The Tiger 800 XC and Tiger Explorer 1200 are a direct attack on BMW’s F800GS Siegfried and R1200GS Roy, but the Triumphs are capable of standing on their own merits. That raises another question, which big cat to take home? Contributor Neil Johnston puts the two Tigers to the test to find out.
As part of an upcoming series for my column at Wheels.ca, I am about to learn how to ride a motorcycle. That’s right, a dyed in the wool automotive fanatic is going to ride. I fit the demographic perfectly: A forty something guy who feels the need to get out on the open road. Except for one thing: I am no particular fan of bikes. Sure, I appreciate the mechanical aspect of them and I LOVE shooting them trackside, but I have never really had any interest in riding them. So why am I going through this?
Traditionally, the age group that was most likely to be killed or injured on a bike was a male in his twenties. These days, as the bike hobby explodes with an influx of middle aged men and women, that number has changed. These days, the group that is most likely to damage themselves is…well, me. I am planning to get my M license as a complete newbie and will post my adventure for all to see.
The first step to doing this right was to enroll in a motorcycle training course. Remember, I know very little about bikes. I am set up to take a riding school with the Rider Training Institute in a couple of weeks. RTI is one of the most respected riding schools in Southern Ontario, so I feel comfortable placing my future in their hands.
Summer made a quick appearance in Ontario earlier this month, but now we’re back to the unpredictable Spring weather we should be having. Predictable weather or not, it is nice to see and hear Southern Ontario riders out on the roads. Spurring things on this weekend is the National Motorcycle and Tattoo show at the Better Living Centre at Toronto’s CNE grounds.
The show is a combination motorcycle flea market and custom bike show, along with a section for used bikes. If like me, you aren’t a rider, there is still lots to see, from historic bikes to full on customs. A couple of dozen tattoo shops are on hand as well, applying some incredible art while show visitors watch.
Last Fall we met up with Cory Adams, a officer with Durham Regional Police. Adams isn’t your typical cop though, as he runs Durham’s safe riding campaigns and also plays a big part in Pro 6 Cycle’s lapping days at Mosport with his DRPS branded bikes. Cory invited us up to spend some time with the group and shoot a few pics along the way.
A whole lot of everything is what you get when you come through the doors at the International Center near Toronto’s International Airport. A whole lot of dealers with bikes and accessories for every taste. Riders Choice with John Mc Bride and GP Bikes with Jerry Ordanis. Nice to see two of my favourites, Indian Motorcycles and MV Augusta showing off their selection of bikes and making a presence in the market place. Racing galore with tracks like Mosport promoting their racing series’ for 2011. Track Announcer Pat Gonsalves from Q107 and Mosport Track General Manager Jerry Priddle gave us the low down on the upcoming summer events, including the Parts Canada Super-bike Doubleheader and the 3rd Annual Masters of Mosport /Motorcycle Road Racers Reunion 2011.
Vintage bikes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were on display including some of Bar Hodgson’s one-of-a kind lovingly hand re-built Vincent’s. Some immaculate ,some showing signs of that beautiful patina and years of riding pleasure. Motorcycle racers of all ages, sexes and from all disciplines were available for autographs and bench racing and to show off their new race machines for the upcoming events, all very optimistic for the 2011 racing season. Scale modelling displays from Evan Jones as meticulous as the originals. Even a hearse motorcycle from George Winney and Forever Free for your final ride. Customs and speciality bikes were a big draw in Hall 5 with Stunters Inc showing their slick new look in stunting machinery.
As well as custom bikes that were photographers favourites with wonderful paint and chrome in very creative themes.
Yamaha’s ditched the FZ6 for the FZ8 with a smoother torquier engine derived from the FZ1, but will it lure new riders and intermediate riders seeking a sporting experience melded with sharp streetfighter looks?
Mike’s Sky Ranch is a mecca of motorsport, a stop point on the Baja 1000 and a hangout with one challenging driveway. While it seems like OneWheelDrive.Net‘s are the first Honda Varadero’s to reach Mike’s, the question remains will they make it back out? A bent rim brings the guys to a halt, and begs the next question, “Is this repairable?”
It has been a busy weekend in The Garage and I’m just catching up on some of the cool stuff that has been sent my way. One of the coolest has to be this bit of photographic fun in which a GSXR assembles itself! neat stuff! Now, if Ikea could just get their furniture to do this, the world would be a happier place.
Is the KTM RC8 as stunning to ride as it is to look at? Neil Johnston takes to the roads on this very rare offering to find out.