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The Best Full Face Motorcycle Helmet


We've stressed more than once that a helmet is the single most important piece of protective gear you can have. Please do NOT skimp on a high-quality helmet. This is your head we're talking about! And over 40% of motorcycle fatalities are due to head injury. 

A helmet protects you by absorbing most of the impact during a crash. For this reason, it's really important to get one that's properly certified. You should NEVER wear a helmet without the one of the following safety ratings:

- DOT (U.S.): this is the MINIMUM standard for helmets approved for riding on the street. This is a federally mandated cert that's enforced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- SNELL (U.S.): this is a voluntary private 3rd-party tester. The tests and standards are more rigorous than DOT (as this was originally borne out of racing). 
- ECE (Europe): This certification is the European version of DOT, but it's actually the most widely used in the world, and is used by all racing organizations. This one has the highest standards.


Helmets with these ratings mean that they've gone through the necessary tests (such as the ability to withstand sharp blows, being dropped from different heights) and have passed. If you want to go the cheap route and buy a random helmet with no certification, you may as well be wearing a bucket on your head. If you don't have the money for a quality helmet, then you shouldn't even be thinking about riding! 

Full Face Helmets

That said, let's go over our favorites. Today, we're covering our favorite full face helmets (learn about the different helmet styles and uses here). 

For riding on the street, we always recommend you go with a full face helmet. Yes, they are more of a hassle to get on and off, but they offer the most protection (they're also the most aerodynamic, which will make riding a lot more comfortable for you too). Because full face helmets are just one integrated piece, there are no weak spots that would be impacted in a crash.

(You may also find some modular helmets in our selection. They're more convenient as you can flip the bottom portion up to drink, snack, etc., but because they're made of 2 separate parts held together by a hinge, they won't hold up as well in a crash.)

Shoei 

Shoei is no doubt one of the most well-known brands for motorcycle helmets. The company was founded in 1959 as a safety helmet manufacturer in Tokyo. Their helmets are known for safety, comfort, and unique designs. Over the years, they have produced many helmets that have helped win world championships.

All Shoei helmets come with a five year limited warranty were they repair or replace the helmet if there are any of defects in materials or workmanship. They also offer a free impact and safety inspection service for any of their helmet collections.



Shoei RF-1200 Solid Helmet White ($437.39)

Shoei helmets have quite the hefty price tag, but you get what you pay for, right? The all new RF-1200 was developed in 2013 to introduce a helmet that is lighter and more streamlined, with improved functionality. The RF-1200 is the result of 55 years of knowledge, engineering, and stringent testing. And Shoei Road Team member Marc Marquez won MotoGP World Championship that same year.

The shell is made of AIM+, which is lighter yet stronger, and comes in 4 sizes so you can find your perfect fit. The RF-1200 comes with a whole laundry list of special features, including emergency cheek pads release system and a 5-stage rotating dial for fine-tuning of the base plate.  Helmet is both DOT and SNELL approved. 

Icon

A label built by riders for riders, Icon is a premium lifestyle brand for all freestyle and street riders. Started in 2002 as an experiment, the brand quickly developed a cult following. They're known for their creative protective gear, many of which feature hip urban and tactical designs and graphics. Icon has a strong presence in the sportbike scene and supports stunt and freestyle riders Emie Vigil and Nick 'Alex' Brocha.

Icon has a full product line for both men and women, emphasizing on high quality at an affordable price. We love Icon for their attractive helmets at even more attractive prices. You don't have to spend a fortune on a helmet that meet the required safety certifications. You can find an Icon helmet for as low as $150, with plenty in the $200 range too.


Icon Alliance Dark Helmet ($150)

This is our favorite budget pick. Icon's Alliance Dark Helmet earns its name from its badass black matte paint job (so you can roll around like some kind of rebel Batman). This time around, the Icon team created a less expensive option that still contains all the comfort and performance their brand is known to deliver.

The Dark Alliance is rigorously tested to meet varying helmet standards from around the world, and is designed to prevent any heat buildups or fogging of the shield. The shell is made of injected molded polycarbonate and the interior is completely removable so that it can be washed. Helmet meets both DOT and ECE safety standards.

Shop for Icon Motorcycle Helmets and Gear.

HJC Helmets

HJC has a long success history, being founded in South Korean in 1972. It is now the #1 helmet brand in North America since 1992 and is also the fastest growing helmet brand in Europe. Their helmet are known for their dynamic technical capabilities and special features that make aerodynamics, ventilation, vibration & noise reduction some of the best on the market.

HJC's mission is to make the most comfortable and innovative helmets, while keeping prices affordable. Helmets prices are on par with the $150 low end, and even the top of the line helmets from HJC will run you just in the mid $400's.


HJC RPHA ST ($359.99)

The RPHA ST is one of HJC's most successful helmets. It was named as the test winner in Motorrad Magazine's helmet test, even coming out in front of more prestigious models. It was ranked as the highest in performance and quality. It features a lightweight fiberglass composite shell, a max air flow top vent, a moisture wicking anti-bacterial interior, and an integrated anti-scratch SunShield. Helmet is DOT certified.

AGV

AGV is another company with history, having been established 70 years ago in Italy in 1947! The brand has gone through some revamps throughout its long lifetime, but has always remained top-notch. Many world champions have won wearing AGV helmets, including Valentino Rossi, Giacomo Agostini, and Kenny Roberts.

Except for find the full range of helmets from AGV, with numerous special release graphic helmets. The helmets are at great price points ranging from as low as $150 to a whopping $1,400 for super-luxe GP helmets developed in collaboration with championship riders.

AGV K3 Dreamtime Multicolor ($219.95)

The AVG K3 is one of their bestselling helmets and is a great one for those new to the AVG brand. Those riders who are more attracted to flash and pizzazz will be drawn to this intrinsically designed helmet, especially youngsters and racers. K3 helmets are derived from top of the range GP-Tech helmets. They are made with a thermoplastic shell, a chin wind protector, and a ventilation system of front, side, and back extractors. Helmet is DOT certified.

Shop for AGV Motorcycle Helmets.

Arai

Who hasn't heard of Arai by now? This is a small family company owned by three generations of motorcycle riders. Arai is especially known for comfort and fit advancements with different interior shapes, so riders with all different heads shapes can be protected and comfortable. 

Every Arai helmet is 100% handmade and goes through three separate quality control departments. Arai is so confident in the quality of their products that they were the first motorcycle helmet company to offer a full 5-year limited warranty, 15 years ago. Be expected to pay a bit more for an Arai quality helmet; their helmets ranges from mid $400 to almost $900.


