Tue, 11 Jun 2013 13:40:00 -0400 New 2014 Yamaha FZ-09, YZ450F & YZ250F Joining the ranks of other Triple manufacturers, namely Triumph and MV Agusta, the FZ-09 looks to trump its competition by virtue of more displacement and a lower MSRP.Yamaha refers to its new engine as a “crossplane crankshaft,” but in fact all three-cylinder motorcycle engines use the same 120-degree crankshaft spacings – the same as its British and Italian counterparts. Yamaha is borrowing the terminology from its R1 superbike – with a unique inline-Four crossplane crankshaft engine design – to imply that the new Triple delivers the same brand of linear torque output. Yamaha is claiming 65 ft-lb of torque, four more than its outgoing FZ8. And, like all Triples, Yamaha’s utilizes a balance shaft to offset the resulting vibration inherent in this design.Unique to the new Yamaha Triple is the use of different-length intake funnels (122.8mm, 102.8mm, 82.8mm) that Yamaha says improves throttle response as well as low- and mid-range engine power. Crossover tubes between 1 & 2 and 2 & 3 header pipes also broaden its torque curve. A large exhaust collector under the engine enables a nicely stubby canister outlet. Yamaha reps claim the FZ-09 emits a pleasing sound when both inhaling and exhaling.
Tue, 22 Jan 2013 06:40:00 -0500 2013 Sport-Touring Shootout 1.0 - Video It was a gross underestimation of time and distance on my behalf that got us into Death Valley so late, but riding through a moonlit desert in frigid temperatures at triple-digit speeds is an appropriate mission for a sport-touring bike. This environment also lends to emphasize the advantages and deficiencies among the competing participants.When the ambient temperature of 39° F glowed through the darkness from the ST1300’s instrument cluster when crossing the Panamint Range, I was left with only the Honda’s windscreen to deflect the frigid effect of an approximate wind-chill temperature of 21° F. Chief Editor, Kevin Duke, on the FJR, and guest tester, Kaming Ko, on the Concours also had their windscreens in the high position. They, however, enjoyed the warmth emanating from their bikes’ heated grips, while my hands depended solely on the warmth supplied by the gloves I was wearing and the deflection from the Honda’s smartly placed mirrors. When it comes to cold temperatures, the Honda’s saving grace is its barn door of a windscreen. The electrically adjustable component boasts the greatest range of motion of the three, elevating from a resting position with a rider’s helmet in the wind to its highest position diverting all wind above a rider’s helmet. There’s a small amount of buffeting backdraft when the screen is in its highest position, but it’s preferable to a freezing, 80-mph frontal blast. The Honda’s windscreen is also stable in all circumstances whereas both the Yamaha’s and Kawasaki’s plastic screens tend to vibrate, then vibrate more the higher you raise them.
Wed, 09 Jan 2013 21:50:00 -0500 Inside the 2013 Supercross Works Bikes The start of a new Supercross season brings with it a lot of anticipation over and above race results. It’s the first time fans, riders and team personnel get to see what the competition has brought to off-road racing’s largest stage. The recession has no doubt slowed some of the progress, however, that hasn’t stopped much in this sport. During the last few years we have seen tremendous advances in ignition systems, electronic fuel injection, front suspension, and now, for 2013, shock technology.KTM is the first to introduce an air shock to modern racing. The idea is not new in principle, but it does break a longstanding tradition of externally sprung components. The new WP air shock is enshrouded in mystery that has suspension technicians intrigued.
Thu, 08 Nov 2012 16:20:00 -0500 2013 Yamaha FJR1300A Review I last remember riding Yamaha’s FJR1300 approximately four years ago, and I was impressed by its power, comfort, and touring abilities. But I remember thinking: “You mean this bike hasn’t had an overhaul since it was first introduced in the States five years ago (2003)?” Four years on and it’s even more surprising Yamaha has kept the venerable FJR relatively unchanged all this time. Now, with mounting pressure from the Kawasaki Concours 14, Triumph Trophy, BMW K1600 and others, the Tuning Fork company realized it couldn’t keep its hands in its pockets any longer. Meet the 2013 Yamaha FJR1300A.The good news, clearly, is an updated FJR. However, those hoping for a major overhaul will be disappointed. Yamaha has focused on improving the rider experience, making it more comfortable and refined in response to owner surveys which note a considerable increase in FJR owners taking full-day or long-distance trips the past three years.
Wed, 10 Oct 2012 12:30:00 -0400 2012 Adventure-Touring Shootout - Video BMW’s R1200GS has long been the cock of the walk when it comes to big-bore Adventure-Touring bikes, but with unit sales in the A-T segment increasing by double-digit percentages (the most of any class of motorcycles in the U.S.), OEMs, like wily hedge fund managers, are buying into the sector.The Triumph Explorer and Yamaha Super Ténéré are the newest combatants in this increasingly competitive market, while both KTM and Moto Guzzi have held positions in this category with models of their own, shall we say, eccentricities. What these five bikes represent, though, are the disparate avenues manufacturers are traveling to attain a similar goal. Which begs the question: Have any of these Johnny-come-lately A-T bikes succeeded in surpassing the mighty GS to become the new benchmark model? Achieving the answer to that question was fraught with scorching temperatures and mind-numbing freeway miles, but also ribbony two-laners, gravelly fire roads and dusty singletracks, all the while loaded down with an assortment of clothing and camping gear. Sentiments ranged from surprised to disparaged, and in the end consensus, but not absolute agreement.
