2016 Long Term Fleet

The ultimate road test

Welcome to MCN's 120,000-mile test of 2016's key new machines. From Triumph Thruxton R to Kawasaki J125, it's the UK's most comprehensive bike fleet. 

MCN's 2015 Longterm Fleet - we present the most important collection of bikes in 2015.

Honda CB500F 

MCN Fleet: The perfect luggage set-up for the Multistrada Enduro

MCN Fleet: The perfect luggage set-up for the Multistrada Enduro

The type of luggage set-up you choose completely depends on what you’ll be using your machine for. If you’ll be taking on big, long trips then you’ll want panniers, but if you’re only going to be...

MCN Fleet: Month one with the Yamaha MT-10

MCN Fleet: Month one with the Yamaha MT-10

So that’s the first month of my MT-10 summer done. So far, mainly good.  The good 1 The way its gravelly crossplane motor picks up from nowhere. Its free-revving punch jerks your arms straight...

XSR gets ready for a cafe race makeover

XSR gets ready for a cafe race makeover

As the Yamaha XSR900 nears the 3000-mile mark I feel it's time to take it in a certain direction. Firstly, the Bridgestone S20s were showing signs of wear. And to be fair they've had quite a lot to...

MCN Fleet: Ducati XDiavel, pillion seat reloaded

MCN Fleet: Ducati XDiavel, pillion seat reloaded

Let’s try that again, shall we? Last month I made the mistake of taking a back seat view of my XDiavel S long-term test bike. It was only a brief journey, a couple of miles if that, but it was right...

MCN Fleet: Superstition IS the way for SV650

MCN Fleet: Superstition IS the way for SV650

It’s the question to which there could only be one answer. ‘Do you want crash protectors for the SV?’ What was I supposed to say - ‘No thanks, I don’t need crash protectors’? I don’t much believe in...

MCN Fleet: CB500F beats R1200RT in A1 commute

MCN Fleet: CB500F beats R1200RT in A1 commute

If you had the choice between Honda’s CB500F and BMW’s R1200RT for a hefty, dual carriageway based commute, you’d be daft not to choose the RT. A seat resembling an armchair, plenty of wind protection...

MCN Fleet: KTM Super Duke GT – The Longest Day (Part 2)

MCN Fleet: KTM Super Duke GT – The Longest Day (Part 2)

There’s nothing more cathartic than covering big miles in a short period of time. It takes your brain to a better place – and you’ll never feel more at one with your bike.  On Monday, June 20 –...

MCN Fleet: Touring is miles more fun on the F800GS

MCN Fleet: Touring is miles more fun on the F800GS

As I near the 10,000-mile mark I’ve started to reflect on my time with the GS so far. I’m finding it a great machine to live with and for the most part I’m really happy with it. Sure there are a...

MCN Fleet: ZX-10R - plush like a racer

MCN Fleet: ZX-10R - plush like a racer

One of the most impressive things about this latest model ZX-10R is its supple ride quality and stability. It’s all down to the Kawasaki’s new chassis and Showa suspension set-up, which includes new...

MCN Fleet: Advancing skills on the Harley Street 750

MCN Fleet: Advancing skills on the Harley Street 750

Turning up for my first session with IAM observer, Alie Ball, I was pleasantly surprised by her lack of high-viz clothing! I’d met Alie at a trackday last year and she inspired me to have a crack at...

MCN Fleet: Multistrada Enduro gets new rubber

MCN Fleet: Multistrada Enduro gets new rubber

When I first took the keys for the Ducati Multistrada Enduro, I proudly (and naively) claimed that I’d have a go at recreating Ducati’s promotional Enduro video, if you've not seen it, you can check...

MCN Fleet: Scrambler Inspiration kit perks up the Street Twin

MCN Fleet: Scrambler Inspiration kit perks up the Street Twin

The Street Twin has just returned from its first service fitted with Triumph's official Scrambler Inspiration kit. I’ve criticised the Street for being a little dull looks wise but the Scrambler kit...

MCN Fleet: BMW R1200RT at Cadwell Park

MCN Fleet: BMW R1200RT at Cadwell Park

Ok I should have removed the panniers, or at least emptied them. I still had a spare open face helmet in one pannier and my lunch in the other. And yes playing Radio 1 whilst pulling wheelies over...

MCN Fleet: Keeping the Kawasaki J125 sparkling

MCN Fleet: Keeping the Kawasaki J125 sparkling

So far, I’ll admit that thanks to a rather hectic schedule I haven’t had much of a chance to do much riding on my Kawasaki J125 long termer! Arriving while I was in Qatar for the opening round of...

MCN Fleet: Saving the pennies with the CB500F

MCN Fleet: Saving the pennies with the CB500F

I’ll be honest. In my last update I was perhaps a little harsh to slate the CB500F’s ability as a long-distance commuter. After all, that’s not what it’s built for – Honda sell the CB500X (using the...

MCN Fleet: XSR900 v MT-09 - which wins the beauty contest?

MCN Fleet: XSR900 v MT-09 - which wins the beauty contest?

The Yamaha XSR900 has proved a brilliant bike since I took ownership of it a couple of months and nearly 2000 miles ago. But I've had that niggly feeling for a while now that I'd maybe let style win...

MCN Fleet: Should Husqvarna 701 Supermoto stay stealthy?

MCN Fleet: Should Husqvarna 701 Supermoto stay stealthy?

If there's one thing that bugs me a little about the 701 Supermoto other than the comfort it's that it sounds a bit naff with the standard, and rather large, exhaust.  I've left it standard so...

