Kawasaki’s 2010 Motorcyles

Posted on 6:07 AM by My_revival

Big Green has released the details of the 2010 model line today, and some of the changes are pretty nice. Some of them are simply…meh.

2010 ZX10R

2010 ZX10R

First up is the 2010 ZX-10R Ninja. This is one of the “Meh” entries in the lineup. Not much new to talk about here. They’ve modified the bodywork a little bit. They’ve changed the steering damper to a new–and presumably better–one. And they’ve painted the muffler black. Other than that, next year’s ZX-10R is pretty much status quo ante.

My best advice is to wait for a year if you want a big Ninja. Supposedly, Kawasaki is gonna put the bike through a complete redesign for the 2011 model year. Until then, the new Ninja is pretty much what the old Ninja was.

2010 Versys

2010 Versys

Another “meh” is the 2010 Versys. It has new headlights, that kind of have a BMW R1200R kind of feel. But it’s is, again, pretty much the same bike as this year’s.

I think we’re done with the “Meh” bikes in the line-up, though.

2010 Concours14

2010 Concours14

There are some nice changes to Kawasaki’s premier sports tourer. Not, unfortunately, some of the changes rumored earlier this year, like the night vision and HUD I wrote about a while ago. Instead, the Connie gets something called KTRC, Kawasaki’s first-ever traction control system. Also new is the the K-ACT II anti-lock braking system to control those panic stops, a larger windscreen to solve the complaints about the effectiveness of wind management, bodywork redesigned for better heat management, heated grips, upgraded suspension, and new Bridgestone tires.

Oh, and it’s blue. Blue is nice.

2010 Z1000

2010 Z1000

The Z1000 is the bike where major changes have occurred. The current incarnation of the Z1000 is OK…but just OK. Nice, but the power is kind of soft and squishy. The new Z1000 looks like a big step forward. It’s pretty much a completely new motorcycle, in fact.

First, the engine is completely new. It’s a 1043cc I-4 power plant adapted from the ZX10R, and it provides 136HP and 91lb-ft of torque. That’s a serious improvement over the current incarnation’s 953cc mill from the ZX-9. That means noticeably better acceleration, and improved top-end speed.

Next, the steel backbone frame is gone, replaced by an all-aluminum frame with a monocoque main spar. Fuel storage is now beneath the seat, so the narrower frame and changed fuel tank offers a narrower profile for better knee gripping. That’s helped by the narrow bottom and flared top of the…uh, whatever the thing on top now is, instead of a fuel tank.

There are lots of suspension changes, too, with the rear suspension being an all-new “horizontal” design, and more aggressive front-end geometry.

The styling has been updated, too, giving it a noticeable B-King vibe, but whether that’s a good thing or not is in the eye of the beholder.


2009 Tokyo Motor Show

Posted on 6:05 AM by My_revival

Motorcycle-USA’s Ken Hutchison is at the Tokyo Motor Show this week, and he’s got a round-up of the show at MC-USA;s web site. You can read it here. I have. What a bore-fest this thing sounds like.

Kawasaki’s not even there. Harley-Davidson is there, but Buell Motorcycles make up a big part of their display, which makes them look sort of stupid. Again. I’m surprised they didn’t force Erik to go, and just stand there weeping publicly, while Harley executives bashed a couple of 1125Rs with sledgehammers.

Other than that, it sounds like everybody was showing off “Green power, maaaan!” and “Save the planet, maaaan!” technology.

Over at Yamaha the big presentation featured the ‘Art of Engineering’. In this philosophy the hot topics were the Smart Power scooter and bicycle-styled experimental vehicles on display in front of the true core of Yamaha’s business: The V-Max R1, Road Star cruiser, new YZ450F and, of course, the world-conquering YZR-M1 MotoGP machine.

Apparently everybody there was really agog over this:

Yamaha ECf

Yamaha ECf

Wow. I just keep looking at it, because I keep trying to think of something I hate more. And I can’t.

I have no doubt the Japanese love it, though. They probably think it’d be a really fun way to wind down after finishing their latest rape comic. Or maybe an easy way to zip home instead of being packed into the subway like sardines during their commute. Just a silent, environmentally-friendly way to get home, followed by watching a TV game show that involves contestants sitting in freezing water while their testicles are crushed in an electric vice.

Yeah, the Japanese enjoy a lot of weird crap, so I bet they adore this monstrosity.


2010 CR&S Duu Cruiser

Posted on 6:02 AM by My_revival

Buell Motorcycles may be gone, but their influence lives on in this new cruiser from CR&S, which will available in limited numbers–and only in Europe, alas–for 2010.

2010 CR&S Duu Cruiser

2010 CR&S Duu Cruiser

Notice, if you will, the underslung exhaust and odd side pods, so reminiscent of the Buell 1125R. It even has a V-Twin powerplant. Air cooled. With push rods.

The similarity ends there, however. The engine isn’t a re-engineered Evo, but a massive 1,916cc v-twin motor. The side pods house the headlights, rather than air scoops for the (non-existent) radiator.

The company showed this off as a concept bike in August, but apparently it was a pretty concrete concept. It had to be if they’re ready to produce it now.

They haven’t released any figures on weight or horsepower/torque, but it certainly looks beefy with that huge engine filling up the space under the tank.

At €20,000 (about $35,000 at today’s rate of exchange), it certainly is a pricey beast, but since they’ll be making about…oh, let’s say 50 or so of these bikes over the next year, I’m sure they’ll find the buyers they need to take it off the factory’s hands.


2010 BMW R-Series Motorcycles

Posted on 6:00 AM by My_revival

By far the most popular search that leads people to this site, is a search for the rumored variants of the BMW R1200RT for 2010, such as “R1300RT”, or R1250RT”. Everyone seems to want to know what the 2010 version of the BMW R-bikes are going to be.

Well, now we know. It’s the R1200RT, and R1200GS.

2010 BMW R1200RT

2010 BMW R1200RT

BMW announced today that the 2010 R-Series bikes will all sport a DOHC Boxer motor derived from the Hp2 Sport. Unlike the HP2 Sport, however, the R Engine will rev lower, and put out less horsepower.

So, the horsepower figure for the R-series Boxer will remain unchanged at 110HP, but torque will increase by 3lb-ft to 88lb-ft at an unchanged 6,000RPM, for faster acceleration. The redline will increase to 8,500 RPM from the current 8,000rpm.

