All posts in “Motorcycles”

Tarform Electric Motorcycles Wheelie Toward 100% Green Mobility

Designed & built in Brooklyn, startup electric bike builder Tarform has created a futuristic urban assault bike with a clean, minimalist design. There are currently few details on performance, power, or specs but the brand is talking about integrating machine learning, AI, and bio-materials into the build. The bikes are currently in pre-order phase with an estimated street date of late 2019.

Zero Motorcycles is Bringing Their Flagship Adventure Bike To the USA

For 2020, California-based electric motorcycle maker Zero is introducing the formerly EU-only Black Forest DSR Adventure Bike to the global market. Powered by a silent 14.4 kWh electric motor, it features a whole range of adventure essentials, and lockable cases for ample on-board storage. Numbers. A range of 82 miles in the city & 39 on the freeway; top speed 98mph.

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2019 Indian Chieftain Limited Review: More Bike Than You Need, In the Best Way

It’s kinda hard to remember now, but there was a time before the internet. Back then, when you didn’t know something, you couldn’t just look it up. You went with your gut, or you stalled, or you b.s.-ed your way through; in effect, you felt your way to a functional sense of reality.

Coincidentally, if my childhood memories serve, those pre-internet days were also a time when majestic cruiser motorcycles seemed to rule the road. Why “coincidentally,” you ask? Because I’m writing this review of the 2019 Indian Chieftain Limited while wedged into a cramped seat on a cross-country flight, in a plane that — despite prior assurances to the contrary — lacks WiFi.

So what you’re about to get is a pre-internet-style review of the bike I’ve spent the past month riding, featuring a heavy reliance on gut feelings — but that just might get us closer to the truth.

First Impressions: Let’s start with a few facts about the Chieftain line, courtesy of the press kit I downloaded before my trip. This year marks a full redesign of the series that launched to much acclaim in 2013. Highlights include more aggressive lines, ultra-bright full LED lighting, three ride modes (touring, standard and sport), a 100-watt premium audio system and a low-slung stance with more than four inches of rear suspension travel.

Of course, none of those notions ran through my head when I picked the bike up from a dealership in Connecticut and rode it back to Manhattan. No, when I first laid eyes on this Ruby Metallic machine, all I could think was: she’s big and she’s beautiful.

That said, the dry weight of this bike is 795 pounds — a good 300 more than my daily rider, a 2014 Triumph Bonneville T-100. So I was maybe just a bit intimidated, too. But the moment I pushed the power button and a big swirl of animated smoke unveiled the Indian logo on the 7.0-inch touchscreen, I felt stoked.

I paired the sound system with my phone, queued up a classic rock station on Pandora and hit the (keyless) ignition switch, and the Chieftain quite literally roared to life. I blasted onto the highway to the strains of Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again.” Old-school tunes for a throwback-style ride, if you will.

The Good: From a pure performance standpoint, the Chieftain is a dream on the highway. I took it on a 500-mile weekend roundtrip to central Pennsylvania, and it devoured the distance, even negotiating an unexpected stretch of climbing up a gravel off-road path. The bike feels super-stable, even when surrounded by wind-shearing semis. And the V-twin engine paired with a six-speed transmission is smooth and responsive — to the point where you can easily hit 90 miles per hour without noticing just how fast you’re going.

I’ve ridden other big, somewhat similar bikes, including Harley-Davidson’s Heritage Softail, where the shifts can best be described as “clunky.” Meanwhile, the Chieftain’s casually flickable gear-shift peg and ample torque make for lively, borderline-effortless acceleration. The anti-lock brakes are another strength, allowing gradual deceleration without panic, along with the ability to quickly cut speed without, um, skid marks of any kind.

Even at high speeds, both the handlebar and touchscreen controls are quite user-friendly. On the handlebars, you can skip songs, adjust volume and pause music, all via one left-hand switch. Its counterpart on the right side lets you do something even cooler: raise and lower the windshield a few inches, so you can alternately savor your music or soak up the breeze.

Meanwhile, the glove-friendly touchscreen lets you do even more: switch up the music, change the riding mode, view a full-screen map of where you’re headed and monitor diagnostics; for example, it alerts you when you need gas, asking if you’d like to locate a station. It even lets you know if, say, your rear tire pressure is low. A split-screen view allows you to multi-task at a glance.

But back to the aforementioned music. Indian upgraded its stock audio system for the Chieftain series. Separating the tweeters from the mid-range speakers amps up the output and clarity, while a customizable dynamic equalizer actually adjust frequencies to compensate for road, wind and engine noise. All I noticed is that it’s pretty damn loud, especially when zipping around the city. The music only gets choppy when you go over 75 miles per hour with the windshield down.

Bonus: the infotainment is separate from the engine power, so you can pull up, cut the motor and keep on rocking while you dismount and compose yourself. And did I mention the volume goes to 11? No, really — it does.

Watch Out For: All that said, I do have a few issues with this bike. One is more substantive than the others: the built-in navigation system is a nightmare. The mapping’s not bad, but we’re all so accustomed to using our phones and their intuitive apps to get around. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are clearly where car and motorcycle nav systems should be headed.

This bike is nowhere close to that. Instead, I spent valuable minutes entering addresses that it often could not locate. It literally couldn’t find my apartment; I resorted to entering the name of a nearby flower shop to get home. At one point, after visiting friends in New Jersey, I just wanted to get some gas and cash from an ATM before hitting the road. The nav system, in turn, took me to two banks that were not banks and a crumbling gas station that had clearly been shuttered for years. I ended up playing my phone’s navigation through the speakers to get where I needed to go.

I do love the Chieftain’s storage capacity; it has two large saddlebags, plus a handy little slot above the touchscreen that’s great for connecting/charging your phone and stashing a bit of tollbooth cash. But on several occasions, I found the saddlebags difficult to lock. You have to push down on them in just the right way so they click into place, then hit the lock button on the key fob. I was always able to get them to lock, but it often took a few tries, which isn’t ideal.

One other issue: I’m maybe 5-foot-8 on a good day, and more than once, depending what angle I parked the bike at, the kickstand could be tricky to fully reach and pull back. I would have to sit way up on the seat, carefully lean the bike to the right and then strain my left leg to reach and disengage it. So if you’re sized closer to Kevin Hart than The Rock, you may have issues.

On a somewhat related note, this bike is definitely a challenge to ride around the city. While it excels on open roads, steering around obstacles at slow speeds, heck, even parking, I needed maximum focus to avoid dumping the bike in the middle of Fifth Avenue. But you know you’re getting nitpicky when you’re knocking a bike’s performance in an area it’s not really designed for; is any bike this size designed for the controlled chaos of New York City?

Alternatives: Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special ($27,699+); Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero ($16,799+); Honda Gold Wing ($23,800+)

Verdict: You’ve got all the info you need to decide if this bike’s for you, but I’m still 600 miles from Seattle. So I’ll add two more things.

First, if you can’t tell from the photos and description, the Chieftain is sexy AF, as the kids say. From the styling to the paint job to the sound system to the rumbling engine, it turns heads in and out of the city and puts huge smiles on the faces of passengers and passersby alike. (At one point, I was sitting at a traffic light on Bleecker Street, and a guy just walked over and hugged the faring.) Beauty is a little tougher to quantify than engine size, but man, does it count for a lot.

Second, one of the last times I rode the Chieftain, I was cruising the Westside Highway around 10 p.m. on a weeknight, bopping to The Revivalists’ “Wish I Knew You,” when I pulled up behind an ambulance at a red light. Standing up for a break, I could see inside, where an EMT sat next to a man on a gurney with a ghostly pallor. He had clearly seen better days. I felt bad for the dude. I was also reminded that the clock’s ticking for all of us, and we’ve gotta make the most of the time we have.

The light turned green. I took one last look at the guy and said a little prayer for him. Then I cranked up the music, and started kicking through the gears as I sped around the ambulance, reveling in the music and feeling the wind rush past me. Life is just too short to not ride something big, red and fast.

Indian Chieftain Limited: Key Specs

Powertrain: 1,901-cc V-twin; six-speed transmission
Torque: 126 pound-feet
Peak Torque RPM: 2,900
Weight: 798 pounds (empty fuel tank)
Fuel Tank: 5.5 gallons

Indian provided this product for review.

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Alpinestars Tech-Air vs. Dainese D-Air: Motorcycle Airbag Systems, Compared

Airbag technology for motorcycle riders is quickly entering the mainstream — and two Italian brands, Alpinestars and Dainese, are at the forefront of the trend. Both of their respective systems, known respectively as Tech-Air and D-air, are completely autonomous; there are no tethers between rider and bike. In the event of a crash, both can fully cocoon a rider’s upper body in less than half the time it takes our brains to react to the same stimulus.

The Dainese D-air system made it to market first, with public protection available for track use in 2011 and a street system making its debut in 2012. Alpinestars Tech-Air line, on the other hand, didn’t hit store shelves until 2014, but was able to pull data from a much larger pool of professional MotoGP riders to hone and refine their technology, enabling it to boast being the first rider airbag system to not rely on a physical tether the way early D-air systems did.

Both systems are good. In fact, I’d argue that every rider on today’s streets should be wearing one or the other. But is one better? Since the beginning of the season, I’ve been riding exclusively with either the Alpinestars Tech-Air Touring vest (installed into its Andes Pro jacket) or the Dainese D-air street system (integrated into the Carve Master II jacket) to figure that out. Here are their pluses and minuses.

Technology

Now in its third generation, Dainese’s D-air system incorporates three gyroscopes, three accelerometers and a GPS unit that monitor conditions and converse with one another more than 1,000 times per second as part of the network called the Intelligent Protection System (I.P.S.). The data collected and analysed during a ride is filtered through an algorithm designed to detect events ranging from collisions and high-sides to mild low-sides that don’t result in the rider separating from their bike.

If an “event “ is recognized by the I.P.S., and you’re moving faster than 30 mph, a gas canister will fire, causing the wearer’s neck, chest and back to be enveloped in four liters of inflated protection within 45 milliseconds. The internals of the airbag itself are constructed using Dainese’s patented Microfiliament technology: both sides of the inner lining of the airbag are connected to each other by millions of fibers, all to ensure the bladder opens evenly across its entire coverage zone, providing equal protection density throughout. The D-air airbag transmits a mere 450 pounds (2 kilonewtons) of external forces to the rider.

Alpinestars Tech-Air Street system works in a similar manner, in that accelerometers and a gyroscope is employed to monitor conditions. Just like D-air, there are three accelerometers in play; however, only one gyroscope is included in the information loop, and there is no GPS. Regardless, the inertial algorithm employed by the Tech-Air Airbag Control Unit (A.C.U.) is able to detect and respond to an incident within 30-60 milliseconds, depending on its speed or force. And, unlike D-air, the A.C.U in the “street” version of Tech-Air remains active even when stopped, to protect against hits from behind when stopped at the lights.

The A.C.U. itself is housed in a CE-Level II rated back protector that is incorporated into the Tech-Air vest, along with twin argon gas canisters. Once initiated, inflation takes approximately 25 milliseconds, cocooning an even larger area of the rider than D-air covers (back, shoulders, kidneys, chest and upper abdomen) for a full five seconds before deflating.

Both systems have the ability to receive firmware updates, which is a simple and easy affair once plugged into a computer. (Only the D-air system is Mac compatible, at least for now.)

