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Motorcycles

2012 Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special

Harley-Davidson is an American success story. The company has been manufacturing its iconic machines since 1903 but its values were forged by association with the post-war "rebel" motorcycle clubs and paradoxically with the highway patrol police they were so often in conflict with. Like so much of US manufacturing Harley-Davidson took a hit from the rise of the Far East in the 1980s but the boom years of 90's excess saw Harley-Davidson successfully consolidate its brand into the global symbol of 'the American Dream' that it is today. Harley-Davidson understands its place in the world and the 2012 model line up contains variations on all the traditional designs that people expect, some of them going back to the 1920's. It would be wrong however to imagine that the company rejects technological advancement - far from it, and there can be no more beautiful expression of that than the Night Rod Special.  Read More

The Moto-Grip (seen here with the Moto-Grip Jr.) is a harness worn by a motorcycle operato...

If you've ever been the extra passenger on a racing or sport-touring motorcycle, then you'll know that it can be rather awkward. You typically sit higher than the rider, so you have to lean forward and down to grab them around the torso. If you aren't that chummy, you might instead choose to sit upright and reach behind you to clutch the rear grab-bar - definitely not the best way to keep from being thrown off the bike, either backwards or forwards. New York product designer and motorcyclist Andrew Lewis has come up with what he believes is a better solution - the Moto-Grip.  Read More

The Orphiro electric cruiser, which is said to have a top speed of 75 mph and a range of 6...

While I'm a big supporter of the push for the electrification of the motorcycle, I'm not really a big fan of the sports bike or the street bike or off-road bikes - my tastes lean towards custom cruisers like the electric chopper from Orange County Choppers. Come September, the electric cruiser camp looks to be getting a new member in the utterly gorgeous shape of the Dutch Orphiro Electric Motorcycle. Unfortunately details are scarce at the moment, but read on for what we do know.  Read More

The Husqvarna NUDA 900 R streetbike

If there was any doubt that the journeyman Husqvarna brand had found a permanent home, or would be reinvigorated by BMW ownership, those doubts were dispelled during the recent BMW Innovations Day program in Munich when the wraps were pulled off the new NUDA 900 R streetbike. If last year's Mille3 concept shown at EICMA hadn't pointed the way towards Husqy returning to the roads, the Nuda is a concrete design landmark that leaves no doubt about the future of a BMW Motorrad sister brand. The equation is simple: 100+ bhp with a meaty 100 Nm of torque, all in a package weighing 175 kg (386 lb) sans liquids.  Read More

The BMW E-Scooter electric concept motorcycle

BMW has flagged a possible intention to get into the electric motorcycle market with the airing of its E-Scooter concept bike. Designed from the ground up as an electric bike, the E-scooter uses its battery casing as a primary component of the frame. With a regenerative braking system built in and a full charge from a conventional power socket taking less than three hours, the E-Scooter is capable of over 100km per charge, and easily makes freeway speeds.  Read More

ROEHR's new 2011 eSuperSport electric motorcycle

Illinois-based ROEHR Motorcycles has announced a 2011 update to last year's eSuperSport model. The new entry-level performance superbike's design is now based on the award-winning Hyosung GT650R, it's been given a power boost, has a top speed of over 100 mph and its onboard battery is said to be good for 75 miles before needing some charging attention.  Read More

BMW's Advanced Safety Concept motorcycle

A safer motorcycle. To some people, the concept completely misses the point. If it was safe, it would be boring, and we'd go find something else to do. Still, safety technology is a very high priority for many manufacturers, and arguably it's BMW that's leading the way in rider assist electronics. So it's interesting to take a glimpse at the Advanced Safety Concept (ASC). Similar to the fascinating Experimental Safety Vehicle that Mercedes-Benz showed us in 2009, the ASC gives us a glimpse at the next-generation technologies BMW is dreaming up to help keep riders from becoming "road crayons," as a friend of mine so eloquently puts it.  Read More

BMW's Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) system - active suspension for motorcycles.

The trouble with setting up the suspension on a motorcycle is that you're constantly compromising. If you want a nice firm ride that's suitable for hard cornering on fast, smooth roads, you're sacrificing comfort on the highway and optimal roadholding on a bumpy surface. Electronic suspension adjustment goes some way towards addressing these concerns - at least you can change your suspension settings without having to get down under the bike with a c-spanner and a screwdriver. Now, BMW is looking to eliminate this fundamental compromise using automated, active suspension adjustment - a system that works out exactly how you're riding the bike at a given moment, what the road surface is like, and automatically adjusts the suspension to make sure you've got the perfect ride at all times. The BMW Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) system is said to be hitting the market "in the near future."  Read More

Kawasaki's 2012 KX450F

The easiest place to pass everyone else on a motocross circuit is in the run to the first corner and should you grab the hole-shot, the race is yours to lose. All of which makes Kawasaki's latest addition to its 2012 KX450F a killer app for a race bike - it will be the ONLY bike on the grid in 2011/12 with "Launch Control". Activated by the push of a button, the Launch Control Mode map monitors wheel spin and retards the engine ignition timing to enable the rear tire to gain grip. Of course the fruit of the pudding will be measured by who gets to the first corner first, but if green bikes do it often enough, Kawasaki has a killer app.  Read More

New middleweight adventure machines. Left: Honda Crossrunner. Right: Suzuki V-Strom 650 AB...

"Adventure" bikes are about as practical and unglamorous as motorcycling gets. They're fairly ugly to look at, they're often ridden hard and put away wet, they're taken to dirty places and they have dirty things done to them. Which to my mind has always made them a preserve of the hardcore rider - these are not ridden by Harley polishers or leather-clad latte sippers, they're ridden by folks that like to get out and throw motorcycles around out where it's tough. So it's encouraging to see that the adventure class is heating up more than ever in 2011 - and two new middleweight all-roaders from Suzuki and Honda now come into a mix that's becoming almost saturated with bikes like the Kawasaki Versys, the BMW F800GS, the Yamaha Tenere and Triumph's Tiger 800.  Read More

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