I agree....the Guzzi V11 and Lemans are rideable sporty bikes with reasonable performance that dont look other bikes on the road.Would love to see a omparo of Guzzi vs the Monster (not the s4) vs the Honda 919.Now that would be different!
How about a comparo Guzzi V11 LeMans vs. BMW R1100S? There are also a couple of V11 variants ~ the Scura, basically a V11 with Ohlins suspenders, and soon the Rosa Corsa, a LeMans with Ohlins suspenders.
Aprilla has been working hard to get quality control, paint, electrics, etc. (as well as sorting out the suspension & gearbox), anyway ~ to get it all right!
These could become very interesting alternatives. As the Italians, (with Ducati leading the way) get all the traditionally crappy parts of their bikes to work, they are actually becoming desirable!
This seems to be happening in other parts of Italian industry as well. Ferraris are not just fast and beautiful anymore, they actually work! Wow! What a concept!
Wow, the Blue Marlin, I totally forgot about lusting after that bike. I think it's better that Aprillia didn't build it, since they'd just price it out of the range of mortal riders. Sort of like every other figgin' bike Ducati builds these days.
'Hey, that bike looks nice. Oh, they're only building three, and they cost $50,000. Nice.'
Exclusivity and brand image my ever-lovin' ass. Just build a nice bike we can actually buy from a dealership.
I think you have also overlooked those really cool Boss Hog V8 bikes. Man those things are sweet! I wonder what the 0-60 and quarter mile times are? How about a lap around Willow on one, you know, just for fun.
Really though, I like the direction KTM is going. I have always liked those Dukes, but can't even think about spending that much money on a single.
Somebody please give these guys a KTM (950 or Duke).
The new 950 Duke looks to redefine hooligan. My license couldnt take it thats for sure.
I am eagerly awaiting what the 950 Adventure looks like with a set of hard bags. I love the new BMW GS 1150 Adventure but could really do without about 200 lbs of it. Though I really dig the aluminium bags and hope KTM offers something of the like. Now whats the seat going to be like on the 950 adventure? My ex KLR 650 had a seat for about 60 miles then it was squirm time (big a$$ + thin soft seat = pain in the...). Though it pains me even more to immediatly have to go out and buy a $500+ Corbin. The BMW Adv has a wide, flat and firm seat, just hoping KTM follows suit as I cant tell for the pics Ive seen to date. Looks a little rounded which is good off road but not so good while burning thousands of miles on the slab. Which would be required for me to get from CA to Alaska and back. I am also eager to find out what the charging system puts out and how easy it is wire up acc sockets and heated grips. BMW has you covered there...
Villa Park, Illinois, about 30 minutes west of you. Motor Cycle Center is the name of the place, at www.teammcc.com. They're a great dealer and their mechanics and parts guys will talk to you for hours.
I can't wait for KTM to come out with their Hooligan bike, but I've never understood the fuss over these "adventure" models.
The V-Strom, the Tiger, all those Beemers and the like, what do these things offer that separate themselves from a sport tourer? They ride higher. Who cares? SUVs ride higher and look where they all spend their time, on the street. Even if you do take the bike offroad, how much can you really do with it? These things are full sized, heavy street bikes, not light weight dirt bikes.
I think KTM should build a bike with an optional winch that could mount either to the bike or the helmet just in case of especially rugged terrain. They could engineer a specially designed fold-out tent that sits atop the bike supported by steel-trellis and uses the engine as a stressed member. The head-light could be designed to rotate upward and electronically protrude a small cannon out of which a flair coated in Diamond Like Carbon (for reduced stiction) could be lauched in case of emergency. When jumping from cliff to cliff all you would need to do is hit the turbo boost button or just say "turbo boost" and K.I.T. (the KTM Intelligence Technolog......thingy) would complete the action and reply, "yes Michael", for example. It could be programmed to say whatever name you wanted, really. Hey, and if your bike should run out of boosting power, all taken care of, the internal exhaust mounted parachute would automatically deploy after a short hang-time of 13.8 seconds. Landings would be very comfortable thanks to ever-lengthening forks and shock which should absorb any impact the parachute fails to negate. By now you'd be in a new place and the adventure could start all over again. What a bike!!!
I've never been a huge fan of Moto Guzzi, but the MGS/01 that was shown at Intermot, looks great. If they build it, I will come. Heck, I might even buy one! Having recently read a few posts about the complexity/high cost of servicing many of today's bikes, having the crankshaft running the "wrong way," makes for easy access for do it yourself valve adjustments.
I think you got it wrong. These bikes were made to cover distances on any ROAD surface. from fresh asphalt to any kind of dirt or gravel, but still on ROADS. If you go to places in Africa or Asia or even australia, where roads as we know them are a tiny percent of a country's road network, you will see how these bikes come into their own.
Try going anywhere in thailand or Africa
with your cool new R1 or your goldwing tourer. You will not get far. Either your tires or your suspension or worse, your engine will give up long before you get to your destination. I am not being disrespectful to any street bike. I myself have a CBR600F4. But as much as I love my bike it never won the paris - dakar rally.
Give each one his own. These are not motocross bikes. But they will take you almost anywhere and that's a lot further than any street bike...
I can certainly understand the difficulty y'all have in doing tests of bikes that aren't yet available, but I continue to be surprised that you've never, to my knowledge, written about the standard Duke. I just bought a '02 Duke II, and I owned a used '95 for a couple of years, (traded it and a CBR929 in on my Aprilia RSVR), and I think a lot of MO readers would be interested. I know I'm biased, but I sure get a lot of questions from other riders when I'm out on mine.
I just finished a 2500 mi. tour in CO and UT, on my FJ and my buddy's 1150GS. Lemme tell you, the GS works a LOT better on the dirt roads we sometimes had to ride to get to good (free) campsites, and works wonderfully on the pavement, as well, even though it has no top-end hit whatsoever. But the KTM could weigh 200 lb. less, could handle better, and could be my perfect bike, with Tourance tires or similar. Burns, get on these guys! I'm only 5'8" and I just can't ride a bike with a freakin' 92 cm saddle height, not with luggage, anyway.
I thought so too, and would harp on about asking for MO to test the LeMans. I had fallen in love with its looks, the sound, the easy maintenance etc. I was even considering buying one sight unseen w/o test riding it first. DO NOT DO THIS! I found a place that would allow test rides and was all set for an epiphany. I was to be transported to the world of Italian style and power, women were going to lust for me....ok maybe not. Anyway, apart from having a sweet gear shift, that was the worst bike I have ever ridden! I took it everywhere from surface streets to canyon to freeway. It vibrated from zero to red line enough to numb my hands within minutes. It was slow as all heck, it didn't want to turn. Well actually the front did, the rear just didn't. Felt like the rear wheel was far to wide, profile didn't match, whatever. My bubble had been burst, but I was left richer by $12000. I'm sure Guzzi-istis out there will say I don't get it and good riddance. And they will be right, I don't get it and good riddance!
Interesting comments.... I took a short demo ride on a green 2000 LeMans a couple of years ago. The power was fine and didn't think the vibration was excessive. However, I couldn't come to terms with the handling, as you say "it didn't want to turn". I thought it was just me. Earlier this year I picked up a California, something about a Guzzi twin inspired the purchase -- along with factory incentives. After a few mods, it is one of my favorite rides and the least expensive machine in the garage. To its credit (and Aprilia's resources), Guzzi has refined its bikes over the last two years, especially the LeMans. I certainly agree with you that a demo ride is a must before laying down the cash.