There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to motorcycling. Where to ride, what to ride, what to wear while riding, and so on. While we can’t answer all of the possible questions, we can help you out with some suggestions on where to ride, and in this case recommend a machine that is ideally suited for those routes.
Some cities are just made for motorcycling, and we don’t just mean that they are so congested that you’re better off on a bike. No, we mean cities where either within their confines or just around their edges, there is some fantastic riding.
We’ve compiled a short list of six of our favorites, which is hanging a substantial number of our own favorites out to dry, let alone the hundreds of other possibilities out there. But we’ve tried to include rides that are in geographically interesting locations, some of which are very obvious, and others which may not have crossed your mind.
If there’s a city that screams urban motorcycling, San Francisco is it. The entire city and its surroundings are built in, around, and on some of the most amazing terrain in the Golden State. Without a doubt, its most famous motorcycle destination is a ride to Alice’s Restaurant above Palo Alto, just to the south of the city.
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If you catch Sunset Blvd from Brentwood down to Pacific Coast Highway when there isn’t a lot of traffic, it can be a super fun journey toward the beach. Not only is the road super twisty, but you can take in all there is to see in one of the most affluent areas in the world: Bel Air, Brentwood, Santa Monica… Once you hit PCH and head up the funky Topanga canyon it’s a completely different vibe.
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This route first heads up to the top of Lion’s Head for a view of the city before heading south to the Cape of Good Hope along the amazing coast road from Hout Bay to Noordhoek and then on down the Cape. The return takes you through Simon’s Town and then Fish Hoek. Epic views can’t be avoided, and the ride through the park at the Cape is amazing.
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This route can be ridden either way. At the northern end the ride starts at the BMW Museum in Munich. Take a tour before heading south. At the southern end is the location of the 2018 BMW Motorrad Days festival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In between the two are some great curvy roads with fantastic scenery. There is tons to see around Garmisch, including the Zugspitze (tallest mountain in Germany).
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This loop heads southwest out of DF and to the mountain town of Taxco. The town is famous for its Spanish Colonial architecture. It is also known for silver and in particular silver jewelry. The city sits at 5,833 feet above sea level. Dominating the skyline are the twin towers of the Iglesia de Santa Prisca, the church is made with pink stone and is in the Baroque style. Check out the Restaurante Y Teleferico at Hotel Taxco.
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Barcelona is motorcycle crazy. The famous Montjuic Park used to host a round of the world championships on this former street circuit that used from 1950 to 1968. The circuit, which is now marked, runs through the twists and turns of the Park. Although this route is very short, take the time to explore the park. The Castell de Montjuic has fantastic views out over the Balearic Sea. The park also features the Olympic Stadium that was use for the 1992 summer games. There are great vistas everywhere to snap photos of this beautiful city.
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There has never been a better time to dive feet first into motorcycling. The sheer volume of motorcycle options are staggering compared to even a decade ago. In particular, the sub-500cc category has evolved from a few outdated models to multiple choices from most of the major manufacturers. New riders, returning riders, or those seeking an inexpensive, practical machine for the urban maze definitely should consider BMW’s G 310 R naked roadster.
Until recently, BMW had little to offer for those new to motorcycling. Its F650 series may have been the most diminutive of its adventure range, but wasn’t nearly as welcoming to new riders as the new G-series Singles. That family consists of two models, the R and the GS.
If urban chops are what you are looking for, the R is the right choice. The bike is lightweight (349 pounds fully fueled), has a very reasonable seat height (ranging from 30.3 to 31.5 in.), and offers good performance from its 313cc engine. Horsepower is rated at 34, with 21 lb.-ft. of torque claimed by BMW. One of the great attributes of this small-displacement, single-cylinder, fuel-injected engine is excellent fuel consumption, which is a claimed 71 mpg! With just shy of three gallons of fuel capacity, 200 miles between fill ups is a realistic figure.
The G 310 R was made for inner-city exploring and the chassis is what puts it up to the task. The suspension consists of an upside-down 41mm fork up front and a preload adjustable single shock arrears. With 5.5 and 5.2 inches of travel respectively, tackling potholes, train tracks, and all the obstacles the city has to offer won’t be a big deal.
Want to get away from it all and head out of town into the hills on the weekend for some curvy roads? The nicely styled cast-aluminum wheels have sporty 110/70R17 and 150/60R17 rubber spooned on front and rear. A single front brake disc is pinched by a four-piston caliper up front, while a single-piston unit resides out back; ABS is standard. These, combined with nimble geometry, promise a fun and rewarding ride.
Specifications: BMW G 310 R
Type Liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 4-stroke engine, four valves, two overhead camshafts and finger followers, wet sump lubrication
Capacity 313 cc
Rated output 34 hp (25 kW) at 9,500 rpm
Max. torque 21 lb-ft (28 Nm) at 7,500 rpm
Mixture control / engine management Electronic fuel injection
Maximum speed 90 mph
Fuel consumption 71 mpg
Clutch Multi-plate wet clutch, mechanically operated
Gearbox Constant-mesh 6-speed transmision integrated in the motor housing
Final Drive Chain
Frame Bolted Steel Frame, drive unit load-bearing, tubular steel rear frame
Front suspension Upside down telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm
Rear suspension Solid die-cast aluminum swingarm, directly hinged monoshock, adjustable preload
Suspension travel front / rear 5.5″ / 5.2″ (140 mm / 131 mm)
Wheelbase 54.0″ (1,374 mm)
Rake/Trail 64.9°/4″ (102.3 mm)
Tires, front 110/70 R 17
Tires, rear 150/60 R 17
Brake, front Single disc, diameter 300 mm, 4-piston fixed caliper, radially bolted
Brake, rear Single disc, diameter 240 mm, single-piston floating caliper
ABS BMW Motorrad ABS
Seat height High Seat: 31.5″, Standard Seat: 30.9″, Low Seat: 30.3″
Unladen weight, road ready, fully fueled 349 lbs (158.5 kg) 1)
Payload (with standard equipment) 411 lbs (186.5 kg)
Fuel Capacity 2.9 gal (11 l)