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British Review of new Harley-Davidson Street Glide ST

By General Posts

by Geoff Hill from https://www.mirror.co.uk/

Another icon of the American dream

It weighs as much as a small tank, goes like stink and handles very nicely for such a beast, so even though it costs more than an average UK hatchback, for Harley fans it’s a metal and rubber incarnation of their mythical aspirations

I was having a beer one night in Los Angeles in 2013 with the head of Triumph USA when we got to talking about Harleys.

He’d been sent to LA in advance of that year’s launch of the Thunderbird LT, an extremely capable cruiser which Triumph hoped would convince American riders that there was more than one type of bike in the world.

On his first weekend there, his Harley counterpart took him to an open day at Bartels, the city’s biggest Harley dealership, where hundreds of riders and their families were enjoying a free hog roast, burgers, raffles, gifts, music, beer or soft drinks and test rides.

“See? This is what you’re up against. It’s not just about the motorcycles,” said the Harley guy.

I was reminded of it in 2018, when I rode a Harley from Oxford to Prague for a three-day bash to celebrate the company’s 115 th anniversary to find 60,000 Harleys and 100,000 riders and partners, all with leather waistcoats, tattoos and chains, proclaiming their particular allegiances with patches saying Naples Military Chapter, Hanoi Chapter, Jeddah Chapter and so on.

It is, of course, all harmless fun – middle-aged men who during the week are Reg in Accounts, but at the weekends become Rebel Reg, King of the Road, riding west on his iron steed into the setting sun for a burger and beer with his sweetheart in a Route 66 diner.

And while non-Harley fans who have never ridden one wrongly condemn them as basic and agricultural ridden by chaps wearing chaps with tassels, no other motorcycle make in the world earns such astonishing passion and camaraderie.

And it’s not just from patriotic Yanks – there were Harley fans there from 75 countries, all of them walking, talking expressions of an infinite yearning for the innocence of an American dream which the rest of us may think blossomed into its fullest fruition in the Fifties, then died in the Sixties and Seventies after Kennedy and Vietnam, but which was still alive in the heart and soul of everyone walking around Prague on those sunny days.

On a slightly smaller scale, my biking buddy Gareth and I rode down on his Kawasaki Versys 650 and my BMW R 850 R to the recent open day at the local dealers. It’s called Belfast Harley, and it’s in Antrim. You need to be Irish to understand that.

We arrived to find the expected chapter members with their patches, leather and denim and tattoos, and a small woman looking slightly terrified as she tried to reverse her large Road Glide into a parking space.

“Help, I’m going to fall over!” she muttered. We strode manfully over to help, and she finished the job and got gratefully off.

“I’ve only had it two weeks. It’s very heavy, but I love it when it’s moving,” she said.

“Just don’t stop, then,” I said helpfully, and Gareth and I went inside to see Wilmer the boss about the two bikes we were going to take out for a test ride – Gareth the Pan America and me the new Street Glide ST.

ROAD-TEST REVIEW:

The ST is basically a standard Street Glide on steroids, with the 1868cc engine thrown in the bin and replaced by a 1923cc version, increasing the power and torque from 93bhp and 117 ft lb to 103bhp and 124 ft lb.

And, er, the price from a sharp-intake-of-breath £25,795 to a get-me-to-the-defribillator-on-time £27,795. No wonder Harleys are mostly sold on PCP. Still, they hold their value, so you get a good deal when you trade them in for a new one after three years.

The standard Glide is a beefy 375kg wet, and although the ST has shaved off 6kg to 369kg, that’s like a sumo wrestler claiming he’s gone on a diet by only having 10 chickens for lunch instead of 11.

I was just glad I wasn’t a small woman trying to reverse it as I trundled carefully out of the car park and opened the throttle.

Well, heavens to Betsy, that’s impressive. In spite of weighing the same as a small tank, it soared towards the horizon with surprisingly alacrity, helped by a bottomless well of creamy torque and a solid but precise gearbox which was light years away from the agricultural clank factories of Harleys of old.

With that weight on board, handling is never going to be quicksilver, but it’s agile enough for such a big beast, allowing you to dip and sway through A-road bends with happy precision, particularly as the Showa suspension is set firm for good handling, although at the expense of comfort on rough roads, as I found when it bottomed out on one bouncy stretch and left my spine an inch shorter.

The Brembo brakes haul it in so briskly and smoothly that, unlike most big Harleys, I didn’t need to call on the rear brake for assistance when steaming a bit hot into a corner.

As for the details, the mirrors are excellent, the traditional analogue dash is supplemented by a large TFT screen for the entertainment and comms systems, and the speakers in the fairings are pointless, like all speakers on all bikes anywhere.

The batwing fairing and sliver of screen, meanwhile, do a surprisingly good job of keeping the wind at bay, since I still have nightmares of a turbulent 90mph dash through France at night on a Harley with a batwing fairing while wearing an open-face helmet and shades.

So if you’ve got the dosh and like the whole Harley social thing, it’s significantly better than the standard Street Glide.

Oh, and Gareth loved the Pan America, so he got on the Versys and rode home to tell his wife that they’re selling the house, her mother, the dog and the camper van.

I haven’t heard from him since, so he’s probably buried in a shallow grave in the garden, and if anyone’s looking for a tidy used Versys, get your people to talk to my people about his wife’s people.

