New for 2021, the Super Chief is a celebration of the 100-year-old Chief platform. It rolls with an all-new frame, is powered by the proven Thunder Stroke 111, and displays old-school bagger DNA in its large windshield and stock saddlebags. The classic look of the frame and sheet metal gets a boost by the faux flathead engine, though performance and electronics are decidedly up-to-date.
The Ural Patrol rolls with all the old-school charm the factory has available. An IMZ front end runs with a trailing link and preload-adjustable shocks to match the rear struts and sidecar shock. Built more for on-road use, the Patrol runs street tires on wire wheels and comes stock with a Cordura tonneau cover and a windscreen for your passenger’s comfort. Four speeds forward and one in reverse, the transmission also comes with a kicker for some peace of mind and extra insurance when adventuring.
Ural’s M70 compromises on its old-school tendencies just a skosh with a modern hydraulic fork up front, though it does little to actually change the overall classic panache the M70 brings to the table. Street tires round out the rolling chassis on wire-laced rims. Plus it has a built-in trunk to add to the storage options along with a universal spare tire that will fit on any of the three wheel positions. The sidecar wheel is not powered on this unit.
The Ural Gear-Up comes built to tackle your local trails and other entertaining terrain. Low-profile knobby tires make the connection to terra firma while maintaining some street manners. A stock trunk in the rear of the sidecar provides secure dry storage, plus the Gear-Up comes with a handful of features and articles of equipment that will endear itself to serious adventure-riders/campers. Both rear wheels are powered on demand and the transmission comes with a reverse gear.
Ural’s cT model rolls with an antique charm that is impossible to imitate. It sports a solo seat on the motorcycle proper with room for a passenger in the sidecar itself. A stock trunk compartment provides secure dry storage, and the sidecar comes complete with a windscreen and tonneau cover alongside a charging port for your mobile devices. This model comes with a reverse gear, but lacks the two-wheel drive of some of the other models
IMZ-Ural (Russian: Ирбитский мотоциклетный завод, romanized: Irbitskiy Mototsikletniy Zavod, lit. ’Irbit Motorcycle Factory’) got its start in the midst of World War II circa 1941 and immediately found purpose as a supplier of sidecar-equipped motorcycles for the Russian military. Hereafter referred to simply as a “sidecar,” these machines have a proven track record for off-road capabilities, such that it was a hit with rugged civilian types that have since propped the marque up into the present day. The lifting of the Iron Curtain brought these machines out of the Eastern Bloc to the rest of the world where they have been well-received by both street and off-road riders.
Harley-Davidson’s Heritage Classic is one of a handful of models that is, and always has been, built on the Softail platform. The faux hardtail frame dovetails nicely with old-school custom features to make this model a veritable rolling history lesson for America’s longest operating marque. Studded leather saddlebags and a large stock windshield turn this cruiser into an old-time bagger/tourbike, and power comes from whatever Big Twin engine is current for any given model year.
2017 - 2020 BMW C 650 Sport / C 650 GT
Nobody blurs the line between scooter and ’proper’ motorcycle better than the engineers at BMW, and the C 650 range is no exception. The C 650 “Sport” and “GT” models have very few changes, but that’s not surprising given how difficult it would be to improve upon the bundle of features already built in. I mean, it’s a scooter with traction control and ABS on board, plus a relatively large and powerful engine with a sophisticated engine management system, so this is ’not’ your grandfather’s scooter. I have a great appreciation for German engineering, so I’m looking to see what all Beemer has tucked away on its not-so-little maxi-scooter.
2018 - 2020 BMW R nineT Urban GS
BMW expanded its R nineT lineup ahead of the 2017 model year with the Urban G/S that brings old school adventure bike looks to the table along with the same modern performance as the rest of the line. Power comes from an 1,170 cc flat-twin engine that adds character and historical panache at the same time to make the “GS” something of a rolling tribute piece. Although the “GS” sports some special gear that sets it apart from the rest of the range, it’s still just a platform that can be shifted between the stock road-running setup and a more off-road friendly build for what is, essentially, two bikes in one. Rider safety is also available in varying levels, so I would argue that this ride is probably appropriate for riders that land near the bottom of the experience scale along with riders who are looking to cross between the black and the brown.
2021 Honda NC750X
Honda’s adventuresome NC750X got a facelift ahead of the 2021 model-year that includes refined front fairings for improved penetration and an enlarged cargo space to contribute to its utility as both an adventure bike and a commuter cycle. The engine also enjoyed a few mechanical tweaks along with an improved electronic-control system, and the lump lost some weight so even more of that power is converted into acceleration. A new slipper-type clutch and re-calibrated transmission completes the MY2021 package with a concurrent gain in safety. Shorter gear-ratios for the first three gears let you come out of the hole like a champ while remaining in the usable powerband.