Arai Vector 2 ($450-$477)

The Arai Vector 2 is at the lowest end of their range and is a solid no-frills helmet. Arai is not for shallow wallets, by any means, but they make high quality products through-and-through. Arai is all about customizing comfort for each person's unique needs, so this helmet has 5mm peel away cheek pads and temple pads, so you can find your perfect fit. It also has a unique patented chin vent design that directs air in to cool your face and prevent fogging. Helmet is DOT and SNELL certified.

Shop for Arai Motorcycle Helmets

Last note: Having an expensive high-quality helmet won't do much good if it's doesn't fit you properly. All those tests that prove that the helmet can protect you in a crash is only valid if it fits you correctly. So before you order a helmet, please read our guide: How to Properly Fit a Motorcycle Helmet.

Shop our full face graphic motorcycle riding helmets. Or if they're too loud for you, you may prefer the full face solid motorcycle helmets instead!



By Daniel Relich


Our List Of Best 650 Dual Sport Bikes


For a motorcycle for off-road use, you want it to be a light as possible. Lightweight means it'll be nimble and easy to handle on uneven and often rough off-road terrain. This is why the 650 class of dual sport bikes is a little strange.

They're too heavy to be considered ideal dirt bikes. Not practical at all for maneuvering around dirt ditches and wooded trails. But what they do have is enough power for speed, enough durability for frequent use, and enough comfort for distance.

In fact, many consider them to be like small, budget adventure bikes (and we know how expensive those can be).  So these bikes perfectly bridge that gap and fit the demand for cheaper, durable "go anywhere, do anything" bikes. And compared to real adventure bikes, they're small and light.

Kawasaki KLR650


Established a few decades ago, the KLR650 has undergone several major changes to finally find its place as a small adventure bike. Nowadays, it's got plentiful options for replacement parts for customization and modifications.

The KLR650 has a 651cc four-stroke single cylinder engine. It's not the fastest dual-sport, but it manages well with what it has. It may still seem a bit big when trying to maneuver it off-road. At 400 pounds, it's certainly not going to be a nimble kitten. But the larger size also means that it's durable and quite comfortable for riding longer distances.

It has a large 6.1 gallon tank and runs an average of about 38 mpg. You can expect to get around 200 or more miles of riding out of a KLR650 before needing to refuel it. Here's some good news for the cheapskates (ahem... budget-conscious) out there, the KLR650 can also make use of lower grade fuel and still perform at adequate levels.

The KLR650 doesn't use fuel injection and may need choke to wake up during times where it's gotten cold. Although this might be considered a negative, having easy-to-work-on parts on a bike that may be taking you to far away lands is not a bad thing. Simple is better, we think, in this case. While its handling is nothing to write home about, the KLR650 does its job of navigating terrain well enough and it gets you where you need to be.

At MSRP starting from just $6,599, you can see how this is a great alternative to the $12k+ adventure bikes. There are plenty of great deals available for used KLR's as well.

Suzuki DR650S



Another classic, the DR650S is a simple no-frills dual-sport. It has no fancy technology or accessories. In fact, the design has been largely unchanged since it was introduced. Many motorcycle enthusiasts are attracted to the DR650S for its powerful engine and great handling. 

Suzuki's DR650S comes with ad digitized DC-CDI ignition that gives it a more precise spark timing during combustion. It also comes equipped with a powerful 644cc four-stroke single-cylinder engine and 5 transmission speeds. The DR650S's carburetor is a Mikuni BST40 single, which was developed to achieve peak power in larger engines. According to Mikuni, it flows 26% more air than previous versions.

At about 366 lbs, we think the bike is pretty lightweight for its class. To reduce weight, it has hollow wheel axles and an aluminum beam-style swingarm. The suspension provides 10.2 inches of travel and has a height-adjustable shock that can be tuned for your individual weight and riding conditions. Overall, it's a basic, but well performing, bike for off-road as well as the street.

MSRP starting from $6,499, and even lower if you're considering a used bike.

Honda XR650L

The Honda XR650L is yet another timeless old-schooler that?s been around long enough to establish a (well earned) lofty reputation. The style and design of the XR650L has remained mostly unchanged since its 1993 inception... meaning it's not as swanky looking as newer bikes. But hey, if it ain't broke... 

Originally debuting in 1993, since its reveal, the XR650L was regarded as a top tier dual-sport bike. Being derived from the championship winning XR600R, Honda especially took care to ensure that this bike would be worthy of its dirt-only version's fame. Weighing in at around 350 lbs, the XR650L came with an added 50 lbs, but it was due to additions to make it worthy of the street too.


Today, the XR650L features push-button electric starting and a durable 5-speed transmission to allow for riding on any kind of terrain. It has a steel fuel tank, steel semi-double-cradle frame, horns, and blinkers. The suspension is tuned for off-roading, featuring a 43mm fork with 16 positions of compression damping adjustability.

Since Honda?s XR650L has been around long enough to become a classic, there are loads of aftermarket mods and accessories for riders to tinker with. The XR650L handles as one would expect, but is larger and a bit slower in responsiveness than other, more nimble, machines. However, the kick-start is a cinch to use, and actually works slightly better than many other contemporary dual sports.

MSRP starting at $6,690 with plenty of used options at even lower prices.

Do you have another 650 class dual sport that should be on this list? Let us know!

P.S. Check out our other list of our favorite dual sport bikes.

*all photos courtesy of Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Honda
By Daniel Relich


What Are The Best Dual Sport & ADV Tires?


It goes without saying that tires are one of the most important motorcycle component. They affect the performance, safety and ride comfort of your bike. Because of this, it's crucial to choose the right ones, whether you are upgrading to enhance your bike's performance or replacing a worn out set of tires.

Dual sport tires are even more specialized because they need to be able to conquer every type of terrain imaginable. They need to be stable enough to ride on the street and have enough traction for various off-road conditions.

What Makes a Dual Sport Tire

You actually need to consider your purchase seriously. You can't just purchase the first set of tires marketed as "dual sport" tires.

For off-road riding, traction is very important. Your tires need to be able to get a hold on all kinds of natural surfaces. Let's look at some factors to consider on a tire:

- Knobbies: This is what allows off-road bikes tires to function in the dirt. The more knobbies on the tire, the better the traction will be. Tires with short, denser knobs are more ideal for off-road hard terrain (such as rocky surfaces or hard-packed dirt) as they'll provide more traction. Tires with taller, more widely spaced knobs are for softer terrain (such as mud and sand). For street riding, tires should have no knobs.

- Tread depth: Deeper tread depth is necessary for softer terrain, so that the tires can better grip unto the shifting surface. Street tires need very little tread.

- Tire pattern: This is important for traction as well, especially during weather conditions. A pattern with wider voids (spaces in between the treads) will provide better traction for off-road riding, as it allows more surface for materials to grip to.

