Buell Firebolt

Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 11:14 AM



 Hey, I'm not a complete Buell-hater! I actually had some good things to say about the styling of the BatBuell 1125CR. If you have to have a Dark Knight theme, then I think that bike pulled it off just fine, batwings and all. But there really is no excuse for the Firebolt, which combines the "just ran into a guardrail" engine scrunch with a pokey, droopy dual eyed fairing that would look better on a snow sled. Is there anything at all that's even remotely acceptable in the styling of this bike? No!

Honda DN

at 11:10 AM


I have to confess I really don't know what this DN is supposed to be. It's got the swoops of a sports bike, but when you look at the ergonomics, it's got the seating position of a cruiser. It's even got some weird sort of footboards, for cryin' out loud. if they made the muffler any bigger they could just hide the whole bike behind it! And is that windshield supposed to deflect even one mosquito? All of the rest that I see is just lumps and bumps and angles that don't add up. I think DN stands for Do Not buy!

Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra

at 11:02 AM

Purists say a bike with three wheels just isn’t a bike. Well even the hardcore amongst us might make an exception for the Tri Glide Ultra. Inspired by the Servi-car models built from 1932 to 1973, this 2009 model is decidedly a softer ride than its predecessor, and comes with a lot of cool retro accessories. Harley says it also gets great mileage (appx. 46 mpg), especially given its whopping 1174-pound weight.

Ducati 1098

at 10:57 AM

The long wait for a suitable replacement to Ducati’s masterpiece 916 is finally over. Motorcycling’s Ferrari equivalent has looks that’ll reduce a grown man to tears and performance to stir a whole new type of emotion. The Italian-built 1098 is the fastest production twin cylinder bike on the market. You will want one.

Triumph Tiger 1050

at 10:55 AM

The Tiger gets sharper claws! The previous incarnation of this British built Triumph had long been a favourite among adventure bike fans, but the all-new model broadens the appeal with abilities that make this handsome bike one of the most versatile machines on the market. Besides, nothing beats the evocative sound of a Hinckley triple on full throttle!

Rapom V8 Monster Bike

at 10:52 AM

Bikes don’t come more extreme than this. Britain’s most powerful motorcycle features a massive 8.2 litre supercharged V8 monster truck engine. Courtesy of a tank of pure alcohol it kicks out 1000bhp from the ludicrous 8193cc engine. Even more ludicrous is the fact its road legal! It has to be seen to be believed.

Bimoto DB6 Delirio

at 10:50 AM

Like something off a futuristic sci-fi film but the Delirio is very much today. Italian firm Bimota use other manufacturer’s engines (in this case a Ducati V-twin) so they can concentrate on wrapping round some of the most original and exotic chassis ever seen. The MCN London Motorcycle Show is the first place in the UK to see the DB6; built strictly in limited numbers with a price tag at the opposite end of the scale, it could also be your last.

Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha M1

at 10:47 AM

So the flamboyant Italian and seven-time world champion lost the title last year onboard this Yamaha. But we all know that he’s still the best. In 2007 MotoGP sees its first major rule change in five years; the engine capacity has reduced from 990 to 800cc. This will be one of the final chances to get close to a real piece of two-wheeled racing history.

Suzuki GSX-R1000 K7

at 10:45 AM

When the GSX-R1000 was launched in 2001 it instantly became top dog of the 1000cc sports bike pack. The fourth version of this two-wheeled missile does nothing to suggest that form won’t continue. Lighter, faster and with more emphasis on control – a handle bar switch allows the rider to choose from three power settings.

Buell Lightning

at 10:38 AM

How to take a perfectly wonderful Sportster motor and wrap it inside a train wreck. The whole bike looks like it's sitting in a scrap yard after an 80 mph head on collision with an Amtrak. There are no words to describe the profound repulsive hideousness of this... thing!

KTM 690

at 10:37 AM

 There simply is no excuse for this sort of design. The may seen as some sort of trendsetting supermotard design, but all it does is just uglify a market segment that is already producing the ugliest bikes around. Maybe the proboscis should be made out of metal so that it can impale pedestrians who get in the way.

