Tag Archives: Monday’s Motorcycle

Monday’s Motorcycle: Honda VFR

One of the motorcycles I had in the past and truly enjoyed, was the VFR.  It uses THAT engine… that one that I just can’t help but to love… Honda’s V-4.  Lots of power at the low revs, lots of power in the middle, and lots at the top.   Honda has put this engine in the Magna, and made them in a couple different sizes… all good.
My first was a 500CC, then later a 750, and then an 800.  The 500 wasn’t my first bike, my first bike was also a V-4… the Saber.

But the Saber pretty much became a cruiser, and Honda used the badge on the Shadow line of bikes… pity… But the V-4 lived on the Magna… I’ve had a few Magnas.  One of each Generation.  The last was the best, undoubtedly.
The Intercepter though… that became known simply as the VFR.  And it’s lived it’s life as a dedicated sports bike, then went the path of the Sports Touring as Honda decided to bring the inline-4 out as the dedicated sports machine.  I used to hate the CBR because of that.  It’s Commercial Airliner looking fairings and Non-V-4 engine.  The VFR kinda became tired.  The sporty looking bike for Old Guys.  Well, now I’m an Old Guy.  And it’s looking good.  It’s looking really good.

It’s not a perfect Sports Touring Bike… It has it’s flaws.  But it’s got some great points.  A new double clutch system, that V-4 engine in a 1200 sized Value Pack of Moto-Goodness.  It’s also fairly heavy, and people are saying it’s not as powerful as it should be.  But I think this is forgivable giving the fact that the power delivery is low and mid-range designed for what it’s for… Sports Touring.

Engine type l-c V4
Valve train SOHC, 16v
Displacement 1237cc
Bore x stroke 81.0 x 60.0mm
Compression 12.0:1
Fuel system PGM-FI
Clutch Wet, multi-plate slipper or dual-clutch automatic
Transmission 6-speed
Claimed horsepower na
Claimed torque na
Frame Aluminum twin-spar
Front suspension 43mm Showa inverted fork with adjustable rebound damping
Rear suspension Single Showa shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping
Front brake Dual Nissin six-piston radial calipers, 320mm discs
Rear brake Single Nissin two-piston caliper, 276mm disc
Front tire 120/70-ZR17 Dunlop Roadsmart
Rear tire 190/55-ZR17 Dunlop Roadsmart
Rake/trail 25.3 deg./4.0 in.
Seat height 32.1 in.
Wheelbase 60.8 in.
Fuel capacity 4.9 gal.
Claimed wet weight 591 lbs. standard, 613 lbs. automatic
Color Candy Red
Available March
Warranty 12 mo., unlimited mi.

Monday’s Motorcycle: Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Drifter

I borrowed one of these machines for a couple days while I was in between bikes.  It’s low slung, mean, and powerful… yet easy to ride, mellow, and it takes it really easy… because it doesn’t have to hustle.

It’s wide.  Very wide.  And it has floorboards.  Huge planks.  The seat is sprung so even riding over a curb is nothing.  I’ve been riding this bike every night for the last couple weeks as part of the Stage Production I’m in, and I just love it.  The thing is a riot!  It’s like Kawasaki put a set of bars on a Caddy.  Cruising at highway speed the bike felt like it was just burbling along at 2000 RPM’s… yet it never lacked for speed, acceleration, or the desire to just keep going.

However it’s not without it’s faults.  It’s so low and wide, it doesn’t have much lean angle at all… you cant rocket around the curves on these things.  And it’s brakes are not likely to pull the fillings out of your teeth.

But I don’t care!  I love this bike.  Unfortunately it’s not mine and at the end of the show I must give the keys back.  But the owner has said I can take it for a spin whenever I like.   This will have to be done from time to time as I’ve fallen in love with this machine.  It’s very generous of him to allow me to straddle this machine.  Because letting another man ride your Bike is like letting another man ride your woman.

My buddy Fenris has a Vulcan 900, and it’s a cool bike.  But the discontinued Drifter is a whole different ride.  With it’s super wide bars, couch like seat, Indian style fenders… it’s one of the coolest bikes I’ve ever ridden.

 

Monday’s Motorcycle

This Motorcycle today… It’s the Kawasaki ZX-11.  When it was in production, this bike was the fastest thing on two wheels.  The acceleration was unmatched and the top speed was…  far too fast for any reasonable person to want.  Now, there are faster and quicker bikes out there.  But the ZX-11 remains a monster and faster and quicker than most still. Now the current Speed King is the ZX-14, but the 11 is it’s Daddy.

