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Two-Wheeled Excitement

Something for Everybody

Dreaming of riding a motorcycle for the first time? The following pages look at eight bikes that fall into six different general categories: cruisers, touring, sport, dual purpose, standard, and crossovers. From economical bikes that get 70+ mpg to those that can hit nearly 200 mph, click ahead and you'll find something to spark your interest.
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2010 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide

To many Americans, cruiser bikes define the motorcycle industry and any other type of bike is just an afterthought. The popularity of cruisers helped make Harley-Davidson an American legend.

While there are now many imitators this style, the new 2010 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide is the genuine article. The bike gets its custom look from the factory. The long fork places the front wheel far ahead of the rider who sits low in the saddle, reaching forward with fists and feet facing the wind. The Dyna Wide Glide gets Harley's Big Twin, a 96-cubic inch engine that produces nearly 100 lb-ft of torque. You'll look good on this bike that starts at $15,000.
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2010 Honda Shadow RS

For decades, Harley-Davidson was the only manufacturer in the cruiser game. Beginning in the 1970s, other manufacturers entered the cruiser market, including Honda and BMW.

For riders who like the classic style of a cruiser but not their generally lethargic and sloppy handing, consider the new 2010 Honda Shadow RS. It puts a sporty twist on a traditional design. The relatively light Shadow RS (507 pounds) uses a water-cooled, 745-cc, fuel-injected V-twin that pumps out around 60 horsepower. The seating position keeps the rider upright for better control of the bike. A sporting suspension and good ground clearance (for leaning around corners) makes the Shadow RS an entertaining ride, especially considering Honda's claimed mileage of 56 mpg and reasonable base price of only $7,799.
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2010 BMW R1200RT

If you're looking to comfortably cross a continent, a touring motorcycle is one way to do it. Those who tour love the feeling of being immersed in the experience, free from the “cage” of an enclosed car.

Touring bikes like BMW's traditional R1200RT are designed to keep their pilots and passengers comfortable and safe, even while being exposed to the elements. The bodywork is aerodynamically designed to reduce wind buffeting and the seats are shaped for comfort. ABS is standard, as is a redesigned boxer-style two-cylinder engine that produces 110 horsepower. An electronically adjustable suspension and automatic stability control are optional. Loaded up with features, the R1200RT isn't cheap ($22,000).
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2010 Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300R

The Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300R easily earns King of The Hill status in the sport bike class. It's 1340-cc engine produces over 190 horsepower, which is more than plenty of automobiles. Terminal velocity is close to 200 mph. All that's required to purchase one is $13,199 plus applicable taxes.

The Hayabusa's advanced four-cylinder, water-cooled engine features 4-valve heads along with two spark plug and fuel injectors per cylinder. The sophisticated Suzuki Drive Mode Selector gives riders a choice between three different engine performance settings. Everything on the Hayabusa is laser-focused on performance, from the slick-shifting six-speed transmission to the aerodynamically-contoured bodywork behind the rider. Designed to thrill, ride at your own risk.
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2010 Ducati Hypermotard 796

Among the various types of sport bikes, there are those called naked biks. These models -- like the new Hypermotard 796 from Italy's Ducati -- stand in sharp contrast to sport bikes like the Hayabusa. The Hypermotard 796 puts everything out in the open, from the frame to the engine, transmission and radiators.

Ducati designed the Hypermotard with a more upright, dirt bike style riding position that is far more comfortable than the crouch required by traditional sport bikes. The result is a lightweight (under 400 pounds), exceptionally agile sport bike that is a total ball to ride. Priced at $9,999, the Hypermotard 796 is also relatively affordable.
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Dual Purpose

2010 BMW R1200GS

Adventure comes with riding, but sometimes your destination is beyond where paved roads end. Dual-purpose motorcycles like the BMW R1200GS were made for pursuing these adventures. While an exceptionally capable and smooth-riding on-road bike, the rugged two-cylinder, 1,170cc, 110-horsepower GS takes to asphalt or gravel trails with equal ease.

Motorcycles designed for on-road use get unstable when ridden on dirt or gravel. The R1200GS features a chassis, suspension design and tires designed for roads and trails. Technically advanced features like BMW's exclusive electronic suspension adjustment and ABS add to the bike's overall capabilities. While the BMW is pricy at $14,950, it actually performs like two bikes in one, making its price seem like a bargain.
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2010 Yamaha V-Star 250

Easy to ride, easy to buy and easy on fuel, bikes like the 2010 Yamaha V-Star 250 make great starter motorcycles and economical transportation. Classic styling helps the smallish V-Star look substantial, but for its bargain price of $3,990, don't expect high technology. The engine still uses a carburetor as compared to electronic fuel injection on most bikes.

The V-Star wraps its lightweight frame around an air-cooled 249-cc V-twin engine and a five-speed transmission. Yamaha claims the combination can deliver up to 73 mpg.
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2010 BRP Can-Am Spyder

The BRP Can-Am Spyder looks like nothing else on the road. Things begin to make sense when you learn that the vehicle was conceived by the same innovative Canadian company that builds Ski-Doo snowmobiles and Sea-Doo personal watercraft products. While many states classify the three-wheeled Spyder as a motorcycle, BRP calls their machine is a "roadster" that offers riders the open-element experience of a motorcycle with stability and safety that is unattainable with just two wheels.

The Spyder is powered by a 106-horsepower Rotax 990 V-twin engine that drives the single rear wheel. ABS brakes and a sophisticated electronic stability control system are standard. Performance is lively, but our experience on the Spyder reveals that the sensation is different from that of a motorcycle or a sports car. That said, the Spyder blends these elements to create something entirely new. The Spyder is offered in sporty RS trim, or outfitted for long-distance touring in the RT model that comes complete with built-in luggage capacity. Prices start at $16,499.

Electric Motorcycles

2010 X-Rider

Motorcycles have always been a more fuel-efficient alternative to cars when it comes to commuting. The new X-Rider from Xtreme Green Products takes motorcycle efficiency to a whole new place -- a greener place.

The X-Rider is fully electric. Its plug-in rechargeable lithium ion batteries power a 4,500-watt, 72-volt motor that doubles as the hub for the rear wheel. Top speed is claimed to be 65 mph with a range of up to 100 miles. The batteries can be fully recharged in three hours, and all that's needed is an extension cord because the charging equipment (110- and 220-volt) is built into the bike.

AOL recently tested the DOT and EPA-certified X-Rider. The seating position is closer to that of a big scooter. The chassis is a semi step-through design that makes it easy to hop on. Riding the X-Rider is simple since there is no clutch or gearshift. The twist throttle on the right side of the handlebars works as expected. Brakes are controlled by handlebar levers on both sides, just like on a bicycle. While not Interstate friendly, the X-Rider works well in suburban and ubran environs. The X-Rider retails for $8,495 and can be purchased directly from Xtreme.
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