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Retro/Vintage Motorcycle Reviews

Retrospective: Suzuki SP500: 1981-1983

Year/Model: 1982 Suzuki SP500; Owner: Kennie Buchanan, Azusa, California.

Here was an extremely enjoyable dual-purpose big single, a trail bike, with reasonable suspension and good manners. And a honkin’ great 500cc engine, knocking out more than 35 horses at 6,500 rpm, pushing about 300-plus pounds down the pavement or over the dirt road on the mountain. This was a great way to explore the backcountry, limited only by a ...

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2016 Triumph Street Twin – Road Test Review

Quick handling, light weight and good cornering clearance make the Street Twin an able companion in the corners.

In the 1960s and ’70s, Triumph sold more motorcycles in the U.S. than in the rest of the world combined. A great many of those bikes were the iconic Bonnevilles, which were launched in 1959 to commemorate Triumph’s 1956 world speed record. By the time the company closed its doors in 1983 and industrialist John Bloor bought the Triumph name, the ...

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2016 Triumph Thruxton R – First Ride Review

Despite its short wheelbase and aggressive fork angle, the Thruxton R never feels skittish; on the contrary it always seems to be well planted no matter the road condition.

Read our 2016 Triumph Bonneville T120 Black review About the Thruxton: Take everything you just read about the T120, and toss it out the window. Despite the shared platform, the same engine and even an identical radiator, these are two completely different animals. Each bike is focused at totally different riders, with engineering aimed to showcase varying and disparate performance ...

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2016 Triumph Bonneville T120 Black – First Ride Review

2016 Triumph Bonneville T120 Black

Hustling the new 2016 Triumph T120 through blustery ocean breezes somewhere east of Cabo da Roca—the westernmost point of continental Europe—I had to admit: They absolutely nailed it. As the prodigious torque easily pulled me through endless coastal bends on highway N247, the steel-tubed chassis just soaked it all up, with just enough bounce at either end to remind me ...

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Retrospective: Ducati Monza Junior 160: 1964-1970

Year/Model: 1964 Ducati Monza Junior 160; Owner: Fritz Buehner, Lubec, Maine.

You can credit the Berliner brothers with this one. Joe and Mike had decided to make their fortunes by importing European (including British) motorcycles, beginning with Zundapp back in 1951. They picked up the Ducati distributorship in 1958, which had several nice lightweight machines at lightweight prices. Beautiful little 98cc and 125cc overhead-camshaft singles, creations of a brilliant engineer called ...

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Ariel 4G Square Four 1,000cc: 1937-1959

Year/Model: 1951 4G Square Four Mark I; Owner: Mike Barber, Shell Beach, California.

The magnificent Squariel! This one-liter engine was, in effect, two overhead-valve parallel twins standing vertically, with the two crankshafts geared together and all four cylinders fed by a single carburetor. This layout meant lots of low-end power and lots of torque, an excellent choice for pulling a large sidecar. A well-sprung solo saddle kept the rider happy, and the ride ...

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Retrospective: Ducati 860 GT and GTE: 1974-1975

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When descriptions of a motorcycle run like this: “exceedingly ugly,” “slab-sided ugly duckling,” “Stateside reception…barely rose to lukewarm,” “judged a disaster,” it might well be expected that this was a sales flop. Which the Ducati GT, and the electric-start GTE version, were. As one current observer notes, not many stock GTs are around, because the original was just too unattractive ...

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Moto Guzzi Announces New 2016/2017 Models

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Moto Guzzi is rolling out several new models for 2016 and 2017. Joining the Stone, Special and Racer models in the V7 II line is the new 2016 V7 II Stornello, a scrambler inspired by the 1967 Stornello Scrambler America. Only 1,000 units of this limited-edition model will be produced, each individually numbered. Powered by an air-cooled, 744cc longitudinal V-twin ...

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2016 Triumph Street Twin | First Ride Review

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Photography by Alessio Barbanti and Matteo Cavadini At Milan’s EICMA Show last November (2015), Triumph presented five new parallel-twin motorcycles powered by all-new liquid-cooled engines—one 900cc model, and four 1,200cc big twins. These collectively represent the next generation of its iconic Bonneville family of retro models, one of the core products of its model lineup. Read about updates to Triumph’s ...

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Retrospective: Yamaha XJ600S Seca II 600cc: 1992-1998

Yamaha Seca II

Sometimes we motorcyclists like to think our sport is relatively immune to the ups and downs of the world’s financial markets…but it ain’t so. Never doubt the marketer’s ability to adjust prices according to events far beyond the comprehension of most mortals. Back in the late 1980s, the motorcycle OEM bean counters, especially those in Japan where the nation was ...

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