Test rides are rare when it comes to motorcycles, so when I found out Ducati was giving free test rides nearby I jumped at the chance. I test rode the original Hypermotard several years ago and have been eager to test the newer and better 2017 version. Continue reading “Ducati Hypermotard 939: Fun, Tall, and NOT a Beginner Bike”
It’s time to list the best beginner sportbikes for 2017, the best model year we’ve ever seen for aspiring sportbike riders to pick a new motorcycle. Let’s get started.
Scour the motorcycle sites often enough and you’re bound to find the occasional free demo day. It’s rare for dealerships to offer test rides due to the risk involved, but sometimes it’s a good way for the slightly more obscure or expensive brands like Aprilia to draw interest. Get some butts on the seats and inevitably the brains attached to those butts start to think about how they can afford the bikes attached to those seats. It’s also a great idea to bring along one of the most accomplished motorcycle racers in the world, like four time world champ Max Biaggi.
Every sport bike rider could use a set of leathers in the closet. They’re required for track days and nothing protects better on a canyon ride. The choices are endless, ranging from several brands of pre-made suits to custom one-off suits based on your design and measurements. There are even 1 and 2 piece varieties, though 2 piece suits are less common. I chose what many consider the best off-the-rack 2 piece suit available, the 2010 Dainese Laguna Seca 2 piece. It happened to fit me pretty well, much better than my old Alpinestars suit, and I like 2 piece suits because I can easily remove the jacket when I stop to eat on a canyon ride. Now that I’ve worn it at a track day and on a few rides, it’s review time.
Updated 4/23/10 (notes at bottom)
After four years with my trusty Shoei X-Eleven and the new Snell M2010 standard in full effect, I finally felt justified in buying a new helmet. It’s a big deal for me since I’m not the gear hoarder that some of my riding buddies are. I could have extended the life of my X-Eleven by just replacing the flattened cheek pads, but it’s a good idea to replace helmets every few years anyway and more importantly I wanted a helmet that was either Snell M2010* or ECE 22.05 compliant. Enter the Arai Profile.
Some of you new and aspiring sportbike riders will (and should) eventually make it out to the track for some track day action, and you’ll definitely need a good pair of boots to protect your lower extremities. Since I recently bought a set of Dainese Laguna Seca leathers, I decided to get a matching set of Dainese boots to go with them. I opted for the Axial Race New model which features the “in” design – they’re designed to go underneath the bottom of your leathers as opposed to tucking your leathers into the boot.
For those of you thinking you’ll eventually try a track day, a set of leathers is required and is nice to have for canyon rides anyway. It was time for me to find a new set after 4 1/2 years of beating up my old Alpinestars GPU 2 piece suit. It had been through 3 minor offs and performed admirably, but I wasn’t sure the right knee area could take another spill without tearing apart. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the fit – Alpinestars doesn’t seem to be built for relatively skinny guys like me. The jacket fit well enough but Beyonce couldn’t fill the butt on those pants. I swear it looked like I was carrying around a sack of potatoes back there. Enter Dainese.
I notice a lot of new riders don’t wear gloves… and I cringe. If you think about everything your hands do for you and how different your life would be if they didn’t work right, it’s best to spend a little dough and protect them while you’re riding. I’m not quite the gear hoarder that some of my friends are so I can’t possibly review every glove out there, but I have used a few gloves the past few years that are still currently available: Joe Rocket GPX 2.0, Joe Rocket Speedmaster 7 and Icon TiMax (original). I thought I’d pass on some information about them in case you happened to be considering these particular gloves for purchase.
This is an updated post of my original Shoei X11 review back in April of 2006. I’m reposting it because Shoei recently released the X11’s successor, the X12, and right now you can get an X11 for a pretty good price. Well, a relatively good price anyway as this was Shoei’s top of the line helmet. Anyway, here’s the review.
Ducati had its own campaign in full swing this year, promoting the Hypermotard with a nationwide test ride tour. I had the good fortune of attending the test ride on Southern California’s famed Angeles Crest Highway. Ducati had set up camp at Newcomb’s Ranch (the official Angeles Crest Highway restaurant/bar/hang out) and all that was needed was a valid CA driver’s license with an M1 motorcycle endorsement. Sweeeeeeet…