Video: MCN Fleet report on our Suzuki SV650

Video: MCN Fleet report on our Suzuki SV650

After 2000 miles on the cheeky new Suzuki SV650 this year it's time to show my first video report about the bike. It covers what I'm impressed with, what I've changed and what needs to change next to...

MCN Fleet: Kawasaki's ZX-10R doesn't stop me in my tracks

MCN Fleet: Kawasaki's ZX-10R doesn't stop me in my tracks

Despite being updated with Brembo calipers for 2016, the brakes on my ZX-10R are weak. During our superbike shoot-out earlier in the year we brake tested all the bikes and the Kawasaki took 50.24...

MCN Fleet: Time for a pit stop, again

MCN Fleet: Time for a pit stop, again

In the three months I’ve had the GS I’ve clocked up a hefty 8384 miles, along the way getting 140-160 miles out of a tank before the reserve light comes on.  For my riding and the distances...

MCN Fleet: Life is good on the Africa Twin

MCN Fleet: Life is good on the Africa Twin

Now 5800 miles in to life with the Honda Africa Twin and things are going well. My recent adventures have taken me North for a 900-mile round trip to Scotland. Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to go...

MCN Fleet: KTM Super Duke GT goes posh at Goodwood

MCN Fleet: KTM Super Duke GT goes posh at Goodwood

I'm addicted to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and have been to fifteen or so of them over the last 23 years – only missing it when I have no choice.  Much though I like to take the whole...

MCN Fleet: BMW S1000XR encounters a sticky problem

MCN Fleet: BMW S1000XR encounters a sticky problem

I’d noticed something was amiss with the way the key was turning in the BMW S1000XR’s ignition barrel for a few days but assumed a little bit of dirt had fallen in and was responsible for the sticky...

MCN Fleet: KTM Super Duke GT – The Longest Day (Part 1)

MCN Fleet: KTM Super Duke GT – The Longest Day (Part 1)

Not all days are equal you know – and Monday June 20 was most definitely a long one. In fact it was 966.2 miles long.  As my front wheel first touched the road, the GT's glowing orange dash...

MCN Fleet: Is Ducati XDiavel S made for two?

MCN Fleet: Is Ducati XDiavel S made for two?

Like many motorcyclists, some of my most frightening two-wheeled experiences have been witnessed from the pillion seat. That’s not to say I’m a reluctant passenger, quite the opposite — I actually...

MCN Fleet: First 200 miles with Honda's CB500F

MCN Fleet: First 200 miles with Honda's CB500F

With Honda’s CB500F joining MCN’s test fleet last week, I thought it’d be rude to begin Ride to Work week without doing just that. Leaving my house in Lincoln at 7:45am, I arrived at our Peterborough...

MCN Fleet: Adventure on your doorstep on the F800GS

MCN Fleet: Adventure on your doorstep on the F800GS

After spending a day learning to ride off-road at the Adventure Bike Academy previously, my next long-term adventure with my BMW F800 GS started on the doorstep of Snowdonia’s National park. With...

MCN Fleet: KTM Super Duke GT – stand and deliver

MCN Fleet: KTM Super Duke GT – stand and deliver

There are always a few little niggles with new bikes, it's the nature of the game – but sometimes you really do have to wonder how the test riders didn't identify a problem before it became the...

MCN Fleet: Kawasaki ZX-10R update video

MCN Fleet: Kawasaki ZX-10R update video

I've just returned from a seven-day trip to the Sachsenring on my ZX-10R, to race at the World GP Bike Legends event. I stopped off at the Nurburging for a few laps on the way and Spa on the way...

MCN Fleet: Mastering the mud on the F800GS

MCN Fleet: Mastering the mud on the F800GS

Dirt tracks, loose rocks and rivers have all passed me by so far in my riding career. The fear of dropping my bike on its side always played a key role in this. But now I have a GS. It’s built for...

MCN Fleet: TT trip means the SV650 feels far more natural now

MCN Fleet: TT trip means the SV650 feels far more natural now

It always takes a little time to feel like a bike is truly yours, and my trip to the Isle of Man TT was what I needed to bond with the Suzuki SV650. It was only a 500-miler – 360 miles on the mainland...

MCN Fleet: Old school lube for Street Twin

MCN Fleet: Old school lube for Street Twin

Many of my recent long-term test bikes have had one thing in common – belt drive – so I wasn’t looking forward to returning to regular chain maintenance. I’ve never been a huge fan of chain lube from...

MCN Fleet: Kawasaki ZX-10R to Sachsenring (via the Nurburgring)

MCN Fleet: Kawasaki ZX-10R to Sachsenring (via the Nurburgring)

This weekend I'm racing a 1989 ex-Randy Mamola Cagiva V589 500cc Grand Prix bike at the World GP Bike Legends, Sachsenring. And what better way to get here than by riding my Kawasaki ZX-10R long-term...

MCN Fleet: Smallish panniers for my Husqvarna 701 Supermoto?

MCN Fleet: Smallish panniers for my Husqvarna 701 Supermoto?

On the Husky my only method of transporting stuff is in a rucksack. On longer trips with a heavy load this means back and shoulder ache. My dad took one look at the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto and came...

MCN Fleet: Can the Yamaha XSR900 do big miles?

MCN Fleet: Can the Yamaha XSR900 do big miles?

The crisp-but-sunny Sunday morning had me itching to get going and see how the naked XSR would cope with a 400-mile round-trip to Newcastle. Nearly all of those miles were to be on the A1 and the...

MCN Fleet: KTM Super Duke GT is 'world's first hooligan-tourer'

MCN Fleet: KTM Super Duke GT is 'world's first hooligan-tourer'

I don’t know if it’s my age – but I’ve been struggling with a simple question lately that I used to have no trouble answering (no, not my name): if you had to buy one new bike this year, what would it...