that.  It is about as Sporty as a Guy that wears Cardigan Sweaters.   It’s a bike for a guy that has had his balls cut off.  In fact, they should call this bike the Honda Eunuch.

I think I want this bike.

The BMW F800GS.  The littler brother to the big Beemers Obi Wan and his buddy Charlie rode around the world on.  For me, the bigger 1200 is just a bit too big, where as the 800 seems “Just Right”.

I saw this bike in a parking lot in SLC while Gundoc and I grabbed a quick bite before we turned around and went back up to the range.  I believe this to be the F800GS, but I could be wrong… But it’s the 800 that I’ve been studying.  Autoblog has a good article on it, here.

“Why not just make your KTM into a bike like that?”

Because that’s not possible.  My KTM is a single cylinder thumper for one, and the Beemer makes almost twice as much raw power.    This makes it more suitable for longer range rides.  Softer seat and a larger fuel tank are also better for a longer range ride.  Also, the KTM has a habit of saying “Okay, let’s just run completely out of gas… right… now!”  So some sort of fuel indication would be great, like on the BMW.  A windscreen, heated grips, ABS, an actual trip computer.  Things like that make for a more comfortable machine.

Monday’s Motorcycle: ICON

This is how you sell your company’s brand:

I know M is already thinking about an Adventure Bike. And I’ve been thinking going that round too. My Enduro just gave me a taste, and I want more… I want the whole buffet. But that’s for another post. This wasn’t a post about the bikes… but about the Gear.
I dig the Icon brand stuff. It’s good stuff and not nearly as expensive as some of the other options out there. These Dual Sport helmets are what’s interesting me. Full face protection, dirt bike aggression. I like to look. I want one.

Monday’s Motorcycle: Moto Guzzi V7 Racer

This is a motorcycle that I hate to love and love to hate.  I love Moto Guzzi’s, always have.  I love Cafe Racers since the first time I saw one.  So when I first saw this V7 Racer, a factory made Guzzi Cafe – I felt my heart flutter.  It is beautiful.  Under the looks it has some things I really like.  5.8 Gallons in the fuel tank, you could ride this thing as long as your butt will let you.  That V-Twin, facing sideways, allowing that Air Cooling to really keep things cool so when your hot, it’s chill and turning some lazy revolutions.
But there in lays the problem… those Revs are not just lazy, but damn near lethargic.  The bike only has  48 Horses and 40 pounds of torque.   What is this?  The 60’s?  Come on Guzzi… Well, yes, the machine is running on an electronic fuel injection.  This is an advantage, and should help the 744cc engine crank out more Miles Per Gallon.  Well, 47 to 50 MPG in the highway is pretty good, but not as big of a number as I’d have hoped, especially when the engine is so tired.


Here’s the thing… it’s expensive.  10 Large.  It’s under powered.  You are not going to be lifting the front wheel very much on this thing.  But there is something about the V7 that wont let me look away.   It’s beautiful and innocent… You just want to ride it hard and put it away panting.

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Monday Motorcycles: MOTUS

There is a brand new Motorcycle Brand that has just popped up.  MOTUS.  And they are impressive.

Basically they have a new engine design.  A V-4 specifically designed motorcycling.  Small, compact, big bore, lots of power. 160 horses.  You gotta love that.  I especially love the Moto Guzzi look, but doubling it up.  I like the engine configuration and aggressive lines is has… with the claimed power delivery it should be one hell of a ride.

Two versions, Sport Touring and Sport.  Basically it’s one bike and they just put a fairing and some luggage on it to make the other.  Simple.  I like that.
The overall look of the bike is that a Ducati and a Motoguzzi had a relationship… Engine and frame showing off the technical aspects of the machine. I don’t know if I can live in this world and not have one of these bikes! Oh wait. There is the price aspect. Hold on to your seat, Moto Fans… 30 Grand Plus from what I’m gathering. That’s expensive for a bike. Very expensive. You could buy a BMW S1000RR for 16-18 Grand depending on options, and pretty much all lesser machines for less than that. This Motus? Wow. That’s a lot of money for something brand new like this with no track record to stand on. But the engineering support that went into these bikes is impressive indeed. Oh wait, what’s that? Well, your right. Some Harley Guys will spend more than that on their HD Branded Leathers and matching Hard Case Luggage. Yeah, just so they can ride their twice a year tour to show off that they are Bikers. I know. You’ve seen them on the road. Sparkling new machines that are five years old and less miles than some of us ride in a month and every bit of kit they have on the bike or themselves is all stamped Harley Davidson. So in that perspective, a Motus is cheap.
My concern about these, and any new engine. Is how does the engine run after 50 thousand miles? I’ve seen some engines that are nice and tight and keep their performance and then it just comes apart with no hope of regaining the efficiency it once had. Others chug along happy as can be forever as long as you keep oil in it. I don’t want one like an Audi engine… Fine until it starts to unravel. I hope this Motus engine is more like Ford’s old inline 6 truck engine they used to make… the things were bullet proof. If it had oil in it and gas, the engine would run. That kind of reliability is what I would want out of this new Motus powerplant.


