Motorsports Racing News & Blog Articles

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Church of MO: 2002 Honda 919 First Ride

Here at modern MO, we probably wouldn’t publish a road test of a new Honda without a few photos of the thing in action. Twenty years ago, though, there was probably a perfectly reasonable-sounding excuse: My dog ate the film, a bear ate the photographer… Most probably, somebody slud the shiny new Honda 919 down the road on the way to the shoot, and the show had to go on. Who knows? They shouldn’t have called the color “Asphalt.” In any case, this CBR900RR-based naked has become something of a cult classic, well loved by people who love Hondas. Enjoy the tiny studio photos and full spec chart.

An old wolf in sheep’s clothes.

By MO Staff Dec. 10, 2001

Torrance, California, – We, as a people, must be getting soft. Maybe its the years of feel-good politics that have done it to us, or maybe its the antibiotics in our milk. Whatever the case, there are more people than ever who just can’t bear the thought of riding a narrow-focus sportbike. “Too uncomfortable,” they’ll say. “Too peaky,” opine others. “Too complicated,” say yet another group of malcontents, fed up with the current crop of superbike replicas. Still, insists Honda, these folks are a far cry from trading in their daily adrenaline fix for a bottle of Geritol. For these people, it’s Honda’s 919 that seems to be tailor made. In fact, the bike may even appeal to some crossovers who want a bike that should be almost as quick as any pure sportbike on a back road, carrying out said duty with the sort of street-fighter flare and old-school charm only a bike like the 919 can possess.After all, its motor is based on the same powerplant that once made the CBR900RR such a popular track machine in 1993.

Back then, 893 cubic centimeters were all Honda needed to turn the sportbike world on its ear with a class-leading power-to-weight ratio. Today, for this new-old crowd, the mill has grown to 919 cubes and pumps out even more torque, though the peak power numbers are, not surprisingly, lopped off in favor of more around-town drivability. But then again, that’s the focus of this bike whereas its predecessor’s goal was much more narrow-focus.

But just because the new 919 isn’t a race bike doesn’t mean it has to have as much torque or weigh as much as a milk truck. Its claimed dry weight makes it the lightest naked bike in the open class. And even though the motor doesn’t have class leading peak power, Honda is more than happy with the output, insisting that the gobs of torque and lithe feel will entice more buyers than peaky dyno charts.

Under the Hood

BMW Releases The M 1000 RR 50 Years M Edition

BMW has released an exclusive anniversary edition of its road-going superbike, the M 1000 RR, to celebrate nearly a century of motorcycle production, but more specifically, to celebrate 50 years of BMW M vehicles. 

The most striking and distinctive feature of the 50th-anniversary edition M 1000 RR is the color – Sao Paulo Yellow. It’s the only color option available, so you better like it if you want one. Other exclusive additions to the 50 Years M package include:

50 Years M Anniversary badges M GPS Lap Timer trigger software Rear seat cover and passenger kit M Carbon Package – Carbon front and rear fenders, Upper fairing side panels, Left and right carbon tank covers, Carbon chain guard and sprocket cover. M Billet Pack – Billet aluminum engine protectors, folding brake and clutch levers, M rider’s rearsets, front brake lever guard.Clear anodized swingarm M Endurance chain

If you really can’t stand the Sao Paulo Yellow and don’t care about the anniversary badging, you can also order the M 1000 RR in the standard M Motorsport colors.  

Harley-Davidson Suspends All Vehicle Production for Two Weeks

Harley-Davidson announced it is pausing assembly and shipments of all motorcycles for a two-week period due to a problem with a component from a third-party supplier. Production halted as of May 18, the day after Harley-Davidson was notified about the problem by the supplier.

The official statement was brief, and offered very little in the way of detail. It reads:

Statement from Harley-Davidson

MILWAUKEE, May 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Yesterday, Harley-Davidson, Inc. (“Harley-Davidson”) (NYSE:HOG) took the decision to suspend all vehicle assembly and shipments (excluding LiveWire) for a two-week period. This decision, taken out of an abundance of caution, is based on information provided by a third-party supplier to Harley-Davidson late on Tuesday (5/17) concerning a regulatory compliance matter relating to the supplier’s component part.