As you can see, there are many factors that goes into a tire. What kind of tires best for you will depend on what kind of riding you're planning on doing.

First, ask yourself: honestly, how much street riding will I be doing, and how much dirt riding will I be doing? Is it really going to be 50/50? Or is 80/20 more realistic? You want tires that work best for your riding style, not just tires that look the coolest.

Dunlop D606 (80% off-road)

Some call these D606 tires the rockstar of the smaller, 600cc range. When designing the D606 Dunlop wanted to craft a tire that would be DOT certified while keeping a strong focus on off road capabilities. It has deep treads, which will stand up even to the most rigorous off-road riding. At the same time, the tread compound has been engineered for highway use as well. But with its deep knobbie patterning, we definitely recommend that the majority of your riding is done off the road with this tire.

Shop Dunlop D606 front tire from $99 and Dunlop D606 rear tire from $102.

A very popular combination is the D606 for the front and the D908 Rally Raid on the rear, for the best combo of on and off-road handling. The D908RR comes in one size only, and while they can be run on a smaller dual-sport, be aware that they're meant to handle a heavier bike. They're designed for intense off road racing on hardcore surfaces.

Shop Dunlop D908RR front tire from $142 and Dunlop D908RR rear tire from $224.

Pirelli Scorpion Rally (70% off-road)

This is just a great tire all around, for any kind of riding surface. The tire of the racing champions at Pirelli - the Scorpion Rally - have shown to definitively perform at high levels, consistently. Knobbies on the front tire were engineered by the Pirelli team to offer a stable ride, even when you push it to breakneck speeds. Meanwhile the back tire maintains a durable grip to the surface, no matter how rough it is.

Thankfully for your wallet, the DOT legal Scorpion Rally was designed to withstand that rough treatment over time while maintaining a consistently high level of performance without breaking down.

Shop Pirelli Scorpion Rally front tire from $85 and Pirelli Scorpion Rally rear tire from $147.

Continental Twinduro TKC80 (60% off-road)

The TKC80 is one of the most popular tires for larger dual-sport bikes. They're built for machines that are between 600cc and 1200cc, and can handle heavier bikes off road with no issues.

The tire's grip makes most corners a breeze, with minimal wiggling. It has a wide block thread pattern that works great for both the street and off-road.

Also, the TKC80 is nimble when riding aggressively on loosened or rough surfaces but also maintains great traction riding on pavement. Aram loves this tire, but from personal experience, it can melt down after a few thousand miles of hard, street riding. The popularity of this tire, though, is testament to how well it performs.

Shop Continental Twinduro TKC80 tires.

Heidinau K60 Scout (50/50 mix off-road/street)

The German-made K60 Scout delivers a good balance of on-road and off-road performance. Due to such a balanced level of knob and tread, the K60 corners well, grips well, and handles impeccably on most surfaces.

Even more impressive are the treads that change design in relation to tire widths and sizes. The size of the tire, and knobbie patterning, changes the way the tire digs into the riding surface or just the way it covers the riding surface, thus ensuring a smooth ride at each size. Its resilient tire rubber also means a the K60 Scout is well equipped to handle riding in wet conditions, and it also has a much longer lifespan compared to the competition.

Shop Heidinau K60 Scout front tire from $92 and Heidinau K60 Scout rear tire from $194.

Midas MC 30 Invader (80% street)

This is a great tire if you ride mostly on the street with the occasional jot down a dirt path. It has a wide tread which grips well on pavement, but will have enough traction for a short ride on a hard-packed trail as well. It offers excellent stability and will provide a comfortable, quiet ride. The tire wears great and has a pretty healthy lifespan. 





Last Notes

- Mix & matching tires: Try not to mix brands for your front and rear tires. Each brand construct their tires differently, and the wear rates and wear patterns may be different. This is just going to cause you headache down the road (ha-ha, get it?). Most brands sell a matched pair, so this shouldn't be an issue even. But if for some reason, you must have an unmatched pair, then at least get tires from the same brand.

- Tire pressure: Tire pressure is a factor to consider too. While it's true that tires with more pressure will get you better mileage, it may not be the most ideal for all situations. When riding on soft conditions, like sand or mud, less tire pressure will give you better traction as softer tires can better conform to the contours of the surface.

It's a good idea to carry a small tire inflator so you can adjust your tire pressure on-the-go in accordance with the ever changing riding conditions.

When to replace: Be aware of the tire tread levels. Remember, tread is extremely important for off-road riding in order to be able to grip unto shifting surfaces. So you never want them to get too low. We recommend that you replace the tires when tread level is about 50%, unless you plan to do more street riding.

*All photos courtesy of manufacturers


By Daniel Relich


ADV: The Best Adventure Bikes 2016


Adventure is a segment that's hard to categorize. It combines long distance touring with the ability to go off-road. The premise of an adventure bike is enticing - it's a machine that can take you wherever your heart desires, as far as you want. Nothing, nowhere is an obstacle. Pure total freedom.

The idea of an adventure bike may be seductive, but the downside is that they're not the most budget friendly. And it's actually not that easy to ride a large, heavy bike off-road.

Before sinking your money into an adventure bike, consider your riding abilities and if you really will ride it far and off the beaten path. Some adventure bikes lean more towards the off-road side of things while some are more geared for street riding. (If you think you're more likely to have adventures closer to home, then you may be better off with a cheaper dual-sport bike.)

That said, we've rounded up our favorite adventure bikes for those of you who have an epic journey on the horizon.

Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin


A bike that's designed to take you around the world, the Honda CRF1000L Africa twin comes with a four-valve Unicam cylinder, six speed options, & Honda's all-new DCT transmission allowing riders to choose between street and off-road riding. The Africa Twin runs on its short 998cc engine, lighter camshaft, twin spark plugs, and powerful 270 degree phased crankshaft. The six speed options also come with an assist slipper clutch to keep you grounded whenever you decide to actually slow your speed. This bike has been heavily anticipated by the moto community and from recent reviews and test rides, it appears to live up to the hype.

MSRP starting at $12,999

KTM 1190 Adventure R


Boasted as the safest twin cylinder adventure bike, the KTM 1190 Adventure R offers a comfortable ride for all your off-roading adventures. It easily conquers gravel, loose dirt, rocks, and any other tough surface it comes into contact with. It's outfitted with the Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control, lean-sensitive cornering ABS, and lean-sensitive traction control. Together, these make the 1190 Adventure R one of the most technologically advanced adventure bikes on the market.