SPECS (price in British Pounds currency)
Harley-Davidson Street Glide ST
Engine: 1923cc air-cooled V-twin
Power: 103bhp @ 5,450rpm
Torque: 124 ft lb @ 3,500rpm
Colours: Black; grey
Price: £27,795

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Honda CBR300R ABS 2022 : Road Test

By General Posts

by Kyle Smith from https://www.hagerty.com/

Picture this: You’re hanging around the Rock Store at the top of Mulholland Highway with your rental Camry the day before you fly home. The leather-clad crowd around praises the virtues of the GSXR600 chassis and the electronics package on the R1 for what seems like hours before a voice from the ether comes down and declares that, in fact, all of that sucks. Instead the holy follow the real truth of Slow Bike Fast.

This truly enlightened rider who belongs to that voice is astride a miniscule machine that looks like a sportbike that stayed in the dryer just a bit too long and has an exhaust note like a mix of an old enduro machine and the Singer your mom used to repair your jeans way back when. Is this person insane or a prophet? There’s only one way to say for sure. I took the Honda CBR300R out for a week of playing in the canyons alongside some high-horsepower (and highly capable) machines to see if it truly held up.

This 250cc-400cc market segment is now a packed class, with the KTM RC390, Yamaha R3, Kawasaki Ninja 400, and Suzuki GSX250R all competing for both attention from new riders and track rats alike. That is two very different subsets of buyers but it all boils down to similar wants and desires: Reliability, approachability, and fun factor.

Honda comes right out and calls the 300 a commuter machine in some of its press materials. It is an evolution of the CBR250R which lived from 2011 to 2015, after which the engine was upsized to the current 286cc. The non-ABS equipped model comes in at $4,899 plus $600 in destination and freight charges. Add in the well-tuned ABS, as seen on our test bike, and the price rises to just $5,099. Either trim can be had in grand prix red or matte gray metallic.

The engine is not the main reason I would recommend this bike though. It’s the chassis that gives the baby CBR the most fun character. A scant 30” seat height is the first thing that stood out when I threw my leg over the bike for the first time. My 32” inseam means that I am rarely bothered by seat heights, but the CBR’s lower seat combined with the narrowness of the chassis to feel playful to me. Riding through twists and turns was an absolute delight.

Straight line speed was not astonishing, but the Honda still moved quickly enough to be safe and fun. Unfortunately, those canyon roads were a place the CBR’s suspension really showed its pricepoint and intended use case. The fork is sprung on the soft side and the rear begs for more rebound damping.

The dash consists of a simple analog sweep tachometer and LCD display for speed, distance, and other necessary measurements. Simple and functional. A cable-pull clutch and hydraulic front brake round out the rider touchpoints.

The ready-to-ride weight comes in at just 354 pounds and it very much feels like it. The single front brake measures just 296mm diameter, with 220mm rear disc and the combination has no problem slowing the CBR. The ABS threshold is fairly high, as we had to work to get it to intervene but it cycled quickly and consistently once engaged.

(Editor’s note: I think the 320cc Yamaha R3, which I’ve ridden quite a bit, feels even lighter on its feet — Jack Baruth)

The CBR is a delight to ride just about everywhere. The only place it fell short was highway riding. Honda claims a top speed just shy of 100mph, but 70mph felt busy on the little machine and the tach needle fluttered in the top third of its range. Will it do it? Yes. If that is your main use though, the larger CBR500R is likely a better fit.

Once off the superslab we had no trouble racking up miles on the comfortable seat. The bike just was not tiring to ride like most small-displacement bikes tend to be.

The low seat height and light weight combine with smooth controls to make a very beginner-friendly package.

It’s also one that veteran riders will find playful to ride–this is the core of “Slow Bike Fast.”

The little CBR is not the perfect motorcycle, but it is a great second (or third) bike; delightful to ride, and once you have one you will likely find yourself reaching for its keys more than you would think.

Alt-Rock Cruisers: BMW targets American brand’s market

By General Posts

by Jack Baruth from Hagerty.com

BMW R18 meets Indian Challenger and Harley Heritage Classic

The slightly ridiculous 1800cc, two-cylinder, leather-saddlebag, CHiPs-windshielded cruiser I’m trying to force through six stopped lanes of Los Angeles traffic can’t be taken as anything but an admission on the part of the Bayerische Motoren Werke that Harley-Davidson knows

a) what boys like;
b) what men want …

in America, anyway.

CLICK HERE To Read a comprehensive Road Test & Review of the cruiser models from the 3 motorcycle brands.

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Ride Review: Harley-Davidson Touring ST Models for 2022

By General Posts

by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com/

Balancing the raceway and the roadway.

Automotive and motorcycle dealers popularized the term “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” in the 1960s. While both motorsport and vehicle sales tactics have evolved over the decades, most manufacturers still leverage on-track supremacy for showroom success—including Harley-Davidson.

From the hillclimb to the drag strip, from board tracking to flat tracking, racing has been in the Motor Company’s DNA since Walter Davidson won the 1908 Endurance and Reliability Run. However, Harley’s Post-War production lineup made the brand synonymous with cross-country tourers in the latter half of the 20th century. Despite the XR750 becoming the winningest motorcycle in AMA (American Motorcycle Association) history and the company’s countless NHRA drag racing titles, the FL Touring platform remains the Bar and Shield’s top seller.