The R1200RT will receive an updated fairing and windscreen, designed to offer better wind protection. The instrument panel has also been updated, with redesigned instruments and a visor to help keeps the sun’s glare off a bit better. Also updated are the handlebar controls, with the old-style paddle turn signals on each side being replaced by standard turn signals. An additional control is a rotary thumbwheel on the left handgrip to allow the rider to cycle through all the stereo options without taking his hand off the grip. The stereo itself gets rid of BMW’s CD player, although a jack is provided for external audio sources.

2010 BMW R1200GS

2010 BMW R1200GS

TheR1200GS is visually unchanged from the previous year’s model, except for the cylider covers, which have two bolts, instead of four. The new engine, on the other hand also gets the 110HP output, and increase of 5 horsies over last year’s. There’s also an accessory LED headlight for a few extra bucks.

Overall, the change to the DOHC engine doesn’t provide as much oomph as I would have expected, considering that the HP2 engine actually puts out 130HP in the HP2. I would’ve thought that BMW would have added more ponies to the R-series boxer, rather than upping the torque a bit.

I’m also a little disappointed in the new styling for the R1200RT. I think last year’s version looked better, and came in better colors than white, beige and two-tone gray and white. Overall, I suspect that GS afficionados will be a bit more pleased with the 2010 update than their RT brethren.

There’s tons of detail available from BMW about the new models in PDF format, which you can acquire here for the GS, and here for the RT.


EICMA Goodies

Posted on 5:56 AM by My_revival

The new bikes are now being officially unveiled at the EICMA show in Milan, and it’s a nice crop so far. Ducati and MV Agusta have made the big splashes today, with MV showing off the 2010 F4, and Ducati releasing the long-awaited Multistrada, as well as the Hypermotard 1100 EVO.

Click on any of the pics below to enlarge.

2010 MV Agusta F4

2010 MV Agusta F4

Let’s start with the 2010 MV Agusta F4. MV Agusta says that they’ve updated the Tamburini design to a more modern look. If by modern, you mean “acutely angled and sort of ugly”, well, I guess they did. There’s lots of improvements under the fairing though, getting an additional 3 HP out of a 3cc smaller 998cc engine, and shedding 22lbs of dead weight. It also comes with a 8-level traction control system, a new chassis, swingarm, and 4-1 exhaust system.

2010 Ducati Multistrada

2010 Ducati Multistrada

The 2010 Ducati Multistrada has a new 150HP engine pushing 417lbs down the road. The new powerplant is called the Testastretta 11° engine, and comes with a nice slipper clutch, because while a slipper clutch might not be a usual requirement for an on-road enduro bike, it should be for a Ducati.

There will be three variants of the Multistrada:

  • The 1200 base model with ABS brakes,
  • The 1200S with the new Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) system and Öhlins suspension components,
  • And, the 1200S Touring with all the above and hard bags.
2010 Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP

2010 Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP

“Hypermotard” always seems like some sort of non-PC epithet you’d call a developmentally disabled dirt-biker, But the Europeans seem to disagree, so we’ll use their unflattering word for the Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO. It’s got 95HP and weighs 379lbs, which is 15.5 less than last year. There’s also an EVO SP model. It’s got an upgraded suspension, with an Öhlins setup in back and Marzocchi forks up front.

2010 Ducati 848 Dark

2010 Ducati 848 Dark

Finally, Ducati released a poor man’s 848, called the 848 Dark. It should retail for about $1,000 less than the base model of the 848. Nobody seems sure yet how they’ve downgraded it from the “base” model. But if you want a cheap, black Ducati 848, here you go.


2010 Moto Guzzi Norge GT 8V

Posted on 5:54 AM by My_revival

oto Guzzi has announced the newest generation of their Norge sport-tourer, the Norge 8V. New for 2010 is a new 1200cc L-twin with 4 valves per cylinder, as well as a redesigned fairing for better heat management and weather protection, and some more comfort features.

The Italian Eagle’s press release describes the new generation of the Norge in glowing terms, but that’s all PR stuff, so, if you want to read it, it’s below the fold.

There are few spoecs available yet, but MG claims 83lb-ft of torque at 5,800RPM, and “more than 100HPin power, all at a maximum rpm nearly that of an automobile”, whatever that means. The gearbox has six speeds, and seat height is 31.5 inches.

It’s certainly a pretty bike–all the MGs are–but at 100HP, it’s the least sporty of the sport-tourers. And, of course, here in the US, dealer network support is even sparser than BMW’s.


KTM Slashes Prices

Posted on 5:51 AM by My_revival

For the 2010 model year, KTM announced a while ago that they would undertake a “strategic price realignment” to make their bikes more competitive in the US marketplace. That’s probably a wise move, considering that KTMs, while nice bikes, have always been very pricey. But the announcement didn’t give us much of an idea of what “strategic price realignment” meant to the Austrians. Now we know.

2010 KTM RC8

2010 KTM RC8

First up is theKTM RC8, the base-model superbike with the 1190cc V-Twin engine. The price for this bike has been slashed by $3,000, with a new MSRP of $16,498.

The RC8’s 1148cc V-Twin mill pumps out 155HP at 10,000RPM and 88.5 lb-ft of torque at 8,000RPM. Without fuel, the ready-to-race weight is 405 lbs.

2010 KTM RC8 R

2010 KTM RC8 R

But, maybe you’re one of those lusty, gusty fellows who needs a bit more power. If so, the RC8 R, with it’s 170HP , 1195cc V-Twin, and upgraded components, has also been priced significantly lower, at 19,998. They’ve got red Bull and Akraprovic special edition models, at slightly north of $23k, but the R model is now superbike ready, at a bit less of a superbike price.

All of the other KTM models, including the popular–but agonizingly ugly–990 Adventure also see similar price cuts.

2010 KTM 990 Adventure

2010 KTM 990 Adventure

Aaaaaugh! My eyes! My eyes! The pain!

I’m sure uglier motorcycles have been seen out on the road. But not by reliable observers.

I hear it’s quite popular among the well-to-do adventure biker set, though.


BMW Concept 6

Posted on 8:45 AM by My_revival

P90053666BMW introduced an inline six-cylinder café racer concept at the 2009 EICMA show in Milan, Italy.

Inline-six engines have a staple in BMW’s automobiles for decades and the German manufacturer’s motorcycle division took on the challenge of adapting the straight-six to a bike without making it too long or too wide. The result is the BMW Motorrad Concept 6, and an evolution BMW says “will further expand the K-Series in the foreseeable future”.