Tue, 02 Oct 2012 11:50:00 -0400 2013 Yamaha FJR1300A Preview FJR loyalists can revel in the numerous updates Yamaha has unveiled for the 2013 FJR1300A, including restyled bodywork, ride-by-wire throttle control, new instrumentation, and the addition of traction control. For 2013 Yamaha also announced some minor changes to its naked roadster, the FZ8, which you can read about here, as well as plans to develop a new three-cylinder engine using the crossplane crankshaft from the M1 MotoGP bike and the R1.A face-lift, new windshield and TC top the updates
Fri, 24 Aug 2012 06:40:00 -0400 Best Motorcycles of 2012 Whoever you are and whatever kind of riding you do, there’s a perfect match out there in the dealership just waiting for you. Class categories continue to get re-sliced to finely hone in on key markets, creating distinct products for sub-classes. This specialization is offset elsewhere by a renewed focus on motorcycles that can do it all, and do it at a price that won’t break the bank. The past 12 months have seen fewer new-model announcements and debuts than we fondly remember from five years ago, but there are several motorcycles that really stoke our fires and encourage us to mount up and ride. It’s again that time of the year when we select Motorcycle.com’s Best Of choices – our annual MOBO awards. Surf along as we look back at the standout motorcycles of the past year. Click here to see our results from 2011.
Thu, 05 Jul 2012 11:00:00 -0400 2012 Dual-Sport Shootout - Video Dual-sport, aka dual-purpose motorcycles, have it rough. Designing a bike to traverse both street and dirt environments well enough to please the moto masses is bound to lead to disappointment somewhere. By way of their split functions, DS motorcycles have to compromise. Often a dual-sport sacrifices superior street manners in order to achieve at least a modicum of off-road prowess, or vice-versa.Despite few changes in the DS segment in the past few model years, we decided to sample some current DS offerings to see if there is a do-it-all bike that doesn’t suck … the fun out of one type of riding or the other.250cc Upper Classmen
Thu, 05 Apr 2012 17:00:00 -0400 2012 Japanese Superbike Shootout - Video Where’s the video? Actually we decided to produce two of ’em! The next page discusses street testing, while Page 3 centers around track testing, so make sure you check out both. –EdIt has been a couple years since we last did a Japanese literbike shootout, because, frankly, the field has been quite stagnant for a while (save for Kawasaki’s total revamp of the ZX-10R last year). It took them another year, but Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha have all tweaked their respective contenders for 2012 – the CBR1000RR, GSX-R1000 and YZF-R1, have significant changes, while Kawasaki returns for 2012 with the same traction-control-equipped machine it introduced last year, confident of its chances.Having ridden all of the players at their respective intros, we knew it was time to once again pit them against one another for Japanese literbike supremacy. Read the respective stories for details on the upgrades, because here we’re evaluating how they compare to one another. With the CBR’s improved suspension, the GSX-R’s re-worked engine and upgraded brakes, and the addition of traction control to the YZF-R1, the ZX-10R has some stiff competition this year.
Thu, 15 Mar 2012 14:40:00 -0400 2012 Yamaha WR450F Review The 2012 Yamaha WR450F is here. But before we get into everything new, updated, borrowed and unique, you might want to ask yourself what your perfect 450cc-class off-road bike would be. Don’t compromise. Set your expectations high. After all, this is 2012. We’d like to think a manufacturer could build a perfect bike for you, and never mind the fact that they have DOT, EPA, CARB and a slew of other acronyms to appease. We want two-stroke lightness, four-stroke traction, fuel-injected smoothness, plush suspension that never bottoms out, and we want it to look universally awesome and at the same time unique. We want it street legal and I want to race it, too. And make it cheap.Knowing our consumer-bred difficulty going into this exercise is why it’s so exciting to test the latest offerings from the off-road motorcycle manufacturers. Just how close can they get? Well, Yamaha’s 2012 WR450 is the end result of a whole bunch of listening, tuning, tweaking, theorizing, manipulating, fixing and breaking stuff all in the name of finding the closest thing to perfection.
Thu, 02 Feb 2012 09:20:00 -0500 2012 125cc Scooter Shootout [Video] Look around any college parking lot or downtown metropolitan area and scooters will be littered throughout the landscape. The red-headed stepchild of motorcycledom, scooters are a viable alternative for those looking to escape the costs of car ownership or those who would prefer not to take public transit. The cost of ownership is low, fuel mileage is high and the amount of storage space available is typically generous. Three leading models that embody all three traits are the Honda PCX, Piaggio Typhoon 125 and the Yamaha Zuma 125. We’ve covered all three before, but never have we ridden them side-by-side-by-side. On paper, all three scoots appear rather similar: all have comparable engine displacements, all use Constantly Variable Transmissions – eliminating the need to shift – all deliver impressive MPG figures, and (perhaps most importantly), all but one have space under the seat for two six-packs and a box of wine. In reality all three own distinct differences, many of which even took us by surprise. We picked scooters in the 125cc category because this engine category is well suited to the needs (and pocketbooks) of college students and urban city dwellers. Being under 150cc, however, none of these scooters are legal for freeway use.
Fri, 27 Jan 2012 08:40:00 -0500 2012 Yamaha Zuma 125 Review If riding a small-bore scooter leaves you feeling emasculated, consider the Yamaha Zuma 125. Rugged, aggressive styling (especially in black), fat, semi-knobby tires and power enough to shoot its rider across an intersection faster than the average automobile, the Zuma 125 is as virile as it is affordable.Whereas most scooters are variables of a central street-legal, urban theme, Yamaha’s Zuma 125 radiates a more adventurous attitude with a look that says “let’s go camping,” or “go ahead, take off down that fire road and let’s see where it goes.” Conveying this venturesome spirit are the fat for 12-inch rims (120/70 front and 130/70 rear), enduro-esque tires. An exposed large-diameter steel frame is a styling element that allows Yamaha designers to use less plastic on the Zuma than other scooters. The plastic on the bottom of the Zuma is, in fact, left unpainted to better absorb the resultant scratches off-road riding generates. Hands protected by brushguards, large, dual headlights surrounded by steel crash bars, and front suspension shrouded in fork gaiters all conspire to elevate the off-road legitimacy of the Zuma.