When MotoAmerica introduced the King of the Baggers (KotB) Invitational in 2020, the one-off race merged Harley’s flagship tourers with its racing lineage. Unfortunately, the MoCo’s first outing fell short of the top step, but the Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson team seized the 2021 KotB championship with Kyle Wyman in the saddle. H-D is wasting no time—or development dollar—following that title run, equipping the 2022 Street Glide ST and Road Glide ST with track-worthy components.

To test just how much race-bred technology has trickled down to its production models, the Motor Company invited us to Wilcox, Arizona to spin some laps around the inimitable Inde Motorsports Ranch. Harley certainly handled business on Sundays this previous season, and with the new ST range, it hopes to also dominate the competition on dealership floors.

Turning A Corner
With the U.S.’s interstate system crossing vast expanses of land, the Street Glide and Road Glide families prioritize comfort and convenience. Packing a six-gallon fuel tank, sub-27-inch seat heights, and a 64-inch wheelbase, the long-distance tourers allow travelers to munch miles to their heart’s content. On the other hand, track duty calls for a different set of attributes, and Harley outfits the ST models accordingly.

The design team lightens the load by trimming the front fender, adopting low-profile engine guards, and ditching the passenger pegs and seat. Harley developed the new saddle specifically for the ST tourers. That single-seat locks the rider in a more commanding position. The leather cover also allows users to smoothly slide across the saddle, easing side-to-side transitions through chicanes and back-to-back corners.

Gone are the Special trim’s stretched bags too. That decision may reduce luggage capacity from 2.7 cu-ft to 2.3 cu-ft, but it also supports the MoCo’s weight-cutting regiment. The efforts pay off as well, with the Road Glide ST saving 11 pounds at 842 pounds and the Street Glide ST coming in 13 pounds under its Special counterpart at 814 pounds.

To raise the ride height, H-D engineers exchanged the standard Street Glide and Road Glide rear shocks for units found on the Road King. The suspension swap bolsters rear wheel travel from 2.1 inches to 3 inches and stiffens the chassis for spirited direction changes. That nearly extra inch of travel may not increase maximum lean angle (31 degrees left, 32 degrees right), but it does modestly reduce trail to 6.7 inches.

What doesn’t show up on the spec sheet though is the confidence that the borrowed shock provides. In fast, sweeping bends, the STs feel planted and stable, encouraging riders to incrementally increase speed with each lap. Under acceleration, the shocks also accurately communicate grip, notifying the rider of the slightest slip of the rear wheel.

Both ST Glides retain the 49mm Dual Bending Valve Showa front end featured on all H-D Touring models, but the new rear suspension is a noticeable upgrade on the track. Performance-oriented customers will undoubtedly spring for the Screamin’ Eagle and Ohlins co-branded front and rear suspension upgrades in the long run, but the stock equipment does surprisingly well in the meantime.

Mo’ Powah!
The Street Glide ST and Road Glide ST may not boast the massive 131ci (2,151cc) Milwaukee-Eight V-twin powering the firm’s 2022 KotB race steed, but the performance baggers join the new Low Rider ST as the only non-CVO models touting the company’s 117ci (1,923cc) engine. Thanks to the mill’s 10.2:1 compression ratio, camshafts, high-flow air intake, and exhaust, the V-twin pumps out 127 lb-ft of torque and 106 horsepower.

Those numbers may sound daunting on the spec sheet, but the STs’ fueling and linear powerband make big-bore V-twin surprisingly tractable. The powerplant still offers gobs of torque on demand, but the smooth roll-on makes most of that 127 lb-ft (at the crank) quite useable. Again, those pushing for performance can always bump displacement to 128ci (2,097cc) or 131 ci (2,151cc) with the Screamin’ Eagle catalog.

Following a morning spent nailing apexes on the track, we rolled the Street Glide ST and Road Glide ST onto the surrounding highways, testing the performance baggers’ touring prowess on the open road. The 117ci engine may soup up the STs to set new lap records, but the V-twin remains ultra-smooth at speed.

In sixth gear, the Milwaukee-Eight spins just over 2,500 rpm at 70 mph and just below 3,000 rpm at 75 mph. Minor vibrations only course through the floorboards at 3,500, and the bars faintly buzz at 4,500. However, with the air/oil-cooled V-twin’s 5,500-rpm redline, those negligible tremors never become troublesome over the long haul.

While that even-keeled nature may be perfect for road trips, it can become problematic under heavy acceleration, especially in the lower gears. Due to the smoothness, I frequently hit the rev limiter before realizing I was banging on the 5,500-rpm redline. With time and practice, owners will be able to bypass that issue, but it squandered drive and momentum more than a few times on the road and track.

Middle-of-the-Road
Most Harley bagger fans have a preference between the Street Glide and Road Glide models. Chalk it up to aesthetics, creature comforts, or fairing coverage, but Harlistas typically favor one FL over the other. While ST variants offer the same track-oriented upgrades, they still have a personality all their own. For that reason, the Street Glide ST performed best on the track while the Road Glide ST proved its merit on the interstate.

With its fork-mounted fairing, the Street Glide ST offers enhanced visibility on track, allowing riders to keep their eyes on lines, apexes, and corner exits. However, the Street Glide’s short windscreen introduces turbulent buffeting to the rider’s helmet on the highway. That’s a problem that Harley’s Parts & Accessories (P&A) catalog can easily remedy but it’s never an issue on the raceway, where pilots frequently duck behind the fairing on long straights.