Harley-Davidson combines top-shelf touring features with its stable trike platform to create the Tri Glide Ultra. The old-school two-in-back design is based on the antique Servi-Car design that was beloved by meter maids and less-than able-bodied riders alike, but this is an entirely modern machine with all of the infotainment goodies and safety electronics the factory has to offer. A trunk section replaces the side bags with a Tour Pak to complete the dry, secure storage.
Harley-Davidson breaks new ground with its globetrotting Pan America machine that adds a bona fide adventure bike to Milwaukee’s lineup. Knobby tires and long-stroke suspension sets the stage and steers the MoCo off the black and onto the brown in a way that a Sportster just can’t, in spite of its derogatory “dirt bike” nickname. Even the engine is a departure from the norm; it has a 60-degree V-Twin configuration and comes liquid-cooled with a claimed output of 145 horsepower and 90 pound-feet of torque.
Harley-Davidson built the SuperLow for riders with shorter inseams, full stop. The stock solo saddle rests at 27.4 inches off the ground and squats to 25.5 inches high under a rider of 180 pounds or more. A special seat comes on this model with a thick rear section that pushes the rider forward toward the tank. Additionally, the shorter foot levers accommodate smaller feet to complete the package and inspire confidence in the vertically challenged. Tractable power comes from an 883 cc Sportster engine with a built-in, five-speed transmission and belt-type final drive to finish the drivetrain.
Harley-Davidson takes its stoplight-burnin’ Street Glide up a notch with a “Special” version that packs even more fandanglery on board. It rocks the same outward appearance with a solid bagger-tastic vibe created by the Batwing fairing and stock, color-matched hard bags. Blackout paint replaces most of the chrome in half of the color packages with only a few bright accents remaining here and there, but the other half rocks lots of bling. The most important upgrade is found in the engine. H-D shoehorns in its next bigger Milwaukee-Eight with a total of 114 cubic-inches to fall in the middle of the current Big Twin range for even better performance than its sibling.
Harley-Davidson put the Street Glide together as something of a factory hot-rod bagger with its new Milwaukee-Eight 107 powerplant and pared-down, vented Batwing fairing. Penetration is further improved by the cut-down windscreen, and later models would see the mirrors moved out of the slipstream and down to the tips of the Batwing fairing. No weight is wasted on useless trim or chrome baubles in keeping with its essential boulevard bruiser mien, and the Street Glide makes a great canvas for customization.
The Harley-Davidson Street Bob is the MoCo’s Big Twin-powered, factory-custom bobber meant to rope in riders who thumb their nose at the status quo. Bobbed fenders and high-rise Mini-Ape bars set the stage up front with a homegrown-custom vibe backed up by the blacked-out and drilled-out exhaust heat shields, fork bellows, and rims. A solo seat comes stock along with mid-mount foot controls to round out the package. Earlier Street Bob models were built around the Dyna platform while later ones ride as a Softail.
Meant to serve as a factory-custom chopper for Harley-Davidson’s Sportster lineup, the Seventy-Two was produced from MY12 through MY16. It was powered by the 1,200 cc, 45-degree Evolution Sportster V-Twin that first saw light of day in 1986 and carried its transmission in a common casting with the flywheels. Plentiful chrome and striking paint packages brighten the overall look. A large, 21-inch front wheel seals the deal along with the mini-ape handlebars that collectively make the Seventy-Two a historical-looking machine even if it doesn’t mimic any specific bike from the past.
The Harley-Davidson Roaster was a short-lived model that saw production from 2016 through 2020, but it didn’t make the cut in the MoCo’s effort to streamline its Sportster lineup ahead of MY21. As its name suggests, the Roadster rolled with the bare essentials and was lean as a snake with nothing in the way of the superfluous to be found. Power comes from a 1,200 cc Sportster plant that has an integrated transmission case and has been the go-to engine for H-D’s skinny bikes since 1986. Blackout treatment and inverted front forks make connections to both the custom and the performance worlds.
The Harley-Davidson Road King (FLHR) serves as the MoCo’s old-school tourbike that hails back to the pre-fairing days when a barn door windshield was the only forward protection to be had on a production H-D. Powered by the current Big Twin engine relative to its model-year with a separate transmission housing, the Road King is a proper essential tourbike that will gobble up highway miles without the added expense and weight of a fairing and infotainment system. Stock hard-side saddlebags provide the only dry storage to be had with this model-family.
In 1998 Harley-Davidson reprised its fixed-frame touring/bagger design that started life as the FLT “Tour Glide” circa 1980 with the largest production Big Twin engine at the time (80 cubic-inch Shovelhead) and hard bags. The later design maintains the broad, frame-mount “Sharknose” fairing, dual headlights, windscreen and hard bags that set the Road Glide apart from the more common Batwing-fairing models. Regardless of the year-model, the Road Glide comes powered by a Big Twin engine with the heavy FL frame and fat front fork arrangement.
The Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special first rolled in 2007 as the VRSCDX that was meant to serve as the factory-custom cousin to the base Night Rod model. As a member of H-D’s “Dark Custom” line, the Night Rod Special sports ample blackout treatment that displaces the chrome bits for a truly dark look. Power comes from a Revolution engine that saw a boost from 1,131 cc to 1,247 cc after the first year of production along with improved safety- and ride-quality features. This model is the MoCo’s darkest version of its power-cruiser line, and it would see a ten-year production run that ended with MY17.
The Harley-Davidson “Nightster” serves as a showroom-custom model for the Sportster/Roadster family. Introduced in 2007 as the XL1200N, the Nightster rocks the proven, 1,200 cc Evolution Sportster engine that first saw light of day back in ’86. Judicious use of blackout and satin finishes give this Sportster model a sinister tone all its own.
Harley-Davidson’s Low Rider model started production in ’77 as the FXS way back in the Shovelhead days, through the Evo FXR era, the Dyna dynasty, and has now crossed over into the second generation Softail platform. This makes it one of the most enduring and endearing models to ever come out of Milwaukee. As one of the MoCo’s classic cruisers it has always been built around a narrow “FX” frame and skinny front end with details scattered throughout that make it a bona fide factory-custom machine. Power comes from whichever base-model Big Twin was popular at that time with an “S” version that has a punched-out powerplant to introduce an element of performance to the family.
The Ultra Limited serves as Harley-Davidson’s flagship tourbike, and it rolls with the best the factory has to offer short of the CVO models. Top shelf electronic suites come with the stock equipment package for long-distance comfort and safety, and this line typically comes with the best Infotainment features the factory has to offer. Similarly, the powerplant is frequently from the middle of the Big-Twin range for a bit of a performance boost over the less-noble models.
2018 - 2021 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic
After a revamp for the 2018 model year, Softail underpinnings are all radically different than the originals, but the overall classic look of the Heritage Classic remains largely unchanged for the requisite historical tie-in. Harley-Davidson put a new emphasis on the Softail lineup with plenty of performance-driven custom designs for the fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there, but for someone looking for an old-school cruiser and tour bike, the Heritage Classic is your Huckleberry.
2016 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Street 500 / Street 750
Powered by a Revolution V-twin engine, the Street 500 and 750 are premium Harley-Davidson even though they’re geared toward the budget-minded, entry-level crowd. Just because the price is low doesn’t mean they skimped on quality. The Street siblings come with a steel teardrop tank and fenders covered in the deep, rich color, and flawless finish that long ago made Harley-Davidson the benchmark for premium paint on a motorcycle. The cherry on top is the chrome tank badge — not a decal, as you might expect in an economy-priced bike, but a three-dimensional tank medallion — as Harley’s pledge to you that you are riding a premium quality machine.
TopSpeed 2020 BMW Buying Guide
BMW Motorrad has long been known for the quality of its products, and the factory earns that reputation anew with its MY2020 lineup. In-house electronic innovations and mechanical refinements hold the marque in good stead against even the best market performers around the world. Sporty demeanors and luxe appointments combine across the model spread, and the factory has something for everyone with its Urban Mobility segment up through the top-tier touring machines.
Harley-Davidson dipped a toe in the sport-cruiser market in 2001 with its VRSC model. This design was a sharp departure from the norm for the MoCo with a new, liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-Twin stuffed into a Trellis-style frame. Muscular and aggressive, the VRSC family would give rise to a number of sub-models over its 17-year production run, and its radical engine design would go on to span a total of three generations so far.
The Harley-Davidson Breakout is a performance-centric model that serves as H-D’s two-wheeled stoplight burner. Built on the Softail platform, the Breakout carries an engine from the middle or top of the available range to give it an edge over its fellow Softails. A whopping, 240 mm rear tire provides an uncommonly-large contact patch that helps convert the engine’s power to forward acceleration. As an essential ride, it carries minimal weight from non performance-oriented components and sports ABS protection as the only safety electronics to be found.
Harley-Davidson’s XR line has been around since 1970 and has served as the MoCo’s go-to dirt racebike/flat tracker. The XR family includes the XR 750 racebike proper and its various civilian counterparts, namely the XR 1200 design progression. Across the board, power is generated by the Evolution Sportster drivetrain that combines engine and transmission within a common casting. A short handlebar and jockey-mount foot controls place the rider in an aggressive position that is almost unmatched within the lineup.
Long, low, and wide, the Harley-Davidson Wide Glide strikes a singular figure within the lineup. The raked-out front end really sets it apart with its skinny tubes set in an uncommonly wide tripletree while the rest of the machine is based on the FX frame throughout much of its history. Big-Twin power is a constant across the range of year-models, but the real selling point with the Wide Glide is the image it cultivates.
Harley-Davidson dipped a toe in the sport-cruiser market in 2001 with its VRSC (V-Rod) model. This design was a sharp departure from the norm for the MoCo with a new, liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-Twin stuffed into a Trellis-style frame. Muscular and aggressive, the V-Rod would give rise to a number of sub-models over its 17-year production run, and its radical engine design would go on to span a total of three generations so far.