Thu, 01 Dec 2011 19:10:00 -0500 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 vs. 2011 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC [Video] The age of the digital sportbike is as close to reality as ever. It’s a sign of the times when manufacturers shift their focus from generating more horsepower to making sure the power reaches the ground as effectively as possible. Two manufacturers exemplifying that mindset are Aprilia and Yamaha.In the case of the former, the RSV4 platform has been a major hit as it combines an extremely precise chassis with a unique V-Four engine that may not have been the most powerful in its class but definitely left the rider invigorated with its characteristic and exciting power delivery and sound. For the latter, the crossplane-crankshaft R1 is Yamaha’s answer to differentiate itself from the rest of the inline-Four playing field. Using its MotoGP technology to benefit production machines wasn’t just a marketing ploy, but a concerted effort to give Yamaha a leg up on the competition. The basic forms of the RSV4 R and YZF-R1 should be nothing new to loyal readers. We’ve covered the Aprilia before in our 2010 literbike shootout and yours truly was recently at Yamaha’s press introduction where the company unveiled its new upgrade to the R1. These machines illustrate how manufacturers are refocusing their attention from the machine shop to the laptop.
Mon, 31 Oct 2011 16:40:00 -0400 2012 Yamaha YZF-R15 Review Small-displacement sportbikes are getting more attention as the world economy continues to struggle. The 150cc Yamaha YZF-R15 was the first sportbike produced in India back in 2008, and the fuel-injected model now receives a host of upgrades and is offered to the Australian, New Zealand and Colombian markets. Read the below review and let us know if such a small sportbike could be successful in North America.
Yamaha’s YZF-R15 has offered riders the ultimate sportbike in its 150cc segment, managing to retain the unadulterated feel of its legendary mentors, the supersports YZF-R6 and R1. Leaned over mid-corner, tires fiercely gripping the tarmac, its engine screaming out the high revs it craves, this Yamaha has treated aspiring sportbike riders ever since its launch. The lean and compact, technology-packed R15 represents a mean package, accelerating, turning and stopping with the aggression of a precision, laser-guided missile.
Fri, 21 Oct 2011 15:50:00 -0400 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 Review [Video] “Take that turn over there as hard as you can. When you get the bike fully on its side, whack the throttle to the stop.”In my mind I still have the fearless aspiration on a motorcycle that I did when I first started riding, but maybe as I get older my self-preservation instincts have started to form a bigger influence on me. Clearly, executing the above scenario would be a recipe for disaster. In fact, I’ve done it once before. With the bike firmly on my knee, maximum lean angle achieved and a greedy throttle hand, I twisted my wrist as far as it would go, hoping to get a vicious drive out of the corner to pass the guy in front of me. Instead, my boneheaded move landed me right on my head. I haven’t repeated that move since, but the 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1, now with traction control, gave me a feeling that maybe it was time to give it another whirl. And I did. So much for those self-preservation instincts.
Mon, 26 Sep 2011 11:50:00 -0400 2012 Yamaha Zuma 50F Review [Video] Scooters have long been associated as the transportation method of choice for students and those looking to maximize their mileage from a gallon of gasoline. Among the many choices available, Yamaha’s venerable Zuma has been a staple of college parking lots since 1989. Indeed, since 1997, Zuma sales have reached nearly 80,000 units, with the second generation accounting for nearly 64,000 units sold since its introduction in September 2001. The recipe for success is simple, too: mix mildly rugged looks, Yamaha reliability, an affordable price and everyday practicality in the form of storage space and fuel economy. Then, just reap the rewards. Change, however, is inevitable. While the world makes a push for cleaner power sources and maximum fuel economy, the Zuma soldiered on with its 49cc two-stroke engine. While still wildly economical at a claimed 123 mpg, its powerplant didn’t make Mother Nature happy, nor did it provide much torque. Over time, owners complained that the seating position was sloped too far forward, placing a lot of weight on the arms. That problem was exacerbated with a pillion on board.So was born the 2012 Yamaha Zuma 50F. At first glance the 50F doesn’t appear to be much different from the model it replaces. Blame it on the focus groups. They helped dictate the direction of the third-generation Zuma’s styling. They indicated that styling and fuel mileage were the two biggest factors when determining which scoot to buy. Yamaha showed these focus groups a myriad of different design sketches ranging from radical to subdued, and as the elimination process progressed, a pattern emerged: the twin bug-eye headlights from the previous model were huge hits that shouldn’t be touched, and clean, comfortable and simple styling was preferred over “plasticky,” sharp designs.
Wed, 14 Sep 2011 10:40:00 -0400 2012 Yamaha and Star Motorcycles Model Preview As the 2012 model year arrives and the economy is struggling to pick itself up, the major OEMs have stayed rather conservative on releasing new models — choosing instead to give their current lineup a refreshing of sorts, even if that only means adding a different paint scheme or new decals. The “Bold New Graphics” approach, as we industry types call it.Yamaha and its cruiser line, Star Motorcycles, is one of those manufacturers erring on the side of caution with next year’s street lineup. This despite being the second-best selling brand for cruisers 900cc and up last year (behind some company from Milwaukee...), and with the Raider being the best selling “high end” metric cruiser above 1300cc for the same time period. On the sport side of things, Josh Herrin’s and Josh Hayes’ success on the YZF-R6 and R1, respectively, have done little to convince Yamaha to come out with something new. But that’s not to say the company doesn’t have some exciting surprises in store.First some bad news: those hoping Yamaha would unveil a new YZF-R6 for 2012 will be disappointed. The same basic model we’ve seen since 2008 will see its way into another year, although freshened up with some different paint schemes. In fact, not only is the R6 the same from last year, the FJR1300A, FZ1, FZ8, FZ6R and WR250R are all copies of the 2011 versions with new colors and price hikes of $100 - $200.