Conversely, the Road Glide ST’s frame-mounting fairing stretches away from the rider, providing comprehensive wind protection. That attribute comes in handy while touring, but the broad fairing also obstructs visibility on the track. In addition to wind protection and visibility, weight will play a role on closed courses. The Street Glide ST may shed 13 pounds off the Special trim, but its 814-pound wet weight is nearly 30 pounds under the Road Glide ST’s 842-pound curb weight.

That’s no small difference on the circuit, where every advantage matters, but most owners will use the ST models for long-distance trips, weekend canyon rips, and the occasional track day. With premium features like a Boom! Box GTS system, 6.5 TFT display, and two 5.25-inch speakers, we highly doubt that owners will want to risk sending their $29,999 bagger into a gravel trap. Instead, the ST line functions as a great starter kit for those interested in starting a performance bagger build, not a dedicated race bike.

Conclusion
Ultimately, the Street Glide ST and Road Glide ST are balanced entries into the performance bagger genre that don’t sacrifice too much on-road practicality for on-track performance. Despite lacking touring-friendly features like heated grips and stretched bags, the STs allow owners to ride to the track in the morning, spin laps all day, and cruise back home at sunset.

While the Street Glide and Road Glide may dip their toe into the performance end of the pool with the ST range, bagger racing is still in its infancy. If the MoCo continues to win on Sunday and sell on Monday, we can expect even more performance-focused components from Harley’s P&A and Screamin’ Eagle arms. Brembo radial master cylinder, a quickshifter, and 17-inch wheels come to mind first, but we’ll have to wait and see what the Motor Company cooks up following the 2022 King of the Baggers season.

Zakar Event Center Named Site of Vance & Hines Off-Road Proving Grounds

By General Posts

Zakar’s professionally built terrain park allows for product testing and demos

California City, CA – October 21, 2021 – The Zakar Event Center and Terrain Park, a subsidiary of RawHyde Adventures, has been named the site of the Vance & Hines Off-Road Proving Grounds (ORPG). As the aftermarket exhaust manufacturer continues to invest in the growing off-road and adventure motorcycle spaces, the ORPG will serve as the company’s private site for product development and testing.

Situated on 100 acres in the heart of the Mojave Desert, Zakar is an ideal location for the new ORPG, offering the Vance & Hines team immediate access to Zakar’s professionally-built terrain park as well as the area’s hundreds of miles of off-road trails.

“We are focused on bringing Vance & Hines exhilaration to all types of off-road riders. Our new proving grounds is an example of our commitment to create a steady flow of great products for off-road fans,” explained Vance & Hines President, Mike Kennedy.

The announcement came on the heels of the introduction of new Vance & Hines exhaust products designed for the adventure motorcycle segment.

“It is refreshing to see a company with the history and pedigree of Vance & Hines invest in the Adventure community,” remarked Jim Hyde, founder of RawHyde Adventures and Zakar Event Center. “ADV riders are all about performance, and to know that the new exhaust for the BMW R 1250 GS is just one of many products to come shows that Vance & Hines is committed to helping grow our space.”

To learn more about RawHyde’s new Zakar Event Center, visit www.zakar-events.com. For additional questions or to get a quote for your event, call (702) 209-8503.

About Zakar Event Center
Zakar, a RawHyde Adventures company, is an Overland Terrain Park and Event Center situated on 100 acres in the Mojave Desert, just two hours north of Los Angeles. In all of North America there is no place like Zakar, an off-road focused motorsports venue offering a full range of hospitality services as well as a professionally built terrain park for training, testing or product demonstrations.

For more information visit www.Zakar-Events.com.

First Ride Review of 2022 BMW R 18 B

By General Posts

by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com

A Tour(ing) De Force – Conquering California’s coast with a Bavarian bagger.

BMW made no bones about moving in on the Harley-dominated cruiser market when it launched the R 18 in April, 2020. Drawing from the Motor Company’s Softail Slim, the Bavarians literally took a page out of Harley’s book to attract buyers. BMW then returned to the well in October, 2020, introducing the R 18 Classic. Equipped with leather bags and a large windshield, the variant shared more than a moniker with Harley’s Heritage Classic.

That first offensive wasn’t BMW’s endgame, however. To truly hit the Harley where it hurts, the company went after the Bar and Shield’s bread and butter: the grand touring segment. Released in July, 2021, the R 18 B added long-distance comfort and convenience to the platform’s repertoire. BMW did more than just slap on a full-size fairing and hard bags though. The House of Munich re-engineered the chassis to suit the cruiser’s new touring ambitions as well.

A 19-inch front wheel steps in for the R18’s 16-incher, the rake tightens to 27.3 degrees, and the wheelbase shrinks to 66.7 inches. That revised double-loop frame not only accommodates two-up touring but also lightened the standard model’s heavy steering. BMW addressed another common R 18 complaint when it increased the bagger’s rear suspension travel to 4.7 inches while adding position-dependent damping and hydraulically adjustable ride height.

The advanced technology doesn’t stop at the tail end though. The new front fairing houses the IMAX of all motorcycle displays, a 10.25-inch-wide, HD resolution (1920 x 720) TFT dash. On the left switchgear, BMW’s trademark WonderWheel makes its R 18 debut, allowing riders to scroll through the bike’s diagnostics, settings, and available navigation. The Marshall stereo system encourages users to jam out to local radio stations or Bluetooth-connected media while the optional radar-assisted adaptive cruise control outfits the R 18 B for the long haul.

