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: Does tech help on track?

Long term update: Does tech help on track?

I’ve fallen for the 1299 S and grudgingly accept part of its brilliance is the way its mad, clattering V-twin and suspension are moderated and managed for me by gyros and sensors and a very smart ECU.

Long term update: A fully loaded weapon

Long term update: A fully loaded weapon

With my panniers still fresh and in need of breaking in, I knew I had to use them at the next available opportunity. So when a group of mates and I decided to head to the New Forest for a camping...

Long term update: Starry-eyed over Tracer

Long term update: Starry-eyed over Tracer

It was 1.30am and still not completely dark, but the sky was clear enough to see a satellite tracking silently across the sky, followed a few moments later by a streak of light from a shooting star.

Long term update: To stop or not to stop?

Long term update: To stop or not to stop?

There’s been a lot of belly-aching about the R1200RS’s small, 18-litre tank. And I kind of get it. It’s a big bike with a great motor and a reasonably comfortable riding position. Related: full...

Long term update: Crossrunner stretches legs

Long term update: Crossrunner stretches legs

The Crossrunner's seat height is listed as 835/815mm. When the bike arrived I left the seat well alone, but at 6ft 1in a little more legroom is always welcome, just as it is on a cheap...

Long term update: Highland fling

Long term update: Highland fling

All relationships have their ups and downs, and the RC390 and I were going through a bit of a rough patch. A couple of flat-out and fraught jaunts across country had left me frustrated by its lack of...

Long term update: Can I ride further for less?

Long term update: Can I ride further for less?

Like Christopher Columbus discovering the Americas, my discovery of an ‘Eco’ riding mode on the GTR was an accident – albeit one that took over 2000 miles to discover. A quick flick through the...

Long term update: Yamaha R1 vs Porsche GT3 RS

Long term update: Yamaha R1 vs Porsche GT3 RS

We’ve done loads of car v bike shootouts and the results are usually the same: the bike wins. But I thought this match-up would be different. This is a very special car – a Porsche 911. Some would...

Long term update: Let's get Scout and about

Long term update: Let's get Scout and about

If you need to know how much I’m enjoying the Indian Scout a quick glance at the odometer will tell you. On the day the bike arrived I took a 120-mile round trip to Krazy Horse in Bury St Edmunds for...

MCN Fleet: The Panigale by numbers

MCN Fleet: The Panigale by numbers

So far the most miles travelled in a day is 275. With its roomy seating and electronically controlled ride, the 1299 S is proving not half bad at being a normal bike. The only blot is an instantaneous...

MCN Fleet: Is Versys a match for GS?

MCN Fleet: Is Versys a match for GS?

Last year I covered 16,000 miles on a BMW R1200GS Adventure, the epic round-the-world mile-muncher. In eight months of ownership it never once disappointed, and that included a few 600-mile days...

MCN Fleet: With the Street Triple - ‘Track’s a great place to learn’

MCN Fleet: With the Street Triple - ‘Track’s a great place to learn’

I had planned for my first time on track with the Triumph Street Triple Rx to be at Folembray in France later in the year but when the opportunity arose to visit Cadwell Park I couldn’t resist. I’m...

Long term update: Is more bhp always best?

Long term update: Is more bhp always best?

As commutes go, my twice-weekly run from Slough to Peterborough is pretty boring; sat upright on motorways, longing for the respite of seven roundabouts, three sharp turns and one long right-hand...

Long term update: Scrambled up DNA

Long term update: Scrambled up DNA

How good do these two bikes look parked nose-to-nose? Flipping gorgeous. I couldn’t help but smile when confronted with a pair of Ducati Scramblers – especially two that are separated by 45 years. My...

Long term update: Time for tinkering

Long term update: Time for tinkering

The bikes I own are all at least 18 years old (I still view my GSX-R600 SRAD as modern) so there is always something to do on them. For me, that’s motorcycling. With the Honda VFR800X Crossrunner on...

Long term update: This is the modern world

Long term update: This is the modern world

It feels like I’ve discovered a brave new world. Like I’ve been boiling water in a pan for the last 20 years and I’ve just bought a kettle. It just makes life easier and, mostly,...

Long term update: Ready to race?

Long term update: Ready to race?

Mallory Park, a 1.4-mile exercise in momentum conservation buried within the natural bowl of a sleepy Leicestershire village. Over the past 12 months it’s become something of a second home through the...

Long term update: 250 miles of B-road heaven

Long term update: 250 miles of B-road heaven

Days off work during the week are so commonly greeted by sideways rain that I’ve stopped making a plan involving bikes. Instead I’ve started going with whatever the weather is doing when I wake up. A...

