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.
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.
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.
2015 - 2020 Yamaha WR250R
Essentially a carry-over from 2008 when the WR250R was added as a street-legal offering in the Yamaha WR lineup, the 2020 model carries-on carrying-on dual-sport fun. It’s not really a street-legal version of the WR250F, though the model designation tends to make it seem so. “WR” indicates it’s a wide-ratio gear box, and beyond that, the sky’s the limit. The wide-ratio gives an acceptable balance of highway capability and off-road responsiveness, both desirable in the dual-sport market
2018 - 2020 Suzuki Burgman 400
Back in the lineup in 2018 after a hiatus the year prior, the Suzuki Burgman 400 emerged as an all-new, third-generation model available for the North American market. A new powerplant delivers over 30 horsepower, and it comes tucked away under a restyled body.
TopSpeed 2019 Norton Buying Guide
Norton Motorcycles is, undeniably, one of the British Greats. It made a mark for itself early on with success in both the racing and streetbike/commuter sectors, and it continues to do so to this day. The factory splits is efforts fairly evenly between its superbikes, Brit-style standards and café racers with a couple of scrambler-esque models to expand its footprint off the black and onto the brown. English charm and deep historical roots are the hallmarks of the brand and the main reasons for its continued success.
2016 - 2020 Yamaha Bolt
The Yamaha Bolt continues into 2020 with that classic "bobber" style, high tank, and short wheelbase, folks expect to see in old-school styling. Powered by an air-cooled V-twin engine, but with a plenty of technology on board, the Bolt is a good in-between size: not too small that you’ll outgrow it soon and not so big that it is intimidating for new riders. The bobber-style solo seat, easy cruisin’ rider triangle, and naked-bike look make the Bolt a choice little bar hopper or commuter ride.
2017 - 2020 Honda Grom
Introduced in 2014, the Grom from Honda is a compact bike with sportbike styling, two-up capabilities if you don’t mind having to Fred-Flintstone the take-off, has amazing fuel economy, and offers a little something more for folks who might consider a scooter in this size-range. Marketed in other countries as the MSX125, the Motrac M3, and the Skyteam M3, the Grom is a spunky little — “little” being the operative word here — motorcycle, good for folks new to two wheels or for anyone else who wants a fun ride. It’s not fast, but that’s not the point.
2015 - 2020 Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S.
Introduced as the bad-ass brother of Suzuki’s M109R, the Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S. carries forward into MY20 with its 109 cubic inch (1,783 cc) engine. Yeah, B.O.S.S. stands for ’Blacked Out Special Suzuki’, but I’m gonna call it ’Blacked Out Super Sweet’. It might not be the fastest cruiser on the market, but it is definitely a power-cruiser and it really wants to go when you let out the clutch.
2015 - 2020 Yamaha V Star 250
If you’re a carburetor fan, you’re still in luck for a 250 cc commuter bike with the 2020 V Star 250 from Yamaha. Simple, classic-cruiser good looks and scooter-like fuel economy make the V Star 250 a no-nonsense choice for a budget-minded or entry-level rider.
2016 - 2020 Yamaha Bolt R-Spec / Bolt C-Spec
The Bolt from Yamaha’s Star cruiser line is a cool little bobber-style bike with its high tank, short wheelbase and solo seat. It’s a nice around town bike — lightweight and agile — and naked with real-steel sheet metal, so it just begs you to customize it. What could be better? Enter the Bolt’s siblings, the dressier Bolt R-Spec and the café racer Bolt C-Spec. The Spec duo are every bit as snappy and fun to ride as the Bolt, but with some upgrades, both hardware and cosmetic. Powered by the air-cooled 942 cc V-twin engine, the Specs are in the same size slot as the Bolt: not too small that you’ll outgrow it right away and not so big to be overwhelming for new riders. At just a few bills more than the Bolt, they’re worth a look.