Improved geometry and cutting-edge tech may lead BMW’s latest charge, but the Beemer still has to stand up to the class benchmark: the Harley-Davidson Street Glide. With that gold standard in mind, we set out for a 1,100-mile trip up the California coast to test whether the new BMW R 18 B is a checkmate in a brewing battle of the baggers.

On Tour
Despite all the changes that went into the R 18 B, the big-bore boxer remains unchanged. The air/liquid-cooled, 1,802cc opposed twin still produces 116 ft-lb of torque (at 3,000 rpm) and 91 horsepower (at 4,750 rpm). For that reason, the Beemer shines between 3,000 rpm and 4,000 rpm. Within that range, the bagger pulls like a freight train, but as the torque curve dives, the R 18 B’s direct throttle response trails off as well. Beyond the 4,000-rpm mark, the burly boxer still chugs up to its 5,500-rpm redline, but without all the gusto found in the mid-range.

Though the R 18 B idles at around 1,000 rpm, riders have to coax the 1.8-liter engine up to 2,000 rpm, or else it stutters and bogs away from the line. Lean fueling (due to modern emissions standards) may be the root of the issue, but riders can manage takeoffs with a conservative clutch hand and a liberal right wrist.

The narrow powerband may be a limiting factor, but the mid-range also dampens the boxer’s raucous vibrations. In the lower gears, the vibes are most prominent, buzzing through the bars and mini-floorboards. At highway speeds, however, the sensation is much more tolerable.

At 70 mph in sixth gear, the R 18 B lumbers along at a steady pace, though throttle pick up slightly lags. As a result, I regularly cruised at highway speeds in fifth gear to stay within the 3,000-4,000-rpm sweet spot, which yields the best passing power for emergency situations. While the power pulses and delivery presented challenges, the optional adaptive cruise control (ACC) smoothed out all the rough edges.

The Bosch-developed system operates similar to standard cruise control, but with a following distance button at the right switchgear, the rider remains in control of the semi-automated functions. Even in the closest setting, the three-second buffer between the BMW and the vehicle ahead leaves enough time for the evasive maneuvers. If that following distance is too close for comfort, two additional settings enable users to extend that cushion to a more cautious gap.

On the open road, ACC proved invaluable. Those familiar with motorcycle cruise control systems know that the technology not only covers ground in the most efficient manner but also provides much-needed rest for the rider’s right wrist. With ACC, on the other hand, the user is even freer to set it and forget it. Gliding down the road at 75 mph, I regularly let the system take me along for the ride while I added intermittent steering inputs. Even when a car cut into my lane, the R 18 B throttled down to a comfortable 65 mph in a matter of seconds to maintain my buffer zone.

In those situations, ACC kicked in immediately but not abruptly. I never felt like I (or the system) was out of control. Of course, pulling in the clutch or brake lever disengages the cruise control, but users can also override the system with extra throttle if they need to escape a hairy situation. The ACC is also quite intuitive, slowing to the set speed after a throttle burst or ramping up once the vehicle ahead switches lanes.

The system not only accurately distinguishes between cars in neighboring lanes, but if the fairing-integrated radar detects a vehicle ahead picking up speed, it proportionately adds throttle as well. In its category, BMW’s R 18 B is the first to adopt the Bosch-developed ACC and that gives the Bavarian bagger a definite edge in technology. However, there’s more to touring than gizmos and gadgets, and the R 18 B brings its own bag of tricks to the party.

Every Twist And Turn
While the standard R 18 favored a stance and style perfect for bar-hopping, BMW had to outfit the touring variant for cross-country travels. To make the handling more responsive, the firm steepened the bagger’s rake by more than five degrees. The 19-inch wheel may seem counterintuitive to those goals, but the R 18 B changes direction with the slightest input at the handlebars.

Shod in Bridgestone Battlecruise H50 tires, the larger front wheel and 49mm fork did a commendable job of communicating the differing road surfaces. From super slab interstates to gravel-strewn backroads to tar-snaked twisties, I always understood the bagger’s available grip. At lean, the front end was just as accurate, providing predictable feedback and response. However, it’s hard to shower the rear suspension with similar praise.

The R 18 B’s updated monoshock certainly improves on the standard model’s harsh rear end. With just 3.5 inches of travel, the original shock sent each bump and pothole straight through the rider’s back. To atone for that oversight, BMW jacked up the bagger’s back end to 4.7 inches of travel, delivering an ultra-plush ride. The Beemer practically negates all road irregularities as a result, smoothing out even the hardest hits. Unfortunately, the soft rear end and direct front fork don’t always get along.

At tip-in, the R 18 B is planted and predictable. Conversely, if the rider deviates from the original line or encounters mid-corner bumps, the rear wallows with a slight undulating action. As a result, the feel out back becomes vague and disconnected. If you select and stick to a line throughout the curve, the bike plows right through without so much as a wobble. Unfortunately, unforeseen adjustments quickly expose the buoyant back end. Of course, we don’t expect a bagger to hustle around corners, but a manually adjustable monoshock could go a long way to addressing the issue.

