2015 MCN Long Term Fleet

After months of careful planning and delicate negotiations, we present the most important collection of bikes in 2015 – the MCN long term test fleet.

Interested in one particular bike? Click on that bike and you'll find all updates from 2015.

Yamaha R1 KTM RC390 Ducati 1299 Panigale S Suzuki GSX-S1000FA Ducati Scrambler Triumph Street Triple RxKTM 1050 Adventure Yamaha MT-09 Tracer Kawasaki 1400GTR Honda VFR800X Crossrunner BMW S1000RR Indian Scout Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Kawasaki Versys 1000 BMW F800R BMW R1200RS

Long term update: Farewell faithful friend

Long term update: Farewell faithful friend

My time with the Yamaha MT-09 Tracer has come to an end and I’m already missing it. The term ‘all-rounder’ can often paint a picture of a bland bike that’s alright at most things but doesn’t...

Long term update: Missing you already!

Long term update: Missing you already!

Where did that year go? One minute I'm waiting for the arrival of the Honda VFR800X Crossrunner, and the next I’m giving it a wash and brush up ready for it to go back to Honda. When it did arrive I...

Long term update: How comfy is the V-Strom for pillions?

Long term update: How comfy is the V-Strom for pillions?

Depending on who my pillion is, I take varying degrees of care with their comfort. If it’s my mate or missus then I’m not particularly fussed if they get an achy bum or their helmet knocks mine at...

Long term update: 1400GTR is the ultimate do-it-all

Long term update: 1400GTR is the ultimate do-it-all

Much like the 1400cc inline four engine in the GTR, 2015 was a smooth, fairly uneventful year. There were no breakdowns or niggles with the bike, but there were also no unforgettable highs; the...

Long term update: Can a 'budget' bike keep winter at bay?

Long term update: Can a 'budget' bike keep winter at bay?

The Tracer is a big seller and is the kind of bike that will happily work through all seasons of riding but just how well does a bike costing just over £8000 really hold up against winter? Preparation...

Long term update: End of the winding road

Long term update: End of the winding road

After nigh-on a year and more than 13,000 miles, it’s time to say goodbye to the Versys. I’d like to tell you it’s been emotional, but it hasn’t and that’s because it’s been the most competent,...

Long term update: The things I'll do for a tart!

Long term update: The things I'll do for a tart!

Imagine driving down the motorway in the car with the windscreen wipers on full tilt, barely coping with what’s being hurled at them, the warning light on the dash highlighting the possibility of snow...

Long term update: Just how sporty is the GSX-S1000F

Long term update: Just how sporty is the GSX-S1000F

Suzuki’s big sales pitch for the GSX-S1000F was that it shared an engine with the much-loved and hugely successful 2005 GSX-R1000 K5. So what better way to see just how close the two distant relatives...

Long term update: Green gremlin strikes

Long term update: Green gremlin strikes

It’s taken 12,000 miles and seven months of riding, but I’ve finally found a fault with Kawasaki’s brilliant all-rounder. Well when I say ‘fault’, what I really mean is ‘minor glitch’. 2000 miles ago...

Long term update: That's screwed it up

Long term update: That's screwed it up

Perhaps I spoke too soon about being ready for the winter onslaught – things have not gone to plan recently. First of all the weather changed from the mild and wet pre-Christmas climate to a much...

Long term update: The going gets muff

Long term update: The going gets muff

I had to ride down to Cambridge the other morning and when I set off the Honda Crossrunner’s dash told me it was minus three. Even with heated grips, thick gloves and Acerbis hand guards to deflect...

Long term update: Protection plan

Long term update: Protection plan

Just when I was dreaming about the welcome arrival of Spring, dry roads, new kit and fresh tyres, it seems winter has finally decided to bite me on the arse.  Mid-January delivered a series of...

Long term update: Getting tyred and emotional

Long term update: Getting tyred and emotional

As a Yorkshireman I like to use everything to its full potential. And so it was with the Metzeler Roadtec Z8 Interact tyres I had on the GTR, which covered 9265 miles over the course of the...

Long term update: Is XT worth extra?

Long term update: Is XT worth extra?

The V-Strom seems to be a popular bike and I often get sent questions from owners or potential owners. Here are the most recent and my answers. Bill: I find there is a lot of buffeting, have you...

Long term update: Scout’s a flexible friend

Long term update: Scout’s a flexible friend

The Indian Scout was the only bike I’d been lusting after when browsing the long list of new-for-2015 machines over a year ago. Sure the Scout has a few hitches but the engine is class-leading...

Long term update: Can sensible be fun?

Long term update: Can sensible be fun?

The digital display on my Kawasaki Versys 1000 clicked past 11,000 miles on my way to work last week and it occurred to me just how much my biking habits have changed over the years. Eleven years ago...

Long term update: A triple challenge

Long term update: A triple challenge

I fear change. I can’t help it, it’s the way I am. As far as I’m concerned there’s no music better than that of Erasure circa 1986! If an outfit is clean I’ll carry on wearing it – and when choosing a...

