2023 Indian Sport Chief Review [9 Fast Facts]

2023 Indian Sport Chief Review [9 Fast Facts]

2023 Indian Sport Chief Review: MSRP

Indian seemed to have the sport side of its lineup covered by the FTRs and the Challenger—that latter provides the basis of the King of the Baggers race bikes. The Chief platform seemed comfortably entrenched in traditional cruisers and light-duty baggers. However, someone at Indian had bigger ideas, and the 2023 Indian Sport Chief is the result, complete with California Club styling and nicely bobbed fenders. Fortunately, Indian did more than simply make the Sport Chief an exercise in moto fashion, as we found out after rippling some California asphalt.

  1. Some smart bolt-ons converted the Chief for style-conscious Sport duty. Most of the heavy lifting is at the front of the bike. There, you’ll find an inverted KYB fork from the Challenger, massive 320mm twin discs with radially mounted Brembo calipers, a quarter fairing, and a narrow flat-bend handlebar on six-inch risers. A pair of piggyback-reservoir Fox shocks lengthen the rear wheel travel to four inches and improve cornering clearance. Finally, a solo gunfighter seat provides tailbone support when bracing against the Thunderstroke 116’s acceleration in Sport mode.
  1. The 2023 Indian Sport Chief lives up to its name in the canyons. The upgraded suspension and braking make all the difference when getting aggressive in the twisties. In all but the tightest corners, there’s plenty of lean angle on offer before a bootheel or peg touches down. The Sport Chief is extraordinarily stable thanks to the excellent suspension action and the flex-free inverted fork. Additionally, the 130mm front Pirelli Night Dragon tire has a large enough footprint to give the rider plenty of front-end confidence. Yes, you have to add some muscle and body English to change direction—the hefty Sport Chief is not flickable.

  1. Shredding between corners can be accomplished in either Sport or Standard mode thanks to the Thunderstroke 116’s abundant power. The two modes cater to different riding styles. The Sport mode delivers an aggressive throttle response, rewarding a twist of the right grip immediately and with abandon. If you’re willing to put up with some notchiness as you transition on- and off-throttle, you get performance worthy of the Sport name. Standard mode smooths things out considerably. You still get strong acceleration in Standard—remember, 120 ft-lbs of torque are delivered at 2900 rpm—but it has nowhere near the enthusiasm of Sport. However, on tricky or unfamiliar roads, the smoothness of the Sport delivery can result in an overall faster ride, as mistakes are forgiven more readily.
  1. Despite their power, the 320mm front discs can sometimes use help. Even with semi-floating radial Brembos grasping as hard as they can, they’re sometimes not enough to slow down the 670-pound Sport Chief when you overcook a corner. Fortunately, as is often the case with cruisers, the rear tire—180mm on the Sport—is
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2023 Honda SCL500 Review [A Dozen Scrambler Fast Facts]

Motorcycle riding has this magical ability to transport me from my day-to-day whirlwind full of the pressures of modern life to a time that almost stands still. No matter what has been going on in my day, as soon as the faceshield clicks down or the goggle strap settles on my helmet, everything else fades away. This is the beauty of two wheels and a twist of the throttle. Pretty much any bike has this effect on me, and the new 2023 Honda SCL500 adds that extra element of time shifting, as it evokes an era when life truly was slower and simpler.

2023 Honda SCL500 Review: Price

  1. While the styling of the 2023 Honda SCL500 references the Honda twin-cylinder scramblers of the 1960s and early ’70s, it’s not meant for offroad riding. The SCL500 borrows the engine and frame from Honda’s Rebel 500 cruiser, then adds neo-scrambler cues such as a down-/up-swept exhaust, 19-/17-inch aluminum wheels with street-focused ADV tires, tank pads, and fork gaiters. While you can certainly take the SCL on a well-groomed dirt road without undercarriage protection or knobby tires, off-road riding is best avoided. That’s okay; you weren’t really going to do that anyway—you just want it to look the part (it does) while delivering a hugely satisfying ride on pavement.
  1. Ergonomics are all-day friendly. The SCL350’s upright riding position, the mid-position footpegs, and well-positioned handlebars keep your body relaxed as you cruise, er, scramble your way down the backroads. The comfy bench seat means you’re not locked into one position, and there’s room to invite a friend onboard behind you. Also, the seating position allows an excellent grip on the tank.

