Just to be complete: I tested the Zero SR 14.4+ ZF75-10 MY 2022.
You can’t get past the electrification of cars nowadays. This year for example, I traded in my diesel-guzzling company car for a PHEV model. Electric motorcycles, on the other hand, are pretty much a rare sight. But the past EICMA made it clear that they are on their way. A few major manufacturers presented their vision of the future, which is often electric. With the Zero SR I was able to test such a combustion-free bike.
Founded in 2006 in California, Zero has been the reference within the electric segment for years. The SR I tested is a model year 2022, equipped with the well known 14.4+ ZF75-10 power source. Important detail: the 2023 model has some important upgrades. More on that later.
The lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 14.4 kWh powers a patented Z-Force motor that produces 166 Nm of torque and 75 hp. The plus sign in the name indicates that the battery pack can optionally be expanded to 17.3 kWh.
The battery is ultimately what this motorcycle is all about. The key question everyone asked me: how far can you ride it? According to Zero between 124 km on the highway (at 113 km/h) and 251 km in the city. I never made it that far. With an easygoing riding style, never exceeding 100 km/h, 160 km was possible.
Second most asked question: how long does it take to charge? From a normal socket about 4.5 hours for a full charge. Fast charging is not an option with the base model.
And question three: what does charging actually cost? I don’t normally care about fuel consumption on a motorcycle, but it’s not an irrelevant factor when considering an electric motorcycle.
After the release of the new BMW S 1000 RR in 2019, we were looking forward to the launch of the updated BMW S 1000 R. Its predecessor already had some years on the clock: in 2014 it appeared in showrooms for the first time, as a direct descendant of the then RR.
Of course the design of the new S 1000 R is the first thing that catches the eye. The rather classic headlight makes you frown less than the one on the previous generation. The bike looks shorter and more muscular (although it’s actually three centimeters longer). Just one glimpse is enough to know that this bike goes hard.
BMW logically started off from the all new RR when developing their supernaked. The 1000 cc engine has been revamped to broaden the torque band, just like its predecessor. The RR’s ShiftCam technology was thrown overboard too. The philosophy behind these adjustments is that the RR must excel on the track, while the R has to show its best performances on the street – and therefore the highest revs are visited less often than with the RR.
You don’t need a thermometer to see that the adventure segment is still the hottest around. Not because everyone has to plow through deserts or wants to ride from the North to the South Cape, but simply because these bikes are so comfortable. And because they look nice and cool of course. And at the same time they give you the feeling that you can just pack your bags and go on an adventure.
So it’s quite logical that Husqvarna came up with an adventure bike too. After all, they have plenty of experience in motocross and enduro, and since they’ve been partnering up with KTM, they don’t have to beg hard to borrow some parts.
Fans of triples who were looking for a mid-class sports tourer in recent years, didn’t have much choice. In 2007, the Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport was launched, and that was really your only option until two new models hit the scene in 2015: the Yamaha MT-09 Tracer (renamed Tracer 900 in 2017) and the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce. That list of three was short-lived, because production of the Tiger Sport stopped in 2016.
In 2020 Yamaha unveiled the successor to the Tracer 900. In addition to a welcome facelift and two zeros less on its identity card, the new Yamaha Tracer 9 was also thoroughly overhauled underneath its fairings. Just in time, because in 2021 a third mid-class triple sports tourer suddenly showed up: the Triumph Tiger 850 Sport.
We haven’t ridden either competitor, and to be honest another model is a lot higher on our wishlist: after a very convincing week with the Triumph Trident 660, we are very curious about its sports tourer brother, the Tiger Sport 660.
But back to the order of the day: the Yamaha Tracer 9. After our test with its predecessor, I was completely convinced with what the Japanese had presented me – except for some detail criticism. Also the looks were actually already passé two years after its introduction.
Fortunately, the new looks of the Tracer 9 improved a lot. Fresh, sharp and sporty, perfectly translating the character of the bike. The Tracer 900’s bombastic handguards have been traded for less over the top ones, and the slim LED turn signals add refinement. As far as I’m concerned, only the Continue reading →
That experience made me very curious about the new 1290 Super Adventure S, which got a big make-over for model year 2021. Even though an untrained eye perhaps wouldn’t notice much of that update.
The headlight is probably the biggest eye-catcher. It now contains the sensor for the (standard) adaptive cruisecontrol. Quite easy to spot as well: the new 23-litre tank hangs like two large cheeks along both sides of the also renewed frame. Furthermore, the LC8 V-twin has been thoroughly revised: it weighs 1.6 kg less now, received a Euro5 diploma and spits out 160 hp/138 Nm. The steering head was moved 15 mm rearwards for sharper handling, while the swingarm was extended by 15 mm for more stability and grip. And there’s more, but we’ll discuss that later.
When I hop on the bike, I immediately notice that the adjustable seat (849 / 869 mm) is lower and narrower at the front than on the previous model. At the same time, Continue reading →
You often hear the term bobber in the cruiser segment. Harley-Davidson, Triumph and Moto Guzzi each have one in their line-up. And with the Scout model, Indian even has two: the Scout Bobber and the Scout Bobber Twenty. But what makes a bobber so special, and how does it ride?
‘Bobbing’ originated in the custom scene of the 1930’s. By removing unnecessary parts, motorcycles were made lighter and therefore faster. No front fender, a minimalist rear fender, as little metal or chrome as possible.
Today, a bobber has more to do with looks and ‘coolness’ than actual weight savings. This is also the case with the Indian Scout Bobber: short fenders, a solo seat, low and far forward positioned handlebars on the Scout Bobber and a mini ape hanger on the Scout Bobber Twenty. Both with forward controls.
The seating position seems spartan but when I sit down in the showroom it feels quite comfortable. Whether I’ll still think the same after half a day of riding … we’ll come back to that later on.
The story of Harley-Davidson has been a soap opera in recent years. The fully electric Livewire that was revealed in 2014? Quite the plot twist for a brand that’s usually linked to classic choppers and rumbling exhausts. And if that wasn’t already hard enough to swallow for the average Harley rider, they had to stomach an adventure bike and a streetfighter a couple of years later. Or at least the announcement. Preproduction models of both bikes (the Pan America and the Bronx) were shown at the 2020 Brussels Motor Show. Shortly afterwards the storyline spiraled even further with a new CEO who immediately decided to ditch the Bronx. Just to quickly give you an idea of a few plot lines.
The Special version of the Pan America differs from the standard version with a range of extras: semi-active suspension, tire pressure monitoring, crashbars, handguards, heated grips, steering damper, centerstand, bash plate, radiator guard, cornering lights and a brake pedal that can be easily adjusted to two different heights. Starting prices: $17,319 for the standard Pan, $19,999 for the Special. My version also had the optional spoked wheels and the adaptive seat height.
If you don’t like the design of the Pan America: it looks a lot better in real life than it does in the pictures. The striking front will probably be the pitfall for this model even though owners will think of it as ‘different’ or ‘original’. After one week, Continue reading →