Honda V45 Magna

at 10:35 AM

Admittedly it was close when placed up against the Suzuki Madura (aaargh!) but the Honda won the battle since it has even more tacked on pipes, bars, slabs and pointless doohickeys than the Manure-a

Honda Rune

at 10:34 AM

The price of a custom-built cruiser without any of the style. The designers of this long, low, bulky battleship may have thought they were setting new styling trends, but all they did was forge a joke. The fenders should have been put back on the 1929 Reo Flatbed where they came from and the exhaust pipe should have had a guard to keep cats from crawling in there and going to sleep.

BSA Rocket 3

at 10:32 AM

The original Rocket 3 is even uglier than its bastard offspring. Obviously designed by Gerry Anderson for use in his futuristic puppet shows, it's hard to believe that this same basic bike was marketed as the Triumph Trident which had Bonneville-styled good looks

Triumph Rocket 3

at 10:31 AM

 I'm all for innovative styling but this monster just looks like it's an engineering mule. the other side of the bike at least has some visual interest with the three inline cylinders. This side is just cobbled together with shapes that don't fit and curves that don't jibe. Maybe they should have made the already huge picture frame radiator larger and hid the whole bike.

Kawasaki KZ1300

at 10:30 AM

Design a great six cylinder inline engine, make sure no one can see the beautiful cascading pipes by hiding them behind a Ford F350 radiator, then hide the rest of it beneath a tank that is shaped like the seated rear end of an obese man. Mix with square headlight and instrument panel and a tail section from a Suzuki GS. Mix and puke

Yamaha Roadliner

at 10:27 AM

 If you look carefully at the trailing curve of the front fender, you'll think it's an optical illusion. The Art Deco overlay on this bike is like styling a minivan inspired by Michael Keaton's Batmobile. 

Suzuki SV1000

at 10:25 AM

Honda CB400F

at 10:24 AM

Honda destroyed the jewel-like CB350 Four after just one year of production and replaced it with this square-edged faux racer junkpile. The exhaust pipes set a new low in idiotic styling and the rest of it is so undescript that it barely even registers. Ride it for two hours and you'll have holes in your legs where those saddle rivets are.

Kawasaki Ninja 500R

at 10:20 AM

This is the complete package: 51 mpg, aggressive style, a budget-friendly price tag, and gallons of fun -- all courtesy of the Kawasaki Ninja 500R. With its bikini fairing and belly pan, this tame Ninja oozes sexy sportbike style without compromising comfort. A liquid-cooled 498cc parallel-twin engine fires off enough torque for the twisties, while its lightweight chassis works wonders for handling. The Kawasaki Ninja 500R requires minimal maintenance and will last you for years to come. If you’ve been touched by the Ninja after seeing Top Gun, then the Kawasaki Ninja 500R is your Maverick.

Triumph Bonneville

at 10:15 AM

Evel Knievel jumped one over Caesar’s Palace. Clint Eastwood rode one through Central Park in Coogan’s Bluff. Steve McQueen was rarely seen without one. The Triumph Bonneville is testament that classic style can outlive half a century, for today the bike is aesthetically unchanged from its 1959 debut. At 50 years old, the Triumph Bonneville is still running strong with an air-cooled 865cc parallel-twin engine, featuring EFI and an output of 67 horses. With upright seating and scintillating British style, the Triumph Bonneville is a legend in the motorcycle world and a must-have as your first bike.  

Harley Davidson Sportster 883 Low

at 10:14 AM

If you have a penchant for push rods and a thirst for the open road, no other cruiser in American history can tango with a Harley. But before you attempt to reenact Easy Rider, start with the Sportster 883 Low rather than blowing half of your yearly salary on that new Wide Glide. Harley’s classic V-Twin melds with dual chrome pipes and rear piggyback shocks, showcased by minimal bodywork. Horsepower is low and torque is a passive 55 lbs.-ft, so there’s nothing to be afraid of on your first hog. Slip on those chaps and bust out the tassels -- your first Harley is a Sportster.  

