Mr. Mallows dives into Yamaha’s air-cooled vert-twin.
After several weeks of dates, bikes and meeting places being changed, and me beginning to think that this damn test ride was never gonna happen. I finally received a call from fellow test rider, Andrew “Please quit roosting me” Boss.
As I pull up to the lights at the end of Main Street the Florida drought has just broken and Bike Week is looking decidedly wet. There’s a girl with her back to me under a large umbrella, standing in front of a large bath sized bucket of cold beer.
It’s been almost two years since we first rode Kawasaki’s retro twin, the W650. Although the 2001 model looks unchanged, Kawasaki have listened to some of the complaints about an otherwise very usable machine and tweaked a few widgets here and there.
So the folks at CMG asked if I would be interested in testing some Dual Sport/ Off-Road bikes. Hell yeah, that would be great. I’ve ridden off road for many years and was anxious to try out the latest machinery. So in typical CMG fashion, my first assignment is a Yamaha’s V-Star 650 Custom. Hey what the…
With Triumph finally succumbing to public pressure by remaking their most famous parallel twin – the Bonneville, it seemed only appropriate to go and ride the thing on home ground. Besides, a trip to England seemed well bloody overdue, and the waiting list to test one here in Canada seemed a tad long.
Riding this thing exceeded any expectation I had – an array of women of all ages gawking at me as I rode by. At my first stop, a young lady loading grocery bags into her car stopped to eagerly ask me how fast it went, how did I like it and how much did it cost? After years of test riding seriously sexy bikes, this was the strongest (and strangest) chick magnet. Ever (although they were looking at the bike more than me)!
The California Stone is basically a rebadged Jackal with a makeover. Power is provided by a 1064 cc, transverse (from left to right instead of front to back) v-twin motor. You could say it defines Moto Guzzi – originating in the 50s when it was used to power 3-wheeled military vehicles, it still remains the Guzzi cornerstone, even as they celebrate their 80th anniversary this year.
When I first got into motorcycles, half my lifetime ago (I was 17), Moto Guzzi were the bike’s of the enthusiast. The same guy that had an old Triumph Bonnie.
What do Editor ‘arris and a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R have in common? They both have a face only a mother could love …