2015 - 2019 Suzuki Boulevard C90T
Cruisers and touring bikes go hand in hand for that relaxed, comfortable ride you get. The Boulevard C90T from Suzuki is the touring version of the C90 that was dropped after the 2013 model year. Leather-look — not real leather, just leather textured — hard saddlebags and an ample windscreen give the C90T that "I’m ready for the road" look along with a 1,462 cc engine and five-speed transmixer.
2015 - 2020 Honda XR650L
Honda carries its venerable XR650L line into 2020, but to be honest, it’s almost completely unchanged from the original version unleashed on the world back in 1993. Before you scoff, I would point out that sharks haven’t changed in millions of years, having evolved long ago into creatures perfectly suited to their environments, and apparently, so it is with the XR650L. The Red Riders got it right out of the gate with this one, and popular support keeps the bike on Honda’s showroom floors even after nearly a quarter-century.
Top Speed 2019 KTM Streetbike Buying Guide
The KTM-AG falls under the ownership of the CROSS KraftFahrZeug Holding GmbH and the Bajaj Auto Limited International Holdings B.V. at a rate of 51.28-percent and 47.99-percent, respectively. Based in Mattighofen, Austria, KTM builds streetbikes, racebikes, dirtbikes/enduros and sports cars, but for the purposes of this guide we will stick to the street-friendly, two-wheeled models. Famous for their single-cylinder, thumper-style engines and high performance machines with distinctive orange/white/black livery, KTM has established itself as a marque that doesn’t necessary hold to convention and has a tendency to do things their own way; much to the delight of its fans.
2015 - 2019 Suzuki Boulevard M90
Around the turn of the century, the cruiser style had evolved into fat tires, lots of chrome, wide bodies and pegs out front to give you that almost slouched, relaxed riding posture. Since then, cruiser style has cycled back to "old school." They’ve lost some weight and slimmed down, creating a low and lean version of a sport look. If your vision of what a cruiser should be is stuck in the fat tires and wide body — think of it as "old new-school" — Suzuki has the Boulevard M90 that’s right up your alley.
2018 - 2020 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.
Top Speed 2019 Aprilia Buying Guide
Aprilia is an Italian manufacturer mainly in top-end racing machines and streetbikes, though it does have limited scooter range to round out its lineup. It falls under the same Piaggio & C. SpA umbrella as does famed builder Moto Guzzi, but unlike it’s sister company, Aprilia completely shuns the standard body-style machines and focuses on performance. In so doing, it serves as the racebike division for the Piaggio conglomerate. The marque is heavily involved in the MotoGP circuit, and at the time of this writing is listed as 6th in the world manufacturer’s standings.
Top Speed 2019 Moto Guzzi Buying Guide
The Piaggio & C.SpA moniker is most often associated with scooters but Moto Guzzi is one motorcycle brand that falls under its umbrella. Based in Mandello del Lario, Italy, Moto Guzzi represents the sporty, grocery-getter market right along with cruising, touring, dual-surface work, and globetrotting; all with it signature, transverse-mount V-twin powerplant on display. Overall, the marque cleaves to classic design elements, with the notable exception of its new adventure bike that, being a purpose-built machine, looks much like the rest of the modern-enduro field.
2015 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom
The 1200 Custom in Harley-Davidson’s Sportster line went into 2018 with a new look and hit the streets with the tried and true 1200 Evolution® engine along with the agile chassis that’s secured a place for itself in the lineup for over half a century. Kinda the black sheep of the Sportster stable, the 1200 Custom lives up to its name with a look apart from the rest of its siblings with a beefier front end and more aggressive riding position to put a little more ’sport’ into the ride.
Top Speed 2019 Ducati Buying Guide
Ducati is among the top names to come out of Europe’s Boot, and is easily the sexiest marque on the market, inasmuch as a machine can have a sensuous nature. The builders in Bologna are also famous for their signature Desmodromic valvetrain and top-notch ride-quality electronics that deliver high-performance along with the safety systems to help you maintain control over the power. While the company made its name on the street and covers most of the blacktop bases, it dabbles in the dirt with an adventure-bike line and an entire Scrambler sub-division to round out the selection.
