Ducati’s Monster 821 (MSRP $13,395 CDN) was a controversial pivot for the Bologna brand, as it moved the Monster line away from their iconic 2 valve-per-cylinder air cooled motors (the latest contingent were the 696, 796 and 1100 variants which were later brought back in the Scrambler and later, the Monster 797). So, what did Ducati achieve in creating a liquid cooled middleweight Monster and how does it stack up against its modern day middleweight competition?
We’ve been riding the FZ-09 (MT-09 in Europe) intermittently since 2014, throughout its 40,000 km life and have reached a verdict on just about every aspect of what’s good and bad about this budget-priced middleweight naked bike. We’ve also performed a long list of modifications that help get the most of of the platform and have included a complete guide within.
If you live in a part of the world where there’s a “riding season”, then you understand how long the “off season” can be and are likely chomping at the bit (during that dark time) to find ways of reuniting yourself with motorcycling. A good book isn’t as good as a ride on your favorite twisty road, but it’s a good way to brush up on your technique and revisit aspects of the sport we love so dearly.
Street-legal supermotos are a special breed of motorcycles. At various times throughout history, select manufacturers have produced them (eg. Yamaha’s WR 250X, the perennial favorite, Suzuki’s DRZ 400 or the more modern Husqvarna 701), but they’ve always been niche and most of the offerings in North America are somewhat sedate in comparison to the dirt bike conversions of yesteryear. These days, if you want a serious, lightweight supermoto for the street, you have to build it yourself and what better platform to start with than the 2016 KTM 500 EXC.
If you’ve been riding motorcycles in North America for any amount of time, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of “Tail of the Dragon” (TOTD). An expansive stretch of road that spans the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, featuring an extremely high concentration of curves (318 to be exact) over an 11 mile stretch of pristine pavement. So, you may ask: does it really live up to the hype?
We’ve done over 6,000 kms on the Hyper and it’s becoming obvious that the sexy (short) carbon front mudguard doesn’t keep rocks and debris from hitting the radiator and front of the engine. Installing some simple guards such as Evotech’s Radiator and Engine guards should provide the protection we are looking for, as seen in this simple DIY.
Why is fueling in modern motorcycles such a prevalent issue? One would think that manufacturers such as Ducati, Honda, Yamaha, Aprilia (…), with their deep technical knowledge, should be able to build a bike that has spot-on fueling from the factory. Alas, this is not the case and there a many reasons for it, few of which are the manufacturer’s fault. Fortunately, technology has come a long way since the introduction of fuel injection and Rapid Bike claims to have a “magic box” that can cure literally any modern bike’s fueling woes.
What makes a bike great? Fast on the track? Comfortable? Good for commuting? Brings out your inner-hooligan? After a year, 7,000kms and a few essential mods, we’re here to deliver our verdict on what kind of bike the latest Hypermotard SP is, in the real world.