Advantage: Alpinestars Tech-Air

Functionality

Thankfully, I haven’t had to rely on either the Tech-Air or D-air systems to save my bacon, so I can’t speak firsthand as to how well either does in the ultimate test. But in terms of everyday usability, there are some important differences between the two.

First and foremost, Alpinestars’ decision to run with a modular airbag system should be applauded. For many of us, the type of bike or riding style we engage in will change from year to year — or, for some with multiple steeds in the garage, even day to day. And with those swaps, the style of jacket chosen will often change too. Provided you buy into their Tech-Air Compatible line of offerings, Alpinestars can afford you the same levels of protection sheathed in textile or leather, with designs that stretch from a vintage look to something more futuristic — or even an abrasion-resistant hoodie.

Dainese, on the other hand, fully integrates their D-air system into the jacket you’ve chosen. Aside from the obvious potential issue of not being able to approach protection with chameleonic adaptability, it also means that should you have an airbag-deploying event, your entire jacket needs to be sent in for repair and recharging — an issue the Tech-Air customer will not suffer.

All being said, the Dainese D-air system is noticeably lighter, both when in hand and when riding around. And the Carve Master II I’ve been testing it in wears like a well-tailored jacket. The Tech-Air Andes Pro feels clunky and quite heavy in comparison, and needed more adjustment via the jacket itself to properly fit. Even when cinched to match your body’s profile, it remains clear that this is a two-piece system.

Advantage: Alpinestars Tech-Air

Jacket

Both the Dainese Carve Master II D-air and Alpinestars Andes Pro Tech-Air compatible jackets I’ve been wearing are classified as adventure/touring jackets. In other words, both are textile jackets with a longer, three-quarter length cut, a bevy of pockets and some form of all-weather treatment. And while both tick all of these boxes well, it wasn’t exactly a fair fight. The Carve Master II is a premium, top-of-the-line model jacket, while the Andes Pro is Alpinestars’s entry-level Tech-Air adventure/touring jacket. There are higher-end jackets in the Tech-Air compatible lineup, but they come at a premium that prices them well beyond the D-air Carve Master when they’re equipped with a Tech-Air Street vest.

The Tech-Air Compatible Andes Pro comes equipped with CE-Level I protection at the elbows and shoulders, while the Carve Master offers up CE-level II composite cups at these locations. The fabric used on the D-air Carve Master II, which Dainese calls Mugello, has a much more premium feel to it. Comprised of an abrasion-resistant blend of micro nylon and elastomers, it has enough stretch to allow easy movement in the saddle (and airbag deployment) while remaining well-fitted. The Carve Master II also comes equipped with a zip-in/zip-out liner and a removable thermal collar, making it better for cooler days.

The Andes Pro utilizes Alpinestars’s proprietary weatherproofing system dubbed Drystar, which does a great job of keeping the rain out while keeping the jacjet breathable. Add to this the ability to open two huge vents running from collarbone to navel, and you have a jacket that works quite well in the summer months. On a recent trip from Toronto to North Carolina, I saw temperatures range from the low 40s through the 90s, rode right through a deluge at the northern tip of Ohio — and the Andes Pro served me perfectly fine.

Dainese, on the other hand, tapped industry leader GoreTex for their integrated waterproofing membrane while also dosing the exterior fabrics with a secondary treatment of weather resistance. Combined with the storm flap covering the entirety of the main zipper, little to no rain is getting in. And despite the lack of massive vent flaps, there is enough air movement to stay cool on warm days.

Both jackets also feature waterproof pockets large enough to stash phones in when the heavens open up, and can be attached via zipper to a set of like-branded pants. But the premium fit and finish of Dainese’s jacket score it the win here.

Advantage: Dainese Carve Master II D-air

Annoyances

There’s ultimately little to complain about with either of these jackets — and less still that stems from their airbag system. That being said, the D-air unit does give off more of a hunchback vibe, as its I.P.S. has a bulge that sits right between the shoulder blades. Thanks to its tailored fit, the bulge is fairly pronounced.

Another issue with the Carve Master II concerns its main zipper. To avoid the need for a two-way zipper, Dainese stitched the base of their zip higher on the body of the jacket, which makes getting the zipper started a frustrating experience. Things usually refuse to line up properly; you need to contort the jacket to have both ends meet properly.

The Andes Pro, on the other hand, suffered some fraying at the ends of both cuffs after barely 1,200 miles of riding. None of the stitching let loose, but this shouldn’t be happening so soon in any jacket’s lifespan, entry-level or not.

Advantage: Dainese Carve Master II D-air

Value

The Dainese Carve Master II D-air jacket currently sells for $1,550. For that money you get a truly premium adventure/touring jacket equipped with bleeding-edge safety technology. That isn’t an insignificant amount of money for a jacket, but when you consider the levels of performance motorcycles offer at a fraction of the cost of their four-wheeled equivalents, splurging on your health and safety isn’t a bad idea.

The Alpinestars Andes Pro Tech-Air Compatible jacket retails for a reasonable $550, but without the Tech-Air Street vest, it’s just another jacket. That vest will set you back an additional $1,150, which means the total package rings in at $1,700. However, thanks to its modularity, that additional $150 buys you the ability to spend even more to have more than one Tech-Air equipped piece of kit.

Advantage: Alpinestars Tech-Air

Verdict

Choosing between the Dainese D-air and Alpinestars Tech-Air systems is a Coke vs. Pepsi affair. For many of us, it will come down to personal preferences and brand loyalty, as the safety tech offered by both is both similar and effective.

But looking at these two products through an objective lens, the extra $150 for the Alpinestars kit seems like a worthwhile investment. I personally like the idea that I can swap the Tech-Air system in and out of a multitude of jackets to match a look, bike or mood. I also appreciate that, should I have an off that cause the system to deploy I’m not left without my entire jacket while it’s serviced. Additionally, the fact that the Tech-Air system remains active even when stopped is a huge bonus. Especially if you ride in an area where lane-splitting and traffic filtration is still frowned upon.

Note: Dainese has now released its D-air Smart Jacket, which is a modular system that can be used under or on top of any riding jacket, regardless of brand.

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Dainese and Alpinestars provided these products for this review.

Is an E-Bike Better for Commuting than a Motorcycle? We Find Out

E-Bikes are growing in popularity for their ability to offer commuters and fitness enthusiasts a means to cover greater distances without having to expend as much energy. As a motorcyclist, I believe time spent on two wheels is a matter of therapy; it’s religion, freedom and fun, all wrapped up in one. Anything that can bring that to more people more easily, well, it’s good in my book.

The Vintage Electric Roadster e-bike can best be described as an electric-powered beach cruiser featuring design elements reminiscent of classic American and British motorcycles. Its most notable features are an LED headlamp, inverted front forks, beefy spoked tires and a prominent V-twin-shaped battery pack.   

Electric power comes in the form of two delivery options: a pedal assist mode, where the rear-wheel-mounted electric hub motor helps propelling the bike forward as the rider pedals like on a normal bike; or a thumb-throttle similar to that found on a jet ski that allows the rider to manually control the rear wheel hub, removing the need to pedal.  

An easy-to-navigate LCD panel with three buttons rests on the left handlebar with gauges like battery life, speedometer and odometer. Through this menu, riders can select the degree of power assist being served up to them. Setting one provides minimal power, while setting five provides full juice.

Power Delivery and Battery Specs

Powered by a 48-volt, 1123-watt-hour rear wheel hub motor, the Vintage electric produces 750 watts in Street Mode, with a limited speed of 21 mph and a range of about 40-75 miles per charge. At best, I was able to manage 50 miles on a charge on flat land using only the throttle-assist with power set at setting three.

Where the Roadster shines is in the form of a removable race key that screws into the battery pack and unlocks the 3000-watt Race Mode. In that mode, with power set to level five, the Roadster can reach speeds up to 36 miles per hour. But that will take its toll on the battery pack; the best range I could muster after flogging it in Race Mode on flat ground was 22.3 miles. (Also, for the record: This feature is for use only on private property, as electric bikes are limited by law to 21 miles per hour on public roads.)

What It’s Like to Ride

It’s hard to look at the Vintage Electric Roadster and not acknowledge how stunning it is from almost any angle. Little about it screams electric bicycle; the designers took pains to incorporate classic motorcycle cues into its overall aesthetic.

Once on the Roadster, it is fairly comfortable. if not a little small for larger individuals like myself; at 6’5’’, the Vintage Electric Roadster is not suited for my stature. (Sadly, it only comes in one size.) Pedalling this 86-pound fixed-gear bike is not very desirable, and for this reason, I came to rely almost entirely on the thumb-throttle to maintain speed during my time riding the Roadster.

Overall, the ride is smooth and predictable — and a sheer delight on flat ground. With electric power set to the max, the Roadster is capable of tackling inclines, but it does so at reduced speed. The beefy 26-inch Schwalbe Fat Frank tires provide exceptional grip at high speeds and inspire a good deal of confidence when cornering. I found myself testing their limits along the boardwalk with a handful of sand and asphalt in my path. Not once did the Roadster waiver.

Though the tires have decent mass to soak up imperfections, don’t expect too much; bumps and road imperfections are easily felt throughout the chassis. With very little suspension to speak of and no shock absorption in the saddle stock, shockwaves are quickly and noticeably transmitted into your spine when rolling over remotely rough terrain. The front inverted fork has only 60 millimeters of travel, and is suited to absorb light imperfections.

With a good amount of punch to keep you moving, it’s equally important to have good brakes. The Promax Lucid hydraulic disc brakes front and rear provide ample stopping power; I found myself relying on the front brake more than the rear, as its strength in slowing down the 86-pound bike was necessary. More often than not the rear brake was too soft, and sounded more like a squeaky drum than a refined caliper biting a disc.

Can an Electric Bike Compete with a Motorcycle?

As a motorcyclist who commutes every weekday and ventures out the canyons and racetracks every other weekend, I’ve always been curious to see how an electric bicycle experience would compare to a motorcycle in real life. I understand a machine like this would be right at home in a dense city such as New York or Austin, but I live in Los Angeles — and there is nothing short about our commutes here.

Living in Redondo Beach and working in Santa Monica, my daily commute via motorcycle is 15 miles in each direction. 90 percent of that commute is relegated to the world’s most famous parking lot: the 405 freeway. Thanks to lane splitting, I’m able to make the trip in roughly 24– 28 minutes, depending on how ballsy I’m feeling as I slice through traffic. However, if I opt to take surface streets, my commute extends to 40 minutes.

I did not expect my commute time on the Vintage Electric Roadster to be greatly reduced compared with the motorcycle, but over the course of three weeks of weekday riding, my average commute time wound up being 46 minutes door-to-door. Though the ride time was longer, my commute was made more peaceful; I enjoyed 8 miles of non-stop traffic-free riding along the beach in each direction.

Overall traffic speeds in urban areas rarely exceed 40 miles per hour; at one point in my commute, I kept pace with a Ducati Panigale V4 over the course of two miles simply because traffic dictated our paces. Though the Ducati was splitting lanes, I was able to navigate through even-tighter spaces than the Panigale. (When I pulled up alongside him, he began asking me about the Roadster.)