The 1195cc engine delivers a whopping 150 horsepower. And with the bike weighing in at just over 500 pounds on a full tank, this is an incredible power-to-weight ratio for its class. The problem with a lot of adventure bikes is that they're too heavy to handle well off-road, but this relatively light weight for its class allows for agile handling.

The bike is also designed for maximum comfort. It features an ergonomic seat with state-of-the-art 3D foam padding. The windscreen, handlebar and footpegs can all be adjusted to suit the rider, and the hand levels have 5 reach settings.

MSRP starting at $16,999.

BMW R1200GS Adventure


This is perhaps the most well known adventure bike. This is the bike that started it all. No list of "best adventure bikes" is complete with the R1200GS.

The BMW R1200GS churns out high performances on all surfaces, wet + dry, and has two dedicated modes (Rain or Road). You can get it in either Standard or Premium packages. The Standard package gives you Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment, cruise control, hand guards, heated grips, and saddlebag mounts. The Premium package adds a LED headlight, tire pressure monitor, On-Board Computer Pro, 4 other rider modes (Dynamic, Enduro, Enduro Pro, and ABS Pro), and GPS mount.

With a 7.9 gallon tank, you won't run dry any time soon (good for those trekking across deserts & through forests). Rounding out the luxury features is the new navigation system that'll keep you aware of gas and speed levels.

MSRP starting at $16,495.

Yamaha Super Ténéré


The Yamaha Super Ténéré has a strong history of being a champion bike, having won the ever first Paris to Dakar Rally in 1978, and going on to win several more in the decades since. It has a powerful 1199cc inline twin engine, and is built for lengthy adventures. However, test rides show it's better suited to on-road versus off-roading. It's slim design is built for comfort during long treks.

Where the Super Ténéré excels is in covering very long distances (paved and unpaved) without the rider doing anything too crazy. It features a 6-speed transmission, ABS and unified braking, traction control, cruise control, and two riding modes. The 2016 model also comes with anodized, aluminum side cases each holding 32L. 

MSRP starting at $15,090.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS


The Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS has been redesigned for greater comfort and enhanced performance. Suzuki added new traction control & updated the engine, fuel injection system, radiator, 6-speed transmission, and lots of other little system updates to iron out earlier model's kinks. The 645cc engine is surprisingly torquey and delivers smooth, strong power in the mid-low RPM range.

At MSRP of $8,399, this is our top pick for a budget-friendly adventure bikes. It gets excellent fuel economy for your long trip or for daily commutes. For this price, it comes with some nice features such as a 3-step adjustable windscreen, lightweight luggage rack, and LED freeze warning indicator. 

BMW 800GS Adventure


The BMW 800GS has a more budget-friendly price tag at $12,295. Compared to the iconic R1200GS, it's more off-road focused. It won't be as comfortable as the R1200GS when riding for a long distance on the street, but is agile for some serious off-roading. 

This is a bike designed for everyone, so no one has to miss out on the fun. It offers 4 different seat heights as well as an optional low-slung version, so shorter or less experienced riders can find their perfect height. It's available in two different style variations, each with different color design and accessories so you can get the bike more suited for you. The bike is also equipped with 3 rider modes (Normal, Comfort, and Sport), ASC traction control, and Electronic Suspension Adjustment.

Triumph Tiger 800XCX


The Triumph Tiger 800XCXAs is the top edition of the Tiger model. It features a 800cc triple cylinder engine that delivers 95 horsepower. This new generation of the 800cc engine now comes with ride-by-wire throttle system with provides smoother power delivery. It has been given a 17% improvement in fuel economy, along with a reduction in carbon emissions. Technology includes adjustable traction, 3 modes for riding, cruise control, and an adjustable suspension that can be fully customized.

MSRP starting at $13,700.

What is your favorite adventure bike? What would you add to this list?

*All photos courtesy of manufacturers. 


By Daniel Relich


The Best Exhausts for Harleys


When you've got a Harley, you know that aesthetic is equally as important as performance. After all, Harleys are all about that image. That rebel, carefree lifestyle. Usually you can hear a Harley before you even see it. That rumble of the V-twin engine is iconic.

Give your Harley some love with a sweet pair of aftermarket exhausts. Exhausts for Harleys come in all different styles with varying benefits, depending on what you want out of it. Often, it's a trade off between looks and performance. Choosing the perfect exhaust for your Harley can be very confusing.

Today, we'll go over some of the most popular and favorite exhaust brands for Harleys.

Harley Exhausts

First, let's very briefly summarize the types of Harley exhausts you're likely to encounter:

- Slip-ons: Slip on mufflers replaces the stock mufflers while the stock pipes are kept in place. This option is always great for a good balance of budget, slightly increased performance, and of course, a more desirable sound.

- 2-into-1: This is when the 2 head pipes flow into a single collector. This kind of system improves exhaust scavenging, which typically gives better performance and have a broader power band. You'll find the most power increase in the low-mid RPM range. The downside is that some people may not like the style (this is dependent on your opinion) as you no longer get the drag pipes look.

- 2-into-2 (dual pipes): The 2 head pipes flow into 2 separate mufflers. The benefit of this (besides the attractive classic drag pipe styling) is that each pipe and their internal baffles can be tuned to achieve the most optimal backpressure. Keep in mind that overall, the power is not going to be a great as a 2 into 1. But the plus side is that the sound is better as you have two mufflers producing volume.

- Short vs long pipes: Shorter pipes have less backpressure, which means that power is decreased in the low-mid RPM range, while upper-end performance is improved. You'll have to think whether you really will ride in that range most of the time. Longer pipes will perform better in the low RPM range.

- Small vs large diameter: Pipe diameter affects the how fast the exhaust gas exits the pipe. A smaller diameter will provide more low-end power. On the other hand, a pipe whose diameter is too large will have less exhaust gas velocity, which means loss of power. Larger diameters will optimize power in the top-end range, so again, consider what range you'll ride in the most.

Usually, people find that 1-3/4" diameter fits that sweet spot. It's generally not recommended that you get pipes 2" or more in diameter, unless you have a huge machine over 100 cubic inches.

Vance & Hines

Vance & Hines, an American manufacturer founded in 1979, is well known in the aftermarket exhaust market for their products for big twin cruisers. Created by drag racers, their exhausts have helped many other racers win championships over the past three decides. The founders are constantly pushing the boundaries of design, engineering, and technology to create better products. 

Vance & Hines exhausts come in many styles (full system, slip-on, 2 into 1, or 2 into 2) and finishes (shiny chrome or matte black) for your Harley, so you can really achieve a customized look. 

One of the most popular items from Vance & Hines is their Twin Slash Rounds Slip-on Mufflers.  These are a great easy way to customize your Harley while increasing the performance. The price is favorable too compared to competitors. Vance & Hines exhausts produce a deep rumble sound without being obnoxious. However, these slip-ons come with a bit higher weight compared to similar products.