Long term update: GSX laughs at winter

Long term update: GSX laughs at winter

If you’ve packed your bike away for winter then you’ve been missing out. I can’t believe how mild it was throughout December, and we even had some kneedown-dry days on the run-up to Christmas, plus a...

Long term update: Ready for anything

Long term update: Ready for anything

Half a winter’s worth of commuting on the MT-09 Tracer is providing some forensic analysis of the bike’s talents – and almost all of them are providing even greater proof of how good the Yamaha is. I...

Long term update: Is 1050 Adventure a used bargain?

Long term update: Is 1050 Adventure a used bargain?

It was a text from a friend through local riding circles and I figured he was thinking of buying a 1050 Adventure and wanted to know how it would stand up to a year’s riding. After answering that...

Long term update: 10,000 miles and counting

Long term update: 10,000 miles and counting

You learn a lot about a bike riding it through winter. Cold, wet rides give you plenty of chance to get serious about your evaluation of a bike. In the  summer months rides go past in a blur of...

Long term update: How hard can it be to film Mad Max footage?

Long term update: How hard can it be to film Mad Max footage?

Having got Christmas out of the way and the decorations back in the loft, I finally had five minutes to play with my new presents. Like a lot of riders, one of my gifts was an action camera – the...

Long term update: 'I got away with it'

Long term update: 'I got away with it'

Suddenly the rural roads of East Northamptonshire fell quiet. Dogs out for a morning walk no longer threw themselves to the pavement as it passed. The man in beige slacks with the caravan on his drive...

Long term update: How fast can I actually go?

Long term update: How fast can I actually go?

I’m not a speed demon but I’ve found the Triumph Street Triple Rx to be the nippiest middleweight I’ve ridden. My previous fastest speed was just over an indicated 120mph on my Ducati Monster, but my...

Long term update: Winterproofing the Strom

Long term update: Winterproofing the Strom

Everyone’s doing it. I look around and it’s bar muffs here, heated grips there and cold kit everywhere. And if riders aren’t doing it then it’s because they’re busy tucking their prized possessions...

Long term update: Sold on the Scrambler

Long term update: Sold on the Scrambler

Honestly, I’ve not grown this attached to a bike in years. Yes, I have been lucky enough to spend time with a wide range of long term test bikes and I’ve owned a few cantankerous machines of my own...

Long term update: Service reveals chain pain

Long term update: Service reveals chain pain

I was almost caught out by the rate with which the 6000-mile service approached, and only just managed to get the Tracer booked into a dealer in time for it to go on an MCN group test. Our road test...

Long term update: It's time to get picky

Long term update: It's time to get picky

Picking the R1200RS this year came after a bit of soul-searching. It took a lot of looking in the mirror and admitting those really are grey hairs. Related: full expert BMW R1200RS review on MCN The...

Long term update: Stick or twist?

Long term update: Stick or twist?

The likes of Honda spend a lot of time refining their bikes so we as customers can get the most enjoyment out of them. Clearly I will never be able to build a bike as well as they can – but I do like...

Long term update: RC390's hidden skills

Long term update: RC390's hidden skills

Three-and-a-half-thousand miles on KTM’s learner-friendly RC390 have taught me one or two things. The first thing I learned was, despite the Austrian firm’s brace of Moto3 titles and the RC’s ‘Ready...

Long term update: Sorting the Tracer's suspension

Long term update: Sorting the Tracer's suspension

The Yamaha MT-09 Tracer is one of the UK’s best-selling bikes of 2015 and criticisms are few and far between, but one element of the bike that needs improving is the suspension set-up. My biggest...

Long term update: Winter warrior

Long term update: Winter warrior

For the first time in years I’m without a car over winter, which means the GTR is my sole form of transport no matter how cold it gets. Having covered 10,000 miles on the GTR since it arrived in early...

Long term update: Bad vibes banished at last

Long term update: Bad vibes banished at last

Finally, just as my time with the 1050 Adventure draws to an end, I get to the bottom of a disconcerting vibration through the handlebars. It came to prominence after a tyre swap and my initial...

Long term update: What the dyno saw

Long term update: What the dyno saw

One of the issues that’s confounded me most with the GSX-S1000F is the way it makes its power – and this is further compounded by its throttle response. So I took it for a dyno run at BSD Performance...

Long term update: R1’s been a blast

Long term update: R1’s been a blast

My time with my brilliant R1 is almost over. Summer’s all but a distant memory and those scorching days riding through Europe and blasting around racetracks seem a lifetime away. But I’ve still been...

Long term update: Unlocking Scout's promise

Long term update: Unlocking Scout's promise

Without doubt, the Scout’s eight-valve V-twin motor is one of the best engines in any cruiser. It revs freely with gobs of power all the way to the 8000rpm limiter and gives just enough mechanical...