The Concept 6’s engine is about four inches slimmer than BMW’s production inline-six engines, making it just a bit wider than a large-capacity four. To keep the width down, the engine has a relatively long stroke with very small gaps between cylinders. Electrical ancillaries and their drive components are positioned behind the crankshaft and above the transmission to further minimize engine width.


Ram Mounts Arrive

Posted on 5:50 AM by My_revival

Last week, I ordered some Ram-Mount devices to mount my GPS and iPod/XM Inno devices to my FJR. Previously, I used the cheap, jury-rig method of zip-tying some mounts to the handlebars. But, the Ram-Mount stuff arrived this afternoon, so now I’m stylin’. Click on the photos for hi-res (15 Megapixel) images.

Devices set up on the Ram-Mounts

Devices set up on the Ram-Mounts

The nice thing about the Ram-Mount mountings is that they are really adjustable, so you can move things around so that you get a clear view of everything. The mount and device holders have rubber-coated aluminum balls, conected to a 4″ armature that tightens on both balls with a large wing nut. When you tighten the nut, it locks the mount and device in solidly.

Ram Mount for TomTom One XL-S

Ram Mount for TomTom One XL-S

This mount affixes to the top of the brake reservoir, with the ball in the center of the mount. They also have a reservoir mount with the ball sticking off to the side, if you prefer that. The mount comes with three different sets of torx screws of varying lengths, so they can fit pretty much any bike’s reservoir screws. There are 6 screw holes, so you can mount them on either two-hole reservoirs like the FJR, of a four-hole reservoir on other bikes.

Universal Ram-Mount for devices

Universal Ram-Mount for devices

I got a universal device holder because I switch out my iPod and my XM Inno unit. This is a handlebar mount which fits–barely–on the AE model of the FJR. The shift unit hogs up a lot of space that is empty on the A-model FJR’s. Despite that, I managed to get the handlebar mount properly seated.

You may notice that my Inno is all banged up. That’s because I didn’t properly secure on the old jury-rigged mount I replaced this evening. On my way home, I zommed off from a light–and left the Inno behind. It got pretty scratched and banged up, but, miraculously, no one drove over it and crushed it, and it still works fine. I think. I won’t really know until I try to listen to live programming with it tomorrow. But the recorded stuff I had on it played fine all the way home.

Wiring runs through the handlebar cable harness

Wiring runs through the handlebar cable harness

The glove box on the FJR is just big enough to hold the 12-volt power plugs. I got the Radio Shack car plug that splits the power cord into two 12-volt car plugs, and the YomTom and Inno are plugged into those and stored in the glove box. The power cables run out of the glove box, through the cable harnesses on the triple tree, then up to the devices. The power cords are small enough so that I can close and lock the glove box…which is full to the brim now with car plugs and extra cable.

Fortunately, when you turn the FJR off, it cuts power to the 12-volt car plug on the glove box, so I don’t have to open it, drag out 12 feet of cord and unplug it.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll get to test the mounts out on the road. So far, though, they seem about 1,000% better than zip-tying universal car accessory mounts to the handlebars.


2010 Honda VFR1200F

Posted on 6:09 AM by My_revival

After months of anticipation, Honda released the images, specifications, and availability details of the new VFR replacement, the VFR1200F.

Let’s start with the pictures. Shown below is the only version that will appear in the US,with its red livery. Why the euros get multiple color choices, and we have to be satisfied with a single color is beyond me, but here it is. Click the thumbnails to enlarge.

I have to say right up front that the looks don’t grab me. The blunt nose with the odd-shaped headlight just don’t do it for me. Maybe the look will grow on me, but the first impression doesn’t…impress.

The specs for the bike are more to my liking, and pretty interesting.

First up, it’s a serious step up in power from the current generation VFR. Honda claims an output of 170HP at 10,000RPM and 95lb-ft of torque at 8,750RPM from the 1237cc V-4 power plant. However you slice it, those are very respectable numbers, and a big leap from the current VFR. The engine also sports variable cylinder technology that uses two, three, or four cylinders, depending on throttle input. The four cylinders are set at different angles, with the rear two cylinders located innermost on the crankshaft and the front cylinders located outboard in order to narrow the rider’s seating position.

The buyer will have a choice of transmissions. You can choose a standard 6-speed transmission, or spring for the dual-clutch 6-speed transmission, with a manual mode that shifts via a finger paddle on the handlebars, a la the FJR1300AE, and two automatic options: one for sport, which takes each gear to the redline before shifting, or a short-shifting economy mode. Power gets from the tranny to the rear wheel via a brand new shaft drive system that sports an offset pivot point and sliding constant-velocity joint to eliminate driveline lash.

Rear suspension for the VFR is a Honda Pro Arm® single-sided swingarm with single gas-charged shock with a remote spring preload adjuster, adjustable rebound damping and 5.1 inches of travel. Front suspension is provided by a 43mm inverted cartridge fork with adjustable spring preload and 4.7 inches of travel. But not, apparently, rebound damping. The latter may be a consideration for some.

You may have already noticed the two-tone fairing. That’s part of Honda’s new air management system. Honda calls this “layered fairing technology”, and explains it as follows:

By effectively increasing the speed of the air by channelling it through smaller apertures before it reaches the radiators, engine cooling is optimized and the hot, exhausted air is channelled away from the rider and passenger for a cooler, more comfortable ride. The heat generated by the powerful, enclosed V4 engine is also channelled away to keep hot air away from the rider.

Apparently, Honda gave some thought to heat management in precisely the way that Yamaha and Kawasaki did not when creating the first gen FJR and Concours14.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear they gave as much thought to travel range, with the VFR1200F having only a 4.9 gal tank. This is a serious deficiency if the VFR is supposed to do any serious touring. Even worse is the claimed 36.5 MPG fuel efficiency. Taking Honda’s claims at face value give the VFR1200F a maximum fuel range of 179 miles. Both the efficiency and range seem a bit low for a bike that uses variable cylinder technology for economy. In fact, that’s just plain low, no matter what. This is the biggest disappointment I can see from the claimed specs. It’s a gas hog with a small tank. Great.

It’s also a pretty big bike–though significantly smaller than the ST1300–with a curb weight (full of gas and ready to ride) of 591lbs for the standard transmission model and 613 lbs for the super-tranny version. It’s still lighter than an FJR or Connie, but significantly heavier than most sport bikes.

