Motorcycles: Shapely Shifter

As its name suggests, the Ducati Multistrada was conceived to do much more than simply travel down the highway. Even the bike’s appearance—with its tall riding position, jacked-up front-fender overhang, and rear-wheel splash guard—telegraphed its dual-purpose ambitions. Yet despite these serious aspirations, looks and format were about all that the original Multistrada could offer in […]

Best of the Best 2008: Sport-Utility Vehicles: Lexus LX 570

At the Lexus LX 570 assembly plant in Yoshiwara, Japan, master craftsmen oversee final fitting and balance procedures. For quality control, robots shoot 1,300 photos as the vehicles proceed down the assembly line. But human hands sand the paint covering the body panels; human ears conduct sound-quality checks on door-closing noises; and, unlike most new […]

Best of the Best 2007: Sportbikes

Kawasaki has been building big, 4-cylinder bikes for a long time, and all that experience and knowledge is apparent in the manufacturer’s latest flagship. The $11,899 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 ( is the most powerful motorcycle the company has ever made, but that is only part of its appeal. It is also easy to ride, flexible, […]

Best of the Best 2007: Sportbikes: Ducati 1098 S

Ducati 1098 S The ducatisti who were put off by the styling of the previous 999 model should agree that the new Ducati 1098 S superbike displays the Italian brand’s trademark charisma and glamour. The 1098 S’s elegant bodywork represents a strengthened version of Ducati’s traditional steel-tube trellis frame, and, as with the trendsetting 916 […]

Motorcycles: Ten… Nine… Eight…

When Ducati unveiled its new 1098 S Tricolore at the Milan motorcycle show late last year, it answered the prayers of many of the bike maker’s fans. For those Ducatisti who had been concerned about the company’s design direction, as expressed by the polarizing 999 model, the 1098 provided assurance that Ducati had not lost […]

Motorcycles: Hot to Handle

Yamaha’s YZF-R1 rarely has disappointed since beginning its fast-paced life nearly a decade ago. It might seem surprising then that the 2007 edition, priced at $11,700, represents such an extensive overhaul of last year’s model. Nevertheless, Yamaha asserts that it is giving riders what they want. “When asked which they [would] prefer, R1 riders put […]

Motorcycles: Attention, Chopper Shoppers

One-of-a-kind, custom-built chopper motorcycles are commonly referred to as hogs for good reason: Their rudimentary suspensions offer limited creature comforts. If demonstrating your individuality is absolutely essential, comfort may not be a critical criterion. However, if your ego can withstand compromise better than your back can, then the moderately priced ($7,350), mass-produced 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan […]

Best Of The Best 2006: Track Lightning

The Kawasaki ZX-10R, the company’s flagship sportbike, has been revised for 2006 specifically to make it more capable on the track. Kawasaki engineers smoothed the power delivery and altered the frame geometry to improve the bike’s weight distribution and center of gravity. The ZX-10R ($11,200) now is better suited for fast direction changes, and it […]

Best Of The Best 2006: Anniversary Gift

The R1 was considered a highly innovative bike when Yamaha introduced it in 2004. An exhaust backpressure valve, a titanium exhaust system, and ram-air front intakes were among the features that made this machine unique. Now for its 50th anniversary, the company has introduced the Yamaha R1 LE ($18,000), which will have a production run […]

Best Of The Best 2006: Techno-Thriller

The Suzuki Boulevard M109R ($12,400) represents an ultramodern interpretation of the cruiser. The bike’s 1,783 cc V-twin engine conforms to cruiser prerequisites, but as a dual-overhead cam, four-valve design with liquid cooling and electronic fuel injection, it also incorporates the latest technologies. The engine has giant 4.4-inch-wide pistons and twin spark plugs in each cylinder […]

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