Yamaha FZ6R

at 10:11 AM

So, you want a sportbike but you don’t want to break the bank or your neck? The Yamaha FZ6R is the safest bet for future track riders, offering smooth power, an accommodating seat height and enough low-end torque to zip through the canyons. The FZ6R’s full fairing and low handlebars round out its sporty aesthetics, while the fuel-injected 600cc inline-four engine cranks out 66.5 horsepower. Dual-disc brakes in the front attribute to the FZ6R’s impressive stopping power, and the bike is available in three different color variations. Keep walking past that expensive and intimidating R1 and swing a leg over the Yamaha FZ6R as your starter bike.  

Ducati Monster 696

at 10:08 AM

Few brands stimulate the saliva gland to the obscene extent that Ducati tends to, and many of the Italian empire’s hundreds of thousands of loyalists will remain with a Duc for their entire lives. If you have lots of money and a burning desire for pristine Italian architecture on two wheels, then a Ducati Monster 696 is the beginning of the red carpet. With its signature trellis frame, fuel-injected, 80-horsepower, L-twin engine, and stubby tail section, the latest Monster 696 is the definition of Italian innovation. A pair of upside-down Showa forks, radial Brembo brakes and USB-equipped digital instrument panel boost the Monster’s quality meter over many bikes in this price range.  

Suzuki GS500F

at 10:06 AM

The Suzuki GS500F is one of the most versatile beginner motorcycles on the planet. This standard rocks out with a full fairing and sleek bodywork for a sporty profile. Riders who don’t want to be scrunched over the tank of a sport bike in order to reach the clip-ons will love the upright seating position of the GS500F. For power, the Suzuki GS500F’s 487cc parallel twin cranks out just over 51 horsepower, yet is frugal with its gas mileage. This bike can reach 115 mph, but that’s pushing it to the max in sixth gear. The Suzuki GS500F heads the welcoming committee of the Standard world.

BMW F650 GS

at 10:02 AM

Who hasn’t dreamed of pulling a Ewan McGregor and circumnavigating the globe on a BMW adventure bike? Before you work your way up to an R1200 GS, the BMW F650 GS will pave the road. But cast aside the “650” portion of this Beemer’s model name, for the bike shares the same 798cc parallel-twin with the BMW F800 GS. Those wacky Germans! The F650 GS engine is detuned, staving off a little extra grunt for beginners, and flaunts a low seat height. Heated grips, ABS and a few other optional features make the BMW F650 GS a solid bike for novice rock hoppers.

Honda CRF230M

at 10:00 AM

If you’re a dirt rider trying to bridge the gap between gravel pits and asphalt, the Honda CRF230M is right up your alley. Honda’s supermotard cousin of the Honda CRF230L dirt bike delivers exceptional gas mileage and exceedingly manageable power, thanks to its air-cooled single cylinder. The Honda CRF230M is more of a commuting machine than a competition supermotard, ideal for riders looking for a lightweight, durable machine to flog around the city. 

Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD

at 9:54 AM

What happens when you take a Ninja 1,000 engine from the '80s, slice it in half and stuff it into a cruiser body? The Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD comes to life! With its bulletproof parallel twin engine, the Vulcan 500 LTD is not only reliable, but it possesses enough power to hang with bigger 850s. The bike’s low seat height, wide rear tire and dual exhaust pipes contribute to the bike’s classic styling. If you see yourself as a future highway warrior, then the Vulcan 500 LTD is an excellent start.

Suzuki TU250X

at 9:50 AM

If your two-wheeled experience is limited to squeaking around the block on a rusty Huffy, your best bet is to opt for the least likely to cause pants-wetting motorcycle on the market. The Suzuki TU250X is one of them, sporting a docile 249cc air-cooled, single-cylinder engine, upright riding position, and 75 mph top speed. Not to mention the Suzuki TU250X’s Bonneville-like style and passenger-friendly seat. At just under four grand, the Suzuki TU250X is a stellar starter bike.

Honda Gold Wing

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 10:18 AM

If you want maximum luxury with a bottomless well of power, and you're okay with piloting around a 900-lb two-wheeled convertible, the venerable Honda Gold Wing has an unbeatable combination of comfort and versatile performance. Three excellent V-Twin touring-cruisers have recently been introduced, but they can't do everything as well as the superlative Wing.