Harley-Davidson’s Freewheeler serves as the stoplight burner of the non-CVO trikes. Dual automobile-style rear wheels put the rubber to the road in a way a two-wheeler simply can’t, so more of the power to the rear wheels is converted into acceleration to make the Freewheeler a proper street-drag machine. A fat, old-school front end and clean upper lines define the model, and a trunk out back gives you the storage needed for effective grocery-getting runs and such.
Harley-Davidson released the Sport Glide as part of its shift away from the Dyna platform in favor of the remade Softail frame. It is characterized by a pared-down Batwing fairing and stock, hard-side panniers. Power comes from a 107 cubic-inch Milwaukee-Eight plant with electronic fuel injection to manage the fuel-air mix, but it’s the low-slung good looks that seal the deal.
The Harley-Davidson Iron 1200, as its ingeniously-clever name suggests, sits at the top of the Sportster family’s displacement range. Like its smaller sibling, the Iron 1200 rocks an old-school custom vibe, and it comes with some very Seventies-tastic graphics laid on the peanut tank. Fat tires add to the classic references and a small, café-style bullet fairing finishes the look.
Harley-Davidson offers the new FXDR model within its rebuilt cruiser ranks for the stoplight-burners and fiery-eyed pegdraggers among you. Performance is a front-burner issue with this muscular machine, and in its original format, it carries the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine to deliver the goods. Inverted forks and an adjustable monoshock provide sporty handling with some ride-quality control to boot.
Built for the entry-level market, the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 delivers a classic Sportster look, just with contemporary equipment. Drilled-out fender uprights and belt guard join blackout treatment to make the connection to the old-school customs. Power comes from an 883 cc Evolution-style engine that first saw light of day back in 1986 and has been perfected bit by bit ever since.
The Harley-Davidson “Forty-Eight” from its Sportster lineup means to capitalize on the marque’s deep historical roots with an old-school custom look unmatched within the Sporty family. Fat tires, bobbed fenders and fat tires set up the look while the 45-degree V-Twin seals the deal with its familiar geometry. Forward controls and a short handlebar put the pilot in the windsock position but leaves open the option of sitting upright for long-distance comfort.
Harley-Davidson’s Fat Boy was teased at Daytona in ’88 and ’89 ahead of a MY1990 release, but it was the cameo in Terminator 2 that really put the model on the map. The Fat Boy originally came built around H-D’s original faux rigid Softail frame, and it makes the jump to the next-generation Softail frames. The Fat Boy sets itself apart from the rest of the family with a wide front end, solid-disc wheels and classic-style headlight nacelle.
2017 - 2020 BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS
BMW’s G 310 R roadster got a brother as it entered the 2017 model year with the addition of the adventuresome G 310 GS. The “GS” builds on the success of the “R” with a few subtle changes that shift the design toward the adventure bike end of the spectrum. Sharing the same 313 cc engine, the G 310 pair head into the low-displacement market alongside some hot competition.
Harley-Davidson’s Fat Bob is a nod to classic custom culture with an amalgamation of pieces and parts unlike anything else in the lineup. It gets its name from a pair of improbably-fat Dunlop tires and heavily bobbed fenders that give the Fat Bob a definite homespun look. Blackout treatment completes the package and covers everything but the sheet metal parts, including the Big-Twin powerplant.
Harley-Davidson’s Electra Glide models fall under the FL family umbrella. The Electra Glide is built around the MoCo’s heaviest frame with its fattest front end and is considered a tour bike through and through. The largest available Big-Twins push the FLT/FLHT range, and these bikes typically roll with some of the best electronics and comfort features the factory has to offer.
Harley-Davidson’s Dyna family rolled with a narrow, FX-type frame that used a traditional yoke-style swingarm with exposed shocks for the rear end. The Dyna models typically carried the largest Big-Twins currently available at the time on rubber mounts to deal with engine vibration. The front ends were usually narrow, similar to the XL, though the Wide Glide version sports a wide tripleclamp that separates the fork tubes substantially.
Harley-Davidson’s Bronx veers into territory unseen by the MoCo since the early days of the Buell experiment, that of a naked streetfighter. The Bronx carries an aggressive stance to match its sportbike-like rider’s triangle that pulls the pilot forward over a sculpted fuel tank. Power comes from the new, liquid-cooled Revolution Max engine with Brembo brakes and Michelin tires to help you control this new urban beast.
TopSpeed 2020 Yamaha Buying Guide
Yamaha rolls into MY2020 with a range of cosmetic tweaks and expanded electronics suites to keep up with the times and remain competitive on the world stage. It boasts both new electronics and electronics freshly trickled down from higher up in the model ranges.
Versys, whose name is a combination of the words “versatile system,” is based on proven models in the sport line. The Versys family brings the “adventure” to the Kawasaki lineup with models ranging from 250 cc up to 1000 cc with capabilities that Kawasaki calls “any road, any time” performance.
