Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Ducati Scrambler Family - A Modern Version Of The Original

In the 1960's and early 1970's motorcycle owners were stripping down their street bikes and converting them into off road motorcycles that were eventually raced in what would become the forerunner of motocross.

Back then, the popular motorcycles to convert were made by Triumph, Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and BMW.  It's taken over 40 years for the Scrambler to make a comeback and Ducati has hit the mark with the introduction of the Ducati Scrambler Family.

The original Ducati Scrambler was made between 1962 and 1974.  They were mainly sold in the North American market and came in 250, 350 and 450 cc single cylinder models.

A Ducati Scrambler 450

Fast forward to 2014 and Ducati introduces the new Scrambler to a hungry motorcycle audience at a price that's affordable.  The motorcycle was designed to appeal to riders of all abilities, with the goal of bringing new riders to the Ducati family and adding a motorcycle that would appeal to current Ducati owners who may be interested in adding another motorcycle to their collection.  Goal Achieved!  The Scrambler line is the most popular Ducati being sold today.

I had the opportunity to take out a 2016 Scrambler Classic out for a ride and what a fun motorcycle.  Powering the new Scrambler is powered by a 803cc air cooled Desmodromic engine that crankes out 75 hp at 8,250 RPM and 50 lb-ft of torque at 5,750 RPM.  With a wet weight of 424 lbs, a narrow profile and wide dirt bike style handlebars, this little motorcycle is fun to ride and it feels like it'll go just about anywhere.  With a 3.57 gallon gas tank and a seat that will require frequent stops in order to keep a riders backside comfortable, the Scrambler will be more at home around town then on a long trip.  However there are more then a few aftermarket parts available that could make the Scrambler into a fun bike to take on a short trip.

Ducati Scrambler Classic

Heading out for a ride on the Scrambler Classic

More information can be found at Ducati Scrambler Website.

This is a fun motorcycle that reminds me of the Yamaha DT 250 that I rode around when I was a teenager.  The only difference the look, power and handling, which is very much modern and Ducati.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Monday, 16 May 2016

2016 Honda VFR1200X

Honda has brought the VFR1200X to the North American market for 2016.  While this motorcycle is new to the North American market, it has been available in Europe since 2012 under the name CrossTourer.

The Honda VFR1200X

Many brands have been trying to play "catch up" to BMW, who have been very successful with their GS / GS Adventure line of motorcycles and Honda is the latest to the jump into to the growing Adventure motorcycle market all be it with a different approach.  Instead of building a "do it all" motorcycle, Honda appears to be trying to split the Adventure market into two groups.  Those who want a powerful, Adventure style motorcycle that is great on the pavement and may occasionally go off road in the form of the VFR1200X, and those who will be looking for every opportunity to head off road but want the option to travel comfortably on pavement for those long adventures with the "reintroduction" of the Africa Twin.

Let's be clear, the VFR1200X is a street bike that will easily handle gravel and packed dirt roads if it's asked.

Honda VFR1200X Overview:
  • 1,237 cc V4 Engine
  • 129 Horse Power @ 7,750 RPM
  • 93 lb-ft Torque @ 6,500 RPM
  • Two transmission options.  The standard 6 speed and the upgraded "automatic" DCT.
  • Wet weight of 611 lbs for the standard model and 633 for the DCT model.
  • Honda Traction Control System that can be easily turned off.
  • Honda Combined ABS.
  • 5.8 gallon fuel tank.
At 611 lbs, this is a heavy motorcycle and yet it comes off the stand easily and feels much lighter then it is once it's moving.  I chose to ride the standard transmission version, mainly because I wanted to ride the motorcycle instead of spending time playing with the DCT.  I've heard many good things about the Honda automatic system, however I'm unconvinced that adding an extra 22 lbs is worth the convenience.

I loved the sound coming from this motorcycle from startup and all through the ride.  It reminded me of a well tuned V8 car engine, especially when you open the throttle.  The engine is smooth and powerful, moving the big motorcycle down the highway at legal speeds in 4th gear.  The torque is impressive and comes into play early.  The VFR1200X suspension absorbs the bumps in the road well and makes easy work of tight corners.  I found the seat uncomfortable and it pushed me uncomfortably close to the tank.  The foot pegs were small, narrow and slick and would be the first item I'd change if owned the motorcycle.

Honda VFR1200X "Low" Points

  • Narrow and slick foot pegs - the first item I'd change out.
  • The seat.  It's thin and slopes toward the tank - the second item I'd change.
  • It's heavy.
Honda VFR1200X "High" points
  • The 1,237 cc Engine.  It has power and character.
  • The overall style of the motorcycle.  
  • It feels lighter then it really is.
The Honda VFR1200X is a good motorcycle for the money and is in the same price range as the basic Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200 XR.  The Triumph is lighter on paper, however the Honda feels lighter and carries it's weight low where the Triumph is top heavy.

Would I spend my own money on this motorcycle?  Not really.  I'd rather find a low mileage Ducati Multistrada or BMW GS which can had for the same price and have more to offer.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride