SUSAN CARPENTER / THROTTLE JOCKEY

Ducati's Monster 696 isn't as scary, but it still packs the power

July 2, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Ducati's Monster 696 isn't as scary, but it still packs the power

Ducati's new 696 Monster is antipasto on a salad bar budget. Despite upward price pressures on motorcycles, especially from the European manufacturers, Ducati's newest take on one of its oldest and bestselling models is holding the line at a reasonable $8,775.

BMW's R1200RT-P: Big, bad and packing heat

June 25, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

BMW's R1200RT-P: Big, bad and packing heat

The most menacing bike on the road isn't some low-riding, super-stretched chopper with a suicide clutch and battle-ax rims, but a model that's colored like a marshmallow and sits up straight.

Motorcycles and emissions: The surprising facts

June 11, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Motorcycles and emissions: The surprising facts

I'd like to begin this column with an apology. I'm sorry for ruining your day.

Tricia Helfer, Katee Sackhoff rev up their motorcycles

June 11, 2008

Tricia Helfer, Katee Sackhoff rev up their motorcycles

Some of this summer's biggest movies feature motorcycles in supporting roles. There's a Harley-Davidson in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," an MV Agusta in "The Dark Knight," and multiple customs in the late-summer biker flick "Hell Ride," presented by Quentin Tarantino. While the two-wheel vehicles are all different, the riders are mostly the same. They're men.

Throttle Jockey: Yamaha YZF-R6 and the Suzuki GSX-R600 motorcycles

June 4, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Throttle Jockey: Yamaha YZF-R6 and the Suzuki GSX-R600 motorcycles

High-revving sport bikes tend to rattle cages. If it isn't the high-pitched scream of their pipes, it's the exposed skin and mohawked helmets of their riders that make drivers jump out of their bucket seats.

At $120,000, the MV Agusta F4CC is a rare breed of sport bike

May 28, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

At $120,000, the MV Agusta F4CC is a rare breed of sport bike

When I first heard about the MV Agusta F4CC, I thought: Yeah, right. What thrill could I get for $120,000 that I couldn't for one-tenth the price? Then MV gave me the bike. Even better, they provided the key.

Scooting around the gas crunch

May 21, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Scooting around the gas crunch

Harley-Davidson might be wishing it made a scooter about now. In fact, most motorcycle manufacturers without one in their lineups have got to be feeling the pain. Motorcycle sales are down this year.

GG Motorrad Technik's GG Quadster: This four-wheeled outlaw can’t keep a low profile

May 14, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

GG Motorrad Technik's GG Quadster: This four-wheeled outlaw can’t keep a low profile

It looks like a motorcycle. It sounds like a motorcycle. And it is a motorcycle. Sort of.

Aprilia SL 750 Shiver is one cool ride

May 7, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Aprilia SL 750 Shiver is one cool ride

Is it cold in here, or is it me? Maybe I'm just feeling the cool from Aprilia's new Shiver, in all its freak-out orange glory.

Bullet Falcon targets motorcycles' colorful past

April 30, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Bullet Falcon targets motorcycles' colorful past

If you're going to open a custom bike shop in Los Angeles, it doesn't hurt to have a celebrity endorsement -- or three, as the case has been with Ian Barry, Amaryllis Knight and their Silver Lake garage, Falcon Motorcycles. Actor Giovanni Ribisi, rocker Josh Homme and, most recently, Jason "My Name Is Earl" Lee are all clients of Falcon, which will unveil its first official bike at the Legend of the Motorcycle International Concours d'Elegance on Saturday at Northern California's Half Moon Bay.

Honda CBR1000RR has muscle to mass appeal

April 23, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY: Honda CBR1000RR

Honda CBR1000RR has muscle to mass appeal

You meet the nicest people on a Honda. If they're riding the 2008 CBR1000RR, you just won't be able to stop them long enough to say hi.

Buell rolls out the dual sport Ulysses XB12X

April 9, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Buell rolls out the dual sport Ulysses XB12X

In bringing the newest Ulysses to market, Erik Buell has lived quite the odyssey -- from farm boy to Superbike racer to Harley-Davidson engineer to Buell Motorcycle Co. founder, chairman and chief technical officer.

The measure of motorcycles' MPG

April 2, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

The measure of motorcycles' MPG

Motorcycles get about 50 miles to the gallon. That's a general statistic trotted out by motorcycle manufacturers, government representatives, individual riders, your mailman. But specific MPG figures for specific models? That's been difficult to find.

American-Board-Trackers' Boardtracker 1 turns mayhem on its head

March 19, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

American-Board-Trackers' Boardtracker 1 turns mayhem on its head

It was almost a century ago that alcohol-fueled board trackers raced around wooden oval tracks in front of enthralled audiences. That was before the brakeless 100-plus mph motorcycles started careening off the tracks' steeply angled banks, crashing into crowds, killing spectators and prompting the press to call them "murder cycles."

KTM 690 Duke will give you quite a start

March 5, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

KTM 690 Duke will give you quite a start

In a market dominated by torque-y V-twins and high-speed in-line fours, the single cylinder is the DustBuster of street bikes.

Ducati 848: So speedy, it's almost worth the speeding ticket

February 27, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Ducati 848: So speedy, it's almost worth the speeding ticket

There are many ways to learn Italian. You can take a language class and memorize the words. You can travel to Italy and experience the culture. Or you can ride Ducati's new 848, which will give you an entirely different lesson in Italian.

Honda CRF230L dual sport has yet a third purpose

February 20, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Honda CRF230L dual sport has yet a third purpose

If you close your eyes, listen closely and click the heels of your off-road boots three times, you just might hear a ringing sound.

Roland Sands Design's 450 Super Single is no lightweight

February 6, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Roland Sands Design's 450 Super Single is no lightweight

Roland Sands has spent the last year peeling the skins off dirt bikes, reaching deep inside their body cavities. What he's found are the bikes' unlikely alter-egos.

Harley-Davidson Cross Bones is a slick ride even without the rain

January 30, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Harley-Davidson Cross Bones is a slick ride even without the rain

Not to rub it in, but I do have a dream job. I get paid to ride motorcycles. I get to ride all the newest stuff. And I get to ride most of it before it's even available to the public.

Bumpy road ahead for industry?

January 23, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Bumpy road ahead for industry?

Consumer prices are up. The stock market is down. The dollar has plummeted. And credit is tightening. So what does that mean for motorcycles -- not only future sales, but also new model development, pricing and financing? Well, it appears the bad news has some good mixed in.

Honda VTX1300T makes for strong touring company

January 9, 2008

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Honda VTX1300T makes for strong touring company

Anyone who favors flash over substance isn't likely to have a Honda VTX1300T in the garage. Honda's new middle-weight tourer is a laid-back Dairy Queen of a bike -- a simple, straightforward cruiser for riders who like their milk whole and their bacon thick.

The Triumph Street Triple fills the need for speed, but it lacks a certain ease on commutes

December 26, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

The Triumph Street Triple fills the need for speed, but it lacks a certain ease on commutes

THE 2008 Street Triple is Triumph's version of a rock music supergroup. The British manufacturer has taken two of its stars -- the Daytona 675 sport bike and the Speed Triple street fighter -- and put them on a single stage.

Currie Technologies' iZip electric bicycle pedals the eco-commute

December 19, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Currie Technologies' iZip electric bicycle pedals the eco-commute

Oh, %*$#@! That was pretty much the soundtrack to my daily commute on the iZip Express electric bicycle.

Suzuki B-King is for Lord Vader. His chariot awaits.

December 12, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Suzuki B-King is for Lord Vader. His chariot awaits.

Suzuki's highly anticipated B-King is a two-wheeled version of Darth Vader. It's big. It's black. And the Force is definitely on its side.

Aprilia SportCity 250 scooter doesn't putt putt. It zip zips.

December 5, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Aprilia SportCity 250 scooter doesn't putt putt. It zip zips.

TAKE 15 pound-feet of torque. Factor in 22.5 horsepower. The numbers don't add up to bragging rights, especially for an Italian sport bike manufacturer.

China's Jialing JH600 dual sport is not quite ready for the U.S.A.

November 28, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

China's Jialing JH600 dual sport is not quite ready for the U.S.A.

Riding 1,700 miles in eight days isn't anything I'd normally brag about. But I was riding a Chinese motorcycle. In China. Over pavement and gravel. Across the Tianshan mountains and the Taklamakan desert. From elevations of 13,400 feet to sea level. In temperatures from freezing to 100-plus degrees. So forgive me if I seem a little self-congratulatory for trekking the Chinese wilds on a Jialing JH600 dual sport.

Suzuki Hayabusa is about speed, and then some

November 21, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Suzuki Hayabusa is about speed, and then some

Faster than a fighter pilot. Smoother than a sake bomb. It's the 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa -- completely overhauled for the first time since it raced out of the gate and flattened the competition.

Jay Leno's Green Room

November 7, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Jay Leno's Green Room

JAY LENO likes anything that rolls and explodes and makes noise, and his Big Dog Garage offers proof. Its 17,000 square feet are packed with rolling, exploding and noisy things -- most of them four-wheeled, rare and expensive.

Buell 1125R isn't about thunder or lightning. Just speed

October 24, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Buell 1125R isn't about thunder or lightning. Just speed

It was a 100-mile day of wide-open throttle, hard braking and high-speed corners. A day divvied up into 1.8-mile chunks as I sped around the Streets of Willow racetrack on the 2008 Buell 1125R again and again, faster and faster.

Here's a new profile in touring

October 17, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Here's a new profile in touring

HOLY haystacks, Batman. Either the Joker's taken over Victory Motorcycles, or the Minnesota manufacturer is on to something with its obliterate-the-mold Vision tourers.

October 10, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

What to wear on a bike

When I'm riding around and looking at other motorcyclists, the most common outfit I see is jeans and a jacket. I used to dress like that too, until I dropped my bike, ripped my jeans and tore open my knees, pretty much ensuring I will never wear a miniskirt again.

Big Dog Mutt is entry level, but you'd better hold on

September 12, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Big Dog Mutt is entry level, but you'd better hold on

Big Dog's got a brand-new motorcycle for 2008. Predictably canine in nomenclature, it's called the Mutt.

A turn on the ATV requires a learning curve

September 5, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

A turn on the ATV requires a learning curve

My wheels were rolling along, alternately sliding and gliding over sand, rocks and dirt.

Kawasaki Concours 14 goes all Super Ninja

August 29, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Kawasaki Concours 14 goes all Super Ninja

The new 2008 Concours 14 comes in a single color that's more appropriate for Seattle than SoCal. It's gray.

August 29, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Call this 'naked' bike a pleasure model

I've never ridden blindfolded. But for argument's sake, let's say I was riding blind and plopped atop Kawasaki's new Versys. Italy would be my first guess as to the bike's origin, followed by Germany, then Japan. Kawasaki's new 650 cc naked bike is that premium of a ride.

Big Bear Choppers' Miss Behavin is hit and miss

August 22, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Big Bear Choppers' Miss Behavin is hit and miss

SORRY, boys. Slobber all you like, but this bike isn't for you. The 2007 Miss Behavin is for the ladies.

Vectrix electric scooter: Just in the nick of time

August 15, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Vectrix electric scooter: Just in the nick of time

With interest in alternative-energy vehicles reaching an unprecedented fever pitch, Vectrix couldn't have timed its arrival any more perfectly. Its new Vectrix Maxi Scooter, which has been in the works for more than 10 years, was approved for sale in California just last week and is now officially on the market.

Ducati Hypermotard is high energy, but not for offroading

August 1, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Ducati Hypermotard is high energy, but not for offroading

Ducati's latest is so high-strung it should run on Ritalin. It's called the Hypermotard -- "hyper" because the 1,078 cc L-twin is a twitchy little torque monster, and "motard" because its slim profile, slick Pirellis and tall bar-stool seat are pure supermoto.

American IronHorse Slammer is a custom built for Damien

July 25, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

American IronHorse Slammer is a custom built for Damien

IronHorse calls it the Slammer, but Demon Spawn would be just as appropriate. Overhauled for 2007 with modern technology and extreme styling that's angling for a fight, the Texas manufacturer's 9-year-old flagship is "The Omen" translated into a motorcycle.

July 25, 2007

ASK THROTTLE JOCKEY

Chaps aren't de rigueur, but a helmet, yes

Q: In looking at your riding clothing on the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob segment, I wondered if you had ever written anything on protective clothing recommendations.

The skinny on the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob

July 19, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

The skinny on the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob

BALTIMORE -- If Fat Bob posted a profile on Match.com, it might look something like this: Heavyset man seeks friendship, possible romance with fun-loving rider. Must like short canyon day trips and long, envious looks.

2008 Rocker C: Harley-Davidson's telling tail

July 18, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

2008 Rocker C: Harley-Davidson's telling tail

Baltimore -- THESE days, it's hard to know who's following whom. Harley-Davidson may be the undisputed market leader in the cruiser world, but the new models it's wheeled out for 2008 show exactly how influential small custom shops have become.

7:59 PM PST, December 17, 2012

ASK THROTTLE JOCKEY

Rear-end accident deaths not as common

Question: Do you have any statistics on rear-end accidents (from cars) while stopped at intersections aboard a motorcycle?

July 11, 2007

ASK THROTTLE JOCKEY

Finding a spot for a small bike in a big world

Question: How do scooters under 50 cc fit into the world? About two years ago, I was about to purchase a Honda Ruckus for local trips under five miles, but I couldn't get a clear answer from the Honda dealer on how it should be licensed and where I could ride it. Further, campus cops couldn't decide if it had to be parked with motorcycles or bicycles. Are mopeds handled differently than scooters? What about those skateboard things with two-stroke motors? -- Peter LaBarba, Long Beach

Tomos moped is still tootling along

June 27, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Tomos moped is still tootling along

IT'S the vegan of motorbikes -- lean, green and more than a little anemic. I'm talking about the moped, a humble, less-than-2-horsepower machine that cranks no more than 30 mph and weighs less than I do.

