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Honda’s CB650R is now available in Matte Grey Metallic, for $9,399.
Honda’s CB650R is now available in Matte Grey Metallic, for $9,399. (Honda/)

Ups

Inline-four engine unique to the classStable chassis matched with smooth power deliveryHonda fit and finish

Downs

The competition is getting stiffer each yearLimited technologyMSRP inching closer to the $10,000 mark

Verdict

Honda has proven time and time again its ability to build practical, well-handling standard bikes that hit all the right marks, and the CB650R is no exception. Here is a bike that might not offer all the canyon-carving performance that some of its competitors might, but deserves praise for its well-rounded build sheet. The only thing going against the CB650R is the small price gap between it and its very capable competition.

Overview

Inline four-cylinder engines have been a staple of Honda’s lineup since the 750 Four debuted in 1969. Fast-forward 50 years to 2019, when Honda’s CBR650F and CB650F middleweights were heavily revised and given the R suffix to better match the bike’s sporty performance. The outgoing streetfighter-styled CB650F was replaced with a freshly designed naked middleweight that now represents what Honda calls its Neo-Sports Café segment. This new styling, reminiscent of the late ‘90s/early ‘00s Hornet/Honda 599, is seen in today’s CB650R, modernized with blacked-out paint and burnished bronze detailing.

Today, the CB continues to bring the classic high-revving spirit of its flamboyant predecessors with its liquid-cooled 649cc mill. The CB650R claims a unique spot in today’s current middleweight class as being one of the only 650cc bikes equipped with an inline-four engine, unless your definition of “middleweight” includes the GSX-S750 or Z900.

The midsize CB makes for an appropriate step up from beginner bikes or a reintroduction to riding. Its engine, comfortable ergos, solid braking performance, and top-quality receive top grades that, for those interested, may outweigh the somewhat unbalanced suspension and high price.

The CB650R was shaped around Honda’s Neo-Sports Café design philosophy.
The CB650R was shaped around Honda’s Neo-Sports Café design philosophy. (Honda/)

Updates for 2023

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. The 2023 CB650R is unchanged for 2023 hold for a $100 price increase and move to Matte Grey Metallic paint (versus Matte Black Metallic). Keen observers will notice a few more small differences, like the red shock spring which replaces last year’s yellow spring.

The last major update for the CB650R was in 2021.

Pricing and Variants

The CB650R is available in just one trim, for $9,399.

Competition

No shortage of options in the middleweight naked-bike category, with every manufacturer offering something a little different. Intended use and experience will play a big role in finding the right bike, and the Honda CB650R slots itself somewhere in the middle of the competition.

Main contenders in this space include the Triumph Trident 660 ($8,595), Yamaha MT-07 ($8,199), Suzuki SV650 ($7,399), and Kawasaki Z650 ($7,749). Those in search of top-tier performance might look at the Aprilia Tuono 660 ($10,699) or Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory ($10,999).

Keep in mind that larger-displacement naked bikes aren’t far from the CB650R. Triumph’s Street Triple R ($9,995) and Street Triple RS ($12,595) might be considered, as well as Yamaha’s MT-09 ($9,799) and Öhlins-equipped MT-09 SP ($11,499). Twin-cylinder options include the Suzuki GSX-8S ($8,849), KTM’s 790 Duke ($9,199) and 890 Duke R ($12,949), plus Ducati’s Monster Plus ($12,995) and up-spec Monster SP ($15,595).

The CB650R is one of the only middleweight naked bikes with an inline-four engine.
The CB650R is one of the only middleweight naked bikes with an inline-four engine. (Honda/)

Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The twin-spar frame houses the same powerplant seen in the CBR650R, a liquid-cooled DOHC 649cc inline-four. The CB’s engine is tuned for high rpm, as is evident in its peak power figures and real-world character. As seen in Cycle World’s dyno test, its peak 81.9 hp is achieved at 10,870 rpm and its 42.97 lb.-ft. of

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By: Cycle World Staff
Title: 2023 Honda CB650R
Sourced From: www.motorcyclistonline.com/honda/cb650r/
Published Date: Thu, 11 May 2023 18:57:03 +0000

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2023 Polaris Slingshot S

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The most affordable entry into the Slingshot family is the Slingshot S with a manual transmission and Moonlight White paint. MSRP is $21,499.
The most affordable entry into the Slingshot family is the Slingshot S with a manual transmission and Moonlight White paint. MSRP is $21,499. (Polaris/)

Ups

Radical styling (either you like it or don’t)Moderate price tagAvailable with a manual or automatic transmission

Downs

Less refined than an auto, less visceral than a traditional motoLoose handling above highway speedsS model uses Polaris’ detuned drivetrain

Verdict

Polaris’ 2023 Slingshot S brings a sense of familiarity you’d expect from a model revision rather than a complete overhaul. The entry-level three-wheeled “autocycle” retains its core features and spec sheet from the previous generation; however, additional colors, customizations, and minor revisions help with personalization.