Thu, 02 Jun 2011 12:40:00 -0400 2011 Supersport Shootout - Street [Video] The sleek lines, svelte figure, light weight and high-horsepower engine of the modern supersport motorcycle, along with the race-bred origins of the majority of the components found on these two-wheelers, project an image that says, “Go as fast as possible! Win that race!”There’s a prevailing platitude among two-wheel pundits that says this type of motorcycle is impractical for everyday use by the non-racing everyday rider. And while not in direct conflict with this theory of impracticality, an equally popular assertion that gets bandied about alleges that of the sportbikes purchased, most will never turn a wheel on a closed course and only ever exist under control of local vehicle codes rather than club-racing rules.So, after selecting the all-new 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 as our top choice for use at the racetrack in our 2011 Supersport Shootout – Track comparison in which the new Gixxer went toe-to-toe with the Honda CBR600RR, Kawasaki ZX-6R and Yamaha R6, we now move on to Phase 2 of this often-annual examination in which we examine how they perform in a street environment.
Thu, 12 May 2011 16:30:00 -0400 2011 Supersport Shootout - Track [Video] If you’ve been paying any attention to the state of the motorcycle world lately, sportbikes in particular, you’ll notice that the middleweight category has been largely overshadowed by its 1000cc counterparts. It makes sense for those manufacturers who make a literbike, as resources should be spent on a company’s flagship machine. But for those of us who like the slightly more unassuming qualities of a 600cc machine, the choices have remained the same for a few years now. Heck, we didn’t even bother doing this test last year since the game hadn’t changed much except for a slightly longer exhaust canister on the Yamaha YZF-R6. For 2011 however, Suzuki has whet our appetite with an all-new GSX-R600. Pete had a chance to test the all-new Gixxer at its press launch, held at Barber Motorsports Park. If you haven’t read that yet, take a peek here. Keeping in line with tradition when it comes to new model revamps, the newest 600 on the block is lighter, stronger and more powerful than the model it replaces. Pete came back optimistic about the new GSX-R’s chances in the face of the current 600 king, Kawasaki’s ZX-6R.
Wed, 27 Apr 2011 15:10:00 -0400 2011 Gentlemen Sportbike Shootout Here are three ways to satisfy a thirst for a powerful sportbike without the pretzel-ed legs and sore wrists. What started as a duel between the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 and 2011 Yamaha FZ1 morphed into a Mexican stand-off with the last-minute appearance of the 2011 Suzuki GSX1250FA. The Suzuki’s arrival broadened the scope of what a gentlemen’s sportbike can be by counterweighting some of the shortcomings of the other two bikes. Introduced this year, the Kawasaki Ninja 1000 and Suzuki GSX1250FA are the freshest models in this three-bike comparison. The Suzuki is a refreshed Bandit, now with a full fairing and standard antilock brakes bringing a heavier sport-touring aspect to the class.
Thu, 10 Feb 2011 08:20:00 -0500 2011 Naked Middleweights Shootout With the recent introductions of Yamaha’s FZ8 and BMW’s F800R to U.S. shores, the unfaired – or “naked” – middleweight category expands to include at least five models. With machines from Germany, Japan, Italy and the U.K., it’s a good ol’ moto melting pot of naked bike fun!Lucky us, we got our paws on four of ‘em: Aprilia’s Shiver 750, the BMW F800R, Triumph’s Street Triple R and the FZ8 from Yamaha.What are they?
Thu, 13 Jan 2011 10:40:00 -0500 2011 Yamaha FZ8 Review - First Ride Yamaha’s potent yet manageable FZ8 is enough to make its paternal grandfather, the R1, blush with pride.As the latest beneficiary from Yamaha’s repli-racer genetic stock, the 779cc inline-Four is endowed with some of Yamaha’s most inspired sporting technology which should serve it well in its life as an everyday sporting Standard.The FZ8’s DNA has roots in Yamaha’s premier sportbike, the YZF-R1. The current FZ1’s engine was derived from the pre-crossplane R1. The new offspring inherits the FZ1’s R1-inspired alloy perimeter frame, its chassis geometry, some engine components, as well as many design elements from its compact and efficient engine.
Tue, 21 Dec 2010 13:10:00 -0500 Dual-Sport Shootout: Electric vs. Gasoline! Electric motorcycles – presented as the ideal ride for economically-minded environmentalists, supporters of U.S. manufacturing and nouveau tech fanciers – have garnered a fair share of mainstream press in the past couple of years. Among the rhetoric we’ve been hearing is that one day, perhaps sooner than some think, the electric powertrain will supplant the internal-combustion engine. E-bike advocates – and even some who are merely ambivalent – seem already programmed to offer what’s fast becoming a clichéd, verbal knee-jerk response: “it’s the future.” Oh really? If so, what about the present? Since these bikes are here now, has that future begun? To find out, we took as representative samples the still-current 2010 Zero DS Electric Dual Sport and the 2011 Yamaha WR250R.
Tue, 07 Dec 2010 21:20:00 -0500 2011 Yamaha WR250R Review Since its introduction in 2008, Yamaha’s street-legal WR250R has continued to impress with its competent alloy chassis, potent but low-maintenance 250cc DOHC thumper engine, long-travel suspension, and reasonably light weight. Three years later, the design is holding tough, with basically just graphic changes. Yamaha says the bike can trace its lineage to YZF motocrossers and more aggressive enduro bikes, and we came away convinced this was not just marketing hype. Our 298-lb California model weighs just one pound more than the 49-state version, and with its lights, turn signals and license plate, made riding to the trails and then hitting it a fairly do-able proposition.