If you want to replace your whole system, Vance & Hines is also know for their high-quality 2-into-1 exhausts, with some of the top performing systems on the market.

Vance & Hines also introduced their new Fuelpack FP3 for use with their exhausts. It's highly recommended that if you install new exhaust pipes, you also get a fuel management system.

Shop Vance & Hines Motorcycle Exhaust

Cobra

Since being founded in the early 80's, Cobra has become one of the leading aftermarket cruiser products manufacturer. They offer a full line of performance parts and accessories and are one of the few companies that work with each of the major OEM motorcycle manufacturers. Their high quality exhausts include popular favorites such as the Speedsters and the new PowerPro 2-into-1.

The Speedster is Cobra's premier line of full exhaust systems. They come with a PowrPort that connects both exhaust pipes from the front and rear cylinders. This crossover improves the exhaust scavenger and acts more like a 2-into-1 system. This is a great option if you like the look of a traditional 2-into-2 system, but don't want to sacrifice the power.


The Cobra Slip On Muffler is high performing, sounds great, and reasonably priced for the quality of its build. Coming in pairs of either chrome or black, owners get a easily customizable exhaust that delivers a deep, rich volume as it roars down the road.

Cobra was extra considerate, and also included stainless-mesh velocity baffles in order to protect your ears (and your neighbor?s sanity). Double bonus, that same mechanism also boosts the power increase that the slip-ons add to your cruiser.

Shop Cobra Motorcycle Exhausts.

Bassani

Dating back to 1969, Bassani has been recognized as a leader in specialized exhaust component for over 40 years. They have a reputation for offering cutting edge technology to both professional racers and casual street riders alike. Bassani has truly mastered the trade. Their exhausts are often tested to have more horsepower and torque than the competition.


Bassani makes a great 2-into-1 system - the Road Rage Type 3 2-Into-1 Exhaust. It features a parallel 2-into-1 stainless header system with an upswept short megaphone muffler. As far as horsepower, the slick system increases the exhaust speed with bigger performance power.

Since its a full system, installation could vary in difficulty, but shouldn?t take too much effort to get things equipped smoothly. Bassani has a rep for being one of the loudest muffled exhausts available, so if volume is what you?re after, you?ll be very pleased with the volume it pumps out. 

Bassani also offers a 3" Firepower Straight-Cut Slip-On Muffler, which enhances torque performance and can increase horsepower by as much as 20% horsepower. Simple in look and design, this slip-on is far more focused on performance than aesthetic. With the low price tag, ease of installation, light weight, and incredible performance, this slip-on is almost a steal.

Shop Bassani Motorcycle Exhaust Systems.

Final note: make sure you check your State's requirements. Not all exhausts are legal in all States.

Phew! That was an exhausting summary! (See what we did there?). If you have any more questions, leave a comment below, call us, or hit us up on our Facebook page!

For more exhausts for your cruiser, shop Solo for:
Cruiser Motorcycle Exhausts - Slip-ons & Partial Systems
- Cruiser Motorcycle Exhausts | Full Systems

*All photos courtesy of Vance & Hines, Cobra, and Bassani

By Daniel Relich


Which Are The Best Enduro and Dual Sport Bikes?


Looking for the freedom to ride wherever your two wheeled obsession can take you?

Dual sport is the fastest growing bike segment. It offers the best of both worlds. It combines the ability to traverse rough landscapes confidently, while also maintaining a smooth, comfortable ride across long distances.

Enduro, or "endurance" riding, is a more niche market where racers rides long distances over all sorts of terrain, including mud, rocks, woods, water, sand, etc... sometimes for days. But you don't have to be that hardcore and can snag an enduro bike for your own riding pleasure.

Enduro bikes behave much like dual-sport bikes in that they have to be reliable enough to cover long distances and be able to handle off-road demands. The main intent of getting a plated enduro bike is so you can literally ride ANYWHERE vehicles are allowed. This a huge benefit in states (like CA for instance) where there are strict laws for where you can ride an off-road bike. But if you have that plate, you can experience absolute freedom.  

For those of you who want to rip up more than the roads, here is a breakdown of some of the best enduro and dual sport bikes available.

KTM 500EXC


If you?re an everyday rider, but have superstar taste and style, KTM built the 500EXC with you in mind.

This has been called the best dual sport bike ever. The 500 EXC handles tight turns smooth like a dirt bike, while also riding smoothly at high speeds on the open road. Seriously, this little machine can surpass 100 mph with its 510cc 1 cylinder 4-stroke engine.

The 2016 version of the already hugely popular KTM comes with some slight improvements, such as a new front fork and suspension setting especially designed for enduro use, new graphics, and new skid plate. It's extremely light at just 250 lb, and with the powerful fuel-injected engine and newly improved suspension, this is a bike that go anywhere. 

At an MSRP price of $10,399, it's not the cheapest, but this is basically "undisputedly the most powerful Enduro machine of its class" (stated by KTM, and we've got to agree!), so we think the price is well justified.

KTM 350EXC

If you're looking for similar performance, but without quite as many bells and whistles, there is the KTM 350 EXC. Lightweight and stable, with tight handling, it is built to withstand any reasonable terrain. Round that out with updated license brackets, signals, fenders and a removable mirror and its performance rivals all other enduro/dual sport class bikes.

The KTM 350 EXC revs with an easy, powerful acceleration. And it's fuel injected, which is huge when you're traversing terrain with crazy variations in elevation. However, look out for its potential for engine troubles that may arise after stalling or overheating. Needless to say, out in the desert that could be a VERY bad situation. Fortunately, such issues are rare.

Yamaha WR250R


The WR250R has been a standout dual sport for years now, since it's original release back in 2008. This little bike features a 250cc fuel injected engine capable of hitting speeds around 85 miles per hour on flat roads. But it focuses much more heavily on its off-road capabilities.

Its light build makes handling rough terrain easier, with dual wave brakes and fully adjustable forks contributing to a smoother ride. The larger 2.0 gallon tank will hold plenty of fuel for your excursion, and the bikes gets great fuel economy too. There's only one potential drawback: at a little under 300 pounds, the WR250R ranks on the heavy side for off-roading.

It may also be a bit light on power if you need more "bike". Aram is our resident dirt/adventure junkie and he loves this bike. But he has just one request: PLEASE Yamaha, make a 450 version of this bike!!

At a MSRP of only $6,690, this is serious value for what you're getting.

Beta 500RS


Beta bikes aren't so popular in the off-road racing circuit, but these Italian bikes are just as good as any competitor. And we think Beta bikes are actually even more ideal for the average rider. KTM bikes are best when they're ridden harder, but the average rider will get plenty of fun from Beta bikes.