Bringing all that weight to a stop comes from dual full-floating 320mm discs with CBS six-piston calipers with ABS in front, and a single 276mm disc with CBS two-piston caliper with ABS out back. Supporting it all is a vacuum-molded, cast aluminum chassis.

And if you want to add a little more weight, there are several accessories for the VFR. There are fairing extenders to get your hands out of the wind. Windshield extenders to do the same for your head. There’s full luggage–albeit somewhat smaller than the usual run of touring bike luggage–for long trips. There’s even a navigator, so you wont get lost. For a brand new bike, Honda seems to have really gone all out to provide lots of farkles for it.

So, now we’ve seen the pics, and we’ve read the specs. And I have just one question about the VFR1200F.

What is it?

Is it a sport bike? if so it seems awfully big for it. Hustling a 600 lb bike through the twisties can be done, of course, but all that extra weight has inertia to match, which limits its canyon-carving ability.

Is it a touring bike? Then why is the tank so small, fuel range so compromised, and the luggage so downsized?

Is it a ‘Busa-style superbike? Then why only 170 horses? Ultimately, a ‘Busa or ZX-14 will be admiring it in their rear-views.

The more I look at it, the more it seems like a niche bike without a…niche.

I really wanted to be impressed with this bike. I thought that with all the new technology we’d be getting…I dunno…more. What it is, though, seems like a bastardized compromise between a sportbike and a sport-tourer that does neither of those things very well. For a sportbike, I’d want it lighter, with a shorter wheelbase. For a tourer, I’d want better mileage and range.

Of course, if you want a compromise bike, it seems like the VFR1200F will deliver that in spades.


The Commando is Back

Posted on 5:43 AM by My_revival

The Norton Commando is one of the iconic bikes of motorcycling. Back when I was a kid, and the average rider was tooling around on a 500cc BSA, the Norton Commando was the bike to have if you wanted a big, hellishly fast–in 1970 terms–motorcycle. Sadly, when Nortun went TU several years ago, the Commando disappeared…until now.

2010 Norton Commandos

2010 Norton Commandos

Stuart Garner’s revived Norton Motocycles is now offering the 961cc Commando for the 2010 model year.

The 961 Commando will come in three models: the SE, Cafe racer, and Sport models shown here.

The differences are mainly stylistic, as all three models come with a 961cc parallel-twin, dry sump, pushrod engine, much like the venerable original, which is rated at 80HP at 6,500RPM, and 59 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 RPM.

They all sport Öhlins suspension with full adjustment. Stopping power is provided by twin Brembo 320mm semi-floating hi-carbon stainless steel discs & Brembo 4 piston radial calipers up front, and a single Brembo 220mm disc, with Brembo 2 piston “Gold Line” calipers out back. A 5-speed gearbox sends the power to the rear wheel via a 525 O-ring chain drive.

The three models have minor weight differences, but the ball park is 415lbs dry, although oil, hydraulic fluid, and enough gas to fill the 4.5 gallon tank will add another 50 pounds or so.


Toyota Motorcycle?

Posted on 8:43 AM by My_revival

toyota_bike_1While covering the SEMA show this year for AutoGuide.com, we came across this concept bike that was displayed in the Toyota booth. Other than the information plate that was posted beside the fenced off bike, no one in the booth had anymore info or news about it.

Check out a list of specs after the jump.

toyota_bike_2Bike Specifications:

  • Specially lightened and polished frame
  • Carbon fiber body panels
  • Custom fuel tank
  • A fan driven forced air induction into a specially constructed intake system with fuel injection
  • The intake and exhaust have been reversed on the cylinder for optimal weight balance
  • The rear shock absorber has a specially tilted reservoir to keep it away from the hear displaced by the exhaust pipe
  • Unique air start system utilizing the frame as the air tank
  • A light weight special aluminum extrusion cooling system takes the place of conventional radiators
  • On board data acquisition system able to measure in real time functions such as suspension travel, engine temperature, speed, etc.
  • Specially made brake rotors with the Toyota logos cut into them
  • A specially made swingarm with the Toyota logo machined into it
  • A light weight carbon fiber muffler
  • Special light weight wheels
  • Extensive use of titanium and exotic metals


2009 Kawasaki ER-6n vs Suzuki Gladius

Posted on 8:23 AM by My_revival

2009 Suzuki Gladius Comparison
In the market for a new entry level sport motorcycle? We've got two motorcycles from Kawasaki and Suzuki that might fit the bill.
With the sheer expanse of super slab here in the U.S. motorcycles are all about being big: Big power, big speed, and of course big cost. However, a new crop of motorcycles from Kawasaki and Suzuki prove that a motorcycle doesn’t have to go 186 miles per hour, have you stretched out across the fuel tank or cost over ten grand to be fun. Meet the 2009 Kawasaki ER-6N and Suzuki Gladius.

While both of these motorcycles are new in America, their platforms are based off motorcycles we’ve already sampled. The ER-6n is based off the recently redesigned Ninja 650R complete with its friendly, 649cc Parallel Twin cradled in a compact steel chassis and wrapped in sharp futuristic bodywork that turns heads. The Gladius on the other hand is modeled off of Suzuki’s beyond popular SV650 model. It’s powered by a 645cc V-Twin wedged in an easily manipulated steel chassis. Like the ER it features a new contemporary shape. The final similarly is that both of these bikes are affordably priced in the sixes, which mean you get a good amount of thrill for a reasonable price.

On paper these motorcycles are roughly identical, but after a few weeks living with these motorcycles day-in and day-out we’ve discovered some striking difference. So follow along as Motorcycle-USA helps you decide which one belongs in the garage.

For My Money

Adam Waheed, Road Test Editor, 6 foot, 180 lbs:

Honestly, both of these motorcycles would be perfect for a new rider as beyond anything else they are small and easy to ride. But the thing I really like about the Suzuki is that although it’s designed for a newbie, it’s still so well engineered that an experienced rider can hop on it, rip around and come back with as big as a smile on their face as if they just got a GSX-R sportbike. It’s truly amazing how much fun Suzuki infused in this motorcycle. If I was in the market for a new small displacement sporty motorcycle the Gladius would be it.