Once at work, I would plug the Roadster in, and the bike would charge back to full battery power in four and a half hours. Let’s see a Ducati do that.

Where Does It Fall Short?

Right off the bat, the $6,995 price tag will be hard for many to swallow. But the design is second to none and the attention it commands out on the boardwalk certainly makes it a conversation piece. The absence of any kind of real suspension caused by sticking so close to a traditional beach cruiser design limits how and where you will choose to ride the Roadster. As time went on, I found myself standing on the pedals and riding the Roadster like a BMX bike above 20 miles per hour when the ground got rough.

The Vintage Electric Roadster comes in one size only and sadly, one size does not fit all. If you are north of six feet tall, like me, the Vintage Electric Roadster will feel mighty small. Pedalling this fixed-gear e-bike will become more of an awkward burden than a pleasure. Sure, I rarely pedaled the Roadster, but it’s still something to consider — because when the battery dies, that’s how you will need to get the bike home.

As for comfort, I would like to have seen Vintage Electric feature a cushy and broader saddle. The current saddle looks fantastic, but after 20 minutes of riding, I was begging for something more kind to my rear end and lower back.

Verdict: I am not going to be giving up my motorcycles for an e-bike anytime soon. However, I love that we are living in an era of innovative mobility solutions. I do foresee myself investing in an e-bike system in addition to my motorcycles in the next couple of years, because these machines provide a fun, practical means for getting around an urban area without the need for insurance.

More importantly, they have reignited my love for bicycles once again. The Vintage Electric Roadster is a fun, very stylish take on an e-bike — and further shows how the lines between motorcycles and bicycles are changing in the 21st Century.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Indian Celebrates 100 Years of the Scout with 2 New Badass Bikes

Lots of new stuff going on with Indian’s 2020 lineup of American-made cruisers. Chief among them, two new Scouts: the 100th Anniversary limited edition Scout & the Scout Bobber 20. The Anniversary bike features a red & gold paint scheme inspired by the 1920 original. The bobber features wire wheels, a floating saddle, bobbed rear fender & blacked-out finishes. Both are powered by the brand’s 100-horsepower V-Twin motor.

Make Motorcycle Riding More Fun With These Amazing Helmet Deals

If you’re reading this, odds are good you know we here at Gear Patrol are always looking out for you motorcycle riders out there — and your heads in particular. Well, so are the fine folks at Revzilla by offering a bunch of great helmets at low prices in their closeout sale.

Not only are the helmets on this list painstakingly designed to keep your dome safe, many of them are vibrant and stylish, but some are downright loud…and sometimes loud is fun.

AGV K3 Misano

Modern, sleek and aggressive — with one hell of a finish. This AGV is designed to be aerodynamic, not only to cut through the wind for maximum speed, but for high-speed stability. Fast and safe.

Schuberth C4 Spark

The Schuberth C4 is a perfect marriage of lean design and luxury — German-engineered practicality with a touch of flair. (Well, it comes in red.)

HJC IS-5 X-Wing Fighter Pilot

>I mean, come on. This is just fun. This HJC helmet’s lightweight polycarbonate shell is made for style and comfort. The killer drop-down Star Wars-inspired visor just makes it delightful. May the force be with you.

Scorpion EXO-AT950 Neocon

IMAGEHere’s one for the dual-sport homies. The Scorpion packs heavy-duty construction designed especially for winter riding, with features like dual-layer lenses and snow visor.

Bell Moto-3


Beyond a classic, the Moto-3 is a staple in the helmet marketplace. Its honest, faithfully vintage look belies all the modern safety features. Perfect for the dirt or the streets.

Bell Race Star RSD Formula

Carbon fiber. Wind-tunnel testing. This Bell helmet has some serious engineering behind it, but that doesn’t mean it’s afraid to look good.

Arai XD-4 Flare

All the high-octane race pedigree you’d expect, wrapped up in a dual-sport touring helmet yearning to get out in the dirt.

Fox Racing V1

Braaaap! Don’t worry dirt bikers, we have one for you too. A trusted name in safety and comfort for the dirt track, the Fox V1 has a slew of air vents to help with all the dust and a polycarbonate shell to reflect any rogue stones sent your way. Plus, the V1 comes in color options almost as loud as your two-stroke.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Harley Davidson Introduces Electric Bikes for Tykes

Motorcycle ridership in the USA is dying fast. Rather than prep for the funeral, Harley Davidson is taking a longview, building electric bikes for kids, who they hope will become the next generation of motorcyclists. To that end they’ve created two new kids push bikes, the Iron E12 for riders age 3-5 & the Iron E16, for riders age 5-7. They have no pedals but instead feature electric hub motors that allow for speeds up to 11MPH which can be set & adjusted by parents. Battery run-times: 30-60 minutes.

2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire Review: The Future of the Motorcycle?

There it is, slung beneath a monolithic 15.5-kWh battery and shrouded in a polished cast-aluminum casing. Dubbed ‘Revelation’ for obvious reasons, the electric motor powering the Harley-Davidson LiveWire represents a massive leap beyond the venerable internal combustion V-twin. The philosophical shift involved in refining the drivetrain was so significant, it required some nine years to develop and fine-tune the setup and calibration. As such, the motor is the visual and ideological centerpiece in the 549-pound LiveWire, a point of pride that aims to leave the 116-year-old brand’s woes behind and propel it fearlessly into the future.

Launched with a $29,799 pricetag that puts it in unabashed luxury-product territory, the LiveWire goes whole hog on the electrification theme. There are high-tech touch points baked in throughout: a touchscreen TFT display, a well-executed Harley-Davidson Connect app, a fresh-off-the-presses partnership with Electrify America, and two years of free charging at participating Harley-Davidson dealerships. But is the first-ever electron-powered Harley good enough to convert the old school cognoscenti, or is it a high-priced halo that will alienate eco conscious millennials?

The Good: From the precise-but-smooth throttle response to the way it intuitively turns into corners and whooshes away on straights, the LiveWire’s dynamic capabilities are remarkably good for any motorcycle, let alone one that’s powered by a battery.

Who It’s For: The million-dollar question: Who wants a $30,000 Harley-Davidson that a) is probably too radical for H-D traditionalists, and b) too expensive for the young buyers the brand is hoping to attract? Harley admits this is an aspirational bike with a premium price tag, but LiveWire also kicks off a string of less-expensive EV products, including a cute-as-a-button electric minibike and a battery-powered bicycle. Regardless, it’s hard to get around the fact that LiveWire occupies a curious niche; it’s unlikely to become a volume seller for the brand.

Watch Out For: Something had to give when it came to packaging the LiveWire’s charging options, and that something wound up being true Level 2 charging. Though LiveWire takes a speedier (and harder-to-find) DC Fast Charge, which can replenish 80 percent of the battery in 40 minutes, plugging in a Level 2 charger unfortunately yields Level 1-speed recharging; it takes an agonizing 12.5 hours to go from empty to full.

Alternatives: Competitors in this space have had the benefit of time-testing their battery-powered wares and evolving into their respective niches. First to mind is the $18,995 Zero SR/F, which offers 109 miles of combined range and up to 200 miles of city range with an add-on Powertank. Sportbike fans might gravitate towards the $34,000 Energica Ego, which is motivated by a maniacal 145-hp motor. And last but not least, design nerds will geek out over the $14,000 Cake Kalk and Kalk&, post-industrial EVs that throw out the rulebook with fashion-forward geometrical styling.

Review: There’s an easily overlooked feature of the Harley LiveWire that speaks volumes to the meticulous thought process behind this remarkably important bike: the so-called heartbeat. About halfway through the development process, engineers decided the EV needed to feel more “alive” when the bike was at rest. Enter the “heartbeat,” a haptic pulse that emanates from the motor. It’s a subtle element that can be dialed up, down or entirely off at a Harley dealership, serving as a tiny reminder that the thing you’re riding isn’t dormant when it’s in so-called propulsion mode.

And then there’s the sound, a fascinating combination of mechanical whine from the bevel-geared primary drive and a manufactured electronic thrum that more resembles a science fiction soundscape than a physical resonance. But if you’ve just lifted the LiveWire off the kickstand, you’re most likely to first notice two things: a feeling of heft, and the switchgear that combines familiar Harley bits (like a turn-signal button on each side, which flies against industry convention) with a few unfamiliar elements (such as a joystick on either side — one for Bluetooth audio controls, another for menu navigation).

The 4.3-inch TFT screen operates intuitively, with configurable displays that easily reveal which of the seven (yes, seven) ride modes you have engaged. Four of those settings — Road, Sport, Range and Rain — can be toggled via a hard button on the left grip, while three can be customized when not riding using sliders on the touchscreen to calibrate power output, regeneration level, throttle response and traction control. Settings can be dialed in by one-percent increments between 1–100, while traction control can be set to low, medium, high or off. And lest you worry that you have to be fully parked to disengage traction control, fear not, my hooligan friend: simply press the TC button while stopped, and the electronics will disengage and allow you to indulge in long, eerily quiet burnouts simply by grabbing the front brake and twisting the throttle.

(Doing so won’t destroy your range too badly, either: At the end of my 65-mile ride, which involved heavy-handed throttle application and a smoky burnout or two, the onboard computer indicated 41 miles of remaining range — a figure that lends credence to Harley’s claimed 95 miles of combined range, 146 miles in the city or 70 miles of constant highway cruising at 70 mph.)

Naughty, earth-unfriendly antics aside, the LiveWire handles its weight rather well at low speeds, threading through traffic precisely thanks to a relatively stiff chassis and upmarket Showa suspension that’s calibrated for responsiveness over float. Boost your speed, and the bike seems to egg you on for even more velocity, feeling stable and secure as it whisks past posted speed limits.

You won’t get an instant hit of G-forces off the line, primarily because the direct-drive link between the motor and the rear wheel means the 15,000-rpm powerplant takes you all the way to an electronically-limited 110 mph without shifting gears. Though you’re not maximizing the motor’s 105 horsepower at lower speeds, those 86 pound-feet of torque make minced meat of inertia rather rapidly once the power starts building; 60 mph arrives in only three seconds flat, giving it supercar-like acceleration. And things only get blurrier if you keep it pinned: the leap from 60 to 80 mph takes a mere 1.9 seconds, giving this electric-powered rocket a sensation of thrust unlike anything ever to hail from Harley’s York, Pennsylvania plant. Unlike most internal combustion motorcycles, which require a well-timed orchestration of clutch, shifter and throttle for maximum acceleration, clutch-free electric bikes simply need a committed twist of the right wrist.

Similarly, cornering is a refreshingly mindless task. Rather than focusing on gear selection and rev-matching downshifts, you can just lay off the throttle and, if the regenerative braking is set aggressively enough, use the regen to slow the bike down ahead of a curve. Maintain your desired speed through the turn by feeding or bleeding the throttle, then whack it at the corner exit.

I repeated this process over and over on the wonderfully twisty roads outside of Portland, Oregon, and quickly became addicted to the ease of riding so quickly, so smoothly. Though not as nimble as a supermoto or as responsive to mid-corner corrections as a sportbike, the sensation of flinging this EV through corners is refreshingly devoid of the sound and fury that can make a gas-powered superbike such a socially objectionable endeavor; float through corners on an electric motorcycle, and you can hear birds chirping if you listen closely enough. It’s a paradigm-shifting experience, one that completely recalibrates your concept of speed and high-performance riding.

