Bridgestone BT-023 Tire Review

May 6, 2010 by  
Filed under General

Tires are the only things that touch the ground on a motorcycle. Well, the occasional footpeg too, but only if the tires do their job. And that job, keeping the bike upright on a credit card-sized contact patch, often goes underappreciated. Not by the folks at Bridgestone, however, with the historic manufacturer living and breathing tires since its founding in 1931. Motorcycle USA recently tested the Japanese firm’s latest creation, the Battlax BT-023 tire on the company’s own home soil.

We sampled the new tires on a street ride and closed-course circuit. The street tour took us from Bridgestone’s Tochigi Japan facilities to the Twin Ring Motegi circuit and back, ostensibly to watch the Japanese Grand Prix. Though that Icelandic volcano threw a damper on the GP plans, we still made the scenic route. As for the track portion, our press tour was privileged to be the first journalists to ride at the company’s exclusive proving grounds. Located 10 minutes from Bridgestone’s sole motorcycle tire plant in Nasu, the BSPG proved an ideal controlled setting for tire evaluation .

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Source [Motorcycle USA]

2010 BMW R1200GS Review

This year marks the 30th anniversary of BMW’s R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure – two bikes that have dominated a niche and carried the weight of BMW Motorcycles on their broad backs. At the heart has always been the Flat-Twin engine design – opposing jugs that became a symbol of the marque and have adapted outside of the GS line to the sporting world. Tuning secrets learned here were transferred back to the Adventure machines, and the Bavarians elected to infuse the proven Boxer Twin with technology from their HP2 Sport.

New cylinder heads are the targeted area with each featuring four larger valves – the intakes are oversized 8.4% to 39mm and the sodium-filled exhaust valves increase by 6.6% to 33mm. Appropriately matching pistons form the new combustion chamber, though the compression ratio inside the 101 x 73mm bore/stroke sleeve remains unchanged at 12.0:1. A larger throttle manifold and revised air intake also contribute to what BMW claims is a higher rev ceiling of 8500 rpm and a 5% boost in horsepower to a claimed 110 hp and 88 lb-ft of torque. An electronic exhaust flap and new muffler internals promote the Boxer thump.

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Source [Motorcycle USA]

2010 Arizona Bike Week Review

April 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Events

Like most everything else, major motorcycle rallies have been hit by hard times. Numbers are down, people are grumpy and most of us can’t even remember what a leisure dollar is, much less spend one. But somehow, somewhere out in a blooming Arizona desert, somebody threw a party and for a few days in April everyone forgot they weren’t supposed to be having fun.

The 14th annual Arizona Bike Week, held this year from April 9 through April 18, included five warm-up “pre-rally” days that kicked off the event with signature rides, dealer hosted parties and biker queen pageant eliminations. It was a prelude to the main event, Cyclefest, which opened its doors April 14.

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Source [Motorcycle USA]

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Review

For 2010, Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati has released the successor to its tried-and-true motorcycling Swiss Army knife: The 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200. Despite using the same name as before, the new generation machine expands upon its original concept by utilizing a multitude of imaginative technologies that we’ve never seen on a Ducati, or any other production street bike. This allows it to achieve higher levels of performance, comfort and, above all, practicality. To discover some of its potential, Ducati invited MotoUSA to ride the new machine in one of Mother Nature’s most rugged, diverse, and ultimately magnificent proving grounds: The Canary Island’s Lanzarote, located west of the Moroccan coast.

The Concept

For Ducati the new Multistrada represents a changing of the guard within the walls of its Borgo Panigale factory. It’s a much more broadly-focused motorcycle, designed for use by all types of riders. From zigzagging through canyons, to touring cross-country, jetting across the city or the occasional mild off-road escapade, the new Multistrada is designed to do it all.

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Source [Motorcycle USA]

2010 Honda VT1300 Cruisers First Ride

Honda Motorcycles deems the mid-sized cruiser demographic so important that within the last year it has produced four different models in this range. The forebear was the Fury, the company’s first production chopper, which attempted to break the staid reputation of its cruiser motorcycles with a big-wheeled, raked-out, high-necked ride. Since its early release last April, Honda claims that over the last year it has been the best selling ‘factory-custom’ in the US.