Here’s the thing about this ZX-11 here.  It’s mine.  I picked it up yesterday.  When I got my Superhawk, this was the bike I had gone out to get.  Unfortunately the bike was in pieces as the owner was working on it.    I couldn’t just jump on it and run, so I had to go to a second option.  I loved the Superhawk, but it wasn’t what I had planned on buying.  For that reason I still wanted one, even though I had a great machine.  The Superhawk’s V Twin was fantastic engine, low RPM burbling, instant throttle response through all RPM’s… it’s a great machine to ride.  But the power did have a tangible top end.
The ZX-11, the power is different… It’s more like I’m riding a Jet Engine strapped to a pair of wheels.  I twist the throttle and the RPM’s come up, but not the speed… not yet… Like a Jet Turbine spooling up, the thrust doesn’t come until it spins up fast. But when it comes, it comes in a big way.  It surges forward like an F-22 Raptor and it doesn’t feel like there is any limit.

I thought the Superhawk was a fast bike.  I really did.  Because it was, but the ZX-11 is fast on a whole new level.  I’ve named this bike “Shadowfax” because it’s shown me the meaning of haste.  It’s also much more comfortable.  The riding position isn’t “Attack Mode”.  It’s more upright. Less fatiguing.   More wind protection.  You could ride this much farther distances… which is cool because it has a larger fuel capacity for more distance.  A much longer range machine.  Which is just what I’ve been wanting.

It’s a much wider bike.  Heavier.  But it still feels agile.  As much as the Superhawk was.  But I’ve promised my wife that I was done with the knee dragging.  My shoulder is far more injured than we knew and gives me more pain now than my arm and knee did after I crashed.  So my bride says I need to slow the hell down.  And I agree.  I do.  But she says that in a controlled environment, I can pursue my goal… 200 MPH.  It’s a compromise, but a fair one.  Rather hard though… because the bike wants to cruise at hyper velocity, so smooth and stable it’s like it’s nothing.  Speed is deceptive here.  With the wind protection, power, I thought I was cruising at 60.  I looked down and saw I was rolling at 90.   I have to check my speed all the time because it keeps building and I’m always letting off the gas. This bike wants speed… it’s made of it.

It’s also the first Kawasaki that I’ve ever bought.  It’s a far cry from a Honda.  In fact, it’s Honda’s chief rival for the Jap Bike market.   While I remain a Honda fan, these big Ninjas are truly impressive machines!

Update:  Sold the Superhawk for enough cash to not only buy this machine, but inspect it, register it, and pay the monthly mortgage.

 

Monday’s Motorcycle: Kawasaki KLR-650

I’ve been wanting one of these bikes for about 10 years now.  It’s the Two Wheel example of an SUV.  Go anywhere, do anything… if Jeep made a Motorcycle, it would be this.

You see them around town, passing through, usually overloaded with gear and stuff… going on Adventures… making me think about where they had been… where are they going… and wishing I was going too.  This has really put an Enduro type bike on my Radar.  While I keep looking at others, I always come back to the KLR-650.
It’s not just me.  The US Army and Marines have purchased hundreds of these KLR’s.  The Military versions are outfitted with Diesel engines and 8 gallon fuel tanks.  Go anywhere.  Do anything.  The KLR is that bike.  It’s not the best of the Enduros… the fastest… the easiest… whatever.  It’s a solid bike.  That’s what I want.  Sure, it looks like Crow T Robot, but come on… it’s a rig that gets you there and back again.  If Bilbo Baggins had one of these, The Hobbit would have been a Short Story.  One day I will own one of these, and I’ll ride the hell out of it.  I want a stable of different bikes… so wanting this one is not exactly me saying I don’t want another one like a Vstrom, Tiger or BMW enduro… I’ve just always wanted a KLR.

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Monday’s Motorcycle: Triumph Bonneville

The Saturday evening friends gathered to watch some awesome Motorcycle Racing.  Before the races, we sat around a table and talked bikes and riding and all of us have some different points of view… but we all agreed on one thing.  Triumph.  No matter what kind of Biker you are… you have to nod that Triumph owns Cool.  So in honor of The Triumph Accord, Monday’s Motorcycle will be the coolest of all Triumph Motorcycles.  The Steve McQueen Edition Bonneville.

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Monday’s Motorcycle: Victory Vegas 8-Ball

America’s Other V-Twin Motorcycles… VICTORY.  All Victory bikes are clean, slick and smooth with lots of power on tap.  High build quality without the Harley Baggage.  I really like the Victory line… and my favorite, is the Vegas, Baby!  The 8 Ball is the one I love the most because it captures what the Vegas is all about… low slung, bad and all black.
If I was going to go back to riding a Cruiser… and one day I will… as a secondary bike… I would be looking for one of these Vegas 8 Ball machines.  I just love the look of this bike.  The lines.  The balance.  It’s a work of art.  I could just look at this bike all day.  In fact, this one photo alone I posted just encompasses everything that “Victory Motorcycles” is all about.  It’s not just all about looks though, Victory built these machines to be ridden.   Fantastic engines.  Great power delivery that never gets boring.