Verdict: The Harley-Davidson LiveWire is far from the first electric motorcycle to hit the market, and there are certainly other bikes that offer quicker charges, longer range, or more power. But the first EV from the Motor Company delivers something few, if any, other manufacturers have managed: a well-rounded, battery-driven two-wheeler that comes with a distinctly formed sense of identity. Thanks to well-executed user interface details and an engaging riding experience, the LiveWire delivers more than you might expect, especially given Harley’s predictable propensity for V-twin-powered thump-a-lump. Say what you will about the hefty MSRP or the charging limitations — the LiveWire manages to surprise and delight enough to make Harley-Davidson’s future look very bright, indeed.

2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire Key Specs

Powertrain: AC permanent-magnet motor and 15.5 kW lithium-ion battery, direct-drive transmission
Horsepower: 105
Torque: 86 pound-feet
Lean Angle: 45 degrees
Curb Weight: 549 pounds

Harley-Davidson hosted us and provided this product for review.

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The Best Scramblers on Sale Take on One of America’s Greatest Riding Roads

From Issue Six of Gear Patrol Magazine Issue Ten is available now.

To really put a motorcycle through the wringer, it has to be pushed to the limits of its purpose in the harshest way. Sport bikes are flogged on the track in 100-degree heat, dirt bikes are thrown through the woods and over jumps for hours on end, and cruisers endure endless miles on the world’s greatest highways. But how to put a strain on a scrambler, a bike made both for tame roads in town and for wily dirt trails out in the boondocks? To find out, we took a pair of scramblers 2,678 miles up through the Canadian Rockies and into Alaska to show them North America’s most infamous stretch of road: the Denali Highway.

Scramblers have recently swelled in popularity, but they’re nothing new. The scrambler rose to prominence in the rebellious ‘60s and ‘70s; it was created at a time when motorcyclists stripped down standard sport bikes to their bare essentials, kitting them out with bigger suspensions and knobbier tires to make them competent in the dirt and in off-road racing. But the concept of a scrambler wasn’t all that groundbreaking in the ‘60s, either.

The purpose of the first motorcycles was to render the bicycle obsolete and allow people to travel farther and cover more miles in a day on two wheels than ever before. In the late 1800s, they were just bicycles with miniature engines that supplemented pedal power; they quickly evolved into the utilitarian two-wheeled transportation the world knows today. The evolution wasn’t necessarily driven by a search for speed, but by an insatiable appetite for freedom and exploration, a basic sense of adventure. Before smooth, direct, arterial highways and intricate webs of paved infrastructure spread through the country in the 1920s and ‘30s, connecting all our major cities, there was dirt, mud, gravel, sand and stone. Motorcycles had to be able to tackle it all, and tackle it well.

Having a motorcycle that was capable on both paved streets in town and on dirt roads in the country wasn’t a stylistic choice; it was a necessity. Every time you hopped in the saddle, hitting both types of terrain was a near certainty. As paved roads became more common and the modern highway system introduced more civility to the average motorcycle ride, the mandatory go-everywhere features faded from factory-built road bikes. Sport bikes, cruisers, choppers, they’re all bound to paved roads with stiff suspensions and slicker tires. Scramblers, then, were created as a way to gain back the freedom of comfortably riding any road, paved or not.

Over the decades, scramblers became more focused and purpose-built, eventually morphing into modern dirtbikes, dual sports and hardcore adventure bikes. Somewhere along the way, they became more concerned with function than form and, in the process, lost the interest of casual riders.

The bikes in question: Ducati’s Scrambler Desert Sled ($11,395) and Triumph’s Street Scrambler ($10,800)

The current crop of scramblers is gaining favor with the masses because they bring back that go-anywhere freedom with old-school style. But most importantly, they’re compact, approachable machines that both new riders and two-wheel veterans can get excited about. Like their forebears, they balance on-road worthiness with off-road prowess.

The Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled and Triumph Scrambler are the headlining stars of the modern scrambler craze, and I wanted to know if both were truly worthy of carrying the torch. Could they hack it outside city limits? If and when these bikes saw dirt, would they falter and fail or take it in stride? Are they just fashion statements? Can they hold their own in a veritable theater of two-wheeled warfare — long highways, sweeping canyon stretches, suspension-shattering dirt roads, sand traps — and survive what would be a torture test for even the most refined and focused adventure bikes?

North of Seattle, up through British Columbia and the Yukon Territory, over into Alaska and down to Anchorage: the northwest passage of North America is a modern-day adventure-vehicle playground of high deserts, mountains, canyons, rivers and glaciers. But the terrain is as majestic as it is life-threateningly treacherous. It’s mostly paved, but dirt, gravel and unfinished, primitive highway make cameo appearances to keep you on your toes. The farther north you venture, the less common average family sedans become. Lifted Jeeps and Toyota 4Runners decked out with high-lift jacks, full-cage roof racks and light bars become the norm, the suggested mode of transport. For two-wheelers here, the recommended bare minimum would be purpose-built, precision all-terrain instruments like the BMW R 1200 GS or 1290 KTM Super Adventure — top-of-the-line adventure bikes with powerhouse engines, active suspension, power outlets and heated grips. Paved roads or not, it’s no place to go underprepared and let Mother Nature catch you with your pants down. Despite all that, we chose to ride out of Seattle astride the fairly analog Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled and Triumph Scrambler, like bringing pocket knives to a trench war.

Day 1


False start. A passport packed in a forgotten bag sat idle in LA. The plan had been to fly into Seattle Friday morning, pick up the Ducati and Triumph and our Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 chase van, then head out of town to Vancouver for the night. Gregor, a friend and experienced off-road racer excited to check off riding in all 50 states with the trip to Alaska, would pilot the Ducati. I called dibs on the Triumph while Sung, our tenacious photographer who, we learned, has a slight aversion to sleeping on the ground, looked forward to calling the Sprinter home for the next seven days. The first day was designed to be less intense, so Gregor and I could get used to the unfamiliar bikes with easygoing city and highway miles. Needless to say, that plan, for the most part, was now scrapped.

After a few four-letter words and a couple frantic phone calls, the passport was arranged to leave LAX the next morning on a Delta flight and get to us by 9:30 a.m., Saturday. We had no choice but to book a room at an airport hotel and hit the road as soon as the passport arrived.

Not the most auspicious start to a journey of this magnitude.

Day 2

10:32 a.m., passports in hand, blue skies above, we pointed our convoy north and set out on what would be the longest leg of the entire week. To make up for the lost day, we decided to circumnavigate Vancouver completely, combining two days’ worth of riding in order to make it to Prince George on schedule. The easygoing miles we planned for the first day had morphed into an endurance break-in test.

Right away, I decided that a wind screen, even a small something to break up the wind, would have been luxurious. Buffeting at 65 mph isn’t just annoying; after too long, fighting the choppy air is physically exhausting. Our mileage hadn’t even hit triple digits yet and we already could feel this ride trying to wear us down.

As soon as we crossed the U.S.–Canadian border, we hopped on the Trans-Canada Highway and made our way around the bottom of British Columbia’s western mountain range, up through Wells Gray Provincial Park and into what looked like the heart of the Canadian wilderness. In reality, we’d only just dipped our toes into the deep end of a pool, and we couldn’t see the bottom. Emerald waves of mountains gave way to sun-baked high desert, ravines and long, meandering rivers contoured by an endless strip of train tracks straight out of a spaghetti western. Motorcycle paradise. As the light faded, though, so did the novelty of the first day’s ride, and with it, the warm Canadian welcome. Darkness ushered in a bitter cold. At 8:53 p.m., a debate raged inside my helmet: Do I signal for us to pull over so I can pee, or would holding it actually keep me a little bit warmer? Tough call. It’s 10:48 p.m. when we arrive in Prince George — finally

Day 3

Above: Bell Moto III ($359), Icon 1000 Squalborn Jacket ($300), Rev’it Jeans Memphis H2O ($320), Icon 1000 Elsinore Boots ($245)
Below Right: Oscar Robinson Gloves ($90), Autodromo Veloce ($425)

Overcast skies and cool crisp air greeted us as we saddled up for day two, this time appropriately layered up. Prince George would be the last populous city we’d see for two days. We set out for our waypoint — Meziadin Junction, just under 400 miles to the northwest — which we thought would be our last stop for the day.

Almost immediately, we waded into a vast rolling sea of towering evergreens like surfers getting towed out into big wave swells. Unfiltered aromas of pure pine and maple, frequently accompanied by the scent of smoke from a campfire or a logging compound, flooded my nose at 65 mph — the exact olfactory experience air fresheners aim for but never capture.

Turning north onto Highway 37, we were now racing the sun to the horizon, Otter Mountain looming at the finish line. Gregor was leading at a brisk pace, carving up what felt like Canada’s Nürburgring. Neither of us were interested in getting a second helping of cold Canadian night riding, so there was an unspoken agreement to keep the speed up. About two hours and 90 miles later, the Ducati started to sputter and Gregor signaled to pull over. Out of gas. Judging by my gauges, the Triumph wouldn’t have made it much farther. Nearly 30 miles from Meziadin Junction, the jerry cans full of spare fuel proved to be a wise investment.

Meziadin Junction consists of a fuel pump, a convenience store, a few rooms all taken up by construction workers and a café that closed minutes before we got there — that’s it. No town. No other lodging. I swore this was where our Airbnb was supposed to be. The store clerk explained that the closest town was Stewart, at the end of Highway 37A, about 38 miles away, which a double-check of the reservation confirmed. I could see the enthusiasm physically fall off of Gregor’s face: we suddenly had another hour to go. Soft twilight gave way to pitch black. Worst of all, we’d have to split Otter Mountain and Mount Johnson — prime real estate for avalanches and rockslides. We were riding through a narrow chasm with only our headlights illuminating a relatively small patch of road in front of us. The inky-black sky was nearly indiscernible from the titanic terra looming in the darkness all around us — riding into the ominous, massive void induced a strange claustrophobia.

In Stewart, relieved to finally be off the road (again), we vowed to get early starts from here on out and avoid stints at night. Riding through a vast wilderness in blinding darkness is terrifying.

Day 4

We were forced to backtrack toward Meziadin Junction since Stewart is basically a dead end on Route 37A. Intense morning sun flooded the canyon road, confirming our suspicions of just how close those rock faces were. Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue skyscrapers are less imposing. Beyond the canyon, lush green mountain ranges capped with residual year-round snow sat on pedestals of golden fields flush with wild flowers.

We fueled up both our bikes and bodies in Meziadin Junction, where we ordered Loggers Breakfasts at the café: three fried eggs, sausage, ham, two pancakes, hash browns and a cup of coffee. Yeah, that should hold us over.

Route 37 took us about 400 miles to Watson Lake on nonstop sweeping asphalt that scythed its way through vast swells of dense woodland. After nearly two hours and 130 miles of banked turns at 75 mph, the Triumph started to sputter. My turn to run out of gas. We drained the jerry cans. Fifty more miles down the road, we came to a fuel stop, refilled the reserve cans, grabbed food to cook at that night’s campsite and set off again. The next four hours and 260 majestic miles of northern British Columbia were punctuated by two more roadside fill-ups.

