How brilliantly audacious for legendary Italian manufacturer Benelli, resuscitated from the brink of dissolution just a few years ago, to blast back onto the scene with an all-new machine bearing the sinfully appropriate TNT nomenclature. It is a bold statement born from a company that, since its inception in 1911, has endured a tale of exalted success and melancholic near ruin.
My first impression of the Boss Hoss hit me on a Sunday morning when Jay Leno, in typically larger-than-life fashion, pulled up on the massive bike at the Rock Store. The strange conveyance brought to mind the Hooters corporate slogan: “Delightfully tacky yet unrefined.” In the Venn diagram of my mind, the hot wings and cleavage section doesn't typically overlap with the motorcycle category, but “typical” bikes aren't powered by small block Chevy V-8s, either.
From its introduction in 2004, Honda's CBR1000RR (labeled in Europe as the “Fireblade”) has always been a light, agile machine with astounding acceleration. In normal street riding and occasional track excursions, the bike produced far more performance than most of us could fully tap, but somehow it was tamed into a real-world package. Make no mistake, this weapon astonished, and delighted all but the most battle-hardened veteran of the superbike wars.
The Spanish Andalusian countryside is an endless rhythm of hills, ancient trees and bleached medieval cities—possibly one of the last places one would expect to establish a world-class racetrack. Yet, after months of searching, Dutch racing enthusiast Klaas Zwart, a resident of Marbella, discovered the future home of his Ascari Race Resort while piloting a Eurocopter 130 above the virgin terrain just outside of Ronda.
When Polaris industries launched Victory Motorcycles in the mid-1990s, the upstart did not exactly cause The Motor Company to quake in its engineer boots. Polaris made snowmobiles, personal watercraft and ATVs—scarcely a threat to the primacy of the big boys in Milwaukee. In 1998, Victory introduced the first all-new, mass-production, American-made street bike in over 60 years. Despite listless sales, Polaris persisted, knowing that something big was on the horizon.
Of all the reasons that lead to the creation of a custom motorcycle, those behind the birth of the Ashcroft Flyer rank among the most unusual. Its gestation was inspired, in large measure, by Lynn Ashcroft's desire to provide a rolling canvas—if that term may be applied to a creation hewn of various alloys, rubber, and resin—for artist Mitch Kim.
To the disappointment of a number of adherents, the K 1200 GT vanished from the BMW motorcycle lineup in 2005. Striving to satisfy the open-class sport touring enthusiasts, BMW has revived the K 1200 GT designation, assigning it to a wholly redesigned machine. A close cousin of the K 1200 S sportbike, the new GT shares its in-line 4-cylinder motor (albeit in a torquier state of tune), frame, and suspension components with the S.
Of all the classes and categories that exist in motorcycling, none is as hotly contested among manufacturers as that of the supersports. Middleweight sportbikes represent the cornerstone of street-going product in the United States, with bragging rights and consumer demand driven directly by success on the racetrack.
Because testosterone-fueled monikers like Monster, Firebolt, and Intruder abound, it seems natural that MV Agusta would christen its no-holds-barred machine the Brutale. While first generation Brutales boasted gorgeous design and crisp handling, the 749cc motor came up a bit short on torque and horsepower.
Liter-sized superbikes have been measured in recent years by the standards of Yamaha's awe-inspiring R1. Fast and supremely capable, the Graves Motorsports-fettled machine continues to dominate the AMA Superstock class with only minimal upgrades. Yamaha has now seen fit to produce a special, limited-edition (LE) version of the bike that is packed with premium components.