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Reviews

Here are the latest Ultimate Motorcycling motorcycle reviews, along with tests of all gear and parts, including jackets, helmets and tires.

2008 KTM and Scorpa | Motorcycle Previews

In spite of the abandonment of two-stroke motors by the Japanese manufacturers, the simple, lightweight engine configuration is still alive and well in KTM chassis.

2007 Harley-Davidson Super Glide | Motorcycle Review

Roam in Chrome

Harley's influential Super Glide began life in 1971 as the result of Willie G. Davidson's Frankensteinian grafting of the Sportster's slinky front end to the muscular frame and powertrain of the Electra Glide. Willie G's chopper-inspired cut-and-paste resulted in the birth of the (seemingly) oxymoronic “factory-custom” genre. For customers looking for a trick ride with a factory warranty and without a hefty aftermarket accessory tab, the Super Glide hammered a persuasive power chord that is still ringing throughout the industry.  

2007 Star Roadliner S | Motorcycle Review

Champagne Supernova

For whatever reasons you choose to believe, the Japanese cannot (or will not) compete with Harley-Davidson when it comes to building a cruiser. If you demand the raw experience of an air-cooled Harley, you will forever be disappointed in metric cruisers.

NCR Millona One Shot | Superbike Review

Ducati Power

Tucked in behind the windscreen of the NCR Millona One Shot, rapidly reeling in blurring pavement on the steep banking of Fontana's California Speedway, my peripheral vision caught the flashing red shift indicator light. Having not counted the shifts and traveling at this speed, I assumed all the available gears had been exhausted. Out of curiosity, I chopped the throttle for a millisecond and tapped the shifter. My inquisitiveness revealed that sixth gear was still virgin territory.

Bourget Bike Works Trike | Motorcycle Preview

Three-wheeled Custom

Phoenix-based Bourget's Bike Works has elevated the oft-derided three-wheeled genre through intelligent engineering, original design, and a fastidious attention to detail.

2007 MV Agusta F4 R312 | Superbike Review

312 KPH Chariot

In ancient Rome, the Cathedrals of Racing were not just Circus Maximus and the Coliseum; there was also the Hippodrome of Milan. As many as twelve chariots, drawn by four horses apiece, would careen around the immense stadium for the pleasure of both Caesar and the local citizenship tifose. It was a dangerous sport and arguably the origin of the Italians' great passion for all things racing.

2007 Harley-Davidson XL 1200 Nightster | Review

Bobbed and Slammed

The Harley-Davidson Sportster hit the Big Five-O this year, and the senior-most Harley nameplate is showing its age. Graying and sedate compared to the big Twin-Cam 96 powered studs roaring out of Milwaukee these days, the middle-aged Sporty has been in need of a wardrobe consultant and a handful of Viagra for some time. Fortunately, the brooding, black-clad Nightster has swaggered into the Sportster's Golden Jubilee, fashionably late and looking for trouble.

2007 Harley-Davidson Softail Springer Classic | Review

Nostalgia That Works

I can admit it without apology--I love the look of the Harley-Davidson springer front suspension. When it comes to establishing a retro styling for a motorcycle, a pair of external springs in the vicinity of the steering stem is tough to beat. Never mind that Harley rediscovered the springer in 1988 after a 40-year hiatus; the exploitatively mechanical front suspension has tremendous nostalgia-invoking power.

2007 Honda Genuine Accessories Shadow Spirit 750 C2 Bagger | Motorcycle Test

HONDA'S ACCESSORY DEPARTMENT CREATES A BAGGER

When presented with the Honda Genuine Accessories bagger version of the new-for-'07 Shadow Spirit 750 C2, I will admit I wasn't all that excited. Every time I've gotten on a touring bike it seemed too big, too heavy, and a bit unwieldy. At the same time, this mini-bagger didn't seem too big when I sat on it, and I certainly wasn't concerned about it being too powerful, so I wasn't sure what to expect. As it turned out, my rides on the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom reminded me that an open mind is a good thing.

2008 Kawasaki KLX450R | Off-Road Motorcycle Review

Manufacturers generally select premium locations and luxury accommodations when it comes time to introduce their newest addition to their line. We may travel to Monza in Italy, the Baviaanskloof in South Africa, the rain forest of Costa Rica, which is all well and good. Imagine my surprise when Kawasaki took me to the mile marker 11.5 on desolate Arizona state highway 74 in the Sonora Desert, up against the foothills of the Hieroglyphic Mountains. There, circled well-worn travel trailers awaited, which would be home for the duration.

2007 Triumph Speed Triple 1050 | Motorcycle Review

Naked SportBike, All Dressed Up

Does it surprise one for a moment that the champion of streetfighters comes from the country that originated hooliganism? That English heritage dates back to the 19th century, and is both a mark and a badge. While we decidedly pass on the destructive behavior, getting a little rowdy with the throttle inevitably seems to come with the territory when riding this particular high-performance motorcycle.

Victory P-51 Mustang Fighter | Motorcycle Review

Motorcycle Custom

The venerable P-51 Mustang fighter plane represents one of the most strikingly recognizable physiques in aviation. The single-seat warbird that played a crucial role in WWII has been honored in countless films and written histories. When Tom Hicks of Southern California Motorcycles decided to commemorate the Air Force's winged horse with a tribute bike, he didn't have far to look for inspiration.

2007 KTM 990 Super Duke | Motorcycle Review

The traditional orange livery of KTM says it all. It isn't a posh Hermès orange or a trendy mid-century citrus. Rather, it is a shade that recalls highway workers clad in DOT-approved reflective garb. The color is all function with a dismissive nod to form, which is fitting, as the Austrian manufacturer has spent the last 73 years building durable off-road bikes better suited to pavement-free adventures than aggressive urban jaunts.
2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom Review

2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom | Review

Vulcan 900 Review

Well, this one almost slipped by us. When Kawasaki announced the new-for-'07 Vulcan 900 Custom, it's safe to say that there wasn't a staff-wide arm wrestling sudden-death tournament to determine who got to ride it first. But, at Kawasaki's urging that I was really missing something, I skeptically agreed to give the 900 Custom a shot. Really, how exciting could a sub-liter metric cruiser be?

2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000 | Superbike Review

Continued Domination

Suzuki's GSX-R lineup changed the world upon its debut. Well, the motorcycling world anyway. Launched (literally) in 1985/86, the first year saw the debut of a blue-and-white 750cc machine. Radically different from anything up until then, it matched a stunningly light weight with a high horsepower engine and a racer's ergonomics. In 1987, Suzuki brought forth a sibling--the 1100cc version complete with electronic anti-dive suspension and even more power.