Top Speed 2019 Triumph Buying Guide
Triumph Motorcycles Limited is currently the U.K.’s largest bikebuilder according to sales numbers. Headquartered in Hinckley, Leicestershire, the British giant competes on the world stage against the top manufacturers out of Europe, Asia, and North America, and it sets the standard for British bikes. Not only does the marque draw on its own deep roots for the looks of its Modern Classic line, but it also shows a willingness to embrace contemporary design elements as well as the performance expectations of the buyer base
Top Speed 2019 Can-Am Buying Guide
The Can-Am marque is a builder of modern, Delta-configured trikes that fall under the expansive Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) umbrella. Currently, the factory produces two distinct vehicle families – the Spyder and the Ryker – to cover the sport segment, the touring section and the just-for-fun group. Stability and safety equipment are constants across the board to make this brand particularly new-rider friendly.
Tragedy At Pike’s Peak Hill Climb: Ducati Racer Carlin Dunne Dead At 36
In an attempt to secure his fifth King Of The Mountain title, Carlin Dunne of the Spider Grips Ducati race team fell yesterday a quarter mile from the finish line and succumbed to his injuries. Dunne was setting records on the Prototype Ducati Streetfighter V4 at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb when he died at age 36.
Voxan Motorcycles Hits The Salt For A New Speed Record
Electric-motorcycle brand Voxan under the Venturi umbrella sets its sights on a world electric-motorcycle speed record in Bolivia. Slated for a run in August 2020 on the Voxan Wattman, world champion motorcycle racer Max Biaggi was in Monaco taking part in ergonomics testing and 3D scans in preparation for what could be a historic milestone for Voxan and electric motorcycles. Biaggi will attempt to best the current record of 203.58 mph.
Top Speed 2019 IMZ-Ural Buying Guide
A true trans-continental marque, the present-day IMZ-Ural is managed by a U.S.-based team in Redmond, Washington, but the factory is in Irbit, Russia. It specializes in heavy, sidecar-equipped motorcycles that bring classic looks to the table alongside real-world off-road capabilities. At the time of this writing, IMZ-Ural is the only major manufacturer of production sidecar models.
Top Speed Buying Guide for 2019 Zero Motorcycles
Based in Scotts Valley, California, all-electric bike builder Zero Motorcycles Inc produces seven distinct sub-models on three separate frames to include sportbikes, adventure bikes/dual sports and a supermoto to cover most of the bases. The factory offers a number of accessories that can either expand the bike’s power-storing capacity or supplement its charging system for quicker recharge times. For 2019, Zero Motorcycle enjoys an enviable position as the most diverse EV bike builder to date.
Top Speed Buying Guide to Energica Motorcycles
Energica Motor Company produces EV bikes under the CRP Group umbrella. Based in Modena, Italy, the marque currently produces a trio of models to include a full-on superbike, a somewhat-naked streetfighter and a neo-retro piece that borrows from a number of influences from yesteryear. As for the patron group, it brings a number of useful abilities to the table with aerospace-engineering experience that lends itself well to the EV-bike industry such as CNC milling and laser sintering (metal 3D printing).
Top Speed Motorcycle Buying Guide for the 2019 Yamaha Lineup
Yamaha Corporation has a hand in a multitude of industries to include musical instruments and mixing equipment, electronics, outboard motors, personal watercraft, off-road vehicles, snowmobiles, and of course, motorcycle production. It is from the former that the marque draws its iconic symbol comprised of a trio of tuning forks, which in turn lends it the nickname “The Tuning Fork Company.” As one of the Japanese “Big Four,” Yamaha is involved in two-wheeled racing, and is competitive within the global motorcycle market.