2023 Honda SCL500 Review: MSRP

  1. The 2023 Honda SCL500 is novice-friendly, yet still appealing to seasoned riders looking for a more casual ride. The compact mid-size bike’s neo-retro look is non-intimidating and reassuring, inviting you to throw a leg over the seat in your dealer’s showroom. With a 31-inch seat height, it’s not low-slung like the Rebel, but is 1.6 inches lower than the Honda CRF300LS lowered dual-sport bike. A free-spirited scrambler personality requires some extra ground clearance, so the SCL has nearly six inches of wheel travel at both ends. The dual shocks are spring-preload adjustable because that bench seat is a buddy/passenger magnet.
  1. The SCL500’s non-adjustable suspension is nicely tuned and never felt unsettled. The suspension is firm enough for hard braking into tight turns in the canyons, yet it’s not harsh around town. While the ride is not plush, most of the bite of the well-worn urban/suburban landscape is decently reduced as the ribbed seat contributes to a comfortable ride.

2023 Honda SCL500 Review: For Sale

  1. Smooth and torquey, the familiar minutely oversquare DOHC 471cc parallel-twin engine requires no managing. Pulling away from a stop is stress-free, as the forgiving engine has no hitches in the power delivery. The clutch has an assist function that lightens the pull—always good around town. Shifting through the six-speed transmission is sure, predictable, and without false neutrals. You’ll easily get 150 miles between fill-ups of
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2023 Honda CRF300LS Review (A Dozen Dual-Sport Fast Facts)

In a welcoming move to further entice new riders into the market, Honda has lowered the seat height of its already hugely approachable CRF300L dual sport motorcycle, bringing us the 2023 Honda CRF300LS. It is difficult to oversell how much fun this small displacement bike is, and for newer riders who are still building their confidence, the CRF300LS is the perfect ambassador.

2023 Honda CRF300LS Review: Dual Sport

  1. The seat height on the CRF300LS is fully two inches lower than the standard CRF300L. As we know, nothing spells confidence and reassurance like getting one’s feet flat on the ground. While there are plenty of cruiser bikes with very low seat heights, the barrier to riding street and off-road bikes can climb quickly, leaving a lot of potential riders on the sidelines. While the 32.7-inch seat height on the CRF300LS may still sound lofty, throw a leg over the narrow seat and see how the chassis settles with your weight added. I’m easily flat-footed in Alpinestars’ J-6 Waterproof shoes and my 30.5-inch inseam.
  1. Suspension travel is shorter on the CRF300LS than on the L. You gotta give some to get some, and Honda traded around an inch of wheel travel at each end to contribute to the lower seat height—the rest comes from a thinner seat. That’s fine; few riders will feel compromised by this reduced travel on the street. Fortunately, the nine inches of wheel travel at both ends leaves room for an average-sized rider to tackle the conditions on suburban dirt roads and trails without bottoming the suspension.

2023 Honda CRF300LS Review: For Sale

  1. The reduced-travel suspension and ground clearance could be an issue off-road. Those taking the dual sporter off-road have 1.6 inches less ground clearance to work with than the CRF300L. At faster speeds or over rougher terrain, depending on rider weight, the chassis’ capabilities may be overmatched. If you plan to spend more time in the dirt than the street, the CRF300L is better suited to your ambitions.
  1. The CRF300LS has the immediately welcoming ergonomics that make dual sport bikes so versatile. The upright seating stance is natural and comfortable, making it easy to see and be seen when riding in urban and suburban environments. Slipping through lanes of traffic is effortless with the 300’s slim physique, though keep an eye on the width of the bars.

2023 Honda CRF300LS Review: Price

  1. With a 311-pound curb weight, the CRF300LS is not a handful on the street. While considerably heavier than a pure off-road motorcycle—it weighs 46 pounds more than the CRF250F trail bike—the CRF300LS weighs five pounds less than the street-only Honda CB300R, with the wide handlebars of the LS providing plenty of leverage for easy maneuvering. Paddling at the gas station or in parking lots is not a stressful activity, though the CB300R does have an inch-lower seat height, making it a natural choice for a new rider who won’t be venturing into the dirt.
  1. The torquey 286cc single is easy for entry-level riders to get comfortable on. Power delivery is smooth, and you can adjust your speed
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2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Review [11 Fast Facts]

2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Review: Urban Motorcycle Test

The new 2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 is a $3999 shot across the bow of competitors offering affordable urban transportation. The Hunter is the third model in Royal Enfield’s 350 range, joining the Meteor cruiser and the 1950s-styled Classic. The new Hunter brings a touch of styling modernity to the tradition-infused India-based brand. We took to the busy streets of San Diego to find out how slick it is in the city, and even ventured out into the nearby hinterlands to carve up some canyons.

