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Saturday, 19 November 2016

New Offerings for 2017

As the sun starts to move away from those of us unlucky enough to be situated far above the equator, and temperatures head towards single digit numbers, it marks that time of year when all the motorcycle manufacturers start peddling their wares for the 2017 season. The biggest motorcycle show of the season is EICMA in Milan Italy. The major players in the motorcycle industry have lavish unveilings of what will be new for 2017.

It's that time of year again

Right off the bat, I'm not gonna talk about everything that went on, cause for most of it I don't really care, like the latest super bikes, etc, etc. Head over to CMG and checkout all the details for that.

On the Guzzi front.......other than the new bagger, the Flying Fortress, which really does little to impress me, there isn't much new here. Re-hash of the same V7 styling, and that's about it. The V7 line is pretty nice, but nothing too earth shattering to report. A redesigned Norge or Stelvio would've  be pretty sweet.

I have always been a fan of Honda, they have turned out some pretty epic bikes, and some epic failures. I will say Honda has some major cajones, because some of the bikes they have brought to the market have been.......shall we say "fuckin' weird". We have the NM1, and then a MotoGP winning race bike. Go figure.

The CRF250L has been a real success for Honda. It's a no frills, cheap to buy, dual-purpose bike, that makes a very good, small ADV bike. Patrick Tahran modified one into a rally bike, and was quite successful with it. However the CRF needed to be extensively modified to turn it into a decent ADV bike.

So for 2017 Honda brings us the CRF250L Rallye. Same dependable low maintenance bike, with a bigger gas tank, small Dakar style fairing, and upgraded suspension. What's not to love? All the ADVRider crowd want a bigger engine, better suspension, etc, etc. I read the forums. Everyone wants a full blown Dakar race bike that only 2% of us can actually ride to it's full potential, and can afford to buy.

I'm going to go off on a little tangent right now. The ADV bike market has it all wrong, bigger is not always better. Unfortunately North America is the land of the bigger is better mentality. Everyone needs the 1L of soda in a Big Gulp, and the 1/2 a bag of potatoes in a large fries. For the two-wheeled enthusiasts, it's 1800cc or nothing. Europe is far more refined and have their shit together. Small displacement bikes are a way of life and not looked down on.

The ADV bikes keep getting bigger and bigger. KTM's 640 ADV grew to a 990, 1190, and now a 1290, because everyone needs a 150hp bike for exploring the backroads. If I were going to travel the world on an ADV bike, it would be on a 300cc or less. Why the hell would you want to muscle around a giant motorcycle in the third world and stand out like a sore thumb.

So I was pretty happy to see that not only did Honda step up and bring us something small and cool, so did Kawasaki and Suzuki.

Kawasaki really surprised me when they mated a KLR, Versys and Ninja 300, and the result was what they called a Versys-X. I call it the KLR they should have built in 2008. I would have no qualms about taking this over the TLH. I think it would be perfect.

Then along comes Suzuki with a wait for it........VStrom 2fity. A pint sized, parallel twin Strom. Like the rest of the VStrom line it looks to be a little more road worthy than the others.

To top it all off, the maker of the original ADV bike, former aircraft engine manufacturer BMW releases a G310 GS. It's touted as an urban commuter capable of weekend adventures on gravel roads. In reality most GS's never leave the tarmac.

The CRF Rallye and the Versys-X are already on their respective Canadian manufacturers websites. No prices yet. The wee-weeStrom and baby Bimmer have made appearances at the big Long Beach Cali bike show, which bodes well for arriving on our shores.

2017 is going to be an exciting year for the baby ADV bikes. If these bikes are priced accordingly it could mean a bigger influx of young riders into this segment of the market. As HD is finding out, the new generation of would be riders are not saddled with piles of cash, and the thought of a $15-20K motorcycle is out of the question. These new affordable offerings may just be the ticket, because up until now, all we had are some 1980's designed thumpers as smaller options.

Rear drum brake??? Really in 2016.

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