BMW F 800 S sport bike is reasonably priced

June 20, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

BMW F 800 S sport bike is reasonably priced

He makes a comfortable living and is probably taking Lipitor. Do you know what type of bike he's riding?

Suzuki GSX-R1000 is fast to adjust to surroundings

May 9, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Suzuki GSX-R1000 is fast to adjust to surroundings

I'VE never gone so fast on a motorcycle. My top speed: 163 mph.

Triumph Rocket III is a beast with three cylinder

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Triumph Rocket III is a beast with three cylinder

The Rocket III Classic Tourer is Triumph's latest entry into the cruiser market, and one thing's for sure: It's no hog. But at 751 pounds dry and nearly 2,300 cc, it is quite the heifer.

Kawasaki KLR650 is a singular dual sport

April 25, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Kawasaki KLR650 is a singular dual sport

KAWASAKI'S KLR650 has been the bestselling dual sport for the last few years, but that hasn't stopped owners from complaining. The saddle was as comfortable as a plank of petrified wood, they whined. The windshield didn't live up to its name. The spongy rear shock forced their spines to pick up the slack, and weak brakes were cramping their style.

Honda CBR600RR and Ninja ZX-6R make the imagination race - and more

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Honda CBR600RR and Ninja ZX-6R make the imagination race - and more

THE market for 600 cc sport bikes is screaming. Japan's middleweight repli-racers aren't just moving faster than ever before, they're selling, and being redesigned, at record speeds.

Victory Motorcycles Kingpin Tour takes on Harley with high tech

April 4, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Victory Motorcycles Kingpin Tour takes on Harley with high tech

WARNING: Dozens of bugs were sacrificed for this review.

Ducati 1098 S is fast company

March 28, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Ducati 1098 S is fast company

The Ducati 1098 S is so slick, so fast, so Elite Model beautiful that saints with sinner inclinations should beware.

V Star 1300: the kind of ride you could settle down with

March 21, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY | SUSAN CARPENTER

V Star 1300: the kind of ride you could settle down with

IN the world of cruisers, there are Gingers and there are Mary Anns -- bikes that like to gussy up and make a grand entrance, and more understated models that can leave the house without double dipping the mascara. Star Motorcycles' new 1300 cc V Star is definitely a Mary Ann -- unintimidating, low maintenance and just as happy to grab a burger as dine on filet mignon.

Harley-Davidson Nightster beats Old Man Time

February 21, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Harley-Davidson Nightster beats Old Man Time

It isn't easy being old.

Peter Fonda goes his way

February 15, 2007

Peter Fonda goes his way

NEARLY four decades after riding his Captain America chopper to fame, Peter Fonda is still bucking trends. Two-wheeling through Coldwater Canyon during a recent late-morning ride, Hollywood's iconic biker wasn't showboating on the Harley-Davidson cruiser one would expect but zipping around on an MV Agusta F4-1000 sportbike that could smoke pretty much anything else on the road.

The Can-Am Spyder and Piaggio MP3 are trikes for the big kids

February 14, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

The Can-Am Spyder and Piaggio MP3 are trikes for the big kids

Any rider who's cracked the binding of a motorcycle magazine in recent years knows we're living in the golden age, but if the faithless are looking for more proof, the new three-wheelers would be it.

Can-Am ventures off beaten with Spyder 3-wheeler

February 5, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Can-Am ventures off beaten with Spyder 3-wheeler

Something strange is happening in the motorcycle world: One new model is sprouting a third wheel.

January 24, 2007

Buell's off-road life of rock 'n' roll thunder

In the '70s, Erik Buell was an AMA superbike racer. In the '80s, he added Harley-Davidson engineer and Buell Motorcycles founder to his resume. Now, the Buell chairman and chief technical officer is fronting the Thunderbolts rock band and designing a line of guitars. In both fields, he says, it's all about making people feel good.

Grandstand theater

January 11, 2007

Grandstand theater

TAKE 500 truckloads of dirt. Add a few dozen snorting motorcycles, a bunch of 70-foot jumps, some booming pyrotechnics and 45,000 screaming fans, and you've got one of the fastest-growing motorsports in the country in all its deafening, live glory.

January 10, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

Bike 101: Choosing your ride

Like most seasoned riders, I try not to think about it because it's just too embarrassing. I'm talking about those first clutch-popping, bike-stalling days on two wheels.

January 10, 2007

THROTTLE JOCKEY

For the rookie rider, safety is just a matter of course

No matter how expert we become at carving canyons and generally high-tailing it through the streets on two wheels, we have to learn the basics to get there. Since 1987, almost 500,000 Californians have learned those basics in a parking lot, where they could dump the bike and go wide in turns without shame.

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