We've put motorcycles as diverse as the Triumph Bonneville, Honda Gold Wing, and Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Lo to the long term test, and now it's time to find out how another bike performs over the long haul.
Our next subject will hail from Kawasaki, the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer whose parent company is responsible for heavy duty goods like bullet trains and container ships.
And so, the big question: If you had to live with one of these four Kawasaki motorcycles for roughly half a year, which would it be? To read a review of each contender, simply click on the photo of the bike; once you're ready to vote, click the link below.
You're only allowed one vote, so choose wisely and click here to see how the race is going.The Ninja 300's predecessor may have made its name as a stellar beginner bike, but that hasn't kept this sequel from winning over a slew of more experienced riders.
>>Click Here to Vote for the Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS<<
Packing over 200 horsepower beneath its vented bodywork, few bikes are as brawny as the ZX-14R... but does that make it a good daily rider?
>>Click Here to Vote for the Kawasaki ZX-14R ABS<<
It doesn't get much more versatile than the Concours 14, a saddlebag-equipped sport tourer whose underpinnings can be traced to the fire-breathing ZX-14.
>>Click Here to Vote for the Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS<<
It may not be the most adaptable motorcycle for daily use, but the naked Z1000 delivers wheelie-popping power in an aggressively styled package.
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- Kawasaki Ninja 300 Review
- Kawasaki Z1000 Review
- Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R ABS Review
- Kawasaki Concours 14 Review
- Vote for our Next Long Term Harley-Davidson
- Vote for our Next Long Term Triumph
- Vote for our Next Long Term Honda
Photos © Kawasaki
Honda's gradual downsizing has touched all aspects of its U.S. lineup-- from the elimination of their big-bore VTX1800-series and the engineering effort invested into the NC700X to the introduction of middleweights like the CBR500-series. But the just-introduced 2014 Honda Grom takes the trend to new extremes.
The 2014 Honda Grom is tiny-- not only in price (the little guy starts at $2,999) but also in footprint. Sporting miniscule 12-inch wheels, this minibike packs surprisingly sporty details like an inverted fork, digital instrument cluster, and a curb weight of only 225 pounds. Motivation comes from an air-cooled, fuel-injected 124cc single-cylinder engine mated to a 4-speed transmission, while its seat height is a surprisingly tall 29.7 inches.
Could the Grom stall in its efforts to take miniaturization to new levels?
For three grand, this new bike is loaded with efficiency, value, and personality. Not only is it a viable alternative to scooters, the Honda Grom just might re-carve a new niche for the long forgotten minibike genre.
- 2014 Honda CTX700: Inseam-Friendly NC700X Variants for the Touring Cruiser Set
- 2012 Honda NC700X Review: The $7,000, 64 MPG Cure for Motorcycle Malaise
- 2012 Honda NC700X: Everything You Need to Know
Photo © Honda
Until now, we've known the 2014 Indian Chief will pack an air-cooled 111 cubic inch (1,811cc) v-twin that sounds like this-- and we've also just been graced with the dimly lit silhouette seen above, which will finally see the light of day at this year's Sturgis Rally in August.
But equally-- and perhaps even more importantly-- we've just learned the Chief's pricing will start at $18,999, slotting the hefty cruiser squarely between Harley-Davidson's $17,399 Softail Deluxe and $19,899 Road King Classic, both of which are powered by a 103 cubic inch mill.
Sure, the Chief is a premium product, and no doubt aims to attract a well-heeled contingent that's just as likely to cross-shop against Harley-Davidson's spread of standard and CVO models. We also expect the lineup to expand in both directions, growing to offer bikes for a broader span of checking accounts.
But even bigger than the question of price point and potential for market penetration is the fact that Polaris has endeavored to resuscitate the 112 year-old nameplate at all, putting a ballsy stake into another source of homegrown manufacturing. Whether or not you're a fan of big engined, air-cooled cruisers, the new Indian motorcycle brand is something pretty much anyone can agree is damn exciting for America.
- This Torquey Air-Cooled V-Twin Will Power the 2014 Indian Motorcycles Lineup
- The "New" Indian Motorcycle Sounds Like...
- Harley-Davidson Rebounds as Wall Street Goes HOG Wild
- 2013 Harley-Davidson Lineup
- 2013 Harley-Davidson CVO Lineup
Photos © Indian
Unless your bike is equipped with saddlebags, there's a good chance you're donning a backpack while getting your goods from A to B... and with that said, the invariable question arises: would a backpack be good or bad for you in the event of an unplanned pavement scraping excursion?