Fri, 12 Nov 2010 11:30:00 -0500 2011 Bagger Cruiser Shootout As long as demand for cruisers remains high in the U.S., you’ll keep seeing plenty o’ cruiser reviews on this site. And that’s just fine by us here at Motorcycle.com, especially when it comes to exploring the burgeoning bagger sub-segment.Beyond the obvious benefit of carrying your crap in the standard saddlebags, many of these light-duty touring Twin-powered boulevard bombers come with luxurious accoutrements to make miles in comfy saddles more pleasurable.A sizeable windscreen – if not a full batwing fairing – protects against windblast, which is often exacerbated by a cruiser’s relaxed fists-in-the-wind seating position. And some manufacturers stuff the bar or frame-mounted fairing full of niceties, like a comprehensive radio tuner/CD player and/or MP3 combo along with switches or switch blanks ready for auxiliary lighting and so on.
Mon, 08 Nov 2010 10:00:00 -0500 2011 Yamaha FZ-16 Review The Yamaha FZ-16 is bringing the company back from the dead in India. After several years hibernating, the Japanese giant has again made a motorcycle that captures the heart of the Indian enthusiast, and it’s become the country’s best all-round 150cc bike. This baby FZ has caused a flurry of activity at Yamaha showrooms, buyers queuing up across India to take one home. Could a sporty small-displacement bike like the FZ-16 find a home on America’s urban streets?Rugged and naked, the FZ-16 looks striking, borrowing its handsome lines from liter-class brother, the FZ1. Token fairing pieces clad the bike, with a massive, exquisitely sculpted tank dominating its macho profile. The compact single-cylinder engine sits exposed, and the FZ uses black, slim-spoke alloy rims while its engine, frame and silencer use the same color to good effect.
Thu, 04 Nov 2010 08:30:00 -0400 2012 Yamaha Super Tenere Review BMW’s GS juggernaut finally becomes impossible for the Japanese to ignore. Yamaha’s Super Ténéré, an adventure-tourer with a 1200cc twin-cylinder engine, is set to go head to head against the iconic R1200GS when it arrives in America next spring. Yamaha’s big A-T actually has its own off-road legacy. A single-cylinder Ténéré (no super) enduro first debuted back in 1983. The Ténéré went Super in 1989 when the twin-cylinder XTZ750 debuted in the European market, and it went on to win the grueling Paris/Dakar rally six times. Hence the name Ténéré (say ten-eh-ray), which is a region in the Sahara desert traversed in the P/D rally. This new Super Ténéré was introduced in Europe earlier this year, and Yamaha recently announced it would be coming to America as a 2012 model. If the 750cc parallel-Twin XTZ was a Super Ténéré, this new model might well be called the Super Duper Ténéré, as it has a 450cc displacement advantage.
Wed, 01 Sep 2010 07:10:00 -0400 2012 Yamaha Super Tenere Preview The U.S. adventure-touring segment expands next year with Yamaha’s decision to import the on/off-roading Ténéré for the American market. And not too soon, as adventure-touring fans in the U.S. have clamored for over a year for this machine.Powering the Ténéré is a fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-valve-per-cylinder, 1199cc Parallel Twin with an 11.1 compression ratio. The Twin also uses a 270-degree crank firing order. A two-axis primary balancer helps smooth vibes inherent in the Parallel Twin configuration. The engine is fed by a downdraft twin-bore fuel-injection system utilizing 12-hole injectors. The exhaust is a 2-into-1, 2-step expansion system ending in a short, elliptical muffler.Engine power is routed through a wide-ratio six-speed transmission to a shaft drive system using a hypoid rear gear to ensure everything is as compact as possible. The Ténéré's engine crankshaft is kept low and close to the footpegs in order to keep the bike's center of gravity low.
Wed, 01 Sep 2010 07:00:00 -0400 2011 Yamaha FZ8 coming to the U.S. Yamaha announced today that it will be importing its sporty FZ8 naked sportster to the U.S. for 2011.The fuel-injected, 779cc, alloy perimeter-framed four-cylinder has been on sale in Europe since last year, and it’s being touted as a compromise between the less-powerful 600cc middleweights and the bigger literbikes like Yamaha’s R1-based FZ1 and Kawasaki’s Z1000. The FZ8 actually has much in common with the FZ1. Its engine – six-point mounted as a stressed, chassis-reinforcing member – shares the same 53.6mm stroke, but its bore size is 9mm smaller, at 68mm, instead of 77mm as found on the FZ1.
Wed, 25 Aug 2010 21:00:00 -0400 Motorcycle.com Best of 2010 Awards Now in its second year, our MOBO awards selections process gives us the chance to reflect on the year that was. And for 2010, the spotlights were generally shining on European manufacturers which continued to pump out desirable product while most Japanese OEMs crawled into a hole to wait out the near-global recession. Brands like Aprilia, BMW, Ducati and Triumph haven’t slowed the launching of new models, and this forging ahead in the midst of a storm has resulted in gains of market share. It’s also provided us with several interesting new bikes to ride. Perhaps most interesting of all are the bikes in the paradigm-shifting electric motorcycle movement that’s rapidly gathering momentum. Progress in this category will come quickly as new technology takes great leaps forward. Although the two-wheel market isn’t what it once was, this is nevertheless a fascinating era in the evolution of motorcycling. The best motorcycles and machinery of 2010 are seen below.