Are these small changes enough to warrant a purchase? While the new colorways and wheel options alone may not justify an upgrade from your 2022 model, the 2023 Slingshot S improves upon the niche market’s already favorable machine. On paper, Polaris’ 2023 Slingshot S is the most refined iteration the company has produced yet.

The Slingshot S is available in Jet Black, but only when you upgrade to Technology Package 1, which features upgraded Rockford Fosgate audio equipment, windscreen, and security package.
The Slingshot S is available in Jet Black, but only when you upgrade to Technology Package 1, which features upgraded Rockford Fosgate audio equipment, windscreen, and security package. (Polaris/)

Overview

Since its introduction in 2015, the Polaris Slingshot has always carved its own path. While three-wheelers are already a niche market, the autocycle completely obliterates the already loose definition of a three-wheeled powersports product.

Where most three-wheelers conform to the typical characteristics of seats and handlebars, the Polaris Slingshot opts for carlike aesthetics; you don’t ride a Slingshot, you drive it. Equipped with a two-seat, SxS-esque cockpit, the front half of the Slingshot feels like a modern take on a VW dune buggy. From the cockpit rearward, the machine looks as if you lopped off the rear differential and installed a sportbike’s rear running gear in its place, begging the question: What is it? Is it a car or a motorcycle? If you ask us, we’d say neither.

To whatever category you classify the Polaris Slingshot, it’s the premier example. Featuring aggressive styling, a peppy in-house-designed drivetrain, and an astounding amount of personalization, the Slingshot hits all the marks for an autocycle.

While missing some of the specifications of the higher-trim models, the starter Slingshot S exhibits an impressive showing, allowing new entries into powersports the chance to climb behind the wheel of a well-equipped autocycle at an affordable price point.

The Slingshot concept is undoubtedly polarizing. Radical, over-the-top styling will draw some in, but have others looking the other way.
The Slingshot concept is undoubtedly polarizing. Radical, over-the-top styling will draw some in, but have others looking the other way. (Polaris/)

Updates for 2023

The 2023 Slingshot S is practically identical to its previous year’s counterpart, except for minor aesthetic changes. Rather than the previous model’s Ghost Gray body (or Slingshot Red with optional Technology Package I), the 2023 Slingshot S is available exclusively in Moonlight White (or Jet Black with optional Technology Package I).

The 2023 model also features revised split-five-spoke wheels.

Pricing and Variants

Like 2022′s Slingshot S, the 2023 model can be ordered in two basic trims: base ($21,499 MSRP) and Technology Package I ($24,299 MSRP). However, within these two packages, price hikes occur when adding an automatic transmission, raising MSRP to $23,349 and $26,149, respectively.

While both models feature the same drivetrain and overall feature list, Technology Package I adds premium Rockford Fosgate audio and 2.7-inch display, a security package, and clear windscreen.

Polaris also introduces its new personalization features for the 2023

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By: Cycle World Staff
Title: 2023 Polaris Slingshot S
Sourced From: www.motorcyclistonline.com/polaris/slingshot-s/
Published Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2023 21:31:45 +0000

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Speed Read: Rodsmith’s wild Moto Guzzi sidecar rig and more

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Moto Guzzi sidecar by Rodsmith, and other custom motorcycles

The motorcycle racing influence is clear in this week’s Speed Read. We start off with a Moto Guzzi sidecar hack built to set a land speed record, then profile the new Norton V4CR limited edition café racer. A vintage Triumph Trackmaster flat tracker follows, before we conclude with an endurance racing-inspired Yamaha XSR900.

Custom Moto Guzzi sidecar by Rodsmith
Moto Guzzi sidecar rig by Craig Rodsmith A classic Moto Guzzi of dubious origins with handmade, flowing bodywork, built for ludicrous intent; you betcha, it’s another Craig Rodsmith build. What started as a functional motorcycle sculpture for Craig’s best mate, the late Bobby Haas, founder of the Haas Moto Museum, quickly evolved into a more ‘focused’ build.

As well as being a successful businessman, an ace photographer for National Geographic and becoming the ‘Patron Saint of Custom Bike Builders,’ Bobby Haas was an avid sidecar rider. Originally approaching Mr. Rodsmith to make a sidecar that he and his partner Stacey could ride around Dallas, Bobby soon had another idea rattling around in his head. He wanted to attempt a land speed record at the Bonneville salt flats—and he wanted to do it with a sidecar rig.

