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The new 800cc Suzuki middleweight motorcycle
It’s hard to beat a great middleweight bike. Bikes in the 650cc to 800cc category bring most of the power you need, without the heft or the high prices of bigger bikes. That means you can get a great commuter and a great weekend canyon companion in one. Sure, you’re not going to see MotoGP levels of performance from (most of) these bikes, but that’s not the point of a great middleweight.

For 2023 many manufacturers have updated their bikes or introduced new ones. It seems like the middleweight sector is where many are focusing their attention in 2023.

Aprilia 660

2023 Aprilia 660 Extrema

We know the Aprilia RSV4 is an amazing bike. But, not all of us want 230 horsepower and race bike ergos. So Aprilia launched the 660, a a 100-horsepower twin-cylinder sport bike. It competes with the in-line four-cylinders of the competition very well, thank you. It also has a suite of rider aids, a roomy cockpit that makes it comfortable on the road, and cool Italian styling that lets it stand out.

New for 2023, Aprilia launches the Extrema, the sportiest version of the RS 660. The new bike weighs just 365 pounds, or 166 kilograms, yet it makes 100 horsepower, giving it an Extrema-ly great power-to-weight ratio. The Extrema also ditches the passenger pillion in favor of a single-seat tail section, and comes with software that allows you to set up quick-shifting in an upside configuration so you can play Moto GP racer whenever you want.

Ducati Scrambler Icon

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By: Dan Mayfield
Title: Canyon Companions: 8 Great Middleweights For 2023
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/canyon-companions-8-great-middleweights-for-2023
Published Date: Thu, 09 Feb 2023 00:01:30 +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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2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition

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Husqvarna’s travel-oriented Norden 901 Expedition sees a modest price bump compared to the Norden 901. MSRP is $15,799 versus $14,499
Husqvarna’s travel-oriented Norden 901 Expedition sees a modest price bump compared to the Norden 901. MSRP is $15,799 versus $14,499 (Husqvarna/)

Ups

Upgraded with higher-spec Xplor suspensionA whole catalog of accessories included as standardMinimal price increase for all of the significant upgrades

Downs

Included bags not very durableWindscreen fixed and not adjustableHave to buy different bag mounts if you want hard cases

Verdict

There are so many options in the adventure-bike class that it can be overwhelming. However, middleweight, multicylinder models offer an ideal balance between power and weight that makes them very appealing. Husqvarna’s newest member of the Norden family, the 901 Expedition, is an upscale-trim version of the base model that’s more travel oriented and worth a look for those riders who enjoy longer adventures.

Similar to the Norden 901, the 901 Expedition shares much of its hardware with KTM’s 890 Adventure models, but all of that hardware is wrapped in bodywork that’s less aggressive than what you’d find on the KTM.
Similar to the Norden 901, the 901 Expedition shares much of its hardware with KTM’s 890 Adventure models, but all of that hardware is wrapped in bodywork that’s less aggressive than what you’d find on the KTM. (Husqvarna/)

Overview

Husqvarna hit the road running with its original Norden 901 thanks in large part to its ties to sister brand KTM and the 890 Adventure models that serve as the bones for the Norden. But while the Norden 901 shares an engine and chassis with the KTMs, Husqvarna took a different direction with the styling, replacing the knife-edge angles of the KTM with smooth, modern lines that spark memories of classic Paris-Dakar bikes of the ‘80s and ‘90s. The look is entirely Husqvarna; a round LED headlight sits high above the front wheel, flanked by integrated fog lights and a steeply angled windscreen.

The Norden’s personality was intended to be equally as refined, Husqvarna deciding that the bike should be less aggressive and better suited to the everyday adventurer. By introducing the Expedition model right after, Husqvarna expanded on that concept by retaining much of what made the Norden 901 so great, but increasing its appeal with more travel-oriented hardware.

Where the Expedition truly distinguishes itself from the Norden 901 is in componentry. It shares the more stout Xplor suspension with KTM’s 890 R, gets a burly skid plate, as well as touring amenities like a more protective windscreen, centerstand, and luggage as standard.

While the Norden 901 Expedition is great off road, it’s equally as capable on pavement.
While the Norden 901 Expedition is great off road, it’s equally as capable on pavement. (Husqvarna/)

Updates for 2023

While the Norden 901 Expedition was an all-new model for 2023, it’s based heavily on the standard Norden 901, which was introduced as a 2022 model and has yet to see any updates.

The big news here is the move to WP Xplor suspension. Comfort and convenience upgrades include heated grips and rider seat, a taller windshield, centerstand, soft luggage, and Connectivity Unit (optional on the base Norden), which allows you to connect your smartphone via Bluetooth to the motorcycle. Added protection comes in the form of a heavy-duty aluminum skid plate.