The Japanese manufacturer’s 2010 VT1300 Series continues in that vein, as the new trio deviates from the 2009 VTXs with more custom-styling influences. The frame on the new VT1300 bikes is more open in the head space so the engine isn’t packaged so tightly, the streamline tank is racier and is styled more like the Fury’s, the bars are more pulled-back in custom bike fashion, and the old solo pipes are now dualies blended together beneath an encompassing heat shield. The bodywork, from its fenders, air filter and battery covers, have been infused with edgier styling by adding angular designs on the covers and stronger lines throughout. The VT1300 Series motorcycles are also longer and lower than ever before.

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Source [Motorcycle USA]

Harley-Davidson Beats Expectations with 1st Quarter Results

Boosted by Harley-Davidson’s Financial Services return to profitability, motorcycle retail sales that declined less than expected, and rising stock shares, Harley-Davidson released its 2010 First Quarter results with optimism today. The Motor Company’s first-quarter 2010 income from continuing operations was reported at $68.7 million, or $0.29 per share, which exceeded analysts’ projections of $0.22 per share. The three quarter slump of H-D’s Financial Services was broken by a reported first quarter operating income of $26.7 million, an increase of $15.5 million compared to the same quarter results from 2009. The improvement was said to be driven by improved credit performance in the retail motorcycle loan portfolio and by a lower cost of funds. And backed by the announcement of its first quarter results, Harley stocks jumped this morning with a $2.58 gain to $35.35, a rise of 7.9%.

“We are encouraged by our progress in the first quarter,” said Keith Wandell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Harley-Davidson, Inc. “We are seeing directional improvement in our dealers’ retail motorcycle sales as we enter the key selling season. At the same time, given the global economic uncertainty that still exists, we believe conditions will remain challenging throughout this year, and we will continue to factor that into how we manage the business.

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Post Courtesy of Motorcycle USA, Editor Bryan Harley

Honda VFR800RR Bioblade

Belgium. The ‘land that God forgot’ is more famous for balding politicians and chocolates than inventions. Perhaps ‘Hercule Poirot’, the detective with the dodgy moustache and equally bizarre habit of stumbling upon random criminals isn’t the best example. But Belgians have been very successful inventors in the past, with the saxophone, the Big Bang Theory and asphalt just for starters. And last year, a couple of brave Belgians took a leap of faith to produce something else they believe the world wanted, the VFR800RR Bioblade.

Bikers world wide hadn’t been hoping, we had been expecting Honda to produce a V-Four-powered sports bike. Its stand at the Milan bike show in 2008 was adorned with V-Four signs, flanked by a spectacular collection of historic V-Four race bikes; the RC45, RC30 and NR750. Photographers were poised with their arms stretched skywards, lenses aimed over the heads of hundreds of waiting journalists. The focus of everyone’s attention was the veiled shape on stage and the promise of a new V-Four. But as the curtain dropped, so did our hopes for a V-Four powered sports bike. Honda’s new V-Four was a sport-tourer, the fresh for 2010 VFR1200F.

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Post Courtesy of Motorcycle USA – Editor Janie Omorogbe

Homegrown Chrome from Motorcycle USA

April 17, 2010 by  
Filed under General

Photo Courtesy of Motorcycle USA.

This week’s Homegrown Chrome winner comes to us from Lucas Wiggs of Broward Motorsports. Granted, this award-winning bike is a ringer, but it was submitted by a reader who met all of our criteria and we thought it was so crazy cool that we just had to share it with the general public. This super radical out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is appropriately called ‘GOT RAKE.’ Believe it or not, this motorcycle started as a 2005 Yamaha Road Star 1700. But after a complete overhaul by BMS Choppers and Broward Motorsports, it has been transformed into this 16-foot-long medieval-themed monstrosity.

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Post Courtesy of Motorcycle USA, Editor Bryan Harley.

2010 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide Motorcycle Review from Motorcycle USA

The first FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide hit the scene in 1993 and quickly became revered for its kicked-out, wide-set front fork legs pitched at a heavy rake, and mini ape-hanger style handlebars. For a production motorcycle, the Wide Glide gained reputation as a hot chopper, especially for a bike. While Dyna models are known as the lightest-handling Harleys but steering on the 2010 Dyna Wide Glide is heavy and turn-in slow on sharp turns. The 2010 Dyna Wide Glide gets its name from its wide-spaced forks and exposed dual rear shocks.
straight from the factory. Over the years, its styling remained staid, but it did see internal changes as the Harley engine evolved from the Blockhead to the TC 88 to its present iteration, the TC 96. Its gearbox has also been updated from a five to six-speed unit, but the motorcycle’s overall appearance fluctuated little.

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[Source: Motorcycle USA, YouTube]