Long term update: Move over BMW and KTM

Long term update: Move over BMW and KTM

Since the day our Senior Road Tester Michael Neeves came back from the launch of the Kawasaki Versys singing its praises I’ve had my eye on the big Kawasaki. Our Mr Neeves loves his sportsbikes so...

Long term update: Panigale's changing me

Long term update: Panigale's changing me

Nine hundred miles into the 1299 Panigale S experience and I get my first full Saturday afternoon with the new bike. I need it. This is the first time a fancy-pancy Ducati has lived in my garage, and...

Long term update: We're off on an adventure

Long term update: We're off on an adventure

I’ll admit it, I’m a control freak who just loves lists, planning and knowing exactly what I’m doing and when I’m doing it. But I love the fact that bikes make me do impetuous things every now and...

Long term update: The road to temptation

Long term update: The road to temptation

This sexy blue and silver R1 is the first sportsbike I’ve had for a long time. I’ve been scooting around on super-nakeds for the past few years, but I’m gagging to do more trackdays with my mates.

Long term update: A quick change of screen

Long term update: A quick change of screen

I’m getting into the touring spirit. My V-Strom already has heated grips, a fat comfy seat, a pair of panniers and a top box with enough space to move house. There is just one hitch – the screen. It’s...

Long term update: A sporty surprise

Long term update: A sporty surprise

Before I got my hands on it, I would have classed the GTR as a full-on tourer built solely for covering large miles quickly and in comfort. But the GTR has been a pleasant surprise when it comes to...

Long term update: Fully loaded for an adventure

Long term update: Fully loaded for an adventure

A planned trackday didn’t come off, so with my yet-to-be-worn dead cow firmly wedged in the cupboard ready for a rearranged date, I’m left to work on another part of my BMW F800R mission. The mix...

Long term update: Quickshifter can't cope with big feet

Long term update: Quickshifter can't cope with big feet

It has felt like a very long time waiting for my 2015 long term test bike to arrive, which might have something to do with the fact I have been riding my 1991 Royal Enfield 350 Bullet each day to work...

Long term update: F800R knows best

Long term update: F800R knows best

Nearly a thousand miles in and the F800R and I are becoming good friends. We’ve not been on any particularly meaningful adventures yet; it’s been a more a case of several, shorter liaisons, but over...

Long term update: Mongolia or Morrison's

Long term update: Mongolia or Morrison's

Adventure bikes are supposed to have panniers. How else am I supposed to carry my gear to the Mongolian Steppe, or bring my shopping home from the shops? Whatever we use them for, hard luggage is...

Long term update: Like a duck, without the feathers

Long term update: Like a duck, without the feathers

The R1200RS is like a duck. Not because it’s got a funny beak and likes to eat bread, but because it cruises along serenely while all sorts of wonderful things are going on beneath the...

Long term update: Dash disco

Long term update: Dash disco

As someone who grew up when Sony Walkmans were the most technologically advanced piece of kit you could wish for, I’m a bit of a technophobe – so the dash on my Triumph Street Triple Rx is very...

Long term update: A little belter

Long term update: A little belter

I’m reliving the youth I never had, tearing through traffic with the torn hems of my riding jeans flapping in the breeze and the RC390’s throttle flat to the stop. As a product of Direct Access I...

Long term update: Out having fun

Long term update: Out having fun

There’s a certain amount of relief that’s washed over me since taking on the KTM six weeks ago. This is a bike that is designed to be ridden, not pampered, and that has encouraged me to get out there...

Long term update: Got that loving feeling

Long term update: Got that loving feeling

“What plate is it?” asks the lad on the conked-out ZXR400 after I stop to enquire if he needs any help. “It’s new,” I reply with a grin. “Wow, love it!” I click the Ducati into first and head off with...

Long term update: The Millennium Falcon

Long term update: The Millennium Falcon

There’s no greater feat of self-control than running a bike in by the book, especially when said bike has an analogue speedo that goes all the way up to 180mph. It’s like flying the Millennium Falcon...

Long term update: Tracer faces a hectic schedule

Long term update: Tracer faces a hectic schedule

The Yamaha MT-09 Tracer is already one of this year’s best-selling bikes and Yamaha UK are searching for another boat load to fulfil orders placed. The first week of riding the Tracer has been fairly...

Long term update: Rubbish at going slow

Long term update: Rubbish at going slow

An early Panigale moment. I’m heading north on the A1, just south of Stamford. My exit’s approaching fast and I’m still in the outside lane, still cruising past traffic. The ‘III’ countdown board...