Built on a history going back to 1984, the name “Ninja” stands for speed, agility, and performance. Ranging from the small-displacement 250 to the high-performance Ninja H2 and Ninja H2R powered by supercharged engines designed completely in-house using Kawasaki’s gas turbine and aircraft engine knowhow, the Ninja line offers something for a wide variety of riders who want the ultimate motorcycle experience.
Kawasaki’s "W" line harkens back to the W1, W2, and W3 models, manufactured between 1967 and 1975, then based on the British BSA A7. When it was introduced in 1966, the W1 with its 624 cc engine was the largest-displacement Japanese model on the market. Nowadays, the “W” line is a retro standard with classic styling and “old is new” appeal.
2015 - 2021 Yamaha FJR1300
The biggest sport-tourer in Yamaha’s lineup is better than ever. In 2016, the FJR1300A and its stablemate the FJR1300ES saw some evolutionary changes that brought just enough tweaks to make them smoother, more comfortable rides. Probably the biggest change in that update was in the transmission with the addition of a sixth gear and adding a slipper clutch to reduce hand fatigue at the clutch lever. Both of these tourers run a 1,298 cc liquid-cooled four-banger and come on a sportbike frame for a bit more thrill than just a tourbike.
2015 - 2021 Yamaha XT250
It seems like when God said “Let there be light,” Yamaha was already making the XT250. Okay, maybe not that long ago, but it has been since 1980 and I’ll bet a lot of folks reading this weren’t born yet. In 1982, Rambo rode one inFirst Blood. If it was mean enough to carry Sylvester Stallone, you know it was pretty awesome. With a wide-ratio five-speed and an air-cooled 250 cc engine, the XT250 is a proper little dual-sport machine and with a little more attention to two-up riding than you might expect in an off-road-capable bike.
2016 - 2021 Yamaha XSR900
Influenced by the classic “XS” series from the ’70s and ’80s, the XSR900 from Yamaha shows its roots with retro styling and stepped seating combined with just enough modern tech that you know you’re in the 21st century. At first glance, it looks like a nice little bike: compact and sporty. On second glance...and third...it looks like a whole lot of bike for an affordable price.
2016 - 2021 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
The Super Ténéré ES returned in 2019 without its stablemate, the Super Ténéré. The “ES” carries into 2021 bringing all the adventure capability that gave the Ténéré its name. A compact 1,199 cc parallel-twin engine coupled with the wide-ratio six-speed transmission takes you over hill and dale and back to the pavement with aplomb. Its narrow chassis and low center of gravity make the Super Ténéré easy to handle as well as maneuverable and nimble on twisty roads. Named after the Ténéré desert region in the Sahara, the Super Ténéré and Super Ténéré ES from Yamaha give you on-road and off-road confidence wherever your journey takes you.
TopSpeed’s 2020 Kawasaki Streetbike Buying Guide
Touted as the King of all ATV’s, the Kawasaki Brute Force was launched in 2005 in a 750 cc model and a 650 cc model. In addition to features popular in the highly acclaimed Praire models, 749 cc V-twin in the Brute Force 750 was, at that time, the highest-displacement engine in the sport utility industry.
2016 - 2021 Yamaha TW200
The Yamaha TW200, brought forward for 2021 with its scrappy little 196 cc engine, is a nice learning bike, fully street legal but with that distinctive motocross-style swale seat that says you’re going off-road. On the move, the bike has nice low-end torque and you’ll feel the front end trying to come up when you get even a little twisty. Dual sport, yes, but so much about this bike just begs to be in the dirt.
2016 - 2020 Yamaha Zuma 125
Reintroduced in 2011, Yamaha’s Zuma 125 provides a viable alternative to the old-fashioned, ’60s-style scooter prevalent from the Italian manufacturers, and those who would try to garner a slice of that market. A modern shape and revised chassis carries the four-stroke fuel-injected engine in a spiffy little scooter that — with upwards of 100+ mpg — makes a capable commuter or errand-runner.
he Kawasaki multi-use light equipment vehicle, better known as the MULE™, was launched in 1988 as a 454 cc twin-cylinder model. Originally brainstormed as the “Pony Truck,” the idea was to provide a pick-up-truck style in an open-cab, side-by-side, lightweight utility vehicle.
Launched in 1997, the Praire 400 (KVF400) rocked the ATV market with the first adult-sized, fully automatic four-wheeler that featured the then-new Kawasaki Automatic Power-Drive System (KAPS), MacPherson strut front suspension, limited-slip front differential, and dual front disc brakes.
KTM’s SuperMoto-centric SMC is designed entirely around the needs of dual-surface, SuperMoto racers and trick riders alike. Power comes from a 693 cc, one-lung engine with Rider Aid electronics to help manage it all. The build allows for a wide range of body motion front-to-back to accommodate tricks and technical riding.
At the head of the Duke family sits the Super Duke R for the most serious street riders out there, including those with track aspirations. This is “The Beast” that rolls with a souped-up, 1,301 cc powerplant and a well-populated electronics suite to deliver maximum performance. An inertial measurement unit is the cherry on top as it adds a corner-optimized component to the safety devices.
