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Ride Review: 2017 Indian Roadmaster

Back in February I was in Southern California to attend a super-duper top-secret Indian Motorcycle press event for the Indian Chieftain Limited and Indian Chieftain Elite – two very cool motorcycles that I'll tell you about at some point in the future.
Equally cool was the standard Roadmaster (not to be confused with the new Roadmaster Classic) Indian lent me to get around during that time. I had the bike for four days, putting roughly 500 miles on the clock (riding from Los Angeles to San Diego and back, as well as all over San Diego County). That's not as much seat time as I would have liked, but it certainly gave me a taste of what it would be like to live with such a beast.
It was at least enough time to make me wish for more. One of the criticisms of a motorcycle of this sort is that ginormous machines like the Roadmaster aren’t fit for purpose. They’re too big, people say – too heavy, too slow, too expensive. Yes, there are grains of truth in those criticisms, but, trus…
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How do you solve a problem like Suzuki?

Six months ago this week I handed over the keys to my 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 Adventure, a bike that had been a workhorse for me over the past two years, trading it in for a moto I think will suit my needs a little better (i.e, a bike that is shaft-driven). Before doing this, I took the ‘Strom on one final hurrah: a goodbye ride through the undulating curves of Brecon Beacons National Park to say “so long and thanks for all the good times.”
I’m the sort of all-the-feelings guy your grandfather thinks is ruining America, so I’ll admit I got a little weepy at this parting of ways. As I shed tears of melancholy delight, I thought about the people who wouldn’t understand such an emotional connection to a V-Strom. And that got me thinking about the people who make the V-Strom 1000, and an interesting problem they face as they navigate toward the future.
But before I get into discussing that problem, let me back up a bit and walk you through my thought process.
The 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 100…

Ride Review: 2017 Triumph Street Cup

The Triumph Street Cup was introduced at EICMA late last year to relatively subdued fanfare. Yes, there was loud music and girls in tight outfits and British racing legend Carl Fogarty, but considering the ballyhoo Triumph has put forward for bikes like, say, the Bobber or Street Triple, this thing was delivered with something of a whisper. Which is a shame, because the adequately priced cafe racer – an extension of the Street Twin format introduced in 2015 – is worthy of some shouting.

Whereas many of the reviews you’ll read about the Street Cup are based on a one-day experience that covered 90 miles or so, I spent 15 days with the bike, racking up more than 1,000 miles. It still didn’t feel like enough. I got a good idea of what life might be like for an owner, but I sense this is the sort of ride for which time is an asset. The longer you own the charming 900cc parallel twin-powered roadster, the more you will love it.
If it was hard for me to give up the keys, I imagine an owner…

Gear Review: MotoBailey ElBulli Boots

Product: MotoBailey ElBulli boots
Price: $220
Made in: China

Blake Bailey, the eponymous founder of MotoBailey Shoe Co., was born and raised in Houston – a part of the world very near and dear to my heart. I was born in Austin, but spent a lot of time growing up in and around the Bayou City, and tend to think of myself as a Gulf Coaster.
If you’re unfamiliar with H-Town here are a few things you can generally assume when you meet one of its sons or daughters: 1) They almost certainly know how to fight dirty.  2) Rarely will their career paths have been anything close to linear.  3) If they can’t get things done the way they want, they’ll often just do it themselves.
Fortunately, I can’t personally speak to whether the first assumption is true about Blake. But it probably is, because he spent several years training to be a Navy SEAL. Which tells you that the second assumption is correct. As is the third; when Blake was unable to find motorcycling boots he felt …

Review: 2017 Triumph Tiger Sport

When my wife was a young girl she collected motorcycle stickers – keeping them in a book, or sometimes displaying them on her bedroom wall.
“My favorites were the Triumphs,” she once told me. “That’s the only real bike to me.”
That’s her father’s influence, perhaps. As a college student in the late 1970s he used a mid-60s Bonneville as his sole means of transportation. The Triumph of then was not the Triumph of now, so he found himself replacing parts on a weekly basis, but he loved the bike all the same.

Meanwhile, it’s a running joke in Britain that as soon as spy shots of a new Triumph model surface, the lads at MCN will pencil it in as their Bike of the Year. The brand is the best-selling in the United Kingdom for motorcycles with a capacity of 500cc or greater. And just as you’ll struggle to find a Wisconsin biker who speaks ill of Harley-Davidson, most of the folks in Blighty have only glowing superlatives for the Leicestershire-based manufacturer.

Having lived in Her Majesty’s…

Review: 2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber

There will be a certain segment of hardcore traditionalists who will hate the new Triumph Bonneville Bobber. To them, it’s a styling exercise – hipster bait – and not a TRUE bobber because, you know, it doesn’t leak oil. Its brakes work. It handles well. It’s comfortable to ride. It won’t break down every 20 miles. You won’t get tetanus just sitting on it. And it’s not some ultra-exclusive thing that you have to either be insanely wealthy or insanely dedicated to own and maintain.
If you’re one of those traditionalists, if the concept of a gorgeous, cleverly engineered, classically styled machine somehow insults you, stop reading now. Everyone else, though, stick around; I want to tell you about Triumph’s latest modern classic masterpiece. First Impressions
This bike is sexy. So sexy, in fact, I struggle to understand folks who say otherwise. It’s like if you were to tell me that British fashion model Daisy Lowe isn’t attractive. I could understand if you didn’t like her personality …