Softail, boattail, sport bikes and pondering the definition of big – the March / April 2017 issue of Canadian Biker is now available on newsstands and has been mailed to our subscribers.
The Little “Strada?
With the old adage in mind that it isn’t the size of the waves that matters but the motion of the ocean, Ducati has unveiled a scaled down version of the Multistrada in a 950 guise. And while it looks like a Multistrada of the non-enduro variation, it is difficult to think of this latest offering as the little ‘Strada. Not long ago – early 2000’s excepted – a 950cc machine producing 113 hp was a pretty big bike. But as the bigger ‘Strada produces 160 hp, 113 is certainly in the middle weight range. But before you focus on the loss of power, the Multistrada 950 has something going for it that the 1200 does not – and again this is relative – affordability. The 950 rings in at the register in the $15,000 bracket as opposed to the $19,000 plus that the base 1200 will set you back. Sure there are a few pieces missing from the 950 besides the cubic centimetres including the single sided swing-arm of the bigger bikes but it still has the sexy Italian styling and comes with red paint – we included a couple of pictures of the option white one to illustrate why the red is important. It is quick trip to the Canary Islands to get a feel for the medium Multistrada.
Sticking with sporty just a while longer, Honda introduced the all new CBR1000RR at a track in Portugal and Bertrand Gahel was there to ride what some consider to be the most dramatic upgrade to a Honda sport bike since the CBR900RR way back in 1992. The litre class sport market may have shrunk dramatically in Canada in the past ten years but let there be no mistake in thinking that this isn’t still a very, very competitive segment where manufacturers show off their engineering prowess and in a Honda engineer’s own words “more excitement”. The litre bike class is now a 200hp club and Honda just renewed their membership to premium class.
From the sport end of the spectrum we switch stances and feature not one but two unusual cruisers. The first is a custom Harley-Davidson based on Softail Slim which hearkens back to the chopper days of yester-year with features including ape-hangers, sissy bar, air ride rear shocks and genuine gold flakes in the black paint. To be fair many people could put together a bike from available pieces but the key is knowing what to put where and when to stop. We feel like this softail’s builder got those choices correct.
Our second machine is an immaculately restored Super Glide “Boattail”. As John Campbell relates, back in 1971 when the AMF machine was revealed it met with a far from warm reception as many thought the bike very unattractive (to put it nicely). But years go by, tastes and perceptions change and while what was unattractive back in 1971 may still be unique in 2017 but is now also interesting, nostalgic and representative of the styling thoughts of another generation. A unique finds and build that will command top dollar.
What else? There are the Geezers on Wheezers throwing out an invite to join them on their 2017 tour, a look at the inductees to the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame for 2016, Rich Burgess, our tech expert, takes us on a trip down his memories’ lane as he ponders a few of the bikes that got him where he is today. There is a customized Commando in Vintage Hall followed very quickly by a just as sweet Kawasaki GPZ550 that is not and a cover recreation from thirty years ago that might just make you smile.