Steve Atlas, Executive Editor, 5 foot, 8 inches, 150 lbs:

The ER-6n is a funny motorcycle. It is definitely more oriented to someone who is new to the sport of motorcycling. Not to say that the Gladius isn’t, but the Kawi just feels a tad bit smaller, a little more agile, more docile power, etc. When I picked up the Gladius I told Suzuki’s press officer, Garrett Kai, that if I could leave the store and, right off the bat, having never ridden the machine, wheelie the Gladius for the several blocks to the stoplight at the end of the road without putting the front end down, I would give it a good review. And the Suzuki did just that and more. I’ll take a new Gladius please.


2009 World Superbike Comparison

Posted on 8:16 AM by My_revival

Exiting the final fourth-gear, 120-mph corner at the Algarve circuit in Portimao, Portugal – strapped to a 200-plus-horsepower Yamaha YZF-R1 World Superbike, bars twitching and snapping, the rear tire spinning and bucking, all while climbing up the completely blind and massive front straightaway – two things suddenly become crystal clear: Ben Spies’ championship-winning SBK isn’t for sissies, and it just plain doesn’t get any better than that! This truly is Livin’ the Dream…

Static shot of Troy Corsers S1000RR BMW World SuperbikeXerox Ducati World SuperbikeMax Biaggis Aprilia RSV41000RR World Superbike
(From left) BMW S1000RR, Xerox Ducati 1098 F09 and Aprilia RSV4. One German and two Italians ready to go.

The rear swingarm is designed by engineers to be about 25  stiffer than stock to give the Spies a firm feel at the rear of the Yamaha.
Ben Spies' Sterilgarda Yamaha YZF-R1.
But before we dive into the details of the Sterilgarda R1 Superbike, let’s back up a few steps…to the beginning. You might be wondering why I am lucky enough to be halfway around the world at one of the top racetracks on the planet riding such an utterly priceless machine. Well, the long and short of it is Infront Sports is bloody mad – and thank goodness! To break it down, they are the rights holder and organizers of World Superbike and have set up an annual test for a select few journalists (less than 20 worldwide) to ride not one, but all seven of the factory World Superbikes the Monday following the final round of the championship. And, you guessed it, MotoUSA was invited. To say I jumped on that invite quickly would be the understatement of the century – my RSVP was telepathically emailed back before I even received the email.
Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000 World SuperbikePaul Bird Kawasaki ZX10R World SuperbikeTen Kate Honda CBR1000RR World Superbike
Dark Dog Suzuki GSX-R1000, Paul Bird Motorsports Kawasaki ZX-10R, Hannspree Honda CBR1000RR; We ride them all...

Protocol for the test was to get 15 minutes on each bike, with a 20-minute break between machines. Quick turnaround was the name of the game as we had seven bikes to ride in one day. Complicating things slightly was the fact I had never so much as turned a lap around the track on anything but a scooter. Some serious time was spent playing Xbox and studying on-board laps on YouTube … and, surprisingly, I was up to speed in no time. Amazingly, the video game really did help – a lot!

Anyhow, enough BS, time for the good stuff: Here’s our take on the seven factory bikes which made up the 2009 wsb grid, compiled in the order in which we rode them.


MV Agusta F4 1078 RR312 Review

Posted on 5:58 AM by My_revival


It’s black as sin and topped with white like a pint of Guinness. It looks fast, it feels fast and it is fast. The big-bore F4 is in fact one of the fastest and most potent sportbikes in the world. 190 horsepower is not for the faint hearted.

Back in 1997 MV Agusta was merely a name. Cagiva, headed by President Claudio Castiglioni, did not only buy the Ducati brand (1985-1996), it also purchased the rights to the MV Agusta name in 1991. Whilst Ducati under new ownership eventually launched the 999, MV Agusta already had the “true” 916-996-998 replacement in the F4 750. That very design lives on to this day in the F4 1078 RR312.

Even a beautifully composed picture can’t really do the F4 justice enough. You have to be there next to the bike, touch it, and watch the lines flow from one end to the other in 3D. Whilst watching the shiny perfectly polished F4 1078 RR accompanied with exquisite classical music in my head, I push the starter button and put my helmet on. I’m in a hurry to scrub in those brand new Pirelli Supercorsa Pro tyres, and the music in my head changes to a hard-rock mood.

“Come crawling faster - Obey your Master - Your life burns faster - Obey your Master - Master, Master of Puppets I'm pulling your strings” Yeah, that’s putting me in the mood whilst the growling 1078 quickly heats up under me.

The seat is positively old-school sportsbike where my backside is high up and my upper body leaning heavily on my arms to the handlebar. The saddle height is, at 810mm, proper sportbike territory, too.

The footpegs are also high for big lean angles. I feel as if the MV F4 is quite a long bike compared to modern Japanese sportbikes. The big 21-litre fuel tank is long and flat with nice cut-outs for my knees. The big tinted windscreen was an item introduced on the F4 CC in 2007 along with the 1078 motor. I can actually tuck in behind that windscreen even more comfortably than on a Suzuki GSX-R. If you’ve ever tried to stick your head out into 190 mph winds you’ll see why it’s needed on the F4 1078 RR 312.

As from 2008 you can only get the F4 1000 R312 for racing purposes. The big-bore 1078 version is not allowed either in Superstock nor Superbike racing. The F4 1078 RR 312 features a 3mm larger bore than the 1000 and it’s good for 7 extra horsepower and 9 more Nm at 2.000 rpm lower than the litre bike. That translates to a claimed 190 hp at 12,200 rpm and 124 Nm at 8,200 rpm. MV Agusta have also added a new slipper clutch to handle hard decelerations, and the new Sachs steering damper calms the front down during heavy acceleration.

Attached to the new 50mm fully adjustable Marzocchi fork sits another essential new item for deceleration. The Brembo Monoblock radial brakes are the most powerful items available outside of the racetrack. Supreme stability from the solid chassis also allows very hard usage of the front brakes. And it’s needed when a motorcycle doing 190-plus-mph needs to stop before a hairpin corner. On the roads in the hills surrounding the MV Agusta HQ in Varese, I naturally never got the chance to try the top speed. I did sample the full 190 horsepower in the first few gears, though, and the brakes really are very good. I experienced a very progressive feel and they never felt harsh or too sharp.

After what seemed like an eternity I finally reached some roads where I could use the power and precision of the F4 1078 RR. Through towns and villages on the way there, my arms and back started to ache. With 30 C degrees sunshine on the outside, a little warmer than that inside my leathers and a very hot running 1078 engine, I was sweating litres. So finally getting to these more open roads was like reaching heaven after hell. The three first gears are very high, and when the power kicks in the F4 is planted despite the massive output. Wheelies still come easy, but at silly speeds compared to the Brutale 1078RR.