BMW F800ST

at 10:09 AM

If the sport part of the sport-touring equation involves unraveling the squiggliest parts of a map, the athletic F800ST is hard to beat. Accommodating ergonomics provide comfort during weekday commutes, while a lithe and obedient chassis encourages canyon strafing on Sunday rides. Optional locking luggage and heated grips give you the tools for inter-state touring, aided by decent wind protection, a maintenance- and lash-free belt drive, and torquey parallel-Twin motor supplying ample power. Its excellence became apparent after it won a side-by-side comparison with Honda's silky VFR800 Interceptor.

Travertson V-REX

at 10:03 AM

In the custom cruiser mien, it's not unusual to throw down $50K or more for something that stands apart from the hordes of other choppers trying to be unique. And yet they are all pretty much just variations on tired themes. But nobody will think that when you pull up on a V-Rex. Looking like a refugee from a sci-fi movie, the Travertson-built monstrosity is unlike anything you've ever seen. The swingarm front suspension is the first thing to blow your mind, but everywhere else your eyes rest will continue the squall on your brain, such as the bespoke cast frame, the single-sided rear suspension and the alien-looking nose. There aren't many $40,000 bikes we are willing to describe as a bargain, but for its incredible traffic-stopping countenance, V-Rex qualifies.

Kawasaki Ninja 250

at 9:56 AM


Yeah, most of us know that new riders should hone their riding on a lightweight and modestly powerful bike, but no one wants to look like a dweeb while expanding their skill set. The little Ninja avoids the newbie-bike stigma by looking a lot like its more powerful Kawi brothers, appearing sleek and purposeful despite its easy-to-ride nature. Its twin-cylinder 250cc engine won't intimidate newbs yet has enough power to keep up with 80-mph freeway traffic, and its agile demeanor has the capability to embarrass larger machines on the right twisty road. At $4,000, it's a bargain, and you'll get most of that back on resale when it's time to trade up for a bigger bike.

Triumph Thunderbird 1600

at 9:50 AM

It's been cruiser utopia for the last decade or so, with every major manufacturer jumping into the market to piggyback on Harley-Davidson's astounding success for the feet-forward crowd. Harley's iconic 45-degree V-Twin has spawned an endless succession of imitators, many of them excellent in their own right. But we don't think we're alone in seeing this genre as a little bit stale. That's one reason why Triumph's new T-Bird made such an impression on us, as its parallel-Twin (a zero-degree Vee) stands apart in a sea of clones. Its 270-degree firing order supplies the requisite thumpity-thump exhaust note, but both its character and layout are unique. This might be a moot point if the 'Bird wasn't blessed with clean, graceful lines that follow a well-worn formula yet are distinct. And for those of you who like cruising on curvy roads in addition to the straight ones on the way to the cafe, the Trumpet can cut an inside track as tight as anything in its class.

Triumph Street Triple R

at 9:46 AM

Triumph had a good thing going when it unveiled the sweet Street Triple 675, a pared-down streetfighter version of the beloved Daytona 675 sportbike. The Street Triple’s finest feature is its soul-stirring three-cylinder engine that boasts a broad powerband and a symphonic exhaust note. The motor, re-tuned from the Daytona, has a predictable but powerful output that makes it accessible and unintimidating to riders of all skill levels yet is satisfying for even the saltiest veterans. Comfortable ergos – including a reasonably low seat height – and an eminently toss-able nature made it a staff darling, but we were a little disappointed it had some bargain-minded bits to keep the retail figure low.

But like a dream come true, the Street Triple R was introduced just last year, replete with the Daytona’s up-spec fully adjustable suspension and potent radial-mount Nissin brake calipers, alleviating all of our concerns. The result is an invigorating and versatile roadster that stickers for less than $10K. Lofting the front wheel is a snap, and before you know it you’ll be drifting out the back end like an inspired Brit hooligan. And on your favorite twisty back road, its friendly yet potent character is almost unbeatable, proving that no one really needs triple-digit horsepower peaks. Now that Triumph perfected the Street in our eyes, it became the perfect Standard. And it's our favorite motorcycle of 2009.

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