Custom Moto Guzzi sidecar by RodsmithRead More

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By: Ben Pilatti
Title: Speed Read: Rodsmith’s wild Moto Guzzi sidecar rig and more
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/custom-motorcycle-news-june-4-2023
Published Date: Sun, 04 Jun 2023 17:01:53 +0000

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How To Rent Route 66 by Motorcycle, Part 2

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When Texas hippies make art with eccentric billionaires: the Cadillac Ranch.
When Texas hippies make art with eccentric billionaires: the Cadillac Ranch. (Anders T. Carlson/)

Recap

Welcome (back) to Part 2 of “How to Rent 66 by Motorcycle.” To recap, EagleRider gave me a ton of free credits to take a long trip on one of its rental motorcycles. In return, I enjoyed myself and wrote whatever the hell I felt like writing. I rode one of its Yamaha Ténéré 1200s on a self-guided Route 66 tour. If it had sucked in any way, shape, or form, that would be the headline up top. But it was a great experience by almost every metric. Read the How to Rent Route 66 by Motorcycle, Part 1 article.

In Oklahoma, I changed plans. Instead of returning to Chicago, I’m going to Vegas. Thanks, EagleRider.

A Studebaker stands sentinel over the site where Route 66 crossed the Petrified Forest N.P. in Arizona.
A Studebaker stands sentinel over the site where Route 66 crossed the Petrified Forest N.P. in Arizona. (Anders T. Carlson/)

Halfway, More or Less

After almost a thousand miles, I’m starting to understand Route 66 more. While it exists as a literal road in countless spots, Route 66 is more psychic geography than anything. The freedom, escape, and opportunity are rooted in hopes and dreams, not asphalt and road signs.

Even in its heyday, the ideals of Route 66 were fleeting. People bemoan the “decline” of Route 66 towns, but America is built on the idea of moving on. There is always better than Here. John Steinbeck’s “Mother Road” made it easier for people to move homes, lives, and capital to a better place. And people built livelihoods dedicated to this nomadic process. America’s DNA is encoded with success based on failure. What was, builds what is.

The late Bobby Troup wrote the famous song “Route 66″ in 1946, and it was a hit for Nat King Cole shortly thereafter. It’s worth remembering that Cole couldn’t safely travel much of it. “Sundown Towns” meant anyone of color might not have survived their stay. With the help of the “bible of black travel,” or the Negro Motorist Green Book, African Americans could experience Route 66—if they planned ahead. In 1950, only six of 100 hotels in Albuquerque, New Mexico, served them.

From an engineering perspective, Route 66′s end was being planned while Cole’s hit was climbing the charts. World War II made it clear that a comprehensive, centralized plan for interstate travel was needed. It’s one thing to build a road for Studebakers, quite another for tanks and troop transports. Route 66′s short concrete slabs and simple asphalt were turning to dust halfway through the war.

All that aside, the Ténéré makes everything great. It knifes through truck turbulence and holds 90 mph for hours at a time. It’s a hilarious period at the end of every vintage sentence the trip writes. Nobody is impressed by it except me. And some kid at a gas station in Vinita, Oklahoma. Thanks, kid.

The spring chill in Texas is no match for a Green Bay Packer hat under the leathers.
The spring chill in Texas is no match for a Green Bay Packer hat under the leathers. (Anders T. Carlson/)

Texas Panhandle

Why is it a “panhandle”? Is Texas being dumped into the Caribbean or Mexico? Dumb questions like this bounce around my helmet as I hurtle toward the end of Oklahoma. At Sayre, an extant section of Route 66 splits off for 23 miles until you get to Texola. You get to go through Erick, hometown of country music legend Roger Miller. It’s also unofficially the first “Western” town on the route.

They say everything’s bigger in Texas. But anything looks big when there’s nothing around to compare it to. Without trees, people, or mountains, any place seems terrifyingly vast. No offense, Texas.

Texas greets me with a giant concrete triangle, visible from miles away. It turns out to be a rest stop with an observation deck to observe all the nothing for miles around—except wind. It offers an educational exhibit about wind energy. Being Texas, there’s canopied picnic spots, complete with Texas-shaped grills. Grilling sounds great. It’s cold. But my Packer hat makes for good jacket insulation. Once again, Texan challenges are no match for the Green

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By: Anders T. Carlson
Title: How To Rent Route 66 by Motorcycle, Part 2
Sourced From: www.motorcyclistonline.com/news/how-to-rent-motorcycle-and-ride-route-66-part-2/
Published Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2023 18:31:26 +0000

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