The F4 1078RR 312 feels like a considerably larger motorcycle than the Brutale. The ergonomics are completely different, and suspension settings and calibration softer on the Brutale. The Brutale is also 7 kilos lighter and overall a much better road motorcycle. Stability is better on the F4, as you would expect from a 190-horsepower motorcycle. For pure fun and mischief, the Brutale wins. For serious track-day action and massive top speed, the F4 is the bike.

The extra torque of the F4 compared to any other inline-Four sportsbike makes the whole riding experience much more rewarding. Through the long midrange the F4 1078 accelerates harder and harder, and from 8,000 rpm it’s just so fast that you’re wondering whether there really is anything faster (there always is). The throttle and fuel injection responds willingly and controllably to my right hands command. MV have done a very good job smoothing out things, as I can remember that the F4 1000 I rode almost four years ago was a much more difficult motorcycle to ride. The engine capacity increase itself has helped a lot, as well as a reworked cylinder head with 10mm longer intake tracts.

The 192-kilo claimed dry-weight isn’t the lightest among sportbikes, but with almost a horsepower per kilo you stop thinking about the weight once on the move. The F4 1078 RR feels better and better the faster I go. Immense stability complements the strong engine, and into the corners I can place the front wheel exactly where I want it. Flicking the F4 from left to right you do need to use some of your own muscle, but it makes for a very involving ride on the road at least.

The instrument panel is not very easy to read whilst on the move. In sunlight the warning lights are difficult to see and it’s pretty much only the analogue rev counter that can be seen clearly. The mirrors are not much better, so this motorcycle is as impractical as we had expected. The F4 1078RR is also available in a 1+1 (pillion seat) version.


The MV Agusta F4 1078 RR 312 pretty much guarantees owner satisfaction, even if you just want to keep it for show in your garage. So that point isn’t even an issue. The F4 1078 RR is a pure enthusiast tool and must be bought with passion. If passion for this moving piece of motorcycle art isn’t there, then there’s a lighter, almost as powerful and more comfortable Japanese litre bike in the shop around the corner.

MV Agusta has managed to engineer its own inline-Four engine with class-leading performance and character. That’s no small feat, and coupled with the Tamburini design, we just have to keep bowing in the dust. The downsides are the same as on the Brutale 1078RR: a hot-running engine, heavy clutch, engine vibrations, plus it’s highly uncomfortable at slow speed.


Yamaha C3 Review

Posted on 5:56 AM by My_revival

It’s easy to have an opinion on Yamaha’s C3, but take a moment to think about the C3’s purpose. Where does the C3 fit into the world of motor scooters?

Well, I believe the Yamaha C3 is an experiment in efficiency. When you add up the specs you can really see how Yamaha has successfully squeezed the most out of the smallest package with this baby. First, Yamaha took a tiny 50cc, 4-stroke engine and added a tuned fuel injection system to achieve a reported 115 mpg. Then on its tiny frame they built a huge, side hinged storage bin with a nine gallon capacity.

The whole package weighs less than 200 lbs and that’s with oil and a full tank of gas. Even with all that efficiency the C3 manages to hit the 40 mph mark on her speedometer.

You might expect that an efficiency experiment so successful might have some hideous shortcomings in the aesthetics department, but I tell you what; I think the C3 is a real eye catcher.

I look at a lot of scooters and I can’t think of another modern scooter that looks anything like a C3. She’s got this old-school Cushman look about her. Boxy and slim but sturdy looking and very maneuverable, the C3 puts some much-needed fun in functionality.

So, what’s up with that name, ‘C3’? Yamaha’s model number is XF50. People commonly refer to her as the C-Three, but the name is really ‘C-Cubed’, making reference to her surprisingly large under seat cubic storage capacity. I said nine gallons, but to put that in perspective I rode mine around with a video camera, still camera, laptop and more.

In another experiment I was able to hold a dozen 12oz beverages under there, though you should note that anything cold in the storage chest won’t stay that way for long due to the close proximity to the engine.

If you need even more storage space you can add an optional rear rack. Don’t get too carried away with the C3’s carrying capacity though, as the owner’s manual states that the maximum capacity is 187 lbs.

One thing to note about the storage area is that it’s a bit shallow. You’re not going to fit a full face or even a ¾ helmet under the seat. To make up for it, the C3 has a helmet hook at the front of the seat that allows you to effectively secure your helmet using the locking seat closure.

The Ride

She may not be fast, but she’s still fun! The lightweight, short wheelbase and small but chunky 10” tires make her very maneuverable. You could even coax the C3 up a curb with her 4.5 inches of ground clearance. Like nearly all modern scooters, the C3 has a constantly variable automatic transmission (CVT). Just twist and go.

The seat is pretty wide and low at just under 29 inches from the pavement. It’s relatively comfortable for short jaunts but one owner, who has put 900 miles on his, says the seat “starts to feel like an old oak church pew after 25 miles”.

Let’s talk about the whisper quiet engine. Yamaha’s fuel injected 49cc liquid-cooled, single overhead cam, 4-stroke, 3-valve engine is built and tuned to be efficient. The speedometer stops at 40 mph and it makes it there in just less than 36 seconds. If the top speed of 40 mph doesn’t cut it for you, I hear that she can be derestricted to hit 48 mph if you don’t mind blowing your 115 mpg and potentially damaging your scooter.

The Rest

The instrumentation is very simple; one gauge for the speedometer and odometer, one for the fuel gauge and three lights to indicate high beams, engine maintenance and temperature warning.

Besides the optional rear rack, the C3 also has an optional windscreen to protect you from wind and debris while you race down the road at 40 mph.

The C3 features an electric starter with a backup kick start (very handy) and also has a standard, motorcycle style handle bar to give you some custom options (did I hear ape hangers?) and a single headlight mounted just above the front fender for a very clean and simple style. Speaking of style, the C3 takes a unique approach to the traditional scooter leg shield. Instead of a fixed shield the C3 has a narrow shield that turns along with the front forks. I’m not sure if that makes it any more functional as a leg shield, but it looks cool.

The C3 is available in Red, White and Yamaha Blue for the 2008 model year with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty. You’ll be able to pick up this unique feat of Japanese engineering for just $1,999 MSRP.

If you’re looking for scooter to get you around campus, you’re not going to find a better-suited ride. The C3 has room for you and your books. She’s clean, quite, and efficient with a look that is somehow rugged and cute at the same time. As long as you’re not racing or touring, the C3 will make an excellent road companion.