2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Review: For Sale

  1. Small displacement motorcycles are a fun way to traverse cityscapes, and the torquey Hunter adds power to the equation. With a price under $4k, you expect to be riding a 125cc motorcycle. Eighth-liter motors put freeways off limits, and you have to be hard on the throttle at every stoplight to avoid getting overrun by Teslas. The Hunter’s 20 ft-lbs of torque at an easily attained 4000 rpm moves the 400-pound motorcycle along nicely on city streets, thanks to a smooth throttle response. The broad powerband means the 350cc motor can get by ably with a five-speed transmission.
  1. Twenty horses are available at 6100 rpm, giving you a fighting chance on freeways. Top speed on the SOHC air-cooled Hunter 350 is around 80 mph, depending on conditions, with sluggish acceleration above 65 mph. If you’re thinking a sixth speed would help on the freeway, it won’t unless it’s downhill. Often, you’ll find yourself in fourth gear to get the highest speed possible, as the motor won’t pull fifth in a stiff wind or on uphills.

2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Review: MSRP

  1. The 2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 loves moving through surface-street traffic. Royal Enfield gave the Hunter 350 a new, lighter frame with a wheelbase about an inch shorter than its siblings. The rake and trail are tucked in, with some credit going to the Hunter-exclusive pair of 17-inch wheels. This makes it easy to direct the Hunter 350 wherever you want.
  1. The fully upright standard-style ergonomics encourage active riding, such as going for that slot between a couple of cars. The handlebar is reasonably narrow, and the mirrors are unobtrusive, so filtering and lane splitting are natural behaviors for the Hunter. The seat height is a friendly 31.1 inches, and it’s comfortable for long stints. Royal Enfield calls the Hunter a “big-city motorcycle” for a reason.
  1. The fixed-damping suspension does a decent job of knocking the edge off rough urban roads. While no one will describe the no-name suspension as plush, in most cases, it prevents pothole-induced jolts from sharply making their way to the rider. The suspension settings are firm enough to prevent g-outs on drainage dips on city streets.

2023 Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Review: Price

  1. In-town cornering is sure, with the Ceat Zoom XL tires providing reliable traction. Although this is a lower-spec tire than on the Classic and Meteor 350s, these Ceat tires work fine. If you decide you want premium rubber, the 17-inch wheels mean you have plenty of options. Heck, you can fit a pair of Dunlop
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2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition Review [14 Fast Facts]

The 2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition is built for exactly what its name implies. It takes the capable Norden 901 travel enduro, bolts on a heaping dose of helpful touring accessories and, most importantly, features upgraded long-travel suspension to ensure wherever your dart lands on the map, you’ll have everything you need to get there.

2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition Review: Price

The middleweight Norden 901 and the Expedition variant use the thoroughly trail-proven KTM 890 Adventure platforms as their starting points, giving quite a bit of credence to the rugged bones underneath the swish Scandinavian brand’s designs.

Of course, the only way to test a motorcycle with Expedition in its name is to actually embark on one. I headed off to rural Grabouw, South Africa, outside Capetown, where adventure of the highest order was in store. I would explore excellent paved sections like the unforgettable Franschhoek Pass, traverse countless miles of dusty hardpack dirt roads, and tackle challenging trails that would test this editor and the Husqvarna in equal measure. The Norden 901 Expedition passed with flying colors, and now, we’ll get on with the Fast Facts.

