Author: Rob Brooks

Yamaha Thins The Herd For 2021

I read the Yamaha press release over the Thanksgiving weekend here in the States, after digesting prodigious amounts of turkey and dressing with relatives. Amidst the looming food coma, I discerned that most of the announcement pertained to new color schemes, upgrades, and accessory packages for their 2021 lineup of models. But buried deep in the memo were several sentences regarding the cessation of four models, two of which have become legendary in the Yamaha universe- the R6 sport bike, and the VMAX power cruiser. Also missing next year will be the WR250R dual sport and the SMAX scooter. The announcement about the R6 and the VMAX particularly saddened me, and while I was surprised by one, I suppose I could see the other coming.

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The Rebirth of BSA

English news outlet The Guardian published a story this week about the coming revival of an iconic British motorcycle brand, BSA. Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the Mankind Group conglomerate, announced his plan to “resurrect the British motorcycle industry” by relaunching BSA Motorcycles Company, not in India, but in the UK.

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Harley-Davidson Withdraws From Factory Racing

Harley-Davidson has always been a brand associated with racing, in many forms. Whether road or dirt, drag strip or hill climb, and everything in between, at some time in their long history, Harley has raced it all. Over the years, the Motor Company has sponsored and supported official factory race teams, partnering with AMA, NHRA, AFT among others. In recent years, that scope has narrowed to NHRA and American Flat Track (AFT), yet with great success- the Harley team partnered with Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines, and has won 107 races and 10 championships in NHRA Motorcycle Drag Racing, and their factory Harley-Davidson flat track teams have won numerous AFT races and even the 2020 Production Twins championship this season.

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The DGR Shifts Gears In 2021

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, the annual world wide motorcycle event that attracts hundreds of thousands of riders every year, made a major announcement regarding their 10-year anniversary in 2021. The ride, which raises awareness and funds for prostate cancer and men’s mental health, was first launched in 2012, and has been grown into a world motorcycle ride encompassing every continent on the planet with the exception of Antarctica. Since it’s inception in Sydney, Australia, the ride had always been held on the last Sunday in September, officially going “kick stands up” at 10:00 AM in Sydney, then across the globe as rides roll out when their time zones hit that mark. The ride has spread to include over 316,000 riders, in 104 countries, and has raised nearly $25 million in USD in its first nine years.

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2021 Royal Enfield Himalayan Review

After rolling into a gas station while out on a day ride, a young lady across the pump from me quipped, “That looks like fun. What kind of motorcycle is it?” I shared it was a Royal Enfield Himalayan, to which she jokingly replied, “Himalayan! It’s a long way from home!” When I told her a bit more about the bike, including what they sell for here in the States, she exclaimed, “Wow, now that’s a bike I would ride!” She thanked me then drove off in her SUV as I reflected on our brief conversation. It was living proof of what I think Royal Enfield is up to with this bike- a small, lightweight, simple, affordable, do-everything motorcycle for the masses. Could the Himalayan really be the best value ADV for the money? Maybe the best value motorcycle for the money?

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Triumph Unveils The Trident 660 Triple

In a worldwide web premier, Triumph Motorcycles unveiled the all-new Trident 660 Triple, the roadster they’ve been hinting at since August. With a spectacular online introduction, Triumph rolled out the 2021 model, the newest entry into the brand’s lineup, and their smallest in the fleet. Targeted squarely at the middleweight “street fighter,” naked sport bike category currently populated with the likes of the Honda CB650R, Kawasaki Z650, and the Yamaha MT-07, Triumph just lit a stick of Trident dynamite and tossed it middle of the fray. Price-wise, the Trident should fall right in the middle of these, with MSRP looking to be around $7995-8120, depending on configuration, of which there are four at the moment on their website.

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MotoAmerica Season Wrap Up At Laguna Seca

The titles were pretty much sealed up in each race class before the final MotoAmerica round of the 2020 season was even upon us, but that fact didn’t detract from a thrilling weekend of racing on the fabled Laguna Seca in Monterrey, California. The reigning champions in each class finished the season in dominating fashion, taking every one of their respective races, the only exception being 2020 Supersport champ Richie Escalante, who retired with tech problems from race one, then battled with Sean Dylan Kelly for a 2nd place finish in race two.

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Road Dirt Rides Nikens

We rolled into the parking lot of Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, anticipating an enjoyable walk back through the annals of American motorcycle history. As with everywhere we rode the Yamaha Nikens, a gathering of gawkers closed in, slack jawed and cameras snapping. An old curmudgeon in a “brand specific” shirt shuffled up to Ted, who was still removing his helmet, and loudly asked in a deep Southern drawl, “Whut da hail is ‘at??” Ted smiled and replied, “It’s a Yamaha Niken.” Before he could offer any details, the old codger declared, “Ha, more like a Yamaha nuthin!” There was a brief moment of stunned silence on our part, as he ambled around the bike, chuckling. Did this clown really just insult the motorcycle of a total stranger??

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