Bike Personality Profile - If this scooter could have its own personality summed up in one or two words, what would it be? The Yamaha C3 is a clever machine.


Ducati Desmosedici RR Review

Posted on 5:54 AM by My_revival


It doesn’t take long to be intimidated by the outrageous Desmosedici RR. If the stratospheric $72.5K price tag doesn’t get you, the menacing mechanical cacophony upon start-up will. Observers are sucker-punched straight into the gut, and the beautiful racket portends an experience unlike any production streetbike in the world.

It’s quite incredible that a manufacturer has offered such a repli-racer to the public. The D16RR is literally a MotoGP bike built for the street. And not those scrawny 800cc prototype racers currently on the grids – we’re talking the big-gun near-liter-sized versions. As such, the RR carries a compact 989cc V-Four engine inside a version of Ducati’s trademark tubular-steel trellis frames.

The engine itself is a jewel. It features the same bore and stroke measurements (86.0mm x 42.56mm) as those on Ducati’s 2006 racebike, the D16GP6. It uses the “Twin-Pulse” firing order in which the crankpins are offset by 70 degrees (cylinders fire at 0°, 90°, 290° and 380°) to generate what Ducati terms as “soft pulse timing.”

No soft pulses are felt from the D16’s saddle – this thing snorts and sprints around a racetrack like a rampaging demon, as we found out during a few lapping sessions at Willow Springs Raceway.

Our test unit was equipped with the race ECU and exhaust system included with each Desmosedici, a no-brainer swap for the standard street exhaust. So equipped, it is said to achieve the magic 200-horsepower mark at 13,800 rpm when measured at the crankshaft. As for rear-wheel power numbers, those who have had it on a Dynojet dyno say it’s pushing nearly 180 hp. Peak crankshaft torque of 85.3 ft-lbs arrives way up at 10,500 rpm.

Moto Bling

When a motorcycle has a retail price that compares unfavorably with a rural home in Iowa, it makes one wonder why it costs so much.

Here’s a partial list of the many high-end components on the luscious Desmosedici RR.

  • Sand-cast aluminum crankcases and cylinder heads
  • One-piece forged steel crankshaft (MSRP: $11,000)
  • Sand-cast magnesium cam-drive cover and alternator casing
  • Pressure die-cast magnesium-alloy oil sump, cam covers and clutch cover
  • Titanium connecting rods
  • Titanium intake and exhaust valves with CrN (chromium nitride) coating
  • Marchesini forged and machined magnesium wheels (MSRP: $18,500)
  • Specially developed Bridgestone tires, with tread pattern, construction and profile unique to the D16RR, including the oddball (but GP-accurate) 16.0-inch rear
  • Öhlins 43mm FG353P pressurized fork with TiN-coated sliders
  • Öhlins shock with rebound, low/high speed compression adjustment and hydraulic preload adjustment
  • Brembo monoblock (one-piece) front brake calipers and 330mm rotors (same spec as used in rainy MotoGP races) with radial master cylinder and remote (left handlebar) adjuster
  • Carbon fiber subframe and bodywork


2009 Yamaha YZ250 2-Stroke Bike Test

Posted on 5:50 AM by My_revival

Professionally, the YZ250 (12) has to compete against the likes of Yamaha's YZ450F (7) and the rest of the 450 monsters. Now, with rule changes by the AMA, amateurs can race the 2-stroke in the 250F class which is much more realistic.

Our quartet’s throaty rumble and whir of cam chains was constantly interrupted by the zingy sound of an expansion chamber and shorty muffler. The AMA now allows 250 2-strokes to run in the 250F division, which has opened a whole new avenue for non-professionals. Since Yamaha is the only Japanese manufacturer still producing and importing its 2-stroke line, we brought out the YZ250 to run alongside our quarter-liter Thumpers, just to see if it belongs in the mix.

Weighing the same as our KX250F, the 231-pound machine has a distinct advantage in terms of sheer horsepower. The YZ put out 41 ponies on the Mickey Cohen Motorsports dyno while the most powerful F model spun up 34 (Honda) – only 83 percent! However, the way that power is distributed across the rev range is where the differences lie.

Basically, it is all a matter of personal choice. The 2-stroke is definitely a faster machine, but it takes more skill to get the most out of it, and some riders preferred the even spread of power from the 4-stroke, despite having less available. The one thing our testers did agree on was that the YZ can be very fun to ride, especially in the right circumstances. Here’s how they describe it.

2009 Yamaha YZ250
Our novice was one of the riders who favors the 4-stroke. The YZ was just too unpredictable for him and the confidence and precise control allowed by the 250F is ultimately a better fit.

JC Hilderbrand – Novice
Man, that YZ really surprised me. I haven’t ridden a 250 2-stroke in a long time, or at least one that is mechanically sound. I thought for sure that it would be a lot more fun because that’s what you always hear about them, but honestly it wasn’t as much fun as the 250F machines. The YZ basically just wears me out. It’s definitely way faster and as soon as you snap the throttle it wants to go, but you really have to be more careful about your gear selection. I kept missing corners because I’m not used to the lack of engine braking, so I had a hard time evaluating how well it turns. Since I spend so much time worrying about the track obstacles, especially jumps, a 4-stroke’s smooth delivery is ideal. There’s nothing worse for me than trying to size up a new jump and worrying about hitting the powerband right on the face of it. I love that it’s cheap and I’m sure if I forced myself to spend more time on it I would start to think otherwise, but I really have no desire to.
Sherri Cruse – WMA Pro

By far the best bike of the test ride. Although it wasn’t actually included in the test, it was fun getting the chance to ride the 2-stroke again. It sounds like they’re letting the 250's ride in the (amateur) 250F class, and personally I think it’s a great idea! If the women get a chance to ride them in WMA I will definitely get my hands on one. I know I would ride one at Southwick, but some of the other tracks I would go back to the 4-stroke. I would jump around a little bit.

"I just shake my head and look at my new EFI bike and want to kick it. "

Alvin Zalamea – Vet Expert

2009 Yamaha YZ250
The bike is definitely capable of winning against 250F equipment in the right hands, but really this machine is the most rewarding if you would rather bring home smiles than trophies.