There are a few details we can deduce from Harley-Davidson’s statement. Harley-Davidson says vehicle assembly is suspended, which suggests it will mainly affect its facility in York, PA. There is no indication that its powertrain operations in Menomonee Falls, Wisc., is affected, though there will likely be some trickle-down affect from the backlog. This suggests that the suspect component isn’t part of the powertrain.

LiveWire production will continue at the York facility, so we can assume the affected part isn’t used on the electric motorcycle. And yet, the suspect component must be common to a large number of models for it to affect production at this scale.

2022 Ducati Streetfighter V4 SP Review First Ride

This is going to be awkward. You see, you’re about to read a piece about Ducati’s most focused Streetfighter V4 yet. You’re going to expect it to be a highly refined and special machine, worthy of the Sport Production suffix. And you know what – you’re right. It’s good. It’s very good

Everything’s better in carbon fiber.

Here’s the thing: they’re all sold out. Gone. Snatched up. In fact, within a week of Ducati announcing the 2022 Streetfighter V4 SP they were all spoken for. Nonetheless, you deserve to know what’s so special about it, what’s different about it over the Streetfighter V4 S, and ultimately, how it is to ride. You know, in case you’re one of the lucky ones who got one. 

2022 Ducati Streetfighter V4 SP
When you’re hot, you’re hot, and Ducati’s seeing the Panigale flying out of dealerships – especially the SP2. Why not, then, give the Streetfighter the SP treatment? It was an obvious, and wonderful, move that sees the Streetfighter more track-focused than ever.

Editor Score: 91.5%

+ HighsCarbon wheels up the SF’s performance dramaticallyPanigale V4 suspension adds cruical support when riding hardOne of our favorite thrill rides is even better– SighsYou’re going to wish you had wind protection at 175 mphThe dry clutch is heavier? Oh, the ironyThey’re all spoken for

Ducati Resurgence

Wouldn’t you know it, 2021 proved to be Ducati’s best sales year ever, despite a global pandemic. I guess a couple years being locked down forced people to save up some money, while simultaneously inspiring those people to live for today, since who knows what might end the world tomorrow. With this newfound piggy bank and inspiration, more people flocked to the Ducati Panigale V4S than ever before (Ducati’s single best-selling model that year). 

Kawasaki Teases Electric Model Expected To Be The Elektrode Balance Bike

Kawasaki has dropped teasers for its first electric two-wheeler, with an announcement date of June 7. The 15-second teasers released on social media channels show images of a young rider and a dirt course, ending with the tag line: “The Good Times are electric.”

The Good Times are Electric Stay tuned for June 7th. Sign up to learn more at: #Kawasaki

— Kawasaki USA (@KawasakiUSA) May 18, 2022

The two-wheeler will be part of a larger launch event that will include several side-by-sides and ATVs, some of which may also be electric. Last October, Kawasaki announced plans to release 10 electric or hybrid motorcycles by 2035 plus five four-wheelers by 2025. The June 7 announcement may be the beginning of Team Green’s electric push.

The teaser doesn’t reveal much, with the only glimpse of the new bike appearing in the reflection of the rider’s goggles. All we can tell is that it will be green and white, which isn’t exactly surprising news from Kawasaki.


Kawasaki Elektrode landing page

The Mystery of the Zero DSR/X Adventure Bike

We’ve been waiting for news of a model from Zero called the DSR/X for nearly two years now. Despite trademark filings and vehicle identification filings, however, there’s been no indication from the Santa Cruz electric motorcycle brand about the mysterious model.

Regular readers know we love getting to the bottom of a good mystery here at MO. Thanks to some new VIN decoder documents from Zero, we have an idea of what to expect from the DSR/X.

What do we know about the Zero DSR/X?

Zero first filed a trademark application for “DSR/X” in August 2020 alongside another application for “FXE“. In May 2021, Zero filed a VIN decoder information with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration listing the DSR/X and FXE along with a new SR.

The FXE made its debut two months later, and in November, Zero introduced the new SR, along with a Cypher III+ operating system and on-demand upgrades. There was nary a peep, however, about the DSR/X.

Before the end of the year, however, Zero submitted a new VIN decoder guide. The new decoder lists a DSR/X for “23MY+”, and adds further clues about the new model.

