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Basem Wasef

Motorcycles

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2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS: Riding Fast, Riding Green

Wednesday April 16, 2014
Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS

After spending time on About.com's long-term Kawasaki Concours 14, you'd think I'd be hopelessly addicted to its massive power and hulking presence... but sometimes, believe it or not, you don't always need to crank it to eleven.

Sure, the 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS has a big, Z1000-derived 1,043cc four-cylinder engine, but it wasn't nearly as much of a handful as the 1,352cc Connie 14.

How does the saddlebag-optional sport tourer ride, and is it entertaining enough to fill the horsepower gap between it and its big brother Concours 14?

Check out my 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS Review: Ridin Fast, Riding Green to find out.

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Photo © Basem Wasef

Finally, A Prius We Can All Agree On

Wednesday April 9, 2014
Toyohog

Something about the Toyota Prius makes it a strangely repellant vehicle to both motorcyclists and car lovers alike. Maybe its the dome-roofed hybrid's tendency to attract holier-than-thou tree-hugging do-gooders, or perhaps its the gas and electric-powered car's planet saving pretense that inevitably devolves itself into a lane-clogging nuisance, like a rolling speed bump crawling through traffic whose sole purpose is to annoy other motorists. For whatever reason, Prius drivers and their often self-righteous steeds manage to rub a whole lot of people the wrong way... Read More...

Government Mandates Autonomous Motorcycles by 2018

Tuesday April 1, 2014
Government Mandates Autonomous Motorcycles by 2018

If you enjoy maintaining full control of your motorcycle while riding down the road-- throttle, brakes, steering and all-- you might want to be sitting down for this piece of news: the Department of Transportation issued a joint statement today with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that a bill will be passed that requires all motorcycles to have "fully autonomous, self-piloting capabilities" as early as 2018.

"The goal is not to remove the freedom or adventure of riding a motorcycle," DOT spokesperson Melvin P. Meyers insisted, "but rather to create harmony on the roads between two and four-wheeled vehicles, and avoid the sorts of accidents that claim many lives every year."

Read More...

2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Review: Riding the 180 Horsepower Wheelie Machine

Monday March 31, 2014
2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Review

Ducati may have typified the naked bike genre with its top-tier Monster 1200, but KTM's $16,999 1290 Super Duke R ABS certainly mixes it up nicely with an Austrian take on the big-engined hooligan theme.

How does KTM address the alternatives, and how much of its dirt-inspired roots can be felt at the handlebars of this 416-pound ride?

Find out in my 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R ABS Review.

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Photo © Basem Wasef

Japanese Brands Score Top Three Spots in Motorcycle Reliability Survey

Monday March 31, 2014
Motorcycle reliability

In case you missed this news story last month, Consumer Reports surveyed 4,424 motorcycle owners and came out with one conclusive thread: Japanese bikes are more reliable than their German and American counterparts, with Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Honda edging out Harley-Davidson and BMW.

According to the study, differences of 4 points or less are not considered meaningful-- which still points to a significant rift between the Japanese bikes and the others-- and the results were adjusted for age and mileage of the motorcycles. When evaluated by bike type, touring motorcycles were the most problematic, followed by dual-sports, sport tourers, and cruisers.

Interestingly, Harley-Davidson and BMW owners ranked among the highest in satisfaction despite their bottom-rung reliability results, with 75 and 74 percent saying they would buy their bikes again, respectively. 72 percent of Honda owners would also buy Hondas again, though only 63 percent of Yamaha riders and 60 percent of Kawasaki owners would provide repeat business to their manufacturers.

As for keeping your bike running reliably, Consumer Reports suggests staying on top of maintenance, keeping tires properly inflated, checking the brakes, regularly inspecting your bike, and storing your bike properly.

Source: Consumer Reports

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Graphic © Consumer Reports

Is BMW Building an S1000RR-Based Sport Tourer?

Monday March 31, 2014
BMW S1000F

Seems speed hungry, long distance-riding BMW lovers who consider the six-cylinder K1600 GT/GTL models a bit of a handful might be in for a treat: based on rumors and spy photos circulating (like the one above), the latest S1000RR spinoff will be the S1000F, which takes a sport touring-focused stab at the go-fast formula idealized by the mammothly powerful S1000RR.