I should’ve bought a brand new ‘09 Yamaha 250 2-stroke. Instead I bought a new CRF450R for $8300 out the door and put 1000 bucks in suspension from Enzo. That’s stupid! Street bikes sell for less. I’m seriously thinking of selling it and buying a YZ250. I’ve just gotten so lazy on the 4-strokes that I’m starting to forget how to ride. I just recently rode with Greg Albertyn at Milestone and he’s riding a 2004 RM250 and he’s spanking all those new-school, bubba-scrubbing pro kids on 250Fs and 450s. Literally, people pull off the track and ask who that Number 7 guy is on a 2-stroke. I just shake my head and look at my new EFI bike and want to kick it. I thought it was the bike and new technology and all that crap, but it’s not the bike, it’s the rider. This is all a conspiracy to keep spending more money to have the best stuff. Well it’s working… So if you’re on a budget, do yourself a favor and buy a brand new 250 2-stroke. Guaranteed you’ll have more fun and go just as fast, if not faster, than your buddy at the track for half the price! If I were competing in the amateur Lites class it would be a no-brainer to choose the 250 2-stroke.

Colton Haaker – Expert
The 2-stroke was a nice transition from the four-bangers. The power is a torquey even feel. I am very used to a KTM 250 and the Yamaha was easy to ride and immediately comfortable. I wouldn't call it a track bike, it is not comparable to the two-fitty Fs. I could take that bike off-road though and make it extremely competitive in EnduroCross. Some different gearing, maybe a flywheel and it’s good to go. The fact of the matter is 4-strokes are still better.

2009 Yamaha YZ250
Tod - "I own a YZ250
- and love it!"
Tod Sciacqua – Vet Pro
The ‘09 YZ250 is an all-around great package I raced the whole EnduroCross series and thought I was on the best bike out there for me. There has been little changed on the newer 2-strokes in the last few years. Most of the attention from the manufacturers has been on the 4-strokes. If I were to have the choice to race the 2-stroke 250 or the 4-stroke, I would pick the 2-stroke hands down. It has amazing, usable power and lightweight feel. With the price of 2-strokes and the maintenance cost, why not have a YZ250 in the garage.


2009 Suzuki RM-Z250 Comparison

Posted on 5:49 AM by My_revival

Some changes in gearing would benefit the RM-Z, blasting out of corners with more authority. In a division where motors reign supreme, the emphasis on big numbers is exaggerated. The Suzuki is right in the mix in terms of dyno peaks, but overall the RM-Z motor seemed to disappoint on the track. Not because it stinks, but because a simple gearing change was requested by all our testers, and this really impacted our impressions. The Suzuki actually makes the most torque, almost 18 lb-ft right in the middle of its healthy midrange, and that’s exactly where our female rider wanted to find it. Sherri gave the Honda motor some extra kudos, but the Suzuki was a close second for her.

“Although it had more mid than bottom- and top-end it was my second favorite,” says Cruse, who rode a Suzuki for her 2008 WMA season. “I’m more of a mid-range rider and usually tend not to rev out the motor as much. It works well for me.”

Our novice was also enamored with the engine characteristics and felt confident it would be at or near the top if the rear sprocket was enlarged. However, it didn’t work as well for some of the other riders and the fastest evaluators consistently ranked this motor last.

“I was very disappointed with the engine, actually,” says Alvin. “I felt that it lacked in the bottom-end and there were parts of the track that made me shift into a higher gear because it revved out to soon. Plus, it didn’t get me over the big step-up at Racetown, I just couldn’t get the drive.”

2009 Suzuki RM-Z250F
Hammering through the whoops was one area where the advanced riders had problems with the Showa suspension blowing too quickly through the stroke.
The soft motor is matched by the Showa suspension. It’s most similar to the Yamaha with the amount of plushness, but the blue bike has much better bottoming resistance. As you would imagine, our fast guys didn’t appreciate the harsh result of a big landing, but our slowest rider and our lightest had more positive experiences. The 47mm cartridge-style fork moves through the travel very quickly. Some extra volume or heavier oil would benefit more aggressive riders. Our fast guys are also at the rough boundary for the target weight on the springs. Combine the two and it’s no surprise that the Showas seem a little underpowered. As it was, the stock setup fits right in with the Suzuki’s so-so demeanor.

One area where the Z250 does stand out is in the ergonomics. The bike feels very similar to the Honda in respects to layout but is slightly larger. The ergos are instictive and it makes life aboard the yellow bike very comfortable. The oversized ProTaper handlebars add to the more open feel, and it’s the only bike that has the hot-start lever on the right side. Hopping from one bike to another made that strange, but if it’s your regular ride then it becomes natural right away.

With more time recently on yellow bikes than any of our crew, Cruse felt at home on the RM-Z. Her race bike was custom fit for her 5’1” frame and as the shortest of our testers, she really noticed the difference on a stock bike.

“Suzuki had the most space between the tank and pegs,” she says, “and being short that doesn’t give me the advantage I would hope for.”

2009 Suzuki RM-Z250F
Sherri Cruse looked comfortable on the same brand as her 2008 WMA race bike, but all of the machines were too tall for her diminutive frame in stock condition.
The Suzuki is also a good starter. Whether or not you’re going to be in neutral when you kick it over is debatable, because it’s really hard to find a gap between first and second gear. On the track, that close spacing was one of the reasons the RM-Z transmission and clutch received a first-place vote. All of the machines have light pulls at the lever, but the Suzuki may have the lightest. Moving through gears is quick and painless. The Zook did miss a gear once or twice, but it’s also shifted more than any other bike due to the soft power. Internal gear ratios were good for the Racetown layout, but the final gearing was a tainted interface for the transmission.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a solid performer, but when it comes to cutthroat shootout environments, every bike needs something to make it stand out. Years past have seen the Yamaha fall victim to this scenario, but the YZ-F has really developed a foundation of an unshakable chassis and buttery suspension.

“Nothing stood out to me as being really good, but nothing was really bad either,” says Tod with a shrug. “The Suzuki would have been better with different gearing, maybe two teeth up in the rear sprocket to make it easier to ride. The RM-Z was probably the most average package of all the 250Fs.”

What we like about the Suzuki is that it wouldn’t take expensive motor work or a massive suspension overhaul to really bring it alive. Experiment with some different sprockets and tune in the proper spring rates for your size and ability and the RM-Z turns into a rocket with the ability to handle higher speeds. That sounded like a winning prospect for one of our testers who chose the Suzuki as his For My Money pick. The natural ergos and quick, well-proportioned chassis are highlights he couldn’t overlook.