Best Rear Shocks for Harley-Davidson Touring

Look back at any review of a Harley-Davidson touring model (and any other model than the Pan America), and there’s a good chance you’ll find a sentence or two about Harley’s weird choices when it comes to suspension. Specifically, the rear shock(s). It seems as though, in order to bring the seat height as low as possible, Harley has sacrificed ride quality in the back by putting on a shock with hardly any suspension travel. Sure it works, but it doesn’t do the human spine any favors.

Fortunately, the aftermarket is littered with shock options to dramatically improve the ride back there. The aftermarket also has several different fork improvements, but that’s a topic for another time. Depending on your budget we’ve got options here from mild to wild, with basic damping improvements, to full adjustability to suit your exact style.

Drag Specialties Ride Height Adjustable Shocks

Drag Specialties is synonymous with V-Twin performance parts and these shocks are no exception. These modest shocks won’t break the bank, and give you the ability to adjust the ride height half an inch. Plus you can  adjust the spring preload as well. The nitrogen-charged steel monotube damper bodies are made with hard chrome-plated shafts and dual-rate progressive wound springs that offer a smooth, comfortable ride. These are available in either chrome or black, are sold as pairs, and are meant to be direct replacements for your OEM shocks.

Fox Factory IFP-R QS3 Monotube Shocks

You might know Fox from its long history with all things off-road, but it has a sizeable presence in the Harley-Davidson scene as well. The IFP-R QS3 shocks represent some of the best shocks Fox makes for Harley touring bikes, whether you ride alone or fully loaded up with a passenger. An internal floating piston separates the nitrogen gas from the shock oil to maintain consistent damping control throughout your ride. A three-position Quick Switch Rebound setting is paired with main piston valving that’s been ride-tested to work perfectly in any of those settings.

The FOX IFP-R QS3 rear shocks were designed to give you the comfort and control needed to keep you (and a passenger) happily eating up the miles and taming the twists and turns. With an internal floating piston to separate the nitrogen gas from the shock oil, the IFP-R shocks will maintain damping control no matter how long you ride. The main piston valving has been reconfigured and extensively ride tested in a full range of conditions to work in harmony with the new three-position Quick Switch Rebound (QSR) settings.

Church of MO: 1997 Kawasaki ZX-6

Twenty-five years ago, the 1997 Kawasaki ZX-6 had not yet grown an “R.” It came with a centerstand, dual exhausts, and weighed 430 pounds full of 4.8 gallons of unleaded fuel. The leaded stuff hadn’t been phased out until one year earlier, which may explain a lot about the mental condition of many of us Boomers. It was a great, inexpensive, do-anything motorcycle in other words. I haven’t seen one in years, you? Take it away, Billy B.

Urban Assault Weapon

By Billy Bartels Mar. 17, 1997

After a month with the underrated ZX-6 it came time to return it to Kawasaki, and Editor-in-Chief Plummer asked: “Who’s been riding it?”Over in the corner of MO Central sat Graphics Editor Billy Bartels with a big smile on his face.

“That would be me,” he replied, in a rather surly tone. What happened? Had our de-facto cruiser guy gone over to the dark side? Or had he just come to his senses? Read on, grasshopper, and learn the truth.

By Billy Bartels,
Graphics Editor

I don’t drag knee. The only reason I know who won the 600 Supersport title last year is because Miguel DuHamel wears a fat #1 on the front of his Honda F3. Kevin Schwantz is just a guy who raced dirt track for my dad in the late 1980s. Get the picture? No hablas calamari. Yet from the time we picked up Kawasaki’s Ninja ZX-6 from their Southern California headquarters until we gave it back there was no prying the keys from my clutches.

Essential Dirt Bike Upgrades for Essential Recreation Part 1 – Protecting Your Investment

I guess manufacturers know that you’re going to swap on aftermarket parts from the get go, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying that machines like KTM’s 500 EXC-F, which retails for $12,549, don’t come with even the most basic engine protection. In the rocky terrain I find myself riding in the western U.S., a skid plate is an essential worker. But that’s not the only bit of protection I like to get my machines outfitted with before hitting the trail. We already mentioned the purchase price of a new pumpkin, so spending a few more dollars to protect components before they have the chance to get smashed seems like a worthwhile investment.