We made it to camp with plenty of daylight to spare (for once). Gregor started a fire, boiled water for asparagus and threw steaks and potatoes on the coals. A toast with Canadian whisky. A meal worthy of the day.

Above Right: Icon 1000 Squalborn Jacket ($300)
Below Right: Aether Range Pant ($395), Icon 1000 Elsinore Boots ($245)

Day 5

To follow up our two 400-plus-mile days and the first 500-plus-mile day, we cut day five short and set up camp just outside of the 25,000-resident-strong city of Whitehorse. At this point our sense of time and distance was warped, but in a good way; we’d adapted our minds to the long-haul ride and stopped thinking about each leg in terms of miles or hours. Instead, we measured in tanks of gas. Only 278 miles to Whitehorse? We’ll only have to fill up on the side of the road once. Brilliant.

When you’re in the saddle for 130 miles at a time, two things are mandatory to maintain sanity. One: you have to like yourself, because you’re the only person you’re going to be spending quality time with for hours at a time. (A good singing voice is a plus.) Two: you have to like the bike you’re on. It might seem obvious, but if the bike is uncomfortable, it becomes an open-air torture chamber — getting back on every morning for 500 straight miles will have you questioning all your life choices leading up to that moment. It’s a solitary experience, but on a bike as smooth on the road as the Triumph, and with Yukon scenery to stare at all day, a ride like this is downright meditative.

Day 6

Gregor (Left): Bell Moto III $359, Icon 1000 Squalborn ($300), Rev’it! Jeans Memphis H2O ($320), Icon 1000 Elsinore Boots ($245), Ducati Urban Enduro Waterproof Rear Bag ($169)
Bryan (Right):
Helmet: Bell Moto III Helmet ($359), Von Zipper Porkchop MX Moto Goggles ($75), Ashley Watson Eversholt Jacket ($704)

Almost 1,800 miles in and we hadn’t seen much dirt. But just past Mount Cairnes, the Alaska Highway sweeps along the shore of Kluane Lake. Fog had settled on the lake’s surface, rounded mountains framed the cyan sky and Sung wanted a photo. I spotted a gravel path just off the side of the road. No need to ask me twice.

The narrow two-track led to the beach, which became the highlight of the day. Our scramblers had proven themselves worthy of the road, but sand and pea gravel can make or break a bike. Gregor’s Desert Sled had an advantage on the beach; it’s lighter, has a little bit more suspension travel and more ground clearance. Still, he was putting in hard work to keep from being devoured by the powdery sand. Armed with knobbier tires, but weighed down by a little extra bulk and lower ground clearance, the Triumph was able to keep up, but it did struggle. When I kept my speed up, I positively floated across the beach. Then it came time to slow down and turn back, and I beached it. Skid plate flat on the sand, rear tire roosting and digging, the beach was swallowing the bike whole. After a few side-to-side rocks and a steady throttle, I began inching forward, then free, back buzzing the shoreline like a dog off the leash. Exactly what these bikes were built for.

Back on the road, as if the beach wasn’t enough, the last few miles of the Alaska Highway leading up to the Alaskan border were largely unpaved. For the better part of 30 miles it was open, gravel-covered highway: scrambler country.

Alaska Highway kilometer marker 1,818. The Triumph coughs, sputters. We pulled over in front of Discovery Yukon Lodging, filled up our bikes, then went inside and asked the sweet-little-old-lady innkeeper for coffee, which she said they don’t usually do. But she put on a pot for us anyway and brought out fresh-made apple walnut cake topped with homemade frosting. Lifesaver.

We ended the day across the Alaskan border at our cabin in Tok. The second longest day, but only by a few miles.

Day 7

Today was the crown jewel of the entire ride. Alaska Route 8, the Denali Highway: a 135-mile stretch of road connecting Paxson to Cantwell, only 24 of which are paved. A hundred and eleven miles of dusty gravel, wheel-hungry ruts, and bone-shattering washboarding. On the Denali Highway, when the pavement stops, so does the bullshit.

This is all-out adventure-bike territory. It calls for active suspension, adjustable ride height, multilevel traction control and ride mode selectors. We could’ve taken a BMW R 1200 GS or a KTM Super Adventure, which have all the aforementioned tech, to make our lives easier. We could have hopped in the warm, high-riding van with Sung. Instead, on the visceral scramblers, we were involved, working for it. There was nothing filtering out the raw, unadulterated experience of one of the toughest roads Alaska has on offer. The bikes were at home. For 111 miles, the Ducati and Triumph reached scrambler nirvana.

Day 8

Our last day. The final 200 miles. It’s 10 a.m. as we pack up camp under bright blue skies. The cool, crisp air marinating Denali National Park lulls us into a false sense of comfort with Alaska. Out on the road and barreling down Route 3, it isn’t long before we hit rain. We had come across a few light showers the previous couple of days, but this was the first real storm. Alaska isn’t going down without a fight.

The temperature drops. The bike’s thermometer reads 42 degrees Fahrenheit; seems optimistic. With no windshield to hide behind, rain sticks to the dirt on the goggles. Spray from traffic is killing visibility. There’s a cold creep of freezing rain working its way through my jacket and pants — soon I’m completely saturated. Is the road surface uneven, or am I actually shivering? Hands are numb, stiff. I’m definitely shivering. Another five miles and maybe we’ll be past it. Okay, two more miles. Turn signal, on — we’ll wait it out, warm up and dry off in the Sprinter instead. First things first. Heat on high, heated seats on max. Defrost.

Gregor checks the weather for a sitrep. There’s good news and bad news. Good news is, the rain stops… around 8 p.m.. The bad news is, that’s when it starts snowing.

There’s talk of putting the bikes in the Sprinter and hauling them into Anchorage. I push back. We didn’t come 2,400 miles on these bikes to cross the finish line in the support van. Sung is understandably worried for our safety and Gregor looks miserable. Gregor does the math: at about 40 degrees, traveling at 65 mph creates a 25-degree wind chill. Hypothermia is a tough argument to rebut.

Bikes in the back of Sprinter, onward to Anchorage. The van is silent aside from the barrage of wind and water against the windshield. The lead weight of defeat is sitting in my gut, growing with each passing mile. Alaska was winning the fight in the final hour.

Ten miles later, my eyes are welded to the horizon as the sky brightens and the rain eases up. Gregor checks the weather again. We’re actually outside the radius of where any weather radar stations can see.

Thirty miles still farther, a break in the clouds. We’re in between two weather cells: a chink in Alaska’s armor, a window of opportunity.

I’ll be damned if I’m going to ride into Anchorage on anything other than that Triumph. I order Sung to pull over — we’re getting the bikes back on the road.

In Trappers Creek, we unload the bikes and throw on some extra gear in case we hit the storm again. Thicker gloves and an extra down jacket under my now warm, toasty, dry motorcycle jacket for me, and a full all-weather suit for Gregor. Fuel for the bikes, filled to the brim.

We’ll have to haul ass if to avoid being caught in that deluge a second time.

Full throttle.

One eye on the road, one eye on the storm cell to our left. Like trying to race a train to the crossing.

Every kink in the highway fiendishly points us ever so slightly toward the wall of water in the distance. Alaska, it would seem, isn’t done with us yet.

Pelting rain turns to a shower, turns to a downpour. We’re back in it, and passing cars and trucks is becoming a game of roulette. Spray from 18-wheelers puts us in a grayout; we’re basically riding blind. We have no choice. Alongside the trucks, all we can do is tuck our heads and lean a shoulder into it.

Soaked.

Seventy-five miles to Anchorage.

Fifty miles to Anchorage.

The sky brightens, and I don’t trust it. But, finally, Alaska relents.

I don’t see any bright, neon “Welcome to Anchorage” sign, no ticker tape parade to let us know we made it. But holy hell, the relief. The overwhelming sense of victory lays on us like a wet wool blanket. Lazily clicking down through the gears, getting off the main highway and into town, we’ve clearly crossed our marathon’s finish line. We made it.

Epilogue

Looking at a 2,600-mile route on a map versus riding every inch of it on a scrambler is like flying over an ocean versus crossing it in a sailboat. You can get a sense of scale, but it’s not until you’re experiencing each bump, rut and crack, looking 30 or 40 miles to the horizon, that you can really appreciate the vastness, the grandeur.

We could have done this trip on terra-dominating adventure bikes with all the electronic assists to make it easier, more comfortable. We could have just taken a fully decked-out Land Rover. We would have seen just as much — and stayed dry. But on the scramblers, on the paved roads, on the beach, in the dirt, through the mountains, it was equal measure rider and motorcycle, the essence of two-wheeled adventure. The reason why we started riding motorcycles in the first place.

This Droog Moto DM-015 Swerves Around The Apocalypse

Here at Men’s Gear, we’ve featured an awful lot of bikes. Out of all, most points go to Droog Moto’s motorcycles, not only because they always impress us, but also because the shop doesn’t seem to shy away from taking risks to innovate the present mold. Which brings us to the Droog Moto DM-015.

If you’ve seen Droog Moto’s previous handiwork, you know their motorcycles look like they came right out of a lavish science-fiction film shoot. The new one you see above is not an exception. The slick, slightly steampunk project sees the Kawasaki Nija 250 enter a drastic transformation to get ready for an imminent post-apocalyptic world.

Far from just looking beautiful, the thing runs excellently, too. That credit goes to Droog Moto, who always ensures each bike it disassembles gets tiptop performance in the end. The Droog Moto DM-015 boasts a 250cc engine that makes 36 horsepower. Which drives a six-speed gearbox, mind you. The numbers doesn’t seem all that impressive on paper. But consider that the bike is stripped to its bare essentials. Suddenly things get a little more interesting.

You get a front and rear suspension both fully upgrade to fully adjustable units. Also, you’ll find LED lighting that replaces the standard halogen bulbs on the bike. Each baby, in case you didn’t know, undergoes custom construction to satisfy the buyer’s standards. The shop takes your measurements and builds the bike to fit you personally. Thinking of those things is what really sets Droog Moto apart from the rest.

BUY IT HERE

Photos courtesy of Droog Moto

Fuel Royal Rally 400

This is the Fuel Royal Rally 400, from Fuel Motorcycles. The company just recently built it, in huge part catering to those planning to take on the Scram Africa, which Fuel Motorcycles organized themselves.

The bespoke bike draws inspiration from the first bikes that rode the Paris Dakar Rally. People consider it as one of the toughest and most prestigious extreme motorsport competitions in the world. The race now goes by Dakar, though. And runs only in South America due to a handful of security concerns. Make no mistake: it still makes any motor racing fan gush with excitement.

Though Fuel Motorcycles kept most of the original parts, it added a few modifications as well. They edited lines and proportions to make for a more compact look, but taking care not to lose its aggressiveness. The front light is no more — in place of it is a new squared vintage enduro mask. The tank’s protections are gone as well. The standard dual seat is now just a solo seat.

With the rear seat gone, the company added a removable custom build grille that has enough space to carry a small bag. One of the tank protectors is now located on the left side, re-fitted so as to provide extra luggage space. Other changes include a stronger handlebar, USB charging, and a unique speedometer. All these make the bike as functional as possible without losing its original flair.

You can find out more if you hit the link below. The bike, as we’ve mentioned, is joining this year’s Scram Africa, so expect it there.