It’s a similar story with the brakes. The dual four-piston calipers and twin 300mm front discs provide enough stopping power in the end, but they don’t provide much in the way of initial bite or feel. For those that favor the front brake, BMW’s system distributes a portion of braking power to the single four-piston caliper and 300mm rotor out back as well. The linked brakes help shed speed more efficiently, but you can also feel the system borrowing braking power at the lever. That’s a disconcerting sensation when you’re descending a steep hill. Luckily, the rider aid only intrudes in select situations and heavy braking zones.

Comfy Confines
Even if the R 18 B’s bag of tricks is a mixed bag, the infotainment system draws from BMW’s industry-leading interface. Unlike the R 18’s stripped-down controls and throwback circular speedometer, BMW throws the kitchen sink at the bagger’s new fairing. Four analog gauges report remaining fuel, speed, rpm, and voltage while the 10.25-inch TFT boasts enough room for a dual-pane layout. Using’s BMW’s intuitive Wonder Wheel and menu button, the user can access trip data, local radio stations, smartphone media, navigation, and bike settings.

While the system puts endless options at the rider’s fingertips, navigating those options with the Wonder Wheel and menu button can become cumbersome. Accessing certain submenus requires punching the menu button while others involve a lateral press on the Wonder Wheel. With practice, your left thumb develops the muscle memory necessary for jumping through the folders quickly, but a simplified interface would also speed up the process. Additionally, the turn Wonder Wheel is located next to the turn signal switch, and I embarrassingly pushed the wrong control during many a left-lane change.

As for the infotainment system’s performance, the Marshall speakers deliver crisp, clear audio. With two fairing-mounted speakers and optional subwoofers in each bag, the sound literally envelopes the rider. During testing, the system worked seamlessly with Apple iOS devices but frequently encountered connectivity issues with Android smartphones. Upon connecting, the interface offered full operation of the phone’s media, but functionality would suffer after a second startup. Disconnecting and reconnecting the device restored full control to the rider, but I eventually switched to the radio to avoid the hassle.

The rest of the R 18 B’s cockpit prioritized comfort and convenience as well. With wide buckhorn bars sweeping back to the rider, the upright position suits long-distance road trips. The broad fork-mounted fairing mitigated buffeting but the short windshield left turbulent air dancing on the top of my helmet. A taller windscreen from BMW’s catalog will easily remedy that situation for taller riders, but anyone under five foot, eight inches will be just fine with the stock shield.

Further back, BMW raised the seat 1.1 inches over the standard model’s saddle to relax the bend at the rider’s knees and the adjustment worked. Due to the massive outboard cylinders, the bagger’s legroom hasn’t increased over the R 18, but the taller seat does help relieve stiff knees during long journeys. On the other hand, extra padding on the touring seat would have gone a long way as well, but my bony back end typically endured the 225 miles between fill-ups.

The features that I can’t praise enough are the heated seat and hand grips. During my travels, I hit spots of rain and heavy winds. The chill temperatures eventually receded by the afternoon, but the five-level heated accessories allowed me to maintain my mileage quota in relative comfort. The premium features made the long stints in the saddle more enjoyable than ever, but they all come at a price.

Bringing It Home
Starting at $21,495, the 2022 BMW R 18 B slightly undercuts the 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide’s MSRP ($21,999). However, BMW’s Premium Light Package (hill start assist, adaptive headlight, reverse assist, and Marshall subwoofers) tacks on $2,300. The Select Package (alarm system, locking fuel cap, heated seat, tire pressure monitor, and electric bag locks) adds another $1,275 to the price tag. Throw in Roland Sand Designs milled cylinder covers, an engine housing cover, a two-tone black wheelset, and Vance & Hines slip-ons, and the asking price swiftly approaches $30,000.

Many riders will opt for the base package, but a fair share will also order the works, and for good reason. Features such as the tire pressure monitor system, heated seat, and Marshall Gold Series Audio amplify the R 18 B’s touring chops. However, it’s a solid package in stock trim. No, the new Beemer isn’t a death blow to Harley-Davidson, but it’s a worthy competitor. At 877 pounds, it has 22 pounds on its main rival, but it’s also the only bike in the category to offer adaptive cruise control and a 10.25-inch TFT display. The R 18 B may not be BMW’s endgame either, but it definitely changes the game for bagger customers.

Rider Review: New Saddlemen Heated Seat

By General Posts

Making Every Ride More Comfortable
Photos and text by Rogue

“I get to ride all over the country and in all kinds of weather. I have made many changes to my 2009 FLHTC over the years and one of them was to install a Saddlemen Heated Seat.”

“I purchased this new Saddlemen seat and installed it on 9/23/2021.”

“Saddlemen has a wide assortment for many motorcycle models”

– Rogue

Click Here to See The Installtion Process and Features of the New Saddlemen Heated Seat.

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Aprilia Tuono V4 Review

By General Posts

by Geoff Hill from https://www.mirror.co.uk

Big bikes don’t come with big scares any more

Back in the day, powerful bikes were thrilling and terrifying, but this naked Italian beauty has all the thrills and none of the terror thanks to a brain that works faster than the rider’s. Well, Geoff’s, although that’s not saying much.

I started doing bike tests in 1846, before bikes were even invented, so I just sat on a fence making bike noises, then hauled out a quill pen and a sheet of parchment and sent in my review to Velocipede Monthly on a passing donkey.

When bikes finally came along, I remember being simultaneously thrilled and terrified by some superbikes, such as the Kawasaki ZX-10R.

