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7 Best Sport & Street Motorcycles

2017 was a great year for motorcycles across the board -- such as standards, cruisers and adventure bikes -- but what caught my eye the most were all the fresh takes on popular street and sport models.

2018 is looking just as good.

It almost seems as if the manufacturers were in a competition to see who could put the freshest new coat of paint on their best offerings, and the winners are all us bike enthusiasts out there, as these following picks, for me at least, represent the best of sport and street motorcycles from the past year.

Yamaha FZ-09/MT-09

Yamaha Photo

It's like Yamaha took some of the past criticisms on the FZ-09 to heart when they updated it for 2017. It's still got a three-cylinder engine that packs a punch, but the style overhaul on this newer FZ-09 is obvious.

The word Yamaha uses is "aggressive," and, to a large extent, I agree with them.

It's more angular, slimmer and neater -- along the lines of the FZ-10. While there's a slight increase in weight from the older version, the 2017 FZ-09 is still quick and easy to handle, and, thanks to some performance upgrades, this bike is pushing even higher speeds than its predecessor

Yamaha YZF-R6

Yamaha Photo

Taking a look at the new R6, the first thing I noticed, even at a distant examination, is that this thing exudes "fun."

Slim, lightweight and agile, this 2017 version of the R6 hasn't changed the game too much from its ancestors, at least at first glance, but Yamaha managed to inject some more of that fun factor by way of some smaller improvements that boost performance.

They've reshaped the fairing to make this model more aerodynamic. They've pre-wired the new R6 for the Yamaha quick-shifter, allowing for superbly fluid throttle control and smooth, ever-increasing acceleration where you can manage it.

Get this thing up into the higher RPMs -- up above 10,000 -- and the feeling of power this bike is capable of becomes readily apparent.

To top it all off, Yamaha did an excellent job improving the handling and control on the new R6. On the street, cruising around is all pleasure. Speeding through laps on the tracks, though, feels even more light and joyful. As a race-ready bike, the R6 shines like few others can.

Ducati Scrambler

Ducati Scrambler
Ducati Photo

If looks could kill, a glance at the Ducati Scrambler would have ended my life in a matter of seconds. I'd have a smile on my face for sure, but I'd also be dead as a doornail.

Thankfully, I can gaze upon this beauty without losing my life, and riding it is just as much of a treat as gawking.

Throttling is smooth and responsive, aerodynamics have been improved, and the riding position has been altered slightly for a more aggressive feel.

The handlebars rest lower and the seat rests slightly higher, but these adjustments are neither awkward or uncomfortable. It all comes together to create a blissful riding experience with as few downsides as possible.

Triumph Bobber

Triumph Bonneville Bobber
Triumph Photo

This new iteration of the Triumph Bobber is slick. Count me in the camp of enthusiasts who were stoked to see Triumph doing all they could to mimic that heavily-customized, aftermarket look straight out the gate.

In my humble opinion, they succeeded on the aesthetics, then went to town ensuring this bike was highly functional as well.

The big, bad, high-torque motor brings plenty of power, and the bike also handles well while taking twists, turns and various corners.

I'd advise not letting the looks of that paper thin seat cause any confusion -- while it might appear like a drag to ride on, it actually provides plenty of comfort, making even slightly longer excursions plenty of fun.

BMW S1000RR HP4 Race

BMW S1000RR HP4 Race
BMW Photo

I'll gloss over the fact that this bike is prohibitively expensive -- to the tune of about 78 grand. Instead, I'll focus on the fact that the HP4 race is a marvel of high-performance sportbike master crafting.

Lightweight, strong and capable -- all these adjectives just scratch the surface of what BMW has managed to do with this model. In terms of showing off their engineering know-how to build a true super-machine, I don't think they could have hit it out the park any further.

Suzuki GSX-R1000

Suzuki Photo

Suzuki had their work cut out for them here -- improving upon their already impressive sportbike lineage. With the new GSX-R, they've hit the mark, as it's smaller, lighter and more powerful.

There's plenty of extra "oomph" when it comes to the RPM output, but the bike still performs admirably at mid-range and lower RPMs as well.

Plus, it's not at all a bad motorcycle to look at. Suzuki has done well maintaining that superbike image, and fans of this design style will not be left wanting by such a sleek aesthetic.

Ducati Supersport

Ducati Photo

From the futuristic look to the "just enough" philosophy taken when laying out the specs for this bike, I feel Ducati has worked wonders with the Supersport.

It's comfortable, rider-friendly and thoughtfully engineered. Instead of swinging for the fences trying to make this new version the biggest or most-powerful, Ducati focused on providing something that would work for the largest swath of riders -- and nailed it.