For me, and the type of riding I like to do with a dual-sport bike (almost no pavement with plenty of technical riding), a skid plate, rear disc guard, wrap-around handguards, and radiator guards pretty much sets up a new bike for withstanding some serious abuse. Thankfully, there is a company making all of that here in the States that I’ve relied on to protect my dirt bikes for years now: Enduro Engineering

Ready for abuse.

Based in a small Michigan city with a population less than 10,000, Enduro Engineering has been headed up by owner Alan Randt since the late 80’s. Alan’s name may sound familiar to those in off-road racing circles, not only because of his own accomplishments in racing, but also because he now heads up the NEPG-AMA National Enduro series. Randt bought the fledgling Enduro Engineering in 1984 and kept it going while continuing to race and run a dealership. In the 90’s things ramped up significantly for Enduro Engineering as it began making products for the likes of Moose Racing and MSR while doubling down in development and production of its own products as well.  

Today, Enduro Engineering offers a myriad of components for protecting enduro riders’ machines, parts to make them work better, a carefully curated selection of parts from other brands, and even suspension services for those looking to have their setup refined. EE offers something for everyone, from the casual trail rider, to sponsoring the Factory Beta USA team and supporting hundreds of other racers throughout the years.

Motorcycle Insurance Reimagined: Meet VOOM Pay-per-Mile Insurance

Motorcyclists come in all shapes, sizes and tribes, but if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that we hate paying a lot for motorcycle insurance. Sure, we grudgingly accept that it’s important to be properly insured, but the less we have to pay, the better.

Traditional insurance plans charge a flat fee that covers you for a year, which is good if you ride a lot. Weekend riders, or those who live somewhere with shorter riding seasons get less value out of it, as they pay about as much as someone who rides much more frequently.

In 2021, a new InsurTech company called VOOM introduced a new alternative, with a usage-based insurance offering that bases motorcycle insurance costs on how much customers ride their bikes. Instead of an annual flat fee, VOOM charges a low monthly base rate, plus a few cents for every mile ridden.

Who would benefit from VOOM’s pay-per-mile rates?

Since VOOM’s costs vary based on mileage, those who don’t ride a lot, or those who live in areas with a lot of bad weather. If a motorcycle sits parked in the garage for the winter, VOOM charges only the minimum base rate while still providing coverage for theft or damage.

At the moment, VOOM only offers motorcycle insurance in six states: Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Riders in Green Bay will probably see more of a benefit than someone living in Phoenix and rides year-round.

Voom Insurance

MO Tested: Racer Multitop Short Waterproof Gloves Review

By now, regular readers of should be familiar with Racer Gloves. All four MO editorial staffers have tested gloves manufactured by the Austrian manufacturer. If you take a look at any of our seven previous reviews, you’ll find a common theme: Racer Gloves feel like they are broken in from the first moment you put a pair on your hands. The Racer Multitop Short Gloves I’m reviewing here are no different. 

MO Tested: Racer Hi-Per Gloves Review

MO Tested: Racer Multitop 2 Review

MO Tested: Racer High Racer Glove Review

MO Tested: Racer Sprint Gloves

2023 LiveWire S2 Del Mar Launch Edition First Look

LiveWire officially revealed its new S2 Del Mar, the brand’s second electric motorcycle and the first to use its new S2 Arrow architecture. Pre-orders for the Launch Edition model are now open, with an MSRP of $17,699 with deliveries to begin in Spring 2023. A full production run will also begin in 2023, with LiveWire targeting an MSRP of $15,000. (UPDATE: Reservations for all 100 units of the Launch Edition got scooped up within 18 minutes of the pre-order window opening.)

“The S2 Del Mar model represents the next step in the evolution of the LiveWire brand,” says Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson. “The Arrow architecture underpinning the Del Mar, developed in-house at LiveWire Labs, demonstrates our ambition to lead in the EV space and establish LiveWire as the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world.”

The proprietary Arrow architecture combines the battery pack, electronics systems, and motor into one single component that will also serve as the chassis for the Del Mar and future LiveWire models. The design is modular, allowing LiveWire to adapt the platform for a range of models. The modular design also makes it easier to assemble, with LiveWire claiming the Del Mar takes 44% less build time than the LiveWire One.

