The year 1965 was pivotal for Harley-Davidson. The venerable Panhead engine delivered its swan song, making way for the Shovelhead era. The company went public on the stock market. Most importantly, The Motor Company christened the industry's first full-dress touring horse, the Electra Glide.
Your superbike or sportbike might not come immediately to mind when thinking about a long-distance mount, but DOWCO's Fastrax Sport and Adventure Luggage just may change all that. Now, the rider looking for the ultimate focus-on-sport touring motorcycle will have tank, tail, and saddlebags designed to work with virtually any sport bike. The bags feature storage for MP3 players (with audio/power ports), hydration pack storage, lockable waterproof zippers, sewn-in rain hoods, and security cables. Conveniently, once off the bike, the bags can be converted to backpacks.
Motorcyclists treasure those moments of solitude when our mounts transport us to uncharted places. But it may be difficult to imagine traveling across five countries on dangerous dirt tracks, rocky roads, and some of the most brutal desert landscapes in the world for 15 sleepless days, just to say, “I did it.” However, that is precisely what the intrepid competitors who undertake the legendary Dakar Rally set out to do.
If you like going noticed at times and unnoticed at others, read on.
DUCATI ST3 (Unnoticed)
This sport tourer may be quite visible in the photo, but high-tech trickery behind the ErmaxUK windscreen makes it stealth to revenue-collectingspeed detection devices.
A common observation our test riders have when getting off the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 is that the long-legged, big-hearted beast would make an outstanding platform for a high-velocity, long-distance sport touring steed. Clearly, enthusiasts in Kawasaki's engineering and marketing departments had the same idea. Thus, we are presented with the 2008 Kawasaki Concours 14.
The mid-1970s was a cruel era for Honda streetbike enthusiasts. A lack of captivating suspects in the showroom lineup had admirers of the engineering giant wistfully twisting the throttles of past glories. The powerhouse Honda CB750 Four had broken ground on a number of design fronts, but the original superbike was an aging child of the sixties. By late 1976, the once mighty roar of Honda's innovative motorcycle engineering department had been reduced to a muffled gust—at least that was the view from the street.
Moto Guzzi is once more taking the plunge into the fully faired sport touring market with the new Norge 1200. Powered by Guzzi's traditional transversely mounted air-cooled, two-valve, pushrod motor, the 1133cc Norge is a grand touring bike, with the expected accoutrements—a 6-speed transmission with shaft drive, 6-gallon fuel tank, electronically adjustable windshield, ABS and dual saddlebags.
Just as the two Gallery bikes in this issue revolutionized the street motorcycle world over 30 years ago, so too did the 1968 Yamaha DT-1 250 Enduro. The famous white-tanked bike was the first street-legal motorcycle that was also a capable, lightweight, reliable and powerful off-road machine. Yamaha's newly dubbed “dual purpose” motorcycle introduced untold hundreds of thousands to the sport of motorcycle riding, and spawned an entirely new market segment.