You got the feeling that at any moment it would fling you over the hedge, leaving you draped over a baffled cow called Gertrude, although it did get less frisky when Kawasaki fitted a steering damper to later models.

However, I realised at the launch a while back on the Suzuki Hayabusa that I wasn’t a bit scared.

There are several possible explanations for this. Either I’ve taken on board the advice I read from a psychiatrist recently that fear and excitement are just two sides of the same coin in your brain, so when you feel afraid, pretend it’s excitement.

I tried it on my first time back flying after lockdown, and it worked.

Another alternative is that I have become an astonishingly skilled rider, but since that’s highly unlikely, I suspect the answer is that bikes today such as this one are fitted with so many safety features that you’d need to be a complete idiot to end up draped over Gertrude.

I’m talking about cornering ABS, cornering traction control, anti-wheelie control, launch control, adaptive cruise control and so many other controls that before long we’ll be able to send bikes out on their own, and they can come back and tell us what a great day out they had.

And don’t laugh – BMW has already shown off an R 1200 GS which can tootle around without a rider, and that was back in 2018.

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, just about to climb on board the Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory, the Factory bit meaning that it’s got electronically adjustable semi-active suspension, lower bars, better tyres and a more comfortable pillion position than the £15,500 base model.

In spite of the lower bars on the Factory, it’s surprisingly comfortable, even for the taller motorcycling chap, which is a welcome relief from the days when sportsbikes hunched you over like the love child of Quasimodo and Richard III and left you calling by the chiropractor on the way home.

Which left me free to admire the rather useful mirrors and a 5in TFT screen which is much clearer than on the previous Tuono, with bigger, brighter graphics which show you everything you need at a glance, including road riding modes, which can be either Tour, Sport and User, where you can geek out to your heart’s desire. There are also three track modes.

Acceleration, even in Tour mode, is gloriously lusty, accompanied by a visceral howl from the V4, handling is sublimely light and precise, and braking is as brutal but seamless as acceleration.

It’s a bike that’s impossible to unsettle no matter how ham-fisted you are in and out of corners, even on rough surfaces. Remarkable.

I spent a very happy hour getting lost on the rural A and B roads of Armagh, Northern Ireland’s apple country, feeling like I was on a bike I’d owned for years, rather than just picked up an hour ago.

Tweaked fuelling from the old model, and a firm but slick quickshifter to snick up and down the six-speed box just add to the feeling that this is a very well-sorted package indeed – fast but safe, agile but stable, and sporty but comfortable.

Switch to Sport mode, and it’s as if the bike’s been given a large and probably illegal dose of steroids, and yet even with the suspension firmer and the acceleration even more ludicrously breathtaking, it still never feels unsafe or unsettled, with the bike’s brain working faster than yours can to keep the bike stable under all conditions.

Well, my brain, anyway. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll put away my quill pen and roll up the parchment, since I see a donkey approaching, and the editor of Velocipede Monthly is an impatient sort of chap.

Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory
Engine: 1077cc liquid-cooled V4
Power: 173bhp @ 11,350rpm
Torque: 89 lb ft @ 9,000rpm
Colours: Black/red
Price: £18,100

BMW R NineT Pure Option 719 First Ride Review

By General Posts

by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com

To most motorcyclists, the term “pure” evokes images of kickstarters, chrome finishes, and cable throttles. It takes us back to simpler times; a time before electronic nannies and catalytic converters. Back then, motorcycles were easy on the eyes—and the technology.

Charming as it is, nostalgia certainly has its limitations. Most riders aren’t rushing back to hardtails, drum brakes, and carburetors. Luckily, modern-classic motorcycles can cherry-pick the best aspects of yesteryear and today. At least that’s what BMW attempts with its R nineT family. Now, circular headlamps can house LED lights. Wire-spoke wheels can bear retro styling as well as tubeless tires. Design can be both timeless and trendy.

The four R nineT models express this dual nature to various degrees, but the Pure variant embraces the back-to-basics philosophy most. The main ingredients remain intact, but the Pure favors stripped-down practicality over performance. A steel fuel tank replaces the lightweight aluminum unit, a conventional fork steps in for the responsive USD front end, and the cockpit hosts just one round gauge.

Those concessions result in a $10,995 price tag, cementing the Pure as the less-is-more option in BMW’s feature-rich lineup. Since introducing the R nineT in 2015, the Bavarian brand has positioned the neo-retro naked as a custom-friendly platform. The Pure just takes that approach to the next level. Sporting a Mineral Gray Metallic paint job, the base trim is both comely and capable. However, BMW proved that the stock guise is just the starting point when it put an R nineT Pure Option 719 in our charge for a few weeks.

The Ultimate Customizing Machine
In 2021, the R nineT’s air/oil-cooled, 1,170cc, boxer engine earns a Euro 5-compliant update. While noise emissions regulations muffle much of the platform’s signature bark, it holds onto its bite with 109 horsepower at 7,250 rpm and 85 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 rpm. The upgraded shock absorber now boasts a hand wheel adjuster and travel-dependent damping while ABS gains cornering functions. Rain and Road ride modes now come standard and full LED lighting illuminates the way.

Despite those generous revisions, BMW went even further with the R nineT’s paint and accessories catalog. Each model now features series colorways along with BMW’s custom in-house Option 719 paint schemes and accessory kits. For an additional $1,350, customers can trick out the R nineT Pure with the Option 719 Aluminum package seen here, which includes an aluminum front fender, fly screen, tail cowl, and gas tank.