The battery pack uses 21700 cells, a popular format adopted by the likes of Tesla and Samsung. The inverter, onboard charger, and vehicle controller form the power electronics unit. The S2 Del Mar makes use of both L1 and L2 charging, however LiveWire hasn’t provided any charge time estimates as yet. The unit is integrated into the architecture, keeping all high-voltage connections internal. The motor is direct drive, with no secondary gear reduction to maximize efficiency and torque delivery, and reduce noise.

Future LiveWire product portfolio

Future LiveWire product portfolio

Design Filings May Offer Clues to the Honda NX500

Last week, we wrote about trademark filings that suggest Honda was working on a CL500 scrambler and an NX500 dual sport/adventure bike. We’ve now uncovered design filings that may offer a hint at what the NX500 may look like.

However, the design itself isn’t for the NX500, which we expect to be powered by the same liquid-cooled 471cc Parallel-Twin used on multiple other models in Honda’s lineup. Instead, the design appears to be for a dual sport with a smaller, air-cooled Single. The design was filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office on Dec. 17, 2021.

Looking across Honda’s international product lineup, we find a model offered in India with a similar-looking engine called the CB200X.

There are some differences between the CB200X’s engine and the Single in the design filing. The overall architecture is the same, but there are some differences in the crankcase that may be purely cosmetic.

Church of MO: 1997 Buell M2 Cyclone First Impression

In 1997, Harley-Davidson owned 49% of Buell Motorcycles and a lien on Erik Buell’s house; outwardly, the relationship appeared to be somewhat symbiotic. The M2 Cyclone was almost the last of the tube-framed Buells, while the first turbocharged XB fuel-in-aluminum-frame bike was on the drawing board. It was close, but sadly, none of it quite went according to plan…

By Billy Bartels Mar. 15, 1997
Photos by Gord Mounce, Tom Fortune
The Lightning Goes Biposto

Do a lot of riding in traffic? Are twisties your thing? Maybe an occasional long tour or checking out the local nightlife? If you’re like most motorcyclists the answer is a little of each. For some folks, Buell’s sporty S1 Lightning was just too uncompromising to be used as their only motorcycle. For this group who admired the S1 but wrote it off as impractical, Erik Buell designed the more pragmatic dual-seat M2 Cyclone. Last year Buell stunned the world with the S1. Here was a bike that was faster, lighter, better handling, and two grand cheaper than their previous offerings. Buell’s S1 Lightning had it all, except a saddle that was tolerable for more than 150 miles.

“All-around motorcycle — a do-anything sport bike.”

Well, now it’s 1997 and Buell has come out with a bike another $600 cheaper than the S1, and it has a seat! Buell design philosophy behind the M2 Cyclone was for an “all-around motorcycle — a do-anything sport bike.”

Comfy ergonomics contribute to this, as does an ample passenger seat, healthy bottom-end torque, and a $9,395 sticker price. Taller folks who enjoyed the Lightning, but for the airbox-to-knee clearance problem, will appreciate the Cyclone’s new forward-swept unit.

Honda Trademarks Hint at New Scrambler and Dual Sport 500 Models

Honda has filed new trademark applications for the names “CL500” and “NX500“, suggesting it may be preparing to expand its 500 range with new scrambler and dual sport models.

The trademark for CL500 was filed March 17 with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, while the NX500 trademark was filed May 2 with the EUIPO as well as with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The 500 in the names suggest the two models will use the same 471cc Parallel-Twin engine as the Rebel 500 cruiser, CB500F standard, CBR500R sportbike and CB500X adventure bike. The engine claims about 50 hp (with a bit less on the Rebel) and has already proven itself to be versatile, applied across different segments.

The engine hasn’t been used thus far in a scrambler, but the CL500 moniker may fill that role. The CL name goes back pretty far in Honda’s history, starting with the 1962 Dream CL72 Scrambler (pictured below), a 247cc model based on the CB72 Hawk but beefed up to handle off-road usage. Honda produced several more CL models over the years, most recently with the CL400, a 397cc Single-cylinder model introduced in 1998. With this lineage, it should be apparent the CL500 name is intended for a scrambler.

1962 Honda Dream CL72 Scrambler