KTM’s Duke lineup covers a range of rider types with a trio of sizes up for grabs. These bikes are reduced to the essential equipment to get the most out of the available power. Engine sizes range from the 390 mill up through the 890 engine with the electronic aids that you’ll need to get the most out of it. The Dukes are straight-up streetfighters, and are built to compete against the Italian, European, and Japanese streetbikes.
Austrian giant KTM made a name for itself over the last 30 years as a serious contender in a number of racing circuits, but the brand has roots that go much deeper by far. From its humble beginnings as first a repair shop, and later as a car and motorcycle retailer, the company has changed hands – and names – many times since its inception. Modern riders will recognize the moniker as belonging to one of the top off-road competitors on the world stage. As for notable modern models, the 1994 Duke 620 put the marque in dual-sport territory, and in 2005 the Super Duke line saw light of day and made KTM a solid base for stoplight burners as well as circuit racers. For the majority of the last decade, KTM has enjoyed its status as the largest European motorcycle manufacturer, and that shows no signs of changing anytime soon.
The Honda Motor Company, Ltd. (Honda Giken Kōgyō Kabushiki-gaisha) made a name for itself as a two-wheeled vehicle manufacturer, first in post-war Japan in 1955, then in the U.S. market starting in the early 1960s. It has since become the most prolific motorcycle manufacturer in the world with over 400 million units built as of the time of this writing, and it maintains a strong presence in the racing world as well to make it a very significant player on the world stage. Check out our Buyer’s guide for more information about Honda models.
Indian’s Vintage line brings design points from the brand’s own deep historical roots to the forefront, perhaps moreso than any of the other model families. Classic bodywork joins with tan leather upholstery and bags to set the overall tone, and power comes from the proven Thunder Stroke 111 engine. Ride-control and safety electronics round out the package to deliver a modern riding experience.
2015 - 2020 Suzuki DR200S
Suzuki brings dual-sport capabilities to the entry-level sector with its DR200S. A heavy emphasis on off-road performance defines the overall look; and a 199 cc engine drives it over hill and dale, as well as down the road with all the appropriate lighting for safety and legalities. The end result is a functional, if plain, bike that provides a stable ride and moderate power with a humble overall bearing. A carry-over for the last few years, it hasn’t changed much, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
2015 - 2019 Suzuki DR650S
It’s not the most attractive bike in the dual sport stable, though it’s small and scrappy with a 644 cc engine and so much fun to ride. With a glance at the DR650S from Suzuki you might just dismiss it as an enduro bike. That would be doing it an injustice. It’s really a basic adventure bike that will get you off the pavement and into the woods with perhaps more gumption than a real adventure bike. Priced affordably, it isn’t tragic to drop it as it would be otherwise and it is lightweight enough that you can pick it up and keep going.
2016 - 2020 Suzuki DR-Z400S / DR-Z400SM
Pitting the fuel-injection fans against the carburetor fans, we score a point for the latter with the DR-Z400S and DR-Z400SM from Suzuki. Fuel injection hasn’t yet made an appearance in Suzuki’s dual-sport lineup, which was a good thing or a bad thing, depending on which side of the fence you’re on. For 2020, the DR-Z siblings haven’t yet been touched by the FI update. Sharing the same engine as the 500EXC from KTM, the DR-Zs come on a different chassis with progressive-link rear suspension. The “SM” — the SuperMoto of the family — and the “S” feature a six-liter air box with quick-release fasteners trouble-free access to the air filter and special low profile mirrors that rotate hoping to avoid damage, both are pluses when you’re playing in the dirt.
TopSpeed 2020 Honda Buying Guide
Honda rolls into 2020 with the usual handful of Bold New Graphics items that include additional paint packages and not-so-subtle changes to the liveries across the board. The renowned Africa Twin family sports a new flagship with its Adventure Sports ES and ES DCT models, but for the most part MY20 is more about the improvement of existing models. Toward that end, you’ll find a handful of models which come with improved electronics packages as standard equipment instead of optional this year, but little in the way of newness to be found. (Spoiler alert; all of this changes for MY21.)
Indian stunned the racing world with its flat-track success, and the FTR (literally: flat-track racer) brings similar looks, handling and performance to the public. Power comes from a liquid-cooled V-Twin with a full electronics suite to manage it all. This line is built for experienced riders and are not suitable for the uninitiated.
Indian added the Challenger lineup to its bagger models with a fixed fairing and liquid-cooled PowerPlus engine. Modern looks and top-shelf electronics deliver long-distance comfort with a set of hard sidebags for dry, secure storage. You can choose between a blackout-custom look and an all-the-bells-and-whistles touring panache.
The Springfield line offers another take on the custom culture, one rooted in both the past and the present. You can choose between old school custom or modern blackout, all powered by the air-cooled, faux-flathead V-twin that adds to the overall dated look. Ride-quality electronics let you dial in the engine’s personality to suit a range of rider preferences.
