Tag Archives: Sportbike
While burying the speedometer deep into the triple digits in a car is exciting (and something you should only do on a track…obviously…), doing the same thing on a motorcycle ratchets the excitement up exponentially. And going wide-open on a street bike? Even more knuckle-bleaching, as the big-inch engine bellows between your legs and the avalanche of angry air – undiluted by a full fairing – attempts to throw you off the bike and throw the bike off the pavement.
Here are 20 two-wheeled tarmac scorchers guaranteed to thrill.
The streetbike segment has certainly been heating up lately. Blurring the lines between naked sportbikes, choppers and old school café racers, these un-faired brawlers broadcast their preference of function over form loudly and proudly, yet often wind up looking fantastic for doing so.
Ducati is arguably the leader of the charge in this area of the marketplace, offering the popular Monster, the animalistic Diavel, and the fittingly-named Streetfighter families of motorcycles. That last model range is set to grow next year with the addition of the Streetfighter 848. But if you think the only change is just a slightly smaller engine than the 1,098cc unit found in the current Streetfighter and Streetfighter S, you are quite wrong. How wrong are we talking?
In the world of motorcycle manufacturers, most people are familiar with the Japanese brands, the Italian brands, Germany’s BMW, Austria’s KTM, and the occasional British and American firms. But few casual motorcycle buffs (at least the ones in this part of the world) remember the Swedish-named, Italian-built Husqvarna.
The motorcycle-building arm of the company that got its start as a rifle supplier for the Swedish military waaaaay back in 1689 has been owned by BMW since 2007 (when they purchased it from MV Agusta), and it has had a huge presence in the off-road and dual-purpose bike markets for decades. Now, though, the company is getting back onto the street bike scene for the first time in a very long time. And thanks to heaping doses of design and engineering assistance from the parent company, that first modern street bike – the Nuda 900R – has all the makings of a winner.
Mention the name “Ducati” to most people, and chances are a picture of an angry looking, angry sounding red superbike will pop into that person’s head. That’s understandable, because those are the bikes that seem to get the most exposure. But Ducati’s much more than 848s, 1198s and Streetfighters; there are the Multistrada, Monster and Hypermotard families that provide more well-rounded performance and better day-to-day livability thanks to their less tightly-wound drivetrains and more upright riding positions.
Now, though, the Italian firm’s sensible (relatively speaking) range has a new addition, except this bike has a rather menacing look about it. It’s also, despite its unconventional looks, quite the athlete. Calling it the motorcycle equivalent of a Goth high school quarterback wouldn’t be too far off the mark. What name’s on its jersey? Diavel.
There are those who say it’s better to do one thing well than a bunch of things just decently; still others feel it’s better to be well-rounded than specializing in one niche. Now Honda, a company with a long history of asking, “Why not?” is wondering why no one has built the decathelete of motorcycles.
First, a history lesson is in order. In 1969, Honda rolled out the CB750K0, a straightforward, form-following-function 4-cylinder sportbike. It was athletic enough to be quick (It even won the Daytona 200 in 1970.), yet comfortable and user-friendly enough to ride every day if you chose to do so. Some critics have alleged Honda has forgotten about this successful formula in recent years, but with the new CB1000R, the Japanese firm is out to prove it has not only not forgotten the recepie, but intends to perfect it.
Owning a bike like the Yamaha R1 immediately temps one to throw common sense and rational thought out the window, replaced with sheer adrenaline and a fearless kamikaze attitude. But that doesn’t mean one should give in… That said, most motorcycle riders fall somewhere along the continuum between safe and cautious and sheer insanity. Our comrad in Moscow, featured in this video, is very much in the latter camp.
Lane splitting is common place in cities such as LA (where it is legal), but even the most confident bikers take head during rush hour traffic, waiting patiently for the opportune time to make a go. This guy takes things to a whole ‘nother level of the game, even rolling between outbound and inbound traffic. Toss in a few wheelies for good measure, a couple mirror taps and a wanton disregard for the laws of probability and we have an amazing video. Seeing is believing… Check it out after the jump.