May 2017

These days they don’t say it’s been a bit blowy or that it looks like it’ll bucket down. Instead we have ‘weather events’. And this month Bike’s writers and testers have experienced very many events. Life-long Ducati fetishist Rupert Paul went to Spain to ride the new SuperSport, and it rained. A lot. Clouds emptied their contents on tester Jonathan Pearson and KTM’s new Adventure models in Corsica. A hefty deluge dampened socks on the chilly launch of Triumph’s Street Triple. And yes, the beautiful but menacing sky in this picture threw all it had at our test of BMW’s new R nineT Racer and Pure on Spain’s southern coast. They reckon that Almeria is the driest place in Europe, but I’ve never ridden in wind and rain quite like it. And I’ve been to Wales. Obviously I’d have preferred 30˚ heat and wall-to-wall blue sky.

Yet there’s a positive to wearing waterproofs. When manufacturers launch a new bike they pick warm, sunny locations for obvious reasons. They might even include a race track in desert-like surroundings. This is lovely, but means we occasionally need to make informed predictions about what bikes might be like back in the cooler, damper UK. Not this month. All the events mean we’ve tested 2017’s key new bikes on warm, dry roads, and also in cool, wet conditions. Just like we get riding in a typical British summer. It adds an extra layer of insight to the twenty one – yes, that’s 21 – brand new models tested in this special issue of Bike. From Kawasaki’s affordable Ninja 650, to Honda’s remarkable X-ADV and the techfest that is Yamaha’s sublime MT-10 SP. We’ve enjoyed invigorating rides closer to home too.

Martin Fitz-Gibbons took the first new R1200GS Exclusive in the UK for a two-up adventure on the Peak District’s finest roads. Favourite local routes gave the ideal introduction to the new additions in our 2017 test fleet. And now spring has sprung our minds are looking forward, including preparing the Team Bike RC30 for its comeback, and planning the events (riding, not weather) we want to visit or be involved with this year. Hopefully they’ll inspire your own rides now the sun’s here.

Enjoy the issue, 

Hugo Wilson


Inside this issue...


Once upon a time we were sportsbike mad. But as limbs and backs stiffen we’ve had to get used to buying retros, nakeds and adventure bikes. Mercifully Ducati have come up with an alternative solution – a toned down track tool…


Bold dynamics and quick-fix sensations mean naked bikes are booming. Yamaha’s new MT-09, Ducati’s refreshed Monster 1200 and the evergreen Triumph Speed Triple R each offer an experience that’s not to be missed…


...That’s not an adventure bike. KTM’s customers told them they like the versatility of an adventure bike, but they’re never going to put a wheel off road. That’s not a problem, that’s an opportunity.