The Scout family is another revenant from Indian’s own history, borrowed from the original models bearing that name which were built between 1920 and 1949. A choice in V-Twin displacements makes the Scout a flexible platform suitable for the entry-level as well as experienced riders. Old-school looks join with a modern, liquid-cooled drivetrain in varying degrees throughout the line to cover a range of aesthetic tastes.
Indian’s Roadmaster family represents the top-of-the-line touring bikes for America’s oldest manufacturer. Fork-mount fairings, windshields, and engine guard-mount fairing lowers protect the rider from the weather and a full-size topcase joins the hard side bags to give it ample storage for long-distance work. Top-shelf electronics complete the package to make this the factory’s flagship touring family.
Indian’s Chieftain line brings a modern panache to the table with a fork-mount front fairing for rider protection and a choice of engine sizes. As a bagger design, the Chieftain range comes stock with hard sidebags and no top case. Mid-range touring capabilities and a selection of variants from nostalgic to custom are intended for an experienced rider who is looking for a tourer/boulevard bruiser combination.
Indian Motorcycle’s Chief family combines modern technology with genuine classic American-cruiser looks. Indian draws on its own deep historical roots for the Chief’s design that originally ranged from 1922 through 1953. Light touring capabilities join with a heavy dose of nostalgia to define this full-size, entry-level cruiser.
Indian Motorcycle is America’s oldest operating motorcycle manufacturer, though it has been through a number of hands over the years with long periods of inactivity. The lineup combines nostalgia with modern technology to create old-school elegance and up-to-date performance.Check out our Buyer’s guide for more information about Indian models
The LiveWire is built with a sporty bent and relies entirely on energy stored in its battery pack, which makes it suitable for short trips and will plug-and-play with public charging stations. Safety- and ride-quality electronics come stock to make this a thoroughly modern machine. It carries itself with a sportiness unseen since Eric Buell’s days at the MoCo with a look that would blend right into a pack of naked smoker bikes.
The Harley-Davidson touring bikes — with the exception of the Heritage Softail Classic – are all based on the largest frame and front-end components the factory has to offer. Both the fully-dressed FLH/T models and their stripped-down bagger companions fall under this category. Power comes from one of the current Big-Twin engines, and between the standard electronics and optional equipment, the touring line sports the most robust suite to grace a traditional-style Harley.
The Custom Vehicle Operations division combines the largest Big-Twin engine it has to offer in a small number of models that vary from year to year. Hand-laid paint and top-drawer electronics/infotainment features add to the chosen platforms, and frequently the CVO bikes serve as a test platform for new technologies that will trickle down to the less-noble families. If you’re looking for the best H-D has to offer, this is it.
Harley-Davidson’s trikes are three-wheeled machines that run in a two-out-back confirguration and are powered by a Big-Twin plant. Stability and ride-quality electronics provide a good deal of extra safety. These machines are ideal for riders who may struggle to hold up one of the nearly half-ton full dressers or who simply wants an easy-going ride. Standard trunk space ensures a certain level of utility as a grocery-getter, right off the showroom floor.
The Softail family is H-D’s current workhorse platform that comprises the entirety of the cruiser category and also dips its toe in the touring range to make it the most prolific model in the lineup. A triangular swingarm and classic frame geometry lends it an antique-hardtail look and the shocks under the low-slung seat soften the jolts at the rear wheel to deliver modern ride qualities. Power comes from one of the current Big-Twin plants, and the electronics are mostly limited to ABS.
The Sportster family got its start in 1952 as an experiment in compact-bike building, and that defining characteristic persists to this day. A narrow frame and skinny front end define the look, usually with either a peanut tank or a teardrop tank to fill out the upper line. The powerplant is based on the Evolution Sportster engine that first rolled in 1986, and it combines engine and transmission within a common casting.
The Street family runs with a sportier-than-usual urban look typified by a low and wide stance and delivers crisp handling and performance. Power comes from the liquid-cooled Revolution X V-Twin plant that shares a case with the six-speed transmission for a compact drivetrain, and the line has its own frame and front ends. ABS protection is the only electronic option, and that coupled with its size, power and cost, the Street family is clearly aimed at the entry-level market.
America’s longest continually-operating motorcycle manufacturer, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc. got its start in 1903 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Aside from a brief period between 1969 and 1981 when the American Machine and Foundry held it, the marque has largely remained under “family” ownership. Best known for big cruisers and tour bikes, deep historical roots lends its products an undeniable authenticity and fidelity to tradition. Check out our Buyer’s guide for more information about Harley-Davidson models.
2015 - 2020 Honda Ruckus
Bare bones — naked bike, anyone? — and gnarly, the Ruckus looks like it’s right out of Mad Max. Even though it does have a 50 cc engine, no one is going to say, “Awww, isn’t that cute?” when you ride by on a Honda Ruckus. Granted, you won’t get going very fast on a Ruckus, so on-lookers will get a good, long look.