Wed, 16 Jun 2010 15:40:00 -0400 2010 Triumph Rocket III Roadster vs. 2010 Star VMax From its earliest days as a product of the Yamaha motorcycle brand, the VMax was the icon of brute force on two wheels.Merely mentioning the VMax is sure to conjure images of a rear tire-roasting, muscle-bound, two-wheeled monster in the mind of just about any bike enthusiast old enough to recall the 1985 release of Mad Max.And to this day the VMax retains much of its lore, even as a member of the Star Motorcycles brand.
Mon, 26 Apr 2010 16:00:00 -0400 2010 Kawasaki Ninja 650 vs. 2009 Suzuki GSX650F vs. 2010 Yamaha FZ6R Kawasaki’s Ninja 650R, Suzuki’s GSX650F, and Yamaha’s FZ6R are three middle-weight sport-oriented bikes that present a somewhat beguiling irony: Compared to pure sportbikes, they are less capable in some respects, yet more capable in others.While they won’t edge out more specialized machines at the racetrack, they could be said to do better job in a broader variety of road riding tasks – you know, the kind of riding most people do when they don’t need to rip to 160 mph, or drag a knee on a 70-mph kink, or brake deep into corners. Everyday street riding, remember? That’s what these bikes are about.
Wed, 13 Jan 2010 22:00:00 -0500 2010 Honda CRF450R vs. Yamaha YZ450F Let’s take a second to reintroduce the players, the 2010 Honda CRF450R and Yamaha YZ450F. Honda extensively revised its proven winner in 2009, headlined by fuel injection, frame and suspension changes. For 2010, Honda focused on minor refinements to the CRF450R rather than making sweeping changes. Why mess with success?Yamaha, on the other hand, threw itself into an engineering frenzy. The YZ450F was completely updated with a new frame, new suspension, and a radically new engine. Mass centralization was the key, headlined by a new engine with a backwards-facing cylinder, four-valve head, fuel injection, an airbox relocated to behind the steering head and an exhaust system with more twists than a bag of pretzels.Before we go any further, we need to make clear this isn’t a shootout so much as it is a comparison of the apex predators of the motocross world. Scheduling and weather didn’t allow us to ride the bikes back to back, but our crew did ride them just a week or so apart. We didn’t only take them to one track either; we rode them on groomed motocross tracks, fifth-gear cross-country terrain and tight East Cast singletrack. We even twirled the wrenches to see what it’s like to live with these beasts in the real world, all the while taking a ton of notes from our squadron of six test pilots. Just so you know, those riders ranged from spode to Pro, with weights varying from 140 pounds to 190 and heights from 5’6 to 6’. Once the dust cleared we had an old-fashioned bench racing session, which resulted in yet another mound of hand-scribbled notes.
Wed, 18 Nov 2009 16:10:00 -0500 2010 Yamaha YZ250F Review Yamaha claims to have sold over 60,000 YZ250F motocross bikes since the model was first introduced in 2001. How’s that for an opening statement? Sixty thousand units, in motocross terms, is gigantic. The five-valve Thumper redefined the small-bore class, made 125s obsolete overnight and its torquey, easy to ride nature made amateurs feel like Pros.This fall, the 2010 YZ450F received the lion’s share of updates and media hype due to its fuel injection system and reversed cylinder. Those sweeping changes on the big bike forced the carbureted 250 back into the shadows, but they shouldn¹t have. The YZ250F saw big changes of it’s own for 2010, without taking away from the vital ingredients that have made it such a success for Yamaha.
Wed, 30 Sep 2009 16:20:00 -0400 2010 Yamaha YZ450F Review Last week, Yamaha introduced the radically-new 2010 YZ450F to the world at Maryland’s Budds Creek Motocross Park, and Motorcycle.com was there to see if its reversed engine layout and extreme mass-centralization was effective in giving the fresh YZ the agility it promises.Mere miles from our nation’s capital, Budds Creek is draped across a small creek valley, giving the course its constant peaks and valleys – there’s not one flat turn or straight-away out there besides the holeshot line.As MO’s resident lo-po tester – bringing you reviews of Piaggios instead of Ducatis – I was happy to get the opportunity to ride something with power enough to require holding on tight. But we all know, I’m not a track star, road or otherwise, so we brought along a new friend to MO, Joey Webb, to really put the new YZ to the test. Joey currently races the previous YZ450F and is fresh off testing Kawasaki's new KX450F, so it was going to be interesting to see how they compared.
Tue, 08 Sep 2009 09:50:00 -0400 2010 Yamaha/Star Lineup Unveiled The rapid-fire introductions of new models we’ve been accustomed to over the past decade are being curtailed, so the streetbike news from Yamaha and its Star Motorcycles brand is fairly thin this year. However, there are some significant updates of Yamaha’s well-rounded line to share, including a surely popular R1 Rossi replica and a retuned R6, along with the introduction of a swoopy bagger from Star Motorcycles, plus a refreshed version of the V-Star 1300 Tourer. Star Stratoliner Deluxe
Tue, 08 Sep 2009 09:40:00 -0400 2010 Yamaha YZ450F Preview Yamaha’s new YZ450F is set to turn the motocross world upside down. More accurately, the YZ turns it backward!In a bold move, Yamaha engineers have built a new motor that has its intake at the front and its exhaust exiting out the rear, similar to the unique-but-ill-fated Cannondale from a few years ago that is now sold in upgraded form as an ATK. The new YZ-F not only has its exhaust port facing the rear of the bike, the engine itself is rearward-slanted so its weight is placed near the center of the bike. Yamaha says this design makes the big YZ feel more agile than other 450s, even approaching that of a 250cc 2-stroke machine. “It’s the most nimble handling 450 ever,” said Tim Olson, media relations manager for Yamaha’s off-road division, at the YZ’s unveiling.
