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Retro + Vintage Motorcycle Reviews

Tackling LA-Barstow-Vegas on a 2WD Ural Gear-Up

LA-Barstow-Vegas on a 2WD 2016 Ural Gear-Up.

It’s well before dawn, and the temperature is below freezing. Ben’s KTM 1190 Adventure says it’s 27 F., but Kurt’s BMW R 1200 GS is somewhat more optimistic at a balmy 31. My Ural Gear-Up is silent on the matter, perhaps in indifference to these mild temperatures. After all, it was originally built to carry Russian soldiers through snow and ...

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Retrospective: 1967-1971 Kawasaki A7SS Avenger 350

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Kawasaki was the last of the Big Four Japanese OEMs to enter the U.S. market, setting up shop in greater Los Angeles in 1966 with a couple of tiddlers, an old-fashioned British-style OHV 650cc parallel twin and a very nice 125cc two-stroke single identified rather unromantically as the B8. The Kawasaki marketing boys (don’t know if any girls were involved) ...

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2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II Stornello – First Ride Review

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No, you’re not imagining things. Scrambler-style bikes are everywhere these days. Triumph arguably got there first with its eponymous Scrambler back in 2008, while Ducati’s 803cc Scrambler has been selling like hotcakes over the two years it’s been available. Heck, even BMW’s ginned up a scrambler out of the R nineT platform. And that’s just the OEMs; Bike EXIF is ...

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1993 Yamaha GTS1000 Review: A Brave New World

Photos by Rich Cox/Slide Action

Note: This article was originally published in the April 1993 issue of Rider. Let a man proclaim a new principle. Public sentiment will surely be on the other side. -Thomas B. Reed Remember this bike. If the forkless Yamaha GTS1000 doesn’t prove to be the forerunner of a new era in motorcycle design, it represents a missed cue of colossal proportions. Who ...

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Retrospective: 1970-74 MV Agusta 750S

1974 MV Agusta 750S

In the best Italian fashion, this machine was the motoring equivalent of Gina Lollobrigida and Sofia Loren—gorgeous and rare. Only about a thousand of the 750S models were made, and they went for a very fancy price when new, now even fancier due to their rarity. They weren’t easy to ride, having tall gearing and suspension set more for the smoothness ...

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2017 Yamaha SCR950 – First Look Review

2017 Yamaha SCR950

When Yamaha introduced the “neo-retro” XSR900 for 2016, which combines old-school styling with the modern, crossplane triple of the FZ-09, it launched the XSR as part of a new category that Yamaha calls “Sport Heritage.” Other models in this category include the VMax muscle cruiser, the café-racer styled Bolt C-Spec and the ‘70s throwback, kickstart-only SR400. Read our 2016 Yamaha ...

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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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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: Yamaha XJ600S Seca II 600cc: 1992-1998

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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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