It feels like it has been forever since a widespread refresh of the sport and street motorcycles has taken place and I'm greeting these new models with open arms. The motorcycle industry needs a reboot and that starts with converting new riders.

While not all of these models are entry level priced, there's plenty of wow to be had on a budget (kinda) with the Bobber, FZ-09 and the Scrambler. They're all pretty cool in their own right and don't have an astronomical price tag while being practical enough to be a daily bike.

Coming from an early 2000's worth of nearly everyone riding a sportbike, the new cafe/classic/naked classes of bikes has garnered attention from this rider. It'll be a tough choice deciding on my next new street bike. Time to start saving for those aftermarket performance parts!
By Daniel Relich
Published Tuesday, March 20, 2018

How to Start and Run a Motorcycle Club

It's a tradition that's almost as central to riding as the motorcycle itself. Motorcycle clubs have long been a symbol of the camaraderie shared between riders, and although the specific purpose might vary from club to club, the inspiration they foster is undeniable across the lot.

For some, though, simply joining an existing club isn't enough -- they want to start and run their own, which can be a tricky prospect for anyone without experience doing so.

We'll forego delving into so-called "outlaw" motorcycle groups today, instead focusing on creating and managing a much simpler "riding club," which is simply a group of friends who like to get together and ride.

Why Start a Club?

The primary purpose of motorcycle riding clubs is to socialize and to ride together on a regular basis. Generally speaking, clubs form around some shared aspect between their members.

The members of your prospective club might all be part of the same friend group, they might favor a particular type or brand of motorcycle, or they might just be into a specific style of riding.

The common thread that binds the group might even be an occupation. There are clubs for military, law enforcement, church groups, etc., and to get started, you need only start meeting and riding as a group.

If you want to have a club with a greater degree of organization, though, you'll need to do some planning and structure your club appropriately.

Research and First Steps

You'll want to do your due diligence. There might already be clubs in your area focusing on specific interests, and you should do a bit of research to avoid competing with clubs that have a similar mission, if at all possible.

You might even try performing some outreach, getting to know clubs that have aims that are aligned with your own. Be mindful, be respectful and try to craft your club to offer variance from what already exists in your area.

The next step in adding formality and structure to your motorcycle club is choosing a name and general theme. We already touched on some of the commonalities that bring riders together, and you can look to existing mainstream clubs for more inspiration on what style you'll implement for your own club.

There's the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America Club, for instance, which, as the name suggests, is all about riders who enjoy BMW motorcycles.

Brand affiliation needn't be the basis for your club, however, and you can get creative about what kind of club you're starting. When you've got your ideas set, you can move on to making your club more official, for which you'll need your own branding/imagery and documentation.

If you're a skilled enough artist, you can likely devise some clever graphics for your club on your own, and if not, you can seek out the talents of a professional to aid you. As for the documentation, a mission statement, club bylaws, articles of incorporation, etc. are optional, but help add that official touch.

Your documentation should state the purpose of your club, what is required for membership, the frequency of meetings, rules for voting, rules for becoming an officer, how funds will be handled, etc. That documentation also comes in handy if you want to register your riding club as non-profit organization within your state.

The necessary procedures for doing so vary throughout the country, so be sure to contact the office of your state's Secretary of State to learn about exactly what you'll need to complete the process.

You'll need to create a structure for your club, holding a vote to select a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and road captain to carry different functions within the club.

You'll also need to attract membership if you're interested in growing, which can be done through traditional print and online advertising methods, word-of-mouth, etc.

You might also try hosting programs or social meetings at popular spots in your area to help spread the word and gain members.

Planning Events and Giving Back to the Community

As mentioned above, planning events is an excellent membership growth and retention strategy, and serves the dual purpose of allowing your club to give back to the community and raise funds to further your endeavors.

Planning events for the club is an adventure all its own, but with some creativity, you can create a fundraiser that attracts a wealth of positive attention and boosts goodwill in your community.

Some general ideas include charity rides for worthy causes, summertime BBQs, concerts, get-togethers and the like.

You can increase the efficacy of whatever fundraiser you plan by advertising thoroughly to ensure a good turnout. Scheduling the event properly to ensure that it doesn't conflict with other such goings-on is advisable, as is having something for participants (a T-shirt, gift bag, etc.).

You should be sure to enlist volunteers and club members to help organize and run your events, and might even try to attract sponsors to help develop relationships within the business community.


If all goes according to plan, you'll have a well-branded and efficiently run riding club on your hands. You might even be able to have community sponsorship or discounts from your favorite online motorcycle accessories store.

Be sure to take your time in following all these steps, be thorough in writing up your club's documentation and in choosing members, and persistent in doing outreach throughout your community so that your club can spread its good name and attract a larger following.

By Daniel Relich
Published Tuesday, March 20, 2018