The evolution seems natural-- after all, BMW's naked S1000R offered the first step away from the fully-faired superbike layout, and a sport touring model with removable cases (as evidenced by the visible saddlebag frames) would enable the supersports platform to further expand without re-inventing the wheel.

Question is: Would you be tempted to buy this Beemer when already-capable sport touring examples already exist, like the Yamaha FJR1300, the Honda ST1300 and VFR, and the upcoming Motus MST?

Source: Asphalt & Rubber

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Honda NM4 Vultus Concept Production Bike: "Neo-Futuristic" with "Front Massive Styling"

Monday March 31, 2014
Honda

>>Update: Since this post went live, Honda announced the NM4 will go on sale this June, with a 670cc parallel twin (as found in the NC700X), and will go for $10,999. The news came on April 1st, so we're still not sure whether to believe it or not...<<<

Honda doesn't hold back when it comes to their concept bikes-- remember the V4 concept bike which inspired the VFR?-- and they certainly didn't break tradition with their latest pie-in-the-sky design, the NM4-- aka, Vultus.

According to Honda, the pointy-nosed ride was intended to achieve two design goals: having "front massive" styling, and having a cockpit position that emphasizes a sense of unity with the rider.

Power comes from a liquid-cooled, 745cc parallel twin mated to a dual-clutch transmission (the same setup found in the NC750), and two versions offer two different setups: a big, mean look (in the NM4-01), and a big, mean look with integrated saddlebags (in the NM4-02, seen here). As for the backrest-equipped, maxi scooter-like saddle, it sits at a low 25.6 inches, suggesting this might be a beginner friendly alternative to more conventional looking offerings.

Though they seem fantastical, these bikes are actually planned for production-- though there's no telling how much, if any, the new bikes will veer from these wild looking designs.

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Photos © Honda

The Cost of Cheap: Chinese Motorcycles Rack Up Massive EPA Fines

Monday March 31, 2014
American Lifan Charged With EPA Fine

You may recall a certain motorcycle manufacturer named American Lifan, which was listed in my post about the 10 cheapest motorcycles sold in the U.S.

The makers of those dirt cheap motorcycles will soon have to pay the price for skimping on emissions: American Lifan was slapped with a civil penalty of $630,000, and will also be required to post a $300,000 to $500,000 bond to satisfy Clean Air Act penalties for violations including non-conforming carburetor specs, crankcases which emit directly into the atmosphere, and bikes which were manufactured after the expiration dates of their certificates of conformity.

There's no word yet on whether the U.S. branch of the Chinese company will survive the steep fines, but the news certainly does put their rock bottom pricing into perspective.

Source: Autoblog Green

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Photo © Ecosse; click for 10 Most Expensive Motorcycles

Long Term Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS Update #4: Light 'Er Up!

Wednesday March 19, 2014
Kawasaki Long Term Concours 14 ABS - Lunasee Lighting Test

Of all the farkles I could have dreamed up for our long term Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS tester, an auxiliary lighting system never quite registered on my wish list; despite the well-documented benefits of being seen on a bike, buying lights for a bike already equipped with lights didn't seem like a logical expenditure of hard earned cash.

But when a side lighting kit from a company called Lunasee showed up at my door, I figured it would be a good way to give the system a shot; after all, my riding routine involves a decent amount of nighttime travel, making this a prime opportunity to experience a product I would have otherwise overlooked.

How'd it go, and would I have spent my own money on the Lunasee kit? Read my Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS Long Term Update #4 to find out.

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Photo © Kawasaki

Two New 2014 Hogs: Harley Introduces the Low Rider and SuperLow 1200T

Wednesday March 12, 2014
Harley-Davidson Low Rider

It's no secret Harley-Davidson was launching their Street 500 ($6,700) and Street 750 ($7,500) models at this year's Daytona Bike Week festivities, but two other mid-year releases also snuck their way into the 2014 lineup: the Low Rider (above) and the SuperLow 1200T (below).

Resurrecting its name from the 1977 era bike, the Project Rushmore-inspired Low Rider Read More...

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