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Fun Is The Only Replacement For Displacement: Superbikes vs. Minibikes

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Boredom. The number one threat to any office environment. It can strike anywhere, and anytime. Thankfully, with a fleet of shiny new motorcycles in the garage, the cure is a twist of the throttle away for the On Two Wheels crew…or so they think.

The <em>On Two Wheels</em> crew is at it again, this time on 125cc-powered street-legal minibikes from Honda and Kawasaki. For the coup de grâce, they race Michael Gilbert on a Husqvarna 701 Supermoto.
The <em>On Two Wheels</em> crew is at it again, this time on 125cc-powered street-legal minibikes from Honda and Kawasaki. For the coup de grâce, they race Michael Gilbert on a Husqvarna 701 Supermoto. (Jeff Allen/)

What begins as an adrenaline-fueled plan to melt knee pucks on what Morgan Gales and Adam Waheed assume are liter-and-above-sized sportbikes morphs into a less palatable mission. Justin Dawes dupes them by lining up a trio of budget-friendly 125cc streetbikes from Honda and Kawasaki beside the tantalizing 180-some horsepower rockets.

Honda’s 2019 Grom and Monkey mini-motos square off against the Kawasaki Z125 Pro and Husqvarna 701 Supermoto in this episode.
Honda’s 2019 Grom and Monkey mini-motos square off against the Kawasaki Z125 Pro and Husqvarna 701 Supermoto in this episode. (Jeff Allen/)

True, these eighth-liter playbikes offer a mere sliver of the performance of the asphalt-hugging superbikes, the boys have to choose between these pint-sized sub-$4,200 machines or certain boredom. It’s an easy decision…

<em>Cycle World</em> Senior Editor Justin Dawes lofts the front wheel on his 2019 Honda Monkey in this episode of <em>On Two Wheels</em>.
<em>Cycle World</em> Senior Editor Justin Dawes lofts the front wheel on his 2019 Honda Monkey in this episode of <em>On Two Wheels</em>. (Jeff Allen/)

Gales and Dawes saddle up on the Hondas, with Morgan riding the more sporty Cherry Red Grom and Justin on the throwback, yet still very bespoke, Monkey in Pearl Nebular Red. Because nothing says “look at me” like a Lamborghini orange-painted motorcycle, Waheed naturally gravitates toward Kawasaki’s Candy Steel Furnace Orange Z125 Pro.

Dawes dupes the crew, heading high into the mountains near Lake Arrowhead, California, to race around this private minibike-sized driveway turned racetrack.
Dawes dupes the crew, heading high into the mountains near Lake Arrowhead, California, to race around this private minibike-sized driveway turned racetrack. (Jeff Allen/)

The plan is simple, or so they think: Ride to a racetrack somewhere in Southern California. Could it be Willow Springs International Raceway? Buttonwillow, or Chuckwalla Valley Raceway? Either way the guys are going to have to traverse hundreds of miles of gridlock SoCal traffic and desert to do it. Tune in and see what surprises lay ahead for the On Two Wheels crew.

Gearbox

Adam Waheed, Senior Editor, Motorcyclist

Foot down or knee down? The guys have to learn quickly what style is best around this private driveway turned makeshift racetrack.
Foot down or knee down? The guys have to learn quickly what style is best around this private driveway turned makeshift racetrack. (Jeff Allen/)
  • Helmet: Shoei RF-1100 Recounter
  • Headset: <a href="https://amzn.to/2s8dMZs" target=_blank>Cardo Packtalk Bold</a>
  • Suit: <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-7692726-13548403?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.revzilla.com%2Fmotorcycle%2Ficon-hypersport-race-suit&cjsku=1593615" target=_blank>Icon Hypersport</a>
  • Gloves: <a href="https://amzn.to/39Rahrz" target=_blank>Alpinestars SP-2</a>
  • Boots: <a href="https://amzn.to/36KBJVK" target=_blank>Alpinestars Supertech R</a>

Morgan Gales, Custom and Culture Editor

Custom and culture editor Morgan Gales has his eyes on the prize aboard his Cherry Red Honda Grom.
Custom and culture editor Morgan Gales has his eyes on the prize aboard his Cherry Red Honda Grom. (Jeff Allen/)
  • Helmet: <a href="https://amzn.to/2t47JFT" target=_blank>Arai Signet-X Striker White</a>
  • Headset: <a href="https://amzn.to/2s8dMZs" target=_blank>Cardo Packtalk Bold</a>
  • Suit: <a href="https://amzn.to/36N42mM" target=_blank>Spidi Warrior Wind Pro One</a>
  • Gloves: <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-7692726-13548403?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.revzilla.com%2Fmotorcycle%2Fspidi-carbo-1-leather-gloves&cjsku=987130" target=_blank>Spidi Carbo 1</a>
  • Boots: XPD VR6

Justin Dawes, Senior Editor, Cycle World

The Honda Monkey’s dual sport-style tires aren’t perfect for the asphalt, but Dawes makes it work during the competition.
The Honda Monkey’s dual sport-style tires aren’t perfect for the asphalt, but Dawes makes it work during the competition. (Jeff Allen/)
  • Helmet: <a href="https://amzn.to/2uCOCTN" target=_blank>Bell Helmets Star MIPS</a>
  • Headset: <a href="https://amzn.to/2s8dMZs" target=_blank>Cardo Packtalk Bold</a>
  • Suit: AGV Sport Monza RC Custom
  • Gloves: AGV Sport Echelon
  • Boots: <a href="https://amzn.to/2QJKdHn" target=_blank>Alpinestars Supertech R</a>

Michael Gilbert, Road Test Editor

Upon arriving at the circuit, <em>Cycle World</em> Road Test Editor Michael Gilbert suits up to compete against the guys on a 2019 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto.
Upon arriving at the circuit, <em>Cycle World</em> Road Test Editor Michael Gilbert suits up to compete against the guys on a 2019 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto. (Jeff Allen/)
  • Helmet: <a href="https://amzn.to/3a6Oyfo" target=_blank>Arai Corsair-X Vinales-3 Frost</a>
  • Headset: <a href="https://amzn.to/2s8dMZs" target=_blank>Cardo Packtalk Bold</a>
  • Suit: <a href="https://amzn.to/2tNZQUU" target=_blank>Alpinestars GP Tech V2</a>
  • Gloves: <a href="https://amzn.to/2QFgMWC" target=_blank>Alpinestars Supertech</a>
  • Boots: <a href="https://amzn.to/36KBJVK" target=_blank>Alpinestars Supertech R</a>

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