Our autonomous test run proved rather uneventful. And that's a very good thing.
Motorcycle trends come and go like fashion, and the latest two-wheeled style du jour is the adventure bike. Chunky and rugged, these (sometimes) dirt-ready rides often take cues from the massive, Armageddon-ready rigs you'd find on the Dakar Rally. In their most neutered form, they can start as street bikes and adapt for adventure duty by adding taller suspension setups, removable saddlebags, bigger fuel tanks, and better wind protection.
BMW is taking a page from the Harley-Davidson playbook with its groundbreaking R NineT. A retro cafe racer with an urban hooligan twist, the bike is fully customizable from fork to exhaust. Of course, any motorcycle can be customized, but the fact that BMW has built its newest bike to encourage modification using parts that can be swapped with simple tools is a radical move for a motorcycle maker best known for its plug-and-play touring bikes.
Throw EV enthusiasts into a room with diehard motorcyclists, and prepare to see sparks fly. The perfect storm of oil and water famously struck when electric bikes first competed at the Isle of Man TT, and the conflict continues every time a battery-powered two-wheeler crosses swords with one of its internal combustion ancestors on public roads.
Earlier this week, Ford invited us to Charlotte, NC, to ride in an all-new 2015 Mustang fitted with its turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder. It's the first forced-induction, four-cylinder ponycar for the Blue Oval since the sun set on the 1986 Mustang SVO. We jumped at the opportunity, as only a handful of people have ever been in the passenger seat of this new car, and most automotive media won't get as close as we did until this fall.
The Ducati Monster 1200 S has the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse and the contact patch of a playing card. I'm elbows deep into leaning this pulsing, growling, screaming red animal across a one-lane hairpin on the edge of a volcanic island, when a sequence of questions flit through my mind: What if I hit a patch of gravel? What if a car rounds the corner and barrels toward me? What if I overcook the bend and somersault down the mountain, followed by a tumbling
I would soon find out that nothing – not mud, not snow and not even a rushing stream of mountaintop runoff acting as a de facto roadblock to vehicles with lesser capabilities – would stand in the way of the 2014 Ural Gear Up making its way to the top of Snoqualmie Pass outside the suburbs of Seattle.
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