Fri, 14 Aug 2009 15:20:00 -0400 Best of 2009 - Motorcycles of the Year While we enjoy ripping on substandard motorcycles, crappy bikes are hard to find these days. Take a look at any of our comparison tests from the last couple of years and you'll find only marginal differences between our declared winners and their competitors. With so much high-quality product to choose from, culling the field down into our Best Of winners was an arduous task. But that didn't stop us from coming up with our favorite stuff from the class of '09! Introducing the first-annual Motorcycle.com Best Of awards. And the MoBo goes to...Motorcycle of the Year
Thu, 06 Aug 2009 12:50:00 -0400 2009 Sport-Touring Shootout ‘Round early June of this year we started thinking long haul to Laguna for the first stop of MotoGP in the U.S. As far as we’re concerned, one of the best ways to get to the Monterey Peninsula, other than a free limo with a fully stocked bar, is in the saddles of some two wheelers.The ideal bike for this type of trip should: provide storage capacity for a long weekend, enough wind protection to keep us from getting battered by windblast while bombing down the interstate, and plenty of sporting capability to enjoy the serpentine, circuitous route we love to take on our GP journey from greater L.A. to Monterey.BMW’s K1300GT, Honda’s ST1300, Kawasaki’s Concours 14 and Yamaha’s FJR1300A were our steeds. As you can see, we could’ve called this a 1300cc sport-touring battle, but the Connie goes one up on the other three with its ZX-14-based inline Four. Is using a mill based on a land rocket like the mighty ZX cheating? You may be surprised how it fared against the new K bike.
Fri, 24 Apr 2009 09:00:00 -0400 2009 Literbike Shootout The Pursuit of PerfectionIt’s been nearly 12 years since I began working as a full-time motojournalist, and I get wistful for those simpler days. Back then, the literbikes (CBR900RR, ZX-9R, GSX-R1100 and YZF1000) were separated by nearly 100 pounds of weight and huge power disparities, and ergonomics ranged from racetrack refugee to something we now call sport-tour-y. Even a neophyte motojourno could pick a clear winner.But today, we’re stuck in a world of finely honed and fully featured literbikes whose level of diversity is amazingly insignificant. They all haul ass around a racetrack, chassis geometry distinctions are measured in fractions, and peak horsepower differs only by about 5%. Unless you’re a nationally ranked Superbike racer, each of these bikes is way better than you are, and saying one is significantly better than another is mere hair-splitting.
Fri, 06 Mar 2009 15:10:00 -0500 2009 Supersport Racetrack Shootout Readers who want to be endowed with maximum info will want to first check out our 600 Street shootout. You get bonus marks for reading our ZX-6R First Ride and our 2008 Supersport Shootout.It’s a reasonable thing for most enthusiasts visiting this illustrious webzine to expect our reviews of motorcycles to be conclusive. After all, when we factor in the talents of our current crew of “volunteer staff,” our collective experiences span nearly a century of riding and getting to know just about every make and model of bike available for the past 30 years. So plucking out the best should be as easy as getting out of bed, right?Oh, if only it were so easy. Sometimes even the pros are left scratching their noggins like a small party of confused chimps. Such is the case with the 2009 crop of Japanese Supersports.
Fri, 20 Feb 2009 20:10:00 -0500 Quarter-Liter Supermoto Shootout Reasonable entry fee, excellent fuel mileage and grins-a-plenty: this description can apply to most motorcycles, but they are especially apropos in regard to these black-cloaked little funsters. These bikes appeal to younger or less-experienced riders who want a new bike at a relatively low price, and especially those who may have some dirt-riding experience.Supermoto is an emerging motorcycle niche, gaining momentum in 2003 when an American national race series emerged. The basic formula is a lightweight dirtbike adapted for pavement use by using a shorter suspension, more powerful brakes and 17-inch wheels with sticky roadrace rubber.
Mon, 16 Feb 2009 17:10:00 -0500 2009 Supersport Shootout UPDATE: We took the Supersports to the racetrack for a spin.Everyone loves a close fight. Whether it’s Ali and Foreman duking it out for a full 15 rounds or if it’s the Steelers eking out a narrow victory over the Cardinals in the Superbowl, a closely contested match-up is always fun to watch.Which is why our annual Supersport Shootout never fails to attract loads of eyeballs to Motorcycle.com. It’s a never-ending tussle of one-upsmanship among the Japanese manufacturers, as models that ruled in one year often get usurped by the latest and greatest newly developed contenders.
Fri, 13 Feb 2009 17:00:00 -0500 2009 Yamaha FZ6R Review While the nearly naked FZ6 sported an aluminum chassis and a high-strung engine from the previous generation R6, the fully faired FZ6R carries the styling of a supersport but in an affordable package. The FZ6R is fills a price point in the model line as well as aiming at women riders and entry-level sportbike loversEmerging as an all-new model for Yamaha, the FZ6R bursts onto the scene in four vivid colors and graphics packages. Here you see the yellow stunter edition. Rumor has it the yellow bikes have more horsepower.Yamaha has just introduced comfort to the commuting sportbike crowd. We’ve seen a lot of price-driven bikes crop up lately - cheaper bikes for a softer market - and Yamaha steps up the plate with a great looking player.
Wed, 28 Jan 2009 19:40:00 -0500 2009 Muscle Cruiser Shootout As the cruiser market grew along with the rest of the industry at near exponential rates over the last 15 years, so did displacement and the “performance” level of some cruisers. Now there’s an unofficial subset of this segment where the words muscle, power or performance may be used along side the word cruiser.Sure, performance cruisers still have most of that essential cruiser profile. But a lot of them also stop well, are agile, powerful enough, and comfortable enough to catch the eye of a consumer that may be considering an altogether different style of bike.Witness Suzuki’s latest introduction, the Boulevard M90. During the bike’s U.S. launch this past fall in Monterey, CA, Mel Harris, vice president of American Suzuki Motor Corporation, says the M90 fills a gap that existed not only in Suzuki’s own product line, but also in the market.