The 500RS has electronic fuel injection to optimize fuel delivery at any condition and altitude. The 478cc single cylinder, 4-stroke engine delivers smooth power that Beta is known for. The suspension is the same as their RR off-road models, so it can handle any terrain. 

The bike comes with some pretty cool features, including: a Voyager GPS that can also tell you the engine temperature and trip mileage, folding mirrors to keep safe when off-roading, and handguards to protect your hands. 

Starting at MSRF of $9,799, again, it's certainly not cheap. But for a fun, reliable bike that comes with some luxury features, the Beta is a great option for riders who may feel KTM's are a bit too much "bike". 

What are your favorite dual sport/enduro bikes? 

*All photos courtesy of manufacturers
By Daniel Relich


Best Beginner Cruiser Motorcycles 2016


Cruisers are generally not thought of as very beginner friendly bikes to learn on. Because of how large and heavy they are, they're not easy to handle at low speeds. The classic cruiser riding position isn't comfortable either, being low and leaned back with both the arms and legs stretched way out. And plus, cruisers are pretty expensive too with expensive parts.

But that said, manufacturers are making smaller cruisers that work great as beginner bikes. To come up with our list of best beginner cruisers, we took into account the following factors:

- Maneuverability: A good beginner's motorcycle is one that you can actually maneuver. Bikes that are lightweight and agile are easier to handle. A more comfortable reach also helps you steer the bike better.
- Power: Cruisers don't have as much power as sportbikes, but it's still a generally good idea to start off on something smaller.
- Seat height: You want to be able to get both feet firmly on the ground
- Price: As a beginner, you probably don't want to drop too much dough on your first bike. You probably will drop it as some point and you may grow out of it too. Cruisers aren't known for being cheap, but the ones we've got here have price tags that are easier to swallow.

Here are our picks for the best cruisers for beginners:

Honda Rebel 250 ($4,190) 



The Honda Rebel is one of the best motorcycles for beginners, period. There's a reason why it's often used as a learner's bike at MSF courses. In the cruisers market, it's just about the smallest one you can find, and you simply can't beat it's under $5,000 price.

This baby cruiser has a 234cc V twin engine, but don't be fooled, it still delivers plenty of power for a fun ride. The weight tops out at just 330 pounds, which means that not only is it super easy to handle, it's also got some speed! So don't worry about getting bored with it too fast. The seat height is low at only 27" so beginners can confidently plant both feet on the ground. You really can't go wrong with the Honda Rebel as your first bike.

Yamaha Bolt (MSRP $7,999)


Cruiser engines aren't as powerful as that of a sportbike, so you can start out on a much larger engine (and get the bragging rights!). The Yamaha Bolt has a powerful 924cc V-twin engine, so you'll have plenty of fun on it. The throttle response is smooth in the low-mid RPM range, which is where you'll be most of the time.

The bike itself is compact and slim with a low seat height, which are all ideal for beginners. Despite the larger engine, the weight only comes in at 540 lbs, and while it's obviously not as little as the Honda Rebel, it's still a manageable size. And plus, you won't outgrow it so fast.

Harley-Davidson Street 500 ($6,849) 


The Harley name is synonymous with classic American cruisers. If you are set on a cruiser bearing that iconic branding, the Street 500 is our pick for the most beginner friendly Harley cruiser. This street style Harley is designed for maximum urban agility and has a sleek, minimalist black-out styling. It's been upgraded with new front and rear brake systems, new brake and clutch levers, and a more ergonomically placed rear brake petal position. At under 7 grand, it's a steal for a piece of that Harley name.


Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS ($7,399) 


This bike offers a great balance of price and performance. The Vulcan S has a beautiful cruiser styling combined with that renowned Kawasaki sportbike power and handling. It features a 649cc parallel twin engine that is derived from the Ninja 650.

At just under 500 lbs, it's not the lightest cruiser we're recommending, but beginners should still have no trouble handling it. The seat position is also ergonomically designed for comfort. The bike also has a custom fit concept to accommodate riders of all heights. There are three different positions for the footpegs and handlebars and adjustable hip support on the seat to, so you can find the one that provides the most comfortable reach.

Triumph Bonnesville ($8,099)


A Triumph Bonneville is a classic beauty outfitted with modern technology. The 865 cc parallel twin engine delivers plenty of power and smooth throttle response even at low RPMs. The classic 1960s suspension is fitted with modern damping internals so the ride is smooth and easy to handle.

The Bonnie (as it's known to fans) already has a strong reputation for being a good beginner bike. The classic riding style is comfortable for beginners and the low seat height makes it easy to plant both feet firmly on the ground. The size is a bit larger, but this makes the Bonnie a bike that you won't outgrow too fast, if ever.

Suzuki Boulevard S40 ($5,499)


And lastly, we end with a true timeless old-school bike. Not much has changed on the Suzuki Boulevard S40 since it was first introduced 3 decades ago (when it was known as the Savage). The only major upgrade is that the original 4-speed transmission is now 5-speed. This has always been known as a reliable bike. Why change something that ain't broke?

You also get plenty of power for the price. The Boulevard S40's 625cc single cylinder engine delivers surprisingly high torque. This nimble little bike weighs in at just over 380 pounds, making it very easy to handle for beginners. It's not the most technological advanced bike there is, but it does the job just fine and fun. And plus, you've gotta love the price tag.

Do you ride a cruiser? What was your first one? 

*All photos courtesy of manufacturers

By Daniel Relich


Motocross: The Most Physically Demanding Sport in the World?!


Go to a motocross event and you'll be awestruck at how seemingly effortlessly the riders glide through the air, nailing those 40 foot triples gracefully and continuing straight away into the bends and turns. What could be more fun than twists and jumps in the dirt?

But don't be fooled by appearances - motocross is actually the most physically demanding sport in the world!

We know this topic always gets the athletic world up in arms, with many differing opinions. So let's see if this statement holds up true.

What happens at motocross/MX race?

A typical motocross raceconsists of two or more qualifying races, or motos. Each moto lasts 30 minutes long plus an additional two laps or so. This makes each one as long as 40 minutes. The overall winner is determined from the result of both motos.

The motocross race track takes place in an open area and uses the natural terrain of the area, with man-made elements to form inclines, dirt mounts, curves, obstacles, etc. or in an arena or stadium. The length of the track can be anywhere from half a mile to 2 miles long. The track is specially designed to be challenging, forcing the riders to frequently shift gears and make alternating right and left hand turns.