MORE INFO HERE

Photos courtesy of Fuel Motorcycles

The Complete Indian Motorcycle Buying Guide: Every Model, Explained

The company currently known as Indian Motorcycle was founded in 1901 by George Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom, under the name Hendee Manufacturing Company. The goal was simple: build a motorized bicycle to help pace bike races of the time. Their invention, however, would go on to prove itself powerful and reliable, leading it to be desired by a much greater swath of society. By 1910, it was considered one of the largest motorcycle companies in the world, and it went on to hold multiple military contracts during the Great War. But it was not until the 1920s that the company officially became known as the Indian Motocycle (no ‘r’) Company.

Indian managed to solidify itself in the history of motorcycling through road racing, dirt racing and land speed attempts on the world-famous Bonneville Salt Flats throughout the 20th Century. Indian also established itself in the world of flat track, leading it to become rivals with Harley-Davidson.

But time then turned cruel to the company. Indian floundered for decades, changing ownership numerous times before ultimately going out of business in 1977. While it had maintained its Art Deco styling with ornate emblems and valenced fenders that gave it an iconic look throughout the years, no significant advancements in engineering or technology or new models had been introduced over the years, leaving it behind the competition until it expired.

The company was bought in 1998, only to go bankrupt again in 2003 due to economic and business mismanagement. It was not until 2008 when Indian was acquired by Polaris Industries that the brand finally saw a resurgence. Today, Indian motorcycles embody the allure of its greatness from the 20th Century while strategically moving forward as a modern American motorcycle manufacturer.

In the 1920s, Indian Motorcycles introduced motorcycles called the Scout, Chief, Big Chief and Ace. Many of the motorcycles in the modern line up of Indian motorcycles pays homage to Indian’s most successful models while also incorporating names of historical relevance to the brand. For example, the Springfield Dark Horse is named after the famed Springfield Mile in Illinois where Indian riders won numerous flat track championships.

Naming System, Relevant Acronyms and Terms of Note:

Ride Command: Indian’s proprietary infotainment and navigation interface.
FTR: Flat Track Racer
ABS: Anti-lock Braking System
Rear Cylinder Deactivation: A system that deactivates the rear cylinder in the Thunder Stroke 111 engine during stationary or slow moving traffic for enhanced comfort.

Standard/Tracker

Indian FTR 1200

The Indian FTR1200 is Indian’s most ambitious model to date, and the company’s foray into a new model segment outside of the traditional cruiser or touring models. The FTR1200 represents years of development on and off the dirt track, and stands poised to pave the way to an expanding portfolio of Indian motorcycles.

The FTR1200’s design is pure flat tracker, featuring a standard riding position and wide tracker bars. At its heart lies a new liquid-cooled 1203cc V-Twin engine making approximately 120 horsepower and 85 pound-feet of torque, making it plenty capable on the highway or occasional fire road.

The FTR1200 includes premium components like Brembo brakes, adjustable suspension, touchscreen LCD display, Bluetooth connectivity, three ride modes, LED lighting, switchable traction control and ABS.

  • Models: FTR 1200 and FTR 1200 S
  • Engine: 1203cc V-twin
  • Base Price: $13,499

Midsized

Indian Scout

The Indian Scout is Indian’s notion of what its classic 1928 motorcycle would have evolved into, had the company continued production. Of the motorcycles in the Scout lineup, the Scout Sixty features a smaller displacement engine ( specs) geared toward entry-level riders.

The Scout is powered by a liquid cooled 69-cubic-inch V-Twin that produces 100 hp and 72.2 lb-ft at 5,900 rpm. Its power delivery is smooth and makes highway travel a breeze. Styling is nothing short of stunning, with the V-Twin taking centerstage amongst dual chromed mufflers and the single saddle. Additional features include: a low seat height of 27 inches, affording riders good handling at slow speeds; ABS; extended service intervals; and a single gauge instrument display.

  • Models: Scout Sixty, Scout, Scout Bobber
  • Engine: 999-cc liquid-cooled V-twin (Scout Sixty); 1,133-cc liquid-cooled V-twin (Scout and Scout Bobber)
  • Base Price: $9,499

Cruiser

Indian Chief Classic

The Chief heralded Indian’s return to the world of motorcycling in 2015, and reproduces the classic style and design of its bikes from the 1940s with modern technology and more refined engineering.

The Indian Chief Dark Horse and Chief Classic are powered by Indian’s Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin, which produces 119.2 lb-ft of torque, affording riders smooth and effortless power in the low- and mid-ranges. Swept-back handlebars and forward foot controls to ensure a comfortable yet relaxed ride, and the low seat height ensures excellent slow speed maneuverability and comfort at highway speed.

Additional features include a six-speed transmission, keyless ignition, ABS, cruise control, valanced fenders, a lighted war bonnet, a low seat height of 26 inches, an analog tach and speedo with a digital multi-function display and a quick release touring windscreen.

  • Models: Chief Dark Horse / Chief Classic
  • Engine: 1,811-cc V-twin
  • Base Price: $18,499

Bagger

Indian Springfield

The Indian Springfield is classic beauty wrapped in modern technology. For those who seek a versatile modern classic cruiser capable of long highway stints or simple weekend excursions, the Indian Springfield exceeds expectations.

The Indian Springfield is powered by Indian’s Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin, produceing 119.2 lb-ft of torque. Additional features on the Indian Springfield: A genuine leather seat, remote-locking hard saddlebags, tire pressure monitoring, light Bar, ABS, cruise control, quick-release touring windscreen and keyless ignition.

  • Models: Springfield / Springfield Dark Horse
  • Engine: 1,811-cc V-twin
  • Base Price: $20,999

Indian Chieftain

When the highway calls and you require premium amenities like extra wind protection, a multimedia system, and a banging 100-watt audio system, the Indian Chieftain should be high on your list of considered motorcycles. Featuring the Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin, the Chieftain combines smooth, effortless power and relaxed riding ergonomics for a plush and luxurious ride.

Beyond the thrill of a proven power plant and classic styling, the Indian Chieftain includes premium features like a large fairing with electronic windscreen, keyless ignition, cruise control, lockable saddlebags, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, ABS, rear cylinder deactivation, and three riding modes.

  • Models: Chieftain and Chieftain Elite
  • Engine: 1,811-cc V-twin
  • Base Price: $22,849

Touring

Indian Roadmaster

Do you need to crush one thousand miles or more in a single day, but don’t want to sacrifice comfort and power? That’s no problem for the Indian Roadmaster. This machine is born to conquer the open road.

Beyond the thrill of the proven Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin and classic styling, the Indian Roadmaster comes complete with Indian’s full line of premium amenities including a premium 200-watt audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, full dresser luggage pack, comfortable passenger accommodations, a large front fairing with electronic windscreen and side leg fairings with adjustable vents, Pathfinder LED lighting, keyless ignition, cruise control, heated hand grips, a 7.0-inch Ride Command touchscreen, ABS, rear cylinder deactivation, and three riding modes.

  • Models: Roadmaster and Roadmaster Elite
  • Engine: 1,811-cc V-twin
  • Base Price: $29,499
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

2019 Ducati Hypomotard 950 SP Review: Finding the Right Balance

Long before Audi acquired Ducati in 2012, the Italian bikemaker’s grand ambitions could be traced to a misfit model that bowed at the 2005 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan. Ducati was intent on breaking past their familiar road racing-inspired tropes, and the new machine combined dirtbike traits — long suspension travel and minimalist bodywork — with the reassuring power of a massive 1,100-cc twin-cylinder engine topped with their signature dry clutch rattle.

The Ducati Hypermotard wasn’t the first of its type to hit the market, but the machine — named perhaps for its over-the-top take on the genre — proved a big bore outlier that disrupted smaller, status quo supermotos with engines hovering around the 400-cc mark. Ducati’s new third-generation Hyper is the latest take on the genre, but is it as groundbreaking as it was in the mid-Aughts?

The Good: Striking a balance between entertainment and livability is tough, but the Hypermotard’s third iteration nails it like a charm. This bike is fully engaging to ride around the neighborhood, yet stable enough to bomb down the highway securely at triple-digit speeds. Years ago, I cannonballed a first-gen Hypermotard across northern Italy; its steering was so loose at high speeds, it required constant corrections. The new bike feels remarkably planted compared to its antecedent, yet is still a riot to hoon through urban cityscapes.

Who It’s For: Thrillseekers who want a bit of refinement with their stripped-down, adrenaline-inducing rides, but will do anything to avoid losing their edge. It’s hard to imagine mature riders being drawn to the Hypermotard 950 SP, which resembles the unholy union of an offroader and a race machine; those types are likelier to be drawn to a more conventional naked bike, like the classically-styled Monster.

Watch Out For: Ducati has eliminated the Hyperstrada, a touring-friendly strain of the Hypermotard that bundled more comfortable ergonomics with easily-attachable saddlebags. Riders seeking those levels of versatility should shy away from the new Hypermotard, which may be comfier and more usable than its predecessor, but still cannot accommodate saddlebags.

The Hyper’s lack of wind protection can also make it tiring on long rides. And especially in full-fledged 950 SP configuration, the Hypermotard’s MSRP can be prohibitive for all but the spendiest of enthusiasts.

Alternatives: Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 ($11,999), Indian FTR 1200 ($13,499), KTM 790 Duke ($10,499)

Review: Hooligan. It’s a motorcycle cliché, yes. But truth is, the well-worn word is actually less relevant than ever with regard to Ducati’s third-generation Hypermotard — even though this latest iteration is a 114-horsepower screamer that revs to 9,000 rpm, has a delightful tendency to elevate the front wheel and wears deconstructionist styling that screams arrest me even standing still.

Allow me to explain.

The new Hypermotard presents itself well, for a purported ruffian. For starters, this latest iteration gets a MotoGP-style 4.3-inch TFT screen inherited from the Panigale superbike. The resolution is crisp and clear, and automatically inverts its colors in dark conditions. The screen manages and controls the electronic info offered up by a six-axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) that enables enhanced traction control, wheelie control and a lean-sensitive ABS system that lets the rider to slide the tail into corners in its least restrictive setting.

Though it’s a towering thing with daddy longlegs-like forks, the resculpted saddle makes it easier to reach pavement: With my 32-inch inseam, the balls of my feet were planted and confidently earthbound at stoplights. (The base model, which I didn’t test, sits 20 millimeters lower.) Three ride modes can be switched between on the fly via the lefthand switchgear, while each parameter can also be fine-tuned if the rider so chooses.

Despite the myriad ways to customize those electronic settings (which must be done while the bike is stationary, and thankfully includes the option of switching all the nannies off), the 2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP tester punched me in the gut with one irrepressible initial impression: charisma.

When the 936-cc twin sparks to life, the senses are overwhelmed with the mechanical directness of two massive cylinders firing between your legs. Unlike the automotive experience of being insulated within a cocoon, the Ducati’s interactivity assaults your thighs, your tympanic membrane and your brain. And compared with many motorcycles — particularly those thoughtfully engineered Japanese models with pristinely balanced engines and modulated exhaust notes — this Italian is a bit ruder, saucier and more flamboyant.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Unlike its predecessor, which had twitchy fuel delivery and a stiff clutch, the new Hypermotard reacts with easy, intuitive responsiveness. A new engine management system delivers smooth throttle response and can be sharpened or softened within ride modes; Race is razor-like, Sport is smoother and Urban trims power to 75 hp. The old cable-linked clutch is replaced by a hydraulic unit with lighter effort. But launching from a standstill still requires care: despite being a slipper clutch, the engagement point is extremely narrow and rather abrupt, requiring a slow, smooth release of the lever to ensure a stall-free sendoff.