Thu, 22 Jan 2009 16:00:00 -0500 2009 Yamaha XJ6 & XJ6 Diversion Review While we were flogging Yamaha’s latest R1 around Australia’s Eastern Creek race circuit, the Europeans were sampling a new all-rounder naked bike around Sydney. The XJ6 is a Euro version of the fully faired FZ6R which we’ll be seeing in the North American market this Spring. Both are based on the existing FZ6 but have lower specification engines and chassis. We think the XJ6 looks a bit cooler than our FZ6R, but Americans have a propensity for ignoring naked sporty bikes, so we get the mechanically similar faired version we’ll be testing in mid-February. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at the platform from our European correspondent. KD
The Diversion is like the VMax, a Ghost from the ’80s brought back to life by Yamaha in 2009. After years of the FZ6 acting as Yamaha’s entry-level model into multi-cylinder motorcycles, the XJ6 is back. Its aims to be easier to ride slow, with less power but more torque in lower revs, and above all - to be even more affordable.After Honda proved there is a market for friendly middleweights with the CBF600, Yamaha has decided to do the same in the new XJ6 series. The concept is pretty much identical to the original Diversion of the 1980s and ’90s, but in all new trim. The XJ6 and XJ6 Diversion are made to be an attractive entry-level model. To achieve that, there was a need to be less sharp and edgy than the R6-derived FZ6. The current FZ6 sports around 100 hp, and everything from the engine to the chassis can be traced back to the pre-2006 R6 model.
Sun, 18 Jan 2009 13:20:00 -0500 2009 Yamaha R1 Review You might not yet know what a cross-plane crankshaft is, but you will. It’s a link to Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP bike, and it’s the biggest advancement in literbike engine design in years. This new crankshaft arrangement is part of Yamaha’s latest YZF-R1, a literbike we tested last week at the Eastern Creek circuit in Australia, and it’s a design not seen in any previous production motorcycle. The 998cc engine’s distinct sound is the obvious clue that it’s something special - it’s akin to a V-Four with a deep, purposeful note that seems a little bit angry. But it’s in the way the motor generates power that sets it apart from its competition. Gone is the peaky powerband of the previous motor, and in its place is the most tractable four-cylinder literbike yet built.
Wed, 24 Dec 2008 15:10:00 -0500 2009 Yamaha WR250X Review Rarely has a quarter-liter streetbike been this much fun. The Ninja 250 has its sportbike appeal, but it’s lacking the bad-ass gene that is so apparent in the WR250X supermoto. Hayabusa pilots might not think much of its 28 horses at the back wheel, but it’ll lap the Busa within four circuits of your local go-kart track! And therein lays the charm of the WR; It makes sub-60-mph speeds a riot, whether it’s at the kart track or while running down to King Soopers for a loaf of bread. Even a casual jaunt through the neighborhood can turn into a grin fest, tempting a dirt-bred hooligan into mono-wheeling past the local skateboarder park or bunny-hopping over curb edges just for the fun of it. The 250X’s single-lung engine fires up easily enough – just push the magic button and the fuel-injection takes care of the rest; there is no kickstarter. However, it is a bit cold-blooded and requires a minute of warming before it responds cleanly to the throttle. Early impressions are good and not so good.
Mon, 01 Dec 2008 16:50:00 -0500 2009 Yamaha T-Max 500 Review While the T-Max has long had a solid Euro-following, Yamaha USA has always been skeptical about the market for such a functional but unglamorous bike in America. The thinking is that, in America, motorcycles are used more for recreational purposes so they have to be cool. While we get that whole Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday classic Vespa thing, we often don’t know what to make of these neither-fish-nor-fowl maxi-scooters.But now, the T-Max is sold here. It arrived just in time for four-buck gas in SoCal, when Yamaha couldn’t keep the smaller Vino in stock. The tuning forkers had visions of selling a freeway-capable scooter to people with longer commutes. I, for one, hope that the current blip back towards a buck-something gas doesn’t dampen the company’s willingness to promote this product. Although the high end of the scooter market will take some developing, I believe there’s role for the motorcycle as a primary vehicle.
The T-Max was totally revamped for the 2008 model year, which is the version we now get Stateside for 2009. A new body style, which grows on you, conceals an all-new alloy frame, which replaces the old tubular steel chassis.
Thu, 27 Nov 2008 15:30:00 -0500 2008 Lightweight Dual-Purpose Shootout Here’s a trio of street-legal dirt funsters that are as versatile as they are inexpensive. With expensive fuel and economic blues getting us down, we ran these easy-to-ride, off-road-capable 250s through a gauntlet of tough testing. We found a lot of value for MSRPs less than $5000.While none of these bikes will win you an off-road championship, they do pack a surprising amount of value under their palatable retail prices. In terms of components, the Kawasaki’s KLX250S stands above the Honda CRF230L and Yamaha XT250, yet all three share some basic traits. For example (brace yourselves!), all three wispy d-p machines inhale through a traditional, single carb, and (thankfully) all are electric-start. It’s worth noting that the Kawi’s 250cc mill is kick-starter ready, should you choose the accessory option. The Honda offers its historical reliability and friendly composure. The Yamaha offers more power and a few electronic goodies that the Honda lacks. The Kawasaki piles on all that and a bag of chips, offering the best suspension and the most power and torque in the test.
What initially began as a playful dare grew into a full bore Motorcycle.com shootout. After attending two out of three model introductions for these bikes, I ordered up the missing third bike. Far from race-ready enduros, this is a collection of motorcycles slightly bigger than downhill mountain bikes.