That engine would look amazing in a custom chopper frame, wouldn’t it? Considering that Motus is selling those engines as crate motors, I’m betting we’ll be seeing some wild custom builds.

If I had the money, I’d certainly buy one.  Of course, I can’t even afford to pay attention, so a machine like this is a pipe dream at the moment.  But still… what a sweet sweet dream it is.   If I could, I’d buy the stripped down sport version.  Because an engine like this, you are not getting the big mile numbers back for a tank of juice, and those don’t look like the largest of fuel tanks given the size of the airbox that motor needs.  And the seat looks like it gives you little room for moving around.  So even with the claimed “Large Fuel Tank” on the product page, I’m guessing your getting barely over a hundred miles on one refill.  To me, that’s not a Sport Touring machine.  This machine looks like it just needs to be stripped down and enjoyed for what it is… a Beastly machine that wants to tear shit up.  I’d want to keep it pure.  You don’t see a lot of Ducati Monsters wearing hard luggage, now do you?

Huh… This or that Confederate Hellcat?  Man…

Monday’s Motorcycle: Kawasaki ZX10R

The Bike of the Week this time around is the Kawasaki ZX10R.  Another one from The Big Green.  Unlike my ZX11, which is aimed for “Sport Touring”, the ZX10R is pure sport.  The differences are in Rider Position, Engine Tuning, and Suspension geometry and settings.  It’s a completely different animal.  Like a Ford Escort is almost completely unrelated to the Mustang GT.  This bike is all about Aggression.  Speed and handling.  This thing is a monster.

We have a small group that watches a couple motorcycle races every few weeks.  Primarily we really only pay attention to the Liter Class Wars.  We’ve noticed a distinct trend.  The first handful of laps are always led by the Kawasaki ZX10R.  After about the 5th lap or so, the Ninja starts to drop back a few positions… and usually ends up coming in 7th place or something.  However, the last time the Ninja stayed up front  all the way to the Almost End.

I say “Almost End” because in the last lap, that damned Messerschmidt Pilot tucked in to the Ninja’s 6 O’Clock and in the last few corners… gunned him down in Cold Blood… Passed him and took the race.  It was something the BMW Pilots have been doing to Honda, Aprilia, freaking everyone.  What’s different this time though is that the Ninja was finally leading, and he did so by a good long margin.  It really came down to not the bike, but Tire Selection.  Looks like they finally found the right one.  Now if someone could just sabotage the BMW’s, they might win!

Outside of Racing, the ZX10R remains a fantastic street bike.  According to Motorcyclist Magazine, if you want the Best Liter Bike you can buy – that’s not the BMW – then it’s the Ninja.  It’s got more than a huge following… It’s one of the best selling Liter Bikes out there.  This bike doesn’t have any new huge advances in technology, just an evolution of everything Kawasaki has been doing right since the move Top Gun.

Oh, and yes, Maverick is a fucking Squid.

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Monday’s Motorcycle: Learning to Fly

I’ve had a lot of emails from people who have never thrown a leg over a motorcycle, wanting to know where to start.  Some of those emails would have me believe they are actually considering purchasing a new 2012 ZX-14 to “Learn On”.  Uh huh.  Yeah, my Dad taught me how to drive in a Formula 1 car too.

If you are going to start to learn, you need to start out with the basics, because I don’t need idiots like that jacking up my own insurance.  Get real.  Start simple.  My first bike was quite larger, but it wasn’t the first bike I had ridden.  That was a Honda (shocker) 125.  It was fun.  And much faster than my BMX bike or my 10 Speed.  So it was pure thrills on that thing.