The brand’s Billet Pack Classic tacks on milled cylinder head and engine front covers along with an extra $1,050. Additional cosmetic upgrades such as spoked wheels and the design option silencer add another $975 to the bill. Of course, the House of Munich offers a Comfort Package that unlocks the Dynamic ride mode, heated grips, and cruise control. On the other hand, the Select Package prioritizes safety with traction control, engine braking control, and an adaptive headlight.

After all the extra components, software patches, and destination charges, the R nineT Pure Option 719 retails for $15,865. That’s still $80 under the standard R nineT’s $15,945 MSRP, but it’s a far cry from the minimalist machine that the Pure sets out to be. For that reason, we’re going to primarily focus on the model’s standard equipment, and that all starts with the big-bore boxer.
The Ride

BMW may have updated the eight-valve, opposed-twin to meet modern emissions standards, but the aging powerplant retains all of its vintage charm in 2021. Twist the throttle while in neutral and the bulletproof boxer still jolts to the left. As always, vibrations course through the handlebars and foot pegs at higher revs. Unlike most modern motorcycles, BMW preserves these quarks, chalking them up to the R nineT’s “character”.

The Bavarians may hold on to those old ways, but the boxer now delivers an even stronger punch in the mid-range. Road mode harnesses those pulses with a linear power delivery while Rain mode dampens the effect in the name of safety. Unsurprisingly, the mid-range surge is most prevalent in the optional Dynamic mode. Those looking to maximize the Pure’s performance potential may spring for BMW’s Comfort Package as a result, but Road mode was notably capable in nearly all situations.

While the flat-twin went flat out in the mid-range, the Euro 5-compliant tune also produces lean fueling at the low-end. After a few unintended stalls off the line, I learned to babysit the clutch away from each stoplight. The low-end fueling paired with the engine’s high rpm vibes produced a narrow range of usable power, and that quality was most evident on twisty roads.

Without a slipper clutch, quickshifter, or auto-blipper, the R nineT was best ridden with smooth inputs and a patient demeanor. Aggressively banging through the gears only unsettled the big boxer, and in turn, the chassis. Consequently, R nineT riders are encouraged to let the corners come to them. That’s when the modern-classic comes into its own. On flowy canyon roads, the 43mm fork and steering damper hold a true line while the Metzeler RoadTec tires provide more than enough grip for the available lean angle.

Knocking on the door of 500 pounds, the Pure isn’t the nimblest Beemer of the bunch, but the centralized mass makes side-to-side transitions less strenuous than expected. The rear suspension adjustment knob will please two-up riders, but in the single-seat configuration, users will set it and forget it. After experimenting with the top and bottom settings, the mid-position produced the best feel without sacrificing too much comfort. However, it’s hard to characterize the ride as luxurious in any setting.

Conversely, the dual 320mm discs and Brembo four-piston calipers outperformed the spec sheet with a strong initial bite and surprisingly direct feel from the axial master cylinder. As anticipated, the two-pot Brembo binder and 265mm rotor in the rear delivered a less responsive experience, but they did a great job of steadying the 483-pound naked at slow speeds. The R nineT Pure may not win any performance shootouts, but the package sure fits the bill for everyday road use.

The Fit
Throwing a leg over the Pure for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised by the wide handlebars, broad seat pan, and narrow midsection. The low foot pegs position the knee at a 90-degree angle, though the hard parts drag much sooner as a result. Up top, the reach to the bars is a slight stretch, but the tank cutouts allow the rider’s knees to relieve pressure on their wrists. If it weren’t for the thinly padded saddle and nonexistent wind protection, the Pure could double as a suitable touring rig.

In stock form, however, the R nineT functions best in urban environments and twisty canyon roads. While the standard equipment includes a bench seat, the optional seat cowl increases both form and function. The tail unit not only locks the rider into the cockpit but also acts as a storage compartment. The removable backplate enables users to stash legal documents, disc locks, hats, and small tools in the rearward cubby. It may not replace a backpack or accommodate groceries, but it’s a convenient and reliable solution for most naked bike riders.

Similar to the ergonomics, the streamlined electronic suite is straightforward and user-friendly. The single gauge doesn’t include a tachometer, but the LCD display reports engine temperature, ambient temperature, time, mileage, and trip distance. The analog speedometer is a nice retro touch while a dedicated button allows riders to effortlessly cycle through the ride modes.

With the Comfort Package, cruise control settings are located at the top of the left switchgear and the right-hand side hosts the heated grips button. Select Package features like the adaptive headlight unit and traction control work in the background, freeing the rider to concentrate on the road ahead. The simple but effective accommodations should satisfy most riders, but BMW’s robust add-ons collection will also serve those that enjoy the bells and whistles.

Conclusion
Thanks to the lack of flashy TFT displays and radar-assisted farkles, the Pure lives up to its namesake. The tried-and-true boxer produces just enough rumble to enliven the ride and the tech never presents a distraction. What the platform gives up in performance it gains in ease of use and enjoyment.

Even without the Option 719 cosmetic kits and additional electronic upgrades, the R nineT Pure is an excellent companion for the weekday commute and the weekend cruise. The modern-classic Beemer may have electronic nannies and a subdued exhaust note, but the entry-level R nineT still captures the pure fun of riding a good, old-fashioned motorcycle.