FOUR FREEDOMS

The CRF450L, KTM 500 EXC-F, Husqvarna FE 450 and Beta 430 RR-S are the most advanced, modern, high-performance dual-sports ever produced. While they could all be successfully ridden to off-road races, raced, then ridden back home, these bikes offer vastly different design philosophies. So, Cycle World put them through the ringer on hundreds of miles of challenging trails in the off-road mecca of Moab, Utah, to find out which is the best dual-sport for anywhere and everywhere.

 

THOUSAND-MILE STARE 

In 1962, the Honda CL72 Scrambler was “raced” the length of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula (952 miles from Tijuana to La Paz, to be exact) for the first time, which set the stage for what would eventually become the monster that is the Baja 1000 off-road race. Scramblers were the bike of choice in the ’60s to conquer the worst that the desert could throw at riders, simply because off-road race bikes hadn’t been invented yet. These days, scramblers have returned to the street and an occasional dirt patch for a doughnut…until Triumph introduced the Scrambler 1200 XE and hatched a plan to prove its off-road worth: Race it in “The Thousand.” But when its rider was injured in training, the plan was put on hold. “What to do with a Triumph race bike put out to pasture for a year? Ride it ourselves in Baja, of course!” Join Senior Editor Justin Dawes as he puts Truimph’s Scrambler—and himself—to the test on portions of the 2018 Baja 1000 racecourse. 

 

V4 R

What makes this winged Panigale the fastest and finest street-legal Ducati superbike ever? Is the V4 R just the weapon Ducati needs to claim the world Superbike title? After a test ride at the Auto Club Speedway in Southern California, Cycle World’s Don Canet tackled southern Spain’s Circuito de Jerez on the Panigale V4 R. “Simply stated, the Panigale V4 R is, without question, the most confidence-bolstering Ducati I have ever ridden,” Canet writes.

PLUS: Technology Changes Everything; A Photo Essay from The Dakar Rally; Helmet Protection Takes a Turn; The Tuner: Bob Nichols; and More!