The query has been looming in my transom for some time now, so when reader Peter emailed the same question (which has also been posed on another forum), I thought I'd throw it out to you, my readers, and ask whether or not you've had any direct experience (or theories) on what happens to backpacks in the event of a crash: would having an object strapped to your back offer abrasion resistance, or could it transfer load forces from impact and cause further damage to your spine? Read More...
We motorcyclists have practically made a second career out of explaining why we're not to blame when it comes to crashes. From "That car came out of nowhere" to "I must have hit an oil slick," we're surprisingly good at justifying why we couldn't keep the shiny side up.
And then there's this: After inexplicably plowing into two bicyclists on the infamously crashtastic "Snake" section of Mulholland Drive, I'm not sure this guy can come up with any cogent excuse for why he became immortalized on YouTube. Read More...
Motorcycle related fatalities rose in 2012, and according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, several factors are to blame.
For starters, the GHSA study suggests that an improving economy enabled more bike buyers to spend discretionary income on a motorcycle, while escalating fuel prices also drove more people to two-wheeled transport. Fatalities also rose because a greater number of states no longer require helmet usage, a statistical theory that's supported by the example seen in the state of Michigan; looking at the bigger picture, the number of states which require helmet use at all times has dropped from 26 states in 1997 to 19. Using the first nine months of the year for comparison, the study says that motorcycle fatalities increased in 34 states and were up 9 percent over 2011, with more than 5,000 total deaths tabulated. Read More...
As fuel prices continue to seesaw with uncertainty, more people than ever are turning to motorcycles in order to save money on gas. And while some argue that bikes should offer better fuel economy than they do, there's still plenty of cash to be saved by switching to two wheels.
Take these 10 bikes cited by the LA Times, and sourced using consumer and manufacturer fuel efficiency data by TotalMotorcycle: while they're not necessarily the top fuel sippers among all bikes, they are standouts in their respective classes compared to their competition.
Following a catastrophic slide that saw a 50 percent decline in yearly sales following the global recession, Harley-Davidson is looking stronger than ever on the eve of their first quarter earnings statement, which will be released this Thursday. Analysts are predicting a 96 cent per share profit, with most of those experts classifying HOG stock as a "buy" or a "strong buy," despite decreasing net income over the last two quarters due to tough winter and a late advent of spring riding weather.
Why the positive outlook? For starters, Harley's 2012 sales were up 6.2 percent over 2011, and a similar climb is expected this year. Earnings have outperformed Wall Street expectations for three of the past four quarters, and thanks to restructuring that started in 2009, H-D is now running more efficiently than ever: Read More...
Back in the 1970s when Moto Guzzi furnished motorcycles as cop bikes for the LAPD, the notion of an Italian cruiser was truly foreign in the United States, an oddity amidst a sea of familiar American iron. Fast forward to present day, and the landscape is more eclectic, with bikes from around the world dotting the landscape.
Moto Guzzi has remained definitively Italian throughout most of their nearly 100 year history, but their latest California 1400 Custom (top) and Touring (bottom) infuses a host of electronics, from electronic throttle and traction control to ABS and cruise control. How does it fare when compared to other modern cruisers? I swing a leg over and share my thoughts in my 2014 Moto Guzzi California 1400 Review.
- 2013 Moto Guzzi California Custom and Touring: Italian Style for the Big Bore Cruiser Set
- Moto Guzzi V7 Café Classic Review
- Moto Guzzi Griso Review
Photos © Moto Guzzi
Not too long ago, we debated whether Star Motorcycles' new Bolt was a viable alternative to Harley-Davidson's venerable Sportster; today, I saddled up with both versions of the Bolt-- a standard and an R-Spec-- and spent nearly a hundred miles gleaning riding impressions on this factory custom style cruiser.
How does the Bolt, which is priced only nine dollars cheaper than the Iron 883 Sportster, compare to the Motor Company's half century old design?
Read about my thoughts in this 2014 Star Motorcycles Bolt Review.
- 2014 Star Motorcycles Bolt R-Spec: Japanese Answer to Harley's Sportster?
- Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Review
- 2012 Star Stratoliner Deluxe Review
- 2011 Star Stryker Review
- Can the 2008 Yamaha Star Raider Beat Harley at the Custom Cruiser Game?
- 2009 Yamaha V-Star 950 & V-Star 950 Tourer Review
Photos © Brian J. Nelson; click for review