Once in motion, the revised powerplant delivers loads of linear torque, 82 percent of which is available at just 3,000 rpm. And wheelie control does a seamless job of keeping the nose from excessive escalation, a welcome feature for those of us who lack throttle-twisting discipline.

The SP variant I tested, priced at $16,695 (a considerable $3,400 premium over the base model) picks up an Öhlins suspension, Marchesini forged aluminum wheels clad in Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP rubber, a few carbon fiber trim pieces and a standard quick shifter that can be added a la carte to the non-SP bike. The SP’s top-shelf suspension from Sweden was a particular delight; it delivered a surprisingly compliant ride, given its ability to maintain body control while cornering.

Also highly rewarding: the quickshifter, which enables clutch-free cog swaps during both upshifts and downshifts. The system works more seamlessly when you shift at higher rpm and stab the shifter quickly; change gears at lower rpm or tap the lever tentatively, and you can get brief interruptions of power. But under optimal conditions, gearshifts become brief blips in the torque continuum. It’s the kind of efficient, pure-power-to-the-rear-wheel that’s racetrack worthy enough to almost make it feel inappropriate for the street. (Almost.)

And therein lies the paradox of the Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP: It’s overflowing with personality, but has been kissed with enough technology to contain that exuberance within an air of civility. It’s spry, it’s brash — it’s a lot of things. Just don’t call it a hooligan.

Verdict: The Hypermotard manages to be more focused than ever on comfort and user-friendliness, without sacrificing any of the engaging personality that made it so groundbreaking when it first debuted. It’s a delicate balance, especially considering how motorcycles can easily tip into becoming annoying or anodyne when their winning formula is messed with. The latest Hypermotard isn’t everything to everybody, especially if you’re looking for a long-distance bike that carries saddlebags. But for an undeniably fun bike to ride that’s more than just an urban runabout, Ducati’s latest iteration of the Hyper is just about ideal.

2019 Ducati Hypomotard 950 SR Specs

Powertrain: 936-cc L-twin, six-speed manual transmission
Horsepower: 114
Torque: 71 pound-feet
Lean Angle: 47 degrees
Curb Weight: 436 pounds

Ducati provided this product for review.

Read More Gear Patrol Reviews

Hot takes and in-depth reviews on noteworthy, relevant and interesting products. Read the Story
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP Review: Finding the Right Balance

Long before Audi acquired Ducati in 2012, the Italian bikemaker’s grand ambitions could be traced to a misfit model that bowed at the 2005 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan. Ducati was intent on breaking past their familiar road racing-inspired tropes, and the new machine combined dirtbike traits — long suspension travel and minimalist bodywork — with the reassuring power of a massive 1,100-cc twin-cylinder engine topped with their signature dry clutch rattle.

The Ducati Hypermotard wasn’t the first of its type to hit the market, but the machine — named perhaps for its over-the-top take on the genre — proved a big bore outlier that disrupted smaller, status quo supermotos with engines hovering around the 400-cc mark. Ducati’s new third-generation Hyper is the latest take on the genre, but is it as groundbreaking as it was in the mid-Aughts?

The Good: Striking a balance between entertainment and livability is tough, but the Hypermotard’s third iteration nails it like a charm. This bike is fully engaging to ride around the neighborhood, yet stable enough to bomb down the highway securely at triple-digit speeds. Years ago, I cannonballed a first-gen Hypermotard across northern Italy; its steering was so loose at high speeds, it required constant corrections. The new bike feels remarkably planted compared to its antecedent, yet is still a riot to hoon through urban cityscapes.

Who It’s For: Thrillseekers who want a bit of refinement with their stripped-down, adrenaline-inducing rides, but will do anything to avoid losing their edge. It’s hard to imagine mature riders being drawn to the Hypermotard 950 SP, which resembles the unholy union of an offroader and a race machine; those types are likelier to be drawn to a more conventional naked bike, like the classically-styled Monster.

Watch Out For: Ducati has eliminated the Hyperstrada, a touring-friendly strain of the Hypermotard that bundled more comfortable ergonomics with easily-attachable saddlebags. Riders seeking those levels of versatility should shy away from the new Hypermotard, which may be comfier and more usable than its predecessor, but still cannot accommodate saddlebags.

The Hyper’s lack of wind protection can also make it tiring on long rides. And especially in full-fledged 950 SP configuration, the Hypermotard’s MSRP can be prohibitive for all but the spendiest of enthusiasts.

Alternatives: Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 ($11,999), Indian FTR 1200 ($13,499), KTM 790 Duke ($10,499)

Review: Hooligan. It’s a motorcycle cliché, yes. But truth is, the well-worn word is actually less relevant than ever with regard to Ducati’s third-generation Hypermotard — even though this latest iteration is a 114-horsepower screamer that revs to 9,000 rpm, has a delightful tendency to elevate the front wheel and wears deconstructionist styling that screams arrest me even standing still.

Allow me to explain.

The new Hypermotard presents itself well, for a purported ruffian. For starters, this latest iteration gets a MotoGP-style 4.3-inch TFT screen inherited from the Panigale superbike. The resolution is crisp and clear, and automatically inverts its colors in dark conditions. The screen manages and controls the electronic info offered up by a six-axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) that enables enhanced traction control, wheelie control and a lean-sensitive ABS system that lets the rider to slide the tail into corners in its least restrictive setting.

Though it’s a towering thing with daddy longlegs-like forks, the resculpted saddle makes it easier to reach pavement: With my 32-inch inseam, the balls of my feet were planted and confidently earthbound at stoplights. (The base model, which I didn’t test, sits 20 millimeters lower.) Three ride modes can be switched between on the fly via the lefthand switchgear, while each parameter can also be fine-tuned if the rider so chooses.

Despite the myriad ways to customize those electronic settings (which must be done while the bike is stationary, and thankfully includes the option of switching all the nannies off), the 2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP tester punched me in the gut with one irrepressible initial impression: charisma.

When the 936-cc twin sparks to life, the senses are overwhelmed with the mechanical directness of two massive cylinders firing between your legs. Unlike the automotive experience of being insulated within a cocoon, the Ducati’s interactivity assaults your thighs, your tympanic membrane and your brain. And compared with many motorcycles — particularly those thoughtfully engineered Japanese models with pristinely balanced engines and modulated exhaust notes — this Italian is a bit ruder, saucier and more flamboyant.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Unlike its predecessor, which had twitchy fuel delivery and a stiff clutch, the new Hypermotard reacts with easy, intuitive responsiveness. A new engine management system delivers smooth throttle response and can be sharpened or softened within ride modes; Race is razor-like, Sport is smoother and Urban trims power to 75 hp. The old cable-linked clutch is replaced by a hydraulic unit with lighter effort. But launching from a standstill still requires care: despite being a slipper clutch, the engagement point is extremely narrow and rather abrupt, requiring a slow, smooth release of the lever to ensure a stall-free sendoff.

Once in motion, the revised powerplant delivers loads of linear torque, 82 percent of which is available at just 3,000 rpm. And wheelie control does a seamless job of keeping the nose from excessive escalation, a welcome feature for those of us who lack throttle-twisting discipline.

The SP variant I tested, priced at $16,695 (a considerable $3,400 premium over the base model) picks up an Öhlins suspension, Marchesini forged aluminum wheels clad in Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP rubber, a few carbon fiber trim pieces and a standard quick shifter that can be added a la carte to the non-SP bike. The SP’s top-shelf suspension from Sweden was a particular delight; it delivered a surprisingly compliant ride, given its ability to maintain body control while cornering.

Also highly rewarding: the quickshifter, which enables clutch-free cog swaps during both upshifts and downshifts. The system works more seamlessly when you shift at higher rpm and stab the shifter quickly; change gears at lower rpm or tap the lever tentatively, and you can get brief interruptions of power. But under optimal conditions, gearshifts become brief blips in the torque continuum. It’s the kind of efficient, pure-power-to-the-rear-wheel that’s racetrack worthy enough to almost make it feel inappropriate for the street. (Almost.)

And therein lies the paradox of the Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP: It’s overflowing with personality, but has been kissed with enough technology to contain that exuberance within an air of civility. It’s spry, it’s brash — it’s a lot of things. Just don’t call it a hooligan.

Verdict: The Hypermotard manages to be more focused than ever on comfort and user-friendliness, without sacrificing any of the engaging personality that made it so groundbreaking when it first debuted. It’s a delicate balance, especially considering how motorcycles can easily tip into becoming annoying or anodyne when their winning formula is messed with. The latest Hypermotard isn’t everything to everybody, especially if you’re looking for a long-distance bike that carries saddlebags. But for an undeniably fun bike to ride that’s more than just an urban runabout, Ducati’s latest iteration of the Hyper is just about ideal.

2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950 SR Specs

Powertrain: 936-cc L-twin, six-speed manual transmission
Horsepower: 114
Torque: 71 pound-feet
Lean Angle: 47 degrees
Curb Weight: 436 pounds

Ducati provided this product for review.

Read More Gear Patrol Reviews

Hot takes and in-depth reviews on noteworthy, relevant and interesting products. Read the Story
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

BMW Motorrad Unveils Electric Vision DC Roadster

The latest piece of futuristic 2-wheeled tech out of BMW’s Motorrad division is the Vision DC Roadster concept. It’s a shaft-drive plug-in that if you squint hard enough almost looks like a gas-powered Beemer bike. There’s little out yet in the way of stats: range, speed, cost, or when it might come to market but based purely on looks, we’ll say the Vision DC looks pretty visionary.

The Complete Triumph Buying Guide: Every Model, Explained

Triumph Motorcycles is widely regarded to be one of the world’s oldest and most iconic motorcycle brands. Triumph began in 1902 by selling sewing machines and bicycles with an onboard motor; over the course of the 20th Century, the company solidified itself in the zeitgeist through racing, TV and film. While the company grew and flourished through the golden era of motorcycling in the 1950s through the 1970s, the company almost disappeared entirely the 1980s due to fiscal problems. Triumph resurfaced in the late Eighties under the ownership of British real estate magnate John Bloor, and has seen continued success since then.

Modern Triumph motorcycles are known for their retro style and heritage design while still incorporating modern technologies. Triumph also provides consumers with a collection of performance and adventure / touring motorcycles.

The company’s modern line of motorcycles pays homage to past model names and achievements in geographically iconic places relevant to the brand. For example, the Tiger nickname was the baseline name for Triumph’s 250cc, 350cc and 500cc bikes in the 1930s through the 1970s. It was a motorcycle coveted by owners, often modified for the track or hare scrambles on the weekends. But today, the Tiger moniker is reserved for Triumph’s capable and fun middleweight adventure bikes.

In 2019, Triumph’s family of motorcycles are fairly easy to delineate, as the British marquee only makes two types of engines that are featured across the 2019 model lineup. Each of those engines features a number of displacement options.