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Monday’s Motorcycle

The Hellcat

This is the X132 Hellcat from Confederate.  It radiates Badass like it’s the Chernobyl of Badassery.  Even the name is badass.  Let’s talk about the name for a sec…  It’s very fitting.  In WWII at the start of the Pacific Theatre Conflict, the US Navy had a lot of fighters called the Wildcat.  The Jap Zeroes had little problem knocking them out of the sky as the Zeeks were faster, more agile, and just gave us hell.  So the US Navy decided to give them hell.  They came out with the Hellcat and it was all about brutality.  More powerful engines and weapons and all the sudden the table was turned.  It was an overpowered, overgunned fighter that claimed 5271 enemy fighters – more than any other allied aircraft.

Now take a look at this motorcycle and tell me it’s not worthy of that name!

2163 CC’s of Muscle giving the Hellcat 132 Horsepower and an asskicking 150 pounds of torque. That’s a ridiculous amount of power in such a little bike.  It’s heavy, 500 pounds, but that weight is all engine.  This bike is a wicked cross between a Bobber and a Cafe Racer.

The Hellcat is no chopped and beefed up Harley.  Don’t let the V-Twin engine fool you.  This bike is engineered from the ground up to be exactly what it is… a brutal force of nature that has no mercy for it’s enemies… Everything on the bike is designed specifically for it’s purpose.  This is Engineering from the school of the Ends Justify The Means.

The Cafe Racer style is my favorite kind of motorcycle.  It’s stripped down, purpose driven, lean, and angry.  And then there is Confederate Motorcycle’s take on the Cafe Racer concept… I think the early planning stages had a discussion over what bike this would end up being.

“Gentilemen, this is a Cafe Racer.”  Thuggish looking brutes with folded arms and stoney faces looked at the little Cafe bike with disapproval.   One of them unfolded an arm like a side of beef and raised it…
“It needs more.”
“More of what?”
And then to illustrate what the bike needed more off, the large brute smashed the board room table into splinters with his fists, and then ate it.
“Build it.”
And that’s how the Hellcat was born… through malice and furious rage.  This is bike isn’t in a Biker’s Dream… This bike is in a Biker’s Nightmares – this is coming after them – and they can’t get away from it no matter what they do.  The hellcat is coming for them.  This is the bike that Death himself rides, this is Mortis.  And Hell follows it.

Monday’s Motorcycle

Honda CBR1000RR

I think I’m going to post a Motorcycle every Monday… Just for my own amusement.  A bike that I would love to have or have had or maybe do have?  I don’t know yet, but to kick it off… My bike choice of the moment is this.

Honda’s CBR1000RR.  The Liter Class Leader.

Model CBR1000RR / CBR1000RR C-ABS
Engine Type 999cc Liquid-Cooled Inline Four-Cylinder
Bore And Stroke: 76mm X 55.1mm
Compression Ratio 12.3:1
Valve Train DOHC; Four Valves Per Cylinder
Induction Dual Stage Fuel Injection (DSFI)
Ignition Computer-Controlled Digital Transistorized With 3-D Mapping
Transmission Close-Ratio Six-Speed
Final Drive #530 O-Ring-Sealed Chain
Suspension Front: 43mm Inverted Big Piston Fork With Spring Preload, Rebound And Compression Damping Adjustability Rear: Unit Pro-Link Balance-Free Rear Shock With Spring Preload, Rebound And Compression Damping Adjustability
Brakes Front: Dual Radial-Mounted Four-Piston Calipers With Full-Floating 320mm Discs Rear: Single 220mm Disc; Optional Honda Electronic Combined ABS (CBR1000RR C-ABS)
Tires Front: 120/70ZR-17 Radial Rear: 190/50ZR-17 Radial
Wheelbase 55.5 Inches
Rake (Caster Angle) 23° 3’
Trail 96.0mm (3.8 Inches)
Seat Height 32.3 Inches
Fuel Capacity 4.7 Gallons, Including 1.06-Gallon Reserve
Estimated Fuel Economy TBD
Colors CBR1000RR: Red, Black, Pearl White/Blue/Red CBR1000RR C-ABS: Red
Curb Weight* 441 Pounds (CBR1000RR) / 467 Pounds (CBR1000RR C-ABS)