  1. Husky upped the standard Norden’s performance and touring ante by selecting components—mainly from the brand’s accessory catalog—that appeal to the more adventurous contingent of ADV riders. Starting with creature comforts, a tall touring windscreen offers ample wind protection, and is bolstered by a heated seat and grips. Meanwhile, a centerstand will surely come in handy for maintenance or road-/trail-side repairs, accompanied by a beefy 4mm-thick aluminum skid plate, GPS mount, and 18-liter soft Side Bag Set ticks the touring boxes. On the performance end, the 890 Adventure R’s lauded WP Xplore suspension imbues the Norden with 9.4 inches of wheel travel at either end, increasing ground clearance to an ample 10.6 inches. Lastly, the standard’s optional Explorer mode is standard. A hefty list of bolt-on bits collectively cost far more than the $1300 upcharge over the standard Norden 901, representing a serious value.

2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition Review: MSRP

  1. 889ccs of pure fun power the Norden 901 platform. Yanked out of the Ready To Race brand’s stable, the proven parallel-twin engine features an alluring 270-degree crank that helps tease out a boisterous personality and accompanying exhaust burble. With claimed peaks of 105 horsepower and 74 ft-lbs of torque, the Norden’s mill hits the sweet spot. It is always enough thrilling punch to attack any road, pass at freeway speeds, or hit trails head-on without becoming excessive like many of today’s liter-class ADVs. User-friendly low-end and midrange power is highlighted in slower, technical off-road sections. When the opportunity arises on faster two-track trails or out on the open road, the silky counterbalanced engine has plenty of puff leftover at the top.
  1. An up/down quickshifter is standard on the 2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition’s six-speed transmission. Helping you explore the gears is a handy bi-directional quickshifter that offers sporty throw and trouble-free transitions through the gearbox. The harder on the gas you are, the more refined it feels, whereas cruising along at more
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2023 Beta Xtrainer Review (18 Fast Facts From The Trails)

Introduced eight years ago, the Beta Xtrainer has always been the red-headed stepchild of the boutique Italian brand’s dirt bike lineup. Designed as something between a trials bike and an enduro bike, featuring a more compact frame and lower seat height, the Xtrainer never lived up to its potential as a novice-friendly trail bike capable of taking on highly technical trails—until now. Beta reworked the Xtrainer last year, but we never made the time to ride it. There are more updates this year, and we nabbed the first one in the fleet. As it turns out, the 2023 Beta Xtrainer is a huge step forward for the model, and I love it.

2023 Beta Xtrainer Review: Price

  1. Suspension always held the Beta Xtrainer back. The Ollé R16V suspension was always wanting—we last tested it in 2018. It was both harsh and bottomed easily. Sorting out the Ollé suspension wasn’t a simple task, as they’re unusual units. You could get the $2500 suspension upgrade package through the Build Your Own Beta program, but now your budget trail bike would have a price tag of over $10k.
  1. Beta has gotten serious about the Xtrainer’s suspension, and it works incredibly well, which makes a world of difference. The nicely balanced action is supple and resistant to bottoming at trail riding speeds. This isn’t an enduro bike—if you’re looking to charge your way down a trail, Beta has an RR that will suit you nicely. The 2023 Beta Xtrainer is for fun trail riding speeds and taking on rougher conditions as you explore more challenging trails. If you want to run an RR pace, but are looking for a lighter bike that is less expensive, you’ll be disappointed in the Xtrainer.
  1. Although fully adjustable, we didn’t stray much from the stock settings. Beta suspension testers must have worked overtime on the Ollés. We were never tempted to soften the suspension, as it already was plusher than a Beanie Baby. Attempts to stiffen things up unsettled the balance, with the side-effect of losing traction as the Xtrainer started getting skittery. Weighing in at a featherweight 232 pounds with the new, larger 2.3-gallon fuel tank topped off with straight gas, the Xtrainer is extra sensitive to clicker adjustments. We learned to accept bottoming on g-outs in exchange for fantastic traction and a comfortable ride through even the rockiest terrain.

2023 Beta Xtrainer Review:  Ollé Suspension

  1. The 2023 Beta Xtrainer’s 292cc two-stroke motor has two power settings—Sun and Rain—and they make a huge difference. The good news is that the Xtrainer’s handling and suspension action work with both power modes—that’s not always the case, as a change in power delivery will affect how a bike steers and how the suspension reacts. So, let’s get into the two modes, which go by pictograms rather than official names. It’s also worth mentioning that we had a non-stock FMF Turbinecore 2 spark arrestor installed to keep us legal.
  1. The Sun mode delivers an interesting experience, and there’s a learning curve for its use. Put the 300-class motor
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