The reality of motocross

If that doesn't sound challenging enough to you, imagining maneuvering the track with 40 other riders on bikes. You're riding your fastest while still being in control of the bike and making sure that you stay ahead of the riders behind you. Dirt bikes may be known for being the smallest, most agile bikes out there, but it still takes complete head-to-toe strength.

You're not just sitting on a bike twisting the throttle for 40 minutes. Every single muscle in your body is being put through the wringer. Riders are actually on their legs most of the time, balancing and maneuvering a 250 lb machine around obstacles, tight corners, uneven terrain, and high up in the air.

You're also constantly having to keep track of what gear you're riding in, when to use the clutch, when to turn the throttle, what exact moment to hit it so that you can make the turn the fastest without sliding, so you can make the jump, so you can best pass another rider, etc. etc. It's a mental workout as well as physical.

And as for those fun jumps? How about jumping with a 250 pound piece of metal, bringing it 20+ feet into the air with you, making sure you have enough speed to clear the jump (but not tooooo much), and then crashing back down to earth in a controlled manner? Not only does the bike's suspension get a workout, your body takes a beating too.


Oh! And let's also not forget all the rocks and roost flying into the air and hitting you at 50mph as a result of the churning wheels of 40 bikes on a dirt track.

And for that entire 30 minutes + 2 laps of a moto, you get no breaks. Had a small collison? You don't get to pause the race while a referee decides whose fault it is. You get no breaks for fouls, going out of bounds, waiting for others' turn, etc. etc. You don't get to slow down and catch your breath, or else you loose your place. As soon as the race starts, you don't stop for 30+ minutes until the flag is waved and you cross the finish line.

And then after that one is done and you barely catch your breath, you get to do it all over again!

Motocross is a real test of strength and endurance, both physically and mentally.

And if you screw up...

We're not denying that other sports are physically demanding too with risk for serious injuries. But if you (or a fellow rider) screw up in motocross, you get to slam into the ground from 20' up in the air, break body parts, crash or be crashed into at 50 mph by a large piece of metal machinery, or get stampeded by 30 bikes. And let's not forget that these machines plowing into you have enough moving parts to shred or burn flesh.


Motocross riders are proven to operate at a high cardiovascular intensity

We know some of you may not believe unless you get some sort of evidence, so here's a study.

This study measured the heart rates of motocross racers while they completed both of the motos (each 30 minutes + 2 laps). The results found that for both the motos, the racers were operating at 94% and 96% (respectively) of their maximum heart rate. This shows that there is an incredible cardiovascular demand for motocross. This beats out other similar duration high-demand sports such as mountain biking.

Imagine being near your maximum heart rate for nearly 40 minutes! I can't think of a single other sport that requires non-stop action for 40 minutes where you are expected to perform at 100% for every one of those seconds.


So what do you think? Is motocross the most physically demanding sport? Or do you want to make a case for another sport? Share your experiences!
By Daniel Relich


Akra-po-what? Akrapovic Exhaust Breakdown


Do you want only the best for your machine?

How does an exhaust system befitting 100 world champion racers sound?

European manufacturing giant Akrapovic may have just what you?re looking for to satisfy your tinkering needs and desires for more power and better sound.

Akrapovic exhausts has long been a top choice in the racing circuit, known for their extremely high quality and sexy looks. For the casual rider, though, the higher price may turn people off of it. But if you've got the budget for it, this is pretty much the best money can buy. 

Why Akrapovic 

Boasting nearly three decades worth of top level performance, Akrapovic exhausts has become the go-to for multiple top racing competitions (MotoGP, MXGP, Supercross, Crosscountry Rally just to name a few), leading dozens of world champions to their wins.

Akrapovic crafts their exhaust systems using high quality engineering teams and advanced processes that have guided top-flight racing teams to worldwide success. The exhausts are formed with a hydroform process, which means that the ideal shapes are formed with pressurized water. This results in pieces that are lightweight while being structurally strong. 

Not willing to skip on quality, those same teams and technological processes are employed for their street bike exhaust builds to craft a smooth, high powered ride with impeccable sound and performance.

However, it won?t be cheap. So if money?s no issue keep reading to see what features and benefits you can expect with a new Akrapovic exhaust.

Akrapovic Exhaust Systems

Akrapovic offers different exhaust system lines for road, off-road, cruisers, and scooters. Here's what you can expect from each.

Evolution Full Systems Line


The Evolution is Akrapovic?s flagship line, and is regarded as one of the best lines of exhaust machinery available for any street bike.

Each exhaust is designed specifically for each bike model to maximize engine performance, increase power, and improve handling. The titanium headers and mid-pipes significantly reduces the weight of the bike. The exhausts in this line are true beauties with their silver, sleek styling. 

Features:

- Titanium headers and mid-pipes
- New scratch-resistant coating with the muffler outer sleeve
- 30-40% lighter than a stainless steel exhaust system
- Patented hexagonal muffler, with carbon-fiber outlet cap to match the design of each bike
Lightweight, compact and high-temperature-resistant carbon fiber muffler clamp
Titanum outlet cap, perforated inner sleeve, and inlet cap

- Joint of inlet cap is CNC machined milled, and connected by high-quality, silicon-shielded tempered springs
- High-quality, silicon-shielded stainless steel exhaust springs
- Conical shaped and hydroformed header is made of stainless steel; crossover tubes may be installed on certain models
- Line pipe may be cylindrical and made of titanium on some models (based on maximized performance)

Racing Line


With high performance riders in mind, Akrapovic's Racing line is a great balance between price and optimum performance. You can expect Akrapovic's exceptional production quality. These exhausts deliver increased engine performance combined with a pure racing sound output. A combination of racing materials, like carbon fiber for the muffler outer sleeve, give these exhaust systems a racing touch.

The Racing line is identical to the Evolution line, apart from the stainless steel headers and midpipes (titanium in the Racing line). 

Features:

Stainless steel headers and mid-pipes
- Carbon fiber or titanium outer sleeve canister
- Hexagonal muffer, with carbon-fiber outlet cap to match the design of each bike
Titanum outlet cap, perforated inner sleeve, and inlet cap
- Joint of inlet cap is CNC machined milled, and connected by high-quality, silicon-shielded tempered springs
- Lightweight, compact and high-temperature-resistant carbon fiber muffler clamp
- High-quality, silicon-shielded stainless steel exhaust springs
- Conical shaped and hydroformed header is made of stainless steel; crossover tubes may be installed on certain models
- Line pipe may be cylindrical and made of titanium on some models (based on maximized performance)
- Carbon fiber bracket in cases where the position of the exhaust system needs to be changed and the stock bracket is no longer usable

Slip-Ons


While Akrapovic is the gold standard for competitions, their exhaust systems are less popular with the everyday riders (usually due to their higher price). But the company is making strides to close the gap with their slip-on exhaust line.