2016 - 2020 Honda Metropolitan
Honda revamped its classic-looking Metropolitan – known in other markets as the Giorno – for the 2016 model year. Early models enjoyed a bit of popularity starting back in 2002, but that took a hit with the changes made for the ’13 models up through ’15. The factory proves that it listens to customer feedback and acts on it with a fresh set of changes for the 2016 and 2017 models, tweaks that directly address the concerns coming from the customers. On the top of the list was a new, liquid-cooled engine that ramped up overall performance, as well as relocating the fuel tank for more storage under the seat. What we have for 2020 is a scooter that aims to regain the popularity it once enjoyed with a classic look and a revamped engine.
Top Speed’s 2020 Harley-Davidson Buying Guide
Harley-Davidson stepped up its game a notch ahead of the 2020 model year with a beefed-up lineup, starting with the mid-year release of its new entry-level cruiser, the Softail Standard. The apparent lag in rider-controlled ride-quality electronics was thoroughly addressed by the Reflex Defensive Rider Systems bundle, and for the electric-bike fans out there, the much-discussed/rarely-seen LiveWire has finally landed on showroom floors. A special Fat Boy marks the 30th anniversary of the model line alongside three new CVO models and an expanded Road Glide family with an S-model Low Rider to round out the new MY20 models.
Top Speed’s Guide to the 2020 Indian Motorcycle Lineup
Indian Motorcycle, under the broad Polaris umbrella, rolls into its 2020 model-year with a number of improvements, modifications, and additions to its already-robust lineup. New FTR models and bobbed-out Scouts join the 2020 lineup of existing bikes. New engines for 2020 include what was formally a crate engine. The punched-out Thunder Stroke 116 joins the production line and Indian has a net-new engine in the PowerPlus V-twin. The much-discussed Challenger family marks a new direction for the design staff with its broad fixed fairing and focus on performance.
2016 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle Scout / Scout Sixty
2020 KTM Buying Guide
2017 - 2019 Suzuki VanVan 200
The VanVan from Suzuki comes equipped with a 200 cc engine, which is an upgrade from the old 125 cc model still available in other markets. In typical scrambler fashion, the VanVan 200 is the dirt-road/gravel-road/loose-dirt ride that qualifies it as a “sandbike” because of the fat rear tire to keep you going. Better than an ATV in some situations, the Vanvan is lightweight and capable, perfect for a jaunt around the ranch, a quick run up the trapline or an excursion on the beach, anywhere the ground is loose and four wheels just won’t do.
BMW enters the cruiser segment with its new R 18
BMW unveiled the R 18 Concept about a year ago, and now reveals the much anticipated production model. Slated for release later this year – though don’t be surprised if that is postponed – the R 18 comes packing the biggest and most powerful two-cylinder BMW boxer engine equipped in its bikes to date. We’re looking at 91 horsepower and 116 pound-feet of torque in classic rigid-frame-look cruiser styling.
What you need to know about the new KTM Duke 890 R
2015 - 2020 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS
Kawasaki delivered the 2015 Concours 14 ABS with a whole slew of improvements over the prior year — some cosmetic and some for performance — and carried that over to 2020. At the core, the Kawasaki kept the 1,352 cc engine derived from the Ninja® ZX™-14R in a chassis tuned for touring. The sportbike DNA is quite evident in the overall styling, so whether you love it or hate it, you don’t ignore the Concours 14 ABS.
2017 - 2020 Kawasaki Z125 PRO
“Cheap thrills” takes on a whole new meaning — or maybe just a revitalization of the old meaning — when it comes to the Z125 PRO from Kawasaki. It’s small and relatively fast for the thrills, good fuel economy, and a bargain-basement price. Sure, as a fun bike, it has that hands down. It’s also a commuter if you have to navigate congested thoroughfares because it’s small, lightweight, and narrow so filtering through traffic is a breeze. As a first bike for someone new to two wheels, this is a completely approachable bike, not intimidating at all and without the electronics that frequently get used as a crutch. On this bike, you learn how to ride.
2019 Vespa 946(RED)
A collaborative effort between Piaggio Group and (RED) brings us the Vespa 946(RED). Previewed at a Global Fund event in 2016, the (Vespa 946) RED is available the U.S. with a 155 cc engine and an electronics suite not normally seen on a scooter. This most exclusive Vespa model is the only product in the automotive world to have been chosen by (RED) to contribute funds for the fight against AIDS.
Top Speed 2020 Vespa Buying Guide
Launched, oddly enough, from the aircraft industry, Vespa is the quintessential scooter. Since 1946, Vespa defined the classic look in reliable, uncomplicated transportation. The Vespa line of scooters ranges from 50 cc to 300 cc, and from youthful exuberance to business-like dignity, all combining iconic designs with modern technology.
Husqvarna Launches Its First Adventure Bike
Husqvarna announced today the Norden 901 is confirmed for production as part of its streetbike lineup. After unveiling its first-ever touring model, Husky received overwhelming response at 2019 EICMA on the concept model, and even though it was unclear at the time if it was slated for production, they’ve decided to move forward.