Start out with a 250.  But decide if you want to learn on a Sport or a Cruiser.  It’s been reported that a full 1/3 of new 250 bikes are being sold to women.  Which is interesting because that’s about the same ratio of questions I’ve been getting.

If you want a Sport Bike, the Ninja 250 is the Tried and True choice for the fledgling Valentino Rossi. They are fun to ride, plenty fast, yet not so powerful as to get out of control in a hurry and put you into a tree.  It’s a smart choice.  Riding a Ninja 250 well teaches you technique, body position, braking, and everything you need to learn to go fast and ride safe.  Also, they are bulletproof little machines that you are going to want to keep around.  And they look cool.

There is another upshot to the Ninja 250.  60 miles to the gallon.  It sips fuel like a china doll at a tea party.  Really I don’t think there is a more efficient production vehicle out there that costs so little and returns so much enjoyment.

You can have just as much fun blasting through a canyon on a 250 as you can bigger bikes.  You just don’t have the blinding top speed that will get you sent directly to jail if you get caught doing it.

Okay, so flying a Rocket isn’t your thing?  You want to look at scenery in front of you instead of behind you in the rear view mirror?

Here’s is my beloved Sister on her new to her Rebel 250.  Probably the best Learning Bike ever made period.  Nothing about it is intimidating to a Novice Rider, yet it’s still cool looking, gets great fuel economy, and you get pick them up for about a Grand on up depending on Vintage and Miles.  The one thing I’ve learned about these little Johny Rebs is that they tend to have as much attitude as their Riders. Which means they can have a lot.

There is nothing to fear on one of these lean machines save for those people who are chatting on their phones and texting when they should have eyes up and hands at Ten and Two.  When you are riding though, you learn to spot those guys a mile away.

These are my two recommendations for Learning to Ride.  I don’t care if you are Chick or a Dude, these are where you start.

I know a local guy that’s learning, he’s spend some extra bucks to get a new Honda CBR250, and I’ve seen him jetting around town…. he’s doing great.  Another guy I know, he picked up a ZX-6.  Two weeks later his bike was totaled and he is on crutches.  I’m not saying you can’t learn on a bigger bike, but it’s just a better way to start when you start out slow.

Besides… the DMV test is all about Slow Speed and Control in a tight space.  I think the Utah Rider Test is performed in the same space one could park 2 Chevy 2500 Trucks.  It’s very tight.  Now if you can master these bikes, then go take your test on a 600 so you are golden on any size bike… but only if you can pass that test.  To do that, you are going to need a lot of practice, and the 250 is a good place to start.

Monday’s Motorcycle: BMW S1000RR

In the last few times I’ve watched motorcycle racing at M’s place, one bike was the consistent performer… This BMW.  See, BMW is mostly known for their Adventure Touring bikes.  Well, if you are into Sport Bikes, when you think of BMW, this is the machine that springs to mind.  During the races is likes to takes a position up near the front… usually second place, right behind the Leader… right in his 6, like an Focke-Wulf FW-190 waiting for the right moment to shoot them down and take the lead and win the race.  We’ve watched BMW do this to Honda and Aprilia.  While the other bikes are visibly fighting, the BMW Rider looks like he’s just out for a cruise… totally relaxed… and then “Okay, you’ve had enough… Your done.”   And the race is over.  It’s able to do this because it’s hugely powerful and composed… and the BMW pilot is one scary motherfucker.

If I could have one bike, given to me for free… and it was the last motorcycle I could ever have and ride… I’d happily pick the S1000RR.  Or even, this is the last vehicle you could ever own… Oh yeah… it would be this bike.  Pure Teutonic Brutality.  Engineered from the ground up Blitzkrieg everything.

Ounce for ounce, the Germans have never invented anything else so sinister or powerful.  Or as beautiful.  This is Heidi Klum and the Luftwaffe rolled into one.  Look at the shark gill style vents.  That’s a warning.  It’s also serving a purpose… keeps that Sturmgewehr it uses as an engine cool, by pulling in air and blowing it out and away from the rider.  Then there is the thing with the asymetrical headlights.  That’s a one raised eyebrow saying that it isn’t going to put up with anyone’s shit.

Not from anyone.

 

2012 BMW S1000RR – American Specifications/Technical Details
US MSRP Price: $15,050 USD

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