Monday, 10 February 2014

2013 Test Rides, Part 1. Standard / Naked / Hooligan.

--> 2013 Test Rides, Part 1

I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of testing a few different motorcycles in 2013 and I’m going to share my thoughts and experiences with each motorcycle.  I know it’s 2014, however these bikes are still in dealers, usually at a discounted price.  Keep in mind that these are my thoughts based on what I like in a motorcycle.  You, my readers, my see something completely different based on what you like.

We’ll start with the Standard / Naked / Hooligan bikes.

Triumph Speed Triple 1050


  1. Weight (Just a little top heavy).
  2. Wind protection, or lack there of.


  1. The triple cylinder engine!  It produces almost instant power in any gear and the sound is perfect.
  2. The handling.  Lean, accelerate, repeat.

The Speed Triple has been a staple of the standard / naked motorcycle category for a long time and has worn it’s brand as a “hooligan” motorcycle well.  I'm a raving fan of the inline triple engine, owning a 1999 Triumph Sprint ST 955, and the 1050 are awesome! 

Handling, fueling and braking are refined and make riding this bike through corners so much fun.  The Speed Triple is simple and it works.

KTM Duke 690


  1. It’s a single purpose motorcycle (And it does that one thing very, very well).
  2. Loss of license is a distinct possibility.


  1. It’s a single.  A very powerful single!
  2. The way the seating is on this motorcycle, the feeling of flying is very real.
  3. Think BMX bicycle with an engine.  It’s that light.

I first time I saw this motorcycle was at the 2013 Vancouver International Motorcycle Show and I wanted to ride it.  I finally got my chance in the summer when KTM left a demo bike at my local dealer, Spunky’s Motorcycle Shop in Parksville, BC.  I’d stopped by to pick up a part for one of my bikes and the owner of the dealership asked if I would like to take it out.  Really!  I’m always ready to ride a different bike.

Anyway, the KTM was as much fun as it looked.  Silly power for a single with 67 HP and just under 50 ft-lbs of torque and its only 337 lbs.  The seat is very comfortable and this bike gave me the best sensation of flying yet as you’re right over the front wheel. 

MV Agusta 675 Brutale


  1. The electronics package.  This is a small displacement bike and it would be best to keep things simple.
  2. The fuel mapping.  Really MV, my 1999 Triumph is fuel injected and has better fueling then this bike.
  3. The seating position and the seat are uncomfortable.


  1. This is a beautiful motorcycle.
  2. The engine and sound is raw and it wants to go fast.  You do have to switch off the electrics though and even then the mapping could be better.
  3. The “fun” factor.

The “little” Brutale is motorcycle art.  It’s beautifully put together and I loved the looks.  Fire it up and the beauty sounds “angry”.  Where the Triumph triples have a distinct and smooth sound, the 675 Italian triple is raspy, almost like you were riding header pipes only. 

The handling is great and the motorcycle is only happy when you get on the throttle.  MV Agusta would have done well to leave the power modes off this bike and concentrate on the fuel mapping.  That’s my main gripe about this motorcycle.  

MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR


  1. The fuel mapping and ride-by-wire throttle.
  2. The price.


  1. How she looks.
  2. The comfortable riding position.
  3. The engine.

The Brutale 1090RR is the glamour girl of this class in every respect.  Unfortunately she’s also unpredictable, at least when it comes to the throttle.  She has all the right numbers, 157 HP, and the looks, but the engineers at MV Agusta could have spent some money and hired someone who knows how to map out an EFI.  To say the least, this would have been a “deal breaker” if I was in the market.

Sometimes looks aren’t enough.

Which one would I buy if I had the money for a “fun” only bike?  Of these, I’d be riding the Triumph Speed Triple home.  Add a fly screen and some soft luggage (which I already have) and it’s now a weekend getaway bike too.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

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