Based on the design on the Evolution and Racing lines, Akrapovic slip-on exhausts offer street motorcyclists a much more affordable price point to enhance their riding experience with all the same performance and sound that are expected of all Akrapovic products.

These slip-on exhausts are easily installed for that immediate performance enhancement. And plus, you'll get a sexier look with these stylishly designed exhausts! The "noise" is unmistakably Akrapovic. 

Features:

- Hexagonal mufflers feature a carbon fiber outlet cap to match the design of each bike
- High-quality, silicon-shielded stainless steel exhaust springs
- Lightweight, compact and high-temperature-resistant carbon fiber muffler clamp
- Link pipe may be cylindrical and made of titanium on some models (based on maximized performance)
- Carbon fiber heat shield included, if necessary
- Approved by the technical standards board for each specific type of motorcycle, which is indicated by a stamp of approval on the muffler.

You can shop for Akrapovic exhausts here: http://www.solomotoparts.com/Akrapovic-Motorcycle-Exhausts/. Be sure to select your specific bike model! 

And if you're interesting in other awesome upgrades to your bike, check out our most popular performance parts & accessories.

*all photos courtesy of Akrapovic
By Daniel Relich


Go the Distance! The Best Touring Motorcycles 2016


Before we get into this post, I have a confession to make. There was a time when I didn't understand touring bikes. I was a sportbike guy all the way. And touring bikes? Well, they're large and awkward and how can they beat the horsepower of my beloved R6? 

But then one day, a few years back, my friends (who worked for a BMW dealership) invited me for a trip up the California coast. I borrowed my buddy's R1200RT for the trip, and holy crap, I was hooked. Maybe I'm older and can appreciate a sturdy, reliable bike like a tourer now, or maybe I'm craving adventures beyond the racetrack, but I'm been drooling for a touring bike ever since.

Unfortunately, it's still just a dream for now (these bikes are expensive!). But in the meantime, I've gathered up our favorite touring bikes this year. 

Here we go!

Long Range Touring Bikes

Touring bikes are built for covering the miles. Yes, they're big and awkward, but they're also sturdy and reliable. I also appreciate how comfortable they are, even when you've been riding for hours. And all the luxury features they come with are a huge plus.

Triumph Trophy SE ABS


Boasting a 1215cc inline 3-cylinder engine, the Triumph Trophy offers comfort and performance in a luxury package. It's surprisingly agile for a bike of its class, handling well like a small, more typically maneuverable motorcycle.

On the technical end, the Trophy is the most advanced of Triumph bikes. The Trophy SE is upgraded with an electronic suspension with three damping settings (sport, normal, or comfort), a Bluetooth audio system, and a 12v power socket. Other luxury features include an electronically adjustable windscreen, adjustable seat height, and tire pressure monitoring.

MSRP: Starting from $19,500

Honda Gold Wing


The Honda Gold Wing has ranked among the best touring motorcycles for over 4 decades! It's the standard in long-distance riding comfort. Though not the most technically superior model, dependability has garnered the Honda Gold Wing the distinction of being called "unrivaled" and "revitalized" with a focus on accommodations.

For 2016, the Honda Gold Wing comes in 4 performance packages depending on what special features you want. MSRP starts from $23,999 for the lowest tier model, the Gold Wing Audio Comfort. The features are impressive with this one, including heated grips and foot warmer, surround sound, and cruise control.  The highest tier package - the Gold Wing Airbag (at a whopping $30,599) - is the ultimate in luxury touring with navigation, audio system, anti-lock brakes, and the first motorcycle airbag!

BMW K1600 GT/GTL



The K1600GT is BMW's premier touring motorcycle featuring a 1649cc inline 6-cylinder engine. This is an exceptional engine that delivers smooth acceleration throughout the RPM range

The new version is now more compact; in fact, it's the most compact 6-cylinder inline production bike. The emphasis has been put on shedding weight - the bike even has a magnesium front panel carrier and aluminum rear frame.

The K1600GT is slightlier more sportier in feel compared to the GTL. The GTL has a lower seat height and more of an upright riding position, while the GT is more aggressive. 

MSRP starting at $21,995.

Sport Touring

Looking for more speed? Sport touring is a relatively niche market. It combines the performance and high speeds of a sportbike and the long distance comfort of a touring bike. 

BMW R1200RT


The BMW R1200RT is a legendary bike that defined this segment. This is the bike where I got my introduction to touring, and it set the standard quite high! 

The 2016 version conveniently handles easier than predecessors and has an added focus on comfort for long hauls. Riders will get more the superior technology they expect with a semi-active electronic suspension, ASC traction control system, rain/road weather options, on board computer pro, and heated grips.

MSRP starting at $18,145.

Yamaha FJR1300



This 15 year vet has seen a few major upgrades and improvements in 2016. For starters, there are now two separate editions of the Yamaha FJR1300 available to buyers.

The FJR1300A (MSRP from $16,390) features a traditional suspension with hard/soft levers to adjust the amount of shock and maintain comfort for any potential luggage or passengers that may be accompanying you. And the FJR1300ES (MSRP $17,990) sports a more advanced electronic suspension that allows you to adjust it yourself at will. It allows a choice of hard, standard, or even soft for the amount of shock/comfort you'd like to maintain. 

Kawasaki Versys 650 LT


The Kawasaki Versys 650 has gotten a lot of backlash in the past for its rather... ahem, interesting... design. But the redesign nicely showcases the classic Kawasaki styling. And looking past that, this insanely affordable bike has a lot to offer.

Kawasaki took care to make advancements in Versys 650's rear power & increased ergonomic stability for riders. The new version has a higher windscreen, lower footpegs for comfort, and a wider tank. Its 649cc parallel twin engine is fun and torque in the low-mid RPM range and the small size makes the bike a nimble little machine.

At only a MSRP starting price of $8,899, this makes a great versatile bike for long weekend rides or daily commutes. 

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring


The Ducati Multistrada 1200S revolutionized the moto world by offering a bike that performs as well on the track as it does covering long-distances. 

The 2016 version is powered by the brand new Ducati Testastretta DVT (desmodromic valve timing) engine (a first on both the intake and exhaust camshaft), which allows the engine to deliver optimized performance. 

Some say it is like having multiple motorcycles in one package since it can switch between 4 riding modes automatically (maybe this argument will justify that $20,095 price tag for you!). This beauty also comes with semi-active suspension for self-adjusting, traction control, ABS cornering, and wheelie control.

Which of these touring bikes do you have your eyes on?

*all photos courtesy of manufacturers

By Daniel Relich