The first engine type is a parallel twin that comes in two displacements: 900cc and 1200cc. These engines are featured across the entire modern classic (cafe racer, scrambler, and cruiser) line up. The 900-cc variants include the moniker of “street” in their title, whereas the 1200-cc motorcycles get their own unique names (ex. Scrambler, Thruxton, Speedmaster, Bonneville Bobber.)

The second type of engine offered is a three-cylinder, or triple, in displacement of 765cc, 800cc, and 1200cc. These engines are found solely in Triumph’s sportbike (Street Triple and Speed Triple) and adventure bike (Tiger) models.

Naming System, Relevant Acronyms and Terms of Note:

800: 800-cc three-cylinder engine
765: 765-cc three-cylinder engine
1200: 1215-cc three-cylinder engine
Street: 900-cc parallel-twin engine or 765-cc three-cylinder engine
XC: “Cross Country.” Reserved for the Tiger 800 and Tiger Explorer 1200. The XC designation skews the model toward off-road riding including features like a larger front wheel, spoked rims, and slightly longer suspension travel.
XR: Road-focused designation for the Tiger adventure bike series. Includes features like more-proportionate front and rear wheels and cast rims.
XE: Extreme Enduro (heavily off-road focused). Reserved for the top of the line Scrambler 1200
HT: High Torque
DRL: Daytime Running Light. A bright LED accent light in the front headlamp assembly that makes riders more visible to surroundings drivers.
Torque Assist Clutch: Gives the clutch a lighter touch and feel to make the bike easier to ride, especially for longer periods of time, thus reducing rider fatigue.
Triumph Shift Assist: Allows for seamless up and down gear changes without the use of the clutch.
Scrambler: a road-going motorcycle with an upright standard riding position, modified or fitted with longer suspension travel, knobby style tires and a high exhaust pipe; designed for light-to-moderate off-road riding.
Cafe Racer: a road-going motorcycle stripped down for speed, with low-swept handlebars and a more aggressive riding position. Cafe racers can also employ a fairing for improved aerodynamics.

Naked Sport

Street Triple

The Triumph Street Triple is widely considered to be one of the best middleweight naked bikes on the market. With a newly developed 765-cc three-cylinder engine also used as the powerplant for Moto2, the Street Triple is more capable and fun to ride than ever. The Street Triple produces 121 horsepower and 58 pound-feet of torque and comes with a variety of riding modes, a TFT display, traction control, ABS, and Cornering ABS. The Street Triple is perfect for everyone from everyday commuters to track-day junkies.

  • Models: Street Triple S, Street Triple R, Street Triple RS
  • Engine: 765-cc liquid cooled, four-stroke, 12-valve, DOHC inline three-cylinder
  • Base Price: $9,900

Speed Triple

The Big Brother to the Street Triple, the Speed Triple gives riders a more powerful 1050-cc engine. which pumps out a voracious 147 horsepower and 86 pound-feet of torque. Styling for the 2019 Street Triple closely matches that of its younger sibling and features a beautiful TFT display, various ride modes, traction control, ABS, and Cornering ABS.

  • Models: Speed Triple S, Speed Triple RS
  • Engine: 1050-cc liquid cooled, four-stroke, 12-valve, DOHC inline three-cylinder
  • Base Price: $14,350

Modern Classics / Standards

Bonneville T100

The Bonneville T100 is a modern take on the iconic 1959 Triumph T100. It beautifully incorporates a sculpted Bonneville signature fuel tank, wire-spoked wheels, authentic peashooter silencer exhaust pipes, and two-tone paint scheme with hand-painted gold coach lines. At its heart is Triumph’s 900-cc High Torque (HT) engine that puts out 54 horsepower and 59 pound-feet of torque — making it perfect for commuting or weekend rides.

  • Models: Bonneville T100, Bonneville T100 Black
  • Engine: 900-cc liquid-cooled, eight-valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
  • Base Price: $10,450

Bonneville T120

The Bonneville T120 incorporates all of the same classic aesthetics of the 2019 Bonneville T100, but features Triumph’s larger-displacement 1200-cc parallel twin engine. This powerplant puts out 96 horsepower and 83 pound-feet of torque, and features ABS, traction control, throttle-by-wire, two riding modes, heated handgrips, and DRL. This bike looks so old school, expect people to stop you to ask how old it is.

  • Models: Bonneville T120, Bonneville T120 Black
  • Engine: 1200-cc liquid-cooled, eight-valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
  • Base Price: $11,850

Cafe Racers

Street Twin

The 2019 Triumph Street Twin is one of Triumph’s best-selling motorcycles; it has been embraced by new riders. It also happens to be the most popular among female riders, according to Triumph. Featuring Triumph’s 900-cc High Torque (HT) engine that puts out 54 horsepower and 59 pound-feet of torque, the Street Twin is considered Triumph’s basic, entry-level motorcycle. It comes packed with Brembo front brakes, traction control, ride modes, torque-assist clutch, TPMS, LED lighting and cast wheels.

  • Models: Street Twin
  • Engine: 900-cc liquid-cooled, eight-valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
  • Base Price: $9,300

Street Cup

The Triumph Street Cup is the baby brother to the iconic Thruxton The semi-aggressive riding position featuring dropped ace handlebars, a rear seat cowling, ride-by-wire, switchable traction control, ABS, torque-assist clutch, and optionable low seat height make the Street Cup nimble cafe racer. At its heart is Triumph’s 900-cc parallel twin that puts out 54 horsepower and 59 pound-feet of torque giving it enough get-up-and-go for every day commuting or spirited weekend canyon runs.

  • Models: Street Cup
  • Engine: 900-cc liquid-cooled, eight-valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
  • Base Price: $10,500

Speed Twin

The Triumph Speed Twin brings the modern custom style and ergonomics of Triumph’s Street Twin together with stunning finishes and detail, all the comfort and timeless DNA of the Bonneville T120, and the power and performance of the Thruxton R, thanks to its 96-horsepower, 83-pound-foot 1200-cc HT parallel twin engine. The Speed Twin additionally features switchable ABS and traction control, three riding modes, torque-assist clutch, LED lighting front and rear, USB charging, and spoked aluminum wheels. The Street Twin is one capable modern classic for those seeking power and comfort in a single, stunning package.

  • Models: Speed Twin
  • Engine: 1200-cc liquid-cooled, eight-valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
  • Base Price: $12,100

Thruxton

The Triumph Thruxton is the definitive cafe racer, featuring Triumph’s 1200-cc HT parallel twin putting out 96 horsepower and 83 pound-feet of torque, low swept clip-on style handlebars and rear set foot pegs. Additionally, the Thruxton features switchable ABS and traction control, three riding modes, torque-assist clutch, LED lighting front and rear, USB charging, and spoked aluminum wheels. If you are a performance junkie and need only the very best, opt for the Thruxton R, which comes spec with twin floating Brembo monobloc calipers, a Brembo master cylinder, race-bred adjustable Showa big piston forks, fully adjustable Öhlins twin rear shocks and Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tires.

  • Models: Thruxton, Thruxton R
  • Engine: 1200-cc liquid-cooled, eight-valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
  • Base Price: $13,000

Scrambler

Street Scrambler

The Triumph Street Scrambler has been designed to deliver purposeful power while incorporating beautiful Scrambler style. Powered by the 900-cc HT parallel twin engine producing 54 horsepower and 59 pound-feet of torque, the Street Scrambler features a 19-inch front wheel, interchangeable pillion seat and aluminum rear rack, removable pillion pegs, adventure style front pegs, bash plate, wide handlebars and a low seat height option.

  • Models: Street Scrambler
  • Engine: 900-cc liquid-cooled, eight-valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
  • Base Price: $11,000

Scrambler 1200

The Triumph Scrambler 1200 is the brand’s first truly off-road-focused modern classic motorcycle. Featuring the 1200-cc HT engine that puts out 96 hp and 83 pound-feet of torque, it comes with a fully adjustable suspension front and rear with a travel of more than nine inches, a 21-inch front wheel, various riding modes (including a dedicated off-road one), Brembo brakes, spoked tubeless wheels, GoPro integration, Bluetooth connectivity and turn-by-turn directions. The Scrambler 1200 is as capable off-road as it is tackling the highway.

  • Models: Scrambler 1200 XC, Scrambler 1200 XE
  • Engine: 1200-cc liquid-cooled, eight-valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
  • Base Price: $14,000

Cruisers

Speedmaster

The Triumph Speedmaster harnesses the power of the 1200-cc HT engine producing 76 horsepower and 82 pound-feet of torque. The Speedmaster provides riders with laid-back riding ergonomics such as forward footpegs, swept-back beach bars, and comfortable pillion capability, all while delivering a distinctive cruiser experience with timeless sophisticated style. With over 130 accessories for customization and comfort, the Speedmaster is ready for long road trips no matter your whims.

  • Models: Speedmaster
  • Engine: 1200-cc liquid-cooled, eight-valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
  • Base Price: $13,150

Bonneville Bobber

The Bonneville Bobber is a stripped-down cruiser more akin to a custom bike than a production motorcycle. With an iconic, unique adjustable floating single saddle and Triumph’s 1200cc HT parallel twin producing 76 horsepower and 83 pound-feet of torque, the Bobber is a distinctive modern motorcycle with classic roots. The Bobber also incorporates switchable ABS and traction control, two riding modes, ride-by-wire, cruise control, torque-assist clutch and LED lighting front and rear.

  • Models: Bonneville Bobber, Bonneville Bobber Black
  • Engine: 1200-cc liquid-cooled, eight-valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
  • Base Price: $11,950

Adventure Motorcycles

Tiger 800

Whether your focus is off-road or on-road adventure, the Tiger 800 will tackle it with ease. At the heart of the Tiger 800 is Triumph’s 800-cc inline three-cylinder engine that makes 94 horsepower and 58 pound-feet of torque. It’s packed with a number of features including a full-color TFT display, ride-by-wire, various ride modes, cruise control, heated handgrips, Brembo front brakes, adjustable Showa (XR) or WP suspension (XC) front and rear. From long distance touring to off-road adventure to everyday commuting, the Tiger 800 range does it all.

  • Models: Tiger 800 XCx, Tiger 800 XCa, Tiger 800 XR, Tiger 800 XRx, Tiger 800 XR Low, Tiger 800 XRt
  • Engine: 800-cc liquid-cooled, 12-valve, DOHC, inline three-cylinder
  • Base Price: $12,000

Tiger 1200

The Tiger 1200 is a capable large-displacement adventure motorcycle. At the heart of the Tiger 1200 is Triumph’s 1215-cc inline three-cylinder engine, which makes 139 horsepower and 90 pound-feet of torque. The bike comes packed with a number of features, including a full-color TFT display, Triumph Shift Assist, Brembo front brakes, adjustable Showa suspension, six riding modes, cruise control, heated handgrips, keyless ignition, and more. And, when it comes to building out your Tiger 1200, Triumph offers a variety of packages to personalize it for even the most discerning riders.

  • Models: Tiger 1200 XC, Tiger 1200 XCa, Tiger 1200 XR, Tiger 1200 XRx, Tiger 1200 XRx Low, Tiger 1200 XRt
  • Engine: 1215-cc liquid-cooled, 12-valve, DOHC, inline three-cylinder
  • Base Price: $16,500

The Complete Ducati Buying Guide: Every Model, Explained

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A complete guide to every Ducati motorcycle on sale in the United States today. Read the Story

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