Pricing and Variants

The Norden 901 Expedition starts at $15,799—a modest price increase over the $14,499 Norden 901. The bike is available in just one color.

Upgraded suspension and added protection mean the Norden 901 Expedition is up for serious adventure.
Upgraded suspension and added protection mean the Norden 901 Expedition is up for serious adventure. (Husqvarna/)

Competition

The middleweight ADV category continues to grow in terms of popularity, and manufacturers have found different solutions to the same

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By: Cycle World Staff
Title: 2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition
Sourced From: www.motorcyclistonline.com/husqvarna/norden-901-expedition/
Published Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2023 21:42:35 +0000

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2023 BMW R 1250 RS Review

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1945-ish Boeing C-97G Stratofreighter, meet 2023 BMW 1250 RS.
1945-ish Boeing C-97G Stratofreighter, meet 2023 BMW 1250 RS. (Anders T. Carlson/)

Really or Rather Sporty?

BMW’s RS concept has existed for more than 40 years. Beginning with Hans Muth’s legendary RS100 RS of 1976, the RS has been shorthand for boxer-powered sport touring, as opposed to the more refined RT (Reise Touring) concept. The RS certainly didn’t invent a new riding genre, but it was a groundbreaking improvement for the nascent sport-touring community. Muth’s beautiful (and effective) fairing was fixed to frame with a 980cc boxer helping push both envelope and airspace.

Editor’s note: we test rode the ‘20 version during the 2020 BMW R 1250 RS MC Commute Review article and video.

Joining the 1975 Honda Gold Wing, the RS pushed the envelope of luxurious and sporty touring. Currently, the Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS and H2 SX SE, Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+, Yamaha FJR1300ES and Tracer 9, and the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT are all valid alternatives. But arguably, they exist because of BMW’s Sport Touring concept from way back when. The RS is the OG, so to speak.

The R 1250 RS, sandwiched between an R 50/5 and R 80/7. Note the glaring lack of similarities.
The R 1250 RS, sandwiched between an R 50/5 and R 80/7. Note the glaring lack of similarities. (Anders T. Carlson/)
The 6.5-inch TFT, minus integrated Navigator GPS mount.
The 6.5-inch TFT, minus integrated Navigator GPS mount. (BMW/)

German grammar rules aside, BMW’s site plainly states that the R 1250 RS is a “Sport Tourer,” or “Reise Sport.” Travel Touring motorcycles are in the “Tour” section, but the RS gets a spot in the “Sport” section, alongside the S 1000 RR. The only boxer among BMW’s stable of sporting 1,000cc inline-fours, the RS runs with fast company. Is it legit or just a marathoner sneaking into the sprints? Look past the fairings and you’ll see a humanely tall handlebar, sensibly placed winglets, and an adjustable windshield that make for pleasurable 400-mile days. Slimmer fairings, an extra 1.6 inches in the wheelbase, and 79 fewer pounds turn the RT into an RS.

But does it do all the “sporting” well? That’s a really dumb question. It’s obviously one of the best ways to employ triple digits in service of two-wheeled vacationing. But Motorcyclist earned the only North American test ride for the 2023 R 1250 RS. So we smartly said yes to answering a stupid question over two weeks and 700 miles of Wisconsin countryside.

The Milwaukee Art Museum and BMW R 1250 RS offering a visual clinic on visual synergy.
The Milwaukee Art Museum and BMW R 1250 RS offering a visual clinic on visual synergy. (Anders T. Carlson/)

Specs and Specifics

The oil-and-liquid-cooled 1,254cc opposed-twin motor is the spiritual heir to the beloved air-cooled /5 and /6 twins of the 1970s. “Spiritual” is shorthand for little shared DNA. But hit the starter, and you get that tractorlike wobble that defines boxer love. The counterbalance shaft means you get approximately 1,500 rpm’s worth of idling nostalgia before ShiftCam variable intake camshaft control ensures silky-smooth torque all the way up to 6,000 rpm and beyond.

The example kindly provided has the 29.9-inch low seat, which works great for riders 5 feet, 8 inches and shorter. Not so much for those of us with 5-foot-10 frames. This made for very cramped touring. It also turned various reproductive organs into load-bearing stressed members. But using imagination and creative writing, we’ll simulate a ride review with the standard 32.3-inch seat. While we’re at it, we’ll fake-review the 33.0-inch sport seat and optional tubular handlebars, which are wider and a tad higher. They’re also way easier to attach farkles to.

The view aboard the BMW R 1250 RS.Read More

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By: Anders T. Carlson
Title: 2023 BMW R 1250 RS Review
Sourced From: www.motorcyclistonline.com/reviews/bmw-r-1250-rs-review-2023/
Published Date: Sun, 04 Jun 2023 10:00:00 +0000

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